Page 2 of 8

Meeting the stress of a busy head

When I lived alone, each morning I used to wake up with that relentless voice. as soon as my brain kicked into gear it began supplying me with negative thoughts.

“Why do you have to get up so early? there’s too much to do today, and if you forget to pay that bill you’ll be more stressed than you are now, in fact you’ll probably go to jail. And how are you going to cope in jail? you’re going to have to sharpen up on your fighting skills, you’re not as young and fit as you used to be. But there’s always going to be that one guy who’s bigger and faster than you. And while you’re in there – getting your ass handed to you on a plate, your flat will get repossessed, along with your guitars. Then your really screwed. And what about work today?, you got a full day ahead of you with no time to pay bills. And i noticed your front near side tire was looking a bit flat last night so it’s probably completely flat this morning. And you havent got a spare. So how are you going to get to work? imagine what your boss is going to say if you let the guys down today of all days! and if you can’t work how are going to pay for that tire?. I bet you didn’t get sugar either. Oh man! coffee without sugar. And did you see the way that guy in the local shop looked at you yesterday, he probably wants to rob you…………”

And then I would begrudgingly drag myself out of bed, already stressed, agitated, fearful and wound up before I even left the bedroom. And that was my everyday morning. It’s no wonder I drank so much!

Living with over thinking is hard work. It’s a constant battle with doubt and fear. And the harder I struggled with it, the worse it got. When I got sober the thinking got louder and continued to batter my mind. Only it really sucked, because I couldn’t drink to quiet it. Instead life became one of constant distraction from my own head.

When I met my wife I had found a little peace with it, but still it amplified with the stresses of life. What became clear was that my thinking was a problem. I was lucky enough to meet a man who showed me a way to live unaffected by my thoughts. Through a unique meditation I was able to separate from the negativity in my head and simply observe it. The only way I can give any power to my thinking, is when I get lost in it.

Anyone who lives with symptoms such as anxiety or depression will relate to a noisy negative mind. It pulled me daily into a self-absorbed existence of which it felt there was no escape. Most of the stress in my life originates from within, non of its real. And when I did meet a problem in the stream of life it just reinforced my negative thinking. it would smugly announce “see, told you that would probably happen”.

I can’t imagine how I would be able to parent, and raise a family without meditation. Dealing with stress begin’s with observing the pull of my own internal conflicts. If I am free from the constraints of my over thinking mind I am left only with a natural, silent intuition. A natural guidance system that allows me to effortlessly deal with what’s in front of me without being overwhelmed. Life becomes peaceful as a result.

img_1571

Here is a link to the meditation exercise. It’s free, incredibly powerful and life changing.

https://schwarzhoffmedia.com/non-contemplative-meditation/

I hope you find use of this, if not now maybe at another time. But believe me, life will never be the same again.

 

 

 

 

Bullies

This week my wife took the triplets with a friend to a soft-play centre. Whilst the babies were happily playing, a young boy aged around six leant over and yanked Blakely’s arm. My wife told him sternly to go away. A few moments later the little boy returned and punched Blakely in the face. A six-year-old boy punched one of my babies in the face leaving a mark!

IMG_2005
Blakely met her first bully this week

My wife promptly took the boy to his Dad and told him what had happened, he was led outside and shouted at. A few minutes later he came back over with his son and told him to apologise, which he did, in a cocky manner. The boy then asked his Dad if they were still going to Mc Donalds and they left.

It has played on my mind since it happened. My first response when my wife relayed me the story when I got home from work was shock. Followed by rising anger and the thoughts of what I would like to have done to the boy, and what I would have said to his father. The anger I felt is the response every bully looks for, a transference of the anger they carry themselves. It’s like a spreading infection.

I saw that anger ripple out as I told friends and family of what happened to Blakely. And It made me realise again the damaging futility of harbouring resentment towards others.

Once I had processed the events I felt only forgiveness and concern for the boy. There is a tormenting spirit inside every bully, no matter how big or small they are. They have separated somewhere along the way from their natural discernment of what Is right and wrong. No one is born a bully. They are almost always tormented themselves. To allow yourself to become angry at the actions of a bully is to give them exactly what they want, the spread of internal dysfunction. To see others suffer as they are.

To forgive is not to hate. It doesn’t mean condoning a situation like the one little Blakely experienced, or does it mean sitting back and doing nothing about those who torment us. It takes courage to stand up to bullies in the world and not to resent the anger we see in them. And one day I will show my girls a way to defend themselves. And more importantly – how to forgive.

As for the little boy who punched Blakely, I hope he finds some Fatherly guidance before his life becomes one of only trouble and chaos.

Daddy/Babies day

It’s been a long few weeks at home with the ups and downs of life. My car was hit and written off a couple of weeks ago which left me with a few aches and pains and the stress of finding a new car. In the meantime Stacey has been dealing with the triplets and a very bored Frankie on her school holidays. Thursday this week the triplets had their latest jab, thankfully the last ones for a few years.

As imagined they didn’t go down well. Thursday evening Blakely broke out in a little rash so Stacey and Frankie drove her to the hospital while I took care of an unsettled screaming Lacey. Thankfully Ava, who is seemingly tough as old boots and is our very own wrecking ball ,was fine and slept. Blakely was also good, they were just reacting to the injections. On Friday morning they all woke with a temperature after I left for work, this left Stacey with three fired up screaming babies who just wanted cuddles with Mum. But with only two arms she was in for a hard morning.

By the evening they had settled and are now back to normal. So today Stacey and Frankie are getting a break from babies. And I’m taking over. It’s normal for me to pick up at the weekends and take over the feeds and the rest of the daily baby routines. But today Stacey and Frankie are going out for a bit of a much-needed pamper, and some all important Mummy and Daughter time away from the house.

So, this is how it goes for me. They woke up at eight so I changed them all and let them play in Blakely’s cot while I went and got a cup of tea and did my meditation. They are more than happy with each others company. It gives me an opportunity to get my head in a good place for whatever the day brings.

cot
Impromptu cot party

This is followed by a hearty breakfast of five wheatabix. Next up it’s a good hour of playing before they have a bottle and go back for their morning naps taking us up to lunch. After which Il be taking them out to town, to most likely be bombarded by comments and questions from strangers, ranging from the hilarious, to the down right inappropriate. I’m seasoned at dealing with the curiosity now so it doesn’t faze me. There will be a hand slapping though if anyone tries to touch my babies, you keep your grubby germs to yourself! If you do see me out and about il answer a few common questions now – No they are not IVF. Yes my hands are full. I am not helping out as a Dad – Im bossing my job as a Father. And no, they are not a nightmare, they are my daughters and they rock!

20180811_093419[827].jpg
Sisters are now doing it for themselves
In just over a week we will be going away for a family break to Stay with Stacey’s parents, and we are all ready for it. It’s been a while since we had the type of help that allows us to step back and slow down a bit, even dare I say it – relax. We may even get another date night in. But til then it’s on with the routines, on with life, and on with my day alone with the girls, which are days I cherish. And as busy at it is, life has never been better.

 

 

 

One Year of writing

A year ago today I launched this blog. My reasons for starting it were mostly because I was sleep deprived, and it seemed a good way to document an experience felt I was forgetting. The other reason was that It may help inform others who may be expecting. After all I had no idea what was coming my way and I thought it may be useful.

I didn’t plan it, or think ahead as to how it would turn out. If nothing else it would be something for us as a keepsake. I didn’t want to miss a minute of that first year. At times it kept me afloat, when I was struggling it helped me stay connected to what was around me. It kept me close to my purpose, of taking care of my family.

I discovered I enjoy writing. I don’t have an academic background or much knowledge on the craft but non the less found it a way to Express what I was going through. And as a result It has been a way to reach out to many who were, and are, struggling themselves from resentment and fear surrounding Fatherhood. Writing of the darker elements of what I have been through I have hopefully opened the lid on what some men really go through. To me it is whats important. I purposely stayed away from advertising and monetizing it as I didn’t want to lose focus of why I write.

I never expected to get as personal as I have, and in that sense it has been a cathartic exercise. I’m not perfect but am always willing to grow. The main ingredient to becoming a Dad is a willing to change, I see this need for improvement constantly in myself now.

I began writing a book at the beginning of the year, that I am now at the tail end of finishing. It goes much more in-depth to my experience stepping into Fatherhood. A book that has been hard at times to write, and not just because I work full-time and we have three babies at home to take care of. My hope is that it informs and inspires any man walking this path. To see that it is possible to pull through the rougher times of the early days, and become and remain a loving, stable presence in his children’s and families life. No matter what path his life took before Fatherhood.

Il leave you with this photo of my little chickens. Who have inspired me to be a better man, for them, my wife and Frankie. I truly thank all of you who follow me and take the time to read my ramblings. And to all of you who send messages of thanks, encouragement and support.

 

bath.jpg

 

 

Thank you Tesco – new wheels!

Going shopping with triplets is a full-on mission that needs to be planned with military precision. It’s a little easier with two of us. But flying solo around the supermarket with a baby strapped to you while pushing the other two can be hard work, and a strain on the back muscles now they are growing,

Friday we received a message from the management at our local Tesco store, who after receiving a request for help informed us that they ordered a custom-made triplet trolley especially for us. Saturday we were met at Tesco with a chariot for three full of balloons and a hamper full of goodies for the triplets. I got to say it was impressive, the trolley was even decorated with coloured bunting. And it handles like a dream!

tesco
Happy shoppers

Being at home can be isolating with three babies, and getting out alone can be stressful without help. So for my wife this is a bit of a life-line. She has even been given a number to call when she gets to the store to have it brought out to her.

It’s the little things that help in our situation and Tesco have done us a real solid. Now my girls can all go shopping hassle free, and spend Daddy’s money happily while I’m at work in the week. Happy wife – happy life, so thank you Tesco.

bottles b & w.jpg

 

 

 

 

When the dust settles

The arrival of babies is an event, an enormous one. A year in and the dust has settled. We are blessed in the sense that my wife didn’t suffer from post natal depression although suffering badly through the pregnancy. It was me who took a turn after the babies arrived. We switched roles in that respect, I struggled to adjust with the tiredness while my wifes complete focus turned to the triplets. We headed separate ways while she was pregnant, re-connected in the NICU then wandered off emotionally in different directions again. Stress came between us. Tiredness only fuelled my sense of seperation at home.

By christmas the babies were settled and life became as normal as it will be from now on, the depression that was biting at me lifted. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, to look back with clarity at what we both went through to bring the triplets into the world and care for them was life changing beyond compare. We both struggled at times, so working together had to be our aim. It was the ultimate test of our marriage, and we had to keep love at the centre of our home or fail.

Bath time.jpg

We have gradually found our feet again, and find ourselves dealing with problems a lot differently now. Having triplets pulled us apart, only to pull us back together to be stronger than ever. There needs to be a consistent awareness of each other and ourselves as the temptation to get dragged into stress is ever-present. Our relationship is the most important one under our roof. Our ability to love and stay out of ourselves is what has brought balance to our home.

The triplets are content. They live in a calm environment and are free to thrive without the pressures of uncontrollable emotions around them. But it takes work, and a dedication to remain conscious of our rising anger and fears. They are dealt with before they take hold of us. We dont let problems get to the point they start to affect others.

Life with triplets is full on, there’s no days off and it would be easy to to feel hard done by with all the work it takes and the ever changing life we now have. The only way I can feel on the outside looking in is if I allow it to happen. Children need love, they need parents who are present and not absorbed in themselves and their concerns, I learned some hard lessons over the last year. My involvment must go beyond my wants and needs. And since it has, remarkable things have happened.

 

 

Impending chaos x3

Imagine placing three wild cats in a bathtub, trying to shampoo them, then organising them on the bed to dry and dress them while they fight to wriggle off in any direction whilst laughing at you. This is where we are now.

“Sufficient to the day is one baby. Don’t ever pray for twins, twins amount to a permanent riot, and there aint no real difference between triplets and an insurrection” – Mark Twain

The triplets have become more demanding and active over the last month. Their development has come on leaps and bounds as they mimic little things we do and fight to become more mobile than they actually are. The triplet situation has stepped up a notch in every department, including teething. They are still happy and contented, still sleeping through 12 hours (thankfully), yet there awake time is already bordering on a small riot. One my wife will be having to police single-handedly while im at work during the week.

Blakely
Blakely – still the most chilled

Ava and Lacey seem to be head to head in development. Ava is especially switched on when it comes to mimicking and co-ordination, also boisterous and excitable. She is now pulling herself up to her knees after realising standing with help is possible, she’s on the move. Lacey is intelligent in figuring things out, like how to get toys off her sisters by dangling other things in front of them to distract them. She inquisitive and bright, a little smarty pants already.

Blakely is still a little behind the others but only by weeks. She will play happily with one object or toy without getting bored with it. She may the smallest but has no problem in getting something back from her sisters if need be, she has a feisty streak. She was known as the firecracker for the first few months of her life due to her ability to go from zero decibel to a thousand in a heartbeat. She has since chilled and remains happy to just sit and observe the world, usually from Mum or Dad’s lap.

It’s fascinating to see their personalities grow and change. Before they were born people use to tell me three babies was going to be a nightmare, now they say “wait til they start moving, your screwed”!. So in a way things are going to become more challenging without a doubt. But Stacey and I will take it in our stride and adapt as we’ve had to the last year. With triplets the stages don’t get any easier, it’s our continual adjustment to meet them that makes it workable. Patience is everything, a sense of humour crucial.

Every day is one to absorb and learn from, and the one thing that’s for certain, we have some seriously good entertainment to get us through.

family
What a difference a year makes

 

Happy first birthdays babies !

So, its been a couple of weeks since I last posted. And during that time we have been reflecting on the biggest year of our lives. Honestly, it has been the toughest ride of my life. And it seems now as we reach this day, much of the stress that I didn’t even realise was still affecting me from the first six months and the pregnancy has dissolved.

I’ve been left feeling back on track, stronger emotionally and physically. My wife and I have had some much-needed honest conversations about the darker corners we both curled into at times, for my wife the pregnancy was horrendous, for me the first six months took their toll. Yet here we are, more connected than ever with a doubled family unit who are all content and healthy. We managed to balance each other up through the harder periods we both encountered.

We finally got round to having a professional photo shoot for the girls which was fun, but fun doesn’t last too long in the heat with tired triplets who missed a nap to perform for the camera. The cake smash was hilarious, our well-behaved little chickens sat lovely in front of their cakes and just poked their fingers in and nibbled with smiles, except for Ava, her cake was green which im convinced she saw as a large pile of broccoli and quickly got upset when she realised she had to touch it. I can confirm no cakes were harmed that day. It was probably the most civilised cake-smash in the history of cake-smashing.

triplets-cake.png
This shot perfectly captured their very different personalities

Today we are having a get together for family, and this coming weekend is their birthday party which will be a chance to meet up with friends, God parents and all who have been involved on this journey.

There is a feeling of achievement today, that we have made it through the storm, and grown through it as a couple and a family. There is a grace at the centre that I know carried us at times. I feel relief that I never need experience the emotional battering of the last eighteen months again, yet I am grateful every day for the family we have, and I wouldn’t change a single thing to be where we are now. I know we are only beginning as a family, and there will be many more challenges ahead of us, but we are both conscious of what can be achieved, and experience of dealing with something as immense as we’ve been blessed with has given us a confidence to walk forward in light, hope and faith.

36671409_10215638718176936_4226330475909611520_o.jpg
An amazing big sister with her biggest fans

Ava Blakely and Lacey have not only changed our lives but also affected others, simply by being. They each brought a light into this world that has glowed in the lives of others, the effect they have on those around us is incredible. They brought a purpose to us that would set us up for life and opened doors for us in doing so. They truly are remarkable little ladies, Frankie included.

One of the first conscious thoughts that crossed my mind when we discovered three heart beats, was that God wouldn’t have gifted us three babies if he didn’t think we had what it took to take care of them – thankfully my intuition was right.

triplets bellys
Ava Blakely & Lacey

Thank-you to all of you that have followed this blog of my journey over the last nine months. I truly appreciate your taking the time to read follow and share it with us. I know it has been of use, if just as a perspective for others. So please feel free to pass it on so others who may be interested may make use of it or just enjoy following.

There is also a book in progress which im hoping to be published by early next year (if it’s meant to be). Not the easiest undertaking between work and family but I feel it’s an important one, that will give a much-needed Fathers perspective of an extraordinary situation to any parent.

I look forward to the future and sharing it with you.

Si.

A very special Father’s day

For the last four years Frankie has spoilt me for Father’s Day. After losing her biological Dad it has become a day that is very special to her. She gets exited that we have a day to celebrate our relationship, and for me it means the same.

I’m still in awe of how well she has adjusted to making way for three little sisters, who although stealing most of our attention loves them as we all do. They literally light up as soon as Frankie walks in the room.

My relationship with Frankie has taken work. And the effort and attention has paid off for both of us.

This time last year my wife was on bed rest from carrying the triplets. We were almost at the elected arrival date. Our last Father’s Day was spent in the paddling pool, talking about how different life was about to get.

Any concerns I had about how Frankie may feel about the arrival of the babies left the first day she met them. She really is a fantastic sister and help to Mum and me. We are incredibly proud of her.

This Father’s Day was a special one, my first as a Father of four. I was treated out for lunch and the triplets were on their usual best behaviour. It was a lovely afternoon out with family.

There’s really is no telling the difference a year can make. I no longer spend time wondering where we may be in the future or second guessing what life may bring. Staying present and awake to what’s in front of me is the only place in time I need to be. To be present for my family is the greatest gift I’ve ever discovered. And nothing brings more of an honour than to be called Dad.

2018 International Fathers mental health day

I have been kindly asked to contribute to international Fathers mental health day this Monday 18th June. The hope is to raise some awareness of the emotional gravity experienced by expectant Dad’s facing their biggest job.

Unfortunately there is still a huge lack of support and needed services for fathers throughout the pregnancy, and going into fatherhood.

If you follow my blog you will be aware I’m a first time biological father to spontaneous triplet girls. You’ll also know I have overcome my own serious mental health conflicts before I discovered I was to be a father. Had I been in a less stable mental condition I don’t believe for a minute I would have been able to cope with the huge emotional changes and I experienced to get to this point.

The day I found out I was to be a Father of multiples, I also discovered I was completely alone to deal with my situation. After the scan took place, on asking a midwife if there was any sort of help, or somewhere I could find advice I was met with a simple apology. No such help or service exists for men.

My wife was in a state of shock and panic, overwhelmed with the news of the triplets. I was left without any landing equipment, heading into the biggest, most difficult event of my life without a clue as to what was coming. The entire focus of the pregnancy was understandably directed on the wellbeing of my wife and the triplets. Any questions that came my way were questions directed at how my wife was coping. I had no choice but to push on the best I could in the hope my intuition in dealing with my wife and family was right to trust.

The stress of the pregnancy was a test of our marriage, it was down to me to keep stability in the home even though I had my own constantly rising fears and concerns.

I met with my GP within the first month of the pregnancy. I was experiencing fear around old mental health concerns and felt it wise to discuss my concerns with a neutral party rather than burden my wife or friends. Even with a long past of diagnosis, I was given a form to send off and explained the waiting list would be at least 6 months to speak with someone by which time the babies would have arrived. It would be over a year before a meeting with a professional councillor took place.

My saving grace was that as a recovered alcoholic, In order to stay well and mentally stable I practice a daily meditation exercise that allows me to build resilience to stress. It was a way for me to remain conscious and aware of my rising fears without becoming overwhelmed. The situation at home was difficult as my wife suffered mentally and physically with the pregnancy. I had to stay out of anger and fear for the sake of the unborn babies and my family.

Thankfully the triplets arrived safe and well. And with the safe arrival of the babies my wife’s depression and fears left. I, on the other hand was beginning to get hit with mental exhaustion from the pressure of the previous months. Life was only to become more challenging when the babies came home. Again there was no support for myself other than the social media multiple Dad groups that became a God send to me.

There is a massive failing in relationships and marriages within the first year of multiples. Without a way to remain conscious of rising negative emotions, men feel evermore pushed to the sidelines feeling ignored and left out. Depression becomes a common symptom of the suppressed resentment energy that men are unable to shake. Yet they are left to struggle unless offered a real solution. When self-pity starts creeping in with added tiredness all hell can break loose in a home.

I feel I’m one of the lucky ones who survived the first year. I suffered at times in silence, my wife didn’t need the extra burden of worrying about me. She was discovering her own place. As difficult as it was at times I did my utmost to put her needs first.

It was during the first week in the NICU that a nurse came in and sat next to me while I was alone with the triplets, she asked me how I was doing, I immediately began telling her about my wife and she stopped me, she said again “no, how are YOU doing with all of this”?. I poured my heart out for a good hour. She understood my situation. It was the first and last time I have ever been asked solely as Dad how I was by someone professional dealing with us as a family. I think that’s pretty sad considering what we as Fathers go through.

A Fathers role is equally as important, and needs to be treated that way, it’s why I began this blog, to share with others who may be lost in the fear of a high risk pregnancy. I have discovered a solution to depression and a way to deal with the stresses of home life. Many haven’t.

We no longer live in a time where women deal with the babies and men stay out the way. I was fully involved from day one and continue to be as much as possible.

Maternity services need to start recognising the absolute importance of our roles and offer support to those who most need it. Many Fathers begin their journey into parenthood already suffering with un resolved mental conflicts which is why a fathers mental health needs to be taken seriously.

I am currently writing a book hoping to be published next year, sharing my experience and highlighting the emotional journey as a new Father to high order multiples I embarked on, and how finding my role early kept me involved no matter how disconnected I felt under the pressure of adjusting to a new life. It is possible to maintain stability in the home, and in oneself.

https://tripletdad.blog/2018/02/28/my-mental-wellbeing-my-babies/