One and Done

All you need is love … and 2.4 children, apparently.

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First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes mum with the baby carriage, or something along those lines. That’s how it’s supposed to go right? That is the universal dream isn’t it? Sometimes life doesn’t turn out the way society thinks it should, and we should all be ok with that.

My husband, Tristan and I were together 4 years before we got married.  And then married for 7 years before we had our darling baby boy. So we were on the right track, right? I remember that Max was 3 months old when I first heard “Well it’ll be time for the next one soon” and I was absolutely gobsmacked. I think the v-jay jay had only just healed, so I definitely was not ready to go back for round two.

I had the absolute dream pregnancy, after taking a little longer (almost a year) to conceive than I would have liked. I was healthy, had no morning sickness or heartburn or cravings or any of those other nasty pregnancy side effects you hear about. I was determined that I was going to have a natural birth, and it was all going to be hunky dory. I was never scared about the birth, I think I’d read every book and watched every documentary on the subject, so I was set. What I was worried about was what the hell to do with this tiny human being when I got it home. I couldn’t believe that they trusted me to take this little thing home and be in charge of it!

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So as planned, I gave birth to the child, it all went really well, I stayed in the hospital for 4 days probably because I didn’t really want to go home and have sole charge of this baby, I was shit scared. We went home and started the new role of being parents, we changed nappies, and fed formula (no judgement please!) and I became very fixated on the routine and the timing of everything. I would write down on the chart given to me by the hospital when he slept, when he pooped etc and I became quite anal about it to be fair. It became the only way I could cope, was to stick to the schedule, and I couldn’t cope when things didn’t go to schedule, like if Max didn’t sleep as long as he was supposed to, or drink as much as he was supposed to. I became too scared to leave the house because it didn’t fit into my carefully curated schedule and I was scared of what to do if my baby cried and I didn’t know what to do. I know now, that thinking like that is ridiculous, and crazy talk, but that’s how I felt. I was anxious, and scared and over whelmed all the time.

When Max was 6 months old I finally admitted that I had a problem, and I knew that I wasn’t being the best Mum to Max or the best wife to Tristan, so I needed to get help. I went to my GP and she was awesome and validated my feelings and choose a medication for me to go on. I felt better the next day, and I know that medication doesn’t work that fast, but I think it was the fact that I had told someone how I was feeling, finally after putting on a brave face to coffee group, and friends, and family. One of the hardest things I had to do was to tell me Mother and my mother in-law because I felt like I had failed, they are both of the generation where you just get on with it, every one has these feelings, it’s just part of being a mother. Only in my eyes it’s not!

After 6 months on medication I felt great, more in control, and it was time to go back to work. “I’ve got this” I thought to myself, I’m going to come off the medication because I’m going back to work and I will be away from the environment which caused the depression (home and the baby) So off I trotted to work, unmedicated!!

I think I only lasted a couple of weeks before I had a melt down at home one weekend, and admitted that I actually need to still be on the medication. Which once again felt like failure, but did solidify in my mind that it was a hormonal imbalance, and not something I had control over.  So back to the doctors I went.

During this time, as you can imagine, it was particularly tough on my marriage. My husband was fantastic, he just bonded with our son immediately, and nothing was too much trouble when it came to helping take care of Max. He took on the role of parent, like he was born to do it, bless him. I on the other hand, struggled, became teary, overwhelmed and probably a pain in the arse, and this was not a great time to be married to me (my husband won’t say it but I will).

Once the medication kicked in the second time, life was great, everything was ticking away nicely, and for a brief moment I actually contemplated having another child. Because that’s what you do right? “Every child needs a sibling” “It’s almost child abuse to not have another child” “Just because you had depression with the first child, doesn’t mean you’ll have it with the next” “there’s never really a right time, you just do it” all statements that I’ve heard, and discarded, because I’m the only one who can make that decision.  I had to make the decision based on how I felt.

And how did I feel?

I felt as though I didn’t think my relationship and my sanity, could cope with another bout of depression, and yes I knew that it may not happen again, but it was not a chance I was willing to take. I’m not saying my marriage is not solid and good, it is awesome and I feel grateful every day, that I get to do life with this man.  But there were some dark times during that first 18 months, and I don’t ever want to go back to feeling like that ever again.

I have always been very up front, and honest about my journey as a mother, and how I dealt with post natal depression, because I feel like it’s not something to be ashamed of, it happens a lot more commonly than we know about, and if I can help one other mum who’s feeling crappy, then me putting myself out there is absolutely worth it.

I don’t believe that my life or my son’s life is any worse for us only having one child. He is a funny, smart, articulate young man, and I feel blessed every day that he has helped me become the woman I am, by becoming his Mum. I take my hat off to all the mum’s out there who are doing amazing jobs raising their families of one, two or ten children, we have all had to make the decision that it right for us, and should not be judged for that decision.

It was a hard, scary, soul destroying time in my life, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. It was taught me how to communicate with my husband better, how to judge less, how to be confident with my decisions, and to trust my own instinct. I believe that I am a better wife, friend, daughter and mother because of this experience.

 

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Including your fur-baby in your wedding

All you need is love and … how to include your fur baby in your wedding.

 

Many couples have pets together before they get married, and a lot of couples consider their pets as their fur babies and so want to include them in their wedding, naturally. So here’s a round up of ways to include you pets in your special day.

Use your pet to propose – How super cute is it to include your pet in your proposal? You could tie the ring on their collar, and then tell your partner that you have a new collar for the pet. Instant brownie points. You could also have a sign made to go around the pets neck with “will you marry my dad” on it.

Save the dates – Use your pet to announce to your guests your wedding date.

Engagement photos – Include your pet in your engagement photo shoot.

Wedding photos – If you’re not sure about your pet coming to the ceremony or reception then ask someone to bring them along for the wedding photos. Brides all dressed up with their pets make magic photos.

Flower Girl Escort – Let your flower girl escort your pet down the aisle.

Pet instead of bouquet – Carry your pet down the aisle instead of a bouquet. Obviously dependant on the type and size of pet. But a rabbit or kitten would look super cute in a flower adorned basket.

Have them by your side during your ceremony – If your pet is the sit still and not move type of animal, and would no be phased by all the attention and people around, it would make for an adorable photo.

Include them in your vows – I have included many a mention of a pet in a wedding ceremony. You could include them in your vows “I promise to love you as much as Oscar (the dog)”

Dress them up – there are a few ways you can dress up your pet for the big day, without hindering it’s movement, or dignity. Try a cute bandana around it’s neck for something understated.

Cake topper – Order a customised cake topper which includes a nod to your fur baby as well.

Table numbers – Incorporate photos of your pet as your table numbers, that way everyone gets to see your pet.

Cardboard cut out – Have a life size cardboard cut out of your pet made, that could be displayed at your reception, or used as a prop in a photo booth.  It would be just like they were there.

There are a few things you may need to consider when deciding if your pet is going to be a part of your big day. How are their socialisation skills? If you have time to get them training, then that would be wise, if they are the type of pet who will wander in and then fall asleep at someones feet, then they are the perfect candidate.  If they have not yet been trained and bark at everything that moves then it’s probably not a good idea.

Take your pet to the venue well before the big day, so they get comfortable and familiar with the place. And make sure that your pet is allowed at the venue.

Make sure there is adequate food and water available for the pet during the day.

Let your guests know before the day that your pet will be attending, that way if they are allergic to animals they can take precautions before hand.

Ensure you have a pet wrangler available on the day, who isn’t yourself or your partner. I recommend someone who the pet knows and is quite happy to look after your pet during the day.

Pets are very special members of the family, so of course they should be included in your wedding day.

Wedding stress busting

All you need is love and … to look after yourself.

Wedding planning is hard, and stressful, so very stressful. And we all know that stress has a huge impact on your body and your mental health. And we all want to go into our wedding day, and our married life, looking and feeling our absolute best. So I’ve put together some tips on how to look after yourself while wedding planning.

Leading up to the wedding day

Get yourself organised – Now is the time to organise yourself, especially if you are organisationally-challenged. Get yourself a wedding planner, any kind will do, whatever suits your personality and lifestyle, and use it.  She said yes have a beautiful one, you’ll feel better knowing that there’s not a chance of you forgetting anything.

Start a exercise plan – If you are wanting to lose a few kilos for the big day, or just want to be in the best possible shape for your wedding day, then formulate an exercise plan. Enlist the help of a nutritionist and/or personal trainer if you like, or just rope in the bridesmaids for added incentive.  Exercise as well as making you look great, will also make you feel great,and it’s also a great stress buster.

Skin care/Hair care- Now is the time to think about how you’re going to get your skin and hair into tip top condition. Talk to your make up artist and your hair dresser about the best way to do this. They may suggest regular treatments and/or products to use leading up to the wedding day, to ensure you have the perfect canvas for the day.

Multi-vitamins/supplements – Now is a good time to talk to a professional about what type of vitamins or supplements it may be a good idea to start using to make sure you both look and feel your best. You may need to think about a supplement to help with stress, or energy to help you get through the wedding planning intact. Make sure you are getting enough fruits and vegetables too.

Water – Up your water intake, nearly everyone doesn’t drink enough water, so increasing your water is a great way of helping with hydrating your body.  It will give you glowing skin, and help you flush out toxins. If you’re not a water fan, try using sliced fruit in your bottle to add a tasty flavour.

Delegate – Don’t try to wear too many hats. Make sure  you do your research with vendors, so you know they are professionals, and can do the job, and trust that they will on the day. Sometimes you need to choose what you can let go of and delegate. There are always lots of people who are just waiting for you to ask for help.

Wedding week –

Exercise – Keep up with the exercise. It will help relieve stress, and zone out in this busy week.

Wedding day contact – Choose someone to be the wedding day contact. Someone who you can trust to make decisions on the day so you can relax. This is where a wedding co-ordinator or day of wedding co-ordinator would step in.

Pamper yourself – It’s time to book in for a massage, or some other type of treat for yourself. It’s your wedding week, it’s time to indulge yourself.

Good People – Surround yourself with good people. The type of people who will bring you good vibes, not stress.  If you have to deal with a family member who you know will stress you out, then be very selective with how much time you spend with them.

Set aside more time – Give yourself way more time than you think you’re going to need to complete errands, everything will seem to take much longer than you think, which will leave you running late, and thus stressed, something we are trying to eliminate remember.

Wedding Eve – Don’t go too hard the night before the wedding. It’s ok to have a celebratory drink with the girls, but you want to be waking up fresh faced and bushy tailed, not like a zombie, with dark circles and a monster headache.

Sleep – Make sure you are not burning the candle at both ends leading up to the wedding. There’s a reason it’s called ‘beauty sleep’

Wedding Day

Eat – Make sure you have something in your belly during the day, to stop you feeling faint, and the wine going straight to your head.

Exercise/Fresh Air – Go for a quick walk with the girls in the morning before breakfast.  Getting some fresh air will make you feel amazing.

Water – Make sure you are hydrated, especially if you’ve planned a outside summer wedding.

Mediation – If you’re a mediation fan, then this is the perfect time to practice a little quiet time to re-focus your mind and energy as you head into a full-on day.

Focus on what’s important – Make sure you take a little time on the morning, especially if you’re feeling stressed out, to focus on what’s important about the day.  That you are getting married to your soul mate, nothing else matters!