26th Birthday

I was woken up this morning to breakfast in bed, after Tom had left for work and I had gone downstairs I found he had left me the most amazing typewriter  (I will take proper photos soon) I now have three! Even though one of them holds special importance to me (as it was my Grandad's) I have to say this one is the most beautiful of my collection so far. 
So today I turn 26! I did wonder if maybe the baby might have shown up whilst I was still 25 but I'm happy for him to stay put and 26 is a good age I think to become a mum. My Granny had my mum at 26 and my mum had me at 26 so it feels as it should be some how. You can check out my 25th birthday post here I cant remember being worried about turning 25, seems silly now! I suppose thats one of the reasons its good to have a blog, I would never have remembered how I was feeling this time last year if I hadn't. Whilst searching for that post I also came across this one, I hardly ever read back on old posts so it has been nice to reflect and see how much has changed since then.
I am also 38 weeks today, yesterday I was really feeling a little fed up. My pelvis was hurting me something chronic and I felt like I couldn't even walk without holding my tummy up? Weirdly today is totally fine so I don't know what that was about. I have spent most of the morning sorting out my play list for the birth, its really fun! I have made sure to have my Hypnobirth affirmations every four songs or so, I have also been You Tube-ing some videos which have totally chilled me out. I am getting really excited now!
I'm not sure what we are doing tonight but I think its going to involve a take away, birthday cake and a bath. Perfect xoxo


Feature - What I have learnt since becoming a mum

This week's 'what I have learnt' comes from my friend Kimberlee. I first met Kimberlee when she contacted me on twitter early into my pregnancy kindly offering to lend me some of her old maternity clothes. Since then she has also helped me learn to knit (i've made a scarf so far) and we try to meet regularly at Knit Club! She is also the lady behind 'The Homemade Mama' which we ordered cakes from for my recent baby shower (they are seriously good!). 
Kimberlee has been through so much in her journey to becoming a mama and I'm always taken aback by how strong and together she is. Thanks Kimberlee for sharing your story!

What i have learnt since becoming a mother

I have always assumed that i would be a mother at some point in my life, and if you had asked me in my early twenties i would have said that i wanted a successful career, to buy a house, get married and travel before having my 2 children. You see i had a plan that i have decided my life was going to follow and I was going to do everything i could to stick to it. I wanted to be one of those women who had it all without having to compromise, because that's what i was raised to want. You see I was raised pretty much single handedly by my mum who made so many personal sacrifices for my sister and I and as a result we never wanted for anything except maybe more time with her because she worked long hours away from home. Her determination to provide us with financial stability and all the home comforts had led her to work her way up the corporate ladder and she had a very successful career as a result. She wanted the same for me, and really encouraged me to strive for greatness, which i did. I got excellent A-levels, a brilliant degree and went on to do a Masters, educationally i achieved all that i could. I went on to get a good well paid job and in my spare time i ran marathons for fun! I was the definition of a modern successful young woman. Things were going to plan. But then life stopped following the plan that i had laid out for myself, and it wasn't something i really knew how to deal with…..i began to fail. In my mid-twenties I fell ill after contracting the measles virus and was left with epilepsy, as a result I was also now without a job. Since then i have also had 3 miscarriages, each one more crushing and heartbreaking than the last. My plan had well and truly gone wrong!

However this is where things changed and i started to learn a valuable lesson: Life is so much better when you stop trying to follow plans and start trying to make the best of every moment that you have! I had given up hope of ever becoming a mother or having any of the things i had dreamed of, i was in full self-loathing mode because I had failed to achieve what i assumed would be the easiest part of my life plan: To fall pregnant and carry my baby to term. Yet even though my mister  an I weren't trying to have a baby I found out only 6 weeks after my last miscarriage that i was pregnant again. It wasn't planned but I then carried my son Henry to term, something that i hadn't thought possible after so many failed attempts. However the journey from conception to birth of course didn't go to plan. Our 20 week scan showed Henry's heart was abnormal. I spiralled in to panic fearing the worst, however he is fine. He has Mesocardia, which means his heart is centrally positioned but structurally and functionally fine. The heart specialist told us that our son was not 'normal' just 'a little different'. It was scary facing the prospect of having a child who would be born ill and maybe not survive, however it made us realise very early on that we would love this little boy no matter what happened. Plans didn't matter, making sure that was was loved and happy did. We threw ourselves in to getting ready for his arrival, for me this meant reading very single book available before having him in an attempt to be a good mother and get everything right. I thought i had it all planned out even down to the labour! The books tell you that a first time mother will be in labour for a minimum of 12 hours and to pack food and music to keep you going, so that's what i did! We rocked on up to the hospital with a picnic basket full of goodies and a 24 hour labour playlist on my iPhone…..i knew what i was doing! Once again Henry showed me that you can't plan life….he shot out in just over 5 hours meaning that i didn't get time to eat any of my picnic or listen to any music because i was too busy actually having my baby! 

From the moment Henry was conceived he has shown me that doing things your own way and at your own pace makes life so amazing! All of those books that i thought i needed to succeed as a mother are untouched since his arrival, all of the advice that people thought i needed to know is unused. My son is his own person, with his own needs, no book can tell me what he wants, nobody else has had the privilege of raising him so they cannot know what is best for him! I have learnt to throw away the rule books & plans that were so full of unnecessary pressure & unachievable targets and just start trusting my instincts. People will often question the decisions you make as a mother, whether it regards how you feed your child, how you care for them or whether you chose to go back to work. However I am still breastfeeding, I have adopted an attachment parent approach to caring for Henry and i am trying to start my own little business. None of this was planned, it's just been a natural progression that has felt right for the whole family at this time. It may not be right for others or even for me in the future however it's what needs to be done now. I look at my happy 9 month old son who is learning new things everyday not because it's part of any plan or written in any book, but because that's what he wants and needs to do now, and i know that because he changes so quickly i have to forget plans and just enjoy our time together now. I know that the pressure can be put on mothers and babies to keep up with the crowd and 'be the best' but my experiences as a mother has taught me not to compare Henry to other babies or myself to other mothers. Every baby is so different regardless of what many of the pregnancy and parenting books tell you, and you just have to love and support them and have faith that they will show you when they are ready for the next change, development or adventure that you experience together. 

My son is an amazing little person with a fighting spirit who from the word go was here to show me that life is so much better and full of beauty when things don't go to plan and as a result my life is so much more exciting and enjoyable since he came in to it!



My lovely friend Emily has set up a fantastic little boutique in London called Shipshape Studio. You may remember Emily from these posts here and here. I am so pleased for Emily and her partner Adam, their shop looks amazing! They also run craft nights and lessons with local artists and crafty people, you can check out what they have lined up by clicking here

'Shipshape Studio is a new creative venue and boutique in Northwood, a leafy part of Greater London near Harrow, founded by partners Emily Burt and Adam Tiratsoo. Adam, a musician, and Emily, a writer and designer-maker, left their little cottage in Brighton just over a year ago with dreams of running a creative business in the big smoke and, after one fractured skull and many nights spent dreaming and planning, they launched Shipshape Studio in November 2011.'

I'm really proud of my friends following their dreams and making a success of them! 

If you look closely you can see one of my 'Crafty Like a Fox' totes! xoxo


37 Weeks

37 Weeks + 2 days
So we made it to 37 weeks, full term! Our baby can be born any time from now and not be considered premature!I know he probably wont come until after 40 weeks but recently two people I know have had their babies at 37 and 38 weeks which was maybe why I felt a bit freaked out over the last few days.
And on that note thank you for your lovely comments here and on Twitter about my previous post, I really appreciate it and it made me feel tons better.
Today Tom and I had a semi lazy but also fairly productive day. Last weekend he spent all hours working on the kitchen so we hadn't had any quality time together. As I had been feeling a bit sad about the end of 'just us' it has been nice to just have a laugh and a cwtch together. But we are still working on all the bits we still need to do, I have been working on the spare room/nursery today, painting the tree mural and putting out the nappies in their little baskets (we are hoping to cloth nappy but also have some disposables for emergencies). We found our cot in the IKEA bargain corner (ex display) so wheeled it home and Tom is going to fashion it into a Co-Sleeper over the next few days. I think it was a good idea to have the Co-Sleeper extension rather than have him in our bed, not that there is anything wrong with that method but Tom and I squabble about the amount of room we have anyway so it will be good to have the extra space. 

boxes of things I still need to sort out!
Talking about sleeping, its not going so well these days, a friend lent me a pregnancy pillow which has helped a lot but I'm not really ever fully sleeping. Its more like dosing until I need to change positions again/go to the loo/get more water etc. Sometimes I find myself on my phone at 4am in the morning looking at what my Australian or American pals are doing on Twitter just because sleep is not coming to me at all. But I would rather that a million times than morning sickness so I really don't feel too disgruntled about it, plus I do remind myself just how lucky I am so be pregnant and then I don't feel to bad. I am so glad I took maternity leave when I did however as even if I am tired I can just rest in bed with Greys Anatomy or do some online xmas shopping. Sometimes I feel guilty about being so lazy but like I was saying to a friend the other day if Tom & I are lucky enough to have more children I am never going to have the time again to just chill so I should soak it up whilst I can! 
This is my 37 weeks and forward pregnancy uniform - its all about the comfy!
I also went to Mothercare with my friend Abi, to shop for the more glamorous items for post birth *ahem nipple cream and massive pads..oh dear* but did also treat myself/Wilfryd to a Sophie the Giraffe, a baby toy no yummy mummy can be seen without! 
My mum is coming up next weekend (when I will be about 38.5 weeks) so I am going to go again with her to pick up any last minute essentials we can think of. I think I will be feel a bit calmer when she is up and the house is all sorted as I will be ready then for baby's arrival! But I *think* we are pretty much on top of everything, if you ever can be. 
Oh yer and if it all gets a little too much you can always just take a cat nap xoxo



I'm going to be completely honest and say today I officially become Pregzilla, my hormones have completely overthrown me and I feel like there is nothing I can do about it. Up until this point I am pretty sure I have been a fairly rational and patient person but today in my 37th week of pregnancy I am a grumpy and emotional mess. 
I started the day by snapping at my boyfriend, and have let myself cry about three times before lunch. My horrible dreams are back and I cant stop worrying about the future. Am I going to be able to do this? to be a mum, to have my life completely change, to have this person depend on me. Am I going to be able to make the right choices and do the right things, to always make the time and always be there. Its the fear of the unknown, I don't know how I will be, how Tom will be, how our relationship will be and as awful as it sounds I feel like I'm grieving for the end of just us, me and Tom being enough for each other. 
I hate myself for sounding so selfish,I feel like such a bad person,I shouldn't be thinking any of things. I love my baby and I know how lucky I am to be having this baby, I honestly honestly do, whilst I write this & my tummy is moving around with my squirmy baby I am willing him to know how much I do love him but I'm scared and overwhelmed. Its all come so soon and I don't know if I'm ready. Should I even be confessing to this, shouldn't I be on top of this? Did anyone else ever feel this way?


Midwife home visit

I thought I would do a short post on this as I was really curious as to what the above would entail. As you know we are working on the house at the moment and the day the midwife was due over was operation kitchen a go-go. We had all the old kitchen pieces plus kitchen wear and food in the living room and the old sink and work tops in the front yard, great first impression! Luckily our living room is really large (it used to be two rooms that have been cut through) so there was room for myself, Tom and her to all sit down thank god! I was really nervous about the state of everything even though every one kept telling me she wouldn't care, and of course she didn't. 

So the midwife home visit at 36 weeks essentially is to go through your home birth plan and discuss options such as if we want the baby to have vitamin K and if so if we would like it injected or orally and if I want a 'managed' or natural third stage of labour. The reason they offer vitamin K to new borns is that a small number of babies (1 in 10,000) have vitamin K deficiency bleeding which means they could spontaneously bleed or bruise. You are offered Vitamin K to your baby in two ways, the first being an injection into the babies leg or orally which consists of three doses by mouth (two in the first week and one when it is a month old). Although there is not much between them after talking it through with the midwife we felt more comfortable with the oral method. Even though I suppose I have been making decisions for this baby whilst it is growing inside me this was the first decision we had to make in regards to his health in the outside world, I'm not sure it made me feel any way particularly but I did notice it as being the first real decision, of which we will have a million more to make during his future!

The second was the option of 'managed' or 'natural' third stage, I guess you guys know me by know to know that I would like to try and do this as naturally as possible so no surprise what I chose there. If you want to read about what that entails click here. Although I have chosen the natural third stage I am not adverse to the managed if I change my mind at the time or if for any reason it is thought that it is needed, my main reason for not wanting the injection is one, if things were going fine I see no reason to hurry anything along and two, I have heard some of the side effects can be nausea and I am dammed if I am going to go through giving birth only to be sick for the next four hours!

So with the two big questions out the way we talked where I was going to have the baby (in the living room in my giant paddling pool), pain relief (water, tens machine and possibly gas and air) and relaxation techniques. I am really pleased that my midwife is a huge supporter or home birth, she seemed really pleased when we told her about the relaxation methods we had been trying (pregnancy yoga, hypno birth and NCT classes). She explained the reasons that I may have to be transferred to hospital but also explained that didn't mean these things would happen. She also asked if we would mind a student midwife there too, I hadn't actually thought about that before but after she said that it would be nice for one to see a home birth I was happy for them to come along. 

We discussed the set up for the room too, dark, fairy lights, candles, music, pool and we are also bringing our old mattress (we got a new one last week) down as a soft area. Tom and I were going though playlists the other night, although they are all on Spotify so I am going to have to upgrade my account so I don't get an advert every three songs (usually not an issue but I think it would be at the time!!). 

I will be full term tomorrow so this baby could realistically come any time from then on! Although our kitchen isn't quite done it will be by the weekend (its just the last bits, shelfs and wall cabinets) so I am looking forward to getting the room all set up and nesty from then on (so baby you stay in there a few more days OK? - ideally a few more weeks, thanks).
Well that was that, next time I meet up with her I get my red book for the babies check ups after he is born! Right now off to watch more Grey's Anatomy, ahh maternity leave is hard xoxo


Feature - What I have learnt since becoming a mum

I love reading Charlotte's blog 'I'm only saying what your thinking' her sarcastic writing is very refreshing and witty. We have also become friends over the world of twitter so I'm glad to share with you this honest and funny piece,thanks Charlotte!

How to describe becoming a mother in six words?
Thank heavens for push up bras.
Before I fell pregnant I didn't need a push up bra. Or to exercise for that matter. Everything was where it should have been. And now? Don't ask.
I had Lilian seven months ago and having her has taught me a lot. For example: the housework can wait (although it really does need doing), keep food in your handbag because hours can go by without you shoving food down your throat (your life now revolves around the child). It has also taught me how to be more tolerable of my mother in law and that it isn't about me anymore, I can be selfless without even trying. 
Yes I dream of my old life. I used to stumble out of bars drunk, fall into the road and sing to people on the tube. Once I woke up and found half a bottle of vodka in my bag. I couldnt remember why it was in there but at the time I thought it was hilarious. I lived a reckless life and I enjoyed it. But now. Well I have a kid, don't I. Things have changed. I'm still the same person (although the reckless side of me is locked in a room, for now) but I'm better. More loving, kind, calmer. I smile more, cherish every moment (cliche), I appreciate silly little things. I still act like an idiot at times but I find myself thinking about something before I do it because I have a daughter now and I don't want my whims to affect her in a negative way. Becoming a Mother has taught me to be compassionate and to see the good in people (even my mother in law).
But the most important things I've learnt from becoming a mother?
That you need a good concealer and lots of coffee in the cupboard, hangovers hurt like you wouldn't believe, dry shampoo is a godsend, you'll be wearing a push up bra for the rest of your life and sometimes you just need to let it go... Not everything is worth stressing about. Look after your body and your baby and they, in turn, will look after you.


Christmas Present Ideas

I have decided there is no way I am venturing into town to do my Christmas shopping this year, it is all being done online from the comfort of my bed. Luckily there are sites like Etsy which means I can still hunt out personal handmade gifts without having to trawl around boutiques at eight months pregnant! 
Here are somethings I have been 'hearting' this morning 
This cute plushy from ohsweetlulu even though Wilfryd will only just (or maybe not even) born by Christmas I wanted to get him one special gift. I actually just bought him this after his middle name (I sure hope he doesn't grow up hating foxes, I am going a little crazy for the fox theme)
This amazing cuckoo clock by Katesutton
I would be pretty happy to find this broach in my stocking by kimonoreincarnate
If this wasn't £50 I would have totally bought it for Tom from PrettySnake
Love this 'Lewis' doll from goodbyebluemonday
have to have a bit of ashleyg

Super cute fox bag from Bradleyville
I have a certain little sister who would love this from Ninainvorm
Polaroid brooch by craftyfolk
Moustache Man Cushion by cookiecutteretsy
Actually there were a few I really wanted to share with you as they were amazing but I have decided to buy for certain people (who may look at this blog) so I had to be on the safe side! How are you all getting on with Christmas shopping? xoxo


36 Weeks

Please excuse grainy phone pictures, my official photographer is going to have his hands tied for this evening and weekend working on our kitchen. I would leave it until next week but then its practically 37 weeks so these will have to do. And anyway I guess it more honest for me to show you how it is at 36 weeks..eight months = jarmer time and no make up for sure.

Four weeks to go (give or take) and one week until I reach full term! 
I'm not sure if its the way everyone feels or if it is due to losing a baby previously but each week I think 'yes we made another week, well done baby!' my goals are only to reach the following week and I actually didn't ever think we would make it this far. Each week I look at how likely survival rates and disability rates are and each week they get better and better and I feel less and less nervous. 
That being said, baby please please do not come this week because we are not ready for you! Tom and his friend have been ripping out our kitchen and levelling the floor, this means our living room is now our kitchen and we do the washing up in the bath. I am so grateful for Tom's friend helping us with this as our previous kitchen didn't even have a floor (it needed levelling before one could even go down). It needs a few days to dry before they can start work on the actual kitchen but should hopefully be finished by the end of the weekend. I know it will be so worth it and there was no point in waiting until the baby was born (I don't even think we could have had a baby in there as it was) but every time I go downstairs I feel my heart racing in anxiousness. I think part of this is because the midwife is coming over this weekend to go through our home birth plan and I have this stupid thing in my head that she will look at all the mess and say we are not allowed one after all, ha! 

Once the kitchen is done I think I will be going fully into nesting mode, I already feel it which is why the house being the way it is now (lots of our living room stuff is now in the bedroom too) is stressing me out a little. All I can think about it cooking and cleaning (I know right!?) the day before the kitchen was ripped out I made (from scratch) mushroom pie,macaroni cheese and veggie chilli (all to freeze). I know these are not very complicated dishes but from a lady whos idea of cooking is heating up pasta pillows or making a stir fry they are culinary masterpieces thank you very much. 
I really want to be the kind of mama that can cook and sew and knit (I am going to have to work on the knitting thing as I am not a natural). I want to make (veggie) sunday dinner and pancakes for breakfast and be able to sew fancy dress costumes. I am not talking right away btw I realise the first few months are going to be such hard work and if we actually manage to eat something half nutritious it will be a miracle. 
I don't know if its because as a child I lived quite a nomadic life in that we moved house a lot, moved areas of the country (or lived in a tent in spain). Not that I didn't have a stable upbringing, I always felt secure about my family being there for me but constantly being the new kid in school or knowing where we were living wasn't ever going to be a permanent fixture did leave a sense of insecurity. I think maybe because of this I have always craved the opposite. Where as my parents loved to travel I have never had any desire to leave the country other than a week or so in France or Greece a year (and even then we are always so happy when we get home). The thought of spending the next ten years in a house we have bought and made our own makes me happy, knowing and building up friendships with our neighbours makes me feel secure where as I know it would make my parents feel claustrophobic. Maybe my cravings for this domestic lifestyle are a rebellion of my parents free spirited lifestyle and maybe Wilfryd will grow up wanting to travel and explore! However if I am lucky enough to have a long lasting and loving relationship as my parents have then I will be very happy indeed. 
Yesterday marked the last of our NCT classes also, I'm grateful that Tom was able to attend all of them with me. At our class last week we had to do an exercise where our teacher Alison played a recording of a new born baby crying for about 20 minutes, we then had a doll that was the same weight as a new born that we passed around the group trying to think of ways to sooth it. The problem was I was second to last out of about nine of us and the time it had come to me the screaming was so loud and everyone had been through everything I could think of. I felt so panicked and aware that everyone had thought of something useful I just said 'I've ran out of options! I don't know what to do!' the teacher then explained that the baby would be able to sense the stress from me so now would be a good time if possible to pass to Tom (which I did immediately) or if alone to leave the room for a couple of minutes to breath and come back to the situation, when I passed it to Tom he had about three great ideas! When we left I said to Tom 'god that was stressful wasn't it' and Tom replied 'I didn't find it that bad', which is great in a way, as I keep seeing more and more how great Tom is going to be (he is so involved in the classes and enthusiastic when talking about looking after the baby) but makes me feel a little apprehensive about how I am going to be. 
The whole time you are pregnant all you really think about it the birth and preparing for that, and where as the birth isn't making me very nervous at all (if something goes wrong or i find its bad I'll deal with it then, no point worrying about what may might never be) what happens in the first few weeks afterwards is making me a little stressed! 
Tom and the other NCT dads have all already agreed to meet up with the babies after the birth to give us ladies sometime for ourselves (like a long bath) or to meet up and have a glass of wine without the babies. Its funny how they all got on so well, but really great and another reason I would recommend the NCT classes to anyone. It really helps dads to feel involved and confident, after our breastfeeding class I confessed i had been feeling tired and sleepy and wasn't sure if I had paid attention enough and Tom said 'don't worry I was paying attention for you, I'll help you'. He's going to be such an amazing dad. xoxo


Series of Circles

I wasn't going to share any photos of myself from my shower because frankly I feel like a look like a WHALE in them. But then I thought, thats a little vain, OK so I may look like a series of circles and my hair had got waaay to long/out of control (my mum has now cut it for me) but I'm sure I will look back and miss these times so hey!
That being said I did greyscale them because everyone looks a little better in black and white right? 
I spent most of yesterday folding and sorting baby clothes and I am finally on top of it! We now need to put up a few shelves in the spare room for toys etc and we will almost be finished. I keep thinking its OK as we have at least four weeks, but recently lots of people I know are having early babies! We still have a fair bit of DIY to be done (including ripping out the kitchen) but its all good. 
I have also finally unwrapped my pregnancy yoga DVD and spent a good hour or so going through my exercises, at 36 weeks its a bit tiring to be fair but I think its important to keep up for as long as I can even if I just do a few moves a day. Which reminds me I need to go swimming at least once this week as it is free at the moment after all!
Phew all that talk of exercising is making me tired, I'm off to draw up some thank you cards for my baby shower gifts 

All the leaves are brown

all the leaves are brown
and the sky is grey
I've been for a walk
on a winter's day
I'm pulling a bit of weird face in the last picture, I was probably saying something like 'wait for me' or 'slow down!' as I usually am these days..
On Sunday we went for an afternoon walk in our local park, wehad some left over bread from the baby shower so we decided to go and feed the ducks and swans. Only when we got there there were all these yappy little sea birds (anyone know  their name?) and they were screaming and squawking and stealing all the other birds bread. It became a game to strategically throw so that a duck or swan could get some. I like most creatures but these ones were bullies!


Feature - What I have learnt since becoming a mum

This weeks 'what I've learnt' comes from the lovely Polly (or pixie polly as I have come to know her from twitter). I can't remember when Polly and I first started our twitter friendship but I'm glad we did, her attitudes to motherhood strongly resemble my thoughts and feelings on how I want to raise my own family. And that hair!Amazing! 

What I've learnt since becoming a mum
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I'd never planned on having children. If somebody had of asked me 10 years ago, I'd have said there was not a chance! I had spent years struggling with anorexia and depression, made several failed suicide attempts, and I was filled with self hatred. I had also spent most of my teen years locked in an abusive relationship, and the future didn't look bright.

Then in February 2001 I met my husband. By the April I was living with him. We spent that summer getting stoned, chilling out, watching movies, and just being together. We eloped to Gretna Green on the 23rd August 2006 - and two weeks after we were married, we found out I was pregnant.

After the initial shock wore off, I slowly began to see what a gift this was. Just 6 months earlier I'd wanted a way out of this world, my body had endured years of abuse (and in fact I had been told by my doctors that there was a chance I never be able to have a child). And yet here I was, alive, married, pregnant, being given a second chance.

I knew how important it was that I looked after myself so that the baby would be healthy. So my old habits of surviving on coffee and cigarettes went straight out of the window. I learnt to eat healthily, to listen to my body, to embrace my curves and to not obsess over every pound gained. I saw what a wondrous thing my body was, and slowly my self-hatred began to lessen. I focused on the baby, I knew that now I came second to her needs.

When I first held my daughter in my arms I was filled with a rush of joy, happiness and peace. She stared into my eyes, totally trusting that I would be all she needed. That this little person was fully dependant on me gave me a reason to keep going, a reason to get up in the morning, a reason to be happy. She showed me what it is to be loved and what it is to love.

On those days when I felt down, I knew that I could never do anything which would hurt her. For all the mistakes that I had made in my life, she didn't care. I knew that I didn't want her to grow up hating herself as much as I did. I vowed then to be the best role model that I could. To stop hating myself, to stop hurting myself, to treasure this life that I had been given, and to take care of this body.

9 years later and I am now the mother of three daughters. Those three pregnancies have left their marks on my body. Every strechmark is a reminder of them having been nourished inside of me for nine months. I have come to love each and every mark, every curve, every extra pound that I have gained. They are the symbols of my life, the signs that my body has nurtured life within, they are my battle scars.

My daughters have been my saving grace. They have given me a purpose in my life, they have helped me overcome my self-hatred and begin to accept who I am. Without them, I have no doubt that I would not be here. That isn't to say that life is all a bed of roses – of course there are still times when I feel down, after my second daughter I suffered with post-natal depression, and recently I have gone through another bout of the blues. In the past I would have allowed these times to consume me, I would have sat and wallowed in my misery. Being a mother doesn't allow you any sick days, regardless I have to keep going, and that has proved to be the best medicine I could ever have found.

The greatest lessons that becoming a mother has taught me is self-acceptance and self-confidence. That there is no 'perfect', no 'normal'. We are all capable of being loved, just the way we are. We don’t' need to change, to be someone else. As a mother I am capable of so much – I filled with a confidence that I never had before, I am not afraid of spending time alone {or as alone as you can be with 3 kiddos!} I do not worry what other people think of me, I do not sit and dwell on all the difficulties that I have gone through.

I am grateful for this blessed life that I live, and so incredibly lucky to simply be alive and so loved. Being a mum has shown me that life is worth living, and that all you really need is to love and be loved.

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