Wildflower Wedding Photography

wildflower wedding photography

I got a message from my husband’s friend asking for a ‘random favour’…a bit odd at first, but when I heard what it was, I was beyond excited!

When Jamie and his fiancé Anika started planning their dream wedding, they were astonished to find how expensive wedding photography can be. They started to explore other options and after seeing the quality of student photographers, who all just needed a bit of experience, Wildflower Wedding Photography was born!

Wildflower Wedding Photography is wedding photography agency for students studying photography and wanting to get more experience and build up their portfolio. It’s a win-win, as the student gets experience, and the happy couple get a cheaper than usual photography service!

A brilliant idea, but what did I have to do for it? Well, the website needed some example photos to get off the ground, so he asked if I could pretend to get married for the day! Could any girl say no?!

I was 29 weeks pregnant on our wedding day so I was…round. I had a custom fitted maternity gown and although I absolutely loved it, I look back on photos and feel a bit fat, which is silly in itself as I was pregnant, not fat! To get back in my dress and look skinny (well, at least skinny in comparison to 29 weeks pregnant) was like a dream come true!

We arrived at the location and were introduced to our photographer, Lydia. She was raring to go with lots of fantastic ideas up her sleeve. We felt relaxed and at ease as Lydia took the lead.

We’ve had a few sneak peaks so far and are so pleased with the results! Take a look below…

could any marriedwoman say nocould any married woman say nocould any married woman say no

If you’re looking for a fantastic, low cost photography service for your special day, give Jamie and Anika a call.

We all deserve to have the memories of our special day captured, whatever our budget!

could any married woman say no

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Mental Health Support Groups and Me.

mental health support groups and me

Shortly after my mental health explosion, a close friend told me about an old school friend of hers, and how she was in the process of starting a PANDAS Foundation support group starting up in a town a half hours drive from us. Although both of us cannot drive, we managed to coerce our husbands into sharing lifts to enable us to attend the first ever session.

I took my son, although he had taken bottles of expressed milk with no problem, I figured he was breastfed, and breastfed babies go everywhere with their mums…right? There were six mums in total and I was the only mum to bring along a baby.

The other mums all had toddlers, and were in the ‘I have PND but am surviving’ team. I immediately felt anxious. All of the stories of their bad times and the past, were my reality. My now.

My son, who normally sleeps like a rock, was unsettled no matter how many times I fed him. Whilst others told their stories and struggles, I flustered over feeding him. Fully aware of the stares each time I did so. The mums each explained that they couldn’t breastfeed due to their depression, or that their struggle with breastfeeding caused them to be depressed. Each time they mentioned it, they stared in my direction.

I felt self conscious for the first and only time in my 2.5 years of breastfeeding. I felt uncomfortable and didn’t really feel I could take part in the conversation. Towards the end, one mum decided to corner me and ask me to tell my ‘story’. I stuttered. I wasn’t really sure what to say. In comparison to their revelations over the evening, I felt my problems didn’t really matter. Despite a lot of their comments ringing true to me, I wasn’t quite sure I was ‘ill’ enough to take part. Which thinking back is quite silly.

I decided it was my son that put me off, and returned to the following meeting leaving him at home with my husband and plenty of expressed milk bottles. This time it was only my friend, myself and the two organisers. I immediately felt more relaxed. I had had a particularly rough week, and being able to talk openly with like minded mums brought a mass of weight from my shoulders. Without my son there, I felt relaxed and was able to truly release some emotions I had held in due to his presence.

Myself and my friend desperately wanted to continue to attend the fortnightly meetings, however over the next few weeks we found for one reason or another one of us were unable to make it. The travel arrangements made things particularly hard. As we are both members of our local Children’s Centre ‘Parent Partner’ Committee, we decided to ask about the possibility of setting up a similar group in our area. We knew there was a desperate need, with so many new mums and no mental health facilities less than a half hours drive away.

The Children’s Centre were unable to support us with funding due to money constraints and as our local centre does not currently have an actual building, were not able to help us find a location either. After a lot of thinking, we decided to try it on our own. We were in touch with a local cafe, who told us that they wanted to help the local community so were more than happy to provide their premises, fortnightly in return for a small donation towards drinks. We were overjoyed and started promoting, spending our own money on marketing materials.

We held one meeting, which was attended by the two of us and one other friend, although we hadn’t met any ‘new mums’, we all left feeling that we had accomplished something and looked forward to the next meeting. Unfortunately the owner messaged us shortly after, stating that she felt that she would not profit from such low numbers and therefore would not be able to continue hosting us. We were devastated. We had explained that it would take time to build numbers, it’s such a taboo for most and takes a lot of bravery to even admit your problems, let alone attend a peer support group!

We used the Christmas break to regroup, and after discussing our situation to a local bistro, he kindly agreed to let us use his restaurant free of charge, for as long as we wish to. Although disheartened, we were determined to make a name from ourselves from the start this time. We created a Facebook page, appeared in our local paper and promoted all over our town. This in itself was terrifying, as this meant our actual names appeared next to the words ‘post partum mental health issues’. If we were in denial that no one knew our issues, they certainly knew now!

Our first meeting came round and we sat nervously waiting…it got about half an hour past our official start time, and no one had turned up. As we started to pack away, feeling hopeless, a mum came in! I nearly squealed I was so excited! Shortly after, another mum came and tried to look in the window from the other side of the road. We clocked her and smiled. She told us after she was just about to walk away, but we caught her eye just in time! We all had a moan, laughed over silly things our children did, and joked over what we had considered normal before our therapists told us otherwise. It was amazing to feel such a connection with these women we had never met before.

Towards the end, one of the mums stopped the conversation…

“Can I just say…YES! THANK YOU!…It is so amazing just to know that I am not alone in feeling this way” she teared up.

We all started to tear up. We had done it. It didn’t matter to us if no one ever turned up to a meeting again. We had helped just one person not feel alone. And selfishly, we had enabled ourselves to feel supported too.

Our group, Mum to Mum, Crediton, has been running a couple of months now, and our numbers are slowly growing. We have also started a day time meet up, for mums that are unable to get to our evening groups.

It’s fantastic. I’ve made some brilliant new friends, ones who understand when you’re an hour late as you just didn’t want to get out of bed that morning, or that you’re still wearing clothes from the night before or even if you’ve not showered in the last week. 

If you’ve been thinking about going to a support group but are too nervous…DO IT! It may be completely overwhelming at first, but it will be worth it, promise! 

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What I’d like for Mother’s Day

what i'd like for mother's day

What I’d like for Mother’s Day…

I’d like to be given a precise schedule of all Mother’s Day activities in advance. No plans makes for a anxious night, which will mean a cranky morning.

I’d like a homemade card. Preferably made in advance, maybe found on Pinterest? Hand prints are always a win. Clean up should be included in the gift. It’s no fun getting a homemade card when you then have to clean up the paint.

I’d like a surprise present, picked from a list of pre agreed ‘surprises’, as actual surprises are kinda scary.

I’d like a Mother’s Day cake, like a birthday cake, but for being a Mum. With candles. And singing. And no one else is allowed a slice of cake. And ice cream?

I’d like to have just one nice photo of my little family, where we are all smiling and looking at the camera. And we’re all clean. Without snot running down any noses. Or even any snot on my sleeves from wiping said noses.

I’d like a nap. But not just any nap, a guilt free nap. Not one of those naps where Daddy is letting the children create havoc (that you inevitably have to clear up) whilst you rest. A proper nap where you wake up feeling refreshed AND the living room is still in one piece.

I’d like a roast dinner. Made exactly how I like to make it, but without me making it. But I can’t watch it being made either else I’ll just end up getting frustrated and do it myself anyway. Maybe whilst I’m having a nap? But the kids also have to be napping therefore not creating chaos whilst I nap/husband cooks to my very precise directions.

Not too much to ask for…eh?

What would you like for Mother’s Day this year? Let me know in the comments below!

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Guess that rash!

guess that rash

One complete week on my new medication and I’m feeling fantastic, I’m more active and energised. I’m buzzing off the success of this blog and my fandangly new website. However, all good things must come to an end…

The week started with my son coming up with a nasty nappy rash. After a few of our ‘go to’ nappy creams didn’t shift it, and it becoming dramatically worse, we decided a trip to the Drs the next day would be in order. We woke the next day to my son’s face covered in a similar, angry rash. With Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease going around the area at the moment, I thought nothing of it, dosed him up with some Calpol and got on with life. It’s a common illness in children which as viral, cannot be treated so just needs to run it’s course.

As the day progressed, the rash became more angry and started to look infected. As both children were extremely poorly whilst having Chicken Pox (ended up in hospital for 3/4 night stays, each) I became quite nervous for him. I showed a few friends the nappy rash and they agreed I should go to the Dr just to be on the safe side.

I got a quick appointment, so went straight to the surgery instead of picking up any extra bits at home first. On arrival, my daughter wet herself. Of course she bloody did. With no spare clothes on me other than some knickers I found right at the bottom of my purse, she paraded around the office bare legged, without a care in the world.

By the time we got to see a Doctor, I was already quite flustered. We saw a few different Dr’s who all seemed quite stumped as to what the rash was. They were pretty sure it wasn’t Hand, Foot and Mouth like I initially suspected. Whilst waiting for another Dr to come have a gander, they suggested I leave my sons nappy off to give it some air…

My son peed on the floor, and all over his clothes. Of course he bloody did.

Because of my sons previous history with infection, they decided to send him to the pediatric unit at the local hospital just to be on the safe side. This is a quick trip for a parent that drives, but for a parent that doesn’t drive. It’s a whole other battle in itself!

So I sat on the floor of the office, trying to stop two naked children from completely destroying everything whilst also trying to contact my husband. He was working in a little village, so of course he didn’t have any phone signal. I vented my frustrations on my Mum to Mum support group page and was so grateful to receive messages from friends asking if they could help in any way. One friend brought my bag and spare clothes for the kids from my house, whilst another brought clean nappies.

The fact that these mums, who I had known for only a month or so, had been so willing to drop everything and help me out in a time of need made me quite emotional. Both arrived and gave me a proper hug. One of those hugs where you lose all of your strength and they have to squeeze it back into you. I was so overwhelmed with their kindness, I nearly burst into tears right there.

I had managed to get hold of my mother in law to give us a lift and my sister in law offered to take my daughter off my hands. We arrived at the hospital and met my husband there. The Dr’s there were also stumped. As he was still eating and drinking, they gave him some generic antibiotics and booked us in for another appointment a few days later to see if there was any improvement.

We continued life as normal, going along to all of our groups and bike rides. Another lovely friend drove us to the hospital for the follow up appointment. We were seen by a few different doctors, all still confused by the rash and even more so as to why it was still spreading, which the antibiotics should have been stopping. We were seen by another doctor, by this time our ninth doctor to have had a look at his rash. She finally confirmed what I had thought all along…Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease! To say I was frustrated was an understatement.

After a dull weekend of mainly staying in, my daughter and I have both woken up covered in a similar rash. I was a bit confused as hadn’t even realised adults could get Hand, Foot and Mouth…turns out we can, and it’s worse in adults than children! Brilliant.

We are both covered in spots, and I’m in a lot of pain. Luckily it doesn’t cause any itchiness or pain in kids, nothing Calpol and lots of Peppa Pig won’t fix. We will be spending the next week hiding in doors. My very energetic children are not used to this. I’ve found all of our craft supplies and I’ve stocked up on bribery foods and two bottles of wine, however not sure if that will be enough. I’m absolutely crapping myself as I don’t do well being stuck indoors.

Wish me luck!

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Me, You and My Medication

Medication

I had never been keen to take antidepressants. I had always been of the opinion that they would only mask the problem, not fix it. I thought they would take away all emotions, or I would be so happy I wouldn’t be able to control them.

My step dad once told me about a time when he had just split from his first wife and a Dr (who since has become my favourite Dr!) called him and offered him some antidepressants. He said that antidepressants were for the weak, and they definitely wouldn’t work. I don’t even remember why he told me, however it has always stuck with me.
After having Alfred, within a few weeks I was being offered every medication going. I refused, sure that I would fix whatever was wrong myself, because antidepressants were for the weak. Months passed and nothing got better. I went to the Drs, where they handed me the Depression and Anxiety leaflet and a prescription for antidepressants. Both stayed in my purse, before eventually finding their way to the bin.

My anxiety levels increased as more and more health professionals tried to convince me to take medication. I was having panic and anxiety attacks over the thought of taking medication to stop my panic and anxiety attacks. I can’t remember how many times I went to the pharmacy, one of many prescriptions crumpled in my hand, heart racing, then rushing home to throw it in the bin.

At 8 months post partum, I finally admitted to my psychologist that maybe I wasn’t doing as well as I was making out. She had not been pressuring me to take medication like everyone else had and we had formed a trusting relationship. I spoke with a friend who had been taking medication for a while and she suggested I see her doctor. My psychologist contacted that doctor so she would know my full history, just in case I masked my worries, one of which were the side effects. I knew the medication could make me feel nauseous, which with my experience with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (read more here) I was terrified of.

The doctor was amazing. She prescribed a medication that the others hadn’t suggested, along with anti sickness medication to ease my nausea fears. I trusted both my new doctor and my psychologist, so finally I went along to the pharmacy and handed in the script. I took the first pill and obviously expected an immediate change, despite my doctor telling me they could take weeks to work.

A week passed and I went for drinks with friends. I knew the medication could make me more sad when mixed with alcohol, however no one ever told me it would also make me more drunk. Two glasses of wine into the night and I was absolutely trollied. The room was spinning and I admitted this to my friends, we all laughed and confided with each other. I was starting to feel confident that I had made the right decision.

As the weeks went on, I became increasingly exhausted. I was plagued with an intense insomnia, alongside an increased anxiety and paranoia. I would walk around the house, ensuring all windows and doors were locked. Looking inside wardrobes and behind doors to check for I don’t know what. Twitching curtains so they lay just right. I had to sleep in a particular position, with each pillow and the duvet laid in a certain way. Then after half an hour, would convince myself I needed to pee, which resulted in checking all the doors again, running back to bed and then faffing with all of the covers and pillows again.

By morning I would be exhausted, if I had any sleep it was broken and full of bizarre nightmares and constant night sweats. I dreaded the moment my daughter would run into our bedroom, ready to start the day. My husband started taking her upstairs with him, giving her breakfast and putting the telly on before leaving, with the assumption I would go upstairs and take over.

What he didn’t know is that I would then go back to sleep. Leaving my daughter to look after herself for a few more hours. She would come and check on me every now and then, asking for another snack or to change the channel. My son is a sleepaholic, so continues to sleep until woken, sometimes until 11am or noon! This became my routine, and still happens now on my bad days, however my husband is now aware that I do it.

My doctor increased my dosage on a few occasions, each time feeling it wasn’t quite right yet. Each time my insomnia increased, along with my nausea. My anti sickness tablets became habit, I would take them each day for fear that not taking them would cause me to vomit.

A few weeks ago my doctor finally decided that this medication wasn’t working, and it was time for a change. By now I had developed a trusting relationship with my doctor and agreed to the change. Although I hadn’t realised in order to change medication, you first had to wean yourself off the current one. I was nervous. Despite my paranoia and depression worsening, my sleep had improved and I had become reliant on my meds. The thought of taking less terrified me.

And it was a bloody rough few weeks. I’ve spent a lot of time in bed, with most days having to be coaxed out by a very dear friend, helping to make sure my children were fed and dressed. I’ve felt very low, all my hard work became unwound, I spent hours comparing my children to others. I started to doubt myself and my writing. I came very close to deleting this blog altogether. I drank. A lot. Luckily with friends who understand and were able to look after me. I’ve eaten way too much cake, and probably 4 or 5 tubs of Haagan Dazs.

For the first time since my depression arrived, I thought about what life would be like without me in it. I started to plan how I could run away. If I left enough bottles around the house, maybe a couple of packed lunches, my daughter would make sure the baby was fed, I was sure. I found myself cuddling my husband each night, asking him if I should be taken to a PND rehab unit. Paranoid that I was going insane, that I would be locked away, or that my children would be taken from me.

Then I was able to start taking the new medication and within days the fog lifted. I felt re energized. I slept! I laughed so much my face hurt. I’m not ‘better’ by any means, but I feel like I’m back on track again. It’s been terrifying. But, the only way is up, eh?

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My fancy new website!

Fancy New Website

I have had an absolutely crazy week. Like one of those weeks where you get to the end and you don’t even remember what you did yesterday, let alone last Monday. On top of all the craziness that seems to be my life, I have been busy confusing myself to create this fancy new website!

Doesn’t it look all posh?! I’m so pleased with myself, I may even put a compliment from myself in my compliments book! 😉 If you like to read what I have to say, please subscribe to my email updates, there is a sign up button somewhere over there > > >

I couldn’t have done it without the help and advice from the lovely Gina at Gypsy Soul. If you are thinking about setting up a blog, or any kind of website really, she is your go to girl!

I feel like this has turned into some kind of acceptance speech, but oh well. I’d also like to thank my little, but taller, brother David. Currently in Canada on an architecture work placement, he probably rolled his eyes when I messaged him at 1am with this stickman drawing. How he managed to turn it into that amazing logo is beyond me!

Before

Yeah, this is a picture of my bathroom floor, which I took whilst on the loo.

AFTER!

Look how cool this is?!

So yeah, hope you enjoy! A lot of people have asked me to put all of my ‘Where it all began…’ series in a place that is easy to get to. So I’m going to try and figure out how to do that at some point today. Wish me luck! 🙂

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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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Open letter to that Helicopter Mum at the Soft Play Centre

This post first appeared on MeetOtherMums.com.

Dear Helicopter Mum at the Soft Play Centre,

I get you. We’ve all been first time mums. We all get protective. We’ve all had that feeling of just wanting your baby wrapped in cotton wool forever. Where you just want to shove them back up inside you where it’s nice and safe.

I remember crawling through the small tunnels, squishing your face into plastic that smelt like a mixture of puke and detergent. Squeezing my fat arse onto slides that were just not quite wide enough. Banging my head on every low bar whilst scrambling after my tiny child that was suddenly able to move at lightening speeds, despite taking THIRTY MINUTES to put on her darn coat that morning.

We have ALL been there.

You’re doing what makes you feel safe, by keeping a close eye on your baby. And that’s great.

But that doesn’t mean you should judge those that give their children a bit of leeway.

You saw the other child in the ‘baby area’. You could see he was perfectly safe. But you felt the need to search for his Mum.

His Mum, that was exhausted. His Mum, that was sitting down for the first time that day. His Mum, that had just started her antidepressants earlier that week and was on the verge of tears whilst seeking advice from her friend.

But you didn’t see that, did you?

 

You saw a Mum gossiping with her friend instead of keeping an eye on her child. You saw a Mum not caring for her child. So when that Mum came to check up on her child (who was still happily playing) you took judgement upon that Mum.

“Oh, there you are, we had been wondering who’s baby this was, shouldn’t be left on his own really” *insert snide look*

Really?

The baby, who was nearly 1. In an area solely for babies. In clear eyesight of his parent. Where the highest he could climb was no taller than himself, and should he fall, he would have a soft landing. You know…SOFT play?

Why did you take it upon yourself to put another Mum down, just because she didn’t parent the same way as you did? Why did you continue to glare at that Mum, making her so uncomfortable she collected her son from the soft play to sit on her knee? Why couldn’t you just let it slide?

I doubt you even remember making that comment. But I remember. I remember questioning myself. I remember feeling as if everyone looking at me. I remember that tightness building in my chest, feeling like I couldn’t breathe. Like I wasn’t good enough.

Next time you see a Mum taking a break. Please think about why she might need that break. Please think before you judge her.

Signed,

Mum who just needs a break.

 

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20 wishes for 2017

We’re already in February, but heck – why not?!

I was tagged by the lovely Clare at Neon Rainbow Blog to write about my 20 wishes for 2017. It will be lovely to look back at the end of the year and see how many, if any, have been achieved!

This tag splits our wishes into 4 categories; Personal, Family, Blogging and Hopes…so here we go!

Personal

  1. To have more good days than bad…I am up and down like a yo-yo these days. I’d like to be able to look back and say my last bad day was a month ago, or even a week ago!
  2. To continue raising awareness of PND/A in my local community and however far this blog goes…I am so pleased with how our new support group Mum to Mum, Crediton is going so far. We’ve had so many positive comments and we’ve even been able to help a few people, which is just amazing! We’re thinking of new projects all of the time and are hoping to continue to build awareness throughout the coming year.  
  3. To eat less cake…I definitely am not going to stop eating cake anytime soon, but I’d like to curb my habits a little bit. Maybe have the ladies at the bakery say “Ooh we haven’t seen you in a while” instead of knowing my order by heart. 
  4. To have more ‘adult’ nights out…even if it’s a movie night with the girls and a bottle of wine. I want to spend more time being ‘me’ and not just ‘Mum’.
  5. To stop biting my nails…oh it’s gross I know, and I say this every year but here I am, still biting away! Maybe this year will be the year? I doubt it.

Family

  1. To start a new hobby with my husband…we are always talking about how we need to spend more time together actually being together not just sat next to each other watching telly and scrolling through our phones. We did start this in January when we decided we’d do puzzles together however this lasted about an hour before the husband decided it wasn’t for him! We have enrolled on a cookery course this spring, hoping this will be our ‘thing’!
  2. To learn a few new recipes…I’m very stuck in my ways when it comes to cooking, we have our set meals and we just rotate those on a weekly basis. I’m hoping the cookery course will give us a bit of inspiration for us to be a bit more daring in the kitchen. More veggies for the kid especially!
  3. Find some magical method of washing kids hair without screaming/crying…oh how I wish for the days where we can wash toddlers hair without all getting soaked from thrashing and splashing! She never had a problem until recently, I don’t know what changed but it’s bloody tiring. 
  4. Start turning the workshop into the kids playroom…I cannot wait until we have enough money to get started on this little project! We bought our house in September and it’s a massive project, we’re doing it one room at a time, and this one is the one I’m most looking forward to! 
  5. Make the garden kid friendly…again house related, I have big dreams and an even bigger Pinterest board dedicated to our future garden. There is so much work to be done, however I’d like it to at least be safe to play in for this summer – fingers crossed!

Blog

  1. To build my content and audience…it’s still early days for me and I’m already overwhelmed with all of the positive comments and messages I’ve been receiving! I just want to keep going, I’m finding it so helpful to write out my feelings. Definitely a good way of processing things.
  2. To join one Twitter chat a week…I had so much fun during my first twitter chat last Sunday during #babybantzchat (9pm – 10pm). I’d like to continue to meet new bloggers and have a laugh, I’m also hoping it’ll get my name ‘out there’ a bit!
  3. To learn all the lingo…I hope to be able to understand a full conversation about blogging – haha! Maybe I’m pushing myself on this one? I’m slowly working my way through The Blogger’s Bible – 100+ Essential Blogging Terms – an amazing guide from Hayley over at Devon Mama, especially useful for newbies like me!
  4. To write the next part of my ‘Where it all began…’ series…I’m hoping I’ll be able to do this one soon, I’m absolutely crapping my pants about writing it all down. I’ll get there though, can’t leave you all on edge forever, can I?
  5. To keep enjoying blogging! I am enjoying this whole process so much so far, I just hope it continues to boost me and I don’t take any knock backs (which I’m sure they’ll come!) too badly.

Hopes

  1. A rise in breastfeeding rates in the UK…I am so disappointed we have some of the lowest rates in the world. Bizarre for a first world country to not be feeding their babies in the healthiest way! Definitely feel breastfeeding education should be taught from a young age.
  2. More awareness of Hyperemesis Gravidarum…I am currently training to become a peer supporter for HG sufferers. I understand there may never be a cure for mothers suffering through pregnancy, however I hope mothers are understood and supported by health professionals and peers alike instead of being accused of lying, compared to ‘morning sickness’ and not getting the help they desperately need. 
  3. Better mental health services in the UK…I am very lucky that I have been able to receive the treatment and therapies I do. Unfortunately I am very much aware I am one of very few that have been treated fairly and with respect. #1in4
  4. For someone to find the meaning of happiness…bit unrealistic and very intense, but heck, I’d love to know!
  5. To win the lottery? I don’t even play the lottery, but wouldn’t we all like to be millionaires? It probably wouldn’t give me happiness, it would bloody help though! 

We’re getting a bit late into the year now, and everyone I know in the blogging world has already completed this tag, so I’m not going to tag anyone (can I do this? I feel like I’m breaking some blogging code…oops!) However, if you’re reading this and haven’t shared yet, I’d love to take a read and share on your behalf 🙂

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