Bed-sharing – by order of the tiny tyrant

There were three in the bed and the little one said “roll over, roll over” so they all rolled over and Daddy fell out, Mammy took an elbow to the face and gave a shout.  That’s how we roll in my bedroom these days.

I remember us on our honeymoon, putting down time in an airport while we waited for our next flight to some other new fun destination.  Airports weren’t places of torture like they are now, they could be enjoyed to some extent.  We could shop, eat, drink and just pleasantly pass time.  I bought us two of those neck support pillows, one pink and one red, in the hope they would help make long flights more comfortable.

Fast forward seven years and the same neck pillows have been dusted off and are back in use.  Except we are not going anywhere.  Picture the scene – it’s cold and both parents are wearing warm hoodies in bed.  There are no pillows to be seen but both heads rest awkwardly on those damn u-shaped neck support excuse for a pillow.  The duvet only covers both parents to their waist.  And in the middle of the bed, all stretched out and delighted with himself is the tiny tyrant.

Bed-sharing didn’t come easy to me, I was terrified of sleeping with a small baby.  My older daughter had no interest in it whatsoever and while she couldn’t ever have been described as a good sleeper (although her categorisation did go up a couple of notches after her insomniac brother showed us just how bad it could be) she did sleep in her moses basket and cot.  She loved that cot, wouldn’t sleep in our bed at all, even if she was sick and I would have preferred to keep her close.  She slept in that cot until she was 3.5 and had to be prised out of it.  In contrast her two year old brother slept in it for one full night, just the once.  I’m not exaggerating.  Once.  The cot is long gone.

In that scene above we had decided to give bed-sharing a proper chance, seeing as he ended up in the bed with us anyway.  We took all safety precautions we could think of – no pillows, blankets etc., bubs was all cosy in his grobag, we were cold but hey cold and asleep beats warm and awake in my middle-of-the-night parenting reasoning.

From the moment he was born my son knew what he wanted and most definitely knew when he wasn’t getting it.  And what he wanted was me.  Always and forever, me.  I wanted to keep him close too and didn’t have any expectations of putting him down – his sister didn’t have any time for mama’s arms substitutes either.  But I didn’t anticipate that even when he was already asleep he would know so clearly, and so quickly, each and every time he was moved to the crib.

The midwives on the ward saw in him immediately what I would come to accept, and one built me a “fort” of pillows in an attempt to allow me get some sleep while he was in bed with me.  That terrified me altogether as even though they positioned the pillows in a way to make it as safe as possible, I remained unsure.  But he slept, I didn’t really and that was that.

Varying attempts at home to get him sleep in the moses basket failed.  Maybe he hated the moses basket and would like the space of a cot we thought!  But space wasn’t what he wanted, he was happiest when tucked into the crook of my arm.  We also took the side off the cot and positioned it at my side of the bed so he could technically be “in” the cot but still beside me.  That didn’t really work either.

He is two and a half now, and a few months ago we got him a toddler bed.  The very first night he slept through the night in it!  We didn’t sleep of course as couldn’t relax wondering what was going and where he was.  That was a initial anomaly in the sleep pattern though and hasn’t been repeated.

He goes asleep in his little bed after many stories.  When he first wakes he can be easily soothed back to sleep in his bed.  When he wakes a second time he could be helped back to sleep and sometimes is, but depending on the time it is usually just easier to pick him up (along with the three teddies that accompany him everywhere) and install him in the middle of our bed.  Most nights he cuddles up against me and goes back asleep.  Other nights, like last night, he has nightmares are screams out so I like being there instantly to calm him.  He still dislikes blankets and spends a disproportionate amount of time kicking them all off.

He will inevitably sit up and announce he wants to “lie on mammy” so I become his pillow.  Nearly every single morning I wake to a big smile from my little boy.  I may sleep on a 6 inch corner of the bed as he encroaches on my room, but I know it won’t last forever.  He won’t still be sleeping between my husband and I when he’s going his leaving cert.  If he is, we have bigger problems.

Bed-sharing isn’t for everyone and ideally I would prefer if we all slept happily and well in our own beds.  But when the option is sleep together rather than awake apart, it’s an easy one to make.


My own glass ceiling

A promotion!!! I looked at the email more closely.  This was great news; long-awaited and hard earned news.  So why was my first feeling that of panic?

Child-care arrangements, that’s why.  A myriad of hypothetical situations raced through my mind, crashing into one another and causing a traffic jam of worry.

What was I thinking I berated myself? Weren’t things ticking along nicely as they were; our lives were plodding along predictably enough, did I really need to upend the apple cart just for a promotion?  If you’re a mother, chances are that last self probing question has you nodding your head in understanding.  If you are a father, you are more likely baffled at its existence.

I don’t think men and women are from different planets but I do think mothers take on a lot more of the invisible parenting burdens.  Mothers who work outside the home are more likely to work part-time, have job sharing arrangements, take parental leave and career breaks.  In other words, our working careers take a back seat to our parenting career.  Fathers appear to not be as affected career wise by the pitter patter of little feet at home.

I needed to talk myself into accepting an upward move in work – what father would look past the increased salary, extra annual leave etc. and only see the headache of sick children, parent teacher appointments and other such considerations?  I felt robbed of future opportunities to be more readily available to my children simply by being presented with a wonderful career opportunity.  I hadn’t even replied to the email at this point yet I was already worrying about making phone calls to new managers when a little person had been vomiting all night…

I have heard plenty about the Glass Ceiling that can halt female progress in the working world in some instances.  I can only speak for myself and while initially it felt that I was the one putting obstacles in my own path, in reality those obstacles just shouldn’t even exist in the first place.  Yes, I was worrying about getting to pick the kids up at the time that suits us all best and wondering how they would feel if they were in their daycare twenty minutes longer a day.  But why did I have to feel like that?

I needed to give myself a stern talking to in order to accept an upward move in work – what father would look past the increased salary, extra annual leave etc. and only see the headache of sick children, parent teacher appointments and other such considerations?  I felt robbed of future opportunities to be more readily available to my children simply by being presented with a wonderful career opportunity.  I hadn’t even replied to the email at this point yet I was already worrying about making phone calls to new managers when a little person had been vomiting all night…

Fate was clearly idle the weekend before I reported for duty on my first morning in my new role, as nothing but an evil sense of humour would have inflicted a vomiting bug on my little family.  The toddler went down first, and we were still hopeful it was a one off.  Optimism waned as my husband succumbed to the intruder and I was slain by Saturday night.  There’s nothing like a good old virus induced stomach purge to take your mind off the daunting idea of a new job…

My most pressing concern wasn’t that I would still be ill on Monday morning, but that my daughter was going to be sick too and not able for school.  And sure enough, she wasn’t well and alternative plans had to be put in place for two days.  She ended up having to go see our GP and it was the first time in her six years on the planet that I didn’t accompany her.  However, I have decided to bin the guilt (well it’s a work in progress).  She managed perfectly fine with my parents and husband tag-teaming but it still felt to me like they were picking up my slack.  I doubt my husband has ever felt that way when I’ve taken care of sick little ones when he’s been in work.

So it was with a slightly green complexion, an absent appetite and phone tightly watched for updates that I ventured into my new work place last week.  Everyone is now well and I am hopeful that my second week will be less eventful!



Calling Bullshit on: Must-have baby equipment

My first baby’s anticipated arrival activated a flurry of shopping.  “How were there so many pieces of baby equipment that I never knew I needed” I would wonder to myself as I lumbered around Mothercare?  Surely if someone went to the effort to create this magical feat of engineering, that meant mothers everywhere were screaming for it?  What sort of a parent would I be if I didn’t try to make sure I had what we would need?  Credit cards were duly swiped, loyalty schemes signed up for and large cardboard boxes lugged home.

Now I look back now on the lunacy of it all, but it was part of my journey into parenthood, buying shit made me feel more prepared.  Armed.  Equipped for the rapidly approaching uncertainty.  A bit of reassurance in a box.

When I think of all the crap my first born was bought it’s laughable.  She was equipped with enough paraphernalia to open a small shop.  So many unused items littered the tops of wardrobes, languished in boxes under beds and squatted in grandparents attics.  We lived in an apartment at the time and couldn’t offer all the useless pieces of plastic the storage they required.

Then my second baby was born!  All manner of equipment was dusted off and examined to see if it something I had ever used, or would use again.  Needless to say we made do with a lot less of baby number two, and not because it wasn’t to hand but because it was a waste of time.  I did some brisk business on sites like adverts and donedeal passing on items to (I presume) first hand parents desperately searching for their own suit of armour.  At least they were sensible enough to buy second hand.

So I have compiled a list of the items I procured in my quest to help my baby be the happiest baby they could be but turned out to be nothing more than yet another yoke taking up precious room in an ever-shrinking space.

I will add that of course what is one parent’s waste of time is someone else’s life-saver so I am not going to start campaigning for their mass destruction.

  1. Baby-swings.  Off we set to the shops with great enthusiasm when we thought the little velcro baby might enjoy the rocking motion of a swing!  Upon building the swing we quickly realised the model we had chosen took up more space than our kitchen so it was returned for a more stream-lined and modest version.  Baby 1 did tolerate it at times but Baby 2 held no truck with any sort of replacement for Mama’s arms.
  2. Slumber Bear.  The public health nurse suggested this one, so with an official stamp of approval off we set once again.  Slumber Bear is a bear with an audio device inside that can play sounds similar to those the baby heard in the womb.  It looked cute, that’s all I’ll say.  A white noise app would serve the same function these days.  Of course we didn’t really learn our lesson as in a fit of sleep deprivation and desperation with Baby 2 I signed up for one of those crowd funding schemes for a Lulla Doll in the hopes that time will have seen great advancements.  He did like it, it sounds like Darth Vader breathing and has an audible heart-beat.  But I keep forgetting to change the batteries so the effectiveness has worn off.
  3. Nappy bin.  We decided that given our residency in a first floor apartment and no access immediately to an outdoor bin that this was a fantastic idea!  We could hygienically shrink wrap the stinky nappies and they would be stored en-masse until such time as the bin was full and needed to be emptied.  This just created a stinky bin that would have us gagging as it was emptied.
  4. Doppler.  I know this pre-dates the actual arrival of Baby 1, but it was bought when I felt I could do with the reassurance of being able to listen in to baby’s heartbeat whenever I felt like it.  It was sweet but often caused moments of panic when I couldn’t locate the thundering hooves of her little heart immediately.  I don’t think I even tried it out once with Baby 2.
  5. Tens machine.  I bought my own… enough said.  I will say that I don’t know if things would have been worse if I wasn’t using it, and no way was I taking it off to test that out!  Fun for those who enjoy the sensation of being electrocuted.
  6. Cot bumpers.  They looked cute but basically had to come off as soon as the baby was big enough to sleep in the cot anyway.
  7. Electric breast pump.  I had a manual pump for Baby 1 and decided that an electric must surely be better so invested in one before Baby 2 arrived.  It seems to be a very personal issue and there’s no real way of knowing in advance which would suit you best.  But I will say I maybe used the electric one 2 or 3 times (I had the Medela Swing) and we were not well paired.  I turned back to my trusty manual pump for a quicker and more productive result.
  8. The Gummee Glove.  This was purchased for Baby 2 as I thought it sounded ingenious!  And in fact it does, if your baby will use it.  Mine was most dismissive.  So now it’s just yet another baby item that belongs to my daughter’s dolls.  Same goes for Sophie the Giraffe.  In my house anything intended for teething babies are of no interest to them.

So do you have any to add to the list?  Are you screaming at the screen in frustration that your baby is most content while chewing on their gummee glove and swinging in the swing with their slumber bear?  The triumph of optimism over experience has led me to make each purchase and I am no doubt will see me buy more.


The parenting Jinx.

This morning the parenting jinx feels very real and very cruel. I look like an extra from The Walking Dead, I feel like crap and the atmosphere at home this morning was less than joyous. I was hit smack in the face with the worst type of the parenting jinx – the sleep one.

If you have a child who has not yet fully been convinced that sleep is something to welcome and enjoy, you know what I mean. You try anything and everything in the pursuit of a couple of hours of shut eye, and when miraculously your little darling does indeed bless you by sleeping a teeny bit better, you know to keep your mouth shut. The moment you deviate from this rule, you break the magic. Your little darling’s ears perk up, even when they are far, far away. They heard you, and they don’t like it. You dare to be PLEASED that you were denied a bit more of their wonderful awake presence?? Well little darling will correct that and things are right back to where they began. And the next time that friend asks you if whatever you did is still working, you are too tired to fully shake your head and hope the desperation in your eyes will answer for you.

My two-year old has been described by a lot of different words, among those of us who take care of him the following are very common – strong-willed, not-easy, determined, stubborn, strong, angry….. (and we’re being nice there). For the sake of balance I will of course say he is wonderfully cuddly, bright, engaging, loving and funny. When he’s in a good mood that is, and that isn’t always the case.

He doesn’t put his best side forward that often, and two years in we’re falling apart with the sleep deprivation. We have long since abandoned any hope of getting him to sleep in his own room and our bed is just his bed. In fact there isn’t even a cot or bed in his room anymore. We have given in and gone with what works (a little better) in the hopes that it will appease the toddler Gods. I listen to all suggestions of what I can try and recently embarked on a homeopathic remedy adventure with him.

Bazinga! It was working! It seemed like on the 1st January he just woke up happier in himself, he was more settled and content. He was just easier to mind, and he was sleeping better! No more waking every half hour in the evening, and the screaming fits that were a nightly occurrence vanished. We didn’t know ourselves! Not only were we getting more sleep but we were dealing with a more pleasant version on him too!

And then came the big mistake.

I told other people about it.

Big mistake.


So now we are right back at 2016 levels of rage and sleep. Too much of one and not enough of the other. The parenting jinx doesn’t like smug parents being over excited about getting 4 hours of sleep in a row (in a row people!!! it was amazing) and it opened its jaws wide and bit me on the ass. The bite feels like something Jaws would have inflicted.

So read my tale of woe and consider yourself fore-warned. If it’s working, keep on doing it, but for the love of God don’t tell anyone else!

(Unless it really is working, then tell me because I could do with trying it……)


Post-natal depression and me.

So I’ve really gone and given away the ending in the headline, this won’t be about how I’m not sure if I had PND or if it was just the baby blues that dragged on a bit.  It’s my story, and everyone’s story is unique to themselves.  I’m telling it here as I know I read all accounts of individual’s experiences of PND to try and decide if I was doctor-worthy or just needed to cop on and cheer up.  So if reading this can help someone, it’s worth telling.

Picture the scene – The end of my second pregnancy was tough going and I was signed off work early.  Our apartment was sale agreed but the sale wasn’t proceeding due to reasons out of our control.  My next door neighbour was raided by the Guards for suspected drug possession, and we were stuck living there.  There was a large family drama raging which I was being pulled into.  Basically, life was stressful. My beautiful baby was born in the midst of all of this and then when he was just 5 days old, I was re-admitted to hospital with a nasty infection and we were both kept in for 3 nights.

I wasn’t in a great place.  I had my lovely new son, my 4 year old was besotted with him after all my worries that she would feel left out.  I just couldn’t shake a feeling that I was holding my breath.  Waiting for the real enjoyment to kick in.  I wonder if I in fact had ante-natal depression/anxiety too but just put it all down to the stress I was under.  I remember locking myself in the bathroom and bawling my heart out while heavily pregnant.  Like I said, there was a lot going on so I’ll never know if the camel’s back was broken earlier.

When my son was one month old, on my birthday, I had promised my daughter I would collect her from her daycare with him so she could show him off to her friends.  She was so excited.  As I walked down to the daycare centre, I felt like I couldn’t breathe.  I cried the entire way down behind my sunglasses.  I also cried the entire way back up, while now having to also corral an excited 4 year old.  I snapped way too much at a great kid during this non-fun period of my life.  I still feel so guilty.

All I wanted to do was stay home.  I could breathe at home.  I didn’t want to go out.  I didn’t want to speak to anyone.  I was beginning to think maybe this all wasn’t just baby blues and dealing with all the factors warring in my life.

Perhaps I might have admitted the black dog lurking in the room at that point but instead I woke up one day with a face that was only half working.  My son was 4 months old when I got Bell’s Palsy.  I was pretty much confined to home, which tied in nicely with the PND and not wanting to venture outside.  I wrote about that experience in a previous blog post called Why I embrace fine lines and wrinkles.  All attention was focused on trying to make my face work again.    I had been going for regular walks during the day (as the baby only slept when pushed around) but that was all stopped as I couldn’t risk damaging my eye.  Of course, this dragged me further and deeper down into the PND.

I had an amazing physiotherapist who used acupuncture to kick start my facial nerves again, progress was being made!  I have a distinct memory of the last acupuncture session, things were looking up Bells Palsy wise, I could move my eyelid again – this should have been great!  But I sobbed as I lay on the table for the 30 minutes I was left to let the needles do their work.  One problem being dealt with, another festering.

Life was getting back to normal, family drama was resolved, my face was nearly back to normal, I could go out and about again.  Yet all I did was cry.  I would promise my husband and mother that tomorrow I would ring the public health nurse or the doctor.  And then tomorrow would come and I’d busy myself with something and try to convince them, and myself, I was fine.  Nobody was fooled.

I had also become obsessed with breast-feeding, which wasn’t an easy journey for me at all.  I wasn’t comfortable feeding him away from home, so it was another way to keep me where I felt safe.  Looking back I can admit that I believed that if it was the only thing I could do for him that someone else couldn’t, and if I wasn’t feeding him myself then what was my point in his life?  As if that’s all I had to give him.

The moment when I realised I needed help coincided with me trying to fit my body under his cot to hide and cry.  I would regularly lie down on the floor behind a bed and sob, but I felt like I needed even more sanctuary.  And I finally realised that trying to squeeze under a baby’s cot to sob my heart out for no real apparent reason was not normal.

I rang the GP’s office and kept chickening out and hanging up.  Then I did ring, and the receptionist answered.  I burst into tears and told her I thought I had post-natal depression and it had taken me five months to make the call.  She said they would get me in to see the doctor that day, that I couldn’t be left waiting any longer.  I’m actually crying here as I type this, remembering the relief that washed over me.

I met with my wonderfully supportive doctor and we spoke about all the worries and feelings I had.  She prescribed a low dose of anti-depressants and said they could take a few weeks to work and we made an appointment for me to come back.  Within a week I felt better, I know medication doesn’t work so quickly for everyone but it just resonated with me.  I started to feel like me again, a me I thought was just long gone.

The day I went back for the follow-up I told the doctor I felt so strongly about anti-depressants that I could be the poster-girl for a campaign in their favour.  Those little tablets had turned the light at the end of the tunnel back on.

My son is two now and in the last few months I was weaned off the tablets entirely.  I will be forever grateful for their existence.  I am still my normal self, albeit run ragged but such is life with children, but I am able to see the joy and positives in life.

Please, if you read this and any of it sounds uncomfortably familiar, don’t let it slide.  Life is to be enjoyed, not just tolerated.  Life will small children is hard and stressful, but you need to be able to see the moments of joy shine through the clouds.  If you see nothing but storms, that’s not ok.  Make a call for help.



The innocent moment where I failed my daughter.

My daughter is beautiful; she is a radiant being who emanates her inner joy and wears her heart on her sleeve.  She is beyond compare.  My breath regularly catches in my throat when I catch sight of her at random moments and am stunned by her, the way she holds herself, her expressions, the girl she is becoming.

I am well aware that all parents view their offspring in the same manner, to parents their children are the most beautiful beings to ever have graced the earth.  This belief is the right of all parents to feel and children to enjoy.

I am also not so deluded to think that all adults view the children of others as their own parents do.  We can differentiate between the catalogue-ready model children, the cheekily cute kids and the “I’m sure he will grow into his nose” kids.

In general I try to avoid placing an over-emphasis on looks when I am with my children.  I am conscious to not berate my own appearance, keen to encourage tidiness and putting a best foot forward but not that looks are the only important factor in their presentation.  My little girl loves all things sparkly, pink and glittery; she admires outfits on her comrades and loves to play hairdressers.  The world of faces is not lost on her.   I tend to not post photos of my children on social media sites in general, I don’t want them to feel their value is ever measured in likes and comments.

Then one day, my resolve was weakened and allowed myself to buy into the “I want everyone else to see how cute she is and agree with me” mentality.  I saw an ad on Facebook from an extras agency looking for children of a certain age with visibly missing teeth.  My attention was piqued, my daughter was the requisite age and had been visited by the tooth fairy quite a lot in the near past.  She was perfect!

At this point I will mention that a photo of my children and I was in a national newspaper as part of a feature I was mentioned in and she was in her element, the paper cut out was taken into school and toted around for ages as she enjoyed her moment of supposed celebrity.  So I told her about the search for a gummy 5 – 7 year old for a TV ad campaign and asked if she wanted me to send her photo.  Of course she did!  So we took the necessary full length and head shots on my phone and I whizzed them off in an e-mail to the agency.

Then…. nothing.

The days passed and my daughter asked when she was going to be on TV.  I had failed her.  In my enthusiasm to have everyone else see her as I do, I got caught in the moment and brought her along for the ride.  She didn’t even warrant a response it seems, the photos of her beautiful self clearly not rated as what they were looking for.  They just couldn’t see what I could.  It hurt.  But it hurt because I lost myself and allowed myself to buy into it for a moment, I had to have a conversation with her where I told her that maybe they decided to use a boy instead, or a girl who didn’t have glasses and so on.  She readily accepted this (and who is to say it’s not the truth?) and went on her merry way.  And I gave myself a mental dressing down and promised to never, ever do that to her (or my son) again.

They are my children and the most beautiful creatures on this planet.  And I’m not the only one who thinks so, my husband and our families think so too.  And isn’t that enough? All kids deserve to bask in that admiration, as families don’t see beauty as only the arrangement of facial features but they see the person as a whole.




Why I embrace fine lines and wrinkles

For a few months at the beginning of 2015 I had the smooth, taut, wrinkle free skin on my face that we all try so hard to recapture.  No frown lines, laughter lines, creases or any other class of wrinkles.

On half of my face only.

I was hit full force with a bout of Bell’s Palsy when my second child was exactly 4 months old.  My son’s birth wasn’t exactly a walk in the park (what birth is?), there was a lot of stress in our lives with trying to sell our apartment, family drama, a baby that just didn’t get the concept of sleep; I was tired.  Oh so tired.  And also refusing to acknowledge the murky waters of post-natal depression I had found myself in (that is deserving of a whole other blog post which I will get to).  Basically I was run down, not looking after myself, stressed and exhausted.  A sitting duck for an opportunistic passing virus.

I woke one night with an unusual headache, so unusual that I texted my headache buddy (if you get a lot of headaches you will know what I mean) to try and describe the new feelings with the latest visitor.  It passed and I got on with things.  Then two days later I took my daughter grocery shopping and I just felt awful.  I remember lying my head on the handle of the trolley in the nappy aisle and crying.  I figured I was coming down with something.  On the drive home I thought the sun was especially strong as my left eye seemed to be getting blinded.  At home I noticed my eye wasn’t really blinking properly.

I had heard of Bell’s Palsy and suspected this was where the not fully closing eye was headed.  I rang the out of hours doctor (it was a Sunday) and made an appointment for that afternoon.  The left side of my face deteriorated by the minute, it was terrifying.  The two sides of my face appeared to be existing totally separately, if I smiled only half of my mouth moved.

The GP agreed that Bell’s Palsy could be responsible but also as I described dizzy spells I had been experiencing and how I had been dropping things a lot she sent me to A&E thinking I might need a brain scan, in case it was actually a stroke.

I was whisked through A&E which was quite a shock to me as I expected a long waiting time, but is seems a woman in her early thirties potentially having a stroke will give you an advantage there over broken bones and the likes.

A number of doctors saw me in the hospital, and looked at my failing face.  By now I couldn’t move my eyelid at all or move my mouth on the left side.  The entire left side of my face was frozen, paralysed and just sitting there.  Waiting for the muscles to remember to move, but the muscles had checked out.  Bell’s Palsy was diagnosed (no need for a brain scan in the end), I was prescribed a lot of steroids, eye drops and told to keep my eye patched to protect it.

Patching an eye that refuses to stay closed is like trying to get an octopus into a string vest.  I felt enough like a side show as it was with my immobilised half-face, was achy and miserable from the virus and trying to keep up the mommy front (I even had a breast pump brought to me in A&E).  It was all just too much.

My eye was the biggest challenge.  I had to sleep (sleep being a very loose use of the word) holding my eyelid shut with my hand.  I needed to manually blink my eyelid with my hand every few seconds.  Imagine that.  Pay attention to how often you blink, and imagine having to make sure you pull your eyelid down that often, or your eye dries out.  Eye drops and eye lubricant were essential.  I used all methods of taping my eye shut to try and rest it, but it would pop open immediately inside the layers of tape and padding.  I did eventually discover a trick to try and keep the eye closed, which made for a great pirate costume.  I would put enough padding on my eye to make those green maternity pads look like light liners and then use one of those little black sun-bed goggles to hold it all in place (hubby was dispatched to a tanning shop to source these little gems), and it worked for awhile at least.  I slept like that – one sexy bed time look I tell you!


I was in a low place, I couldn’t go outside for the walks which were my lifeline when at home with a baby as my eye could so easily be damaged.  There was no joy to be had from my favourite foods as my left side of my mouth wouldn’t close so eating and drinking became something I just did for fuel behind closed doors.

My mother has a wonderful physiotherapist and she told her (in the early days) about what I was going through.  She practices acupuncture and told me to get to her as soon as I could.  So my treatment now expanded to include regular pins and needles up and down my arms and legs – I had been so worried there would be needles in my face but that wasn’t the case.  Whatever “lines” she was working on hit the spot.  Session by session there were little improvements and by the last one I could force my eyelid to close if I tried really hard.  Amazing progress given she admits she was worried when she first saw me as I had the worst case in respect of my eye she had seen.

It is a testament to her that there are no lasting effects at all.  Most people are left with some slight paralysis but I have escaped unscathed.  I have noticed that when I yawn my left eye tends to close but that is a small price to pay.

I wanted to share my story as when I was googling incessantly trying to read other people’s stories it was hard to come across a complete experience.  There were forums where people discussed their recovery but very little one-stop-shop beginning-to-happy-end stories.  So here it is.  I know that Bell’s Palsy is fairly common in the third trimester of pregnancy and I can only imagine how scary that must be for a mother-to-be to navigate along with all of the other changes in her body.

These days I still use all the fancy potions, creams and lotions I can get my hands on to try and try the skin clock back to my early twenties; but I don’t bemoan the existence of those lines anymore as I can’t tell you how happy I was to see them all come back when my facial nerve kicked back to life and things picked up where they left off.  The grass is always greener and everything comes at a price.  Embrace those lines, they’re evidence you’ve lived, loved and laughed.

If you would like to read more about Bell’s Palsy and the science-y medical aspect of it here are a few linkys to get you started –

Bell’s Palsy – WebMD

Bell’s Palsy – Wikipedia

Bell’s Palsy – Irish Health

Also, if anyone is going through this and has any questions, please feel free to ask.