Monday, 23 April 2018

It's Not All Smiles and Sunshine


This is something I don’t see many talk about and I really understand why. It’s because people are afraid of how they will come across and probably be labelled ungrateful - that’s how I felt and was made to feel by some.

Having gone through the most heartbreaking event of my life, burying my son, I longed to hold a baby that I could call mine and take care of and when I became pregnant with Little A, I just couldn’t be more happier.

But along with these feelings lay those emotions that you wouldn’t think would go through a pregnant woman’s mind.

G U I L T

Is it too soon? Should I be smiling and laughing? This is the feeling I know every mother during her rainbow pregnancy feels and it hurts. On the one hand, you are so happy to have been blessed with this pregnancy but on the other hand, you think about your angel baby and think to yourselves, how could you do this to them? How could you move on?

And when you think about the life in your womb, the vicious cycle of guilt goes round and round as you begin to feel guilty for feeling guilty.

Outsiders have the misconception that when a bereaved parent goes onto have another child, they have moved on now with their lives and the loss of their child is a thing of the past now.

That’s actually far from the truth. We don’t move on, I know I haven’t. There is always going to be a hole in my heart, I am always going to be endowed with thoughts of what could have been, there’s no escaping this.

W O R R Y

Whatever the circumstances surrounding the loss of a child - it becomes increasingly difficult to actually enjoy subsequent pregnancies. This is because you’ve seen the worst of situations and know what could happen.

I was happy to attend my 12 week scan but then it hit me there and then that there could still be something wrong with my baby but I wouldn’t know yet, I kept this to myself and smiled along with my husband.


Little A’s 20 week scan
Despite having many scans to tell me that Little A was growing perfectly healthily, I still would think to myself - anything can happen, anything could go wrong, if not now then at the birth perhaps.

When I was pregnant with my angel son, I didn’t visit triage, not even once. But this time round, I have lost count.

Not much movement? Too much movement? Wetting myself - waters? Chest pain?I just want to say that I don’t regret visiting triage for the reasons above because when you are pregnant and have any doubts whatsoever, don’t think that it might be nothing and ignore it, pick up that phone and ask for professional advice.

U N G R A T E F U L

Many of the thoughts and feelings I found myself going through would definitely be labelled by some as me being ungrateful.

I didn’t want a boy - this is the first time I’m openly admitting this.

Surely, after everything I’ve been through all I should have cared about is having a healthy baby, no matter what the gender! But it wasn’t like that. I prayed and prayed for a daughter because I just couldn’t comprehend the thought as to whether I’d be able to love another little boy as much as I love my angel son. I am aware that even those parents who have been lucky enough to not lose a child have similar feelings until they go onto having that child but this seems never ending for me.

I still have these thoughts - I can’t ever imagine myself physically mothering a boy. If my angel son had been a girl then it would have been the other way round and I would have prayed for a son.

But it didn’t stop here..

When you’re having a baby, one of the most exciting moments are shopping for your little one, buying those big ticket items as well as those super cute little outfits. This was yet another conflict brewing inside of me.

We had a suitcase full of clothes that belonged to my son which he didn’t get to wear as well as his play gym. But I just couldn’t handle the thought of another baby in them, even if that baby was mine. Finally, finding the courage, I openly spoke to the husband about this but we didn’t see eye to eye.

I mentioned this to a ‘friend’ (note quotation marks) and was immediately shot down and given a lecture on how we should be grateful for what we have.. blah blah blah...

And it goes on.

No one should be judged at any stage of their lives, no one should have to justify the way they feel but unfortunately it is has become necessary to explain ourselves.

My whole purpose for writing this was to not only tell those parents that you are not alone in feeling the way you do, I do too and it’s normal. But to also highlight to others around them that just spare a thought for the bereaved pregnant woman sat beside you, she may be smiling but that doesn’t mean she’s not hurting.

Maybe be a listener for once and let her talk?


Our pregnancy announcement  September 2016




*~*~*

Thank you for reading.
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Monday, 16 April 2018

The Ultimate Bedtime Book!


I’m kind of wanting to jump with excitement right now but I can’t otherwise this post would be impossible to write. I didn’t think that the first book review on my blog which I would end up doing would be a children’s book but I’ve literally been buzzing to share this with you all.

Back in October 2017, my lovely friends had come to see Little A and brought along some goodies for her and one of them was a book called Touch The Brightest Star by Christie Matheson.


I had been searching for the perfect bedtime book and instantly just by looking at the front cover, I knew it was the one. 

Believe it or not, since October 22nd 2017, we have read this book to Little A at bedtime without fail. Yes, she has other books which we read to her at that time but we always end our bedtime routine with this special one. 

If we’re going away from home, I make sure I have packed this with the rest of her essentials.

Why is it so special?

Christie Matheson has worked wonders through this book - it begins with telling the child that the day is coming to an end and features the magical night but not without leaving the anticipation for the next day.


It sets the scene and mood which is just perfect for bedtime when you’re trying to create a calm atmosphere and winding down (because we all know how important that is!). You must be wondering, what difference does this make as back then Little A must not have understood of course, just a baby.

Well, this one book has helped with her development so much. I’ll give you an example, the instruction ‘press the fire fly..’ without fail I’d start acting it out, showing her that I’m pressing it as well as the other instructions too ‘touch the brightest star you see...’ etc 

Babies soak everything in and this is what Little A was doing, observing, and now it’s been around three months or so I don’t have to show her, I just read the sentence and she does exactly what it says. 

Just imagine my reaction when she did that for the first time! I literally told everyone for weeks and well... still do! 

This is the most perfect book you can read to your child before putting them to bed and it’s not one of them books that children will grow out of or ever get bored of.


*~*~*

Have you read this to your little ones? What is your favourite bedtime book? I’d love for some suggestions to explore!


.
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Monday, 9 April 2018

#DreamTeam Linky Party 101

A great big warm welcome to you all to the 101st #DreamTeam Linky party. I have always been a big fan of the #DreamTeam and feel honoured to be guest hosting alongside Annette (3littlebuttons) and Heather (Shank You Very Much) this week.

Thanks to the #DreamTeam, we are able to come across and read a variety of blogs. I know that for myself if I hadn't joined linky parties such as the #DreamTeam then I probably would not be able to read as many blogs as I'd like too!

For this week, I am including a very personal post of mine Birth and Beyond: How I Really Feel - it's not just a birth story but is how I exactly feel about it even now, it's a post that at the time I wasn't sure if I was doing the right thing and sharing but the blogging world is so supportive, my doubts diminished and now I look forward to hearing or rather reading your thoughts too - thank you in advance lovely people!

I look forward to reading your posts.

#DREAMTEAM LINKY RULES


Add one post to the #DreamTeam linky, which goes live every Tuesday morning at 6am and will close on Thursday at 9pm.

Add the #DreamTeam linky badge or a text link to the bottom of your linked up post. If you are adding this to a side/bottom bar or linky page, please do ensure this is clear to avoid being missed out of commenting.

Share your post on twitter with the linky hashtag #DreamTeam. Tag in your hosts for retweets @3_LittleButtons, @HeatherKeet and @themumaffairs

Please comment on each of the hosts linked posts PLUS the post directly before your own (a total of 4 posts as a minimum). If the post before your own does not carry the #DreamTeam badge or text link, you are not required to leave a comment.

Optional. Get into the party spirit and tweet/add comments to any additional posts you have really enjoyed. Other bloggers are more likely to return the favour if you do!

It’s a #winwin all round. As hosts, we will aim to retweet your posts again as we read them, as long as you have included your twitter handle in your sharing buttons.


*By linking up, you agree to your link being visible and accessible via the list of linked blog posts included below, to us sharing your posts on social media (tagging you as relevant), and to us sharing your post on our sites if chosen as a favourite.
3 Little Buttons

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Friday, 6 April 2018

March Favourites



I'll begin with what you have probably heard and read many times already,'how is it April already?!'. Time really is flying by and compared to previous months, I have done quite a bit of reading in the month of March. I came across so many amazing blogs that I honestly have had a difficult time playing by the rule I set myself of only shortlisting 10 posts. But then I reminded myself, it's my blog so I can do what I want!

So I haven't shortlisted 10 as I normally do, there are 13 instead! So without further ado, lets get started.

In no particular order...

Credit: Mum Muddling Through

Having recently joined the linky party at #coolmumclub, I came across this quite thought provoking post by Mum Muddling Through. She talks about the plight of the First Time Mum and how it’s really like to step into motherhood. I really admired this post because of its honesty as whenever someone has a baby, people instantly think that it’s all happiness and laughter from then on when that’s not true. Have a read of what goes on in the mind of a First Time Mum.

Credit: Nabani Tadhar

Being a Mother to a daughter, I was instantly attracted to the title of this post and it turned out to be a fantastic read. Nabani writes a letter to her daughter of how she plans to nurture her and why being a girl is such a great thing, I think this is a must read for everyone, even if you don’t have a little girl of your own.

The Mother Next Door by Mummy Wales
Credit: Mummy Wales

Now this is a post which really took my breath away. As mothers, whenever we venture out and come across another, it’s no lie that we instantly think about her and how her life is probably like compared to our own. Or we may have a friend who always appears happy and content with her life, but that might not always be the case. Mummy Wales writes this post portraying every mother quite exceptionally making you think that it’s not always how it seems.

Credit: Five in the Hive
This post really resonated with me purely because of my own experience of a heart baby. I really admired Five in the Hive’s answer to questions like ‘how do you cope?’ I think whoever is asked this question, should direct people towards this post as there can be no better answer.


Time really does fly, doesn’t it?! Chloe writes about how times were different when she was a child to now that she has her own child as well as how perceptions have changed throughout the years regarding various subjects. This post really makes you think how times have changed, some for the better and some unfortunately for the worst - what we may know as normal right now might not be in a couple of years time.

 Because Of Him by The Life of a Glasgow Girl
Credit: The Life of a Glasgow Girl

Who says you can’t make progress or you lose yourself when you have a baby? Many people have these assumptions and pass comments on how children perhaps become an obstacle in your way to your own success. Jordanne beautifully responds to these comments - it really depends on you and how you turn a certain situation to your own favour, children, I believe are the way to your success but it depends on if you want it to be!


Credit: Little Hearts Big Love

When you become pregnant, one thing that you just cannot wait for are the scans - so you can finally be able to see your baby wriggling away. Unfortunately, for some, that excitement is short lived and has forever an impact on future pregnancies, no matter how many years apart. Louise shares her experience of scans and why she is unable to get excited.

Credit: 3 Little Buttons

I was having a down day about my blog but as soon as I read this post, I was instantly feeling better. We’re always in the race to perfection, comparing ourselves to the next person that sometimes it becomes overwhelming. Annette shares wonderful quotes that will immediately make you feel better.
Credit: Letters to my Daughter


March marked International Women’s Day and Alice wrote a wonderful post talking about what are the 30 best things about being a woman in 2018. This isn’t your typical list of things, there’s a twist to it, which to be fair I wasn’t expecting the post to go that way but I’m so glad that it did.


Credit: Jade Marie


There was great amount of coverage for the Winter Olympics last month, all over the news, on literally everyone’s feeds but when it came to the Paralympics there was hardly when compared. Unfortunately, it’s always been like this and Jade highlights why the Paralympics are of great importance. Personally,
I’ve always been more interested to watch the Paralympics more than the Olympics as I find them more motivational. What about you?

Credit: Jess in Wonderland

Being a fairly new blogger, I find such posts on reflections of being a blogger and running a blog by someone else an interesting read. Jess highlights what it is really like running a blog and I believe anyone who is considering starting a blog or someone who has doubts about bloggers should be giving this a read a for sure! It’s not always as it seems.



Well, you must have noticed that Lucy features regularly on my favourites and that's because she never fails to amaze me. I wanted to give her a standing ovation when I finished reading this post. She covers a topic which is rarely spoken of, those who you may think have no reason to be sad and depressed can suffer from mental health issues too and when this is shown to the world they are labelled selfish because they 'don't have a reason' to be sad. Well, Lucy quite bravely shares her personal experience to raise awareness.



Credit: The Mummy Bubble

The Mummy Bubble hits a very important issue and that’s the dreaded feeling of loneliness, as a parent. People just don’t expect to hear a Mum call themselves lonely because how is that even possible when you are never alone? Without giving further away, The Mummy Bubble describes the reality of loneliness and gives tips on how you can help yourselves.



*~*~*

Don't forget to read these wonderful posts!
What have been your favourites in March?
Share with everyone below!
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Monday, 2 April 2018

How Motherhood Has Changed Me


I never really thought I could ever change, especially for anyone else other than me. I was that person who always use to chant ‘I’d never change myself for anyone’ or ‘I am who I am’ but little did I know what Motherhood had in store for me.

I actually entered Motherhood in 2015, although some people have the nerve to disagree but that’s just their insensitive opinion. I first found myself changing when my son entered our lives briefly that year. I became more appreciative of life, stopped taking things for granted and began to cherish my relationships around me even more because if it was one thing that particular year had taught me was that life is really unpredictable, you can never guess what’s going to happen in perhaps the next five minutes or so.

Despite having empty arms, I had all those maternal feelings that every mother has, since the day I found out about him. Come 2017, I was given the blessing of now physically being able to hold and take care of my child and what a journey it’s truly been this last year and a bit.

I have transformed into a completely different person, I haven’t lost myself, I still am that same person but the changes are remarkable and something I’m actually happy about.



PATIENCE


I am more patient than ever, I think this is something that every parent can relate to. I’m not going to lie, I have my moments where I do sit and wonder for a second why?! But am able to quickly remind myself that the little human in front of me is helpless, doesn’t understand and completely relies on me.

You really do have to befriend patience when you become a parent as without it, you will be completely lost.

However, before Motherhood, I was hardly patient with anyone, I wouldn’t think of reasons like I do now to keep me going, I’d wonder why and just give up already.



ROUTINE


Although, I was nearly always an early riser, there were days when I’d just lay in bed for as long as possible. And if I did get out of bed, I’d have my breakfast, cook if need be, binge watch some box sets and not worry about the dirty dishes- I’d say I’ll do them with the lunch dishes.

Oh how things have changed now!

I now don’t sleep past 6am and find myself looking for the first opportunity to tackle the dishes and as soon as Little A is down for her first nap, it means clean, clean, clean and prepare tonight’s dinner already because I don’t know what kind of mood she will be in when she wakes up. She may decide to embrace clingyness and plomp me onto the floor for a good amount of the day so it’s always best to get the chores out of the way.

This has done me so much good despite the lack of sleep. I am so much more productive, by the time she wakes up (on a good day might have a nearly 2 hour nap) everything is done and we can venture out and I don’t have to think about ‘ooh I need to do this and that when we get home,’.

Don’t get me wrong, I do have days when I honestly just cannot be bothered to do anything and I’ll plant myself on the sofa, in front of the TV for the entire time she’s napping, I am human after all! 



MOTIVATION


Whatever the circumstances, I have found myself now always motivated. If there is a goal to meet and I am feeling lazy or think I can't do this - I just look at Little A and am instantly motivated to strive for the better. I now see her as my bridge to success.


EXERCISE 


Who needs the gym when you have a baby?! Even if I am at home, I am constantly on the move, whether that’s pretending to be a baby myself and crawling with Little A (she gets so excited!) or running after her to stop her from hugging danger and sprinting to the other room to grab something so quickly for Little A to not notice and start screaming.

I now absolutely love going on walks, I didn’t before. Seeing Little A’s expressions and happiness whenever we are out as she catches a glimpse of something interesting (which is basically everything nowadays) encourages me even more to make an effort, if not for myself but for her and breathe in the fresh air.


SOCIAL


I am more social than before, I am not shy anymore. I overcame shyness at University but having a baby it’s really been different. I guess having the little one with you gives you a topic to talk about and not have to adhere to awkward silences.

I attend baby groups (I wish we did this more often though now) and although some groups do meet the stereotype of a typical baby group where mums have already formed groups and don’t let anyone new into their ‘exclusive club’. I have come across wonderful women who I have lovely time chatting too.



If I see a person with a little one out and about, I make sure I give them a smile and this often ends up with us strangers springing up a conversation which lasts a surprising amount of time. Before, I wouldn’t dare talk to a stranger no matter how friendly they’d seem!

We often hear about the slightly negatives of parenthood (mainly lack of sleep) and I myself have touched on these topics many times but I just wanted to put it out there, that there are always two sides to a story, this isn’t just related to being parents but anything that you stumble across in your life which you may not be able to figure out.

I don’t claim to be a know-it-all in the world of parenting because I’m really not, as everyday I am learning, but I really do feel that when need be, you do and can change for the better and there’s nothing wrong with that at all.

*~*~*

Have you experienced any changes for the better in recent years?
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Friday, 30 March 2018

It Really Was a Good Friday 3 Years Ago - Our Journey Part One



2015 did not pan out the way I had planned it too. It was both a year of gain and losses for me, beginning with the loss of my beloved Grandfather in January to pneumonia which I had thought would be the only loss that I would have to suffer from for many years to come but clearly I was wrong.

I had always wanted children but never planned to embark on this journey at that particular point in my life as I was in the middle of doing my Masters degree so the thought of Motherhood was just a distant wish.

March came and went and I had fallen ill. I had been feeling overly exhausted, getting out of breath easily but had put it down to not eating well enough. I then ended up with an awful cold and cough, became bed ridden on the long Easter weekend that it slipped from my mind that Aunt Flow hadn’t come to visit but when I did remember I just put it down to me being ill.

I remember clearly as if it was just yesterday, April 3rd 2015, Good Friday.

My Dad urged me to go to the Polyclinic and get checked out as I had began to show signs of pneumonia and having already had a loss to it, we just didn’t want to take any risks.

So off the husband and I went to the clinic and as expected on a bank holiday when everyone just seems to have fallen sick together, it was packed to the brim with so many people. We waited and waited for our turn and finally were seen, the outcome of this was they couldn’t send me straight home as my pulse rate was abnormally high so I had to go to A&E.

Whilst waiting for our ride, I called my Mum and explained to her what was going on and the first sentence out of her mouth was ‘there’s nothing wrong with you, you’re just pregnant’.

Mother’s intuition, eh?

At A&E, I was sent straight to Majors, which at the time, I didn’t understand because I ‘only’ had a cold. We were soon then seen and the first thing I said to the lovely nurse was ‘I’m late,’ he then asked if I wanted a pregnancy test done for which I obviously opted for.

So there I am lying on the hospital bed, with needles taped to my wrist and being given fluids via a drip, still not expecting for the result to come back positive.

‘I don’t know if this is good or bad news...’ the nurse came back and began to say, ‘but it’s positive, you’re pregnant.’

You would have thought that my world must have came crashing down on me with this news, that I started to panic as I just wasn’t ready for this, I was at university studying, how on earth was this possible. But none of that happened.

My world didn’t come crashing down and I didn’t panic, right there on the spot I decided that I was going to let this life inside me become my key motivator in helping me to study with more dedication and achieve the best grades possible and that’s exactly what I did.

The Mother in me was born on that day for the first time but unfortunately this mother was really naive and truly believed that nothing could go wrong with her now.

Despite what the future, at that time, was holding for us - it well and truly was a Good Friday.

*~*~*

Thank you for reading, it really does mean a lot to me. This topic is difficult to write but despite the difficulty I still want to share my journey with everyone as when I started this blog I knew that one thing that I wanted to do was help break the taboo around #BabyLoss. I want to share my story so others know that it’s okay to talk about it.

I have decided to share my journey with you all in parts as I don’t want to rush this. I am going to be telling this story over the course of time he was with us, from the day we found out about him to the day he grew his angel wings. Thank you for joining me on this journey.
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Monday, 26 March 2018

A Rainbow Surprise





Well as most of you probably already know that I took on the challenge of baking Little A’s 1st Birthday cake. This was actually after I found someone who would bake the perfect cake that I wanted - but one day just sitting I got this wacky idea stuck in my head that I must give it a go!

Plus the idea of spending £100 on a cake began to haunt me, truthfully speaking, even though I wasn’t the one who was going to buy it as my brother was going to it just didn’t begin to sit right with me. As a parent, I put my responsible hat on and thought that the £100 could have so much better use for Little A rather than a cake that’d be scoffled down and then forgotten.

I have baked before but not for that many people and I have never been daring with baking either. The baking part of it was not as daunting as decorating it and making it look perfect!

I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t the most perfect journey I began. There were trips and failures along the way which I thankfully thinking quick on my feet overcame.

So this post isn’t a guide on how to make a Rainbow cake, although I will be including the recipe I attempted to follow, this post is basically me trying to explain that what you set your mind too, just go for it, even if you doubt yourself!

One hurdle that I needed to cross was the actual time needed to spend to make this thing - I don’t have a big oven and not much baking utensils so I tried to make do with what I had, this meant splitting the recipe in three and repeating the methods again.

I baked two layers on Wednesday, there are no pictures of this to show off as I was in a very sleep deprived state. Well I do have one picture to share.



Here you are seeing a picture of a rainbow made out of fondant which I thought was going to stand on my cake but then realised after some googling and YouTubing that I actually needed that thing which I can’t remember the name of now, but it turns your fondant into play dough and keeps it strong? I tried other methods but they just weren’t working for me.

So I just went to bed, hoping that I’ll dream of a solution.

The next day was going to be a challenge as I had to bake 4 layers and assemble the cake together. I also had to venture out in the evening for training so knew that I had time against me. My Dad came over to keep Little A entertained so I had no distractions.




By 1pm all the layers were ready and set to be assembled. Now for the difficult part, put it together! Of course I had to trim the layers, otherwise the cake would have been very tall. I didn’t have those fancy cake trimmers, just my good old knife to assist me, all was going well until the green cake cracked but hurrah for buttercream that I managed to glue it together (nobody noticed, so that’s a win!) .

I then had to apply a coating of buttercream as you can see below, not a pretty sight. It seemed like my buttercream was too drippy but I just got on with it and refrigerated it till the next day.



I had thought about evening out the sides but was exceptionally frightened that the whole thing would fall apart and hoped that the fondant would cover up the noticeable blemishes.

Came Friday, the day before the party and I still had no idea how on earth was I going decorate this big thing! So I thought I would just apply the fondant and see how it goes...



And behold!

Every bakers worst nightmare, the fondant was too small! I sat there for a few minutes, thinking how I would overcome this challenge, should I take it off? Should I leave it like that? I’m sure no one would notice right?

So I began to set the fondant like that, onto the cake and luckily I had some extra white fondant which I swirled around the bottom half to cover the partially naked cake. But of course it looked dreadful and my mistakes were being highlighted quite extravagantly.

Instead of wasting my time worrying over it, I decided to get on with decorating the top of the cake which I decided would be a flat rainbow with Little A’s name at the bottom.


(Yes, there’s no orange, I had originally bought a supermarket branded food colourings but then read bad reviews so in a haste ended up ordering the wrong set and had no time for an exchange or return!)

Then a light bulb switched on in my head and my eyes lay on the multi coloured trimmings of cake! I then turned those trimmings into crumbs, creamed the ugly bottom half of the cake with buttercream and just literally threw the crumbs all over, praying that it’d turn into a beautiful thing.



As you can see...



So there you have it! This was the first time I baked a layer cake, first time decorated a cake to this extent and first time played around with food colouring but I did it! Yes, I’m giving myself an ego boost right now because a month on, I’m still pretty impressed with what I did even if it was a kind of wonky but hey it was made with love!

The big reveal...



It probably would have been better looking if it had the right colours or the link and yellow layer switched places. But for a first time (without any trials) I think I did pretty good... do you agree?

I used Cupcake Jemma's Rainbow cake recipe.



*~*~*

I have always had a passion for baking especially cakes and have decided to pursue this further and practice more frequently now. So if you’d like a peek into my baking adventures, do let me know below and I'll include a separate section on my blog just for my creations and of course failures!
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