Tag Archives: unplugged

When I became a Mother.

Ahead of Mother’s day, I have followed the trend of the #whenibecameamother having been nominated by a friend. This tag line got me to think about that first evening when I met my baby girl and held her for the first time. That first evening that I lay awake watching her adoringly.

The day my baby came into the world was and will forever be the best day of my life. Though exhausted, afraid and weak, my body pulled through and I felt the strongest I had ever felt. I now, have to be the strongest I have ever been for you and to lead the way as you reach developmental milestones and offer a helping hand when you have a set back, no matter how big or small.

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In the short time since becoming a Mother and taking on a role so powerful and rewarding, I’ve never had so many highs and lows in my life. Each day is met with a new challenge, some days trying to thrive with just a two hour sleep is testing. I always do my best and push on through as best as I can.. with the aid of around twelve cups of coffee.

In all seriousness, I love my new found role as a Mother and being part of a community of Mother’s all around the Globe. Here’s to each Mum and Dad out there, it’s a tough role to play and can be relentlessly hard from time to time. We are all doing the best we can and raising our children with hope and love in a world that can seem very unhopeful at times. It’s a scary place this world that we live in, and parenthood is a scary job. Let’s build each other up and support all the parents out there, through the struggles and the achievements.

Let’s recognise each other not just on Mother or Father’s day, but every single day. Parenthood should be celebrated and cherished. After all, bringing a child into the world is one of the best things that we can do. There is so much hope and love that surrounds a new baby, something so precious, so special. No other feeling quite cuts it once you hold your baby for the first time and feel all of the feelings in that moment. When you cry all those first happy tears mixed with excitement and exhaustion. Those whole first moments can’t ever be relived but they will stay with you forever.

Oh, Eleanor. Your first steps, I will be there. Your first words, I will be there. Your first sickness bug, I will be there. Your first heartbreak, I will be there. Your first let down, I will be there. I will always be there for you my dearest baby girl.

#whenibecameamother

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With this post, I wish you a very Happy Mother’s Day where ever you are around the World, let us hold our children close and raise a glass (or sip a mug of hot coffee – that is my jam). and while we enjoy our day, let’s share some love for every Father out there too. Who hold our hands when we cry, work hard to thrive and provide and glue the Family together with strength, support, goals and companionship.

 

Love, Keren x

Maternity leave and Motherhood. Where dreamy expectations meet reality.

The illusion of Motherhood.

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Call me naive but I had great hopes for my spell off work on maternity leave. Maybe, I am just too new at this whole baby game and Motherhood to understand exactly how much work a newborn entails and how little time there is left for leisure.

Perhaps if I had been more in the know and more accepting of a new lifestyle change I’d have not been hit with such a harsh reality and have my illusion of maternity leave shattered. Perhaps if I were wiser, I’d have foreseen that with Motherhood and maternity leave, there are no dreamy illusions.

Let’s get to the point, with a spell of maternity leave from work, I had such great expectations and ideas.

For a start, I believed that I would still be able to get up and get dressed each morning, to pick out a pretty outfit and to do my make up and my hair real nice. I believed I would have the time and then some to feel like myself all while nursing a newborn. My baby would sleep and I would have all the time in the world to take a hot shower and get myself ready each and every day. Yeah right. I was met with a harsh reality. A reality that is now every day life. A reality that is now me.

I’m afraid to say that maternity leave is not all I expected it to be, at least not at this  initial first stage. I lack the time to shower and get myself ready, I don’t have time to bake homely goods and make the dinner that I’ve been perfecting out of the dozens of recipe books I own and I certainly don’t have time to be heading out on leisurely shopping and coffee trips. The only escape I have from my reality is through writing my blog and even with that, I’m still plugged into Motherhood. There’s no escape. I am completely consumed.

I am lucky if I have ten minutes to myself to have a cup of coffee and settle down to one of the books I bought myself as a treat for maternity leave. I cannot watch a TV show without the interruptions of a hungry baby demanding to be fed and I certainly don’t have the opportunity to work on my culinary skills.

In fact, I lack so much time that dinner is a slap up meal that’s come straight out of the oven, or in my case, a bowl of cereal which I dribble all down myself and my baby as I nurse her while I eat with one hand. My fiance has been living on beans and various forms of supermarket frozen meats. The occasional vegetable thrown into the mix for good measure. I swear I will make a good wife yet..

Baking? Well, you can forget that, I can barely make it out to the supermarket alone to collect baking supplies, never mind start the baking in question. I did once love to bake and I wanted to try to improve on this while I have time off to do so.I could becoke and frequent baker and teach my daughter the skills but I have found that i lack the time, the energy and the motivation for any form of creativity right now. The carrot cake has been put on hold. Baking can wait.

Yes, maternity leave was full of high and mighty expectations. I had so much plans. I could join all of the mum and baby clubs, I could have coffee dates daily, go out and take a shopping trip each week – one that wasn’t met with a dose of anxiety as I waited for my baby to kick off and begin to cry and fuss in public. Hell, maybe I could even join the gym and go to some classes in the day time. Meet some new people. Make some new friends.

Friends are something that I lack, and always have. In primary school and even into secondary school I found I never really fitted in to any friendship groups or any clubs. I’ve always been a it of a lone wolf. It’s not that I don’t try to make friends, it’s just I’m a bit socially awkward and as an introvert, I really struggle in a social setting and meeting new people is a very big deal. I also don’t do touching..

Let me elaborate. You know that friendly hug that people do? That friendly peck on the cheek? The type that you never know which way to turn or wether you are meant to return that peck? Yeah? Well, you can guarantee I’m shying away and half way out the door before anyone is touching me. I don’t do hugs.

Shudder.

Let me mention that I’m also a bag of nerves when I’m out alone. Especially these days. I didn’t quite come to imagine this is how life would be spent with my newborn on our maternity leave. I certainly haven’t signed up to any baby clubs and I don’t know if I will. I don’t think it’s for me and I don’t feel I will fit in to the local mum clubs. Does that make me a bad mum?

Most days I spend at home with Eleanor and meet her demands as and when required. Around the clock nappy changes and feeds met with the household tasks in between and whatever I can catch of a TV show. I have become nothing more than a Mother.

The best job in the world some might say and sure, I love being a Mother. I love having my baby and feeling such a string bond with her, a bond I haven’t experienced with any other. I love that I have someone who depends on me, who needs me. I have someone I am responsible for and someone who gives me a reason to be the best I can be. However, I fear that I may be losing my identity at the same time as I find my feet in the journey of  parenthood. I am not really myself anymore, I’m in a mum zone and can only relate to all things baby. My mind doesn’t see past baby and I lose concentration easily.

No, maternity leave is not as creative or as fun as I had hoped. It can be lonely, days can be long and it can be grueling. You get some days when you fail to function. If it weren’t for auto pilot kicking in, I fear I’d not be able to move from my spot on the sofa to see to my baby. That’s the extreme days though and no, not each day is like that.

If and when I enter the outside world, I prefer to have my mum or Euan with me, I can’t stand to be out alone with Eleanor. It’s much easier to take her out with company. I feel less alone and have help at hand if I need it.

I know that I shouldn’t worry if she does fuss while in public, she is after all a baby and it is expected. A great anxiety builds within me each time I leave the home and If I’m alone, all I want to do is run back home before I begin to cry. I feel myself well up and have to try hold back from crying whenever I step out alone. That sounds crazy. I know.

Wait, have I gone crazy?!

Even just nipping five minutes down the road and queuing in the local shop to buy a sandwich and a tin of juice for lunch has my body twitching with nerves. I never used to be so anxious but since having Eleanor, I’ve definitely noticed I have become a bit of a nervous wreck. I can’t pin point why. It’s perhaps just a phase which will pass, I’m sure if I asked any health professional that’s what they would tell me anyway. It seems to be all they tell me.

I had planned to look the part of the stay at home mum, all while making the home look nice and stay that way. I wanted to work on my culinary skills, to bake lots. I wanted to still take the time to look good, not only for myself but for my fiance to admire each time he walked in the door. I didn’t want to have my baby and let myself go.

Yep, I set the standards high for myself and I expected to meet them. It’s safe to say, any standards I has set for myself are regularly not met. I’m on a losing streak.

In honesty, yes I shower every day but I don’t often have the time to dry my hair, make up is either half done or not at all and I don’t have the time to pick out one of the many pretty dresses I own. I live in a £2 Primark bra that kind of fits my swollen breastfeeding breasts, jogging bottoms and a dressing gown with slippers that are too small and squish my toes. Real glamorous.

You can often find me changing from one over worn t shirt to the next in between baby naps due to excessive sweating as a result of breastfeeding and my hormones. Maternity leave will be so much fun she said..

I don’t get the time to sit and read a book with a hot drink, I don’t watch the TV, sure it’s on as background noise but that’s all that it is. I certainly don’t cook and the most nutrition I get is from my daily dose of vitamins – which I swear by, by the way.

I wanted to be the picture of a stay at home mum. The type of mum who plays an active part on the local baby clubs and the mum community. The type which I have come to realise that you only find on those far fetched American TV shows. The TV shows aren’t true to form, trust me. It’s all an illusion and Motherhood is not glamorous.

I wanted to be the type of mum that you see on adverts and wonder how she does it. Wonder how her home can be so clean, her meals so wholesome and her face immaculately painted all with the happy baby in the fresh white baby grow and the smug smile to match. The bitch.

Maternity leave is nothing like I had imagined and I find it quite difficult to adapt to having the time off but failing to meet any of my expectations of this time. I get out with the help from my Mother, I have no friends near by that I can simply just meet up with and even if I could getting out the house is a big effort which leaves me a little drained.

I’ve even began to do the weekly food shop online because getting out to do it was too much of a challenge and it stressed me out to the point that I’d end up in a bad mood and feeling upset.

Maternity leave is like nothing I had imagined. It isn’t glamorous, I don’t get to look nice I often feel like a bit of a hag with terrible eye bags and a headache that does not leave me. I’m tired, nervous and a bit behind on the household tasks.

However,what I have learned during this stage of maternity leave is that I love my baby. I love her so much that almost none of the above matters, what matters is caring for my child,not how good I look or how good I smell as I care for her. What matters is that I raise my baby well and do the best that I can along the way.

Perhaps right now we aren’t fine dining, I’m not in the best shape I have been and the house is a bit dusty. Perhaps I am not top of the mum committee’s and perhaps I am missing out on a good old shopping and lunch trip but this is only right now. It’s just the beginning. Maybe someday I will get it right and I will be able to find the balance. Is there ever a happy balance post baby?

Someday, I’ll be that mum from the adverts and I’ll be able to provide good meals, fresh bakes all while looking good and having the home sparkle. Yeah right…

One can dream, the reality is that life is not how I expected post natal and I didn’t expect to spend my time on maternity leave slumming it but that’s how it is and this is my reality. My baby is happy and my fiance never goes hungry so I suppose I’m winning in my own way. It’s not picture perfect but I am learning to deal with the fact it never will be.

I can’t do it all, no matter how much I would love to. Shout out to all of the mum’s out there doing the best that they can. If your reading this, you are probably most definitely doing better than me.

 

Keren x

The things I wish my midwife had told me.

 

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Hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? During the course of my pregnancy, I was always so blind sighted by the concept of holding my baby that I didn’t really explore or look into what life might be like post baby and what babies actually do.

We all know how it goes; babies, eat, sleep and poop. I was naive to assume as much and to never have questioned what goes on in between or even during these stages in the day. I didn’t bother to think about what babies do when they are awake, how they act and what can trigger them to act in a particular way. Why does a baby cry?

I feel that I was misled and misinformed by the midwives and ante natal classes. I was only ever told of the positive side to motherhood, breastfeeding and babies. Never the negatives. I was silly to have been so naive and not ask more questions or have done more research into life with a newborn. After all, it is a life changing experience and I wish I paid more attention to this and given post birth some thought. I had wanted my baby so bad that I overlooked some of the most important factors surrounding becoming a first time parent. I had unknowingly set myself up for failure.

There is a lot more to babies than eating, sleeping and pooping. It is not as simple as it can be made to seem and a lot more delicate.

 What happens when all your baby wants is to be held and will not allow to be put down? What happens when your baby is awake all night, crying in discomfort with colic? Nothing that you try to do will help and the crying only intensifies. What then?

21911266_175156759703314_3618031242710089728_n What happens when your baby gains the benefits of breastfeeding but you, as the Mother are left feeling drained and lifeless from hours of cluster or comfort feeding? Breastfeeding is said to help a Mother share a strong bond with baby, however I was not aware nor made aware about issues that develop such as cluster feeding. The whole aspect of bonding is overlooked in my experience and I don’t feel nursing my baby builds a bond, nursing simply intensities how tired I am. I feel like I am not yet a Mother, I am a feeding mechanism with a baby attached to me almost 24/7.

 

Nobody warned me of the darker side to parenthood or what happens come dark. There is no routine and there will not be for a long time. Why are parents so misinformed about issues such as colic? Why are the benefits of breastfeeding pushed at new mums yet the reality of this nursing method is missed out?

Perhaps it is down to the parents to do their own research pre baby. Perhaps health care professionals should be more open with the reality of life with a newborn and not lead parents into a false pretense. I hadn’t even heard of colic prior to this. I have discovered just how common it can be among newborns and I feel a little upset that something so common does seem to be overlooked and not spoken of during a woman’s pregnancy.

21819793_351033521976984_1886224562660573184_n We are currently involved in a six week baby massage class where we learn routines and techniques to massage Eleanor. An element of the class covers dealing with colic and wind build up, methods to help subside this are taught and seem to be very beneficial and relaxing. It certainly chills Eleanor out but is in no way the answer to her colic nor a long term solution.

I feel that had I been given information about colic or told the disadvantages of breastfeeding I could have prepared myself for the impact each would have and the extent of the toll that such issues can and do take. No new parent wants to be nursing their baby for hours through the night to help soothe the excessive crying, unable to lay their baby down anywhere but right beside them. It is tough. 

We are told by Health care staff that colic is a phase that will pass. When? When will this phase pass? It is so easy to say yet being on the receiving end and dealing with your baby who is clearly in discomfort and struggling is not so easy. It is hard to see her struggle through. I feel so helpless during her episodes of this. Being told it will pass, is simply no use.

Life with a newborn is hard and there is so much more to it than we are led to believe. I often find myself feeling the strain of handling a baby all day both physically and emotionally, especially when she does not like to be put down. You don’t really get a break being a new parent and certainly factors such as colic and comfort feeding add to this. I only hope that come time, colic and the disadvantages of breastfeeding become more spoken of and awareness surrounding both is brought to the attention of new parents.

21690458_1415176985245146_942516790557147136_n I only wish that during my pregnancy I had done my research and asked more questions. Had I had the information which I do now, could I have prevented the colic? Could I have been in a better routine of the sorts? Would I still have chosen to breastfeed? The fact is, it is now too late to wonder what if, II can now only act on the decisions that I had made and deal with each day at a time. I hope that this is just a phase and that the colic and the crying relentlessly will pass, sooner rather than later and I can gain some Independence back.