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A letter of thanks from a grateful Mum

A letter of thanks from a grateful Mum

To the amazing staff at Masada, and the friends I met along the way…

There is nothing like being a sleep deprived parent. The feeling of helplessness and frustration as everything you try, to help your baby sleep, doesn’t work. A few nights turn into a few months, and after a long period of time, the sleep deprivation takes it’s toll.  After nine months, and what seemed like a lifetime, I decided that I needed some help.  I was at the point of breaking and felt so many negative emotions that I simply didn’t feel like myself, or like the person who I was becoming.

I felt guilty that I couldn’t help my son sleep.  Surely given the fact that I was a second time Mum, I had a toolbox of strategies to help us help Hudson. We had been through a very challenging time with Ella when she was one, and we had used a range of strategies to get her to sleep well. Surely, we could do it on our own. I started to feel like a failure, and this, coupled with sleep deprivation made me lose confidence and become negative. I hated the Mum I was becoming. I felt terrible about the wife I had become. I was negative all the time. I felt flat. I was stressed. I was short with Ella all of the time. I’d complain each day (with good reason, sometimes I know). However, I just simply hated the fact that I couldn’t enjoy being Hudson’s Mum, and worse that I couldn’t fix his unsettled sleep, and in turn get some for myself. I knew I was so lucky to have great support. Especially from my amazing husband and wonderful family. However things were not working, and my exhaustion just kept growing. It seemed relentless and endless.

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Then one day, I bit the bullet and rang Masada Mother and Baby Unit. I had heard about it from lots of other people, however I needed to come to the decision to go on my own, and with the support of my husband. Upon deciding to go, and after great stories from friends who had experienced dramatic changes in their children, I had high hopes.  Upon walking through the doors, I knew that things would be great. I felt nervous, but calm. It didn’t seem like the ‘baby boot camp’ that I thought it would be. What I didn’t know however is the incredible way in which my son would be transformed, and the friends that I would make along the way.  For this I will be eternally grateful.

I hold nothing but deep gratitude, respect and thanks to all of the staff at Masada for what they have done for my family. They have helped Hudson sleep through the night. They have helped him sleep soundly in the day. They have helped me be a confident support to him, to help him settle. They have helped me to feel comfortable with my feelings prior to coming in. I was at a loss to know what to do, and they helped show me the way. Some small changes have had dramatic impact. For this, I will be eternally grateful.

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I have found my week at Masada to be calming, supportive and empowering. The staff was never judgemental or critical. They have simply helped us all to see a new angle, and have simply given us our lives back. For this I will be eternally grateful.

I have found new friends who have been brave enough to share their stories and ask for help. Each of us came here for differing reasons, but with the same goal of wanting our babies to be happier, and in turn, help us to feel happier Mothers. We have stuck together. Sat in the corridors, pacing the hallways, praying for things to be better. We have listened to one another, comforted and encouraged each other. We have developed wonderful connections in such a short period of time. Most of all, we’ve made friends who have come together to help each other. For this, I will be eternally grateful.

I know that coming home won’t be easy, and there will be stressful times. I know that managing a baby and a toddler can be tough, but I know that with the strategies and knowledge I have taken away with me, I am confident to tackle what may come. I know that consistency is the key. I know that I have help if I need it, and that I’m not alone. For this, I will be eternally grateful.

When my husband rang each day, he asked how my day had been. It has been a long time since I have confidently been able to say ‘great’. I am going home thankful, not only because my baby is sleeping like a rock star, but confident that I will be able to help him through the tough times. I know that this will help me to enjoy Motherhood again. I know that this will help me to enjoy being a happy wife to my beautiful husband. However, most importantly I know that this experience will help me to get a piece of myself back.

For my experience at Masada this week, for my children, for my husband and for myself…I will be eternally grateful.

kate

Deep Breaths…

Deep Breaths…


Deep Breaths. This is my first post for 2015, and I wish it was a little more up beat. I’ve been wanting to write a post for a couple of weeks, but simply haven’t had the time. This post is one of those that, in years to come, I’m sure I will look back and know that the way I feel right now won’t last for long. This is one of those posts that I’m sure every Mum can relate to. I’m writing this first and foremost as a positive way to get my feelings out, and to debrief with others who have gone through the same thing.

Right now, our son Hudson is eight months old, and we feel as though we are smack back in the middle of those early weeks with a newborn. We have no idea what has happened, but those weeks of progress have gone out the window. We are on no sleep. We are frustrated. We are simply out of ideas. Hudson is unsettled, and often in a complete rage during the night, and sometimes during the day. We have tried everything….reflux meds, varying formulas, other medications, osteo, settling techniques, xrays, doctors, paediatricians. It just seems as though are little man, who arrived a month early just wants to keep us guessing.

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I’m not ashamed to admit that in the last few weeks, I’ve been really struggling. As a Mum with a toddler and a baby who just does not sleep and feed well, it has stretched me to my limits. My feelings of happiness and accomplishment after finally toilet training Ella have given way to anger as we simply cannot work out what is wrong with our baby. We’ve decided to try and get into a Mother and Baby Hospital Clinic to get some professional help from Doctors, Nurses and Sleep Experts to see if we can work things out. People ask me…is it sleep problems or is it gut problems? My feeling is that his gut problems have adversely impacted on his sleep patterns and this has become a vicious cycle.

It’s so hard also, knowing that as a second time Mum, I simply can’t help my son. I thought I had all of the tricks, and tools of the trade after helping Ella through a really difficult sleep period when she was one year old. However this has trumped me. I’m out. All out of ideas, and all out of energy. We are trying to stay positive, and know that we are truly lucky to have tremendous support from family and friends. This week I stayed at my Mums for a day and night to get some rest.  I knew that things were bad when I couldn’t sleep at all, even after taking some medication to help me sleep. Sleep deprivation is a really dangerous thing. It plays with your mind in so many ways, and it really makes being a happy Mum, hard.

I just wish things were a little easier right now. Don’t get me wrong, I know that we are lucky. We are healthy and have so many things to be grateful for, and I know that there are so many things that could be worse. But right now, we just want our son to be a bit happier. Just even a little. And some sleep would be good too.

They say that girls mess with your head, and boys mess with your house. I beg to differ right now. This week I’ve tried to take some positive steps to deal with our current situation. I am meant to be going back to work in two weeks…something that I was greatly looking forward to. I knew however, that I cannot possibly give myself to other people if I cannot even give myself to my kids right now. So I’ve postponed returning to work for a term, in order to focus my entire attention on helping Hudson, and being there for Ella. Family first. It has to be. I’m just lucky to have an amazing boss who completely understands and supports me 100%. I only wish that everyone could be so lucky.

They say that times like this can put an incredible strain on your marriage. Whilst Dan and I are being tested to our limits, I cannot thank the world enough for bringing such a strong, kind and caring partner into my life. What I would do without him right now, I have no idea.

So with that, I’ve dropped off the forms to the hospital and simply hope that we can jump a few places in the waiting list. I’m praying to the sleep Gods to be kind and to just bring some slumber into our lives, and into my little man’s night routine.

Deep Breaths….it will get better. I know it will.

kate

We are getting there…

We are getting there…

So it’s been 13 weeks since our little man surprised us, and over this time it has been some of the most joyous and also challenging times of our lives. Obvious joy, love and immeasurable happiness in copius amounts. He has started smiling recently, and this sky rockets the love to a whole new level. Seeing him react to your interactions is the true definition of love, and makes being a parent the most rewarding thing in the world.

We have also experienced lots of challenges as we have navigated the world of colic, reflux and all things gassy. As readers would know, we have tried everything. I mean everything. To no avail, the medications and interventions have not helped ease Hudson’s discomfort, and we have resigned ourselves to the fact that time will simply be the factor. I have to say that whilst it’s been hard knowing that there isn’t a great deal we can do to both ease Hudson’s discomfort, and make time go faster, it has been overwhelming to receive so many messages of support from so many parents who have found themselves in similar situations. It’s hard to admit at times, that you not only want things to be better for your child, but also for yourself. I know that in order to be a good Mum, I need to feel good and rested, and that is very hard when you have a newborn with colic, and a toddler on the move.

That said, we are getting there. We have been giving Hudson bottles of expressed milk with a thickener at night and this seems to be helping. Whilst this means that it takes longer (after feeding and settling, I then need to express again), the time spent doing this means that we get more time to sleep afterwards. We’ve also been putting him to sleep on his tummy to settle, and then turning him over. This is very hard and stressful, as I’m always trying to ensure that his sleep space is SIDS safe. He is still pretty up and down, and with every few good nights, he also has his fair share of bad. It gives me hope however to know that he CAN do it, and like all things parenting, once you observe your child doing something, you know that inevitably, they will do it again.

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Many people have said that they feel it is harder having your second child suffer with colic, but in many ways, I’m thankful that it has been in this order. After already having a child, I”m not stressing about the things that seem overwhelming as a first time parent. I know how to be a Mum (well I try to be), and I’ve already been through the times when you doubt yourself and lose your confidence. This time around, I’m not upset, I’m just tired. A confident tired. Well, an experienced tired. It means that I have a bit of experience behind me, to help me through the tough times when I doubt myself. It means that I can draw on those times when I felt like what I was doing wasn’t working, and then, miraculously something clicks. Hopefully, what feels like a whole heap of hoop jumping will pay off soon, and he will have more better nights than bad.

In the mean time, we just keep plugging away. Thanks for the messages of support, and to all the parents who have dealt with colic and have given me advice and suggestions. You are not only helping Hudson, you are helping my whole family. It’s awesome to know that what ever you are going through, there is another Mum, somewhere who is feeling and experiencing the same thing.

kate

To the toilet…Day 3

To the toilet…Day 3

Well after day 3 I can describe the toilet training process in three words. Tears, tantrums and torture. Funnily enough that doesn’t describe Ella’s experience, but rather my own. Albeit a little dramatic I know. After day 2, I was left wondering if Ella would ever get it, and to be honest I was clinging to the idea of being able to get it all done in three days. Like everything else to do with parenting, you cannot find pick up an experience of one Mother and expect to replicate it in the same way. Whether positive or negative, we are all different and our children react in different ways. There is so much information out there, and so much pressure to add to it. I felt pressure from many angles to start toilet training with Ella, and given the fact that she will be getting a sibling in five weeks, I figured that the time was right. She was showing the right signs and so off we went….

toilet-sit

What I should have realised it that, like everything else, things don’t always go perfectly to plan. Ella has come through three full days at home with small steps towards being toilet trained. She is not fully there, and I expect that she won’t be for some time.  I tried it all…. cool underwear, stickers, reward charts, positive reinforcement. She is able to tell me when she is going to the toilet, and I know that this is a great step. However she can’t solely use the toilet and I have had to make the decision to slow things down and just try again in a couple of weeks. She may well regress when her little brother or sister arrives, but that is fine. They say that you shouldn’t put your toddler back in nappies if you choose to take a break, but I’m going to compromise and use pull ups.  You have to be able to stay sane through the whole process and I don’t want it to become negative for either Ella or myself.

I’m going to take the advice of some great friends and not be hard on myself. Sometimes you think they are ready and they are not. She has made some great gains, and I’ll just keep plugging away. She will get there in the end, and like all things parenting, we will find our own way.

So if you too are thinking about toilet training, I hope that the following lessons help give you some perspective if you need it…

  • Yes, staying home for a few days is worth it, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you get to the end without having a child who is ‘perfectly’ toilet trained.
  • Yes, it is worth reading the information that is out there, but in the end I talked to my friends whose advice got me through.
  • Sometimes good intentions are enough
  • Sometimes we need to stop and take a break
  • Like all things, she will get there in the end. It’s more important that she feels good about the whole process rather than being rushed into it.
  • It’s not a race, even though it feels like it.
  • It feels great to be giving myself a break from all the talk about poo and wee. And lets face it, not smelling like them is a bonus too….

So with that, my three days of toilet training are over. Sort of. Good luck to anyone who is going through the process with your toddler. It’s full on, but I guess that is the true definition of being a Mum!

kate

Being a Mum means…

Being a Mum means…

Last week a friend sent me what can only be described as one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. ‘Mommy, somebody needs you‘ is an article written by Megan Morton over at Your Best Nest. Written from the most heartfelt place, it is an honest reflection about Motherhood, and a revealing lesson for us all. It connected with me on so many levels. It made me stop and think, really think about Motherhood.

ella and me

Motherhood is the both the best thing I have ever ‘done’ and the hardest thing I have ever experienced. It took me by surprise, how much I felt at ease with being the Mum of Ella, and yet I felt so lost from my former self. During the first six months, I loved every minute of being a new Mum, and yet I morned my former life.  Being confident in my job, having the freedom to get in the car and go shopping, being able to visit friends and have a drink without even thinking about it. Have a shower. WASH YOUR HAIR. Read a magazine. Go to the toilet. These simple luxuries in life seemed to vanish overnight, and in many ways, I felt myself wishing for the time when I would be able to do them again.

In a way, you want to make the most of every moment, and yet you also long for the time when you can have ‘your own time’ back again. You go to bed with that little pain in your stomach, thinking ‘when will she wake?’. Motherhood, especially in the early days, is such a juxtaposition of wanting time to slow down and speed up.

Megan Morton spoke of similar feelings, and the experience of ‘always being on duty’. She says:

‘Once upon a time, I had time.  For myself.  Now, my toe nails need some love.  My bra fits a little differently.  My curling iron might not even work anymore, I don’t know.  I can’t take a shower without an audience.  ‘

She struggled with these feelings, and the wanting to have her ‘life back’ until one night, when it all changed for her. She says:

Right now, somebody always needs me.  Like last night…

At 3am I hear the little footsteps entering my room.  I lay still, barely breathing.  Maybe he will retreat to his room.  Yeah right.

“Mommy.”

“Mommy.”  A little louder.

“Yes”.  I barely whisper.

He pauses, his giant eyes flashing in the dim light.

“I love you.”

And just like that, he is gone.  Scampered back to his room.  But, his words still hang in the cool night air.  If I could reach out and snatch them, I would grab his words and hug them to my chest.  His soft voice whispering the best sentence in the world.  I love you.  A smile curls across my lips and I slowly exhale, almost afraid to blow the memory away.  I drift back to sleep and let his words settle into my heart.

There have been moments like this lately that have touched me in ways that I cannot describe. Ella throwing her arms around me when I come home from work, telling her Dad that she loves him, hearing her at the end of the phone. I know that one day, she will grow up, and won’t do these things (or will do, with strained effort). One day she will grow up and won’t need her Mummy anymore. Very soon, she will want to do everything on her own. She will not have an endless supply of cuddles and kisses for her Mum and Dad. She won’t want to walk in my shoes up and down the hallway. She won’t yell for me in the night to help her go back to sleep.

So for now, I need to savour this time. A time when she needs me. A time when I can give her everything she needs. A time when she depends on me to be all the things I need to be. Around the clock. I can still have time for myself, but I need to stop and think about those precious moments that I will never get back.

Soon, I will be revisiting the world of night feeds, sleep patterns, breast feeding and all other things newborn. I look forward to it with a new sense of appreciation and awareness. I know it won’t be easy, but I also know that the time goes so quick, I need to slow down and enjoy each moment. I will be kinder to myself and know that with each kiss and cuddle, I am doing something that will mean more than anything else in my life. Even if I am covered in breast milk, and am running on 2 hours sleep.

ella cot

Being a Mum means being there in each and every moment. It means being finding a comfortable place between my old and new self. It means slowing down, and not wishing for a time when I will ‘have my life back’. I’ve got my life, and it’s pretty damn wonderful.

I want to thank Megan for her beautiful article, and for helping me to see the challenges of Motherhood through a new lens. I hope it helps others too.

kate

It’s official. I’ve lost my marbles.

It’s official. I’ve lost my marbles.

So it’s official. I’ve lost my marbles. Please return them if you find them. Or perhaps hold onto them for safe keeping, because I’m sure that I will lose them again. You see, I’ve lost my ability to remember things. Simple things. Mainly where I’ve left things. I’ve always been quite forgetful and have been known to drive home with my wallet on the roof, but today things hit a new low. Twice in one day in fact….

Today whilst we were out and about I…first…lost my keys. We were having a lovely breakfast when, after a stroll through the shops, we returned to our car minus a set of keys. There I was, on the side of the road, unpacking my handbag on the pavement for all the world to see (think of all the things in a woman’s handbag. No make that a pregnant woman’s handbag). I kept thinking about my good friend Anneiliese who always says ‘do a Mum search’. This means taking every single thing out of your bag to ensure that you have not skipped anything. Needless to say the keys weren’t there. Dan went back to the restaurant. No keys. So up we walked to each shop we had visited, and low and behold, I found them in Cotton On Kids. Feeling thankful, but a little embarrassed, we ventured back to the car, and and set off for DFO South Warf to shop for some important renovation items.

mother-forgetful

After a successful shopping trip and thrilled to find some amazing ‘one day only’ bargains, we purchased our new sofas and pendant lights for our kitchen. Feeling very happy with ourselves, we then set off for the car park. After I paid for the ticket and packed the car, I sat in the passenger seat and searched my handbag for my phone. No phone. No phone anywhere. So again, we pulled over and I did a “Mummy search”. This time in the car park. I checked my bag, the car and the pram. No phone. Dan went back to each shop we had been to. 20 minutes later. No phone. So we set off for home, but when we went to pay, our ticket time had lapsed and we then held up cars in line whilst we had to pay at the terminal. As I sat in my seat trying really hard not to cry, I felt so frustrated and annoyed with myself, and also sorry for my husband who was being so patient and trying to help me.

I knew that if I could get to my computer, I could log into the ingenious app ‘find my phone’ and it could tell me where the phone was. I just needed to access it through a Mac. Dan tried to call my phone all the way home, and even made a spontaneous trip to McDonalds to buy me a junior burger to cheer me up. Yep, he is a keeper.

So when we arrived home, I got out my Mac and did the search. It was at DFO. Dan called it again, and a lovely man answered who told us that Centre Management had it and that all would be fine. There are good people in the world.

The thing is, I wasn’t so upset about the phone, but rather more embarrassed and frustrated at myself for losing it. Again. I recently read this fantastic article by Jennifer Chandler called ‘I had a baby and lost my brain‘. It explains be perfectly. It’s hard to explain, but when you’ve had a baby, let alone pregnant with another one, you really do seem to lose brain cells. Quite ironic really when you need more of them to problem solve and cope with a new realm of challenges each day. There must be Mums everywhere, walking around feeling the same. It’s so hard, especially when I know that in my work, I’m on the ball, make decisions quickly and feel 100% confident in what I do. And then I go out on the weekend, and lose my keys and phone in one day. It honestly feels like I’m losing my mind, and I know that its a combination of lots of things. Business, tiredness, craziness. But I still feel as though it shouldn’t be this way! I should be able to do something as simple as put my keys in my bag!

So if you happen to find my marbles, please let me know. Actually, if you happen to find a set of keys, phone, wallet…heck anything, please hand it in to lost property. They probably belong to some poor Mum who has lost their brain too.

kate

 

*Image courtesy of some-ecards. 

Well this is a little awkward…

Well this is a little awkward…

surprised-womanThis is one of those posts that Mums everywhere will be able to relate to, and will (hopefully) find amusing. It’s also something that is embarrassing and a little awkward. So I apologise in advance if you are a. not a Mum, b. have not gone through this (lucky you) and c. just generally feel squeamish after reading it.

You see, there are many things that people tell you, or rather warn you, about post pregnancy. The time it takes to get back to your pre-baby weight (if that every happens), the dramatic change in breast size, the healing, the hair falling out…the list goes on. Whilst you are in hospital, and also throughout your pregnancy, you are also encouraged to perform what are called ‘kegal’ exercises, to ‘keep things tight’ down there. These so called exercises are easy to do, and should be done each day to strengthen your uterine muscles, and help your body get back to it’s natural state. Natural is not really the right word, but it seems nice when you hear it before you have your baby.

I’d like to say that I was good at kegal exercises, but I have to admit that I didn’t keep up with the workout. For various reasons, and plain old forgetting, I guess you could say that I wasted my gym membership. It hasn’t really been until 25 weeks into my second pregnancy that I have felt the consequences of this, and now I’m just plain old annoyed with myself, and wish I could go back and warn myself of what was to come….

Now this is not a sponsored post. I’m not advertising anything, or reviewing anything. However, in the past week I’ve had the experience of needing to browse the ‘womens” aisle in the supermarket, and purchase some products that I haven’t used since Ella was born. Pads. Because you see, I currently find myself in the situation where I cannot cough or sneeze without…hmm…let’s just say…leaking. Oh I’ll come right out and say it. I keep wetting my pants. It’s so frustrating and annoying. I’m sure it’s quite amusing for people who see me sneeze in public. I have to stop myself, cross my legs and pray to dear God that nothing comes out. I’ve even found myself holding onto my husband’s arm for extra support to try to squeeze all of my muscles together.

You see no one really tells you that you are at risk of reverting back to your 3 year old self and wetting your pants in public. No one wants to see that, and I’m sure that no woman would want that either. I’m sure I’m not alone. There are adds on TV and Mums everywhere who experience this problem right? Right? And it gets better after you have your second baby? right?

Well in the mean time, I’ll do my best to keep it in and practice my ‘kegals’. Hopefully it’s not too late to tone up….or else there might be some more toilet training happening in our house.

kate

*Image is linked to it’s original source