Posted in All The Bits In Between, Attachment parenting, Babies, Baby's, Birth, Body image, Family, Friends, Happiness, Health, Hospitals, Like a queen, Marriage, Mental Health, Mom life, Mum life, Nursing, Parenting, Parenting Styles, Peace, Pregnancy, Relationships, Sadness, Self love, Society, Spiritual, Uncategorized

Beautiful Maternal Mental Health ❤️

Hello Beautiful People,

This week on May the 3rd it was International Maternal Mental Health Day. Also around the globe May 1st-7th is recognised as Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week. This is a fairly new awareness program set up in the last few years to recognise and put in place much needed supports for women and their families.
Maternal Mental Health is a topic very close to my heart, for several reasons. So I value this week and the awareness and support it’s raising very much.
Maternal Mental Health (MMH) addresses women and their mental health throughout the perinatal period. That is the time from which they get pregnant, give birth and up until the baby is a year or so old. 

The reasons I feel so strongly about raising awareness and promoting support around perinatal mental health are motivated by personal experiences. 

I have been through the perinatal period quite a few times in my life and sometimes it’s not been smooth sailing.

I’ve witnessed close family members struggle alone and suffer tremendously throughout the perinatal period.

I’ve supported friends who’ve felt like they were drowning throughout their perinatal  period……

I’m currently still just in the perinatal period….

Am I ok? Maybe……

The few heartbreaking things that myself, my family member and my friends all said we experienced throughout our perinatal period that we didn’t expect were:

• feelings of being overwhelmed with pregnancy; body changes; fear of baby not growing healthily; fear of no longer being attractive to partner; fear of birth; fear of birth complications; fear of not being heard by care providers; fear of not being able to breastfeed; fear of not bonding with baby; fear of not waking to baby; fear of not feeding baby enough; fear of not being able to settle baby; fear of not knowing why baby is crying; fear of baby crying because something serious is wrong; fear of something bad happening to baby; fear of body not going back to pre-baby state; fear of no time for partner; fear of no time for other children; fear of no time for self; feeling isolated; feeling overwhelmed; feeling exhausted; feeling unsupported; feeling unprepared; feeling pressure to be the perfect mum; feeling unhappy with self; feeling like a failure….. and sadly the list goes on…… All these fears experienced and shared by a group of wonderful, intelligent otherwise incredibly healthy women throughout their perinatal period… And all of them treated in completely different ways by their care providers.

Yes we all got asked the routine antenatal questions and only two out of five of us got flagged and followed up…. There are so many potential triggers for perinatal depression and anxiety coupled with massive hormone changes, it’s so hard to know who will be ok and who won’t. I was not one of the ones to be followed up despite knowing I met a lot of the criteria for high risk post natal depression….. I did however seek support on my own from my GP and Karitane a good six months after my last baby was born because after the adrenaline of running on no sleep at all for the first six months of my baby’s life wore off I realised how anxious I was and that I needed support. One friend was immediately commenced on antidepressants by her doctor because her anxiety was all time consuming and she was already exhibiting signs of depression. She said she felt like a new woman and immediately bonded with her baby and could finally function without her fears controlling her. I didn’t feel I needed medication and utilised other methods to help with my anxiety. My family member who also met the criteria for high risk for post natal depression due to a previous mental health history, history of domestic violence and being a single mother was not so lucky with her support network. She fell through the cracks so to speak and although she was already on low dose antidepressants she was alone, exhausted, completely drowning in her fears and level of responsibility as a new and single mother. She suffered from a severe postpartum psychosis and her baby was removed from her care, permanently…… But that is her story to tell completely…. All I can say to that is that as a witness to her experience and whilst going through the perinatal period myself at the same time as her, my heart completely and utterly broke for her….. And I questioned why her and not me and years and pregnancies later I still remain hyper vigilant around my mental health throughout the perinatal period.

And it’s because of all these beautiful women with all their varied experiences and yet similar feelings and thoughts around the time of their pregnancies, births and new babies, that I think this week, Maternal Mental Health Week is so important! It needs to be recognised as a topic that needs to be discussed openly so that assessments are done routinely and universally. So that support networks and programs are implemented properly and in a timely manner. So that women can avoid getting acutely unwell. So that families can feel supported and stay together! 

As for me…. despite writing a post over six months ago around R U OK day and saying I was not ok, I think it’s time to say…. I’m doing ok…. Slowly….

I’m still mildly suffering from anxiety and severe fatigue but I’m happy. 

I have a great support network and I know that’s what gets me through. Also my baby is one now and although I’ve only ever felt this anxious once before with all my perinatal periods I’m glad that I know it won’t last, like it didn’t before. I don’t let the small stuff consume me. The house can stay messy (despite my cleaning OCD). We can have take away a few times a week if Hubby and I are too exhausted to cook. All my children are healthy and loved. I practice mindfulness. I have a psychologist. I vent to my hubby and eldest daughter/bestie. I walk. I write. I read. I sing. All things I do for me to ensure relaxation and peace. And slowly but surely everyday gets the teeny tiniest bit easier…… 😌❤️ 

To all those beautiful women out there struggling alone in silence with your overwhelming thoughts, whether you’re a first time mum or a millionth time mummy like me, please, speak up, speak out, talk to absolutely anybody you feel comfortable talking to! Sometimes getting those thoughts out of your head is the first steps to feeling better! 

And know this! 

You are not alone!

I am right here with you!

You are a wonderful mummy!

You are amazing!

You’re doing great!

You’re a beautiful human!

And your baby loves and needs you ❤️
(If you need to talk to someone or are concerned about someone please contact one of the links below)

http://www.panda.org.au/practical-information/382-signs-and-symptoms-of-postnatal-depression
https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/what-is-mental-health?&gclid=COqamZXo1dMCFcYsvQodHL0GBQ

http://www.beatbabyblues.com.au/What_is_perinatal_mental_health.aspx



Posted in Babies, Birth, Body image, Family, Friends, Happiness, Health, Hospitals, Marriage, Mental Health, Mom life, Mum life, Parenting, Relationships, Sadness, Self love, Society, Spiritual, Uncategorized

Beautiful Sadness

Hello Beautiful People,

Today is R U OK day…..

I know I’ve written before about being a beautiful faker at life but I thought I’d bring it up again in light of it being R U OK day.

See the fact is, I’m actually not ok……

It seems it’s really really hard for people to understand that, because (apparently) I’m the strong one.

The one that can handle anything.

The one that’s always, laughing, smiling, loving and helping others.
Those that know the full dynamics of my family and history know how strong I can and have needed to be. 

Unfortunately, even the strong ones can come undone. Especially when life is being exceedingly stressful, so I’ve discovered recently.

In the last two years I’ve had a very traumatic emergency c-Section. Which took nearly six months to recover from physically. And I’m still trying to recover from it emotionally. The result of which is a beautiful yet highly rambunctious, energetic little being.

A very quick subsequent difficult pregnancy. The result of which is a beautiful baby girl with severe reflux and colic that never ever sleeps. 

At the end of my last pregnancy my eldest son was hospitalised and very sick for a couple of months. 

Then the next boy down required emergency surgery the following month.

And then the following month the next boy down got a late diagnosis of ASD, after years of me asking for an assessment for him.

And history repeatedly haunts me at stressful times…….

I’m exhausted, depleted, drowning, burnt out……Burning…….

I’ve doubled my weight…..

Doubled my wrinkles……

I don’t even recognise me when I look in the mirror…… 

It’s actually really depressing……..

And I’ve lost nearly all my friends…..

I’m not sure why this last one has happened but I’m assuming that it’s because I’m no longer fun to be around….

I’m still surrounded by people though (all my kids of course) and yet most of the time I feel a slight lingering sense of loneliness….

When anyone asks me if I’m ok I actually say “no, I’m drowning”…..

People then look at me confused, surprised even……

Most people reply with “oh you poor thing that’s what happens when you have so many kids”, “you’ll be ok when you get more sleep”, “what you need is….Childcare….. a night out….. a cleaner…. a good nights sleep…..” 

And the ‘helpful’ advice goes on and on…

I told my GP I was feeling overwhelmed and sad, so she gave me a script for antidepressants…….. I don’t take paracetamol at the best of times……

She told me “there’s no point in referring you to a councillor, I know you’re too time poor to go”…..

I’ve told my nearest and dearest family and friends and they say the same ‘helpful’ statements as above…….

So asking someone if they are okay, seems very multilayered to me. You need to really mean it. Actively listen to the persons answer. And then respond carefully, thoughtfully and appropriately.

I know I will be okay because I AM ‘the strong one’, infact I am one of the strongest people I know……

And I’ve been here before……. 

And right now I’m still in the midst of the fire……Burning a little more before the Phoenix is born…….

I cry at ads, movies, pretty much anything. I yell at nothing….. My hubby and eldest are concerned (but somewhat annoyed too, inconvenienced I guess by my lack of happiness). My younger ones are somewhat hyper vigilant but still mostly (age appropriately) self obsessed…….

So if I seem distant, disinterested, different…… Just be kind, please…..I don’t do sarcasm, criticism or ‘useful’ words well these days……

And yes I have guilt about feeling overwhelmed and sad…….

I know there are so so many people out there worse off than me………

And I’m still so grateful for this beautiful life….. And my beautiful babies…… But I’m still allowed to feel……….

And besides, any emotion I’m experiencing reminds me I’m alive…….

So I’ll sit here for a while longer in the warm heat of this beautiful sadness…..

So I’ll just continue to breath…..

So I’ll just continue to try to eat healthy…

So I’ll just continue to try to get fit……

So I’ll just continue to try to get more sleep…

So I’ll just continue to pretend to be happy …….

Because I believe if you fake it you make it…..

And if that’s all it takes to be me…….

I’ll just continue to keep doing what it takes just to be…….

Until I’m ready for the Phoenix to arise out of the sadness through to the other side 💜💛

https://www.ruokday.com/how-to-ask

https://m.lifeline.org.au/


Posted in Attachment parenting, Babies, Baby's, Birth, Careers, Family, Fun, Health, Hospitals, Nursing, Parenting, Parenting Styles, Pregnancy, Relationships, Self love, Society, Spiritual, Uncategorized

Beautiful Parenting ❤️

Hello Beautiful People,
I’ve noticed over the last few years of parenting that it seems important for parents, mums in particular to identify or subscribe to a certain parenting style.
Examples: the helicopter parent, the fit parent, the free range parent, the attachment parent…..the I’m barely f$&@ing surviving parent….. And so on…….
There are that many books, blogs, vlogs and movies on how to raise kids, it’s no wonder parents get overwhelmed and confused about which is the right way…….. 
I know you’re all thinking this b$&@ here is going to tell us there is no right way, there is only your way and whatever you’re doing is ok if it works for you and you’re babies…….
Well you’re wrong…… I’ll tell you why because as a nurse, a Mumma bear, a kinship carer, an active community member with a husband who’s an emergency service worker, I’m going to tell you there is definitely a wrong way to raising children…… You know how I know because in all my roles throughout life, I’ve seen it! 
It’s actually incredibly sad and incredibly simple….. 
The most obvious wrong way to parent children is to blatantly ignore their needs…..
Babies are born completely dependent on you. They cry as their first and only form of communication. If you choose to actively ignore their crying you are essentially telling them that you are not interested in meeting their needs. Studies have shown that babies who are left to cry repeatedly have higher stress levels and can end up with trust and attachment issues…..
I’m not saying I never let my babies cry, obviously if I’m going to the toilet and they’re crying they’ll have to wait a minute or if it’s a tired grizzle that’s fine. 
I mean, say I’m sitting at the dinner table, dishevelled and the house is a pig sty and two of the babies are sitting at the table crying at me, I’m not going to behave like an asshat and continue feeding my fat face whilst ignoring them and worse yet let another family member film this behaviour because they think it’s funny…….
There is nothing funny at all about ignoring your babies cries whilst they try and get your attention….. It’s actually heartbreaking…..
Children from birth, to probably I dare say forever, NEED consistent unconditional love coupled with clear set boundaries and guidelines…. Sensible safe boundaries and guidelines, ones in which they can grow and explore yet know they are safe and have a solid foundation to fall back on when they are unsure.
I’ve been told I’m overprotective of my children or that I wrap them in cotton wool….
Ask our local children’s hospital, I’m pretty sure they’d tell you that statement isn’t true 😁
I’ve also been praised a lot about how kind, polite, lovely and patient they are……😊
What I know is that the children we’ve encountered through our careers and lives that display ‘undesirable’ behaviour are the saddest children. The ones who haven’t been given unconditional love, who haven’t been given safe boundaries….. The ones whose needs haven’t been met….. 
I said it before, I’ll say it again, it’s heartbreaking when adults who choose to have children then go and choose not to meet that child’s needs…… It’s a need….Not a want.. 
An overtired ‘unruly’ bubba needs your patience, needs your calm adult abilities to nurture and soothe the whirlwind of emotions that they are feeling, that they do not understand yet! And this goes for EVERY age, even (especially) teenagers need you as the adult to be calm, in control and nurturing as you guide them through a very challenging time in their lives……
I swear…. a lot…. I let my kids eat junk food (probably more than they should 😏), I’m not pushy about success in sports or academia, I let them stay up late and have random days of school (teachers hate me, sorry! I’d probably homeschool if I had more patience ☺️) 
However, I’m consistent with LOVE ❤️ 
I have always hugged them, told them I love them, told them I’m always here for them no matter what! I’ve always listened and tried to meet all their needs. I’ve always stuck to what I thought was age appropriate developmental care.
I believe in doing this, these beautiful humans have felt safe, secure, guided and loved enough to grow in to these awesome human beings 😊
I’ve never subscribed to one particular parenting type but my deep motherly instincts have shown me that consistency, patience, availability and unconditional love are the keys to raising lovely mini humans ❤️
If you didn’t want to commit to loving them unconditionally, through the good and the really tough times (yes I’ve been through them, often) then you probably shouldn’t have had them. 😕
Oh shock horror someone telling others how to raise their kids…..!!
Well I do it in the hope that maybe one person will read this and think “hey yeah maybe I should chill a bit of make more of an effort to help my bubba feel loved and supported”……
It’s amazing how much easier life is with kiddies when they feel loved, respected, nurtured and understood……
Believe me…. I’m raising six kiddies in this organised chaos and the only real challenge is the newborn sleep deprivation….. The rest is a bit of a breeze if the foundation of your parenting is unconditional love 😊❤️
And that is my two cents on how to raise the next few generations of beautiful people 😊
You can never love a child too much 💗
Peace 💖

New Study: Extravagant Affection in Infancy Leads to Healthier, Happier, More Relational & Moral Adults

Posted in Babies, Baby's, Birth, Body image, Family, Fun, Health, Hospitals, Nursing, Parenting, Pregnancy, Relationships, Self love, Spiritual, Uncategorized

Beautiful Faker 💗

Hello Beautiful People, 
Ok what I wanted to say today has been plaguing me for a while…… I’m always getting compliments about how well behaved my kids are how cool calm and collected a mother I am….. It’s always nice to hear but………
I’d like to shout this out!!!! I’m a complete 

f$&@ing fraud!! I’m not calm!! I’m faking that shit!! Inside I’m a wound up bundle of nerves as much as the next Mumma bear!! I’m one more god damn sleepless night away from complete and utter PND….. I’m one more shitty nappy….. No return text or call for several hours from young adult or teen away from a complete breakdown!! 
I want to take a f$&@ing shit or shower in peace!! I want people to actually recognise that I might be struggling, feeling isolated or lonely!! I want to be invited to the god damn wedding, birthday party, brunch or coffee even if you know as much as I do I probably won’t make it because of babies….. It just feels nice to know that I’ve been thought about by other adult humans…………😌
I want to apologise profusely to all the Mumma bears out there who I’ve ever offended with my higher than though opinions on parenting!! I know I have a Nursing Degree and I’ve got a lot of kids so you’d think I’d be all over this shit!! And all the lecturing and advice I’ve given so many parents on parenting should really mean something and be useful somehow….. Right?! At least that’s what you’d think?! 
But let me tell you this!! There is no one style, one method, one technique to parenting that fits every parent and every baby!! Every single time I get preggers I think, “yep I’m all over this shit!” Then out pops this tiny beautiful mini being who it seems, sole purpose in life is to ruin me and at the same time make me helplessly completely and utterly in love 😳
I was wrong for ever thinking my way was better than yours!! I was wrong for not recognising or understanding your anxiety!! 
This whole parenting thing can be terrifying, each and every time!! Every baby is different and therefore every parenting experience can bring with it new challenges……. I’m sorry I was such a judgey bitch…… 

We are all struggling in some way…………😞
So today I’m openly admitting that this Mumma bear definitely doesn’t know everything! And despite giving loads of other women breastfeeding advice, sleep and settling advice, developmental age appropriate care advice and acting like it’s all so easy it’s actually really really really not!!
This is baby no.6 in my house and in her short three months on this planet I’m here to admit that she’s played me good! I’m exhausted, I’m admitting defeat! In the last three and a half months I’ve taken her to ED once, seen the GP at least three times, phoned Karitane twice, Tresillian twice, The ABA once and texted and called several (nurse/doctor) friends for sleeping/settling, feeding, behaviour and ailments advice………… 
Hhhhmmmm does that sound like a cool calm collected mummy to you?! And I’ll have you know I’ve probably behaved like this with at least three out of the six kiddies!
The post natal period and beyond in to baby’s first year of life coupled with sleep deprivation can be a real bitch! Some days not only do I feel like I’ve lost my entire identity but that moment after I’ve just stuck my hand in to a toilet that still has a poo in it to grab out a toy car that my two year old is screaming his head off for, I suddenly remember that I am still human and probably should think a little more before I act. So I put screaming baby down in cot, flush toilet, thoroughly wash my hands and toy car then placate two year old. Remember to put my breast away post breastfeeding this time before calling teenagers out of their rooms to ask them what they want for dinner, saves us all the embarrassment of me standing there tit hanging out…. All the while thinking “stay calm, you’ve got this, the tough times won’t last……. long”…….
So again I say, I’m sorry if I ever looked down on you! I’m sorry if my way of coping is to fake it till I make it and it makes everyone think I’ve really got my shit together better than they have! I’m straight up on mother f$&@ing struggle street right there with you!!
But you know what I do know that always keeps me going…… How freaking blessed I truly am…… Because I’ve been on the other side too…… The side that doesn’t give sleep and settling advice, the side that holds hands of those with broken hearts…… The side that gives silent reassuring glances whilst holding back tears of empathy, advice on second chances, pamphlets on counselling and support networks….. Watching broken hearted parents walking out the hospital doors…..Knowing they may consider themselves parents no more….. Due to the loss of a baby they’ll never meet or the baby they got to hold for only a short while……💔
I’m know I’m a fraud…. But if that’s what I need to be to get by then so be it…… It doesn’t mean I love my life or my mini beautiful people any less…….. 
Shout out to all the beautiful parents struggling right there along with me……..😏👊🏼
Today I chose to continue to fake it, to ignore the mess, the misery, the chaos and relax in the breezy sunny afternoon with my beautiful babes, focusing on the positives and feeling blessed and you know what? It actually worked….. I got this! You got this! We got this ☺️💗
https://www.tresillian.org.au/
http://www.karitane.com.au/

Posted in All The Bits In Between, Birth, Death, Family, Fun, Health, Hospitals, Houses, Income, Moving, Music, Nursing, Pregnancy, schools, Society, Spiritual, Uncategorized

Children: Nature versus Nurture

kiddies

Hello Beautiful people,

As most of you followers would know I have been a parent for nearly half my life, I have grown up whilst raising my own children. At times this has been difficult, however, difficult in ways different to what people often assume. Let me explain how. Most people say to me ‘oh you were so young when you had your children, that must have been so hard, you must have missed out on a lot in your life and how did you know what you were doing?” To this I always say “I’m educated, I work, I party, I have lived my life like all my friends and family have, just with a little more responsibility than most therefore I certainly don’t feel like I have missed out on anything!” As for knowing what I was doing, why do people assume that age impacts on your parenting, yes I have seen some young mothers that are clearly struggling emotionally and financially having a family but I have also seen many, many older first time mothers struggle drastically with the transition to motherhood!  It can be argued that the transition for older mothers can sometimes be harder because they have become so accustomed to being the centre of their own lives and then suddenly they are not.

So how did I know what I was doing with my babies when I was a young mum? Firstly I had a very supportive mother who shared all her parenting skills and knowledge with me. Secondly I armed myself with information from various books, pamphlets and journal articles on birth and parenting. I read as much as I could about becoming a parent and how to be a good parent. I wanted to be the best mother I could be and I wasn’t sure if I subscribed to the theory that being a mother was a natural instinct in women. Perhaps in some it is but at such a young age I wasn’t sure if I was one of those women that would just naturally know what to do, so I read. I read everything I could and deciphered through all the information and decided which tips, techniques and theories on parenting suited me and undertook to apply these skills in my parenting. Thirdly a wise beautiful Aboriginal woman I know, upon the birth of my daughter wrote on a card saying “congratulations on the birth of your beautiful daughter” “always remember these words, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE”……….. I thought long and hard about these words and often they ring true in my head and heart to this day. Unconditional love, what did it mean? My interpretation was that it meant that my love for this child and all my children should be a love given freely and without conditions…….That thought, that notion rang so true to my heart, it not only referred to my children’s behaviours but to everything about them. I would love them regardless of any disabilities, ailments, behavioural problems, developmental issues or personality traits that were challenging! I would love, protect and nurture them for as long as I could with unconditional love. A mothers love that would not set limits or expectations. That is to say the love I gave would always remain the same regardless of the situation. A mother doesn’t love her children any less if they misbehave or choose a different career path to what the mother hoped for them.

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Luckily for me it seems, it turned out I was a bit of a ‘natural’ born mother, I took to mothering like a duck to water! I handled years of sleepless nights, childhood illnesses and temper tantrums with a surprising element of ease. What I found hard unlike the assumptions of others was the attitude of others towards me. People are ageist and automatically assume that if you have had children at a young age that you must be uneducated and have missed out on so much in life. Incorrect in all my spare time at home with kiddies I have ALWAYS studied! The other few challenges have been financial, starting young doesn’t give you the time to set yourself up financially before the added expense of kids comes along. But even that hasn’t bothered me too much because I have seen older parents with tonnes of money wait so long to have children that they then have complications with getting pregnant or babies with health complications or remain career focused after they have children and the child gets little time with its parents, so each argument has its pros and cons.

At the end of the day I have lovely, healthy, happy well-adjusted children that have been and will be nurtured by me! My children know that I love them unconditionally and that under even the most stressful situations or temper tantrums that I will remain calm (as possible lol) and will listen to them and support them.

So the age-old debate of nature versus nurture always pops in to my mind when I reflect on how lucky I have been with being blessed with such lovely children. To me nature dictates genetic traits that my children possess such as their musical ability or their preference for sleeping over sport or more so the colour of their hair or eyes. However my preference for the belief that children are more of a product of how they are nurtured as opposed to what is natural/innate to them could also be refuted. Nurturing can also influence the same aspects of their lives, if I nurture them and allow them to sleep over encouraging them to get up and be active then its their environment and life routine that is shaping who they are and not some innate predisposition behind their preference to sleep!! I don’t believe that as a general rule children are ever born bad……with the exception of a very very small few! Children learn right from wrong from their care givers and their environment. It is not instinctive for them to behave badly however it is instinctive for them to explore every aspect of life and this often tests the boundaries. What is the point of getting angry at a child for wetting his pants if he is only learning how to toilet train. Children learn through POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT AND REPETITION!! I’m not going to lie to you when I say if you don’t like the sound of your own voice and you don’t want to have to hear yourself say the same thing over and over and over again for the next twenty odd years then DON’T have kids!! I say “stop picking your nose” so frequently it has become a catch phrase in my house that I say with utter disdain!! Other than repetition the other tool I have found incredibly useful is positive reinforcement, not bribes, if the child is old enough explain the rewards and benefits of their good behaviour, if not simple age appropriate gestures such as clapping, smiling and best of all kind words and hugs!! All interactions with children should be age appropriate, yelling at a toddler for putting a fork in a power point is redundant!! They have no understanding why you are yelling and may even do it again just to get a reaction out of you. Solution, to protect your child and save your energy from stressing and freaking out is cover the accessible power point! All these parents that say don’t change your environment and/or lifestyle to suit your children give me the shits!! Ok don’t modify anything in your home and watch the accidents happen or don’t stop having regular house parties and see how you have unruly over-tired kids! Having children requires a lot of effort and planning and responsibility. And I’m certainly not saying wrap them in cotton wool because believe me my kids have been to the Emergency Department a lot more than some but never with accidents in the home. All the typical viral things and broken boys that happen with scooter and bike riding. Children deserve to have fun, healthy, active childhoods in which they feel safe and loved.

From all my time as a parent and a nurse at various, playgroups, daycare centres, preschools, primary schools, high schools and hospitals I have observed and interacted with lots of children and their parents.

Some of these children have such natural kind, placid personalities that you instantly connect with. Some are more unruly and its difficult to engage them. I am not unrealistic that parenting is not without its difficulties but I can honestly say that sadly too often the children that are more difficult in their behaviour are experiencing some sort of rejection or misunderstanding of their behaviour or emotions by their parents. The child acts out, over and over again to gain the parents attention, whether it be good or bad because what many parents seem to forget is that any attention is good attention to a child that is not getting their needs met. Example, I know a lady with twins beautiful girls who are lovely and well-behaved, their mother is aware that her life is not without challenges having two babies at the same time and yet for the most part she remains patient, loving and kind towards her children because she wanted them so much that she will love them unconditionally and protect them forever. This love and understanding of her children helps her to stay calm when they misbehave from time to time and although she will teach them right from wrong, she will never criticise or belittle them. This calm loving parenting is reflected in how well-behaved her twins are. Contrary to this lovely mother I knew another mother with two boys very close together in age, she too was a young mother like myself, and struggled to adjust to the transition of motherhood. I witnessed her out of frustration scream at her boys, slap them, put them in time out and on occasion belittle them. I felt terrible for her boys who just continued to misbehave. They would do everything to push her buttons, draw on walls, pee in corners, hit each other and for every action they undertook there was her reaction swiftly behind them. I tried as a peer parent, friend and nurse to talk to this mother that was struggling about using different strategies with her boys to try to break the cycle of stress and unhappiness in the household. She just cried and said nothing works and despite putting supports in place like playgroup and parenting groups she became dis-engaged and put the children in full-time childcare and spent less and less time with them. Years later I saw them as primary school aged children and noted sadly that none of their behaviour was any better, kids or mothers! It was the mixed messages that this mother was giving to her children that struck a chord with me the most. She would say to the older one “don’t hit your brother’ whilst giving him a massive slap on the backside, sure enough five minutes later he would walk over and hit his brother again! I joke with my children and say to them “do as I say not as I do” especially when it comes to my use of colourful language. However I am not unrealistic and know that children are sponges and admire and respect their primary caregivers no matter how they are behaving. So I may tell them not to do something but if I’m doing it myself then chances are eventually they will do it themselves too and I will have no-one to blame but myself. We can all live in a fairy tale world were we all have the total control of our kids and the final say in all their behaviours but that’s just unrealistic isn’t it! If I get embarrassed by my kids swearing  in public then I have no-one to blame but myself. I can explain to them why I feel the need to swear, how it’s generally frowned upon by society and how I wished they wouldn’t do it but if its something they are hearing all the time its going to be like second nature to them isn’t it! It’s all learnt behaviour!! I’m  pretty sure kids don’t just think, ‘I’m going to behave like a feral unruly animal today and fuck stuff up until my parents crack and lose it at me’. Their behaviour is often a product of their environment and age appropriate development!! Yes girls will be bitchy for a few years but if you ride with it don’t bother fighting back because what’s the point it’s probably a redundant argument about why can’t they shave their legs at the age of eleven?! And boys will be obsessed with body parts from now until forever, firstly their own and then other people’s as they get older. So it really isn’t worth sweating the small stuff because before you know it they are grown!

I get bewildered by these poor women who have these children that are just emulating behaviours that they see everyday and question why their kids are acting out. Recently in the Paediatric Emergency Department I looked after a young chap that had presented because he wasn’t feeling well. His mother had brought him in and it was decided he needed to stay for a few hours observation. It can be boring for a young child to sit in a hospital for hours so I let them sit in the play area, where he had access to lots of toys, books and television. I watched this child for several hours trash the playroom, throwing toys around with no regard for whether they got broken or not or whether he hurt someone with his missile projected toy. He spoke to his mother so rudely for a child his age I was astounded. His mother remained patient, quietly spoken, loving and kind and it bothered me so much that this child was so naughty for her for no apparent reason. I felt for the woman so I offered her a tea and she said “I’m fine thank you, my husband is on his way”. The boy continued to be defiant and obnoxious and refused to let me provide him with any nursing care, which isn’t unusual for frightened small children. He wasn’t frightened though he was angry and naughty and then his father arrived! Wow the old saying of ‘apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’! The dad was immediately abrupt about what the ‘hold up’ was at the hospital, question directed towards me and his wife. Obviously brushed his son aside when the child ran to him for a hug out of excitement upon seeing his dad. Ignored all the child’s attempts at gaining his father’s attention, sat impatiently taping his foot whispering hurriedly to his wife and then got up and brushed the child aside again when the child elected to sit on his father’s lap while I assessed him. This left the child distraught and completely unapproachable followed by a rampage of toy throwing. Toy throwing to which dad returned by chastising the child……. thus perpetuating the cycle of bad behaviour for attention…..and reinforcing any attention is good attention to a child not getting his needs met… All the while my heart bled for the mother who was trying her hardest to parent her child with obvious unconditional love and close to tears.

Parents, primary care givers, whoever they may be need to self reflect regularly on how their family is going. If things aren’t working then it may be time to reflect on why not, take some time out and try new techniques. Most often parents aren’t coping because they are at breaking point from exhaustion. A little time out and reflection on why they have children is useful and how can they get help if they need it! Children need to be wanted they need to have boundaries, routines, rules that make them feel safe and above all they need UNCONDITIONAL LOVE!! A true parent does not love their child any less if they display bad behaviour. Furthermore rewarding their bad behaviour with negative attention is superfluous!! Children need to be praised, encouraged and rewarded for positive behaviours and attitudes!! Positive reinforcement and education started from a young age instil a sense of self-pride and an ability to develop critical thinking skills. Skills that enable kids to differentiate between right and wrong and analyse actions and consequences!! Self pride promotes self-confidence and self-awareness and it is my experience that children with these qualities are often more in tune with other people’s self perceptions!! Teach your children to know who they are and to feel love and respect for themselves and this will in turn reflect in how they treat others!! A school bully once analysed will often confess immense self loathing….. And no child should feel like that… If the bully didn’t feel like that in the first place then they would not lash out and hurt others.

I recently read an article (which out of protest I will NOT post a link to) that stated that we are creating a generation of arrogant children that don,t believe that they can fail at anything…WTF… From what I see in society we are seeing generations of children too scared to aspire to anything, too afraid to be who they want to be!! With the pressures of social media sites, media itself and the fast paced modern technological world, children are finding it more difficult to be who they really are!! The incident rates of youth suicide, binge drinking, drug use, mental health issues from eating disorders to major depression has significantly risen over the last few decades……. So why should I not tell my children how amazing they are? If society and media keeps sending them the message that they are not good enough and that setting their goals and dreams too high may set them up for failure that they may not be equipped to deal with, I say to hell with that theory!!!! In life there will be ups and downs and they know that, they’ve got enough peers criticising them, enough teachers criticising them and enough media leading them to believe they are not good enough, then why should I not shower them with praise!! I chose to have them, they are my favourite people in the world I reserve the right to tell them how fabulous I think they are everyday!!!!

Unconditional love and nurturing children may just be enough to overcome the bad behaviours that parents, who are pushed to their limits, blame on the child’s nature or genetic pre-disposition……

Anyway at the end of the day, all I’m trying to say is, don’t have children if all you’re going to do is complain about them, belittle or ignore them!! There are so many wonderful loving people out there that would give anything to have children but can’t for whatever sad and frustrating reason so cherish and appreciate what you’ve got!! And realise that if your kid is a little bit of a prick it’s probably because you’re being a bit of a shit parent!! Often the traits people find challenging in their children are the traits they struggle to recognise or handle within themselves, like stubbornness……

It is not in a child’s nature to be deliberately naughty and so it is up to us to nurture them so they can learn right from wrong.

TO MY CHILDREN

I will love you

Because you deserve it

Protect you

Because you are vulnerable

Guide you

Because without guidance you may get lost

Inspire you

Because you deserve to have big dreams

Support you

Because even the strongest human will need support sometime

But most of all I will love you!!

With unconditional love, because, I chose you!!

And somewhere, somehow your tiny soul chose me too…..

Peace, Love and Happiness xoxoxoxox 🙂

Posted in All The Bits In Between, Birth, Family, Fun, Health, Hospitals, Houses, Nursing, Pregnancy, Sea change, Society, Spiritual, Uncategorized

Birth to Please Clean Your Room!

Nine months pregnant, second pregnancy, I was huge, my mum and sister nicknamed me little Buddha.......
Nine months pregnant, second pregnancy, I was huge, my mum and sister nicknamed me little Buddha…….

Hello beautiful people,

So it seems that I feel the need to return to the topic of birth, I think there has been enough talk of controversial topics of late. Today I’m on my day off work and instead of relaxing or pottering around the house I’m sitting in the lounge room with master (nearly) twelve listening to him, through snotty nasally snorts explain to me how to find out my pirate name, cause that’s actually really funny, apparently. Today I kept him home from school because he has been fighting the flu and although he rarely gets sick its been a pretty bad flu this time and so I thought he better stay home and recuperate. Also I’ve never been one of those parents that doses their kids up with Panadol, Nurofen and cough  medicine and sends them off to school to infect other poor children!! That actually drives me crazy!!!! I used to hate it when my kids were little and I took them to play group and another parent would say “oh we’ve been up all night with vomiting or fevers”, I would look at them horrified and say “well what are you doing here then” thinking to myself are you deliberately trying to spread your germs and make the rest of us sick?!!! Anyway, Marshall( master 12) is home so he can rest and get better quickly and not share his snotty germs with other people’s kiddies.

Marshall has been a healthy chap since he was born, as I said very rarely sick, we often joke that he has a cast iron stomach cause that kid could eat just about anything without getting sick!! Marshall was born seven years after our daughter, because of how young I was when I had her and the difficulties I encountered when I had her as told in Birth To Where Is My Courtesy Phone Call, I decided to wait until I had my second child.

Birth sometimes seems a taboo topic to discuss unless you’re sitting in a playgroup full of mums who want to share birth stories and even then it’s often the horror stories that get shared more frequently. I’m always surprised and saddened by how many women think birth is scary and disgusting!! My first birth was, I guess you could say, emotionally traumatic but physically, my baby and I were fine so that is the best outcome one could hope for. My second birth was AMAZING!!!! I love talking about it and love reminiscing about it!! However the response I’ve had from some women when I recount my birth story includes comments such as “are you crazy, why do it naturally when you can have drugs?” or “yeah but your one of the lucky ones, it rarely goes that good” I feel irritated by responses like this because its unnecessary to take away from the joy and pride I feel about my birth experience!! Especially because I don’t do pregnancy well, not very well at all!! With each of my pregnancies I have gotten huge!!!! I’m only five foot three and with each pregnancy I’ve roughly put on between twenty and thirty kilograms!!! Mostly in my tummy and arse……. I have babies weighing between 3.3kgs and 4.5kgs. I get morning sickness the whole nine months and the only thing that stops me vomiting is eating!! I get headaches, heartburn, nosebleeds, nocturia and insomnia….. I’ve also had miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies so I usually don’t tell anyone Im pregnant till well after three months….. Oh the joys of being pregnant!! So if I’ve been *lucky* enough to have good births, I say yay, go me!!!

My pregnancy with Marshall was probably one of my easiest ones, except the time I feel over when I was merely trying to walk or the time I vomited on my daughters back and into her school bag as we were leaving the house for school one morning….Sorry baby girl :}

Throughout my pregnancy I was calm, happy and stress free. My husband worked, my daughter was at school so I had alot of free me time once I went on early maternity leave. I attended creative birth classes run by a gorgeous woman, who created a safe space for women only. In the classes we did meditation, visualisation, yoga and creative arts. In one of our visualisation sessions I visualised my baby and drew a water-colour picture of baby which actually turned out to look just like him.

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I felt so well prepared for this baby that when the day came to head to the hospital, with my birth plan in place, to give birth, I felt like I could take on the world.

The day before I went into labour I said to my husband, Sniper, I feel a bit tired and I have a back ache, I think I’ll go to be early. I called my mum and told her to be on standby because I wasn’t feeling great. She was straight over with my sister and they stayed the night to watch my daughter just in case. I went to bed and slept quite well and woke around 5am. Everyone else was still asleep. I went to the bathroom and had a ‘show’ , which in technical terms is a thick bloody mucous plug that covers the cervix and is shed from the body before labour, yep gross! I also noticed that I had a back ache and slight tightening in my stomach. I went back to bed to read for an hour until the pains started getting stronger. I woke Sniper and said “I’m pretty sure I’m having contractions so I’ll just call the hospital and see what they say”, the hospital said “we’re not to busy so come in if you like and see how you’re going” So I quietly told my mum and off Sniper and I went to the Birth Centre at Royal Hospital for Women, Randwick. Upon arrival we were met by a beautiful midwife named Tai, she took my history did a quick set of vital signs and asked if I wanted and internal examination. At this stage I said I didn’t mind and she did an examination and told me I was only two to three centimetres dilated, so there was action but it could still take hours, days even. She told us we could stay for a bit and monitor the contractions to see if they were getting stronger and if not then we could go home. It was roughly 7am. The birth centre room was big and had a double bed in the middle of the room, a beautiful cane crib, a wooden dining table with two chairs, a bean bag, a wooden rocking chair and a huge bathroom, with bath tub and double shower. We put on some relaxing music and burnt some essential oils and a walked around the room for a while and sat rocking in the rocking chair. We talked, my husband and I, we played cards and felt so relaxed with just the two of us in the room like we were on holidays in a nice hotel. Around mid morning I told Tai that the contractions were getting stronger and I wouldn’t mind if she examined me, she did and told me that I was nearly nine centimetres dilated and she couldn’t believe how calm and relaxed I seemed. I did internalize my pain a bit and finally spoke up and said I wouldn’t mind trying something to help with the pain, perhaps a bath or something? My husband was anxious about water births so he looked at me nervously and the midwife suggested it might be too late for that so we settled on a shower instead. I sat on a shower chair holding one shower nozzle on my tummy and Sniper holding one on my back and the pain was coming in waves getting stronger and stronger and closer together and sometimes I had to remind myself to breathe! The relaxation techniques and pelvic rocking I learned in creative birth class were coming in handy!! The more I tensed up with each contraction the worse the pain got!! So I had to remember to relax!! I stared at my husband who was smoothing my hair out of my eyes and said ‘I love you” and I squeezed his hand, he said “I love you too and you’re doing great baby”, “I don’t think I can do this much longer” “Ok honey, let me get the midwife and we’ll get you out of the shower and see how we can help with the pain”. With that he walked out of the bathroom to find Tai, as he did I stood up…….alone……kind of a bad idea lol I heard, I kid you not, a pop sound and even though I had put the shower nozzles down I felt an almighty gush of warm water running down my legs….. “I need to push right NOW!!’ I screamed and he came running back in and I felt the centre of my gravity shift as something forceful and beyond my control was pushing straight down through my pelvis. The regular rhythmical contractions had stopped and it was like one long tight cramping and burning sensation around my perineum. Sniper put his arm around my waist and said “its ok baby I got you, let me walk you to the bed” as he did he pressed the assistance button on the wall and in came our midwife! I didn’t make it to the bed and was gently lowered onto the bean bag on the floor. A few really good pushes, going with the overwhelming feeling that my body no longer had control of itself and out came this absolutely gorgeous squishy baby!! Tai caught him and placed him straight in my arms on my tummy. I was still naked and wet from the shower and I felt her place a blanket around us. I looked down at my gorgeous baby and thought how beautiful, not caring or even thinking to ask if it was a boy or girl. I looked up at Sniper and he was crying “he said good work honey look” and was pointing at our baby and I looked to see and realised he was pointing at a little willy!!! We just had our first son!!!! Marshall Stone was born at 12:oopm midday 🙂

One minute old, I was wasted and high on endorphines :)
One minute old, I was wasted and high on endorphins 🙂

Both of us coming from families with all sisters, we always thought we’d only have girls!! We were crying but Marshall didn’t cry when he came out, the first time he cried was about half an hour later when I handed him to his daddy because I wanted to get up and have another shower and get dressed!! I felt like I had more adrenaline and endorphins running through me than any athlete!! I felt invincible!! I had my shower got dressed and then we called everybody to tell them of Marshall’s arrival. Of course the first person we phoned was our princess Magenta (big sister) and that was when I was handing Marshall to his daddy and he cried because he didn’t like his sleep being disturbed (he still doesn’t like his sleep being disturbed to this day!) and his big sissy heard him cry for the first time over the phone which made her cry! There were a lot of tears of joy that day!!! We stayed one night in the birth centre and went home the next day on the early discharge program. The midwives came and did home visits for a few days, it was all very calm uncomplicated and lovely. All the midwives we had were kind compassionate and helpful, it was a completely opposite experience to my first birth.

Three months old and always smiling, except when crying for food!! :)
Three months old and always smiling, except when crying for food!! 🙂

I sometimes wonder if this relaxed, laid back birth contributed to my sons personality today. He is kind, compassionate, artistic, a great singer, good with technology, good with little kiddies and animals and yet not that interested in sport and somewhat hard to get motivated. Always just wanting to chill….lol….

Six months old with daddy being silly :)
Six months old with daddy being silly 🙂

Marshall is the coolest (nearly) twelve-year-old boy I know!! He makes me laugh and makes me proud of him every day! He is the perfect mix of me and his dad, he has his dads talent for music and technology and my outgoing personality and passion for reading!

Marshall, you are a great little brother to your big sister and a great big brother to your little brothers! You’ve spent countless hours playing, growing and learning together and I’m sure you’ll all be great friends as you get older!

Ahhh whats sissy doing to me!
Ahhh whats sissy doing to me!

The day you were born my beautiful boy

Was a day filled with tears of joy

You make us proud everyday

And make us laugh in so may ways

Whenever you’re around no day is filled with gloom

But please oh please son don’t make me ask you again to please CLEAN YOUR ROOM!!

Birth stories are sometimes confronting I guess because people are grossed out about how we humans enter the world. I know my boy will read this story and squirm but he knows I’m a nurse and even the sweetest stories are tainted with gross technical terms!!

Love you so much Marshall Stone you’ll always be awesome cool to me 🙂

Peace, Love and Happiness xoxoxoxoxoxox