5 Lies We Tell New Moms

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One of my best friends (who shall remain nameless here), recently had her baby boy.  She endured months and months of anticipation, excitement and planning.  After her little boy was born we went several weeks before connecting again, and we had the most interesting conversation about new mommy-hood.  My friend was genuinely a little bit angry, with the pre-natal nursing staff, with me, with moms in general for having lied to her all along about what was to come or how things may go.

So after giving it a great deal of thought, I think I have to agree.  We lie to moms all the time, we all do it, me included.  Sometimes we lie on purpose, other times we lie by omission.  Regardless, we lie lie lie.  So I’m here to set the record straight with a few “truths”, for my friend, for myself and anyone else who may be reading this while pregnant thinking all will be roses and unicorns come that little one’s arrival.

(1) The  “I’m so in love” lie:  We often tell moms that the first time they meet their baby it will be the best day of their lives.  This part is true….HOWEVER it will likely be a few months or maybe years before you will look back at your little one’s birth day with fondness and longing.  Likely you will be so drugged up from an epidural, or so drained from a natural labour, that you won’t remember much…never mind actually bond with that little baby.  Now this may not the case for all, some moms may instantly fall in love, I don’t know know for sure but I’ll give everyone the benefit of the doubt here.  I can say for me I felt relieved mainly.  Relieve that the baby was alive, and myself also for that matter.

I like to think we tell other mom’s this from a bout of temporary amnesia.

(2) The “breastfeeding is amazing” lie:  Breastfeeding can be amazing, and likely will be at some point but not immediately.  At first it sucks.  It hurts horribly, there may be blood, and this is if you’re lucky enough to have a baby who latches.  If you don’t, you’ll likely go through hours of torturous thoughts and worries.  You will spend a lot of time researching lactation consultants and frequenting chat rooms for any shred of help and advice someone may give you.

(3)  The “it gets better just as soon as…” lie:  Oh I think I’m the queen of this lie.  I say it all the time, to myself also.  “Its ok that he’s not sleeping right now, it gets better as soon as he hits 11lbs”.  “Don’t worry that your baby screams every single night starting at 4pm, it gets better as soon as he turns 3mos”…. I could go on.  The truth is whatever horrible phase is happening at that exact moment it will pass and it will get better, but likely it will be replaced by an equally horrible phase or maybe even worse…insert teething here.

(4)  The “breastfeeding helps you lose weight” lie (see also #2):  Breastfeeding DOES NOT HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT.  Actually breastfeeding will make you hungrier than you’ve ever been before, including during pregnancy.  You will be starving all day long and shovelling food in wherever you can get it.  Do yourself a favour and don’t expect a miraculous transformation, because its just not going to happen.

(5)  The “don’t worry about what you look like you just had a baby” lie:  This is a big one, and its so big that I even say it to myself and believe it.  Except that at some point we didn’t JUST have a baby.  No.  We had a baby 6 months ago, a year ago.  Often this lie is then replaced by “it took 9 months to gain the weight it will take that long to lose it”.  Its really all just BS at the end of the day.  I think we say it not knowing what else to say and not wanting the new or soon to be new mom, to lose all faith and maybe have a nervous breakdown.  In truth losing any baby weight is hard, very hard, especially if you’re breastfeeding (see point #4).  It can come off BUT it comes off with major diet changes and restrictions, working out and dedication.

So there you have it.  If its any consolation we lie because we care.  We want to make sure moms are happy first and foremost, so we fib a little to keep those rainbows alive.  And if we are level-setting here, your love for your child will far out weight the crap I wrote above, that I can promise is the truth.

On Motherhood: Advocate

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Over the last few months I learned a valuable lesson on motherhood.  We are our children’s biggest advocate for everything from health, to education, to daily tasks.  The world is a maze, specialists are busy, we have to be our children’s voice and in some cases we have to fight their battles.

Sometimes the answers are not clear.  When our children get sick and diagnosis is not immediately determined, we have to fight our way through it.  Its hard.  Its exhausting.  Frustrating, sometimes hopeless and often lonely.

That is why it is so important to reach out to friends and family.  To share the experience and lean on them for comfort.  To be the best advocates for our children, we have to be present.

Advocacy for our children was never so apparent to me as it is now.  Johannes’ fevers are not something that can be fixed, and the course of treatment is blurry and practically non existent.  I’ve created my own formula of vitamins, oils and minerals that seem to have worked.  But its not enough. The fever will come back.

We visited Sick Kids hospital this week and sought help from a specialist.  We now have a really important decision to make.  Do we throw a last ditch effort and schedule Johannes’ tonsilectomy, or do we keep doing what we are doing.  Neither option has guaranteed results, and both options have potential for scary consequences.  How do we make this decision?  How do I as a mother say “ok” to a surgery?  How do I weight the risks against the benefits and come out feeling satisfied in my decision?  For this last part I don’t have an answer.  I hope and pray that in the next little while I will have some clarity.  The weight of this decision is heavy at times so I’m trying my very very best to focus on the positive and keep enjoying the little things.

Snowboard Camp

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Life got busy this year.  We had plans to put Johannes in snowboard lessons for the season, because he LOVED snowboarding so very much last year.  But then we didn’t, and I felt guilty.  So what better way to make up for an entire missed season of snowboarding, but to jam pack it into a March Break camp.

Johannes loved snowboarding, of course.  He has no fear, much like all four year olds, he loves speed and falling is only a minor inconvenience at best.

What I didn’t realize was just how much I would enjoy his snowboard camp. We would drop off Magnus with my grandmother and drive along to the ski hill singing and chatting about anything that came to mind. We had quality uninterrupted time together and it was really wonderful.  I can’t be in every place at the same time and for the majority of Johannes’ hockey season he only went with Michael and my dad.  I missed so many of his milestones, so being able to see him snowboard and progress in his learning was one of the best moments of the year for me.

It also made me realize that I should also learn how to snowboard.  Or else I may be left behind when the boys head out on the slopes.  So for next season its decided, Johannes will have lessons and so will I.  We will do them together, though I’m almost certain that he will be light years ahead of me in a very short period of time.

Did anyone else learn how to ski or snowboard when they were older?  I would love some tips!

motherhood: worry

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motherhood can sometimes be riddled with worrying of every sort. worrying for this, that and the other thing.  food, bed times, routine, stimulation, are they overdressed, are they underdressed and round and round the worry train goes.  at times its as though we can’t just let go of the worrying and just enjoy the moment for what it is.  this is especially true of myself.  my confidence in my abilities as a mother are grossly overshadowed by worry and doubt at times.

why do we do this?  genetics?  environmental factors?  do they all contribute?

i wasn’t always like this.  maybe my mission for tomorrow will be to enjoy the moments for what they are and let go of the worry.

happy march break all you mamas out there in mid vacation!

Ready – sort of

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I’m only half prepared for my son to turn four years old on Sunday.  I have it all planned out, the party, the gift, the cake, the favours.  Its the passing of time I am least prepared for.  I have loved every stage, every milestone, every age thus far.  I’m sure I will love FOUR just as much, and maybe this new age will bring with it some calm and peacefulness, because three sure was challenging at times.

Some of my favorite moments of the week are:

1) The only time I managed to do my makeup for a day out as a family last Sunday.

2) Magnus’ little hand hanging on tightly as I wear him in the sling.

3) The sleepy look on Johannes’ face after a 3 hr nap.

4) Snuggling…or getting tackled by Magnus in bed.

5) Snowy drives around our neighbourhood to keep Magnus from waking up from a late nap.

6) Baby in a basket.

7) Avocado toast and warm tea.

8) An eye patch wearing gremlin zooming around my living room.

9) Snowstorms from Magnus’ bedroom window.

10) Brothers.

These Days // Cabin Fever

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Its hard not to long for spring after a winter like the one we’ve had.  With snow falling almost daily and consistent temperatures well below freezing have had us staying very much indoors for the last few months.  Sometimes I forget what green grass looks like, or what a long walk in the fresh air feels like.  Cabin fever has most definitely set in.

These days the boys are growing as fast as ever.  Johannes’ imagination is blossoming, often making it hard for us to keep track of what is real and what isn’t.  As I was getting him dressed for bed, Johannes rattled off a whole story about one of his pet dogs,

“Obviously Jake likes to eat, bald eagles, water buffalos, sea turtles, macaroni penguins, rattle snakes and red wolves.”

Often he surprises me with words and facts I had no idea that he knew, understood and much less use in a perfectly structured sentence.  Words such as “exasperated” “obviously” “frustrated”… you can see the pattern here can’t you?  they are words I often use when expressing my feelings to a slow and combative morning routine.  But still…  he’s 4.

HE’S 4.

Sunday Johannes turns FOUR.  I remember how scared I was of his first birthday approaching, and how he is four.

And Magnus.  Oh sweet little Magnus.  He is the best baby.  I know everyone gushes that their baby is the best, but truly, Magnus is a dream.  So calm and happy.  His fussy periods are almost so calm that often everyone mistakes them for him just being happy!

Magnus is chatty.  He likes to chirp and squeal with happiness when he sees us, and especially when he sees his older brother.  He grabs and inspects everything, and has a particular fondness for shopping bags and drawstrings.

He started solids a week and a little bit ago, but he much prefers nursing, in stark contrast to his older brother who couldn’t be done with nursing fast enough.

Magnus is sitting up on his own for short periods of time.  He likes to laugh, to be tickled and mostly to stay awake.  He isn’t one for naps, 30-40 minute tops, but he sure loves his night sleep always going down at 5:30pm and waking up between 6-7am.

Little Magnus, who isn’t quite so little by most baby standards, seems to be just like his daddy.  Happy, mild demeanour, relaxed and easy going. He will be six months on Monday.

These boys and myself included are so ready to leave our home and spend time outdoors.  Bike rides, stroller walks, market afternoons.  They’re in our future and we are so very ready for them.