It’s thanks to IVF on the NHS that I have my boy

Katy Pearson, scan photo, seven week scan, Sonny Jim, #whatkatydidUK

As a seven-week fetus – our first look at Sonny Jim

TWO years ago today I was sat clutching my husband’s hand at Bart’s Hospital in London.

After nine years of trying for a baby, five years of fertility treatments and a round of IVF, it seemed I’d finally fallen pregnant.

And two days before my 31st birthday we were waiting for a scan to confirm that it was definitely true, for a first look at our baby, to see its teeny little heart beating.

When Sonny Jim’s flickering heart flashed up on the grainy screen, I cried. He looked a bit like a prawn. Or maybe a crocodile. And it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. Continue reading

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Parenting is a privilege… not a competition

Sonny Jim, Katy Pearson, toddler, #whatkatydidUK

Up on his feet: Sonny Jim is now a toddling toddler

I think we can all agree on the fact that Einstein was a pretty clever chap.

But, did you know he was slow to talk? In fact, he reportedly didn’t start speaking until he was four. FOUR.

I bet he had his mum fretting.

Sonny Jim has just started walking. He’s one and a bit and in his little gang of baby buddies, he’s pretty much the last to get up on his feet.

He also took his sweet time in starting to crawl. Has no interest in potty training. Calls pretty much everything he sees “Bob”. And utterly refuses to wave or clap on cue.

None of this bothers me in the slightest. Continue reading

Would compulsory vaccinations for children be such a bad thing?

vaccinations, Sonny Jim, Katy Pearson, #whatkatydidUK

Post jabs – Sonny Jim was sad and sore after his first lot of vaccinations

I’m pretty sure all us mummies would do anything within our power to protect our children from harm.

Our babies becoming sick – when we could have prevented it – is the stuff of nightmares. It’s why we sterilise bottles. Why most of us should have taken out shares in Dettol wipes.

Yet 24,000 children a year in England are not immunised against measles, mumps and rubella.

The French PM Édouard Philippe has just announced that from 2018, all vaccines universally recommended by health authorities – 11 in total – will be compulsory.

Italy meanwhile, has recently banned non-vaccinated children from attending state schools.

It comes as the World Health Organisation warns of a major measles outbreak spreading across Europe. Continue reading

Cry it out? Co-sleep? Up all night? I feel your pain…

Sonny Jim, Katy Pearson, #whatkatydiduk #mummyandsonny

Sleep? What’s that? Sonny Jim at (yawn) 4.47am

Sleep deprivation is an actual form of torture. Literally.

And just because you’re being woken up every hour or so, night after night, by your sweet baby boy, doesn’t mean you are any less knackered.

So after a few months of Sonny Jim deciding sleeping at night was overrated, I decided to talk to an expert.

How to get babies to sleep is a contentious subject. Personally I think you do whatever feels right for you.

I’m not up for controlled crying. Yep, it works for a lot of people – my parents included. But it’s not for me. Continue reading

Perfect mummy… until I actually had a child

Sonny Jim, Katy Pearson, #whatkatydidUK

Little sleep thief: Imagine being this happy before 5am!

Honestly, I had parenting absolutely nailed… until I actually had a baby.

I don’t think I’m alone in this. I think most of us have pretty clear ideas of what we’d do as a mummy or daddy. What we would allow. What our child will and won’t do.

Which is great, until you realise that your child totally didn’t get the memo.

Here are some of my pre-Sonny Jim parenting fallacies:

* The baby won’t be sleeping in our bed.

Yep. That worked really well until he was poorly. Until he started waking up at 4am. Until he started staying awake for hours in the middle of the night. Now, at least part of the night is often spent with a tiny, wriggly third wheel in our bed. It’s  that or we just don’t sleep for nights on end. And, quite frankly, I need sleep. Continue reading

Mummies don’t need a TV ad to make them feel bad

Katy Pearson, Sonny Jim, #whatkatydid

Finding our own way – no thanks to Dove

“75 per cent say breastfeeding in public is fine. 25 per cent say put them away. What’s your way?”

Honestly, what WAS Dove thinking with its newest ad campaign?

The skincare brand – which in the past wonderfully celebrated women’s bodies in all their shapes, sizes, ages and nationalities – seems to have had something of a crisis.

Its new adverts, the premise of which is showing support for parents whatever their choices, couldn’t be any more misguided if it tried.

I didn’t breastfeed Sonny Jim. I planned to, wanted to, tried to, but he couldn’t. So we didn’t.

But I am vehemently supportive of the mamas who breastfeed. And mamas who choose to bottle feed. Fed is always best.

So Dove, here are a few things I think you need to know.

The equality act of 2010 means it is now discrimination to treat a woman unfavourably because she is breastfeeding. It’s ILLEGAL for anyone to ask a breastfeeding woman to leave a public place. So that 25 per cent you mention? Who CARES what they think.

Being a mum can be hard. Being a new mummy can be overwhelming. What a mama who is just getting to grips with motherhood, who has seen her body change beyond all recognition, who is just getting to know the baby they’ve spent months growing, absolutely doesn’t need is any more anxiety.

And that is what your advert has done, Dove. You’ve given credence to the cretines out there who like to judge mummies. You’ve given a voice to the narrow-minded numpties who with a thoughtless “put it away” comment can destroy a mum’s confidence. Can make her think twice about going out. Can make her question her mothering ability (even more than she already is. None of us think we’re doing “mummying” right anyway.)

Dove, go back to selling soap. Leave the actually parenting to us, hey?

This post was first published in the Echo newspaper on Friday, July 7, 2017: www.echo-news.co.uk

From a speck on a screen to our darling boy

4D scan, Katy Pearson, baby, baby scan, Sonny Jim, pregnant, #whatkatydid

Another look – Sonny Jim when I was 28 weeks pregnant

When did you first see your baby?

At the 12-week scan? When they were born?

I first saw Sonny Jim before he was even a baby. Before I was even pregnant.

He was a blastocyst – an embryo of about 200 cells. And it was six days after I’d been sedated to have my eggs collected. Doctors had managed to get 14. Of which 11 survived to the next day. By day five we were left with six still growing in a petri dish at Barts Hospital. Two of them were deemed “A grade.” One of them was Sonny Jim.

When I went back to have the “best looking” of blastocysts implanted – two years ago this month – the specialist spun a screen round to face me. See all that blackness she asked, that’s your uterus. Now see that tiny white speck? That’s the embryo.

My little Speckles. Continue reading