baby and dad fists together

Don’t Forget About Dad

When you become a new parent, a lot of the focus is on how mum is feeling. I get it because there’s the whole pregnancy journey, birth, sleep changes, crying, mood changes, wanting to do better etc. But not as many people think about dad. This is why I’m going to share some thoughts that have been on my mind recently. This is from my experience.

Our son has both of his parents happily living together as a family unit. His ‘parents’ are me (mum) and Danny (dad). We’re both responsible for him. The two of us give our son lots of love, playtime, feeds (formula fed), and the comfort that he needs. Some people say I’m lucky because Danny is ‘so involved’ and knows about things like nappy sizes, the number of ounces of milk, general health, milestones of baby etc. That’s how it should be though and it needs to be normalised. Yes, I am incredibly lucky but we both have a son who deserves all of the care and cuddles in the world so that’s what he gets.

Since the day I found out I was pregnant, it wasn’t just my mum instincts that kicked in. Danny also thought about what he could do to look after me and bump the best way possible. There were a few hospital trips along the way when he didn’t hesitate to take me there as soon as he could. He would drop everything in a heartbeat if it meant my or his son’s health was affected. And he is the same today.

Danny was my birthing partner. He sat behind me during labour when I was on an exercise ball. My waters broke, he heard me scream from pain, I cried, and he stayed. He held the gas and air mask for me and told me I was doing great. He seen it all but he didn’t step back or love me any less. Even though most of our time now goes to our baby boy, just as it should, we still make time for each other even if it’s just the little moments here and there. He runs me a bath, makes me a cup of tea, take it in turns to make tea, tells me to nap (you know those ’20 minutes’ ones that can turn into a few hours?!

Danny understands that us mamas need some ‘me time’ and it’s important for him to have his time too. It goes without saying though, our baby comes first and always will. There are a lot of adjustments and I think we help each other to adapt to each and every new one as we’re experiencing parenthood together. We try our best to notice when one of us is drained or feeling low and give each other time – and sometimes it means doing nothing better than absolutely nothing at all.

As a new dad, Danny hasn’t only took on the new role of a parent, he has supported me through a whole lot. I’m not going to go into detail because it’ll probably give me more anxiety than I have already without wondering what people think if I write it on here. He has had stressful days at work, our family car stolen in the last few weeks but nothing, ever comes before his family. As soon as he gets home, he smiles. The look on his face when Freddy notices he’s home is so heartwarming and Danny always asks how my day has been (and digs a little deeper if I’m not saying much).

Danny continues to motivate me. We’re back at the gym together and he compliments me every day even when I feel like none of those the things he says. If I cry, he tries to understand, always hugs me and finds a way to help.

If you’re thinking about first time mums, mums to be or mums who have been in this for a while now, remember the amazing dads out there too. There are a lot of changes that both parents can face for the first time.

Photo credit: Andreas Wohlfahrt on pexels.com

dark cup with hot drink inside

Sharing Those Postpartum Feelings

The postpartum life brings a new love and happiness but let’s not forget about the exhaustion and everything else. Some people might question why someone like me opted to be a mum when there’s a lot of new challenges and a drop in energy levels some days. I’ll tell you why, it’s something I’ve always wanted. I’m not saying that to sound like anyone else because it’s true. I’ve always dreamed of bringing a new little life into the world and I count my lucky stars that it all came true.

It goes without saying that parenting is hard. And that’s probably putting it lightly. Though, the moments of joy and pure heartfelt memories stay with you forever. They overpower those ‘days’ where you don’t don’t feel like yourself and wonder if there’s anything you could do better. Even when the sleep deprivation hits, all it takes in one smile for it all to melt into the air and you smile as your heart gets fuller.

The last couple of weeks, I’ll be honest, I haven’t felt right. I don’t mean I haven’t been feeling well with this super cold that going around or a bug – I just haven’t been the usual ‘me’. What is the usual ‘me’? Well, in a nutshell, I’m usually smiley, random, and like to see the positive in everything.

In those last weeks, it all changed. Now, I wouldn’t say it was sudden but there was a big difference. Here’s why…

A sense of hopelessness

I felt like I had lost myself. I never forget I’m a mum and a human being like everyone else but I felt disinterested in so many things. There were days I spent in a daze – nothing going on around me other than staring into space while Freddy napped. I would try putting upbeat music on or a good film but it didn’t have the usual effect. I was so quiet but so busy and loud with thoughts in my mind. I wondered how I would get out of this pit. As always, a good chat with Danny channeled me back through after a couple of days. It doesn’t mean to say those days won’t come back. I just need to remember that I can get through them.

Being self critical

Sometimes I think I’m harsh on myself and other days I don’t. I’ve found myself looking in the mirror most days and not liking what I see. There are things I can do – eat well, exercise etc. But I think, I’ll always find something regardless. My legs are covered in stretch marks that weren’t there before. I’m reminded that they are ‘love marks’ that carried the weight of our beautiful boy. I think the body changes that are still happening combined with what I see physically really play on my mind, a little too much. I might not ever love my body but I will find a way to like it again.

Is it the hormones or just me?

Ever cry and wonder why you cried? Sometimes you have good reason, don’t you? Other times you think, why am I so damn emotional right now? The thing is, I need to remind myself that there’s no rush for my body to reach a new kind of normal. I used to hate when someone would look at a woman and say “Ooo she’s a bit hormonal isn’t she” or whatever. But wow, I’ve never truly felt more hormonal days than postpartum ones. Maybe I’m pressuring myself as each week goes by as I think it’s another week I could feel ‘better’. None of these thoughts take away how much love I have for my baby. He (and his dad) are my everything. And the three of us have so much to look forward to – they are what I need to hold onto when my mind does play a battle with me.

Speak to someone

To finish this post, I just want to say, up and down days are completely normal. Sometimes we need to pick ourselves back up but remember you don’t have to do it on your own. It doesn’t take for a number of people to understand how you feel. It takes a good person or two to listen, maybe empathise too. Postpartum life especially, can drag you down in ways you can’t even understand yourself.

Someone can look in from the outside and see nothing but happiness. However, they haven’t got a mirror to see what’s going on in your mind. You can be your own demon sometimes. Remember though, you can’t control everything. So, when things get tough, try to find a couple of things that bring you back to a level of the real you.

Links for support

Image source: John Mark Smith on pexels.com

three hanging teddy bears soft toys

20 Thoughts of a Mum with a Baby

I don’t think it took for me to be a first time mum, for my mind to work overdrive. I’ve always had a little mental check list for things that need to be done (or a long one as Danny would probably say). Here are some of the common thoughts I have on a daily basis since being a mum to our baby boy. When you read some, you might think I’m crazy but I know there’s at least one other person out there who can relate… here’s hoping anyway!

I also just want to say, dads, you are amazing too. There’s not enough credit out there towards you. I notice Danny’s love and support every day. He’s a parent too and that should never go unnoticed.

1. Oh no, how many bottles are left? Do I need to wash them and put them into the steriliser?

2. Whoa, baby’s washing basket is high again, I best do another wash.

3. Am I going to bother getting dressed today? Do I fancy a walk? Hmm… we’ll see.

4. Oh, you want another bottle? Can mama have another cup of tea in a minute or…?

5. Did I empty the dryer and maidens and put the washing away?

6. What’s for tea? Oh I dunno, we’ll figure it out later.

7. Do I need a cuddle? Food? Sleep?

8. I need a shower or a nice long bath with a bath bomb, salts, the whole lot!

9. I need to descale the steriliser again and change the filter in the prep machine.

10. Wow, this look I have going on today is… not attractive in the slightest.

11. I need to top up the toilet rolls on the shelf in the downstairs toilet.

12. I need to change our bedding this weekend.

13. How many Moses/crib sheets do we actually go through?!

14. Are we stocked up on formula, nappies, and wipes. For some reason we have hundreds of nappy bags.

15. Why don’t your (baby) clothes fit you anymore? You’re not allowed to grow just yet!

16. You are so precious. I love you more and more every day.

17. Do you really need to wee and poo so much in one day?

18. Daddy thinks any time is play time (and grandad for that matter).

19. I’m gonna keep wondering how long it’ll be until you will say dada and mama!

20. How did we make such a beautiful human being?

Mamas – how many of these can you relate to? What things continuously play on your mind? Or maybe there are some funny thoughts that go on in your head? Tell me in the comments below.

cup of tea in woman's hands

Feelings during maternity leave

The past few days, I’ve been thinking about things that I probably don’t need to but anyway… I’m not sure if it’s because I’m on maternity leave so there’s a lot more time than usual for things to play on my mind or if I’m just being good old me.

After I gave birth, emotions were all over the place which is absolutely normal but I still don’t think they haven’t quite gone yet. My body is still changing, I am discovering a whole new world with a tiny human being (well, a little chunky chops), and sometimes I feel like I need to be doing more. Also, I find myself feeling pressured? It’s not like this is by anyone but I am telling myself that X, Y, Z needs to be done or achieved within a particular time frame. Take losing weight and getting back into ‘shape’ as an example. I haven’t gotten myself into a hole which is good and I am taking regular walks each day but I still don’t love my body. I know it’s not a nice thing to say but it’s true. I’m sure I’ll get back to loving my body some more, even if it’s just a little. There’s more on this if you read on.

Fitting into old clothes

Some people will compliment me which is lovely. They might say, “You’re looking well” or “Wow, your bump has completely gone”. The truth is, it makes me a little sad. I loved feeling my baby bump growing more and more every day for 9 months. How am I supposed to love my post-pregnancy body now? I can’t fit into my jeans. I am living in leggings and anything that’s comfy. I don’t want to be complaining months down the line that I didn’t “get rid of the baby weight”. That special baby that once cosied up inside me is now with me, literally right next to me. He doesn’t care about my size or how I look. I don’t want to ‘let myself go’. I don’t think I am right now but maybe running again will help me to focus and feel better within myself. I considered re-joining the gym but I’m just not entirely sure it’s for me at the moment. I feel pressured without being pressured… does that even make sense? How our minds work eh! I suppose, I also need to remember that no body is the ‘perfect’ body no matter how social media can show otherwise.

Going back to work

I have months left before I return to work so why is it even on my mind? I’ll tell you why. I’ve been lay in bed at night and I panic if I won’t be able to take everything on when I go back. No doubt, there be many changes and lots of new challenges to adapt to. What if I feel like I can’t do it? It sounds silly, I know. Danny talks me through things though. I need to take work off my mind as I have precious time to spend with my baby boy. I always count on him to cheer me up when I feel down. When Freddy smiles, those random thoughts drift away… for a little while at least.

What’s really important

Now, this is a positive one and my favourite point in this post. Since Freddy was born, I feel stronger and as the weeks have gone by, I think I’m a lot more confident in all of the new mum stuff that’s came my way. I’ll be honest, I have days where I wonder how I’m still going about my day when my energy levels are low. Then, Danny will come home from work and everything’s okay. He is the most supportive and loving person and altogether, we’re a little trio. Danny makes me a cup of tea (with some biscuits of course) and he just knows how to make me feel better. He gets it. Danny knows my mind plays about 10 thoughts per hour and he knows how to try to distract me from that overdrive – by giving me food most of the time or a little snack to pick me up, and a big Danny hug..

If you find yourself relating to any of these feelings or you want to share your own thoughts during your maternity leave, just add a comment below. And again, I’ll say, mums and dads, you have got this!