The Last Days Of Pregnancy

Wow! 2017… What a year? I mean, in 2017, we completed our beautiful, crazy team and became a family of five… So it is definitely one of those years that will take some beating. It was a whirlwind though. A real knock you off of your feet, months in a bubble of loveliness, high on life, Holy shizzle kind of whirlwind. It started off feeling difficult. Well actually, the first half of it was really hard. Exhausting. Overwhelming. A struggle. I’m not ashamed to admit that being and feeling constantly sick during my pregnancy, wore me out. I remember the day that I made my pregnancy announcement video. I wanted it to be so beautiful because nothing that I went through affected the love that was growing in my heart for my baby. I felt like the luckiest person in the whole wide world and I couldn’t wait for this little life to be in my arms. But… once I started talking, the tears started to flow and it turned out to be so raw. I remember feeling so thankful that I could get everything that I was feeling out.

I have to say that as time went on, The relentless truth of feeling torn between my children was a much more excruciating pain to endure, than having hyperemesis gravidarum or the crunching, stabbing pain in my pelvis, every time I tried to walk or move. The way that my emotions fluctuated in that time were nothing less than savage. Brutal.

The Last Days Of Pregnancy

I felt that I was failing at everything in my world. I pushed everything to one side so that I could place my energy into being the best mama that I could possibly be at the time. Looking back, I guess I did okay. Noah and Ellenah weren’t late for school once in that time and they always handed in their homework done and on time. They receive countless praise for being hardworking, enthusiastic and kind from their teachers and I almost felt validated every time that they were awarded ‘Pupil / Reader / Most Improved Speller of the week or term’ certificates. I was determined not to fail them. I couldn’t let myself let them down. That focus was what kept me keeping on most days.

As Noah Turns Eight

My confidence took a knock as I struggled to walk, run and play with my children. I hate to say out loud that I suffered… because I know that in comparison to many around the world, I do not know the true definition of the word… but to me, every day hurt me. Every day started and ended, alone in my bathroom, a little heap on the cold floor, searching for strength to push past the restrictions of my tired, broken body. Pelvic Girdle Pain was truly horrific and I have the deepest sympathy and empathy for anyone trying to manoeuvre around life while struggling with the condition.

The Last Days Of Pregnancy

My third pregnancy, was hard and long.

The Last Days Of Pregnancy

I mean, like most things though, there were some beautiful, magical moments along the way. Little glimmers of hope. Tiny bursts of magic. Finding out the gender of baby number three was kind of wonderful and the day that we filmed our gender reveal was one of the moments in life when I felt so beautiful. I was so proud to be carrying another beautiful boy in my body. It’s the one day that I felt like I had that pregnancy glow that people talk about. I felt like I was radiating all of the love that I was feeling from within.

More beautiful than how I felt that day though, was how excited Noah and Ellenah were about have a new baby to love. I watched them change a lot as the days went by. They talked about how they would love him, care for him and keep him safe. They bickered over who would change nappies and feed him in his highchair first. They both wanted to be the one to share a bedroom with him. Noah made a plan to put wax in his hair before school when he is old enough and to teach him to ride his bike without stabilisers. Ellenah spent her days drawing pictures of our little baby in my tummy and pictures of her holding hands with him. She was excited to choose his clothes one day and to read him bedtime stories. They both opened up their world to this new human who they already loved so fiercely and they invited him in with open arms. They made space for him and couldn’t wait to meet him. The involved him in every decision and game in the months leading up to his arrival. They wanted to know who he would sit next to at the dining table and came up with an agreement between them as to who he would sit next to, so things would be fair.

Ellenah & Pregnancy With Baby #3

So in the early hours of Tuesday the 4th of July, we were all ready and excited for baby Dexter to make his appearance in this world. To begin making his mark. He was born in the tiny bathroom of our home while Noah and Ellenah slept soundly in the room next door. His birth was empowering, intense and beautiful. It was the most perfect labour and the one that I wished so hard for. I gave myself permission to dream for it and to want it, after all that I had been through. I felt in control and I know this sounds mad, but I was so in tune with my baby that I felt like we were talking to each other, every step of the way.

And then he was here. My beautiful, sweet Dexi with his big blue eyes and his pure and innocent soul. And then nothing else mattered. I felt the struggle evaporate, like it was all just a dream. All I could think of in that moment was love and my family of five. I imagined our adventures, our new normal and all of the fun that we would have over the next year and beyond. Without hesitation, I lost myself in our baby bubble and our new family dynamics. It was everything that I could ever want. This was us. Our lives now. I remember feeling so calm, content and peaceful. Everything felt like it was meant to be like this. It’s an incredible feeling, knowing that you are on exactly the right path.

Baby Dexter's Birth Day

Three Months With Baby Dexi

Life as a family of five, I’m pleased to say, came quite easily to all of us. Loving every second, with all of us falling in love with each other more very day.

We took Dexi for his first trip out when he was just four days old, to a wildlife park and it felt good jumping feet first into making new memories. I still to this day can’t believe how alert he was, he was already taking in so much.

And then, at four weeks… We took him camping for the first time! Camping plays a big role in our family life. We adore our time living the simple life, being outside and dreaming by the fire. Noah and Ellenah are their most free when we have set up camp for a few days and make a home from very little. We had a bit of a shock a few days into this camping trip though. Noah was climbing a tree with his sister and cousins and he fell around six feet, plummeting to the ground. He landed on both hands as he tried to stop himself from falling but the impact caused his head to hit the earth with brutal force. I can still remember his Uncle running with him, in a little heap in his arms towards me and the blood in my body turning cold. I remember everyone crowding around him and because I was holding Dexter, I couldn’t get to him. Everyone was afraid because his stare was so vacant. He was so pale and his lips had turned blue. His body was rigid and he couldn’t move, stand or…anything. I remember screaming, with a shrill voice that I wouldn’t recall as my own, ‘GIVE ME MY SON!’… and I threw myself at his feet. I was terrified inside… so terrified. I went into auto pilot… trying to figure out how bad things were… needing my baby boy to be okay. I stroked his face and spoke to him so calmly, desperate for him to respond to me. I needed so much to hear his voice, I needed him to say something, anything. I needed hope, that my darling boy was going to be okay. For a moment there, I just didn’t know and it was one of the worst moments of my life.

His mouth was full of mud, from when he hit the ground so we tried to remove it and I recall him looking like he was going to be sick. I held water to his lips, begging him to sip. Begging him to drink. I was desperate for him to respond. Desperate for him to come back to me.

He finally started to come around and when he did, I saw fear in his whole face. He was so afraid and he was beginning to panic.

I acted so calm.

I held his beautiful head against my chest, careful not to hurt him. I asked him to listen to my heartbeat and to breathe with me. He kept trying to fall asleep and every time he did, I looked him in the eyes and said ‘Noah, Noah… I love you… wake up… you must not go to sleep… Do you understand me????!’ and then we continued breathing together.

He broke both of his wrists that day and thankfully, because I prayed with everything I possibly had within me… He is fine now.

Aside from the massive low that saw Noah properly hurt himself for the first time, all of the mama guilt that goes with it and wanting to turn back time so that I could change it… My three beautiful children spent the rest of the year, truly thriving. It feels amazing to be able to look back on them in 2017 and to feel this proud. Obviously a new baby in the family is big news, a big deal but honestly… It made me fall in love with Noah and Ellenah all over again. We were all in this glorious baby bubble and I had the time, while on maternity leave, to be present, observant and a part of this new chapter, right by their side. I think that is why they adjusted so well… because, I spent so much time with them one on one and loving every minute. I spent some much time letting them know how grateful I am for them, how much I appreciate them and how much I love them, every day.

Our happiness at home was having a positive effect on them both with their school work. They both soared and really shone brightly. They loved going every day, skipping through the school gates, always with beaming smiles on their faces. Always, happy!

Noah spent two nights away from home again with the Cub Scouts at the end of summer, early autumn. Again, he left me so easily (ahh my heart) and much to my disbelief, so independently. I watched as my skinny little boy, dragged and carried his bags over the swampy ground, saturated with rain. I watched as he set up his tent with his friends. I tried to help but he wouldn’t let me so much. I tried to steal a kiss goodbye when we left him but he pecked me on the cheek and ran off, laughing. I cried a bit, in the car on the way home. I wasn’t sad! It was still a high point of the year. Seeing how much my son, my first born…. Is capable of without me. Seeing how much the one who made me a mama, was growing up in front of my very eyes.

Noah's 8th Birthday

Ellenah participated in a Christmas dance show with her dance school in December. She did a ballet performance, a tap performance and she danced like an angel. I felt so proud of how she managed to keep up with an intense rehearsal schedule, school and her home life without feeling a little pulled apart… but she took it all in her stride. Watching her up on stage, finding my emotional face in the audience while she danced and all while looking so confident… It was incredible. The cherry on top of a stunning year.

Ellenah & Pregnancy With Baby #3

Noah and Ellenah had joined the Christmas choir around this same time also and proved themselves to be true ambassadors for the school. As always, Ellenah performed beautifully and Noah was praised for his kindness when they visited a care home, to sing for the senior ladies and gentleman, needing a bit of Christmas cheer. Noah happily gave his time to some of the ladies, while they waited for the school bus and I was told that he lead the way with such confidence and ease when talking maturely with them, striking up wonderful conversations and finding ways to spread joy. He made their day and probably some of their Christmas’. Obviously I am very proud for this.

It’s great when you are a mama and you have those moments, when you realise that ‘wow, I have raised really good kids!’

Anyway, along the same lines as the choir… One day, walking home from school in the dark, they were both singing ‘Silent Night’ together. Ever so sweetly. Not too loud but enough that any passers by could hear them over the wind. As we walked past one house at the end of our road, where the loveliest woman lives, they sang the part ‘All is calm, all is bright’ and we noticed how she had stopped, still in her front garden to listen to them sing. They both smiled at her as they sang their hearts out, their little legs carrying them ahead slightly. The lady looked at me, emotionally and with her hand pulled up to her heart, she told me that my lovely children had made her day and that they had just made her so happy. And with that, she said ‘Merry Christmas’ and blew them a kiss.

Aside from the odd grumble here, there but very rare… 2017 was oh so good to me. Like most new mama’s do, I lost a little of my personal confidence along the way. Triggered by losing myself a little, not having much in the way of sleep, throwing my hair in a bun a lot and feeling like I had lost my style and identity. I mean, I accepted this very quickly, forgave myself for it and tried to remind myself that life, myself and motherhood is not and will not be like this forever. I reminded myself to embrace the chapter and the blank canvas that comes with having a baby. The new beginnings and the chance to change and grow as we are all meant to.

I then steered my energy into being the best mama that I could be and into the breastfeeding journey that I had hoped for with baby Dexi. And just like that, any bad thoughts, any unkind ones that I would direct at myself… I turned them into something great.

I’m pleased to say that as much as I suspect that our breastfeeding journey may be changing soon…because my baby is so curious about food and EVERYTHING else… At almost six months, we are still in our little bubble of feeding time, comfort, sleepiness and all of the lovely cuddles. I feel so blessed that I get to have this and anything that happens beyond this point, will be because of Dexter’s needs. My milk supply hasn’t dried up. My baby isn’t hungry. My baby doesn’t need more from me. And I am proud of myself for not only trying this journey again after things not working out two times before… but for persevering with the demands from a hungry baby boy… and for finally being able to do it. This was a dream come true for me this year.

So much happened in 2017. It was truly my happy mess. My hopelessly devoted chaos and if the year 2018 is anything like the one that sparkled before it, I will be incredibly blessed and humbled by it. I know one thing, I’m excited to see what comes next… What the twists and turns of life have in store for me and mine. Saying that, as long as we have love, laughter, patience, respect, humour, kindness… but most importantly, each other… Then I couldn’t want for much more. Could I?

With Love,

Ria x

four months with baby dexi

 

 

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It was my 30th birthday on Friday 14th October and I was beyond spoilt. I was made to feel so special by my wonderful friends and family and had such a lovely day. I mention it a couple of times throughout the video but this is not me showing off. We are a very humble family when it comes to gifts and usually opt for making memories by doing things together rather than lavish presents. However, this year it was a bit of a milestone. Turning thirty has always been such a special idea to me and everyone went all out. So I just wanted to share the lovely things that I was given with you. I love watching these videos for inspiration and because they are my guilty pleasure. I hope you like it?

If you did, click on the video title. This will take you to the video on my YouTube channel where you can give the video a thumbs up, leave a comment (let’s talk!) and by clicking the red ‘subscribe’ button (which is free) you can keep up to date with my video’s.

Big Love,

-Ria x

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My Sunday Photo

I know that this photograph isn’t clear, crisp or in any way perfect… but this is me and my Dad at my 30th birthday on Friday. It came from us talking about when he held me thirty years ago as a fresh newborn. And off the cuff, he said, ‘Let’s do it again!’

So thirty years on and much heavier than I was back then, my dad scooped me up for a photograph for the memory book. It was funny, we laughed and then I rested my head on his shoulder, giggling like I’m sure I have plenty of times over the years.

I love this photograph so much (even though, he is never allowed to do it again because he suffers a bad back sometimes!)

I’m glad we managed to get this one. It’s a perfect picture to start a new chapter of memory making.

With Love,

-Ria x

 

Photalife
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My 30th Birthday

I have started writing this from the comfort of my bed on a grey but brightening Saturday morning. Saturday the 15th of October, the day after my 30th birthday. I feel content, in a sleepy bliss from the lovely day that I had before.

I woke up first, in the dark and I lay there with my thoughts. Thoughts about turning thirty. My sister calls these the ‘who gives a f*ck’ years and after spending many years caring a little too much about what people might think, might say or might do, I’m over it. I’m finally confident enough in myself to just be happy with who I am, the decisions and no doubt, the mistakes that I make. It’s empowering!

So anyway, there I was, alone with my thoughts… being all thirty and that. Waiting in the silence to suddenly feel like a grown up. For the mental clarity to wash over me and make me wiser, sophisticated, mature. I didn’t!

I could feel a new chapter begin though. I could feel the excitement in the pit of my stomach for all of the memory making opportunities ahead of me. Me and Matt. Me, Matt and ‘The Children’. I may not have felt much wiser or sophisticated… but I did feel different.

I did wake up feeling a little like ‘I Don’t Give A F*ck!’

I did ponder how far I have come in my years. I was that girl once, with little to no confidence. I was that girl who walked hunched over to blend in. I was that girl who people tried to tear down. I was that girl who was afraid. I was that girl who doubted my worth in most things that I did. I was that girl who didn’t go for any of the things that I wanted. I was that girl who smiled to conceal any real emotion. I was that girl who was naive. I was that girl who had her heart broken. I was that girl who had her heart broken again. I was that girl who had her heart broken again still.

And then I started to give myself the credit that I deserve. Because I am not that girl anymore. I haven’t been for a long while.

I am that girl who has picked myself up, brushed myself off and faked my confidence until it started to become real. I am that girl who will walk tall now. I am that girl who yes, is her own worst critic… but I won’t let myself be torn apart from spite. I am that girl with fears and worries just like every human being and that is okay. I am a girl who knows my worth. I am that girl who knows exactly what I want and I will work hard at making my dreams come true. I am that girl who smiles because I am genuinely happy. I am that girl who is naive because I want to see the best in everything and everyone and that too, is okay. I am that girl who may or may not have my heart broken again. I am that girl who survived it a few times. I am that girl who is stronger now, a fighter but more importantly, I am a lover, a forgiver, a learner and a better version of myself because of everything that has got me to this point. This person.

Nowadays, I am that girl who actually, is not a girl (and without sounding a bit like Britney Circa 2000) I am a woman.


And then, my thought process was muted by the swing of my bedroom door being banged in to my shiny, white wardrobe. Ellenah stood in the doorway, smiling so sweetly as her two pigtails draped loosely on her shoulders. I sat up and held my arms out for her. She fell into them saying ‘Happy Birthday Mama!’

Matt opened his eyes and blinked out the sleepiness. He looked handsome as always but like he had a bad night. If at all possible, for the few days before he looked more excited about my birthday than I did. ‘Happy 30th Birthday Ree!’ He croaked.

And then Noah came. He bulldozed in to the room, eyes wide with happiness and his infectious smile, beaming, ‘Happy Birthday Mama’ He sang.

And there were gifts and cards in bed. And I was very spoilt on ‘My 30th Birthday’. And I loved waking up, being with my most favourite people in the whole world. I felt so special.

My 30th Birthday


The next hour went by so fast. Uniforms flew everywhere, teeth were brushed, faces washed, breakfast gobbled and the school run was upon us. I said goodbye at the door, half ready for the day ahead and I missed them already.

My 30th Birthday

Matt came back quickly and whisked me off to breakfast in The City of Canterbury. We visited ‘The Skinny Kitchen’ which was literally incredible. There were friendly faces and chit-chat from the second we walked through the door. The decor was so cute and the menu was out of this world incredible. The Skinny Kitchen is a based around a nutritious, wholesome and healthy-eating menu to make you feel great.

My 30th Birthday

My 30th Birthday

Matt had steak, eggs, spinach, mushrooms and tomatoes with a honey latte and I had smashed avocado on sour dough bread with chilli, black pepper and two poached eggs.

My 30th Birthday

My 30th Birthday

I had a date smoothie to go with it. We were so impressed and want to go back so desperately…and quickly. We thought that perhaps we would try out the evening menu next time and make a date out of it. We couldn’t recommend it enough to anyone in the area.

My 30th Birthday

Then we had a wonderful day of shopping and holding hands. It was kind of lovely.


Once we could shop no more, we went back home to collect the children from school who were both so excited to see me and continue the celebrations. It was so nice when I came back home to find a flower delivery from my best friend who lives in Southampton. It was such a stunning surprise and it hit me really hard how much I miss her because I haven’t seen her in such a long time.  And honestly, they were so beautiful, see for yourself…

My 30th Birthday

Matt did himself and me so proud and started preparing a Mexican Fiesta for my rather large family.

My first visitor was my biggest sister, Nicola and my nephew, Zack who have just moved back to the area after so many years away. It was a complete surprise. There were tears, hugs and we cracked opened the fizz.

My 30th Birthday

My 30th Birthday

And then the usual suspects filtered in. My Mum and Dad, My other siblings and their families. I was spoilt some more, more overwhelmed and just so excited to spend a part of the day with them all, because they mean so much to me.

My 30th Birthday

My 30th Birthday

We all laughed, had photographs taken, acted silly, ate cake and had a pretty epic time. It was simply perfect in every way. I didn’t want the night to end. I didn’t want everyone to go home.

My 30th Birthday

My 30th Birthday

My 30th Birthday

And so the day after, upon reflection of my milestone, one of importance,  I just wanted to say a big thank you for all of the kindness, birthday wishes, surprises, gifts and the most gorgeous friends and family a gal could ever ask for. I feel so grateful, emotional and overwhelmed. And not in the way of material things (as spoilt and thankful as I was and am). More in the way of noticing who I have in my life, who I will be taking in to this next chapter with me, those people who truly get me. The ‘woman’ who sings in to her hairbrush daily, truly wishes for world peace and thinks that life is so much better when you’re laughing/ dancing.

My 30th Birthday

I feel truly blessed!

With Love,

-Ria x

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#IAMWHOLE

It’s 22:21pm as I write this… but better late than never. It is still #worldmentalhealthday and Rizzle Kicks star, Jordan Stephens has launched a mental health campaign to normalise the stigma around mental health and to fight for the support that the campaign needs, for young people and simply for us all.

More than one in three people between the ages of 11 and 24 suffer with mental health difficulties. That is quite a statistic. That is a scary amount of young people in this day and age who feel like they are alone, who feel like they shouldn’t speak up and get the help that every human being deserves. Jordan created the hastag #IAMWHOLE to soar throughout social media giving anyone suffering in silence the opportunity to click on it and have their eyes opened to a circle of people, holding out a hand so that they don’t have to feel isolated anymore.

Like my photograph above, many of us have joined in with the campaign by drawing a black circle on our hand. We have joined in because we have personally been touched by the effects of mental health difficulties, we want to help raise awareness to a cause that matters or like me, have suffered personally.

It took me a long time to accept that the anxiety attacks that I would have, the ones that would frighten me and effect my life so dramatically, fell under the mental health umbrella. I don’t know why but when I finally realised how I was ‘labelled’, I felt ashamed of myself. I felt weak, alone and embarrassed to admit it to my friends and closest family. It defined me for quite a long time. I was afraid a lot of the time, it stopped me from enjoying life as much as I wished that I could. I hardly said ‘yes’ to anything anymore, I limited myself completely and when I got so bad, my chest would go so tight, beads of sweat would drip from my face and I would be convinced that I wouldn’t get another chance to breathe. Panic would take me over completely and I was left, crying on my bed…a shell of the person that I used to be.

It was incredibly hard, to accept and to fight.

I know how it feels to feel so far from who you used to be, so out of control…So tired.

I want to help anyone who feels like I once did. I want you to want to help. We have to help.

I am a mother. This campaign matters for the future, for our children. For us all.

#IAMWHOLE

Are you?

With Love,

-Ria x

 

 

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