PND and me

I woke up this morning really early (before the baby, what what?) and just felt I had to write about this. I went for a long time where I couldn’t tell anyone- not my husband, my mum, my best friends (although of course they knew) and I’m going through a time now where I feel the need to tell everyone. Sorry! Stop reading now if sad sacks bore you. ūüôā

Our daughter could not have been more wanted, more planned or more anticipated- not just by me, but by out whole family. I had a straightforward pregnancy by and large, and for most of it I felt great, and excited!

Things started to go wrong when I was about 41 Weeks. This was not going as I had planned. The birth was awful- induced, long, extremely intense and then it just stopped. Our purple baby girl was born (reluctantly!) by emergency section. And she was absolutely beautiful. I was elated, exhausted, euphoric. For a day or two.

I knew from when she was days old I had Pnd. I couldn’t stop crying, I was exhausted and everything seemed hard. I expected this, but nothing prepared me for it. As time went on, people said it would get easier, and in some ways it did- she began to sleep through the night and I had a better idea of what she wanted. Even on ten hours sleep, and a baby that I was coping with- she was fed, looked after; I felt I could lie down in the street and go to sleep. Leaving the house was so tiring I wanted to weep and I endlessly felt life was too hard, the burden too great for me to handle. Many days I wanted to get in the car and drive away and never come back. At my lowest points I closed my eyes to sleep and prayed I wouldn’t wake up.

It didn’t surprise me to read later that suicide is the most common cause of post natal death in the UK.

I wasn’t like this permanently, however. I would have days, even weeks, where I felt fantastic, back to myself, loving my new life as a mum and looking at her and feeling proud of what I’d achieved. I’d made a person! Go me!

Other days I wished she wasn’t there. I wished I wasn’t there. Everyone and everything disgusted me. I felt so overcome with emotion that I couldn’t cope. Even though I have a supportive husband who was bewildered and helpless to change my rollercoaster of emotions. Everytime I thought I was getting better, the darkness returned worse than before.

There’s a line in “catcher in the rye” when the famously mentally challenged Holden crosses the road and feels he’s disappearing. That’s how I felt- like the person I was had gone, and all that remained was this desperate and lonely skin. I felt like a ghost.

I’ve always had an ability to bounce back from things- like most people i’ve had my fair share of disappointments in life, but I always try to think it is for the best and move on. I thought that it would help me and I would feel better in time. By the time I stumbled into the doctor, when Phoebe was 17 months old, things were getting so bad I could hardly put one foot in front of the other without weeping like a woman bereaved.

I’m getting better now. Sometimes I wake up very early in the morning and wonder what I would be doing if I never got help. And it really is as scary as any nightmare.

I know this isn’t a novel or owt but I really want to thank some people.

To Jenna, who listened, and noticed.

To Laura, who made me remember myself, by always being herself.

To my long-suffering husband, for always loving me, not matter what version of me he woke up to in the morning. I love you bub x

To dorkymum, whose words of honesty and absolute clarity made me feel like I was not alone. Especially for her post on pnd.

To my mum and dad, whom I respect and love more than ever. X

Things I wish I’d known 15 months ago

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. My life would have been a while lot more pleasant if I’d known…

1. Labour can be hellish, unpredictable, and affect you more than you think. Luckily, it’s all a flash and a blur afterwards, even if it went in for days.
2. It’s ok to want to go on and on about it afterwards, especially if you feel disappointed by it.
3. If you don’t love your baby right away, it’s ok. It doesn’t make you a bad person.
4. It’s perfectly acceptable to look fat and mumsy for at least three months after birth. Accept you will never look quite the same way again. Making a whole new person can take the edge off your vitality, at least for a while.
5. Babies don’t need much stuff. Toys will be redundant for about 3 months at least.
6. Don’t allow people to treat your house as a baby-viewing caf√©. It is perfectly acceptable to say no visitors for two weeks. If people come, don’t feel bad about asking them not to come at the last minute, asking them to leave… etc. Yes, even grandparents. It doesn’t matter how much they spent on a gift.
7. Mummy friends are essential.
8. Non-mummy are essential. Don’t alienate them.
9. Try to breast feed. Even if you only manage a week, it’s a great start. Formula is magic stuff and I am so happy it exists.
10. You know your baby best. If you think something’s wrong, it probably is. If your mum is saying something’s wrong, but you think everything is good, you’re right.
11. Ignore all advice from people who had babies more than 5 years ago. Take the advice from people with under fives if you want to. If you don’t, smile and nod, and change the subject.
12. There are thousands of ways to bring up a baby. Only very few are wrong. Do it the way you want.
13. Don’t count down to your due date. If possible, don’t tell anyone your due date. 5% of babies arrive on time. If you go overdue, the 5000 “Have you had that baby yet?!” texts make you want to firebomb the senders’ houses.
14. All children walk, talk, sleep though the night, read, write blah blah blah at their own pace. No one likes a smug mum. Tell me once, I’ll be happy for you. Tell me five times, I might have to spill my coffee all over your cream carpet.
15. My baby is the most beautiful thing I’ve every seen, and the best thing I’ve ever done! But sometimes, I want to get away from her because she does my box in. See item ‘8’.

I’ve probably missed like 100 things out!

Sadness

I’m Facebook friends with a number of pupils I used to teach. It’s really nice to hear about what they’re up to- stuff I did at their age- drinking too much, going out too much, working too much, not studying enough, but scraping by.

But this week there was some terrible news.

The best way to remember is not by the bitter tears you have cried (and will cry), or the black empty void in your heart… But by living your life to the full, in memory of the one lost too soon, and the warm glow of good times past you are left with.

The words below always give me comfort. I hope they help.

Lots of love xox

Death is Nothing at all
Death is nothing at all 
I have only slipped away into the next room 
I am I and you are you 
Whatever we were to each other  That we are still 
Call me by my old familiar name Speak to me in the easy way you always used 
Put no difference into your tone  Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow 
Laugh as we always laughed 
At the little jokes we always enjoyed together 
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me 
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was 
Let it be spoken without effort  Without the ghost of a shadow in it 
Life means all that it ever meant  It is the same as it ever was 
There is absolute unbroken continuity 
What is death but a negligible accident? 
Why should I be out of mind  Because I am out of sight? 
I am waiting for you for an interval 
Somewhere very near 
Just around the corner 
All is well. 
Nothing is past; nothing is lost  One brief moment and all will be as it was before 
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

Canon Henry Scott-Holland

Friendships- new and rekindled

Babies bring lots of changes to your life… and not always good ones. People will be quick to talk about the sleepless nights, endless crying, carrying loads of stuff about, becoming boring etc etc etc. But becoming a mum has brought a lot of new and unexpected things into my life, including new pals!

I’ve never been one to make friends very easily, although i’m very sociable, and find it easy to talk to strangers, I’m quite choosy about who I spend my time with. So I wasn’t really surprised when I went to the antenatal classes run by my practice and I didn’t really “click” with anyone.

All this changed after we had our babies though, because now we had a common ground! And I’ve been privileged to get to know a group of strong, supportive women who have been there for me from tears to mega lolz. I never thought I’d find talking about poo so entertaining.

Today, at a belated first birthday, I marvelled at how well we first time mums have done in raising our little people- now with real personalities and strengths of their own! One of us is even expecting again (not me) and she is so just in that perfect place for it- her little daughter is an angel, and she is such a relaxed and capable mum. I, on the other hand, am still highly strung and disorganised! I doubt that will ever change…

I’ve also had some rekindled friendships which I’ve really come to value. I actually often kick myself that I didn’t make more of an effort before we had the babies. Some have been from teacher training, and some from school.

Facebook friends have also been great, particularly Anne, who I didn’t really know well, but her baby knowledge and lip butter advice has been invaluable!

There’s two other friendships that I have neglected here but will write about another time, probably with their permission!

Sorry this is so rambly, just wanted a wee write tonight.

Travelling light with a baby

I remember when I was pregnant, and the changing bag idea excited me. I love a bag-more or less of any kind. I even love canvas and jute supermarket jobbies if they’re bepatterned-and so the changing bag with its novelty additions (a changing mat! A bottle warmer! A dummy clip! How precious!) opened up a whole new avenue of bag shopping for me. I even manbagged my husband (he wasn’t even that horrified). Pretty quickly, though, I realised that every changing bag I’d bought (4, if you’re interested) was crappy. The changing may was too small/easily stained, the bag itself, despite being massively bulky, could barely hold what I needed, the bottle warmer didn’t work, the dummy clip broke, it wouldn’t sit properly on the pram without adjustment, and then it wouldn’t fit on me when I took it off the pram…. those damn bags were the source of many sweating, screaming child moments where I wanted to throw all my baby paraphernalia at passing cars, firebomb the mamas & papas HQ, stick a nappy in my pocket and hope for the best.

Anyway, you can imagine how chuffed I was when it dawned on me that I actually no longer needed that much stuff now when out for the day with junior. I’ve always been the kind of person who enjoys a big bag. I’m a tall person, and small bags look like children’s bags on me. Also, I’ve never really been a keys-lipstick-phone person, so. What I do now, is just have my regular handbag, and make four additions, and i’m ready to go out for morning/afternoon with junior. Obviously, if I had to give her a meal, I’d need her lunchbox too- but I have a bottle bag with a long strap so I can just along that over my shoulder too.

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Mini pack of baby wipes. Book (preferably with flaps, textures bits or noisy bits), musical toy with buttons.
I always need baby wipes! If you have a baby it needs to be wiped in some way or another, pretty much constantly. I find the same is true of husbands. I draw the line at two multi tasking toys that do lots of things or a favourite. I sometimes feel even if I took twenty toys she wouldn’t be occupied any longer, anyway.

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Ah, my zippy thing. I don’t even know what this is, but it us like a make up bag with two zip compartments. And ok, after slagging them off, it’s from a change bag. This is what I put inside:

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My change kit!

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Snacks, tissues (sometimes you need a dry wipe. Babies always have runny noses), sachet of calpol and spoon, bubbles (constant source of amazement and free in a party bag.)

So I hope i’ve convinced you that don’t need to suffer the change bag depression after 12 months, at the latest. I’ve been doing this since she was about 8 months, when pooing was more, erm, reliable and I had a really strong idea of her needs and wants.

If you have found a good change bag… Tell me!

Current beauty favourites!

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I’ve been enjoying lots of new beauty products recently so I thought I’d share a few with you. I’ll start with the ones i’m wearing in the photo above.

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Sleek rose gold blush, superdrug, £4.95
This stuff is a total dupe for NARS orgasm, which retails for around ¬£25. Sleek is a brand exclusive to superdrug and it’s well worth checking out. This dupe is not a personal find; I heard about it on the blogging circuit but it is such a good one that I have to share. The blush is mineral based, but it’s not proper mineral makeup as it had Talc in. Because of it’s mineral properties, though, it’s really pigmented so you don’t need much! Just keep buffing to get the true colour. The only downside to this is that quite a lot of people know about it so it’s often out of stock.

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Revlon nearly naked foundation, £8.99, boots
I’ve got lots of love for this foundation. It comes in lots of light shades for pale skins and feels totally weightless. The coverage is medium but totally buildable. This is a great everyday foundation. I add a squirt to my Laura mercier tinted moisturiser for added coverage…. Talking of which…

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Laura mercier tinted moisturiser, nude, Harvey Nicholls, £30 approx
Light coverage and super velvety. It’s like putting on a familiar soft and fluffy jumper on a cold day ūüôā This was a present from my friend Laura and she bought it without me being there- and the shade matches perfectly! Skills.

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Maybeline, the rocket, volume express collection, £8.99, boots
I didn’t think I’d ever say this. It’s the new Falsies! It’s got more definition than falsies but it’s still quick to build up drama.

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Collection 2000, cream puff in fairy cake 3, approx £3
Sorry about the terrible photos by the way, my camera won’t flash. My friend Laura had been wearing this loads and it’s looks amazing on her- pinky coral. On me it’s more reddy as I have a deeper natural lip colour. It’s still nice though and I’d been asking her for ages where she got it from. In the tube, this is a really nice pink brick colour with a lovely texture which goes on smooth and matte. It doesn’t feel dry at all but velvety and comfortable. The shade is very flattering, and pals-it’s a pure bargain!!

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Bourgois healthy mix correcting concealer, approx £6, boots
I’ve had this for ages but i’m rediscovering my love for it’s fruity softness and blendable goodness. I find it particularly good under the eye! It’s anti-fatigue. I’m sad to report I still feel pretty fatigued. As a concealer though, it hides my circles pretty well. Best applied with the ring finger in a gentle patting motion. I’ve never understood concealer brushes.

Talking of brushes…

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Real techniques shading brush, £8.99, superdrug
I’ve been looking for a shading brush for ages and this one gives loads of control for tricky eye contouring and blending. It’s really good quality for the price and it’s so soft which is really important for the eye area.

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Channel foundation brush, £34, John Lewis
Get saving your Pennies because this is the best foundation brush around. It was sold out for ages but I got my paws on it eventually! Fingers do the job (fnar) but this brush makes you feel like da Vinci when you’re putting on your makeup.

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Rimmel professional eyebrow pencil, brown/black, £3.99, boots.
I’m trying to grow in my brows which is a depressing and slow process. I feel I look a mess if my brows aren’t groomed so I’ve been patting a bit of concealer over the unsightly bits then filling in the bald patches with this bad boy. It does a fab job for the price. I’ve been using this instead of my ¬£35 channel eyebrow palette… it’s quicker. If I was going out, I’d use both though, as the powder would set the pencil nicely. There’s nothing worse than a smudgy eyebrow. It really gives the game away.

And finally, I’m currently in love with Revlon lip butter in candy apple, ¬£7.99. If you’ve not tried the lip butters yet, I’d get involved. They are balmy in texture, quite nourishing but most shades are pretty pigmented. This colour would suit any complexion; it’s a sheer red colour. Great if you’re keen to try out the siren look, but don’t feel confident to go for it! If you want to graduate into a real red, I rate the Kate collection for Rimmel, shade 001.

Ttfn x

Total pants.

I recently cleared out my underwear drawer. It was overflowing. Totally stuffed full. I know there are women out there that have, let’s say, seven ish matching sets of expensive, beautiful lingerie, that they lovingly hand wash in a specially selected, extra gentle crushed pearl and lily detergent.

I am not one of those women. In my travels through my drawers I saw things I don’t think people with eyes should see. Readers of a nervous disposition would be better looking away. Now.

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Dear, oh dear. I’m not making a parachute (and if I was it certainly wouldn’t be pink leopard print. Or would it be?) These stretchy size 20 (not the largest pants I own-see below) bad boys saw me through a few post natal Weeks. And for that, I’m truly thankful. But now, they need to get out of my sight.

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I’m not sure if this is socially acceptable, but I borrowed these pants from friends. I’m unsure of the circumstances. But then, I just never gave them back. That is not socially acceptable. Ever. Sorry, Shelley and Laura. I put them in the bin.

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I photographed these novelty pants in the only way they should be-upside down. Would it make you worry for my marriage less if I told you that my husband bought both pairs for me as gifts?

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These will never keep anyone warm. Also, if I wanted my buttocks on display when I took my trousers off, I just wouldn’t wear pants. Sheer pants are offensive. Again, if I wanted people to see what was under my pants when I took my breeks off, I WOULDN’T WEAR ANY. No one wears a thong anymore unless it’s for practical reasons. It’s not 1999.

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Ah, pants with a story. I had to put a pair of my usual (not tiny may I add) pants in order to give scale. My mother in law gave me these size 24 pants as a joke on my hen weekend in 2008. I’ve kept them. I’m not ruling out ever being a size 24.

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Do you remember when boy pants were all the rage? For god’s sake. I fear for the future of humanity at times.

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The only nice underwear in my selection. I’ve only worn it once, and I will never wear it again. ūüôā

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Photobombed.