I’ve been a bit busy…

I've been a bit busy

So I haven’t managed to do any actual writing in a while, I’ve had lots of ideas and inspiration but not enough time to actually sit down and get to it! I’ve had some amazing opportunities come up recently so now the dust has settled I thought I’d be a bit big headed and update you all on what’s been going on πŸ˜‰

Gosh, where do I even start?! I received a phone call from a lovely lady at Fixers UK called Liz asking if I would like to start my own ‘Fixers project’.Β Fixers are young people using their past to fix the future. They are motivated by personal experience to make positive change for themselves and those around them.Β I wasn’t really sure where I fit in to this. She had found me after researching into the Devon Sports Awards, wanting me to do a bit about my cycling group, however she stumbled across this blog and decided we could do something even bigger and better!

We had a chat and Liz explained how she had recently returned to work from maternity leave and was keen to get the message of just how hard parenting is to the wider audience. She decided I was the person to do this – AHH! The following day she had arranged for her colleague Jo to come down from London to meet me, that day. I told my husband and he was confused, some big shot in London was coming all the way down to little old Crediton to meet me?! It was overwhelming to say the least! Jo was lovely, she was keen to get my ‘story’ out there and we would begin filming the following Tuesday.Β We went camping that weekend, and once we arrived I got a call from the producer of my short film – HA! Dave found it hilarious when I casually explained that I was “just on the phone to my producer”.

Tuesday came and we spent the whole day filming, it was bizarre. Overwhelming, exciting, nerve-wracking! The kids were brilliant, which I was very surprised by as they’re being quite a handful at the moment. I was quite surprised by just how long it takes to film just 3 minutes 15 seconds. It took all day and we had so many takes. Luckily the parts where I had to actually do my interview and tell my story in narrative only took one shot, as I’m not sure I would have been able to go over it more than once. The whole thing was exhausting. But I’m so pleased how it has turned out. We watched it together the following Thursday on ITV Regional News and I was so proud. It was an amazing experience. Once I receive the footage we will be using it to advertise the support group myself and my friend Lucy set up. And of course I will share it for anyone who didn’t get to see it on the day!

I've been a bit busy
Just have a film crew in my kitchen…

In between the whirlwind that was my Fixers project, I finally attended the Devon Sports Awards. I went with two very lovely friends and we had a great time getting dolled up. We got ready together and did each others hair and make up whilst listening to music and having a few ‘pre-drinks’. Unfortunately I didn’t win, a young girl of 16 who runs a local swimming group did. I’d like to say all that crap about how I’m just glad to be nominated la di dah but to be honest I was disappointed. We did get lots of free booze though! I also got a picture with James Cracknell OBE, and he’s quite attractive, so it wasn’t all bad…

I've been a bit busy
mmm…

We then had a very busy day at Rosemoor Gardens where the kids modelled for the Spring/Summer 2018 JoJo Maman Bebe catalogue! The day started awfully with an hour long bus journey where Issy puked – twice. It was awful as she went through all her spare clothes. I found a top of Alfies that fit her and spare knickers but no trousers. Just as I was about to panic that she would have to run about half naked, we went into the baby change toilets and sitting on the change table was a pair of 18-24 month pink leggings! Honestly I could have cried. I don’t know who left them, and feel a bit bad for essentially stealing but those leggings saved the day!

I've been a bit busy
Wedding scene for JoJo Maman Bebe – cute!

To finish our crazy couple of weeks, myself and my friend Roxie took part in a 25 mile cycling sportive. We’re really enjoying cycling in our Active Mums group, so decided we’d take it a step further and do it for ourselves. The lengths we take to get a day without the kids πŸ˜‰ It was so much fun and the views along the track were just stunning. It was nice to have some time just us, even though we were also cycling! We finished in just under 3 hours, which we are very proud of, and we even got medals. Our husbands and children waited at the finish line for us and we both teared up seeing them all cheering us on. It was a lovely day out!

I've been a bit busy
Rocking our medals!

I’d like to say things are slowing down but of course I don’t do ‘nothing’ very well. I’m busy planning a sponsored bike ride, bringing together my Active Mums group and the post natal depression support group I help run. 22 Miles of riding where we’ll hopefully raise lots of money to advertise the group and help more local Mums.

I’ve started my CBT sessions and things are going well so far. I’m not quite convinced but I’m putting my all into it with hopes it’ll work. My meds have leveled out which has helped tremendously. My psychologist has determined I’ve definitely gone back into ‘high functioning depression’. I’m not quite sure if that’s a good thing or not. I know I’m spreading myself too thin, I’m constantly on edge that I’m about to crash.

But for now I’m floating on a bit of a high so I’m just going with it! Stay tuned for the crash πŸ˜‰

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How Others Perceive Depression

I often worry how people perceive me since I have started writing this blog. I am honoured to have received lots of positivity from friends as well as strangers. However I often worry that by being so open about my struggles, that people focus on my mental health more than me as a person. I know I was once seen as a Mum of two who seemed to be perfect, I played this role so well. But now they know the truth, I cannot hide as well as I used to. I feel like people see through me easier.

I guess this is to be expected when opening yourself to the wider audience, and I understood this to a point when I started. I did not realise just how differently people see me now though.

I have just spent a weekend with my in laws, without the children. It was an interesting experience. I hope they don’t mind me delving into our conversation. #bloggingfamilyproblems

Since moving to our new house six months ago, I am forever offering to babysit one of my nephews. He isn’t at school yet, and with both parents working and not going to pre school every day, he often stays with Grandparents. As I don’t drive, it would not have been easy for me to care for him and my two, but now we live in the centre of town, it just makes sense for me to help out. So I offered time and time again and whilst they said they would think about it, they would never take me up on it.

So after we had all had a few drinks, I asked them why. They admitted they worried that it would be too much for me and that I might struggle. They didn’t want to put on any pressure on me. I admitted that I was quite offended by this. I can see they were thinking of me, with best intentions and kind hearts, but I was a bit annoyed.

My main ‘trigger’ when it comes to my mental health is that I see myself as a bad mother. No matter how many times people tell me otherwise, I am not what my crazy mind sees as a ‘perfect parent’ and in that mind, anything other than perfect is imperfect. One thing that keeps me going is hoping others don’t see me as a bad parent.

So by my in laws admitting their worries, even though their concern was with me, not my parenting abilities. I took it to heart. And then started to doubt myself.

Do my in laws see me as a bad parent? Do they talk about me behind my back? Do they feel sorry for me? Do they feel sorry for my children?

I have always had quite a good relationship with my husbands family, of course we had a few boundary issues when Isabella first came along, what new family doesn’t? But they were resolved quite quickly and I really feel part of their family.

But maybe by opening myself up in such a public way, I didn’t quite take their opinions into consideration?

However my worries were quickly eased as following the weekend, I was asked to look after their son. I was overjoyed. He was a bit shy at first but we ended up having a fantastic day. As much as people don’t believe me when I say it, having the responsibility of others children, makes my days so much easier. Especially now Isabella is getting older and harder to keep entertained. She loved having her big cousin around to play.

Turns out by being honest, a simple issue was resolved. So a few drinks had to be involved to get the conversation going, but it worked. I feel I have been given a new trust with my husbands family.

Hope they get the hint from this and continue πŸ™‚

 

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Tandem feeding – that means I get 1000 extra calories a day right?

tandem feeding - that means an extra 1000 calories a day right?

Did you know the UK has some of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world? Isn’t it mad that a first world country is getting it so wrong when it comes to our children’s health? I honestly think this has a lot to do with our education system. How breastfeeding isn’t a part of the curriculum is beyond me.

I never really had an opinion on breastfeeding. I knew that I wanted children and I knew I was supposed to feed them myself. However I had no idea how I was to go about this and for how long! So I asked my Mom, she told me that she fed both myself and my little brother to six months, before we then moved to solid foods. This made sense, as I assumed they had milk to six months then only solid food after.

So I got pregnant, and entered the world of online pregnancy support groups. It turned out the world of parenting was a whole like the world of high school. A little group where everyone shares similar opinions, there were groups on how to feed your baby, how to carry your baby, where they should sleep. It was overwhelming!

I gave birth to my daughter and even though we had a very difficult after birth (which you can read about here),Β our start to breastfeeding was relatively easy. I went along to a local breastfeeding support group, as I wanted to weigh my daughter, and ended up making some amazing friends. It became a weekly thing and after a few months, I was asked to become a breastfeeding peer supporter. It turned out they only asked me to fill the course up, but I’ve ended up becoming a regular volunteer so good thing they did! πŸ˜‰

That course taught me so much, not only about breastfeeding, but how to correctly bottle feed too. By the end of the course, my daughter was six months and I had no intentions of weaning. My goal changed to 2 years old, following the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.

My period returned at 8 months PP, and we decided to let nature take it’s course…at 9 months PP, I was pregnant! You can read more about that here. Straight away I got comments about weaning my daughter…”Well, I bet you’re regretting bed sharing now!”….”Oooh, you’ll have to stop coddling her”….”Time to get her off the boobie, eh?”

However I saw no reason why I had to stop. I knew it was safe to continue to feed throughout my pregnancy and beyond. I didn’t think it was fair to stop feeding my daughter, to take away her one source of comfort, just because I had become pregnant. The pregnancy had made me become very protective over our bonding time, I was worried that if she didn’t feed anymore, she might not need me anymore.

I started to research exactly how tandem feeding would work, seeking advice from every possible avenue. I read La Leche Leagues ‘Adventures in Tandem Nursing’ and ‘Mothering Your Nursing Toddler’, both great reads if you have ever thought about tandem feeding. I was nervous as to what my consultant would say however was surprised when they supported my decision to continue and confirmed that it would have no affect on the pregnancy or my sickness.

Baby came and feeding was the only thing that did come naturally. You can read my seconds birth story here.Β Once my daughter arrived to meet the baby, we were both eager to feed after a long break. SheΒ  watched me feed the baby, then immediately became upset, wanting to feed too. I latched her on and felt immediate relief. I had been so worried that she wouldn’t want me anymore, all of my anxiety released, at least for a few hours.

Once we got home, we started experimenting with different feeding positions. For some reason I was determined to feed them both at the same time, however, I found it very uncomfortable. It was a sensory overload. I could not focus on feeding both children at the same time. My head buzzed, my arms and legs got pins and needles, and I just wanted to push them away from me. I started to worry that this would be the end of our tandem feeding journey. I joined as many Facebook ‘Tandem Feeding’ support groups as possible. Scrolling through, desperate for someone who felt the same as I did.

Finally, I plucked up the courage to ask the question…was it just me? Was it possible to feed both of my children without physically feeding them at the same time? Turns out the answer was yes! Over 100 mums from all over the world commented to let me know they felt the same, some had been feeding two, even three children without actually feeding them at the same time. I was elated.

Having the toddler feed first, meant that she did not feel jealousy for her new sibling, I barely became engorged, the baby would get a comfortable feed and I wouldn’t be hassled by the toddler! We continued with few issues until my son was coming up to a year old. I seemed to be prone to mastitis, having had it a few times with my daughter, I was used to seeing the signs early, getting the medication and it not being a big deal.

However one morning my daughter woke me as usual for her morning feed. There was a bit of pain from a small lump, so I massaged it whilst feeding and it seemed to reduce. An hour later and the kids were up and watching telly, I went to the bathroom when suddenly I was overcome with uncontrollable shivering, I started vomiting and was unable to move. Luckily a dear friend came over to take over child watching, I called my GP and was asked to go in straight away. My husband picked me up and took me to the doctors office, where I collapsed in the waiting room.

After a quick visit in hospital with some IV antibiotics, I was on the bend again. Then it happened again, the following month. And again the following month. No one could figure out why it kept happening, but it was starting to make me hate breastfeeding. After the fourth month of recurrent mastitis, I decided enough was enough. My son was 13 months and my daughter was 2.5 years. My breastfeeding ‘journey’ was over. Crying in bed, in excruciating pain, I decided to go cold turkey. I didn’t document my son’s last feed. We had never bonded over feeding. It was a chore.

I avoided feeding my daughter and she seemed okay with this. Distraction was key. Two days into not feeding, I was severely engorged. I decided to give my daughter one last feed. We cuddled up into bed together and I explained that this would be the last time she would have booby. I told her I would still love her very much, and we could still cuddle every morning and evening, just like we do when feeding. We had our last feed. I took as many pictures as possible. Once done, I felt comfortable again. My daughter thanked me, as she always did, then told me that she loved me very much, even though she won’t have booby anymore. I teared up.

I returned to the breast clinic shortly after a stopped breastfeeding, to check on the lumps that had become infected. It turns out, they were connected to the hormone change during my menstrual cycle. The consultant explained that I would probably experience mastitis each time I had a period. This confirmed that I had made the right choice to stop when I did.

It’s been a good three months since I stopped feeding. I have found this time very difficult. I feel guilty that I only fed the baby to 13 months, when I fed the toddler to 2.5. I had always defined myself as a breastfeeding mother, so now that part of my life has come to an end, it has taken some time to come to terms with this. I have had to find new ways to comfort my children, new ways to distract, new ways to get them to sleep!

I continue to support other mothers at my local breastfeeding support group and antenatal classes. Just because I am no longer breastfeeding, certainly does not mean I cannot continue to support others!

But more on that another time…

tandem feeding - that means an extra 1000 calories a day right?
Oxytocin, sometimes known as ‘the love hormone’. Responsible for contractions during labour and milk flow during a breastfeed.
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So I plodded along…(where it all began…part 4!)

So I plodded along. I relished in the days both children would nap at the same time. I would scroll and scroll through various ‘2 under 2’ Facebook parenting groups in the hopes someone felt the same as me. I felt an intense love for my daughter, and continued to resent my son. I lightly brought up topics of having a ‘favourite’ child, to which I was always shut down with how absurd that was.

“We all love our children, equally” – friends and family would stutter.

“Well I don’t!” – my heart wailed.

I continued to breastfeed both him and my daughter, my daughter increasing her feeds out of jealousy. Whenever I fed my son I would get pins and needles in my hands and arms, my legs would become restless and my body tense. My phone became my crutch, I became obsessed with Candy Crush as it was the only thing that would take my mind away whilst feeding him. My son would feed, but at the same time push himself away from me. As if he wanted my breast, yet no other form of comfort or connection.

I looked forward to when my daughter fed, I would feel relief and a rush of oxytocin. It was the only time I felt truly myself again. I constantly battled with the possibility of not feeding him, but didn’t want to wean my daughter. I knew people would find it odd to continue feeding my toddler, whilst giving my baby formula. So I plodded along.

My husband had managed to take six weeks off work to be with us. I loved it and loathed it. Having him around made me dependent on him. It was too easy to hand him the baby and leave the room. To complain of back ache when carrying him on days out. My son slept for hours on end, still does now. It was too easy to lay him in his moses basket and pretend he didn’t exist. He barely made a sound.

He continued to refuse to sleep on me. I settled for him sleeping in the cot attached to our bed. Our toddler still sleeping in bed with us. I felt guilty that my son wasn’t experiencing the ‘attachment parenting’ ways I had become dependent on, despite the fact it was him choosing his path.

I had been honest with my midwife and health visitor from the start. Stating I didn’t feel anything, but their advice was pointless. Bathe together, do skin to skin, look into his eyes, breastfeed him. I was doing all of this, but I couldn’t force him to connect with me. He would wriggle and scream, the only time he seemed to be upset, other than when he was hungry, was when I tried to cuddle him. They were sure I would figure it out. So I plodded along.

I went to my usual baby groups, reconnected with old friends I had lost touch with due to my sickness. We seemed like the perfect, happy family on the outside. On the inside I was becoming increasingly low, depressed, frustrated and incredibly anxious and paranoid. I was determined everyone was looking at me. That they could see we didn’t bond. That everyone would talk about me. Thought that I wasn’t coping. That they felt sorry for my children.

I couldn’t cry. No matter how low, how frustrated I was feeling, I just couldn’t shed a tear. I was exhausted. I just wanted to feel, something, anything! I started watching sad films, anything to bring some emotion to me, read sad novels. I would sit in bed and think of all the horrible things that had ever happened to me, but nothing worked. I felt like I was going to explode. I was sure I would break at some point, I just didn’t know when. So I plodded along.

Four months post partum. The day everything changed.

My husband was back to work, my daughter woke as soon as he left. She clambered on top of me for a feed, as she did most mornings, but accidentally knocked her sleeping brother awake. I cracked. Both children started screaming. I didn’t know who to sort first. After a while, I decided to feed my daughter, she would be content watching telly whilst I sorted my son afterwards. He continued to scream. Once sorted, and happy with a DVD on, I calmed my son and gave him a feed but he wouldn’t settle. I just wanted him to sleep so I could go back to sleep.

I put him down on his tummy, as he always slept, and started to pat him on the back. He would normally settle in minutes with a rhythmic pat on the back. However that morning he just wouldn’t settle. He cried and wriggled. My daughters DVD had ended. She started crying. I just wanted to go back to sleep. My head was banging. My whole body tense. I continued patting my son, he just needed to go back to sleep. My daughter continued to scream. They just needed to be quiet so I could go back to sleep. I started to pat faster and harder without really realising.

Just. Go. Back. To. Sleep.

My son cried out. I gasped. My daughter was silent.

My bubble popped. I burst into hysterics. Tears streamed down my face.

My daughter started to cry again, my son’s cries became even more loud and intense. I struggled to breathe. White noise streamed my ears. I couldn’t hear anything. I couldn’t see anything. I hid under the duvet and waited for it all to end.

I don’t remember what happened after that. The next thing I knew, I was on the phone to my husband, begging him to come home. He came home to find us all fast asleep. I explained what had happened. I broke down. I admitted I wasn’t coping. That I didn’t want to do this anymore.

We called the peri natal mental health team in Exeter, a number I had been given previously and was put on a waiting list for. They spoke to my husband and decided to send the crisis team out the following day. I called my brother to come down from university, to look after me and the kids. My husband was told I shouldn’t be left alone.

The team came to my house to discuss my mental health. They gave me a new health visitor, put me on the waiting list for an attachment psychologist and sent a request to my doctor to discuss medication.

I had a plan of action.

They said I was going to get better.

So, I plodded along.

(Disclaimer – I have an array on health professionals working with me on a regular basis who are aware of my entire history of mental health issues and also read this blog.)

 

 

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Shit happens…

Can you believe I’ve nearly been blogging a whole month? No – me neither!

I know I keep saying it, but I’m so grateful for everyone who is supporting and following me so far. You’re all incredible!

So, you may have seen I posted my first feature on MeetOtherMums recently…you can check out the post here. But it basically contained a massive moan about Helicopter Parents and my bad experience at a soft play centre.

Typically, a week after this went live, my son had a nasty fall at the play centre. The exact one where a Mum previously told me to watch my kid…oops.

I was with the same friend and as always, I placed him in the baby section where I knew he would be safe. Once happily playing, I went back to my friend and we started discussing a new campaign for our post natal depression & anxiety support group. The next minute, a loud thump and my son was screaming. He had tried to climb out of the baby area, tripped over the entrance and face planted the hard floor. As I wasn’t nearby, another Mum (wearing a cream jumper) picked him up. In the two seconds it took for me to rush to him, they were both covered in blood.

I panicked. I had never seen a nose bleed in a baby before and his little nose had already started swelling and turning blue. I sat on the floor cuddling him as lots of parents rushed over to help. It was so kind of everyone to help, but at the same time was very overwhelming when I didn’t know what to do. The bleeding just wouldn’t stop, I was soon just as covered as him. I decided to give him a bottle and the pressure against his face eased the bleeding. A lovely Mum wiped the blood from my face and neck whilst I calmed down myself and my son.

The crowd of parents were all asking different questions, people were starting to discuss calling 999 or an ambulance being sent. I was concerned, but my instinct told me he wasn’t hurt enough to need medical treatment, however I didn’t want to seem like an awful parent for shrugging off their concerns. What if he was horribly injured and I didn’t do something about it? I already felt like the worst mum in the world for leaving him to hurt himself.

I probably seemed so clueless as I asked around me what I should do. It was eventually decided I would call 111 for further advice. After a few basic questions they decided an ambulance needed to be sent. Soon 2 paramedics arrived, one of which I actually recognised from when my daughter was younger and had a similar fall at home. They confirmed he should be fine, but suggested we should go into A&E to be on the safe side.

As we climbed into the ambulance, my son became very sleepy and limp. The paramedics told me I was white as a sheet. I actually felt incredibly concerned for my son. I had never felt this much worry for him before. Emotions flowed through me. Was he going to be okay? I started to contemplate my life without him, having previously done this with ease, for once I felt like I would do anything to make him be okay.

He snuggled into my chest and rubbed my back. He seemed to be comforting me more than anything. He fell asleep and we enjoyed a moment which I still can’t quite describe. I welled up and felt a burst of emotion. A lump in my throat and a pit in my stomach which stayed until we arrived and a doctor confirmed everything would be just fine.

We returned to the play centre the next day (we have membership!) and filled out a few accident forms. The manager discussed future risk assessments and has decided to install additional padding around the entrance to the baby area. Apparently the accident had happened before, but not to the same extent. This calmed me.

Maybe it would still have happened even if I had been hovering over him? Should I really give up my down time, my time to vent with friends, on the off chance my child could injure themselves?

I’ve decided I won’t. Call me selfish (well, don’t as I will probably cry…at least do it behind my back) but I am not going to let that one accident control how I parent. My children are happy to play independently or with friends and without my guidance. I deserve a break every once in a while. To sit on my ass and eat junk, gossip with friends or just scroll through my phone. And I still stand by my previous post. No one deserves to be judged for their parenting decisions. Even if they are sometimes wrong.

Accidents happen. Guilt happens. Shit happens.

 

 

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The Important Meeting

Since having my first child, I have been heavily involved in the local Children’s Centre. From becoming a breastfeeding peer supporter and volunteering at the weekly support group to being a part of their Parent Partner committee, organising Family Fun Days and everything in between. I really thrive off being a part of something good. I love volunteering and being part of a community.

However once I realised just how ill I was, my son was around 4 months old, I started to close in on myself. I stopped going along to the weekly breastfeeding support group as I felt like everyone was watching me. I felt like they knew I was having difficulties, despite the happy smile I plastered on my face each week. (Even now, many people tell me they wouldn’t have a clue to my struggles, I hide them too easily). I felt I was a hypocrite, giving advice to others based on guidelines that I wasn’t able to follow myself.

Once I was in a better place (which I’ll write about in more detail in my ‘Where it all began…’ series) I decided to start up a support group along with a friend who had also experienced post natal depression and anxiety. We had only had two meetings when I received a call from the volunteer coordinator for the Children’s Centre, someone who I had quite a good relationship with until I got ill. She had heard about the support group and was inviting me to attend an Advisory Board Meeting for Mid Devon on the topic of Mental Health. They wanted to hear from real parents going through mental health issues to find out their experiences and how they can help support parents and their families cope during these difficult times.

I was very wary to go. I had been to these meetings before as a Parent Partner, so understood how they worked. This also meant I knew who would be there. There was a long list of ‘important people in suits’ including a local MP and my primary school head teacher. Did I really want to go and open my heart to a bunch of strangers?

Apparently I did…I talked it through with my husband and psychologist and decided to go for it. Once I confirmed with my cycling group that I wouldn’t be able to lead that week, I decided if I was going to be telling my story to a bunch of important people, why not finally take the leap I’d been thinking about for so long and start a blog? And here I am…

I traveled to the meeting with the volunteer coordinator and we caught up. I took my son whilst my daughter was in nursery. I was very nervous, and it seemed my son was too as just as we arrived, he projectile vomited all over himself and his car seat. This is when I realised I had forgotten to pack spare clothes and wet wipes, I assume out of nervousness! Luckily we managed to find him some spare clothes and clean him up.

Completely flustered and feeling like I’d made myself look like an even worse mother than I feel most days, I entered the meeting room. I was relieved to see my Health Visitor sitting right in front of me, this gave me a little confidence boost, to know she was there and had my back if I needed her. Another Mum I knew through the support group PANDAS Tiverton (find out more here) was also there to share her experiences. I kindly let her go first πŸ˜‰

It was emotional to listen to, but in a way comforting to know we were in the same boat and supporting each other. A few people made comments, mainly apologetic that she had such a bad experience from the team of people that were supposed to help her. We learnt that Health Visitors, the professionals that are a mothers first point of contact during the first six weeks post partum, actually have no mental health training. Isn’t that in itself shocking? How are these professionals supposed to diagnose and support mothers without the correct training?

Although I had a bad experience with my initial Health Visitor, I feel immensely lucky that I agreed to see a student Health Visitor on short notice, who is now fully qualified and one of many in my support system. She is fantastic, mainly due to the fact she was previously a mental health nurse, but also as she is so personable. I wouldn’t have been able to open up to others in the way I did with her in the beginning and I can’t thank her enough for all she’s done to help and support me. Whenever people talk badly about Health Visitors now, I can’t help but stick up for her!

I told my story and what I felt needed changing. In particular I am having trouble at the moment finding childcare in order to start an intensive Cognitive Behavior Therapy course. It seems somewhat ironic that I need this therapy because I’ve had children, yet can’t receive the therapy, because I have children.

The room was opened for questions, mostly positive and I felt confident answering them. Then a man asked a question, I looked up to see my old primary school headteacher…”Let’s get to the bottom of this then, I think PND is caused from too much pressure to breastfeed!”

Er, what?

I felt awful, mainly because I knew the other Mum had felt an immense pressure to feed when she didn’t feel well enough to. I could see she was getting emotional but couldn’t help but stick up for myself. My hand shot up. Everyone turned to face me. I felt like I was in school again.

I explained that I had breastfed both of my children, one I had no experience of PND and the other I had quite an intense experience of PND. I explained that mothers needed support in feeding, not told to give up because they were depressed or anxious. That for me, breastfeeding was my only connection to my son in the early days. And if I hadn’t felt that need to feed him, I probably wouldn’t have held him at all.

Both with tears in our eyes, my Health Visitor confidently told the room that the discussion was over and the topic of conversation was changed.

Despite a negative ending, it was overall a positive experience. I gained a few contacts who are looking into the possibility of holding a creche for PND/A sufferers to attend therapy and have been asked to attend various other meetings to build more awareness in our area.

I am determined to support as many local mums as possible through our support group and awareness campaigns and help others, through this blog, feel less alone and slightly more normal. #1in4

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Sunday Morning Smells…

I woke up to my daughter shouting ‘Boo!’ at the side of my bed. My husband had left me to sleep in whilst he caught up on Match Of The Day upstairs with the baby. I picked her up and gave her a cuddle. Lovely…or not?

I could smell something.

‘Darling? Have you done a fart?’

My daughter laughs and shakes her head. Fart is quite a funny word in the eyes of my toddler right now.

I shouted upstairs to my husband, asking him if she’d done a poo recently. He said no, but that she had been alone in her bedroom for a while.

I quickly rushed into the kids bedroom. I don’t know why I rushed as it obviously wouldn’t have changed anything.

Crap. Literally.

Over the floor, over her bed, on her pillows. Oh look, some actually made it into the potty!

I cleaned it up, changed the sheets, opened the window and shut the door. But why could I still smell it? I had washed my hands, but did it again just in case. I turn to my daughter.

‘Mama, I couldn’t find any wipes so I came to you!’

Of course she did.

Happy Sunday!

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