My husband took this photo of Benjamin and I in front of Westminster Abbey. Just minutes before this photo, I sat in the cold halls of Westminster, while I nursed Benjamin. I remember his cold little his hands on my chest and him chugging away. Sometimes, he’d look up at me, and I’d wonder if he knew who I was. Other times, he’d immediately pull of my breast and stare at the guest distracting his feedings.
For the first six weeks, breastfeeding was not as easy as moments before this photo. I read that it takes about six weeks for baby and mother to adjust, so I set a goal of six weeks. First, Benjamin had a poor latch because of his lip and tongue tie, so my concern was that I would experience a decrease in milk supply. I pumped and pumped and cried because I was so tired. I remember often Raul walking in the room while I pumped. Surely, he would find me crying as well. He consoled me, encouraged me and gave me options, but my heart was set on giving the best I could to Benjamin, especially because of the benefits .
This photo is a reminder of the nice things my husbands tells people. “Rose didn’t give up.”
Thinking back at those first six weeks of life still brings back tears, but I’m also reminded of the wonderful family that prayed over me. I proudly announce that we met our second goal and we are still breastfeeding and hope to continue.
I’d like to share a secret with you, and please don’t judge me. I’m an obsessive planner, like I have a desk calendar, a google calendar, and notebook filled with more to do list obsessed.
Getting through the day can be a little hard if I didn’t learn to prioritize. After pregnancy, I wanted to do everything take care of Benjamin and myself, clean, cook, and work.
I had to learn to break my day down.
Take care of yourself and baby (and dog if you have one). Feed you (especially if you breastfeed) and baby.
Workout. Ideally I’d like to workout for thirty minutes a day, but as of now, it’s been about twenty-five a day.
Clean. This involves any dishes I left from breakfast and lunch. I’m also guilty of making my bed at noon.
To do list. For instance, make appointments.
That is how I prioritize on a NORMAL day.
On the days I have to run errands, work and even post on social media, I have a different schedule.
Ps. I don’t have it together most days. My office space is a disaster, and I still have clothes in the dryer from Sunday.
Four months postpartum, and I’m on a mission to burn this little belly. I read somewhere that it takes nine months for your body to reach full term, so give yourself a break. Pizza break?
I started eliminating certain food products (baked goods- I love cake yall) from my daily diet four weeks ago. I’m not sure how to measure my progress, but everyday I look myself in the mirror and convince myself that my tummy is going back to normal.
I joke with my husband sometimes. If it were the men gaining the weight, the world wouldn’t care.
For those of us that feel discouraged, watch Embrace on Netflix. The documentary shows us how we prescribe to this notion that skinny, toned and fit are healthy, but Taryn proves to us that you can run marathons, be healthy and not obsess over diet and exercise.
Favorite parts of the film:
Pregnancy: I loved pregnancy! I felt very blessed to have the opportunity to grow my Benjamin. I felt great! When my bump was gone, I cried in the shower.
In the film, postpartum, Taryn, was in the shower and looked down at her belly, and it was gone. All she saw was “jelly belly.”
Plastic surgery: After three children, Taryn decides she is not satisfied with her body and wants plastic surgery. She backs out. She asks, “what kind of example would I give my daughter?”
She later meets with a plastic surgeon in Los Angeles as part of the film. The surgeon suggest she reconstruct her breast. “They’re not slinkies. They just don’t go back.” She laughed and said, “Of course they’re not slinkies. They provided 4000 meals to my three children. They don’t deserve a hard time. They deserve a gold star on Hollywood Blvd. Go boobs!”
So tomorrow, Benjamin, Raul, and I will have pepperoni pizza with mushrooms and a Marble Slab ice cream.
I have one story and one memory of my mom that has molded my perception of the world.
She was a refugee of her country that would continue to be at war ten years after she left. Two days of being a resident here, she took her first job at a factory making bras. Every work day, she stood at the bus stop at 5 am to be in downtown by 8 am. This work ethic continues on close to her retirement age.
My mom had to be the working mom, but in the summers, she took a few weeks off to spend it with us. I remember walking the clothes racks of Palais Royal (one of her favorite stores back in the day) buying much of nothing for herself (my mom was in need of a wardrobe update. She wore outdated, tapered jeans with some very mom reeboks), but usually, letting us choose something for ourselves.
Today on her birthday, I’m thankful for everything she is to us and the person she aspires to be. I want to choose to be honest, diligent and enterprising when times are difficult. I want to give without expecting. I want to be selfless like her.
Monday was off to a great start. Benjamin and I hung out with my best friend, ate pizza, ate half an ice cream, and had cake. I’d say it was a great way to start the week. However, at some point when we made it home, we both lost it. By the beginning of Monday evening, we were both crying. He was tired and I was trying to figure out how to help him sleep. I realized later that night he was going through the fourth leap in his mental development. That explained the unusual fuzziness.
A few things that have made this leap easy, so if you need a good laugh or cry, here you go.
This link https://www.buzzfeed.com/asiawmclain/xx-photos-that-are-definitive-proof-that-breastfeeding-is?utm_term=.qdzy1loqv&bffbmain#.cgvOGW8VM
I ugly cried when i read this, and Benjamin giggled at every ugly, cry moment.
On Monday night, after everyone fell asleep, I binged on the mini series, Big Little Lies. I was so tired, but I needed some time to unwind. I took a hot shower and watched three episodes of the series.
Also, the soundtrack is so good, and if there is a song you must love, this one is it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyrQqmc5UT8
This week is National Midwifery Week. It’s one of many of my favorite topics. I had such a great experience with Nativiti. The moment I had my first appointment, I knew Nativiti was the right place for me. I had two appointments prior to Nativiti with obstetricians. I would say that both doctors knew what they were doing, but they couldn’t give me the “scoop” about birthing. My first appointment with Nativiti was about an hour to an hour and half long. Mostly I listened and Jaelin talked about everything from diet, to tea, to exercise. I took it all very seriously. At the moment, I really didn’t have a clue what she was preparing me for.
The day finally came. The day I get to show off what I’m really made of. This day I needed all the endurance, support, love, and power. Hospitals, society, women, etc, make a major emphasis about pain during birth, but throughout my labor, my midwives taught me to surrender to it and breathe through it. The most important part of my care was that I had options, I was supported in my choices and respected. When I was tired of sitting in the warm bathtub, they encouraged, supported, and respected my option to change positions. The small details (giving me water from a straw, placing a wet towel on my neck, encouraging me through my contractions, spoon feeding me) made me feel safe, supported, and loved.
Having a midwife made a major imprint in my life. My experience gave my husband and I beautiful and unforgettable memories. The choices we had gave us the freedom to work together as husband and wife through this beautiful rite of passage.
My favorite topic lately has been breastfeeding. It was not easy, but it has become enjoyable. For the moms who need help, there’s a whole lot of it. Beginning with La Leche League, they have been my source for every breastfeeding related question.
Also, a few things I’ve gathered from experienced moms and learned along the way….
Camisoles underneath my tops. Benjamin easily sweats, so I was concerned about using nursing covers. I decided I would try one. It was definitely uncomfortable fiddling with the cover and my newborn, so I decided I wouldn’t use one to make both Benjamin and I more comfortable. The camisoles do not necessarily have to be for nursing. I bought some at New York and Company that are lightweight and stretchy. They also have several color options.
The diaper bag. Being a first time mom, I put EVERYTHING in my diaper bag. I had a monstrous bag when I really only need diapers, wipes, changing pad, and a change of clothes. Now, I just carry my personal handbag with all the essentials.
Pumping. The best time for me is between 3 am and 5 am. Benjamin sleeps heavily during these hours, so I actually get a lot more done during the early morning hours. Although, I breastfeed throughout the day, I like to have at least one bottle ready for him. It helps to have one for car rides when we go out as a family, or if I need extra help during the day, Raul will bottle feed him.
All the small details came together through trial and error. I thought I had everything figured out from my perfect birth to breastfeeding. There were plenty of challenges at the beginning, but it’s been “a marathon worth the finish line.”