Monday, January 30, 2012

Me me me?

I can’t work out if I am being unreasonable to feel the way I do about recent conversations with my mum. On the one hand I wonder if I am being competitive, on the other I feel like my birth and breastfeeding experience is being marginalised. By that I don’t mean ‘listen to me, me, me I gave birth too’ but more that any reference I make to the whole thing, while trying to support my sister, is dismissed as being ‘not as bad’. The words my mum used were, if not ‘not as bad’, something like ‘yes but K’s is so much worse than yours was’ and also when talking about breastfeeding ‘I didn’t think you had any problems with breastfeeding’. Anyway this has come about because while I have been trying to help my sister through dealing with her tear/episiotomy/stitches and learning how to breastfeed I have naturally used phrases like ‘when I had my stitches’ or ‘Bob used to…’. A couple of times when I have spoken to my mum like this she has responded quite sharply, telling me that my 2nd degree tear and stitches is just not the same as my sister’s third degree injury and stitches. Fair enough, I actually do understand that for many women a third degree tear means they will have on-going continence issues and expect a generally longer recovery period. Still, that doesn’t mean that I don’t know what it’s like to have stitches in the same place you pee and shit from (to be blunt) or that I can’t empathise with the way my sister might be feeling about it.

As a middle child I am fully aware that I have these ‘look at me, me, me’ traits and also that I use humour a lot of the time to get attention. I cringe when I realise I am doing it. At the moment, though, I feel really aggrieved by some of the things my mum has said or implied. The facts are that my labour and birth experience was very much like my sisters apart from the fact that she needed 4 pints of blood. Now of course I understand that losing 4 pints is really very bad and I know this left her feeling really awful.
My labour was long just like my sister’s. My baby’s heart beat dropped dramatically just like my sister. My baby had blood tests done while he was still inside me, just like my sister. I was prepped for a C-section, just like my sister. I had a forceps birth with episiotomy, just like my sister. My baby ended up in the Neo Natal unit, my sister ended up in high dependency. Yes of course there are differences and of course my experience is not a recent one – I am fully recovered – but when it comes to being able to support my sister I actually think I am one of the peopl close to her who can empathise properly having experienced pretty much the same thing fairly recently and if that means I have to drop in a few ‘when this happened to me’ type conversations then so be it.

I do feel pissed off that my mum has belittled my episiotomy experience though I can understand why she might think that for me it was nothing. After all, I had so much more to deal with at the time that the fact I had stitches and found walking and moving painful was fairly insignificant. I had to walk even though it was painful because I had to get up and go to see B in the neo-natal unit for over a week. I had to drive to the hospital (often on my own and often at night) which meant getting in and out of a car, which is painful with stitches in your fanjo, several times a day to try to breastfeed him and fend off bottles from the well-meaning nurses. Ah – the breastfeeding. I think perhaps I was more offended by my mum saying ‘but I didn’t think you had any problems with breastfeeding’. Again the reality is that I left the recovery ward and didn’t see my son for hours by which time he had already had formula. In the neo-natal unit I wasn’t given any useful help to breastfeed and my right breast was really sore. When B came home more than a week after he was born I struggled for 2 days to get breastfeeding properly established and to get him off the bottles. I remember being in tears, I remember the pain I had in one breast which I gritted my teeth and fed through regardless.

I really don’t want to be making this all about me but I felt quite offended by mum’s attitude and wondered if I should just shut up. And stop offering support unless I can do it without referring to my own experience, particularly if mum is in earshot.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Men live in houses, right?

So it's not strange that today I collected my latest purchase from ebay (less than £6 though I gave the bloke a tenner and he chucked in a second one!)?

Husband of mine pulled a face and I zm waiting for comments from other people about how he will turn out to be gay and so on.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Take photos of your breasts and put them on the internet

Some really very good news. My sister has her baby at last. Very long and, towards the end, traumatic labour and delivery but she is very happy with her 7lb 4 oz baby girl. She is still in hospital as she needs some care and attention (my sister not the baby) after a forceps birth with a blood transfusion; I visited last night and although she is complaining of pain in her fanjo and not wanting to walk she seems to be doing ok. I am no expert but she looks like the baby is latching on ok. I hope that breastfeeding is not difficult for her, the hospital has already given her a syringe of formula.

 I wonder if hospitals were just so deeply ingraned in the whole bottlefeeding culture that they default to formula at the hint of any 'problem'? Her baby was less than 12 hours old and they decided she needed formula because she had low blood sugar. Just a quick google tells me that formula really doesn't have to be the answer and dr Sears agrees. Anyway - my sister says she has insisted upon trying breastfeeding rather than more formula. Her baby is not in Neo Natal so she can feed her whenever she wants, though she can't lift her at the moment. I am going back to visit tomorrow armed with a load of printouts on correct latch. Like me she feels like it's going so well she must be doing something wrong. Hopefully she's just got it right straight away.

There's no 'I wonder' about it though really, of course formula is seen as more normal than breastfeeding - even in hospitals. The years of attack on the natural function of the breast have resulted in a situation where even medical staff, who should be better informed, will try to hijack a mother's breastfeeding experience and they probably don't even realise they are doing it. The whole situation is really sad and makes me really angry. I am turning into an ardent lactivist. The last couple of weeks I have been following Emma Kwasnica fight with Facebook over having her breastfeeding photos removed. I am amazed by the people who comment on the situation and believe that breastfeeding should be done behind closed doors, definitely not in public and definitely not photographed. Lately I have been getting angry about the sexualisation of children in general, and the inequality many women experience which is denied continually. Now I feel angry that I am judged by people who seriously believe that feeding my baby in a public place is somehow a sexual or disgusting thing. The more angry I get the more I want to be more obvious about my breastfeeding experience. I think the more people are aware of it the more acceptable it will become.

I love it when breastfeeding is brought into the public eye although when it's done by the paps like here you do wonder what their motives were. Ooh look at the freaky breastfeeding famous mum. Good for you for not giving a shit Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Things I dare not talk about... and the other stuff.

(Big Wave to my husband if he's bookmarked this page)

So we are 2 weeks into the new year and I told myself I should post more positively, or maybe just include something positive in some of my blogs, or talk more about what I think of things happening outside of my head... or something like that. Hence this being the first time I have blogged since December. I just don't know if I can (or if I want to) do the nicey nicey blog thing! This has always been a place where I felt I could spill out everything from my brain, good and bad, to give myself head space without having to worry about the reaction of other people. Somewhere where few people who knew me would see what goes on in my brain but could be read by others who might like to comment. Since the whole mumsnet thing I feel like have lost at least one avenue for off-loading and since someone searched for my blog I do kind of feel like I can't spill on here either.

Anyway - here is a list of things I dare not talk about before I move onto the other stuff.

1. Continuing resentment towards people and evil up-to-no-gooder who sent links of my mumsnet posts to people.
2. Husband and new year's eve/day activities (Though I will update you on my London trip)
3. Holiday booked to spain to stay with husband's mum and anxieties I have RE safety and care of my son in a hot country with swimming pools.

So... NYD I took myself and the boy off to London on the train. We had it planned a week or more before and went to stay one night with a good friend who took us to the tate modern and out for food. The boylet loved the train and was so well behaved. It was a real education on how to entertain a baby on a 2+ hour journey. Something to remember for the trip to Spain in September, though he will be a totally different creature at 21 months. At least now I know he can be entertained. We had fun and the reason for getting away was to escape my husband's new year come-down. Definitely did the right thing, apparently he was so ill that he has decided to cancel his planned trip to see Orbital later in the year (yay) and instead we may go to the Zoo.

Before New Year we had the boy's 1st Birthday which was fun. He was showered with gifts of course and had a very long day on his birthday as we had people dropping in from 2pm until gone 6 when the drunkest of my husband's friends went home. I think perhaps it is an easier option to find a venue for these things; when you use your own home there will always be people who turn up later than they should, drink too much of the free wine and over-stay their welcome. At least in a venue you are confined by the hours you have paid for. Overall it was lovely though. His favourite present was the broom my sister bought him; he is obsessed with our adult sized broom. Have to say there were a few gasps from the less enlightened members of the family, in particular about the pink dustpan and brush that came with it. I wonder what they think of the kitchen I am making for him? I am definitely not subscribing to all this 'boy's toys' crap.

The Boy is now walking everywhere, even running at times. We bought him shoes which was funny as in the shop he resolutely refused to walk at all which prompted the assistant to say 'we do recommend they can do at least 20 independent steps before they have shoes'. Husband and I felt rather foolish, like parents who imagine their child's skill is better than it really is. The truth is that he loves to walk. Every time I drop him off at the nursery I give him some walking time. Before I was pregnant I dreamed of the day I could hold my son's hand and walk with him. Though he is still a reluctant hand-holder it is possible and he walks around saying 'ah ah ah ah ah' with such a look of glee. In 6 months time he will probably be moved down to the proper nursery bit, out of the baby room and back to being the youngest. Who could have even imagined it!

We have no words yet apart from what may have been a 'hello' and maybe a 'joob' which is what we call my breasts. I am still breastfeeding; so much for only doing it for a year. He still feeds at night, some nights more than others. During the day he is at Nursery or with my mum so I pump now rather than popping over to feed him. He has coped well with the transition which we started in the New year. He is still not eating very well, just nibbling and much prefers the boob. I was a bit worried about that because he is over a year now and they say 'food is fun until you are one' but I can see gradual progress so I try not to worry.

My sister is due on 18th January and I am so excited; it's going to be a girl. I really am hoping that she has an easy and uncomplicated birth. Lately I have heard that a few of my friends are pregnant again and it's made me feel it would be nice to have another. On the other hand I do love just having the boy, he is my little buddy and I am not sure how he or I would cope with a second. Had I the luxury of time I would try in a couple of years but I don't so I probably won't. I do feel jealous though. Our next 'plan' is to get a bigger house with more of a garden and hopefully nearer my mum. It is strange to be thinking about good schools and so on but there are better ones near my mum and it would make sense to move there instead of staying where we are. The plan is to change my mortgage to a buy to let and then get a joint mortgage for a new house. Then once we have paid off my house (when I am about 60!) the son can have it as his own which will be specially useful if he decides to go to university here. Hark at me, he's only just over 1 year old and I am making plans for him when he is 18!  We found a great house online (Which we won't get as we are in no position to now) which though rather ugly on the outside is great on the inside and has a HUGE garden, plus it's cheaper than I imagined so there is hope.