#MomCrushMonday 11/26/2018

#MomCrushMonday 11/26/2018

“My name is Katricia Masse, I am 31 years old and mother to two beautiful children, Adalynne (5) and Marcellus (2). I am currently a stay-at-home mom and writing a blog called MuchoMasse. When I’m not with my children, or my husband you can find me party planning or with extended family. My children and husband are my world and I’d do anything for them.”

What was the dynamic surrounding your pregnancy? 

“My husband and I were a month away from celebrating our 1-year wedding anniversary and I was finishing up my 2nd year of law school, when I found out that I was pregnant. We were 25 years old, excited, nervous and scared. We embraced the news and began to prepare for the arrival of our baby girl, which was a pleasant surprise as my husband comes from a predominantly male family. The news that we were having a girl was unreal to us, but we were elated with joy! I continued with my classes while pregnant and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl at the beginning of the spring semester of 2013!”

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

“I adapted to motherhood rather quickly and my body took a while to recover, despite having a vaginal birth. I learned what I needed to do for my baby girl quickly so that I could balance school work and being a mom, because I didn’t take the semester I gave birth off. My body was sore all over and hurt badly for a few weeks. The first moments you get to see your child after delivery, you get a sense of I can do this, and I am here for you. Then when you get home from the hospital and no nurses are around reality sets in as to how difficult motherhood actually is. Thankfully, my husband was there to help and so was our family. Our first week at home we wanted to do it ourselves and didn’t have any help. I didn’t sleep more than 3/4 hours a night and by the end of the week had a horrible migraine. It was then I realized I needed more help and my grandmother would stay with me once a week until my daughter was about 4 months old. I needed this to not only complete assignments for school but also, so I could sleep! This is when I started valuing sleep in life.”

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

“Thankfully, I did not suffer with post-partum symptoms. I did however suffer from the “baby blues.” I had moments when I was home with my husband after giving birth where I would just cry. I remember vividly one night our daughter was sleeping, we were watching a movie in the living room and it was a comedy, and I started to cry. My husband turned to me and said what’s wrong and I told him, nothing, I’m just crying. We talked about it and I was crying and laughing at the same time, no idea till this day what brought it on. I remember when I went in for my daughter’s week old visit, the doctor asked how I was doing. I said fine, a little emotional at times and she said those are the “baby blues.” I had never heard of this before. She did tell me it would pass, but if it doesn’t to come back.  Luckily for me it passed. I don’t remember how long it lasted but maybe it was 2 weeks or so. I never got angry or disconnected, I would just cry about anything like, reading a text message or a scene from a movie. I think talking to my husband and surrounding myself with family helped me sort out the emotions that I was being flooded with. Along with trying to get back into a routine and having some sense of what life was like before baby arrived.”

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

“Having some alone time is very important to me and something I value. My husband knows this very well and will at times get the kids ready for bed so I can have some me time to do the things that I want to do or take them out of the house so I can have some quiet time to myself. My husband and I have an early bed time for the kids so that we can spend time together but also take advantage of that time for ourselves when the kids are sleeping. Going to get my nails done is something I do for me and my mental health. It’s very relaxing and freeing, especially when sitting in the massage chairs. I like to drink green tea every day, it calms me down and allows me to prepare for my day or relaxation before bed. When my kids are napping or resting, I don’t clean or do laundry all the time. Sometimes I sit quietly and watch tv or take a nap as well to refresh my body.”

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

“Motherhood is a journey and there is no wrong or right way to do it! You learn a lot as you go, be confident in yourself and the type of mother you want to be! Don’t stress out about your house not being clean. Most other mothers I know don’t have a clean house either. Spend as much time as you can with your kids, they really do grow up fast!”

#MomCrushMonday 11/19/2018

#MomCrushMonday 11/19/2018

“There’s no such thing as being a perfect parent, so just be a real one!”- Sue Atkins

“I’m Tawanna Cheri, and I am a wife, teacher, Christ follower, and the perfectly imperfect mommy to Drew Maddox Cheri (15 months).”

What was the dynamic surrounding your pregnancy? 

“My pregnancy was an emotional rollercoaster. I’d miscarried twice before hand, so I always wondered if I’d be able to maintain this pregnancy. Every ache and pain, phone call from the doctors, and ultrasound appointment was a cause for anxiety. I literally would celebrate each passing month, and then fall back into anxiety about making sure I did all of the necessary things to make it to term. I hated the food restrictions (I missed my tuna and hot dogs, lol). The extra weight always made my hips hurt. People always wanted to touch my belly. Needless to say, being pregnant wasn’t my favorite thing to do.

On the flip side, I enjoyed every time he wiggled in my belly when I played Yuna, or how he would only “turn-up” when his dad I had musical competitions to determine if he was an east-coast or west-coast baby (Tupac definitely was his fave!). I loved the amount of time that I got to send with my mom. Once my husband put his pride aside and took the time to understand the workings of a pregnant woman, he was amazing. (would you believe that in the beginning he unplugged my night light because it shined too bright from the bathroom… Excuse me, I use that to make sure I can see when I pee, sir!). I always had a foot rub and snacks waiting, as well as, a lot of cuddle time when I got “needy”. People always made sure I was happy and that my stress level was down.”

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

“Motherhood is the one piece in my life that has helped me relinquish the idea that everything can be controlled. My son was born 2 months early and spent a month in NICU (during Hurricane Harvey, might I add). He has been living to the beat of his own drum ever since. He never latched for breastfeeding because of his reflux, so I spent a lot of time during my day pumping. He is a versatile eater, but only if it comes from mommy’s plate. He loves to be outside (I hate outside!). But his laugh is contagious. He gives me chills every time he learns something new, and more and more I see my role as his mother being solidified in his tiny understanding. Because of that I stay protective. Not only a protector of him, but of my inner peace and mental health, because I know that every piece of my being is reflected in him. A happy, stress free mommy makes the same type of baby!”

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 struggled with post-partum heavily, but I didn’t recognize it until he was almost one. I was always trying to pawn him off on family members so I could get a break. I constantly had anxiety attacks. When I would finally find a moment where I felt accomplished in providing for his needs, a new week would creep up and I had to start all over or learn a new need. I had a negative mindset on what it meant to be a mom. I always thought, “this is too much work”… “ when will it stop”…. “when will he be able to care for himself because I’m running on empty and I don’t know how much left I have to give”.

I got through it by talking to other moms and explaining what I was going through and taking their advice on how to simply [enjoy] the mom life. I did end up having to take anti-depressants for a few months. One morning I woke up and realized that my son cried every time he came from school and his dad would bring him to me. That, above all else, was my wake-up call. I started yearning for the opposite of everything I asked for in the beginning. I want time to slow down, so I can enjoy every moment we share. I thank God for every little moment when he chooses mommy over daddy because I know that he is starting to recognize my love for him. I create opportunities for he and I to spend quality time because his joy adds to my joy. I eliminated or limited my interaction with people, places, things, and ideas that were counterproductive to my peace because the only relationships that matter to me are the ones I share with my husband and my son. The idea that the longevity of a positive mother/son relationship begins now, is what made me snap of it, and cherish the moments!”

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

“I read! I love reading and writing. I find a good book to dive into right before bed to help clear my mind and encourage relaxation. I spend quality time with my mom and friends. My husband, God bless him, wakes up with Drew in the mornings, and cares for his needs when I am cooking or tending to the household. He even takes on my household responsibilities sometimes so that I don’t have to worry about tasks and can focus on Drew. I rock my baby boy to sleep at night so I can feel connected to him, and allow that quality time to be my stress reliever for the day! I need to start working out to burn negative energy, but this is a work in progress (lol). Moreover, I have employed the mentality to never sweat the small stuff.”

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

“Know that parenting is both a reward and a challenge. Build a network of love around to support you in parenting, but also in your mental health. Everyone loves the kid when they get here, but it is okay to let those close to you know that mommy needs love too!”

#MomCrushMonday 11/12/2018

#MomCrushMonday 11/12/2018

“I’m ShaQuita Coleman, 34 year old proud mother to loving and charming son Elijah Asher (5), a daughter Destiny (7) who is full of life.”

What was the dynamic surrounding your pregnancy? 

“At 25, I found out was 7 weeks pregnant with Destiny. I was nervous as ever. I never expected to get pregnant, let alone before marriage. Don’t get me wrong, I fell in love with her at the first sound of her heartbeat. I just didn’t feel like I was ready for this journey. Then, at my first checkup I was told by the doctor that I had stage 0 Cervical cancer which is pre-cancer. So, it had not developed deep into my cells, just on the surface. She wanted to perform an outpatient procedure to remove a part of my cervix, a cone biopsy. The doctor told me the risk which terrified me even more about the pregnancy. The thought of losing my baby before she even entered into this world devastated me. She even suggested I terminate the pregnancy to have the procedure. I was very overwhelmed. With prayer and a second opinion, I decided to have the procedure after I delivered our baby. The first 5 months of my pregnancy were the worst. Forget morning sickness, I was sick all day. I couldn’t hold hardly anything down, even when I tried to eat healthy. Ice cream and peanut butter were my best friends. Dad and my family were very supportive the entire pregnancy even in my emotional rampages. My mother named my baby girl that I just insisted would be a boy and only had boy names. Her god mother planned the best baby shower and my best friend helped me get organized for her arrival. I had read every book magazine and article about being a first time mom and what to expect and how to do things the natural way.”

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

“Exhausting! I had longed to breastfeed, but it was tough. Destiny would not latch on for some time. Then when she did, she wasn’t getting enough and it was hurting. My nipples got raw and chapped. I had to call it quits after 3 months. I pumped a lot then had to revert to formula. I was very focused on bonding with her, so I took it very hard that I didn’t get to breastfeed for a year like I planned. Her sleep schedule was great though and I loved her even more for that. However, my second pregnancy I was able to breastfeed for 10 months which made me feel a lot better. I was under a lot of stress after both pregnancies, so small accomplishments meant a lot. If it wasn’t for my family and a lot of talking to God, I wouldn’t have survived being a mother. I had to learn to mediate so I would not give that negative energy to my children.”

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

“At the time, I didn’t think I had any symptoms of Postpartum depression or battle with mental health. But looking back at all the things I encountered after my pregnancy, I had some low moments where I struggled to function day-to-day and just didn’t want to do anything, be anywhere, or be anything to anyone. From my struggle with breastfeeding in my first pregnancy to dealing with financial issues, and relationships problems, insecurities about being a mother and health issues: I wanted to do things the “right way” and give my children what I never had growing up and more. The joy that my children gave me kept me going and still does. They have been my best motivation. When I say prayer works, it does indeed.”

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

“I had to learn to plan my day the day before, write things down and to learn to ask for help when I needed it. Even though I wanted to be super mom, I had to learn not to be too hard on myself when I didn’t accomplish everything on my list or when life happened. Prayer and meditation saved me and kept me sane. Dad, my mom and a few close friends made sure I got my mommy self-care time. I can’t say it enough that prayer and meditation are vital. Also, having positive energy around you. I made sure to keep my friends and family close that were going to uplift and push me to go.”

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

“Enjoy every moment with your little one. Don’t ever take being a mother for granted. Take lots of pictures! Listen to them; Children can be the best teachers in life.  Love and patience are important for you and them. Make sure you take care of yourself mentally and physically for your children. There is no perfect way to parent; no book, magazine or articles can prepare you for the journey ahead. We are all figuring out along the way and doing the best we can.”

#MomCrushMonday 11/5/2018

#MomCrushMonday 11/5/2018

“I’m Aisha Joy, I’m 32 years old and the mother to the coolest 2-year-old boy named Zion!!”

What was the dynamic surrounding your pregnancy? 

“I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in 2013 and had been extremely ill from then until September 2015. I was on so many different meds & had been considering having my colon completely removed because I was so sick. I started Humira July 2015 & by September a lot of my symptoms were gone. I started working part time at a daycare and became a pescatarian, I was working out & taking my vitamins. I had come to terms that because of this illness I would prob never have children & I was looking into becoming a foster parent.

Fast forward to April 2016, I’m getting ready for a colonoscopy. Normally I sign the waiver saying I know I’m not pregnant and I skip the pregnancy test but this time I actually had to pee, so I did the test. Nurse walks in & asks when was your last period? I shrug and start looking on my phone calendar to see when and my mom blurts out, “Why, she pregnant?” Nurse answers, “Yes!” I couldn’t believe it & made them do a blood test to double check. Of course, it all came back positive & I was in a daze for the entire day because I couldn’t believe it

I was considered a high-risk pregnancy but thankfully, my body handled it amazingly outside of being sick my 8th month from a parasite, that I picked up from the school I worked at.

Dad was/is amazing, so he and my family helped make sure I remained stress free and comfortable! Just me & my surprise bun in the oven enjoying each other!!”

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

“TIRING!! I exclusively breastfed for 1 year and 2 months, so I was up every 2-3hrs thru the night feeding & changing diapers. It is one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done and I also one of the most rewarding!! I was determined to breast feed for at least 1 year & I’m so proud that I was able to do so.”

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

“Thankfully I didn’t experience any extreme post-partum symptoms but as a 1st time mother I definitely had my struggles. My mom & sister helped me get through those struggles. Also, Zions dad has a very calm spirit and anytime I would start feeling overwhelmed I could count on him to bring me back down to earth.”

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

“I learned to let things go!!! Sometimes we get so hung up on our to do lists that we let it drive us crazy. I threw the lists away & I now do what I can and not worry about what I can’t!! As long as we are happy & healthy everything else will work itself out.”

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

“Enjoy your little people!!!! Time flies by and it’s not promised. So get all the hugs & kisses they’ll allow and play as often as your knees will let you 🙂 Create as many memories as possible.”