Pen-pal for your mental health!

Pen-pal for your mental health!

For years i wanted a pen pal then all at once i had quite a few, from all over the world. I simply put a call out online and now here i am with new buddies from many interesting and exciting places. I’ve wanted a little something to give me joy and something which allows me to rediscover my love of writing and reading. I have always wanted to write, perhaps a book or write for newspapers but it is my anxiety and my dyslexia that gets in the way. My handwriting is questionable too. But despite my lack of skills in grammar and spelling i still love the allure of writing.

The thing i love about pen palling is learning about others, getting to know someone. Not through social media and through cryptic tweets and photos but threw someones heart, their souls they spill on to paper and send to you with complete confidence of your secret keeping. I have often spilled my life down on paper to a complete stranger turned friend. It is slightly like a therapy sessions at time. Whilst i often talk about emotions, the struggles of me and my mysterious writer i always like learning about their life. Its so interesting finding about what people like and dislike. It’s interesting finding about culture and food from other parts of the world.

The stationary usage is well worth it too. I love buying cute stationary but never have a reason to use it. I love receiving the pretty little notes from another person too. When i write back i always love putting effort into my little notes. I love being crafty and working on my little project. I often make little lists with books my pen pal would enjoy. I also put in some lists of songs/artists i like others will like. I put in mental health promoting cards and positive words and affirmations on sticky notes. I also send over some photos that make me happy and even put a poem in each letter. As well i like to put a little pick me up in the post too so they can enjoy a flavoured tea or coffee or even a sweet.

Life is to short to live behind computer screens. Write to new people, live in someone else’s life and escape reality while you are reading their letters. Talk about you, your life in the purest way. It gives me a short relief when i get too write to someone. I love waiting for and receiving the letters. I love buying bits for my pen pal letter and things to put inside. I love being able to be creative and not being judged for it. So do it! Find a pen pal, send them a letter and make a friend.

Thank’s for reading! Charlie x

Social anxiety about solo parenting in public.

Social anxiety about solo parenting in public.

Sometimes we all have such busy schedules that we never really just spend the day with our child out and about on our own. I am forever guilty of spending lots of time with friends or as a family out and about. This isn’t a bad thing because Elijah loves spending time with others and asks to go out everyday. However normally on days we have no plans we stay at home watching tv and learning. Again this isn’t a bad thing either as we love spending time together at home. But one thing i have always been anxious about is going out just me and my child. When he was a baby it was fine. I loved pushing him around in his buggy and going to community centres and baby groups. However as Elijah got older the tantrums started.

Of course it is natural for children to express their emotions in the form of a tantrum. With the amount of emotion they are feeling and the incapability of explaining their emotions they become upset and warrants a screaming on floor session. However i have always been someone who cares about other peoples opinions whether i like it or not. So a tantrum would cause my social anxiety to go into over board if i was alone because well all eyes would be on me and there would be nobody else to help distract him.

The thing is when a child has a tantrum. It is natural to stare and look, not to judge as so many people do but to see where the noise is coming from. Curiosity always wins, if someone was to scream in a supermarket or shop would you not ping your head round to look for the route cause of the noise.When you have social anxiety if anyone looks at you it is your worse nightmare. Frankly i dislike being in any sort of a attention platform so also don’t really like when we are out and Elijah is being good and many people come to talk to me about him. I don’t mind being nice to others and speaking to strangers but it does make me feel uncomfortable. Especially when people touch him (even before covid) or don’t take the hint the conversation is over.

Because i suffer from a chronic illness as well i sometimes don’t have much strength as apposed to other parents. I can’t always pick him up and carry him long when he flops to the floor. We have also gotten rid of his buggy because he wouldn’t sit in it and also i think he is too old for it. He is sometimes tired which causes more tantrums and because we often go for nice long walks he can sometime get bit touchy. However when i go oit without james i never take him anywhere which will over tire him because of this.

I always panic about taking Elijah to restaurants because when he is bored he acts up and misbehaves. But however i have found that if i take him a bag of toys out with us he is normally quite well behaved. I have been known to take games and even playdough if needed. But being alone again is still stress full.

However i have been trying to go out of my comfort zone a lot more these days . I have been forcing myself to overcome my anxiety and take Elijah out just the two of us at least once a week. I started by taking him to the library, then to soft play and then out for meals and trips into town. I have started to slowly build up my confidence and i just try to keep myself calm if Elijah does have a tantrum. I try to remain calm and speak to Elijah calmly and explain things clearly to him, i try to distract him or structure my day so we don’t go out when he is sleepy or going to get tired walking around too much. I will not let my anxiety control me or my sons life. Lock down affected me a lot in regards to going out because i am so scared of covid but the more i go out the more i journey outside the more i feel a bit more comfortable. I teach Elijah to distance as well as hand washing regularly. I just have to accept this is the world we live in now and it’s not healthy to stay in one place for the rest of our lives, so long as we are careful and i overcome my anxiety then we are able to live a relatively normal life.

If you are feeling anxious about going out solo with your toddler remember you are not alone. Baby steps can help at times and things do get better. Things are not always as bad as our head makes it out to be. Yes there are times i take him out and his naughty but sometimes he can be a complete angel. He will be the best behaved little boy ever. It is rare he is naughty but when he is the odd time it makes me still feel anxious and stressed but i try to remember this is just a bad day and we will get through it.

Thanks for reading, charlie x

How to improve your child’s vocabulary from a young age.

How to improve your child’s vocabulary from a young age.

One thing i always hear from other people is how they are so impressed with how well Elijah speaks. People have always been shocked when i tell them Elijah’s age. I am proud of his language skills and how they have came along. Elijah at 6 months old could say hello. Lot’s of people didn’t believe me and then where shocked when i would show them a video or Elijah spoke to them and said hello. From this point his language grew and he could say many things by a year. At a year old he could count up to ten himself and by two he could count backwards and improved on to twenty. He can say every colour and speak in full clear sentences. He still has times he struggles as he is still learning but it is incredible how far he has come. I think it is so important that we spend time concentrating on vocabulary with a child because where else will they learn it?

I’ll be honest i’m no expert or anything but one thing that i have always insisted on is speaking properly to Elijah and not making up knick names for objects to make words easier. I don’t want to say my advice will help but you never know, my advice has helped friends. I also want to state children grow at their own rates, they will learn to speak when they learn. There is nothing wrong with your child taking longer to learn certain things then another and do not compare your child to others. If you are ever at all concerned just pop along to your health visitor!

So my first tip is to well, speak to your child as if they are an adult. Yes the appeal is there to coo, speak in baby talk but their is a difference to calm, loving tones of voice to talking gibberish. For example if someone spoke to you like a baby and making up random words you’ve forgotten how to say would you be able to repeat that word? I’ve also never shortened words. Although Elijah has as he was grasping words i would still always say the whole word even though i knew what he meant. I would never refer to a object he has named something different to what he says it is or he then learns that his word is the correct word. I would also always speak in slow clear sentences when talking to him. I would speak short sentences at times but always in sentences. I know some parents say thing like “bottle? “Shortening the sentence” would you like your bottle?”. If you teach them to shorten sentences they will only learn to shorten the sentence. I taught Elijah to count by counting everything we do since a baby. I would count 1-2 putting his legs through clothes and socks and shoes on. We would count walking downstairs. Count the toys, count anything we could. A few friends have told me their children have learned from this.

Another thing i use to teach vocabulary is use physical images and letters/numbers/ items to teach the words. Flash cards are your best friends. You can grab a box of first words cards for about 3 pounds in some shops like tkmaxx. I also used picture books too. I would tell Elijah what was on every card each day and as he got older i’d ask him to tell me what was on the cards and he would tell me. You can also teach colours and sound animals make too. I would pick up a card with a pig on. I would say it was pink and then i would make the noise of the animal. This really helped elijah to recognise animal sounds to the animal and helped so much with his colours.

Magnetic and wooden letters numbers/ these are fantastic for learning. Elijah recognises all his letters and we are starting to build up to words. Visual aids are so helpful too. Just incorporating letters and numbers into play helps too. Putting them in a tuff tray or putting in slime or anything worlds. I try to add anything i can into play so we learn more.

Read to your child, children can benefit from being in the womb. It forms a emotional connection as well as helping to learn. Elijah now reads a few books in full with us and recalls most of the gruffalo in different voices too. Pointing to pictures and explaining what things are helps too. As they get older ask questions about the book.

Let them have tablet time! Let them only watch things they learn from.. Put reading eggs on, watch videos where they talk. Even blippi has some educational bits to his shows. Children are sponges and love to learn so let them watch films and videos that teach them things and sing even if they are annoying. I’m not saying all day but a little a day helps.

Be around other people. Take your child out for dinner, take them to see friends, to play. Social skills and being around others all help to teach both confidence in using language but also allows them to pick up language.Elijah has many times said things hes picked up from others and i am all for it if it helps him to learn.

Anyway hope some of these bits of advice help! They may work for you or may not but they have worked for me and others! Thanks for reading! Charlie x

10 signs you might be depressed.

10 signs you might be depressed.

Sometimes when you’re depressed you can’t even notice the signs. A lot of people just think of depression as sadness but also as just a emotion that passes. This is why I put together some small signs I have presented which you may recognise in yourself that indicate when I am feeling depressed.

One- You struggle to find motivation in household chores. You can’t find the energy to make the bed, chores such as washing up are exhausting and you put of jobs as long as possible. Your house gets more messy as your mood drops.

Two- Your personal hygiene may fail you. You may find having a bath or shower the absolutely last thing you want to do. You may say tomorrow to having a wash. You may go a long time without washing or brushing your hair. You may stop washing your face because you lack the motivation to do it. You may wear the same clothes for days because they’re comfy and you can’t be bothered to change them.

Three-You loose interest in things. Watching tv becomes boring and draining. You don’t enjoy reading, texting, or anything else you normally would enjoy. You get overwhelmed forcing yourself to do things you normally enjoy.

Four-You loose focus. You’re unable to take in information. Unable to concentrate on conversations. Your mind wonders and you don’t follow what’s said.

Five-You’re easily confused. You are unable to remember things at times and situations confuse you. Sometimes following simple instructions is confusing as you are unable to concentrate on the task at hand.

Six-Your easily upset. Other people upset you easily. You find offence in a lot of situations and you don’t know why. You randomly cry sometimes for no reason.

Seven-You could struggle to sleep or sleep too much. Choosing to sleep in instead of getting up and ready. You also may be wide awake all night.

Eight-Finding negatives in every situation. Thinking you will fail or things will go wrong for you all the time. Loosing hope in the future.

Nine-You may also suffer from anxiety which you didn’t suffer with before. You may become worried constantly. Anxiety normally comes hand in hand with depression.

Ten-You think what is the point of life. You question why your here. If it would make a difference if you where gone. You may feel you’ve become hopeless thinking about your death and existence.

If you are feeling like some of these things I’ve listed you may need to contact your gp and get some advice and help. You may also want to talk to someone about your feelings. If you are thy inking about death it is very important to speak out now and seek the help you need. You can find help with mind.org or calling the Samaritans on 116 123 at any time of the day or night. My emails are always open too.

Thanks for reading, Charlie x

Weighted blanket review – The kalm koala.

Weighted blanket review – The kalm koala.

Disclaimer this was gifted in exchange for review:

If you like me have seen the many, many adverts out of weighted blankets you will also of been interested into what they’re really like. I was intrigued into if they really work or if they where pretty much a money making scam. But i was offered one in exchange for a review so how could i say no. All opinions in this post are my own and honest. As with any post if i do not rate a product highly enough too talk about it i always tell the company and offer to send back and explain i won’t be reviewing it. However this is not the case with this product.

Weighted blankets are advertised to use weight to relax your central nervous system to relax you. They are advertised to help anxiety, depression and autism sensory overloads.

So first of aesthetically it is very pleasing. The cover has a warm and cool side. The quilted side you use in winter and the silk side in summer. The Silk underneath is navy so looks lovely too. I use it as a runner in the day and it fits over the both of us with our feet hanging out the ends the blanket goes from my shoulders to ankles which is good because its weighted and feet with pressures not the best combo. so perhaps socks in winter if not using another cover on top. I mainly use it however not at night but as to sit on the sofa with if i am particularly stressed or sit in the bed in it. The quilt is heavy so it really is weighted i was surprised when the post man dropped it off. I got the largest and most weighted due to my weight.

Does it relax you? It feels like a cuddle and like some pressure. Considering i hate cuddles it is quite nice to be able to have that tight compression feeling without the emotions and people involved to make a cuddle happen. (yes i cuddle my husband and son). You can really feel the weight and it feels like a weight is not only taken of your body but your mind when you take it off too. For it too work i take myself quiet or watch or read something i like to relax myself. I really do notice a difference when i use it to calm myself the added weight is quite nice and also warming too when i need the warmth. I sort of only really concentrate on the weight for a little while which enables me to calm a bit and i only use when anxious so i know it is something i can use.

I haven’t used it overnight much because it has been too hot to exist and i have been in hospital but i used it two nights and it certainly relaxed me. It felt like all of my body was being pressed down and i felt at ease. I fell asleep with it. It still took me a while to shut down but my insomnia reacts to nothing. It did however take less long to fall asleep which could be the blanket or the fact i am still poorly.

So i would recommend this blanket. Id suggest a smaller one for single use however as i got this to be a runner at the same time. This product would be excellent for those who suffer sensory overload particularly autism suffers as the pressure can calm the body without physical contact,

Thanks for reading, charlie x

Things to do with toddlers in Suffolk- Bouldering/ climbing at clip n climb!

Things to do with toddlers in Suffolk- Bouldering/ climbing at clip n climb!

Disclaimer I was gifted this day out to promote on my Instagram.

So i love going out for days out and i am always up for trying something new. Having been to clip n climb myself before i knew it was a fun challenging experience for all the family. When i went i absolutely loved it. I loved how it was this new cool, hip place to go. Something that sort of belonged in big cities like London not like a small town like ours. I felt lucky our small town had been given the opportunity to have one. Let alone the biggest climbing centre in Europe with so many challenges to complete.I went a while back with my friend and w had a blast, she is a bit more fit then me so climbed up like a spider and me a bit like a slow sloth. I am a bit afraid of heights so it was daunting at first but when i had jumped out back to the floor the first time i felt safe and wasn’t so afraid to climb higher. Not only was it fun but it was also a work out. It felt like i had been at the gym all day. Every single one of muscles felt like they had been worked out and i felt good. Unfortunately i don’t quite climb with as much ease as Edward Cullen running up that tree in twilight.

The question remains is it kid friendly? Well the answer in short is HELL YES! Not only do kids have wayyyyy more energy then us they also are a little less afraid of their fears like we are. We booked onto a toddler session which was fully booked. Lots of little ones excited and ready to go. The place is also visually exciting and as soon as Elijah walked in he shouted wow. Followed by a tantrum as he wanted to climb the second we walked in. There is also a children’s soft play area for little ones who do not wish to climb so when that re opens it will be super fun!

Is it safe? This was my personal concern the first time i came. As i suffer with anxiety i sit there and list every last thing that can go wrong with the safety equipment before i had even seen it. I want to put your mind at ease it is safe. When i went we sat through a safety briefing and had harnesses fitted and tested so i felt secure knowing i wasn’t to fall out my harness. Elijah’s toddler size one was a bit more extreme in safety and went over his shoulders too this put me more at ease as we all know how kids like to wiggle. Again they safety checked his fit and we had a brief safety meeting before the kids climbed. The holes in each climb are soft and not rugged so you don’t have to worry about scratching yourself up. You connect your harness to a clip which is attached to a mat hanging of the floor (or do this for your child). When youre clipped in the mat falls to the ground a orange colour to say this climb is in use do not walk underneath while the climb is in session. When dropping down you simply sit into harness and you go down slowly. The first times a bit scary but when you know you’re safe it’s quite a nice experience. There are also lot’s of staff walking around watching at all times and offering help when needed. If you are worried about your belongings do not worry there are lockers available!

Is it expensive? Tickets are around 10 pounds for a hour for toddlers and 15 for all other ages over 4 which isn’t to bad. But there are frequent deals and discounts too. A hour also feels a really long time too and you really get your moneys worth. This would be a perfect kids party too and there normally are deals and the birthday child goes free.

Is there food and drink? There is a cafe upstairs with lots of choices. The hot chocolate is really nice and their cakes are insane. There is quite alot of choice so you can try something new too. They are also doing the the eat out to help out scheme so even if you don’t want to climb the food and drink is well worth the visit.

How are they protecting you from corona-virus during your visit? As you que up there are stickers implementing social distancing. The till has protective screening and you have to book in advance anyway. The staff all have shields or face masks when next too public. As you walk in there is a big banner telling you to sanitise and plenty of sanitising and hand washing stations around. There are even pumps next to some climbs you are told to sanitise before the climbing session and after. There is also a one way system around the building. The cafe is also table service now so you don’t have to move. The toilets also have signs which remind you how long to wash your hands for. I felt a lot more safer here then i have on a weekly supply trip to supermarkets. Climbers can wear a mask if they wish but you do not have to as it is exercise.

How did Elijah find it? Elijah had a absolute blast before we came i shew him photos and asked if he would like to go he said he wanted to go climb like spider man. When we pulled up he was excited to see the big frames through the windows. When we got in he was very excited. He was also excited by the animals mural where he put his harness on. He stood very nicely while his harness was put on and was very energetic about getting to the climbing area. We sanitised which he does with no issue and got ready to climb. He took a little bit to decide on a climb to try so we started on the ladder he was nervous at first but when he found that he could basically float when dropping down by the harness he loved it. The Disney soundtracks where playing so Elijah was having a boogie and singing along as he climbed too. Elijah enjoyed the climb that looked like a climbing frame at soft play which was bit like walking a tight rope for him. After he got the hang of it with a little bit of encouragement there was no stopping him. WE tried quite a few of the climbs so he could see what he liked the best. I think the hexagons and maze ones where his favourites. I felt safe with Elijah climbing and it felt so nice to see him exercising and enjoying himself. With soft play being closed for so long i was happy to see Elijah enjoying some sort of exercise whilst also working his mind. The sensory aspects of each climb where great too and it was nice to see him working those fine and gross motor skills as he learned how to navigate each climb. The session was more than long enough and tired Elijah out. We headed up to the cafe where Elijah enjoyed a milkshake and some of our cake. He has a lovely time and it was the prefect rainy day activity. Being in a heat wave the air con was fab as well.

We will be back and James is already planning to go with his friend as he was jealous of Elijah being able to climb. Being a window cleaner i imagine he will do quite well! There are lots of clip n climbs around the uk and this one is our most local in Ipswich. It’s hidden a way so in a nice quiet place. The natural lighting from the big windows is lovely too! We can’t wait to go again and i may even go as a date night with James or bring Elijah to another session again!

Check out their website herehttps://ipswich.clipnclimb.co.uk/

Thanks for reading, charlie x

Being a stay at home mum – one whole year on.

Being a stay at home mum – one whole year on.

It’s no secret that after I had Elijah when he was about ten months old I returned to work. I was full of guilt and anxiety and I was riddled with stress from work too. When I stopped working it took away a bit of my identity and slowly I’ve been working to get my identity back. I don’t want to be known as just Elijah’s mum but Charlie too. A year ago I had officially left work and I look back with no regrets. Whilst I miss doing a job that gave me purpose at times I don’t miss the long days and being away from my family.

Now that it’s been a year my thoughts on me working have changed. At the moment as it stands it is financially better for me to not work. We do not take benefits or have any help just to clarify to those who think I just gave up my job and expected the state to pay. My husband funds everything. This was also a decision we spoke about and decided before anything was done.

Through me stopping work he has been able to earn way more than we earned collectively before I had Elijah and he is only getting more successful because I am at home. With me at home this means James doesn’t have to do the school/nursery runs and loose out on hours of work everyday. This means he’s able to work as early or as late as he wishes and we don’t need to worry about Elijah. Whilst Elijah will be starting nursery in January I will not be returning to work for now. Because nobody else can drop him off and pick him up and childcare is a big issue for us. Also if I went back to work it just wouldn’t really be logical aswell because with my career path I’d only want to work in healthcare again and the hours are nowhere near flexible which I learned before I left work. The issue would still remain most healthcare jobs need you to work 8-8 and that would mean again James doing the childcare run and I’d be on a crappy wage and we’d be worse of.

My view on stay at home mums has changed too. I invisioned it to be easy and happy. That I’d be doing all these fancy crafts everyday and baking everyday. But that was not the case. It was in fact draining mentally and physically. When you don’t have plans often you sort of fade into the darkness’s where everything’s a repeat and you feel like you’re on auto drive. I expected to have this perfectly clean house all the time but then reality hit. Sure my house was clean when I worked because I was never in it! Days off normally spent going out as a family or seeing friends so when I tidied up it was a quick and easy job. Now the house often looks like a bomb has hit it when I spend my day trying to survive and entertain a toddler who loves to make mess wherever he goes.

I underestimated what stay at home mums do too. Planning days out all the time trying to find new things to do so it’s not repeated is exhausting. There is only so much you can go for coffee before being bored of the activity. Not just entertaining your child out and about but also in the house is so hard. I’ll set up a activity I’ve spent ages thinking of and Elijah picks it up puts it down and walks of demanding something else.

There’s also a limit to how much I can teach Elijah before it becomes a chore. I try to spend a lot of the day teaching Elijah so we do learning games and play but sometimes I get so sick of repeating myself I want to rip my hair out. Like this is everyday. How many times can I repeat the same sentance before I turn insane.

There’s also the no escape from your child. One thing that lockdown has done is open peoples eyes to what stay at home parents really do. People really got sick of their kids crap and it showed. People understood what it was like to have no me time and children wanting their attention 24/7. They understood that silence was a thing of the past and you never get a moment to yourself even when they’re asleep you still tidy their crap up. There’s no escape and nowhere to send them if you need a time out so you just keep going hoping your head doesn’t explode with the stress at times.

However I try not to moan about my child too much there are elements I love. I love that I get this time with him and that I don’t have to share his milestones with others. I love watching him learn and knowing that I’ve taught him that. I love playing with him and making up games.

I love seeing him grow and watching how his mind works and grows with him. I love days where we have good days and we sit and play games nicely or cuddle on the sofa. I love that I am always there to wake him up and cuddle him before bed every night. I love that I’m always there to hear his stories and when he’s seen family for the day I get to be the one he tells me all about his time.

I like being able to be at home too and when I do housework around the house I enjoy it a bit more it’s not just a quick scrub ready to return to work where I’m cleaning the house at 10pm after being out 12 hours working and knowing I have the same the next day.

I’ve noticed a change in James too. He is more happy and likes not having to drop Elijah and pick Elijah up working silly hours and working twice as hard to get work done. He no longer has to come home and cook every single night and clean up all the time. I do not cook every night or clean everyday as we both understand that it’s our house and nobody’s responsibility to do everything.

I love that I’m able to see friends more and make more time for my hobbies. I. E this blog post I write now. I also love that I don’t have to miss out on a lot of things I used to aswell.

I also love the positive effect it’s had on my anxiety. I’m not full of stress and busy working all day making myself ill. I am able to concentrate on myself more and take more time for me and my self care. I take more care in my appearance and also in the relationships I have. I don’t hold on to toxic people anymore because I now am able to see my worth.

Although life can be hard and stressful as a stay at home mum I will always be thankfull to my husband for the opportunity. I know that when I’m older and look back on these hard times with fond memories of how perfect life really was.

Thanks for reading, Charlie x

My endometriosis #wombstories

My endometriosis #wombstories

I have endometriosis. If you’ve followed and read my blog posts over the year you will be more than aware of the fact that i have endometriosis and it rules my life at times. One day i can feel completely fine and go about my life as normal then the next moment my stomachs swollen like a balloon, i am in intense pain and i am crippled by it sometimes even hospitalised. But it’s a weird thing being a endometriosis sufferer, i used to feel so alone but now i know i am not alone. Since starting my blog i have made so many connections with so many beautiful people who also suffer with endo. We all know what it is like to be sick but not look sick. We know each others struggles and go through it together. Like some sort of badass period gang. There is a reason they call us endo warriors. It is because we get up and start the day despite at times feeling like we are dying. It’s that a lot of us are there to give support and talk about what we are going through in the hope that it helps someone else.

Did you know that 1 in ten woman can be suffering from endometriosis and that it can take around 8 years for a diagnosis?

What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis or endo as many of us call it is when the material of your uterus grows elsewhere in your body. Causing internal bleeding, scaring and in many cases damage to organs. The only way to know how severe or diagnose is through surgery. It is barely ever picked up on ultrasounds and you have to be extraordinarily lucky to have it found in other ways. There is also no cure for endo. You can have patches of it burned of but it just grows back like weeds and sometimes it comes back worse.

What are the symptoms?

  • Pain, intense pain on periods.
  • Heavy bleeding.
  • Nausea and sickness.
  • Constipation or diarrhoea when ovulating or on period
  • Pain when peeing or pooing on period or ovulating.
  • Difficulty getting pregnant.
  • Exhaustion.
  • Back pain and pelvic pain.
  • Pain during or after sex.
  • Lots more.

My story.

Growing up i found periods uncomfortable but it wasn’t until my twenties i started to have more intense periods. I would also get very frequent urine infections which would burn. I’d sometimes live on the toilet. Once i had elijah i found out i had endometriosis through my c section. Which in turn caused my endometriosis to get way worse and start presenting severe pain more than ever before. As I started to fuse back together my endo grew with it infesting my insides and destroying my life. Every month on the return of my periods i started to notice extreme stabbing pain in my side. Like i had a knife inside of me. I would also always describe it as having a burning hot ice cream scoop inside of me scooping away at my organs and pulling at the flesh. I would be exhausted, bed bound and in so much pain i would cry on the floor. If you’re a endo sufferer you also know that the pain your in is determined by how low to the floor you get. If you can stand it’s a okay day. If your laying on your stomach or back in pain on the middle of the bathroom or living room floor it’s pretty unbearable.

I also loose my appetite for days and feel sick the whole time. I bloat and look pregnant whilst also suffering intense bowel and urinating issues. I have hot sweats and cant do anything to soothe the pain. I spend the week of my period attached to a tens machine, cooling pads or in tropical temperatures with a hot water bottle resting on my stomach. The more severe the flare the more it causes me to feel so week I feel faint and unable to concentrate. The worse thing is when I feel shaky and unable to function .

I was one of the lucky ones who had a diagnosis. Only on a accidental find. But being told i had endometriosis wasn’t the end. Even though i had a diagnosis doctors would still make me believe it was in my head i would turn up to their surgery in so much pain i couldn’t stand up properly hunched over and i would be made to think it was all in my head. I’d be prodded over and over and cry in pain as touched where it hurt. Over and over i would attend a and e begging for help thinking i was going to die. Turned back to my gp after a day of sitting upright crying or writing in pain needing the floor or a bed. I would Rarely be Admitted to gynaecology where after having scans seeing cysts I’d be sent home later that day when i could barely stand and had been drugged up to the nines.

The medication never really helps sure it sometimes takes away some of the pain but a lot of the time it barely scratches the surfaces. I’ve often had the strongest medications you can have and still lay writing in pain on the floor crying pressing into my stomach in the hope of stopping the tsunami of cramps and pain. Many times i have had to give up going out because i am bleeding so heavy. I’ve leaked in public and been forced into adult nappies. I become anaemic every month because i loose so much blood and have massive clots. I run on empty feeling faint because there is no option when people can’t see your problem but to get up and carry on. The condition also messes with my hormones causing mood swings and extreme depression and lets not even go there with the beautiful spots i inherit from aunt flo visiting. I often feel like a failure as a mother and wife because sometimes i just don’t have the energy. Sometimes i struggle to get through the day and sometimes im laying on the floor crying like some crazy woman. I know often i should go to hospital when it gets overly bad but with the little understanding of doctors in the hospital i am treated terribly and would rather writhe in pain at home just praying that this isn’t it, that i’m not actually dying this time.

I also find that i am starting to get issues with ovulating more now. I cramp and hurt and have many of the same symptoms as when i bleed but without the blood. It wasn’t enough to take a week of my month but now it is two weeks.My doctors all push for me to have another surgery to look at how bad my endo is but i refuse as i cannot bring myself to go under again after my traumatic birth. I also think what would be the point? There is no cure. It will grow back. Whats the point in more scars and more pain. So I spend my days engulfed in the fire that burns its way through me.

However in our darkest hours there is unity. I have joined many endo support groups where we all give each other love, support and advice where i don’t feel like such a freak. I talk to fellow bloggers and people i follow or follow me about the struggles of our endo flares. It makes me not feel so alone. It has also enabled me to learn about more related symptoms and that i can relate other issues to my endo.

I talk about my endometriosis not because i want sympathy but because i want understanding. I want people to understand what i am going through. I want awareness for my people and i also want to be able to help others. i talk about endo in the hope that the girl sitting on the toilet in agony knows that it is not normal to have this much pain. I talk about it in the hope of more seeking help and also being there to help. I talk for everyone. Just because we do not look sick does not mean we are not sick. Chronic pain is real and it is hard and honestly every day i wish it would go away but it never will no matter how hard i wish or how many heat packs i put on my stomach and back,

If you or anyone else have similar symptoms then i have please speak to your gp. It may be that help you need. My messages are always open and you can always dm me on my instagram @lifewiththehazelwoods or email or comment here.

Thanks for reading! Charlie x

How having a traumatic birth and NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) baby affected how i bonded with my child.

How having a traumatic birth and NICU (neonatal intensive care unit)  baby affected how i bonded with my child.

When you get pregnant all you can do is imagine bringing your perfect little baby home the day you give birth. You can almost smell in your imagination that newborn baby smell and your heart aches for time to move that little bit quicker. Of course you wait patiently because well you have no choice and wait as the excitement begins to build. Nobody expects when you are pregnant that things can go wrong. Because well in honesty you can’t predict the future. As my pregnancy progressed i was so worried something would be wrong when the baby was born. I could sense it. I was called crazy for worrying and i was even prescribed anti anxiety tablets later in my pregnancy. When i was around 34 weeks pregnant i had reduced movements from Elijah, Basically i couldn’t feel him move all day for some reason. I was made to think it was all in my head and that i was crazy. Still i did as you’re supposed too i called the midwife switch board that always told me to go to hospital to be checked. I would sit in a busy or empty waiting room panicking. I was good at hiding my emotions but inside it was pure panic. What could be wrong with my baby?

Of course nothing was wrong that was seen from fetal monitors, but i could still not feel my baby. After the all clear was given i was sent home. Feelings returned the next day but then the same happened again and again and it got to the point i didn’t want to go to the hospital but i knew it shouldn’t be avoided. I went again and again and sat and sat until one day i was taken to the labour suite and kept a bit longer, deciding i wasn’t in active labour and no feelings they arranged me to have a scan the next morning. Despite the many, many people touching my stomach they did not pick up that my child was breach until the scan and this is why i didn’t feel him. After this it was decided by all that we would try and have him turned. After the most painful experience of my life and the little bugger not moving at all we gave up and booked in for a c-section.

When we booked the c section that was it for me. Anxiety through the roof and panic. I was convinced i would die or something would happen to the baby. For two weeks i didn’t sleep and pretended to be excited despite being so nerve wrecked i didn’t know how i could go through with it all. On the day i was booked in i felt strange, i was still convinced i was going to die or something drastic but i also felt like perhaps it was all in my head. That i was wrong, it would all be okay. I was right as i normally am when my anxiety is involved and things did go wrong. Firstly the medicine to paralyse me and stop feeling basically didn’t work and you can guess the rest in regards to feeling. I was put to sleep screaming and panicking and missed my sons birth. This is something that i will never, ever get over. Missing the birth of your own child is something i cant describe. When i think of it now my eyes swell up in tears, my stomach hurts where Elijah was and my throat goes hard. It is something i would not wish upon anyone.

Elijah was fine at birth and everyone was in love with him. James and my mum told me how beautiful he was but i was so gone from the drugs i thought i had imagined this whole thing and couldn’t really accept the baby was mine. I mean how could i? I hadn’t seen him be born. They could of stolen him for all i knew. It was weird to accept and everything still felt like a dream i barely remember this wet thing latching and trying to appear present when i was still so scared and didn’t know what was going on. As i said before i am very good at acting like everything is okay with me when it really isn’t. As I started to come round and after James parents had visited the baby he became unwell. Quickly. His blood sugars dropped dangerously low and as i had started to look at this new child and start to warm to him he was ripped away from me and taken downstairs to the NICU. I sent James with him because to be honest i didn’t know what would happen and didn’t want the baby to die alone if that was to happen. Obviously i couldn’t move. I was paralysed from the drugs. I sat in worry not knowing what was going on and nobody would tell me. Everyone had left, nobody came to tell me what had happened and those few hours where the hardest of my life.

Eventually James came back with basically no information and someone came in and said i could see Elijah in the morning but i explained if she wasn’t going to help me into a chair i would fall to the floor and drag myself there. I was helped into a chair and wheeled down to see him. Nothing will ever prepare you for seeing your newborn baby in a incubator. Nobody will ever be able to explain what it’s like watching your child’s chest rise and fall as machines and wires come out of every limb and bit of skin you can see connecting to medicine or monitors that alarm constantly causing a panic. I thought then and there he would die. Immediately i closed myself off to him because i didn’t want the hurt.

As the days went past Elijah would get better and then worse again. I had no hope past the third day. Seeing your child scream in pain as blood test after blood test and heel prick after heel prick is done. I struggled to breastfeed. I mean i couldn’t i was of course unsure of how and being in a busy ward with other people constantly looking at wires and alarms going off every time i tried put me off. I tried to get him to latch but he would barely ever. He would scream he couldn’t get enough from me and refuse to remain latched. I remember sobbing trying to pump and getting barely anything out. I would pump all day long to get as much as i could for him which was barely anything so i would have to top up with formula.I had never felt like more of a failure as a mother and as a person. Why didn’t my body work? Why could so many others do it and i couldn’t? Why where there people who refused to even try! I would frown when i would give a pathetic amount of my milk to my child and rely on something else to feed him. I wanted that bond of feeding him everything he needs but I had failed him.

My body was so exhausted from the surgery but i never rested i would sleep four hours a day and stand as much as i could possibly bare to change and feed Elijah. I wanted so hard to feel like his mum and not like another nurse on the ward to him. I felt he didn’t know who i was despite the fact i stood there feeling my stomach rip apart as i soothed him when he cried. I didn’t like being away from him i was terrified he would die so would barely go back to my bed to sleep or eat or drink only when doctors did there rounds.

Even when Elijah started to get better after a week i was sure he wouldn’t be. When they said we could go home we still had no answers as to why he was ill and i couldn’t accept no answers. My rational mind had nothing to hold onto. When we got home it wasn’t the glowy memory i once had it was panic. I sat watching him breath panicked that sids would happen. I was meticulous about him drinking enough and sanitising anything and anyone who entered my house. I was worried every time he made a sound or moved. I was so adamant he would die. I was worried we would be back to the hospital every time he didn’t finish a feed or had reflux down me.

When James returned to work and i was alone i had never been so scared. A part of me wanted so hard to love this tiny human but the other part of me was in panic and was controlling my feelings out of fear of being hurt. I was on auto pilot just doing everything for the baby and not being present in my mind to enjoy it. I don’t remember much from the early days except the pain of over exerting myself when i was recovering whilst also trying to keep everyone around me happy. I remember having many visitors and seeing family because i was worried i’d upset someone when inside i was so panicked someone would get him ill and he’d be back to square one. I remember needing to be alone but in so much company I was alone.

As time went on and Elijah grew i eventually learned to stop panicking as much. I realised Elijah wasn’t going to die any time soon and i calmed down. Slowly i became more attached to him. I accepted that he was my son and that i was his mum. I stopped trying to not feel hurt and accepted it and in time i became more and more of a mother. Then one day it just clicked and i suddenly knew that i loved this child with all of my heart and that i would die for him. I realised all that worry he would die was because i was being his mother and caring. I still doubt myself as a mother everyday and i think everyday how would my relationship of changed with Elijah if i was to see him be born and then to of took him home the same night healthy and happy. Would i of breastfed and bonded better? Would i be less worried even now almost three years on when he gets a cough or cold or goes to spend time in anyone else’s care but my own?

Who knows but all i know that is that the experience effected me to no bounds. That i wish that things had been normal and that i could be normal but they weren’t. I wish i has someone to talk too about it. Explanations and reasons why things happened. I wish i had understanding when i would have to tell my health visitor that i had to give formula as my body wouldn’t work. I think this post has been one of the most raw posts i have ever wrote. I may even show my counsellor this because i am having counselling for my traumatic birth!

I am as time goes on healing slowly and i hope one day that i can accept what happened to me. But i think there will always be parts of me that constantly worries about me as a mother, my son and the bond that we have. Whenever Elijah has been ill in the past my brain flips out i want to take him to a hospital straight away and when a hospital in past has confirmed he is ill and needs admitting my brain had shut off again taking me back to the newborn stage where i was present but not feeling and incredibly closed off. But for now i am so proud how far me and Elijah have come with bonding and he is not just my son he is my best friend who i love with all of my heart, something at the start i could never of imagined. Although I will perhaps never understand what happened to us both I will be forever thankful we are both here today and healthy.

Thanks, Charlie x

The government needs to help to support our eating habits encouraging healthy eating instead of restricting us.

The government needs to help to support our eating habits encouraging healthy eating instead of restricting us.

Me again and a subject I thought I would never be speaking about. Healthy eating. I’ve struggled for years with my weight. Being younger I always thought I was fat when I was skinny and now I see myself as fat because well I have finally became it from years of unhealthy eating.

Why have I eaten unhealthy? Well when I was a teenager at 18 I got a job as a carer. I had to take my own food in and it had to be made quickly so it would be takeaways and unhealthy snacks as and when I could. As a carer you don’t get time to prepare a nutritious meal and it became habit to have takeaways most nights. Some sort of canned meal or microwave meal became my life for ease and also because of exhaustion from my working patterns . My mental health made me not want to eat most days so ordered terrible food I enjoyed in a bid to cheer myself up. It never worked.

The issue was also that it’s normally cheeper on my pathetic pay packet I got to order a takeaway or get a frozen pizza then get all the bits to create nutritious and filling meals. When you basically live at work it’s hard to want to spend your personal time meal planning and batch cooking too.

It’s a shame because I can cook. I used to love to cook. I also took courses in nutrition and cooking for work but it’s sort of came to a point I’ve aqquired a taste for unhealthy meals. Why change what you love.

Frankly I eat my feelings and since having Elijah I’ve really struggled to loose weight. Although I mostly eat healthy I have quite a few treats which cause the struggle with weightloss. However hard I try I can’t stick to a diet. Why because I struggle with restrictions. I always want what I can’t have. If the general public can’t be told no in a pandemic I doubt they’ll eat healthier because of the governments and rebel against that too. I’ve also felt there’s no support. My husband would offer to diet with me. But my husband works of a lot of calories and eats healthy so I wouldn’t want him to be underweight at the cost of me.

Putting calories on a box is great but who actually reads these things? yes the calories may be high but you kind of guess that when ordering a pizza. This is also a negative because those with eating disorders may not eat treats as much or fixate even harder or calorie counting.

We need support in perhaps advise sheets advising how we can incorporate healthy food more and remove some of the junk from our diet in a way we can have full informed choice. We also need more support for gyms exetra. Why can’t we do a 10 pound of a month scheme from the government where they help fund gyms and perhaps swimming vouchers too. The cost of memberships and days out puts people off straight away. Whilst I’ve used some pretty expensive gyms in the past I’ve always thought they where a little on the pricey side and thought about whether I can afford it. Money of schemes would mean more money spent on gyms and more gyms opening up and more people loosing weight and being healthy which is only a mega plus for the government, economy and the nhs.

There needs to be more support for low income families too. it can be expensive to resource all of the items in a food shop which equates too a nutritious diet for a family. Especially now in uncertain times with the covid situation putting jobs at risk and people unable to provide and looking to the government for help. Could there not perhaps be a discounted price on healthy items instead of just unhealthy items.

The government needs to provide support and offer more advice to those who cannot access their resources. There needs to be more support and understanding of eating disorders too. Such as those who eat their feelings and those who connect feelings to food. We shouldn’t ban unhealthy foods because we deserve treats but we need the advice and resources on how to enjoy in moderation and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle when you dislike vegetables exetra. I know the foods I can pick to be healthy but I don’t enjoy them. And whilst I’m starting my diet on Monday I wish I knew how I could treat myself without getting addicted to going overboard. I wish I had the support to know why I eat my feelings and perhaps have that support from the government with not only my eating choices but the mental health issues that cause me to eat badly and he unable to substation a healthy life too.

I know I’m shouting to the wind but this is just my opinion. I feel shunning unhealthy living is not enough when shame never helps anyone. It is support that helps us through.

I will be starting my diet Monday and eating what I can which I enjoy to be healthy but I know I will never know when enough is enough, how much of a treat I can have without putting on more weight. Because believe me I’m not going to only eat 5 magic stars on a cinema trip and I’m also not going to munch on a banana.

Thanks for reading. Charlie x