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Posts Tagged ‘parenthood’

Happy mother’s day!

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

What motherhood means to me

It has been almost two years since I first became a mother. I cannot fathom how much has changed in those two years. I have experienced very high highs and endured very low lows. My life now, doesn’t even nearly resemble my life bc (before children). I am slowly learning what it means to be a mother. Though everyone’s experiences are different, I’m sure the mums out there will resonate with a lot of what I’m about to say.

Motherhood for me, means the fulfillment of some dreams and the shattering of others. It means sacrifice. It means giving up that bit of vegemite toast that I always save for last because it’s the crunchiest, tastiest bit, just so my nearly two year old finally eats some breakfast. It means “enjoying” many lukewarm (at best) cups of tea. It means giving up my tv programs and succumbing to ABC for kids. It means perpetual tiredness. It means shorter shopping trips (I’m lucky if we last an hour before the whinging sets in). It means carrying a daggy mismatched backpack, rather than a glamourous handbag that matches my shoes. It means having dinner no later than 6pm. It means not going out at night so we can keep the kidlets in the best sleeping routine. It means less spontaneity (though this hasn’t died completely, it’s just harder to orchestrate). It means giving up yummy food so my baby doesn’t get a sore tummy. It means changes to my body that I don’t enjoy. It means ignoring the glares of strangers as your toddler has a public tantrum.

BUT… I don’t want to turn you off babies and children, so keep reading and I’ll highlight just some of the good things. The above “sacrifices” are mostly superficial, trivial things and the good times really do outweigh the bad!

Motherhood means to me, waking up to the grinning, giggling laughter of a gorgeous baby face. It means getting “you’re my everything” hugs every single day. It means experiencing new joys in life, through fresh eyes; The joy of a boy playing in dirt. The joy of a swing set. The joy of pegs. The joy of the first taste of a lolly. The joy of cooking with a “helper”. The joy of watching your parents become grandparents.

Motherhood means creating, nurturing and bringing new life into the world. Motherhood means accepting the changes and acknowledging the momentous achievements of my body. My body may not look like it once did, but this uterus? It’s grown and carried two full term, perfectly formed babies. This skin? It has expanded and stretched to accommodate life. These breasts? They have created life sustaining milk – enough to grow, feed and nourish two children (so far). This body? It’s amazing.

Motherhood means SOOO many good things. I know it’s cliched, but it’s true – I have never experienced such fierce, protective love for a single human being in my whole life, the way I have as a mother. And when I felt like my heart couldn’t possibly have this much love for more than one, it expanded and became drenched and saturated even more, when I was blessed with another. From the moment I first laid eyes on and held each of my beautiful children, my heart grew bigger. I knew a new, bigger, better, broader experience of love each time. There are literally no words that adequately describe the feeling. Love is not big enough. The closest thing I can find is agape love, the highest and purest form of love; sacrificial and surpassing any other types of affection. I could honestly spend the rest of my days searching and staring deep into the blue marbled, spectacular eyes of each of my babies. They are both glorious creations. I am so thankful to have been so richly blessed.

Motherhood is my journey and my destiny. It is who I am. It is what I do. I love it, and I’m only at the beginning. I love my children. I more than love my children, I adore them. They are my everything. They are my world. They are my life.

The four of us

Miracle number 1

Miracle number 2

Surviving the first few months of motherhood

Monday, April 4th, 2011

I’m sure you’ve all heard stories about the treacherous transformation one must undergo to become a parent. The sleepless nights, the screaming baby, never even having a minute to yourself and the list goes on. But if you are prepared, it doesn’t have to be such a shock to the system and guess what… You might even enjoy it!

Here are my hopefully helpful hints for your first few months as a mum (obviously also useful for dads or any other full time carers):

Sleep

It is inevitable, even with the sleepiest of babies, that your sleeping patterns will be disturbed and changed (possibly for a long time). This doesn’t have to be all bad. I remember putting my first son to bed for the first time and telling him “it would be really nice if mummy could get 2 hours sleep in a row tonight ok?”. I was so unbelievably stoked when I woke up to find out it was 3 hours later. So, step one, don’t have high expectations. My sister’s first baby was awake the entire first night, continually breastfeeding. I think she had 4 hours sleep in as many days. Every baby is different.

You need to sleep when you can. If that means telling your visitors that have only been there for 5 minutes to leave because the baby has finally fallen asleep, then do it! Better still, have them stay and mind the baby so you can sleep for as long as you need to without being woken by the baby (unless s/he is hungry of course). You might think “hey I feel fine without sleep”, for the first few days, but it really does catch up with you. Sleep deprivation is a very common cause of the 3rd day blues. It can also lead to postnatal depression. So don’t ignore your tiredness.

Eat

Recovering from pregnancy and birth takes a lot of work. You need a good diet to help you get all the nutrition you need to repair and recover well. You may find yourself being really hungry all the time, especially if you’re breastfeeding as you require an extra 500 calories a day.

In the weeks leading up to birth, cook large meals for dinner, eat half then and freeze the other half for after the baby comes. You might like to cook and freeze a big batch of your favourite easy meals like spaghetti bolognaise, apricot chicken, soup or casseroles. It is so much easier dealing with an unsettled baby in the afternoon if you don’t have to also think about cooking dinner.

If anyone asks what they can get you for a present, tell them to bring a meal in a disposable container (so you don’t have to run around returning dishes) or a fruit basket. If you know you’re having visitors and you’ve run out of something, ask them to pick it up at the shops for you. Most people are more than happy because they love the fact they’ve been able to make life easier for you.

Exercise

It is vitally important to start some kind of gentle exercise routine a few weeks after birth. You must rest first and get used to your baby’s rhythms, but when you feel strong enough, try and get out into the sunshine every day. Go for a walk around the block, or join a pram walkers club. Try a mums and bubs yoga class. Have a swim at your local pool or beach (only after your bleeding and discharge has stopped). Even just sit on the balcony and have a cup of tea. The vitamin D, endorphin rush and increased blood flow will make you feel like a new woman. Exercise can help prevent depression, deep vein thrombosis and high blood pressure, just to name a few.

Housework

What housework?? Please please please do not be one of those people who cleans the whole house when baby is sleeping during the day. You will miss precious sleeping opportunities. Just leave it. The housework can wait.

Hopefully you got that nesting bug before you gave birth so the house will be relatively clean anyway. Even if you didn’t, don’t worry. Just do the bare minimum you can to feel ok about it. Delegate to parents, partners or friends. The people that love you will more than likely ask what they can do to help. Don’t be shy in asking them to do the dishes, take out your garbage or hang out the washing. Trust me, they won’t mind. They will be super chuffed that you consider them close enough friends to ask to do chores!

Take time

Most important of all, take time. Take time to enjoy your baby. Sit and look at every piece of skin on their body. Look at the different flecks of colour in their eyes. Take lots of photos. They change so quickly.

Take time to enjoy the good times and all the firsts. The first smile, the first time they look into your eyes, the first time they hold your finger, the first time they sleep in the cradle, the first time the grandparents see them. They are all priceless memories and can help you through the tough moments.

Take time for yourself. Get someone to watch the baby while you have a nice long, hot, relaxing bath. Light some candles and add a few drops of lavender and tea tree oil to the bath to aid in perineal healing. Read a great book while giving your little one a big cuddle. Get your hair cut or a manicure for a treat. You need to nurture yourself and be gentle with yourself.

It takes a lot longer to do everyday things when you have a baby. Give yourself time. Don’t rush. Don’t think “I’ll just pop up to the shops and back” if you only have a spare 10 minutes. It will take you that long to just get baby into the car. I remember thinking how everything was so slow with a baby. It takes time to adjust. For a while you might feel jittery and impatient but soon enough you will enjoy taking each moment as it comes.

 

Don’t expect too much from yourself. Accept help when it’s offered or ask for it when it’s not. This is an amazing time of your life and you will remember it forever. Cherish every moment and enjoy your new life as a parent!

 

One of the tired but cherished moments