Wow, 3 Months Is a Lot Faster Second Time Around

Wow, Wibee (little pink/Willow Phoebe) is now 3 months old.  I can now pop her in a bumbo and eat at least half my meal without her needing a cuddle.  We have reached that magical second milestone, where she’s transitioned through the squeaky, alien phase, into the gradually becoming more aware phase, and is now in the plump cute looking baby phase where things start to get more interesting.

She is teething; bummer.  Plus she has already rolled once, which might have been a fluke, but means I can no longer leave her on the kitchen work surfaces (not recommended anyway really!).  But it is getting much easier to differentiate her cries, and her dimples are darn cute!

I was worried that it might be the same kind of difficult second time around, and the good news is that it isn’t.  Of course the degree of ease and difficulty in my life has been maintained, as it always is.  I’ll talk about that in more detail another day, but basically it’s about the philosophy that there is aways ease and difficulty in our lives, in equal amounts, it’s just that we don’t always see the other side of the story.  However, I am kind of relieved that it isn’t the same kind of difficulty, however tough it has been.

I called the first year with Monster/Angel Boy the ‘black times’,  NOT because it was horrid, but because there was such a huge shift in my identity and what I valued in life, that I kind of disappeared for a while.  That has certainly not happened again, but there has been another change.  I’m a hell of a lot more focussed on practical stuff right now.  All I’m looking for is a practical car, for the house to work for the family, for my clothes to be washable, my hair is tied back and there are no hoops in my ears (otherwise ‘ouch’ from little fingers!).  I’m just looking for a easy life at the moment, and for ways to make life flow more smoothly.  I’m sure that this will be just a phase of it’s own, but I still suspect that some of these changes will stick, especially the one where I’m so much stricter on my priorities.

In comparison, the first 6 weeks with Max was intense, scary, exhausting, and interminable.  I was all alone, I didn’t know any Mums because anti-natal classes didn’t start until later, and I felt like I was floundering along with no clue.  Then David got made redundant, and all the stress of the previous year kind of fell on top of me for a bit.  The good side to that, is that this is where the ‘Mummy Whisperer’ was born, because my training was great, but impractical for a new Mum to do on her own, so over the coming months I worked out what would work within the resource limitations I was now under and created the ‘Fun Creation Equation’.  The key was that I found that I became increasingly confused by the number of different parenting techniques out there, none of which totally worked for me.  Whereas, when I managed to calm the noise in my head (you know, the worries, and guilt about EVERYTHING!) I found out that I was pretty good at working out my own solutions that matched the family perfectly.  So that’s what I now do for other Mums; help them to learn how to listen to themselves, so that each day can flow a little more easily, with a little more fun and sparkle.

Ironically, this time David had problems with his job again, but within 1 day of her being born, rather than 6 weeks; which suggests that we shouldn’t risk having another child!  But this time I didn’t get the intense 2 weeks of bubble time with Wibee, because after an easy home birth I was thrown unceremoniously back into real life and nursery runs, which initially I found really hard.  I had a long tearful chat with a friend of mine from who uses the same techniques as myself, and I settled after we worked out that the bubble was there, but this time was more widely spread as it included Max, plus I wouldn’t have wanted to have such an intense bubble and upset Max by excluding him.  My body didn’t agree though, and 3 weeks ago I fell very ill and was forced to spend 2 weeks with Willow on the sofa, which was a lovely, if painful opportunity to be with her and learn more about myself.  (See all my blogs about asking for help).

So we are 3 months in.  David has still got a job; result!  The in-laws have visited twice because of me being ill, and really bonded with both kids, which has thrilled Max.  I’ve realised that I’m just not able to do the day to day stuff on my own (hubby works late and I don’t have family of my own), so I’ve employed a lovely irish granny, and a fabulous local mum to help me out a few hours a week.  I woke up 2 days ago and felt loads better after my illness, but also like I was ‘back’, which I think is just getting to the magic 3 month stage.  I’m not getting a load of sleep, but I get some, so that’s not bad.  Max loves his sister and has shown no jealousy, just a little sensitivity at times which we have to be careful of.  The dogs have been very jealous and very badly behaved just to balance him out!  I’ve got a couple of tests in the next week or two to find out how come I got sick so badly, and then I might have a think about starting to do a little work in while.  And now it’s on to the 3-6 month phase: sitting up, grabbing things, teeth, summer holidays, swimming classes, music classes …. lots of fun and trouble all rolled into a monster/angel boy and a Wibee girl, I wonder if that will feel faster too?

To do list

What Will Cause The Most ‘Pain’ If Not Done By The End Of Today?

To do list
To do list

In ‘ye olden days’, i.e. 2 months ago before the arrival of ‘little dimples’, my second child, I used to ask myself what might seem a slightly dark question when sorting out my plan for work/life balance.

I would think about being elderly and sitting on my death bed, looking back over my life.  ‘What would I regret not doing?’.  Would I miss doing that piece of admin, writing that document, working with that client, or playing with my son.

In some cases, I really wanted to write, or the client session was going to be really interesting and couldn’t be at another time.  But in other cases, the sun would be out and it was definitely time to make a memory and go and have a picnic.

This would really help me to be clear on what I wanted to achieve, and how I wanted to do it.  I’m not the type to go pushing ahead with my business, and put the kids last.  It’s not wrong, it’s just not me, and most of all kids just want us to be ourselves.  I’m also not the type to not have another string to my bow; that is, I’d be a rubbish stay at home mum!

But now my life has changed, and is much more practical and much more short term.  My question is ‘What will cause me the most pain if I don’t get it done by the end of today?‘.  It helps me with the juggling act (which frankly I’m not doing well at), because ‘little pink’ could wake up at any moment and then demand attention for the rest of the day.

Today, I needed the washing dry, but I also needed to write, just quickly, so that I felt that feeling I love for a moment.  I’ve also made myself a long glass of squash and got some snacks ready, as I’m conscious that her milk demands are increasing.  Which also means sod any thought of a diet for another week!

If I get a chance I’ll phone the two mates who left me a voicemail or text.  Max is at nursery today, so I might even get a chance to interview a ‘Mother’s help’, but most of all I need a little peace and quiet after the easter holidays, when I made a couple of fatal mistakes; I’ll blog about them later in the week, but they are all about feeling unappreciated because you do a pile of stuff ‘for’ people and forgot to work out your compensation package ;o)

A great question, can be worth it’s weight in gold.  What questions help you?

If We Were All Gorgeous, How Boring Would That Be!

It was with great surprise that I realised that deep, deep, deep inside my inner recesses, I had assumed that a world where everyone was beautiful would be great (especially me!), and there was a touch of judgement on people who didn’t ‘make an effort’.  I didn’t know that I thought this until I watched ‘Surrogates’ the other day on DVD (it has Bruce Willis in it, so I had to watch it due to the husband type person I live with).

‘Surrogates’ is all about a world where people can sit at home, and experience world through these perfect looking surrogate bodies – like plastic surgery air brushed.  As the film went on it was actually a relief to see ‘normal’ people, quite a weird feeling.  It shows how horrid and boring it would be if we could all look ‘perfect’.  I’ve often thought that gorgeous people where a little bland; not in character, just in looks (sorry to any really gorgeous people reading this, but your faces tend to be a little ‘samey’).  But this film proved it, because you actually find the big, fat, sweaty geek guy more attractive to look at.

So next time I look in the mirror and squint critically, I can remember that actually it is our imperfections that make the world interesting to look at;  and next time I see a slightly fat, sweaty guy I can think ‘thank god, for that’!  If you ever worry about what you look like at home, in the supermarket, in the school car park or that you generally don’t fit in, watch this film and hopefully you will come away understanding that you really are gorgeous, because if you did ‘fit in’, the world would be a more tedious, boring, stressful (I hate being bored) place.

But don’t worry, gorgeous readers, I’m not suggesting that we would want a world without you either.  It would also be potentially boring if there weren’t any ‘perfect’ people.  Partially, because there’d be no one to lust after in the films, and loads of other reasons that I’m not going to go into today.  Plus, on the days when I think ‘Ok, so I don’t want everyone to be perfect looking, but I could do with being a little more perfect’, it doesn’t take long before the reality kicks in.  I don’t really want to make the extreme effort of living up to other people’s expectations, and I don’t need to worry about losing my looks as I age.  There are loads of things which are a great deal easier and simpler, if you don’t stand out just because of your looks and I do get that.

What do you reckon?  Maybe I don’t appreciate what it would be like if everyone was beautiful, because I wasn’t born with one of those perfectly symmetrical faces, flawless skins and straight cute noses?

Right off to powder my shiney nose ;o)

The Ideal Mummy Age – 16, 26, or 36?

I was reading a blog by a fellow Mummy Blogger the other day about age and mummyhood; you know, the eternal question about which age is most ideal.  Suddenly it hit me about the weird synchronicities in my life and how there were 3 potential ages and outcomes for my life.

16 – So Nearly A Teenage Mum

It might surprise people to know that I was very nearly a teenage Mum, and therefore can totally understand why young girls make the choice to get pregnant.  Not because of council houses etc, etc, but because of an urge for someone who would love me, for me, and need me for me, not use me. It wasn’t a rational thought, it was a pretty lonely desperate thought.

I was a very bright, slightly serious, very responsible girl, who had been what is now termed a ‘young carer’ from an extremely young age (called an ambulance at 5 for my Mum) and I’d pretty much enjoyed the job, just like all young kids who are so resilient and adaptable to situations.  But when I hit my teens it got much harder to deal with.  During my ‘O’ level revision my Dad had a heart attack, was overdosed by the hospital and ended up in a diabetic coma. Although he recovered, he was pretty sick throughout my exams, plus the family company was being sold.  The day that school finished, my Mum fell over the dog and broke her pelvis.  So I spent the majority of my summer holidays nursing the two of them, as they refused proper help or to go somewhere more suitable.

It was that time of your life where you start to meet loads of new friends and your social life begins to take precedence.  I was lucky, my new friends were willing to come to the house to see me, when I got a break.  But after the stress of exams and a tough summer, I was becoming very resentful.  I remember distinctly the thought running through my head, that if I had a baby, they would want me for just me, not as a potential carer for the rest of their lives.  Now to all the shattered Mums out there, that might sound rather ironic!  But it is different.  I look in my daughter’s eyes tonight and in a way that young version of me was right and I do feel different about nursing her, than I did my parents.

So for the first time I rebelled when we went on holiday, which happened to co-incide with falling head over heels for a summer romance.  The only reason that I did not come back pregnant, was that I happened to fall for someone younger than me (which I didn’t realise), who therefore didn’t take advantage of the potential on offer.  Instead I came back a smoker; hell I needed something!

Wow, life would have been different if I’d tried harder to get pregnant.  I reckon I would have enjoyed being a Mum, despite my age, and as caring came naturally, I would have taken to the role easily.  But so many other things would have changed.  Would my parents have helped, so that I could continue to study my ‘A’ Levels?  I’m not sure, and even if they did, I suspect it would have been delayed.  I doubt the rather disastrous 5yr intense relationship would have happened, as I wouldn’t have been so attractive with a baby.  That would have saved some heartache, but also lost useful lessons.  I might still have met my husband, if I’d managed to continue and do a degree, even if I’d gone for a local one instead, but again I wonder how attractive I would have been with a 4yr old child.

So here I would be, 40yrs old, with a 24yr old child.  They would definitely have left college by now, so I would be free to enjoy my 40’s and make the most of them.  They would have known my Dad for 4yrs and might remember him, and would have had 20yrs with my Mum.  Plus, I would have had a Mum to talk to when I was tired, and upset, and a Mum to babysit or help out when I just felt like I couldn’t cope.  However, my escape from home was combined with going away to do my degree (that was kind of what I’d been working towards since very young), so I might never have got away and stayed as her carer until she died 4yrs ago.  But maybe as I learnt more about her from becoming a Mum myself, we might have found a more balanced way?  Nahhh, I was too young, and I’ve needed to learn a hell of a lot in order to understand human behaviour, especially when it gets all twisted and knarly.  But I reckon I would still have loved being a Mum.

26 – Why Not At The ‘Ideal Age’?

Ironically 3 yrs later I was told by a doctor that I was ‘barren’ and had to take pills for the rest of my life otherwise I would get ‘brittle bone disease or cancer and die’.  So at 26 when I was ‘meant to’ be having kids, (we’d been together 6 yrs, married for 1yr) I wasn’t.  My husband knew from the beginning that there were problems, but I did double check just before we got married.  The specialist said that IVF wouldn’t work, but I could try fertility treatments.  However, ironically if I did fall pregnant there was a high probability of multiple pregnancies, but he thought it unlikely I would be successful.

Now, by this stage I was a stress junkie.  I did not deal well with my Dad’s death, and had a huge discovery about my Mum which turned my life upside down and back again.  I was doing really well in a mega stressful job, and working long days and hours.  I organised my wedding in conjunction with my in-laws, which is just not ideal, however nice your in-laws are.  There was NO WAY I could have handled twins or worse, it just wasn’t worth the risk.  The problem was that everyone said it had to be in my 20’s, and that the slimmest of chances was slipping away.  But we weren’t ready, I was too stressed and it wasn’t a priority for my husband.  I insisted it would be ‘wrong’ to try for a baby just because of age (please do not think that I am criticising anyone who makes that choice – just wrong for us, that’s all).

I am SO glad that we didn’t try at that point, because one thing I am sure of is that I would not have handled it.  I would have been filled with brain noise, and been a prime candidate for Post-natal depression, with no idea on how to tackle it.  I wouldn’t have had time to heal the rift between myself and my Mum, which would have just added to the whole messy emotional state.  Plus, my husband and I went through a key, although uncomfortable, shift in our relationship 10yrs later, and without it, I don’t think we could have had the family that we have today, or the future possibilities.

36 – Miraculous (and again at 40!)

So then we come to the 36 year old, walking up and down a corridor saying ‘Oh shit’ and starring in disbelief at a pregnancy test that is definitely positive.  By now, I’d got so used to the idea of being ‘barren’ that I had totally accepted it, and was sure it was because I’d be a rubbish Mum anyway.  Our marriage had been through some tough times, but my husband had also got his head around the lack of children, and we were just planning our very hedonistic mid-life together when I discovered that I was 2 months pregnant!

I didn’t get much chance to think it through, because during the next 7 months my Mum died (she did see me pregnant) and we moved house.  So there suddenly in my arms, was this little boy.  There was no family to rely on, not many local friends, but most crucially no one to interfere. Everyone said I was lucky to have a boy, because they are so affectionate, and they were right.  I spent 3 months holding him, because he screamed if I put him down, and this little creature taught me how to just ‘Be’ in a moment.  It was certainly hard, but I immediately found out this amazing thing; I LOVED being a Mum, and I reckon I’m pretty good at it what a surprise!

So It’s Extremes That Win For Me

Ironically that means that at 26 I’m sure, I would have been miserable, and perpetuated all the problems I’d seen in my childhood.  Whereas the extremes of 16 or 36, were either before there was too much emotional baggage, or after it was ‘fixed’, giving me the chance to really enjoy being a Mum.  So they are the ages that work best for me.  Makes sense, as I’m not that traditional anyway!

If I’d been 16, I would have no worries about seeing my grandchildren grow up, and would have had more energy, which would be a big advantage.  I had older parents (Mum was 43 when she had me), and there were definitely hardships that I felt due to their lack of health.  But this is where I have some power over the situation at 36, because I have the gift of hindsight.  So, I’m hoping that in the next couple of years (giving me some time to recover from the arrival of another surprise baby 7 weeks ago at 40!) I can shift my pretty good health up several notches, thereby ensuring I still get relationships with my grandchildren.  It’s going to be hard work, but I’m sure it’s possible, wish me luck (ooh, and this time, I might be a bit more careful with that thing called contraception for a while!)

So, is there an ‘ideal’ age?  The obvious answer is no.  But it’s not that easy.  The ideal age for me, was when I was going to enjoy it the most, but I was lucky to get a second chance.  Now that I know what having kids is like, I would probably still go for 26 if it was my only chance, and hope that given time I would be able to fix the problems caused by my stress junkie status.  Maybe that is one of the reasons why I’m so driven to help other Mums who are stuck in that place of discomfort at whatever age; I suspect it has a lot to do with it.

Here’s the link to the blog that got all this going in my head: A Modern Mother ‘Becoming a Mum in Your 40s’)

Arrival Of Baby No2 – A Very Different Experience

Willow Phoebe Rose Pearson arrived on Saturday 13th February at 13.25, at a chubby 9lbs 3oz, at home in our lounge after a very relaxed 7hr labour, lots of chatting and a short dip in the birthing pool.  Hubby and 4yr old son were downstairs during the process, watching films or playing computer games, and popping up to see how I was doing every now and again with more tea for us.  So it all worked out to be a very calm and un-stressful experience.

Now, if you fancy more detailed info, here you go, but feel free to stop here; I know that some friends will be wanting the full monte, and others will be interested in the home birth side, but some of you won’t want to know ;o)

So Much More Relaxed

It was so different this time around, with her picking a daytime arrival (6.30am-1.25pm) versus Max’s evening one (6.30-10pm).  Max was really full on, with me going straight into ‘transition’ 24hrs after my waters broke, no pre-warning contractions, just straight into 1 min contractions every minute.  The rather scary (and noisy, because I’m not good with physical pain!) roller coaster 4hrs included a mad dash for hospital, finishing off in a birthing unit.

Instead, this was a relaxed affair, with the Doula (Nicola Wilson – like an old fashioned midwife who gives additional support during the birth and post-natally) arriving an hour in, and the community midwife (Sarah Loveday – very lovely and relaxed) an hour or two after that.  There was lots of chatting, which I found helped with the pain as it relaxes the jaw (which relaxes the pelvis), along with remembering to eat, drink water and breathe (which I forgot to do first time).  I can see now why those women on YouTube were singing during labour, which might not be my cup of tea, but I definitely recommend humming to music or chatting!

I mainly stood up and leaned on a leather chair, for 6.5hrs, by the french windows (curtains shut obviously!).  It was a beautiful day, and when I got a bit hot and flustered I could open the doors.  It wasn’t where I planned to be, as I thought I would use the big fit balls or a bean bag, but they were useful for the midwife and doula instead!

I also thought I’d go straight in the pool, but things were going so well, that we decided to keep it for when I really needed it, which was only the final 30 mins.  The pool was a blow up ECO small one, which was perfect.  I wouldn’t want bigger, it kept it’s heat all the way through from the beginning, was quick to fill, and very comfortable to be in (both leaning on the sides and kneeling).  Things really ramped up when I got in, which although painful, was NOTHING like the traumatic pain I remembered from before and totally bearable for that short time, especially as I had help from the Doula and Midwife.

Pain Levels

I suspect this is the difference in pain levels is down to some prior preparation about fear of pain, plus being in a much more relaxed environment, with no mad dash for Watford.  I didn’t do ‘hypnobirthing’, but did use some relaxation techniques in the 6 weeks prior (I’ll do another post with information about that), which meant I was well rested. I also did some practical looking at the value of the pain with some of my associates beforehand, which meant that I wasn’t worried about making noise or it hurting again.  Plus with a more gentle build up there was less shock, and I wasn’t lieing on a hospital bed or ‘sitting on her head’ as the midwife called it.  I couldn’t have done anything other than lie down first time round, but now I know a little more about these things, I could have been lieing on my side, rather than on my back.

First time round it felt like someone had a couple of hot pokers and were mixing my stomach with them (sorry for the gruesome details!), whereas this time the contractions were in my back (like period pains are).  It was fascinating as they moved down my back as she moved, which is quite an encouraging feeling.  Plus, we tried an old fashioned tip, which was to check my legs to see how dilated I was.  Apparently, your legs starting getting cold at the ankle, and the higher up towards your knees it goes, the more dilated you are.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not like that model recently who didn’t feel a thing.  That last 20 mins was very intense, but this time I managed to not scream (waste of energy) and keep the noises lower in the back of my throat (which is where you want them).  I didn’t even get heard by the neighbours, unlike last time when I couldn’t speak for a week and could have been heard miles away ;o)

I owe huge gratitude to the fact that I live in St Albans, where home births are pretty much matter of fact, and the midwives get plenty of leeway to make it the best possible experience for mums, that it can possibly be.  Plus in hertfordshire we have loads of Doula’s including really experienced ones like Nicola, which is definitely the answer to the problem of no local family, siblings that need taking care of, potential help after the birth, and additional support during the birth hence taking some pressure off hubby.

Her Arrival

I was leaning forwards at the end, so the funniest thing was as they popped her on my back, and I suddenly realised how come she had taken longer, because blimey she was heavy.  Max had been a little 6lb 10oz baby, and she is nearly 3lb’s heavier at 9lb’s 3oz!  She was also very cute looking as she was delivered in her waters bag, so her head was all cushioned throughout, with no funny squashed look.

As expected she has dark hair, dark eyes (slate grey at the moment, but likely to go brown), and dark skin.  In fact her skin is really dark at the moment, which is because of giving birth at home and having no rush to remove the cord, so she got a lot extra blood etc, than a baby whose cord is cut quickly in hospital.  Whereas Max was obviously red haired, pale skinned and blue eyed, right from the start.  He was whipped off quickly to be measured etc, given a quick feed, and then passed to Daddy while I had a couple of hours of stitching (don’t worry, gas and air is fabulous, it didn’t hurt a bit!).  This time, despite her being a ton bigger, there are no stitches, which is really good news.

The only similarity between the two was the lack of drugs.  Not my plan!  But first time round there wasn’t enough time for them to have taken effect, and this time, I didn’t really need anything until then end, and there wasn’t much point by then.  I was given some homeopathic remedies by the Doula in the pushing stage, which I did think helped me through the last bit.

It was weird to be so much more conscious and able to follow instructions at the end.  I’d seen women give birth on YouTube, and they had seemed so much more involved and able to understand the midwives, but I just couldn’t understand how that could be, as first time around, I was so incapable of understanding anything.  This time I could understand instructions, and move when told to (with a little bit of complaining!).

The Rest Of The Family

Max and David had fun playing computer games and watching films.  David did a fab job of keeping everyone fed and watered, meanwhile Max would pop up to check on us, announce something funny and then disappear back downstairs.  I did suggest that they go out near the end, but unbeknown to me the Doula counteracted that, which I am really grateful for.  I was worried I might make noise and scare Max, but in fact they hardly heard anything, and it meant that they arrived in the lounge, almost immediately after her entrance into the world.  Willow and I cuddled for a quite some time in the pool, with Max leaning over.  He was really chuffed, not bothered by the pool being a slightly bloody colour at all.  In fact it was only later on that he got slightly upset, but we discovered it was just because he insists that she should wear pink or cute stuff, and he didn’t like the outfit that we had picked!

The dogs got treated to a lovely long walk by our dog walker, so they were pretty exhausted that night.  However, the Labradoodle noticed her immediately, and is already watching over her with great concern if she issues the smallest of squeaks.  The Spaniel took 2 days to notice her, and is just a little annoyed that she tends to take up space on the sofa, but thinks that she smells nice.

Afterwards

Once the cord had stopped pulsing, we decided to get out, and were put in a lovely cocoon of towels, while I fed her.  An hour later, I popped off to the bathroom and the placenta arrived very quickly, so there was no need for an injection.  Then I had a lovely shower, and got all cleaned up.  Meanwhile the Doula and two midwives (the second midwife didn’t arrive until just after she was born, because once she decided it was time to push, she only took 20mins, so there wasn’t a lot of notice) had tidied everything, fed me, and the pool had already been emptied and disassembled by David and Max.

It’s a lovely feeling to be at home, in the peace and quiet and not have to go anywhere.  Despite it being pretty easy, I did feel a little shaky afterwards for a couple of days, so it’s lovely to be all snuggled on your own sofa, with your baby and family.

The Next Week

Willow ‘mewed’ her way through her first 24hrs, with lots of little squeaky noises whether she was asleep or awake.  She has a set of lungs on her, but her wail is gentle in comparison to Max’s, which would go from 0 to 100 decibels in a matter of 5 seconds.  She wasn’t impressed by bodily functions like puking (delicately of course!), or pooing, but has found that if she sucks my finger it is a much more lady like way of winding herself than burping.

Max is a little sensitive, but has been wonderful with her.  Having no younger siblings myself, I’m amazed at how genuinely he loved her immediately, and how gentle he is when he holds or touches her.  Although it is half-term, he has been attending drama camp this week (same days as nursery), which has given him some normalcy, plus he got invited out for a ‘play-date’ on his own, which he adored (thanks Clare!).  We are co-sleeping just as he planned, and at the moment he would prefer Willow and I to stay in the room, even if she is being a little fractious; we’ll see how that goes.

David has had a tough time, as the day after Willow was born, it was announced that his company were shutting down the division that he had moved to 14 days previously.  Despite him supposedly being on paternity leave, he has repeatedly had to work late into the night, and attend teleconferences during the day in order to help out the different factions.  It would definitely be kind of fun to get a chance to be locked in a room with his main boss at the moment, what with the hormonal soup that week1 after a baby is born can be.  But don’t worry about us, David was made redundant 6 weeks after Max was born, so if the worst possible scenario happens, it just means that he gets the same opportunity to spend time with Willow.  Meanwhile, the Mums at Max’s nursery have all kindly offered to help with the nursery runs next week, so I don’t have to handle the a total return to normalcy when David goes ‘back’ to work, or in his case, actually has to go into London to work.

David’s parents turned up excitedly the night that Willow was born, and the next day were joined briefly by his sister and her 2 teenage kids.  But since monday afternoon we have had a quieter time of it, and are gradually getting our heads around how a family works with an additional pink bundle (she is definitely a rather cute bundle, whereas Max was nick named ‘alien bug’ for the first few weeks of his life!).  Hopefully, one of my brothers will be able to make it to meet her next week.

With Max I remember the first two weeks being totally cocooned with him for the most blissful weeks of my life.  That’s not a possibility with paternity leaves being cancelled, and reappearing, and then cancelled again, along with the reality of already having a 4yr old.  But generally, just as with her birth, it’s a slower, more relaxed if less intense experience (so far, that is!).

Note: Every couple of months I’ll post another blog on our progress and the differences/similarities second time around (mainly as a diary for me, but it might be interesting for people thinking of having a second), so if you fancy keeping up to date with our journey you might want to subscribe.

Swap Guilt/Pain From Affairs For A Bright Future

Blimey, what’s going on with the celebrities this month, we have Tiger Woods and his addictions, John Terry and the girls desperate to become WAGs, and now Vernon Kay with his daft texts.  I feel for anyone who discovers that their partner has been unfaithful in any manner, but I particularly feel for these women, as the whole drama will get played out infront of the media.  It must be much harder in some ways, because they also have to face the most massive public humiliation.  The only upside is that so many of their compatriots will be able to help out, whereas in a more ‘normal’ life these things are often kept secret.  So as BabyNo2 is still preferring the warmth of my tummy, rather than the snow outside, I’ve written this blog, for those women who find it when they are in pain, to show them that there is a chance of a pain free future.

Lets play the ‘Society Says’ game …

  • Society says that affairs are wrong.
  • Society says that the ‘adulterer’ should feel guilty.
  • Society says and the poor ‘victim’ left behind will feel devastated.
  • Society says that ‘other person’ was a predatory horrible person.
  • Society says that if you stay together the relationship will never be the same again.
  • Society says that if you don’t, all your future relationships will be tainted by the pain of the past.
  • Society says that the guilt and bad start means that if the affair continues, it will eventually dissolve disastrously.

Are you planning on playing a life like the game ‘Simon says’ from our childhood?  Do you know how much conditioning of how we are meant to feel affects us?  Hows about ignoring what everyone else says, and instead look for the potential that could come out from the events of your past?  Someone once told me ‘Out of great destruction, comes great creation‘, maybe that would be a more useful mantra?

Now don’t get me wrong; I am not belittling the pain of feeling like your life is falling apart, or the shock of discovering that your partner is not who you thought they were.  There is the feeling of being a total fool, either because you didn’t guess, or because you did, but were willing to be persuaded you were wrong.  There are so many painful thoughts that go through the heads of the people involved, that I couldn’t possibly do them justice here.  However, I don’t need to, because the market is jam packed with books and material about ‘victims’, ‘surviving affairs’, and pain, pain, pain, pain.

My plan is add to the less frequent voice of people suggesting that there can be opportunity, miracle, transformation and an extremely bright future once the storm has passed.  The reason that I go for this camp, is because what I care about is that everyone involved in the affair is able to have a life full of potential, where they can see the opportunities ahead of them.  There are the couples who could remain together, and go on to have a relationship which is stronger and more fabulous than before.  There are the couples who could split up and go on to have the most incredibly relationship of their lives.  There is the opportunity to mentor to our kids that they will survive even the toughest of challenges, so that there is no need to fear pain in the future.  There is the shift in the people involved reminding them of their potential to create outside of the relationship as well.  All of these opportunities will be stifled by fear and guilt.

I’m suggesting that this is possible, not just because it sounds like a ‘nice’ idea, but having had 10yrs of training, loads of clients, and my own experiences.  Some people are able to achieve this all on their own, which is a truly brave and courageous feat.  However, because of the heavy pressure of ‘society says’, many will need some assistance, and it might take some time.  But, that time will be little in comparison to the amount of potential years ahead, so I thoroughly encourage you to be open to the fact that maybe it won’t do us any good to berate the ‘guilty’ or sympathise with the ‘victim’.  I’ve used those terms in my previous posts I admit, so that I could win over your trust and hope that you would continue to listen to me when I got a little more controversial.

Now how I help people through this process is a little complicated to discuss in a post, but I’m going to give you a little insight into some of the steps involved.

  1. It’s important to be sure about why we feel guilty or are upset.  People assume that everyone who experiences the same problem feel the same, but actually we don’t.  If we dig deeper, we’ll find out that we have a very specific description of how we feel about it.  (This is not about the story, but about the character traits or description of the actions of the parties involved).
  2. The other thing that blanks us is to imagine that we ‘would never’ or ‘have never’ done the same thing and that the ‘guilty’ party is totally guilty.  What helps is to see that no one is ‘totally’ a particular characteristic in every area of life, and neither are we quite as perfect and untainted as we might imagine!  Some people call this ‘reflection’; it is the theory that the reason one thing upsets person A, but not person B is because person A is reminded of themselves and by something they have done somewhere in their life.
  3. The next most vital steps in the process are looking for those ‘opportunities’ that I mentioned before.  These are the ‘silver linings’ behind the clouds, and the reasons why we didn’t just gain from the experience, but when we look at reality, we actually don’t want to change the way it worked out.  (Now, don’t throw things at me and say ‘how could you say that’; just imagine how it could feel if I proved it to you!).

Now, I don’t really think that you need loads more complicated detail about the steps involved, but if you would really like to know a load more about the methods I use, then there is much more in depth information on my ‘Dance of Life‘ website and blogs, which are all purely focussed on the Demartini Method.  I can also recommend a book called ‘The Heart of Love’ by Dr John F Demartini.  I also recommend that you read the rest of my blogs under the category of affairs; there will be more to come too!

For the rest of you, I hope that I have opened you up your eyes to the potential of hope and an extremely bright future. You don’t have to fear it happening to you, because if you believe I might be talking sense, you know you will be OK.   For those who have experienced an affair; It’s Ok to be a miserable mess or still held back from either guilt or pain, but if at some point you would like to have a future free of the past, I’m here to tell you that it is possible.

Are There Ways To Tell If They Will Be Unfaithful Again?

So the media will be keeping a beady eye on Tiger Woods and John Terry from now on, but if you don’t have that option, then what guarantees do you have that your partner will not be unfaithful again?

Sorry – How Much Does That Mean?

There is no doubt that the ‘injured’ party will need to hear the word ‘sorry’ from their partner, along with huge piles of remorse and possibly some explanations.  Some people find going to counselling is helpful, because it gives an opportunity to get all the anger out in a ‘safe’ scenario, with a mediator.  I must admit this is not my favourite method of dealing with problems, but for some people it would definitely be a good starting point.  (At some stage though, it is likely to be necessary to go for something more practical or involved, like relationship coaching, or the methods that I am trained in: The Demartini Method).

However, ‘Sorry’ doesn’t mean ‘I won’t do it again’.  Being willing to say it, and to listen to the hurt of their partner, definitely is a step in the right direction.  But it mainly means ‘I’m making an initial effort’ or ‘Sorry I got caught’ or ‘I’m feeling really guilty’.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

It’s great if your unfaithful partner is saying all the right things, but more important that they are backing it up with actions.  For instance, being willing to listen to your hurts (not for 20yrs, but for a reasonable while).  Potentially cutting off all contact with the ‘other person’.  Maybe even going as far as changing mobile numbers, and blocking people from their email accounts.  They might need to invest time in some relationship coaching or counselling, to show how important a change is to them.

Be warned, that many people would love to be totally faithful, and definitely mean it when they say that they will be.  BUT, they may not know themselves very well, or have realistic expectations of themselves.  So they are not purposely misleading you, they are just falling foul of romantic conceptions of what they are capable of.  Hence, the importance of them managing to show with their actions, over a prolonged period of time, that there is a change in their psyche.  (Mind you there are some people who are very manipulative and will be purposely misleading you, but I’m assuming that you’ll know if you have one of those!).

Collapse of Infatuation

Many of us have never been taught how to tackle the ‘grass is greener’ temptation, or how to reduce an infatuation (I will blog about this when I get a chance) and give it a breath of reality.  Hence, we actually have to experience the infatuation, and then get threatened with the loss of what we weren’t appreciating, in order to regain our perspective.  you might think that this is very ‘stupid’, however, it is the way that many of us work.

So, are there obvious signs that your partner’s infatuation with being with someone else has been well and truly broken?  Can you now see that they had problems with taking responsibility for their lives and the bits that they didn’t like about it?  This often translates to thinking that it is the partner’s fault that they are in a job that they don’t like, or having to do boring jobs around the house.  Basically, they will blame everyone else and feel victimised for their ‘tough’ lives!  So have they gotten over it?  Do they now appreciate their lives more, and realise that no one else is making them do anything?

A Willingness To Wait For Trust To Be Rebuilt

The person who was unfaithful needs to have a reality check about how long it will take for their partner to rebuild their trust levels, plus the price that they will probably have to pay.  There will be instances when their partner will become insecure and need additional support.  Plus there maybe times when the infidelity will be thrown into their faces in arguments.  I recommend that their partner attempts to get assistance to work through their issues, so that this doesn’t go on for the rest of their lives, however it would be unreasonable to expect it to never happen.

However, there is another side to the story of trust.  We may trust our partners implicitly, but many of us have no idea of the amount of temptation out there, because it might just not be in our value or belief systems to consider getting involved in a relationship with someone else’s partner.  You don’t have to be Tiger Woods or John Terry to be attractive to another woman.  I’m going to write another blog as soon as I get a chance on the different reasons why the ‘other woman’ gets involved, but in the meantime, here is a little reality check; trusting your partner is fine and it avoids suffocating them.  However there is a fine line between ‘trusting’ and ‘taking for granted’.  Plus there is a fine line between reasonable and unreasonable expectations.  For example, put me in a room of chocolate for a day and you won’t be able to trust me not to eat some.  I’d probably be able to last 30 minutes, but not much longer!  I’m one of those people who need serious closeness with someone before I can get jiggy, so I’d be very trustworthy on a night out alone.  However, goodness knows what I would do if Hugh Jackman told me I was sexy and started stalking me!  Maybe it’s just a typical Leo’s reaction to protecting her family, but I wouldn’t be putting my husband into temptations way purposely.

How Long Can You Wait?

There is also another perspective.  How long can you wait, until they become trustworthy, and what kind of trustworthy are you looking for?  Have you got to know them so well, that you know that in their current job or at their current age, they are very unlikely to be able to resist temptation?  However, you know that you can trust them to love you, and wish to remain with you forever?  If you can manage to separate out the two sides to your partner, and maintain your confidence levels, then possibly it is worth considering waiting.  A great example of this is Sharon Osbourne, who is obviously loved deeply by Ozzy, and he is now definitely faithful, but she did have to wait a while!  Potentially, depending on who you are, and what kind of life you would love to have, it might be worth playing the waiting game.  A controversial thought I know, but if you would love to stay and are sure that you can count on their commitment to you (if not sexual faithfulness), then don’t cut off your nose to spite your face just because society says you should.

Note: Affairs are obviously a controversial and painful subject and this is just a quick blog post.  I recommend that if you are interested, you take some time to read my other posts, and subscribe to this blog, so that you know when I have written more.

Why Do Affairs Hurt Some People More Than Others?

We all assume that affairs hurt everyone, in exactly the same way, but in fact they don’t and it is NOT because one person loved their partner more than the other person did.  I remember when I lived in Lincolnshire there was a sudden flurry of partner’s being discovered to be unfaithful, followed by divorces.  I watched as some of the wives were so heart broken that their lives fell apart, whereas others seemed to have an ability to quickly find a new rythmn for their life.

There are a couple of reasons why this is so, and therefore even if you find yourself in the extremely distressed camp, you can switch to the less painful camp.

1) A Balanced Mix Of Interests In Different Areas Of Life

You can split life into 7 areas:

  • Spiritual – having a sense of purpose, bigger reason to be, or religious views
  • Mental – continuing to learn new things however old you are
  • Vocational – job or clear role in life
  • Financial – understanding of our financial value, even if we are not bringing in money
  • Social – having a strong, wide, network of people in different groups/places
  • Familial – our family and relationships
  • Physical – health, taking care of ourselves, exercising, eating well

A person who focusses on just a one or two areas of life, like their family and their physical appearance, will be hit terribly hard by the discovery of what they see as ‘betrayal’ from their partner.  Whereas, someone who has lots of interests and a perception of a degree of ability of power in more areas, will be less harshly affected.  This is the difference from feeling like the rug has been pulled out from your whole life, and feeling as though there is still a strong future for yourself.

So if your rug has been pulled, then there is something that you can do; get out there and start doing something about the other areas of your life.  I promise you that you are a valuable and fabulous human being.  I know you don’t feel it right now, but the beginning step is to fake it until you make it.

2) Having A Strong Belief/Value That Gets Hit

If you have a strong romantic streak, and belief that there will be ‘one’ person for you, it will be tremendously hard to handle affairs.  It’s amazing how many people I’ve had to help because of the new ‘Twilight’ series of books.  I love them too, but there is a significant downside with the message of love for eternity and lack of focus on the downside on that kind of incredible infatuation.  Also, people who have a tremendously strong belief in the strength of vows for either religious or moral reasons, will be not only shocked, but also deeply mortified by their partner’s unfaithfulness.

Sadly a lack of reality check is one of the biggest causes of pain for people.  We focus on how life ‘should’ be, rather on how humans actually behave.  We ignore reality, and have unrealistic expectations for the people that we love, which means that they are bound to let us down.  For instance, put a toddler in a room full of chocolate, and there is no doubt that some will be able to resist because they have a stronger people pleasing and rule awareness.  But put my son in there and he will come out with a face covered in chocolate and a VERY long story about how his invisible friend forced him to eat the chocolate because otherwise the world would have blown up!

I totally get your love of fantasy or these beliefs, but they are causing you pain.  Let them go.  The real world, really isn’t that bad, at least you won’t get shocked or distressed by it.  (Check out my free ebook on Values, which you get if you sign up for my email newsletter).

3) Seeing the Silver Lining

The whole premise behind the methods that I’ve trained in for the past 10yrs is to empower people, not leave them as ‘victims’ of their past pain.  It’s fine to get to the point where you are just ‘over it’ or indifferent.  Some therapies can even get you to the point of ‘acceptance’ or ‘forgiveness’.  But I am ambitious!  I get people to the point where they are free of their past, and it doesn’t affect their future, apart from the fact that they would never want their past to be any different and they are totally grateful for it.  ‘How the hell do you do that’ you maybe asking?  Well, it’s not easy, obviously, but it is totally possible, and it is totally possible very quickly.  Jo Wood is a particularly good example of the first step, which is to look for the silver lining, which is always there.  She admits that she would never have left her husband Ronnie, but that her life has taken off incredibly since he left her.

So literally, it’s about looking at our lives and looking over a period of time for what we have gained, how we benefited, or how we have come out better for the experience.  By keeping stacking them up, over and over again, we will really start to appreciate our lives, get stronger, and have a future filled with potential.  When we are full of hurt and pain, we unfortunately ignore and miss the opportunities that life offers us.  Whereas when we can see that there is tonnes of stuff in our lives to be grateful for, we will be not be held back by our past, but will ready for the rest of our lives with vigour.

In Conclusion (for now!)

Affairs are a complicated subject obviously, so I’ll be blogging lots about them over a period of time.  I recommend you check out my other blogs under the category of relationships or with a tag of affair.

(Also, please note, that in most of the things that I blog about, I’m nearly always stressing how capable we are of sorting our own lives out.  But affairs are one of the things that are considered so socially unacceptable that it can be very difficult to cope alone, especially if the couple are attempting to remain together.  If you would like to know more about how I work, or people trained similarly to myself, then feel free to contact me directly, and check out my other blogs and websites).

Why Do Affairs Happen If You Aren't Bitchy or Frigid?

I was infuriated this morning by listening to some chappie on the TV saying, ‘well you never know what was going on at home, maybe it was a sexless marriage!’; PLLLLEASE!  That is such an urban myth, that affairs happen because the partner did something ‘wrong’.  I’m not saying that something was not going on in the relationship.  But because no one is taught what I’m about to explain to you, often the partner has no hope in hell of staving off the unfaithfulness of their partner.

Why do affairs happen if there is no bitchy wife or lack of sex?

Affairs are fascinating, as there really are reasons for them to occur, which explain what often appears to be totally illogical.  Take the recent captain of the english football team, with a beautiful wife and family; is he really so vacuous that he is incapable of refusing a woman who throws himself at him?  What about the famous golfer who appears to have slept with anything that walked, despite childhood distress when his Dad was unfaithful; why did he get himself into that situation?

The answer is a mixture of the points below, most of which you will never have heard of before (and I’ll keep blogging as well, to fill in the gaps and add extra information in the future, like why the ‘other woman’ gets involved, and can a relationship survive unfaithfulness).  p.s. I’ve used the words ‘victim’ and ‘culprit’ and ‘other woman’ just as convenient titles, but that is just for ease of identity, I don’t believe that it helps if you consider yourself to be the ‘wronged’ person, and I will continue to blog on ideas on how to pick yourself up afterwards, whichever role you played.

1) There is ‘baggage’ in both the ‘victim’s and ‘culprit’s emotional lives about unfaithfulness.

Either they have been unfaithful and it’s time for them to experience the opposite, or they are still upset about someone being unfaithful to them.  Often, I have found that the ‘baggage’ goes all the way back to the parents too and something that happened with them.  This is one of the key problems for the golfer, because he probably vowed he would never be like his Dad, but there is tremendous wisdom in the saying ‘Never say never’.  If we are unaware of the potential for being unfaithful, then we can easily get caught unawares.  Often, when we then discover with horror that we have done exactly that, the guilt paralyzes us, and we ironically keep doing it, because we just don’t understand how on earth we got there.

2) There is a change in the ‘victims’ empowerment levels.

It can either happen because they suddenly become disempowered or ironically because they become more empowered.  I bet this is particularly true of WAGS, because as they get more and more worried about their partner’s being unfaithful, they will become less and less sure of themselves.  If they are not sure of themselves, then they are not sure of their value, and their partner will subconsciously pick up on that.  When their partner picks up on the change they will either match it (by becoming more or less empowered) or look for someone else who matches what they used to be like.  Because of this affairs often happen at what appears to be the most ‘socially unacceptable’ point in time, because that is when the ‘victim’ is most disempowered, e.g. when they are pregnant (very prevalent).

3) ‘The victim’ is not selling themselves to their partner in terms of their partner’s values.

Values are what we think are important in life.  They give us purpose, and determine what we love to do and have.  In fact they are basically what makes us tick.  (If you would like a free ebook on values and how to start identifying yours and your loved ones, sign up for my free email newsletter).  The ‘victim’ may not be being horrid, but it could be as little as just taking their partner for granted a little or assuming that they will always be faithful.  It’s not very romantic to say this, but all relationships are a deal, where you show that your particular brand is better than all the other brands out there.  I know what you are going to say ‘but what about love’ or ‘but what about vows and promises’?  I totally know what you mean, but as a major people watcher and studier, I can ensure you that there’s no point in saying ‘but we SHOULD be faithful’, because that just isn’t the way life is, apart from a very small group of people who have an incredibly high value on faithfulness or loyalty.

Often, the person having the affair will have blamed all that is wrong in their life on their partner and assume all that is good is down to the new relationship or the high they get from the one night stands.  So they definitely have a tendency to not taking responsibility for their lives and what they are dissatisfied with.  Sometimes, they have terribly low self-esteem, and it would literally be impossible to pamper their ego’s as much as is required to keep them faithful.  Or sometimes, they have been spoilt so badly, that they literally have no impulse control or are easily swayed by people who are more important in their values (e.g. team/work mates).

Now this is obviously a complicated subject, so I’ve just started by giving you a taster in order to help you understand the rubbish behind the urban myths around affairs.  When I get a chance I will write some more, for example:

  • Why it is totally possible to survive an affair and come out of it with a better relationship (if you would like to)
  • Why it’s also OK to not stay in the relationship, but how to make sure you don’t end up repeating old mistakes
  • How come you ended up being the ‘other person’ in an affair
  • And loads more!

TV is BAD, no TV is GOOD, which is it?

Many Mums stop their children from watching any TV, and feel very good about themselves for it.  Is that the ‘right’ choice – NOPE.

Others have the TV on all the time – is that the right choice – NOPE.

Actually, I’m just being controversial, because I don’t believe in ‘mistakes’, so I don’t think that either parent is ‘wrong’.  I just think that many are probably unaware of the potential downsides to both options.  Therefore the option of moderate, monitored TV watching appears to be wise to me; take advantage of the Pros to TV, but avoid some of the cons and vice versa.

The first group of Mums will quote scientific research which suggests that children who watch a lot of TV will grow up to be obese TV addicts.  Which is totally a possibility, but there are some other factors which have been ignored in the statistics, like family health, food, job choice, genes etc.

They will wonder, what could possibly be the upside to watching TV?  Well, I’m mainly focussing on baby-toddler TV, but there are some huge advantages.  They are highly educational, Max can speak in spanish and chinese now.  No big deal you will say, until I also caught him talking in persian with the kids at nursery – it’s created a habit in him to be open to other languages.  He knows what a ‘tapier’ is, which I totally wouldn’t have known about at his age.  I can easily suggest that tooth brushing is cool because sportacus does it, and he definitely associates ‘energy’ with apples.  It gives him a way of bonding with children he meets at the park, or in his new nursery, as ‘spiderman’ (we have the old 1970’s cartoons) is like a universal language for boys.  The thing about TV is that it is colourful and in 3D and can teach things in a way, that I would never think of doing (or even remember to do).  Plus, just like his Dad, he loves films, and disney has a totally magic feel to it, which is lovely.

He didn’t watch much under 2yrs old, because he wasn’t very interested.  I think that about 18 months he discovered ‘Baby einstein’ and ‘In the Night Garden’.  Many parents worry terribly about the success that is INTG because it is a bit odd!  But in my investigations of it, I did discover that there are some very sensible and philosophical ideals behind it.

I do use it as a ‘baby sitter’, because that way I don’t have to put Max into full-time nursery, but can do the odd bit of urgent work.  Plus, when you have a house full of tired toddlers in the ‘witching hour’, with a pile of tired Mummies to boot, it does mean that we can have 30 mins for a cuppa and a natter – very important for retaining sanity!  Who knows, some of our TV watching kids could grow up to be film producers or TV show creators.

One disadvantage to not watching TV is that for some children it will create a ‘void’ in their life, which they will go overboard on later on.  You’ve all heard the stories about children of very strict parents who become party animals later on?  Well, my parents decided that saturday morning TV was a definite No, No, so I wasn’t allowed to watch it.  Apart from meaning that I couldn’t join in with social conversations at school, it also meant that I spent huge amounts of my 20’s and 30’s watching saturday morning TV in bed.  We all need to rebel somehow, but some of us delay the rebellion a bit!

Hows about the Mums that ‘over-use’ it?  Well first off, what would be considered ‘over-use’?  I reckon that if Max will always choose a bike ride, or park visit over the TV, then he’s still in the ‘healthy usage’ range.  But I am aware of the fact that as he gets older, it gets a little trickier.  At the moment he only watches stations with no adverts, but it wont be long before he understands how many other channels there are!  Then, I suspect I will need to bring in some boundaries for him about his watching.  I know of a parent of teenage kids who watches things like the discovery/biography channel with their kids and then has a discussion afterwards.  Maybe in the ‘olden days’ that would have been done with a book, but it’s very sociable to be sitting together watching it.

So whats the answer?  There are up & downsides to everything.  My bias is towards a well thought through and considered plan of action.  If when considering your family circumstances you decide to be totally against or totally for TV, fair enough; because by having thought through the strategy you will be able to counteract the downsides of your choice.

The only thing I would therefore warn about is to not think through the strategy and just self-righteously criticise others with different opinions.  I can pretty much promise you that this will go wrong, in that you will be surprised and caught unawares by some of the consequences.

Right, thanks to Justin from cbeebies for giving me a chance to write this post, now we are off to make pancakes!