When I became pregnant a few years ago, as someone interested in green living I was determined to not fall into the trap of having to buy every single thing glossy parenting magazines told me I needed, and save money where possible.
Telling my daughter she's autistic is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. She'd had the assessment, she'd been to the psychologist's office and she's not daft, she knew exactly why she was there; she'd read the posters on the walls. She'd have to know. I had to tell her.
We wish we had ticked the other box, the box that stated 'yes' we would have our baby back. However, like many parents, we were given minutes to decide, before I was rushed down to theatre. In those few minutes we sat traumatised. We were in shock...
When people are packed together into blocks of flats, enduring a constant hubbub of noise and traffic, cities are notoriously unfriendly. So discovering that London's pensioners experience the greatest feeling of loneliness - at 75% of all we spoke to - is probably to be expected.
This loss of everything I took for granted in my adult life was much more overwhelming to me than the love I felt for my baby. I know, I said it, shoot me world - and what a world we live in when it comes to 'views' on mothers. How we should feel, how we should look, how we should react... the expectations are real and they are fired at a new mother like arrows from a bow.
Sticking a sucker on your breast and squeezing the milk out, is not the most fun job you'll do as a mum. Yet it's often a necessary task. So, when I recently found myself 'getting my pump on', I fancied some musical inspiration.
I have a very hungry baby who drinks every single ounce of milk I feed him. So when I saw the reduction in the amount of milk after cutting back on my calories, I quickly realised I had to focus on weight loss after he wasn't solely reliant on milk. It wasn't fair on him. I now get why people formula feed their babies to get their bodies back.
Try to find some time for yourself. Oh right. Golly, I hadn't thought of that! You are sooooo right. I do need sleep. And food. Who knew? If I could have more rest/time to eat and sleep, then believe me, I sodding would. With or without this incredible insight, top tip and humble permission of yours!
Dads who know you're a person in a costume will tell their kids to punch you "punch him, go on hit him", always thinking there was a man inside. What the dad couldn't see was the pain in the child face, and the look of 'sorry' as with a sad face they punched you, turned back to dad and smiled arms triumphant in the air.
Butlins in Bognor Regis I have to say kept us on our toes and our little man was skipping his naps to get in as much as possible of the entertainment. With family budgets not being what they were, less people are going abroad and are now enjoying a holiday in the UK.
You are probably going to get fat, have heart disease, anxiety and depression... Despite how bad you might feel, you are not going to actually DIE from lack of sleep. Chances are you won't even pass out. Some days it may feel like you have 'hit the wall' and can't go on but you WILL survive.
What I want to say here, is that venue is key. Making the decision that I was going to step up and add a weekly activity to my son's already busy schedule ( 'school' five morning a week, football and piano in my head and to become a reality when I pull my finger out!) I needed to find somewhere to go.
It's a testament to my optimistic nature, the triumph of imagination over reality, but somehow I forget that baking with a two year old is a really stupid idea.
For any first time mum to be, currently being subjected to hours of unwanted advice and comments on how they should be handling their pregnancy, what they should or should not be doing and what type of mum they should be aiming to be, here is a list for you to pin up in your consciousness to remind you that when it comes to parenting no one is a God damn expert.
Research has shown that children who have a healthy level of self-esteem and confidence learn faster and achieve better academically than children described as having low self-esteem. There are a multitude of reasons why a child might suffer from low self-esteem but in general it's caused by the beliefs that they hold regarding their own self-image...
I have a bugbear, and that is the way resilience is described as simply bouncing back. Here is the thing. We all bounce back from the rubbish life throws at us one way or another. That in itself is not resilience. Resilience is the way we adapt and respond to the rubbish life throws at us. This will either strengthen or weaken your resilience over the years.