How To…

…Stay Sane!

Sometimes life just feels like its on a constant mission to make you crazy and I think things are particularly mental just after you’ve had a child, whether it’s your first, second, third, fourth…(if it is your fourth then you’re actually legitimately insane and you either don’t really, or really do, need to read this article) the adjustment is always huge and things can take a long time to settle.

I have a couple of things I need to do to stay sane, but mostly I’m not that great at doing them, so I thought I’d write it all down…

  1. Self-love! Trying not to make crass jokes about masturbation here, but if that is the thing you do to (quite literally) love yourself then do it (after your stitches have healed). I like to knit. For me. For myself. I have knitted one or two things for my child but honestly I’m only really interested in knitting clothes for myself. So sue me, I’m loving myself with yarn baby!
  2. Meditation! I am a meditation pusher. My mother is a Vitamin C pusher – if there is anything wrong with you from a common cold to a phobia of lemons, she will tell you that Vitamin C will solve it. I’m the same with meditation. People always tell me that they’ve tried it and they didn’t think they were any good at it. Well what did you last try that you were good at the first, second or even third time? People who hate running do the couch to 5k challenge all the time and it’s hard but its good for them and eventually they become a habitual runner. Meditation is just the same. I use apps or I look up meditations on YouTube and I always feel at least five times better than I did before. End. Of. Speech.
  3. Medication! Granted this isn’t for everyone. I have depression so I HAVE to take it. Although not everyone with depression does but I keep doing this really annoying thing where I decide I don’t need medication any more and come off it, then chaos ensues and it never takes long before I’m back on. Now I’m a mother I can’t afford to do that (I did – chaos ensued), so medication is a key ingredient of the sanity cocktail I’ve invented (along with gin, obviously).
  4. Getting Out! If you don’t have a child promise me you’ll do one thing? Next time you leave your house just take a moment to relish picking up your bag or keys and just gleefully stepping over your threshold and out into the world mere seconds later. Once you have children THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN. It takes at least two hours to get out of the house these days, there’s just so much detritus that I need to take with me! Including a baby! But my son wants to be out, staring down strangers to the point when they say things like “it’s like he knows what you’re thinking, isn’t it?” followed by nervous laughter. So we spend much time out the house. Sometimes I just get in the car and drive, no idea where we’re going but we always end up where we’re supposed to be. It is hard and you won’t feel like it because you’re exhausted and you haven’t had a shower in five days, but dry shampoo the crap out of life and get out and about, it will make everything so much better!
  5. Eating Well! Before you think I’ve turned into one of those “insta mums” who puts on freshly ironed pyjamas, a full face of makeup and cuddles a neutral-coloured bowl full of fruit and flaxseed, while my husband takes a picture of me not actually looking at the camera and post it with the caption “Morning lovelies! I just love these sunny mornings where I can tuck into a healthy brekkie while my baby sleeps until 10:30am. #perfectlife #valenciafilter #dontyoujusthateme”. Because to me eating well doesn’t necessarily mean eating healthily. It means finding a balance between crying and frantically shoving cake and cheese into your mouth when your child FINALLY sleeps, and only eating salads and porridge oats because you’re trying to lose baby weight while also keeping your child alive with your own body by breastfeeding. For me, eating well has become about compromise – salad is good for your body, but cake is good for your soul. Eat both.

Douglas feels a different way about eating well, he thinks it means you have to wear food like facial hair…I mean, he’s not wrong.

Douglas food


How To…


LOLS! As if I could write a blog about how to be a mum! I’ve no idea! I’m completely winging it. I haven’t brushed my hair or my teeth, or changed my hair from the “mum bun” it’s been in all night and it’s 2pm! But my baby is happy and healthy and (mostly) clean so as far as I’m concerned, I’m completely bossing this motherhood lark. High fives, no, BIG TENS to me!

I can write about what motherhood has taught me so far.

  1. I suck at being nice to myself. This is a big one. I’ve known for a while how bad I am at being nice to myself and I wrote about that in my pregnancy blogs but motherhood has magnified this problem. I’ve taken to writing down all the things I’ve achieved in a day just before I go to sleep so that I can go to sleep. So that I don’t lie awake beating myself up for not making the best of the day, or not doing that pile of washing, or not spending enough time outside, or enough time inside, etc, etc, etc… I have to remind myself all the time that if I’ve kept a small human being alive, then it’s been a truly great and successful day. The good news is, I’m getting better and better at this.
  2. Childbirth is extremely hard. But not harder than you can handle. Just going to leave that there.
  3. Mothers being discriminated against in the workplace baffles me. As far as I can tell motherhood teaches you time management skills, conflict management skills, first aid, communication skills, multitasking, being flexible and adaptable, problem solving, prioritising, team work, organisation, initiative, self-discipline, people management, skills, skills, SKILLS. If a woman has taken a couple of years out of conventional work to raise her children, employers should be welcoming them back to the workforce with open arms. And balloons. And champagne. And a big fat sign that says thank you so much for bringing your incredible skills to this company, no job is harder than keeping a child alive and bringing it up to be a good person so you’re very over-qualified for this probably quite bog-standard role.
  4. Your body might never be the same again. And people will try and tell you that you shouldn’t care because one look at your baby makes every stretch mark and stone gained (and stitch) completely worth while. This is and isn’t true. It is worth it but looking at your baby’s smile isn’t going to make you feel instantly better about your completely new figure, so don’t feel bad if you’re looking at your child, then back to the mirror, and not immediately thinking totally worth it. Give it time. Things will get better.
  5. Do one thing a day. Only one. At the start I thought that Douglas (that’s my son, my son Douglas) and I could go to the supermarket and pick up something from the post office depot, and go to mama and baby yoga, all in one day. Nope. Bad idea. Sure fire way of running yourself further into the ground you’re already lying on because of severe sleep deprivation. If you’ve got yoga, do yoga and then come home, put the telly on, cuddle your little one, change their nappy and wonder what time it’s okay to have a glass of sherry. The supermarket can wait until tomorrow. The package will still be at the depot on Friday (unless you’ve left it there for three weeks, don’t leave it there for three weeks).

So that’s me! My first blog since having a baby. Apologies it’s taken so long. I’m also doing a Master’s at the moment so if I’m not breastfeeding or cleaning orange-coloured shit off tiny clothes, I’m doing that. And knitting. Always knitting.


1st, 2nd or 3rd…


I’m not sure if you’ve noticed (based on my previous blog posts) but I’m pregnant (who knew!?). This has been a vast learning curve for me, as vast as the curve of my ever-expanding tummy. Everybody told me that, roughly, I’d hate the first trimester, love the second trimester and hate the third trimester. That’s not quite how I found it, here are the trimesters as I found them:

The First Trimester

Oh. Dear. God. And I was one of the lucky ones! I wasn’t sick, not once, but I did spend every day dry heaving into a bucket, sink, my handbag, etc. It basically felt like a three-month hangover, a severe three month hangover, the kind of hangover that not even a big breakfast can fix. No breakfast could fix it. Breakfast is no longer okay.

This is a tough one for your other half as well because they’ve lost the partner they knew and loved and she’s been replaced by a sicky, sad, emotional, knackered and anxious version of her former fantastic self. One thing Chris wasn’t prepared for is how much he’s missed his drinking buddy. I’m not going to lie, over the years, alcohol has, at times, caused him to have a complete liability for a wife. I thought he might even enjoy the fact that I haven’t been able to drink for nearly nine months now, but the other day he turned to me and said “I really miss my drinking buddy, I’m really looking forward to being able to enjoy a couple of glasses of wine together again.”

Also, forewarning for any partner: you’ll watch your loved one push food around her plate and probably lose weight and you’ll try to fix it by saying something along the lines of “I’ll cook you whatever you want, your dream dish, what do you want?” and then you’ll spend an entire day sourcing all the ingredients (some at great effort and expense) and then slave over preparing a beautiful repast, to which your pregnant beloved will sit down at the table with great excitement, and you shall place the plate in front of her with a great sense of achievement, and she shall breath in the delicious scents and then either promptly run to the toilet or just be sick on the actual plate in front of her. Don’t take it personally, you’re still an excellent chef and soon a time is coming where your beloved resembles a sort of food-stuff disposal system, otherwise known as…

The Second Trimester

The bump is growing. The boobs are growing. The sickness has mostly been gotten over. A lot of ladies say this is the trimester they felt they got their “mojo back”. I did not. I developed PGP (Pelvic Girdle Pain) which made walking very hard. Every time I took a step it felt like I’d been kicked, very hard, right in the crotch. Any and every movement hurt, and I felt as though I’d been pregnant for a very long time and would be pregnant for a very long time to come. I wanted alcohol and smoked salmon and chicken liver pate and I felt AGES away from being able to have any of this. I waited, not so patiently for my mojo and it alluded me.

On the plus side I did get my appetite back in a big way! Yes you have to look after yourself and eat stuff that’s good for your baby and you and all of that, but also, cake. Eat the healthy stuff AND the cake. It’s the only time you can do it guilt free. Plus this is the trimester when you start to feel your baby moving and thats always really lovely.

The Third Trimester

So I’m at week 34 and have only six weeks left to go (in theory)! I. Am. KNACKERED. But it’s actually fine because I’ve just admitted defeat. I’m completely taking my baby and my body’s lead. When I feel that I need to nap, I nap. When I want to eat, I eat (even if that’s at 4am). I can see the finish line. It’s like when you’ve run a marathon and your entire body is giving up, until you see the finish line and somehow, you manage to find the energy for a sprint finish. My baby is moving around all the time, which feels amazing and I FINALLY feel that I have my mojo back. It’s a different mojo, it’s like a slightly damp mojo, but I feel myself again. I’ve fallen in love with my ever-growing bump and I’m so excited to meet the little invader I’ve been hosting for nearly nine months now! I’m getting the nursery ready and really bonding with my baby.

The downsides are that moving around does get harder and harder. I feel just a little bit colossal, like I should have the beeping and flashing of a manoeuvering van – “warning, pregnant woman reversing.” There are things strewn across the floors of my house because I’ve accidentally dropped them and I can’t get down far enough to pick them up. The other thing is that the baby movements are lovely but sometimes they can be a little uncomfortable! The head-butting of my bladder has caused some emergency incidents and this baby is BUSY, I don’t know what’s going on in there but whatever it is, it must be a pretty full schedule because the little thing just never stops. Again though, I love it.


So if you’re pregnant and everyone keeps telling you you’re about to get your mojo back and you’re waiting and waiting to feel better again, don’t worry, at some point you will. I think you just have to find your trimester. It might be that you really love the third trimester. It could be that you find the first trimester a complete breeze (you won’t, not if you’re human). Hang on in there and try to enjoy the ride, and if you really hate it all – cake. Cake, cake, cake, cake, biscuits, crisps, cake. Do it.


Things I Like…

…About Pregnancy.

So I’ve been complaining a little bit about pregnancy recently, which is fair enough, it’s tough, but it’s also very special. So here are the things I like about pregnancy:

  1. I’m never lonely. My husband works away a lot and it doesn’t get any easier having him so far away, so often. It’s not always easy when you’re pregnant and knackered and there’s no one to help with the dishwasher, or the bins, or the cats who keep needing to be taken to the emergency vets because they’re fighting with other cats! But I’m no longer lonely when he’s away because I’m never alone. I’ve always got this little person with me. Every time the little lonely mind-monster tries to creep into the room, I just put my hands on my growing bump and chat away to my little one. It wiggles and moves around in there and I know I’m not alone, not even nearly.
  2. Things piss me off a lot less. If I’m having a terrible day at work or someone has been horrible to me, of course it’s still upsetting, just for a much shorter period of time. Sometimes I need to have a jolly good cry about these things (everyone does) but then, quite quickly, I start to feel completely okay again. Because of this little bump, things that used to be the big things have become the small things. I’ve stopped sweating the small stuff. I have bigger fish to fry. Pregnancy is a fantastic way of gaining perspective.
  3. I can eat whatever I want! Of course I make sure I get the appropriate amount of nutrients for me and my baby and eat very healthily for the both of us but once those bits are covered, the fun really starts! I used to hate supermarket shopping, too much choice and temptation, but now if I feel like having it, I just go right ahead and put it in the trolley. Large packet of special Christmas biscuits? Sure. Terry’s Chocolate Orange? Absolutely. Frozen mozzarella sticks? You betcha. Ball of sparkly wool from the random middle isle of Lidl? YES. (I know that’s nothing to do with eating but I class wool as food for my soul.)
  4. It fascinates people. I sometimes catch people staring at my bump and if I know them well enough I’ll say “do you want to touch it?” and their faces always light up as they tenderly place their hands my tummy and I can see the wonder in their eyes as they touch a brand new life growing. My husband can’t seem to get over how spectacular it is either! He marvels at my growing figure and chats away to the bump and just can’t get over the fact that I’m actually growing a person. It always reminds me how lucky I am and what a privilege this really is.
  5. I’m much better at being nicer to myself. I’ve been notoriously horrible to myself my entire life. No one can possibly be as mean to me as I have been to myself. It baffles the people around me sometimes and I have to say it doesn’t make too much sense to me either. I’m hard on myself and I hold myself to impossibly high standards that no one could ever attain and then I punish myself when I don’t reach them. But not anymore. I have to be nice to me because I have to be nice to the little person inside of me. I want to be nice to me because I want to be nice to the little person inside of me. And I now love me because I love the little person inside of me. Can’t tell you what a relief it is to finally feel this way.

I think a lot of women with a history of mental illness worry about getting pregnant and what this might do to their stability, I think I’ll do a more specific blog on this soon, but I have to say, on the whole I actually think pregnancy has mellowed me. This whole pregnancy thing is quite the journey! And I’ve just got to keep enjoying the ride!


What Not to Say…

to a Pregnant Woman.

People say weird shit to pregnant women. Every other human who’s ever grown a child with their body, knows this to be true.

So in the spirit of everyone getting a long a little better, I’ve decided that the rule to live by, should you find yourself talking to a person “with child”, is to not say anything you wouldn’t say to a non-pregnant person. Here are some examples:

  1. Do not tell a pregnant person she looks fat. Would you tell a non-pregnant person they look fat? No. (Or at least I very much hope not.) I’m presuming that anyone who throws this kind of insult at a woman who’s probably already feeling weird about their body, is actually trying to say, “your bump looks bigger.” If this is the case, I suggest the ol’ faithful “you’re blooming.” Everyone knows this is code for “oh my, you’re expanding at a rate of knots,” but the fact that it implies you’re opening up like a beautiful flower and that yes, you may be the size of a small fishing vessel, but it doesn’t matter because you’re growing a human (which is a frikin miracle), makes it all okay.
  2. Do not comment on how much a pregnant person is eating. Unless you’re a medical professional, in a medical situation, I don’t think it’s a good idea to comment on the amount that someone is eating, especially if you think that amount is a lot. It might be that you see this lovely pregnant woman at the same time every day, the time in which she has rewarded herself for all her hard work (and pregnancy is bloody hard work) with a cupcake and a packet of crisps. The rest of the day she might be quaffing highly healthy smoothies and homemade vegetable soups, you don’t know! And even if you did, it is precisely zero business of yours!
  3. Do not comment on what a pregnant person is wearing. It’s not always easy to get dressed when every day you wake up and are a little bit bigger than the day before. Your wardrobe all of a sudden consists of about ten items, somehow you have to dress for work and leisure using just these ten things and all of your tights and pants feel like they might ping off at any second, hurting people as they ricochet around the room. So when you finally dress yourself and go out into the world and someone says “gosh, that’s a bit tight, isn’t it?” it can feel pretty hurtful. You would never say this sentence to anyone not pregnant, unless you’re related or have known each other at least three years, have seen each other wee, cry and possibly throw up. So don’t say it to a pregnant woman, she might just say it back!
  4. Do not laugh at a pregnant persons’ birth plan. If someone, in all seriousness and sincerity, told you their five-year plan or their holiday plans or their marriage plans, would you laugh in their face? Probably not. People plan their weekly shop, they plan for Christmas; they plan every event in their lives from the mundane to the remarkably important, so why do some people think it’s ridiculous to make plans for the single most significant life event that can ever happen to anyone? Plans don’t mean “this is definitely going to happen this way” and no pregnant woman’s birth plan means “this is definitely going to happen this way.” We may have baby brain but we’re not stupid. Our birth plans are how we would like things to go, based on months of research and serious contemplation. We are aware that things might go differently on the day. Telling someone not to plan for birth because it might not go to plan, is like telling someone not to plan their wedding in case it rains. Yes, your dreams of getting hitched under a beautiful canopy in a stately home garden may be somewhat dashed when a minor hurricane rips off the roof of said canopy, but you get married somewhere else in the lovely stately home and the outcome is still something resembling what you always hoped it would be. Also, based on the correlation between a birth in which a mother feels out of control and unprepared, and post-natal depression, I don’t see why we’re not all encouraging mothers-to-be to think about how they would like to give birth. And with the tendency for people to tell you how harrowing childbirth is, we’re somewhat staring down the abyss here. If you laugh at someone’s birth plan, chances are you’re laughing at a very nervous woman who needs your encouragement and not your derision. Think about that.

I do find it a bit odd how people treat pregnant women and it’s been a bit of a surprise to encounter all of the above. I think the rule of not doing/saying it to a pregnant person if you wouldn’t do/say it to a non-pregnant person is a pretty good rule to go by. For example, and this hasn’t happened to me (yet), you would never place your hands on a stranger’s tummy, but I’ve been told that this happens an awful lot to pregnant women in their last trimester.

What we’re doing is a great privilege but also, we’re getting stretch marks, our skin might be mottled and a lot hairier than usual, our boobs are becoming unrecognisable, we might be in serious pain or discomfort, we might be throwing up three times a day, we might be shitting ourselves at the life-changes afoot. Be nice. It might make a real difference.


Things I Know About…


Last week, as I smeared natural yoghurt all over a sanitary towel with a tea spoon, I had a feeling my life had taken a somewhat undignified turn. I also have a feeling that this is only the beginning. A UTI led to antibiotics, which led to raging thrush, which, along with the burning sensation when weeing and the fiery sensation in my vagina, led to my knew life anthem becoming Alicia Keys’ “This Girl is on Fire”. With question marks over what a pregnant person is allowed to take for thrush, the overwhelming suggestion was natural yoghurt. Something which, I have to say, did not work and which also means I will never be able to enjoy eating said diary product ever, again. Ever. Again.

Since my last post I’ve realised that there isn’t a huge amount of dignity in pregnancy and childbirth, and from what I hear, childrearing too. I am now completely okay with carrying a pot of my own urine around in my handbag. Sometimes I forget it’s in there and if I’m buying a magazine to pass the time in the doctor’s waiting room, end up placing it on the newsagent’s counter whilst rummaging for my wallet. I don’t even stay embarrassed for long when that sort of thing happens. In days gone by I would spend at least six months recalling the moment at random intervals and groaning with unease about the whole thing. Now, it’s forgotten pretty quickly.

Yesterday I had my 20 week scan and didn’t really even flinch as the male radiographer attacked my trouser waist band, shoving tissue paper down there and exposing the shrubberies in my lady garden. I’d had no idea that a scan would involve needing to have one’s bikini line waxed. But whilst Chris was a little alarmed at the scanning process, it didn’t really bother me. I’ve let go of silly things like thinking my vagina is a private place, where private things happen – and I haven’t even gotten to the birth yet!


But it’s all worth it because seeing my baby’s beautiful face on that screen is something I’ll never forget. My heart was beating so fast for the rest of the day. I’ve seen feet and hands and lips and eyes that all belong to the little person I’m growing inside me. It’s the most remarkable feeling in the world. And if dignified behaviour can’t be the reason I walk around with my head held high then that feeling certainly can!

Dignity be damned, I’ve got work to do!


Things I Know About…


I am pregnant. And it is weird. Of course, ofcourseofcourseofcourse I’m also over the moon. Chris and I are platsing over the whole thing. But also, pregnancy is a full-on, bodily assault. Essentially I am now America, because my body has gone from being run by a moderately competent adult, to being completely controlled, by a child.


I am now 18 weeks, so well into my second trimester and it’s not getting any easier – yet. People keep telling me that the second trimester is when you’re supposed to get your mojo back – I don’t know where my mojo is. Also, where is my glow? Is it a myth? I want to know when I’ll start to glow!

Continue reading “Things I Know About…”