Thursday, 2 April 2015

Mummy Time #34: Mikela Anderson

From what I can see on Instagram, Mikela (@isaacfordays_) has an adorable son, post-partum abs to die for and a beautifully styled home... so I was surprised to read that she'd struggled with PND and that she'd only told two people about it, up until now. As a result, I've asked her a few extra questions about it in the hope that it may help others who might be experiencing similar feelings, and I couldn't not ask about that cracking body of hers! I hope you enjoy Mikela's post and can appreciate her bravery for sharing her experience with PND with the blog. At the time of writing, Isaac was 14 months old.

Mummy:

Who are you?
Hi, I’m Mikela, I’m 21 years old, born and raised in Jersey Channel Island. I live with my boyfriend, Ben, and our gorgeous son, Isaac. Me and Ben met around 3 years ago after a night out (you know the story… boy meets girl, falls in love blah, blah, blah). We found out we were expecting Isaac after only 6 months of being together (shock horror) but 2 and half years later we are one little happy family. Isaac was born on the 14th November 2013 and is now 14 months old.


What do you do for a living?
My job… I’m a cooking , cleaning, nappy changing, bottle giving, funny face pulling, swing pushing, cuddling, forehead-kissing PA to a beautiful little boy. I have been lucky enough to be a stay at home mum since Isaac was born, but am currently looking for a part time job.  Although it’s been wonderful spending every second with him, I am looking forward to having a little bit more money, adult conversation and finding myself a career. I have a dream of eventually becoming a midwife in the future (but I do change my mind about things pretty often, although this one has stuck for the last 5 years). College may be on the cards too; I have a massive love for photography and was studying fashion photography at uni but dropped out because I was so home sick! So I would love to do something in that field, but let’s just see what this year brings. When the times come to leave Isaac though, I know I will be a mess.


How are you?
Right now this moment in time I'm really good. We’re a young, healthy, beautiful family with wonderful friends. Things are good! Of course there are day to day life stresses that chase me around, but I'm learning to be more positive. I’m in control of my life and, let’s face it, things could always be worse! We’re always wishing we had what others have, and there’s always someone out there wishing they had what you have. Life’s a bit*h sometimes but I know I got this! But my outlook on life has not always been so positive, especially last year. I suffered from PND (post-natal depression)  “baby blues” after having Isaac and found the new role I had taken on as a mother extremely hard! I loved Isaac with all my heart but suffered with a cocktail of emotions. I found it very hard to come to terms with how much my life had changed and how quickly it had happened. I turned into a version of myself I did not recognise at all. I was so scared of all this emotion and not a clue how to handle it; I was terrified to talk to anyone about it. Eventually after confiding in Ben I went and spoke to my doctor, she helped me through it and I can’t believe it took me so long. I felt like I had finally come up for air. I honestly think time heals a lot of things and maybe I just needed time to really settle into things. I found myself again amongst all the nappies, washing and day time tv, (well, not my pre-baby self  as that girl was a loose cannon) but near enough. This is something I haven't shared with anyone apart from Ben but I feel maybe putting in writing will let other mums out there (even mums to be who are nervous of these feelings) who have ever felt this way that they are not alone. It’s so natural- having a child is life changing and it doesn't mean you’re a bad person if you’re feeling BLUE, you just need the right people to talk to. Don't be ashamed or bottle it up. I’ve found my balance; I'm not losing myself in motherhood. I’m redefining myself.  Life today is good.

How did you know you had PND?
I don't think I really understood it. Ben said he’d noticed I’d been all over the place- fine one minute then a total mess and having a break-down the next. I spent too much time alone stuck in my house. I would say I felt I couldn't do it anymore and I felt guilty for being Isaac's mum as I just wanted to be "me" again and go back to life before all this new stuff took over my whole entire life. I didn't want to go out with friends, I would make excuses and I self loathed! I had suffered from depression as a teenager and the doctor who helped me said that sometimes PND can be triggered by past depression. I loved being a mum but I think it was all the responsibility and stress was overwhelming for me and not all sunshine and rainbows like what you see from the outside. Sometimes when I couldn't stop him from crying I would just sit and cover my ears whilst also crying and thinking this shouldn't be my life; I'm 20 I should be travelling the world, living life on the edge and care free! And then would beat myself up even more for thinking those thoughts and I’d feel so guilty that I wouldn't let anyone have Isaac- I just wanted to keep him next to me non-stop. I never told my mum and still haven't! Not anyone apart from Ben and a close friend, and I feel talking about it and recognising it was okay to feel that way and that it was normal helped me heal.


What helped you to come out of your PND?
I took one course of anti-depressants which I decided after a month I no longer needed. Maybe it was mind over matter- they weren't making me better, it was just in my head, I was making myself feel better! Telling Ben and offloading all my feelings lifted a weight from my shoulders and I found that having my training and feeling good in my body also made me feel good in myself! I now feel strong mentally and physically and it's great! I also now realise how important it is to socialise, and if I don't have many friends with children then I need to get out there and find more for my sake and Isaac's, as being stuck in all day is where it started for me. I love my life so much being a mum, and Isaac! The older he gets the better it gets I can't believe I was ever in the mind set now.

When did you start working out post-baby? Did it come naturally?
I had danced since the age of 4 so exercise wasn't new to me at all; I lived and breathed it for 14 years of my life, but weight training was a whole different ball game for me. I’d always been reluctant to train weights as I thought it would make me look muscley and manly but, in my eyes, it's actually the best way to get a great body; calorie burning, toning and sculpting your body to how you desire. I started training with Ben daily after my eight week check and one year later, three stone lighter and Ioving it and can see massive improvements. I train six times a week; cardio at 6am for 30 mins then weights in the evenings. I eat clean with one cheat meal on Saturdays and have started Pilates on a Sunday. I’m not always so strict over the winter but summer is fast approaching and I set myself a goal this year to get abs.


What are your favourite exercises?
Well, for me, my problem areas are my stomach, bum and thighs so I do plenty of squats (nice and deep and then squeezing the bum cheeks), lunges and donkey kicks. For the tummy I do the plank and side plank, crunches, cross crunches, lower leg raises and oblique twists. If you Google or YouTube any of these there will be loads of demonstrations to help you out! 20 minutes a day is better than nothing!

What's your approach to dieting?
I like to think of it as a lifestyle not a diet and just have everything in moderation. We treat ourselves every Saturday night to a dirty meal and treats afterwards. The key to a great body is your diet; it needs to be clean to see any change in your body! They say it's 70% diet 30% exercise. You can't out train a bad diet; if you want it bad enough then you will make changes and, trust me, once you have seen results you will become addicted! It only takes 28 days to get into a routine - try it!

My favourite meal at the moment is breakfast...

Try healthy pancakes (small amount of mix in the pan) or a sweet omelette -
·         1 banana, mashed
·         2 eggs
·         1 scoop of chocolate protein powder, but only if it’s a treat
·         (mix all together)
·         Fry in pan with coconut oil
·         Top with Total yoghurt, berries and agar syrup

How do you relax?
Hot showers, getting my nails done and laying in the bedroom alone in the dark watching trash on the ipad has become a favourite!

What do you do when you have time to yourself?
Well normally if I have any time to myself that means the babe is napping, so I'm running around getting dressed, cleaning the flat doing washing. You know the normal “housewife” chores. And of course there always time for a chai latte, Pinterest and an IG scroll along the way!


How does a typical day go?
A normal day goes like this (unless we have something special planned)

·         6am - Isaac wakes for a bottle (then goes back down)
·         8.30am - we get up have a play
·         9am - breakfast and playtime while I get showered/dressed and do bits round the house.
·         11.30 /12 - we have lunch and head out to meet friends, the park  or whatever the days brings.
·         2.30pm/ 3pm - Isaac goes down for a nap, and I have some “me time”
·         3pm - Play time
·         5pm - Dinner
·         5.30pm - Play time with daddy
·         6pm - Bath time with Daddy
·         6.30pm / 7pm - Bottle and bed


Baby:

How was your pregnancy?
I spent the first 6 months throwing up! Once the morning sickness (which so isn't just in the mornings!!!!) faded I started to enjoy everything a lot more. I suffered from chronic anaemia and always felt drained. I craved pizza express constantly and made Ben go at least once a week. We found out that Isaac was a boy on our 20 week scan; I would have liked a surprise but Ben was so desperate to find out. It took us a good while to decide on a boy’s name as we didn't like anything that the other suggested! Isaac has always been a favourite name of mine and Ben wasn't keen at first but after a day or two he loved it. I definitely developed a shopping habit and bought everything in sight! My best pastime being pregnant was making a pregnancy scrap book through the months; I kept everything to do with appointments, scans, cards of congratulations and a photo each week of my growing belly. I really enjoyed pregnancy, believe it or not, despite being as sick as a dog, and I can’t wait to do it all over again.


How was your labour?
My labour started at around midday. I was having contractions 2-5 minutes apart from 6pm on and wasn't dilated at all. I wasn't admitted until my waters broke at 12am. Isaac had pooled in my waters so my whole birth plan went out the window and I was bed bound strapped to machines. After hours of slow labour, a shit-load of gas and air and an epidural to try and relax me and help things along and a close possible emergency C-section Isaac arrived by ventouse delivery at 1.27pm Thursday the 14th November 2013. We were told the reason he was so stressed and had pooled is because his umbilical cord was tied in a tight knot and he was starving of oxygen. He was a miracle. I had my mum and Ben as my birthing partners and it was the best experience of my entire life. I’m so glad I got to share it with them. Next time round I would love to try a more natural approach to birth.

Does Isaac have a routine?
Isaac was great baby; bottle fed and has slept in his own cot from 5 months and sleeps all night still to this day… apart from the odd occasional nights when he has trouble with his teeth. He’s still trying different foods and making his mind up on what he likes but we’re pretty relaxed about it and just share our dinner or organic jars for meal times. He’s a happy, funny, great little boy.


Does Isaac have a favourite toy?
Definitely his panda bear- he cannot sleep without it!

Advice:

What’s the best piece of parenting advice anyone has given you?
The best advice I was given entering parenthood was from my own mother. She told me there is no right or wrong way! You know your child better than anyone and you do what you think is best for them. Not every decision is the right one, but as long as you always try to do your very best and give them all the love in the world and they are happy and have a smile on their face then you’re doing a good job.
There are no rules. As mothers we should all support each other and share advice, never judge, and just love.


A final word on PND:
Everyone said it wouldn't be easy, and I thought I knew what I was letting myself in for, but they never said it would be this hard! Like, really hard. Like your whole world flips upside down and somewhere In between night feeds, washing, cooking, cleaning, and nappy changing you can totally lose yourself and become buried under a pile of stress and emotion and end up and emotional wreck... No one ever told me that one.  And being open about that, and how hard I found becoming a mother at young age (not that age matters it's hard at 21 or 41), is something I promised myself now I will always be open about! We're only human and this is the most challenging thing we will have to ever take on and it's okay to feel crap, to want to have a cry and just have a bad day! Doesn't mean we love our children any less, it's better to be in touch with your emotions and recognise them and talk about them, than to shut them out and shut the world out. Although it's hard to admit it all and say it out loud, I hope that by being honest and speaking about my PND that someone else who is feeling the same might find some comfort or even relief in that they’re not alone.


Thank you so much for sharing, Mikela, and thank you for reading.... Please take a mo to nominate me for the Brit Mums 'Fresh Voice' blogging award (if you think I deserve it, of course!). It'd only take a few minutes; This is the nomination form but details to help you fill it in can be found here. Thank youuuu... and let me know if you'd nominated me as I don't think there's a way for me to find out unless I actually got enough to go through to the next round. Here's hoping, eh?! Have a great Thursday! x
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2 comments

  1. Such a fab post. As a sufferer from PND I couldn't of put it better and it summed up exactly how I felt. Also that body is to die for *goes for a run* xxx

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    1. Thank you so much for reading Becky. Amazing body, huh!!! Really sorry to hear that you've struggled with PND. I definitely have had a few low patches in the last year where I've cried every morning and not wanted to go out but I'm never sure if it's PND. Hope you had a good day xx

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Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to leave a comment. It really means a lot! Nicki x

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