baby and dad fists together

Don’t Forget About Dad

When you become a new parent, a lot of the focus is on how mum is feeling. I get it because there’s the whole pregnancy journey, birth, sleep changes, crying, mood changes, wanting to do better etc. But not as many people think about dad. This is why I’m going to share some thoughts that have been on my mind recently. This is from my experience.

Our son has both of his parents happily living together as a family unit. His ‘parents’ are me (mum) and Danny (dad). We’re both responsible for him. The two of us give our son lots of love, playtime, feeds (formula fed), and the comfort that he needs. Some people say I’m lucky because Danny is ‘so involved’ and knows about things like nappy sizes, the number of ounces of milk, general health, milestones of baby etc. That’s how it should be though and it needs to be normalised. Yes, I am incredibly lucky but we both have a son who deserves all of the care and cuddles in the world so that’s what he gets.

Since the day I found out I was pregnant, it wasn’t just my mum instincts that kicked in. Danny also thought about what he could do to look after me and bump the best way possible. There were a few hospital trips along the way when he didn’t hesitate to take me there as soon as he could. He would drop everything in a heartbeat if it meant my or his son’s health was affected. And he is the same today.

Danny was my birthing partner. He sat behind me during labour when I was on an exercise ball. My waters broke, he heard me scream from pain, I cried, and he stayed. He held the gas and air mask for me and told me I was doing great. He seen it all but he didn’t step back or love me any less. Even though most of our time now goes to our baby boy, just as it should, we still make time for each other even if it’s just the little moments here and there. He runs me a bath, makes me a cup of tea, take it in turns to make tea, tells me to nap (you know those ’20 minutes’ ones that can turn into a few hours?!

Danny understands that us mamas need some ‘me time’ and it’s important for him to have his time too. It goes without saying though, our baby comes first and always will. There are a lot of adjustments and I think we help each other to adapt to each and every new one as we’re experiencing parenthood together. We try our best to notice when one of us is drained or feeling low and give each other time – and sometimes it means doing nothing better than absolutely nothing at all.

As a new dad, Danny hasn’t only took on the new role of a parent, he has supported me through a whole lot. I’m not going to go into detail because it’ll probably give me more anxiety than I have already without wondering what people think if I write it on here. He has had stressful days at work, our family car stolen in the last few weeks but nothing, ever comes before his family. As soon as he gets home, he smiles. The look on his face when Freddy notices he’s home is so heartwarming and Danny always asks how my day has been (and digs a little deeper if I’m not saying much).

Danny continues to motivate me. We’re back at the gym together and he compliments me every day even when I feel like none of those the things he says. If I cry, he tries to understand, always hugs me and finds a way to help.

If you’re thinking about first time mums, mums to be or mums who have been in this for a while now, remember the amazing dads out there too. There are a lot of changes that both parents can face for the first time.

Photo credit: Andreas Wohlfahrt on pexels.com

pink umbrella on a rainy day outside

Feeling Low Doesn’t Mean I Don’t Love my Partner or Baby

This is probably one of the posts I have contemplated whether to post or not, back and forth, the most. Have you ever been asked if you’re okay, how you’re doing, or how you’re feeling? And you simply answer using the words, ‘all good’, ‘okay’ or ‘fine’ thank you. You may genuinely be feeling any three of those at the time but sometimes it’s not the case and you don’t want to say. You don’t even wish you could, you just don’t feel the need to share.

I am a private person to a certain extent. I have social media accounts and I share photos of my son, my partner, family etc. but I also keep a lot to myself. Some people like a bit of ‘retail therapy’ to focus, I like to write on my blog.

You can’t always control your emotions. It isn’t as easy as making yourself feel happy after feeling sad. Your mind is a powerful part of you – so much so, it can take a toll. Your mind can work overdrive. You can go round in circles trying to understand your own thoughts but you can’t. Telling yourself, tomorrow is a new day, or it could be worse, seems okay at the time but ‘the day’ arrives again. Sometimes, it’s soon after or a few days or a week will pass.

I haven’t wrote this to hear “sorry you’re feeling this way” or “sorry you’re going through this”. The truth is, I think it’s always been inside me but a big life-changing moment happened that meant my body and hormones couldn’t play nice together. I ignored the feelings for a while. Plus I’ve had a baby so you know, it’s all like, oh you’re just tired, sleep deprived, or you need some alone time. Time spent with me, myself and I has been a battle between something that’s good and bad for me.

With the time I have to myself, I always end up doing washing, cleaning, tidying etc. then when I finally sit down, I find myself constantly checking the time until my partner and baby are home because I know I have to pick myself up. And before I know it, hours have passed and I haven’t napped or been for a walk.

I’ve cried most days – something I thought was just a thing in those first 6 weeks after giving birth so I didn’t think the doctor would think anything when she spoke to me 15 weeks postnatal. “Do you think you might be depressed?” Depressed? A term that is used so loosely and a word that I didn’t want to associate with myself. This isn’t because there’s anything to be ashamed of but I was telling myself every day that it would pass. I’ve tried to make efforts to occupy myself and find things to love and enjoy again. I will keep trying.

Pre-pregnancy, for many years, I struggled to think about some upcoming events. No one would get it. People visiting – including friends and family – I can find quite overwhelming on my most struggling days. Recently, my partner has seen me curled up in a ball either staring into space or crying myself to sleep. Some nights, I can’t sleep. And on others, I don’t want to wake up because I want to sleep so much.

Please, the next time you hear someone say they are depressed or feeling low, don’t quickly look in from the outside. Even if you think you have the happiest of friends, check in on them. Forgive snappy or off moments. The only way I can describe the way I feel a lot of the time, is lost. This is not my baby’s fault or mine. It’s just that emotions have took charge. Some people can be more sensitive than you think. Regardless, you should always think before you speak. Or apologise if you speak out of turn. I must admit, I’m much stronger that I used to be when it comes to ignoring some comments and people but there will be a wave that comes over me. When this happens, they are all I think about then it spirals into thoughts about myself.

Three months ago, I birthed our son and a surge of new life took over. I count myself lucky that these feelings I have, haven’t affected the bond I have with my beautiful baby boy. Whenever I feel myself about to have a cry, I put him down. Though, most of the time, it’s when I am by myself or when he is asleep. This doesn’t always happen on the non-stop days. I’m talking about the days when I have some ‘me time’. I should be relaxing, sleeping or doing something I find fun. At times, this happens but it drifts into a motion of sadness. I feel restless, hopeless and I suddenly cry. There are days where I feel absolutely agitated that I respond in ways where I don’t even know what I’ve just been told. It’s like being in a daydream and hearing things but the next day you’re not 100% on what happened.

I am forgetting a lot of things and I was putting it down to ‘baby brain’ even though people have said, that’s just in pregnancy isn’t it? And they are probably right but it’s what’s happening.

Another thing that’s changed is my appetite. I go through ups and downs. I overeat snacks and rubbish food in the day or I skip tea/hardly eat in the evening because I say on many occasions, “Oh I don’t feel hungry. I’m okay.” My partner knows it’s not the case and I’m far from it.

I’ll probably get a few, “Oh I didn’t know…” or “Why didn’t you say?” Think about it. I share my feelings with my partner as I feel like I am losing myself at times but smiling on the outside. He’s the one I will always feel comfortable with no matter how agitated or irritable I am. Oh, and he senses whenever I feel stressed. He doesn’t half put up with a lot! I constantly think about something that needs to be done or could be done better. 

I also want to say something else because as sad as it is, there might be people who have something negative to say. I am fully aware of what I have – a warm home, a loving partner, and a beautiful child. I also have a loving family and friends but I will only truly open up about my feelings with my partner and my doctor. This doesn’t mean to say I’m not grateful for any support around me.

There are two people in my life who will always give me a boost when I need it the most – my fiancé and my precious blue eyed baby boy. All it takes is a a big hug and a little smile. I can withdraw myself from situations, visits and plans but I’ll never take myself away from these two.

If you’re feeling low, postnatal or not, perhaps you would like to reach out to someone. It wasn’t until everything was building up that I found the courage to speak to my partner and then my GP who has been lovely. There’s also information and advice on the NHS website. Remember, bottling thoughts and feelings up does not make you a hero. It’s okay to let it all out. 

dark cup with hot drink inside

Sharing Those Postpartum Feelings

The postpartum life brings a new love and happiness but let’s not forget about the exhaustion and everything else. Some people might question why someone like me opted to be a mum when there’s a lot of new challenges and a drop in energy levels some days. I’ll tell you why, it’s something I’ve always wanted. I’m not saying that to sound like anyone else because it’s true. I’ve always dreamed of bringing a new little life into the world and I count my lucky stars that it all came true.

It goes without saying that parenting is hard. And that’s probably putting it lightly. Though, the moments of joy and pure heartfelt memories stay with you forever. They overpower those ‘days’ where you don’t don’t feel like yourself and wonder if there’s anything you could do better. Even when the sleep deprivation hits, all it takes in one smile for it all to melt into the air and you smile as your heart gets fuller.

The last couple of weeks, I’ll be honest, I haven’t felt right. I don’t mean I haven’t been feeling well with this super cold that going around or a bug – I just haven’t been the usual ‘me’. What is the usual ‘me’? Well, in a nutshell, I’m usually smiley, random, and like to see the positive in everything.

In those last weeks, it all changed. Now, I wouldn’t say it was sudden but there was a big difference. Here’s why…

A sense of hopelessness

I felt like I had lost myself. I never forget I’m a mum and a human being like everyone else but I felt disinterested in so many things. There were days I spent in a daze – nothing going on around me other than staring into space while Freddy napped. I would try putting upbeat music on or a good film but it didn’t have the usual effect. I was so quiet but so busy and loud with thoughts in my mind. I wondered how I would get out of this pit. As always, a good chat with Danny channeled me back through after a couple of days. It doesn’t mean to say those days won’t come back. I just need to remember that I can get through them.

Being self critical

Sometimes I think I’m harsh on myself and other days I don’t. I’ve found myself looking in the mirror most days and not liking what I see. There are things I can do – eat well, exercise etc. But I think, I’ll always find something regardless. My legs are covered in stretch marks that weren’t there before. I’m reminded that they are ‘love marks’ that carried the weight of our beautiful boy. I think the body changes that are still happening combined with what I see physically really play on my mind, a little too much. I might not ever love my body but I will find a way to like it again.

Is it the hormones or just me?

Ever cry and wonder why you cried? Sometimes you have good reason, don’t you? Other times you think, why am I so damn emotional right now? The thing is, I need to remind myself that there’s no rush for my body to reach a new kind of normal. I used to hate when someone would look at a woman and say “Ooo she’s a bit hormonal isn’t she” or whatever. But wow, I’ve never truly felt more hormonal days than postpartum ones. Maybe I’m pressuring myself as each week goes by as I think it’s another week I could feel ‘better’. None of these thoughts take away how much love I have for my baby. He (and his dad) are my everything. And the three of us have so much to look forward to – they are what I need to hold onto when my mind does play a battle with me.

Speak to someone

To finish this post, I just want to say, up and down days are completely normal. Sometimes we need to pick ourselves back up but remember you don’t have to do it on your own. It doesn’t take for a number of people to understand how you feel. It takes a good person or two to listen, maybe empathise too. Postpartum life especially, can drag you down in ways you can’t even understand yourself.

Someone can look in from the outside and see nothing but happiness. However, they haven’t got a mirror to see what’s going on in your mind. You can be your own demon sometimes. Remember though, you can’t control everything. So, when things get tough, try to find a couple of things that bring you back to a level of the real you.

Links for support

Image source: John Mark Smith on pexels.com

three hanging teddy bears soft toys

20 Thoughts of a Mum with a Baby

I don’t think it took for me to be a first time mum, for my mind to work overdrive. I’ve always had a little mental check list for things that need to be done (or a long one as Danny would probably say). Here are some of the common thoughts I have on a daily basis since being a mum to our baby boy. When you read some, you might think I’m crazy but I know there’s at least one other person out there who can relate… here’s hoping anyway!

I also just want to say, dads, you are amazing too. There’s not enough credit out there towards you. I notice Danny’s love and support every day. He’s a parent too and that should never go unnoticed.

1. Oh no, how many bottles are left? Do I need to wash them and put them into the steriliser?

2. Whoa, baby’s washing basket is high again, I best do another wash.

3. Am I going to bother getting dressed today? Do I fancy a walk? Hmm… we’ll see.

4. Oh, you want another bottle? Can mama have another cup of tea in a minute or…?

5. Did I empty the dryer and maidens and put the washing away?

6. What’s for tea? Oh I dunno, we’ll figure it out later.

7. Do I need a cuddle? Food? Sleep?

8. I need a shower or a nice long bath with a bath bomb, salts, the whole lot!

9. I need to descale the steriliser again and change the filter in the prep machine.

10. Wow, this look I have going on today is… not attractive in the slightest.

11. I need to top up the toilet rolls on the shelf in the downstairs toilet.

12. I need to change our bedding this weekend.

13. How many Moses/crib sheets do we actually go through?!

14. Are we stocked up on formula, nappies, and wipes. For some reason we have hundreds of nappy bags.

15. Why don’t your (baby) clothes fit you anymore? You’re not allowed to grow just yet!

16. You are so precious. I love you more and more every day.

17. Do you really need to wee and poo so much in one day?

18. Daddy thinks any time is play time (and grandad for that matter).

19. I’m gonna keep wondering how long it’ll be until you will say dada and mama!

20. How did we make such a beautiful human being?

Mamas – how many of these can you relate to? What things continuously play on your mind? Or maybe there are some funny thoughts that go on in your head? Tell me in the comments below.