Time just needs to slow the heck down. A few months ago I had a little ball of cuddles, now I have a babe who doesn’t want to cuddle for long, but wants to move around, on the floor, allll the time. I swear she was just a baby the other day?
My poor babe crawls around the house, following me, and by the time she reaches me, I am finished doing what I am doing and I am off to the next room. It’s near impossible to get anything done, as I always have to keep an eye on her (even though she is following me, she is easily distracted by pretty much anything haha) as she moves so quickly.
The other day I was cleaning out her drawers and found some of her clothes that no longer fit. I remember the day when NO clothes fit her, now she is almost out of double zero’s. As I removed her clothes from the drawers, I had a few seconds staring at some of my favourites. I was a little sad that she will never be that little again. She will never wear these clothes again. The days and nights that I spent cot-side, at the NICU, willing her to grow, seem just like yesterday. How can she have grown so much, in what feels like a few weeks? Whilst I have been super lucky to have a ‘tiny’ baby for so long, her brain and abilities are no reflection of her size.
Though she may be tiny, her cuddles are far and few between, my tiny pocket rocket is so keen to explore and to learn about her world. How bloody amazing is that? We have these little humans and WE get the privilege of showing them the world, what is even more fun, is when you explore the world with them.
With her first birthday vastly approaching, I have definitely felt many emotions, when I take a trip down memory lane, to one year ago. This time last year, I was in & out of hospital. I was so unsure of what the future held and to say I was petrified, would be a massive understatement. The intensity of each emotion, was insane. I had created a human, my body had grown her and any day now, I was going to meet her…and who knew what that meeting would be like.
So tomorrow, instead of rushing from room to room, to get things done, we are going to explore. The washing can wait, nature is where it’s at…we’ll probably look at some flowers, put them in our mouths…along with everything else we see. Each moment, is the first and last time I will have that moment with her. Each single one is precious.
Teina is still away. This has been a very long two weeks for us, we miss him terribly (three fricken sleeps!). I miss his company, but I also really miss knowing that I have back up. Someone I can offload Amaya to when he gets home and not feel guilty about it. Someone to help me at dinner/bath/bottle time, everyday.
Tonight Amaya shit front to back (spilling out of the nappy) at the same time that she had too much food in her mouth, gagged and vomited. ALL over herself. It was horrid. For me, not for her – immediately after she vomited, she did her funny little dance that she does when she waves her arms around in the air. Absolutely no fucks given. I am so grateful that she is so laid back and overall, she is a really good baby, but doing it solo is a tough gig.
As wonderful as my parents are, they aren’t always available to help me at the times that I need help the most, plus – Amaya is not their responsibility. And I feel that. I can’t expect them to help me, like I expect Teina to. I can’t expect them to give me a break, like I can expect Teina to. It’s just not that same.
Some people may find caring for a baby on their own, so super easy. But not me. Her rolling over when I am trying to change her nappy/dress her, irritates me (so now throw vom and poo into the mix with a rolling baby…yeah…what a hoot!). The fact that she thinks that is so funny, also frustrates me, because that tells me that it’s not going to stop anytime soon. The rest of the day, I cope quite well. Between 5 – 6:30pm is hard to do on your own, especially now because she doesn’t just stay in one spot when you put her down. This can also work in my favour, as I put her down and while she crawls from her room to the bathroom for her bath (yes, she really is a very good girl) I run around and get her towel, her face washer and meet her beside the bath, just in time for her arrival.
So the other night, I needed a break, so I took some time out to chat to an old friend on the phone for three hours (eeppp, I talk a lot). I crawled into bed at around midnight and Amaya woke up around midnight. Amaya was then awake until 2:50am – happy – just chatting away, squealing, waving, trying to repeat things I was saying – it was so odd. Amaya has never been that awake before during the night. Usually a cuddle and/or bottle send her back to dreamland within minutes, but not this morning. I was actually thinking that it was like she possessed. I don’t know if her brain was doing some serious development stuff, but she looked wired. Needless to say, then when she awoke at 7:30am (at least she slept in, right!) I was wrecked. Lesson learnt. The following day was pretty good, I don’t often struggle during the day (besides being tired if I don’t get enough sleep!), Amaya is a pretty awesome babe. Witching hour takes it out of me and then come Amaya’s bedtime, I can’t wait to get her bottles etc. done, so I can have some time to myself.
Every night it is a battle between ‘me’ time & sleep. Tonight I am choosing sleep, as who knows if we will have another party time at midnight.
I wish you all lots of sleep!
P.S. So many other Mumma’s have offered me support and advice on how to do this parenting gig solo! Don’t be afraid to ask for help! There is a whole sisterhood (or…Mother…hood…?) out there, all you need to do is reach out!
Last night Teina went on his family holiday to Samoa. Amaya & I were going to go, until I gave my gut feeling a little more attention and thought. Something inside of me told me that it was not wise to take a baby (especially a Preemie) to Samoa. I did a little reading and decided that, as much as I wanted to go on this holiday with Teina and his lovely family, to an amazing destination – it just was not worth the risk. Teina was extremely understanding and kind about me withdrawing from the trip two weeks before we flew out. He said that he was surprised that I had been ok with it from the beginning, that he does not think it is a good idea for us to take Amaya and that whether I chose for Amaya & I to go, or if I chose that we would stay behind, he would support my decision entirely. Phew.
As the holiday approached, I began to get anxious about being away from Teina for two weeks (wahhh I know I am a sook, but we have never been apart for that long before PLUS I had to do this parenting gig solo? Oh helllll no), and also, if you follow me on Snapchat (breeanashae), then you would see how utterly in love Amaya & Teina are with each other. It is so beautiful. There is something super sweet about a Daddy & his little girl. So, this made me nervous too. I mean, she does ask for him often throughout the day. I dropped Teina at the airport, drove home and felt so disappointed that I was not going on a big jet plane to beautiful Samoa. But a Mumma’s got to do, what a Mumma’s got to do…
So here I am. Day one. Amaya has swollen gums and appears to be cutting a tooth and she is off her food. SO glad that we did not go to Samoa. Can you imagine? Also, I think this is going to be a long two weeks. BUT we will get through it. When they say that it takes a village to raise a child, they aren’t lying! My parents are so helpful (and so in love with Amaya). So thanks to them, I do not have to do this two weeks alone. Honestly, I was so scared to be entirely responsible for our child. Teina appears to have more trust in me, than I have in myself! HA! But we will just take it one day at a time, which is how we do life whether Daddy is here or not. In all honesty, not a lot has changed…except that we both miss Daddy and the first thing Amaya asked for this morning when she hopped into our bed, was Daddy, as she stared at his pillow.
Hat off to single Mum’s and FIFO Mumma’s – you guys are legends!
Prior to having Amaya, I loved hearing birth stories but they never really meant that much to me. Like I could hear someone’s birth story and think that is was amazing and then continue on with my day. You know, a bit like once you have traveled you are all of a sudden so much interested in everyone’s adventures…
Now is a very different story. I not only LOVE hearing birth stories, but they almost always make me cry. The moment that your baby comes into the world is so precious. It can be the most amazing, liberating, yet terrifying experience of your life. I unfortunately missed out on the moment Amaya entered the world, as I was under general anaesthetic. For a while I felt robbed of a lot of things, especially that moment, but then I realised that in the big picture, it did not really matter. I have my baby girl to cuddle and in this moment, that is all that matters.
When I hear a birth story of a preemie tho. I sympathise with the parents almost instantly, as I remember that journey all too well. Even talking about it makes me shaky and brings a tear to my eye. You see, God blessed me with this really cool thing where I feel things probably ten times stronger than most people…and not just for me – but for everyone. I can dwell on someone’s heartbreaking story all day. I like to call it ’emotionally intelligent’ – not ‘super sensitive’ or ‘sooky’. I am ok with being like this, it helps me connect to others easily and it certainly helps when working with children. It also means that I practice compassion daily and naturally.
Becoming a Mumma, no matter how you became a Mumma or how your babe entered the world – is an extremely overwhelming experience. The love teamed with the responsibility is enough to send you into a frenzy. But add worry to that and wanting to cuddle your baby so much more than most Mumma’s, because you had to wait so long for your first cuddle (and being able to actually physically see your babe in front of you and being able to touch them is the biggest tease ever).
Regardless of whether you had a preemie or a full term baby – we are ALL Mother’s. We all know the struggles that we face every day, as well as the beautiful moments and the moments that make motherhood just truly magical. You know you’re a Mother when birth stories bring a smile and a tear to your eye, because it automatically reminds you of the magical moment you met your little babe for the first time.
Amaya used to sleep well, then I cuddled her too much and that resulted in her wanting to sleep on me and ONLY on me. I didn’t get much sleep because of this. I would cuddle her to sleep then put her in her cot and she would wake up…and we started again from square one. There were nights where I was going to sleep for the first time at 3am. I wasn’t coping and I was so emotional. I knew we couldn’t go on like this, so I reached out to mother’s on social media. I gathered information from an array of woman and implemented what I thought would work best for us. Honestly, these women saved me. They saved my sleep, which meant they saved my sanity. Anyone that has ever had trouble sleeping or a baby will know how much sleep deprivation affects ever aspect of your life. I was miserable – the most miserable I had ever been in my life. I am writing this in hope that it will help another sleepless Mother who is at their wits end…
Amaya used to go to bed at 9:30pm, she would not go to sleep before that. This meant that I had to do her bottles etc. after 9:30pm. I wanted to get her into a better sleep routine not only for myself, but for her. Growing brains and bodies need their rest.When I found out how many hours a baby of her age was meant to be sleeping, it broke my heart. I felt like a failure. We decided that we would do ‘control crying’. I got many comments like “Oh I could never do that, that is so mean” or people would just give me a look. I wasn’t bothered, especially when Amaya started sleeping 12 hours straight a night. I knew that I was doing what was best for our family. Sometimes, you have to be cruel to be kind. I wanted Amaya to be able to self settle for when she attends daycare or is being looked after by someone other than myself or Teina.
Teina asked me to pick a bedtime for Amaya, I went with 6:30pm. So, that night, we put Amaya in her cot at 6:30pm and I had to go outside (because I couldn’t listen to her cry). She cried for 1.5 hours before falling asleep. Amaya had a dummy, but never had it in her cot as she would spit it out and I wasn’t playing that game. So we broke two habits, at once – without even realising it. Each night she would cry for less time, it was very difficult for me to keep going – but I persevered. I found that she would get tired from crying and would sleep right through the night. I would go into her room every 10 minutes to pat her, but never picked her up. Sometimes she would get more upset when I would go in there, so I eventually stopped. One week exactly, it took before Amaya didn’t cry when we put her in her cot. I attended a sleep seminar that was held at my work, a few weeks later, just because I wanted to learn more and to find out if I was doing the right thing. The pediatrician who specialises in sleep, told us that all sleep training is control crying, just sometimes called different things. He told us that your child will not suffer any psychological damage from control crying, if they come from a loving home. I felt even more confident in our decision. Now Amaya sleeps from 6:15pm – 6:15am. She does not wake at all through the night. If she does, she goes back to sleep on her own.
When we were doing the sleep training in the beginning, if she did wake through the night, I would go in and pat her for a while, as I didn’t expect her to self settle all the time. As the weeks went by, I stopped going into her room when she woke through the night and allowed her time to self settle. One night, she wasn’t self settling so I did go in and I ended up feeding her, as she was wide awake and that is not like her at all (as soon as I would pick her up she would usually go back to sleep. I have never sat up for hours with Amaya through the night). Lucky I did, as she drank her bottle in under three minutes. I put it down to having a growth spurt and it hasn’t happened since.
Obviously control crying is not for everyone, but I do urge you to at least give it a go. It does take time and equips your child with essential skills. When you are sleep deprived, you can’t be the best Mum you can be, for your child. So don’t ever feel guilty about doing it. Amaya is so much happier now that she gets lots of sleep and it has also resulted in her increasing her day sleeps, not by a lot, but they have definitely increased.
I am so grateful for the advice given to me by other Mother’s! Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help, none of us have our shit together all of the time, so we can definitely learn from each other and help each other. Oh and make sure your babe is warm, often they wake through the night simply because they are cold.
I wish you lots of sleep!
P.S. I was recommended to only do this when babes are 6+ months old!
Women are judged for their choices all the time. We are judged for staying with men who treat us wrong (their behaviour is our fault?), we are judged for when we have babies (how we have them, how we feed them, what we feed them…the list goes on. Becoming a Mother opens you up to a whole new level of judgement), we are judged on our careers, our bodies, the choices we make with our bodies…if I had a dollar for every time I have politely sat through people running their mouth about being anti-abortion, I would be filthy rich. Seriously, I could go on ALL DAY.
Lately, I have heard a lot about women I know being judged for returning to work ‘too soon’. What on earth makes other people think that when a Mother returns to work is their choice? Or that their opinion matters? It doesn’t. Women return to work for an array of reasons and a woman should never have to justify herself to anyone, but herself. If you decide to put your child in daycare, then you get judged even more (insert eye roll).
I am an early childhood educator and have been for 13 years. I can tell you now, that there are just as many pros (if not more) as there are cons when it comes to sending your child to daycare.
I believe that having social skills is by far the most necessary skill when it comes to being happy in life. If you have friends and feel that you ‘belong’, you are more likely to be happy. It doesn’t matter if you are shit at maths or can’t spell – no one is not going to not be your friend because of that. But if you are rude, can’t hold a conversation and have absolutely no idea how to interact with others, then you are going to feel rather alone – this will most likely result in feeling miserable (Edit: your happiness does not depend on others acceptance of you, but it certainly is a massive contributing factor). Now, don’t get me wrong – you don’t have to go to daycare to gain these skills, BUT it is imperative that children interact with an array of children their age. I have noticed that I can tell the difference between children who interact with an array of children their own age (i.e. attend daycare) and children who do not. Plus you know, you have the whole education side of things. Not only will your children utilise and develop an array of skills (fine motor, cognitive…) but they learn to take turns, learn to share, sort out disagreements and have many different experiences.
There are so many options for children to develop social skills – playgroups, playing with cousins and friends who have children. But by children learning to play with other children, without Mum around, teaches children a whole new array of skills.
There are downsides to daycare – illness’, shitty daycare workers and it is expensive. If you send your child to daycare – great. If you don’t – great. It is YOUR choice and no one else’s, but don’t judge anyone for sending their children to daycare.
We are all trying to do a great job. We question our decisions daily and do what we feel is best for our family. We are all different, have different opinions and think differently. Once you have a baby, you enter a Sisterhood. Sometimes this sisterhood will be the biggest support network you have, other times (and it’s NOT just Mother’s that judge you about daycare…and basically everything else) they can be your worst enemies. I don’t understand why this sisterhood can’t be supportive all the time? Let’s just trust that we are all doing what we believe is best for our families and drink wine together often!
I have been blessed with longstanding friendships, with extremely decent people. When I say blessed, I mean that I am blessed that we were on this earth at the same time and that we crossed paths. The longstanding friendships are through hard work and effort from myself and my friends. I honestly do not know how people get through life without their girlfriends. I legit would be a nutjob (questionable…? HA!) without them.
Some of my friends I have known since I was four years old, grade one and grade eight – other I have met along the way, but I am thirty years old now…so these people have been a huge part of my life, for a very long time. They have listened to me crap on about my problems over and over again, they have loved me at worst and at my best, they have been loyal to me and seen the best in me. We have shared a few glasses…ahem, bottles…of wine, passion pop and vodka…we have created memories and traveled the world. These girls know me better than I know myself, at times.
Since having Amaya, I haven’t seen or spoken to some of my girlfriends as much as I did pre-baby. That pregnancy, having a preemie baby and a few other things that happened last year was a hard pill to swallow. I withdrew from life as I knew it. I put on a brave face when I did see my friends, but deep down I was just bubbling with anxiety and worry. I feel different since having Amaya. I have never received so much bad news in my life, as I did when I was pregnant. Thankfully, our NICU journey was full of good news, but a lot of things shook me along the way. To say that I was scared would be an understatement. This all took its toll on me, plus the fact that my body is different and I am the biggest I have ever been. None of my clothes fit me and if they do – I look like a homeless dag. I didn’t feel like myself inside or outside. I became cranky, insecure and unhappy. I couldn’t get out of my own way. I felt lost. I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognise the woman staring back at me, I hadn’t seen Bree in a long time and I missed her. I had never felt this way and I had no idea what to do.
I realised that over the years, my girlfriends had come to me for advice and I thought about what I would tell them if they were feeling this way. I cried. I allowed myself to cry. I felt it all. I knew that it was all up to me, only I could help myself. That was a scary thought.
So I took control. I started meditating daily. Meditation is one of the hardest things to do, for me – my mind just keeps ticking! I do life with lavender on my temples these days and I concentrate on my breathing – a lot. I blocked out the negative thoughts, as soon as one popped into my head I thought of something positive and I focused on my breathing. It is still a work in progress, I am not sure if I will ever be the same again. Well, I hope I won’t be. I would like to think that motherhood is a life changing experience, a positive one.
The love I have for Amaya is insane. I am utterly obsessed and so in love. I think she is the most amazing little lady & she makes me smile daily…
After that last sentence, I needed a break. I needed a biophilia fix. So I headed to the water – it always calms me – with my Mum & my babe. I cannot describe how much better I felt afterwards.
I miss my old life. I miss my freedom, the fun and how carefree my life was. I really did have an amazing life. I spent my weekends with my friends and my boyfriend and could do things at the drop of a hat. Now, I have to pack bottles, nappies and a million other things PLUS I need to work around Amaya. She is at that age where she wants to get out of the pram while we are at cafe’s, at the shops or going for a walk – she wants to see what is going on. PLEASE understand that I realise how stupid this sounds – I did know this was all going to happen – BUT that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t provoke certain emotions. I realise that my life still is AMAZING and I am beyond blessed, my life is just different. I do not mean to come across ungrateful. I am just struggling a little with adjusting to my life going from super fun to another type of super fun.
Of course, my amazing girlfriends came to my rescue and reminded me that it won’t always be formula, bottles, nappies and nappy bags. Amaya will grow and she will bring things like Christmas and Easter back for us. I guess that I just knew that I always wanted a baby and I would have not felt complete if I didn’t have children of my own – and now I feel guilty for missing my carefree life.
I look at Amaya and I simply cannot explain how much I love her, I want to give her the best life possible and always be the best Mum I can be. In order to do that, I need to recognise my feelings and emotions and work through them so I can be happy – because if I am not happy, how can I be the amazing Mumma that she deserves. So I need to reach back out and be more available to my friends, because I need them. More than I ever have before. I also need to remember to be patient with myself through this process. Exercise, meditation and positive thinking will aid me in adjusting to my new life. One thing that has really been set in stone for me, even though I already knew this, is to always appreciate your freedom, your girlfriends…and yourself.
Today I had another biophilia fix…we took Amaya to the beach. I could have swam in the ocean ALL fricken day. As soon as we got there, Teina told me to go for a swim, as he knew that I had been hanging out for it. I floated in the water, I dived under waves…I was in my element. I dug my feet deep into the sand and I felt amazing. I was recharged. As I sat there staring out at the sea, I felt like myself again. Teina had Amaya for most of the day as I frolicked around in the ocean like a crazy ass mermaid. I couldn’t get enough of it! I just wanted to swim out further and further, but then my fear of sharks kicked in and I settled for frolicking in the shallow. I left the beach smiling, not only had I had a brilliant day with my family, but I felt like my carefree self again. So even though I had’t seen Bree for a while, it was nice to know that she wasn’t that far away…and that she wasn’t gone forever.
P.S. If you aren’t in the photos, please don’t be upset. There are SO many people who I love that are not in these photos ❤