Doubts.....what happens if.....

But then the doubts come back again…..

What happens if I can’t handle it?
What happens if I can’t cope?
What happens if he is too much of a stranger?
What happens if he doesn’t fit in?
What happens if it affects my relationship with Charles?
What happens if I can’t be myself around him?
What happens if it seems as though we are just babysitting someone else’s baby?
What happens if really I’m not ready?
I love him so much already, I don’t want to let him down.


The Girl I'm Yet to Introduce You To.

The whole time I've been blogging I've talked a lot about Charles, obviously, and also of our soon to be born second child, also a boy, and been quite honest about my feelings towards not having a daughter.
Yet tonight it occured to me that not once have I mentioned the special girl I do have in my life.
She is six years old [almost] and joined us a couple of months after we got married.
She was a play friend for our cat, Harry, who sadly died a year and a half ago :-( They are related and are from a farm in Warwickshire. My mother in law has one of Harrys sisters and my husbands Aunty has other siblings of both cats.
Harry and Jasmine are cousins and half brother/sister (their dad likes to put it about a bit!)

Anyway, after Harry left us we rescued another cat, sadly this cat was very poorly and only spent approx 2 months with us before a trip to the vet ended with us making a sad but fair decision.
In the meantime Jasmine wasn't too happy about being "replaced" and took to going to a neighbours house for dinner/almost to live! [neighbour was inviting her and still to this day does despite us asking, begging and telling her to leave Jasmine alone]
Nowadays she spends more time at home and in the garden and is slowing coming to terms with this toddler who runs after her shouting "Minnie Cat!!!" "Jaaaaaazzzzzzzzz"
She likes to pretend she hates him but if he is in bed at night and she hears him cry or hears him unsettled she is straight at his door wanting to go in to see if he is ok. She will jump on his bed, once I have entered his room, and sit near him purring until I tell her to leave. If only Charles knew she did this, he would be over the moon.

Harry was always a very photogenic cat, Jasmine, although totally gorgeous, has a habit of closing her eyes just as the camera is about to snap!
One day last year though I was able to take some [amazing, if I do say so myself] photos of the Diva herself and would love to share them with you.



Yes, his cord!

Like other mummies and daddies out there I have created a special box [also known as a memory box] for Charles.
I have a postcard from our first trip abroad, camping in France last year, we went via Channel Tunnel.
I have also bought a postcard from our recent holiday to Lanzarote, and hope to keep up a tradition of collecting a postcard from every abroad destination we visit with Charles and his baby brother.

I still have my printed birth plan, the top I wore when I gave birth, the wrist and ankle band they put on us both with our details, the label placed on his cot, the plaster from his first heel prick [or injections, I didn't make a note of it and now kicking myself for it!], the little rubber bit that was used for his first hearing test and......his cord.
Not just the clamp, which apparently is normal to keep, but his actual cord, which apparently isn't as normal to keep.
By why not?
It doesn't smell, its shrivelled up and kept in a clear plastic bag which is now cellotaped onto a piece of card which is placed in a plastic wallet and kept in his special box. Hardly like it is framed on our lounge wall for all to see everyday, so completely not offensive to anyone.

For me the cord was such an important "thing" to keep. It was what fed my child when inside my womb.
Part of my birth plan was for the cord to stop pulsating until it was cut, sadly this couldn't be followed as we had to get Charles out of the pool quickly so he could have a few pumps of oxygen and my heavy bleeding meant the midwives wanted me out quick to assess the situation.
For the first week whilst the cord was attached I didn't change any nappy unless it was stupid o clock in the morning and I didn't want to wake my husband up. The cord freaked me out, mainly because I was worried it would just come off in my hand and expected blood or more.It wasn't until the day it came off, six days after he was born, that I felt really attached to it [excuse the slight pun there ;-)]

Did anyone else keep their babies cord??? Is it really that weird that I have? If so, why is it??
Have you kept anything weirder than a cord??
Its something I'll definitely be keeping for this baby too.

Anxiety, maybe I'm not so crazy after all!

I've always had a few fears which can sometimes seem so irrational and silly, and have been laughed at before. My most common one is that men/the army/a gang will burst into my house and start shooting at us.
I have no idea where this fear comes from, its just there, and has been for a long time.

Just after I had Charles I started to feel very funny when going out with him. Every mummy experiences the maternal instinct and the panicking about certain things but the things I was worrying about seemed at times, not normal.
Again the fear of being shot at was very strong. I constantly felt like I had to look around and check there was no one around but at the same time, thought there was someone hiding with a gun aimed at me.
There were other fears which are quite graphic, horribly graphic for me too, which I won't share. But at times these fears seemed to flash before my eyes almost like a memory or a premonition. They were so clear and so graphic that it almost seemed real.

I kept all these feelings to myself, until we went on our first family holiday to Center Parcs. Sat in the villa at night we would light the fire in the lounge, every night I would check every hour that the fire was out. I had a fear that it was going to reignite and we would burn to death.
The weather was quite bad whilst we were there, we didn't care, except for me it was anxiety overload with thinking a tree was about to fall on our villa at any point.
Another fear, was that someone would quietly break in and murder us, leave and never be caught. We would be found by the cleaner and the killer never traced.
We went for a daytrip to an Air Base and this day my anxiety went through the roof. And it was the day I had to come clean to my husband about what I was feeling.
This air base [museum] has a Concorde in the main room. My husband had taken Charles in to have a look, due to security one of us had to stay with the pram so I did this, my husband encouraged me to go and have a look once he came down as it was so interesting. I got three quarters of the way up the steps and froze. I couldn't go any further, I couldn't even move. I started to have a panic attack and told my husband I couldn't go in there. I made my way back down the stairs and he helped calm me down.
The reason I couldn't go any further? There was someone waiting inside there to kill me.
We headed over to another plane, the hood of the cockpit [I'm guessing this is what it is called??!] was sealed open, there was no way you could push it to close it.
My husband and Charles sat in there, photos were taken then my husband told me to get in and I would then hold Charles for a photo [he was only 4 months old at the time] but as soon as I stood into the cockpit (you have to step down into it from a platform) I panicked again. I burst into tears shouting that I needed to get out [thankfully no one else was around] I stepped out of the cockpit and onto the platform, my legs were shaking. The reason this time, I imagined, and clearly saw, the hood of this cockpit closing down and smashing onto my head. [sorry, graphic]
It was when we got back to the villa that I opened up to my husband and we decided I should make an appointment with my doctor as soon as we got home.

We live near marshland and I would sometimes take Charles for a walk down there, either pushing him in his pram or on his Smart Trike. Access to the marshland is via a lovely little lane. Halfway down the lane there is a train track, but because its just a tiny train track there are no barriers, signals yes but no barriers.
I always had (maybe still have) a fear that out of nowhere a train will hit into me, but Charles will be ok. Except he will be sat there, in his pram or in his bike, in the middle of a deserted lane, alone, possibly for hours until someone found him. I can't shake that feeling.

One of my most graphic episodes came as I walked Charles in his pram to our local supermarket. This is the one I don't want to share as it is just too much.

I headed to the doctor and explained to him what had been going on, he explained that a part of my brain, likely due to hormonal imbalance basically wasn't filtering information properly. So whereas other people would filter this information and say "that would NEVER happen" my brain just wasn't doing that, and instead was saying it WILL or COULD happen.
He said to me to look at things such as getting hit by an asteroid, and that there is a 1 in 10 million chance it could happen to me, [I'm making the 1 in 10 million theory up but you see what I mean] and said for me to think of things in this positive way. Except for me, its not positive. 1 in 10 million, means I could, and probably would be that ONE.
He put me temporarily on anti-depressants [against my will] but after 2 weeks I gave up on them. I wanted to deal with this alone. He tried to refer me to the mental health link worker, who I'd spoken to before and found to not be much help. I saw him at the beginning of my pregnancy because of having suffered depression for 8 years I was being kept an eye on incase I developed post natal depression.
I had to cancel my first appointment as sadly our cat died that morning so my head wasn't straight enough to talk about my feelings and the second appointment he cancelled and the surgery never rearranged despite my ringing them to ask for another appointment. After three times of hearing "we'll call you back" I gave up. And thankfully was able to sort my head out myself through distraction and just generally coping with it!

At the beginning of this pregnancy I was referred to him again and this time got an appointment. I headed off to see him incase the anxiety reappeared as bad as before, I still suffered from it but was able to cope, not 100% but it was liveable.
I honestly seemed to be a bit too much for him, I didn't tell him nearly half of what I have said in this post because just telling him the fear of men bursting into my house and shooting at us seemed to have him shocked. I asked if I was from an army family, which I'm not, and so he had no where to go with this. I thought the rest may be a bit too much for him.

At the beginning of the pregnancy I constantly had thoughts that the baby wasn't alive, I'd convinced myself so much that there wasn't a baby that it was a huge shock to then see one pop up at our 12 week scan.
I didn't feel completely confortable with the existance of the baby until I felt the first big proper movements and kicks. Now I'm totally comfortable.

As I said I found my own ways of coping with the anxiety. I've accepted that its part of my life and just the way my brain works. I don't want to take any medication for it unless I NEED to. And I don't need to. I'd rather just cope.

I thought everything was ok until the Tuesday we booked our holiday to Lanzarote. That night I couldn't sleep. I'd read reviews about breakins at the awful hotel we were originally booked in [and moved from] and my head automatically filled with horrible graphic thoughts.
The main one, that someone would break in in the middle of the night and attack us with a machete. Just me and my husband, the person would leave Charles. I told my husband and my mum about these fears, I thought sharing them and hearing that I was "being silly" and that it would "never happen" would make me feel better. It didn't.
On arrival to the hotel the thoughts were there, if not stronger, this was another reason for my wanting to leave and find other accomodation. And in the new accomodation the thoughts disappeared!

In recent weeks I have seen other bloggers I follow on Twitter sharing their anxiety stories. One in particular that struck me was "Not my best week ever" by Elizabeth at Mommatwo. In particular
In my mind it hit him. In my mind he died. In my mind I dropped Jasper trying to catch Roman and he died too. In my mind both of my babies died.
I read it and instantly thought that I wasn't alone. I felt as though I was meant to read that post so that I knew that there are others that feel the same as me and that I am normal. I am not crazy.

Yesterday in the news we saw the tragic story of the woman in Tenerife who was murdered in a shop...by a man using a machete.
Without meaning to sound insensitive and I'm so sorry if this offends anyone, but this is more proof that I am not crazy and indeed wasn't being silly with my pre-holiday panic of being attacked. Ok, it didn't happen to us but it did happen. And therefore COULD happen to us.

Suffering from anxiety doesn't make any of us crazy.
Sadly we can't be as open as anxiety isn't widely understood and people who don't suffer from it and have "normal brain filters" can't understand it. But just look at how many of us share it on our blogs. Reactions from friends has meant that I do have to keep a lot of it hidden, my blog is my haven for this thankfully.
I know I'm stuck with this for the rest of my life, I'm ok with it. Its not pleasant to live with, but its part of me. And I won't be ashamed of it anymore.


With a New Baby, Comes New Friendships

I am linking up with JoJo's So-Called Life with this blog post.
JoJo wanted to create her own linky/meme which summed up a lot of what her blog is about.
I needed one that reflected who I am and what my blog is all about. I wrote a list of words that describes my blog to see if I could get some kind of inspiration. Although vodka and glitter came up so did friends and laughing. I decided that we need a link-up where we can all share stories about our friends and how they make us laugh. I blog a lot about mine. Last year, I had such a tough time and I realised how important my pals are to me. I'm hoping that every two weeks, I'm going to dedicate a post to one of them and try to tell you a funny/quirky/engaging story.
Sadly this won't be a frequent link up for me. I have very few friendships now. Because I married young (19) whilst a lot of other friends were just moving in with their partners, or getting together with their partners, or in some cases just discovering boys (?!) it seemed a lot of people didn't know how to "be" with me and expected me to not be the same person just because I was now a Mrs rather than a Miss. Stupid, so stupid.
I had other friendships which broke down due to them being dishonest. And my most upsetting friendship breakdown was due to lack of effort on their behalf (I may use this one week as although the friendship is over its still worth blogging about and is something I need to get out)

I was always told that after having a baby I would make lots of new friends. I was really excited by this and spent time thinking about my son making friends with other children at the huge amount of baby groups I'd be going to........except these are almost non-existent, or the ones you do go to, are full of mums who already know each other and aren't so willing to let knew people in.

Throughout my pregnancy there were other pregnancy announcements from old school friends on Facebook. I'm not going to lie, and I've been honest with other people about this before with them, I was a tiny bit gutted. There we were, trying for a year for our baby, and here were people I was "friends" with and they were accidentally falling pregnant....at the same time as me. [This really should make for another blog post so I can move on with this one]

Anyway, after a week away at Center Parcs I was on Facebook and up popped an old school friend asking for advice as she was taking her daughter to Center Parcs in a months time and wanted tips on what to take. Her daughter is almost 2 months younger than Charles.
After a brief chat we realised we didn't live too far away from each other, shared the same doctors surgery and childrens centre, and we agreed to meet up one Friday morning at the Baby Play group.
I hadn't seen this friend for 8 years. We were never that friendly at school. We were friends but didn't hang out together. We were in the same form group and had some classes together.
She was always quite sporty at school and I wasn't, so we didn't really have anything in common and I always felt a little intimidated by anyone interested in sport.

I was nervous at meeting up, thinking we'd probably only see each other twice and that would be it.
Although I am delighted that this is totally not the case.
A year and a half on we are close friends and our children are too.We've spent the day together today and its clear to see that our children simply adore each other and it makes me so happy.

As I said in the past friendships have broken down due to dishonesty and lack of effort, both of these things I now become very wary of in a friendship and do tend to back off and try not to get too comfortable.
Except with her I feel very comfortable. We can joke with each other, real proper banter, and I feel that if she says something that I find hurtful I can approach her about it....I haven't felt like that before.
It seems very comfortable and yet at the same time uncomfortable because I am not used to it.

I am constantly telling her off for being so good to friends. She is let down a lot from other people but gives all the time. She drops anything for her friends and to some it seems is now taken for granted, which really winds me up...a lot.

I tell her a lot how much I appreciate her, and how she needs to learn to say no and make up excuses so she can get out of things. But she is too good and never listens.

Not once has she cancelled a meet up with me and Charles. Never.
She is very reliable. And has just been so amazing during this pregnancy. I didn't expect her to be so excited, but she is. When I was pregnant with Charles I didn't really have any friends who supported me or where there throughout, so its been a breath of fresh air to have her in my life whilst I'm going through this.
Its also very convienient as she has offered her services if i go into labour....services to babysit Charles or to taxi him to my mums, not to deliver the baby!
She would be there 24/7 if it wasn't for her part time job.

Today, I gave something back BIG TIME.
I asked her to be Godmother when we Christen our new baby. She was over the moon, I was so nervous about asking her. With Charles we had 4 family members as his Godparents and are taking a different stance this time.
There was no doubt in my mind that she is the right person for the job. And from her reaction today, which included a happy dance, I am even MORE sure we made the right decision.

The most fantastic thing about this friend.....she went to see Peter Andre with me in concert last year ;-) We booked our tickets on our third meet up. I should've known at this point that she was a keeper....and she definitely is.

I really wish I could name this friend and add photos but as she doesn't know about my blog I want to respect her privacy and don't want to add without her permission.

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