Early versus later stages of motherhood. Which is easier?

I often get the question, especially from new mums, asking what it is like for me to be a mum compared to the beginning. Well, to be totally honest, nothing in this world compares to the nightmare you go through at the beginning.

When I became a mum, I could not understand other mums when they said that it is all worth it. What on earth can be worth this torture? I used to think. However, today I totally understand.

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Two weeks in the hospital or how my PND started

I will never forget the day we temporarily moved into the room at the hospital’s special care unit where our boys were born. I was home packing some basic stuff for us and knew that we would not come back soon. The senior midwife at the hospital told me earlier on that the boys would need to put on some weight and be able to eat on their own in order to be discharged as at the time they were still being fed by feeding tubes.

I got to our room around noon and as soon as I got there a huge load of anxiety hit me straight to the pit of the stomach. The reason was due to how small the room was and my anxiety which I get when appearing in small or limited spaces. I say more about the events prior to this day in the post My birth story.

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Things that I would say to the old ‘Me’ while experiencing PND

Dear Ivanka

I know you feel overwhelmed with everything that is going on now. You could not wait to have your babies and now that they are here, you are not sure that it is what you wanted. I know you are astonished by your own feelings and emotions. I know you don’t feel the love you expected to be feeling. I know you doubt your decision about having children. I know you desperately want your life back. I know you feel stuck. And I know that you feel incredibly guilty for feeling this way. 

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How to voice your opinion without feeling guilty?

You know it. You finally put the children down and your feet up when your phone rings. It is likely your parents or a friend. You know that most likely they do not want anything major, they just want to chat. However, after a long day of physical and psychological struggle, chatting on the phone is the last thing you want to do. All you need is to sit down, switch off the brain and do not think about anything. After a while, the ringing stops and a text appears on your display. “Can you talk?” You think of what you should do. You want to say ‘no’ but at the same time this idea makes you feel guilty. 

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Don’t judge me unless you have walked in my shoes

I have recently come across an interview with the psychologist on the subject of maternity, which made me think about many things.

The article was talking about ‘cry out’ method (controlled crying method) and its negative impact on childhood psychological development. One particular sentence was of great interest to me. ‘Only a heartless parent can let a child cry out’, stated there in black and white. If I do not take into account the fact that some psychologists support or recommend this method, I was astonished by the boldness of this statement.

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Christmas holidays with children

We have passed the second Christmas and New Year’s Eve with our boys!

The first Christmas holidays with them I was looking forward to it like a little girl. The first Christmas dinner together, children’s Christmas clothes, unpacking gifts… With Yaw we agreed that boys had to get something that makes sound. At that time, we did not really care what kind of sound that would be, however, in these things it is better to be picky. As a parent you have to count on hearing this sound for the next few weeks and hours in a day. 😉

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Quick help in hard times

We all have days when we’ve just had enough. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but more or less, more than less :). In the article What helps me to get through those tough days, I offer an advice and tips that help me to get through the days when my children drive me crazy.

However, sometimes our children are relatively manageable and “good”, and yet, we feel overwhelmed. It can be a bad night sleep, bad pillow, personal circumstances or simply a bad day and we feel we are not ourselves. 

What can we do to feel better at times like this?

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My birth story

Everything began on April 27th, 2016 in the afternoon. I was home as usual, Yaw was still at work and then planned to go with colleagues for one quick beer (in this case it was supposed to be really a quick one:). He called me something after six to assure I was ok. He told me the bar they were going to had no signal, but that he would be at home around eight.

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Tips on how to treat a new mum

I believe you will agree with me when I say that a woman doesn’t know what maternity is about until she becomes a mother herself. Often I see pregnant women around me during their first year after their baby is born planning or trying for the second child etc. I wasn’t any different, of course. “What can surprise me now? I know I will not sleep, that it will be hard, that the baby will always cry, but I will handle it and one day it will pass”, you think.

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Why do we pretend happiness when feeling depressed?

Perhaps every mother who has been through depression at least for a certain period of time has a feeling that they have had to hide it from others. I was not an exception. I often ask myself why and still come to the conclusion that it was simply a subconscious reflex of my mind. I had the impression that something was wrong with me and that people would judge me for my feelings.

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JANA: “I struggled hard to cope with losing my freedom and independence.”

A lot of people think that pregnancy is the most beautiful time in a woman’s life. What was it like for you?

We had been waiting for a baby for over a year and a half during which I went through different phases. From initial enthusiasm through repeated disappointments, to fear if we would ever have children at all. During this period I had quite sharply shifted from my previous rather achievement-oriented lifestyle more to my inner self. I reconsidered how I lived, who I met with, what made me feel good and what did not. A huge lesson for me was to learn to let go of my life of things and people who did not bring any joy to me. It seems self-evident, but it was not for me.

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Stef: “When I first saw my son, it was like looking at a stranger.”

age: 27 years old
child: son – 2 years old

A lot of people think that pregnancy is the most beautiful time in a woman’s life. What was it like for you?

One minute I would be excited, next one I would hate my body. I felt nauseous throughout the whole pregnancy. I was depressed most of the last term and sleeping was horrible.

My whole life I fought obesity. And when I finally got myself a sexy, fit body, I got pregnant. I gained 90 pounds throughout the pregnancy, so emotionally that threw back to the days when I was bullied because of my weight. 

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MERCEDES: “Future mums – be prepared to lower your standards of cleanliness and perfection, to be flexible and to expect the unexpected.”

age: 41 years old
children: daughter – 7.5 months old

A lot of people think that pregnancy is the most beautiful time in a woman’s life. What was it like for you?

I remember feeling very excited about being pregnant and felt a great connection to the baby. I talked to her a lot and I loved the fact that she could be part of my daily activities. During most of my pregnancy I felt very energised except for the last 3 weeks.

What did you feel first time you saw your baby?

Because my daughter was so small, as soon as I delivered her the doctors checked her vitals, oxygen level and did other quick tests. It was probably 5 minutes before I was able to hold her, but it felt like an eternity.

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