The Reality of Motherhood: The Joy, Pain & In-betweens 

When you look at all these picture perfect mothers on the internet or on advertisements- you must think, “wow motherhood must be so peaceful, so relaxing….” Until you actually become a mom, you realize you were deceived! Haha.  Just kidding, there are moments of tranquility but then there is also a big chunk of crazy, restless moments- especially for a first time mom.

Who would even think that this tiny and harmless being can change your life SO drastically?!

Photo of Maxen at 7 days old, June 2016.

And this is precisely why I decided to write a blog post dedicated to YOU, a first time mama. This is based only on my personal experiences and lessons learned throughout my 12 years of being a mom- all so you aren’t caught off guard with your new life as a mother. I’m definitely not perfect, and not everything that worked for me necessarily may work for you but it’s worth a shot. Let me be completely honest with you. Shall we begin?

Let’s start off with what to expect when you start breastfeeding. No one ever tells you that breastfeeding hurts like crazy but ONLY at the beginning. Don’t worry. The first 2 weeks usually are the hardest. So it’s normal to feel like giving up…

 Here’s a little throwback to 12 years ago when Noelle first latched on! Of course I tried to smile.. But that was painful!

With my first 2 children, I remember holding my breath each time it was time to feed- the initial latch felt like my nipples were about to be torn apart because they were so sore. But wait, bear in mind that I DO NOT want to discourage you – I only want you to know what to expect so that you’re one step ahead and don’t freak out.

The good news is that after 2 weeks, it is completely painless! You just have to get over that hump. Even better, there is a way to help ease the pain– and i learned it only with my third child! So what I did was, when I was 7 months pregnant I started to use nipple gels already. Just once a day before bed and you know what, when I breastfed Max- I never felt what I did with the 2! No pain, no sore nipples. It was a breeze! So I think it must’ve been the gels that helped. I used Medela Pure Lanolin and Lansinoh alternatively.

 Photo with Tyler in 2008.

I breastfed both my kids for 10 months exclusively- meaning no formula at all. And they hardly ever got sick! It really is the best milk you can give your child- so worth it.. Plus there are major benefits for the mother as well- losing weight! (YESSS!!!) You burn 300-600 calories per day. At 7 weeks post partum, I have lost already 40 pounds with no excercise and no diet! It’s awesome. So I encourage you, do not give up- the benefits, especially for your child are worth more than 2 weeks of suffering.

Another topic I want to write about are the “wrongs”‘or “rights” in parenting. Don’t ever feel discouraged or judged by the choices you make for your baby. Each baby is different, therefore each style works differently too. You know your child more than anyone else. You know what works for them and what doesn’t. So don’t let anyone make you feel otherwise.

This goes for the little things like bottle feeding, cradling them to sleep, or even making them sleep on their bellies… Notice one thing in common? They are all so controversial nowadays.. And i have no idea why. I’ve been doing all 3 for my children since I had my daughter 12 years ago, and I had absolutely no problems in this area at all… And yet I get questioned repeatedly. I think after having 3, I am a little more confident on the way I choose to raise my children. It is definitely not for everyone, but this is the choice I made.

 

 If you’re a working mom like I am- everyone knows that when you go back to work – as much as you’d like to directly feed your baby, you can’t- so you introduce the bottle early on so they get used to it. THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO PROBLEM WITH THAT because you are doing what you can. I mean pumping is no joke, in fact it even takes more effort because you need to wash & sterlize after each use. So I cringe when other people judge for this reason, so again don’t worry. You are doing what you can for your child and it works. Don’t ever feel like you’re less of a mother because you bottle feed.

Am i being a little too honest here? Woops. But this is reality.

Now you’ve probably heard about nipple confusion. To be honest, I have never heard about that term until now. With all 3 kids, i introduced the bottle on their first month because on days where I have to leave and work, I want to make sure they’ll be able to drink properly without a worry. I mean you have to admit, on some days, and in some places you can’t always bring your baby. If you wait too long, i think that’s where the “confusion” comes in because when they’re older, of course introducing something new will be harder for them to adapt to. Unlike when they’re still tiny- they don’t really have an option- when they’re hungry they will drink regardless. So that’s my conclusion. Hehe make sense? Well you don’t always have to agree with me either- these are things that worked for me -and they might just work for you too. But absolutely no judgements whatsoever- like I said we all have different ways on dealing with things.

Another reality, especially when you have a newborn are sleepless nights. You’ve probably heard this before but don’t even realize how serious this is! Haha. I mean sleepless for not only days but up to even 6 months! Your baby eats, sleeps, poops and the cycle goes on. But sometimes there are other factors that cause major crankiness. Like Gas or in tagalog, kabag. With Maxen, my third child- just a few nights ago- was a record breaker. My husband and I had ZERO sleep up to 5am! Seriously. Ibang klase. He was just unusally fussy.

This was also the first time he had not pooped in 24 hours- (My pedia says it’s nothing to worry about) but we rocked him, cradled him, but when we put him down on his crib he was up again in no time. So I made him sleep on my chest but then after a while even that didn’t work- my husband and I would take turns but still nothing- and to make things worse I had to be up for a shoot at 6:30 am. So I had about an hour and a half to sleep, if i was lucky. Crazyyy! But I guess eventually he went to sleep because he was just exhausted. But yes that is definitely what you call A SLEEPLESS night! But that was a special case, the more regular nights are 3 hour sleeping periods.

So prepare yourself for that, you’ll get exhausted at first but like everything, eventually you get used to it. Which is why I advise moms that IF they can take 20 minute naps during the day while the baby sleeps do so. Those 20 minutes make a big difference!

(When you’re up, might as well take a photo! Haha)

Are you excited for motherhood yet? Hahaha! This is the reality. But despite how hard and tiring it may sound, nothing compares to the joy and fulfillment your children bring! Just one smile, one coo – INSTANTLY you forget the hours of sleep you missed or how tired you feel. I’m telling you- our babies cast a magic spell on us. Haha!

  Maxen at 1 week.

You will never really understand how much love and patience you have untill you have a child of your own. Oh there are such blessings!

So, Mama are you ready? Fasten your seatbelt and get ready for the most exciting ride of your life! Blessings always. ‘Till next time! 

Feel free to share your thoughts too on the box below 🙂

xxMikaela

 

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14 thoughts on “The Reality of Motherhood: The Joy, Pain & In-betweens 

  1. Again, such an impressive blog and super nakakarelate. I was CS pa yet I was already doing a lot of things as if I didn’t give birth via CS. My family would always say na wag ko sanayin na nakakarga and not to tire myself too much or baka bumuka ung tahi but I wouldn’t listen kasi I know and I can feel that my son needed me beside him most of the time and part of me also needs to be with him. All those sleepless nights and fears especially since I’m cosleeping as in he sleeps in my bed and since EBF since birth. Reading about SIDS and so on. Like I would try to stay awake and watch him sleep and check every now and then if he’s breathing (well until now haha). And lastly, the nipple confusion since I was working. Good thing that never happened (and hopefully it never happens). The look on his face when he sees me get home from work. Pure love for mommy/dede haha. And he’d even complain na kunyari iiyak if it takes me too long to change and go to bed. He’s almost 5 months old yet galing umarte. Hehe. Anyway, thanks for your wonderful blog. Sorry about the long comment.

  2. I couldn’t agree more with everything you mentioned.

    If I were to be a asked what my greatest achievement in my life so far, it would be surviving the grueling first 2 to 3 months of having a baby with very little to no help at all.

  3. Super true! Relate much hehehe. nakaka frustrate lng kasi d ko man lng na breastfeed baby ko kasi super liit ng nipple ko. More blessings to you and to your family.

  4. Hi Mika! You have a lovely blog. These are all so true! I still wince when I think of how painful those first weeks of nursing were (I have 2 hungry boys).

    On that note, I think you may have overestimated the calorie expenditure of nursing. I remember discussing this with my lactation consultant because I wanted to know for sure if I was indeed burning 500 calories per feed (I was pretty excited about that! Imagine the extra food I can eat lol). She said it’s between 300-600 calories A DAY, about 20 calories per ounce your body makes, so it largely depends on your baby’s intake. 🙂

  5. Bravo! Finally someone has talked about bottle feeding in the first month, sleeping on belly, cradling to sleep and being OK with it. Those are some of the many advice I got from my parents. To add to that even applying/rubbing manzanilla to the tummy, back hip and feet soles to ease gas/colic and alcanforado to the back and feet soles then covering with socks to keep the body warm and prevent/treat colds during the cold windy nights. Not to negate or dismiss the modern ways but I really just find the conventional methods that were tried and tested and passed on from one generation to another reliable. Yung mga payo ni Lola ba! One funny story since we live in nyc I have a neighbor whom I shared the manzanilla with cos nothing she’s tried has worked and she can’t believe how that weird green-colored solution was the solution for her baby’s colic problem 😜 I enjoyed this entry a lot! Keep it up!

  6. Hi, Mikaela! Thank you for this blog and i learned a lot. I love reading all your blogs and it really helps!:) Thanks! Im turning 32 this September and im on my 26th week now with my 1st baby. After 5 years of waiting and at last God granted our greatest wish. For a newbie mom-to-be like me, i have so much fears and questions about being a mom, and this blog really heps! Thank you, Mikaela!! Looking forward to your new blogs about moms! 💗

  7. I started following you in IG just recently and saw your website. I am not fond of reading blogs but i find yours very helpful and interesting. Maybe because i just gave birth 2 months ago so i can relate with you since your son, Maxen, is the same age as my Juan Paulo Francisco.
    Technically, i am not a first-time mom. I have 2 kids but with age gap of almost 10 years. However, i am experiencing a lot of firsts with my newborn – first time to breastfeed since i was not able to do so during my first baby as i was not producing enough milk for her; first time to be a full-time mom with no help from nanny/mother; first-time mom to a baby boy.
    Being a hands-on mom 24/7, i am not able to do other things especially my baby wants me to be with him always. Since giving birth, i can’t remember i was able to sleep 3 hours straight. I eat a lot to compensate for the lack of sleep but sometimes i really need to rest. My husband who works in manila only comes home every weekend. Aside from taking care of my baby, i also need to do the household chores. I have a daughter who goes to school that i need to attend to as well. Sometimes i feel like i’m going insane when things go uncontrollable. It’s important that you have a diversion to get away with the stress of being a mom. For me, internet is my companion nowadays i.e. Reading through something is helpful or chatting with my sisters thru viber helps as well.
    I will find time to read your other blogs as i know it will help me keep sane 🙂 thank you for sharing your stories!

  8. Hi Mika! First time mom here 🙂 you mentioned you introduced bottle as early as one month… Will it still work even if my baby’s on her 3rd month?? I mean she cries and it breaks my heart when she refuses to take the bottle because i know she’ll get hungry. She wants my breasts but then I also have to run errands and want to make sure she gets fed without any worries. What bottle do you recommend?

    1. Ohhhh! Hi @michaelaclemente i guess the best way is to try.. But have another family member or if you have a yaya feed her from the bottle.. Go out of the room 🙂 coz im sure she can smell you hehe. 🙂 well i use dr browns 😉 but ive been hearing a lot of moms using pigeon for the babies that are picky 🙂

  9. Hi Mika this is the first time I read your blog and it just inspires me and excites me. I will be a first time mom by January and I am already anticipating the adjustments that we need to do because literally it will just be me, my husband and the baby since our families lives in north and we are in the south. One thing though is that we are allowed to work from home almost everyday, if not, i just need to attend some meeting in office then go home after. Thank you for sharing your stories.

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