The hotMaMa Diaries

The hotMaMa Diaries

Everyone has a different experience of parenting and motherhood and there is no right or wrong path along this crazy journey. The hotMaMa diaries is a place to read stories from other mothers and even share your own!

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  1. In a world where millions of people can be reached in the time it takes to post an emoji, these are meant to be the most connected, the most engaged of our history. And yet despite all of these advances, these opportunities and methods of communication, people, including new mothers, are still suffering in silence from something that you would think no longer exists in the 21st century: loneliness. Myself, as a first-time mother, included.

    According to the Office for National Statistics this year: "In the UK, 5% of people aged 15 and over reported feeling lonely most or almost all of the time in the week (...)"

    I'm a happily married 31 year old who had her daughter 'R' fifteen months ago. For context, I live with my husband in a lovely small town in Cheshire but sadly, our closest family live 120 miles away. My friends consist of a mix of ex and current colleagues, university friends, and a new social group of local mums who had babies around the same time I had mine. Little R is my only child and I have felt repeatedly lonely since she was born.

    A few hours after my daughter was born, she was taken away from me and admitted into Special Care with suspected meningitis. Even writing this, I can't stop the tears smarting my eyes. It should have been the most joyful, love-filled memory and yet I can still picture myself sitting in a side room of the hospital, with an empty chair where my husband should have been (he was sent home), and an empty cot where my baby should have been. That was the first, but not the last, moment I felt truly lonely.

    Loneliness should not be confused with being alone. You can easily be alone, or be just you and baby, and not feel one iota lonely - in the same way you can be in a room full of friends or other new mothers and feel so desperately isolated from everyone in that space that you hide in the toilet with your baby and cry (she says from experience.)

    An article by the Daily Mail said: "In a new survey, commissioned by AXA PPP healthcare and Netmums, more than a quarter of first-time mums admit to feeling lonely, with 24 per cent also admitting they had no family nearby to help with the workload of caring for a young child."

    Yep, that'll be me then! But at the time, I didn't realise I felt this way as I was trying to overcome separation anxiety from my baby (you can read my blog post on this here) and I hadn't really thought about loneliness as a first-time mother. After all, how can you be lonely when you have another human being with you 24/7I had a rough start with Little R being in Special Care, and also with a multitude of breastfeeding complications (tongue-tie, mastitis, low milk supply, bleeding that caused R to vomit  blood...) but the love I felt for my daughter meant my every waking (and often sleeping) moments were about her, what she needs and wants above my own needs and wants. Feeling lonely was just 'one of those things' - and that it wouldn't stop me doing the activities I felt I *had* to do with Little R.

    Then one day I had spent a whole day at home because R's sleep was so erratic and I didn't want to disrupt her routine (are you nodding along there?) Out of the blue a friend dropped in for a cuppa on her way home from work to see how I was and I preceded to sob my heart out and utter four life-changing words: "I feel so alone." That was the breakthrough.

    After finally admitting it to myself (and my poor friend), I was then able to identify what triggered those feeling, and know when I needed to ask for help. My triggers were trying to fit in all the chores during baby's very short nap times, often crying in the sink and desperately wishing I wasn't doing this on my own. I was also worst in the period between my husband leaving work (which is erratic, as he works away a lot) and waiting for him to come home; that countdown was my nemesis as I felt chained to the house due to feeding/nap time routines but was very ready for someone (anyone) to be there, talk to me, make me a cup of tea or simply provide enough of a distraction that I could 'let go' whatever was overwhelming me at the time. Once I had established a pattern, I was able to put things in place that made me feel supported when I suspected I may need that the most, with the love and support of my husband, friends and family.

    If you're reading this and feel the same then I urge you to do what I did and speak out. Whether it's to your partner, a friend, your GP, your health visitor, or even a neighbour, everyone deserves to feel like they have someone to turn to in a moment of need. You'll be surprised just how many people will be there for you, so long as you are brave enough to speak out. I urge you to be brave. After all, becoming a mother is the bravest thing you will ever do and you've already done that bit.

    Laura Tweedale
    Styles by nature (no longer by name)
    https://stylesbynature.blogspot.co.uk

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  2. Birth
     
    Nine days ago I gave birth. 
     
    Well there's a sentence I never thought I'd say. After the trials and tribulations of IVF we finally had a little buglet growing inside of me and for nine months I waited until I would get to meet my longed for daughter. Then, nine days ago I gave birth. I did not only give birth to  a child, I gave birth to motherhood and fatherhood and a family was born. 
     
    Right from the start I was determined to breastfeed, after all breast is best and how hard can it be when it's something so natural? What a naive woman I was! In the hospital colostrum feeding for me was a doddle and seemed to still give me a good few hours to have dinner, get dressed and shower. But, then my milk came flooding in and oh my goodness it was everywhere. I felt like every time I fed, little girl would be choking and coughing in my body's overwhelming desire to satiate this gift that I had always yearned for. My nipples were raw mounds of blistering stumps and getting a good latch seemed my one purpose in life. My Scarlett was amazing, I felt like my baby was teaching me, her natural instinct so innate and gorgeous that I needed to trust that she would feed when she needed. So, with the help of a team of incredibly dedicated midwives I learnt the little tips to look out for when latching and positioning and Little Miss Scarlett and I began to work as a proper team. The best advice I was given about the nipple pain? Well ladies if you buy a pair of Louboutins and they give you blisters do you give them back? Hell, to the no, you shove your blistered toes in time and time again until that shoe becomes as supple as a double-jointed gymnast. 
     
    So week one down, breastfeeding in full swing I thought I would give you my top ten tips on getting this shizzle prepped:
     
    1. Learn how to do everything one handed: opening drinks, eating dinner, carrying shopping, opening cupboards ... everything. In fact, practice now, try using chopsticks with everything and that's about the level of manual dexterity you can look forward to from now on.
     
    2. MUSLIN the hell out of life... these indispensable floaty tea towels can literally make or break a breastfeeding day. Without one on hand, all kinds of vom, milk floods, and boobage exposure can occur. Don't be fooled by the cute designs and colours these cloths do the business.
     
    3. A continuation of the MUSLIN theme: don't be afraid to go large. The bigger the better. Don't be modest about it, the larger it is the more uses it can have, a breast feeding cover, com collector, nappy changer, swaddle cover, sun protector...
     
    4. Be flexible, let's face it baby is going to inevitably pretend to die of hunger when you are in the middle of a packed city centre at closing time in the pouring rain. It's a given. But super mum just needs a pavement, umbrella, muslin and boob and the famine victim baby can be duly soothed.
     
    5. Master resting bitch face... people will stare, yes it's 2017 but, still the world seems to struggle with the fact that sometimes a baby needs a boob. If you can convey in a look the following (without having to articulate it) -"yes I'm breastfeeding and I don't give a fig what your opinion is on the matter, so jog on and go ruin someone else's view" - then you're saving yourself a lot of wasted energy and milk calories on speech.


    6. Lanosil is the nectar of the nipple Gods. This vastly overpriced (but I would pay the Earth if I had to) cream is the one thing that are going to save and toughen up those nipples ready for the next onslaught. You CANNOT have enough of the stuff. Take it with you everywhere like it's your new best friend... because it is. Baby can also breastfeed without the need to rub it off, which is an added timesaver bonus.

    7. Wear a watch. It doesn't have to be a fancy all singing, all dancing, jazz hands contraption. You just need to know how long you've been feeding for to see if they might need more if they come off for a small milk break and wind. Also... handy to see those booked appointments slip away into oblivion as mummy time takes over!

    8. Hydrate. Feeding makes you as parched as a flower in the Sahara desert, you are literally being drained women and those fluids need to be replaced. Pack those bottles like it's a military operation, because let's face it breastfeeding is!

    9. Snack attack. As well as thirst, breastfeeding turns you into a ravenous wolf, I have been raiding cupboards at 3am in the morning for sustenance, but plan a snack and you're be less likely to resort to half defrosted food (a sad but true occurrence).

    10. Entertainment. As entertaining and exciting as a newborn is, frankly staring at their mouth sucking your boobage after half an hour isn't really the most dynamic of activities. Try to have a magazine or plan a phone call to make sure you're relaxed and/or that baby can hear the soothing tone of your voice as you have a good old gossip with the girls.

    But in the end, never forget that what you are doing is incredible. Mothers I salute you, you are literally keeping a life alive and that my lovelies is a true miracle. 

     

    Article from the brilliant Lottie at www.justthegirlfitness.com.

    Lottie lives in the heart of the Cotswolds in beautiful Cheltenham and is a health and fitness professional teaching Baby Barre, Mat & Reformer Pilates, Dance & PT (both classes and one to one.) She is also available for Skype sessions so don't worry if you're not nearby, just drop an email and get in touch to get booked. When not chasing after baby Scarlett and buying excessive amounts of Lanolin, Lottie sets up Fitness and Food Events with food bloggers, fitness experts, and baby groups, as well as Fitness retreats for both mummy's and non mummy's. She is also a Wellness Columnist for Cotswold Living and Cotswold Allure. Essentially, Lottie is dedicated to empowering women and telling life as is it, so if you would like to get in touch about her services she would love to hear from you. Check out her website www.justthegirlfitness.com and give her an add on Instagram @just_the_girl_fitness
     
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