What a year. But enough about the wider world; it’s been a rollercoaster for me as well. After finally seeking help for my postnatal depression (PND) in December 2015, I felt I was on the mend, only for progress to stall a few months later. I went up to a higher dose of Sertraline but am back down again, which seems to be going ok.
Around Valentine’s Day (the least romantic ever experienced) we realised a little tardily that green diarrhoea meant four-month-old Alex was very poorly, finding out during a late night visit to Paediatrics that he’d caught the norovirus. Cue several more urgent appointments as his poo proceeded to turn almost every colour of the rainbow and a month or so on lactose free milk to coax his tummy back to normal.
The silver lining to the clouds in that sky was joining Twitter, where I soon stumbled upon the #PNDfamily, #PNDchat and #PNDhour hashtags. It’s impossible to overestimate the value of peer support.
At around the same time I took David Bowie’s advice (from ‘Let’s Dance’) in this post’s title above and ventured to my first Zumba class. I loved it so much I asked for some more suitable clothing for my birthday, although the trainers I chose were not red, but purple. Zumba – featuring an eclectic mix of pop and Latin (how about Enrique Iglesias, Zara Larsson, Justin Timberlake, Sia and even a helping of The Jam?) is brilliant exercise and the buzz from the music and the dancing is infectious – whether you’re an expert or just managing to keep up with barely half of the moves (that’s me). I’d always fancied having a go – funny how I eventually did with a baby in tow! Alex, for his part, loved both the dancing and attention, and instructor Niki was convinced he preferred the Latin tracks…
What’s more, shortly after an hour of Zumba on Wednesday mornings, the same hall was transformed into a ‘rhythm and rhyme’ class run so Alex could get his fix of ‘Old MacDonald’ and then we could walk home in time for lunch.
As Alex grew, so did my confidence and before I knew it we were rapidly approaching August and my return to work. I knew without any doubt that I was not cut out to be a stay-at-home-mum but a full time job also seemed a little too much. I know how lucky I was to walk back into the same job, albeit for three days instead of five.
A friend recommended a childminder who worked… three days a week. Alex settled in brilliantly and so did I, with a clear sense on my first day back that I was meant to be there. Five months later I still genuinely look forward to my time at work (not least the hot cups of tea) but I also enjoy knowing on Wednesday evenings that I’m done for the next four days. Thursday and Friday are my days with Alex, and although we get out and about, he’s still a good daytime sleeper so I have the satisfaction of being able to catch up with housework too.
But finding myself behind a desk in Uxbridge meant we had to say goodbye to that Zumba class. I needed a new form of exercise. It just so happened that a gym had opened in a secondary school a few minutes’ walk away. They hold evening Zumba classes. I also tried Spinning, but after three weeks of that managed to break my elbow while on a simple walk to the park. As anyone who’s tried spinning knows, you spend a fair amount of time standing up on the bike and therefore put a lot of weight through your arms. Luckily by this point I realised it was more cost effective to pay monthly for full gym membership than by class; which also gave me access to all the machines during opening hours.
I was still in shock that I’d joined a gym at all, which made me feel even more of a fool turning up with my arm in a sling. But I needn’t have worried: everyone was so encouraging and with care and common sense, there were still a lot of machines I could use.
This week has definitely been more about Toblerone than trainers but that’s ok… There’s always 2017.
Happy new year.