Mommy Monday: Casey Kelley

To the Mama Who Let Herself Go

 

I can see the searching and quizzical look on the old friend’s face when I say hello in the grocery store. They’re attempting to place who I am. I feel my stomach drop and my heart pang when I realize they don’t recognize me now. I quickly throw them a life preserver, “It’s Casey! We went to (fill in the blank) together.” We both feel relief and they immediately try to disguise our embarrassment with a comment like, “Oh I didn’t recognize you with those glasses.” I’m grateful for their attempt to hide their disappointment, but I can imagine what they’re thinking. “She sure has let herself go.” They wouldn’t be wrong in thinking this, let me tell you why…

In typical fashion, I’m going to be really honest. I have had many false idols in my life. The image of perfection, youth and physical beauty have been mine for quite some time. They have been (and sometimes still are) my religion, my God. I learned at a very young age that physical beauty was valued in our society. If I could keep my physical body in a static state, that looks something like: thin, toned, tanned, perky, long shiny hair, blemish free, stretch mark free, wrinkle free, grey hair free, carefree — then I would never have to feel unworthy of love. So, I spent most of my time grooming, working out, shopping for the most flattering clothes and accessories, tanning, bleaching, waxing, painting — worshipping the idol of beauty and youth. I attended the church of celebrity gossip magazines and television shows. I took my worship very seriously. My thoughts about these things were all consuming, this was my religion and I was devout.

Then, the most terribly gracious thing happened, I became a mother on three separate occasions. My body was the home for three little souls for nine months each. My breasts and body nourished, and continues to nourish, three tiny humans. My beauty sleep became broken and instead was filled with nurturing brand new people. My hair became thinner and shorter because I no longer had time to spend hours each day grooming it. My nails no longer were manicured, my skin no longer stretch mark free. My taut tummy was replaced with something looser. I traded my sexy clothes for big t-shirts and yoga pants. My shiny idol was beginning to crack and crumble and in its absence was more love and beauty than I could have ever imagined.

Giving up my religion was not easy. The idol was the sacrificial lamb. She was the sacrifice. I absolutely let her go. I let her die, so true unconditional love could be born. The love that remains is so raw, so real, humbling, bring-you-to-your-knees-beautiful. It’s sacrificing sleep to hold a sick baby, it’s wearing pajamas until 6pm because the children needed you all day, it’s watching them learn new things, it’s in listening to them when they’re afraid or heartbroken, it’s in having long talks with your oldest child and realizing how amazing they are, it’s in the early mornings and endless chores.

 

Life has ripped every false idol from my hands. It has showed me what I think I need to be worthy and so graciously reminded me that I already am. So, when you think, “she has let herself go,” you have no idea how accurate you are. I did let her go and would do it all over again if given the chance.

 

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Mommy Monday: My Transition into Motherhood

Happy Monday Lionesses!

I recently watched a Ted Talk (linked at the bottom) about the transition to motherhood and how there really isn’t a name for this transition. She actually compared it to becoming a teenager because of all the hormone changes and the mood swings! I think we can all agree, maybe there are some similarities!

 

For me, this transition has been somewhat smooth. And I think that is mainly because I was blessed with an easy baby (currently knocking on wood.) Everyone always tells you that your motherly instincts will come naturally, and personally that has been pretty true for me. But I don’t feel all that different as a person. I still like the same crazy horror movies and have a deep obsession with true crime. I still have a passion for working with and helping women feel empowered to be themselves. And I still enjoy spending time with my friends.

The most difficult part of this transition has been the guilt part of it all. Am I holding him enough? Am I holding him too much? Do I let him spend too much time away from me? Is he tired of me? Am I helping him enough developmentally? Am I talking to him enough? Am I reading to him enough? I could go on and on with the questions, believe me!

I think one of the things that has helped me the most is that I have made efforts to not lose myself in my son. I take the time to nurture myself as well as him. I work on my business, I read, I exercise, and I spend time with my people who make me happy.  I’m not just a mother, or a wife or a teacher, I am a combination of all of these things and more! Plus I have amazing parents and in laws who love me and Braden and who help me to be able to take care of myself and for that I am SO grateful!

I am a good mother because I ask for help AND I take help when its offered, most of the time at least! A support system is so important for us as women and mothers, we MUST take care of each other!

Alexandra Sacks: A New Way to Think About the Transition to Motherhood

Mommy Monday: Casey Wolfe

“Mom guilt, it’s like my arch nemesis. It’s constantly present, and never ceasing to exist! I had mom guilt before Fitz was even born, and still, to this day, it is present. I have just now learned how to ignore unnecessary guilt and let it “roll off my shoulders.”

Before my son was born, there would be days I would forget to take my prenatal vitamin, or I ate crap for several days.  I thought to myself, what a disservice to my unborn child! I can’t even remember to take a vitamin or eat my veggies that is beneficial to his development. When Fitz was born, I always asked myself, am I rocking him or holding him long enough? Am I using the right bottles? Does he need more gas medicine? It was always never enough, or I always felt like I was doing something wrong. When Fitz was 4 months old, I went back to work, and my mom guilt quickly escalated!  I constantly thought I wasn’t spending enough time with him, and I was missing his milestones. My milk supply dropped when I started back work, and I felt terrible that I couldn’t provide him with enough milk.

To this day, I have guilt when disciplining Fitz, and he is 21 months old. I always think, am I being too harsh? Am I not disciplining him enough? If Fitz eats fast food for several days in a row, he will be fine, he gets to eat food he thinks taste way better than my vegetables. If I discipline him, I know I a teaching him right from wrong because I love him and want him to be a good person. If I don’t give him that piece of cake right before bed and he has a fit, I can’t feel guilty about not giving in to him. I can’t feel guilty about every little thing that I may or may not be doing right. I always second guess myself when it comes to raising Fitz. This is all new to me and I am slowly learning.

There is one thing I do know, and that is Fitz knows he is loved, and he will always be safe. Nothing is ever going to be perfect, but it can be close to it. It can be your kind of perfect. Mom guilt lingers and stays. However, I leaned to let things go and not let it take over. All mommies, and future mommies. You are awesome! Don’t ever compare yourself to anyone and think you should be doing more.  You be you, momma, and love that baby, and that is all they will ever need. Your love. Give your mom guilt a kick to curb and relax. You are doing perfect!”

Casey also owns an online children’s embroidery boutique called Lollie Mac’s. You can find her on Facebook Lollie Mac’s    and Instagram

Check her out! She has some adorable clothes for your little ones!! And mention this blog post and get $3 off your first order!!

Mommy Monday: Hospital Bag Essentials

Everything You Need for Your Hospital Stay When You Deliver

Not sure what all you need for the hospital when you go into labor? Ive got a list that will tell you everything you need! Before I went into labor with Braden in August I spent SO much time scouring Pinterest and Mom groups for lists of what to take with me because I wanted to be over prepared. I ended up having to stay a few extra days as well so my husband had to make a few trips back home! So through my experience I created this awesome list of everything I couldn’t have lived without!

1.) Loose & Comfy PJs — After birth you can get out of that hospital gown and into your own clothes! I took a night gown (super cute and comfy one from Target as well as some oversized pajama pants I found on Amazon. You want to be comfortable so whichever of these you prefer or both like I did!

2.) Oversized underwear — If you are giving birth vaginally this is key! Get some cheap undies that are way too big! You’ll have to wear pads and ice packs so you will want something that allows this comfortably.

3.)  Nursing bra &/or Tank Top — I got both of these but really didn’t use the tank top until I was home. (It was more tight fitting and I wasn’t as comfortable in it, so be conscious of size! However the bras were so helpful! (Also getting a gown that makes it easy for you to nurse is something to think about as well! Mine had a low neck and then buttoned up the chest so I could just unbutton to breastfeed.

4.) Phone Charger and Extension cord — Of course you can’t forget your phone charger and having an extension cord was so helpful because all of the outlets were too far away to reach the bed without! It just makes your life a little easier!!

5.) Pillow/Blanket — I took my own pillow because I’m picky and also a queen size blanket that I didn’t end up using but my mother did when she slept on the couch in the room with me and so did my husband so its nice to have for the people that are staying with you because that room gets COLD!

6.) DVD’s — I didn’t take any but really wish I would have and my husband forgot them when he made his trip back home! But if you have to be there for a while like I did (over 24 hours of labor) + 3 nights after delivery I was so tired of watching TV and it would have been nice to be able to just pop in a favorite movie.

7.) Toothbrush & toothpaste — Do I really need to explain?

8.) Hair ties — Obvious reasons right?

9.) Bedroom shoes — My feet were SO Swollen most of my pregnancy and for several days after delivery, so I got some bedroom shoes a size too big for the hospital. They want you to walk around pretty soon afterwards and you need something comfy to hobble around the hospital in!

10.) Yeti Cup (Or something like it) — That hospital ice is the BOMB and its the only the besides jello and popsicles that you can eat until you deliver! Plus the cups they give you are pretty small and require a lot more refills than a larger cup.

11.) Robe — This one was so important for me! I got a long robe from Amazon that I lived in! I wasn’t comfortable just being in my nightgown in front of visitors so throwing on my robe was super easy and comfortable! Plus I got a really pretty silk floral robe and it just made me feel good!

12.) Snacks — For your guests up until delivery and then for you afterwards! I was starving by the time Braden finally arrived and hadn’t eaten for over 24 hours!

13.) Headphones — for music during delivery or to listen to to help you go to sleep. Hospital rooms are hard to sleep in with nurses coming in and out but if you have your headphones you can drown it all out!

14.) Body wash — when you take a shower!! Duh!

15.) Shampoo & Conditioner or Dry shampoo

16.) A comfy loose outfit to go home in!

17.) Stool softener — If you are giving birth vaginally, you’ll thank me for this!

18.) Chapstick — Delivering a baby is intense and chapstick was key for me! All that breathing and pushing and everything! Your lips get really dry!

19.) Socks — One thing I left off the list above are socks! If you are anything like me, your feet will get cold! Fuzzy socks were a life savor!

20.) Positive attitude — Labor is scary but your perspective matters too! Stay positive and believe in yourself! You’re stronger than you realize!

Click here to download a printable version of the Hospital Bag Essentials Update

Mommy Monday: Tiffany McLaughin

Mommas/ Soon-to-be Mommas,

My name is Tiffany McLaughlin, I am 27 years old and have been married 2 years to my wonderful husband. I’m here to let you know have no fear your NICU baby will grow, and will be strong enough to hold their own!

Our daughter Paige was born 7-7-16 after I was induced due to preeclampsia. She was born at 37 weeks, and it was a wonderful experience being induced. I had the epidural after being in active labor for 4 hours. I thought all was great and she was perfect. I was wrong, her blood sugars were low(common with preeclampsia) and she was jaundice.

 

Paige was rushed to the NICU and I was rushed in to emergency DNC as I had hemorrhage while Paige was being taken care of with the nurses. That’s another story in itself but it makes recovery from natural birth so much harder.

Paige weighed 5lbs 12oz, 19 in. when she was born and she was our little fighter. She was pricked a women up every hour for blood test, and feeds. I didn’t get to be with her the first 12 hours and I hated every moment. I cried, I called my mom, I was an emotional wreck. Little did I know the strength she was working up to be a strong hanging with the rest of them baby. 10 days is all it took for her to tell the nurses, “I’m ready to go home.”

Paige today is 19 months, taller than most kids her age, but skinny as can be. She is a talker, a lover, and not much of a “cuddler.” She has been sleeping through the night since she was 3 months old, eating since 6 months. I hope to keep this a short burst to tell you moms know, it will be ok. Every story has a rough spot. I’m here to tell you there is good that comes from the bad. Moms be strong, look for support from your family and SO. You can do this. If you have questions or would like to know more into our story please feel free to reach out to me. Iselt91@gmail.com 

Or request to follow me on Instagram: @minniemommatiff

Your fellow Mom,
Tiffany McLaughlin

Mommy Monday: Halley Foulds

Nearly four years ago I traded in my 8-5 job to be a Stay at Home Mom to my then one-year-old. Even though I loved my job and I loved working, the thought of staying home with my son was much more appealing. While I knew there would be a few challenges and hiccups during the transition, part of me also thought this would be a walk in the park. And it was……. Jurassic Park. (Just kidding!) Being at home definitely isn’t as easy as it looks or sounds though. You don’t just get to sit around all day cuddling the littles and watching soap operas (or trashy reality television in my case). Just like everything else, there are precious moments & hardships that come along with this job (see my post  ‘Surviving Two’ for a little more on that!). Here is a little glimpse into my life and some of what I have learned and experienced as a full-time Stay-at-Home-Boy-Mom.

I quickly learned that being a SAHM means that in addition to keeping your tiny human(s) alive and well, you will also be cleaning…pretty much all day long. When I started this job I had twice the house I have now. Naturally, I thought when we moved to a smaller house I would have less to clean (WIN!). Nope! That’s false. I still clean just as much and maybe even more because I have two tiny humans now and back then I only had one. If I’m not just doing general house cleaning (ie: vacuuming, sweeping, wiping of surfaces), I’m doing laundry, cleaning up toys (I’m ALWAYS cleaning up toys, pick one up and 4 more are tossed down!), cleaning up after a meal, cleaning up after the dogs, cleaning something I missed the last time I cleaned that area, cleaning fingerprints off of all the windows. ENDLESS CLEANING. It never stops. You would think with all that cleaning my house would be spotless all the time, too. Nope, more untruth. There are days that I vacuum the whole house and by the time I get from one end of the house to the other end, you can’t even tell I have vacuumed.  (I make cleaning fun by incorporating my kiddos. They are too young right now to realize that cleaning is a chore, it’s still fun to them, so why not let them help!)

Another thing I quickly learned, my days of getting dressed up and “ready” were mostly over. Kinda. I still straighten my hair most days and get blush and mascara on. However, if you find me in something other than a velour jumpsuit or yoga/workout pants, consider yourself lucky! In my opinion and as the ‘doer of all the laundry’, there is no need for me to get dressed in pants or jeans and a cute top and then later that evening when I go to workout, change into my workout gear. I’m not going to see anyone except for my husband and kids so I’ll just dirty up one outfit with snot and lunch particles and save the other for a day when I am out in public trying to blend in with the rest of the world. I call this life lesson, Embracing the Yoga Pants and I challenge other SAHM’s to this as well. You will thank me later!

Playing off the last lesson, I’m also guilty of doing this with my kids. Yeah, I said it. On the days that my oldest doesn’t have preschool and we don’t go outside of the house, I may or may not change my kids out of their pajamas! They don’t seem to mind and my thought is, “why dirty up another outfit and create more laundry?!”. Many of our days are pajama-casual days!

I learned that there would be plenty of days that NOTHING gets accomplished. Some days I had intentions of being so productive and the stars just weren’t aligned in my favor. I’m really hard on myself on these days because I have my own expectations of what I should get done and I’m a creature of habit, so when things don’t go as planned it makes my head spin and throws my whole day off. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how crazy those days make me, they still happen.

In all the madness, I have learned how thankful I am for my friends. I am especially thankful for the friends I have that are in similar situations as me and know the struggle. You know the one(s). The one you can take the kids over to their house, pop open a bottle of wine and vent to in your yoga pants while the kids play in the other room. THAT friend! Friends are essential in getting through not only motherhood but life and I feel so blessed to have great ones.

I also learned that panic and anxiety doesn’t stop when you become a SAHM. I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks and I was sure when I left my 8-5 job I would be leaving that behind as well. Wrong again. I still have anxiety and panic attacks, maybe not the same way I did when I was working outside of the home, but it hasn’t gone away completely and why would it? I’m still working… I still have a job. I just went from servicing insurance policies to full-time housekeeping, chef, teacher, accountant and chauffeur to my much younger bosses. The lesson: every momma has breakdown moments and a SAHM is no exception.

The most important lesson I learned is that this time with my children is priceless. It’s not always going to be perfect. Crankiness, teething, diapers and meltdowns (seriously, Surviving Two <– Read it) will get in the way sometimes. But still, occasionally, everything goes according to plan and we have our perfect days. What seems hard now will be over in an instant so do your best to cherish every moment!

To follow Halley or get in touch with her:

Halley@Momatello.com

Mommy Monday: Bree Downs

Mommy Lesson #8 (Laughter)

 

 

Laughter is one of the many keys in Mommyhood that holds me and my kiddos together. Everyone pretty much knows I’m a pretty silly person, and I’m so glad my baby girl and baby boy inherited my sense of humor. No matter how bad of a day I’ve had I know my lil minions will say something or do something that will bring my whole day back to life! And the same goes with me for them I always want my kids to not only think of me as someone they can talk to but also someone that they have all these awesome, awkward funny memories and moments with.

From the store runs where my son announced in the frozen food section that I, quote “I JUST POOTED BOOOM!”

To my daughter telling me at the mall while shopping that “That shirt was not approved by Madison ?” Lol

And so many more stories I could share about them and their always punctual comedic timing. I live to make them laugh!

You will find that there is nothing more funny or sweeter then the sound of your child’s/children’s laughter! It’s the greatest thing ever! I am a believer that laughter is one of the many keys to parenting that will keep you and your kids with a healthy and joyful heart.

Bree❤

Mommy Monday: Megan Rix

Mommy Monday: Megan Rix

from the Blog, “This Anchored Life: Measured by Love & Spoons”

This blog post goes out to all the moms raising strong willed child. Anyone who has a sweet, kind toddler, who sits quietly in a restaurant coloring or plays alone while you get things done will probably not understand this at all and will most likely think I am a horrible mom. But, I’m willing to lend my sassy pants beauty over for a trip to the grocery store in case you’re curious. Or just go to my google search history and see how many times I’ve typed the words, “activities for a strong willed child” and maybe that will give you some insight.

It’s funny. We say “strong willed” because calling your own kid an expletive that starts with an a and rhymes with shmashole is frowned upon in society. Don’t get me wrong, I love my little human so much it hurts. I would never try to coerce her strong willed character out of her. I know that it will make her into an assertive, brave, and confident young woman one day. But that doesn’t mean I am oblivious to how much she will test my human will on her way to becoming that strong young woman.

To begin, there’s consistent use of the word no. I’m not talking about the average toddler use of the word no. I’m talking about this being my child’s favorite word. A word that is used hundreds of times a day in defiance. A word that is said with brute force, attitude, and bellowed at a decibel that once again makes my neighbors (and anyone in public really) question my ability to parent. If you are a parent to a strong willed child, you know exactly what happens when you try to win the battle of “no” and challenge them to do something they have clearly indicated will not be done. I like to follow up these challenges with a bottle of champagne.          

Then there are the facial expressions. Little miss thang has a WTF face that literally makes me slightly afraid of her. It’s like she’s flipping you off with her eyes. It is even a running joke in my circle of friends that Mack is going to need Botox soon, because the wrinkles between her eyebrows will be so deep from frowning by then that she’ll have no hope by the time she’s 30. You receive this look anytime you try to initiate a conversation within 30 minutes of her waking up. When you get her juice-to-water ratio wrong. If you ask her to climb down from something or hand over a sharp object. If you try to stop her from eating dirt, marbles, plastic, legos, or prevent her from licking the sliding glass door. Or simply if she doesn’t like your face. Want to know what goes along with those facial expressions? Reread the paragraph above this one. 

 

 

No one is exempt from her attitude…most especially her big brother. My kids could not be any more opposite and what Mack possesses in sass, Grant carries equally in sensitivity. He’s the boy you’ll want your daughter to marry when they’re older, but right now he’s just an easy target. Mack knows exactly which buttons to push and spends her day antagonizing poor G by stealing whatever he’s currently holding, pulling his hair, kicking him in the face from her carseat, and my personal favorite, lying on the ground fake crying when he’s having a meltdown. No, not for attention. Because at 2, she is making fun of him by mimicking him.    

Mack is also fearless. To date, she has climbed the refrigerator, walked into my room with a butcher knife which she retrieved after scaling the cabinets with her toes, jumped off of every tall surface in our house, tipped the dining room chairs over a dozen times as she tried to tightrope walk across the backs of them. Fallen off the trash can. You get the idea. Daddy also had to build her a special frame on the floor for her crib bed to sit on because she could crawl out before she was a year old. 

Research you say? Yep, I’ve done that. I’ve read tons of mommy blogs and online articles. Basically the most consistent advice for not losing your mind is to put your seatbelt on, hold on for dear life, and harness patience from Tibetan monks. Oh, and love them like crazy, because one day that strong will is going to serve them abundantly in life. Until then, I will find the joy in watching her chug her sippy cup of “appy juice” and then hurl it to the ground like a viking warrior.

Because there is also an incredibly sweet and cuddly side to Miss Mack. One that melts your heart and leads you to cover her chubby little cheeks in kisses. She loves exclaiming that she loves you at random times, with as much gusto as her exclamation of “no!”. She loves when you read her books. She loves to share her snacks (on her terms). She loves to be rocked to sleep and while this can sometimes take up to an hour at night, I relish this time because in those quiet moments, when she’s snuggled in my arms, all is right in the world. I remember that the years when she will too big to sit on my lap will come fast and furious, just like her current attitude. I remember that even though she came at me with a right hook when I tried to put her hair in a ponytail, one day we will do all the things I still love to do with my mom. Even though I am married with my own children, my mom is still my best friend. I hope Mack looks at me that same way too.

So if you have a strong willed child, I see you. I understand you when other parents try to give you advice you’ve already tried, or tell you that it’s a phase, or that all kids are this way at some point. Side note, they’re not. I see the expression you make when people say, “just bring the kids with you, they’ll be fine.” I’m with you eating at home because restaurant trips are like the odds in Vegas. Not good. I feel your pain when you get looks of disapproval from strangers…because why yes, perfect stranger, I absolutely train my child to have epic meltdowns every time they come in contact with other humans.

One day, we’ll all sit back and smile when our strong willed children become CEO’s and professional athletes. The one thing I know for sure is that when people ask me if I am having any more kids.

My answer is one word.

No.     

SHARING IS CARING

Mommy Monday: Stephie Simpson

Stephie Simpson Mommy Monday

Let me take a moment to introduce myself; I’m Stephie a punk rock, crime drama obsessed, married mum of two from the beautiful county of North Yorkshire in the North of England. I am your typical 30 year old mum of two; although I blog at www.colitistoostomy.com and have been chronically sick since I was 10 with Ulcerative Colitis, where ulcers form inside your large intestine and often bleed, a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. I would like to talk to you if I may; about being a chronically sick parent and what it is like to be sick and be pregnant.

I never wanted children if I’m honest; I always wanted to be cool auntie Steph, although I never thought anyone would want to stick with me long enough to have children, let alone marry me! That had nothing to do with my illness because having it from such a young age it was a part of me, I never let it define me. When I had my large bowel removed and a pouch formed from my small bowel to my rectum I was told my fertility may drop by 25%. At the age of 21 with a partner of 3 years who also didn’t want children (at least with me) it honestly never bothered me. I do remember talking to him and mentioning it to which he responded with “If it happens, it happens.” If I’m honest I still don’t know how I feel about that comment!

But as it happens we never did fall pregnant, which in hindsight was such a good thing because 2 years later we broke up and I got together with the man I was later to marry; my 00Steve. You know I mentioned I never wanted kids? Well it all changed about 6 months into being with 00Steve, we were engaged and living together (I know quick work right?!) Just before Christmas 2010 I don’t know what but something inside changed and every time I looked at him I just knew I wanted to have a family with him. Part of me was absolutely terrified of the chance of not being able to have a family with him but we persevered for around 1.5 years before we finally got those two little lines on our test.

Now that pregnancy was far from easy! In fact I swear I must have been in and out of the maternity ward every week. My obstetrics consultant believed it was due to a massive amount of scar tissue and adhesions in the bowel; now he wasn’t totally wrong as I had had open surgery which left me with a 10 inch scar down my belly, plus polyhydraminos which is where you have an increase in amniotic fluid.  I saw him recently and we discussed how it was actually undiagnosed Pouchitis which in simple terms is Ulcerative Colitis in the pouch; the realisation that swept across his face was exactly the same as mine when I realised!

I had an elective caesarean section due to the previous surgery and unfortunately that happened on my second wedding anniversary! Only I had an issue with that of course, but at 12:52pm we set eyes on our unbelievably gorgeous daughter Lyra-Beth who weighed a dinky 6lb 6oz and was born to Weezer – Islands in the Sun. I remember turning to 00Steve begging him not to make me go through another pregnancy and having needles in my back; just the thought of them gives me raised anxiety.

I suffered with post natal depression after my daughter was born. 00Steve was able to take 6 weeks off on paternity and was pretty much the sole caregiver to Lyra-Beth as I was in lots of pain and still bleeding heavily. Him being able to take time off work was a God send to me to give me time to heal but it highlighted something in my brain that I wasn’t a good enough mum; that I was struggling unnecessarily and finding things far more difficult than I should have been. Now looking back that is a completely normal way for a new mum to feel especially someone that didn’t have much to do with children other than a nephew and the odd friend’s child. But at the time it was truly awful.

I then started to believe in myself as a mum although entirely jealous of the bond Lyra-Beth has with her dad, which was a good thing as we moved away from family and friends and I had to trust myself as a mum.  But no sooner as I had found that strength I got sick again typically just as I had decided I was mentally ready to try for another child, but this time it was different than before; with no regular flare symptoms to warn me that a hospital admission may be looming or when to take a rest it was scary. 00Steve swapped his shifts so he was at home on an evening to help out, I remember one night counting down the minutes till he got home so I could take my morphine, rocking on the kitchen floor due to being in agony and Lyra-Beth stroking me telling me it was okay. She was 2! My 2 year old was taking care of her mother in a sense and I never wanted it to be that way.

I knew I needed to keep going until my next surgery date which was to remove the area of infected small intestine and my rectum, but it didn’t stop me seriously contemplating suicide a few weeks before my surgery date. I admitted myself the next day to the surgical ward as I seriously needed some more help but as my surgeon was on (much needed) leave of his own my surgery date couldn’t be brought forward any earlier.

The second I woke up from my surgery I was in sweet relief, I knew instantly life with my ileostomy was going to be so much better than before and I was finally going to be able to be the mum my daughter deserved. But having more abdominal surgery left the chances of being able to fall pregnant once again up in the air. My surgeon was pretty honest with me and said he honestly didn’t know if I could or couldn’t but didn’t see any harm in trying. I thought that was completely fair and after everything I had been through we still had a beautiful, healthy and happy little girl and that was more than enough if we couldn’t conceive again.

But just two short months later we found out we were expecting again which was pretty amazing and exciting but it sadly wasn’t meant to be as the baby stopped developing at 6 weeks but I didn’t start to miscarry till I was 8 weeks. It was and still is really hard to deal with as no support is offered to people who suffer the loss of miscarriage, yes it was only early but I had so much love for that little Bean and all the what if’s? What would they have been like? What did I do wrong? We were told after I had the first period after the miscarriage we were safe to try again and that you are often quite fertile for a few weeks after. Now I’m sure if I didn’t fall pregnant the month later I would have been devastated after hearing the spiel about the fertility spike.

But we were incredibly lucky in our eyes to fall pregnant and this time it was a much easier pregnancy than with my daughter but I had the constant fear of “Will I lose this one too?” my ileostomy only stretched a small amount in size which I was thankful for but when I hit the third trimester I started struggling with increased pain and once again it was blamed on all my colorectal surgeries. I had planned to have a natural birth this time but at 27 weeks I knew I wouldn’t be able to cope with the pain. But the week before the caesarean date I was admitted to maternity with what seemed like early labour. There was nothing happening but it wasn’t really deemed safe for me to go home and after fighting with a obstetrics consultant that it wasn’t what was left of my bowel giving me grief I was diagnosed with “hypersensitivity to pain” which every Doctor I have seen since told me it was a cop out.

 

Our son Jacob was delivered after I freaked out as we had a plan in place with the anesthetist to help me cope with the needles in my back but all of a sudden everything got rushed and nothing had been put into place. The birth is something I am still trying to deal with mentally so I apologize for skipping over it but if you wish to read more please head on over to ( http://colitistoostomy.com/momostomy/traumatic-birth/#more-1819 ) as someone who is already in a heightened state of anxiety this was not going well!

We eventually got the needles in and Jacob weighed 6lbs 15oz was born at 11:26am to +44 – When you’re Heart Stops Beating. He was just the spitting image of his older sister and it was love at first sight; just looking at him made all the anxiety wash away until the consultant who blamed my stoma for everything asked me if I had already had one of my ovaries removed. Now this was quite alarming as I was undergoing a routine sterilization and as far as I was aware was still intact other than missing a rectum and intestines.

Once she asked 00Steve to leave the room she told me that she could only find one ovary so she thinks she clipped it but couldn’t be sure! That was it the anxiety came flooding back and needless to say 00Steve wasn’t happy on his return. I had opted for a sterilisation because we only ever discussed having two children and I could deal with being chronically sick and parenting to an extent but I seriously struggled with pregnancy. I didn’t want to have to consider having an abortion when just taking the tablets after my miscarriage felt enough like that. It has taken 5 months of fighting from me, my health visitor and the consultant who delivered my daughter to find out if I had been sterilised correctly and to help heal the mental anguish I still suffer from Jacobs’s traumatic entrance into the world.

So having a 4 year old and a 5 month old whilst still chronically sick is definitely a challenge I wouldn’t change for the world. I definitely live and breathe my children and hope that them having a Mum that isn’t always able to run around after them but can still do sit down activities will teach them to be more empathetic and kinder to those around them as you never know what is going on behind closed doors.

Do you feel that being chronically sick affects your parenting or how your body copes with pregnancy? Or did you suffer a traumatic birth with one of your babies? Please don’t hesitate to contact me either in the comments or via www.facebook.com/colitistoostomy www.twitter.com/colitistoostomy or www.instagram.com/colitis_to_ostomy thank you all for reading.

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