The Truth About A Caesarean Section

I’ve had two Caesarean Sections in the last seven years, and both were planned. They had a lot of similarities, but also a lot of differences. My first caesarean section was at 36+5 weeks due to issues with my blood pressure and spinal pressure. I didn’t know what to expect, no amount of googling prepared me. It all seemed so surreal on the morning waiting to be prepped for theatre. They made me wear some support stockings after I had my hospital gown on. Wow they are awkward to get on! And so unattractive. I was told not to wear nail varnish or makeup, so I made sure I fake tanned the day before! I did also have my nails done and my toes pedicured, but hey, each to their own I guess. I didn’t want to feel totally rank.

I remember walking down to theatre and sitting on a large metal bed. It felt freezing. The anaesthetist explained the procedure of the anaesthetic, and I remember trembling. I have a phobia of needles in my spine after several lumbar punctures in the previous years. After a few attempts they put the spinal block in and lay me down whilst it started working. They then covered me up and fitted a screen, and then let my husband in.

Its all a little blurred to be honest now. I remember looking up at the lights and feeling like I was in a dream. The doctors kept chatting to me and my husband like this was normal. It was so not normal. We were going to be parents! I was petrified. Thy literally told me step by step as they were doing things; the incision, the bursting of my waters. They then said you can expect to feel a tugging sensation shortly. And that I surely did! It was the weirdest experience ever. I felt some tugging inside of me yet couldn’t actually feel it. It didn’t hurt though, not at all. And within minutes they told me my little boy was here and they swaddled him up and checked him over. Thy handed him to my husband who brought him over to me. He was scrumptious.

My little bundle of joy then got whisked away with his daddy whilst I was stitched back up, it was the longest 30 minutes of my life! I remember going back into the recovery room to see my husband and meet our little man properly, and it felt weird, odd, they literally left us to it. What do I do? So, I tried to feed him, unsuccessfully but I tried.

I was then taken back up on the maternity ward and filled with pain relief. They then washed me. I was totally numb, so that was a little weird. Dignity totally gone by now! I actually felt ok, and after 10 hours they got me up out of bed and walking around. I recovered really quickly, and was home 36 hours later, and shopping after being home 48 hours. My c-section healed really nicely and my stitches dissolved quickly. All in all it was ok and not as painful as I had anticipated. Laughing and coughing hurt though, so, so bad, but the more it hurt the more you laugh. And I won’t explain the post-baby poop you do, because my goodness, brace yourselves because it’s like squeezing a melon through a keyhole, that’s all I’m saying! They need to write this in birthing books, it’s quite an horrific part!

My second caesarean section, however, was not a good experience. Not at all. Seven days before my planned section I fell down the stairs and broke my ankle. Baby was fine but my ankle was not. I broke it in a place that wouldn’t heal if weight was put onto it, so I had to not use it at all. Can you imagine being nine months pregnant and trying to hop? It was vile. I couldn’t get up stairs or anything. It was 7 days from hell, and then I went in to have my section. It then got delayed by 2 days. I was an emotional wreck and in so much agony with my ankle it was unreal. Then the C-section happened, the spinal block and then the baby being born. All good. They then stapled me up instead of stitches and fitted a drain to stop infection. A whole new experience for me. What followed was the worst pain I’ve ever experienced. I think I was so high on the pain meds for my ankle that nothing touched the sides when it came to my caesarean wound. I was totally out of it yet it excruciating agony. I don’t really remember much of the first day or the visitors. I couldn’t get out of bed when I needed to. The drain hurt to be taken out on day 3, and I ended up in hospital for 6 days, and was still in agony. Once I was home I still then had my ankle boot cast on for 4 more weeks, so couldn’t start this new journey as I’d hoped. My staples hurt, even more so when I had to use one leg. And the post-baby poop -jeez! I will say though I was petrified of my midwife coming to my house and removing my staples, but it actually didn’t hurt at all.

With my first caesarean sectionI had never heard of post-contractions. and thankfully I didn’t get any, but with my second C-section I had contractions 7 days after my operation. I’ve never experienced anything  like it, the staples did not help. After a few hours and an emergency phone call they settled. I wish somebody had warned me. So, here’s your warning.

So, there you go, two very different caesarean section experiences. The truth, no false bravado etc. A caesarean section is definitely not easy, but sometimes it is easier than other times. But it’s doable. Just talk to people who’ve experienced it and not just written a book about it.

Here’s a few necessities to remember when having a caesarean section (they’ll make you feel slightly less gross):

Dry shampoo

Drinks

A book

BIG HUGE comfortable underpants

Moisturiser

Face wipes

Mints

Hope my truth about my caesarean section helped a little.

How Good Is Your Bedtime Routine?

Bedtime, bedtime, bedtime. The meaning of which changes once you become a parent, don’t you think? It becomes horrific, I know some people have a smooth ride and their baby is a dream and sleeps through etc, but balls to those people! Just kidding. A little! The bedtime routine has aways been such a touchy subject here. I’ve been graced with two very different children.

Child one, never wanted to sleep, not ever. Well, ok, he did. For 45 minutes at a time. Even through the night! It was exhausting. It was excruciating. It was horrid. And no amount of advice could help me out. I tried everything, and I mean everything. My baby didn’t care about advice. He just liked to cry, and in turn it seemed he liked to make me cry, usually on the bathroom floor at 4am when another night had passed us by without any sleep. I was on the brink of losing my sanity totally. I was told it would just last a  weeks, and then a few months, and then years? Years? Were these people actually full on kidding me or what? We tried baths, and lotions, and massages, and soothing music, we also tried yelling. Sleep deprivation makes you angry. It ruins those precious moments. So if you’re going through a time when your kids don’t sleep then don’t despair, you are normal, they are normal (unless they’re in pain then seek GP advice if you’re unsure), and it will definitely pass, one day. When that day will be who knows? Some days I wonder myself and mine are now 5 and 7!

My youngest co-slept with us for three and a half years, it was the only way he would sleep. And when you’re not getting any sleep, any sleep is sleep! This was our bedtime routine. People tell you co-sleeping is terrible and you make a rod for your own back. So, I used to tell them that if they found this rod I could put up my back could they let me know as it would make a lovely stand-up sleep aid! They never did find one!

At three and a half my child then transferred to his own room with his little brother in, and it was a miracle and we all slept happily ever after. Pfft, did we heck! I had to sit in that room until he fell asleep, hours and hours each night, there was no other solution. My child is autistic, it takes him 2 – 3 hours to drift off to sleep. That bedroom floor was crippling, and draining, but a momma has to do what a momma has to do. He’d then wake every few hours and needed reassurance to calm his screams. This went on for 3 more years.

We also had another little boy to get into a routine, but he was easy, he was no bother, he slept through the night from week 3 and on his own too. He was a dream. And then he turned 2, and it brought out the wild in him, a wild that is obviously never going to disappear, but I love his wild streak. Most of the time. Most of the time except bedtime when he thinks he is hilarious being an idiot to try and stall bedtime, but instead just infuriates us beyond furious. Then story time ends up being a circus.

Bedtime here is at 7pm after a bedtime routine of a hot bath and a story. Sometimes it happens at 7, and sometimes I’m chasing a naked Tasmanian devil around the landing, bawling my head off for him to get into bed and stop the nonsense. Bedtimes are often chaotic, and I’m left wondering what I’m doing wrong? We have no electronic devices after dinner, and they don’t have a tv in their room. We have a bath and a story and they have classical music on to go to sleep. And then it hits me. I am doing NOTHING wrong, nothing at all, they’re kids, they’re all different. And this is our routine, an often chaotic one, but a routine. Both kids, once in bed, generally drift off to sleep. The youngest has to shout 25 minutes worth of ailments (I’ve got a rash or I’ve got chicken pox or I have a sore bum or I’ve got something in my eye or I’m blocked up I can’t breathe etc etc) and the eldest lies there whispering for a few hours drifting off to sleep, but they sleep through. Did you read that? THEY SLEEP THROUGH!!! ur bedtime routine worked! Ha! Dreams do come true! Well, they have here, kind of. I mean they still get up early but not at the ass crack of dawn like they did for 5 years, so i’ll take that!

Bedtime isn’t perfect, and people who have perfect bed times, well, I don’t know any people who have, do you? And if you do then don’t believe them! Or maybe I am jealous? Either way bedtime mostly sucks, but is also my favourite time of day! After 7 years I think we have almost cracked it!

Don’t Take Your Kids To Public Places

Is there anything more annoying than loud, unruly children in a restaurant when you are trying to enjoy a nice quiet meal? Why do their parents even take them out knowing how loud and disruptive they will be?! Just don’t take your kids out in public. It’s much easier for everybody concerned isn’t it? Stay at home, let them go on their computer games and eat candy whilst you sit on your phone having a quick flutter or something else that makes you feel like you still enjoy life once in a while, right?

Tonight my husband and I went out to a restaurant for dinner to a quaint, quiet place in the countryside. We were near two school age children for the entire meal. I still have indigestion now thinking about the evening. The two kids should have been in bed, it was a school night afterall, but instead their parents had taken them out.

The two children got louder as the evening went by, and I could see the aggravation rising in my husbands eyes. We came out to enjoy a quiet meal, but instead we were witnessing something from a Looney Tunes cartoon.

The children shouted, laughed loud, shook condiments over people, climbed under the table, squealed loudly, were rude at times, and kept standing on their chairs. The mother tried to reason with them but to no avail. One of the children ran off around the restaurant and was dragged back!

I looked on in utter disbelief.

The children, surprisingly, ate their food despite moaning about its impending arrival. It was obviously way past their usual meal time, but each parent to their own I guess. When the kids had finished their main course they demanded pudding like their parents were slaves. Manners were scarce!

After the kids had eaten their food the rampage continued. They started swiping at the grownups with them with their teddy bears. They climbed over chairs, they made patterns in the condensation on the restaurant windows, and they jumped on the back of their mother. At one point the mother was on lockdown with the one boy. He had her hair in a death grip and they were literally both lay across the bench style seat for a good 3 minutes. What the hell? I was shocked. I was disgusted.

The whole restaurant was aware of this family, and it felt a little uncomfortable to say the least!

Why do parents with children like these inflict them upon the public? Are they really this selfish?

Anddddd stop.

The kids in this post are mine. The teddy bears were Snoodle. The hair was also mine. And the sanity has well and truly gone. Would I take them back to a restaurant? Hell yeah! That’s the life of this momma, and as ‘abnormal’ and ‘crazy’ as it may have been, they were actually pretty well behaved on this occasion. Ha, for real!

Don’t ever be ashamed or embarrassed, ever. Those onlookers know nothing about your children, or your parenting skills.

There are additional needs in our family, invisible ones, SPD and ASD, but regardless, if a restaurant has a children’s menu the fact remains that children (in all forms) are welcome.

(For all the new people over on here who don’t know my origins, my story, my life…my children are normally in bed by 7pm, this meal was 5pm ’til 7.30pm, my children didn’t run into other diners – he ran off once, it was a family celebration – we don’t go out when it’s school the next day in everyday life, my kids had ‘things’ to keep them entertained, I said manners were scarce not non-existent, I also said the mother intervened, and BAM! There you have it! This post was written to make other parents feel less alone in their struggles, nothing more, nothing less)

Does Your Child Have Good Self Esteem?

Does your child have good self esteem? I ask myself this question so many times, and have done since my babies were newly born. How do you even tell? Sometimes I don’t think you can tell, and other times it is pretty obvious.

Children are born with various personalities, some is nature and some is nurture. A LOT is nurture. As a care giver we have a huge responsibility to help these little beings and big beings figure out their self worth, and in my opinion it is one of the most important jobs you will ever have. It literally has the power of life or death. No pressure then huh?! It used to worry me endlessly, but now it doesn’t. I do everything in my power to make sure my boys have a healthy self esteem.

Self esteem is not something that happens overnight, it’s years and years of life endeavours, task failures, successes, losses, obstacles, learning, and battles. Self esteem is something you cultivate and nurture over a period of time, and the younger you start the better.

I don’t particularly have a very good self esteem but I’m working on it. Life has not often been kind to my self esteem so it hasn’t grown as well as it should have, which is why I am determined that my children will have a good sense of self worth. And I think they have.

How can you cultivate self worth in children?

Children are so impressionable from such a young age so praise is very important. It shows you care, that they did well and tried their best, and it encourages them to try again next time. I am a firm believer in praise. It goes a long way. I don’t buy into the ‘tough love’ regime, and never will. Love isn’t tough.

If my children fail, I am there telling them to try again, and again, even if its over a few days or weeks or months. Teach them not to quit, but that it’s ok to fail if we pick ourselves up and try again. Tell them that unless you make a mistake you never learn anything. Mistakes are ok, lying in defeat is not. Help them build their stamina.

Don’t do everything for your children, as tempting as it may be. Let them do things by themselves, encourage them to try, and if they cannot manage the task then tell them you will help them because they tried their best first. They will surprise you and themselves! I promise!

Teach them to write their failures in the sand and their successes upon the rocks.

Tell them you love them, often. Never let them wonder. Even if you were raised without those words do not let your children live their life never hearing them. Cuddle them. Tell them things you like about them. Tell them you love being their momma etc. Tell them. Every single day tell them! Leave them a note. Press a heart into their toast. Let them know you think about them.

If your child struggles with self esteem try a Strength Jar. This is simply a jar filled with pieces of paper, and upon these pieces of paper you get your child to write down all the things they are good at and like about themselves, and you can write them too. One you’re finished read through them weekly, and place on a shelf within reach. My boys really loved this activity and still look at them a year on!

Choose your words carefully. I know kids can drive us insane and we all get irate and say things we don’t mean but just make sure you apologise when you need too. Words can hurt but apologies are a great medicine. You are never too old to apologise. It will teach your child a good lesson in forgiveness and empathy too.

No app can replace your lap.

Read with your kids. Knowing you want to spend time with them will do their heart the world of good. Even 5 minutes a day will make the difference. It will widen their imagination too which is a very good thing!

If they ask for a cuddle give them a cuddle. If they ask for a second cuddle give them a second cuddle. If they ask for a third cuddle…get my drift? Life is too short to not give them that third cuddle. Tomorrow is not promised to anybody and I sure as hell do not want to wish I’d have cuddled my child for a third time and are no longer be able to. Hearts are breaking around this world for lost loved ones, so cherish the ones you have whilst you have them.

Teach them that we are all unique. Teach them it’s ok to be different and that it doesn’t make us less. Teach them about the importance of being kind and compassionate. Teach them to sit with the lonely. Teach them to look out for others. Teach them to help. Teach them be assertive. Teach them about mental health and self care. Teach them to be a good human being. Teach them that their best IS good enough.

Teach them that academic ability is NOT the most important thing in life.

Listen to their worries, their concerns. It may be little things, to them they are big things. When you listen to the little concerns, you validate them. This will go a long way in raising your children to never suffer in silence.

Raising children is the most important job you could have ever been given, even when it’s hard, even when it hurts, even when you’re exhausted, even when you cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel, keep going, keep learning, keep loving.

Your Child Does Not Have Autism

My eldest child is 7 years old, and received his official Autism diagnosis within the last 12 months. It has been a very long 7 years full of battles against the system and against ignorant people, especially within the education system of the UK. It has worn me down over and over again and I have had to fight for support for him every single step of the way, and am still going to have to, but now I’m armed with an official diagnosis so things are that little bit easier.

I’ve often written about my boy and his additional needs, he also has Sensory Processing Disorder, and I like to share our journey to encourage others and help them feel less alone. I guess this is what this post is about, not feeling lonely in your fight for a diagnosis.

I’ve been told so many times that my child definitely doesn’t have autism. He can maintain eye contact, he can speak, he notices if something is removed from in front of him, his reading and writing skills are above average, he has friends, he eats ok etc etc. I’ve been told by GP’s, paediatricians, and school SENCO’s that he is absolutely fine, that he doesn’t need support, he definitely is not autistic and that they just don’t see what I am talking about and he will grow out of it. Do you know how this makes you feel? Horrendous! On top of the guilt you already feel for knowing your child is struggling but you cannot help him, hearing people basically say you’re making it all up is really disheartening and leaves you feeling pretty hopeless. BUT do not give up. If your gut is telling you something is not right then keep on keeping on until you get the answers your child and your family so desperately need.

I’m not one for sitting back and taking no for an answer, I never give up where my kids and my family are concerned I fight their corner every inch of the way, but boy is it hard hen you’re dismissed over and over again. You soon start o question yourself and your sanity, but don’t let it do that to you. Remember your focus, and that’s your child.

To cut a long story short we eventually got referred to a child mental health service after 5 years, and upon his initial meeting the doctor said to me that they think my child is on the Autistic Spectrum and has anxiety, and would be assessing him for this. After a few assessments they reached the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder and anxiety. I was so relieved. I didn’t think this would be my initial reaction but it was. Years of battling other people for support for my child had been worth it and now this little piece of paper confirmed what we had suspected all along and now this little bit of paper meant that no longer could I be scoffed at by education professionals. My child and his needs would now be taken serious!

Don’t let people push your concerns away, don’t let them silence your worries, stand up for what your heart is telling you, it will be a huge battle, but worth the fight. If I’d have listened to processionals and let them override my gut instinct my boy would be classed as neurotypical and would not get any extra support at all, and this would be detrimental to his emotional and mental health as well as his academic progress.

Never let anybody tell you your child is fine ‘because they’ve seen children much worse than them’, never let anyone dismiss you or your concerns. As a parent your gut instinct is usually right, follow it, and don’t give up. There is light at the end of the tunnel, the tunnel just may be longer than you had hoped.

Keep fighting.

The Spirited Wild Child

I have a very spirited child. He is unique and wild in every way. I love this about him, but it also drives me to the brink of insanity. He is fearless. I am not. It leads you to question your parenting skills and abilities time and time again. BUT I’ve come to realise we are not alone, not at all.

Do you have a spirited, wild child? Does any of the following sound familiar?…

The Spirited Child…

They break the boundaries and don’t look back.

They leap without looking and thrive on looking down.

They are drawn to chaos and feel peaceful when messiest.

They fervently listen but do the opposite to what’s expected.

They love adrenaline rushes despite the consequences it may lead to.

They drive you to the edge of insanity but then entice you back in with a well timed snuggle and cheeky smile.

They defy every notion you hold of a child and their behaviour, yet their individuality is what makes them so adorable.

They live for the moment and instant gratification is more desired than a promise of later luxury.

They see the ‘wet paint’ sign but have to check its truth.

They hear you say something is hot but they need first hand experience of the temperature just to clarify it in their own minds.

They hear the words ‘No more!’ but they have to do it one more time.

They understand patience but not how to practice it.

They understand bath foam is to clean yourself with but they eat it anyway.

They think with their body and not with their brains.

Their nature is strong willed, and stubborn, and fierce.

The future is in their hands, they do not fear.

They leave you exasperated, astounded, surprised, fearful, and often in despair.

They are the future. A strong, bold future.

Their ‘wild’ is their biggest strength.

Their ‘spiritedness’ is their super power.

Sound familiar? Buckle down momma. Sit tight Daddy. You’re in for one helluva ride.

Choose your battles, but never battle their spirit. They’re gonna need that spirit. The world out there is tough.

It’s gonna be hard. It already is hard. BUT their spirit is evolving, and time will do the taming.

Cling on.

You’re not a failure, you’re privileged to be raising up a world changer.

Illusions Of A Parent And Car Safety

We all have dreams and ideas for our lives, our homes, our marriages,  our children. We dream of winning the Lotto or landing a big promotion. We dream of living in Mauritius with a Butler. We think big ideas regarding our future. We dream, we dream alot.

Then there’s the everyday type of dreaming; you promise yourself that tomorrow is the day you’ll have this parenting malarkey sussed and you map out your day, and even throw in a new creative activity you recently saw on Pinterest. Then real life shows up. It’s not even 9.30am and you need a double vodka, a big slice of chocolate fudge cake, and possibly a Strepsil to soothe your throat from all the yelling you’d promised yourself you weren’t going to do today, again.

Here are four dreams and romantic ideas of mine. They lull me into a false sense of dreaminess and make me think things are a good idea – when, in reality, if they don’t involve unwashed hair, pj’s, and not having to socialise with any other human beings, then it’s safe to say it’ll be a bad idea.

Lets go for a lovely drive

The dream – Let’s all hop into the family car and go for a lovely, autumnal drive. Let’s marvel at the scenery and sing along to our favourite songs. Let’s find a layby to stop and drink hot chocolate and enjoy each other’s company.

Reality – Nobody wants to go for a drive except momma. The kids karate chop each other across the seats. Momma thinks about car safety and quickly does a mental checklist; Are the coolant/water levels ok? Is the tyre pressure going to be ok and when did we last check it? Is the oil level ok? Do we have enough windscreen wash? Do all of our lights work? Is the boot free of unnecessary weight? Is everybody strapped into their seats properly without thick coats? Do we know where we are going? Right, all checked, meanwhile everybody argues over which music should be played. The car steams up and blocks everybody’s view of the scenery. The smell of the countryside makes the 5yo hurl. The hurl makes the 7yo cry. They both make momma cry. Daddy then cries after he feels a tyre blow! Forget the countryside we now need to find Kwikfit and something stronger than hot chocolate

Babycino dates with my handsome boys and my husband

The dream – We get dressed with minor fuss. Mummys hair looks great. Everyone is happy. We leave the house on time and remember everything. The journey is smooth and tearless. We order and take our seats. The boys eat the cake they chose without moaning or swapping. They sit lovely and use their manners. They drink their babycinos. We have a relaxing coffee with our lovely little boys.

Reality – The boys moan their way through waking up. Mummy is exhausted from being woken up every 45 minutes from midnight til 5am by a dehydrating three year old. The lounge floor is a Coco Pop assault course. Nobody likes milk this morning; it’s “poo poo!” Nobody wants a bath. Mummy has to karate chop pj’s off two flailing baby dragons. The bath is apparently boiling hot. Mummy slings two boys into the lava-temperature bath. Two boys get washed while doing a tantrum dance. Mummy is soaked. And mad. Nobody wants to get dressed but no choice is given. Have you tried dressing a wild coyote? Mummy gets ready in 10 minutes whilst playing referee. Daddy takes a bit longer. We leave the house 45 minutes later than planned. Mummys face sweats. Mummy forgets the changing bag. The journey is not moan free; it’s hot, the sun hurts, it’s cold, etc etc. We pull up at the coffee shop. Let’s start afresh. We order. We sit. D1 doesn’t like his chair. D2 will not swap. D1 now likes his chair. D2 now wants to swap. D1 wants Daddys cake. So does D2. No one sits still. Two dragons roar loud. D1 hits D2. A brawl occurs with a latte being piggy in the middle. People judge us. We quickly drink our coffee. We exit quick. The end.

The toystore visit

The dream – We promise our children a special treat from the big toy store for their good behaviour. We are all excited to visit the store, and feel a sense of magic. It will feel just like the Toys R Us advert. Our two children will be so excited and so grateful to us. They will hold our hand and dance down the aisle in amazement at all the wonderful toys on show.

Reality – There was no good behaviour yet we are still going to the toystore. The boys are excited. We arrive. D2 makes a getaway on the car park and runs fast. Good start. We go into the store. D1 wants the Lego aisle. D2 wants the dollies aisle. D2 lays on the floor and refuses to walk. We drag him to another aisle. We walk down the music aisle. D2 plays the keyboard. D1 pushes D2 off the stool for his turn. D2 bites D1. Timeout in a toystore is always a joyous time. Apologies are made. Fresh start. The bike aisle. D1 tests out a bike. D2 has climbed the shelf and is head first in a tractor. He screams when he is pulled out. Cue lying on the floor. After 45 minutes of pure stress we decide to leave. But not empty handed because we’re crazy like that! Anyone else? The end.

Let’s eat out for dinner

The dream – You want to spend some quality time with your family so decide to go out for dinner. You choose a child friendly restaurant and imagine the four of you enjoying a lovely meal as a family. The kids eat well and wait patiently for their pudding. You leave feeling full and proud.

Reality – You end up at Pizza hut because you know the icecream factory will be the perfect bribe for your children to behave well and eat their meal. It all starts well. D2 eats a crayon but that’s nothing abnormal. They choose their food. It takes 365 days to arrive. They get hangry. Crayons are thrown. Legs are jerked. Snarls are exchanged. The pizza arrives. Cue a break down because I won’t let my children eat molten lava pizza. It cools. They eat. They eat well. Mummy and daddys food arrives. Mid pizza the icecream tantrum begins. Everyone stares. We cave. The boys have dessert. Pizza hut call in Environmental Health to de-toddler the sprinkles and syrups counter. They have a second helping. We use four hundred baby wipes, 20 napkins, and we leave. The end.

But would we have it any other way? Yes! Yes we would 🤣

Rubbish Advice For Parents

When you become a parent you, unwillingly, attract the opinion of everybody you meet. Some people mean well, and others most definitely do not. You get advice during pregnancy, during the newborn weeks, during the terrible two’s, potty training advice, sleep advice, diet advice, school advice, advice about absolutely everything, and it drives you absolutely out of your mind!

Here is some of that advice I received during the first two years and what I thought about it…

“Get all the sleep you can before they arrive!”

Sleep?!? What is sleep? You lie down you have heart burn. You stand up you need a wee. You lie down and baby wakes up, with hiccups. You can’t lie on your side because it makes your hips hurt, you can’t lie on your back because you’ve heard it’s bad for the baby, you obviously can’t lie on your front because it is physically impossible 8 months pregnant. A pillow in between your legs is good, for 5 minutes, and then it’s back to aggravation about not being tired anymore, yet you’re exhausted. You take another swig of indigestion liquid and try again. Repeat all night long, every night. You try and nap in the day but the postman always knocks the door, or somebody visits, or you need to do the housework, or the thought of the ironing pile is making you have palpitations, and before you know it the day has gone and you didn’t catch up on any of this sleep you’re supposed to take advantage of when your baby is still in your belly.

Don’t let them them sleep in your bed, you’ll make a rod for your own back!”

What is this rod? Would it make a good pole to hang off and get some sleep because if it would then chances are a rod on my own back is just what I need. We all have different children, my first needed to sleep with momma, and my second needed his own space, and I obliged to both! Why you may ask? Because what it all boiled down to was I NEEDED SLEEP, and I didnt care how it came, I just needed it. So, unless you’re in my house babysitting at midnight and 1am and 2amm and 3am and 4am mind your own business about that rod on my back!

“Breastfeeding is better for your baby”

Breast is great, bottle is great, both ere food for my baby, and I’ll decide which is better for us both. I can’t even look at my nipples right now let alone imagine something using them to get their grub four hundred times a day, so don’t booby judge me!

“Let them cry it out!”

I tried this once, for 30 minutes, and I ended up crying worse than my baby, and I have never to this day done it again, I just cannot condition my child into knowing that if they cry it is useless because I wont come back until it’s morning. This is my choice, you have your own choices.

“Sleep when baby sleeps!”

Here’s a joke for you – Sleep…you don’t get it? Neither do I!

Six years on and I am still exhausted. Sleep when baby sleeps, say what?! So we better clean when baby cleans, and iron when baby irons, and food shop when baby food shops, and dust when baby dusts, and empty the trash when the baby empties the trash right? Just forget about sleep, at least for the first few years anyway! Sorry to rain on your parade, but it is normal.

Don’t keep picking him up you’ll spoil him!”

I’ll spoil him? With cuddles and love? Good! I want to, a baby never got spoilt by too much love. You cannot have too much love. My baby, my heart, my rules.

“Only give them homemade organic food.”

So, we tried this for a while, and it nearly made us bankrupt this organic stuff, joking, but you get my drift! Those pouches of freshly prepared food are amazing and convenient, and a momma needs convenience. There is hardly time to pee let alone whip up homemade cuisine daily. Don’t pouch judge me!

They should be potty trained by now (aged 2)!”

No way should they! They are all different, and until they are ready no amount of persuasion or anger or determination from you will potty train them, there are no rules, you have to follow their lead. I tried to listen to somebody’s advice once, and my floor was covered in pee on the hour every hour for 48 hours! And did Mrs Advice come help clean it up? Did she heck!

“Is he not walking yet? My child walked at 8 months!”

This backhanded advice really grates me! It’s like we have to have uniform children who reach each milestone at the same rate. No, my child walked at 13 months and my other child was too lazy to walk until they were 20 months, and both are doing just fine. Maybe your 8 month old has had enough of your comparing and needed to learn to walk to get away quicker! Oops, did I type that?

Don’t give your child a pacifier / dummy, it will ruin their teeth and slow down their speech development!”

Well both of mine had one, and they’re just fine, in fact they don’t ever stop talking, and I mean ever! I loved that pacifier like it was a child, it gave me a few minutes of peace when they were upset about teething, or they were tired and I couldn’t hold them both at the same time, or I just simply needed 2 minutes peace to buy a new jumper to replace the maternity one I was still wearing 18 months into being a mum!

Don’t ever let your children have candy!”

Have you seen the power of bribery a lollipop holds? It speaks for itself! Who’s with me?

 

Have you had any unwanted advice that was a load of rubbish? I’d love to hear it!

 

Dear (Additional Needs) Parent

I know as a parent we all cry at one time or another over our child, each of us for very different reasons, but all of us because we love them so very much. Sometimes we cry happy tears, then sometimes tears of frustration stain our faces, and other times it’s because our heart breaks for them.

Every family suffers it’s own hardships and circumstances, some are temporary, some are long lasting, some of them are the cards life dealt you, and others are devastatingly permanent, but one thing remains to get us all through these hard times; love. Above anything else, just love.

Love can change your perspective on almost anything, and does the world of good for your soul, and sometimes it’s the only thing you have to offer.

One of my boys suffers with severe anxiety as well as Sensory Processing Disorder and he has recently been diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum, and it often breaks my heart watching him struggle knowing that I cannot change things for him. All I can do is support him, guide him, and show him unconditional love. I cannot change the way his brain functions, but I’ve had a huge role to play in the way his heart functions. I fill it with love, encouragement, praise, solutions, confidence, and I try my hardest to ensure he has a healthy self-esteem.

Some days I can conquer the world with him, and we navigate our way through the problems, and the thoughts, and the behaviours, but other days I cry for him after hours of meltdowns and aggression. I peek at him whilst he is drifting off to sleep and I hear him sob. I ask him what’s wrong. Sometimes he doesn’t even know. Other times he has dreams that were so nice he didn’t want to wake from them, or dreams that were so scary he thinks they are real. Sometimes he dreams of another boy just like him who understands him and hugs him tight. This is the one that gets me in the gut and upsets me to the core, he must feel lonely, in his own world, and like he isn’t understood. I hate this feeling he has so much but all I can do is reassure him, validate his feelings and reaffirm his worth.

Some days I watch him play Lego, his familiar territory. He sets up scenes and recreates movie scenes. His eye for detail and accuracy astounds me, but sometimes it scares me. His little brain is so full and he is so hard on himself if any detail is wrong. I wish he would be easier on himself, but all I can do is love him, reassure him that it’s ok to think how he does, and try and extend his play to help him be more spontaneous. It’s hard teaching him that perfection is not always possible, his brain craves perfection at all costs.

School holidays are another time that often renders my heart broken, the dreaded night before the new term begins especially. The anxiety grips his tummy and he lashes out at everything and everyone. He goes into full flight or fight mode and nothing can soothe him, we have to ride the wave and hope it ends sooner rather than later. All we can do is reassure him, cuddle him, talk things through. It hurts my heart that I cannot help further.

There are so any routines and habits that have to happen in order for his world to feel at peace, some of them are cute little quirks that we all have, but some are a matter of urgency and must be done, and done correctly. I wish I could switch his little mind off and give him a rest. He must be so tired sometimes of the constant battles and urges.

As a parent it is heartbreaking not being able to help your child, and sometimes it gets too much. But that’s ok, we are not robots and we have feelings, strong feelings.

But, we have to be warriors for our children, and not worriers! Worrying drains the life from you, and your child needs that life, they need your hope and your reassurance. They need to share your courage when they cannot understand their own world.

I worry so often that I’m failing my boys, but when push comes to shove I’d give my last breath if it meant they’d get one more. I’d fight to my death for them. And that is what counts.

Sometimes I don’t have a solution or an answer, but I always have a cuddle, I always have a kind word, and I always have love. Love has seen us through many tough times, and I know it will continue to because it’s the only thing that never grows tired. My hope dwindles, my soul gets weary, my heart gets broken, but my love remains strong, and always will.

Additional needs parents you do an amazing job, and it’s a big learning curve too, keep going, keep loving, keep being their warrior! Never worry about being ‘normal’. Normal doesn’t exist! What’s normal for the spider is chaos for the fly!