Sleep Anxiety…. 

This is something that still gets me to this day, and I know I am not alone when I say I get it as I know a few other mums do.. but I do wonder why?!?

I’ve had to question it on a regular basis to try and relax and settle myself and I know what my reasons are… having suffered with sleep issues for months I had just got so used to not sleeping… I would dread bedtime.. walking into the bedroom and all I could think about was whether I would sleep or not… I got obsessed with good sleep hygiene and would have this ritual I did before I went to bed in order to sleep..(or try to) I did everything I should do and I took the advise of my cbt therapist… didn’t look at the time… wait 20 mins and get up and go into a different room and read…keep getting up and repeating this process…. naming something for every letter in the alphabet…. I was tired of it all not to mention physically tired.

I felt like looking after Archie was the biggest job in the world… everyday was like having a really important day at work.. you know how you often wouldn’t sleep before a presentation or exam… this is what it was like for me… I would worry if I didn’t get enough sleep and then put pressure on myself to go to sleep…. and then lay there staring at the ceiling! I was soooo FRUSTRATED.

I had to learn how to control it… so I started digging… I think your body gets used to waking up and then it’s so hard to sleep once they start sleeping… you constantly wake up… I delved deep into my brain and started questioning why? 

Why did I feel it was so important to have sleep? I’ve been surviving on little sleep and have been fine what was going to happen? 

I thought it was because if I didn’t sleep I wouldn’t get time to nap, and when I was tired I wouldn’t care for Archie aswell as I should, or I would make silly mistakes or infact lose my patience with him and get cross easy.. when In actual fact he was always fine I always took care of him the only bad thing that would happen is I would be tired… ok I couldn’t have a day off in bed to catch up but I would be ok…. I had been ok in the past… it was only when I started telling myself this I started to feel a bit better…. don’t get me wrong even now I worry about not sleeping and still have some nights where I don’t sleep well.. but I have to remember it’s only temporary and accept that once you have had a baby… you will never sleep the same again… 

If this sounds familar… just be kind to yourself and have confidence in the fact that no matter what happens you will be a good mum and will always make the right decision for your baby.. because it’s in you naturally and tired or not your still the best to them… 

‘Every day may not be good… but there is always something good in a day’ 😘❤️ 

‘The Routine’

Firstly, can I just say thankyou to everyone who showed such love and support when I was brave enough to share my blog with you all! It was so amazing to hear some of you say it’s inspired you and given you comfort! That is all I want to do!

Secondly, sorry for the delay in posts… I have had a rough week with emotions due to a reduction of my dosage!! It’s all good as I’m another step closer to my goal… but withdrawal making me feel how I used to this week has even had me questioning whether I can really do this… but I can and I WILL

Now, back to the post!

That bloody routine… honestly if I heard it once I heard it a million times ‘have you gotten into a routine’ – to which I would just reply and smile sweetly.. yes, we are getting there slowly..

In all honesty what blooming routine… Archie called the shots and just when I thought I knew what he was doing the cheeky little monkey would change it again.. I swear he knew, I was finally starting to settle and feel confident!

I have always been very structured and organised, I like to know what’s happening next, and I always have a plan…. well this went out the bloody window straight away and you know what…. I hated it and realised just how much of a control freak I am.

I have met up with mums who didn’t feel this way but generally were bottle feeding and would feed every 3/4 hours regardless.. even waking there babies to feed on this time.. this is what I thought I should be doing and Archie should be doing what their babies or other googles babies should be doing… he wasn’t the textbook baby… so what was I doing wrong, why do I feel so stressed?

To be honest I was doing nothing wrong… I demand fed Archie.. he called the shots I fed him when he was hungry even if it was only an hour and half after he had just fed… I never knew whether he was having a growth spurt (which all fellow breastfeeding mums will say are ridiculously exhausting) this is what I was told I should do.. so I did.

Every baby is completely different and demand fed babies are a complete different kettle of fish.. they will use you for just a drink, maybe a snack, sometimes an all day buffet 🙄 and that’s the difference. But when you are used to being in a routine yourself not adjust to his relaxed laid back go with it routine it’s hard to adjust.

I wanted to know when I could go out and see friends… I had such bad anxiety of being on my own with Archie the panic I would have at the thought of not being able to go out was crazy… and I genuinely don’t think this helped with this new “routine” or whatever it was Archie decided to do that day… The thought of being ridiculously late or having to cancel on my friends stressed me out..

The only thing I had control of was bedtime and from Archie being super young I always made sure that was consistent it was the only control I really had.. the time might of altered but every night I bathed him.. read to him gave him his last feed and put him to sleep in our room. It worked really well and at least I felt like he had a bit of a routine that I controlled…

So the answer to the question is no… I didn’t have a routine because my baby would change it for me ALL the friggin time… it doesn’t mean I’m lazy, or I’m a crap mum because my baby doesn’t wake at 6.30am and feed then go back to sleep and wake again at 11am… (google stresses me out)… I think if I had to pay for the amount of times I googled stupid shit… I would seriously be bankrupt… ‘my baby just slept for 6 hours and didn’t wake for a feed should I wake him’  – NO HOLLIE HE’S JUST TIRED! 

I used to panic so much if he slept longer at night.. I would wake and check on him because the night before he didn’t do that. And google says he should be feeding every 3 hours.. 🙄 Now I realise how silly it was for me to think this way… babies aren’t robots sometimes we sleep better some nights then others.. and some days we eat more than others.. they are only human too!

I’ve learnt to let it go… it is what it is… you can’t change things by worrying. And it’s changed my whole outlook on everything in my life now, don’t put pressure on yourself to be the mum who’s got her shit together and who’s baby is in the best routine.. to another mum they may see you like that.. we all have our off days.. some people may say by me demand feeding and letting my baby dictate to me what he wanted I was wrong and he needs to fit in with me… some others may 100% believe in what I did and will say I was an attentive mother and listened to my babies need… everyone is entitled to their opinion.

I did what I felt I needed to do as a mum for my boy… rightly or wrongly it’s worked for us and that’s all that matters.. and you will all do the same! You know what is right at the time… my routine didn’t really kick in until Archie started weening on was on 3 meals a day!

You got this mumma, the fact your still here smiling is enough.. the rest doesn’t matter 😘

The Thick Dark Cloud

When does the dark cloud become more than just baby blues?

This is the hardest thing to determine, having suffered depression before I knew what signs to look out for, but obviously after having a baby your body goes through so much and your hormones are mighty strong things that it can be difficult to know what is normal and what isn’t. I have actually posted a link to a website at the bottom of this post where I found a checklist which really did help me make sense of some of the thoughts and emotions that were happening.

In all honesty I do think the 14 day window of it being just baby blues is a bit narrow, it depends on so many factors, whether your breastfeeding which is exhausting, how sleep deprived you are and whether you have a supportive partner, aswell as many other things.

My husband and my Mum were an amazing support to me being there to witness my darkest days and pulling me through when I felt like I was failing… I literally wouldn’t be where I was today without them.

I still felt so down after 4 weeks of having Archie, my emotions were all over the place and my anxiety was a whole new level to anything I had ever experienced before.

I was never afraid of admitting that I may have had PND and having mentioned above I suffered depression before and knew that tablets and a bit of CBT could save my bacon.

This is going to hurt for me to be as brutally honest as I’m about to, but there were times where I would look at Archie and hate him (the smallest part of me) and want to push him away, get him off me , and I didn’t want to cuddle him….as soon as I thought this, I would cry as to why I felt that way about my precious little boy. The baby I had longed for all this time… These feelings and emotions still haunt me to this day, and even now I hurt whenever I remember this, they taint those memories of the beginning of our time together for me which I will never get back… God I wish they didn’t!

I was incredibly tired I was running on hardly any sleep but I was determined to carry on feeding him, I felt that as a mother emotionally I was failing he deserved the best version of me and this wasn’t it… but I needed to feed him to continue building a bond with him, he was unaware of my thoughts after all… So like I robot I put on a brave face and did everything practically a good mother should, but inside my head was telling me all sorts of nasty things.

This was just in my head, now I can see that clearly… It was no reflection on me as a person… depression is an evil thing it’s like having the most vile and twisted version of yourself in your head making you feel and think things you would never of dreamt of in normal reality, and the guilt I felt for being this way was eating me up…..

I didn’t want my husband to leave me in the morning and go to work, I never wanted to be on my own with Archie, I was scared of my baby… so once all the visits died down and Christmas was over I hit the floor with the biggest crash… I couldn’t handle noise so being around my nieces and nephews was overwhelming, I couldn’t handle being in really noisy places.. I had no patience…I couldn’t watch anything on tv with violence in or blood I would literally freak out and want to run…. And the visions I had of Archie were horrific, everything I did with him I created into an accident… Walking along the road and the pushchair veering off and being hit by a car… Dropping him by accident and his head cracking open and there being blood everywhere…. All these thoughts and visions constantly going round and round in my head making me feel so incredibly tired… Who was this person…this new version of myself? Why am I feeling this way?

It was time to go to the dr, she put me on a mild anti-depressant I could still feed on. Which as they can sometimes do made me feel worse and suicidal… They scared the hell out of me and I came straight off them… Struggled for another few weeks until the insomnia set in…

I would lay there at night and just couldn’t sleep or would wake after just 10 mins so was surviving on about 2 hours max broken sleep a night… Time to go back to the dr….

I took a new anti-depressant (again which I could feed on) which definitely took the edge off the anxiety and the depression was gone… but I can honestly say that until I stopped breastfeeding the anxiety didn’t stop….maybe it was hormones… But I still couldn’t sleep 8 months in I was falling asleep whilst driving sometimes. I needed to go back onto the tablet I took before for my depression pre baby but couldn’t do this until I stopped feeding… So I put my feelings on the back burner until then…

Once I stopped feeding I switched over and started sleeping and now a year on I’m coming off them as everything has settled down, I have my moments but the journey I’ve been on has made me stronger as a person and I’ve learnt things about myself I never knew even existed..everything happens for a reason and I’m great believer in that.

I have no regrets about admitting I needed help and once I posted on facebook about me coming out the other side of this dark cloud the amount of people I had messaging me telling me they felt the same and how brave I was to admit my struggle is what pushed me into writing this blog.

The cloud does lift, you will come out the other side and be a better person for it I promise.

‘There is always sunshine above the clouds…’

http://www.postpartumprogress.com/the-difference-between-postpartum-depression-normal-new-mom-stress

Ground Hog Day….

Not sure whether if it was heightened because Archie was a winter baby, but my god Don’t days and nights all feel the same in those first few weeks… And my pj’s seemed to be my outfit of choice most days…mainly because I didn’t have a spare 5 mins to have a poo.. Let alone get dressed what a luxury that was.

Honestly I didn’t realise how much I would appreciate a bath or shower, some clean clothes and a change of breast pads as much as I did in the beginning.

I often felt myself lingering in the bathroom or sitting on the toilet thinking that ‘I’m just going to stay here for 5 more minutes.’ But  also feeling guilty for doing so whilst listening to my husband trying to settle our crying newborn… Jesus he has just been fed it can’t be time to go again already… He’s been winded and has slept, he has a clean bum…..ohh I better hurry up my bath….. Wait thoughts interrupted husband is calling me saying that he’s tried everything and the kid must be hungry again… 5 more extra mins gone in a flash… And off I went to feed my piglet on the sofa. 🐷🐽

The sofa did officially have a mould that was the shape of my bottom by the end those first few weeks, down the side of the sofa was random bits of half eaten food, I had tried to eat and failed miserably, probably a half drank cup of one cold tea..shall make another to find it again maybe this time full but cold again… Damn!

Milk time was over, time to change the explosion that had just happened for the 10th time today…honestly there wasn’t a day that went by where I didn’t have to soak an item of clothing actually more like whole outfits… Just one change a day, on a good day… Archie’s nickname consequently became poo poo’s which he is still called to this day… He’s gonna love that when he’s 18 and brings home a girlfriend. 💩

I was trapped in the fat boy slim song…. Eat,sleep,change,repeat….eat,sleep,change,repeat…somebody help me… I’m worth more than this! Why on earth have we done this to ourselves!

Does everyone feel like this I thought, this is what I wanted more than the world, why am I not enjoying every moment like people kept telling me to do….what was wrong with me…. I’m an awful mother….I just wanted someone to take him away for a minute maybe a day… This was when the strange thoughts started… The ones that I’ll forever beat myself up for…

My husband was on holiday from work I should be enjoying spending time with him, watching films and having snuggles, but I just don’t have the time… God I miss him and just our company in the evenings… I found that hard to cope with in the beginning, We didn’t have any time just us… When would this day end…oh wait it would and tommorrow would be the same.

This was not normal, we were meant to be the fairytale couple you see pushing their newborn baby round in a pushchair having lovely long walks in the woods enjoying every minute with the new edition to our family while my husband was on “holiday” from work.

This however I realised  after putting so much pressure on myself for months to enjoy every moment is the expectation and not the reality.

Baby Blues and Lumpy Boobs. 

What a whirlwind those first few days at home really are. And with Christmas thrown in the mix It was exhausting! 

Baby Blues Jesus they are bloody awful, I remember sitting in the corner of my sofa crying about the fact that my baby was here and how amazing it was but how incredibly tired I felt and overwhelmed at people’s kindness and best wishes… Aswell as all the visits we had in those first few days! 

I always remember everyone saying to me Day 3 when your milk comes in will be the worst.. And smack on day 3… There it was I swear I cried enough to fill a small swimming pool! My boobs were well and truly there and for the first time in my life I had MASSIVE fake looking boobs which is what I had always wanted but Jesus did they hurt… And we’re so blooming hard and lumpy. 

It may have had something to do with the fact that I had given birth to a baby piglet and he had spent 7 hours STRAIGHT (I genuinely wish that was an exaggeration) on Christmas Day sucking at my boobies… And the midwife that visited me that day said just let him suckle as much as he wants…which I did. I was stuck in the same position on the sofa for what seemed like the lllooonnnnggeeesssttt day of my life, just me the baby and my boobs out all day, which then contributed to the beginning of mastitis.. AMEN to my midwife for all the advice on draining and hand expression before but also the information on Savoy cabbage! That stuff was a frigging life saver… Except I smelt like farts! 
For all you fellow breastfeeding mums I know you will sympathise and for those mummies who are maybe yet to do it, just a heads up breastfeeding is so so hard and you have to be completely selfless! No time for baths, wee’s and God forbid you try and eat a HOT MEAL… 🙈 so please DO NOT beat yourself up if you feel you need to introduce the bottle at some point so you can…. oh I don’t know just have some breathing space! 

I however should of took my own advice and not put pressure on myself to carry on but I did, and I fed Archie for 7.5 months… (Only because he took a month to accept the bottle) He was a big boy and a greedy one, we were lucky with him at night time and he would do 4 hour stretches but he would also take BOTH boobs at every feed and his longest ever feed in the night was a record 1.5 hours, he was lazy and would fall asleep but if I tried to take him off he would scream blue murder so it was easier not to fight 😑 he also loved a cluster feed… From 3.30pm he would feed for 1/2 hour – 45mins on each boob and then only give me a 30 min (if I was lucky) break in between… Until he had his last feed at around 8 after a bath and then he would go to sleep…along with me.. And then wouldn’t really wake until 2am or 3am. 

I honestly believe that breastfeeding contributes towards baby blues to an extent as its so time consuming  and demoralising I quite often felt like daisy the cow.. And my boobs were out so much I often didn’t see the point in putting them away! 😂😂 

But I have no regrets about feeding Archie and will without a doubt do it again, but like everything in life, learn’t somethings I will and won’t do the next time… As I will no doubt learn again then also.  

That’s something I’ll say about motherhood and babies… 

‘The one thing that doesn’t change is everything changes’

And so it begins….

its-a-boy

 

Wow… what an experience labour was and honestly it didn’t go how I had planned.. so no tranquil water birth for me – damn

Did it hurt? – YES

Would I do it again? – YES

Did I Enjoy it? – YES – loved it and it was the most empowering moment of my life.

All these little things above were HUGE things to me when I was pregnant and expecting my first baby….feeling incredibly anxious and having panic attacks about labour and what to expect that was the hardest part right? Once baby was here safe and sound I could stop worrying… (I hear you all tutting at me as I wrote that) little did I know that these worries were just the beginning of something which I really did not have the faintest idea about – although at the time I thought I did!

I had seen friends have babies and been around my 3 nieces and a nephew, I knew how to look after a baby, wind, bathe, settle, cuddle… everyone told me I was a natural I would be fine..I could cope with tiredness, I could survive on only 4 hours sleep and still function at work.. YOU HAVE GOT THIS..

Well as we all know until you have your own child with the emotional attachment involved nothing can EVER prepare you for just how tough motherhood is and oh how I laugh at naive pre baby me!!

It is the only job you will never be prepared or qualified for despite how much research or preparation you put in. Your CV will never be good enough to get you this job – (in the real world) and it is the hardest days work you will ever do, where you get no praise, targets or feedback on your performance it’s just you AKA mummy (you no longer have a name.. just this one) and this little stranger that has no instruction manual AKA baby….

‘It’s a boy’

What the hell do I do……HELP!?!