I haven’t been able to write much lately. Most days have felt as though there’s a fog hanging over life, with the briefest of snags through which the sun dares to poke a tentative ray. But the snags have been few and the light has been short lived, because I always seem to end up back where I started. Lethargic, uncaring, unwilling. I’m almost four months into my CBT sessions and I can tell you that they’re not getting any easier. Each week is now preceded with feelings doubt, dread and doom because I know what’s coming. And the days immediately after I am exhausted, and not just emotionally. My bones seem to take on the weight of whatever my mind cannot cope with, and I know that one day my body will collapse and bring it all tumbling down after it. Unless I get back up and fight. This is what I know I must do, and this is the hardest thing in the world for me to contemplate right now. I haven’t wanted to write at all, but this is everyone’s business and you need to know.
You need to know what it’s like. To sit in that small room with it’s strange temperature fluctuations (or is that me?) and it’s bare, empty walls. To sit in that not quite comfortable chair and open up your heart to lay it all bare in front of a relative stranger. To leave that rooms to fall into the arms of nobody, to know that once this hour is up there is nobody there to give you a hug. You need to know what it’s like to have to reach so deep inside yourself that what you see there makes you cringe, makes your skin crawl. What you see there makes you want to beat your fists against the wall and wail and scream. What you see there is both a shock and yet just what you expected all along. (more…)
Back in October Bella and I were invited to go and see Disney’s Frozen on ice show in Manchester and it really couldn’t have been more of an exciting opportunity! Bella has been a huge Queen Elsa fan for as long as we both can remember; one of the first songs she learned to sing was ‘Do you Wanna Build a Snowman’ and since the song was released we’ve barely stopped playing both the DVD and the CD. It can get a little much sometimes, but I have to tell you that she’s not the only one more than a little bit in love with the film! Along with attending the amazing show, we were also asked to take a look at Disney’s Fit to Dance resources designed to help bring the fun to life, and to encourage kids to get active and start moving at home and school. This is our Fit to Dance with Disney story!
First of all, I need to let you know just how exciting this opportunity has been. This is Bella’s face when we first arrived at Disneyland in Paris last Christmas. As we walked through the gates, from her vantage position on Daddy’s shoulders, Bella immediately spotted Anna and Elsa in their ice carriage and she was. blown. away. I mean, look at that face!
Elsie Rose was born at 37 weeks and 5 days weighing just 5lb 5. She’d been growth restricted in the womb and had an undiagnosed posterior tongue tie. For one reason or another we were discharged from hospital just over 24 hours after her early delivery, and before she had had her first breastfeed. In the hospital she had refused to feed, and what little she did take had come back up again amidst coughs and splutters. Having a low birth weight baby who could not feed was highly stressful; she was syringe fed for a week and we were literally hours away from allowing her to be re-admitted for tube feeding. Fast forward two years, and I’d like to say that things have improved drastically since then. And while they have in the respect that she is now gaining weight well, healthy and thriving, there are still feeding issues that we have to contend with on a daily basis.
Lots of IUGR babies have feeding issues, and for Elsie our issues revolve around allergies and reflux. She still suffers badly with both, and is unable to eat dairy and soya. We cannot be sure, but we think there are other foods that react badly with her too. At the moment her eczema is particularly bad, and if she inadvertently eats something containing any kind of milk protein her skin literally erupts. She will also suffer with breathing difficulties, streaming nose and congestion. So, obviously, we are really careful with what she eats. We have to be. And it doesn’t help that she is now two years old! With a ferocious mind and a temper to match, some days she will just refuse to eat what we make for her. And other days we will struggle to fill her up as she constantly demands ‘Eat! Eat!’ (more…)
Before you go off work on maternity leave, you can never really anticipate what life is going to be like at the end of it. You are- rightly so!- focused on your baby. The birth. The new baby bubble. The milestones stretching out ahead of you- first steps, first word, first taste of solid food. All of that is important. All of that is essential. It’s the reason why you’re off work in the first place. During pregnancy, some doctors believe that a woman’s brain is literally re-wired, meaning that the way she thinks, feels and acts in certain situations begins to alter. And when baby arrives, her priorities have changed. All of this makes the return to work so much harder! So when is the right time to return to work? And how can you make the transition as easy as possible?
For women, the end of maternity leave is challenging on many different levels. First of all there are the questions of whether or not to even return at all. And if so, should it be full time or part time? And what childcare to opt for? Nursery? Childminder? Family member? How many ‘keeping in touch’ days should you use before you return? How can you ensure that your colleagues are confident in your abilities to do the job once you return? How can you yourself be confident in your abilities, or even your desire to return to work and continue in the same role as before? Your whole life has just changed, so how can you slot back into the office like nothing happened? (more…)