Mum guilt is real

Whilst I was pregnant I was reading a few blogs by mums and heard about this concept called “mum guilt”. It essentially meant when you’re a mum and you feel guilty because you don’t feel like your child is getting the best. It can be if you buy something for yourself and you feel guilty for not spending the money on your child or simply when your child falls over and you feel guilty.

I never thought I’d suffer with this being that I’m not a particularly maternal person. I didn’t think having babies would affect me so strongly. However I can tell you now that mum guilt is definitely real and hitting me quite hard!

Right now I don’t feel guilty about spending a bit of money on myself as I know the girls have more than everything they need. I don’t feel guilty for taking an hour away from them if I know they’re well looked after.

The guilt I feel should be renamed twin guilt. I feel guilty that I have to split myself down the middle and yet someone always ends up getting less. As I write this I’m feeding Margot and I can hear Dotty getting grizzly. She’s just filled her nappy and is probably a bit uncomfy. There’s nothing I can do right now because I’m giving Margot what she needs! It’s worse when I’m home alone and seeing to one of the girls and the other starts screaming the house down and I can’t do a thing about it. As I imagine happens with all twins… one of my girls is much easier though I won’t name names on the Internet! But because of that I often feel the other will get so much more of my attention and precious bonding time. Then again I sometimes think I favour the easier twin simply because she is easier.

Either way I seem to be stuck in an endless cycle of feeling guilty. It’s probably something I’m going to be experiencing for the rest of my life. I’m sure things will change as they grow up buy I suspect the guilt will never go away!

When things don’t go to (birth) plan

I don’t know how long it will take me to write this post since I have 2 newborn babies, am recovering from major surgery and find the whole thing troubling emotionally to go over in my mind. 

When I found out I was pregnant it was a huge shock, when I found out it was twins I was in shock again. Over the 37 weeks of my pregnancy my feelings changed so much from sheer terror and sadness to excitement and joy. One thing I desperately wanted to avoid was having a cesarean section. I knew twin births very often were c sections but I was desperate to do it naturally. The main obstacle would be the twins position, if they were both head down we could go natural and if not they would likely plan a section. 

Josh and I prayed and prayed that they would be head down and when we went to our 32 week scan we were elated to find they both were! It seemed perfect.

My induction was booked for Wednesday 10th August however from Saturday evening I began to start what is called “slow labour” and felt contractions on and off. It got to the point where they became regular and we went in to hospital in the early hours of Tuesday morning, only to be told we were only 1cm dilated. 

The next day was the day. We anxiously journeyed to the hospital knowing that when we left we’d have babies. We were told the induction process could take days… however when they checked me over they found I was already 5cm dilated by myself! It was a miracle and we were so happy knowing that my body had started the process itself. My waters were broken in the hospital and I was left on a monitor for an hour to measure my contractions. The gas and air didn’t help the pain at all and just made me feel dizzy.

Since I was having twins I wasn’t allowed to get up and move around in order to make labour more bearable as I was strapped up to a monitor. I couldn’t even roll on to my side to take the pressure off my back because one heartbeat kept getting lost when I did so. My midwife told me they wanted to start me on a drip to speed up my contractions and advised me to get an epidural. In my birth plan I had been so against an epidural… I wanted to be so natural but by this point I was in so much pain and unable to move to help myself naturally and so I decided to get the stab!

Let me tell you it was not enjoyable. Of course having a huge needle inserted in to your spine wasn’t going to be… but unfortunately for me the cord was placed wrongly twice which resulted in searing pain and me fearing I’d be paralysed! Eventually the epidural was in and the pain was beginning to ease. 

My contractions began to come more quickly and more intense and by 10pm I was fully dilated. Twin 1’s head was in a sideways position so they left me for an hour for it to change. At around midnight I began pushing and we were so excited.

I pushed with everything in me but unfortunately her head wasn’t moving. The Midwife called the doctor in and she said the words I had dreaded hearing “we will have to do a c section”. Immediately I was protesting, crying inconsolably. I felt so devastated that I’d worked so hard but I was also terrified at having surgery… terrified I was going to feel it and not cope. 

Very quickly they brought me through to the theatre… Josh was not with me but was going to be allowed in when all was ready. They put a big sheet up so I couldn’t see what was going on and various people tried and failed to keep me calm. Josh came through and talked to me whilst holding my hand…

They say you don’t feel anything but what they mean is you don’t feel pain. You feel everything… all the pulling and tugging and this weird suction sensation. And then just like that, within a few minutes we heard our baby’s beautiful cry. We looked at each other in disbelief. Is that our baby crying?! They confirmed that twin 1 was born at 2.22am and moments later we heard the next heart filling cry. They were brought round the curtain to us in towels and Josh got to hold them. I kissed their heads. It didn’t feel real. I was just lying there and one second they weren’t there and then they were. We gave them their names; Twin 1 was Dorothy and Twin 2 was Margot.

They took the babies to be weighed and suddenly I started to feel pain in the top of my abdomen. They checked a few times and the pain was still there so they decided to put me to sleep to finish off. 

The next thing I know I’m waking up in a strange room with people all around me. Completely groggy and for a minute I forget everything that just happened. Eventually they wheel me back through to my squeaky new family and my babies are put in to my arms. I’m drowsy and confused but glad to be back with them. I’d already missed so much of their first moments.

Not long after I was lying looking at my babies and a doctor came in and told me they had to be taken to special care. I was devastated that I’d only just seen my babies and they were going to be taken away again. Josh and I got some rest whist they were gone and a couple of hours later Dorothy  was brought back through but no Margot. We felt so incomplete without her but glad to have Dorothy back. She took to breast feeding without any problem and I was so glad. It was early afternoon by the time we finally got Margot back but we were so glad to be whole again. 

The recovery for me was horrible. I could barely walk, was completely swollen and had a very sore throat. I thought I’d never get better and my arms were like pin cushions from all the tests. 

I didn’t want cesarean. Nothing went to plan. Sometimes I look back on those moments when I was desperately trying to push naturally and I feel so much grief. I can’t help thinking that I did something wrong but I know that wasn’t the case. 

Sometimes things don’t go to plan. You can sit and cry about it and ask God why and feel angry and cheated by him or you can accept it and move on. Currently I’m in between the two. I can’t say I’m fully there yet but I’m on the way. We know that God works all things together for good and if I have faith in Him I must have faith that this was the right outcome for me.

I have 2 beautiful babies who are now one month old and I am so blessed!

Sorry this post was a bit long and rambly but I wanted to remember everything so I have it all documented for myself.

What to expect when you’re not expecting to be expecting…

Bit of a tongue twister isn’t it?! I have been pretty quiet on my blog lately… mainly because I have one secret thing consuming my every thought. I am going to be a mum. I am pregnant. But not just pregnant, pregnant with TWINS.  I am growing two humans inside me, and after I go through the traumatic experience of birthing said humans I am going to be responsible (along with my husband, of course) for keeping them alive, looking after them and fashioning them in to somewhat decent human beings.

The problem is I was never planning on being a mum. I guess I knew it would happen, but it always seemed a fairly abstract, far-off eventuality that a future version of myself would have to deal with. I always thought that future version of myself would be ready, she would have planned this, she would have thought it through. She would have experience with other people’s babies, she’d probably be an auntie and she’d just simply know what to do.

The moment I found out I was pregnant was one of the most crazy moments of my life. Unfortunately it wasn’t joy that filled my heart and soul at that moment… more fear, disappointment, confusion, sadness and tears. I always imagined the moment I found out I was pregnant for  the first time would be a moment of elation for me, but that wasn’t this moment.

Before I go on, let me first say that a child is always a gift. There are many in the world who so desperately desire to have a baby and it doesn’t happen for them, or their journey is riddled with pain and anguish and so what I say now I intend to say with the greatest sensitivity to those still trying or indeed those who have given up hope. I was not trying to have a baby, in fact I was actively trying not to have a baby. I had dreams of travelling the world and being a career woman before I even thought about becoming a mum. So when I found out I was pregnant it was not met with joy but week after week of tears and depression.

I think the world sells us this image of a happy little family but we don’t see what goes on behind closed doors. Unplanned pregnancy isn’t necessarily made easier because you are married or in a relationship. Unplanned pregnancy is a shock which can hit you at any stage or any age in your life. I felt guilty because I thought I should feel a certain way and I didn’t, which I think made me even more depressed. But now I’ve come to the realisation that it’s okay not to get those butterflies and feelings of elation when you find out you’re pregnant, it doesn’t mean you’re going to be a bad parent and it doesn’t mean you’re ungrateful for the gift that you have been given.

I thought people would judge me for getting pregnant so young. In all honesty I didn’t want to live up to the stereotype of getting married young and settling down. I was afraid of what people thought of me. I was afraid people my age would look at me and feel sorry for me, they’d think to themselves “well that’s good for them but I am so glad it’s not me”. Well the truth is out now and I don’t know if people are thinking those things… if they are I don’t blame them. But I have no plans to settle down, not when I got married and not now I’m having kids. I am still going to see the world, it just might be in a different format to the way I’d originally planned. I’m still going to have a career, only now I have a couple more years to decide what I actually want to do with my life.

I wouldn’t be any sort of Christian if I didn’t believe everything happens for a reason. I believe God has a plan for my life and sometimes that plan doesn’t necessarily match up to my own. God works all things together for good, He sees the big picture but he only reveals to us what we need to see right now. These babies may not have been planned by Josh and me but they were planned and purposed by God. He is knitting them together in my womb as I type this. He guides my path and always will. I put all my trust and faith in Him because I know that He is always faithful to me.

I’m 17 weeks pregnant now and in all honesty I still have my ups and downs. I have days of sheer excitement and I have days when I cry for the life I thought I was going to have. When people say congratulations sometimes I find it hard to play the beaming mum-to-be but I appreciate all the love and support we have received. I wanted people to know our story, to understand how we came to be where we are. But most of all I want people to see that even when your plans don’t fall in to place the way you’d expect, God is still working.

 

Have faith!

Kate-Sig-1

Our wedding day

I thought I’d write a post about the day itself and share some of our photos, giving thoughts/reasoning behind some of the choices we made for our big day!

Let me start with a disclaimer: we had a very modest budget for our wedding, the average wedding in the UK costs £20,000 and our budget was nowhere near this, given that we were both students at the time! I totally lost track of how much we actually spent but it was somewhere in the region of £6-7 thousand. You may be shocked and wonder how we did this, given a “budget wedding” is generally somewhere in the region of £10,000 but I’ll give some tips in this blog! The key word is compromise, it can’t be the most grand wedding on a teeny tiny budget but with a lot of hard work it can be absolutely perfect! In the end, our wedding suited us down to a tee, no fuss, no frills, relaxed and fun atmosphere!

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We decided to have our wedding in a village hall, namely, Earls Colne Village Hall, Essex. Originally I had wanted a rustic barn setting for the wedding, or a whimsical marquee in a big field…. but when those options proved too expensive (marquees start from £3000 shockingly!) we bagged a beautiful, big village hall for only £400. A lot of hotels and manor houses do deals these days, if you have your wedding mid-week or off-season then you can get it a lot cheaper… however with our university timetables we knew it would have to be in the summer, and as we had a lot of people travelling for our wedding we couldn’t really do it mid-week. Besides, those places didn’t really suit our theme.

We spent the whole of the night before setting up the hall – I was so overcome with emotion seeing all my visions and pinterest boards come to life!

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I chose eight bridesmaids for my big day, my two sisters were my maids of honour, I also had Josh’s two sisters, three of my close friends and one of my cousins. They all live in different parts of the country and I don’t really see any of them regularly, so doing dress fittings would have been impossible! I liked the idea of having dresses that were a bit different to one another, but I still liked the idea of being the same colour etc. Being the control freak that I am, I couldn’t bear to let them go off and choose their own, so I didn’t feel I could ask them to pay for their dresses. I found the multiway dresses on Pinterest and fell in love, they retail for around £100 in the UK but when I went on Etsy, I found some which were around £35 each. They came from Hong Kong so I was slightly dubious, I ordered one first and it was perfect so we ordered the rest! Josh’s youngest sister was a little bit too young for the style of dress we chose, so I picked her up a dress from the teen section at New Look, the colour matched perfectly! I asked all the girls to buy their own shoes, I wanted them to wear flats as I was doing so and I’m already quite short, it also added to the relaxed theme. I asked them each to get a silver or gold gatsby style head piece which they all chose beautifully! For their bouquets and the guys’ buttonholes I just bought some cheap gypsophilia from Asda bunched it up and it looked pretty good! I wanted it to look as though they’d picked it off the side of the road and it did! Was so cheap and easy.

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For the best men/ groomsmen I wanted the casual look so we decided they wouldn’t wear suits. They all bought their own grey trousers, shirts and brown brogues and then we bought some braces and a navy bow tie from primark – it was brilliantly cheap and they looked fab.

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My dress was by Justin Alexander, I found it at Bird’s Bridal in Chelmsford. Let me know if you want more info/tips about finding a wedding dress etc. My dress was off the rack, originally a size 16 but it was half price. I am a size 10 so I had to have LOT of fittings, especially as I’m very short! I had the sleeve altered so they’d be off the shoulder and some of the underskirting removed as I didn’t want it to be puffy, I just wanted it to go straight down.

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Josh’s suit was from Jeff Banks, it was a 3 piece, tweed grey suit. He looked so handsome and dapper. He wore a navy tie, white pocket square, brown brogues and a pocket watch which I bought him the week before the wedding.

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Our flowers for the church were provided by the church flower arrangers, they did an absolutely incredible job of following the theme perfectly. The church was particularly special to me as I went there since I was a little girl, and my parents still attend there now. My bouquet and Josh’s buttonhole were provided by The Great British Florist and were made of homegrown wildflowers, I wanted it to look as though I’d just gathered them on the way to the church! They also provided us with buckets of wildflower stems which we put in to jam jars and placed around the reception as I was adamant that I wanted to do them DIY!

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We served Pimms out of jam jars, when people arrived and had a drink station for people to refill during the meal. For the evening a local pub provided us with a bar. We ate fish and chips from a fish and chips van – we were gutted that we didn’t get any pictures of this! We also had an ice cream bike for dessert. The cake was made by a friend and we bought the lego figures to go on top off ebay. We had donuts underneath as they’re our favourite!

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The details were lovingly created by me in the run up to the wedding, I created blackboard signs with the help of my dad, a pick and mix stand, storyboard with baby pictures of me and Josh, stamped every person’s name card one letter at a time, stepladder table plan and so much more. For favours we had jam from the Tiptree Jam Factory and we also had loads of fairy lights, bunting and burlap! It was very time-consuming, doing it all ourselves, we spent hours and hours, but I felt so much joy when I saw everything we had created!

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Our wedding was the best day of our lives, it took so much planning and preparation but it was totally worth all the stress, anxiety and tears in the end. Top tips for budget weddings: call in favours from anyone and everyone you know, shop around, look in the sales, DIY DIY DIY, and have something cheap yet quirky for the meal! I knew God was at the centre of every decision we made and he provided everything we needed and more. If I have one word of advice for people I would say, don’t be afraid to do it your way. Don’t worry about traditions, do what you want! You can never have every idea you ever see on Pinterest but with a bit of hard work you will get the day that’s perfect for you. I have so much more I could say but I think this post has been long enough, if you want to know about anything in more detail let me know.

“Therefore, what God has joined together, let no man separate”  – Mark 10:9

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Food, glorious food…

So, today I was out jogging and I came to a realisation… for once in my life I am not excercising because I want to lose weight or because I feel insecure in myself… I’m actually exercising because it makes me feel good… and makes me feel healthier in body, mind and soul!

I can still remember the first time I felt like I had fat legs. Up until this point, I had always been told by my mum that my thighs were “shapely and womanly” and this body positivity had got me through until I was around thirteen years old. I was sitting at a youth group one night, when a boy looked at me and said… “your thighs are pretty enormous aren’t they?!”… this is where the thigh-hate began. That moment has stuck with me ever since, one off-the-cuff comment from an immature teenage boy undid thirteen years of compliments from my mum to help me avoid loathing the dreaded “Trevelyan thigh”.

The picture at the bottom of the blog is me around nine years old, as you can see.. I’m wearing a bikini and I have fat rolls. I can remember even from this age hating myself and hating my body… my friends were pretty much all skinny and I was the token chubby one in the group. You can read about my issues with self-esteem here.

From pretty young, my low self confidence and hatred for my body caused me to develop an unhealthy relationship with food. I developed what I now know was the eating disorder Binge Eating Disorder (read about it in the link). I was never diagnosed by a doctor or anything, in fact B.E.D is commonly left undiagnosed because many people are uninformed about it as a disorder, but looking back I ticked all the boxes. I never thought about the fact I had an eating disorder because I thought that typically eating disorders made you thin, and mine was doing the opposite.

My insecurity and depression created a void in me so deep that I began to feel a compulsion to fill it with food. I would come home after school and slather chocolate spread over slice after slice of toast. I shoved biscuits in my blazer pockets and ran upstairs, I ate whole ‘sharing pouches’ of chocolate in one hit and shovelled tablespoon after tablespoon of sugar on to my cereal every morning, I could not control it. It was an obsession, an addiction. I would often get myself in to a fervent state whilst on a binge, where I was in a daze and afterwards it would feel like I was on a come down from some sort of drug. I was never satisfied. It was like an unquenchable thirst. It even drove me to steal money regularly from my mum’s purse to fund my addiction or buy chewing gum which was the only thing that could stave off my desire for food for a while.

Nobody knew about my habits for a long time – or at least I never expressly told them, I know my mum noticed how rapidly we were getting through jars of nutella. I didn’t understand what I was going through, I thought it was dirty, shameful… I was just greedy and gluttonous. I would often starve myself of food to try and make up for the binge of the previous day but then I would succumb to the desire and binge again once I got home from school.

Eventually, breakthrough came… once I admitted my problem to someone who didn’t judge me and just listened, a weight was lifted. And after a lot of prayer and counselling I began to feel my obsession with food begin to fade away… it wasn’t an instant healing.. it continued over time and a constant renewing of the mind.

I stand before you now totally free from my eating disorder (it still feels weird to call it that!). I have been “clean” for years now, but the shame and stigma has caused me to keep it a secret for too long. I want to stand up and fight this with others who are going through the same thing – so if you are please don’t be in it alone. I will stand with you in prayer and support.

I love food, I always will. I enjoy cooking and baking, in fact I have scoffed almost half an easter egg this evening. But I know now, even if I have the odd binge on junk, I am not under the same power I once was. I am free.

I wish I could tell the little girl in the photo then, what I know now…that she is not less of a woman or less beautiful because she is a little chubbier than her friends. My prayer is that children today will grow up in a world where the hypocrisy of “the perfect body” is not shoved down their throats…where they learn about being healthy physically and mentally rather than learning to strive for a perfectly toned tummy. I have never felt so confident, healthy and happy in myself as I do now because I have accepted who I am & celebrate the way MY body is! Made in the image of my creator.

I’ve also decided to share a picture of me in a bikini last summer on the beach, I hope nobody finds it too immodest! I felt like sharing this photo would overcome a huge barrier for me!

Phew! My last few blogs have been very serious – I will endeavour to post something very lighthearted next!!

Much love.x

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The most inconvenient time of my life…

In an effort to describe our future nuptials, my mum recently said to me “You and Josh are getting married at the most inconvenient time in your life for all the right reasons.” As I pondered this statement I realised that it was exactly true.This post is not meant to sound pretentious or judgmental to those who decide to take a different path, I believe everyone is free to make their own choices, however I wanted to explain why I have made mine.

Ever since I was a young teenager, I have known that I want to get married. Spending my life with another person and sharing in every season together has always been an exciting prospect for me. As a Christian, I believe that marriage was designed by God, to glorify God. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, they shall become one flesh” Genesis 2:24 – This passage shows that God designed men and women to be in a union together, two becoming one. This doesn’t mean that we can’t be our own person once we are married, or that we don’t have our own mind/disagreements/differences but it means that we make a promise, a covenant, to live out the remainder of our lives as two people on the same path. One life, two people.

Clearly, a big part of marriage is sex. I don’t want people to think that Josh and I are getting married quickly simply because we are desperate to have sex and can’t wait any longer. It’s true, as Christians we believe that sex is to be within a marriage context and that is why when I was around fourteen I made a promise to God that I would not have sex until I am married and also why at the beginning of our relationship, Josh and I decided that we would not have any sexual contact with one another until our wedding night. It feels slightly awkward to talk about this but that is what we decided. It says in the Bible in 1 Corinthians 7:9 “It is better to marry that to burn with lust” and I’m not going to lie and say that this hasn’t been part of the motivation for us getting married, the temptation has been more than we could have anticipated and we are not professing to be in any way perfect. But this is not the main reason behind us getting married, only one strand.

We have spent the last year becoming best friends, falling in love and getting to know each other inside out without needing to get to know each other sexually. I would do anything for Josh and I believe that he would do anything for me. I do not have a doubt in my mind that he is the person that I am meant to spend the rest of my life with and this doesn’t make me feel trapped – actually it feels remarkably freeing! I don’t see us getting married as a ball and chain type scenario, we’re not going to become anti-social, or boring… we want to travel the world and have experiences together and on the way have a tonne of fun. I don’t want to believe what so much of today’s culture tells you; that your fun and exciting life ends with marriage. Marriage is just the start in my eyes!

The most important element of why we have chosen to get married now is because of our love for Jesus. We have said from the beginning that our relationship and future marriage is not just between the two of us, but the three of us. Josh, me and God. Every decision we make, we pray it through, every trial we face, we thank God and ask Him for His help and guidance. We believe that God has brought us together to spend our lives together and that is why we have decided ‘why wait?’. We want to live out our calling from God together starting as soon as we can. It’s that old cliche; ‘When you know, you know’. We know marriage isn’t going to be easy, and we know its not a decision to take lightly but we also know that “If God is for us, who can be against us” Romans 8:31 

So yes, I am getting married at a most inconvenient time. I am still at uni, we have absolutely no money and very little time to plan a wedding.. but we have never been happier in our whole lives. I heard it said once ‘The best place you can be is at the centre of God’s will for your life’ and I thank God that I am in this place.

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“I have found the one whom my soul loves” Song of Solomon 3:4