#MomCrushMonday 10/29/2018

#MomCrushMonday 10/29/2018

“My name is Christin, I am 30 years old and I am the proud mother to a beautiful 3-month-old baby boy named Maayan.”

What was the dynamic surrounding your pregnancy? 

“When I found out I was pregnant with Maayan I was in Las Vegas for work. My period was late but given the fact that I’m irregular, the thought of me being pregnant never crossed my mind. One morning before I went into the office I felt this sharp pain in both my breast coupled with nausea. I immediately knew something different was going on with my body. I took a pregnancy test and not to my surprise it was positive. I didn’t plan on being a mom in fact, I had almost written it off completely.

My pregnancy was very rough for about 5 months. I got morning sickness every day and it would last all day. stressful. I loved plant-based eating however, my baby didn’t like certain fruits and nuts for breakfast. (Learned that the hard way) Work days were long, I was so irritable, and my work environment was extremely stressful. I developed anemia during my 3rd trimester and my doctor took me off work 6 weeks prior to my due date. (All praises!!) I had to take iron pills 3 times a day and began eating lamb once a week to improving my blood levels. I spent my extra free time planning my baby shower, catching up on my rest and impatiently waiting for Maayan’s arrival.”

How would you describe your post-pregnancy/motherhood experience? 

“Maayan is 3 months now and motherhood has been a daily adjustment. My days/nights revolve around his needs and his comfort level changes by the hour. Nevertheless, loving him is the purest form of love I’ve ever known! I look forward to our life together! Every day I wake up next to my son is truly a blessing and I’ll will always be grateful for this journey.”

Did you ever experience post-partum symptoms or battle with your mental health in any way? If so, how did you get through it?

“I definitely have had my share of dark days since giving birth. I struggled with breast feeding for about 2 weeks and that really took a toll on me mentally. The thought of not being able to feed my child naturally the way God intended really broke me down. I had intense conversation with family about formula as an alternative. In my opinion the ingredients in formula are disgusting and it depressed me to consider that as an option. I gradually regained control of my thoughts. I vented to family, friends and even strangers who cared to listen in order to release the negative energy. I also prayed and meditated on nursing my baby without complications. I researched ways to increase my milk supply and took the pain of my baby latch like a champ. My milk came in and Maayan is growing and hitting milestones beautifully!”

Describe your routine and activities that you do to maintain your mental health on a daily basis.

Maayan and I co-sleep. We wake up together in the morning and have a chance to play, share, and love before his morning feeding. Co-sleeping has been a great way to establish a connection with my baby. I’m there when closes his eyes and when he opens them the next morning. He doesn’t wake up crying because he’s alone and that makes me feel good as well. When he smiles at me for the first time each day it melts away any mental fog I held onto overnight. I start my day off on a positive note everyday which is important if you’re battling depression of any kind.

What advice would you give mothers/soon to be/potential mothers, based on your personal experience?

Your mental state plays a major role in caring for your baby. If you’re sad or feel like you can’t shake that dark cloud, talk to someone. You’re not alone, you’re not crazy and most of all your baby needs you! The best advice I can give, stay patient. Be patient with yourself and with your baby. This journey is new for the both of you and you’ll meet parts of yourself for the first time. Remember to be kind and gentle not only to your new baby but to yourself as well. You will make mistakes, you won’t have all the answers and that’s ok.

P.S. Cherish those pre-baby showers/baths and mommy and daddy time too!

#MelaninMomMCM 10/22/2018

#MelaninMomMCM 10/22/2018

“Hello. My name is Brittany Wheaton. I am an educator, counselor, wife and mom. My husband Craig and I were blessed with our first son on January 6th, 2017 at 9:36 pm. It was on one of the coldest nights in January and we weren’t expecting to even meet him until the 14th. I remember thinking while holding him for the first time, “this is what agape love feels like.” Now, almost 2 years later, we are patiently but excitingly awaiting the arrival of baby boy #2. Being a mother and wife has been the best part of my life. I tell people often that it is definitely one of the biggest reasons I wake up and smile every day. Because I am a mom, every decision I make is based on how it will impact their life.”

What was the dynamic surrounding your pregnancy? 

“Well, my husband and I were in a very tiny apartment, meant for only two people and during the pregnancy we bought a house, remodeled the house and bought new vehicles to fit our growing family. It was a lot to deal with, especially with it being our first child. I was also only in my second year of teaching and coaching, so I was still getting adjusted to things.”

How would you describe your post-pregnancy/motherhood experience? 

“After having my son, my entire view and outlook on life in general changed. I was a mom to a baby boy who will one day become a grown man. The decisions I made from the day he was born on, would impact him in some way and that made me want to do better and be better. Motherhood has been amazing. It’s definitely a part of my purpose on Earth and I’ve been able to be a good mother because of the example from my mom and sisters, who are all also mothers.”

Did you ever experience post-partum symptoms or battle with your mental health in any way? If so, how did you get through it?

“I didn’t experience post-partum symptoms and I think it had a lot to do with the support system I have all around me. I’m currently pregnant with baby boy #2 and I already have family trying to “take care” of me and my firstborn.”

Describe your routine and activities that you do to maintain your mental health on a daily basis.

“The main thing that helps keep me balanced is talking with God. I read my Bible before work, I pray over my students and classroom. I pray for my family and friends and even those I don’t know that are in need of any type of help or love. I also make it a point to greet colleagues and students with a smile every day. This gives my soul so much energy, especially when they speak or smile back. I give my son and husband a kiss and hug every morning. All of these things keep me focused on being the best version of myself that I can be.”

What advice would you give mothers/soon to be/potential mothers, based on your personal experience?

“The best advice I could give is to breath, live in the moment, enjoy the life you are growing and know that God has a purpose and plan for you and your little blessing.”

What has your experience with this pregnancy been like and how it is similar/different to your first one?

“This pregnancy has been a lot easier and harder than my first. It has been easy in the sense of I’m not considered high risk, I don’t have to see my OB once every week the entire pregnancy, and I’m a lot smaller than I was with my first son. It has also been harder due to the fact that I tore my ACL and right and left meniscus during my first trimester, after playing basketball in a faculty vs. student game. Getting around has been a lot harder because my knee swells at any moment and makes it more difficult to walk. Overall, it has been just as amazing and enjoyable as the first.”

#MelaninMomMCM 10/15/2018

#MelaninMomMCM 10/15/2018

Hello, my name is Kym. I️ am 34 almost 35 years old and I️ just had my first child last year at 33. I️ am a nurse, and I️ moved to Houston from Los Angeles 5 years ago. I️ was chasing a man who is now my husband, lol. And, we plan on having one more child.”

What was the dynamic surrounding your pregnancy? 

“I️ dealt with infertility. I have a condition called PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). And, I️ needed to take hormones to help me conceive. So, it was scary not knowing if I️ would be able to have kids or not.”

How would you describe your post-pregnancy/motherhood experience? 

“I’ve had a pretty good experience overall. It definitely is an adjustment from living your whole life where you’re only responsible for yourself, and then you have this tiny person who needs everything from you. But, it’s also the most amazing thing to watch something you prayed for and didn’t know if you would actually have existed.”

Did you ever experience post-partum symptoms or battle with your mental health in any way? If so, how did you get through it?

“I️ definitely have my days. But, I️ know I’m pretty fortunate compared to some women. Because post-partum is real. But, I️ just try to have balance in different aspects of my life.”

Describe your routine and activities that you do to maintain your mental health on a daily basis.

“I️ make time for my husband and I️. I️ make time for the baby, work, My Family, and much needed girl time. And, traveling means so much to me and my family so we try and get away as much as possible. But, I️ most importantly make time for me. I have to have a sense of self before I️ can be anything for anyone.”

What advice would you give mothers/soon to be/potential mothers, based on your personal experience?

“Take it one day at time and understand that nothing will ever be completely perfect and that’s ok. Do what’s best for you and your family. And, it’s ok to take constructive criticism, but you have to draw a line and do what’s best for you.”

Because I Said So

Because I Said So

The “because I said so” ideology is a dangerous one to subscribe to as a parent. Kids are naturally curious, so attempting to use that as a legitimate reason will potentially and most likely peak your child’s interest even further. The reason why I say it’s dangerous is because as humans we are naturally inclined to do the exact opposite when given instructions. For example, you tell someone “don’t look” what’s the first thing a person is going to do? Look! When someone tells us not to do something, especially when that someone is our parent, we become even more intrigued to know why this is forbidden or why they want a desired task to be completed with urgency. In my honest opinion, I feel like there are a few reasons why parents might use the phrase “because I said so.” None of these reasons are meant to judge but merely an observation of my own upbringing and some of which I have used on occasion.

  1. It’s easy! As parents, we get tired. We don’t feel like we need to explain to a child why we want or need something done. We expect that if we tell them to do something, then our request will be fulfilled. Plain and simple.
  2. As hard as this might be to hear, I also feel that parents, myself included, use this answer out of laziness. We don’t always want to give a legitimate reason as to we do or don’t want our child to engage in a particular behavior. We want them to be like Nike and JUST DO IT!
  3. Most importantly I have found that “because I said so” exerts some type of control that parents are just not ready to let go of. This particular parent more than likely subscribes to an “old school” school of thought. This school of thought feels that children should only be seen and not heard and that children should listen to instructions without question.

The “because I said so” ideology most closely relates to the authoritarian style of parenting which is directly tied to the last reason: control. Authoritarian parents are typically seen as having high expectations of their children but do not produce the feedback necessary for the child to understand if they are meeting their parents’ expectations. They will tell their child that they expect them to have A’s and B’s on the next report card; however, when the child does there is no praise or gesture of satisfaction given from the parent. This, in turn, can result in a negative relationship between the parent and child. Check out this article form verywellmind.com that goes into detail about the authoritarian parent and the rift that it can cause in the parent-child relationship.

I, for one, can completely admit that this was the type of parenting style that I grew up with. My mother lived and breathed by this. She was very upfront and direct about what she did not like and very vague in what she was pleased with. It almost did the opposite of what she wanted and made me try less and care less since I knew that there would be no positive reinforcement for me to want to meet her expectations. As I think back on some of the key moments of my life, I realize how many important conversations were missed out on due to her frequently used response of “because I said so.”

With all that being said, what can we as parents say/do in place of “because I said so?”

  1. When attempting to use that answer, ask yourself what is warranting you to respond in that manner. Is it that you feel that you should not be questioned (control)? Do you not feel like explaining why you want something done (laziness)? Or is it some other unknown reason?
  2. Determine if the answer to your child’s questions are age-appropriate for him/her. Children ask some pretty deep questions at a young age without understanding or possessing the level of maturity that may need to accompany that answer.
  3. Answer the question to the best of your ability in a way that your child understands and is beneficial for him/her. Although it may seem hard and/or frustrating, answer your child’s “whys” to prevent them from getting their questions answered the hard way or from someone whose intentions are less than desirable. EX: I don’t want you going to the party because there will be no adult supervision. Or I want you to get your homework done so you will understand when it comes time for the test. Simple, yet enough to answer the question without a “follow up why” …usually.
  4. Lastly, if your child is old enough, ask them why that “something” is so important to them. This may very well tell you more about your child’s desires rather than the question that he/she asked to begin with. EX: Why do you feel like you need to be at that party? If answered honestly, you might be surprised by the answers and it can open the door for some much-needed conversations.

Where I am as a parent now is definitely different from where I thought I would be. Now, I am all about open communication and Bash being able to grow into an emotionally intelligent human being and I feel that cutting him off now when he asks certain questions will only create distance in our relationship as he gets older. So even now when I tell him “no,” though he may not fully understand, I give him an explanation so that he will grow to understand that my “no” is not just a “no” but also holds a valid reason that is for his benefit.

What is your style of parenting? Do you feel that your parenting style was adopted from your parents’ style? How are they similar? How are they different?

MelaninMomMCM 10/8/2018

MelaninMomMCM 10/8/2018

We are the Bowens Family! I am blessed to have a wonderful husband and two beautiful, stubborn, and talkative children. Living in an era where social media portrays juggling a family, having a career, and maintaining a social life, all while looking great doing it is very difficult to achieve and not very realistic! I am here to tell you that my family gives me so much joy and purpose, but behind the scenes motherhood can get a little crazy and a lot of tiring! Both my husband and I work about an hour away from home and by the time we pick up the kids, cook dinner, clean up (sometimes this step is skipped), put the kids in the bath, then put them to bed, neither one of us want to do anything except drink wine & read (me) or watch highlights (hubby). Being a mother and having a family is a job, the only difference is that the reward you receive is the love and support of your family, and to me those relationships are priceless!”

What was the dynamic surrounding your pregnancy? 

My husband (at the time boyfriend) found out we were pregnant, and we were kind of shell shocked. I remember it was silent (crickets) for a good 10 minutes. After the initial shock we began preparing to welcome in a new addition to the family. We were both in our early 20’s and I felt that we received both good support and also a lot of ‘negative support’. What I mean when I say negative support is that there were people who I feel had good intentions but not so good approaches. Sometimes people made motherhood seem like it was going to be impossible for my husband and I just because we were young. They would try to be informative, but really all they did was add additional stress to my pregnancy. The best advice I received during my first pregnancy was to only take in what you think is important and leave behind whatever advise you deem unimportant.

How would you describe your post-pregnancy/motherhood experience? 

My labor was a bit crazy. I woke up one night with “cramps” went to the restroom and something that looked similar to my mucus plug came out, which is what the nurse advised me after I called. We ended up going in that night but was sent back home after they confirmed I was not dilated much, but never testing the fluid. The fluid was actually my water leaking and I had technically been in labor for 48 hours. After about 12 hours of not dilating past 4 centimeters I had an emergency C-section, ended up losing a lot of blood and having a blood transfusion. Considering all that occurred, post pregnancy and motherhood was just fine, however intercourse became very painful for me. My husband and I do have a second kid so obviously the problem was fixed (thank goodness!), but after doing some research I found out that more woman who have had C-sections complained about painful intercourse vs natural labors and that it is a pretty common complaint.”

Did you ever experience post-partum symptoms or battle with your mental health in any way? If so, how did you get through it?

I never experienced any postpartum symptoms or battled with my mental health in any major way. However, I was always a small person with little to no effort but after pregnancy I became very insecure with my post pregnancy body.

Describe your routine and activities that you do to maintain your mental health on a daily basis.

Since having children I can honestly say that my relationship with God has become stronger. I try to listen to a sermon through podcasts every morning M-F to begin the day right. I have also learned that setting routines for your children can make the days easier and run smoother for both of you! Obviously, newborns are on their own schedule, but even trying to implement something as simple as a set bedtime early on can be beneficial in the long run.

What advice would you give mothers/soon to be/potential mothers, based on your personal experience?

In retrospect, I would have done more research on not only the doctor and hospital we delivered at, but also alternative options such as a midwife etc. Through the years I have learned that the medical field tries to capitalize on their patients by suggesting surgery, in this case a cesarean, even when they sometimes have alternative options. Also, you have a lot of questions and concerns during your first pregnancy, since it is a new experience for you. And I felt that sometimes the nurses could be a bit annoyed and impersonal when addressing these obviously reoccurring questions such as “I haven’t felt my baby kick today should I be concerned?” or “Am I having Braxton hicks or am I in labor?” And getting back to you with simple questions can take a while. Last but not least, if you are like me and your kids like arriving earlier than scheduled, in the middle of the night, then after 9 months of building a relationship with your doctor for the ‘big day’ was a waste because some random doctor (who’s name you can’t even remember) ended up delivering your baby. These are all issues that can be avoided with a good midwife.