motherhood

Jailbreak

23082014

cot1 cot2 cot3 cot4 cot5Eighteen long months and he finally won the battle. Last week we gave up and took the cot down. He thought it was hysterical. Needless to say he is very happily not using his new travel cot and spending most of the night sleeping at all manner of angles in our bed. Oh Forrest. Sleep has never been your strong point. Hopefully by Christmas he will have his own room and a bed and the combination of this will be so exciting that he will realise that actually sleeping through the night is pretty awesome and he doesn’t need to knee us in the bollocks (or elsewhere) all night to get some decent shut eye. Bye bye £35 IKEA cot. I am so so glad I didn’t buy the stupidly fancy expensive one I wanted when I was preggo. I would be kicking myself in the balls if I had.

What’s this all about then?

02062014

image

It has been a strange time for me and this blog of late. I sat down this evening with the sole aim of trying to write something about weaning. I made a very clear decision that I was going to write a certain type of post, a ‘parenting-post’.  I had decided that this blog was lacking a bit of momentum. I sat down to write this and decided it was all utter bollocks. Lets face it, nobody is really that interested in my breastfeeding or weaning journey. It’s certainly not what I had intended for this blog in the early days. In the early days it was all about showing off my pretty wedding and keeping my family up to date with our travels abroad. Then I had a baby and my life totally changed and suddenly the internet is telling me I should be writing about the contents of my nappy bag. Don’t worry- this will never ever happen.

image_2I wouldn’t be the first person to decide that culturally we are mis-selling motherhood. Countless lifestyle blogs, targeted motherhood sites, designer maternity gear, yadda yadda yadda, all forget to mention that parenting is so very difficult. It is a beautifully messy mindfuck. Enough people informed me while pregnant that my life was about to explode so I was under no illusions that when Forrest was born that I was waving goodbye to everything I knew. But I certainly have not been able to replace it or find comfort in designer sippy cups or bonpoint. I’m fed up of the internet telling me that everything should be peachy and that if I buy all the gear that I will be eternally happy and look incredible. Babies expose the creatures we really are and motherhood is messy (and awesome) and that’s the way it should be. I think I need a break from the internet. I’m fed up of glowy pictures telling me otherwise.

image_1

So that leaves me wondering why I felt the need to sit down to write something at all. The short answer is that since weaning F, my hormones have been off the scale and whilst in my upbeat moments I have been ecstatically trawling the Mimi Holiday Spring/Summer Collection,  most of the time I have been in a bit of a slump. No more precious Oxytocin basically means that all the big fears and questions I have had over the last year are being are suddenly powerful and present.The enormity of our move and being responsible for a child in a different country tops the list but also my future roles and goals. My career (or what’s left of it) is constantly weighing heavily on my mind. What I am going to do, what sort of job will suit F and I, can I make enough money for us to get by and afford childcare and be personally satisfied? Will I go back to work and miss my son unbearably? Will I go back to work and not miss him enough? Will anyone ever employ me ever again? Big serious scary questions and I don’t really have any answers to any of them but I feel a bit better spitting them out loud here. I suppose in the same way that babies completely dismantle your life, us moving is going to be a similar upheaval. And lots and lots of good came out of having a baby. In fact, it’s the best thing we ever did and so maybe, job or no job, it will all fathom itself out. And if anyone in Toronto is reading this, I am lovely and come fall, I will really really need a job.

F and the broom

Finally, if you have stumbled across this page looking for weaning tips  I have but one. Wean when your child is good and properly ready. I did and it was the easiest, gentlest and sweetest moment of my parenting journey so far. Don’t push your child, go on instinct, follow their lead and when they are ready, celebrate and go out and buy yourself the prettiest bra known to mankind (still on my to-do list). And that is that.

forrest and broom 3

These photos have absolutely nothing to do with any of this but man alive, my kiddo looks totally cool with his broom.

 

One

12022014

forrestbcakeHappy first birthday my beautiful Forrest Jura. Thank you for the very best year of my life.

M x

Moments that mattered in 2013

06022014

Its already February, we are rapidly approaching Forrest’s first birthday and this new year is well and truly underway. As we all begin to work hard towards making this year significant and joyful, it is natural to look back on the previous year and the moments that made it extraordinary. For me, the birth of my son is of course the single standalone moment but I have come too see his birth and my whole pregnancy as a collective moment in my life. Birth is such a fleeting experience and the event of giving birth is so momentous that it is easy to forget that it is not the whole story.

belly copy

I never really talked about my pregnancy on this blog. I mentioned why a couple of times but never fully went into detail about how it all went down. This time last year, I was as pregnant as pregnant could be and I simply could not move without being in the most mind numbing pain. I couldn’t stand for longer than 3 minutes. I didn’t really leave the house for 4 months. I wept on the floor every night after my husband got home because I was lonely and frustrated and angry.

Blogging and particularly blog reading does set up a whole heap of expectations about the way in which we think we should be living our lives. I am guilty as the next reader about reading some post somewhere and wishing life could be as beautiful as it looks in their pictures. I remember before I was pregnant, reading blogs and looking at these beautiful women and admiring them. Of course I didn’t realise at the time but I was nurturing a completely unrealistic vision of what pregnancy, motherhood and family life would really look like. So when my pregnancy took a turn for the worse and I could no longer walk, I took it really hard. I felt in many ways like the true experience of pregnancy had been taken from me. Of course I was completely wrong. My pregnancy was a deeply personal journey. It was not very fun or photogenic experience; unless you wanted to see million pictures of me lying on my left side, wincing in pain and watching Dawson’s Creek but it was still beautiful and has hugely shaped the way I  view and live my life. A year later, I have learnt how much I value my freedom and although it sounds ridiculous, the ability to go outside and take a walk! I try to take Forrest out every day, sometimes for the simple reason that I can. It matters so much because there was a time when it was completely impossible for me to do so. Rather than forget the whole experience, I have now come to realise its significance in my life. I am more motivated, positive and more grateful than I ever was before. I learnt that a could be patient (something which I now value above anything as a mother) and I guess I learnt that I was braver than I realised. I am proud of my body for coping for as long as it did. I didn’t have a perfect pregnancy and it wasn’t easy but my pregnancy and the lessons I have inadvertently taught me how to be a more selfless mother.

On prgenancy

My leg has never fully recovered. Occasionally I feel a funny twinge or a little burn on my right side. It used to frighten me but now I sort of like it. It’s like a private reminder of what my body did in order to make this baby. Its my little tattoo of that year and everything I learnt from it.

I know that I need to let it go and embrace that period in my life. It was a moment in time where something really powerful and good came out of something which I found very hard. Carrying a baby to me was just as extraordinary as birthing one. So here is something I have never shared on this blog before.

endofpregnancy

This is me, first at 37 weeks and then at 38 weeks pregnant. In the latter, I was on a rare trip outside, on an incredible amount of painkillers and I gave birth a few days later. Although I remember being in a lot of pain, I am glad pictures like this exist. I am so grateful that my husband insisted on taking them.  My pregnancy might not have been what I was expecting but it was my experience, my journey and part of the story of how my son came into this world. So many wonderful moments began here. The memories in these photographs were just the starting line.

 

This post is part of a Lloyds Bank blogging competition, hosted by Oh So Amelia

 

Sleep training in a one-bed apartment

15012014

onebed

It’s been a chaotic few days. Our apartment is a madhouse as all our windows are having to be replaced. Workmen, breaking glass and rooms off limits have meant that Forrest and I have been out the house a fair bit which has actually been a nice welcome change. However, what with the windows and four teeth deciding to make an appearance at the same time, sleep has been very much all over the place again with 2-hourly wake ups all week. Smashing.

Forrest has always been a bit of a terrible sleeper. There was a brief moment at about 9 weeks when he managed to sleep through but since then its been very much an uphill battle. Moving house when he was four months really didn’t help as we were without a permanent home and cot for the whole of the summer. It was around this time that necessity forced us to co-sleep and it’s been that way ever since. At first I was pretty happy with this. It made the night feeds so much more manageable and it was pretty pleasant to curl up with a tiny infant for the night. It felt like the happiest and most natural option and for a while I really enjoyed it. But you have all seen the size of our baby now right? Twenty-seven pounds later and the fact that he sleeps like a starfish has meant that co-sleeping is now almost impossible without us having to resort to buying a new bigger bed. Something has got to change and quickly

Of course, we would very much love for him to have his own bedroom and our working very hard toward the goal of affording a two bed place. But this is London; ludicrously expensive London.  The likelihood is that Forrest will be sharing our room until he is at least 18 months but my hope is that we will have that illusive second room by the time he is two. Our current situation is not ideal but it is what it is so let’s move on.

Our first attempt at sleep training was before Christmas. We very quickly decided that letting him cry wasn’t for us. We tried it for a couple of days but after over 2 hours of ceaseless sobbing, we drew a line under it. It felt so wrong to leave him crying in a room which we all share. I want him to experience bedtime as a calm and peaceful time and for him to have positive associations with sleep. For us, letting him cry out went against those principles and in a teeny tiny flat it was emotionally very challenging. I am sure every parent struggles to hear their baby wailing from a darkened room but I can also imagine that a bit of distance provided by a corridor or a staircase might soften the experience a little bit.

It was after this that I began to consider that impact that only having a 1-bed was having on Forrest’s sleep. Forrest doesn’t hate the cot or sleeping. In fact, he finds it quite amusing and is a good napper. But at night when it is dark and we are all in bed, the simple fact is that he can see the bed and us and knows full well where he would prefer to be. Babies are not stupid, especially when it comes to sleep. Our flat is so tiny that there are very few times of the day that we are more than a few feet from each other. So when he wakes up in the night alone, the very fact that we are not there is completely alien to him.

That being said, we have decided to give the cot one last giant go before we burn our bed and just resort to a giant mattress on the floor. I was inspired to try the ‘pick-up, put-down’ method which I first read about on Josie’s blog. Once the windows are all fitted, we are going to try it out over a couple of weeks and see how we can get on. I just hope that if we persevere he will eventually get the hang of it. We could all use a little more sleep over here. The only snagging point I can see with this is that I am still breastfeeding and have a baby who refuses to take a bottle and often needs to feed to sleep. Before he got bronchitis we had kicked that habit but it looks like we will be starting from scratch with that one too.

I’ll keep you posted on how we get on. Methods on how to get a baby of Forest’s age to sleep in the same room as their parents (but in their own bed) seem to be few and far between. Most of the advice I have read frustratingly assumes a 2-bed set up so if anyone out there has any tips for a bed-loving baby who loves to snack all night, please please send them my way.

This photograph is actually from our beloved former flat (and our much smaller baby). After the windows are fixed I’ll try to get around to photographing our current space which is sadly a little bit smaller than our lovely old one. 

 

Theme by Blogmilk + Coded by Brandi Bernoskie