Winging It!: Parenting in the Middle of Life! By Alex Jones
Alex Jones’ brand new book ‘Winging It’ is described as a ‘support group for parents who are having their children in their thirties and forties to get together, to celebrate, share experiences, laugh and find joy in what is still the biggest life changing experience any of us will ever go through’. Featuring real life anecdotes and expert advice, you wont be able to put it down! To celebrate the publication day, we have a sneak peak from the book! Read to the bottom and see how you can enter our competition to WIN!
I just want to sleep
Harder to fix are sleep-related problems. The one thing that you desperately need above anything else when you’re pregnant, is a good night’s sleep, yet, in a cruel twist of fate, it can be the hardest thing to accomplish. There are many roots to the problem: your bump’s too big and you can’t get comfortable, sore hips and joints, heartburn, your baby is most active at bedtime and is having an all-night rave in your tummy, you need to pee multiple times a night and can’t get back to sleep, or you have a severe cramp in your calf that leads to you leaping out of bed and hopping like a mad person across the bedroom floor.
Apart from having to correct an old habit of sleeping on my back, which is deemed unsafe for the baby after the halfway mark, and the odd cramp that left me wanting to saw my leg off at knee level, I slept relatively well, my daily 4am bathroom visit being the only disturbance.
Keep your heartbeat up
I put my sleeping well down to the fact that I did some form of exercise most days. I’m not talking 10k runs or a high intensity session – I’m definitely not one of those superwomen who exercised manically right up until the birth – I just did something to get my heart rate up. Keeping active really helped me enjoy my pregnancy and avoid lots of the painful side effects. I revised my routines on a weekly basis: I stopped running at 18 weeks, replaced that with some gym-based cardio on the cross-trainer and bike, as with some weights, and only did about 25–30 minutes a day. For the last eight weeks, I replaced the gym with brisk walking, which became my go-to activity.
The irony is that while I managed all this when I was pregnant, I’ve barely put a foot in a trainer since, but those excuses are for another chapter. I look back on my pregnancy with immense fondness. I felt more at ease with myself than I had in my whole life, I loved not having the pressure to be slim and my bump became a symbol of my new-found purpose. There were some dark days, naturally, but being pregnant brought me a type of happiness and contentment that I’d never experienced before. The best way I can describe it was like the ‘Ready Brek’ effect. Ted gave me a warm glow right from the start.
Sleep or lack of it
Every single night is like playing Russian roulette. Even now, when Teddy is nearly ten months, we creep upstairs, Matrix-style, avoiding all the floorboards we marked out early on as perilous; we both go about our ablutions silently, running the tap for milliseconds for teeth brushing and definitely not flushing the toilet, then, when we have both finally got to our bedroom at the other end of the landing, we have the same futile conversation in a loudish whisper: ‘Do you think he’ll sleep tonight?’
It starts the minute you arrive home from the hospital. I remember our first night vividly. This one single night is the biggest wake-up call of all. After a feast prepared by Mum of steak pie and veg as she tried to ‘feed me up’ and increase my iron, we, as a new family of three, went up to bed for the first time. My sister’s advice was to go to bed as late as possible in those early weeks so that at least the inevitable long and lonely night in front of you is as short as it can be. It turned out that that was a great piece of advice. Every night for the first three or four weeks we waited until 1am, sometimes even 2am, before we took Ted up to bed. I would leave the last feed as late as possible in the hope that we could put him down straight after that, and on a good night, I’d have two hours of unbroken sleep before waking up for the next onslaught, which felt like a luxury at the time.
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