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Franglaise MummyHi, I'm Sophie, a francophile Brit, living in London after 12 years on the French Riviera, wife to a Frenchman, mum to two half-English/half-French daughters. I blog about parenting and lifestyle, often with a Franglaise take.
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Archive for the ‘Conception’ Category

PostHeaderIcon How do you tell your child about the facts of life?

L will be 6 years old in December and with the imminent arrival of her baby brother or sister have come various questions about where babies come from and, what she is more fascinated with, how they come out of mummies’ tummies.

The first time she asked me about how they come out of their mummy’s tummies I was completely caught off guard, I hesitated for a milli-second, wondering if I should go with the “zip on mummy’s tummy” theory, but decided I couldn’t carry it off believably; I did also wonder at what stage you then tell them the truth. So I simply said “babies come out of their mummy’s foufoune (this is the French word that we use)”, she replied with a passionate “yuk” before moving onto something different entirely.

Since then we haven’t had much of an issue with it, so I tend to think that the honesty is the best policy. I do have friends who have told their children that babies come out of their mummy’s tummy but are now struggling to back-track, and that gets tricky.

Whilst I love the fact that L is grown up enough to take it all on-board and in her stride, it does make for fun times when she wants to share this knowledge with others in the playground.

Today she wanted to take this book to school with her for show and tell:

This is a classic book from the 1970s that my parents got to share with my siblings and me. The funny thing is that at that time my dad had curly ginger hair and beard and my mum had long blonde hair, so for us it was pictures of our mum and dad! Then when L got to asking these types of questions my mum passed me the book to help out.

I’m quite happy for L to look at the pictures and ask me questions, but I’m not sure the other parents or the teacher would have appreciated her sharing it during show and tell, as you can see by the clarity of images and description in this children’s book:

Maybe a little bit intense for Year 1 show and tell.

I’m pretty certain that this picture is the main reason I didn’t have my first baby until I was nearly 31, it haunted me for years. Could this be any scarier?!?

What is your take on telling your children about the facts of life? Do you go for the truth or not? At what age would/did you tell them? Did you use any books/films etc? I’d also be very curious to know if any men have told their children about the birds and the bees at this young age, or does it always fall to the mums? As L will always ask me and not B.

I’d also love to know if anyone else had the facts of life explained to them by this book, as I’m pretty certain it’s a classic!

PostHeaderIcon Do miscarriages make for more stressful pregnancies later on?

I am delighted to be pregnant with child number 2, but this is actually my third pregnancy. I am one of the many, many women who has suffered from a miscarriage. According to the NHS one in five pregnancies ends in miscarriage and around three quarters of those miscarriages occur during the first trimester (first 12 weeks of pregnancy). I am one of those statistics.

My first pregnancy was in July 2005 and I got pregnant the first month we started trying. I was delighted. A few days after we found out B and I went off on holiday to the French Alps with my parents, his mum and his gran, so we excitedly told them our news that first night, despite it being really early days. It was great fun as we talked about this new grandchild and great-grandchild and I have such happy memories of those first few days of the holiday.

Then mid holiday we went on a day trip over the border to Switzerland and after lunch I noticed some bleeding, not just spotting either. To cut a long, very sad story short the next day (the 14th July – France’s national holiday!) it was confirmed that I had “spontaneously aborted” the baby. I was only about 5 weeks pregnant at the time, but the grief, guilt and sadness I felt was overwhelming.

Day of my miscarriage, avoiding the camera (with B)

Day of my miscarriage, avoiding the camera (with B)

I can’t begin to imagine what it must feel like for those miscarrying later on and anyone who has ever gone through a miscarriage has my full sympathy.

Despite reading up on miscarriages, in particular early miscarriages, and seeing that they happen in general through no fault of the mother, and are caused by a foetus that wouldn’t have been viable, I still couldn’t help blaming myself. What had I done wrong? What should I have done differently? And would I be able to carry a baby to term?

Despite my gynaecologist checking me out and reassuring me that everything seemed in perfect working order, I couldn’t help worrying if my next pregnancy would be ok.

After getting pregnant in month 1, it took us a further 8 months to conceive L, during which time so many of our friends and acquaintances were announcing pregnancies that poor B ended up clearing up my sobbing messes time after time.

We were over the moon when we found out I was finally pregnant again, but I was unable to enjoy that pregnancy. Every week took me closer to this baby being viable and I remember being ridiculously relieved when I reached 24 weeks and I was told that if I happened to give birth now the likelihood was that the baby would survive. Instead of thinking “wow, that’s really too early for a baby to be born” all I could think was “my baby is viable”!

I felt such a great responsibility towards my unborn baby – I didn’t have one sip of alcohol, I stopped doing sport (it had been suggested by a certain someone that walking – not hiking, just walking – in the Alps had caused my miscarriage), I was overly strict with myself about what I ate, and I basically didn’t relax for around 40 weeks!

Funnily enough once L was born and she was no longer just my responsibility I completely chilled out, she slept in her own room as soon as we brought her home from the hospital, and I never worried overly about her, in complete contrast to when I was pregnant with her.

Pregnancy number 2 couldn’t be more different – as I know I have carried a healthy pregnancy to term and that I now have a very healthy 5 year old to show for it I feel completely relaxed about this pregnancy and my miscarriage risks (hopefully I am now past the major ones as I will be 25 weeks tomorrow). Which is crazy really when you think I am now 36 (I was 30 for my pregnancy with L) so my miscarriage risks are probably higher.

I wonder if I am alone in feeling this way? Have any of you had miscarriages and then had subsequent stressful pregnancies through fear of further miscarriage?

I felt incredibly lonely when I miscarried as I didn’t know anyone who had also had a miscarriage, but I’m guessing this is just because we don’t tend to talk about it with others. Have you had a miscarriage? How did it affect you?

If you know of anyone who has suffered from a miscarriage, just be there for them and help relieve them of that horrible guilty feeling.


PostHeaderIcon About me – in more detail

If my blog bio wasn’t enough for you, here is some more information about me….

Franglaise Mummy pretty much sums me up: I lived in the UK for the first 22 years of my life before heading to Nice, France after graduating. I had a 3 month return ticket and aimed to spend the summer working in a bar, going to the beach and partying. In less than a month I’d decided to stay on indefinitely….I finally moved back to the UK 12 years and 18 days after going out there as a very different person at 22.

After deciding to stay on in France I set about looking for a serious job and becoming more “French” and less of an expat. Here is a brief summary of my life on the French Riviera age 22 – 34:

I lived in 1 city, 2 towns and 1 village, from the beaches of Nice to the countryside of St Vallier de Thiey which is over 700 metres above sea level and where we had snow every year.

I worked as a barmaid, I cleaned yachts, I cleaned toilets, I worked as a secretary for a man who I later discovered was involved in the Russian mafia, and who I saw on the news in handcuffs one night (whilst I was working for him!), I taught English in businesses, I worked as a PA again and this time my boss was put on gardening leave while the company investigated him for fraud and for stealing company money, I worked in marketing and PR, I ran my own luxury travel agency with my husband which nearly brought an end to our union! My final job in France was running my own business working for a woman who declared herself to be a witch and to know how to cure cancer, and doing some final English teaching to babies and children. After this panoply of jobs I was quite glad to move back to the UK and get a “normal” job in a marketing agency in London.

I had a 3 year relationship with my first French boyfriend, resulting in a mortgage, 2 French cats, an adorable set of in-laws who I still class as my family today and a broken heart. Despite this I decided to stick around in France and I’m glad I did as I then met my husband on a drunken night in a bar in the old town of Nice in December 2001. What I have got out of this relationship is another mortgage, a French dog, 2 English cats, my soul mate and our incredible and fabulous half English, half French daughters.

To everyone’s shock and amazement, in June 2010, fed up with the lack of job opportunities and never-ending petty bureaucracy in France, hubs and I made the huge decision to move (back) to the UK. In the next month we sold nearly everything we had, handed in notices, packed up a tiny van of a few key belongings, booked a one-way flight, had a few drunken farewell parties and headed to my parents’ house with L and our hopes high. I never thought that at age 34 I’d be moving back into my childhood home along with my husband and 3 year old daughter but that’s what happened as we job-hunted and then house-hunted.

Since then we’ve settled into our UK way of life very well and it’s made me realise that whether we live in the UK or France or anywhere else I will now be leading my life the Franglaise way.

So where am I at now? Living with hubs, L (our 6 year old daughter), C (our baby daughter, born in London in November 2012), Courage (French dog pronounced Koo-rarj), Ruby (French cat), Gavin & Smithy (English cats) in southwest London. I recently gave up working in a digital marketing agency in London to retrain as a childminder so I could spend time with our daughters.

This blog is about my personal experiences of the differences in pregnancy, birth and raising babies and children the French and the English way. I am not condoning nor condemning either way, merely stating how it is/was for me, which doesn’t necessarily mean that is how it is for everyone in the UK or France.

With that disclaimer I’ll sign off and say thanks for reading!

Franglaise Mummy with L and C

PostHeaderIcon It’s a positive!

It hardly seems possible that just a month ago I was lamenting yet another negative result yet here I am with a big fat positive in my hands. Two in fact.

I did the first test yesterday morning, which was really the absolute earliest I could do it with a hope of getting a positive. I don’t know why but this month I just felt it might be the one. So without telling B what I was up to, I scuttled off to the loo as soon as I woke up and weed on the stick. This is what I got.

I seemed to recall reading that any hint of a line indicates a positive, but when I showed it to B, he was doubtful, saying it was really faint. So although I was pretty certain this was a positive I rushed out to Boots to get another one.

This morning (again without telling B) I rushed off to the bathroom again first thing, and went through the actions again. This time there is no doubt.

There it is, as clear as day. I AM PREGNANT! After 7 months of trying and 6 years after my last positive pregnancy test, L is going to have the longed for baby brother or sister finally!

I rushed back to the bedroom, clutching the wee-covered stick, grinning my head off. “Look, I am, I told you” I tell B as I thrust the slightly unhygienic article at him. “What?” he splutters? “1 or 2 babies? Is that what it’s saying?” I did manage to calm him down as I explained that technology is not that advanced yet, and it’s just telling me it’s 1-2 weeks since conception. No sh1t, Sherlock! I’ve been charting every day, I know it is!

Anyway, the relief and the excitement in our house is enormous. This means my due date is mid-November 2012. My body is weird – with L we tried to conceive for 8 months before I got pregnant and she was born (late and induced) on the 8th December. This time round it has taken us 7 months and it will be another winter baby, born just weeks before L’s birthday. It would appear that my body won’t let me be pregnant for Christmas, new year or my birthday (February)….could it be that it knows I would struggle to give up drinking at those times ;-)?

For those of you still trying to conceive I would highly recommend the following as I’m not sure I’d have a positive without them:

Taking Charge Of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement and Reproductive Health: The Definitive Guide to … Pregnancy Achievement and Reproductive Wealth

This is the second month we tried this and I got a positive, maybe a coincidence, who knows?
Conceive Plus Fertility Lubricant Individual Use Applicators – 8 Pack

Disclaimer: All links to Amazon in this post are affiliate links, meaning if you click on them and then buy from Amazon I will receive an affiliate’s commission on those sales. You will not pay more than buying directly from Amazon and this income helps to maintain the blog.

PostHeaderIcon Another month. Another negative.

Anyone who’s been trying for a baby for a while can tell you how gut-wrenching it is when you realise that this month is not the month. And that is what happened to me today.

It doesn’t matter how you realise you’re not pregnant, the pain is the same. I have had months when it’s been because my temperature has dipped and stayed low, other months when the familiar monthly cramps start, warning me of what’s to come, and then there’s the clearest message, the negative pregnancy test.

I may be wrong, but I do tend to think that the only people who can really relate to this pain are those who have taken a while to conceive too. They too can understand your heart sinking, the sickening feeling in your stomach and the realisation that what you’ve spent the last few weeks hoping for and dreaming about is not about to come true.

Having said all that I really can’t complain; it took us 8 months to conceive L (age 30) and this time round (age 36) we’re now on month 6. I know that in medical terms this is not a long time, and for those who tried for years, and even had to give up their dream of becoming mums, this is nothing. But for me it felt like forever the first time round and this time again.

There are always those well-meaning people – who you want to throttle – who will remind you of your monthly failure by saying things like “you’ve been married for ages now, isn’t it about time you started thinking of starting a family?” which is what I got when trying for L. This time round, as it’s 6 years on, it’s “surely you’re not going to leave her as an only child, a baby brother or a sister is long overdue.” Those are the comments you really want to hear on the days you’ve got a negative!

And so it is today that my hopes are dashed again. I was going to do a test this weekend if nothing happened this week, but the familiar cramps from last night have materialised today into full proof that this month is not the month. I’ll try and keep my chin up though, only another couple of weeks before we can start trying again, and then another couple of weeks after that it might just be a positive…

For those trying to conceive, this book was invaluable for our conception with L, and has proved very useful again this time round:
Taking Charge Of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement and Reproductive Health: The Definitive Guide to … Pregnancy Achievement and Reproductive Wealth

We are also trying this product which has good reviews, this month was the first month and it didn’t work but who knows what next month might have in store:
Conceive Plus Fertility Lubricant Individual Use Applicators – 8 Pack

Disclaimer: All links to Amazon in this post are affiliate links, meaning if you click on them and then buy from Amazon I will receive an affiliate’s commission on those sales. You will not pay more than buying directly from Amazon and this income helps to maintain the blog.

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