Happy World Breastfeeding Week 2020! I’m now 10 days into my breastfeeding journey with my second baby. It’s been different this time round and I am feeling more confident; that’s not to say it’s been an easy ride. There have been tears over spilt breast milk, exhaustion and pain. One thing I have found helpful is having the right tools around me from the get go. Hopefully you find this list handy to get yourself all setup if you’re hoping to give breastfeeding a go with your Little.
I’ve been catching up on the first episode of Channel 4’s ‘Losing It: Our Mental Health Emergency’ and it got me thinking about my relationship with my daughter and the attitudes to mental health I want her to have. Read on for my synopsis of the show, reaction and thoughts on the current childhood Mental Health epidemic facing the UK.
Toddlers -little balls of energy! Certainly spirited at times… well, Miss EEE certainly is. The first steps of ‘toddler’ stage have been quite often exhausting for us as parents. We have spent a lot of time trying to negotiate with our little girl, navigating tantrums that I thought would be reserved for the ‘terrible twos’ and taking it in turns to settle her through yet another sleep regression. Quite often I hear myself saying this stage has been a ‘challenge’. Today I thought I would try and draw some positives from our current situation and have a think about what I can learn from Miss EEE. Yes, she’s a little firecracker at times, but she certainly has a zest for life that I would like to get a bit more of for myself. Read on for 5 top tips on how being ‘more toddler’ could improve your mental wellness.
When was the last time, if ever, you asked a friend, family member, colleague or neighbour about their mental health? Are you recoiling in embarrassment at the very thought of it? It’s a tricky topic isn’t it and I think a lot of the awkwardness we feel probably stems from the fact we don’t know what the right thing to say is. Perhaps you feel comfortable with starting the conversation but dread what you would do if the person you’re talking to actually isn’t ‘ok’? Or maybe you just don’t know how to begin to ask in the first place? Well we are all adults here and it’s time we cut the BS and educate ourselves as to what is helpful and will be supportive of our loved ones.
Today is World Mental Health Day 2019. Yes, a further chance to raise awareness of mental health. But actually, more than that, a signal for us all to start
Last week I was diagnosed with Mixed Anxiety and Depressive Disorder and PTSD. It was not unexpected but still I have a whole mixture of emotions about it. One conclusion I have drawn, is that being a good mother and having a mental illness are not mutually exclusive. Our babies just see Mama. For them you are everything. Nothing changes that. As many of you may know, due to the nature of the beast, that’s not always easy to remember! Today is one of those days when I needed to remind myself of that.
Here is a little photo story of the fun day me and Miss EEE had at the Science Museum in London last week. The trip was an experiment in itself. I was very anxious before I left – nervous about the tube, the weather, how she would nap! But I pushed myself to feel the fear and do it anyway. I accepted the invite by another NCT mum and her gorgeous little lady. I learnt during CBT that in order to alter our belief system sometimes the only thing that will work is to test out our beliefs. Do ‘experiments’ of a sort.
‘Mum guilt’ – the struggle is real! I was recently asked by a supporter of Mamas Mind Menu to post on ideas for guilt free self care. This mum feels guilty when she tries to do anything self care related beyond keeping her water intake up and washing her hair a few times a week. I can totally relate. On Monday night I was feeling low. About to start another working week with lots of time away from my baby girl, the ‘mum guilt’ was winning. By bedtime, despite avoiding screen time and alcohol and doing all the right things, I wasn’t feeling relaxed at all. I needed a self care pick me up with instant gratification that was both quick and guilt free. This got me thinking about how we can enjoy guilt free Mama self care with minimum effort and maximum impact. Here’s my conclusions…
Yesterday life got on top of me. Yesterday I cried at work. And you know what happened when I cried at work? Nothing. Nothing bad actually happened. No one laughed, no one commented, no one gave me a disapproving look. I spent so much energy trying to hold it all together because of some irrational fear of the consequences if I fell apart, but, when I did fall apart, I was handed a tissue by my lovely manager and that was it. She told me she understood and that was it. Nothing else happened. I wonder how many other Mamas have been in a similar situation when they’ve returned to work? I bet some of you can relate?
But why do we feel like emotions are unprofessional?
If you have a mental health condition like Anxiety, it can sometimes take over. Some days I feel like a big rain cloud is over my head and it’s hard to see the sunshine inside me. It’s important to remind yourself that you are more than your condition and therefore BIGGER than your Anxiety. The sun will shine through again!
Anxiety is not who I am. It is a condition that I manage (some days more successfully than others) but I do find it easy to forget this sometimes. When you are feeling like you need a reminder that you are bigger than your anxiety try the following tips.
“Slow down, slow down”, said the midwife in a calm but firm manner. “How?!”, I frantically screamed back in my head. And then, there she was. Our tiny little daughter came flying into the world, with one almighty splash, into the birthing pool.
Mr E and I are now very proud parents to a beautiful, sassy, loving, little one year old. It’s been the best and most challenging year of my life. Here are my reflections, one year into parenthood, on what it is like to live with mental health struggles and a baby. Not all of this has been easy to write but if it means just one other parent knows they are not alone in finding things difficult then it was worth it.