After having some amazing comments about carrying on writing my blog last week, I felt it was only fair to share something I have found very difficult to talk about – and still do. I have been so honest about motherhood and all its ups and downs, it only seems right to be open about this – and I hope I can help other mums that might be going through the same thing. I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) at the beginning of the year in connection with Rafe’s birth. I kept my feelings hidden for a while and I didn’t really know what was going on – but I knew something wasn’t quite right. I was experiencing flashbacks of certain traumatic parts of the birth and it was causing me to have what I can only describe as panic attacks. You would never know I was having them – I became very experienced in hiding them from my friends and family. But it was affecting my relationship with my husband – and that is why I reached out for help. I was so closed off and detached from him because of what I was going through – I couldn’t even bear to be hugged. I was referred to Obstetrics and Gynaecology Health Psychology Service and during my initial assessment, I had to do a number of questionnaires. On one of the questionnaires connected to the diagnosis of PTSD – I scored 50, the guideline for diagnosing PTSD was 33 and above. To start with and to an extent still, there was a huge feeling of shame and embarrassment. PTSD is something I am aware of due to the nature of my husband’s job. “All I did was give birth – I haven’t been to war,” was what kept circulating in my head. I didn’t know much at all about PTSD and birth and I have always been someone that has just kind of plodded on and got on with things so I felt frustrated I was 'stuck'. I couldn’t just ‘get over’ this. My psychologist put it well when she said because of my husband’s job, the PTSD bar was set quite high and that, along with my own self-judgement, was where this shame and embarrassment came from. That worry about what people would think and how I would be judged. “Her husband has done four operational tours and it’s HER that has PTSD.” Irrational maybe – but that’s how I felt. Also, so many women give birth, their experiences can be incredible – or so, so much worse than mine – why have I got PTSD? Why has this happened to me? Why is this affecting me so much? I kept comparing myself to others, like my trauma wasn’t worthy enough, but was reminded that everyone's own experience of trauma is incredibly different. And my psychologist reassured me when she said that I was not alone in suffering from birth trauma and reminded me that when giving birth, you are at your most vulnerable, you are in the worst pain of your life, your body is in flight or fight mode - and then to throw in a genuine fear for your baby's life, it was understandable why I felt traumatised. I had to write a trauma script (the part of my birth story I most struggled with) which was extremely difficult but shows where the trauma originated. It wasn’t the whole birth – just certain moments that seem to have had a huge impact on me, moments where I genuinely thought my baby’s life was in danger. I will share the script with you as it is hard to put into words really. If you have read my birth story (which I look at now and I think that was a PG version of what happened, although you can see the trauma sifting through a little) you will know I was blue lighted to another hospital as Rafe’s heartbeat was dropping (I planned to give birth in a midwife-led hospital). The flashbacks that have plagued me were all connected to the genuine feeling that Rafe was going to die. And I wouldn’t be taking him home with me. I haven’t even properly talked about this to my husband, family or friends as I just sometimes can’t seem to find the words – but I find it easier to write down. I thought if I had known more about birth trauma and read about someone’s experiences – that might have helped me, just to know I wasn’t alone. And I wouldn’t have felt so much shame and avoided getting help. So that’s why I’m sharing today. It's quite a big step for me to do this as I haven't openly talked about it in great detail to anyone and I must have changed my mind about sharing this a million times. Quite scary to share this to be honest! But I’ve been so honest about the exhaustion (HE IS STILL NOT SLEEPING), the nap obsession, the routine stress – the first gorgeous smiles and poo explosions – it didn’t feel right not to talk about this. Because it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Although giving birth is an incredible experience (minus the pooing yourself) - it’s a huge trauma on your body, you not only need to take time to heal physically, sometimes mentally too.
My flashbacks started back in December last year and just seemed to come out of the blue. I don’t know whether Rafe being in hospital when he was 6-weeks old for bronchiolitis and finding out about the hole in his heart had maybe suppressed my feelings – or had triggered them. But they do say symptoms tend not to appear until after those first few months. Makes sense as you are pretty much in a fog of nappies and hormones and don’t really have time to think about much else other than baby. One of my flashbacks, although a less common flashback, was when Rafe was in hospital and they had to put a feeding tube down his throat which was difficult to watch as I just felt so helpless while he was crying. I don’t know whether that hospital stay, finding out about the hole in heart - on top of the birth trauma all just came together and collectively caused these feelings – or I was always going to struggle because of the birth. I guess I’ll never know. I always felt quite emotional about the birth and would often think, fuck that was scary, but the flashbacks and feelings of anxiety were on a different level a few months down the line. I don’t know if I would have ever actually reached out to get help if it wasn’t for my feelings towards my husband. As far as I was concerned, I was managing the flashbacks and I wasn’t depressed, I had no negative feelings towards Rafe – I was doing a pretty good job at this mum malarkey. But take away the genuine feelings of husband hate that I often joke about – and what we all have experienced! I felt detached emotionally from him and claustrophobic if he tried to touch me – I knew that wasn’t right. We have always been really affectionate so this was on the total other scale. And I’m aware that after you have a baby, weeks, months and months down the line, the majority of women aren’t like, you know what I really want to do right now? Have sex. Nope, we just want to sleep. And we couldn’t feel less sexy in our maternity bras and dry shampooed hair. But this ran deeper than the ‘norm’. And I felt quite angry a lot of the time - not at Rafe, just a feeling of anger and I didn't know why. So I spoke to my health visitor who referred me to my doctor and then eventually a phycologist. Both my health visitor and doctor queried Post Natal Depression but I just kept saying, “I’m not depressed”. “I don’t feel detached from Rafe”. It’s difficult as we are all quite rightly so, clued up on PND – just not all the other stuff to do with mental health and having a baby. So initially I just felt a mixture of – I don’t have PND so I must be fine – to what the fuck is actually wrong with me?
After I was told I had PTSD, I felt a huge wave of emotion as it was almost a relief that there was a ‘label’ on what I was feeling – but then all those other emotions came into play – shame, embarrassment, guilt. I had to write and then read my trauma script out during one of the first sessions and it was like the floodgates opened – it was hugely emotional as I had been suppressing a lot of those feelings for a long tine. Here it is (underneath the line, is what my psychologist and I wrote together in one of the follow-up sessions when Rafe was 8-months):
My waters broke in three separate gushes and I knew something had changed. My husband had to go and drop our dog off at a friends and I was alone in the house when they broke. I felt quite frightened. But then almost talked myself out of the fear and kept repeating everything would be okay. But the pain had gone from totally manageable to horrendous. We went back to Arbroath and the midwife who greeted me wanted to hold off until the midwife who had saw me earlier came back from a community visit. I remember standing in the corridor and having one of my contractions and the midwives looking at me as if to say: “yeah, she’s definitely in labour.” I was taken into a side room and while we were waiting for the other midwife to come back. However, she then saw me have a contraction and wanted to check me over herself. She checked my pulse at first and she kept checking it and checking it. She had an almost confused look on her face. I thought that maybe something was up but she wasn’t saying anything so I tried to stay calm. She then checked baby’s heart rate and immediately wanted me on the monitor. My heart rate was sky rocketing and the baby's heart rate began to dip. There were a couple more midwives in the room now. All of a sudden the baby's heart rate dropped to in the 70's and the midwife screamed out for someone else to come in the room and things started to get more frightening. When I say screamed – she screamed. “GET THE OXYGEN.” And she looked so panicked and frightened. Her face I can’t get out of my head – I can see it so vividly and I can hear that scream. I know health professionals are still human but you expect them to not show their fear or concern – to reassure you. But her fear made me realise something was seriously wrong. I was in so much pain and I felt totally out of control. I couldn’t control my pulse, my breathing, my body, my baby. I felt totally helpless. They shoved the oxygen mask on my face and told me to breathe and be calm, which felt impossible. They were trying to explain that baby’s heart rate was dipping really low and that I needed to be transferred to Ninewells hospital. I don’t remember whether I was saying this out loud but in my head I was saying: “please let my baby be okay, please.” I starting pushing and couldn’t stop and they kept shoving the oxygen mask over my face and the midwife was telling my husband he had to get to Ninewells now, again with such urgency and panic I just felt like I didn’t know what was going on. My husband looked so scared too but was holding it together. I didn’t want him to go. When he left the contractions got worse and they said I was five cms but I still kept wanting to push. They kept telling me not to but I literally could not stop myself from pushing. Everyone seemed so panicked around me and moving fast. When they checked me over I saw that there was blood/mucus discharge and they were unsure if the baby had poo’d inside me, which I knew meant he/she was distressed so I just felt so terrified. And alone. My husband had gone and I although I was left with midwives, I felt totally alone and scared – for my baby and for me. I thought something bad was going to happen to me – and even worse, to my baby. I had this image of me giving birth to a dead baby and I couldn’t get that out of my head but kept trying to tell myself it would be okay. But I felt like nobody could reassure me. The paramedics came and they strapped me into a stretcher which was horrendous. I just remember them looking at me as I was quite vocal about wanting to stand up and how much pain I was in and I felt so vulnerable. These two men were trying to help me but I was in my most vulnerable state and I had nobody there who I loved who could reassure me – and I just kept thinking that something serious was going to happen to my baby as his heart rate kept dipping. I was desperate to move during my contractions, so being strapped in made the pain seem unbearable. And I kept wanting to push. In the Ambulance, I kept saying, “why am I pushing?” The paramedic looked quite concerned as there was no way of monitoring the baby’s heart rate in the Ambulance, so I had no idea what was going on. I kept imagining being rushed into theatre – and giving birth to a dead baby. That image – and that midwives face screaming for the oxygen just haunts me. Absolutely haunts me. Because I felt that fear I had – was the fear she had on her face. Because nobody could tell me what was going on, because they did not know. My instincts knew something was wrong and the speed of everything meant I just couldn’t take anything in. I couldn’t breathe. Although the blue lights were on - it was still a good 20 minutes to Dundee and felt like the longest journey of my life. Between contractions I was trying to talk and be calm but I just wanted to see my husband. And for him to hold my hand and tell me that everything was going okay. His face when I was wheeled into the hospital is also a face I can’t forget. I can’t even put it into words how I felt at that time. So vulnerable, frightened, in the worst pain of my life, out of control and totally alone, with this overwhelming fear that this baby I had felt kick in my belly and had sang to every night and I had dreamed about and had spoken to and dreamt of that first smell, that first kiss was going to be placed in my arms – but I wouldn’t be able to take them home.
Can’t write anymore for now.
Once we got to Ninewells and I recognised the midwife and saw Chris, I started to feel safe again. When the midwife confirmed I was full dilated, it validated what I knew and I felt relieved I could let my body do what it was trying to do and felt natural doing. I knew I was in the best place and I felt in calm, safe hands.
Now Rafe is nearly eight month’s old, he is happy, safe and healthy. I am safe and healthy but have found managing the impact of how absolutely terrifying labour was – not so much actually giving birth, but the emotions, the vulnerability and the fear of losing my baby that has come to take over any other emotions I may have had. I am working hard to validate and come to terms with how I felt. It is okay that I am feeling what I am feeling. I am human and it is entirely understandable. By showing myself compassion, I can begin to feel better and we can move forward as a family.
I must stress that in no way are my criticising the midwives - or hospital staff during my labour - they were all incredible. Superheroes. My psychologist said that if that midwife didn't have that fear - then maybe she wouldn't have reacted so quickly and did what she had to do. She also summed up my symptoms in a letter to my doctor: In terms of Faye’s mood, she told me she does not feel sad or depressed, but is aware she feels highly anxious a lot of the time. Faye describes regularly experiencing sudden waves of panic, feeling intense fear and as though she can’t breathe. Triggers to this can be external, for example a TV programme which reminds Faye of her birth experience, or internal, for example when a particular thought comes into her mind, again related to her birth experience. If Faye is alone with Rafe, she will manage by steadying her breathing and then grounding herself with a task in the house or with Rafe. However, if she is with anyone else she instinctively feels she must hide what is happening to her and puts significant pressure on herself to hold her panic in. In those moments, she is unable to communicate with others other than to snap at them if they ask her what is wrong and there is a sense she almost tries to hold her breath until the fear passes. It has been a significant step for Faye to access our service as she feels deep shame about her current difficulties. Faye has been someone who has always “coped” with life events and circumstances independently and had anticipated that birth would be no different. During labour she was overwhelmed with feelings of fear for her own and Rafe’s life and how out of control she felt and is now experiencing significant trauma symptoms.
Faye has managed her trauma symptoms by trying to keep a “tight hold” on all her emotion, fearing that if she were to let any of them out, she would “fall apart”. Faye has become incredibly skilled in this, to the extent that she can experience a panic attack in company and those around her would not be aware of the severity of her distress inside. An unintended consequence of this understandable emotion avoidance is the maintenance of trauma symptoms, as the difficult emotions and memories are unable to be processed. In order to keep such “tight” hold of her emotions, Faye has also become emotional distant to those around her, with the exception of Rafe. The magnitude of this task is meaning her emotions are then intermittently “busting out” as irritability with her husband, which is reinforcing the distance between them and a cycle of Faye feeling frightened and guilty to express what she is feeling inside and others now knowing how best to support her.”
I wasn't necessarily affected by my PTSD every second of the day. It just wasn't helped by the fact I kept suppressing my emotions and I did not want to deal with the flashbacks, the fear and the anxiety. The moments I did have these flashbacks, they were difficult and I felt incredibly anxious. I was an expert at just batting the feelings away. When I was with Rafe and my life with him, the day-to-day, was never affected by my panic attacks, I was able to carry on as 'normal' - it was more the detachment from other people, in particular my husband that was an obvious sign something was wrong. I think I was working so hard to keep the trauma in, I was unable to show any form of affection to my husband, to allow any type of intimacy. But looking back, especially I would say before I got help, so December/Jan, the beginning of the year in particular I was quite anxious in certain situations. And when I had these flashbacks or these feelings of anxiety, I would describe them as me being on the edge of emotion, tottering along, knowing something needed to give but not willing to let it.
One memorable and difficult panic attack happened when I was in the car with my husband on the way back from the cinema. Randomly – like a lot of my triggers, had been from a film. There was a scene where a young gorilla was basically watching his mum be killed and I was suddenly overwhelmed by my flashbacks. It could literally happen at the most random of times, over a TV programme, a film, a newspaper article, if Rafe was poorly - if I heard bad news - or just out of thin air sometimes. I can only describe the attack as like I was punching out of my body erratically but trying to keep it all in and not show I was in any distress. But these are few and far between now. I haven’t ever been able to read my trauma script again like I did that first time. However, we were able to break it down (I went every two weeks for a 50-minute session), talk about it, how I felt then, how I feel now, how Rafe is safe and along with cognitive behavioural therapy and me working hard to try and deal with the flashbacks through breathing, grounding – and not pushing them aside, the flashbacks are less frequent – and are more like emotional memories now. But the connection with my husband will still take time as I guess I’ve switched my emotions off – and need to re-connect again. (He has been INCREDIBLE through all this, so so supportive - it's obviously been really hard on him too). So it’s not like I’ve suddenly woke up after months of therapy and went WOW, EVERYTHING IS OKAY. It’s better. And I don’t feel so ashamed or guilty. And I never want to paint birth as always being this terrifying experience. Mine just went so far from what I imagined, from hypnobirthing/water birth to totally out of control and fear, that I don’t think all the calm breathing in the world would have helped me get over it. And the actual giving birth part isn't a traumatic memory for me (despite feeling like my vagina was on fire). It was just the bits in-between that have caused me distress.
Like I mentioned earlier, another thing I’ve struggled with is that I know people have went through worse trauma than me – and they haven’t got PTSD. Why me? Everything worked out okay. Rafe was classed as a ‘normal' delivery in the end. That’s where a lot the embarrassment and shame has come in – but shame is quite a common symptoms of PTSD too. So I'm learning to accept that it doesn’t make me weak for struggling. My feelings, the flashbacks, the trauma were out if my control, it’s just up to me to deal with them now. But I'm okay. And most importantly so is Rafe - I will forever be thankful for that.
I realise I have written a lot here – and maybe also glossed over it a little. But that’s what I wanted to tell you. It’s just hard to put it all into words. So if anyone wants to chat further, please just get in touch. I do think that birth trauma is something that needs to be talked about more. Sounds silly and naive for me to say this now, but I didn't even connect that you could suffer from PTSD from giving birth. I also wanted to reassure everyone that all my emotions I have been writing about since the birth – the husband hate, the nap obsessions, the exhaustion, the worrying about what the heck I'm doing – those have nothing to do with PTSD – I was always going to feel those normal feelings that come with being a mum! And I will keep writing about those exact feelings every week – (thank you for all your amazing comments on my blog last week, I felt hugely emotional knowing that my blog had reached so many people) and I still live in hope with you all that we will sleep again. And I will probably touch on the PTSD sometimes (I have been discharged from the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Health Psychology Service for now) – and like I said, if anyone wants to talk to me about it, please do get in touch. If you’re going through something similar – don’t be ashamed or scared – you’ll be okay. Just make sure you reach out and get the help you need. It can happen to anyone. It doesn’t make you a bad mum – or a bad person. There’s nothing wrong with asking for some help.
Thank you for reading.
Why do people say “I slept like a baby” meaning they had a wonderful night’s sleep? When what that really means is, take two hours to go to sleep, every time you are put down, you wake, yet miraculously fall asleep when in someone’s arms. You need shushed, sang to, swayed up and down, until eventually you go to sleep after almost breaking your mum’s back as you are a ton weight. You then wake a couple of hours later and want feeding. But then flat out refuse to go back to sleep for FOUR HOURS. Even with more nursing, swaying, singing, shushing, ignoring, praying PLEASE GO TO SLEEP, nursing, swaying, singing, shushing, until eventually, when it hits 4am, you crash out next to your mum, who is hovering on the edge of a King-size bed in the most uncomfortable position, scared to move but so thankful for a little bit more sleep. Then you wake an hour later, bright as a button, like you’ve had 12 hours sleep. While your mum looks a scarecrow. Oh and then repeat the process every night. So to the pregnant me, almost a year ago, reading a lovely baby book about the ‘dream’ routine between 6-12 months where baby will finally sleep through the night. IT IS A LIE. THEY NEVER ACTUALLY SLEEP. And you will still look like the bird lady from Home Alone 2 almost a year down the line. So yeah, it’s been a rough week….Who needs sleep anyway? (She says sobbing in the corner, cradling wine).
So yeah, there’s a sleep regression at this age. Brilliant. But as someone said: “when are they ever not in a sleep regression?!” It’s been a mix of horrendous nights – to ‘okay’ nights, to one night where he seemed to have turned a new leaf – but then back to square one. It does make me laugh when I think back to those early months and I thought of the 12-month mark being the holy grail – where baby would have been sleeping through the night by now and I’d be fresh as a daisy. Finally looking alive – with two eyebrows. But no. One eyebrow is my look now. Do babies actually ever sleep through? Is this just a myth to keep pregnant women blissfully unaware of the amount of coffee they will need to survive a day?
I’ve been trying out different foods for Rafe this week (thank you for all the recomendations!) – but the majority have ended up on the floor. But going to keep persevering... Someone suggested muffins (I actually baked!) but he gave most to the dog. I think he is actually testing me as he keeps looking at me, putting his hand out - then dropping the food with a smirk on his face. The little sh..tinker. But hopefully I'll have more success this week - if not, I'll happily eat all the muffins in one go.
We had more success at nursery this week. Although I was dreading going and he clung to my arm and cried when I had to leave - which was horrific. But about an hour later I received a photo of him playing with a musical instrument, saying he had settled. I fully expected I'd have to pick him up early again, but the little dude went a full day! When I picked him up, the staff said he had been great. Not overly fussy on food (apart from snacks…) and had one nap (standard) but had been full of smiles and been quite happy most of the day. So that was a huge relief. It’s just going to take time but I’m hoping it will get easier as the weeks go on. My friend reassured me when she told me her friend’s little girl would scream when her mum left but now she cries when she has to leave nursery! They like to keep us on our toes don’t they?
As Rafe is almost one (again – how did this happen?) I’ve been thinking more about my blog. I never expected I would still be writing – and people still reading! So thank you. It’s been such an amazing experience for me, to know that other people are going through exactly the same – and of course all the advice I have been given has been incredible. The idea was to do a week by week account postpartum – but when he hits one, I guess I just need to know people will still be interesting in reading? I don’t know whether to change the format a little, as may not be able to write a blog post every week, but have more daily photos (like my Instagram page) and what I have shared a bit more his week? As well as a weekly/two weekly post that either is on a theme? Or on my challenges of the week? What do you all think?
Best be off, coffee to drink, baby to shush, husband to hate.
Till next time…
Mum guilt: Feeling like absolute crap for actually not really doing anything wrong, but still feeling like crap and that you’re the worst mum ever but actually you’re doing a pretty good job and the best you can but you still feel crap but your baby thinks you’re a legend but you still feel a knot in your stomach and a tightness in your heart. So yeah, I've had major mum guilt this week. Rafe was a little bit upset when I dropped him off at nursery this week so was extra difficult to leave him but a few hours later, I got a photo and a text from the staff to say he had settled after a cuddles and was happy and playing. Then about 2pm I got a call saying Rafe was really unsettled, he had a bit of a cough (he has had a snotty nose for about a week) and they thought he had enough for the day. He hadn’t really eaten or had any milk and was being really clingy and didn’t want to be put down – the complete opposite of the week before. Luckily work is understanding so I was able to nip and get him and my dad was able to look after him for the rest of the afternoon. But when I walked in, he was just sat on someone’s knee and he looked quite upset and I just wanted to burst into tears. I felt so guilty. The nursery staff were reassuring and reminded me it was only his second session but it just doesn’t make it any easier. But to be honest, along with it just being his second day, I think it was a mixture of him being a bit under the weather and this is the first week in our new home so he has been quite unsettled – so some big changes all in one week. But still felt major hit you in the heart and face mum guilt. And you know what? I miss him. It’s been four weeks back at work and I miss him. Yes, it’s easier in the sense of I’ve got into a routine with being back at work and I feel less broken-hearted about the maternity leave chapter ending but I just miss those days and Rafe. I miss our 8-mile walks a day, I miss baby yoga, I miss after nap-time snuggles when he is all cuddly, I miss our little adventures, I just miss him. Being a mum is a bit of an emotional rollercoaster isn’t it?
It’s been a bit of a tough week this week. Put aside the mum guilt, it’s been a bit unsettling for both Rafe and I. Obviously moving into our new home has been amazing – it already feels like home. But Rafe has been waking quite a bit in the night (more so than normal) which is understandable but I look like a walking zombie and have a coffee on standby all day. It’s also been the first time I’ve been ‘alone’ for a while. Being a military wife, being on your own becomes the norm, I won’t say you get used to it, but you soon get into your own little routine. When they are away for months on end, you have good days and bad days but you just get on with it and count down the days till they are home. However, since Rafe has been born, I’ve never really been on my own. When we were living on the married patch in Arbroath (moved back to the North East when Rafe was 8 weeks), my husband was home most nights. And then when we moved back to Geordieland, we were back in with my parents, so although he went away, I always had company. There was always someone there to speak to, after I came down after bathing and feeding Rafe. I never really felt ‘lonely.’ But now it’s just me and the dog. Who I love, but the conversation is a bit one-sided. So that’s been strange – and there have been a few tears. So I have to get into a routine of it just being me, Rafe and Yankee. Obviously the grandparents are on hand whenever I need them and my mum has been popping in after work on the days she doesn't have Rafe. Just going to take a bit of time to get back into the good old military life of talking to the dog, watching a good box set, living off cereal and oh – looking after a baby too. Wish me luck...
Getting used to not sleeping in the same room together is causing sleepless nights for the both of us. I’m so used to him being next to me in his cot and hearing him wriggle around. It was also so easy in the night to bring him next to me to feed on the bed, then straight back into his cot. When I'm bleary eyed at 2am and have to sit on a chair in his nursery, it feels like an epic. But again, just take time to get used to it. And he won’t be feeding through the night much longer will he?!!!
Friday night was on a whole different level of horrendous. I think it was teething but he would not be put down for hours and hours. I ended up sleeping on the floor in the nursery which was fun. Felt sorry for the poor guy but equally just wanted him to go to sleep.
Rafe’s still a bit of a fuss pot when it comes to food. I mean he will eat snacky finger food until the cows come home but actual meals can still be a bit hit or miss. Unless its lentils or soup randomly! We’ve been doing a mix of mashed food and finger food since I started weaning but have been introducing much more baby-led/textures for a while now but a lot of the time he throws the food on the floor (which the dog loves). Any go-to-recipes I can try for a bit of a fussy eater? Also, what do you all do for lunch? I've been giving him 'proper' meals but I don't know whether to start giving him more snacky lunches - soup and sandwiches etc? He likes laughing cow and banana - any other suggestions for fillings?
After googling ‘best routines for (insert month) since day one, I was shocked to find that there wasn’t a lot of routines out there for one-year-olds. WHAT? I just don’t know whether to drop one of his milk feeds during the day now – and just have a snack? And when he turns one and can have cow’s milk – do I give him that during the day, rather than formula? (I’ll still be breastfeeding morning feed and night – but again, don’t know whether to stop breastfeeding - AHHHHH) I’m basically fucking confused again. Also I read a comment on another mum’s insta page about cow’s milk being bad – and sheep’s milk was better and now I’m like WHAT THE FUCK? I had and still have cow’s milk and I’m okay. Please don't confuse me anymore. I already need to worry about salt content, whether I actually need to make my own jam…and 50,000 other things, I can’t add milk to the list. So yeah, help again please!
I’ve got most of Rafe’s birthday presents and cake sorted. I still just can’t believe he is almost one. Those who have followed my blog for a while and have baby’s a similar age – it would be lovely if you could send me a photo of your little one on their birthday. I feel like we have got through this year together so I thank you all.
Till next time...
I knew it was going to be a difficult morning, dropping Rafe off for nursery for the first time but when I had to fill in a little book, with one of the questions saying, ‘Who are Rafe’s best friends?’ it took a lot to hold back the snots and tears in-front of the (very lovely) nursery staff. I just wanted to write in bold – I’M HIS BEST FRIEND. ME! I know what makes him happy, sad, laugh, excited. I know when he wants feeding. When he wants a cuddle. When he wants to play. I know him more than anyone. I just wanted to whisk him away but when I saw the other babies playing, all the toys, the lovely nursery staff - and Rafe just instantly rolling around the floor loving life, I knew I had to leave and he would be looked after. With it being is first day, it was just a case of seeing how he got on, we didn’t expect him to do the full day so all morning I was expecting a call to say I had to come get him. But at 11am I got a text saying he had settled well and was having his lunch and he had also had a nap. What?! Who are these wizards?!!! It was such a relief to know he was doing okay. My friend summed it up well when she said leaving your baby with strangers, especially if they are upset, goes against all your instincts. However much you know they will be looked after and how much they will grow to love their time there and the nursery staff, it’s still incredibly hard. Especially that first day. And the next few times will be emotional I’m sure. I know how much Rafe can get quite shy and cling to me when he sees new people so I was flabbergasted when they rang at 3pm (he will normally stay till 4.30ish after work) to say they thought he had done enough for the day as had woke from another nap (wizards) and was a little upset I wasn’t there when he woke up. But when I got there, I walked in the room and he was just playing with some toys, looking content. He did his little arm shake he does when he gets excited, when he saw me (tears and snot) and gave me a big hug. They said he had been amazing for his first day and had been happy, it was just when he woke up they thought he had enough, which is understandable. They said they had done some singing, which he had loved, which again made me want to cry - happy tears though. So although slightly traumatic for me, Rafe was an actual legend. I know it was only his first day and it is going to take some time for him to settle – and me to get used to it, but I know that this little day every week with other babies, who will become his best pals, and the lovely staff, will be good for him. So if you are worried about the first drop off – turns out, your baby is actually a stronger, braver person than you.
We have moved into our new house yesterday. It’s been all hands on deck this week, with my husband and family being absolute heroes to get the house sorted. I’ve been at work but trying to do some cleaning in the evenings so as you can probably tell – have been slightly stressed. What with still getting used to being back at work, Rafe’s first day at nursery and moving home – it’s been a few weeks of wanting to open at bottle of wine at 11am. (Who my kidding – 10am.) But we’ve got there! And Rafe slept in his own room for the first time last night, which again, more for me was quite a big step and emotional. (I think sometimes these big milestones are harder for us than our babies.) At first it takes time to get used to baby’s breathing and snoring and wriggling around – then it becomes a comfort. And that Ewan the sheep has literally got me to sleep for 11 months’ – I genuinely need one for my room now. So I cried last night. Obviously. I’m just going to miss him lying next to in his cot. Miss his little snores. It was particularly emotional as hardly slept this week as Rafe is teething and has a cold so he a been up every two hours which has been marvellous. So last night was just the same – but was even worse as he was obviously unsettled. So it was all kind of emotional. But I’m sure it will get better....please.
A super short (but sweet I hope) blog post this week as had to quickly write this between cleaning our new house, dreaming of wine, work, Rafe cuddles and washing horse shit off my dog.
P.s And sorry for taking so long to reply to messages/not replied yet - I will!
Royal Marine Wife. Mum to Rafe.