My PND Hangover

Hangover cure

We all know how to deal with hangovers, don’t we? Lots of water, a carb-loaded breakfast (bacon sarnie mmmm), a potassium-rich banana and crisps are my fail-safe tactics. If it’s really bad, flat Coke does the trick. Those kind of hangovers are few and far between for me, these days. Thankfully.

But one hangover I’m not sure how to deal with is my post-natal depression hangover. If my first year of motherhood was the banging night out with tequila shots and oversharing in a shouty manner, over loud cheesy music, then I’m currently in the day after the day after. You know that stage when you’re over the worst of it but the after effects are still with you – dry mouth, dull ache to the head, yawning lots and still swearing you’ll never drink again.

I still feel weird saying that I had post-natal depression, because I never saw a doctor about it, or even knew I was suffering from it, at the time. It was only last year (by which point my daughter was two) that it dawned on me. Every time I say it out loud to friends, I cringe, thinking they’re about to say, “Yeah, but you didn’t really suffer from PND did you?” Of course, I’m fairly sure they’re not really thinking that. But we (myself included) feel more ready to accept medical conditions when a professional has made the diagnosis. For obvious reasons.

But with something like this, sometimes you just know. It’s the only explanation for the anxiety and inability to cope that I felt for the first year of being a mum. I haven’t written about it a huge deal here but back in January, I wrote about it over on The Motherhood so do take a read. It was incredibly hard to write, as is this.

So back to my PND hangover. There are definite after-effects that I’m still feeling. If I’m totally honest, the main reason I currently have one child, rather than two or three, is the knot that still forms in the pit of my stomach when I remember having a small baby. When people ask me if I’ll have another (note to those people: Stop asking. It’s a rude and personal question) I make a flippant joke but inside I’m trying not to vomit. I’ve said to many a friend that if we do decide to have another child, I’ll be ready to sacrifice a year of my life (and sanity) for the greater win of extending our family. Isn’t that sad? That I see it as a sacrifice?

Another shockwave that is still being transmitted from that year is the amount of time I spend with my daughter. If you read my blog regularly, you’ll know I’m all ‘Woo for working mums!’ and I’ve written in the past about my decision to work full time. But the reality is that working full time when my daughter was 18 months old was a coping mechanism. I was so emotionally worn out from the year before, I couldn’t have dealt with days on my own with her. And now, nearly four years later, I’m still working full time. I see other mums work flexibly so that they can hang out with their kids, and the idea really appeals to me, until that knot in my stomach appears and I start to panic that I wouldn’t be able to cope.

Which is crazy. Of course it is. Partly because I’ve got an amazing, bright, happy nearly-four-year-old now rather than a small baby. She’s so much fun to spend time with, and we have amazing fun every weekend. And partly because I’m not suffering from PND right now – I’m stronger and happier than I was back then. But that knot is there, quietly reminding me that I didn’t cope in my year at home during maternity leave. I really want to ignore it but it’s something I have to work towards, gradually.

I wish a bacon sandwich and flat Coke would make this hangover disappear.

Going Here, There & Everywhere (aka How To Tire Out A Three-Year-Old)

Three- year-olds have endless energy, don’t they? Ours runs, jumps, skips, plays and sings all day long and still has room for more. But last weekend I think we actually managed to tire her out.

Call it ‘Working Mum Syndrome’ if you like, but we tend to pack as much fun as we can into every weekend. Even more so, during the summer. Last year, we did every village fete in a 20 mile radius, hit up Camp Bestival, headed to Lollibop and climbed Mount Everest (that last one might be a fib).

And this summer is just as busy. But last weekend, we probably did a bit too much. How do I know? Our three-year-old (who always wakes up before her GroClock sun appears each morning at 6.22am) slept in until 7am. She was officially worn out from the fun we had.

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In the two days, we went on six bus journeys, four trains and two tubes. And did a lot of walking. This photo (above) was taken on the tube platform, when those little legs needed a rest.

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On Saturday, we took the train into London, early doors. First stop: Harrods. So we don’t visit Harrods very often. Aside from the fact it’s in SW London, and we live in SE London (Oh, OK, we technically live in Kent…) I’ve got much more of a Marks and Spencer and John Lewis kinda budget. But Harrods is simply lovely to wander around, isn’t it? We ‘oohed’ at sofas with a £9000 price tag and ‘ahhed’ at beautiful designer kidswear before making our way to the Rewards Lounge for a Mini Harrods event that we’d been invited to check out.

harrods

I hadn’t heard of Mini Harrods before but it’s a really cool little club that your kids aged between two and ten can join if you have a Harrods Rewards Card. Saturday’s event was a painting workshop – and our three year old LOVED it. Little easels were set up, each with a small canvas on, and next to it were brushes and a palette. The lovely staff welcomed the small group of children and chatted away, learning names and explaining what they’d be doing. Then the kids got stuck in, painting summery scenes with acrylic paint while the Frozen soundtrack played in the background. It was basically our daughter’s idea of heaven.

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Think Again About World Hepatitis Day 2014

Did you know it’s World Hepatitis Day today?

When you think about world health days, you might automatically think about World AIDS Day on Dec 1st – there are ribbons, concerts and global events all to raise awareness of it. But World Hepatitis Day is possibly a lesser-known world health day. Yet every year the virus kills 1.5million people worldwide – that’s as many as HIV/AIDS.

The World Hepatitis Alliance launched World Hepatitis Day in 2008, concerned about the lack of priority of hepatitis as a killer. To raise awareness of World Hepatitis Day 2014, ‘America’s loudest lounge singer’ Richard Cheese has combined forces with The Netherlands puppeteer, Lejo, to produce a brilliant YouTube video…

 

It is, without a doubt, one of the most important videos of the year, so after you’ve watched it, please help raise awareness of hepatitis by clicking ‘share’ and including the Hepatitis: Think Again 2014 campaign hashtag #thinkhepatitis.

• Sponsored by World Hepatitis Alliance

5 Fun Things Happening In London This Summer

Hahahopscotch

School’s out for summer! (OK, if you live north of the border, it’s been out for quite a while now…) But it’s time to plan some fun, get out there and enjoy this gorgeous sunny weather we’re getting. There are LOADS of cool things happening in London this summer. It’s a time of year when I feel so lucky we live here. But whether you’re a local or you’re planning a trip to the capital this summer, here are my top five things you should do…

1. Hahahopscotch

What do you get if you cross unusual cocktails with locally grown herbs and flowers… with green-fingered fun for kids? Hahahopscotch at the Brunel Museum! This awesome-sounding event happens on the last Sunday of the month and while the kids get stuck into some soil and play traditional games like tug-of-war, you can get stuck into some infused cocktails.

Brunel Museum, Railway Avenue, SE16

27th July, 31st Aug, 28th September 2014

£4.50 per child

2. The Elephantom

This show is by the team behind Warhorse and it looks fantastic. It tells the story of a young girl who has a phantom elephant in her house, and it causes all sorts of trouble…

New London Theatre, Drury Lane WC2B

Until September 6th 2014

Tickets start from £13

Camden beach

3. Camden Beach

Hang on, back up  - what? Yep, Camden has got its very own beach – on the roof of the Roundhouse. There are deckchairs, bars, food stalls, beach huts and a swimming pool. Kids are welcome, but after 5pm it might be a bit ‘lively’ for families.

The Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, NW1

July 26th – Aug 23rd 2014

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Protecting Our Children From Sadness

Dandelion

It’s funny the things you get emotional about, as a parent. I’ve been watching friends (and other bloggers) post updates on Facebook about their child leaving nursery, or finishing reception year, and the emotions they’re feeling.

Some of them are happy, some of them are relieved it’s the summer holidays, some of them seem sad… all of them mention having a little cry.

It’s something that I haven’t experienced yet – my daughter is three and has another year of pre-school before ‘big school’ – but this morning, I found myself feeling emotional as I dropped her off for the day. For a few months now, we’ve been preparing her for the fact that, come September, lots of her pre-school friends will be going to school. We’ve talked about it a lot, and chatted about what school might be like, and which school she might go to a year later.

She seems totally cool with it all. Last night, she came home from pre-school with a red love heart that had her name and a friend’s name on it. “What’s this, honey?” I asked her. “Oh, it was her last day at pre-school today,” she replied, “and she gave me this.”

My eyes welled up with tears. But I smiled and said “That’s so kind of her!”

Then, this morning, there was a thank you card left by my daughter’s peg – a mum thanking us for a birthday present. At the end, it said ‘hope you stay in touch’ and it set me off again. I feel incredibly sad that so many children that my daughter has become close to – kids she has played with, day in day out, for a few years, will be heading out of her life. And I hadn’t prepared myself – or my daughter – for it happening now. In July. I thought it would happen in September, but of course any parents with an older school age child will likely take the younger sibling out of pre-school now, won’t they? So it’s taken me by surprise, this week.

Again, she seems totally cool with it all. Which is great. But it’s making me reflect on life and how sad it is when people come and go, and you miss them. I want to protect my daughter from that sadness – and I want to protect her from any sadness. I’m worried about any future fall outs with friends, her feeling hurt when friends ‘leave her out’ and I’m worried about her being bullied.

Of course, it’s natural to want to protect your child from hurt, and I know that she has to experience it, because it’s a part of life. She has to learn how to cope with feeling sad. But it makes me feel so sad…