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Six

Yesterday was World CP Day. Any half decent special needs blogger would have had a post prepared, but I didn’t feel much like saying anything. Or doing my part to raise awareness and educate others.

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My last day with a bump instead of a baby

The last time 6th October fell on a Saturday was the last day that Ted was safe and happy in my body.

I’m not going to say that it was the last time that all was well in my world. It sounds dramatic and while it might keep people reading, it simply isn’t true. To say that would be doing Ted a huge disservice.

But 6th October 2012 was the last time he didn’t have cerebral palsy.

That Saturday night that my waters broke, starting a birthing process that would turn our lives upside down much more than the typical first baby does…. and that’s saying something.

Although the rawness of what happened to us during Ted’s birth has subsided, I still wake up a little out of sorts around this time and having the dates match up with World CP Day, really hasn’t improved my mood much.

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Today, Ted turns six. I wish I could be all ‘Six! SIX! Where does the time go?!’ but actually, it feels like six years ago that he was born. Perhaps that’s what happens when everything stretches on so long. Ted is still in nappies, he still gets spoon-fed pureed food, he still drinks formula from a bottle, he still needs a dribble, bib, he still wakes up almost every night, he still requires 24-hour care, he still hasn’t hit most milestones. He is, on paper, still a newborn.

Expect that he isn’t and I no longer dwell on this dreariness. I feel the need to acknowledge it, hence this post where I am processing my emotions through writing (my standard self-medication) but Ted is completely something else.

He is not his diagnosis.

He is not the list of conditions and issues that appear on his hospital letters.

He is not just the product of a birth that went wrong or a boy brain-injured by the errors of two thoughtless midwives.

He is a six-year-old boy. 

He is a six-year-old boy who likes to laugh at farts in the bath and his sister’s funny dancing and silly accents and enigmatic speakers and people hunting frantically for lost keys.

He is a boy with no words but who knows how to get what he wants.

He is a boy that has no need or want for birthday presents, so instead gets a big shiny balloon or two and a day out with his family.

He is a boy who smiles at everyone so broadly, that everyone stops to talk to him when we are out.

He is the boy who made me a mother. Who has shown me the very best and very worst parts of my personality.

He’s the boy I would do anything for. I know him almost better than I know myself and I want to be the best mum I can for him. I don’t care about the ‘what ifs’ and ‘what may have beens’ because we have Ted. Smiley, stubborn, vocal, funny, innocent, huge-hearted Ted.

Who happens to have cerebral palsy.

Tricks of the mind

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Deep in my heart, I’m a writer. I’ve always been a writer. As a child, that was my ‘When I’m grown up I’m going to be…’ I have always had a deep love of books, magazines, words, language. I studied writing. I value writing. I know I am (mostly) good at writing.

I’ve worked in some kind of writing all my adult life. One of my first jobs was creating quiz questions for Teletext (ahem, showing my age) and then I went on to work in editing, magazine features, blogs, websites and now social media.

Yet, I still feel unworthy and stuck. I have imposter syndrome. My brain tells me that I haven’t done enough writing yet to call myself that. (It’s been about 22 years.) Or that I can’t be a writer because I am not currently making money from it.

My internal monologue tells me I am not good enough. I am not interesting. I am being self-indulgent. I am not an expert. This comes up hugely when I thinking about this Happy Mums stuff – I don’t want to position myself as some kind of happiness/mindfulness guru but I do want to share what works for me in maintaining a life that’s vaguely satisfying.

That’s one of the cornerstones of blogging, surely? Personal experience.

My rational mind knows all this is bollocks and is some kind of fear/shame related baggage from my past, but it’s so hard to move past this.

So, as well as working with a coach, I am doing what I know best. Writing. I have realised that I want to write for me. If no one reads it, that’s fine. I need to write and the only way to move past these feelings is to write. Finish up all those half-completed blog posts that swirl around in my head.

A ‘real’ writer once told me it all starts with putting your bum on a seat.

My bum is on my seat. I can’t promise every post will be a good one, but I hope you’ll stick with me and enjoy my writing, find something that speaks to you or learn something along the way. Maybe I will, too.

 

Do one thing: creating happy habits

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Photo by Raphaël Biscaldi on Unsplash

This week’s blog is a little late as I have just come back from holiday and mentally I am still in hot, sunny Ibiza. Don’t go imagining it was all hot-dog-legs selfies, falling asleep on the beach and drinking cocktails by the pool, though. We were with small children.

That said, it was brilliant fun and I could easily have done another week (thanks in no small part to the family members and carers who came too and helped dilute the difficulties of being away with my food throwing, pool resisting, inappropriate nap-time mini humans).

There’s something magical about being on holiday. Is it the sun, the lack of routine, no work to go to or stress over, new foods to try, new places to visit…? All of it and more, probably. Whatever it is, I always come back feeling ready for a change, a new start, a new path. A bit like New Year but somehow more doable and less forced. Maybe because it’s not all about deprivation, which many New Year’s resolutions hinge on, its more to do with reinvention.

August is here; a new month seems like a good time to start anew with a fresh attitude, so I thought I would start by putting forward my ideas about creating happy habits.

How to be mindful when you hate mindfulness

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Photo by Cerys Lowe on Unsplash

OK, so I don’t hate mindfulness. But I do admit to doing a tiny cringe when I hear the word. I love the concept: pay closer attention to whatever you are doing, it silences your mind so you feel less stressed and more joyful, I mean who doesn’t want that?

But I do believe it’s easy to think that mindfulness is just too worthy to bother with. It can seem like a chore, you know? The last thing any mum needs is another bloody chore.

Is perfectionism sabotaging your happiness?

IMG_5853How often have you heard someone say ‘nobody’s perfect’? You probably accept that about your partner and your children, your parents, your best friends, your work colleagues… Everyone has their faults and they can drive you bonkers sometimes, but that’s life, right?

So do you apply the ’nobody’s perfect’ rule to yourself and your life, happily accepting your faults and being satisfied with ‘good enough’? Or do you find yourself striving for a level of perfection that you just wouldn’t expect from anyone else? You may think that wanting to be the best and have everything ‘just so’ is annoying but admirable, especially if you have come to motherhood from a competitive career. But wanting that level of perfect may just be your biggest saboteur. It can stop you getting things done and it eats away at your happiness. That’s the voice of experience speaking, by the way.

Why I created the Happy Mums Club

Hi there! Welcome to the blog for the Happy Mums Club. Don’t worry if you came here looking for joy boosters – you don’t have to be permanently happy to join in, but hopefully you will be feeling a bit more upbeat once you’ve hung around for a while.

I’m Emma, founder of the HMC. I’ve been a mum since 2012 and have two children (who are four and one). Mothering can be the best, funniest, happiest, most life-affirming role you’ll ever take on, BUT (spoiler alert for all the preggos out there) it’s hands-down the hardest thing, too.

Yup, parenting is a tough gig. Bodily fluids need constant mopping up, there are tears and tantrums and bedtime never comes soon enough – and I haven’t even started on the kids yet. LOLZ. As soon as that baby arrives, the mum guilt sets in. You feel terrible about absolutely everything and wonder how you can be getting it so wrong while all the other mums have their shit together and are nailing it. (They’re not, in case you haven’t realised that yet.)