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17 months old

If motherhood has taught me nothing else, it is the true meaning of the phrase “beautiful mess” and the preciousness in appreciating every day and not letting life pass you by. This whirlwind of a journey has been indescribable from the start, but more importantly, I now understand the true preciousness of time and living in the moment. Every day I’m one picture away from tears. (more…)

The one question I can now count on daily is someone asking the pronunciation of my daughter’s name, the origin and the meaning. There’s also the severely funny look we get when we provide her name to someone unfamiliar. Usually, if her name is to be provided for writing, I automatically begin by spelling it, then providing the pronunciation. Of course, this is not foolproof, as all too often someone believes I’m insulting them by indicating the spelling first. Except when they do go ahead and I provide the pronunciation and start to spell to avoid the error in spelling I know for a fact is looming, the offender proceeds to look at me as though I’ve lost all my marbles.

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On October 13, 2016, my most precious bundle of joy was born. It feels like just yesterday that I heard the doctor say “Siobhán is out!”. She was so tiny, even her newborn clothes were big. My husband hogged her for the first few weeks. The only thing I would get to do was feed her because I had the breast! Now, all that teeny bop stuff is gonna and I have a full on young lady on my hands. I can’t believe how fast this past year went by. (more…)

I know I’ve been MIA lately on the blogs, so the short answer is that I’ve been around. Spending some quality time with the family, balancing the transition from being a mother to a young stationary baby and a rambunctious, overzealous (now walking) toddler whilst managing my freelancing and even a bit of study. I wish I could tell you I’m balancing all these aspects well, but that my friends, would be the most epic of LIES! It does though warms my heart that you guys miss me and check on me. I are here! **INSERT BOUNTY KILLER IMPERSONATION HERE ** (more…)

I had my daughter 6 months go today. WOW! Just… wowAlready I have found myself several times over looking at pics from the day (night) she was born. She changed, grown so much. Will it always be this fast? My heart might not be able to take this.  I love this kid so much! It’s intense. It keeps my heart so full, grateful, scared, yet content and happy. (more…)

When I had my baby, I was starting from ground zero on the knowledge of comfort scale. Most of the women I had giving me advice hadn’t had a baby in at least 10 years, so I kind of had to figure it out on my own as far as small comforts were concerned. So I’ve put together a list of things that helped me.

Pregnancy Pillow

My back pain started pretty early, around four months and is currently ongoing. I decided I wanted to try a pregnancy pillow. Wowzers, the difference it made! The shape I have not only completely alleviated my lower back pain, when my belly got bigger, it provided support and assisted with the pulling weight when I layed on my side. It is also currently functioning as support  (which I can’t do without when I nurse), so that’s another plus.

The drawback? It’s huge and takes up half of a queen size bed. We had to be very creative to  still manage to cuddle. If you know about Jamaica, you know the summer heat, is no joke! It was very uncomfortable when I needed the support but would sweat buckets being cocooned.

Where: I had made up my mind to have my mom make me one when I lucked out. I visited the Ping’s Half Way Tree store, and when I described what I wanted to make, the sales rep said she thought they may have one. She found 3, and I was able to purchase it there for JMD$3000. It was definitely a win!

This is the shape pillow I had, however, there are a wide variation of shapes.


Shea Butter Skin Mixture

I knew that moisture would be essential if I was going to have any hope of limiting stretch marks, but instead of relying on manufactured creams, I made my own. MOISTURE is imperative, not just oil. I bought unrefined Shea  Butter, coconut oil and olive oil and made a mixture that I used everyday on my breasts, belly, sides and lower back. I would encourage you to add your hips to your own regimen.

Where: Olive and coconut oil can be found virtually anywhere on the island. Shea butter a little more scarce. I bought mine on Amazon for USD$14.95 and had it shipped through ShipMe. I paid Shipme around $1000+ to collect. ( They charge per pound.) The good news is I have been using this EVERYDAY since March 2016 and have since made two of the containers (shown below). The second container is not yet finished and I’ve also been using the product in my baby’s hair for a few weeks now (It does wonders for a dry patch her scalp has). I also still have enough Shea Butter left to make another container or two of product.

Lansinoh HPA Lanolin

This little tube of product saved me from screaming bloody murder while my nipples got used to breastfeeding. I would never attempt to go without it if I had another child. It’s  safe for baby and doesn’t need to be removed before feeding (I removed it anyway and reapplied). It’s also great for chapped lips! It’s now a handbag favorite. It’s only 1.41 oz of product but a little goes a long way. I am still on my first tube though I no longer need it for breastfeeding (3 1/2 months later).

Where:  It costs USD$8.73 on Amazon and will be about $JMD800+ to collect through ShipMe. (Tip: Don’t order it alone. It’s better to order something else you may need to make up the one pound weight ShipMe charges for.)

Lansinoh Stay-Dry Nursing Pads

These are awesome! You can put them in your bra or stick them onto a close fitting top or dress if you want to go braless. They really do keep you dry. I never notice if my breasts have been leaking until I notice the difference in the weight of the pad. It never ever, ever feels wet.

Where: Amazon. It’s USD$9.99 for a box of 100 and like I said, if you don’t leak, or do very little, you can just pop them back in to re-use.

Silicone Breast Pump

So you know when your breasts are engorged and folks casually suggest express by hand? Nope, nope, nope, nope and oh yea… NOPE! It’s PAINFUL! Not to mention you’re there enduring all this pain for two drops of milk to casually drip. Nope! When I tried to find a pump locally, I found myself facing JMD$7000 price tags for single manual pumps. Again, nope! Considering I only pump if I’m engorged or need to go on the road for hours, I wasn’t about that life. I decided to try a silicone pump. This is sooo good! Hassle free and it’s great to take the edge off when engorged. The cap is only good to keep milk covered so watch out. If it turns over, all your milk is gone. I transfer to a bottle immediately so I’ve never had an accident.

Where: Amazon. It cost USD$13 .00 and is light (for ShipMe reference).


Ovia Pregnancy App 

I loved this app. It gives bits  of helpful information everyday and week as well as an update of what you can expect regarding symptoms each coming  week. There are helpful tips for alleviating them (symptoms), a community where you can ask questions and a cute little hand diagram that compares the approximate size of your baby’s hand in relation to the hand size at birth.

Where: Google Play  and Apple Stores. It’s free!

I hope this helps someone and congratulations on your baby!

P.S. This is not a sponsored post.

So much has happened in the land of new motherhood since my last blog post, it’s very hard to believe its only been 14 weeks (or 101 days). My life before giving birth has actually started to blur already. (Whadya know?) Siobhán‘s hit  a few milestones already and has me feeling like I’ll blink and she’ll be trying to turn 18 and trying to move out. (Over my dead body). I guess she didn’t get the ‘be my baby forever memo’. She’s growing up too fast.

Baby Update

You guys know her as Pepperseed or Baby Reid, but since she’s been here she has been Shiv, Shivy, Meeme, Putt Putt, Mus Mus, Babble Baby… you get the picture. I sincerely doubt she’ll lose any traction from the growing list of adorable nicknames any time soon.

  • She’s still being exclusively breastfed. There are less tears (from me) than there were initially. Thank God for that. She’s hardly ever bottle fed with expressed milk. I want to start changing that soon, but honestly, I love our bonding time.
  • She’s gained quite a few pounds, wearing some clothes sized six months old. She’s definitely pedalling through clothes and diapers sizes. I’d wager she’s pushing 14 or 15 lbs by now.
  • She sleeps throughout the night now (except for feedings) but hardly takes daytime naps anymore.
  • She loves the cell phone. She goes still as soon as it’s being pointed at her, as though she recognizes it. She loves it when the phone talks to her. (Video calls). She actually prefers them.
  • She prefers sitting positions and is as curious as ever.
  • You won’t believe it, but little Miss catches an attitude after I’ve combed her hair. Can you believe it?

We’re at that stage where her arms work just enough to go in the general direction she wants them to more often than not, and she is quite the grabber when her little arms meet their target. It’s also that time where her hands are quite delicious, and everything must be tasted.

One of my best moments as a new mother happened this week when she started to babble without coersion. Put her down and she starts to entertain herself with babble conversations or just the sound of her own voice. She’s also laughing out loud when something is especially entertaining.

Mommy Update

So it has been 3 months and while many things are on their way back the norm, many aren’t. I am still having to ride that patience train and it is less than fun.

  • Tummy. Yes, it is still very much present and while I really, really want to start exercising, let’s just say I lack the motivation to commit to the pain and exhaustion that will follow.
  • Stretch Marks. They are fading. I would really like them to go a bit faster, but they are going, so I won’t complain.
  • Skin. No, my skin has not returned to normal. It is still presenting as dry, and I am facing an onslaught of breakouts, which is unusual for me. Hopefully this will correct itself soon.
  • Postpartum Shedding. Yes, the horrid post pregnancy shedding has started. My edges are noticabley thinner. I really hope it will stop soon.
  • Back pain. It’s still very prominent. I can get away with doing some household chores, but for every one day of physical labour, I pay for it for a week. That is certainly no fun.
  • Sleep. I am always tired, having never getting enough sleep, especially now that I am working from home and being a full time mother. I have this horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach that I won’t ever get enough sleep ever again.
  • Work. It is that point where I have to start working again. I’ve chosen to pursue freelancing full time , as well as start a business, but the rigors of all that while being Siobhán’s primary caregiver will eventually become a challenge. It remains to be seen whether I go back tp pursuing a  9-5, but regardless, no more 40 hour work week in this department.

My baby is so tiny and stinking cute! Of course, I’m aware this is more than a little bit influenced by my exponentially biased ‘mom glasses’. But who cares, cya tell me notn. Mi baby a tek life! Lol

Breastfeeding 

On a more serious note though, she is such a beautiful blessing and even so one of my greatest fears come true. The unbelievable suction power within those beautiful, tiny cheeks when applied to such a sensitive body part can only be described as  absolutely vicious. I have a ‘barracuda baby’. Rather than open and close her mouth over an all too sensitive nipple for a good latch, she tends to want to suck it in until she’s properly latched (She’s such a lady) and let me tell you, it is definitely not the most painless activity.  We’ve tried everything to get her to open wider for the breast, but it’s just not happening. The good news is they’re hurting less with time but I kid you not, it still hurts. It is, however, early days yet. Something that helped me cope is nipple cream. So if you’re having trouble with sore nipples or planning to breastfeed, please accept my humble and very strong recommendation of Lansinoh Lanolin nipple cream. I heard  it’s great for chapped lips and tried it. God bless the woman who created this product.

Bonding

The cuteness and bonding, if I can make it through the above, is in holding my baby lovingly in my arms. Providing her nourishment  and comfort. Feeling her soft skin and squirms,  hearing her coos, smelling her Pepperseed smell… Giving her my silent vow that as long as there is life within me, I will move mountains and cross seas to protect her, reminding her she is above all else cherished, asking God’s unfailing guidance and protection.

She stares at me a lot now that her eyes are able to focus some. She looks so curious, and as though she’s making mental notes of me and registering my face. I love it.

She’s a daddy’s girl. My husband is definitely better at putting her to bed than I am. I put her to bed and she’s wide awake in a few minutes. He does it and she stays asleep. They chill a lot.  It’s very cute to watch.



Snapback

On a lighter note, my body is slowly returning to normal, if a little scarred from the battle of carrying a life. Dropped 20 lbs the first week. I started at around 128 lbs and peaked at around 162 lbs. That’s over 40 lbs total gain including what I gained after losing some when I was sick in the first trimester. My tummy is making its way down as my uterus shrinks back into place. Breastfeeding is helping and the contractions that first week were no joke! I thought those would be gone once baby came out. No dice.

All in all, its worth it though,since I can’t waist train back to a flat tummy like I had planned to do what with a c section and all. At least, not yet. So I’m happy for nature’s swift assistance there. I admit, I always thought the whole “breastfeeding helps your tummy go down” was a hoax… or at least with slow and/or negligible results. I will happily concede it is not. It really is true. The darkness of my tummy is also getting better with time.

Pretty sure that Pepperseed thinks of me as the holy milk bearer.  She demands her milk when she’s hungry. No playing around so, at least for a while the boobage aren’t my own. I’ll be back to a size 3 or 4 in no time I think.

 

One month down, a lifetime to go… 

All in all, I honestly cannot believe a month went by that fast. She’s so much bigger than at birth. She’s gonna be a little busy body I chase around in no time.

It’s been a month since I had my little Pepperseed and it seems the time has gone up in smoke. That’s easy enough to feel when it comes to the baby. My body, not so much. This part feels like its been forever. Forever and a day. When will the never ending changes just stop?

When a woman has a baby, she is usually enthralled in taking care of him/her. Like many other things, he body has changed into an unfamiliar state. AGAIN. This part of things though, I don’t think is discussed much. Mainly because the running narrative is likely to be, “Embrace your stripes“, “You got a beautiful baby“, “It doesn’t matter“. All of this is mainly from the perspective that said woman should shun anyone (including and particularly her partner) if they dare to speak/comment on or to simply acknowledge the difference. That’s all jolly and well but… That does nothing for me. How goes it when the discomfort is within me? Not caused by an extrinsic stimulus? Is it taboo to recognize that I need to mentally re-calibrate the view ‘I’ have of myself?

Maybe I am shallow or just experiencing a mild case of cognitive dissonance since I believe the above to be true as well. I’m not sure. It seems I am the only new mother willing to admit that I do not particularly like what I see and that acceptance is going to take me a while. Gaining my confidence back is going to take me a while since I wasn’t granted  the gift of immediate assuredness about my post baby body. This is not because I  am unappreciative of the gift of my daughter, but because it is yet again, a DIFFERENCE I must get used to. A somewhat but not truly a permanent one.

Since I can only speak from my perspective on this, there’s something else I find myself doing. Standing in front of the mirror once or twice a day just looking at my body. I’ve been doing this since I was pregnant. Checking the rate of change, however, now from a different perspective. I suppose now I’m unconsciously trying to repair the mental dissociation I now feel to my body whereas before I was excited to know my baby was growing. The unfamiliar, however faint ‘stripes’ on my hips and tummy. Brighter ones on my breasts, my extremely dark stomach (This I was unprepared for). My much bigger belly than I am accustomed. My seemingly overly fat face.

I expected much worse going in. So why am I this slow to acceptance?
***Diary of a woman becoming mother.