Just thought I’d share. Sorry I’ve been a bit lax at blogging lately – the little one has rather taken up my time and so I haven’t had the chance to catch up on everyone’s blog posts. I hope you are all well!
I’m great, apart from the fact that my eyeball is currently overhanging its socket. I kid you not. Turns out my hayfever has gotten to peak levels this year, and as I’m breastfeeding I have been trying not to take daily medication (as it’s safe but can apparently impact milk supply and/or cross into the milk). So I’ve been rather suffering although it is early in the season but seems to be affecting everyone badly this year in the UK.
So: current position is that I’m feeding baby B whilst in a darkened room (it’s almost 1am and we tend to go to bed late – plus side is B doesn’t wake up early!) and feeling the uncomfortable sensation of my eyeball being swollen and overhanging my eye socket. Ugh. I’ve taken some cetirizine in desperation and I’m going to get some eye drops tomorrow. My doctor gave me a steroid nasal spray which apparently is fine for breastfeeding and I have a bunch of saline sprays too, so that covers the nose itching and sneezing, but gosh the itchy eyes and the overhanging eyeball are unpleasant!
Other than that we are great. I’ve not had much time for blogging lately but I guess that will change when I get back to work and have a commute during which I can type! I feel like right now I want to take advantage of being close to B.
I have a lot of feelings about going back to work, but that’s probably another post. Meanwhile I’ll leave you with an attractive vision of my red swollen eyeball, and a few pictures from our days out and about. Please tell me your news in the comments and I’ll have a read of your blogs!
I thought this was a really interesting account of post partum depression.
I don’t know if you know what I’ve been up to. I don’t know if I said it enough. My mouth that can fit my entire fist in it ( party trick life goals right there eh ?) has been working overtime telling anyone who dares to be my friend , sell me my copy of the National Enquirer, comes to my desk to stare at my acrylic nails colours of the week or who reads my political rants about what I’ve been up to for the last 18 months. Aside from attempting to lose 87 stone whilst eating considerably more than a gust of wind and a glass of air, weeping at the Brexit result , stamping my little heeled feet in horror that a orange pancaked make up face man with a multi colored hair piece , wandering knob and the inability to run his own Twitter account…
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(Not literally. Can you imagine? A massive friend pile up.)
Yesterday I braved the public transport system into town, as in The City, as in The City of London, as in The Square Mile… Yes, the business/financial district of London. As anyone who’s spent any time working in the City will tell you, navigating Bank station is a complete nightmare at most times (steps! crowds!) and even worse at rush hour, so it was quite a brave move.
A friend from my old job wanted to catch up, so I thought we could meet and I’d tack on another couple of friends as loads of people work around Bank. (It’s the heart of the business district in London. And extremely busy.) I decided I’d travel in after morning rush hour and take the sling, which worked fairly well. I got a seat on the tube and felt fairly pleased with myself, and B duly snoozed away.
I installed myself in a lunch place and people came to me. I always thought parents who did this were smug ****ers, but it turns out they were just being practical. Babies are portable, for sure. But their surrounding paraphernalia, less so. Also it turns out that the City is not set up for babies. Both the places we installed ourselves in yesterday didn’t even have bathrooms! (For the inevitable apoocalypse we went to Pizza Express and asked nicely to use the bathroom.)
First up was my best friend from my current work. She’s actually a client so doesn’t work for the same company, and she’s a PA. I find it weird that people don’t expect managers to be friends with PAs, as people have commented that it’s unusual. We just kind of clicked and she’s the only one I particularly miss from work. We aren’t alike at all – she’s a bit older and kind of broad speaking, speaks her own mind and doesn’t take things too seriously. Well, maybe we are!
We had a good catch up about work and non work over pizza and she held B and played with him. I was conscious how nice she was being – she also bought him a present before he was born – as she told me that many years ago she’d had a stillborn baby. She doesn’t have any kids now and she’s probably past the age to have kids. She said she’s resigned to not having kids. Anyway I felt it was bittersweet to see her with him as she was so nice and seemed happy about it. But I guess it must hurt in a way also.
Then randomly I realised there was a guy in the pizza place who was a friend of mine who I haven’t seen in years. So I went to check it was him and he was! We had a quick catch up (obviously we have seen each other on fb) and it turns out he lives really nearby. We worked out the last time we saw each other was at my wedding party. Yes – the one where I’m not married any more!
The third person was a friend from my previous job. (For those of you who followed my blog from the beginning, that one.) You may recall I went through some pretty bad stuff there. Dealing with operations, IVF and subsequent miscarriage with not an ounce of sympathy or understanding.
Anyway it turns out my friend (who is black) was also bullied and ended up resigning. Not without raising a grievance. (I didn’t bother. I just left.) They just couldn’t really deal with women of colour there. We realised there were at least four women who left in quick succession because of the bullying culture. Not nice to know it’s happened to more than one of us, but sort of reassuring that it wasn’t just me.
She ended up being on paid leave for months due to the stress of being bullied by them… Horrible stuff, but at least she was paid for that. As she put it, “They can pay for me to sit in the garden!” I kind of can’t believe that they still think it’s okay to discriminate against people who aren’t white men, but it’s that sort of company. Pretty prestigious but some rotten aspects. I’m so glad I left – my company now isn’t as prestigious but the people are nicer and I get paid more!
My final friend was a friend from my first job. We must have met when I was really young, and we’ve been friends ever since. She’s recently taken a job in London so took the time to pop out and meet us. It was great to see her as she lives outside of London so I don’t see her very often.
We talked about how it is to be a woman who doesn’t have children. She said she’s made her peace with it, and I was really glad because I knew she’d really wanted kids with her ex. With her new guy they have very active lives and he has his kids and didn’t want any more, so she has resigned herself to not having any.
I’m always amazed at the men who are against having kids and whose partners end up not having them. It just seems such a big thing to give up for someone – but I understand that there are plenty of women who don’t want kids. Which is fair enough. I just don’t like to think of women having to pick between their relationship and kids if they do want kids.
Anyway, it was a big catch up day. And in the usual fashion, I posted a pic on fb of each person who’d come to see B. My fb is fairly locked down and I only post to a subset of my friends so it isn’t that many people who usually see my statuses.
This morning I saw that an ex friend had “liked” the photos. She was someone who was friends with my ex and for all I know, still is. I “lost” her in the split as she sided with him and defriended me. (He blocked me on fb so I have no idea.) As I discussed in a previous post, I haven’t told him about B. The general consensus seemed to be that there was no point. We split a long time ago. He was upset and told me not to post stuff that might upset him (including pictures of my dog that our mutual friends had “liked”). So I’ve tried not to upset him.
So this morning I had a moment of panic. I realised because one of the friends who I’d met with was also friends with her, this ex friend could see the post. She could see that I’d had a baby. I wasn’t sure how to feel about that.
Anyway I went in and changed the settings on the post so only my friends could see it (not friends of tagged). I don’t know how I feel about her knowing. I guess “liking” it meant some sort of approval… but she defriended me in the split so I feel like she kind of lost the right to be looking at pictures of my kid. And it also made me think of privacy and whether I’m happy with friends of my friends seeing pictures with them in, holding my baby. I don’t know. There’s a balance.
It is a strange sort of feeling when friends and ex friends collide…
When we moved into our current place last year, I always said we would never move again. Moving is so horrific (apparently up there with divorce and having a child as the biggest stressors in life – though not sure how having a child is as stressful as divorce!) and I love our home. It’s just that it is really really small (“bijou”!) and is probably the least practical place you’d think of if you had a baby… the eight flights of stairs being one reason! But still. We’d never need to move.
Unless… the flat of our dreams came on the market.
In fact there are four flats technically that would fulfil our “dream flat” status. The reason being that they have outside space. We are in a large development with lots of flats and some town houses (completely unaffordable!) And our group of buildings is in a gated area within that. In that group of buildings there are four which have some outside terraces and we have always looked at them and dreamed about having a little terrace for Dog and B to play on.
Also the layout of our current flat is long and thin, meaning B will have to do most of his running around outside. (There is plenty of outside space in the development. Just not private space.) And the spare room is currently now a dressing room so B is rooming with us. Now that’s fine and we bought our flat knowing that, but obviously it would be the dream for him to have outside space and his own decent sized bedroom.
The flat of our dreams came on the market this morning. Eeeeeeeek. We have booked a viewing for Saturday. It already has one viewing before us on the Saturday – it’s the first day they’re doing viewings.
We could just about afford it, although it is quite a lot more than our current flat.
Part of me thinks WE NEED TO BUY THAT FLAT! And part of me thinks we have had way too much good luck lately. There’s no way we could have more good luck.
It’s probably a pipe dream, but one can dream…
We’ve been rubbing along just fine and we thought that Dog (formerly King of the Castle) was getting used to baby B (Prince of Screaming). Although Dog now gets less attention from me, I always try and give him special cuddle time, and T is probably spending more time with him as he is off on leave, so takes him for longer walks than if we were at work. So we thought we were doing okay in making him feel secure.
However we got home this evening to find that Dog had weed all over B’s cot… mainly in his Cosy Dream (the cheaper version of the Sleepyhead – a sleep nest) plus over his sheets and the assorted muslins that live there.
Into the wash they went! Fortunately I have tonnes of sheets for the cot, plus a waterproof mattress protector. But still I wasn’t impressed! Took Dog to show him and tell him not to go in the cot. It’s my fault really as I didn’t put the side up again. It’s a side sleeper and Dog sleeps on the bed during the day if we’re out. I always shoo him away from the cot though. The temptation must’ve been too great.
I guess they aren’t such friendly siblings after all… Agh.
Today we went for afternoon tea with B. It was arranged at our local nursery where B is signed up to go, which is also a children’s centre so does a lot of kid activities. It was within walking distance and cheap, so we thought we’d give it a go.
We had signed up to go with the grandparents – his paternal ones, as we are going to see mine on Sunday – but unfortunately they weren’t able to go as T’s dad unexpectedly landed in hospital the day before.
Fortunately they didn’t find any signs of anything although he had been taken in with a suspected stroke, and T had driven an almost 4hr round trip to see him the previous night and he’d been reassured he was in good hands. We had already paid in advance for the afternoon tea so thought we wouldn’t waste it.
Well, it was much nicer than I’d expected! Of course there were lots of children there but it wasn’t too hectic given the main event is tomorrow. Think we made a good choice to go on Saturday! They’d decorated the room really nicely with vintage crockery and so on. They had Alice and Wonderland on the projector (one of my favourite Disney films!) and a load of activities for the kids. Sadly B was still too young to take advantage of the chocolate fountain and cupcake decorating! The kids even had mini teapots of orange squash. It was all very cute.
So we had double servings of afternoon tea – luckily we were given boxes to take the excess away at the end, so we could have it for dinner! And two glasses of bubbly each which contributed favourably to the mood. B snoozed away in his buggy until he woke up near the end.
Then a guy came and started singing some classics. B woke up and T had him on his lap. They looked adorable because they were wearing matching tops! T has this jumper he wears all the time with stripes on, and we found a babygro that is in the same colours so they can be cute matchy matchy. (I am so cheesy and I make no apologies… I’m trying to find matching mum and baby outfits that we can wear, haha!)
The singer started singing “You’re just too good to be true” and I was waving B’s arms around pretending to dance with him.
And then he smiled – he’s been doing it on and off for the last week or so. We weren’t sure if it was random or not, wind or something, but it’s been getting more regular.
Then, after smiling a bit, he started laughing! His first laugh, looking at me dancing with him.
It was the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen.
I started crying a bit… and T started to feel emotional because I had tears in my eyes, and B was just there giggling whilst I was pretending to dance with him and sing “You’re just too good to be true”, and really that’s the best Mother’s Day gift ever.
Beauty and the Beast live action is finally out in the UK and we went to see it. Hurray! It is my favourite Disney film and I’ve seen the cartoon like a million times.
We went to baby cinema which is called The Big Scream. Once a week they show a baby friendly film and you can take your baby along and not worry if he/she cries. Now, we have unlimited cards for the local cinema and I’ve taken B twice to the local showings but T was keen to try it and I thought, Why not?
OMG. So in a way it’s good because you really don’t worry about your baby screaming. They all do. Usually quiet B did too! The last two films we went to see in our normal cinema, he slept through. (Lion and Hidden Figures.) This one he decided to get a bit annoyed and cry, even though he had boobs available and was being fed! Poor B – not sure he enjoyed Beauty and the Beast that much!
Would I go back? Personally I’m not in a rush. T says he would when he’s on his own with B. I’d rather just sit in a nice dark mostly empty cinema in a normal morning screening that hardly anyone goes to. (I also prefer complete darkness but they had the lights partially on for the babies.) I find other parents kind of annoying too! I was on the end of a row at the back and people kept standing next to me with screaming babies! I figure it’s easier to cope with one baby and take him out if he starts crying.
It’s not all bad though. You definitely do relax. And it’s good because you really don’t worry about anything – if your baby cries, it doesn’t matter. You can get up and rock them. You can feed them. You can do whatever. So it’s easy that way.
My long awaited viewing of Beauty and the Beast was… entertaining, but as expected, not a patch on the original. I thought that Emma Watson was well cast – I usually don’t like her particularly but she was suited to the role of Belle… She is very pretty and has the kind of innocent look about her. And for a peasant she sure does have a nice line in dresses.
It’s an all star cast. I thought it particularly amusing how Cogsworth (the clock) even looked like Sir Ian McKellen! The weirdest thing was The Beast. He’s the guy out of Legion, a series we are watching… It is really good but very odd and couldn’t be more different than Beauty and the Beast! I really couldn’t change my view of him as a mental patient, so that was a bit funny!
The biggest thing I missed was – minor spoiler alert for immense fans – skip to next paragraph – the song Beauty and the Beast (Tale As Old As Time). They did it, but for me (superfan) the best part is that song (as well as Be Our Guest and Something There) and it just didn’t have the same emotional resonance, especially where the camera pans up through the chandelier at “as the sun will rise”, which is the bit where I usually gasp and feel emotional.
In general, I think the entire film had too many fillers in the form of back stories and justifications, when really it’s based on a cartoon that works perfectly well without them. And that cartoon was a very good cartoon which was almost perfect so didn’t really need improving on. Also I may have been distracted by babies screaming!
After that excitement, we had to go for my favourite meal of the day… breakfast! I can eat breakfast at any time of day! I actually think maternity leave should be renamed breakfast leave…
This year, our rainbow baby is here.
Here in the UK, it’s Mother’s Day at the weekend. It will be my first Mother’s Day as a mother.
I still equate Mother’s Day with my mum, the only mother I’ve ever known (since I was adopted at a few days old). Every other year I’ve just been me – a person with no biological relatives. This year, I have my first biological relative in B. I have a child! I’m a mother. It still feels surreal.
I’m sort of amazed by motherhood, in that I never really saw myself as the maternal type. I knew I wanted a kid, but I expected this first part to be the tiresome and boring part – before the baby turns into a toddler who can express himself. But here’s the thing – B can express himself just fine! And there must be some sort of hormones, or biology, that makes you love your own child.
I’ve spent years primarily being defined by my work. After over a decade of infertility I never defined myself by the typical female traits. Instead I was always about achieving stuff in a mainly male world. I was the female of colour in a white guy’s world and I ploughed my own furrow.
And now I’m “one of the mums”. And to my surprise, I don’t hate it. I relish it. I find it all the more precious because I know I have less time than the others. Most women in the UK take a year off when they have a baby. More than a year because they accrue holiday when they’re on maternity leave. I could take a year – I’m entitled to it – but because I started my job pregnant, I am unpaid by my company for all the time I’m off. And I can’t really afford more than the four months I guesstimated we could do without my salary.
Mum life is fun. And it’s even easier because T is off at the same time as me. Although we realised that a lot of stuff is geared just towards mums and babies and not dads. On the one hand I think that’s unfair, but on the other – I’m only just seeing how there’s a biological imperative and it makes sense for the mother to be the primary caregiver.
I knew it intellectually but I never really knew it. B knows I am his mother. He looks for me, and he’s comforted pretty much only by me. He likes T, but after a while he will look for me. And I’m the only one who can feed him. That’s such a big thing I hadn’t really fully understood. I see with B that instinctively he searches for me and wants to be with me.
It’s weird to think that I was once his age and that even before I was the age he is now (just two months old!) I was taken from my first mother and given to a new one. Because I see now how B knows me, knows my smell, is comforted by me. Quite aside from looking like me. He knows me from being inside me for nine months. It’s a real big thing to think that happened to me at such a young age, a fraction of the age B is now. I wonder what that must have felt like to me as a baby.
The funny thing is, I have almost a deeper relationship with my parents now because of B. They want to see him every week. We bond over our shared love of him. They don’t love him any less than their biological grandchildren – they are super proud grandparents of all of them. And I feel like we’ve had deeper, more critical conversations lately, especially about adoption. The fact they’re able to do that and to listen to my musings without getting defensive has been really a bonding experience for us.
Having my own biological child has thrown up all these thoughts and feelings. I’ve had time to think and I’ve had time to bed into the idea of having a biological relative. It’s still so new and yet he feels like he’s always been here. It’s so huge in one way and so little, quotidian in another. In one way I feel like I’m still just me and in the other, I feel like everything has changed.
I’m still active on adoption groups and lately a lot of adoptees I know have found their birth parents and families. It makes me wonder about looking for mine. I’ve thought about it a lot. But also I’ve seen how it doesn’t seem to make them happy. It seems to make them sad a lot of the time and yet they feel compelled to search.
For me, I don’t feel compelled to search. I wonder if I should feel it and there’s something wrong with me that I don’t. I wonder if I found my birth family whether I’d recognise myself in them. I’ve seen pictures of adoptees and the family resemblance and I wonder about that. Maybe B is enough for me. I feel like my birth mother would be like me – accepting of life, not really looking back. Not expecting me to go back. I don’t want to drag up difficult feelings because I don’t want to ruin the happiness I have now. And I hope she’s happy and I don’t want to ruin that either.
T is also adopted and I wonder how much his experience has shaped mine. He found his birth mother a long time ago. They’ve only met a couple of times. It’s like they just needed to do it and then go back to their lives. Since B was born, we were supposed to see her and it seemed really difficult to arrange it. Lots of tangled communication. Then she cancelled.
I wonder if she’s cancelling on purpose because it’s too much or whether the excuse she said is true. I feel slightly defensive and miffed on his behalf and on B’s behalf because I don’t understand why someone’s biological mother and grandmother doesn’t seem to want to see them. Maybe it’s too much emotionally.
Part of me feels like she’s not entitled to see B because she’s not his “real” grandmother, as she hasn’t been an involved mother to T. But that’s just me being defensive for him. I guess I don’t understand why she doesn’t want to see this beautiful man she made. I think maybe a lot of adoptees have complex and angry feelings towards birth parents and we can’t know the circumstances.
I feel compassion towards mine but it’s easy because they’re abstract and not real right now. If they were in this country and easily accessible I would feel mad if they didn’t make the effort to see me. And I kind of think feelings like that are why I have never searched. I don’t want to go down a rabbit hole of hope and disappointment. I’m fine and happy with life as it is. I kind of can’t believe how it’s worked out lately, how I have these three amazing guys I live with (if you count the dog as a guy!) and why would I want to change that, to drag up difficult feelings? Maybe that makes me a wuss.
So those are the thoughts that have been at the back of my head. At the front of my head have been the happy thoughts. The “I can’t believe that title now belongs to me” thoughts. The thought of my first Mother’s Day. On Saturday we are seeing T’s parents. And on Sunday (Mother’s Day) we are going round to my parents’ house with B and having a double.
Mother’s Day still feels like it belongs to my mother, because I’ve had thirty-odd years of celebrating it as an honour for her. This year my dad is taking us all to a restaurant for lunch for my first Mother’s Day, so it’s about me too. And it’s about T’s mum, my mother in law, and her first grandchild. And it’s our time to think of our first mums who gave birth to us all those years ago. And I think of the mothers without babies too. The unacknowledged mothers. They matter too.
As a new mum, I know I’m not special – hundred and thousands of women do it every day. And yet this year I have joined that circle of life, of women who have given life, our ancestors and the women to come down the line. I imagine I’ve joined that lineup of women, a line I never thought I’d join – through not inconsiderable effort and medical intervention – and I feel significant and insignificant at the same time.
I am me. The child of two mothers, a shadow mother and an everyday mother. The partner of a wonderful, kind, funny man. The flatmate of a brilliant dog. The mother of baby B.
Life is good.
It’s been eight weeks since our little B was born and it feels like we are slowly settling into our own way of being a family. It’s a weird dichotomy… In one way, time is going by slowly and dreamily as the days merge into one another, unbroken by the routine of going to work and office life. In another, time is flying past at the speed of light. It seems like only yesterday B was a tiny newborn nestled on my chest and now he’s a big hulking boy – or at least it seems to me. 8 weeks! How life has changed, and yet it feels so natural it’s like he was always meant to come and slot into family life.
Of course we were a family before B. And I’m not so far out of infertility-land that I have forgotten that we were whole before then, that we had a great life and we were going to have a good Plan B. (Ironic that I call him B!) I am so happy this happened and still can’t quite believe our luck – I thank my lucky stars every day I wake up to see his sweet chubby little face.
One of the things I’ve been hugely conscious of is to make sure Dog still feels loved and cherished. After all, he’s my first baby. He definitely has less attention from me, but more from T, and we are keeping up his schedule of walks so hopefully it will all even out. I always make sure to give him special cuddles when B is off me, which isn’t very often but I hope he understands. Dogs are pretty amazing like that.
The big news is that T started his Shared Parental Leave. This is a process in the UK where the mother can give up some of her maternity leave and the father or other parent can take it instead. So we are both off work together for around three months. It’s pretty amazing and we are becoming a proper team. T has been great around the house as I am usually hooked up to a baby, being a milk machine. But we’ve gotten into a bit of a routine.
The first day T was off work we went out to a local village for a celebratory breakfast. I love breakfast. The most important meal of the day! Only I tend to have it in the afternoon! I had French toast with bacon and maple syrup and T had egg and bacon muffins. We went shopping with B and I got some more nursing tops because, well, I seem to spend my entire life nursing.
On that front, breastfeeding is going astoundingly well. I’m amazed because I figured it would be awful and was all prepared to give formula but it turns out if there’s one thing that comes naturally to me, it’s breastfeeding. I am massively grateful as I know a bunch of mums having difficulty and I know it makes for a lot of stress. B is piling on the pounds being exclusively breastfed – we joke it’s the only time in your life that people give you such praise for putting on weight!
I’ve been expressing off and on and banking some breast milk in the freezer. I went to a breastfeeding clinic to understand how to introduce it as I’ll be going back to work in a few months and it was kind of stressing me out. Turns out that I can produce a decent amount of milk per session which is a relief. Also apparently it’s easier to do it when you’re also feeding the baby so that’s what I’ve been doing. Then when I’m back at work I will have to pump a few times during the work day. I was worried about how often to do that etc but I think I’ve worked it out. I invested in a double pump at the baby show because I was worried about how I would do it within time constraints at work with a single. The things you don’t know about before they happen! It had never occurred to me to get a double pump.
We went to The Baby Show and it was so much more fun once you have a baby! I kind of thought it’d be more about the anticipation whilst pregnant but I really didn’t have a clue back then (hence the single pump I bought last time round). We got some little useful things for B like a little cup shaped like a whale to use to wash his hair. We had been using a ceramic coffee mug! We are those kind of haphazard parents! We also splashed out and got him a rocker which automatically rocks him. (The Joie Serina 2 in 1 arrows.) It’s amazing! He seems to quite like it!
Our days are kind of peaceful and kind of full. I’m sort of embarrassed to say that B has a fuller social life than I ever had! We tend to get up slowly – although he wakes during the night, we can usually lie in a while. I usually allow two hours to get up if we are going anywhere. T tends to take Dog out and I feed B. Then we get up and either see visitors or go out. My folks come by once a week and I see my small group of mums from NCT (antenatal class) maybe once a week. We go to Baby Sensory once a week too. And maybe go shopping a few times a week. It all adds up.
Plenty of food opportunities!
Pancake day we went to the local “bumps and babies” meet and I had huevos rancheros pancake. Omg! So good!
I’m really not bored in the least. What I found seems to help not to be bored or stir crazy is to make sure we go out every day. Even if it’s just to the local shop to get something for dinner or to Starbucks for a hot chocolate. But usually I don’t have to resort to trying to fill time because of appointments and social engagements and all. Of course it can get a bit tiring if he’s going through a crying spell but I tell myself it’s probably a growth spurt and it won’t last forever. On the whole he is a pretty easy baby who can usually be calmed by a cuddle or milk. Or a good burp! Takes after his father!
Everyone seems so happy for us! It’s really nice. We’ve had various visitors wanting to come and see him so I’ve frequented the local coffee shop a lot. They know me as the girl who has two hot chocolates with all the trimmings! (Whipped cream and marshmallows!) They also do a fine line in bacon baps! (Bacon rolls.) My parents treat me to breakfast every time they come round so it really could be worse! Our flat is really a bit on the small side for entertaining and it’s good to get out.
The funny thing is that I feel like I have lost a fair amount of baby weight. I’ve been congratulated on this by various people but I really haven’t tried to lose it. As you can see by the multiple hot chocolates with whipped cream and marshmallows! I think breastfeeding just makes me super greedy. I still have weight to lose but I refuse to stress about it. My boobs are out of control as I’m breastfeeding and my stomach is a bit of a disaster zone post c section so I think there will be some gym work required in the long run. Right now I’m doing a decent amount of walking and babywearing which possibly helps.
Another weird side effect post pregnancy is I got a weird sense of vertigo(?) for a while. It meant that when the washing machine was on spin and the floor would shake a bit that I would feel really queasy and anxious like the floor might give way. We are right at the top of the building. I started worrying the floor could collapse which was super irrational. It was so odd. I’ve never had vertigo before but I assume that’s what it is.
I also got worried about Dog being trapped in the house in case of fire and so I ordered these emergency pet cards / key rings which tell people in case you have an accident that there’s a pet at home who needs looking after. I don’t know if those anxieties were post partum effects. Generally I’m not an anxious person (I know, my pregnancy probably notwithstanding!) so it was really weird. But it’s sort of passed / calmed down over the past few weeks.
I do think I think of bad things that might happen to people I love more than I did before I was pregnant. But they’re not out of control anxieties or anything and I don’t dwell on them – I’ve just noticed I feel differently and maybe it’s a side effect of pregnancy/birth. For example I feel really terrible if I ever hear of bad things happening to kids, particularly little boys. I think someone said that having a child is like having your heart placed outside your body. It does feel like I’ve turned into a pile of mush!
Anyway I think the reason I don’t stress so much about the body image thing is that my body had never worked properly before. And now I have B and I can’t quite believe it. So I refuse to feel sad or worried about the body that gave me my child. Even if it’s a bit of a wreck right now! I had such body image issues before pregnancy and now I’m heavier than I’ve ever been and I just don’t care – this body is the one that’s feeding my child. It seems sort of miraculous. There is plenty of time later to slim down!
Sometimes I feel too happy when everyone else I know with a baby seems to find it hard or tedious. I guess maybe because they didn’t struggle to get pregnant. (Also luck on the breastfeeding front.) I keep wondering about post partum depression and whether I could see the signs if I had it. Thankfully doesn’t seem to be any sign of it right now.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows of course! T and I have discussed a lot about feelings. I’ve definitely been more grouchy and snappy at him, which isn’t ideal. He’s taking it in good grace. We definitely have had small arguments more than usual but we make them up pretty quickly. I think the thing is that regardless of your feelings on gender roles, there are limitations to breaking out of it – I’m the feeder which leaves me very little time to do anything else. And B isn’t dependent on T in the same way, which can lead to tensions. Either way, we are coping okay and making our feelings known! I think post partum hormones are definitely playing havoc!
I’ve barely thought about work. Which is nice but also weird when it defined me for so long. I mildly hate myself for saying this but I can see why mothers get consumed with being mothers and stop caring about the other stuff. I can see now why you usually get a year off for maternity leave (in the UK). I seem to have slipped into this new identity and put the old one on the shelf and I don’t even feel tempted to pick it up before time.
I had to reconnect this week as there’s a consultation at work. Hopefully my job is not in danger but I had to have a call with my boss and HR even though I’m on maternity leave because the role I do is changing. (The overall role not my job specifically.) It was actually fun to speak with them and reminded me I really like my boss and my job. So at least didn’t make me feel bad about having something to go back to. My boss was really nice and said take all the time you need… I can’t afford to stay off unpaid though! I am getting the maternity allowance from the government but it is a lot less than my salary and just about covers my Starbucks habit! But at least aside from the hassle of pumping and the cost of nursery it will hopefully be nice when I go back.
In a way, being off work actually gives me more time to spend connecting with friends. A really nice thing happened a few days ago. I got an email from a very old childhood friend who I haven’t been in touch with for years. She now lives in America. It was so nice to hear from her! I’d gotten in touch with her years ago via her brother on LinkedIn and we had spoken via email really briefly but didn’t keep it up.
She said she’d been thinking of me a lot lately because her kids remind her of us (my siblings and me) so that was really sweet. It’s funny as I always thought of her and would periodically search for her on Facebook, but she’s not on Facebook. It was so nice to reconnect and see photos of her and her family – she’s in an interracial relationship as well (married to a white guy) so it just felt nice to see that we have something in common – and be able to send my own family photos.
I’ve also spent longer talking on the phone to people who don’t live locally like my best friend who lives overseas. Or my friend from uni in the US who called me the other night. It’s cool to be able to catch up! I think when I’m at work I never take the time to speak on the phone with people very much any more. It’s nice to connect. My folks want to FaceTime with B all the time!
Our so called “splinter group” (a few of us from the NCT – antenatal class, not everyone) meet up once a week and also talk a fair amount on whatsapp. It’s good to have others who are sharing the experience especially when you have a question along the lines of, “Is this weird?”
We have joked amongst ourselves that there really should be some book or app that tells you all the stuff they never tell you about having a baby. It’s kind of nuts. Like did you know their skin peels off around day 10? (The depickling!) Is it normal for them to be cross eyed? Bow legged? Etc. Humans really are a bit strange!
My sister is still pregnant! I gave her a load of my maternity clothes as she’s getting to that point of showing. We are all treading a fine line with her right now. She’s very highly strung and if you add in pregnancy after loss, it’s kind of a grenade waiting to go off! (She makes me look positively chilled and I was really stressed during pregnancy, worried about loss.)
I’m hoping now she’s coming up to halfway that she will start to relax and accept it a bit more as that’s how it was for me. I have a huge stockpile of gifts for her baby! Did I mention she’s having a girl? It means I get to shop for cute girly things too! (I’ve done a run on Mini Boden and Little White Company!) I just feel so relieved for her.
On Saturday we have a big reunion of the NCT group – including the dads – so instead of being pregnant we will all have babies. The final baby was born about a week ago. She was the one who wanted a home birth but ended up in hospital and is having some post partum problems, poor thing. I guess if we’ve learned anything from this whole thing it’s that nothing goes according to plan. But… It’s all worth it once they are here.
I organised a baby first aid course for before the reunion. (I’ve somehow turned into the organiser of the group. I guess I need to get my kicks somewhere!) It turns out everyone wanted to do it so we can get a private class just for our group. I figured it’s worth finding out especially given the situation that happened with my mother in law at my baby shower! I had that weird reaction when I was pregnant and cried when I thought about having to give B CPR! Assuming this won’t happen again!
For the reunion I have a plan to make some cupcakes. I was going to do something more ambitious but realised that was a bit nuts to try and do if you have a baby. So I’m just going to go with swirls but I got some toppers printed with photos of each baby on, so hopefully they’ll go down well. It’s funny seeing the photos of all the babies when they were first born. B is almost two months old and much bigger! I wonder how the parents will feel eating a pic of their baby?!
The final thing for this week is that the wrap I ordered arrived. I completely love it! I started using it the day it arrived and it was awesome. I thought it might be really difficult to tie but it was fine and I managed it first time! It obviously takes longer than a sling that you can just plonk them into, but the fit is much better and it spreads the weight across both shoulders which helps as B is a little chubber!
First attempt bathroom mirror selfie!
It means we can do more of the attachment parenting type stuff (whatever that is… I interpret it to mean he’s always attached which he pretty much is) plus on a purely shallow note I love the pattern – stars. B now has a whole selection of stuff with stars on and most of his clothes are stripey so I guess that covers our Americophile predilections! (Although we will be steering clear of Trump land for a bit!)
Stuff with stars on has become our unofficial motif. Aside from the wrap (and the sling before then) he has clothes with stars on and I managed to get a good deal at the baby show on a blanket I had been wanting for ages from MORI which is covered in stars. It will be fab for sitting out on the grass in summer. (Hit me up if you are in the UK and want a referral code for £10 off!) And I got a lovely light scarf that I can use as a nursing cover if I need to, from The White Company. I think it just cheers me up to have all this starry stuff!
And it reminds me of the cake I made when recovering from the loss of our first baby… Starry Night (*Dr Who edition). The sadness I had whilst making this cake in direct contrast to the happiness I feel now when I think of how things worked out since. What a difference a year makes.
We already tell B he was 4.5 years in the making. (And that’s just my current relationship not counting the 10+ years of fertility problems before then.) Out of 19 eggs retrieved and around 11 fertilised over two cycles, he was the only one who made it. He’s amazing. A miracle.
He is my little star!
I’ve been a mother for almost seven weeks and I don’t know where the time has gone. I think I’m still in the phase where I can’t quite believe that it’s happened, but it has. Our lives have changed irrevocably and I’m still in a state of disbelief that finally it has happened for us.
Here’s the thing: Every drop of this life is precious. I never thought this day would come so I didn’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about it other than in the abstract. But here I am, living it. I’m snatching time to write this blog when it’s past 1am and B is snoozing in his side sleeper cot next to me. And on the other side, T and Dog are snoring away. I couldn’t be happier.
I only get four months off before I go back to work and I can already see it slipping away and I kind of want to stay in this bubble forever. A secret: Everything is so much easier than I’d been led to believe. I’m not sleep deprived. I don’t feel exhausted. Breastfeeding is relatively easy. Weight seems to be coming off.
The way people talk about new motherhood and being a parent is that it’s a massive drag. I had super low expectations. I kind of thought it was a means to an end before the real fun started (when the kid could walk and talk) but I’ve been blown away by how much I enjoy it.
I absolutely didn’t think I’d be a natural mother. And yet if I didn’t have a decent job that pays the bills, I’d be tempted to jack it all in and spend every waking moment being B’s mum. I wonder if I have a massive dose of hormones or something making me go all doolally. What happened to the stone cold hearted me? I’m not sure. I’m kind of mushy nowadays.
I love him being here. My only biological relative. He looks like me. My genes. I’ve never had that before. Being adopted, never knowing a relative who looks like me – it’s a huge thing. Life changing.
I think it’s been easier for me to adjust partly because breastfeeding has been pretty smooth. Of course there are some teething problems (not literally!) but on the whole it came naturally to us and B has put on loads of weight! He was 5.44kg a few days ago, up from his birth weight almost seven weeks ago of 3.61kg.
My friends from NCT have all had problems breastfeeding so I’ve been really lucky. Although they all had easy births so they joke I was due something easy! All but one of the babies has been born although we think the last one has just been born but not announced. B was the second biggest at birth. The only caesarean! It means he has a nice unsquashed head! Also the only boy so lots of girlfriends to choose from! (I’ve told him it’s perfectly fine to have a boyfriend!)
I don’t feel smug. Maybe it is because we wanted him so much. I don’t take any of it for granted. To be frank, I really doubted I’d even be able to breastfeed so it surprised me it came so naturally. And gradually other “hippy dippy” stuff has snuck in. I’m totally not the mother I expected! I can’t let him cry and I carry him around a lot. My Earth mother friend (you know who you are, haha) finds this hilarious, I think. I keep messaging her one more concession to earth-motherdom so I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before I become a full blown hippy!
We kind of have a focus group because of NCT, our antenatal class, where all babies have been born within a few weeks of each other. It’s been really interesting especially as one of them who I’ve mentioned before is really negative. I sort of feel like it is my job to perk them up a bit! (Not her though. She’s beyond redemption. She whines about everything.)
It’s interesting because I feel like our experiences are similar but how we experience it is different. Like if you look at it, I actually had the most traumatic birth. I also got an infected c section scar and B ended up in hospital with bronchiolitis. So really we’ve probably had more than the others to deal with but we do seem to be the most happy.
I think I just expected it would be really hard and it’s much less hard than I expected, so I feel kind of giddy rather than depressed. Like the sleep isn’t that bad if you don’t have to get up and go to work! And I’m used to interrupted sleep because Dog sleeps in the bed and regularly shuffles about! And although I do get tired feeding during the night, I think of it as a phase that will pass.
I just don’t resent it at all. I feel hugely lucky to be able to be doing this. I just never thought I would get the opportunity and I love it. And the hard part won’t last forever. The others have talked about how they’ve been crying and stuff and I haven’t done that at all, not through stress or exhaustion. Only slightly teary eyes through a bit of happy emotion!
The other funny thing: Other people’s babies leave me kind of cold. I have met some great friends through NCT. Out of the seven couples in our group, I’m good friends with two of them and we recently added a third to our “splinter group” (after a gruelling audition process, haha). I get on great with them but I definitely have that thing where I love my baby but I am not gaga for other people’s. I like them but I don’t go mad for them like others do. I guess the baby madness only extends to my own! But it’s great to have some friends in the same position. We meet up once or twice a week. B actually has a better social life than I do!
And I’ve done things I didn’t think I’d do. One of my friends persuaded me to try Baby Sensory classes. It’s so odd and I laugh to myself thinking of what my team would say if they could see me singing “Say Hello To The Sun” (with actions). I didn’t think I’d be mad on breastfeeding but I am. I feel like I want to do it for a year if I can. I’m going to have to pump when I go back at four months. I want to do that for him. And I wear him in a sling a lot of the time. I really didn’t see myself doing that but it just makes sense. I’ve even ordered a wrap to try! I’ve gone full on Earth mother! I’ll probably be puréeing his food later!
So yeah. I’m in a baby haze. I’m not bored. I don’t resent him. I don’t dislike this phase at all. I’m loving it.
We reached the six weeks milestone which T was avidly waiting for! We had to mark it in the way of resuming (extra)marital relations! It was kind of comical and kind of reassuring it all still works. On the plus side, an emergency c section means my pelvic floor seems fine! Don’t think my stomach will ever be the same though! The weight has dropped off but I still have a saggy stretch marked pouch. I suppose the caesarean does that. I thought I would really upset about it but I’m not letting it bother me now. That saggy stripey pouch gave me my baby!
They keep asking in hospital and appointments about contraception. We discussed it and I said I wasn’t worried as it never happened for 16 years. T said, “I didn’t realise we were having another baby!” Truthfully I would see it as a miracle but I really don’t yearn for another child. I am over the moon at this one. And there is no way I would put myself through the mental and physical pain again, if we were actively to try. I think we are just going with “What happens, happens” approach! So B will be an only child then!
So B is here and I think of him as perfect. I wonder what he will be like as he gets older. He’s outgrown two, almost three sizes of clothes. I realised that the sizes on clothes don’t correspond to ages at all! He’s in 0-3 months now at 1.5 and I can’t see him getting much more wear out of them!
The grandparents are super proud. Both sets are loving it. My folks come round once a week roughly and they just want to hold him and grin. It’s been great though. A very bonding experience for us. I’ve found myself talking to them about adoption a lot. That’s probably a whole other post. I can’t believe B is now older than I was when I went to live with my parents. He’s still so tiny and he still needs me so much and he will only settle being with me. I think of the few days old me and wonder how that must have felt to me. My parents are actually really great about talking about this stuff. I think they realise in a way that having B has given me a lot of peace.
My sister is still pregnant! I’m so glad. I was dreading how it would pan out if it went wrong but they are approaching the halfway mark. And she’s having a girl! Which means I get to buy girl stuff for her kid so I don’t miss out on girly things. Truth be told I love having a boy. Although I’m sure in future I’ll be able to take my niece to do the girly things! Spa days and afternoon teas hopefully. Although no reason why B wouldn’t like those things!
My brother has been having a really difficult time. The other siblings and my parents and I have tried to help but he is at the point where he refuses any help. My folks are so upset. I think partly it is pride as he wants to provide for his family himself. Also I’ve said on here before, I always called him The Golden Child as he had a charmed life. He’s in his thirties and this is the only bad thing that has ever happened to him. But it’s really bad.
I feel bad for ever feeling jealous of him because I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. (His child has a serious health problem.) We are all trying to help but I don’t know what we can do when he keeps refusing. (Including financial help.) We are just all hoping that they can get help and that things aren’t as bad as we are fearing as right now everything is unknown. It is really sobering as I know that this time last year I was feeling terrible that our previous baby’s due date fell around his baby’s christening. So much has changed in a year.
My other friend is still going through chemo but the good news is that the tumour has shrunk! I’m really hoping this is it for her. She’s had a tough time dealing with chemo as she’s been really ill. I’m very aware that we’ve had this huge exciting wonderful thing happen in our lives but others are dealing with some horrible stuff. We are just trying to be there for her.
So that’s a bit of an update typed on iPhone in the middle of the night. People ask what I do all day and I reply, we are so busy but I’m not sure what we are actually doing. Being a family. We were three and now four. Dog is being a big brother. We have new roles. I’m learning how to be a Mama.
In the blink of an eye more weeks will have passed. I already can’t remember what it felt like to be pregnant… I know I had years and years of pain before then but it feels like that is healing. Just as the scar from my caesarean is healing, so is the pain of infertility, the pain of thinking I could never have this, and the pain of losing our first baby. I can still remember it but it’s not such a deep stabbing pain any more. And the other pains I’ve experienced in my life… the sadnesses… They all pale in comparison to the love and happiness I’m feeling now.