Thursday, 8 November 2012

The new 'skills' I have acquired since having a child...

  • Ability to change a nappy without holding my breath or going 'eugh'
  • Counting age in weeks (When does that stop?)
  • Being able to sweep a room SAS style for potential baby attractions (wires/drinks/curtains/various expensive and breakable items)
  • The ability to watch copious amounts of Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom and still laugh at Nanny Plum's dry sense of hunour.
  • Pureeing- I am the pureeing Queen- there is not a thing that I cannot turn to mush.
  • The ability to pack a bag as if leaving for a week every time we leave the house- after a rather messy incident in Marks and Spencers, I will never forget the spare change of clothes again.
  • I have learnt not to compare my child's development with that of others, I am simply chuffed and embarrassingly proud when she learns something new. 
  • The ability to death stare whilst muttering something highly rude whenever someone says something negative about my child. 
  • I now know the words in full to four nursery rhymes- this is a skill that needs working on otherwise Darcey may grow up believing that Halo by Beyonce is also a nursery rhyme. 
  • The ability to do a variety of tasks one handed, these include making up a bottle, going to the toilet and replying to my emails.
Joking aside, I feel like I have learnt a lot since Darcey was born. Some things have taken me by surprise but that is one of the most interesting things about having children; that new little person brings out the best and worst in us. 

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Welcome to No Instructions Included

I hate the whole introductory thing, like when you start university or a new job and you have to tell the person to your left at least three exciting things about yourself. However, I suppose this blog will need a little introduction, I plan to tell you lots of things about myself so it might help if you know where I'm coming from.
No Instructions Included is going to be a blog about me becoming a mummy, I'm only 9 months in and it's already been quite a journey. I'm going to share my experiences as I have found reading those of others so very helpful and reassuring. If nobody reads it then fine but if one person does and thinks Thank God, it's not just me, then it will have been worth it.
I found out that I was pregnant on 20th May 2011 which incidentally is my husband's birthday (Dr S) so that year he got a new 42inch flat screen TV and a baby! We were beyond excited once we had taken three pregnancy tests and convinced ourselves that there was indeed a positive line. We had been trying for a baby for four months so I know how incredibly lucky we were to fall pregnant so quickly, something I will never take for granted.
Fast forward 9 moths and a problem free pregnancy and Darcey arrived at 2.48pm in Friday 3rd February 2012. The birth was okay but I look back now and there were definitely things that could have been better. My husband is a doctor and so the hospital decided that it was fine for us to go home; we were back in our house by 7pm that evening. At the time I didn't argue as the hospital was ridiculously hot and I just wanted to be somewhere of a normal temperature. However, we should never have come home that night, my husband may be a doctor but in this situation that was meaningless; we were first time parents; I had lost a lot of blood; been stitched up and was exhausted. Darcey was perfect though and was so good that first night home; we could easily have slept but we spent most of the first night just looking at the beautiful little person that we had created.
I think that the first few weeks after Darcey was born were pretty standard. We were inundated with visitors, cards, gifts, flowers, cake and meals that just needed warming up. We quickly got used to the interrupted sleep, Darcey only ever got up twice for night feeds and has slept through since five months but it was still a pretty big shock to the system.
I think that having a baby changes your life completely and I don't think that I was fully prepared for that. Around Easter time, I noticed that I just didn't feel right. I was anxious, tearful and felt completely out of my depth and inadequate. I never felt that I would harm Darcey but I was scared of being left alone with her as I felt as though I wouldn't know what to do.
Dr S and my sister persuaded me to go to the doctors and I eventually gave in. Post-natal depression was diagnosed and I was given anti-depressants. I remember feeling so relieved when we left the doctors as I realised that I wasn't going mad and they had given me something that would help. Unfortunately I had a really bad reaction to the tablets and it just made everything worse. I felt constantly nauseous and couldn't eat anything; I think that in the end I was simply exhausted and my body had just had enough. The doctor said that I needed to give the tablets a little more time and that I needed to rest and regain my energy. I don't tend to be a drama queen but I honestly feel that it was one of the scariest times of my life and it makes me feel sick to remember how I felt. I felt completely out of control and had to put my trust in others who were reassuring me that it would all be fine.
My whole family and friends were brilliant but I don't think I would have got through those few weeks without my wonderful husband, sister and brother-in-law. My sister literally moved in which allowed me to rest and get my head around everything. My husband was incredibly patient and never made me feel like a burden. And they were right, things did get better, brilliant in fact, I still have the odd bad day but I LOVE being a mummy to Darcey and I no longer feel inadequate or scared. That doesn't mean that I don't worry but I now have more confidence in my decisions and know that I am doing my best.
The post-natal depression has left a lot of scars which I will post about in the future. I have decided to write about it and be honest because it is so easy to feel that you are the only one. My best friend experienced the same which was a huge source of comfort but it is still a taboo subject in general. People constantly try and reassure you that it is normal but at the time it seems terrifying and daunting. I just want others to know that it can be overcome and lived with and it doesn't take anything away from being a good mother.