6 Things That Change When You Become a New Mom

We are often told to plan and prepare for things in life, but I have found out that we can’t plan for everything. One of them being motherhood. I didn’t know what questions to ask before I became I mom. I lost my mom at the tender age of 14 years shortly after I got my first period. Obviously, I had no business trying to understand what birthing me was like or learn how my mother coped postpartum. One, because it just never occurred to me to ask and two, I believed like many things in life, we just figure it out like everyone else.

Below are 6 things I wish I was privy to before I became a mom.

 

  1. Your social life will go down the drain. This is true for the most part (at the beginning) if you have more than one child. Not to discourage you but if you do get a social life again it will be way after the kiddos are done potty training. For some, the girl’s night out trips may come to a complete halt or require you to return home earlier than usual to resume mom duties.
  2. Your bedtime will change. If you like your sleep, motherhood will teach you that sleep is overrated (haha). Your body becomes used to your new sleep cycle and adjusts accordingly. You may start to go to bed earlier to get in some hours before baby wakes up or you might sleep later to catch up on alone time.
  3. Your sex and intimacy life will change. This is something you and your partner should be prepared for. You will sometimes choose sleep over sex because of how exhausted you are. Whatever you do, try to keep sex alive and intimacy going, even if you have to schedule it. Once the kiddos are all grown and leave the house, you don’t want your sex life to have suffered so much that it has become almost non-existent at the time your children are in college. It happens.
  4. You will never think you can love someone as much as you love your child. This is so true. No one will have to explain this or go into much detail here. Having a child will give you a new perspective and outlook on life. Especially for the new mom. You will not only love your child so much but also be loved by them tremendously. It’s such a beautiful feeling.
  5. Your marriage/relationship will be tested. This is where having a child with the right partner pays off. As a new mom, all you need is support and some more. When you have a partner, who doesn’t help or support your motherhood journey, it could be dangerous. It is advisable to discuss what kind of parenting style you two want to adapt to raise your child(ren) ahead of time. It is also imperative that your goals and values align otherwise a raising a child differently can tear you both apart.
  6. You become an afterthought. Your self-wellness regimen and regular self-care treats will reduce. Not because you don’t feel like being pampered or taking care of yourself but because life as a mom is hard work and consumes a lot of your energy and time. Nonetheless, try to squeeze in time for yourself and stay healthy. Because a healthy mama means a healthy and happy child.

Moms, stay encouraged, you are doing just fine. Your life will become so different but in a good way. Live it.

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She Is Becoming

Hey mama! They say when you become a mother for the first time, you become a new person. In fact, some describe motherhood as being “re-born”. So, in other words, when the child is born, the mother is also born. A new you. A fresh you. A mature woman who sees life differently. Her new identity is formed. She has a new perspective and outlook on life. She’s stronger and wiser. She’s fearless and resilient. She thought she knew what it meant to love until she loved her little one.

So, is who she’s becoming her new identity? Is who she’s becoming all she is?

As moms, we sometimes get lost in our new role and forget the person we were pre-motherhood and the things we used to enjoy doing. We are obsessed with what baby will wear, eat and how they will survive. We are their ecosystem. We are now responsible for another human’s life. But, is that all we are?  Caregivers?

Who is she now? Who was she? She’s a woman. A woman who has ambitions. A woman who is a mother and or wife. A woman who believes she can be it all. A woman who has chosen to be a mom and so much more. This is the woman she is becoming and I love HER.

Mommy Brain And Finding Your Brain Again.

This may be one of my favorite posts written thus far as it pertains to many if not all first-time-moms. Mommy brain and losing yourself.

What is mommy brain? When does it start? What causes it? Is it a real thing?

This past weekend my friend and I went to the spa to unwind while the kiddos stayed home with their dads (yes, yay!)

We got to talking about how our lives have changed since baby and how post pregnancy is different from your pre-pregnancy days. Wait what? You mean I am not the same person after childbirth? No, mama! You’re aren’t. Your mental state is not the same and does not automatically return to its former self for a while.

Research concludes that the mommy brain can be attributed to an upheaval of hormones. The new responsibilities that comes with being a mother are endless. Because there is a huge learning curve of taking care of a newborn, you are gathering a lot of new information and worried about keeping your baby well-fed. This consumes your brain. Thoughts like: How many wet diapers does she have? Is she breathing? How can I tell if she is hungry? She has a diaper rash, what caused it? When do I sleep train and what method do I use? Should baby sleep on her back or tummy? You get the point. Amid the chaos, you tend to lose yourself. Any mom with experience would agree. So how can you find yourself again? The below are some tips that have helped me gradually get back to my pre-motherhood mental state of mind.

  1. Asking for help: this is number one because you can’t do it alone. NO matter how much you think you can. If you are able, you can hire mother’s helper or have a friend willing to help occasionally. They can get you grocery or cook for you. They can spend 2 hours with your child while you relax.
  2. Find a hobby: there were some things you used to enjoy doing before you became a mother. Try and see if the excitement will return if you resume the activity. Examples, practicing yoga or crafting.
  3. Embrace your new life and make it better: Explore and learn new things. Afterall life with a new baby is a new season so spice it up by taking advantage of the new experiences you are learning along the way.
  4. Take care of yourself: this is the BIGGEST one for me. Think about it this way. Can you take care of your baby if you are not your best? Nope. It’s that simple.
  5. Connect with new moms: find a circle of moms going through a similar journey as you and find times to meet up and do something fun together. It makes a whole lot of difference when you are able to open up with someone who actually understands what you mean and can empathize.

 

 

8 Tips for Baby’s First Birthday

Yay! Baby has finally reached their 12 month milestone; the moment mom and dad have been waiting for. But let’s face it, isn’t baby’s first bash for the parents and their friends? It’s okay mom. You and dad are just overly excited that you survived the first 12 months without giving up. We totally get it and you deserve a pat on the back.

But what does a 1-year old really know about parties? How much work do you want to put into planning a party that they will not remember? What of baby’s nap scheduling? Does the party ruin that for a few hours of fun? Do you think baby will be overwhelmed with too many new faces? Check out the below tips that will help make baby’s first bash memorable rather than miserable.

  1. Invite mostly close relatives and a few close friends. keep the faces of strangers to a minimum to avoid baby being cranky unnecessarily. With familiar faces around baby, it is easier for them to relax and have fun naturally.
  2. Avoid clowns, please. I think this is so cliché and unnecessary. Why scare baby or any other younger guests? Keep the clown or magician away. Babies are unpredictable and can be happy one minute and uneasy the next. Don’t risk it.
  3. Record the party. This goes without saying. Baby only turns one once so make sure to get it on camera for keepsake and memories.
  4. Take it easy on the décor. At one year old, your not so little one is now mobile as ever and pulling unto objects, and throwing things around. Keep in mind safety when handling tiny tots and rubber scraps as they can pose as choking hazards. Instead, make the décor light and easy to maneuver not just for the celebrant but for the young guests too.
  5. Serve up safely. Avoid party nibbles that can pose a choking risk such us M&Ms, nuts, skittles etc. Instead, choose a party menu that is friendly and out of the children’s risk.
  6. Stick to baby’s nap schedule: your baby doesn’t know it’s her birthday so be kind and empathize with her. Keep her napping schedule on track and avoid getting carried away by the festivities. You will be glad you did.
  7. Take personal photos before guests arrive: I took some time to take a few personal photos of my daughter in her crib before guests started arriving. I was glad I could sneak some family photo pics in before it got chaotic.
  8. Relax and have fun: remember to eat as you get carried away while hosting. I totally forgot to eat on my baby girl’s birthday (haha). Set a reminder on your phone or have someone remind you. It is so important you are energized and ready for your baby’s special day.

6 common controversial topics every mama faces

Becoming a mom can be a very exciting and overwhelming experience. You are excited to meet your baby and so is everyone else. You have picked out the most beautiful crib, highly recommended baby bottles, the physician suggested breast-pump to name a few. Yes, you are all smiles just at the thought of bringing your little one home. But you know who else is excited? Your family and friends who may have already provided their welcoming or non-solicited advice. That’s right. Everyone and their brother has some tips and suggestions of how you should raise your child or handle certain things in general. Below are 6 common controversial topics every mama will face at some point in her journey.

  1. Co-sleeping vs. Crib/Room Share: At some point in every mama’s life, usually the first time you become a mom, the decision of where your child sleeps from the moment baby is born to toddler age and beyond will be a topic of discussion. The way you put your child to sleep tends to get a lot of people riled up. The questions you should ask yourself are, do I want my baby to sleep with me on my bed, or in her crib/bassinet or in a separate room? The moment you are discharged from the hospital and ready to take baby home, one of the few questions the hospital will ask is where your baby will sleep. This means you must, plan ahead and do what you believe is the safest and most convenient for you both.
  2. Formula vs. Breastfeeding: There are so many ways to feed your little one and you must do what works for you. Are you willing to give breastfeeding a try? Do you have enough breast milk? Are you pumping long enough and eating right to help increase your supply? Are you able to supplement with formula should your milk come in late? Are you concerned that baby is not getting enough? Is the baby having a hard time latching? Can you exclusively pump or breastfeed? These are questions only you will be able to answer so do your research about breastfeeding and formula ahead of time. Is the breast best or is just feeding your child all that really matters to you?
  3. When to start solids: You will have mom-friends and family members give their wanted or unwanted opinions about when they believe your child should start solids. But don’t forget that the only pace you are following when feeding your child is your child’s not a friend whose baby started solids at 4 months old or a family member that demands they start at a certain age. Always follow the pediatrician’s recommendations and follow your baby’s cues as every baby is different.
  4. Epidural vs. Natural/Vaginal vs. C-Section: Every mama-to-be will need to make this decision at some point and every mama will have a birth story to share. Some questions you should ask yourself regarding these subject areas are: do you have I birth plan? Do I want to be induced? Do I want a vaginal or c-section? Are there any harmful effects to baby and I if I got an epidural? Do I need to take a birthing class? What’s the recovery like should I choose to get a C-section? Thankfully, you can ask your doctor about any concerns you have but you must also plan ahead to better prepare yourself.
  5. Who do I want in my delivery room? Unfortunately this is always a sensitive area for mom-to-be. As if the whirlwind of emotions is not enough, determining who will be in the delivery room is just another thing to add to the list. Are you comfortable having specific people in the room like your siblings or in-laws? What happens if I tell my mother-in-law I don’t want her in the room? Will she be hurt and will this cause problems within the family? I personally suggest you talk to your partner ahead of time so you can both agree on who will be in the room with you. Most importantly, you don’t need extra stress added to your plate so always do what you feel is right.
  6. Immunizations: Vaccinations have been around for years and many parents still question if it is necessary or just causes problems for the child down the line. Again, do your research outside discussing and following your doctor’s recommendations. Are there side effects? Should I space the vaccinations out or follow the recommended health schedules (per country or region)? What happens if I choose not to vaccinate?

 

In the end, always do what works best for you. There is no wrong way to take care of your child if you are following your mama instincts and surrounded with a strong support system. There just isn’t.

Escaping the rut of motherhood

Motherhood is beautiful but can also be messy. It’s like you are one person before pregnancy, then another person during pregnancy and a whole new person after childbirth. The new person you become after childbirth is the one many moms claim change them completely. You begin (like you haven’t already) putting someone else’s needs before yours, which includes but is not limited to making sure they are fed, cleaned, feeling okay, entertained, loved, cared for and so on. It’s like your whole life is on pause while you cater to someone else, your precious baby. So guess what mama? You need a break. You sometimes need an escape to get your sanity back. You need to bust out of that mommy rut. Below are some helpful things that mom should do for herself every now and then.

Self-Care: Keep baby with trusted family or friend(s) for a few hours and get yourself a beautiful long massage. Get your nails and hair done and put your feet up without worrying about what’s next to accomplish on your never-ending mom-to-do-list. Remember in order to take care of baby, you need to first take good care of yourself. Baby will not die if she doesn’t see you for 3 hours. Run out of the house and pamper yourself.

Exercise: I personally enjoy doing yoga because it keeps me calm and stress-free. Whatever it is  you like to do to stay fit should be practiced consistently to help with those endorphins and sex drive. If you are unable to hit the gym, simply take baby on a walk in her stroller and brisk-walk, jog or stroll away.

Smart Eating: Let’s face it, as a mom, there is not enough time to cook let alone sit down to eat so if you are going to eat, eat smart. Eating smart means eating healthy. Eat whole foods and snacks that are filled with energy. Example of high energy snacks are protein-rich foods like almonds, bananas, protein-balls. Don’t be tempted to give into unhealthy snacks or foods because they are easy to grab or prepare. Intentionally picking protein-packed foods will give you long-lasting energy and won’t make you toss and turn when it’s time to turn in.

Sleep: They say sleep when baby is sleeping. This can be difficult during the early days as a first time mom. However, as baby gets older and begins sleeping longer, you can also get in some minutes or hours of extra sleep. Don’t stay up late to finish the last episode of your favorite show but instead take advantage of the extra amount of sleep you can get before you are on  mom duty again.

Mom time: Carve some time out of your long busy days and set aside a day that is for you only. Catch up with some of your girls and get away or read one of the books in your library queue. Gift yourself that alone time and watch it transform your life.

Don’t get lost being a mom because you are more than just being a mom. You are beautiful, strong and worth it. Love your babies as much as you love yourself and save your sanity.

New parents and marriage after baby

It’s very normal and usual to notice some changes in your marriage after the first baby. There’s the good, the bad and the ugly. I mean you have just undergone a major transformation in your lives and it is only expected for your temperaments to follow suit. Whomever says everything is the same after baby isn’t being  honest with you.

Below are five of many things that may seem different in your marriage after baby arrives.

  1. Stress due to lack of SLEEP. Do I hear an AMEN? New parents never realize how much sleep they needed until baby arrived. Like, it gets to point where you begin to wonder who needs more sleep? Mom says, well, if I am the one waking up every 2 hours to feed baby, I should be sleeping more. Dad is like, well, I have to wake up for work at 7am so technically, I need to get as many hours of sleep so I don’t get to work late and tired. The truth is you both need the sleep and can take shifts at different times so you both get enough rest. Even if you have to plan the next day’s sleep schedule in advance, do it to save your sanity.
  2. Work Life Balance. Mom starts to get upset when dad is constantly working after “working hours” or vice-versa. All of a sudden both of you start paying more attention to how much time either one is spending away from the family. This obviously stems from being overwhelmed with a lot to do at home with baby. Neither mom nor dad is completely wrong here because mom could use an extra hand in helping change baby’s diaper or run baby’s bath water. However, what I have noticed as a parent that can be helpful in these situations is planning ahead. If you or your spouse knows you will need to work after hours just be upfront and explain how long you will be away from the family. This way you can separate work time from having quality time with the family.
  3. What way is the RIGHT way? As a new mom or dad, you have almost subconsciously set-up some rules on how things should be handled with baby. Also, it is natural for the parent who’s around baby the most to feel in charge of how things should go. If this is the case politely explain to your partner how to handle certain things regarding baby. For example, explain that snack time is only at a certain time of the day not every twenty minutes or that there is a specific sippy cup used for juice. In the end, you both want the best for your child so you will come to an agreement on how things are handled in general. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
  4. Feeling Unappreciated. It is easy to feel like you are doing so much for your family and it all goes unappreciated. There is nothing wrong in speaking up and letting your partner know how you feel. Even if you have to give them a hint. Do it. It can be as simple having them acknowledge the little things you do such as preparing baby’s meals or scheduling her doctor’s appointments. As human beings, we know there is no special award given to parents for doing a great job, but, words of affirmation go a long way. Tell your partner what you need to hear to feel loved and valued during the new-parent phase.
  5. Less SEXY TIME. He wants more sexy time but you are tired. You are both right here. Yes, I said it. Between changing diapers, returning back to work, cooking, cleaning, feeding baby to mention a few, there tends to be less and less sexy time between you two. You have been up for hours with little sleep for three nights in a row, so sexy time is not a priority. The truth is you just have to create the time. To avoid creating unnecessary distance between you setup sexy time and add it to your mental or physical calendar. It may not be as spontaneous but it’s a great way to keep your sex life alive until you guys are back in the swing of things. You can also have a trusted friend or family member babysit one night for a few hours while you both catch up on some alone time.

Always remember you and your partner are on the same team and this transition period is temporary. It only gets better with time so embrace the journey and remember the love you and your partner shared before baby.

7 Tips for Accepting Your Postpartum Body

You are just returning from the hospital or birthing center and the first thing you can think of is food or sleep or painkillers. Food, because you and baby just completed a marathon and are famished. Sleep, because you have been awake in labor for hours or days. Painkillers, because you so sore from the C-Section or vaginal tears. As if you don’t already have enough on your plate, your postpartum body is still there to think about. You literally start to think, “maybe I’d get back to my shape after breastfeeding is complete.” “I hear if you don’t exercise as soon as possible, the baby weight will NEVER leave.” “My friend Ana lost all her baby weight in just 3 months.” Blah, blah and blah!!!

The thoughts start to flood your brain. We have all been there mama. Stay calm and practice these tips for accepting your postpartum body just as it is.

  1. Don’t compare yourself to others. As you already know, comparison they say is the thief of joy. You don’t know if the person you are comparing yourself to has 2 full-time nannies, a chef, a cleaner and a personal trainer to get them back in shape. Try as much as possible to avoid comparison because it only makes you miserable.
  2. Don’t compare your body to others. Everyone comes in different shapes and sizes and everyone will lose weight at different rates and paces. We sometimes fall into the trap of wishing we had somebody else’s body because we think it looks better than ours. Instead, work on your own body and embrace the transformation no matter how long it takes.
  3. Give it time. If you had a baby a few days or weeks ago you are not going to bounce back right away. Depending on how your delivery was, it takes time to heal so be patient and don’t prolong the recovery process by rushing to get back into shape. You will get there.
  4. Exercise to bolster you mood. Engaging in light exercises like pilates, yoga, taking walks or going to the gym increases your endorphins while helping you lose some weight, which in turn boots your mood. Win-win.
  5. Accept your body. After birth your body is changing and gradually getting back to its old self so embrace the journey at every stage.
  6. Celebrate every success throughout the journey. You may have not reached your post baby body weight yet but one of the best tips for accepting your postpartum body is to acknowledge and appreciate any and every progress. Whenever I lost a pound of baby weight or I noticed my favorite top was not as snug anymore, I would jump with excitement just because. Hooray!
  7. Wear stretchy clothes. Stretchy clothing is always accommodating for every and any shape so why not flaunt your curves and new body? My favorite piece of clothing are leggings. They are very comfortable to wear and perfect for your recovery journey.

Don’t forget that you are still you so stay beautiful, you will get there.

6 signs you are ready for a baby

Because everyone’s idea and thought of starting a family is different, there is no right or wrong way in deciding where to begin. I personally did not put much thought into the “trying process” of conceiving until the time came. The time! So when really is the ‘time?’ It’s when you and/or your partner decide to start your family. For those who are married, there comes a time after the wedding when the relatives and family start to ask, “when are you having kids?” Well, you and your partner are the only ones that can make that decision.

Below are 6 signs that can tell you are ready for a baby.

  1. You are capable of taking care of yourself. In order for you to take care of a little human you should be able to take care of yourself first. Remember how the plane safety instructions asks you to make sure your oxygen mask is secured first before helping your neighbor? Yup, that’s it. Are you ready to be the healthiest and best version of yourself in order to be the best for your little one(s)?
  2. You have a strong support system in place. This wouldn’t have made much sense to me before I had my daughter, but now that I am a parent, I understand how much of a strong support system and community you need while parenting. Like the popular saying goes, it takes a village.
  3. You are responsible. There’s a deep raw responsibility that comes with having a baby. I mean you will be responsible for taking care of a little human’s life for a VERY long time. How is your attitude? Do you have bad spending habits? Do you clean up after yourself? Are you ready to be selfless? If you answers are somewhat in the lines of YES then you may be ready.
  4. You are open to change. Change is inevitable and welcoming a child into your life is going to be a big transformation in your daily living. Are you willing to wake up in the middle of the night to feed your baby? Are you ready to give up your social life for a little while to be home with baby? Don’t be scared. Change is good because it helps us grow. And trust me, becoming a parent for the first will teach you that.
  5. You are willing to make sacrifices for someone else. Becoming a parent is a very rewarding and blissful experience but requires a lot a sacrifice and selflessness. If you asked me before I had my daughter, would I want to my baby to be attached to my breast every 2 hours even through the night, I would have yelled a big NO. And yet, when it was my baby who was hungry or unable to sleep, it was me more than willing and ready to sacrifice anything to be there for her.
  6. You just know you want a BABY. Whether it is now, whether it is tomorrow, whether it is next year. You just know you want to be a parent but scared you may lose yourself or the time you have with your partner. No more “us” time or “me” time. The truth is, aren’t we all scared? Aren’t there times when we want to venture into something new but have a plethora of thoughts that hold us back? It’s because we are human. Rather than asking yourself if you are ready to be someone’s mother, ask if you want to be a mother.

Things I wish I knew before pregnancy

 

Taking it back to where it all started. Pregnancy! In my opinion, motherhood begins before childbirth and way before you get pregnant. I wanted to take a second to chat about being pregnant for the first time and the interesting things I discovered in the early weeks of pregnancy.

  1. Tiredness: Not until when I entered into the first trimester of pregnancy, did I understand what it meant to be TIRED. I remember sleeping for 14hours straight a few times consecutively and it wasn’t enough. The hormonal changes and what not completely took over my body in ways I never expected.1ca8171993ebf3fbd997d29b7e7df122
  2. Pee, Pee, Pee No matter what: Ah, if I knew how much I’d need to pee during pregnancy, I would have rented my bladder out and had it returned after childbirth. Unluckily for me at the time, I lived in an apartment where the bathroom was a little distance from our room (6 seconds walk). This made my night trips to the bathroom a horror story. Even when I stopped drinking water at 7pm.giphy7
  3. The Dr. says everything is okay: Yeah! Whenever I went for my pre-natal checkups I would have a long story of what I was experiencing such as my leg looks funny, I felt a pinch at the back of my foot, I can’t catch my breath, I think I felt a flutter kick. The response I would get was “you are alright”, “it is normal.” I would be expecting a more detailed response but all I got was “you are fine.” Thankfully, it really was.                                                                                              .200w.gif
  4. Everything smells: I am naturally built with non-sharp senses but my sense of smell heightened drastically during pregnancy. Before my husband would open the fridge, I would smell that sautéed kale I had for lunch two days ago.giphyu
  5. Everyone and their brother has some advice for you: I heard it all. Things like, “oh, you should rest and put your feet up,” “are you drinking enough water?”, “oh, you must be due on this date because….”giphy.gif
  6. Your pregnancy pillow becomes your first love: If you don’t get anything during pregnancy please do yourself a favor and get a quality and comfortable pregnancy pillow because sleeping during pregnancy can be extremely uncomfortable. Tummy sleepers, like myself get the brunt of it.giphyg
  7. You start to cry for every and any reason: Thanks to nature and hormonal imbalances I was able to estimate how effective my tear ducts were. Everything made me cry. I don’t feel myself- cry. I am so tired- cry. I am pregnant- cry. She gave me a “look” – cry. The list is endless.                                            giphytia

What are some things you heard or didn’t expect during early pregnancy? 🙂 xo