Life After Baby, One Year​ Postpartum

     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.

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     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

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.

Postpartum Depression

    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 sleep over 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.

Faith

    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.

Postpartum Body

    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?

Working Mother

    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.

Friendships 

      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.

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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.

 

love,

Transparent city mama

Hooray Heroes (Review)

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    oh wubbanub, how much Calvin loves you! If you haven’t heard of this pacifier, it’s a must buy. @wubbanub should 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.

http://www.hoorayheores.com/

@hoorayheroes gave 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!

http://www.hoorayheroes.com/

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These are some of the things that  make this book wonderful:
” For our youngest audience: 
This book’s short and simple story makes it easy for the little ones to understand. Happy reading!” 
” My first ABCs
Toddlers are inquisitive little sponges. While your little one is saying farewell to her binky, they’ll say “Hi!” to the alphabet. ” 

So check out @hoorayheroes 

You can use my code ROSDALY15 for 15% off on all of their books!

Family Time at The Color factory

Now this, this is a place you won’t ever regret visiting but will regret missing. This weekend we had a family date at one of the most popular pop art exhibits in the city, @colorfactory.

Here’s some info about the exhibit: ( info from their website)

Color Factory is a collaborative interactive exhibit that debuted in San Francisco in August 2017. What was intended as a month-long run unexpectedly flourished as a celebration of color and creativity that lasted for another eight sold-out months.

In August 2018, a whole new palette came to New York City in SoHo’s Hudson Square neighborhood. In 20,000 square feet, we feature brand-new participatory installations of colors we’ve collected around the city— hues that invite curiosity, discovery and play. Some of our favorite artists, creatives, designers, and makers are teaming up with us to tell their unique color stories and engage all of your senses in unexpected ways.

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Ruben and I were amazed at how amazing this exhibit was, it was filled with color, treats, fun rooms to interact with each other and lots of cameras to take pictures together. I think it’s been a while since we went to a place where all three of us enjoyed each other and had fun. This place was super family friendly and allowed Calvin to explore. I love taking him to places that help his sensory development.

These are a few things you should know about this exhibit;

  • The tickets are $38 each… yes, I know it seems like a lot but trust me it was worth every dollar. Also, if you have children age two and under, they’re free.
  • Once your tour beings, you are taken to a room to watch an intro video and then taken to another room to register on an iPad. The reason for this is because you are given a card that will be used in order to store any pictures you take around the exhibit.
  • Which leads me to the MOST amazing part about this exhibit, each room is like a Photo Booth! How dope is that! We loved the fact that all three of us got to take pictures, and Ruben didn’t have to be my camera guy for the day! lol
  • You also get so many treats, like pins, macaroons, ice cream, a visitors gift and a color factory map that tells you about so many art designs around the city.
  • And they have the largest ball pit area in the city!

This is my favorite pop art exhibit by far, so glad we made this a family date. If you’re looking for something to do in the next two weeks do yourself a favor and check out the @colorfactory! You can get tickets till October. 14th.

Here are some of our pictures, enjoy!

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Different seasons, same friendships

1DE95786-3B7A-4E61-81D8-5B4BA5AE636FWhile I was pregnant I spent a lot of time with different moms. I wanted to be around them and just see their life from an outside perspective. One thing I heard a lot from them was how lonely they felt sometimes. Some shared that their friends don’t come around often or getting an invite to something just seemed like a once and blue thing. The truth is that becoming a parent does change your life, I can’t just pick up and leave anymore. Every plan I make is around Calvin’s time. Sometimes I’m ready to go and he decides that he’s hungry or I take too long and now he wants to nap. Which in the beginning kept me from simply never go anywhere. That stage felt very lonely, yeah I wasn’t invited most places or friends didn’t text often but I was grateful for those that made effort to come by. They understand that I was in a different season, a season that I myself was trying to adjust too.

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Friendship is important overall, but having friendships as a mom is such a sweet gift especially with friends who are in completely different seasons as you. I had so many friends come by just to help with Calvin, sometimes they just watched him while I slept on the couch. They would come by and drop off a meal or just hang out. They kept me informed of the outside world. Ha! It was just the love I needed those first few months of motherhood. One thing I’m learning is that community is precious to our lives. We need it, we were made to be in it with God and his people. But I think sometimes we think that because someone is not in the same season as us… what can we really talk about or have in common?

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 Well, you get growth. You get to grow and be part of whatever season your friend is in, at some point they were in the season you are in. I can’t say how thankful I was to spend my singleness around older married women. I learned so much from them but I also got the time to serve them. If you aren’t in a season of motherhood I encourage you to serve a mother especially if she’s your friend and if you are in a season of motherhood invite other women into your life, maybe go grocery shopping, on a lunch date, go to a museum or whatever you guys want. Being a mother should not keep you from enjoying friendships, yes it’s hard hanging with the kids tagging along but trust me you need that time too. Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Today Calvin and I spent the day with my sweet friend Pamela, she’s also my co-worker. Her friendship is so refreshing to me. She has served our family in so many ways and adores Calvin. I love being able to speak into her life and also learning from her. We spent the afternoon at The Pint Shop and grabbed some lunch at a spot in the Meatpacking District.  Just the outing any mama needs. Friendships like Pamela’s have been such a gift to me in this season of motherhood, they remind me why I need friendships in all seasons. To all my friends that have served and love me in this season, Thank you. I am blessed by your friendships.

 

love,

Transparent city mama. 

 

“Two people are better than one, because they get more done by working together. If one falls down, the other can help her up. But it is bad for the person who is alone and falls, because no one is there to help. If two lie down together, they will be warm, but a person alone will not be warm.” – Ecclesiastes 4:9-11

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

What’s in my diaper bag this summer?

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This summer has been filled with so many adventures with Calvin, but as a city mama, it often can be a struggle when carrying too many things.  So here’s my summer go-to bag. This is the diaper bag I use when I’m doing small trips to Target or to get groceries. This is one of my favorite diaper bags by @fawndesign , I got it as a Christmas gift from my husband. I was eyeing it for a few months and at some point, the company had a sale, so you know I had to grab one.  I really wanted a small bag that could be used in the summer for quick trips or to keep me from overpacking when traveling alone with Calvin. This bag is just amazing. It’s a lightweight, super cute, great quality and has 9 pockets in total. How amazing is that!  It’s small but holds enough of what I need for Calvin on small trips. It’s a must-have city mom bag especially as a baby transition into toddler stage. They also have a much bigger diaper bag in the same style, so check them out!

 Here are some of the products I carry with me always:

Baby wipes

Diapers

Ointment

Sunscreen for both Calvin and I (@aveenous & @supergoop),

Bug spray @babyganics,

Snacks @happybaby,

Boogie wipes

Hands and face wipes @target,

Bottle @twistshakebaby

Bib @bumkinsbaby

Teether @babybananabrush ( Calvin’s has 5 teeth coming in! Pray for your girl!)

An extra outfit from our favorite place @carters.

Anyways, I would love to know what you mama’s are carrying in your diaper bags this summer! Leave a comment! 

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