PND…THE TURNING POINT

Dear Mama,

I knew I was on a downward spiral, I felt empty, dis-engaged, my anxiety had peaked and my partner would say to me at the dinner table that I was somewhere else. My mind was detached, my judgement was clouded, I was spiralling out of control and I couldn’t stop it.

My baby was 6 weeks old and I was overwhelmed at the thought of how I would cope with two children.

I was having catastrophic thoughts, scared to take my eyes off him, that if I did, something bad would happen to him. One day, I even thought someone was going to steal him in Tesco.

I would be driving along in the car thinking that I was going to be in a car crash and hurt the children.

I was also struggling with body dysmorphia, my self- esteem was at an all time low, I had put on so much weight during my pregnancy that I almost didn’t recognise myself anymore, I felt repulsed when I looked in the mirror, all I saw was the negative parts of my body, the stretch marks, and wrinkly saggy skin. I didn’t recognise that my body had done something incredible and created a beautiful healthy baby boy. By the time he was born, I took drastic measures to lose weight and by 8 months postpartum I had lost almost all of my baby weight.

My chronic migraine condition returned as soon as I stopped breast feeding which contributed to the onset of depression. It all became too much.

The critical point arrived several days after my best friend suggested I step down as her bridesmaid for reasons around my PND, since my mind was somewhere else. I was heartbroken. My mother also stopped talking to me for 3 days because we’d had an argument. These extra stresses tilted me over the edge.

It was my partners birthday, we didn’t make any plans on that day, instead we bickered about the housework not being done, argued over something baby related and I just couldn’t handle anymore criticism.

I went to bed early that night, and I couldn’t sleep. One hour became four hours and I was wide awake. My partner then came to bed and I was still awake. I was going berserk in my mind, I was heartbroken, annoyed, unable to communicate to my partner my thoughts.

I literally had these words stuck in my chest, suppressed so deep I couldn’t find a way to let them out. Eating away at me, in silence, crushing my mind, my power and my ability to speak. I couldn’t take the suppression of my destructive thoughts anymore.

In that moment, I got out of bed, left the room, barely dressed, I sat at the bottom of the stairs looking out of the tall window overlooking the Street in hope that somebody would see me.

I cried hysterically, the release came out in a waterfall of tears, rather than words or frustration. I wanted somebody to see me and help me.

In that moment, I decided it was best to leave, get in the car and go somewhere, anywhere alone. I went upstairs to get dressed, I put my clothes on in the dark room still not quite believing what I was about to do, it was a deranged response to a person who felt scared and trapped in her own thoughts.

Then, my partner woke up. He was confused. So was I. He asked me what I was doing? I told him I was leaving. He instantly thought it was him, something he had done, he thought I wanted to leave him, but he was wrong, actually what I meant was that I needed to leave the situation. I just needed to go somewhere alone.

We spent the next three hours sitting on the bed together, trying to piece together what was going on in my mind. Some of that time, I sat in silence desperately clutching a pillow, wondering if words would come out of my mouth to make any sense of this, I knew I needed help immediately.

I won’t go into any more details about what happened, but the most important thing you need to know is that I accepted that I needed help the next day and I got that help. I’ve attended various different forms of counselling and treatment, some of which I am still undergoing to this day. I attended a Postnatal depression group for 3 months ran by the NHS Bucks Healthy Minds Department, with mothers having similar issues to find coping strategies to help us overcome this dark time. It was incredibly supportive having a group of mothers who could relate to what you were experiencing.

I share this with you to show you what depression can do to your mind, how it can distort your thoughts and intentions so drastically. Depression is a mental health illness, it’s scary and it needs to be treated.

If you know anyone that is dealing with this silent illness, it kills, I have almost been there myself, give that person an olive branch, guide them, be there, help them. I have got a number of good friends to thank, but sometimes it’s just that ONE friend you need who UNDERSTANDS.

Understands the dark times you endure, understands the long days and nights with the children, understands that you haven’t got anything in you to face the day ahead. You could be that ONE FRIEND.

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My spring wardrobe update 🌺

Wow so glad Spring has finally arrived!!

Check out my spring essentials for 2018..

I’m loving pretty florals, floaty long dresses, Bardot tops and polka dots… 💃

Wow this is such a pretty kimono dress from Miss Selfridge! Currently £34 in the sale! 💕🌺💕

There’s some gorgeous floral patterns at the moment, this is off the shoulder top modeled by me is from Tesco F&F and a steal at £14.

Following the floral theme… this is a beautiful Maxi dress by New Look for £24

This is a gorgeous off the shoulder Bardot dress from FandF clothing at Tesco, a denim steal at £20.

Very pretty red polka dot Maxi dress from Miss Selfridge £22

Leopard print is back and I’m still digging it! 💃

H&M £19

Still loving a jumpsuit, this one from H&M , £25, just need to be dressed up with a bright neck scarf, waist belt and heels.

Until the next shopping spree…

Happy Shopping!

Love,

Mummy Cookie

EmmaX

Weaning Is Soul Destroying

Is anyone with me on this one, when I say that I absolutely deteste weaning?

I used to get so excited about the weaning stage with my first baby, Darcey; I bought the Anabel Karmel recipe book, did so much research into purée VS Baby Led Weaning, this was a time in 2014 when baby led weaning was quite a new and THE trendy thing to do with your kids, y’know the thing you should be doing if you want to be considered a cool mum. I joined groups on Facebook about baby led and would get trolled as soon as I dared mention anything about purée! Sigh.

It very quickly became apparent that weaning wasn’t going to be fun or straightforward at all. Firstly, she had a cows milk protein intolerance, which meant everything dairy was out of question and I bloody love dairy. Further, annoyingly, to add fuel to the fire, she couldn’t eat any eggs or peanuts due to her father’s allergies.

Her reflux was another problem, it was so bad, that I was left with no option other than to give her puréed food for months on end until she could tolerate thicker textures and solid food. Thus, Baby led weaning wasn’t even an option for us and actually I used to get a bit embarrassed whipping out an Ella’s Kitchen smoothie packet when I was out with friends, even though that’s deemed a more healthier “organic” option rather than a cow & gate jar, if we are pathetically judging the hierarchy of pre-made baby food from Tesco.

When that day came where I could put a plate of food in front of her and she would just eat it was just bliss. High five to that shit! 🙌

An even better day for us all was when Miss D turned 2 and a half and was signed off by the dietician for her cows milk protein allergy that she had grown out of and she could eat dairy, now it just made things more relaxed at home and whilst taking her out to restaurants and parties.

Fast-forward several years, and I am in the same predicament with Zachary, I have another cows milk protein intolerant child and I am faced with another similar weaning challenge. Now that I’m well versed with allergies and what they can and can’t have, it’s still a really shit process.

I have a nine month old baby who is desperate to eat what we have, he loves food, he wants to feed himself! He loves exploring with food, the texture, the feel on his hands. He doesn’t want me to feed him with a spoon as he always swipes it off me, but at the moment he’s really struggling with anything much more than a purée. His gag reflex is so responsive, and as a result he gags on a lot of his food and projectile vomits. It is so frustrating because I can see how much he wants to eat!

Every day I am trying thicker textures and this week he seems to be tolerating blended down spaghetti bolognaise. I am so persistent to try and get us all eating the same meals because it makes life easier!

Sometimes I go into my kitchen and wonder what the fuck has happened at dinner time. It’s like the children are staging an episode of bodger and badger, or having an epic food fight. Actually no, it’s just a really messy children eating their dinner. 🤣

Parenting is essentially cleaning, washing and wiping up shit on repeat right now!!

Yeah. Love it!

Please share your weaning story. Has it been a breeze for you? Have you had a hard time like us? Do your children have food allergies that have caused problems?

Love

Emma

Mummy Cookie

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Botox for Chronic Migraine

I had a flurry of messages after my first blog regarding the Botox treatment I had a few weeks ago. I thought I’d follow up with answering your questions and how I’m feeling 3 weeks on.

In 2012, the NHS got the go-ahead to provide Botox treatment to chronic migraine sufferers. A popular treatment for cosmetic users, but Botox has its uses in certain medical conditions by it’s nerve blocking effects.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published guidelines on how Botox should be used to treat chronic migraine.

If you suffer from 15 headaches per month, 8 days of those being migraines and that has not responded to at least three prior preventative drug treatments.

Please see this very useful fact sheet by the NHS for further details

https://www.nhs.uk/news/medication/botox-gets-nod-for-migraine/

What is Botox?

Botulinum toxin type A, or Botox as it is commonly known, is a purified neurotoxin (nerve toxin) derived from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. It works by paralysing the nerve supply to muscles, thereby restricting their movement.

• Botox might relax muscles around the head and thereby reduce blood pressure within the brain

• Botox might reduce the nerves’ ability to send pain signals during a migraine

• Botox might prevent the nerves from sending signals that will lead to a migraine

My Experience With Botox

Under the guidelines it is recommended that you have 31 injections around certain areas of your head. These are administered across your forehead, around both ears, up the back of your head, down your neck and across your shoulders. I lost count of where exactly they went! It felt like I was being scratched, not very pleasant and some places hurt more than others, particularly on the forehead which is why I think they start there.

Pre Botox Worries

I was concerned mostly about the aesthetic side effects – not having any movement in my forehead and eyebrows. I thought it would be very noticeable to others, and I had read horror stories of Botox going wrong and having a droopy eye.

I wanted to know if their were any side effects afterwards – dizziness, nausea and I was told not.

Post Botox

The treatment took about 10 minutes in total, it’s all fairly quickly but 10 minutes in the chair sat upright feels like a lifetime when you keep having a needle poked into you. I have to weigh these things up and remember the long term gain.

I felt fine after the treatment and I was able to go home straight away. The headache nurse informed me that tomorrow I could feel achey in my neck and it could trigger some auto immune responses from all of the injections.

Side Effects

I noticed very little side effects, the next day I had streaming eyes and felt like I had hay fever, and I came out in a very mild skin rash but that all disappeared within a few days. I did feel a bit achey and wiped out for a couple of days but nothing too bad.

How have my headaches been?

During the first week I was still having headaches, I had one migraine, but that was definitely stress induced since it was the day my Grandad passed away , but besides that I have had a low grade headache on a number of days.

Despite having on average 4 hours broken sleep per night (according to my fitbit), due to an 8 month old baby that isn’t sleeping through the night and various other factors in my life that can trigger headaches. This treatment has been a success for me so far, because although it hasn’t stopped the headaches completely, they aren’t so bad that I can still continue my daily duties without them being too affected.

Three weeks on and I think I’ve had 2 migraines, and for the rest of the time a lower grade headache. I’m really pleased with the results so far.

Botox lasts for 12 weeks and I will have my next treatment then.

I hope this information helps other headache sufferers!

Please contact me for any further help,

Love from

Emma

Mummy Cookie

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Sleep Deprivation On Another Level

Last Sunday I hit a wall with parenting, Rob was away on a night out with the boys, I had been up every hour with Zachary from 9pm, and by the morning I was contacting a friend for a recommendation of a sleep fairy to call.

Zachary had been a dream until he turned 4 months old, the perfect newborn that would sleep through the night and give me snuggles all day. What more could I ask for, and it certainly didn’t feel like the stereotypical newborn stage.

Our comeuppance came when he turned 4 months old and he started going through the famous 4 months sleep regression. Unfortunately for us, this sleep regression period didn’t end, in fact it got progressively worse. One month of terrible nights became four months and as a result, two very unhappy sleep deprived parents.

At one stage he would be awake from 9pm until midnight and then awake on the hour from 2 am. It was insane! I have never experienced tiredness like this and it just feels relentless. We also have a toddler that is a very early riser in the morning and wakes for the day anytime between 4- 5.30am and will not go back to sleep! This makes the morning a very early start for me! 😩

We had difficult time for the first 6 months with Darcey, but by 8 months, (Zachary’s age now), she knew how to self settle herself to sleep and was pretty much sleeping through the night, something that Zachary struggles to do.

I was desperate for a solution to Zacharys sleep problems last weekend I knew something had to change.

Monday night came, Zachary waking at his usual time around 10.30pm, Rob gave him his milk and settled him back to sleep. Zachary woke again at 2.30am making some noise, now, ordinarily I would have leaped out of bed and picked him up out of his cot, before he woke up Darcey, (as their rooms are next to one another), I decided to try a different tactic; Zachary wasn’t crying, he was whinging and rolling around, therefore, I watched him on the video monitor for a while, desperately hoping that he would self settle and go back to sleep, and he did. I fell back asleep, and he woke almost every hour making similar noises, movements and at 5.30am when his lungs really got going, I knew he was actually awake and I needed to tend to him.

I was on a mission now to crack this sleeping, the next two days, I became strict with his routine, I made sure his routine ran like clockwork, I had no distractions since Darcey was at preschool and I could focus on Zachary rather than him having to work around her schedule. He had his meals, milk and nap times all planned out and at the same time each day and it definitely seems to helped with his sleeping pattern. he was having his milk at the right times,During the night times I found that he would still wake up for his usual bottle around 10.30pm and waking at 2am ish, and he would self settle himself took the same approach and what I have found is that he is still waking, but had a much better week in terms of self settling back to sleep, perhaps we have turned a corner, perhaps not, but I am feeling hopeful, since it’s been 3 great nights of sleep with only one get up before midnight. 🤞

I was getting stressed out with the nights, because Z would start to whinge and cry in his cot, I would race to him, pick him up because I didn’t want him to wake his sister, who is a light sleeper and I know that one baby awake in the night is so much better than two, and that D struggles to go back to sleep in the night once she’s awake. As a result of me taking him out of his cot to soother him, he then became reliant on my comfort, and he wasn’t hungry, he didn’t want milk.

Now what I am suggesting may sound like a simple solution – leaving him and not going into his room to pick him up, but when I realised he wasn’t wanting milk in the night, it became apparent he just wanted comfort from me.

The next four nights followed a similar pattern, but with less whinging in the night, and he self settled himself back to sleep. I thought, we are well on the way to cracking this.

Last night, I had to go in his room as he was very restless around 2am, I took him downstairs to settle him and he was very uncomfortable, and since the morning it’s become apparent he was constipated so that’s a reason for him being awake and comfortable. If there is a reason, it’s easier to comprehend why they are not sleeping in the night.

The biggest plus is that he hasn’t woken Darcey up in the night which is one of the main reasons I would go to him so quickly.

We still have some things to work on:-

• Self settling in his daytime naps and also at bedtime during the evening.

We are only a week into this, things are looking promising for better nights sleep, but we have a way to go.

I’d be interested in hearing from other parents who are having difficulty with their babies sleeping?

•What did you find that helps?

• Have you used a sleep trainer and what is your experience?

Best of luck with your babies sleeping!

Emma

Mummy Cookie

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Why I chose Botox at 30

Four years ago when I was diagnosed with chronic migraine in my pregnancy with Miss Darcey, little did I realise that it was a condition that would continue to debilitate my health and lifestyle ever since.

I remember having my first ever migraine, sat in Ibiza airport June 2014 waiting for a return flight with Rob and friends we’d been away with, 11 weeks pregnant with Miss D. I felt so bad on the flight, and once we got back in our friends car and driving home, I couldn’t stop being sick, (obvs on the road side!).

Unfortunately, this was a huge turning point in my life. The migraines continued in my pregnancy, almost daily, I was bed ridden most days, vomiting, sitting in dark rooms, I felt hideous, I reduced my work hours to part time because I was so sick, I felt depressed because it took over my lifestyle, and there was a very bleak time, that Rob said he never wants to go back to, when I was suicidal and almost sectioned.

Luckily for me, I had an amazing obstetrician who offered me the best care possible, I have a lot to thank him for. He organised treatment with a neurologist, a specialist care of midwives who would call me almost daily to see if there was anything I needed and I had a very supportive boyfriend.

As I was limited with treatment options for migraine during pregnancy, I was offered an occipital nerve block injection later on in my pregnancy, which is injected into the back of the neck in the muscles under the base of the skull on both sides, it had the least side effects to harm the baby, and the pain I had, I felt, outweighed the risk, and within a week or so of having the treatment, I noticed a great improvement, and it actually gave me some of my life back for several months.

Fast forward several years, and I am still struggling with chronic migraine, I have nausea but I do not have the sickness. On average, I have some degree of headache almost every day of the month, and my type of illness is classified as chronic migraine, which is having migraine 15 days of migraine per month or more.

I have tried numerous medications, natural remedies, cranial osteopathy, physio therapy, neck/head massage, dry needling and acupuncture, and some of it can help reduce the pain, but it doesn’t help significantly as it will always return in a day or two.

I have also tried various diets, trying to find out triggers, but what we do know about migraine is that certain parts of our lifestyle help trigger migraines and we must do what we can to limit these, but that’s not always possible whilst having two children, a home and working lifestyle.

We know that, broken sleep, stress, under and over eating, not eating at the right times, hormones, are all factors that contribute towards migraine, but then it’s possible that you will never work out what exactly triggers a migraine because you can be doing all of the ‘right’ things and they still come on.

I have been having occipital nerve block injections every 3 months and they have been pretty successful, besides my last treatment where the consultant thinks I am no longer responding to the injections.

Here I am today, heading into London to try Botox treatment specifically for migraine, that apparently is very successful and Australias no.1 migraine treatment, that I’ve been offered at a Headache and facial pain clinic on the NHS, where they predominantly look at finding solutions to manage chronic pain so that I can lead a less debilitating lifestyle.

It’s the first time for me having this treatment and I’m quite anxious about it, and I will update you once I’ve had the treatment and I’m feeling recovered!

Wish me luck! All I want is some pain free days!!

Emma

Get Fit With Mummy Cookie

Hi Everyone,

It’s almost two weeks since I set up my January fitness challenge on Instagram #getfitwithmummycookie and it’s been overwhelmingly fantastic! Thank you to everyone who has got involved so far, you are amazing!

I want to tell you a little background about me and my motives behind starting this challenge. I’m six months postpartum and just starting out on my post baby body fitness journey. Unfortunately, my ability to start getting fit again has been delayed with a Diastasis recti separation of the abs in my stomach, but now that the separation is starting to close after several months of physio, I’m more than ready to get my trainers back on!

I decided to set up a hashtag #getfitwithmummycookie to inspire similar women and mothers to post their own fitness journey where we can support, motivate and inspire each other and have a supportive community where people can chat with others who have similar interests.

Keeping fit is so important to me, not just for the benefits physically, but for how much it helps me with my mind. After having Zachary in July 2017 I was diagnosed with postnatal depression. In September, I attended a support group for 10 weeks with a number of other women suffering with Postnatal Depression, low mood, anxiety, trauma based issues and the two biggest things I learnt from attending those support sessions are that my mental health counts and self- care is so important to help keep the mind healthy.

One of my goals this year is to improve my mind and wellbeing. Sport and exercise is key for me to have a healthy mind. It sets me up for a good day by boosting my endorphins.

It makes me feel good that I can inspire others to get out there and do something active that makes them feel good too.

I’m so pleased that so many of you have got involved with my fitness challenge. I’ve had such a positive response and outlook from my followers on instagram from all around the world. This challenge has inspired people throughout the United Kingdom, all over the world and in Canada. It shows that it doesn’t matter how far we are away from each other, people can relate to pictures. It has been such a warming experience and community. I’m so glad to be in a position to be supporting other women on a similar fitness journey.

I’ve now reached over 1500 followers, I’m thankful for all of my followers who are so supportive on a daily basis!

If you are on your own fitness journey or you are thinking about starting it, please get involved, it’s so easy, just add the hashtag #getfitwithmummycookie on your post. Every Thursday I do a feature post and include everyone’s fitness photos from the week!

Thank you all for the love, inspiration and motivation,

You guys rock!!!

Let’s keep it going!!!

Love

Emma

Mummy Cookie

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