Am I the only one that’s still in disbelief that we’re in a pandemic. How crazy is that? When I found out I was pregnant back in February, I knew about Covid-19 but I didn’t think it would flip the world upside down. This has been one of the weirdest and most uncertain times for all of us. If you live in NYC, your life has probably stopped in so many ways. Being pregnant during this pandemic has been bittersweet for me. Bitter, because I’ve been working from home and that’s been a little hard. Sweet, because I’ve been home with Ruben and Calvin. This is such a perfect time to be with Calvin since it’s the last few months before he becomes a big brother. This is the longest I’ve ever been home with him and I’m grateful for this time. So we’re using it to get him ready and also prepare ourselves for a newborn to enter our home. I’m not ready, but I’ll be soon. Because he’s coming soon. (NERVOUS LAUGH)
I’ve had a lot of moms to be’s ask me about how I’ve been coping through my pregnancy during this season and some resources I’ve been using to keep me busy during this time. If you’re a mom to be, I hope you know you’re not alone in your worries and even emotions. I’ve had so many emotions throughout these last few months. I’ve been scared, sad, anxious, angry, and even grieved. So much of what I was planning on doing during this pregnancy has changed. I haven’t been able to spend time with my family and Ruben can’t attend any of my sonograms. I didn’t get to hug my friends and family at our gender reveal, I won’t have a baby shower and labor & birth will feel a bit lonely without having my whole family waiting for the arrival of my son. (They roll deep guys) It’s okay to feel like you’ve been robbed of so many wonderful things and if it’s your first pregnancy, I’m sorry it’s been this way. But just like I tell myself, find joy in this season. Look at all your blessings despite your losses.
Tips to get you through your Pregnancy
Therapy has been very helpful during this time for me, it’s helped me process things better and also just share some of my thoughts. Having a high-risk pregnancy during this season has been hard because I’m constantly going to the doctors for a check-up and I can’t change my pregnancy plan, a hospital birth it will be. Having someone to talk to about these things has been great for my sanity and emotional health.
Journaling, I love writing and it’s very therapeutic. If you’re having a hard time processing your thoughts, write them down. Make it into a journal for your baby, I’m sure one day they would love to hear your stories during this season. It’s a great way to empty out your thoughts and be honest and real with yourself.
Physical Activity, Take a walk, catching some air will do you well. If you like yoga or exercising, keep doing them. Dancing, dance as much as you want. It’s good for you, your body and baby. Pinterest and Youtube have a bunch of videos to keep active.
Mental Check-ins, These are very important, if you’re OB isn’t asking you how you’re doing emotionally and mentally during your pregnancy… they should be. During pregnancy, you can experience a lot of emotions and during a pandemic, they could increase. Make sure you’re checking in with how you’re feeling on a daily. Are you feeling happy? Sad? Anxious? Overwhelmed? Tell someone about them, they’re completely normal. Here is a free resource for seeking help.
Pregnancy/ Labor Education Classes
Here are a few websites offering Free Pregnancy classes: Take advantage!
If you weren’t aware, through your insurance you can be provided with a free breast pump. The most common pump that is offered to mothers is the “Medala” brand. The pump works like magic, but it’s loud. However, you are given the option to choose which pump you want. I would say picking a pump that suits your lifestyle. If you’re a stay at home mom, you may be comfortable with a plugin pump but if you’re a working mom, you may be looking for something that allows you to be freer to move around. Before choosing your pump you can speak to a lactation consultant or even do some research of your own. The website I provide you with has customer service reps that can help you choose the pump that suits you.
In this season I’ve been so inactive and just feeling really lazy. I want to take walks but I’m afraid of the distance and being around a lot of people. Oh, and my eating habits haven’t been great at all. Despite that, I’ve been trying to find ways to speak positively about my changing body and also embracing it. My belly is growing a lot and my boobs are massive. My armpits are really dark and my nipples don’t look flattering at all, but I’m so beautiful. I hope this season as your body is changing and if you’re like me having a hard time being active, please be kind to yourself. Everyone’s body looks different during pregnancy. Some women get stretch marks and others don’t. Some would say they feel really beautiful and others would say their baby is sucking the life out of them. What you say about yourself in this season of pregnancy and motherhood is so important. Find ways to feel like yourself, do something you enjoy or maybe dress up like you always do. Motherhood doesn’t rob who you already are, you’re still the same just with a plus one or two in my case. As you enter motherhood, it will feel like you’re losing the you that you’ve always been but you’re not, you’re growing and blooming another part of you.
Rock that belly girl, you are bearing life within you.
Things you can be doing as you wait for the arrival of your baby…
Create your Baby registry. Don’t be afraid to send it to family & friends. They will want to bless you.
Preparing your home for the arrival of your baby. I call this “nesting”. It might be soothing to you during this time.
I’ve been a mom a little over a year now, such a long, exhausting, and beautiful year. Calvin is fifteen months and life after birth has been quite interesting. Between the sleepless nights and long playful afternoons, motherhood has definitely gotten the best of me. It’s nothing that I imagined but definitely is not what most people made it out to be “ the end of my life”. I recall this past year being the beginning of my new life. One that I would choose over and over again.
When we brought Calvin home for the first time Ruben and I were scared and we had no idea what life would look like for us now that Calvin was here. We were clueless when it came to baby basics like folding a stroller or the fact that you can simply use the car seat in a cab without carrying the base everywhere. Ha! I still laugh at that. The big and small things about parenting transform you, they lead you to make hard decisions and also many sacrifices.
Entering motherhood has changed the way I see myself and everything around me. It has set my eyes on things more important and has been a breath of fresh air in every way. Children have a way of teaching you to be present no matter how distracted you are, they challenge and grow you in ways that you never saw yourself growing. People ask me all the time ” how has motherhood changed you?” and as I say said goodbye to 2018, I’ve reflected on some things that have grown me and things I’ve learned this past year, these are just a few of them.
Words of Affirmation
I’ve never been someone who felt loved by words, it’s the love language all the way at the bottom of my list. Before being a mom, I was an “acts of service” and “quality time person”, but now words mean so much to me. If you don’t know this already, motherhood comes with lots of insecurities. I think the last time I felt this insecure was when I became a wife. I wasn’t prepared for how emotionally, mentally, and physically being a mom takes a toll on you. It seems like all you ever get is criticism. “You’re not doing this”, “ you look tired all the time”, “ you didn’t breastfeed?”, “wow, he’s in daycare?, I would never leave my kid in daycare”. All of these words have discouraged me, but I’ve also had people encourage me in this season. I realized how grateful I am for words now. They have a way with lifting you up, especially in a season where I have no idea what the hell I’m doing. This is one of the reasons I started blogging, I want to encourage other moms and others that could relate to me in whatever season they are in.
It’s real, very real and very scary for moms. As your body tries to recover after birth, your mind and emotions also try to do the same. According to doctors, Postpartum Depression happens days or weeks after a mom gives birth. It can be due to the hormonal drop you experience after birth but also due to lack of sleep, worry, anxiety, and even lack of social interaction. I can honestly say that my postpartum depression happened right after giving birth. As I shared before Calvin was premature and therefore I only got a few minutes to hold him before they took him away to the NICU. I spent two days in the hospital trying to pump but had very low supply and I spent two weeks going back and forth to the hospital to see Calvin there since he couldn’t come home with us. I cried a lot, my mood would change often and I was mentally exhausted.
When we finally brought him home I think it hit me harder. I couldn’t handle the lack of sleep, Calvin crying, being alone, and feeling like I was failing as a mom by not breastfeeding. A lot of days I would call Ruben crying to come home from work because I didn’t want to be with Calvin. If he would cry for hours, I would go to my room and also cry. I told a friend months after, that during those months I felt like I understood why very often moms are inclined to hurt their babies and it’s scary. When I felt scared of myself I would cry out to God to help me be calm and give me the wisdom to care for Calvin. I was thankful that my family and friends helped us a lot. My mom would sleepover to help me with him so I could sleep, friends would come over to visit and bring food and Ruben did all the night shifts, I really learned to depend on people in this season but most importantly in God. He really kept me sane and covered my mind and thoughts in days when I felt at my lowest.
The Supermom Mentality
This “supermom mentality” is what I think moms develop after giving birth. It’s the ability to believe that you can conquer anything or smack the hell out of someone who hurts your kid. ( but I got Jesus… so he holds me down) I feel like when you become a mom you feel like you can do anything! It’s like a supernatural strength that you grow and it comes from knowing that you have someone to care for. I don’t have time to complain about what needs to get done, I just have to do it. If I need to go out and have no one to watch Calvin, I still have to go even with the stroller, diaper bag, and a tantrum baby. If you’re a city mom, you know that’s not easy. However, this mentality is why I work full-time, attend grad school, volunteer in ministry with youth, and blog. I feel like I can do it all, but I can’t. I think I’m learning to have balance, it’s great that I’ve developed this sense of strength but it can be difficult trying to do it all. This mentally also means knowing it’s okay if I can’t do everything. I can be a super mom doing what I can and the rest leaving it in God’s hands trusting that He will do what I can’t.
This one has been the hardest one. As someone who was involved in church so much, not being in the community for the first three months after birth really disconnected me from God more than I already was. I was so exhausted and angry that things were so hard at the beginning with Calvin that reading my word and praying was the last thing I wanted to do. I’ve struggled to make time for God and my spiritual growth this past year and this is the most important piece of my life. Having Calvin has shaken the way I see Jesus and his love for me. I understand it more and value His love but I also see the weight of my responsibility as a mom. If I’m not growing in Jesus, I cannot reflect Jesus to my son. Ultimately if I’m not growing I’m dying spiritually, so it’s easier for me to act on my flesh. Which means I’ll be impatient with Calvin or yell at Ruben for failing at something small, which I’ve seen myself do a lot this past year. I need Jesus more than ever now and I desire to grow more in Him more than anything.
I’ve always struggled with my appearance, after giving birth my body started changing. I definitely put on more weight. I’m constantly changing my outfits and I only wear high-waisted jeans to avoid the stomach pouch that I hate so much. A lot of moms struggle with their body after birth. We all echo the same questions, “what will my body look like after?”, “how can I get rid of stretch marks?”, “will my boobs sag? “, ” will my spouse still find me attractive?”. All of these are real questions and insecurities, I feel all of them. I’m learning every day to embrace my body and be proud of it. Some days I can feel really beautiful, other times not so much. This is what encourages me ” I gave birth to a whole baby!” that’s one hell of a power! If you’re reading this and you can relate, I want to challenge you to cover yourself in truth and affirmation. You are beautiful and honorable. Yes, your body will change, it won’t be the same again and that’s okay, embrace it. I want to increase my confidence through self-care and eating better for this new year. What goals do you have for your self-care? Body? Mind?
Going back to work felt so strange after Calvin. The night before I went back to work I rocked him to sleep and cried. I was worried about leaving him and who would take care of him, I felt guilty about not staying home with him and transitioning back into the real world was difficult. Adjusting was so emotional that two months after going back full time to work, I went part-time. As a first-time mom, I just didn’t know how to be apart from Calvin, all I thought about was him and it was even worse when he was finally at daycare. I think this transition is so hard because so many factors play a role in it. You might have paid maternity leave or you may not and only have a few weeks with your newborn. If you’re nursing, you’ll be pumping at work and also trying to keep up with your workload, which can become exhausting. Maybe you won’t have a family member to watch your newborn and that will make it hard for you to trust someone else.
For me it was both, my family was too far and after a while of pumping at work, I couldn’t keep up with my workload and pumping and my supplies kept dropping which means my milk supply was at its lowest. Being a working mom is bittersweet though. I get to be outside my home and talk to adults ( which is something you get very little of when you’re a stay at home mom in the city during the winter) You also get to miss your kids and spend time with yourself. As a mom you need that often, I think that’s how I survived this first year. Work gave me freedom in some way and it allowed me to care for Calvin in a healthy way that meant I needed to trust God more with my son.
I’ve been really grateful for all the friends I’ve had in this season. I remember moms sharing with me about many of their friends slowly spending less and less time around after they became moms and this can be real for many mothers. Motherhood is lonely sometimes, especially if your closest friends aren’t moms. The truth is life happens and you’re in a different season as them. That’s something we can’t change. In this season, in all honesty, my attitude is this “ if I haven’t seen you in months or heard from you, no hard feelings but I’m not looking for you.” Yup, it sounds salty but I’m just not in a place to seek after friendships that aren’t around. I can’t pick up and go as I please like before, now I have to wait for Ruben to get home or find someone to watch Calvin. Invites to hangouts?, I barely get those, and I’ve come to be okay with it. It’s about being grateful for those that are around and understanding that things change. God has a way of providing people in your life when you need them.
I haven’t lacked friendships nor in people-watching Calvin so I can go to school or go on dates with hubby. He has placed specific people to serve me without feeling like I needed to give something back. I have so much going on that mentally I just don’t have the energy to pursue friendships right now like I once did. Perhaps it’s just a season but I’m learning to value friendships more and desire ones that value my family and build me up.
Loving Your Partner
Keeping up with your marriage is just as important as caring for your children. It needs to be nurtured and loved. Trust me, nothing about doing that is easy with a baby. After Calvin all I wanted to do was rest, bedtime meant time for sleep. For a while, my husband felt like we were co-parenting or just roommates. Yup, that bad. I slowly realized that it was unloving of me to not make time to love and date my husband. Children should not change the way you love your spouse, in fact, it should increase your desire to serve, love and create spaces for you both to spend time together. I can truly say that I have grown a deeper love for my husband after having Calvin. He is one heck of a father and husband, and I’m grateful to have someone who fathers my son so well. Those late nights when Calvin is crying his eyes out, he’s the one getting up just so I can sleep enough to go to work the next day. I have to constantly remind myself that my husband and I are one together and he also desires to be desired and affirmed.
I hope to continue caring for my marriage, going on more dates, affirming my husband with gratitude and of course killing the “ I’m tired “ excuse to avoid sex. Sex is a beautiful thing within marriage, God desired for us to be intimate in this way. I truly believe that it’s important for you both to continue pursuing each other and displaying gratitude for each other. Thanking your husband for waking up earlier to stay with the baby and letting you sleep in is something to acknowledge and be thankful for, not brushed off by saying ” well, you’re just doing what you should be doing because you’re a dad now” (which I’ve thought so many times). We were able to survive this by acknowledging that we both were clueless and we needed each other to survive a lot of the struggles of parenting.
I have so much to say about life after Calvin but I’m thankful I got to grow in each one of these areas and also learn things about myself. I pray that they would speak to you and also prepare you if you’re a mom to be or a new mom. If you’re a new mom, how has that been for you? Leave a comment, I’d love to know.
@bookroo_love has sent us another box of books and we are loving it. The month of September introduced us to the books “ Skip Hop: My backpack”, “Arf! Buzz! Cluck! A Rather Noisy Alphabet” and ” Peekaboo! On the farm”. Our favorite is “Peekaboo! On the Farm”, Calvin loves playing peekaboo with us. It’s our go to game when we want to keep him entertained. #parenting The animals are hiding their faces and when you open the flap… PEEKABOO! it’s a CHICKEN! ha! I love that each book is filled with colors and very detailed. I enjoyed that two of this months books had surprise flaps, those kinds of books were my favorite growing up because you never knew what you find under it.
Bookroo is a subscription for kids that helps them fall in love with reading by combining the excitement of opening gifts with discovery of new, treasured books. Bookroo offers three types of boxes, board book (ages 0-3), picture books (ages 2-6) and chapter books (ages 7-10). Every month is a new surprise for books!
Every month you can look forward to a new theme. I truly believe this box is worth the subscription, I hope that Calvin loves reading as much as our family loves book! His book shelves are filled with books and we’re glad some of them come from Bookroo.
USE THE DISCOUNT CODE : ROSDALY FOR 15% OFF YOUR FIRST BOX
oh wubbanub, how much Calvin loves you! If you haven’t heard of this pacifier, it’s a must buy. @wubbanubshould be on the top of your list for your baby registry. We’ve had to buy two of them because Calvin uses it so much. I’ve tired buying him other paci’s and even shared about how he flings his pacifier for fun anywhere he goes!, which can be gross especially because he bites all parts of it. Yuck! Anyways, I’ve tired to take away his wubbanub but he won’t take any other paci, deep down I love it for two reason: keeps him calm outside and it’s part of him, it’s his Hobbes. Eventually we will have to put it away and saying goodbye to it will be hard for us then it will be for him I think.
@hoorayheroesgave me the opportunity to personalize a book for Calvin and it’s perfect!! They have so many books you can personalize for your kids, who doesn’t love a story about themselves? I really loved doing this book for him. On their website you get to customize the book by using traits of your kid and adding them to the character. You can choose their gender, skin color, eye color, and even their hair style. I really loved the fact that he’s gonna see a little brown boy that looks like him in this book. Theres not many of them! It definitely will make saying goodbye to our paci Hobbes easier and sweet!