The World Book Day Fear

As Mothers, we experience many, many, many fears…

Fear during pregnancy.

Fear of birth.

Fear every day…

But once a year, in early March, for many of us, there is a special fear.

It’s the fear of realising that it’s World Book Day…and you’ve sent your children off to school in NORMAL clothes.

This morning, I managed to get the girls out to school with unusual calm and minimal drama.  I dropped them at pre-school and to the bus, and tottered on my merry, knackered way on to my other job-job.

I parked the car and reached for my phone to have a quick peek at my messages before going into the building.  I hit the Insta icon, and speed scrolled absent mindedly… and then I saw them.

ALL of them…

All of the eleventy squillion images of kids I know and don’t know, dressed in all sorts of book characters, from Mr Twit to Mary-of-the-Poppins.

“FAAAAAAAACK!” I shout at my phone.

“FAAAACKIITTY FUCK FUCK!”

I scramble through my brain for faint memories of an unread message from the school about dressing up. Nope.

I try to remember if I saw a conversation about costumes on the parenty ‘Wattsup’ group…  I really can’t.

I then have the tummy wrenching realisation that as a “Working-at-a-job-job Mum” who has just returned from a 4 day work trip 8734 miles away, that maybe, just MAYBE I have simply fucked up and MISSED something.

The Fear is real.

And the Mammy guilt that is already strong this week has multiplied ten fold.

I send a message to the parents group begging “Were the kids supposed to dress up today?”  followed by “By which I mean, please tell me that they kids WERE NOT supposed to dress up today!?”

Even as I type, I am trying to figure out how I can get her Harry Potter costume transported from the house to the school in the next 14 minutes.

I’m trying to gauge if I could get to Penneysbest at break time to buy a stripy jumper to make her Wally, or an oversized fluffy jacket to make her The Gruffallo.  Then I realise that the only Wally is me.

Just as I’m practising my “Sure you were Matilda Darling” speech for this evening,  one of the other Mammy angels replies with “No costumes!”

I swear to God, the relief left me dizzy.  I realised I was sweating like Mr Wormwood in a confessional box.  My breathing was faster than Hermione’s when someone broke a rule.  I was paler than Horrid Henry when, well… you get me yeah?

I had The World Book Day Costume Fear!

But, I fear that the only Wally on this World Book Day, was Mammy.

 

I am Slightly Ashamed Mum

Mammy is slightly ashamed of herself.
Today, Mammy reached a new low.

Mammy put her 23 month old between herself… and a snake: A teeny, tiny, shitty, scrawny fecking snake.

But Mammy here was so petrified with terror that I hid…BEHIND my baby.

We were at a party which had a (really cool) mini farm outside, all bunnies and hedgehogs and sheep and chickens. Nice animals. Proper animals. 🐏🐑🐇🐰🐁

I was sitting on the floor inside with Princess on top of me, playing happily and chatting to my brother. Next thing, in barges the wee man of the house with a snake…a REAL LIFE living, hissing, breathing, bastarding REPTILE… around his wee shoulders.

The Grannies and Aunties in the room FREAKED out; some with fear and swear words to make even ME blush, others with laughter at their reaction. 😂

Me?

I froze in terror, forgot to breathe and HID behind my baby, eyes closed. I couldn’t function… Even when my brother quietly told me “It’s gone…” I couldn’t move. I was afraid that if I opened my eyes, the red-eyed feckingwrither would have been hissing in my face, like an angry wee penis.

The room quietened down. Brother Dearest said it again, laughing “Relax yourself you madwoman, it’s gone.”

I slowly lifted my head and peeped out from behind my little curly headed saviour, to see my cousins looking at me. As I loosened my vice-grip on my poor child, one of my favourite wenches said “Tell me you did NOT just hide from that snake BEHIND your Baby?”

And then they laughed… and laughed and laughed. Bitches.😍

And after I stopped shaking and began breathing again, I too laughed.

Of course the poor wee snake was probably more petrified than I was, and had it been a REAL danger, OF COURSE I would have drop-kicked the slithering bellycrawling demon out the door, but I KNEW she was perfectly safe; partly because her big strong uncle was beside her, and partly because, well, it’s Princess…and she doesn’t KNOW waht fear is. Seriously, she could take on ANYTHING.
Hitler would run away from her if she was in the right mood.

Had it been Mini-Me, there’s a good chance I’d have been out the feckin window.😂😂

Yup. Mammy fail.
Big time.
I’m not even afraid to admit it. 😣😣😣

(But it gave the cousins a laugh if nothing else. Cough *brats!)

#mammyisachickenshit

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.

 

Thoroughly Modern Mammy – I am Say what? Mum

Rational thinking goes out the window the second a pregnancy test indicates a positive result.  

Logic goes with it.

They are replaced by panic and worry and fear.

 

From the moment the word “Pregnant” appeared on the little screen over 6 years ago, the sensible and calm me has been replaced gradually by what I like to call the “Hormental” Me.

 

And of course, we CAN blame hormones for our newly irrational, illogical and panicked minds…  But we can also blame ANOTHER factor.

 

People.

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When you are pregnant, people and the things that people say, when mixed with the hormones and genuine fears of pregnancy, create an explosive cocktail of mental mayhem.  Generally people mean no harm and their comments are 100% innocent, but what they say and what we HEAR are often two very different things.

 

Person Says:  “Oh my Gosh, you’re so neat!”

Mammy thinks:  “Oh my Gosh, there’s something wrong.  My baby must be too small.  What if he isn’t growing properly? When is my next appointment? I wonder is it too late to ring my midwife? I must order a doppler online right now.  Why am I not bigger? What’s wrong with me? Something’s wrong…”

 

Person Says:  “Oh my Gosh, you’re blooming!”

Mammy thinks:  “Oh my Gosh, there’s something wrong. I’m too big.  I must have extra fluid. What’s wrong with me? What if there’s something wrong with the Baby? Or maybe I’m just fat. I must look like an upturned turtle. I’m huge. When is my next appointment? I wonder is it too late to ring my midwife? I must order a doppler online right now.  Why am I so big? What’s wrong with me? Something’s wrong…”

 

Person Says:  “Oh my Gosh, you’re carrying so low!”

Mammy thinks:  “Oh my Gosh, there’s something wrong. I’m too low.  I must have dropped.  I’m too early to be low. I’m going to go early. There’s something wrong with the Baby? When is my next appointment? I wonder if I should ring Maternity…What’s wrong with me? Something’s wrong…”

 

Person Says:  “Oh my Gosh, you’re carrying so high!”

Mammy thinks:  “Oh my Gosh, there’s something wrong. I’m too high. I must look like I have three boobs. Why am I so high? Should my bump not be lower? There’s something wrong with the Baby? When is my next appointment? I wonder if I should ring Maternity…What’s wrong with me? Something’s wrong…”

 

Person Says:  “Are you feeling lots of kicks?”

Mammy thinks:  “Oh my Gosh, when did I last feel a kick? I can’t remember. It hasn’t kicked today. Did I feel kicks yesterday?  How do I know if it’s kicks or just wind?

There’s something wrong. When is my next appointment? I wonder if I should ring Maternity…What’s wrong with me? Something’s wrong…”

 

Person Says:  “Oh my Gosh, you look wrecked!”

Mammy thinks:  “Oh my Gosh, she’s right.  I look awful. Why am I so tired? I’m too pale.  My iron must be low.  Can I buy an iron level tester online? There’s something wrong with the Baby.  When is my next appointment? I wonder if I should ring Maternity…What’s wrong with me? Something’s wrong…”

 

Person Says:  “Oh my Gosh! You look AMAZING!”

Mammy thinks:  “Oh my Gosh, there’s something wrong. I should be sick.  Should I not be tired by now?  Why do I feel so well? What’s wrong with me? Oh my God, there’s something wrong with the Baby?  I When is my next appointment? I wonder if I should ring Maternity…What’s wrong with me? Something’s wrong…”

 

See the pattern?!

 

No matter WHAT people say, on certain days, your rewired Baby Brain will divert immediately to worst case scenario; to fear, to panic.  And this is completely normal.  It’s our brains preparing for the constant alertness of being a Mammy.  It’s instinct kicking in and it’s one of the ways we ensure that our little beans are as safe as we can possibly keep them, from the second they’re conceived.  

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If I had called Maternity every time I felt the urge to, I’d have been on the phone to the poor midwives 24/7.  Hell, I’d have moved into the labour ward the day I peed on the stick if it had been an option!

 

People say things to us, meaning no harm whatsoever.  We can’t help but over-think things.  It’s normal to overreact, especially when people make silly, albeit innocent, statements like the crackers above.

 

(But joking aside,  if you DO have a niggling worry or concern or you just feel like something isn’t right, DO contact your GP or PHN. Follow your gut… or bump.  You might be irrational and illogical and slightly hormental, but you’re also a Mammy-in-the-making and Mammy knows best.)   

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