Persephone: Parent

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Mothering Mates

Have you ever considered the term mothering soulmate?

I possibly just coined the term. Maybe it’s like normal soulmates, some people simply never find their mothering soulmate. What I mean by the term is finding that perfect other mother where you both just… click. You parent the same, you think the same way, you understand each other and each other’s children without trying. Perhaps it doesn’t actually exist and just a facade that some mums give off.

I certainly haven’t found my mothering soulmate. Sometimes I feel like even mummies with children the same age as Elvis don’t understand. How does that work? Am I that non-understanding to them? How come I know some mothering soulmates, two mums who are completely sharing their journey, who’s children reach every step at the same time? They understand each other’s sleeping issues, food problems. They freely discuss these things and help each other.

I don’t have those same parenting problems. So I feel silly telling them my problems. Why can’t I find someone who’s on a similar path? Why am I surrounded by mums who have their mothering soulmate or mums who never have any problems, or at least never admit to any? What seems to make it worse is the mums who were my friends before children came on the scene, who don’t ever have any problems. My problems are trivial compared to some mums, but the other mums have none. Maybe mums think I have no parenting problems just like I feel others don’t.

Is it me who should open up more? Even to those who never ever open up? Is it just me being over-sensitive? I think more mum’s need to be honest, not to complain or seem moany and whingy, but to share. Nothing puts me off a mum more than someone who gives the air of perfection, someone who never speaks of any issues.

But then, part of my complaint is mums who don’t seem to understand where I am in the parenting journey, or pregnancy journey (despite them having already done both) yet I’m not telling them my problems! I keep getting invited to a mummy get together and I know I can’t walk there, despite it really not being far, but I don’t want to complain and tell them that.

How can I expect mums to understand, be sympathetic and share their own bumpy journies when I can’t?

~ P x

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I’m Happy For You

There is probably an element of shame and guilt in this, but, hey, it’s my blog and my feelings. I’m writing this on New Year’s Eve and only realised earlier that I seem to finally be happy with other people’s pregnancies. And I genuinely am. I learnt of two summer-due babies recently and I genuinely felt happy with no undercurrent of jealousy or bitterness.

It confused me when I got pregnant with Elvis, that I still felt bitter at friend’s announcements. I put it down to not actually having my child, that it could still go wrong. Then even once I had Elvis, pregnancy announcements would make me fakely smile and then cry in private. Why? Because they had done it naturally? Because they had all decided to get pregnant and did?

Then I got pregnant without trying. Looking at the maths, I probably still took far longer than any of them. But it still happened. And now I finally seem to be less bitter and jealous. I by no means think I’m over my infertility, I still identify myself with those struggling to conceive (I cannot wipe away 3 years). But I don’t get upset afterwards.

Except it has been replaced with a bitterness and jealousy over birth. Yep, all those mums that can go into labour, that don’t need drugs to start or enhance it, all those mums that can actually labour and, shock, horror, can even give birth through the natural hole. Each and every one of them sends a pang of jealousy through me.

And, as I have no idea, what’s in store for me, I have no idea if a second c-section will make this jealousy and envy worse, or if a VBAC will heal me? Or perhaps, with all of my increased research and knowledge, I will be at peace however Robin comes into the world.

I just hope that I can continue to be happy for friends and the future pregnancies they’re destined for.

~ P

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Pregnancy Yoga: A Time for Counselling

I’m not going to go into details even though I don’t know any of the mums in question and they have no idea about this blog, but I wanted to discuss how much my yoga classes have felt like counselling sessions.

The best counselling I’ve ever been to!

There were 5 of us there the other day, varying in gestation; I think I was actually the most pregnant but only by 1 day! Three of us are on second pregnancies and the 4th is having a problematic pregnancy. Before we start the yoga we have a discussion about how we’re each doing. I’m sure this isn’t normal for yoga but it is important for pregnancy yoga.

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12 week Secret

I was directed to an article on the Daily Mail a few days ago about why we keep pregnancies a secret for the first 12 weeks, written from a mum who has had a miscarriage. I will state immediately that I have never had a miscarriage so cannot comment from experiencing that directly. However, I can still discuss the act of secret keeping. Why do we not announce a pregnancy until after 12 weeks? There’s something about there being a higher rate of miscarriage before that point. This is when we have our first scans over here, so when we first hear a heartbeat. However, you can have earlier scans – out of choice or medical necessity – does this mean you can announce the pregnancy?

Meanwhile, if you don’t announce before your 12 week scan, you suffer those 12 weeks alone. With Elvis, due to the treatment, everyone knew I was pregnant. Most people knew what day I had to test. There was no 12 week secret. With Robin, it was our choice. We chose to tell our parents and closest friends before the 12 weeks. With both, my theory was, if the awful happened, the people who knew were the people I would turn to. As I mentioned, I have never suffered a miscarriage. I have suffered through trying to conceive, having unexplained fertility and then a treatment based conception. Along with a natural conception. Ignoring the miscarriage, or potential for it, aspect of a pregnancy, for a lot of people those first 12 weeks are the worst and you have to suffer in silence. Or you’re advised to. Personnlly I subscribe to the theory that I used – no matter what the guidance or advice, you can choose to tell those closest to you, those that you would expect support from if the worst happens. The two best friends that I chose to tell do not mean more to me than the two best friends that I chose not to tell. The colleague at work that I told (because she announced her pregnancy a week before I was scheduled to announce) means no more to me than the colleague I didn’t tell.

But even if you choose to tell those closeset to you, those that will be able to support you, there are still plenty of people that you have to lie to. I actually consider myself lucky with Elvis because everyone was aware that I was due for the fertility treatment, I lied to no one – they all suffered alongside me! With Robin, I lied to mummy-friends for almost two months. And they were the people that I saw all of the time. There I was at a toddler group, feeling like death, wanting to nap, desperately wanting to ignore my son and just sleep (hence why I went to the group!) and lying to everyone around me. I really did feel awful. I have no idea if any of those mummies noticed or guessed.

I know a mum-to-be who had told me she was expecting but no one else, and she was having a terrible time during early pregnancy. Well, her social comments would have had other friends thinking that she was dying without the background knowledge that she was expecting. I started to worry that people would think she was dying! Trust me, I hate the family motto the generation above me seems to have – you’re not ill, only pregnant (which is true, but some people have far harder pregnancies than others so don’t judge), but my friend’s online persona did not hide any of her pains, because it was too early, leaving friends and family thoroughly worried. On the flipside I know a mum that announced her pregnancy on social media at just 6 weeks. Very sadly she did miscarry within just a few weeks. She would have had support and love from everyone who knew her though because of her announcement, whereas the mum who was suffering and didn’t announce or share with anyone, sufferned alone for those 7 weeks.

Would or did you announce early? What do you think of mums that do? Or don’t?

~ P x

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How Do Children Cope?

I know that they do, they must do. But how do children cope with new siblings?

Aside from my worries about being paid correctly, about how I will actually give birth, about making the wrong birth decisions, about how I’m going to cope with two all day on a Friday and all afternoon 4 days a week, about how I will cope with little sleep and a toddler in tow, my biggest unknown worry is about Elvis.

How will he cope having his world turned upside down?

How will he cope with this little baby who comes in to his home, his world and takes over things?

How will he view his sibling when everyone wants to come over and cuddle the new one?

Will he feel ignored? Will he feel left out? Usurped?

Will he even care, or just continue playing with his trains?

Will he eventually love a little brother to play football with? Or hate the little brother that steals his toys, that takes over half of his bedroom?

Will he care immediately for a little sister and become possessive from day one? Or will he hate all of the pink that she brings in to his world?

Will he feel like he’s getting less love, less attention, less time from mummy, daddy and nanny?

Will he notice when mummy is missing for a few days, labouring in a hospital?

Will he notice that daddy has suddenly started picking him up from nursery for a few weeks, allowing mummy to rest with the new baby?

Is he too young?

I know there is no optimum age-gap to have. Some people prefer very close together to either get all of the nappies, sleepless nights out of the way or to enable an amazing bond between two children with only 18 or 24 months between them. Some people prefer a good few years, so only one is in nappies, so the older perhaps understands more and can be involved in the journey of pregnancy. I tend to side with the former – smaller gap because, selfishly, I do not want to go back to the newborn hassle after a few years. It is something I would hate in my current mindset. I truly do not see myself getting broody when these two are over 10 and going for a third. But, would it be better on the children? With only one at home all the time, you get to bond better with each child. You might get more rest. And they would understand more. I would love Elvis to feel my belly kicking and understand what it is.

Everyone tells me that he’s resilient and adaptable, but what if he isn’t and I have to see him in pain and frustrated because I changed his world?

~ P

P.S. This is a scheduled post written before Robin’s birth, but as it is scheduled for February, Robin really should be born already!

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The Failure of Those First Few Weeks

I had felt like I was over the first few weeks of Elvis’ life. The few weeks where I hated everything. where I was desperate for some sleep, where I actually kind of wanted to send my son back or have him returned to me as a toddler. I’m not even sure how long those few weeks were. Was it just 4? Was it nearer 8 or 12? I remember at about two or three weeks old, I strongly considered returning to work just for a lunch break. I remember within the first 4 weeks, desiring a toddler more than a newborn. I remember at about 8 weeks old deciding that I could no longer bedshare, by 3 months old we weren’t anymore. If I looked at my diary, if I re-read all of my blogs from that time period, I would be able to pin point all of those moments with a to-the-hour accuracy. But I don’t want to because I don’t want to dwell on the past. I don’t want to think about my failures, I don’t want to be reminded of how, why and when I was a lousy parent. And I think I had got over the failure, the lousiness, the disappointment in myself (disappointment that, after wanting something so much and trying and fighting so hard to get, it was not as amazing as I thought it should have been. Not that I ever thought parenting was going to be easy), except now I keep thinking about it.

Is it because I’m due number 2?

Is it because I see more and more people I know have babies and not fail?

Is it because I do worry and fear that it will happen again?

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Guilty Love

This is what I feel with regards to Robin, to the unborn baby that actually, I don’t necessarily even love. I don’t hate him/her. I just don’t know them. How am I supposed to love them?

Do some mums feel that kind of rush of love when they get that positive test? When they feel the first kick? Or when they first hold their child?

I don’t think I ever really did with Elvis. I felt immense relief when he was born – that an impossible journey was over. Finally.

At some point I fell in love with him of course!

But now I face the problem of the sibling.

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Blind Faith, Arrogance and Naiveté

That’s how I feel I went into my first labour. I had a complete and utter faith in my body, where it came from, I have no idea as my body had failed for the three years leading up to then. My body would know what to do. I would know what to do.

I was arrogant in that belief and so completely naive. Maybe my body and I would have known what to do if we had come to labour naturally. But we did not. My body was not ready. Elvis was not ready. The only things ready were the hospital and me mentally.

I wanted Elvis out. I had reached the hospital’s routine end point (I had no idea I could protest/fight – naive – plus I was over waiting!). And I was arrogant to believe that just because the hospital and my head said it’s time meant that it was.

I wouldn’t change my son. There are elements of his birth that I… regret? I probably wouldn’t delay the induction if I had my time over – I was ready and hugely uncomfortable. I might have wanted 5 minutes after having the epidural to actually consider the C-section rather than demanding one in a drugged up phase just because I heard the word. I might have refused continuous monitoring due to the pain I was in, if I knew I could.

I had blind faith in the health professionals that they knew and were doing what was best. The same people who gave me no option but to lie in pain because they had to continuously monitor my son. Did it have to be continuous? Could we have tried to find a better position for us both? They were willing to let me come off the monitors to wee, but not for a 5 minute rest? I had trust in them that when they said I had to be induced, I figured my community midwife had got it wrong. I had a naive belief that they cared even though despite me verbally declaring my unborn son wasn’t supposed to exist, despite ny notes on night 2 declaring “Baby fine, mother distressed” nothing was said to me until my 4 week health visitor check concerning me.

This time I have far less trust and faith in myself or them. I have done my research so anything I believe cannot be naive. I am not going into this one blindly, naively.

I’m going into it paranoid, jaded and cynical.

~ P

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Welcome to the New Year

For the past few months, I have been trying to not overload this poor little blog with posts every single day, or 3 days in a row with a few weeks off, so that there could be more continuity about the site, hopefully this hasn’t been too noticeable. I’ve also tried to keep posts to every 3 days, but medical appointments and other random “I must blog now” topics might change that at times.

However, as of January 1st I will be about 38 weeks pregnant and the scheduled posts are going to change. Similar to my original blog which has a poetry post a week, this blog is going to have a few months (maybe planning for 8-12 weeks) with 2 planned posts a week. These posts are likely ones that I have already written in December or even earlier! I’m trying to keep some crafty posts, maybe a lot of my Christmas crafts and maybe some parenting ones. This is simply so that, if I go quiet (the opposite to when Elvis was born), the blog still continues.

If things are similar to when Elvis was born, along with those 2 planned blogs will also be random, middle of the night, woe-is-me, how can I parent two children at the same time, posts. I cannot predict that right now.

So, if you as a reader comment on a blog and I don’t respond for a while, it could be that I’m having a baby or am far too tired with a new baby to be present on here even though posts continue to be made. I am not ignoring you. I am not purposefully misleading you. I might be more active than normal!

Hopefully, normal blogging will resume at some point soon, but in this lovely New Year for definite.

Happy New Year and Happy New Baby Days,

~ P x

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2015: Fifteen Things to Look Forward To

1. Due in the middle of January, Robin’s birth!

2. A second for January, I look forward to at least going into labour naturally (hopefully) and maybe have a VBAC

3. I look forward to celebrating 6 years of marriage with TWO children. Something I never dreamed possible

4. Watching all the milestones that I watched Elvis have and maybe stressing a bit less second time around

5. Having a whole calender year off from work. 2015 will be the year of no job

6. Celebrating Elvis’ second birthday where he should understand it so much more

7. Maybe attempt a family holiday with a 2 year old and under 6 month old. I don’t think we’ll attempt going abroad!

8. Celebrating my 33rd birthday with two children. I may be a broken record, but I never thought it would be possible!

9. Watching all of Elvis’ milestones that haven’t even occured to me. Perhaps he’ll get the rest of his teeth? Or wean himself from his dummy? Or start speaking in sentences!

10. I’m looking forward to attending baby groups again, to socialising with mummies and possibly changing Elvis’ nursery hours to watch him socialise

11. I’m also looking forward to, in the latter half of the year, having the odd occasional time to myself. Perhaps a day away. A date with hubby. Or a girlie night out.

12. I’m really excited by January and new Revenge, The 100, Flash, Arrow and finally getting Supernatural season 9!

13. This is a hesitant one, but I am looking forward to potentially getting me to another Convention. Maybe October as July is probably too big a push

14. I’m really excited and scared to see Elvis adapt to his sibling. To watch them play and grow together. To be physically able myself to be a fun parent who can run around after both of them!

15. A Christmas with two kiddies – one almost a year and one 2.5 who will totally get it by then. And then another New Year!

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