Break the silence…ANXIETY

Anxiety, PND, Miscarriage, Infertility.

These are just a few examples that are taboo topics that we don’t hear about often.
But why? So much why!!!
Shouldn’t we be joining forces with family, friends and our supporting communities to help eachother through these difficult times?

Mel @mummy_conwell and Steph @mummybloggersydney joined forces on a good ole Friday night (in our pjs, on Insta) to talk about our own real life issues. I think in about half an hour of talking we had learnt so much about eachother.

We asked eachother what we thought was the reason why we don’t tell anyone about our own anxieties.

Steph: People are caught up in their own lives, unless they have experienced it to it’s just wiped from their memory.

Mel: I don’t expect people to understand so that’s why I keep quiet. I think it’s by chance that when people do mention it they might come across someone who’s in the same boat and that is how they connect.

If it was as simple as a broken leg and everyone could see what is wrong, nobody understands what it’s like on the inside.

Anxiety can take form in many different ways and varies from person to person. Some have suffered and dealt with it all their lives whereas for others it comes on later in life.

Mel & Steph are the perfect example of this.

Mel @mummy_conwell has suffered from anxiety from a young age, but her triggers have changed as the years go on. She’s learnt to cope and has outgrown certain things that used to give her anxiety but of course gained more along the way. 
When she was younger it was never really bought to her attention and labelled as “Anxiety” it was more a case of “she just gets nervous”. However for Mel it was nervous to the point of actually vomiting. When you go weeks on end before an event being riddled with nerves, feeling sick, lack of appetite, lack of sleep and the list goes on, something needs to be done. That’s got to be more than just nerves right? 
Yes it was! Many years later after becoming more aware of her triggers she decided to head off to the doctor to find out what was going on. After completing a scoring chart Mel was diagnosed with a moderate/high level of Anxiety and OCD.


“I could probably only list a handful of people that actually know I have Anxiety and that understand, when I say understand I mean fully understand….. They understand how it makes me feel, they give me time to deal with it and of course offer reassurance in every way possible. Telling someone you understand and then telling them in the same sentence to snap out of it is not helpful, it makes everything worse.”

Through our own research (insta poll came in handy 😉) 
We found that 90% of people have anxiety but only 72% of these have shared that with other people.


Why?
Fear of judgement?
Fear of inadequacy?
Lack of understanding?
Lack of support?
Noone should have to go through this alone. 
Noone should be ashamed.
Society needs to change the stigma around Anxiety and Mental Illness. 
It all starts with YOU!


“My main struggle with being diagnosed and medicated for anxiety was coming to terms with being put under that umbrella of ‘mental illness’, being diagnosed as mentally ill and the effect that would have on my future. If I walked into a job interview with a broken arm the employer would assume that it would fix itself and all would be okay, but if I walked into a job interview with my anxiety medication, I probably wouldn’t get the job and that’s what needs to change in society. Mental and physical health have similarities and mental health shouldn’t be looked down upon.” @life.with.lochlan

Anxiety is not something that is visible from the outside but it is still something that is judged the wrong way.

Steph @mummybloggersydney is still coming to terms with her anxiety and trying to understand it herself. 
For her, it only began after she became a mother. All of a sudden normal everyday things that never bothered her before caused her huge angst. 
Driving in traffic or through a tunnel could send her into a huge panic attack. 
The fear of something happening to her husband and her being left alone with the kids would make her ill. 
The idea of being in a situation that is new and where she has no control scares the hell out of her.


“All of a sudden I’ll have a thought or just be going about my normal day life and then something weird happens. I feel hot…then cold…light headed…sweaty…I can feel it creeping up from my stomach, approaching my throat, closing in on me.

I can’t breathe. My heart races. My head spins. 
I’m having a panic attack.” 


Steph’s anxiety is not diagnosed by a professional, (just like another 55% of people polled) but that doesn’t mean it’s not real. She’s learnt to recognise the feeling and like Mel, uses a number of breathing and distraction techniques to calm herself down.

 
However 25% of people (our insta stats) who suffer from anxiety need to take medication to help. That is nothing to be ashamed of. Some people use a combination of many strategies. Everyone responds differently to life’s situations and to medication so each has to do what works for them. 


“I don’t use medicine any more because I got addicted to Anxiety pills in college and literally had to have an intervention from my good friends. Later in pharmacy school I was prescribed an antidepressant for my anxiety but it made me SO depressed I couldn’t get out of bed so I have never medicated again for it. I’ve struggled with anxiety and perfectionism my whole life! I have been biting my fingers until they literally bleed including the skin around them! My panic attacks have recently stopped and my anxiety has gotten a little better. Scripture verses and being outside were how I got myself out of panic attacks. My husband also taught me the importance of mindfulness and meditation” @pharmacy_mommy


How powerful is it to hear another persons experience?! 


95% of people know someone who suffers from Anxiety and 60% of people have a story to share.


So ask yourself,
Who will you reach out to today?
Get in touch.
Ask them if they are OK.
Have an honest, open conversation. 
No judgement. 
Pure support.
Try understanding.
Listen.
Really LISTEN.
And above all…
BE KIND.
You never know what someone else is going through.

Have a story to share or want to chat?
Get in touch
Mel @mummy_conwell 
Steph @mummybloggersydney

Sending you love,

MBS

Xx

(This post was done in collaboration with @mummy_conwell. A HUGE thank you to Caitlyn from @life.with.lochlan and Adrianna from @pharmacy_mommy for sharing their experiences with us.) 

Cafés and kids. 

This is for every parent who has ever taken toddlers out to a cafe/restaurant/event where they are required to sit for more than five minutes.

Let’s face it. They’re kids. They’re meant to be loud, inquisitive and adventurous. But sometimes it would be nice to head out and actually SIT, eat and catch up with your friends, family or partner.

Before kids, hubby and I would dine out often. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and if I could twist his arm dessert too.  

After kids, we still continued to do this. Sometimes is easier than others but we’ve never stopped or not taken the kids with us. We’ve also never (ok almost never) given them an ipad or phone at the table. It’s a rule in our family. When we eat we don’t use technology.  I know how much of a life saver giving a child a phone/tablet can be, so I’m not judging. However one thing I will never leave the house without is our Activity Bag. 

The name speaks for itself. It’s a bag filled with activities that we take to cafes. The activities in there are only for cafes, so they aren’t ones they play with all the time and get bored of at home. I also change them up when I find something I think will fit well!

Here are a few of the items that rarely leave our bag:

1. No Mess Water Art set.

Whoever came up with this is a genius. Fill the little pen with water. Let the kids “paint” over the white card. A picture will appear when wet. It then dries and can be reused a million times.

2.  Magnetic fishing game.

Again…genius. Comes with 2 rods, 12 foam fish that entertain for ages!

3. Sticker books.

Always a great thing to have. These in particular have stickers and activities which is great!

4. Threading animlas.

Animal cut outs with holes. Shoe laces also provided to practise those fine motor skills and thread the string around each animal!

5. Notebook and pencils.

Your standard go to activity.  Let them create whatever they like.

All the items above (minus the bag) have been purchased from Kmart. (Not a sponsored post (I wish) just amazing stuff!) Most of them aren’t online so here’s another reason to visit your local Kmart 🙌
The bag is personalised from Small Print design and can be found here.

If you haven’t got yourself an Activity Bag already, trust me you need it. It’s a cafe game changer & above all LIFE SAVER. 

(You can thank me later 😉)

Sending you love,

MBS

xx 

Check your boobs!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

I was 17 when I found my first lump, preparing to study for my HSC. I had always wanted to be a teacher and the university I wanted to get into had a higher UAI than all the others. So I was stressed and super focused on making it in.

It was probably growing there for a while…but I’d never checked my breasts before. I was 17 with no family history of breast cancer so that was the least of my priorities and the last thing on my mind.

It wasn’t cancer. But my first fibroadenoma; a non cancerous breast tumour usually occurring in young women.

The lump was 4 cm and caused me pain so I had to have it removed.

Being so young and scared at the time, I was convinced that one day I would have breast cancer as it seemed my body was predisposed to these lumps.

I didn’t and I don’t. But my little B cups have been through alot!

That was 2005.

Since then I’ve had a total of 4 breast operations to remove a number of these benign tumours. I have yearly checkups to monitor the growth, size and makeup of my breasts and the 13 lumps living inside them.

I’ve had numerous mammograms, biopsies and ultrasounds to check nodules, calcifications and lumps that are a bit out of the ordinary.

I can not encourage you enough to CHECK YOUR BOOBS!

There are some things you can’t take a chance on in life, and your health is one of them.

It takes 2 minutes of your time but can save you a long while of heartache. Do it in the shower, on the toilet, when you wake up, before you fall asleep, or as soon as you finish reading this.

Check your boobs.

Don’t know how, or what to look for?

I’ve got you covered 👇

So, how’d your check go?

Sending you love,

MBS

xx

Missing you

Do you ever miss your husband/partner/significant other?

Like ACTUALLY miss them?

Mines currently sitting next to me, so I’m not referring to the distance kind of miss but in the pre parenting relationship kinda miss?

I do.

I miss the uninterrupted conversations we had. The hours we could talk about anything and finish a converstaion the same day we started it.

I miss the cuddles. The times when it was just him and I in the bed. The same bed. Alone. With no elbows to the face or knees in the ribs. 

I miss the dinners or breakfasts where we spent time people watching instead of cleaning up squashed $17 avo from the floor or taking turns chasing the getaway child. 

I miss the spontaneity of deciding to go out anywhere last minute without contempting the impact it would have on the 3 hours sleep we usually get or packing the suitcase of necessities.

I miss the road trips. In the CLEAN car listening to normal music at a high volume. There’s only so much “eye spy” one can take on the freeway. 

I miss my husband. 

Just being with him. 

Focusing on him.

Focusing on us.

But then I look down at the two little people literally attached to my legs and I realise that once this stage passes too, I will miss it.

So for the next few years part time co-sleeping and half finished conversations over smashed avocado is as good as it’s going to get! 

Plus the occasional date night will get us through!

Sending you love,

MBS

xx

Becoming a mother

There is so much to be said about becoming a mum.

It’s a job.
It’s a 24/7 job.
It’s tiring.
It’s overwhelming.
It’s hard.
It’s confusing.
It’s frightening.
It’s full on.
It’s non stop.
It’s messy.
And the list goes on.

But above all it’s the best job and it’s so rewarding.

image

The first thing I noticed when becoming a mummy two years ago was how everyone becomes an expert. It’s the most judgemental job in the world.

Every one is quick to tell you what you’re doing wrong, what you should be doing instead or what’s the best way to do something. Very rarely do they complement you on how well you’re doing keeping your shit together as a first time mum.  On how even though you feel like crap, probably look like crap and have no idea what to do with this little human that you’re actually doing a great job and everything is going to be OK.

That is the type of feedback we need as mothers. Especially as first time mothers. We need to support eachother not criticise. We need positive vibes not negative comments. We need to know we’re doing great even if we’re covered in vomit & poo and haven’t changed out of our pjs at 3pm.

Think about this next time you meet a mummy.

Like my mother taught me…

If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

Sending you love,

MBS
xx

30 things no-one tells you

image

From the minute you pee on the stick and receive a positive reading,  you know your life is about to change forever. But noone ever tells you exactly how GREAT that change will be. There may be a number of reasons for this.. and nothing will truly ever prepare you for the journey you’re about to embark on, but here’s my list of things noone tells you about pregnancy, birth and motherhood.

1. Morning sickness doesn’t just happen in the morning and it doesn’t always miraculously pass after 12 weeks. It also doesn’t just mean vomitting and sometimes if you’re super lucky it doesn’t even happen at all.

2. You will have dreams when you’re pregnant. Weird dreams. Scary dreams. Crazy dreams.

3. You may or may not have any cravings. Not even weird ones. Just none at all.

4. Heartburn is a bitch.  So is hair loss, hair growth, swollen feet, swollen hands, stretch marks, cellulite, dietary restrictions, cramps, sciatica, back pain, seat belts, weak bladder, hormones and at times just breathing in general.

5. You will never sleep comfortably again. Never. Save your money. All these pregnant pillows and gadgets won’t make a difference.

6. You will find people are rude and invasive. Maybe it’s your hormones or maybe just MAYBE you should stop touching my stomach and telling me how huge I am.

7. Your body will morph, change and do things you never thought were possible.

8. You will be tired and lazier than usual. Carrying and growing a human is hard work, plus you’ll think twice about whether or not you really need that object you dropped on the floor.

9. You will google like you have NEVER googled before.

10. You will be scared. Terrified. Frightened. Stressed. Anxious. Nervous. Alot more than usual.

image

11. You will never be prepared enough for the birth. So just try and relax and go with the flow.

12. Take the drugs if you need to. Do what ever you have to to survive the process.

13. Everything will leak. Like… EVERYTHING.

14. You will cry and scream…alot  during birth.

15. You might shake uncontrollably during labour.

16. You will be poked, prodded, harassed, & violated by hundreds of different people. They’ve seen it all before so leave your dignity at the door.

17. You will have pains after the birth. In your stomach, down below, your boobs, your head, your entire body will ache. Don’t get me started on the after birth poo 🤕

18. Your stomach won’t always instantly deflate. Your body will change in someway or another forever.

19. You will want to give up. You will swear to never have another child again. But odds are you probably will.

20. You will fall in love. With your baby, with your partner and with yourself for what you’ve just achieved.  Maybe not all 3 at the same time. And maybe not all 3 instantly. But eventually.

21. You will be high in the first few days after the birth. High on life. On adrenaline. You will also be delusional and in shock, as well as weirdly happy for probably 2 days.

22. Day 3 is the worst. Sometimes day 4, 5, & 6 too. Sometimes longer. But be prepared for day 3. Your baby is adjusting to the world. To life outside the womb. To air. To food.  They will be hungry and you will most probably have no milk yet. So they will cry. And cry and cry and cry….

image

23.  The only conversations you will have will be about:
-The birth
-Who the baby looks like
-When the next one is
-How tired you are
-If the baby is a ‘good baby’ (seriously)

24. You will never sleep in again. Or sleep comfortably. Or peacefully. Or just sleep in general. Therefore you will be tired.  Really effing tired.

25. You will fight with your partner. Alot. Who’s more tired, who works harder, who’s turn it is to feed/change/settle/cook/clean/shower.

26. You will feel like giving up. You will feel like you have failed. Like you’re not good enough or doing enough. You will question everything you do.

image

27. You will receive “advice” from everyone. Everyone will become a parenting expert.

28. You will miss your old life. Your old self. Your own time. The silence. The freedom. The sleep. The long showers/baths. The privacy. You will finally realise how you took all these simple things for granted. Then you’ll feel guilty for feeling this way.

29. You will be forgotten. Sometimes totally. Sometimes just for a while. But people will always look for the baby before they acknowledge you.

30. You will survive. No matter how bad your day is. No matter how many times you’ve cried or screamed or lost your cool. You WILL get through it. It will be hard but it will be worth it. And even when it feels like it’s not, you will still get through it.

image

You can do this mumma.

Sending you love,
MBS
Xx

Take the plunge!

Recently the hubby and I decided to celebrate US, and it was the best thing we’ve done in years.

It was our 3 year wedding anniversary and we really needed to do something to reconnect. In between him working, house renovations, family events, and life with 2 kids there’s not much time or energy left for ourselves. Our usual conversations occur between toddler tantrums, toddler demands or crying toddlers at 3am. Sure we have the occasional “date night” but that usually involves us catching up on weekly events or enjoying a delicious meal and rejoicing in the fact that there won’t be a conversation about whose turn it is to clean up or hose down the kids.

So as soon as the idea was mentioned I booked flights and accommodation immediately so that I wouldn’t change my mind. But the stress, anxiety and mum guilt still hit me hard until I landed in Melbourne a month later.

2 nights, 2.5 days.

Our kids are 2.5 and 1 years old and have never had a sleep over or left my side for more than 6 hours. There was a train load of thoughts and scenarios shooting through my head on all the ‘what ifs.’ Deep down I knew they would be in good hands ( they had my 3 page list of instructions to follow 😂😂) and probably wouldn’t even bat an eyelid at our disappearance but it didn’t help ease the stress. My husband (bless him) was the most supportive and patient he’s probably ever been. “We’re only an hour away, we can always be back in a few hours” “Do you want to cancel? Do you want to take them both or just the baby with us?” “Do you want to all drive there together instead?”

No.

We need to do this. I need to do this. We need time. I need a break.

So off we went.

The kids didn’t care. They were spoilt rotten and so were we. We splurged and enjoyed every minute of our time together .  We literally ate our way through Melbourne and felt like a couple in the first few months of dating.

We talked, we laughed, we got dressed up, we cuddled, we slept in, we raced around like tourists without a care in the world. We even got those nervous/excited butterflies in our stomach again. But most importantly we were reminded of our love. Of all the reasons we got together to begin with . That deep down under all the toys , vomit, tantrums and arguments of everyday life we’re still the same people we used to be.

It’s so easy to get angry at eachother at home . To envy the ‘life’ or things your partner does while you’re stuck in mum mode. Don’t get me wrong, I love my children and my husband but sometimes things get shitty (thanks hormones) This trip made me feel like me again. We were equal. We had the same amount of responsibility and so there were no arguments, no disagreements, no silent hints. Just pure joy and fun.

And you know what we ALL need and deserve that every once in a while. So if you’re thinking about a trip or even a night away DO IT. Stop procrastinating, don’t feel guilty, get organised and BOOK IT.
It will be the best thing you’ve done, and you will be a better mother coming back home.

Sending you love,

MBS

xx

I may be little

It may seem like yesterday that I entered this world,

All small and dainty, my fingers all curled.

It wasn’t long ago that I’d snuggle into your chest,

You may have been tired but you felt so blessed.

You blinked your eyes and time has flown by,

You’re not sure how and you don’t know why.

I may be little but because of you I’m strong,

Enjoy it all because it won’t last long.

I open and close cupboards and empty the drawers,

I crawl and roll and end up cleaning the floors.

I may be little but because of you I’m kind,

I shared all my toys but to be honest I sort of did mind.

My mind is learning new things each day,

I watch and wonder and sometimes don’t obey.

I may be little but because of you I know love,

We kiss and cuddle, you’re someone I’m proud of.

Each day I amaze you with what I can do,

It may be taking some steps or a poo in the loo.

I may be little but because of you I am ME

I am independent, determined and fierce, there’s no other way you’d rather I be.

I will always be your baby even when I am older,

So don’t worry mum  I’ll always snuggle back into your shoulder.

Sending you love,

MBS

xx

My firstborn

My dearest first born,

Thank you for being patient with me. Everything you are experiencing is new to me too.

Thank you for being the “tester” in our family. The one we learn with. The one that has tried all breastfeeding positions, all nappy/bottle/formula/wipe brands, routines and discipline strategies.

Thank you for keeping me grounded. For always reminding me of the important things in life.

Thank you for making us slow down to stop and experience life through your eyes.

Sorry for the times we let you down. For the times we didn’t understand what you needed.

Sorry for all the mistakes we have made. For all the times we thought we knew what was best, for the times we didn’t listen.

You and I have something special. We will always be on this rollercoaster ride together.

All our firsts will be experienced together and you will teach me more about life than I will ever be able to show you.

So my dearest first born,

Thank you for making me a mother. My life would not have turned out the way it has if it wasn’t for you.

Sending you love,

MBS

xx

One Word

If you could sum up Motherhood in one word, what would it be?

Take some time to think about it.

Factor in ALL your experiences and learning along the way. Now summarise in one word.

___________________________

Motherhood for me is:

SURPRISING
From the very first moment when 2 faint lines appeared on numerous tests I was surprised.

As my stomach grew and my body and mind morphed into ways I could never imagine I was surprised.

When the contractions hit and my waters leaked I was surprised. Surprised that the pain wasn’t as bad as I imagined (at first) and that my waters could leak (no gushing like Charlotte in SATC?) 17 hours later the surprise hit again when I couldn’t comprehend how I could possibly still be alive yet be in such excruciating pain.

Surprise! It’s a BOY.

17 months later, surprised I “forgot” the pain..

Surprise! It’s a GIRL.

Each and every day the surprise continues.

I’m surprised at the amount of love and pain I feel through you.

I’m surprised with how you make me feel like the luckiest yet loneliest person at the same time.

I’m surprised with how I can go from “poster mum” to “crazy psycho mum” within minutes.

I’m surprised with the patience I find during your tantrums and at times with the tears I cry instead.

I’m surprised by your abilities that continue to flourish and develop each day right before my eyes.

I’m surprised with how proud and honoured I feel when I hear myself coming out through you.

I’m surprised with how easy and then how difficult some days are to get through but how quickly time can pass.

I’m surprised with the amount of guilt I feel about whether I’m doing enough, have done enough or are making the right choices for you.

I’m surprised with the fear, yet joy I feel for all you will achieve in your future.

Everything you do, all we experience, the big and small things surprise me each and every day.

I never knew how much my life would change until I had you, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’m surprised that after all the tantrums, screaming, tears and sleep deprivation, all I need is a smile, kiss or cuddle to perfectly end my day.

So, what was your one word?

How would you sum up Motherhood?

Sending you love,

MBS

xx