Journey to Motherhood

Mamas on Bedrest: My Evolving Role as Mama

May 4th, 2015

Hello Mamas,

Happy Mother’s Day!! I know that Mother’s Day is yet a week away, but I wanted to take a moment and wish each and every one of  you a wonderful day! For some of you, this will be your first Mother’s Day; It doesn’t matter if you are still gestating or holding your precious darling in your arms, you are a mama! For others, this is an annual notch marking your progress as mama. Congratulations to you all! Where ever you happen to be on your motherhood journey, do take a moment to reflect and give yourself a rousing round of applause. You have earned it!!!

I have been thinking a lot about my motherhood journey lately. Perhaps it’s because my daughter has been chanting her mantra, “13 in 2015”!! since the beginning of the year, indicating that as of this October, I’m going to have a full fledged teenager in the house. But that’s not the only thing that has me pondering. A few weeks ago, my son, my 9 year old, asked if he could ride in the front seat. My knee-jerk response was to say “no”. But when I took a look at him, I mean, a really good look at him, I changed my mind. As I said, my son is 9 and he weighs upwards of 85 lbs and stands about 4ft 8inches. (My daughter was just measured in school and she tells me that she is 4 ft 11 in. I’m 5 ft.) He is as tall as my mother who sits in the front seat every time she visits. While she spots him a few pounds, I looked up the guidelines and he meets them all! So now he rides in the front seat when I take him to school and it’s a complete mind bender that the darling little bald-headed baby that I hugged and cuddled for so long is now ‘riding shotgun.’

Everything is changing. My relationship to my children is changing and my role as their mama is changing. I find myself not so needed anymore and I have to admit that I am a teenie bit sad about this. The infant and toddler stages are so intense, you can’t take your eyes off of the little ones alone for a second! In the blink of an eye they are wandering into the street, putting kitty kibble in their mouths or reaching towards something hot. When they want something there is no negotiation. They wail their discontent and you do your best to soothe them. A kiss can make the world spin right and let’s face it, when they are in that phase of only wanting you-yeah, it’s a bit constricting but at the same time, how good does it feel when your child is screaming, you can walk into the room, pick them up and instantly they calm down and nestle into your arms in utter contentment? Call me crazy, but it was like having sort or magical power and I will go on the carpet right now and say – I LIKED IT!!

But I like this stage, too. I like being able to say, “Hey, go get ready for bed,” and they go into their rooms, shower, change into their pajamas and come out ready to turn in. I like that on Saturday mornings my daughter sleeps in later than anyone and my son can now get himself some breakfast. I like that they have chores around the house and I am not the only person doing all the maintenance and upkeep. I like that they are great at putting items on the shopping list when things are running out. I like that I can talk to them about things that may have happened and that we can often come to an agreeable solution (This is a work in progress but we are doing well!). They are becoming more independent, exerting their own personalities and I find it fascinating to watch them grow and begin constructing their own thoughts and opinions.

Until they use those thoughts and opinions against me. One thing that is both a blessing and a curse is that I have 2 very intelligent children and when the going gets rough, it’s gang up on mom time! I have to admit that they have come up with some very plausible arguments against things that I have said. I have apologized to my son and praised him for holding his firm to his opinion when he and I disagreed, and I have had to admit to my daughter that I was wrong when we had “mixed it up”. While both my children are very clear that I have the final say on things that happen in our household, I have tried my best to allow my children to have a voice and an opinion about things as much as possible. Sometimes I cannot allow their opinions; as the responsible adult, I have to make decisions that are in the best interest of safety and security for the three of us. But when possible, we have “family meetings” and as a family make decisions.

Motherhood at times is really hard. It’s hard to tell your children “no” when they want something, or want to do something “everyone else is doing” and yet you just don’t feel is right. It’s hard to stand firm in the face of rolling eyes and heavy sighs. And some of my toughest decisions regarding my children came as I was navigating the divorce from their father. Sometimes life seems as clear as mud, yet you have to keep going because there simply isn’t any other choice. So you review whatever information is available and make the best decision possible; sometimes with success and sometimes with colossal failure. And just as I tell my children, at those times of failure, I have to push myself to get up, dust off, learn from the mistake and move on.

My road to motherhood was so dicey with 2 miscarriages, a surgery to be able to carry my children, 2 high risk pregnancies, 2 cesarean sections and a preterm birth with a low birth weight infant. At the time everything was so intense, so critical. I now look back at that 5 year span and it is but a blip on the continuum that is my life. Motherhood itself is so much more, so much juicier! Having kids really is a gift of a lifetime and I am so grateful that I have been blessed to have been given this gift twice.

To all you mamas out there, whether you spend the day in bed with your family fawning all over you, or cuddling a new little love, or spending the day having some great family adventure (which may simply be successfully getting everyone clean and out of the house off to dinner!!) I want to wish you the happiest of Mother’s Days from me and mine to you and yours!

 

There is still time to contribute to the Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond March for Babies campaign. We are hoping to raise $1000 to raise awareness of preterm births and prematurity. The Austin Walk is Saturday, May 9, 2015. A donation as small as $5 will help. Donate now!

Don’t know what to give mama for Mother’s Day? If you are in Austin, give her the gift of care! We offer in home care for mamas on bedrest. Click here for details and mention this blog to get 3 hours of in home care for the price of 2!

Mamas on Bedrest: The Conscious Parent

February 24th, 2015

The Conscious parent Book CoverI was watching Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul Sunday and she had this very lovely woman on named Dr. Shefali Tsabary. Dr. Tsabary is a clinical psychologist and an internationally known expert in “Conscious Parenting”. Her book, The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves and Empowering our Children is a bestseller on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com, and explains how we as parents are not to “lord it over” our children, but our job is to really get in touch with the spirit of our children and thus guide them towards their higher selfs.

Dr. Tsabary states that in the parent-child relationship, children actually mirror and act out issues parents have regarding their own childhoods, and this is often a source of stress between parents and children. For example, a parent who may be very insistent that their child be a soccer player may have had soccer aspirations themselves as a child. But the child may hate soccer and manifest this dislike by not being prepared for practice, trying to avoid practice, misplacing or losing equipment, etc…Then the parent and child get into power struggles; the parent trying to “instill good team skills and agility/athleticism” (actually their own desires for team skills and athleticism) and that child trying to assert his or her own preferences.

Dr. Tsabary also emphasized that we cannot expect our children to be perfect. Their bad behavior is just behavior and we should not take it personally. She said that when our children throw tantrums, it isn’t a reflection of us as parents, but a sign that the child is upset. Okay, I agree with that in theory, but each of my children threw exactly one public tantrum and I have to admit, it made me crazy and yes, I was concerned that other customers in the stores were thinking,

“She can’t control her kid!”

This is where we err, according to Dr. Tsabary. We should be focusing on what is going on and what has triggered our child. The tantrum isn’t about us. But when we take it and judge ourselves as parents for it, then we set our selves up for confrontation with our children.

I have not read this book (yet), but I was very taken with what this psychologist had to say. As someone raised in the “you do it because I told you to do it” line of parenting, I really do have a desire to be a more “conscious parent” and I do give my children a chance to voice their opinions. I actually came into conflict over it with my mother on a visit to my parents one summer. I asked my daughter to do something and she asked me “Why”. The moment she asked “Why”, my mother threw a fit and started yelling at my daughter to be quiet and to do what I asked. I actually had to “back my mother off” my daughter and tell her that I was fine with my daughter asking why she was to do what I asked. I then explained to my daughter why I needed her to do what I asked and she went ahead and did it.

“I’m not into this ‘new parenting,” my mother gruffly stated.

“It’s not ‘new parenting'” I said. “It’s allowing my children to learn to respectfully express their opinions. She wasn’t out of line, she simply asked a question about why I asked her to do what I asked.”

My mother grew up in a very different time than we live in now and in her day, Children were to be seen and not heard and to be obedient little robots, yet expected to live and function fully in the world. While one may argue that many grew up this way and have fared just fine, I know that I have had my own issues with communication and asserting my opinions. I don’t want either of my children to be this way. I want them to be firm in their convictions and to not be afraid to speak their minds.

I am looking forward to reading through The Conscious Parent and seeing what else I can learn and take into my parenting arsenal. I invite you, Mamas on Bedrest, to take some time to think about how you want to parent those little loves you’ve got growing inside of you. If you decide to read the book, please post a comment in the comments section below. I’d love to hear if and/or how this book changes your parenting perspective and what tips you are taking into your own parenting arsenal and the things with which you are in disagreement. I don’t feel that there is enough emphasis on really thinking about the type of parent you want to be, and quite frankly once the baby is here, there just isn’t time. So while you are hanging out and gestating, you may want to read this book and formulate your parenting style.

Mamas on Bedrest:Unnecessary Medical Interventions in Labor and Delivery May be Putting Mothers, Babies at Risk

January 20th, 2015

Greetings Mamas!

I am happy to present to you a podcast interview with Carol Sakala, Director of Childbirth Connection Programs for the National Partnership for Women and Families. She has graciously stopped by today to share with us a landmark comprehensive report put out by Childbirth Connection and National Partnership for Women and Families called, The Hormonal Physiology of Childbearing and Its Implications for Women, Babies and Maternity Care. This report is unlike any other report on maternity care to date. Compiled by Dr. Sarah J. Buckley, the report is a review of over 1100 research papers and reports examining the best practices for maternity care and the best practices that protect and enhance the hormonal systems that are the most essential and influential in pregnancy and childbearing.

The report consists not only of the research and the evidence for each practice recommended, Childbirth Connection has also developed extensive patient and clinician resources that are available for free on the Childbirth Connection website. I am so grateful to Ms. Sakala for taking the time from her busy schedule, on a holiday, to explain the particulars of the report and to share some particular nuances that are beneficial to Mamas on Bedrest.

I apologize in advance for the recording. My microphone is more powerful than I thought picking up background noise from outside despite closed doors and windows. Deleting the noise caused some of the interview to be lost. So bear with the noise, in the beginning as the information is just too good to lose.