“You’re doing good.”

I’ve spent the last couple of days drafting up a blog post in my head, it’s not crochet related (sorry!) but I think if I don’t allow myself to sit and write for awhile that I may possibly spontaniously combust.

I had what I wanted to write planned out in my head, I haven’t been in touch with the real world much recently, so I haven’t seen the news or been on Facebook much. Tonight I had a quick lurk on facebook and someone had posted this link to the story about the bodies of a mama and her newborn baby being found. The person who posted it on Facebook was being very kind about post-natal mental health and saying that they couldn’t believe some of the comments and things that they were reading. It was only because of the kindness that was shown in her post that I clicked the link and read. And cement my need to write this post, here as opposed to just in my paper journal. I was going to write about this, but now I feel like I *need* to write about my experience, I may not help raise awareness, and I will probably be one in a lot of people who come forward and talk about their experience, and that’s ok, I just need it out of my head, and can’t not link to that poor mama’s story, and lead with the fact that I hope it does help readjust attitudes towards puerperal psychosis.

You’ve probably already read my I didn’t know what prematurity was post. I remember saying to my Aunt one day “I don’t know how you managed to have a second baby after going through having a prem baby first” she reassured me that you just do. (And her eldest was more premature than little H, which amazed me more that she braved a second!)
Just 2 weeks before little H’s 1st birthday I found out I was pregnant again.  I only actually did a test because I’d had a huge meltdown after disembarking a stupid o’clock Ryan Air flight back from Tenerife only to discover that somewhere along the journey after handing the pram in as we boarded and getting off at the other end that it had been broken and I had a screaming tired 11 month old and I couldn’t put him in the pram whilst we queued for an hour to get through passport control. I went mental, and as we were at the back of the queue I think pretty much everyone turned around to watch me go mental.  When we got in I did a test, and showed Mr B (It was a digital so no squinting for lines or anything) his response was “You could’ve waited until we’d gotten the first one to sleep before telling me that there’d be more sleepless nights!” I think I laughed, and cried, and got scared.

MJ’s pregnancy was different to Little H’s right from the off. The next morning I rang Mr G’s secretary, knowing that I would need to start the Clexane injections and progesterone suppliments if I hoped to have a sucessful pregnancy.
I remember the tears running down my cheeks when she said “He’s retired from Obstetrics now, but I can put you in touch with the consultant who is his replacement.”
We had an early scan on the 26th April 2011, the day before Little H’s first birthday, and there was a little Dot with a barely visible fluttering heart. I’d felt so so sick all morning, the fear of losing another pregnancy felt like a vice around my heart. I then had an appointment with Dr. A, she was nice enough but seemed to feel like the progesterone was like a placebo to reassure me, and was reluctant to prescribe, the clexane she prescribed, but at not even 6 weeks pregnant she wanted me to wait before starting it….. I refused, 9 weeks was the furthest I’d gotten with 0 blood thinners, 11 (ish) weeks the furthest on baby asprin. I was not willing to not start doing the injections ASAP, and to be honest, all I wanted was for Mr G to appear and smile and reassure me that I would get another take home baby.

The sickness started around about the same time, it wasn’t too bad, and I soldiered on, until I couldn’t anymore, and then spent the rest of the pregnancy taking anti-sickness meds. We had scans every couple of weeks until the 12 weeks, and the ladies in the Early Pregnancy Unit were so lovely, and so happy that Little H was doing well (they’d seen me so much over the previous 5 years and were keen to just do quick scans every couple of weeks to help ease my fears) and our Dot started looking like a little baby.

I’d usually tell you about weeks that things happened, but to be honest, I don’t really remember MJ’s pregnancy very well. So my story will sound a bit jumbled and not as coherent as I would like it to be.

I started having contractions quite early on, around 26 weeks I rang the labour ward and was asked to pop in, and lovely Lou the midwife who’d looked after me in the week before they delivered Little H, was on the labour ward, she checked me over, asked the questions, felt tummy, strapped me to the monitor and left me to try and relax and read a book and she’d pop back in to see how I was doing. I can’t even remember if there was a shift change, or a student midwife came to check the printout and they saw that I really was having contractions, so I was admitted.
Now, I’d guess that most people don’t know how it goes when you’re admitted to the hospital when pregnant and you’re on the maternity ward… I was set so every couple of hours someone would come with a little hand held doppler and listen to baby’s heartbeat, and first thing in the morning and after tea time I’d have half an hour or so strapped to the monitor so they could trace baby’s heartbeat and see if there were any contractions.
It was around this time that I noticed that quite often the midwives were saying “oh no, that’s mum’s heartbeat!” when they were doing the doppler/trying to place the monitor, they’d then spend a while looking around, feeling where baby was and eventually a satisfactory reading would be found.
A few times I tried saying that it wasn’t my heartbeat, it was baby’s, just that sometimes it went a bit slow (you spend enough time strapped to those monitors and feeling your own pulse when you’re unsure) I’m quite a polite person, so I didn’t push it. (my head was screaming out to, but the nice polite persons voice comes out of my mouth!!)

Around 29 weeks I was admitted to hospital again, I can’t remember why, more contractions, sickness to the extreme, panic setting in? And one night a bank midwife came round with the handheld device to listen to baby and did the whole “oh no, that’s mum’s heartbeat!” and internally I was screaming with anger, fear and something else (mama bear?!) and I said that it’s not my heartbeat, I’m not sure if I asked if I could show her and took the doppler and put it on the veins at the top of my leg to listen to my heartrate or if I directed her there, and then back to baby.
It was around 9.30, I was tired, I wanted to go home so so badly, I was lonely, I was scared, my head was so so noisy. I cried.
She listened though. She actually listened, she didn’t dismiss me, she listened, then let me cry it out at her, that no one has listened when I’ve pointed that out and I’m scared and the words just all fell out of my mouth.
Before I knew it the on-call registrar was there with a portable scan machine, with a tiny fuzzy screen (more fuzzy than the normal scan machines!) and I laid there, still feeling scared, but relieved, someone was listening to me. We watched Dot’s heart it’d do 4 beats and then pause for what seemed like an eternity, then it’d do a few more and pause.
The brakes were taken off of the bed and I was swiftly wheeled over to the labour ward. I just remember saying “if we need to deliver can we do it after midnight, I’ll be 30 weeks then!”
I was strapped to a monitor and a midwife sat with me, pressing down on the sensor that picked up baby’s heartrate trying to get a consistant reading from Dot’s heart. She reassured me that they’d only moved me over to labour ward because their equipment was more sensitive and they wanted at least an hours worth of charts before making a decision what to do next. All I could do was lay there, listening to the whoosh-whoosh-whoosh-whoosh-pause. Taking it in turns with the midwife to hold the sensor pad down because the pressure needed made your hands cramp so I figured it’s only fair to do my bit.

It was decided that I would have the first lot of steroids to help baby’s lungs develop and that I could do back to the maternity ward and try and get some sleep, they’d be arranging an in depth heart scan/possibly transferring me to Liverpool Womens Hospital.
The next day, the lovely bank midwife who’d meant to have been finishing her shift at 10pm but got caught up with me (until I told her to go home as the labour ward midwife was taking over!) came and apologised to me for causing a panic. I got the distinct feeling that someone had made her feel like she’d caused a to-do over nothing, when really, she was the only midwife on the maternity ward at the time who made me feel like I was being listened to.
The next few days were horrible, still I kept hearing “oh no, that’s mum’s heartbeat” I did get moved to a side room though, and Mr S was booked to do a heartscan. Lots of people rave about Mr S, he’s an amazing Obstetrician, but I’d had experiences with him previously, before Mr G took up my case of “why do I keep losing my pregnancies” and I wasn’t keen to be in a room with Mr S again, but the midwives reassured me that he was the best and, well, I didn’t really have another choice!

Scan time came, I laid on the chair, he put the wand on my tummy, took some screenshots and sent me back to the ward with a “baby’s fine.”
No explination as to why MJ’s heart was doing that, and very visibly so on the clear ultra new scanning machine he used. No reassurances that he didn’t feel like he needed to take any action at that time. Just “go back to the ward, you can go home!”
When I got back to my little side room I erupted into a huge mess of snot and tears. I didn’t feel safe, I didn’t feel looked after, and I felt like he’d just dismissed me because my baby’s heart wasn’t interesting enough for him to waste his valuable time spending 2 minutes explaining what was happening. A midwife came in (I want to call her Kylie, but I’m not sure if that’s her real name, I’d rather not use real names.. nevermind!) to check on me and explain that I was free to go home and saw that I was a wreck. She spent some time trying to talk me down but it didn’t work. She then tried the just basically tell me to stop behaving like a spoilt child approach (I’d bet a million pounds that it’s not written like that in my maternity notes!!!) and said she’d print off some information for me to read through and said she’d be back in a minute and left (she never came back) I even tried ringing Liverpool Womens to try and get my care transferred over to them, but couldn’t because I’d already booked in with my local team (well duh, I was 30 weeks pregnant!!) And my friend, who happened to be our local Bliss Rep was at the hospital dropping off leaflets/seeing new prem mums, and saw my name on the board and popped her head around the door, I think she probably instantly regretted doing so!
She got the full story, only she just let me get it out and listened (nicely) and calmed me enough just by being there. (Thank you!!)

Beyond that point I was a wreck. I may aswell have moved in to the hospital, I had to (I say had to, I’d pretty much insisted on it, just so that I felt ‘safe’ enough to be discharged as an inpatient!)  go to the AnteNatal Day Unit 3 times a week to lay for an hour on the monitor, I had scans booked every 2 weeks from 28 weeks anyways, and I was at the gestational diabetes clinic/ obstetric clinic every week. Still my mental health declining wasn’t pulled up, and belive me, I asked for help, a lot.
At that time my diagnosis from the Community Mental Health “Recovery” Team that was on my notes was “Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder.” You may know it as Borderline Personality Disorder. And I believe that this impacted the way I was reacting to situations that were occurring during the pregnancy (especially Kylie, but we’ll come back to her later!) I was still seeing my Community Support Nurse, but as I do when I get low I pushed people away, and to be honest, she wasn’t really that helpful and would um and ah a lot (Mr B can attest to this, it’s not just my perception!)
At 34 weeks pregnant I begged for an induction date from Dr A. As I was a VBAC attempt she was happy to book me in for an induction so that they could keep an eye on labour and control it should they need to (knowing about baby’s potential heart ‘thing’ which I still wasn’t that clear on, aside from they said that baby may need to go to NICU, and that they would do a heart scan once baby was earthside)
My induction was booked for 1st December. I would be 36 weeks and 5 days pregnant. The most pregnant I had ever ever been. I walked out of that appointment for the first time with relief, they *did* care about how mum was doing!

(I’m feeling the need to apologise for my lack of flow, I hope I’m making sense, this is the first time I’ve ever really ‘talked’ about how I was during MJ’s pregnancy, and even now, words can’t really express how rapidly my mental health declined when I was pregnant with MJ… or I’m scared to put it in to words because it’s still so taboo)

The next two weeks were a blur, everyone was getting excited about the new baby coming soon. Except me. I was focussed on getting through the next hour without thoughts of suicide or self harm. I focussed on the things I could control, organising when Little H would be going to my parents house, and what he’d need, clothes. And washing and re-washing the tiny baby clothes, but being angry at myself for getting my hopes up that this baby would get to wear clothes, and not be in an incubator. I cleaned the walls, and floors and washed clothes, or anything I could get my hands on. Anything that would stop me from thinking about what was in my head. The world was getting so loud, so imposing, but I felt completely alone and isolated. I was scared to talk about me, because they might push back my induction date, or take my baby away from me for being crazy.
So I bumbled through, trying to not sound neurotic when I went for sessions on the monitor and they didn’t let me do a full hour. Although that mostly failed. I wish I was brave enough to go back to the Antenatal Day Unit and apologise (or ask why no one called the on-call psych team person!?)

Finally, it was the morning of December 1st 2011. I had to ring the labour ward at 9am, I think I managed to leave it until the clock on my phone said 9:03am, but then “what if someone else rings before you and you can’t have your baby today!” is in my head. Engaged. Redial.
“Can you ring back at 10am, we’re a bit busy at the moment.”
The polite voice that comes out of me says “Of course, no worries!” (why do I *always* say ‘no worries’? It’s a lie!)
I hang up and cry. Stupid fear takes over. I try to remember all of the hypnobirthing stuff I read. I mostly focussed on the keeping fear out of the delivery room bit, because I knew that fear was all over me. Breathe.
I played Pinball FX on the Xbox and tried to not look at the clock. Sat, with my hospital bag next to me for the whole hour, occassionally touching it to make sure it’s still there. Mr B just stayed out of my way, I was delicate, breathe too loudly and I might break.

10am “You’re okay to make your way down now”.
No parking spaces. OMG, that caused tears. Mr B told me to get out and have a slow walk and he’d catch me up.
I just wanted to hide, but I stood in a hospital corridor and the lady who’d tried to get me on a progesterone trial for mum’s who’d had prem babies in the past appeared and talked to me. Polite voice comes out. My head was screaming “WILL EVERYONE JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!!” I finish talking to her and someone else who’s looked after me during the pregnancy comes and talks to me. After that I turn and face the window, look at a cement courtyard, breathe, don’t cry.
Mr B appears and we go upstairs to the labour ward. (on reflection I know I wasn’t great mentally because I missed my one oppertunity to “check-in” at the labour ward on facebook!)
Buzzed in and am being shown to my room and there’s the travel incubator parked up outside. When Dr. A appears to break my waters she starts with “Can you remind me why we’re inducing at 34 weeks?”
It confused me totally, I think I actually tilted my head at looked at her totally dumbfounded, and asked her to repeat the question!

My waters were broken at around 11am. As I was a gestational diabetic someone was meant to be coming to hook me up to glucose and insulin at the same time as the induction IV thing. In the meantime I was to prick my finger every hour to check my blood sugar level, and I wasn’t to get out of bed. Great.
There was a shift change around 2/3pm and I was told that sometime after the change the IV induction drugs would be started, and I asked if I could maybe get out of the bed and go for a wee. I wasn’t meant to but the midwife said if you’re quick. It was the best bit of the day, standing up and totally not thinking that dispite my waters being broken hours before that there would be quite so much left. “My socks!!” and I laughed (2nd mistake!) I waddled to the toilet, I didn’t need a wee, I just wanted gravity to try and help, even if it was such a minimal time.
At around 4pm someone tried to come and get a canula in, they then went and got Dr A before she went home, who looked at the veins in my hand and declared that she could get in there….. She couldn’t. No one actually seemed to care that my blood sugars were low, and that I hadn’t had lunch, I’d even brought sandwiches with me, but I was advised not to eat at lunchtime because they’d be starting the induction drug soon…. I think a total of 4 people tried to have a go at my veins, I’d told them that the crook of my right arm was the best place, but they were determined they didn’t want to use there.
I ended up with a canula in each wrist (because I needed 3 access thingies) and the drugs were started.

From that point on I was 1-to-1 midwife care, with the poor midwife having to sit and listen to me talk, just about anything. I doubt I even made sense. Then we had to stop the induction drug because MJ’s heartrate was decelerating with each contraction (more than usual) we started up again at around 11pm once his heartrate settled down and they were sure he wasn’t in distress. At 4am they did a check to see how far dilated I was, by that point I’d already told the night midwife my 23457436 birth plans for all eventualities, and said “if you tell me I’m less than 4cm I’m going to cry” and laughed. I was maybe 1.5cm, 2 at a push.
She told me that she was going to get the on call, but she’d get me the sterile syringes I’d asked for so that I could express colostrum so that Mr B could do the first feed, because I was general anestetic only (I’d had consultant appointments and signed 456784 forms to say that it was my wish to not try a spinal) they pretty much looked at the charts on the computer, combined with the fact that I wasn’t dilating, which meant they couldn’t do the thing to check if baby was in distress and hit a button and I was off to theatre, expressing colostrum, and trying to remove my bra whilst hooked up to drips on both arms, apologising to the staff for being difficult.

As soon as they took my hot water bottle away from my back and transferred me onto the operating table and strapped my arms down, everything hurt. The contractions that had been managable were horrendous, the fear took hold. Two midwives were trying to find baby’s heartbeat on the monitor, I couldn’t shut out the fear, so I talked to the midwife who was explaining why they were strapping me down, when the on call anesthatist appeared really close to my face and said “if you weren’t a code amber, I’d have a go at getting in your spine, I think I could do it!” my response was “what’s a code amber?” because I couldn’t even deal with the rest of what he’d said!!

Garlic taste in mouth, everything fades out. Tears are falling.

“What did we have?” were the first words out of my mouth, before I’d even managed to properly open my eyes.
“A boy, and he looks just like your dad!” I manage to just about see Mr B having skin to skin with this little baby who looked kind of like a chicken but with dark hair.
“I think he looks like an MJ” And I closed my eyes again.

When I came around a bit more, I cried because my baby was there, he was alive, and not in an incubator, I would get to hold my baby and not just apologise through plastic walls! I wanted to hold him, but I was shaking so badly Mr B actually took a step back when I held my arms out to take my baby, the midwife was more tactful and suggested that I waited until the anestetic wore off a bit more. I passed out again and woke up covered in blankets, but I wasn’t shaking, and I got to do a feed.
From that point on MJ was barely off of me, I did kangaroo care as much as possible, but when he was put in his little cot next to my hospital bed (usually because someone suggested mum put him down) he had his purple Cuski in there with him, that I’d been sleeping with in the week before his birth so that it smelt like mama, there were no other things in there with him, just a Cuski. And I had to have him as close to where my head was as possible so that I could sleep with my hand holding the rail on the cot.
He’s only a few hours old when ‘Kylie’ comes on shift and tells me to remove “that thing” from his cot because it might suffocate him. I look at her and just do it, but put it back when she goes away…. all the while looking at 2 of the babies in the 6 people ward who’ve got giant teddy bears stuffed in their cots and ‘Kylie’ says nothing to them.
The next day is Saturday, I’ve managed to get up and out of bed, and have a shower after having to beg for the canulas to be removed from my wrists as they’re painful (and not in use!!) It was the quickest shower in the world, because I had to leave my baby outside with the midwives/desk staff. I hated it.

Then I started seeing things, just little things, bugs, well, cockroaches, all over the curtains. I knew they weren’t real. Mostly because I was sure if anyone else could see them there’d be screaming and stuff. I mentioned it to ‘Kylie’ and I was told to stop being an attention seeker. I tried to tell someone from the night staff, but was dismissed and she talked a lot about making sure I was maintaining fluid intake so that I wee’d properly.
X-Factor was on, semi finals or something, 3 of the 5 of us in the little ward were watching it on the bedside TV things, but not through their headphones, all 3 of them had it through the speakers. On top of the cockroaches and how noisy my head already was, I thought I was going to go crazy and flip out. I mentioned it to a midwife, that I couldn’t sleep because of the X Factor in surround sound. She asked the ladies to plug their headsets in, but was met with hormonal women who wanted to watch the XFactor with their husbands and children around their beds, and there’s only 1 headphones plug thing…. It was only when partners had to go home (10pm) that they’d then plug the headphones in.
I kept my curtains closed because I couldn’t take any of it.
I felt so scared and vulnerable, and convinced that any number of people were going to try and take my baby away from me, so I did as much as I could with him asleep on me.
On the Sunday it was 10am before Mr B was allowed on the ward, by which point I was so wound up by the whole XFactor thing and fear that someone was going to take my baby away that I’m pretty sure I just went nuts at him for casually strolling in at 10.30am when *I* needed him to look after MJ so I could have a shower and try and get someone to let me go home, because no one was believing me when I told them that I could see bugs everywhere, and I was convinced that ‘Kylie’ was telling everyone about my breakdown earlier in the pregnancy and that she was telling everyone I was attention seeking (I still think that I heard her do that, I know that I read negative bits in my notes, but I’m not sure how much of it was the psychosis) and that no one was helping me, I just needed to go home.

I had to sign a number of forms to say that I was discharging myself, I did it politely without mentioning how let down I felt by the post natal care I recieved. One of Mum’s close friends came to see MJ and I at visiting time, at which point I was packing bags in a rage and chunnering about needing to escape and not trusting the staff, and the cockroaches. I’m not even sure if I let her have much of a cuddle, because I just couldn’t bare anyone who wasn’t me to hold him.

Monday morning I rang the Community Mental Health Team and asked for a Rapid Access appointment with a consultant.
I was lucky, I knew that I could do that.
I held off of anti-psychotic meds for a while, because I really wanted to breastfeed, but when MJ was 8 weeks old I decided that my mental health needed to be better just so that I could be a mum, and I got him to *almost* 9.5lbs all on my own (he was 5lb12.5oz at birth)

3 years I’ve been ‘managing’ my psychoses.
This year has been the hardest since MJ was born. I’ve been hiding away in my own little paranoid world, scared to let people see this side of me, scared to see people because the nice polite voice doesn’t always come out, and my anger and distain at situations can be seen all over my face.

Four weeks ago I self presented at A&E and asked to speak to the on-call psych person. It’s been a long time since I’ve done anything that ‘dramatic’ to ask for help, purely because my diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder, comes with a myth of being attention seeking.
I really needed help. I still do.
I’m taking every day, hour, minute at a time, but sometimes the seconds are too loud, and the minutes are too hateful, and the hours make me want to run away. Days are inconcieveable.
The “Home Treatment Team” have spent the last 4 weeks checking in on me every other day, make sure I’m still going, seeing how I’m doing, giving me someone to offload my mental shit on. Every other day they tell me “you’re doing good.”
I’ve been up at the Psychiatric Hospital a few times over those 4 weeks, having appointments with a Psychiatric Doctor, who I always want to call Doctor Cullen, it’s not his name, and he looks nothing like how I pictured Carlisle Cullen when I read Twilight, but yes, Doctor Cullen, the first appointment I had right after I sat down, he explained that he’d read my notes and that his instinct at that point was Bi-Polar Disorder, but he wanted to talk to me a bit more and get some facts and we’d go from there.
In the past, when I was given the Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder diagnosis I contested it, with the doctor at the time, and with the Community Support Nurse, there was a bit of a battle, which ultimately led to the CSN telling me I was leading myself down a dead end not believing the diagnosis and I lost contact with the “Recovery” team.

My last appointment with Doctor Cullen he said that he’d updated my notes to show “Working Diagnosis : Bi-Polar Disorder”
You’d think that I’d be scared of that label, I’m not.
I’ve lived most of my life dealing with the highs and lows that I have had, I’ve been on nearly every kind of anti depressant, and we did the anti psychotic after MJ was born (still take that!) to finally have a working diagnosis and a chance to possibly try a mood stabiliser gives me immense relief!
It was only last week when someone from the Home Treatment (crisis) Team came to see me, and I talked about how anxious I was about MJ’s birthday and how I couldn’t stop thinking about how rapidly my mental health declined when I was pregnant and that I feel like the Emotionally Unstable Disorder diagnosis actually prevented someone from believing what I was saying at the time because they thought I was just attention seeking. She said that I was right to ask for help this time, and mentioned that the rapidly declining mental health in MJ’s pregnancy made her feel like the bi polar working diagnosis was possibly right.
She then went on to reassure me that bi-polar when treated and managed effectively meant that I could start living my life again, not hiding away when I’m low/high as a way to control my destructive blast radius.

Reading the story of the poor Bristol mama and seeing “It’s believed she had schizophrenia” made my blood boil, because I can imagine the hate campaigns that are going on out there right now.
I don’t know the poor mama, but chances are she had undiagnosed bi-polar disorder, which lead to puerperal psychosis once baby was born. Unfortunately her ending was different to mine. And I’d like to think that it will lead to changes in post natal care in those first few days, but the midwives and labour wards are stretched enough as it is. I just wish she’d have known where to turn, or had someone to say to her “you’re doing good.”


It’s only hair!!

On the 13th April this year, I wrote a big blog entry, it was for me a big thing, admitting that at 31 I was losing my hair.
I laughed whilst writing it, remembering taking the selfies and my pink hair over Christmas.
I also cried, the tears just rolled down my cheeks.
I remembered the times I was bullied over my hair, (and also how maybe the people didn’t realise how much their words affected me at the time!!)
When I got my hair cut short last winter, to stop me from tying it up in a pony tail, see if that helped, the memory at the front of my mind was being 16, almost 17, that summer (the one that I wrote about) had messed up my head, I fell apart internally and externalised my self hatred (which had always been there but became out of control) I got my eyebrow pierced (yes mum, you were right, the holes will look stupid when I’m older, I see that now!) And realising that my mum would go mental I stopped in boots on the way home and picked up a home hair bleaching kit and dyed my hair before mum got home from work.
When she got home she hit the roof about my hair, which was conveniently covering my eyebrow, and when she’d finished about my hair I lifted and revealed my eyebrow.
“That looks nice” was her response.

A few weeks later I got my hair permed. Then in a fit of self loathing I chopped off my curls into an almost bowl cut and bic shaved the back of my head. It looked truly awful, and summed up how I felt about myself, and how I put distance between menfolk and myself.

To ‘fix’ my hair the hairdresser did me a short spiky hairstyle that I hated, but it cut off all of the dry blondeness. The knock on of that was when I went back to college and re-started year 12 after messing it up first time round, I was with the people the year younger than me from school. And there’s one girl in particular who took great delight in telling me (daily) that I looked like a fat lesbian.

15 years later I wouldn’t be offended by that. I would probably just raise my eyebrows and do a ‘WTF?’ Kind of face and walk away.
At 17, and with an extremely insecure and messed up head I actually let it (her) be part of my reason for dropping out of college and running moving away.

After I had my hair chopped off last year that girls words resurfaced, and they rather stupidly still affected me. Then in December whilst we were housesitting at my parents, I was taking the boys for a haircut near mums house and I walked past her.  Now I’m a polite person and if I see someone I know I’ll at least smile, I didn’t. I looked away, but not embarrassed, I walked on and realised that her words had been my worst fear about my hair, and I’d just faced her and I didn’t melt away, I didn’t fall apart, I was still me.

Friends will remember me saying about 18 months ago that I should shave my hair off for charity, because Mr B was allowed to grow a dodgy tash for Movember because it was for charity I couldn’t intervene (and because after all it’s his face)
I thought about that again last week after mentioning to my friend Sam that I’d need her help to do my hair, but I realised that I had to do this for me; because I was ready. Not because I was rushing myself.

Yesterday I was ready.
Don’t get me wrong, I know that I am lucky, I got to make this decision myself, not because I’m going through chemo or had to have brain surgery. My hair is only falling out because it just is.
I had a long bath, and washed my hair, wanting to gauge how I felt at ‘washing my hair for the last time’ long(ish) I was fine. It was only after then that I text Sam to ask if we could do it. I warned a couple of people from weight watchers and a mum from school (who also happens to be Itchy Crochet) and their reactions were that of shock. It’s been most peoples reaction to be honest!

Sitting in the garden with Sam and Allison we talked it through some more, Allison was being the voice of concern, whilst Sam was excited because we could do a mohican!!


The 3 of us loved the Mohican, and Allison checked again just incase I wanted to stop there, but it’s the back of my head where the hair was soooo thin, it’s gotten worse since the blog post in April, last night it looked like this..


When we got to mohican stage it looked a bit better…


So even though we all liked loved it like that I decided that when it grows back I’ll so be doing it like that for a while. I just want to give it a chance to see if it grows back any better.
So I tipped my head up to the sky, tapped the middle of my hair and said “Straight down the middle” which after she had done the middle bit she said “do you want me to keep going?”
Only Sam! <3

We then talked about Winona Ryder and Britney and I had a momentary panic and held my phone out and said "do we need to ring the mental health team?!"
We didn't, I should've back when I was 16 and went crazy on my hair!!

After we were done I was shocked, but liked it! Knowing that I was going to do it I'd done myself big eye make up so that my focus was there more than hair. Sam and Allison also liked it and were a bit jealous that I'd done it. (Or that I had the self assurance to do it!)


(Note Sam trying to strangle me with the wire!!)

I was shocked when I tidied up the mess that all of that hair we’d shaved off fit into the palm of my hand!! The other shock was, the bald patch at the back of my head…. not actually bald!!!


Yes it’s very very fine, and probably wasn’t much longer than it is now, but it isn’t actually bald!!

I’m still nervous about peoples reactions. Not because I care what random strangers/people in general think, but because I’m scared that what they say will hurt.
I’ve already brushed off one “so long as you don’t start wearing tracksuits and giant sovereign rings” without too much pain.
And the taxi man who brought me home last night said “morning fella” out of the taxi window as I closed the house door behind me, I think the whole wearing a dress and having a handbag made him realise. And that didn’t hurt.

It really is only hair. It shouldn’t define me, cutting it off hasn’t changed anything about me except the length of my hair.
And if a man can shave all his hair off because he has a bald spot why can’t I?!!




And for my mummy readers who’d be interested, it took MJ (2, almost 3)an hour to realise this morning that my hair wasn’t long. And dispite Little H being up most of the night with me (dada let me sleep and did the school run this morning) he only realised after he got in from school but it took him about 10 minutes!!

So yes, stare at women who’ve got no hair, but maybe instead of being critical we really should be behind women who’ve made this decision, or had the decision made for them through illness. Smile, why shouldn’t we have short hair?!


♡ Mrs. B xx


There’s a little uniform (ooniform) laid out waiting for you downstairs. 

How can you be big enough to go to school?

You’re not a baby anymore, you haven’t been for a long time. I feel like your life has been just a lightning flash and we’re here. You’re so excited, beyond excited. You’re ready. You’re not scared or worried, you’re facing this challenge head on.

I’m proud of you. So so proud.

You came into the world early and faced hurdles in the first 72 hours of your life that had me scared and crying, you proved to the doctors that you were a little 4lb 1oz (well 3lb5 after you lost a lot of weight) fighter. You took your first breaths unaided and peed all over the travel incubator. You only had full oxygen for 24 hours, but you wouldn’t poop and that had everyone worried. Everytime you tell me you’ve done a poo I remember the time the nurses told me you’d finally done one. That feeling of relief.

From that day on you’ve grown stronger and stronger and tomorrow I have to let you go in to the big wide world and stand on your own; Not totally alone. Mama will always be here to turn to when you need me, even if it’s just for a little cuddle after a long day.

I hope you don’t lose the confidence that you have in yourself. I’ll do my best to help you keep it. And I hope that you learn so much, but always have questions for me.

I can’t believe you’re starting school… Mama will cry, but it’s because she’s proud and happy. 

It’s time. Love you little man. Xx

16 Years.

I’ve been writing this in my head for a long long time, the things that clutter up my mind and affect my perception of people the world. So I’ve dragged the laptop out of hibernation, after spending ages in the bath trying to de-fuzz my brain and working out whether I *should* do this, and after thinking about what I feel like I need to write, and crying because the memories are still raw, just there, under the surface. I realised it’s not about whether I should do it, I NEED to do this. Put my iPod in, block out the world around me. Click “New Post” and sit on a blank screen once again mentally fighting with myself about whether to pick this emotional scab…. Karma Killer comes on, just those opening words and I feel the anger surge in me. I NEED to do this.

I will start by warning you….. This WILL be an emotional post. Chances are if you know me, then you know that this life event happened and you’ll probably know no more than that. If you don’t want to know, would rather not see the emotional outpour that will follow, just close the window now. This is an event that happened in my life. And is “my side of a story” I am NOT doing this to cause trouble, I will NOT be naming any names, nor do I want anyone to name names on my behalf. As no criminal conviction was obtained, I will state that this is something that I ‘accused’ someone of. This is a big part of me, and a big part of who I am now. It is the first time (since going to the police) that I have spoken publicly about this. Comments on this post will require approval, so if *you* wish to recant, you can do so via email to crazycrochetmama@gmail.com Just know that after 16 years I am trying to get my head around what happened, and we talked back then. I remember everything you [allegedly] said and did.

16 years ago. Can you remember how you felt? I haven’t thought about it for a long long time. It’s only today as I’ve been running through whether to sit down and try to write this that I thought about how I felt exactly 16 years ago…. I was 15, it was two days before my 16th birthday. I’d just finished my GCSE’s and had been accepted into the college I really wanted to go to, and I wasn’t even worried that I wouldn’t make the required grades. Not because I was so totally sure of myself, but I was sure I could at least get what they asked of me. I’d been under the Childrens Mental Health Team since I was 13. So I was seen as a problem teenager. I had years of counselling and groups to try and help me to not feel quite so depressed. My parents put up with a hell of a lot, but they did tend to side on the “she’s doing it for attention” parenting tactic for a mentally broken teenager. Let’s face it, I had no real reason for my depressions. My parents worked hard to make sure I had a happy supportive environment. Suddenly one day I felt like my perception shifted. I didn’t see the happy friendly 10 year old me anymore. I didn’t fit in. I was ugly, I was fat (ha, if only I knew!!) mostly I just hated my skin, my mind, and the world around me just didn’t [doesn’t] feel right. I was bullied (who isn’t!) but I wasn’t bullied until after I started hating myself… However, I was about to turn 16, leave school, pursue my interests without being called a swot, to take control of my life, to build my life. To find friends… real friends, not just the person you got sat next to in registration on your first day at school. I was trying to ignore mum and dad sitting in the front room trying to work out how to put together the mobile phone they’d gotten me for my birthday as I went to get a pack of crisps. I can still hear them swearing at the thing, and mum almost pleading with it to work so that they could ring it on the morning of my birthday to wake me up. I remember that excitement. It was 1998, and it was one of the first pay as you go mobiles released onto the market (go t-mobile!) I realised that my parents are awesome. They’re people like me, with kind hearts. I could do this, I could start a new life. I could paint a new picture. The first 16 years of my life were going to be closed behind me. I can find my place in the world. I had an amazing birthday. I got my phone, it was awesome. That night we went to pizza hut for a birthday treat and mum got the waiter, who happened to be someone from 6th form at school who I knew through school plays (oh drama club you helped my confidence so much!) to bring me a balloon, which I think he loved embarrassing me bringing it over with sharpie written Happy Birthday! on. And my friends from cadets rang on my mobile from a payphone just to sing happy birthday!! Best Birthday ever. 2 days later, everyone is at work and school, well except for Year 11’s who are on exam leave after finishing our GCSE’s. The (house) phone rings. It’s a friend. We’ll just refer to him as *you*. The two of us are the only one’s out of our friendship group who’s parents haven’t taken advantage of pre summer holidays abroad holiday prices. We meet at the big tree in the woods, the usual meeting spot. I’ve got £1 so we go to the shop to buy cigs (legally!! whoop!) and then sit off somewhere just watching clouds, chatting bubbles and eventually kissing. Kissing stops. There’s a history between us that’s still raw, I don’t feel comfortable going back there. I’m pretty sure I say so. He suggests we go to his to watch TV. I can’t remember what we watched, but we smoked some more cigs and after proudly showing me all of his man utd. video collection (yawn) he said do you want to see my new wallpaper, It’s Old Trafford. Now I’m a polite person so I said yes. As you read this, you’ve probably got a warning flag going up. Unfortunately I didn’t. Naive, extremely. I pretended to be impressed at the continuation of the shrine to Manchester United (seriously, I’m a Liverpool fan, I will never be impressed) and he kissed me. I didn’t see it coming, but I’m 16, it’s summer, it’s just kissing…. Naive. It dawns on me what he wants. I know I don’t. I try to talk us out of it. I feel like I can’t. I feel trapped inside my politeness, my not wanting to shatter someone elses confidence. Last ditch attempt. “Do you have protection?” …..no, it’s ok though….. “No, no it’s not. No protection, no sex!” I count 5 NO’s in there. I’m sure there are more. My mind kind of blanks from that point onwards. My phone rang. It’d been taken upstairs with me. It was on the bedside table from when we were kissing. It rang. I wanted to answer it. I think we were still around the NO point. I reached for it. He knocked it onto the floor. I watched it ringing. I stopped fighting. Everyone was at work and school, as he kindly pointed out to me. I zoned out. I watched the blind swaying in the breeze coming through the window. I wished I could fly. I wished I didn’t exist. I wished I didn’t ever think I could get my life together. The next day he came to my house, to take me to the family planning clinic for the morning after pill. He told me the story I would tell when they asked how long we’d been together etc. He paid my bus fare, and didn’t leave my side the whole time. He played over caring over apologetic boyfriend. The script was followed. I was still wishing I could fly. I was an emotionally void robot. I went home and spent hours in the shower, sitting on the floor. Empty. In hindsight I think I knew what had happened, I just wanted it not to have. I was going on holiday in a of week or so. Lanzarote. My last family holiday, I’m 16 now, I’m an adult. Actions and consequences. Take responsibility for your own stupidness. After my holiday I was going to join the rest of Cheshire Army Cadet Force for the 2nd week of Annual Camp. My first one. I had that to look forward to. Then I’d get my exam results and I’ll go to Carmel College and I’ll never have to think about my past ever again… Lanzarote, I can only describe it as a total wipe out. I fell apart. Too much time to think about what had happened. We were going with my mum’s best friend from school, her husband and their son, who is the same age as my younger brother. The parentals would give us a load of pesetas to go and get our evening meal on our own. The boys would usually go off to somewhere that had pool tables and order food, I’d usually blow most of my money on alcohol. Or If I was hungry I’d steal a bottle of something from a shop and go and sit on the beach and drink and drink and just be alone and cry. It had well and truly hit me what happened. All I can remember is my phone on the floor and the blinds in the wind…. I throw up. A lot. Shit. Where is my period??! I throw up more. I fall apart.. I don’t know where to turn. My parents think that I’m misbehaving because I’m jealous of my brother and his friend. I’m the worst daughter ever. I’m scared. I go home, and go off to Annual Camp. At some point on parade I pass out. I pass out again whilst we’re out on company exercise. I fall apart when I’m told I’m not on the drill team. In this time I’ve told maybe 3 friends that I think I’m pregnant. They’re petrified for me. They don’t ask questions, I don’t have the words to talk about how. They don’t know what to do, or where I should turn. Plus we’re on camp, there’s nothing we can do. When we get home one of those friends comes with me to the family planning centre. They do a test. I’m pregnant. I can’t be. I’ve got to start college, I want to…. You’re pregnant. You’re 16 and decided that you’re anti abortion when you were 14 and told about pregnancy and babies in PSE. I go and see my G.P. I’m pregnant. I’m scared. I can’t have a baby. I have to go through half a day of assessment and counselling to get a second doctors signature so that I can have an abortion. I’d love to find the notes from the half an hour with the counsellor. I was a wreck, but I couldn’t tell anyone. I’m an attention seeker. No one will believe me. It’s my fault. I have a termination. I come round from anaesthetic hysterical. I’m convinced it hasn’t worked. A couple of days later I start at Carmel College. It’s amazing, you don’t have to call the teachers “Sir” you call them Dave or Pete. I’m in awe of the whole place. Everyone seems so grown up. So together. So…. happy. I made a couple of friends in my short time there. However what I remember most about being there is seeing Nuns. It’s a Roman Catholic College after all. It hit me like a tonne of bricks. I didn’t go back. I rang the sixth form attached to my high school and went back to familiar surroundings. I retracted all my plans for life, and focussed on getting through the next 5 minutes. At some point around then I bumped into *you* whilst I was walking the dogs. You had the gall to say to me “you could’ve gotten me done for rape, you know?” I said that I knew. You continued… “I’d have admitted it, if you did.” I’m pretty sure that conversation went on for awhile. Or it felt like it did. I was rooted to the spot. I had been since I saw *you* walking towards me through the woods. It was only a couple of weeks after that, I made the decision to go to the police. I’d replayed the conversation over and over in my head. Each time trying to …. I’m not sure. You were my friend. I wanted it to never have happened. A year to the day I went to the Police. I chain smoked 5 cigs before walking into the station. I had to do it. I had to get closure. I had to stop falling apart. From talking to friends, the police are better in this kind of situation now. So please if you’re reading this as someone who is considering going to the police, do not let my experience stop you. I was treated with kid gloves immediately. They advised me that I would have to tell my parents because a marked Police car would be coming to pick me up at home the next day to take me to the rape suites to give my statement (I so hope they’ve changed the name of that as it just sounds awful) I went home feeling so so sick. How do you tell your parents that you were raped? The people who have done their best to protect you from the evil that exists. I think I blurted it out. The concern on my parents face by me calling a meeting just petrified me. Mum just cried, and hugged me. Dad walked out. In my head at the time I thought it was because he was disgusted in me for confessing that I’d been pregnant and had an abortion. (I now know that it was probably because of the rage that he didn’t want me to see. Or the heartbreak) A police car on the drive. I wonder if the neighbours noticed, “oh it would be Hayley in trouble, wouldn’t it?!” The rape suites were just some old houses that the police used to take statements and evidence. Nothing like I’d pictured (somewhere safe and inviting?) I told my story. I got stuck at a point, I was 16, and I didn’t know grown up words. It was after we were kissing, I said we were “messing about” before I tried to stop things progressing asked if he had protection. She asked what I meant, I know I flushed and shrugged my shoulders. It was just messing about. She suggested “foreplay” as a word, and into the statement it went. It’s all a bit blurred from here. Because that’s when they took *you* in for questioning. Only *you* wasn’t a 16 year old healthy school leaver by then. He was sick. He’d had cancer, and I think he was in a wheelchair. So the police came to the conclusion that he’d never have been able to held me down. Also the use of the word foreplay meant that I’d “lead him up the garden path” He’d produced a letter that I’d written him. I think it was after he’d said that he’d have admitted it, if I’d gone to the Police. My head was a mess at that time. The police probably still have it as evidence somewhere. I wrote because at that time the only people who knew what happened was *you* and I. I wrote to get the words out of my head. I wrote to try and make sense of it. At the bottom of the letter, in the bottom corner I’d drawn a picture of an engagement ring. A Solitaire diamond, round cut. With “this is what I dream of” scribbled under it. I know I didn’t mean from him. I meant in life. I saw me as damaged beyond repair. Who the fuck would love me now. The Police saw “this is what I want from you” They started getting mean. I mean really mean, the kind of thing that probably now would not be tolerated. They called me a vindictive little girl who got pregnant and now wants revenge. They said they didn’t believe me and that they would be starting to interview ALL of my friends and family and neighbours. I heard my parents voices coming out of CID mouths “You’re doing it for attention” I told them to leave it. I couldn’t stand the emotions. I couldn’t stand the stuff the CID had said about some of my friends from cadets (clearly they’d already been nosying around) I ran. Mentally. Physically. Emotionally.

16 years since this alleged rape happened. On the 12th July it’ll be 16 years ago. I can’t get my head round the fact that from this point onwards I will have more life experience than I did before it happened. So I decided to write this. Time is a healer, but the flashbacks and nightmares and emotional damage still crop up and hurt like a bitch. I know I’m lucky, it could’ve been so so much worse. This is my pain and cannot be compared to anyone elses. It “allegedly” happened. It really did destroy me for a long long time. Still does.

Hello *You*, remember me? I’m the mum I thought I’d never be. The one who you reduced to tears. Messed up my head for all these years.

Yes, that’s right, my name’s Hayley. The one you were “accused” of raping. The one who said “please don’t. No” But you wouldn’t let me go.

Well, I’m here, and you’re still there. Your puffa jacket and ginger hair. Try to talk to me, like I’m a friend? Just walk away, this is the end.

Thanks for the lessons, I’m sure they’ll do, for the sadistic bastards just like you. As for now I’ve a different lesson, Love and freedom is about to beckon.

And here I sit, letting history run by I found my wings, Now I can fly.

I just want to say thank you to my friends and family who over the years have put up with my emotions. Especially during July. And the fact that I dislike birthdays now. I do appreciate you all and I appreciate that you try and get me to move forward. I am trying. I really am. xx

Lots of pictures!

I haven’t done a crochet related update in quite awhile, so over the last couple of days I’ve been having a look through my Facebook page and my phones auto back up photo thing and finding some for you.
Some blankets have had more pictures taken of them than others (I tend to snap them on my phone and by the end of the day when I get chance to sit and crochet my battery is always low/gone!) So the ones with more I’ve squished together so you can see progress/different lights :)

It’s been a long time since I closed my list for requests for blankets. I think in my head I expected closing my list would mean I could whizz through all the blankets and then spend the end of last year teaching myself how to Tunisian crochet.
That isn’t what has happened.

What really happened is crochet and I went through a trial period of separation. I just didn’t want to do it, just thinking about it got me stressed and my mind would race too much with ideas.
All of my works in progress halted.

The two blankets that were in progress/started this time last year are still in progress.
There was the granny bobble spiral which I just could not get to work as it got bigger. So after a couple of failed attempts I ripped it out and started all over again as an African Flower blanket.
I don’t have an updated picture because I just cannot get the hexagons to join together as it should look in my head. There has literally been sweat and tears over this one because in my head I can do it, but I just can’t get it *right*


That isn’t even the final layout as it stands, it looks totally different. Hopefully soon I will get it right and there will be a mahoosive whoopee post about it!! :)

The other blanket, which I’d been calling my masterpiece was the cotton granny stripe. (pattern by attic24)
Looking back I’d started it around this time last year and the early pictures were from around Mr. B’s birthday which was this weekend just gone.
Again getting the border right on this one has caused nightmares. There have been 3 attempts. The first two have been ripped out as the first one increased the stitch count around the border and made it look all saggy. The second attempt just didn’t go with the blanket at all. So that was around 20 hours of work.


The 3rd picture down showed the second attempt at the border. (I snapped that picture the night I undid it all to start again)
Up until that point I had totally fallen out of love with this blanket. And aside from occasionally doodling down ideas in my little notebook for when my head is racing,  I also almost completely fell out with crochet.

I didn’t do anything that required a pattern,  or much thought, the kind of thing I could do on automatic pilot and not get stressed about. (When I’m not too well mentally the smallest easiest things can be too hard and it just has to be abandoned in the name of mental health!)
As a result there have been granny squares (and rectangles)


The top picture is a little mint granny square I made for MJs cuddly toy tigger.  The one underneath is a toddler bed sized granny square made in Red Heart Super Saver (worsted weight) to be honest at first I didn’t like that yarn at all. It wasn’t soft (& I wasn’t brave enough to try some of the ways to soften it that were on pinterest!) And I’m used to working with Double Knit yarn, so it took a while to adjust to it.
After only a few rounds I liked how quickly it worked up and I got used to the bigger sized hook (I think I went up to a 7mm because my tension is tight and on whatever the label suggested wasn’t right for me)
And once it was finished and had been through my rigorous soaking routine before being washed, I can say that Red Heart Super Saver *does* soften. It’s still not as soft and squishy as say stylecraft special DK but with a bit of TLC it is soft.
That blanket lives at our house because it was all that Little H was asking for at Christmas.  “A blue mama blanket” (well that and a blue mini) who am I to deny him?!
I also made MJ a little rectangle whose size doesn’t compare to the blue square,  however I can’t find a picture so I’ll talk about that another time!


This isn’t a great picture of the other rather large square that I made, but as it came back to my house for a wash and soak I remembered to grab this as it was drying (as I didn’t get one at the time!)
This was made in stylecraft special DK in wisteria,  clematis and cloud blue. I had one ball of each colour left from when I did attic24 summer garden squares which went on to be part of a big blanket from a bunch of us crocheters from all around the world to one of or crochet friends who has been (& still is) poorly. (I’ll try and find one of the pictures of it!)
So with the balls left over, and my god daughter’s original magic blanket starting to show how much love and cuddles it’s had over the last 7 years I started to make her a new one. I of course had to order more yarn, I think I only needed two balls of each colour. And as it was the first full blanket I have made using stylecraft special DK at the beginning I was thinking “it can’t be all *that* special” (attic24 uses it and a lot of other blogs I follow) and almost straight away I was in love. It’s so soft and easy to work with.
Stylecraft have a new fan in me! (And to support small businesses I don’t order from Deramores,  I use The Wool Loft. I always get it super quickly and their customer service is fab! (Will talk more about them later!)


This pink and purple blanket just makes me smile. It’s not made out of fancy yarn, it’s the acrylic stuff I can get from my local market (called new fashion I think, I’ve seen other bloggers not local to me using it too) and the yardage on it is fab. This is a granny rectangle,  only the 2nd rectangle I’ve made, and like MJs I’ve winged how to do it so it’s different to MJs (because his wasn’t quite right) but I’ll be altering my way to do it again I think. It’s not quite finished (need to sew in the last few ends) and then it’ll be having a soak.
This yarn goes soft so easily (it’s not as soft as the stylecraft but no where near as rough as the red heart felt) and has been used in most of my blankets. ta-dah (2 blankets), Some rippley love, hooky goodness and falling behind (a bit gutted some of my pictures aren’t showing!!)
Hopefully I’ll be able to show you a completed blanket picture soon!
In the meantime have a picture of what helps make magic blankets ‘magic’


Yes. I’m sharing my secret. The magic is baby feets <3

I think the last blanket I'll talk properly about, will be my current 'easy' blanket.
This blanket is special. All of my blankets are special. This one is for a lady from our weight watchers group who is lovely,  so happy and cheerful and friendly. She also has downs syndrome and at the end of last year she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that sometimes occurs in downs syndrome patients. As a group we did a card and one of the ladies got a big teddy and wrote all of our names on pieces of ribbon and pinned them to the teddy.
It just felt like I needed to do something more.
So I started a blanket.


A ripple, because nothing makes me smile more than seeing a ripple blanket. And after talking to one of the ladies from WW who is a friend about what colours G likes I ordered a load of stylecraft special DK from The Wool Loft. And that’s when their customer service came into play. I had an email from Liz letting me know that one of the colours I’d asked for was out of stock and offering me an alternative colour or to wait until they got it back in.
I didn’t see the email for a couple of days and they sent me a message on Facebook (I’m a liker of their page and have ordered via Facebook before so I was easy to find!) To let me know. I chose the alternative and got to work as soon as it arrived.
All I can actually take credit for is holding a hook and it miraculously coming together as the pattern is Attic24 Neat Ripple (also available on her blog but the link isn’t working atm) and the colours are thanks to stylecraft and their special DK range. The choice is amazing!



It is almost finished, and because of my vastly overestimated foundation chain it will be vertical ripples! (It’s almost 5 ft! ) and as you can see I’ve done 4 rows of each colour instead of 2 so that the colours really have chance to shine.
I love it. And as I said before stylecraft have a fan for life in me now!!

I’m not going to carry on, I have more stuff to share, and there are possibly people reading thinking I’ve forgotten what I was in the middle of for them. I haven’t,  I’m just slowly falling in love with crochet again.
I need to finish a few of my big things and get my head straight and I’ll be right! (If anyone is on my list/in progress and is worried you can message me a friendly reminder / questions anytime)

And in keeping with my previous entry…


That was yesterday. The sun was letting the rain have a day off! Normal service has resumed today!
But it was a lovely day, we walked to my friend (soulmate)s house and played in their garden (we only have a little one!)


Happy times! <3

♡ Mrs. B x

I didn’t know what prematurity was.

I’ve just had a re – read and as it’s 4 years ago today since I had the scan that got me admitted I wanted to share :)

Mrs. B's Adventures in Crochet

And strictly speaking I still don’t. Not properly anyway.
For this post I need to give you a bit of back story.

Little H is our miracle baby. Or our rainbow baby if you prefer that term.
(A rainbow baby is the term used for a baby born after a loss. The term comes from the way a beautiful rainbow appears after a storm and although we had to brave the storm first the rainbow appearing lifts our hearts again)
Mr B and I went through a rather large storm. Which was so very hard. 8 miscarriages in total. And a lot of heartache. We were lucky in the sense that they were all early miscarriages, the first 7 were all before 7 weeks, and with my 8th we got to 13 weeks before it was discovered that I’d had another missed miscarriage.

And as hard as it all was…

View original post 3,079 more words

At my most beautiful [?]

Well, I bet you’re thinking that is the most egotistical title for a first ‘personal’ entry.
And on the surface I suppose it is…. however I’m a believer that nothing is ever as it seems on the surface! (As you’ll probably read in the future as my blogging confidence raises!!)

So, why that title?
In part it’s because I’m not feeling so great mentally which means my iPod is in and I’m blocking the world out, and in my search for songs that I actually *want* to listen to REM’s ‘At my most beautiful’ came on.
The other part is because this is going to be an entry about me. And it’s about looks so it works! (well I think so, you’ll see!!)

I’m not entirely sure where I want to start with this entry, so I’m going to start typing and hope that it comes out in coherent sentences (as a bare minimum, I’d hate for my GCSE English teacher to stumble across this and think “How the hell did she pass English!?!” naturally I won’t be telling you guys when I’ve Googled for grammar help!!) ;)

A while ago I read *this* which had been shared by someone on my Facebook news feed. Up until I read that (and the captions on the pictures, which are probably what made more of an impact) I had thought that selfies were for young girls, and the ones you usually see are the pretty girls. Afterall they’re the ones everyone wants to see right?
No one wants to see your grey hair and wrinkles do they?

So I decided to switch my perception on selfies a smidge. And started taking one when I felt good. Or maybe even to pick me up and make me smile and put my happy face on even though I wasn’t leaving the house.
The other side to my getting in front of the camera instead of being mummy and taking lots of pictures of everyone else, was I read *this* (which again was seen thanks to the medium of Facebook!) and it struck a chord.
I didn’t do it on purpose, but after Little H was born I took a *lot* of pictures but it was very rarely that I was in photos. (Although ‘The Godfather’ is our family photographer, and if he has been around then he always manages to get a pretty shot of me, I think he makes sure that he does!!)

I didn’t see my weight going up, but after 8 miscarriages and lots of emotional ups and downs it wasn’t something I really thought about. To be honest, until the day that I decided I needed to join Weight Watchers I don’t think I was conscious of my weight at all (although being a new mum I don’t think I’d have noticed if I’d grown another head, could’ve done with an arm though!!) so maybe my weight isn’t where to start with this.
It’s about my appearance though. Shoulders upwards. Just the bit I can see in the mirror. (There is only ONE mirror in this house, and it’s on the medicine cabinet in the bathroom so I can only [just] see my face!)

In the pictures in the days following Little H’s birth my skin flared up, which after general anaesthetic and all those pregnancy hormones was normal.


It’s only looking at that today I’m a bit shocked. Because that look never really went away.
Fast forward 3 years and I went to the GP about something insignificant and I was lucky enough to have the resident GP who had seen me since we brought our house in 2006. And after I’d finished talking about what I wanted to see her for she mentioned my skin, and asked a few questions. And then said “I think you have something called Rosacea”  and she prescribed me a cream to try.
My skin is already so much better than it was this time last year, and that has helped my confidence a bit. (Weight loss factors in that, but I’m avoiding talking about weight at the moment!)

So that leads to me starting to take selfies… Although at first they weren’t “true” selfies as they were the boys and I! (Because who wants to see just my mush on its own?! I’m getting there!!)

I’ll spam you with a few, just so you can think that I all of a sudden turned into a right poser! (I’m sure my Facebook friends think I’ve gone mad!!)

1. My slightly drunk “I’m going to bed, but first… let me take a selfie!” after a night watching Ep 1. Of Season 4 of Game of Thrones, and then playing the Game of Thrones board game with friends (And Jägermeister!)


2.Who in their right minds can resist an Instagram selfie when you get a game on launch day?!! (don’t shoot me, I couldn’t resist, even in the mirror of the camera it says TIT!!)


3. This was truly an “I feel pretty” moment. And I think the FB caption on it was “Queen eyes in preparation for Game of Thrones Geek Night!” (And was a prequel to the drunkern Jägermeister induced selfie that was #1!)


4. This one probably is one of the first selfies I took that was actually just me, and my phone trying to get a pretty angle. It was around the end of January (2014) my pre christmas pink hairdye had faded and I’d gotten some new mascara (Miss Manga, I love it!!) So I was showing off my lashes and I quite liked how the light caught my hair…


Had enough of my face yet? :P

That brings me to today.
Today I did a selfie, with a caption that was also a public admission.
Kind of like therapy.
The caption said “How to rock the “I’m going bald and trying to be ok with it” look..
It’s missing something though!!” (FYI : It’s lipstick I’m missing, turns out, I don’t own any!!)

The picture was flattering, of course it’s going to be flattering. But I didn’t do it for sympathy, or hugs.
I did it because I needed to just say it. Let the people who get to see into my life, get the honour of seeing pictures of my children, (and other randomness!) get to see my ups and downs, know that there is something going on in my life right now. And I’m trying to be okay with it.

Now, before I start talking about how it’s affecting me, I want to say that I know that there are way worse things happening to people than what I’m going through. I’m lucky enough to have friends who have put my hair loss into perspective, and I am thankful that I am the kind of person that can take away with me the bits of advice they have given me and the things to make me smile. So please don’t think I haven’t realised that I am lucky that it is just hair loss for no other reason than genetics. I am, just I think I need to talk about it.
The reason I want to do it so publicly is because if just one person who is going through the same thing reads this and knows that she isn’t alone it has served its purpose. So bear with!!

If I’m honest looking back my hair started thinning around the time I turned 16, but it coincided with GCSE’s, and a bit of a trauma in my life, which was then followed by me rebelling against everyone even more than I had been doing in the previous years and I had my hair permed (it was the 90’s!!) and then a few months later I bleached it! (which I did more to stop my mum from going nuts over the fact that I got my eyebrow pierced…. YES MUM I REGRET THE STUPID PIERCING!!)

Over the years everything has been blamed for my hair starting to thin, my mum and nanna will swear blind that it’s all that dyeing it, I was convinced that it was sun damage and even managed to get a referral to a dermatologist who said that it looks genetic. However knowing how carelessly I have been in the sun (and growing up in equatorial countries) I was (am) paranoid that it is sun damage.
The people who are in my life are all very gentle about how it looks, and on facebook I avoid posting the pictures that show how bad it is.
Last year mum took the boys and I out to John Lewis in Cheadle (you can watch the planes landing from the cafe!) and on the way in we stopped to watch a Jumbo landing and mum snapped this picture….


I was shocked! (excuse the bewbs, they go everywhere I do!) It was the first time I really saw how bad it was!
In December 2013 I woke up one day and decided that was it, I was chopping it off. Give it a chance to grow, see if it is just because I permanently tie my hair up (another mum reason!)

I saw the Dermatologist in January and told about how tender my scalp is (I struggle wearing hats because my scalp is so sensitive, and when I tried a wig on I only had it on a couple of minutes and I was in pain!) and he didn’t know what that was about, but he couldn’t see any sun damage. The letter that followed the appointment said that he thought that the hair loss is genetic (as there is a history of hair loss in the family, but it’s all men!) I’ve played with my hair a lot over those last couple of months, I’ve enjoyed having it. Started blow drying it and using hairspray (I’m not a make up and quaffed kind of girl!) Changed colours regularly (although in part that’s from every colour fading to orange because I bleached it to go pink!) and taken lots of pictures of me with natural hair.

I go back to me knowing I’m lucky. I’m lucky I’m not losing my hair as a side effect of chemo. I’m lucky to not have had cancer.
It doesn’t stop me struggling with this.
When I leave the house I try and forget about this shiny spot that is now a permanent feature on the back of my head.
I try and pretend that I haven’t spent hours Googling about hair loss remedies (and have tried most of them now)
I try to not cry when I wash my hair and leave a fine layer of hair at the bottom of the bath/sink/shower.

I dry my hair. Use far too much hairspray to try and make it look not too bad. Put some mascara on. And game face goes on.

I try and pretend I don’t hear that group of young people with life sussed out sniggering to each other because they can see it.
And I’m thankful that since I’ve lost weight that it isn’t my weight that they’re laughing about.
I close my eyes when the hairdresser shows me the back of my hair. Not because I don’t want to see, but because if my eyes are open, the tears will fall. Game face cannot be lost in public!!
I take the compliments that friends give me when I’m having a good hair day and smile.

I keep going.
And I take selfies.

I leave out this bit.


Today was a good hair day. Lots of hairspray and concentration when blow drying it means that today it doesn’t look too shiney and baldy. Most days it does not look even close to this!

I will continue to photograph myself, not for me. I have never been a person who has thought I’m pretty. I’m just me, when I was younger I tried to be more. But I’m in my 30’s now, I know that I am an individual, just like everybody else!
I take my pictures for my boys. On so many levels.
They will never see me as “pretty or ugly” I’m just their mama. I want them to see that no matter how I looked I could still smile (or do silly faces) and share them with people because I was happy.
I want them to know that beauty isn’t skin deep, and that it isn’t just something that ugly people say to make themselves feel better.
The world that we are in now everyone has an opinion and [some] feel like it is their right to force that opinion out there. No matter how much it hurts the other person (or how uneducated their opinion is etc) I want them to know that actions have consequences (I HATED that saying growing up!!)

There are so many things I want them to learn from me, but the influence of the world seems like a scary thing for me to take on as one person. So I’m going to be over here, taking selfies and teaching my boys it’s ok to “Just Be” whatever that turns out to be!

(This was todays selfie!)

Withdrawals! !

I’m itching to do a proper blog update, but I need to do some preparation and planning, and a smidge of forewarning! (The latter is for you all if anyone sees me in their feeds!!)

My poor blog is so hugely neglected.  That doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about it though.

I’ve surmised that the reason I haven’t interacted with it recently is that I have used it as a crochet blog, and although I did my “I didn’t know what prematurity was” entry and it was the first time I actually talked about something that wasn’t crochet on any level.
It was me, raw and passionate and heartfelt.

I am passionate about my crochet, but in the same way I am passionate about my god(s) and my political opinions. They’re mine and I am passionate about them, but in my own way. And because they are so personal to me (totally in a gollum my precious way) I struggle (don’t like to?) talk about them, or share them.

If you’re a liker of my facebook (there should be a fb like box on my blog somewhere) or instagram (@ trulyajadeddiamond) you already know that even using my crappy phone camera skills that I can take some amazing (if I do say so myself) pictures of my crochet, yes they may only look amazing to a fellow crocheter or someone who truly appreciates handmade stuff. (Like the person who commented on a picture where I’d only managed 15 stitches that day with “but 15 beautiful stitches” (sic))
I struggle to do a blog post about it. I’ve always said that I’d rather be crocheting than writing about it and I think that stands true.

Then I see my blog name. CrazyCrochetMama.
I chose that (after at least 15 minutes of trying to think wth to call my blog!!) because I am a mama, who has mental health ‘things’ *and* I crochet.

So why have I been pigeon holing myself?

Which leads me to this entry.

This is my prologue (intermission statement?) to a more ‘me’ blog.

There are things I’ve wanted to blog about for quite a long time. Things that I have actually taken pictures of to blog about, things that matter to me and have emotions and feelings.
The internet is a scary place, things get screenshotted and meme’d and that is what has scared me. I do struggle mentally, and I am still unsure whether my self esteem can take the hits I am potentially going to open myself up for.

However, I think that emotionally I need to have a corner of the internet that is my own. A place where I can talk about things that are in my life, things that may just make one other person feel like they’re not alone in how they feel about something.

(Waffle alert)At the end of last year my Weight Watchers leader did sparkle awards and we all nominated people in the month before, and on the night our meeting is held and the awards were going to be given out I made sure I had batteries in my proper camera because I wanted to get a picture of everyone with their awards! (I nominated lots of people and I hoped they all got one!)
Michelle finished giving out the certificates (& read out some lovely reasons why people had been nominated)
Then she said “now the next award is going to be a special award….” I’m an emotional person (& one of those weird people who can feel a mood of a room) so I always get wet eyes when people get awards and stuff never mind special awards!
She went on to describe this person who I wished was in my life, friendly,  smiling, always willing to go the extra mile, supportive. And in one of the reasons for someone nominating this person it said “she says what we’re thinking but are too scared to say, and tells her bad experiences as if she’s just letting us know we’re not alone” (not a direct quote more of a summary!)
(Everyone needs someone like that in their lives right?!)
She then picked up a box and said “I wasn’t going to do this, but she had that many nominations,  and not just from our meeting, but across all my meetings, people she’s never met, because of the support she offers on facebook… I’m not only giving her a sparkle award, I’m naming her my member of the year”

And she said my name and handed me the box.
Inside was a plate with my name on it and member of the year 2013 (made by one of michelles members I’ll do a link later my phone is being lame!)

That’s when tears started falling, and everyone was looking at me! I can’t remember what I said (fuzzywuzzywasawoman?!)
Afterwards people told me that I inspired them to walk a bit taller, to keep going. And thanked me for not being ashamed of telling my experiences of how I’ve been treated as an overweight person.
It made me feel good.

Now I’m not saying this blog will be about my diet journey, or that it won’t.
I’m going to write as and when the mood takes me, and about what I need to write about that day.

When I was younger my mum (and childrens mental health) encouraged me to write, as a way of channelling my emotions and feelings.  And as a way of analysing how I was feeling. So I think that is kind of what I am going to do here.

Have my blog about all aspects of me, because when I write about what matters to me I feel better afterwards. And I’m going to hope that if I ever get meme’d (in a mean way) that I just never see it!!

So watch out for more eloquent ramblings from me in the future!

2013 in review

I promise I’ll be picking up my blog mpre in 2014. Last year was a bit hectic!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,300 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

For the love of post!!

Oh how I love it when the postman brings me crochet related goodies! Yesterday’s post was extra special and definitely worth doing a blog entry for!!

The other day I remembered that I had some PayPal funds and with my newfound love of Tulip Etimo Rose hooks I decided to order myself the 2 sizes I use the most. 5mm & 5.5mm.
I did spend a moment on the PurpleLinda website trying to talk myself out of the rose hooks and just get the normal tulip etimo hooks but the rose ones are just so pretty! (Even down to the box they come in!)


I think having two boys (+ husband) really changed my view on pink, I used to own nothing pink (apart from when younger I had pink shoes for nights out) and was very into football and hockey (street or ice) but now if something is for me I *have* to have pink. It does help identify mama’s things though, Little H is learning that pink = mama’s.  My pink Kindle Paperwhite cover is my favourite,  possibly because if it’s in my hands it means I’m having quiet time in imagination world!

The other item that arrived yesterday I still can’t believe is mine. To most people it’s just a crochet hook case, but to the babywearing eye it’s a crochet hook case made out of Didymos Geckos wrap scraps.



It’s the wrap I’m totally in love with but missed out on when I was searching for a wrap to have converted into a toddler mei tai (by Monkey Mei Tai) and I got a Natibaby Gears which I also love but if anyone asks me my favourite colour it is always turquoise and has been for as long as I can remember!

So the other day when Tawak posted a picture of some wrap scraps she had I was straight in there asking if the geckos was big enough to do a little crochet hook case. Isn’t it beautiful?! If you’re a babywearer make sure to like her page she makes bags and headbands from wrap scraps too!

A quick update on my pink cotton blanket, I’m now on round 3 of the border,  the next round will be the shells! I do love making little blankets, they help lift my crojo!


And I will leave you with some Robbie Williams lyrics that I wrote out to send to a friend because they make me smile!


♡ Mrs. B x

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