What no-one tells you about becoming a mother

Motherhood. What a crazy, amazing, terrifying, beautiful rollercoaster. 

The moment you announce that pregnancy, people are telling you about the sleepless nights, the constant dirty nappies and huge washing pile that never ends and all of the other terrifying things that pop into their head. They tell you about the horrible labour, the after pains and how your body will never really go back to the way it was again. 

But they don't tell you about all the wonderful things that motherhood brings. 

No-one tells you that becoming a mother will be the best thing you will ever do. They don't tell you about how it feels when you get to hold your baby for the first time, that rush of pure love that nothing in this world can taint. A type of love you have never known before.

They don't tell you about those quiet moments when you just hold your baby in your arms and bask. 

No-one ever thinks to mention that indescribable feeling when they smile for the first time, the first time you hear 'mama', their first steps and every milestone after. No-one tells you how proud of your child you will be for the simplest of things. 

I'm not pretending that motherhood is easy. I've been doing this for just over 4 years now and I swear it never gets any easier, but these special moments make it so worth it.

So next time someone tells you they are pregnant, maybe instead of the horror stories they are getting from everyone else and their mother, tell them about the special times, tell them that it is the most wonderful and amazing thing they will ever do. 

How to stay positive during lockdown

I know, I know another lockdown post. 

I swore I wouldn't write too much about the lockdown, but we are in week 8 now and honestly, I'm not finding much else to write about. 

I read through some of my other posts about being in lockdown and I realised that they were all a bit... depressive. So I got myself together and swore to myself I would remain positive for the rest of this mess that we as a world are finding ourselves in. 

Staying positive in a global pandemic is admittedly not easy, but this is how I plan to try to stay on track.

Thinking about the future

This is not going to last forever, although it certainly feels like it will sometimes, we will be able to see family and friends at some point, we will be able to do all of the things we are missing, whether that be going on a night out, to the pub, to the gym, or even just nipping to the shops to do a bit of retail therapy - I know which onesI'm most excited for. 

While everything may not be exactly like it was before, we will get back to some sort of normalcy. When I feel myself getting fed up or upset about the lockdown, I think of that quote 'this too shall pass' and it will. 

Making plans

Sam and I were supposed to be celebrating our birthday in Prague this year. Our birthday is 10th June and so this will obviously not be happening, so we have agreed that when this is all over we will still go. We also have plans for days out with Harry and fun things to do as a family. 

While we cannot put an exact date on these, it's nice to think about things we would like to do when we are able to do so. 

Think about all of the things we can do and have right now - and make the most of it

Lockdown, while hard, has given me so much time with Harry and Sam. While I am at work I rarely got to see Sam and he works shifts, and although he is a key worker and still working as normal, we get to spend lots of time together. I am also here every day with Harry. The moment lockdown is over he is off to his Nanna's house for a good couple of days, but I am loving spending all of this time with him that I never would have gotten before. It has opened my eyes to just how smart, fun and just purely amazing my little boy is. 

Be grateful

The one thing I am reminding myself of every day and that keeps me positive is how grateful I am that we are all well and together. If lockdown had not happened I don't know if that would have been the case. It's still dangerous out there, and we all jump at every cough, but we are well and together, what more could I ask for?

Toddler Lunch Ideas

Today's post is all about food - Namely lunch for your toddlers!

Harry is currently 4, so I'm not 100% sure that he counts as a toddler, but these are some of the great meals we have been feeding him during lockdown!

Keep your eyes peeled for breakfast and dinner ideas too!

For most of Harry's meals, we use section plates. Harry gets very upset if things touch on his plate a lot of the time. 

Our current favourite plates for him are these munchkin apple shaped plates - We got ours from Amazon - You can find these here (Please be aware links to Amazon are affiliate links - I may earn a small commission for your purchase but this will not affect the amount you pay!)

1. Picnic lunch - This lunch is definitely a huge hit in our house. We try and keep this as balanced as possible - He usually has a sandwich, fruit, dairy, protein and a treat. While he doesn't always have everything listed we find when he has a picnic lunch he usually eats most of it quite well.

2. Snack lunch  - What toddler doesn't love a snack? Harry normally doesn't even really realise this is a lunch and always demolishes this. The most often used combination is hummus with carrot and cucumber, fruit, cheese string, chorizo and yoghurt, but again this varies depending on what we have in.

3. Hot lunch - This is possibly the one we have least for Harry and probably his least favourite but he still does love it. 
We do still tend to try and give Harry a balanced meal when giving him hot food though, so he always had some kind of fruit with these lunches. 

Postnatal depression symptoms and signs

For today's post, I wanted to talk about the symptoms and signs of Postnatal Depression. 

So first of all - What is Postnatal Depression?

Postnatal depression (PND) is a depression that affects parents who have recently had babies - Contrary to popular belief, PND can affect both the mothers and fathers of babies and symptoms can present up to two years after the birth of the baby. PND affects 1 in every 10 women giving birth every year. 

What symptoms should you look out for?

The NHS describes the symptoms of PND as
  • A persistent feeling of sadness and low mood. 
  • A lack of enjoyment and loss of interest in the wider world
  • Lack of energy and feeling tired all the time
  • Trouble sleeping at night and feeling sleepy during the day
  • Difficulty bonding with your baby
  • Withdrawing from contact with other people
  • Problems concentrating and making decisions
  • Frightening thoughts - For example thoughts of hurting the baby
Not everyone will have all symptoms and mostly these will come on slowly with the parent often not realising that they are suffering.

What is the difference between PND and 'Baby Blues'

Baby blues can often cause the mother to feel a bit down, tearful or anxious. These feeling do not last longer than two weeks. 

What to do if you think someone is suffering from PND

If you think someone is suffering from PND, the best thing to do would be to offer help. While I was suffering I couldn't cope with the daily tasks of looking after Harry on my own. I didn't get dressed and we would sit in the dark in front of the TV all day. 

I often found it helpful when people came round to lend a hand. Even to take Harry for an hour while I got a shower and possibly a nap. 

Another thing that would be helpful, would be to encourage them to seek medical help, but be sensitive about this - This was definitely not something I wanted to hear while I was at my worst. 

What are the treatments for PND?

There are lots of different options for treatment for PND. Every person is different and the depression affects them differently. Something that worked for one person may not work for another. 

  • Antidepressants
  • Therapy

There are also things that you can do yourself to help if you are suffering from PND such as exercise, eat well, have a schedule or routine, rest as often as you can, talk to people close to you and ask for help and making time for things you enjoy doing. 

When I was diagnosed, I felt like the worse mother in the world and honestly thought I would never feel any better and while I am nowhere near 'cured' and don't think I will ever be, I am doing so much better even with everything going on in the world right now. 

If you are worried about someone or think you may be suffering yourself, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. I am happy to help where I can.

Down Syndrome Facts and Theories

Down Syndrome, Everybody knows something about it, but today I thought I would talk about some facts about down syndrome and disprove some 'theories' that people have. 

So first things first, if you want to know more about down syndrome you can find my blog post here but here are some facts about people with downs syndrome;

People with downs syndrome are NOT always happy. This is such a terrible theory that people have. The next time someone says this to me, I may need to give them Harry when he's having a meltdown. People with downs feel all emotions, exactly the same as you and me.

People with downs can have jobs and live independently –  I’ve lost count of the number of times people have said that Harry won't be able to have a job or live on his own. People with downs may need a little help, some may even need a lot of help but plenty live independently and have jobs.

 Children with downs syndrome are not always born to older parents – When I had Harry I was 23. 

People with downs syndrome have a normal life expectancy – In the past, people with downs syndrome have much shorter life expectancy than people without because there was no support. Fifty years ago if a child was born with downs syndrome they were put straight into a home or asylum and refused medical help for any issues. This isn’t the case anymore and people with downs syndrome can live as long as anyone else.

People with downs syndrome are often not overweight – Some people with downs syndrome may appear slightly overweight but this is caused by the low muscle tone which can be a symptom of downs syndrome.

People with Downs syndrome can have children –  Someone with downs syndrome is perfectly capable of having children. There are plenty of parents who have down syndrome. Sometimes males may have fertility difficulties but for the most part, they will be able to have children

These points I feel at incredibly important to remember about someone with downs syndrome but the most important thing to remember of course is that they are not defined by their diagnosis just like someone with cancer isn’t ‘that guy with cancer ben’ Harry isn’t ‘that boy who has downs syndrome Harry’ He’s just ‘Harry’ He’s not downs. And he isn’t the amazing little person he is because he has downs. He’s just Harry. Just like I am Kat and you are you. So the next time you meet a person who just happens to have downs syndrome, take the time to get to know them and don’t judge by their diagnosis.

Get to know me

So, I saw that recently the lovely Rebecca over at The Coastal Mummy had done a get to know me blog post - find this here - and I realised that I have never really done this so here is all about me!

So my name is Kat, well it's actually Katherine but no-one has called me that since I was about 6 - maybe even earlier - and I will be 28 in June. I was born in East London and grew up in North London (N17) but now live in Cambridgeshire with Sam and Harry.

I moved to Cambs when I was 10 with my parents and we moved around a lot. I have lived in London, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Huntingdonshire.

My parents are divorced but didn't separate until I was 21 and got divorced April this year. I have two younger siblings - Mumbles and Do Do (not their real names obviously but this is what Harry calls them) Mumbles is next in line and is just over 4 years younger than me and Do Do is the youngest and also the only boy.

I met Sam when he was Do Do's under 11's football coach and this July we will have been together 11 years - Eeep!

Funny fact - Sam and I share a birthday! 10th of June, just in case you are wondering, the only other person I know with the same is, of course, Prince Phillip.

So that's a bit of background - I thought it might be nice to share some random facts about me here

1. I'm incredibly short. I wish I was exaggerating here but I'm 5 foot.

2. I am obsessed with all things Harry Potter - However, this is not why Harry is called Harry. Honestly, the thought had never crossed my mind. He is named after Sam's grandad.

3. Until our holiday to Menorca last September I had never been abroad or even had a passport.

4. I swear - A LOT. It was a normal thing in my house growing up, but now trying to stop as Harry loves to copy what we are saying.

5. I took a catering NVQ when I was 16,  that I have never done anything with as I hate cooking.

6. I have been able to knit since I was around 6.

7. While baking is one of my favourite things to do, I didn't bake anything until around 3 years ago when Sam's mum got me to help her make scones.

8. I studied Media Production at Bolton Uni for a year and a half before I dropped out.

9. The first house Sam and I lived in was in Coventry - about a hundred miles away from all of our family. This was also us moving out of our family homes.

10. Brussel sprouts are one of my favourite parts of a Christmas dinner - But only if they are cooked right!

And basically, that's me. I hope you've enjoyed getting to know me a bit better.

Where It All Started

Birth Story

Harry's birth story seemed like a fitting first post on here. Bear with me because it was written months ago. More posts to follow ever...