Getting into the “mom groove”

A lot of people talk about how amazing and rewarding motherhood is, and this is so true, but what no one seems to tell you; is that it takes time to adjust to this new world you find yourself in. There is new lingo you did not even know about, new brands and products that may seem overwhelming, new stages of life you did not even know existed, and most of all, this new inner strength you never knew you had.

Before I became a mom, I did not even consider how long it would take for me to “feel myself” again, and by “myself” I mean a well balanced person that does not cry over every little thing, does not loose her temper all the time, and has patience with herself and those around her (mostly my husband). The only thing you think about is that cute little bundle, and whose eyes she will have, and rightly so, these are the things we need to look forward too.

But not knowing how hard it will be to adjust, really caught me off guard, and I was not prepared mentally for this struggle at all. I was not concerned about my own recovery after the C-Section (this is the way it is supposed to be, mothers put their babies first), or the emotional recovery for that matter. Only the well being of my baby.

This type of thinking though, soon caught up with me, I was emotionally and physically drained because I felt asking for help meant I am not a good enough mother, this is such harmful thinking; we place so much unnecessary pressure on ourselves, and we simply cannot handle it alongside everything else. When my baby girl was small, and we got visitors, I used to dread it, I did not want people holding my baby and giving me advice at all, even the thought of it made me mad (I was a bit irrational at the time as well). Now, 7 months later, I am so excited when family comes to visit – Yay Babysitters!

As time goes on, I am not insecure about my baby anymore, I know I am her mother, and no one will replace it, I still get the odd unsolicited advice from people, but it does not upset me, I just nod, agree and move on with my day. I feel like I can breathe now if it makes sense, I don’t feel so stressed out all the time anymore, I know what she likes and dislikes, I know her cries; when she is just moaning, or unhappy or sick. Although I am sure as she goes through different stages in her life this will change again, I find myself in a state of contentment as a mother now and this took me 7 months.

It took me 9 months to create a little human being, 9 months for my body to completely change, 9 months of crazy hormones (and a little after) and 9 months to prepare for this amazing little human, don’t rush yourself to adjust to all these new changes, it took me 7 months to feel good and to confident in my abilities as a mother, and to completely immerse our baby into our lives.

Good things take time, and as we all know – It is oh so worth it!

So breathe, and give yourself a break, it will get easier, and then harder and then easier again, and in the midst of all these ups and downs, you will find yourself again; not the old you, but a new you, stronger, happier and yes, emotionally stable.

 

 

 

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The things that keep mothers up at night

Its 2 am and I can’t sleep because listening to the monitor; I am not sure if my baby has now turned on her stomach and can’t turn back!

This is but only one example of what keeps me up at night, there are so many nights where my baby is sleeping soundly but, yet I am wide awake with no sleep-in sight. It is like a whole new world at night, one filled with paranoia and anxiousness, it’s like an alternate universe in the early hours of the morning.

If you find yourself here, nothing will make sense, everything that seemed okay during the day, now takes new shape and threatens to destroy the next few days. I personally stress about the most mundane things at night, the moment the lights go out (no matter how tired I am) it starts; do I have enough bottles for the next day, did I take her food out to defrost for the next day, does my husband have clean clothes for work, do I have clean clothes, maybe my baby is too hot, too cold, maybe she is still hungry because she never finished her bottle, maybe I should start feeding her more now that she is older, is her awake time enough, maybe I should adjust that, should she be sitting by now, when will she start crawling, should I help her roll over more often- this list goes on and on, and it also goes on and on in my head.

I have always been a classic over thinker of note, however, now that I am a mother it is ten times worse than before, and there is just so much that I can now spend my time overthinking on.

Unfortunately, this is not a habit that is easily broken, telling a mother to relax and stress less over their child Is like telling a bunny to stop hopping (it is the only comparison I could think of, don’t judge), it is like a new part of me that I never knew existed, all reason leaves the building and I find myself in a constant state of worry.

The Fix

Although there is no “off switch” to being worried about your child, there are certain coping mechanisms to ensure that you don’t drive yourself insane with unnecessary stressing and anxiousness; the first for me was to make an effort to ensure that I have time for myself each day, dad takes our baby girl and I have a cup of tea and just concentrate on my breathing.

My best friend is a medical student, and she educated me on what stress can actually do to your body, most of us don’t even realize that stress can have serious physical consequences if we do not get a handle on it; when you stress too much, your body basically goes into a constant state of “survival mode” – which elevates your heart rate, and that causes that feeling inside of you that makes you feel rushed and anxious (like you have to be somewhere and do something, you can’t just sit still).

In order for your body to calm down, you need to take a break, stress can have serious health consequences, such as; your intestines don’t work like they should, have you ever felt bloated when you are stressed out? – that is exactly what stress does to your body (one of the things at least), and if you want to live long and see your grandchildren, now is the time to stop, take a breath and have some much deserved “me time”.

I know this is not easy if you are like me, I am a busy body, and somehow feel guilty if I just sit around and do nothing, but, like any habit in life, it takes time to break it, and time to form new healthy habits.

Practice makes perfect!

So go and get busy doing nothing, you deserve a break!

Angelique

 

 

The Bond Between Mother and Baby After C-Section

Everywhere these days you see people favouring natural birth, the benefits for both you and baby are endless; recovery, your babies’ strength and the thing we hear mostly is that the bond between you and your child is so much stronger because you both went through this process together.

The problem with this is that life does not always work out the way you expect it to, life happens!

And it is statements like above that make women feel like less of a mother because they had to have an emergency c-section or opted to have one instead of natural birth, women are bullied and shamed for making this choice instead of going the natural way (it is the same with the whole debate about breastfeeding vs formula feeding).

The fact of the matter is that having a c section does not lessen the special bond between you and your baby, I had a c-section, and from the moment she was born there was nothing but love, I still had my skin to skin, I still breastfed for about 8 weeks, she still cried for her mommy and she was still comforted by me. In no way did I ever feel as if my bond between my child and I was not as strong as I hoped it would be, in fact; it surpassed everything I thought it would be, the love I have for her is indescribable and in no way did the way she was brought into this world, affect that love.

I admire women who gave natural birth, to me, having had a c-section; I can’t imagine how incredible that whole process must be, and how amazing and proud you must feel afterwards for having done it and bringing a healthy baby into the world.

But for me, in that moment they cut me open, nothing else in the universe mattered but my baby being healthy and okay, how it happened did not matter to me, how far along I was at the time didn’t matter, how many toes she had did not matter, if I was going to breastfeed did not matter, how much she weighed did not matter, all that mattered was hearing that  first little scream and knowing she is okay, in that moment; I couldn’t care less about myself, when I heard that first cry, the biggest sense of relief washed over me – my baby was okay and now I can breathe.

I have read so many stories about women who are distraught and so disappointed because they ended up having an emergency c-section, and they really wanted to give natural birth, and this breaks my heart, it happens so often where society places so much pressure on moms to do things a certain way, what they think is best for you and your baby, and then when a woman can’t do it that way, due to whatever reason, we immediately feel like we failed as mothers.

I am here to tell you that it is okay, you did your best, and your baby is here, that is all that matters, what they eat or how they came into this world will not matter to them when they grow up, what type of parent you are will! Whether you were there for their first heartbreak, and how you treat them when they make a mistake, whether you spent time with them growing up; these are the things that will matter to them as adults and what they will pass on one day to their own families and relationships.

We must stop focusing so much on these small things and focus on raising humble and kind little humans that we can be proud of, and be parents they can be proud of, in the end these are the only things your children will remember about you when you are gone, not whether you gave natural birth, or had a c-section or breastfed or formula fed.

Be proud to be a mom, embrace it, and be the best you can be every day, and I promise you, it will be enough.

Angelique

What NOT To Do With Your Baby

So, although I cannot give you advice on exactly what to do, because I am still figuring things out myself, I can however tell you what NOT to do!

Your Home Life

Nothing in this world can prepare you for being a parent, I don’t care what anyone says, helping a sibling or a family member with their baby will maybe make you used to the idea of a baby and give you some helpful tips even, but in no way will it give you a taste of what it feels like when that little bundle is yours.

No book in the world will explain to you how YOUR baby is feeling and why, yes, it has been put together by experts, but it is the general rule, and not always specific to your baby, I have read so many things and then I think “what? Why is my baby not doing this?” – This is the biggest downfall for new parents, books tell you when what milestone should be reached and how much your baby should be eating, and most of the times this is right, but sometimes it just is not, and this immediately sends us into a state of panic.
Listening to how other people raise their children is also a “no no” , how people raise their children reflects their personalities, their home life and their values, therefore, doing what you see from other people will most probably not work for you, because, well, you are different, you are an individual and your personality and values might not be the same.

And Finally, the most important one; do not, I repeat, do not compare yourself to other moms, this will most certainly drive you insane, and it most certainly has for me, the problem when looking at other moms is you see what they call the “highlight real”, you come over for dinner, and the whole family is on their best behavior, because let’s face it, that’s what we all do. What you don’t see, is that they also fight over who must do the dishes, the mom also locks herself in a closet to cry (a bit extreme but it happens) and the dad is not always the perfect husband you see at dinner.

Some people are just more open about their struggles, to me, these are the best kind of people, they make you feel like you are not alone, like you are not as crazy as you though, and not always overreacting as per your husband’s opinion.
Find these people and stick to them like glue, they are the mom friends that you want by your side on days that you feel you cannot cope, or you just had enough.

Google is the Enemy

Wow, where do we even start on this one?

If you haven’t yet googled “How to get my baby to sleep” stop reading because this post is not for you; the results on this is so confusing and contradicting that it would leave even the most confident mom second guessing herself.

Sleep deprivation is torture, it affects every aspect of your life, it’s just intense!
Google is helpful in the sense that you can find information online at any time of the day or night, there are thousands of “how to” videos, and I myself have watched a few videos on swaddling and latching that were quite helpful.

But overall, you see information and tips that just do not work for your baby, and then you are left overwhelmed once again, with no way out.

Motherly instinct is the best go to you can get, become confident mom! And trust your gut, 9 out of 10 times it is right, the other time your baby was most likely just not feeling well or just having an off day – which happens, if you think about it, your baby is also an individual, and just like we have off days, they do too, they just can tell you how they are feeling.

Most days you end up just winging it!

Fed is Best

This is such a sensitive topic, and I am almost scared to write about it, but here goes!
I personally tried to breastfeed, and did for 7 weeks, unfortunately due to circumstances, my supply dried up after trying everything under the sun, there could be a million reasons for why what when and where, but that’s just what happened, and I ended up giving my little girl formula.

This was so intense for me, as it felt like I failed her and that I am not doing what is best for my baby, but at the end of the day, do what is best for you, there are so many moms out there that will tell you that you are a bad mother for choosing to formula feed.
Don’t you dare listen to them, we place enough pressure on ourselves to be perfect mothers, we do not need added stress to any situation, it is your life, and you do what is best and what suits you guys better. You are still a good mother!

We need to stop mom shaming each other, what I don’t understand is that these women are also moms, they were even once first-time moms, and know how hard is to adjust and to get into a routine that suits your family and your lifestyle, adding to this is not only mean, but unnecessary.

To the moms out there that are struggling with all these things, hang in there, keep doing what you are doing, and it will all get easier soon.

This too shall pass.

Angelique

A Woman’s Body is an Amazing Thing

Let’s talk about pregnancy ….

Oh my word ! I know you get women that LOVE being pregnant and see it as this magical time in your life….

Well for me it was a bit different 🙈🤣

I had ; Nausea, headaches, heartburn, constipation, mood swings, irritation, weight gain, swelling, bladder infection, yeast infections, sore body , dehydration and landed up in the hospital, flu and the list goes on and on !

Although I do agree with the fact that it is a special time , I do believe that it is a kind of right of passage for a woman and it is all so so worth it in the end , it takes so much out your body !

In some ways my body is so different after giving birth , I had a c section so I have the well known belly flap , I cant hold my pee anymore ; it needs to happen RIGHT NOW 😂

But in other ways I am amazed at how well my body has recovered , the heartburn is gone , although the belly flap is still there it is already significantly smaller , I have no bladder issues anymore, my body feels healthy again (except the excessive hair loss at the moment) .

I find this fascinating , how your body can endure all that and only have little tell tails about it , yes I have stretch marks and my body looks a bit different, but I am healthy and I have a healthy little baby girl and thats all that matters ❤️

Thankful 🙏🏻💪🏻

Angelique