Foetal Distress… Where my labour went wrong

I was in slow labour for a solid 2 weeks. I’d had 2 sweeps and I remember so vividly on New Year’s Day going into hospital for a midwife to say, “something is definitely happening, you’re 2cm now rather than 1.” Woohoo! One whole cm in a week, I thought to myself… I practically sulked in the car on the way home.

The next day, things picked up, so we went back up to the hospital. This time I was told; “okay, you’re 3cm. I don’t want to send you home as I can see your contractions are really picking up, but I really need either your waters to go or for you to be 4cm, can you try walking for me and we can get things going”, Despite being booked to be induced the next day on my due date…I became a woman on a mission.

After some lunges, walks and a bumpy car ride the midwife checked me again. “Yep, you’re 4cm…and….there go your waters, you’re in labour”… HALLELUJAH.

I remember looking at the midwife and saying “HA, you can’t send me home now!” The poor midwife, she had suffered enough with my waters going all over her hand, let alone me sassing her.

My labour progressed surprisingly quickly from then. I had pethidine and gas and air in labour, I slept pretty much most of it once I had pethidine, I would wake up, have a contraction, make some sort of moo-ing noise while using gas and air then go back to sleep. When I was around 9cm I remember my midwife just staring at the contraction monitor. Throughout the labour she had been coming in, checking the monitor and going again…but this time she wasn’t, she was staying in the room with me for longer and she looked concerned. There was an elephant in the room for sure (and that wasn’t in reference to the size of heavily pregnant me)!

“Is everything okay?” I heard my mother in-law at the time ask my midwife, Emily. Emily smiled sweetly and said, “I’m just going to get another midwife to check something, Amy can you just roll onto your right side for me, Baby isn’t liking how you’re laying.” Another midwife came in and looked at the monitor with Emily and it was very hushed and secretive, but I remember so clearly her saying, “yep, you’re right it’s classic…,” completing the sentence by gesturing her hands around her throat to mimic strangulation. Alarm bells were ringing in my head.

“Amy, we’re just going to fast bleep the doctor. Baby is having something called lates.

Lates – Emily explained that during a contraction, a baby’s heart rate can drop, but it’s expected to pick up pretty quickly afterwards…except my little boy’s wasn’t. It was staying at about 50-60 bpm for a little longer than it should have (nearly half of what it should be). The doctor arrived promptly and again the hushed tones were talking and one of the sisters mentioned an emergency C-section but the doctor shook her head and said, “she’s 10cm, let’s look at another option, this isn’t cord around the neck, this is foetal distress.

Foetal Distress- An uncommon complication of labour which is when the baby isn’t receiving enough oxygen.

“Amy, your baby is in distress. Now, we need to get him out as soon as possible, ideally. His heart rate isn’t picking up – you’re 10cm now so I would like to do an assisted delivery if that’s okay?” I nodded. “Just do whatever needs to be done,” I shouted, mid-contraction. My bladder was full and had to be emptied via catheter during my contractions, too – lush, eh?

“Okay Amy, what will happen is I will attach this to baby’s head and as you push, I will pull.”

I was ready to go. The pushing was a military operation.

“Okay, you did really well then. I want you to grasp your breath ready for the next contraction…I can see it’s building…1,2,3 Push!” The Doctor said. “Chin to chest, that’s it Amy, PUSH,” the sister said holding my hand.

I was tiring quickly, but every minute that passed my baby boy was getting more and more distressed. “Amy, I can see his head,” Oliver’s dad cried out. I remember throwing my head back saying, “I can’t do this”.  The Senior midwife took my hand and placed it on my baby boy’s head (which I still to this day think was super gross). “Amy, that is your baby’s head, you are so nearly there. Now come on and push,” she ordered.

The maternity assistant patted my head down with a cool flannel (it might have been wet paper towel to be completely honest) but at 00:32, the room went silent. “Happy Birthday to you little man,” I heard the doctor say. “Amy, he’s beautiful,” another midwife added. I couldn’t see Oliver at this point, nor could I hear him crying. “Why can’t I hear him cry?” I asked, with an underlying tone of panic to my voice. “No, no, no he’s fine Amy. He’s perfect,”my mother-in law added. I didn’t get to hold Oliver straight away due to me needing a lot of stitches and Oliver needed checking over where he was in distress for so long.

The sister wanted to take the gas and air off of me while I was stitched, but I think the doctor saw how scared I was (either that or she did a real job on me with my episiotomy ) because she let me keep the gas and air while I was stitched. Of course, my problems continued, my placenta wasn’t delivering naturally. They gave me an injection to try and hurry it along, but alas…No placenta, the doctor grew concerned as my blood pressure started to drop rather quickly and placentas need to be out once baby is out. So she decided to remove it manually, which was probably more painful than the actual labour, but she was sweet and still let me keep the gas and air while she did this. Once my placenta was delivered I finally got to hold my baby boy, but only for a short while. The sister insisted I had a bath she had ran for me…Which was one of my less relaxing baths to say the least.

My labour started smoothly but towards the end became a bit traumatic, but I urge new mums to be not to be afraid, every womans labour is different so please don’t be scared and try to embrace what will be the most…unique experience of your life.

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Why I’m happy being a single mum

So, recently I have had friends all asking the same question… “Isn’t it time you settled down?” And let’s not forget dear old Aunt Barbara at the family meals asking why I’m still single. The reason to it all is because, in a warped kinda way, I’m happy being single.

The truth is I don’t have the time for a relationship. I work full time and around caring for Oliver I am left with perhaps 5% free time – split that free time between friends and time to myself (that is 0%), and I am not prepared to sacrifice any of that on a relationship.  “You deserve to be happy,” a dear friend said to me recently, and they are right. I DO deserve to be happy, but I replied to her by saying “but what makes you think I’m not happy? I love the independence I have being a single mum and the freedom it gives me.

Freedom? Something I never thought that I would say in the same sentence as being a single mum, but the truth of the matter is it has given me insane amounts of freedom. When Oliver is at his Dad’s and I am not working I am able to do what I want, when I want, without having to justify who I am talking to and where I am going. Although, this doesn’t mean going out every Friday night, because sometimes it’s just nice to use that freedom to sit at home and relax.

When I first became a single mum I hated it, I didn’t know how I would cope mentally and physically, and now, nearly half a year later, I am loving it. I feel so independent and accomplished – I wouldn’t change it for the world. I look to when there were times that I was crying to my friends saying I didn’t feel I was strong enough, and had people at the time tell me I wasn’t strong enough, but I have not only proved them wrong, I have proved myself wrong.

I see some of my friends that are single mums putting so much pressure on themselves to be in a relationship, and admittedly that was me at one point. The real happiness of being single is when you find that moment of peace and solidarity, when you achieve something you never thought possible through no strength other than your own…. and that my dears is when you find the true beauty of being single.

One of my favourite film quotes sums it all up perfectly for me..

The thing about being single is, you should cherish it. Because, in a week, or a lifetime, of being alone, you may only get one moment. One moment, when you’re not tied up in a relationship with anyone. A parent, a pet, a sibling, a friend. One moment, when you stand on your own. Really, truly single. And then…. it’s gone.

It took a while initially for me to enjoy being single, it took A LOT of pep talks from Sarah and some of my other friends, not to mention countless late night chats with the mummykind girls. Now I love it. I love being a strong, independent woman. Knowing that whatever I own, I got myself, everything I have achieved, I got there myself. I have nobody snoring in my ear and stealing my duvet, I am under no obligation to watch things I don’t want to (unless it’s Moana or Frozen through Oliver). It is such an empowering feeling to know that I proved all those people wrong, every single one who said I wouldn’t cope and who didn’t want me to. And in the words of Destiny’s Child… ’cause I depend on me if I want it.

I sit late at night and often wonder when I will settle down again, and the reality is that I don’t know when that will be. I am not prepared to settle for the first man that comes into my life. I deserve to be happy, (not to mention that the successful candidate will need to pass Sarah and her husband’s vetting process first)… So maybe months from now, maybe a year from now… I don’t think anyone knows the answer to it. However for now, and for the foreseeable future, my Oliver, friends, family, work and health are my priority…Not chasing after a man.

If you liked this you’ll love:

Becoming a single mum, the baby steps I’m taking

Single parents, I respect you 

Why can’t we all just play nicely together?

Breastfeeding avoidance – The mental block


So as mums, before our babies are even born we’re flooded with questions: “Are you planning on breastfeeding?”, “You know breast is best”… it’s almost as if people are making our feeding choices for us. I wanted to breastfeed from day one, I wanted to have that bond and be able to create my baby boy’s food. When my son was about a month old we faced our first hurdle – yep, he was tongue tied, but, as Sarah posted previously, you can still breastfeed with a tongue tie.

The next hurdle came when Oliver was about a month and a half. I wasn’t producing enough milk to keep up with his feeds, despite drinking water and trying all of the other myths, nothing was making me produce milk like a dairy cow, so we decided to try combination feeding (a balance of breast milk and formula).

As my mental health deteriorated, I found myself surrounded by anxiety towards breastfeeding… I was doubting everything I had been doing since Oliver had been born. I’m holding him wrong. This isn’t working, I’m not good enough. Oliver was still crying during his feeds and I now recognise that this is because he was picking up on my anxiety.

It’s no surprise that 20% of new mums suffer from mental health illnesses within the first year of their child’s birth, with the amount of pressure new mums receive, especially first time mums. As I found my mental health deteriorating I could feel myself becoming more and more reluctant to breastfeed. I would dread it when Oliver would cry for a feed and at some points would find myself crying. I couldn’t bear to do it anymore and found myself saying something I never wanted to: “Just give him a bottle.” 

I would then beat myself up for hours on end. What was wrong with me? I wanted to breastfeed but couldn’t bring myself to. I would sit in a daze as my son cried for a feed. I could hear the people around me telling me he needed a feed but I couldn’t bring myself to feed him unless it was a bottle. I became scared to breastfeed, I would become paranoid that my milk wasn’t enough for him and he wouldn’t get anything. Gradually, between this and the tongue tie, it was no surprise that my supply dropped rather quickly.

I sought comfort in a mum & baby group on Facebook and one lady commented: “sounds like breastfeeding avoidance, I suffered it with 2 out of 3 of my children, speak to your health visitor.”   

When I took Oliver to the clinic to be weighed, I mentioned it… Though I didn’t get a very helpful reply. I was simply told, “well he’s a good weight so you must be doing something right.” It took some explaining and a few tears but we had a breakthrough – she mentioned breastfeeding avoidance isn’t a diagnosis, it’s more a symptom, but she didn’t seem too concerned as Oliver was a healthy weight and seemed happy.

My breastfeeding avoidance became so critical at one point that I let myself become so engorged and was crying in discomfort. I didn’t want to do anything, I didn’t want to look at my breasts, I didn’t want anyone to help me I just wanted to close my eyes, wake up and for my time of breastfeeding to be over.

But then it was over. And it was over too quickly, by the time I came to terms with my breast feeding avoidance, it was too late. My boy was formula fed and my milk had dried up and my window of opportunity to breastfeed was gone and my boy was showing no interest in me for food anymore. I sat and admired family members feeding my son a bottle… he seemed so content. “He doesn’t know the difference,” a family member tried to reassure me, but he could tell the difference. I could tell the difference, the one thing that was meant to help us bond, I pushed away and let my mental health come between. Still to this day, I regret letting my mental health control my ability to breastfeed, however I had no say in the matter, and should I have more children in the future (unlikely but a possibility nonetheless), I know what to expect and will not let my mental health affect the matter.

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Colic, Reflux and Wind… Oh my!

Ah colic, every parent’s worst nightmare. I still have flashbacks to this day. I was a super lucky parent with Oliver getting both reflux and colic – lush, huh? I remember at around 5pm every night we would all look at each other and give each other a mutual nod; that was the time his colic and reflux would start to pipe up, and we would almost start preparing in advance. Cooled boiled water, muslins and infacol at the ready. Right on cue at 5pm my baby boy would start getting upset, we all took turns trying to comfort him and help him.

So the NHS describes colic as: the name for excessive, frequent crying in a baby who appears to be otherwise healthy. It’s a common problem that affects up to one in five babies…

As a new parent I had no idea what colic was, I was out of my depth. All I knew was that my little pumpkin wasn’t happy and I didn’t know why. Fortunately  at the time, we lived with Oliver’s grandparents (his dad’s mum and dad) who were amazing with colic. We called them the baby whisperers because all his grandad would have to do was place Oliver on his shoulder and he would settle, despite the many minutes I had spent bouncing, rocking and shhh-ing Oliver, meanwhile during this time Oliver’s Nonna would make me a cup of tea and we would prepare to tag in…and honestly I don’t know how we would have made it through the colic phase without their help. As time went on his colic got more severe, resulting in 111 sending an emergency ambulance at 4am one night because his screaming was so intense.

The paramedic was so lovely, understanding and empathetic as soon as he came in the atmosphere changed, the first words he said was, “oooh that sounds like a grumpy baby, let’s see what’s going on” he examined Oliver and comforted us; “you did the right thing calling, I do think it is colic, maybe a bit of reflux, prehaps take him to his GP tomorrow and see what they advise.”

From that moment on I was a woman on a mission. We started baby massage, cranial osteopathy and took him to the GP. Baby massage was perfect, I felt so close to Oliver at the class and it was fascinating to see him learning the cues for massage and it was something everyone could do at home with Oliver. Cranial osteopathy was an interesting one, I was intrigued as my mother in-law at the time said it helped for Oliver’s dad. At the first appointment, we talked about Oliver’s birth and the osteopath had a theory that his traumatic birth could have been a big contribution to his colic/reflux now. He taught us some things we could do at home to help with his colic spells, and one thing which seemed most effective was the “tiger in the tree” holding pose which was a godsend! We just simply laid Oliver across our arm face down and rubbed and patted his back which helped massively.

However, a few months in and Oliver’s colic was back with a vengeance – none of the normal tricks were working, so the health visitor advised we went to the doctor. The doctor prescribed him infant gaviscon which did work, however it also caused some constipation for my little boy so
we were advised to give him more cooled boiled water to help.

I remember Oliver was such a “pukey” baby. I’ve said previously in a post how much Oliver would throw up over Sarah, her carpet and her sofas, though it wasn’t just Sarah! We pre-warned anyone who would hold Oliver and insisted they used a muslin, I almost felt like I needed to do a terms and conditions speech “we will not be liable for any puke-age on your clothes or personal belongings as you are holding the said infant at your own risk.”

All in all, I 100% think colic/reflux/wind is the most terrifying thing any new parent will experience… after all surely it can’t be normal for an innocent baby to scream so damn much?! Well, turns out in a warped kind of way it is. If, however, you find yourself awake at 4am at breaking point, praying your child will settle there are a few things that helped me:

  1. Message your mummy-friends; chances are they’ve been there or are currently there, and even if they don’t read it until the morning you’ll feel better for getting it off your chest.
  2. Skin to Skin with your baby – Oliver took a lot of comfort from being on my chest and it really helped calm him.
  3. Infacol/colic granules – ABSOLUTE HEROS, the granules are what Sarah actually recommended to me when I was at breaking point one night.
  4. Cranial osteopathy/Baby massage – Even if you are unable to get to a baby massage class there are tutorials on the internet.
  5. Look at cry-sis who are an amazing support line for any parents who have a crying and sleepless baby, offering support and advice for any exhausted parent.
But, lastly, parents around the world, know this when you’re awake at any unholy hour questioning everything in the world. Your baby loves you, you are doing all you can and…this will pass.

If you liked this you may enjoy reading…

Baby Bonding Guilt

My first year as a mum

What is this thing you call sleep?

Dear Mr…

So this post is inspiried by Caroline Flack’s article in this month’s ‘Cosmopolitan’… I felt I could relate so much to what she had posted, and although this post isn’t exactly parenting related I think it is something we can all relate to. I think if I could write to any of my past partners then this is what I would say:
Dear Mr First Crush,
I was merely 13 and you were a few years older, we had mutual friends so found ourselves spending time together at break and lunch though, of course, you were completely out of my league. I couldn’t help but notice how polite you were to everyone, how funny you were and how cute you were, gradually I noticed myself changing, trying to adapt and morph myself into the type of girl you would like and then the reality hit me that I was becoming someone I could never be, plus you got with one of my best friends and that was the end of that I guess.
Dear Mr First Love,
Well, I’m not sure where to begin on this, but I’ll keep it short. We were young and merely 16, at 19 we fell pregnant and had our baby boy…we had ups and downs and eventually got engaged, I made some of my best memories with you and though things ended rather sourly I will still always care, not in a romantic way as that chapter is over but ultimately you are my son’s father, so naturally I will always care about your wellbeing. Of course, it does upset me how things ended, our relationship died out and you felt that neglected by me that you sought comfort from other women while we were together and still to this day I blame myself for that.
Dear Mr Rebound,
Ah now this I feel truly awful about as you still have no idea thats all it was but the thing is I was fresh out of my previous relationship and just wanted some comfort after what happened and you were there, I do feel bad looking back at what happened but I just couldn’t bring myself to commit after what happened.
Dear Mr Too Good to Be True,
Oh this is my favourite, you seemed perfect. Tall, dark and handsome, and slightly older. You owned your own company and lived a completely different lifestyle to the one I had. I felt like Cinderella for a while as you took me to nice places for meals and nights away, but gradually the cracks started to show. You see, I always told you that I was a mum and that my boy came first yet I still saw you saying things like “can’t you palm him off to someone else”, which is wrong on so so many levels, and it was at that point I think I realised that it wasn’t going to work. One day you dropped the bombshell that you still had feelings for your ex, and I think you expected me to shrug it off but that was it for me, it was time to walk away.

Dear Mr Wrong,

Well, your name says it all. Wrong…so so wrong. You weren’t even the type of guy I normally go for, but I think I was attracted by your confidence, you were pretty good looking and would say all the things I wanted to hear, and right when you had my attention and had me right where you wanted me you would drop me at the click of your fingers, as if I was some toy you could pick up when you were bored, and eventually I realised that I am worth so much more than to be another girl for your collection.

Dear Mr Right Now,
Well, after all the above I think it’s safe to say I’m fragile, I’ll be the first to admit in light of everything that happened I’ve developed the biggest commitment issues and I feel truly sorry for you, you’ll learn over time I push people away, my temper is foul but I can be caring when I’m not a moody hormonal strop bag.  I have an incredible ability to self sabotage and ruin anything good I have going for me, if after discovering all of this you’re still prepared to try with me then the next step is a bit harder, in light of my history my best friend and her husband have developed a vetting process which you will be obliged to pass. Last but most important, I am a mother first and foremost, my son comes first and if you can’t accept that then please see yourself out of my life.

Dear Mr Bottom-Squish

Oh my darling Oliver, you’ll never understand the amount I love you, how many nights I sit and watch you sleep and wonder how I got so lucky, despite all the Mr’s you will always be the most important and will always come first. I will always protect you as long as I am breathing. I can’t wait to see you grow into the amazing young man I know you will become and every day you amaze me with your character, you truly are the best thing in my life, my darling boy, and I promise you we will have so much laughter, and so many memories… At times we may argue and there will be times in your life when you dislike me, but just know that I love you eternally and that I will always support you everything you do. Granted, some days you make me want to rip my hair out, but I am sure that when you’re older you will think the same about me. Thank you for being my son and being the most perfect thing in my life.


Endometriosis…you’ve either heard of it or you haven’t. I had never heard of it until I got diagnosed with it that it. Now I have mentioned about endometriosis before in my post on “being a chronically ill parent“… But this post is dedicated to endo, with coping strategies, tips and tricks.

According to the NHS, “Endometriosis is a condition where the tissue that lines the womb (endometrium) is found outside the womb, such as in the ovaries and fallopian tubes.”

My story with endometriosis (or endo as I prefer to call it) I guess started at 8 when I started my periods (young, eh?). I remember being so confused at that age, and I remember one thing that really upset me was not being able to do my swimming lessons at school (there was no way at 8 years of age I was using a tampon). 

As I grew older my periods became more and more painful and my mum would say; “welcome to womanhood my baby, it’s normal for it to hurt,” and one day I came on and was in so much pain that I couldn’t move from the sofa. I was crying in pain… my Nan insisted I saw a doctor who didn’t say much but prescribed mefenamic acid for the cramps. I was offered the pill to regulate my periods but my mum said no as she didn’t feel going on the pill at 13 was right for me, despite the fact that I was bleeding for 3 weeks of the month and had no pattern at all. Mefenemic acid helped to ease the cramps for a year or two.

At 16, I was admitted to hospital (yet again) and this time the paediatric doctors refereed me to Gynaecology. Two consultants came and sat with me and asked a series of questions about my periods, my sex life and my lifestyle. I answered as honestly as I could… 

“yes my periods are irregular, yes they’re painful, yes they’re abnormally heavy and yes sex is painful”

The two consultants nodded at each other and proceeded to say – “textbook endometriosis”

“We’ll need to do a laparoscopy to confirm but I think that’s what we’re looking at”… They didn’t really tell me much about the condition they just told me that I would be having surgery. Naturally, I went away and researched it myself. Endometriosis UK were fantastic at informing me, and it finally all made sense. The reason that my ultrasounds were coming back as clear is because endometriosis doesn’t show on scans; only through surgery can you be diagnosed with endo.

My surgery date approached, I counted back from 10 and the next thing I remember was that I woke up with my consultant saying, “Miss Simkins…. Miss Simkins, wakey wakey.” 

I opened my eyes to see him stood there, I tried to sit up but felt like I had been stabbed in the stomach. 

“No no no, don’t try and do that just rest!” He said. “So the operation was a success, there was the odd complication but we sorted that, I did find endometriosis but I’ve treated it, though the condition isn’t curable so it’s likely that it will grow back.” He proceeded to show me the pictures of my surgery and I saw what endo looked like – it was fascinating to see what had been causing me such unbearable pain. “So we’re going to start you on something called Zoladex and HRT and I’ll see you in clinic in 6 months.”

Zoladex was a weird one. I had a love/hate relationship with it. 

Zoladex is an injection that triggers a chemical menopause, so all the time i was going through chemical menopause I wasn’t menstruating therefore no periods = no flare ups (in theory)… BUT with this came all the menopause side effects; hot flushes, weight gain, acne etc., plus it was a tad embarrassing to be going through menopause at 16, I guess, but it helped… Massively. But, like all good things, it came to an end. The maximum amount of time that you can stay on Zoladex is 6 months, but I’ve had 3 rounds of 6 months sessions in total now.  

My periods are still extremely heavy and painful and my flare ups are now so painful I have to rely on oramorph and tramadol as well as seeing the chronic pain team for tender point injections. Though, when I have my monthlies I subscribed to a company called Pink Parcel who make my periods less stressful and I look forward to my period just for my box of goodies!

My battle with endo is ongoing, I was later diagnosed with PCOS which i’ll save for another post. I urge anyone with endo like symptoms to see their GP. Heavy and painful periods are NOT normal and you don’t have to suffer. 

On the 7th of July Sarah and I from mummykind will be doing a live Q&A session on Facebook, so if you have any questions on endo feel free to inbox us them or even comment them. I’ve made it my personal mission to raise awareness on Endometriosis, I’ve previously had a letter from David Cameron himself regarding the matter, I won’t rest until young girls are educated properly on women’s health!

Mental Health Monday: my BPD story

BPD: the world through my eyes

I guess it all started when I was 13 and my mum took me to the doctors, I remember sat feeling the most vulnerable I’ve ever felt in my life “ There’s something wrong with her, she has this insane temper…now I know they have mood swings at this age but this is something else” my mum said to the doctor, I couldn’t bare to look either of them in the eye, long and short of it is I was referred to the child and adolescent mental health team, who to be quite frank didn’t really do much just started me on fluoxetine and at the ripe age of 13 my journey with anti-depressants began.
At 15 the journey took an unexpected turn as I found myself on the phone to Samaritans as I had lost all hope and was prepared to hang myself that evening. I still remember that conversation word for word, and I’m eternally grateful for Samaritans. “ It’s just anxiety and depression, try not to worry lets try you on a different anti-depressant” the child and adolescent mental health team said, and the journey changed to citalopram and I was introduced to zopiclone- a strong sleeping tablet
I must have stayed on citalopram up until I was 19 because I was taken off it when I found out I was pregnant. Now it’s no secret that after I had my baby boy I suffered from postpartum psychosis, and shortly after I was referred to the community mental health team which brings us to now.
It’s extremely rare for me to find a psychiatrist who I can open to and be completely honest with. I poured my heart out to this doctor, You see, I’ve always had a fear of being abandoned and unwanted, it’s not that I crave attention it’s that like most people I crave the feeling of being loved but in the same breath I push people away because in my eyes it’s easier to push them away myself than let them close to me and than have them pull away from me.
Then next he asked about the self harm. Since I was 13 I have abused my body. I’ve picked at my skin, taken multiple overdoses as well as attempting to end my life off of a bridge, I told the doctor everything and he looked at me concerned and just returned to writing it all down.
“Would you say you have tendencies to be impulsive Amy?” he asked. Now this bit was almost a comical moment as I had a flash back to every reckless, impulsive thing I’ve done to date. I smirked almost with tears rolling down my face… “Well it’s been said… yeah,”  I chuckled. “ I just have these intense mood swings. I can go from feeling on top of the world, and like I actually have control of my life but the slightest thing can happen and I’ll crumble, I can’t cope with it and that mood will last anything from a few hours to a few days.” At this point I started sobbing uncontrollably.
You see, I never wanted to be like this. To be constantly paranoid and overthink every possible thing,  to read every text message over and over again until I’ve convinced myself that the person who sent it is annoyed at me…and god forbid someone doesn’t text me back within 3 hours because I will convince myself they don’t like me. The temper that comes with it is like a firecracker, I have such a short fuse and when I lose my temper I have no control over what I say and I will willingly cut ties without even thinking. The self doubt is there every day, every damn day I tell myself I can’t and won’t achieve things…it’s like a little niggling voice at the back of my head, almost like a little mouse nibbling away day by day.”So Amy, I think there is a bit more than depression here. From what you’ve told me and looking at your history I think you have something called BPD, formerly known as EUPD…have you heard of it?”…it was almost a relief to know everything I had been through was an underlying condition.

This post might seem a bit doom and gloom, but that is BPDin my eyes, It’s a constant challenge. I’m on a waiting list for counselling but like all NHS services, the mental health team are under strain. I was told BPD treatment is 50:50, 50% medication and 50% talking therapy. My new tablets have been the most helpful to date, and on the whole I have good control over my BPD. So to anyone newly diagnosed, know it gets better and know BPD does not define you.

Learn to love yourself

The title says it all really, all I have seen lately is people beating themselves up whether they are too thin, too fat, too tall…the list is endless, but when did it become okay for us to beat ourselves up this way? Essentially, we’re torturing ourselves whenever we look in the mirror.

You could say that since becoming a single mum I have been doing a bit of soul searching and a bit of self discovery and gradually I am coming to love the things I used to hate. You see I am a rather tall being 5ft 9 and a size 14 with a bit of a bum on me, and I always used to harshly criticise myself for this but lately I’ve learnt to love my curves and my height, after all they’re what make me, me. Besides, what kind of image am I setting for my son if all he ever hears and sees me doing is loathing myself?

I also have Excoriation Disorder which does mean my back, shoulders, chest and legs are covered in scars and skin blemishes which I still struggle to accept but i’m sure as time goes on i’ll come to accept them.

This might all seem a bit “Pie in the Sky”, especially for those battling with their own mental health, but I promise you, you are worth so much more than you think! Love what is quirky about you and what makes you stand out from others. In the space of a few months I’m wearing the type of things that once upon a time I never would of dreamed of wearing let alone leaving the house in it!

What I’m trying to say in all of this is: next time you’re stood in front of the mirror, just remember that for every flaw you find, there are possibly 5 qualities to counteract that flaw, and that flaw is what makes you, you! And one day your little girl or boy will come to you pointing out every flaw they can find with themselves and it’s our job as parents to help to show them a way to love themselves and be confident in life.

(Mental Health Monday): Maternal Mental Health awareness week…The night that changed my life

In light of the fact that this week is maternal mental health awareness week, I wanted to do a post about something a bit personal. I’ve previously blogged about how I had postpartum psychosis,  however I didn’t really talk about the thing that changed it all for me, and that was probably the lowest point of the journey for me but equally it was also the start of me getting help. This was the night I was sectioned after trying to take my own life.

It was the 12th of April 2017 and my little boy was 3 months old, I had already been diagnosed with postnatal depression at this point, but I could feel myself getting worse. After an argument at home I almost had an out of body experience, I don’t remember having control of my emotions and took myself on what I thought would be a walk to calm myself down, from then I guess I went into auto pilot…my phone was ringing but I kept ignoring it, after all…I knew my boy was safe at home with his dad and family. My mind was doing over-time making me feel useless – I had all these thoughts rushing through my head and I remember thinking “you’re just a burden on everyone at this point, people like you don’t deserve to be happy”. I snapped out of my auto pilot and found myself stood at a motorway overbridge, I got my phone out to call someone and it had died. I found myself sat on the edge drowning in my thoughts and at this point the adrenaline was starting to kick in. I was ready to go, then I felt from behind me a pull, and two random strangers driving past had got out and pulled me back, one man’s girlfriend had called the police who arrived shortly afterwards but I still remember trying to push them off me because I wanted to jump. The police arrived just as I was pushing the men off me, and used quite strong force to pull me back. At the time I couldn’t understand why they were shouting at me…but looking back, it was the only way they could get through to me.

“people like you don’t deserve to be happy”…
Actually, yes I do deserve happiness, and it took me a long time (and the shock of what I almost did) to realise that
I was placed in the back of the police car where the officers were comforting, they introduced themselves and asked what got me to this state but I couldn’t bring myself to talk. One of the officers rang the crisis team and got their input and shortly after that call I heard something that completely changed my life;
“Amy, it is the 12th of April 2017, the time is currently 20:30 and I am sectioning you under the Mental Health Act of 1983”.

I immediately let out a wail. I thought I would never see my boy again. They assured me all this means is that they would be taking me to a mental health hospital and a place of safety. They rang and asked for an ambulance escort but was told there was a long wait and was told providing I wasn’t going to harm myself there would be no need for an ambulance escort, and at this point I was exhausted so just nodded and said I wouldn’t attempt anything.

The journey there felt like the longest journey of my life, the officers tried to make small talk and shine light on the situation, but I felt numb… I was in no mood for small talk. The officer who wasn’t driving rang my mum and told her what had happened and I felt like I had let my entire family down.
When I arrived at the hospital I was greeted by a team of people, who discussed my situation and said they all just wanted to help. After discussing everything with them, they said I could go home providing I spent a few hours there. For the next 2 weeks I had daily visits from the crisis team, I was heavily sedated for a fortnight for my own wellbeing and, gradually, from then, I have overcome so much with my mental health. I later went on to be diagnosed with BPD/EUPD.  I used to be embarrassed about the night I was sectioned, but now I am open about my experience and not at all ashamed. So, if me blogging about this gives some people knowledge, if it gives some people an insight and helps to end this stigma that we currently have on mental health then that’s even better.
Finally, to the two men who stopped what they were doing that evening and saved my life I am eternally grateful, and I can only apologise for what you witnessed that night.

Being a chronically ill parent

So it’s no secret that at 16 years of age I was diagnosed with endometriosis and a year later I was diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). Now I’ve always been very open in discussing my health as I always try to raise awareness of Endometriosis.

Before I go any further I should probably give a brief outline as to what endometriosis is, this being said I’ve decided to  include Endometriosis UK’s take on endo.

Endometriosis (pronounced en- doh – mee – tree – oh – sis) is the name given to the condition where cells like the ones in the lining of the womb (uterus) are found elsewhere in the body.
Each month these cells react in the same way to those in the womb, building up and then breaking down and bleeding. Unlike the cells in the womb that leave the body as a period, this blood has no way to escape.
It is a chronic and debilitating condition that causes painful or heavy periods. It may also lead to infertility, fatigue and bowel and bladder problems. Around 1.5 million women in the UK are currently living with the condition. Endometriosis can affect all women and girls of a childbearing age, regardless of race or ethnicity” For more information, please feel free to click the link above which takes you to Endometriosis Uk’s page.
Endometriosishas always had a hold on my life, with frequent hospital trips and stays, but I never once stopped to think how it would affect me being a parent, after all I never thought I would have a child of my own naturally, and it was always something that played on my mind.
My pregnancy with Oliver was far from easy as I’ve mentioned in other posts, but I still had countless doctors say to me, “there is a myth that pregnancy can cure endometriosis”, which gave me hope, except it was just that…a myth. Oliver was about 3 months old when I had my first severe flare up following his birth and I remember sitting in an arm chair with one paramedic tending to me, and the other entertaining Oliver. “Your little boy is fine Amy, don’t worry. Focus on yourself and take deep breaths”. I was doubled over in pain crying, and I had Entonox (gas and air). I was admitted to hospital and spent my first few nights without my son, except not for positive reasons. My mother-in-law at the time was supportive, helped take care of Oliver and even brought him up to see me. I remember laying in my hospital bed thinking, “I have no idea how I’m going to make this work”, as Oliver cuddled up to me in bed playing with my IV lines.
A year on and this blog post today is brought to you by me sat at home after being sent home from work due to a flare up. I can’t begin to describe a flare up…it’s one of those – if you know, then you know – sort of things. When having a flare up, my body is left drained. I’m left feeling sore, empty, nauseous, tired and in horrible pain. I could sleep 12 hours straight with a flare up and still wake up feeling like I’ve barely slept, and with a 1 year old thrown into the mix, the challenges are insane, Though I am very fortunate in the sense that Oliver is a really good boy and will happily cuddle up with me and watch Disney films, as well as having incredible family members and amazing friends who always offer to help. So here are some top tips for being chronically Ill and a mother.
1)      Take your time, try not to rush around as this will stress you and baby out…resulting in the flare up getting worse ( we all know stress is the biggest cause of feeling unwell or run down)
2)      Don’t be ashamed to ask for help, being a mother is challenging enough let alone with a chronic illness.
3)      Find a good support group. I’m part of a few support groups for my health and always find it comforting knowing there are people going through similar situations and they can sometimes give suggestions to what things work for them.
I think the thing I struggle with is stepping back and admitting some days that I’m not well and that I need help. I have oramorph (liquid morphine), Morphine patches, Tramadol and diazepam prescribed for my flare ups, however I really don’t like taking it when Oliver is with me, because the minute I take it, I need someone to help me with Oliver.
Although being a chronically ill parent is far from ideal, it just makes me that little bit stronger, a little more determined and ultimately more accomplished. I won’t ever let my illnesses affect my parenting skills, though when I’m older I do 100% expect Oliver to let me live with him where he can cook me breakfast everyday and drive me everywhere when I don’t feel well.
So to all you chronically ill mums out there, keep doing what you’re doing. Keep pushing forward because you’ve got this, your health does not and will not define who you are as a parent.