The Importance of Self Care

In all my blogs over the past year I don’t think I have spoke much about the topic of self-care or doing things for yourself that you enjoy and find therapeutic. I talk on my twitter and on our support group a lot about how it is important to do things that make you feel good that give you time to just switch off from the world and relax. Mel likes to go on walks get out of the house and walk down to the end of the run way up a country lane and back home in a big loop. we live on the edge of a city and we have a small village a few miles away so when Mel goes on her walk she gets a chance to be in the countryside and is reminded of home and Norfolk. For me its cooking and baking. I can concentrate on something else and lets my mind switch off. Today me and Elizabeth made scones together and when she got bored I made flapjacks and a real chance to switch off and just relax.


When I bake I make far too much like I did today. I tend to make one thing then think ooo lets make something else then think who’s going to help me eat all of this.

This way of thinking led to the day I made far too many cupcakes, I was off work following my bad turn after Elizabeth was born. I had been in hospital and had done a lot of cooking as part of my therapy and had got in to baking. I was having an extremely low day so had decided to make a few cupcakes and experiment with some flavours this resulted in me making 4 dozen cakes in four different flavours.

mmmWorking from front to back we had Banana and custard that had actual custard in the middle. Next we had peanut butter and chocolate cakes, Coconut and chocolate cakes then came our crowing glory, it was every kids dream our seaside cupcake.


These were just amazing one bite and you were in sugar heaven, a blue and yellow plain cupcake to represent the colours of the sand and sea (nothing special so far) then came the best topping every incorporating everything that’s special about the sea side.  Candyfloss and popping candy icing topped with Great Yarmouth rock (it was where we were living at the time) and finished off with plenty off Sand (yellow sherbet). We made many more cake flavours including strawberry and cream and a champagne cake but the four above were always our favourites. We also made a few birthday cakes including this Angry Birds Cake.


All this baking led me and Mel to try our hand at having our own stall in the local market for a few months but it just sucked all the fun out of making cakes and made it so stressful so we gave up the stall and stopped baking for a while until the fun came back and we enjoyed baking again. Now once again we love making cakes. cookies, scones and bread and for me it is my way of switching off.

564569_592304977500229_1631963016_nSo why am a writing this? Its not to tell your get baking, start a business or even deter you from turning a hobby into a business. I am writing this blog to remind you of the importance of self care of finding that thing that you enjoy and that helps you switch off and do it as much as you can. Looking after your kids is so important as is looking after a home and making sure everyone is happy and healthy. However you can’t do any of that if you don’t look after yourself so once a week take some time out and do something for you with just you and if you have a partner let them do the same. It doesn’t have to be anything special and you don’t have to spend hours doing it just find that one thing you enjoy and take the time to do it. Honestly you and your family will feel better for doing this one little thing just for you.

And if you still don’t feel like a cake after all those pictures here is a few more of my creations just to make your mouth water.

A new Chapter why cant I cope?

Its been 9 weeks now since Michael was born and things are not as easy as I thought they would. I thought with all my PND problems with Elizabeth and Andrew that this time I had this in the bag.  I thought this time would be easier but it turns out I have a whole new problem, on that when I was told I was more shocked than when I was told I had PND.


Before Michael was born I was struggling to sleep and having some bad anxiety, I was scared that something would be wrong with Michael when he was born. I was dreaming that Michael would be born and need to go on  ventilator. This is exactly what happened he was born and he needed to go on a ventilator. All be it not as bad as how I dreamt but still it happened.

When it happened I knew at the time I had to be strong. I had to be the one who stayed positive and stay strong for Mel and the kids so I tried not to think about how I felt at the time and concentrate on making sure everyone else was OK. My family would tell me how proud they were of me for being so strong and dealing with things so well. I thought I was coping but deep down it turns out I wasn’t.

Things finally came to a head a few weeks ago when I broke down at work. In a mix of worrying about Mel and my own problems just took its toll on me and I broke down. I was sent home and when I got home I finally started to talk to people about my worries and how I was feeling. I haven’t slept properly since Michael was born and this wasn’t just baby lack of sleep. It was deeper than that, night terrors that result in Mel waking me up or me waking up in blind panics. I  dream about all sorts, the kids going missing, the kids getting hurt or worse. It results in me doing silly things like sleeping by the front door or in the kids rooms. I am also having problems around Michael as well, I struggle with going out in the rain as his rain cover reminds me of him being in an incubator. I would be at work and see a feeding tube and I would be back in the hospital. Machines beeping and I would be back. All the feelings would flood back I just couldn’t keep it in any longer the flood gates opened.

I got home from work and told Mel how I was feeling, went to my GP and then had a mental health assessment. I was told to self refer to get some help from our local service and see what help I could get. After a 2 hours assessment over the phone I was told it sounds like I have PTSD that is leading to severe anxiety and depression. And I was put on the list for cognitive behaviour therapy. I have had CBT before so that wasn’t a worry for me. What got me more was a PTSD diagnosis isn’t that what soldiers get after years of war and seeing there mates get blown to bit. Not something you get after a seeing a difficult birth. But after some talking and research I found out this is common in people who have witnessed traumatic births. And here we are I’m not sure what to expect with having PTSD or how I am going to cope with this at the moment I am on a waiting list that is 12 weeks long so I am having to find my way through this and keep on going. It can be hard at time this time last year I was writing about an event after it had happened I had PND and I had recovered from it. I was telling you my journey from rock bottom to recovery and a brighter life. Now I am writing whilst still going through this, I am using this writing as my therapy and a way of getting all my thoughts out there and document this new journey in my life. Sharing my highs and lows and the recovery I know will come but feels a long way away. I know I will get there right now though I don’t see what recovery is. I’m sure my next few months of blogs will document what recovery is.

Then We Had Three,All Be It After A Scary Week.

Its been a few months now since our Son was Born on Saturday 16th December 2017 at 7:42 weighing an amazing 7lb 11oz.


Mel was induced on the Friday and 24 hours later our son was here in this world. Mel’s labour was one of the easiest I had seen her go through she coped amazing. The labour itself was about 2 hours from what Mel told me afterwards, the birth was very rapid two pushes and he was here. I got to cut cord and me and and Mel got to hold our son, we laughed and cried, took photos and phoned around to tell people that our son had been born this time was amazing. I wish I could end this blog there, throw a picture in and tell you how this week has been the best week at home getting to know our son. However things were not as simple as that.

When our son was born he was really fighting for breath, struggling to breath and becoming increasingly unwell and unsettled. He was going from a nice pink new baby colour to a horrible dusky grey colour, his lips were turning blue and the midwife was becoming increasingly worried to the point she called in the specialist nurses from the neonatal unit at the hospital, they came across and examined our son and suddenly rushed him away and asked me to follow. when I had caught up with the team, there were doctors and nurses surrounding my son who was now on a resus trolley with oxygen on, they informed me that they were concerned with how his breathing was as he was struggling to breathe and his oxygen levels had dropped to 26%, having spent the best part of the last 2 years spending my nights looking at peoples SATS monitors i knew oxygen levels of 26% was bad. I could feel the anxiety levels building, the nurses informed me they were going to to take him for observation for a little while on the neonatal unit that there was nothing to worry about they knew what they were doing and that I should go and check on Mel and update her on what was happening. I knew from experience that I was being given the talk that all health professionals give to reassure worried relatives but still I went back to Mel and gave her the same talk, it was bad enough she hadn’t had much time with Michael and she was exhausted I didn’t need her worrying when we didn’t even know what was wrong, we spent the next few hours going between out room and on the ward that Michael was on, each time he was getting progressively worse, the doctors and nurses were amazing in keeping us calm even when we thought we might lose our son. Eventually we were told they need to put him on a ventilator to give him a rest so they could give him the meds he needed and give him a rest so he could get better. I knew this was the right call he was struggling and I knew where things would have ended up if they had not done it but still it was hard seeing my son with a tube in his mouth breathing for him and a tube down his nose giving him all his food, we could only touch him by holding his hand, all his needs met by nurses, wires all over his body monitoring all his vital signs. I felt helpless I can only imagine how Mel felt. Luckily he was on the ventilator for only 10 hours in total just enough time to give him his med and the rest he needed. The next few days were a mixed bag, he had an infection so was on oxygen whilst he fought the infection. He had a few touch and go days but by the end of the 5th day things were starting to look up a bit. we had spent 5 stressful days constantly back and forth to help with his cares and do his feeds through the tube. We had had a scare were we thought we might have to go home and leave Andrew… Michael I mean Michael (8 weeks on and I still call him Andrew, I call Andrew Michael to…They look similar that’s my defence) but eventually Michael was able to come out of the incubator and in to a cot, fed off Mel and spend the first night in a cot next to mum. I had to go home that night but the hospital were amazing and had let me stay for the days before that. But if Mel’s first night was anything like I felt the day he fell asleep at home next to us it must have been amazing. Looking at Michael now no one would think there was anything wrong with him, hes just a normal baby hitting all his milestones and growing quickly, he will never remember this time in his life it will never effect him. I wish the same could be said for me. Eight weeks on I am struggling to move on, struggling to forget, Beeping on work monitors remind me of hospital, I see a feeding tube and my mind goes back, I put the rain cover on Michael and I see a baby in an incubator and now i’m having night terrors. Mel struggling to but they are her struggles to share not mine. I honestly thought I was done with PND, I thought I had recovered, I thought from now on my blog would be funny parenting stories or how stressful 3 kids would be. But this story has one more chapter and this is just the beginning this is something new PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder) leading to a whole new kind of depression still PND in so much as the PTSD leads to a depression after becoming a father and still centres around my children but this is new even to me. This is new to me and I don’t know what to expect, Its not like with Elizabeth were the love wasn’t there this is something new, the one thing I know is this blog is going to be my way of processing the whole thing, sharing how I felt and documenting my whole journey. The good, the bad, the ugly and the scary.  This blog helped me before it will help me again.


My Pregnancy Twist

When I was around 26 weeks pregnant I was told I had to go and do a Glucose Tolerance Test or a GTT for short. For those who don’t know, a GTT is a test where you have bloods taken then get given this sugary drink, a bit like Lucozade, sit around for 2 hours doing nothing then have more bloods taken before being allowed home. You have to do this test as a fasting one so no food or drink after Midnight. The idea of the test is to see how your body controls the sugar in the drinks and how it affects your blood sugar levels. If you don’t meet the targets you then receive a diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes. This is completely different to type 2 diabetes in the sense that the targets are lower and you will only have gestational diabetes until your baby is born. It raises your risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future but simple lifestyle changes will help keep the risk to minimum. It also means that in future pregnancies you will be at a higher risk of Gestational Diabetes but this again doesn’t guarantee you will definitely develop it in future pregnancies.

So, a couple of days after my test I received a phone call from a midwife to tell me that I had Gestational Diabetes and from that moment on I was too attend all appointments at the hospital with the diabetic team. Then she said bye and went off the phone. My first reaction was too break down and cry, there was no mention of what would happen next or what it really meant, I just had to wait for my appointment to come through the post. The appointment had been made around 10 days later and I had people telling me to not worry about it as I didn’t yet know what they would say. One thought went through my mind, easier said than done.

I felt like a complete and utter failure. What had I done to have Gestational Diabetes? Was it because of my weight? What are the complications? Will my baby be safe? All these questions and I didn’t know where to start. I started looking up information on the internet, BIG mistake. I was reading horror stories of mums having big babies and there was other complications that could potentially cause a health risk to my baby. Quite rightly, my husband saw me and told me off. I was reading about something I had never heard off before or even knew anything about so it was crazy of me to think I could just read and understand.

The time came for the appointment and to say I was slightly nervous would be an understatement. I was terrified, I didn’t know what to expect. I was called into a small room where they took my blood pressure then told me to sit back int he waiting room and I would be called through soon. I was again called about 15 min later and I thought here goes. I was taken into a room where I was told to take a seat and I got left. It was just me in this room. Now what? I had someone poke their head in and she introduced herself as the Dietitian. She took my weight and then sat down with me and started to tell me all the foods that I should avoid or eat less of and the ones that I should be eating more of. I didn’t know where to start with taking it all in. She quickly disappeared and left me sitting there on my own again until someone else came in. This time it was the Diabetic nurse. She was really lovely and told me a bit more about what was going to happen every day from that moment until giving birth. She explained that I would be having to test my blood sugars 4 times  day and they had to be a mix of before meals and after meals. So my targets were, before a meal it had to be below 5.5 and 1 hour after meals it had to be below 7.8 I was really positive and asked how should I do this. In fairness I probably sounded too eager. Then she told me and my face dropped. I would have to finger prick myself, with a needle, 4 times a day…. I was not looking forward to this. She took one for me to show me how to do it and I wasn’t very prepared for it. I clenched my toes in anticipation and if I’m honest, I still clench my toes 10 weeks later. She then told me to see how I get on and she would see me again in 2 weeks. I was also told that if I struggled to control my blood sugars with just the food I was eating then I would need to go onto medication. I did not feel like this was a good option for me and I wanted to avoid it at all costs.

The next person I saw was a consultant. He was there to explain to me some of the risks and to to say that I needed growth scans to check everything with baby is going well. I was okay with this as I thought it would give me more opportunities to see baby. He also explained that because of the diabetes I would need to be induced as their hospital policy is to induce around 39 weeks depending on circumstances. The last person I saw was a midwife. She asked me if I found all the information helpful and I was very honest and told her that it didn’t seem helpful at the time as there was too much. She asked if she could check babies position and listen to the heartbeat and then said if there wasn’t anything else I would like to ask then I was free to go. I couldn’t wait to leave, I was given a testing kit with lancets, or needles, and some testing strips for me to do at home. I was still clueless and didn’t know what to think.

From this appointment I found a brilliant group on Facebook where I found I could speak to other pregnant in the same position and get advice that really helped me. I also found that one of my old friends was also part of this group so I found it a real blessing being able to talk to her and ask her what I thought were daft questions.

So 10 weeks later and I have changed my diet a lot and I am now a lot more aware of the foods that I can eat and definitely the ones I should avoid. I have lost count of how many times I have had to prick myself but I am finding that I can get it done in 1 go now, whereas it was taking 3 or 4 tries each time. I am still very happy to point out that I am sill able to control my diabetes with just diet instead of medication and I am booked in for my induction in a weeks time.

I am so glad I stuck with the advice I was given and I can now finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

My pregnancy so far 

So I am currently 24 weeks pregnant and things have been going well. We went for our first scan at the beginning of June. We had a bit of a trek to get the hospital. It involved a bus into town and then the train to the hospital we had to go. We were going on holiday the very next day for 2 weeks and so we had the scan on a specific day wherever was available. I was really nervous before our first scan as I people joke to me that we were having twins and part of me actually believed them. I still don’t think I was ready for them to say it was twins though. So we had our scan and the lady confirmed that was only one baby. I had to hold back on the cheering but I think it was safe to say that both me and Tony were secretly relieved. Don’t get me wrong if we were told it was twins we would have been happy but at the same time one newborn with 2 other children seems scary enough without adding an extra baby to the equation.

We were given a due date of 20th December, that seems too close to Christmas. Ah how am I gonna organise Christmas? We left the hospital completely over the moon after seeing our little baby on the screen. It just helped to make it all real. Everything just felt perfect. I have my amazing little family and I couldn’t wait to tell my darling children that we were having another baby.

We went on holiday and enjoyed ourselves and I was trying to most of our time away and exploring whilst battling constant tiredness and exhaustion. I survived and I loved every moment of our holiday. It is very busy but filled with days doing what I wanted to do and most of all I loved seeing my beautiful children enjoy themselves.

Then we came back to reality with a thud. I had a consultant appointment at the hospital. I was a little bit worried about this but that’s the kind of person I am, I always worry. We asked a friend to take us to the appointment and then she took the kids to the park whilst we were in appointment. So we sat in the waiting room and I began to shake. My hands and knees were just going. When I am scared or nervous I also get a funny feeling in my belly which I really don’t like. Anyway, we got called through and I nervously sat on the chair in the consultants room. She seemed nice when we went in..

During the appointment I heard talk about my 2 previous pregnancies which were in a different county and that she was concerned as there was quite a gap in weight between my first 2 (my first was 6lb15oz and my second was 8lb15oz) I thought that this was nothing to worry about as I reassured after giving birth to my second that it was completely normal as he was 12 days late and that’s when they out on the most weight but I really don’t know as I’m not an expert. She also went on to speak about my weight. Now I have always been very conscious and suffered many years with low self-esteem because of my weight. I am not huge but I am also not a healthy weight. At the time of my appointment I was the heaviest I have ever been and this is something I am determined to change once I have had this baby.

Anyway, she was saying because of my weight I am more likely to develop Gestational Diabetes and so I would I need a test and also because the difference in weight between children I will also have to go for growth scans. This can determine if the baby is going to be too big to carry on to full term or even if I am able to have a natural labour. My heart sank. I was sitting here listening to someone potentially tell me that any choice I have concerning labour can be taken away and she can decide for me if I need to have a c-section as it could be in “my best interests”

What could be in my best interests is allowing me to still have my choice and an opted c-section will not be that choice. I should point out that the other option would be to consider inducing me early and this settles my mind a lot easier as I could still havea natural  labour once induced. It does mean I wouldn’t be able to have a water birth but that doesn’t matter as long I can deliver baby safely. I came out of the consultants room feeling downhearted. I had never had an appointment like this before and I didn’t want another one. I had held it together when we on our drive home but as soon as I got home I just broke down.

I was really struggling to see the positives from the appointment and I didn’t want to speak about it either. Tony made me see sense and actually got me talking.

Since then I have progressed slowly through the pregnancy and found that I do actually have Gestational Diabetes this time. It was again, a shock for me to take in but I am managing without medication. If anything I am coping a lot better than I thought I would as I am actually losing weight whilst my baby is growing nicely. It just means less carbs with meals and an excuse to eat all the baby bel in the world.

I am now 36 weeks pregnant and I have an induction date booked for the 15th December which is when I will be 39 weeks. This puts my mind at ease as I can organise Christmas and know that my little one will be here for Christmas Day. It also means I only have 2 weeks to get everything sorted (arghhhh) it’s such a scary time too.

I will write more on Gestational Diabetes but for now I think I will leave it there. Have too much going on to carry on writing. Look out for my next blog which should hopefully be within the next month.

Things Haven’t been Brilliant Past Week.

The last few weeks have been hard especially the last week and I really feel like I need to sit down, vent and write my feeling down and just post how I am feeling today.

I Shared last week how i was struggling with Andrew not sleeping and how that had made some of my feelings I had right in the thick on my last battle with my PND well now I am having more of those feeling. Lucky not of harming myself or others I know for sure I want to be here and I want to live this life. But I am having some more of the anxiety, bad dreams, fear and over thinking things.



I have anxiety attacks because I am having bad dreams, I then fear sleep because of the dreams giving me anxiety attacks,  I then over think the dreams giving me anxiety attacks. And people like my GP saying they’re just dreams don’t help.

So why are these dreams so bad I keep having the same recurring dreams each week.

The first is on Andrew drowning. I dream that he is in his buggy and it rolled down the hill in to a lake, I jump in the lake and get the buggy and Andrew is not there, so I diving down again and again and again to try and find him. screaming in vain for help and not able to find him when I dive down under the water.

The second is my children being kidnapped. I will be out shopping and will turn round and my kids will be gone so I will be frantically be searching around trying to find them to no avail.

The worse thing is that I feel trapped in these dreams I can’t wake up so in both dreams I am frantically searching for my children and cant wake up.. I am usually woken by Mel shouting me up.

Then Each night I get anxious as I fear the dreams and having them again so I try to keep awake.

And to top it all off I am over thinking all this what if the dreams come true again giving me attacks and boom panic attack.

I have done all the things I tell you guys to do seen GP, Spoke to family and got help and work is supporting me well so I know there will be light at the end of the tunnel but right now I am just so angry and frustrated.

I know its stupid that I should be angry but I am so angry at my stupid head. It has been OK for 3 years. No downs and perfect and boom depression comes back. I’m also angry at myself for getting ill again and not noticicing signs sooner.

I am frustrated that this is all affecting my work as I signed off I want to be in right now as it keeps me busy.. all in all I frustrated that its all happening again and I wasn’t prepared..

I know I will get help and things will improve but what if this is my life now

depression—good time—-remission—-repeat

I just want to get better and not slip back. I want to end the cycle. I don’t want a full blown episode like last time.

Why Do I Blog?

bigstock-Funny-Cartoon-Sheep-Jumping-Th-65570800.jpgThis week I realised that this blog is just as much for me and helping me with my mental health as it is about raising awareness of PND in Men.

I always say I share my story to show others that it can happen to Men and that we need do more so men don’t suffer in silence. I hope that by sharing my story, more dad will get the help and support they need and not feel alone.

But here’s the thing I do it for me as well. I used to hate writing in school and would do anything to avoid having to do it.  But some how something that I hated doing has become my therapy. I’m not the best talker and I hate sitting and talking to a councillor about how i feel.. it just makes me feel like i am being assessed. So writing for me is my way of venting how  I feel at the time. Sometimes I write and then just delete it but the writing of it makes me feel that little bit better. Sometimes a Share with you how I Feel.

I was asked on Facebook by someone why I would share such personal details with the world. I told them it was simple I do it to show other dads mental health is a real thing. That dads can struggle with becoming a dad as well. And that PND in men is a real thing and its OK to ask for help. I share my story to help others and if it helps even one dad get help then its all been worth it.

All that is true but I wished I had added one final thing. I write my Blogs as its my therapy and It makes those days when I am struggling that little easier.

So Guys thanks for reading my story and please keep Re-tweeting but also thanks for being my therapists and just letting me vent it all the good and bad.