“Don’t Worry, Be Happy”

After a serious hiatus, I am back. I actually started this post a while ago, but geez, life just got really busy. Our little warrior is now 7 months. I’m still in denial. Time needs to chill. In the last 7 months, we have seriously come a long way. By we, I mean Matt, myself, and Amia. We’ve adjusted nicely to our cozy family of three. Nothing is perfect, nor will it ever be, but each and every day we are thankful for our life and for each other. Originally, I wanted my next post (being this post) to go back in time – I have wanted to share our honeymoon travels to Dubai, Maldives, and India. Instead, I’ll give you a little update on us (because it has been a while). But I promise, one day, l will write about our trip of a lifetime; it deserves to be shared.

We’ve been keeping busy since my last post. We took our first family trip and visited Matt’s parents in Florida. When I was 4 months old, my adventurous parents packed me up and took me overseas to India. Brave, right? I figured if they could handle an infant on an international flight – I got this – what’s a 4 hour flight to Florida? I wasn’t worried. We spent our weekends leading up to the trip preparing and buying items; mostly for the little one. New stroller. New summer clothes (my favourite part). New bottles. New carrier. Lots and lots of new. I started packing 3 weeks in advance. I wanted to be sure nothing would get missed. I consider myself organized – not overly organized, but I can get it together. I don’t colour coordinate or label items, but I can place items in piles and know what’s going on.  All that to say, I was feeling pretty confident up until the night before our flight. That’s when it truly hit me that my child will be taking a flight for the first time and I don’t know if I’m prepared for the worst case scenario. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep much the night before our flight. We had a 6 AM flight and had to be at the airport for 4 AM. Before putting Amia to bed that night, we placed her into her travel clothes – less to do in the morning. While our little one was getting some much needed rest, Matt and I were doing the sheer opposite – we were still packing. This is when my nerves kicked in – what if we were missing something really important? What if I didn’t have enough clothes? Did we pack the thermometer? Enough bottles? Did someone pack socks for her? Socks? Really? We were going to Florida. But I was a worried wreck and I don’t think I’ve experienced such anxiety as much as I did that night before our flight.

In any case we arrived at the airport on time. Checked-in. Ready to board. So far, everything was going smoothly; even our luggage weight was perfect. Normally, I am not a nervous flyer – I’ve always enjoyed flying and travelling. But travelling with an infant is VERY different. Along with our luggage, we had Amia’s diaper bag, her car seat, her stroller, her carrier to lug around. From my research on my Mom Facebook groups, I knew that it was suggested to nurse Amia during take-off and landing. My attention was geared towards her well-being and comfort that I completely forgot to chew gum – I always need gum during take-off. But of course, she surprised me. Not a single tear during take-off. She was just so curious about her new environment; the whole process didn’t faze her. It was such a good feeling when we landed – leaving the snow behind us, taking in the sunshine, and enjoying some much needed family time. We spent a few days with my in-laws and then headed to Orlando for the remainder of the trip. I was pretty adamant to visit Disney World – what’s the point, right? Your 6 month old will not remember a thing. Without sounding too silly, the visit to Disney World was for me. I have been bugging Matt for a while now about visiting Disney – I was on his case that we should go before we have kids; it’ll be more enjoyable – but he didn’t listen. I had been to Disney a couple of times; this was Matt’s first time. We managed to enjoy the full day at one of the theme parks. I was worried that the day would be too much for Amia. But, again, she surprised me. She was a champ and thoroughly enjoyed being outdoors and even loved being on some of the slow paced rides. She was soaking it all in; now, if only Ma could just sit back and do the same.

I think as Mom’s, our number one stress is worrying. At least for me. I worried so much about Amia’s well-being throughout the trip. She was completely fine. But I worry because of the unknowns. I am a planner and I like to know details. In this case, we didn’t know how she would respond to a new environment – the weather, the new sleeping arrangements, or the new routine for the week. But, I’ll say this one last time, she surprised me. Babies are very adaptable, more so than we are as adults. They sense change, but they don’t shy away from it. They embrace it and love it. Without any trouble, Amia was back to her routine once we returned home. Overall, a very successful first family trip. We’re ready for the next adventure.

So, going back to the part about us Mom’s stressing ourselves out from all the worrying we do; seriously, we need to tone it down, or at least I’ve been told by Matt I need to chill sometimes. I can’t help it. I grew a human inside of me for 40 weeks 5 days. I think I mentioned this in my first post, but my worrying kicked in the second we found out we were pregnant. But now my worries have heightened to an entirely different level. Is she eating okay? Is she sleeping okay? Oh my, the sleeping. Let’s talk about the worry surrounding her sleep for a second. Since birth, we co-slept. At the time, this was the best decision for us. Fast forward to Amia at 4 months and the whole co-sleeping thing was not going well anymore. Her sleep schedule suddenly changed on us and she would wake up every 2 hours to feed. Something had to give otherwise this zombie of a Ma was going to lose her mind. So, we started the process of sleep training. This meant that we moved Amia to her own room in her own crib. This transition came with a lot of worries and heavy hearts. The adjustment was not easy, for Ma, Pa, or Amia. Matt and I dedicated a weekend to start Amia’s sleep training process and I was told to leave the house on the first night as things would not be easy for me. We were working with a professional sleep consultant through this process but it was still very difficult to fathom. Why? Well, just imagine this child who only knows the comfort of her mother or father and only knows how to sleep in their arms is now being forced to sleep in a completely new environment. Amia didn’t know any better. I felt terrible the first night we started. I remember waking up in tears and telling Matt I wanted to bring her back to our room. I was ready to back out. But through Matt’s encouragement and determination and realizing that this was best for our little one and for us, we kept at it. He was the superstar throughout the training. All I could do the first night she was in her crib on her own was just worry. I watched the monitor like a hawk – constantly checking her breathing reassuring myself by watching her chest move up and down; the slightest noise making me want to run to her room to check on her. Of course, during this time Amia learned how to roll over on to her stomach – the panic set in because the second we put her on her back to sleep, she’d roll. But we quickly realized (and researched) that once baby’s start rolling over on to their stomachs, they’re fine.  Although it has been a couple of months now since Amia has been sleeping in her own crib, from time I still wake up to check the monitor to make sure she’s okay. I’m that Ma!

Yup, I am that Ma and I’m not ashamed or embarrassed to admit to it. We all have our own irks and quirks, our own opinions on things, and our own preferences on how to do things, and that’s perfectly okay. You created your own child, therefore only YOU have the right on how to raise your child. Another fair assessment about your children is that they all come in different shapes and sizes. Amia is a petite one. She was born at 7 lbs 9 oz; however, genetics would suggest she’s just a wee one. Our doctor has never shown any concern regarding Amia’s weight. Amia is reaching all of her milestones, she is a happy baby (most of the time), and most of all eats, poops, and pee’s around the clock. But this Ma was worried (sometimes, still am). And I think what sparked my worrying is that anytime Amia was surrounded by other babies around her age, well the comments would start pouring in: “Oh my, she’s so tiny.” Yes, I am well aware my babe is tiny, I created this human. No, I’m not depriving my child. But as our doctor put it, Ma and Pa are not large people; therefore don’t expect a chunky monkey of a baby. But no matter what the doctor would tell me to assure me that Amia is growing perfectly, it was bothering me. I somewhat started doubting myself. Maybe my breastmilk isn’t cutting it? Maybe I’m doing something wrong? Or maybe I’m missing her cues? Gosh, the thoughts that eat at you sometimes almost don’t let you live. I would constantly worry about this, especially before bed. And of course, asking Dr. Google did not help. Ma’s, if there’s one piece of advice I could give, it is to NOT Google anything related to your baby period. I think at one point I had myself convinced that there was genuinely something wrong with me or with my babe. That’s when I realized, enough was enough. Honestly, trust your instincts and move forward.

As time goes by, I’m slowly starting to get over it: worrying aimlessly about Amia. Because in the grand scheme of things, I need to stop taking to heart about what others have to say about MY child. I made her. I know her best. I know what she needs. I know when she needs to be fed, held, soothed, or changed. I don’t need anyone telling me otherwise (of course my own Mother is the exception to this rule). I’m mastering the “in one ear, out through the other” practise when it comes to people and their opinions. I know some people are genuinely offering a suggestion of help, but trust me, I got this. All that to say, I still worry sometimes about Amia’s weight, but now that she’s eating 2-3 meals a day, plus her bottles, plus the breastmilk (she’s an eating machine), she’s good. I’ve accepted that my 7 month old is a petite babe, and I’m okay with that. Basically, what I’m trying to say is that just as every person is unique, so are babies – that’s why it makes me wonder why we try and put babies into the same basket and compare them. A baby will learn how to crawl, roll over, babble, or walk when they’re ready to do so. The “Mom Competition” is real. So many times I’ve heard Mom’s comment over one another. Sometimes, the comparisons are really not necessary. All of our babes are achieving their milestones in their own special ways; let’s celebrate that. I think it’s also important to note that we shouldn’t be afraid to discuss our fears about our babe’s or about our postpartum life. I’ve said this before, life after baby is not glamourous. I am guilty of sometimes posting your standard hallmark-esque pictures that deceivingly show nothing but smiles and happiness in our life. Trust me, it’s not like that 90% of the time around here. We have our ugly days and then we have our very ugly days. But I hope by opening up about some of worry’s related to Amia will show that I’m just as human as you are and I’m trying to figure it out one day at a time.

So, as much as Ma-hood has brought happiness and excitement in my life, the level of worriedness for my child has grown exponentially. It’ll never change. I know this is only just the beginning. I’m trying very hard to not turn into a helicopter Mom – only because I want my child to explore and grow as freely as possible, but my helicopter Mom tendencies do come out in some moments. I’m also trying not to worry to the point where that’s all I do and fail to enjoy the precious moments with my little one. I never believed it when people would say to me, “Enjoy this time, it flies by.” I get it now. At 7 months I can’t believe how much has changed. My next big worry: daycare. Our hunt has begun and it absolutely scares me. I’ll save that story for another time. For now, let’s all try to worry a little less about things and enjoy the present moment with our loved ones – especially our precious little munchkins; they’re the best.

-Ma

 

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