Calvin’s 1st Birthday Party

      One year down! These past two weeks have been overwhelming but filled with joy. I can’t believe that my once newborn is officially a toddler. Why does time go by so fast? I just want him to stay tiny forever. Ruben and I spent the last few weeks preparing for Calvin’s first party and also reflecting on everything we’ve experienced this past year as parents. It’s been quite the adventure and we’re so excited to continue to watch Calvin grow.

     So here’s a glimpse into his first party! Of course, the theme was “Calvin and Hobbes”, Calvin is named after this comic. Ruben loved them growing up and that’s where we got the name from.  I also wanted a party that allowed the kids to use their imagination. I think everyone else was having fun but Calvin, he is cranky and sleepy! Poor kiddo wasn’t having it. I guess people were right about first birthdays being for the parents, ha!

    Anyways, I had tons of fun DIY’ing everything for his party along with the help of my friends. Ruben designed our shirts, cake topper, drew our Hobbes poster and guest book. He’s a beast at drawing! One of our great friends Adalis helped create props out of boxes for the kids. I found this idea on Pinterest since the theme of Calvin and Hobbes is imagination and adventures. She did such a beautiful job painting and creating them. Our birthday banner was created by my co-worker. She loves DIY projects! All other items I bought on Amazon! (my best friend) for super cheap. Play ball pin and tunnel was fifty dollars total, this was a must for me. For party bags, I wanted to keep it sensory kid friendly. I bought sensory balls, cymbal shakers, playdoh, play foam, bubbles, silly straws, and some candy. I found a great deals for all of these items. Our cake was designed by @cakesbymilagros best Dominican cakes hands down. So be sure to check him out if you’re in the NYC area.  I hope you enjoy these pictures!

If you would like more info on the items mentioned, let me know!

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My Journey; #worldbreastfeedingweek

        It’s been 4 months now, Calvin has been growing beautifully and gaining weight. He’s exploring more foods and his high chair never fails to be covered in crumbs and tiny fingerprints of leftover avocado. It’s been 4 months since I stopped pumping. My breastfeeding journey wasn’t easy, it’s one of those mother things I wish could have been different for me. But eventually I acknowledged my reality and after 7 months of pumping I transitioned out. I’d like to say that I became more emotional and physically health. But every so often that little lie in my head sneaks up.. ” you should have tried harder”. While Ruben and I were away on vacation we had a moment where we realized we were running out of formula and that was a big issue. We were in a different country and Calvin can’t just take any formula. And as I stood alone in the kitchen area staring at that almost empty can of formula I said to myself, ” if only I was breastfeeding, this would be much easier”. That’s the first time in a while that I felt like a failure, but if I’m honest I feel that way every time Calvin is pulling on my shirt and someone say ” you want boob ? “ or “oh he must be hungry” and I hear those words and dismiss them with a quick ” Yup” and smile. With this week being #worldbreastfeedingweek I’m sure I’m not the only mother watching all those beautiful mamas displaying their proud pictures of themselves feeding their baby! It’s a beautiful sight and one that many probably wish they could have. I’m sure I’m not the only mother struggling to believe that their decision to stop breastfeeding, never breastfeed or not be able to breastfeed makes them feel less of a mother. But my value as a mother or woman is not determined whether I was sucessful at breastfeeding or not. It does not determine my love for my son or whether I am fit to make good choices for him.

I think very often women (mothers) believe this lie that their journey has to be the same as every mother that meets the “standard” of a good mother, but what really is a ” good” mother ? Or what gives a woman more value than another woman ? I don’t think anything from this world can determine my value as a mother, my value alone comes from Jesus. I am worthy to be a mother because he saw fit that I would be Calvin’s mom. That my decision for not pumping anymore does not determine my love for him. I am a mother of great value and I consider myself to be a great mother because that’s who I believe I am. 

To the mama struggling this week looking at all the wonderful breastfeeding photos, your journey is just as beautiful as any other mom. Whatever your breastfeeding story is doesn’t define how great of a mother you are or how much you love you kids.

I shared my journey 4 months ago, every time I need some encouragement I read it. 

IMG_4192“I’ve been exclusively pumping and supplementing with formula for 7 months now This whole breastfeeding experience has been such a struggle. I remember after giving birth having to pump consistently so that I could bring milk back to Calvin at the NICU. Every drop was celebrated there. While pregnant all I ever heard was how formula shouldn’t be my first option ever. ( never tell any mom this please, it’s often the only option for many women for multiple reasons) The first time the NICU doctor asked me permission to give Calvin formula since my milk wasn’t coming down quick enough I refused it because of all these formula comments, two days later he asked me again hoping for a yes just so they wouldn’t continue pinching Calvin with needles to give him IV and it took that to get me to say yes. I felt shame that I wasn’t producing enough and just kept thinking about other people’s opinions. But my case was different, every baby is different. Then I remember latching Calvin to my boob and crying of the pain, every time I tried I cried. It was until he was two months when he had surgery that the surgeon made me aware that he was tongue tie and that was the reason it’s been so painful. So we clipped his tie and guess what? He wouldn’t latch and my supplies continued to be low. So I bought lactation pills, cookies, teas, oatmeal, pumped non stop and no matter what my milk still what’s enough. Calvin was growing and I wasn’t meeting his milk needs. Honestly, if I didn’t believe in the benefits of Breastmilk and Calvin wouldn’t have been premature, I don’t think I would have tried this hard for this long. So many times I tried to give up, I was emotional and exhausted, I felt like I failed Calvin as a mom. But man, I’ve had one heck of a team cheering me on, my husband, family, C.J’s pediatrician and mommy friends. I am so thankful for them. Calvin is finally eating well and I’m back at my normal routine, which means I can’t spend much time pumping anymore. So this month we are saying goodbye to Mr. Pump and embracing this new way of feeding. “
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To the new mama struggling with breastfeeding, you are a supermama no matter how you feed your baby. 

love, 

Transparent city mama


Baby Wearing Love

I’m away on vacation with our little family. However, I wanted to quickly share my baby wearing faves! I shared these products on my IG page for my #productcrushwednesday series last week. Hope you love them & Check them out!

I can’t share enough how important I think babywearing is, did you know that studies have shown that babies grow healthier through physical touch? I’m so grateful for carriers because they allow me to share a special bond with my son. He’s close enough to kiss and feel his heartbeat. Since Calvin was premature I didn’t have physical contact with him till a week after giving birth, I got to hold him when I gave birth and they quickly took him away to the NICU. I was so emotional and desired to physically have skin to skin with him. I read so much during my pregnancy and this was one of the things most specialist and blogger moms spoke about. Another benefit about skin to skin is giving your baby the opportunity to breastfeed. Although Calvin had a lot of issues latching on, one of the reasons my supplies was so low was because of a lack of contact I had in the beginning with him and him not being able to latch correctly. So to any new mama reading, hold your baby as long as you want. But I’m sure you’re doing that anyway. Who wouldn’t! Anyways, I’m so thankful there are so many different baby wearing products for every stage! These are my fave.

Each one of these babywearing gears are so different but serves the same purpose, to carry baby close to kiss and hug. I’m currently using the @ergobaby and @mywildbird.

The Ergobaby was the first carrier I got gifted to me for our baby shower. It’s the Ergobaby 360, I love using it when I have to take long trips with Calvin. It gives me support, comfort and I can use it multiple ways, front, back, facing forward, side, It was perfect when we went hiking. I started using this a little later once Calvin met the weight requirement since he was a preemie. They do sell a newborn insert for smaller babies and it comes with a head cover for baby.

@sollybabywrap is a baby wrap, I used this wrap when Calvin was much smaller. I wore it around the house to get stuff done. Calvin would sleep for hours in this wrap. I would recommend it for newborn babies, gives you lots of skin to skin with baby. The material was so soft and it made me feel safe carrying him around with it.

@mywildbird the baby sling. I bought this sling for the summer. I wanted something lightweight and comfy. It’s been my favorite sling so far this summer. I’ve taken it to our pop art museum adventures and walks to the park, and I’m currently using it in Punta Cana. If your a breastfeeding mama you can also use it and feed baby in it. I love this company also because their slings are made by stay at home mothers! How beautiful is that?

Hope you found this post insightful! Let me know what’s your favorite babywearing gear!

love,

Transparent city mama. 


Fear of Being an Anxious Mother

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetOne of my biggest fears as I was preparing to welcome Calvin into my world was how well would I handle my anxiety around him. The thought of that made me weary. How will I explain to him my random breakdowns or the picking of my hair? Will I make him anxious? Nervous? Or worse, would he try to take on the burden on my anxiety on himself? For a long time, I felt shame about my anxiety, it was hard explaining to people why I was losing the front of my hair or telling my hair lady that I needed bangs just avoid picking at my hair. My anxiety has often ruled over my life, it’s a stealer of joy. After being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder while in College, being on medication and going to therapy for it, it’s felt like I would never get rid of my anxious heart and mind. I felt that the more I wanted to stop being anxious the more I became anxious. It’s hard being married and always feeling like you have to be cared for or even feel like your to much trouble for someone else. I can say that God knew exactly who I needed as a husband. Someone that is calm, understanding, loving and caring. I’m not sure I would want anyone else watching me have an anxiety attack other than him. But now someone else was coming and he will be around for all my moments, that was the scariest thing to think about.

        I remember once crying to Ruben after having one of my many episodes and telling him how scared I was about Calvin watching me have an anxiety attack and maybe him feeling scared. How would I explain to him my anxiety and the root behind it all? I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to explain it, but what I can say is that God has walked me through my anxiety. I’ve heard so often people say “ if you trusted God more you wouldn’t be anxious” and although there some truth to that, those words aren’t comforting. And that’s not how mental health works. That’s also not how God deals with anxiety. The verse from 1 Peter 5:7 “ Casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you”, has been the verse I cling too since being diagnosed. It reminds me that God cares about all the things I get anxious about, even when I can’t explain it to anyone else. He knows my thoughts and heart deeply, he wants me to bring all those fears, and thoughts to him. He will bring healing, he will continue to walk with me and he will be the one to cast away all my fears. So as I wrestle with my anxiety, I pray that I would show Calvin that anxiety will not overcome me and even when it does that I know who I can run too; the Father that cares for me and him. 

For the anxious beloved, know that God cares about your mental health. He wants to walk with you, heal you and free you of your worries. 

 

love,

Transparent city mama. 

 

Casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you – 1 Peter 5:7


Mom Guilt; The Working Mom.

     Mom guilt, oh man. I thought guilt was bad, but mom guilt is so much worse. Well, at least that’s what it felt like for me. While I was pregnant with my son Calvin,  I remember telling my husband that I would never be a stay at home mom. I didn’t feel like I was built for it and I struggled with the idea of having to stay home with a baby. It’s just something I wasn’t sure I could handle with my anxiety. 

      Fast forward to 3 months postpartum, I had experienced an early delivery, my son was premature, I spent two weeks in the NICU with him, he was later diagnosed with Pyloric Stenosis ( it causes a blockage of food at the stomach outlet) and he had to get surgery, I was depressed and extremely anxious and after experiencing all of this I had to start preparing myself to go back to work. I had no idea how I was gonna possibly go back without feeling like I was choosing my job over caring for my son. Guilt is a feeling that if you allow it to sink deep in your heart and mind it will paralyze you. So I decided that I wanted to stay home and I took back every word I said every time my husband asked me if I wanted to stay home. Unfortunately staying at home was not an option anymore because we couldn’t afford it. I felt more guilt and bitterness, I felt like the worse mom ever. 

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I took this picture the day before I had to go back to work.

   The time came when I had to head back to work, find Calvin a daycare and figure out how was I going to go about my life moving forward. I remember the night before my first day back to work, I spent the night rocking Calvin to sleeping and crying my eyes out. The next day I got up, got ready and went to work. I could already feel the tears coming the farther I was from him. As soon as I entered the room one of my students greeted me with a hug and an “ I miss you”. She sat at my desk while I put my stuff back into place and she was sharing the latest news on her life. For a moment I forgot why I was sad and remembered why I even wanted to work from the beginning. I love my job, I enjoy working. You see my reason for wanting to stay home came from fear and guilt. Fear that no one would be able to care for Calvin properly and guilt that I was choosing my career over my son. Being a working mom is very often look down upon by society ( one of the many things mom’s judge each other about, but that’s another story) I believe that God has given each one us different gifts and talents to use on this earth. He has given me a heart for youth and working with young girls. Working at a High School gives me that and I love it. Why should I feel like I have to choose between my son and my career? I can have both equally and share my career with my son. I want him to know I value the lives of teenagers, that I want to teach and help them grow. I know that working might keep me from missing out on important moments in my son’s life, but I hope that I would inspire him to pursue whatever makes his heart happy and may he be proud of the work I do.

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One of my beautiful High School Students.

      So to the working mama feeling guilty, you got this! You are no less of a mother because you work. You are no less of a mother because you love your career. You are no less of a mother because you can’t see yourself staying at home. You are no less of a mother because you enjoy alone time. You are no less of a mother for doing something for yourself that inspires you. The working mom and the stay at home mom should be met with praise, two mom’s choosing different ways of working and caring for their families, both making a sacrifice hoping that one day their children would say “ Thank you, mom, for all you’ve done and all that you do.”    

 

love,

Transparent city mama. 


Dear Mother in the NICU

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetDear NICU mother,

Can I tell you something? You are so strong and you are not alone. I know all the tears you’ve been crying, wondering why things just didn’t go the way you planned it out. Seems like you’ve been robbed from having the birth story you’ve been envisioning these last few months. I know, I felt it too. I know your probably angry and it’s okay.  I know you’re tired of going back and forth to the NICU, and I know you’re heart breaks every time you leave. It would take me hours before I walked away from my son’s incubator, even then I would leave in tears. I know you desire to hold your baby close, maybe even feel his or her heartbeat. Going back home empty-handed just looking over at the baby crib hoping soon enough you’ll glance over and baby will be there. Perhaps you’re waking up every three hours just to bring back liquid gold to fill their tummy up,( I’m rooting for you!)  but how you wish you’d be waking up to the sound of a hungry baby. Perhaps you’re anxious every time a monitor goes off even when it’s not your baby or when the neo-nurse calls. I know you have many questions but although there may be weeping, I surely can tell you that joy always comes. God is embracing you right now and He is with you in this season. Trust that He sees you and He knows your pain. Can I tell you something? You are one of the bravest mothers and you have a fighter just waiting to finally be home. I’m praying for you and your little blessing. How I hope you have someone encouraging you in this season, and if you don’t, know that there are many mothers who know what you are feeling.

                                                                                                  Love,

A once NICU mama