Pressures of Perfecting Motherhood Begin in the Womb.

mother and child figurine
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Babies change our world.

It’s your first baby and you are super excited! Or this is your second baby you have been trying for or it’s your third baby and you have this down to a science. You are well prepared. Or at least you think. Maybe this baby is your rainbow baby and a lot of emotions are rising during your pregnancy or even the planning or getting pregnant in the first place. Perhaps this baby is your first and you hadn’t planned this baby at all. Whatever the circumstance. I promise you. Married. Unmarried. Planned or Unplanned, pregnancy will leave you feeling absolutely in love and ready to take on any challenge for your baby yet at the same time scared of everything for them. You’ll feel pure joy some days and other days you’ll say to yourself ” how can I do this?” Am I ready to be a parent? Will my baby have all it’s fingers and toes? What will we do about money? Can I do this on my own? Pregnancy is hard enough making a little human being. This is pressure enough. There are certain pressures that are placed on us in society that are absolutely overwhelming. Post partum depression is very real in our society. I feel it’s even more of an issue now that social media is so alive and well. Highlight reels depicting mothers who have gained very little weight posting already visible abdominal, pictures 2 days post baby saying they lost all their weight and just feel a little bloated and can’t wait to get back to lifting regiment, their babies are perfectly healthy not one complication exists, baby is clothed in expensive crap, the mom never returns to work and the father of the child happens to be in all the pictures. Everything seems so perfect right? Let’s talk about some old and new topics and lay some silly notions about how we are supposed to feel during pregnancy and child-birth experience or how we should allow ourselves to feel.

You will gain weight /  or may not gain a lot of weight.

It’s necessary for a woman to gain weight during pregnancy. Depending on your size and weight prior to the start of pregnancy that will help you understand how much you should gain. It’s suggested that normal weight women to gain an average of 25 to 35 lbs in pregnancy. The range is lower if you are obese and more if you are underweight pre-pregnancy. My first pregnancy I gained 90 lbs. Wow that was extreme right? I did gain an extreme amount of weight. What you didn’t know is that I was under my natural weight when I became pregnant. I had been prepping for bikini competitions and strictly dieting for months and months prior. I still gained way too much weight with all that being said. I lost all that weight after my baby and got into the best shape of my life after that. I got pregnant again and gained 60 lbs. I have lost 45 of those 60 lbs. I haven’t gotten back into the best shape of my life again yet due to other health issues but my mindset is already there. 15 lbs is not going to hold back any of my joy.  I am not encouraging anyone to go out and gain a ton of weight during pregnancy but I am encouraging you to realize that scales should not define how you feel in pregnancy.

Everyone is created differently. Our genetic make up is so complex and each and every one of us is unique. Every woman’s body should be appreciated. I think as our culture is becoming more body positive towards bigger women we are starting to shame women that are naturally slim. Body positivity is every BODY. Some moms won’t gain much weight. Their bodies don’t need the same fat stores as others do, they have different life styles, their needs are different. I have seen numerous times on Instagram mother’s being questioned as to why they aren’t gaining when they are tiny or when they remain in fantastic shape while pregnant. Even if a mother isn’t gaining for a specific reason other than genetics and pure luck, we have no right to police others on those topics! You also have no idea if a mother is having health complications of her own, struggles with body image issues or has depression.

Stretch Marks!

Stretch marks, they were described to me as like one of the worse things in the world by other women. I was a woman who prior to having children had not one stretch mark on my body. When I mean not one. I mean literally! I once had a panic attack after a bikini competition because I thought my water intake caused me to get a stretch mark. How vain! Now I am covered in them! From shoulders to knees. What I learned about stretch marks is

  1. They aren’t that scary, they do not harm you physically in any way.
  2.  Buying expensive oils does not necessarily prevent stretch marks, stretch marks are caused by rapid weight gain or loss in a short period or time. The elasticity of your skin is involved in this process therefore, creams and lotions have nothing to do with improving the elasticity of your skin. With this in mind it comes down to genetics and cortisone levels ( a chemical produced by your adrenal glands). What you can do to help is stay well hydrated, eat a well-balanced diet and exercise. This maybe prevent/ limit stretch marks by  preventing undue stress levels and keeping your overall health well during pregnancy.
  3. Those stretch marks are so beautiful to me they changed my body forever. I will die with those marks on my body, whether my children remember everything I did for them or not those marks are like tattoos. I love them. I will never look to remove them.

Working while pregnant.

I will have to warn you, it’s not like the movies. Being pregnant at work is not a hall pass to put you feet up and rest. Unless you have great co workers. I was working full-time as a nurse in a nursing home with my first pregnancy and even with my baby belly popping I was being asked all the time to lift and transfer patients because I was known for being strong. ” thanks everyone.” Several days I vomitted into my hands and scrubs instead of my nursing cart while doing my rounds. I was left doing lots of 16 hour days because 3-11 nurses or 11 to 7 nurses weren’t showing up etc. I chose to go for another job that one wasn’t working out. I did not want to be discriminated against for being pregnant at my new job interview so I hid my pregnancy under a big shirt, I didn’t want my future maternity leave to be a reason for them not to hire me. This was a mistake later in my pregnancy. While I was lifting a patient I started to bleed profusely on an overnight case, I was working in home health at the time and could not leave because no one was aware I was pregnant. That was my fault.  I waited until the end of my shift to leave go to the hospital and check on my baby. I was very emotional for hours waiting to see if my baby was ok. By my second pregnancy I learned so much about working while pregnant and here are a few things that helped me along the way.

A few tips for a better work day.

  1. Always bring snacks, don’t catch yourself getting hungry or having to eat overly sweet or salty foods while pregnant. Always healthy quick foods if you don’t have the time to have a meal.
  2.  If you work in health care or a job where bad smells can make you feel very sick, having peppermint essential oil on you in your bag to smell every once in a while for a little aromatic reset really helps. Trust me.
  3.  Call out when it’s necessary, do not call out for BS things. Save your sick days and do what’s right.
  4. If you have a lunch break, put your feet up during the break! It helps with the edema! Get a good pair of supportive shoes, don’t worry about fashion at this time.
  5.  When you are exhausted and need that 2nd coffee, wash your face with cold water and do some light stretches to wake yourself up, drink your water girl !

When you prepare to go on family leave, give yourself the maximum allowed time available. Prepare your disability paper work online as soon as you are allowed to, this paper work takes a long time to go through, you don’t want to have the hassle of worrying about monetary things during your postpartum period. Even if you have a healthy uncomplicated pregnancy life doesn’t always hand us the opportunity to relax and get some down time. Perhaps you recovery quickly and are feeling great, you can take that extra time to spend with your partner or treating yourself. You may also need more recovery time. Not everyone progresses the same when it comes to recovery. If there are complications, you don’t need to worry. The time has been alloted for you. If you chose not to go back to work after having your baby that is good too!

Birth Plan

I encourage everyone that is a first time mother to attend the birth classes that are offered. Look into all your options.  Water births, getting a Doula (a Doula is a birth coach that encourages women during the birthing process and postpartum they are known for a high success rate in completing a birth plan as planned)  Having a Midwife deliver your baby versus having an Ob Gyn. Benefits of having a home birth vs hospital birth. C-section birth vs vaginal birth.  Gather all your information. Start manifesting what you see for your new family. Locate the best professionals you can find. Meaning if you want a home birth, find the best qualified Nurse midwife in your area. Ask around. Talk to all different women about their birth experiences. Tour the hospital you’ll have your baby in. It’s your experience. Birth is special! If you are having a high risk pregnancy and having a C- section but wanted a more natural feeling to your birth ask about a gentle C- section. I had a gentle C-section with my 2nd daughter and it was a beautiful experience. In a gentle C-section because it’s scheduled there is time to lower the curtain allowing the parents to view the baby coming out, then baby is cleaned and placed on their mother’s breasts for some skin to skin. My husband was able to cut my daughters cord. It was truly a nice experience compared to the emergency C-section with my first daughter. Whether you chose to give birth outside in a tent with a Midwife burning sage or get an epidural and have an Ob Gyn deliver your baby in the hospital. Birth is still birth. No woman should ever be discredited for the route in which she has brought her child into the world. Our end goal is to have healthy babies. I am one of seven children. My mom had two C- sections and five vaginal births at home in our livingroom. She had intense back labor with these hard-headed kids for over 24 hours a piece, I swear. She is one strong mother. She had them without so much of a peep most of the time. I cut my little sisters cord, which is totally awesome. It was truly an amazing thing to experience. In nursing school when we did the emergency birth scenario, I did the entire thing so quickly. My professor said, it’s like you’ve seen or done this before laughing. I told her “oh yeah my mom had my siblings in the livingroom.”

Home birth was something I had wanted for myself, I soon realized I wasn’t cut out for the task. After talking it over with my husband who was supportive of any route I chose. I decided on the traditional route. Looking back I am more than happy I didn’t have a home birth. Everything did not go well. After over 32 hours of labor. I needed an emergency C-section. I hemorrhaged with my first and needed two blood transfusions. Everyone is different. Everyone’s pain level, personal level of comfort and family support systems are different. Some women are weak and sick through out pregnancy the thought of battling hours of draining labor is daunting other women feel beautiful and ready to take on the world when they are pregnant empowered and very well. It’s important not to judge other people’s choices.

Supplements I took during pregnancy or prior to giving birth.

  1. Find a good Prenatal vitamin with DHA and iron.
  2.  Folic Acid
  3.  Vitamin D3 2,000 iu daily throughout pregnancy

Pre birth prep (targeting tissue healing post C- section)

Vitamin C –  ascorbic acid is involved in all phases of wound healing, it aids the synthesis of collagen in the body to build new tissue. 

Collagen –great protein source, increases elasticity of the skin and  improves gut health .

Molasses – black strap molasses is known for increasing your iron after giving birth. blood loss causes iron depletion, this will help increase your red blood cell count.I had a low RBC count throughout pregnancy and I started taking black strap molasses in orange juice a week prior to giving birth. My RBC’s were finally normal when I did my pre-birth check in and remained normal even after the surgery! I was super thankful for this!

Be careful with too much iron supplementation. If you are having constipation during pregnancy. Constipation is common in pregnancy. Only supplement at times where you know you are deficient and always ask your physician about the safety of supplements, especially in pregnancy! 

Use the nesting energy!

The extra energy that you have to do random things like rip boxes of clothes out and go through them or clean old cupboards and re decorate is called nesting. Do those things. As you can see in both photos I was feeling my nesting phase. While you are feeling that way, try to prepare some nice home cooked meals for yourself that you can freeze and have them reheated after the baby is born. Nothing is better than a good home cooked meal after having hospital food for a few days or take out. You’ll need some nutritious wholesome food and some of your favorite foods. If you are the breast-feeding try to avoid making meals with a lot of beans, brocoli and kale until you see how your little ones tummy is doing. Pack that hospital to go bag early. I had high blood pressure and I had a few scares where I may have needed to have my 2nd daughter early. I had to go to the hospital a few times. I was happy the bag was already packed. I didn’t pack my bag well the first time around because I planned to an uncomplicated vaginal delivery and thought I won’t need anything. I’ll be home about two days time. I was gone a whole week.

In my bag I packed

  1.  Contact solution and case ( yes something I forgot the first time)
  2.  My own shampoo, travel size body wash, tooth-brush and tooth paste, having your home stuff makes you feel better, deodorant, dry shampoo and body lotion . the hospital stuff is really greasy and heavy
  3. Multiple changes of clothes and no not clothes in my size before I was pregnant. My pregnancy clothes.
  4.  Dandelion root tea – helps reduce swelling and water retention ( important, this was my 2nd baby and I knew full well about my milk supply and about supply and demand, I do not suggest using this at all for mother’s with supply issues, this can reduce your breast milk supply!)
  5. Mother’s milk tea this increases your milk supply! get it!
  6.  Babies clothes, hats, socks, mittens, blankets.
  7.  Belly bandit C- section support panties- I started wearing this day 2. I was up walking around like crazy back and forth to the NICU to breast feed my daughter. This is also available for mom’s who have vaginal births. The extra support helped me feel more intact while walking around.

Don’t leak your nudes.. Wait what?

You are in charge of your personal information. When it comes to having a baby whatever information you chose to share with others is entirely up to you. You are your own media link. Every has their own opinions from how to carry your baby, what to eat, how to exercise, how to dress, act, sleep, stand, poop you name it! When you are pregnant people have so many things to say. Most everything is out of pure love and excitement for the new earthling but for a new mom with all her own worries, it can be quite overwhelming. I found a simple solution for the opinion problem, it’s easiest just not to share sensitive topics with people. I learned the less you share the less someone can have something to say about a topic. It saves you emotional stress and aggravation. As we all know pregnancy is a very emotional time. It’s not rude to share less. After all it’s only important we share our deepest thoughts and feelings with the people we love the most.

What exercise plan should I follow?

There are so many exercise programs to follow and with clearance from your doctor you can continuing enjoying most of the things you did to stay active prior to getting pregnant, through out your pregnancy. During pregnancy important not to push yourself or  looking for achieving personal records. Pregnancy is also not the time to be losing weight unless instructed by a doctor for health related reasons. If you lift weights it’s not time to get the heaviest dead lift. If you practice yoga, you need to keep in mind that a woman’s body is easily over stretched during pregnancy because of a hormone called relaxin. It loosens the ligaments and joints in the pelvis to prepare for delivery, this can be a pleasant surprise getting you into some great splits in your practice but you won’t realize you have gone beyond your edge. So be careful not to over stretch. Yoga is such a great mind-body connection that can prepare you and your baby for a successful birthing process. I practiced yoga religiously throughout my 2nd pregnancy and meditation, my daughter had health complications and that practice saw me through a lot of my emotional discomfort.

If you haven’t maintained an active lifestyle prior to pregnancy and want to make this an opportunity to get healthy. I would suggest starting with prenatal yoga classes and walking. Getting outside in fresh air, soaking in the sun’s readily available vitamin D. Even walking on an inclined tread the mill for 20 to 30 minutes a day can be beneficial. Benefits of walking are go beyond maintaining a healthy weight. Walking boosts your mood, controls blood sugar levels, helps with aches and pains in legs, controls blood pressures and helps move labor along (once you get to that point.)  If you are a mom that has been lifting weights or has been active and doesn’t know where to take things now that you are pregnant. I have something to share with you.

I found the perfect  workout guide for pregnancy and postpartum recovery. I really wish I knew of theses ladies when I was pregnant with my children. These ladies aren’t just pretty fit women on the internet selling workout plans ( be wary of that especially when pregnant) they are trained professionals that really put loads of work into making a pregnancy training guide called Expecting and Empowered comprehensive Pregnancy and Postpartum workout guide. Created by a registered nurse and a physical therapist you are in great hands. I’ll include their information below under resources so you can take a look at their amazing guide.

Baby Moons

I highly suggest baby moons. If it’s your first baby try to get away before it’s too late to travel, to a country or place free of the Zika virus. Mosquitos are carriers of the Zika virus it causes major neurological damage to babies in utero. I wan unable to travel to Mexico with my husband while pregnant with my second daughter for this reason. If it’s not your first baby. Getting out with your significant other for a few uninterrupted hours alone can be amazing. You may or may not be in the mood for anything super romantic but even if you get to spend a night away, perhaps you’ll get some better sleep away from the kids.  Before our first daughter was born some of my favorite moments was actually when my husband and I who were both working nights at the time, totally drained would go to sleep together it doesn’t seem like anything super amazingly special written down but it was, we got to hold hands and fall asleep together uninterrupted by children screaming at us to wake up and make them something to eat. It was awesome. Do the baby moon, mini vacation, run away! Do it!

Involve your spouse as much as possible.

You are the one that is pregnant and making the baby so twenty-four seven you are with the little peanut. You are developing this in separable little bond. Your babys heart is beating just underneath yours, something your husband or wife is missing out on. Not that their roles are any less or more than ours but it is different. It’s important for everyone to feel included. I am extremely blessed to have a husband that is all hands on deck during my pregnancies, he has held back my hair when I’ve vomited everywhere. Cleaned me up. Put me to bed like a little kid. He has gone out and brought me all the weird food I’ve craved in pregnancy and dealt with a whole slew of emotional melt downs. Somethings I’ve done to try to make him feel more included in the whole pregnancy process.

  1. Attend the Ob appointments– my husband came to every one of my 1st daughter’s ob gyn appointments he did not want to miss any. This was a great way for him to be included and fully aware of our plan of care and the staff of doctor’s. It’s also great to get a full family health history as a couple.
  2.  Attend a birth class– have your spouse attend a birth class with you a great opportunity to learn together.
  3.  Talk about how you want to raise your child – some conversations you don’t always have at first are about religion, are we religious? under what religious practices are we raising this baby? it actually changes somethings like baptism and  conversations with extended family, it’s good if you guys discuss it first and you already know where you stand together on a topic.
  4. Skin to skin-  after you or your spouse feed the baby place the baby naked ( if you are brave) on your bare chest and wrap both in your shirt or blanket. The baby hears your heart beating, the warm of your skin and feels very calmed.

Postpartum depression prevention plan

Make a postpartum depression prevention plan, either in your mind, say it out loud or write it down. Think of ways to check yourself or make others aware of ways to know when you are not well. Post partum depression is scary and isolating. It doesn’t matter how many babies you have had before it’s something you should always check yourself for.

What is my red flag?  ask yourself what your red flag is, we have all been depressed but what is your red flag specifically? for instance I knew I was really depressed when I no longer wanted to eat my favorite foods, do yoga or take a shower.

Talk- speak to someone as soon as you start having feelings of sadness or anxiety. Don’t be ashamed of your feelings and know it’s perfectly normal. If talking to family and friends isn’t helping talk to your doctor. I recommend both! 

Get outside-  getting some fresh air and some sunlight on your face after being cooped up inside the house with baby all day is very refreshing, even if it’s just to steal a few minutes alone.

Self care-  Self care in this time frame is so limited but speak to your significant other, tell them what your needs are, make a simple plan to just do 1 special thing for yourself. It can even be a face mask done at home and a hot tea!

Therapy–  family and friends may not be enough and therapy can be necessary. Attending a group can be uplifting and you can see you are not the only one struggling. 

Medication  I would suggest therapy together with medication. Never be ashamed of having to take medication for depression, if that is what you need. It’s needed. Don’t allow stigma’s to prevent you from getting the right help. 

Natural mood boosters  My Soul CBD oil for anxiety relieve and insomnia. It’s THC free and third party tested.  Vitamin B12 is a great mood booster.  Vitamin D3 something everyone seems to be in deficient in these days will help with feeling depressed and having low energy levels. Exercise to boost your mood.  Eat well. Drink water. e

Meditation – allows us to refocus our jumbled thoughts, slowing down our brain, our worries become less. Meditation increases our memory, improves our sleep, mood and promotes a sense of wellbeing. 

Pelvic Floor therapist –   Clearance to have sex within 6 weeks after vaginal birth and 8 weeks after for C- section post partum can be an overwhelming thought it is sometimes not enough time to get our pelvic floors back together. We may be eager to get back in the game  but our bodies may not be. We have created humans and either opened up enough to expel them out of our body or been cut open to do so. It’s extreme! Painful sex can be something that is contributing to a new mother’s post partum depression. Sex should be something everyone enjoys. So make sure you talk to your Ob Gyn about painful sex after birth and look for a pelvic floor therapist to get your sex life back on track. ( we know babies do their best to stop you anyways 🙂 Do your kegels and pelvic tilts in the mean time and lube up or take a longer break from sex if you need to.

Help with baby-  if your baby had health complications and you are trying to do it on your own. You maybe seriously burnt out. Look into having a nurse come into your home to help you out with some of the medical care. Speak to your insurance company and see what they cover. You’ll be able to have your eyes on baby at all times if thats what you want but maybe you need your hands free for a few other things. Having a medically needy child can be very hard on a mother’s emotions and having a small break to collect yourself before getting back into the swing of things can really help.

Enjoy!

I wish you and your new family lots of blessings in this up coming year. I hope you found my blog helpful in some way. ~ Namaste~

 

Disclaimer

This article is made just for information sharing basis only, sharing somethings I found helpful during my pregnancy journey. As always before starting any exercise regime, new supplement or medication consult your physician ( especially as a pregnant or breastfeeding woman)

 

 

Resources

The amazing exercise guide I was telling you about! 

https://www.expectingandempowered.com

Try my favorite CBD oil from My Soul it’s 3rd party tested and THC free!

https://mysoulcbd.com/?afmc=x2

To learn more about the benefits of  Black Strap Molasses 

https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/benefits-blackstrap-m

olasses#1

Vitamin C for healing Wounds

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24796079

Stretch Mark information

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/stretch-marks/symptoms-causes/syc-20351139

Pregnancy Weight information

https://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/pregnancy-weight-gain/

Walking while Pregnant

https://parenting.firstcry.com/articles/walking-during-pregnancy/

 

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