Have you heard about or do you know what ‘Self-Care’ means? Is it something that’s on your radar or is it more in the Bermuda lost triangle zone as far as you’re concerned? Do you even know what I’m talking about?! Self care is essentially about taking responsibility for yourself, your health and mental wellbeing. It essentially means to look after YOU. I knew of the term but despite doing a lot of things for ‘myself’ I didn’t really acknowledge that what I was doing was called ‘self-care’. Listening to Women’s Hour on Friday (I know, I’m WILD) there was a segment about this topic, where it took one woman finding out she had cancer, going through all the treatment and coming out the other side, before she realised that she hadn’t been taking care of herself at all. She realised pre-diagnosis that she’d been burning candle at both ends, running herself into the ground working and partying too hard. Having cancer made her realise she needed to slow down and start loving herself a bit more. The programme really got me thinking. Certainly leading up to IVF I was really good at meditating on a regular basis, I was getting loads of sleep, drinking loads of water etc but then the pregnancy and sickness stopped all of that, and then after my miscarriage everything went to shit, quite frankly. I went off track by way of rebelling and showing my anger I suppose. I stopped doing all of the things that were good for ME. I realised that I hadn’t been looking after myself at all.
The words to this letter have whirling around my head for a while now my, really since the day you were born, but the time hasn’t felt right to put those words down until now. I wanted to write you a letter at each birthday but I think this one alone will hopefully cover the last two years of your busy little life. I’ve got so many things to say to you, to tell you and to let you know about, but I’ll try to keep this simple and not prattle on too much. I’ll get the slushy stuff out of the way first, okay?
No amount of information or advice from friends or family really, truly prepared me for having a baby. I read every book going, did NCT and even did the free NHS classes too. I was a complete swot and asked lots of questions and wrote a whole heap of notes. All in preparation for becoming a ‘parent‘ (dun, dun, duuueeerrr!) I was ready, like a runner lining up in the starting blocks, or so I thought. But when my baby arrived, everything I’d learnt or read went out of the window. Funnily enough never at one point did I refer back to my trusty ‘notes’. The last thing you think about doing during a 3am feed followed by a ‘poo-splosion’, is consulting your pages and pages of handwriting. You genuinely have to wing a lot of it. There were some very confusing moments when my baby was new (often involving poo or sick) but I got through those dark times and hey presto, I came out the other side having learnt a new skill, wahoo! (to any potential or new parents, you will at one point be stood covered head to toe in sick, holding a baby also covered in sick and you literally won’t know where to start) Here are a few truths for you, a few things that I’ve discovered along the way.