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Instagram, Motherhood

Babes and Picnics Perth – Find your tribe, love them hard

When you’re pregnant you get lots of advice, some bad, some good, some pointless. I was told by a GP at the hospital when I was pregnant with Will that I shouldn’t listen to advice from anyone over 40, the next hospital appointment I had a midwife that probably delivered Jesus. It can be so confusing in the hospital when you see so many different professionals, each with their own conflicting opinions. If you are pregnant then please, please whatever you do, find your tribe.

Maybe you’re lucky and all your friends are having babies at the same time so you already have a tribe but maybe all your friends are at work while you’re at home wondering if there’s any point in showering today. Unfortunately all my friends and family live at least 45 minutes away so I was one of those new mum’s at home alone wondering what now?

Luckily last year I was allocated a mothers group through my child health nurse and boy did I score. We got a small group of six and everyone is a legend. If you are offered a mothers group then go, even if you are half an hour late because your baby shat on you at the front door, just get there. I was sad to hear that not everyone is invited to join a mothers group and if you’re a second or third time mum you might even be rejected from a new mother’s group. Maybe you joined a mothers group and you just don’t vibe with them. Maybe your baby is advanced or behind and it makes you feel isolated, if so then look for your tribe elsewhere.

I initially saw Instagram as a way of promoting my blog but instead I found a community of mum’s supporting and encouraging each other. If you want to find your tribe through Instagram I would suggest two way

Hashtags: Searching the hashtag age bracket for your child #ninemonths or #9months is one way, or searching the area you live in #perthmum #perthmums.

Follow Babes & Picnics: Babes & Picnics is a group on Instagram founded by Lucia De Mello. Lu has brought together mum’s from all around Australia by arranging picnic meet ups. I am the ambassador for Babes and Picnics Perth (South picnics) and I love meeting new mama’s to chat with each month.

You can also join Babes and Picnics Perth on Facebook 

Babes and Picnics Perth

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Motherhood

I was worried about my baby when…

We returned from our first family camping trip yesterday which was a complete success. I often write about thinking positive for the law of attraction but this doesn’t come naturally to me. I catastrophise and over analyse all the time and it takes quite a lot of work to switch my thought patterns from negative to positive. Despite being apprehensive about camping with a baby, as usual my worries were unnecessary as we not only made it through the weekend alive but we also had fun. So what was all the worry about…

I was worried about where to put Billy

In the middle of the bush it’s either dusty or muddy, either way you expect to get dirty. With limited space in the car I had to choose between a stroller, a high chair or a bath and I chose the bath. This ended up being the best decision because the bath was used for feeding, washing and sitting. If Billy wasn’t inside the tent, he was in the baby carrier or in his bath. I could have dressed him in white and he wouldn’t have had a smudge on him.

I was worried about bugs

I’m not scared of spiders or snakes in the bush, I’m concerned about flies, mosquitoes and ants. I saw two flies, one ant and two mosquitoes. Maybe it was too cold, maybe it was a recent bush fire or maybe even the campfire keeping them away but we had no issues. At one stage I did panic as I thought Billy had been bitten by something and his fingers were swelling but both hands were the same so the official diagnosis was chubbiness.

I was worried about Sleeping

I made sure that all his sleeping aides used at home came with us. The only thing I couldn’t control was the light, his room at home is very dark so the bright light threw him a little. He also thought it was so much fun being in the tent, he kept giggling and chatting to himself. He must have run out of things to say to himself because the chatting turned to grizzling and then tears. I panicked and gave him a dummy (after being dummy free for three weeks), he was asleep within seconds.

I was worried about smoke from the fire

I love campfires, there is nothing more mesmerising than watching a fire. The issue is that where there’s fire, there’s smoke, well the saying is the other way around but you get where I’m going. I know that smoke is not good for babies so most of the time during his wake times we were inside the tent. It was actually quite a lot of fun playing around in there. When we were around the fire I had him in a baby carrier so I just moved when the smoke changed direction and we were fine.

I was worried about keeping everything clean

In order to keep everything clean we needed fresh water. My main concern was Billy’s bottles but we had two washing up tubs so boiled the kettle, used half the water to wash in one, the other half of the boiled water to rinse in the other. I used bottled water to make up Billy’s formula. I am used to washing my hands hundreds of times a day, they actually get so dry sometimes that the skin splits. Whilst camping I cleaned my hands with baby wipes first and then antibacterial gel which worked quite well.

I was worried about the cold and the heat

This was the only concern that was founded. We had to leave Billy in the car seat while we unpacked and set up camp, I kept the doors open and kept going back to give him water but I was really worried about him in the tent during the day despite having airflow on three sides. I do think I should get a battery operated fan to blow on him next time we go because it wasn’t even what we would consider a hot day in the bush. At night it was freezing! Billy had on a 2.5 tog sleeping bag and plenty of layers underneath but his little face was ice cold so I cuddled him all night, I hardly slept but at least I knew he was alright. Next time my husband insists on leaving the tent open for fresh air I will not so politely decline.

 

 

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Motherhood

This is what depression looks like

I’ve had depression for 18 years. I don’t know how I got it or why, I don’t know if it’s because I had roaccutane for acne as a teenager (which is what I normally tell people) or simply my brain chemistry is off. I would describe myself as a ‘high functioning depressed person’ if that’s even a thing. Most people don’t even know I have depression, it’s not something that I advertise. The reason why it’s so hard to tell that someone is depressed, is because this is what depression looks like:

this is what depression looks like

Before Pregnancy

I decided to stop medication a year before falling pregnant. Despite being told I should never go off medication, I just stopped taking it one day because I thought that if I did take medication while pregnant I would have an autistic baby. So fucking dumb. So basically I struggled for the whole year I was off it. My mental state was slowly deteriorating until every day I was secretly fantasising about dying. Whilst driving I would hope a car would cross lanes and hit me head on. In the shower or even just walking I would think about slipping and cracking my head open. I always wanted it to be an accident, I never wanted to do something to myself because that was selfish but if I accidentally died then that wouldn’t be my fault. I just wanted to stop feeling.

During Pregnancy

When I got pregnant all those thoughts suddenly disappeared. Pregnancy must have flooded me with happy hormones because mentally I was so stable. I always say how much I loved being pregnant, it wasn’t because I had an easy pregnancy, it was actually pretty hard with every symptom under the sun but my mind was clear and I was high on life.

3 months post baby

So I had Will and at first I had some baby blues but I mostly felt ok. When Will was 3 months old I went to my GP and said I thought I had post natal depression (PND). By the way, this is my GP of over 20 years, who knew my complete medical history. He just smiled and told me I was a normal mum, struggling with sleep deprivation and everything I was feeling was normal, that I wasn’t in a constant state of dread but to come back if anything changed. I’m not sure if I smiled too much, if I looked too organised and capable but a little part of me knew he was wrong but i just said ok and left. I decided to pay (way too much) for an online sleep program and in it, the founder talks about how she believes that many women think they have PND but they actually are just sleep deprived (how fucking irresponsible). So I watched that and thought I just needed to sleep more, stop being so dramatic and toughen up.

Nine months post baby

Fast forward to nine months in and I was getting pretty bad. I was super emotional, on the verge of tears all the time. I couldn’t watch the news or listen to something sad on the radio. I started to get paranoid and thought that Will didn’t like me and the thoughts of wanting to die returned. Still not wanting to kill myself but to ‘go to sleep and never wake up.’ I knew that I was in trouble so I told my husband I wasn’t coping and it was serious. We went back to my GP together. Will was really sick that day, vomiting all over me in the waiting room so he was prioritised in the appointment. I did break down and admit to my GP I wasn’t coping, he asked me to make another appointment to discuss treatment options but I was so worried about Will that I forgot.

Christmas time

Just before Christmas I had a child health nurse appointment with a woman I hadn’t met before. Halfway through the appointment the nurse looked at me really seriously and said ‘are you ok?’ I burst into tears and said no, that I had PND and I really needed help. She told me that the moment I walked in, I had set alarm bells off in her head. Before I arrived, she had read my file mentioning my long history of mental illness. I then waltzed on in with a huge smile on my face, in a pretty dress with make up on. Basically I looked a little too happy, a little too in control and she smelt bullshit. I did the PND quiz again and I only scored high enough to suggest a trip to the GP. I left the appointment promising that after Christmas I would make an appointment with my GP.

After Christmas

Christmas came and went, I was staying at my in-laws down South and one day breakfast just got too much and I broke down. I pretended to go have a shower and just cried my heart out in the bathroom. I text my husband asking him to come upstairs and I told him I needed to go to a doctor immediately, that I was seriously not coping and I needed to be medicated.

The Doctor

I told my husband I was fine to go by myself. Google maps put me at the wrong end of town so I had to run in the heat to the right place. I got to reception and cried the whole time, I had to put Will on the floor to fill out the new patient form, he kept crawling towards a person coughing. I dropped my bag, I was a complete mess. I went in to see the doctor, I just cried, mumbling that I wasn’t coping and that I needed medication. She told me that I needed to go on a mental health plan, that she couldn’t give me medication and I needed to go to my regular doctor. I just cried. She asked me what medication I should be on, I told her I couldn’t remember. She just looked at me harshly, then it dawned on me that she thought I was a drug addict. I asked her to call my doctor, she was hesitant but she did. Thank god she got a hold of him and after a brief conversation with him she held my hand and told me everything was going to be ok.

Medicated

I’ve been medicated for 6 weeks now and I feel like a new person. I’m on a very low dose of antidepressant. My brain makes the serotonin itself naturally, the drug just stops my brain from breaking it down so I always have a supply. I don’t know how I survived the past 2 1/2 years to be quite honest, it’s like I’ve come out of a fog and life is great again. My thoughts are calm, I don’t cry, I don’t have a temper, I’m in control of my own mind. I’m quite aware that medication isn’t the answer for everyone, this isn’t a blog post promoting drugs but it’s the right thing for me. I’ve been told (again) that I need to take them forever, that just like a diabetic needs insulin, my brain needs antidepressants.

So what took me so long to seek help?

The scary thing is that I knew the warning signs. I’d been through this before many times and I knew I wasn’t right. That’s the thing about depression though, you just get used to living with it and it spirals. You think that the world is against you, you get paranoid, you get good at hiding your feelings. You think people aren’t going to understand. You think people will treat you differently so you live in a secret world of guilt and shame and negativity. You think people aren’t going to take you seriously. You think people will call you an attention seeker. You think people aren’t going to believe you. You think you don’t deserve to get help.

I only recently admitted to my husband and my mum about wanting to die, they had no idea. This is why people are shocked when someone ends their life because people don’t talk about how they are feeling. This is what depression looks like. You can’t tell who has it and it can affect anyone.

If you think you may have depression, seek help. Call beyondblue. Go see your GP and ask to go on a free mental health plan through medicare.

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Motherhood

I’ve become a lazy mum

So as I look around my house I realise it’s happened, I’ve become one of ‘those mums’. You know, the lazy mum, the type of mum you said you would never become? The house is a mess, I look like an old bag and my son is covered, head to toe in banana.

It didn’t happen overnight, it was a gradual descent into chaos. I was always insistent I wasn’t going to be a lazy mum. I wasn’t going to let the washing pile up. I wasn’t going to let my son have a dirty face. I wasn’t going to look old and leathery. Well turns out, this motherhood gig aint all that easy and apologies are in order.

Sorry to the mum with the messy house. I didn’t realise how easy I had it being at work all day while the house stayed clean.

Sorry to the mum who doesn’t wear makeup or brush her hair. I didn’t realise that even getting a shower is considered grooming now.

Sorry to the mum at the restaurant who let her baby eat chips. I didn’t realise how annoying it is thinking of five different nutritious meals in one day.

Sorry to the mum at the pub with the baby not wearing shoes. I didn’t realise that babies don’t like shoes and how unnecessary they are when they can’t even walk.

Sorry to the mum who changed a nappy in the pram. I didn’t realise how inconvenient it is to find changing rooms.

Sorry to the mum who had a screaming baby in the supermarket, I didn’t realise that you can’t control their volume.

Sorry to the mum who’s baby had a dummy, I thought it was the easy way out.

Sorry to the mum who’s baby doesn’t sleep, I thought sleep training worked.

Sorry to the mum who didn’t want her baby to play in the dirt at the park, it’s hard to get those stains out.

Sorry to the mum who’s baby had red cheeks from teething, I thought it was sunburn.

To all the mums that I secretly judged behind your back, I’m sorry for being a mum shaming, see you next Tuesday. I have learnt my lesson and am proudly now one of ‘those mums’.

I've become one of 'those mums'
How I would look if I could take a nice picture.

 

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