Book Review: Like Other Girls (Claire Hennessy)

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Pages: 288

Release Date: May 25th 2017

Summary:

Here’s what Lauren knows: she’s not like other girls. She also knows it’s problematic to say that – what’s wrong with girls? She’s even fancied some in the past. But if you were stuck in St Agnes’s, her posh all-girls school, you’d feel like that too. Here everyone’s expected to be Perfect Young Ladies, it’s even a song in the painfully awful musical they’re putting on this year. And obviously said musical is directed by Lauren’s arch nemesis.

Under it all though, Lauren’s heart is bruised. Her boyfriend thinks she’s crazy and her best friend’s going through something Lauren can’t understand… so when Lauren realises she’s facing every teenage girl’s worst nightmare, she has nowhere to turn. Maybe she should just give in to everything. Be like other girls. That’s all so much easier … right?

Review

Ah where to start with this one?!

I guess right at the beginning, which would be the title. Plenty of people have ranted about the ‘not like other girls’ cliche that pops up a lot in YA and real life. The blurb admits it’s a problematic thing to say, but I don’t think it’s enough to just admit it. Lauren really annoyed me in her attitudes towards other girls. In one of the opening scenes, she describes the girls around her as either make up obsessed bitches or nerds. It’s such a stereotype and got my back up straight away. Girl’s school isn’t that black and white (trust me, I’ve been there).

Secondly, Lauren’s transphobia really put me off her. I tried to be understanding of her point of view, and I know it can be hard to understand when someone close to you comes out as trans (especially someone you fancied) but her attitude just sucked. I get that this was addressed in the book towards the end but I’m not sure it was enough. I appreciate that a lot of characters did call her out on it but she never seemed to see how awful she was being.

On to the pregnancy storyline. This was brutal. I know things work differently in Ireland but I have to say, I had no idea how bad it is. It’s insane to me that a woman can’t choose what happens to her body, especially in terrible circumstances (Lauren’s incest-rape thing being a prime example). This is such an important story to tell, especially with how things are in Ireland at the moment. This fictional account is heartbreaking, but it’s even more heartbreaking to think women are going through this in Ireland right now.

So, slightly conflicted on this one. Despite my problems with it, I did speed through it and it does deal with some important issues. I’m all for flawed characters, I’m all for unlikeable characters, but I think Lauren just wasn’t for me.

3

Awesome (But Non Essential) Baby Gadgets

There’s tons of lists around for must have baby gadgets but I think the only way you find out what you truly need is through trial and error yourself. There’s some stuff we have that I couldn’t live without and others which I won’t bother with next time round.

So instead of telling you what you have to buy, today I’m sharing my top three awesome, but non essential baby gadgets.

1. Baby Sling

IMG_5551

I liked the idea of these but have only bought once recently and I’m so glad I did. Little Moore has been getting a bit fidgety lately in his pushchair and I think it’s because he’s a pretty nosy baby and likes to have a good look at things. In his sling he can look at everything he likes, and he also likes to snuggle in and have a nap there too. I got this one from Daisy Baby and love it, though I do find it hard to tie correctly sometimes.

2. Ice Lolly Moulds

FullSizeRender (11)

During the recent heat wave I bought these and made some breast milk popsicles for Little Moore. It’s hard to keep cool in this weather and I know I love a good ice cream, so why should he miss out?! I bought the Annabel Karmel ones and think they’re brilliant. They’re small in portion so it’s not too much for him to get through, and the handles are easy to grab, even for him at five months. It’s great to see him feeding himself and enjoying the new experience of something freezing cold in his mouth! These will still be great when he’s older for fruity/yoghurt ice lollies and good for teething too.

3. Tummy with Mummy

FullSizeRender (12)

This is a foldaway baby seat that can also be used as a tummy time platform. While not essential, I found it really helpful when Little Moore was younger and not enjoying his tummy time. The gently sloped platform means baby can look around easily (rather than face planting the floor) and you can maintain eye contact easier too, making him happier. Little Moore really enjoys his tummy time now, especially now he’s learnt to roll onto his tummy himself, but I think this helped in the early days. Along with his high chair, it’s my go to seat now he’s outgrown his bouncer chair.

My Breastfeeding Essentials

I’ll start with a disclaimer: how you feed your baby is up to you, and I would never try and say it’s wrong to formula feed. If that’s what you want or need to do then good for you.

But I have to admit, I am a big breastfeeding advocate. I feel it creates such a special bond between you and your baby, and I’m always amazed that I am able to make him grow so much by feeding him myself. I’ll admit it’s not been an easy journey for us – see my ‘Breastfeeding: It’s Not As Easy As It Looks’ post –  but I’m glad I’ve persevered. There’s also plenty of information out there about how breastfeeding is giving your baby the best start in life. I love this and believe the research, mainly because no one is profiting through it: formula makers can tell you they offer everything for your baby, but they’re trying to make you buy it and make  money for themselves.

One of my favourite things about breastfeeding is that it’s free – aside from your breast, you don’t really need anything else. Still, there’s accessory and things to go with everything, so I’ve done a post about my breastfeeding essentials.

Nursing Bras

So this is probably one of the obvious ones but a good nursing bra makes breastfeeding a lot easier. You know the deal: they unclip at the top so it’s super easy to get your breast out. There’s plenty everywhere but I got mine from Vertbaudet.co.uk – they’re comfy and supportive and come in a variety of colours.

324523871_3_CO_1_3X_02600_0027_6669

Breast Pads

Another fairly essential piece of equipment, especially in the beginning when your milk supplies are sorting themselves out and can be a bit all over the place! I’d recommend disposable ones to start with as I find them more absorbent – I used Boots own brand – and then washable ones when your flow has sorted – again, I use the Boots brand.

10053061

Easy Access Clothes

It’s not easy to pop a breast out in a tight high necked dress, so getting the right clothes is important. While I was pregnant I bought a couple of nursing tops, but I’m not overly keen on these now. I prefer wearing normal loose tops or dresses, or a strap top with a loose t-shirt over the top – these provide a discreet way to feed and you can still look good too! I also bought a couple of nursing strap tops from H and M which are great to wear at night.

hmprod

Water Bottle

Breastfeeding makes me crazy thirsty – pretty much as soon as the let down starts I want to guzzle down a gallon! I struggled in the first few days trying to drink from glasses: once you’re settles in position it’s hard to reach out and grab things, especially if your glass is away from your free hand! I now have a Contigo water bottle with a safety clip to prevent leakages. Now before I feed I make sure I have a full bottle on the right side for drinking!

51BXapOu9lL._AC_UL320_SR316,320_

Kindle App

This is an essential one for me! As an avid reader I knew my reading time would be cut down once Little Moore came along. Enter the Kindle reading app. I use it on my phone so I can hold it in one hand and read while I feed, which is great for those late night sleepy feeds! I get a lot of review e-books from NetGalley so I’ve been able to catch up on these while feeding.

These are some of my breastfeeding essentials – I’d love to hear if you have any to recommend!

Breastfeeding – It’s Not As Easy As It Looks!

To me, breastfeeding is one of the most natural things in the world. Babies practice sucking in the womb and instinctively look for the breast when they come out. I can lay my son on my chest now and he can wriggle his way down to find my breast, even though he can’t even crawl or roll over yet. It’s really quite incredible.

I knew when we got pregnant that I wanted to breastfeed. It’s great for babies and for mums too: it can reduce the chance of breast and ovarian cancer. It’s also cheap – there’s no buying formula, and no faffing around mixing it up and sterilising bottles. And it’s just so natural.

But apparently natural doesn’t mean it’s easy.

When the Little Moore was born, we had about an hour skin-to-skin time, and then he fed for about 20 minutes after I’d been stitched up. As his dad was holding him he was making sucking movements so we knew what he wanted. It was a bit new for both of us but he fed really well.

That was one of the only good feeds we had in hospital, and we were in there for 3 days.

For the first day and night he pretty much refused to feed. He was very mucusy and kept coughing stuff up, and the midwives said that probably put him off feeding a bit. He also just seemed tired to me. Every time I held him he’d just fall asleep, which was sweet but pretty annoying too.

He fed maybe once or twice on the breast with the help of a midwife, otherwise I had to hand express and the midwives fed him with a syringe. It was really frustrating. During that second night I had to use a breast pump and feed him with a bottle, which I found really upsetting. I was so desperate to breastfeed and he just didn’t seem interested at all. The tiredness probably didn’t help either – I’d probably slept less than 5 hours since my waters broke nearly 3 days ago – and that felt like a real low point.

The next morning we had a really long feed and the midwives discharged us, reminding me he needed to feed every 2-3 hours. I understood that, but when we got home I found the same disinterest. I ended up expressing and bottle feeding again, and by the end of that night I was in tears.

Luckily for me, something clicked the next day, and suddenly he was hungry and quite happy to feed from the breast. After reading other people’s stories online, I think it was just tiredness that was putting him off. I know I was exhausted after the birth, and it’s a pretty traumatic experience for them too.

Fast forward a couple of weeks of happy breastfeeding and we hit our next problem.

I started getting sore nipples and realised he wasn’t latching very well – the nipple wasn’t going deep enough, so he was basically sucking on the end of the nipple rather than the whole breast. The pain escalated really quickly and it got to the point where I was dreading each feeding – cue more tears and feeling like a breastfeeding failure.

Luckily Coventry has a great Infant Feeding Team. I went to one of their group sessions to check my positioning was okay (it was) and see if there was anything they could do to help. We were told when he was born he had a bit of a tongue tie (a tight piece of skin connecting the tongue to the bottom of the mouth) and this could be affecting his feeding. After having a specialist check him out, we’ve been referred to a clinic to get this snipped, which should improve the situation. It might take a couple of weeks before we’re seen, so for now I’m just gritting my teeth when it hurts and focussing on getting the best latch we can to prevent it. It’s already a lot better than it was a few days ago.

My advice for anyone struggling would just be to keep at it. It might be the most natural thing in the world, but breastfeeding is a learned skill for both you and your baby, and it takes practice and time to get it right. I wouldn’t worry too much if it’s slow in the first few days – remember, you’re both tired and they will let you know when they’re hungry. After that, as long as they’re gaining weight and giving plenty of wet/dirty nappies, then they’re getting everything they need. Little Moore has put on a pound in less than a week, so despite our struggles he’s definitely eating enough!

Stick with it, if you can, because it’s worth it for the health benefits and bonding for you and your baby 🙂 Check out what help is available in your area, as seeing someone who knows what they’re talking about is much more helpful than trying to Google things on your own. And try not to feel rejected or like a failure when it’s not working out – it will happen when it happens, and even if it doesn’t, it’s not a reflection on you as a parent.

Body Image in Pregnancy

This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for a while – mostly while I was pregnant, which has ended now but I think it’s still relevant, maybe even more so now.

During pregnancy, I was probably more confident with my body than I’ve ever felt. For once, I didn’t have to try and look thin, didn’t feel the need to suck my stomach in and make it look as flat as possible. And that felt really good.

I’ve battled with body image issues since I was 9 years old and decided I was fat (looking back I know I wasn’t, I was pretty stick thin, but I couldn’t see that at the time). At this age I was allowed to pack my own lunch for school, and I developed some bad eating habits and a terrible relationship with food – breakfast and dinner were avoided as much as possible without arousing parental suspicion, and my packed lunch was five oranges. I probably thought it was super healthy at the time.

These problems carried on, on and off until around my second/third year of university, when I became a lot more comfortable, with myself as well as my body. I’d still have little wobbles and off days, but my feelings about myself and food were a lot more healthy.

Pregnancy also went a long way to fixing these issues. Because suddenly food wasn’t the enemy and it wasn’t just about me: I was eating healthily for my baby, and any weight gain or stomach showing was also for my baby. And I loved it.

As someone who’s been sensitive about weight and image, some of the jokes that come with being pregnant could touch nerves at times. There’s constant “Oo you’re getting a bit chubby” comments and “Who ate all the pies?” jokes. But I learned to join in and took it all in my stride. Because I was healthy and happy and was growing a little baby inside me.

But now it’s post-pregnancy and I can feel some of the old concerns coming back.

There seems to be so much pressure on women to suddenly spring back into their pre-pregnancy body as if nothing ever happened. A big culprit of this is probably the celebrity cases we’ve seen where they’re back to being super skinny a week after giving birth. That must take a lot of hard work, and I admire them for it. But it’s not my priority right now to work out for hours every day. I don’t have the time, I have a newborn to look after.

I think seeing celebrities achieve this gives people an unrealistic expectation of the post birth body. A recent example of this came from Giovanna Fletcher, whose ‘mummy tummy’ was mocked by a stranger less than two weeks after she gave birth. Her response was perfect. It’s no one’s business how she, or any new mum looks, right after birth or any time after really. And that tummy has done amazing things over the last nine months, and should be admired, not shamed.

Still, I know that kind of thing is easy to say and not as easy to practice sometimes. I haven’t been working out or dieting since giving birth. I try to go for walks and eat healthily, because I’m breastfeeding and I still need to look after my body for my baby’s sake. But I know there’s part of me that’s worried about seeing friends and going back to work and having a ‘mummy tummy’. None of my friend’s have had children yet, and they’re all pretty slim, and I hate the idea of being the ‘bigger’ one. Most of the women at work have amazing figures, though I probably couldn’t compete with them pre-pregnancy anyway!

The thing is, these are pressures I’m putting on myself based on what other people think. Or even what I assume they think, because no one has said anything bad about how look right now – I’m just preempting it. But I’m quite happy with how my body looks right now. I don’t mind the little tummy or the stretch marks on it. And I know my partner loves how I look, and he’s the only person who ever sees me naked, so surely only his opinion matters for anything, after my own?

I think that’s what I want to concentrate on for now. I’m happy with myself, and that’s the main thing, and I want to hold on to that feeling. And if anything, whether it’s my own insecurities or other people’s comments make me feel bad about how I look, I know I can look at my son and know it’s all been worth it for him.

My Birth Story

I promised to do an account of my experiences of giving birth, in all its gory detail. I jest, it’s not that bad, but I wanted it to be a very honest account, rather than a rose tinted ‘it was a wonderful day’ type story – it was ultimately wonderful, but it sure didn’t feel like that for a lot of the time!

Waters Breaking

So my birth story starts off with my waters breaking, which isn’t how they all do, apparently, but that was the order I had in my head – waters break, contractions start, baby is born. A lot of people I’ve spoken to said their waters broke some time during the contraction stage, or didn’t go at all and had to be done manually.

I woke up around 6:30ish on Sunday 28th February because I could feel something trickling down there. I wasn’t sure at first – there’s a lot of discharge and things going on during pregnancy, so I thought it was just that at first, but then it began to go a bit faster and I just knew.

Not everyone has the movie style gush of waters breaking, but I certainly did! I sat up a bit, thinking I’d try get it on the duvet rather than letting it soak through the mattress, and then the flood gates really opened. I woke Nathan and just sat there as it kept coming out – I probably could have dashed to the bathroom but I didn’t want to get any fluid on the carpet!

We stayed pretty calm – we’re both just like that really. I got myself in the shower as soon as it slowed down and Nathan rang the hospital, who asked us to come in so they could check my waters really had gone.

To the Hospital

Our first trip to the hospital was a pretty quick one. On the phone, the midwife asked me to bring in a sanitary pad with some fluid on, so they could test it, and that was the first thing they did. She said she was happy that was my membranes ruptured and that was pretty much that. We were sent home to wait until the contractions had started and we were dilated nicely. We were told that it might not happen by itself, and she booked us in for 6:30 the next day to move things along if nothing had happened by then.

Contractions

By the time we got home, the contractions had started. I’d compare them to period pains – it’s a pretty similar feeling, but a bit more concentrated around your back. They weren’t pleasant to start with, but bearable, and I knew it was only going to get worse.

I went back to bed as we’d not had much sleep and we knew we’d need to keep our strength up, but I found it impossible to sleep: each time I thought I was dropping off, another contraction would start and I’d be wide awake.

One thing I didn’t know was that the whole ‘waters breaking’ thing doesn’t just stop with that one gush – it can carry on throughout the day, which is what happened to me. I had to have frequent toilet trips to change pads/change pants if it had been really bad.

I spent most of the day in bed, while Nathan went out to get me food (soft pretzels are my new favourite thing so he got me a couple to make me feel better) and generally did useful things around the house/looked after me.

I timed the contractions using the Pregnancy + App on my phone, which was really useful – it times the length of them, and the length between them, and advises which stage of labour you’re in, so I knew when I’d have to go to the hospital.

We ate dinner and watched TV for most of the night, and I eventually convinced Nathan to get some sleep. I think he wanted to show solidarity and stay up with me, which is lovely, but I reminded him that he had to drive us to the hospital and definitely needed to be rested.

I used breathing to get me through the contractions, which was really helpful once I got into a good rhythm. It didn’t stop the pain but it helped me stay calm and work my way through them, unpleasant as they were.

At around 3am the contractions were very intense, lasting around a minute and were 2-3 minutes apart, and we decided it was time to head to the hospital.

Back to the Hospital

The journey was pretty unpleasant – moving around during contractions was really hard, and every bump in the round seemed to make things worse. Luckily we’re only about 15 minutes away from the hospital, but it did feel like it lasted a lot longer that time!

I have some vague memories of walking through the hospital to an examination room, with frequent stops on the way to breathe through the contractions. Once in the room, the midwife did an internal examination, which was one of the most unpleasant bits. I had been worried before about exposing myself – it’s not something I’ve had to do before – but I got over it pretty quickly and was focussed on the pain!

She poked around up there a bit, checking how dilated I was and that the cervix was thinned, or something like that. She was happy with the progress and said I was 4cm dilated, so I think we went in at the right time.

After that I finally got some pain relief – gas and air, which took a while to get used to but did help take the edge off. It’s a bit like being mildly drunk and made my limbs feel all tingly. I also tried sitting on a birthing ball but found it super uncomfortable and got off during the first contraction.

To the Birthing Pool

Our hospital has an amazing looking birth centre which we could have gone to, but we decided not to. We would only have been able to stay there for a few hours, since it had been almost 24 hours since my waters broke, and I didn’t fancy moving part way through labour.

Luckily the birth pool was available so we headed there next. I’ve always wanted a water birth, and after this experience I would definitely do it again.

IMG_3739

The lovely birthing pool (after all the mess had been cleaned up!)

I changed into my bikini top – no bottoms, for obvious reasons! – and got settled in the pool. It was super warm, as it has to be around body temperature for the baby, and I did find it really relaxing. It was also easier to find more comfortable positions for contractions when you’re weightless.

The midwife said there was something in my urine which meant I was low on energy – I can’t remember the technical terms – and made me some tea and toast to keep my strength up. I knew I was exhausted and starving but I only managed a couple of bites. It was really hard to eat and breathe through the contractions.

The Pushing Stage

We were probably there for a couple of hours, just breathing through contractions, with Nathan holding my hand and giving me gas and air and water when I asked for it. And then we finally got to the pushing stage.

I started feeling the urge to push and wasn’t sure if I was meant to yet, but it honestly felt impossible not to. You might have heard it before, but I can now confirm it as true – pushing is just like you’re having a big poo. Crude but true! I thought there would be a difference between vagina pushing and poo pushing but it really felt the same.

And while we’re on the subject of poo, yes, I totally pooed in the pool. It was one of the things I was worried about, being a bit prudish, but for anyone with similar fears, trust me, you just don’t care. You’re so much more focussed on the pain and the pushing, and the midwives have seen it all before.

The pushing stage for me lasted around 1:45 minutes, but felt a lot longer to be honest. The frsutrating thing is feeling the head coming further and further out each time, and then going back in when you have to stop pushing. It just felt like 1 step forward 2 steps backwards.

Nathan peeked down there and said there was a lot of hair on the little head he could see coming out, which was exciting. I think I slacked off during this stage a bit to be honest: I was so exhausted I didn’t push every contraction, so I probably could have sped things up a bit myself if I’d tried harder! The actually pushing wasn’t so painful for the first one, but once I had to take a breath and keep pushing it sent pain across my back and was really hard to sustain.

Out of the Pool

Eventually, the midwife said the baby’s heartbeat was getting faster and we should try and speed things along with an episiotomy (basically a cut along the perineum – the bit between your vagina and your bum). I’d originally wanted to have everything happen naturally, but by that point I was willing to do anything to get it out, and I thought this was what was best for baby.

We struggled out of the pool and to the bed in the adjoining room, and the midwife used some anesthetic to numb things down there ready for the cut. She told me that she’d cut on the next push, which would get the head out, and then after that it’d be one more push and it’d all be over. I think that was the thing that kept me going!

I was numbed up so didn’t feel the cut, plus there was the usual pushing pain so I wasn’t really thinking about it. But as she promised, on that push the head came out, and I did feel some small relief. I’d heard the next bit was easier, but I actually found this the worst bit: pushing out the shoulders and the rest of the body was very painful. There was quite a burning sensation and then it kind of felt like everything was exploding. I screamed at that point – I’d been pretty noisy throughout but that was a proper animal cry – and then it came out and everything immediately felt much better.

Straight After Birth

As soon as the baby came out the midwife brought it up to lie on my chest. She got Nathan to say the sex, which was when I found out we had a little boy. He also got to cut the cord. We had skin-to-skin contact for about an hour and then I passed him to Nathan while I got stitched up.

This was the first time I’d had stitches, but I got all numbed up again so couldn’t feel anything (that pain would come later!) The student midwife commented that the stitches were very neat, and my midwife said she did crocheting in her spare time, so it’s nice to know I was in good hands!

The little one was making sucking motions in Nathan’s arms, so after I was fixed up I took him back and we had our first breast feed, for about 20 minutes, which was really special.

IMG_3733

Me and the Little Moore, soon after birth.

So there we have it – my experience of the birth of my first child, written soon after the event so I can’t rose tint it too much! It was painful, extremely so, but your body is built for this, and you’re rewarded so much afterwards when you get to hold the baby you’ve been growing for 9 months.

I will continue this story with our first few days after birth in another post – I know this once has been a bit of an epic so well done if you’ve made it this far!

I’d love to hear other people’s experiences of giving birth if you’d like to leave a comment of link me to your post 🙂

Introducing… the Little Moore

This isn’t a blog post as I’d normally do, just a quick update really for anyone who’s interested.

So my waters broke on the morning of the 28th, and by 8:15 on the 29th we’d given birth to a baby boy:

CcjUvFYW8AAayG9

So I can now officially introduce the ‘Little Moore’ part of my blog:

Archer Maurice James Moore

Born 8:15 29/02/16 (a Leapling!) and weighing a healthy 8lb 3.

Full birth story to come at a later date (in all its grisly details). We came home from the hospital yesterday and are both settling in nicely, with Daddy looking after both of us!

39 Weeks and Counting

Well, here we are, 39 weeks pregnant and still no sign of Little Moore (at the time of writing this, anyway!)

Edit: Less than 12 hours after writing this, my waters broke, so I’ve had to edit it slightly. But yey, Little Moore is on the way!

I won’t lie, I’m getting pretty impatient now. The house is pretty much sorted, we’ve bought everything we need to and I’ve been off work for two weeks now. Yet still no sign of baby! I know I should make the most of the baby free time while I can, but I can’t help but wish labour would just get started!

I’ve not had a lot of complaints throughout my pregnancy, but there are a few more uncomfortable things happening now the finishing line is in sight. The worst was an eczema flare up. I’ve had eczema a couple  of times before, only when I’ve been in Edinburgh for some reason (I think it could be the water there or something) but this is the worst it’s been, and was probably down to pregnancy hormones. It’s almost all cleared up now but for a good week and a half almost my entire body was itchy and painful and uncomfortable (check out my tips for eczema relief here).

As I’m typing this, I’m having to do it very carefully and keep making mistakes, because my fingertips are pretty numb – another bizarre symptom which I’m told will go away once baby is born.

I’ve been pretty nervous about labour and birth before – just the usual things really, pain and exposing myself and pain and the unknown, and pain again. But I feel like I’m a lot more ready for it now, by being prepared with things like my hospital bag, having heard my sister’s recent experience of giving birth, and just being mentally prepared. At the end of the day, baby is in there now and needs to get out somehow, and nothing is going to change that. It’s might be new and scary, and sure it probably is going to hurt a hell of a lot, but women have been doing this for years, multiple times too (I have three sisters so my own mom was happy to go through it four times).

Next time I’m doing a baby post it should be about my birth experience, or introducing you all to Little Moore.

Unrealistic Maternity Leave Expectations

I’ve had quite a few people ask me what I plan to do on maternity leave, which I thought was a bit of an odd question. My answer mostly has been “…have a baby.” But some people (ones who haven’t had children yet, predictably) seem to be thinking of maternity leave as a bit of a holiday too.

I get that this is a common misconception, and when I first found out about being pregnant I was looking forward to a long break from work and all the things I could do in that time. But reality soon set in and I knew that maternity leave would be baby baby baby… This was only confirmed when my sister had her baby and said she struggles to either find time for a shower some days, let alone to do anything for herself.

I’m lucky as I have a lot of family living near who I know will be more than willing to help out: my mom wants to take extra time off work to help out with the baby and my dad has decided to move nearby so he can be near both his daughters and grandchildren, which is great. Nathan will also be working 4 days a week, so we get to spend 3 days together as a family, which I’m really excited about.

I still don’t expect to have a lot of time to myself. But I thought I’d make a list of all the things that I would like to be able to do on maternity leave in an ideal world, some very realistic, others a little less so (though we’ll see what I actually manage to get done!)

  • Write every day – this was one of my new year resolutions and hasn’t stuck so far, with the house move and everything taking up a lot of time. It’s not an idealistic expectation, but I’d love to be able to get a little bit done each day.
  • Go for walks with baby – this might not sound too unrealistic, but I know my sister struggles to get out the house sometimes, with the constant cycle of feeding and changing. Still, the weather should be good, there’s a park nearby and I love the idea of getting some exercise and showing baby the outside world.
  • Cook/bake and keep a tidy house – again, the way my sister has found things, this could be pretty unrealistic – I think her husband is often the one who has to cook and wash up after work, but I’d love to try and have dinner ready for Nathan when he comes home, even if it’s something simple. We got a slow cooker recently, which is a great way to make easy and tasty meals without too much effort.
  • Catch up on TV – this is the one I imagine is the easiest to achieve, as there’s not much effort involved in slumping in front of the TV! I’d like to catch up on some series that I’ve been meaning to watch for a while, like BuffySix Feet Under and The 100.

We’ll see how many of these I actually get done, but that’s the dream up there. The main thing though, is spending time looking after and bonding with baby: that’s the important thing, and anything else would be a bonus!

Did you get up to anything exciting during maternity leave, or did the every day things take up all of your time?

36 Weeks and Counting

I can’t believe I’m actually posting about being 36 weeks pregnant. It feels crazy that we’ve got this far, and are so close to the end now!

We’ve been pretty busy, especially in the last week or so. Last weekend we moved house, from Milton Keynes back to Coventry. It was pretty stressful, possibly even more so because I wasn’t allowed near the move – Nathan sent me away to my mom’s house so that I wouldn’t stress out or lift anything too heavy. Which makes sense, I know, but I couldn’t help being stressed from afar!

Whilst at my mom’s I had a surprise baby shower, which was really lovely. It was just a little family thing, with my sisters and some aunts and cousins. We had food and played games and got some lovely little presents for both me and the Little Moore, and I was very touched.

IMG_3617 IMG_3615

Fast forward a week and I was suddenly surprised with a second baby shower! This one was all my best friends, some who live quite close and others who travelled from where I used to live in Wales, which I really appreciated. Again, we got some adorable presents and just chatted and had a really lovely time. I’m so grateful to Nathan and my best friend Eli for organising it, and for keeping it secret all that time, as I really had no idea!

IMG_3650 IMG_3651

Now we’re focussing on getting the house unpacked and ready for baby’s arrival. I only have 4 days left at work, which is pretty exciting. I’m preparing myself to expect birth from any day now really – my sister had hers 3 weeks early so I’m trying to be prepared and feel ready for anything!

This could be my last pregnancy update, depending on when Little Moore arrives. I’ve really enjoyed keeping these updates, for my sake more than anything else, as it’s like a little diary I can look back on 🙂 I’d like to still post some baby related posts after birth, but we’ll see how it goes.