What to expect when you’re NOT expecting!

At least 3 of the Mummykind mummies were NOT expecting that they would soon be expecting (have I used the word “expecting” too many times yet?) and all for different reasons.

Harriet didn’t think she could have children naturally. Neither did Amy due to the fact that she was taking Zoladex to undergo a chemical menopause – she ended up being the 1 in 100,000 that fall pregnant on that medication.

As for me, I didn’t think I could, after being told by a really harsh sonographer that if I had PCOS it was very likely that I’d be infertile. As it turns out, I don’t have PCOS and never did, but being on hormonal contraception caused me to have small pockets in my Fallopian tubes that appeared to be cysts. The exact nature of what they were is still unknown to me, but needless to say I stopped using hormonal contraception because of the effect it had on me.

Even though I stopped using the pill, I still wasn’t expecting to fall pregnant. In fact, I’d convinced myself that I never would be able to! However, when I did fall pregnant and when we let the cat out of the bag to our family and friends that we were having a baby, there are a few things that I wish I’d been prepared for…

1. “So was it planned?”

Unless you’ve announced to Bob and his uncle that you’re actively trying to start a family, expect EVERYONE to stick their noses in and ask you if the pregnancy was planned. If you’ve ever done this, please be reminded that IT IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. I never knew what to say when I was asked that, because, no, she wasn’t planned, but she also wasn’t unplanned – we could easily have been more careful. Our situation wasn’t some rare exception like Amy’s! And planned or not, what bearing does that have on how much we will love our baby, or how we will be as parents? Newsflash: it doesn’t.

2. Every lifestyle choice you make will be scrutinised.

I don’t just mean by the midwife, though, of course, being told to change your vegetarian diet to a meat one so that you don’t have an iron deficiency and having to stand on the scales to be told that you’ve put on too much weight (even though you STILL have a healthy BMI despite being 6 months’ pregnant) is utterly ridiculous.

As much as I’d like to pretend that this was an isolated experience with my midwife, I’ve unfortunately heard similar tales a few too many times.

But, the scrutiny isn’t just going to be from your midwife or other health professionals. It’s going to be from wider society, your friends, family. Apparently, everyone you’ve ever shook hands with or had a drink with now has an interest in what you do. I was very good when I was pregnant; I wouldn’t touch a drop of alcohol, ate relatively healthily and wasn’t irresponsible, but that didn’t stop a friend questioning me over whether or not I could eat some god damn mayonnaise.

3. The awkward food baby phase

There’ll come a time at around 4 or 5 months’ pregnant where “you just look like you’ve had a big lunch”, as my dear, lovely friend said to me one fine morning as I sat down to a lecture on our dissertation module. Don’t worry, it doesn’t last very long and you’ll begin to look properly pregnant soon enough (you poor, poor thing).

4. Money, money, money

Oh. My. God.

BABY THINGS COST SO MUCH MONEY.

This really shocked me when we found out we were having a baby. We didn’t go crazy, but a pram, a crib, a carseat, clothes, nappies, sterilisers, bottles, breast pumps, etc. can easily add up to a grand or more. We are quite money savvy anyway and don’t tend to overspend on things – we got our pram and carseat in the mothercare January sale for £475 altogether instead of £775 (we weren’t due until May but the forward planning saved us a lot!). It can be overwhelming when this is sprung on you a bit unexpectedly, but do your research and you will find some good deals.

5. “Is it a boy or a girl?”

Ummm…. WHY DO YOU WANT TO KNOW IF MY BABY HAS A PENIS OR A VAGINA?

Taken out of context, this is a very weird question. In what other setting would you ask somebody whether they had male or female genitals? YOU WOULDN’T! However, what’s worse than this is people asking if you wanted a boy, instead of a girl. No, I want a healthy baby, and that’s what I’ve got, thank you very much. Also, I’m not big on gender stereotyping anyway. Yes, Olivia likes dolls and prams and has a newfound obsession with unicorns, but I didn’t make those her only options. She chose to play with those things, and I will never stop her from choosing who she wants to be (unless she decides she doesn’t want to be a lawyer, because that’s just unacceptable).

Have you encountered anything else that you weren’t expecting when you were expecting?

If you liked this you may enjoy reading…

Confession: I didn’t enjoy pregnancy

Endometri… What?

Stop Asking When I’m Having Baby Number 2

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

8 things I never thought I’d hear myself say when I became a mum!

Before you become a parent, you’re filled with this sick kind of optimism, but nowadays I like to call it blind and plainly idiotic naivety. You have this perfect idea of motherhood and everything it entails. You have all of these admirable morals and strict rules that you absolutely will stick to, such as no TV or no swearing or whatever else. But try as you might, parenting will break you. You won’t be the mum you set out to be, no matter how hard you try. AND THAT IS OKAY!

So, in celebration of how awesome being a mum is, here are my top 8 things that I never thought I’d hear myself say when I became a mum.

I apologise in advance…

“Why have you done a poo on the floor, RIGHT NEXT TO YOUR POTTY?”


Oh potty training. It’s a delight, it really is…

“Stop eating your bogeys”
 
Yep. Accompanied by my cringing after she does exactly that and says “mmmmm” and licks her lips while she does it. Pure, grotesque cringe.

“No thanks, I want to wipe my own bum actually!”
 
Now that potty training has started, that apparently means that my toilet business is her business. I am congratulated with a well done and clapping hands, and forced to show her what I’ve done. She then extends the tissue to me, and it takes one hell of a lot of force to get it off her so I can wipe my own arse.

“It’s “clock”, not “cock”!”
 
This is the newest one. I don’t even care about this really, I think it’s bloody hilarious!

“Why have you got highlighter on your face?”
 
 
 
Months later, I’m still angry about this… I can’t remember what we were doing… I think she got out of bed after a nap one morning super quietly, found a bright pink highlighter and drew on herself, the wall, the bed, EVERYTHING.

“Stop trying to climb back up into my womb!”
 
That’s not normal right? I swear she’s trying to get back in there some days the way she’ll crawl underneath me and then stand up right under my crotch!

“Don’t worry, she’s not saying “fucking hell”, she’s saying “sparkly hair”…”
 
Yep that’s another one of those hilarious things that sound like swear words but really aren’t… Promise!

“Really? You want Siri to beatbox AGAIN?!”

I hate Siri. Being a parent is a good enough reason to ban iPhones. Or any kind of thing that talks back to you. I am never getting an Alexa.

 

See? Either my daughter is super gross and crazy, or everyone has things like this… I REAAAALLLY hope it’s not just me. Either way, being a mum  is amazing, with or without these hilarious moments that come with the role.

I would love to know what your “I never thought I’d say that” moments are, too! Let us know in the comments or on Facebook 🙂

Monday Stumble LinkyKeep Calm and Carry On Linking SundayMum Muddling Through

Confession: I didn’t enjoy pregnancy

This is a topic that many mums shy away from, but I’m here to tell you all that it is perfectly okay to say that, for whatever reason, you didn’t enjoy being pregnant.

Whenever I make this controversial admission, I’m always met by the question of “did you have a rough pregnancy, then?”, or, from people who know me and saw me most days of the pregnancy, the concession “yeah but you did have a lot of sickness”.

First of all, my pregnancy really wasn’t that difficult. It was emotionally hard, as I was battling depression and anxiety, a number of personal issues, and leading a highly stressful life with little to no support network. But physically, it was quite an easy pregnancy. I had some morning sickness at odd points throughout the pregnancy, but really not a lot. Possibly the worst complaint I have of my pregnancy was that I had reflux for the entirety of the last trimester, which had me downing Gaviscon by the bottle, but even that isn’t such a severe reason to have hated being pregnant.

Secondly, regardless of whether I did or didn’t face any kinds of problems while I was pregnant, what has that got to do with my personal feelings on being pregnant? Why is it that my dislike of pregnancy has to somehow be justified by my (usually childless) friends’ perceptions of whether or not my pregnancy was a difficult one?

As much as society is making progress towards equality, I believe that the root of this need to justify anything I say about not liking pregnancy is that there is a stigma that this is what women are supposed to do, and that it’s a magical time, the bad parts of which we should take in our stride because of how we are biologically designed to cope with any childbirth related phenomenon.

Um, no.

Amazing as it is that my body grew a tiny (well, actually a rather porky) baby, that doesn’t mean that I can’t have legitimate complaints about the process.

Even worse than this is the response I get to stating that I never want to be pregnant again – for some reason, my age becomes a factor here. Sorry, I don’t care how old I am, but I won’t change my mind on this. Once was enough for me. Don’t get me wrong, I still get broody for babies, but I never plan on being pregnant again. I have plans to adopt/foster in the future and again those plans are met with the question of why? I’m able to have children, but that doesn’t mean I have to have children.

Just in case anyone reading this is thinking how ungrateful I am when there are plenty of women who can’t have a child themselves… I’m not. I appreciate that I probably don’t have a reason to complain when I have a perfectly healthy child, but again, the mere fact of my womanhood and my fertility doesn’t impose an obligation on me to have children or to enjoy pregnancy.

If you’re reading this and wondering why I felt the way I did, well…

1. My sickness wasn’t really sickness, it was a constant and painful process of dry-retching over a toilet until I could breathe enough to swallow water and spew it back up

2. It’s not nice having to bare all to a large number of healthcare professionals – whether it’s the stretch-mark covered belly or your vagina, I didn’t quite get used to having it all out there until I was in labour and quite frankly couldn’t give a crap either way at that point

3. I put on 3st and hated my body. I couldn’t look in the mirror without crying. I didn’t see a pregnant belly, I saw a fat lump of a woman who would never look the same again. That may be vain but sadly enough it was actually the only time I felt any kind of pride in my pre-baby body. It took my pre-baby body to have a baby and be essentially ruined for me to realise that I actually liked myself deep down.

4. As soon as you’re pregnant, other people feel like they can dictate to you what to do. Mainly your midwife. I was a veggie and my midwife did not respect that, and asked me to start eating meat, saying that the baby would be iron deficient if I didn’t. Eating meat changed nothing except to make me put on more weight, and I still had to take iron tablets.

5. In the last few months when the baby is running out of room: at night, if you lie on your back, the baby’s movements look like something out of Alien. You can visibly see their backs turning or their feet protruding and as well as being uncomfortable, it freaked me the hell out.

6. Drawing on the uncomfortable point – I went a week overdue, in a heatwave in May. Enough said.

7. For someone who already had a lot of emotional issues, the heightened emotions of pregnancy made things even harder to cope with. It’s actually pretty shit crying over silly things, or for no reason. And even if you feel like you’re crying for a legitimate reason, other people don’t take you seriously because you’re pregnant, and they blame it on the hormones. Even if it is due to those nasty things, that doesn’t make your feelings any less legitimate. Even if I was crying because the vacuum broke…

8. That god awful reflux – and yes, I did have a hairy baby.

So there you have it. One woman’s reasons for not enjoying pregnancy and for never wanting to do it again.

It doesn’t make me a bad mother, a bad female or a bad person. I am allowed to have an opinion, and my position as a mother and a woman doesn’t negate my opinion or mean that I should grin and bear it. So to any fellow women feeling the same way, don’t be ashamed. It’s not something you have to keep to yourself when asked the oh so annoying question “so when is baby number 2 on the way?” It’s nobody else’s business, anyway.

Mummies Waiting

Bleeding in pregnancy

I was 27 weeks pregnant when I was admitted to hospital with abdominal cramps and PV bleeds, my little boy’s chance of making it to his due date was cut short as the doctor told me the SCBU at our hospital was full and I was being prepped to be transferred to another hospital where I would face delivering my little boy early when he was weighing just 2lb 2oz.

 
Bleeding in pregnancy can sometimes be referred to as PV bleeds 

Around 20-25% of women will experience PV bleeds in their first trimester, whereas bleeding in the second and third trimester is less common.

Bleeding in early pregnancy can be a sign of either miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy. Whereas bleeding in later stages of pregnancy can have different meanings.

The most common bleed is known as an “implantation bleed” which is when the fertilised egg implants itself into the lining of a uterus. An implantation bleed is discharge or spotting and is usually pinkish or dark brown, implantation bleeding tends to only happen will the egg is attaching itself into the uterus, it may last anything from a few hours or 1-2 days.
I was 27 weeks pregnant when I was admitted to hospital with abdominal cramps and PV bleeds, my little boy’s chance of making it to his due date was cut short as the doctor told me the SCBU at our hospital was full and I was being prepped to be transferred to another hospital where I would face delivering my little boy early when he was weighing just 2lb 2oz.
It was a magical moment when the bleeding stopped.I had an urgent ultrasound which showed that there was no known cause for the bleed. I began to puzzle even my doctors… Here was this 27 week pregnant lady who was having PV bleeds but with no cause, my little boy’s growth took a dip and I was kept in hospital for nearly a month of monitoring. I was told every time I bled, I was to add 24 hours to the chances of me going home.

“well Miss Simkins, we don’t know why you’re bleeding, but we’ll monitor your little baby’s growth and keep an eye on you and look at your delivery options” 

Pregnancies with PV bleeds tend to result in small babies. So I was having scans every 2 weeks and gradually Oliver’s growth began to pick up, and as he grew more, my chance of having a natural birth was increasing too. At my last growth scan the sonographer chuckled and told me he weighed 8lb 5oz with still 3-4 weeks to go!

One thing my midwife told me was that I was no longer able to have a water birth and I would no longer be able to deliver on the low-risk unit. I would now have to deliver on the high risk labour ward as I was booked to be induced due to the PV bleeds.
There are many causes for PV bleeds during pregnancy but they can all mean different things and should be reported to a medical professional immediately. To determine what is causing the bleeding, your doctor may request an internal examination, ultrasound and blood tests.
I was incredibly fortunate and ended up having a perfectly healthy baby boy born on his due date weighing 8lb 11oz.

Debunking Breastfeeding Myths

I was left wondering so many things about breastfeeding after birth and I usually turned to Facebook groups or Google to help my through them. No matter how prepared we are to breastfeed, there will always be things we aren’t prepared for.

This week is world breastfeeding week!

As a mother who breastfed her child for the best part of a year, I know that breastfeeding can be hard enough without all the issues that come with it, such as mastitis, teething etc. I was left wondering so many things about breastfeeding after birth and I usually turned to Facebook groups or Google to help my through them. No matter how prepared we are to breastfeed, there will always be things we aren’t prepared for. So here are things I wish I knew during my breastfeeding journey.

Patience
Your baby only has a tiny tummy when they are born, so your colostrum will be enough! Your milk can take up to five days to come in, so don’t think because you are hardly leaking or cannot feel any milk in your boobs, that your baby isn’t getting enough!
Pumping means nothing!
If you’re only getting half an ounce of milk out when pumping, don’t think that your baby is only getting half an ounce. A baby’s sucking is SO much more effective than pumping! If your baby is content, don’t worry!
Leaking!
You may think because you are wearing the most expensive breast pad, you won’t leak through it. Oh how wrong you are. I will always remember being in a cafe, breastfeeding my daughter and leaking through 2 breast pads and a muslin cloth and soaking my top! So be sure to keep spare tops and nursing bras handy!
Your boobs will hurt a lot!
At the start, your boobs will hurt. They are getting used to a tiny human draining them but the pain does go. If the pain is unbearable/ more uncomfortable than usual, it may be worth mentioning to your GP or a Lactation Consultant.
Snacks!
You will get hungry when feeding! So try and keep snacks and a bottle of water in your feeding area. Thus is also handy for when baby is cluster feeding and not letting you move for food!
Crying over spilt milk!
Ignore the saying ‘There’s no point crying over spilt milk’, because there is. Imagine finishing up with pumping, turning to grab something and then knocking over the whole bottle of milk. Whether it is 1 Oz or 8ozs, it will always be super devastating.
Breast is best
No, no it’s not. I have friends who tried everything and anything to get their baby to feed and with no success, they turned to formula. Whether the reason be a tongue tie, traumatic birth etc., what truly matters is that baby is fed. If you are unsuccessful with breastfeeding, do not put yourself down. You are still an amazing mummy, no matter how baby is fed.

No Second Thoughts

Concentration is a thing of the past. Long gone are the days I could recall information. I’m pretty sure that when people have conversations with me that my eyes are glazed over and I just smile and nod in agreement.

What are our plans for tomorrow?
What food do I need to prepare for tomorrow?
What clothes are ready for tomorrow?
Am I prepared for potential night feeds?
And breathe… I can sit down to relax.
Oh! I forgot I need to eat!!
Sound familiar? The life of a mum, (or dad).
I don’t know about you but I just cannot think straight. My head is like cotton wool all of the time. People did warn me about baby brain but I think I underestimated it. I’m not even sure there is much of a brain in there… it’s most definitely shrivelled a bit. Concentration is a thing of the past. Long gone are the days I could recall information. I’m pretty sure that when people have conversations with me that my eyes are glazed over and I just smile and nod in agreement. At work I ask questions constantly because I can’t remember what the new systems are. I don’t know how long I can get away with “Oh it’s just that I’ve been on maternity leave and I’m trying to get settled back in.”

The thing is I really want to be able to sit and chat about things the way I did but all I can think about is my daughter. I have a one track mind now. I worry that I seem uninterested in other people and that I’m not a good listener anymore. It’s not that I don’t want to know what other people are up to, or that I don’t care, it’s more that I can’t stop thinking about my day ahead, my daughter’s day ahead. I’ll admit I’m not the most organised of people and this is probably why I am trying to plan things constantly because I’ve only made myself stressed out when I’ve not thought things through very well in the past. It’s as though the part of my brain that is still functioning is trying so hard to get on top of things that there’s no room in my head to think about anything or anyone else. When I try to enter into a discussion I end up talking about myself and my family because that’s all I know about at the moment. I feel that I’ve become selfish. I’m so eager to have adult conversations with people but I have no idea what to talk about. Love Island anyone? I watched about 3 episodes but I know people at work loved it so it’s a possible topic… maybe? How about The Twirlywoos, now that’s a TV show I can talk to you about. I know you know all the theme songs too!

I don’t know about you but I worry about how people may be perceiving me right now. I am still Charlie though. I may not currently have the interest in, or more importantly the time to do the things I once did and I may have disappeared into the background a bit but I will find myself again! When you talk to me I hope you still find me interesting, just bear with me, I’m just getting used to my new role; I’m finding my feet. I’m juggling. I don’t have the hobbies and interests that I once had that maybe made me a bit more interesting to talk to. My conversations are about my daughter, this is my new life. My role at the moment is “Mumma.” I am the entertainer, the cleaner, the chef, the comforter, the launderer, the driver… Is it any surprise that I can’t concentrate? That I’m constantly tired? All those parents out there balancing their different roles with ease, or at least showing it, I’m envious!

I’m still learning, perhaps it gets easier. Time will tell, but for now I’m planning for tomorrow… oh and cooking my dinner!
This blog is my journey to find my new self. I hope it can help you too if you feel a bit lost. Maybe we can explore some new adventures together.

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