Monday, March 18, 2013

Best Baby Baubles I know baubles are little trinkets and some of these items aren't really trinkets, but for the sake of alliteration we are going with baubles.

Every mom has their go-to baby items that they couldn't live without. Here are just a few of mine:

1. Sleeping gowns

Carter's Baby Gown

During church yesterday, a fellow  new mom exclaimed how she hated baby gowns and that she preferred sleepers, even the ones with snaps. This took me by surprise as my experience has told me otherwise. Baby gowns have been a life saver during middle-of-the-night diaper changes. No snaps, zippers or little pants to take down makes this clothing item a must have. 

2. Breastfeeding Cover
Udder Cover

Breastfeeding is coming back with a vengeance and women everywhere are fighting for their right to bare their breasts in public in the name of nourishing their young ones. I am all for it but I am not as brave as those women so I opted to check out Udder Covers. They are constantly running "free" promotions where you only pay shipping and handling. At first I thought it was a scam, surely it would be cheaply made, the fabric would fall apart but it was quite the opposite. The cover allows you to see your little one while you nurse while giving you complete modesty. 

3. Swaddle wrap

This is the most valuable baby item especially for those who are swaddle-incompetent like me. My husband can swaddle like a L&D nurse and I would get so frustrated because Gwen would Houdini out of my swaddles. Houdini no more! While it may look like you are imprisoning your baby, it actually simulates the comfort of the womb. Gwen sleeps better and longer when bundled up in the soft, stretchy fabric. 

4. Dexbaby Sound Sleeper

Dexbaby Sound Sleeper

After spending almost 10 months in the womb, a baby gets used to loud noises. Not only does she hear your heartbeat but also the gurgling of your bowels (charming, I know), your voice and other external noises. Your womb gets up to 90 decibels! That is why Dexbaby sound machine is a God-send. We use the rain setting (and sometimes the ocean and womb settings) and actually hooked up our computer speakers so it would be a little louder.  If we ever spend the night anywhere, the Dexbaby Sound Machine goes with us. 

There you have it! The products that have made me a little more sane. Are there any items that I should check out? 

Monday, March 11, 2013

The One About the Truth

The truth. 

During the first weeks of having Gwen, I hated being a mother. 

Let me clarify: I didn't hate Gwen. I loved/love her with all my being but I hated the unknown, of not knowing how to care for her.

I read blogs and literature regarding having a healthy pregnancy and a beautiful, natural birth. I failed, however, to read anything about the reality of caring for a newborn. 

I imagined sitting in a rocking chair in a pretty, clean nightgown, my hair perfectly straight and brushed, my cheeks rouged and my eyes lined and swept with mascara.  Gwen would be in my arms, swaddled in a light pink blanket, her lips and eyes closed in peaceful slumber. Both of us rocking away, blissful, not caring about the world and time. 

Reality can be cruel. 

Reality was me sitting on a couch in sweatpants and a tank top with milk stains, my hair in a haphazard bun, wisps escaping every which way. Gwen, mouth open and eyes red with crying, arms flailing. 

This was my new world and I hated it. I hated the crying and not knowing want to do. Every fiber of my being wanted to help my little girl be comfortable but I didn't know how. Everyone had their opinions and I felt trapped to follow their advice which left me feeling as if I couldn't care for my baby. 

Instead of listening to instinct, I Googled everything and read entirely too many blogs. They didn't have the answer. 

My heart did. Mothering is instinct and when I started listening to that instinct, things got better.

As a result of feeling out of control and helpless, I cried. A lot. I even yelled at Gwen out of frustration because I didn't know how to help her or stop her crying. I spiraled into a rut of self-pity and complaining about how much I hated being a mother and how I "couldn't do it anymore". The frustration was overwhelming and I took it out on my husband All the while my husband encouraged me, telling me that I was made to care for our Gwen and now I know that it is true. His patience unending.

I regret yelling at her as I never want her to feel like I hate her. I never wanted to scare or let my sin affect her. But the truth is, is that I am not perfect but I have a Father who is and who is forgiving. Though Gwen could not answer, I asked her to forgive me for yelling at her and then I forgave myself and moved on. 

I thought that it could be an issue of not bonding but I felt as if I bonded with her from the moment they laid her on my chest and I feel confident in that to this day. I look at her face and I can say that I have never seen anything more beautiful. I didn't know why I was having such a hard time. I have concluded that it was just new. There is not manual for what your personal experience will be like with a new baby. It is an overwhelming and under-appreciating job.

But what I find to be sad is that no one ever writes about the ugly side of things for fear of being judged and being deemed an "unfit mother".  Women only write about the unicorns and butterflies, of how motherhood is easy despite the lack of sleep. I would be doing everyone an injustice if I lied through a fake smile and say that I love it.

Motherhood is hard but every day is getting easier and more beautiful. Her and I are learning about each other and getting into a rhythm of life. I'm learning about what makes her uncomfortable so when she cries I go down the checklist and more than likely I can calm her with in minutes.

Mothers can be so critical. Not only of themselves but of other mothers. I have come to the conclusion that I will always doubt myself and feel as if I am doing things wrong. Motherhood, so far, has taught me how selfish I am and since I realized that, things have been a lot easier. 

Like another blogger wrote, being a mother and waking up everyday to care for your little one is a mission. So now, I realize that my job is to serve. Not only my family but my Father through being a mother. Instead of complaining about I "hate" my new life, I know take joy in knowing that this is my purpose and what a beautiful purpose it be able to serve God by serving my family.

It still isn't easy waking up at 3:00 in the morning to feed Gwen but I can now look at her little face and take in the beauty of being able to care for and to comfort her. 

My life has been enriched.