Tagged: motherhood

Just the two of us…

On Wednesday, B’s nursery was closed for an inset day and T had to go back to work, so I took the day off and we had a little one on one time.

We went to the Museum of London Docklands where he had a great time wandering around the exhibits, and playing in the children’s area. It’s amazing to find out about the city we live in, and it’s all free!

The children’s area is fantastic with lots of interactive play areas and we didn’t do the half of it because he spent the entire allotted time in soft play!

We went next door and shared a pizza and garlic bread at Pizza Pilgrims, where they give kids some stickers to keep them occupied. He enjoyed sticking them all over the place whilst swigging water and munching garlic bread, and the staff made a fuss of him whilst mama had a cheeky rosé. He loved it!

And we went to the Crossrail gardens where he enjoyed running about and shouting “Hello!” at a bird in a tree for half an hour.

We had a wonderful day. It’s so much fun to see the world through a child’s eyes. And it was all free apart from the pizza! It was lovely to spend time together and he still had a great time playing, even though it was just the two of us most of the time.

I don’t doubt there will be times in his life where he asks why he doesn’t have a sibling and maybe even asks if we can have one. But for now, he loves his dog brother and he loves his parents, and this mama enjoyed the fact that we could spend a precious day together, just the two of us. 💕

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Merry Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas Eve all! I’ve spent the day off work with my one and only, and my overwhelming feeling is gratitude. (Well, that and realising I really dislike wrapping.)

It took a while to get here. I was told I’d never have kids naturally, and after over a decade of infertility and loss, operations, IVF and immune therapy – we had our son last year.

I feel so lucky that I get to experience all this – Christmas through a child’s eyes; the beginnings of him understanding the magic of Christmas… visiting Santa… Christmas shows… trying to persuade him not to open all the presents before tomorrow… and all the matching clothes before he gets too good at talking! 😂

All of us who have “only” one child are conscious, I guess, that we will only do this stuff once. And that can feel bittersweet. He’s not yet two and I’ll never get to have a baby again. A bunch of friends are on #2 now and we’ll only ever have #1.

But once is one better than I ever thought I’d get. So I’m going to enjoy all the only times. Because we are so lucky.

I have friends who can’t have any and I still remember what that felt like. I have people close to me who’ve been fighting battles I can’t even begin to imagine. I have a friend who lost her battle this year. We never know what life will bring.

I say parents of onlies are lucky because they’ll always be our #1. And #1 is a pretty awesome position to be! We are the ones who get the time to savour it, and that’s a privilege I hope I live up to. (And I hope we still have a few years of twinning left! 😂)

Merry Christmas to you and yours! You’re all awesome! 💕

A meditation on wooden toys

Or: Feelings when your 21 year old scribbles on the £90 “open ended play” wobbel board (my gift to him on his first birthday).

When this happens to your natural wobbel and it doesn’t come off…

– It doesn’t affect usage – it still functions perfectly as a wobbly board and slide and baby doll rocker and toy car ramp and…

– It’s one of a kind! Personalised by its owner. (Yes, the kid owns it… I don’t!)

– It will probably have more “personalisations” before the kid is done with it. And whilst it’s not encouraged, it’s okay.

The world keeps turning.

My child is healthy and happy.

I’m grateful I live in a place where we don’t have to worry about most of the things that negatively affect the world’s children today. My child isn’t living in poverty or fleeing war or suffering abuse or neglect.

I understand we buy these beautiful (and expensive) things for our children and it’s disappointing when they scribble on them, and I had a moment of, “Oh no!”

But… I was someone who was told I’d never have a child naturally, so I’m just grateful I get to have my child scribble and for that scribble to be preserved for posterity.

For the lost babies, and for the never-borns, and for the parents without children and for the never-parents with spaces in their hearts where babies should be, I dedicate this wobbel. To me it’s perfect. 🌈❤️

Taming the inner parental tiger

We are on holiday. It’s B’s first ever summer holiday, at 20 months. He had seen a beach before, but it was in Wales and it was freezing so I don’t think it counts.

Of course for our first week (thankfully, I guess, only half a week) we had some pretty bad weather. It’s a total first world problem but was a bit frustrating when we have waited the whole year almost to have a proper holiday! We did go to see my best friend but this is our first one as a family. But the place we are staying is very child friendly – we found it after it was marketed as a child friendly holiday. It could be worse.

One thing I found funny is how I spotted a mixed race couple early on. I suppose we always identify with others. I clocked them early on and they’re the same races we are. Although she is totally skinny and doesn’t look like she could have had a baby, and their baby is younger than our toddler! I also realised this holiday how I need to lose a bit of chub, but half board food isn’t conducive to that!

Anyway I noticed they are always out without the baby! And I just thought that seemed a bit sad. She’s posing by the pool in her bikini and it just struck me as odd because I’ve seen them more times without the baby than with the baby. As it’s a child friendly resort there’s a crèche and lots of kid activities, but their kid isn’t even a toddler yet from what I can see. Each to their own but I can’t imagine why you’d come on holiday with the baby and then not spend time with the baby, but maybe some people just don’t really want or like spending time with their kids.

It got me to thinking also because there is a friend of a friend who lives where we do. Our mutual friends introduced us but I just didn’t get a good feeling about them and I didn’t really try and befriend them or anything. It turns out they spend every night in the pub getting drunk and their kid just has to sit in the pushchair (and he’s old enough to walk, older than B) and they shout at him to shut up if he ever wants to get out. I saw her dragging him along the road the other morning and it just seems like she hates being a parent. She told our mutual friend he wasn’t planned and she’s depressed being a mother and they didn’t want a kid. It makes me sad and it makes me wonder how bad something has to be or appear before someone intervenes.

And then we are on holiday and to make up for the bad weather they put on a kids disco. And it’s just so cute – B was shy the first time but he got into it and then when we went back again he was straight in there, dancing his little heart out.

B is tiny for his age. I’m kind of short so maybe it’s me. For a while he was first percentile and then last time we went to the doctor I asked if he was okay and the doctor said he was absolutely fine, just small overall (though the child has a monster sized head!). He’s 20 months now and wears size 9-12 months a lot of the time.

So during the dancing all the little kids and B are following the dancers at the front, and it’s just really cute. But there’s this one kid who’s been there every time. I am not a good judge of age but I think he’s maybe 7 or 8. The kids dancing are mainly 1-5 or 6 I’d say. He’s like double the size of them and much larger than B.

The little sh*t (as I took to referring to him as) was running around at high speed weaving in and out of the toddlers dancing. It was just so annoying and disrespectful especially as the guides (grown ups who work in the crèche I think) were showing them the moves at the front. He just kept running at high speed in and out of them and right by all the toddlers.

His parents didn’t give a toss. They were too busy fussing over his little sister. And I thought, wow. This event has been put on specifically to entertain kids and this little idiot is running in and out and then ended up recruiting other bigger boys to do the same, so there’s a little disco of toddlers with big boys running in and out of it in a dangerous (in my opinion) way. And the parents do nothing to stop it.

This all makes me realise that there are such different types of parents. Maybe we are overly attentive. (But then he is our one and only after infertility/loss and he’s still a tiny toddler.) Some parents just take it for granted and I guess if you haven’t been through a struggle to have kids maybe you do. Some, like our local mum, seem to hate having kids. And some, like the parents of the little sh*t, don’t care what their kids are doing. Some, like the bikini poser, come on holiday to NOT spend time with their baby.

I don’t really know what I’m trying to say here. Maybe I just think it’s sad that some kids aren’t cherished like I believe all kids should be. I am definitely not perfect and I’m not trying to be judgy but I guess I am. It’s hard when you struggled to have a child to see people who don’t seem to show their child love, who neglect their kids or who raise them to be inconsiderate little sh*ts.

Of course the little sh*t on our third visit to the disco actually ran directly into B and knocked him over. Cue two fierce looking adults bearing down on the boy (who is really just a little boy… I get that, which is why I didn’t push him over myself). T asked him if he realised he had knocked over the baby and that he should apologise. And I said to him to please not run near the babies. He looked scared, and stopped for a bit, and then resumed.

His mother didn’t even look up. (T and I debated whether you can even say something to other parents and we decided you can’t.)

On the plus side, B absolutely loved the kids disco. We got some decent weather this week and we’ve had a busy week of swimming, beach, even mountain biking. It’s been fun. And in infertility and baby loss awareness month, I’m aware of how lucky we are. Just need to work on making sure B always knows how much he is loved, and raise him not to be a little sh*t!

Zumba!

Don’t worry, I haven’t turned into an exercise nut. My local friend was a member and we realised if we went in on a joint membership we could save a bunch of money. So I joined the local club which is pretty much the only one I’m ever likely to go to, because it’s right by my house (well, like five minutes walk).

As far as I can tell, Zumba is like aerobics but with more Latin American music… and some slightly sexier dance moves (none of which I can actually do).

The thing is, it’s really quite fun! I’m terrible at it. I used to do some dancing as a kid and I was bad at it then. Turns out I’m just as bad at it now. But the fun thing is, nobody cares! You just keep moving and laugh a bit and sweat a lot. It’s all good.

I feel like it helps my friend, who’s the one recovering from cancer, because she put on a lot of weight during treatment and she has to try and lose it before they’ll operate further. (She needs a double mastectomy – pretty gruelling surgery.) It motivates me to go with someone else. And she’s a good friend so we laugh at each other.

The ongoing joke is about ACTIVEWEAR. If you haven’t seen this video you should take a watch.

It makes us a bit hysterical and is a long running joke between the local ladies I’m friends with. I feel lucky I’m finally in a position where I have a bunch of lovely local friends to joke around with! I used to feel really lonely and now somehow it’s worked out that I have mates who live nearby. It’s pretty cool.

I haven’t lost any weight but it does make me feel like I’m doing something at least! Maybe I need to stop eating so much cake! But that would be sad.

I actually have unlimited classes through my membership so that’s really cool. However they fall at 7 or 8 in the evening and that is nursery pickup / childcare time. I’ve always done way more of the pickups and historically B wanted me as we were still breastfeeding. We still are, but he’s now 20 months and he is less bothered about having it instantly (he’s still a boob monster though) so I’m thinking I could probably delay it a bit. It’s more whether T can get back from work on time. And also I still feel like I want to spend every part of my day that’s not at work, with B! But I think it’s good for mums to have something they do and it’s not for very long. With walking there and back plus a little bit of chat, it’s only just over an hour, which doesn’t seem that bad.

Anyway to demonstrate my commitment to activewear here’s a photo I took the other night of my Zumba outfit…

I think that pretty much sums up my attitude to exercise! 😂

Oh and here’s what I ate afterwards:

Maybe that’s where I’m going wrong?

Oh well, life’s too short!

We are off on holiday next week. Greece! A five star resort. I’m very excited. Don’t think I’ve been to Greece or a five star resort in like forever. We usually do more self catering or city breaks so it’s very exciting. I can’t wait to be off work for a while. We will have just over a week and it feels GREAT.

At least if I’m gonna be chubby, I may as well be brown and chubby, amirite?!

On motherhood and happiness

Had one of my decompression nights last night – dinner with a few girlfriends. Three of us have one child; one has two, and the other two with one are trying for another. So naturally on mum’s night out the kids were a topic of conversation. (And bikini waxes, but that’s another story!)

We got onto the subject of “onlies” and the conversation didn’t go the way I expected…

It started the way I expected with the whole, “We want another so he won’t be on his own when we die.” (We all agreed that this probably wouldn’t happen!)

Then our friend with two said: It’s actually very hard with two. (She’s a single parent who co-parents with her ex.)

Then our friend with one said: We are actually really happy with our one, and if it doesn’t happen then we won’t be upset.

I said, we are happy and we don’t want another because we feel so very lucky with the one we have, and because I thought I’d never be a mother.

Then our friend who lost her first baby (tragically stillborn) said: We’d love to have another but we will just see what happens. It’s not the same as when we were trying to have our baby after our first died. We are happy.

Then she said something else: She said, “You know, I’ve never seen you become frustrated with him. You are so patient! I don’t think you’ve ever even raised your voice to him.”

And the funny thing is, I don’t think of myself as a patient person. I’m a hothead. But I think she’s right.

I’ve never had to shout at him. I don’t think I feel frustrated with him because – well, he’s a baby, and he can’t fully express himself and that must be frustrating for him, but also – I can’t tell you how much I wanted this.

Ten years. More than ten, depending on how you count it. A decade of barrenness. Operations, IVF, miscarriage, immune therapy. Thinking of a life where I would have to learn to be happily childfree. (And I think we would have been, but we needed to know we had tried everything first.)

I genuinely don’t feel that frustration because I think he’s the best thing that ever happened to me. And I’m lucky because a lot of good things have happened, and it almost fades the lonely and sad years of infertility and despair out of existence.

But not quite. I remember what it was like to be always the aunt, always the “fun childless friend”. I don’t take this – motherhood – for granted. I will relish all the days.

So – yes – I can be patient. But I’m not a saint. I’m just someone who knows how bloody lucky I am.

running

When one is enough

I’ve talked a lot about infertility before – that’s the reason this blog started in the first place. But once you’ve been through it all and ended up with a baby – what are you? I’m still technically infertile, but I am a mother. I don’t feel like I can properly call myself infertile, aligning myself with the many women still in pain, still trying to deal with infertility, when I have our longed for child.

Post infertility

I talked about the strange hinterland of post infertility on one of my previous blogs. It’s that way we’re a particular kind of mother, an ever-grateful mother, a mother who doesn’t take having a baby for granted. I feel like a mother in an everlasting state of wonderment and joy that I get to be one. (It’s kind of sickening how happy I am about the whole thing, and I can assure you I don’t go around pooping rainbows – I just hold the happiness in my heart when my baby giggles or reaches for me, or does just about anything…)

I also feel The Fear for others. I have friends who get pregnant and announce straight away and I have to stop myself from saying, – Stop! What if?! and How can you be sure? – because those are my anxieties and not hers. It’s a strange place to be because we know what could go wrong, and we are those Miracle Mamas, the Mamas Against All Odds, and so our very being is confirming to them that good things do happen, and so we can’t be the ones to rain on their parade even though we know that not all trying ends up with a pregnancy, and not all pregnancies end up with a baby, but we nod along and smile because that’s what we do.

One of the things that’s come up a lot lately is the idea that one might not be enough.

And that’s something that’s just so alien to me, I can’t even imagine how it must feel to have that degree of sadness from having an “only”.

I was one of four siblings, and we got on well. It was complex, for sure – having two bios and two adopted. It was harder for the adoptees, but overall it was good – we had a fun childhood with lots of family games, kids going on adventures, and lots of freedom to play together. I don’t know why I never pictured myself as a mama of many. I guess I knew from quite a young age that I would find it difficult to have children. (I had been told something fleeting when I was much younger, which was never repeated by later doctors, but then told I had extensive endometriosis and likely fertility problems in my mid twenties.) I’ve always been someone who didn’t wish for things I didn’t think I could have. So the most I ever wished for was one.

Also, personally – I think I would have enjoyed being an only child. I don’t know if this is to do with being adopted or just my personality. I always felt as one of four that I didn’t get quite the amount of attention I would have wanted. And I don’t mean this in a drama queen way (although I had plenty of that) – I always felt needy, and maybe that is an adoption thing. I would just wish sometimes I could have a day of my parents just to myself. Don’t get me wrong – I do get on with my siblings. But I also enjoy now that I’m an adult that I often see my parents on their own and I don’t have to share them with anyone else! I guess I’d have been what they call now “a high needs child”!

So when I was told I probably couldn’t have kids, I just wished for the one, and when that wish was granted (by a lot of medical science and a fair amount of money and effort, rather than the Fertility Fairy!), I felt – gosh, life couldn’t get any better.

I see a lot of stuff now on FB about people worrying about only children. People worry they’ll be spoiled, or socially inept, or not know how to relate to other kids, or not able to function as adults, and I find it interesting because I wonder – where are they finding these terrible only children who grow up to be dysfunctional adults?! All of the single children I know have grown up to be just fine as adults. I don’t think they’re any better or worse functioning than the general population. And one thing they all had was a good relationship with their parents. B has been in nursery since a young age and he’s probably more socialised than a child who stays at home with his mother who doesn’t have a sibling for a few years. He enjoys seeing his friends at nursery, but he’s also securely attached to me. (And to his dad, and dog brother!) I figure so far, so good – he doesn’t seem like an irreparable weirdo!

For us, the lengths we went to in order to have B were pretty gruelling. (Though not a patch on what some have to go through. We were lucky.) I know that for me, I couldn’t be the mother I want to be to B if I were to continue going through additional treatments. It’s most likely I’d need another endo op, possibly another fibroid op, more IVF, more immune therapy. It was hard physically, but it was harder emotionally. I already feel a degree of loss that I have to go to work and B is at nursery during the work week, even though I know he’s absolutely fine. I wouldn’t want to be under emotional strain as well, trying to conceive a sibling, when I don’t think he needs one to be happy. I hope that by giving him a full life, and living in an urban area where there are a lot of kids about, that we can counter any potential loneliness he might have as an “only”.

I understand that being okay with one is not “normal”. Most people have more than one child. And maybe there’s something a bit strange about having no siblings, or not having multiple children. I don’t know. I feel sadness for people who can’t have children, including those who can’t have a second child and desperately want one. I just don’t feel the sadness of being a mother of one myself.

I never thought I’d be “that kind of mother”. I sort of thought that the baby phase would be kind of boring, that I’d probably find it a little bit of a drag until toddlerhood, until some kind of doing stuff like walking, eating, talking… but it’s been a joy. I thought I’d find it hard, because everything leading up to having a child has been hard, but it’s been relatively easy. And I don’t take that for granted at all. I’ve seen others struggle with breastfeeding and reflux and post natal depression and sleepless nights and I think we’ve been lucky, because it hasn’t been that hard for us. No tongue tie, no breastfeeding problems, no ongoing health issues and the sleepless nights I was used to due to my job! So whilst the adjustment has been monumental in some ways, it’s just been a case of slotting in as though he’s always been here in other ways.

And the thing that’s bittersweet as a mother of one is that I know that every time is the only time, and every last time is the very last time.

I’ll never have a tiny little baby again. B is my one and only (human!) baby and he’s now one, toddling about, vocalising, making his feelings known. (He’s a terrible tweenager already! Just like his mama used to be!) I’ll never see a baby take their first steps again. I’ll never see my baby roll for the first time again, or the time he worked out how to giggle and it made me cry with happiness – that’s the first and last time. We’re coming to the end of our pumping journey – and it’s been a slog. But the last time I pump breastmilk for him will be the last time. I can’t even think about the last time I breastfeed him. The last time I babywear. The last times are all the last times.

But… I feel so much gratitude that I even got to experience the firsts. And even if the firsts are also the lasts, I’m at peace with it, because it’s more joy than I ever thought I’d have.

I thought for so many years that I would never even have one, that I’d never be a mother. So to me, B, my “only”, my boy, is the most amazing thing. (I hesitate to call him a gift, because he’s not an object. He’s his own person, who has his own ideas of what he wants to happen in life, and most of those involve chocolate or bubbles). He’s an amazing, wonderful – and completely run-of-the-mill all at the same time, because that’s amazing also, the way we take the normal stuff for granted, the giving of life, the joy of family – little boy I never thought I’d have. So I guess I just never had the time to wish for another, because I was so busy wishing for him.

QBR: Quarterly Baby Review

Before I embarked on this journey, I worked in an office. I’m a not-very-bigwig in the corporate world. And for years I defined myself by it, so I find myself applying “work” lingo to this new and amazing world of parenthood…

Hence: the QBR. At work, the Quarterly Business Review is a chance to look back on the last three months and assess what was good about it and what you’re going to work on next quarter. 

I don’t seem to have any time for blogging nowadays. I never wanted to be one of those infertility bloggers who drops off the face of the planet when they have a baby, but there you have it. I’m still here, but right now I’m soaking up all I can of the experience. 

I have to go back to work early for the UK – usually people take a year, but I’m on unpaid leave (due to starting my new job pregnant so ineligible for paid leave) and this (just over four months) is all we can afford. Hence my sparse postings lately. I’m sure when I’m back at work and have a commute again, I’ll be able to write a bit more. 

Anyway, here goes!

Performance: B’s development

Following the developments a baby makes is like trying to catch a wave upon the sand, as the nuns in The Sound of Music would have it. B changes every single day. It’s amazing to watch. 

It’s totally out-of-this-world amazing and totally run-of-the-mill normal at the same time. I absolutely know I’m not the first and last person to have a baby, but I can also now see why mothers get a bit obsessed. 

Things B can do (not an exhaustive list, because I am not on top of things like that):

  • Smile. He smiles all the time now. It’s like a magic mood lifter. How can you be anything but happy when a little fat baby is grinning a toothless grin at you?
  • Halfhearted roll. He started rolling out of bed – his side sleeper cot, onto our bed. I bought a Sleepyhead bed nest which now contains him. He can roll halfway from his back to his side, but doesn’t seem motivated to roll fully (and we aren’t motivated to encourage him!). 
  • Hold his head up. We do tummy time when we remember (#badparents) and he easily holds his head up and tries to crawl a bit, but is a long way off, thankfully!
  • Dribble. My boy is a world champion dribbler. Apparently this means maybe he’s started teething. He doesn’t seem particularly upset. 
  • Babble. In the last week or so, he’s just started to enjoy the sound of his own voice. T is convinced he can say “Hello” and it does sound like that sometimes, but I think it’s unlikely!
  • Enjoy playing. For a while, I wondered if he was really enjoying playing, but now he definitely does. We do Baby Sensory once a week and he can now engage a bit in activities. He laughs when he enjoys things. And he has started batting toys at his (incredibly tacky) Baby Gym, finally, rather than just lying there and expecting them magically to entertain him!

In short, he is the most awesome beautiful baby in the world and I am fully in love. 

 

Review: Parenthood after infertility/loss

During this whole thing, I’ve always been conscious of being infertile and of needing so much intervention to have B. On the one hand, I’ve passed into motherhood / parenthood and in many ways it feels like something I always was supposed to do. By which I mean, it feels natural. But on the other hand, I’m really conscious that pregnancy and birth did not come naturally to me. And I don’t want people to think it came easily or that I’m not grateful. 

I thank my lucky stars every single day that I have B. It feels like a journey I never thought I’d get to make. It’s awesome. I also in the same breath thank my lucky stars for T, his father and my partner. And Dog, the best dog ever. It is nice to have a little family of my own. Of course I’ve always been a part of my family that I can remember, but it’s weird to have started my own. And even weirder to have someone who looks like me. People comment that all the time. I can totally enjoy that because having been adopted, I never had that. 

I feel a need to explain to people that it wasn’t easy to have B, because I feel like on the one hand it’s hard to imagine him not being there, but on the other it’s weird not to reflect on the many more years I had of being childless with no idea if I’d ever not be. And I want people who are trying to conceive to know that we went there too. 

Does the pain ever go away? I know some people say it doesn’t, and I respect that. For me, it’s immensely healing to have B. That’s not on him. He’s not responsible for my happiness. I just feel that the pain of infertility and loss has become more distant in my everyday thoughts. It’s not “worth it” as such but it doesn’t really intrude because I’m too busy enjoying him. It’s amazing how babies change and grow and learn stuff every single day. I’m in awe. And I’m so happy to get the chance to experience this. It feels like a dream come true. 

I guess one thing this journey gave me was an intolerance of people who complain a lot about having a baby. I just can’t. I know so many who would give their right arm to be pregnant so it annoys me when people whinge on about pregnancy and motherhood. I know they have a right to, but I just don’t like to hear it. During pregnancy I almost relished the back pain and discomfort because I knew it meant he was coming. And now, I have almost infinite patience when he wakes me up during the night or cries, because he’s here and healthy and he needs me and I wanted this. Of course I get tired, but I look at his little face and think, You are so wanted and loved. 

 

Review: Motherhood after adoption

Although I feel like I started this blog to talk about infertility, it became clear that I had many thoughts on adoption, and having been adopted as a baby. I probably have a whole post on this, but for the purposes of this QBR I can say it’s been on my mind a lot. 

It’s literally amazing to me to see B’s face every day and how much he looks like me. I never realised how much I missed having kin before I met him. I have my (adoptive) family and I think we are a pretty close family. And they’ve embraced B as one of their own, because he is. But for me it’s just mind blowing to meet my actual flesh and blood. Finally. 

If you’ve followed my blog a while you’ll know T is also adopted. So B has two parents who don’t have bio family in their lives. He is it. It’s kind of huge but it’s kind of normal as well. It’s a nice kind of normal. I like that he won’t grow up wondering who he looks like or feeling weird for being a different race from everyone else. 

We purposely moved here to a diverse community so he won’t stick out. It’s awesome to see how there are lots of interracial couples here, and lots of mixed race children. I feel a sense of parental responsibility that I can do that – make a conscious choice for him. I was speaking with my cousin who is in an interracial relationship with mixed race children, who felt the same about making sure they fitted in. Racial mirrors are important. 

Crunchy mom score: 10

I seem to have turned into a hippy. My friend the Earth Mother (who sometimes reads this blog *waves*) is my role model here! 

Breastfeeding is this huge thing I never thought I’d get into, but a quarter in (almost a third now I’ve finally gotten round to finishing this) and it seems to be my superpower. I know this is no credit to me and some people just seem to find it easier. It’s nuts. I’m so glad it has gone well. I had the difficulty getting and staying pregnant, the messed up birth, so I deserve something, right?! Actually was totally happy just to have a healthy baby, but I’ll take it. 

Babywearing is another one. It’s European Babywearing Week this week, and I’m going strong! I’m still wearing B in the wrap  but have gone a bit full on down the rabbit hole of babywearing madness. Again something for a longer post but suffice to say I’m a convert to wrapping and I have another two in the post! I’m not really sure why I bothered with the pram as B loves babywearing and I do too, so he screams blue murder if he has to go into his lovely designer pram, but he’s happy to be wrapped like a little burrito and strapped to my front, and I feel like a warrior when I do it!

I want to do both of these things as long as possible and as long as B still enjoys it. I’m hoping I can breastfeed for at least a year, although I’ll have to express when I’m back at work. B is so not into taking expressed milk – we’ve tried once a day to see if he can get used to it, but he has a definite preference for milk from source. In a way it makes me happy he loves me best (as a good source anyway!) but I’m concerned he will feel thirsty or hungry when I’m out at work. Hopefully he will adjust. 

Exit strategy: Going back to work

It’s not so much an exit strategy as enforced retirement (in QBR parlance). I so don’t want to go back to work. I know I’m going to cry my eyes out. I can finally appreciate why maternity leave is usually a year. I honestly had no idea babies were this interesting (well, I mainly like mine… the others not so much!) and how much of a wrench it would be. I’m already less than a month to go and it feels like sand slipping through an hourglass at high speed. 

I’m with him all the time and I don’t want to miss anything but I’ll have to. I’ll pump for him, and I know I’ll do everything possible to make sure he has the best start, but really I wish I could be with him every day, all day. I guess it’s no easier going back when they’re one, though. I hope he’ll take after me and sleep a lot!

Clothes have been a challenge. Who knew maternity and nursing wear seem to be double purpose? It’s so odd that the clothing manufacturers have decided the two go together. My mum kindly gave me some money to buy some back to work clothes and get a haircut. I think she realised how awkward I feel carrying the extra weight and with massive nursing boobs! 

Pre pregnancy I was around a size 10 UK and now I’m maybe a 12, bigger than I’ve ever been (well, apart from pregnancy!). During pregnancy I embraced bodycon because it meant I was actually pregnant. Post pregnancy I’m avoiding it for the reason that it makes me look pregnant! My boobs are out of control. Pre pregnancy I was 32C and post I am 36DD or by Boob or Bust (a nursing site) measurements I’m 32H! Which is crazy talk! I’ll have a few weeks to find some decent nursing / pumping clothes. I don’t want to sit pumping in a meeting room with my top off, or worse still with a dress off, in my underwear! There’s a great fb group called Can I Breastfeed In It? Which I’ve been stalking for inspiration. Sadly most nursing stuff is casual or occasion wear rather than office wear. I’m half thinking I need to make a group for prematurely working mums!

In order to try and get organised, I ordered a Sarah Wells designer nursing bag from the US. Breast pump bags literally do not exist here in the UK. Probably because mothers don’t go back to work until the babies are weaned. Most take a year off. Unfortunately it isn’t possible for us as I’m on unpaid leave so minimum amount of wages (a small statutory allowance from the government which I’m grateful for, but barely pays rent!). Anyway I was super excited to receive it until I got hit with a customs charge of £39! Wtf. You live and learn. That bag better be amazing! I’ll have to post a more in depth review later. 

 

Relationship review 

I’ve always felt it’s so important not to neglect your relationship when you have a baby. And yet I’ve realised in the past few weeks that I really haven’t focused on T so much as B. I’ve also probably neglected Dog a bit as T tends to take him for walks whilst I feed B. I think we are okay. T says he doesn’t mind (especially the lack of bedroom antics!) but I am conscious of it.

We are very loving and in many ways having B has solidified that. I mean, we are inextricably linked now. But we are more tired and we sometimes get quite far through the day before we kiss, which is something I always thought of as important. That said, we are around each other all day – T is on shared parental leave – so we don’t kiss each other goodbye. 

Having a baby and the resultant disturbed sleep (he goes back to sleep easily but I still have to wake up and comfort him even if he’s co sleeping) and probably hormones does make me grouchy. So I need to watch out for that. I feel like my moods are way more loving-whoops-now-I’m-crazy! than they were before. T is very good natured but I’m probably stretching it a bit! I absolutely love being an Earth mother type but I need to develop some hippy vibes!

We got back to the – ahem – babymaking (well it never worked!) right on schedule. Actually a day early after the doc said it was possible after a c section (6 weeks). So we made sure everything was still in working order! But frequency is way down. T says he doesn’t mind, but I feel bad for him considering last few months of pregnancy was also a no go! 

I feel really self conscious of my post baby body – for the first time in years I feel a bit ashamed of my body. Before I was a bit more vain and perfectionist – not to say I had the best body but I felt it was within tolerances and was kind of proud I wasn’t overweight. Now I feel a bit saggy and my stretch marks are still very visible so that’s affected my confidence. It just about passes in clothes but my bikini days are over! So that affects how I feel about getting naked. I am hoping over time it’ll improve. At the weekend we stayed in a posh hotel for a family do so we had a bath – for the first time I didn’t want him to see me naked. But he did and we had a nice bath! I guess it takes time. I still feel massively proud of my body for getting B here, and I know T still loves me, I just have to start feeling attractive again. 

All this makes it sound like our relationship is suffering. I don’t think it is particularly- but I do think having a baby changes it. We are still great friends and we still love each other, but it’s not just the two of us (plus Dog) any more. We are parents. It’s weird to recast ourselves. I suppose it takes time to grow into our new roles. I don’t think I had to love him more. I already did. He’s the love of my life. Having a baby is something a part of us and also outside of us. A seismic event. And we are still evolving. 

 

Next quarter’s focus

  • Back to work
  • Bottle feeding (expressed milk)
  • New house! (Hopefully still happening… slowly!)
  • Relationship stuff (not forgetting to be us)
  • Austerity MkII (because of new house!)
  • Teething (suspected!)

Appendices: In pictures 

If we are friends on fb, you’ll have seen the pics of B. I’m obsessed by how cute he is! Meanwhile here’s a taste of what we’ve been up to lately. 

As before, comment and let me know what you’ve been up to! I haven’t had much time to read other people’s blogs but if you comment then I’ll read! Hope you are all well. X

Happy tears

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. 


Whilst it was really meant for T’s mum, it was nice to have a little Mother’s Day advance celebration. 

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.