Active

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PMH2018
Photo challenge
6/30 Active


I’m always out and about. Doing something and often crazy! I love having fun, dressing up and showing you my silly side. I also like to keep myself active. Not in the keeping fit kind of way, the last place you’d see me is at the gym! I love learning and meeting new people. I have found several tribes which make me feel happy and loved; my oldest friends, the ones where we can go months without actually talking to each other but as soon as we meet up we can’t stop talking. The mummy tribe, I have lots of mummy friendship groups as well as mum friends who like that one on one time together too. My PND family; those who I have gotten to know since having postnatal illness. Support group mummy’s to online mummy’s. They “get me” and I get them. My Forest Tribe; is my most recent gathering of lovely woodland obsessed peeps who like to go crazy in the woods and have a insurmountable amount of fun. When I’ve spent time with them I feel like my cup of nature and craziness has been filled to the brim.

I love my crazy active life.

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It’s good to talk

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4/30
PMH2018
Photo challenge
Talk

It’s hard when you can’t put into words how you actually feel. Mental Health is being talked about a lot more now. On social media, in the news, in your office, on your street. However when you are going brought the worst mental turmoil the last thing you want to do is talk. Talking signifies you acknowledging that something is actually not right. You can’t even find the words to describe the feelings of despair or anger you have going through your mind.

However I know from experience that talking about your mental health is the best thing you can do. By opening up to others they can begin to understand your silence. You can begin to understand your feelings and only then can you start to put together a plan for getting better.

When I had pnd I spoke found a support charity which literally helped me find the words to then talk to my friends about when I had been going through in silence for 6 months. It’s helped enormously and I will be forever grateful to those who listened when I shared and picked me up when I couldn’t face getting up.
My close friends mean the world to me and I know that I can talk to them about anything and they will be there.

An emotional journey

PMH2018
Photo challenge

Emotion

Defined as “a strong feeling deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.”

Pretty much sums up my motherhood journey. I’ve cried rivers of tears, had my hear filled with oceans of love, climbed the postnatal depression mountains and experienced mountain top moments of pride. Stumbled through valleys of despair, And wandered through the wilderness of anxiety. To emerge to see the canyons of support from family and friends witnessed my recovery into the daylight of becoming a well mummy.

An emotional journey to say the least, I’m still on a journey of sorts, encouraging others to believe that they will recover and become well mummy’s.

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My Goal

PMHPhotos2018
Photo challenge

Every day in November I am posting a photo to raise awareness of Perinatal Mental Health.
Each day each photo will be based around a single word.
Day 1 My Goal.
My goal is probably made up of little ones all added together. However for me the first step is always to embrace the fear and let go. I literally did this last month when I challenged myself or was challenged to abeseil down a 70ft tower. I’ve done this before probably about 20 years ago so I know what to expect. I have no problem jumping into a challenge but when it comes to the actual carrying it through that’s the tricky bit.
So I climbed the stairs and waited my turn. At this point I couldn’t see how high I was and saw my role as a calming Guide Leader reassuring the other girls who were nervous on the staircase. Then I was called up and walking out into the tower the light changed and I could see the view. It was high. Very high. I could cope quite easily looking directly out st the tips of the tree line but when I actually glanced down I realise the enormity of the task ahead. All safety checks done, I was safely attached and trusted the instructor implicitly to keep me safe. Despite this when I stepped over onto the other side of the ledge and was holding onto the bar. The next instruction was to let go and hold onto the rope. I couldn’t. I froze. What was I doing at 10am on a Sunday morning?!! Deep breaths. I’ve got to do this. I’m not going to fall. Just let go. Hold on with my finger tips. Breathe again. Okay this time I’ll let go. Three. Two. One. Done.
I’m holding onto the rope and I need to move myself down. Small steps at first, this is alright I think. Move further down and I’m hearing the encouragement of the Guides below me. I can do it.
Now bounce, ooo this is good, I’m like Spider-Man bouncing down a building! I look to the side enjoying myself. Bad move I can still see how high I am above the ground. Look to the wall and concentrate on one foot infront of the other. Slowly does it. And I’m down.
Adrenaline kicks in and I can feel my legs shaking and see my hands shaking too. I did it. It felt good. I realised I did it, I had faith in my support and had faith in myself. I can take on a challenge and even if it is uncomfortable I will get through it.
So today My Goals are to embrace the challenge and let go once in a while.
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Presence not presents

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Yesterday I was reminded of my children’s need for me. I am their constant. Although I fill my days when they’re at school with my freelance work and volunteering commitments. Once they are in my company we are together until they close their eyes and fall asleep.

I hadn’t quite realised that even if I’m busying myself cooking, tidying up or on my phone I am still there for them. That’s not to take away their Daddy and all the amazing things he does with them but for the purpose of this post I’m referring to the fact that On a day to day level I am their steady rock present in their lives.

It’s funny because whilst I feel like I often don’t get my Mummy role right and I’m constantly fighting with the inexplicable feelings of guilt that I don’t do enough, I don’t fully appreciate the impact me “being there” has on the children.

This week has been a particularly Busy week, I even managed to squeeze a school trip in to Epping Forest with my eldest. I had arranged a catch up with some friends on Friday night, as well as my usual Wednesday night commitment which meant that I didn’t put the girls to bed twice this week. I didn’t really give it a second thought that I had missed singing my usual lullaby to my elder daughter. She’s my sensitive soul, and still loves for me and her daddy to sing our lullabies to her every night. She eight and I really love that she still loves us to do this. I know there will come a time when she won’t.

I had a work commitment on Saturday which meant I was out from 8.30 and seeing as me and hubby hadn’t been out for dinner together since Our anniversary in May then we had arranged a dinner at our favourite supper club wine tasting event. Booking in advance meant we Couldn’t the rearrange. I left the girls know that we were going out and the babysitter was arriving, my youngest was completely fine about it, getting all her stories and toys ready to show her but it was here, with 5 minutes to go til the babysitter arrived that the my eldest let me know that she wasn’t happy about this arrangement.

At first she was angry at me. “Mummy you didn’t sing me a lullaby last night, you’ve been out all day and now you’re out again”. Cue guilty Mummy thoughts.
I tried to comfort her, she was too cross, I tried again and she hugged me and wouldn’t let go. She was sobbing “I don’t want you to go Mummy” I felt terrible. She was right, I had been out all the time. She doesn’t often let her guard down like this, which is probably why I felt so guilty. “I just want you mummy”.

In the quiet time of the evening this is when me and my eldest actually have quality time together. She becomes my needy child, we can talk together, she tells me her worries, her self imposed barriers of an eight year old trying to be grown up come down. I used to think that it was a ploy for bedtime delaying tactics but now I realise this is the time when all the worries or happy thoughts that have happened throughout the day come to the surface of her mind and she tells me about them. I hadn’t realised the significance of this time for her, I hadn’t given it much thought. When the girls were younger, if I had arranged to go out in the evening it would always be after they had got to bed, but now they’re older I would go out slightly earlier, before they’ve fallen asleep.

It’s so hard when you feel like you’ve done everything yet somehow that isn’t enough. Most of the time after I’ve put the girls to bed I feel like I’ve been sucked dry. Every ounce of my energy has been used. More often than not I still need to do a few more bits and pieces in the kitchen before I can sink into the sofa and watch a programme of a bit of mindless tv to zone out before bed. My brain can’t focus on anything else, however when I do go to bed I find it had to fall asleep. Even though a couple of hours before I could’ve dropped off to sleep before the children’s bed time.

I need my “me time” yet st the same time they need me too. It’s hard to get that balance right. Today has been a nice relaxed day for once, we’ve stayed in, not done much, and just been present, the both of us with the children. It has led to a lovely day and one which I’m going to try and make sure we have more regularly at weekends. It’s done us all a world of good.

 

Totally chilled

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Totally chilled.

That’s how I feel at this moment, sat on a Cypriot beach in my Joan Collins hat watching the girls build sand castles and my husband look for fishes near the rocks. A beautiful family scene and one which I could never have imagined 4 years ago.

Postnatal depression and postnatal anxiety do that to you. It robs you of memories you are yet to create. It tells you that this memory can never happen as you will always feel this way. It reminds you that you were once able to do this quite easily and now you can’t and you’re a mess.

The anxiety would set in when you were considering the holiday. On a good day you decide to think about booking somewhere to get away. The drab grey British weather demands you think about sunny skies and holiday get sways. Everyone talks about sunshine and you want a bit of it. Let do it you say, and when you’re about to press purchase you have second thoughts. Packing; you cant even leave the house without the kitchen sink and that’s to go to soft play how are you going to even consider getting on a plane? Your mind will wander, the house you have stayed in before now seems to be the most dangerous place you can envisage. With marble floors babies can slip on, glass tables with corners sharp enough to take an eye out, banisters with gaps to roll under and patio step to jump off and break ankle. Terrifying.

I’ve been there and I’ve also seemingly managed to overcome those anxieties and actually book the flight. Last time we came away was 3 yrs ago and although I was able to wrestle all those anxieties away my body still was set to remind me that all was not okay. I remember we had arrived and decided to pop out to the supermarket to buy some bits and pieces. I said to hubby to stay in the car with the girls as I was only going to be quick. I started to fill the trolley and then I started to get the griping pains of the end result of my physical symptoms of anxiety. I looked to the tills, they were busy. I could feel myself getting clammy. There was no alternative, I had to leave, we had to get back to the house and the bathroom there fast and right now.
I abandoned the half full trolley and raced out to the car, telling my hubby we need to
go NOW! I even looked around in case I really did need to crouch down somewhere. He drove, confused, the girls asking questions; where’s the food mummy?
I made it back in time, just. And then the reality hit me. I may have defied the anxiety during the first day of travelling but the anxiety was still there lurking just to let me know I still wasn’t quite okay.

Nowadays I still get moments of anxiety but generally I understand my body better. I don’t worry too much if I have these incidents as I know it’s my body’s way of keeping me in check.

Sitting with a book in my knee looking out to the most gorgeous view I feel very lucky. I survived post natal anxiety and I’ve come to terms better with the anxiety I’m left with. And best of all I’ve enjoyed my family holiday from start to finish.

 

The Love of friends

A valentines poem for friends

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The love of Friends

The friend who will drop everything when they see your missed call and know that even though you said everything was fine they still turn up on your doorstep to dry your tears

The friend who even though you might not have said it knows you’re going through a hard time and will send you a beautiful handmade card

The friends who club together and buy flowers when you are going through a family bereavement

The friend who you know you can call upon to give you that word of wisdom when you are doubting yourself

The friend who brings you a meal when you are too exhausted to cooking preoccupied with feeding your newborn.

The friend who will knows when to tell you to snap out of it when you need to be told and the ones who know when you’ve finally snapped with mummy…

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