I wrote a post previously, The Alternative Mum Awards, detailing a few of my epic, award worthy #mumfails. Not to lead you down the path of misconception this is not one of those posts. Apologies. This is however an important post with an important message, so please do bear with.
Before you have a baby you cannot possibly imagine how your world will change. You know it will but you don’t know . People harp on about the sleepless coming your way. ‘Yes I know babies don’t sleep I’m not stupid’. I actually thought that. I was a little stupid, or at best naive. ‘Yes I know everything will change, yes I know life will be different, I will be different blah blah blah’ some more of my genius unknowing pre baby monologue for you. I thought I knew. I didn’t.
Baby 1 hit me like a steam train. Initially it felt like the most natural and amazing thing in the world. I fed my child every two hours, I lovingly changed her nappies – I swear, at one point I actually thought mid nappy change, this was meant for me, this is exactly what I should be doing, I love being a mum, I want a football team of babies. Have you been sick yet? Well don’t worry because that’s where it ends. As the post natal hormones started to overrun, sleep deprivation started to kick in, ongoing breast feeding problems didn’t ease up and Mr Tammy went back to work the supermum glow started to fade. The tiredness was incomprehensible.
I became exhausted at the two hourly feeds, which continued until 12 weeks, at which point she went three hours. Great. It wasn’t just the frequency of the feeds either. I was expressing breast milk. I would feed my child with expressed milk, wind and settle back in bed. I then expressed more milk and crawled into bed to be woken up an hour later for the next cycle. This went on and on for what felt like an eternity, in reality 4 months when I finally gave up expressing milk after every feed and slowly went about decreasing my supply. I was shattered in the day and struggled to motivate myself to go out. I also lived in a town that wasn’t my home and away from family and friends. I hadn’t made any mummy friends by this point so the days felt as lonely and as long as the nights. About 6 weeks in my superstar Nan came to
help visit. She did the night shift and ordered me to bed and to ‘not worry about my bloody milk supply for one night’ so I did. She allowed me to feel remotely human again and was there for company in the day. Her first visit will be forever ingrained in my memory. It was lifeline to me in what was becoming a dark time.
My Nan is a very matter of fact woman, doesn’t do huge amounts of sympathy and has a very ‘just get on with it’ attitude. It is a philosophy she lives by. I know this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but for me it worked. I stopped my mopping and started to just get on with it. It was after all, just another phase. We went out in the days, started attending mother and baby groups and My daughter and I started regular trips to my home town (where Nan was always on hand to give me sleep and a helping hand), Mr Tammy and I even got the odd out of the house date night too.
She was a constant in my first year as a mum. On the phone, in person, in spirit.
Her brilliance doesn’t end there. I had a second baby some 11 months after my first. He was two months early and rather poorly. Once again, Nanny Pat was there. Boarded her two hour train to the midlands to be on hand when we brought our little boy home from the hospital, some 5 weeks after he was born. I was again expressing milk. She did the night shifts, helped me with a busy walking one year old and a tiny premie poorly baby. She gave me confidence to get out the house with them and to get through the days and nights
Even a year later she is still helping out. If I phone her at the end of my tether, she’s on the next train. She babysits, helps around the house, takes a baby out, cooks dinner. She is a godsend to me and my kids. In fact we are all off on our holidays as I write this, my Nan, 4 of her 9 grandchild and her two great grandchildren. Clearly I am not the only one who thinks she is fab.
It goes without saying my Nan has been an infinite help to me during my two years of motherhood. Even just knowing that her visit is pending helps get me through. It is people like this that this post is about. People who have without question provided help, love and encouragement in whatever form that may be. My Nan fits this bill tenfold. There is so much I could write about her that I haven’t included.
This post isn’t just about friends or family who have been there but health professionals too. For us this is without doubt the stag at Queens Hospital Burton Neo Natal unit. I have so much love and respect for doctors, nurses and health care assistants. They do a vital and tough job day in day out.
The doctors quite honestly saved my sons life. Without their expertise he would not be the one year old he is today. I know they were doing their job but I will be forever indebted to Dr Omar and the job he does. His kind face will stay with me forever.
All the staff were amazing. They are caring and compassionate people who I got to know during my sons 5 weeks stay. One sister in particular will stay with me. Her name was Anne. She was so kind and gentle. I met her when my son was three days old. I had just had my first of many breakdowns about palming my daughter off to be with my son and broke down in front of his incubator and Anne. She put her arms around me and said, ‘you’re now 3 days post birth, those hormones are really kicking in now, I had the day three melt down with all three of my children’. She instantly put me at ease.
I saw Anne most days, she helped me to learn to feed Toby, to understand the needs of a premature baby, she sympathised with me when I was finding it hard juggling both my children. She talked to me, kept me sane, never judged me and looked after my baby I felt truly close to this woman and believe I will always have an affinity with her. She retired a few days before Toby was discharged. It was an emotional day for all the staff, their love for her was obvious. She had worked at the hospital for 40 years and it was clear she would be so sorely missed. I have such fond memories of Anne, she helped me through an immeseably hard time in my life and I wish her nothing but the best for her retirement.
So here it is the Real World Parenting awards. They are awards to recognise people like my Nan and people like Anne. They are an award ceremony that recognise the work, love and commitment of people who help mothers during the most tumultuous time of their life. There is an award ceremony for health professionals and non health professionals.
The awards will take place in November in London. The winner of the health professional award will receive an educational grant of £1000 from The Primary Care Society for Gastroenterology and Infacol, who are supporting the awards, to further their career or chosen area of research. Those who nominate a health professional will be entered into a prize draw to win a short stay at Knoll House, Britains original family friendly hotel.
Entry criteria? Simple. An individual who has demonstrated the ability to go above and beyond. Email their name, workplace (if applicable) and why you are nominating them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The deadline for nominations is the 31st August 2016. So if you know of anyone who deserves recognition or a special nod for the impact they have had on you, this truly is a fab a way to show your appreciation.