Tuesday, 26 November 2013

It's ok not to be ok - a family's story of postnatal depression

My Story – Post Natal Depression

Mummy Li

It was a dream come true to fall pregnant after five years of trying. We were fortunate to have a straight-forward pregnancy and I joked with friends that the labour might follow in the same way. Sadly, this was not to be and at 41 weeks I was induced due to signs of pre-eclampsia . Hard as it was, we got through the labour with the safe delivery of our baby girl E. With the first embrace I had expected to be in floods of tears, but instead I just felt numb. She was a stranger to me and I felt totally unqualified to look after her. Our first few days were spent at the John Radcliffe recovering from anaemia and for Baby E a bit of jaundice. There we had all the support we needed for breast feeding from the team of midwives and care assistants.

It was such a relief to get home and settle into our new understanding of normal. The first few weeks were a blur but the Health Visitor reassured me that this was quite normal. Four weeks on, I was still struggling, feeling very anxious and doubting my abilities to be a Mum. One of the main issues was breast feeding, it took so long and Baby E never seemed satisfied. I sought advice from the professionals but was left feeling more confused by their conflicting information.

Feeling rock bottom I called IPPS (Infant-Parent Perinatal Service) for help. Their team came along side me at that time to listen and encourage me as a new Mum. Plenty of tears were shed in our fortnightly meet ups but it was good to know that someone was there. Despite the talking therapy and anti depressants my mood was still very low. Panic attacks would strike whilst I was out at a baby group or shopping in town. But my lowest point came when I thought taking my own life was the best option for everyone.

After a frustrating and unhelpful visit to the GP I set about looking for other avenues of support. I found my answer by taking part in the OPT Study (Oxford Postnatal Treatment). Not only was I receiving treatment myself but the results would in turn help other Mum’s suffering just like me. My journey became easier once I started a course of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). This treatment helped curb my negative thinking and focus on changing what I could. Another important part of my recovery was learning how to take better care of myself. Sounds pretty straight forward but can so easily be forgotten with the time constraints as a new parent.

As well as the counsellors, friends and family have been a constant support and without them today I’m not sure where I would be. Depression can be so isolating and it’s so important to know that you are not on your own. My husband (who deserves a medal) recognised that having an opportunity to chat with other Mums in the same situation would also act as an encouragement. This led us to start the PANDAS Support Group (PANDAS Foundation), a place where families affected by pre and post natal depression (Mums and Dads) can meet to talk through their problems and get some moral support.

My life has been transformed in this past year. When I thought that all hope was gone I finally found the light at the end of the tunnel.


Being a dad whose wife gets PND
Daddy M
Amazingly, many people still seem to believe depression only happens to the weak or at least to a certain type of person. Not true.
 My lovely wife Li is one of the most resilient and generous individuals I've ever known. And yet, after the difficult birth of our daughter she developed Post-Natal depression which nearly robbed us of those precious early months and years of joy as a family.
 Depression is an illness which affects our emotions and our thinking. It can happen to literally anyone and you don't have to do anything in particular to get it. And like a physical illness, it reduces (sometimes eliminates entirely) our capacity to do the things which should come naturally. Like being a mum.
After labour and emergency surgery, Li was exhausted and emotionally drained. She felt guilty for not feeling the warmth and love for our daughter she'd expected and criticised herself mercilessly. Even after her physical recovery Li's sense of not coping - in spite of the amazing job she was actually doing - continued to grow.
It quickly became clear there was no way I could make things right for Li. That was probably the toughest thing for me; that sense of powerlessness. All I could do was try to help more in practical ways (preparing bottles etc) and encourage her to be kinder to herself. The other effect of the depression was that Li found it hard to talk about her feelings. Instead she would lose control and angrily vent her frustration at the nearest person: me.
We were fortunate to find help for Li from a number of sources*. But one thing she said she still missed was the chance to talk to other mums who shared similar experiences. Having looked into groups in our area and found none, I decided to start one for her. Witney PANDAS Support Group exists for anyone who finds themselves with a reduced capacity to cope with the enormous demands of parenthood and in need of reassurance that they're not alone.
* e.g. IPPS, OPT study



Sunday, 17 November 2013

Driblet Bibs - Product review

Baby J as most people know is a bit of a dribble monster, as he's got older I've noticed he goes through phases of dribbling, and rather than just a little dribble when he dribbles now its like a river of it, so when I was approached by Driblet Bibs to roadtest their bibs I gladly accepted.

As an expert on dribble bibs I enjoy discovering new ones that differ from others on the market, and Driblets offer just that. They have 3 layers [poplin cotton, middle layer of fleece and backed with cotton] The poplin cotton is excellent at soaking up the dribble, and dries quickly so can be worn for longer, the Driblet bibs also have a round neck, which fit better round little ones necks but don't rub their delicate skin. The bibs also aren't really long in length, so don't cover up your child's outfit. The offer a great range of different coloured bibs for boys and girls

I was sent 2 bright and colourful bibs that were easy to match to Baby J's outfits, as always he was happy to wear them, so off I packed him to nursery - as a precaution I'd packed a spare one in his bag expecting him to return home wearing the spare one. I was pleasantly surprised to pick him up still wearing the Driblet bib, which had done a fab job of absorbing the river of dribble that had been flowing that day. Great stuff!
 Jungle Friends Driblet Dribble Bib

But how would it stand being washed? As with most things I failed to reading the washing instructions and bunged it straight in the wash after with everything else,  it survived and came out looking fab, no colour change and no shrinkage [I of course would recommend following the usual washing instructions]

The bibs have since been used several times, and still look at great as they did the day I got them, not rolling up of the edges, not colour change and they still do a great job of absorbing the river of dribble.
Big thumbs up

Check out their site for their full range - www.driblet.co.uk
Slummy Mummy Seal of Approval = GRANTED



Sunday, 10 November 2013

Family Photo Shoot - a moment captured

I love snaps of our family,  & I'm a self confessed photo fiend displaying photos everywhere! When I saw a groupon offer of a family photo shoot with prints for under £20 I jumped at the chance & after convincing hubby we booked in with Scott's Photography for a session with Baby J, I was interested in seeing how they'd keep him still or smile for a photo....

The photographer was professional & experienced in capturing beautiful shots, she coaxed Baby J to perform & moulded our family to pose for natural shots. Before hand she had asked what we wanted and we'd said natural fun family photos & that is clearly what she delivered. 

A week later we returned to view the photos, before I went in I was determined I would only walk away with the prints that were part of the groupon voucher.... When I saw the stunning shots my heart melted & my credit card came out. The photographer had captured some wonderful shots, all natural and all amazing. I wanted them all! In the end we settled on a family shot, then an individual one of Baby J, one of Baby J & Daddy & one of Baby J & me. 
After picking our pics we were told they would be ready in 6 weeks, unfortunately they did take a tad longer, but seeing the photos again made the wait worthwhile! I would definitely recommend Scott's Photography to anyone! 
Now I'm not one for sharing personal pics but I couldn't help but want to share this photo of Baby J & me
To find a groupon bargin sign up to groupon on -
Or to book direct with Scotts go to -http://www.scotts-photography.co.uk/

Carterton Swimming Pool - you'll love it!

I'm always on the look out for a swimming pool local to me that will fit my needs. Over the summer I spent lots of time travelling over to Temple Cowley pool as the lessons for little ones are great, but on a practical point of view it wasn't so great, the route is a traffic jam hot spot, parking tricky & the changing rooms are in dire need of an upgrade ( or knocking the whole thing down as the council seemed to of planned !)
Anyhow I decided to try Carterton Pool as I'd had some positive feedback from friends....
Why o why had I not come here sooner? It's great, to start with easy to find with lots of free parking, as it's on the outskirts of Carterton I've not encountered any traffic jams either. The price is low with an adult swim session under £5. 

The changing rooms - it's village style with cubicles, all kept very clean & tidy. There are several family changing rooms, that are roomy with changing facilities  nappy bins, & fold down chairs with straps! I did clock separate changing rooms too but haven't used them yet. The showers are at different heights so ideal for little ones too.

The pool- they offer 2 pools the big pool & learner pool. I always take Baby J in the big pool first & the descending steps are ideal as they have a small area at the bottom where I can stand with him without getting in anyone's way. But the real gem is the learner pool, it's clean, warm, safe for children & the right depth for Baby J to stand up in & bob around in his float suit. He loves it, he walks around splashing away, it does get deeper at one end, so Baby J has learnt to kick more. & tread water with mummy's support. I still reinforce the importance of returning to the side, & we still enjoy singing & splashing with encouragement from me to use his legs & arms. The pool depth for me allows me to kneel as I'm tall, this is ok, seeing Baby J loving it makes it worth it. Baby J had become more confident & with the help of his float suit he's more independent too.
The pool offers poolside seating which is great for Granny to sit on & enjoy Baby J splashing around (one day we'll coax her in!)
Any bad points? Baby J has found the floor a tad slippy (Fancy that a wet floor slippy!) I think it'd be great if they had the plastic square drain mats in the main area as it can get very water logged, but with some common sense & care this isn't a problem.  When I first visited I found the straps broken on the chafing units, I mentioned this to the manager & they have since been mended. 

I also understand they offer a crèche service too, which would be ideal to use for some mummy me time. 

Since discovering the leisure centre I've been several times, Baby J loves it, I love it & only a ten minute drive away means we are all WINNING!

To find out the pool times go to - http://www.better.org.uk/leisure/carterton-leisure-centre
Slummy Mummy Seal of Approval - GRANTED