Pro-Choice.

As a non-Irish woman, living in England, I don’t know what else I can do other than use my social media platforms to add to the right for #prochoice

I have never had an abortion. As a woman who, without the aid of fantastic fertility clinics and the development of science, would not be able to have children, it is unlikely I will ever be faced with what I can only call a dilemma as to whether or not to abort my unborn child. As a woman who is currently 26 weeks pregnant with our miracle IVF baby, I am grateful for this – because I honestly do not believe it is a choice I could ever make. But a choice which, would be mine nonetheless.

I describe abortion as a dilemma because, not for a second can I imagine that any woman would blindly enter into aborting her unborn child without a lot of reason, thought, and heartache going into it. Aborting a child won’t just end there – with the baby gone; I’d imagine that no matter what circumstances surround the need for abortion, that the knowledge of having done so will live in within you forever.

Physically, it might seem easy. Mentally; not so.

But, as a human being – who doesn’t believe herself to be particularly intelligent, but does pride herself on her common sense – I understand. I understand that whilst we can all be so similar, we also can all be so different, and thus, we need choice. I have never, ever understood why individuals find themselves so worked up and concerned with the matters of other individuals; it does not concern them. Which is exactly why I love this image – if you don’t like/want something: don’t do it. That is YOUR choice. Why does anyone feel they have the right to decide how another person – female or male – should live their life? Lesbian, Gay, Straight, Bisexual, Transexual, In need of an abortion, in need of a home, in need of medication to stabilise your health [i could go on] – by and large – who’s choice should that be but that of the individual(s) involved?

For those fighting for pro-life… I too, am pro-life. However, once more, that is, MY CHOICE. I have never been raped, and thus never fallen pregnant with a child conceived from rape. I am so, so thankful that I am not pregnant with an “unwanted” child. That I am not pregnant with a child so deformed it would not survive labour. I am lucky that I have not had to make the difficult decision of whether or not to abort a child, and I hope that is a decision I will never have to make. For me, the second we knew we were pregnant at 3 weeks 6 days, that was our baby. It was a life, one we had finally created. Our perfect, miracle baby. But, medically, it is deemed an embryo until 8 weeks, and a fetus until birth. Not a baby, an embryo, then a foetus. It is MY CHOICE to consider it our baby from the word go. It is MY CHOICE to consider it a life worth fighting for, or not fighting for. Choice, is what’s important here.

It’s 2018 for goodness sake – why can’t we get on with our OWN lives without consistently having to battle for such simple human rights; choice. At the end of the day, that’s all it boils down to. The same as the choice I make to run. To own, walk, look after and love a dog. To pop to the shops or not. It is my choice.

We are all so similar!

Having one of those rare body confidence/empowerment moments on the beach today.

There is a couple – foreign – who both look pretty good; slim, tanned and toned. Probably both around the same age as James and I.

I’m going to focus though, on the woman. As we women do, I’ve noticed her all week. Her body is what I would deem perfect. She is perfectly slim and toned – no “extra” fat. Her boobs (probably fake!?! I don’t think boobs are that perky unless well supported/huge and full of milk?!) are perky (although, they aren’t huge, so maybe she just has great bikini support). Her stomach is flat. She has a thigh gap (my fav, especially now that my thighs are gigantenormous!!) and generally, all round, just looks great. I don’t think anyone could deny that. Do not get me wrong – I am writing this from a point of positivity, and in no way trying to “shame” her – I think, what I am about to say, is brilliant, and a reminder that you can’t judge a book by its cover!

I just walked right next to her though, as I popped to the loo. She’s lying face down on her sun lounger sunbathing.

She has stretch marks on her perfect-shaped bum.

We are all similar!

Food/Eating Disorders/Pregnancy Cravings – we each know our own bodies better.

I was riled, a few months ago, watching a couple of programmes regarding eating disorders – something I always watch if I know it’s on, because I am simply fascinated, still. The first, was the “Wasting Away: The Truth About Anorexia.” And another with Louis Theroux. I remember, whilst watching, that both James and I were gobsmacked – and I have, from experience, a lot more understanding and knowledge of Anorexia.

What I will say from the offset, is that anyone that can be considered a role model should think very carefully about what they are saying/posting, although I believe if you are going to suffer with an eating disorder (or any other mental health issue), you will probably do so regardless of what you see/hear etc. I think you are pre-disposed within your genetic makeup in the same way some people get Cancer, and others don’t. However, I don’t believe the likes of Kim Kardashian (pains me to even write her name in one of my blogs 😫!) and the idiotic things she – or other similar individuals – say/do/post are going to cause eating disorders in young men/women, but I do think at times they are selling utter shite. If you are hungry, food or drink (not booze people🥂🍾!) will suppress your appetite, not a lollipop 🍭, ladies and gentlemen. In fact, I am currently eating a Chupa-Chups lollipop and am quite sure that once I’ve finished it, my appetite will no longer be suppressed and I’ll simply move onto another snack..

I seem to have this inbuilt part of me that has this need/want to help and support others, hence why I continue to write this blog.

Mark Austin and his daughter Maddy gave an incredibly open, and honest account of life with anorexia (Wasting Away: The Truth About Anorexia). Everything they both said is the exact kind of situation that happens with mental health illness and destroying families. The exact same happened in mine: anorexia isolates you, it makes you cunning and kuniving and it destroys relationships. Parents – or those that have no chance to understand – are angry, frustrated, exasperated. I hope history doesn’t repeat itself, and when I first started writing this – I was also still hoping anorexia hadn’t entirely destroyed my ability to have an embryo/blastocyst implant and carry a healthy pregnancy/birth/child. Thankfully, I have made it 25 weeks in and everything is healthy so far.

But it still hasn’t been easy. Whilst I am beyond in love with the ever-growing bump attached to the front of me, I am not thrilled with how I currently look overall. I stopped running in order to conceive – and anxiety meant I didn’t try again until we were 13 weeks, by which point, all fitness was lost and I was not in a position to push myself for fear of hurting our much-longed-for, unborn baby. Whilst I don’t doubt from other people’s comments that I perhaps still see myself as larger than I actually am (although believe me, I am heavy now!) my thighs, therefore {to me} are enormous. I have craved, and thus eaten non-stop carbs for the past 25 weeks; foods which I would normally reserve for never due to their ability to make me gain weight just thinking about them. I still live with mental health issues that I fight against daily, that no one can ever fully understand, and thus no one can ever fully have an input – especially if it is unasked for – thank you very much!

Recently, I’ve found people telling me what I should and shouldn’t be eating. People that will never be pregnant are included in this (aka men, or those older who have never wanted children) and I spent a drive home from an anxious hospital appointment a few weeks ago in tears, fuming and thinking about it, and the things I’ve done to my body over the years:

When I was 16, upon waking and realising no-one else was home, I leapt out of bed and ran through to my parents ensuite to weigh myself and see if the scales were acceptable to me yet.

I knocked myself out on a door frame/TV cabinet on the way through because I was so dizzy and fainting. In the 5 days prior to that morning, I had eaten just one apple. Nothing suppressed my appetite, I tried everything to be constantly thinner, and as a result of hunger, passed out.

In 2015, over ten years later, aged 26/27 I spent a month barely eating, and sneaking off to throw up everything I did consume. I taunted and teased myself by joining in with others and accepting free hot chocolate the work canteen was offering at the time – throwing it all up as soon as it was finished. Months later at 27/28 I struggled to push myself – desperately – through a 5 mile run because all I’d allowed myself for three days prior was “juice diet”. “Healthy” green liquid or water only. Less than a mile in I could feel my kidneys in pain, my muscles physically unable to run through a full 5 miles from lack of fuel. And yet mentally, I was livid with myself still. Angry at my body at having to run-walk-run as someone who knew they could usually run for miles on end and love it. You cannot function on nothing. Food, is fuel.

I remember lying to my friends that I’d already had dinner/was eating dinner at home later. Lying to my parents that I’d eaten out with my friends. I remember trying to throw up the smallest bit of cheese I’d sucumbed (BECAUSE SUPPRESSING YOUR APPETITE DOESN’T EXIST!!) to eating off my friends pizza, in the Pizza Hut toilets aged 15. I remember flushing food down the toilet or chucking it in the bin whilst exercising for a minimum of an hour every single day. I remember asking my parents for school dinner money rather than food so that at least I wouldn’t waste the food; because, whilst adamant I didn’t deserve food, I still felt a resounding guilt that I was simply throwing food away when there were – are – thousands of starving people in the world. I remember that I wasn’t kidding anyone. I remember it all too well, for someone who’s memory is largely shot to pieces. How can you forget such hideous self punishment?

Having been diagnosed “Anxiety with depression” aged 26, in 2015, I also honestly believe anorexia/eating disorders are a side effect, a symptom, a coping mechanism for wider issues. When I had my first mental health breakdown in March 2015 I had spent the previous 6+ weeks over exercising, marginally under eating and regularly throwing up everything I did eat. It was something I could control. It was a coping mechanism to deal with my heightened anxiety, my low self confidence and self esteem, it was an outlet, but it kills.

So what I don’t understand now, is how anyone thinks they have the right to tell someone – anyone – let alone someone who has been through what I have – what they should and shouldn’t be eating, when they’ve not asked, but particularly through pregnancy. I believe after all these years I am more than aware of what I should/should not eat in order to achieve weight gain/loss. I also instinctively believe I (we: baby and I!) will crave what we need. This pregnancy, that has NOT been salad. And I do love me a good salad. Maybe, if I’m lucky enough for a future pregnancy(/pregnancies?!) perhaps salad will be craved.

Yes – I am eating a lot of (ok ONLY!) carbs. Just because that isn’t considered an “odd” craving to many doesn’t mean it isn’t a craving, and is just an “excuse” to eat them. I have never eaten carbs like this before – I used to avoid them like the plague. I have never wanted or apparently needed carbs like this before. I can’t remember the last time I allowed myself a jacket potato (rather than sweet potato), or white pasta (rather than spelt). Crisps used to make me feel uncomfortably bloated and thus I would still avoid them even at parties when they were laid out as nibbles. The last time I actually ATE a regular breakfast, rather than drinking a protein shake, or smoothie only, (and after running 3/5/7 miles), I was about 10 years old.

So yes, it’s a lot of carbs. Yes, I’ve gained a lot of weight, no, I am not thrilled about it: in fact if I could take scissors to my thighs to cut off the extra chub, I would. But I don’t think I am massively complaining about it – yes I’m calling myself “fat”, a “beached whale”; that’s how I feel right now, but I say it in jest! I am not going to do anything about it whilst I am carrying our miracle baby. I am not entirely stupid – enough so to think for a second all of this weight will just “fall off” the second the baby pops out. I will have to work at it, hard – but does anyone honestly think this is something I’m not prepared to do? Someone who, when working full time would get up at 5/5.30/6am to run, and spent most days ensuring she exercised twice? Someone who is known to have got up during worst bouts of insomnia and run for 5+ miles at 1am?? I am not prepared to risk something we have wanted, and tried for, for so long. I tried to run to keep off some weight, but it’s not for me – not this time, this pregnancy anyway; it’s too late, too hard and therefore too much of a worry to me to keep trying until the baby has arrived. I have never craved, or eaten, carbs like I am doing now, and so, I believe there must be a reason for this, and for once in my life, I am not going to deny what my body – our baby – is asking for.

I have said time and time again that unless you have physically experienced a mental health issue, you will never fully understand – no matter how much training you have had. I had two incredible (NHS) therapists providing me CBT and CAT over the last few years but for both of them I always felt (particularly the first) that you just don’t really get it until you’ve had it – and I wouldn’t wish anyone to have mental health illness. We all have mental health – some of us are just lucky enough not to have mental health illness.

HOW is it, that 23 years ago – yes, you read that right, TWENTY THREE – the incredible Princess Diana opened up and spoke about her mental health – her eating disorder, and yet here we still are in 2018 with still so much stigma, a distinct lack of understanding, and with idiotic products on the market promising suppressed appetites and “miracle” weight loss to those vulnerable and desperate enough to believe them?

Bigger arms, bigger thighs, bigger bum and bigger boobs. But a beautiful, beautiful, healthy baby bump. Oh, and my “appetite suppressant” lollipop.. which as it happens I’ve just finished… time for crisps!

ALSO:

  • Rufus
  • My husband
  • My health
  • My friends and family

xxx

EDIT – to add the below screen grabs that I’ve had saved on my phone since forever, because they make such valid points! Thanks to AliceLiveing for the words!

Dirty Thirty

​​​​As the final weekend of my month long birthday celebrations have drawn to an end, I felt the need to write a little blog..

My husband is a funny fcuker… 😉😂

It’s now been 21 yesterday’s ago since I was 29. And really, I guess I feel no different. I have so many friends spanning across so many different ages – some younger, plenty older than me. I know we are all the same in dreading another year passing and another year older. It doesn’t make it any easier, I really do simply just dread it. I look at others my age and constantly think they seem to have their lives much more “together”, are seemingly more mature and generally doing pretty well for themselves…  ok, in reality I know this isn’t really true, and actually I am basing this thought on a random couple I saw on “first dates” several months ago, who basically seemed worlds apart in maturity and having their “shit together” than me. I know many of my friends are just like me – muddling through life, having fun as much as possible, and probably think they don’t feel mature/30/they have their shit together, or should be adulting in general….

​  Dirty Thirty – well, you suck. You kind of were always going to, I guess, because I’m *almost* the real life version of Peter Pan; I don’t want to grow up. Only problem is, I am.

I think it could have been easier though. If you’d brought me at least one (or even 2, 3 or 4) happy healthy babies by now, I’d probably be coping better. Have my purpose. Be happier and marginally calmer (ok maybe not calmer or less anxious but I am sure happier). If I could run free and have little baby versions of us running around us freely too.

Maybe it’s going to come with my 30’s. I hope so as 40’s is definitely too late (and I can’t bare thinking about – where, how, is life going//so fast?!). In reality, I don’t feel any different to any other day. I’m just very aware that with ageing comes a life over and certain death – I like to think despite the best efforts of many drivers/my mental health/general life, I will make it to old age.

Some things I’m learning:

  1. Age really is, just a number. Fight it by staying young and having fun – life’s too short, it’s always playtime 😈 
    “Never lose your sparkle”
  2. If you really do have to keep getting older – drag out the celebrations as long as physically possible. I’ve dragged mine out a month, 7 “official” birthday dinners “out” this year – I think one less than last year. Poor show! See all your friends and family – or as many as possible.
  3. Fit 2. Into your everyday life. See friends and family and have as much fun as possible – we all came into this world with nothing and are all going to be leaving with nothing – take pictures/make memories; objects will be left behind (although to be inherited 😉 [been stealing my mums jewellery since 1987, she’s still happily alive and kicking and I’d like to keep it that way, whilst still “inheriting” {stealing} her jewellery!])
  4. Anxiety won’t lessen, if anything it seems to be getting worse. Maybe it gets worse before it gets better?
  5. You’d do better to not put yourself in situations that make you anxious, but you still have a determined belief that things should be right/fair/just and trying to bring that into the lives of morons often causes you anxiety you could avoid. 
  6. With that, depression won’t change either. Sadly, the world is still full of more a-holes than good people. It gets you down.
  7. It wouldn’t seem possible – given some of your previous responses… but alcohol will affect you even more and hangovers will be easier to come by 🙄

Here’s to the next 30 years! 😱😱😱

How to live life ☺️💖

Smile, Love and be Kind x

I just wanted to do a little post to try and help direct people to these awesome books, written and illustrated by fabulous people who’s worlds were shattered far too early in life, but who continued to somehow remain positive, strong, kind and inspirational throughout.

I’ve bought both books so far for friends children, as well as copies for our house. They are such sweet, lovely, well written books with the strong message of kindness being magical and so, so important solid throughout them. The illustrations are also all hand drawn by Jake. The books don’t fail to make you smile.These books are incredible – don’t just take my word for it! You can purchase Tara & Tyrone books (currently two with a third on the way) written by the incredible Emmy and brilliantly illustrated by Jake through Etsy, or if you want a message from Jake and Molly dog 🐶, email ejtandem@hotmail.com – I’ve added my own message (see below) to the children we’ve bought them for too. I can’t credit Emmy and Jake enough for their constant positivity and kindness – and no, I don’t know them personally so there is no friendship bias here!

You can also read more about Emmy and the journey #EJTandem
Dear Ollie, Ellen (and Thomas*),
I am so sorry I didn’t get you this book earlier to enable it to be signed once again by the inspirational author as well as the wonderful illustrator, and the lovely Molly dog 🐶😉.
Emmy sadly passed away on 16.06.17. She fought hard against an impossible battle. But she inspired the world. She taught us life is too short. She taught us to live life to the fullest. And most importantly, she taught us to “smile, love and be kind”.

I love you forever, your (fairy) godmother xx

*not Thomas’ godmother!

Desiderata 

Not my words at all. Only seen because my beautiful friend had a print of these beautiful, wise words on her wall this weekend. Couldn’t photograph it very well so instead I’ve retyped it and added it to my own image.

Hubby asked me if that was how I lived/want to live my life. I said yes. He then said I don’t because I don’t give time to the ignorant. 💁🏽 Guess you can’t win them all! Or perhaps Max was just a little too forgiving… 


Desiderata 🌷

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant • They too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. 

Keep interested in your own career, however humble • It is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery.

But let this not blind you to what virtue there is, many persons strive for high ideals and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself • Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings • Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. 

You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars, you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. 

Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul. 

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful word • Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

~ Max Ehrmann

#smileloveandbekind 💕 

So..!

So – the 2 pages I did actually manage to read yesterday:


Relevant. So relevant. Especially that second to last paragraph on page 16… I have lost count of the number of times ignorant* people have said to me “but you’ve got everything! You’ve got a lush house, job, car, husband, dog, good figure, fit, healthy” blah-de-blah-de-blah… are you for real?! I mean cheers – that makes a mental health sufferer feel 150 bazillion % WORSE. And guilty. SO GUILTY. I know – believe me I know how bloody lucky I [mostly!] am – I am fortunate. I am physically (mostly) and financially wealthy and comfortable. That doesn’t mean my head isn’t fecking mental, and thus I do not need reminding why I seemingly have nothing to be “anxious” or “depressed” about. 

It. Is. Not. A. Choice. 

I wouldn’t wish the hell I have been through on even my worst enemy – and believe me I can be pretty mean like that, so: why on earth would I then choose it for me?

Sometimes, I do think mental health is more important than physical health – because the state of your mental health can dramatically impact on the state of your physical health. I keep going back to this recent saying from my primary school teacher – Mrs Cooke you have really got me thinking here!! “mens sana in corpore sano” ~ “a healthy mind in a healthy body” 🌚🌝

*if you actually say the words “I don’t understand it” or “I’m bored of trying to understand it – then, I’m sorry; you are an ignorant plonker. Sorry, not sorry. But I’ve heard it and its just absurd. Do you understand Cancer? Me either. Parkinson’s? Same. How about Poverty? Aids? World hunger? Human trafficking? Nope, nope, nope and nope: me either. Do you try to understand, and empathise? Yes. The world is full of shitty things no one should have to go through; mental health illness is no different. 

It isn’t easy to help someone. I see that now in me in hindsight, and in desperately wanting my friends to feel better now. A typical reaction for someone struggling with mental health is to entirely withdraw and isolate themselves. It’s not obvious to the sufferer at the time, it just happens. You think you are screaming out for help, but in fact you are withdrawing and quietly freaking the hell out. Just be there for people. Listen if need be. Be nice. Be patient. Give hugs. Or flowers. Love. Be kind. I like all of those things…. there really is something about this kindness being magic which makes everyone feel better…
Couldn't agree more!
^ couldn’t agree more!