Friday, 15 February 2013

Pretending to be Normal

 This week I have been busy boxing up old photos and making an update to my childrens memory boxes. I thought it would be fun to share a few of my favourites as since I came back from my brother in laws funeral I have been very aware that it is our memories which are cherished the most when we are gone. This first photo is of my P&Q , note the book on the table 'Pretending to be Normal' one of my favourite reads back in 2001 undergoing CBT treatment and busy with NCT, teaching Practical parenting, helping on the pta and spending more hours sat in the car awaiting my children than doing anything particularly for myself . Mummy taxi's - I am sure you can relate x
 Birthday surprises are hard with 6 children this one was a trip to celebrate my mothers 60th and my sons in Tunisia he wanted to rife a camel , and so he did and I got talked into belly dancing to Happy Birthday to you ! It was not long after this that my physical health changed. The jury is out on what caused me to become ill but I became sensitive to many medications, products and foods.
 I has always thought before I had children that breastfeeding was disgusting and something I could not see myself ever doing. I was the eldest of 5 children and my mum had my brother just 3 months before I was due to have my first son. I was taking good care of my body and eliminating all the nasties hoping for my dream lamaze birth followed by bottle feeding and not having baby in my room. I was 21 and I did not know how rapidly my thoughts on the subject would change.
By 1997 I had 3 children the yougest pictured below came with me to La leche meetings and breast feeding support groups proudly wearing her fashion statement and supporting my efforts to encourage others to find ways to encourage easier breastfeeding and I worked hard to get breastfeeding accepted in public.
 I had been shocked at the reaction of my choosing to feed in public, it never bothered me, it seemed natural after I got over the initial latch on, comfy clothes and whilst I was feeding the pleasant side effect of loosing weight was a bonus and knowing that it was the best i could do for my childrens health in the future It was only natural to want to feed my next two in tandem style too .
 Tandem feeding happened by accident , the first time my eldest son was with me during my labour with my 2nd son and I fed him during my labour to speed up my contractions. It worked a treat and I delivered his brother and as my newborn latched on it seemed natural to just let the pair of them have one breast each. I did the same several years later as you can see from this picture in 2002.
 I think the bonding they had made them very close and very caring of each other. Naturally I struggled with people staring and asking me the usual questions of when did I intend to wean and I explained patiently that they would wean themselves just like my others , when they were ready. My first son weaned off at the age of 3, my 2nd at the age of 4, my daughter weaned off at the same time as my middle son and was equally content . So I would urge mummies not to worry , it does come to a natural end.
 I spent a lot of my time talking with other mums invariably with a child attached to me over the years and in the beginning I used to throw a muslin over my shoulder. I even bought a fancy breastfeeding tent top but found that half the time people would lift the muslin or fabric and peer in to greet my baby. I would say however it took me a long time to relax enough to feed in public and that it is worth finding your own comfort zone so that you can let your milk down and be stress free, if that means finding a nursing room or popping back out to your car then thats okay too.I eventually began writing a series of articles for magazines and newspapers and found a niche in which I was Normal.
 The next photo I adore is this one , taken during our potty training days , dolly was regularly dunked head first into the potty as it made her big brothers laugh so much, dolly had her own potty and we had a timer to try and keep on track. Boys are just so much easier , my first son was dry at 13 months old as he was an early walker and had an older friend and he copied by example peeing in the garden and playing shoot the cheerios down the toilet. Training my daughter trained me to be more alert and more prepared as a mum with additional changes of clothes and a lot of false smiles and claps for a not so great performance .Of course these days it is me who has to wear an nappy due to my illness and ongoing incontinence , it is a good job we kept a sense of humour about it!

 The next photos show just how much I have changed since eliminating chemicals from my home and they make me smile. At the end of the day I put my body through 15 pregnancies, had 6 beautiful children. Was able to deliver all of them naturally with weights from 5lbs through to 13 lbs8 and breast fed 5 . I  could not feed my youngest and it was very hard for me to cope with bottle feeding. I came home with bottles a sterilizer and all I could do was cry. My 6th baby in my arms wailing and I had been given medication to dry my milk as I was not to feed this baby. It was the toughest thing not to do what came naturally to me and place her on my breast. But I had no choice.This year for Valentines day I had a single rose sent to my husband to remind him of this special day x
The first time I felt inadequate as a mother was on coming home with my 6th child. I resorted to pre mixed formula and felt a failure. I look back now and realise how silly that was as many people are not able to breastfeed for one reason or another and there are just as many who choose not to do it. It just seemed weird , previously when I was healthy I could have been sent out to water the garden with the ammount of milk I was producing . Like most parenting styles everyone has their own and everyone makes mistakes. But everything happens for a reason and when my youngest came prematurely and I had been on such a lot of medication I had to agree with the doctors that for her breast was not best at least not mine.

My youngest child was a blessing as had it not been for that pregnancy they may never have discovered the cancer in my cervix so quickly.She was delivered safely and I had a hysterectomy.
She is 8 now and I am making up for lost time and making her memory box too. Determined to pop something else other than the article in which they banned me from the school run for placing her on my knee to cross the school carpark so I could access the pavement to go home .

DO you have moments when you pretend to be NORMAL how has that worked for you?

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