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Cigarettes and Calpol

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

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anxiety

Anxiety and Fashion

Anxiety has always battered me. The ways it has done so has changed and transformed over the years but in one way or another it’s always been around, beating me down and ruining parts of my life that should be great.

From crippling panic attacks as a teenager that ruined my school years, to the inability to trust in relationships, to the gut-wrenching belief that I am a terrible mother – anxiety has been the underlying reason for all of my biggest doubts and fears, and has in turn ruined opportunities, friendships, relationships, and, at certain points, my life.

-TRIGGER WARNING- contains photos of extremely questionable fashion choices.

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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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Celebrating Myself…

I am not good at celebrating myself. At all.

The idea of throwing a party in the name of me fills me with absolute dread. Because surely nobody else really gives a shit?!

Birthdays come down to ‘I’m going to this pub, come if you want, or don’t, whatever’ and I don’t think I could so much as dream of actually throwing a wedding and I definitely couldn’t have a hen.

Yet I love, love, love organising this stuff for other people! Give me half a chance to organise your hen party, birthday, or even just work’s leaving drinks and I will be snapping at you ankles like a Chihuahua on heat.

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I’m not ok, is that ok?

If you’ve ever been pregnant, looked at a parenting blog, read anything, anywhere about growing and pushing out a baby, or just paid attention to the press surrounding childbirth and postnatal experiences you’ll have heard about postnatal depression (PND) or postpartum depression (PPD). It’s discussed a lot. As it should be! Awareness and understanding are essential for people to feel safe discussing their own experience with mental illness and seek help. There’s been another big push on PND awareness recently, with Chrissy Teigen’s amazing open letter about her experiences (which is incredible and spot on and so honest and everybody really should read it) to the recent surge in reporting of the 1 in 10 statistic. PND is having a moment, a moment I wish had happened before the birth of my daughter, it would have made things much easier and I would have gotten help much sooner than 12 months postpartum.

That statistic, however, is the same during pregnancy. 1 in 10 pregnant women will experience depression during their pregnancy. The same amount of women and yet we’re still not talking about it.

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A Bad Day

Today has been a really shit day.

It’s been one of those days where my child has been an arsehole at every turn and I’ve run out of ways to try and discipline her. It’s been one of those days where I’ve totally questioned my ability to parent and therefore have been sent into a spiral of self-hate and my little ball of anxiety has burst.

Crying on her bedroom floor while trying to change her bedding was probably the lowest point.

It’s one of those days that no Instagram filter could fit and there’s no way of trying to make it look perfect, but also why should I? Why do we feel the need to hide the bits of parenting that hurt and are exhausting and leave you feeling like a shit? It’s the reality. We share everything else so why not this? So I am sharing it, lucky you, you get to read my woes.

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How to Survive the First Trimester (ish)

There are women out there who will tell you pregnancy is a beautiful time of blooming and happiness and that they loved every minute of it. I am here to tell you that these women are liars. Or even possibly robots. Pregnancy for me is a continuous flow of shitty problems; pain, vomit, fainting, and massive engorged breasts that look nothing like the perfectly pert models with their fake bumps on the ASOS maternity section. It’s shit and I hate it.

However, for most of us it is the simplest way to get our hands on a tiny squishy baby. So it’s something of a necessity.

The first three months were for me – like so many, many others – hell. Sickness, fainting, constipation, anxiety, zero sex drive, agonisingly painful breasts. This post is a combination of little things that might help others find it a bit easier and a chance to moan about it all to garner some sympathy. Which I think are both important and necessary.

(Note: yes, I’m going to moan about pregnancy in this post, because it’s hard. This doesn’t mean I don’t realise how lucky I am to be having a healthy pregnancy. It doesn’t mean I’m not thrilled to be having another baby. We are more than aware just how hashtag blessed we are, this doesn’t stop it being a crappy experience.)

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Nasty Words, Lasting Impression

On New Year’s Day I received a pretty nasty message on Twitter. I’ve been on Twitter a long time and have received my fair share of abuse on the website; I’ve been called a freeloading tart for taking maternity pay (we’ll discuss that one another day), been sent many an unsolicited dick pic, and of course immediately become a fat whore because I didn’t find myself weak at the knees from a man’s advances.

But this time was different, this time felt a little more personal.

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My Body, Imperfect

Each body is different.
Each body is a map of where the owner has been. Routes taken. Shortcuts gone wrong.
Each body is a book. Chapter after chapter of tales of life.

My body is no different.
My body tells a story.
Of highs and lows.
Of ups and downs.
Of good and bad.
Of pleasure and pain.
Of life. In all its real, awful, hideous, beautiful forms.

Each inch a different chapter, marked and scarred and freckled with life.

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Somewhere in the Middle

I’m having a bit of a personal crisis at the moment. I feel like I’ve lost my way and I cannot work out where it is I belong. I feel like I’m forever somewhere in the middle, never coming first, never being the best at something, never being the most important. Straddling the middle no matter how hard I try.

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