About A Mommy

A meme, about being a mommy, ripped from Mama Mia.

1. How long have you been a Mom? 2 days short of 11 months.

2. How many children call you Mommy? just the one.

3. Girl? Boy? or both?: 1 boy.

4. Did you know what you were having? We’ve had this discussion before.  I couldn’t wait to find out whether it was a boy or girl. The Boyfriend’s Parents were thrilled at the idea of a boy, and The Boyfriend’s Father kept saying ‘when my grandson arrives….’ even before we’d found out. None of the doctors could tell me conclusively it was a boy/girl. Eventually I went to a sangoma. She told me it was a boy. She also told me I would have to have an emergency c-section because there would be a problem with the umbilical cord. She was totally right.

5. How old were you when you became a Mom? 22, and turned 23 the following month.

6. How long were you in labor? 12 hours or so. But it was very mild. My labour never progressed past the 1st stage. I was induced twice, but labour failed both times, because the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby’s shoulders, preventing him from descending into the birth canal, so there was no way he was coming out naturally. Eventually had an emergency c-section. Read the story and see the pics here.

7. What’s your favorite thing about being a Mom?When the day is done, The Kid has been fed and bathed, and we’re both lying on the floor in his room, and I give him a massage while he drinks his bedtime bottle. He goes all sleepy while I rub his little limbs and his forehead and face. He loves being massaged, and the bonding time is great for us too. I also love bathing with him,  and having him lie on my chest while I rub his back.

8. What’s your least favorite thing? The shitty nappies, the crying when he’s tired and cranky. The teething. How early he wakes up.

9. Do you want more kids?I highly doubt it. Everyone keeps telling me I still have to have a girl, but I’m all like ‘this shit’s hard work, yo. One’s enough’.

10. Do you plan on having more soon? Hell no.

11. How many times have you been pee’d on? Once or twice, it’s not really a problem anymore. But I did learn one thing. Pee in the eye is better than pee in the mouth.

12. Barfed on? More than I can count. The occasional projectile as well.

13. Is your child named after anyone?  Not in particular. but there is a bit of a family tradition with the initials being ‘T.R’ – as are mine, as are my father’s and as are my son’s.

14. How did you come up with their name? I was pretty restricted by TR, and The Boyfriend really wanted The Kid to have his surname (we’re unmarried) so I cut a deal that I could choose the first two names, and he could have the last name. Which is just as well because he was coming up with some crazy-ass names like ‘Dutch’ and ‘Stone’. I know,  do you feel my pain?

15. When your child gets in trouble, who is the bad guy? I suspect it will be pretty evenly matched. I’m very strict, and it takes a lot to make me melt. But I guess we’ll find out soon enough. A tiny terror is definitely in the making.

16. What is the longest you have been away from your children? 2 days I think. I missed him occasionally, but it wasn’t unbearable, because I knew he was safe with The Boyfriend’s Parents, and I really needed the time to unwind. Although, I do remember the first time I was parted from him, The Boyfriend’s Parents came to take him off our hands for a few hours one day, so I could get some sleep. I was really excited about getting some shut-eye until I realised I couldn’t, because I was anxious at being separated from my kid.

17. Bedtime routine? Warm bath with bubbles and lavender oil, some splashing and playing with toys. Then a massage, while he has his night-time bottle, I dress him, swaddle him, and place him in his crib. And generally dont hear from him until 6 am the next day.

18. Are your toes painted? Not right now, no.

19. Last movie you saw in the theater? It was The House Bunny. Dont bother.

20. One thing you will not give up just because you’re a mom? My studying and/or career.

21. One thing you did give up now that you’re a mom: Partying every night of the week.

22. Best Mom perk: Seeing my son get so excited when he sees me after waking up from a nap. The fact that he shares his food and dummy with me – he insists I have some – even shoves it in my mouth, no matter how disgusting, I have to share. Sharing is a good quality to learn, and I’m amazed he’s learnt it so young.

23. Snack, you sneak bites from your child? See above.

24. When the kid is napping, you are: Studying/reading blogs/sleeping/having a smoke/showering/tidying up.

25. Where is your child(ren) now? Having a nap.

26. Favorite place to buy maternity clothes? Meteor Rose.

27. If I could do it over…I would have taken more pics of my belly, and The Boyfriend and I interacting with the bump. I would have kept a proper pregnancy journal. I probably wouldn’t have smoked. I would have enjoyed my pregnancy more, instead of trying to pretend it wasn’t happening.

28. Did it turn out the way you expected? Totally not. Being a mother is hard. People always tell me ‘oh, but it’s rewarding, doesn’t that make up for it?‘ Only someone with no children can say that. The fact that mothering is rewarding, doesn’t make it any less difficult, any less hard work, any less emotional and life-changing.

I tag: Angel, Briget, Can’t Hardly Wait, Jodi, Kicking You From The Inside, Neener,JentyCamiKaos, Zoeyjane, Stephanie, Katrina, Pia, Sweets, Cath, Jackson’s Mommy, Lisa, The Mad Momma, Wenchy.

and any other mommy/daddy who wants to do this.

My Birth Story

The day before I was due to pop – weighed about 91kg. Holy crap I know!!! Went to the doctor for a pelvic examination to assess whether my pelvis was big enough to push out this baby – doctor said should be, but he wanted to induce labour that night. Didn’t want to wait any longer for some reason or another. Freaked out a little when I heard that news – I had been hoping to ask for another week – still had one more assignment due, and hadnt completely sorted the new house out yet. But he insisted. It was going to happen and it was going to happen that night. Wandered around the house in a daze, packing my stuff and making dinner.
The Boyfriend insisted on shaving me before taking me to the hospital. That was rather embarrassing, I wont lie. This whole pregnancy and birth thing completely stripped me of any dignity I had. How on earth can you be dignified bent over the bath so your boyfriend can shave your nether regions and in so doing gets to see parts of you that you yourself have never seen and that NO ONE ELSE EVER SHOULD?
The Boyfriend had to invite his BFF(the godfather) over for moral support to keep him from freaking out. (This was after the shaving had taken place. Hehe. they are close, but not that close) Think my dazed calmness rattled him a bit. 9pm we hit the hospital and booked in to Arwyp Medical Centre.
The Pushing Room. Not much pushing happened here. They stuck me in here, hooked me up to the machine (below) that monitors the baby’s heart beat and all sorts of other crap and made me wait. Had to sign all these forms. Got very uptight because I wanted to walk around, hopefully help the labour start that way, kept hauling all the machinery-kak off me and ducking around the corner, bit difficult trailing an IV drip along with me. Plus there wasn’t very far to go or anywhere to hide in the maternity ward, so the nurses kept hauling me back to the Pushing Room.

Annoying monitoring equipment. Forgot what it’s called. Looking at these pictures now, it’s hard to believe there’s a baby in there somewhere!! At about 1am, the nurse stuck some hormone pills up my va-jay-jay to induce labour. Started to get contractions. They started out at 5mins apart, and then went to 8mins apart and then 12 mins and then stopped. Not very painful – I’d had worse period pains. All this lasted about 3hours – with me still trying to duck off and walk around. I’d been given strict instructions from my mother that I should not lie down once the contractions start, that walking around allows gravity to assist with the birth, making it easier. But the bloody nurses kept hauling my ass back. I must have been a sight, wandering around the maternity ward in the middle of the night, pushing my IV drip and trying to hold my bum inside one of those awful hospital gowns. At that stage I didn’t give a toss, I was hellbent on having a natural birth.

All the inducing and contractions was taking so long my poor boyfriend got exhausted and had to sleep on the floor next to my bed. Needless to say, he got more sleep than I did that night. Another invasion of my va-jay-jay occured. Pill No 2 was shoved up there in an attempt to induce me again. Was given until 8am, if nothing happened, the doctor said I was going to have a C-section. Just my luck, nothing happened. Labour didn’t progress and at 8am, the doctor came in and instructed the nurse to prepare me for theatre.
The anaethetist came in – crazy German sounding dude – and discussed my options with me. Was thinking of having a spinal block, but then he said the gaps between my vertebrae are not big enough, there’s a chance the spinal block might work. So opted to be put under general anaesthetic for the procedure. Cried my eyes out. Really didn’t want to have a caesarian. Was too scared to be awake for it, and was highly upset I was going to miss the birth of my boy.

The Boyfriend all dressed up in his scrubs. Waiting outside the operating theatre. Still crying my eyes out. Very emotional. Every time a nurse would ask me what was wrong, I’d just start to bawl harder. Inside the operating theatre. I assume that’s me under that blue blanket with all the tubes going into me. That’s the paedetrician in the background, getting himself ready for the arrival of my baby boy. E.R style. Freaky to think that they’re cutting me open and poking around inside me. My doctor is on the right. Luckily blue is my colour, because that’s all you see of me in this picture!! Those are some big scissors. Anaethetist on the right. Glad to see he’s taking his job seriously.

More big scissors. That blonde hair on the left is me. The person getting butchered with them long sharp scissors is me.

Hauling the baby out. If you look carefully you can see some blood and guts. Look how my skin has collapsed in on itself after the baby was removed. I never expected the umbilical cord to look like that. Totally bizzare.

Cutting the umbilical cord. Look at his wrinkly little feet!!

Toes and balls! toes and balls!!Look at my naked little bundle of red-ness getting manhandled by doctors with tubes and needles! Although it might look like they’re trying to get him to smoke a hubbly pipe – they’re not. They’re flushing out his air passages and helping him breathe. Getting pushed through the birth canal stimulates the baby to start breathing, stimulates all his organs and stuff like that. Getting cut out means none of that happens, so the doctors have to do it all manually. Look at me, sounding like I know what I’m talking about!!So much of cuteness! Proud daddy. Very tired though. You’d think he’d just given birth!!

On the scale. My boy weighed 3.76 kg at birth. Looks like he’s drizzing, shame poor bugger!

Raising his temperature in an incubator. Look how long his fingernails are. And how wide awake he is!

The first time I got to hold my baby. Still woozy from the drugs, very sore, very swollen. First workds out of my mouth when I opened my eyes was ‘where’s my baby?!’

So nothing happened the way I had planned – I didn’t get the natural birth with no painkillers I wanted. Instead I was out cold while they hacked the baby out. Still love him though. Still think he’s gorgeous and wouldn’t change a thing!

Now say nice things about my baby!

List of Things to Pack for the Hospital

Okay, here goes. You will need, for a 4-5 day stay in hospital, the following items: (the stuff for a natural delivery I will italicise – otherwise everything else is the same) Obviously, with a natural birth the hospital will discharge you after about 48hrs, so just adjust the list accordingly. Also, check with your hospital what stuff they provide you, and then cross it off the list.

Mommy:
your birth plan
a watch for timing contractions

your labour gear – portable CD player, camera, batteries, massage oils, exercise ball etc.
sweets – whatever you prefer – Cristine suggested Super Cs and Tara wants to take peppermint tea
lip balm (apparently your lips get very dry during labour)
4-5 nighties (if you’re having a c-section dont bother with pj pants or anything like that, you wont want anything rubbing against your wound, believe me!)
lots of underwear (someone suggested disposable panties)
nursing bras – the clip-open ones – if you’re breastfeeding
3 bottles and nipples and accessories – if you’re bottle feeding
1 tin chosen formula – if you’re bottle feeding
2 packs maternity pads
dressing gown
slippers
socks
towels (preferably dark ones)
books/magazines
cell phone charger
toiletries – toothbrush, soap, shampoo and conditioner, face cloth etc
hair brush and elastic bands/ hair clips. (i forgot this, and wasn’t it annoying!?)
clothes to wear home.

Baby:
4-5 warm babygros
4-5 shortsleeve bodyvests
going-home outfit – if you want it to be something cute/special.
1 pack newborn disposable nappies
1 pack cotton wool balls
1 pack wet wipes
1 dummy in container for sterilising
baby towels
burp cloths
2-3 receiving blankets
1 warm blanket
baby bath products – unscented (only use scented products after 6 weeks)
bum creme
safety ear buds
face cloth

It’s a good idea to micro-organise things in Ziplock bags, so they’re all easily accessible – and also to prevent items leaking and spilling everywhere!

I think that’s about it, if anyone else can think of anything else, just add it in the comments!

Ten Things No One Tells A New Mom

So you were pregnant, and couldn’t wait for your baby to arrive. Couldn’t wait to meet the little person that had been growing inside you for the last 40 or so weeks. Once the baby was here, was it everything you hoped for, and more?

No? Well you’re not alone. Many new moms say that there is definitely a shroud of secrecy over motherhood and its not-so-glamorous challenges. Educational child psychologist Lisa Michaelson agrees. “

New parents wouldn’t feel so isolated if more aspects of parenthood – both negative and positive – were discussed openly.”

1. Bonding isn’t instant. So dont feel bad if you look at your baby, and still have mixed feelings. Even though you were probably told, while you were pregnant, that you will ‘take one look at your new baby and fall in love’. If you’re lucky, it happens. If you’re normal, like me, you’ll look at your child and think ‘oh my god, that is the weirdest looking creature I’ve ever seen. How’s that NOSE?!’

Like any other relationship you have with another person, bonding takes time. A bond is a strange thing, it’s either there instantly, or it can be worked on.

What do do? Spend as much time as possible with your newborn. Once you get to know how he/she works, and how to best soothe/feed this little human, things will get much better. Once you’re more confident with your skills, it seems easier to focus on the connection between the two of you.

2. Homecoming is scary.

Did you look forward to bringing your new bundle of joy home from the hospital, and picture yourself gazing over the edge of the crib as baby sleeps peacfully? Well, homecoming with a newborn is nothing like this. Being in hospital with your baby is like being in an artificial enviroment. People bring you food, make your bed, help you breasfeed and take the baby away when you want to sleep.

These things dont happen at home, (unless you’re lucky or live in a hotel) plus by this stage your body is pumping out  emotion-producing hormones, leaving you feel teary, overwhelmed and frustrated.

Dr Erik Fangel Poulsen, a gynaecologist who writes for Netdoctor.co.uk says:

“Most new moms will experience a period when they feel insecure, vulnerable, sad or anxious. The enormous responsibility of suddenly having a baby to care for can make a new mother feel afraid and inadequate.”

What to do? Try to relax. Your baby senses your tension, and becomes tense himself, which can turn into a vicious tension cycle. Try Rescue Remedy. It’s also safe for infants. Take things one step at a time, prioritise. Focus on you and baby, dont worry about the house and cleaning and cooking. Ask for help if you need it. Dont be ashamed. Everything new takes a little time to adjust, and soon enough, you will have discovered your baby has a routine, and it becomes easier to fit everything around that.

3. Breastfeeding isn’t easy.

So baby latches in the hospital, and drinks small amounts frequently, and you think to yourself ‘wow, this is easy. okay, I can do this‘. Then you get home, and your baby just seems to be hungry ALL the time, and it seems that your body just isn’t producing enough milk, and you’re crying, and baby’s crying, and daddy’s getting upset because there’s nothing he can do to help.

What to do? Decide whether you’re going to breastfeed exclusively, or whether it is acceptable to do top-up bottle feeds. But be aware that the chances are that baby will eventually come to prefer bottle, as it’s easier to get sustenance from a bottle than from a breast. So make sure you choose a good formula. I recommend Isomil (milk and lactose free – it is soy based). And make sure you choose the right feeding equipment – I reccomend NUK bottles and a Bambino microwave steriliser.

Although breast feeding is indeed best, it sometimes isn’t always the most practical. Although it is free, which is great. If you’ve managed to breast feed for, say, 8 weeks (like I did) you’ve managed to give your child the vital immunities he or she needs for the first few months of life. So congratulate yourself, and feel no guilt if you have to move on to bottle feeding. Just think of it this way – bottle feeding means other people can help. Bottle feeding means that grandparents or helpful family members can take baby for a whole night, while you get some sleep!

If you decide to breastfeed exclusively, know that you will need a lot of patience, time and good books or magazines to read. It’s important to eat a balanced healthy diet, and to replenish what breastfeeding drains from you. And it is draining. You will find yourself constantly thirsty. Here’s a good recipe for a drink that will help stimulate your breastmilk.

Just be patient, and remember that it’s all about ‘supply and demand’ – your body will adjust to the demand your baby makes, but it will take a little time!

4. Daddy takes credit, but is really just a bystander.

You imagine a happy threesome. With a helpful daddy who changes diapers, baths baby and generally fits into the role of Mr Mommy better than you could have hoped for. A new father has the broadest chest and the widest smile in the world – that’s until he realises that all his newborn baby does is eat, poo and sleep and generates quite a bit of extra work. Then he’s nowhere to be found, and you’re left feeling you might as well be a single parent.

What to do? If nagging doesn’t work, try bribery. Also point out the fact that fathers that are more involved in the daily work of looking after a baby generally have better sex lives. Why? It leaves mom with a little more energy, she’s feeling more grateful, and is more likely to respond positively to dad’s bedroom eyes.

Encouragement works, but dont tell him what to do. He wont like being bossed around. He’ll have his own methods, they might not be as efficient as yours, but the job will get done. Just let him figure things out for himself.

5. You still have nothing to wear.

Unless you’re some kind of freak, you’re not going to be able to wear your pre-pregnancy clothes home from the hospital. Perhaps not even three months later. You’ll have a mummy-tummy, bigger boobs, and generally more curves than you had before. Perhaps your feet have even gone up one shoe size.

What to do? Try eating healthy, when you’re hungry. Pregnancy probably taught you some bad eating habits, what with that whole ‘you’re eating for two’ fallacy. Exercise moderately. Only exercise 6 weeks after birth. Join a women-only gym.

If all else fails, grab daddy’s credit card and hit the shops. Retail therapy works wonders.

6. Mommies are competitive.

Beyond description. It’s always ‘my baby did this, and my baby did that’. It gets a bit tiresome, especially when all you want to do is brag about your own baby. This kind of competitiveness can be stressful, can lead you to wonder if your child is developing on par with others, can lead to anxiety about your adequacy as a mother. And it’s annoying if someone else’s child does something before your own.

Furthermore, the idea of a ‘super-mommy’ does not exist in the real world. Dont compare yourselves to other mothers. You have no idea what goes on behind closed doors, or just how close that ‘perfect mommy’ might be to having a nervous breakdown.

What to do? Consult the experts for reassurance about milestones and other concerns. Parenting books, magazines and professionals will all tell you that your child will develop at his or her own pace, and that trying to rush things only places unnecessary stress on both mother and child. Dont compare yourself to other mothers either. Do the best you can, in that moment. Day by day. And dont feel guilty.

7. The real cost of a baby.

Yes, we all know having a baby is expensive. But having a baby is not the only part. There’s the hospital bills, clothing, feeding, entertaining, educating and housing expenses as well. Once the reality of the bills sets in, sometimes you’re left wondering if this was all really worth it.

What to do? If you haven’t already had a baby, it’s never too early to start saving. Just a little bit each month in a fixed account will help. Be practical – ask for practical gifts for your baby shower, such as disposable nappies, diaper bins, formula, clothing in sizes other than newborn and car seats and prams. These gifts can also be bought as ‘group gifts’ – everyone attending your shower chips in a little bit of cash.

Budgeting – work out what you spend on what, and where you can cut corners and save. Hard work, but it helps to see where you spend the most money…

8. Your life changes – completely and forever.

Some mothers dont bat an eyelid at the change in lifestyle. Others are wiped out by sleep deprivation, and not being able to go out and party all night like they used to be able to. Sometimes, the good step you’ve taken towards starting a family and being a family seems outweighed by the parenthood trap. You might also feel that your relationship with your partner is no longer the same.

What to do? Accept that life has changed. Accept it. Really, you have to. Communicate with your partner. Spend time together. Be this after baby is in bed, or whenever you can manage. Plan things together. Have ‘date nights’. Arrange for a babysitter occasionally, so you can go out and party all night, if you want. Join groups of other mommies, so you have others who know how you feel.

9. You lose friends.

It’s sad, but true. Friends without babies dont feel they relate to you anymore, or get irritated by the fact that you can no longer go out for dinner or partying at the drop of a hat.

What to do? If you really still want those friends, keep them appeased by seeing them on your ‘baby sitter’ nights, and minimise the ‘potty talk’ around them. Or, find new friends – new friends with kids, who you can arrange play dates with, can have child-friendly social gatherings, and who you can relate to better. Just remember – there is still social life after children!

10. How repetitive it all is.

Feed, burp, change diaper, sleep, change diaper, feed, entertain, bath etc etc. It’s the same thing, over and over. It’s the same games that delight, it’s the same food that satisfies, it’s the same shitty nappies every day, all day. It gets a bit much some time.

What to do? Make sure your partner is involved, to take some of the stress of repetitiveness off you. Get out the house, socialise with other moms. Go for a walk, take a long bath, or hire a babysitter or recruit an unsuspecting family member.

Each mother experiences motherhood differently and even the common complaints may not be as severe for one mother as they are for another. But when your friends ask you what they can expect from motherhood, it’s a good idea to tell the truth – good and bad. Gently, but firmly. No frills.

Adapted from: Women24