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Monthly Archives: December 2010
Deciding not to breast feed was a difficult decision. Ok, who am I kidding? Deciding anything in this big scary world of parenting, is a difficult decision. But deciding not to breast feed, for me, was the one I have probably struggled with the most.
I tried; I honestly gave it a go. But I was tired. But I was hormonal. But I was in pain. But he was just too hungry. And I gave up. A decision I am not proud of. A decision I wish I would have thought longer about. A decision I will probably always feel guilty about but ultimately a decision I have made my peace with, after today’s events.
I may as well be honest, as at this point, other than you faithful readers, I do not have much to lose. (And I hope you stay with me. One lady in particular, you know who you are. I respect you for your opinions. I really do.)
I wish more than anything I could have breast fed, And that I had persevered, but maybe not for the right reasons. I wanted to breast feed because; yes I wanted to do what was best for my baby. And I was told on countless occasions that breast is best. I wanted to breast feed because, erm, apparently it helps you lose weight? (WITCH, WITCH! SELFISH WITCH! DROWN HER!!) But mostly I wanted to breast feed because I had heard it helps you bond with your baby.
Having suffered pretty badly with post natal depression, I did struggle to bond at first. I blamed it whole heartedly on my selfish decision not to breast feed, and I suppose, in the healing process, I arrived at anger. (With a side order of guilt.)
The reasons, I was told I should breastfeed are still, thrown at me, on a daily basis. (The Drs Office, the health visitor, a dickhead old friend…) It is best for baby being the one I hear most commonly.
I understand why there is propaganda for breast feeding, I really do. I just don’t understand why there isn’t more positive mothering propaganda. Post natal depression is a huge concern in the U.K right now, with many mothers sinking in to a deep dark hole because they feel like a failure. I know propaganda wouldn’t rectify this, but on my darkest days, it would have been nice to see a smiling baby with the slogan ‘Is your baby smiling? Then give yourself a pat on the back’ rather than ‘The best thing about breastfeeding is my milk is never too hot, too cold, and my mummy never runs out. My mummy is doing the best for me.’ Do you see what I mean?
But yeah, best for baby slogans? Those are the ones that upset me the most.
Yes, I am sure breast feeding and the milk your breasts provide, is a more natural way of feeding than, that, that comes in a tin, but it is all relative isn’t it? If formula wasn’t healthy, they wouldn’t sell it would they? Thousands of babies a year wouldn’t have thrived on it would they? And surely what is best for baby is a healthy, happy mummy, who is, in one way or another, regardless of whether it is from a bottle, or a nipple, providing nourishment for her child?
I am not very good at failing. I have a habit of having to succeed at everything. And if I don’t succeed, I pretend I never tried. You know the one. It’s the ‘Oh I never tried that, well done you (and in my mind I’m wringing your neck) dance.’ In my opinion being unable to breast feed was some sort of (ignored but still floating around under a loaded baked potato in my chest) failure. So I will have to admit, when I see a mother breast feeding my first thought is always. ‘Lucky Cowbag’. And my second thought is always, ‘Bet you think you’re perfect don’t you?’ Well you’re not. I am doing my best too.’ (Yes I can be very childish.)
This morning, I accidentally caused a bit of a Kafuffle on Twitter. I had seen breastfeeding affirmation tweets knocking about, and immediately my back was up. So I knocked out a couple of formula feeding affirmations. You are a good mum, etc.
And I only lost 26 followers.
You see the thing is, I go on with myself about how I would never judge a formula mum etc and how dare these breast feeding mothers throw their perfection (My Jealousy) in our faces, but the truth is, they aren’t throwing it in our faces. They are simply proud of themselves for achieving a pre-set goal, and reminding themselves of that fact, so that during the hard times, they can remember what they are achieving. It really is fair enough.
(I am talking here about the mothers, who do not have perfection complexes. Not the 26 who un-followed me for having an opinion.)
So maybe I should stop jumping on the defensive huh? Every breast feeding affirmation is not a dig at formula mothers. (Or is it? You tell me? But I don’t think it is anymore.) And, if that is the case, I will continue with my formula affirmations. To remind myself, during the hard times, I am still a good mum. (Not to dig at the breast feeding mothers.)
This morning has taught me a valuable lesson, which I hope is not too idealistic.
There are two sides to every story and actually, we are all on the same side.
We all want what’s best for our babies.
Having recently spoken to a friend of mine who breast fed she exposed me to some very surprising nuggets of information. She expressed (see what I did there?) that although she absolutely loved breastfeeding and wouldn’t change it for the world, she had sometimes wished she had gone down the formula route, so her other half could help at 3am, when she was dying on her arse, so that she could eat a bit of cheese pie, and so that she could feel once again that her body belonged to her.
Then, rather shockingly, as if to make some sort of point, she showed me her breasts.
‘Look, see! Look how droopy!’ (We are quite close.)
And she was right, they were quite droopy. But, erm, then what’s my excuse? Because mine are waaaay droopier…
But still, I didn’t tell her that. She had shown them to me as proof. Proof of what? I erm, I don’t know… But either way, she was clearly proud of her achievement, and I was proud of her too. (Meanwhile, back at the ranch, my jealousy and guilt began to ebb away.)
I was proud of her because she is a great mother. (Irregardless of how she feeds her son.)
So under order of Queen Bitch (that’s me by the way, but only today. Tommorrow I am just Queen of the world again. Got it?) From here on in, all conversations between formula mums and breast mums, must start like this;
Look Mary, I commend you on your breast feeding.
Look Rachel, well done for the choices you made, you are a great mum.
Look Mary, ultimate respect as it’s clearly so painful!
Look Rachel, I am proud of myself but I do wish it could be easier.
Look Mary, I’m a little jealous of how serene you look while feeding.
Look Rachel, I wish I could tell exactly how much my baby is getting.
Look Mary, you are doing your best you are a great mum.
Look Rachel, Right back at you.
Look Mary, now show me your breasts.
Ok, take that last one out.
But wouldn’t that make more sense than some of the constant judgment that flies around?
Ultimately we are all on the same side right? We are all sleep deprived. We are all knackered. We are all trying our best and we are all, in some ways, new to this mothering Lark. Would it not be easier then, to drop the charade and just help each other out?
Here, take my nipple, I don’t need it.
‘You gonna buy a coat for winter?’ I asked my best friend this morning while stood shivering outside Starbucks, attempting to de-tangle Woo from the car seat.
‘Yeah I already bought mine a while ago, Lexy. I am wearing it. Look. It’s huge, it’s warm, it’s belted, and it even has a hood.’
I glance up, cursing the frost bite which had begun to make itself at home on my fingers ‘Oh. Yeah. It’s Nice. ’ The Bitch looks toasty.
‘Are you gonna buy a winter coat any time soon?’ she fires back looking a little bewildered. ‘You must be freezing in that t-shirt and cardigan.’
‘I, erm, I was waiting for winter.’
Ok, somebody please explain this to me. How the fooking hell did it get to December when my mind, body, soul and most annoyingly my bloody wardrobe are still living in August? I am serious! Where the hell has this year gone? I swear to beejaysus that it was August 13th LAST WEEK! What happened to October? What happened to November? HOW IN THE HELL IS IT THE 18TH OF DECEMBER?
I was waiting for winter to buy a coat?! What is wrong with me? I have bought Addison snow suits, I have bought Christmas presents, and I have put a tree up. At what point did I forget about myself in this equation? All I can say is, with my shopping addiction as it is, I must have done all of this on the exhilarating auto pilot that spending gives me, as it only dawned on me this morning, It is bloody winter woman! This is why you are constantly shaking! (I thought i was developing early onset Parkinson’s. I really did. I can be a bit paranoid at times. No it is not a sore throat! It is a nodule! A throat nodule it has to be! Yup that’s me.)
And if it is winter? Then oh god, it’s bloody Christmas soon isn’t it? Which can only mean one thing. It is bloody Christmas soon. *falls to knees and shouts why god, whyyyyyyyyyyy*
Do you know what Christmas means to me? (Beware all you ho ho ho –ers. I am not really a lover of Christmas. I am not a Scrooge either though, before you all start shouting BAH HUMBUG at me. I do buy presents ok? So do not even think about sending any ghosts to see me d’ya hear? I have enough skeletons in my closet (just none wearing coats!) without you mailing me some bloody fairy with a squeaky voice. (Have you ever watched Scrooged? I love it! If you haven’t then you must.)
This is what Christmas means to me.
· Too many shoppers.
· Worrying about my weight. (DO NOT bring Quality Street in this house! Not if you expect to leave with them intact.)
· Arguing about who you spend the exclusive day with. (Child of a broken home. Sob.)
· A plane ride. (I fooking hate flying.)
· Finding somewhere for Doodle to stay (I always go to Spain.)
· A great day skiing with my dad. (The one plus point.)
· Being a bit gutted because Santa isn’t real. (And don’t start saying he lives in our hearts blah blah blah. There is no room in my heart for a fake fat man who eats my mince pies.)
· Freezing my droopy tits off and longing for summer.
What? I am just being honest. Christmas has been a contentious, to say the least, issue in my family for years now. I think when your parents are divorced (Poor poor me) it is usually the way. We are forced to discuss it in June.
‘What’s happening at Christmas?’
‘Dad, its June.’
‘Yeah, but what’s happening?’
See??? It’s a nightmare.
Last year was a bit fun, I’ll admit. I was too pregnant to fly. (I said this from week 4) so everyone i loved had to come to me. (God I miss having that power.) There was heavy snow, for the first time in years, (which made it fun, now the novelty has worn off, not so much!) I could eat as much as I wanted (as the weight will fall off right? RIGHT? Lying bastards the lot of you.) And although I couldn’t ski, doodle didn’t have to be shipped off, so enjoyed his first Christmas day ever at home. Which was lovely for him, and for me.(Doodle is very important to me.)
This year though. The race to Christmas is back on.
We leave for Spain on Friday morning. (Not Thursday as I suggested on my earlier post. See? My head is up my arse! Thank god for the Irish one, (DO NOT TELL HIM I SAID THAT) as we’d have had to spend the night in the airport. No. We couldn’t have come home. Once you are there you are there. Yes. I know i only live 20 minutes from the airport. But ONCE YOU ARE THERE YOU ARE THERE!)
This morning we have woken up to more snow. So now i have to worry the plane won’t go too. However, the suitcases are opened and are excitedly anticipating being crammed full of all manner of shite. All manner of shite we need now that we have an extra set of arms and legs coming with us. Travelling light? Racing through passport control with just a carry on? Another thing i lost when i neglected to use a condom. Are you listening teenagers?!?! Travelling light? A thing of the past.
But at least The Irish one is excited. Next year we do it his way. Ireland. He is excited about Spain, this year, as he knows next year it is his turn to go home with baby in tow. (I have a year to get out of it. But that’s another post all together. And while we are on this subject, don’t tell him I said that either.)
Addison has been sat in the suitcase while I pack it; he keeps juddering about like a milkshake in an earthquake, so I take it from that, he is excited too.
If I am honest, I am a bit excited about spending two weeks at home. I am excited about Addison spending so much time with granddad and I am looking forward to spending a bit of time with my old friends and relaxing while granddad does the night feeds. (MUAHAHAHAH!)
But my opinion of Christmas and winter in general?
Well, I think Doodle sums it up perfectly.
And i still need a coat.
I am collapsed on my sofa. Doodle is on my knee looking for a cuddle.
I can not feel him. I cannot move.
My eyes are wide open. Staring at nothing. Somewhere else.
I am hunted.
And this is where I was found.
This is where I found myself, when once again, you caught me.
I had run as far and as fast as I could run. I had hid around corners and ducked below humour. My heart pounding out of my chest, my mouth dry, I had been chased down empty moonlit streets and down damp tear stained, grief filled alley ways. I had jumped over obstacles, my breath bursting out of my lungs in sharp, short disappointment. Another dead end. There must be a way. I had clawed at the positive, breaking my nails with the determination to carry on, pulling myself, willing myself to get up and carry on running. To escape. I had slipped once or twice, and stumbled on life. I had run until my lungs hurt and my head banged, I had run until I physically could run no more. I had run until the tears pricked and my heart sank.
I could hear you laughing.
I could feel your breath on the back of my neck.
All this effort.
The painted smiles, the brittle laughter, the pretence.
The masked and terrifying intruder in my life, always only one step behind.
So easy for you to keep up.
You are hardened. You are a machine. You are well trained. You are dead inside.
I am not your first victim. I will not be your last.
But I let you finally grab me this time. Did you hear me?
I let you find me. I let you grab me.
I am regaining some control over you now. And you know it. Your grip on my neck is less cocksure. The agression in your whisper falters, your menacing grin has faded. I sense the fear, just for an instant. In your darkness.
I am wading through the disdain, the failure, the self hatred and the suffocating blanket of heartache that I have once again, been enveloped by. The crucifying sadness that you, you piece of shit, brought with you.
My energy is low. My battery light flashing. I am reaching for the light, but the wire is all tangled. I can not find the way. I am confused. I am lost.
You have won.
But this is just a battle. I am fighting a war.
A war I intend to win.
One day soon.
I won’t run.
I will be waiting.
I will be waiting, do you hear me?
I will be waiting.
Do you know what really winds me up?
For instance, when you finally pass your driving test (this time you didn’t run over a granny! Woop!) and you excitedly pick up the phone and reveal to one person the great news, and the next thing you know all your friends are texting offering words of congratulations without you even having spoken to them. (True story.) Yes, thank you for spreading my news, but i do have vocal chords of my own you know!
Or, for instance, when you find out (after a mere 34 tests) you are pregnant and your dizzy blonde mate, who you have to forgive, because she is your dizzy blonde mate, asks your mum, if she is looking forward to being a grandma? Before you have told your mum. (True story. Was months before mother spoke to me again.)
Or, for instance, when you push a 7 pound baby through a hole made for delicate manoeuvring only! Endure 65 hours of labour, followed by 24 hours without a wee, followed by an attack of the heebie jeebies and when you finally get 2 minutes to spare and log on to facebook, to tell the world of your amazing news, hand poised over your status bar, trembling with excitement, you notice with fury, some fucker has already spread the word for you. Name, weight, time of arrival. Everything.
It really wound me up. More so than the Russian doctor, who kept referring to me as ‘mummy.’ (I am not your mummy! Stop calling me mummy! I know I am Addison’s mummy but I have a name! You referring to me as mummy, while I lie here with my legs spread while you examine me, is freaking me out. It’s like a terrible porn film! My name is Lexy! For the love of god! As if this wasn’t awkward enough!)
I acknowledge, that because of the thunder stealer, my page was littered with over 100 messages of support and love and congratulations, all professing how wonderful my newborn must be and how they couldn’t wait to see photos and how it couldn’t have happened to a nicer couple, but do you understand my annoyance?
The messages of support were lovely to read but it twas ME who wanted to update my facebook status with the good news! I had planned this status update meticulously and daydreamed of the reaction for months. This was the biggest update of my facebook career for god sake!
I had planned to write;
The baby has arrived! Rock on! Pizzaface Doyle Ellis was born after 100 years of labour, at 8.40pm, weighing in at a whopping 4 and a half stone (so you see? I didn’t put ANY weight on at all really) The baby is gorgeous!
And then feed bits of information in dribs and drabs. Adding in sex and eye colour and real name a little later, after people have gasped ‘Pizzaface? That’s different!’ And rumours had spread far and wide of my name choice and discussions were firmly in place amongst everybody, as to whether Pizzaface, was a girl or a boy.
You know, I wanted to really milk it.
But what good would that be now?
I’d be like a Dognapper asking for ransom after returning the puppy. (Just so you know I would never steal a puppy.)
So thanks thunder stealer.
Thanks to you my first post birth status read;
My arse hurts.
What? Surely that was news too?
And surprisingly a fair amount of people liked it.
Steal that thunder.
Another introduction! Whoopeee i hear you shout in delight! Well this is a christmas introduction from the lovely, entertaining and truly inspiring Delicious Nessy herself! The cupcake connoisseur! Visit her wonderful site over at www.totaldeliciousness.co.uk
Ps – If you are not in to christmas, i urge you to read this post. By the end of it, you may find yourself welling up with the joy of it all! I certainly did! Enjoy!
I can hardly believe that we are already a week into December, only 19 days till Christmas. I LOVE Christmas. In fact, I don’t just love Christmas, I love the whole month of December: the twinkling lights in town centres; the busy, busy shops full of people – not buying for themselves – but for others, taking the time to think about what a loved one would really appreciate as a present; the festive songs (although I’m sure if you work in a shop you will disagree with this one); Father Christmas being so talented that he can appear in many different shops and centres across the globe, so that children can let him know their hearts desire this festive season.
I also love December as it’s my birthday (on the 15th if you’re interested) and the month in which traditions continue and for us, hopefully, this year we will start new ones. When I was living at home, we always got the tree on the weekend of or before my birthday. It was always there by the 15th in the “front room” bay window for all to see. Adorned with a mix match of decorations we made at primary school and various random ornaments that we had collected over the years. There are clowns; little wire prams; hobby horses; bears and a bashed dove that I made when I was about 6, completely falling apart but until it actually does, it will always have a place on my parents’ tree. There is no fancy colour matching for the Hogg family, just a warm, inviting and fun tree (although we draw the line at tinsel!)
The tradition of random fun ornaments is now also in my house and over the last couple of years I have bought an array of lovely decorations. This year, we have a Baby’s first Christmas bauble for Sam. I’ve also got him a tartan bear for his Scottish roots and a wooden tree decoration with his name on it. Each year, he will get another decoration and when he is older with a house of his own, they will be his to take for his tree, with his family.
As we will spend Christmas Day in Scotland with my family, we got our tree on December 2nd. I have covered it with decorations. I have vintage style paper chains put up in the living room too and an advent calendar that hangs along our shelves with a little straw bag for each day. Although Sam has no idea about Christmas, he already loves looking at the twinkling lights on the tree.
Christmas will take on a new meaning for us this year as we have our beautiful boy and with that there is a renewed magic and sense of wonder.
I hope that you all have a wonderful festive season full of love, laughs and happiness.