#firstworldproblems

This week I have been having a fair bit of self-doubt across many aspects of my life and I really need to give myself a big kick up the arse about it.
Self-doubt at being a mother, self-doubt at work, self-doubt at organising the wedding to the high standard I’ve set myself and doubting that I’ll be able to run a marathon in two months time.
I’ve been sick all week and have been house-bound pretty much the entire time which means I have only ran once and that does not help my overactive mind one bit. Far too much time to over-think.
The Curly-Haired Monster is also sick which is where the self doubt as a mother comes into play.
Being winter he often has the sniffles and more so when he is teething so I wasn’t overly concerned when he had a runny nose early in the week. He also had a slight cough but nothing to be concerned about – I’m not one to rush him to the doctor over every snotty nose and little cough.
He had a bit of a weepy eye too on Monday but it appeared to clear up.
Anyway he had been a bit hard to handle this week – a fair bit of tantrum throwing and waking constantly at night. The Boy and I were getting pretty frustrated and put it down to teething and just a phase.
I dropped him off at day care on Wednesday only to be called later in the day to be told he might have conjunctivitis. His eyes started to weep mid-morning. I immediately made a doctor’s appointment and picked him up.
Fast-forward and he was diagnosed with an ear infection in both ears, conjunctivitis and very, very mild bronchitis. Oh. My. God. Worst. Mother. On. Earth.
The poor kid was in immense pain and The Boy and I were annoyed because we weren’t getting any sleep.
We both felt so bad and I started questioning my ability to be a mother. I kept thinking a good mother would have taken him to the doctor straight away, a good mother wouldn’t get frustrated, a good mother has the patience of a saint.
I was doubting myself so much I even thought at one stage I shouldn’t have had a baby – I’m useless, too selfish and suck at this parenting gig I thought to myself.
Ugh. Shut up brain.
I took a day off work also this week because I was feeling so ill which inevitably put me way behind. I got to work yesterday and had so many emails requesting help, not to mention a list as long as my arm of stuff to get through.
Also my workmate is on leave so I was already doing the work of two people crammed into three days – now make that two days.
If there’s one thing I hate doing it’s asking for help. I hate it – I don’t want to be seen as weak or incapable. Long story short I had to ask for help yesterday to get through my workload. Ugh cue self-doubt at my competency to handle a heavy workload.
The wedding. It is literally keeping me up at night. I can’t sleep because I’m stressed it won’t all come together.
I’m stressed because I am doing everything on my own. I’m stressed because The Boy just doesn’t get how much stuff is involved.
He has not once taken it upon himself to organise anything and if I delegate a task it’s “forgotten” about or left to the last minute so I end up doing it myself.
He offers to help but I know he doesn’t really want to. I know he is going to so angry at me for typing the above.
I am a control freak. He knows this, I know this.
My bridesmaids offer to help but I feel bad asking them to.
Ugh I just want it all to be semi-perfect. There’s so much to do and it’s only three months away.
Prior to the wedding I am going to run my first full marathon. That’s the plan anyway.
This week my training had been a massive fail. It’s not my fault – I can’t breathe properly and I feel awful.
I’m better off resting but now I’m thinking what if I don’t get enough long runs in, what if I hit a wall and can’t go on, what if I don’t finish, what if my hip gives me too much grief and I have to pull out. What if I go out too fast and end up crying/walking the last 10km.
Ugh shut up brain.
To non-running folk this is going to sound ridiculous but I know if I could just get outside and go for a run all of this self doubt would evaporate and I’d be rearing to go again.
I’m aware how very first-world problems this all sounds but I’m not even viewing them as problems I’m just going to accept I’m feeling very overwhelmed this week.
In a nutshell – shit happens and life goes on. *Arse kicked*
Lets do this!

There must be something in the water

One thing I have noticed since becoming pregnant particularly in the last two months is how much I love being in the water. Whether it is in a hot shower, bath or swimming at the pool – I can’t get enough of it.

Usually I am not a bath person – I find them boring and instead of relaxing I sit there and stew over the things I should be doing instead of being submerged under mountains of bubbles. But lately having a bath is something I look forward to. It soothes my muscles particularly my dodgy hip which has been aching quite a lot and I don’t feel as heavy.

When I go into labour I plan on using the bath at the hospital for pain relief. I had originally wanted a water birth however the hospital won’t allow it. After seeing the size of the bath I can understand why – all I can say is thank God I’m petite.

I also plan on using the shower for pain relief. At this late stage in my pregnancy and with the weather cooling down I find I am in the shower for a considerably longer time than usual. It is so calming and like the bath soothes tired and aching muscles.

I have managed to stay active throughout my pregnancy and have continued to exercise at least three times per week. In the last month I’ve slowed down slightly and have said goodbye to my Step-aerobic sessions – jumping around with what feels like a watermelon bouncing around on your bladder/pelvis is not very pleasant – and have taken up swimming. I also go walking and hit the gym for a bit of strength training.

At first I thought – swimming oh how boring – but I have found I really enjoy it. My youngest sister and I try to go twice a week to one of the local pools. Depending on what pool we go to we either walk laps or swim laps with a kickboard for an hour. I’m sure it is a hilarious sight but I love it and could not recommend it enough to other pregnant women.

For a start you feel weightless so if you are far into your pregnancy like me there is none of that strain on your pelvis or pressure on your bladder. It’s relaxing, keeps your body temperature down and is not jarring on your joints. Not to mention it gets your heart rate up – but not too high – and works almost every muscle in your body. Even if you’re a crap swimmer like I am it can be very beneficial. There is also no reason why it can’t be done throughout your pregnancy.

According to my chiropractor swimming is one of the best physical activities for pregnant women. The Babycenter also agrees:

“Healthcare providers and fitness experts hail swimming as the best and safest exercise for pregnant women. Swimming is ideal because it exercises both large muscle groups (arms and legs), provides good cardiovascular benefits, and allows pregnant women to feel weightless despite the extra weight of pregnancy”.

The irony of me enjoying the pool at the moment is I have always disliked swimming. As a toddler I was forced into swimming lessons and I clearly remember vomiting at the pool because I was so scared and I hated it so much. I even remember the swimming instructor’s name – Ginger – and in my memory as a four-year-old she was not a very nice lady.

After the spewing incident mum stopped taking me to swimming lessons however they became compulsory when I started primary school. I can still recall the horror of being made to float on my back or jump into the deep end. There were many tears and tantrums. I hope Predator is a lot braver than me when it comes to all things aquatic.

In other news baby Predator is officially in position to enter the world. Hopefully he/she holds out for at least another week or so – I’m not sure I’m quite ready yet. At the same time I hope it’s sooner than the three and a half weeks I have to go – that seems like an entire lifetime away.

 Maternally yours, Sink-or-swim

Chill out mumma

It’s been a big two weeks – I waved goodbye to my 20s and said hello to turning 30.

Hooray hooray the internet is finally working! I have been without a decent internet connection  for almost two weeks now – pure torture – which is why I haven’t posted anything lately.

A lot has happened since my last post – I finished work, began my 52 weeks of maternity leave and turned 30.

I have to admit I was a little devastated I couldn’t mourn the end of my 20s with a giant glass of red. However I still made sure I celebrated in style by throwing a big party with all of my friends and family. It was lots of fun, I felt very loved and was very spoilt. The Boy even baked me a delicious chocolate cake.

Finishing work was easier than I expected too. Although I must admit I am still keeping an eye on things from home.

So now the countdown to Predator’s arrival is well and truly on. Five weeks and four days until my due date – OMG.

Without the stress of work I am now finally free to enjoy being pregnant and get myself organised for the big day. I feel like there is so much to do and I want to be as organised as possible but everyone keeps reminding me I need to relax.

This is harder than it sounds. Anyone who knows me is well aware I thrive on stress. I always have several things on the go at once. I’m even watching a movie as I type this. I love to multi-task. Perhaps this is why I love being a journalist so much.

Coupled with this constant need to be always doing something is guilt. I feel awful faffing around while The Boy is at work. I think the least I can do is make sure he comes home to a spotless house and a fabulous home-cooked meal – how very 1950s of me I know. He tells me I need to relax too but I can’t help feeling bad about it.

All mums tell me the same thing – to enjoy the time to myself while I can and to get as much rest as possible before I am up to my neck in dirty nappies, feeding and surviving on little sleep.

So from this moment I am going to set aside at least an hour a day to do absolutely nothing. Whether that be soaking in the bath, having a nanna nap or reading a book over a cup of tea, I’m going to have a little ‘me-time’ without the guilt.

Wish me luck! Oh and hopefully now our internet seems to be working again I’ll be able to post more regularly – yippee!

Maternally yours, Lady of Leisure.

 

A cloud hangs over

English: Miranda Kerr at a book signing.

If I see one more headline featuring 'super-mum' Miranda Kerr I'm going to lose it.

About 10 years ago I was told by my doctor that due to suffering from anxiety I would be more susceptible to post-natal depression than most.

At the age of 19 I didn’t really think about it too much as having children was the furthest thing from my mind but lately it’s been weighing on me a bit.

For the past week or so I’ve been feeling low, my insomnia has returned with a vengeance and I even had a mild anxiety attack the other morning. These feelings are at their worst when I first wake up. I don’t want to get out of bed and quite often I get teary. At night my mind races at a mile a minute and during the day I am so tired it hurts.

A line from one of my favourite songs describes it best – ‘a cloud hangs over and mutes my happiness’.

That’s not what concerns me as I’ve been putting up with this sort of thing on and off for about a decade and I’ve learnt to deal with it. I find it more annoying than anything. However if these feelings do continue and it starts to become a problem I will speak to my doctor about it.

What concerns me is the lack of discussion about antenatal and postnatal depression.

There’s so much talk about birth, breastfeeding and parenting yet it seems no one wants to talk about this issue which according to Beyond Blue affects one in six mothers while antenatal depression affects up to 10 per cent of expectant mothers.

Antenatal depression occurs during pregnancy while postnatal depression can occur one month or even year after giving birth and has the same characteristics as depression. Beyond Blue has a PND checklist which is worth checking out if you or someone you know may be suffering from the illness.

It’s important to note PND is different from the ‘baby blues’ which develops pretty much straight away, is considered ‘normal’ and fades away after a few days.

Some mothers are more at risk than others when it comes to developing PND.

“Like depression which occurs at any other time, PND doesn’t have one definite cause – but it’s likely to result from a combination of factors. A mixture of physical, biological and hormonal factors seem to put women at risk of experiencing depression following the birth of a baby including:

  • a past history of depression and/or anxiety
  • a stressful pregnancy
  • depression during the current pregnancy
  • a family history of mental disorders
  • experiencing severe ‘baby blues’
  • a prolonged labour and/or delivery complications
  • problems with the baby’s health
  • difficulty breastfeeding

Social and psychological risk factors may include:

  • a lack of practical, financial and/or emotional support
  • past history of abuse
  • difficulties in close relationships
  • being a single parent
  • having an unsettled baby (i.e. difficulties with feeding and sleeping)
  • having unrealistic expectations about motherhood including: mothers bond with their babies straight away, mothers know instinctively what to do and/or motherhood is a time of joy
  • moving house
  • making work adjustments (e.g. stopping or re-starting work).
  • leep deprivation

Source: www.beyondblue.org.au

I’m no medical expert but I’d like to add ‘pressure to be perfect’ to that list.

There is so much pressure for new mothers to be super mums these days and I’ll admit the mass media’s portrayal of mothers has a lot to do with it. Its infatuation with new mums such as Victoria’s Secret models Miranda Kerr and Alessandra Ambrosio and how they got their bodies back, how easy motherhood is and how being a mother is ‘the best job in the world’ is sickening.

It’s also not reality.

Why don’t we ever hear about what those first few months or year is really like? Instead we are bombarded with glossy airbrushed images of celebrity in bikinis six weeks after giving birth and interviews of them espousing how motherhood is a breeze. I call bullshit.

The women who buy these magazines are also at fault for feeding the machine which continues to project this false image. Ladies stop buying them!

Why don’t we ever hear or talk about the fears new mums have? Is it a sign of weakness to reveal how we are really feeling? Does it make a woman less of a mother if she admits she’s not coping? What’s with all the competitiveness between mothers? Perhaps if there was more discussion and openness surrounding these mental health issues less mothers would suffer from antenatal and postnatal depression. One in six is a very concerning statistic.

I’m not ashamed to admit it, I am petrified of becoming a mother – PETRIFIED! I barely know how to hold a baby, I’m sure I’m going to lose the plot if I can’t get he/she to stop crying, the thought of being at home all day with barely any adult interaction gives me anxiety and I have ZERO maternal instinct.

I absolutely love being pregnant, childbirth doesn’t faze me too much but it’s what comes after which scares the hell out of me.

Just once when I tell a friend or family member my fears it’d be nice for some truth or advice rather than the generic – ‘oh you’ll be fine’, ‘it’ll kick in once the baby’s born’ or ‘it’s different when it’s your own’ followed by a swift change of subject. These sorts of responses only add to my anxiety.

What if it’s not? What if I become the one out of six? If that is the case I hope I will be strong enough to ask for help rather than keep up the façade that all is well. Because at the end of the day if mum isn’t happy or coping how is that mini-human meant to have the best start to life?

If you aren’t coping – please ask for help from a supportive partner, friends or family and talk to a health professional.Here are some tips for helping yourself.

Or if someone you know looks like they’re not coping give them a hand, listen to their fears. Sometimes just talking is enough.

Maternally yours, Not Ashamed.

Freaking out … just a little

I attended my first-ever antenatal class on Monday night and what an eye-opener it was. However the biggest realisation for me was learning just how much I didn’t know thus rekindling my romance with Google and leaving me to try to resist the urge to buy every pregnancy/childbirth book on the face of the planet. I am also starting to freak out … just a little.

The group of expectant mothers meets weekly and is facilitated by members of the South West branch of the Australian Doulas. I found out about the group from one of the facilitators who is a friend of mine and a doula herself.

A doula is someone who supports the mother and her partner before, during and after childbirth. While a doula has no medical qualifications like a doctor or midwife they are trained and experienced in childbirth. Most are mothers themselves. They are the ones who will speak up for you during labour and make sure your birthing plan is followed through as best as it can. They are also handy to have around if your partner needs to step out for a moment. Think of a doula as your very own personal birthing cheer squad.

I am keen on having my doula friend at the birth – The Boy not so much. He doesn’t want anyone else in the room. *sigh* That’s a whole other blog post.

Prior to Monday evening my birth plan was simple – a natural birth with no drugs no matter what.

This still forms the basis of my plan however after talking to the other expectant mothers and the lovely course coordinators I am now aware of so many other things which are worth considering.

For example delayed cord clamping which up until 24 hours ago I’d never even heard about. Did you know by cutting the umbilical cord straight after birth your newborn misses out on about 32 per cent of its blood which is filled with all kinds of goodies? According to a 2005 study a two-minute delay in cord clamping increased the child’s iron reserve by 27 to 47 mg of iron, which is equivalent to one to two months of an infant’s iron requirements.

I also learned television has a lot to answer for. Birthing on your back is a no-no. It makes sense too when you think of where everything is positioned. How on earth is a baby meant to navigate itself up out of the womb – being in some kind of an upright or squatted position makes the most sense.

Hopping into the bath at the wrong time can also slow down labour – another thing I was unaware of. It’s also not a good idea to sit in a bath once your waters have broken, unless you’re at the hospital, as it may result in an infection.

There is so much to learn and I can’t wait for next week’s meeting.

Like I said despite this extra knowledge I am now starting to freak out about the birth. What concerns me is would my GP/obstetrician or midwife have told me about any of this? I certainly wouldn’t have thought to ask. When I visit my GP I bring with me a list of questions each time and he’s not entirely forthcoming with information. Am I purposefully being kept in the dark? I am now petrified of the birth being taken over by the ‘professionals’ and my birth plan going out the window. How do I prevent this from happening? I would love to hear from the other mothers out there. What are your birthing experiences? Do you have any advice for first-time mothers? Let me know by leaving a comment underneath.

Maternally yours, Nervous Nelly.

P.S. I strongly advise any first-time mothers to consider taking alternative antenatal classes as well as the ones put on by your chosen hospital. You’ll learn so much more and it’s always good to keep your options open. Not to mention the fabulous other first-time mothers you’ll get to meet.