Breastfeeding in a Trabant….

Many of you may be unaware of what a Trabant is so let me quickly fill you in. Over 3.7 million were produced in the late 1950’s till early 1990’s in East Germany. Made of steel,  plastic and Bakelite, they are a bit like a go cart on steroids. They are quite a common sight around Hungary now, and apparently you are only truly Hungarian once you have owned at least one of these beasts. We bought one last year when the police took the papers and number plates off my reliable Toyota (another story altogether). This purchase however was before we knew that there was a baby on the way….

The car is so little that it feels like quite a squeeze when we take the dog out with us, let alone for a monthly shop. And I thought it was tight before trying to fit a pram, cot attachment, car seat, nappy bag, dog (!), husband, and a baby in it. And then try adding  any groceries that you may have had to get.

It also turns out that a baby doesn’t necessarily like to stick to a plan, and even though a journey in the Trabant basically ensures instant sleep, the minute you park she is wide awake, and generally hungry, starving in fact. And that is how my “breastfeeding in Lidl car parks” story begins. Not only have I now fed her in every Lidl car park within a 50 km radius of our house, I have had to do so in an over heating, cramped Trabant with the doors (and sometimes boot) flung open. It gets ever so tricky fitting a wriggling baby into a space that didn’t even allow for my bump in the last few weeks of pregnancy. Add to the equation leaky boobs, no water (any breastfeeding mum will understand that thirst), some seriously disapproving stares and over 30 degree heat, it all makes for an interesting day out. But at least it gives me a laugh, especially when I read some of the American child rearing blogs I follow with women complaining about having to sneak off into their air conditioned, tinted window SUVs, mortified about having to pop a boob out in an inconvenient public place. Turns out that I have no problem with public nudity.

All in all its been a fun car, even the few months during my second and third trimester when we had to push start it every time we needed to go somewhere, and it over heating every time we stopped. Plus having to constantly drive with the heating on full blast in the middle of summer. Really its just another normal day for us in our crazy Hungarian adventure that we call life!

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How life can change

So, once again, I have been a rubbish blogger. But at least this time I have a decent excuse. For the last nine months I have been cooking a little human, and on the 11 July  (two weeks early) we finally got to meet her. Baby Gabriella and myself both had a few hiccups during the birth and  recovery but I am happy to say that we are both on the mend now and finally home. 

One of my biggest concerns during the pregnancy was how I would cope with giving birth in a Hungarian state hospital, especially with a language barrier. But after being in hospital for 10 days, a fairly traumatic birth and a poorly baby, all I can say is “wow”. The doctors, nurses and midwives were caring, patient and so professional. I found each and every one of them treated me like visiting royalty, and even allowed Gareth to stay with me for the the whole 56 hour labour ( men are not normally allowed in birthing room till baby is basically crowning!). I honestly don’t know if I would have had such great care if I had chosen to give birth in another country! Yes, the hospital and wards are old and in need of a paint job, and it is a bit over crowded when you go into the communal wards, but they run it well and thoroughly. No visitors are allowed either which means that the mums can at least try to get some rest in those first few days. I wouldn’t recommend giving birth to anyone, but if you did, you can’t go wrong with Kaposvar hospital.

We are slowly getting into a routine now that we are home, and its definitely tiring, but we are so lucky that both Gareth and I can be involved full time. And to top it all off, Gareth finished the room just in time so we have a lovely peaceful space for baby. We are both so in love with her and couldn’t be happier right now!!

Hooray! Our baby won’t have to sleep in the kitchen!

I have been trying to think of ways of raising the funds for our baby’s room and extension and decided to put together a campaign on GoFundMe – I can not believe the amazing support we have received in such a short amount of time. We have raised 10% in a just a few days! That means that work officially starts tomorrow, and the foundations will get done this week.

So just a massive THANK YOU to everyone who has helped us get here. Please also read our story here… .https://www.gofundme.com/help-support-our-off-grid-dream and feel free to share or donate.

 

 

What they don’t mention about pregnancy

Please do not get me wrong, I am beyond ecstatic that Gareth and I are lucky enough to soon become parents. I know it will be tough, especially trying to live up to the expectations that I now have. I had a great childhood, wonderful caring parents, and I certainly came first in their lives. I can’t wait to meet this little one and start guiding and helping my child through their life.

But there are a few things that no one tells you about the journey there. And certain topics are just frowned upon by the glowing mother earth ladies….

No one told me how stressful and depressing it is to put on weight so quickly. Yes, yes, before you all shun me and tell me that it is good for the baby, I know this, but that doesn’t make it any easier. I realise this stems from my past, it just saddens me that this demon still occasionally haunts me. 

For years in my late teens and early twenties I struggled with an eating disorder. As an ex ballet dancer, I guess weight was a bit of a taboo subject, and I was at a point in my life that a lot of things didn’t make much sense. I think I used my bulimia as a form of control, I was able to manage this one aspect of who I was, and before I knew it it had taken over. Sadly it landed up ruining relationships, destroying trust and causing more damage to my body than I could have imagined. It took years to be completely free of it, but by then I had developed an unhealthy relationship with myself! The cycle of self loathing and self destruction is a tricky one, because you know that you know better! But thankfully, after many, and I really do mean many different therapy trials and errors, I got there. A combination of unconditional support and love from my parents, the correct medicinal balance and learning to be able to talk about it saw me through to the other side. This other side will never be completely food-demon free, but it is a place where I finally learned to accept me, and my body, what ever shape it is. Until pregnancy, that is….

I know it’s part of this incredible experience, and so many woman love the fact that they blossom into pregnant goddesses, just sadly right now I am not one of them. My nurse was so pleased that I had put on 5 kilograms at my 19 week check up, I however wanted the floor to swallow me up! I know I should just “get over it” as I have heard so many times in my life, but that’s the whole thing. I know I can’t be the only one, and that’s why I felt a need to share this. I can’t be alone with this fear that I will be be an overweight, unhealthy mum who can’t keep up with her child, someone who is ashamed to wear a swimming costume, or my biggest fear, that I inadvertently pass these awful weight and body image phobias onto my child. I know there are much more important things I should be focusing on, but sometimes it can be all consuming. I know that they mean no harm, but when a neighbour tells you that “yes, your face is looking much fatter these days”, is it wrong for me to want to punch them?

Doing what we are doing, and making the choices we have has been a massive challenge at times, but also one of my proudest achievements. We had an idea that we wanted a new life, a better, healthier and more sustainable life, and with planning (very little…well, virtually none), a dream and some courage, we did it. I think that we all have that strength in us, we just need to learn how to channel it towards the right things and not dwell on the negatives.

I honestly believe a great part of the healing process, whatever pain or damage it may be, is talking. It makes you think about the past, to articulate your side, and gives others an opportunity to present their experiences. Together you learn to listen to each other, and often find comfort in the truth that you are not alone, that often others have much greater burdens in their lives yet they still manage to thrive. And from there, you can move on stronger and with a clearer mind. That is why I wanted to share this, not to be self pitying, or negative, the opposite in fact. I wanted it to be a positive reminder that we are all going through things, and sometimes there are bumps along the way. Sometimes talking or sharing these bumps in your journey makes others realise they can too!

Thanks to all you lovely people!

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This week saw the airing of our follow up program, “Return to the wild”. We both just wanted to say firstly thanks to the guys at Renegade for producing such a great episode, it captures just how much fun we are having on this crazy journey of ours…. come and visit us in a few years and who knows what you will find!

Secondly, a massive thank you to everyone who watched and then felt compelled to contact us with messages of congratulations and well wishes, it’s is truly humbling to receive such lovely emails and letters and makes the tough days that much easier.

Lastly, our supporters need a massive shout out….to all of you who went online and bought some of our artisan products, thank you from the bottom of our hearts! You have helped to see us through a few more months, and it means so much to us, particularly at this time of year when expenses are so high. We have all the seeds to buy, the winter supplies have been used up, plus with a baby on the way we have the massive expense of building an extension next month. All of your purchases will help us get that bit closer to the life that we have always dreamt of, so thank you again!!

P.S. If you or any of your friends still want to buy anything please use the code “springsale” and you can look forward to a complimentary gift from us.

 

 

 

Would you like to support our dream?

We hope you enjoyed the latest episode of Ben Fogles Return to the Wild. As you can see we have been working non-stop to get our little home and farm up and running. But we need your help…. If you fancy supporting us and keeping our dream alive please feel free to purchase some of our hand made, artisan produce ranging from teas, walnuts, wooden lamps, soaps and much more.

All can be found on the website, in our “Product Range” page . All items are posted free of charge via “Magyar Posta”and should arrive within 7-10 days. https://hungarynuts.com/product-range/

Thank you to everyone who has supported us so far, we couldn’t have done it without you.

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Time to share our little secret….

We have some exciting, terrifying, life changing news that we have been keeping from most of you….. Gareth and I are expecting a baby, due in July!

Now, as most people know, raising a baby is not the easiest task in the world, especially when you live in the middle of the countryside, earn next to nothing, and have a very small support network nearby. None of this, however, has dampened our excitement. What did dampen it a bit was the first few months….the awful ‘morning’ sickness. The name is a lie in itself, it should be called the ’24/7 feel like you are dying sickness’. Even looking at food had me turning green. The thought of meat sent my stomach somewhere no one needs to read about. And don’t even get me started on tea, my once loved crutch in life became an enemy! I did not think it possible but I actually lost weight while in my first trimester!

But hopefully those vile days are over. Well, at least I hope they are as we have so much to do in the the next few months! And being curled up in a ball on the sofa is not going to  achieve much!! Before baby makes their grand appearance we have to build an additional room on to our miniature house. It was fine when it was just the two of us but we now have others that need to be considered first. Yes, I realise a baby doesn’t need a bedroom immediately but we do! It has become scarily apparent just how much stuff such a small creature needs, and that is with us being as frugal as possible. Plus we need to be able to keep at least one room at a nice constant temperature…not so easy in a 100 year old mud house full of cracks. So I expect the next couple of months we will mainly be outside, fighting against time and the elements (its snowing today!) while we attempt to build a safe and secure little extension with next to no budget…..never a dull day with us, that’s for sure!!!