One

My daughter turned one this week. It’s hard to believe that she’s already 12 months old. She’s such a joy to be around, a wee ray of sunshine. She’s happy and full of beans, walking/running everywhere, trying to climb, loves books, music, ducks and hats. She adores her big brother and when he’s at nursery she toddles around calling out “ra-ra!” (her way of saying Ezra).

Lilianna on her birthday.

Now it’s June

Now it’s June and full lockdown has become phase 1 of lifting lockdown. The changes include being allowed to meet one other household outdoors (socially distanced of course) and being able to go a bit further afield for outdoor activities. In reality, for me, there is virtually no difference. I am not the sort of person people meet with socially at the best of times, let alone in a pandemic, but it has been nice going a wee bit further afield.

We had a lovely couple of hours at our allotment and a walk by the beach. Now my husband is going back to work after a week off (he’s a key worker so has been at work the whole time), the children and I will be primarily limited to our neighbourhood again.

I haven’t written in awhile. I’ve been busy with the children and, quite honestly, I simply don’t know what to say. I don’t really do anything interesting and I’ve been struggling a lot. I went into a big supermarket for the first time since this all started and it set my anxiety off. It’s not so much that I might catch covid 19 – or unwittingly pass it on – but the vastness of the place, the weirdness of the barriers and having to follow one way systems and everyone in masks and gloves… Its weird and scary and I’m still not used to this awful new normal.

I know I’m not alone in feeling this way, and if you feel this way too you are not alone. I know that it’s not much comfort though, because it’s not much comfort to me.

What keeps me going and stops me completely spiralling is my beautiful children. They’re too little to understand what’s going on, they are full of joy. Chances are Ezra will only remember snippets of this time, but I want those to be good memories for him. When I look back, I want to remember how amazing my kids are and not how awful new “normal” is.

Another day, a few musings.

Ezra and me.

Things have been rough for this wee guy during lockdown. He does not cope well with change (or being cooped up in the flat). Like most 3yr old’s he expresses this in ways that are often trying and exhausting. He has regressed with the progress we’d made with behaviour, eating, and sleeping.

However, I am super proud of him. He has finally  smashed toilet training! This is a huge achievement for us! Pre-lockdown, he was still in nappies. He’d occasionally sit on the toilet but had no desire to do so regularly. But now, he’s dry pretty much all the time (including nights although I totally didn’t expect that.)

Ezra is an amazing talker, he literally never stops! He is clearly very bright and has an amazing imagination. He’s always been a bit behind with physical developments, maybe because he was born almost a month early.

I suspect that he may be on the autistic spectrum (for many reasons but that’s another post for another day). But for now, well done wee man! You are amazing and I love you!

World Maternal Mental Health Day

Today is World Maternal Health Day so I thought I’d share a little of my own journey. I have struggled with depression and anxiety for many years, I was also diagnosed with dyspraxia and Adhd quite late in life so for years just believed I was pretty much hopeless at everything. (I mean I still am but there’s actually a reason for it).

As a mum I frequently feel completely useless as a mother. This started in my “failure” to get pregnant. It took two years to get pregnant with Ezra. Two heartbreaking years where we were diagnosed with unexplained infertility and were about to go onto the IVF waiting list. One day I decided to give a miracle herbal supplement I’d read about a go and fell pregnant that month. With Lilianna, we tried for 8 months until I, once again, took the supplement and fell pregnant that month. I genuinely believe that I am not able to get pregnant without extra assistance.

I loved being pregnant, although struggled physically. Both times I ended up on crutches and both times I had to have c-sections under general anesthetic because of the way baby was lying and because due to a couple of health problems I can’t have epidurals.

Ezra was not an easy baby. He screamed 95% of the time he was awake, day or night. Frequently we would both be in tears. Going out was nt easy as he would just cry, I had to wear him as he wouldn’t go in the pram and going anywhere in the car was a nightmare. It turned out that he was allergic to cows milk and had reflux so I went onto a dairy free diet and he went onto ranitidine and that helped a bit. But I felt like such a failure, mothers are meant to be able to comfort their babies, right? And no matter what I did, I just couldn’t. My mental health plummeted again and I ended up back on medication.

Ezra is 3 now and still not the easiest of children. I think he may be on the autistic spectrum. He is very sensitive to any sort of sensory input and probably a bigger reason for his struggles as a baby.

Lilianna has been a much easier baby, although she’s now crawling, pulling herself up on the furniture and getting into everything. But the transition to two was much harder than I expected. Ezra struggled with her arrival. And again, I found myself questioning my abilities as a mum. I loved them both so much so why wasn’t this easier? Why couldn’t I make my wee boy see that I still loved him to the ends of the earth?

He has gotten used to her now and while there’s still moments of sibling rivalry from both of them, I am generally getting the hang of having two.

I must say that I am in no way blaming the children for my struggles. It is most definitely not their fault. What caused and still causes my depression and anxiety to flare up is how I feel I am responding to the situation.

I frequently think things like I am such a bad mother, so-and-so is so much better at this than I am and what if I mess up my kids and they end up hating me? These are completely irrational thoughts, I know they are, but they frequently haunt me and torment me.

It’s not just my abilities as a mother I question. It is everything. There’s not much I’m good at, I pretty much fail at everything. Including having friends, in many ways lockdown has not been that much different to normal life because beyond a quick hello when dropping Ezra at nursery, I rarely see or speak to anyone besides David and the kids. I have no confidence in initiating meet ups. None. I have terrible social anxiety, I struggle to know what to say and have always felt like the outsider in groups. As a result I’m terribly lonely which makes my anxiety and depression worse, but my anxiety and depression make it hard for me to connect with people so it’s a vicious circle.

I think it’s important to be honest about these things and to seek help. I can’t afford fancy therapies or expensive counsellers but I am do what I can to get better.

Hello May!

It’s May! Officially survived the whole of April in lockdown. Will it be lifted or at least eased in May? I think, for me, one of the hardest parts is the not knowing when things will get back to at least semi-normal. Will it be next week, next month, next year? No-one seems to know.

Don’t get me wrong, as much as I wish things could go back to normal, I don’t think that it should be rushed. But, it would be nice to have some sort of date to look forward to.

I wish I had something encouraging to write about this whole pandemic thing but I don’t. I’m sorry. Hopefully things will get better soon. Hopefully a vaccine is found and death rates drop dramatically.

But it’s a new month, a new chapter, so let’s see what May brings. (I’m praying it’s good news.)

Lockdown day ???

Am I the only one who is starting to feel like the daily allowed walk is becoming too much effort? I have to get the kids and myself dressed and out the door for the same handful of walks and I’m just fed up now. It just feels like so much effort for so little.

The past few days, unless my husband is home from work and can help, I have stayed in. We don’t have a garden either so we’ve been properly in. I feel torn, like I should probably make myself go out but the general advice is to stay home anyway. I feel like I’m failing them and myself by staying indoors but I am also keeping them safe, and resting (as much as its possible with two young children) so that I can be an OK mum to them.

Today we painted and had screen time and generally just had a “typical” lockdown day. But I miss normal. I miss my son being able to play with his friends at nursery, I miss the brief chats with the other mums at nursery because that pretty much all of my social life, I miss having coffee in cafes and pottering around the shops.

I’m also worried about my dad who is in hospital up north, not with covid 19, but something else they’ve not been able to diagnose yet. So if you pray, please pray for him.

A little bit more about me

I should start by saying that I do not think I’m a perfect mum. I should have perhaps started my last post with that. In fact, I often think exactly the opposite. I do the thing we’re not supposed to do and look at other mum’s on social media and think “wow, they’re doing such a better job of this than I am!”

I have post-natal depression and anxiety (although in truth they existed long before my children were born.) I also have a host of physical conditions which constantly leave me completely exhausted and in pain. As a result, I am definitely not the mum I aspire to be. I’m not even close. But I love my children beyond measure and I try my best. I guess that’s the main thing. Ultimately I want my children to grow up happy and healthy and know that despite my many failings, I love them.

I try to practice positive/gentle/attachment parenting. I co-sleep with my baby Lilianna (Ezra – my 3 Yr old – recently moved to his own bed/room) and tandem breastfeed. I love breastfeeding, it’s not always been easy (that’s a post for another day) but I do. However all this is balanced out by the fact that, especially at the moment, Ezra probably watches far too much TV.

A little about me

So for ages now I have been wanting to start my very own mummy blog and I’ve finally gotten around to doing it. I have absolutely no idea if anyone will read it (or care about my ramblings) but here goes.

My name is Sarah, I live in Edinburgh with my husband and two children, Ezra who is 3 and Lilianna who is 7 months. I am a stay-at-home mum. When I have the chance I love to read, crochet, knit, draw etc and generally be creative, but I also enjoy TV. I drink far too much coffee and I love it! (except when I’m pregnant, I mean I still love it but my body does not.)

So Lilianna has woken up from her nap and Ezra has stopped watching his cartoon, resuming his favourite activity of pouring water into cups and mixing in whatever he can find. So I’d better go for now. I can’t promise to write everyday but I will write again.