#Coppafeel #movember #smearforsmear

For those of you that know me IRL, you’ll know that the past few years have been difficult for my family because of the big ‘C’.

Our family history unfortunately has a lot of cancer in it. My Nan passed away from lung cancer, my uncle passed away from bladder and kidney cancer. Then in 2016, my mum received the devastating news that she had breast cancer. How could this be happening to our family again, and my mum was only 50! How was this possible!! So after a very quick diagnosis and a couple of planning appointments, she was then in to start treatment straight away! Now I’ve never believed in superhero’s, I watch the marvel films and like to think that deep down somewhere in all of us, there’s a superhero waiting to escape! I can honestly say though, watching my mum go through all the treatment – the chemo, the hair loss, the sickness, the mastectomy, the healing, the radiotherapy, the tiredness and then the recovery – made me truly believe she’s superhuman! She absolutely nailed it all and never complained despite how ill it made her feel at times.

So then 6 weeks ago, when she told us she’d found another lump, I think it was a massive shock for all of us, not least for mum herself! To have fought it and been told you’re ‘cancer free’ only to have it reoccur is the most awful kick in the bits you could expect. But yet again, my mum has handled it like an absolute superhero and just got on with it. She found out a couple of weeks ago, it’s localised. She’s started her radiotherapy and hopefully that will be all that’s needed to kick its arse again!!

It’s so hard to see someone you love go through something so horrendous, and the impact it has on the rest of the family knowing there’s nothing we can do. It also makes you realise what’s important. I am the absolute worst when it comes to being stressed by non-important things and if this is teaching me anything, the words that my husband always says to me, ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’ are so appropriate. Life really is so precious and short and hard as it is, there is little point worrying about the things you cannot control.

And as tough as it has been both the first time round, and the second time round, my mum has had some of the best care you could hope for when it comes to oncology care. The amazing staff at Cheltenham General Hospital, the support from the Macmillan nurses and above all the incredible, unwavering support from all at Maggie’s centre.

My reason for this post is to raise awareness of the importance of checking your bits whatever gender you are!! Go for your regular screening appointments, get your other half to help you check, be mindful of any changes. There are some great campaigns out there to help you know what to do but the main thing is if you’re ever worried or unsure, go see your GP and get it checked. It might just save your life!

https://coppafeel.org – Breast cancer awareness

https://uk.movember.com/mens-health/testicular-cancer – testicular cancer awareness

https://www.jostrust.org.uk/ – cervical cancer awareness

Breastfeeding is easy!

Isn’t that what everyone tells you? Its the most natural, easy thing in the world!

I spent my first five days of motherhood desperately trying to do this super easy, natural thing and do you know what, i’m calling bullshit on this one!

My little man is now nearly 5 months old and I have been exclusively breastfeeding him since birth. I genuinely do love it now but it has definitely not been easy or felt natural! I thought it would be useful to share some honest, real-life experiences from a first time mumma who has not had the easiest of times feeding my baby so that hopefully, other new mumma’s can cut themselves some slack from day one! (All words are my own and I am not a qualified breastfeeding/lactation specialist)

“I’m calling bullshit on this one!”

Its the most easy, natural thing in the world!

So heres my list of things that I hope might be helpful!

  1. Tongue Tie – there are varying degrees of this and not all mums who’s baby has a tongue tie will feel pain. However, if your baby is feeding every hour, for 45 mins at a time and it feels like you’re being dragged along a gravel pavement, nipple first – this is NOT NORMAL! It took us 5 days to get our tongue tie snipped, and poor little man had an extremely severe tongue tie! My hubby described seeing my feeding pain as worse than watching me go through childbirth!
  2. We’ve all had days where we’ve wanted to stop breastfeeding – this is normal, and if you do decide to stop, this is absolutely fine! A happy mumma = a happy baby. But make sure it is your decision (with your significant other) and no-one elses!
  3. Comfort feeding – there will be times when your baby feeds for comfort. Again, completely normal! They’ve been in your tummy til now with warmth, on-demand food resulting in constantly full tummies and a complete sense of safety – the world is cold, bright and they have to cry to get food, sometimes, they just want to feel close to us again! Now i actually get this, I am happy to give my boy snuggles and comfort when he wants it! I know i’m going to blink and he’ll be 18 and the last thing he’ll want is comfort from his mummy!
  4. Support is out there – I have been so fortunate to have an amazing group of mumma’s (through NCT and Mush) to support me as well as access to the amazing support group at the children’s centre. If you need help, go get it! This is not a sign of defeat, this is all new and accepting help is the best thing to do!
  5. Breastfeeding is just as hard for our partners – ok, this one might be slightly controversial but hear me out. My hubby has had to watch me break down in tears, physically wincing at the pain on several occasions because all our little man wanted to do is feed and I was broken, sore, exhausted, overwhelmed and a whole array of other emotions – he would have done anything to be able to help me physically but he couldn’t – emotionally he was winning 100% in the support department, but physically he had to watch his wife and baby figure this out which was just as tough for him as it was for me! However, there is no way I would be still feeding our little man 5 months on if it wasn’t for his support!
  6. This too shall pass – everyone tells you that the all-night feeding parties, the sleep-feed shift patterns, the colic, the wind, the cluster-feeding, the no-sleeping will pass. At the time, you will not believe it but I promise you it is true! And it really does get easier, you then just have different phases to work through. You blink and you’re into the next ‘leap’ or ‘growth spurt’ or ‘teething phase’ – and with each leap forward, you will burst inside at the amazing developments these tiny humans are making , the personalities they are getting, the cheekiness on their happy smily little faces; but you’ll also be a little sad that your baby is not a newborn any more and they are growing way too fast and that before you know it, they’ll be 6 months old, then 9 months, then a year, then you’ll be back to work and so on and so forth. So take comfort that the difficult phases will pass, but try to live in the moment too. You made this tiny little person, you’re responsible for making them grow and develop (however you are feeding them!) and you should take comfort and pride in this.
  7. Motherhood is a gift – there are lots of mums who would do anything to have the problems I have had and I know this. There are women longing to be mummas or who have loved and lost their little ones. Having been in a position where we didn’t think our little man would ever be possible, I have to remember this every day. He is our little miracle and I am eternally grateful that he came into our lives.
  8. When you can’t breastfeed! There are also a number of mummas who have little ones and would do anything to be able to breastfeed them but for a number of reasons they can’t, or they are but with added difficulties like exclusively pumping or supplemental feeding or top-ups. Every mumma’s journey is different, and it doesn’t matter – as I said above, happy mumma = happy baby = happy family! If you want to formula feed, bottle feed or whatever you choose to do, it is your choice to make an informed decision about what is best for you. I will also be doing another blog post on bottles as this is another hot topic for our little mumma network!
  9. Cut yourself some slackthere is no rule book! I’m going to repeat this as the number of times I, myself, have asked friends, family, health professionals ‘Am I allowed to do this…’ – there is no rule book. Every baby is different, read the advice, seek guidance and support and make your own informed decisions as a family doing the right thing for you and your baby!
  10. Remember: Mumma – you’ve got this!

Mummy’s day out

Before becoming a mum, I’d think nothing of going to the gym and spending a few hours chilling in the jacuzzi followed by the steam room; getting a massage or doing my nails whilst a luxury was something I could book at the drop of a hat. However, since becoming pregnant, all that changed. Firstly there was the multitude of reasons why you can’t do all of the above (except maybe the nails!) and now that the little man is here, well the likelihood is pretty much non-existent at the moment.

However, for my first Mother’s Day, my amazing fiancé and my little boy put their heads together with a couple of the other NCT dads and babies and they booked three of us mummy’s in for a spa day at the wonderful Brooklands Hotel & Spa.

Our morning began with as much of a mammoth feed as we could give our little monkeys (so that they would then behave for their daddies whilst we used the spa) and then a fantastic full English breakfast in the Hotel Restaurant. The service was absolutely brilliant as was the food (and I may have had one too many pain au chocolats before heading on up to the spa!!)

On arrival at the spa, we filled in consultation cards and were told about the luxurious facilities available as well as what time our treatments were – yes, that’s right, the daddies had gone all out and made sure that not only would we get time to relax but that we would be well and truly pampered too!! I was booked in for a cranial massage and a facial but more on these later! we were shown to the changing rooms and provided with the softest robes and slippers for use during our day.

We were advised to book a slot in the sunlight therapy room and the mediation room which we did. Our first stop though, was to enjoy the steam room which was exactly what we all needed to blow away the cobwebs from the haze of our first 3 months of being new mummas!

We then made our way down to the sunlight therapy room where one of the therapists provided us with sunglasses for the beach and chilled Prosecco! We then made our way onto the sunloungers on our Bali beach (after a bit of a shuffle around from some of our fellow ‘holiday makers’ who’d not left enough sunloungers free together – let’s be honest, it wouldn’t be a real beach without having to ask people if they could move up a lounger or two now would it!! 🙈 The sun came out and we all laid back to enjoy our sunny paradise…….for all of FIVE MINUTES!!! Now come on, you have to be kidding, for the first time in 15 weeks, I’m child free as he’s chilling with daddy and I find it completely impossible to switch off and relax!!! So as to not disturb by lovely mummy friends, I started to read one of the magazines provided ‘Confetti’ a bridal magazine!! I read all about how to have the perfect wedding on a budget, all about how to pick the perfect honeymoon destination and then felt fidgety again. At this point, so did the other two thankfully!! So then we spent the next 15 minutes just chatting unsurprisingly, about what the babies and the dads might be up to!!

Once our time was up, we took our Prosecco and headed towards the outdoor jacuzzi! It was a bit nippy but with our Prosecco in hand, we got into the tub and oh my god, it was amazing!! Perfect temperature and so nice to be in the bubbles with the slight chill in the outside air! We could see the racetrack outside which made for an interesting watch as there were some white knuckle rides going on! A couple in the jacuzzi got ‘Prosecco envy’ and she sent her husband in to get her a glass!!

We stayed in the jacuzzi for about 20 minutes before it was time to dry off and head in for our treatments. We were called through for our treatments – two of us booked for a facial and cranial massage, the third booked for a facial and firming eye treatment.

Both treatments were incredibly relaxing. The cranial massage also included neck and shoulders – somewhere I couldn’t believe was so tense! 15 weeks of carrying little man, on top of 9 months of pregnancy had absolutely destroyed my upper back!! Then followed the facial which I’m not usually a fan of but having not looked after my skin as well as I should have since little man arrived, this was a welcomed treatment! The therapists were super lovely and focussed in on the areas needing the most attention – they were really good at helping me relax to the point that I almost fell asleep!! The only downside is the hour went far too quickly!!

Once our treatments were finished, we made our way to the meditation room – this was by far my favourite bit of the day!! A water bed in a warmed, dimly lit room with relaxing music playing. They even brought us another glass of Prosecco each! 20 minutes in here was just enough to really relax.

Then it was time for our spa morning to come to an end and for us to go back and join the munchkins and daddy’s!!

All in all, this was a fabulous first Mother’s Day and I just wish we could have these ‘mummy time’ spa days a little more often!!

Being a new mum makes you realise all the things you previously took for granted but also makes you understand the importance of looking after yourself – whether through going to the spa, having a bath with your favourite book or just curling up on the sofa with hubby whilst the little man sleeps!! A well rested, happy mumma makes for a happy baby!! And whilst it was lovely to have a few hours to relax and be pampered, I couldn’t wait to get back to my boy and have cuddles!!

What ways have you found to take some all important ‘me time’ since your little ones arrived??



You can find details of the spa here: https://www.brooklandshotelsurrey.com/bspa/


#newmum #metime #mummytime #babyboy #mothersday #spaday #mummyfriends #findyourtribe #brooklandshotelandspa #relaxing #timeformum #surreymummas #newmummy #surreyparent

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