Violet Rae: Nine Months (of mischief)

As per usual, it astounds me what these short months of Violet’s life have brought us. So many beautiful moments of peaceful cuddles and smiles. Nine months have passed and I’m struggling to believe that she’s now been out in the world longer than I carried her inside of me. Is it just me or is pregnancy SO MUCH SLOWER than any other time period? I’m pretty sure we’ve discovered a way to slow time, it’s not for everyone but if you’re really desperate, fall pregnant!

I want to take a moment to be real with you, this month has been… testing. Her curiosity is at it’s peak, tied in with the new found mobility of crawling and climbing and grabbing, I find myself spending every waking moment making sure she isn’t strangling herself or throwing herself off of high furniture onto hard tiles. Naturally, I find myself saying “no” a LOT, and then shaking my head as I realise that she doesn’t understand “no” and even when she eventually does understand it she will probably ignore it anyway. She is cheeky to the core, and meets every scold with giggles and clapping no matter what ‘cranky face’ you pull. No area of the house is off limits, she has discovered everywhere from the bathroom to the laundry, with the kitchen being her favourite (more cupboards to open and random objects to play with).

23380142_917268071771039_124472001945115907_n

But despite what appears to be naughtiness, our baby girl really is starting to become a little girl, and dare I say it, a toddler. She is discovering the world around her, including the boundaries she likes to tip toe around. And somehow no matter how frustrated you get with her, she can still make you smile and your heart melt inside. She’s constantly talking, mostly about “dada dad” and never afraid to giggle for the sake of it. Food is still basically the centre of her world, whether its your food, her food or the dogs food, she wants it and will try he best to get it, even if she has to climb over a few things to get there.

Breastfeeding is still a very big part of our routine, and I am hoping to keep it that way for as long as I can in an effort to avoid formula and cows milk until her stomach is more matured. For the moment the comfort it offers her is irreplaceable and I feel as though I would miss the midnight snuggles that happen with ease when there is booby involved. I can see nothing but benefits of extending our breastfeeding journey, from both a physical and psychological perspective for the both of us.

22894313_913382405492939_4587937773109529738_n

Along side Violet’s milestone of 9 months my 20th birthday has come and gone and I am now no longer considered a “teen mum”, however thats not to say have any better idea about what I’m doing. It does thrill me a little to think that by the time I am 40 I will be long past my last nappy change and hopefully getting a full nights sleep while my babies are off finding their own place in the world, which is sad, but very exciting. I’m getting very good at treasuring every moment, they are only small for such a short time.

Now is around about the time when people start to ask questions about a sibling, usually by asking the baby (who has no idea what they are saying) “when are you going to have a little baby brother or sister?”. Our answer at the moment is “we have no idea”, in my head I feel as though getting Violet through toilet training would be easiest before another little one joins us, but we all know that things don’t always go to plan, so for now we are just rolling with the punches. (if you want an explicit answer: I’m not pregnant and not planning on it for at least another 6 months to a year, but we will see how we go)

23484861_919628928201620_709439443_o

However! Violet did obtain a furry little sister this month, Mila. Mila is a domestic kitten who is just on 3 months old, she is from a great rescue in Brisbane called Best Friend Felines. We welcomed her into our home on my birthday and are very proud of the way Violet has taken to both her and Moey in the last few months. Can definitely see an animal lover shining through. If you’re after a cat or kitten please don’t hesitate to check out Best Friend Felines on their website or Facebook, or any other similar rescues before heading to a pet store or breeder. Little rescue babies and big loveable cats need love too, and there are so so many of them out there who need homes before it is too late for them. You can view profiles of cats and kittens available for adoption through their website (here). Because who doesn’t love looking at photos of cats and kittens right?

23231239_916340005197179_373013344635288286_n

It’s safe to say, after 9 months, life is finally starting to set into rhythm again. A beautiful sense of normality has returned, and although I might have some loose skin here and there I am mostly back to my pre-baby body, only I now have a cute little girl to hold my hand wherever I go. What an epic 18 months we have had! I honestly cannot wait to see what the next 18 months hold.

 

xx Emily @ Loving Little One

 

IMG_2164

Advertisements

Violet Rae: 7-8 months

If I could sum up the last 2 months for Vi in one word, it would be mobile. She is crawling, climbing, sitting, standing, pulling things down, pushing things over and putting things in her mouth she probably shouldn’t. Turn your head for even a second and she’s off in a completely different corner of the room to before.

22396521_901509400013573_463009380_o

You don’t realise how busy parenthood is until these months. Prior to this I could sit her down in one spot and be confident that after I’ve been to the loo and come back she’d be in the same place. Now if I leave her to go to the loo she follows me, with great enthusiasm, which quite frankly is a little intimidating when you’re doing your business.

22386266_901509370013576_1764699968_n

Nothing is private anymore, and nothing is just yours. If you’re on your phone, Violet wants your phone, if you’re changing the channel Violet wants the remote and god forbid if you’re eating without her and not giving her any. \

22407428_901509410013572_301345667_n

Food is currently the centre of Vi’s world, besides booby of course. Never in my life have I seen an 8 month old as enthusiastic about food, ALL food, as Violet. Generally, anything you put in her mouth she will eat, and before she is even done chewing she is asking for more by flailing her legs and grunting.

Saying Dad, Bub and blowing raspberries is what she spends most of the day doing with her mouth (when she’s not eating). And the milestone of “mum” has been achieved, but only comes out when she is crying. To be honest I’m not sure whether to be flattered or offended by this, but at least she’s saying it right?

Her two uncles came to stay for a couple of weeks as well, they got to know the ins and outs of ALL of the new wiggles songs while they were here, and couldn’t shy from a dirty nappy. Violet was very happy to have their company, and took a few days after they left to adjust to how quiet the house is now.

22385037_901509450013568_1096021804_n

In the last 2 months Violet has also made great friends with another baby boy who is only 6 days older than her. Tarver and Vi do swimming lessons twice a week together and are thoroughly enjoying the company of one another after the lessons as well, even if they weren’t I think we would still hang out, having the company of his mum Lilly has been such a breath of fresh air. Since moving to Wynnum I haven’t had much of an opportunity to catch up with mummy friends, But since these guys are just around the corner it has been absolutely fantastic.

22447183_901509406680239_815807026_n

We really have been caught up in the moment of it all. At this age time seems to fly by so quickly, and I spend most of every day captivated by the adventurous, mischievous and beautifully happy little girl she has become. It’s often hard to have the time to sit down and write, but I am very glad I am still doing it. Being able to reflect on previous blogs is already something I truly treasure, so look forward to many more!

xx Emily @ Loving Little One

She Hasn’t Napped Today

She hasn’t napped today; Code phrase for, brace yourself, sh*t could hit the fan at any minute.

One thing people who aren’t parents are yet to grasp is, napping is the key to happiness. If baby naps, baby is happy, if baby naps, mummy can nap too, if baby naps and all the crankiness of both parties disappears.

However if baby doesn’t nap, baby is tired, baby is frustrated, baby isn’t sure why baby doesn’t feel happy and that makes baby ANGRY. Mummy doesn’t have time to clean up the mess from the morning, the sweet potato all over the bench, the pile of dirty baby clothes that need to soak or the toys scattered from the front door to the back.  And on top of this, mummy doesn’t get to nap either, even though she only had 3 hours sleep and last she ate was probably 11 hours ago.

But the world still goes around, despite the crankiness of both mummy and baby. And all of the other people in the world who are yet to have babies smile and say “it’s okay, it’s only a nap. She’ll sleep longer tonight now anyway”.

rage-guy-teeth-smile

Well actually there is this crazy thing that happens, believe it or not baby actually wakes up regardless of how many naps she had because she is HUNGRY. And because she hasn’t napped when she wakes up because she is hungry she is more cranky because she is still exhausted from not napping. Which is entirely baby’s fault, but she will blame you, and the world, and anything that makes any slight noise at her at 3am.

So if you happen to come across a parent who cautions you with the word of warning “She hasn’t napped today”, don’t be surprised if baby wants none of your cuddles or smiles. She is mad at the world for giving her this curse of ‘tiredness’, it steals her awake time and all the joys that it entails. So if baby can’t be happy then neither can YOU.

Yours and tired always, Emily @ Loving Little One

img_7338.jpg

Half a year, Ten times the personality

Our beautiful little girl turned 6 months old recently. Every time I sit down to write her monthly update I am always so shocked at how quickly time is passing. The days and nights at times are long but the weeks and months are frighteningly short.

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

I world is an exciting place to a 6 month old. Just like their mouths are exciting new third hands. And everything that is in the slightest bit interesting, as long as she can reach it, will go in her mouth. The naps are shorter and the tantrums are more directed, in a “Give me that, or I’ll cry” kind of way. But the giggles are in abundance and the games she likes to play like peekaboo never get old (not yet anyway).

We are learning more with every day about her personality. She is so cheeky and playful but also cautiously shy. She will give a beautiful little smile to everyone she meets before burying her face in either mine or her daddies chest.

20991681_876178525879994_1073350456_o

She recently had one of her first nights without us, well not the whole night but a fair few hours, with her Aunty Emma. And she is having no issues with bottles that’s for sure, can feed herself actually! We were so glad to hear she wasn’t too fazed despite waking a few times with a ravenous appetite (not that that is out of the ordinary). We find that if she is at home she will generally be pretty relaxed regardless of who she is with, but if we are out she will only really settle with mummy or daddy. Home body like her mummy already clearly.

She is now rolling from front to back, and back to front. And will generally sit unassisted for anywhere between 10 and 20 minutes, provided she doesn’t get distracted by whatever is in her hands first. Tummy time is still a favourite and she can now spin herself fully around while on her belly, she’s yet to push with her legs yet to crawl along the ground. It definitely won’t be long though before she’s crawling all over the place.

IMG_7213

Food is the new and interesting thing in our daily routine, with home made purees both hot and cold for breakfast and lunch, not quite dinner yet though as her mood is generally dampened by the evening meaning she’s never really keen on anything but boob. We’ve tried everything from sweet potato to zucchini, raspberry and even steamed pears. She isn’t really fazed by anything at all and always finishes her food to the very last bite. I’ve been using the Fresh Squeezed Feeding Line, kindly gifted to us by our friends Bailey and Katelin at Violet’s baby shower. That is a super handy device that helps squeeze homemade puree into perfectly sized pouches which makes feeding time so much cleaner and with the pouches being disposable little to no washing up! I’ll be doing a youtube video in the coming weeks on how I make Violet’s food so stay tuned for that and let me know if there is anything in particular you’d like to see us make.

Although at times the clinginess can be frustrating especially at night when all we want to do is sleep and all she wants to do is play. It is all 100% worth it when those little eyes look up at you and her little hands reach around your neck as you snuggle her. I didn’t know it was possible, but I’m certain I love her more every day. And on the day she was born I didn’t think it was possible to love someone so much. So that’s an awful lot of love.

 

xx Emily @ Loving Little One

Processed with VSCO with a5 preset

 

5 Thing I would tell my 14 year old self

We’ve all had those moments where we think… “If I could turn back time”. When I think back to when I was 14 there are certainly some cringeworthy moments that come to mind. However despite everything those years brought to me, happy and sad, I don’t regret a lot of things at all.

2011 was the year I turned 14, all of the telltale signs of angry adolescence hung directly overhead and I had absolutely no idea the kind of effect it would take on me, nor did my parents or anyone I knew really. I was now a teenager… totally unpredictable, right? Well I have a few words of advice for the newly 14 year old Emily.

 

Black eyeliner and a side-fringe never really suited anyone

I get it, everyone is doing it. You figure if everyone is doing it, it must be cool right? wrong. So wrong. Your almost 20 year old self recently debated the whole fringe thing again, then looked at photos of you and laughed and laughed and laughed and then didn’t get a fringe. It’s not that you aren’t pretty, it’s just the world likes you so much better when you can see your eyes without dark pencil lines and hair dangling half over them. And trust me, the world of makeup deserves so much more respect than what you’re currently giving it.

 

Most boys are assholes

And it’ll take more than one to figure that out. AND might I add that just because you might never officially date doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to feel hurt by them. It’s just the age honey, they have too much testosterone than they know what to do with. When the right one makes his move you’ll know it, trust me.

 

STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHER PEOPLE

For gods sake. Honestly, I don’t need  to elaborate. You do you perfectly well, your friends do themselves perfectly well, so do strangers and people you’ll never meet. The longer you spend trying to justify in your own head why you’ve done better then them is just time that could be better spent worrying about what you’re going to get from the tuckshop for lunch, and god it better be a fresh chocolate chip muffin because let me tell you, you’ll never find anything like it again.

 

Your endless love for squash still inspires me

This thing that you’ve got going, all the training and the healthy eating and the focusing. It is time well spent! I can’t tell you how many times you’ll look back at what you achieved and be so damn proud of where you let it take you. Don’t even second guess the parties you won’t go to, or the apparent “bad choices” everyone says teenagers need to make in order to grow, you won’t make those choices because you will be doing what you love. And it will be 100% worth it, I promise.

 

Don’t let people tell you these are the best years of your life. ALL your years should be

I don’t know how many times throughout high school you’ll hear people say that to you, but it’s a lot. And don’t let that freak you out because, yes, they’re great. But every year after school is great too. And I can’t even begin to explain that your perspective of what “great” really is can change in a nanosecond. Sure times get tough and things test you all the time, but have a look around you, what are you really leaving behind when you finish school? Certainly not your family or your friends, and lets be honest here, those things are really that makes life beautiful.

 

Most of all, stop worrying so much. Everything will work out beautifully, regardless if it was what you expected.

 

xx Emily

The love of a Child

The love of a child is like no other.

It is the warmth of the sun on a cold winters morning. The smell of rain after an entire season without. The kiss of the cool water as you step into the ocean. The breath of fresh air after a long flight home.

It is in the way they smile, with their whole heart, as your eyes meet each other in the early hours of the morning. The way their fingers explore the texture of our skin as if with every day it is new to them again.

It’s the way that no one can settle them like the arms of their parents, the way your comforting coos and embracing cuddles reminds them that they are safe, and you are here.

It’s the fiery passion for their happiness and safety you’ve built in your heart without even realising you were trying. It burns brighter with every day you hold them in your arms, and drives you in every way to better yourself. For them.

It’s incredibly motivating and moving to see someone who is half of you and half of the one you love, look to you, with all of the trust in their entire world, and feel for you with nothing but overwhelmingly pure love. You, and only you, are the only thing in their universe that matters.

Suddenly nothing else is important anymore, not the world’s politics, not the price of fuel or the amount of money in your bank. It’s them, and somehow, through all the pain and misery the world might throw at you, the fact that they reach for you for comfort and for love… It erases everything you ever thought to be wrong in your life, and replaces it with a space large enough to cover solar systems and galaxies filled with nothing but your baby’s heart.

I can’t possibly describe exactly what it’s like to be a mother, it is a journey like no other and I feel incredibly blessed to have taken this journey, even if it was at an unexpected time. Violet lights up my world and has turned even the darkest parts of my life into something truly, remarkably beautiful.

Dedicated always to my Violet Rae

xx Emily @ Loving Little One

IMG_1199

 

Why I co-sleep (and why I don’t care about what you think of it)


Six or seven months ago when I was waddling around with an early third trimester bump, I had a conversation with an older woman who was a customer at my workplace whom I’d just helped with her meal. 

The conversation was loosely about how she used to be so exhausted and how scared she was about falling asleep with her baby in her arms. I agreed that the concept was scary and swore I’d never pull my little one into bed with me, no matter how exhausted I was. I’d love to take a minute to laugh about that response because here I am 5 months into motherhood, swearing by co-sleeping.

It’s a controversial topic, and there are certainly lots of mixed views on it. All opinions aside I honestly think that co-sleeping is what has saved my sanity. But I want to take a minute to talk about the history behind why co-sleeping seems to come so naturally to us, despite some mums being incredibly afraid of it. 

When we look back at the animal kingdom we see so many different types of infants (I’m going to use my own terminology here so bare with me). We’ve got the Babies that are born and immediately fend for themselves, think of animals like sharks; I’ll call these independent infants. They get out and they go, go, go. These mothers obviously don’t breastfeed.

 Then we’ve got the bubs that are born and immediately walk, and follow their mother, animals like elephants and giraffes. Their natural instinct is to follow and suckle. These ones I’ll call follow infants (I know super creative). 

Of course we’ve got the animals who burrow and hide their infants, these animals only return to their burrows once or twice a day so therefore their milk would be more filling as they feed less regularly. I’m not sure what to call these ones, but I’m at a point now where I kind of have to give them a name so burrow babies work I guess.

And then, there’s the babies that are born completely dependent on being carried. I’ll call them latch infants because they’re literally hanging on for life as they can’t walk at all or fend for themselves on their own. Animals like monkeys, chimps and you guessed it, humans. It is these babies natural instinct to be close to their mothers, they feed more regularly and sometimes for shorter amounts of time, mostly because they’re always attached to mum and able to get their milk as they please. 

In the animal kingdom it is completely normal for latch infants to sleep on or with their parents/family. It’s in their instinct. And human babies are born with the exact same instinct. Just as a mother has the instinct not to crush or smother her baby in her sleep, provided she is not intoxicated, under the influence of drugs etc.

Of course there are further guidelines to co-sleeping to ensure that Bub is safe regardless of instinct. You can find them here; https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bfinfo/breastfeeding-co-sleeping-and-sudden-unexpected-deaths-infancy please don’t overlook these guidelines as they really are important to making co-sleeping the safe and beautiful practice it is.

But to me, provided these guidelines are followed I feel completely at ease, actually I sleep even better when Violet is lying in my arms. When she wakes up, she finds the nipple herself, I might wake briefly to assist her, but this is almost second nature to me, to the point where I hardly remember doing it. 

When we don’t co-sleep, she fully wakes, crying, and takes longer to settle and I even find she often has more wind after feeding because of it. When we don’t co-sleep, Violet wakes anywhere up to 7 times between midnight and 6am. 7 TIMES. And yes, sleep deprivation is part of being a parent, but when this is occurring every night for weeks on end, it is virtually impossible to be a normal functioning human being, let alone a mother. 

So we do it, we co-sleep, not all night long but mostly between midnight and 6am, there are times when we sleep beside one another. And it’s honestly been the best thing I’ve done for us.

And unlike most people say about co-sleeping’ effects on a babies ability to sleep on their own;

She still self settles

She still is able to sleep in her cot by herself 

She isn’t dependent on being held 24 hrs a day 

She doesn’t need to be rocked to sleep

In fact, she sleeps better now, on her own, during the times of night that she is in her cot, then she ever did when I was getting up to feed her and putting her back down every hour or so.

And no, it doesn’t impact my relationship with my partner, it actually makes him feel closer to us both

PLUS I’m getting about 5 extra hours of sleep then I ever got in the beginning. 

Co-sleeping works differently for everyone. Not everyone can do it, and I’m never going to be one to judge people for doing something/not doing something. But I say if you’re struggling to sleep at night because your baby is dependent on you during certain hours of the night, like Violet between midnight and 6am. You should never feel guilty for co-sleeping, because it’s natural and instinctual, and most importantly it works for you.


Thank you to everyone for your continuous love and support, it means the most to me, I love writing and for now it is my fondest hobby to capture my thoughts in time of this journey motherhood has taken me on. I’ve always known I was passionate about it, but having Violet has truly made me realise just how much I love it. All of my followers, friends and family help make this dream of having my thoughts heard come true every single day. 

Love Emily @ Loving Little One

Don’t tell me I’m too young to be a good mother

With a pink blanket under her head and her seatbelt nicely fastened I walked through our local supermarket collecting our groceries for the week with my daughter in the baby seat of my trolley. This particular week I decided to start purchasing foods for my daughter to try, now I’m not really about those premade baby foods (but if you are then you do you! nothing against it, just a personal choice) so I was putting things in my trolley like organic sweet potato, pumpkin and avocado. Unbeknownst to me the truth of societies still prehistoric views on parenthood was about to rear it’s ugly head.

As I turned the corner I very nearly bumped into a woman’s trolley which she had left in the middle of the refrigerated isle. I veered pretty sharply in order to miss the trolley,  which of course startled my daughter, no more then running into the other trolley would have anyway. She cried, like babies do, so I stopped momentarily to talk to her and comfort her out of her fright. Whilst I paused I unknowingly had blocked the woman from her stranded trolley, so she approached me with a louder than necessary “Excuse me!”. I pardoned myself and moved my trolley aside, my daughter still crying and myself completely in my own mum world deliberating whether to pick her up to stop her crying or to try and distract her with the dummy she had lost interest in five minutes ago. So it took me by surprise when the woman turned to me for a second time as said “she’s not yours is she?”

Now I’ve had my fair share of questions in public, mostly regarding my daughter being my sister and my own mother looking too young to be a grandmother which are all usually met with a bit of a laugh and then me explaining that she’s actually mine. This time I felt a sting of judgement coming through. I smiled at my daughter and looked at the lady and said “she sure is! isn’t she beautiful, she’s four months old”. She peered at me down her pointed nose and said “Well I don’t think children should be having children, but she is quite cute. Bit of a shame” A SHAME. If you know me you would know I hate confrontation, unless I know you well enough to pull you up on something I generally let it slide for the sake of saving an argument. This is my family though and I’ll be damned if I let someone tell me that it was a shame that my beautiful daughter existed as my daughter.

“Thanks for your opinion, although I didn’t ask for it. Not sure how many children you know but not many of them are in 5 year relationships with the person they want to spend the rest of their life with. Guess I’m just lucky hey? Have a nice day” my heart was pounding and I was out of there as quick as I could go, neglecting to pick up the butter I was in the refrigeration isle for! I pushed the conversation to the depths of my brain hoping never to think about it again but after seeing a few fellow “young parents” attacked on social media recently for their age and their apparent inability to care and love their own children I figured now would be a good time to think about it, and god forbid, talk about it because it is 100% not okay.

All parents, regardless of their age, love their children, they want the best for their children and they will do anything they can to help them grow into wonderful, compassionate and loving adults. Regardless of the house they live in, the clothes they wear, whether they are married, how much they spent on their car, if they’re homosexual OR if they’re still what you would consider teenagers. If they were mature enough to make the decision to bring a child into the world then they should be admired for doing so, and for doing the best they can for that child.

The love you have for your child can’t be measured by how many toys you’re able to buy them, whether you could afford to send them to an expensive school or buy them all of the latest gadgets. Love is measured by the smiles, the hugs, the kisses and most importantly the empowering conversations you can have with them about becoming the greatest person they can possibly be. To care for the people around them, to love unconditionally and be accepting of everyone regardless of their differences.

I might not be 25 with a mountain of savings in the bank reserved specifically for having in children, my partner and I might not be married but we sure love each other like we are and we’ll give our daughter every ounce of love we have to give before we will ever let her feel unwanted or unloved. Young parents, don’t let anyone ever discourage you, your baby thinks you’re the greatest mummies and daddies in the world, and without you, they wouldn’t exist. You’re doing an amazing job, and if anyone thinks any less then maybe they should take a look at what’s missing in their lives before they make any negative comments about how beautifully full of love your life is.

 

xx Emily

19047607_833806753450505_2033322758_n

19074101_833808723450308_443811378_n

You Matter Too, Mumma

A reminder for even the toughest of mummies, to care for yourself just as well as you care for your beautiful children 

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset
Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

When it’s 3am and your partner is fast asleep while you’re heavy eyed and nursing, remember Mumma, you matter too, and he knows that. He just doesn’t have the boobs or the perfect sleep inducing snuggles you do.

When it’s been hours since you’ve stopped to breathe and your housework is up to your knees, remember Mumma, you matter too. And the dirty dishes can wait until you’ve napped, they’re not going anywhere.

When the babies washing is a mile high and she has a poop explosion for the third time, remember Mumma, you matter too. And no matter how much poop you get on your clothes, in your hair and on your arms, you’re still a hero.

When the scales seem broken and the loose skin on your tummy makes you feel that you’ll never be the woman you used to be, remember Mumma, you matter too. Your body is a temple that grew life, it will always be amazing.

When people judge you for breastfeeding/not breastfeeding/cuddling too much/letting baby cry… basically everything, remember Mumma, you matter too. And your parenting will always be what’s best for your baby.

When it’s been months since you’ve slept through the entire night and your baby wakes with aching gums for the 6th time since midnight, remember Mumma, you matter too. This chapter of your life is so very tough, but also so very short and so tremendously filled with love, treasure even the toughest of times.

motherhood is filled with ups and downs, things that make you yearn for your days that were filled with nothing but yourself and the TV remote, but at the same time you couldn’t ever imagine being as happy as you are without them. Taking a breather every now and then to remind yourself of just how important you are is such an underestimated thing. Light a candle, run a hot bath, read that book you’ve always wanted to read, get your nails done or your hair washed and blow dried, call your mum, or your dad, or your best friend, take a nap, heck take two if you can. Of course we all feel like there isn’t any time for these things but there really is, we’ve just got to make it. I’m breastfeeding as I write this if thats any indication.

We’ll move mountains for our kids, we’ve got to remember to soak in it’s beautiful springs on the way up.

18788181_827102864120894_1972032949_n18762597_827072197457294_256747495_n

Parenthood and Mental Health: Becoming the best version of you, for them

The following contains discussion about mental health, if the topic may lead you to feeling upset or ‘triggered’ please refrain from reading. Remember that there is always support around you, never be afraid to reach out

mum & yawn

Something about my personal life I’ve never really delved into is mental health. Mostly because of the stigma around it all, and also because for some people, it’s a difficult topic to stomach. But here I am opening up, because if you know anything about me, I think outdated stigmas stink.

I have dealt with different difficulties to do with mental health for a long time. I’m not worse off than anyone else, I don’t glorify it, but I certainly believe that everyone, to some extent, deals with some kind of mental barrier, large or small. For me, for a long time it has been anxiety. It has affected my schoolwork, my performance as a young elite squash player, my relationships, my career choices and the paths I have to take to reach my goals. It’s not sad, I’m not asking for sympathy, it’s just an aspect of my life that I have learnt to live with and even at times, embrace. I certainly feel like it is something that needs to be talked about more though, especially when it comes to parenthood.

Becoming a parent is a mammoth journey of emotion, personal growth and empowerment, it’s a given that you will be tested to your brink, beyond and back again. Here you are, two (or maybe even just one) individual people, suddenly given an entire new life that is now fully your responsibility, a tiny little person who relies solely on you and you only to survive. If thats not enough to scare the pants off you then clearly you should be having 20. It’s a huge task, and incredibly daunting and it is 100% okay to feel completely and utterly petrified.

I’m not a professional and I can’t give any professional advice but I can share my own experience in hopes to provide some kind of reassurance that no one is truly alone. For me talking about my emotions has been an incredible influence on my mental health. Finding someone I trusted in the early stages of pregnancy to express my concerns about my choices and the impact that those choices would have on my life was so important. And having or finding a support network to support your choices positively is worth every single person involved’s weight in gold.

“finding a support network to support your choices positively is worth every single person involved’s weight in gold”

After pregnancy into the first few weeks can be full of extremely complex emotions, for both mum and dad. And baby blues, as well as full on postnatal depression is something that I truly believe can happen to both women and men.

I can’t begin to stress how important it is to realise, for everyone to realise, that struggling mentally is something that deserves your attention, much the same way a broken wrist or leg would. And tending to your mental health isn’t something anyone should be ashamed of, when you have a little person relying on you it’s something you should prioritise. If your baby had a serious cold or needed medical attention you wouldn’t put it off, and much the same as your physical health impacts them, your mental health does too. If something doesn’t feel right, seek help, you and your baby deserve to know the best version of you ever to exist.

There are various places to reach out to including;

beyondblue.org.au 

mindsuatralia.org.au

cope.org.au

wayahead.org.au

as well as various mental health hotlines that you can call no matter the time of day

BeyondBlue – 1300 22 4636

LifeLine – 13 11 14

PANDA  (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia) – 1300 726 306

And my email, facebook inbox, and blog are always open to anyone who feels as though they can find someone to open up to in me. Even if you aren’t a parent, everyone deserves to be the best version of themselves, you aren’t hindering anyone by expressing your feelings, and there will always be someone who cares.