Thriving or surviving? Late night ramblings of a unkept mother….

I write this as the clock reads 5.15am, Jasmine hasn’t been in her crib since 11pm despite my efforts, the girl wants to sleep front down on my chest! Which got me thinking, am I really thriving or just surviving? Before I became a mum I would never think to tell a mum what a great job she was doing, consumed with thoughts about how lucky they were to have time off work and ‘how hard can it be?’ Or ‘it’s a life choice’. Before I became Jasmines mummy I never realised the power behind those simple words. You’re doing so well. Now I try and tell others all the time. I’ve thrown 100% of my life in to becoming Jasmines mummy that I’ve forgotten how to just be me.

I used to love trying new clothes but now when I’m in the city I look for clothes for her not me not to mention the fact I’ve hacked most of my tops in to something I can feed in! I shower because of convenience and eat because I need fuel for the night shift…..then the days shift and then the night shift again….. my skin feels like a pre loved shoe! I look at celebrities and wonder how they look so great? how do they have time to look so glamorous? To look like themselves again so soon? Instagram is literally crammed with pictures of mummy celebs looking amazing!! As I look at the reflection staring back at me in the mirror, I wonder am I really thriving or just surviving?

I want to feel nice again. But, then I look at Jasmine, does she care if I’m wearing cute jeans or comfy leggings? Or does she care if I have a full face of make up and perfect nails? Does she care if I follow a you tube tutorial on the perfect ‘messy bun’…. no. She doesn’t care. She cares that I’m here, that I love her, and that she is warm and fed. So when she looks back at pictures of us together I won’t be perfect in the picture but she will look happy and so will I.

“The course of true love never did run smooth” – William Shakespeare Act 1 Scene 1 – a midsummer nights dream.

A slice of humble pie… expectations vs baby reality.

Below I combined a hilariously naive list of actual things that I said during pregnancy and the honest reality that goes with them…..

‘I’m going to have a waterbirth without pain relief, I’m hypnobirthing you see’

Ha, I hadn’t considered the fact they wouldn’t let me in the pool due to risk of infection after my waters broke 24 hours before hand in Sainsbury’s (I’ll save that for another blog). In my head I had envisaged a spa day, in reality I felt like an extra on the set of Texas chainsaw massacre.

‘I’m not going to be one of those mums who post pictures of their babies on social media’

I’ve just counted 71 pictures of Jasmine on my Instagram, 71!! How self obsessed of me to think anyone wants pictures of her thrust upon them, at the same time – I can’t bloody help myself! Ahhhh!

‘I’m going to finish my novel on my year off, and maybe learn to bake’

Year off???? Year OFF??!!!! I’ve never worked so hard at a job in my life, it doesn’t stop at 5pm it doesn’t even stop at 5am, it’s 24 hours a day! I’m lucky if I can get dressed and brush my teeth let alone become the next JK Rowling or Mary Berry!

‘I don’t want anything second hand, only the best crib for my baby!’

I will level with you, if Jasmine had a good nights sleep in a cardboard box, I reckon I’d give it a go right now!

I think the night feed will be ok as I’m up quite a lot in the night anyway’

Ha, oh Marie, you fool! Nothing can prepare you for the nights (see my previous blog ‘will I ever sleep again’) imagine just drifting off and someone screaming in your ear WAKE UP NOW!!! Now!!! Now!!!! And continuing to do so until you’re up. This is every 40 minutes sometimes less…. the fun part is you never know, could be after two minutes of shutting your eyes, could be an hour! Russian sleep roulette! Nothing can prepare you for this. Maybe I need to invent some kind of night time boot camp that does this, or even better they give you a taster at anti natal classes rather than the ‘getting to know you’ icebreakers everyone hates.

‘I think having the dogs has prepared me to be a mum’

Let me tell you – leaving a baby home alone is frowned upon. I know, who knew? Can’t just pop to the shops or pop to New York. Dogs are allowed to sleep wherever they like really, you are not scared about sudden infant death syndrome or the only source dogs can eat from. Yes, they taught me huge responsibility and love as a mum but it’s a very different kind of responsibility.

I won’t ever cut my hair off in to a short “mumsy” style’

Cut it off, cut it all off! It resides in a messy bun on top of my head most days, my hair straighteners are in retirement and as for the colour, whole knows…. blonde grease anyone?

‘My baby won’t be watching TV, I don’t want her sat in front of a screen’

Honestly. She smiled twice during peppa pig so I’m taking that as a signal I can put her in a bouncer to watch an episode while I drink tea….or wine.

‘We will bring the babies crib down in to the lounge so she can sleep whilst we eat, watch box sets and unwind’

We will takes shifts holding the baby while the other eats and we are winning if we manage to rock enough while holding her standing up to watch a whole programme without interruption. Most of the time we pause the TV while she has a cry, Eastenders can take up to seven hours to watch.

I will probably put the in a bouncer in the bathroom when I’m in there so she can entertain herself’

Bathroom time is in general a no no. I can, if I’m feeling creative, have a wee. This consists of me angling the baby on the bed so she can see me, while I frantically entertain her like a CBeebies presenter on Prozac. Sometimes it works.

Her nursery is the theme of vintage Disney meets Nordic love’

Her nursery is the theme of Jumble sale meets Primark on a Saturday afternoon!

Share the message with all those pregnant mummies with the content smugness I once had!

“The course of true love never did run smooth” – William Shakespeare Act 1 Scene 1 – a midsummer nights dream.

Three dogs and a little lady….Introducing a newborn baby to family pets!

‘She doesn’t want to be licked Vader!’ I plead with my four year old shih tzu for the ninth time that morning. I didn’t bring a baby home to just Vader though, I brought a baby home to Vader, Leia and Obi, the ‘Star Wars shih tzus’ and our beloved babies a long time before Jasmine came along. Nothing makes me more sick than people who look to rehome their pets once a baby is on the way, as though the pets were just a stop gap or a support act until the main event turned up. A poor dog who has showered you with unconditional love. You are their whole world, then gone, put on gumtree once the baby arrives, advertised as ‘free to good home’ which in itself is a very dangerous advert to place as often people looking for bait dogs respond to these posts! Anyhow, I digress… it’s heartbreaking. A baby was always going to enhance my family and by no means replace any members of it!

The dogs trust have a great article on introducing a new baby to pets but I simply want to give you my experience. When people ask me how the dogs find the new baby I tell them that they LOVE her, which is true! They believe she is their baby they want to protect her, Jasmine only need to whimper a little and the dogs go in to full security guard mode, giving her little licks for reassurance. I am, of course always there when they are around her but I have no concern for the love they have for her. I asked visitors to always make a fuss of the dogs first and then Jasmine second, each night I pop a treat in her hand and they gently take it from her, I talk to the dogs as I do her throughout the day. Vader is desperate to play with her, he takes her his favourite toy – a little pink egg and drops it by her head with optimistic hope that she will throw it back! At three months old I think it’s a bit ambitious! Don’t get me wrong there are those moments when I’ve just put Jasmine down for a nap and they all start barking because a leaf blew near the window, unable to tell them off and make more noise, I have to give them my unhappy stare! Also, when someone comes to the door I have to do a one legged jiggle, holding the dogs back from escaping with one foot, balancing on the other as I hold the baby. Yes, it’s hard, but I can already tell she’s going to love them, almost as much as they love her! I can’t wait to see their faces when she starts crawling around after her. Let me be clear, my dogs are incredibly placid and I would trust them with my life, always use the best approach suited to your dogs personality, but please don’t give up on them because they would never give up on you!

“The course of true love never did run smooth” Act 1, Scene 1 a midsummer nights dream – William Shakespeare

Will I ever sleep again??? An honest guide to sleepless nights with a baby.

‘Can I die from sleep exhaustion?’ I find myself typing this into google at 3am. I also previously googled ‘how to get a newborn to sleep’ and ‘hiring a night nanny’.  Google was fast becoming my friend throughout my new found motherhood role, although sometimes it can do more harm than good.

After researching what crib to get I decided on a ‘snuz pod’ co sleeper to attach to the bed.  I went “snuz pod crazy” buying the sheets, blankets and swaddle cloths to match, naturally following the guidelines of the lullaby trust, a charity to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by the book. It was perfect, she would love it, or so I thought.

By the time we were discharged from the hospital it had gone 1 am, In hindsight it was ridiculous to think she would sleep in this cold crib after spending nine months in my tummy. But I lay her down in her lovely snuz pod and put a little blanket over her, her eyes opened and she panicked. Expecting her to wake every few hours (I should be so lucky) I had not accounted for the fact that she wouldn’t sleep at all. That first night my partner and I took shifts holding her for 3 hours while the other slept, we were both first time parents and this was all new to us. She was so comfortable in our arms and every time we put her in her pod she woke up, I knew I couldn’t sleep with her in my arms so here’s where the problem began.

It’s so common it has been named the fourth trimester, the trimester which isn’t spoken about where babies want to clutch to mummy like velcro. I panicked – my baby is broken! As I saw other parents of newborns who were boasting of their five hour stints at a time. I remember a lady cooing over Jasmine in a shop and asking how she slept, I explained she didn’t sleep and she smiled at me knowingly ‘ahhh is she up every three or four hours?’ I WISH! I thought, when I said she didn’t sleep that was a slight fabrication, she didn’t sleep in her crib, she wanted to sleep on me, not next to me, on me. Jasmine hated being on her back, much happier on her front which is not recommended so I was to be a zombie for the foreseeable future.

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I used to watch adverts for bed companies, people snuggling down in the oversized duvets, I was instantly jealous, I would stare at the dogs with envy as they snored away fast asleep. Whilst I was in the lonely world of the nighttime mummy, I know I’m by no means the only one but those late hours I certainly felt like it. I was exhausted and so sleep deprived that I would have such dark thoughts, worrying that I would accidentally drop Jasmine down the stairs or she would fall out of a window. I cried because I was so worried in my tired state that I couldn’t be the mummy I wanted to be, the best mummy.  She is so precious and I wanted her to sleep in her crib for her own good. The nights I walk around rocking her to sooth her, some nights that’s all that will calm her, my record of walking around and rocking her gently is five hours. Yes, five solid hours. Oh and she knows if you dare to sit down and sway, I’ve no idea how but she would start crying again the second I sat down with her. I was broken by morning and I was convinced I was doing something wrong and frantically buying things that would help her and I get some more sleep.

I am in no way trying to promote any items, this is just an honest post about things that worked for me. Let me be clear Jasmine does not sleep through the night or even five hour stints. At 10 weeks old some nights I’ll get two hours and some nights I will get five hours (of broken sleep of course) but I definitely got her in her crib for an hour or two at least.

Firstly after speaking to my midwife she recommended the sleepy head, shock horror. I know some people class this as a no no item as its like some products that were banned like sleep positioner, the sleepyhead is midwife recommended though as the material is breathable and it keeps baby feeling like they are being held, when a mother online told me that I was going to kill my child by using it (yes, she really did) I decided to try and suffocate myself with it – just to prove a point not to end it all, so we are clear!!! It was impossible to stop breathing when covering my face so I agreed with my midwife that it is breathable and safe, this instantly helped her stay in her crib. On I side note I have also tried to suffocate myself with all of her blankets and a few of her clothes – don’t worry they’re safe!!

I introduced a bath time and used ‘sleepy baby’ products which I saw made a difference. I also started to warm the bed with a hot water bottle so it wasn’t cold getting in to it.I heard white noise helped and it does, I have Ewan the dream sheep who doesn’t quite cut the mustard. However Ewan teamed with Ollie the owl, my hummy and white noise playing off the tablet seems to do the trick. It’s like the festival of white noise in my room at night, I’ve heard that other babies can just have one white noise toy but not Jasmine.We do songs, baby massage and spray the room with lavender. These are a few things which have helped me.


There’s also a few physiological things I wanted to mention, we live in an age where mental health is becoming less of a taboo subject and luckily this is not something I have really suffered with in my life, however late nights and sleep deprivation will push you to the limit, I couldn’t help but worry how someone with less support would fair. And those nights I stayed up crying about failing as a mother there were a few things I had to action and remember in order to cope with the long night. Don’t worry I wont tell you to ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’.

  1. Your baby will never be as small again, enjoy it (hard when shes crying I know) but hold her and kiss her because one day she will be too cool for any of that. Some nights I’d talk to Jasmine and tell her how loved she is, not to mention all the super cool stuff we would do.
  2. We are tougher than we realise. As humans we need much less sleep to survive than I initially thought and sometimes rest will do the job. Stay calm and if you can just lay down, then do.
  3. Nights I felt frustrated with her I would watch videos of her which I loved and looked at all the old pictures. She was of course a baby, an innocent little baby and looking at those pictures and videos reminded me that what I was doing was pretty important, she was actually pretty cool.
  4. Rest in the day – if you can sleep – great! If not, just rest, have a cup of tea or some fruit to give you energy.
  5. Buy some new Pyjamas- I did this and imagined that I was getting ready for my ‘night shift’ I would expect no sleep and that way if I got some I felt positive rather than panicking about what I wasn’t getting.
  6. I would watch television during the night it was nice to pass the time, hold my baby and take my mind off the sleep I wasn’t getting.
  7. If people offer help – take it. Seriously take it. Even if someone holds the baby whilst you shut your eyes and rest your body and mind.
  8. YOU ARE NOT ALONE – Thousands of women are awake when you are, although it doesn’t feel like it. Morning will come and you will feel better. Remember to have patience the louder she screams the more calm I make my body feel, it’s very easy for these things to escalate – talk to other mums without sleep, it happens a lot.

My partner and I set Jasmine up and email account to give her the password when she is sixteen. We send Pictures, videos or funny stories so she will always know how loved she is. When I have a tough night and she sleeps on me I write an email to her sixteen year old self explaining how hard these nights are but how much I love her, it’s quite therapeutic.

Maybe I’m not doing things right, maybe I should be firmer but I just want her to know I’m always there if she need me. The fact I’m breastfeeding her makes me feel like a human vending machine some nights, like she wakes up and fancied a snack and as I’m feeding on demand, I let her. Shes still so small and I want her to feel safe and warm, although not too warm….. or cold….. not sure if having a room thermometer is a great,  or if I am way too paranoid to have one! Note to self – google babies room temperature!

I will keep going, I’m sure I will fail at some parts and win at others. If anyone has any tips feel free to send them my way!

“The course of true love never did run smooth” – William Shakespeare ‘A Midsummer Nights Dream’ Act 1 / Scene 1

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That thing that Princess Kate had….

‘Ooooh maybe you’re pregnant?!’ the infamous words squealed by Doreen in accounts who you know only to discuss the weather, basic well being and which way up the printer paper goes. All I said was I felt a bit sick, if you’re a female of a certain age you can’t even mention nausea without the previous statement being squealed in a  jovial manner. I never know what the appropriate come back is. ‘Yes Doreen (lady who doesn’t know my surname) I thought I’d confess to you before telling my entire family …’ Its bizarre – no one would feel the need to diagnose any other medical condition with such personal ramifications – I’ll never understand why pregnancy is such fair game.

It’s true ‘morning sickness’ may occur during pregnancy and for a lucky few it is exclusive to only the morning, however most people I know can get ‘morning sickness’ any time during the day. Morning sickness is grim, don’t get me wrong – but let me be clear, I’m not talking about morning sickness I’m talking about hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) or otherwise known a ‘that thing that princess Kate had’. Although we would have had very different care I’m sure! It goes to show that anyone can suffer with it royal or not!

What I believed started as morning sickness then took a dark turn. In a nutshell I couldn’t stop being sick and feeling sick. With no energy and swamped in dehydration I spent my days being sick, trying not to be sick, googling ways to stop being sick, buying random crap from amazon to which promised me to stop being sick oh and pretend I’m not pregnant, as at 6 weeks gone I wasn’t ready to share our news. I was so lucky that my employer was so understanding as I was signed off work in the end for close to seven weeks, after I was honest with my boss I had so much support and was incredibly grateful. I spend weeks in bed, that’s a lie, I also spent time in the bathroom in the abyss of sickness and the worse thing is about HG is that I couldn’t eat anything, even lemon water was enough to cause me severe nausea. Well meaning friends would advise me to ‘eat a ginger nut’  – ok Sharon, I can’t swallow my own saliva but I’ll eat a ginger nut! In fairness for any  other sickness ginger is great. However I tried EVERYTHING, I still cant bear ginger to this day.

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I tried every food I could thing of and nothing helped of stopped it. I eventually passed out at my first midwife appointment, I know, dramatic huh?! She immediately called the hospital and I wen in to be check over, I was admitted as soon as they looked at me  at this point I had been back and forth to the doctors already for sickness tablets I had tried promethazine,  pyridoxine, diphenhydramine none of which worked for me and eventually my sickness was eased with Ondansetron. Getting back to my stay in hospital I felt better once I had five bags of fluid, although still not great I managed to eat some bread which probably helped. By the time I was admitted I was 9 weeks pregnant, the one positive from my time in hospital (other than getting better for a short period) was I got to have an early scan, and the baby (we now know as Jasmine) was fine, in fact she was thriving!


After about seven weeks of dark days, and they were dark days I started gradually to feel a little stronger. I was able to eat tiny yogurts, grapes and weetabix. So that’s what I lived off for many days until I managed to brave new things! I will never trivialise how dark those days were though, I felt like they would never end and they were incredibly isolating and lonely especially when so many people didn’t know. I did however stumble across a pregnancy sickness support group online which is full of other struggling with HG. It was lovely to know I wasn’t alone, I recommend anyone suffering to go there for support.

Amongst the ‘crap’ I brought online a few things I found helpful were as follows. Sickness bands, I lived in mine for months – too scared to take them off, they apply pressure on points on your wrists which help with sickness. Smelling lavender and peppermint oils and also getting a massage with them. Sour sweets. I also found looking at some hypnotherapy videos on you tube helped, in short, the more relaxed I was, the less sick I seemed to feel. There are also lots of vloggers who vlog about it, good to watch and get tips and in short know you are not alone.  I also brought some strips to check my ketones and see if I needed more water or if I needed medical treatment. Also the knowledge that its temporary and it WILL pass. Remember it’s not the same as ‘morning sickness’ and others who have suffered with HG will feel the same rage as I do when the press describe Kate Middleton as having ‘morning sickness’, however I think its great that it’s created such awareness of the illness.

I am aware my first blog has been mainly about puke, gross. However I felt it was a very dark time during my pregnancy and its important to write about it. I still refer to it as the ‘dark days’ when talking about that time. But that was just the start of my journey, what a start!

The course of true love never did run smooth.
— William Shakespeare, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream | Act 1, Scene 1”

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