So we’re back!

So here we are. Thanks for sticking with us guys. We’re back. It’s been a funny time recently. General feeling of feeling a bit lost, unmotivated… not really down just sort of struggling to feel like myself. Me and Jord have both been feeling it I think, both sort of wondering when and if we are going to be able to buy our own home and where it will be.

Thinking about money, jobs, house, hobbies and Little A. It’s all in our minds, all at the same time! Trying to have a social life, spend time with each other and our families, whilst trying to save money. It’s pretty difficult. I’ve found I can sometimes try and be “supermum/ superkate” but I definitely need to remember life is about quality not quantity. I’d rather have more days chilling at home in the garden to save for a few amazing days out.

I also need to remember that things take time. I can be very patient in some ways and very inpatient in others. Saving for a house, it takes time. Getting back into doing what I love after just having a baby, it takes time. Things that are worthwhile never come easy.

So to everyone who has stuck with us whilst we took a little break; thank you for sticking around. I hope too if your struggling to belong, or feeling a bit lost you will find your way. Anyway this was just a little post to say we’re back.

Stay tuned for some more stuff soon.

Love Kate. X

So there is no right or wrong way.

So here we are. I don’t believe there is any right or wrong way to parent. I do believe that people judge, we question others and make people feel bad for their decisions. Decisions that are right for them and their family. In turn, this has an affect on our mental health. Being a parent is really hard. It’s tiring, emotional, stressful. It’s wonderful and the good will always outweigh the bad but it is hard. I don’t think we should feel judged or guilty for our decisions. Those decisions are not always easy to make and we might even doubt them ourselves but I don’t think we should push our own opinions onto others.

Arthur is now completely bottle fed, do I still feel judged at times because of this? Unfortunately yes. Plagued by comments, pictures, old sayings we are pushed to believe “breast is best” but it might not work for you and that’s okay. Dummies, not for everyone but a lifesaver for others. I remember when I first gave Arth a dummy and I said “only when he’s going to sleep” did that work for us? No. Unfortunately sometimes he’s just very unsettled, he’s not hungry, he might be a little bit tired but not ready for sleep, he might want to play but he also wants his dummy. It works for us so that’s what we go with.

I’m not encouraging or trying to discourage. I’m just explaining that sometimes you have to find what works for you. As long as you do it safely, you have to do what’s right for you and your mini human. They aren’t all the same. They have their own mini personalities. I had to carry Arthur around a lot of the time in a sling when he was younger. He wouldn’t let me put him down, I needed to eat too, even if it was just chocolate!

Playpens? Some people think they trap our mini humans, (yes I have actually heard someone say “trap”) others think they are a safe place to play. For me, having somewhere to put Arthur where I know he’s safe whilst I pee is kind of a godsend! I don’t think he’s trapped because if he wanted to come out I would bring him out.

I feel like we are too dependent on labelling who we are as parents and what we are doing. We try and justify our decisions and explain what kind of parent we are. But I have seen first hand how this can affect our mental health. How by being pushed into what we think we have to be, how we have to feel, how we have to parent, at times it can be too much.

Don’t get me wrong I do believe we are empowering each other too. I believe we are banding together at times and showing support for one another. But I don’t know if we realise how an odd comment or old saying, picture or story can make others feel. I have seen firsthand how the pressures of parenthood can affect your mental health. Those pressures haven’t come from nowhere, we created them. We create arguments and debates, judgements and feelings of doubt in one another. But for some this is harder than others.

I felt the pressure of breastfeeding, the stab of the sayings; “breast milk is liquid gold”. I’ve seen the hard work of handling two children close together. I’ve felt the judgement of having a dummy. Heard the comments of “well you need to be able to manage on your own”. When we say these things, post them, write them, whatever (I say we because I know I have been guilty of it too) I think we just stop for a second and think about how other people might take it.

Think about the parent who has been up all night because they can’t sleep with their baby in their room. Think about the Mum whose despite everything her milk just cannot keep up with her babe. Think about the parent who stays at home and feels guilty for missing work. Think about the parents who look and feel like zombies after another sleepless night. What you say could mean more to them than others. It might have a lasting effect. It might hit them hard.

I still remember many of the things that have been said to me since becoming a mother that have stayed with me but not in a good way. Other people’s opinions or views, stories and beliefs, ones that may be different than mine. Different is not wrong. Different is different. I hope one day we can go about our ways without feeling that judgement, without accidentally putting it across, without doubts. I hope one day we just parent our own way, parent the way that works for us and own it and boss it.

Stay tuned peeps.

Love, Kate x

, P.S Thank you to family, friends, peppa pig, teddies, dummies, playpens, and wipes (apparently a pack of wipes are just so fun) for saving our bums with a moany baby many a times. We parenting the way it works for us!

So, breastfeeding, what a journey…

So here we are, Arthur is coming up to 6 months old and it seems now we may be coming to the end of our breastfeeding journey.

It certainly has been a journey. I remember when I was pregnant I said to myself, and everyone else; “I’m going to try breastfeeding but if I can’t do it then it doesn’t matter because I least tried”. Me and Jordan went to a breast feeding class when pregnant and it did feel very much “pro breast” I felt the pressure even before Arthur was here.

But when he came into the world I had this overwhelming instinct that I wanted to feed him with my body. I wanted to breastfeed and I felt incredibly proud to do it. But even from the word go we had problems. Arthur has a tongue tie. This affects feeding sometimes but most of the time they don’t like to cut the tongue tie if they don’t have too. You have to work through it. That’s what we did, we stayed in hospital for a few nights because we were trying to get feeding. We went to the breastfeeding workshop, we got the hang of it. Arthur was a feeder right from the word go. He would feed every 1-2 hours, max 3 and sometimes would be on the breast for 1 hour, 1 hour and half. It was exhausting, but I really enjoyed it.

By the time I became ill I was so sleep deprived. I didn’t really feel human anymore. In A&E, I breastfed but I asked Jord to get a bottle and some formula. I needed a break. Arthur took to it straight away. I was heartbroken but I knew I had to admit I needed help. After exclusively breastfeeding for 3 weeks we introduced two bottles in the nighttime. I started to express and usually he would have one expressed bottle and one formula.

Of course at the beginning I couldn’t sleep anyway but gradually I did start to sleep. I was still completely and utterly exhausted but it was a little bit better. Arthur gained weight like a trooper. But in the evenings we started to have issues, he would scream and scream when I put him to my breast. It started around 9 and gradually got earlier and earlier until it was around 6. We realised we had to give him a bottle. He was hungry but he didn’t want to breastfeed.

My goal was to go back to exclusively breastfeeding but as time went on it slipped further and further away from me. I saw professional after professional. All explaining what I needed to do, many with different ideas and advice, I felt bombarded a lot of the time. Of course they were all trying to help but it was very overwhelming. I tried everything that was asked of me and still, it wasn’t getting better. Arthur would feed wonderfully throughout the day but I felt like I couldn’t really enjoy it because I was already thinking; “right soon it will be around 8/7 and he won’t want to breastfeed, I need to express, massage, this, that”. It was always on my mind. It consumed me.

At this point I had also had mastitis very badly. I woke up one morning and was covered in sweat. This happened quite often and I was told it was quite normal when breastfeeding because when your sleeping at night your body is still working hard to produce milk. So I got up and I didn’t feel well at all. I started to shiver uncontrollably, they took my temperature, it was 38.4. My pulse was around 110, my blood pressure had dropped to the 90s and I felt very sick. I decided to have a quick shower in the hope it would help and it was then I noticed underneath my breast it was red, hot and swollen. I needed antibiotics, it was mastitis and it knocked me for six.

The thing with mastitis is it’s a blocked milk duct so to get through it you need to keep feeding. But I couldn’t face it. I felt so ill. I needed to rest. Devastated and feeling like it was all my fault, Arthur had to have my expressed milk and some formula in the day. It was a very low point for me. After resting, pain relief and antibiotics I managed to express and feed later on that day. Bloody hell did it hurt. Since then I have had mastitis twice more. I caught it earlier both these times because I had it so bad the first time. I knew what I was looking for.

As time went on and we had hurdle after hurdle, Arthur having rotavirus, me having rotavirus and both having norovirus, Arthur twice. The days turned into expressing after expressing, taking a bottle out with us, expressing in the middle of the night, my mind was in overdrive. I was constantly thinking about feeding, when would he feed next, would he breastfeed, when was I going to express??? I didn’t think about much else.

I saw a breastfeeding counsellor. She was wonderful. She made it clear her goal wasn’t to promote breastfeeding, it was to figure out if it was right for us. She asked me – “why do you want to breastfeed? What is it about breastfeeding?” I explained for me, it was that I felt me and Arthur had developed such a bond whilst breastfeeding, I was terrified of losing that. She gave me the idea of just putting him to the breast when he was sleepy, when he had almost finished his bottle, when it was the nighttime and he needed comfort. I didn’t have to stop, but it would mainly be for a different purpose. For comfort, for bonding.

It’s very hard to feel okay with bottle feeding when you feel like most professionals around you are telling you, you need to breastfeed even when your finding it so hard. They would say to me “keep going, keep doing it, it’s all about perseverance, it will get easier”. But it didn’t, it got harder. The hardest part of it all? Having people around me when my son was crying because he was hungry, trying to breastfeed when he clearly didn’t want to, telling me to keep going. I felt like a failure. I couldn’t even feed my son. My heart would break every time I would give him a bottle but he was happy. That’s what was important. He was being fed. He was happy. I lost sight of that.

I remember a lady telling me, she became so focused on breastfeeding and she became depressed and then had to be admitted to the mother and baby unit. Because of breastfeeding. It’s heartbreaking that it can do that. We’re told it’s this wonderful, natural, easy, beautiful thing but that’s not the case for everyone. I think we should be told more; it’s okay if you can’t do it, if you find it too much, it’s hard and it’s exhausting. You have not failed as a mother.

Me and Jord had many disagreements about breastfeeding, it was frustrating, particularly at the beginning because Arthur would just feed and feed. Jord couldn’t do much. I felt like I needed encouragement from him to keep going but he felt like I was becoming obsessed with it. He was right. As time has gone on and Arthur now is mainly bottle fed, a little bit expressed milk but mostly formula, with having a sleepy boob feed once every couple of days, I realise now I let it affect me too much. I lost myself in wanting to breastfeed so badly.

It wasn’t for us and that’s okay. Maybe next time I’ll be able to boob feed for longer. Maybe I’ll decide to introduce a bottle sooner. Who knows? The most important thing is that your baby is happy and healthy. Arthur weighs around 20 pounds, he’s 5 months and 1 week. He’s a trooper. He’s rolling, holding his head, starting to have few tasters of solid food. He’s doing brilliant. I feel immensely proud we made it this far with breastfeeding. I thought we were at the end of the road a lot earlier. But will I let it affect me so much next time? Gosh I hope not.

Somebody said to me once – “A well Mum is best”. You cannot look after your baby if you are not well enough yourself. Whatever you decide to do for whatever reason, it’s your choice, it’s your baby, I hope you can feel proud and at peace. One day I hope the fed argument doesn’t exist and we don’t even think about it. A world where we feed our babies, we’re happy and healthy and so are they. End of.

Breastfeeding – we’ve had our ups and downs and I will miss you. But you ain’t everything, your just something.

Stay tuned peeps.

Love, Kate. X

So do you do these things too?

So here we are. So as a parent I seem to have shortened everything to make it sound more…fun? I don’t even know. Everything has a nickname or a different name?!

So here’s just a few…

-Bottle is now Bot- Bot or Yum Yums

-Bath is Spilsh Splash

-Horses are now Neigh Neighs

-Pooping is, have you gone doo-doo???

-Nappy is a Nap nap

-Napping or sleeping is a bit of everything, Night nights, Snoozie, if he’s tired he’s not tired, he’s Tie-tie

-Going in the car is going in the Broom-broom

What happened to the English language?! We seem to have created a whole new language. Does anyone else do this or are we just really weird parents? Also everything is usually in song, high pitched, full on random singing. We dance everywhere, and clap to everythingggg. Our life seems to have become a very weird musical.

I’ve made more animal noises in the last 5 months than i have in my entire life. Peakaboo has become a whole new level of fun. Your life just kind of goes a bit…different? But I wouldn’t have it any other way. My favourite thing in the world is to make Arthur smile. His laugh is infectious. He’s chatty and playful. He’s my best friend.

It’s weird because I guess one day we’ll do all these things for the last time and we won’t even realise it.

So this was a slightly different post. Hopefully it made someone smile. Stay tuned for the next one peeps.

Love, Kate. X

So, soon I’ll be back on my own.

So here we are. It’s been the three of us for about three weeks now because Jord had some time off before his new job starts on Tuesday. Which of course means it’s going to be just me and Arth again. I’m feeling all the emotions.

I’ve not been on my own for a full day whilst in Bristol yet. I still haven’t passed my driving test and we kinda live out in the sticks. So I’m sort of a bit stuck. There’s beautiful countryside and lots of places to walk but you can’t really get very far without a car.

My biggest fear is feeling isolated, feeling like I’m on my own without being able to go anywhere. Part of my recovery plan is getting outside. Seeing people, doing things, exercising, fresh air. Home is lovely but I think I’m someone who can get too comfortable. I sort of forget how much I love being outside.

But I’m also kind of excited. Arthur is developing such a little personality now, he’s interacting more and more. When Jord was at work before I really enjoyed (most of the time) being with Arthur on my own. It might sound a bit childish but I love it being me and him. He’s my partner in crime.

Of course, I love being with family, friends and of course I love it when Jord is around. But I just mean, I feel like me and Arthur have a wonderful bond and I think it’s because we spend so much time together. I never want to lose that. I’m scared if we don’t spend so much time together, we might.

It is hard work and some days I found myself not being able to put down a very clingy baby. But Arthur is definitely (touch wood) better at sleeping now in the day, most of the time, he self soothes. I will put him down for a nap when I can see he’s tired and he will fall asleep himself. It took us a long time to get there but we did. It’s so I can grab an hour to eat or have a quick shower.

Things like having a shower, having something to eat, at one point I could really achieve that on my own with Arthur. And it did affect my wellbeing. It sounds like something very small but when your tired and you haven’t managed to eat anything, and you still smell like you did last night, it kind of gets you down.

We have moved forward a lot. Now, I have energy because I can usually get a cheeky nap in when Arthur is napping. I get chance to make myself something to eat and I can make myself drinks throughout the day because Arthur will play on his playmate for a little while, he’ll sit in his chair whilst I eat. It makes all the difference.

Being able to not feel too tired is wonderful. To drink and eat and enjoy food, not try and wolf it down as quickly as possible. That means I have the energy to play, to sing and dance with Arthur. To make up stories and songs. To take a walk or even two.

We still have days when I’m unbelievably tired and Arthur seems to have woken up on the wrong side of the bed but, they are few and far between. Even though our little dude is teething, he’s still pretty happy, smiley, playful, he’s still awesome. And I can manage the bad days so much better now. It used to make me so anxious when Arthur would cry. Babies cry. It’s their way of communicating. But for me when Arthur would cry I used to thing there was something really wrong. It upset me, really got to me because I felt like we weren’t doing enough, we weren’t doing the right things.

I remember when Arthur was around 3 weeks old someone said to me; “don’t worry, you’ll get to know all his different cries”. I remember looking at her and nodding and smiling but thinking in my head; “what the heck, all the crying sounds the same?! How will I ever know???” But now I do. It took a while but I do know his different cries now. It makes life a lot easier.

So soon it will be back to just me and Arth in the daytime for most days. But I think we got this Arth. Plus there’s always chocolate to help me get through the tougher days haha.

Stay tuned for another one peeps.

Love, Kate. X

So do you ever feel like you don’t really like each other…

So here we are. So me and Jord have certainly had our ups and downs. We went through a lot together and made it through. But I still have moments when he annoys the crap out of me. When he’s snoring and I’m doing the 4am night feed and I’m so jealous he’s sleeping and I’m not. When you get into sort of “well I’ve done this and I’ve done that” kind of argument. He’s quite competitive and he always seems to compare what each of us have done.

But we still laugh together a lot. We’re very different in some ways but very similar in others. He will always put his clothes on the floor, right by the laundry basket (why?!) but he also buys me chocolate when I ask for a present from the shop. We’ll argue over how he always seems to never have enough sleep but he does let me lay on his side of the bed when I’m having a nap after keeping it warm.

Having a baby is hard, it’s exhausting, you kind of forget who you were as a couple before this little human came along. Now there’s three in the bed and you realise you haven’t kissed your partner for days. You don’t eat together very often, one of you is usually holding the babe. You snap at each other over the littlest things. But then a couple of days later you’ve completely forgotten about it. Rare sitting down and eating is more special when you do. And you’ll probably never get to finish that film you started off days ago but least you still want to watch half a film together.

Money will always be a hot topic (babies are pretty expensive) but you’ll always make it work. Even after a few arguments maybe, you’ll figure it out together. I have a new found respect, new feelings of love, pride for Jord. He’s an amazing father. I had no doubt he would be but it’s magical to actually see him with Arthur. Their my family. Their my home. I don’t remember what me and Jord were like before Arth came along but I don’t really want too.

So if your currently in the endless feeds, sleepless nights, pissing each other off stage, don’t worry, you’ll always pee each other off haha. But hopefully you’ll always laugh too. Jord still chases me round the kitchen to tickle me, although now we both get a bit out of breath a bit quicker haha. You’ll hopefully bring each other more smiles than raised voices. More love and less plotting to poison each other.

For me, I try and sleep as much as I can. But I try and let Jord rest too. Sleep helps so much. It works out well because I’m a morning person and Jord is a night owl. We make a good team (most of the time). If you find you’ve haven’t said I love you in a while, say it. Make them a cup of tea just because. Hug them. Kiss them in the morning even if they have very stinky breath (hold your nose). It’s the little things that go along way.

That’s our story.

Me and Jord are far from perfect. But we love each other, so I guess that’s something.

Stay tuned peeps.

Love, Kate. X

So here he is.

So there we were. What I went through was hard for my partner Jordan too. It really tested our relationship. Becoming parents for the first time is hard enough, going through a mental health illness at the same time, everything becomes even harder.

Jord explained how he felt sad to see me go through PND. But mainly he was angry. He was angry because he didn’t get to have the same experience that most first time Dads do. He had to visit me and Arthur, he spent a lot of time and money on travelling to see us when we should of been at home with him. We should of been doing all the firsts together. Seeing all of the firsts together. Instead he was going home alone every night.

I knew he was angry and part of me wanted him to scream and shout at me (he never did). I guess I wanted him to get it out, to let go of the anger. But looking back I don’t think it would of done us much good. Jord never fully understood but he was always there. He tried to understand but I don’t think anyone ever really can unless they’ve been through it themselves. We cried together, we laughed and had genuine happy moments. We also had moments that will always be in my mind, so sad and final, me talking about not wanting to live and almost saying goodbye. But Jord always fought for me. He would tell me he wasn’t going to let me go, and he never did.

Despite being angry, hurt and sad because the situation he knew it wasn’t my fault. He said he never felt completely comfortable coming to see us. He wanted us at home so we could feel at home, so we could be together. I will always feel guilty for putting Jord through PND, for taking Arthur away from him. Although I know it wasn’t my fault too, the guilt is always there. I don’t think it will ever go away. Neither will the terrified feeling that this may happen to me again when we have another child. But I’ve learnt to take each day as it comes. I’m trying not to look back, not to look much ahead but to just be where I am right now.

Jord has explained to me it was really hard for him but deep down he knew I was in the right place. He knew I had to be there, he knew I needed help. Through it all, we made it. I believe it as made us stronger than ever. Despite that I still wish every single day I never went through what I did, and I never put my family, Jord and my friends through what I did. But it happened. We can’t change the past. Now we’re a happy family of three, our biggest battle is who’s going to change the explosive nappy. Most of the time anyway. If your going through something remember, it’s not your fault. Those who love you, partners, friends and family, there will be there for you.

Stay tuned peeps.

Love, Kate x