I have discovered how to be grateful.

I am joining in with Maxabella Love’s weekly blog hop about gratitude. Check out http://kympiez.blogspot.com/ for other grateful posts as she is hosting this week.

1. I am grateful for my husband. I know that is a bit cheesey coming from me who is normally so sarky. However, this week I wrote a blog post about him for his children. It made me remember why I love him so much. When someone commented that he sounded like a fabulous guy, I had a wake-up moment where I realised that yes he is and I take him for granted way too often. Shhhh! This is top secret and not to be shared with the man himself.

2. I am grateful for the house I live in and our wonderful land with its crop of apples, greengages, pears and plums. I have taken these for granted recently until they were threatened. I think the threat has gone but I resolve here and now to appreciate living the dream.

3. I am grateful that the X Factor is back. I am yet to be convinced by the new judging panel (with the exception of Gary Barlow) and miss Danni Minogue, Cheryl Cole and Simon Cowell. However, it provides my Saturday fix in the chillier months and heralds the countdown to my birthday and Christmas.

With love from the Striking Mum x

It is Freddie Mercury’s birthday.

I am joining in with this blog hop for the first time. I love music, always have and have eclectic tastes too. So I hope to be a regular for this particular linky.

I have to select a Queen song today in honour of Freddie Mercury’s 65th birthday.

Freddie is a hero of mine. I became a fan when I realised that I liked every Queen song ever made. So how do I choose just one. I like his solo stuff too so that gives even more to consider. Can I have them all please? After all, it is a very special day.

Don’t Stop Me Now has played loudly in my life whenever I need a particular boost to my self-belief. Education, jobs, public speaking, parties – it works well for them all.

Killer Queen is another favourite but as soon as I say that I think of a load more I love. I think I would like as my epitaph, “Perfume came naturally from Paris …” I don’t live a glamorous life but, hey, there is time yet.

Barcelona is special because my mum loved it. We both cried when Freddie died. Even Dad had to admit that Freddie had a great voice even if he did get very grumpy when we ended up in the traffic for the Knebworth Queen concert when I was a kid. He said to me, “Couldn’t you have bloody told me and I could have taken a different route?” Mum and I smiled at each other slyly and enjoyed the impromptu Queen party as people got out of their cars, danced on the road, laid on bonnets and sang along to Queen from their car radios.

When mum herself died, I turned on the radio and heard Radio Ga Ga. I played it very loud and the lyrics took on a whole new meaning. I found it quite life-affirming on the most difficult of days. It made me think things would somehow be OK. Freddie there for me in my hour of need again.

I don’t just like Freddie’s music. I like the things he said too. When asked if he was good or bad, he replied “Both, just like everybody else”. That is true sanity and so many people identify as one or the other when actually we are all a unique concoction of the two.

Well, I could go on and on but I think you get the message by now.

Happy Birthday Freddie. I bet there is a huge party going on in Heaven today.

With love from the Striking Mum x

The Pramshed

Birth plans seem like such a good idea when you first hear the concept. As a mum-to-be we have a vague idea that birth might involve a lot of pain and screaming so surely it is best to have a plan.

Before I experienced the reality of childbirth, I thought the pain was a rite of passage and that mums were exaggerating the level of pain involved. I dutifully went to antenatal classes and read books galore on what to expect.

I then went into labour. Did my waters break of their own accord? Nope! Did my contractions get progressively nearer together? Nope! Was I sent home from hospital due to lack of progress? Yup!

My husband sat all night long recording every contraction but they did not fit any of the patterns the pregnancy books told me about

My baby was  lying with his back against mine. This is known as an ‘occiput posterior’ (OP) position. So much for birth planning as mine involved listening to tranquil music, seeing contractions come relatively quickly, a bit of screaming and maybe biting down on a spoon like in old films.

It didn’t get any better when I decided I really must go to hospital again. My husband put me in the car and after travelling for about half a mile, the car broke down. So as the contractions finally sped up I had to walk home in the dark and cursing my husband. Sepia image gone right there!

After hours waiting for a taxi, I screamed all the way to hospital with the encouragement of the driver who was superb and told me to scream away whilst he played the Beatles. Talk about “Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away ..”

It all worked out well in the end and that back to back baby is now a strapping 16 year old.

I am not saying making birth plans is silly because it does give you some level of control so long as you accept that life might take a different turn.

NHS Choices even gives you a draft birth plan so you can write it all down. They advise that you might want to discuss your birth plans with your midwife, the baby’s father and other key players in your life.

Think about pain relief options, birth partners and how  you feel about intervention such as forceps or ventouse delivery.

You should also choose “I will survive”as your musical choice because us mums have a knack of coping with what life throws at us.

This post is brought to you by the ex-pert mum by no means an expert but definitely ex-pert.

Cuddle Fairy

 

 

There are many problems and issues that can be a problem during pregnancy. Some require medical help and treatment, but the more common issues are uncomfortable and frustrating. Here are five common pregnancy issues and what you can do about them.

pregnancy

#1 Bladder and bowel issues

As well as the weight of a growing baby, your body during pregnancy will be gripped by a surge of hormones. Both combine to cause problems relating to bladder-control and bowel issues.

For example, some women find they need to urinate more frequently, whilst other women find getting to the toilet on time is almost impossible. Constipation is also common amongst pregnant women.

There are solutions;

• Using high quality incontinence products for women can help manage accidental leaks of urine
• Pelvic floor exercises strengthen the muscles that control the bladder and the bowel, helping you to ‘hold on’ to urine as you make your way to the bathroom
• Constipation is helped by eating more soluble fibre and increasing water intake; sip water through the day rather than drink a glass all in one go

#2 Morning Sickness

Severe morning sickness can result in hospital treatment, something we are all more aware of since Kate, Duchess of Cambridge suffered crippling morning sickness during both her pregnancies.
Although called ‘morning sickness’, the feeling of needing to be sick or actually being sick can last all day or occur at any time of day. You can feel very uncomfortable but the good news is that morning sickness does not place you baby in danger.

Caused by the surge in hormones in early pregnancy, finding what works for you can make those early few weeks a little more bearable;

• Eat smaller meals and more often – not eating can make nausea worse
• The same goes for drinking – sip drinks, rather than have a large drink in one go
• Limit fatty and spicy foods
• Some women find cooking intensifies morning sickness – try and prepare food when you don’t feel nauseous
• Eating a dry biscuit before you get out of bed in a morning can help

#3 Backache

Being pregnant places a strain on muscles and ligaments, with some women finding that they back aches from early on in pregnancy right through to full term. This dull ache can make standing, walking, sitting and lying down uncomfortable and this lack of relief can quickly tire you.

• Avoiding lifting heavy thing but if it cannot be avoided, bend your knees and keep your back straight
• Move you whole body when you need to turn, rather than twisting at the back
• Wear flat shoes as this will help to distribute your weight evenly
• Sit with your back straight and well-supported
• Get plenty of rest, especially in late pregnancy

As women’s incontinence pads can help to manage bladder weakness, exercise can help to manage an aching back. Gentle exercise, such as swimming and gentle walks, can help to strengthen muscles and ligaments.

#4 Headaches

Some women find that they suffer from more frequent headaches during pregnancy. In most cases, it is caused by a surge in hormones which may explain why some women when not pregnant suffer headaches around their period.
Headaches can be worse in the first few weeks of pregnancy and steadily improve as the pregnancy progresses. Although uncomfortable for you, they are not affecting your baby.
If you develop headaches in the second half of your pregnancy which are at the front of your head, it could be a sign of pre-eclampsia, pregnancy induced high blood pressure. It is important you discuss headaches with your doctor or midwife.

#5 Vaginal Discharge

During pregnancy, your body undergoes a whole raft of changes. A common pregnancy issue is vaginal discharge and although unpleasant, it is normal.

It happens for a few reasons;
• The cervix, the neck of the womb and vaginal walls are softening ready for the birth and this causes discharge
• This discharge is also nature’s way of preventing infections from travelling up into the womb
• Towards the end of pregnancy, this discharge can increase and be confused with urine; if this is happening, women’s incontinence pads can be a useful means of managing it.

In late pregnancy, you may have a discharge known as a ‘show’. This is a thicker mucus and may contain blood. This is the plug of mucus that is in the cervix coming away, ready for labour and birth.

If you are concerned about any issues or problems, talk to your GP or midwife.

HARTMANN Direct have a range of women’s incontinence pads, ideal for use during pregnancy and after birth too.

Firework safety is an important issue all year round with the increasing use of fireworks to mark occasions like birthday and of course New Year’s Eve.

firework safety

As we are approaching 31 December fast, NCC Home Learning has put together a quiz on firework safety. This quiz is aimed to see if you are aware of the dangers associated with fireworks.

I tend to avoid using fireworks and have since becoming a parent. It some ways this seems a shame as I remember family events as a child with Dad taking charge of the firework display. All the local community got together and I was so proud that my Dad handled everything and insisted on health and safety.

I thought I had a relatively good knowledge on fireworks so was shocked to only get 5 out of 8 answers correct in the NCC Home Learning Firework Safety Quiz. This is stuff we need to know that can prevent injury and potentially save lives.

NCC Home Learning offers a course orientating around fire safety which can be found here:- https://www.ncchomelearning.co.uk/cieh-fire-safety-awareness-online.html.

Take the firework safety quiz and let me know how you get on.

https://www.ncchomelearning.co.uk/blog/fireworks-safety-quiz/