The post pregnancy identity crisis

I’ve talked about this before. When Iris came along. 

Now I’ve gone and had two babies in less than two years, and I feel battered. A million billion miles from the person I was before. 

Before I got pregnant with Iris I was one of those people that spends all of the spare time at the gym. On reflection, I was deeply unhappy. Before Trevor there was a relationship where I was completely ignored. I felt so unwanted and convinced myself it was a physical thing. As in, my physical appearance made me unloveable. 

As a result I was the fittest I had ever been. I attended 6am spinning classes before my 10 hour shifts. I calorie counted. I lived on juice diets and salads. 

I was a size 8, and seriously unhappy with how I looked. 

I’m now a size 14 and seriously unhappy with how I look. 

Just goes to show that actually size has very little to do with it. 

I don’t care what the label in my clothes says. I don’t care what the scales say. I don’t care what people say about me. I refuse to hate my body anymore. 

However, I still feel like shit. 

I’m sluggish, tired, achey, uncomfortable. 

It has to change. 

But how?

I’ve been twice now to a dance class that you can take small children along to, and I have really enjoyed it. I’ve been reminded of that post-exercise feeling that I was once addicted to. It’s a great feeling. Like a tired glow. 

It’s not easy to fit exercise in when you spend every minute with a toddler and a baby. It’s not easy to eat healthily when you’re left feeling drained from breastfeeding and very little sleep. I need chocolate. I crave sugar so much. 

It’s not just that. 

After you have kids everything changes. There’s the stretch marks. I don’t dislike them. I just don’t expect to see them in the mirror. This body doesn’t look like my body anymore and it’s hard to get my head around. My boobs were once tiny and are now huge. And they leak. My old favourite styles of jeans cut into my hip fat and look weird. I have no idea what clothes suit this new shape. I don’t know how to get dressed. 

I did Slimming World once before but don’t think it’s for me. I don’t want to miss the kid’s bedtime every Tuesday because I’m sat around listening to recipes for Diet Coke chicken. I’m not sure how to make it work for a veggie who doesn’t like dairy products much. 

Calorie counting? 

I get obsessive about it. That’s the trouble. I’m fragile enough without making things worse. 

I feel so stuck with this. I really have no idea how to help myself. 

But help myself I must. 

So tomorrow things change. Tomorrow I start taking better care of myself. 


Astrid at 20 weeks 

I feel a bit bad about falling behind with these updates on Astrid. It’s nice to have them go read back through. I often read my old posts about Iris as a baby and try to remember her tiny hands and what it was like to breastfeed her. 

Astrid is now 20 weeks old. Not quite 5 months. At 5 months Iris weighed about 12lb. Astrid weighed over 14lb last time I had her weighed, which was a couple of weeks ago now. She’s so much bigger than Iris was! I’m fact, she’s wearing clothes Iris didn’t fit into until she was 8 months old. It’s hardly surprising really. Iris had a tougher start, and feeding her was hard work to start with. Everything has gone so much more smoothly this time and Astrid has gained weight so much faster. I’m struggling to come to terms with how fast time is going this time around. In a few short weeks Astrid will begin having solid foods! 

Most of my early posts about Iris were about sleep. She just didn’t. Astrid does. She sleeps pretty well actually. It’s nothing I’ve done. I’ve parented them exactly the same way. Some babies sleep and some babies don’t. I’m even more sure now that what you do as a parent doesn’t make much difference to how much they sleep. I’m so glad never to have gone down the sleep training route.  Unfortunately, Iris still wakes up several times a night, so I’m still not getting any! 

Astrid is loud. So loud. She experiments with her voice and likes to squawk and wail as loud as she can. When she’s not being noisy, she’s grinning. She’s so very jolly. Jolly and chubby. She’s like baby Santa. She beams at anybody who looks at her, but she’s saves her biggest smiles for us. Especially her big sisters! 

She’s reached that annoying stage where she gets bored and needs entertainment, but she can’t actually do anything yet. She’ll hold a toy, chew it and wave it around a bit, but sooner or later she drops it and then gets frustrated. I’ve found myself looking forward to her sitting up and playing, but then I feel sad because I don’t want to wish for her to grow faster. I just with she could join in with Iris’s games sometimes, because I’m pretty sure that’s what she’d like to do. 

We’re getting out of the house a lot. I’m amazed that I found it so hard to get out of the house when Iris was tiny, but now I get out with a toddler and a baby and it’s not even that stressful. I’ve obviously got better at this. 

I had no idea we had an Astrid shaped hole in our lives, but now it’s clear that we did. It’s like she’s always been here, and it seems odd that not long ago she wasn’t. 

A quick peek at Cefn Mably Farm Park 

This afternoon we found ourselves at the birthday party of one of Iris’s little buddies. I still can’t believe that so many of her friends are turning two, and that her turn is not very far away. We planned to go into the farm early, before the party, to have a bit of a wander around. It didn’t work out like that. We spent the morning at the outdoors playgroup Iris goes to once a month, then followed that with lunch in the supermarket. By the time we got to Cefn Mably and waited for Iris to wake from her van nap, the party was about to start. 

The big two spent some time exploring the big indoor soft play area while Iris partied with friends, but I didn’t even take a look. The kids seemed to enjoy it though. When the party finished we only had an hour before the whole park closed. We crammed quite a bit in! 

There are a lot of different animals to see! Iris is a real animal lover, and loves to chat away to them. She’s completely unaware that they don’t understand her. “Oh hello little horsey, you’re a nice horsey, your feet go nick nock nick nock”. They’re all really used to people and pretty much every species were at the fences, trying to get our attention. So late in the day, we had it almost to ourselves. I like it like that. 

There were pony rides too, but they’d finished for the day. Plus loads of play equipment. Even old farm equipment and tractors for kids to explore. The kids had a lot of fun swinging and sliding, but we just didn’t have enough time for them to do it all. 

Astrid was upset about the heat (it was scorching here today!) so I spent much of the time sitting in the shade trying to calm her down. Actually, I rather like being able to sit back and know that Iris can run and climb and she’s safe with her dad and sisters. That’s the best thing about the weekend! 

We’ll be back, with more time and better planning, and I’ll write a proper review of the place. So far, we love it! 

Rhossili. No, you’re silly. 

It’s seems that even though I suddenly declared I was back, my blogging ‘mojo’ isn’t. I haven’t written a thing since, despite having stuff to say. I’m just out of the habit, I guess. 

I’m not in the mood, right this moment, to talk about my mental health. But talk about I will, at some point. Because I really need to. 

It’s been a tough week. I’ve barely slept, and I definitely haven’t looked after myself. My mouth is full of ulcers so big and sore that I can barely eat or talk, and I have a constant headache. 

Instead of dwelling on the aches and pains of right now, I’ve been looking back to this time last weekend when we were frolicking on the beach in the sun. I felt good then. It was a good day. 

We did really have a wonderful day. Iris was a brave explorer and even insisted on kissing the crabs. There’s a cute little video here.

I love Rhossili. It’s definitely my favourite beach. I love a beach without arcades and funfair rides! 

Hopefully I’ll soon have a clearer head and the motivation to write. Fingers crossed. In the meantime, here’s some happy sunny pictures from our day at the beach. 

The siblings project (May)

I’ve just decided to start taking part in the sibling project link up again. I have no pictures taken especially for this, but maybe it’s better that way. I take pictures of them together whenever I get a chance anyway. 

They are such a twosome already. I thought I’d be waiting quite a long while for them to really interact with each other, but they already do. They’re so close. Iris insists that ‘baby’ (she rarely calls her Astrid) joins in with everything, even though she can’t really join in yet. Astrid beams whenever and sees Iris and clearly adores her. I love to see them together.  Iris is forever kissing and cuddling Astrid and it’s just far too cute. 

*Linking up with The Siblings Project. Click the image below for more details*

The Me and Mine Project

Catching up 

I feel like I ought to write a little update as I’ve been away a little while. It’s been a busy couple of months, but sort of quiet at the same time. I feel like every day has been a battle, a competition between the me that is capable and functioning, and the black hole I’m trying not to fall into. 

Wow, that sounds so miserable. It’s not as bad as it sounds, I don’t think. I don’t feel down all of the time. Most of the days are great. I feel fine. Happy. Satisfied. Even like a supermum sometimes! On these days I cannot relate at all to the other me. It’s like there are two of us.Then there are the other days, where the world feels so heavy and I can’t carry it. I want to quit. Take a day out. Go back to bed. But that isn’t a possibility. Two small people rely solely on me during the long days when Trevor is at work. I battle on, put a brave face on and out we go. 

The return of the migraines is what triggered all of this, I think. I thought I’d left them behind in the time before I was a parent. I was so relieved to be free of the pain that haunted my twenties. 

I’m back on a low dose of amitriptyline to prevent them, and it’s helping. They still creep through occasionally, but not so often and not so intensely. I was walking around every day with that weird pre-migraine foggy feeling, knowing the pain would hit soon. That’s stopped. Most days I can’t see the flashes of light or the blurry edges that signal the beginning of the pain to come. 

I haven’t yet talked to the doctor about the physical pain. I’ve been in denial, trying to blame it on recovering from pregnancy and childbirth. 

Deep down I know it’s not that. I know it was there before I had kids. I’m sure carrying and birthing my little ones has made things worse, but it definitely wasn’t the start. 

Right now I’ve got such a sore neck that I can barely move it, accompanied by achey shoulders and upper back, and a sharp shooting pain behind my right ear. My left knee is throbbing, and hurts like crazy when I get up from sitting on the floor. My feet are achey and throbbing too. It can’t be normal. This can’t be how everybody is. There has to be something wrong with me. 

It’s not new. It’s worse than ever but it isn’t new. I’ve always had random pain. Pain in joints and muscles I’ve not particularly used. Weird throbbing that happens in odd places, like a thumb, or just one toe, or my wrists. 

I’ve never ever talked about it. I don’t know why. Because I’m afraid of being weird, I guess. Or at least I was, before I had kids. I’m not so afraid of being unusual anymore. There are bigger worries. Like being a good mum. 

So I’ll see a GP. But I don’t feel positive that I’ll be listened to or understood. We’ll see. I’ll try to see the same doctor I talked about my migraines with. She seemed nice. Kind and understanding. She spent ages working out what I could safely take while breastfeeding, when I was scared she’d just tell me to stop. 

In other, unrelated, news, Astrid is now 4 months old. How did that happen? She’s so chubby and jolly, and has a smile for everybody. I had no idea there was an Astrid-shaped hole in our family but it’s clear now that there was. She’s just slotted right in and it’s like she was always here. 

Iris turns two next month. She’s such a wonder. I still watch her play and can’t believe that she’s mine. I made her. She’s such a little person now. She holds conversations and speaks in full sentences, and learnt most of the colours from a book about a cat that she chose from the library. She loves to kick balls, to dance, to run as fast as she can. She adores art, especially the messy kind, and becomes so engaged in creating her creations. 

The big two seem so grown up. They seem unfazed by the arrival of yet another baby, and I’m so proud of them. I’ve been finding being a stepparent so hard lately. Not because of them. Not because of what they do or how they are. They’re great kids. It’s just so exhausting to go from being a tired parent of two to an exhausted parent of four at the weekends. They want to do fun stuff all weekend from start to finish, and I’m totally with them. I want the weekends to be crammed with fun too, but I’m so very tired. 

I have so much more I want to say. A hundred things in my head that need putting into words. But not today. Today I need to shake it all off because we’re heading to the beach. The sun is shining and the kids are all smiling. Let’s do this.