Things that new Mummies and Mummies to be are sick of hearing…

It might not be the same for all women, but you can pretty much guarantee that the second that you announce your pregnancy, comments will start to roll in. Quite often, positive and supportive comments, slowly start to roll into slightly more rude and patronising ‘advice’. I truly believe that most people offering this advice, mean well. However, I am a firm believer that- unless you are asked to give advice OR a baby appears to be at risk due to a new Mother’s uncertainty (even then, there are ways to go about this nicely!) then you shouldn’t feel compelled to launch comments and advice from your mouth, so sternly that it wounds. In fact, really you don’t need to mention anything at all.
Listed below are the comments that have got to me the most, in my nearly year and a half of being both pregnant and being a first time mummy.
“You can’t expect him (the baby’s father) to take an interest in the baby straight away. When the baby starts doing more, he’ll find the baby more interesting and become more involved!”
Okay! SO a man can partake in making a baby, he can do the dirty, the dance with no pants. BUT doesn’t have to commit any responsibility until ‘the baby becomes interesting’? If everybody had this outlook, babies would be solely raised by robots up until the age of around 4/5 months. Important bonds are formed within the first few weeks of a babies life, and although they won’t remember if someone doesn’t play an active role in their life during this time. The people who worked so hard to keep the baby happy and ensured that they were set to flourish, WILL remember.
AND it WILL hurt their feelings.
“Was it planned?”
IT?! IT?!  Regardless if a baby is planned or not, a child should not and cannot be branded as an ‘accident’ or mistake. If a woman has made it clear that she is happy with her pregnancy, referring to her unborn child as “it” is endlessly rude, disrespectful and hurtful.  Due to many issues, including but not limited to; Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, a right ovary that is believed to not be functioning properly, a cyst in my uterus, taking the contraceptive pill for hormonal control and the intended use. Topped of a with a very large bleed- Conceiving Florence was nothing short of a miracle for my Partner and our families.
This question is rude, hurtful and honestly? The answer is none of your business.
“Better get used to having no sleep!”
Nothing like new parents being filled with fear before the baby has even arrived. I have found this to be a total myth when it comes to my Baby’s sleeping habits, although I think that I am pretty lucky! Florence has slept through the night on and off, from exactly 1 Month Old and takes frequent naps… So no, I haven’t had to adjust to having no sleep YET.
Thank you for your concern.
“You’re not married? What a shame! I thought you were a good girl!”
Helllllllloooo! We are in the 21st Century where, lots of marriages last as long as a clean nappy. You don’t have to be married to have a baby. You don’t have to have a baby if you don not want one. You can use contraception can prevent pregnancy (well its supposed to, but there is enough stories on the baby group to suggest otherwise). You can have a baby if you’re a same sex couple. If a woman decides to keep a baby that was conceived after a one night stand and raise the baby herself? Good on her- A Happy mummy = A happy baby, and really, that is all that matters. We live in an age where families aren’t always ‘conventional’ and I think that it is beautiful. I’m no less of a person for having my daughter when I had her. Married or not.
Your views are outdated, please get with the times.
“Nappies are so gross! Hope you don’t mind yucky things!”
Nappies can be gross. butttttt… so is your sick after drinking too much and your own poop, for that matter. Worse stuff  has happened. I’m just going to leave this one here. It is so childish and so ridiculous.
You too sat in your own wee and poo. So you really have NO room to comment.
“Your body will never be the same again!”
It might bounce back, but it might not. Most women end up with stretch marks whilst pregnant, but some lucky ladies do not. I personally resemble an albino tiger- Pale. pasty and covered in stripes (haha) but you know what? My body is quite literally a temple of life. As shitty as it may be and even if I do hate it sometimes… My womb made a human life. I grew a beautiful, healthy and strong baby girl. I almost died getting her here, but I did it!
Now that, is pretty badass.
“Well, back in my day…”
Or
“Well, I didn’t do *that* and my baby turned out fine.”
I don’t know, I would like my child to turn out a little better than just ‘fine’? Yes, we get it. You weaned your babies at 3/4 months. Some smoked and consumed alcohol whilst pregnant because you had no idea of the risks, no one did! You didn’t have a massive list of foods to avoid whilst pregnant. Amongst many, many other fairly substantial changes, that have been based on research over a very vast time period. Times have changed and even if babies haven’t- Guidelines to keep them safe and healthy has changed too. No, we don’t need your opinions or comments on breastfeeding or formula. Dummy or no dummy. We’ll give you a shout if you need help though! 
Lets face it, we only want the best for our babies- regardless of if they are 23 days, weeks or years old.
Giving birth was a breeze for me, I cannot see what all of the fuss is about?”
Or
“Yes, I know about your experience, but mine was awful.”
Labour was easy for you? Fab! You go girl! Tell me about your experience! Labour was awful for you? Lets talk about it. I can understand your pain. Just because you had a baby and had no issues with labour, it doesn’t mean that everyone has had the same experience. Women need to be kinder to eachother and support one another with this massive life shifting change. Not turn it into some kind of competition between who had it the worst and who had it the easiest.
We’ve all achieved the same incredible result, so where is the love?
“There goes your social life! Wave goodbye to freedom, nights out and time to yourself!”
Haha. I will keep this short, but sweet. I didn’t have much of a social life before my baby. So I can say with confidence, that not much has changed. In fact with baby dates, I’m probably socialising more than ever.
“Everyone from school is having babies and I am over here, planning my next holiday.”
It’s great that you have a desire to travel the world. But, having a baby doesn’t stop you from traveling the world or doing anything else that you want to do. I am very lucky to have gone on numerous holidays a year, to a variety of places when I was growing up. I’ve been 1/5 of the American states and visited several different contries. In no way, do I feel that my baby has restricted my life or the way I wish to live. She has enriched my life tremendously and I couldn’t have welcomed her into my life at a better time.
“I hope that you’re planning on waiting before you have your next baby! You need time to enjoy this one!”
I don’t plan on having another baby right away, as having Florence was quite nearly the death of me. But, if I wanted to have another child so that my children would be close in age, then I would. Your opinions have no weight on how I decide to live my life. Or how anyone else should live theirs, for that matter. If you spent too much time planning for the correct time and suitable age gaps- you’d probably never have a baby, let alone multiple babies. If a women wants to have a baby straight after having two sets of twins… Her body may not like her for it- but that is up to her! Not you! 
You can stop it right now, with your “you two have been busy!” Crap. 
“How do your parents feel about you having a baby? Are they excited?”
My parents have always been incredibly supportive. This hasn’t changed since them knowing that I was pregnant or since having my baby. You know what? I was so ill before being pregnant with Florence, that my parents thought something was seriously wrong. So a baby was almost a relief to them. However, if they weren’t supportive- it wouldn’t change my wanting to keep and care for my baby. I think I speak for most Mums when I say that. You don’t need supportive parents to be a good parent. Ultimately, it matters to some people, to a degree as to what their parents think- but to some it means nothing. 
Having a baby doesn’t have to have anything to do with your parents. Although having amazing Grandparents is lovely for your children.
Oh, and the incessant and constant sharing of pictures showing horrific nappy spillages on to our Facebook walls, with a comment saying “Good luck, lol” needs to STOP. If you haven’t got anything nice or useful to say, don’t say it at all. 
I hope you enjoy reading these and feel a little less alone, in your constant battle against the views and voices of the world around you.

You’re doing a great job. 

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Daddykind Corner: Being a Dad with PTSD

After we did a trial run of the Daddykind Corner with my lovely husband putting up with me interviewing him for the sake of the blog and for all of Daddykind, we present to you….

VOLUME 2!

I am very pleased to introduce our good friend Darren, who has had his fair share of mental illness and has some good techniques and tips for bringing your children up aware of mental health and how to take care of it.

Darren uses his own experience to coach other men through mental health problems and other mental blocks, so he’s pretty qualified to share his thoughts on how you can move on from mental illness and be the best parent you can be.

I’m so thrilled to feature this post from Darren because we all know how dire mental health provision is and how badly it affects men in particular. Please if any mums or dads are reading this and think they need help, contact your GP, the Samaritans or your local out of hours team if you feel you are in crisis.

Tell us a bit about yourself…

Yes, of course. My name is Darren, I am friends with Sarah through her husband, Jamie. I served in the military with Jamie for 15 years and was posted overseas on many operations.
I am a father to two beautiful children aged 4 and 2, a boy and girl and separated from their mother whom I still have a fantastic relationship with….for the most part lol…
I was born and raised in the East End of London and I currently coach other men on mastering their emotions.

If you had to describe being a father in one word, what would it be and why?

If I had to choose 1 word it’d be “uncertainty” because I find I’m alway asking myself if I’m doing the right thing for them… whether that be by way of teaching and helping shape their little minds or disciplining them and training them to be good, honest, hardworking people. All that with making sure that they truly love themselves and KNOW from their core that they are worthy to achieve anything they want in life… No one said this parenting game is easy, aye?

How was your mental health after becoming a father?

I thought my mental health was fine… I was they happiest man in the world after my little girl, Evie was born…. However my wife at the time was suffering with and subsequently diagnosed with PND, which wasn’t easy at all, as I couldn’t understand why she was so unhappy all the time.

Were things different the second time around?

Oh massively… I’ll be honest and say that I never wanted a second child because I was so in love with my little girl that I couldn’t fathom having to share my love with another baby and I didn’t think it would be fair… I honestly didn’t think that I was capable of loving Mathew in the same way as Evie and subsequently it took me about 3 months to truly bond with him. Looking back it make me sad because I saw him as a burden. But now I understand that you don’t have to love them in the same way as your first and my heart literally melts every time I see him now.

Did you feel prepared for fatherhood and what could have helped you to be more prepared?

You can read all the books in the world, go to all the classes but I don’t think that anything will ever really prepare you for fatherhood. I think that as a dad having a positive male role model in your life can definitely put you in good stead to being a dad, and I never had this, which is why I do my absolute best to be the best man I can be for them because I know the importance of having both parents that want their babies to have the best start in life.

When were you diagnosed with PTSD and BPD?

I was diagnosed with PTSD from m

y military service in 2017 and subsequently discharged as a result and after using the techniques and procedures to keep on top of it I still knew that something was up with me and since have been diagnosed with BPD earlier this year after a friend opened up about her struggles it was like shinning a light on what I was going through.
Whilst growing up, I was a bit of a wild child to say the least and was in and out of care, excluded from school, engaged in dangerous or outright illicit activities at times and had a tough upbringing in East London, so I’ve always known that I’ve struggled with my emotions… something that I’ve got a grip of nowadays (for the most part). But as I grow, evolve and become more self aware over time it’s got to the point where I can’t ignore my problems and my advice to any other men reading this is: do not bury your head in the sand, just be honest with yourself… if you need help then go and seek it because drinking, fighting, drugs, being promiscuous etc etc will only lead to further problems and is just masking the true underlying issues.

What techniques do you use to manage your mental health?

There are many that you can use but finding what works for you is paramount. As a man, one of the biggest things that has helped me has been simply talking to a professional within the specific mental health niche. Because I bottled it up for so long there is only a certain amount you can take before something has to give. 
As I said, knowing yourself is also key… knowing what your triggers are and how they make you feel is also very important so you can counteract them…eg: being a massive introvert (most wouldn’t believe it lol) if I can feel myself slipping back into a rough patch…spending time alone in nature, on my motorbike, by the water really helps me to connect with myself again… it also helps to have a purpose and a goal in life and something to work on that requires discipline and focus. I find that whatever I focus on tends to expand so it’s about knowing how and where to shift your focus.

How has your understanding of your own mental health impacted on being a parent?

It most certainly has made be more aware and I listen more to my children… I’ll be honest I used to “Parent” my children and just try to get through the day making sure they are fed, watered and entertained. I now realise that it’s also key to flood their subconscious with positive affirming messages so that they love themselves. I just want them to be truly happy and not have to have a childhood they have to recover from. 

Who knows if I’m doing it right? One can only hope and time will tell.

Do you think it’s important to raise your children to understand mental illness and how would you do that?

I do think it’s super important that they know about mental health and more importantly that they take control of their own. I would certainly say that trying to go through life without any regrets is something I like to teach my kids… Whether that’s by always trying their hardest at something that they want to do and working hard for their goals or by simply being a good person and trying to never hurt the people around them or in any way compromise their integrity. 

Also, by always being true to themselves and NEVER letting the opinions of others define who they are…. I’ve always said that there is a date you were born and a date you die and that line in-between represents your life. 

So, I encourage them to think freely and live with passion and purpose.

———-

Thank you, Darren!

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