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WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY // 2017

“Celebrating” my 30th birthday at Duck & Waffle, last year.

I’m full of all the “World Day’s” this week – apologies for that. But hey, I have a lot of causes that are very close to my heart right now – so I’m more than enthusiastic to support and raise awareness where possible.

Today is WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY, 2017. So here are a few words from my heart – to yours.

A picture tells a thousand words, doesn’t it? What you’ll “see” here (above) are two people who look (and practically were!) on top of the world ❤️ That day I got up at the crack of dawn – knots in my stomach. I felt so sick, so dizzy and was sweating from head to toe with worry. I was all-consumed with complete irrational fear and worry. I forced the smiles and the champagne and watched my watch till it was bedtime.

Anxiety and depression don’t know that today is your 30th birthday. Anxiety and depression don’t know it’s a sunny day. Anxiety and depression don’t know it’s a wedding day. Anxiety and depression don’t you’ve just had a child or lost one. Anxiety and depression don’t know you’re a comedian or an actress. Anxiety and depression do not know if you’re rich or poor.

Anxiety and depression do not discriminate.

Anxiety and depression puts lipstick on, whacks on a freshly ironed shirt, makes the breakfast and forces a smile on its face. Anxiety and depression sits in a room full of friends and loved ones, has the world at its feet and yet, feels like the loneliest person on Earth.  Anxiety and depression has a ridiculously social job – but is crippled with social angst. Anxiety and depression wants to do it all – and nothing at all, all at the same time. Anxiety and depression knocks back the medication and heads to the office for a day of high-flying meetings. Anxiety and depression heads to the umpteenth CBT session with a pram in tow. Anxiety and depression is a sensitive and soft soul who is strong as an ox. Whatever guise it comes in – just know Anxiety, Depression, OCD and allllllll the many, many other Mental Health disorders that there are out there, are not uncommon – in fact, 1 in 4 of us will be affected by at least one mental health issue. Know that in the majority of cases, mental health problems are indeed chemical imbalances – yep, just like diabetes and other well known ‘medical’ issues. So why the stigma?

Back in May this year, I put some words together for #MaternalMentalHealthWeek.  So here is a little bit more about me.

I’m a born worrier. Even from mega young, I worried the worst was about to happen. The worst case scenario of all situations. The made-up scenario’s in my minds-eye (don’t even get me started about how I am when James goes away with work/on a night out). Worry about not having something to worry about. This was to my own detriment and forced me into being an AWFUL teenager.

There was a time when I couldn’t understand my own sensitivity. There was a time when I was ridiculed for that sensitivity. The sensitivity that made me who I am. It was a running joke. It made me look weak. Fear not though, that ridicule has made me a better person. A stronger person 👊🏻💪🏽And most importantly, a better parent ❤️

It’s a sodding difficult job – this parenting lark. Daily life with a newborn is filled to the brim with anxiety. The sleep deprivation. The lack of knowing. The learning on the job. Inevitably, my anxiety was heightened just before I became a Mother. I had a dreadful pregnancy – followed by a horrendous birth. The first few months after Eli came Earthside, though a blur, were the hardest of times we’ve ever experienced.

It was our move to Berlin that connected the dots for me. Made me talk about our experiences prior to and into Parenthood. My anxiety was always prevalent. But its the talking that is so important. The understanding yourself and how YOU actually work.

Life as a new or experienced parent is SO TOUGH. The hardest and most relentless, but most rewarding, job in the world. Its an honour to be that boy’s Mama! ❤️It’s a daily joy and wonder! But for a person with a perinatal mental health condition the hard times are even harder, impossible even. The simple tasks are the most difficult. Everyday is a struggle to survive.

Your Mental Health is just as important as your Physical Health.

Don’t put it to one side.

Don’t brush it under the carpet.

Don’t shut yourself off or bury your head in the sand.

Don’t do what I did and convince yourself “I’m just a born worrier”.

Mental Health disorders can affect everyone. It’s ok to not be ok!

Share your problems.

Share your feelings with friends.

Share your thoughts with professionals.

Share with ANYONE you can. Sometimes talking to complete strangers is the easiest.

Start with YOU. Put YOU first – it’s not selfish. It’s necessary. And SO important.

Mental Health really does matter, but the only one who can make the change, is you✌🏻 Please, just don’t stay silent.

Likewise, everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Stay soft in this hard world. Have empathy for yourself and others. STAY SENSITIVE. And be kind. Always 💘 Sometimes all someone needs is reassurance. And a really bloody big hug 🖤

C
✖️✖️✖️

PS – I don’t think I’ll ever be able to be CONCISE 😂

PPS – I miss my white hair 👎🏻

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Hello 2016…

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YESMUM Cards, by Hollie de Cruz, available in her shop,  here.


Better late, than never, right? Happy New Year.

2016: The dawn of a new age for me. 2016 is all about positive vibes only.

I ended the year on a not so good note, I’ll be honest. I’ll go into further details when I get round to blogging about my wonderful YESMUM Cards. But that aside, I wanted to bring the old blog up to date now we’re in 2016.  So what’s happened so far in 2016? Well, we’ve had the coldest of January days we’ve ever had, ever, a flight back to our Motherland in the North of England, the death of the incredible David Bowie – which has left me somewhat broken hearted, amazing snow-filled fun, a cough, a cold, a stomach bug and Tonsillitis. The past few weeks have also cemented the fact that I need to step back and CHILL – for someone with anxiety, this is obviously a bigger thing than just ‘chilling out’. I’m taking steps to indeed ‘chill the hell out’, and I feel much happier stepping into February. Onwards and upwards, eh!

Here are a few snaps from January and into February:
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Our first flight of 2016, at 10am on 01/01/2016 – start the year as you mean to go on?!

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Haupstr. 155, Schöneberg, Berlin – the apartment where the wonderful David Bowie lived during his Berlin years. Myself and Mr Memoirs were always Bowie fans, but something really struck us about his shock passing. Perhaps it was because we’re in Berlin and he did so much for this incredible city? We genuinely felt heartbroken and haven’t stopped listening to his back catalogue since. We found the trip to his apartment so emotional – albeit, Eli referring to Bowie as ‘The Starman’ and picking yellow flowers for him definitely didn’t help things! We’re so sad he’s gone, but so happy he existed. Wonderful Starman, we will be forever indebted to you for the musical education and creativity. Our son will live in a happier place for your music and choice-looks, and for that we will be eternally grateful. 

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We hope Berlin does change the street permanently! 

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Winter MOTHER – Jewels by the absolute SuperMum that is Kelly Seymour of Cult Of Youth.

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FINALLY! The schnee arrived!

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Wanna build a schneemann?

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Eli got a mega bike for Christmas and refused to part ways on the Kita-run, regardless of terrain! 

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CHEEKY SNOW-CHOPS!

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…tea solves everything. Especially a proper cuppa!

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We dressed in lots of red to show our support for the recent British Heart Foundation #WearItBeatIt campaign. See more on my post, here: Our personal account, and #WearItForIvy!

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…and here we are, today. Today saw the bluest of skies and a mild 12c! Spring is certainly in the air, and I for one cannot wait for sunshine filled adventures!

For now, over and out!

 

MM.

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Hospital Update: Meeting the Consultant and measuring 34 weeks at 28 weeks.

My favourite image of our Baby Boy so far! Taken at 20 weeks, UCLH. 20th March 2012.

Yesterday morning we drove up to Broomfield Hospital for another appointment with our Consultant; to discuss the findings from our last scan –The Bilateral Talipes. But our actual consultant was stuck on the M25 (of course), so we saw someone else and had to go through the whole rigmarole of explaining everything that’s happened in this rollercoaster of a pregnancy!

Fast forward half an hour and I’m on the couch being measured up with a tape measure again. At my Midwife appointment, less than a week ago, my bump was measuring up at 30cm, so 30 weeks – Weekly Update: 28 weeks. So had expected it to be about the same.The two Doctors measured me again… I was measuring 34cm, so one would assume, 34 weeks! UH OH.

I was referred for an emergency scan to check out baby boy’s measurements properly, along with an index of my amniotic fluid. Had to sit around the hospital for 3 hours until the scan. MASSIVE YAWN.

Had the scan and everything was FINE. He’s measuring up at 29 weeks (of which I am 29 weeks tomorrow). He weighs about 2 and a half pounds. He couldn’t be more spot on measurements wise, he’s spot on all the ‘average measurement’ lines on the scan graph. Which is great!

Also, my amniotic fluid is showing up at 6cm at the deepest point, which again, is absolutely normal! So everything is great. I just have a lot of my own water retention and bloating..possibly because I drink far too much water. What can I say? I’m a thirsty girl!

Additionally, the Sonographer also said that we no longer need to go back to have a scan at 32 weeks. She’s more than happy with the progress of everything and doesn’t see why we should have to go back to the hospital to review baby boy’s Talipes. Which is also fine by us! We’re over the moon! But at the same time, I’m also a little bit sad that we won’t be seeing our baby boy for a little while… in fact, the next time we see him will be when he’s ARRIVED! Which to be honest, is also a little bit scary! It’s all very very very REAL now. EXCITED.

So the moral of this story is, don’t believe the measurements! It was never going to be an exact science, measuring your bump – who thought it would be?!

MM.

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Hospital Update: Baby Boy bump has (mild) Bilateral Talipes.

Wednesday 18th April: Re-scan at UCLH, Fetal Medicine Unit.

This morning we visited the Fetal Medicine Unity in UCLH (University College London Hospital) for the re-scan of baby boy bump’s feet – to confirm or exclude Talipes (Club Foot). Since my worrying Midwife appointment the other week, I’ve thought about nothing other than the results we might find at the scan today. Not about his feet though, I was thinking about everything else that it could be linked to. Yesterday the panic set in again and I started googling all sorts, which we all know, is probably the worst thing you can do – ever! Based on the, err, google search findings, I’d really worried myself about how his spine might be developing, as Talipes can be the result of other genetic disorders. This all combined with the Midwife appointment made me really really quite anxious in that waiting from this morning.

Appointment was for 9am, we arrived early, as always, at 8:30am. We went into see the FMU and Speciality Doctor who has performed our most recent scans at UCLH, at about 9:15am. Our Speciality Doctor is beyond thorough, so started off with checking the progress of the brain and heart. Then he went on to check other internal organs for size and function, making the necessary measurements and notes as he went along. (See below for measurements from this scan!) He muttered that “everything is developing beautifully”. Then he turned to the back, looking at the spine and ribcage. He pondered over the spine and I clenched onto OH’s hand. The Doctor didn’t say anything so I asked “Is his spine ok?”. He smiled and said “Of course, he’s beautifully in proportion and developing as he should be. It’s a good thing!”. PHEW. I was happy at that point 🙂

As baby boy bump has proven at every single scan, he’s a wriggler. He moves non-stop. Which is amazing! But not great when the Doctor is trying to desperately get a good view of his feet! It was at this point that he got the 4D scanning images up again – which is just incredible. It’s so amazing to see your baby’s face like that – unbelievable to be honest! But he was really wanting to get a good view of his feet… so it was a quick look at his cute-as-a-button face and then back to business.

The Doctor scanned his feet for about 15 minutes using both the 4D and 2D imaging. He then turned to us and said that he was “convinced there is a degree of Bilateral Talipes. But is extremely mild”. He then went on to discuss corrective methods and said he’d like the Consultant to take a look. The Consultant arrived and said that the Talipes was so mild that “I probably would have missed it to be honest!”.

So with all this in mind, we’re over the moon. Couldn’t be happier. We always knew this baby boy of ours would be a character, and he’s certainly that!

We”ve now been discharged from UCLH and referred back to the care of Broomfield. We will have another scan (YES!) at 32 weeks to see the progression of the Talipes. This will be our 8th scan, although these scans have not been under happy circumstances (mostly), we’re extremely grateful that we’ve been lucky enough to see our baby boy growing at every single stage. As long as the Talipes has progressed as it should (or hopefully, not at all) then we’ll remain within the care of Broomfield. We will not be treated any differently for the birth, so there is no reason for me not to have the Water Birth I’m planning! Once baba is born, we’ll obviously review the extent of the Talipes and take it from there.

Measurements at 25 weeks and 5 days.

Biparietal Diameter (BPD): 67.9 mm

Head Circumference (HC): 243.9 mm

Abdominal Circumference (AC): 213.3 mm

Nuchal Fold Thickness (NT): 5.6 mm

Nasal Bone: 7.4 mm

Femur Length: 45.5 mm

Estimated Fetal Weight (BPD, HC, AC, FL) :842 g / 1 lb 14oz

4D scan of baby boy’s face. He has my nose and chin and OH’s eyes. He’s playing hide and seek here though unfortunately! 

MM.