Categories
Oh Me, Oh Mãe

Tired And Weepy In The Evenings & Not Sleeping Makes Me Emotional

This post is about two images as I took them a day apart and they are about the same thing.

Note: I am not looking for sympathy or comments being like ‘you’re not a shit mother’. These are from over a month ago, and though I’ve made a similar image/text in the last week I know I only feel that way when I’m tired.

(Knowing you’re tired is one thing, being able to sleep is another.)

Why share though? I want to be as honest as possible with my mothering experiences, even if it is embarrassing/awkward at times in hope that it helps at least one person.

I feel like it’s a little late to be explaining this now after so many personal posts, but this feels like a different level of personal.

Tired And Weepy In The Evenings (24th June 2020)

 
Feeling like a bad mother
 
Just never stopping 
 
Knowing that I feel worse with no sleep 
 
No sleep is my own fault
 
Now I have a headache 
 
And the picture does no justice to how shitty and tired I feel
 
I don’t even know where the time has gone or what I’ve been doing 
 
I just feel bad 
 
I hope sleep comes quick 
 
I feel like she deserves better 
 
I feel like a shit mother 
 
I need a hug from my husband 
 
But I’m in the bathroom writing this as I sweat, and I need a shower 
 
Tomorrow it’ll be better 
 
Tomorrow I’ll be better 
 
This afternoon I had her in a sling and I felt greater 
 
I breastfed her and my nipples didn’t hurt 
 
And I felt like a good mother 
 
So, I can and will be that good mother again tomorrow 
 
I need to be as Tiago’s paternity is over
 
But at least he will be in the other room 
 
I think I would be scared to be home alone 
 
Though that’s silly as I was earlier 
 
Everything will be okay 
 
Though what mother stands in the bathroom typing this instead of hurrying to spend time with her kid
 
I need to fix my priorities 
 
Not Sleeping Makes Me Emotional (25th June 2020)

 
I really don’t know how long I slept last night
 
But I didn’t rest much
 
Tiago went ‘back to work’ today
 
Paternity in this country is so bad
 
So bad that he took 1 week of it and 1 week of annual leave
 
He was only in the other room but I felt alone
 
Feeding seemed never ending this morning
 
Then she settled in a wrap
 
When we took her out Tiago commented on how red her legs were
 
I didn’t want to look
 
I was getting hungry and I just got upset
 
I should be lying down more
 
Now I am getting tired
 
When I took this picture I was worried that I was not producing enough milk
 
I hadn’t eaten and I had barely drank
 
It’s a big responsibility making sure she gets enough to eat/drink.
 
I can see why people give up or just bottle feed
 
I guess I do forget that I can just breastfeed rather than express
 
Though I have started to do a bit of both
 
Maybe I should just try breastfeeding her and see how that goes
 
Less stressful than running round trying to pump
 
Lockdown just makes it all so weird
 
She is 2 weeks old and I am yet to go for a walk
 
Hopefully we will tonight but I say that every night
 
I guess usually we’d get more support
 
I just feel like I have 1000 things to do
 
But I need to focus on my family.

I took these photos on my phone. Perhaps I should be more bothered about the colour balance, but one is in the bathroom with no natural light and the other has all the natural light but film we put on the windows a few months ago makes pictures blue. I like presenting them as my phone took them (well with a little brightness/contrast editing).

This project is supposed to be just quick and easy at times with honest portrayals and whatever camera suits. When you’re crying/upset and need sleep you don’t want to set up your ‘studio’, but I guess most people wouldn’t photograph themselves either… It’s just so easy to take a couple of snaps with your phone.

Why do I photograph myself like this? Good question. My work is very therapeutic for me and in both cases I just thought ‘I should photograph myself’ as I’ve been photographing myself for years. My photos generally come with text now so I’m aware I have to write something – (well I don’t have to but I choose to).

The text that accompany the photos are freewritten – just like my hashtags usually are. I wrote them in emails addressed to myself on my phone and I quickly gave them subjects, which I then decided to use as titles for the photos. Writing the text was more therapeutic than taking the images as it allowed me to vent.

I was writing quite long diary entries in my phone during my pregnancy, but stopped not long after giving birth as it was too much work. I now have a line a day diary (more like 5 lines), where I write more about motherhood than I did about being pregnant in my diary before (I mainly wrote about it in my pregnancy project). It’s a 5 year diary, so it will be interesting comparing the years as there are 5 years to a page.

With these pictures though I wanted to keep the text as I wrote it which is why it is ‘normal text’ instead of hashtags. I could have easily changed it into hashtags, but I’m keen to try different writing styles with this project too (though I think so far these two texts are the odd ones out).

Moving on to other things.

Paternity leave is mentioned in both texts. It’s true that paternity in the UK is rubbish, though I guess some companies might be more generous (and whether or not they take it all is another thing – Why Dads Don’t Take Paternity Leave from the New York Times which is a follow-up to a 2019 article. Yes it’s about the US, but I think the situation is similar to the UK).

Tiago got one week of full pay and then he would have got one week of statutory, so he used a week of annual leave instead since we hadn’t been anywhere due to the pandemic (and so he wouldn’t lose money). His leave started whilst I was in hospital so he spent a few days of it alone, which was a shame as he missed out on a few days with B. (It was nice to come home to a clean flat with plenty of food in the fridge though.)

Birth is so unpredictable and it’s good that we weren’t in for longer. I know people who spent most of their paternity alone as they weren’t allowed to go back to work once they knew their partner and baby would be staying in hospital…

(I just did a search for paternity petitions on the UK Government and Parliament website. There is one called ‘Extend the Statutory Paternity Leave to minimum 4 weeks‘ which was opened last week and currently has 100+ signatures.)

Luckily Tiago was still working from home once his leave was over as I don’t think I would have been confident enough to be home alone with B. (Massive respect to those raising a child by themselves.) It was reassuring knowing he was in the flat – though in another room. He only left home to go somewhere for work for the first time since before lockdown a couple of weeks ago, but still works from home a lot like he did before everyone’s world get turned upside down.

I now try to make sure I’m going for a walk everyday. It makes such a difference getting out, though it can sometimes be a faff as I like for B to have just been fed and changed. Lately she stays awake for the whole of the walks, but is quite happy just daydreaming. She barely slept yesterday during the day, and typically fell asleep at the end of the walk but woke up after a minute of being back in the flat.

I mention feeding a lot in the text, but it is something I’ll be talking about a lot in my next post.

Though what mother stands in the bathroom typing this instead of hurrying to spend time with her kid / I need to fix my priorities

This is something I have talked about in a more recent teary picture/hashtag set, as well as finding it difficult when she hadn’t started to smile on purpose yet. Now that she smiles it feels a little more rewarding as before she only showed emotion when she was upset. I guess they smile on accident with wind and pooping early on as otherwise it would make things a lot harder. I love making people laugh and I think babies laughing is one of the best sounds in the world, so I can’t wait to hear her giggle for the first time.

So after reviewing these pictures and text, and thinking about similar examples from recently – and even how I felt in the evening yesterday – I need to look after myself better.

Only 2 days ago I read a BBC article by Mark Savage about Melanie C (yes, from the Spice Girls) that had a great quote about her and motherhood:

‘”Being a mum was so liberating because for the first time in my adult life, it wasn’t all about me,” she says. “It made me not only realise I had a huge responsibility to her but I have a huge responsibility to myself. In being her teacher, I had to treat myself better.”‘

I’m working on my life balance, but it’s still early days. I guess step one is being aware of the need for change, but now I just need to get on with it.

This week I’m trying to do a 7 day yoga challenge. Last week I did 3 short yoga videos and then none for a few days, so I just need to give myself at least 10 minutes a day to stretch and look after my body. The videos are only 15 minutes so its a good way to get back into it, and I like the idea of challenges as it helps motivate me.

(We all slept for 6+ hours straight last night, so we fed B, then I did the day two video at 6am whilst I knew I had the chance as she slept on Tiago.)

If I look after myself better, then I can look after B better and then I’m sure we’ll all feel better.

What do you do to look after yourself?


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Categories
Pregnancy

Exercising whilst pregnant

I had planned for this blog to be more than ‘just’ a place for posting my photography and video, so in this post I thought I’d share exercise videos that I did whilst I was pregnant.

(Scroll down if you just want to see my favourite YouTube pre-natal exercise videos and not read my preramble).

Tiago’s snap of me exercising a couple of weeks before giving birth. (Yes, that is my dress rolled up – I didn’t bother changing half of the time).

We moved to Liverpool at the end of 2018 and we signed up for the gym not long after. I didn’t like going, but watching Pointless (a TV quiz show) whilst using some equipment made it somewhat tolerable. Fact: I cancelled my membership after they stopped showing it on their TVs.

I enjoyed the classes, but I didn’t like that the ones I wanted to go to were quite late in the evenings and I felt like planning my time around an exercise class wasn’t that productive. I then got pregnant after I stopped going to the gym. I had been looking forward to answering yes in a class whenever they asked if anyone was pregnant, but never mind. Covid would have cut short that experience anyways with the closure of gyms…

When we lived in London I mainly did YouTube exercise videos, as the gyms close to me were expensive/I just felt like I didn’t have time to go to one. At one point I did go to a bootcamp in a park by me, but it would take up most of my day and after meeting Tiago (and making him go with me for a bit) I realised that that wasn’t how I wanted to spend a big chunk of my weekend.

I had planned to get into pre-natal exercise earlier than I eventually did. The intention was there, but the motivation was lacking. In the end it was hip/pelvis pain that made me start, as getting a maternity pillow wasn’t enough. I wanted to just workout at home due to the ease of it.

Stretching a couple of weeks before I gave birth.

Other pregnant people I knew wanted to wait until the pains got bad enough that they got referred for physio, but I didn’t want things to get worse. Surely with physio they would just give you stretches anyways, not some magic pill that would make the pains and aches magically go away? Covid probably put a stop to most face-to-face physio appointments anyways…

Warning: I’m just a regular person sharing what exercise videos I liked whilst I was pregnant. Talk to your doctor/listen to your body about what you can and can’t do. It’s meant to make you feel better, so don’t push yourself too much. If you can’t do the complete video without stopping that’s fine – I also used to get through a lot of water during them too.

In addition, I tried to go for a walk everyday (particularly once lockdown started). The earlier you start exercising in your pregnancy, the easier you’ll (hopefully) find it. As I got more pregnant I wasn’t able to do what I could earlier on, but it wasn’t such a shock to my body as I had been doing these videos for a while. It was funny doing them the first time and thinking ‘I can’t believe I’ll be that pregnant’, but before I knew it I was more pregnant than the teachers in the videos.

I also seem to be forgetting that dancing counts as exercise – here I am dancing the day before I gave birth!

One of the hardest parts of working out at home is just getting yourself onto your mat/into your space where you exercise with the intention to exercise. Having a baby adds another hurdle to getting there, so enjoy one less block whilst you can!

Anyways, here are the YouTube videos that I did the most whilst I was pregnant.


A good one to start with

10 minutes a day is a good start if you really don’t feel up to exercising. I think my morning sickness also made exercising unappealing. I moved to longer videos after feeling like I was just getting into the video, but it was over already.


Morning

In the beginning I’d exercise just once a day – usually just in the morning. Before long though I realised it wasn’t enough and I’d exercise in the evening too.

After doing the one in the previous section for a couple of weeks at least, I moved onto doing this one pretty much every morning (after letting my muscles recover from the first time).

After a while I got bored of doing it everyday, so I started to do it every other day (alternating the next two videos on the second day).

After a while I started to do the 3 videos on a 3 day cycle.

Then after no longer finding it comfortable to sit on a chair and sitting on an exercise ball instead, a friend recommended the video below, and it became a 4 day cycle.


Evening

In the evenings I started off doing the below video (there is a morning yoga routine, which seems the same so I preferred doing different ones).

And then I wanted to try other ones, so I did this one below occasionally instead.

Then I began to alternate them each night, but after a while I knew the routines off by heart so I started to watch TV and do a mix of the two videos from memory. I found myself doing a lot more than if I was doing one of the videos.

I feel like with the videos there should be two versions – 1 for people who have never done the video before/are doing it for the 2nd or 3rd time, and then there should be one for people who don’t need the explanations. Particularly with the pilates one as once I knew it by heart I would carry on and do the routine, occasionally skipping the video forward to where it was useful to be in time.

Also I would just add my favourite stretches that were missing from the video I just did to the end of my practice – and did extra kegels when I thought about it, particularly with squats.

One last video that deserves a mention as I enjoyed it, but then managed to forget about it…

What YouTube exercise videos do you like to do?

Wishing you happy and safe exercising!


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