Tuesday 25th July 2023
Hey fellow mummies and daddies,
Yesterday, I felt down and out. Things seemed to keep going wrong yesterday and I felt like a bad mummy. Firstly, the traffic was awful so I was a few minutes late picking my boy up from nursery. Then, my boy woke up from his nap super upset and I kicked myself as I should have just given him more sleep. I attempted potty training with him yesterday when he was a little under the weather when that was a silly thing to do and the list went on. I ended the day feeling deflated; forgetting all the positives that had happened that day.
When I was attempting to drift off to sleep, feeling rubbish and down, it got me thinking about parenting and how we are always so hard on ourselves when things don’t go to plan. We just remember the dark times. We gloss over all the amazing things we have done as a parent, all the triumphs and achievements, all the laughter and love we give on a daily basis, despite our chronic illnesses.
So today, I want to compile a list of 5 positive things I have done well since becoming a mummy to show that even when consumed by the dark, positives can be found.
At our 20 week scan, we found out that our little boy had a cleft lip. This meant that his lip hadn’t formed together properly and would need corrective surgery after he was born. In fact, 1 in 700 babies are born with a cleft lip. Sometimes when a baby is born with a cleft lip, they can also be born with a cleft palate, which is a gap in the roof of the mouth that makes feeding very difficult. To find out more about a cleft lip and palate please do visit this website here called CLAPA, where you can also donate to fund further help and support for families.
They couldn’t tell us antenatally whether or not his palate would be affected so we had no idea which method of feeding we would be able to do. If the palate was affected, breastfeeding would be impossible. On all the antenatal classes I completed, all the midwives would really be promoting breastfeeding and I really wanted to be able to do it! I am in no way saying that bottle feeding is not okay because it absolutely is and is completely your choice but this was the method I wanted to do.At 37 weeks, I was given the go ahead to start collecting colostrum for him which I did every single day until he was born. My thinking was at least I could give him this if he couldn’t feed.
Luckily, when he was born, we found out that in fact the palate was intact and he could breastfeed! He took to it like a duck to water and I am still feeding him at 20 months with no plans to stop. I am super proud of this achievement as, believe me, it is not always been easy. I never pumped or gave him a bottle so it has always been me feeding which can take it’s toll, especially on top of my chronic illness. I am the one up in the night to feed and sometimes I can feel very tapped out. However, the benefits out way the costs and the unbreakable bond it has created between us is magical!
2. Promoting a love of reading
As soon as we found out we were pregnant, talking, singing and reading were something my husband and I did to my bump daily. We had a Disney 365 story a day book that we would read aloud to my bump until he was born. Since he has been born, we have continued promoting that love of reading through stories, songs and rhymes. He has more books than toys and we can often get through 6 books before breakfast! We always read stories before bed, too and just this morning for example, Charlie came bounding over to me excitedly wafting a book in my face for me to read.
This was where the idea for my podcast Reading with Miss T came about. He adores listening to my audio books on car journeys and loves it when his voice appears on them, too.
3. Saying I love you
From the moment the test flagged up positive, I loved my bump with all my heart. I so desperately wanted to be a mummy and couldn’t wait to meet him. I knew that I wanted to raise him with love and understanding and for him to hear on a regular basis how much I love him. I want him to feel capable to say it back to me, to express his emotions and show love and affection. I truly believe he knows how much his mummy and daddy love him and for that I am super proud.
4. Positive experiences
Charlie was born in November 2021, so luckily places were just starting to get back to a sense of normality after COVID. I cannot imagine what it must have been like for parents and new-borns to have to stay inside and not socialise during that time and I am so sorry you had to go through that.
Despite having my fibromyalgia, I have always tried to give my boy positive experiences both inside and outside the house. We go to parks, soft plays, coffee houses, restaurants, zoos, farms, children’s centres, baby groups, libraries and he has socialised since being a tiny, tiny new-born. I am proud of myself for giving him such positive experiences and for the way these experiences have helped develop his bubbly, bright and sociable personality. I have had to learn though that It’s okay to stay home sometimes and in no way is this to make others feel guilty if your chronic illness doesn’t allow you to venture out far. Any positive experience they have with you counts!
5. Teaching sign language
If Charlie was born with a cleft palate, his speech would have been affected. Therefore, CLAPA put together some British Sign Language courses for parents to participate in via zoom to help find a way to communicate with our children. As stated, luckily Charlie’s palate wasn’t affected but I still found the idea of learning British Sign Language appealing and attempted to teach him some. I completed the course, bought flashcards and posters for around the house and have managed to teach him a few signs. He knows milk, please/thank you and home. As his speech is really progressing now, we haven’t done much more but I am super proud of the fact that I taught him this great skill.
Mummy the Fibro Warrior Top Tip:
- Try to focus on all the things you have done well since becoming a parent. Parenting is hard and a challenge but there are so many moments you should feel proud of.
If there is one takeaway I’d like you all to remember today is that even in the dark times, there are things you can be proud of yourself for. You made your child smile, you read them a book, you made them lunch, you took them to the park. No matter how small the act, the positive affect this has on your child is amazing. I need you to know you are doing the best you can, your child/children love you and you are Mummy the Fibro Warrior!
Until next time,
p.s. I’d love to know what things you have done that you are proud of since becoming a parent! Please do let me know in the comments below!