Tag Archives: Family

A shoulder to cry on

Some time after the toddler was born, I made a promise to him- and to myself- that I would do everything I could with the time I had left to make it all up to him. I needed to let him know that I was deeply, deeply sorry for letting him down when he needed me most. I needed him to know that I was sorry for not being strong enough, for missing that first hour of his life, and for failing to be the mum he needed when he needed it most. He was just a baby. He was barely four months old. He didn’t understand what I was saying and in a way, neither did I. I don’t think I had even begun to accept what had happened during his birth by that point. I certainly wasn’t feeling like a mother to him; I just knew that I was supposed to be feeling it.

Making that promise seemed like the best thing to do and I admit that even today, it weighs heavily on my mind. If  I’m tired, or he’s having a tantrum and my face won’t form a smile… guilt hits me like a bullet then. What about the promise?

When I made that promise I was grieving. Not for a person, but for something… something I couldn’t quite put my finger on.Perhaps I was grieving for that amazing birth I was supposed to have, especially after the first one had gone so wrong? Perhaps I was grieving for that little boy in the delivery room, who’s heart beat fell silent and died in my dreams? Perhaps I was grieving for… for me?

I am not the same person I was before my son was born. In many ways I am a better person. It’s taken me two long years to realise that. In many ways I know so much more about life and love and motherhood. In many ways I can now be that mother I thought I was before he was born. Perhaps I can now stop grieving for that person I was back then and embrace the new me?

These are all things I have been thinking since I left the meeting yesterday. It was the first Manchester Birth Trauma Association meeting and despite being involved in its set-up, I hadn’t actually thought much about how it might affect me. I’d bought a box of tissues, knowing that it could be emotional to talk to people who understand, or even just to talk to people. Caroline bought individual packets of tissues so that we could go home and cry too.

I didn’t cry. But I did think about that promise. I think I’m keeping it. I think I can keep it.

 

I’m glad to have a shoulder to cry on.


Out for a walk with the girls

image

The big one and I took the symbio b out for a spin at the weekend. I think this photo is the first one to sum up spring.
Sunshine.
Warmth.
Happiness.
Together.
Family.


Parenting by the book?

When I was pregnant with The big one, around 8 years ago, I devoured pregnancy ‘manuals’ and magazines. It was my first pregnancy and I made it my mission to read up on as much as I could. I think I’ve mentioned before that I tend to get a little ‘obsessed’ with things from time to time and I found that this was one obsession that could actually benefit me. After all, education is the key to greater knowledge and power, right? It’s just that I wonder what exactly these books were teaching me?

Ok, so I knew what was happening to my body as the weeks progressed and I thought I knew what to expect during childbirth. I actually read the infamous’ What to expect when you’re expecting’ and enjoyed it so much I bought the follow on books: the First year and the Toddler years. I find it pretty telling that the Toddler years book has been barely opened.

Is that because by the time my daughter was a toddler I felt that no book could really tell me what I needed to know? I mean, it wasn’t written for my child, now was it? It was written for the average child and I don’t think I know anybody who has one of those.

Our kids are all so different- how can they possibly write a guide to raising them?

During my second pregnancy, I lost interest in the guide books and went with the flow a little more. I was a little older and a little wiser… I still wasn’t prepared for childbirth though. This time, I invested in a different type of parenting manual and I devoured The Baby Whisperer. I found that a lot of her methods suited me and there are still aspects of her work which I greatly admire and techniques which are still working for me and the kids today. But I was still unconvinced.

Should we really be doing it by the book? Should we really be labelling ourselves as a such-and-such parent? Ok, so I don’t agree with the crying it out ‘sleep solution’ but I’m not going to judge you if you do. They’re your children after all and only you know how to raise them. 

I have three children and each of them is a different person. My eldest daughter slept like a dream from five weeks old and self-weaned from the breast at 7 months. My son still does not sleep through the night every night at two years old and he was weaned from the breast at four months, onto specialised formula. Currently, the baby is exclusively breastfed and we are co-sleeping. I’ve practised baby wearing since my son was born and the baby is now in cloth nappies rather than disposables.

I think my point is that I feel unable to box myself into one type of parenting. I have evolved. I have allowed my experiences and my children to guide me through what they need and how they will cope with parenting techniques. Perhaps I am borrowing a method from here and a tip from there- is that so bad?

Parents don’t need to judge each other. Parents need to accept that other parents may do things differently. We are, of course, entitled to believe that our way is much more effective than any other way- we would only do what we thought was best, after all, wouldn’t we?

I no longer parent by the book. I have not opened a single one since the baby was born and I intend to keep it that way. Yes, parenting guides are useful tools for reassurance and for, you know, guidance, but at the end of the day the only person who knows my babies is ME.


Isobel: four weeks on

I can hardly believe it has only been four weeks; it feels like a lifetime.

I can hardly believe it has been four weeks; it feels like only yesterday.

Each day that passes brings something new to our little family. Each smile from her brother, each kiss from her sister, each cuddle from Daddy is so special to see. Being a family of five is a real blessing.

We’ve had a couple of wobbles. Last week, I witnessed projectile vomiting which took me back to the dark days- when reflux first entered our lives. I stayed calm… until it happened again. This time though, I refused to be beaten. I called the health visitor who reassured me and we live to fight another day. Isobel does not have reflux. Isobel is fine. Mummy is paranoid.

Yesterday we had our first screaming fit. Yes, I know how lucky I am to be four weeks in and with only one screaming fit under our belts. I’d put her in the pram to walk to school to meet The big one. I’d even taken The big one’s scooter with me. When I got to school, I discovered that Zumba was on and The big one was busy shaking her stuff until 4pm. I don’t know why, but the baby decided to ‘kick off’ then, and no amount of walking around the vicinity of school would calm her down. I never thought I would find myself breastfeeding in the school playground, but there’s a first for everything.

Following that screaming fit, I felt a little deflated and more than a little exhausted- she’d been feeding every two hours since the previous day and all through the night and I was starting to think we needed to get a dummy. Then guess what happened? She blessed us with just the one feed last night and I have spent today feeling like a new person.

Being a family of five is a learning curve. So far, the best thing about it all is seeing The big one and and the toddler reacting to her. It’s going well. It was meant to be.

Big brother, little sister


#dosomethingyummy I am a survivor

So its the final week of Clic Sargent’s Yummy Mummy writing prompts, in preparation for the Yummy Mummy week coming up in March. I am truly honoured to have been asked to form part of the group of head mums for this campaign. That’s why I have emerged from my newborn baby bubble to take part this week. Huge apologies for missing last week’s prompt- I guess I can be excused , seeing as I was in the hospital 😉

So this week, the writing prompts are:

  1. Personal post.  Tell us your story of survival.  What did you overcome?
  2. Yummy post.  Do you know someone who has had cancer and survived?
  3. Creative writing.  Get your kids involved again – give them the prompt word “Survivor” and ask them to draw a picture or write a story and post up the results.

I have chosen the first prompt and I hope that some of you can understand my reasons for this. Whilst I would love to write of the survival of a certain little boy who is currently in recovery from Leukaemia, I cannot- his story is not mine to tell. Whilst I would love to write of the survival of my Auntie following her son’s death, or the more recent passing of her husband- again, I cannot. These are situations that I cannot personally understand and for that I am truly grateful.

I have my own story of survival, one that has unfolded over the last two years and one which is the very reason I am sat here today.

Ghostwritermummy was born just over a year ago in a desperate attempt to become a survivor. I was not in a happy place and I was in need of comfort. Ghostwritermummy was, at first, shy and self concious. She did not want people to read her private thoughts or to discover her inner demons. She wanted to pour out her fears, anxieties and darkness over the clean white screen and keep them there. She wanted to hide from the world and chose to do this behind a keyboard.

Over time, Ghostwritermummy learned that she was not alone. There were others like her who had suffered similar- and much, much worse- and who had come through it all. They called themselves survivors. Ghostwritermummy wanted to be a survivor too, but there were too many difficult days which forced her back into the darkness again and again. It was going to take something huge to get her into the light once more.

In the end it was something tiny that did it. Here she is:

This tiny little bundle has finally opened the doors for me. I now wear the survivor badge with pride. Ghostwritermummy has come full circle in so many ways.

Please pop over to Nickie’s blog, link up your own post and read the others. Use the hashtag #dosomethingyummy and get as many people involved as possible.

This week I am tagging:

Katetakes5 and Mummy Central. Hope you can join in!

I know that my journey has not been as difficult as many others but it is my journey, and my story of survival. Yes, I am a survivor.


#dosomethingyummy: family

This post is part of the Clic Sargent Yummy Mummy writing prompts, week 2. I’ve chosen the first prompt, to write about the type of family I grew up in. Please go and read the other posts linked up on Nickie’s blog too.

 

I was born in the late seventies, to a mum who was to go on to dedicate most of her life to raising me and my sisters, and a dad who really- let’s face it- couldn’t be bothered. I was six when my dad left with his ‘fancy woman’. My mum had had enough of his constant affairs, grumpy nature and solitary hobbies. He preferred to spend his weekends playing golf, fishing or taking photographs to spending time with his wife and three kids. Oh, and he liked to have affairs with other women too. These were all activities that we were not really invited to join him in and so I don’t really have many memories of the man. Those that I do have involve being told off.

When I was about eight, I think, my mum met my step-dad and eventually he and his daughter moved in with us. My little sister turned five years old and the absence of a card from our dad glared obviously amidst the celebrations. Ever the feisty one, my older sister called my dad and demanded to know where the birthday card was. The call was ended after he told her that as far as he was concerned, he no longer had any daughters. We were disowned.

At the time, it changed nothing. We never saw him anyway. He never took us out for the day, like the other dads you sometimes see in McDonalds or at the cinema on a Saturday afternoon. He never picked us up from  school, but he did spend the next few years turning up here and there, then disappearing again. At various points over my life I have had no idea at all where he is living or whether or not he is even alive. Today I only know thanks to my Auntie- there is no contact at all and its been that way since my daughter was 9 months old.

My dad’s absence was accepted as I was growing up. I didn’t know him at all and so I rarely missed him. I think I sometimes felt envious of other children who were able to call someone ‘dad’ but in the end I realised that was just a name. It took a  lot more to actually be a father.

My mum married my step-dad in 1985 and two years later my youngest sister was born. We were a family of five girls and life settled into a routine of hormones, nail varnish, pop-star posters and tears. My parents worked hard to make sure that we always had enough to eat, foreign holidays every year and even half term breaks in the UK every year too. My mum was a teacher and she and my step-dad always emphasised the importance of education. We were expected to leave home for university and to make something of ourselves. Staying in the small village where we were growing up was not an option. We were to see the world.

And see the world we did. At the age of 16 my eldest sister left home to work in Jersey. She then moved to London to study nursing and today she is a mental health nurse in Queensland. My second eldest sister (step) moved away to Birmingham for teacher training and is now a deputy head at a school close to where I live. My younger sister initially moved to Derby for university, before moving to Bournemouth for a few years. She then spent a year in Australia before moving back to the UK to study nursing. She now lives and works close to me too. My youngest sister met her husband at a young age and chose to stay local to our parents. She trained as a teacher in Lincoln and lives there now.

And me? I initially left home a year later than my sisters had, the only real rebellion I was brave enough to perform. I thought I wanted to work in a pub for the rest of my life and it only took me a year to remember that I had aspirations too. I left home for Bedford, then changed my mind and came ‘up north’ to do my Creative Writing and Literature degree. I dreamed, as I always had, of being a writer.

All that my sisters and I achieved were down to my parents. We were brought up to strive for something more in life and to chase after our dreams. We were brought up to believe in family and to rely on family. We were brought up as a family.  Someone once asked me what is was like coming from a ‘broken home’ and I had to laugh. My parents’ divorce didn’t break my family- it made it.


Clic Sargent #yummymummy writing prompts week 2!

Last week, lots of bloggers took part in the first set of Yummy Mummy writing prompts and the results were fantastic. So many beautiful posts to read through. Thank you to everyone who took part.

This week, the second set of prompts are up on Nickie’s blog  and I have a feeling they will produce yet more examples of superb writing. Week two is all about what family means to you and the prompts are:

1. a personal post: What kind of family did you grow up in?  Why is family important to you?

2. a yummy post: What happens to a family when a child is diagnosed with cancer?  How do siblings and parents cope? 

3. a creative post: Write about a perfect family moment.

As last week, we are asking as many people as possible to take part and if you could be so kind as to tag one or two people that would be fantastic. So, here are my tags:

The Boy and Me

Polythene Pram

 

Please spread the word by using the #dosomethingyummy hashtag on Twitter; add a twibbon to your Twitter avatar; join the Facebook page. Also, check out the other head mum’s blogs:

Mirka – @kahanka – All Baby Advice
Claire – @The LazyGirlBlog – Lazy Girl Blog
Nickie- @nickie72 – Typecast


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