2015 in 40 questions

1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?
Had a baby.

2. Did you keep your new year resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Eh. Who needs them?

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Me? I’m pretty close to me. 😛

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No thankfully.

5. What countries did you visit?
None. Any overseas trips are most definitely a few years into the future.

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?
100% ownership of my own body. Some days I’m so touched out it’s ridiculous. I never knew that was a thing until I had a baby. It’s most definitely a thing.

7. What date from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
26 April, 5:14pm. The moment I went from never having kids to having a daughter.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
On a very personal level… Riding up not one but two mountains! I didn’t think I’d be able to make it up the summit of Donna Buang but I did. A month later, I did it again; this time it was Fall’s Creek.

I had so many doubts about whether or not I’d be able to reach the summit of Donna. I was six months post-baby and it was definitely ambitious. But I did it. It was really hard but I did it. I didn’t feel the sense of accomplishment until later but I guess it shows that having a baby doesn’t have to mean never doing the things you want to do. And it doesn’t mean you can’t do the things you did pre-baby.

I had a friend give me some good advice on the day. He said If you picture yourself failing, you will. Picture yourself at the summit. I think that’s pretty good advice for life in general.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I dunno. If I hadn’t got myself some help with the breastfeeding I think that would’ve been. Sometimes I can’t believe we’re still going now when at the beginning I was struggling so much. It got down to a day-by-day decision as to whether or not to continue. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to stop, that I’d decided to give up and switch to formula. But I didn’t. We’re at eight months now and still going strong. Down to three feeds a day but Juno starts and ends her day being breastfed.

Uh… that didn’t answer the question at all did it? Okay… my biggest failure was not being able to stop myself buying so many cute things for Juno. I mean really, how many t-shirts, oneies, skirts, dresses and pants does she need?!

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I got a cold in late February. Once I got it, I couldn’t get rid of it. I had it for the last two and half months of my pregnancy. It sucked. Juno and I both got colds when she was about seven weeks old. I was miserable, she was her normal happy self. Breastfeeding became a bit of an issue though.

Then there’s the elephant in the room… I knew there was a really good chance I would get post-natal depression. And I did. Breastfeeding was toe-curlingly painful and I was really struggling with everything. It all came to a head one day when Juno was around four weeks old. I just couldn’t get out of bed. I would look at Juno and wish that she wasn’t there. I couldn’t care for her. I just lay there.

Later that day I called a specialist psychologist who I had a referral for and got myself some help. Being able to recognise what was happening to me probably saved me. It’s something that we don’t like to talk about because the perception of motherhood is all love, cuddles and joy. And that’s such a fallacy.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Bike trailer for Juno. Haven’t used it yet but I’m hanging out to do so. We also bought an absolutely amazing vintage Polish Art poster.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Hillary, my physiotherapist. She has been a huge, huge part of my post-baby recovery. She has helped me in so many ways and is kind, compassionate and has amazing hands.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
The bastard who stole two of our bikes. My commuter got taken and Richard lost his single speed. Whoever it was came prepared with bolt-cutters to cut through the lock.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Juno. I have spent so much money on cute little outfits for her. Also once I got back into it, I’ve spent a lot of money on new cycling kit. More than I meant to. Oops.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
I want to say Juno’s birth but by the time it came around I was so over being pregnant that I just wanted her out. And when it came to take her home I was still in shock over the birth and the abruptness of her arrival. It seems that I’m too tired these days to get really excited about anything.

16. What song will always remind you of 2015?
Eh…

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Let me put it this way – the highs are high but the low are really freaken low.
ii. thinner or fatter? Thinner! But I am no longer growing a whole human being inside me.
iii. richer or poorer? Poorer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Sleep!

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Doubting myself as a parent. This parenting gig is freaken hard work without constantly doubting yourself. All I can do is my best and what I think is best for Juno.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
With Richard’s family. Juno had more fun with the wrapping paper than she did with her presents but that’s to be expected.

21. What was your favorite month of 2015?
To be honest, it’s all been one big blur. No month in particular really stands out.

22. Did you fall in love in 2015?
Yes 🙂

23. How many one-night stands?
None.

24. What was your favourite TV programme?
Daredevil. It was so good. The casting was pretty much spot on (except for the actor who plays Foggy – just don’t buy him as the character). And surprisingly enough Supergirl. It’s nice to have a show that’s not all dark and depressing. Kara has her angsty moments but it’s nice to have something that’s about finding the light.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Nope. Hate is a pretty wasteful so why put any energy towards it?

26. What was the best book you read?
The Shepherd’s Crown. Terry Pratchett’s last ever novel. *sniff* The day I found out he’d died, I just cried and cried. But he certainly had one big surprise in store with this book. It’s such a great read and a very fitting end for the Discworld series. (Now to hope that it gets left alone and that a greedy publisher doesn’t try to cash in on it by getting someone else to write books.)

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Still listening to the same stuff I always have. But I haven’t really had the time this year.

28. What did you want and get?
A healthy baby. And thankfully that’s exactly what I got.

30. What was your favourite film of this year?
I didn’t really make it to the cinema that much this year but like everyone else, my fav was definitely the new Star Wars movie. Sure it had flaws but it captured the spirit of the original films. Plus, kick-arse female protagonist!

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was meant to be taken out for lunch but I had a cold so that got cancelled. Still managed to have a nice day at home with Richard and Juno.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Having a little more confidence in my parenting skills. And worrying a good deal less about what other people thought of said skills. Juno is my baby therefore I know her best and I know what’s right for her.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?
Who knows?! I don’t have one. I’m a first-time mum. I’m allowed to not have one.

34. What kept you sane?
So, towards the end of the July I had a truly shit day. I felt like I was the worst mum on the planet and I simply wasn’t coping. I decided I had to go for a ride the next day come hell or high water. The forecast wasn’t great – it was cold, windy and rain was expected. But I still went for a ride. I got on my bike and just went. I’d been riding for about 10 minutes when I started to cry. I’d forgotten how awesome being out on my bike was. Yes, I’d missed it intensely but I’d forgotten what it felt like. My relief and happiness was so intense, there was no other way to express it except cry.

You can tell when I haven’t been riding enough. My ability to cope plummets, everything becomes too hard. But get me out on the bike for a few hours and I’m so much better.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Meh…

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Thought it was pretty shit how the government announced they were cutting their meager paid parental scheme on mother’s day. Calling women double dippers was pretty low too. And they wonder why women don’t like them…

37. Who did you miss?
My friend Helen who moved with her family to New York.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Well, that’s pretty obvious. Miss J of course!

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015
There is joy in everything if you chose to see it.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
I can never think of anything for this. Also, baby brain!!

Eight months old…

How time marches on.

This time last year I was 23 weeks pregnant. These days I have a very active baby on my hands who is currently trying to work out how to crawl. She can get up onto all fours but then is at a loss as what to do next. She kinda scoots backwards and can actually get a fair way. But it’s not like she needs to crawl, she gets around just fine by rolling.

She also has six teeth now. Her top four front teeth all came through in the space of a few days. That was some fun times (not). But maybe now she’ll be more interested in feeding herself rather than getting all her food spoon-delivered. She seems to be getting the idea of chewing down pretty quickly.

She’s talking a lot too. We’re getting plenty of baby babbling, lots of da da da da, ba ba ba ba, na na na na, mmm mmm mmm mmm, wa wa wa wa noises. The shouting stopped as quickly as it started which was good but she still loves blowing raspberries.

Scarily enough, she starting child care next month. I’m not going back to work until the end of March so we’re doing a long transition and easing her into it rather than suddenly dropping her in there for eight hours a day, three days a week. I would’ve preferred a later start but this is the only way I could get her into the centre I wanted. Not sure how I feel about it to be honest. I’m kinda looking forward to having some time to myself before going back to work but I look at her and think she’s so little!! It’s too soon. She’ll probably be fine, I’ll be the one who’s a mess.


And we’re so done at this point. I’m such a mean mummy.

Keeping with my tradition (but with bonus Juno pic spam)

I know I always put this up but this year it seems to have extra meaning and I get a bit teary towards the end (gee, I wonder why). Much love to those I hold dear, both near and far.

And because it’s all about Juno…

My little chubba bub is seven months old

Seven months!

I know, I know, I say how surprised I am at how quickly time is passing every single time I do one of these post. But it really is shocking how quickly the time goes by.

Juno has changed a lot, especially in the last three months. She’s lost all of her newborn characteristics and is most definitely a growing girl.

Sometimes I worry because physically she’s not doing as much as the other babies around her age. She’s not sitting unassisted yet and seems really reluctant to stand as well. When we try that, her knees just buckle under her. She’s only just mastered rolling. But I think she’d be able to do it for awhile, she just wasn’t interested.

She did give me a heart attack last week. I put her down in her cot but left the side down and quickly went into the bathroom to shut the window. I came back to find Juno with one leg and arm over the side. Her head was up and she definitely looked like she was about to lever herself out. So, no more leaving her in the cot with side down…

Mentally she seems really together. I’ve watched her work out her dummy is next to head where she can’t see it, reach around for it and get it back in her mouth. She also talks – a lot. The shouting has just started in the last few days (and is already annoying so I’m hoping she’ll grow out of that habit soon). And then there’s the fake coughing. I also kinda regret teaching her how to blow raspberries but it’s just so cute when she does it.

It’s amazing how quickly she’s learning and changing.

07Months04web

07Months06web

07Months07web


And we’re done.

You blink and it’s six months later

What a wild ride it’s been. It feels like it was only yesterday I was still pregnant, feeling enormous and very over it. Then suddenly she was in the world and I had to learn how to care for this small and utterly dependent person.

The change into being someone’s mum has been challenging and not without its difficulties. There’s no way to be prepared for what’s going to happen. You could read every book in the world about child birth and having a baby but nothing can prepare for actually living with a small baby. It was a shock to say the least. To say that I felt overwhelmed would be an understatement.

Even now some days can be a bit of a struggle. Juno is a pretty relaxed baby so when she’s fussy and/or unsettled I find it… difficult. I’m doing the best I can and I guess that’s what matters (but when you’re in the moment it can be really hard to remember that). She can be a real challenge when she wants to be but it usually only a passing thing. After a good sleep, she goes back to being her normal, chipper self.

I can’t wait to see what she’ll do next.

So much change in such a short space of time

It feels like only yesterday that I was handed a (not-so-little) little baby. 25 weeks later and I no longer have a little baby who only slept, pooped, cried and ate. She’s bright-eyed, curious about the world, chatty, smiles so much.

It’s easy to not see the changes because I’m with her every day. To me, she’s just Juno and she’s a constant in my life. But she has changed so much. And here are the pics to prove it.

Has it been five months already?

Really? As they say the days are long but the years are short. We’re not up to years yet but the months are flying by.


Oops.


Nnnnnooooooooooo!! Not more photos mum!!!


Maybe if I hide under here, mum won’t find me and that’ll be the end to the photos.

Lies they told me

To infinity and beyond!! Juno being super cute, even while asleep.

So, you get pregnant and pretty much right from the start you get asked if you’re going to breastfeed. You get told repeatedly that it’s a wonderful, bonding experience that you really must do to give your baby the best possible start in life. The other thing you get told repeatedly is that breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt.

I wish someone had been honest with me.

I wish that, while I was still at the hospital, more than one midwife had the decency and the guts to say it’s gonna hurt. The basic biological purpose of breasts may be to feed a baby but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to feel painful, strange and overwhelming – especially for a first time mum.

Pretty much every other woman I’ve spoken to who has breastfed has said the same thing: breastfeeding freaken hurts! The let down hurts. The baby latching on hurts. But none of the breast-feeding advocates ever seem to say this. They all speak about how amazing it is, how natural it is and spend a lot of time lamenting the lost art of breastfeeding.

This isn’t helpful in the least when you’re in the middle of the blur (and panic) of having a new baby.

It wasn’t bad at first. While I was in hospital it was okay, even though I had the bizarre experience of being “milked” by a midwife the night after my c-section after Juno wouldn’t/couldn’t latch on and she really needed to get some colostrum into her. I had another midwife whose idea of teaching me how to breastfeed was to grab my boob with one hand, Juno’s head with the other and bring them together with some force. Not that helpful really.

After the c-section I was pretty determined to breastfeed because I felt that I’d missed out on that initial bonding experience. I wanted to breastfeed her. I knew it would potentially be quite difficult, being a large busted woman but I really thought it would be okay. After all, how hard could it be? I did nearly every feed during the day in the breastfeeding room so I could be near the midwives. I was told how good I was doing, how calm I was about it, how lucky I was with Juno being big because big baby means a big mouth and an easier latch. (“My, what big teeth you have.” “All the better to eat you with” said the wolf.) My efforts were praised and I was pretty much left to my own devices. I didn’t speak up about the difficulties I was experiencing because I thought other women deserved more help then I did.

Well, it wasn’t okay.

Before leaving the hospital, I had cracks in both nipples but didn’t really say anything about them (I know, I should’ve). They got significantly worse once we were at home. The skin was so raw and broken. Every time Juno latched on, she rubbed the raw skin. It got to the point where I dreaded feeding Juno. I would drag it out for a long as possible so that I didn’t have to deal with the pain. It got so bad that one night I was sitting on the edge of the bed, trying to feed a screaming Juno who was understandably hungry and just sobbing. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how to feed my baby without experiencing a huge amount of pain.

This isn’t conducive to a good bonding experience. My determination to breastfeed was actually damaging the fairly fragile bond that I felt that I had with her. I couldn’t enjoy my baby because I so dreaded feeding her. I wanted to stop – I so desperately wanted to stop – but I felt that I couldn’t because I’d bought into the whole thing of it being what was best for Juno. I was consumed with guilt because I hated it so much when all I’d been told was how wonderful breastfeeding was and how it would make me feel so close to my baby. It didn’t. All it did was make me resent her which then made me feel even more guilty.

In the end I hired a breast pump and saw a lactation consultant. The consultant had good advice and tried to be helpful but on the day Juno did the perfect feed – latched on easily and comfortably – so the consultant couldn’t really see how (badly) our feeds normally went. I did listen to her advice and some of it did help. But what really made the difference was deciding to try bottle feeding with expressed milk. Thankfully Juno took to the bottle straight away so we began a routine of her having half of her feeds out of a bottle instead of from the boob. It meant I was attached to a breast pump three or four times a day but it did give my nipples a chance to heal, making the times she did feed off the boob less painful. I could sit on the couch, cuddling Juno while she drank her bottle, look into her eyes and feel peaceful. I could hold her close and not be consumed by how much it hurt to give her the sustenance she so desperately needed.

Making this choice – which so many breastfeeding advocates would disagree with – has totally changed my relationship with Juno. I don’t regret it for a second because if I hadn’t, I’m pretty sure I would’ve stopped breastfeeding all together and Juno would be a formula-fed baby by now. We’re even back to the majority of feeds being off the boob which is something I didn’t think would happen. I’ve also breastfed in public which I thought I’d never have the confidence to do. I’ve even expressed milk in public!

But I have to admit that I’m still more than a little ticked off by the lack of honesty when it comes to breastfeeding. I really wish someone had said to me that there was a very good chance that breastfeeding was going to hurt more than I could possibly imagine but that it would get better, that it’s not the end of the world to switch to bottle feeding, that I’m not a bad mum for doing what I did. I really wish midwives and other breastfeeding advocates would acknowledge what appears to be a common experience for women when it comes to breastfeeding – that it hurts – because them not unintentionally makes women feel like failures when it does. I know I really felt like I was a failure and I thought that I must’ve been doing something so terribly wrong (but now I don’t think I was).

I’m a big believer that knowledge is power. But when it came to breastfeeding I can’t help but feel that I was seriously let down by the people who were supposed to help me get the knowledge I needed. I had to work out how to solve this problem on my own. It was so hard to work out felt was right for me and Juno and it’s a solution that some would disagree with. Still, I have to not care because this mix of boob and bottle is what works for us. And that’s what matters in the end.

Four months old and could you be any cuter?

Nope, I don’t think you could be.


Lengthy dithering over this photo because I couldn’t decide between the colour version and the black & white one. The wanna-be, try-hard photographer went with the b&w.

Miss J either doing her best Elvis impersonation or trying to tell me she’d had enough. (It was the later. Or maybe both. I don’t know…)

Three months

Lying in bed, looking at the silhouette of you sleeping on your daddy’s chest. The world is quiet and you’re so peaceful.

It’s so clear in my head that you don’t care about routines or schedules. You don’t care about any of the things that the “experts” say that we should be concerned about. According to so many of them we’re doing the wrong thing, creating a dependency by letting you sleep with us. We’re letting you manipulate us into doing what you want, catering to your every whim. You’ll never be able to go to sleep on your own without us, that we’ll live to regret it because you’re going to turn into a spoilt little princess.

But I don’t care.

You’re so little. Only three months old and still so new in the world. You need us. Right now you need us in a way that you never will again. We give you familiarity, comfort and safety. You give us smiles – huge gummy smiles that light up your entire face – which is more than a fair trade. At the moment the world must be a confusing, noisy and scary place for you so it’s our job to make you feel safe and comforted. Sticking to a schedule won’t do that, trying to force you to fit into our lives so we don’t have to make changes won’t help you. One of us cuddling you will. Letting you sleep on us will.

That’s not you manipulating us, that’s us giving you love.

You’re going to grow up. You won’t remember this time. You won’t remember sleeping on your daddy’s lap while we watch TV. You won’t remember afternoon naps with me, curled up in my arms. You won’t remember all the funny faces we pulled to make you smile. You won’t remember tummy time on your play mat. You won’t remember the chats we had, all the things I told you. You won’t remember lying on your daddy’s chest, both fast asleep and looking so peaceful. But we will.

It seems to me that it’s more important that you grow up feeling loved rather than micro-managed. You’re not a little robot to be controlled or a tyrant to be overcome. You’re our Juno, our little baby girl. You’re fine the way you are, doing what babies are meant to do which is feed, sleep, develop and grow. You don’t need a schedule for that.

Enough with the photos already!!

Enough with the photos already!!