Vlog pt.1

After a lot of technology setbacks, I did it! Turns out all I needed was my iPhone and a lot of storage. So, here are a couple of disclaimers before you begin watching:

  1. My child is crying in the background for 90% of the video, but I assure you Matt was with her. She’s a baby, she’s allowed to be fussy some nights.
  2. I had no idea how long my vlog was until I stopped recording. I’ve realized I can do a pretty damn good job with rambling on.
  3. It’s very candid. I spoke with a lot on my mind.

Here we go:

Mama Untold Thoughts Vlog Pt.1

Show some love and leave a comment!

And we are back!

Tardiness at it’s best – my last blog post was November 17, 2017. But here we are, starting fresh (it’s a new decade after all) and I’m so thrilled to be re-launching my blog. I have big dreams and goals set for this platform. And if there is one thing that I have learned since my last post, it is realizing that life is not a race – everything happens for a reason and we must trust the process that ensues.

I wanted my first post to focus on filling everyone in on what’s been going on in our life since my last published post. I wrote a couple of drafts but nothing felt like it encompassed the true emotions and feels, especially of the last year. One hope for this blog is to connect and be real about feelings without any fear – and I felt the best way to do that was to publish a vlog. This will be released in the next couple of days. Until then, I should probably share why I have decided to re-launch, and who is behind the added inspiration to keep writing.

On November 6, 2019, Ma and Pa were blessed with a beautiful little girl, our second little warrior, Aliza. Oh my, has this little one completely swept us off our feet and stolen our hearts. I call her my little buddhini baby (the female version of buddha; yes, I made that up) because she has the most contagious giggles and smiles.

Let me take you back to the day we found out we were pregnant. I took the pregnancy test and it confirmed I was 2-3 weeks pregnant. I was beyond happy. A completely different feeling. I didn’t feel scared or anxious – I was just happy. But also, busy. Because shortly after taking the test, I had to attend to my toddler -prep her a snack, play, change a diaper, the usual parenting paradigm. And that’s how the entire pregnancy felt; continuously on the go, running around, and never truly getting a moment to breathe. Before we knew it, it was the night before my scheduled c-section and the next morning we were bringing a second baby into this world. WHAT?

If you remember, Amia was born via an emergency c-section, and the recovery was far from easy, both mentally and physically. I decided to have a scheduled c-section for Aliza because I was skeptical to labour to only result in a second emergency c-section. I know many women have successfully delivered their second babies naturally, but I didn’t want to take my chances. Working in risk management, I did my fair share of analyzing and decided this was the best course of action. I had many conversations with my OB who reassured me that I was not taking the easy way out and also reminded me that even with a scheduled c-section I was still at risk of developing an infection. Basically, there was no easy or fearless way of getting Aliza out. So, it was decided: a scheduled c-section on November 6th at 39 weeks pregnant.

The months leading up to baby’s eviction date went fairly smoothly. Aside from being exhausted all of the time, I can’t complain. I enjoyed my pregnancy as I did when I was pregnant with Amia. I took exercising seriously this time around; I basically trained my body to keep working all necessary muscles so that I would not feel defeated post pregnancy. I wanted to feel strong after my c-section this time around – because this mama would have two little humans who would need her. Ah, that emotion was the hardest to fathom – that at the end of my pregnancy journey, I would be a mother of two. How would I be there for both? How could I love another? How? It’s unexplainable, but the moment Amia walked into the hospital room to meet Aliza for the first time, that natural flow of love just happened. I had my two beating hearts in front of me, in my arms, and I felt full – full of joy, full of pride, and full of love.

I felt mentally prepared to deliver Aliza. With Amia, I was heavily sedated and I vaguely remembered the procedure but this time, I took it all in. Matt and I woke up as we normally did on the morning of November 6th. We got Amia ready for daycare and my parents had spent the night so that they could drop her off. Matt and I arrived at the hospital at 8 AM as the c-section was scheduled for 10 AM. Upon arrival, I was asked to change into a hospital gown and wait for the nurses to come and get me hooked up. The hours leading up to the procedure felt so long. I was worried about Amia, about the procedure, about the baby, just about everything. I was given some medication to help with my uneasiness, but I was still scared. I joked with Matt that I wanted to go back home – I didn’t feel like delivering today anymore. But the time had come and the porter arrived with a wheelchair to transport me to the operating room. Once I was outside the operating room, I was told I could just walk right in (um, pardon?). I walked up to the operating table, where I could see all the tools, masked nurses, and my OB – who again reassured me that everything was going to be okay. As I was being prepped, Matt was outside the room getting prepared himself. The worst part about getting me ready for the surgery was that damn spinal anesthetic. I swear I can still feel that sting to this day. But once the spinal was done, it was showtime. As much as I was afraid, I also knew what to expect. I knew what the steps were. I knew that Matt would be coming in shortly. I knew. During my first emergency c-section, I didn’t know a thing. All I remember was a cloud of panic to get Amia out because her heart rate was dropping. I wouldn’t say it was a calm state of mind the second time, but it definitely felt less dramatic. There was no panic from anyone.

Matt was sitting by my side and I felt safe holding his hand throughout the entire procedure. I also couldn’t stop crying. And shaking. Oh the shakes! That’s the second worst part – having absolutely no control of the shaking. It took a bit longer for my OB to get to Aliza because there was more scar tissue to navigate through. And finally, one of the nurses asked me, “do you know what you’re having?”, and I quickly responded as tears of joy were flowing out the corner of my eyes, “it’s a girl?!” And at that moment, they brought Aliza to the warmer, checked her, and brought her over to me for skin-to-skin. The moment she was on my chest I just felt a wave of confidence. I remembered how to old a newborn. I wasn’t afraid anymore. Aliza was in my arms and nothing else mattered, she was out.

Aliza was born at 11:12 AM on November 6th weighing 6lbs 11oz and 19.5 inches long. Aliza didn’t leave my side – we were together in the recovery room and we tried breastfeeding and oh my did this little lady come out hungry. The only problem, my milk did not come in right away. And because my milk wasn’t in right away, Aliza wasn’t getting much. My recovery was going well while in the hospital, but Aliza was dropping in her weight and that made the doctor’s concerned. Of course, if it isn’t one thing, it’s something else that eats away at a mama’s worry. The best thing I could’ve done was continuously put Aliza on my breast – even if she was just sleeping, it was telling my body that I needed to produce. Plus, I was soaking in all of the newborn snuggles as much as I could, because this time, I knew how quickly this time goes by. And finally 4 days later, we were discharged. And then the real fun began, when we got home, as a family of 4.

Recovery was hard but I knew what to look out for. I took it easy. Aliza and I camped out in the bedroom. We didn’t see civilization for a while, but I was okay with that. Aside from doctor appointments, we didn’t leave the house. I was very paranoid and would ask Matt to routinely check my incision. I also always held Aliza. I never wanted to put her down. With Amia, I felt as though I had missed out on some of the most critical moments when she was first born because of the post surgery complications. I was re-admitted to the hospital during Amia’s time. I was away from her. And I sometimes still hold that in my heart. I understand that I needed to get better for her. But my mama heart feels as though I missed out on some key bonding time. So, I wouldn’t say I hoarded Aliza, but I definitely kept her close. I admired every little wrinkle, every little noise she would make (even those grunts), and smelled her freshness as much as I could. I still do. I often get told to not hold your baby too much because they’ll get used to it. Seriously? I can’t hold her enough.

So, welcome baby Aliza. You have just naturally made your place into our world. There hasn’t been many adjustments – sure, we sleep a little less. But who cares? I feel like people are always so concerned with sleep and feeding and questioning why our babies cry so much. Just a gentle reminder that for 9 months this baby was sheltered and comforted in my womb. She was warm and fed. The outside world is naturally a scary environment, with so many different things to see and smells to take in. There’s nothing wrong with a little rocking, a little extra soothing, or warmth and cuddles from mama and dada. That’s their natural instinct – and it should be our natural instinct as parents to always comfort our babies.

That got a little heavy, so to end on a lighter note, I’m going to get cracking on some editing and getting that vlog out. If you made it this far, thanks for reading away at my random mama thoughts – there’s so much more thinking and overthinking to come.

 

 

Just Pause

Finally checking back in. Finally found a moment to sit down and write. It only took me a few months this time. I’m proud I made it back to the blog before Christmas sneaked up on us. As expected, things have become quite chaotic around here. Best way to describe our busy: it’s a next level of busy. But I can proudly say that Amia has adjusted to the new routine and to daycare extremely well. I had no doubts. Her social and lovable personality just shines at daycare. She’s a natural.

Ma and Pa on the other hand are feeling the almost burn out point. That sounds scarier than it is. We’re not going to burn out anytime soon, but we’re feeling pretty run down juggling everything. From getting ready to head out the door in the morning (on time) to throwing some food together to make a quick dinner in the evenings, it’s a spectacle every single day. Amia is our priority right from the moment she’s up in the morning to the moment she’s in bed at night. We try as much as we can to get out of bed before her in the morning to get ready and organized. Sometimes this works. Sometimes it doesn’t. When she is up for the day, it’s a rush to get things going. We change her (for the record, the toddler tantrums have begun), feed her, pack her bag, and out we go. Side note, I have no idea how this is all going to get done in the winter months, I’m already dreading it. We’re out the house between 7-7:15 AM. Roughly 95% of the time, we’re late. Usually because our almost 14 month old already refuses to cooperate and put her jacket on (like I said, I’m already dreading winter).

Matt and I carpool, so we’re usually at work by 8 AM and leave by 4 PM. Most times, actually almost every day, our evenings seem like a blur. So, since having a baby, I have become a huge germ freak (not a germaphobe just yet). I think I’m still in denial. But ever since Amia has started at daycare, I just want to wash her up every night so that she goes to bed nice and clean. So, that’s exactly what we do. Every night when we get home, around 5 PM, the very first thing we do is give Amia a bath. Followed by her carefully thought out dinner, her milk, a bit of play, and then bed by 6:30 PM. Any later than that and we are in trouble. And once she’s in bed, we manage to make a quick dinner and usually by 9 PM we’re out cold.

It has been close to 3 months of getting through this new routine. I’ll admit (and not ashamed to do so), it’s hard. And it’s not like our 7.5 hours of work are a breeze either. Since returning to work from mat leave, I got a promotion (yay, I think), and it has been demanding on so many levels. I came across a really amusing and relatable meme on Facebook that Jillian Harris (I’m a fan, if you aren’t already, follow her!) shared. It was the crazy lady from the Dalmatian’s movie with the following lines: “Me trying to excel in my career, maintain a social life, drink enough water, exercise, text everyone back, stay sane, survive and be happy”. As comical as it appeared, there was so much truth to it. Work has been a rollercoaster of emotions. And with all the adjusting going on, I’m still trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle and somewhat make time for social outings. So on many fronts, we’re both still trying to get a handle on work life all while managing to balance our personal lives.

But the other day, something dawned on me. Matt and I took an “us” day. Something that we haven’t done in a really long time. And it was very obvious that it was needed. Ladies and gents, Ma’s and Pa’s, do it. Take a day out of your schedules and forget about the laundry, the dishes, the house cleaning, or whatever it is that consumes all of your time and just take a break. Talk to your significant other. Hold hands. Giggle. Drink beer mid-day. And embrace the moment. For the last few months, Matt and I have been consumed with our day-to-day routine and naturally bickering over the littlest of things, we just needed to step away from the chaos. We dropped Amia off at daycare (which I felt uber guilty about at first) and grabbed two coffees and made our way to Gatineau Park for a nice hike. It was quiet, serene, and no one in sight. It was magical. It brought me back to our dating days. The days of just the two of us. I felt selfish, but at the same time soaked in every minute of the day.

All this to say: I actually really reflected about us and realized how entwined we’ve become with our work life and our day-to-day madness; sometimes late days, sometimes work travels. There was a time where I felt I needed to catch up with my career because I “lost” a year. Such a big misconception on my part. If anything, the skills I learned as a Ma during my year off are being practised in my work life. Time management, setting priorities, dealing with difficult situations. I’m still learning. We’re both still learning. And we’re both still adjusting. And that’s just it; we’ll never have our set routine or confidently say we have things under control. Because the reality is life happens. There will be ups and downs and we’ll continuously learn how to handle situations as time goes on. For now, during this moment of time, I’m focusing on us and noticing how much of an awesome team we make to keep our little family of 3 going.

-Ma

 

You are One, Our Little Warrior

To our little warrior,

Today you are one. It all feels like yesterday: holding you in our arms for the first time, delicately putting on your first set of clothes to take you home in, walking through the front door with you in our arms. The first few days and weeks feel like a blur. Ma and Pa were so sleep deprived and struggling to get me back to being healthy. Everyone would tell us to sleep when you were sleeping. But we couldn’t. We would place you in the middle of our bed and just watch you sleep. Pa would doze off, but I just watched and studied you. How did we create such pure beauty?

I’m not sure where the last year went. At the time, the multiple wake-up calls during the night or the “witching hour” moments felt so unbearable. But those moments passed. As did those precious moments: snuggling you during skin to skin, holding you in our arms and watching you look back at us and coo away, or attempting your first tummy time session (sorry, we had to!). And just like that you were a pro babbler at 2 months, started rolling around everywhere at 4 months, sat up all proud at 6 months, slept like a pro since 7 months, crawled at 9 months, became a pro at standing and pulling up on everything by 10 months, and a daycare attendee at 11 months.

My little warrior, you have accomplished SO much in this past year and we are so proud of you. Sometimes, I sit back and just observe how you play with your toys and I always wonder what you’re so meticulously thinking or deciding. We see more and more of your personality every day. Your signature wave stops strangers in their path to wave back at you. Your joyous smile brightens a room. Your love for music shows the second you start dancing away (more like bouncing around). Amia, never lose that pure beauty that resides within you. Radiate that pureness everywhere you go. You are destined to go places and Ma and Pa will be there to always support and guide you. You are and forever will be our strength and purpose. We love you.

Forever yours,

Ma and Pa

So, I’m Supposed to What?

Oh what a crazy past few months – summer generally is busy, add in a few weddings, some birthday’s, and get togethers; it equates to not enough hours in a day. And with all of the madness going on, we’ve been trying to organize our own life. I go back to work in less than a month. I’m in denial. There’s one line in Beyoncé’s Run the World song that always resonates with me, “Strong enough to bear the children then get back to business.” In theory, yes, this is true. But I’m lost. I have been raising a little human for the past 10 months. In the next month I’m obligated to return to work and trust a complete stranger to care for my child. What?

I’ll just state the obvious by saying that this year flew by. And as if the year wasn’t short enough, I do feel slightly robbed of the first 3 months of my maternity leave. Despite my best efforts of keeping positive, I sometimes feel like I could’ve done better during that recovery time. Better in the sense that I shouldn’t have been so hard on myself and just tried to enjoy every single moment. I remember feeling like a failure at times because I wasn’t able to do more than half the things I wanted to. But as I reflect back, I think we did what needed to do as a family and moved forward. I considered extending my maternity leave to make up for some lost time, but, for us, I don’t feel that would be the best option. As much as I have loved becoming a parent and raising a child, I miss my time. I haven’t glorified parenthood and I try not to because parenting is not a walk in the park. There were days (sometimes weeks) where I felt like I couldn’t do it anymore. And it was nothing against Amia. I just missed me. I still miss me. I miss my hot morning coffee, my hot shower, and my fun wardrobe (there’s only so many repeat home clothes you can wear before you realize you should probably do laundry). And as much as it’ll be healthy to return back to work, I’m going to miss my little warrior. Amia has been nothing but the best and watching her grow and blossom into a beautiful soul has been so rewarding; her softness and graceful acts of kindness have made me so proud to be her Ma.

Sometimes I wonder if I did enough during the past year. I took advantage of as many mom and baby activities happening across the city to keep us busy. I did anything and everything, from keeping myself active to keeping Amia stimulated. We also met a lot of other amazing Ma’s and their little ones. Whether it was at a playgroup or salsa dancing, Amia and I made new and fun friends everywhere we went. Sometimes if we had no place to go, I would pack Amia up and just drive. Lots of driving happened. We discovered many little towns and local shops. And if driving wasn’t in our best interest, I would just pack her up in the stroller and go for a nice long stroll. Something I wouldn’t do as often before baby. I saw more of my neighbourhood and realized how nice it is filled with many parks and trails. Our days were mini adventures. Together, we explored and discovered. And the days we were home (because we needed rest days too!), we would play, laugh, and my favourite part, cuddle – lots and lots of cuddles. Those damn cuddles get me – instant heart melt.

I’m really going to miss it all. I’m not sure how I’m expected to rise in my career, take a pause to start a family, and then resume establishing my career while still learning how to raise a child. This transition is going to be very interesting. Let’s be real, it’s going to be ridiculously hard. I also never thought we would find daycare for Amia. Not because of capacity issues at these centres, but because of me. We visited about 6 to 10 different spots, both home and centres. After our last visit, Matt caught on – he told me that no matter how many places we visited, none of them would ever be good enough. It’s true.

Matt and I finally agreed on a place. It’s nice and bonus it’s new. But I’m still trying to process the thought of someone else tending to my child. I know the educators are trained professionals. I need to learn to trust them. But the thoughts always cross my mind (yes the crazy Ma in me comes out): What if Amia is too cold? Too warm? How will she let them know? What if she’s really whiney? What if she’s still hungry after snack time? What if Amia just wants cuddles from Ma? The “what-ifs” are eating at me all the time. But then I try and remember the positives: that this is good for her and her development. Amia will make new friends, interact with new adults, and learn and play in a new environment. Her days will still be filled with adventures, just with different people. So, as much as I’m dreading the first day of daycare, I’m holding my head up and convincing myself that this is all good.

And with that, the next month will be spent making lots of memories; Amia and I plan on making the most of it. Normally I try and leave on a positive note, but this time, this Ma could use all the words of encouragement and positive vibes to make this transition as easy as possible (if that’s possible) – in the meantime, I’ll just keep jamming to Beyoncé tunes to stay empowered and remind me that I got this, we got this.

-Ma

 

 

I Didn’t Forget About You Pa’s…

Father’s Day came and passed. So, you must be wondering about my tribute to the amazing Pa’s out there. To be honest, I get a little choked. I had to build up some tough skin to get my words out for this post. A Mother’s love holds its own special place. But I truly believe that a daughter’s first true love is her Father. Some find this statement offensive. I don’t. For us daughter’s, our Father is the first man who wiped away our first tears and held us close to their heart.

I have witnessed this love first hand between Amia and Matt, her Pa. I have never doubted Matt’s big heart, but since Amia, the love he gives her each and every day just moves me. I know he has been dealing with some changes in his career, but the second he walks through the front door every evening, he leaves work behind him and shows up for Amia. I’m guilty for giving him a hard time, almost all of the time, but I recognize his love for his daughter, I always have. He’s the goof she needs (I mean that in the nicest way); he’ll let her play with her food, splash a little longer in the bath tub, and push her bedtime for some extra giggles between the two of them. And Amia loves it. The moment she hears the front door unlock, she knows it’s Matt; she stops whatever she’s doing and turns to the direction of the door. Her face instantly lights up when she sees Matt walk in. This moment melts my heart every single day. The time they spend on evenings and weekends is short lived; I wish I could have Matt stay home all day, not for my own selfish reasons, but to see the bond between Amia and her Pa grow stronger.

I’ve come to the realization (there’s been a lot of these lately, bear with me), that a daughter and a Father’s relationship is very unique. To us daughter’s, our Father is like that best friend figure; he’s the go-to when we’re in need of something (and we know mom won’t approve), or when we want to be silly, or when we really disagree about something we won’t speak for days and then forget why we’re not talking. At least this is how I’ve experienced it to be. My Papa: the “goofiest cool strict Dad” you’ll ever meet. The thought of doing math homework with my Pops still gives me shivers – god forbid if I ever made a mistake. But it was my Pops who taught me how to ride a bike, polish my parallel parking skills before my driving test, and to overall be a tough cookie (but I still can’t kill a spider without calling him to the rescue). Even today, he empowers me to push myself and to never settle for second best. He will only ever give credit to my Mom (understandable), but give yourself a high-five, Pops – you did good.

And to the Ma’s out there who fulfill both the Ma and Pa duty; I salute you – you are my true heroes. I could never imagine raising Amia without Matt and I could never imagine growing up without my own Pops. Again, sorry Pa’s for the belated shout-out. Your efforts and selfless acts never go unnoticed.

– Ma

A Ma’s Day Special

This post is a special one. Today is Mother’s Day. A day we celebrate all of the beautiful Ma souls; our creators, the backbone of our existence. There is so much our Mother’s have done for us that go completely unnoticed. I only realized this after becoming a Ma. Our little ones will never know how us Ma’s survived the sleepless nights, the worries of feeding, or the way we watch them sleep. They’ll never get it. And that’s okay; I think it’s part of the role of Ma-hood. We do these things out of care and concern with no expectations; it’s how we’re naturally programmed. So as much as we should celebrate all the Ma’s today, they deserve to be honoured every single day for all that they do.

Like I said this post is a special one. I started this blog a few weeks after Amia was born. I felt empowered as a Ma to write and share not only the joys of Ma-hood, but the challenges we face but don’t talk about often. The writing has helped me mentally to let the thoughts out from my mind. I sent out a request on my personal Facebook page asking other Ma’s, Ma’s-to-be, and Pa’s too to share something about Ma-hood. And this is why this post is special. Today I’m sharing with all of you words from other brave Ma’s who are expressing their experiences/challenges/stories about Ma-hood. I’ll leave you here with their stories. Again, love your Ma’s today and always. No explanation needed. They need us as much as we need them.

-Ma

Pearly’s Story: 

January 03, 2016 was the day we found out we were expecting….  The day my maternal instinct kicked in, in full force.

Although it was a surprise to us, we were overcome with joy and lots of emotions. My husband, (boyfriend at the time) who had lost both parents a few years back, said to me “thank you for giving me a family”.

I’ll never forget that moment. I felt incredible, divine, powerful, fulfilled…

I also felt confused and tired. Very VERY tired. Despite knowing we were doing something great and out of pure love, I was confused. I have naturally always done things differently, against the “norms” of society and I am also never apologetic about it! This is who I am but suddenly I was thinking “people will be shocked” and “what will my family in Malaysia think?” and most importantly “my mom is going to be pissed!!” Regardless, it is news we had to share.

Growing up in a South Asian household predominantly influenced by a mix of Malaysian and Punjabi culture, we had always been outsiders in our own community. Simply because my parents were more liberal and understanding. Still, my mother WAS shocked…. AND pissed! When we told her, there was first a wave of calm and confusion. Then, a concerned/pissed mother with a million questions. Finally, an understanding and compassionate mother who held me and cried with me. She saw my confusion and offered her support. That is all I needed. All of this happened within 48hrs of us taking that pregnancy test. I had my true love and my mother and I felt incredibly loved and unstoppable.

This was the beginning of my journey into motherhood.

Although there were many ups and downs, I will focus on the high points.

My pregnancy was sensational. I’m not religious nor do I believe in a god but if there is such a thing, I found it in my partner. He is my king of strength. He is a hunter-gatherer protecting his women. He is a phenomenal man. From the physical comforting to my mental well being.. He tended to it all. When I met him, my life changed. I can see now that all of the bumps we faced in our lives (and there were a lot) were preparing us for each other. We survived distance, doubt, hate.. Our love created a life force. Proof that magic does exist.

I could not have had such a pleasant birth experience without him. From 3:30am when my water broke to pushing (REALLY hard) for 2.5 hrs. Together we experienced the most painful and challenging thing in our lives but it brought us even closer.

I’ll never forget the look in Nicho’s eyes when he saw Reina for the first time. He shed his previous sense of self and a father was born.

January 03, 2016 is the day I became a mother. 2 hearts became 3. The love I felt is indescribable. August 27, 2016.. the first time I felt Reina on my chest, I landed on another planet. Her cries turned into a calm sleep and unfathomable depths of love oceans flowed through us… I felt stronger, more intuitive and capable of being her mother. She is what I had been missing.

I had been waiting for her and I am so grateful she chose me.

Anonymous Story:

I began writing my birth story with the intention of sharing my experience with both birth and subsequently, life with a newborn. I reached two full pages of writing without even breaking the surface…which is when I decided to re-evaluate exactly what message I wanted to share for both interest’s sake and what I feel is most important to know; exactly how can I benefit any potential readers after sharing my piece? Well I’m about to try my best with the hour I have before babe wakes for a feed again.

The fact that I’m being given an opportunity to share my thoughts and experiences through a fellow mom is bit of a testament in itself to a lot of the feelings I’ve had during my first six weeks as a new mother to our beautiful baby; as parents, we need each other more than I could’ve ever imagined. Before giving birth, I was always a very independent person – asking for help and support didn’t run thick through my veins. I can’t tell you how much I’ve changed in just six weeks. Realizing I was about to and actually giving birth at 35 weeks pregnant all within the span of four hours was just the beginning. Without any further ado, I want to share my experiences here in way of gratitude. I’d prefer this to be a bit more polished, but with a newborn on my baby monitor potentially waking at any time, I’m going to give you my raw thoughts…so here I go:

  • To all my fellow moms and dads: thank you for welcoming us with open arms, encouraging and supporting us as we made the biggest transition of our lives. I used to think the whole “welcome to the parenthood club” was like okay yeah, cute, y’all are parents and a bunch of geeks now (hey, no hate…I voluntarily joined this club!) but I can’t explain what a club it truly is; it’s like receiving all this love and support from people you may have not even shared much of a connection with before, or people you hardly even know. They get it, you get it…and it’s a bond like I’ve never had with anyone before; not even the people I am closest to. So thank you for enabling me to have such wonderful outreach along my journey so far. My sanity would not exist without you.
  • To my fellow mommas: you are freaking INCREDIBLE for everything you do, from birth to the moment your baby leaves for college. I now truly understand why moms are often likened to superheroes – this isn’t some cute suggestion, moms are the real-life definition. You deserve the world.
  • To all you supportive dads: you are ROCKS and bring so much calm to the turmoil us new mothers are going through. Having a baby with a supportive dad has made me fall in love with him ten times over…I just can’t imagine doing it without him. For those of you that have done it without “him”, you are incredibly amazing for being so strong. I look up to you.
  • To single moms, moms of multiples, and moms with more than one child: I don’t know how you do it. I truly don’t. You are amazing and deserve a national award. Sending you so much love and strength. You are ROCKSTARS.
  • To my fellow moms of preemies – I know. I know the pain, the guilt, and the joy of seeing your whole heart go through things that even an adult would find scary; waiting to see if your baby would start reversing their above-threshold- weight loss and jaundice…and seeing that feeding tube go through their tiny noses into their bellies to nourish them. These are just some of the problems with premature babies, and after meeting several other sweet mothers who were doing the same song and dance as I was – breast pumping for 20 minutes (since you weren’t allowed to try breastfeeding because it would impact your baby’s delicate energy reserves), coming to feed your milk to your baby and rock them to sleep, then returning to your room to eat and do it all again an hour later for the entire duration of your baby’s stay in the NICU – I couldn’t fathom the bigger problems our baby’s NICU neighbours were facing. A few moms had babies in the NICU for months after delivering 2-pounders. My heart goes out to you all, moms of preemies and micro-preemies. I hope it gets better soon.
  • To nurses of all wards: you are true angels on earth. It brings me to tears just thinking of how incredibly sweet, supportive, and caring you all are. What you do is SO important and you help to change lives for the better every single day. I’m bordering a career change here…;)
  • To my fellow mom out walking her newborn, covering those teary, dark-circle- ridden eyes with giant sunglasses, sporting unwashed hair, and clothes stained with milk and all sorts of baby fluids: thank you for that knowing smile you flash me when we pass each other. There’s nothing like solidarity – stay strong, sister!
  • To mothers experiencing post-partum depression (PPD): we must believe that life will go on and things will get better with time; as much as I am reminded of this, on my darkest days, there is no light at the end of the tunnel despite how anyone tries to paint the picture for you. I hope that anyone experiencing symptoms of PPD get them checked as soon as possible, and for those family members and friends of someone who might be at risk, please do not dismiss the signs as being normal emotions (although it is a roller coaster for the first couple of weeks) when they are experiencing them long after giving birth. Please encourage them to seek help. Mental health is more important than I ever knew before now, and there is absolutely no shame or guilt in speaking up about your true feelings.
  • To friends and family of mine that have had a baby that I’ve visited in the past: I’m sorry. I’m sorry for not offering more help and recognizing that the last thing you wanted to do was chit chat about baby and your birth story, about what’s going on with me, etc. for any time over 30 minutes. My vow to my friends and family with babes in the future is to come over (if you will accept), bring you meals, groceries, cook for you, take out your garbage’s, do you laundry if you are comfortable, watch babe while you shower, whatever you want. You got it.
  • To friends and family of parents: your friend/sister/brother/daughter, etc. need you. They need you to offer and push your help on them. Thank you to all supportive friends and family out there. Without you, we wouldn’t be succeeding.
  • To mommas-to- be: I need you to know that early parenthood is truly both the most wonderful, the most difficult, and one of the most trying times of your life so far. Nothing can prepare you for it. I encourage you to reach out for support of all kinds: accept ALL of the help you can get – cooked meals, groceries, cleaning, watching babe while you sleep (SLEEP WHILE THEY SLEEP!)…accept all the damn help you can get! Because, trust me love, you barely find time to even feed and hydrate yourself. Please also remember to never feel judged for any decision you make – there is no right way to do anything except love up on your babe. Especially for feeding – know that FED is BEST. No one cares if you feed by breast or formula –please make the decision that is best for your sanity. To take care of your baby, you need to take care of yourself. More important to keep in mind – enjoy your little human as much as possible. Every coo, every snuggle, every tiny smile (whether it’s gas or not, hah!)…and attempting to read I’ll love you forever while rocking your babe…good luck to you and your melting heart 😉 Parenthood is truly the hardest job in the entire world. Please go hug your mothers and fathers, and for those of you who are mothers, go and do something for yourself. This mothers day, I have been blessed with not only the title of mom, but an entirely new perspective on life. Parenthood is so much more than I could’ve ever anticipated; nothing can truly prepare you for the road ahead. I’ve never felt more vulnerable, naïve, in love, frustrated, scared, and sleep-deprived in my life. But what’s most important is that despite consistently cold coffee and being in pyjamas all day every day, my baby is happy and is thriving. I have so much love and respect for parents, I can’t even explain it…so I won’t begin to try. Sending so much love to all you amazing moms and dads forever and always. Infinite x’s and o’s.

Francine’s Story: 

Motherhood happened suddenly and apologetically. It didn’t care that I packed up all of my shit and left a man’s home, changed my number and vowed never to speak to him again. That I was in a different country, alone, left my job and my city. I did not feel bad that I was 36, divorced, not married to the father of the baby and broke with no plan. I didn’t feel sorry that I wasn’t prepared to hear I would be a mother and single mother, face my family, her father, the shame of an imperfect situation.

I thought I couldn’t do it. Despite her disappointment of the circumstances, it was my mother who told me as I paced the hallways of the hospital, that I could do it and that it would be fine. I let go of that shame and at that first ultrasound a day later..felt joy.
The rest of my pregnancy was magical. I soaked it all in and I accepted that although I didn’t have much, we would have everything we needed.

I was a total rockstar in the birth (I have to give myself props)! I had a home birth and never been so proud. Despite a complication that caused a lot of blood loss and could have been fatal, I still feel like a rockstar because I did it, I survived it and I would do it all again.

Motherhood has been beautiful and challenging but committing and trusting in something greater than myself to guide me and protect us both has been an absolute awakening. I have something I’ve always wanted and it took it to come in the most unapologetic and rude way possible but I am so grateful for the gift of my beautiful daughter, for being knocked on my ass and for giving me the opportunity to build it all back up one block at a time..with patience and authenticity.