• Kathryn Welsh

A year of a new chapter.

I can not believe that it has been a whole year since I wrote a blog post. I set my intention to be more open (I’m usually an extremely private person) and write about my art, spiritual experience and other things that felt important to me. I had decided to share my life abit more, and let people meet the artist behind the work I create.

Those who follow me on instagram (@oneseeingghost) will know that things have been quiet over the year in terms of creating, and even with what I have chosen to share online. But the biggest events in my life, and reason for quietness, were because I became a Mother, and bought a house with my husband!

This time last year, I spoke my famous last words, ‘I can’t believe I’m pregnant, I don’t feel pregnant, I don’t feel different in any way’ , as I did what ever number pregnancy test (I did 7 in total). It wasn’t a complete surprise, after Chris and I married in the September, we started trying straight away. We had always wanted a family together, and had been waiting for the ‘right’ time.

However, the first trimester symptoms soon hit me like a brick in the face. I was even signed off from work for 2 weeks. I just couldn’t function. I have never felt so exhausted in my life. I tried to go to work on some days, but couldn’t cope, I felt like I was going to drop from the severe fatigue and wanted to cry. I also wanted to throw up, constantly. The nausea was terrible, I couldn’t bare the smell or thought of almost every type of foods, and spent the entire time either not eating, or snacking on dry bread, avocado toast, banana or lightly salted popcorn for the most part. To this day, I have not been able to eat butternut squash, despite it being a previous favourite. Thankfully, I wasn’t actually sick (I don’t do well with throwing up) but think I’d have felt better if I had. The anti sickness tablets prescribed by the GP did give some relief.

As I was so warn out, to the point where lying in bed reading a book or magazine was far to exhausting, there was little hope of me maintaining a blog. As the months went on we also had stress from our living situation. We had been living happily in a one bed council flat near the city. We were aware that it was now unsuitable, given it was third story (the top) and had stairs as soon as the front door opened. We fought for months with the council to move. It wasn’t just because of the stairs problem (I couldn’t lift a pram up them) but that we had squirrels nesting in the loft, and cockroaches from another flat finding their way into our kitchen.

We tried everything for help – contacting environmental health, pest control, going through complaints process with the council, taking it further to tenancy panel, talking to local councillor, making a case with the housing ombudsman… We needed repairs in the roof of the row of flats, and them to find where the cockroaches where coming from. When we went to hospital for our 12 week scan, we told the consultant our situation , and she kindly wrote a letter explaining that it was unsuitable for me to live there while pregnant and certainly unsuitable for a newborn. During the entire time, the council where aware of our pregnancy, and when I sent to forms off for a move, we were rejected. I appealed, and the decision of the panel saw no problem with our living conditions, despite including the letter from the hospital consultant.

After a couple months, on one particular bad morning, (I woke at 4 am to a few text on my phone from the bank, turned out my card had had fraudulent transactions from America) I was making breakfast, and as I turned to pick up my plate, coffee in hand, a cockroach ran past it. The stress was too much, and on that day I called my Mum and asked if I could stay with her and Dad for a bit until we found somewhere. Chris stayed in the flat as it was harder for him to get to work from where my parents lived, and during that time, as we had already done so a million times, he pulled all appliances out the kitchen, deep cleaned, researched methods to kill and stop cockroaches. He bought endless products, re sealed the entire kitchen, and still they got in. He even had to fix a hole in the airing cupboard that was accessed from the living room as damaged and soiled insulation from the squirrels in the loft had started to fall though.

With time being of the essence, it was then that we began to look into options of private renting or if we could buy with our circumstances, as we didn’t believe we would be eligible. Thankfully, we were, and with help from my parents, and with the Universe leading us to a new chapter in our lives, we moved into our new home. As many will know, the house buying process is never straight forward, and we had many delays and obstacles along the way. We were very fortunate to have had so much help from my parents and our family and friends to help us move and get some rooms decorated. We focused on main rooms, having the spare room filled with boxes yet to be unpacked.

I wasn’t able to do much. By that point I was heavily pregnant and in alot of pain with my back. I had been struggling to do my job and had to push for changes as I was finding it was too much. I took maternity leave a week early then planned, and spent alot of time sitting and trying to do gentle walking, or shall I say painfully waddling. Every time I stepped forward and put weight on my right leg, intense pain would shoot up my back. I couldnt roll over in bed without being near tears, and the physio workshop did little to help.

Chris and I joked what I would do if when we went to our consultant appointment it turned out I was in labour. Well, there was no need to make jokes, as it turned out I was. I was already 2 cm dilated, and she suggested an induction to speed things along as I was really struggling with walking and back pain. Saturday morning we were back at the hospital to be induced, and after reactions to the methods, and having to be monitored the entire time, our beautiful baby girl was born on the Sunday morning at 5.30.

We had a rough start with her and feeding. My plans to express my milk and top up with formula didn’t work out. The early days saw us back into hospital with our daughter as she was very unwell. We suspected a cows milk protein allergy (which has since been confirmed) so I tried to breastfeed but didn’t have enough milk. I tried for 2 months to increase my supply and gave her what I could make as we continued to give her formula (which was difficult to find one that suited her on prescription, it was a really tough time to get professional help and support, but from our experience a couple medical staff really became our knights in shining armor).

It’s true what they say though, things do get better. Our daughter is 5 months old now. She is a wonderful little girl, so beautiful outside and inside with a gentle soul. Our house is cozy, still a work in progress, we still have the spare room full of boxes that we’ve mostly managed to sort through for storage, and boards are finally down in the loft ready to take boxes up there. But it feels like home. It’s our forever home, where we have and will create many loving memories together as a family.

It’s been difficult to settle into this new life – even though I would say I had a good birth, it has still been a shock. It’s been hard to adjust to being a Mother in a house that had not yet felt like home. I felt out of place, out of my depth, anxious and at times overwhelmed. I have been lucky to have a supportive family, and am very grateful for their help, though from the start I was determined to do as much as I could on my own. I felt like that was the best way for me to learn my new role and feel like I know what to do.

I wouldn’t want it any other way though. Everything else had fallen by the wayside during this past year, as I focused on these major life events and prioritised my health and wellbeing to nuture the life I was growing. Now, as we have fallen into a little family routine, I have found myself starting to get back into creating, doing lots of reading, and starting to get some kind of regular exercise and cook properly (these certainly fell to the side with a newborn that fed every 2 hours, had reactions to the different milks and reflux). I’m so positive for this year, with lots of ideas in the making.

Reflecting on last year, we have come such a way. Chris and I also celebrated our one year wedding anniversary and 8 years together as a couple. Now we are a family of three, with a life creating incredible memories together and a bond that will never stop growing.

That has been my journey last year. What journeys did you have? What do you hope for this year ahead?

Kathryn x

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