Whilst pregnant you hear a lot about how to push a watermelon out of your privates and how sleep deprived you will be, especially in those first few weeks, but here is my guide from my experience of those things they don’t tell you about:
A rucksack will become your new handbag. Perfect for carrying everything for you and your little ones. Doesn’t matter whether its designer or one you’ve had for years. It will mean one less thing to carry in your hands. Changing bags seem ideal but soon become a pain in the ass to carry around. You can now get changing bag rucksacks which could be the answer if you need the insulated pockets. Only downside is watch out when you bend over with it still on your back as they tend to punch you in the back of the head!
Weaning is exactly that ‘weaning’ and goes on for longer than you think. To help you out, get your hands on a small blender. If you have the budget for it try and get a hold of a Babycook which can steam, blend, defrost and reheat. This was a real lifesaver for us but do remember to put the lid on when blending or you will end up with a kitchen covered in sweet potato and carrot!
Technology isn’t all bad. I was adamant my daughter wouldn’t see an iPad or iPhone for years but in ‘my’ reality this wasn’t possible. Most of my job and charity work are online so I actually embrace that technology is going to be a part of her life. She was born with a cataract in one eye which following an operation to remove it left her with no lens. Her good eye should therefore be patched for approximately an hour each day to train her brain to use her bad eye more. They encourage use of sensory play and actually recommend using technology to help. I therefore don’t feel guilty using it. I also use it sometimes when she isn’t being patched because to be honest it makes my life a bit easier. For anyone concerned she is going to be over stimulated, I do also encourage her to read books.
More wine will be drunk than you think. There is nothing wrong to admit that the thought of a glass of vino at the end of the day when everyone is asleep in bed keeps you going on those hard days.
Don’t feel guilty if your child is in nursery on a day you are not at work because looking after yourself is just as important. Whether it’s to go to the gym, do the washing, do the weekly shop, have your hair done or do some charity work, it means you will be a happier mummy because you have taken some time out for you.
Your camera roll will become full of photos of your children. Romantic selfies will be replaced with bare bottoms, first words, first days at school and even first solid poo’s!
Breastfeeding doesn’t always come to a natural end. Sometimes your breastfeeding journey comes to an end for your own sake, even if it’s not what you want. Whether you breastfeed for six days, six weeks, six months or a year, don’t give yourself a hard time if you make the decision to stop. My goal was to get to six weeks. I ended up carrying on until my daughter was 13 months. I wanted to make it to a year so I could start giving my daughter some cow’s milk rather than formula. Unfortunately I had mastitis three times in a month and a half which just didn’t seem to heal. I didn’t want to stop and it broke my heart as I wanted to let her decide when she was ready to stop, but I kept getting sick so decided it was time to look after myself and stop. She needed me to be a healthy mother so that’s what I had to do for both our sakes.
Embrace the makeup free, frizzy hair you. You sometimes go through a whole day without having time to look in the mirror so my tip is to just not worry. Your child doesn’t care whether you have clean hair so if you are having one of those mornings and don’t have time, just go with it.
You will burst into tears in public, maybe even more than once!I was at a supermarket checkout having somehow got me and my daughter up, dressed, fed and around the supermarket. I was tired, stressed and taking a few seconds to check my online banking when the man behind me made some comment under his breath about how I couldn’t keep off my phone. I barked back on the verge of tears trying to explain I was seeing if I had enough money in my account. I removed myself from the queue and buried my tears under my hair whilst I sorted myself out. I let him have his turn then went back to pay. He didn’t know what day I was having or how much effort it had taken me to get to this point but his comment hurt me. I was just trying to survive the day and be a good mummy and wife. If only a ‘Tired mummy – treat with care’ badge existed, it may just make people think twice about their words or actions.
Last but not least…..You will listen to your child breathing in their sleep, probably more than you think….and isn’t it a beautiful sound.
I believe in fate and as hard as that may be with Freddie’s passing, I believe everything happens for a reason. I know some people in similar situations to us may not like to hear that, but personally that is what I believe.
This is a picture of a thank you card I gave my mother and sister at Freddie’s baby shower two weeks before he passed. As we sat there chatting once everyone had gone home, a bird flew into the garden and landed on top of the bunting that was up, just like on this card. I spotted it and commented on how amazing that was.
I had specifically picked the card with bunting on it because we had arranged for everyone at the baby shower to sew and decorate their triangle of material so we could put all the pieces together to make bunting. Once Freddie had passed Rik decided he wanted to add Freddie’s name to my triangle and we proudly hung the finished bunting up at his wake.
Birds have played a big part in Freddie’s life. I gave my mother a bird Christmas tree decoration the day I announced my pregnancy, the plant my mother picked out to put in her garden in memory of him she later found out was called Hibiscus Blue Bird, one of the songs we played at his funeral was Songbird by Eva Cassidy and after he passed a dear friend gave us a blue ceramic bird.
We therefore feel so strongly about this connection that we have decided to have a bird on Freddie’s memorial plaque.
I don’t know why Freddie left us or where he is now, but I believe he knows he is very special and very loved and will one day fly into our lives once again. I can’t wait.
I knew straight away what encapsulated this word for me about Freddie and that was the first item he ever had representing his identity – his hospital name tag. He was given a name tag but we were also able to take another name tag home with us so Freddie never wore this but it is what it resembles to me that makes it so special.
As you can see on the front it says ‘Baby – Freddie Leigh Bromley DOB: 16.8.13 @ 2227’ and on the reverse it says ‘Parents – Nicole & Richard’. The word ‘parents’ is so nice to read as when you lose a baby you have to keep reminding yourself that although I don’t have a baby in my arms, can’t go to parent and baby classes or protect my baby as a parent would, I will be his parent until eternity. I have photographed the name tag on a blue blanket which had been bought in preparation for his arrival. This blanket is so special to us as it was used to wrap Freddie up the night he arrived and has touched his skin.
We only knew that this was definitely going to be his name probably a few months before he arrived. It had started of as a nickname previously as when we announced that we were expecting we referred to the baby being either a ‘Fred’ or a ‘Ginger’. Then at 20 weeks when we found out the sex we announced to the family that we were having a ‘Fred’ and as time went on he was referred to as Freddie. Rik & I then found ourselves really growing to the love the name and also found it hard to call him anything else but this. We had pretty much settled on the name but kept it a secret from the family as we wanted to make sure it suited him when we saw his face.
The name Freddie also has a special meaning because my husband is called Richard Frederick and his father is called Richard Frederick and his grandfather is called Fredrick so calling our son ‘Freddie’ would continue with the tradition but with a modern twist. We chose Leigh as a middle name as my father’s middle name is Leigh, as was his fathers, so again we were continuing with tradition for my side of the family. The suitability of the name was reinforced when we found out its meaning of ‘peaceful ruler’ and knowing he is now at peace and ruling over our family keeping us safe.
When we were told Freddie had passed I don’t think we even thought for a second that he would be called anything else. This was the name we had given him whilst growing in my womb and he would have known that. When we met Freddie, we knew that he suited the name 100% and there was no doubt in our mind. It was the perfect name for our perfect boy. x
I find it quite sad, but comforting, that my last blog post entitled ‘Baby Bromley‘ was written the very day before Freddie passed and the day I went into labour. I had been meaning to update my blog with the news of the impending arrival for months but only managed to get down to blogging on Thursday 15th August.
If I had known what the next 24 hours would bring I would have stepped away from the computer and spent those hours bonding with Freddie in what would be the last few hours we spend together. Reading the blog post now I love how innocent and full of aspiration and excitement I sound. I am glad I captured that moment and can remind myself of the joy of not knowing what I now know.
Although we never got to see Freddie open his eyes, cry his first cry or smile his first smile, we did get to meet him on Friday 16th August, 10.27pm when he arrived into our lives, and that is an honour that can never be taken away. In the blog post, I wrote about the many different reasons why I was looking forward to the birth of Freddie. Looking back at these now I can say we experienced over half of them including the joy of seeing his face for the first time, introducing him to our families, having him join our lives, touching him for the first time, seeing what he looked like and our reactions to his arrival.