I’ve got to be honest, I’ve never actually considered adult colouring books before as a valid gift idea. My sister has had them for years and I’ve always scoffed at the idea, thinking myself “too busy” to bother, but recently I’ve been using one, and actually think they’re a great idea!
Let me explain: I gave birth to my first Son a little over six months ago. He was born 5 weeks premature, at 35 weeks. When my waters broke, my husband and I completely ‘flapped’, thinking that we had more time and had very little prepared (I hadn’t even finished work yet – I was supposed to that Friday – and hadn’t even considered what I would take in my hospital bag).
I had a very quick labour, and (thankfully!!) once dilated the entire process only took an hour and 50 minutes. Unfortunately, that was the least of our problems…
Due to being premature and still ‘developing’, my Son had fluid on his lungs and was struggling to breathe. His heart rate was dropping and I needed an emergency episiotomy in order for the forceps to be used to quicken delivery. Upon being born, he was immediately whisked off to be incubated and put on oxygen to help fully inflate his lungs. I wasn’t even allowed a proper cuddle.
As I needed recovery time, and probably because the hospital naturally thought I would want to be near my Son, I was kept in initially for 5 days. He was in the NICU unit, and myself in a private room on the post-natal ward. This turned into the most boring 5 days of my life…
I was allowed as often as I wanted to visit my son (and I took full advantage of this opportunity), but it meant that I also had a lot of down-time, especially when Doctors were doing their rounds and I wasn’t allowed into the NICU. When my sister came to visit me on my first day as a new mother, she brought me a whole hamper basket of goodies – the usual food, sweets, biscuits, drinks etc (hospital food is NOT good!). And contained in this basket was an adult colouring book and set of felt pens.
Again, I scoffed at the idea, but when I was at a loose end on that first night (There’s only so much reading and staring at the ceiling you can do), I started colouring in.
And I found it distracted me. Obviously my emotions were running high: hormones were all over the place, leaking boobs were killing me etc; but colouring in, as simple as it sounds, took my mind off everything that was going on around me, and gave me something to focus on. And I warmed to the idea of having it around.
I was later discharged after 5 days, despite my Son remaining incubated. With going back and forth to the hospital each day and running the household (My Husband was back at work to avoid wasting his paternity leave – he wanted to wait until our Son was discharged) I didn’t give my book a second thought, until a week later, when I was re-admitted back to hospital for the second time.
There was nothing wrong. My Son was actually doing extremely well. He was off oxygen and breathing on his own, but he wasn’t feeding properly and had lost 20% of his birth weight (He had dropped from 5st to 4.5st). Due to this, they re-admitted me back onto the Transitional Care Unit, where I could be with him and help establish breastfeeding (Did not happen – long story for another time!)
My colouring book came in handy again. I was on the ward for a further 5 days, and in-between feeding and changing Baby, was able to keep myself busy filling in the intricate designs.
The books really are beautiful. They are so intricate, so detailed, they really are like works of art. I used fine liner felt pens, which worked really well, but probably would have preferred colouring pencils for the ease of use. The books are so well made, with gold inlay on the front covers and thick quality paper so the inks don’t transfer, they really are quite an expensive looking gift.My books was a tropical theme, but they make all different kinds, from forests to winter wonderland, and even a Harry Potter themed one!
I actually loved the thought that much, I gave one to a friend of mine when she had her daughter. She was having an elected C-section and would have to spend time in hospital to recover, and I thought a colouring book might come in handy for her. She loved it, and said how thoughtful it was amongst all the other mundane things she received whilst in hospital.
And they are great for all sorts of reasons; I’ve seen people using them on train journeys, plane journeys, airport stopovers, on the beach etc. And grown men and women, too; not just teenagers! I think the concept of them is just therapeutic; they calm you down and distract you, and pass the time – you could be colouring in for hours and not realise!
If you’re looking for a thoughtful gift; maybe someone you know is having a baby, or retiring, or just needs to take a ‘stress-free’ hour to themselves, I would seriously recommend looking into these books. You never know, you might discover a new hobby!
And in case you’re wondering, my Son is a happy and healthy little boy, who just got his first two teeth!
Millie Marotta’s Tropical Wonderland (£5.00, amazon.co.uk). Varying designs can start from £2.50.
Stabilo point fineliners (£8.99, amazon.co.uk)