Why Did Nobody Warn Me?

It felt like just yesterday that I waited in anticipation to return to the bathroom to look at the pregnancy test to see if there would be one or two lines. It felt like yesterday that I saw two faint lines, and was flooded with emotions – scared and excited. It felt like yesterday that I experienced a million changes in my body – from growing a belly with a baby inside, to the many other changes my body encountered.

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It feels as if it was just the other day that I gave birth to a healthy little boy, held him in my arms for the very first time, and nursed him through long, dark nights. Then he turned one, then two, and uncountable milestones greeted us in between. We felt as if he was such a big boy when he started playschool at the start of the year, and then when he told us he was ready to get rid of nappies, and then turned three. And now, last night, he decided that it was time to go to bed at night in his undies, and no more nappies.

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How have we reached this point of independence already? Where did my baby go?
Nobody explains to you that this, too is one of the challenges of parenthood. It isn’t only exhausting moments, the tears, the tantrums and the constant debates we have with them when they are little. It isn’t only the sleepless nights, the struggle to get them to latch when they are newborns. It isn’t only all of that that leaves us in an emotional state. It’s also watching them grow up right before our very own eyes, and not quite understanding how they got to that point so quickly.

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My little boy can have full conversations with me – telling me exactly what he wants or needs. He wants to do everything on his own. Snuggles are less – but when they do get handed out, they’re shared with meaning and so much love. He doesn’t just mimic me by returning the ‘I love you’, but says it when he really feels it’s the time to use the words. Instead of just asking me for help, just because – he now only asks me when he really feels that he has tried hard and truly does need a little bit of assistance. He doesn’t always need me to read stories to him anymore, but I get to sit around the corner quietly, listening to him repeat and make up words to his favourite stories that we once read together. Once we would tell him what activities he would do, but now he chooses what he loves, and it’s such a joy watching him giggle and to see the happiness beam through his eyes as he takes on these activities, and watching him thrive in what he has chosen.

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It’s truly beautiful, and as emotional as it can be – I feel that we choose how to deal with our kids growing up. And, my goal for the rest of the year and for next year is to live more in the moment. I am 100% one for taking photographs and little videos of cute moments – and that is my way of storing memories for him to look back on when he is older. But, I am also going to be putting away my phone and camera to truly live in these precious moments. Because if we aren’t living in the moment, where are we really?

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I love having a three year old, and before I know it, I will probably be chatting about how I love having a four year old, and then a five year old. And that’s ok, too.
So — although you will encounter many people everywhere you go (especially when you have a newborn) who tell you ‘Enjoy this moment, because they grow up so fast’, smile – and believe them. Because it does. But you get to choose how you will enjoy it.

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The Only Thing I’ve Judged Another Parent For.

Driving back home from one of the best weekends I’ve had with my little family at our old family farm up at the Breede River, we decided to take the longer, scenic drive back through Robertson instead of our usual route back through Caledon. We weren’t even the tiniest bit phased by the toddler tunes on repeat blaring in the car, or the extra bit of traffic. We were just in our element.

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Dark crept upon us, and we made our way through the Hugenot Tunnel just after Worcester. Still happily chatting about exciting family events to come as well as our special weekend away; a sudden chill hit us as we saw a car that had recently drove over the edge and was smashed up. Added to the scene were emergency lights, and a crowd of people – paramedics, etc. One of my least favourite things to see, especially on a long, happy journey home.

Not even having a chance to get that visual out of my mind, I glance to the left on a road that one can drive 120km/hr and literally find myself taking a second look. My heart sinks, I feel my blood pressure rise at a rapid speed. A little girl younger than my own son – couldn’t have been older than two running back and forth on the back seat of her parents car, jumping forward between the driver and passenger seat. This sounds terrible, but I wanted to get out and just shake her parents. Didn’t they just see the accident? What if that was them? It could have been, and one day it could be!!!

I am shaking, and I feel sick even typing this. If they can afford to have a car, and if they can afford to put petrol into their car – they can afford to prioritize a car seat for their precious little girl! They can afford to protect their baby girl from an accident that can so easily happen. It doesn’t matter how good a driver you are, these things happen in a heartbeat!

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You know, I often find myself feeling anxious when we go on long trips, and we have a great car seat! I find myself nervous because I know that accidents happen, and my child is securely fastened in his car seat! I find myself praying throughout our long trips because I know that there could be someone who is texting or drunk and an accident can happen, and we spent thousands on a car seat for our son to protect him.

Yet, another parent, their childs life just as precious and fragile as my own child, couldn’t care less to take the precautions to potentially save their daughters life. One doesn’t even need to be educated to know! If you can drive a car, you are educated enough to work out that a child needs to be in a car seat! If you can drive a car, especially one like this family was in, YOU CAN AFFORD TO BUY A DECENT CAR SEAT! Your child’s life is far more valuable!!!

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I am not a judgmental person. And I will never put another parent into a situation where they feel like they are not good enough. Whether you formula feed or breastfeed, whether you had a natural birth or a c-section, you are good enough. Whether you rock your baby to sleep or let them fall asleep on their own, you’re perfect. BUT, the one thing that I will voice my incredibly strong opinion on is putting your child in a car seat! If you are reading this, and don’t and feel offended, or guilty – I’m sorry, but I’m not sorry.

Being a parent means that you need to do what is best for your kids. Sometimes having to invest in something like a car seat is just something that you need to do. Sometimes you have to let your child cry even when they don’t want to be in their car seat, or sometimes your already long trip means stopping an extra 10 times because your kid needs a break from their car seat. But, there are no excuses.

STRAP YOUR CHILD INTO A CAR SEAT.
EDUCATE YOURSELF.
EDUCATE OTHER PARENTS.
SPREAD THE WORD TO PARENTS TO BE!

I can’t express myself enough.

Do the right thing!

The Power Of Touch.

Hands up if, as a parent, you’ve heard something along the lines of ‘stop smothering your child’. Well … don’t! Today I talk about how important the power of touch actually is, and how it differs from child to child.

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If you’re anything like most parents, you don’t want to stop kissing, cuddling and feeling your baby’s delicate skin. Truth is, this rarely changes as your kids grow from babies to toddlers to young children. Many parents have mentioned that they’ve heard remarks like ‘stop smothering your child’. Well… don’t!

Want to know why? Touch is the first of our senses to develop. Touch is a love language. Touch plays a huge role for babies even before they enter the world. Think back to the days you spent lying down and stroking your belly, enjoying the little flutters in your stomach. Then, as baby grew, they started responding to your belly strokes and tickles.

Once a mother has given birth, direct skin-to-skin contact has proven to provide a number of benefits for your infant. Months pass by and the story doesn’t change… a simple kiss on your little one’s stomach can have them cooing with a toothless smile on their face. I loved massaging my little boy after his baths, and I continue to do this. He often goes from wild child to completely calm in a matter of minutes.

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Touch gives you a sense of security. How do you feel when you’re scared or anxious, and your other half gives you a tight hug? Or when you’re upset or happy and a parent or family member holds you close? You feel safe, calm, and loved.

Some children get over stimulated by too much touch, so be sure to understand your child’s body language so that you know when to stop. Light touch (stroking, rubbing etc.) is more likely to make a sensory sensitive child reach his brim faster, but firm pressure (hugs, rough-and-tumble play, massages and playful squeezes) are calming and reassuring for almost all children – and adults for that matter.

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Many believe that a parent’s touch wears off as a child gets older. False! An older child needs your physical attention just as much. The way you administer it just changes a bit, like a hand on the back, a bear hug or even playing a game with your child that requires skin contact. Skin contact releases positive brain chemicals which will leave both you and your child feeling happy and loved.

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The power of touch is a mind blowing thing. Sometimes we struggle to describe how much we love our child in words, yet a simple hug can explain it all in a matter of seconds. Holding their hand can trigger an out pour of emotions which could have been trapped inside before. A gesture as simple as placing your hand on your child’s shoulder and saying ‘I understand’ or ‘I forgive you’ can move mountains.

So, I encourage you to ignore opinions on how much touch is too much for your child. You know your child’s needs more than anybody else – positive touch is healthy and crucial for children, just as it is for you and me. Touch is a powerful healing tool and is vital for building your child’s confidence, self-esteem and sense of self-worth.

XX – @onemodernmom

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The Reality of A Happy Home.

I wish that the world explained to parents that there is more to life than a clean house. Look, I’m totally on board with keeping things hygienic, but when it comes to choosing between folding a mountain of laundry or saying ‘yes’ to playing with your kid, you’d think that as a parent, the answer would be an immediate ‘play with the kid’.

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However, social media and society tends to have the ability to leave us feeling as if a slightly disorganized home means that we are failing as mothers or even fathers. Apparently it means that we don’t at all have things under control. I’ve walked into the home of many a mother. When baby was very little, I would feel slightly guilty when arriving at another moms house. With everything in place, the glass coffee table freshly shined, and babies little play area totally organized, I DID feel as if I was doing something totally wrong. Was I lazy? Was there something wrong with me? Did I belong on the show ‘Hoarders’? Did someone forget to give me the memo?

But then, it was my turn to have a few moms over for tea. I spent hours the night before sorting, shining, polishing, vacuuming and setting up. I, too had the response from moms about how my life seemed so in order. I was flabbergasted. It was all a show!

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As moms, especially with younger kids, very few of us have our houses totally in order, (at least not done by ourselves). When I had a nanny that would come once a week, that was the only time that my home was remotely in order. With an incredibly busy toddler and four dogs as well as my partner, I’ve stopped apologizing to people saying, ‘I’m so sorry – excuse the mess’, because this mess means that although I may not have my home in order, I have a very happy child who has parents that take time to play with him. It means that he explores the house, and he PLAYS! It means that we invest our time in the moment, and it’s about the memories that we create with our child each day, rather than having a house that looks like it has fallen out of the pages of a magazine.

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Don’t get me wrong – our home is CLEAN – I make sure to use the hours that Olly is at playschool to get household chores done, and our home doesn’t look the way you’re most likely beginning to imagine it to look, but what I am trying to say is that IT IS OK to skip a day of laundry to take your kid on a special outing, to make yourself that cup of tea (and to drink it…while it’s hot) or to have a break by meeting your girlfriends for a glass of wine.

People are so quick to show off the positives in life. It’s time to create the awareness that life doesn’t have to seem perfect to the rest of the world. It’s time to stop pretending. Creating a happy environment for yourself and your family is all that matters at the end of the day.

— One Modern Mom

A 28-Hour Natural Birth – Lisa Harrison

Angela and myself decided that with Mother’s Day coming up, it would be a perfect opportunity to share our birth stories. With each being totally different to the next persons, I always love to hear about what other women experienced. Funnily enough, I have never really spoken about my birth story on my blog, and haven’t touched much on the topic to anybody other than close friends – for no other reason than I just never really knew quite where to begin. Perhaps I just thought that it never really stood out as nothing ‘unusual’ happened. But, each birth story is unique and just as important and precious as the next. So here’s mine. (How strange and emotional it is to take this walk back down memory lane.)

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I was diagnosed with PCos when I was 18 years old. I was warned that there was a very high possibility that I may never fall pregnant. But then God had a different plan for my life.

As a younger mom, giving birth a week after turning 22 – I didn’t have many friends who had previously given birth to sort of prepare myself. I had no clue what to expect, as none of us do as first time moms. I had my heart set on a natural birth and didn’t want to have any pain relief. Because of this, I decided I wanted to give birth in a place that wouldn’t allow me the option of an epidural. I did some research and had heard wonderful things about a local maternity home. Being a small, home styled place with only a couple of maternity wards sounded just like what I wanted. Knowing that my sons delivery would be handled by a professional midwife left me feeling 100% comfortable with my decision.

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On Monday 25th August 2014, I spent the day feeling uncomfortable. Nothing too unusual for being 40 weeks pregnant. I plodded around with a belly so big I felt as if I would topple over at any given moment. I recall so vividly going through to visit my mom. We went for a long walk on the beach, and I told her I felt so achy. Think menstrual cramps on day 1. That day came to an end, and Tuesday arrived. By 11am I was starting to feel a little lousy, but had a close girl friend over for tea. Hubby was at work, and I wanted a bit of company. We joked saying ‘imagine I was actually in labour’. Just before she left, I thought I should perhaps call my maternity home just to check if this were actually early stages of labour. The midwife was in a meeting, and I was told I would be called back. Nothing. As the day went on, I started feeling more and more cramps, and was starting to feel rather lousy. My friend went home and I called David to tell him how I was feeling. He asked if he should come home from work – and I told him that I was going to try and get some rest because I knew that I would wake up if things got further along (if it even was the real thing).

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I woke up from my nap, and decided to call David’s aunt, who used to be a midwife. I explained the way that I was feeling, which had definitely gotten worse since I lay down for my nap – however not unbearable – just really uncomfortable. She told me that she definitely thought that I was in early stages of labour and that I best just rest as I had a long day ahead of me.

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A bit unsure of what was happening, I decided to try and get some more rest. David got home from work, and I so clearly recall it being such a stormy evening. He made himself some supper and I remember him asking me if I wanted anything. I responded with ‘No, I’m not feeling great’. And he told me that he thinks I should because I need energy. I didn’t want anything, and told him I was going to go to sleep, because I had a feeling it was going to be a long night ahead. I lay down on his lap on the couch for a bit, trying to embrace my last few hours (so I thought) with this belly, and I remember feeling my stomach going rock hard, and then going back to normal. I was obsessing over timing my contractions, and I remember feeling so confused. Surely they were supposed to be consistent like I was taught in antenatal classes? They were so irregular in their gaps.

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I went to sleep, it must’ve been about 7:00pm. By 10:30pm I was woken up with sharp, painful contractions. I was scared, but comforted by having David with me. Thinking back to my thoughts, my mind is blank. I can’t remember what I was thinking – I have a feeling the only thing on my mind was trying to get through the pain of each contraction. I remember my exercise ball being my best friend. I lived on it. David was trying to understand how bad they were, and wanted to know if we needed to go to the maternity ward. I didn’t know. I didn’t want to be sent home, and I didn’t want to have to sit in the empty maternity ward in the stormy weather if I wasn’t far along. We decided to just go after I collapsed from standing to sitting position after a contraction. I arrived by 11:15pm, bags and all with David and had an internal examination done. I was only 1cm dilated and already in excruciating pain. I felt so disheartened knowing I still had such a long way to go. They warned me, saying that I was obviously a slow dilator, and offered for me to stay in the maternity ward, but I decided to rather go home to my comfort.

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We drove back home, and I don’t remember that drive at all. What I do remember is what seemed like the darkest night of my entire life. Not in a bad way. I think as a woman, when in labour, it just kind of feels like we are alone in a way. It’s difficult to explain. David was absolutely incredible. He was there, right next to me – running bath after bath for me. Offering to rub my back if I wanted it, and checking in to see how I was at all the right times. But, the pain that we experience is indescribable, and we are so focused and in our own world while in labour that it almost feels as if we are in a room on our own. I lived on my exercise ball, with two ottomans piled on top of each other as a surface for me to rest my head on between contractions as well as in a bath tub that entire night. I couldn’t find a single thing that made me comfortable. In the house we were renting at the time, the bath tub was narrow and quite small. The water never entirely covered my belly. I remember David making me numerous cups of tea for me to try to drink when in the bath because I was so freezing cold. I remember him dozing off and then frantically running into the bathroom to see if I needed his help out of the bath and back to the exercise ball. That night was long, it was tedious and all I wanted was to meet my baby boy.

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I’ve never been so happy for the sun to come up. Because I knew that the night was over. I called the midwife in the morning and said that I was just in so much pain that I had to be at least 6cm dilated. She told me to wait a little longer (because I was dilating so slowly) and to come in at 12pm unless it was unbearable. 11am came, and I told David that I needed to go. That car ride was excruciating. It felt like the longest drive of my life. Every contraction that passed was indescribable. I felt like everybody in each car we passed was driving slowly on purpose and almost assumed they should have known I was in labour. We arrived at the maternity ward, and I will never forget walking through those doors. It was Wednesday 27th August (Olly’s original due date) and there were pregnant women waiting for their ultrasounds and check ups in the waiting room. Poor women – as I walked through the doors, I had a contraction and landed in a heap on the floor. Their faces – let’s just say I will never forget them!

They took me into the room to do another internal and to monitor babies heart beat. Lying on my back was awful. The heart rate monitor wasn’t working, and after 15 minutes they had to start again. I was irritated, and in so much agony lying on my back. The lady walked out and I told David that I needed a bucket — NOW because the pain was so bad that I needed to throw up. He ran around the maternity home asking them for buckets, and ended up grabbing a steel bucket (probably a bin) out of one of the bathrooms literally just in time. Pain meds were offered to me, and David reminded me of my wish of an unmedicated birth. It turned out I was only 3cm dilated. THREE. Now 24 hours into labour, all I wanted was to meet my baby boy, and I just wanted this pain to be gone.

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The midwife arrived, and suggested I get into one of the baths to try and speed up my labour. It felt like I was in that bath for a lifetime. It must have been about an hour, and I felt this strong, uncontrollable urge to push. The midwife had gone into another room to eat some lunch and had left me with one of her assistance and David. David was amazing, assisting me with my breathing and holding my hand through each contraction. When I felt the urge to push, I frantically told the assistant to get me out of the bath and to call the midwife. Her answer was ‘no’. David ended up telling her that she had no choice after back and forth arguing with her to get me out. I kept being told to ‘stop pushing’.

I eventually got out of the bath, and I am certain that I slowed down my labour and that if I had just let my body do it’s pushing naturally, he would’ve been born right then and there in the bath tub. I was taken to the bed and this is where things took their time. It must have been about 1:00pm when I got out of the bath. 2 hours were spent with me rocking, and doing all sorts of things in hope of getting this baby to come! I remember standing totally naked in the room with my arms wrapped around David’s neck just dropping at the knees at each contraction. It was eventually time to get onto the bed and to start pushing. They broke my water and then after 45 minutes of pushing and an episiotomy, Olly had arrived. This bare, warm little person covered in vernix was plonked onto my stomach, and I remember David saying in such an emotional voice ‘Baby, you did it! He’s here.’ I think I was so exhausted and overwhelmed that I hadn’t even registered that he was out! It was a confusing moment. So completely and utterly amazing, but also surreal. I felt as if I was dreaming. As if I was living in somebody elses life. I was then told that it was time to birth the placenta. One painless push, and that was out. All I wanted was a photo of him on my stomach, I wanted him to latch and for David to then cut the umbilical cord as I had stated in my birth plan, but he was taken off of me and just before they snipped it, David quickly told them that he wanted to do it. He cut the umbilical cord and they took him to a little table to do his Apgar score, etc. I felt that it all of a sudden became so impersonal.

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Sadly, this is where it all went downhill. About 20 minutes after he was born, the midwife told David – ‘Ok, you can go home now.’ With a shocked look on his face he asked them if they were joking. They responded with ‘the baby is here, now you can go home’. I couldn’t believe it. I had just been through the most ‘traumatic’, emotional, hectic thing in my entire life, and all I wanted was to have my partner there and to have his support and to cherish these first moments together. They eventually agreed to him staying for the next hour. Our moms arrived and met their grandson, and then left. David was then told to leave. My heart literally broke as I saw him leave. All he wanted was to be with us and to be able to stare at his newborn baby.

I was never shown how to get Olly to latch and was left to work it out myself. There was absolutely no guidance. Thank goodness Olly latched naturally, and fed well. After 28 and a half hours of being in labour, all I wanted was to get into a bath to clean myself. I was in pain, tender and really sore from my episiotomy. I asked them if I could have a bath and if someone would please watch Olly. They explained to me where the bath was. Nobody offered to assist me to walk there. I climbed off of the bed and honestly thought I was bleeding to death! Not once had anybody warned me that because of my natural birth, there would be a lot of blood! I had a bath, and when I got out couldn’t find Olly. I eventually found him in the ward that I had delivered him in, and they were just clearing out his nose. They brought him back to me, and I climbed into my bed next to his little crib. About to try and go to sleep, I heard that Olly sounded like he was struggling to breath. I got up again, and asked the nurse to please check him out again. She responded ‘I already did.’ I told her that I wasn’t asking her, but telling her to check his nose, she eventually took him back to the delivery ward and checked his nose. About ten minutes later, she comes back to me and says: ‘I’ve got bad news, I’ve called an ambulance.’ My heart dropped and my entire body went cold. I was convinced that my baby had died. I rushed into the delivery room, and she told me that he was struggling to breath (respitory issues), obviously due to distress from me pushing for so long. I look at my tiny, 3.8kg baby, so delicate – and my eyes gaze to his nose – to see that the breathing tubes that were supposed to be pointed upwards into his nostrils were pointing downwards. I felt like slapping somebody! I told her ‘HE CAN’T BREATH BUT YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE THE BREATHING TUBES IN HIS NOSE???’ I was told that I must just do it myself then. So there I am, as a first time mom, scared out of my mind – totally unsure of what on earth is going on – waiting for David to arrive holding tubes up my babies nose.

The ambulance arrives, and David arrives at the same time. Olly is moved into an incubator with a drip and tubes and I ride in the ambulance with him to Mowbray Maternity Hospital. David follows in his car. We arrive, and I remember so clearly getting to the doors to the NICU passage way, and the doors being slammed in David’s face. He wasn’t warned that he wouldn’t be allowed in, and seeing those doors slam shut on his face literally broke my heart. Both being so concerned about our baby and for him to be unable to be part of what was happening was excruciating.

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I have pages left of this story, but to speed it all up a bit – Olly had the most incredible doctor at Mowbray who was so informative and she did such a good job at looking after my baby. We were able to go home on the Friday after him being in NICU for 13 hours, and in the KMC ward with me for 1 night.

It was a whirlwind for me, but I would do it all again in a heartbeat. There were times once Olly were so scary for me, and I cannot even begin to imagine how scary it must be for some moms who face bigger issues with their babies at birth. No story is the same, and we are ALL superheroes – no matter how we gave birth – natural, c-section, medicated or unmedicated. And to the moms who have adopted, we know that the pain is there for you too, in ways that I only understand because I am adopted and my mom has explained to me the pains and things she had to overcome of not having had the opportunity to experience birth herself and with her journey to adoption.

Right now, what matters the most is that I have a healthy 2 and a half year old boy who is happy and striving. And, I would do it all again…in a heartbeat.

An Early Arrival: Angela Rea’s Birth Story

As Mother’s Day is coming up, both Lisa and I decided it was time to tell our birth stories. Both very different experiences but the same outcome, two healthy boys. I do not know about you but I love reading other mums tales of bringing their children into the world. I can sit and read these stories for hours on end (when I have time), mostly shedding more than one tear. Birth is magical and I love the magic.

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Elijah Micah was very planned. Darrell and I had been trying for quite some time, with quite a bit of loss and quite a lot of heartache, when our miracle, rainbow baby was conceived. I could not quite believe I was going to have a baby even though up until 13 weeks I had weekly scans, starting with week 5. I was madly anxious and paranoid and am so grateful to the medical team I had looking after me who would answer their phone anytime to me to try and calm me down. I would cry and beg to my FET specialist to prescribe something for my anxiety but he refused every time and persuaded me that not medicating myself was best for baby. I am so glad I listened to him as it is only 9 months of your life and I had such a sense of accomplishment that I had not taken anything.

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I was mildly nauseous for my whole pregnancy. The type of nausea where you just want to constantly eat white, refined carbs(ta ta Banting, nice to know you) as that is the only thing that settles your tummy. Hence I put on 7kgs in the first 3 months! But only 9 in total in my whole pregnancy. Being the very paranoid person that I am, plus living in a tiny village nearly an hour away from the hospital I was going to give birth at, I would take myself down weekly to the local clinic at the pharmacy in town for a little check up.

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At 34 weeks pregnant, a Friday, I took myself down to Sister Kotze so she could do my weekly tests. I have always had slightly low blood pressure. She took my blood pressure and her eyes got a little bit wide and she said she thinks I should just slowly lie back on the bed. She asked me to phone my gynecologist who told me to go straight to hospital and he would book me in over the phone.

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Off to Paarl Medi Clinic we go. Darrell was still away finishing his winter season of aerial firefighting up north in Stutterheim, over 1000 km away with the closest airport a few hours away. Eunice, my mother in law, had offered to come down to South Africa from their missionary work in Tanzania to help with the new arrival which we had eagerly accepted and asked if she would possibly come a few weeks earlier as I would be all alone in Tulbagh and nearly an hour from the hospital. I am so grateful that she said yes and was therefore on hand to drive me to the hospital and keep our home running in my absence. We arrived at the hospital and I was whisked away to a bed and all sorts of tests started. The baby’s heart rate was fine but after a 24 hr urine test I was found to have pre-eclampsia. I am really not sure why it was such a shock to me as my fingers, toes, face and even my nose was so swollen. My amazing  gynecologist Dr Andre Van Rooyen would sometimes come check on me three times a day and had told me that they would keep me in hospital until they performed a Caesar me at 37 weeks pregnant. My eyes were really opened to how dedicated the medical profession is. It really must be a true calling to be a doctor as they sacrifice so much time away from their own families for the sake of others. Dr Van Rooyen told me that if he had to Caesar me earlier it would not be an emergency and Darrell would have enough time to get to me in hospital as his work would not let him off.

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So started two weeks of bed rest, four hourly monitoring of the baby and countless blood tests etc. I was on blood pressure medication but my blood pressure was all over the place, very high one minute and low the next. At 36 weeks after being in hospital for two weeks Darrell got the good news that the clients wife in Stutterheim had intervened and demanded that Darrell be allowed home to his wife. I was so excited as he called me to say he was leaving at 5 am the next morning to come home. At my 10 pm monitoring of baby’s heart rate the sisters face looked a bit concerned and she rushed off muttering she was going to call another sister, who came in and brightly told me she was going to phone my doctor. Obviously I was hysterical. I did not want to phone Darrell as he needed to be well rested for his long journey home the next day. I was monitored every two hours that night ending when Dr Van Rooyen arrived very early the next morning. He apologized to me and said he knows he promised he would not do this to me but they were going to caesar me in two hours time as the baby had gone into distress. By this stage Darrell was on the road, some 10 hours away still. I phoned him to relay the news and asked him to please not panic and speed as there was absolutely no chance that he would make it and that we would see him in due course. WE! It had just hit me that I was about to give birth. I was so nervous as Elijah was in distress and I was not really sure what that would entail. Darrell phoned his mum who rushed through to be with me and I phoned my sister Linda. I asked her not to tell anyone as I was so very scared and not thinking straight. She jumped into her car and raced through to Paarl from Cape Town.

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The nurses came in to prep me for surgery and when they were gone I remember going into the bathroom and dropping to me knees, praying harder than ever before to God to keep this precious miracle baby safe. I was then wheeled into the recovery room to wait while they readied the theater for us. Most of what happened next is a blur. I was put on the operating table, the anesthetist asked me to curl my spine away from him while I was sitting on the edge of the bed so he could perform the spinal block. My years of doing yoga really paid off as I did not feel a thing from the needle that I had heard so many horror stories about. As I was lying down Linda came flying into the theater dressed in her hospital scrubs, ready to be with me. A few cuts later, one big big cry, tears of relief and our beautiful Elijah Micah Rea was born. Perfect. So healthy and strong. He latched immediately and hence started a new love affair. From that moment he was by my side and still is. Doing life together. His Daddy got to meet him later that afternoon. I have never seen a bigger smile on Darrell’s face, as tired as he was after driving all that way, than when he got to hold his son for the first time.



We would love to hear your birth stories too! If you would like to share yours, please email it to onemodernmom@hotmail.com along with a photograph.

Treat Their Skin Like Royalty.

If you were aware of the amount of baby and kids skincare products that are being advertised as being organic and pure and actually aren’t, you’d be shocked. I feel that as moms, we so often believe what we read because, they must be true if that information is on the internet, right? Wrong! Word of mouth can be such a positive thing, but it can also be so dangerous. It just takes a couple of moms at your kids school to tell you that the ingredients of a certain product are actually ok, for one or two reasons for you to believe that and to pass on the word at your kids next play date. We, as moms, really do need to educate ourselves on what is ok to be in contact with our babies, kids, and even on our own skin!

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I once did a short Vegan skincare course online, and laughed when I read that “if your end product is safe to eat, it is safe for your skin”. I haven’t always been clued up and very interested in organic skincare products, but due to my sensitive skin, I’ve always kind of found myself going back to these products because they’re the only ones that don’t leave my skin irritated. When Olly was born, I had a little extra awareness about how damaging skincare products can be to such delicate skin, which brings me to this blog post.

I was lucky enough to come across an all natural Dermacare Body Balm by a newer brand. Vivan BeBe was started by Skincare Aesthetician, Wandi Oosthuizen. Having grown up in the skincare and beauty business, with 15 years experience, gaining international exposure and working for a multi-national skincare company, with the passion to help others, this put Wandi on the path of looking into all natural ingredients for your health and skincare.

Vivan BeBe started shortly after, proving a product without any chemicals, toxins, parabens or harmful ingredients for the use of babies, and any other sensitive sin which requires nurturing.

Wandi and her husband then found out that they were expecting their first baby, a little girl. They thought to themselves that, just like all parents, they wanted to give her the very best. They didn’t want to expose her skin to what is harmful. That being said, their mind was at ease knowing what they were applying to her delicate skin.

My own experience with the product has, so far been a very positive one. I’ve touched on this topic quite frequently not only now, but more so when Olly was a newborn and young baby. I was so concerned about his skin breaking out in rash, or getting red and irritated or dry and flaky that I so badly just wanted to find a product that would look after his skin. I did find a product, but it was only available overseas. I constantly worried about it running out, and so badly wanted to find a product that was available locally.

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Fast forward 2 years, and this sweet bottle of Dermacare Body Balm landed on my doorstep. Formulated from nature’s best quality natural ingredients, and especially by a mom really puts my mind at ease. Testing the product on my own skin, is always the best way for me to find out if the product is truly safe on my child’s skin. I rubbed it into my hands and on the skin inside of my arm, and there was no reaction! YAY!!!

Vivan BeBe encourages one to massage gently onto babies skin after bath to keep them calm, relaxed and ready for bed. The lotion smells so fresh and the thought of having a newborn baby to snuggle once bathed and in their little pajamas while smelling like Lavender & Eucalyptus oil just takes me walking back down memory lane of when Olly was still so tiny.

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I truly do encourage you to buy this product, not only for your baby, but for yourself too! It works wonderfully, and the best part is that you are using something that is safe and healthy for your family!

Vivan BeBe has kindly given all of my readers a R50 discount when purchasing on their online store. All you need to do is use this code: 1MODMOM at checkout.

Shop here: https://vivanskincare.com/

I would love to know your thoughts on this product once you’ve given it a try, and I hope to be giving some away at a later stage too.

This is also a great gift for a mom-to-be at their baby shower, so keep this in mind if you’re not a mommy yourself.

Check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Vivan-BeBe-1850339198570975/

 

PHOTO CREDIT:
Baby Photos: Seppi Hochfellner
Product Photo: @angievictoriarea

I would love to hear your thoughts on using organic products on yours and your families skin below! Also, don’t forget to subscribe!!!

 

The Power Of Touch

Hands up if, as a parent, you’ve heard something along the lines of ‘stop smothering your child’. Well … don’t! I’m talking about how important the power of touch actually is, and how it differs from child to child. 

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If you’re like most parents, you don’t want to stop kissing, cuddling and feeling your baby’s delicate skin. Truth is, this rarely changes as your kids grow from babies to toddlers to young children. Many parents have mentioned that they’ve heard remarks like ‘stop smothering your child’. Well… don’t!

Want to know why? Touch is the first of our senses to develop. Touch is a love language. Touch plays a huge role for babies even before they enter the world. Think back to the days you spent lying down and stroking your belly, enjoying the little flutters in your stomach. Then, as baby grew, they started responding to your belly strokes and tickles.

Once a mother has given birth, direct skin-to-skin contact has proven to provide a number of benefits for your infant. Months pass by and the story doesn’t change… a simple kiss on your little one’s stomach can have them cooing with a toothless smile on their face. I loved massaging my little boy after his baths, and I continue to do this. He often goes from wild child to completely calm in a matter of minutes.

Touch gives you a sense of security. How do you feel when you’re scared or anxious, and your other half gives you a tight hug? Or when you’re upset or happy and a parent or family member holds you close? You feel safe, calm, and loved.

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Some children get over stimulated by too much touch, so be sure to understand your child’s body language so that you know when to stop. Light touch (stroking, rubbing etc.) is more likely to make a sensory sensitive child reach his brim faster, but firm pressure (hugs, rough-and-tumble play, massages and playful squeezes) are calming and reassuring for almost all children – and adults for that matter.

Many believe that a parent’s touch wears off as a child gets older. False! An older child needs your physical attention just as much. The way you administer it just changes a bit, like a hand on the back, a bear hug or even playing a game with your child that requires skin contact. Skin contact releases positive brain chemicals which will leave both you and your child feeling happy and loved.

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The power of touch is a mind blowing thing. Sometimes we struggle to describe how much we love our child in words, yet a simple hug can explain it all in a matter of seconds. Holding their hand can trigger an outpour of emotions which could have been trapped inside before. A gesture as simple as placing your hand on your child’s shoulder and saying ‘I understand’ or ‘I forgive you’ can move mountains.

So, I encourage you to ignore opinions on how much touch is too much for your child. You know your child’s needs more than anybody else – positive touch is healthy and crucial for children, just as it is for you and me. Touch is a powerful healing tool and is vital for building your child’s confidence, self-esteem and sense of self-worth.

— One Modern Mom xx

PS. Please do share your thoughts with me below!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/onemodernmom/?fref=ts
Instagram: @onemodernmom

Johnson’s #TTTrange

Splish-splash, my toddler LOVES taking a bath! I have most certainly been blessed with a water baby who has loved being in the tub since birth. Believe it or not, on days where I feel like I’m failing as a mother because I just feel like I can’t keep things from spiraling out of control, I run a warm bath for him, and everything just calms down.

On that note, I am so excited to introduce the brand new, new and improved Johnson’s Top-to-toe range (#TTTrange). The complete range includes the following:

  • Baby Wash
  • Baby Massage Oil
  • Baby Massage Lotion
  • Extra Moisturizing Baby Cream

These four products are all essentials that you might as well add to your shopping list while you have a moment, because they can be used from newborn all the way up to young kids! They are gentle on your little one’s delicate skin, they don’t dry out your hands while bathing your kids and they leave your child’s skin smelling fresh and feeling full of moisture!

I wanted to take a moment to touch on not only the purpose of each product, but to also share my experience and opinions on each. This could be a good time to pause.. go and make yourself a cup of coffee, and enjoy reading further.

Right, let’s get started…PS, next week, you could win a R500 Johnson’s Baby #TTTrange hamper! So… WATCH THIS SPACE!

1. Top-to-toe Baby Wash: 300ml and 500ml

I have tried many different baby washes in the past two years of little Olly’s life. He has very sensitive skin, just like his mama! Many of the normal day to day bath washes that one would buy off the shelf at the local supermarket leave his skin red, irritated and dry! However, this Top-to-toe wash does the complete opposite, and I just love that about it! I’m not sure what kid doesn’t love bubbles, but the natural bubbles that form from simply washing his little body leave him squealing with delight as he hollers ‘bubble, bubble, bubble.. pop, pop, pop’ at the top of his lungs. With just the smallest amount of this wash, I can wash his entire body! This cleanser lathers like I’ve never experienced before, which is such a pro for me, because it means so much less wastage! It’s a battle to get him out the bath, but as soon as I mention the words ‘massage time’ he leaps out like his little bottom is on fire. And that’s just the Step 1 of 2.

2. Top-to-toe Baby Massage Oil: 200ml
I’m not sure how many of you take the time to massage your little ones after bath time, but this is something I’ve always done, because I really find it beneficial to my son. Since a tiny newborn, I would massage him with the Johnson’s Baby Bedtime Oil, because it just smelt so incredible, and of course left him calm and ready for bed. But, now that this newer product that was created especially for massage has made its appearance, I was really excited to make a bit of a change and to try this instead. Wow! I was in awe at how quickly the moisture seeps into the skin, not only because my son has dry skin, but because it doesn’t leave him feeling oily and slippery. However, the moisture is obvious by touch. And, unlike many other baby oils, it doesn’t leave your hands begging to be washed either! The smell is kind to the nose and, with just a gentle chamomile fragrance, leaves your baby smelling fresh rather than like a perfume shop. My son is normally like a wriggling worm when I give him his massages, but he now enjoys this moisturising massage oil because it isn’t greasy anymore.

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 3. Top-to-toe Extra Moisturizing Baby Cream: 100ml

Before I even begin, I have a confession to make, I totally sneak a few squirts of this moisturizing cream for myself after I shower each night! As mentioned before, my skin is very dry and sensitive, and the general products just leave my skin feeling irritated, but this extra moisturising cream works like an absolute dream for my entire body. At 24, I still get told that my skin feels like a baby’s – I’ll take that compliment!

Back to the point – this is the final step to our bath time regime. Many think I am crazy to go through all of this ‘effort’, but it is so worth it. My son loves it, and it is relaxing for both of us. It also puts my mind at ease knowing that I’ve done everything in my ability to leave him feeling fresh, clean, moisturized and relaxed for bed. The Top-to-Toe Extra Moisturizing Cream has such a smooth feel. It has the same scent as the other two products, which as mentioned before is gentle and refreshing. Generally, the scent of a product is quite a good indicator of how appropriate it is for sensitive skin. So, this makes my heart skip a beat because I know that it’s safer for my little guy to use. I feel like every routine needs just four simple steps to complete it, and Johnson’s has made that possible for my OCD brain. PS. This is great for moisturizing their skin at any time of the day.

4. Top-to-toe Baby Massage Lotion: 200ml and 500ml

I feel like Johnson’s officially outdid themselves. Instead of just offering massage oil, they’ve now given parents the option between the oil, massage lotion, or even better – both! I use the massage lotion for anytime of the day, apart from after bath. I find that it works wonders especially after my little guy has been outside playing in the sand pit, or when he’s been in the sun, and his skin is just begging for a little bit of extra moisture. Think about your hands after washing the dishes, our skin needs that bit of moisture. It’s the same for them, and the massage lotion does just that. We both love spontaneous massage sessions. I love giving them, and he loves receiving them! And he gets them at random times of the day when I feel like he needs them, just because. I love this new Massage lotion option!
About a month ago I had mentioned to Olly’s daddy that I felt like Olly’s skin was not only getting dry, but it was feeling ‘uncomfortable’ to my sensory hands when bathing him. His feet and knees especially from his days playing outside were starting to feel a little rough, and unlike that perfectly delicate baby skin. I had been using another product that I had found in the cupboard because I was doing some research on what else I could use that would be safe for his skin. And, MAGIC! This box of wonderful products landed on my doorstep. And, within the couple weeks that I’ve been using them, they have made the world of difference!

Thank you Johnson’s for bringing back my toddlers baby soft skin! I can highly recommend getting your hands on these for your own kids, add it to your gift registry for your baby shower, and stock up for baby showers that you may be attending in the near future. They are truly a fantastic product that are very affordable, and you’ll be surprised at how long a bottle lasts you.

Be sure to follow their social media platforms so that you can be one of the firsts to get the new addition to their already wonderful product:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JohnsonsBabySA

Website: http://www.johnsonsbaby.co.za/

Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/josiephotographysa/?fref=ts

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Postnatal Depression – The Real Deal

Many of my readers have approached me in the past couple of months requesting an article on Postnatal Depression. Because I never walked that path, I contacted a local blogger, Kim Ingpen from Overcoming Mom to chat to you about her experiences on this topic. I truly hope that this helps the moms who are currently experiencing this, and the moms who may potentially go through this in the future.

The Statistics:

‘According to the Centers for Disease Control, 11 to 20% of women who give birth each year have postpartum depression symptoms. If you settled on an average of 15% of four million live births in the US annually, this would mean approximately 600,000 women get PPD each year in the United States alone.

In fact, more women will suffer from postpartum depression and related illnesses in a year than the combined number of new cases for men and women of tuberculosis, leukemia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, lupus, and epilepsy.

You might be interested to know, however, what’s missing from the CDC’s estimate.  Women who miscarry or whose babies are stillborn are also susceptible to postpartum depression, but the CDC’s report only looks at live births, so if you consider that 15% of the 6 million women who have clinically recognized pregnancies annually will get PPD, that’s 900,000 women each year.’ – Source: http://postpartumprogress.org/the-facts-about-postpartum-depression/

Dearest Lisa , has asked me to write a article on overcoming PND – post natal depression , post postpartum depression ,post traumatic stress syndrome, all the same to me I’d say.

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Have I overcome it , not quite yet , but I have come a very very very far way. Today actually calls for a little celebration , 6 months off all medication. I was weaned very slowly 6 months ago. It has gone a lot better than I envisioned. Has it been easy? NOT at all!! But everyday was a new day. I have pushed through; and everyday is a new day to give it my best .  Why no meds you ask? For me it’s a personal goal and a personal effort to be weaned off these chemicals, as I wasn’t on any before 2012, and have been on them for 4 years, I thought it was time to take hold of mind, my anxiety, my fears and give it a good shot. Where has my help come from , inner strength from my Lord above, prayers, deep positive thoughts, exercise, water, rescue, BrainFood by mindset, omegas, lists, good friends, sleep and oodles of talking to oneself.

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I attempted it last year and after a few days, I knew the time wasn’t right and attempted it a year later , and so far so good. Not easy, but good.

Where it all began –  I have attached the links for you to read , as I actually cannot bring myself to remember those early days, or even bring myself to write them out again. I think I might just cry at the thought of what I actually went through and guilt might just set in, which shouldn’t because it wasn’t me, it was a little imbalance , which needed a bit of help and look at me now ! A winner , a mommy who adores her little one soooo much. An overcomer !

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The very beginning : https://overcomingmom.wordpress.com/2014/12/07/the-very-beginning/

The middle Journey : https://overcomingmom.wordpress.com/2014/12/07/the-middle-journey/

The light begins to shine : https://overcomingmom.wordpress.com/2014/12/07/the-light-to-the-journey/

That’s  the early days in a nutshell.

I run a mommy blog for this sole purpose of keeping the real world of parenting, momming, life, love, positive days, God , help, care , advice and purpose.

Email me at overcomingmom@gmail.com

Follow me on https://m.facebook.com/overcomingmom/ : Facebook

kim_ingpen_overcomingmom  : Instagram

https://overcomingmom.wordpress.com  My blog 

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In closing, I just want to take a moment to thank Kim for being so open, for sharing so much about this challenging journey she has lived through and encountered, and for heading back there to share with you so that you know that this is something that you CAN overcome!

I think that these are great reads for ALL moms, and for family members of a mother who has PND, because I truly believe that you need to get a glimpse into what they are feeling, and the major challenges that they are encountering! I feel that we are so quick to judge moms, and we actually cannot even begin to fathom what they are going through just by looking at them. Motherhood IS challenging, we struggle, we make mistakes, and there are many of us who do all of this WITH PND. I also wanted to remind you that Dads can also have Postnatal Depression. It IS a real thing.

I hope that you have enjoyed this very insightful and honest read by Kim. Share this with friends of yours who this may be relevant to, and let me know your thoughts in the comments.

-One Modern Mom x