It’s not in the pregnancy body manual.

20170220_152541I’ll start off by saying that below is a list of things that women can experience whilst pregnant. You may experience none, 3 or all of them. This is not an exhaustive list, just one that has been put together by chatting to friends, family and myself. This is also not a wahh wahh poor me post. 

Second thing is; if things don’t feel quite right, contact your Midwife or GP.  Ask them – not Dr google. This list is in no way meant to replace their professional advice; just inform.

Thirdly (and most importantly). Although some of the things are gross, unexpected and straight WTF, many women near to my heart and far who I’ve yet to meet would have all these things 100000x over but they can’t, for whatever reason. We acknowledge you, we love you and we support you. Matou tu e koutou xx

-Stretch marks. Purple and angry or silvery Charlie sheeny white. Oil oil oil!

-Itchy skin. Crawling itchy skin. *NOTE: If it becomes severe, seek out medical advice ASAP as it could be obstetric cholestasis. 

-Cravings. Wheather it be freshly cut fruit, skins removed, cut into little soliders or KFC double downs, go with it (unless is harmful, like swallowing pins or sniffing glue). Often its our bodies lacking in certain minerals and nutrients. My nutrient must be FAT and SUGAR cause that’s all I want to have this time around. 

-Puffiness of hands and feet. Good bye shapely ankles, hello TANKLES. *NOTE: Swelling of the body (Edema) is waaaaay more serious than just a bit of puff. If it’s accompanied by pain, headache, blurry vision and just feeling uneasy, contact your health professional immediately.

-Leaky nipples. Soaked through a flimsy bra yesterday onto my t-shirt. Classy. Just preparing me for postpartum leaks. But why so soon???

-Morning sickness. It is a feeling like hungover 24/7 without the fun. And what a cruel word, morning sickness is as it doesn’t just last for the morning but can go on for the whole day and often, the whole 9 months of pregnancy. In some cases it is so serious, no food or water can be kept down and can lead to hospitilisation (Hyperemesis Gravidarum).

-Farts that stink, are huge and rumbling. Maybe that is what caused Kaikoura earthquakes; pregnant women all around NZ letting rip. 

-Diarrhea. Get the poo runs more often. Or go the opposite way. Backed up for days. 

-Hemorrhoids. Kinda pop out if you’ve been backed up for days. I named mine Herman and Henrietta. 

-Flood like vaginal discharge. Seriously, invest in shares of carefree or tampax. These shares will come in handy postpartum too – 6 weeks of bleeding (Another post). *NOTE: Vaginal discharge that is super watery, green/brown/red or smelly, contact your health professional immediately.

-Spider veins on legs/body. Increased pressure on capillaries due to increase in blood volume causes those little capillaries to work over time and sometimes – pop! Not sure there is anything out there to help with this? My legs and waist look like they’ve been in the ring with Joseph Parker.

-Varicose Veins. Similar to above, just a little larger and thicker. Pop those legs up when you get the chance.

-Insomnia. Wakeful nights as the mind wanders about this that and the other thing. It is f****ing crap. I had it bad with Lily, 3 hours sleep a night max. This time it’s there but not as bad. No doubt putting this out there now has jinxed that. And nothing, NOTHING I could do would alleviate it.

-Sciatic nerve pain. Something is a pinching, a stabbing and radiates down your leg, which makes your leg collapse.

-Sacroilliac joint pain. Similar to above but more constant. Literally, a pain in your butt. Walking, movements that allow your legs to part too much and standing too long will aggravate the pain. So no sex (jokes) and no moving or standing. Basically lie down and don’t move for 9 months and eat FAT and SUGARY foods…

-Symphysis pubis dysfunction. Your ligaments are greeted by the hormone relaxin, which causes them to soften and relax. But ALL ligaments will loosen and relax, particularly the ones in your pelvic region, causing great pelvic bone pain from the shifting pelvic position.

-Ligament softening/pain. Linked to above. That dull achey pain down in your nether regions? Yup. Be wary; this means if you like a bit of exercise, you are more prone to ligament injuries whilst prego. *NOTE: If you feel uneasy about any pain down south, contact your health professsional ASAP.

-Bigness. Too large to see legs or fanny to shave. 

-Peeing frequently. A ‘lil human is pushing on your bladder!

Vagina lips can hang/extend more than previous. WTF. All that gravitational pressure from baby! I can see why women get designer vagina surgery…

SO fucking emotional. Bloody hormones. Apparently you can cry because you wanted a cup of tea so hubby gets you one but he can’t read your mind and then he gets you the wrong type and it is all over. 

….list could go on and on. Know your body, know what feel right and know you aren’t alone in the wonder that is pregnancy. 

What did you experience in pregnancy?

 

X


Complacency and being lulled.

40488_415492011007_1849624_nAs a teacher, the first few weeks of the new school year are bliss. Kids are angels who listen intently, write down everything you say, follow instructions and make you feel like ‘Yes! These little cherubs are the best behaved kids!’

Come about week 7, they start to be a tad too cool, they test the boundaries and test your fake smiling ability of ‘No thankyou, we don’t light the wall on fire with the Bunsen burner little Johnny’ (cough*devil).

The honeymoon period is over. Christmas holidays are only Ohhh about AN ETERNITY AWAY.

The same was felt for the first 2 weeks of Lily being here. We were lulled into a false sense of ease. I remember saying to Joshs friends who came to visit him, that it was easy, it’s pretty sweet actually; she sleeps, poops, cuddles, feeds and repeats. Could do another one soon…..

A big fat LOL to that statement. I’m pretty sure that same night, once I opened my big mouth, I jinxed it. From then on it it was ridiculously NOT easy. I won’t bore you with the details of that uneasiness (that’s parenting huh?) but the message in this post is don’t get complacent. Ever.

Don’t get cocky young lasses and lads.

My lovely friend is pregnant with her second bubs. We talked about how she’s feeling and how interesting it will be to see if X is the same as Y in terms of newborness. Her first was what text books might call a cruisey baby; BF easily, burped easily and of course the one everyone obsesses over, slept like a baby. Hahahhaa, what a silly idiom. If you call snuffling like a hedgehog, waking every 2 hours for a feed, pooping, wrestling with your own arms and crying out randomly sleeping like a baby, then yes you sleep like a baby.

She said that if X wasn’t like Y in terms of cruiseyness, she wouldn’t know what to do! She’d be calling me up and asking for help (her words, not mine) as she knew Lily was a little lioness with her newborness (still is TBH). Then she said something in passing that has stuck with me. My beautiful friend, no shit, said ‘Here I am thinking I was the perfect mother and doing everything right and perfectly because Y was so cruisey, but what if it’s not like that next time?…. I’ll definitely have to ask you for help because, ya know?….’

Errrrmmmm ya know what?

I know my friend made the comment in complete passing and nothing meant from it but it got me anxiously thinking; do mums who have so called ‘cruisey babies’ think that they have this motherhood shit down better than those who do not have ‘cruisey’ babies? I BLOODY HOPE NOT! And if so, slow down there cowgirl. Because the take home message is; Don’t get complacent.

I remember Lily slept ‘through’ the night (10-5) and I bloody lost my shit. I woke and she was still asleep. First thoughts were

  1. Is she Ok??? 2. WTF my boobs are the hardest sorest most gigantic things EVER! 3. Do I wake her?

I jumped on facey and asked my friends what do I do about my tits and do I wake her. Now I know that in that moment, I had a few friends who were battling with sleep. And here I was announcing Lily had slept through. I was genuinely concerned for her and my boobs, which were now leaking on the duvet. But they didn’t want to hear that! And ya know what, I was secretly like OMFG this is bliss! Extra sleep!

Next night, we were back to waking every 2 hours. Fucking big mouthed, big boobied Jess. You jinxed it. AGAIN.

If you are in the throws of this fuzzy jaded stage of babyness, know things WILL change. Will they get easier? What does easy mean? Rephrase it. They will CHANGE and you will face other challenges that you will need to navigate. But navigate them with an open mind and know change/difficulties are a positive thing.

And if you’ve got a cruisey baby, wait til teenage years. If those lil menaces by week 7 at school are dicks, what will they be like at home? I was a cruisey baby according to my Mum. School was a riot. Full circle baby tehehe.

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X

Tripping. And not the fun kind; Guilt Tripping.

273112_10150312359181273_2152316_oWhen I was about 14, I ‘borrowed’ my nanas foundation creme she used. It slipped into my bag somehow and was never returned… Clearly it was me, as she only had one jar and I was the only grandchild around at the time. She never said anything. I never used it once it got home, it just sat guiltily in my drawer until I had a clean out and threw it away. I had the guilts of doing something wrong, which of course I had! It was morally wrong! I’m not a klepto, just FYI.

Over the last while, I’ve been volunteering at a new Mums course. One thing that has commonly popped up is the guilts. The parenting guilts. The mumma guilts. The guilts of not doing things ‘right’. The guilts of not being able to use everybodies advice and not offend them. The guilts of not being able to say no to the smelly strange lady who wants to coo all in babies face and hold them. The guilts of just feeling you aren’t doing a good enough job.

But what is a good enough job? Providing them with labeled clothing? Dragging them around to every baby activity possible? Having the most and coolest gadgets to entertain them? Forcing them into a sleep pattern so far from what is natural for newbies to the world just for them to sleep more hours than ya neighbours whilst you are personally going insane? Placing unnecessary pressure on yourself to breastfeed because thats what your told to do is best, yet suffering PND?Having a banging body 2 weeks post birth whilst maintaining a well kept home, mind and image?

Or…

Is your child nourished? Are they clean-ish (by this I mean no soiled nappies for days on end…I read a story of neglect recently that make me spew in my mouth) Are they interacted with? Warm? Are they so loved it’s ridiculous delirium for all.

Yes? Good enough job parent! High 5! No guilts should exist in your vocabulary. Erase the ugly word guilty.

Often it’s outside advice or influence that can make us feel guilty. People who have those 1% babies who sleep at the click of their perfectly manicured mumma fingers. Those ones who dont cry. Ever. The ones who are just chilled. Which makes us question well hang on, what am I doing that’s not right? Why isn’t MY child doing that? What am I guilty of to cause this? Thus begins the guilts…

This can also work on reverse too. Those mummas who have these strange 1% kids also feel guilty whilst talking to friends about it, knowing it’s the opposite for their friends. Knowing too well it could be different. They don’t want to shout it out or they risk coming across as a dick. So they feel guilty. And keep it in.

So don’t feel guilty in that case . Or any case. Maybe empathetic. Maybe say, “yeah they do x y z but it’s a fluke. It’s nothing I’m doing (it might be, but your mate doesn’t need to hear that while she’s bawling her hormone ridden eyes out), this kids just a weirdo” (A well loved weirdo of course!)

Same goes for advice given from EVERY ONE. As well meaning as it might or might not be, nod your head and say “thanks, I’ll take it on board.” And if it’s something you don’t believe will work for you AND your baby/kid and partner, don’t use it. And don’t feel bloody guilty for NOT using the piece of advice. Fack, ignore this bullshit whole blog if you like, I won’t be offended.

You won’t and shouldnt feel guilty!

AND NEVER feel you need to justify why you are doing what your doing for YOUR family, to anyone. It’s your choice, you’ve chosen what’s best for you all in that moment.

The old saying, which I’ve mentioned before. Is it safe? Does it work for you and your family? Yes yes fucking yes!! Then carry on.

March on beautifully strong mumma, with your messy bun head held high, shoving those 2 chewed down-chipped nail polished fingers in the air, wave them at the face of GUILT.

You are doing enough. You are enough.

My nana passed away about 10 years after the misplaced foundation. The strangest thing I did while in the funeral room alone with her, was to apologize for the stolen foundation. I had done something naughty and wrong  and I felt like I needed to amend it with her, which is pretty weird, ’cause she was dead (love you mana). I had carried that naughty guiltiness with me til it was too late.

Now THAT is guilt.

YOU should not feel guilty for being the best you can be for your family.

X

It’s all about you, dear mumma.

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I’m sure you can trawl the internet and find a million posts out there about looking after you post baby (or in general!). So this is post number one million and one. Because I care. 

Time for you

This old cliche.

You have just given new life into this world. Fucking high 5 to you! You are a powerful, wonderful, awe inspiring woman! So give yourself a break, both physically and mentally.

Expecting to bounce back to prebaby shape within the month? Expecting to get 10hours uninterrupted shut eye per night? Expecting to flit around being life of the party, passing around your bundle of joy to everyone? Expecting to have a beautifully clean and tidy house, with fresh cookies baked every day, birds chirping through the window singing lullabies to baby while you prepare a hot meal for hubby then ready for some ‘Netflix and chill’ after?

No.

All the above are what I expected. All of the above did not manifest. All of the above placed pressure on me and made me anxious that I wasn’t fitting the ridiculous made up expectations. I slowly realised that ridiculous expectations are not good for ones mental health.

Let. It. Go. You are goddess and you deserve to be cherished, pampered and have no pressures placed on you.

Do something for you. Take a loooong hot shower. Baby will be ok sleeping for 15 minutes!

Go to the supermarket on your own and wander aimlessly.

Take a drive with the music cranked up, windows down.

Do your nails.

Go to the hairdressers (or get someone in to your home) and let them just wash your hair. God that feels good. Orgasmic.

Get a box ready of nourishing snacks and sit it next to where you nurse bubs. Get the remote, feet up and chill with bubba.

Yourself and exercise 

Be gentle on yourself body wise. Give it time to heal before getting into exercise postpartum. I wish I had listened to those around me (physios, chiropractors, friends, family) who said this.

I’d heard it multiple times. Ease into it. Otherwise you can do more damage physically to your precious body than before. Did you know your body still has the relaxin hormones 6 months AFTER stopping breastfeeding that can make your body more susceptible to injuries? And the hormone relaxin is still coursing through your body up to a year after giving birth?! Meaning your joints and ligaments are under HUGE pressure, especially if you run or do high impact joint activities.

I learnt the hard way. My ankle is screwed from playing competitive netball just 6 months after birth with Lily. I won’t play again. I’m still having issues with it and will continue to see a physio. Next step is surgery. Guttered. But my body wasn’t ready! Yet I didn’t listen to all the niggles. It was in fact the most injury riddled season I had ever had; shoulder injuries, fingers, back injury, calf injury. And my main story is just an ankle!

Many women go through enlarged and damaged Diastis recti issues due to exercise not suited to your new body. Prolapsed uterus can be exaserpated with exercise, particularly with running. Posture problems, joint issues, not to mention the ‘pee when you cough’ issue. Not trying to be a debbie downer here, I would like those reading to be aware. Cause I freaking care! These CAN be remedied with proper care of yourself, time and if need to, work with professionals for some help. (*I rant about this often as this is the field I want to study in – working with pregnant and postpartum mums and their SAFE exercise needs).

One thing 

Your not just a mother. You are a human who needs something other than your family to focus on once in a while. Find something. Do something you used to do pre baby. Or do something with the fam, if that makes you have your own mental break  Maybe not hit up the old raving scene, popping pills, fluro wearing sweatyness. Or whateves. But find or do something you enjoy. And stick at it. Maybe it’s being the best candycrush player ever. Maybe it’s losing yourself in a good book or hitting up the gossip magazines every week. Maybe it’s collecting teapots. Maybe it’s baking or cooking up a storm. Or stripping off your clothes and dancing naked every full moon…wait, whatttt….?

I found Zumba. I guess a substitute for the old raving scene? It makes me happy, it takes me away from home (I bloody love my home, I’m not abandoning them) and into a place of fun, sweat, looseness. Free from poopy naps and grabby hands. For 2 hours a week.

beto_class

Many friends sew, do craft, import things, bake, start new hobbies, brew, smash stuff on their xbox. And they thrive! Cause it’s theirs for 1 hour a week or what ever. Too busy? Schedule it in. Too busy to have your own mental break? Please. It will be a mental break soon. I know.

Support to vent

Find support in some shape or form. So you can vent, cry to, laugh with all that’s going on with yourself. I’ve found this, writing *cough ramblings* helpful. Not everything I write at 3am is published, I’ve got about 10 drafts of rantings and ravings stored up. But it helps.

That and wine. And humans, they are pretty bloody valuable too.

Sometimes social media can be a blessing but sometimes, a curse. Realise what gets put out there by others is not always the perfection you may so crave.

And really, super, try not to compare yourself and your life with others. It’s tough, but it’s also very easy to get suckered into the prettiness of social media #flatlays #blesssed. I know cause I do it, and often need to deconnect from it in order for myself to not get down or angry about shit I see. And if my focus is on that, it’s not on myself or my family. And that’s not reality.

Number 1.

As hard as it is to realise, your focus is you. Number uno. You can’t pour from an empty cup. Recharge you, be kind on you and then the rest will follow. And know your signs of deflation! Let others know too, so they can help out. I seem to get (sorry, medical history of Jess coming up) mouth ulcers, coldsores and tummy bugs/flu when I get run down and I look back when I get them and always say ‘huh, I must be run down’. Hindsight.

Know what they, step back and assess. Cause we need you! The world, your loved ones, friends need and want you.

Be nice to yourself. It’s hard to be happy when someone is mean to you all the time.

X

WARNING: A long post ahead; The 4th Trimester.

20150727_161637So something in the water about 6-9 months ago has gotten many friends pregnant. Not sure what it is…

So I feel the need to impart some information about those first 3ish months of your glorious bundle of newborn joy into the world. By newborn, I mean up to 3months old. The 4th trimester. It exists.

I am NO expert! Let me make that bloody clear!! I only have 1 kiddo. Butttttt I have volunteered at a new Mums n bubs course for nearly a year, every week. I hear the passionate speakers. I listen to the same questions get asked by anxious new mummies (me included!) and I hear the wonderful knowledge that is open minded, honest, holistic and in my personal experience with Lilypie, a lifesaver. I’ve listened to my mum friends and I’ve done a bit of research on some topics (albeit, I took my science hat off in many situations and put it back on for others)

I want to pass it on. Edit: I started typing and realised it was waaay too long and I went on about mums health. So surprisingly, its been cut down. Mumma stuff will be in another blog post soon!
So here it is, take it or leave it. Pin it or poo on it. Or pass it on. Preferably not with the shit on it.

1. Newborns can’t tell the time.

Strangely enough, their lil scrunched up faces cannot see the clock nor then put the idea together that oh shit, it’s been 4 hours, I now demand a feed. Or it’s now 2 am, I think I will stay super quiet and let mummy and daddy sleep, even though this room is kinda scary and I can’t feel my mummy, and I WANT food!

The biggest shock was that damn this little tyke isn’t fitting into our ‘expected timings or schedule’ (I LOL to that now)! I mean we’ve read that newborns can go for 4 hours between feeds right? Thats what they did ‘back in the day (F*** back in the day)..yet here she is, crying AGAIN…..

Uh…Reality check.

If you are a regimented schedulely type person, you may have to lower your expectations of what you expect your new born to do TIMEWISE. Like low. to the ground. Flat. Other wise you may make yourself sick with stress. Take it from me, loosen that shit up.

If you are schedule type person go for it…but, schedule the shit outta what you want to do after baby is 3ish months. Because by that stage, their brain connections are becoming stronger. And what worked one day will change the next and this is where frustrations can build ‘why won’t you do what you did yesterday!? It worked! Just do it!’ (Unless your baby falls into the 1% of angel baby who does everything by the book. You dick.)

Schedules are time based. First 3 months, middle finger that shizz (or not, if you want to do them, just breathe when shit doesn’t fit into what you expected or changes nek minute).

Routines are activity based. We followed a routine.There were no clocks. Just Lily’s cues, our intuition and our flexible routine. Routine is similar activities in a similar pattern. And are soooo different for everyone.

Eg: wake, one boob. burp. other boob. burp. change nappy. tummy time/floor. cuddles/sleep on me, sometimes put down in bassinet, sometimes not, sometimes feed more til asleep. wake and repeat. That was the first 2ish months. Then after that, ’tis another blog….

2. They’ll get used to what we do for them

There is this fear that ‘oh but baby will get used to it if I hold/rock/cuddle(godforbid)/sing/play lullabies/white noise/feed/walk in pushchair/wear him or her to get them to have some sleep. Stop yourself right there. Please. Their brain connections are only at about 14% in new born stage, so any associations made with those ‘tools’ are irrelevant. You will not be rocking them to sleep when they are 5. Nor will they be suckling at your boob to calm or sleep when they are 8. Do what you gotta do to get through.

Hold bubba! Sit in the couch with them! Watch crap TV! Let it be your excuse to do absolutely NOTHING else! Now is the time to relish that quiet state! Sniff (pretty sure I’ve said that many times in previous blogs. I don’t have a sniffing obsession. I don’t think…?) that newborn goodness. Seriously, you’ll catch your self saying, ‘but they’ve grown up too fast! I want the newbornness back!’ And did you actually be in the moment with them when they were a newborn? Possibly not. So I’m telling you this NOW. RELISH IT!

Will you look back in 10 years time and say ‘Man, I wish I did more housework when baby arrived….’

3.You baby, your choice.

When pushy Aunty Lola comes by unannounced, stinking of perfume and all loud and baby is about to feed (you can see the hanger signs) yet she wants to hold and play with baby and then bubs starts howling, and she says oh what’s wrong (all in babies face), Politely say oh thanks, but I’ll just feed her now. Scoot away to the bedroom and feed. And once bubs has fed, stay in there a bit longer. Then come out and say, oh she’s asleep now, sorry, another time. And DONT let that Aunty/uncle/neighbour wake your baby for their own satisfaction! You know what’s best. If bubs is tired, let them sleep for the love of god!

I remember bravely heading to a cafe on my own at about 1 month old. I just wanted to sit in public, be somewhat normal again. This lil old lady, possibly well intentioned, decided to actually get all in Lily’s face while she was sleep on my shoulder and STROKE her hair and talk awfully loudly to her then woke her, crying inconsolably. In my sleep deprived state, my reaction was slow, I didn’t click, I just smiled politely. Then my instinct kicked in, I pulled lily away from her and said thank you, I’ll just go change her nappy, and hid in the toilet. Tell people politely to back off if you can sense baby getting worked up at this person. Your allowed to! Your baby, your way! They just want mum or dad. Not 50 other people’s different smelly hands on them. Plenty of time for smelly hands later on.

4. Mumma knows best (And dad!)

Mothers instinct exists. It’s innate, built in. Trust it. If you feel something is up with baby, talk to someone, seek professional advice. Healthline, plunketline, your midwife, your GP and try stay off uncle google. It can bring a raft of anxiety (she says as she does research on ‘is it normal for poo to be smelly and runny then hard and no smell within 2 days?’). My friend had a refluxy baby, way worse than Lily. This Mumma wasn’t getting the answers she felt she needed. She knew something was up. She was a trooper, she approached various healthcare professionals, all giving the same advice. She had enough, in her gut something wasn’t right. So she forked out to see a specialist and turns out bubs was completely lactose intolerant, like severe allergic reaction intolerant! I admire my friend as she never gave up looking for answers, trusted her instinct. Go get a 2nd, 3rd, 100th opinion on something.

5. Cluster feeding

They are growing, and at certain times (first one is around 12ish days old) they take more milk in then usual. It may feel like you are glued to the couch or where ever you feed. It may feel like you have a second appendage which is attached to your boobie (or bottle) and you think god this is draining!! This can’t be what it’s going to be like? For a day or so, maybe. Sometimes on certain hours each day, sure. But it does pass. I remember lying in bed, about 2 weeks into it, hubby was home and also my mum was there. I had lily on the boobie what felt like every half hour. By 4pm, I broke down. I was a blubbering mess. I no shit said, ‘what did we do? Why did we have this baby.’ I of course, was hideously hormonal and tired and all the rest that comes with a 2 week old bubs. But I couldn’t see it changing. The next day, poof! Different story. Back to feeding more than every half hour at least. In those times, have a nourishing snack box and the TV remote ready. Sit back, munch those snacks, re-hydrate! And rest. The washing can wait. Dinner can come outta the freezer and be microwaved. Or have toast. What ever it is, cluster feeding will pass.

Ok, I’ve rabbited on way too long. I’ll bullet point-ish the next stuff as to keep you interested, if I haven’t lost you already.

6. Choice is power

As I said, your baby, your choice. Choice is powerful.

7. Is it safe? Does it work?

With everything you choose to do with baby, ask yourself, is it safe (for you and baby) and does it work? (For you and baby). If you answer yes to both questions, then keep on truckin’ Mumma! Ignore the naysayers. Ignore the parents that say ‘ well my baby slept thru at 1 weeks old’ (not safe). Ignore the ‘back in my day’ people. Do what works for you IN THAT MOMENT.

8. Poop

Breast fed babies can go up to 2 weeks without pooping! And when it happens, perhaps surprise hubby with a beautiful pxt of the gloriousness. Seriously, it’s exciting and a relief. Formula fed less so.

9. Tongue and lip ties.

Get them checked and rechecked. It can help with breastfeeding big time if you get it sorted early on. Saves a lot of pain for both you and bubs.

10. Bubs will cry

Attend to them! A ridiculous baby whisperer person once said you spoil a newborn if you attend to their crying, let them cry to find their place. Excuse my language but what the fuck.You are attending to their needs! Scoop that baby up and calm them ASAP. They have different sounding cries for communicating. Check out Priscilla Dunstan on Oprah, below in the link. You can also get an AP called baby ears. HOWEVER, this is just a tool. If something doesn’t seem right, don’t wait around for the wailing of baby! Don’t wait and say oh that might be a hungry cry…or a windy cry…Attend to them! See number 11 and 12.

11. Wonderweeks.

Get the wonderweeks AP.  Or book. Saved our marriage. Enough said.

12. Tune in

Get in tune with baby. Watch them. Get on the floor with them. Tune in with is their tired signs. Jerking arms? Blank stare? (I must be tired all the time..) Looking away from eye contact? Grizzly? Perhaps time for sleep. Check them out in the link below. They will help.

13. Less stimulation

Goes without saying. Overtiredness is very quick with babies. Miss their tired cues = overtired baby = hard to calm =stressy mum. They have no filters. They download everything all the time. And when it’s sleep time, it’s download time. Too much stimulation while awake? Not great sleep. Babywearing came in super handy with this. Pop them in against you, they can shut out the big world and have a snooze. Plus you get snuggles!

14. Little humans.

They are little humans after all. People think they don’t do much. They can’t think much. Sure, complex algebra isn’t on their agenda yet, but they are highly intelligent beings. And they have senses, feelings. Ask yourself would you like that if someone was doing it to you? (in ya face etc…) If not, then why do it to them..?

15.Support network

Find a group/forum what ever that you feel comfortable asking question to and chatting to. I swear I am the luckiest lady to have my coffee group/antenatal ladies and their kids. They are the tits. Find that support, don’t feel you are alone, cause you aren’t! There is a network of queens (love Constance!) out there who have been through it, ready to support you. Shit, message me if you like. I’ll wait. Here. Patiently. Hoping someone contacts me…..sigh. 😂

16 Breathe. 

Pat yourself on the back. You are wonderful. Your baby thinks you are wonderful. They are finding their way, as are you. It’s scary!  And they need you! You are their all! Be there. Breathe them in.
You got this 👊 Especially for getting through this bloody long blog.
X

Dunstan baby language (long version)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgkZf6jVdVg
Short version

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ValdMXD5wQI
Baby tired signs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDEW36ru1iw
Wonderweeks

https://www.thewonderweeks.com/
Pinky Mckay who has awesome advice

http://www.pinkymckay.com/blog/baby/

Explosions, adulting and no books.

20150729_143324Today, I can’t adult.

It’s 330am. The cat is meowing and scratching at the door for food already.

I’m awake, I’m up.

Bump into hubby who is sleeping in the other room due to ‘infectious’ me. Charming. It’s 520am, he’s off to work. I collapse into him, a sobbing mess. He guides me back to bed, says some kind words of ‘look after yourself (trying to), everything can wait today (good), love you (sorry about your work jersey covered in snotty tears).’

I’m not well. Fluey, throat is on fire and bunged up from taking pills doctor gave me to stop my butt explosions 4 days ago. I still haven’t gone and feel I need to every 4 minutes. It feels like a small cat is trying to claw outta my tummy. You didn’t need to know that. But it’s out there now.

And my mind and eyes are tired. Get off the screen? Need to. I was going away this weekend for a netball tournament, my 1st overnight trip away from Lily. But that won’t be happening. Gimme a break.

Blah blah moaning murtle.

Lily is stirring. Already? Pop ear plugs into ears. Give me 30more minutes please. Deep breathe.

We made it to 615 before the grizzles start winding up.

She woke not happy, I think she is getting ill too. Nothing, NOTHING is worse 😕. Back to bed with her, I reach for my IPad and find some nursery rhymes on YouTube. 2 minutes of resting eyes before

‘Nana, nana, pear pear, toas toas (toast toast) ma-mit ma-mit (marmite).’ It’s feeding time at the beautiful Zoo. I actually feel ripped off at this stage cause I feel like I’ve had the best weekend out in Vegas or somewhere party-like, yet this never happened. My mouth is all cottonmouthy metallic tasting from those bloody shit blocker pills the doc gave. My eyeballs are hanging, my voice is raspy, my nose is running like I’ve snorted something up it on my Vegas nights out and damaged the nerve endings (I’ve never snorted stuff up my nose Mum, just know that your nose runs if you do snort stuff of the White powder variety. It’s science).

I take away (god I feel guilty at this stage, terrible terrible parent) Lily’s bookcase and books while she’s obliviously munching on her tar covered toast. We pretty much read all day, each book, 100x over. Now, I LOVE to read with Lily. I read what ever she bring to me, what ever she is interested in. It’s takes energy! Sounds stupid? You try it. All freaking day. But today, we have no books. It’s a no spot the dog, hairy mclairy, green sheep, each peach pear plum,  I love you always kind of day. Nope. I lay on the couch, vaguely encouraging the play. 8am. Doctors are open to ring.

Doctors visit goes swimmingly. I’m on antibiotics.. Lily screamed the roof off and she wasn’t even being checked over. She hates that place. And I’m starting to feel the same. Waiting for the prescription, Lily has found some items and pulls them off the shelf with enthusiasm. Condoms, Lube and ‘Old spice’ deodorant…..? Hastily putting them away, fake smiles all around, we leave for home. ‘Pear pear chee chee water water’. Its nearing lunch time already.

Drive through macdonalds it is. First happy meal Lily has ever had. Chicken nuggets, Apple pieces. Fanta for the drink please. That’s a double Fanta for Mumma. Give me that suuggaaarrrrr. (Note lily did NOT have Fanta, so don’t you be calling child services on my greysweatpanted ass).

Greeeeeeeeaat for a recovering gastro tummy!

It’s nearly nap time. Praise the gods above. Its. Nearly. Bloody. Nap. Time.

‘Mumma Mumma book book boo boo (her cuddly)’. Bless her little cotton tail she has found two books behind and under the couch. Oh she can sniff them out. At least her nostrils are working.’Yes darling, it’s nap time.’

Snuggling into the well moulded couch, (let’s be honest, I havent moved all day apart from the doctors trip) we cheerily read The Jungle grapevine Book and sleepily read Guess How Much I Love you, those books that Lily snuffled out. I breathe in her auburny hair smells. Her small body eases into mine, giving up to the mornings antics. I bundle her up into her sleeping bag and lay her down with her booboo. She grins cheekily up at me, kicks her legs around like a worm, bites booboo, rolls over and slowly nods off.

Today, I can’t adult.

But today, I can be thankful.

And tommorrow, I can live.

X


Raves, making new friends and playdates.

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When I was 15, we moved into a new house on a new street. I knew a boy who lived down the road and I thought I would befriend him. I didn’t like him as in a crush, I liked him because he shared the same music interests (techno!) as me and he was in our circle of friends. I envisaged us hanging out after school, and just being friends. I bit the bullet and asked him if he wouldn’t mind burning me the latest Ministry of Sound Volume 2 CD and that I’d pick it up when I come to hang out (those last words were possible said mumbled and quickly).

‘No worries, I can do that, give me a couple of days’ (downloading in those days took that long haha). When it was ready and I went to pick it up, he said, ‘Make sure you bring the $20 for the CD. I’ll put it in the letterbox for you..’.

Ahhh uhh ok sweet, will do, yup leave in the letterbox….

Awkward! In my head, we were to hangout, as friends. Perhaps I didn’t verbalise it or perhaps he just didn’t like to hangout with me at all, which is sweet. I’ll just avoid him for the rest of my teenage life…!!!!!! Ohhh the embarrassment, the shame, the awkwardness. Tad over dramatic? When your a teen and you get rejected, even if the other didn’t know that is what it was, you feel a tad silly. Or at least I did.

Which brings me to the topic of making new friends when we adult. In particular, making mummy friends. It’s hard. It’s often awkward.

I’ve had the above scenario play out in a similar way in adult world, since Lily came along.

At the playground, I took the plunge and sparked up a conversation with a mum who was battling a little tyke who wanted their socks kept on. I liked her. She seemed similar to me in her personality, I liked her Kmart active wear and I thought cool, we might be able to catch up again! I swapped numbers with her. I text her. And she is yet to text me back. It’s been 2 months. I feel cheated in a way. What didn’t she like about me not to text? I felt we were clicking with our jokes and messy mum buns. Hmmm…

I have the best group of antenatal mummy friends. I love them. I sure know I’ve relied on them for support over the last year and a bit. And I hope I’ve reciprocated that support to them. They are wonderful, strong, supportive, non judgey women who hold their households together like snotty glue. They offer gentle advice, have good taste in wine and are pretty bloody awesome. They got it going on.

But when we start to move back into our work and out of that newborness daze, your left feeling a little lost with what to do, especially if your at home.

Don’t get me wrong, we are content with being at home, creating huts/obstacle courses, reading, exploring the neighbourhood and doing those things you do anyway with your little one. It’s that mummy talk time over wines/coffee (or not!) that sometimes you just need. I would love to have a crystal ball and go back in time, pre Lily and show my new found friends what it was like. I’m sure we all had very different lives before kiddies. I was a raver. Nuff said.

So we’ve been on the search for activities to do, for Lily, for Lily, of course hahahahahah, annnnnnnnd possibly for myself to meet some ladies. It’s actually like dating. But no booze, and yourve got a kid hanging off your arm wiping ‘nana’ hands all over your top that you had thought carefully about wearing to try impress….

There are lots of activities run in the region for mums with kiddies under the age of 5. In all the activities we head to, Lily thrives. She is off and away, doing her own thing, completely not doing what the instructors are saying (she is 15months for gods sake, I don’t follow instructions and I’m 31). And I freaking love her for it. But that’s often where it stops and I start to become selfish. Because Lily is loving it but I am not. I interact with the mummies but its not reciprocated. We are all trying to do the same thing here ladies! And that is survive this roller coaster that is parenthood. Why not try to ride the roller coaster with a polite ‘Hi how are you, I’m so and so, Nice to meet you’. Even if you

don’t exchange numbers (OK, we’ve just met, let’s do lunch before we exchange numbers..take it slow? Cool?) it would still make the other mum feel good and included and happy that she is not alone. Totally get people having bad days, we all have them. But why discourage mummas who are looking for not only interaction for their kids but interaction for themselves?

Did my dress sense offend you? Am I just a total dick? Do I smell? (My school friends may say this could be the case as my nick name at school was JessBO).

Imagine going to a foreign country, not speaking the language and having to start a new job that you’ve never had any training or experience in. And then imagine every week you have to start a completely new job, not speaking the language. That’s parenting.

Imagine doing that job with people you know speak your language but dont help or take the time to say hello. Awful huh? We need to support each other, lift each other up and in the least little bit, say hello. I’m not talking about becoming besties with you love, just a hello will be sweet and if more, we can take it from there. Slowly. Just like dating?

It can be a lonely place at times. But a beautiful family member said ‘Jess, you are never alone when you have a kid’. So true, she just can’t share a glass of wine with me (yet) and have a good old gossip . But she can stare blankly at me, thinking I’m bonkers, while I have a good thrash around, listening to my Ministry of Sound CD (volume 2).

X

(Ps: on this journey, I’ve met some wonderful women and mums who have taken the time to get to know my Lilypie and I. So if we have crossed paths, that was more than a fleeting hello, thank you for doing so. It means a lot. 😊)

Underestimation of the role. Cue elevator music

DSCF0196A few years ago, before we even thought of having kids, in a time when we ran a kick-ya-shoes-off give no f’***s lifestyle, I went down to the town I grew up in to stay with some buddies. These beautiful buddies have kiddies and had 2 under the age of 3 at the time.

Now going back is always an adventure and this was no exception as one of said friends hadn’t been out on the lash since having baby number 2. To my detriment, when I get an idea in my mind, I have to follow it through. This idea was staying out till 5 am. No sweat, I got this, WE got this. A big fat YOLO was on my mind. My friend however warned me that we would be woken by her little cherub in our bed at about 6am and she has to do x y and z tomorrow and then this and that and cant stay out too late or blah blah ahhhh cue elevator music in my head, tune out.

At about midnight, she started to falter. I pumped her full of vodka redbulls (later on she told me that she actually asked the bar man to just give her a water…sneaky sneaky) ‘Come on, I NEVER come home! Do it for MEEeeeeee. This is so much FUNNnnnn.’ I say as I swing round the lampost, doing my best Beyonce move.

We made it to 3. As we crawled into bed, she kindly said to me ‘You know in 3 hours X is going to be in here…Good night’ ‘Sweet, no worries…I’ll look after her..’

6am, sure enough, the gorgeous poppett comes skipping in and jumps on the bed thinking its the best thing EVER. FML in that moment, FML.

Luckily, she has an amazing husband who whisks bubs away to leave us (actually, just me, sneaky sneaker-boot with her drinking water all night) to wallow in misery.

Wow. What a wake up call. This is reality for them. I didn’t get it. Or more, I didn’t believe it, didn’t think it to be true. But my friend got up, and carried on with her day, as if the 3am getting home experience never happened. What a trooper, trooping on like that. But that’s what she had to do. Get on with it. ‘Cause babies butts don’t wipe themselves and fairy princesses don’t read the same book 1000x over in one day by themselves.

It does sounds a tad dramatic but in that moment, I realised how NAIVE I was to having kiddies and the responsibility they bring. I realised what a freaking legend my friend was and how much I hadn’t taken the time to get to know her at her new gig. Sure, she is still a goofball, who loves a good glass of wine and a boogie and can do a mean dutch oven…LOL at thattttttt sorry bud.

But she has a new role. A new evolving, beautiful, crazy, caring, life changing, life influencing role. It was one snapshot that I needed to see, to appreciate it all and all that she is and does (granted, it was one morning but still, I was amazed) And I’m so glad I did see it.

Because now I get it. I live it and breathe it.

I drove back to my home 2 hours away and thought about what I experienced. I totally underestimated the ‘job’ of running a family. Whether it be from the mother, the father, aunty, nephew, granny, papa or who ever, the task is big, the responsibility is massive and until you’ve lived in it or at least immersed yourself in it, you do not know what is up. I certainly didn’t, and at times now, still don’t! But now at least I try not to cue elevator music in my head. Unless its my own circus. Then that shizz is on volume 100%.

Amazing thing is this family business.

While I pulled into the Macdonalds drive thru, sipping on my blue poweraide bottle and contemplating how brilliant my friend is, Beyonce ‘single ladies’ song popped onto the radio and gave me a cringe flashback to the night before. Poor lampost. Poor witnesses. FML.

X

The Big D.

 

13920031_10153576428086008_1293112915568997234_oMummas coffee group the other day was one to say ‘see you later’ to our wonderful friend and her bubba who is not so bubba-ish anymore. Where did the time go? When did they evolve into toddlers?  God dam they grow so quick; the usual conversation between us these days.

I have weeping JD Salinger moments, Catcher in the Rye (Thanks year 13 English!) moments all too often. I want to freeze moments of amazement, keep that innocence still, bottle up the smelly deliciousness of our babies head (yup, she’s still a baby in my mind) and other times I want to tell the world ALL about her, gloat, puff out my chest and say, here is my baby (sweetheart..she’s 13…) isn’t she so fucking awesome?

Oops I’ve gone off topic. Kinda.

See, one of the themes in the catcher in the rye is for the main character; Holden, to hold the innocence of children, let them not be exposed to the uncontrollable influences of the outside world. That was a lot of uses of commas. Focus Jess.

We bought a new car. It’s pretty nice. I feel safe in it. It’s shiny. I turned up to coffee group driving the new shineyness. Also what else was shiny was my hair, I had washed it! Woohoo!

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Toot toot!

We arrived. Mumma friend said “Ooooh new car! So shiny! And Look at you! You look so pretty today, with your sunglasses and your gorgeous baby (she might not have said that) and your cool clothes (I don’t think she said that either but I’ll throw it in there because I actually took my time to co-ordinate my outfit that day and was feeling fresh as F.). “You look like your all that, you got it going on Mumma”.

“Nahhhh thanks” *Cringe awkwardly*

Here’s the clincher moment…little did they know I was hiding the way I was feeling that day and that week and that month..I was dying inside. I was silently losing my shit. I was (and still am on days) wrestling with the big black bitch of a dog, the big D. No no, not fighting the rude big D as peeps these days say, you filth! The big D of d de dep …. depression.

Bllleeerrrrggghhhhh I said it, typed it actually. It’s awful. I feel yuk and bad and good and elated and high and low and all over the show. I love my life, I love my family, I love the warmth people who know me well, give me. And then I hate my thinking at times. It seems to stem from an overwhelming sense of the bigger issues in the world. It’s like they are on my shoulders and I gotta fix it all, then I get on a buzz of how I will and can and then, all of a sudden, the reality of me not being able to succeed in the mission of saving the world (sounds ridiculous huh?) it becomes too much and BOOM! You think your a failure, your not worthy of what you have ‘coz you can’t fix the issue, the happiness you surround yourself with is not yours to have.

You maybe thinking what the hellllllllllll this is a tad depressing Jess! Get it together, you can’t control the bigger things in the world! And I totally agree. But what makes me anxious, and this is the main point of the Catcher in the Rye reference (don’t panic, I’m not going to go all Mark Chapman on anyones ass. Google it if you don’t know) is what I can and can’t control what Lily is exposed to in the world. Or where the world and environment is heading for the future generations.

I would love to believe the next generations are future proofed, fool proofed, free of oppression, free of judgement, just free. I’m just anxious ‘Tis all. Just overthink shit. And that’s all it is, is shit.

I need to have the frozen song, let it go, on repeat.

I have always had anxiety and mild depression. But I truly think once you have someone in your care, someone who relies on you, depends on you to live, to give them life, then you can overthink A GAZILLION other things. Things relevant (or not) to them. Like formula vs Breast. Dummy or no dummy. Sleep training vs no sleep training. Cot vs bedshare. Cry it out vs gentler soothing. Baby wearing vs no baby wearing. Cloth nappies vs disposable. Back to work vs stay at home. Vaccinate vs not vaccinate. The list can go on and on and bloody on. All these I can control yet I worry about if the one I choose is best for Lily.

I know is a VERY common theme among parents, always questioning and worrying if the choices they make are best for their cherubs. And I can say, with my wise words (actually stolen from a wise admirable friend, so not my own words) is:

Is it safe for baby? Does it work for you AND baby?

If you have looked at both options, weighed them up and made an informed decision based on that and it ticks those 2 things, then fack it! Lets not get anxious and let that big bitch of a black dog bite us in our flabby cellulited asses (perhaps that’s just me with my ‘mum’ bod lol. I’m lolling). No need to lose precious sleep over the things you can’t control.

Rest easy knowing you are wonderful in your anxious state and that you are wonderfully anxious cause you care and have your loved ones in your best interest and you are wonderful cause you have a beautiful baby/toddler/13yo who is loved and safe. Make an informed choice, grab a chamomile tea spiked with vodka and go to bed. Breathe. Relax. Sleep (lol) knowing you have made the best decisions for you and your family.

I found my old Bursary English exam papers while moving and I only got a bloody 52 for my essay on catcher in the rye. I think it was totes worth at least a 55….?

 

X

If you are feeling down and bitten, PLEASE contact a professional mental health agency.

Mummas in the Franklin district http://www.wellwomenfranklin.org.nz

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