Not so terrible toddler.

Toddler life

Oh to be a toddler. O is almost 4 months in as a big brother and he’s doing a great job. I was concerned at one point since he would just ignore W. Lately he’s been more attentive to his brother. I let him take charge during tummy time and he points out shapes and colors (those that he does know) out. O also has been wanting to hold his brother so we have a process when he does ask or motion to hold W. He knows that he has to sit on the couch, we the place W on his lap and he gently puts his arms around him. There are moments where he wants to carry W and has tried to pick him up himself but he has done so much better about W.

His little brother loves it and I can tell there is a growing admiration. W usually follows wherever O moves to and has a gummy grin. I’m excited to see how their interaction will change once W crawls.

Mom view
Toddler life is hard on the both of us but moments where I see them both enjoying each others company, well, having two so close in age doesn’t seem that bad.

Heart filled Holidays

2015 memories

It’s become a little bit of a challenge to wrap presents as our family grows.  I’ve settled on either waiting until the kids falls asleep or waking up earlier than the kids.  I’ve gone with the later as I need to be sneaky about my husbands presents.

I remember as a kid that I would grow so excited as the gifts for myself grew under the tree.  I’d examine the wrapping paper that was used and any other additions.  As our family expanded, the wrapping paper mattered much less than the item inside.  Fast forward to now, well I really could careless for what I have under the tree.  I’m probably one of the worse people to shop for now.  My list consists of: any cute pajamas, giftcards to use at stores for the kids, a coffee cup.  As if I don’t have enough cute pajamas or coffee cups already.  Then I usually get the mini-lecture of “not a present for your kids but a present for you!”

Now I get much more satisfaction giving the gifts.  Often it can be stressful trying to find
THE GIFT for each person.  Either way, it finally hits me and I hit the ground running.  I’m particularly happy with what I gave people this year.  I went with a more heartfelt and meaningful approach this year.  Many of our closest friends are expanding their families with their first little ones so I was excited to find gifts that centered around that.  As for our immediate family, well, it isn’t the holidays unless there is a prank or two (or three) involved with the gifts.

I woke up this morning to wrap more presents and took a look at our tree and felt my heart swell.  By no means are my husband and I well off but to just be able to give something to each person we consider family in our lives is just something I love.  I’m all about making the memories.  Yes the gifts are great but it’s the exchange portion that I love the most.  I get so excited about giving gifts that often I’m the one that can’t wait for the person to open their present.  I.E. made my husband open a present a week early because I knew he would love it too much.

I guess I also live for the setting of the exchange.  The family huddled around the tree, holiday music playing, and the laughter that’s involved.  It’s like that for me when we exchange gifts for friends.  I love the building of the memories.

That is what I love most about the holiday season. The gifts are great (and sometimes hilarious) but I love the memories. I’m hoping that as my kids grow, they’ll love the memories too.

Here is to another memory filled holiday to your and yours!

I acknowledge you

Summer 2014

Sometimes those are the three words you need to hear. Sometimes you need to hear that acknowledgement.  Depression has been something I have been battling with for some time. Before then, I didn’t have a name for it. The overwhelming feelings were just the norm for me. It hit me the hardest during post-college-career-transition but much worse during the winter of 2012.

The peak was after giving birth to my first child. I was constantly crying, unhappy when I felt I should be happy, and angry for feeling unhappy. At that time I kept telling myself that it would go away.  My first son was about to hit the 6 month mark when I was diagnosed but at his 2 month mark his pediatrician was asking questions since I was showing signs. Even then I had a hard time comprehending what it meant. Ultimately I just felt like I was a bad mother. Now that I look back at it, with what I was dealing with at that time, I was definitely depressed the first year of my first child’s life.

I would feel myself lost, I could not think or see clearly due to the weight I constantly felt. I felt like I was just going through the motions in life while feeling this weight of sadness in me. I was rapidly losing weight from the lack of sleep.  I even found myself crying in the break room at work unable to determine why.  Fortunately, it didn’t take away from how I cared for my first child.  I just wasn’t taking care of myself. If anything, he provided the motivation to seek help.  I wanted to be better for him.  After taking a quick medical leave and counseling, I felt as if I was stepping towards the right direction.

Then I found out I was pregnant. 

Due to my history with depression, my mid-wife and primary physician introduced me to an OB/GYN that was working closely with pregnant women in my situation. She was an absolute God send.

My first meeting with her, I was nervous to go over my history with her. After explaining how I was feeling and my fears, she looked me straight in the eyes and said, “It’s hard, don’t let anyone tell you different. It’s okay that you feel this way. I acknowledge you. It isn’t easy.”  All I could do was burst into tears.

With all that I was feeling, there was just so much relief that I felt with what she said. Every visit was like that. Discussing my fears of how I was feeling would effect my baby, what the subchoronic hemorrage and bleeding I experienced around 12 weeks meant, my desire to make breastfeeding work this time around, and my fears of having postpartum depression again.

It’s still an everyday struggle now but I feel that I have a better grasp of it then I did during my first postpartum.  Some days are definitely better than others.  I guess this is where I have a soft spot for new mothers, especially those that don’t have other friends to share the experience or thoughts with.  The isolation I felt with my first was such a horrible feeling. At the time I was pregnant and had my first child, my friends were still focusing on their careers.  I had no one to confide in and it just made me sink into myself.  I still have a hard time pulling myself out of a dark state at times.  It helps that now I have a name for it, my husband is much more understanding of it, and I am feeling more comfortable with acknowledging it.  I want to get to the point where I can say that I deal with depression, mainly postpartum depression.

If you’re a new mother, second time, or x-time mother and trying to overcome postpartum depression, I acknowledge you.  Sometimes you need to hear that you’re doing a good job.  You need to hear that it’s okay if not everything gets done.  Sometimes you need to hear that motherhood and parenthood is taking it one thing at a time.   For now, I will remind myself that my babies are healthy, they are happy, I need to keep doing what I’m doing.   Maybe one day I will get to say I dealt with postpartum depression and that I found a way to overcome it.

Dear Husband

enjoymamahood | Dear husband

I know that it can’t be easy being a partner in the postpartum journey of mine.  It definitely does have it’s ugly moments.  My husband manages to try his best to be by my side through this whole journey.  He doesn’t have the conventional ways of showing that he loves me.  I don’t get the surprise flowers, chocolates, or pieces of jewelry.

I do however get days where he comes home with my favorite candy bar, random packages of things that I have sitting in my Amazon cart, handwritten notes on my school notepad, and emails on my work email that simply say “I love you.”  Add the time he sets aside to just focus on the boys.  He makes sure to play with them, read to them, and well just take care of them.  Those moments just make my heart swell with so much more love.  It’s really those type of moments that get to me.

Even yesterday as we picked out our first live tree, I couldn’t help but fall in love with him all over again.  He knows how fanatical I can get around this time of year since I love the holidays so much. Although he just came back from a lunch meeting and had a lot of work to finish up, he insisted we get our tree.  I loved watching him walk hand-in-hand with O as we found our tree.  He is so attentive to our children and I really couldn’t ask for a better father for them.

This whole parenthood thing is a learning process for the both of us.  We have our moments but knowing that he loves the boys as much as I do makes so much of a difference.  He really does his best to provide for our family.  I am loving these moments where it’s the four of us sharing new experiences together.  I can’t wait to keep adding more memories not only for the boys but for the two of us as well.

Enjoy right now.

It seems so easy to get caught up in the holiday chaos and often forget to just enjoy it. I have yet to put up all the Christmas decorations since my husband and O are both sick.  Heck, we don’t even have a tree! Although this is my favorite time of the year and I love the decorations, I’m relieved that I haven’t fully immersed myself in ornaments and wrapping paper.

I really miss the simplicity of the holiday.  Shopping feels crazier as each holiday season passes and decor seems much more over the top. I’ve been finding myself more at peace enjoying the present. O is much more interested in Christmas this year. I’m loving watching him take in things.

It then occurred to me that there isn’t a need to make this holiday “perfect.” The decorations don’t need to be put up right away or presents all wrapped. I’m still trying so hard to be that perfect mom that has it all together. I’m not that perfect mom and I shouldn’t be placing that pressure on myself.

I will be enjoying right now – decorations going up little by little, hiding wrapped presents in the closet, and cuddling while watching holiday programs. I’m much more content having W hold tightly on my thumb as I watch O continue to fill his curious mind. It’s also pretty great seeing O’s reaction as we slowly decorate.  Taking a moment to just forget other stresses and enjoying these quiet moments is not so bad.

Enjoymamahood Journey : Breastfeeding (2)

Breastfeeding aids

W and I are reaching 3 months of exclusive breastfeeding and still navigating our way through it all.  My husband and O got sick after our exciting Thanksgiving weekend.  I started to feel like I was going to get sick so I quickly loaded up on vitamin C and fluids (along with sanitizing anything and everything O sneezed on) to make sure I didn’t get sick myself.  I did notice that I was dipping in terms of milk supply so I knew I had to step in with Plan B.  I’ve been munching on these Milkmakers cookies and taking Euphoric Herbals Dairy Diva capsules since Sunday and so far have been seeing good results.

I purchased both the Milkmakers cookies and the Euphoric Herbals bundle in anticipation of getting sick, going back to work, or just anything else that may cause a bump in our breastfeeding journey.  Both products I researched for a couple of weeks prior to even considering purchasing.  I had originally been taking Motherlove capsules to help with the growth spurts W was having but was not seeing any change in my milk supply.  The Milkmakers cookies I just happened to stumble upon on Amazon while the Euphoric Herbals I found through Instagram.

I knew that this whole breastfeeding journey would be a hit or miss process.  It’s not to say that all these products would work for everyone.  Just for me personally, the combination of the two has helped not only maintain my supply but has also allowed me to pump to store for emergencies.  I think it is so easy to get frustrated when you wish to exclusively breastfeed and products that are bought do not seem to work.  I have been in the frustrated state myself, especially with O, after trying fenugreek capsules, blessed thistle capsules, and incorporating malunggay in my diet at the very least.  This time around, I knew I would need to remind myself that it would not be a clear path the whole way.

There is so much more to ensuring milk supply other than trying breastfeeding aids.  Diet and pumping are other things to consider.  Breastfeeding was so intimidating and sometimes still is.  I think we sometimes just want to find a clear-cut process when something gets difficult or doesn’t turn out the way we want it to.  I just keep reminding myself to take it one day at a time, there is always a solution, and the most important thing is to put W’s health first.  We’re going to keep taking these breastfeeding curveballs as they come.