Tag Archives: balance

Fighting feelings; mind over matter.

Storm in a teacup

Before I even begin to write this post, I already feel an element of guilt, concerned by how my words may come across. I even feel bad about thinking these thoughts and sharing them on a public media platform, for others to read and share. However, from the beginning of my blogging journey, I have always been open and honest, accounting each day, each moment as honest as possible. Every emotion, guilty thought or happy time, I write it all down and share this with you no matter how dark, I dig deep into my thoughts and I pour them into my writing when they are fresh and raw in my mind. My thoughts are very real and brutally unforgiving.

You know, I recently became a new Mother, something which came as a surprise and a very big shock to the system. Whoever said that all babies do is eat, sleep and poop lied. There is a grey area in between all of theses stages, an area that is not so simple to define.

Motherhood, its a whole different ball game to anything I’ve ever experienced, there are no rules and it can often be isolating. Yes, a baby is a breath of fresh air but the newborn phase doesn’t last forever and the bubble must burst at some point. With that, a baby can be a slap to the face with the force of a tornado when a storm is already brewing.

Is there ever a good time to fall pregnant and begin a family? Is there ever a good time to say goodbye to our own lives, our own person and to step up and become a Mother?  I for sure have lost some of my old self with this new transition, I don’t recall much of the person I was before ‘Mum’. A part of me will always miss the child free days, the days where I had time and I had personal space. I could do as I would please and had no routine and I was in control. I feel I have ventured into this journey perhaps too soon, there were things I had hoped to achieve, places to see, places to live, before settling to family life.

To admit struggle feels as though admitting defeat. To speak up and hear myself aloud say and write all of the thoughts from my mind, makes the struggle feel very real, makes my thoughts come to life, to be true and not just tucked away in mind. I’m going to get down to it and talk about my struggle with Motherhood and becoming a new Mother working to find a balance that seems non existent, working to fight a battle that seems endless, working to provide what she can’t provide physically or mentally. To be there not just for her baby, but for herself and her partner. Fighting the good fight against a healthy mind and wellbeing, if there is such a thing as a good fight. I struggle to know how I should feel or what I should feel.

When I discovered that I was pregnant in January 2017, I cried. Not tears of happiness, tears of fear, of unwillingness. I was not yet ready to be a Mother, my relationship was new, could it withstand a baby? I had high aspects and prospects for myself, I wanted to achieve and create but with the discovery of a baby on the way, I had to put on hold everything I wanted for myself, to try to be less selfish and more patient with my body and to wave goodbye to parts of me that now seem so distant. I was afraid, but I was optimistic and open to the idea of a baby. Family is everything right? A baby is all sunshine and rainbows… right?

To become a Mother and take those first steps into family life is one of the most powerful things that we can do. To create life, to raise young , to love and to nurture. It’s almost what is expected when two people come together in union, it is only a matter of time before we procreate. I can only wish that I had more control with when that time would be. I wasn’t ready, I still don’t feel ready and fear I never will be. I was barely finding my feet, how can I be expected to guide my Daughter to find her path?

Becoming a Mother has changed me in ways I can’t describe, not all good. I have become reborn as a lesser version of myself in some ways. I feel deprived of social interaction, I feel a great deal of isolation and loneliness and I no longer resemble myself in the mirror, I no longer even like to look in the mirror. With this, there is the counter argument, I may be a less version of myself but I have never been able to love as I do now, I see beauty in things I hadn’t previously and I have learned that the little things in life, have the biggest meanings. My baby has taught me how to feel and Motherhood has/is a whirlwind of emotions,skyscraping highs and rock bottom lows.

I find flaws with myself more than ever now, flaws that are much planted much deeper than the surface. This may be because I am set to lead by example and want to lead the best example I can but I fear that I will never feel good enough, not within myself or as a Mother. There will always be someone who can do it better. I shouldn’t compete with anyone but myself, I know this but from time to time, Motherhood and my lack of self awareness can all get on top of my mind, especially on those days that have been particulary testing. I should be kinder to myself, I know this . I hope that I am a good Mother, a good friend, and  lover.

I felt very alone during my time of pregnancy often, this is something which hasn’t changed, I guess it is part of my reasoning to blog, to find a community of my own and to connect. Loneliness can be quite harrowing, it brings with it a great deal of anxieties and worry. It’s not all magic and rainbows that surround a new born and Motherhood is tough. I’d say I find it very tough, especially in my situation..an introvert with a lack of social skills, and a great deal of OCD and horrific mood swings. With Motherhood there are feelings of worry, of isolation, of fear, defeat..they take over and consume my mind. The highs and the lows, I go through it all, every day.

My baby is not exactly a breeze to care for. Eleanor cries, relentlessly. She is a breastfed baby who will not take a bottle, who seldom gives me a break and cannot be left alone for screaming. I have to co sleep as I have previously shared.  This is not something which bothers me greatly as at least this way we all get a nights sleep, but it does affect my relationship and I miss having the closeness of sleeping next to Euan. Often, we are left on the outskirts of the bed as Eleanor stretches out in the middle. Talk about a bum deal.

This may seem funny, but please understand that I must take Eleanor to bed for 10pm each night, week night? Weekend? Yep, EVERY NIGHT , wether I’m tired or not, wether I’m busy or not. I have to retire early and can’t stay up to watch a show or have a mini date night with Euan. Co sleeping and breastfeeding have left me robbed of alone time with my partner. I know that I may be at fault of this, my decision to breastfeed at the beginning meant I had to be next to Eleanor, she fed compulsively and to catch any sleep at all, I would have to take her to bed next to me and sleep while she fed for comfort.

To battle with a screaming baby who only wanted comfort from feeding at all hours of the night with severe sleep deprivation was just not plausible and I had to take the easy way out, or in my case, the only way out.I too have to function daily to provide the best care for my baby that I can, to do so, I must rest. I will never feel guilty about my decision to breastfeed or co sleep as it was the option available to myself and the best one at the time, I do have regrets and would have liked to do things differently, get better habits in place, sure, but I don’t have guilt.

When you lack time for affection with your partner it can cause strain, and you do tend to forget about one another when a baby is thrown into the mix..not literally. Tensions arise and bickering occurs. It is tough to get the right balance and share time together as well as with Eleanor. Our relationship is on the back burner for now, we are more like colleagues just trying to get the days work done, than we are lovers. We are passing ships, it is sad and the reality does hurt. I miss my partner and I miss the alone time that we have previously shared. I can’t help but fault Motherhood for taking away precious time that I could have  with my partner. I do wonder if we had waited, got pregnant at a later stage, if I didn’t breastfeed, would we have had a happier baby and a healthier relationship?

Please note that I feel guilty that I think about this and I know that had I got pregnant later, there would be no Eleanor , I can’t see life without her. My little fireball of strength and emotion so pure. My Daughter has brought me life and a reason to be better, I feel guilty that I ever want to have a little alone time without her. She is mine and she deserves nothing shy of my best, my full attention. Some days, I feel I don’t have this to give and that can hurt.

Motherhood isn’t to be taken light, there are worries, there are boundaries that get crossed, the stress..the social anxiety that I have developed.. It can all get too much and there are days I don’t even want to get up and face the world never mind the list of chores to catch up with (seems to grow over night!. They don’t call Motherhood a full time job for nothing,.. if only it came with a salary. I can’t face the outdoors alone most of the time lately, a trip to the shop can feel like climbing Ben Nevis when Eleanor is in her Pram screaming blue murder and passers by or fellow shoppers pass looks my way. This happens often, most of the time if I am alone, I choose to stay indoors to avoid the blood pressure hike. I choose to settle and admit defeat. Can you believe I am twenty five years of age and a baby is ruling my life? Not something I thought I would ever be contemplating at this stage. I miss the freedom that I once had.

There are days that I don’t want to have to sit and try to play or entertain my baby when I lack the energy to do so. Okay, that’s a lie, I love to play and interact with Eleanor..but there are days when I just can’t do it. I don’t have the energy and I can find myself sitting in the floor just staring blankly into space as my baby lays on her change mat trying to catch my attention, some times with tears rolling. I sit and feel nothing in a trance like state, completely numb to the sounds or any sort of feelings. I ask myself what is wrong with me, how can I not be bothered? I snap out of my trance and rush to grab her as the guilt washes over me. How could I ignore her? I scoop her up and give her endless cuddles and know that she is mine and I am OK.

I know just how fortunate that I am to have been gifted with my girl, my beautiful, fiery girl, the girl with a hot temper and full of charisma. The girl with the smile I will always look for in a room first. I know how much love and hope that she has brought my way. Believe me, I know.. the sparkle in her eyes when she catches a glimpse of me could reduce me to tears some days. The smile she pulls each morning she awakes next to me. Each day she teaches me to love a little more, to be a little kinder and to grow more patient.

Each day I am thankful for this little spark of life that I carried and grew, this little soul that I can love and nurture to my best efforts, this little girl who has stolen my heart and taught me more than anyone ever could in such a short period of time. Each day, I wonder how I can feel so empty from time to time yet be surrounded by so much love? I struggle to know how am I supposed to feel right now, some days I feel everything, others there is nothing and I wonder if I am doing this whole existing thing well.

I wonder if I ever will find the pure magic of Motherhood, if I will ever be able to have and hold it all together as some do and I wonder if I will ever be able to feel truly at peace and comfort as a Mother. I hope that as time passes I will become more at ease with myself and my abilities. I know that I am a good Mother, I know my baby is loved and healthy, she is happy, nurtured and safe.

Honestly, you couldn’t find a baby more loved, it surrounds her and if I could, I would like to keep that love with her throughout her whole life. I want for her to be protected and sheltered, forever safe in a bubble of love. To never feel pain, loss or hurt..yes Motherhood brings with it a fierce need to protect and believe me, I will protect my baby for the rest of my life with all my might, it is my job and a privilege to be able to do so.

I just fear that with having to give so much of myself away to my baby, to others, to searching and finding a whole balance that seems unsustainable I will have nothing left to call my own. Nothing left of myself for myself but an empty and broken shell.  Those empty thoughts, empty feelings will take over and consume me and my mind will be swallowed whole, only functioning on a form of auto pilot with no real thoughts or feelings left to give or to hold sacred as my own.

Some days, some days where I am a tired, anxious and a broken shell of myself, I feel that I have lost everything. I feel that Motherhood came all too soon and with it took parts of myself that I fight to find. The feeling of emptiness and loneliness are feelings that I have to fight. A battle with my mind and a sanity that is on edge.

No, Motherhood has not brought me everything that is magic, Motherhood is so much more than I could have ever imagined and it is more powerful than anything I will ever experience. The emotions are raw, the exhaustion is real and the task of raising young and supporting a family is tedious. The want to do better is constant, the feeling of judgement is ongoing and the fear of doing wrong, of simply failing is all too real. Motherhood brings not just happiness and sunshine, it can bring a bitter pill to swallow and a new reality.

Motherhood has brought with it pain, it has brought worry and it has brought defeat but it has also brought a determination to do better, to be better. Motherhood is a force not to reckon with and so long as I can put up a good fight, I think that I can overcome consuming thoughts and find my happy place between all the chaos and mess. I’m fighting the daily fight for me, for my baby, for my family.

A Sunday well spent..

Hello all, great to see some new followers building up. Right, let’s talk about my weekend. I’ve had a wonderful Saturday and would love to share with you all. It’s nice to reflect isn’t it? Especially on the good.

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A Sunday well spent brings a week of content, right? So they say, and rightly so. I feel that if I have had a great weekend, it makes the working week a little sunnier and easier to get through. I can go to bed with a smile on my face on a Sunday evening and feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. Don’t you feel the same?

So, the title is a little misleading. It was a Saturday well spent I’m talking about. Sunday’s is a working day for Euan now so with Saturday being the only full day we have as a family, we are keen to make the most of the day and fully embrace the time we have together. After all, time really is precious and finding the perfect work/life balance is very important for the mind, body and soul. Not to mention for the quality family time.

Is there such a thing as a perfect balance? I don’t think so. You can try and do what you can to get as close to perfection but it will never be enough. I’m sure if we all had the choice we would spend all of our time at home with our families. Unfortunately, work is a mandatory part of life and any time in between is to be spent and enjoyed as much as possible with our loved ones.

On Saturday, we did exactly that. Took the day off as a family, packed up our bags and went out on a drive to the Forest with our dog Fern in tow and went for a long nature trail. We stopped past Starbucks to grab a coffee and some cake for fuel and headed on out to the forest. A break from City life.

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The sun was shining and the air was crisp. It’s was the perfect day. The scenery, the Winter air, the enjoyment of family life. Euan carried Eleanor in the baby carrier (she slept snug the whole walk!). We managed to grab a few family photographs for the collection also which is always good. I am one of those people who likes to document EVERYTHING. No matter what the occasion.

Fern ran riot, tearing across the woods, running into muddy puddles, chasing leaves and scents. The forest certainly is a happy place for a dog. I bet she must have thought “what a treat”.Perhaps not such a treat later on in the evening when she got bathed to wash out the mud that had stained her coat. Jokes on her, huh?

After a lovely walk we headed back to the car and indulged in some loaf cake. Ginger cake for me, lemon drizzle for Euan. We shared…according. This means, I get the most. Obviously.

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Getting back home and into the warmth and comfort of our pyjamas was great, the walk was so chilly even with mittens on my hands were frozen and my nose was as red as a button. The walk, the cold air, the family time however, was just what we all needed. It was a place to reflect, to enjoy and to clear our minds after an ever busy week.

(I seem to think as the weeks go on, each is busier than the last). Is this growing up?

Taking time out just as us is so important and definitely good for the soul. To escape the hustle of City life, get out of the center for the day and just be ourselves, at one with the nature.  I left the forest with a clear mind and a happy soul. We spent the evening loving the company of one another and watching trash TV whilst cooing over our baby. A pre dinner nap was sneaked in.. Shh. Anyway, all the walking made for three very sleepy bears. It ain’t easy being us.

Back to Sunday now and another week has passed. They tend to pass so quickly, I can’t keep up anymore. I sit here with Eleanor asleep on my chest as I type, it will be a lazy evening. Coffee, biscuits and TV shows that I don’t care for.

Euan has headed out to work until 10pm after a busy morning of tasks. I feel like he should be here with us, sitting around and doing nothing with no intention to do so either. Sundays are for lazing after all and I miss having him home with us.

One day isn’t quite enough to have together as a family but it’s all very necessary. To get to where we want to be, we have to work for those things and I must bear that in mind when I’m sitting alone and feeling blue. I’ll be counting down until he returns back home and gives big bed time cuddles before heading back off to work in the morning. At least, I have some good memories from the weekend to hold on to and give me that fuzzy feeling should I feel down.

I hope that everyone is having a good weekend and a restful Sunday. Have any of you done anything exciting?

Lots of love, Keren x

There were three in the bed..Co-Sleeping with my newborn. Is it really THAT bad?

What is co sleeping? Co-sleeping means sleeping within close proximity to your child. It can vary from being in the same bed or even just in the same room. Families take on different approaches to co-sleeping.

There is no one-size-fits-all model when it comes down to sleeping arrangements with a baby as I have discovered. Some like to sleep with babies, while others simply don’t. Some of us don’t have much choice surrounding sleep arrangements, I have discovered, as some babies need more night comforts than others. It is down to the parents and what they decide to do with their sleeping arrangements and bed time routine.

I have found that with a newborn, you have to go with what works in the moment and re-address situations daily. Right now, Eleanor will not sleep alone in her cot bed at night. She cries almost from the get go of being placed in there. I don’t know the reason for this, during the day she will sleep in her cot without issue but when night comes, she kicks up such a fuss and the crying is almost too much to bear. The only way to get some sleep is by allowing her to sleep next to me in bed or on top of my chest; A decision which I was against but had to quickly re-think.

Yes, we have tried several options while trying to get her into a healthy sleep pattern in her own cot;

Swaddling,

Comforting,

Sleeping on her side rather than back and sleeping upright,

Playing music,

Introducing a night light,

It’s the same story ever night, nothing works and the crying is intense. The only way we could each catch solid sleep was to give in and make adjustments to our sleeping habits. I don’t intend for co-sleeping to last long and would like to gently ease Eleanor out of this habit as soon as I feel she will begin to cope. It may just take some time for her to adapt to being alone, I am sure as she grows older, she will become more independent and her current needs will change. This is a situation I must monitor for the time being and a habit I am keen to break. Hopefully sooner rather than later. The big issue that I hold over this is that I do worry regarding the risks that cover this subject.

There are definite issues and concerns with safety and risks surrounding co-sleeping. The big risk and issue for with allowing Eleanor to co-sleep is the increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome, more dangerous when falling asleep on the couch due to the high risk of her overheating and suffocating which can occur through the day or night. For that reason, I never fall asleep on the couch with her and I am always very aware that she is with me. I feel as though my sleep is disrupted due to having to constantly check that she is okay.

21878991_117548918934597_1894702394311180288_n(1) It has been claimed that if  breastfeeding and not under the influence of alcohol or any further substance or prescribed medication, co-sleeping with your baby shouldn’t increase the risk of SIDS. It is deemed safer to breastfeed in bed than to breastfeed and doze off with on the couch.

Our bedding is a light tog duvet and we don’t sleep with an excess of cushions or pillows, teddies etc. This is said to generally ensure better safety when co-sleeping due to the decreased suffocation and over heating risk.

Due to having to co-sleep, I decided to do some research on the issue for my own awareness and the safety of Eleanor. I wanted to know that so long as we are sleeping alongside one another she is as safe as can be and that the risks are reduced. Upon my readings I have found some helpful tips which I tend to follow rather strictly;

Sleep in the C position – Lie on your side, facing your baby, with your body curled around them in a C-shape with your lower arm above your baby’s head and  knees up under the feet. This position helps prevent rolling and is also convenient for when I breastfeed through the night.

Don’t leave baby alone – Never leaving Eleanor in the bed alone,not even for five minutes, as there is a risk that she could fall off the bed or get into some difficulties.

There are obvious issues that come with this sleeping arrangement that add to the main safety concerns. The issue that I struggle with other than the safety risks is the fact that, I feel you lose the intimacy of sharing the bed with your partner. I favored bed time hugs and kisses. I enjoyed the closeness that I would share with my partner and felt safe sleeping at his side. Now, I sleep at the opposite side of the bed to Euan with little contact, and certainly no bed time kisses. I miss having cuddles on demand and being able to wake to even more cuddles from his embrace. I had a cosy spot next to him and that no longer exists.

With having concerns about Eleanor and fretting that she will overheat, I now sleep with pyjamas and a night gown, to ensure while at the edge of the bed, I don’t freeze. As a cold fish, I don’t take too well to being pushed to the more isolated and cold side of the bed.

In my experience with co sleeping so far, I can’t say it is for me. There are some positives as I must admit I love having Eleanor so close and snug next to me, hearing and feeling her breathe as she sleeps and feeling our bond flourish. I know that she is close and love her being so, it makes my heart feel full and I beam with pride as I lie next to my daughter, knowing that I am her Mother.

21690763_1686484754757368_1905679931287797760_n However, my sleep is disrupted by the worry that surrounds her being next to me. I know, with my instinctive that she is well but I can’t help to continually wake from sleep to check on her and take note of her breathing. The risks of co-sleeping definitely have alarms ringing in my head and selfishly, I miss the relationship that I previously shared with my partner before this began.

I know with a newborn it is trial and error to begin with and that nothing will work out the way I wish it to. Certainly, with my experience nothing turns out as you would have hoped and you cannot really plan how life will be with a new baby. It is all well to hold expectations but in honesty, they don’t take shape.

I had expected that my baby would sleep in her own cot from the day we brought her home and no issues would arise, we would maintain a lifestyle similar to what we previously had and our personal relationship would not face change. I realize now that this was foolish.

Becoming a new parent is a learning curve, we all learn and grow daily and learn more about our baby as the days go on. Within time, I am certain we will find the perfect method that works well for each of us, we will find some form of balance and I will once again be able to sleep without worry.

Embracing the last few weeks of living as a couple. Taking time out with my man.

With my due date fast approaching, I have been keen to spend as much time with my partner as I can (in between naps and early bed times), doing the things which we love or doing nothing at all, it doesn’t matter, any time together is precious. It is so important to me that we take time out together and make the most of it whilst we can.

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I know that when our baby arrives, we will be limited to alone time, there will be so much focus over our little one and adapting to family life that we won’t have the same time as we do now to give one another.  Don’t get me wrong, it will be amazing to be a family but I do think at times I will miss the days where it was just us.During the past few weeks, we have been squeezing in as much time together as we can. To embrace and look back upon with happy memories, especially with this being such an exciting time. I suppose you could almost call it a baby moon. A slightly extended and less extravagant baby moon. No holidays unfortunately, just staying local and making the most of each day and enjoying life together, all the while, learning more and more about each other by the day and scarily becoming more alike! We can now finish each other’s sentences or let out the same word in the same moment. Uh oh.

In recent weeks, we have enjoyed days off from work together, spent a weekend away in Edinburgh – which was so nice. A well needed break for the both of us. It is great to just walk around a new City and take it all in, watching people go about their own daily business. You could say this was the last holiday before baby, it was exactly how I wanted it to be. Dining out at a Thai cuisine, listening to live music in a small and cosy pub until late, coffee mornings and a trip to the Zoo with an evening tour of the Cities underground. I missed out back in May when Euan went out to Malaysia to visit family, I was intending to go with him and the trip had been booked for almost a year. Sadly, I was unable to travel with the risk of Zika virus and had time at home alone instead. Which, I may add was horrible. I did not take well to being alone and became a whole bag of emotions, crying most of the time he was away. Silly, I know.

It is important to me to spend time with loved ones and I feel that you have to put effort into a relationship all of the time, it doesn’t have to be a huge effort but showing support and love can go a long way. Often we can forget what is important and get too caught up with other things that go on from day to day. Work commitments and issues, daily stresses, family problems, etc. It can become very difficult to balance your life and all that comes with it, and can become too much. I want to be in a strong and healthy relationship, have my child grow up in a happy and loving environment. Family is all that most of us have and it is imperial we hold the ones we love close.

Besides a weekend away and various other days out we enjoyed a gig from Blink 182 at a local event venue. A blast from the past you could say and yes, at 33 weeks pregnant, I forced myself out to listen to some live music. We enjoyed greasy gig food and obviously picked up a T-shirt from the merchandise stall to add to the collection. As the evening went on, I did begin to struggle with back pain and tired legs from standing so we ended up sitting at the back of the crowd on the cold concrete floor and listening to the set end from the sidelines. A world away from the gigs I went to in teenage years. I had a great evening and I am sure Euan did too. Getting out and doing something a little different from the norm can make all the difference. A breath of fresh air and another memory to add to the bag. We can tell baby that her first gig was Blink 182. Pretty cool. 

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We haven’t too much planned over the next few weeks, I wanted to keep things tame. I am becoming tired and sore, my knees begin to burn after long days so I think it is time to wind down and relax more. Off to see family this weekend for a night and we have booked to go out for a meal next month at my favourite Indian restaurant. I’m sure we will squeeze in as much cinema trips as we can which means lots of ice cream and pick n mix. Bonus. At this rate, the amount of time we spend at the cinema, I’ll be lucky if I don’t start labor during a screening.  I must say, I am excited to slow down and stop a little. To sit back and get ready to begin a new chapter. I can’t wait for my journey as a family to begin and to get stuck in my own little love bubble with the two people I will hold the closest. but for now, I am just enjoying the last days we hold together as a couple and falling more in love with my man than ever. I am very fortunate to have someone so genuine,good and caring by my side. I cannot wait for what family life will bring and to watch my best friend become a Father.