6 weeks already!

Tomorrow Daisy will be 6 weeks old. It has flown by! She now fits in newborn and 0 – 3 month clothes after being in tiny baby clothes from birth.

Daisy enjoys cuddles, music and singing. She loves having her cheeks stroked and her hands rubbed. Daisy is making lots of different noises and likes to grab your hands.

I can’t remember life before being a Mum. I have never experienced tiredness like it but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I don’t know what sleep is anymore but I am so used to being sleep deprived now. Being a Mum is extremely hard but it is the most rewarding and amazing thing.

When Daisy was first born, I definitely experienced the baby blues. I was crying over everything and anything, good and bad. I did have concerns that it was post natal depression, but it was definitely due to all the hormones from being pregnant and giving birth. I feel confident and at ease being a Mum. My confidence has grown over these past 6 weeks and I am not afraid to talk to people if I am feeling overwhelmed or unsure.

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28 weeks and 32 years

I am actually nearer to 29 weeks now. I had my 28 week midwife appointment last week. It went really well. My urine sample was clear, my blood pressure was normal, my bump is measuring spot on and Jellybean’s heartbeat was great. I love hearing her heartbeat.

Pregnancy wise I am doing well. The midwife was shocked at how active I am but said it goes to show how it is helping. I still cannot eat loads of food and heartburn is more of an issue now. Jellybean is super active and I am feeling her move right up by my ribs a lot now.

Yesterday was my 32nd birthday. I have had a lovely weekend. On Saturday, my friends, Mum and sister threw me a surprise birthday party. I was really not expecting it and was so touched. They had been planning it for ages.

There was a theme to the party to do with the name we have decided on for Jellybean…

Yesterday we went for a curry with my family. It was delicious. Today, Dave and I are round at my best friend’s. Her two little girls have made me birthday cards. Tomorrow, Dave is treating me to a day out. We are making the most of being baby free!

Things can get better

Sometimes I find it hard to believe how much progress I have made over the years since being diagnosed with anxiety and depression. I have two things that have happened over the past few days that I want to talk about.

Dave received a Facebook message from someone I have not been friends with for nearly 3 years a few evenings ago. I have spoken about this person. She was one of my bridesmaids when Dave and I got married. But when I was at my lowest, she made my life even worse. She made me feel guilty, didn't respect my boundaries and only cared about herself.

I made the decision that I did not want or need this person in my life. So I was surprised to find out this person messaged Dave acting as if nothing was wrong, asking how we were and congratulating us as she (somehow) knew I was pregnant.

Dave worried so much how I would react that he got in touch with my sister. She reassured Dave that I am stronger then a lot of people realise.

My first response when Dave told me was to laugh. I can honestly say that I have not once missed the friendship. I questioned the motives behind her getting in touch in the first place. Plus, the message acted if nothing had happened when it was quite the opposite.

Dave and I both agreed to ignore the message and that he would block her on Facebook. I am so happy with the people in my life. My family have always been amazing. I have the nicest and supportive friends. I didn't see the point in trying to be friends with someone who made me more ill and turned out to be an awful friend when I needed them the most.

I know for a fact that this message would have triggered my anxiety and depression when I was still struggling. I would not have been able to stop ruminating about it, quite possibly had a panic attack and it would have made my mood come crashing down. I would have brought it up continuously with Dave. It has been quite the opposite. We have not talked about it since Dave received the message.

Yesterday I went for afternoon tea for a friend's hen do. In the past, I would have automatically said no to something like this. I used to actively avoid situations like this; too many people, being with people I didn't know, a busy place etc. The only person I knew was the bride. But I went and had a good time. I chatted away to people I didn't know and they were all lovely.

To think there was a time that I was suicidal, struggled to leave the house and was constantly anxious and my mood was low is hard to believe right now. I am proud of how far I have come. I want to stress how it has not been easy to get to this point. There have been a lot of tears, pushing myself out of my comfort zone and being honest with myself and others when it is not always easy. I can recognise if I am starting to struggle and do things to help myself feel better.

27 Weeks

I am now 27 weeks pregnant. My pregnancy feels like it is flying by.

Last week, I didn't think Jellybean was moving as much. She just seemed a lot quieter than usual. I decided to phone up the hospital that I am giving birth at. They were amazing and said for me to come in so they could check everything was ok.

I ended up not telling anyone at the time and went the hospital on my own. I messaged Dom's Dad as I was due to pick him up for 10am and he said to collect him whenever I was ready.

Looking back, I have no idea why I didn't tell anyone in my family. I just calmly phoned the hospital, had a quick cry and drove myself to the hospital.

Jellybean was and is absolutely fine. They put a doppler on me and gave me a clicker. I was asked to press it whenever I felt Jellybean move. The midwife went and got me a drink and as soon as she left the room, Jellybean started moving! I was given tips on how to get Jellybean to move in future if I feel like she isn't moving as often.

So I did eventually tell Dave and my family that I had been to the hospital. Not surprisingly, I was told off by them all as they felt I shouldn't have gone on my own.

Since I have been into the hospital, Jellybean has been making up for having a brief quiet spell. She has been moving so much! I love feeling her move. It is one of the most incredible experiences.

I finally got round to doing yoga last night. I absolutely loved it. I have been continuing to do this pilates, zumba and bodycombat. I also continue to walk Walter each day. I really believe staying active will help me during labour and after Jellybean is born.

I have my 28 week midwife appointment next week. They will start measuring my bump. The week after we have our 4D scan. I can't wait to see Jellybean. I am doing a hypnobirthing course through the hospital which starts on Sunday. I have heard good things about it so hoping that will be beneficial when I am in labour.

Besides pregnancy, we really enjoyed having Lola here for two weeks (as did Walter). We managed two dog play sessions and loads of nice walks.

Still spending time with my family and friends regularly too. It is good to spend time with good people. Jellybean will be so lucky to have these fantastic people in her life.

Progress

I feel that my anxiety and depression are well managed at the moment. It seems like this has been a long time coming. I’m able to recognise quite quickly when I feel my mood dipping or my anxiety levels rising. Dave is also really good at picking up on my mood and anxiety. I talk to him as soon as I notice a change. 

Others have also noticed that I seem to be in a good place. I feel more comfortable around my family and friends. Instead of feeling negative emotions about socialising, I am actually looking forward to it. 

Phoning or even talking to most people on the phone was something that was anxiety provoking. Until recently, I was only really comfortable communicating via whatsapp or text messages. I phoned my parents house earlier tonight. I have not felt able to do this in months. 

Dave came across a job that he thought would be good for me. At first I disregarded it. But after some discussion and encouragement I decided to bite the bullet and phone up to get more information. I was so pleased that I did. It gave me the motivation to apply.

So yesterday afternoon (with the help of Dave) I completed and submitted my application form. The closing date isn’t until a week on Wednesday. I am in the mindset that if this job is meant to be, it will be. For me to even apply for a job is a really big deal. 

I know that I will always live with depression and anxiety. My medication is now on my repeat prescription at my doctors. I don’t see myself even contemplating coming off Citalopram any time soon. I don’t want to risk a relapse when I finally seem to be on the correct medication and dosage. As a result I feel like I am actually living my life. I’m getting more sleep and I don’t have difficulties with getting out of bed each morning. 

I feel that I now have the tools to deal with my depression and anxiety more effectively when it is at its worst. CBT has played a massive part in this. 

I hope all of this makes me a stronger, more determined person

10 positive things

I was reading through some recent posts of blogs that I follow. Bipolar Whispers has done a challenge and has asked others to do the same – to write 10 positive things about youself that have nothing to do with any of your mental health issues.

This is something I thought I would do. I focus on the negatives a lot. Funny that I saw this post this morning. I got up to find a notepad with a post it note on it from Dave – for the positive things. I am going to write at least one positive thing that has happened each day.

10 positive things about me that have nothing to do with depression or anxiety:

  1. I am a determined person. Once I set my mind to something I can be unstoppable. 
  2. I am a wife and love it. Dave proposed to me after being with me for 7 years and we got married after 9 and a half years together. Regardless of what others have said about the novelty wearing off, I still love being called Mrs and it hasn’t got old in the past (nearly!) 6 months
  3. I have a godson who is 2 on Wednesday. I have known him his entire life as his mum is one of my best friends. I love that I am known as Auntie Gemma to him. 
  4. I am passionate about the things I like and causes that are important to me. Examples of this are seeing my favourite bands live numerous times and having a jigsaw piece tattoo (autism awareness) on my ribs.
  5. I devour books. Ever since I can remember I have loved reading. I can easily sit and read for hours. 
  6. I am from Liverpool, England and very proud to be! Although I haven’t lived in Liverpool for a number of years I still have a scouse accent. 
  7. I am a gamer girl. I love nothing more than to sit and play on my xbox 360 particularly co op games with Dave. Our wedding cake was an xbox cake!
  8. I am a caring and loyal wife, daughter, sister, auntie and friend. My family and friends are extremely important to me and I love spending time with them. 
  9. I have climbed Snowdon and Scafell. I used this as an opportunity to raise money for Action for M.E. as my sister has M.E. I am hoping to climb Ben Nevis so that I can say I have climbed the three peaks in the UK. 
  10. I enjoy helping others, whether it is helping a friend out with a problem, helping someone in the gym who looks unsure or helping Dominic or other autistic children. I couldn’t imagine not being a helpful person. 

This was a really hard post to do. I have been attempting to think of 10 positive things about myself throughout the day. I am glad I did this though. It is something I can look at when I am struggling to think positively. 

It would be great if anyone else out there is willing to do this. Write 10 positive things about you that have nothing to do with any of your mental health issues.  Post them on your blog and share the link in the comments.  If you are not comfortable writing a blog post and linking it, you can write the 10 things in my comments section on this post.

A ray of sunshine

In an attempt to get out of this black hole that depression and anxiety have sucked me into right now, I thought I would do a post about the child I take out for respite once a week. 

Dominic is 12 years old. He has ASD and ADHD. I first met Dominic in June 2011. At the time, he was living mainly with his Mum but also spent time at his Dad’s. Dominic was 8 years old and his behaviour was becoming increasingly more difficult for his Mum to manage. As a result, it was decided that Dominic would live with his Dad for the majority of the time. This was not an easy decision for his parents to make. Through social care Dominic’s family were given direct payment hours and this is where I became involved. 

I can remember going round to meet Dominic and his family along with his social worker. Dominic was this little ball of energy who bombarded me with lots of questions. 

Dominic has come on so much in nearly four years. He is now able to order food in certain restaurants/fast food places, use a knife and fork and share his thoughts and feelings with me. Dominic has overcome some major fears including fireworks and dogs. 

Here are my ten favourite things about Dominic:

  1. Special interests – there have been a number of these over the past four years – Mr Men and Little Miss, space, fish, Toy Story, languages, birthdays, theme parks, water parks, Mr Bean and Horrid Henry. It still astounds me how much Dominic knows about the things he likes. For instance, during his Toy Story phase Dominic had a spell where he was teaching himself how to count, say hello and goodbye etc in a number of languages. He then started watching the Toy Story films in Spanish to help learn more Spanish!!! The pleasure and enjoyment he gets from his interests is amazing to see. 
  2. Honesty – Dominic says it like it is due to having autism. I always know where I stand with him. When Dominic says he looks forward to seeing me or he has had a good time, I know he means it. 
  3. Memory – Dominic has a fantastic ability to remember dates, birthdays and things that have happened. He can remember whole conversations from years ago!
  4. He doesn’t judge people – Dominic doesn’t judge people based on what they look like or the clothes they wear. He likes people based on whether they are a nice to him. 
  5. He is a positive person – Dominic finds the best in everything and everyone. He can always find something to smile or laugh about. He frequently tells me that if something is annoying him on school he will think about seeing me to help him feel better
  6. He is a thrill seeker – the opposite of me! Dominic loves going really high on swings in the park, rollercoasters and bouncing high on his trampoline. 
  7. He is caring – Dominic speaks highly of his friends from school. He helps them if they are upset or hurt themselves. 
  8. He loves meeting people – Dominic came to our wedding and was more than happy being around dozens of our friends and family. He likes nothing better then seeing Dave or my immediate family. 
  9. Sense of humour – Over the years Dominic has developed a wicked sense of humour. He initiates jokes more often now. 
  10. He is inquisitive – Dominic will ask questions about anything and everything. He loves finding out things. Currently, he loves finding out how tall people are!

I could list so many more things that make Dominic such an amazing person. He leaves such an impact on others when they meet him. His remarkable personality really draws people to him. My family and friends frequently ask about Dominic and truly care about him.

I am so protective of Dominic. I worry about him becoming a teenager (which will be later this year!) and eventually an adult. Every so often, Dominic will ask how long me and him will go out. I really hope that I will always be a part of his life. I am so proud of how far he has come in the four years I have known him.