New Mommy Love

The things we “forget” to talk about as new moms:

Moms have a lot on their plate and soon-to-be moms are no exception. There are a lot of things that we just don’t talk about when it comes to motherhood, pregnancy, and childbirth. But, why? Why is it so difficult for us to have conversations about these things? Where are these unwritten rules that we should let a mother figure this all out on her own?

It is important to expend all of our efforts in helping every mother be the best version of themselves. After all, this new journey is no walk in the park. Being a mom is hard work and the more help you get, the better off you, your mental health, and your baby will be.

Here are important concepts moms wish they would have known before they became pregnant:

Postpartum Depression and Anxiety are real and are not Baby Blues.

Research is now proving that if you have untreated depression or anxiety or a predisposition to depression or anxiety to seek therapy as a precaution. The chances of depression or anxiety returning during your prenatal or postpartum stages are high. Make sure you are in touch with your thoughts and recognize that feelings of sadness, guilt, loneliness and fatigue are related to depression. As well as thoughts related to past negative events and loss of pleasure in things you would typically enjoy. Also, be attentive to negative what if scenario thoughts related to parenting and motherhood. Feelings of extreme fear, worry or panic are also a red flag.

Your body will never be the same.

One new mom stated, “you look at yourself in the mirror one day and you are a normal woman, the next day you are growing a human being inside you. Then, you’re a mother with stretch marks and saggy skin. I know it’s a beautiful and incredible thing, but I wish looking myself in the mirror to tell myself ‘It’s okay. It will all be okay.’ was something someone could have prepared me for. No matter how strong you are, it is something that is a true battle.”

Some women struggle with self-image, others struggle with loneliness, being left alone for significant amounts of time with the baby when their significant other goes back to work. It is important to know that these feelings are normal. It is important to know you are not alone and other people go through these feelings.

It is easy to lose touch with your significant other.

All of a sudden the dynamic changes. No more late-nights and parties, all of a sudden your whole world revolves around a baby. Your significant other now sees you in a way they never have before, having to help you go to the bathroom and having leaky breasts. These are not things either of you have experienced so it’s normal to want to push them away or reevaluate the dynamic you once had. It’s important to give yourselves time as a couple to reconnect and find time to remember why you fell in love in the first place.

Taking time for yourselves does not make you a bad parent, it allows you to keep a healthy relationship and loving environment for your new addition.

Even though you may have heard about these things before you experience them, you still may not be prepared when the time comes. Talking about it can help you better prepare for the changes you are about to encounter. Mama, you are never alone.

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Infertility Does Not Define You

1 in 8 couples will have trouble conceiving a baby, that means 1 in 8 of your family members and friend group. That is too many people to even count, yet why do we feel all alone when we can not grow our family? Instead of talking, sharing and learning to empower each other we create guilt, fear and shame that does not allow us to grow. Infertility does not have to define you or hold you back, your worth is not based on your ability to have a baby.

So what is infertility?

According to the Office of Women’s Health, for women under the age of 35, infertility is defined by not being able to get pregnant after one year of trying. If you are over the age of 35, it is categorized by 6 months of trying. In the United Sates, about 10% of women between the ages of 15-44 have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here are some common Misconceptions about infertility:

It is the woman’s fault.

This is not always the case. In fact, about 1/3 of infertility cases are due to maternal factors and 1/3 are due to paternal factors. The other third of problems regarding infertility are unknown or caused by a mixture of both.

Most people can conceive whenever they want.

In fact, according to the Fertility Specialist Medical group, it is normal for even two perfectly healthy, fertile people to try for a few months to get pregnant. Over five million Americans of child bearing age have some sort of issues with fertility in their lifetime.

Infertility means you cannot have a child.

Infertility only means that you have been unsuccessful in conceiving a child naturally after one year of trying. In today’s society, with the help of modern medicine, the majority of people who seek help and are given the proper treatment do go on the have children.

Now, because infertility is typically a private thing, you may not know that your sister, cousin, friend, brother, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew is struggling with the stress of not being able to conceive. Therefore, it is important that we stay impartial to those who may be having a hard time.

There is no reason to place stress on couples to grow their family.

Questions like, “So, when should we be expecting a new member?” or “You’ve been together for a while, why haven’t you gotten pregnant yet?” can be extremely painful questions.

Parenthood is a transition into adult life for men and women individually, as well as a couple. Being unable to have a child can lead to serious negative emotions like anxiety, depression, and anger which can ultimately lead into marital problems and social isolation.

Couples that are going through this may feel burdened by the ideas of stigmatization and diminishing self-esteem. This is why empathy is so important.

If someone you know reaches out to you about their struggles with infertility, here are a few things you should NOT do:

Offer recommendations.

Unless you are an expert on the subject, chances are you will offer the same advice google did, which can be extremely stressful and redundant. Sometimes offering an ear is the best you can do.

Be overly expressive about your own pregnancy.

Although it is great for you to be excited for yourself, this is sensitive for others. If you know someone who is dealing with this, it may be difficult for you to share your good news with them. If they are your friend, you can still tell them, just in a more sensitive manner. Instead of bursting with joy over the phone, maybe reach out over dinner and casually let them know, including the fact that you do not want to upset them but rather keep them in the loop.

Be dismissive.

Saying things like “It will work itself out.” Or “You’re still so young!” can make someone feel as though their feelings are inadequate. Instead, offer support and let them know you are around to help if they ever need it.

Just remember, you don’t always know what is going on behind closed doors. You don’t always know what people are battling. Be cautious with what you say to couples who do not have children (or are trying for a second) and try to just listen.

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You Are Mom Enough

Mother's Day is a loving holiday in which mom's everywhere are celebrated. This year I celebrate my first with my baby boy. As much as I am all about celebrating moms in abundance, I know many women wanting, trying and hoping to become moms. For them Mother's Day is frustrating, devastating and disheartening.

This and every Mother's Day we need to celebrate all moms; not just moms who have gone through labor or have a child to kiss at night. We need to celebrate moms, who in their hearts are the definition of a mom. These heart moms know that someday their precious child will arrive and until then they just want to be included. 

Infertility is the most devastating experience I have had to endure. It tested my patience, relationships and dreams. Imagine the one thing you want most in life and not being able to have it. For me, Mother's Day was always the hardest. It made me feel like an outsider and I questioned if I would ever be a mom. 

By coming together, supporting one another and including every mom this Mother's Day (and every Mother's Day) we can all help each other feel mom enough. Heart moms want to feel love and support. A message, email, phone call or an outing can give a heart mom a great boost of hope today. It may just be one of the best Mother's Day gifts, from one mom to another. 

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March Momness

The final four weeks of my maternity leave were anything but a Sweet 16. My baby boy began teething, my breast pump broke, I was nervous about leaving him with his nanny and I questioned how to keep my business growing. The anticipation of my first week back was overwhelming, I knew March would be tough.

Going back to work for the first time as a mompreneur has been a tremendous experience. I did not expect to miss my job as much as I did. I am now part of an elite team of women. A team composed of hardworking moms, who are not afraid of a little spit up on their work shirt and want to be able to juggle it all. Trust me, I am still in awe that I am a mompreneur. 

It seems like just yesterday, I was devastated and questioned if I would ever even have the chance to become a mom. I struggled with infertility for years. I tried countless medicines, treatments and exercises. All lead to only more frustration and disappointment. I finally was ready to try IVF, it was our last hope. My husband and I went to our first appointment. I told the doctor about a new medicine that I had been prescribed. I explained how the medicine caused me to feel dizzy and light headed. She said to stop taking it and as a precaution she had me take a pregnancy test.

A couple of days later I had the best phone call of my life, I found out I was pregnant with my little bundle of joy! Pregnancy was amazing. I felt wonderful, my skin was glowing and I was able to exercise just about everyday. I was ecstatic to know that I would soon be a mom. 

Fast forward to the day my son was born, almost four months ago. I had my delivery play book, I was determined to wait until the last minute for any pain medication and I was going to walk around the hospital doing laps (I am sure I would have done sprints if they approved). None of that happened, nothing went as planned.

My little boy made his all star debut two weeks early. During labor I had internal bleeding and tears, to the point that my doctor did not know where the blood was coming from. I was scared, my family was terrified and I am still physically trying to recover from the pain. I am very thankful for the support of my loving husband, parents and sister who all took care of my every need for weeks; until I could finally stand and walk without the agonizing constant, sharp pain. 

Due to the severity of my internal wounds, I am still healing. It is bizarre to think that my son is rolling over, teething and babbling for days, while I am still in pain. My plan was to take three months off my role as a therapist and return to work, just like most postpartum moms. That was an unrealistic expectation. 

I am back at work this month, as a mompreneur and I want to share how lucky I am. I earn a living doing what I love. I find my job (despite having very stressful moments) is therapeutic to me. Being a therapist, is a lifestyle. It is an enormous part of who I am and I am thankful I get to help clients in search of hope everyday. March has been a month full of new beginnings, balance and strength. 

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