Telling My Stepchildren About My First Pregnancy

climb no 2

This topic is very close to my heart, almost as close as my stepchildren! For many who don’t know, my stepchildren live with us all the time. They have been living with us since their biological mother decided to not be a part of their lives when they were just four and two.

Fast forward five lovely years, and we live like any other normal family. The kids call me ‘mummy’ and I am practically their mother in every sense. My day begins with waking them up and ends with checking on them in bed fast asleep. Not wanting to sound selfless, but for the longest time, I didn’t follow my career path to raise these two munchkins just the way I would have wanted to if they were my own. I chose to be there for every school event, I chose to be there for every fall they’ve ever endured to every failure they might have to overcome and of course, every success they’d need cheering for. We have been living in a lovely little cocoon of ours where, the mention of ‘stepfamily’ doesn’t exist.

But now I am pregnant with my first child! It was a big deal to even coming to planning another child let alone telling the news to the kids. So many worries encapsulated me and particularly my husband. What would the kids think? How would they feel about it all? They will start thinking about their biological mother and worry about her absence afresh.

Our kids have always known that that they have come from a womb of another mother who loved and cherished them for as long as she did. As they grew, we even showed them their mother’s pictures. So far so good. But this is different. There is going to be another baby in the house. Even a biological sibbling at times develops massive jealousy issues and anxiety, our kids are living a different life (even though we try our best to make it normal).

Some of our concerns were true. Our youngest who practically never talks or asks about her mother started talking about her, expressed an interest in seeing her picture and wanting to share it with her friends. A part of me cringed (so I didn’t allow the picture sharing) but it is not about me. We showed her the pictures and went through the history all over again without making it a very emotional/sentimental episode but as a matter of fact. Kids tends to deal with matter of facts better.

We have been there to answer all their questions, including, ‘Mum will you still be able to play with us, cook with us and read us books from time to time?’ Oh God Yes!!

Our son found out about my pregnancy through a card someone sent me to congratulate us. He seemed very excited about it then. But we could also tell, he had something going on inside of him. We had weeks and weeks of physical tantrums like trying to throw things at us, punching, shoving etc etc.

Both my husband and I had to have a calm chat with him. We offered to answer any questions or worries he may have in his mind. My husband is good at such kind of talks.

My health is partly to blame as well. We often forget that parent’s illness can have such a deterimental effect on the children. My first 5 months were horrible due to hypermesis. I looked like I was dying. My kids were convinced I was dying. I am the primary care-giver in this family. I am the BOSS!! But when I fell pregnant, the whole house fell apart. There were days I wouldn’t see the kids because I never got out of the bed. I couldn’t stand the smell of my children and husband to even give them a hug. It was dire. It was only natural for the kids to have felt abandoned already, insecure and worried about their mother’s life and worst of all, it might have been a huge struggle to connect to this baby whose presence made their mum so poorly. But things started to change as my health started to get better. My husband asked me to pull myself together for the sake of our children. So I did!

Whilst my husband took care of answering all the kids’s worries with a talk, I took a different approach. I chose to indulge both the kids in feeling involved in this pregnancy and connect with the baby even before it is born. We discussed how they could help once the baby is born. Reuben chose to take the role of a big brother who reads to the baby a story a day before bed. Irene, in general, has been very excited and has helped me sort out baby’s wardrobe’s, choosing and chucking away things for the baby from a pile of second hand clothing’s that we received from so many different friends and acquaintances.

Taking them to the shops and asking them to help choose things for the baby, made them really excited. They both want to take the baby to the Howlett’s zoo when it is born, only so that they could buy the baby it’s first cuddly toy.

Icing on the cake was when they both felt massive kicks from the baby when they spoke to it. Now the baby listens to both it’s sibblings say hello to it when they come back from school and a very loving good night before they head off to bed.

Children are very uncomplicated. A lot of love and reassurance does the trick mostly. Letting them know that you are always happy to answer any of their queries makes them feel secure and involving/indulging them in the process of preparing for the new baby.

I am really grateful to have been blessed with such a lovely family already, especially my stepchildren. Without their kindness and acceptance of me in their lives, I would have never experienced motherhood the way I have. I feel so confident about becoming a mother to my first child; and that is because of Reuben and Irene. People always say how lucky the kids are to have had me in their lives, but I think it has worked out for both parties equally. They have taught me how to love selflessly and above all how to be a mother.

Do any of you have stepchildren? How did you speak to your stepchildren about your pregnancy? Please let me know through your comments below.

 

The Body Shops Warming Mineral Mask Review

Copyrights: Bysushi

Copyrights: Bysushi

I have been blessed with a very healthy skin. So it doesn’t require much looking after. My make-up only involves a moisturiser and some highlights with a lipstick and a kohl liner. That’s that!

Having said that I do like to indulge in pampering my facial skin with a face mask from time to time. As a teenager I used fruit peel masks widely popular in India, where I grew up. But as I grew older, I started enjoying clay masks. During this on going pregnancy, I threw up so much that I can feel the dehydration on my skin everyday. I can sense the need to exfoliate and massage my face from time to time. I usually use a homemade blend of double cream, turmeric and honey but I am a bit bored of that so when I went to The Body Shop recently, I picked up this mineral mask.

The Body Shops Mineral Mask is self warming perfect for winter time. As soon as you rub it in, it starts warming up and feels very comforting to the skin unlike clay masks which can feel chilly in winter. The texture is very creamy, unlike a clay mask that cakes up as it dries. I waited more than the recommended 5 minutes hoping it would dry and start cracking – a sign that it is time to wash it off. But then, I quickly realised that it is a mineral mask  and that it won’t dry out like a clay mask. Anyhow, I washed my face with luke warm water and I felt so gorgeous. My skin had an instant glow and felt so smooth.

I would as a tip suggest, that you wash your face first, and exfoliate with either a Konjac Sponge or any product that your fancy. Then apply the mask on wet skin and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes before washing it. Do not apply any soap for atleast 12 to 24 hours. Apply either some almond oil or your favourite night cream afterwards for full result.

Oh, I forgot to mention that the skin did not feel dry at all even after washing off the mask. One of my kids in bed was calling out for me, so I had to rush into their bedroom after washing my face. It took me about 15 to 20 minutes before I could apply any moisturiser on my face and in that time, I never once felt my skin tightening up or drying out as it does with clay masks sometimes, especially in cold weather.

I give it 5 stars and highly recommend it. I love it’s magical warming sensation!

My favourite Pregnancy Books

I was advised by my mum and aunt to not read too much. Reading, although, can be very useful; they believed it kills your instinct as you keep analysing every small little changes in your body and you anticipate your body to act in a certain way, which when fails to take the form of reality causes panic and anxiety within us. I agree!

Yet, I fell for some books. My doula supplied me with a number of books and then my husband really wanted to share a book that helped him learn about women’s anatomy during and post pregnancy. I just couldn’t say no.

So of all the books I have enjoyed reading a few mentioned below and I highly recommend people to give it a go if pregnant or have someone pregnant close to you. (They are not in any order of preference)

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

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This book is a classic. Half of the book covers birthing stories of different parents. And the other half gives you a lot of information about nutrition, your rights, painkillers etc etc. It helps you understand the different hormones produced during labour at different stages of labour which I found particularly fascinating! It walks you through every stage of fear and anxiety one may feel during pregnancy and during labour or post-labour.

I particularly, enjoyed reading the birth stories. I read one to two stories every night before going to bed. For someone like me who wants to have a homebirth, naturally there are concerns about all kinds of things going wrong. And to read the stories of people who have experienced pretty much everything you may fear going wrong in your labour, and yet have come out of it on the other side feeling positive about their childbirth is very inspiring. Must Read!

Your Pregnancy Bible by Dr. Anne Deans

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This was my first pregnancy book that my husband gave me. It is what it says. It is very encyclopedia like. It explains baby’s development in the womb from week 1 with picture illustrations. It shows bodily changes in women throughout pregnancy with pictures. What I like the most about this book are the picture illustrations. It feels like you are reading a magazine, lounging on the sofa with a cup of tea with no sense of obligation of having to read it because you are pregnant. It is light, glossy and easy read!

Natal Hypnotherapy: Effective Birth Preparation by Maggie Howell

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I have chosen to go the route of hypnobirthing with my first baby. Like many first time parents, I have/had some anxiety about labour and hence have also chosen to have a home birth to have the added bonus of comfort to ease off my anxiety. Maggie Howell has written various books of Natal Self-Hypnosis to guide you through different stages of pregnancy. I have been listening to her relaxation CD throughout my pregnancy which helped me a lot, fight through severe hypermesis. I am hoping to achieve similar results from this book and the CD (yet to listen to it) that came with it.

This whole set (book & cd), provides you with techniques to relax, visualise and breathe through your labour in a way that you feel grounded and at ease with the changes the body goes through in the process of birthing your child. It talks about various fears and anxiety one may feel, it prepares women to use their own intuitions, resources to have a positive birthing experience.

I am really looking forward to listening to the CD in my third trimester!

 

 

Pregnancy – 25 Weeks Update

25 weeks

25 weeks old baby in the womb (google images)

I don’t usually do weekly or even monthly updates but now that I am finally enjoying this pregnancy after 5 months of hypermesis I thought, it is time to review my own pregnancy!

Another reason to write a post is because I feel we have reached a milestone in our pregnancy at 6 months now. Not only can it be very very official, but also the fact that now the baby although has a lot of growing to do still, can be born and yet have a good chance of survival.

From week 20, I could finally start working regularly (my work is walking dogs, it is intensely physical and active job), cooking without gagging and sorts. Christmas was fabulous with just one day of sickness, but nothing major. But what was special around Christmas time was that the belly had popped. I was so pleased that the guests will be able to see my belly!

But last week, I went to a baby shower and a birthday party, where people noticed my bump and I was so pleased! I am finally looking pregnant. I haven’t gained much weight, just gained enough to be back to my pre-pregnancy weight (I’d lost 5 kgs due to hypermesis at the begnning of my pregnancy).

Highlights: Undoubtedly, the kicks! I could personally feel the baby quite early on in the pregnancy around week 14th with those little flutters which could sometimes be confused for trapped wind. But it was around 18th week that we could feel the kicks from both ends, inside and out. Now the kicks are getting even stronger and the baby is taking huge movements. The baby also seems to be very receptive to it’s daddy’s voice and our pooch’s nuzzling.

Being able to cook for my family has been the second best highlight for me this trimester. Being able to cook and eat it is a bonus!

Negatives: There are a few things that bother me these days – First and foremost is my lack of sleep! I am constantly itchy, back in sore and belly is in the way! My mind seems to constantly be active and over-think. So every morning when the alarm goes off, I feel like, ‘Oh but I didn’t sleep at all’.

Second thing that bothers me, is when people look at me ‘obviously pregnant’, but when they find out that I am 6 months pregnant, they say, ‘oh you are tiny’. For goodness sake! I am about to have belly envy!!

Pregnancy brain is the bain of my life at the moment. For someone who is always so organised about her keys and wallet, now spends half an hour looking for them. I was saying to my husband, ‘Do you think like hypermesis, pregnancy brain will go away as soon as the baby pops out?’ to which his response was, ‘Sure and then it will turn into baby brain.’ So I guess I am stuck with forgetfulness for a while now.

Anyhow, although I don’t have any body image issues, never did and hope never will! I am trying to enjoy every bit of my body right now, just incase I chose to complain about my shape post-baby!

Cravings:  For the longest time, I couldn’t eat much and ended up losing a good 5 to 6 kgs. It is only now that I am enjoying food. I don’t have any particular cravings, but spicy food is preferred. But then, I always preferred spicy food, so it could simply mean that I have my apetite back.

One craving I do have is of eating chicken from time to time. I know it is a pregnancy craving because like alcohol, I gave up meat a year or so ago. I still can’t eat more than a few bites of it, and it has to be seasoned really really well. Current favourite hangout is Nandos!

I have been attracted to healthy meals only throughout my pregnancy. I never had cravings for unhealthy greasy or sugary food/drinks. I love love and have always enjoyed eating lots of fruits. But just a week ago, I have particularly started enjoying a little bit of tartness – plums in particular!

Aversions: Ok, there are a couple I think. I have huge aversion towards anything sweet. I never had a sweet tooth but I did enjoy my cup of tea with 3 spoonfuls of sugar and my daily dose of chocolate but now, they could literally make me gag. I am also strangely aversed to drinking tap water, it literally makes me throw up. It has be to Highland’s Spring water, very very cold from the fridge even in this prickling cold winter.

 

Gender: I could do a whole blog post about the gender of the baby. We haven’t found out the gender, neither do we intend to. There is such a fun element to not knowing. I am totally enjoying the guessing games and the old wives tales that my mother and grandmother keep coming up with, closely investigating the shape of my bump, my belly button to my step-children’s behaviour! Every movement I take apparently tells something about the gender of the baby. So far, popular opinions say it is a GIRL!! But, is it?

Baby Shopping: We have also finally started shopping for the baby. We brought a few clothes,  a whole new kit of cloth nappies to last us a year, baby skincare range and room is semi done! Just need a cot, sling and a pram!

I have to especially thank all of my friends who have been so kind to pass me on some of their babies clothes, bouncy chairs etc. Baby shopping can be so expensive especially when it is your first and you want everything to be new only to realise that the baby kept outgrowing things much quicker than expected!

Yoga and Meditation:  I am pleased to announce that I have started my regular yoga sessions again. I couldn’t practice any form of exercise or meditation with my hypermesis for a long time but I am dedicating my last two trimester to centre myself and prepare my body for the big labour day. I know it is good for me when I feel the baby sway around in my belly with every deep breath I take and kicks to every long stretch that I do!

Few months ago when I was throwing up 25 to 30 times a day, never did I think I would say this but at 6 months now, I can say how quick the time has flown. I will be a mommy in just 3 months time. We are so excited and cannot wait for the little spirit to liven this mad house even more.

 

 

Konjac Sponge – Review

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Konjac Sponge is very commonly used in East Asia and is picking up on popularity in other western countries. I heard about it through another blogger and loved the idea of daily exfoliation.

If we think about it, skin is the largest organ in our body and yet we are so reckless with it. It is exposed to pollution and dirt and it needs looking after. Daily exfoliation is one way to go about it. I grew up scrubbing my whole body with various sponges and brushes. I have a distinct memory of my dad scrubbing himself till he went pink and you could tell that those dead cells are all gone. But face is an altogether a different story!

The skin on our face is so sensitive and so delicate that over indulging it with make-up or cleansing can dry it out and cause more harm than benefit it. So when I heard of Konjac Sponge that is being used widely around the other side of the world, I thought of giving it a go. I have been using it for almost a year now and I have to say I am impressed. I have not washed my face with soap in a long time. That is the benefit of using Konjac Sponge. It exfoliates, cleanses, tones and helps release natural oils essential for keeping the skin supple and naturally moisturised.

The best thing about Konjac sponge is that it is hardly a sponge. It is made out of a root vegetable making it 100% natural and eco-friendly. Konjac has 97% water, rich in minerals and is PH neutral making it perfectly suitable and alkaline to balance the skin cells.

I use it daily in the shower to remove make-up and to clean up excess debris off my face. If I have layers of make-up, the most I do is rub my face with avacado oil and wipe it off with some cotton balls (same for eye make-up removal as well), followed by Konjac sponge scrubbing.

It is very easy to use as well. All you have to do is, soak it for 10 to 15 minutes in warm water for it to soften up and as it absorbs all the water, it doubles up in size. Once ready, squeeze out all the excess water and exfoliate to your delight and then simply rinse off your face. Wash the sponge and leave it to dry. It is easy to carry with you on your travels and requires minimum maintainence. One sponge will last you for months. I brought two and after almost 8 months it is only now, that I am thinking of replacing the old with the new. For about £9 for almost years usage, it is a bargain.

Please try it out for yourself and let me know your thoughts on it.  I shall wait eagerly to hear your opinions on it.

 

P.S: This post was not sponsored. Also, a last minute addition to this post is the link to the one I brought from Amazon (the link might be inactive if the manufacturer decides to remove it but if so, order one that says 100% vegetable fibre with no colouring) http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ora-Natural-Japanese-Facial-Vegetable/dp/B011STO9GW/ref=sr_1_10/275-7076527-8272337?ie=UTF8&qid=1452504637&sr=8-10&keywords=charcoal+konjac+sponge

Sushi’s Cod and Prawns Stew

Copyrights: Sushmita C Targett

Copyrights: Sushmita C Targett

I take credit for the recipe simply because I made it up as I went along. I put a few things that were sitting in the fridge together and surprised myself. So here you go..

Ingredients:

3 Cod fillet, cut into halves

8 to 10 large king prawns

500 gms of cherry tomatoes, cut in halves

1 onion, finely chopped

5 to 6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

few basil leaves, chopped

handful of parsley, finely chopped

1 chilli, de-seeded and chopped

Salt to taste

Sugar to taste

2 tbsp vegetable oil

Method: 

In a saucepan or pan, heat the oil. Sweat the onions and garlic for couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes and cover the pan with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes or until the tomatoes melt. Add basil leaves and the seasoning. Throw in the cod, splash of water and cover it with lid for another 10 minutes on low heat. Open the lid, add the prawns and parsley and cook for further 4 minutes until the prawns cooked.

Serve hot with rice and my fennel salad.

Hope you enjoy it!

 

Zoe Bee Beauty Cream – Review

Courtesy: Zoe Bee

Courtesy: Zoe Bee

I am a big fan of natural products that are easy on the skin. When I was growing up there was a distinct difference between grown up creams and child friendly creams because grown up products often had harsh chemicals that were unsuitable for baby skin. But now as a grown up, I have come to realise that our skin is no less important than any baby skin, given it is one of the largest organ in our body. So if a cream claims to be healthy for our skin but not for children, then it is best to kept away from.

Now since, this pregnancy, I have been after products that are not only good for me but also for the baby when it arrives. A friend of mine suggested someone she knew who makes amazing natural creams from her home. And that is how I got in touch with Zoe. She was very kind to make a blend for me and my baby.

The blend she made for us is rich with raw shea butter and raw cocoa butter, unrefined coconut oil, almond oil, vitamin e oil and aloe vera. Now, don’t you like the fact that you can name and understand each and every ingredient that went into this little jar of magic? There are different scents to pick from but the one she sent me was lavender and pachouli , although you can choose to have no scent at all. But I find no scent a bit meh.

The cream is so rich that it almost feels like wax in your hand. You need to rub a pea sized portion in between your palms until you see nothing but scrumptious oils before you rub it all over your skin. I have to be honest that it took a fair bit of getting used to personally. But I think I struggled with the scent more than the actual cream itself. The time when I received it was when I was suffering from acute hypermesis and any enhanced scent would put me off. And it is only now that I have realised that strangely, during this pregnancy, I cannot stand my favourite smell of lavender anymore. So I won’t blame the cream or it’s scent but my pregnancy.

One thing to note is that it is so rich that it is not friendly for all weather. During winter though, it is a delight. It is absorbed by the skin very well leaving it slightly greasy but not off putting(ly) so. I reckon in summer, it might be a different story. Perhaps, use it over night or change the blend for spring/summer. The best thing about it is that Zoe is so accomodating that she will make a blend to your own requirement.

Although not meant for eczema, it worked a charm on my children’s eczema prone skin. They totally love the smell and it makes them feel that much more special to be using ‘mummy’s cream’ which is a rare delight.

This blend has surely made me curious to try out some of her other products, definitely!

Zoe Bee’s shop can be found on Etsy or here.

 

P.S: This post was sponsored by Zoe Bee Beauty