Saturday 27 July 2013

The Postpartum Bump - The Reality Is, It Exists

On Tuesday evening I sat whilst my two girls played and watched the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge emerge from St Mary’s Hospital in London with their new bundle of joy. What a beautiful moment that was. And how real it was too. Love them or hate them, one thing the younger Royal members have done is to normalise the Royal family. Prince William and Kate Middleton appeared that day like any other couple who had just had their world rocked by the amazing edition of a small person. Despite appearances you could see that Kate was a little anxious whilst on parade in front of the world’s press. She looked glowing but tired. The eyes cannot lie and hers were filled with joy, tiredness, anxiety, emotion. Behind that smile and calm appearance was a new Mum with her own unique mix of emotions.

She looked amazing. How she walked out in those heels I do not know. I remember feeling as if my insides were about to drop out for a good week after giving birth for the first time. And then came the twitter comments about her postpartum bump and why was it still there. Hello! She’s just given birth to a baby people! I couldn't quite believe the ignorance of those people and it got me thinking about what we really know before we have children of our own.

Image courtesy of
Many of us come from a generation whose parents didn't discuss this sort of thing openly. If you were in the “club” you knew what to expect. If you weren't you were given minimal facts to make sure you were semi prepared for the event, but the actual gory details were kept from you. Why? What purpose does this really serve? What happens is that we bring up generations of ignorant people who don’t realise that it is perfectly normal for a small bump to remain for weeks even months after we have given birth. We have after all taken 9 months to grow a baby; it’s rare that the body just “pings” back into its pre-pregnancy state.

The pressure to snap back into shape on women postpartum is huge. Take a look at the misguided front cover of OK Magazine that followed the birth announcement and you will see the kind of world we now live in. What kind of message are we sending to our children, particularly our daughters? We have the lowest figures ever of new Mums breastfeeding, natural birth without intervention is becoming less common and it appears we are moving away from what’s “normal” into worrying territory.

We need to be honest about what pregnancy and birth are really all about. Let’s stop dishing out the fairy stories about storks delivering babies. You can simplify information for young children to understand that can still remain factually correct. Maybe then the comments that were thrown at Kate Middleton about her postpartum bump that day wouldn't have happened because it would be common knowledge to the masses not the minority.

When I went to my eldest daughter’s parent’s consultation last Autumn I was overjoyed to see that when she had been asked to draw a picture of herself as a baby she drew one of her being breastfed! Hallelujah! Not a bottle in sight. Now before you all sharpen your daggers thinking I’m attacking those who bottle feed, I’m not. But what I am pointing out here is that this type of thing is rare. Advertising never shows a breastfeeding Mum, we don’t have baby dolls who are breastfed, they have bottles, and when a breastfeeding doll did come on to the market for kids (which I remember seeing via Facebook), there was an outcry of “it’s weird, not normal”. In my mind that’s all upside down and back to front. We need to lose the embarrassment factor and bring our children up knowing the facts not the fairy stories.

I truly hope that we are now a generation of parents who WILL tell our children how it really is. We need to swallow back our embarrassment and empower our children to know the facts about things like pregnancy and childbirth. I know that I was shocked when I saw my postpartum body. I was mortified to see that my belly didn't retreat from whence it came. Naive perhaps, but there were quite a few things that both my own mother and the midwives didn't discuss before my baby arrived.

Let’s take that veil down. I applaud Kate Middleton for not hiding her postpartum body. I have immense respect for her. It wouldn't have been easy to come out to the scrutiny of the world’s press at such a vulnerable time in her life and she chose a dress that showed her remaining bump. Perhaps that was her aim. Perhaps she IS that new generation who will change the face of this distorted world we live in. The world is watching her, poor woman. I just hope that she is afforded the time to bond with her baby and is able to embrace whatever feels right for her as a new Mum.


I have read a few blog posts in recent days from fellow Mum bloggers who have shared pictures of themselves having just given birth whether that is the day itself or a few days after and I think this is a great way to raise awareness about what is normal. We don't all look svelte, made-up and glowing from top to toe. Below I am sharing a few of mine too. Katy Hill tweeted a picture of herself 2 months after her baby was born. What a breath of fresh air this lady is. Total respect for you Katy. We need more celebrities like you raising awareness of what’s real and what’s not. Let’s hope that as women we can start to change the perception out there so that the reaction Kate Middleton’s appearance sparked on Tuesday doesn't happens again.


If you enjoy my musings and would like to follow me then you can link up with me on TwitterFacebookGoogle+, and Bloglovin. Please do leave me a comment. I love to read them xx

Wednesday 24 July 2013

The Liebster Award – Showing New Blogs Some Love

Today I’m sharing my Liebster Award post. It is well overdue and I was nominated by the lovely Mary whose blog, ‘Over 40 and a Mum to One’, has just entered the world of being self-hosted, something that I will be doing soon too. You will now find her blogging at, so this is a good time to write this post so I can share her new blogging home.

The Liebster Award is given to blogs who have less than 200 followers. It’s a great way to find new blogs and helps these blogs to reach new readers and build their blogging audience. I feel touched that Mary felt my little ol’ blog deserved a nomination. After 7 months of blogging for The Mad Mummy Musings, I’m still in awe of the fact that people actually read my ramblings. And some of you keep coming back for more so I must be doing something right!

So this is how the Liebster Award works:
  • List 11 facts about yourself
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger who nominated you asked
  • Choose 11 bloggers with 200 or less followers to nominate
  • Go to each bloggers page and let them know they’ve been nominated
  • Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog

11 Facts about me

  • No matter how hard I try I can’t roll my tongue up at the sides – Grrr!
  • When I broke my arm as a child I couldn’t have a plaster cast as the break was too high up the arm – I was gutted as no one wants to sign a sling!
  • I hate Christmas cake, Christmas pudding, and mince pies. A bit “baah humbug” I know but I just don’t like dried fruit.
  • When I was about 6 years old I was picking out (cleaning) my horse’s feet and dropped one of them on my thumb ! Ouch ! He then proceeded to stand on it and I was left nail-less after a week or so. A flappy black and blue nail was great for scaring friends with until it fell off.
  • It took my husband 7 years to finally propose to me and it took us another 7 years before we had our first daughter. Doing it all in 7’s.
  • When I was a teenager I went through a phase of loving Coleslaw sandwiches.
  • According to my hubby I sometimes snore at night. How rude, women don’t snore!
  • I’m a princess. Yes really, I am. That should keep you guessing, hee hee!
  • I cry really easily when watching sad films. I’m hopeless at being brave and get far too involved in all the emotions of a film. I need a huge box of tissues nearby to mop up Niagra Falls when it comes.
  • I don’t like it when people put up a facade. I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve and often find those who always put up a facade have something to hide. It makes me feel uneasy.
  • If you read my Super Sweet Blogging Awards post, you will know that I LOVE chocolate! I can hunt out any chocolate in the house with ease and will fight my daughters for the last piece of chocolate. Would I give you my last Rolo? No ! It’s mine, all mine ;0)

So there you have it; 11 facts about me. Now onto Mary’s questions:

The 11 questions given to me

What is the most important thing you’ve learnt since becoming a parent?

That nothing goes accordingly to plan and that’s ok. Becoming a parent has at times rocked my world. It’s a roller coaster ride of emotions and events. There are no hard and fast rules about how to survive it except to say, “Trust your instincts and enjoy the ride.”

Why did you start blogging?

I’ve always wanted to write and never knew whether I was any good at it or not. I’ve always wanted to write a book, so I suppose writing a blog gives me a space to call my own and a place to write from my heart without rules and restrictions. I would love to write for others/magazines but often find that my confidence comes more in writing for myself than for others. I find blogging therapeutic, fun and I have met some fabulous people in the 9 months since I started this journey. It’s an exceptionally supportive community of amazing people.

If you could swap places with anyone for a day – who would it be and why?

I’ve mulled this question over and over and I’m sure there are many celebrities or iconic people who I’d love to change places with for a day, but I've decided that I’d actually love to swap places with my eldest daughter for the day particularly when she’s at school. When you have your kids at home with you and then they branch out into the big wide world on their own, you start to lose that closeness and that understanding of what their day is like. I would love to be her for a day at school to see exactly what she does and how it feels to be her in her world. I’m sure it would give me greater insight into how she has developed into her own person.

What is your favourite place in the world and why?

Probably Majorca & Menorca, in the Baleairic Islands. I have such fond memories of many holidays spent on both Islands as a child. We went back year on year and my time there was always happy. We went back with my eldest daughter not long after returning to the UK from our time living in France. It was an incredibly healing holiday particularly as I was still recovering with my PND. It was like a soothing band aid for my Soul. And we were able to make new and happy memories for us as a family unit too.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be and why?

That I worry too much; about what people think, of what may happen, of what the future holds. I need to chill out more and just let life play out as it’s meant to. I’m sure I use up far too much energy when I’m fretting.

What is your best quality?

I asked my hubby to help me on this one and we both agreed that it is probably that I’m empathic. Having an elder sister with special needs meant I grew up quickly as a child. I learnt at an early age to see the bigger picture and to be consciously aware of others’ feelings. I learnt that there are always two sides to every story and it’s important to see both those sides wherever possible. For me being in touch with people’s emotions and feelings is important. Perhaps that’s why I wear my heart on my sleeve so much.

What is your favourite meal?

This is a really difficult one for me to answer as I just love food in all its forms. The foods that would feature on a table of favourites would be home made chocolate mousse, garlic prawns with crusty bread, a hearty stew, a plate full of crudités and healthy dips, smoothies and juices, and some dark, mint chocolate.

How would you like to be remembered by your children?

As someone who loved with her whole heart, was fair, kind, understanding and not afraid to say sorry when she got it wrong, whilst living life to its fullest.

Where does your blogging inspiration come from?

Life, and my experience of it. My writing tends to be very honest and perhaps a little deep. I suppose that reflects the type of person I am. I find people fascinating and I think reading other blogs can give you inspiration too.

What is the one tip you could pass on to a fellow blogger?

Be true to yourself and your own way of writing. As a new blogger you can get very caught up in other blogs and what makes them popular or not. It’s quite a fickle place to be at times and I’ve learnt to write about what interests me rather than trying to be something I’m not. Each blog finds its own unique readers eventually. For some that’s instant, for others it takes time. It’s a bit like a good bottle of wine; some need more time to mature and become full bodied.

Will you follow the bloggers you nominate?

I follow quite a few blogs and the ones I would have nominated I already follow. I know that different people blog for different reasons and when I nominated fellow bloggers for the Super Sweet Blogging Awards, I'm not sure any of them wrote a post in response. So, this time I’m going to leave nominating others because I’d probably be nominating the same people again. I’m chuffed to have been nominated myself and wear my badge with pride. Thank you Mary for nominating me. You never know I may manage 200 followers now ! ;0)

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning a little more about me and I’ll be back soon with more musings for your to enjoy. Until next time xx


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Friday 19 July 2013

The Light at the End of the Tunnel - Part Two

At the end of March I shared the first part of my recovery from PND. If you are new to my blog you can read my previous posts on my PND experience here: the post which sparked my decision to finally share that I had suffered with PND, my personal journey through PND, and the first installment of my recovery out the other side. This post is the overdue second part of that recovery. And here I’ll share with you what else in addition to counselling finally helped me to feel well again.

As I've mentioned in my other posts on PND, it’s never something you expect to suffer with. When it happens and you realise that things are not as they should be one of the first emotions you feel is dread. It’s scary to be depressed and feel that you aren't fully in control of how you are feeling. The logical part of your brain tries to put some perspective on it all; the fact it’s normal your hormones are all over the place right now, the fact that having a baby and becoming a Mum for the first time is overwhelming at first, the fact that it is often normal to experience a period of “baby blues”. But, when you finally admit to yourself that all those feelings are still there after many weeks and months, that you are permanently anxious, stressed, tearful and feeling misunderstood, you realise that perhaps it’s all a little more serious after all. Then comes the decision; how do you actually make it all better again.

I’d been depressed for about 2 years before we came back to the UK and saw my new GP. As mentioned in a previous post, she wanted to put me on anti-depressants which I was vehemently against. I asked for time to try other avenues and one of them was counselling. This was my turning point. It gave me a clarity I’d not had for a very long time. It gave me answers to so many questions and misunderstandings. It made me realise that I wasn’t a bad mother and I would get better. The light would finally shine again once more.

The other avenue I pursued was changing my diet. When you become a new Mum you often eat on the run. You grab a bit of this, a bit of that and can often end up filling yourself up on cereal, toast, and snacks which aren’t giving you the full nutrient quota your body desperately needs particularly if you are breastfeeding as I was. Pregnancy takes every possible ounce of nutrients your body has to grow your baby and if you don’t top that up, look after yourself nutritionally as well as emotionally then you begin motherhood depleted of the essential nutrients you are going to need. Add to that a good dose of sleep deprivation and it’s not surprising that the body and the mind start to suffer. Your hormones are all over the place as your body adjusts so you can see that not feeding your body properly can really make a huge difference to whether you feel well or not.

I ate fairly healthily during my pregnancy but as my Mum was in the UK I never had her helping me stock pile the freezer with nutritious meals for when the little one arrived. I was too tired at the end of my pregnancy to do this myself so I wasn’t really prepared on that front. I’m a great believer that you are what you eat and I feel we often overlook this and look to pharmaceuticals to sort out the problems that often a change in diet would sort. I can honestly say that in addition to counselling it was what I ate that had the biggest impact on my recovery. I had heard about the importance of eating a more alkaline based diet. The body ultimately needs to have the right ph balance and if it is too acidic it will look to the body to balance that out. That means if you don’t eat enough alkaline foods your body will strip the body of the alkalising minerals it needs. That then depletes the body further and so it goes on.

I searched the internet, found ‘Energise for Life’ and decided to do their 12 week alkaline course. I had read a lot about juicing and raw foods and was fascinated by this new way of eating and how it had helped so many back to full health again. The great thing about the course was that it eased you gently into this new way of eating. You were given the shopping lists you would need each week, the recipes, acid/alkaline test charts, amongst other tools to keep you on track. It introduced me to juicing and by the end of the 12 weeks I felt like a totally different person, literally. My mood lifted considerably. I couldn't believe that food impacted my moods quite as much as it did.
A delicious green alkaline juice

I lost the extra weight I had been carrying due to over eating and decided to carry on and do one of Jason Vale’s juice detoxes. I lost a further 5 llbs in weight and felt amazing. Since this time I have made sure that I still juice and I know that as soon as I veer off track too much on my diet, my mood suffers. I will be sharing some more about juicing with you in future posts. I've recommended it to friends and have seen before my eyes the change in them. It is truly amazing to see someone complete a 7 day juice detox and come out the other side a new person. It is quite incredible. Never underestimate the power of nutrition. Mother Nature put it all there for a reason. She’s a clever one.

To complete my recovery I reconnected to my spiritual side. Before having my eldest daughter, I gave treatments in and taught Reiki. I was very connected to my spiritual self but the depression took me far away from this part of myself. I therefore decided to have spiritual healing which was incredibly empowering. I also went to see an amazing Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist, Ken Lloyd, who helped to rebalance my hormones amongst other things.

For me anti-depressants weren’t the answer. I know that’s not everyone’s experience. But for me it was not the route I wanted to take and it worked.

I still have my low days. With a 2 year old toddler in tow it can be hard to find a moment to yourself particularly without family nearby, but I think you learn to cope. You learn to not set your expectations too high; you’ll only fall flat on your face if you do. Being a parent and being a Mum is a tough job. There’s no knowing how it will pan out. For some it’s a blissful journey, for others it’s slightly more rocky. Mine’s been the latter.

My only hope is that my PND with my eldest daughter and my low moods with my second haven’t impacted my girls too much. I never envisaged the raw emotion being a Mum can bring. It often takes you to places you never imagined you’d go. But I look at my girls today and I say to myself, “You haven’t done such a bad job Charlie”. They are two happy, loving souls and the bond I have with them is truly unbreakable.

All I can say to anyone suffering PND right now is that you will and you do come through the other side. You don’t end up residing there forever, I promise you. We all recover eventually in our own way. We all have our scars, our war wounds and that’s ok. We are, after all, human.

I’ll end this post with one of my favourite quotes from Indian Spiritual Leader, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh about becoming a mother:

“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.”


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