Friday, 29 January 2016

A baby lost and a new life found

Recently would have been my third baby's due date. I lost that baby at 11 weeks. As painful as it was, it taught me so much about my family, my husband and myself, and I wanted to share that with you. 

Sometimes as a housewife, I can feel disillusioned by my husband. I can wonder if he does anything in the house, if he disciplines the kids at all and if I am respected or appreciated. These thoughts are not fair on my very hard-working Mr. K - they simply come from my being burnt out. But when this happened, he laid everything down. He took two weeks off work (a huge sacrifice for him), he looked after the kids entirely and cleaned the house, while sending me to bed - did I mention he even bought me a cat to keep me company?! He was exactly what I needed, and it taught me never to underestimate, nor disrespect him and his role. 

Secondly, our families. It's hard to know how to react to a miscarriage, but I was overwhelmed by them. Our fathers - both stolid, unemotional men, called frequently and grieved like they had lost a grandchild - which of course they had. I can't express to you the courage that gave me. Courage to feel the loss of my child, not to sweep my pain under the rug. 

And finally, myself. It made me face up to certain realities, namely my mental health and the affect it has on my family. Another post on this later. 

This experience has made me change my views on several things, and strengthen my views on others. I did not want that baby; or, I didn't want it then. Now I am open to any babies God will bless me with. I realise I may feel differently after multiples, or number 4 or number 6, but that's where I am right now. Children are a blessing - you've heard it time and time again. And yes, it's hard to feel it when they're throwing a tantrum or telling you No, they DON'T love you, or you just feel so overwhelmed you're not sure you can go on. But now I understand, truly, that they are that blessing. Losing one baby has given me the opportunity to love the ones I have even more fiercely. 

Lastly, and it's the controversial one (but I offer no apology). I was already opposed to abortion: I feel my God opposes it and therefore I did too. However now it's personal. Now I understand what it's like to be pregnant and then suddenly not be, and I find the idea of doing it on purpose abhorrent. My baby was loved: by myself, my husband, our families and our friends. I know that's not true for all babies. However my baby was a person who would have had thought and feelings. They could have been anything they wanted: they could have changed the world. They would have changed my world. I don't know why God took my baby so early. But I know it's not my place - nor anyone else's - to make that decision for another soul. 

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Why I dislike breastfeeding (but do it anyway)

I have something to confess: I don’t like breastfeeding.

I breastfed my son until he was 14 months, and plan on continuing to bf my daughter until at least that age. And I don’t enjoy it. I know there will be some of you out there saying that something must be wrong (the latch? A tongue-tie? positioning?).  Maybe some of you will even be wondering if I have postnatal depression, and that’s why I dislike it. Do I hate it every time I sit down to feed my daughter? Not at all. Do I feel proud of my efforts? Absolutely. Do I gaze down at her and feel like we have a special bond because of breastfeeding? No, I do not – we would have had that regardless.

Here’s some of the reasons why I don’t like it.

 I over-produce milk, which I keep being told is a blessing, but means changing my nursing pads every few hours and constantly leaking milk. It means having to express (yes, I know that produces more milk, sometimes I have no choice). And it means I am very susceptible to mastitis and especially thrush (the most painful thing ever, in my opinion).

I dislike breastfeeding because of the dependence my daughter has for me, for ravenous hunger, for milk squirting on the poor stranger who has the misfortune of sitting next to me.

I hate the constant discussion about it, about debates over feeding in public and ‘nurse-ins’. I hate people thinking I judge bottle-feeding because I breastfeed or, even worse, strangers who feel they have to defend why they didn’t (it was your decision and, frankly, I don’t care).

So why do I do it? Why do I put myself through it? For this reason: it’s not about me. I don’t have to like it. No one said every part of mothering was going to be fun (hello, labour anyone?). I’m a breastfeeder who dislikes breastfeeding. That is my infant-feeding journey; it has nothing to do with anyone else’s.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Haggis filo pie

To slowly get back into blogging, I thought I'd start with a wee recipe. This one came directly from a "that recipe is too hard I'm going to make it easier" situation. Throw in a couple "I'll just substitute that" and this is what I came up with. A surprisingly big hit for everyone:

1. Cook spinach (I use frozen, straight into the pan) with some seasoning and add feta (2/3 block). I threw in some Mexican cheese as it was almost past its best.

  2. Cook haggis (I used the microwave 'cause, you know, 2 little kiddies) and add to mixture.
3. Lay 3 sheets of filo in springform cake tin, brushing each layer with butter before adding the next (strictly store-bought filo because, well, I'm not crazy).

4. Add haggis mix, repeat filo layers on top (btw, the numbers of layers are simply because the pack had 6 sheets in it. Add more as desired!).
5. Scrunch layers over the top and add butter. Cook at 200C until golden brown (about 30 minutes).

6. Slice and enjoy! 

Mr K had this for lunch the next day and said it held up very well. Just remember to let it cool totally before covering and putting in the fridge or you'll have soggy pastry. 

Oh, and if you have left-over filo, do not try to make an apple and chocolate pie. In the words of the frog "eww mama, gross".

Saturday, 22 March 2014

The no makeup selfie and true beauty

Ah... The selfie. I have to say, I'm not the biggest fan. But then I'm the type of person who floods facebook with way too many pictures of my kids, which I'm sure annoys plenty of people!

Going around at the moment is the no makeup selfie, where women take pictures of themselves with no makeup and post it to FB and twitter. It has now become a method to raise money for cancer research, with over £2 million being raised so far ( I think this is wonderful idea, and am impressed with whoever thought of combining the two. But it originated as a challenge to women's courage to post these photos, and that concerns me. 

This is not a post about the evils of makeup. I know wearing makeup for a lot of women is about increasing confidence and looking good for themselves and their partner. But some of the selfies I've  seen worry me - women who had to hide behind items to be able to take them, or for whom this was the first time their friends and family had seen them without makeup. It isn't about showcasing a woman's natural beauty, it's about the shock factor of seeing her without her mask on. That to me isn't about self confidence - it's about expectation. 

And that's what worries me the most about this no makeup selfie trend - it implies that women's normal face is one covered in make up, and we should be ashamed of what is underneath. I don't know about you but that isn't a message I want my daughter to grow up with. 

The no makeup selfie has taken something worrying about today's society and turned it into a charitable cause. As I said, I think that's wonderful and hope the campaign raises even more money. But I just hope the original trend doesn't diminish our view of beauty. Because to me beauty is the woman sweating and bruised from a long labour, beaming as she holds her trophy at the end. It is the athlete whose feet are blistered at the end of a long race but her face shows pride in her accomplishment. It is the elderly woman whose lined face expresses every early start with her children, every late finish at the office and every time her grandchildren made her laugh. 

That is true beauty. And that is what we should be passing on to our daughters. 

My version of the no makeup selfie... Not much of a difference (I'm a date night only wearer!). 

Monday, 10 March 2014

Things I'd forgotten about having a baby

1. How much labour hurts. There's no getting around it - there's no pain like it.

2. The enormous sense of pride when you see what you've managed to create and birth. This goes hand-in-hand with the wonder of God's creation.

3. How it feels when your milk comes in and you're engorged and HUGE. And the relief when it settles down.

4. How long it takes to recover from birth - even if you've had no complications - and all the things that go along with it (after pains, night sweats, bleeding, cramps and pain).

5. How your love multiplies (not divides) between your existing family members and your new addition.

(Clearly, I've had our second child! God blessed us with a girl, 16 days overdue and weighing 9lbs 6ozs. You can expect lots of sleep-deprived ramblings soon, but for now I'm just learning how to be the mother of 2 under two).

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Thankfulness Challenge

Over the month of January, I have been doing a Thankfulness Challenge on my facebook page. The response has been great and I've loved reading about the things you're thankful for! Thank you again to those who participated. I've learned that I have so many things to be thankful for - I thought that I might struggle towards the end to come up with things but I found it very easy (and probably could have gone on for another month!). It has encouraged me to remember those things I'm thankful for and that all blessings comes from above.

In case you missed them, here's a round-up of what I'm thankful for:

Day #1: My husband
Day #2: Healthy babies
Day #3: My son
Day #4: The car
Day #5: The end of my studies
Day #6: That I have a month to go in this pregnancy
Day #7: Those who serve in our military, past and present
Day #8: Mr. K's job
Day #9: My parents
Day #10: The Internet
Day #11: My job
Day #12: Friends
Day #13: The NHS
Day #14: My sister
Day #15: My university education
Day #16: Unconditional love
Day #17: Skype/long distance calls
Day #18: The unseen things my husband does
Day #19: My nephews and niece
Day #20: My health
Day #21: People I can trust to look after my son
Day #22: The beauty of Scotland
Day #23: Motivation
Day #24: Democracy
Day #25: The weather
Day #26: The church
Day #27: The church in South Africa
Day #28: Prayer
Day #29: Travel
Day #30: Kindness
Day #31: This challenge

What a blessing it is to see that list! Doing this every day for a month has helped me focus on each of these things, but seeing them all together just shows me so clearly how blessed I am.

Try writing your own list (if you participated in the challenge or not). Keep it somewhere you can see/add to it.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014


If, like me, you find yourself a little short on space after Christmas, here's my five de-cluttering resolutions:

1. 3 month rule
If you haven't used it in the last 3 months, put it away (back cupboard, attic or garage).

2. 12 month rule
 If you haven't used it in the last 12 months, time to make a visit to the charity shop.

3. Sentimental items
Only keep things outside these rules if you really love them and they have sentimental meaning. I'm a mama who wants to keep every cute items of clothing the frog's ever worn (so I can make that quilt one day - aye right), so this one is particularly hard for me. My tip? Have one box to keep all your sentimental stuff. Go back each year and clear through it - I bet half the stuff you won't remember why you kept in the first place!

4. Space?
When buying things, ALWAYS ask yourself this vital question - where will it go? This doesn't just apply to furniture (i.e. that oh-so-practical-but-pretty storage box that is too small to be of any actual use). When you're tempted by that 2 for 1 offer, ask yourself if you actually have room for it in the cupboard. This is especially true of those things that take you a year to get through anyway - you don't need two (this is how I managed to find myself with 3 jars of golden syrup in my cupboard, which we only eat once a year on pancake day).

5. Don't go back
When de-cluttering, make quick decisions and whatever you do, don't go back through that 'donate' bag. Follow your first instinct, or you'll find yourself making excuses to keep those shoes that you've only ever worn to the car and back because they shredded your feet (trust me, on this one I speak from experience).

Happy de-cluttering!

What are your best ways of keeping the clutter down? How do you stop your kids toys becoming clutter? Please share any tips below!