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Cigarettes and Calpol

Attempting to make sense of parenthood, life, love, and my own mind.

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Parenting

Equal Siblings

Some people say that once you have one child adding another isn’t all that different. Those people are liars.

Having your family grow from three to four is a massive change and affects all of you, physically and emotionally, in endless ways. It’s a steep learning curve for everyone and any rhythm or routine that you had previously perfected gets rather dramatically flung out of the window.

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Breastfeeding – a second try

When I was pregnant I wrote about my previous experience of breastfeeding and how it had left me terrified to try again. I had a huge response to that post with so many women telling me they felt the exact same way, which was in equal parts comforting (to know I’m not alone) and depressing (to realise so many of us had had such similar, difficult experiences).

I was always going to try again, yet I was determined to put less pressure on myself this time. Turns out that lack of pressure was exactly what we both needed to find our feet with this feeding malarky.

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Water Birth, Danny Devito, and still no stitches: My Second Birth Story

If you follow me on any form of social media you might have figured out I was more than a little bit done with being pregnant by the end…I had tried everything. And nothing was working. I had accepted that I was just going to be pregnant forever and welcomed the cankles as just a part of who I was now.

We’d had weeks of false starts, days of contractions leading to nothing.

Turns out watching the Foos destroy Glastonbury was the key.

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A Fox Cub!

Not just because it means I’m not pregnant anymore…we are thrilled to announce the arrival of our tiny little addition to the family!

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‘If You Can’t Afford to Feed Your Child…’

The days leading up to and following an election are always strange, tense, and full of arguments. This time is no different, in fact this time nobody is really sure whether to celebrate, mourn, or just keep drinking.

Today I was asked on a Facebook discussion about benefits, food banks, and tax brackets ‘why did you have a child if you can’t afford to feed it?’. Obviously the lovely Max Off Of Facebook did say ‘not to cause offence’ first. So I’m not offended…

Well, Max Off Of Facebook, do you want to know how I found myself two years ago crying in a doctor’s office as he signed a piece of paper that meant I was entitled to a food bank voucher two years ago?

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Hospital Bag

Packing a hospital bag is something that websites, baby books, midwives, and friends start mentioning as soon as you hit the 30 week mark. That obviously doesn’t mean you start packing it then. Not if you’re me. Instead you leave it another 6 weeks and realise when the midwife informs you that you are nearly term and considering the constant braxton hicks it might be worth throwing some things in a bag.

But what do you actually need to take with you? There are lists and guidelines everywhere online, but a lot of them seem a bit excessive to me. So here’s what’s in my hospital bag, not that I ever advise following in my footsteps…

(I’m planning on breastfeeding, if you are planning to bottle feed you’ll obviously need to pack all the equipment that goes with that.)

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Push Presents

I know as an English woman I’m supposed to reject all traditions rooted in American capitalism. But I happen to be an English woman who loves me a present, so really, any excuse.

The idea of a push present is something I’m majorly on board with. You’ve just watched the woman you love grow your child inside her for over 9 months, probably not very comfortably, then you’ve either seen her push said child out of a very small hole or be sliced in half and had it pulled out. Either way, I’d say girl’s earned a present.

Not to mention your house is about to be filled with gifts and admirers, none of them for her. Having a newborn can be seriously isolating, even when you’re surrounded by people who love you they are often more focussed on the new tiny person and don’t really think to ask about you.

I shouldn’t need to justify this, buy her a damn present! I’ve compiled a list of some things that would definitely have you on the front cover of Good Daddy Weekly.

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Fear of Breastfeeding

When I had my daughter I was unsure about many aspects of parenting. Would I cosleep? Would I let her cry it out? Would I have any fucking idea of how to do any of it (spoiler – I didn’t)? But one thing I was sure of, without a shadow of a doubt, was that I would breastfeed.

I knew all the benefits – for health, for bonding, for my wallet. Who wouldn’t be sold on that?! And I was sure I wasn’t ‘blessed’ (*slow look to camera*) with these H cups for nothing.

Turns out breastfeeding wasn’t as easy or as blissful as I was sure it would be.

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Maternal Mental Health

[Trigger warning for suicidal thoughts]

If, like me, your social media feeds have been full of ‘shouty selfies’ (my opinion on selfies for ‘awareness’ is for another post, another day) and incredible stories of brave women overcoming PND you’ll be aware that this week is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week. Something that I (obviously) feel very strongly about and am 100% behind.

However when it came to sitting down and thinking about my own input into the conversation I found myself a bit lost. I didn’t know at all where to start.

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