Throwback: Just days before I gave birth to Sonny Jim
Knowledge is power – or so the saying goes. But sometimes the more information you have, the harder stuff seems.
Take fertility, for instance.
Having had a successful round of IVF, three unsuccessful rounds of IUI, six months of clomid treatments and years of hospital appointments, I’d say I’m pretty well versed in this area of life.
I’m under no illusion that I can just have another baby at some time in the future (though medically, there’s no reason why that couldn’t happen – oh the joys of unexplained infertility!)
I know that post-35 the chances of IVF working start to drop – and dramatically. That when you hit 35 the risks – to mum and baby – rise rapidly. That you’re actually classed as a “geriatric mother” in medical terms.
I know all of this, but at 34, it sometimes feels like information overload.
Family: Me with my sister-in-laws and sister
LAST Saturday my sister-in-law had her baby shower.
Her little boy is due in a couple of weeks, so her family and friends all gathered at Canvey’s Estuary Heights for a spot of afternoon tea, games and (in my case anyway!) prosecco.
It was lovely. Though these showers are an American tradition, that we’ve only recently really adopted this side of the pond, it’s a very sweet way to spend an afternoon. Three years ago, I really enjoyed mine.
But it got me thinking. We spend so much time preparing for the birth, for bringing the baby home, making sure we have all the material stuff sorted (from little vests to rocking chairs.)
But what about the bit when the baby is actually here. Postpartum. Those is-it-day-is-it-night-who-am-I-why-does-everything-hurt weeks (months. Can I say years?!)
Cuddling it better: Better than any medicine
One of Sonny Jim’s newest phrases is “mummy, lay DOWN. Poor tummy. Poor mummy.”
He’s started doing this ever since I was rushed to Southend hospital just before Christmas with suspected gallstones.
Though I managed to get him tucked up in bed before the ambulance came (and he had no idea his auntie Bear – my sister – spent most of the night on the sofa while I lay was prodded and poked and tested for hours by doctors) he has witnessed me spending a fair bit of time feeling utterly pathetic on the sofa.
And though I’m still not right (we’ve got no proper diagnosis despite the brilliant consultants and the dozens of tests) it has made me realise a few things.
Firstly, that it is possible to be sick and smile at the same time so as you don’t frighten your little one.
Secondly, that even when you feel awful (honestly, the pain at one point was worse than child birth) once you’re a mummy you are ALAWYS a mummy. Your needs still come second to making sure your child is okay. You don’t get to switch off the worry, even when people say you should.
My boy: Sonny Jim
For years and years, the only thing I wished for at Christmas was a baby.
Though I couldn’t put it on any list or casually throw it into conversation while at the office water cooler, falling pregnant was the one gift I yearned for – and the one thing I feared would never happen.
Having children for some women, some couples, just happens.
For others, it never does.
And for others, it takes time. Lots of time. And doctor’s appointments. And hospital visits. And tests. And needles. And months – years – of heartache.
I was one of the latter. And even though this Christmas will be my little boy’s third, I still have moments when I can’t quite believe it.
When my tot smiles with delight as we put on our matching festive pyjamas, then says “Sonny one, mummy one” while patting our candy-cane clad legs, I could almost cry. Continue reading
Peck them like Beckham: Me and my boy
Parenting, it seems, is a pursuit that everyone has an opinion on – and no one is shy about sharing those opinions.
From breast-feeding or bottle feeding, crying it out or cuddling to sleep, cots or co-sleeping, smacking or naughty stepping, nursery or nanny, every stage of parenthood, so it feels, brings with it another should or shouldn’t.
And it turns out that even one of the world’s most famous men – David Beckham – isn’t immune to the circling vultures of criticism.
What’s surprising though, is the part of his parenting that he’s been hugely trolled for online.
Lest we forget: My boy and me
Sometimes the ways in which motherhood changes you as a person are big.
You give up sleeping. You don’t get to go to the loo on you own. Your jeans never fit in quite the same way again.
And sometimes the changes are slight, subtle, barely discernible, even to yourself.
I had one of those moments on Remembrance Sunday.
I took Sonny Jim over to the service at the Paddocks, Canvey. His grandma is one of the island’s reverends, it’s where I grew up and I sometimes feel the pull of home when certain occasions come around (Christingle is one. Mothering Sunday another.)
And as I sat (thank you to the lovely lady who saw me standing with my almost-3st-slightly-scared-of-crowds-tot in my arms!) I felt a chill that had absolutely nothing to do with the bright, sunny morning.
Pumpkin picking: My Sonny-Jim
Hands up if you’ve taken your child pumpkin picking this half-term?
I feel like everyone I know with a child under about 14 (and plenty without kids at all) has gone mad for this Halloween-themed past-time.
We certainly have. Sonny Jim had a blast with his little buddy Emily at Hurleys Farm Pumpkin Forest, in Battlesbridge.
We came home with three that are currently being pulled all over the house by tiny hands. And we’re likely to take another trip back before the big day on Wednesday.
But the arrival (and popularity) of pumpkin farms here (the Pumpkin Patch, in Wash Road, Basildon, is another) marks a real transition in attitudes to All Hallow’s Eve from just a generation ago.
I didn’t have my first jack o’-lantern till I was 21 (when my then-boyfriend made me one.) Admittedly, my mum is a priest, so Halloween was never really going to be a thing in our house. But I wasn’t alone in not having a childhood of carving pumpkins. Continue reading