“I'm breastfeeding my 13.5 month old. She wakes many times a night still. My resolution is not to let sleep deprivation stop me achieving my goals. I'm taking up climbing and plan to do the 3 Peaks in 2015. A Snoob would definitely help with the wind protection on top of Snowdon!”
So a month or so down the line we thought we’d find out a little more about Lindsay, and ask her how she’s getting on with her winning Resolution! She answered our questions with a great deal of openness and honesty for which we are very grateful.
Joyful – she’s a little ray of sunshine.
Inspiring – she makes me want to be a better person.
Sponge-like (for want of a better word) – she soaks up new information like there’s no tomorrow. We’ve been signing with her since she was tiny and she can sign over 100 words. It’s been amazing to watch.
Dedicated - once I put my mind to something, I have to see it through.
Family-oriented – I’d happily have a large plot of land so that my immediate family, Sofie, my husband and I could all be neighbours.
Athletic – I enjoy taking part in most sports.
This is a tough one; there are new challenges each month! I think it’s got to be the contrast between my expectations of motherhood, versus the reality. I’d been ready for children for several years and so Sofie was very wanted. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but the shock of those first 6 months was like nothing I’d ever experienced before. Antenatal depression and anxiety made for a mentally exhausting pregnancy, but postnatal depression and anxiety, coupled with sleep deprivation, hit with such an unexpected force, it’s very hard to put in to words. Motherhood can be stressful and competitive at the best of times; how fast can you lose the baby weight, which classes have you signed up to, whose baby is sleeping through the night already?! Fortunately I have an incredibly supportive husband; my wonderful mum lived with us for many weeks in the early months (and still stays two nights a week); and my sister regularly tells me that she’ll happily accept phone calls at all hours. The challenge has been to be kind to myself and learn to take each day as it comes. I’m pleased to say that 15 months in, things are definitely looking up. I believe it’s so important to talk openly about mental health issues and I’m certain the words ‘postnatal depression’ can scare people away. More discussion will lead to greater awareness; and hopefully the number of women feeling confident enough to seek support will increase, as will the quality of support provided.
I think it’s got to be watching Sofie discover new things about herself. I watched her when she was tiny; she’d found her hand for the first time and was turning it from side to side, staring. It was a fleeting moment, but seemed so momentous. Her latest discovery has been her belly button. The routine goes… look at hers, point at mummy and daddy to see theirs, and repeat.
That’s easy. The ability to fall into bed, sleep for as long as I want, and wake up on my own terms. My average blocks of sleep range from 1 to 3 hours at a time now.
6. Do you try to carve out time for yourself?
Absolutely. I’m sure that all new mums feel an element of guilt when they start to want some ‘me time.’ I’ve come to realise though that it’s not a luxury, it’s essential. Motherhood is such a precious gift, and has changed my life completely. I’m fortunate enough to be able to stay at home with my daughter 4 days a week, but I still need to exercise and I need to escape for a few hours here and there! The things that made me ‘me’ before children are still a huge part of my being, and with those needs fulfilled, it’s easier to be a better mum to Sofie and dedicate quality time to her.
7. Who do you turn to for advice on parenting?
My biggest sources of support have been my mum, and several Facebook groups. There are some wonderful gentle / attachment parenting pages for local mums that have been so helpful and reassuring. It’s great to be able to turn to people who have the same parenting philosophies as you, and are able to share their wisdom at different stages of the journey.
8. You describe yourself as a “breastfeeding advocate”, and are breastfeeding your daughter (aged 15 months). Can you describe any highs and lows of your breastfeeding experiences?
The hardest part was the first 6 weeks, and the enormous physical and emotional effort that establishing breastfeeding requires. A friend of mine said to me during pregnancy that being successful comes from really wanting to breastfeed; you need unwavering determination. I was determined, which was lucky. I won’t go in to the finer details, but at times it was toe-curlingly painful. The breastfeeding support available in Maidstone however is fantastic and I took full advantage of the drop in sessions offered. Online support on Facebook has been invaluable too.
The pay off was watching my baby grow, for a full six months, fuelled only by me. It still seems so miraculous. Breastfeeding really has changed my life. I count it as one of my biggest achievements. It’s still very hard at times because she feeds so regularly at night and co-sleeping is currently saving my sanity. However, the mid-feed smiles, the closeness, and the fact that at 15 months, to her, it’s still the most normal thing in the world, make it all worth while. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Digiduck’s Big Decision is a story for 4-8 year olds about being a good friend to others on the internet. Friendship is something that children learn about and experience at such a young age, and it’s important to understand that what’s right and wrong ‘in the real world’ is also right and wrong online. Digiduck has the opportunity to see the consequences of his actions before making an important decision, with a little help from Wise_Owl, the moderator of his favourite website. The story has been published by Childnet International, with support from Microsoft, and is also available as a free tablet app too, voiced by Janet Ellis and Sophie Ellis Bextor, which was very exciting!
There’s so much that parents and carers can do. The most important thing however is active engagement with your children, and sharing their enthusiasm. Parental controls and technical solutions can be a useful starting point, but are no replacement for face to face conversations and education. It’s never too early to talk about online safety, in an age appropriate way. These discussions can happen as soon as children show an interest in the internet. Childnet.com has an excellent set of information pages dedicated to parents and carers, with tailored advice, resources and activities for children of all ages, from 3 to 18.
11. We know that you have taken up climbing and are aiming to do the Three Peaks Challenge this year. How is the training going, and when we will see the Snoob on top of Snowden?
Training is going well. I’m a keen runner and so my first task is a half marathon at the end of March. My husband and I have taken up climbing each week and are really enjoying it. It’s a mental challenge too, picking out the route that you want to take along the walls. We’ve started with bouldering and will be taking a belaying course soon. I’m building up my basic fitness with weekly FitSteps classes, which are brilliant and a great way to learn how to dance. I’m aiming to do the 3 peaks over the summer and autumn months I think, probably on 3 separate weekends. If my daughter is night weaned by then it’ll make it easier for my husband and I to go away to each location, if not then it’ll be a family affair and I’ll be bringing babysitters, and really be putting my new years resolution to the test, of not letting the lack of sleep hold me back. I’ll be sure to take pictures of me and my snoob at each of the three summits!