New Mama Tag

I got this idea from watching the new mum/mom tag videos on YouTube, which was created by the beautiful and inspirational Emily Norris, so without any further ado, let’s answer some questions.

1) Favourite Mum Hack?

This might not be too amazing but, I’d say teaching your child to perform basic clean up tasks as a game, has been my fave hack. Reuben loves wiping his high chair down and helping with the laundry for this reason.

2) Most Embarrassing Mum Moment?

I thought I could bottle feed in the nursing room in a shopping centre. I was wrong.

3) Favourite part of the day?

Going to get Reuben out of his cot after any nap/sleep. It’s lovely. Bathtime is a close second, that’s always a giggle.

4) Worst part of the day?

Cleaning up after mealtimes irritates me every single time.

5) Worst thing someone said to you when pregnant?

“you got pregnant so you didn’t have to work” and “just another useless mum on the dole” and also “you’re absolutely massive”. Yay.

6) A baby name you disagreed on?

Reuben. But, I got my way.

7) Do you co-sleep?

It’s only occasional now, when trying to get extra sleep in the morning, or when Reu is poorly.

However, when Reu was a newborn, I didn’t want to cosleep, but often, it was very necessary. There was many ways to make sure it’s safely done. I panicked about SIDS constantly but I found many tricks for making cosleeping as safe as possible.

8) Baby products you never used?

I didn’t really have everything I needed when I had Reuben, but I never used his newborn clothing. My 8lb 6oz baby was too long.

9) Name 3 hospital bag must haves?

Comfortable clothes, painkillers, pads.

10) Are you a go with the flow or routine mum?

I’m a bit of both. I have routines but I’m flexible about when they begin and when naps occur. I would love to be more a routine mum but I’m too lazy. Or laid back, rather. I am really lucky that my child has always been a good sleeper.

11) What labour and pain relief did you have?

I was induced, I had gas and air and an epidural. It was traumatic. I wouldn’t opt for another induction at all if I could help it. Future me: if it’s not 100% necessary, don’t do it.

12) Have you ever been mum shamed?

Yes. By a midwife in the hospital on the post natal ward for giving in and giving Reu formula. By a few people I know for quitting breastfeeding three weeks in. And recently, an old women decided to say I was a shit mother who didn’t care about my baby because I was using my phone on the bus, instead ot interacting with Reuben.

13) What have been the biggest challenges?

Healing from trauma /going through therapy, whilst being a single mother. Especially when I am studying. It’s so hard.

14) What is the best advice you’ve had or that you’ve given?

“You’ve got to take care of yourself too” and “don’t compare yourself to other mothers”. Also, if you can ask for help, or are offered it, take it. You need to take some of that pressure off yourself, Mama!

15) Who’s your mum crush?

Britneyandbaby and Louise Pentland are my ultimate role models on Youtube, but in real life, I have many mummy friends I look up to.

That was quite fun. I will tag fellow parent vloggers in my insta post!

Thank you for reading,

With love, Rebecca x

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This Time Last Year

I remember the way I felt this time last year. The way the air felt, the white noise of something mechanical humming at night (I still can’t figure out what it is), the way the lights across the city seemed crisper… It all reminds me, like the most wonderfully enchanting memory. There is no doubt in my mind that I’m remembering with rose-tinted glasses. But I know for a fact, also, that I remember that the person I was before Reuben was born felt a kind of excitement, naivety and apprehension that I’m scared I will never feel again.

The selfie I took before heading to the hospital to be induced.

I remember feeling dreadfully uncomfortable, completely DONE with being pregnant and massive. And moreover, I was done being told how massive I was. As if I couldn’t tell!? I was sick of the sickness, the acid reflux, the endless peeing, the pain I was feeling around my ribs, the ridiculous amounts of discharge and the sweating. You know, I was still trying my best to cherish my pregnancy but I think I spent more time trying to film baby kicks than I did actually appreciating the moments (something I will remember if I’m lucky enough to have a second). I would rest my hands on my bump, take endless photos, but by 37 weeks I was done. So when I was offered an induction days before my due date, I leapt at the chance.

I’d seen a lot of inductions on One Born Every Minute and I’d read the leaflet but nothing could have prepared me for the days that followed. I felt like I’d been in hospital for a week before I was actually induced – in a different hospital – on my due date.

But my mind seems to have fixated on the little details of the hospital I was supposed to give birth in, when I was waiting to be taken to delivery suite to have my waters broken. In all honesty, it was quite lovely but I was so impatient and being in a hospital bay all day waiting around was driving me a bit nuts. I wasn’t very well prepared, I hadn’t brought much to entertain myself – which is probably why I remember the space around me in vivid detail. From the way the light hit the blue flooring during the day, to the way the overhead lamp created a calming ambience at night. I remember bouncing on that big purple gym ball for hours hoping labour would come on spontaneously but I now realise, it was doing very little for me, and it was probably making me all the more impatient.

I was offered a transfer to the other hospital where I had a bed on delivery suite waiting for me on my due date, a few hours after my mucus plug went, and I jumped at the chance. I now wonder if my experience might have been different if I’d have stayed at the hospital that I wanted to give birth in. But nevermind, what good are what ifs? No good at all.

So there I was, in the delivery suite of this other hospital, taking a quick video of the room for my Instagram. I was telling people I’d no longer be replying. Although I did later on, at some point, I can’t remember when. And I had no idea what was coming as far as the syntocin drip was concerned.

I love that before they broke my waters and put me on that drip, I was blissfully unaware saying “whatever happens I’ll deal with it, as long as baby is okay”. I mean, that wasn’t a bad mindset to have but… Yeah… the girl on the ball in her nightie who just had her waters broken, and the girl on the bed who just got given the epidural were a couple of hours apart, and I can assure you the girl on the bed felt like she’s been through a kind of hell that she knew had changed her forever. The rest of it was a breeze though, if that’s any consolation – it was to me!

I gave birth to Reuben just over 12 hours after they’d broken my waters, and it was incredible. I felt the love instantly – it was euphoric! I felt the rush of love which I’d heard people say is indescribable and I was so relieved. I was so, so happy. When I had been waiting to push, I remember thinking “this is it, my dream is about to come true, I’m gonna meet my baby!” and that was an unforgettable moment too.

So is it any wonder that I feel this way now that Reuben’s 1st birthday is a day away? It’s so bittersweet. I feel happy and sad at the same time. I feel my heart aching so badly when I think back to it. I know this is common in mothers but I never really hear or read anyone talking about it.

Maybe it’s because I feel cheated out of enjoying those newborn days, maybe it’s because I had a vision of how I wanted things to be during pregnancy and it wasn’t like that. It’s not like my expectations were high but when you’re poor and feeling unsupported through both pregnancy and your newly made mother days, it’s very hard to feel like I got anything right at all back then… I don’t know. I guess I am overly critical but when I think back, I have regrets and I find myself saying “here’s what I’d do differently”.

Anyway, it’s hard to believe Reuben’s been on this earth for a year now. He’s turned into my little best friend & he makes me smile all the time. Even though we have been poorly recently, there’s still been smiles. And I’m far from perfect but I know I’m a good Mama.

I’m feeling very nostalgic and wistful about this time last year but don’t worry, I’m also concentrating on making this year’s memories count! Reuben’s presents are ready for Thursday, the flat is looking nicer than it ever has done (apart from the kitchen right now) & I’ve even put the Christmas tree up!

I love motherhood, it puts a kind of joy and resilience in my soul that nothing else can. I mean, there’s obviously sadness and mum guilt in there too BUT! Let’s focus on the good!

Thank you for reading,

With love, Rebecca ♡

Bonfire Night 2018

We stayed out pretty late so I’m going to make this snappy. This post is more about recording a memory than anything else. Nevertheless, I want to share good times with you all too!

Here we are at my Dad’s house, which is where we decided to be for Bonfire Night this year. Well, by we, I mean me. But yeah, I decided to walk down from mine to my Dad’s taking the longest route possible to give him a chance to get home from work. So I definitely got my exercise in before indulging in some traditional (I think) food.

Above, you see Reuben with the gingerbread man that my Dad bought especially for Reubs. He quite liked it! But he loved the Parkin on our plates much more – in fact he stole one of my dad’s slices of Parkin right off the plate which was a great source of amusement.

Soon, my Dad’s partner, Linda, arrived and so eating pie & peas, watching fireworks and bickering over keeping a fire alive was to begin.

As you can see, my camera isn’t great. Lol, it’s appalling. I am looking to buying a camera ASAP. But I managed to get one photo whilst dealing with a disgruntled baby. He didn’t mind the fireworks at first, I was stressing more than him, but it wasn’t long before he was getting over-tired and so we head back inside.

There was more food. I’m stuffed. I really am. My stomach doesn’t have a great capacity like it used to. But it was worth it.

Reuben refused his bottle again tonight, so I think I’m gonna call it a day on that one BUT he soon wanted to sleep so I bundled him back up in the buggy & he had a little snooze whilst I had a good strong coffee. I could have fallen asleep, haha, I did not want to move. But I had to.

So we set off, back home, in the dark. It’s been a long time since I’ve been out after dark with Reuben. I think the last time was Christmas last year or at least around that period, but definitely not as late as today. I think I have been overly weird about messing Reuben’s schedule up but now I realise it doesn’t hurt to change the routine now and again on special occasions.

The bus was late but once on, it didn’t take long to get home. We went straight up to bed where Reuben did actually drink his milk (I have been writing this entire post between settling Reuben and also I’m telling myself when it’s done I’ll make the bed – because silly britches here forgot to do it before she left!). Reuben’s now settling…

But only after another rendition of ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and confirmation I’m stuck in here until I make my bed. I mean, he’s in his cot now, it won’t be long before he’s asleep so I need to hurry up.

But, I tell you, I hold him sometimes on the edge of my bed and it takes me right back to holding him as a newborn. I got all teary eyed during our little lullaby session because those days went by so fast. I know I treasured him, did my best, cried when I failed to breastfeed, cried… And cried a lot actually. Nobody can prepare you for the emotional tsunami that’s gonna hit you straight into the crazy train after having a baby, can they?

Anyways, that’s a bit of a tangent! Let’s not go down that path again. Not in this post, anyway.

Other highlights of tonight were: discovering I’ve lost approximately half a stone, my Dad being in a good mood made me feel happy & the house that I grew up in felt like home today (for the first time in a long time) and I don’t know… It’s made me feel so warm inside.

Or maybe that’s the mushy peas. We are in for some gassy asses over the next 24 hours. Please send your prayers when you consider the next poopy nappy. Haha!

So from mine to yours, I bid you goodnight. Hope everyone’s had a good time.

With love, Rebecca ♡

Next Time (Part I)

Next time I find myself pregnant, I can’t promise I won’t stress, but if I’m lucky I’ll stress a little less. I’m too aware of what could go wrong but I am hoping I won’t be stressing over what I get to eat this week. I hope I don’t have to eat beans on toast and jacket potatoes 3 or 4 times a week again. I hope when I crave something I can go get it. I’m hoping I won’t get Hyperemesis again but if I do, that’s just something I know I have to get through. Suffering last time didn’t effect my bond with my baby, I doubt it would again. Hopefully it’s not any worse, if anything I hope I don’t get it at all. But no matter, I’ll find a way to manage its only important that my baby makes it.

Next time, I do things a little differently. I know what’s more important when you’re buying for little feet. I’ll take into consideration the weather and how I’m choosing to feed. I’m going to do cloth from the start now it’s not so overwhelming and I’m hoping I’ll be able to afford it. Ah, affording it. No matter how you want to dress up pregnancy and giving birth, the truth of the matter is its all expensive. Hopefully this time I won’t be crying because I want to buy a baby swing and pretty muslin cloths. Hopefully I can buy more new, or at least well cared for second hand. The stuff I can’t afford now.

Next time, I will invest in comfort, I will invest in equipment. I want to try to breastfeed but I didn’t have the support, physically or emotionally the first time around. I gave up for many reasons but the support bit was the part that caught me out. I don’t want it to be like that second time around. Now I know about the hunger and the thirst, about the backache and the latching, I think I’d be more resourceful about what the money goes into. I want it to work. Sterilising bottles when you desperately need food or sleep is enough to break your heart. It’s not dramatic, it’s the way it is, and I wish I’d known it from the start.

Next time I’ll share less and concentrate on the moments that I’ll share with my partner. I’ll watch my belly move instead of trying to capture the wriggles and kicks. Lord knows that’s the reason I’ve forgotten most of it. Don’t get me wrong, taking pictures is great, but I don’t need to tell the world every step of the way. I probably won’t have time but I need to remember that it’s far more precious to me than it is to any friend or follower.

Next time, I’ll trust myself more. I did with Reuben but I was unsure with all the opinions and picture perfect images of motherhood going around. But I knew, and this time, I think I’ll trust myself from the start. Babies may be fragile but they won’t fall apart if I don’t follow the rules. There should be no rules. I know I take very good care of my baby and do everything in their best interest, I don’t really care for the stuff you see on Pinterest. It’s not where reality lies.

Next time, baby will be planned, I’ll have saved, gotten healthier because now I understand that as much as unplanned babies are loved and wanted (my child as prime example) there’s no way I would want to struggle again. And if I want something for baby in a sale, I want to buy it. I don’t want to sit and sulk at home, wondering if maybe I’ll catch it next time. I don’t want to scrape by. It may sound materialistic but honestly it’s upsetting. You can’t enjoy yourself when you’re living on empty.

Next time I’m going to cherish those newborn moments more. The dishes will eventually done, the laundry can wait a bit longer, nobody cares that the floor hasn’t been vacuumed and forget about the social media for now. You over share and most people just don’t care, so I’ll post but be mindful that it doesn’t matter that I didn’t post today’s photos today. Instead, holding my sweet new cherub before he or she grows out of my arms is what matters. They stay small for not long at all. They grow so fast. It doesn’t matter that the days last forever and the nights are exhausting, it’s not like this for long. Not in the long run it’s not.

Next time I won’t just be able to focus on my new baby because I’ll be a mother of two. I need to remember that it’s not all about the new one. My Reuben will want attention too. So i will buy a baby wrap or a baby carrier so I can get on with what I need to do. I know it’s as important as a very comfortable sofa or a nursing chair. I know now that baby needs very little at first, a lot of it is about supporting you.

Next time we will have more scans, next time we will buy maternity dresses and pack the hospital bag better. Next time we will understand what a post natal ward is like and we will prepare for that eventuality too & hey you might not be so unlucky this time if you have to stay. It’s all about taking each day as it comes, from the two lines onwards, and trying not to be stressed. It’s about aiming to be calm parent, but to cry if you need to. It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be really hard but you know you can do it. You know what’s what this time around. You’re going to have support and you’re not going to scrimp on basics, you’re going to make home made frozen meals too because you didn’t last time (being cocky weren’t you?) and you knew you’d messed up. Take advantage of the convenience of the modern world too, who cares if you have a microwave meal for dinner? Who cares if you order your groceries to your door? It’s what’s best, it’s what’s easiest, it gives you more time for what’s important and going out for better reasons.

It’s going to be ages before we have a next time. I don’t know when Reuben will become a big brother, or if he ever will… The truth is, nobody knows what life will bring. But if there’s a next time. Yes, IF, there’s a next time. I know what’s important next time. There’s things I do differently and there’s things I’d do the same, ultimately I’ll try my best, but you can guarantee I’ll still complain.

I know it’s too soon to be thinking about this, and I can’t assume I’ll get a next time either. It’s crazy because I know how hard it will be (well I actually have no clue but I can imagine because having one is hard) and life is very unlikely to follow my plan. But in an ideal world, here’s my next time.

Thank you for reading,

With love, Rebecca xo

What I’ve already forgotten: the newborn days.

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I’ve been going through the thousands of photos (no exaggeration!) I took of Reuben when he was a newborn and it sparked a lot of memories. It’s strange because such beautiful, cherished moments become blurry as time goes on. However, it’s made me realise there’s a lot I’ve forgotten about.

Here’s 7 things I have forgotten about the newborn days:

1) Oh the torment of hunger! First and foremost, keeping it light, I suddenly remember the hunger. Trying to find time to cook or make something, and then eat it? And what about if you need that ten minutes to nap, or shower? What then? I spent a lot of the newborn days absolutely starving and my best bet was to make toast, pot noodles or chicken nuggets or hope I could devour them before Reuben awoke. It wasn’t healthy, it was survival.

2) REFLUX. Oh my, the first three weeks of reflux…. it makes me want to cry just thinking about it. I would feed Reuben and keep him upright and he’d throw up and throw up until he needed another feed. At some point I was told this wasn’t normal and I switched him onto anti-reflux formula three days after stopping breastfeeding. He still had sicky days of course but oh goodness, getting out of the house at all, with a baby that won’t stop throwing up? Horrible! Especially when trying to get out of an upstairs flat with the shakes. I had the shakes for ages after giving birth, thinking about it, the hunger didn’t help.

3) On a not so nice note, there’s the unrelenting fear of your baby passing away. When you’re pregnant and when you have a newborn, the fragility of life has never become so clear to you. You hear about SIDS constantly. When your baby is finally placed in your arms, that’s not end of the worrying – I would wake up constantly through the night when Reuben was sleeping to check he was still breathing. I’d also think I was holding him when I was holding my quilt and I’d be panicking and crying searching for him in the covers when really he was sound asleep in his moses basket. I still check on him now, but it’s not so intense, I don’t have to wake up frequently to make sure. I think that comes with confidence that they’re safe and realistically, no harm should come to them. You should never take a baby for granted though, so I will probably always be doing this.

4) The hormones. The overwhelming hormones. I’m talking about the crying because you’re in love with your baby, crying because you’re happy, crying because you’re afraid, crying because you’re tired, crying because you’re hungry, crying because you saw something about midwives on the telly. There’s lots and lots of strong emotion coursing through your veins and it takes you on a very wild ride.

5) How tiring it was. I am very much used to Reuben sleeping through the night now, I’m a lucky mama, I know not all babies do. But I do remember the days when this wasn’t the case, and when he had to be attached to me 24/7 (or so it felt that way) and it was hard. Any time he wasn’t, I was rushing to get something done or sleeping. Mentally, it was probably more tiring than it was physically.

6) But perhaps the saddest thing, to me, is that I cannot for the life of me remember what that newborn smell is. Isn’t it weird that one day they just don’t smell like a newborn anymore? I miss it and yet I can’t remember it. I just know it was damn good to take a deep sniff upon your babies head when they were new and breathe them in and it made everything else irrelevant. All that mattered was you and your baby determined to get through this journey together (in one piece at least haha!).

7) And last but not least, and this is very much a personal aspect of something I’d forgotten… how hard it was to not have the money to be supporting myself, let alone Reuben. It was a struggle for the first six weeks or so and it caused a lot of stress. Stress that I really shouldn’t have had to feel during such precious days. I often talk about how something feels stolen from me when I think back to Reuben being born and that’s one of them. You see because I lost my job when I was pregnant, I fell deep into my overdraft through my entire pregnancy and I didn’t get out of it til Reuben was around two months old. It was hard. When I imagined myself as a mother in the future, that’s not something I expected myself to be going through but it’s a struggle I have learnt a lot from.

Three things I haven’t forgotten however are:

1) How precious the cuddles are… I mean I still love nothing more than snuggling up with Reuben but when he was tiny, idk, it was just so lovely. He felt like he was all mine and I was his world and I loved it.

2) The feeling you get when you finally meet your baby. For me, it was an instant rush of love and honestly, I don’t think there’s anything more euphoric. I often take myself back into that moment when I want to relax. It creates a pang in my heart but it’s very grounding. It refocuses me.

3) How hard it can be to take care of a tiny person when you’re in pain (need I say more), I mean I don’t know about you but my spine still hurts!

So if you read this, thank you very much! I decided to actually do it very late at night because I was waiting up for a shopping delivery. Hell to paying more than two quid for a delivery slot! Haha.

Take care, with love (or whatever I usually say!),
Rebecca xo