The weight gain.

On Tuesday I hit 32 weeks pregnant, and I have put on…27lb! Jeez Louise! That’s only 1lb shy of two stone! To put it into perspective, baby S is currently around 3lb!!! With 8 weeks left to go until due date, and with the baby bulking up I reckon I’m on course for 2.5 stone, if not more given the appetite I currently have.

Whilst I haven’t particularly found it difficult mentally putting the weight on, as I have a complete understanding that it is necessary for babies health and well-being, I do have something of a weird relationship normally with food.

Before getting pregnant I went through phases of being somewhat obsessive about my weight, ensuring that I wasn’t going over a certain amount of calories in/out a day, and if I did, I made sure the next day I cut right back to make up for it. I genuinely don’t believe I ever had an eating disorder, but I do believe that I was on the cusp sometimes, and I can totally understand how they can completely take hold of people.

On the run up to my wedding for example (nearly 6 years ago now- blimey!), I decided to lose some additional weight by going on the Cambridge diet. This consisted of a milkshake for breakfast, a soup for lunch, potentially a snack bar in the day dependent on if I was struggling, and a ‘healthy dinner’. For me at the time healthy = low calorie, so I would eat the bare minimum. I would also treadmill in the morning and evening, and go for a long walk every lunchtime. I reckon I was consuming around 600 calories a day! And of course, the weight came off. I would check every single morning, and be angry with myself if I stayed the same or gained a pound. Now, as I write this, I do sound like someone that had an eating disorder, but I can say that once the wedding was over the obsession was over. (When you’re spending two weeks all inclusive in the Maldives, you don’t watch what you’re eating and drinking anymore!)

My better half Jon had never told me he was concerned about me regarding my weight. And that is probably another reason why I was never concerned either. I saw it as self discipline to keep my weight in check, and he never said a word.

This changed around a year ago. As I have mentioned before, we took a while to get pregnant. I lived very much in denial, and Jon did too for a while. However one month when we got the inevitable negative test result, Jon uttered the words, ‘Do you think it might be something to do with your eating habits?’

I had never been so hurt. Suddenly this problem we were going through together became my fault. I wasn’t even eating badly or in an obsessive phase. I burst into tears, my biggest fear that this was all my fault suddenly verbalised by the person I trust the most in the world.

He of course meant no malice by it, he was desperate for us to get pregnant and the fear/upset he felt came out in this question without thorough consideration as to how that would impact on me.

For the first time though it did prompt a proper conversation, not just about food, but about our problems conceiving. And, as I said, whilst I wasn’t dieting at the time anyway, I did consciously eat more in a conscious effort to eliminate that factor from the equation.

For this reason, (and the fact we went on two summer holidays), I was already a good half a stone heavier than my normal ‘happy’ weight when we did fall pregnant. Who knows if this contributed to our success…

I put very little weight on in the first trimester, probably because I couldn’t find anything I wanted to eat without feeling bloody nauseous. In the second trimester I put on the bulk of the weight, and now I’m in the third I am eating like there is no tomorrow.

I’m not going to lie, some days when I put something on and it’s too tight or uncomfortable, I do get upset. The bump is one thing, but the legs and backside are another!! (On Friday I had to bite the bullet and cut off my wedding ring as my fingers had got too swollen- oh the joys!) And as a previous lover of clothes, almost on the verge of being a problem as I bought too many, I do miss the feeling of buying a new outfit and feeling good about myself. I still torture myself now, adding to my Asos wish list for the summer, despite the fact I know the weight won’t shift overnight.

The health and well-being of our daughter is paramount, it goes without saying. The weight issue is a temporary blip which is so insignificant in the grand scheme of things, that I feel a little daft even writing these feelings down. I do so only in the efforts of being up front and honest about the good and bad of pregnancy! I wouldn’t change any of this for the world!

Ciao

C x

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The maternity leave anxieties.

I like my job. Well, on the main I do, I mean everyone has their bad days/weeks, but overall I am pretty satisfied. And because of that, there is a part of me that worries about leaving in 6 weeks time. Will I miss my day to day role and responsibilities? Will I miss adult interaction and intelligent stimulation? Will I miss getting out and about independently without worrying about finding a ‘mother and child’ parking spot (and subsequently getting really angry that someone WITHOUT a child has parked in one of them!)

I have opted to take nine months off work, with the caveat that I may extend to twelve dependent on how I feel when little one arrives. That is a pretty long time away from the office. And whilst on my bad days I will away the time, on others I feel anxious about what that length of time away will do for my career, and how things could dramatically change whilst I am away, how the hard work I have put in until now will be forgotten within a few weeks of my departure. It’s tough. But it’s inevitable. Forget maternity- if anyone was out of sight for 9-12 months, things would change and decisions would be made which could affect your career without your influence or control.

For example. I know that in the future, if I ever applied for my manager’s role, I would be mainly up against my colleague within the extended department who is on the same level as me. And whilst today, I genuinely believe that I would be the better candidate, that isn’t to say that in my 12 month absence he will rise head and shoulders above me, proving himself day in day out to my superiors and making himself known as a potential successor. I, on the other hand, will be at home, sleep deprived, hopefully out of my pyjamas, watching This bloody Morning, and changing nappies. I won’t be proving myself one tiny bit on a professional level, I won’t be a thought in anybody’s mind except as a referral as ‘the girl on maternity leave’.

I am being negative, I am aware of that. I am doing something bigger and better than work will ever be- I am becoming a mother and bringing up my daughter. I get to spend every day for 9-12 months with my precious child, watching her grow and turn into her own little person. But when you are leaving the world you know for one of uncertainty and unpredictability, it is bloody well frightening. And when you have worked hard, it is a difficult thing to potentially lose where you are at overnight.

My better half Jon, is also having a baby (it is kind of the deal), but after two weeks paternity he will be back at work, he will be thought no less of for being a father and taking a fortnight off. He will still be considered for promotion without the afterthought of ‘Oh but will work be a priority for him? He has children to look after after all…’ Because it is true, my priorities will change. I think nothing of replying to work emails out of hours at the moment, evenings, weekends, it doesn’t bother me, as a quick reply then saves me more work within my normal confined working hours. But I cannot say that I will have the same attitude when I have a baby. I will be turning off my emails and calls, I will have to be out of the door at 5pm on the dot to ensure that I make it to the nursery on time, I will probably make it to work just in time every morning rather than 30 minutes early as I have been for the last 7 years in this Department. Going back to my aforementioned colleague- he is a man, and he has no children so will likely be perceived to give more to the company. Even if he was a dad, it is inevitable that it wouldn’t be as much of a consideration as being a mom, as the woman is always seen as the primary caregiver.

This post has almost turned into a male bashing tirade, but I assure you that wasn’t the intention (despite it being International Womens Day this past week- Girl Power!) This post instead is meant to verbalise my insecurities and anxieties around leaving a job I have worked hard for, and leaving people I believe currently respect me, and not knowing what I will return to.

But that is what it is, and I knew that was the deal when we decided to try for a baby. She hasn’t decided to be part of this world, we have chosen to make her part of it, and my wants and needs will come a faraway second to those of hers. If my career is to take a knock to enable that, then c’est la vie, God will she be worth it!

Much love

C x

The day to celebrate motherhood.

Happy Mother’s Day all.

To all my friends that do an awesome job day in day out raising their beautiful children.

To all those I watch through Instagram, sharing the rough times along with the smooth.

To all those that plan to be mothers, that are struggling to get there, are on their pregnancy journey, or just know that they’re destined for motherhood.

To all those that have raised children, are raising children, or will raise children.

To my own mother, my gratitude cannot be put into words. I only hope I will be half the mother you are and always have been.

To you all, on my last Mother’s Day of not being a mother, I salute you. Happy Mother’s Day ❤️

Much love

C x

The mini break. Part 3- West Bay.

It’s here people- the final blog post on our mini trip to Dorset (three posts-who’da funked it!)

On the Saturday, we decided to venture into two nearby locations. Bridport- a little market town around 20 minutes away, and West Bay, basically Bridport’s harbour. We were attracted to West Bay of the two due to the fact it is where Broadchurch was filmed. Not that we are huge fans or anything, but it doesn’t take much to impress us.

We left a little later in the day, around midday, having had a similarly lazy morning to the day prior. We headed into Bridport and drove down the main streets which were lined with market stalls mainly of antiques. Having eventually parked (80p parking!), we had a roam up and down the streets, interweaving the many others having a gander at the goods.

As we walked past the Bridport museum, Jon instantly noticed the ‘free’ sign and requested we had a look…

We were pounced on by a lovely lady at the door asking if this was our first time. Now I say this with complete respect, but I honestly cannot imagine anybody ever venturing into there twice. The museum was mainly two rooms, one focused on rope (“very important for Bridport”), the other on fossils and other historic events.

We spent maybe 5 minutes in total in there before making our exit back onto the busy streets.

We headed back to the car and set off for West Bay. We parked next to the sand dunes (20p parking this time!), and headed up and over the dunes to see the famous (Broadchurch famous) cliff face staring directly at us. It was a pretty impressive sight, with (mad) people climbing up the side of the cliff to the top.

But boy was it cold. Sunny, but cold.

We decided to have a wander around first and find somewhere for a hot beverage before walking along the beach and having late lunch.

There isn’t that much to West Bay but it is a sweet place, and we got warm in a cafe on the front called ‘Windy corner cafe’, (and it was). Two hot chocolates later (not white unfortunately), we wrapped up again and headed back to the front.

Back at the cliff face, I faced my fears and took the steep(ish) walk down the other side of the dunes down to the sea itself. As we reached the bottom, and I congratulated myself on a job well done (ie I didn’t fall over, a favourite pastime of mine!), I was delighted to discover that the wind chill felt at the top wasn’t as great, and in fact in the sunshine it felt positively warm. We sat and watched the world go by for a good fifteen minutes (not too close to the cliff edge though- Jon made sure of that!). There were children playing, puppies yelping, and two blokes scouring the place with metal detectors. We didn’t see them discover any hidden treasure whilst we were there, but if their perseverance was anything to go by, I hope they found at least a couple of quid for their efforts.

We headed back over the sand dunes, stopped off at the car for a minute to get the rocks out of our boots, and then walked over to our lunch destination- the Station Kitchen.

The Station Kitchen is a very quirky disused train which has been renovated into a restaurant. They serve lunch and dinner, but we opted for the afternoon tea.

The atmosphere was great inside, the setting quirky and warm, and there were two bigger parties clearly celebrating (one had a cake which looked like the bloody Broadchurch cliff face- amazing!) The service was great, and the delicious treats went down very very well.

We got limitless tea, four different sandwiches, a lemon scone (with cream and jam obvs), four little sweet treats, and we were overjoyed when we also got a scotch egg (we are scotch egg kinda people!) They even offered to top up our sandwiches but we refused to enable us to move onto the puddings! At the end of the afternoon tea, we got a final little treat in the form of a lemon posset- all very nice!

I highly recommend a trip to the Station Kitchen if you are down that way, I mean there are even games on the tables in case you get really fed up with your company! 🙂

By this point it was late afternoon, so with our stomachs sufficiently full, we headed back to Wellhayes Barn, and battened down the hatches for the evening.

Saturday night entertainment ensued- Take me out, All together now, Ant & Dec’s Saturday night takeaway… and you know what, it was bliss!

So there we are, no more posts about Dorset from me. (I don’t know if I could if I tried to be honest.) Suffice to say, we had a lovely break, even though we didn’t fly anywhere, and I did get home feeling relaxed and stress free. Well, until Monday morning anyway…

Until next time kids

C x

The first NCT class.

This week we attended our first NCT class. We booked the classes months and months ago, believing that attending them were the done thing. All our friends had attended the classes when they were expecting their first borns, and most had created firm friends to this day and at least had whatsapp groups discussing everything to do with their little angels.

We knew from the outset that this was the reason why we wanted to attend. Whilst of course we want to understand what the bleedin’ hell happens in birth and when the baby arrives, and breastfeeding etc etc, mainly we wanted to make some friends (*Inbetweeners voice* ‘NCT Fwends’). And at £180 for the course, these friends had better be worth it!

We received an email from the organiser a few days prior, giving her address, times and a few house rules. The nerves set in…

I think we were nervous because I honestly didn’t know what to expect. We had never discussed the course itself with friends, mainly because, well, why would you? Especially when we were struggling to conceive! Would it be role play? Would the men have to pretend to be giving birth? Would they make me stand up and announce my birth plan?

But of course we were also nervous about our potential new friends (given that’s the reason we were going in the first place!) Would they be nice? Would they be people we could meet up with? Most importantly, would they like us??? We couldn’t possibly be the odd couple nobody wanted to spend time with could we? What if they all get on famously and phase us out? Oh my God, we haven’t even met them yet and they’re phasing us out!

We arrived around 7.25 (the course started at 7.30 but the aforementioned email said to feel free to arrive at 7.20- we naturally found middle ground). We were the fourth of six couples to arrive and moved through into the kitchen to make ourselves a drink, and write our names onto stickers for us to wear for the duration. You wouldn’t Adam and Eve it- there were THREE Claire’s, THREE! I’ve never known many Claire’s, so for 50% of the female contingent in the room to have this awesome name (sarcasm) was pretty staggering to me. Although as I may have mentioned before, I’m impressed easily.

As half past came around we moved into the main room and found a spot to settle in. Big deep breath, this was it…

We started by finding a partner and trying to find something in common that wasn’t pregnancy related. I sat with one of the other moms, and after speaking about pregnancy (cannot help it!) we had very little time to find anything in common as instructed. We did however determine that we had both been with our other halves for 13/14 years (scraping the barrel somewhat). Around the circle, we then introduced ourselves and our new partner including that all important common link. Unfortunately I went after my partner so the link had already been used up by my turn!

Next the dads and mums spilt up and listed out what key things we intended to get out of the course. The idea being that the leader could then tailor the course to ensure everything is covered. My contributions included knowing what happens straight after the birth (skin to skin, breastfeeding etc), and very broadly how the heck do you look after this new human when you’re left on your own? The responsibility has been really setting in for me recently, and the overwhelming realisation that I haven’t an effin’ clue what I am doing!!

After reporting back, we spent the rest of the time talking about three areas- the birth, and more specifically how to allow gravity to aid you within it, the essentials to buy before the baby is here, and then a broad conversation on breastfeeding and what we felt were the positives and negatives of doing so.

The latter topic was very conversational, the middle involved us splitting up into genders again and determining what we deemed essential items in a pile of laminated pictures. Suffice to say the men picked more electrical items than the women did. The first topic was pretty interesting, but frightened the bejesus out of me at the same time.

This topic involved looking at pictures of different stages of pregnancy, before moving onto physically pushing a small toy ball through a pelvis, and a wooden implement through a box, all with the intention of illustrating how ‘miraculous’ childbirth is in the ways that the body twists the baby to allow the widest parts through. (So the head front to back is the widest part, followed by the shoulders.) We also learnt about how not only do we want the baby to go head first, we also want their spine to be against our belly rather than against our own spine. This allows for an easier birth too as the baby cranes their neck on their first emergence into the world, something they cannot do if they are faced the other way. The spine is the heaviest part of the baby after the head, so its position is reliant on the mums posture allowing gravity to do its thang. As part of that we also did some slow dancing leaning forward on our partners which is recommended in the earlier stages of labour. It felt a tad embarrassing in front of people we had met 30 minutes prior but it was all good intentioned so we did as we were told!

Around half way through we had a five minute coffee break which allowed us to briefly chat to our fellow attendees. We naturally broke up into moms and dads again, and we chatted about where we lived and what we did for a living. First impressions were looking good, I just hope they liked us!! 🤞

We finished the session slightly awkwardly, not knowing the others enough to have a big goodbye, but with nobody clearly wanting to be the first to leave. Eventually we made our departure after another couple, and discussed how we felt the last two hours had gone in the car on the way home.

Jon was pretty happy, with the group, the session, and well, himself. I too felt like the evening had been better than expected and first impressions were that the course would be worthwhile, if for no other reason the other attendees felt like people I could see again when motherhood ensues.

So there we have it. We have two sessions next week, and I think three or four post that, and I’m already a little nervous for them. Our contact details have been circulated around the group by the organiser post meeting and I’m eagerly awaiting someone to start a whatsapp group to cement our impending friendships…

Unfortunately at time of writing we are yet to be in receipt of invitation. Hopefully this is because everyone is hoping someone else will take the lead and not because they’re phasing us out already…

Ciao for now

C x

The mini break. Part 2- Lyme Regis.

And here it is… the long awaited (3 days), eagerly anticipated (hugely presumptuous), and much loved (19 readers!) part 2 of 3 of my post on our lovely little break to Dorset last week.

As I mentioned in the aforementioned post, we decided to spend the evenings back at the Barn, and the days exploring the surroundings.

On the Friday, we had a lie in. Well, Jon did, I was instead wide a-bloody-wake at 6am listening to the rhythmic quacking of one of the ducks residing in the lake. This became a daily occurrence unfortunately and resulted in me actually googling ‘why is my duck quacking in the morning?’ And you wouldn’t believe it- there are bloody forums on the subject! Apparently ‘some ducks just like to talk’… Trust us to reside next to the sociable loud mouth duck of Dorset.

ANYWAY, I digress.

So yeh, we lay in until around 8.30. Then pottered about for a couple of hours, had freshly sliced toast (wowsers), Dorset tea, fresh juice, all listening to the radio in our spa-esque dressing gowns (suffice to say Jon’s tied up far easier than mine!) Then showered and got ready for our day in Lyme Regis.

Lyme Regis itself was maybe a ten minute drive away. We parked up at the top of the hill and confidently decided to try out the ‘coastal path walk’. Oh we are naive. It became abundantly obvious within the first five minutes off the beaten track that this route was not for a pregnant lady, especially not a clumsy pregnant lady that had already fallen over twice in her pregnancy. We did a swift 180 turn. Hey at least the intention was there.

Instead we headed down the hill via the road, through some gardens, the wind chill getting colder each level down we travelled.

We looked at ‘the Cobb’ from the beach but unanimously decided that the photos taken from out there would not outweigh the frostbite we would inevitably get from venturing around.

Instead we walked along the beach, and admired the beach huts pretty colours stopping for photos (obvs). Little fact- They cost £16 a day to hire out currently in the bladdy freezing cold weather, and go up to £110 per day in the height of summer…. you’re welcome.

We carried on walking towards the end of the beach itself towards a view of a cliff face. Had we carried on walking I’m sure we could have searched for fossils or something similar. But instead we opted to turn around and have a hot drink in a local cafe called Aroma. They serve white hot chocolate, much to my delight (I am ALWAYS on the search!), and having been thoroughly warmed up we ventured back down the front. A cursory glance in a National Trust shop , antiques shop and amusement arcade ensued, before we headed back up the hill to our lunch destination.

We decided the night before that we wanted to go to Hix Oyster & Fish House and booked a table online.

The Trip Advisor reviews were brilliant, the food on the tagged Instagram posts looked tasty as anything, and on a quick peruse of the website there was a lunch menu offering of £19 for two courses… we were sold.

The restaurant was bright and airy. It reminded me a little of Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant in Cornwall. The service was impeccable too. Jon ordered from the lunch menu, opting for prawn cocktail, and the fish pie. I instead ate from the main menu choosing fish fingers, chips, and mushy peas (classy lady).

Jon expressed that the prawn cocktail starter was ‘the best I’ve ever eaten’. He went on about it so much I ended up eating a couple of prawns to see what the fuss was about! (They were good I must say!)

The mains were also delicious, and having eaten every mouthful, neither of us had room for pudding! Instead we opted for a tea and coffee before heading back to our lovely little barn for the night.

(Unfortunately when you park at the top of a hill and walk down it to get somewhere, you kind of have to walk back up it to get back to the car. Man I was not a pretty sight. Huffing and puffing like a goodun.)

In all, a very lovely day spent in the seaside town of Lyme Regis…

Part 3 of the trip, talking about our afternoon in West Bay (only where Broadchurch was filmed!) still to come… I know I know, contain your excitement people…!

Ciao

C x

The mini break. Part 1- Our lovely little barn.

I write this on a Sunday afternoon, wrapped in a blanket on the sofa, Stuart Little on the tv (never seen it before), sipping a cup of decaf tea!

We got home from Dorset around half an hour ago. It was a rather lovely 3 night stay in a county I hadn’t frequented in my adult life but had heard many many good things about.

We knew that we wanted to get away before little lady arrives, and this week was the last realistic opportunity. The next time Jon is off work will be Easter which just seems a tad too close to d-day to be honest. The original intention was a city break in Europe somewhere- Budapest, Florence, Copenhagen, perhaps even a return to Rome (we got engaged there 7.5 years ago!) However life happens, and we never got around to booking anything. By the time I got my backside in gear we discovered that I needed a ‘fit to fly’ certificate from my doctors (needed after 28 weeks and I was going to be 29-grrrr!). The doctors couldn’t book me for an appointment until AFTER the intended break (completely rubbish I know, don’t get me started!) and so flying anywhere went out the window.

We therefore looked into where we could spend some time closer to home. We thought about the Lakes, Cotswolds, Cornwall and eventually decided on Dorset- largely because of the barn we found online to stay in.

Whilst we knew this break would be a very different style for us, (and I was a tad reluctant if I’m completely honest), we realised that change was probably a good thing. Going on a city break would inevitably tire me out, so at least this way I will actually feel relaxed and ready to take on the final home run into my maternity leave…

We picked a barn through the Rural Retreats website. It was near to Lyme Regis and described by many in the visitor book as ‘the perfect base to explore the Jurassic coast’. And I could see why.

The property was called ‘Wellhayes Barn’, slept up to six but we booked it for the two of us. It looked over a little lake with manmade jetty and rowing boat to use if you were feeling brave (I wasn’t- it was bloody freezing!) On the same land was a larger house for rent and the owners home. We didn’t see any other guests there in our three nights but that is probably due to the time of year. I can imagine it would be a lovely place to stay with friends to celebrate a big occasion.

To get to the barn itself was a steep country lane turning off from around 5 other country lanes. You really felt in the middle of nowhere. On a side note, there is snow forecast here in the next week- and GOD KNOWS how you would get in and out with snow on the ground. Luckily, whilst it was cold, it was also dry and sunny for the majority of our stay.

On arrival, we had a welcome hamper- fresh bread, butter, wine, cheese, muesli, tea bags, juice, marmalade and fruit. Very nice. I could get used to this! On a quick walk around we confirmed that this little barn would do us nicely. Jon took a very early liking to the Aga, (and of course now wants our own), and had the log fire lit within an hour of our arrival.

The owner popped by after around an hour of arriving to ensure we were happy and showed us the heating system etc. And we were then left in peace to relax. Bliss.

We spent all our evenings in, deciding instead to opt for exploring in the daytime and having late lunches (more about that in future posts!) We would curl up under a blanket, pop a film on, and graze. (Oh my goodness- toast from fresh bread and butter is a REVELATION!)

In all the barn was the perfect base for its intention. It had full bookcases, drawers stuffed with board games, and a freestanding bath looking up and out into the countryside. It felt like a little cosy home away from home and I very quickly relaxed into the lifestyle of pottering around.

We ventured into Lyme Regis on the Friday, and Bridport/West Bay on the Saturday. Both lovely days which I will talk about in separate posts from this. I was unaware as to how big Dorset was before booking, and it turned out we were as West as you could get before entering Devon. If we were to return we would stay further East, that way we could explore Poole, Swanage, Portland etc.

We have returned with fond memories of our little break. We read, explored, ate and drank (well, Jon drank), but most importantly, we spent time together, possibly for the last proper time. It was really rather, well, lovely.

C x