Just outside of Bridlington on the cliff tops sits a gorgeous little park, old hall and Zoo. We often went as Kids with our cousins and have spent some lovely days there with my family growing up. Yesterday, as we were at the coast visiting family we decided to go to Sewerby park and see the animals and enjoy the gardens. We did invite my sisters and kids but unfortunately they were unable to join us which actually worked out well because it meant that it was just the 4 of us, our little family having fun together.

We have always been good at, and always looked forward to doing something fun together on a Saturday (just us) but recently life has been busy at the weekends with various jobs, responsibilities and doing things for other people and I have felt like so much has taken over our lives and infringed upon our family days out.

As we wandered around, laughing and exploring Nath and I realised how long it had been since the 4 of us had had time together for a day out where we didn’t have to watch the clock or didn’t have a huge list of other things that needed doing, just a day together, making memories and seeing the kids smiles.

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The “Zoo” (basically a farm with a couple of monkey’s and penguins) was a hit and I realised how urban the kids are when in the midst of all of the lovely animals they became excited at a ruddy pigeon on the wall!!! Megan thought the lama’s were “Sheep-Rabbits” and asked the Penguins where Mr Popper was?!!? (Too much DVD watching?). After a lovely walk around the gardens and fun times in the new park (which is AMAZING) we drove into Bridlington and enjoyed some very delicious and guilt free fish and chips!
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Yesterday was basically a regular thing we do with having family by the coast, especially during the summer, but being together as just us was was refreshing, well needed and very much enjoyed.

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I hear the term “Earth mum” a lot, it usually refers to the more natural mothers among us.  Not that they find mothering more natural but they choose to take the more natural / organic approach in feeding, birthing, medication, carrying, rearing, nappies, cleaning etc. I’m not going to begin to act like I know what I’m chatting about here because in depth I’m not an expert and I’d hate to offend anyone – all I know is there are many ways to parent and that there are many that choose ‘Au Naturel’ and are then, for this choice labelled as an “Earth mum”!!

But what if for a minute we didn’t see it as a parenting style, we didn’t pick people out of our groups and classes and gave them this label, but rather we saw it as something we all are? if you didn’t do any of the above would you say you were an earth mum? My recent experiences in life would make me answer yes, I would say any mother with a baby, however she parents is an earth mum, my view of what an earth mum is goes far beyond that of cloth nappies, co-sleeping, and organic rearing…
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I have friends and family that do choose to use cloth nappies…I also have friends and myself that choose disposable.

I have people in my life that breastfed beyond the age of 1 and even 2 (or my sister that breastfed baby AND toddler) and then I know some that never had a desire to try it at all! I did it for a few weeks then round 2 was 5 months and during those months I pretty much winged the whole time!

Some friends did baby led weaning…others puréed and some (don’t freak out now) even bought it in jars from the shops (heaven forbid I did they did that on occasion).

A few family members and friends co-sleep, others use a moses basket and some put them straight in their cot – I sometimes co slept but mostly had a lovely crib at my bedside and my sister in law had this mint hammock.

Some mums I know will not allow their kids any sugar…my kids and others I know are fine to have the occasional biscuit, choc bar or trip to mac Ds when my kitchen is cleaned and I don’t want to mess it up.

I know a few people that chose home birth (some water), hypno-birthing others that had epidural’s and some elective sections and me that screamed the hospital down until I realised 3rd time round to just take the epidural and sleep through it!

I let my kids watch Cbeebies (which at times I really wonder why I am putting myself through it AGAIN) and Dvds and play angry birds with daddy – others don’t allow any screen time or limit it.

If my kids feel ill my 1st port of call is Calpol and with that YES they have been immunized, even though some friends have chosen not to.
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My point is there are many ways to raise a kid and for me all of this knowledge, all of these different ways of doing things has led to 2 things;
1. Questioning

  • Which is the right way?
  • Am I really damaging my kid because I didn’t wear her? (I never knew that was an option, in my experience a sling was for the many broken arms I had??).
  • Will my kids really be less intelligent because I couldn’t endure breast feeding any more?

2. Self Doubt

  • “Why did I give into her.. I’m so rubbish at discipline”
  • “What am I doing wrong that my baby won’t sleep?”
  • “Did he catch a cold because I forgot to put his scarf on? or was it because I didn’t breastfeed long enough?”
  • “I don’t think I can do this”

Sound familiar? As if there’s not enough pressure on us to do the right things (whatever that means) from the moment we test positive we also compare to other mums and are at times made to feel not as good as another because our ways are different. Different doesn’t always mean better or worse and to be honest I have reached a point where I don’t really care any more how people choose to feed or what type of nappies they opt for. It does not matter if they go to baby groups or not, or let their kids watch a bit of TV or use jars of baby food or a dummy (hello more sleep #justsaying) because you know what? at the end of the day you have your baby and the mother your comparing parenting practices with has her baby. whether yours was formula fed or breast fed, potty trained at 6months or still in nappies at 5, dummy or not.. it is a wonderful thing that you are a mother, that you gave birth and that your child lived to even be able to debate these issues.There are so many different ways of doing things but at the end of the day you have a baby and whatever way you choose to raise and nurture that baby is great and if its working – WELL DONE!

For some however we will never know the meaning of being an earth mum, not because we don’t want to or don’t feel it fits with our lifestyle or whatever but because we don’t have a baby on earth, it isn’t an option, we never can have those choices because we were never given the opportunity to make them. Those choices of which nappies we’d use or if and how long we would breast-feed, where they would sleep were all stolen when our babies weren’t born awake! I am an earth mum to Ethan and Megan because they are here with me,I am not an earth mum because of how I parent. But sadly I am constantly reminded I not an earth mum to Poppy because whether or not I wanted to breastfeed her past my 5 month mark, co-sleep buy a sling and carry her everywhere til she turned 2 or whatever , my baby was taken to heaven before she saw the world! I mix with women that don’t even know if they can officially be classed as a mother because they have no baby here to certify that fact.

I see babies everywhere, I see mothers chatting about all sorts and debating which path they’ll take with each milestone, how I long and others too that we could have those decisions to make. It breaks me sometimes to even see a baby – yes I am an earth mum, I have reared/am rearing 2 amazing (at times a little nuts) kids but I am also as some say “an angel mum”! So next time you question if your way is the right way, if natural is the way forward or not or maybe you think those Mum’s are weird that doing this, that and the other? when you go to compare yourself to another mum because she seems to have it down, remember It’s really irrelevant how you choose to clothe, carry, feed and sleep your baby, whether you buy new or second hand and if your going to let them watch mindless kids TV, the fact is you have a baby… your already an earth mum, its not a label to give to another its a privileged you took upon yourself from the moment your baby took their 1st breath…chances are your doing a grand job, so take what you want from the mothers around you but please don’t compare or imply any way is better, for any mother that has her baby is the same as you – an earth mum and that’s what matters, because there’s a lot of grieving mothers out there, battered and torn, heartbroken from loss and exhausted from life, that would give anything not to be an angel mum or mum to baby in heaven but just to simply be tired because their baby is teething, or a mess because the baby has colic but more so that they can not be in the awful club of baby loss but in your club as an earth mum.

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Last week was all about the kids and their cousins – this week i’m bringing it back to me and my generation and the cool kids that are MY cousins! Yesterday was far from ordinary, but I share it all the same, because it was pretty mint and pretty much the highlight of my week! You see its not everyday your Granddad turns 85 and you get together and celebrate with the majority of your childhood buddies.

I love my Granddad – He is a legend!

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He has been a great example to all of us, he cracks EVERYONE up that meets him and always has a tale to tell. In one moment we are all crying with laughter, the next we are overcome with emotion and having deep convos. Its great because I can see his sense of humour in pretty much every member of our extended family too and I think thats why we all just click (that and were all a bit nuts).

We had a great afternoon with family in celebration of his birthday; ate too much food, reminisced and I laughed harder than I have all week. Megan was so sleepy (refusing to go to bed at night will do that to you) and spent the most part on a blanket, in the corner asleep and when she did wake up the waitress had cleared her dinner away (#badtimes), which she didn’t find as bad when she saw the cake come out!

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It was so wonderful for me to see a chunk of my cousins and to watch everyone mingling. Its so hard when we all get together to remember I’m still a parent and have responsibilities…I chat away, laughing my head off, bantering with them all, whilst my kids are legging it around. I heard some great stories from Aunts and uncles and was able to get up to date with a lot of my cousins too.
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I look on this day and the pictures I managed to capture as a moment in life I will treasure for many years. Its not very ordinary that we are all together like this, it is quite ordinary to see granddad quite frequently, and whilst I don’t know how long we will have our granddad in our lives I hope to share and spend time with him where we can. Ethan adores his great grandfather and I especially loved seeing them chat and joke together. He often asks when we will see him again and tells all of his buddies about it when he has. I’m so happy that my kids are getting to know such a legend and that they are loving him as much as we all do.
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I hate pregnancy. I’m not talking about pregnant women, though they aren’t exactly my favourite people to be around (unless I’m already close to them) I mean personally.. I hate my physical life for the most chunk of the 9 months being pregnant. I don’t make a good pregnant woman, not at all (if you question this just ask Mr Smith and he will be sure to confirm) It feels so alien, I don’t glow and its vom central for weeks on end. My hips, bum and back seem to kill every night, I can never find anything decent to wear and so usually look like a frump as oppose to the inner yummy mummy that’s bursting to get out and I just want to eat rubbish and sleep which makes me cranky (sometimes) and like a whale by the time I’m done cooking. Yet despite all of the woes I realise I am lucky to be able to experience it and despite how naff I feel Id give anything to experience it again.

With Ethan I was pretty sick but mostly clueless with a diabetes diagnosis and induction thrown in. With Megan I was hospitalised several times for terrible sickness (Hyperemesis) and then pre-term Labour and this time last year Id just found out I was pregnant with our 3rd baby – “what we were thinking” and “what dramas would arise?” We said in jest as my track record was evident that I don’t rock pregnancy too well. Yet a baby very much wanted and planned we had no idea would never be coming home with us. This time last year we had just made it official around 10 weeks or something by posting it on FB and couldn’t believe that within a few months we would be outnumbered! My friend just celebrated her 1st wedding anniversary and behind the excitement I remembered how sick I felt at her evening reception and how I felt like I had a mini bump.

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I didn’t ever imagine the little bean growing inside already had serious CHD and full Trisomy 18..id never heard of them and as I looked forward to knowing if we would be having another boy or girl it never even crossed my mind that at that scan we would be told part of her brain was underdeveloped, her abdomen measured very small and her heart chambers couldn’t be seen. It was the start of a long journey of tests, scans, appointments, specialists, complaints and fights for right to care. Far from dramas the pregnancy became a living nightmare, dreams became tarnished and it was pain beyond that of a stretching pelvis.

If I had been told last year what awaited us I would have betted it would kill me or send me insane at least. I’d never have believed that I would I would still be functioning and having fun with my family and friends, but here I am a year on… 3 children born but only 2 living. I am afraid to touch, to hold, sometimes to look at a baby not because they might break but because I might break, because I am healing and they might open my wounds again. It hurts (sometimes more than others) but I am alive, I am mostly sane and I am a survivor of Stillbirth.

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I hate pregnancy..yet I miss it too. I miss feeling, hearing and seeing my baby girl alive, I miss the hope of a new born and I miss the excitement. I miss seeing pregnancy as a safe, guaranteed, in the bag type of affair and instead at each announcement think of all the potential dangers..nothing is safe, life is fragile, not to mention how it fuels the grief I try so hard to control. Though every pregnancy has brought with it some drama, some set back and in my most recent, heartache and pain like no other, I want it again. As each day passes and Ethan and Megan grow I long for another baby in the family.

I love being a mother and I want that baby I hoped for.

I don’t want the last baby I birth to not live; I want siblings for Ethan, Megan and Poppy and I want to have faith in the creation of life once more.

A year ago id found out I was pregnant and after an early scan we celebrated it with friends and family. Today I wish I still was yet we fear making that our reality. I never imagined id be here but I am. I never imagined I would go through pregnancy (with all of its woes) and not have the reward of a baby at the end. Most mothers that received this news last year are marking milestones, preparing to wean and probably approaching the start of a new wardrobe but a year on I visit my daughters grave, I don’t know her but I imagine who she might have been. I never saw her eyes or heard her cry but she was mine, my beautiful perfect 3rd child that was born asleep and rather than letting it completely consume me and damage me I choose to have hope and seek a brighter day when I will make her a big sister, when I will have the strength to take on pregnancy again, when I will hope for another living child.

A positive test isn’t always a positive result, but a negative result doesn’t have to mean a life of despair and negativity… I carry the pain of loss, I feel battered from life but I still see some colour in a grey world and the hope of a rainbow after the storm!

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