Motherhood: The Truth

A lot of us know how difficult it is being a mom. I’m not just referring to motherhood in the sense of preparing lunches, and picking up your children after school and juggling schedules. I mean at the very beginning from the time your body is creating this tiny human inside your belly.

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I was looking back at my maternity pictures and remembered how amazing I felt being pregnant. I can honestly say, I felt my best (most of the time) but I know this isn’t the case for everyone. This got me thinking about all the tremendous changes we go through.  Changes that aren’t always talked about. Not only does the media glorify some of the most difficult, painful and heartfelt moments, but often times so much of it is untrue. They focus solely on the small percentage of people who don’t experience difficulties that most women go through and expect the rest of us to follow suit.

I have spent these past months and days figuring out how to maintain a clean house, making dinner while entertaining my busy, sometimes fussy 5 month old, and realized it is harder than it looks. Most of the time, I can’t. I felt like I was a failure, and I can’t get it together. You research and try to find a way to make it all work, and if you tweak this, or change that, you can do it all…its a lie! It’s a lie that we can do lots of things well, all at the same time. Yes, most women are multi-taskers. However, while most of us can balance so many tasks at once, we end up dropping the ball somewhere.

So lets break the silence, and take a look at the hard truths, and real talks about motherhood:

Labour: The fear most woman have when they are pregnant. The topic most previous mothers will either share their horror story, or paint you the perfect picture. Yes, we’ve seen it in the movies, but is it actually like that? As much as I would love to say yes, the real truth is no. For most women, myself included, labour is nothing like the movies. It’s long, tiring, and painful. After talking with some moms, here’s what they have to say about it:

“Fast and furious!”

“I feel like time lost all meaning at the end.  I was pushing for 45 minutes but I had no conception of time. Could have been 45 seconds or 45 hours”

“No matter how many people tell you about their experience, yours is completely different. You can think about all the different possibilities beforehand but chances are you will forget every one and you just have to be in the moment.”

“Excruciatingly painful, but resulted in the greatest reward, and you forget about the pain immediately!”

“I could have done without the whole ‘doctor’s hand scraping my uterus from the inside’ part!”

No matter what you read or hear, the truth is,  it’s tiring, can be painful, can be fast, but one thing that remains the truth for all of us, is the reward!

sleep

Sleep: I remember while I was pregnant the amount of unsolicited comments and advice about how little sleep I will get once our baby arrives. It seems to be the first thing people are itching to warn you about. While I find myself scrolling through social media threads, I often wonder how so many celebrities looked refreshed immediately after having their babies. How did they do it? What’s the hidden secret? The truth is, there isn’t. It’s called air brush, dry shampoo, and a 1 day makeover. For some, they might even have a nanny, or home nurse come and assist.  But, lets hear it from other moms:

“It’s amazing how little sleep you can survive on!”

“Our first night home I was so sleep deprived that I was hallucinating carnival music in the sound of the bathroom fan, the creepiest possible music.”

“Amazed at how my body could actually function on 3 hours total sleep.”

“Life exists in 2 or 3 hour increments, it didn’t feel like days or nights.”

“A bad night can be fixed by a quick shower and accepting you won’t get anymore sleep right now.”

“I thought I knew what tired was before a baby, but felt it wasn’t super difficult to function on almost no sleep.”

“Still exhausted, but nothing coffee can’t fix.”

“I just take it one day at a time, and give myself permission to nap instead of cleaning the house.”

Somewhere along the way, we are told that women are born to be mothers. We are the ones who can get it all done. We are great wives, great homemakers, great moms, great friends, and no matter what, we can do it all. And then…we have kids. And the truth is, kids limit us. For the first few years or longer, our babies require all of our help to learn and develop, and to grow into young adults. But in the beginning, this means that the primary objective is to meet the physical and emotional needs for our little humans. This is where time is limited. The amount of sleep I get is limited by my daughters bad dream, lost soother, or teething pain.

Feeding: There is so much pressure towards women on how we feed our babies. There’s pressure in the media, through our families and friends on whether we formula feed or breastfeed our babies. Not only is this strictly a personal choice, but no matter our choice, women shouldn’t be scrutinized for the decision they choose. Articles we read, and even in the media, make breastfeeding “easy”. Even though it might be easy for some, the truth is, it’s very hard for most women. But, lets hear it from other moms:

“Without lactation consultants we wouldn’t be happily breastfeeding at 6 months.”

“Not easy!”

“So much more difficult than everyone makes it out to be; would have been impossible for me without my lactation consultant.”

“Challenging, complicated and very emotional, but I’m so grateful to experience it.”

The choice you make is completely a personal choice.  And for most women, it’s not easy in the beginning, but leads to a rewarding bonding experience in the end. For some women, including myself, breastfeeding was not in the cards. Sometimes no matter how hard you try, some things are not meant to happen, and that’s ok. Women should never be faulted for their choices or their inability to breastfeed their baby. Every woman and their circumstances are unique, just like every baby is unique. ♥

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Being a mom comes with its ups and downs. By the end of the week, you might be feeling like you are at the end of your rope. You might feel cranky, stressed, angry or even find youself shouting at your family. Sometimes you need to take a step back and remind yourself how far you have come. Remind yourself that its ok if you have no energy to cook a gourmet dinner, or that your house isn’t company ready. Remind yourself that this is a sign of the greatest accomplishment life has given you, a baby. A baby who has filled your life thus far with giggles, snuggles, drool covered kisses and endless smiles. These moments don’t last forever, so embrace them while you can!

Don’t say the M word

There comes that time in your marriage when you feel ready to start a family. You spend endless days and nights talking about it, planning about it, and finding the exact right moment.  No matter how much planning and preparing for the special time, no one ever prepares you for the “What If’s.” What if it takes longer to get pregnant? What if you miscarry?  There are so many “What If’s,” and yet, so many people only talk about being pregnant, and everything else except the really upsetting stuff.

Well, I’m here to break the silence. Part of going through the motions of trying and getting pregnant comes as a “package”, and this includes the good, and the BAD.  When the time was right for my husband and I, we both couldn’t be happier. What I did know going into this, was that it can take time, and that patience will be your strongest strength. It wasn’t because of my age, but in general, for most woman, conceiving doesn’t always happen right away.

After a few months trying, we got a positive. For me, the signs were very early on. What does this mean? What I mean is I take a test. One of the moments during this whole process, and all part of this “package” I learn quickly I don’t enjoy, and despise peeing on a stick. I wait my 3-5 minutes, and look for a line, positive sign or a smiley face. My line was faint. It was there, but not vivid.  So, like any couple would, my husband and I were excited.  Now, most people at this stage would wait to share with family, and immediate friends. Anyone who know my husband and I, we were not that kind of people. I knew ahead of time, anything can happen during this time.  What I didn’t know, nor was ever discussed with me, was that most first pregnancies result in miscarriage, or chemical pregnancies (early miscarriage). Such as, 10-25 % of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, and up to 70% of first-trimester miscarriages end in chromosomal anomalies.

The following morning, after spending the previous day excited and nervous, I knew instantly something wasn’t right. Symptoms of stomach cramping, spotting etc which lead me to take an immediate doctors appointment. The next two weeks persisted of multiple blood tests checking my HCG levels, which lead to an early ultrasound, which confirmed the worst possible news, there was no baby.

I knew going into these tests, that this was most likely the case of a “chemical” pregnancy. How does this differ from a miscarriage? The difference is “timing” A chemical pregnancy is the most early time of a pregnancy, often mistaken for a missed period. Miscarriage takes place between first-trimester up to 20 weeks, once there is further progression of development.  If it wasn’t for my extensive research, talking and sharing this disappointment with other woman, I wouldn’t have been as level-headed, and motivated to try this journey again.

We tried a few weeks after, and I experienced very different body changes. After a couple of weeks of discomfort and not feeling myself, I went back to my doctor.  She had me do a urine test, and the nurse asked me ” any chance you could be pregnant?” I looked at her and without hesitation I say “No, well I guess there could be, but it would be very minimal given 2.5-3 weeks ago I miscarried.” The nurse prompted me to take my test. I sit back down in the doctor’s office, giving my doctor a list of my symptoms, when the nurse interrupts me, with a huge smile on her face. She looks at me and says “So, what do you think?” All I remember was sitting there super puzzled, and super nervous, and the nurse says “The test is positive! But not just a line, but the bluest of bright blue positive lines.”

So in light of all the ups and downs,  disappointment and sadness, for all the Moms, moms to be, and woman out there, to never be afraid to talk about and share your journey, no matter the good & BAD. Sometimes we need the reassurance that we are not alone, and there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

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Our baby girl at 18wks