Sunday, March 25, 2012

Parenting files 1

First off I want to say that I have found parenthood difficult. It doesn't come as naturally to me as it does to others, and the transition from being independent and free person, to a mother who is relied upon for everything has been a real struggle. I struggle with feelings of guilt on a daily basis. At the same time that I want to be home with Nicholas, reading and playing with him, I want to be out doing my own thing. Being free to do what I like, when I want to.

In particular, I have found the last few months really difficult. I had been living in a world of darkness, where angry and impatient thoughts clouded my everyday thoughts. I had lost the ability to think clearly. I couldn't even really go out anymore because it was just too hard. I couldn't think ahead and prepare like I was once able to. Nothing excited me. I would get a full night's sleep and still wake up in the morning feeling unrefreshed and tired, and the prospect of the having to get out of bed in the morning and look after a baby, let alone myself, was just too difficult.

So, with a realisation that something wasn't quite right, and with some pushing from a friend and a husband, I took myself off to the doctor. I saw two actually. The first one didn't quite get it... I told him how I was feeling and what I was thinking, but he just thought that if we were able to fix up Nicholas' sleeping habits I would feel automatically better. He gave the number of a sleep specialist (more on that later) and told me that if I didn't feel any better in a few weeks/month, I could go on anti-depressants. Not really the answer I was looking for.

The second doctor I saw was much more understanding. She listened and took everything I said about how I was feeling on its own merit (not because of Nicholas' terrible sleeping habits). She also took blood, and tested my iron, B12, D3 and thyroid hormones. Most importantly, she took what I was saying seriously. She did give me a week's worth of anti-depressant, and if they did make a difference she would write a script. I didn't take them. I wanted to see first if there was anything unusual about my blood work before going down that road.

So a week and a half later, I returned to the doctor, having not taken the anti-depressants and not feeling any better, to find out that I have an under-active thyroid (hypothyroidism). My body had been trying to compensate with elevated thyroid stimulating hormone, but the thyroid output was still low. As I was sitting there listening to her tell me this I almost began to cry. As she was describing the symptoms of an under-active thyroid, it all suddenly made sense: fatigue, weakness, depression, hair loss, weight gain (I didn't really gain weight, but I did stop loosing it even though I was actively trying to). This is the exact way I was feeling and there was, thankfully, a way of dealing with it.

For about the last 20 days now I have been on medication called Thyoxine, which is basically thyroid hormone in a tablet. Within the first week I began to feel better. Now, after 20 days, I feel pretty much my old self, and as I look back on the last few months and compare them to the way I am feeling now, the difference is immense. I am no longer fatigued, angry and apathetic towards life. When I look at Nicholas I don't dislike or resent him anymore. I see his happy face and it makes me glad. I am starting to look forward to things again. Now that my hormones are a a bit more balanced, life is a bit easier.

Experiencing this kind of darkness, albeit briefly, has really opened me eyes to a few things that I am keen to remember. Firstly, feeling like this is not right. It's not normal, for me*, to be sitting in my room, night after night, in the dark, watching tv and shutting the world out. It's not normal, for me, to not to want to visit my friends, to talk to anyone or even leave the house (I'm often prone to cabin fever). It's not normal, for me, to feel angry and frustrated all the time, to not like myself or even my child, and for me to think to Daniel and Nicholas would be better off without me. This kind of behaviour, for me, is unusual. These behaviours emerged over a short space of time, and I want to remember what aspects of my personality changed, so that if it happens again, I will not only be aware of it but will also act more quickly. 

Secondly, this experience has made me realise how blessed I am to have such a great support system around me. I know I have mentioned this before, but I just want to say it again, "THANKS all of you!" I have a wonderful husband who listens and takes my feelings seriously. I have a few very close friends who I share everything with. They are super supportive, and do things like suggest I go to the doctors and then make sure I do it. I also have parents and parents-in-laws who were extremely helpful. They helped me look after Nicholas, keep the house clean and cook meals when it  was all just too much. It is so easy, as a mum, to feel like you are alone in this parenting journey sometimes (the extended version of this will be left for another post), but with a good support team it makes life a little easier during the hard times. I just hope that in the future I can provide to others the support they need, just as I was given in my time of need.

With these last two points in mind, I also realise how important it is to talk with others about how I am feeling. To not keep it bottled up inside, but to share how I am feeling, and not be afraid to admit and ask for help. Honesty in this type of situation is essential. Without the help and encouragement of others this time would have been much worse than it already was.

So basically this is why I haven't really been blogging a lot this year. I was finding it difficult to get out of bed in the morning, let alone having enough motivation to sit down and write a blog post. Hopefully as time passes this will continue to change, and I will continue to feel more like my old self. 

*I have used italics to point out that this behaviour is not usual for me. I don't want to generalise or offend anyone. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

I need to remember...

This week I need to remember...

That even though the days sometimes feel like they drag on forever, the weeks and months pass by quickly.

That Nicholas is changing daily before my eyes, and if I don't pay attention, I will miss it.

I need to remember his smiles when he attempts something new and achieves it.

The giggles he gives when he realises he is standing.

His concentration when he finds a toy or book that appeals to him.

His ability to grab my attention, especially when holding him, by putting his face in front of mine and making eye contact when I am busy talking to others or doing something else.

These things will pass too quickly.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I finally finished Nicholas' jumper that was meant to be finished for Christmas! I think he looks great in it. Although, I don't think it is going to fit him for very long now, he just keeps growing!

As you can see, getting a photo of Nicholas these days is becoming more and more difficult because he just never sits still for very long (and please excuse the mess in the background).

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

10 months

The last 10 months months have passed us by so quickly. I can't believe it. Here are a few family photos, with our new chalkboard wall in the background, to celebrate the 10 month mark.

Monday, March 12, 2012


On Pinterest recently it seems that painting walls, cups and just random objects with chalkboard paint is the hip thing to be doing. So this long weekend, in between working and driving up to Launceston to visit my sister and friends, I decided to become part of the crowd. I bought myself some tape, chalkboard paint, and I got painting.

First I cleaned the wall with sugar soap, and taped it up.

Next, I prepared the paint tray. I used cling wrap to line the tray so as to save on clean up time. I would have used foil like in this picture but I had run out of it (another Pinterest find).

 Then the fun began!

Now, I haven't done much painting in my time so I was a little bit nervous. Thankfully, being black paint it seems to hide a lot of the imperfections. Plus, once it has chalk on it no-one will ever notice all my mistakes :).

After finishing the first coat we left the house because it smelt terribly. In the morning, before driving to Launceston, I added the second and last coat of paint.

Arrghh, bed hair!
After finishing the second coat, we left for the day and hoped that by the time we returned home the house would have aired sufficiently. It wasn't too bad on our return but there was still a lingering smell.

We then took the tape off the wall (and just to clarify, this is Daniel's hairy arm, not mine!).

It was finished... 

and time to be used. Here is a close up of our first drawing on our new chalkboard wall.

The chalk is being held in a spice tin, which is stuck to the wall with bluetack.

Here is Nicholas trying to get away from the wall as fast as possible.

 I am looking forward to using this wall more :).

Friday, March 9, 2012

I need to remember...

This week I need to remember how much joy Nicholas finds in music.

The way he bops along when we sing nursery rhymes or made up ditties to him.

The concentration on his face when he bangs his drum or xylophone.

That he even attempted crawling up the piano leg so as to get to the piano, even though he isn't nearly tall enough to reach the keys himself.

I love the crazy look in his eye in this photo...pure happiness!

Friday, March 2, 2012

I need to remember...

I need to remember... is a weekly time to reflect on the past happenings of the week. I discovered it on a blog I have been reading recently called Picklebums and just loved the concept. So I have decided to join in the fun of remembering and reflecting on the past week every Friday.

Here is my first reflection (I hope it's OK?):

I need to remember the sick baby. The one who cries for his mum during the night.

I need to remember to be patient, to give him extra cuddles and the extra love he needs during this time.

I need to remember that he can't tell me in words what's wrong, and that sometimes it can take a while to figure it out.

I need to remember that the sleepless nights and days won't last forever. That when he comes out the other side his eyes will be brighter, he will give me cute little cheeky smiles again, and will laugh often.