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CBT: Session One – Who Am I?

Last year, I went through a pretty rough time. I’d already consulted my health visitor about needing to speak to someone regarding how I was feeling. It was getting worse, week on week, or maybe month on month and I was waiting for the appointment when we went on a family holiday. The final day of the holiday I could not stop myself from crying because I desperately did not want to go home. I was walking back to the lodge in the dark (it was dark by 7pm) after the dinner and the entertainment show, with Elvis. My OH and Robin had gone a different way with the pushchair. We were walking past the bird enclosure and all I could think was that I didn’t want to go home. I wanted to run away with Elvis. Sod, my husband, sod the baby, sod the boring everyday routine that I hated. I didn’t want to go back to the real world. I didn’t want to go back to my life. I wanted to run away.

And I just kept crying.

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Operation: Yummy Mummy

Hiya! Well, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? So much has happened since the last posts on here. The last post I really thought was here was The End? And it was. But a lot has happened in the months since then. I was questioning why I was blogging. I was questioning why I was doing anything pretty much. Questioning why I even existed. I tried setting up a new blog that was more about day to day life and not as personal as this blog has been, but it never felt right at the time. I guess because I always blogged when I was low, when I needed to pour out my heart and blogging about being a parent wasn’t what I needed. I think I was trying to make this blog something else and I wasn’t happy anymore. I wasn’t happy with the blog, I wasn’t happy with me. I just plain wasn’t happy. So now, over half a year later and so very close to Robin’s first ever birthday, I’m in the process of changing my life.

I was referred to a local course that helps mums with post natal depression and it made me realise that I completely lost my sense of identity, but not when I got pregnant. Not when I became a mum. I lost my identity somewhere in 2009 when I decided to make the decision to become a mum, only to wait over 3 years. My identity was, for three years, the infertile one. But then I became a mum so who was I? I was just a mum. And that wasn’t, isn’t who I want to be.

Robin has been such a different baby. Easier in a lot of ways. Happier and far, far smilier, but she’s also needed feeding more. She took longer to take to food, to drop her milk. So, I (who has no identity other than Mother), was trapped more and more. For all her easiness and joy, I found it harder. I just wanted space. I just wanted time. I wanted to be me, well, to figure out who I even am. But she was taking longer. So I felt worse and worse.

I guess with a combination of her growing up (almost 1, only 2 milk feeds a day, finally gained some weight, pretty much sleeping through) and the course I’ve been on, I’m working some things out. And so, to find me, I’ve thought a lot about what I like. Or what I used to like.

I like to exercise, to have 30 minutes where I’m not in my head. It could be swimming, jogging or aerobics, but I like it.

I like to read.

I like to be up to date with my Marvel and Star Wars films.

I like to be alone.

And I had blogged for years.

Well, hello 2016 and the year where I make myself happy (because if I’m happy, my family is happy). I’m calling it Operation: Yummy Mummy. It’s not about being the picture of a Yummy Mummy (I’ll never get the figure or beauty for that), but it is about feeling like a Yummy Mummy. It’s about noticing what makes me feel like a failure as a mum, being more active in being a person independent from my children, reaffirming my relationships with friends and my husband. It is about realising the triggers that make me feel down, get me stressed, make my cry hysterically and working on avoiding or fixing them. And, yes, it is about shifting the baby weight which seems to be so much harder to do the second time around. I want to be able to hold conversations with anyone that don’t revolve around children.

And blogging might help. It might not. I might forget about it again within days (I’ve been planning this post for, oh, about 12 days!), but that’s what blogging was originally. It wasn’t planned posts on a regular interval. It wasn’t trying to keep an audience or traffic stats. It was blogging when I needed to. Needed, not wanted. I guess, it was my incredibly public diary. But maybe if I had kept an element of privacy over it, I would have used it more  during the darker few months. And I’m not out of the dark yet, so it can only help, right?

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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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