It has been a while since I last blogged about motherhood, and it almost feels as though I need to start all over again. Problem is, where do I start? Well, perhaps I should start with why I suddenly stopped, … Continue reading
We were blessed with a hint of summer yesterday. In the middle of winter, it hit 27 degrees here in Cape Town! It was wonderful to feel the warmth of the sun on your skin, wear shoes with no socks … Continue reading
Treatmesweetlie will be exhibiting at the Baba Indaba on 1st and 2nd August 2015, at the Lookout Venue, V&A Waterfront. We will have a wide variety of pacifier clips for your little ones. Pop in and say hi, I would … Continue reading
It was 3am, I was 39 weeks and 1 day into my pregnancy, and my water broke. There was no gush like you see in the movies. There was just a few trickles of amniotic fluid being released at a … Continue reading
I have been awefully quiet on the blog lately, and that is purely because I am struggling to juggle all my life commitments at the moment. Being a working mother is tougher than what I expected, and I am still … Continue reading
We were recently featured in the Preggie Diaries section of the Mamas and Papas magazine. It was a three part series, documenting our journey to parenthood/my journey to motherhood. This is what we had to say about our 3rd trimester… … Continue reading
My personal goal was to exclusively breastfeed for at least one year. My career however has not co-operated with this plan. Adjusting to working full-time has been extremely difficult for me. There are blurred lines between work and home, and I just cannot seem to define them. I am really struggling. I suppose it will only take time, as proven with almost every other part of my motherhood.
The type of work I do is quite stressful. There are always multiple deliverables due at the same time, causing my day to be extremely busy. I did not mind the constant pressure before she was born because it was always okay to leave work a little later in order to meet my requirements. But things are different now, everything has changed. Working a little late, even if it just on some days, is no longer ideal. And yes I know, there will be times when I am required to work late, in order to meet a deadline, but on normal ‘business as usual days’, working late is definitely not ideal.
Working days have become a constant rush. I am rushing in the morning to get myself ready, express, and get her sorted before I make my way to work. I am rushing at work so that I can take some time off to express and so that I can still leave on time (even though I have taken time off to express). I rush home so that I can spend roughly 2 hours with her before it is her bedtime. Sleep training was successful, so Ammaarah goes to bed at 8pm on most evenings. When I get home, I am therefore still rushing, as I need to bath and feed her and play with her during those very short two hours. By the time she goes to sleep, I am absolutely exhausted. My sister warned me about this, about the difficulty in adjusting to being a working mother. And she was right, it really is tough! (I commend every single one of you working mommy’s!)
It has become too much for me to cope with and I needed to find a way to relieve myself from some of this constant rushing. I therefore made the difficult decision to stop expressing. We decided that it would be okay to do combined feeding – breastfeeding in morning and evenings, and formula feeding during the day. The decision was tough, because I felt extremely guilty and because I felt like a failure, but the signs were all there. Expressing had become difficult and more time-consuming, and I am positive it was due to the stress caused by all the rushing. I tried to remain calm, but I couldn’t. I know there is absolutely nothing wrong with combined feeding, or even formula feeding alone, but I had a plan and things are not going according to my plan. (I have been reminded yet again that my plans are never the final plans!)
It took me a while to come to terms with my decision. But after accepting the decision and trusting in the assistance from the Almighty, I could immediately see and feel the difference in my working day. I no longer rush in the morning and more importantly, I no longer rush her when she feeds in the morning. I no longer rush at work which has resulted in me becoming more efficient. I no longer rush when I get home, because I am no longer stressed from rushing since the moment I woke up. And it is all because I have more time!
I now see that it is okay for me to be selfish sometimes, and to think about how my decisions for her affects me. I am calmer, I feel less stressed, and most of all, I am happier. It was a difficult decision, but a good decision. It was a good decision for me. I am sure that this is not the last of the difficult decisions I have to make during my motherhood, where I have to choose between her and myself. And none of it will probably be easy. But this experience of expressing has taught me a valuable lesson, and that is that I am important too! Something I seemed to have lost along the way…
Ammaarah was hospitalized recently because she fell ill with broncho-pneumonia, which was caused by RSV (respiratory syncytial virus). The time spent in hospital with my little girl reminded me of how blessed we were, and how thankful I constantly need to be to the Almighty for my countless blessings. Even though it was absolutely terrifying being in hospital as Ammaarah was really sick, I could not imagine how much more scary it was for the other parents in the hospital ward.
There were three other patients in hospital and all of their medical situations were far worse than Ammaarah’s. Once I got to know each of them and their cases, I felt extremely guilty for hospitalising my little one with what seemed like a simple virus in comparison. My heart absolutely broke for those parents and their struggles.
Patient #1 was a precious little girl who was 7 months old. She was born with down syndrome and currently weighed only 3.5kgs. To put this into context for my readers who do not know about the weight of babies, Ammaarah weighed 3.6kgs when she was born, this little girl was 7 months old! Her body lacked an enzyme which resulted in the inhibition of her body to absorb any nutrition. She was therefore unable to pick up weight and was being fed through a tube that had been inserted directly into her little tummy. She is constantly in and out of hospital and as a result, ‘the hospital had become her second home’. We were in hospital for 4 days, and throughout the entire stay, I cannot remember this little girls mommy holding her!
Patient #2 was a 7 month old little boy. He weighed 3.4kgs and lost half his body weight within the month preceding our stay in hospital. For some reason, he could not keep any food in his tummy and would throw up after every meal. He had been in hospital for a month already, being fed through a tube, inserted through his nose into his tummy, while the doctors tried to figure out what was wrong. The day before we were discharged, they discovered that he had a growth in his tummy, which inhibited the absorption of any food. An operation was required immediately and I do not know what the outcome was.
Patient #3 was a beautiful 8-year-old princess. She too was in hospital for a respiratory virus, but she has cancer. She started her journey with being diagnosed with kidney cancer, but the cancer unfortunately spread throughout her entire body. There is apparently nothing more the doctors can do and she was declared terminally ill. In the early hours of the morning of one of the days we were in hospital, she woke up crying. Her father took a bit of time to calm her down, and after about 15 minutes, she finally screamed “it smells like Red Cross, I hate Red Cross, I don’t want to go to Red Cross”! She was referring to the Red Cross Children’s Hospital. My heart was immediately taken over by sadness and I could not help but cry.
How selfish was it for me to feel depressed about my little girl who had, in plain terms, a chest infection, when there were so many others around me with bigger problems. I mean, I cannot imagine how it must feel to have a hospital to be your second home. I cannot imagine how those parents were stressing about their baby who lost weight so quickly and just kept throwing up. And I cannot imagine what it must be like to see and hear your baby girl in pain and knowing that there is nothing that you can do for her!
I truly gained strength from those parents as I watched them be a pillar of strength for their children. My time in hospital was an enlightening experience. I was reminded about the countless reasons I have to be thankful and grateful to the Almighty for all my blessings. I was reminded to always look for the positive in any bad situation. I was reminded that no matter how bad things may be, they are never as bad as the appear to be. And most of all, I was reminded that I need to rely on the Almighty to help me through all situations, good or bad.
Ammaarah has fully recovered and is back to her normal self again. I thank the Almighty for yet another blessing!
The main reason I struggled with my adjustment to motherhood was my inability to accept that I had lost control. I lost control of every aspect of my life during those first few weeks of becoming a mother and I am now certain that if I had done just a few of the things I mention below, my transition to motherhood would have been a lot easier!
I hope you find this informative and that these little tips help you through your transition. There are probably so many more tips I could give, but I don’t want to bore you (and you probably have heard or read about them before). So here are my top 10 tips for those first few weeks of motherhood:
1. Prepare to have absolutely no time for yourself – and this is exactly why everyone says ‘rest as much as you can before baby arrives’. Yes I know, you want to kill me for saying that because so many other people have said it to you, and because really, how can I expect you to REST when your belly is too big for any comfort? I have learnt that yes, they really do mean that you must sleep, but I think it is more about cherishing the time you currently have to do as you wish. Your baby will consume every second of every day of your life, for at least three weeks (in my case, 12 weeks). Prepare yourself for the lack of sleep. Prepare yourself to hold your wee in for long periods of time because you are too busy with your baby. Prepare yourself to not be able to take a shower at a desirable time. Prepare yourself to eat cold meals because chances are your baby will cry when lunch is ready. Prepare prepare prepare!
2. Schedule help from friends and relatives – no, not (necessarily) help with your baby, but help with your life. Before baby arrives, arrange for someone to come and assist you with doing your daily household chores, because you will not be able to get to it. I was not in control of my baby, nor my life, and losing control of my home sent me over the edge! Everyone says that your baby comes first and everything else can wait. But while I was completely stressed out from pacing up and down my home trying to settle a crying baby, the sight of unwashed dishes, unfolded laundry and things being out-of-place made the situation so much worse! Having someone assist with doing the laundry, washing the dishes, cleaning the bathrooms and doing a general tidy up really would have helped save my sanity!
3. Prepare for home cooked meals – whether this is preparing and freezing home cooked meals yourself, or arranging for a friend or family member to cook for you, a home cooked meal will be highly appreciated. And yes, perhaps your husband (or partner or whatever you wish to call him) would be able to do it, but remember that he is also exhausted! Having too much take-out also aids in making you feel unlike yourself. Your hormones are out of balance, you already feel like the ugliest and fattest person alive, so you do not need another reason to make you feel unhappy!
4. Stock up with easy to eat snacks – ready popped pop corn, nuts, sweets, crisps, health bars, fruit, anything you fancy! Have them ready for those late nights when you are walking up and down trying to settle a crying baby. Because the moment you put your (finally!) sleeping baby down, you will instantly feel hungry. It will be too late or you will feel too tired to make a sandwich, so something easy and quick to fill your tummy will always be appreciated!
5. Arrange for friends or relatives to drop off every day necessities – milk, bread, fresh fruit, juice, replenishment of snacks, the everyday essentials. Prepare a list of the things you prefer to buy and ask a friend or relative to drop off these things every few days. Again, you think that you would be able to do it, and you probably would be able to, but having one less thing to worry about really helps you to relax and concentrate on your baby.
6. Stock up on your monthly essentials – toiletries, detergents, personal items, all the things you will need to run home for 3 to 4 weeks. Everyday items will be arranged as above, meaning you do not need to think about shopping at all (another thing less to worry about!).
7. Try your best to avoid visitors after 5pm – This does sound harsh, especially in the community we live in. We do not need to schedule a visit to friends or relatives, but having an unexpected visitor ‘pop around’ after 5pm to drop off a gift for the baby can sometimes really be an inconvenience. This really only applies to the first three weeks, the most vital part of the transition. Thereafter it becomes a little bit easier and you will be in a better space to have visitors at any time. For some reason, once the clock hits 5pm, you automatically feel tired. After a (probably) very long day, 5pm calls for a rest with your baby. Even if you cannot sleep, use the time to wind down and rest. Lay down, watch some tv, have a cup of tea, take a shower (if you can) because the next long night is approaching and you need to get those energy levels up. I did not have many visitors, but I remember visiting others with a new-born baby. I can kick myself now, I must have been such an inconvenience for them. I have now vowed to myself that I will not visit a new parent during those first 3 to 4 weeks!
8. Have a tea station ready for visitors – Have your kitchen armed for tea for your visitors. If you are anything like me, your intention would be to entertain your guests, but this may not be always be possible. Therefore, prepare. Have an air tight container filled with biscuits. Have your teapot, tea bags, sugar and tea cups all ready to be served (keep them close to the kettle). This will make entertaining much easier, and better yet, you will aid your visitors in assisting you with making that cup of tea. (They will offer to help, accept it!)
9. Pre-book your newborn photo shoot – Because when baby arrives, there will probably be no time to even think about it. Arrange for a friend or relative to contact your chosen photographer after baby is born to confirm a date. I really wish I did this, because before I knew it, Ammaarah was 1 month old and I never got around to booking a newborn photo shoot!
10. Don’t be so hard on yourself – This will be like nothing you have ever experienced before and you cannot anticipate how you may feel. Don’t be hard on yourself, you nor your baby has ever done this before. The entire experience is new to both of you, so take it in your stride, one step at a time and one day at a time.
If you are a mother already, what other tips would you give to expectant mothers? Reply below, I would love to know!
If you do not know, there is a Facebook Closed Group called Mamahood. It is amazing group connecting our community of Mama’s to each other.
Today I was featured as blogger of the week. I am absolutely thrilled and which to thank each and everyone of you for taking the time to read my blog.
Big hugs and kisses to you Athena for this shoutout!