As a mom, I am always questioning myself. Am I doing this right? How can I be better? I wish I had more patience. Motherhood is a constant finding of oneself. It’s the feeling of wanting to be needed, but also needing time to yourself. It’s all these little contradictions. It’s hard as hell, but it’s worth all its difficulties.
Recently, I was chatting with a friend who is also expecting, but this is her first. She asked me tons of questions about labor, and she confessed to me that she was petrified of labor.
It brought me back to my pregnancy with Caleb. I don’t remember being scared of labor itself, just apprehensive about all the unknowns. When you’re used to being in control of just about everything, something that brings so many unknowns, like labor, can be a little scary.
But whenever the conversation came up, and people asked me how come I wasn’t scared, I would always respond with, “Because my body was made to do this. I was born to be a mother.” The fact that millions of women have been doing this, since the beginning of time, with way less knowledge and way fewer medical advancements, was always a huge comfort to me. I always used the image of Mary, and said, if she could give birth in a stable, surrounded by animals on a bed of hay, then I can certainly do this in a hospital bed, surrounded by doctors.
This time around, I am way less apprehensive about the process itself. My body has already done this once. It can certainly do it again. But like always, those little fears creep in. Should I be induced? What if I forget how to push? What if the pain is too much to bear? What if I don’t make it to the hospital in time?
But every time those fears creep in, I remind myself, I was BORN TO DO THIS.
You can find this tee at Therapy For Moms Shoppe. Therapy for Moms started out as an Instagram account that was meant to just help moms get through the days. Their latest venture has been a shop with products created by moms, for moms. They have some great pieces to help remind you of the journey you are on - some funny and some uplifting. Lisette, the founder, reached out to me a few months back and sent me this tee, asking me to share my story. I thought this was a great reminder of how we as moms can forget that we are made to do exactly what we are doing, and that as much as we doubt ourselves, a mother's instinct kicks in.
So don't doubt yourself, momma. Because you were born to do this.
Want one of these tees for yourself? Visit Therapy for Moms Shoppe and get 20% off your order when you use the code JENISE20. It will get you 20% off your entire purchase, excluding $5 Deals and Therapy Boxes. Coupon expires 2/2/18.
Okay, I'm going to come out and say it. I'm not thin. I'm actually on the heavier side. And you know what? At this point in my life, I don't care.
I have never been extraordinarily thin. Not in my entire life. Even in elementary/middle school - I was never overweight, but I always felt like I was just a little bit bigger than the other girls. I danced ballet most of my childhood, and I always felt like I was the biggest girl in class. Call it what you will, but I have always been self-conscious. My parents are both on the thin side, not because it is naturally occurring but because they have always been extra careful with what they eat.
Being a parent is hard. Being a new parent is even harder. You're subject to everyone's advice, opinions, and words of wisdom. You're confused. You're exhausted. You're trying to figure out feedings and get whatever sleep you can while there is this tiny, fragile human constantly crying and needing you. You don't leave the house for days at a time, your body doesn't feel like your own. It is hard. And one day, you think you can't do it anymore.
For me, that day came about 2 weeks after Caleb was born. My hormones were still going nuts, we were still feeding about every 2.5 hours, and there was this constant noise all around me. I was so overwhelmed. Everyone around me had nothing but the best of intentions, but it was making me crazy, because I couldn't just BE. Honestly, as helpful as it was having people come over and bring us food, I almost would have preferred a couple days where we could just adjust to life with this new tiny creature in our lives. We came home from the hospital to my parents cooking for us in our kitchen and having organized things for us (our kitchen cabinets were being installed while I was in labor so everything was out of place). My parents are do-ers. Big time. But as soon as I walked in the door, the questions started. "Where do you want this? What do you want to do with that? How are you going to display these?" I really appreciate everything they did for us and everything they continue to do, but that day, all I wanted was to snuggle my baby boy and lie down on my couch with my husband.
The next evening, we had about 10 or 12 people in our house. Eddie had gone back to work that morning. With 12 people in my house, and everyone wanting to hold the baby, I was completely frazzled. Then my milk came in. More on that another time, but if you've had a baby, you know what this feels like and you know it is not fun.
Anyway, I managed to truck through it. The following week was a blur, with constant visitors and people with the best of possible intentions wanting to help. Eventually I was honest with my mom and let her know that everything didn't need to be perfect and that what I really needed was rest. That made a huge difference and I truly wish I would have said something sooner. Everyone was excited to help, and I know that deep within my heart they were doing what they thought I wanted done. But at the end of the day, you need to be honest and direct and just tell people exactly what you need. My needs always have been, and always will be, very different from my mom's, my dad's, and even my husband's. So when I gave them an expectation, it made it a lot easier for them than just letting them try to read my mind (which we know never goes over well).
I also stopped feeling bad when people were over and would just excuse myself whenever I needed to feed him or just have a minute to breathe.
However, a few times, I would leave to nurse Caleb, and people would follow. I started to shut the door, and people would knock and come in anyway. I was struggling with nursing and I was overwhelmed and felt awkward. I wanted to be able to sit there and look at my baby or close my eyes without having to worry that someone was looking at my nipple (I eventually got over that). The anxiety would make me tense up and to this day, I don't understand how people didn't sense my discomfort. I finally told Eddie, "When I leave to nurse Caleb, if anyone gets up to follow me, you need to be the bad guy. I'm overwhelmed here and I can't get comfortable if someone is in the room with me." So he started doing that and it helped. So much.
But the following week it happened again. And the next day I lost it. A few small things had happened during the birth that I wasn't really happy with, and it honestly hadn't been what I had imagined it to be in my head. Two weeks later it all hit me like a ton of bricks and I fell apart. I spent a straight 2 hours crying, and being weepy the entire rest of the day. I would cry for any little thing. When Eddie called me, I said "I don't know what's wrong with me." I talked to a friend and she assured me that what I was feeling was very normal.
Looking back, I think any sane person would have broken down. I was at the most vulnerable point in my life, and I had zero privacy, my every move was being questioned, and I was tired. But once I broke down, and I shared my frustrations with a couple of people, things started to improve. And from then on, I became a lot more sure of myself when it came to Caleb.
So I needed that - I needed to let go of all the emotion that I had bottled up inside. I needed a good cry. And I should never have been surprised by that, because I am the kind of person who, every once in a while, needs a good cry.
It's hard to be honest with those around you. But you know what? It's even harder to try and be tough and keep everything bottled up inside. So if you're there, if you're at the point of breaking down? Let it out momma. I promise, you'll be all the better for it.
So in our eagerness as first time parents, the husband and I definitely took childbirth preparation classes at our hospital. The class was great and I felt like it really helped me out - I knew what to expect when it came to the birth and I had a general idea of what my entire hospital visit would be like. During these classes, we were given a list of things that we were recommended to bring to the hospital. A few things I was SO grateful to have. Others didn't even see the light of day. Below is an image of the list of things that I packed for myself and for the baby. In reality, I didn't need so many things.
So here is my updated list of what I would take if I was doing this again (or what I will take when I do this again).
*My original list had underwear and sanitary napkins. I didn't even touch the ones in my bag. The hospital provided everything I could possibly need in this department and it was better than what I had brought with me. The hospital underwear are hideous but they are so comfortable and exactly what you need.
So that's it! I took a lot more and ended up not using a whole lot of it. Maximize your space and don't stress yourself out!
About this Mom
A Miami wife and mom documenting her days with her toddler and all that comes along with it.