New Year, New You…re grand as you are Mum.

Before the onslaught of New Year, New You Bullshit starts, let me remind you of a few things…

Yes, January 1st is an obviously good starting point for new beginnings and new intentions.

Just like everything ‘starts on Monday’, at this time of year, we are all so good at using ‘I’ll start in the New Year’ as our mantra.

New project? I’ll start in January…
New intention? I’ll start in January…
Giving up something? Wait until January…
Starting something? Wait until January…
New routine? I’ll start in January…
Want to change something? Wait until January… Good intentions eh?

NEED to change something? Wait until January? And suddenly, what SEEMS like a good intention is ACTUALLY just procrastination. And we’re all good at that.

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Of course the New Year is a great time for motivation and change and new everything. However, if you are changing something because someone or something is making you feel like you’re not good enough, stop and think.

Over the next few days, our news feeds will be full of adverts which seem to be encouraging and motivating you.

You’ll see all sorts of quick fixes and miracle makers; everything from programmes and apps to help to start or stop a habit, to magic pills and shakes which will transform you into a Victoria Secret’s model faster than you can take a poo… (which is precisely what you’ll be doing if you take any of that crap.)

What we need to remember is that EACH and EVERY one of these adverts has been targeted at us. They’re not popping up on our screens by accident. They’re targeted by the companies; our age, interests, demographic, location, previous searches… it’s all algorithm and it’s simple and clever marketing.

Most of the ads are genuine companies who know their target markets and how to target them effectively at the right time, in the right way.

There’s no conspiracy in that.

Where we have a problem is when the companies are telling you, usually indirectly, sometimes bluntly, that YOU are not good enough AS YOU ARE.

They tell you you NEED to look a certain way. You NEED your teeth whitened. You NEED to lose weight. You NEED to calm down. You NEED to change your mindset. You NEED to spend less time or more time on whatever… You NEED to eat this way. You NEED to take this… You NEED to take that.

They tell you that your life is incomplete. They tell you that your life is mediocre.
They tell you that your life could be soooooo much better.

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They go so far as to show you “Real people”, their case studies, their Before and Afters. They put only the Glossy, filtered, Instaperfect images of their customers/clients on their websites. They tell you that YOU TOO could have this life…that it is SOOOO easy. They smugly imply that it really is a breeze, that if you join their gang/cult/whatever that you will also have shiny, filtered, smiling instafeed in as little as 10 days.

By showing you these glossy smiling examples, they are indirectly telling your that YOUR life is actually pretty shitty in comparison.

They are hitting you during the Post Christmas bloat, the gray Pre-January blur when family members have left and the tree is molting in the corner and we’re all feeling a bit meh. They are telling you that you are not enough.

They are wrong.

You are perfect, just as you are.
You are beautiful, just as you are.
You are strong.
You can face anything.
You are loved.
Your life is YOUR life and it should not be measured by anyone else’s prepackaged and filtered measuring tape.

Sure, we all have things we aspire to, resolutions an intentions. If you want to change something, do it. If you want to get healthier, do it. If you want to lose weight, go for it. If you want to make a drastic change to your routine, go for it.

But ONLY do it FOR YOU.
Not because some advert on your news feed tells you you are not enough.

Do it for YOURSELF. AND if anyone of the smug, shiny, “Look at how perfect my life is” brigade tells you they can “Make you the BEST version of YOU,” tell them to feck off. You’re doing a great job of being YOU, all by yourself.

You don’t need to buy a lifestyle from anyone. You don’t need a NEW YOU. You just need to realise that you’re already as YOU as you can be.

 

And you look pretty damn perfect to me.

I am Saying Thank You Mum

From a different Perspective…

Thank you to the people who planted Thousands of little white crosses along the main road to letterkenny. 💜💙

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Photo by Greg Harkin on Twitter 

How gracious of you to remember all of the little babies who our people never got to bury in Irish Soil.💜🇮🇪

Thank you for marking the lives of all the women who have, and who will, die as a result of the 8th. 😔

Thank you for memoralising Savita.💜

Thank you for marking the men who have lost and who grieve for their lost children, partners, Mummies, Sisters.💙

Thank you for allowing me to explain to my daughter that the little crosses are for all of the innocent little babies who fate would not allow to be born. 👨‍👩‍👧‍👧

You didn’t realise the POSITIVE effect your actions in the dark of night would have did you?

Look at you 💜showing compassion and empathy and kindness.

Look at you 💙considering the emotions if pregnant women as they drive their children to school this morning.

Look at you💜 considering the feelings of the grieving as they go about their business this morning.

Look at you.💜🇮🇪💜
You are kind.
You are caring.
You are empathetic.

Thank you for your efforts.🇮🇪
I hope you didn’t have to make this journey alone.
I hope it wasnt lonely there in the black dark of night.
I hope no one would suggest that you are a criminal for doing what you feel to be necessary and essential for you. 💏

Have a wonderful Friday you lovely humans.

Perspective is the key to life ladybelles x

#repealthe8th #seewhatyouwanttosee
#oneweektogo #choice
#togetherforaye

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I am “Sense or Superstition?” Mum

“Don’t tell anyone until you’re past the 12 weeks”

This statement has begun to bother me.  Of course, there are many reasons for such traditional views as these.  It’s a social norm that couples are supposed to keep their big news to themselves until the 12 week mark, just incase.

Why? Well I honestly don’t know.  I suppose it was because the scan could determine that everything is OK so far and that there is actually a Baby in there.  And of course, there is the fact that most miscarriages (80% according to a reputable site for all things Babyful) happen before the 12 week mark.  

Maybe we SHOULD heed this advice.  Or maybe, like so many other aspects of pregnancy and parenting, we are holding ourselves ransom to old notions, afraid to break the norm…just incase.

When I was expecting Mini-Me, we did keep it to ourselves until we were 12 weeks.  I’ve grown up listening to this mantra and I accepted it to be “right”.  If it was good enough for every woman before me, it’s good enough for me.

 

While pregnant with Princess however, we found ourselves having to admit our “secret” at only 9 weeks, quite simply because I could no longer hide the bump or pass my belly off as having eaten too much.  I showed early and so I told early.  Older family members reacted identically…

“Oh congratulations guys! Great news! How far along are you? 9 weeks?” (raise eyebrows and inhale sharply)

“Jeepers you’re not safe yet. I wouldn’t be telling people yet.”

 

Yup.  Pop our bubble why don’t ye?!

 

Some of us CAN hide our little secrets better than others too.  Physically, some Mammies can get to 20+ weeks before the bump becomes obvious.  My 2 bumps appeared early. I managed to cover Mini-Me’s with flowy tops until 11 weeks.  Princess? From the second I peed on the stick, the belly bumped!

 

I tried and failed to hide it and eventually just told people. But for some reason, we think that by announcing a pregnancy early, we are tempting fate.  


Well here’s what I think about that.

 

At only 6 weeks pregnant, I had a scare with Princess. I then had to ring my parents/sister to come mind Mini-Me and inform them in one phone call that I was both pregnant (Yay!)…but maybe not for long.  Thankfully, it was only a scare, but had that scare ended in miscarriage, as so many do, who was I going to share my grief with? And why should a couple have to deal with such devastation alone? So many mums (and Dads) return to work only a few days later, and carry with them a sadness so great.  

 

It doesn’t matter how early it happens, a pregnancy is a pregnancy and a loss is a loss.  Is a lost baby any less your Baby? No. I don’t think so.  If you have begun to love the idea of the little person inside, your grief at 10 weeks is just as valid as the grief of someone who loses at 13 weeks.  But we’re expected to accept it and get on with it because it was early. And of course, some people can and do, but it must be allowed to be grieved and our Paddy Irish Way of keeping it quiet like a dirty little secret must change.  Why is miscarriage always hushed and whispered about? There is nothing shameful about it. Miscarriage IS a big deal, so why is it deemed something that shouldn’t be talked about?

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For most people, (and I say “most people” because let’s call a spade a spade, not everyone is happy to find out that they are expecting. It’s not all glows and Miracles and joyeous raptures but that’s a WHOLE different conversation), for most people, the second you find out you are pregnant, you are a Mammy and you begin to love. Getting to the 12 week mark is a relief of course.  But so is hitting 13 weeks and 14 weeks and so on. Every day is a relief.  But to think that you are safe after the 12 week mark is wrong.  Unfortunately, we all know this. A pregnancy can end at any time. Until your Baby is in your arms, there is no relief.  And even then, nothing is certain.

 

Now, of course there are many shaking their heads and tutting as they read this. “I wouldn’t be telling anyone before 12 weeks.”  That’s OK. I’m not saying that you should. I’m simply writing my OWN thoughts on it. I don’t assume to be right, but I do like to question things that Mammies and Daddies face.  I’m not asking you to agree, and if I were ever pregnant again, I don’t know WHEN I would announce it.  I don’t have to know.  There are no rules. There are no laws.

 

I’m not saying that hiding your pregnancy until 12 weeks is wrong.  It’s like EVERYTHING in pregnancy and Parenting.  Do what is right for you.  If you want to keep your happy news to yourself until you’re heading to the Labour ward, good for you.  You do just that. You don’t HAVE to announce anything.  

 

And if you want to sing it from the rooftops once you find out, DO!  

Your Body, Your call…

 

But we do need to stop letting our personal situations be dictated by old fashioned notions and remember that there are no rules.  Things like this are a personal choice.  If someone choses to tell you their happy news at 5 weeks, accept that that is their decision and don’t dismiss them because YOU wouldn’t tell so early.  And likewise, if someone keeps their news a secret until 20 weeks or later, that’s OK too.  Because unless it is YOUR BUMP, your opinion on when the news is announced, is really not that important.

 

I am Simply Feeding my Baby Mum. 

​“Mumpty Mumpty sat on the wall,

Mumpty Mumpty had a great fall…

All the Queen’s buddies and all the Queen’s men,

Couldn’t put Mumpty together again.”

Yup.

Mammies face a wall.

And boy it’s a big wall.

It’s huge.  It’s long.  It’s terrifying to sit atop because it’s so high.  It’s divided Mammies for years and a much as we campaign and try to promote awareness about the wall,  it only seems to be getting higher. The Mammies on each side of this wall think they’re better than the Mammies on the other side.  And the Mammies still sitting on top of the wall are generally terrified because not only do they not know which side to jump off, but most of them know that regardless of which side they choose, they’ll be judged.
And the worst thing about this wall which divides Mammies?
We built it ourselves.

And we continue to add bricks to it, every single day.
It’s The Feeding Wall.

And you must choose a side:  Breast or Bottle.
It’s the one wall that EVERY Mum must climb up onto, choose a side and jump off.  It’s unavoidable.  Once baby arrives, you must jump.  For many it’s an easy decision.  For others, it isn’t so easy.  For some, for many reasons, the decision is made for them.  Some Mammies choose a side, but then realise that it’s not for them and so they climb right over that wall and do what they must.

And most of us don’t give a damn which side other Mums choose. We don’t particularly care about how other Mammies are feeding their babies.  We don’t feel the need to tell them that they SHOULD be bottle-feeding, or that they MUST breastfeed.  We accept that every Mammy and indeed, every couple, are solely responsible for raising their own children and how they decide to feed and nurture their babies is THEIR BUSINESS alone.

It’s certainly none of mine.

Nor is it any of yours.

Some Mammies are decisive and don’t care about the opinion of others.  Others feel the need to try to convince you that if you’re NOT doing it the way they do it, then you’re doing it wrong.  You’re misinformed. You’re a bad Mammy even.

They don’t understand HOW you can be bothered with the sometimes difficult journey of Breastfeeding.  They don’t understand HOW you can NOT give your child “the best” start in life. They don’t understand HOW you could possibly breastfeed in public.  They don’t understand HOW you can ignore the scientific research that shows Breastfeeding to be “best”.

They don’t understand HOW you don’t think the same as them.

And you know what?

They don’t HAVE to understand, because IT’S NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS!

The Wall is getting higher. It’s ridiculous.  It shouldn’t even exist.  It should simply be a tiny little gate and you should chose which side you want to walk through.  It shouldn’t be high.  It shouldn’t be frightening.

And until we all get off our sanctimonious high horses and stop adding bricks to it, it’s going to get higher.

Ironically, the “Warriors” who fight each day to promote one feeding method or the other, don’t realise that they often add bricks to the wall.  If you automatically get defensive about your chosen feeding method, and the main way you promote it is by dismissing and demeaning the alternative, you’re simply judging… bitching even.

And when the information leaflets and campaigns use “Vs” in their copy, what hope do we have? Even the language is suggesting that there is competition, conflict, sides.

A few weeks ago, I read a post on a national forum from a Mammy of 2, who is pregnant again. Her youngest is 6 and she simply asked where was the best place to buy formula nowadays and which nappies people found best.

Now, bear in mind, this Ladybelle is ALREADY a Supermum to 2 children. She has ALREADY sat on that bloody Feeding Wall TWICE and has obviously made educated and personal choices for herself and her family already.  She wasn’t asking people their opinions on Breast feeding or bottle feeding.  She was asking a housekeeping question.  Where could she save money and which nappy brand is now kicking ass in the world of Mammies.

The answers were generally simply answers, but IMMEDIATELY there were comments such as “Why not do the best thing for your baby and breast feed?”  or “Breastfeed and use cloth nappies.  Better for baby and Mammy.”  And my favourite,“Breast is best.” etc.  The thread turned into a debate between Mums about how she should be feeding.  It got nasty.  It got scientific.  It got offensive and it got deleted.
Had this Mammy been asking for advice on breastfeeding, would anyone on the forum have DARED to suggest “Just bottle feed! It’s far better.”

Probably not.  They’d have been be lynched.  Although Mammies who breast feed often get comments passed too. “How do you know she’s getting enough?”  “Would you not just top him up with a wee bobo?”  “How can you be bothered?”

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I can already hear the thoughts of some Mammies as they read this.  I can predict some of the comments that will appear.  And each one them will simply prove my point.  Our opinions are simply that… OUR OPINIONS. They hold no weight in the lives of others. Nor should they.

If you get sooooo upset by the Beautiful Mammy feeding her baby formula from a bottle, ask yourself why?

If you get soooooo offended by the beautiful Mammy breastfeeding her baby in the cafe, ask yourself why?

Does it hurt you? Are you drinking it? Is it your breast?

No.

So get over it.
Yes, we should live in a society where Mammies are able to, and feel comfortable enough to, breastfeed their babies in public, without sexualisation of the breast, without others feeling uncomfortable. Of course we should. The cities have a wonderful attitude to breastfeeding.  And thankfully it’s improving here too.  And rightly so.  But we must also change our attitudes to feeding in general.

Because we should ALSO live in a society where a Mammy is able to feed her little baby HOWSOEVER she wishes WITHOUT being categorised or judged or having to take a side.  Why can we not all get on with it? Why is it such a bone of contention? Why do we take it all so personally?

Each negative comment on online forums.  

Each judgemental look or comment in hospitals.  

Each eyebrow raised at a raised nursing top is another brick in the wall.

And we’re building it ourselves.

Mumpty Mumpty should not have to jump off the wall.  She should not be pushed off one side or the other.  She should not be judged because of her choice.  She should be offered a helping hand, given a leg up,  from ALL Mammies and she should be applauded when she lands, regardless of which side she lands on.

Because unless she jumps directly onto your head and knocks you out, her choice doesn’t really affect you either way, does it?

Which “side” of the wall am I on?  Well that doesn’t really matter, but I’ll happily tell you.  I bottle fed. Twice.  Why? Well that’s really none of anyone’s business is it?

Do I care how you feed your baby?

Absolutely not. Just keep them fed. That’s all that matters.

Mumpty Mumpty sat on the wall.

Then all the other Mumpty Mumpties helped her down and told her she was doing a great job and then they all raised their own babies and they all lived happily ever after.

The End.”

I am Simply Feeding my Baby Mum.