Being pregnant and suffering with anxiety.

I have deliberately used the term ‘suffering’. Everyone gets anxious it is arguably a useful human emotion, we need it to an extent. But I suffer from it. It is beyond a useful tool to ensure I get to work on time, and pay my bills. It is the reason I can’t sleep at night. It is the fear that grips me during a car journey when I become convinced that I will die in a crash before I get home. It is the paranoia that people have noticed that I am an appalling excuse for a human being.

Before I became pregnant I was taking medication for my anxiety. And it was working. No panic attacks, the ability to both fall and stay asleep. The ever increasing periods of positivity and dealing with issues that previously would have affected me for weeks.

Then that little blue line appeared on the test window and all medication stopped. And will remain so. I will not risk harm to my baby.

On ceasing the medication I found suddenly how effective it had been. I think my anxiety stems from my failed teaching career. The enormous amount of stress and personal turmoil that caused has never and probably will never be addressed. I feel such a crushing feeling of failure and loss about it that I don’t see me ever fully ‘getting over it’. I’ve said before I have nightmares about it. I’m in the classroom, teaching, enjoying myself. The children start to get noisy and I start loosing control, I try all the tricks that worked in the classroom, they are ineffective. So I start shouting, nothing. I target one child, try to bring them to heel. Nothing. I get angry shout louder, knowing its exactly NOT what I should be doing. And then I wake up, sweating, heart racing, on the verge of tears.

Last night I had that dream again. I tried the clapping pattern I used to do in the classroom to refocus the attention. Nothing, so I clapped harder and harder again and again. Perhaps I really was clapping, my hands were hurting me and I’ve been told you can’t feel pain in a dream. It was different this time, the walls at the back of the classroom lifted and the children went to their parents, still talking, still completely ignoring every effort on my part to regain control. I turned and saw my sister and best friend from childhood standing in the classroom by the door and I burst into tears. Children and parents still milling about, and now my own din was added to the noise. Uncontrollable sobbing.

I’ve never cried during this dream before. I’ve felt like it, but always remained strong enough to refrain. I don’t know why last night was different. All I can do it hope that’s the last time I ever have my sleep invaded by that absolute horror show. But I know it won’t be.

Pregnancy is an anxious time for anyone. Even the second time around. I spent the first few weeks convinced I’d miscarry. There is no medical reason for me worry, nothing about my history that makes it likely. But that’s not how my anxiety works. Every day is a battle between my rational and anxious self. Sometimes rational wins sometimes the anxious. The same anxious side that told me, when the sonographer ran that plastic thingy over the cold, clear jelly on my tummy I would see a dead baby on screen.

My hope is when I start to feel movement these anxieties will subside. At the same time imagine I shall be a thorn in the side of the NHS. And I know, ‘worry can effect the baby’, that is simply another source of anxiety for me.

So it’s different this time, I feel all the wonderful emotions I felt last time. But they’re tainted, with the unshakable feeling that something awful will happen, to the baby, to me or to someone I love. And that’s just something I’ve got to live with for a while.

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The Bump Chronicles – The first trimester.

So. We did it again. Officially up le duff again.

So far I’ve spent 13 weeks trying not to throw up or explode at someone. Apparently my tolerance for stupid severely decreases when I’m with child.

Ritz crackers have been my saviour, the salty little gods. My first trimester aversion to fruit and vegetables shows little sign of abating and I suspect I might give birth to a Happy Meal.

I have desperately been trying to hide my bump at work. With limited success. I’ve seen them look, but are too scared to ask if I’m pregnant in case I’m just fat. We’re past that now, to say I’ve ‘popped’ is an understatement. More like exploded, you could float me over London to protect the city from ariel attacks.

My skin is NOT glowing, the only place my hair is getting thicker and more lustrous is my chin and as I’m already the mother of a toddler getting plenty of rest has been out of the question. I fell asleep in front of the boy the other day and he started smacking me with a plastic banana.

So thirteen weeks down, 27 to go, (if by some miracle baby arrives on time) so expect 27 weeks of whinging and perhaps a little more information than you’re comfortable with.

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Just keep swimming.

I took the boy swimming today. We haven’t been since he went on holiday last year. We are going away with hubs’ parents this year and whilst he’ll be under constant supervision in the pool, we’d like him to have recent experience of being in water.

As it’s the summer holidays there are plenty of sessions on and after checking the timetable this morning I thought I’d strike whilst the iron is hot.

To my relief as I was checking said timetable the boy did a big poo, meaning i only had to worry about the boy floating in the pool…

I told the boy we were going swimming and he seemed excited. So I’m not sure why, when it came to actually leaving the house he threw an epic tantrum. Crying, folding his arms, throwing himself on the floor. The works. I remained calm. But in these situations ‘What the fuck is wrong now?!’ Is never far from the tip of my tongue. After coaxing him out of the house I carried him to the car still sobbing. I have no idea why he was crying.

We got to the pool and headed to the (slightly grotty) changing room. There were two old ladies getting changed after their swim who told me Will had ‘such an angelic face’ ha! I wonder what they’d have said if they’d seen him 15 minutes earlier. As the ladies were changing he stared at them. I broke out into a cold sweat. This could go one of two ways. 1: he’ll point at their bodies and shout ‘yuk’ as he does to me on a now daily basis. Or 2: he’ll try and ‘tickle’ them which basically involves grabbing body parts and laughing hysterically. Thank god I had my swimsuit on under my clothes! If there was an Olympic medal for speed changing, I’d have won the gold.

We did the walk of humiliation past EVERYONE to get to the pool. The boy was unsure to start with but when he got onto the water enjoyed shouting ‘splash!’ at the top of his lungs, pointing at my boobs and shouting ‘yuk!’ And pulling the front of my swimsuit down. I also got kicked in the fanny repeatedly.

I definitely helicoptered in the pool but I guess when the alternative is him drowning, helicoptering is important. His head went under once, and whilst he wasn’t happy about it it went down better than I expected. Lessons have now been booked on a Daddy can share the ‘fun’.

I couldn’t help but think parenting is a lot like this swimming experience. Sometimes you feel out of your depth, sometimes you can barely keep your head above the water. Sometimes no matter how hard you try, it feels like a constant kick in the fanny. But one day, you’ll not only be floating, you’ll be swimming.

In other news:

The boy is talking more and more, but every now and again will shout something that sounds a lot like ‘dick’.

I have given up on a tidy house. The boy is the anti-tidy.

I shall attempt to make a cake with the boy later, something I may very well regret…

…and I’m broken.

The day started with the boy sat in a puddle of his own urine, and nappy so heavy with the stuff it could have been used to anchor a cruise ship.

We’ve played with the play-doh (two colours only, which I’m pleased to say have not been mixed) watched a few episodes the Twirly Woos (as many as I can watch before I want to slit my own throat. This number is rapidly decreasing.)

Then we went out. Our fridge is empty. Not empty but I could easily whip up two meals… it’s empty empty.

Knowing never to shop on an empty stomach I took the boy into M&S for some lunch. Will decided he wanted to sit on my lap, as that was the best place to be to wipe pasta sauce all over my clothes. Refusing to eat most of his pasta but giving all my food a good fingering I gave up on the whole lunch idea and headed to Tesco. I had the pushchair but Will was not strapped in, he was walking beside it. That way if he gets tired it’s there but I can also put my shopping basket in it and avoid the whole trolley tantrum scenario.

As we neared Next I decided to pop in and check the sale for boy’s sandals. The smell coming off his is quite frankly a health hazzard but due to the fashion season all I can get in the shops now are wellies and winter boots (just in time for August!) crocs and croc like shoes are available but no way in hell am I putting my boy in them. It’s bad enough pretending I don’t know my own mum when she insists on wearing them on holiday.

We got to the entrance and Will stopped in the doorway. He kept saying ‘bus’ I assume he meant the both shit and astronomically expensive kiddy ride outside Tesco. (A quid?! You can fuck right off!)

He wouldn’t move. And started to cry. No biggie. I tried the old walkin’ away trick. He moved closer but then started wailing so I decided the best course of action was to put him in his pushchair. That was a mistake.

He unleashed the demon.

And I burst into tears. In a shop. In public. I tried to power through. The boy was still screaming and I received a filthy look from a woman with a perhaps nine year old boy, obviously suffering from memory loss. Either that or her son was a robot.

Turns out I was unable to power through. Instead of buying much needed groceries we went to the car. Will looked confused as he was strapped into his car seat by a blubbering mess. The mess that sat in the car park for five minutes (crying) before driving home (still crying).

We got into the house, the boy had clearly forgotten his tantrum and tucked his Hey Duggee ‘Happy’ soft toy under my arm. (No, the irony was not lost on me.)

I’m not cross with the boy. He’s just being two. But I’m furious with myself for letting his tantrum get to me, and putting on such a spectacular public show of how not to parent. Or even adult. Surely I should have this down by now? To to be perfectly honest he’s done worse and that hasn’t made me spend the afternoon crying on and off.

I think I’m getting a migraine. Icing and cake much?

In other news:

Apparently when will yells ‘Fanny’ he means ‘rain’.

The boy pulled my dress up when I was getting off the loo, pointed at my lady parts and said ‘yuk’ earlier today. Do I top myself now or later?

The cats are taking advantage of the wet weather to get filthy and leave footprints all over the duvet. A hobby they’ve not had the opportunity to indulge in for quite some time.

It’s too hot. There, I’ve said it.

Our little island is not blessed with good weather. Most summers are short and wet. But not the case this year. It’s hot. Frigging hot. And we couldn’t be less prepared.

The fun thing about England is that as soon as it hits 18 degrees, we’re out. Parks and pub gardens fill with pasty limbs protruding from shorts and t-shirts. BBQs are lit, garden parties are hosted and kids play in paddling pools. Other countries are still sporting coats as we rush to wear our seldom used summer clothes.

Not this year though. Weeks of high temperatures have scorched the earth and shortened tempers. There isn’t a fan to be found in stock anywhere. We’re fed up of burnt sausages. Our children are forever coated in a greasy film of high factor suncream, and public transport has been rendered risky for all with a working sense of smell.

Now I appreciate this sounds very ungrateful and I too have wished for a hot summer that lasts longer than a fortnight, but we simply aren’t prepared for heat.

The heat has also made one stroppy toddler. A hot, sweaty, stroppy toddler. As a nation we’ve been advised to stay out the heat where possible. I can’t take the boy to the park as the play equipment is hotter than the sun. Most places I’d take him to are sans air conditioning. Soft play is a warehouse that gets comparable to an oven on mild days. I am genuinely concerned that children will just cook in this heat. I’ve been distracting him with tv during the hottest parts of the day but we’re like a cross between hermits and the mole people. Yesterday giving him an ice pop caused a tantrum of epic proportions, bedtime causes a similar meltdown and we haven’t put him in pyjamas in over a month. This Friday we’re set for temperatures to reach 33 degrees Celsius. Weather we quite enjoy on holiday. Where there are swimming pools. Or the sea. And it’s socially acceptable to drink ice cold beers in the day.

Perhaps I’ll miss it when it’s gone, but I’m more of an autumn girl anyway. It’s prettier and there are less armpits to avoid. (Why is it those who should use deodorant rarely do?) I can also take Wills out with worrying about him boiling in his own skin.

I never thought I’d say this, but rain would be great about now!

In other news:

Monday marked Captains three year adoptiversary! He cost us more than all my other pets combined in vet bills but we love the big hairy git.

Our son has the smelliest feet I’ve ever encountered.

It’s my uni besties wedding on Friday! I’m going to be ugly crying for most of the day.

The boy is two!!

This time two years ago, I hadn’t slept a wink, shed more blood than the red wedding and finally got some codeine off the midwife! It would be hours yet before the boy came into the world and impress us all with his lung power. Hours before me and hubs cried happy tears and cradled the small, pink and furious little fuzzy bundle finally realising: Shit. We’re parents now.

So what celebrations have we planned for this most glorious day? Well I’m going to ikea with William and mum. We know how to party! Tomorrow William will have his party, and I’ve hired a bouncy castle. (Although he wouldn’t go anywhere near the last one he encountered. Curses.)

His friends and family are coming to celebrate, hopefully he’ll refrain from any diva tendencies. I made him scrambled egg and bagels for breakfast, when I carried his plate from the kitchen he started wailing, and took himself to the far end of the kitchen for more wailing. Then stood by the French windows pouting. Before fetching his plate and going to sit on the stairs to eat. Charming. So far he’s played with two of his toys and not unwrapped any presents. He’s pretty stoked by the helium balloons. In fact so far I’d say they are his favourites.

I can hear him on the stairs counting to four. Let’s cross everything that he’s not counting ‘gifts’ from the cats. Captain seems quite excited about the birthday, Marms has yet to make an appearance.

So that’s it. We have a two year old. A whole two. And a year full of adventures that come with it!

In over news:

Poor old Captain was beaten up by the cat hubs refers to only as ‘that big ginger bastard’ our neighbour called to let us know he was cowering under her trampoline. He’d got so frightened he’d pooped himself. Suffice to say ‘that big ginger bastard’ has made my list.

Will has a penchant for spreading his wheeled toys everywhere, hubs and I have been skidding about all over the sodding place. Bets on how long until one of us breaks a bone.

The bald kitten is enjoying the World Cup (will he soon know the pain of supporting the England sqaud or will it actually ‘come home’ this year?!) He enjoys shouting ‘DOAL!!!’ Especially when no goal has actually been scored.

Shopping with two under fives: The reason why I’ll be drinking tonight.

On Fridays I’m looking after my nephew whilst my sister is on a course. It’s lovely to spend time with the ‘phew, and Will adores ‘Nenny’.

When he arrived he asked if we could go to soft play. Request denied. I told him it was closed, but the truth is we went last Friday and I’d rather stick hot pins in my eyes than go two weeks on the trot. Especially as last week I came closer than I ever have to throwing an obnoxious little shit off the highest point I could find. His crime? I am 99% certain he threw a ball at William, from his reaction and William’s but my back was turned asking Lenny if he wanted lunch. A wizened old crone who smelt of stale cigarettes bade the demon children come for their lunch. She hobbled off on her bunioned feet and the little shits completely ignored her. So that’s why I don’t yet have the mental strength to return. Another thing I’ve noticed about soft play is I collect children. I don’t want to, but they follow me and before I know it I’m surround, whilst their guardians enjoy a coffee in peace.

So soft play was out. I was on ‘mission dress’ I have some weddings coming up and naturally I want to look nice. However I have piled a few pounds on recently and want something flattering. I told the boys I needed to look in two shops and if they were good, I’d take them to McDonalds. Shop one, no good. (The ‘phew had asked a second time if we could go to soft play instead, my ‘no’ was not well received) Shop two. Pick out five dresses. Headed to the changing room. Hadn’t even taken the first one off the hanger and the ‘phew pipes up ‘That’s too small Aunty Chesney’, he was right, curse him. In fact they were all too small. Who needs self confidence?

We went to McDonalds the boys we’re excited, so imagine my surprise when the ‘phew announced he didn’t want anything. ‘So you’re going to watch me and Will eat and sit there with nothing?’ was met with downcast eyes and a surly silence. ‘Well I’m going to order you something’, repeating the options ‘I just have chips’ a small voice pipes up. I add nuggets. What drink do you want? ‘I’ll just have water.’

‘Are you sure?’

‘Yes’.

‘You don’t want orange or a fruit shoot?’

‘Just water please’.

I click on the water pleased we’ve gone to the self service so we don’t go through the decision process with a bored employee and a queue of short tempered patrons. I check the order, click ‘pay’ hear a voice pipe up ‘actually I want orange’.

Wooooooo

Sarrrrrrrrr

It’s too late now. You have Pookie’s fruit shoot and he’ll have your water.

We sit down. Will keeps eating ketchup off his finger until he finds his chicken nuggets. The ‘Phew refuses to eat his chicken nuggets. I tell him it’s okay, we’ll take them home for Mummy. We troop back to the car, to find some bint has parked so close I can only just squeeze myself in. (Regretting the quarter pounder and all other food choices for the past six months) I look for my novelty notepad, that thanks a driver for parking so close and advises them to take a bus in future, although there are a fair few expletives thrown in for good measure. Pad is not in the glove box. Curses. Woman who can’t park turns up and gives me evils!! I understand how ‘ordinary’ people suddenly go on killing sprees. Start the engine, focusing on the sanctuary that is home. The ‘Phew pipes up, ‘ I want my chicken nuggets now’.

Sorry Sis, no nuggets for you!

The afternoon has followed a similar pattern, my darling son keeps throwing himself on the floor and wailing. Most recently because I wouldn’t let him eat a bag of brown sugar. I’ve given him a yogurt but most of it is in the carpet. FFS.

In other news!

The boy is ‘counting’ to four. (Well he can say the numbers one to four, he has no real concept of numbers yet, but don’t shit on my parade okay?)

The boy also climbed out of his cot, I fear bedtimes will never be the same again.

I still have nothing to wear to a wedding.