Speaking Up and Speaking Out for LB: Having a voice and being heard

Connor Sparrowhawk’s death on 4th July 2013 was entirely preventable.

He was just 18 years old, a fit and healthy young dude known online and by his loved ones as Laughing Boy (LB), LB loved buses, London and Eddie Stobart, he also happened to have autism and epilepsy.

LB drowned in the bath at an Assessment and Treatment Unit where he had been for 107 days. How can it be that in a fully staffed assessment and treatment unit a young man with a known history of seizures can drown in a bath with nobody noticing until it was too late?

His mother Sara’s fight to bring about #JusticeforLB started with a battle to get an independent investigation into his death commissioned, and another fight for its publication. The #107days campaign is borne out of her wish to inspire, collate and share positive actions being taken to bring about #justiceforLB and all other young dudes. You can read more of the background here and here.

I started to follow Sara’s blog way back when she was talking about what a good life would look like for Connor; a fellow social researcher unpacking the big issues around disability; how heartbreaking to read of his death in July 2013, I felt as though I knew LB and his family, knew the direction in which they were headed.

I asked to adopt day 48 of #107days because it’s my daughter’s birthday, I have a strong interest that she develops a desire to tackle issues of social (in)justice and so it seemed an appropriate way to focus my attention.  This blog post is where my personal and work lives collide.   I have spent much of my working life campaigning for the availability of independent advocacy in Gateshead at Gateshead Voluntary Organisation Council, but in doing so realised early on that my job was not just to promote services and seek funding, but to challenge the practice that advocates see in their day to day work.

Something from my first ever self-advocacy workshop has always stuck in my mind, I delivered a session with a group of young adults with learning disabilities, we looked at some images associated with advocacy, one guy piped up “why do they always use a photo of a megaphone in these speaking up things? You can shout loud and clear but they still don’t hear you, it should be a picture of a fella and his advocate with the hundred-odd letters and emails they’ve sent about a problem instead…”

I want to use the opportunity to blog on day 48 about the importance of having a voice and being heard. Why is it so significant to know that Connor loved Eddie Stobart, buses and speaking his mind? It brings a context that we all have our own interests and our own ideas about what a good life is like, knowing about people also makes them visible and difficult to ignore.

Sara’s blog posts and responses to the independent investigation into Connor’s death make one thing so obvious – I can practically hear her shouting loud and clear about his epilepsy, seizures, about her rights, LB’s rights – here was a voice that was not being heard.

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(Another bus for LB)

So if health and care services don’t hear the voices that are shouting loudly what about the people who have no family, no advocate, no-one speaking for them? The Department of Health’s Winterbourne View report, noted: “Failure to listen to people…and their families [is] a common experience and totally unacceptable”. So a voice is speaking, but what are the barriers to being heard then?

Connor went from being at home with his family to being on an assessment and treatment unit. Let’s take a moment to think about what a home environment might be like, familiar, comforting and for LB somewhere where he and his family would have spent years navigating what a good life looked like, he shared a room with his brother his whole life, creating an environment where he could be expressive and learn to speak his mind.

Imagine being 18 years old and moving into a hospital environment, to live, for 107 days (or, sadly, possibly longer)?

LB was admitted under the Mental Capacity Act, later he was detained under the Mental Health Act. The independent investigation highlighted that staff on the unit tried to explain his rights but LB became distressed so they stopped. The independent investigation suggests there was a lack of clarity from staff both about the purpose of the unit and about why LB was there; if staff did not have a clear understanding of why LB was there how on earth could LB have understood? Shouldn’t he have been helped to understand?

When someone with a disability or mental health issues known to social services turns 18 they undergo a social care process called transition. In effect they transition from children’s to adult services. Who could ensure that LB did understand? His mother surely?

She had to navigate a confused and confusing access system owing to the fact that Connor was over 18 and therefore an adult and could choose or refuse to see his family (dependent, we might assume, on how well or otherwise staff communicated with him?) There is a strong sense from Sara that she wanted LB to live an independent life and make his own decisions, but under these circumstances it seems once the age of transition is reached common sense goes out of the window and regulations about access become king. How come for the first few weeks access was largely unrestricted? Was there some sort of unspoken settling in period after which families are somehow no longer needed?

A final word on speaking up in care settings, I strongly believe that all vulnerable adults should have access to someone who can help them speak up or speak on their behalf, the Care Bill looks set to move in this direction, but how will it be paid for and how will it be delivered? People have had a right to an Independent Mental Health Advocate under the MHA for some years now and we know many don’t see this right respected because of patchy provision, poor commissioning or poor application of the law.

What do we do about making listening the norm against a backdrop of health and social care systems, treatment options, legislation, guidance and working practices? What stops it? Is it that in cases like this decisions must be made quickly so they are made on the person’s behalf? Maybe they’re felt to be in danger or they have an urgent and pressing health concern and the person and their family get left behind? Clearly the very fact that statutory advocacy exists at all suggests we understand the need to hear the person in all of this, so why did Connor’s mum have to fight to be heard?

What would make a difference?

LB’s situation was surely one of the most vulnerable, a young man away from home, navigating a complex system of physical and mental health, sometimes experiencing the conditions that seem to go alongside presenting challenging behaviours; medication, detainment, restraint, with very little support. The idea of whole person care is gaining momentum, moving from the silos of health, mental health and social care to ‘seeing the whole person’ – this must include the bigger picture of families and carers, seeing them and hearing them too.

Properly funded advocacy for all vulnerable adults would be a good starting point. The NHS Constitution is supposed to extend in law a right for patients and their families to be heard. This is not a document to be referred to only in case of complaint but to be woven into practice, especially at the harder end of care. We need to see it given teeth, with a robust evidence base to monitor its application, and it needs to hold the same importance for practitioners as clinical guidelines do.

My blog’s readership is in the main parents, so I wanted to take the time to make an ask. Take a look at this post on what you can do to support this campaign, maybe consider taking the time to talk to someone else about LB’s story, or do something Joss and I did together and draw a red bus, or my crafty readers might want to make a quilt square. Let’s keep the momentum going.

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Mumslist: the Easter buddy came to town

Real Life

Last week was Easter and a really lovely family time that extended into Joss and I having a lovely afternoon out on Tuesday too.  New shoes for her and a treat or two for me! She loves her sparkly shoes so much that she keeps stopping to take another look!

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Joss was pleased that the ‘Easter buddy ‘ remembered her!

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Today also saw the Great Cloth Diaper Change so we headed to Newcastle along with 25 (may have been more!?) littleys to take part in the international world record bid, aiming to get as many people as possible changing a cloth nappy, we caught up with some friends, met some new folk and created a work of art too!  It’s Real Nappy Week next week so I’ll be blogging some cloth bum tips again.

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(Photo by Mandy Charlton Photography event in Newcastle organised by Grow Up Green)

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Work life is getting interesting, I have a jointly written paper that’s being published next week and I’m exploring blogging research findings for other outlets too, so work and home are taking some interesting converging routes, more on that in the next few weeks

Blogging Life

I’ve published a post this week that has really pushed me in terms of honesty and writing, but I’m glad I finally pressed publish on my birth story part 2 and although its focus on a very bad time in my life made it hard to write sharing it is a big part of my recovery.  I also really enjoyed writing a bit of a forward plan for my blog to pin down the direction I want to go in, and this post about bloggers using research skills to generate content has been crazy busy in terms of hits!

I am pleased to have a few review posts coming up, and I’ve finally sat down and written out a day by day list of the linkys that I like to enter so I don’t forget to join in, and have put aside an hour a week to reply to comments and do some wider blog reading around parental mental health and wellbeing.

Inspiration

An oldie but goodie I’m trying my hand at Flylady’s cleaning routines again after reading this post

I’m exploring Vines as a canny way to include a short burst of video into my blogging, I’m not really up for vlogging but this is a good compromise for those moments where Joss is singing etc, so far so good!

Mums' Days

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PND Birth Story Part Two: The one where I hallucinate a pigeon

Why part two?  Wasn’t one post enough?!  I know, it was a quick labour, you weren’t expecting a two-parter, right?

I am nervous to post this, if you know me in real life and we haven’t had a discussion about my post-birth experience then this might make you judge me, I hope you won’t do the mental health stigma thing, but talking about it is a new thing for me and I’m being no-holds-barred because it’s not talked about enough.

I’m not writing this out of anger or frustration, but just incase someone reading has had a similar experience, I hear you.

This kind of story, it’s not the one new mothers tell, but for me these stories are the ones that are significant. They are the ones I had to write to stop torturing myself over them.

Here goes.

Pregnancy

Time goes on, I fret, I work, I worry about my unborn child and anxiety grows stronger but I don’t recognise it at the time. It is the shape of things to come.  If I look at my mobile phone search field and type in ‘pregnancy and…’ a list from my pre-natal anxieties comes up we have ‘pregnancy and eating shellfish’ ‘pregnancy and not feeling baby move as much’ ‘pregnancy and counting kicks’ ‘pregnancy and flu’ ‘late pregnancy and going to wedding’ and last of all ‘pregnancy and feeling blue’

I had three different midwives, no-one picked up on my list making and anxiety, I didn’t even try to hide it, I turned up to each appointment with lists of questions, it strikes me now that someone might have questioned that given my history of mental ill health.

Post-birth

Dear health professionals,

When I came onto the ward with my new baby it was 8pm at night, the lights were out and my husband was sent home. I was scared. You handed me a leaflet about breastfeeding, my baby cried all night, she vomited, I called for help, you said she was fine, you left us to it, she cried, I cried all night too.

You came in to check on us at 1am, I said I was desperately tired after over 50 hours without rest, you tucked my girl into the bed with me and said just get some rest.

The next day I was not feeling good, we had visitors and I relaxed but when they left I felt panicked, I was afraid to leave my little baby in her bassinet so took her to the bathroom with me, you stopped me, and later again when I went for breakfast, “you can’t walk around with your baby in case you drop her but you can push her in the bassinet, it has wheels” – I told you I was afraid to leave her, you just laughed “don’t worry, the ward is alarmed” – I wasn’t worried someone would take her, I just couldn’t explain why I couldn’t put her down.

Later I hallucinated a pigeon in the ward bathroom, I didn’t tell anyone, I started to feel elated and manic, I didn’t sleep but spent hours reading about breastfeeding and a good latch. My girl’s notes said shed been taken to NICU in the night without my knowledge, “don’t worry, that was a mistake, it was someone else’s baby” you said, the damage was done. I was afraid to sleep incase they took my baby.

She was a lazy feeder, a poor latch, I felt like I failed her, you let me syringe feed her and said I could take some syringes home for just in case, later the breastfeeding support coordinator came for a chat, the syringes were a bad idea and later another midwife took them off me, I couldn’t take my baby home or the syringes until feeding was established. I lied, said it was going great not able to face another night of crying in the dark.

Before we left ironically a midwife talked to me about the baby blues, my husband also talked to a midwife about PND, maybe he knew what was coming? Apparently if I was making an effort I was doing OK. Here I am fully dressed and with makeup on, inside I’m crying but I must have been doing OK, right?!

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At home a community midwife came out, if I’m honest I felt like I wanted to die. For three days she came bright and breezy, “look at you back in your jeans already etc” I was a mess and utterly panicked by the responsibility I felt, day three she left after ten minutes though I told her I was afraid to be alone with my baby, the next day I told her I was fearful about my mental health, she said she knew I was struggling the day before, so why did she leave in such a hurry?

Day four Joss was weighed by the midwife, before she did so I said breastfeeding was a struggle, my daughter slept through feeds and I wasn’t convinced she was getting any milk. The midwife talked about failure to thrive and hospitalisation without checking latch or weight, I got out the formula I bought just in case, all I heard was my baby would be hospitalised, I cried for days afterwards and two years on and as I came out of the fug and realised I had regrets about giving up, giving in and not fighting for the feeding I always believed and was told every mother could do, until recently I was still heartbroken by how things turned out. A friend later said she was just so stubborn about breastfeeding that she would never give up, every comment, every success story of triumphal feeding hurt.

I came to see my GP day five post partum, “oh its just the baby blues” – I wanted to run away, I told the hospital that on the phone but once they established my husband and mam were here that somehow made it all OK. By this point I was certain my baby would be taken away. By then the dreams and hallucinations had started, some religious some horrifying, still too hard to discuss I lost my grip on reality for two weeks, I cried day and night and the mania was frightening. When I later had counselling for postnatal OCD (that list making again) it became clear I had had a spell of postnatal psychosis. It explained the intrusive thoughts, waking dream/nightmares and the odd conversations I had in my head. I received no help, my midwife signed us off, in the end sleep was my respite and my husband my rock. Those two weeks were hell on earth, I couldn’t see a way through and it got pretty dark.

Intrusive thoughts came thick and fast and I knew they weren’t normal new mum worried but I didn’t say anything. My thought processed were stressy and hard to pin down “last night my baby cried and I cuddled her whilst the milk cooled, we both fell asleep, she missed the feed. Was it that she just wanted a hug or was she so hungry she slept from exhaustion? I must be a terrible mother. I can’t breastfeed my baby, I am a bad mother. She never finishes her bottles, what should I do, make more, make less, am I getting this right? Will she turn out to be mad like me? What am I passing on to her? Are the bottles sterilised enough, there are germs everywhere…”

Later I had a bad spell about leaving Joss to cry for even a minute, not eating or making myself a drink and making lists about her feeding, what she’d eaten, her weight. I look back on it and laugh, I tell people about it because I can now, not talking about it was a pretty heavy burden and I want to help others experiencing similar to speak up about their experiences too. As I hit publish I have doubts about sharing this but you can’t rewrite your history, I tried. I accept responsibility for how things worked out, I should have spoken up but I didn’t; the guilt and anger at myself are hard to let go of, my husband went through a lot, no-one helped him through that and what a brilliant Dad he showed himself to be, but I have no doubt we all came out of this worn down and jaded, that makes me feel terribly guilty.

We have an amazing bond my girl, her Dad and I and there is hope, that when you feel you can’t go on, you’ll never sleep again or you can’t imagine ever being the mother you hoped and dreamed of, you will get there, I promise x

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Post Comment Love

I'm linking this into Motivational Monday as I am setting up a PND support group and wanted to remind myself why I wanted to share this post with others.


Motivational Monday

Maternal mental health and moving on mumslist

Real Life

Spring is here and isn’t it grand!?

This week has seen a lot of sling action, getting out and about and enjoying the sun.  It was a different sort of work week for me, two days of media training but the chance to pick the brains of the experts about blogging and tweeting too, this has given me a new strategy that I’ll talk about in a bit.  I also finished my two week wardrobe challenge, and now have a capsule wardrobe of just 30 items, scary but freeing too!

So maternal mental health, this week I blogged about two big issues, bottle nursing, which I think doesn’t get the coverage it deserves and was probably my toughest blog post yet, and I also wrote a piece trying to unpack and ask some questions about mother’s guilt, working and the media.

All this is building up to a big piece of news and some more posts around maternal mental health.  This week I became affiliated with PANDAS Pre and Postnatal Depression Advice and Support. 

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In short I am setting up their first North East group, the Newcastle Upon Tyne PANDAS Support Group.  I feel really well of late, I have enjoyed several months anxiety free and have been feeling strong for a while now.  I want to bridge a big gap between formal mental health services and community services, there is very little available to new mums anyway following the cuts and being lonely and frightened with dependents can be a very dark place.  I approached a group of friends some of which I’ve met some I have yet to meet looking for others who can help me get set up, I was blown away by their honesty and sadly by their numbers, but we all want to offer our support to other parents and that makes me feel so proud of them, and of how far we have come on our own journeys.  I look forward to sharing experiences, offering support and maybe making some friends along the way too.

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Blog life

Two new things, 1) to devote an evening a week to building up content on a range of ideas and 2) to blog daily where possible about topical issues in the media linking into twitter and facebook feeds on ‘big issues’ around parenthood, politics and media.  I did this with my post on maternal guilt, it came out of Mumsnet stats that were released that day and I tweeted my response and linked into discussions on Facebook which drove more traffic.  I would also like to see my Tots100 score continue to increase, currently at 549 I have worked hard to get to this position and would love to understand more behind the metrics too.

Inspiration

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We’ve been yardening again so I’m about to blog another How Does Your Garden Grow but also found inspiration here:

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http://www.growsonyou.com/

Mums' Days

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Misheard lyrics

I love when people totally mishear lyrics, this list by Clash Music is brilliant, of course at number one is Hendrix’s Purple Haze, “scuse me while I kiss the sky” often heard as “scuse me while I kiss this guy”

It seems we have our own little mishearer of lyrics, thinking about it, some of the words in songs are so complex that children must pick up the rhyme and rhythm way before they understand the words, hence this beauty of Joss’ that I’ve tried to write word for word – ladies and gents, I give you, the Grand Old Dupalork!

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This cracked me up as I had been having a rough day and needed a good chuckle but I was so proud to hear her have a bash, it took place whilst she was wearing these excellent pipecleaner glasses Daddy made, couldn’t get a good pic though as she was marching up and down again!

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What about your little ones, any good misheard lyrics from nursery rhymes?

Ethans Escapades

the outtakes

Wot So Funee?

PND and Breastfeeding: Why is bottle nursing not talked about? A guide for expressing, donor milk and formula feeding mums

I struggled to write a post about my breastfeeding journey, I’ve tried many times but it’s something I have yet to fully make peace with, I decided to post something positive and instructive instead, something that would have helped me.  I am not saying this is an alternative to breastfeeding or comparing the two, but it is a method of infant feeding that is not really talked about and I would have liked someone to have told me about it earlier.

Our journey

They say ‘never give up on a bad day’ – I gave up on the worst day, day six, just as the baby blues should have been lifting I hit rock bottom.

My journey in a nutshell went awry because a) Joss was not terribly interested in feeding, b) I didn’t sleep for three days solid and started to lose touch with reality and c) we struggled to access good support for PND.

Truth be told I was pretty unwell with an infection and a serious bout of mental ill health, when I should have been resting I was experiencing manic highs and frightening lows.  There’s a narrative to all of this that I will blog about when I make more sense of it, but generally I stopped feeding Joss because I was terrified, frightened and not coping.

This one precious photograph is so special as it reminds me she had six days of my milk, its the only one I have, a keepsake if you like.

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Formula feeding was not easier, I was anxious about hygiene, sterilising, and scrubbed my hands til they were sore, but I knew how much she was taking in, and that was very important to me.

Whilst wrestling with my guilt I came across the idea of bottle nursing, associated with attachment parenting.  It took time to feel that I hadn’t failed, I had tried and it didn’t work out, we do the best we can for our children and whether by choice or necessity we nurture our children in different ways.

I chose to see nursing as something that was not exclusive to breastfeeding.

I chose to tell those who said nothing compares to mother’s milk and that they just tried harder than I did that my journey ending at day six broke my heart and my spirit

But I have to point out that I am pro breastfeeding and defend mother’s rights to feed in public just as fervently as breastfeeding mothers do and it upsets me when mums row over feeding, you never know someone else’s back story, what’s in the bottle or how they came to this place (this is important as I did receive some very negative comments, being told J and I couldn’t go to a Christmas party with friends because it was for breastfeeding mams only really hurt)

So what is bottle nursing?

It’s feeding on demand close and instinctual bottle feeding, in a nutshell its emulates breastfeeding with a bottle of formula, pumped milk or donor milk.  It is feeding on demand rather than on schedule, often by mum, or mum and dad alone, with skin to skin contact, changing sides as a breastfeeding mother would do support eye development, and maintaining physical closeness.

Why bottle nursing?

The benefits are many:

  • Skin to skin with baby fed close to its mother
  • Lovely eye contact
  • A calm time to nurse and rest
  • Closeness and smell to build a strong bond
  • Perhaps deciding that only mum, or only mum and dad feed baby to build and maintain a nurturing bond

Deciding to feed in this way was not without its challenges, insisting that only Dad and I feed Joss was hard, the grandparents perhaps found that tough and friends would offer to feed her so we could have a cuppa etc and it probably seemed odd that I turned that down, but it was important to me to see formula feeding as just as nurturing as breastfeeding, a special time for us to enjoy, so often I would take myself away somewhere quiet to feed Joss and spend some quality time together.

In time when she could feed herself I still tried to insist on feeding as quiet time together, I think that this photograph shows that bottle feeding is no less close than breastfeeding

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I wanted to share my experience in the hope of helping others to understand this option for infant feeding, it was not what I expected but the benefits for both of us were great.

 

Mum Of One

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Don’t compare your inside to someone else’s outside…

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I’ve been posting some of the Action for Happiness resources here in the hope they might inspire others to explore positive mental health. What does this one mean? It could be that we never really know what is going on with someone else on the inside, they might be like a swan, serene on the surface, paddling like mad underneath. When I am feeling anxious I’ll often think ‘why does everyone else have it so easy?’ Well, maybe they don’t? Acceptance is what this one’s about.

The outside can be very different from the inside, this week’s What’s the Story demonstrates this really well. When we were on honeymoon we’d heard that St Chapelle monument was a must, it was pretty uninspiring outside, should we queue?

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Pretty glad we did!
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Fancy a new hobby? How to get started with crafting

My craft space is coming along nicely and I was telling a friend about it this week, she said she’s always wanted to do something crafty but doesn’t know where to get started.  I thought I’d blog about how I fit crafty activities into my daily life, something I managed to do with a newborn, whilst studying and now whilst working and parenting, as it’s important to me to do something that I find relaxing, productive, fun and that brings some colour into my life!

1) Start with a small project

You can dip into a small project over short periods of time, nap times are great for small projects as you are also closer to a sense of satisfaction at having finished something!  This felt baby mobile was the first thing I made after I had Joss, it gave me a small sense of purpose during nap times when I didn’t want to sleep and occupied my mind which I sometimes needed when I was feeling anxious as a new mother

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2) Wrap it up

Package up your project in a zip lock bag so you can quickly pop back to it, I sometimes have a couple of bags on the go and take one to work to spend time on over my lunch breaks

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3) Re-use and save

Try to use what you have at your disposal, you don’t need to spend as lot to find a cathartic hobby! Take these greetings cards I blogged about last week, made from recycled wrapping paper I didn’t need a lot to make something special

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4) Take to a book

Look at craft literature, magazines are great, they often come with a project inside, like this month’s Homemaker. I made this cushion using materials that came with the magazine, Joss loves it, I got loads of inspiration from the book and learned a new skill, soft toy making! Better still, visit your local library, many have a craft section and with a photocopier on site to copy and enlarge any patterns you may find a gem!

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5) Try to make a little time every day

You’d be surprised how a small project works up pretty quickly with even just ten to fifteen minutes a day, and by how relaxing picking up a project can be!  This is a longer term work in progress of mine, the crochet blanket in the background, so far I’ve put about three hours in over many days, it’s so colourful it’s a joy to return to after a busy afternoon with Joss!

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What craft would you like to try and why?  Or if you’re yet to dip your toe in the water what’s stopping you?

International Day of Happiness Inspiration

Today is International Day of Happiness. I shared some resources from the brilliant Action for Happiness recently here and received positive feedback so I thought I’d share some things that I find help keep me on track, you may just find them all very obvious, but I like a little inspiration from time to time and its easy to get caught up in thoughts, worries and habits.

The first photo is one I took on my way home from work, the others are pins from my happiness board:

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Eat, Sleep, Play: Unfounded Worries in Motherhood

Yesterday was World Sleep Day, as a mother your usual concern is that you and your family are not getting enough, and the idea that other folks are getting ALL THE SLEEP kills you!

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In a previous life I was probably a sloth…

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Truth be told, when I was planning my return to work I couldn’t see a way to go back, how could I put a decent day at my desk in after a run of bad nights?  Knowing that sleep has a huge impact on my productivity and mental health and my job involves more than just saying ‘pass the damn coffee’ all day I couldn’t see how it would work.  But it does,  and I do.

This got me thinking about some of my unfounded worries and anxieties as a new mother.  Now that I have a rapidly-approaching-two-year- old (RATYO?) my anxieties about “what if…x,y,z” have calmed a lot.

They usually focused around three key issues, Eat, Sleep, Play (see what I did here?)

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Weight gain and weaning… I drove myself to despair over Joss’ slow weight gain, when she started to fall off her line in the red book of wisdom I was told to bring her back to be weighed in two weeks.  I started to believe that I was somehow supposed to get her to eat more in those two weeks and meal times became awful for both of us, I’d obsess over her food intake.  I knew people said “food before one is just for fun” – ITS TRUE PEOPLE!! I didn’t believe this at the time, but eighteen months on Joss has a healthy and sensible appetite, still loves her fruit and veg and once I started to become much more patient we all started to enjoy mealtimes.  Most of my fears about weaning were unfounded too, hey look, she’s eating a meal of food like any regular human child, to me it was a revelation that baby led weaning existed, surely it was all about purees and spoon feeding?  See this muffin?  She didn’t really eat it, but she did mouth it and enjoy sharing a meal time with us, and that was more important than volume at that stage, lesson learned right there!

Sleep

You don’t need as much as you think you do.  Well I do, no really, I do.  In the early days once a routine was established about five months into our parenting journey I started to get a bit desperate about sleep, those what ifs? again, what if she wakes really frequently?  What is causing the disturbance?  Am I getting this routine thing wrong?  I started a sleep diary, we learned that Joss has a unique cycle every eight weeks moving from sleeping 10 hours straight to reducing that by an hour a night til we hit on a 4am wake up then increasing back to sleeping ten hours again.  Erm, how fascinating, but what would we do with this amazing data we had gathered?  Put it into a computer and make her sleep again?  It’s her cycle, we learned to live with it, it’s easier when you accept it and know that good days will follow bad again.

Play

The old will she won’t she walk soon?  Will she won’t she talk soon?  Is she getting the right kind of play?  Is it bad that she asks for Tombiliboos first thing in the morning and knows the names of most of the Cbeebies presenters like they’re our friends and family?  Again all unfounded worries.  All normal worries I hasten to add!

I guess this post is just a gentle reminder to me that phases are just that, they ebb and flow, and to anyone having a wobble, this too shall pass!