Saturday, 18 June 2016

Terrified

It's hard to put into words the more challenging side of motherhood. Yet lately I've been feeling it more than ever.

The relentlesness. Sleeplesness. Feeling like someone's slave. Feeling impatient, angry, tired, hormonal. On the one hand wanting only the best for my daughter, wanting to be the very best mum for her. On the other, the reality that I am flawed and my perfect parenting moments are few and far between.

You wouldn't know from looking at my instagram or facebook feed, as I, like most mum's, tend to only post the good stuff. Of course, because who wants to see a selfie of my tear stained face at 4am, or a video of Ada screaming at the closed door while I'm vomiting over the toilet and wishing she'd leave me alone for one minute. None of that is glamorous, and none of it is too regular, but it's reality.

Not quite the whole truth
I am completely terrified of being a mum to two small children. I love my kids, but I am not one of those natural mum material types. I struggle not to be selfish, to give my all to my kids. Luckily one of them is still in utero, but the impacts on my body (regular vomiting, fatigue, HORMONES) are influencing how I parent Ada already.

It's not Ada's fault- sometimes I will handle her toddler behaviour with ease and grace, with boundaries and love. Other days I snap at her, cry in the kitchen and sneak chocolate when she's not looking. She is changing and growing and testing boundaries and it's all totally normal. It's my responses that change from day to day, and I don't think this is fair on her.

When thinking about the months ahead, about adding a baby to the mix, I am equal parts excited and terrified. How can I share my time and love fairly between two kids? How can I be the mum they both need? I don't know at this point.

So there's the reality. Parenting highs and parenting lows. I know I'm not the only mum to feel this way, and I know that 'this too, shall pass.'

Friday, 10 June 2016

30 + 3: We made it

Holla, I'm officially more pregnant than I've ever been! Can I get a whoop whoop!!

Ada was born at 30+2, and today I am 30 weeks and 3 days pregnant. This is it, the huge goal I have been gunning for this whole pregnancy. I am SO excited to be here. And sore...turns out being further along in pregnancy comes with all sorts of aches and pains ;)

Excited that the baby hasn't escaped

Yesterday, Ada's 'birth' day, was interesting. I did not feel as sad as I thought I might, but I did feel very nostalgic. I looked at photos of her birth day and imagined what baby boy looks like. Ada was so tiny and precious.




I think I am mostly at peace with what happened with Ada, and a big part of that is because she is totally fine now. Prematurity is not her defining feature any more. And so it seems, prematurity may not be the the defining feature of this pregnancy either.

Ada now

So far this pregnancy is going perfectly. Baby boy is growing well and I am showing no signs of illness. It was assumed at the start of my pregnancy that I would need a scheduled c-section at 37/38 weeks, but this is no longer the case. Of course it depends how things go in the coming weeks, but I may be able to actually have this baby in August when he's due (imagine!).

Every day now is a blessing. And every day I feel more and more 'normal.' I've started doing normal pregnant lady things like reading up on labouring skills, and going to breastfeeding classes. When I imagine baby boy's birth I now see the possibility of holding him, of feeding him, of skin to skin, of leaving the hospital together.

Who knows what the coming weeks may bring, and it is a distinct possibility I may develop pre-eclampsia at a later gestation. This possibility does not fill me with terror anymore, or consume my thoughts. We've made it further than we did with Ada, therefore I know I can handle whatever might come my way.

Thankyou to all my friends and family who have listened to me go on (and on and on) about my thoughts and feelings thus far in the pregnancy. Those who know me know I find talking things through so very helpful in processing things, and I appreciate your listening ears!

If I could celebrate with a glass of bubbles I would- instead I've bought 'gourmet' chocolate milk, I'll drink a glass to Ada and to my baby boy, who I'm so excited to meet... but not yet :)

Monday, 9 May 2016

Ready, aim, fire

It has crept up on me a bit, but I am 26 weeks pregnant. As I get closer and closer to 30 weeks (the gestation I had Ada, the 'big' milestone) I am feeling a strange sense of calm with a tinge of nerves.

When I was 26 weeks pregnant with Ada I had no idea we only had 4 weeks to go. This time we are ready for anything. 

As we wait, and tick off the days, I have prepared myself for any possibility. My hospital bag is packed *just in case*. Ada will be beginning part time daycare later this month, for many reasons, and one is so that she is settled into a new centre *just in case* things happen and she needs more care hours.  Baby's room is a work in progress but all the essentials are ready, waiting, for whenever they are needed.

Keeping my mind open to the possibility of baby being here in a month, in two or three is strange and mind-bendy. Not knowing the future but knowing in deep detail the 'possible' futures and trying to juggle them while not letting them overwhelm requires strong will.

I was at a women's conference a few weeks ago, and one of the speakers talked about the stages of shooting an arrow. I love a good metaphor, so this resonated with me.

When you prepare to shoot an arrow, you put the arrow in the bow, and draw the arrow back with vision, but also with a stretch, with tension.
My vision is a full term pregnancy, but even imagining this does come with some tension! Tension of what my mind knows, of my beliefs, of what I trust. 

Before you can release the arrow your body needs to be in an anchoring stance (one leg behind the other, with balance in the body), this gives stabilisation to the body. The full body is engaged in this act.
I am doing everything I can to keep my body aligned. Medications, scans, regular blood pressures and so on. In the end my body will take it's own course, whatever that may be, but I sure as hell am doing all I can to keep it in line.

When the arrow is released it is done so with power and intention, until it smashes the target.
My target right now is 30 weeks of pregnancy, and my mind is set on that goal and of breaking it, of conquering, defeating. I truly believe this is possible, and at the same time don't quite believe it will happen.



Another speaker at this conference reminded me that life and growth happens in the journey, not just in the high/low lights. Whatever the outcome of this pregnancy journey, whether it's a high or a low, I know I have been stretched and grown in immeasurable ways. I certainly would not be who I am today, without walking where I have, and for that I am grateful.

I suppose what I feel right now, is that while I'm ready for anything, I'm hoping for the best and believing I can handle whatever comes my way.

Ready, aim, fire. Come at me 30 weeks. I'm waiting.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Parenting a toddler

Parenting a baby is one thing, but I'm finding parenting a toddler is where the rubber hits the road.

Ada is two. And we know it!

She's cute: she can sing all of her ABC's, twinkle twinkle and EIEIO at loud volume. She has discovered stars and planes 'look mummy look!! pane!' She insists on goodnight prayers every night, and when she's in the right mood she can charm anyone. It is so fun re-discovering the world through her eyes.


She's challenging: she throws epic tantrums, at least one a day. She hardly eats and prefers popcorn and chippies. She has found her high pitched squeal and uses it loudly and has discovered the art of slamming doors. 

Everyday my patience is tested, and I refine and hone and chop and change my parenting styles and values. At my core I value a mix of gentle parenting along with strong boundaries and clear rules. I have vowed to never smack Ada, but that doesn't mean I am doing gentle parenting perfectly- I get impatient, I snap and have sworn under my breath on many occasions.



Yesterday was 'one of those days' and I ended it feeling like an awful mum and glad to be in bed. Ada was grumpy, had watched far too much TV and tantrums through our dinner. She refused to eat.

Today though, she is happy, entertaining herself, eating well and has watched hardly any TV. 

I have done nothing different- today and yesterday- and I guess I'm slowly learning that she has ups and downs, just like me, and it's not a reflection on my parenting. In the end, I know she will turn out allright. I will show her patience, and love and problem solving, and at other times I'll be grumpy and too quick to snap, and I guess that's ok - I'm human too and she's learning, slowly, about empathy through that.



Me and my kid. She is sure teaching me a lot.

Friday, 25 March 2016

The next 10 weeks

So here I am. Me and my son (my son!!) have almost made it to 20 weeks pregnant! Halfway, although I suspect I was halfway a week or two ago. I feel like this is a major milestone. All the potential early pregnancy problems have been left in our wake, and it's business time now.

I am feeling positive and yet ready for anything in these next 10 weeks. The next 10 weeks brings us to Ada's birth gestation. In the next 10 weeks I will reach viability and move towards better and better gestations. The next 10 weeks will start to form a picture of what direction this pregnancy might be going, and regular scans and tests will be coming my way.

I have been looking back at pictures of my pregnancy with Ada. At 20 and 25 weeks I did look quite puffy and unwell (swelling/puffyness is a part of pre-eclampsia.) I remember bleeding once or twice in the 20's. At 20 weeks Ada was 'big' for her size, at 26 she was bang on and at 30 she was small. It was the 20's that things started to change in her pregnancy and I didn't realise it until it was all too late.

So, in a way, I feel like I'm going into battle. I have that mentality. I have my armour all around me- God, family, friends support, counseling, my midwife on call, my obstetrician and my medications and tests. All of these things form a bubble around me to protect baby and I. I imagine pre-eclampsia and abruption and pre-term birth like a dark force heading my way. My armour is on and I am strong and ready. I am looking and waiting and will do whatever it takes to battle them away as long as I can.
I don't know if my armour will hold all the way to 40 weeks. Time will tell. But I feel like I've been waiting my whole pregnancy for this moment. Now is the time to fight and be strong and vigilant.

I am ready.
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