A Mama, yes, but so much more. 

enjoymamahood.com
I'm still trying to get a handle on being a mother, a wife, and striving to be a stronger woman for myself.
I see glimpses of that strong and successful woman.

 

I feel like I’m in a strange point in my life. I’m trying to transition to a career that is completely new. I’m trying to figure out how to be a Mama to two children. Trying to be a good spouse is thrown in there. I’m also trying to find some inspiration to get back into art.

Before the babies, I would pour myself into books and finish through them quickly.  I would be able to draw or paint when I felt like it.  Going out for a quick bite to eat was not a process that consisted of wrangling children to get dressed and my hair half done.  Food was enjoyed and not quickly inhaled to ensure a toddler wasn’t wandering around a restaurant or grabbing everything breakable.  Sleep?  Well there was definitely much more of that.

I feel that I have done my best to take on new roles in mamahood, as a wife, and as a working mama.  I have been doing my best to intertwine all three but forgot about doing things for myself.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my role as a mama and as a wife.

Despite what I’m going through, I love being a Mama.  My husband and I have our ups and downs but we’ve tackled so much so far in marriage.  It’s definitely been a journey but there have been a lot of moments of happiness and laughter.

The working mama, well I’m still adjusting to that.  I’m in that group of mamas that really want it all career wise but in the comfort of her home to be with her babies.  Right now I’m doing my best to just enjoy my leave from work.

I think it’s wrong to consider mamahood as just revolving around kids.  I’m beginning to see that it encompasses so much more.  As mothers we of course put our family first and ourselves last.  I always thought that being a Mama meant just that – family first.  Being able to allow myself, yes allow myself, to have time for myself is something I’m struggling with.

I believe I’m slowly moving towards the woman I want to become.  I know that woman that is strong and beautiful in her own way is in there, I see glimpses of it from time to time. A woman who is a mother that not only loves her children fiercely but encourages them to grow.  A wife that continues to communicate, have fun with, and grow with her husband.  A woman that learns to balance time for herself because she deserves it too.  A woman that is successful and loves what she does, whether working for a company or building her own business.

So I will continue to squeeze in time for painting or drawing. I will give my boys as many kisses as I can and hug them if I can wrangle them in.  I will keep scribbling down ideas to become my own boss.  I’ll try to remember to not get too frazzled with everything going on but I won’t make any promises.  Most importantly I will continue to keep moving forward to that woman I keep catching glimpses of and learn from this whole process.

Enjoymamahood Journey: PPD

enjoymamahood journey: ppd

My journey with postpartum depression (PPD) has been a very tiring one.  I’m learning that it’s okay to have bad days just as it is okay to have the good days.  Although I’m having my good days, it does not necessarily mean i’m not having an internal struggle with myself.  I’m often reminding myself to be present, smile often, laugh often, and that I’m doing pretty good at this motherhood thing.  It may be filled with a lot of yawns due to a sleepless night.  It may also be where I push myself a little harder to get myself and the boys out of the house.  It could also be that I simply was able to get the laundry from the washer into the dryer.

The bad days are still there.  Definitely not as much as before but there.  I am awake, I am functioning, I can get things done.  Often I feel like I’m walking in my own cloud space.  I’m still reminding myself to be present, smile often, laugh often, and look at how happy my babies are.  I get so sucked into the fog of my thoughts that I stare off into space.  Am I doing a good job?  Am I doing this motherhood thing right?  Why can’t I be happy?  Why do I feel so down?  “Why?” complies on top of more “Why?”

Late nights and early mornings are much harder for me during this time.  I wake up on my own.  There is no crying baby that needs to be consoled or fed.  There is no crying toddler that had a nightmare.  I wake up and I’m wide awake.  I put on a book on Audible and try to fall back asleep.  Often, I get up and do schoolwork.  Sometimes there is crying.  There is guilt for feeling the way that I do. There is definitely anger within myself for feeling this way.  There is helplessness due to feeling this way.  By the time I am ready to go back to sleep it usually is an hour or so before the babies wake.  I don’t let myself sleep in.  I get up and I take care of them.  I take care of things around the house.  We go run errands.  We go on a walk.  All of this is going on and I am encouraging myself to keep pushing forward.  Encouraging myself that this is just a bad day and I can get through it.  I’m encouraging myself with my boys smiles and their laughs.  I’m willing the cloud above me to just go away.

I don’t know how much of a good job I’m doing with masking this from my family and close friends.  It is tiring and I wish that it was something as simple as willing it to go away instantly.  I know that this is a process.  I know that it won’t be easy.  I know that there are good days and there are bad days.  Some people say it’s hormones and some people say it isn’t a real thing.  It is a real thing.  I not only feel it with every part of my mind and body but I am living it.  I am trying to not only live through it but find a way to live without it.  It’s hard not to feel like people will judge, especially those that you are close with.  Will they think differently of me?  Will they even want to be around me while I’m going through this?

For now I am taking it one step at a time.  One doctor’s appointment at a time.  I’m reminding myself to be present and be mindful.  That I am doing a pretty okay job with my babies.  They are happy, they are healthy, they are hitting milestones, and seem to love me even on my bad days.

What I do know, that even though I feel the way that I do, I am so SO very happy that I have my babies.  They have shown me such a love that makes my chest hurt from happiness.  My babies make it worth every step I’m taking to overcome PPD.

Enjoymamahood Journey: School – time

One of the things I struggle with the most while working on this current degree is the time it takes away from my babies.  It was a little easier to balance the time when it was just one kid.  I would study during his naps or wait until he went to sleep for the night to work on papers.  My first born may be rambunctious but he does love his naps and goes to bed fairly early so I can get things done.

Add another child?  Well, what is time?  W is still a puzzle I’m trying to figure out.  Unlike his older brother, he likes to sleep in, naps currently can’t be done without him unless I’m wearing him, and he likes to stay up later at night than his brother.  I’ve decided that temporarily, at least I’m hoping, I have to be a night owl.  Oh how I love my sleep, it’s also especially imperative due to my PPD, but graduation is so close I can feel it at my fingertips.  So for now, I will be a night owl.

It’s a little hard to see it now, with the massive bags under my eyes, how bloodshot my eyes look, and just how darn sleepy I feel.  I really don’t want to take away too much time I can be spending with my babies.  I guess I just needed to remind myself, that this will be worth it.  I really want this and I decided to go back to school for another degree not only for myself but my family as well.  I can’t see it completely right now, due to the lack of coffee quite possibly, but it will be worth it.

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.

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.

Enjoymamahood Journey : School

This whole school thing, it was definitely a lot easier with just one child.  It did have not so great moments when it was only O.  I would have nights where he would not fall asleep unless I was holding him.  He would be asleep in my lap and I would be balancing my laptop on my knees trying to write a paper.  Now O sleeps through the night.  W on the other hand, well my breastfeeding journey with him also includes nights where I have to read chapters, write discussion posts, or work on papers.  I do get to have some time to myself when he relents and falls back asleep.  Right now, time for myself, well it’s barely there.  Even while I’m typing this out, W is in the same wrap and I’m standing and rocking him while batting away O’s hands as he tries to touch the keys.  That’s mom life for you I suppose.  It’s just hard not to think I am a little crazy to keep up with everything.  I’m still getting use to having two kids.  I need to figure out how to balance the kids, work, school, wife duties, and a social life.

I don’t regret my decision about going back to school.  As much as I am doing this for myself, I am doing this for my family.  Of course I want to be working in a field I like and extra money is great now that we have another tiny human to care for.  Overall, I want to show my children that you don’t have to settle.  If you are unhappy, there is a solution.  The solution may not always be simple but it is there.  I want them to learn to not be afraid of taking risks in life.  If they appreciate and feel proud of all this, that would just make it even worth so much more.