the fam

the fam

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Life Is A with PND and absolutely nothing to do with Ronan Keating.

I thought it was about time I broke the silence...I realised I hadn't posted for a while but there are reasons behind this.
1. as usual I don't seem to have enough time to fit in all the 'normal' stuff let alone any of the more enjoyable stuff like blogging!
2. I haven't been in a very good place. I don't mean literally like Prestatyn (I apologise to anyone who's from Prestatyn but last time I went it was dreadful) I mean unfortunately what's going on in my head. More of that later...
Prestatyn earlier.

So this last few weeks have been full of ups and downs. We are stupidly busy at work which is obviously a good thing but can be very stressful. With constant deadlines and orders to complete whilst juggling childcare the endless school events and trying to run a home - it's exhausting.

My family are fabulous. The boys are a complete joy...ok the teething is a 'mare and the 5 hours sleep every night are tough but one look at those big brown eyes and all is forgiven. However I have been fighting my own battle since Charlie was born...Post Natal Depression.
3 days after giving birth I was ready for home!
Looking back I now know I had it pretty badly after Alfie was born but it was never diagnosed. Mainly because I didn't speak to anyone - I thought that must how things were after having a baby for the first time and I should just pull myself together. The fact that I cried every day for the first 6 weeks and didn't leave the house would have been a BIG clue but I soldiered on. I do think other factors played a role in this dreadful period not just the hormones. I had a major op to have Alfie and it really knocked me for six. The recovery was long slow and very painful.  
'Classical' C-section stitches
Alfie almost starved in hospital (he was dangerously close to being blue-lighted back to hospital once we had our 1st midwife visit at home) I blamed myself for this - I couldn't even give him my milk...I felt a complete failure. Turns out because of the trauma my body had been through the milk just wasn't there and the nurses who had forced me to breast feed (and yes I do mean 'forced') on the maternity ward had insisted he was getting plenty. I will never forgive them for that. As a new mum I felt totally lost and the people who were supposed to know what to do had only made matters worse. 
Week old baby Alfie in 2007
It was my wonderful family that got me through. One midwife who had reduced me to tears  was escorted off the premises by my mum and I thanked her for that. Steve couldn't bear to see me suffering so we switched to formula and Alfie thrived. 
Thank God for formula

It makes me furious even now that breast-feeding is so forcefully thrust onto new mothers and that you may as well be giving your baby poison if you even consider bottle-feeding! That's how strongly I feel. I'm not an idiot. I know that a mother's milk is the most natural wonderful source for newborns and I would have loved to have been able to feed my boys but if there is NO milk to give (or even if a mother doesn't feel comfortable) there should still be the support. Not in my case and I know plenty of others who have faced similar circumstances. You choose to bottle're on your own.

5 hours after giving birth I finally met my 2nd son

Thankfully when it came to Charlie I was much stronger in my mind about MY choices for MY baby and although I still tried to feed him naturally once I'd come round from the anaesthetic the same thing happened. There was no milk to give and I insisted that they fetch me a bottle. One nurse still treated me differently after this decision but I couldn't care less. One of the midwives on my ward was my saviour and I remember her coming to see me saying "well, after what you've been through I'm surprised you even tried" - I could have kissed her! She was super supportive to every mum on that ward regardless of their choices and initially it helped me. However once we settled back into home-life I began to struggle. 

At home with baby Charlie last June
I visited my doctor as I thought I just had low iron levels again...I was utterly exhausted. He suspected PND and this time I was actually quite surprised. Yes, there had been tears and yes, there had been some very unhelpful medical professionals yet again (almost a year on from giving birth and I still haven't had a check up even though my stitches were agony and the massive fibroid remains) but I actually felt fine in myself. Within weeks of speaking to my doctor I hit rock bottom - I wanted to leave. It all felt perfectly normal that I should just walk away. Not because I didn't love my family (I adore my family!) but because I was adamant they would be much better off without me. 

My beautiful boys
Steve is my rock
My parents are amazing
There have been some extremely dark days but with my family's help and a couple of brilliant friends to listen to me rambling on and letting me cry on them I'm getting there. I have been back to see my doctor and I'm getting the help I so desperately needed. Even writing this down makes me feel very emotional and there are plenty of days when I still feel like a total failure at everything but it is getting better and I know one day I will truly conquer this demon.

I'm hoping that if anyone else reading this is suffering with post natal depression please don't feel ashamed. I wasn't sure if I should write this post but I know I can't help what is going on in my head and neither can you. Please go and talk to someone,
 a doctor, friend, anyone - don't suffer in silence.

I recently read a truly horrifying blog post about a mum with PND who had literally thrown herself from a multi-story car park. She lived but has to live with what she did every single day and it's heart-breaking. This post still has me in tears and I am so happy that Sian sought help and is now doing amazing work in Niger helping families in dire need of food and water.

This was an extreme case but if left undiagnosed PPND is a possibility. Please don't let it get that far. All mum's are amazing and should you need support then take it. You owe it to yourself for being brilliant and bringing new life into the world.

You can read the full 'Baby Sunroof' story here

Thursday, 10 May 2012

A Country Wedding

At the end of March my 'little' cousin got married... I say 'little' when in fact she's now in her 30s! I still remember many Summer holidays playing with her and her older siblings in the village where they lived

The day started cold and foggy but as we travelled towards Leicestershire the sun began to peep through. After the lovely ceremony in the church on the grounds of Prestwold Hall, we all walkedup a leafy lane to the venue.

What a beautiful location for a wedding! The house was superb and the grounds just

thanks to my Mum for the shot of Prestwold Hall

The sun began to shine and friends and family gathered on the lawns for canapes. We were served prawns with chili and ginger dip, chicken satay, scallops and stilton and chutney pastries. The atmosphere was so relaxed as we sipped sparkling rose and admired the view.

My cousin Kim looked absolutely stunning in her vintage style lace wedding dress (and Tom scrubbed up well too!) I couldn't believe how she was now all grown up...brought a tear to my eye!

The whole day had such a lovely relaxed feel to it and we really enjoyed spending time with all of our family.
Prestwold Hall was a fantastic choice and the weather could not have been better. Once inside we could wander round freely and we were made to feel totally at ease.

Mum & Dad making themselves at home!
The speeches were short and funny and the atmosphere remained fun throughout the day. We met some really lovely people on our table and the food...well I don't think I've ever enjoyed food at a wedding as much as I did that was delicious!!

I was very touched to see that Kim and Tom had named their tables after the year family members had got married. My table was 1947..the year my Dad's parents Edna & Bill (my Nanny & Grandad) were married. So lovely that they were included in the special day.

Then it was time to party! Kim & Tom had their first dance (more welling up on my part!) then I hit the dancefloor with my fabulous cousins, brother, my parents, uncles, aunties and other (slightly) tipsy wedding guests. The playlist was cheesy but so much fun...9 to 5 and Thriller were particular highlights!!

Although there was a professional photographer on the day (we've yet to see the photos as the pair jetted off to India for a 3 week honeymoon!)

My brother has recently started out as a wedding photographer himself. Here are some of his lovely shots from the day....

OK, OK I know it's blatant nepotism but hey, I like his work and I hope you will too. Funny how we've both ended up being part of the wedding industry...please take a look at Wayne's site below