Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Dealing with mastitis naturally

I did well avoiding mastitis for the past almost 8 years, but 2 weeks ago it got me!

It started with a blocked duct one afternoon, which I'm no stranger to. It was in a week where I'd been carrying Ms. Lump around on my left side a lot, pressed up to my left boob, so I assumed it was that to blame.

That evening I'd a friend over and as we chatted I was more aware of the lump, it was definitely sore and I started massaging it a little as I was nursing the baby.

That night the shivering started, I just could not get warm. I got into bed with lots of blankets and a hot water bottle, but nothing could warm my icy feet. I started shuddering so much I couldn't fall asleep, teeth chattering and my body jerking so much I kept waking the baby beside me. My head was burning up but my hands and feet were icy and my boob was feeling more and more tender. This continued all night, and I vomited too. My husband watched over me all night and I only slept in fits and starts, kept waking myself up with the shivering.

The next day I stayed in bed, my mom came to take care of the kids and bring the baby up and down to me for feeding. I kept hot and cold compresses on my breast, which was now rock hard all over half of it. I still had a fever but the shivering had stopped. I slept on and off and did a bit of staring out the window. I couldn't read or listen to anything, just a bit "out of it". I drank a rosemary infusion which I would like to think helped a little as rosemary deals with inflammation. I managed to eat a piece of sourdough toast but I had to force myself to eat it. I had no appetite. I also heard about cutting raw garlic cloves in smaller pieces and swallowing like pills. I did that a couple of times the first day, it was so disgusting but I knew I was going to treat it naturally, and garlic is a natural antibiotic.

I could barely lift my head off the pillow, even turning around to take a drink off the nightstand was too much effort sometimes. There was lots of advice sent to me via friends about taking showers, massaging the breast with a hairbrush (ouch!). using a nappy as a hot compress, but I was too drained to do any of that. So I just massaged it and kept the baby feeding off that side as much as possible.

I slept better the second night and was able to sit up in bed the second day. My boob was still the same, and I had a headache (could have been sugar withdrawal, as I'd been eating a fair bit before I came down with the mastitis - in fact I blame sugar for lowering my immune system, I've noticed I always get sick after a few days of being "naughty"). I noticed I had a lump in a gland under my arm the second day, plus a slight earache on the same side, so I figured the infection was spreading out from the boob. I took more garlic and drank lots of clear liquids, both hot herbal teas and cold water. I'd definitely been dehydrated the days before the mastitis hit too.

And mentally I'd been all over the place, worrying about friends, caring for my kids who had had a bug, working, writing, planning, doing way too much and not focusing on myself at all. All these factors led to me coming down with this infection.

On day 3 I was back tentatively on my feet, the lumpy boob and armpit were still there but not causing me too much pain and I was able to direct proceedings from the sofa, not my bed. So I rested there. Though I noticed when I tried writing I was making loads of typos, it was like the fever had addled my brain a bit and I needed another day or two to get it fully functioning again.

I definitely feel like since going on a "cleaner" diet and lifestyle that I am more susceptible to illness after a bout of eating badly and drinking alcohol. Previously my system was so used to that toxic stuff that it tolerated a lot, but now it doesn't. This means that when I'm well I enjoy better health than before, more energy and vitality, but it takes less to make me sick, if that makes sense. I have read that your gut flora repopulate in a different (better) way after a dietary change for the better, and that's why previously tolerated foods are suddenly triggers for other problems.

That's how I feel the balance is at the moment anyway. I know I definitely need to look closer at my diet and make sure I'm getting the full complement of vitamins I need, and I am making a point of looking after my basic needs: sleep, water, rest, exercise, sunshine - well trying to at least.

I thought the dreaded mastitis was back the other night, a twinge in my boob, nausea in my stomach, feeling generally "off" so I took to bed for 36 hours, continued feeling dodgy, but then realised it wasn't getting any worse. The kids all had a vomiting bug last week so I think I caught the tail-end of that.

Anyway, I'm going to get off the screen now, it's my bedtime. Have you any tips to deal with mastitis? I know I got a mild dose, only one boob, and only half of it inflamed. My heart goes out to anyone dealing with a worse case, it really is the pits. It takes so much out of you, like a flu.

Please leave your tips below, and take care of your boobs, mamas!
Nee x

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Saltwater sandals*

*This is a sponsored post but all opinions as always are my own.

A couple of weeks ago I was sent a pair of Saltwater sandals in the Red original shade from Salt-watersandals.com. To say I haven't taken them off is an understatement. I can't believe how they literally go with every outfit, casual or dressy. Take a look:

The day I got them I put them on with my "secretary style" outfit. Dressing like this helps me write better, I swear. They went perfectly with the tailored black check skirt and red pussybow blouse.

I couldn't resist a photo op on the black and white kitchen floor! 

Another day I wore them with my new summer jeans and a cream pussybow blouse. This day we spent in a park, walking on gravel, grass and climbing rocks, and the sandals were so comfy throughout.

Another day saw us at the beach on the north Dublin coastline. Knowing that Saltwater sandals are made for in and out of the water, I really put them through their paces. They went through shallow rivulets, rock pools, up to my ankles in the waves and not a bother. 

Action shot coming up with my baby on my back. We climbed these rocks for ages, running off the sugar rush of the ice-cream sundaes. Only in Ireland does your baby wear a winter cardigan on the beach in summer.

There was an audible gasp from my family as I stood in the water in my new shoes, but I assured them this was ok, even encouraged! I still ended up holding everyone else's shoes while they played in the water though...

A day drying in my porch and the shoes were as good as new.  I then wore them with this jacket and skirt combo which made me feel so summery. 

The uppers are pure leather, soft yet strong. I had no sore spots nor did I need to break them in. The soles are hard wearing rubber; they are a simple design, built to last. I have my eye on the little girl's ones as I'd love to match with my girl when she's walking, see the kid's colour range here. Lots of unisex colours to be passed down from bro to little sis...

The colour range is amazeballs, I couldn't choose between the red or yellow, or gold... they also have tan, purple, white, navy... every colour you could think of. And I just saw on their Facebook page that a rose gold option arrives this month! I think I'm sold on that option. Check out the women's selection on their website here.

Price is £55 (about 70 euros), shipping to Ireland/Europe is £10.00, and the customer service is great. They come in their own branded box within a bigger box so really secure. 

Sizing is one size up, I am a UK 6 and I took a 7 in these, as advised by the sales team.

I love the retro styling, it has barely changed from the 1940s when they were first invented. They look gorgeous with blue jeans and a simple t-shirt, I even think I'll wear them with opaque tights in the autumn. I don't think I could stretch to frilly ankle socks with them, but I know some mamas who would rock that look!

If you want to check them out for yourself see the website here, their Facebook page here, or follow them on Twitter @Saltwatereurope and Instagram @saltwatersandals_europe. 

What's on your feet this summer?

Nee x

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Losing the baby weight / OOTD

I have come to my senses. "Finally" says you. Well I came to my senses about a month ago, I just didn't get time to blog about it.

I'm not losing the baby weight.

I'm finished weighing myself. I don't give a damn what the scales say. I don't give a shite what size my ass is.

I don't care if I can't wear my size 12 jeans yet. And I'm not counting the weeks to some magical point in the future when I'll be under 10 stone and back into all my pre-baby clothes.

I woke up y'all. That's what happened.

I realised I have three beautiful healthy children. I have a wonderful husband, a gorgeous house. I literally have it all and here I've been whinging about the size of my thighs.

I'm really ashamed I ever blogged all that weight stuff in the first place because I'd like to think I'm better than that. But I guess I get sucked into the "slim is good" shit like most Western women, and I know I'm especially vulnerable after I have a baby.

So I woke up from that self-indulgent crap, realised I needed to give myself a break and haven't worried about it since. The turning point was my realising that I have a flipping prolapse, I am studying and home educating, and starting a business... and my weight is so unimportant. My health is really important, and I'm making the best choices I can most of the time, but I'm not getting hung up on what the scales say. And I see my body shape changing slowly, my waist returning, even though I'm not dropping a dress size just yet.

Now when my kids are getting ice-cream I get one for myself too... and I enjoy it guilt free. I used to hover around waiting for a lick! Now I'm wearing whatever I like, and I'm not worrying what I look like in it either.

I'm so privileged to be white, middle class, Irish, European, housed, educated... and I look at pictures of my sisters in other countries and my heart breaks for the injustices done to them. So how dare I care about about a flipping number on a label.

Rant over. Here are some recent outfits I've been enjoying wearing and posting them on a Facebook group. The group has all sizes and shapes and it's amazing to see real-life women dressing for real life, no stylists, no photo-shopping. It's been really freeing and inspiring.

New charity shop (Primark) blazer
New charity shop Levi's 501s

Bargain coat from New Look, 28 euros in the sale
Charity shop jumper and skirt... there's a running theme here!
Charity shop skirt and top again...
Breaking out one of my favourite bags again
Charity shop jacket and skirt...
Slobbing around the house, scarf hid milk stains on jumper
Me and my laundry, my laundry and me. 
Same laundry, different day. Those boots need a brushing. Note the cute baby feet sticking out from behind me!
I love these pastels, need to wear them more, but so impractical with kids...
Dress worn as skirt, love the new lease of life that gives it.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

One pot dinner and dessert

This is an experiment and I really hope it works out, 'cuz it could be a life-changer...
It's dinner and dessert in one (divided) slow cooker.
Imagine being able to set this in the morning, leave the house, and come back to a hot dinner and dessert. Wow.
This 6.5l slow cooker pot has a wall dividing it into two halves, I bought this special insert in Aldi before Christmas, but I think they still have them. And it fits into the Cookworks 6.5l slow cooker from Argos (which just comes with one massive pot, great for roasting a whole chicken and all your veg).
I decided to use up all our vegetables in a tortilla lasagne, which I previously showed on the blog here. And the other side has a rhubarb polenta cake, I adore rhubarb and I'm so excited to move on from apples and have a new fruit in season.

Above are most of the ingredients for the lasagne. I oiled the inside of the pot before I started. Then I put some passata and the first flour tortilla. Of course you could use normal lasagne pasta sheets, or corn tortillas, even slices of aubergine / courgette for the layers.

Then I grated all the root veg (sweet potato and carrot and onion) in the processor. I'm loving this machine this week, I made almond butter in it for the first time, and it was well up to the job. This blog post's alternate heading by the way is "Tales of a demented housewife" because I'm stuck at home all week with sick kids. They're swapping a bug between them and all I'm doing it seems is breastfeeding snotters, cooking and cleaning...

Then I made sure the lower layers were the veg that take the longest to cook. Not for me the faffing making a tomato or cheese sauce for the layers, I throw in the ingredients separately and they blend together just fine.

Above is carrot, sweet potato, passata and onion with herbs.

The higher layers had sliced bell peppers, some celery and cheese here and there. I kept alternating layers with cheese and passata until the pot was 2/3 full. Any higher and it doesn't cook well.

Then a genius move which I picked up from some US blogs, for a creamy cheesy addition, just whisk an egg into some natural yogurt (I've even used milk in a pinch) and pour that over the very last layer, finish with lots of cheese, 'cuz, you know.

At the same time I had lots of leftover chopped veg that wasn't going to fit in this dish, so rather than store it to use another time, I bunged it into my 3.5l slow cooker with the last of the passata, more herbs and salt, topped with some low, low welfare :( chicken breasts and called it Dada's dinner. He's gone 12 hours today, so it's on low and will be delicious for him when he returns.

So savoury meals done (and it was only 10am... eyeroll, what have I become?) I moved on to the dessert. I had two huge bunches of fresh Irish rhubarb and was thinking of a crumble, but we had that last week a few nights and we're a bit crumbled-out. So I found this this recipe online which used rhubarb and polenta, an ingredient I always have but rarely use. Of course I didn't have most of the basic ingredients (namely sugar and flour, as I'm not buying cane sugar or wheat flour any more for health reasons) so I made lots of substitutions.

My baby on my back in the sling enjoyed gnawing on a stick of rhubarb. I chopped the second bunch of rhubarb and froze it ready to be thrown into a dish next week.

Above are most of the ingredients for the cake. I didn't have enough honey, so I used molasses and millet flakes as the buckwheat was running out too.

The batter looked pretty bona fide anyway, but had a HUGE rhubarb:batter ratio. Because of the polenta and millet it looked pretty dry, but I figure the rhubarb will emit lots of juice so it will hopefully even out... I put a greaseproof paper liner under the cake, and a criss-cross of paper to lift it out with.

A LOT of faffing went into this pot. If it's manky I'll be devastated to be honest. I'm hoping the cake won't pick up garlic flavours for example. About an hour before it's done I'll put a tea towel under the lid to catch condensation so the cake dries out okay, and the tortilla layers aren't too soggy. The lasagne is always better the next day. I'd say I've enough here to feed six hungry adults, so that's us in food for a good few days.

I have it on high for the first few hours and then I'll turn it to medium (if I'm not distracted) and if it's ready before we are I can leave it on low (lid off even) to stay warm.

Hope you're all having a good Friday. We're listening to a Bing Crosby record and it feels really chilled at the moment. Nobody's fighting or crying and I'm quite refreshed from my few hours alone in the kitchen. "Alone" as you can be with a baby on and off you. Oh, spoke too soon, the arguments have started...

Nee x

Edited to add: the results are in... it worked!

They turned out as good as I'd hoped, cpoked in the same amount of time and no taste transfer. What I ended up doing was putting a teatowel under the lid after about an hour when I saw the amount of condensation appearing. I was afraid of the cake staying wet, and this totally did the trick. I replaced it with a dry teatowel when the first got too wet.

Cross section of the lasagne above. I also used a random jar of salsa from the back of the fridge which gave it a nice kick.

This is blurry from the steam, it is really delicious, even with my many substitutions. Not too sweet, we ate it with natural yogurt but it would be even better with whipped cream or ice cream. My paper sling didn't work and I dropped it taking it out of the deep pot, next time I'll fold the paper to make it stronger.

Let me know if you try dinner and dessert in one, or just whatever's in your slow cooker.


Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Home comforts: Closet office reveal!

(This is part two, to see Part one, the planning, please go here)

Woohoo! I'm so excited to finally reveal this to you all! It was about 6 weeks in the planning and doing. Not bad going when you consider I was sometimes only doing 10 minutes work on it a day. What kept me on track was a lot of late-night online searching for inspiration (no Pinterest, just Google, I kind of hate Pinterest), lots of shopping around online, lots of Filofax lists, and finally just writing into my daily to-do list whatever small task needed doing and ticking them off one by one.

I began it on my own, and my bemused other half spent a lot of time asking "what about the coats?" This little closet was our coat closet, and to be honest I didn't have an answer ready for him. The coats have ended up in our back porch, between the kitchen and the back toilet, not very accessible, but it's nearly summer anyway so we'll worry more about it next winter.

So I started hammering and scraping, plastering and stripping (wallpaper...) baby on my back for the most part. About 3 weeks before my birthday I mentioned I'd love to have it done for my birthday, and that the doing and buying of the wallpaper / shelves etc. could be my present. My husband liked the sound of that and got stuck in helping me out, and eventually took over the building and finished it off as a surprise for me. I got to cut the ribbon to declare it officially open on my birthday morning! So very exciting!

Without further ado, here are the "Before" pictures:
First we got under-stairs storage installed, which obviously shortened the available space, but gave us a better use of it. Previously this was all one space full of toys, coats, shoes, winter items and sporting equipment which had to be excavated every time we wanted to find anything. I hadn't seen a particular pair of flip-flops in two years for example... so these drawers, which push to open, now hold toys, shoes and accessories for us all.

To the right of the drawers in the standing space is what used to be a coat closet. Still with the roughly plastered, lilac painted walls from about the 50s. We wallpapered the inside of the door and hung the mirror when we moved in 10 years ago, and put down some carpet. That's the gas meter on the floor.

Close up of the gas meter and the new partition from the under-stairs storage. I was initially worried when I saw how little space was left, thinking I'd never fit a desk in there...

Close-up of the area directly under the stairs, ancient old nails which we used as coat hooks, woodworm, mmm...

And now the "After" photos...
We removed the old nails, and I filled the wood holes and painted two coats of an off-white colour, then my great husband put in a shelf with gold chains and it fits these plastic baskets perfectly.

I love this wallpaper, it's teal and gold with a little glitter. I plastered the walls and dh hung the wallpaper.

Shelf detail above, I love the hint of gold, also seen in the leg of the desk and the lamp, and the wallpaper. The hooks and chain came from a hardware store and the shelf was an off-cut from something in our garage.

My workstation above: the desktop was an old closet door cut to size, with 2x4 batons holding it underneath. The gas meter got a special box made to fit over it and covered with the matching wallpaper. Lamp was bought used online, IKEA stool and stationery from various places.

This shows the full closet office, with the reflection in the mirror on the right, the shelving is Lack by IKEA and it houses some of my books - I still have a load more in the attic to bring down. The storage box under the shelves is for loose papers, but I need a better system for them. The floor for now is two IKEA cotton mats, but I would love some biscuit coloured carpeting or a large rug which fits perfectly. The whole office is 33 inches by 44 inches, so it just shows you what can be done in a small space. The head height is about 7 foot.

I've been loving it, sitting in there (usually with a baby on/under me) studying or writing. The only thing is it's bloody cold in there! It would have made a great pantry... There was an overhead light, and we (he) wired a double socket off the light switch which is working great for now, you'll see it in more detail in the video linked below.

For the guided (video) tour, please see my Youtube video here

Are you inspired to try something similar?
Even a corner of a family room can be made over into a crafting corner, or a cupboard can open to reveal a workstation, there are lots of ideas online for inspiration.
Thanks for coming along on the journey with me!
Nee x

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Should I stay or should I go

This has been on my mind for a while and I just wanted to thrash it out and throw it out for some discussion / feedback.

How do you know when to stop engaging with negative energy, and when do you plough on through?
In other words, how do you know whether to continue fighting your corner, and how do you know to cut your losses and walk away?

This is a biggie for me. I suppose it comes down to boundaries. Growing up I was never very good with boundaries, and I let people walk all over me. I mean, I let a "friend" tell me how to wear my hair. I let the same "friend" dictate our social life. I let another "friend" tell me how to dress etc. Another "friend" was constantly uncomfortable with me in public (Yes, I want to go back and kick my ass out of that situation). I let way too many people try to put me in a box that didn't fit. Maybe this is common, maybe I was just a co-dependent loser, whatever. The couple of times I stood up to these "friends" they dropped me like hot potatoes, leaving me friendless and starting again to build up a network. Pretty typical teenage stuff, but devastating when you're in the middle of it.

Then I had some proper adult relationships and I realised, actually, real friends let you express yourself however you damn well want. Real soulmates embrace you and love you because of your quirks and not in spite of them. Enter unconditional love. Wow, that blew my mind! Looking back, all the others were just thrashing out their own stuff, and I happened to get in the way. Not my circus, not my monkeys.

So I entered into a phase of lovely acceptance, feeling like I had the world suddenly figured out. I made friends with like-minded souls, it was so easy. I found my "tribe" and discovered I was actually quite normal, even boring. Instead of sticking out like an eccentric, I could be part of a crowd and I actually loved it. My nightmares disappeared, I stopped comfort eating, I grew up.

Then things turned a bit sour. A situation got messy. What could have blown over was blown up to epic proportions and I was really shaken by it all.  Like the kind of shaken when your world shifts on its axis for a few days and you look at everyone and everything differently, wondering will things ever feel "normal" again. I recovered and acted on it, getting professional help and taking steps to rectify things, "cleaning up my side of the fence" to invent a metaphor. I used all my "adulting" phrases in our interactions, talking about how I felt, not placing blame, being understanding etc. It didn't work. Still the shit flew, more people were involved. I realised that months had gone by, this negative energy was taking up a lot of my time and headspace. It was impacting on my everyday life. I was having lots of those imaginary conversations, and way too many real ones. It was just huge.

So I walked away. Just got out and let it go.

I felt so much freer, I should have done that sooner. But I thought I had to stay there and engage with it all. Sometimes you will just be banging your head against a brick wall. And that gets bloody sore. Sometimes you have to stay and fight. But sometimes you have to let it go, because your peace is worth more than any redemption you might only possibly get.

My blood pressure has recovered, and I have learned another valuable lesson. I have learned it's ok to not be able to fix things. It's ok if people aren't on my side. It's ok if I have to leave unfinished business in order to stay sane and focus on what's important to me. I used the "in ten years will this really matter?" question, and the answer was clearly "no". Sure, I lost a few people along the way, but were they really "friends" to begin with?

I wanted to put this out there because I rarely hear anyone talking about these situations. I hear about lots of situations people aren't happy with, but I don't often hear about the times people walk away. It is scary, but it can be so worth it.

I know a couple of people who have been through similar situations and the feelings involved seem to be the same as bereavement: shock, denial, anger, sadness, acceptance, in any and all order. These feelings are huge, and I would recommend getting professional help or lots of real friends to support you through it.

Have you experienced anything like this yourself? Did you stay, or go? Are you still in the middle of it? My idea of hell is thrashing that shit out for years. I feel life is too short, and I will do anything now to avoid those situations. I think recognising it is key, and I find writing and talking the best ways to keep in touch with what's going on my own head. I am also now realising that some people bring me joy when I spend time with them. I leave them feeling refreshed, inspired and happy. Some people don't. I leave them feeling drained. So I spend more time with the former and less with the latter. For the record I have also repaired friendships with people after fall-outs and those people are dearer to me because of what we've been through. If it's worth fighting for you will both make equal steps to make it work.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this xx

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Dealing with prolapse

c/o careerrealism.com
I'm breaking one of the last female taboos and going to talk about prolapse here, right now.

If any of you wee when you jump/run/laugh/cough and have given birth, chances are you have one too. Up to 75% of mothers have them, many with little or no symptoms. We pass it off as just something that happens after you have a baby, but what happens when it's actually affecting your quality of life? Let's talk about that.

So my third baby turns 9 months this week. She was my third home birth, my third breastfed baby who I wear in a sling until she learns to walk. Her birth was a bit faster and more furious than the previous two, but I had no tears or stitches. But right away I knew things were "different down there".

Firstly the urge to pee had disappeared. I figured I wasn't drinking enough water, and by tandem feeding was using up my body's water supply. That was the first and biggest sign that something wasn't right.

About a week after her birth I had a dream that my bladder was floating outside of my lower abdomen, swinging on my urethra. Little did I know that my bladder was indeed in the wrong place.

When I examine myself now, my cervix is way over to the left, it used to be central. But my womb is not prolapsed.

My bladder is prolapsed into my vagina, not a lot, but enough to be uncomfortable. I sometimes feel like a tampon is too low, that bulging sensation that makes me want to do kegels to "hold it all in". This feeling can last a day or two weeks, it depends.

My rectum is also prolapsed into my vagina. Less than my bladder, but enough that I suffer constipation and it makes my "bulging" feeling worse when I need to have a bowel movement.

I haven't had any urinary incontinence, but I get "incomplete voiding" or in layman's terms - when I stand up after weeing I feel the need to wee some more, and if I don't I will wet myself. There you go, it's all out in the open now.

I thought all this was normal. Looking back I had this after my first two births as well. The first birth also gave me tailbone damage which took almost a year to stop hurting but still gave me trouble for the next 7 years. I had to sit sideways even on a sofa, and after getting up off a hard chair I could feel it "pop" back into place. Miraculously I think this third birth has cured it, as I'm no longer aware of it and can sit on any damn surface I want. Tailbone damage and prolapse go hand in hand as I only just learned.

Sex was excruciating after my first birth, it took 11 months for me to feel comfortable, before that I always felt "something" in the way, looking back that was my bladder prolapse. It was quicker to heal after the second birth and I had no stitches then, so that helped. This time around I'm too scared to even try yet, my symptoms are so pronounced.

So after a few months of discomfort, feeling like my insides might fall out whenever I squatted on the floor with the kids, I went to my GP who, the fantastic efficient lady that she is, referred me to physiotherapy. I attended physio for about 5 months, but my recovery has been so slow I wonder is there much more they can do.

I'm researching and reading everything I can about this. I have heard about pessaries (things you place in the vagina to push the organs back where they should be) and surgery has been mentioned but I don't want to go there mentally yet.

My physio said it is likely that I will make a full recovery, seeing as I did before. I have read that breastfeeding helps suck things back up, tightening the ligaments. But I've also read that breastfeeding and the resulting low oestrogen levels (until your period returns) prolongs the healing process, so it's hard to know. I'm siding with Mother Nature as always, figuring biology built us to feed our young until they could fend for themselves, so I'm going to continue breastfeeding and heal in my own time. I'm not going to wean her early, nor introduce more solids to make her feed less and get my period back quicker.

I've joined an online support group where I've been a bit overwhelmed by the ladies stories of surgery and dramatic external prolapses, but I've been warmly welcomed and they're answering my newbie questions with patience and support.

I've asked on some social media groups about baby-wearing with prolapse (as carrying her on my front definitely makes it worse) and dietary/herbal healing tips. I've heard that back carries are best, plus lecithin granules help the tissues strengthen. I'm drinking nettle and raspberry leaf tea, am keeping up my iron tonic and B complex and am trying to avoid constipation which can make it worse. I've also noticed my symptoms are worse after alcohol, so I'm going to avoid that until I'm more healed.

I returned to yoga a couple of months ago and loved it. Then I discovered a local pilates class which I figured would strengthen my core and pelvic floor, as my physiotherapist had recommended some pilates exercises. But this class was crunch-heavy, we were doing the plank, and lots of abdominal exercises which actually made my prolapse symptoms return after about a month of none at all.

So I've been pretty down about all this to be honest. I've had weeks where I haven't wanted to get up off the sofa, my symptoms were so bad. I've felt like I didn't want to leave the house somedays, I've spent many days in bed and I've cried many tears. I have been depressed about it, feeling like I hate all those organs for "failing me" and not behaving like they were supposed to. I'm annoyed I can't control this nor make it magically disappear. I feel dissociated from that whole area of my body, which is in total contrast to how I felt during pregnancy. It has dictated how we spend our days as a family, and definitely affected my enjoyment of my baby's infancy.

I'm also upset that less walking has meant that I'm holding on to the "baby weight" more than I would have before. I want to be back in my old clothes. I feel uncomfortable with this extra weight on me. I also berate myself for being so vain and self-absorbed. I want to stretch my legs and get walking the hills, but I'm finding I just can't. I have to meet friends in a coffee shop instead of a walk in a park.

One day on my feet means the next day has to be on my ass to recover. I can't wear my baby out walking more than once or twice a week, and even holding her in the house is hard after a while, and she is the kind of baby who wants to be up in my arms all day long. I'm cooking, cleaning, doing laundry with her in my arms, you know how it is mama. Walking upstairs carrying her I have to consciously hold up my pelvic floor, as it feels really uncomfortable. I'm sad that it means I'll have to use a buggy with her, that wasn't in my plans and I find them really cumbersome.

I've told all my "real life" friends about this, but this week I'm coming clean online. I've had so many women whisper their own symptoms to me you wouldn't believe. But it's all hush-hush. It's like "period talk" when we were teens, that was all taboo back then.

Well I'm pissed off about it, and I need to talk, and I want some answers. I've made an appointment with a kick-ass private physio who specialises in this, and I can't wait to meet her in 5 weeks. I'm going back to my GP and I'm asking for a referral to a gynae for a proper exam and possibly ultrasound to see what the heck is going on with my left-leaning womb.

I'm not going to stop reading and researching and annoying my health-care providers until I get this fixed. I'm not going to spend my life wondering is it "safe" for me to break out into a jog or will my insides fall out. And I'm not going to let any taboos make me feel weird for breaking the silence surrounding pelvic organ prolapse. Who's with me?!

Nee x