About Me

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I am a new mummy to my baby boy, referred to in this blog as H, I absolutely adore being a mum and love him more than anything, but I underestimated how hard & challenging motherhood would be. Hence my writing this blog, so we can share experiences, good days & bad days. As I work in a pregnancy Clinic, I know a fare bit about women's health too. *however this is not a medical blog, purely my own personal opinion*

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

The maternity "MEternity" debate!

The "me" ternity debate!
I've Been a full time city career girl, born & bred in London living the highlife, several holidays a year, nice girls. I was reaping the rewards of working hard & playing hard. And why not, I earn a decent wage, worked incredibly hard & could be as selfish as I liked as I wasn't responsible for anyone else's welfare, safety, health, wellbeing, happiness!
I'd been with my childhood sweetheart from sweet 16! We married after a decade in a quaint hotel in Tipperary, as his grandparents were Irish. We start 'Trying' for a baby, the same year we wed. It actually took eighteen months to fall pregnant. From the day I find out, someone else's needs were above my own. I immediately gave up smoking, drinking obviously, and started taking more care of myself. I started swimming, yoga, and took my daily vitamins, I drank home made fruit smoothies. I resisted hot baths which are not good for bump & I slept on my left side (apparently the blood flows better to the placenta). I enjoyed my pregnancy, which was mostly uneventful, apart from chronic heartburn & swelling like a hippo! I may have been slightly irrational, working in a private maternity clinic, you see & learn all sorts, and so I wasn't taking any risks.
My 4 month old baby cousin passed away from cot death, during my pregnancy and I attended the funeral. It was the most heartbreaking time of my life.
Towards the end of my pregnancy, I was huge and sure that is have him early as I'd dropped. I left work at 36 weeks, it was coming up to Christmas and there was lots to do. I wrote an itinerary about what is do when baby arrived, from waking at 7am, taking the dogs for a walk, everyone (mostly those who were already mums) just laughed, I was embarrassed and got defensive, if I could manage staff & a clinic, surely I could manage a tiny baby and slot him into my life.
Well he arrived nearly two weeks late, I'm not going to scare those who haven't experienced labour and I'm sure you are all aware it isn't a walk in the park. So I'll gloss over this part, other than to say it was the hardest, most painful & scary thing I've ever down, but you certainly feel empowered & the amount of love you have for newborn outweighs it all, hence the population continue to procreate.
But now for the fun part! Baby is here! Maternity leave begins! And that's why I'm arguing a novel that it's all about 'me'! As I mentioned previously, from the day you see those 2 lines on a wee stick, it's no longer about you. The tiredness is unreal, and unfortunately I wasn't blessed with a baby who slept through early, nope three years later and he still wakes in the night! I never knew it possible to survive on so little sleep, and survive I did I returned to work when his was 6 months, only part time, and believe me working is easier than being mum at home.
Little H developed colic and reflux. And would scream from teatime to midnight!!
You don't realise what a strain a newborn puts on your relationship. There were times when I hated my husband. I appreciate he was working hard. After all this was my choice to have a baby. I don't have a single regrets, and the miracle becoming a mother is the best thing in the world, the unconditional love you have, but it is the toughest, hardest, most challenging thing to do. To raise another human being, is not about me at all, it's all about them. So much so, that we actually up sticks and moves from our little London pad to a country home, when he was 14 months u gave up my well paid job in Chelsea and worked locally. My life has taken a whole 360, and none of its been about me.
I didn't realise all the things I'd taken for granted pre baby. The smallest things like soaking in the bath, going out freely and just the amount of time I had (and sleep, let's not forget)!
Before baby, I went to the dentist so often to get my teeth cleaned they told me to stop! Now I'm 3 years I've been once! My hair is grey, I have stretch marks, my feet actually went up a size, my wedding ring still doesn't fit my swollen sausage fingers, I won't even mention my nether regions being the same again, I have the muffin top tummy overhand, my pert boobs now sag, my eyebrows need waxing, and my face has aged! I don't get time to exercise. On my things to do list, is dentist, hairdressers, opticians, and that's just a few. Wow, I know there are women who look fantastic as a mum, yummy mummies, but I seriously don't know how they have the time, energy, money or motivation to look so good. I know I actually need to look after myself more but it's difficult.
And I haven't even started on the guilt, for everything you do, and how judged and labelled you are as a mum. Everyone wants to tell you their advice & opinions. You look on Instagram and Facebook, and mums looks glam and slim, with perfect children and nice houses, and baking and crafting. And you look to your toddler flicking through YouTube on the iPad and feel immense guilt! (Don't get me wrong, again justifying myself here, we do have nice things and its occasional iPad use!) - see how I had to justify that!! Then there's the guilt about work, working full time and you miss so many Precious moments with your tot, some don't have a choice, childcare costs a fortune, you need a roof over your head & to pay bills, some return to work through choice, like me at 6 months I needed my independence, I needed to use my brain, I wanted my own money, I wanted to be someone other than mum. Working part time, you have the same guilt as full time workers, you miss out on promotions, your career is on hold, you feel guilty when they're unwell and you have to go to work, you feel guilty when you're home and not at work! I used to think my part time mummy coworkers were lucky to have several days 'off' haha!
Then there's the stay at home mums, which I haven't been myself, but pre-baby I envisages either lazy mums watching tv all day or yummy mummies going on play dates & basking in the sun! I know it is not like that at all, as I do spend 4 days a week at home! The days are long, there's never ending housework, and feeding, and playing, and never getting a break, and your child in the loo when you go, and sometimes you don't see or speak to another adult (other than the postman - who you actually open the door to and greet!) until your other half gets home from work, if your lucky even to have one. Bed they dreaded bedtime hour, when everyone's been hungry and getting tired.
Then we, mums, are unwell. There is No one to look after us, we just muster on, probably even having to go into work & spread my germs as I've taken all my sick leave when child was unwell.
And then there's the money, ok so here in the UK we are fortunate to receive the statutory maternity pay ( as opposed to the states who I believe don't get anything, but then they don't pay tax, anyway that's a different topic!) of approx £500 a month, but that is a farcry from my salary which was 5 times more! Also it stops after 8 months! Hence, another reason I went back to work
I'm not looking for sympathy, or a pity party, or a medal, or being a martyr, we chose to be parents. I just simply wanted to explain the misunderstanding of what maternity leave is. I probably could've wrote a similar book probably, as I had misconceptions and didn't understand the reality of being a mum. It was a shock to me! I don't regret it, I wouldn't change, I love my child with my whole heart & am so proud of him, the happiness his given all my family, but it is bloody hard work!
I have friends and family, who either have chosen not to have children for their own reasons, and they are hardworking & I know how tough a career can be, and you deserve a break or a holiday you really do, and if you need more time to find yourself then take a career break or sabbatical. I have friends who have miscarried or been through rounds of Ivf unsuccessfully, and having worked in a women's health clinic, I know the are masses of women who would to experience maternity leave, but with a baby.
So let's not compare maternity leave (with a baby) to taking a MEternity break. Id quite frankly love some me time too, but that didnt come with having a baby/toddler/child.

And finally, there's also the not knowing what life will ever throw at you! This is a different story altogether, but my sweet son met all his milestones, he was sitting and crawling and cruising. At eighteen months old he still wasn't walking, I thought he might be a lazy boy taking his time, but deep down I had a gut feeling something else could be wrong. We took him to the doctor who referred us to paediatrician and a whole batch of tests, he has hypotonia (low muscle tone), hyper-mobility (very flexible like double jointness), speech delay, strabismus (eyes turn in), And 2 small holes in his heart. After two general anaesthetics (being put to sleep) for an MRI brain scan and lumbar puncture (drawing fluid from the spinal cord), blood tests and chromosome dna tests, 10 specialisms looking after him, and two years later, and he is 3.5 years old, we still do not have an underlying diagnosis of what caused my sons global development delay. He is making progress and on the right track which is great, he is speedy with his Kaye walker, and can take some wobbly steps on his own. But not having a diagnosis, prognosis, endless hospital appointments, Physio sessions, speech therapy, is tough and not what you had planned for your future offspring
But it has made me look at life differently, I'm amazed of my sons humour, kindness, love, strength, bravery & courage. Everything he does takes more effort & concentration, just putting one foot in front of another, or communicating and expressing himself is challenging. It's all taught me, how much life can change, not for the better or worse, not taking things for granted, not comparing or judging eachother, as we don't know each others circumstances.

So let's all give eachother a break!!!

Finally, if you are a career working women and need time off, take a break. Just don't compare it to maternity leave!

Sunday, 25 January 2015

I'm back!

Firstly I probably should reintroduce myself. It's been a long time, but lot has happened. I'm New Mama, Claire. I'm 31 and have a now 2 year old son! (Wow time flies), referred to as little Roo. 
I've previously blogged about my pregnancy, labour, the first 3 months he had colic and reflux, and his first milestones such as teething, sitting, rolling and crawling. At 6 months we moved from London, where I was born and bred and lived my first 30 years! To the lovely kent countryside, best move we ever made. I went back to work, commuting to London, a week after moving when Roo was 7 months. It was pretty tough. Along with the sleepless nights and the job was very pressurised. I decided to look for more local jobs in kent. Although I took a huge paycut, I found a good job locally. This gave me a much better lifestyle balance, less stress. Roo was 14 months and I decided to put him in nursery near my new job. He'd previously been looked after my mum, mother in law & aunt. So it was tough and he cried ALOT! As with most children, his immunity was to build up and he had several months of coughs, colds, conjunctivitis, tonsillitis etc. I had noticed from age 1,that Roo wasn't hitting his milestones as before, and put it down to where he'd been unwell. It doesnt bother me if he is a little slower than others and we shouldn't compare, but my main concern is if there is an underlying issue causing these delays. His balance became wobbly, it's not that he'd shake, but almost wobble and he began falling over a lot when crawling, he'd been crawling since 8 months, so now nearing 18 months I thought it was odd. We took him to the gp, for conjunctivitis, and she checked him over. On listening to his chest she found a heart murmur. I thought it strange that it'd never been noticed before. He had a heart scan Echo and it revealed two small holes in his heart, which should have closed immediately after birth by themselves, but they never. They were tiny and shouldn't cause problems so just need a yearly checkup. The doctor was concerned he wasn't walking at 18 months and referred him for further review. And so here we are aged 2. In the last six months, he had had tests for all sorts, from muscular dystrophy, chromosome abnormalities and metabolic diseases. Thankfully everything has come back normal so far. But yet he still can't walk or stand alone, he can cruise and has just started to use a Zimmer frame type walker. He has hypermobility & hypotonia, low muscle tone, for which his having physio. He now has global development delay and will need speech therapy. He also has a squint in his eye, sometimes his eyes turn in. This week he will have the last diagnostic test to see if there actually is any cause for all of this, it's an MRI brain scan. We've waited months for this and now the week is finally here. I'm a little nervous, my baby has to have under general anaesthetic, with the holes in his heart it isn't as straight forward and seeing him put to sleep will be heartbreaking. I know it is for the best, but I'm also a little worried what the results will show. It's the not knowing that's hardest. Should "something" show up then we will deal with it. And i hope it comes back all clear, but then there will be no more tests and we won't know if there is any cause for his delays, squint & holes. So I try to be courageous, but I am a worrier. Luckily my husband is the ying to my yang and balances me out with his positivity. So the last few years really have been a roller coaster, having a baby, moving county, changing careers and endless hospital appointments! Here's hoping 2015 brings all we wish for. 
I adore my son, his beautiful, kind, funny & clever and I love being his mama. But honestly life has its challenges and sometimes it's hard. I always think it could be worse and I know there are others in the world going through a much tougher time. 
Hence reinstating my blog, I don't know if anyone will read it, but for me it's good to get my feelings out, vent, share proud moments and hopefully others may share their own experiences too. 
I will be blogging more about hypermobility too, and I'm sure the terrible twos and other stuff, But for now tata for now (TTFN) x

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Breast feeding bribes

So in the news today the government has decided if women breastfeed they will be rewarded with vouchers.
I am all for breast feeding, breast is best after all. But it is not for everyone, for whatever reason, if you choose not to that doesn't make you a bad mum.  We shouldn't be bribed or rewarded one way or another for or not bread feeding.
For the mums that may not have considered breast feeding before,just because they will now get vouchers, will this make the do it? Surely it's about  ore education is needed I the benefits of breastfeeding.
What about the mums who intend to breastfeed, but can't for health issues, how bad will they feel.
How can we proof these mums have breast-fed. And surely the vouchers are coming out of the taxpayers money

Again. I feel it should be personal choice, either you choose to breastfeed or you don't. No voucher or incentives should be used.

Parenting styles

Firstly let me apologise for not blogging, I've been tweeting!
So on #thismorning there was a debate between peaches geldof and Katie Hopkins.
#attachmentparenting being the topic of choice.
When I was pregnant, I read Gina ford, I was super organised and felt my baby would slot into my routine. I was materialistic. I thought I was prepared for motherhood how wrong was I!?
When baby h arrived my world and my views changed! I didn't plan so much!I had a loose routine! I fed on demand. I coslept (still do). There any many controversial aspects to this, one being sids my baby cousin died of SIDS at 4 months old whilst I was pregnant. I did much reading and research on SIDS. Although it is not advised, I felt my baby was most protected next to me, where I consciously knew he was there, I could feel his breathing and temperature. I baby wore in a sling,  I like closeness and affection. I tried to breast feed for 5 days but couldn't manager after this. I like to be responsive to be my babies needs. I don't like seeing him cry. I tried several methods, one being the cry it out routine, and it didn't work for me.
Therefore my parenting style, doesn't make me one or another, we shouldn't be pigeonholed into a category. In the early days I was easily swayed and listened to other peoples opinions too much, 19 months later I feel confident in my decisions and instincts.  We all want what is best for our child, regardless of religion, social standing, education, finances. We should do what we want to do to bring our a babies up to be well grounded, confident, loved, happy and healthy beings.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Reminiscing on my maternity leave

I officially returned to work this week after maternity leave. My little H is almost 9 months now. It got me feeling nostalgic and reminiscing on our time. His been here for almost as long as I was pregnant, it has flown by, but as the same time it feels like his been here forever and I couldn't imagine life without him. 
H was quite big when he was born, 9lb 2oz, and it didn't seem like he was a tiny newborn for long. 
The first few weeks were hard, the 2 hourly night-feeds, nappy changing cycle. It was quite different from the Gina Ford plan i devised whilst pregnant. When i told family & friends of our daily plan they laughed. It frustrated, as im such an organised person, if course it would work. But actually when H arrived, it was all on-demand, and still is!
I was recovering from labour and H developed colic & reflux. 
But it went by so so fast. H was growing & developing perfectly. We would cuddle & play together. 
We were very active and did alot, lots of play dates, library play groups, ball pits, parks, walks, feeding the ducks, picnics, seaside trips, a visit to Buckingham palace & the shard. I believe that nurture develops the mind 
He had his first food at 5 months and sat up. 
At 6 months he said mum. 
We moved house at 7 months, he started crawling & got 3 bottom teeth. 
And now here we are at 8 months. I wouldn't change a single moment. I love him so much. I can't believe he will be 1 in 3 months. He is a happy, sociable, playful little soul and I'm so proud to be his mummy. 
Now I'm back to work 3 days a week, I miss him but I feel safe in the knowledge he is cared for by family. I can get on and focus at work, and earn my money to give H the best. That's why I work.