Two

Two. We were supposed to be done at two. I was supposed to be done at two.

Just moments after E was born, I scooped her up into my arms and looked across to my husband.

“I’m never doing that again. I’m done.” (To be fair, my fanny was still stinging.)

Hubby nodded. “Two is a good number.”

14 months on and I have that oh-so-familiar ache. I’m longing for another baby. I don’t feel done.

It’s impossible to ignore, believe me I have tried.

And I often think that this feeling will pass, eventually. When the girls are both older and life gets easier. When nappy changes and night feeds are but distant memories. Maybe I’ll just look back and think “those days were hard” and never want to put myself through it again.

But right now I cannot ignore my feelings.

Stephen and I both like the idea of having a big family but (being far more sensible than I am) he worries about the practicalities of having a third child. Space, money, effort. I do think about those things too but my ovaries chime in with “WE’D MAKE IT WORK, SOMEHOW!”

Is being broody enough of a reason to have a third baby?

Although, this feels like more than just broodiness. I’m not getting ‘clucky’ at the sight of a newborn. I’m thinking about growing our family every waking second of the day. This is all-consuming.

Even on the hardest days.

When the kids have spent the the entire day squabbling.

Or E’s kept me awake all night.

When I’m so tired that my head pounds.

I. still. want. another.

We were supposed to be done at two. I was supposed to be done at two.

Jenna xx

Life Lately: Elowen turns one, putting down roots and school applications…

Oh my goodness, it seems like such a long time since I did a ‘catch up’ kind of post on this here blog of mine. Even though I’ve massively stepped back from blogging (due to lack of time, mainly), this evening I’ve had the writing itch. In years to come, when I sit down and look through my blog, I’ll wonder what the heck I was up to during the massive gap between my posts. It’s also quite nice to have a bit of ‘brain dump’ every now and again, isn’t it?

So in no particular order, here’s what been happening in my life lately…

Elowen turned one:

My littlest lady celebrated her first birthday last month and it’s felt like the fastest year of my life. I did a cake smash photoshoot in our back garden which was a bit of a disaster, to be honest. The wind kept blowing my decorations down, it started to rain and Elowen was more interested in throwing her cake on the floor for the dog to eat. Now I know why people pay a lot of money for cake smash photo shoot sessions with a professional photographer! ;)

Shortly after her first birthday, E began taking her first wobbly independent steps. And now, just a few weeks later, she’s a bonafide toddler, stomping around all over the place.

E’s determination to grow up at a million miles an hour has left me feeling ridiculously broody. I keep thinking I want another baby (or 10?) but I’m sure the feeling will pass!

Settling into our new home/town:

We’ve been in our new house for over six months and I feel like we’re relatively settled here now and we’ve adapted to the changes – Stephen working from home, Jasmine going to a new preschool, etc. etc.

Stephen working from home is tricky at times – especially as he often spends a lot of the time on conference calls with clients – as you can imagine, a one year old and 3.5 year old make a LOT of noise. In the summer I would just take the kids out to the park when Stephen was on calls which made life easier. I still try to get us out of the house as much as possible but it’s much harder in the winter when the weather is bad.

I’ve found people here, other mums particularly, a lot friendlier. People weren’t unfriendly in Suffolk but those who lived in our old town had usually been born and bred there and were less fussed about making friends outside of their family/social circle. People didn’t really talk to each other. It’s different here. Whether I go to the park, playgroup or soft play, there’s always someone willing to have a chat – it’s made my life a lot less lonely.

We have a massive list of things that need doing to the house, a lot of which require a fair amount of time and money. It feels a bit overwhelming sometimes but I try to remember that we’re planning to live here for 10 years or so (at least whilst the girls are at primary school) so there’s plenty of time for us to get things done.

Our most recent project was the living room. The decor that we inherited when we moved in was not our style at all but because it was only cosmetic, it got put on the backburner. Until we got so fed up with the ugly wallpaper, we started tearing it off one evening! We repainted the walls, added photos and art to the walls, we (ahem, I) went a bit mad with fairy lights (I’m obsessed with fairy lights) and got a new dining table and chairs. It’s now one of my favourite rooms in the house. It still needs a few finishing touches but I’m really chuffed with how it’s turned out.

School application made:

Our primary school application for Jasmine has been made and I can hardly believe my big kid is starting school next September. *sob* We’re very lucky in that we’ve several ‘good’ primary schools in our catchment area so it was a case of visiting them and deciding which one we felt would be best suited for Jasmine. There were things we liked about all of the schools we visited and I’ve no worries about any of them but we do have our heart set on one in particular. Fingers crossed J gets a place there. :)

Back to education: 

In my last ‘life lately’ post, I talked about wanting to change careers and become a Doula. Well, I’m pleased to say that I start my NCT access course in January which is my first step on the ladder. It’s a 6 month course which will help me not only get back into education but also let me dip my toe in the water and decide if I want to continue on this career journey before making the big commitment of doing another degree.

Last month I met my tutors and fellow course mates at an ‘expression of interest day’ and I am SO excited to get started in the New Year. I am eager to learn and get stuck into something that’s just for me.

Looking forward to Christmas:

We are in full Christmas mode here and we’re loving the build up towards the holidays. I’ve already watched The Grinch (my fave festive movie) and cracked open the Baileys! ;) We’re having Christmas at home this year, with Stephen’s mum coming to visit, so it should be a relatively chilled one. That said, I’ve still got lots to do over the next week and a bit.

Jasmine wrote to Santa and asked for sparkly blue shoes like Elsa’s. They’re sorted (thank goodness for eBay). And I’ve ordered her main gift – a beautiful pink retro-style bike. I cannot wait to see her little face on Christmas day!

As for E, she’s a little trickier when it comes to gifts – she’s just had a birthday and doesn’t want/need anything if I’m honest. Let’s face it, she’s one, she’ll be happy enough playing with wrapping paper and cardboard boxes so I’m not going to sweat it on that one.

And on that note…

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a fantastic 2018!

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Is it too soon to come off the drugs?

Around the midway point of my pregnancy with Elowen, I walked into my doctors office and announced I was depressed. I’d been here before, depression wasn’t new to me. And there was no doubt in my mind that I was suffering with depression again. I also knew that the cause of my depression was largely situational. I was a pregnant, stay-at-home to a mum to a toddler, who for 8 hours a day, most days of the week didn’t speak to another adult. I was living 100+ miles away from my friends and family and I was incredibly lonely.

When the doctor asked me what I wanted to do about my situation I knew I wanted drugs. I believe my exact words were “I know why I’m depressed, I know what I’ve got to do to fix it (relocate back to Bristol) but right now, I need something to get me through the day.” I left that appointment with a prescription for Sertraline. An anti-depressant which I would take every day “for a year or so”.

Sure enough, after the side effects of dizziness and sweating died down, Sertraline got me through the day. I stopped crying all the time. I enjoyed being a mum again. I looked forward to having two children instead of dreading it. I felt like I could cope. But also, aside from the meds, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. We were going to be moving back to my hometown.

We put our house on the market over Christmas and by April this year we were in our new home, located a short drive away from my closest friends. I’ve had more of a social life in the last 3 months than I have the 3 years that preceded our move back home. I feel better connected and supported. Not just as a mother, but as a person.

Which beggars the question, is it time to come off the drugs?

I don’t think anybody plans to take medication for mental health long term. And in my mind, it was only ever meant to be a temporary measure until our situation changed. I want to be able to feel happy without my little box of pills.

And yet, I still feel reluctant to stop taking them.

Whilst it’s now been well over 6 months since I truly felt like I was in the depths of depression. Those thoughts and feelings are still fresh in my memory. How sad I felt. How useless I deemed myself to be. How sore my face felt was from all of the crying I did. I don’t want to go back to that. Ever.

For me, it’s just easier for my prescription to keep dropping through my letterbox every couple of weeks and to keep taking the pills daily. Safe in the knowledge that they will keep those awful thoughts and feelings at bay. The drugs have become a psychological crutch, which is precisely what didn’t want to happen.

I’ve yet to register with a doctor here but I know my medication is something I will need to talk about when I do, which is probably why I’ve been putting it off.

I don’t want to stay on anti-depressants forever. But is it too soon to stop?

 

Jenna xx

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5 Ways to give up the old baby clothes
(even if you really don’t want to!)

When Jasmine was just 4 months old I wrote this post about how I was finding it hard to get rid of her outgrown baby clothes. As we had always planned to have two children I was able to justify hanging on to them for our next baby. Well, now our ‘next’ (and last) baby is here and is growing out of those clothes just as rapidly as Jasmine did. Despite the girls being born in different seasons (damn it) we’ve still managed to re-use lots of vests and sleepsuits for Elowen. Trouble with that is, now it’s doubly hard for this sentimental mama to get rid of them! We’re done having babies so I can’t use that excuse to keep them anymore.

In the next few months we’re going to be moving to our new home and with that in mind I’ve slowly been working my way through the house to declutter each room. I don’t want to take all of our old junk with us to our new house so I’m binning stuff, recycling it or giving it away to charity and so far I’m doing really well. But those teeny, tiny baby clothes? Well they’ve been a little harder to ditch.

That said, I am still getting rid of the old baby clothes (even though I really don’t want to).

Here’s 5 ways you can do it too…

1) Choose just one item as a momento.

Babies grow quickly and before you know it they’ll be at school, college, moving out, getting married… having babies of their own. It will be hard to believe they were ever tiny enough to hold in your my arms. So, let’s allow ourselves one little keepsake, yes? I’ve picked one item of clothing for each of the girls (the sleepsuits they first wore when they were born) and I’ve put them into their keepsake boxes. That way I can still get them out every now and again, when I’m feeling sentimental, and marvel at how small my girls once were. Keeping a couple items of clothing made it much easier for me to get rid of the rest.

2) Turn them into something useful

If you can’t pick just one item of clothing to keep then why not turn that bundle of old baby clothing into something useful? A quilt, for example. Don’t worry if you don’t have a crafty bone in your body (although, props to ya if you can make one yourself) there’s lots of talented people out there who can make a quilt for you and it won’t cost you as much as you might think.

3) Give the clothes to those who need them more.

I always find it’s easier to give things away that I have a sentimental attachment to if they’re going to people who really need them. It’s hard to justify keeping bags full of unused baby clothes in the loft when they could be passed onto families who have nothing. Perhaps you could find out if your local Women’s Refuge are accepting donations of children’s clothes. Or give them to a charity shop which supports a cause close to your heart. Either way, giving your beloved baby clothes to those who need them will give you that feel-good factor. Hopefully it will dampen any sadness you have about getting rid of them in the first place.

4) Sell them… and then put the money towards making memories with your babies.

Part of the reason I find it hard to get rid of the girls’ clothes is because of the memories attached to them. But what about using them to help you make more memories? I’ve sold some of the ‘fancier’ items of clothing using my local Facebook selling page. With the money I’ve got from that I started a ‘holiday fund’. OK so we’re not going to be jetting off to Disney World any time soon but it’ll be spending money we can use on our holiday to Butlins later this year. So yeah, that few quid for an old dress might not seem like much but it’ll pay for us to have fish and chips on the beach or a couple of goes on a fairground ride.

5) Swap them!

As I mentioned earlier, my girls were born in two very different seasons so a lot of Jasmine’s old clothes aren’t appropriate for us to reuse for Elowen. But there’s gonna be plenty of mamas out there who kept their firstborn’s clothes for baby no.2 and also had their second baby in a different season. So scout them out! Ask around your baby groups or your local Facebook selling pages and find yourself a mama to swap baby clothes with. You might even be able to swap them for other items such as age appropriate toys for your little ones. Everyone’s a winner. :)

I really hope you’ve found this post useful. 

If there’s another way of parting with my little ladies’ threads that I haven’t thought of, I’d love to hear it? 

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You Baby Me Mummy

Pregnancy after a loss & blogger guilt

I spent a long time um-ing and ah-ing over whether or not to write about my current pregnancy on my blog. As somebody who has had to deal with the heartache of having two miscarriages, I know how upsetting it can be for somebody going through a loss or infertility to constantly see pregnancy updates. I know how it feels when it seems like everybody else is celebrating bumps and babies and you’re not. It really bloody hurts. And now that I’m pregnant again? Well, I feel guilty that my happy news could be causing somebody else to feel miserable. I hate the thought of that.

What I realised though, when I was going through my own grieving process, was that every woman should be able to celebrate, feel happy and talk about their pregnancy – in whatever form that takes. The fact that I got upset about seeing/hearing about other people’s pregnancies was my problem. Not theirs.

I spent a lot of time blocking, muting and deleting pregnant bloggers on social media. And I know – I know – how horrible that makes me sound. I still feel a little disappointed in myself and ashamed for reacting that way. But in all honestly? It wasn’t personal. It was self-preservation. And that’s what I needed to do to get through that stage of my grief. I had to protect myself from hurting anymore whilst I licked my wounds and allowed myself the time and space to heal.

Of course, not everybody who goes through early pregnancy loss will feel the same way I did. I don’t mind admitting that I was angry and bitter at the world. I’d love to have been able to be genuinely happy to hear of other people’s baby news but it turns out I’m just not wired that way.

Thankfully, the ‘angry and bitter’ stage did pass and over time I gained better control of my emotions. Deep down I understood that people weren’t trying to deliberately hurt me or rub their pregnancies in my face. (It’s crazy how self-absorbed grief can make you). But my biggest ‘eurka moment’ was when I realised this: No matter how resentful I was towards others, it wasn’t going to bring my babies back. I was wasting all of my energy on something I could never change. I had to move on.

For me, moving on meant trying again for a baby, but for others it might mean something completely different. You’ll know what’s right for you.

Forgive me, I’m not entirely sure where I’m going with this blog post, it was never one I had planned to write but it was something that has been on my mind ever since I found out I was pregnant again.

I guess, amongst all of the “and what do ya know, we got pregnant straightaway” pregnancy blog posts out there (and they are no less worthy than any others) I wanted to write something for those who have been or are going through what I went through. I think this is the blog post I was desperate for somebody to write 8 months ago.

So, I’ll tell you what I wished I could have read then:

Whatever you’re feeling, it’s normal.

You’re not a bad person.

It wasn’t your fault.

Want to try again? Do it. Need more time? Take more time. Done with trying to conceive? Who could possibly blame you?

It gets easier. You won’t feel this bad forever.

Do what you need to do to protect yourself from further hurt. If that means temporarily pulling away from pregnant friends or relatives then that’s what you need to do. Anybody with an ounce of compassion will understand.

There is hope.

There is support, you just have to find it.

And once more… it was not your fault.

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