Mum Bloggers | Where Are All the Black Single Mums?

“It is more substantial to represent a purpose, rather than just a title.” ― T.F. Hodge

Over the last few months of 2019 I’ve slowly started embracing the world of mummy blogging (or mommy blogging for my US people) but it’s not been easy as a black single mum.

It is more substantial to represent a purpose, rather than just a title.
― T.F. Hodge

______________________

If you’re new to my blog, then welcome! And if not, then welcome back!

How are you? How’s life treating you?

Me, I’m doing good and slowly getting back to regular posting. As you know being a mum is hard and finding the time to do anything aside from being a mum is even harder. But as always I keep myself motivated as best as I can when it comes to life and blogging.

Over the last few months of 2019 I’ve been slowly trying to embrace the world of mummy blogging (or mommy blogging for my US people). It’s hard to do so when you only have a few readers and very few people see you as a mummy blogger but I’ve decided to not let the opinions of others determine how I see myself. This goes for all aspects of my life, including hobbies such as blogging.

So what is mummy blogging? Mummy blogging is a way for women to create content online about the most challenging and rewarding parts of our lives – being mothers. I stared my mummy blogging journey last year as it helped me get through the postpartum period and the challenges I faced once I was face-to-face with the little human I’d been creating for the last 9 months. Here’s where my journey began if you’re interested.

I’ve accepted that blogging about motherhood is something I love doing and hope to keep doing however as I’ve started this journey, I’ve noticed that there aren’t that many mummy bloggers like me – young, black and single. Why is this? Are they all hiding or am I just looking in the wrong places?

If you do a Google search for ’single mummy blogger’ 99.9% of the results are of women who look nothing like me. Our ‘single mum’ label might be the same but how that label affects us is different, very different. Don’t get me wrong, single motherhood is tough no matter how you look however as we’ve seen in this world, race and culture has a huge effect on our lives, especially in the black community.

It was sad to see so little representation in an area that was so important to me as a single mother and writing enthusiast. There aren’t that many books on the topic of thriving as a black single mum and our stories aren’t always conveyed in a positive light. This bothered me a lot but I was glad to see a few ladies out there making their mark on the blogospheres as independent black single mothers and I wanted to share them with you.

Without further ado, here are some amazing black single mothers with incredible stories about their journey.

The Single Mom Journey is a blog ran by a 40 something-year-old single mum of two named L.C. Like many of us, she uses her blog to share the wisdom she’s gained on topics such as raising kids, relationships, career moves, money matters, faith and inspiration. Her hope is that women, particularly single mums, will use her blog as a forum to be real and share their struggles without judgment. Check out her post on black single mum blogs for more amazing mothers to help you on your journey!

Black Moms Blog is run by Shanicia, a full-time mum of one living in Atlanta. She uses her blog to offer parenting tips, recipes, information about cultural and current events, as well as highlighting black businesses and mums who are making a splash in the business world. Her mission is to provide a place that changes the narrative of what Black motherhood is really all about. Here’s the post that got me interested in her story

Single Black Motherhood is a blog ran by a 26-year old working mother of one named Kim. Like me, she struggled to find millennial, black single mums on the blogosphere or podcastphere (is that a thing? I’m making it a thing) so decided to create her own. On her blog she shares her journey and the things she’s learning along the way in hopes of inspiring other young black single mums out there. How she managed single parenting with two jobs whilst studying is amazing to me and defiantly worth a read.

Sophie-sticated Mum is a blog ran by Dr. Reed AKA Sophia, a 30 something single mother of one and a National Certified Counsellor with a PhD in Human Behaviour (okay mama!). She uses her blog to encourage women to turn their lemons into lemonade and make boss moves whilst putting God first. Her story on how she became a single mother is definite one to read. So inspiring!

Greater Than Mama Blog is run by Briana, a 27 year old single mum of one. She uses her blog to show other mums that you don’t have to stop being you, just to be someone else’s mother. Although she doesn’t claim to have all the answers on how those two sides of motherhood can co-exists, she hopes to figure it out with the rest of us through her blog. Here’s her latest post which I know I’ll be using once Matthew starts day care.

Although I was happy to find these wonderful ladies, I couldn’t help but notice that most if not all of them were from the US. There are around 1.8 million single parents in the UK and 90% of them are women. How many of those are black women, I’m not sure but if I exist, surely there are others? Surely there are women out there like me with a story to tell about their journey?

This thought reminded me why I decided to share my own single parent journey here on Lydia on Life. Not only did I want a place to document my thoughts and experiences but to also connect with other mothers who look like me, talk like me and are dealing with similar life issues as me. I’m glad I was able to find a few but I know there’s more stories out there waiting to be told.

So for now I’ll continue sharing my journey (and anyone else I find) for my own growth so that anyone else who feels the way I do will know they are not alone.

I hope you enjoyed my little list of wonderful black mummy bloggers who are doing it all whilst raising children single handedly and sharing their journey with us. I can’t wait to learn from them and enjoy their content!

Your Turn…

Do you know of any other black single mum bloggers from around the world? Would they be interested in sharing their journey with me?

Let me know in the comments below or on my socials @lydiaonlife.

Also, don’t forget to follow the blog too! And why not add yourself to the mailing list for updates whilst you’re at it?

I try (emphasis on the try) to post once a week so stay tuned!

Till next time!

Love always,
Lydia x

New Mum | Do I Like Being A Mum?

“Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn’t know you had, and dealing with fears you didn’t know existed.”
Linda Woote

I had a rough couple of weeks this month were the only response to the question “How does it feel to be a mum” was “sh*t”.

Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn’t know you had, and dealing with fears you didn’t know existed.
Linda Woote

______________________

Hello and welcome to my blog!

How are you? How’s life treating you?

I’m doing pretty good. I had a rough couple of weeks this month were the only response to the question “How does it feel to be a mum” was “sh*t”. Motherhood felt really sh*t if I’m being honest. I use the past tense because right now, it feels amazing but there are a lot moments where the weight and responsibility of motherhood just becomes too much for me. It didn’t help that I also caught the flu AND I managed to pass it on to my teething 7 month old. Lovely times!

So since motherhood, hormones and the flu were kicking my ass I decided to take an unintentional but much needed break from blogging, social media and pretty much the rest of the world. And between you, me and the internet I started to wish I could take a break from being a mum too. Unfortunately I can’t exactly detach my boobs and hand them over to someone else to take over so instead I cried, prayed and told myself that this was all part of the process and boy is it a difficult one. Being a mother is bloody hard work and to be honest, a lot of days I really don’t like it.

via GIPHY

Did i just say that out loud!

Well technically I wrote it but it’s true, I don’t like being a mum! At least not right now. My dislike in being a mother is more to do with the expectation and responsibility of raising another human rather than the actual human I’m raising or the fact that I’m doing it alone. My son and my singleness are actually the best part about the process. It’s all the other bits that come with a baby that suck and I’m not sure why no one ever told me it could be like this.

Now I feel like I have to say this for those who are getting ready to report me to social services or a mental ward; I love my son. I look at him everyday and I’m so grateful I made him and I get to watch him learn things and develop into a very interesting human. However, that doesn’t take away from the utter sh*t of an experience being a mum can be sometimes.

The crying, the screaming, the interrupted showers, the cold food and lukewarm tea, the waking up every hour to feed, the kicking whilst changing a poo-filled diaper, the 30 minute cat naps that leave you no time to do anything, the back breaking carrying, the never ending soothing, the unpredictable routine, the lopsided boobs and breastmilk stained bedsheets. Ahhhhh! And to make things extra fun, you’re suppose to deal with all of this (and more) on 3 hours (or less) of sleep, raging hormones and no coffee (or alcohol). Just faith, patience, mothers instinct and utter joy. Oh please! I think I’ve got just about enough of those to not lose my mind but not enough to take away the negative experience that this baby period can have on a mother.

I’m honestly convinced all the mothers around me have gotten amnesia or something and forgotten what it’s like to look after a baby because apparently I should be having the time of my life. “Before you know it they’re all grown up saying mum 24/7 and no to everything” they say. Well, with teething, growth spurts, weaning and constipation, I’m already experiencing that (and more) so what else you got for me?

Right now, being a mum feels like a glorified care worker except you work 24/7 with no breaks, holidays, sick leave or any form of payment. Oh no wait a minute I forgot you do get paid, in kisses and hugs and all those wonderful things people tells you that are so rewarding for mothers. Can any of those get me a full nights sleep without leaking boobs? I don’t think so Judy! It’s been 7 months and so far I’ve gotten a slap on the head, poked and scratched in the face and my nipples bitten. No kisses or hugs yet sir…

Right now, being a mother to me is draining, overwhelming, exhausting, frustrating, tiring, confusing, unpleasant, difficult and a whole host of other emotions I’m yet to identify so please excuse me for not feeling like the luckiest women in the world.

Oh but we mustn’t say such things, must we. Us mothers aren’t allowed to have negative feelings about motherhood are we? Oh no, no, no, no, no, no, no.

via GIPHY

 

But I do, because well in case people have forgotten, I didn’t all of a sudden stop being a human once I popped another human out of me. News flash, mothers are humans too you know. We feel good things and bad things about many things, even babies. The idea that being a mother should be the most ah-mazing experience in the world to me is peoples passive aggressive way of guilt tripping you into feeling like a bad mother if you don’t think otherwise. I’m not here for that.

Other people aren’t going through what you’re going through so why do they get a say in how you should be feeling about something so unique and personal? Why is it taboo to share this side of motherhood where everything feels like sh*t and you feel like sh*t for feeling like the experience is sh*t? I’ve said sh*t a lot so you can guess what I was cleaning before I wrote this post.

“Oh but it’s all worth it in the end, right?” Is it Susan, is it really? How do you measure worth when it comes to raising another human being? Who decided what is deemed as “worth it”? Is having your hair fall out in chunks worth it? Is having the simple task of getting milk from the shops turn into a military operation worth it? Is the sleep deprivation worth it? Is the pain in every part of your body worth it? Is the isolation from the rest of the world worth it? Is the isolation from the rest of yourself worth it? Is the fact that they will never remember all that you did during this stage of their lives worth it? And what is this end you speak of because according to my calculations I’m a mother for the rest of my life and I don’t plan on changing that so…

*deep breath*

Have I said too much? Have I overstepped this invisible line that was carved around my emotions the moment I became a mother? Because let a woman show any emotion other than happiness she’s deemed crazy or unstable, but I can assure you I’m neither. I’m simply a first-time mum getting to grips with the fact that being a mother isn’t for the faint hearted or those who love their sleep. Being a mother is late nights, early mornings, ripped and usually stretched out clothes, missed meals, cuts, bruises, aches and pains and an enormous pressure to be perfectly happy about it. It’s fear, worry, isolation and concern about every single thing you do. As much as it’s all those things (and so much more) it’s also a unique, selfless and character building experience that you will never experience unless you are a mother.

It takes a lot of strength being a mother and even more to admit that often times it doesn’t feel like the best job or most rewarding job in the world but you’re glad you have the opportunity to do it and are constantly learning from it. Experience is the best teacher and boy am I learning a lot and so is Matthew.

No one should dictate to you how you should feel about the process because it’s yours to experience, not theirs. I know my experience isn’t everyone’s but I believe people need to be realistic when sharing their stories about their pregnancies and birth as well as the bit that comes after all that. The good, the bad and the complete sh*t of an experience being a mother can be sometimes. Speaking of sh*t, I think he’s just done one on a freshly changed diaper…guess that’s my queue!

I sometimes wonder if Matthew is just as frustrated with this whole experience as I am. Probably.

Your Turn…

How did you think being a mother would be like before you become one? Was it what you expected? How do you define “worth it” when it comes to motherhood?

Let me know in the comments below or on my social @lydiaonlife.

Also, don’t forget to follow the blog too! And why not add yourself to the mailing list for updates whilst you’re at it?

I try (emphasis on the try) to post once a week so stay tuned!
.
Till next time!

Love always,
Lydia x

Life Update | What Happened In March?

“Taking a break can lead to breakthroughs.” ― Russell Eric Dobda

Lots of big and small things are happening in my life right now and not enough time to write it all down. So I though why not end the month with a little round up of what’s been going on.

Taking a break can lead to breakthroughs.
Russell Eric Dobda

______________________

Hello and welcome to my blog!

How are you? How’s life treating you?

I think I’m doing okay… March has been a bit of an off month for me. Lot’s of things have happened, (some good some not so good ) so I kinda took a break to gather my thoughts. I tend to do that a lot to realign myself but this time I thought instead of going completely silent for the entire month maybe I should share some of the things I’ve been doing in a little monthly round-up. I think about this blog way too much to just let it collect dust whilst I deal with life. So here we are!

Lots of big and small things are happening in my life right now and with a very active baby and majority (if not all) of my brains cells are focused on him, I’m not able to write them all down and share them as much as I’d like to. I’m also not sure if my readers would care to read a whole blog post on what lunch I made whilst entertaining a 6 month old. Or maybe you would? I don’t know.

My hope is that these monthly road-ups will encourage you guys to let me know what areas about my life you’d like to know more (or less) about. It will also help me keep track of what’s actually been going on in my life as I pursue my 2019 goals. It will be short, it will be sweet and hopefully interesting enough.

So without further ado here is my March round-up…

What’s been happening with me:
  • Started a new project which I hope to share at the end of the year (fingers crossed)
  • Applied for nursery for Matthew (he should hopefully start in June)
  • Celebrated my first mothers day (it wasn’t what I thought it would be)
  • And finally I attend my first blogging event BlogConLND (where I finally met my blogging sista queen jennasworldview.com and other lovely people!)
What’s been happening with Matthew
  • Matthew turned 6 months (ahhhhhh already!)
  • He was baptised on 24th March (very emotional day for him and me)
  • He started standing on his own (with the help of anything sturdy around him)
  • And finally he started eating solids (making full use of his 2 teeth!)

And that’s it I believe. Told you it would be short sweet and interesting (kinda). I don’t know what’s in store for next month but be sure I’ll have another round up ready for you.

Your Turn…

What were the highlights of March for you? Is there anything in this months round-up you’d like me to talk more about?

Let me know in the comments below or on my social @lydiaonlife.

Also, don’t forget to follow the blog too! And why not add yourself to the mailing list for updates whilst you’re at it?

I try (emphasis on the try) to post once a week so stay tuned!

Till next time!

Love always,
Lydia x

Modern Mum | Lydia’s Lazy Lunch #1

If cooking becomes an art form rather than a means of providing a reasonable diet, then something is clearly wrong.
Tom Jaine

Having a baby is hard work and trying to find the time to cook as well as eat is even harder when you have to clean, feed, entertain and soothe a 5 month old on minus 8 hours of sleep. As a mum and a human being I don’t ask for much.

After attempting to meal prep, I thought I’d start a series where I share some of the quick meal ideas I use to keep up with the demands of motherhood.

If cooking becomes an art form rather than a means of providing a reasonable diet, then something is clearly wrong.
Tom Jaine

______________________

Hello!

If you’re new to my blog, then welcome.

And if not, then welcome back!

How are you? How’s life treating you?

Me, I’m doing good. After starting Matthew on solids and attempting to meal prep my own food, I thought I’d create a series where I share some of the quick meal ideas I use to keep up with the demands of motherhood.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Between you me and the internet, I hate cooking. *gasp*. What? A woman who hates cooking? Say it isn’t so! But yes it is. I absolutely hate cooking. What I do love is eating and judging by the way Matthew has taken to solid food, so does he. Bottom line is we both love to eat. It’s the part that comes before the eating (and sometimes after) that I have an issue with.

Having a baby is hard work and trying to find the time to cook as well as eat is even harder when you have to clean, feed, entertain and soothe a 5 month old on minus 100 hours of sleep. As a mum and a normal human being I don’t ask for much.

All I want is to be able to eat a home cooked meal at least three times a day whilst it’s still hot and I still have the energy and time to eat it. Is that too much to ask? Unfortunately hiring a personal chef isn’t an option right now and no one (including myself) is able to keep up with the amount of food I need to eat in a day to function. So the next best thing is to meal prep.

And to do just that, I created a set of meals that use less than ten ingredients and take less than 30 minutes to prepare. Now my idea of meal prepping is not fancy or special or anything like that so all you master chefs and come diners please relax on the judgment. My meal prepping is for one reason and one reason only: to keep me alive.

Aside from helping me be more efficient with my time, meal prepping has become a very important means of providing for my son. As a breastfeeding mum, meal prepping means I’m able to keep up with the amount of food intake I need daily to ensure that my son and I are getting all the nutrition we need. That to me is the most important reason for meal prepping. And t’s easier on the wallet too.

But the aim of this post isn’t to convince you about the benefits of meal prepping, Google has that covered. This post is just me sharing an easy fool-proof recipe for those days where you’re feeling too lazy to cook, too broke to eat-out or too busy to stand over a cooker for hours. And for the days where you’re feeling all three at once.

So without further waffle, here is the first recipe from my Lydia’s Lazy Lunch series.

Creamy Bacon & Vegetable Pasta

Serving: 2 portions
Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
– 200g bacon lardons
– 2 cloves of diced garlic
– 1 teaspoon of mild curry powder
– 1 chopped pepper
– Chopped mushrooms
– Tin sweetcorn (drain water)
– Double cream
– Pasta
– Pinch of salt (optional)

Tools:
– 2 Pots
– Cooking spoon
– Oil

Instructions:

  1. Cook pasta in a pot with boiling water and a little bit of salt to your liking.
  2. Heat oil in another pot and fry bacon, garlic and curry powder for 10 minutes
  3. Add mushrooms, peppers and other vegetables and cook them for 5 minuets
  4. Add the cooked pasta and sweetcorn and mix it all together for 2 minutes
  5. Add double cream and mix for 3 minutes. If you don’t have double cream you can use Philadelphia cheese cream or butter and milk as a substitute (see how here)

Serve and enjoy!

That’s it. The idea for this lazy lunch series is to keep these meals easy when you have a little human to entertain and no extra pair of hands. The ingredients are simple, the steps are short and the food tastes good! At least I think so.

This recipe usually gives me two servings which is enough for me to have for lunch and dinner. Increasing the measurements will obviously increase the portions so it’s all depending on how often you want to cook. I meal prep 3 times a week (Sunday, Tuesday & Thursday) and prepare 2 different meals each time. You could meal prep on one day and just freeze them for the week if you don’t want to cook so frequently. I’ll probably start doing that once I return to work.

However you do it, I hope that you find this meal quick, easy and tasty whether or not you have a little human to look after.

Now that Matthew is 5 months and keen to eat grown up food I’ll need to start prepping his meals too. Stay tuned for more on that and other Lazy Lunch recipes!

Your Turn…

What do you think of this recipe? Would you try it? Do you have any lazy lunch ideas you’d like to share?

Let me know in the comments below or on my Twitter, Instagram and Pintrest.

Also, don’t forget to follow the blog too! And why not add yourself to the mailing list for updates whilst you’re at it?

I post once a week so stay tuned for the next one.

Till next time!

Love always,
Lydia x

Single Mum | Am I Ready to Date?

“Maybe our girlfriends are our soulmates and guys are just people to have fun with.”
Candace Bushnell

Valentines Day has never been a big deal for me, even when I was in a relationship. I remember my first Valentines Day date and how much anxiety it brought me. All I had to do was get dressed and do my hair and make-up in time for my date yet I was completely nervous throughout the entire process. The pressure to look good without looking like a bag of nerve ruined the whole experience for me.

Now that I am single, the idea of dating brings a new set of nerves.

“Maybe our girlfriends are our soulmates and guys are just people to have fun with.”
Candace Bushnell

______________________

Hello!

If you’re new to my blog, then welcome to my little online home.

And if not, then welcome back!

How are you? How’s life treating you?

Me, I’m doing good. Despite being single and having no socially acceptable plans for Valentine’s Day, I’m doing pretty good. I did watch a lot of Netflix though. I’ve been doing a lot of that since going on maternity leave.

Valentines Day has never been a big deal for me, even when I was in a relationship. I remember my first Valentines Day date and how much anxiety it brought me. All I had to do was get dressed and do my hair and make-up in time for my date yet I was completely nervous throughout the entire process. The pressure to look good without looking like a bag of nerve ruined the whole experience for me.

Now that I am single, the idea of dating brings a new set of nerves.

Dating.

Day-ting.

D – A – T – I – N – G.

No matter how it’s said, it has a different ring to it when you’re single and also a mum. Although I’m among many of my friends who are also single, my singleness is a little different to their singleness. I’m going to keep it all the way 100 with you okay so don’t judge me. Between you, me and the internet, I am clueless when it comes to dating #thesearemyconfessions. At 26 years old I’ve never really done the whole dating thing. At least not the way social media tells me I should anyway.

Before Matthew’s father, I believe I’d only been out on dates with 3 guys in my entire life. Is that even classified as dating?

One guy was a work colleague whom I didn’t actually like at all but thought at 20 years old it was about time I had a real date and got spoiled for a while. Maybe my mind will change once I got to know him more. Yeah, that didn’t happen. And we can all thank God that it didn’t.

The other two guys were from a dating app a friend recommend. Yup, I went there. At the time, I was curious as to how these dating apps worked and if they even worked so I thought why not. What’s the worse that could happen?  Probably shouldn’t have said that. My curiosity didn’t kill me, however, one of the guys took me out on a date that made me want to kill him. I’ll save that story for another post.

And then there was Matthew’s father. Well we all know how that ended

*breaths in stress*

So that’s my “dating” experience so far.

One taught me nothing, the other taught me patience, one taught me to not use dating apps and one gave me an amazing baby. After 3 failed dates and 1 failed relationship do I really want a next? Although my friends and I might be in different boats, we’re all in the same sea wondering if we’re ready to deal with the fish that’s out here.

Dating is hard enough when you’re single let alone when you’re single and a mum too. I am no longer just me. I come as a package. A very strong, complicated and protective package with layers of packaging tape to match. As a newly single mum (and one with a boring dating history, clearly) do I really want to go down the dating road again? And if I do, how does it work? How does one approach dating as a single parent? When is the right time to start dating again? Is there a right time? How do you know if you even want to date?

I have so many questions but I’m not sure I want to know the answers.

I already know that a baby mama isn’t every man’s cup of tea and I’m okay with that. I’m not trying to be every man’s cup of tea. We all have preference. I for one prefer hot chocolate over tea but I digress. What I’m saying is I’m okay with not being someone’s ideal situation because I’m happy with my situation. However, as I think of the idea of potentially dating again, my mind wonders if there is such thing as a feeling or being ready. What would that look like? What would I look like as a dater? I’m even more clueless now than I was before I had Matthew.

And once I’ve had my dates and found a man who matches my energy in every which way, would I ever trust them enough like that again?

Being a single mum isn’t just complicated physically and mentally it’s emotionally complicated too. And draining. But I guess any relationship that doesn’t end the way you thought it would is like that. You’re left in pain, a little fearful and some what wounded and although sometimes you forget the pain, get over your fear and heal from your wounds, you’re often left with a scar. Scars are a lot harder to forget and even harder to get over. And I’m not just talking about my c-section either.

How those scar will affect me in my dating life, I’m not sure. What I am sure of is that although I’m not yet ready to date, I am open to the idea of dating in future and looking forward to seeing what all the fuss is about. Is this dating life for me? I don’t know.

Now that I’m a mum I can honestly say that I’m more than happy to remain single forever. Too often men are proving to be a lot more hassle than they are worth and no one’s sons is worth that much hassle except your own.

Nonetheless if the opportunity is there and it’s worth my time then why not. Enjoy the process I never really got to have before becoming a mum.  If it’s meant to be it’s meant to be.

Until then, I’ll continue enjoying Valentine’s Day the way I’ve always enjoyed spending it – buying my mum flowers and reminding her how much I love her. That’s one tradition society will never take away from me. Hopefully it will continue on with my children. One can hope, right?

Your Turn…

If you’re single (with or without kids), how soon after being single did you start dating again? What are some of the concerns you had and how did you overcome them?

Let me know in the comments below or on my social @lydiaonlife.

Also, don’t forget to follow the blog too! And why not add yourself to the mailing list for updates whilst you’re at it?

I post once a week so stay tuned for the next one.

Till next time!

Love always,
Lydia x

10 Movies & TV Shows Perfect for Valentine’s Day on Netflix *

It’s that awkward time of the year again. I’m talking about Valentines Day… *gasp* Dun dun duuuun.

For most of us it’s a day of flowers, chocolates and Instagram worthy dates but for me it’s a little different. I’m single and I’m a mum. Not exactly the ideal candidate for this time of the year. Or am I?

It’s that awkward time of the year again. I’m talking about Valentines Day… *gasp* Dun dun duuuun.

For most, it’s a day of flowers, chocolates and Instagram worthy dates but for me it’s a little different. If you’ve read my pregnancy journey post then you will know why. So when I received an e-mail to work with Panasonic (HD television company)* about a post on TV shows that are perfect for Valentine’s Day I thought, okay, this could be interesting.

What movies and television shows would be perfect for a single mama like me on this fine day of romance and romantic love?

Thanks to Panasonic, I was inspired to find some and I wanted to share them with you. If you’re like me then hopefully these should keep us off social media for 24 hours where our singleness isn’t always appreciated. I’m all about turning lemons into lemonade. Can I get a Amen!

Okay let’s start with the movies.

BirdBox – (2018) – A mysterious force decimates the population by taking the form of their worst fear. If they see it, they die. In an effort to stay alive, a woman and her children embark on a dangerous journey to safety whilst blind folded. Will they make it? Starring Sandra Bullock, John Malkovich and Mr fine ass himself Trevante Rhodes. (Thriller)

And Breath Normally (2018) – Due to unforeseen circumstances, the lives of two women (a struggling Icelandic single mother and a Guinea-Bissauan asylum seeker) intertwine. A bond between them form as they strategise to get their lives back on track. Will they succeed? Starring Kristín Þóra Haraldsdóttir and Babetida Sadjo. (Drama)

Been So Long (2018) – Set on the streets of London’s musical hot-spot, Camden, a dedicated single mother is charmed by a handsome stranger with a troubled passed whilst on a night out. Is she ready to open up her heart again or will this new relationship end in disaster? Starring Michaela Coel and Arinzé Kene. (Musical)

Bad Moms (2016) – When three overworked and under-appreciated mums are pushed beyond their limits, they ditch their conventional responsibilities for a jolt of long overdue freedom, fun and comedic self-indulgence. Can these mums handle it? Starring Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn and Kristen Bell. (Comedy)

Mummy Dearest (2014) – A dedicated yet intrusive mother struggles to keep in touch with her five adult children. After the loss of his friend’s mother, the youngest and most unresponsive child travels back home on a journey of self-discovery and reconciliation. Will this make or break their relationship? Starring Liz Benson and Daniel K. Daniel. (Nollywood)

Now that’s what I call variety!

Let’s move onto the TV shows.

The Letdown – New mother Audrey needs help with the new addition to her family, so she joins a support group for new parents. While attending meetings, she makes quirky friends who are facing their own challenges and life changes. Will she be able to cope? Starring Alison Bell, Duncan Fellows and Leon Ford . (7 Episodes)

Greenleaf – On the surface, the Greenleaf family, who run a sprawling Memphis megachurch called Calvary Fellowship World Ministries, appear to have it all. However, the scandals, the secrets and the lies they share will taint their perfect world. Can they redeem themselves? Starring Lynn Whitfield and Keith David. (4 Seasons)

One Day At A Time – Follows the life of Penelope, a newly single Army veteran, and her Cuban-American family, as they navigate the ups and downs of life. With a teenage daughter, tween son and an old-school mother on hand, Penelope has a lot going on. How will she handle it all? Starring Justina Machado and Isabella Gomez (3 Seasons)

Sex Education – A socially awkward high school boy who’s mother is a sex therapist teams up with a high school classmate to set up an underground sex therapy clinic at school. What could possibly go wrong? May not be one to watch with the kids around, ey. Starring Asa Butterfield, Gillian Anderson and Emma Mackey. (2 Seasons)

Friends – Does this really need a summary? Friends is a great TV show that never gets old and I won’t hear a bad word said about it. I’ve had Phoebe moments, Monica moments and now I’m having a Rachel moment (Season 8). Every storyline is relatable. Which Friend are you? Starring Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow. (10 Seasons)

And that’s it, that’s my list of movies and TV shows perfect for Valentine’s Day if you’re single and just so happen to be a mum too.

______________________

Aside from sharing some movie and TV show ideas, I also wanted to use this opportunity to highlight movies which represent mothers in different ways. Single mother or not, representation matters and I was delighted to find some of that in both TV and film. Hopefully in future there will be more positive representation of single mothers.

So, is watching Netflix the only thing I plan to do on Valentines Day? Guess we’ll have to wait and see in the next post. But for now remember that if you’re a single mum like me or single in general, Valentines Day is just as much for you as it is for everyone else so enjoy it! I know I will.

Your Turn…

What are some TV shows or movies you’re watching on Netflix right now? Have you seen any of the ones I’ve mentioned? Should I do a single dad’s edition? Would you like a review on these movies?

Let me know in the comments below or on my social @lydiaonlife.

Also, don’t forget to follow the blog too! And why not add yourself to the mailing list for updates whilst you’re at it?

I post once a week so stay tuned for the next one.

Till next time!

Love always,
Lydia x

P.S: My Christmas PJ’s were the best Christmas gift to myself! So comfortable and convenient for this UK weather. 🙂

New Mum | Did You Know You Would Experience This After Giving Birth?

“The worst thing that we do to each other as women, not share the truth about our bodies and how they work, and how they don’t work.”
Michelle Obama
I am 3 months post-partum since delivering my son via emergency caesarean section (c-section) and I still don’t feel like my complete self yet. There’s a lot about the recovery process that not a lot of people talk about.

“The worst thing that we do to each other as women, not share the truth about our bodies and how they work, and how they don’t work.”

Michelle Obama

______________________

If you’re new to my blog, welcome. And if not, then welcome back!

How are you? How’s life treating you?

Me, I’m doing good. Great, actually. I am 3 months post-partum since delivering my son via emergency caesarean section (c-section) and I’m slowly starting to feel like myself again. I’m not completely there but I’m getting there.

There’s a lot about the recovery process that not a lot of people talk about.

If you’ve never had a c-section before, it’s easy to think that it is the easy way out when it comes to giving birth. Nothing could be further from the truth. A C-section is indeed major surgery and the recovery process that comes with it is no joke! I’ve shared my experience about the procedure here and so I wanted to share what it took for me to heal from it as a first-time mum.

I apologise in advance for the TMI you are about to read. This is how we do it on lydiiaonlife.com so read on at your own risk.

*DISCLAIMER* I am not a medical professional nor am I giving anyone advise on any of the issues mentioned below. These are just some of the symptoms I experience after my c-section and the things that helped me recover. If you experience any or other symptoms please speak to a medical profession first. I do not take any responsibility for your use of the information I have provided.

Okay, are you sitting comfortably? Here we go.

TIREDNESS
Sleep is very important, right? Especially for someone who’s had 5 sleepless nights of painful contractions and gone through major abdominal surgery. Unfortunately, after just having my insides ripped open, moved around and then shoved back together, sleep was one of the many things I couldn’t do properly. For the first week I could only sleep upright using a stack of pillows because it made it easier to get into position to feed the baby and get out of bed using as little abdominal muscle as possible. I’d never been more grateful for a nursing pillow than I was during that first week.

SWELLING
After the surgery I was swollen from head to toe. Literally! I was still numb from the anaesthetic so I couldn’t feel it but I could see it and it wasn’t pretty. I was given compression socks to stop the blood clotting in my legs because of the swelling but as for the rest of my body, the swelling had to go down all on its own and it did, eventually after a week. My face was swollen, my hands were swollen, my thighs and feet were swollen. Everything was swollen. By the second week the swelling had gone down and I started looking like a human again even though I didn’t feel like one or move like one either.

PAIN
If I could describe my post-partum in one word it would be painful. I felt pain everywhere whilst doing everything. Walking, talking, laughing, coughing, sneezing, showering, dressing, driving on bumpy roads, turning, feeding, getting out of bed or moving at all, I felt pain. Even the thought of moving was painful. No joke. I was in pain from head to toe and every move felt like I was about to rip in half. This must be what it feels like to be hit by a bus. Once I was discharged I had to take 4 types of medication several times a day and inject blood thinning medication into my abdomen for 10 day. As painful and tiring as it was injecting myself and taking pills, the thought of the pain I would feel if I didn’t was far more terrifying.

CONSTIPATION
With all that medication running through me my bowels decided to take a break from functioning as normal. For the first 2 weeks of my recover I was constipated and had trouble passing stools comfortably. I was taking the medication given to me by the hospital to help with my constipation but they didn’t seem to be working fast enough. Then my midwife suggested having a glass of prune juice everyday and what do you know, my bowels were back in action. I still struggled a little to pass stools like I used to but I wasn’t constipated as badly any more and it came out eventually – just took a little longer than I’m used to. Sorry, I told you this would be a TMI post. Keep reading at your own will.

ANAL FISSURES
As a result of constipation, I had an anal fissures which lasted about a week or so. Anal fissures is a small tear in the skin of the anus which causes a lot of pain and some bleeding when doing a number 2 (I did warn you about the TMI). I was able to treat this by washing the area with salt water to help it heal. I also took laxatives as well as prune juice during that time to make it easier to go to the toilet while the area was healing. Fun times!

GAS
Well, when your bowels are all clogged up, you can only guess the kind of gas that is coming out of you. Need I say more? Post-partum gas is a real thing. If you don’t believe me then just Google it! Research has said changing diet can help but all the foods that give gas are the foods I like eating so guess the world would have to deal with whatever aroma that comes out of me. Sorry, not sorry.

TROUBLE PEEING
During my delivery I was given an epidural to help ease the contractions as the gas and air wasn’t enough. This meant I needed a urinary catheter so I could pee freely since I was numb from the waist down. I stayed with it for 2 days after the surgery and I felt so uncomfortable the whole time. Not only could I feel the catheter once the anaesthetic wore off, it was also incredibly painful to pee once the catheter was taken out. I was advised to drink lots of water to help dilute the acidity in my urine and although it felt like I was drinking the entire River Themes, it wasn’t enough to avoid the burning sensation whilst peeing. It took 2 weeks and 3 litres of water a day for the burning sensation to stop. You can imagine how often I had to pee in that time. Ouch!

PERIODS
So I was aware that there would be post-partum bleeding but no one told me it would last 6 weeks. 6 weeks! 6 weeks of bleeding was not what I signed up for. It was like having all those periods I missed during pregnancy in one go. I felt dirty and moving around was extremely uncomfortable. Not to mention the bleeding was very heavy which meant I had to wear adult diapers. Sexy! After 3 weeks the flow became lighter but I did start to feel some period-like symptoms such as back ache, light cramps but nothing like my usual period pains (if I can remember what those felt like).

CONTRACTIONS
Along with periods, I experienced contractions too. Yes, these bad boys don’t go away just because you’ve given birth. The purpose of them after birth is to help shrink your uterus back to its pre-pregnancy size and shape and this process is called involution. Since I was breastfeeding, the contractions were a lot stronger and lasted about a week or so. Why no one gave me a heads up about this in sex education or biology, I don’t know. Unless I wasn’t listening…

LOSS OF APPETITE
After the surgery I didn’t have that big of an appetite. The hospital food wasn’t great and though my family brought me food, I struggled to eat as much as I should have. I did force myself to eat since I was recovering from major surgery and breastfeeding another human, however, I was so exhausted that I’d sometimes pick sleep over food. Shameful I know but with some force feeding encouragement from my family I was able to eat enough until my appetite came back – 2 months later. It’s still not where it used to be but it’s getting there.

SCARING
My c-section incision is known as the horizontal or bikini incision (Pfannenstiel incision) which was sealed using Steri strips that were taken out 5 days after the surgery. This type of incision is said to leave a much more cosmetically appealing scar once it has healed. I didn’t see my scare till after 8 weeks when my uterus had gone down and to be honest there was nothing cosmetically appealing about it to me. The scare is slightly raised and feels hard to the touch and quite frankly I’m not a fan of it. However, I don’t mind it because it’s a reminder of how amazing our bodies are and what I had to go through to bring my child into this world safely. Plus it’s low enough to be covered by my underwear or bikini and I don’t usually go around showing my abs (I don’t have any anyway) so it won’t be seen. There’s always a silver lining even if it doesn’t look as great as you’d like it to..

CARPAL TUNNEL
Carpal tunnel is the pain, numbness and tingling in the thumb, index finger, middle finger and the thumb side of the ring fingers due to compression of the median nerve as it travels through the wrist. Most women experience this in the early months of their pregnancy but I experienced it towards the very end and it lingered on for 6 weeks after I gave birth. This made looking after the baby very difficult. As if I wasn’t dealing with enough issues already.

DE QUERVAIN’S TENDINOSIS
This is just a fancy way of saying inflammation of the thumb tendon. I was told that this was common after giving birth because your hands are constantly doing things they aren’t usually used to – like holding a baby. This overuse of the joint can cause the tendon to swell resulting in pain and tenderness along the thumb side of the wrist. You notice the pain most when forming a fist, grasping or gripping something, or when turning the wrist. I was advised to do some wrist exercises and wear a split to help get rid of the pain as I couldn’t take medication because I was breastfeeding. Simple things like picking my son up became increasingly painful but I just did what I was advices and put my Supermum pants on and dealt with the pain as much as I could. Wasn’t easy but I got used to it.

HAIR SHEDDING
I knew that women experience post-partum hair lost but for some reason I thought I had somehow been one of the lucky ones to avoid it. I washed my hair a month after giving birth and everything was good. Hair was still full and I experienced the usual amount of shedding. However, the following month when I did my usual wash-day routine I was shocked at the amount of hair that was sitting in my sink and on my comb. It looked like I had done a big chop or something. I honestly didn’t expect that much hair to leave my head but it did. Luckily I have very thick hair and a lot of it was still left on my head so the loss wasn’t noticeable but damn, it was a sad and shocking moment. Hopefully it will grow back to it’s lustrous self again with the help of some wigs and protective styles.

And that’s it…so far.

______________________

No one can prepare you for what you will experience during a natural birth let alone a c-section. Some women have it and within weeks they are back to their normal self, others have it and end up with complications and some have it and take months if not years to recover. Every woman is different and every experience is different.

Child birth does a lot to a woman’s body but I feel as though a lot of us don’t share enough about it. Aside from the physical recovery there was also the mental and emotional recovery too. This recovery is still an on going process which stem from before I gave birth. A lot of these symptoms I’m still struggling with 3 months post-partum and I can only hope that soon I will feel like myself again. Completely. But for now, I’m taking it one day at a time and focusing more on my baby and less on my body.

This post was just my way of sharing my experience. It’s a hard, painful and not so pretty one but it’s worth it.

What was your post-partum experience like? Let me know in the comments below.

Till next time.

Love always,
Lydia x

Black Mum | Was Your Labor and Delivery Experience Like This?

“Childbirth is a time when a woman’s power and strength emerge full force, but it is also a vulnerable time.”
Annemarie Van Oplo

On September 17th after 41 weeks and 5 days of being pregnant, I welcomed the most adorable little boy named Matthew. I had such a healthy pregnancy (despite the emotional roller-coaster) , so for the delivery to be so traumatic was a shock to me and my family. Was it the ignorance of being a first-time mum or a failure on the NHS? I’m not sure. A part of me thinks it’s both and here’s why.

“Childbirth is a time when a woman’s power and strength emerge full force, but it is also a vulnerable time.”
Annemarie Van Oploo

______________________

If you’re new to my blog, welcome. And if not, then welcome back!

How are you? How’s life treating you?

Me I’m doing good. For those of you who have read my previous posts you’ll probably know two things about me.

  1. On September 17th after 41 weeks and 5 days of being pregnant, I welcomed the most adorable little boy named Matthew.
  2. My pregnancy and my delivery was very unexpected.

I was suppose to be due on September 5th and though we all know most babies don’t come on their actual due date, I didn’t expect to be 12 days overdue. I also didn’t expect to be contracting for 5 days straight and under go an emergency caesarean section (c-section). I had such a healthy pregnancy (despite the emotional roller-coaster) , so for the delivery to be so traumatic was a shock to me and my family.

Was it the ignorance of being a first-time mum or a failure on the NHS? I’m not sure. A part of me thinks it’s both and here’s why.

MY LABOUR

My contractions started on a Wednesday after receiving a very painful sweep the day before due to the fact that I was already 1 week and 1 day overdue. The contractions were light at first but they soon progressed and became very painful very quickly. On the Thursday I contacted my midwife to inform her about the pain I was in even after taking pain killers and how I was finding it difficult to sleep on either side because of the contractions but since they were not close together enough she advised me to wait. “This is expected for first-time mums” she said, so we waited.

The next day I received a second sweep in hopes of inducing the labour further as I was only 1 cm dilated. Getting the sweep done the second time was harder and a lot more painful than the first time. I remember when the midwife left my bedroom for me to get dressed I cried my eyes out. I was so tired and already in pain from 2 days of contracting that this time I couldn’t hold back the tears like I did the first time. I didn’t want to cry in front of her though. I thought, she was so calm about it despite my distress so the pain must be normal and I’m just being dramatic.

By the forth day the contractions had gotten so bad and I hadn’t had any sleep since they started that my family decided to take me to the hospital to see if there was something they could do there. I was petrified of them checking how far I’d dilated because of how invasive and painful it can be but I knew it had to be done. They checked and unfortunately I was still only 1 cm dilated so they sent us home to wait till I was at least 4 cm. I was due to be induced the following day so if nothing happened then we’d return to the hospital for my induction. I was in so much pain the whole night my mum couldn’t bare to see me so she tried to keep herself busy by cleaning, cooking and knitting downstairs whilst my sisters helped me through the contractions.

The next day my family and I made our way to the hospital for my induction. I expected to see one of the midwives from my home visits because they had said they’d be at the hospital with me but they weren’t. The midwives that were there checked to see how far I had dilated only to find out I was just 2 cm. I’d been contracting for nearly 5 days now and was only 2 silly cm dilated. This didn’t sound normal and we asked for something to be done but once again we were told it’s expected for first time mums so we should wait a little longer to see if things will improve on their own. If they didn’t I would then be induced.

So we waited. And waited. And waited. We were told to keep track of the contractions which we did but they were all over the place and I was still in excruciating pain that we gave up after a while. My mum kept asking the midwives if there was anything they could do but all they could say was wait. “These things take time, we just have to be patient. She’s doing amazing” they said. They seemed so relaxed about everything and made it seem like we were overreacting so we did as we were told and waited.

12 hours later, a BLACK midwife came to check on me whilst doing her night time rounds. She asked if anyone had done a CTG on me and I said no. She was surprised considering I was booked to be induced at 10am and it was now 10pm. She then asked if my pregnancy was high or low risk and I said low as this is what it has been throughout my pregnancy. “Okay, I’m going to do a CTG on you as this should have been done while you were waiting”, she said. Whilst strapping the CTG machine on me she explained that she would leave the machine to monitor me and the baby for for 30 minutes before leaving the room.

30 minutes later she returned to check the results of the CTG only to discover that my baby’s heart rate kept dropping significantly low during every contraction. My pregnancy had now gone from low risk to high risk because of this. She could see the worry in my face and the frustration in my mums face knowing our concerns had been ignored all day so she proceeded to explain that she’d take the results to the doctor who will likely induce me soon if there is a bed available.

An hour later I was wheeled to the delivery ward where again I was left to wait whilst the doctor and other midwives do another CTG. They offered me pain killers as they could clearly see I was in excruciating pain but this wasn’t enough so they then asked if I wanted other forms of pain relief such as Gas and air, Pethidine injections or Epidural. I chose gas and air as this seemed like the safest and easiest option to me at the time. As I was puffing away I see more midwives coming to look at the CTG and my mum started to get even more frustrated. Finally the doctor came to induce me and oh my goodness I was not prepared for the pain. I never in my wildest thought it would be that painful. I puffed at the gas and air so much but the contractions were coming in quick and fast I couldn’t get high enough to feel completely pain free.

They noticed that not a lot of fluid came out when they induced me so they asked me if my waters had broken already and I said no because I would have felt it, right? The puzzled look on their faces made me even more worried but I was too busy puffing at the gas and air to ask questions so my mum stepped in. She didn’t understand why they were waiting around if the baby’s heart rate kept dropping during every contraction and I wasn’t dilating enough to deliver the baby naturally.

The doctor then advised me to have an Epidural to help levitate the pain whilst they monitored me further. The process sounded painful and uncomfortable but to be honest I’d have said yes to anything to stop the pain. They kept asking me to move from one side to the other to help the baby’s heart rate but that didn’t work. I tried to explain to them that my contractions were at their worst when I was laying on either side but they didn’t listen. They just kept asking me to try and lay on either side. At this point my mum became furious. “What are you waiting for” she said “Can you do something now”. I’d been contracting for 5 days now, was nearly 2 weeks overdue and had 2 sweeps plus been induced and I still wasn’t dilating. To make matters worse, these same contractions they were monitoring were causing the baby’s heart rate to drop low. She urged them to perform a c-section but all they kept doing was saying “Let’s try and get the baby in a comfortable position first. Lydia you’re doing fine.”

But I wasn’t doing fine. I was exhausted, confused and worried about what damage these contractions might be doing to my baby. After going back and forth to consult with other doctors and my mum urging them to do something, they finally decided to perform an emergency c-section. It took for my mum to come to tears for them to stop monitoring me, stop saying I’m doing fine and actually do something to get the baby out. At this point I was in floods of tears.

MY DELIVERY

Throughout my pregnancy I never thought I’d have to deliver my baby via c-section. I knew it could happen but never thought it would. I felt defeated. I’d gone through all this pain for nothing and now I’d have to undergo a procedure I wasn’t prepared for. As the number of doctors and midwives increased in my room, the tears just fell on my face even more. They were all talking to me at once explaining what is about to happen and asking me to sign some documents. I signed but my mum knew I wasn’t hearing them any more so she told them to speak to her and not me. I was tired, annoyed and scared and certainly didn’t have the mental, physically or emotion capacity to understand what they were saying to me.

As they wheeled me into theatre all I can remember is trying not to cry. Trying to tell myself that I was okay and this was all okay but the tears kept flowing. I’d never been to a hospital for any illness since I was 2 years old in Kenya and I don’t remember that so a c-section to be my first experience since then was traumatising. No one in my family had given birth in a UK hospital either so we were at the mercy of the nurses, doctors and midwives.

Moments later Matthew was born and my ordeal was finally over. They wheeled me into the postnatal word to begin my recovery and be reunited with my son and the rest of my family. As happy as we were that Matthew and I were okay, none of us were happy with the way we were treated. Three days later I was discharged and my family and I left the hospital feeling as though I had received substandard care.

Was my experience the norm in this country? At the time it seemed to be. They were so nice about everything that I felt too guilty to question the service I’d received.

But in all honesty I felt let down by the midwives who I’d spent so many weeks getting to know and feeling comfortable with thinking they would be there only to have them show up after the chaos. I felt let down by the hospital staff who ignored my complaints about the pain and insisted I wait. I also let myself down. I allowed the ignorance of being a first time mum and the black woman stereotypes prevent me from complaining about my treatment for fear of being seen as historical or dramatic.

______________________

This experience has shown me that the image of the “strong or angry black woman” disinclines black women to show vulnerability while also encouraging second-rate treatment. On one had society thinks black women can take any kind of treatment because we are strong yet on the other black woman are seen as historical or dramatic if we oppose that treatment. The sad thing is that when we fear the angry black woman stereotype we encourage the strong black woman stereotype. At least that’s how it felt like to me.

Would they have made another woman wait so long and be in so much pain? I don’t know. What I do know is I won’t allow myself to have that type of experience again. I’d rather look hysterical and dramatic than to suffer like I did. If my mother wasn’t there to fight for me I don’t know what would have happened. Mothers are amazing and I can only hope to be the same for my son!

As a first time mum, how was your labour and delivery experience? Let me know in the comments below.

Till next time.

Love always,
Lydia x

New Mum | What Should You Pack In Your Hospital Bag? + Free Printable List

“The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.” ― H. Jackson Brown Jr

This is baby number 1 and I can’t tell you how many videos, websites and apps I looked at to ensure I had the hospital bag essentials I needed for the labour and delivery. Any advice people gave me I made a note of because I wanted to be as ready as possible. My pregnancy was unplanned and filled with a lot of emotional ups and down and I wanted to be everything I could to ensure that my labour and delivery was a lot more smoother and that I was as prepared as possible. But, can one ever be fully prepared for the delivery of their first baby?

“The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.”
H. Jackson Brown Jr

______________________

If you’re new to my blog, welcome. And if not, then welcome back!

How are you? How’s life treating you?

Me, I’m doing great! As a first-time mum attempting to blog my journey, this post was a must to write. Am I really a mum blogger if I don’t have one of these posts? Okay that’s just an excuse, I’ve always wanted to write one of these posts and I’m so glad I have a legit reason and experience to do so.

This is baby number 1 and I can’t tell you how many videos, websites and apps I looked at to ensure I had the hospital bag essentials I needed for my labour and delivery. Any advice people gave me I made a note of because I wanted to be as ready as possible. My pregnancy was unplanned and filled with a lot of emotional ups and down and I wanted to do everything I could to ensure that my labour and delivery was a lot more smoother and that I was as prepared as possible.

But, can one ever be fully prepared for the delivery of their first baby? My answer is no. Despite having 2 extra weeks to pack because I was overdue, I still didn’t pack everything I needed. Nonetheless I feel like the experience helped me prepare for the next time I give birth and I wanted to share it.

The first thing I want to mention is the actual hospital bag. I decided to take a small hand luggage suitcase with me as it had just the right amount of space and it was easy to transport. I toyed with the idea of getting a fancy hospital bag like all the other trendy mums I’d seen but I realised it would have been a waste of my money since I already had bags available. Plus being fancy would have been the last thing on my mind on that day. I needed something practical, spacious and available so a hand luggage suitcase was the best thing to use. In the side pockets of my hospital bag I had my hospital notes, camera and charger as well as lip balm, phone, charger, earphones, keys and pocket tissue.

The second thing I did was put my stuff and the baby’s stuff in separate storage bags inside the suitcase. This made it easy for me and my family to find things without completely destroying my nicely organised bag. I used the clear storage bags that come with some of the babies clothes as they were the perfect size and I had loads. I love repurposing things!

So what did I take with me?

I’ll start with the most important persons things – the baby. I waited until after my baby shower to pack the hospital bag for the baby as I didn’t want to spend money on items that people might get for me anyway. I had so many questions when I was packing the baby’s bag. How big would he be? How often in a day would he be changed? Where the wipes “pure” enough? Did I have enough blankets? Who knew packing for a baby could be so complicated! I packed then unpacked then repacked and replaced until I felt it was just right and that I had everything I needed.

lydiaonlife-printable-hospital-bag-for-baby

The cotton wool and water was important for cleaning the baby (which the hospital provided) since the midwives didn’t deem the water wipes as “pure enough” for newborn skin despite every blog post and video telling me they were. As for the bottles and formula, I struggled to breastfeed the baby so out of frustration I asked if he could be given formula whilst I tried to get the hang of breastfeeding. Luckily the hospital was able to provide them for me but it was definitely disappointing that I didn’t get the hang of breastfeeding straight away.

Aside from the cotton wool, formula and bottles, the baby I packed exactly what I needed. Not bad for a first-timer, huh?

Now onto the hospital bag for mum – that’s me!

I spent so much time and had so much fun packing the hospital bag for the baby that I left my bag till the very end. 2 weeks before I was due I was still shopping for clothes to pack for myself. Shameful, I know. I didn’t think I needed a lot because I didn’t expect to stay in hospital that long and surprisingly enough I actually didn’t need a lot. Despite having an expected emergency c-section I packed just the right amount of things that I needed.

lydiaonlife-printable-hospital-bag-for-mum

The hospital was able to provide me with disposable underwear, maternity pads and towels which I used in addition to the ones I brought. They also supplied me with a hospital gown which I wore instead of the night dresses I brought. It wasn’t the most flattering attire but with all the blood coming out of me and the pain I felt from even the slightest movement, looking flattering was the least of my concerns. Their gown was functional and I didn’t care if it got dirty. There was no need for socks since I was in compression socks after giving birth and the hospital was pretty warm anyway.

My labour and delivery wasn’t as glamorous as I’d hoped so even though I brought make-up I didn’t end up using it and most of the snacks I brought were consumed by family members as I didn’t have much of an appetite.

And that was it.

______________________

I’ve never felt more organised in my life than I did packing my hospital bag. Every time I looked at it I felt so proud. And I damn sure was!

Despite missing one or two things here and there I think I did pretty well for a first timer and I didn’t have to send anyone home to get anything for me – aside from proper food.

As proud as I am of my list I can’t say it’s the ultimate list because giving birth can be quite unpredictable. Every experience is different and therefore the needs might also be different too. What I would do differently next time is probably call the hospital to see what items they can provide for me should I need them as well as what they would recommend I bring. I didn’t think to do this as I never knew it was an option – no one told me I could do that. It would have probably saved me a lot of time, money and space in the hospital bag.

The distance from your home to your hospital plus the type of birth you are having will greatly affect what you will need to pack but as long as you have someone who can pop home and get you a few extra things, you don’t need to pack your entire bedroom.

As a first-time mum I hope my experience and list will help you feel a bit more prepared and at ease for your hospital bag needs. There are plenty of blogs, videos and apps out there if you need more ideas. Here are a few that I found really useful.

BLOGS:
VIDEOS:
APPS:

Did you pack everything you needed in your hospital bag? Let me know in the comments below.

Till next time.

Love always,
Lydia x

Single Mum | What was Your Pregnancy Journey like?

“You never understand life until it grows inside of you.”
Sandra Chami Kassis

Before I found out I was pregnant I always thought my pregnancy would be associated with three things:
1) Eating for two,
2) Craving a random and slightly questionable meal at 3am and;
3) Asking my husband to prepare me said meal in the middle of the night in our newly refurbished home.

Spoiler alert. None of these things happened to me. None. Life has a funny way of doing the complete opposite of what you think it should do, right?

“You never understand life until it grows inside of you.”
Sandra Chami Kassis

______________________

Before I found out I was pregnant I always thought my pregnancy would be associated with three things:

  1. Eating for two,
  2. Craving a random and slightly questionable meal at 3am and;
  3. Asking my husband to prepare me said meal in the middle of the night whilst I relax in our newly refurbished family home.

Spoiler alert. None of those things happened to me. None…

Life has a funny way of doing the complete opposite of what you think it should do, right? After going through one of life’s biggest milestones, I wanted to share with you what that experience was like for me.

But first, how are you? How is life treating you?

Me, I’m doing okay, great actually. After taking some time to organise myself and get back to blogging, I feel like things are finally falling into place. Something I struggled to believe would happen during my pregnancy.

Let me start from the beginning…

I found out I was pregnant at 7 weeks. Yup, that’s right. For 7 weeks I was eating sushi, drinking wine and happily carrying on with life as if life wasn’t growing inside of me. It was until Matthew’s father noticed I hadn’t complained about my period for a while that he suggested we take a test. When the little blue line appeared I could not believe it. I was convinced we’d taken the test wrong so I insisted we book an appointment at the GP to confirm.

“Congratulations, it’s positive”, the nurse said. I just smiled and said thank you but inside I was terrified. At the time I thought I was worried about how my family and friends would react but after telling them and seeing how happy they were for us I soon realised I was terrified because this wasn’t how it was suppose to happen.

I’d always had the idea of getting married first, then the house and THEN the baby. This was all happening backwards and I wasn’t sure if I was happy about it or if I was okay with this new future. Matthew’s father was excited and so was I but I just wasn’t excited that it was happening like this.

During our relationship we had both talked about our ideal future together and how we wanted it to be – a wedding, a house and then kids, you know the usual. We even agreed to save up for it so that we’d be prepared when that time came. Well, the time came and though I was ready to commit to the future we spent many days and nights talking about, for some reason he wasn’t. It soon became clear that the life we had spoken and planned for for the last 2.5 years was more important to me than it was to him.

After 2 weeks of arguing and going back and forth, I ran out of energy trying to understand why our plans had to change just because I was pregnant. I was tired of the emotional roller-coaster and I didn’t want to stay in a relationship feeling as though I’d settled for something I didn’t want and I didn’t want him to either. So at 10 weeks pregnant during the early hours of the morning, my relationship with Matthew’s father ended. Ironically it happened on valentines day. Go figure…

It wasn’t what I wanted but it was definitely what I needed. I went through the rest of my pregnancy without him.

In all my 26 years of living I never thought I’d ever be single and pregnant. Single, maybe but single AND pregnant, never. Yet there I was, single and 10 weeks pregnant wondering how something that should have brought us closer together could bring us so far apart. Although I dealt with it as best as I could and remained as positive as I could, small moments such as feeling the baby kick or people asking me how things are with the father brought the pain back. If it wasn’t for the amazing support of my friends and family I don’t know how I would have coped.

They were always around to remind me that I wasn’t alone. A life was growing inside me that felt everything I was feeling and would make me one of the greatest things in this world – a mother. Knowing this helped me to remain positive and even encouraged me to learn something new to mark this new chapter in my life.

Thanks to my mum, I learned how to knit and was able to knit a blanket for Matthew. My mum used to knit clothes for me and my sisters when we were babies so it was only right I follow suit. I don’t know how she remembered after 26 years but she did. It became our bonding session where she shared stories about her pregnancy and told me how excited she was to become a grandmother for the first time. I loved every minute of it. Plus it served as a distraction from everything that was happening.

Aside for the unexpected break-up, my pregnancy was pretty much uneventful. My morning sickness was very minimal, I had no weird cravings (aside from water and orange juice) and I didn’t gain a lot of weight. My hair grew, my skin glowed and my cleavage looked amazing if I do say so myself. I’d heard so many unpleasant stories about pregnancy so as a first-time mum I expected the worst or at least have crazy hormones that caused me to do crazy things. But nope, I got none of that and I am truly grateful for it! Would have been nice to blame something weird on the hormones, though.

As amazing as the majority of my pregnancy was, there were some not so amazing moments. I documented them on an app called Sprout because I wanted to remember as much about my actual pregnancy as possible and not the chaos that surrounded it. It can all become a blur when you have so many changes happening to you at once.

Social media always made things sound either worse than they really were or more perfect than they should be so I wanted to share my honest experience. Hopefully you’ll find some comfort in my pregnancy journey.

Between week 12 and week 18 my boobs didn’t just get bigger, they also got darker, itchier and looked slightly bruised. Lovely! I was a lot more tired than usual and I had a lot more headaches than normal so paracetamol was my bestfriend for a while. Unfortunately my dreams of eating for two hadn’t came to fruition yet. In fact I lost my appetite and spent most of the time force feeding myself by eating little and often.

As my stomach started to become noticeable at week 16 my choice of jeans to wear soon decreased and I had to find some maternity jeans. However, the struggle for said jeans was real. Not only were the jeans expensive, it was difficult to find some that didn’t look so maternity. Annoyingly enough I was in that awkward stage where my stomach was too small to fit into maternity jeans and too big to fasten my existing jeans so I used a belt and rubber bands to hold my existing jeans together until I could fit into the maternity ones properly. This wasn’t the most comfortable solution but it worked. Once I was big enough I found that New Look and H&M had the best and most affordable maternity jeans.

By week 19 my appetite was back to normal-ish but I still didn’t have the urge to eat for two (which sadly is a myth by the way!). On the other hand I did feel like I was being stretched by two people. My boobs were still growing, my stomach was still growing and I just felt round. To distract myself I started thinking about baby names and redecorating the house in preparation for the baby shower and the baby of course. This was another much needed distraction!

The Sprout app I was using said I should have felt the baby kick before week 19 so I began to feel a little anxious and worried, as you do, but then one night as I was lying in bed I felt a kick. At first I thought it was a muscle twitch in my stomach or something but it happened again so I pressed against it and guess what? It was a kick! I literally leaped out of my bed to tell my family but they were all asleep and probably wouldn’t have been as excited as I was. It was moments like this that reminded me of Matthew’s father and how much he was missing out on.

As the pregnancy continued, I only experienced a few more symptoms such as swollen feet, blood when blowing my nose and hearing a heart beat sound in my ears which according to Google and my midwife was the sound of the extra blood flowing through me. Nice! I also had a strange numb-like feeling in my legs at night which again according to Google and my midwife was restless leg syndrome. Where would I have been without Google when my midwife wasn’t available?

And that was it I think.

I stopped documenting my pregnancy at 26 weeks because nothing eventful happened after that. My stomach just got bigger and bigger and I got more nervous at the thought that soon I’d be meeting the little human bouncing around inside of me.

My pregnancy was going so well I managed to work up until I was 38 weeks. I should have used the remaining 2 weeks before my due date to rest but oh no, not me. I went into nesting overdrive. I was cleaning walls, doors, floors, ceilings, and finding every reason to pop down the high street and stock up on baby clothes and nursery decor. I’m not sure if it was a coping mechanism for the sheer shock of everything that happened or my need to remain strong and positive throughout the process but I used every opportunity I had to keep myself busy.

Apart from no longer fitting into most of my clothes I never once felt like I was pregnant . If you were to ask me now what did pregnancy feel like I honestly couldn’t tell you. Is that a good thing? I don’t know.

What I do know is that after 41 weeks and 5 days I welcomed my first baby, an adorable little boy named Matthew. The delivery wasn’t as smooth or easy as the pregnancy but it was worth it.

______________________

I tried to keep this post as light-hearted as possible because that’s the place I’m in right now. 4 months after giving birth to my amazing son, I’m happier, lighter and brighter than ever before. During my pregnancy I wasn’t sure if I’d ever truly reach this place but I’m so glad I can honestly say that I have.

My pregnancy taught me a lot about myself, my values and my body and showed me what it means to be loved in the most unexpected way. It also taught me that you never know what you will really do in a situation until you are in it and this experience has shown me I’m a woman of my word.

Although I would have loved Matthew to be born in a two parent home, sometimes in life you have to choose yourselves over your children because ultimately that is the best decision for them too. I never wanted the relationship between Matthew’s father and I to end but it did and I was able to move on from it.

Looking back I enjoyed my pregnancy and I hope all my future pregnancies go as smooth and easy as this one – minus the break-up of course. It may not have been perfect but it was definitely worth it.

In the words of Lauryn Hill “I had always made decisions for other people, making everybody else happy. [This decision] was one that was based on my happiness and not what other people wanted for me or for themselves. . . . And I’m so happy that I made the choice that I did.”

Everything happens for a reason and I know I made the right choice.

Till next time.

What did your pregnancy experience teach you? Let me know in the comments below.

Love always,
Lydia x