The First Week Back At Work After Maternity

Missuswolf First week at work after maternity girl in the air

Image credit – Pexels

We made it! I’ve got the Friday feeling for the first time in nearly ten months – and boy does it feel good!

Granted my Friday now involves picking up a Little Lady from nursery and heading home. As opposed to picking up the hubby and heading to the pub.

But what the hell. The fact is I’d been out the house by myself for nearly eight hours. Me Time 🙂

Well, the one thing I’ve learnt from my experience in my first week back to work is:

Organisation

is

key.

Packing bags and laying out clothes the night before equates to a smooth running morning.

Alarm goes off – jump in the shower. Snaffle a banana while I do my hair and make-up. Throw my clothes on. Get Ella dressed and then go go go!

All Christmas Ella was up about 6.15. Bloomin typical.

What does she do on the first day?

Lie in.

So you can imagine my horror as I tapped her lightly to wake her up. Pulling that wincey face as I braced myself for huffy tears.

None came.

Hurrah.

In the car off to work with my bag (yippee, I actually have my own bag. Although I need a new one desperately. Waiting to earn myself some pennies first) her bag and I even managed to pack a gym bag. Go me.

Arrive at nursery at just after 7am (Ella is there everyday from 7. Her finishing times vary between 1pm and 3pm. Pickups are shared amongst me and the family).

For those of you who have been reading my blog, you’ll be well aware how I wanted to go back full time. And how much I was really looking forward to going back to work (I never shut up abooot it).

Although I’m on a phased return at the moment, I’m still happy with my decision.

In fact, I’m so much happier all round.

For the first time in ten months I feel like ME again. The variety of going to work and slotting a few gym sessions around my phased hours has instantly made me a happier, nicer human being.

Although the snatched gym sessions are just a brucey bonus at the moment. Come full steam ahead I’m going to have to factor them into my evening time.

I’m not going to lie and I think it was blatantly obvious. I didn’t really enjoy being off with a baby. Gasp. Or does that sound too harsh?? It wasn’t healthy for either of us and this proves it:

Ella was never a snuggly baby and was so used to my presence that being with me was never a big deal.

Everyday this week I’ve had lots of snuggles, she crawls over to me and onto my lap, plays with my hair and sits on my knee. She pulls at my face and has lent in a few times for some kisses.

Likewise when I’ve walked into nursery and seen that unreal smile. A smile that lights up her excited little face while her arms and legs flail about. You can’t buy that feeling in a bottle.

Surprisingly there were no tears from either of us on the first day. I think we were both looking forward to our new ventures.

And she’s thoroughly entertained at nursery. Which is what I wanted and I knew she would be. They give her far more than I could ever give and I feel like she’s grown loads in the space of a week.

It wears her out.

The afternoon nap-time-battle seems to be slacking. In fact, she had one at 2pm today. 2pm. On my watch by 4pm I was stomping the beach front with the pram willing her to drop off. Selfishly so I could go back for a cuppa in peace obvs.

By bath time she’s rubbing her eyes and come bed time she’s passed out as soon as she’s tucked in (by daddy – the super-tuckerer-inner).

And me?

I’m on a roll.

I feel productive, organised, satisfied, motivated.

And happy.

Incredibly happy.

I feel like a superwoman.

My brain is gradually coming back to life. Granted my heads all over the place trying to work out where I need to be. But it’s nothing a good diary system at work and home isn’t sorting out.

Plus I’m learning a new job too. So the days are flying by. Dare I admit that I don’t even miss her??

Wait – that sounds harsh.

Of course I’m aware when she’s not around but I don’t get a chance to think about it as I’m so distracted. But it’s been healthy for me.

One day she’ll go to school five days a week so I wouldn’t see her then anyway. I think of it logically and that this is just good prep for those days.

What I said in T’was The Night Before … Returning To Work After Maternity is all true.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated tea, bath and bed time. A time I’d come to despise when I was off alone with her.

I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again. Happy mama equals happy baba.

I don’t want readers to feel like I’m preachy about this. Everyone’s family and circumstances are different. But if you’re considering a family and are very career orientated, I just wanted to reassure you.

That you can still be a good mam, in my case I already feel like a better mam, by going back to work. Hell I was even dancing around the kitchen to ‘Kids’ by One Republic with the Little Lady in my arms Wednesday tea time.

Throwing our heads back, laughing as I balanced her on my hip while marching up and down the room tango-style.

It’s a sight my OH came home to. And I’m sure he’ll agree. It was a much better one than having a baby thrown at him.

Happy Wife – Happy Life.

Love Missuswolf xxx

 

 

T’was The Night Before … Returning to Work after Maternity

Missuswolf mother and daughter in rocking chair

So here it is.

The night before I start my first day back at work since 11th March 2016 (I’m discounting the odd KIT day).

Since I joined The Motherhood.

Wow. It feels weird (but good!) to be getting into a routine of packing our bags and setting our clothes for the next day.

Something I’ll probably grow to hate. Or will I? I like being organised. Hopefully it will become autopilot and my future self (the tired head-less-chicken one in the morning) will thank me for it.

A nice bath. Early to bed to read a book and set an alarm.

Argh I haven’t set an alarm (bar the KIT days) since March 2016.

I’ll probably not sleep tonight for fear of sleeping in.

I know, I know. I’ve shouted from the rooftops how I’ve looked forward to this day. How I’ve longed to get back to work for some ‘me time’.

Ha.

It’s comical isn’t it? Who would’ve thought I classed work as  my time. 

But I do.

And I am looking forward to it.

However, do you know what I’m looking forward to the most?

Coming home to this gorgeous, happy little thing I’m proud to call my daughter.

I’ll look forward to having tea with her. To enjoy preparing it and then watching her eat it.

And bathing her. Watching her play with bubbles and the purple and yellow ducks. And the little spikey orange ball that lights up.

Splashing her little hands on the water and giggling every time she does it. Looking at me with those big blue eyes. Eyes that ask me to giggle back with her too.

Then wrapping her in her hooded towel where she resembles a baby Yoda.

Patting dry her utterly delightful skin.

Dressing her for bed.

Giving her a bottle of warm milk.

Reading her a story. Or two.

And then lying her in her cot. Her big girl cot which has been completely lowered now (when did that happen?)

Then tucking her in.

Actually, this is a daddy job as I don’t tuck her in tight enough. She’s like that magician that can escape being chained, bolted and dropped in water. Wriggles in all the right places and breaks free.

And do you know why I will look forward to all of this?

Because for nearly ten whole months, the monotony of everyday motherhood – looking after a small human by myself – takes it’s toll in the evening.

I’ve been too tired or sick of her by this time of day to actually embrace and enjoy these moments.

Gasp. What an awful thing to say.

But it’s true.

These moments tend to be flung at the other half. For him to try and embrace after his day at work.

So no doubt I’ll still be tired from my day at work.

But that’s just it.

I’ve been at work. I’ve had time away from her. She’s had time away from me.

So those moments that we are together.

Will be unbelievably special.

I can’t wait to see how excited she gets when I come home from work.

This festive period I’ve had the hubby on hand so I’ve had little breaks.

Little breaks like having a lie in.

Where I’ve surfaced and she’s already had her breakfast and her dad has dressed her. Dressed her like only a dad can dress his daughter – in obscure outfits that should never leave the house.

I inch my way through the living room door. As sometimes she’s crawling around right behind it (again – when did this happen?)

Then, she sees me.

With those innocent blue eyes.

Taking me in.

All dishevelled in my dressing gown and untamed hair. My make-up free face still puffy from sleep.

And she looks at me like  

I’m the most beautiful person

in the world.

Her  long little legs kick wildly.  Her smile lights up her cheeky little face and the excited giggles that escape from that tiny little mouth are breathtaking.

I do have a heart underneath all of this Warrior Mode.

And my god it explodes.

My little buddy for life.

I’ve come a long way in nearly ten months.

It’s been the toughest, hardest most emotional time of my life.

I’d go so far as to say it’s been the craziest.

I’m still me. Just a different version.

One that has been on a huge learning curve.

But I look back upon my time with fondness. There have been plenty of highs and there have been plenty of lows.

There’s also been some questionable parenting moments.

Like the time I couldn’t remember leaving chocolate in her cot, only to discover it wasn’t actually chocolate on her hand – that mammy had left the dirty nappy bag in the cot …

And as much as I’ve wanted this absolutely crazy time off to hurry up, I’ll reflect on 2016 in years to come as the year that not only broke me – but it also made me.

I’ve poured my feelings and frustrations into what can be looked upon as an online maternity diary. Like diaries, there will be some entries I look back upon and downright cringe, even regret. But for most of it, I’ll look back with pride.

That maternity leave not only gave me a chance to spend (albeit some frustrating and exhausting) time with this little human of mine.

It gave me the chance to take a step back from life.

To focus on something I’ve absolutely loved doing since I was a little girl myself.

Writing.

Last week, I watched the BBC film on the Bronte sisters To Walk Invisible.

And that was empowering in itself. Three women masquerading as men to get their novels published. What a significant piece of history.

A piece I want to share with my daughter. I’d like to think that by writing this blog I’m writing some history for her too. That mammy loved writing and her dream came true to share it with the world.

Missuswolf mother and daughter reading

Image credit to Pixabay

On the subject of the Bronte’s, I’m ashamed to admit I’ve never read Jane Eyre. Ouch.

I’ve downloaded it to my Kindle. I want to get into the routine of reading before bed again.

I digress.

This whole pregnancy and maternity experience has brought me new friends. Friends which some of whom I’ve not even known a year. But it’s felt like I have known them a life time. Who’ve been there on the toughest journey of my life. And that’s a strong bond.

Missuswolf Maternity Friends for life

Image credit: Pixabay

Then there are friends I’ve always had who’ve been on this journey with me too. Through the raw parts. Who have seen me at my worst and I have seen them at their best as they support and pick me up.

Friends who bring you pizza when you’ve got a teething baby and all you have eaten is a bowl of trifle for tea.

Those people are priceless.

And I thank them.

For sharing this crazy ass journey with me.

That’s Sisterhood for you.

That’s Motherhood.

Here’s to my next chapter. I’m off to make it a good one.

Love Missuswolf xxx

 

 

 

Merry ♡ Christmas 

Wow. What a year it’s been.

I just want to say a very quick Merry Christmas.

I’m signing off for the festive period now.

When I return it will be in the New Year.

And 2017 is looking crazy already. Crazy in a good way.

New job. New house (fingers crossed).

And the blog?

Well, we’ll just have to wait and see 😉

Enjoy this time to relax and unwind with your loved ones.

Missuswolf Merry Christmas Rocking Horse Tree decoration Unsplash
I’m going to deviate from character here and coo ‘oh wow it’s Baby’s First Christmas for us’.

Haha. It certainly is Baby’s First Christmas and I’ve been the most unprepared I’ve ever been for Christmas in my life. Ooooops.

Obvs I am excited but it’s taken me twice aslong to do anything. Thank god for online shopping as I get pram rage.

Thank god for the nursery trials this week too (which were successful yeay). It meant I could run around the shops shackle-free and buy cards and presents.

And Thank You for sticking with my ramblings these past few months. Possibly the hardest months I’ve experienced. Ever.

So I’m off to pump Prosecco through my veins for the next week.

Cheers – here’s to 2017.

Bring it on.

Love Missuswolf xxx

Images from Unsplash and Pexel 

Maternity Leave Essential: September’s Birchbox

Wednesday 28th September 2016

Missuswolf Maternity Leave Essentials Birchbox

 

Every month I receive a lovely little present in the post from myself to myself – a BirchBox.

I love getting post

– who doesn’t?

This month’s Birchbox theme is Heroes – celebrating heroic women who inspire us.

My heroic woman and ultimate girl crush is Beyoncé.

She oozes woman power .

Not only do I love her music (espesh after a fizz or four where I’m on that dance floor bootyshaking. Argh criiiiinge) I admire her work ethic too. She works super hard and is very humble. A good example to her little lady.

And that’s what I want to be. (You can read more about my obsession for the word Empowerment in my Guest Blog over on the Pocketnannies.)

For now, back to the beauts.

I have to say, this month’s BirchBox is rather late. There was some cufuffle with the payment at the beginning of the month (probs my fault for not having any pennies in the bank ooops). And although it was resolved swiftly with the  lovely people at Birchbox, my box went AWOL.

Another email to Birchbox. Who I can’t fault their customer service. They are quick to respond and advised another box would be on its merry way.

So I just picked mine up from the sorting office yesterday in Blyth. I do love a delivery but it helps if you’re bastard in to get in.

Which I never seem to be. I’m either running around like a loon at a buggy bootcamp or out singing and sensorying at a baba group.

And because of all this mix-up, I didn’t get my chosen ModelCo Highlighting Trio. Boo. Sob.

I got the ModelCo Creme Rouge instead. Never mind. #FirstWorldProblems

Missuswolf Maternity Leave Essentials Birchbox

Why it’s a Mat Leave Essential

Aside from it being affordable (despite my earlier mishap at the beginning of the month) the products are the right size to take in your changing bags.

Yes fellow Mammy Tribe – you are allowed to put products in that bag for you.

Mine is normally these little samples, an aloe lip balm (aaaalways got dry lips), a bottle of water and (was) an emergency KitKat. From the days where I felt faint from lack of sleep, food, water  –  just the general things you need to function as a human being and, you know, keep you alive.

The KitKat was replaced with an apple once the fainty stage passed (get me being all good and healthy).

Now the apple’s been tossed aside for Rice Cakes, Rusks and Wafers.That aren’t for me.

But I still snack on them. I mean, what better way will Ella learn than to watch me put her food in my gob?

Missuswolf Maternity Leave Essential Birchbox

September’s Samples

 

ModelCo – Creme Rouge –  despite being disappointed I didn’t get the highlighting trio, this is prob better for a crazy lady like me on the go. It’s a 2-in-1 formula to ‘add a flush of colour to lips and cheeks’. I can dab it on my lips and cheeks in a swift swoop and woohoo, I’m winning at life.

Amika – Bombshell Blowout Spray – This is a lightweight spritz that is volumising, smoothing and texturising. This won’t be going in the changing bag as you spray it on damp hair. It’ll go on my dressing table for when I remember (and get the chance) to wash my hair – give it a little bit of TLC. Which reminds me I MUST buy some more Dry Shampoo. I’ve ran out of Batiste Tropical and the last Birchbox sample of Philip Kingsley. I’m currently using Schwarzkopf Got2be volumising powder, which is god knows how many years old. It’s my emergency supply and it’s a sorry attempt at pretending I have clean hair.

This Works – In Transit Camera Close-up – A mask, moisturisier and primer. In the same bottle. Wow. Def a pick-me-up in a bottle if there ever was one. You see I’m torn – this one will prob stay on my dresser to put on before my make-up. However, it may be a nice pick-me-up to have in your bag. If you have time to rub lotion on your skin that is. Which I don’t and even if I did I’d forget. Plus the season’s changed and so has my skin. It really, really needs make-up now.

NUXE – Prodigieux Shower Oil –  This smells delightful and is described as a skin-softening oil. Hmmm – this one will stay on my shower rack. I’m not likely to take a shower elsewhere at the mo. Or I can save it for going away. That’s if I went away anywhere (hint hint Mr W).

Puriskin – Nurse Aid Cream for Hands & Nail – This one is def for the changing bag! All that wiping of both ends of a small human takes its toll on your once beloved hands. This is described as ‘show your hands some love with a rich barrier cream when times are tough’ and ‘sinks in quickly‘. Sums up Mat Leave – we’re all for efficiency and a snatch of a pamper where we can. ‘Nuff said.

Plus the box is cute (love the colours and design) and it can be used as a make-up drawer on top of my dresser.

I’ll leave you with one thought …

Who is your Heroic Woman?

Love Missuswolf xxx

I’m a full on BirchBox subscriber – this post is all my own wafflings and ramblings.

Photo credit – Unsplash and Pixaby

The Woes of Weaning

Quite Frankly She Said Sunday Best

 

Missuswolf woes of weaning

Image credit: Pexels

Yesterday I hit a brick wall in the ever-growing milestones of mammy-hood; weaning.

That magic six month mark (already?) approaches this weekend and all I’ve dabbled in is baby porridge and baby rice.

To be honest, I’ve been pushing it to the back of my mind. I’m so settled with our bottle and sleep routine now that it seems cruel to change things.

Six months of winging it and I finally feel like I’ve found my feet when bam! Let’s change things.

I suppose I need to get used to it.

This is just another obstacle thrown into the crystal maze of  parenthood.

And I had a Major Monday Meltdown.

Let’s start with the fact that the Health Visitor comes to visit you around the twelve week mark, armed with an enticing purple folder. Said folder contains books to read (blog post plug opportunity – Little Gems: What Ella is Reading) info and handy teeth brushing equipment (why didn’t I just type toothbrush and toothpaste?) as well as leaflets on Baby-led weaning and introducing solid foods.

Followed by the obligatory weighing of the baby. (Bad mam here left it three months until I weighed her again. Without someone coming to my house to do it, I’m rubbish at trying to get to the health centre. Ooops. Well Ella you outgrow your clothes so I presume you are growing).

Don’t get me wrong, the talk from the Health Visitor about weaning was really good and positive. I was filled with confidence; I can do this, I can cut veg up and crack this baby-led weaning lark.

Well, it went in one ear and out the other. I just remember the guidance, no earlier than twenty weeks. But then I heard somewhere you could do it from seventeen. Argh mind-fuck!

I was putting it off.  Yes she was paying attention to us when we were eating (scowling across the room as she’d been strapped in her swingy chair so we could scoff pizza). Yes she was drooling and shoving her hands in her mouth. But was it teething or was she ready to be weaned??

After speaking to a few people, baby rice was dropped in the equation.

Just shy of five months old I started giving her some baby rice after her lunchtime bottle (when I remembered!)

I use Cow and Gate Infant milk so it seemed only natural to use their baby rice. I must have signed up for something somewhere in my mammy haze as I’ve received their 5 step weaning plan book in the post too.

This ticks over nicely, the odd bowl of baby rice here and there, getting Ella used to different ‘textures’.

Then I throw in the mix a bit of Banana Baby Porridge at about the five and a half month mark. Again, when I remembered. I was still stuck in my old bottle routine so I kept forgetting to add this at breakfast.

Aside from January, September always feels like a month for new beginnings. It’s that old back-to-school feeling from (many many) years ago now. With my Facebook feed filled with first-day-of-school pics and teacher friends going back to work, it kick-started my ‘right, let’s learn how to feed this child – part two’.

It’s meant changing my routine. Sitting Ella in a high chair at breakfast for a start as a reminder to myself to give her porridge. This is as opposed to lounging in bed or on the settee bottle feeding while I flick through Facey and Insta.

Growing Family Bounty PackI’d had a trial run over the weekend of feeding her her first pouch meal. I’d received one of those free Bounty Packs you get over the course of your pregnancy and maternity leave (preggers ladies if you haven’t already, sign up to Bounty to get these. You get handy little samples in like nappies, creams and eventually weaning stuff. I got more toothpaste too, all else fails at least she’ll have sparkling bright teeth. When they eventually come in).

Inside this pack was a couple of samples of the HIPP pouches. Lunch for Ella this weekend was the pureed carrots, cauliflower and peas. The packs can be kept in the fridge for twenty-four hours after they’ve been opened. Brill. Lunch sorted for the weekend.

And, although dubious of the flavour at first, she seemed to take to this. Hurrah!Inside of Growing Family Bounty Pack

Confidence boosted, Monday was the day.

I’d ordered by usual Asda online shop for Sunday night (still not ventured into doing a big food shop with a baby in tow. Online shopping is my way forward. Shop in pj’s with wine and it’s delivered to your door. You don’t have to get ready, juggle a baby or speak to people – apart from the delivery driver. Bonus). In this shop I’d included frozen broccoli, cauliflower and peas – ready to puree and cut up to do a mix of puree and soft finger foods.

Monday lunchtime came.

I’d done my morning buggy bootcamp – yey me. I didn’t have time to get changed but find pottering around in my gym wear makes me feel more productive.

Feeling all purposeful, I got the magic bullet my sister lent to me and all the various contraptions that go with it. I opened the weaning book to ‘Step One: Recipes’. I looked at the pathetic bit of broccoli that I’d taken out of the freezer that morning to defrost …

Wait – what??

Broccoli doesn’t need defrosting!

I can steam it from frozen!

Argh I’m going back to (for those who know me) my microwaving-carrots and turnip-boiling days! I thought I was getting better with age. Clearly not.

So rather than steam one piece of broccoli, I decide to get some more out of the freezer as well as the cauliflower florets. I’ll be healthy and eat some too and hopefully Ella will see how much mammy loves it(!) and she will love it to.

Veg steamed, broccoli placed in blender and mixed with baby milk.

Which has spilled all over the bench and the kitchen floor.

Messy Kitchen from weaning

Yep that’s the morning breakfast crap next to the magic bullet paraphernalia. And the how to use a magic bullet and wean books. Help me.

By this point the kitchen is upside down and Ella is wailing as she’s starving.

I go to feed her only for her to continue wailing. She’s got her bottle what’s her beef?

Oh – bad mammy has done a rush job of cleaning the teat and there’s a tiny bit of blockage.

Teat replaced with properly cleaned one a-la-blue-peter-here’s-one-I-made-earlier.

Round two.

Bottle drank successfully. Thank-the-lord.

Random tiny bits of broccoli scattered on her highchair tray ready for her to lead her lovely self into the world of weaning.

 

 

 

But first let’s try this pureed-mush-attempt.

 

 

Ella begrudgingly took a mouthful of my home-made goop.

Ella weaning

Mammy’s sorry for sharing this Ella but a picture paints a thousand words.

Maybe it wasn’t pureed enough??

Possibly, as after the next mouthful she choked (I panicked – major fear of choking) then promptly threw up the bastard broccoli puree along with nearly all her milk.

As sick seeped down her highchair, onto my leggings and all over the floor I put my head down and full on sobbed into her tray.

God who am I? I’ve worked in stressful and pressurised environments for years yet I crack when I try to feed a child. Get a grip!

The only saving grace was that when I lifted my head (and I said I was sorry for being a rubbish mam and making her choke) there she was – smiling right back at me.

She was laughing at me.

After my futile hour and a half which ended in my child vomiting, she still championed me. She thought I was silly for getting upset.

Cue whatsapp messages to sisters and fellow mammy friends for immediate advice.

And a well-timed visit from my sister-in-law and nephew.

Their wise words (from the sisters, sis-in-law and friends and not one year old nephew obvs) made me pull myself together.

No it’s not plain sailing, yes they choke but get used to it they have really good gag reflexes and most of all – don’t put pressure on it.

And do you know what? My instincts had been telling me to stick with the baby rice, porridge and pouch routine. It had worked at the weekend so why make life harder than it had to be?

Messy Weaning Kitchen

Ah my life summarised in one photo: Blender, Baby Formula, Bottle, Vanish, a messy sink, an overused slow cooker, and a pint glass that I now drink water out of instead of beer. #nofilter #nofilterneeded

I can practice perfecting my puree but in the meantime I’ll tootle on down to Aldi and grab some of their pouches.

Needless to say she hadn’t touched the ‘soft finger food’ of broccoli on her tray.

Sis-in-law had some great tips on this as she’s six months ahead of me. Cutting up bits of, say, my toast into little pieces at breakfast. Scatter this on baba’s tray and let her play with it while I eat. If she eats it – bonus! Likewise with other bits of veg.

Baby-led weaning takes time and patience (ha! My downfall).

So I added this in yesterday morning. Toast on the tray after her milk and porridge. She wasn’t the least bit interested but hey-ho. Maybe she was full.

No worries. I’ll keep doing what feels right for us both.

And that seems to be what I’ve learnt so many times in the last six months in this new crazy life of mine.

Plus – I’ve gone back over my Health Visitor leaflets and read them. Properly, not skimming.

Yep.

Your baby is ready if they can:

Stay in a sitting position and hold their heads steady (Ella can’t sit up properly just gets propped awkwardly in the high chair. Hmmm)

Co-ordinate their eyes, hand and mouth so they can look at the food, pick it up and put it in their mouth all by themselves (ah – she’s not yet fluent in mastering all this together)

Swallow food. Babies who are not ready will push their food back out, so they get more round their face than they do in their mouths …

Ella feeding

Says it all really. At least she’s got a sense of humour about it here

But if you do have any tips please share for this mammy who has been in despair.

Love Missuswolf xxx

Post Natal Depression – It’s Ok Not To Be Ok: PANDAS PND Awareness Week

PANDAS COVER

 

Although I haven’t suffered from Post Natal Depression (aside from the common mild baby blues just after Ella was born) I know a few people who have.

Men and Postnatal DepressionHaving not suffered I hope I’ve done PND justice for those who have and are suffering with it in today’s blog post. I also hope that I do raise awareness for people who need help. Parenthood is a rocky enough ride and we need to support each other whatever way we can. And please remember – both men and women can suffer from Pre and Postnatal depression.

My baby blues mainly consisted of midnight meltdowns – sleep deprivation plus a crying baby made me yearn for my old life. What the hell had I done?!

All joking aside though, it’s hard work being a new parent and adjusting to your new life.

Mild baby blues are extremely common to start with and normally disappear within a couple of weeks.

But for some people, they never go away.

Postnatal Depression Symptoms PANDAS

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my fair few sporadic down days after having Ella and I’ve put coping mechanisms in place for these. But it’s when these odd days become long periods of time that it’s best to talk about it and seek help.

I was worried that I’d be prone to PND. I’m the type of person who needs to keep busy. I have an overactive imagination which needs distracting otherwise I overanalyse and worry about ridiculous things.

I’m very aware of depression. I know people who have suffered it and I’ve experienced it mildly a few years ago, when I wasn’t happy in a job. At the time I don’t think I acknowledged how down I really was and I didn’t really talk about it (other than whinge to my hubby!)

Looking back, I wish I had spoken up. My focus at the time was determination to change my life. I shifted my focus into getting another job and writing.

I’ve always found writing therapeutic and, after having a bad day a few weeks ago, I’ve thrown myself back into it again.

Me time.

Which I think is important because as parents, you tend to forget about yourself. Allowing yourself time each day for something that is just for you that you enjoy, is important. Take the offers of help and have a nap, a bath, go for a walk to the shops or out for a drink with a friend.

The baby will be fine in the company that it’s in. And you will return to your bundle of joy revitalised and with new energy to give them those big cuddles that you sometimes take for granted.

Reflecting on the early years of this blog, writing is what kept me going through a time when I felt low. It gave me a purpose. And although we have the biggest purpose in the world looking after our gorgeous babas, we do need to have a purpose that is just for ourselves.

PANDAS Post Natal Deprssion - writing

If you’re reading this and are feeling any of the symptoms, speak up and get help. Write things down if that helps. I know it does for me as it clears my ever-clogged brain.

After experiencing that very low period in my life, I was worried that I’d suffer from Postnatal Depression.

Having worked full-time all my adult life, I’ve been so used to being busy. The thought of going from a chaotic work lifestyle surrounded by people, to a much slower pace at home with only a baby scared me and I worried how I would adapt.

I was hoping that I knew enough about myself that I could avoid feeling it.

 

I’m of the opinion that a healthy mind and an active lifestyle make for a happy mama – and a happy mama equals a happy baba. So my strategy for after having Ella was to get busy and get involved – to get out there to Baby Groups and Buggy Bootcamps.

You may well have a chuckle at all that absurd things I get caught up in but I’m telling you – they’ve saved my sanity.

Socialising, fresh air and exercising.

Planning something to get out of the house for in a morning (such as the Tots ‘N’ Tums classes in Blyth) helped me enormously in those daunting early days when I was left alone with a baby. To get out and meet other parents and have a chat with a cuppa.

I was also lucky to have a good support network of friends who’d already had kids. They encouraged me to go out with them early on, even giving me lifts when I couldn’t drive after my section, which I’m eternally grateful for.

And it seems to have worked for me so far.

But this doesn’t work for everyone.

I’ve learnt that Post Natal Depression is not something you’re ‘prone’ too and there’s not a ‘type’ of person to suffer from it.

Anyone can get postnatal depressopm

It just happens.

It makes you feel like you don’t want to do any of these things no matter how well intended you may have once been.

And it doesn’t always happen in those early weeks. It can creep up on some people a few months after the baby’s birth too.

This has only come to light in the last couple of weeks with some of the mammies I got to know when I was pregnant. I hadn’t seen some of them for a while at any of the groups and there were reasons for this.

I heard accounts of what they’ve been through with Post Natal Depression and Post Natal Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. And the common theme that helped them all through – was talking.

Postnatal PTSD/Birth Trauma Symptoms PANDAS

Talking to someone about it – that has been the key to their journey of recovery.

Asking for help.

And that’s what groups like PANDAS is here for – a support group which gives people with pre and postnatal illnesses the chance to support each other through their ongoing recovery and build the confidence they need to return to a good quality of life.

You can read more about the group at their website: PANDASfoundation.org.uk

Below are some very honest accounts from some women who have experienced Postnatal Depression

 My Journey With Postnatal Depression by Heather Raffle

I realised I had post natal depression late in October 2014. Austin was only 4 weeks old. I never imagined for one second that I would ever suffer from post natal depression even though I’d suffered from depression in the past. My mother suffered very badly from post natal depression and had recognised the signs in me so sent me to the DR’s. I felt horrendous, a failure, not a real mother. How could everyone else cope and I couldn’t. The whirlpool of self-doubt and embarrassment just didn’t stop. Then I talked to my wonderful dr, she had suffered with her 1st baby and was told to just get on with it. She was the most understanding and comforting person I’d spoken to in weeks. She wanted to treat me with antidepressants, something that they commonly do with post natal depression because other methods of help are just too time consuming for a mother of a new baby. 

 

I was told from the second Austin was born that I would have this unconditional love, this sense of belonging and undying need to protect him. Do you know what? I didn’t, I resented him. I resented his cries, his need for affection, his need to be loved by his mother, to add to the stress he was also lactose intolerant, something we didn’t realise until he was 6 weeks old. I felt this way until he was around 6 months old….but now, oh my word, I feel it! So strongly it physically hurts sometimes! Haha! 

Postnatal Hands PANDAS

 

The more I spoke to other mothers about it the more I realised its a very normal thing, so many women suffer and do it in silence because they’re afraid of judgement. Who are we to judge anyone else? All us mummies should stick together. 
When Austin was about 9 months old I started leading baby sensory classes, which was wonderful!! I got to see mummies at their most venerable, spend time with them, nurture them and help them all through the tough times they all faced, depression or not. That helped me come full circle, a safe haven for the mummies attending and me running them. 
Austin is 2 years old in October and I still have moments where I get sad about the lack of bonding we had in those first few weeks but he’s no less loved, he’ll always be my first beautiful baby and for the happiness he brings me everyday I can’t thank him enough. There is ALWAYS a light at the end of the tunnel and from experience please don’t be afraid to talk, it really does help. 

 Mummies need to take time to find themselves following the birth, especially with the first. It took me well over a year to make time for myself and to find my identity as a person and not a mother/wife.

The life of a PND Sufferer – by Rachael Logue

Rachael runs Tots ‘N’ Tums in Blyth and is also a local PANDAs contact

I didn’t recognise that I was suffering from Postnatal Depression straight away, despite being trained in PND and Mental Health and previously suffering depression.

You see, my own business collapsed three years ago when the funding ceased. I had to let go of twelve members of staff; twelve local people all with families to look after and roofs over their heads – twelve people who had bills to pay.

Just like me.

I suffered from anxiety which turned into depression.

Post Natal Depression - Image from Unsplash

Through suffering depression three years ago, I recognise that I have manias: On a high I can take loads of work on and I feel like I could conquer the world. Last week , I had three really good days where I was involved in Jolly Babies, Lush Tums Postnatal Yoga and then a day trip to Whitby with my family. On a low, I want to shut myself back in my bubble, away from the world.

I’ve learnt that it’s all about understanding me as a person.

Which I thought I did when it came to having my second child, Evie, back in February.

I had Evie at 09.50 in the morning and I was out of hospital and home by 5pm – make-up on the lot – getting on with motherhood. 

My feet hadn’t touched the ground.

I went back to work after six weeks on the Postnatal Depression project that I had created while I was pregnant.

I was busy;  I’d get up and take Cameron to school and then I was off working at the groups that I’d set up.

I was focusing so much on my family and supporting other families in my work that I completely forgot about myself.

My breakdown point was when I’d left the house really early one morning. I was just walking around Blyth in the rain in what I can only describe as a confused mist. I felt lost and numb.

Postnatal depression talking PANDASI remember the day. It was a Tuesday.

I couldn’t think straight.

I found myself walking towards and going into Talking Matters on the main street in Blyth. They couldn’t see me straightaway but they did give me a leaflet with a contact number on. I rang the number and talked, which helped a lot. 

I knew what I needed to do but I just hadn’t been thinking straight. I made a doctors appointment that day. 

I gained support from the doctor who didn’t dismiss it as just the ‘baby blues’.  They prescribed me some medication – sertraline. I’m now into week eight of taking this. 

Sertraline tabletsWhen I was suffering Postnatal Depression, I wasn’t one for not getting up and ready in a morning; I had to do this to take my oldest to school. It was the little things – like the thought of folding clothes. Simple chores became too much to deal with. I also went into a zone where I didn’t want to see or contact anybody. I wanted to stay at home, just me and Evie.

I retreated into my own little bubble.

You hear of mother’s not bonding with their babies, but my motherly instinct and love for Evie was over-the-top love. I’d do things like take Evie off my partner when he held her.

I’ve found that you do forget about yourself and therefore you do need to take time out. I did postnatal Yoga in Ridley Park on Friday and, although I had both kids with me, it was still time doing something for myself. Cameron even enjoyed it, it was accessible to things he never thought he would be interested in. It showed him that it’s not all about xbox and school, that it’s natural to go into the park and get involved in other activities with other people.

Rach Evie and Cameron

I’m slowly getting back on track now and I’m taking things one step at a time. I’m in a good place now and getting out and just talking with other parent’s has made a huge impact already. I’ve found that it’s good to talk and not suffer in silence.

 My PND Story – By Louise Sharp

I’m no longer ashamed to admit that I have trouble remembering the first two years of my son’s life. I can not tell you at what age he got his first tooth, his favourite food as a baby, his first word or when he began to sleep through the night.  I’m not even sure of what age he took his first steps.

 Postnatal Depression PANDASMy second child, I can tell you all her milestones. I think that’s mainly due to the amount of times I’ve had to go over them with paediatricians, therapists, doctors. She has autism, and was finally diagnosed at age six just last year.

My youngest,  Emily. I know all her firsts. Mainly because I was extra vigilant looking out for any red flags we had with my eldest daughter.

Each pregnancy was different. All had the usual sickness and discomfort.  But my third pregnancy, I just wasn’t feeling those feelings you associate with pregnancy. The excitement,  the happiness, the eagerness. I didn’t really feel anything.

I brought my feelings (or lack of) up with my midwife whilst getting my bloods done. I was assured it was perfectly normal , due to hormones and it would all settle down probably by my next appointment.

 

Postnatal Depression PND

Only it didn’t.  I didn’t take joy in shopping for baby clothes, I was in no rush to pack my hospital bag, I just wasn’t feeling it. I was emotionless.

I booked a 3D scan around the 32 week mark, hoping that would make everything feel more real, I don’t think it did. It was a wonderful experience, of course it was, but the sadness continued.

The years which followed my daughters birth in September 2011 were dark, very dark. I was dealing with the likelihood of my oldest daughter having autism, which was causing stress along with that lingering feeling of worthlessness. But before even falling pregnant with my daughter, I was dealing with body image issues. I hated my appearance to the point it was affecting my everyday life. These feelings got worse. I’d stay home all day unable to face the world, or I’d only leave the house when it was dark. I’d avoid mirrors and my reflection in windows. I’d panic if we had a party or wedding to go to. I hide away in the toilets to avoid any social interaction.  And my heart would pound and my  head spin if I saw anyone with a camera.

Pre/Antenatal Depression Symptoms PANDAS

I’d apologise to my children, as small as they were and unable to understand, for being a useless mother. I’d tell them I loved them as the tears rolled down my face, and that I was doing my best. I’d ask my husband why he was with me and give him the option to leave, which always left him gobsmacked and confused.

I’d go to bed each night and secretly wish I wouldn’t wake up. I’d have dreams of living a life where I am happy and have friends around me, and wake up devastated when I realised they were just that. A dream

My husband found me a video on Youtube about the ‘Black dog’, and asked me to watch it. I did. I broke down and he told me to get help.

Pre/Postnatal Anxiety: Symptoms PANDAS

I went to my GP, told her my feelings and filled in a questionnaire. From that she gathered I had depression and extreme anxiety. I was referred to the Mental Health Team. Again. I was already in therapy before falling pregnant with Emily dealing with body image issues. Hence my panic when faced with the prospect of having my photo taken. I was a mess. An absolute broken mess

That was September 2013. From then on I had fortnightly visits from my Health Visitor. She didn’t come to pry or check up on me. She came to lend and ear aswell as advice and support, and I thanked her for that.

October 2013 I began attending well-being courses. I picked up techniques to deal with stress, become assertive and gain confidence.

Summer 2014 I had my first appointment with I think it was a life coach. She pretty much assessed me to see if she could help. She couldn’t. My condition was too extreme.  I was then referred to a clinical psychologist. Again

PANDAS Pregnancy imageI met with my therapist every two weeks and I think I had around 10 sessions before I decided I felt ready to face the world alone once again.

I learned through these sessions I was suffering with post-natal depression, and that the depression had even grown DURING pregnancy. I found out through a quick glance at my notes at the doctor’s surgery as they came up on the computer screen during an appointment, that  I had been suffering with PND after the birth of my second child. I found out through a letter sent to my doctors and a copy to sent to me, that I’d even been suffering with PND after the birth of my first child way back in 1999. I had my son at 21 so I’d spent most of my adult life with depression. I genuinely thought I was just useless, unlikable, disgusting. I was non of those. I was depressed.

PND took away my memories of my first child growing from baby to toddler, it kept me indoors, it filled me with fear, took away my self-esteem and stripped me of my confidence.

 

When the therapy ended, I took up blogging. I decided to chase my dreams and enrolled on a distance learning course. This both occupied my mind and my confidence began to grow. I‘ve taken up exercise, and spend most days either in a gym or an exercise class. I’ve made new friends. I even spend two hours on a Sunday night as part of a team for a local radio station. I’m still building up my confidence to become more involved, but I know I will. I know I can do it. I can do anything if I continue to believe in myself.

Postnatal Depression PANDAS

Over the months I’ve thrown myself into situations I would usually avoid. I’ve done things I could never imagine doing and I am in a place now where I have never been in before. A very good place and although I am an anxious person by nature, I have my anxiety under control and I will never let depression take over my life or steal my memories again.

 

Depression During Pregnancy

 

You can also suffer from depression during pregnancy. Fellow blogger Adventures of a Monkey Footed Mummy experienced this and you can read all about her very honest account here.

Talk to someone

So please, please if you’re reading this and feel like this relates to what you’re experiencing, don’t hide it away.

If you’re suffering but not saying, just remember:

It’s OK not to be OK.

Love Missuswolf xxx

Bump Not Frump: How I Styled My Baby Bump – Maternity Glam

Bump

Not

Frump

It’s September 2015. I’ve not long announced we’re expecting baba W and it dawns on me of all the social gatherings I’ll have to attend whilst up the duff; two wedding’s, an engagement party, a 30th birthday party, the WHOLE festive season, my birthday. How am I going to style this growing bump?

image

Thankfully being the latter of your friends to procreate has it’s pros.

For starters, there’s a Communal Maternity Wardrobe circulating that is added to and passed on.  It consists of a winter coat, a few tops, a skirt and some jumpers, all bought from the likes of New Look, H&M and George at Asda. We’re all various heights so we buy our own jeans/leggings. To be fair, H&M normal leggings will actually suffice rather than their maternity ones.

For jeans, I bought two pairs in the Next sale:

A light pair of flared jeans with a band that were super comfy at the beginning and post natal (I’d been after a pair of flared jeans for ages before I found out I was pregnant. Bliddy typical that the perfect pair were god-damn maternity ones! Never the less I still wear them now and they’re perfect for those I’m-bloated-like-a-whale-so-I’m-going-to-stuff-my-face-even-more-days).

I also bought a darker pair that went over the bump. I wore these the third trimester and are pretty useless now I don’t have a bump.

Oh – I also bought a pair of black maternity jeggings from New Look that have an elasticated band. I wore these all the way through my pregnancy (although they were a bit snug towards the end!) I got some wear out of them post natal too (eventually) when my thighs decided to let go of a bit of baby weight.  I’ve worn them so much I’ve had to throw them out this week (they had a hole in the crotch haha!)

I have friends who bought the Maternity Leigh jeans from Topshop. I own a pair of the normal Leigh jeans but couldn’t face buying the Maternity ones. I don’t think they would have fit my thighs. (I had issues getting back into my normal Leigh jeans waaaaah! I think I tried them on too soon post baby and cried when I couldn’t fit my calf in them. Not good when you feel like a hormonal hippopotamus. These are now the skinny jeans I talked about in This Girl Needs To Run sausages-in-lacky-bands complex).

I also had a couple of pairs of the normal stretch t-shirts from Primark,  which lasted me throughout the entire pregnancy. Abeit they were slightly stretched towards the end but for around £4 a top there’s no love lost there.

But enough about boring daywear.

If, like me, you find you’ve timed your nine month’s sober when your social calendar is the busiest – fear not! Here’s my rundown of Style The Bump Survival:

Wedding Ready

image

 

I borrowed this ASOS Maternity dress from a friend. ASOS really is the go-to website to style the bump. They have such a wide choice of maternity clothing at decent prices (more on this to come). Plus, they’re designed to stretch with your bump, so you can wear them at all stages of your pregnancy. image

 

Granted my bump here looks little more than bloat but what a great excuse to let it all hang oooot.

I had a spray tan done by the lovely Penny which made me feel a million times better. I’m not normally one for spray tans but I went all out for anything that perked me up when I was pregnant.

Engagement Party Ready

imageThe Engagement party was a week after the wedding. Bloody typical – these gathering’s are like buses, nowt for ages then two come at once. For this I wore a non maternity dress – a jersey black dress from Miss Selfridge that is so comfy. I’m not normally one for Body Cons – even with spanx I feel like they show all my lumps and bumps. However, pregnancy made me release my inner Body Con goddess (!?) I felt that as I didn’t have to hold my stomach in, now’s the time to embrace it! I originally thought I’d opt for clothing that was loose and covered my bump but those types of clothing made me feel and look bigger.

I had a voucher still from my birthday (way back in January!) for a Mac makeover which I was saving for a special occasion. Seen as though I couldn’t get drunk I thought I’d treat myself to some make-up pampering. I also treated myself to some make-up goodies which is always a bonus. I love the Watt’s Up highlighter from Benefit. Always good for a bit on contouring and this strobing lark.

I still had a bit of colour on me from the wedding spray tan too hurrah!

Wedding Number Two

image

Evening do for a work pal of hubby at Hardwick Hall so I would have been driving anyway as it’s about forty minutes away; the rule that it’s his friend so he can drink. This is a non-maternity dress that I’ve had for a couple of years (it was a Christmas party dress alternated at different work dos circa 2013/2014!) Dress is from New Look



Thirtieth Birthday Party Shenanigans

Bonbar for a good friend’s thirtieth. This is from the Asos Gamze collection, which I was so eagerly

imagewaiting to launch just a month before this party. I wouldn’t normally brave something like this – a crop top with cleavage, mid driff on show and a split in the skirt. But there’s something about being pregnant that made me feel like I could get away with this. My boobs were finally a decent size and the skirt cuts at a flattering waist angle a-la- Kim Kardashian.



Tis The Season to be the designated driver …

image

Asos Gamze, my hubby’s Christmas jumper and a dress I got from Next in the sale. Again, not a normal one I’d go for and oddly enough I bought this before I knew I was pregnant. It stretched with bump and I wore this a lot of times throughout my pregnancy.

I bought a navy maxi-dress from ASOS Gamze that had a split up one side. I’d bought this to wear at Christmas but my bump never seemed big enough for the dress. Alas I got to wear it at literally the very end of my pregnancy – to an awards do at work (I had baba the morning after oooops!) Sadly I don’t have any photo’s of this, which I’m a bit gutted about.

image

So there you have it – a pretty basic mish mash of maternity and normal clothing. Although I’m not too sure of the tights on here. These were actual maternity one’s from ASOS but I wouldn’t recommend them. They didn’t fit my bump properly and the crotch area seemed all out of proportion. Looking back they’re also too light for what I normally wear. I found that my non-maternity Primark tights did a much better job sitting under my bump.

My go to shoes were the black pair in all these pictures from New Look. I didn’t want too high a heel but I’m not a fan of kitten heels either. This one was just right.

The bag is a black Cambridge Satchel that it is perfect for day and night wear. Classy and simple. I got this from my lovely friends for my thirtieth birthday.

I did buy a pair of maternity dungarees from ASOS with the guise of wearing them a-la-Kirstie Allie in Look Who’s Talking. I looked ridiculous. Let’s not go there.

Oh and one final tip. Lips. Get yourself a lovely dark lippy like Topshop’s pink coloured All About Me or purple coloured Wicked.

That always made me feel uber glam.

Love Missuswolf xxx

Please note this post contains affiliate links.

 

Maternity Makeup Must-haves

FRIDAY 12th AUGUST 2016

For the record this blog isn’t always going to be about maternity and baby stuff – I get bored so I’m writing about what’s going on in my life. Which other than keeping a small human alive and successfully getting us both up and out of the house every day, doesn’t really consist of much.

So here’s my ramblings about my Maternity Makeup Must-haves.

image

Forgot to take the label off the mascara and wipe the smear off the lip gloss lid ooops. I’m not taking the picture again (it’s dark now – so the lighting’s not right haha).

Obviously the ultimate factor drummed into you from the moment that embryo attaches itself to your uterus is that you will never have time for yourself again. Ever.

I jest – if you’re pregnant with your first please don’t panic.

You will.

It’s hard and it takes time to get a balancing act going but you will nail it. Those first few new-born days are a whirlwind.

I know it may be the last thing on your mind but to me it was psychological.

If I could manage a shower and to put a bit of slap on everyday, I was ready to take on anything – including a nocturnal baby who had just found her vocal chords.

Tip – buy yourself a few key items when you’re pregnant.

Here’s my Motherhood War paint:

Bare MineralsComplexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel cream – Obviously my complexion needs rescuing, especially in those first week weeks where I hadn’t slept and consumed a tonne of sugar.

Charlotte Tilbury Mini Miracle Eye Wand – A concealer that has an under eye lift cream – score! I was sold by the word Miracle.  Need I say more. This has been a godsend.

Maybelline Lash Sensational Luscious Mascara with oil blend – Makes you instantly feel human as it frames but disguises your hideously tired eyes. Oh – and it also withstands any happy/hysterical tears. It’s just a bit of a buggar to take off (might want to leave this one until you’ve got a bit more energy to scrub your face on a night time). I was scraping the last of my Mac Extended Play lash at the beginning of Mat leave and once that died I used my good old Boots points to try this one. It’s actually my fave mascara yet!

Mac Powder Blush in Melba – Instant injection of humanity in my face. Nothing screams healthy and glowing like a good Mac blush – especially handy on those days where you feel like death.

Forever Living Sonya Perfect Pink Lipgloss – a slick of this gives instant moisture on your lips and distracts from those tired eyesimage

LOC Millie Ultra Gloss Lip Pencil –  great for a quick sweep across the lips – as above

Benefit Browzings – even if you just do your brows you’ll feel like you’re winning at life. Kit includes mini tweezers, pigmented wax and a natural powder

I know the above may seem a lot of effort when you’ve got a wee one and I don’t always wear all of it. But this is my basic kit and I mix and match it up depending on the day/weather/activity. Honestly,  a bit of mascara and lippy can make you feel like you can conquer the world.

If you’re feeling super adventurous:

Smashbox contour powder palette –  a really successful day (by this I mean the weekend when the hubby is on baby duty) is throwing on a contour.

image

I would show you the insides of Smashbox and Browzings but there’s not much left of these bad boys. I wore them out back in my old life when I had hours to get ready.

This is by no means a blog post telling you to get your ass up and wear make-up – god no.

I have days where I don’t wear any at all and it’s pretty liberating. It’s just that some days you feel like you’re going into battle and what best mental prep is there than a slick of war paint.

Love Missuswolf xxx