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When Pregnancy Announcements Are Too Much

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Every new pregnancy announcement still sends my brain into a whirl. I thought after getting pregnant with my daughter those feelings would go away. My daughter is now 21 months, and my initial feelings are still the same. My heart jumps into my throat, and my knees go weak. I can’t look away from the screen. I hope that it’s all just a silly prank. If I’m honest, I also think they are an idiot, but that’s a story for another day.
I can’t help but take it personally. It’s like the universe is constantly reminding me. I know they are not trying to shove it in my face or rub it in, but that’s how it feels.
Don’t get me wrong, I am usually incredibly happy for them, but I can’t seem to put my struggles aside.

So how do I cope with a pregnancy announcement?

I generally treat each pregnancy announcement differently. How close am I to this person? Do I have any background information to support how I should feel? I analyse it in a few ways before I publicly react. Sometimes it takes me a few days to offer my congratulations. Sometimes I will offer a generic ‘congratulations!!’ on the facebook post. I might wait to congratulate them in person if I know that I will be seeing them soon. If I know a bit more about the situation, I will send them a personal message either via facebook or text message. Then there are the few occasions that I just ignored it altogether.
I will attend the baby shower. I will put together a thoughtful and useful gift. More often than not I will also crochet a personalised toy. I think people have come to expect it after all this time.

How would you know?

Particularly when it comes to getting pregnant, many people keep their struggles a secret. And I understand why. I didn’t want to open myself up to the suggestions because yes, we had tried everything. We tried relaxing. We tried ovulation kits. I tried natural herbs. We tried special lubricants. I felt ashamed that my body wasn’t working in the way that it should. I certainly didn’t want anyone to know that I wasn’t perfect.
During my injections for IVF, I found out that one of my friends was expecting. I was told to my face, so I didn’t have anything to hide behind. I’m now embarrassed by my reaction. I said “that’s great” then gave them a thumbs up. Then I walked outside.

About a month and a half after my egg collection for IVF I decided that I needed to see someone about the feelings that I was having. The main thing I got from that conversation was how would you know? How would I know that my friends didn’t struggle to get pregnant? I didn’t ask. I didn’t offer up any more than my simple well wishes. So who am I to judge and have these feelings towards people not knowing anything about the situation?

What if a friend said that to you?

Not long after my pregnancy reached 12 weeks, I felt that I needed to talk to someone again. This time I had the revelation myself after venting out loud. Think about the negative things you tell yourself. How would you react if it was a friend telling you the same thing? You would tell them to stop being silly.
I shared this wisdom with a friend recently. She was worried about getting in the pool as her body was not the same as it was before she had her handsome little boy. I asked her to think about what she would say if I were the one making a fuss about my post-baby body. She agreed that she would say that I was silly, then she jumped in the pool.

I’m sure it is just one of those things that will get better with time. I also hope it will be a little while before the next pregnancy announcement,

Pregnancy Surprises

pregnant woman in front of window text overlay: Things I Surprised Me During Pregnancy

pregnant woman doing yoga text overlay: pregnancy surprises

I was one of the lucky ones. I had it really easy, with no pregnancy surprises. I didn’t have experience high blood pressure, gestational diabetes or Hyperemesis Gravidarum. You could even say that I enjoyed it. That’s not to say there weren’t a few things that surprised me about being pregnant.

Morning Sickness

For me, morning sickness was not what I was expecting it to be. I only actually threw up about 10 times, and only once did I throw up twice in one day. But I constantly felt sick, like I was going to throw up. This made it hard to want to eat or drink anything. After about week 20, the sick feeling began to fade but I still

Swelling

My oh, my! Nothing seemed to help the swelling in my feet. I sat at work with my feet up, only slightly elevated. I did work at a computer desk after all. I lived in a pair of compression stockings, like the ones you get after surgery or when flying. But they made no difference towards the end. My poor toes looked like little sausages.

Reflux

Some nights the reflux was that bad, I tried sleeping propped up on a few pillows. I was lucky that the medication I used did help. Although it was taken in a more preventative manner, rather than as a quick fix.

Constipation

I became constipated quite early on. I searched online for some solutions and decided to try pear juice. I managed to find it in the supermarket and gave it a go. It was really unusual to basically drink a pear. Pear juice did not quite do it for me. So I switched to an old faithful, Metamucil. For the last two or so months of my pregnancy, I was having a dose in the morning and another dose at night.

Week 39

By the time I made it to week 39, I had an insatiable hunger that just did not seem to be curable. My stretch marks had also been pretty mild but seemed to explode into being during week 39. They became agonizingly itchy. I was applying lotion several times a day just to get some relief.

Things I Didn’t Experience During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is different for everyone. It’s even different with each child. Here are some of the common things women experience during pregnancy that I didn’t encounter.
pregnant lady doing yoga. text overlay: thing's i didn't experience during pregnancy

Cravings

Sure I had cravings. But it wasn’t a case of “I must not stop until I get this”. It was more like a regular craving that would pass without having to give in. And while I don’t think it’s considered a craving, I found milk was often the only thing that would satiate my thirst. I would get up in the middle of the night and chug some milk.

Being warm

I did not experience being warm during my pregnancy. I was pregnant from February to November, so, for the most part, the weather was cold. I’d still wear a singlet, a top (often long or ¾ sleeve) and a jumper during the day.

Eating for two

I’m sure most of us know that eating for two is a myth. You only need an extra 200 or so calories a day.

Trips to the bathroom

I’ll be honest, I really struggle to drink enough fluids each day. I put in a lot of effort to drink more but didn’t find there was much change in my bathroom habits. Even overnight, I was only getting up once each night.

Kicks to the ribs or bladder

All babies have different movement patterns. I didn’t experience lots of movement. There were bursts of movement but it was never painful. And I certainly never got a kick to the ribs or my bladder.

Being tired

For the most part, I wasn’t tired. Only in the middle of my pregnancy did I notice being tired. I would crash on a Friday night after work around 7 pm. I assume it was just the week catching up with me.

Nesting

This one surprised my mum. She thought once I was on maternity leave that I would be cleaning like a mad woman. Or should I say, pregnant woman? All I really wanted was to buy the cot and have it set up, which didn’t happen until about a week before I was due.

I’m sure there are plenty of other things that I didn’t experience during pregnancy. But these are the main ones that come up with my friends.

Breastfeeding Struggles, Advice, Success

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breastfeeding-struggles-advice-success

I always wanted to breastfeed. But am ashamed to admit I honestly thought those that said it was too hard or hurt too much weren’t trying hard enough. How amazing is hindsight? I now know how hard breastfeeding is. I left the hospital with cracked, bleeding and scabby nipples. When the midwife visited, she was able to leave me with a loan great pump to see if that would help. After returning the loan pump to the hospital I borrowed one from my sister in law, and it was a godsend, especially when I returned to work.

Breastfeeding Advice

The best breastfeeding advice I received was from a friend with an 18-month-old. She told me it got a lot easier for her around the six-week mark. So that’s what I aimed for, hoping it would get better. Week six came and went but it didn’t appear to be getting easier. Then week eight hit and it was like magic. This is what it felt like when breastfeeding was normal.

Breastfeeding Struggles

It becomes all about the latch. My daughter struggled to latch properly but it did it perfectly when I visited a lactation specialist. They were able to suggest different holds for me to try because of her size.

I had several incidents where my daughter ended up with a mouth full of blood. To give my nipples a break I used nipple shields or the breast pump.

I suffered from nipple thrush more than once. It was really difficult to get rid of because I kept giving it to my daughter, who would then give it back to me.

I was unfortunate enough to experience a blocked milk duct on several occasions. But I was also lucky enough that I found a solution that worked for me, which helped me prevent it from turning into mastitis.

The first few times I breastfed in public was difficult. I couldn’t get the cover to stay on properly while I was getting myself organised. And I was really concerned about being covered so as not to offend anyone.

Breastfeeding Tips

Ask for and research advice if you are unsure about what you are doing. Join Facebook groups, ask your friends, watch YouTube videos and speak to your healthcare provider. I know I did all of the above.

The friend I mentioned above gave me a bunch of useful breastfeeding items at my baby shower. A tube of lanolin for chapped nipples, which can also double as a lip balm. I also received some nipple shields, which were an absolute godsend. By the time I was done with them they had big cracks and looked really worn out.

Having a breast pump allowed me to continue to exclusively feed my daughter breastmilk, even after I returned to work full time. If I had my time again, I would consider a double pump or a pumping bra.

The best thing that helped clear my blocked ducts was vibration. After some googling and not having results with massage or heat, I decided to try an electric toothbrush. The relief the next day was amazing.

If you want to breastfeed in public with a cover, practice at home. I wish I practised beforehand.

I found supplements to be more useful than the lactation cookies. Fenugreek seemed to be the ingredient that helped the most.

Breastfeeding Success

I last breastfed my daughter on Christmas Day. She was 13 and a half months old and I was very proud of our efforts. By then she was also having some formula as well. I was sad for that part of my life to be over but glad I was able to make it to a year, which was the last end goal that I gave myself. Less than a month after finishing up breastfeeding my daughter also gave up formula.

 

Life Lessons From a 30-Year-Old

pink balloons in the sky text overlay: Life Lessons From A 30-Year-Old

pink balloons. text overlay:Life Lessons From a 30-Year-Old

Last year I turned 30, and in all that time I’ve learned quite a lot. Some of it important, like how to adult and some not so important, like the words to too many songs from the 90s. Most of these life lessons I learned in my 20s, but some are quite recent, like number 15. So here are my 30 life lessons from a 30-year-old.

  1. Have an outlet to relieve your frustrations; write, exercise, meditate etc.
  2. Prioritise by working out what is important to you.
  3. Stop spending your time on things you don’t enjoy. Hate a particular chore? Outsource it. Hate your job? Get a new one.
  4. Find your happy place. But be prepared, it might not be where you expect. My sister in law recently noticed that I really like it at the local strawberry farm. I feel comfortable there.
  5. You need to look after yourself before you can look after others. Sometimes you really do need to put yourself first.
  6. Get enough sleep, it really does make a difference to your day.
  7. Live in the moment and acknowledge what you are experiencing, especially if you have young kids.
  8. Really listen to people when they are talking with you. You don’t always need to say something in return.
  9. Never stop learning, whether it be for profit or pleasure.
  10. Give up judging people, it doesn’t do you any favours.
  11. Don’t be too afraid of making mistakes that you don’t even try.
  12. Learn from your mistakes, if you don’t you will probably continue to make those mistakes.
  13. Ask for help when you need it, you won’t get it unless you ask.
  14. What doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
  15. If something won’t take long, just do it.
  16. Celebrate the wins, even if they are small. Sometimes they can be few and far between.
  17. If someone means a lot to you, let them know.
  18. Be grateful, the things that follow may surprise you.
  19. Ask for what you want. If you want a pay raise, ask for it. Don’t wait until it’s offered to you. You might not be offered one or it may be much less than you think you deserve.
  20. Never stop saving your money. Even if you are only saving $10 a week, keep saving.
  21. Make time for family. Take the time to catch up with your family members. I go to pretty much everything I am invited to. We also arrange a family Christmas party sometime in December just so we can all catch up.
  22. Take all the advice you are given. People are going to give you advice whether you want it or not, especially when it comes to parenting. Take it and do what you want with it.
  23. Do it while you can. My husband and I spent a month travelling the US for our honeymoon. In hindsight, it cost us quite a bit but it was an experience we will never forget. It’s also something we may not have the chance to do again.
  24. Learn and know your body. Take the time to learn what your body is telling you. Also learn to track your menstrual cycle, the stuff they teach you in school is just not enough.
  25. Done is better than perfect. You can waste your life away waiting for something to be perfect. The perfect partner, the perfect time to have children, the perfect job, the perfect blog post.
  26. Don’t be afraid to let your guard down. The moment I admitted to my friends that I had experienced postnatal depression, I discovered some of my friends were the same.
  27. Put yourself out there. For years I have been really concerned about what others thought of me. This blog has helped me put myself out there more. I was absolutely petrified when the first person I knew in real life found this blog.
  28. It’s ok to change your mind about friends, partners, jobs and your health.
  29. Don’t be ashamed of your flaws. There are many people out there that are likely experiencing something similar. And on the contrary, wish for what you have.
  30. Always have a carton of long life milk in the fridge or cupboard as well as a loaf of bread in the freezer. Have you ever run out of milk and really don’t want to go out just for milk?