Nobody told me…

That you will NEVER SLEEP AGAIN. That your boobs will be forever pointing down. Down Boobs will be their new name. That you will never wee alone unless you have planned it, like some covert operation. That even though your yoga teacher or some other birth ‘guru’ told you that your ‘baby is the perfect size for your body,’ your vagina will still split all the way to your arse hole and look more like a cross stitch project, than your previous well groomed lady garden. That your nipples will be so red raw, that you will develop an irrational resentment towards your husband for not being able to lactate. That you will never drink a truly hot beverage again. That your hair will fall out (nightmare). That your period will come back (bigger nightmare). That the chub rub between your thighs will continue to be the ruiner of all Summer dresses and hot days for months (years) after you have given birth. That cycling shorts will save you. That you will now have to bath with 46 rubber ducks and a plastic boat. That you may never bath again. That your sofa will never be clean. That you will no longer think Mr Tumble is a weirdo and that you would actually quite like him to come and live in your house. That Happy Meals and Fruit Shoots are ok and that you needn’t have been such a judgey dick before you had even had kids. That you will forgive yourself for being a judgey dick. That you will never reach the bottom of the wash bin, NEVER, don’t even try. That you will smell like a milky armpit for at least twelve months and that you will probably be ok with this. That one night they will sleep through, but then you will wake them because you got scared. That you will trade your handbag for a nappy bag or a Bag for Life. That at some point you will get actual human shit on your face and someone else’s sick in your pants. That you will have your favourite shows on CBeebies, and you will be excited when they come on. That you will never be on time again. That you will know every word to their favourite book. That you will cry and scream because you are broken and you cannot get up one more time. That you will sit up all night stroking their head because they’re too sick or too tired or too emotional or just too toddler. That you will wish and dream for a moment alone but when they go you will long for their return. That your heart will be so full it could burst. That you will cry when you find the smallest sock that no longer fits. That your exhaustion, frustration and the absolute chaos can be forgotten with a smile, a word or a cuddle. That you will burst with pride at the smallest change and your heart will swell to see them grow. That you will miss those first few weeks. That you will lose some friends but gain the world. That you will change in ways that terrify you but you will like it. That you will achieve things that you never thought possible.

That it will all be worth it.

Want to know what I think?

At twelve weeks in the comments really start to begin.

‘Oh wow you really are looking so small,

has your baby even started to grow at all?’

‘I just do not think you are eating well,’ quickly followed by

‘Oh my god you are starting to swell!’

‘I wouldn’t do that, I would do this…

(Just in case my previous comment you missed)

Do you want to know why I would do it this way?

Why won’t they listen to what YOU want to say?

You are nearing the end, you are tired and feel past it,

but their obsessive prying and comments, I wish they could mask it.

‘They’ll probably come late, at least two weeks over,

I’d just forget your Birth-plan.’

I’m not sure how I kept my composure?!

Baby is here! My world is complete

but still they drone on, they will not be beat.

‘Oh baby looks small, are they not eating well? Wow, look at their belly it’s starting to swell!’

How are you feeding them, bottle or breast? You want my opinion… ‘cus you know, I KNOW BEST!’

The opinions and comments they go ON and ON!

About mother and baby and how things ‘should’ be done.

So next time you see a new mum and her child,

hold on to your judgement and offer your smile.

Lucy

It is not all shit

I feel that it is really important to talk about our mental health. When I write I try to make sure that my posts are real and honest, because it is fucking hard. I often think that anything worth having is hard, this is definitely true with raising a family.

I aim to raise awareness of the importance of our mental health. My own mental health is more important to me than anything else in my life. If it is not good my husband suffers, my children suffer, my friends suffer, the dog definitely suffers, but most importantly I suffer. As far as my mind is concerned I need to be at the top of my game. I neglected my mental health for so many years and it destroyed me. It has taken me thirty three years to realise this and after my recent diagnosis of Autism, I feel that everything is slowly falling into place.

For me it is important to talk and reach out and normalise difficulties when it comes to coping with my mental health. If I broke my leg I would not feel ashamed to go to A&E, if I had a chest infection I would not be ashamed to visit my GP and this is how I am learning to be for my mental health too. However, dealing with any form of mental illness and anxiety may make this incredibly difficult for many people, so I talk about how hard things are because I want others to see that it is ok for stuff to be really tough sometimes. It does not mean that it is hard all the time, a lot of the time it is absolutely Bobby Dazzler, but for me it is important to acknowledge that sometimes things are tough and look for healthy ways to deal with this.

I LOVE my life, my family, my home but I want to normalise the tough times as much as the wonderful times. I want my smiling family photos to be followed by stories of sleepless crap, toddler tantrums and days where the only thing that I have consumed has been eight cans of Diet Coke and a Mars Bar.

For me life is about owning those challenges and difficult times and focusing on ways to make it better for next time. Nothing is perfect, but not everything is shit.

Here we are today after 3 coffees, 2 diet cokes, 1 brew and 2 pieces of cake 🤣

It’s hard, right?

Yes it’s hard

when it’s 3am

and you have finally settled the baby to bed

but then the toddler wakes up

and you start over again.

Yes it’s hard

when the baby is crying

but you are chasing the the toddler

because he has taken his clothes off

and you are in the museum.

Yes it’s hard

when the toddler wants toast but

he has to butter it himself

or it’s not quite right

and the baby is still crying.

Yes it’s hard

when your clothes do not fit

and your hair needs a wash

but the baby needs milk

so you just stay inside watch cartoons and eat biscuits.

Yes it is hard

when your heart breaks

because now you are less

because the toddler needs you

as much as baby does too.

Yes it’s hard

when they are forced to grow fast

even though they did not ask

for this tiny new being

to take over their bed, their routine

and their things.

Yes it’s hard

but it will be ok

because together they will grow and learn and play

and the years will pass faster than the long drawn out nights

sat lonely, wondering… am I doing this right?

Time to think

Over the past couple of weeks I have had quite a lot of time to think and I have had to make a few decisions about the future. The past nineteen months have been eye opening and I am slowly learning a lot about myself. At times it has been great, but being honest with yourself is sometimes really tough.

At my last midwife appointment the midwife wanted to know where I wanted to give birth, at first I thought, well obviously at home. We planned a home birth with Cass and it just seemed easier to stay at home.

After a while I started to think that maybe this was not actually the best option for me and my family. When I was pregnant with Cass I literally spent the whole nine months planning his birth. I wanted to be as prepared as possible for whatever happened.

We went to Hypnobirthing classes, opted for a home birth, hired a pool, wrote a birth plan, I thought we were going for a laid back approach. I knew I wanted to avoid unnecessary medical intervention and I did not want any medication so it just seemed easier for everyone if we just stayed at home.

Looking back now it was all quite stressful. Elvis, the dog, had to go in the kennels (I do not think he has fully forgiven us for this), we had to pump up a massive pool in our tiny kitchen and hang sheets from the windows as there are no curtains in there, what was meant to be a calm, tranquil birthing environment was more like a cave.

There were what felt like hundreds of people in our tiny home, I had lost all concept of time and space, the night became day and I did not even realise because the curtains were still closed. I felt like I was at some never ending afterparty in a strange house. It is hard to relax when there are total strangers walking round your house, I kind of felt like I should be making them a cup of tea or offering them a snack. No amount of Hypnobirthing was going to make me feel calm.

The worst thing was that the toilet was so far away, every time I needed the loo I had to try and climb the mountain face that is our stairs, and with a back to back baby this was not pleasant.

Home birth is such a wonderful experience for a lot of women and to be honest it did start off wonderful,but in the end, and in hindsight I can see it just was not for me. What I really learned is that I love natural light, routine and space. I feel like I need the routine of the hospital to keep me on track, I need to be able to just move and walk and the hospital will have a lot more space than our cosy little home. I also would like the pleasure of just coming home to a house that is not full of medical equipment or the stress of having to put away a birth pool.

It is not about me thinking my choices are the best or the right choices for everyone, it is about seeing what works well for me and choosing that. Also, learning to understand why it works for me and trying to avoid falling into trends or being easily led. This time I am not going to try micromanage the birth and everyone involved, I am just going with what feels right at the time and hopefully everything will be slightly calmer. Who knows though, I’ll probably end up having the baby in the car on the way to the hospital.

Making it work for you

I read an article last month about how women should adjust their lives after having children, how their work should incorporate their child. That women should be allowed the freedom to both work and be mothers at the same time, a sort of take your child to work kind of system to allow both mother and child to be together at all times.

The article then went on to say that it is society and the government that has created a terrible situation where mothers have to be at work all day and their children are left with strangers in childcare settings and nurseries. It discussed the damaging effects of such systems for both mother and child.

It discussed the role of the father and traditionally the father is seen as the one to work all day long and bring home the money. Then went on to say how this is also wrong, how the father for his own wellbeing should play a key role in family life and not be out working all day as this was detrimental to both himself and his family.

I can whole heartedly say that I agree with some of the points made by the author. However, the ideal that they seem to be portraying is so out of reach for some people.

The article meant well, it really did and maybe it was not written for people like me. Maybe the author had not taken the time to get to know their potential audience and had just published their writing with a specific type of person in mind, a person like themselves. However, the internet is a powerful thing and it did reach me, and probably lots of other people just like me and I found it to be damaging.

The way that Will and I parent is our style alone, it does not fit in with that of any particular group. We do what works best for us, we do not plan or make long term decisions, I learned a long time ago that my plans did not always materialise or work out, we go with the flow and take every day as it comes.

I suppose you might call it child led but then I have to go places and do things that might not necessarily fit in with this style. I have to go to work full time, I have no choice, if I don’t go to work we would have no home or food. It is my responsibility as a mother to work provide for my family. In an ideal world I would absolutely love to stay at home, I would want nothing more. People said to me that my ‘return to work would give me a break,’ firstly I do not think that these people fully understood what I do every day at work and secondly, I am really not that person. I do not want a break from Cass, I want nothing more than to be with him every day.

Will takes on most of the Cass care, I had the pleasure of a whole year of maternity leave and now Will and Cass get their time together. Will also has his own business, works all weekend and is in the final year of his masters. We are a busy family.

Cass goes to nursery for two days a week and in the beginning it was tough. It was out of necessity for many reasons but I cannot tell you how much of a positive effect nursery has had on Cass, he is confident and independent and it has only allowed him to grow even more.

We co-sleep, we have a gentle, child led parenting style, we both work full time, Cass goes to Nursery, I breast fed, we used formula too, Cass self weaned, we use a Sling, we use a pram, we have no family around us, we did traditional feeding, sometimes we use cloth nappies, most of the time we use disposables, some days I eat chocolate for breakfast, we eat meat, I gave birth in a hospital, I had no medication, I had post natal depression, Cass sometimes wears blue, he plays with prams, Cass sometimes wears pink, he plays with cars, we are fantastic parents raising a confident, independent, kind natured little boy. We are doing what we can in a society that requires us to have some form of financial income, however you may acquire it. We make decisions based on what we feel is the best way to support our entire family.

I am showing strength by doing all that I can in a system that does not allow me to necessarily do what I want. Placing unrealistic expectations on mothers is damaging and advertising one version of motherhood as the best version, or the version to aspire to is careless and blinkered.

Some parents choose to be stay at home parents, some parents choose to be work at home parents, some parents choose to go to work, but others do not have a choice either way. We are all different and this should be celebrated, women should be lifting each other up not tearing each other down.

So to the author of the article that I stumbled across last month. Open your eyes, go outside and learn to understand why others may choose to do things differently to you, and write about that.

Finding time to talk

I was talking to a friend last week about how we don’t find time to process difficult or even joyful emotions. How life just seems to sweep you by, things happen one moment and the next you have to just pick yourself up and keep moving. People around you probably think that you are strong and resilient for doing so, but how does this behaviour affect our mental health? Should our experiences and emotions not be confronted head on and processed over time? 

When I was pregnant I felt like I was in a little glowing bubble of joy. I was untouchable, nothing fazed me, I did not feel stressed or pressured. I just felt so happy knowing that I had this tiny human being growing inside of me. All of my anxieties and worries were gone, nothing could bring me down because all that mattered was our future as a family. 

I did not believe for a second that it was all going to be sweetness and light, of course it was going to be hard work. I had seen my sister bring up two children and she is a pro, I knew what was involved. It was that feeling of knowing that my baby was growing inside me, it blew my mind. It was the happiest I had ever been in my entire life.

After Cass was born my emotions were obviously all over the place, like any new parent. We were tired, a bit out of sorts, unsure of what was actually going on but I was still so happy. We had a beautiful baby boy.

When you are pregnant, especially for the first time there is a lot of focus on you as the mother, how you are feeling, how you are coping. Constantly being checked at the doctors, fighting for what kind of birth you want, making decisions. It is a lot to take on, stressful and overwhelming at times. A lot of focus is put on the pregnancy, no one really tells you what is coming. No one really prepares you for what happens after labour, all the focus is on what drugs you want when you are in labour, where you want to give birth and if your baby does not arrive in a specific time scale, what medical procedure will be thrown at you to make sure it does.

When Cass was around three months old I remember feeling very overwhelmed by everything. Due to Will’s work and not having any family close by, I was spending a lot of evenings alone and bedtimes were an absolute killer. Feeding all day and all night and trying to survive on a couple of hours sleep, it was too much. I felt totally isolated. I called the health visitor who came round and just talked, her support was amazing. She reassured me and it gave me the strength I needed to keep going. 

A few months ago I was returning to work, still getting zero sleep, really struggling with night feeds and the rest. I felt like a shell, but I just kept going. One day everything just crashed down around me, I couldn’t cope anymore. I had totally lost myself and shut down. Luckily for me I had some fantastic women around me, the support of my family to help me get back on track and an amazing doctor. 

Talking about what was happening and how I was feeling was not something that came easily, I had to swallow an absolute fuck-tonne of pride and face some mammoth demons. I realised at this moment I had to start taking better care of myself and making positive decisions about how I was going to look after my mental health.

Different people react in different ways to situations and mental health is very unique to each individual. For me, I do not take time, I rush through things and become engrossed in the next project or exciting life event and forget about how I am feeling at that exact moment. I am forever looking to the future and not taking time to enjoy ‘now.’ Sometimes I don’t want to enjoy ‘now,’ I want to forget about it, it is hardwork, crap, upsetting or stressful. 

In the past 14 months I have learned so much about my own mental health and emotions, I am working through, and confronting things that existed before Cass was born, which is a bit shit to be honest. I wish I would have just dealt with them at the time, but this is helping me learn and grow NOW so I do not make the same mistakes in the future. I am learning to deal with things and not bury them. I am taking time, albeit very small amounts of time to talk about how I feel, with friends and my husband. I am taking time to talk about both positive and negative emotions, learning from the good and the bad. I am being honest with myself and stepping out of my comfort zone. 

I cannot emphasise how much talking helps, find someone who will listen, anyone! A friend, family, the samaritans, your doctor no one should ever feel alone. Take strength from small achievements and always remember that you are enough. Fill your cup and take time, even if it’s just a minute to text a friend or hanging out at soft play with some other parents. Everyone has shit but we should never be alone.

I can tell that we are gonna be friends 

The people we know and meet make us who we are. I have many close friends from my past who know me better than I know myself, but new adventures and life events bring along new friendships. 

The beginning of motherhood can often be seen as quite a lonely time. Even when I went to baby groups and sessions I sometimes found that all I was doing was sitting in a corner staring at Cass and hoping that I’d meet someone who enjoyed my taste in music, fashion or sense of humour. Sometimes though it’s tough to break free of the ‘mum’ label and identify with those around us, especially in the early days. 

As life brings new experiences it also changes you. That doesn’t mean that I have had to forget who I was, I just like to think it adds to who I am. Part of me is happy that I am a little bit ‘Old Lucy’ and a little bit ‘Mum Lucy’. After 12 months I am happy to be wearing some of my pre-pregnancy clothes (really fucking happy) but I am also ok with the fact that I still wear my size 18 maternity knickers. They’re bloody comfy. 


My friends from before I had Cass are amazing and I love them, they form an important part of me, but life is ever changing and it’s important to make time for new people and friends too. I feel that as a woman and as a human I am constantly learning and evolving, I have learned so much from the fantastic people that I have had around me over the past 12 months.


Baby wearing not only gave me a wonderful way to bond and care for Cass, it also gave me an amazing, strong, fierce group of ‘mum’ friends. These wise women have helped and supported me more than they could ever know. 


This afternoon Jess from SUPU invited Cass and I to take part in a photo shoot with a group of our pals! It was an amazing experience and an absolute honour to be part of. Thanks so much Jess, we love you, can’t wait to see the photos. 


Here are a few sneaky snaps of my own ❤️

Now you are one

When I used to hear people say that their baby’s first birthday was coming up and they felt emotional, I’d think that they must be bonkers, but as Cass’s first birthday grows closer I feel like an emotional wreck, and yes, slightly bonkers.

What a year, I never thought such a tiny little thing could teach me so much. My heart could burst with love for this small human that has entered our lives. We are so lucky to be parents to a gorgeous, funny, healthy little boy. There have been times when I have felt that I have been pushed to the absolutely edge and there have been days and nights where I’ve thought that there is no way I’m going to get through this. Having a new baby has been exhausting, both mentally and physically but we have over come things that I never thought possible and I have learned so much about myself and other people.


My relationship with my husband has never been so strong, yes we probably talk a bit less and scroll a bit more, but looking after Cass has been the ultimate team building exercise. Not only have we shown the naysayers that you CAN make a fiat 500, a small baby and massive Doberman work. We have also become experts in surviving on 30 minutes sleep and have learned every single word to The Jungle Book sound track. 


As I look back over the past year, I remember exactly what was happened on this day twelve months ago and yes it is very emotional, I mourn for the excitement and uncertainty of what kind of parents we thought we would be and what our tiny little baby would show us, but as he grows his little personality is coming through and it has been amazing to see him change. 


This year has been full of emotions and terrifyingly amazing things and although I feel like we have reached a mile stone and the end of something, there is still so much more to go. Here’s to surviving the first year as three. 
Happy Birthday my amazing little Cass.