Tag Archives: Family first

Eleanor’s First Birthday.

IMG-20180831-WA0013Firstly, I’m going to apologise for my lack of online presence, it’s been such a busy eight weeks and to round it all off, the past two weeks have been full of celebrations and joy. Celebrating all things family and all thegood in life. With a lot of blogging to catch up on and some spare time to kill on the drive back to Amsterdam from Bruges, I’ll begin with the first in the run up of events. Eleanor’s first birthday, one of the best and most exciting days I have ever had. What a buzz around a First birthday, we had an absolute blast and I’m now more in love than ever.

Yes, you read correct, on the 31st of August my baby Daughter turned one and I don’t quite know how to handle that. A year has past so soon, so sudden and I’m not sure that I am ready to let go a little more. Motherhood, It’s a process and it’s an emotional challenge. It can be lonely, it can be scary but most of all  it can be so, so rewarding and the love that consumes you is something quite euphoric. My baby girl has brought so much to the World that I live in within in such a short year and had made the process of becoming a Mother so very easy for me. She leads the way, and I follow.

There are few words to explain just how Eleanor has changed my life in such a short space of time, all for the better. This tiny little baby appeared and suddenly everything becomes so different and the life you knew is no more. We have to change and adapt, grow and nurture, it’s not easy to get to grips with but before you know it parenting is second nature and I wonder if we need these tiny babies more than they need us. Or at least in some respects. What a crazy year it has been and I can only thank Eleanor for the life she has brought to me and the joy she has filled me with.

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As a new Mum, I’m so grateful to have the time that I do with Eleanor to raise and watch her as she grows. Keen to capture it all and document her firsts, her achievements and her happiness is just so important for myself and my Husband, Euan. Oh, yes, you read that right.. Husband. I’ll elaborate later.

To celebrate the first year of Eleanor’s life and the good she has brought to us all, we decided to have a morning of present opening followed by Eleanor’s favourite breakfast, pancakes and Yogurt. Messy but absolutely delicious, she is a girl after my own heart and our love of pancakes will bond us forever more. I picture life with Eleanor ahead and can see us sitting around a cafe table washing down our favourite food with different juices and coffees, it makes me smile to have all of these images and ideas of happy family life full my head and I feel warm.

My baby has brought so much to our lives and her soul is just so alive and pure. Charismatic, friendly, loving, cheeky and more, Eleanor really does make for quite a special little girl. I’d be lost without her and life would certainly not be half as bright. I can’t believe how such a small person can have such a big presence, Eleanor lifts and lights the room, I love her.

Looking like my big little girl, all dressed in her pink Birthday dress which I had purchased the day prior, what follows was a family day trip to a local family soft play center and outdoor play area, den in the Glen. A coffee stop on the way was essential however as without coffee i wouldn’t have made it.

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A place familiar to myself from childhood play dates. We walked around the grounds as it was a lovely and sunny day, pointed out each artefact and piece of nature to Eleanor and just went at our own pace taking it all in. I think I was trying to digest my baby being one to be honest, something that I am still trying to get my head around.

After a walk around, I nursed Eleanor in the car before heading into the soft play area for a wee seat, a spot of lunch and a play in the open space that was suitable for both babies and parents. The hall was busy, families were enjoying lunch together, babies were nursing or snacking and of course, the play area was full of small children and adults, running around, splashing about in the ball pit and having a good day to themselves.

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Having not been to soft play previously, I didn’t know what to expect really. A lot to take in and afterward Eleanor was so exhausted that we went out in a drive to Stonehaven to kill time and allow for a car nap. If left without a nap and over tired it can be an absolute nightmare and I wanted Eleanor to be able to enjoy her day as much Euan and I were, after all it was a day all about her.

In the evening we heading up to my mums to enjoy a birthday tea full of everyone’s favourite snacks and nibbles, Eleanor included. There were sandwiches, pizza, chips, falafel. You name it, we had it. An exceptional spread hosted by my Mother. I brought the birthday cake which I had baked the previous day, a lemon sponge cake in the style of a Victora sponge with buttercream..

The whole family had a great day of celebrations and feasting and Eleanor had a blast. Turning one hasn’t ever looked so good, our baby was spoiled rotten with love and attention while being catered for with all of her favourite foods. I’m usually quite strict with treats and snacks but a birthday is an exception and an excuse to go all out.

To wind down at the end of the day, we headed home and it was straight to bed. Yes, 8.30pm and my baby and I were off to enjoy a cuddle and a snooze together while Euan sorted out some bits and bobs. I don’t know how much longer my baby will nurse from me, accept my cuddles and hold my hand as she falls asleep but for now I’m not ready to wave goodbye to those special moments. I’ve let go of our first year together and that’s quite enough for right now. It’s been challenging, hard work and an emotional roller-coaster.

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There’s been good days, bad days, days where everything just falls out of place and goes wrong but I would do each day all over again if I could. As they all say, blink and you miss it and I can fully say that the statement is so very true. A moment will pass at the blink of the eye but a memory can last a lifetime. That’s what I’m keen to continue to do as Eleanor grows, to make memories and capture as much of our time together as I can.

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Happy birthday baby girl, for I love you so.

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.

Learning to be thankful and lead a minimal lifestyle.

I will be the first to admit that I’m very used to getting my own way and getting the things I want. A lifestyle that tough to maintain and keep track of online orders. Lately, with a whole new family life, a rather large wage cut and a whole lot to pay out for, (ahem, adult life) it has made me start to change my ways, my habits and begin to live as quite the minimalist. A change of tune you could say.

I was never privelaged by no means. However, growing up, I was always provided for and gifted treats and shopping days. Nothing lavish, but enough to keep a gal satisfied. I had a whole lot more than some but always wanted more. When I turned 16 and began to work, I made my own money and got used to having little ties, a monthly income and weekly treats.

My shopping habits increased from odd treats here and there to weekly packages from Topshop. I didn’t care, I had no concept of adult life, bills, the cost of living etc. I took much for granted and lived reckless. Nights out, consuming too much alcohol, shopping sprees, cigarettes. You name it.

I dread to think of what i could have saved had I been more aware of the daily cost to survive in this climate and been less greedy. It was all too easy and made for temporary bouts of happiness. There is nothing that a new pair of shoes can’t fix, right?

Wrong. Since moving from home and beginning my own chapter in life, I have come to realise that the shoes in my closet don’t Infact bring any element of happiness. If anything, they are a danger hazard as they collapse from the wardrobe on a daily basis.

I suppose what I am getting at, is that I now realise how foolish I was to have such ludicrous spending sprees. No material will find you happiness, something I have soon discovered. Happiness comes from the heart, feeling good and a sense of well being. I’m trying to be more grateful of what I have, than cry over what i don’t have. I still have the ability to buy treats but I don’t necessarily have a need for treats any more. A blue sky and a dose of fresh air can provide so much more thought provoking feelings than any material item may bring.

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Treats are my family: My baby girl, my fiance. The life we build together surrounds me with hope and joy. Five years from now, I don’t know where we will be, I know we will have to work damned hard to get there and to live cautiously for some time in the process and I am OK with that…That is of course that I don’t fall victim to a shoe collapse and rot under a pile of black boots and Nike.

In all honesty, learning to be more frugal is a bit of a struggle. I am very used to having my own funds to spend freely. I have gone from daily shopping and trips to the store for some goodies to returning items to the shelf, making cuts where I can in weekly shops and letting online shopping baskets remain filled with items now “out of stock”

I miss the freedom of having no ties with money and having a lifestyle where I could get away with being a little lavish, treating others. Now, as a parent and a wife to be, there are more important parts of my life than shopping. Cutting past habits is tough and feeling the strain and the stress of money is tough.

Im working to find a better health and well being, a better balance and a stronger version of myself. So long as my baby is always provided for, my partner is happy, I shall be happy.

It is funny. Life really does change you when you become a parent. Everything is seem so differently. Worries grow, your mind works around the clock, you get by on a lack of sleep but most of all, your heart grows and you grow with it. My daughter has brought so much happiness and given so much purpose. I suddenly feel everything and every emotion.

I am most absolute in love, not just with Eleanor, but with Euan, with life. I am in love with our future plans,the idea of more babies, the thought of a new home, a new City. Life, there is so much on offer.

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As a child, I would always wonder why my Mother would always treat my siblings and I but never dare splash out on herself, now that I am a Mother, my perspectives have changed and my motives of happiness differ, I can understand why my Mother never put herself first. She was a Mother and a child’s happiness is what brings  happiness all around.

Today, I feel thankful.