How my marriage is stronger after having a baby

I don’t have to tell you guys that pregnancy and a baby puts a whole lot of pressure on a marriage. The hormones, the late nights, the lack of intimacy and the irritation don’t really make for a romantic 9 months.

Somehow, you both have this “idea” in hour head that once the baby is here, it would be better, intimacy will be easier because you will feel more comfortable and better about your body. (Ha right?!).

It actually gets harder once the baby is there, your husband tends to feel neglected because he now has to share you with this tiny little baby that always needs you, and when that baby finally goes to sleep, you are exhausted, you don’t feel like putting on sexy lingerie and being sexy.

It takes time, it takes time to get used to the little sleep, it takes time to find out who you are again once you become a mother, you change, your priorities change and your outlook on life changes, and so does the dynamic of your relationship with your partner.

The key is to be patient with one another, both of you needs to find how things are going to work, fathers also feel like they cant do what they used to do because they now have a family, just like moms feel like they have no time to themselves anymore. In my case, this “role confusion” caused a lot of friction in our marriage, we took the frustration out on one another and fought all the time; the slightest thing set us off and we ended up fighting about something that happened years ago.

The point is that any high pressure situation causes fights, and a having a child is like an endless amount of high pressure situations, you just need to find your way around it. We are much more patient with each other now, and we give each other space when we need it, and we don’t take stress out on each other anymore (well most of the time, we’re only human).

Our relationship is just stronger, having gone through the sleepless nights together (well mostly) and the insecurities as parents; have just brought us closer together, seeing your partner with your child does something to your heart, it warms it and melts it at the same time.

It honestly is an amazing journey, it breaks and rebuilds you as a person and as a couple.

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Motherhood is far from glam

I stay at home with my baby girl, and yesterday it was midday and I glanced at myself in the mirror for the first time that day… and cringed! – What!? Is that really what I look like !

I had a C-Section, and needless to say; my tummy looks and feels horrible. It does not even feel like it is attached to my body some days. In the beginning, after the surgery, I could handle it because it would get better with time, now, 7 months later, it has gotten better but I HATE my body !

It has gotten so bad that it is actually affecting my marriage, and just everything really, clothes shopping is something that I used to LOVE, now I dread it! I even get dressed in the bathroom so that my husband does not see me naked in the light. I know this might seem extreme to some, and it definitely does to my husband (who bless him, still thinks I am gorgeous), but I just don’t feel good about myself.

Isn’t it weird how we can be our own worst critics? No one is harder on someone than you with yourself, on the one hand its good because you should push yourself to be better, but sometimes (like in my case) it becomes a sort of obsession, obsession to look like that woman on TV that your husband stared at, obsession to think that people who walk pass you think “wow she is fat”. When in reality , they don’t even notice you, they are busy battling their own insecurities.

At the end of the day, you always have a decision, I can either hate my body and wallow in self pity, or I can try to do something about it, exercise a little eat a bit healthier, even if the results are not miraculous or amazing, just trying would also make me feel a bit better.

So here is to being happier, and healthier.

The “mom itch”

Ever notice how once you start doing something with your baby , and you have no free hands, you start itching somewhere ? The mom itch!

As if motherhood is not hard enough already right? Now you find yourself trying to hold a bottle with your chin while trying to scratch your nose with your way too short arm! In reality it is called “phantom itching” but I truly think its the mom itch, it always happens when I am busy with my baby girl, and ALWAYS when I cant scratch !

The moment I stop with what I am doing, the itch goes away! It is so frustrating, and no way to stop it from happening again. This is one of those phenomenas that makes no sense, just like motherly instinct and how you can function on 2 hours of sleep. Yet, all of the above is very real.

This made me think of all the things we as moms go through that no one sees; the emotional turmoil when your baby is crying, hurting or just unhappy, the hurt when your partner goes straight to bed instead of spending some time alone with you, the tiredness that comes with it all. It can be so difficult some days that it feels like there is no light at the end of the tunnel, yet, the next day; we do it all over again.

I don’t know about you, but I tend to keep quiet because I feel like my husband and friends don’t really understand how I feel or what I am going through, and sometimes I just do not know how to put my feelings into words, keeping my feelings to myself just less effort in the long run.

Its like an itch you cant scratch, knowing that if you talk about it; it will only turn into a fight and you will still feel alone at the end of it. Being a mother comes with so many internal struggles that we often don’t talk about to others.

Sometimes , just sometimes, it is okay to put yourself first, to take a moment and give your baby to someone for a few hours and just let it all out, have a good cry, go for a walk , get some retail therapy, read a few pages of that book you haven’t touched, just take a moment.

I am horrible at this, when I leave my baby with someone, I always feel like I have to hurry back, like that person is doing me a favor and therefore I must not push it because maybe they wont do it again then.

In reality though, most people that offer to babysit; understand that moms need a break, and wont even mind if you take that extra half an hour to go for a pedicure instead of rushing back home. For me; this is an ongoing process, I am learning everyday that it is okay to take a minute, some days I feel more anxious than others , but I am getting there.

Take a break, it is so rewarding and just so necessary for a healthier, happier you!

When Even Your Insides Are Tired || Mom Tired

Have you ever felt like your tired like in your bones ? I don’t know how else to explain it , who am I kidding , off course you have ! This happens to all of us , but I honestly believe “mom tired” is a thing !

This is me today , after this week with Paige , I just feel drained , emotionally, physically , mentally , and wait , is there another one ? I forget 🤫😳

Today we had friends over , and as much as I would love to kick back and have a few drinks , have some snacks , chat to my friends or just relax a little bit , but I cant , I have a 5 month old that is still busy sleep training !

But then I put my baby girl in my lap and just hold her , and everything just disappears, every single day I look at her and think “I cant love you anymore than I do right now” , and every day that love grows ! 🧡

So yes, today I am extremely exhausted to the point where I want to ugly cry , but I wouldn’t have it any other way, looking after my baby girl is the biggest blessing in the world !

Angelique

The little things you do for your children matter!

That little kiss on the forehead before bed, those little cuddles on the couch; it might seem like little things, but they make all the difference to your baby.

We hear it a lot – You can make mistakes with them now because thank goodness they don’t remember their infant days, although this might be true regarding mistakes you have made, they most certainly do remember how they were treated by their parents and people around them.

Love & Attention

They may not be able to recall a specific incident, but their first days on earth lay the foundation for the future, how they will react to certain situations, how they will treat other people, their relationships, confidence etc. When you bring a new baby home, you don’t focus on these things, all you focus on is getting through the next day, and the next milestone, but we forget the in-between is just as important for the big picture.

Taking a few moments each day just to appreciate your baby and to spend time with him/her makes the biggest difference; giving little neck kisses or little tickles and hearing your baby giggle; is the most rewarding thing about being a mother, it brings you so much joy!

Childhood

I for one did not have the best childhood, I know my parents did their best with what life threw at them, and I am grateful, but being a mother now I look at things a little differently, I realize little issues I have and why (true I have a psychology background so I can pinpoint these easier than most, but every person can look back on their childhood and realize where what went wrong).

I am adamant that we go through all these experiences to make it right, or at the very least gain some perspective as to what our parents went through, and have more sympathy towards the issues they had to face when we were children, at the time, we did not realize how big these situations were, but now as parents, we can relate to them more, and sympathize more. I might get some blow back on this one, but to me; being a parent entails protecting your child (for as long as possible) from the ugliness of the world, the sad the bad and the traumatic (as best we can).

Feelings Come Second

When you are pregnant, you are excited, you think of the little toes and fingers and you can’t wait to meet your new little human, and all will be right in the world. The fact of the matter is, although this is very true, you will need to make countless sacrifices for your child (or ought to make for them), whatever you are going through in life, these emotions and feelings need to be buried deep inside so that your children are not affected by this; this is extremely hard in some cases, locking your feelings away for later takes so much strength and I don’t think we get enough credit for doing this, people just expect it of a mothers, it’s a given, therefore you are not allowed to say that it is hard to put yourself second sometimes.

Well it is, but at the same time, it is a privilege to be able to protect your child from all the hardships in life while they are little, making sacrifices for your child is what makes them into amazing adults, it ensure that your child stays a child while they should and do not get burdened with “adult problems” before they have to, life is short, their time will come way too soon to be an adult and they will have plenty of their own dilemmas to deal with. Don’t make this start earlier than it needs to for them.

Life Changes

Making a decision to move somewhere for a better school district or a bigger house, a safer neighborhood, we all do it for our children, it is a huge change, change is scary and uncertain, yet we do it for our children because you want them to have the best possible chance to do anything they want with their lives.

These decisions are not made lightly and cause so many disagreements between husband and wife, the reality of it is that we make daily decisions to ensure that our children are happy and safe and some of them are despite of ourselves and our goals in life but will make all the difference to your child in the future.

The Future

Although your children will not always know about the sacrifices you made as parents for them, they will most certainly reap the rewards, time spent with them, and as a family will forever be apart of who they are, and how they will treat their own families, sacrifices made for a better future for them will show in how they take on life, and what they choose to do with challenges and how they handle change. Setting an example for your children in all these areas may seem like little things, but they are the things that will make them into amazing adults you can be proud of.

Well done for putting your child first, for creating a better future for them and giving them your best selves.

It is hard someday, but you are rocking it!

Here’s to raising amazing little humans.

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

3 Tips for traveling with your baby

Traveling with a baby is no small task, it takes careful planning, timing, and a whole lot of patience.

We live quite far from most places, my family, and any major city for that matter, we are about 500 km’s from Johannesburg, which is the closes city to us. Which means, that we must travel quite far and often to see my family and to do some much-needed baby shopping.

My baby girl is used to far trips by now (she is 6 months old), the day we brought her home from the hospital was a three-and-a-half-hour trip, and she has been to see her grandparents and godparents on numerous occasions, and yet, she still struggles with the distance sometimes.

There is no set way to make traveling easier on your baby, every baby is so different, some are just naturally good travelers, while others (no matter how often they travel) just struggle no matter what.

From my experience so far, I came up with some tips that works for us, and maybe for other moms out there that have tried everything else to date;

Timing

Timing, as with everything in life, is everything! Wait too long and your baby is overtired, leave too early and your baby is too excited and gets over stimulated and again – overtired.

For us, leaving when she needs to have her nap has worked wonders for us, she is already drowsy, and we put her in the car, and once we move, within minutes, she sleeps. The constant rhythm of the driving then also makes her sleep longer and she is happy when she wakes up, and we don’t struggle to get her to have her next nap later.

However, life happens, and this type of punctuality is just not always possible, and Murphy’s law will most certainly also ensure that this is not always possible no matter how prepared you think you may be.

The only thing you can do, is give yourself and your baby about half an hour to play around with, this way, he/she is not overtired yet and you don’t have to rush to get on the road.

Bathroom Breaks

For your sanity, don’t rush to your destination, leave early enough so that you have some time to stop along the way, your baby’s body gets sore from being in the same position for long and they get irritated if they cant get up and move around a little bit, which will make your trip feel so much longer (we have tried to just stick it out and get there, but oh boy it just does not work).

Giving yourself and your baby, a break is essential, take him/her out the car and just walk around for a few minutes, do a diaper change and some food if needed, and then continue.

Stay Overnight

Staying over night gives you and your baby a break before heading back again, and a well deserved rest!

Although, finances and well, life, does not always make this possible, so if you need to head back the same day – may the gods be with you.

There is no set way to do this, traveling with a baby is daunting, and quite stressful (even though we do it quite often, it still stresses me out because you never know in what mood your baby is going to be, are they going to eat well, and take naps and be happy once you arrive). It really is a gamble, and every baby is different! Try different things until you find a way that suits you and your baby the best, but don’t let traveling be too scary that you end up staying at home, getting away a little bit, whether it be to see family or friends, or on a holiday; does everyone the world of good.

Babies get stimulated by a new environment, and usually benefits from the general mood of a holiday as everyone is more relaxed.

Safe Travels

Angelique & Paige