Nappies, Muslin Cloths and Literature Searches

This is my last week at home. It is the end of an era, my time as ‘full time mum’ has come to an end and I am now looking forward to being a ‘part time working mum of two’. I cannot tell you how excited I am. A lot has happened this last month, health and parenting-wise. I have realised that part of my recent anxiety lies with the simple notion that I won’t be with my children a few days a week. I am known to over-exaggerate and perhaps this sounds like just that to some, but I can’t explain how big a deal this is to me….

I have formed a huge attachment with my first, who recently turned two and not forgetting my 10 month old baby girl. All I have done since 2014 is take care of their every need. I have been their ‘constant’ and actually come to think of it, they have become mine. Even within two years, I feel age is on me, times have changed and I notice it. This leaves me quite anxious, but now I can see, it’s anxiety based on overwhelming excitement.

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Reeyan’s 2nd Birthday
Initially, the anxiety didn’t manifest as positively as it does now. My health took a hit. Stress is a known culprit of illnesses and ailments but it’s worse when you don’t actually know you’re stressed or when you take the burden of everything and try to keep on going. Last week I hit the finish line. I had enough, I couldn’t cope. It was quite bizarre to have these feeling so far after having the babies, but oh well, I crumbled. Reeyan happened to be a little sick, combined with a walking 10 month old – this was the initial test. Throw in, health problems, a sub-heading for thyroid related issues, which I have you know, can affect your mood, skin, appetite, energy levels, it can cause muscle ache and fatigue. I needed people around me and I needed them fast. They were there, without a second thought.

Last week I sat down with Roy, my mum, dad, mother and father-in-law and they understood that things happened to be a little difficult. Talking it over with them helped, it gave me some clarity. I could see that actually, all this un-wellness, un-easiness stemmed from the simple fact that I am returning to work, taking on a huge project to finish a PhD but more importantly, leaving my little lives a few days a week. By understanding the core of my anxiety, I felt like a huge weight had been lifted.

I have noticed a pattern in conversation when I’m out with the kids. Young mothers enjoy talking about age differences and developmental milestones. Older mothers simply tell me to enjoy every moment I have with them. I have had my fair share of craziness these last two years, but looking back at when these two bundles of joy were placed in my arms, I can honestly say, I have cherished every minute. I am blessed to be at a stage in life, where I can go back to what I am passionate about as well as continue to bring up my little sproggs. They are my purpose in life, my motivation to do better, be it career-wise, parenting-wise and health-wise.

Things are going to be just fine…..

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Whilst in my 20’s, running a few miles a week was something I took in my stride. There is something about being in my 30’s, which make walking up the stairs, or kneeling down on the floor to play with the kids that bit tiresome. Cricking of the knees was something that I complained about for some time during pregnancy (and after). Then there were thyroid problems, migraines, weight gain, jeez the list goes on. Hormones have played a major part in my aging process thus far and if I’m not careful, I may be susceptible to a lot of nasties that await old age.

SO…. I’m making a change. Well, attempting to at least. I’ve even had issues with trying to make that change, there are always issues –  I’m a down right pain in the a** when it comes to changing lifestyle. I once convinced myself that I could lose weight and live healthily by doing the 5:2 diet in which you fast (or starve) for two days and eat all you want for five. I ended up drinking A LOT of caffeine, as a result became very anxious and suffered a few panic attacks, really, its laughable.

Like most people, I like to think that I take my health into my own hands. Well at least I should. I’m not getting any younger. As mentioned above, I’ve dabbled with a lot of diets and I have even gone to the extreme of recently cutting out gluten. My rational, again comes down to reading far too much for my own good. You may or may not be familiar with gluten being terribly bad for you. This is an example where too much reading, really does mess with your head or in my case my body, as it turns out – it really isn’t.

Gluten is the protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Some individuals may be sensitive or completely intolerant to this protein such that the immune system forms an antibody that attacks the intestinal lining. This in turn causes inflammation within the intestinal tract, leaving the sufferer with numerous of debilitating symptoms and potential malnourishment. As a keen advocate of healthy living, I’ve tested numerous concepts. (Funny that I experiment with my own body, don’t we all? Trial and error and all that).

The thyroid gland is a small butterfly shaped organ situated in the neck. Its fundamental function is to regulate growth and metabolism by releasing a number of hormones. After having Reeyan, I was told that I had ‘Hashimotos Thyroiditis’. This is an autoimmune disorder where my body attacks my thyroid. As a result my thyroid doesn’t’ produce enough thyroxin to successfully regulate my metabolism. I’m just grateful it’s just the thyroid under assault to be honest. It really does sound worse than it is, apart from slowing down my metabolism (and making it even harder to lose the pounds), with two tiny tablets a day, everything is very well controlled. I will repeat, for my own sake that everything is all well controlled. There has been hearsay that those with Hashimotos or any type of autoimmune disorder for that matter are also sensitive to gluten. The research hasn’t been published, reliability of these broad statements are in fact confounded, yet, I insist on going that one step further and accepting the claims. And so, stupidly I tried it,

I followed a strict gluten-free diet for six weeks. It was an eye opener. Like my mother, I loved myself some bread. Instead of rice I would always opt for the bread to have alongside my plateful of curries. But it was fairly straightforward as I could eat anything else provided it didn’t contain wheat, rye or barley. So I could eat all the potatoes and rice I wanted. I recently stopped this absurdity, as I didn’t notice any encouraging changes apart from the increasing severity of headaches. As an individual quite prone to food-based migraines, I realised that eating for example, the substituted gluten-free bread contained far more obscure ingredients that left me debilitated with headache. I am in no way insinuating that following a gluten-free regime has no benefit whatsoever. Coeliacs don’t have a choice, as their intolerance can be life threatening should they not follow a strict gluten free lifestyle. As I’ve found out during this six-week intensive course, I however, don’t have such a sensitivity.

Once I get over my wheat-full cheat bank holiday weekend, I have learnt to be more selective with food choices. I enjoy living healthily but I absolutely love gorging on the most glutinous of food at times. I understand that everything should be in moderation but more importantly the amount of processed foods consumed should slowly be eliminated. Fresh food, homemade bread and goodies for me, are the best way forward. Now that’s what I’m eating covered……..