How To Survive the First 3 Months of Motherhood

How To Survive the First 3 Months of Motherhood

The secret 4th trimester

During the first month of my firstborns life – I thought my life was completely over. Don’t get me wrong. I was utterly obsessed with him and felt like I had a renewed purpose. But I felt that was my only purpose. To be a mom. I lost myself – I lost the will to be an individual. I wanted to solely be a life source for him. But what I eventually came to realize – is that in order to provide growth to another life – one must continue to grow themselves.

In those desperate weeks of trying to get him to gain weight and literally surviving off of an hour or two of broken sleep – I was gifted a book called “The Happiest Baby” by Harvey Klein. The book revolves around the tenet that baby’s are born three months early. It is with this belief that Klein tries to explain the necessity to enforce “the fourth trimester.” Meaning, for the first three months of your child’s life you must attempt to recreate a womb-like environment. This means, whenever they fuss – implement the magical 4 s’s – swinging, shushing, sucking, and swaddling. By mimicking the womb like environment you may be able to create … The Happiest Baby.

I tried and tested Mr. Klein’s theory and let me tell you it most definitely works. But, it also sets you up to continue these four behaviours well into the child’s first year of life. Hence the reason I rocked my son to sleep until he was about two – not easy fitting a abnormally long boy onto your 5’3 body three times a day, everyday, on a rocking chair.

BUT- here’s the clincher, the newborn phase is all about survival. You must be able to survive in order to care for your offspring. And caring for your offspring is all about just getting through the day, and then the seemingly endless night.

You love them with every fibre of your being, but motherhood is also a desperately lonely and sometimes trying task. It can seem absolutely impossible to soothe your baby at times. It can be physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. Torturous almost – sleep deprivation can literally kill you after all.

BUT – to get through those first months, here’s he secret to survive – you just do what you got to do. You survive through any means necessary no matter what anyone else has to say about it. You must do what’s best for your child and for yourself – to save your sanity.

But here’s a few more tips I have discovered to be helpful in addition to the 4 S’s.

1. Trial and Error

2. Self-Care 

3. Setting Goals

4. Perspective 

Trial and Error

Baby’s can’t communicate. So unfortunately, all you can do is guess what’s wrong when the baby isn’t the happiest. You try feeding, burping, diaper change, or putting them to sleep. Those four things are their basic necessities. Usually, if they’re bothered- you can settle them by addressing one of those issues. So just keep guessing and trying until you succeed. Until the next hour that is … lol.

Self-Care

I’m not going to sugar coat it. I let myself go with my son. I looked like complete garbage for about six months. And then I looked like I belonged in the recycling for the other six months. I only began to care about my health and appearance after he was a year old. Then I joined a yoga class and suddenly I got my groove back. I grew my hair out once again (never do a drastic physical change when pregnant – you WILL regret it) and I pulled out my makeup bag after allowing it to collect dust for the better part of the year.
This time around, with my daughter, first I get her and my son dressed – after feeds of course. Then I get myself ready – I’m not contouring and curling my hair everyday, but I do apply a tinted moisturizer, draw in my brows, and change out of pjs – which is a big win considering I don’t put much effort into my appearance if my moods not right. But that’s just the thing, even getting ready can improve your postpartum mood.

So don’t stop caring for yourself! Another mini tip is to splurge on some extra hair or skin care products at the end of your pregnancy so you can feel pampered during the few moments you get to apply them in the first few weeks of baby’s life. It seems silly but when even taking a shower becomes a luxury you will appreciate a rich creamy moisturizer on your face at the end of the day.

Goals

This one is crucial. Always, and I repeat ALWAYS have something to look forward to. You cannot get through the first year without setting both big and small goals. The small ones should first and foremost be to survive the first two days, then two weeks, and then two months. It’s a suggestion someone mentioned in passing and I didn’t get it at first – but deep into our first month I get it. You can’t think big picture at first. You just got to get through the first 48 and take it one step at a time after that. Your body is a wreck, hormones out of whack, and without the right support system and mentality you will crumble. Short term goals help you keep perspective for he long term. Which is why you must also set long term goals. For me, I decided in the first few days of my daughters life that I would come stay with my parents once baby was 2 weeks old for about 2 weeks. Envisioning the extra space, help, and change of environment kept me going. It helped me look forward to better days. Set goals for the first month then every few months. Don’t be afraid to take on new projects which keep your brain going. After all, I did write a work of fiction during the first year of my sons life and now I’ve started the new project of journal blogging (mostly on Instagram). There’s no rule that says maternity leave means leaving all aspiration behind. If you keep perspective, you can survive and you can do it all.

It is with the teachings of that wonderful book I read, and these small lessons I have stumbled upon during many moments of desperation that I have been able to keep going, and doing my best while doing so.

Motherhood is a challenge. Don’t let anyone make you think you’re being melodramatic or weak. Just do what you need to do, and accept all the help you can along the way. Your mind, body, spirit, and offspring will thank you for implementing these teachings – trust me 🙂

Mom Life: Onward & Upward

There’s certain life events which are definitively life altering. You think of your life as two ends of a spectrum on either side of this event. For many mothers – this point of revolution is the day they became a parent.

Life before baby was fairly uncomplicated. I worked for my family business, was a fairly decent wife, daughter-in-law, and daughter. And generally just kept to myself basking in the simple joys of an occasional movie night or take-out meal.

Then came the on a loop blurred together few months of motherhood involving diaper changes, feeds, difficult to induce burps, and gummy smiles to keep you chuggin’ along.

Sure I complain about all the challenges supporting a wee little life brings, but you know what I have come to realize now that I’ve come up for some air at the one year mark. That parenthood is pretty dang awesome.

The positive changes of becoming a parent are something that no one really talks about. Aside from the obvious – having an unconditional eternal promise of love straight from the depths of your soul directly into a mini-me version of yourself. There’s also the fact that if you’re the ‘type-a’ personality type like myself – you’re not going to take your new role as a mother lightly.

Meaning in every aspect, at every moment, you will devote your absolute entire being to becoming the best in every form relevant to your child.

I quickly learned that in order to be a good mom I needed a few key factors to fall into place. They weren’t easy to come by but my oh my are they essential to keeping your marbles and being able to utilize them in the best way possible.

For starters, you need some decent amount of chunked together sleep. Not an hour here, and hour there, while blearily fumbling for the soother in the middle of the night then failing to get it into your child’s mouth hoping for just five more minutes of solitude. No, I mean actual quality disturbance free sleep. Here’s where the benefit of living with extended family comes in (yes there’s perks too).

When my body was still healing and I was recovering from the throes of childbirth I used to hand off my child for some one on one (or two on one) grandparent time in the wee hours of the morning and shove my face back into my pillow and sleep like I had never slept before.

Just those two consecutive hours of sleep were all I needed in order to feel like an actual human being again.

Then once I started getting my footing as a parent and moving about at a normal pace and fashion wasn’t so daunting – I realized I needed to feel good about myself again.

So began my trek to “shed the baby weight.” I yoga-ed, I ran, I dieted, and the results came.

It wasn’t easy, and it still isn’t, but the emotional and physical improvements are enough to keep me going on this path of self-improvement.

A year is all it took for me to realize that my child has truly brought out the best in me. Aspects of myself that I didn’t even know existed are now what brings me the self-confidence and happiness to keep going and keep smiling while I am at it.

Everyone speaks of the sleepless nights and how they miss their freedom – but let’s not forget that having a kid is a huge increase of responsbility which brings about SO MUCH good in your life.

Having my son has pushed me out of my comfort zone (that started with the very first pre-natal doctor’s visit). There are very few situations in which I feel shy or anxious anymore. Before just simple exchanges at the grocery store would send my stomach into knots. Now I sincerely don’t give a shit what people think or say about me.

I wake up earlier that I ever thought I would just to get a head start to my day. I spend extra time cleaning, getting ready, eating healthy before the sun even rises sometimes just to start off on the right foot.

All these little changes are what add up to really mean something in the grand scheme of things. By changing my habits for the better, I am not only happier with my own self, but I am setting the best example for my son as well.

I never thought a tiny person would have such a huge influence on my life. But he’s the reason I do what I do and I will continue to improve myself just for his well-being! Because that’s what it means to truly love your offspring, putting them above yourself, regardless of the circumstances, and no matter how challenging it may seem at the time.

For the mom who wants to give up

There’s no quitting motherhood. It’s the one commitment we make that there’s just no getting out of. But this doesn’t mean that some days we really just don’t feel up to the job.

I’ve been there many a times in just my short shy of one year span of parenthood.

I’ve sobbed, screamed, cursed, and felt hopeless at my ability to care for my son.

In between the third and fourth attempt within the same ungodly hour of the night to soothe him back to sleep by bouncing and moving about the room with half open eyes I have truly just felt at my lowest point sometimes.

I have felt completely ill equipped and doomed to be able to last through the extremely demanding task of caring for my little guy.

It is during these extremely trying times of wanting to just give up that I realize not only that I CAN do this. That I AM doing it.

I am raising him to the best of my ability. I am giving him my all. Every fibre of my being is devoted to keeping him happy, healthy, and mentally and physically growing in the right direction.

It doesn’t matter if it brings me to the brink of losing my sanity. You know why? Because just when I feel like I can’t take anymore, he will draw me back in.

He will reach out and touch my cheek ever so gently instead of smacking, biting, or pinching me when I least expect it.

He will gaze up at me with half closed sleepy eyes and I’ll see the twinge of a smile.

He’ll crawl to that corner of the room with all the cords tucked away and mischievously grin at me knowing I am going to come scoop him up just as soon as he reaches it.

He is my strength, he keeps me going, he’s what makes it all worth it.

And no, every day isn’t beautiful. I’m not the best mother in the world. I have made plenty of mistakes that I look back upon and cringe, and I am sure I will still make a couple dozen more. But what matters is that I’ll never give up on him, because he’s what’s given purpose to my life.

So for all the mom’s out there who feel like they just can’t bear another meltdown, another slightly forced feeding, or explosive blow out of a three day overdue poop, you’re doing it, and you’re doing it well.

GIve yourself more credit. Everyone around you will point out all the things you’ve done wrong. It’s just a reflection of their own insecurities with their parenting past. Just tune out the voices telling you can’t do it, and listen to the voice telling you you’re doing a perfectly fine job and to just keep going.

You’ll both make it and you’ll both look back at the days of diapers and dummies remembering only the sleepy smiles and tender touches.

It’s a short fleeting time in your life. There’s no need or expectation to try to enjoy every moment, but at least hold on to the moments that make it all worth it. <3

OMG! He looks just like… 

His dad. Yes. I get it. My son is the spitting image of his father. I have eyes too. I can see it. But guess what? His brains all me.

I kid I kid. He’s the perfect combination of the both of us. I like to think of him as having each of our best assets all combined into one. But a bigger question here is why does it really matter?

I remember when a family member of mine had her daughter. Her husband’s family felt the need to mention how so very like her father she was at every opportunity possible. Nobody on our “side” saw it though. Perhaps we both were a little biased.

I just wonder why people feel the need to emphasize which parent the child looks like. Does this make him or her belong to them more? Do they some how get bonus points that chromosomes paired together in such a manner that certain genes prevailed over others? Is it a sign of strength and superiority that their physical traits won?

I just don’t get it.

You know who the kid looks like? Themselves.

Stop with the battle over the poor child and focus on what matters most. Allowing a new young life to flourish and have the best chance possible of rising to their full potential.

And yeah, I know, I sound bitter. But I assure you I am not. I love my husband so why wouldn’t it make me happy to see a junior him running around in our happy home?

I just think it’s silly of relatives to put a bittersweet edge on things when a young mother is still finding her way. This life grew in me. It’s mine until I say it’s not anymore. Your offspring has heard your heart beat from the inside. There is no closer bond. So for heck’s sake give it a rest already!

Baby 101: This Too Shall Pass

Many of you child-free folk may not know that along with becoming a parent, also comes a wonderful plethora of parenting advice. When my son was born I was bombarded with countless suggestions and guidelines as to what the “proper” practices of child rearing are. Some things I took with a grain of salt, some words I repeat to myself every day as they have helped so very much, and others have just plain irked me.

There’s this strange phenomenon of people of younger generations to be afraid of “spoiling” our offspring with “too much love.” I heard things from such people like, “if you rock him to sleep he’s going to be clung on to you forever.” “Don’t let him in your bed, he’s going to become way too attached!” Or my personal favourite, “just let him cry it’ll build character.”

At first I was certain I would never just let my little guy cry out for me for long periods of time and sit idly by. There was absolutely no chance I was going to submit him to such subconscious torture. But then hit the age of sleep regression. That dreaded four month old age mark. Actually, heck, I can’t even say I dreaded it because when it came it hit me like a shocking ton of bricks. My naive and unprepared self had no idea that babies suddenly stop being sound sleepers and are awoken by every little thing that goes bump in the night (and day).

The physiological changes which bring this about are that of their “active sleep” now coming into play. They fall in and out of certain sleep stages and during transitions is when they are more succeptible to being bothered by external stimulus and thus wake more frequently. For my son his annoyance came in the form of horrendous teething pain. My once completely blissful sleeper was now waking every 20 minutes throughout the night. He would screech loudly and was hard to get back down. It was brutal. My eyes felt like sandpaper. My body ached from exhaustion. And my mind started to feel numb from all the sleep deprivation.

So I sought help and after asking around and my husband and I doing much googling we came across a certain company which specialized in something called “sleep training.” I had heard of this concept before but never paid it much attention as I thought I had been blessed with a magical baby who lulled himself to sleep and never needed such aggressive tactics to get him to stay asleep.

But boy oh boy was I wrong. We needed help. Bad. In any way, shape, or form. I was at my wits end and willing to try anything after about three solid months of battling with a screaming, back-arching, over tired and frustrated child throughout the day and night.

So I called them up with high hopes of catching up on some much needed rest and within about twenty minutes my stomach started to turn at what I would be required to do during this so called “training.” I told the friendly and eager to help woman that I wouldn’t be able to apply it quite yet as I didn’t feel ready. So she just made me a schedule based on what I had told her of my sons daily routine and told me to reach out to her when I felt it was bad enough to require some intervention.

Well each night and day started to blend together as I grew more and more tired. I spent countless hours trying to find some sort of alternative. I started to grow frustrated and even resentful of my new role as a mother. I felt trapped by my responsibilities and the feeling of incapability to give my child what he needed – rest, was crushing. But still, my heart couldn’t let him cry it out. I just didn’t know why I couldn’t do it but it just didn’t feel right to me.

Then one day I got to talking with my mother. She explained that neither myself or my siblings were good sleepers as infants. But we eventually became kids who kissed her goodnight and went off on our merry way to bed.

So that directly contradicted the suggestion that I was somehow harming my sons long term development by not allowing him to learn to “self sooth.” I thought okay maybe my siblings and I were a one off. But the more older women I consulted the more they said allowing a baby to cry for long periods of time is preposterous and something they never did or would ever do.

But then it struck me. Our mothers broke their backs caring for us. Come hell or high water they did what needed to be done in order to give us the best upbringing possible. They made our lives cushy and complete at the sacrifice of their own needs and wants.

This was a direct contrast to my peers who were all advising me to allow my son to become independent at as early of an age as possible. No matter how loud the piercing shrieks it took to get there. I realized my inner gut resonated with that of being nurturing and following more of an attachment form of parenting. And that’s completely okay. Each parent has the right to raise their child as they see fit. Some things may clash due to generational gaps in parenting practice styles. Other may fall right in line as they have been tried and true.

But one things for certain. One does not ever stop being a parent once they become one. Day or night, screaming or happy child – there is no off switch. So stop searching for an algorithm or a shortcut way to make it all easier. Because sometimes the simplest answer is the correct one. That there is no pattern. There is no formula to make your baby sleep longer, feed better, crawl or walk quicker, or cry less.

All you can do is try your best and take things one day at a time – and remember the advice which I referred to at the beginning of this article that gets me through each and every difficult day that comes my way – this too shall pass. The good, the bad, and the ugly, it all passes – whether you let them cry through it or not is entirely up to you.

Half A Year

He’s only been in this world for six months but I honestly can’t imagine my life without him now. This little guy has been in a rush to grow up from day one. Minutes after he was born he was wide eyed and taking in every inch of his surroundings. He reached out and grabbed my finger and has had a hold of my heart ever since.

Motherhood brings out a whole different kind of love in you. A selfless love. One in which you are willing to push everything aside in order to provide what’s best for your child.

Everyday he’s growing up and changing so much that I find myself just trying to keep up with everything sometimes. I can’t wait for all the adventures we will have in the next six months and for years to come after that. ?

Here’s a few images from Mahaans 6 month PhotoShoot courtesy of Ek Art Photography.

Be sure to check out her work at: www.ekartphotography.com

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The Baby Weight Struggle

As a teen and young adult I never had to think twice about what I was eating or needing to exercise. I rarely stepped on a scale and if on the odd chance I did, it was typically to see if I was gaining an adequate amount of weight for my age and height. When I was a child my mom used to get a lot of grief from family members that she wasn’t feeding me enough. Once I got a bit older the judgements became directed at me and people would say “Don’t you eat anything? You look sick! I remember also being taunted by my siblings that I looked like a starving child from a third world country.

So needless to say weight loss via dieting and regimented exercise programs was never really relevant to me – until now. During pregnancy I gained 36lbs. Each prenatal checkup with my obstetrician revolved around this weight gain and I felt embarrassed and odd about people now poking fun not at my bony physique but rather my round waddling self. It seemed strange that I was now experiencing the “other side” of societal body image expectations.

When I was “too skinny” for people’s liking they felt justified to point it out, and when I seemed too pudgy for my height people felt it acceptable to once again poke fun. I didn’t care at the time though, the more cookies the better. Food became a source of happiness and security for me while I was pregnant. Not sure if anyone can relate but I became so dependent and focused on food to make me happy that I remember one instance in which my husband forgot to bring fries with my burger and I cried hysterically for half an hour – kudos to him for dealing with my whirlwind of emotions for nine months.

After I had my son I was in no rush to get back in shape. I was in survival mode. I felt like a zombie. My back had curved and I was hunched over feeling aches and pain in every single bone of my body. Labour and delivery took an enormous toll on me. When I would get up for his night feeds my body would violently shake and I felt like I was going to pass out. It was like as he left my body so did all my strength (and sanity). My insides felt like they had been torn apart and I questioned if I would ever feel normal again. I looked at my puffy face through my bleary and sunken in exhausted eyes. I remember not liking what I saw and avoiding mirrors from that point on. I didn’t recognize this new frumpy and miserable looking shell of a person. I didn’t want this to be the new me. I wanted to feel “pretty” again. I wanted my skin to feel tight and secure again. I sure as heck didn’t want zebra striped stretch marks and rolls on rolls staring back at me.

So then a few months passed and I started hearing from family members that they expected me to have lost the weight by now. At a few instances I was even asked if I was pregnant again. Yeah, okay – with the horror of labour still burned fresh into my mind that was laughable to me.

At about the three month mark I made the decision to get back into it. And being the all or nothing kind of person I am I hopped on the treadmill one day and decided to just start running. I ran until my body shook, I ran until my legs were giving out, and I ran until the room was spinning and I felt like I absolutely could not run anymore. Very. Bad. Idea. I injured myself pretty darn quick this way. My knees started hurting about a week into these running sessions. So what did I do? Did I decide to take it easy and pull back a bit? No, of course not! I increased the elevation and speed of the treadmill and went an extra 5 then 10 minutes each time. Then came the day I couldn’t move. I couldn’t get up to feed my son. I couldn’t walk him around and rock him to sleep. I couldn’t even bend down to pick something up. Now this wasn’t normal after workout soreness. This was “oh my god I broke myself” pain.

So where that bring me now you may ask? Well I find myself repeatedly stepping on the scale after my low intensity workouts consisting of planking and crunches desperately praying for the number to go down. But now I feel something has dawned on me. It’s not even about wanting to shut people up anymore. The numbers shouldn’t be what’s important. They shouldn’t dictate how I feel about myself that day. Now it’s about feeling and looking good for myself. For my son. Because if I am able to look myself in the mirror and be okay with what I see, I’ll be a heck of a lot happier and better adept to care for him everyday.

So whether you’re struggling to put on or shed off the weight.. I suppose what matters is making sure you’re doing what you’re doing for the right reasons. Not out of embarrassment or anger towards those who like to point out your weaknesses, but rather to sculpt a better you, and be proud of what and who you are both physically and mentally.

Woman Pours Glue in Baby’s Ears — Because She’s “Jealous?”

In recent news there has been a story circulating about a “jealous” woman who poured super glue into her seven week old nephew’s ears. She was unhappy that she did not have a baby boy of her own. Now I don’t know if “jealousy” explains this behaviour but this sick and sadistic action is reflective of how the preference for male offspring is still very much prevalent in certain cultures.

This story put a extra large knot in the pit of my stomach because I read it while holding my precious baby boy who is also seven weeks old. I shuddered at the thought of him enduring such a cruel act. I wondered how someone could possibly have done this to an innocent child. What led her to this behaviour? All of these questions ran through my mind while wondering what state of mind that woman must’ve been in to commit such a malicious and immoral act upon a helpless child.

My next line of thought led me to wonder how different my experience as a mother would have been had I had a girl. Would she have been showered with just as many gifts? Would all family and friends be equally overjoyed? Would my husband and I parent in the same manner or differently?

When I first became pregnant I did not wish to find out the gender of my child. Mostly because I just did not want to deal with the less than ecstatic reactions of people should it be a girl. But then curiosity got the best of me and when I found out it was a boy I was surprised to realize that the first emotions to wash over me were excitement followed by immense relief. Why relief you may ask? Well it was because I knew I was now safe from the looming pressure of needing to produce a child to carry on my husband’s family name. I knew I could now have the peace of mind of knowing I had completed my “duty” as an Indian wife and daughter-in-law. Most importantly I would most definitely not have to hear a lot of the “oh well” and “maybe next time” comments which my naive younger self was shocked to hear my sister experience when she had announced the gender of her daughter.

I felt proud to let everyone know that yes “I am going to have a son” because I knew what a big of a deal this was in my culture. Would I have been the same way if I had a girl? In all honesty I have no problem admitting probably not. As shameful as it is it is because I know what cultural and societal expectations I am surrounded by. Just as one typically has a better life as a male rather than a female it is also easier to be the mother of a son rather than a daughter while surrounded by the opinions formed within the constraints of certain close-minded walls.

Before I knew the gender of my child I fretted for what it would be like should it be a girl. I knew she would be raised and treated differently than a boy would’ve been and I just wouldn’t have been able to handle the gender-based differential treatment.

In the case of the woman and her nephew it is evident just how strong and dangerous this “pressure” to produce male offspring can become. Women in cultures like mine are raised with this mentality in the background of their lives. With every time she is treated differently than her male counterparts she is boxed in by the expectations of her role as a daughter, sister, and mother. With every time people around her seem to be doing better than she is at fulfilling and satisfying those roles I suppose it may chip away at some of these women’s sanity and in rare cases like these lead her to do the unthinkable – harm a innocent helpless child in the most cruelest of ways. It is this same mentality which leads women to stranglle their newborn baby girls in the quiet of the night in the northern villages of India, send them overseas in the regions of China where the “one child policy” is enforced, and many other instances in which female offspring are exposed to terrible circumstances simply because they are not born as the culturally preferred gender.

Regardless of how much things have changed the world is still very much so male-dominated. It is too bad that instead of times changing to be more forward thinking some individuals are still lost in this unbalanced psyche. Surprisingly so, it is not just our elders whose behaviour and opinions reflect this gender inequality. It is my peers and myself as well who are guilty of this. We the “second generation immigrants” are coloured by our perception of what is right and wrong and what is good and bad based on how we are raised.

So what’s your opinion – do you believe gender inequality still exists in today’s day and age? Do you or anyone you know behave in such a way which favours boys over girls? If so do share your opinion I would love to hear it. Speaking about such issues is the only way to work towards one day overcoming them.

Parenting 101 – Lessons Learned

 

Having a baby? Be prepared, be very prepared. Being a type A personality I normally have every single detail regarding any major life event pre-planned and organized to the T. Oddly enough no matter how many diapers I stacked up or how many times I organized and reorganized my sons clothes, bibs, and socks prior to his arrival when he finally did grace us with his presence I was completely caught off guard. There were a million and one things I had overlooked, forgotten, or just hadn’t known about.

So here’s a few pointers for any mommas-to-be out there. Or maybe just anyone who would like to be über prepared to expect the unexpected before they’re even expecting!

So I’ll start off with the basics. The actual physical things that you will need to care for your child. This list is not exhaustive by any means but just any items which have stuck out to me as super useful over the past month and a bit.

Receiving blankets – you can never have too many. I am not sure why they are called this. Perhaps because you receive a whole lot of them during your babyshower. Keep them all. They will not only act as a shield between your baby’s precious little mouth and people’s clothing as they eagerly hoist him or her upon their shoulder or against their chest but it will also protect you and and your back from dripping with inevitable copious amounts of spit up.

A large size diaper genie – because although shit will most likely get real when your little one arrives it doesn’t have to smell like it. And I say large because there’s going to be a lot of poop, like I am talking loads and loads – no pun intended.

A nasal aspirator – don’t get those weird contraptions where you suck the boogers out. I don’t know how that works and quite frankly I don’t want to, the concept grosses me out. Just get one of those automatic fancy ones, they might cost a little more but trust me when your little angel can’t breath right you’ll be grateful you invested in one of these bad boys.

A rocking chair – you’ll most likely live in it for the first two weeks. Especially if you are breastfeeding (shudders at the memory). Make sure it’s a comfy one and add some pillows for extra back support. As odd as it is sitting can become mind numbingly exhausting when you’re not allowed to stand, not to mention when you’re in too much pain to do much else.

This brings me to my next item – the postpartum “goodiebag.” If you listen to anything from this list grab these items beforehand. They’ll save you a whole of pain and grief. And your husband the stress of running out last minute on a hunt for these items because you will definitely be begging for them. Buy a donut seat cushion. You just squeezed out a watermelon sized mini human out of your “area” so naturally sitting on that “area” doesn’t feel all that fantastic. Witch hazel, tea tree oil, and a sitz bath to mix it all in. Sitz baths will be your little five minutes of nether region heaven. This is the ONLY thing which will make you feel better and heal quicker. Make time for them several times a day, I used to refer to it as a mini spa treatment for my stitches. Ah yes, the lovely stitches, side note just don’t bother asking the doctor how many, and don’t look, I repeat, do not look at them no matter how tempting – there’s just no need.

It seems as though anyone I spoke to had a problem with “low milk supply.” Something I hadn’t even heard of let alone considered to be a potential challenge until it was one for me. I had close to no milk come in, which meant my little baby boy wasn’t getting the nourishment he needed, so he dropped too much weight too quick and wasn’t putting it back on as he should’ve been. This led me to vigorous googling and nurse harassing to see what I could do to avoid giving the all feared formula to him. So I discovered some herbs (I was very skeptical about their efficacy but they proved useful). I took three supplements: blessed thistle, fenugreek, and drank mothers milk tea three times a day – religiously. This boosted my supply and allowed me to continue on without formula, mission successful.

Now I’ll just give a random jumblement (yes I made that word up) of advice just from the top of my head which I wish someone had told me.

Address any apprehensions you have BEFORE you have your baby, because quite frankly afterwards you’re going to be too emotionally and physically drained to deal with extra bullshit. So make sure any issues in your life are resolved beforehand.

Either go stay with someone who can take care of you while you care for your baby, or have them (like your mom) come stay with you. You might think you can do it all, and you probably can, but you’ll only exhaust yourself and make things all that much more unnecessarily difficult for you and your child.

Follow your gut and do what works best for you (and your baby). Don’t listen to relatives, don’t listen to your peers, and most importantly don’t listen to that little voice of guilt or uncertainty in your head. Just do what feels instinctively right. Whether you think so or not you do have motherly instincts and they will kick in the moment you see that precious little face.

Follow the medical guidelines of how to care for your baby but don’t kill yourself trying to do it perfectly. I am guilty of always trying to do everything exactly by the book. And sometimes this backfires. I consulted with nurses a lot in the first few weeks. Some of their advice saved me and some suggestions from the medical world are just plain ridiculous. Like have “nursing sit-ins” and nurse around the clock? Don’t sleep? Nurse through the pain? It’ll get better. Yeah, no, it doesn’t. Sorry to be blunt but as beautiful as it is breastfeeding hurts like a bitch. And maybe it’s NOT for everybody and if you CAN’T do it don’t beat yourself up over it. Or allow the nurses to bully you into keeping up with the agony. If breastfeeding is important for you for the nutritive value and not solely for the “bonding” aspect then you do have other options. You can pump. Albeit you’ll feel like a cow (literally) and it’s double the work it is another avenue you could explore should you have the need to.

Overall my most important piece of advice is to just know all hardships with motherhood do pass rather quickly. You will jump hurdles, feel despair followed by triumph, and joy followed by tears. It’s just the way it goes. But embrace it all because before you know it those little fingers grasping yours and those big round eyes looking up at you for love and guidance will no longer be needing you for sustenance, or much of anything at all. And you will miss the sleepless nights, the seemingly endless feeds, and the countless diaper changes. Another strange aspect of parenthood is that sometimes you miss each stage of their growth as they reach a new milestone. While at other times you may find yourself yearning for the next because it seems like THAT’S when it’ll get easier, that’s when it’ll be more manageable. But the truth is it’s all about perspective. Just keep hold of the big picture, and you’ll learn to soak in and love every minute of the little details too.

Love, Marriage, and the Baby Carriage!

I feel like these images my sister-in-law (Erin Sandhu of Ek Art Photography) took perfectly capture the love my husband has for our son. We are so lucky we get to have all these moments frozen in time with all these photoshoots!

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The entrance of my son into my life has made me understand why they say a lasting marriage requires you to fall in love with the same person multiple times. With life’s changes and ups and downs you see new aspects in one another which will either make or break you as a couple. You either grow together and become stronger, or you falter and grow apart.

I have known my husband for a very long time – over a decade. In my first year of marriage everything felt so exciting and new that we were finally “together together.” After sometime I felt like there was no way I could possibly love him more. I believed I knew everything and anything about him. His likes and dislikes, his pet-peeves, the childhood stories which he would repeatedly recount and I would smile along as if it was the first time hearing it. Everything felt very comfortable. We knew each other inside and out and everything felt very routine and safe with him.

I was never expecting to learn new things about him or see a new side to him be brought out by the birth of our son. I knew he was patient, kind, and caring but now he simply amazes me with just how loving he really is. He manages to care for him wonderfully while working without any days off or breaks. He is determined to succeed not only in the professional world but as a father and husband as well.

I sometimes catch myself watching the gentle manner with which he handles our son. It is in these moments I am falling in love with him all over again. I can definitely say he’s handling it all a lot better than I am. And in my moments of weakness he is my strength and he is the one who gets me through, helping me to always remember the big picture – that times of hardship are temporary. Now, as we all find our way as a family and I have seen the way for which he cares for both of us I feel sure that although it may not always feel like it, we are all going to be okay and only grow deeper in love along the way.