…then there’s Mom-tired, and then there’s pregnant-Mom-tired. I don’t want to sub-divide any further. We can have endless debates about working pregnant moms, working pregnant moms raising toddlers, working pregnant moms raising difficult toddler daughters…we can literally go on for days. I believe each of us get blessed with what we can handle. So if you are a mom capable of the very last example (or even more), please send me your postal address. I need to make sure you’re appreciated.
Everything in me knows I am blessed to be pregnant again. I try every morning to frame it in this light. Our first pregnancy was really easy. This time around it seems like I might need a drip or two to cope. When I’m throwing up, it’s bad. On the good days, that I don’t throw up too much, I still can’t stomach much of anything, and what I CAN stomach seems to change from day to day.
At this very crucial juncture I need to express my utmost gratitude to my husband for coping with not only our toddler single-handedly, but also with me. I communicate in grunts and moans and think he must feel that neither of the girls in the house are able to vocalise their desires right now. Yet he is there every day, carrying the both of us to bed time. In our 18 years together I never could have imagined appreciating you more than I do right now. I love you!
I have not stopped working. Our labour laws do not cater for this kind of privilege. I do have a very understanding team of people at work that tried their best to support my absolute lack of energy and subsequent creative depletion. I try my best to do what I can in a working day and they do their best to look absolutely blown away by the work I managed to do in a week. That does help.
On a more serious note: going through this experience I realised something very real. Our labour law fails women spectacularly. I have noted numerous times, to a vast number of people I may have known or not known at the time of utterance, that this is inhumane. “This” meaning making a pregnant woman work when she feels like this. I also felt miserably failed by the medical community who repeatedly tried to tell me that what I was going through was normal. I’ve, to date, lost more than 10% of my body weight (I now weigh less than I did before getting pregnant with Kira), have little to no energy to just perform daily tasks and often feel like I struggle to just get enough air into my lungs. No Sir, I do not believe you when you say this is normal. Because if this is in fact normal, meaning that most pregnant women go through this, we seriously need to look at the laws around making pregnant women work in their first trimester, especially if they have been diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum. FFS.
Sorry, lost control of my keyboard for a while there…
I want to pull that “failing labour law” circle a little wider: our archaic labour law totally overlooks people who actually, by diagnoses, improve their company’s BEE rating. People struggling with debilitating anxiety, depression, or any other mental misalignment. People struggling with bodies that attack themselves (more commonly labelled auto-immune diseases). People with unrecognised illnesses like fybromialgia or adrenal fatigue…I’m missing more diagnoses now. Things people struggle with that make doing normal everyday things an enormous feet of will and effort. In my opinion, if an employee chooses to disclose his/her status to the company, there should be privileges extended. To begin with, these employees need more medical leave. I have a running fifteen days in a term of three years. I don’t know if you Guys know this, but when they admit you to hospital for depression, the minimum stay is three weeks…that’s all your medical leave for the next three years. If you catch the flu, it becomes unpaid leave. Heaven forbid you have another depressive episode inside that time.
I’m just worried, and I have been for a while. I have many friends suffering from long-term stress with depression and anxiety (not unlike a form of PTSD) as a side effect and I watch them show up for work every day at the cost of themselves. Yes, I was born to be a Mom to the world and right now my heart is hurting for these peeps. If you are one of these peeps pushing through the fatigue, numbness, endless pain and tears to do your job, I think you don’t even know how awesome you are and the depth of your strength is inspiring.
Keep safe and warm Guys ❤
We are a new unit. We got married and that was the start of our brand new family. Then she came along and pretty soon we will start working on a sibling for her. We are our own unit now. Sharing my life with another grown-up was a learning curve, but we managed to create a very safe and satisfying space for both of us to come home to after a hard day’s work.
Recently we committed to exercising every evening. The first 6 weeks were awesome. I felt stronger, happier, clearer than ever. It gradually became more difficult and I am sitting at my keyboard this morning with a very real need to admit that I don’t look forward to going home anymore. Please bare with me if this seems a little melodramatic. It used to be my place of rest, the place where we played and laughed and rested. Now I find myself getting really edgy when it starts to get close to home time. In a couple of hours I will be in pain and frankly I’m not looking forward to it anymore.
Sometimes family sucks. Sometimes you need to admit that you are in fact not strong enough and just press down that competitive little bitch in the back of your head, judging you like you failed at life. If you want family to stop sucking, you need to give them the opportunity to help you. No you are not weak, no you didn’t fail. You actually pushed yourself and found your limit. Very few people ever push hard enough to see that edge.
I’m not looking forward to this afternoon. I will have to admit to my other half that I cannot keep this up. I already know that he will be super supportive and we will put a plan in action that will help me recover without losing the ground we’ve won these last 9 weeks. In no time I will be able to laugh again and just enjoy their company. Family will stop sucking.
I knew it would be hard having a little one. I even added some statistical hardness in my head for the fact that we are around 40. In my childless head, it seamed like a lot of “HARD” but I bargained on it being easier because of the love you have for said little body.
I was right. It is HARD. Said little body generates a LOT of cuteness though and along with the absolute love it makes up for the “HARD”. So for those looking to have children but waiting for the right moment…there is no “right moment”. There is no amount of saved money, no amount of spared sleep, no amount of learnt lessons. THIS surpasses all. THIS being having a little person, a minion.
Now, if you are a super villain prepared to build your own little army of evil super villains, start at 16…please. Hell hath no fury like 40. No, I am not kidding, and yes people were right when they said it’s all downhill from 30…well actually more like 35.
So exercise, eat right, stay away from alcohol, stop smoking, watch your cholesterol and insulin and jog…often. Every time I look at Kira I get a pang of do-it-right. It’s intense. I’m even considering crossfit! But really that’s because we streamed the crossfit qualifiers for the games…damn those awesome athletes!
I’m rambling. That’s something you do when you are sleep deprived. All those people who told us to sleep while we can, can go suck it, because it didn’t help. You can’t “bank” sleep…life would be easy if you could though *mental note for niche market*.
PS * I love my Little Person. I even miss her when she is at creche. I do not care for the difficulty of raising her because her little body is the most important thing in my life. I love her to the moon and back and around the moon again and I am sure that isn’t enough. I looked at her at 1:22AM this morning when she decided she slept enough and felt nothing but love. I am sure that no amount of sleep deprivation can kill this love!
* Kira, I love you!
These last months my Little One has been struggling with teeth. She seems to be of the like that struggles with this…no teeth yet. In the midst of this frustration of not being able to do much for her I found myself regularly daydreaming of the things I would have been doing if she was not part of our lives…
Without baby, with hubby:
- Go for a moderate amount of spa treatments.
- Have endless lazy days of series-watching and carb-consumption.
- Window shop for an essential until we found the perfect, priced-right item.
- Discussed goals, dreams and projects to tackle at length.
- Make love.
With baby and hubby:
- Not make love.
- Discussion mostly circle around what to buy her next or how to handle a particular “outburst”.
- Window shopping has become online browsing…if I can’t find it online, it doesn’t exist.
- I get to hold this little body against my body every day. She smiles. She cries. She chats up a storm and she concentrates so hard when she’s trying to master something. She loves eating. She loves loving. She loves reaching out to faces to touch them and loves giving kisses and hugs…she also loves to be loved and hates to be frustrated.
- I get to watch hubby with her. How much she loves her Dad. Oh my word, the smiles and the gurgles and the chats they have. The games hubby plays with her that make her squeal with excitement (even close to bed time HAHAHAHA) and the way she reaches out to touch him and then place her head against his.
- She loves to love. I love to watch her love and love to feel her loving me. She is pure, simple, uncomplicated. I guess I envy that.
I cannot see that I would ever not want to experience everything about her. As she grows many new things happen. Every new thing is awesome. Not nice or good, but awesome. She goes about her little ways and pushes to the next level, working hard. Every milestone she reaches makes me proud because I know how hard she works towards them. It even inspires me to work towards my goals.
Yes, life may be a little more complicated and a lot harder than it was before her. Despite this there is no way I want my life before either hubby or her back. Both of them enrich my life in more ways than I ever thought possible.
Jaco, Kira, I love you Guys!
It feels like we just got the hang of this whole work-baby-parenting thing and BAM! She got sick. Man, is this rough! It had to happen eventually, so now is as good a time as any…if there can ever be a “good time” for your little one to get sick.
I anticipated quite a lot of things for when she would be ill. For one, I knew she would be cranky and uncomfortable. I knew she would possibly sleep less and eat poorly. I knew there was a very good chance that both of us would catch her bug and we’d all be one sick, happy family (that sounded better in my head).
What I didn’t anticipate is this: this tiny little human picked me as her favourite person. I feel so blessed and must admit, a tiny bit flattered. Because of this fact my mind has decided (in the background) that I’ll be damned if I let her down and make her feel abandoned or in any way betray this trust and love she instilled in me. So now that she is sick, keeping a work-life balance is extremely hard. Leaving her with someone else so I can go to work is just the worst thing in the world…does it sound silly? It sounded really silly to me when I said it out loud on Friday to hubby, crying my eyes out for who knows what reason…I blame little-to-no-sleep.
The thing is, on Monday I’ll face two demons: the first is to get over the fact that I am not the only person who loves my little girl and definitely not the only one who knows how to look after her. She also loves her caretakers at school, so clearly I just need to get over myself. Secondly, I need to discuss last week with my manager. It was the first time she was sick, yes I did go into overdrive, no this is not my normal work style and I know how to handle this now. Next time will be better. I really hope that is not an empty promise. I need to put on my big-girl-panties.
Even if I get this whole sick-kid-working-mommy thing down, one thing will never change: leaving her teary-eyed, snotty little face in someone else’s arms while I go do a job that seems more and more meaningless with every day…did I say that out loud? Somehow creating digital assets just doesn’t seem as important as raising a little human. But it does afford me the luxury of providing for her and even makes the time we do have together extra special.
It’s Sunday morning. Tomorrow will have it’s own problems. Today, right now, is all I really have. I will breathe in it and take every minute as it comes.
So Kira started creche this week. It’s Saturday and she’s taking her first morning nap next to me, while I catch up on some blogging and social media. 3AM this morning I was sitting in my bed, propped up against some pillows, the breastfeeding pillow around my waist and Kira sleeping on it after her third feed for the night, researching when and how you get your baby onto solids. I guess I’m just wondering if she’s hungry. This thought has been violently shoved into the “needs my immediate attention” queue when the creche asked me yesterday to please send more milk to school for her. She seems hungry to them too.
My sleep deprived brain is sitting with this pearl of wisdom, mulling it over like its not sure what to do with it. On the one hand my pediatrician’s voice keep playing in my head, repeating the fact that she recommends we do not start solids before five and a half months. On the other I am certain that I’ll be up at 5AM again to feed her… I also regret reading up on introducing solids, because as it turns out, this is a highly debated and extremely sensitive topic on the internet. Moms unfriend other moms who start too soon. Not just unfollow. Unfriend, block, deny-access-to-their-child kind of disapproval.
This morning I think I have as much clarity on the situation as I’m ever going to get, running on less than two hours deep, uninterrupted sleep at a time (on a good night): my heart and head says she’s ready to try at the very least. I won’t rush it. Heaven knows we’re not nearly set up for solids yet. So I’ll start shopping for a feeding bib, some nice silicone ice trays, see what spoons they have on the market, start to plan a menu. In nine days she’ll be five months, so I’ll aim for two weekends from now.
Coffee. Yes. Just one more cup, while she’s still sleeping. I’m looking at her lying next to me and feel nothing less than absolute love and endearment. I’ll keep reminding myself that nobody knows her like hubby and I do. Just a fortnight and we’ll start a whole new journey.
One thing you know very well when you have a Little One or two or four: feeling tired. Before you had kids, when you were tired, you would simply take a pajama day, take it slow for a while, maybe get in bed a little earlier. ROFL not anymore.
You forget where you put stuff, because you’re tired. You leave doors open on cupboards and lights on in rooms, because you’re tired. You boil the kettle for the fifth time because you keep forgetting why you came to the kitchen in the first place and just as you remember she cries for you again. While you finally poor some water over your tea bag, you realise why the dogs are following you everywhere…they haven’t had food yet. You forgot, because you’re tired.
Your partner comes home from work, hugs you tight and takes the Little One from you. He sits down with her, because he is tired too, little knowing that you have been bouncing her the whole afternoon because she is very fussy today. But you didn’t mention it just yet. You would in a minute. You’re just scraping together your brain to have a decent conversation. Man, you’re so tired!
She cries again. You carefully go over and kiss her with extra tenderness, because you know you’re tired. You pick her up carefully and cradle her very gently, being mindful to pour some extra love into your hug, because you know you’re tired. You count to ten a hundred times and you swallow your frustration many more times than that, because you know you’re tired. You learn to breathe through the pain and pass love over in everything you do, because you know you’re tired.
Sometimes it’s not a bad thing to be warn out. It might just make you extra mindful. Just breathe. Remember the size of the blessing you’re holding. This too shall pass.
Of course it would. You knew it would. No matter how many books you read or how many blogs and groups you follow or how many friends and family told you HOW it would change, nothing would be able to accurately tell you how though. That you won’t be prepared is not true. Pregnancy by and large gets you ready for the most part: the interrupted sleep, the ache in every body part, the being-polite-even-though-you’re-running-on-empty, even thinking a little harder because you know somehow you’re not as sharp as you used to be. All the added effort you require to still function optimally, you learn to do while pregnant.
What you can’t predict is how you, your partner and this new Little One will fit together in this new unit. Every baby is different. And I do mean every baby. This one cries a lot, that one sleeps a lot, this one can throw the mother of all temper tantrums at 2 months old… and then there is how your personality reacts to your Little One’s personality and how your partner’s will fit too and how that dynamic will change your relationship with your partner…the list goes on. The best is, from one week to the next, from one day to the next, your Little One is developing and growing. It seems like you had the hang of it yesterday and today there is something new you have no idea how to handle.
Freaking out yet? Don’t. Because you know what? You’ll be struggling with one part of raising her, but this is the part your partner knows how to handle. He struggles with a different part, but this is a piece of cake to you. And some parts neither of you know what to do, but you have each other and together you can figure it out, even if it means Googling stuff at 2AM.
The point is life is a series of events that teach you to think, breathe, live and love. You can only be there to support and guide your Little One as she goes through the same training. When things feel like they are getting too much to handle, just remember that all you have is this very moment, nothing more and nothing less. All you have is right now. Close your eyes and isolate the instance you are in. If it’s the future weighing you down or the past creeping up on you, cut them away and handle just this moment. I bet you’ll find that where you are right now isn’t hard to handle at all. In fact, it’s actually a blessing.