Oh my goodness, what a year! I have had years that have had more impact on my immediate family, but never have I had a year when I have been so swept along on a tide of inspiration and enthusiasm. I am of course talking about the #MatExp campaign.
It started with sharing birth stories. Then I was a breastfeeding champion for NHS Change Day. Then we started a Facebook group. Then we built a website. Then we started to blog about the Facebook discussions. Then we connected with the NHS Maternity Review Team. Now we’re going to the NHS Expo in September. And there is talk of a #MatExp conference.
It has been Fan.Tas.Tic.
Followers of this blog will know that June was a bumpy ride for me. July has not been much better. In amongst the booming and crashing of waves of #MatExp action real life has once again intruded in the cruellest of ways. Events within my physical community and stories from my online communities have made me want to hug my family very very tight.
So that is exactly what I am going to do.
My big boy, Edward, is “graduating” from his Nursery class next week, ready to start Reception in the autumn. My baby, David, is growing up incredibly fast, racing towards his second birthday in September. I am pretty sure my husband, Phil, still exists somewhere amongst the toys, washing, paperwork and social media platforms. It is time to focus on them and to have a summer before another year flies by in a haze of “doing”.
I am not intending to disappear completely – clearly I cannot exist without social media to sustain me – but I will not be blogging here or on MatExp until the autumn. Today will be my last #MatExp “follow Fridays” on Twitter for a few weeks. I don’t have any #hospitalbreastfeeding meetings planned, or Playgroup meetings, or user groups or conferences. I am saying “no” instead of “yes I’ll fit that in”.
So what will I be doing? Playing firemen, building train tracks, “buying” plastic food and pretending to eat it – whatever the boys have in mind really! I expect that Hairy Maclary will have to be read at least once a day, and no doubt Bob the Builder will be watched on loop. We might even pull apart the sofa cushions and make a den.
But also on the agenda will be self care. It is impossible to help people, effect change, act with compassion or provide support if your resilience is low. I have received a tiny insight into the world of midwives and health visitors who have to care, deeply, face-to-face every day and I do not envy you. It is hugely depleting. So self care – swapping blogging for bubbles baths and tweeting for thumb twiddling.
And cutting down on sugar. Now I know that cake sustains me almost as much as does social media, but enough is enough. I know I am at the end of my tether when an entire tub of Haagan-Dazs disappears during one episode of Gravity Falls. Slightly less adrenaline, slightly less caffeine and a lot less sugar – that is the plan.
You have heard of Courage Butter as spread by JennytheM? Well I am aiming for Emotional Sugar. Every time I fancy some chocolate or a cupcake or a bucket-load of ice cream I will be reaching out for my family instead. Comfort food is so often used when actual comfort is just as readily available and far lower in calories. Kisses and hugs instead of marshmallows and cream. Coz these little dudes won’t be little forever. And if I don’t spend time appreciating my family, then what the hell am I campaigning for?
See you in September xx