Motherhood

What is Motherhood?

Motherhood is a new kind of love. It’s the best kind of love. The ancient Greeks categorize love into eight different types, Agape, Eros, Ludus, Mania, Phila, Philautia, Pragma, and Storge

Becoming a mother awakens this newfound love and is expressed in a combination of three of the eight kinds of love, Storge, Agape, and Philia (1). 

Family Love

what is the purpose of motherhood?

Motherhood is a life stage that forever changes you; it causes you to stretch, to grow to expand your capabilities. Motherhood makes you a better person, even though it may not always seem so. Motherhood is one of many fantastic life purposes on this earth, and it teaches us the following values at an entirely new level:

  • Patience
  • Organization
  • Kindness
  • Creativity
  • Open-mindedness
  • Self-awareness

Motherhood the most important job that there is. It gives life an entirely new meaning by becoming responsible for the life of another human being. As mothers, you create their life experiences and demonstrate behaviors, attitudes, biases, love, and so much more for your little ones. 

Motherhood is empowering

Thank goodness for this love! Motherhood is like holding up a mirror with a magnifying glass. You suddenly become very aware of who you are intimately- the beautiful parts, warts and all. There is no hiding but instead embracing the sacredness of the gift of life and the miracle that the female body can create. Keeping that in mind, motherhood is choosing to be the best version of yourself every day. Being a mom requires that you take time for self-care. The better you are as a person, the better a mother you’re able to be. Carving out “me-time” can be challenging, especially when you’re exhausted, depleted, stressed, or dealing with a pandemic. The most trying times are when it’s most needed.

Motherhood doesn’t only affect mothers; it also develops fathers, partners, and couples in a way that nothing else can. When I was working at a wine bar in California back in my mid-twenties, I noticed that there seemed to be a different look or dynamic about couples who have children versus couples who didn’t. The couples who were children-free seemed less stressed with more of a carefree look and feel to them. The couples who had children had a look to them that showed that they’d been pushed, challenged, and blessed in ways that you could not be otherwise without children. Children can strengthen marriages, or they can wreak havoc. It undoubtedly depends on the relationship beforehand. You either get the good with the bad, or you get nothing at all. 

While raising little ones is worth it, the growing pains can be intense. And keeping a marriage healthy and alive with kids is much harder with children than without little ones in the picture. Kids repeat, mimic, respond, and retaliate. They are little sponges who soak everything up whether or not they show it outwardly. Motherhood is a great teacher filled with continuous life lessons.

when does motherhood begin?

Motherhood begins before baby arrives. It’s more than changing diapers, feeding, sleeping, potty training. By the time you learn that you have a little one growing inside you, the motherly instincts kick in. It may not feel this way for every woman who has ever been pregnant; each woman has her own unique experience.

Once I knew I was pregnant, I was constantly rubbing my belly and swaying in place. It wasn’t by choice; it was comforting to me, and I felt like I was forming a connection with the little one. I would find myself doing it. I had a female friend who was pregnant at the same time, and she also did the same.

I became very protective of my belly and my personal space, as well. I was nervous about getting in a car and driving or anything that could potentially harm my unborn baby. It was short-lived; I needed to work and live my life. Living in a city where a car is necessary to go or do anything, I quickly had to get over that concern. I say this to demonstrate how the protective nature kicks in early. I remember we went to visit a friend in Colorado when I was about six months pregnant.

While we were at brunch, our friend, a father of two, said, “There is nothing stronger than a mother’s love.” I now understand what he meant. I think it’s imprinted in our DNA as a biological response to ensure our genetic material continues forward. I had a relatively easy pregnancy, and I had a very happy, healthy baby. It’s easy to love her, but I feel like I can’t help how much I love her. It’s not a choice. It is such a strong deep amazing, foundational, core love.

From the moms that I follow on Instagram, I see that it’s not like this for everyone. And I consider myself lucky. I have had a couple of bouts with depression in the past. I was worried enough about postpartum depression or “PPD” that I asked my husband to do his homework on the signs if I started showing any after the baby arrived. To my great surprise, I didn’t suffer from this common occurrence. I felt very loved after I gave birth. A few girlfriends reached out asking if I needed to chat and who checked on me because they had unexpectedly dealt with PPD.

I’m so grateful that it’s not considered taboo and women are openly sharing their stories. It’s empowering and helps those women who feel alone and like they don’t have any support. The truth is there is an entire world of women who can relate and help you through the process.

what does being a mom mean?

allowing

Being a mom is no easy task. As mothers, we acknowledge our little one’s unique divine light. Being a mom allows your child to be who they are and express themselves freely while protecting them in an empowering way.

being present

Being a mom is showing up for your child, being present for your child. In this fast paced world full of distraction, it is so easy not to be fully present when you’re with your little one. When you’re tired, stressed, and need to make dinner, this can be difficult at the end of the day. Toddlers have this unique ability to destroy a room in three seconds. It’s never-ending. This is precisely the moment that we can practice being present.

Like Tony Robbins says, this is where the growth occurs. It’s in the last few reps. It’s in the moments when we feel like we have nothing left to give. But amazingly, we do. Take a breath and live in the moment. We are a shining example for our little ones. It’s not always easy, but it’s so worth it.

letting go of expectation

Letting go of expectation is part two of ‘allowing.’ Encouraging our little ones to be who they are rather than imposing the parents’ or society’s expectations onto them. We want our children to be the best version of themselves in every aspect without the crushing pressure that so many kids feel today—learning that each child develops at their own pace in their ways. Don’t allow fear to sneak in and steal the joy of enjoying our children.

listenting

Being a mom means listening to your little ones, encouraging our children to be able to express himself or herself respectfully. It’s crucial that they feel safe to voice their opinions and know that their voice matters from the very beginning. The kids don’t get to make the rules, but they do get to have a say. They have rights just like every person on this earth.

Here’s a great read to help communicate with your little ones!

black and white image mom holding son

motherhood the world wide club

It is fun to gain instant access to the exclusive club of parenthood. Everyone thinks they know what it will be like because they have or had parents or have friends, family, co-workers who are parents. Like everything else, you don’t know what it’s like until you experience it for yourself.

I have had so many strangers help me when I’m struggling to open a door, getting the stroller over a curb, or drop a shoe at the grocery store. True story – Baby and I were at a church service one morning where there were lots of little ones running around in the service. We were seated along the back wall so that baby could crawl around and see the other kiddos. We sat down to have some milk, and as soon as she finished, she projectile vomited everywhere. Before I could even get up, a petite blonde woman in a pressed Sunday dress comes over with a pack of baby wipes and starts cleaning up my child’s vomit. I was astounded and was saying, “Oh my gosh, thank you so much, please let me do this.” She smiled, ignoring me, continuing to clean up the mess as she said, “I’ve been there.” After I thanked her for the 100th time, she walked back over to her husband and three children to take her seat. Amazing.

Motherhood is a huge undertaking. It’s moments like these when I understand the saying, “It takes a village” to raise a child. We need each other. I am so grateful for the many strangers who lend a helping hand. I hope to pay it forward as often as I can.

If you’re a new mama or expecting, say hello! I find myself saying to “Congrats, it’s the best love!” to newly announced mamas-to-be on Instagram or social media.

how is the due date calculated?

Calculate your due date based on the first day of your last period. Pregnancy is 40 weeks long on average. When you go to the doctor to confirm that you’re pregnant, they will ask you when the first day of your last period was. Based on that date, they calculate your due date. The first day of your last period is the first day of your menstrual cycle.  

On average, if a woman misses her period and is late by a couple of weeks or so, by the time she finds out she’s pregnant, she usually six weeks pregnant already. Because we were actively trying, I bought pregnancy tests that tell you five days earlier. I got a positive pregnancy test 5 days before my missed period. So I felt like I had a very long pregnancy since I knew so early on. I confirmed with the doctor in week three or four.

calendar September month

what is full term pregnancy?

40 weeks is full term pregnancy or 280 days which averages to 9 1/3 months when divided by 30 days. Many women deliver after their due date for their first baby. My little one arrived 5 days late after being induced. From what I was told by my doctor, they don’t like to let women go more than two weeks past their due date anymore. 

Over 30 years ago my brother was born two weeks late. His nails were so long that they were curled under and he was over 9 lb. Thank goodness that’s no longer the norm. Baby is still growing rapidly in those last weeks. Not to mention the mother being ready to deliver. I remember feeling like I could not stretch anymore. I was out of room. I felt like baby must have been cramped in there too. I was tired of getting kicked in the ribs and hip at the same time. By the time 40 weeks has arrived, the mother is ready for baby to be out in the real world.

On the other end of the spectrum, the earliest delivery recorded was 21 weeks and 5 days where the baby survived and thrived (2). That’s just over half of the usual length of time for human pregnancy. It really is amazing what we can do with today’s medical technology. Miracles happen all of the time.

pregnancy brain is real

A lot of people ask, “Is pregnancy brain real?” and from my own experience plus witnessing two of my best girlfriends during their pregnancies, I answer with a resounding “Yes!” Both of my girlfriends are smart, successful women. The first who was pregnant would ask for clarification on seemingly obvious questions during our weekly work meetings. Eventually, we got to the point where she would look at me confounded; I would nod, signaling that we would discuss after the meeting. We quickly realized that her cognitive abilities were not what they usually were. A few common symptoms are:

  • Forgetfulness (keys, appointments, words)
  • Confusion
  • Exhaustion
  • Difficulty learning new concepts
  • Hazy mental feeling

I remember feeling like I was in a fog. My mental capacity and capabilities were slower. I would make a mental note to do something or dial a number or google something, and it would just vanish from my mind. Poof! Gone. The body is busy using up a tremendous amount of resources to create another life form. The best way to cope is to accept it rather than fight it or be critical of yourself. Laugh and know that this too shall pass.

did you like being pregnant?

I know that some women love being pregnant, others tolerate it, and others hate it. Don’t judge yourself if you don’t or didn’t love it. I have friends who were ready to have their body back. We are so hard on ourselves. 

I loved being pregnant! I had this overwhelming feeling of happiness. It was amazing to know that our unborn child was growing inside of me. I realize that this sounds strange or alien to anyone who hasn’t experienced it. I did before I got pregnant.

to breast feed or not to breastfeed?

Breastfeeding is a multifaceted personal decision. 

  • First, there is the comfort of the mother. Some women do not feel comfortable breastfeeding their children for whatever reason. If it’s something that they don’t want to do or feel drawn to, then breastfeeding is out.
  • The emotional state plays a vital role in allowing the body to produce milk as well. Stress, anxiety, support or lack thereof from family members all affect the mother’s ability to breastfeed her baby.
  • The physical form matters and can affect function. Does the mother have inverted nipples, deformities, scarring, implants, or a breast reduction?
  • Milk production. Some women overproduce, others seem to underproduce, while some moms make just the right amount.
  • The mother’s diet affects milk production. Are you eating enough? Are you drinking enough water?
  • Finally, expectation matters. If you expect that you will breastfeed, no matter what, then you will.

what Is mom brain?

Mom-brain is an extension of pregnancy brain. You made it through the delivery, and now you have your little bundle of joy. No more pregnancy brain, right? Wrong. Now you have “mom brain” to deal with. A key difference so far in my experience is that you’re tired, overwhelmed, and still healing with mom-brain. There’s a lot to juggle. It’s not just you and your life anymore. Now it’s you, your little one, and all of your responsibilities before that hopefully don’t get neglected for too long.

can I drink coffee during pregnancy?

Yes, but it is recommended to limit your caffeine intake to 200 milligrams (mg) per day or one 12-ounce cup of coffee (3). 12 ounces is a big cup of coffee. I’m from Texas, so I know that everything is bigger in Texas. It’s really not so much about the coffee as it is about the caffeine. If you still need to get your coffee flavor fix, you can try decaf if one cup doesn’t do it for you.

An 8 oz cup of decaf has anywhere from 2 – 15 milligrams (mg) of caffeine. Depending on where you get your coffee, ask the barista or look it up online. (4)

  • An 8 oz cup of decaf coffee from Starbucks has 15 mg of caffeine.
Take a look at the best Houston coffee shops here.

the miracle of life

It’s amazing to think that we all came from a mother. We all grew inside of another human being to be born into this world. My husband and I often find ourselves watching our little one in awe. “We made her! She wasn’t here, and now she is.” It’s amazing to think about the creation of life. What a miracle it is and how natural and commonplace it is. We observe her growing and as we laugh in amazement. Becoming a mother enhances life. It makes everything better. It gives you a newfound respect for what’s possible.

How does motherhood change your life?

Motherhood changes your priorities, schedule, activities, and spending habits. Becoming a mother has allowed me to get on a regular schedule. Baby depends on routine. I am more focused, waste less time being distracted by unimportant events and people, and cherish “me time” more than ever.

Here is an example of our daily schedule. Click the image to read more about meals, bath time, and other activities.

your sleep will never be the same

Yes, this is a true statement in most cases. It’s like something turns on intuitively inside of the mom’s psyche. I have a friend who says they hear their baby turn over while they’re sleeping. I swear I would hear baby sigh or breathe in deeply while I was sleeping too. When you hear the same stories repeatedly, you know there is some truth to it. There is a connection to baby that doesn’t turn off during sleep. I imagine it’s programmed into us biologically to ensure the survival of our little ones. 

When you finally do get a good night’s sleep, then you panic for a moment until you check on your little one to find out they’re fine. That is when you know you’re a mom. I was one of the lucky ones in the beginning. Baby slept six hours in a row every night until she was about four months old. Then the 

your partner may feel neglected

It takes time to adjust the keeping a brand new human alive. All of your energy goes into breastfeeding, changing diapers, sleeping when you can find the time. Your previous life is put on hold for a few months. Cooking dinner is out the window; the house isn’t as clean as it usually is, laundry piles up. Managing poopy diapers, vomit and cleaning bottles have become the new norm. Both partners are in survival mode. The focus is on the baby that everyone else goes by the wayside until life equilibrates. Hang in there! This, too, shall pass.

your fear of embarrassment disappears

I used to have a fear of singing out loud around other people. When baby was teeny tiny at just a few weeks old, I would sing her to sleep, sometimes in front of my husband. Babies don’t seem to care what your voice sounds like. They enjoy the sound of their caretaker’s voice. Singing always relaxed her. It was the best remedy for her crying. She falls asleep within 10 minutes when I sing to her. 

Now I sing all of the time, haha! I dance, and I notice that I don’t feel insecure about singing in front of other people the way I used to since it’s for baby. To be honest, you don’t have time to care. Your love is so great that it covers a multitude of sins, as the saying goes. You realize that what you worried about before no longer has any power over you. Plus, you are now a role model for this little one. If you want them to be fearless in their pursuit of happiness, the first place to start is you.

your Amazon spending will triple

There are so many amazing things on amazon. Amazon has spoiled us by delivering in two days or less. Plus their fantastic customer service policy. I thought that I had a problem when it was just me or just us, my husband and I, but once your little one arrives, omg, there is so much to try.

If you want a tip to help curb the spending, you can create a list. It’s like you’re shopping, but you don’t drain the bank account. Plus, it’s fun when a birthday, holiday, or special occasion arises.

screen time

I swore that I would limit my little one’s screen time, but it hasn’t happened, especially during the pandemic. So I balance it with going outside, reading, dancing, singing, painting, etc. To get work done, I put a movie on that entertains her. She tends to love movies with singing.

you become more efficient

It’s amazing what you can get done in ten minutes or with one hand as a mother. Or your feet, for that matter. There is so much that you’re accustomed to doing in your life before baby that once baby arrives, more has to get done in less time. Or you triage. You decide what is most important for your life to function properly.

self love improves

You understand the importance of caring for yourself. The better you are, the better mom you can be. Your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness contribute to providing your little ones’ best life and experience. Becoming a mother opens your eyes to the negative self-talk, the bad habits, the unnecessary burdens you have been carrying for years or an entire lifetime. Motherhood is freeing. It allows you to be your truest self. To express your authentic self, to speak your truth and live your truth. Motherhood is stepping into one’s power. It’s the most amazing experience I have ever witnessed, and I am so grateful to be blessed with this knowledge and understanding.

There is nothing more important than your little one seeing you care for yourself. You are teaching them to value themselves. To be true to who they are. They have the wisdom and knowledge deep within. By loving yourself, you’re tapping into the infinite intelligence of life. The life source. This is something that children naturally do. 

blonde mom sitting with baby on side walk

children are our teachers

Children are who they are before they are taught that they need to follow society’s rules or expectations. They have no fear of being judged. They are living, breathing examples of how we should live our lives. They don’t understand failure. Yes, they experience frustration, but they do not label themselves a “failure.” they learn to walk at their own pace, talk, or communicate at their own pace. Never wondering if something is wrong with them or comparing them to another. They celebrate little victories. Everything is exciting. They love to run, play, say hello to strangers on the street. They call it like it is. They’ll tell you when they want something. 

If I could be like my child, I would be the most successful sales rep in the world. When you tell them no, they are not deterred. They say, “please?” They ask and ask again. If the answer is still no, they throw a fit, scream, kick, bang their head on the floor, cry. They act as if their life depends on it. They know what they want, and they go after it with focus and purpose. They are persistent! Imagine if we lived our lives like that. We would all be unstoppable.

dog mom to human mom

My dog was my baby before my human baby. The simple fact that I couldn’t pick up my dog for six weeks was really hard on me emotionally. She would look at the baby and me, put her head on the floor and let out a big sigh. Break my heart! But I would tell my dog that she would soon get to have a new friend to play with, and when that day comes, all would be well. 

And we are in that stage now. They are buddies, and eventually, my pup came back around. She was attached to my husband for a while, which I understood; I was a bit jealous while simultaneously grateful that she had someone to hang with while I focused on healing, nursing, and caring for baby. I had a hard time accepting it due to the post-pregnancy hormones, but it’s all part of the process.

Having a high maintenance pet prepares you for motherhood to a point. It teaches you responsibility. The difference is that your kid grows up and becomes self-reliant, where a dog can only do so much for him or herself.  Pets may get less attention, unintentionally because they can fend for themselves. 

what no one tells you

What no one tells you is an interesting category. Initially, I felt irritated that there are so many things that no one mentioned to me during pregnancy, giving birth, or being a mom. For example 

  • Constipation during pregnancy
  • Insomnia
  • No sex for six weeks after giving birth if you had a healthy delivery
  • How painful breastfeeding can be
  • Exhaustion
  • Boobs are smaller after pregnancy. Your milk comes, they get plumped up, and then whether you breastfeed or not, your boobs somehow seem to shrink once you stop. This can be a positive, neutral, or negative thing, depending on your perspective. 
  • The first poop after you give birth is the scariest poop you’ll ever take, as my sister-in-law informed me. I found out that she was right after I delivered our little one. 
  • You lose a ton of hair (but it comes back)
  • You are hilariously emotional after giving birth. 

When we took baby to her first doc appointment, I think it was day three or four after leaving the hospital, the nurse asked why we were there, and I started to answer. Before I was able to complete the sentence, I started bawling, crying my eyes out. I could not compose myself. The nurse excused herself from the room; my husband was looking at me with sincere concern; he comes over to me and starts hugging me, trying to comfort me. I’m laughing inside because I’m having a physical reaction, but nothing was wrong. My body just decided it needs to cry and release whatever is needed to release. It’s like if you’ve ever had a laughing fit and you can control it, you have to let it pass. So after about five minutes, I finally was able to calm down and explain that, “I’m fine, I’m not sad, I don’t know what just happened.” 

Then I had this guilt and worried that the nurse would think I’m a psycho because I can’t answer one question without crying. When she returned to the room, she just smiled and sweetly said, “I’m a mom too; I get it. It’s completely normal.” I felt immediate relief. It’s like your body is processing everything that happens. 

Then I realized that there’s no point. Every woman’s journey is different, and if you were to sit there and research or read up on all of the potentially terrible or frightening things that could go wrong, it takes away from your experience. 

warning! This is vulgar & only intended for mature audiences

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(4) https://www.self.com/story/caffeine-in-decaf-coffee

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