How do you cope?

28 Mar

This question is asked often, to a lot of people, in regard to a lot of different things.

Pregnant again so soon? How will you manage?

Triplets? How do you cope?

Autism? I’m not sure I could handle that?

Your child is seriously ill? How on earth do you keep going?

The very simple answer is this:
What choice do I have? You cope because you have to. The alternative is downing tools and stepping away from your life, and that’s not really an option.

As I face the imminent arrival of Inglorious Baby #2, I often wonder how I’ll manage. How will I keep my oldest happy/entertained/safe with the time consuming demands of a newborn? How will we get 2 kids up, fed and out of the door on time for 8am nursery drop off? Supermarket shopping with 2 ankle biters? Just HOW?!?!

The answer here is fairly simple too. It’ll take a lot of adjustment, a fair amount of trial and error, probably quite a few ready meals, bribery, a messier house, cbeebies and overcoming my biggest hurdle: Asking For Help.

I hate Asking For Help. But as help is constantly being offered to me by my incredibly generous and capable friends and family I’d be a flaming gallah to not utilise it.

I’m coming to terms with the concept that I don’t need to do Everything and that everything doesn’t need to be done My Way. It doesn’t matter if my 2 year old doesn’t get her hair brushed and put into neat pigtails before nursery. It doesn’t matter if she’s clearly been Dressed By Dad in a frankly bizarre combination of perfectly normal clothes that somehow makes her look like a 70s hobo. It doesn’t matter if there’s washing up unwashed or a big pile of laundry. It’ll get done. Maybe not as quickly as before, but so what? The world will not end. Probably.

Dealing with change is difficult but as change is inevitable you need to bend so you don’t break. Trying to maintain tight control is pointless and damaging. Flexibility, the ability to adapt and open-mindedness are key to successful change management. (Sorry. I still have my psychologist’s hat on. It’s the only part of the outfit that still fits).

Yes, I expect I’ll probably look like a lunatic wandering around Sainsburys in a baby-vom-splattered cardigan and flip flops with no makeup on but that’s because my energy and time will need to be temporarily diverted to other tasks such as newborn maintenance, toddler damage limitation and dealing with sleep deprivation of cataclysmic proportions.

There’s only so much time in the day, and only so much you can do. But at the end of the day, regardless of all the things you have to copewith, everyone will get fed food (of some description), have clothes on that are not too dirty and most of all survive the day and live to see another.

My toddler may go semi feral for a bit while the baby needs constant feeding. The baby may cry for a minute while I’m heating up spag bol for my toddler. I might only have Frazzles and cold coffee for lunch. But we will all survive. Then we will adapt and it will get easier, or at least it’ll become more predictable.

They say change is as good as a rest. They don’t know shit.

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T-17 days. Fuckety fuckety fuck.

24 Mar

So, I’m booked in for an elective caesarian. The term “elective” is used for any c-section where the surgeon isn’t opening you up in a full-on hurry in the corridor, as far as I can tell.

I can’t say I truly elected to have major abdominal surgery, but considering the alternatives it seems the most sensible course of action.

As I may’ve mentioned in passing in my last blog, this pregnancy hasn’t been the best 250-odd days of my life. I just want it to be over. Now. I hate it. I feel sick, tired, hurty, fat and slow. Like an asthmatic, obese, mentally deficient tortoise.

And this baby is huge. “Fucking massive” I believe the technical term may be, according to tape measure, ultrasound and palpation. He is also transverse (sideways) and has been for at least 8 weeks. This all makes for a difficult natural labour (to put it mildly).

The risks include damage to the umbilical cord or placenta or the baby getting stuck on the way out. Hardly ideal. I calculated that there’s a reasonably high likelihood of having to go go through the stress and increased risk of an emergency section so I may as well book in for an elective. So that’s what I did.

But now I’m fucking terrified. Not of the surgery itself, but of the loss of control of the whole birth process and, even more so, the recovery process. I’m shit at sitting around doing nothing, I have a Duracell powered 2 year old and I won’t be able to drive. It’s going to be difficult. Also my husband is squeamish, hates the mere thought of the surgery and goes a whiter shade of pale at the mention of a Caesarian. Helpful. (Personally I love all that and would happily watch the surgery if I could. I’ve been told sometimes you can see the reflection in the stainless steel lights).

It’s a big and serious op, but it’s done every day and it’ll be over soon enough; and I’ll have the added bonus of no longer being pregnant. Yay. Pregnancy and I are finished. It’s over. I mean it. I know loads of women say it, but there is no way on this green earth I’m doing this again. Bye.

So, if in a moment of genuine insanity, drunken stupidity or emotional longing I ever even vaguely insinuate that I want another baby, please punch me as hard as you can. In the face. I’d hate that.

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Pregnancy is such a special time. Really “special”.

21 Mar

My first pregnancy was great, until the last 4 weeks when my extra long baby kicked my liver so much it was displaced and threatened to stop working, making me quite sick.

Up until that point I’d felt pretty damn good. Sleeping well. No sickness. No pain. No bad pregnancy symptoms at all really. I worked, I gymed, I went out, I traveled. I slept brilliantly. I pretty much carried on as normal. I was excited and happy.

Fast forward almost exactly 2 years and this time pregnancy seriously tried to fuck me up, pushing my body and my spirit to near breaking point.

It’s Pregnancy II: The Revenge.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m 2 years older, just bad luck or because I already have a toddler to look after, but I can honestly say it’s been utterly shit from start to finish.

I’ve had every crap pregnancy symptom going. 21 weeks of vomiting? Thanks. Heartburn? Yay! Insomnia, low blood pressure, pelvic pain, restless legs, carpal tunnel syndrome, sinusitis, shortness of breath, anaemia, anxiety, sleep paralysis, random abdominal pain and now, a fucking huge and transverse baby wedged sideways in my uterus. Cheers. No, really.

The medical and ante natal care I’ve received has been excellent. My home birth midwife has been an amazing support, visiting me at home for my routine appointments and dropping by whenever I felt particularly unwell or stressed.

I’ve had more tests than a lab rat. Chest X-ray to rule out a cardiology problem, a insanely painful arterial blood gas test to check for a clot on my lungs (see pic), ECG, the evil fasting glucose tolerance test to check for diabetes, liver function tests and extra platelet and white blood cell monitoring. I’ve had 9 ultrasounds. I’ve spent a fucking fortune on parking.

All I can conclude is that my body hates being pregnant this time around. It can not cope with the physical demands of growing a human and it’s punishing me. I’m 36. I’m too old for this shit. My body was designed to do this 20 years ago. It doesn’t like the effort required to do it now.

I haven’t slept properly in forever.

I can’t eat because there’s no space and I just don’t want anything.

Getting up out of bed will soon require winching equipment.

I don’t fit in my maternity jeans anymore.

I don’t even fit in my bath.

I need to wee 27,000 times a day.

I feel like a fat, old, whinging bint.

My friends and family have been brilliant. Providing support, sympathy and help. They must be bored shitless of hearing me moan. I’m fucking bored of thinking it.

Strangers in the shops risk incurring my ever increasing wrath with their questions, opinions and inane small talk. I’ve not gone totally postal yet, but it’s brewing.

It’ll soon be over, I know that and it generates mixed feelings. I have a maximum of 23 days of this fresh hell to go but I do feel a tiny element of sadness that this will be my last baby as there’s no way I can risk having another pregnancy like this in another 2 years time. I feel like I should be given the Duke of Edinburgh award (Gold, obvs) for tolerating this shit.

I want this baby out, and as he’s sideways and a giant my consultant agrees. The Caesarian I was so desperate to avoid is now booked. And I don’t even mind. I want my body back, I want my clothes, my sleep, wine, running, not getting breathless or groaning each time I haul my vast carcass of the sofa. I want goats cheese and pate.

Mostly I want my baby safe and in my arms. So, they can slice me open. Then I can have a really good rest.

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Baby of mine, hold on tight.

21 Mar

Is your tiny heart still beating? Or has it inexplicably stopped?
My own heart feels like it might stop too.

I wrote those 3 sentences back in September 2013 at a time of stress, anxiety and fear. It was at that point that I felt unable to continue the Inglorious blog. Now, I’m back.

I got pregnant again last summer and Inglorious Baby #2 is coming in 3 weeks time. The reason I stopped blogging was because I felt like death. From start to finish this pregnancy has been hell on toast. I didn’t want to write a whingy, ranty blog for months on end, but in reality I had nothing positive to say.

Now the end is nigh. Thank fuck. I have some catching up to do. A lot has gone on in our little house in the last few months. My toddler is now a daredevil fearless 2 year old. She’s in nursery (blog about this to follow soon). And she’s developed a penchant for Korean pop, Ylvis, heavy metal and socialist anthems. Oh, and The Gruffalo is her God.

I’m currently the size of an obese cow, due to carrying a breech and giant baby. I’m so big that the maternity jeans no longer fit. Wtf? Ceremonial burning of the maternity leggings will occur sometime in April.

There’s lots of new blogs coming up and I will be sharing my thoughts on toddler development, transitions, education, potty training, obsessive behaviours, sleep and next up, the true horrors of pregnancy. Brace yourselves.

Inglorious Mother is back. I may be slow and hugely fat and waddle like an arthritic, footless pigeon, but ask me if I’m sure I’m not carrying twins and I’ll slap you into next week.

You have been warned.

You’re Doing It Wrong, according to one person. They know the right way. They read it on the internet.

27 Sep

I try not to type anything online that I wouldn’t be prepared to say out loud in a public place. I don’t have what I’d call extreme views (I’m a wooly liberal according to my husband) and I think I’m pretty open minded and easygoing.

But as regular readers will know, some things really piss me off. One of those things is parents, usually mothers, who want to tell you you’re doing it wrong. They don’t just take you quietly aside and offer gentle advice. Oh no. They look at you with a mix of pity and barely concealed contempt and then they drop the Passive Aggressive Bullshit Bomb.

“Oh well, if you’re not breastfeeding then he won’t have immunity to all the diseases!”
Translation:
“You may as well smear him in ecoli and rub him up against lepers!”

Or “Co-sleeping is so natural and such a bonding experience!”
Translation:
“Wait. You make your baby sleep in a cage?”
That’s a cot to normal people.

I have personally witnessed a hundred Passive Aggressive Bullshit Bombs being dropped on me, my mates and total strangers. It makes me angry.

I personally don’t give a toss how other people raise their kids as long as they’re not hurting anyone. What I do take issue with is the bullshit some mothers can’t help twatting on about, presenting crap they read on the internet as the new parenting gospel. From a professional viewpoint, it drives me nuts to hear opinion presented as fact and I personally look for evidence, credible research and longitudinal studies before I believe the latest parenting fad will produce the perfect child/solve all societies problems etc.

There are several ‘new’ practices and theories out there that of course have merit. Baby Led Weaning is one of them. I’ve blogged about this before and my opinions still stand. If you have a hungry and enthusiastic baby then it’s brilliant. It’s fun, messy, interactive and a great learning experience. If (like me) you had a baby who doesn’t give a toss about food or eating then it’s just not suitable.

My main issue is the way new techniques are presented to parents. Not so much as an alternative to existing methods, but a much needed overhaul of outdated or harmful practices. A review of the BLW book in The Guardian asks “Would you want to be strapped into a high chair and force-fed spoon after spoon of bland vegetables?” So, do BLWs not strap their children into a high chair? Safety first! (I’m being facetious, can you tell?). And spoon feeding is now force-feeding? If a baby does not want to be spoon fed there’s little you can do about it, in my experience. It’s like trying to get a spoonful of fusilli into a Tasmanian devil while riding a Waltzer.

That Guardian review is a prime example of Passive Aggressive bullshit. Emotive language designed to make you feel like YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG. Wasn’t everyone was spoon fed before BLW. I was spoon fed and I’m guessing you were too. We are ok. Aren’t we? Will BLW really change anything? I doubt it.

My toddler doesn’t eat a lot now, but she’s good with a spoon and fork and is adventurous with new foods. I know several BLW babies (& some spoon fed babies) who will only eat biscuits or toast. At the end of the day, does it really make such a difference? I know foody parents with very fussy eaters. It just happens.

I’m in no way against new techniques and developments, but I’d rather they were presented as a choice, rather than either the answer to all your problems or DO IT THIS WAY OR YOU’RE DAMAGING YOUR CHILD FOR LIFE YOU SELFISH BITCH!! That kind of marketing is based on fear, guilt and worry. Thanks. Really.

It’s the same with breastfeeding and the much touted immunity. I’m not saying for a nanosecond that it’s not beneficial for immunity, of course it is, but I know of several exclusively breastfed babies who get every bug and cold going. So much of it is down to genetics and luck.

Individual Differences, as psychologists call it, are responsible for a great deal. Baby Led Weaning, breastfeeding, co sleeping, diet; all controversial parenting issues for which you will judge and be judged. Yes, all these things have an impact on kids development but I think they only play a minor role in determining what kind of person your child will become. I honestly don’t think most of these things actually make that much difference in the long run. It’s how you talk to and interact with your child that makes a difference. Showing them kindness, setting a good example, having fun, building a relationship, giving them your attention. That’s what’s important, not how they get spag bol into their gob, or where they sleep.

I recently got into a bit of a heated debate online with an Attachment Parenting woman, who told me that sleep training was “cruel”. Yes, well making my infant daughter sleep on a bed of nails was a challenge, as we’re the vipers, tazers and pointy sticks, but, perseverance is they key to success!! Seriously, this woman leapt into a thread where I’d recommended a book No-Cry Sleep Solution and without hesitation, told me “You’re doing it wrong”. Not just that but also that I was causing my child distress and harm.
Fuck. Off.

If you want to sleep with your kids in your bed, then go for it. Personally I don’t. I like my bed to be free from wriggly, eye-gouging, kicking, singing toddlers. I like the fact my husband and I have our own space. But I’d never tell those co sleepers that they’re doing it wrong. Even if I thought it I’d keep it to myself (or talk to close friends about it. Offine).

The Attachment Parenting site I have since looked at (solely for research purposes, mind) reinforces my idea that you should just use common sense, do what you think is right and hope for the best. I don’t think AP has the ability to end all society’s violence (yes, they actually claim this). I do think that kind, gentle and fun parenting vastly increases the likelihood of creating a kind, gentle and fun child/teen/adult.

Everyone has their opinions. Some can be scathing, mine included, but I’m mindful of where I voice them. I might not agree with you, I might even think you’re a raving lunatic, but I won’t have the arrogance to tell you you’re wrong. You might be right.

Then we’d all be fucked.

Breast is best except when it’s not.

7 Aug

National Breasfeeding Week has prompted me to reblog this.

ingloriousmother's Blog

Inglorious Guide To Early Days Feeding

If you want to breastfeed and it’s working for you and your baby, great.

If you want to breastfeed but it’s not working, seek help from your Health Visitor or local Breast Feeding Support.

If breastfeeding still doesn’t work, you have to formula feed or combination feed. You have to. End of story.

If you don’t want to breastfeed, then don’t.

If you want to stop breastfeeding then do so. Whenever you want.

If you don’t feel comfortable breastfeeding in public, then don’t.

***********

I was tempted to leave this post at that. But I have a few (ranty) points to make first.

Things I didn’t know about breast feeding before I had a baby:

1. Some women will care a great deal about how you feed your baby. You may not know them very well, but they will make it their business to…

View original post 696 more words

Youth of today

18 Jul

I’ve concluded that the youth of today are going to hell in a hand-basket. Rude, stroppy little monsters. Loping around, littering, grunting, ignoring their parents and staying up far too late. And that’s just my one year old.

The more I thought about it, the more I realised my daughter is essentially the same as a shopping centre-loitering hoody (but without the fags and can of Relentless).

She gets tired and irritable because she’s awake half the night a d often sleeps through most of the morning.

She doesn’t listen to me. Ever. Or so it seems.

She wants to eat chips for her tea and has no qualms about chucking some of them on the floor, or at me as a form of greasy protest.

She wants to do what she wants to do at ALL TIMES, regardless of my wishes/plans/safety warnings.

She’d happily slump in front of the TV, remote firmly in hand, if left to her own devices.

She wants her own iPhone (or to annex mine, on a full time basis).

She makes a great deal of mess, and fails to tidy up. Ever.

She communicates with grunts and the odd decipherable word.

She frequently rummages through the kitchen cupboards.

She loves a bit of graffiti. Advice: Don’t leave eyeliner within reach of a toddler.

She’s not morally opposed to theft. I found a string of mystery beads in her buggy, I presume they were purloined from a friends house. Or maybe shoplifted from a charity shop.

She’s not adverse to tantrums. I’m sure she’d yell “I didn’t ask to be born” if she had the language skills.

Oh and her trousers often hang off her bum.

I’m hoping as her language continues to develop she’ll be open to negotiation, or at least bribery. At the moment it’s still all Me Me Me. She staggers around like a tiny drunk zombie grabbing at anything that takes her fancy, genuinely believing all things to belong to her, and loudly displaying her displeasure when told No.

She’s the queen of the 10 Second Tantrum. What the heck are the Terrible Twos going to be like? Seriously, what? I need to prepare myself. Kevlar?

I’m blocking out the prospect of parenting a teenager. I’ll jump off that bridge when I come to it.

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