Deployment Makes a Mummy’s Girl – Sarah’s Feature in Army and You Magazine

Having previously been featured in Army and You magazine with a short interview on how I managed to study for my dream career alongside being an army spouse, I was contacted again to write a Blog Spot piece.

Never did I think that I would be given the title Best Blog, and I am so thrilled for my personal blog, Someone Calls Me Mummy! Thank you for recognising my little blog!

You can see the post I wrote about my bond with Olivia during Jamie’s deployment below, along with a piece from The Military Husband.

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Deployment Makes A Mummy’s Girl…

Before Jamie left for Afghanistan, Olivia was a huge daddy’s girl. I mean, to the point that I was seriously dreading him leaving! Of course, the situation wasn’t ideal – I was studying my Bar Professional Training Course in London, working part-time, and not driving. Looking after Olivia was just another part of my hectic life that I had to arrange on my own while he was away.
 
She turned 2 the month after he deployed, and, luckily, I managed to skip out on the whole terrible twos phase (THANK THE HEAVENS). Okay, okay, I didn’t skip it out altogether – it just hit when she was about 14 months old and only actually resolved itself when Daddy went away.
 
Like I said, before he left, she was a massive Daddy’s girl. I simply wasn’t good enough, and I felt like I wasn’t good enough. Every new mum feels that way sometimes, but I was convinced she hated me. She did that classic thing where she would be angelic for her Daddy but really misbehave for me. She used to be so clingy for him, and all of a sudden he wasn’t there anymore.
 
When your kids are so young, there’s really no way of preparing them for one of their parents leaving. I couldn’t tell her in advance, and he left late at night so he didn’t get to say goodbye. We simply told Olivia that Daddy was going to work, which was true. That then evolved into laughing that Daddy was on holiday (which may as well have been true, given the 24 hour gym and the cinema room on his camp!) and her simply being stuck with me for the next 7 months.
 
It was rough at first, she asked for him all of the time, again and again, and it was awful having to tell her that he wasn’t here. We were quite fortunate that Jamie had wifi access whenever he was in his room on camp (American camps eh? Super fancy!) and video calling him became part of our routine. She was definitely more accepting of that and stopped asking for him so often. At the same time, she became a hell of a lot more clingy with me.
 
Our morning drop offs at the Childminder became that much more difficult because she just did not want to leave me! That phase of the horrible crying fits at her door lasted for a few months, and eventually Olivia got used to the fact that she just had me around. Maybe she got a little too used to it, though! Now, she’s flipped and is all for mummy, all the time. I can barely go to the loo by myself, because she wants to be with me. 
Deployment changes lots of things, and, yeah, you get used to how it is after a while, but I for one never expected it to change the way our little girl was with us. She still adores her daddy, but it took some work getting her to be okay with him when he first came back, and even now, she’s a mummy’s girl at heart. After all of the trials and tribulations, it really did bring us closer.

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Mental Health Monday: Anxiety about having more children after PND

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When I was a 14 year old, my dream for my family life was to have twin girls (Lily and Olivia) and then a boy (Henry). I don’t think i need to go into the whys and wherefores about how that changed, but it certainly did.

Following the birth of Olivia, I suffered with Postnatal Depression for the majority of her first year. Having also had antenatal depression and just not being in the best mental state generally, I sort of knew that I would suffer with PND, though I didn’t expect it to be as bad as it was or to last as long as it did. Whenever I think back to her being a baby, it makes me sad. I didn’t enjoy her being a little baby because I was under so much mental stress at the time. Of course, I can think back to happy times as well as times when I was in the middle of a breakdown, but on the whole, reflecting on her baby stage just makes me feel angry at myself, and terrified it will happen again.

Like I said, I no longer want twin girls and a boy (and my plan for having the twins first has gone to pot anyway), but I have written previously on the blog about why I don’t want any more children now and why I never want to be pregnant again. The PND plays a huge part in that.

I carry so much anxiety with me from my experience of having Olivia that things would be the same again. I honestly could not face that same depression again. It was quite crippling in many ways, and 2 years after Olivia was born I am still dealing with the aftermath and the guilt.


There’s a great twitter chat hosted by Rosey at PND & Me which has covered this topic before, and I liked reading the comments of people joining in and their very mixed experiences…

Some had PND only with the 1st child, some with both, some only with the 2nd or subsequent. I suppose, the point is, that everyone will have different experiences and every pregnancy will be different.

But we knew that already! So…

What are the actual statistics?

  • PND affects more than 10-15% of women within a year of giving birth (that’s about 35,000 women!)
  • Up to 1 in 10 fathers also suffer from postnatal depression following the birth of a baby
  • 33% of mothers who experienced depression in pregnancy then suffered with PND
  • A history of depression makes it more likely that you will suffer postpartum depression
  • Mums who have had postnatal depression with one child are more likely to suffer again with subsequent children

I’d like to think that I’m not the only mum who worries that this would happen again, after all, there are so many of us who have suffered with it once, twice or however many times.

My husband and I often look at each other when Olivia does something unbelievably cute, suggesting another one, but he knows that I don’t want anymore and I feel guilty for that too. But at those times when we think “aww, look how cute our baby girl is,” I do wish I could bring myself to have another child. I wish I could do it knowing that I would be able to enjoy the baby stage like I couldn’t with Olivia, but there are no guarantees, and really, I don’t think I’m cut out for doing it all again.

In my moments of weakness (as I call them) when I think I want another baby, I feel so conflicted because as much as I would love to have another child, I can’t face feeling like I did during my pregnancy and feeling all of the guilt afterwards of not being able to bond with the baby and feeling like I’m simply inadequate!

I know that things are really quite different now – I have none of the external drama going on that I did during my pregnancy with Olivia, so maybe because my life is more stable now, my mind would be too. If I do end up having another one I’ll be sure to let you know 😉 but, for now, Olivia is more than enough, and I am enjoying being her mummy. I can’t go back to what I was when she first arrived, so I’ll carry on being the best mummy I can be to her and we’ll just see what fate has in store for us.

Have you survived PND and gone on to have more children? How were things a second time around?

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How soon can I get my children involved in clubs and hobbies?

I could not wait to sign Olivia up to all kinds of clubs and lessons!

This weekend, she went to her first one – a local tots and mums dance club and she absolutely loved it. She is 2.

The club is aimed at children under the age of 2 and a half, and involves loads of props including sparkly fairy wands (anything sparkly is a win for Olivia), flags, pom poms, bean bags, a big colourful parachute, and teddy bears.

I’ve been looking at so many things that I want her to do. A little while ago at a fun day organised by our Grenadier Guards Welfare, she had the chance to ride a donkey. Her face was an absolute picture. I was excited because she was so excited. After that, I started looking at horse riding lessons for her. I did find one place close by that would take children aged 2 and up, but it was too far away for me before I was driving!

Once she hits 3, there are so many more things that she’ll be able to do! Horseriding is a must – she has a real affinity with animals and I wish I could properly convey how much she loved riding the donkey.

I’d also like to get her playing a musical instrument. For her birthday I bought her a toy grand piano (it is so cute and probably the only grand piano I will ever own). It has a little microphone with it which Olivia loves signing into, and so I think that the piano will be the best instrument to start off with.

I’m not sure on when is the best age to start a musical instrument, and it largely depends on the instrument itself. My stepdaughter asked us to find her a saxophone teacher – don’t ask me why! I have no idea why she wanted to learn the saxophone, however being only 8 years old I had a lot of difficulty finding someone who would teach her to play. Larger instruments that need to be held will mean that children have to be older to start to play. Some advice I was given was that they have lessons in smaller instruments of the same family first, e.g. the recorder or the flute!

I don’t know if Olivia will continue to enjoy playing the piano when she starts lessons, and I don’t really know when she can start! I’ve heard of 3 year olds having piano lessons but in a way I feel like that’s maybe too soon for formal lessons… Maybe I’ll review that when she gets to 3!

The last thing I want to get her into is boxing! Again, she can’t really do this yet, however she goes on a Monday evening with the childminder while her son does boxing classes and they’re great about letting the little ones run around and join in. Because she’s already familiar with the environment there, that’s something I really want to get her into! Not least because she loves giving me “high-fives” whilst wearing Daddy’s boxing gloves! Plus, I want to do it myself and I love the idea of boxing being a whole family activity. Kiera went to boxing a couple of times a week until recently and I know she absolutely loved it, and it’s possibly the best kind of fitness for anyone, adult or child!

Maybe I’m already exhibiting “pushy parent” behaviours, but you can make your own mind up about that! I don’t want to force her to do all of these things, but I’m just so excited to get Olivia involved in these things because not only will she enjoy them, but they’ll be hobbies for life and they’ll stand her in such good stead in the future. She’s already showing signs of being a performer and I want to nurture that, as well as her love of horses and how energetic she is!

These are all just ideas for now, and I’m enjoying the bonding time that we have on a Saturday morning doing our dancing club.

Have you taken your tot to any clubs or activities? How old were your children when they had their first music lessons?

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5 reasons why we should all be walking with our kids!




https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsOne of my favourite things about my day, every day, is my morning walk with my daughter to drop her off with the childminder. She’s not even 2 yet, and this morning walk is already a part of our everyday routine… Why? Well, for starters, I can’t drive, and secondly, even if I could, it brings me so much joy walking with her. Of course, there are the odd stressful moments of characteristic toddler defiance, but more often than not we are both enjoying ourselves!

So here is a little list of reasons why, in my opinion, we should all be walking with our kids as much as possible – whether that’s walking them to school or to the local park, and no matter how old they are, the benefits are just incredible!

1. Children adore the world around them

Olivia is full of awe at everything – she’s at that age where she is curious about everything that she sees, and where she is beginning to ask me questions such as “What’s that?”

Walking outdoors with her gives her so much more exposure to things that she is naturally curious about! The last two days when we’ve walked through town it’s been a constant interrogation of her asking me what things are, but she’s learning, and she’s having fun doing it!

2. Children have sooooo much energy!


Seriously, Olivia runs faster than me. But again, the whole idea of her being outside makes her WANT to burn off that excitement and energy. What better way to start her childhood than doing exercise and enjoying it? God knows that probably won’t last if you stop encouraging your kids to go outside!

3. Dirt isn’t dirty


Bit contradictory this one, but being outside in the mud on a rainy day is ridiculously good for our kids. It builds their immune systems up immensely, allowing their bodies to fight off bad bacteria on its own. And you know what? WHO CARES if they get dirty? What are baths for? 

Olivia always comes back from her childminder caked in something, and it’s a sign that she’s had fun! You can always find her in the garden playing, and as much as I will be regretting putting her in a white cardigan/top while she’s rolling around in the grass, that’s more fool me, and to her, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, so why tell her that she shouldn’t be “getting dirty”?

4. You’ll benefit too

Walking is a form of exercise, and particularly if you go on a nice, ample nature walk with the kids, you’re going to burn a lot of calories! But even putting the physical benefits aside, you’re going to benefit mentally. Getting fresh air and exercise releases endorphins, and, of course, you will love the bonding experience of walking with your children, creating memories with them that will last forever.

5. You just might get a bit more of a childhood out of your little one


Too often now parents are quick to stick the kids in front of the TV for 5 minutes of peace… Trust me, if mine would sit still long enough I’d do it too! Screen time is normal for kids now, but to me it feels like it’s one thing that stops them from being children. Playing outdoors is such a normal part of childhood, and I would hate for that to end too soon for Olivia. Making a nice walk (or run, in her case as she runs everywhere!) part of a daily routine will hopefully give children that extra push to love being outdoors in spite of the attraction of the xbox or PS4. Then, in years to come, your kids will be instilling the same childhood loves in their kids, and so on! 


Times and technology may have changed, but the way we help our children to enjoy their incredibly short childhoods doesn’t have to!

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Mental Health Monday: PND and bonding

Having trouble bonding with your newborn isn’t something limited to those experiencing PND – it actually happens to most mums after giving birth, and is a common part of the “baby blues”. There’s an expectation that everything will be wonderful and magical, but in actual fact your body has gone through an immensely traumatic experience, and for the next 2 or 3 months you will be sleep deprived beyond belief. It’s no wonder that sometimes the bonding isn’t automatic, or just takes a little longer.

Immediately after I gave birth to my daughter she was placed on my tummy for skin-to-skin, recommended to keep baby warm and to benefit baby straight after leaving the security of the womb. She stayed there for all of 10 seconds before I had to ask someone to move her. I had been throwing up throughout labour and was still being sick into a paper bowl, shaking too much to hold her properly.
After that I didn’t hold her very much, except when she was being fed. I didn’t know what I was doing with her. It was the single most daunting experience of my life that first day in the hospital – a midwife huffily “helped” to latch her on to me, told me I was doing things wrong and fixed them for me, not advising me but just doing it for me because I seemed so incapable. Even nappy-changing was a struggle, and with 4 younger siblings that was something I’d done my fair share of in the past.
Around 2 or 3 weeks after she was born, my mother-in-law got back from her holiday to New York so we went to visit, driving from Kent to Essex. The drive wasn’t so bad, but when we got there, it was impossible to settle her to sleep. She just screamed, for hours, and I didn’t know what to do.
My husband and I drove around Corringham with her, hoping that the motion of the car would settle her, but, if anything, it made her worse. Usually, that would have done the trick. We started to suspect it was colic, something I’d never heard of, and, of course, that made me feel even more unprepared and inadequate to be a parent.
Don’t worry – this story gets better, I promise. That night I received the best advice I’ve ever been given, though I didn’t use it straight away. My mother-in-law asked if I’d tried singing to her, took Olivia, rocked her and sung a song her mum used to sing.
Poof!
Just like that, the screaming, crying baby was gone. She was asleep, and peaceful.

At first, I didn’t think it had anything to do with the singing. I thought my baby had had enough of me already in the first month of her life.
The next night, the outbursts started again, so I tried it, not holding out much hope that it would work.
But it did.
And not only that, but I cried tears of joy for the first time since she had been born. Partly due to the fact that I’d found something that would allow me some sleep for the foreseeable future, but mostly because for the first time I felt needed for something more than just milk. I felt like my baby loved me because she felt safe and secure enough in my arms for me to soothe her to sleep with a song.
I forgot that she had spent 9 months listening to me singing and talking from inside the womb. I forgot that she was already so familiar and comfortable with my voice that she would recognise it now that she was on the outside. I didn’t know that, at the same time as calming her, it would calm me, too.
So, if you’re one for singing in the shower, your baby has heard it and fallen in love with it already. Try it. Even if you’re not one for singing at all! Try singing to your baby and see if it has the same effect. You don’t have to be Mariah Carey or Beyonce… You just have to be you.
Your baby knows you and your voice better than anyone else in the world.

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Thinking about you…

Harriet’s thoughts on motherhood…

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THINKING ABOUT YOU

The following words are a cliché, but I promise they’re all true…

I never really knew who I was, or what I wanted to be until the day I held you.

At first, just your existence made me feel complete as you thrived from within my tummy.

But since you’ve been born, I love you more every day. Nothing beats being your Mummy.

I don’t think that I’d ever be able to fully describe the adoration that I have for you.

But my sweet girl, I hope I’ll be able to prove it, in all of the things I do.

Knowing that I managed to make something, so unbelievably perfect fills me with pride.

I know that being a mummy can be daunting, almost scary at times- but I’m loving my little tour guide.

Showing you off to the world makes me so proud, you’re so beautiful, so intricate, so clever and so chatty.
I don’t know what I did to deserve such an incredible princess, but I’ve never been so happy.
Your toothy grin and your little laugh- everything you do, I completely adore, no matter how strange.

Everything I do, I do for you. Baby girl, that’ll never change.

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10 Amazing Benefits of Babywearing

I thought I would be a good time to talk about the amazing benefits I’ve experienced as a babywearing parent. If you like the sound of any of this then you need to get yourself to your nearest sling library and take a look at the options available. Please ALWAYS make sure you follow the T.I.C.K.S guidelines shown at the bottom of the post. 

As International Babywearing Week draws to a close I thought I would be a good time to talk about the amazing benefits I’ve experienced as a babywearing parent. If you like the sound of any of this then you need to get yourself to your nearest sling library and take a look at the options available. Please ALWAYS make sure you follow the T.I.C.K.S guidelines shown at the bottom of the post. 

 

 

1. Settle that fussy baba

Week 1 of my son’s life was spent in hospital. Week 2 was a hellish nightmare of constant screaming. Week 3 my babywearing journey began after a friend leant me her Close Caboo sling and I was able to settle my little guy and keep hold of him without getting dead arms.  Newborns need a huge amount of closeness; they aren’t designed to go long without human contact so popping them into a sling is a great way of keeping them close and content. I’d highly recommend a stretchy wrap for a newborn because it’s soft, warm and ergonomic for their scrunched up little bodies.

2. Hands-free cuddles 

Once your baby has settled you can do crazy things like attend to basic human functions or even stretch to a bit of housework. For several weeks the only way I could feed myself, use the loo or do any washing up was by having little man in the sling. 

3. No more pram-induced invisibility 

There is a crazy phenomena that turns parents and their children invisible as soon as they touch a pushchair or pram. People just do not see you (I can’t be the only one who has experienced this?). The number of people who walk into me or straight towards my son’s pushchair is insane, I’m literally taking up twice the amount of space that other people take up, why can’t you see me? With a sling you can dodge in and out of crowds pretty well without people constantly sideswiping your pushchair. It’s really convenient in busy places.
 

4. Go off road!

Go for a walk in the woods. Climb steps. Paddle at the beach. The possibilities are endless because you can go anywhere your feet will take you without lugging a massive bit of kit around, just a little baby wrapped close to your body. Perfect. 

5. Sleepydust 

‘Sleepydust’ is a word that gets batted around the babywearing community a lot. It’s the magic that a sling has that just makes your kiddo fall asleep quickly and peacefully. Most slings have it and any child who is remotely tired will just conk out once they’re up. 
 

6. Get snuggly 

Babywearing is warm and comfy and most importantly it is an excellent way of bonding with your little one. That level of closeness helps keep you in tune with each other and is a great mood booster because cuddles = oxytocin.

7. No strollers allowed…

It’s not often this happens but there are some places that don’t let you take pushchairs or prams in with you. One place my family loves to visit is Sissinghurst Castle and Gardens (if you’re ever in Kent during the warmer months you have to go there!). They don’t let pushchairs in for conservation reasons and although they provide carriers at the ticket
office they are not the most ergonomic and the ones for toddlers are framed and bulky. Having our own soft structured carrier there makes our trips so much easier. 

 8. Work it mama!

Okay, we need to talk about the obvious benefit of carrying around the extra weight of a baby… think of all those calories burnt! If you’re looking to get a little leaner then this will help you along the way and if not just think about all the chocolate cake you can eat after a day out wearing your baby.

9. Sneaky bit of boob

If you’re breastfeeding then with a sling you can feed easily on the go and if you’re worried about discretion then you’ll love this – no one can see a thing! It’s great, I lost count of the number of times I’ve browsed shops with baby happily attached to the boob.

Please note, this is not a safe carrying position, I was just about to feed him.

10. Community Spirit

Something I was not expecting when I got my first sling was the amazing community that comes along with it – much like the cloth nappy community – the sling community is friendly, supportive and a great source of knowledge and experience. Join a Facebook group and get chatting to some likeminded parents.


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5 Books to Read With Your Kids Before They Start School

My son is now a bit older and he has started  taking some level of interest in books, particularly those with a solid rhyme scheme and a lot of repetition. I’m no expert but I think the anticipation of me repeating a line or phrase that he knows is really exciting and he often squeals with delight when he knows what the next line is.

I’ll be the first to hold my hands up and say I haven’t read to my son as often as I should have. He’s all about playing and having fun and rarely wants to listen to stories. When I was pregnant I said I would read to him every day from the day he was born but I was hideously unprepared for how much other important stuff would need doing.

My son is now a bit older and he has started  taking some level of interest in books, particularly those with a solid rhyme scheme and a lot of repetition. I’m no expert but I think the anticipation of me repeating a line or phrase that he knows is really exciting and he often squeals with delight when he knows what the next line is.

Of course, chosing just five was no easy task because there are so many truly brilliant books for kids out there and the list does keep growing. I have included books that we keep coming back to, books that he brings to us to be read and a firm favourite from my own childhood.

1. How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? By Jane Yolen and Mark Teague

This is part of a series of books and we love them all but this was the first one we got and we found it dishes out just the right amount of excitement to keep our little guy interested and giggling before it winds right down to a beautiful “…goodnight, goodnight little dinosaur” at the end. As he gets older I hope he also starts to take lessons from these books, which are not so subtly filled with behavioural advice for ‘little dinosaurs’.

Weston Woods Studios Incorporated, 2004

2. Someone Bigger By Jonathan Emmett and Adrian Reynolds

A slightly more recent discovery on our part but it has quickly become one of our son’s favourite books, he ‘reads’ it himself a lot and brings it to us regularly. I suspect it’s because there is a fire engine in there about halfway through but the book has a gentle rhythm that keeps him captivated and the repeated line “This kite needs someone bigger” never fails to get a laugh.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2003
3. The Goat that Gloats by Joelle Dreidemy and Leyland Perree
We got this book when I was pregnant in a second hand book shop and we have loved it ever since. The whole book follows a very clear and bold rhyme scheme and although he’s not old enough to appreciate the moral of the story yet we hope our son is absorbing it all. It’s a very fun read filled with light humour – this one is for the parents as much as the kids.
Alligator Books Limited, 2012
4. One, Two, Flea! By Allan Ahlberg and Colin McNaughton
My first experience with this book was several years ago when my oldest nephew was given it at the end of his first school year by his teacher. He read it to us and we read it to him and we all howled with laughter. When he was seven I found him reading it to his younger brother, both were in hysterics. Fast forward again and my little boy thinks it’s brilliant. Having almost forgotten about it until it turned up in a jumble sale box, I was so exited to share what has now become a bit of a family tradition
 
Walker Books, 1998

5. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury

Here it is, the old favourite. I used to make my mum and nan (or anyone who would dare to enter my house really) read this to me over and over until none of us even needed the book in order to recite it in its entirety. It’s such an adventure and it needs to have the actions and the sounds to go with it. This isn’t a book, this is a script for a performance.
Walker Books, 1993
Do you have a favourite children’s book in your family? I’d love to hear your suggestions and recommendations!

Baby Bonding Guilt

When you’re pregnant, people try to prepare you for the birth. They tell you about their birth stories, some of which may be more like horror stories to a first time pregnant mum! They ask you your birthing plan. They even tell you that you won’t sleep properly again, or at least for 18 years…

But no one prepares you for what I found a real struggle
…the bonding.

You spend your 9 months of pregnancy preparing. You buy all the bits you’re going to need, you stock up on what feels like, (but never is), more than enough nappies and baby wipes. You plan and sort out a welcoming nursery. You prepare the hospital bag and write your plan with the midwife. You get excited! This little baby is going to complete you!

But what if no matter how much you want this baby, no matter how much you have planned and no matter how much you want to love this baby.

What if when they’re born you don’t feel anything?

I hope that by talking about  it I can encourage mothers and fathers to be more open about their feelings and to not feel ashamed if they found the bonding process hard and not immediate. I truly believe that this affects more people than they’re willing to admit. After all, who wants to admit that they don’t love their baby? No one!  I want to show others that they shouldn’t feel guilt and shame, it will come in time even if it doesn’t feel like it right now.

Giving birth to a baby, as everyone says, very rarely goes to plan. But even if you are fairly relaxed on what you want during your birth, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be left thinking about it afterwards. Births can be traumatic and they can leave mums feeling as though they didn’t do things properly. Perhaps they had a C-section, rather than the vaginal birth they had hoped for. Perhaps they needed plenty of rest following the birth so weren’t able to be as active and do as much of the feeding in the early days. Perhaps they had trouble breast feeding their baby. Perhaps the baby had colic and wasn’t able to sleep comfortably very easily. These can really affect a mum’s and dad’s ability to bond, even though these are things completely out of their control!

What you’re not told is that the bonding process can take a few days, a few weeks or even months and if you’re one of those people who it takes time for, it can fill you with feelings of guilt; this is what I felt, I felt like an awful parent. It may seem that every other parent has this instant bond with their child but in all honesty I don’t think that is the case for a lot of people and I think that parents feel uncomfortable to admit to it because they worry that others will think they don’t care about their baby. This couldn’t be further from the truth!

The health visitors will suggest ways of helping… skin to skin, which is lovely, but if you’re unable to pick up your baby because you’re in pain or if you are having trouble because the desire to do so isn’t there, then that can be hard.

They will most likely suggest breastfeeding which is viewed by many as a good bonding method. However, I feel that if you’ve been unable to breastfeed for a number of reasons, (you can read our breastfeeding stories), then it can be unhelpful for the health visitors to push this suggestion because it may increase the mother’s feelings of guilt.

I think that in those early days that it’s made harder because of the broken sleep. The fact you are doing all these things for your baby and not getting much in return can make it difficult. It may sound daft but once you are recognised by your baby and you get reactions from them, which could be something as little as a smile, it makes the bonding so much easier. Even without these reactions, your baby knows you from your smell, your heartbeat and your voice, they’re just working out ways they can communicate with you.

These are some things I tried that you might like to try too:

  • Singing to your baby.
  • Talking to your baby.
  • Reading to your baby so they get to recognise your voice.
  • Lying next to your baby.
  • Wearing your baby in a sling.
  • Baby massage.
  • If possible, holding your baby against your chest.

Please remember that you are doing your best. It may seem like every other parent is finding parenting a walk in the park but I can assure you they’re most probably not! If you’re finding the bonding process hard it is not a reflection on you as a parent. Your body and mind have been through a huge change! The birth and early days may not have gone exactly as you’d planned as well and this is not your fault!

It is so important to forgive yourself for these feelings and to seek help if you feel you need it, there really is no shame in talking about this. You are an amazing parent and you will get through this difficult time, it might take a few months, but that’s not something you should feel ashamed about. Other parents you know got there earlier, that is their parenting journey. You will get the close bond with your baby that you have looked forward to throughout your pregnancy and it will be worth the wait. Some things you can plan for during the pregnancy, unfortunately this is one of those things you can’t and you don’t expect it to happen to you. I hope that by talking about this that other parents won’t feel alone like I did in those early months. When I look back on those times I don’t associate it with those bad feelings anymore, I only remember the good.

Writing this has made me feel quite emotional because I now have such an inseparable bond with my daughter and we are so happy. I hope my daughter knows how much she means to me everyday and I ho
pe she never doubts my love for her. I never saw myself getting here but once I did it made me feel like the richest woman alive. I have no doubt that you will get there too. 


Lucy At Home