Not just a syndrome


Last week I had a meeting with a psychologist to talk through how I was feeling about everything that has happened.

When Rohan was first born and in the hospital we both spoke to a councillor about what we were going through and she was there to guide us through those first terrible weeks when we were just existing, not living. Our thoughts were on being split between two children, the unknown of the situation we had found ourselves in, the guilt, the worry for the future, the worry that we were terrible people for wishing it could be another way. She was there on the day after we did research into his potential syndrome, where the grief and realisation started to go beneath the surface and I let in sink in a little. I was afraid to let it in, afraid I'd fall down so much I wouldn't be able to get back up again, that I'd feel this heaviness and pressure in my chest forever. I spent the whole day crying, holding Rohan's hand in his little cot. But I managed to talk, to share my inner most fears, say the things I thought I could never say out loud to anyone else, and it made me feel better. This session with the psychologist this time wasn't as dramatic, but it did feel like a breakthrough. It gave me perspective and also a resolve to practical problems I was facing.

Over the last few months since Rohan came home and we gradually shed the equipment he needed in the day and life went back to relative normal I've been finding certain things difficult. On a day to day level I feel like I've accepted our life now, we've adjusted to having a baby in our lives once more and all the extra care we have to give Rohan has just become second nature. Of course not having to have the oxygen to take around with us, the ng tube to feed with and him in leg casts has made it so much easier, and I wouldn't wish to go back to how it was but also perhaps it's made other things more difficult.


In a way having these extras made it easier for people to see that something was different, that there was a reason for the way Rohan was that was easily distinguishable to outsiders. I gave me something to hide behind, to not have to explain fully and perhaps stood as an indicator that not everything had gone the way it should have, and the we were not having the normal experience. I don't know why I found this difficult. I wanted more than anything to appear normal, to not stand out but at the same time I found it uncomfortable that other people we're living this life we thought we would have, but weren't. It hurt me to hear about people complaining about normal issues with a baby, it made me think "you have no idea" and "you should be grateful for all you have" that these issues were their only ones. Having all of Rohan's extras was like a badge and a shield for those emotions, it was obvious our journey wasn't the same. I know it's not anyone's fault for voicing their own problems, and in a way things aren't always what they seem, I will never know everyone's back story. They may have their own battles going on and that's just something I have needed to accept.

I've always suffered somewhat from social anxiety and I feel it's just got worse recently. I worry about how I'm going to appear, over analyse what I've said or done and I'm just afraid of making a fool of myself. I really struggle with making conversation, small talk and putting myself out there. This all contributes to my struggles with Rohan. I feel like perhaps I have accepted parts of what has happened, but I find it difficult to really identify with a lot of other things. You may notice that I don't speak often of the particular syndrome that Rohan has, it's not something I really name out loud or go around talking about. When talking about it I'll more often than not just say he has a genetic syndrome and leave it at that. Perhaps because it's a fairly obscure one that people won't have heard of it before anyway, but also partly because giving it a name is scary. I don't feel ready to identify with it just yet.


I've really struggled with social situations and knowing what to do or say about all that has happened. To people who know us and our story well, I can talk about it, and of course on the internet I feel freer to discuss it and share our journey, but in real life I can't. I just feel I don't know what to say. Now, like I mentioned before, that Rohan doesn't have any of the extra equipment that identifies something I feel like it's all down to me to explain but I don't feel comfortable. If I was to take him to a baby group it would be obvious that things were different. He's ten months old and can't yet sit unaided and he's tiny, so when people ask his age and I say, I can always see a moment of slight shock and questioning. Then I know it's my cue to explain more, but sometimes I just can't. I know I don't have to, but I also know that if I want people to understand what's going on, and to spread acceptance and understanding that sometimes things can be different then I need to explain. I want it to be ok, I want to feel like I can go to any regular baby group and meet other parents and be accepted, but I just feel too different. I'm not sure whether it will ever be the same, and I know I won't really be able to blend in in regular groups or places and again that's something that I just need to accept and will hopefully happen over time. I just need to find the right environment for both Rohan and I to socialise and feel comfortable.

But there is also something else that I talked about with the psychologist, and that is that I don't have to introduce Rohan as a syndrome, because that's not all he is. I get that it helps people to identify with other people who have the same thing and I think it holds so much value, but I know that's not all he is. I think this is part of the reason that I don't name what he has so much, because to us he's just Rohan. He has his own personality, yes he has this syndrome and characteristics, but he is his own little person also. On a day to day basis in our little bubble that is all we know and it's easy to put all the wider problems to the back of your mind. I think a little it stems from our time in hospital where we'd be spending most of the day with our new baby, trying to bond and learn about who he was to then overhear the doctors on their ward rounds talk about him just as a list of medical problems and not a human being or a tiny baby. In the end I would usually remove myself around this time and just wait to hear any news when it was told to us specifically. I know that everyone is different in these situations and for some people finding out and hearing all the medical side really helps, but for me not so much.


So instead of feeling like I need to explain our situation and to introduce Rohan as the name of his syndrome I can instead focus on all the things that make him him. I will of course when needed explain a little more, but for now I feel like it's important to view him as more than just a name. I'd love to become a bit more of an advocate for this sort of thing, to stand up and show that living with a child who may be different from the norm can be difficult yes, but so rewarding in many ways. To integrate more and perhaps change the way we view babies and children with these sorts of things, to make that conversation easier to have. I know I have a long way to go in myself before these things can happen, but I think that the first step is by being open and proud of who Rohan is, despite and because of all that he has going on. And raise him as Rohan and not just his syndrome.


Not just a syndrome


Last week I had a meeting with a psychologist to talk through how I was feeling about everything that has happened.

When Rohan was first born and in the hospital we both spoke to a councillor about what we were going through and she was there to guide us through those first terrible weeks when we were just existing, not living. Our thoughts were on being split between two children, the unknown of the situation we had found ourselves in, the guilt, the worry for the future, the worry that we were terrible people for wishing it could be another way. She was there on the day after we did research into his potential syndrome, where the grief and realisation started to go beneath the surface and I let in sink in a little. I was afraid to let it in, afraid I'd fall down so much I wouldn't be able to get back up again, that I'd feel this heaviness and pressure in my chest forever. I spent the whole day crying, holding Rohan's hand in his little cot. But I managed to talk, to share my inner most fears, say the things I thought I could never say out loud to anyone else, and it made me feel better. This session with the psychologist this time wasn't as dramatic, but it did feel like a breakthrough. It gave me perspective and also a resolve to practical problems I was facing.

Over the last few months since Rohan came home and we gradually shed the equipment he needed in the day and life went back to relative normal I've been finding certain things difficult. On a day to day level I feel like I've accepted our life now, we've adjusted to having a baby in our lives once more and all the extra care we have to give Rohan has just become second nature. Of course not having to have the oxygen to take around with us, the ng tube to feed with and him in leg casts has made it so much easier, and I wouldn't wish to go back to how it was but also perhaps it's made other things more difficult.


In a way having these extras made it easier for people to see that something was different, that there was a reason for the way Rohan was that was easily distinguishable to outsiders. I gave me something to hide behind, to not have to explain fully and perhaps stood as an indicator that not everything had gone the way it should have, and the we were not having the normal experience. I don't know why I found this difficult. I wanted more than anything to appear normal, to not stand out but at the same time I found it uncomfortable that other people we're living this life we thought we would have, but weren't. It hurt me to hear about people complaining about normal issues with a baby, it made me think "you have no idea" and "you should be grateful for all you have" that these issues were their only ones. Having all of Rohan's extras was like a badge and a shield for those emotions, it was obvious our journey wasn't the same. I know it's not anyone's fault for voicing their own problems, and in a way things aren't always what they seem, I will never know everyone's back story. They may have their own battles going on and that's just something I have needed to accept.

I've always suffered somewhat from social anxiety and I feel it's just got worse recently. I worry about how I'm going to appear, over analyse what I've said or done and I'm just afraid of making a fool of myself. I really struggle with making conversation, small talk and putting myself out there. This all contributes to my struggles with Rohan. I feel like perhaps I have accepted parts of what has happened, but I find it difficult to really identify with a lot of other things. You may notice that I don't speak often of the particular syndrome that Rohan has, it's not something I really name out loud or go around talking about. When talking about it I'll more often than not just say he has a genetic syndrome and leave it at that. Perhaps because it's a fairly obscure one that people won't have heard of it before anyway, but also partly because giving it a name is scary. I don't feel ready to identify with it just yet.


I've really struggled with social situations and knowing what to do or say about all that has happened. To people who know us and our story well, I can talk about it, and of course on the internet I feel freer to discuss it and share our journey, but in real life I can't. I just feel I don't know what to say. Now, like I mentioned before, that Rohan doesn't have any of the extra equipment that identifies something I feel like it's all down to me to explain but I don't feel comfortable. If I was to take him to a baby group it would be obvious that things were different. He's ten months old and can't yet sit unaided and he's tiny, so when people ask his age and I say, I can always see a moment of slight shock and questioning. Then I know it's my cue to explain more, but sometimes I just can't. I know I don't have to, but I also know that if I want people to understand what's going on, and to spread acceptance and understanding that sometimes things can be different then I need to explain. I want it to be ok, I want to feel like I can go to any regular baby group and meet other parents and be accepted, but I just feel too different. I'm not sure whether it will ever be the same, and I know I won't really be able to blend in in regular groups or places and again that's something that I just need to accept and will hopefully happen over time. I just need to find the right environment for both Rohan and I to socialise and feel comfortable.

But there is also something else that I talked about with the psychologist, and that is that I don't have to introduce Rohan as a syndrome, because that's not all he is. I get that it helps people to identify with other people who have the same thing and I think it holds so much value, but I know that's not all he is. I think this is part of the reason that I don't name what he has so much, because to us he's just Rohan. He has his own personality, yes he has this syndrome and characteristics, but he is his own little person also. On a day to day basis in our little bubble that is all we know and it's easy to put all the wider problems to the back of your mind. I think a little it stems from our time in hospital where we'd be spending most of the day with our new baby, trying to bond and learn about who he was to then overhear the doctors on their ward rounds talk about him just as a list of medical problems and not a human being or a tiny baby. In the end I would usually remove myself around this time and just wait to hear any news when it was told to us specifically. I know that everyone is different in these situations and for some people finding out and hearing all the medical side really helps, but for me not so much.


So instead of feeling like I need to explain our situation and to introduce Rohan as the name of his syndrome I can instead focus on all the things that make him him. I will of course when needed explain a little more, but for now I feel like it's important to view him as more than just a name. I'd love to become a bit more of an advocate for this sort of thing, to stand up and show that living with a child who may be different from the norm can be difficult yes, but so rewarding in many ways. To integrate more and perhaps change the way we view babies and children with these sorts of things, to make that conversation easier to have. I know I have a long way to go in myself before these things can happen, but I think that the first step is by being open and proud of who Rohan is, despite and because of all that he has going on. And raise him as Rohan and not just his syndrome.


It's that time again...

So guess what...it's time for another minor freak out and some more rambling from my brain. We of course have another hospital appointment tomorrow, one last heart and growth scan, which is most likely the cause of the racing thoughts going through my head and the need to let them escape onto this page.

 I'm dreading the scan tomorrow. I have the fear of bad news, even though there hasn't really been any more bad news since we've been having the extra scans, just possibilities and wait and sees. At our last scan the consultant informed us that the left ventricle was smaller than it was last time and whilst it didn't worry her, and she gave us her medical opinion that she didn't see it developing into a further problem, but still had to give us information on another heart condition that it could point to. A much more serious heart condition with a lower survival rate, more surgeries and unknown quality of life. Me being me needed to know the worse case scenario, and it did scare me. Suddenly what they originally diagnosed didn't seem that bad at all, and these past four weeks has seen me silently telling myself and the baby (and the universe) that everything will be ok, and that this isn't going to happen to us. In a way I don't even really want to go tomorrow, I don't want any bad news, not now that we're so close.



 I feel so many different emotions and worries. I can't even order them here on the page. Obviously as the due date fast approaches and I feel like I could go into labour any day now (I'm nearly 37 weeks, hold on until after Christmas please!) and just feel a little over the pregnancy now. Of course I still love feeling the little boy wriggling around inside, and I know that he is safe and still connected to me, which is something that I'm going to find hard to let go of, but I'm getting sick of being pregnant. The physical side of it is wearing me out, I'm too big and I forgot just how damn uncomfortable you are, and I do actually feel at peace with knowing this is my last. I'm also getting desperate to meet this little boy, to wonder what he'll look like, to know what ever it is that is wrong with him and to stop the guessing games.

 But it all makes me sad and to be honest a little cross. It's starting to feel so unfair that we won't have that special newborn time, I won't get to hold my baby for long after he's born, I'll have to leave hospital without him, express my milk instead of forming a breastfeeding bond straight away. Why does it have to be this way? Why can't I have a lovely healthy, perfect little baby to bring home with us to start this journey as a family of four? It's breaking my heart to have to keep on reminding myself that it's going to be so different this time. I just wish with everything I have that it's all going to be ok, that somehow, somewhere, someone has granted us just at least a little bit of good luck and that this story doesn't end in even more heartbreak.

 But yet there's still so much uncertainty. We don't know the full extent of the heart problem, we have to journey through the baby being treated for talipes and I guess we have to await any signs of other conditions that we may not have been aware of. Yesterday I met a lady who like us had problems diagnosed at her 20 week scan, and even though more problems were found during the rest of the pregnancy, they still had no idea that the baby would be born with an undiagnosable genetic disorder. Something that wouldn't have shown up on an amniocentesis test had they decided to have one. I know I shouldn't obsess and think that this is bound to happen to us, but of course it has me worried. We have the all clear for major known genetic disorders, but of course there could be something there. I'm terrified. I know that whatever will be will be, and that there's nothing we can do to change anything anyway but it doesn't stop my thinking what if. I don't want to go down that trail of thought again, I just want to be able to focus on the now and dealing with things as they come, but it's all getting so close.



 Can you see how panicky this is all making me? I feel slightly frantic in my thoughts and I just want some definite answers. I am a planner, I like things to be set out and organised and I just don't think I can deal with the waiting to see anymore. But you know what, more than anything I just want to hold my baby, to tell him that he's going to be ok, to bring him back to our home and into our lives and be able to love him fully. I want to see him grow and marvel at the new things he learns, I want to see the bond develop between him and Theo and I want to see how our life unfolds. I want this more than I've ever wanted anything before, more than I knew possible to want something. I want him to be ok.

Bear with me, I have a feeling these next few weeks will hold a whole host of tumbling thoughts and emotions, so perhaps it might be best to look away now if that's not your cup of tea. But they need to be set free somewhere.

It's that time again...

So guess what...it's time for another minor freak out and some more rambling from my brain. We of course have another hospital appointment tomorrow, one last heart and growth scan, which is most likely the cause of the racing thoughts going through my head and the need to let them escape onto this page.

 I'm dreading the scan tomorrow. I have the fear of bad news, even though there hasn't really been any more bad news since we've been having the extra scans, just possibilities and wait and sees. At our last scan the consultant informed us that the left ventricle was smaller than it was last time and whilst it didn't worry her, and she gave us her medical opinion that she didn't see it developing into a further problem, but still had to give us information on another heart condition that it could point to. A much more serious heart condition with a lower survival rate, more surgeries and unknown quality of life. Me being me needed to know the worse case scenario, and it did scare me. Suddenly what they originally diagnosed didn't seem that bad at all, and these past four weeks has seen me silently telling myself and the baby (and the universe) that everything will be ok, and that this isn't going to happen to us. In a way I don't even really want to go tomorrow, I don't want any bad news, not now that we're so close.



 I feel so many different emotions and worries. I can't even order them here on the page. Obviously as the due date fast approaches and I feel like I could go into labour any day now (I'm nearly 37 weeks, hold on until after Christmas please!) and just feel a little over the pregnancy now. Of course I still love feeling the little boy wriggling around inside, and I know that he is safe and still connected to me, which is something that I'm going to find hard to let go of, but I'm getting sick of being pregnant. The physical side of it is wearing me out, I'm too big and I forgot just how damn uncomfortable you are, and I do actually feel at peace with knowing this is my last. I'm also getting desperate to meet this little boy, to wonder what he'll look like, to know what ever it is that is wrong with him and to stop the guessing games.

 But it all makes me sad and to be honest a little cross. It's starting to feel so unfair that we won't have that special newborn time, I won't get to hold my baby for long after he's born, I'll have to leave hospital without him, express my milk instead of forming a breastfeeding bond straight away. Why does it have to be this way? Why can't I have a lovely healthy, perfect little baby to bring home with us to start this journey as a family of four? It's breaking my heart to have to keep on reminding myself that it's going to be so different this time. I just wish with everything I have that it's all going to be ok, that somehow, somewhere, someone has granted us just at least a little bit of good luck and that this story doesn't end in even more heartbreak.

 But yet there's still so much uncertainty. We don't know the full extent of the heart problem, we have to journey through the baby being treated for talipes and I guess we have to await any signs of other conditions that we may not have been aware of. Yesterday I met a lady who like us had problems diagnosed at her 20 week scan, and even though more problems were found during the rest of the pregnancy, they still had no idea that the baby would be born with an undiagnosable genetic disorder. Something that wouldn't have shown up on an amniocentesis test had they decided to have one. I know I shouldn't obsess and think that this is bound to happen to us, but of course it has me worried. We have the all clear for major known genetic disorders, but of course there could be something there. I'm terrified. I know that whatever will be will be, and that there's nothing we can do to change anything anyway but it doesn't stop my thinking what if. I don't want to go down that trail of thought again, I just want to be able to focus on the now and dealing with things as they come, but it's all getting so close.



 Can you see how panicky this is all making me? I feel slightly frantic in my thoughts and I just want some definite answers. I am a planner, I like things to be set out and organised and I just don't think I can deal with the waiting to see anymore. But you know what, more than anything I just want to hold my baby, to tell him that he's going to be ok, to bring him back to our home and into our lives and be able to love him fully. I want to see him grow and marvel at the new things he learns, I want to see the bond develop between him and Theo and I want to see how our life unfolds. I want this more than I've ever wanted anything before, more than I knew possible to want something. I want him to be ok.

Bear with me, I have a feeling these next few weeks will hold a whole host of tumbling thoughts and emotions, so perhaps it might be best to look away now if that's not your cup of tea. But they need to be set free somewhere.

All the emotions

So are you ready for another emotion mind dump? Well it's coming anyway.

 First of all, I think my brain just needs somewhere to go ARRRRGGGGGHHHH, every so often and right now it's here, so sorry about that. It's got to happen somewhere and I can feel myself get more and more agitated and worried and it feels like it's all going to boil over unless I somehow let it escape somewhere. But it seems to boil over anyway.

 This week, and the last have been hard. My emotions have been all over the place, I definitely have my cross days where everything seems like it's going against me and I just want a bit of peace. There are days where everything is actually fine and I get a glimpse of what the normal pregnancy would be feeling like and somehow seem to forget everything that is going on. Then there's the days full of anxiety and worry which then leads onto the days where I can feel the dam of tears swelling up behind my eyes and trying my hardest not to let them break free at the wrong moments. I have always loved the power of having a good cry, and when I do finally let them out, and have half an hour or so of good sobbing, nose running, drenched face crying it makes me feel a whole lot better.

 So it's been tough, I somehow convinced myself a little that this time would be somehow easier than the bit when we were waiting for results just after diagnosis. We can get ready and prepare and just wait for the baby and carry on like normal. Except that hasn't happened. There just seems to be more could be's about babies condition every week, new worries we didn't even consider and more potential bad news. There's never a straight answer, there's could be's and hope nots and unlikelys, but there's always the small chance. Just sit tight, wait and see and try not to worry.



 In the past few weeks we've been told that the babies heart might be showing a problem in the size of part of it, but it's not known until baby is born and even then the cardiologist is pretty confident it won't be a problem. I've been told I'm carrying Group B Strep, for which I have receive antibiotics for during labour as to not pass it onto the baby. Which is a relief in some way that it's been picked up now, but yet another thing to worry about in my already stressful labour. Finally, just yesterday the midwife got me all worried saying that I'm measuring pretty big (40cm at 34 weeks) and that they may need to assess me and send me for an emergency scan. On our last growth scan just under two weeks ago baby was measuring an average size, but with an abdominal circumference right at the top end of the scale (but still on the scale, thankfully). Yet again I have no idea what this all means, the midwife was particularly vague and told me not to worry (yeh thanks for that). So after a slightly panicked phone call to the fetal medicine unit at the hospital they have booked me in for a growth scan next week, just as a PRECAUTION. Nothing has been mentioned previously as a worry about the size or abdomen by the fetal medicine team and fingers crossed there will be nothing wrong, but you know, just one more thing to sit and worry about until we know for sure.

 It just makes me wonder when it will all stop, when the potential for bad news will end and we can 100% fully know what the problems are and how they can (hopefully) be fixed. Perhaps we will never know. And whilst there's been no more devastating news and prognosis is part of me needs to yell out: I'M NOT OK. I need a badge saying: I'm finding this hard, things are shitty. But I rarely like drawing attention to myself, but at the same time I feel in the world if you tend to not shout about your problems you get swallowed up by everyone else's and those who manage to shout louder than you. I'm not asking for constant attention and I'm not even sure what I want, I guess I just want to feel understood that it's not all normal, I'm not that excited, I've been finding it really tough and I find it hard to tell people this. I feel lonely and weirdly feel like I don't know if I matter to that many people. Perhaps that's my own doing, my inability to express my feelings more openly and keep in contact with people and update them on my troubles and woes, but I'm just not that sort of person. I guess I prefer to keep a brave face on, to not let that many people in and sometimes that can just backfire when no-one really knows what you are truly feeling. I hate to make a fuss and make people feel awkward, but it also makes me sad.

 I finished work this week, and left for potentially a year or so off. I got a few goodbyes and good lucks, but nothing more. I don't know what I was expecting, not a parade or a party of course, but perhaps a card or a small gesture to say something more. I only work 8 or so hours a week, and don't have any real connection to many people there, but people were aware of what I've been going through and I've been there nearly two years and you know what, it just hurt a little. Just to feel so insignificant and unthought about. It's only work, I know that, but it's just one more thing on top of everything else.

 So there you have it. I'm feeling shitty and sorry for myself. I don't want to be the party pooper in a world of happy healthy pregnancies so I keep my mouth shut, except of course for my occasional outbursts on here, my safe little place on the internet. Soz it's not all Christmas cheer, but you know, it's not always about that is it.

All the emotions

So are you ready for another emotion mind dump? Well it's coming anyway.

 First of all, I think my brain just needs somewhere to go ARRRRGGGGGHHHH, every so often and right now it's here, so sorry about that. It's got to happen somewhere and I can feel myself get more and more agitated and worried and it feels like it's all going to boil over unless I somehow let it escape somewhere. But it seems to boil over anyway.

 This week, and the last have been hard. My emotions have been all over the place, I definitely have my cross days where everything seems like it's going against me and I just want a bit of peace. There are days where everything is actually fine and I get a glimpse of what the normal pregnancy would be feeling like and somehow seem to forget everything that is going on. Then there's the days full of anxiety and worry which then leads onto the days where I can feel the dam of tears swelling up behind my eyes and trying my hardest not to let them break free at the wrong moments. I have always loved the power of having a good cry, and when I do finally let them out, and have half an hour or so of good sobbing, nose running, drenched face crying it makes me feel a whole lot better.

 So it's been tough, I somehow convinced myself a little that this time would be somehow easier than the bit when we were waiting for results just after diagnosis. We can get ready and prepare and just wait for the baby and carry on like normal. Except that hasn't happened. There just seems to be more could be's about babies condition every week, new worries we didn't even consider and more potential bad news. There's never a straight answer, there's could be's and hope nots and unlikelys, but there's always the small chance. Just sit tight, wait and see and try not to worry.



 In the past few weeks we've been told that the babies heart might be showing a problem in the size of part of it, but it's not known until baby is born and even then the cardiologist is pretty confident it won't be a problem. I've been told I'm carrying Group B Strep, for which I have receive antibiotics for during labour as to not pass it onto the baby. Which is a relief in some way that it's been picked up now, but yet another thing to worry about in my already stressful labour. Finally, just yesterday the midwife got me all worried saying that I'm measuring pretty big (40cm at 34 weeks) and that they may need to assess me and send me for an emergency scan. On our last growth scan just under two weeks ago baby was measuring an average size, but with an abdominal circumference right at the top end of the scale (but still on the scale, thankfully). Yet again I have no idea what this all means, the midwife was particularly vague and told me not to worry (yeh thanks for that). So after a slightly panicked phone call to the fetal medicine unit at the hospital they have booked me in for a growth scan next week, just as a PRECAUTION. Nothing has been mentioned previously as a worry about the size or abdomen by the fetal medicine team and fingers crossed there will be nothing wrong, but you know, just one more thing to sit and worry about until we know for sure.

 It just makes me wonder when it will all stop, when the potential for bad news will end and we can 100% fully know what the problems are and how they can (hopefully) be fixed. Perhaps we will never know. And whilst there's been no more devastating news and prognosis is part of me needs to yell out: I'M NOT OK. I need a badge saying: I'm finding this hard, things are shitty. But I rarely like drawing attention to myself, but at the same time I feel in the world if you tend to not shout about your problems you get swallowed up by everyone else's and those who manage to shout louder than you. I'm not asking for constant attention and I'm not even sure what I want, I guess I just want to feel understood that it's not all normal, I'm not that excited, I've been finding it really tough and I find it hard to tell people this. I feel lonely and weirdly feel like I don't know if I matter to that many people. Perhaps that's my own doing, my inability to express my feelings more openly and keep in contact with people and update them on my troubles and woes, but I'm just not that sort of person. I guess I prefer to keep a brave face on, to not let that many people in and sometimes that can just backfire when no-one really knows what you are truly feeling. I hate to make a fuss and make people feel awkward, but it also makes me sad.

 I finished work this week, and left for potentially a year or so off. I got a few goodbyes and good lucks, but nothing more. I don't know what I was expecting, not a parade or a party of course, but perhaps a card or a small gesture to say something more. I only work 8 or so hours a week, and don't have any real connection to many people there, but people were aware of what I've been going through and I've been there nearly two years and you know what, it just hurt a little. Just to feel so insignificant and unthought about. It's only work, I know that, but it's just one more thing on top of everything else.

 So there you have it. I'm feeling shitty and sorry for myself. I don't want to be the party pooper in a world of happy healthy pregnancies so I keep my mouth shut, except of course for my occasional outbursts on here, my safe little place on the internet. Soz it's not all Christmas cheer, but you know, it's not always about that is it.

A pregnancy update, of sorts

So it always seems that about a week before a hospital appointment my mind starts going into overdrive with worries and questions. Perhaps it's just because it's been awhile since I've had reassurance and any information from medical staff, and because we've probably been having to give answers to people that we're not actually 100% on ourselves.

 I'm just about 32 weeks. That means there's only 8 weeks to go. We were told at our last hospital appointment that I wouldn't be allowed to go overdue, but can wait for natural labour to start before that point. I have a small feeling that the baby will make an appearance early, but I don't know if that is just paranoia (please don't come too early baby, we need you to be big and strong!) and worry making me think this way. After all Theo was a week overdue and to be honest I think he could have stayed in there a week longer if it was up to him (a stretch and sweep seemed to get him going sooner than he would have liked I think).


 I'm feeling huge. I'm measuring about 34 weeks, so I'm looking pretty big too. But so far the pregnancy seems to be continuing in a good fashion. I've started to get the dreaded restless legs in the evening a lot more, heartburn is sneaking in at times and moving my tired body around is sometimes a struggle, but other than that I still feel pretty good. I have found that I'm starting to need to eat a lot more regularly, and can't really go two hours without feeling hungry again. But it all feels pretty normal. Except I know that it's not all normal.

 We've got appointments booked in next week for a growth scan and a heart scan, which could both potentially be the last. We'll also discuss the plan for birth so perhaps I'll know a little more then about what to expect. So far I think I will be able to have a natural birth, which to be fair is already filling me with dread. I didn't really have a great birth last time, not that I really realised or felt that traumatised over but looking back it wasn't the best experience. There was a lot of fear involved, and this time I'm afraid of the fear already. Last time I entered labour excited to be able to finally meet the boy who'd been wriggling around inside me for so long, but fearful of the change it would all bring. My labour didn't go as 'planned' and it ended up being pretty medicated and I didn't feel in control one bit. When thinking of having a second I always dreamed of being able to give it another go, to perhaps get the birth that was more in control and a lot less fearful. But now I'm not so sure.

 There is so much worry already surrounding the birth, and in a way I know that my body and my mind may well hold back on birthing this new baby boy. For I know that as soon as he is born he will be taken away pretty quickly to be stabilised and have scans, leaving me alone. When Theo was just a day old or so he had to be taken to NICU for a scan because of an infection he picked up, which resulted in a week long stay and antibiotics, but I still clearly remember the pain of having to be separated from him, even if it was just for a few hours. I can't even begin to imagine that pain that I'm going to feel knowing it could be hours before I can see my baby again, and then not really be able to hold him or feed him. He'll be linked up to wires and tubes in the calm yet ultimately very scary NICU. We'll become those parents that you have no idea how to be. To have to find the strength to sit and watch your baby, just hoping that everything goes ok. I know he'll be in the very best hands, and actually feel so lucky that we are all aware of the problem before hand so the very best precautions can be taken, but it still doesn't stop the fear. Inside at present he is protected by me, but outside it will all become real. The intensive care, the surgery, the waiting, the recovery. Being split between a sick baby and hospital visits and a near 5 year old who will still need his parents.

 I have been looking a little into hypnobirthing and just wish it was something that we could afford to do. I know that being able to stay in control for the labour and stay calm would help immensely, but I just don't know how to manage that on my own. I'm starting a yoga class soon which will hopefully help with the breathing, but I know both Rob and I will be feeling stressed about all that will come. I've got myself a book I need to read, and I need to find some breathing techniques that could help, but it all just feels so scary. I know getting myself worked up about it now isn't going to help, but sometimes it's pretty unavoidable. Right now it seems like the calm before the storm. It hasn't really sunk in that we will have another baby, another child in our lives as that all seems so far away. I forgot how much babies change things, even healthy ones.

 I've finally started buying a few baby clothes, which I'll do a little post on later and nesting is fully kicking in. I want everything sorted soon, I need to feel in control about some aspects of this baby coming. Christmas is creeping up fast and will soon be here, and I know it can all pass in such a blur. Then the countdown will truly begin. Hopefully next week will put my mind as ease once more, and I can find some way of coping with the anxiety and fear that is happening....

A pregnancy update, of sorts

So it always seems that about a week before a hospital appointment my mind starts going into overdrive with worries and questions. Perhaps it's just because it's been awhile since I've had reassurance and any information from medical staff, and because we've probably been having to give answers to people that we're not actually 100% on ourselves.

 I'm just about 32 weeks. That means there's only 8 weeks to go. We were told at our last hospital appointment that I wouldn't be allowed to go overdue, but can wait for natural labour to start before that point. I have a small feeling that the baby will make an appearance early, but I don't know if that is just paranoia (please don't come too early baby, we need you to be big and strong!) and worry making me think this way. After all Theo was a week overdue and to be honest I think he could have stayed in there a week longer if it was up to him (a stretch and sweep seemed to get him going sooner than he would have liked I think).


 I'm feeling huge. I'm measuring about 34 weeks, so I'm looking pretty big too. But so far the pregnancy seems to be continuing in a good fashion. I've started to get the dreaded restless legs in the evening a lot more, heartburn is sneaking in at times and moving my tired body around is sometimes a struggle, but other than that I still feel pretty good. I have found that I'm starting to need to eat a lot more regularly, and can't really go two hours without feeling hungry again. But it all feels pretty normal. Except I know that it's not all normal.

 We've got appointments booked in next week for a growth scan and a heart scan, which could both potentially be the last. We'll also discuss the plan for birth so perhaps I'll know a little more then about what to expect. So far I think I will be able to have a natural birth, which to be fair is already filling me with dread. I didn't really have a great birth last time, not that I really realised or felt that traumatised over but looking back it wasn't the best experience. There was a lot of fear involved, and this time I'm afraid of the fear already. Last time I entered labour excited to be able to finally meet the boy who'd been wriggling around inside me for so long, but fearful of the change it would all bring. My labour didn't go as 'planned' and it ended up being pretty medicated and I didn't feel in control one bit. When thinking of having a second I always dreamed of being able to give it another go, to perhaps get the birth that was more in control and a lot less fearful. But now I'm not so sure.

 There is so much worry already surrounding the birth, and in a way I know that my body and my mind may well hold back on birthing this new baby boy. For I know that as soon as he is born he will be taken away pretty quickly to be stabilised and have scans, leaving me alone. When Theo was just a day old or so he had to be taken to NICU for a scan because of an infection he picked up, which resulted in a week long stay and antibiotics, but I still clearly remember the pain of having to be separated from him, even if it was just for a few hours. I can't even begin to imagine that pain that I'm going to feel knowing it could be hours before I can see my baby again, and then not really be able to hold him or feed him. He'll be linked up to wires and tubes in the calm yet ultimately very scary NICU. We'll become those parents that you have no idea how to be. To have to find the strength to sit and watch your baby, just hoping that everything goes ok. I know he'll be in the very best hands, and actually feel so lucky that we are all aware of the problem before hand so the very best precautions can be taken, but it still doesn't stop the fear. Inside at present he is protected by me, but outside it will all become real. The intensive care, the surgery, the waiting, the recovery. Being split between a sick baby and hospital visits and a near 5 year old who will still need his parents.

 I have been looking a little into hypnobirthing and just wish it was something that we could afford to do. I know that being able to stay in control for the labour and stay calm would help immensely, but I just don't know how to manage that on my own. I'm starting a yoga class soon which will hopefully help with the breathing, but I know both Rob and I will be feeling stressed about all that will come. I've got myself a book I need to read, and I need to find some breathing techniques that could help, but it all just feels so scary. I know getting myself worked up about it now isn't going to help, but sometimes it's pretty unavoidable. Right now it seems like the calm before the storm. It hasn't really sunk in that we will have another baby, another child in our lives as that all seems so far away. I forgot how much babies change things, even healthy ones.

 I've finally started buying a few baby clothes, which I'll do a little post on later and nesting is fully kicking in. I want everything sorted soon, I need to feel in control about some aspects of this baby coming. Christmas is creeping up fast and will soon be here, and I know it can all pass in such a blur. Then the countdown will truly begin. Hopefully next week will put my mind as ease once more, and I can find some way of coping with the anxiety and fear that is happening....

Baby #2

 photo IMG_6554_zpsvokhe21i.jpg
 photo IMG_6539_zpsf1gycwnw.jpg
So I think I've written this post in my head a million times, but once again getting back into the swing of blogging is getting the better of me, that and not feeling too fresh.

So here we are, 14 weeks pregnant. I guess I should start from the beginning really shouldn't I?

As many of you will know we suffered with a miscarriage last year and I think in an attempt to not fully deal with the emotions of what happened I threw myself into the whole 'must try to get pregnant as soon as possible' routine as a way to replace the lost pregnancy and not have to deal with the fact that it was just that, lost. We tried ovulation tests, I didn't drink, was scared to exercise properly because "just in case" and put my life on hold, and to be honest it sucked. Obviously I was dealing, or not dealing as the case may be, with lots of different emotions. As the months of disappointment kept on rolling by I was trying to keep a brave and hopeful face but in reality I don't think I was coping very well. The due date soon came around, six months later, and it actually made me feel better. I felt relief that it was all over, and the thoughts of "I would be this pregnant by now..." faded away. It felt like the baby that wasn't meant to be was finally over and I felt a little more relaxed and if anything allowed myself to feel something for what had happened. I woke up from some sort of daze and we decided to stop trying, that it was just too stressful and neither of us were enjoying the whole routine. 

The month of April (the month the baby was due) I kept myself busy, I finally came out of hibernation and saw friends and families and took trips that I just didn't have the energy for before. I stopped over analysing every twinge or change that I felt in my body, I deleted the ovulation apps so wasn't entirely sure where I was in my cycle and I think I actually felt normal for the first time in a long time. Then lo and behold, I had a feeling, took a tentative pregnancy test, and there it was, a very faint second pink line. 

So perhaps it is true what they say, that when you take the pressure off then may it happen more easily. The funny thing was though is that when we were planning and trying we always said that we would give April a miss, as that was the month we conceived Theo and didn't really want two birthdays close together. But perhaps again it's true when they say that it's the babies who choose when to come. So that was it, ironic perhaps, but there all the same, our second January baby.

I wouldn't say its been all fairytales since then. I had and still do have pretty bad anxiety about the whole thing, we had a mini scare at 7 weeks with some spotting but an early scan found everything to be ok. I still wouldn't let myself believe it was really happening, but still not wanting to believe it was doomed, a strange way to feel. I was feeling pretty awful, completely drained, sick and just not human! All good signs I guess, but not great when you're trying to function everyday. I missed quite a few weeks of work and I think the anxiety held me slightly captive as I was afraid to do much just in case. I could barely look at the computer screen or even my phone, and as strange as it may sound the thought of taking photographs or editing made me feel sick. Hence my lack of posts and social media presence (not that it's that great anyway!). We only told a very few amount of people, those who we did mainly out of necessity and actually didn't tell Theo properly until after the scan. 

I had the scan at 12 weeks, but they actually dated me closer to 13. I don't think I've ever felt so nervous, and when we were called in and the image flickered on screen I couldn't look before I knew for certain from the sonographer and Rob's reaction that all was ok. I felt tears of relief fall on my cheeks as we watched the little black and white image of the baby wriggle about on the screen. Another very active baby. I let myself believe a little more that this was real and everything was OK, but there's still a little something I know probably won't go away until I have the baby in my arms but I guess that's slightly normal, right? 

So there we are, I'm still suffering with sickness, tiredness, insomnia and the horrible ingestion thats been plaguing me for months, but I do feel (touch wood) to be slightly getting better. I've had two sessions of acupuncture that have helped immensely (one night I even stayed awake until 10pm!) and life is starting to get a little more manageable once again. Even though this week I've had a bit of a lapse. 

I think I'm going to have to write another post on Theo and the pregnancy, as there's just too much to say! This boy though...

I just wanted to say a huge thank you for all the well wishes and congratulations, it really makes me happy to know that so many people care, and it made it seem all the more real. I hope I'll be back more regularly to share this journey once again with you (saying that I reread some of my posts from around this stage the first time and its a very interesting read!) 

Baby #2

 photo IMG_6554_zpsvokhe21i.jpg
 photo IMG_6539_zpsf1gycwnw.jpg
So I think I've written this post in my head a million times, but once again getting back into the swing of blogging is getting the better of me, that and not feeling too fresh.

So here we are, 14 weeks pregnant. I guess I should start from the beginning really shouldn't I?

As many of you will know we suffered with a miscarriage last year and I think in an attempt to not fully deal with the emotions of what happened I threw myself into the whole 'must try to get pregnant as soon as possible' routine as a way to replace the lost pregnancy and not have to deal with the fact that it was just that, lost. We tried ovulation tests, I didn't drink, was scared to exercise properly because "just in case" and put my life on hold, and to be honest it sucked. Obviously I was dealing, or not dealing as the case may be, with lots of different emotions. As the months of disappointment kept on rolling by I was trying to keep a brave and hopeful face but in reality I don't think I was coping very well. The due date soon came around, six months later, and it actually made me feel better. I felt relief that it was all over, and the thoughts of "I would be this pregnant by now..." faded away. It felt like the baby that wasn't meant to be was finally over and I felt a little more relaxed and if anything allowed myself to feel something for what had happened. I woke up from some sort of daze and we decided to stop trying, that it was just too stressful and neither of us were enjoying the whole routine. 

The month of April (the month the baby was due) I kept myself busy, I finally came out of hibernation and saw friends and families and took trips that I just didn't have the energy for before. I stopped over analysing every twinge or change that I felt in my body, I deleted the ovulation apps so wasn't entirely sure where I was in my cycle and I think I actually felt normal for the first time in a long time. Then lo and behold, I had a feeling, took a tentative pregnancy test, and there it was, a very faint second pink line. 

So perhaps it is true what they say, that when you take the pressure off then may it happen more easily. The funny thing was though is that when we were planning and trying we always said that we would give April a miss, as that was the month we conceived Theo and didn't really want two birthdays close together. But perhaps again it's true when they say that it's the babies who choose when to come. So that was it, ironic perhaps, but there all the same, our second January baby.

I wouldn't say its been all fairytales since then. I had and still do have pretty bad anxiety about the whole thing, we had a mini scare at 7 weeks with some spotting but an early scan found everything to be ok. I still wouldn't let myself believe it was really happening, but still not wanting to believe it was doomed, a strange way to feel. I was feeling pretty awful, completely drained, sick and just not human! All good signs I guess, but not great when you're trying to function everyday. I missed quite a few weeks of work and I think the anxiety held me slightly captive as I was afraid to do much just in case. I could barely look at the computer screen or even my phone, and as strange as it may sound the thought of taking photographs or editing made me feel sick. Hence my lack of posts and social media presence (not that it's that great anyway!). We only told a very few amount of people, those who we did mainly out of necessity and actually didn't tell Theo properly until after the scan. 

I had the scan at 12 weeks, but they actually dated me closer to 13. I don't think I've ever felt so nervous, and when we were called in and the image flickered on screen I couldn't look before I knew for certain from the sonographer and Rob's reaction that all was ok. I felt tears of relief fall on my cheeks as we watched the little black and white image of the baby wriggle about on the screen. Another very active baby. I let myself believe a little more that this was real and everything was OK, but there's still a little something I know probably won't go away until I have the baby in my arms but I guess that's slightly normal, right? 

So there we are, I'm still suffering with sickness, tiredness, insomnia and the horrible ingestion thats been plaguing me for months, but I do feel (touch wood) to be slightly getting better. I've had two sessions of acupuncture that have helped immensely (one night I even stayed awake until 10pm!) and life is starting to get a little more manageable once again. Even though this week I've had a bit of a lapse. 

I think I'm going to have to write another post on Theo and the pregnancy, as there's just too much to say! This boy though...

I just wanted to say a huge thank you for all the well wishes and congratulations, it really makes me happy to know that so many people care, and it made it seem all the more real. I hope I'll be back more regularly to share this journey once again with you (saying that I reread some of my posts from around this stage the first time and its a very interesting read!) 

ch-ch-ch-changes

thanks bowie...

anyway, I feel like I need to write all of this down, so bear with me. This post is a collection of lots of different topics all rolled in together, because they all seem to relate a little bit.

First off I wanted to respond to a topic that has been floating around internet land and is a response to Frithas post about the same thing. The issue is anxiety about leaving your baby for the first time, and about being by yourself out there in the world without your little one. This is something I feel I've also constantly struggled with since becoming a mother.

I used to be really shy, and I hated going anywhere by myself or having to ask strangers things or strike up conversations. But then I went to Uni and I forced myself not to be shy, and it helped, it really did. Especially with the nature of my course, where I would be approaching members of the public, inviting myself into peoples homes and lives in order to make photographs and stories of them. Looking back I can't believe how I ever managed to do that?! But it worked, and I felt confident in myself and happy. Then I got pregnant and was catapulted into this world which I knew nothing about, nor anyone else going through the same thing. I left uni, I left my friends behind and I embarked on this journey. Then I moved to Bristol to live with Rob, and I forced myself to be confident and to go out and meet people. And again I'm so glad I did because even though I don't have that many friends in Bristol I'm glad I went out and made some. But as time has gone on I think I've become more and more self conscious and shy again. As we've moved house and to a different area, and a few of my friends have moved away I feel like I need to start making some new friends, but I don't think I have the confidence to do so. Also at the stage Theo is at whenever we go out I spend the majority of my time chasing him around and that leaves little time for socializing and getting to know new people. So I feel I'm in a little bit of a dead end situation.

I think one of the reasons I don't feel confident about meeting new people, is because I'm not even really sure who I am anymore. Having a baby is such a strange reality, because you seem to lose your previous identity so quickly, and are just seen as a mother. My life revolves around Theo, our routine, what I talk about, what I think about and sometimes I can't even remember what I used to talk about with non-baby friends or what interests me. For a time I've been perfectly happy to let myself be engrossed in this new role, and I love it, but after 18 months of just being a 'mummy' I kind of feel a little lost. I've talked recently about being stuck in a rut, where I know something needs to change, and I need to push myself, but I just can't. It all seems like too much effort, and I'd rather hide away inside.

Going back to Frithas post where she mentions that Wilf is her shield to the world, and I totally agree. I feel more confident when I'm with Theo, because I can always talk to him, or about him to other people, whereas when it's just me by myself, I feel exposed and naked. People won't know I'm a mum, I won't have that to talk about, and I'll have to find other ways of creating conversations. That scares me! I don't know what to talk about because I don't know what I'm interested in, or who I am anymore! But I know now that after 18 months it's time to change, and maybe to let go of the dependence I have on Theo.

Because that's it. When thinking about being alone and going out by myself, it's not really about how much I think Theo will miss or need me, it's more about how I will need and miss him. I can't let go! He is fine without me!

This also brings me to breastfeeding. Over the past six months I've been umming and aahing about stopping feeding, but just carried on because it's the easiest way out, and I do enjoy it still. But recently I have been getting frustrated with it, and Theo is becoming a bit of a monster about it. He climbs on top of me, pulls my top and and tries to get at them quite often. This was fine when I knew he needed the milk, but I know that he doesn't, and more often than not he just wants the attention of it. I feel like I'm getting lazy with him, and rather than getting up and doing something with him or distracting him, I will just let him feed so I can get a few more moments of quiet. I know that it may seem like I'm denying him of something he wants, but I know it's just habit and a bit of boredom that makes him want it, because if we are out of the house most of the day he doesn't ever ask for it as he's too occupied to think about it. So I feel as though it may be time to stop. Also he is still feeding to sleep at night, and I really would like to be able to be confident in leaving him with other people to put him to sleep.

But I know part of the reason that I haven't wanted to stop is because there is a part of me that doesn't want to let go of feeding him, or of my baby. It feels as though stopping nursing is admitting that he's not my little baby anymore! But I also want to feel like Theo wants me and my attention for something other than my boobs. I'm scared that he won't love me if I'm not feeding him, that's weird right?

So anyway, this has all come to a head because of this weekend. This weekend is Greenman festival, where I've been a few times with my friends, once when I was pregnant! They are all going again this year, and I've really wanted to go. At first we were going to try and go as a family, but that is a lot of money to spend for Rob and I both to get tickets, and to something that Rob isn't particularly bothered about going to. Then we decided not to go, then to go, then not to go again. But it's still been in the back of my head the whole summer. I want to go, I want to go. Festivals and music have been something that we as a friendship group have always done together, and especially now as we hardly get to see each other, festivals are a great way of getting together. I was extremely jealous when they all announced they were going, and sad that I couldn't join them, and that slowly I'd start not going to anything with them anymore. I started to think that I could go with Theo by myself, and hang out with my friends too, but actually the sheer amount of work that would be involved in that wouldn't be worth it. Rob suggested that I should go by myself and that he would look after Theo by himself for the weekend. But that was out of the question. I can't go anywhere without Theo.

But then I started to think, actually maybe the route of all these things is that I need to let go a little bit. I need to go and have a break (a real break) with my oldest, dearest friends in the world, the ones who know me, and know the old me, and make me feel relaxed and happy, and go see some amazing music and be at a festival. All of these things make me happy beyond belief, and I think for once I really really need to do this. I need to push myself to let go of my anxiety of leaving Theo, trust that Rob can cope on his own, and trust that Theo will be fine without me, and still love me when I get home.
He's 18 months now, people leave their children for stretches of time way before that, and they are fine. I know this will make me feel better. I think also in order to stop feeding Theo, I need to go away, because I don't have the will power to stop on my own.

So with a lovely tax rebate, and a cheap ticket from ebay, I'm going, from Friday to Monday, on my own to a festival....

wish me luck!

but p.s I'm still scared about leaving him, I know tears will be shed (mine) and I will miss him like crazy, but I need to do this!

ch-ch-ch-changes

thanks bowie...

anyway, I feel like I need to write all of this down, so bear with me. This post is a collection of lots of different topics all rolled in together, because they all seem to relate a little bit.

First off I wanted to respond to a topic that has been floating around internet land and is a response to Frithas post about the same thing. The issue is anxiety about leaving your baby for the first time, and about being by yourself out there in the world without your little one. This is something I feel I've also constantly struggled with since becoming a mother.

I used to be really shy, and I hated going anywhere by myself or having to ask strangers things or strike up conversations. But then I went to Uni and I forced myself not to be shy, and it helped, it really did. Especially with the nature of my course, where I would be approaching members of the public, inviting myself into peoples homes and lives in order to make photographs and stories of them. Looking back I can't believe how I ever managed to do that?! But it worked, and I felt confident in myself and happy. Then I got pregnant and was catapulted into this world which I knew nothing about, nor anyone else going through the same thing. I left uni, I left my friends behind and I embarked on this journey. Then I moved to Bristol to live with Rob, and I forced myself to be confident and to go out and meet people. And again I'm so glad I did because even though I don't have that many friends in Bristol I'm glad I went out and made some. But as time has gone on I think I've become more and more self conscious and shy again. As we've moved house and to a different area, and a few of my friends have moved away I feel like I need to start making some new friends, but I don't think I have the confidence to do so. Also at the stage Theo is at whenever we go out I spend the majority of my time chasing him around and that leaves little time for socializing and getting to know new people. So I feel I'm in a little bit of a dead end situation.

I think one of the reasons I don't feel confident about meeting new people, is because I'm not even really sure who I am anymore. Having a baby is such a strange reality, because you seem to lose your previous identity so quickly, and are just seen as a mother. My life revolves around Theo, our routine, what I talk about, what I think about and sometimes I can't even remember what I used to talk about with non-baby friends or what interests me. For a time I've been perfectly happy to let myself be engrossed in this new role, and I love it, but after 18 months of just being a 'mummy' I kind of feel a little lost. I've talked recently about being stuck in a rut, where I know something needs to change, and I need to push myself, but I just can't. It all seems like too much effort, and I'd rather hide away inside.

Going back to Frithas post where she mentions that Wilf is her shield to the world, and I totally agree. I feel more confident when I'm with Theo, because I can always talk to him, or about him to other people, whereas when it's just me by myself, I feel exposed and naked. People won't know I'm a mum, I won't have that to talk about, and I'll have to find other ways of creating conversations. That scares me! I don't know what to talk about because I don't know what I'm interested in, or who I am anymore! But I know now that after 18 months it's time to change, and maybe to let go of the dependence I have on Theo.

Because that's it. When thinking about being alone and going out by myself, it's not really about how much I think Theo will miss or need me, it's more about how I will need and miss him. I can't let go! He is fine without me!

This also brings me to breastfeeding. Over the past six months I've been umming and aahing about stopping feeding, but just carried on because it's the easiest way out, and I do enjoy it still. But recently I have been getting frustrated with it, and Theo is becoming a bit of a monster about it. He climbs on top of me, pulls my top and and tries to get at them quite often. This was fine when I knew he needed the milk, but I know that he doesn't, and more often than not he just wants the attention of it. I feel like I'm getting lazy with him, and rather than getting up and doing something with him or distracting him, I will just let him feed so I can get a few more moments of quiet. I know that it may seem like I'm denying him of something he wants, but I know it's just habit and a bit of boredom that makes him want it, because if we are out of the house most of the day he doesn't ever ask for it as he's too occupied to think about it. So I feel as though it may be time to stop. Also he is still feeding to sleep at night, and I really would like to be able to be confident in leaving him with other people to put him to sleep.

But I know part of the reason that I haven't wanted to stop is because there is a part of me that doesn't want to let go of feeding him, or of my baby. It feels as though stopping nursing is admitting that he's not my little baby anymore! But I also want to feel like Theo wants me and my attention for something other than my boobs. I'm scared that he won't love me if I'm not feeding him, that's weird right?

So anyway, this has all come to a head because of this weekend. This weekend is Greenman festival, where I've been a few times with my friends, once when I was pregnant! They are all going again this year, and I've really wanted to go. At first we were going to try and go as a family, but that is a lot of money to spend for Rob and I both to get tickets, and to something that Rob isn't particularly bothered about going to. Then we decided not to go, then to go, then not to go again. But it's still been in the back of my head the whole summer. I want to go, I want to go. Festivals and music have been something that we as a friendship group have always done together, and especially now as we hardly get to see each other, festivals are a great way of getting together. I was extremely jealous when they all announced they were going, and sad that I couldn't join them, and that slowly I'd start not going to anything with them anymore. I started to think that I could go with Theo by myself, and hang out with my friends too, but actually the sheer amount of work that would be involved in that wouldn't be worth it. Rob suggested that I should go by myself and that he would look after Theo by himself for the weekend. But that was out of the question. I can't go anywhere without Theo.

But then I started to think, actually maybe the route of all these things is that I need to let go a little bit. I need to go and have a break (a real break) with my oldest, dearest friends in the world, the ones who know me, and know the old me, and make me feel relaxed and happy, and go see some amazing music and be at a festival. All of these things make me happy beyond belief, and I think for once I really really need to do this. I need to push myself to let go of my anxiety of leaving Theo, trust that Rob can cope on his own, and trust that Theo will be fine without me, and still love me when I get home.
He's 18 months now, people leave their children for stretches of time way before that, and they are fine. I know this will make me feel better. I think also in order to stop feeding Theo, I need to go away, because I don't have the will power to stop on my own.

So with a lovely tax rebate, and a cheap ticket from ebay, I'm going, from Friday to Monday, on my own to a festival....

wish me luck!

but p.s I'm still scared about leaving him, I know tears will be shed (mine) and I will miss him like crazy, but I need to do this!