Childbirth and Motherhood ~ What I Wish I’d Known

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  • Not all midwives are lovely and supportive.  One Born Every Minute and other such documentaries are LYING to us.  Some midwives are bossy, cold and downright nasty and you will be left in the ‘capable’ hands of these people during possibly the most terrifying experience of your life.
  • You may have to stay in hospital for a few days with your baby.  Pack a LOT of big, black knickers.
  • Childbirth isn’t the end of your pain.  You may bleed for weeks and weeks afterwards.  And weeks.
  • It also may hurt to sit down.  And stand up.  And cough.  And sneeze.
  • You might pee yourself.  A lot.
  • You and your partner will argue more than you’ve ever argued in your whole relationship.  Hopefully, though, you will do it quietly.  There’s a sleeping baby next to you, don’t you know.

Things That Make Life Easier

  • If breastfeeding, a nursing cushion and a breast pump are a must have.  The nursing cushion will make the feed so much comfier for you and your baby.  The breast pump will allow you to express some milk so your partner can do the odd feed, not just to give you a break but also to bond with baby.
  • A wrap sling for carrying your baby close to you.  Life (and back) saver.  Baby loves it too.
  • Olive Oil and cotton wool – all you need to clean a newborn bum and prevent soreness – baby wipes are too harsh on brand new skin.
  • Muslin squares – they are not, as I thought pre-child, just glorified tea towels.  You will probably use 3-4 a day, every day.  Buy a lot.
  • Thermos mug (with a lid).  Safely drink a hot cup of tea during those many feeding sessions.  You will thank me for that one.
  • Sleepsuits with built in scratch mitts.  Separate scratch mitts are absolutely mahoosive on a new born’s tiny hands.  They look like boxing gloves and they will NOT stay on.

A few more things:

  • When photographing your babba, place an item of reference next to them, i.e. a teddy bear.  Photograph them with the item at least once a week so you can see how much they’ve grown.  You could carry this on for years.  Every birthday, their first day at school….their wedding.  We didn’t start doing this until Bloss was about 8 weeks.  I wish I’d thought of it sooner.  We’re using a cuddly green broccoli and a rag doll.
  • Cuddle and hold your baby as much as you want.  Don’t let people tell you that you’re spoiling them.  You cannot spoil a child with love. #attachment parenting
  • Listen to everyone’s advice which is being given to you from all directions, and then work out your own way.
  • Enjoy every second of your child.  They are the most amazing gift you will ever have.

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My Girl

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4 inch round label ~ baby girl & stork

So, I ended my last post with a promise to keep you posted, which I abysmally failed to adhere to. No problem, it’s not like I have anyone hanging on my every word, this is just my outlet.

Anyway, I’m a mother. I thought it would feel peculiar to have that title, but in the kind and well received words of a family member, my partner and I have taken to parenthood like ducks to water. That’s exactly how it feels, too. After years of cowering under the storm cloud that is depression, I now believe, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that my life is worth living. I now have a reason to haul myself out of bed in the mornings. Her name is Blossom*.

Blossom is three months old today. My coccyx is still in a state of mischief and I am still twenty pounds more…substantial than I’d like to be, but for the first time in my adult life, I am veritably content.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not professing to find parenthood a breeze. It’s exhausting, in more ways than one. I still can’t endure more than ten or so minutes without checking and double checking that my baby is still breathing. And yes, I torture myself with scenarios in which I have to live without her. Just to confirm, that would be utterly impossible. Despite that, I am enjoying being Blossom’s mum more than anything. The cuddles, the smiles and, more recently, the coos and giggles make my world a brighter place.

Before I was even pregnant, I made no secret of the fact that I longed for a daughter. I know what a broody or pregnant woman is ‘supposed’ to say – that they don’t care about gender, as long as it’s healthy. Make no mistakes here, the health of the baby is the only thing that actually matters, but some people do have a preference, if a somewhat guilty one, and I was one of them. Clearly, being a pessimist, I didn’t expect to get my girl. But I did. She is healthy, beautiful and perfect. My dream came true. For that, I am eternally grateful…and a little less of a cynic.

*This is one of my daughter’s middle names, for the sake of her anonymity on my blog.

 

 

We did it!

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ImageSo, I got what I wanted.  After five months of trying, I’m pregnant.  Eight weeks and five days to be exact.  And, to quote a fairly famous writer, or more fittingly to misquote – ‘It is the best of times, it is the worst of times’.  I wish I could use the word ‘was’, but lamentably, it is not over yet.  I feel AWFUL.  It’s as if I have been dragged through Hell backwards by my little toe, whilst being tube fed rotten food and Sambuca.  In essence, it’s like the worst hangover I’ve ever had.

Anyway, you get the drift.  As I haven’t posted for a while, I’ll talk about the joyful (stressful, soul destroying) journey of trying to conceive, or TTC as the forum dwellers prefer to call it.

Now, in my first month, I was confident, bordering on arrogant.  I was of the woefully ill informed opinion that within a month of coming off the pill I would be up the spout.  Ha!  And double Ha!  What. An. Idiot.  I was smug in my own illusions of fertility.

I won’t bore you with every tiny detail of all the diet tweaks, miracle supplements, new positions or holistic therapies that we tried, but let’s just say, there were a lot.  The old ‘pillow under the bum’ was a particular favourite.  A lot of pennies were spent on ovulation predictor kits (OPKs), literally and metaphorically.  Now let me tell you, DTD (doing the deed) is a lot less fun when you’re being told when, how and where to do it.  It soon became a chore.

Nevertheless, we kept on keeping on, month after month.  At the end of  each cycle  I would POAS (pee on a stick), cry at the one lonesome little red line and prepare to go back into battle in fourteen days time.

I became convinced that my long suffering partner was firing blanks, which in hindsight was a totally unfair assumption to make.  I had him quit his occasional pipe smoke, beer and hot baths.  I also bemoaned him for overly partaking in the rave scene and the class As of his nineties adolescence.  Something I am also guilty of on a slightly different level, though my teen years were in the ‘noughties’. To sum it up, I was a bit of a bitch.

Now, you want to hear something funny?  After all the conscientious living, healthy eating and timed baby dancing (yes, they really call it that), we conceived at our friends’ wedding, intoxicated with gin and champagne, in a campervan, in a field full of Alpacas and Bullocks.

My first scan is in three weeks and 5 days, and when I am not vomiting or crying, I am beside myself with excitement.  My little one is currently the size of a grape and I cannot wait to meet her/him.

I’ll keep you posted.

Life, Old and New

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So…pinch, punch and all that.  It’s the first day of February, 2013.

I am sad to say, my wonderful grandmother passed away one week ago today, on the 25th of January. She was 89 years old.  Her name was Molly and she was an inspiration.  Resilient, determined, headstrong and independent, I’d love to think that a part of her spirit lives on in me.  My Nan not only lived through WW2, she was in the Land Army!  I have the badge to prove it.  I’ll treasure the tales she told me oland girls advertisementf those days.  My Nan spoke of tending to the land in the sunshine, only to look up and watch in horror as Doodlebugs would fly into the otherwise peaceful blue sky.  The land girls would scatter in all directions, trying to gauge where the bombs might land.   She spoke of growing up in the seaside town of Folkestone in the 20s and 30s, with genuine fondness.  Times were hard but they made her and her many siblings who and what they were.

As some of you may be aware, I want to become a mother this year.  I had been waiting for the ‘perfect’ time to start trying.  I had things I needed to do first. The day my Nan passed away, I stopped taking my contraceptive pill.  I thought to myself, maybe the day I lose someone that special is the day I should make way for another incredible person in my life.

Watch this space.

Tattooed Ladies

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Picture not owned by me.

Picture not owned by me.

So, what skips through your mind when you see a heavily tattooed person?  Does your attitude change depending on the gender of said walking canvas?

As a staunchly tattooed, young woman, I find myself on the receiving end of many lingering glances and more than my fair share of impertinent stares.  I often feel fellow gym goers eyeballing me while I’m minding my own business on the cross trainer.

Don’t get me wrong, some people compliment me on my artwork; and that’s exactly what it is.  I have ruminated for copious hours about what I want to exhibit on my skin, I have researched appropriate and brilliant artists and I have schlepped up and down the country in order to work with them.  Regrettably, a stupendous amount of ‘tattoo enthusiasts’ are letting the side down and the rest of us are being tarred with the same brush, or marked with the same needle, if you will.  There are plenty of people walking around with ill thought out (if at all), badly drawn/scratched and quite frankly ugly tattoos on their bodies.  Rather than hunting for acclaimed and gifted tattoo artists, they hand over their cash to the nearest and cheapest tattooist available.  By tattooist, I refer to the liabilities who buy the equipment, blue tac some designs to the wall and half heartedly copy them on to you.  This is laziness, people!  It is not becoming.  As they say, ‘Good tattoos aren’t cheap and cheap tattoos aren’t good’.  Amen to that.

Now, on that note, I do have a divulgence of my own guilt to make.  My first tattoo was imprudently picked off a wall, stencilled onto my lower back, and coloured in.  In my defence: a) I was young, naive and hadn’t really had much experience in the world of tattoos.  All I knew was, I wanted one and I wanted it pronto, b) I was in Camden Town with my (former) best friend, also eighteen and also with a devil-may-care outlook on life.  As she’d just had her tongue pierced twice in the same studio, had dribble down her chin and a profound incapacity for speech, I thought the only honourable thing for me to do was to endure some misery and blood loss too, as an act of solidarity.  c) I have since discovered that it was an incredibly highly esteemed tattoo shop, and had I put some forethought into the situation, I could have, in theory, walked away with a decent bit of custom artwork on my body.  So there you have it, the birth of my glorious, tribal tramp stamp.  Luckily, I no longer don ‘hipsters’.  Yes, in the nineties hipsters were a type of low waisted jeans as oppose to effortlessly cool, indie loving, chic geeks in skinny jeans and charity shop cardies! Anyhow, my point is, my off the wall (literally) maiden tattoo is seldom on show in public.  My two multi-coloured, vivid sleeves however, are.  Well, honestly, you’d think I had Satanist branded on my forehead from some of the reactions I get.  To keep you in the loop, the murals on my arms consist of a purple haired, ample bosomed mermaid, an exceptionally charming Tiger Moth, a portrait of my beloved late tabby cat; Magnus, many feminine flowers and the words ‘High Maintenance’ by way of giving people fair warning.  Oh wait, that’s just my left arm!  My right arm is an ode to animals and Victorian carousels – all mixed up to created a trippy montage of badgers, squirrels and goats in sherbet coloured saddles sauntering their merry way through candy canes and lollipops.  On my thigh I have a rather lovely pair of retro roller skates in pink and turquoise, nestled in a bed of roses.  Exactly what you expected, right?!  If any of these images scream devil worshipper, criminal or terrorist, I’ll eat my actual roller skates and put the event on YouTube.  I am a regular kind of girl.  I love pretty dresses and animals and going to the cinema!  I wear pink, have a sweet tooth and can’t wait to be a mummy!  I am a kind, caring person.  If anything, my ink has furthered my modelling career.  I have been published internationally – often in alternative, ink loving magazines. Tattooed ladies no longer belong in freak shows!  Please stop trying to send us back there!

Lucky 13

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Today is the first day of the year 2013.  I have made no New Year’s Resolutions, nor do I think life is drastically going to get easier.  On the contrary, this one could be my most challenging yet.  For this next year, I am pondering a somewhat colossal yet long yearned for change.  A baby.  You may now have images of a young, happily married woman, thirty something, in a quaint character cottage, who has reached a satisfactory pausing point in her career.  Alas, unfortunately not.  Due to crippling bouts of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, an unrelenting, dismal presence of depression and a failure to complete my once promising educational path, I am without a career to speak of.  Don’t get me wrong, I have worked.  How I have worked.  To no avail, I’m afraid.  My mental health, or lack thereof, saw to that.  As a teenager, having dropped my Psychology, English and Art studies, I became a member of ‘Cabin Crew’.  Or as they are more commonly known, a trolley dolly, an air hostess, a glorified waitress, or  one of the more complimentary pet names, a pilot shagger.  No not me, I found most of them rather dull, to be honest, apart from while they were actually flying the majestic beasts and during those periods it was understandably frowned upon to straddle them and bounce your way to heaven.  Anyhow, I digress.  I have no career.  As for the picture postcard cottage or handsome townhouse?  No.  I did inquire into my suitability for a mortgage during my flying days.  The nice lady at the bank advised me, in no uncertain terms, of what I was entitled to.  Now, as much as I would have adored to inhabit an ‘old style, crafted beach hut’ on the sunny shores of Kent, it wasn’t overly convenient for Heathrow.  So, not married, I hear you ask?  Well yes, actually, I am married.  Trapped in a state of estranged limbo for another 9 months, at which time I can file for divorce.  Get me, such a grown up.  Don’t fret people, I’m not planning on ram-raiding a sperm bank in order to achieve motherhood.  I am very happily co-habiting with my bloody lovely boyfriend. I have my very own, fully operative, willing male.  More than willing, I do believe he’s more excited than I am!  Justifiable, I suppose, in light of all the immense body trauma he is not currently pondering.  As for my age…well, alright, I’m not far off thirty and that’s fine by me.  My self esteem has steadily grown, the further I have retreated from the living hell that is being a teenager.  Turning thirty – bring it on.  Obviously must turn twenty nine first.  I always was a strong mathematician.

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