Being a parent is fucking hard; I am not going to lie.

If you disagree, you must have a dream baby and I extremely envious. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids to bits but nobody could have prepared me for what parenthood is really like.

When people told me being a parent is the most rewarding yet hardest job ever, boy were they right! I now have so much more respect and love for my own parents knowing what they went through with (although I would have been one of those dream babies we spoke about earlier – cough cough bullshit).

You know, some days are just shit. Some days I just think I can’t do it. Do I want to do it? Why does it have to be so hard? Being a parent IS fucking hard. There are no two things that make it this way, it just is.

Some days I want to lock myself in a padded room and scream or drink copious amount of red wine (oh wait, I do that now).

There are days when I wonder is it always going to be like this? Why is he screaming? He’s not hungry, she’s not tired, she was smiling 2 minutes ago – is it something I done wrong?

I worry too much, I think too much. I physically can’t switch my brain off most nights and have been struggling to sleep a full night the past 2 weeks. I jump into bed and think about how much washing there is to do or going over in my head what I need to do the following day.

You know, it’s normally the ones who are the most ‘out there’ who suffer silently? They put up this front to make themselves feel better, so people don’t ask ‘are you okay?’. This probably isn’t the case for all but I know it rings true for me. I know if somebody asked me that right now its highly likely I would burst into tears because no, I am not OK. And it is OK to say that.

Don’t get me wrong, I live a wonderful life, I have an amazing partner, an awesome job, successful businesses, a beautiful home and insanely cute children but some days are just hard. THINGS don’t make you happy. You could have everything in the world and still be unhappy.

If you’ve never suffered from depression you may not understand where I’m coming from, you may not understand that you can have one really shitty day within a month of amazing days and all these old shitty memories/feelings flood back.

I am not going to sit here and feel sorry for myself, nor do I want you to feel sorry for me. I just wanted to share that it’s not all gummy smiles and rainbows. If you’re having a shitty day, it’s okay, you’re not alone.

These little humans chose us because we CAN do it, it WILL get better and tomorrow is a new day.

Some days I can be surrounded by people yet still experience feelings of loneliness.

I’ve struggled with mental health issues for a large majority of my life so one of my biggest concerns when I became pregnant was the high risk of PND. My GP and midwife were well aware of my medical history so knew what to look out for as well as educating me.

For a while there I thought I was fine, that I had somehow managed to sidetrack the issues that for a long time consumed me. I hadn’t. Two weeks passed after Baxter’s birth and my partner was due back at work, it hit me like a freight train. Feelings of anxiety and worry flooded me.

It took me a while to gain the courage to admit I knew what was going on and go and speak to my GP, deep down I knew the day would come, she was super supportive and we talked through our options.

I started to get control back, things became manageable. But I feel myself slipping again. I knew that it was highly likely I would experience PND again with Lily. Did it ever really go away? How long does it last and when does PND become depression?

These days my PND masks itself in anger, a symptom many are not aware of. Sadly it hinders my relationships with people from time to time and if I am being totally open, my partner takes the brunt of it. People who haven’t experienced it or been close to somebody who has simply don’t understand and often respond with “just stop” or “stop getting so mad”. I would love to be that in control of my feelings but right now, I am not. Half of the time my reactions are so unreasonable but I simply don’t see it at the time. God, I thought I had no patience when I was pregnant but this is next level.

I know that these current feelings are not me, and while I know they’re not permanent, it’s hard to deal with right now.

I’m lucky to have such a supportive partner who knows my hormones are up the shit and that when I sass him out, it’s not coming from a bad place.

To those who also suffer from those days where the darkness takes over, I hear you. Whilst you may feel alone, you’re not, it will get easier and good days are on the horizon. Recognizing the signs and talking about it are key steps in helping yourself and allowing others to understand.

Being a mum is tough, so let’s not make it tougher on ourselves. Speak out and support those around you, the smallest of gestures can make a person’s day.

Remember that sometimes the people who appear the happiest may not be and that you never truly know what others are going through.

Being kind of free so dish that shit out.

It is such a taboo topic. One which people are afraid to talk about out of fear of judgment. It truly breaks my heart. There are so many people out there suffering in silence because depression and anxiety has somehow been dubbed something that ‘we don’t talk about’. Why? It’s far more common than we realize and if we were to talk about it more then I feel those struggling would feel far more supported. So many people are scared to open up and talk to somebody about how they truly feel and have that ‘I don’t need/want to be on medication’ mentality.

I have struggled for many years. Some days I feel great, other days that dark black cloud hovers over my head. While there are positive coping mechanisms that have been known to work or at least assist. Somebody telling you to ‘snap out of it’ certainly isn’t one.

Social media has heightened the awareness of what’s around us, obviously – and I believe it plays a big part in some of the negative feelings people experience. We see those beautiful curated squares on Instagram and find ourselves comparing how their life is different to ours, how are they looking so beautiful and refreshed after I barely got 2 hours uninterrupted sleep last night? How on earth do they manage to find time to keep their house so perfectly clean and organized? How did their body snap back so quickly after giving birth. It’s everywhere. What we often don’t think about is that these people are not necessarily happy. We only see what they choose to share, many do not share the messy corner of their house or how little they slept last night.

The dark truth is that if we don’t start talking about mental health now and more openly, the alarming rate of suicide and the prevalence of untreated mental illness will reach crisis point – in fact, I believe it already has.

Please, if you’re ever struggling, with anything or having bad thoughts – talk to somebody. You can talk to me, PM me day or night or call one of the numbers below. It is often easier to confide in a stranger.

It’s so much more common than you realise and we can all play a small part in trying to normalise it in some small way by talking about it openly. There is nothing wrong with feeling this way, but there is a way out.

Please know that no matter how bad things feel, there is always help available. Taking your life is NOT the answer and please take a moment to think about all of those loved ones you would leave behind.

Talking about things is the first step. Realising it’s okay to not be okay if the next.

You are amazing and you hold a special place in this world.

It’s Mental Health Awareness week and I just wanted to remind you all that you’re amazing and you’ve got this.

Need help right now?

Lifeline Aotearoa’s telephone counselling service provides 24 hours a day, 7 days a week counselling and support – 0800 LIFELINE (0800 543 354).

I still don’t think I have really come to terms with my new body, while it’s easy to adopt the attitude ‘out of sight, out of mind’ – they are definitely not out of mind, far from it. And I am reminded of this everytime I get out of the shower and see my reflection in the mirror.

It’s selfish I know, others are having issues falling pregnant and I’m moaning about my stretch marks, marks which without, I wouldn’t have my kids. I am truly grateful for my children. Don’t get me wrong, the way I feel about myself and my body has NO reflection on the love I have for my children. I am able to mourn the loss of my old body while coming to terms with my new one. Somebody commented on my Instagram and told me this was sad and that I clearly wasn’t doing anything about it. Right oh. Me and my new body is a work in progress, I know this. But right now, these are my feels – and they’re real.

My stretch marks are bad. Really bad. They look like I’ve been attacked by a wild animal (maybe that’d be a better story to roll with). They’re deep and almost look like burns. I know they will fade over time but I think with the extent of them, it’s likely they’ll always be quite prominent. The tattoo is ruined, but I am not bothered as I hated it anyway.

 

I heard a quote the other day, “For every woman who hates her stretch marks there is a woman wishing she had them”. It really got me thinking. Thinking about the new body I have. I am thankful everyday, don’t get me wrong. The stretch marks a part of me now, a part I am yet to fully accept. They are battle wounds and I now have two amazing and seriously adorable kids. I am still allowed to feel the way I feel though.

Whilst I am almost back to my pre-pregnancy weight, my body is most certainly not the same but I am OK with that. Am I really? Yes and no. It’s funny because I weigh the same but I am different size and body shape now, my boobs went from a C to a DD and I am not even breastfeeding anymore. I don’t fit any of my old clothes and I can’t stand anything that is tight fitting, although I never did, to be honest.

3 months on from baby #2 and I don’t think I can say I ‘love’ my body but I am coming to terms with the fact that this is my body now. Not everybody gets stretch marks, yay you. I did, and it’s really not the end of the world.

 

So here I am, baring it all to you. If anybody else is in the same boat you’ll now you are not alone. It’s tough, I won’t lie. I feel sad when I see people bounce back from their pregnancies. I don’t wish for a perfect body, I just wish I could be comfortable and confident in myself. It will come with time I am sure. I will never have my old body back. I look in the mirror and I don’t like the person I see anymore.

I am learning to accept it while doing things to improve both my mental and physical state.

We got this mama x

Second time round I am going into this whole experience with so much more knowledge than when I was pregnant with Baxter and well, knowledge is power – right?

I will not allow myself to feel bullied, judged or pressured into anything. I’ll have my tin of formula in my hospital bag if I’m having issues and my baby is hungry. I won’t question my decision for a moment. I will give breastfeeding a go but I will not allow myself to get consumed by bad feelings, pressure and the potential onset of PND.

I’ve come up with a few points that I need to remind myself when times get tough.

  • Don’t be so hard on me – high expectations often result in disappointment, like the above, be strong, stick to your guns and don’t allow yourself to get pushed around.
  • Accept help when offered, even if they don’t do it the way I do – I am the biggest control freak and I NEVER accept help when asked. It’s just not in my nature, I am always the first to put my hand up to help others but when it comes down to people offering help, I always say no.
  • Have an open mind when it comes to breastfeeding – don’t put so much pressure on me. Same as above. I am sticking to my guns, I know what I want and what I won’t allow. I want my baby to be healthy, happy and not hungry. If it all works out, awesome. If it doesn’t, well I tried.
  • Don’t buy so much shit – so many clothes didn’t get worn with Baxter because I went crazy (everybody does with first babies, right?), at least his sister can rock them. The flip side is because we did buy so much crap for Baxter, we didn’t need to buy too much for his sister.
  • Enjoy those first few weeks – we know it’s going to be shit, so let’s try and enjoy them. It really is scary how quickly those weeks go so embrace the fourth trimester in a haze of sleep deprivation and hormones.
  • Try not to compare them – the births, the kids, everything. They’re two totally different children and will no doubt act it so don’t be disappointed if one doesn’t sleep as good as the other (this is a legit fear as Baxter is the bomb sleeper).
  • Don’t freak out during the adjustment period – Baxter isn’t going to be impressed with the new family member (nor is the cat) so I need to give him time to adjust and come around to the idea that he now has this little bundle to help me protect.
  • Just breathe – it’ll no doubt be a bit shit for a while, but they will love each other eventually, right? Don’t sweat the small stuff, what will be will be.
  • Spread the love – remember to give equal amounts of love to both kids, while the new baby is going to need lots of attention and will be very dependent on me, don’t change how I am and have always been with little B.
  • Don’t feel pressured with visitors – this got me last time, I knew people wanted to meet our new addition but I put a lot of un-needed pressure on myself to keep the house clean and was still finding my way with establishing feeding which didn’t help as I wasn’t comfortable with getting my boob out in front of friends/family in those hazy first few days.
  • Take care of myself – know my limits, you know your own body better than anybody and if things don’t feel right physically or mentally, talk to your midwife or GP. With a history of anxiety/depression and PND with my first, I’ll be kept a close on eye on this time around and I know what to look out for. Don’t be afraid to admit you’re struggling.

I know there will be plenty more that I’ve forgotten about and will learn on my journey to 2 under two (oh my god).

Bare with me while I learn to not lose my mind!

It’s so common these days that there’s a term for this negative phenomenon: mum-shaming, and I am fucking sick of it.

I am talking about mums shaming other mums. Don’t even get me started on the judgemental people who DON’T EVEN HAVE KIDS! I see it almost every day. Out in public and most commonly, online. We’ve all been guilty of it at one point or another, pre or post baby. We’ve judged another mum in the mall or the in the playground and it needs to stop.

We’re all in this together you know, this crazy roller coaster we call parenting. Nothing can make you question your abilities and decisions as a parent like a death stare in the local food court, a rude old lady coming up to you in the supermarket and telling you “that kid shouldn’t be out without a warm hat on” or “that child should be in bed”. Hey, Doris – go shove your opinions up your as$.

Get stared at for feeding your kid with a bottle (god forbid if that’s formula!)
Get stared at for getting your boob out in public.

Get judged for feeding your child packaged food.
Get judged for using non-organic ingredients.

Get judged for allowing your child to sleep with you.
Get judged for having them alone in another room.

Get judged for letting your child have a dummy.
Get judged for letting your child scream in need of comfort.

Get judged for buying your kid expensive toys.
Get judged for not stimulating your child enough.

Getting judged for choosing to front face your child after 2 years.
Get judged for still rear facing them.

Getting judged for going back to work ‘too early’.
Getting judged for choosing to be a stay at home mum.
Getting judged for enrolling your child into a daycare centre so you can provide a better future.

It many of the above cases, it’s a no-win situation.

I came across a great article which outlined why we might be doing this.

  1. You’re bored
  2. You’re angry
  3. You’re jealous
  4. You’re overwhelmed
  5. You’re exhausted
  6. You’re not sure of your own identity
  7. You’re dying to be recognised

Being a mum is fucking hard and having somebody question your decisions makes it even harder. Mum shaming is not always direct. It can be a criticism, unsolicited advice (generally with an ulterior motive), dubious facial expressions and general negativity (directly or indirectly) at another mum regarding her parenting choices or even worse, a personal dig.

I suffer from anxiety and depression and know too well how hard it is to hear that somebody thinks you’re not a good mother. Putting myself out there like this has led me to receive some truly awful comments and it really is disgusting that people think it’s OK.

If you have a few moments, watch this.

I think in order to fix a problem we need to recognise that there is one and collectively, do our bit to combat this nasty, rising habit.

MumShaming_NewMumClub

 

 

I still don’t think I have really come to terms with my new body, I’ve written about my stretch marks before and while it’s easy to adopt the attitude ‘out of sight, out of mind’ – they are definitely not out of mind. I am wanting to put Baxter into swimming lessons, my partner hates water/swimming so that leaves me. Yet I am scared to bare my skin and get in the water, I can wear a singlet and cover up as much as possible but I know the whole time my anxiety will be through the roof. I shouldn’t even be making it about me, I want Baxter to be comfortable in the water and learn to enjoy it and be safe yet I more concerned about overcoming this fear of my own.

I’ve just started using a Stretch Mark/Scar Blend from Le’Esscience which I’ve heard great things about and have seen equally great results. It will take about 7-12 weeks to see any real results as like any other blend, it has a cumulative affect so I need to make sure I stuck to it as I know if I can lighten the scaring then I’ll be well on my way to feeling more comfortable in my own skin.

It’s selfish I know, others are having issues falling pregnant and I’m moaning about my stretch marks, marks which without, I wouldn’t have my son. I am truly grateful for my child. I just wish I’d been smarter about making more of an active effort to lessen the damage done. I was lazy and figured I was lucky and wouldn’t get them as at 30+ weeks I had nothing and then boom. My belly was so big a lot of them I didn’t even notice forming under my bump. Not everybody gets them, and if you didn’t get any – consider yourself extremely lucky.

My stomach has never and will never be the same but I am really trying to accept my new body. I have never been one to show a lot of skin anyway and I’m a super self conscious person but this is just taking it to a whole new level.

My stretch marks are bad. They look like I’ve been attacked by a wild animal (maybe that’d be a better story to roll with). They’re deep and almost look like burns. I know they will fade over time but I think with the extent of them, it’s likely they’ll always be quite prominent. The tattoo is ruined, but I am not bothered as I hated it anyway (and yes, the two o’s were on purpose).

So here I am, baring it all to you. If anybody else is in the same boat you’ll now you are not alone. It’s tough, I won’t lie. I feel sad when I see people bounce back from their pregnancies. I don’t wish for a perfect body, I just wish I could be comfortable and confident in myself. It will come with time I am sure. I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight but I will never have my old body back. My entire body shape is different and I’ve come to terms with that so it’s just a case of working on the scaring and that little joey pouch.

They tell a story, a story some are not lucky enough to be experience. I am thankful everyday, don’t get me wrong. They’re a part of me now, a part I am yet to fully accept.

I’ll update you in a few weeks as to how I’ve got on with the Stretch Mark/Scar Blend.

acceptance