Following yesterday’s news that Northern Ireland children are ranked sixth in the world for reading ability and performance, I was invited onto BBC Radio Ulster’s Evening Extra show to discuss how I encourage reading in my household.
Reading is such an important part of my life, and I love passing my passion on to my children, so I was delighted to hear that Northern Ireland is performing so well.
You can listen HERE and the feature is from 46 minutes in.
Post natal depression is not uncommon. Twenty percent of mothers will experience antenatal or post natal depression and/or anxieties. It’s no secret that I suffered badly from the condition after the birth of my first child. It was a terrifying time, and despite knowing I had infinite support from my family and friends, I felt incredibly lonely and isolated. Someone else who understands this feeling is Nuala Murphy, and she has developed the Moment Health app as a means to help pregnant women and new mothers track their mental health and to seek support.
I have been using the app regularly for the last few weeks and I’ve been exploring all its possibilities. There are mood and emotion questions just like the ones that get asked by medical professionals that can help identify issues and detect any early signs of PND. There is also a comprehensive list of support networks with quick links for contacting them and the option to add your own emergency contact.
My favourite feature is the Mood Tracker. It allows you to record how you’re feeling several times a day and you can view all your data at a glance to follow your emotions. I have managed to work out the times of the day when I feel most stressed and overwhelmed and now I can anticipate it and work to overcome the tension.
There is also a closed Facebook group which I enjoy enormously. It’s full of non-judgemental help and advice from other parents and it’s certainly the friendliest parenting forum I use.
Nuala has created an invaluable tool, which has offered me copious amounts of support since the birth of my daughter. This app will no doubt be a lifeline to many women and will also help Nuala’s mission to #makeitmainstream
Moment Health will be hosting PND hour on Twitter this evening from 8pm. You can search the hashtag #PNDHour and also follow at @momenthealthapp
The Moment Health app is free to download for iOS and Android. Find it in the relevant App Store or get it directly from momenthealth.io
I saw this photo a few times over the weekend on Instagram. The first time I saw it, it stopped me in my tracks. Look how beautiful Sophia Loren is in this! Then I read the quote. I love it! She’s so right! Pizza and wine are two of my favourite things, and I’d much rather enjoy them than be a size 0. Yeah! Woo! *high fives*
Then I began to wonder, how would I feel if it was my face on that body? I would certainly scrutinise it in close detail. Too much of this, too little of that, that bit should be different…
Why are women so mean to themselves? I would never talk to others the way I talk to myself. Exactly this time 11 weeks ago I was in the throes of labour and about to deliver a 7lb 4oz baby that I had spent nine months growing. I looked in the mirror this morning and got upset that I don’t look like I did when I was 18. I need to catch myself on. My body has been through a lot (pregnancies, surgeries, broken bits etc), I don’t have the metabolism I did 13 years ago and I’m still counting my baby’s age in weeks rather than months or years. And yet, I continue to beat myself up, give myself a talking to, and then repeat it all the next day.
There are so many Body Positivity bloggers who have much more useful things to say than I do. I’m not even sure if I would consider myself BoPo because as much as I embrace and welcome all other women’s bodies, I cannot accept my own. As the mother of a daughter, I don’t want her to grow up in a world where she is constantly being criticised, both by herself and others. It’s up to me to sort out my own issues and to accept myself so I can be the best example I can be.
I’m not a “mummy blogger.” Honestly, I’m not. Yes, I’m a mum, but it’s not my whole life. I’m going to try and space out the parenting posts as much as I can but today marks the start of Baby Loss Awareness Week and I didn’t want it to go by unmentioned.
I have had two miscarriages. I am the (literal) poster girl for baby loss. Seriously, I’m on the cover photo for the Miscarriage Association’s Facebook page.
I have written about my experiences before over at Olive&Rose and you can read that here if you like.
I’m a firm believer in breaking the stigma surrounding baby loss and encouraging people to talk about it. I also want to make people aware that there is support out there from various places. Here is a list of organisations and charities that I have discovered on my journey.
The Miscarriage Association I have personally been helped a lot by The Miscarriage Association. They run a private Facebook group where you can ask questions and talk with others affected.
The Belfast Health and Social Care Trust Once a year they run a memorial service in Roselawn Cemetery for baby loss that has occurred in the Royal Jubilee Maternity and The Mater. This year’s event has already taken place but will run again in September 2018. Details are placed in the local press. The Royal Jubilee Maternity Hospital also has a Childbirth and Loss midwife available.
Life After Loss Their website is very out of date, but their Facebook page is active and they are running the annual Babyloss Awareness Balloon Release this Sunday. Details can be found HERE.
Saying Goodbye run remembrance services. The next one will be in St Anne’s Cathedral on June 3rd 2018. Information HERE.
Fertility Counselling Service N.I. I am led to believe that any patient from the Belfast trust who has experienced miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy can be referred for counselling here. I have no experience of this personally, so ask your doctor or midwife if it is something you would be interested in.
Maternity leave is all sleepy snuggles, daytime TV, coffee with friends and hours upon hours of just staring at your new bundle of joy.
Or rather, it’s like that the first time. Subsequent maternity leave is routines, countless viewings of Toy Story 2 and throwing back a now cold cup of instant coffee if you happen to walk past wherever it is you left it.
The Girl is now six weeks old and as of today, I have returned to work. Compared to the nine months I took off with my son, this time has seemed more of a short break rather than fully-blown leave. I’ve gone through a bit of guilt about going back to work so soon. She’s still so tiny and vulnerable and am I a terrible mother for not spending every second with her?
I am lucky to be able to work from home in the afternoons and evenings so it’s not like I’m shipping her off to a childminder and sitting in an office all day, and she’ll be with her dad and brother. Ultimately, I think I’m doing the right thing, and this is what works best for my family. I’m sure that nine months of leave contributed to my post natal depression after having my son. Maternity leave can be lonely and quite isolating. Once all the excited visitors stop calling round you’re left with someone who, while being very cute and cuddly, isn’t great at conversation. Returning to work means I’ll be keeping my brain in check and ensuring I’m a better rounded parent. My wages will be better and the kids will love spending time without me for a while. Perhaps most excitingly, I’ll be able to drink hot coffee!
I have two hours before my first student arrives, so I’m making sure I give extra hugs until then.
I am 31 years old and I’m ready to go to university.
Of course, I’m not actually going to university. I studied for my degree between 2004-2007, straight after my A-Levels, like you’re supposed to do. At eighteen years of age I just wasn’t ready for it. I was easily distracted, more interested in parties and boys than actually getting my head down and studying.
My biggest problem was that I was (and still am!) too stubborn to admit when I made a mistake. My university department had two separate, but slightly similar, degree courses. I took the one I thought I wanted to do, but in reality I would have been better suited to the other one. I never admitted it though, and there was no way I was going to transfer. The class I was in was better fun, more relaxed and my classmates were all great at partying and had better music taste than the other class.
Now, ten years after graduating, I feel focused enough to concentrate on learning and doing what is best for me. This is something I’ve noticed amongst a lot of my peers. It is only now that a lot of us are really deciding what it is we want to do and managing to work for it. One of my best friends has just graduated from a post graduate course that will lead her to her dream job and I couldn’t be prouder of her. Other friends are requalifying, starting businesses, and following their dreams. I really don’t think that a lot of eighteen year olds have the knowledge and life experience they need to decide what exactly they want to do. It’s a transformative time of life, and many teenagers just go with what they think they should be doing. It is for that reason that I HATE the UCAS clearing process, but that’s for another day.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could spend a few years being young and then heading to where you want in life when you’re ready?
As for me, going back to university would just be an expensive point I was trying to make. I’m working really hard towards a new piano qualification, which is relevant to my career. Most importantly, I’m really enjoying the work!
*Disclaimer* not all teenagers are more interested in parties than studying, and many of them know precisely what they want to do and jolly well go and do it. Fair play to them, I applaud them!
I always led a “cool” life. I lived the rock & roll dream, touring with bands, partying with popular musicians, working for myself and generally having a great time. My life was going to stay like this forever, and the world of routine and maturity was never going to catch up with me. Kids and a mortgage? Ha! I was going to be too busy travelling and drinking my way around the world for that!
So, as I sit here doling out the millionth dried fruit snack of the day to The Boy with The (newborn) Girl sleeping on my lap, I can’t help but wonder; how on earth did I end up here?
The Boy recently started nursery school and my life now revolves around the school run and washing uniforms. My catchphrase is now “Where are your shoes? We’re going to be LATE!!!” We walk to school and I bought a sensible coat for the winter weather and I’m looking for a pair of decent boots to complete the ensemble. Heels are out, cosy knitwear is in. I feel different from the other mums at the school, they all look like they were made for parenting, I still muddle through and wing it as best as I can. I bet none of them can name all the Cursive records in chronological order though, or know just how well a sparkly party dress goes with a pair of Dr Marten boots.
My life did not turn out the way I expected. The teenage Angie would be disappointed in how sensible I’ve become. You know what though? I wouldn’t change it for anything. I have two little people who think I’m cool.