As my baby takes her first steps

My baby turns one in exactly one week !! And I find myself so emotional and nostalgic about the past year, having your first baby is so so intense on both parents. It changes every single aspect of your life – for the better !!

The first year is full of uncertainty and doubt around every corner, especially if it is your first like with us. The sleepless nights (well that is still there), the constant worrying (okay this is also still ongoing), the doubting (ha okay I will stop now), although I experience all these still on a daily basis, what has improved is my baby blues, my stress is a little less, and most importantly, I have had the privilege to see this little baby turn into a little girl, and that in itself, is reward enough for this roller coaster of a first year of parenting.

My sister once told me that for the first two years you just have to keep them alive, and well, entering toddlerhood, I wish she would have told me that it is not all that easy, they fall, they stumble and they just seem to have a death wish with the things that they attempt to do!

Thinking back, when we first brought her home I couldn’t sleep, mostly because I googled everything before I gave birth, and that made me so so paranoid knowing everything that could go wrong (wow was that exhausting).

It all just made me realize how fleeting motherhood is, I mean, a while year has gone by and sometimes it feels like I haven’t done anything this past year, but then I look at that face and I know I have done sooo much and I am so proud of myself!

So have that party, yes your baby wont remember her first birthday, but its important, for the whole family; to celebrate that first year, because lets face it, we survived !

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How becoming a mom has made me apprehensive

I don’t know if it is only me, but since I have become a mother I find myself in these moments where it feels like I cant catch my breath, it is like my mind is constantly racing and I cant relax. Motherhood right !? Lol

My husband seems to think that telling me to relax will do the trick, ha right? Granted, my baby did just get burnt so I am a little on the edge and worried about her like any mom would be, but I do feel like I need to learn how to shut off when the time is right.

There are countless factors that contribute to this “mom anxiety”; the one that I don’t really have anything that occupies my mind or distracts me, I don’t have any family or friends nearby, combine all of this with someone that overthinks EVERYTHING and then give that person a baby = CHAOS!

I am constantly doubting myself, whether she is getting sick, if I am giving her enough stimulation at home, exposing her to enough of the “outside world”, and well, if I am a good mother. I feel like I cant have a few drinks at night because she might wake up crying at any minute and then I am not my best self, which is what she deserves.

After thinking about this for so long and talking it over with other moms, I have finally realized that I am human, which means that I simply cannot be perfect all the time, I cant make the right decisions every single time and I cant be the best mother I can be when I am constantly in my head and overthinking everything, because in the end, that just takes away from the present and all the amazing moments with my family.

Taking a few deep breaths every time I feel overwhelmed or my heartbeat picking up, has really helped me keep things in perspective, and I strongly believe that the mind is a powerful thing, change your mindset and the rest will follow, practice makes perfect.

Constantly living in fear of failing is not living! So here’s to more deep breaths and a different outlook on life. 👌🏻💪🏻

Dealing with my baby’s accident

So today I want to tell you guys what happened to us yesterday morning. We were in the kitchen doing our thing making coffee and my daughter was standing against the cupboard next to our cleaning lady having so much fun chatting and playing. I looked over to see what she is doing and she is fine so I boil the kettle, within a second from looking away I hear our cleaning lady and my baby start screaming. She kept screaming at me to take Paige’s pants off , then it hit me – she got a hold of something in the cupboard that is now on her leg and burning her.

At this point I must add that I never look in that cupboard since I moved in with my husband , turns out there was a bottle of drain cleaner/acid in the cupboard and the lid was not on properly, she pushed it and it poured all over her .

I picked het up rushed her to the bathroom while yelling at our cleaner to call my husband (luckily we live on the same property as out business), I put her under cold water (which is impossible with a screaming 11 month old that wont hold still because she is just in unbearable pain). My husband came, saw what it was and we grabbed her and decided to go to the hospital.

The problem is that the hospital is 70 kms away from us ! It was the worst 20 minutes (we drove 180kms/h to town) of my life , she was hysterical and so was I , I couldn’t stop shaking and crying and praying. There are just no words to explain the experience to anyone, I even vowed to move because living in the middle of nowhere when there is an emergency is just too scary (not for me, but for my little one).

Luckily we have an amazing doctor in town and we phoned her on the way , she advised us to take her straight to her and she put all the necessary treatment and bandages on, and then we stayed in the hospital for one night to keep an eye on the swelling because we live so far away.

During the stay I was crying so much that the nurses gave me a calming tablet just so that I can function, after that I kept it together quite well and did what I had to do , just focusing on Paige and getting her better and just getting through it.

The moment we got home yesterday it started hitting me , I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep I was just on edge the whole time , then this morning when I saw my mother in-law I just completely broke down.

Every time I close my eyes I could hear her scream, I blamed myself so so much that I felt like it discredited every good thing I have ever done for my daughter, I felt like it was something that was so easily avoidable and I was literally right there ! A few steps away , and it still happened. The “what ifs” in this scenario are endless and blaming yourself is normal , I honestly think if you didn’t you are not a good mother haha. Getting over this guilt is a whole other ballgame, even though every person reminds you that it is not your fault and accidents happen, you are only human and dealing with this “trauma” takes time.

So here is a shoutout to all the moms that feel like they don’t even want to talk about these things because they feel shamed or guilty , I honestly know exactly how you feel . And as for the “time it takes to get over the guilt” ; I will keep you posted on that one lol.

Ps. I am posting a picture of my precious little girl just this once because she is just the strongest little girl ❤️

Picture of the wounds attached

Keep your babies safe ! Time is precious and accidents happen so quickly 🙏🏻

How my baby has taught me to live in the PRESENT

We all live for the future, we plan our days and we focus on where we are going instead of focusing on where we are. Its normal though, we all work towards something, and look forward to getaways and holidays, that promotion at work and when our baby will reach the next milestone, we are always looking for the NEXT in life.

When you think about it, this is not true for our babies or toddlers, they don’t quite yet understand the concept of time the way we do, they understand day and night but not the concept of “next year” or sayings such as “maybe another time”, they live in the now, and they want all your love and attention now and not “later”.

This is not always possible for us as adults as we have more than one thing going on in our lives and constantly struggle to balance it all, but my little girl has taught me that it is okay to take a minute here and there to just soak it all up and spend time with her, without looking at the time and thinking about all the things I need to do around the house, just undivided attention.

Psychology suggests that the formative years (the first few years of your babies life) are the most important, they lay the foundation for your child to build on as the years go by, no pressure right!? I don’t mean this to sound as if you have to be perfect otherwise your child will one day spend thousands in therapy explaining how his mother damaged him emotionally as a baby, I mean it as these are the years your baby will learn that he/she is loved, safe and wanted.

Think about it for a second, when you know that you are loved and safe you have the confidence to take on the world, knowing that whatever goes wrong there is someone out there that will help, that will have your back no matter what, sort of a “home” you can go to whenever you need it . That is what we need to instill in our children from a young age, to know that no matter what life throws at them that they can always come back home and you will be there.

So when life gets too busy, take a moment and just spend it with you baby, it will give you a whole new perspective on time, and teach you that every now and then, it is okay to stop the clock and take in all the wonder of motherhood.

Moming

Being a first-time mom is INSANE! No, I am not being dramatic, it really is; I read every book you can think of, felt so prepared for this new little bundle, I was a little bit older (27) and I though I am a little more stable in my life and more mature, so therefore; I can handle this and pass with flying colours.

The reality looked like this;

Breastfeeding

What!?

Living on a farm in South Africa, I had no access to pre-natal classes and mom friends, all the farmers in the area told me that “it comes natural” just relax and don’t stress because your milk will go away (I don’t know about you, but being told not to stress because something bad will happen, in fact, makes me stress).

The day my baby girl was born was exciting and overwhelming, I was a mom, and it was the best feeling in the world, latching didn’t happen the first time, but I was told to just keep at it, and it will get easier.

It did not.

I ended up pumping every two hours; slept for an hour, and then fed her, then pumped again, I was beyond exhausted (I also had a c-section), I was adamant that I will only give my baby breast milk because I was told that this is the ONLY way to do it. I pumped for 7 weeks, while trying to get my baby girl to latch every other day. Then I watched a YouTube video on latching, and wham! She latched, and I felt like the best mom in the world, till this day, this was my proudest moment. All went well for about 3 weeks.

Chaos

Because I pumped form the start, my supply was not as much as I would have hoped for, we managed, but I could see that my supply was dwindling, I went to my doctor and she gave me a pill that makes your milk supply increase, this worked so well for us.

Then the unfortunate happened; the area we live in is prone to political unrest, and protesting in our area started, we would go to town, and could not get back home due to people burning tires in the road, this was so scary while having a 3-week-old in the car. This happened a few times, and as a new mom, hormones flying high, this stressed me out so much, I felt like I am supposed to protect my baby and give her the best life possible and I couldn’t, it felt like everything was out of my control.

As luck would have it (even on those pills) 3 days later my milk supply dried up, just like that, over night.

The guilt that followed was unexpected, I felt like I failed my baby and as a mother, this is the most important thing for a mother; being able to feed her baby, so not being able to do that, brought on so many issues and regrets, the reason for my supply drying up is debatable; whether it was the stress, the pumping, or just a combination of all the above, I will never know.

We ended up giving formula, and I was amazed at how much more relaxed I was, and how content my baby girl was.

 

Hormones

I want to write this part with so much respect, because postpartum depression is so serious and so hard, every mom should take this seriously and seek help in any shape or form you see fit, but talk, don’t be ashamed of it, because I can promise you it happens more often than you think, all women just don’t feel confident enough to speak out about their experiences.

Although I never had postpartum depression; I definitely had a case of the baby blues – it took me roughly 2 months to feel like a person again. I did not feel like myself, I was emotional, irrational, paranoid, sad, lonely and misunderstood. The worst part about it is; I live around people that don’t think this is a thing, that don’t really believe in psychology and what it has to offer.

The good thing is, there are people to help, talk to a psychologist and work through this, for you and for your family, don’t suffer in silence with the hope that it will pass.

Sleeping

Okay so by now sleep deprivation is a term you are well familiar with, and you have even googled it a few times, but that is not the sleep I am talking about; I am talking about your baby’s sleep.

The first few weeks are not that bad (sleep wise) newborns tend so sleep when they should (well some babies anyway), but as the weeks go by; your baby now has difficulty falling asleep. For me, this was the biggest challenge, my baby girl only napped for 30 minutes at a time, and woke frequently at night, we even got a sleeping consultant to help.

The problem with sleeping is that your baby can’t do without it, they need it to grow, to recharge and to be able to interact with the world out there, the moment they don’t get this much needed sleep, they become overtired and overstimulated and this is something every single mom out there knows well – hell.

I have tried everything under the sun, baby wearing, rocking, singing, pacifier, swaddling, co-sleeping, own room, sleep training, block out curtains, white noise, no toys in the cot, sleep routine, routine in general, played with awake times, you get the picture, we tried everything you can think of. Some days we though we won, and then at night everything would just start all over again.

The moment you think you got the handle on this, then they are going through a growth spurt of a leap or teething or well, just a bad day.

Now

Figuring everything out and getting to know your baby takes time, and this is not something you want to hear because you need your life to get easier and to go back to normal or just to feel normal as soon as possible. The reality is, it does take time. My baby girl is 6 months old this week, and I am honestly only getting the hang of this now, I am apart of countless mom-groups, have family that help me, am constantly researching, and it still takes time.

But I can honestly say that it does get easier, I feel more like myself now, our baby girl is easier, and I even think that it might be because I am more relaxed, my hands don’t start sweating the moment I hear her cry, I don’t start panicking if she does something new, I don’t freak out over spit up anymore, and I don’t stress as much to take her somewhere.

In short, I think my hormones have finally balanced out.

Don’t laugh – its real! hormones after giving birth is crazy, I cried so much for no real reason, overreacted about everything (my poor husband), and I was just so stressed out everyday all day. This has since improved a lot, I can now take a breath because I know my baby is okay.

This phase in our lives makes me look forward to the next one, because I know what to expect, I know the ugly side of a lot of things now, and know that everyday is not always amazing and sunshine and roses all over the place like a lot of moms would have you think, but in the end, it is more than worth it; the rewards of being a mom are amazing, it takes over every little part of you and gives back so much more.

To all the newbie moms out there – you hang in there! Don’t let people “mom shame” you for doing anything, and it does get easier!

 

How we underestimate small talk

Who has the time right !? We are all so busy and overwhelmed with our own lives and motherhood in general, that it sometimes feels like no one understands what we are going through, we tend to isolate ourselves in our own self made unhappiness.

Well I do anyway, it cant be said for everyone because some people are better at addressing their own issues than others, but I tend to feel like my husband does not get how hard it is to be a full time mom, to live in the middle of nowhere (#farmvibes) and to have no family or friends nearby to vent to when things get too much (because lets face it; they do).

Today I did some self reflection and it came to me; the reality of the situation is that, well, he doesn’t completely understand, nor can anyone. No one can truly know what another person is going through unless they have been through it themselves, and even then; people handle situations differently. So instead of focusing and fighting about something that simply cant be changed, I just sat and had a casual conversation with him. Simple right?

Afterwards, I felt so much lighter, it was the first time in so long that I wasn’t focused on how stressed or overwhelmed I was, I just shifted my focus for a minute and it gave me a whole new perspective on things. Don’t get me wrong, there will be days that I still wallow in it, because I am only human. But I just realized what a difference it makes to not focus all of my attention on the hardships in life, to basically give myself a break from it all, by simply not talking about it.

Value those conversations, and make an effort to talk less and listen more because it makes all the difference.

You ARE mom enough

Wow the past few days have been tough !!!! I felt like a failure as a mother, a wife, and just in general. My baby is going through well, something haha, I am never 100% sure what.

Everything I seem to do with her upsets her; getting dressed, wiping her face, feeding her, putting her down, carrying her, and looking at her. I do know its a phase, but wow its getting me under these past few days. It’s exhausting, and its something you cant understand until you go through it yourself.

She is at that age where she wants to do way more than she is capable, and she does not understand why she cant reach the dog bowl from her walker, which results in relentless crying and stomping until I take her out and let her have it. I know I know I am spoiling her, but at this point I just cant be bothered as long as the crying stops.

Its very easy to go to that dark place and think ;”boy I am really not good at this”, you look at other moms and you think they got it all figured out and they are so put together. When you have days where showering feels like you conquered the world. The truth is, they also have struggles and that I can promise you ! If you get up every morning and do your best, put your child’s needs before your own and teach your child to be a good and kind person by being one, then you are mom enough !

That is all you need to do, my sister once told me “up until 2 years old all you have to do is keep them alive” haha , that still makes me feel better when I have days where it feels like that is all I did.

Give yourself a break, learn to look for the humor in tough situations and tell yourself that you are awesome more than once a day! Because by being a mom, you automatically are !