Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Tag

Crazy For Milk – A working mom and her struggle   Leave a comment

It was past midnight and I had finished putting away all the dishes.  Everyone else was fast asleep and I was exhausted.  Growing up, when I was a little girl playing with dolls and toy cooking sets, it was all fun and games.  Later as a young adult, it was jokes and banter over the horror stories.  It never struck me that as a mother, a wife, I would be this tired and this lost.

It was now coming to the end of the fourth month since Emma was born.  Every morning, I dragged myself out of bed before the sun rose to breastfeed the sleepy little Emma and express as much milk as I could before work.  It was stressful, trying to get my breast pump sterilized, all the apparatus packed so I could express at work and Emma changed before I dropped her at the daycare.  I was going insane, rushing every morning in order to make it to work before eight thirty.

At work, I struggled as my body wreaked havoc on me.  Late morning meetings that dragged on to lunch time were the worst because by that time, I was literally dying to express and having massive let downs in my nursing pads.  It became nearly impossible to concentrate on whatever was being discussed during those times.

Just last week, I had not positioned my nursing pad properly and the milk had soaked through to my shirt.  It was bad enough having my now enhanced curves and cleavage scanned by the older, more lecherous males in the office whilst trying to pretend I didn’t notice or care.  But that was the worse day — those same men were watching the stain spread on my white shirt as I tried to pretend that there was nothing wrong.  Days like that, I really regretted waking up in the morning and going to work.

To make matters worse, my milk supply was dwindling whilst Emma’s demand for milk was increasing.  I wasn’t able to express as much at work anymore.  I used to be able to express at least eighteen ounces a day my first week back at work, but now after ten weeks, that had dropped by one-third and I was perpetually worried Emma wouldn’t have enough breast milk to see her through until her first birthday.  I really wanted to try and fully breastfeed Emma for the first year of her life.

I was fully engorged in the evenings by the time I picked Emma up from daycare — feeding her was a relief although I had to hold off feeding her when I got home until my breast pump was sterilized.  I needed to catch any excess milk that dripped out uncontrollably from the other side while she was feeding.  Every drop had become extra precious to me and I couldn’t afford to lose a single one now.

To read more, go to http://www.amazon.com/Crazy-Milk-lactation-confessions-struggling/dp/0991819403

Crazy For Milk – A new mother’s obsession with breastfeeding   Leave a comment

I had heard all the stories, the old wives’ tales, the dos and the don’ts.
I had read books and researched materials on the Internet.
I made sure I bought everything I could think of beforehand — the baby clothes, the baby bottles, the diapers, the diaper rash medication, the lotions, the soaps and the baby cot.
I planned upfront all the housework that needed to be done and did as much as I could before I entered the labour room so there would be less to do when I got home with her.
I had even meditated and got myself into a Zen-like-state so that I would be as ready as I could be to bring her into this world.
I wanted to be ready.
I had thought I was ready.
I really believed I was ready.
That is, until the milk came.

For more information, go to http://www.amazon.com/Crazy-Milk-confessions-struggling-ebook/dp/B00AQBDRFI

Dad’s First Father’s Day – Five Ideas to Happiness   Leave a comment

It’s three a.m. and the baby is still crying. Exhaustion, sleep deprivation and lack of intimacy with your partner have become a normal part of life over the past few months. With approximately 4 million babies born in the United States annually and Father’s Day just around the corner, is it any wonder that many new dads are asking themselves, “Is this what fatherhood is all about? Surely there must be more to it than just this.”

There is and it is possible to embrace life as a new dad.

But seriously – is embracing fatherhood really that important?

President Obama grew up without his dad, and has said that being a father is the most important job he has. According to the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse (NRFC), an Office of Family Assistance (OFA) funded national resource, “fatherlessness is a growing crisis in America, one that undergirds many of the challenges that families are facing. When dads aren’t around, young people are more likely to drop out of school, use drugs, be involved in the criminal justice system, and become young parents themselves.” This is not a small issue since out of the estimated 70 million fathers in the United States in 2011, about 16% or 25 million men had children younger than 18.

So, where does one start?

It begins when the new baby comes home, and you adjust to life as a proud dad. No one plans to fail but many fail to plan.  Here are some ideas for this Father’s Day to all the new and not-so-new dads out there:

    • Chill out – You need your own personal space and the opportunity to retreat into your man-cave. The only thing is – make sure your partner understands why you are doing it. You don’t want her to misconstrue it and think that you are avoiding her. Be fair. Offer her the same time out for herself.
    • Take charge – Be responsible for some tasks. It will please her, make her appreciate you even more and contribute to the peace at home. If you can’t do it, get professional help. Hire a cleaning service. Hire a doula who can assist by providing information, physical assistance and emotional support. If your partner is having problems breastfeeding, don’t try to understand her stress. Just be as supportive as you can and get a professional lactation consultant to help.
    • Bring out the Don Juan in you – Missing the good old days? It’s true there’s a new love in her life but she still loves you. It may be hard to tear her away from her newborn (near impossible in the beginning, actually!) but time together – alone – can help rebuild the intimacy in your relationship. Give her alternatives she can be comfortable with, like getting a trusted family member or friend to help babysit for an hour or two.
    • Be Sherlock Holmes – Do you feel she’s not the same woman you fell in love with and she’s taking you on an emotional rollercoaster which you just can’t wait to get away from? In some cases, she may be experiencing some level of postpartum depression. According to womenshealth.gov, about 13 percent of pregnant women and new mothers have depression. Seek advice from a doctor. You can’t handle this alone.
    • Pay it forward – Take the President’s Fatherhood Pledge. That’s why President Obama is joining dads from across the nation in a fatherhood pledge – a pledge that fathers will do everything they can to be there for their children and for young people whose dads are not around.

So, how are you going to make your Father’s Day different this year?

Work-Life Balance for New Mothers – Is It Even Possible?   Leave a comment

Every new mother lives in fear – about her newborn baby’s health, growth and development; about her relationship with her spouse; and even about going back to work after her maternity leave is over. How is she going to juggle it all? “Can you blame her?  Every millennium mom wants to have it all – to be the perfect parent, spouse and employee. Which career-oriented woman wouldn’t want to be successful like Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO? She’s #6 on Forbes List of Power Women now. But the truth is, it doesn’t matter which stage of her career she is at – she can’t help but worry about her work-life balance once she’s back at work.”

Sure, but does it affect all women?

In the United States, 55% of mothers returned to work six months after they gave birth as compared to a mere 14 percent in the early 1960s. Not all moms can afford to stay at home. New parents in the United States are only guaranteed their jobs for 12 weeks after the arrival of a new baby, thanks to the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) and they even don’t have to be paid during that time.
With June to September being the busiest baby season every year, it’s no surprise that many moms-to-be are now busy preparing for their coming bundle of joy … but with barely enough time to adjust to sleep deprivation, breastfeeding, physical changes in her body and the newcomer in her life, will the working mom be prepared to return to work in such a short span of time?

It’s not going to be easy but it’s definitely not impossible.

Every mother tries to prepare as best as she can but with a baby that’s less than six months old, how can a millennium mom achieve a healthy work-life balance once she is back at work?

  • Make time for yourself – When mom is happy, everyone else is happy. The family appreciates your sacrifices but your own personal well-being is also important. You need to carve out a few moments for yourself amidst all the demands of your everyday life, even if it is as simple as exercising, reading a book or relaxing in a hot bath.
  • Let go of the guilt – Forget the housework for a few minutes. Put down the computer. Stop checking e-mails. Schedule some time to just play with your little one and enjoy those precious moments.
  • Know why you work – According to the Pew Research Center, 86% of working moms sometimes/ frequently feel stress. Identifying and remembering the key reasons why you need to work – ambition, financial necessity or independence – will help you remain focused in times of stress.
  • Spend quality time with your significant other half – He deserves some of your attention too. Don’t forget to take care of your relationship with him. Getting a babysitter and/or hiring a cleaning service will buy you precious moments alone with him, without stretching yourself further by sacrificing your sleep or time.
  • You are not alone – By creating a support group amongst other mothers / women in the community, you can develop friendships and help each other as well as reduce the stress and loneliness of having to do it all by yourself.
  • Be thankful – Find happiness today and don’t be buried by the daily struggles. Look forward to the future for your family.
  • Redefine your expectations – Don’t let your dream of being the perfect mom stress you out and bury you in guilt. Remember: “You may be only one person in this world, but to one person … you are the world.”

See the full article here

Seven acts of love for Mother’s day   Leave a comment

“Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs … since the payment is pure love” – Mildred B. Vermont.

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Happy Mother’s Day!

Seven acts of love from my two wonderful children for Mother’s day – Each coupon can be used 10 times but I have to go through the whole coupon booklet to get something a second time. Plus, there’s no expiry date!

I requested for an additional bonus coupon – can you guess which one?

Looking for a hero   Leave a comment

Looking for a hero

Having just delivered a baby, faced with engorgement as her breasts overflow with milk, where does a woman turn to for help? The one closest to her, the one whom she believes can save her, the one whom she puts all her faith into finding a solution for her .. her hero, her saviour, her husband.

Breastfeeding is never easy for a new mother and when her body becomes a stranger to her in the middle of the night, behaving in ways unfamiliar to her, giving her pain beyond anything she ever imagined before, she turns to the love of her life for help.

But often … can love be enough when the solution is not what she expects? Desperate times call for desperate measures … but is she desperate enough? She wants to be saved, but when his actions take her beyond her comfort zone, pushing her into the realm of the unknown … is it enough for the ends to justify the means?

As a man, he wants to be her hero, her knight in shinning armour ~ the one who keeps her safe … but how can he protect her from herself? How can he stop her from turning on him when the solution he presents to her is something she isn’t ready to accept?

And yet despite everything, she still wants her hero to save her.

Are there “evil witches” trying to tell you how to live your life?   Leave a comment

Even now, the words were ringing in my mind, “Suck it up, Megan. Stop being such a whinny baby. Tiredness and exhaustion are part of motherhood. Get used to it. This is only the beginning. We have all gone through it before and survived.” – Crazy for Milk

It is hard to imagine a parent, an older sibling, the in-laws or even a friend saying those things when you’re just struggling to cope and make sense of everything. I know many of the mothers I have spoken to shared the same experience.

Recently, a friend asked whether anyone had actually said those words to me. My answer was a resounding YES! It happened when I had reached out for help and received a lecture in return ~ one of my inspirations for writing that scene between Megan and her own “evil witches”.

Image courtesy of debspoons / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“About 13 percent of pregnant women and new mothers have depression.”   Leave a comment

Depression during and after pregnancy

I came across this site recently, womenshealth.gov, a project of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health.

It contained an interesting fact sheet on Depression During and After Pregnancy, which you can read here.

Did you know that you may experience the following feelings with postpartum depression?

  • Tired after delivery
  • Tired from a lack of sleep or broken sleep
  • Overwhelmed with a new baby
  • Doubts about your ability to be a good mother
  • Stress from changes in work and home routines
  • An unrealistic need to be a perfect mom
  • Loss of who you were before having the baby
  • Less attractive
  • A lack of free time

It is sad when many times, these emotions are not given sufficient credibility by both the mother experiencing them and the people around her, leaving her to feel alone, misunderstood and inadequate.

Love yourself.
Love your partner.
Love your child.
Awareness helps.

Read the Fact Sheet here.

Motherhood … just how prepared were we to deal with it?   Leave a comment

When I found out I was pregnant, I read a lot.
That was me, trying to be prepared.

Then, I tried to avoid listening to the “war stories” other mothers told me.
That was me, trying to be optimistic and keep an open mind.

Looking back, I know how every decision added up.

What was your experience?

Vote on it and share your thoughts!

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Lactation stories … Would you read them? VOTE NOW!   Leave a comment

All answers are anonymous unless you choose to pose comments!

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