Tag Archives: Samuel

What’s in your whole heart?

15 Jan

Well Hello 2013… so far it’s been good! I have so many posts in draft talking about stuff that happened in 2012 that I needed to get closure on and I’ll get to that. I didn’t want to start my first post for the new year on a downer. The start of 2013 has been so amazing in a small kind-of-quiet way the there is no such thing as co-incidence, for me. There have been a post or two explaining how I feel followed by Angels and  Coincidences but what I’ve come to find, is that there are people placed in your life that speak those deep and quiet things of your heart back to you. Like when you feel something so deeply and things change, you sometimes put aside what your heart desired and locked up that little place in your heart without anyone knowing. While the subject may come up in company, we put on brave faces and pretend like what we felt didn’t matter anymore, even to ourselves. And then one day, things just click, like someone somewhere was holding a key and with a few insignificant words, that locked up little place was opened. There are no words at times to explain but there is a beautiful peace that makes you okay with that part of you.

Let me explain. I know my husband is gong to kill me for this post. Having another child is a big decision for any couple who hasn’t been caught out, so to speak. It’s a daunting task of note because it involves finances, emotions of all kinds and a lot of consideration in general. Back in the day, big families were the order of the day and people were frowned upon for choosing to have less kids. As time went on, couples had fewer kids in pursuit of a better life and today it has greater economic ramifications than emotional ones. Parents with unplanned 2nd pregnancies have had no choice but to deal with the situation before them; but to actively decide to have another one can weigh heavily on one’s heart. Before having kids, I think we were both happy with the idea of having two (for me) or three (for him). At some point in our marriage, I felt  that it was time to have a child. Funny story that! Whenever someone asked us when we would have kids, our magic year was 2010 – for no reason other than it seemed way out there, like it was a long time to come. So along came 2009 with a deep yearning in my soul to have a child, I prayed about it, sought advice and just cried some nights because we were nowhere near ready financially to have a child. Lester finally gave in and seven months later we were pregnant. Now let me just say that it was a hard decision for him, not because he didn’t ever want to have children but because as a Provider, the weight of not being able to care for your family for a man rests heavily on their hearts and manhood and rightly so; it’s why I chose to be with him, knowing that one day he would do what he could to be a good Provider. Sadly, I think that I’ve made it hard for him. He’s put up with carrying a wife with two financially unsuccessful practices and now studying full-time – we’ve had to put A LOT of goals, dreams and endeavors on hold because we live from hand to mouth. For a long time after Samuel was born he blatantly refused to entertain the idea of having another child ever, like ever! As painful as it was for me to hear that, I knew that his heart still carried the heaviness of being responsible for a family and so I quietly closed off a part of me. Now you’ll hear me talk about how things are cheaper having one child and I’ve made plans in my heart for family holidays and varsity fees and the like all for one child. The argument in my mind went something like this -1. the age gap will be too big because I’m studying for another three years, must find work and then work long enough to claim maternity benefits, it would be another five years and Samuel would be like seven already. 2. Samuel would be independent and then I’d have to start all over again with the sleepless nights. 3. Kids are expensive so I need to get a job! 4. I would have got rid of all his bottles,cot, baby stuff and the to start all over from scratch would be expensive.

Secondly, there’s the boobs!!! I have never been silent on how much I’d love to get them chopped off, I swear I’d lose 5 kgs INSTANTLY. I’ve even gone as far as to find a plastic surgeon to consult with to relieve my agony. Photos are my worst, I’m never closer to the camera because they are magnified, yes worse than in real life. Sleeping on my stomach is still a pain. They really aren’t that attractive at all and I’ve just about found a range that comfortably holds these boulders.

Now for the point of all my blubbering – the two stories have a connection. Someone that I’ve only met on Twitter had a “heart-to-heart” with me and she didn’t even know it. She posted a pic of her two boys walking in the sand, hand-in-hand; what she later explained was that there was a 6 year gap between them. Number one was planned and in her mind that was it but now that little number two has come along, unexpectedly, their entire family is so much better off for it. A few days later, Lester shared a conversation he had with a cousin of his. He said they were talking about kids and he was on his usual rant about Samuel being the only one and then she began to share part of the ethos of the church she attends, which is to build faith and pray for the growth of families and to trust God for the finances to take care of the families. We place so much else before God in prayer, why not add this to the list too right? What’s been amazing is that we don’t know when and how BUT we are open to the possibility of having another child. The age gap might be bigger than we want it but it’s not a deal-breaker or the end of the world.

Connected to this is that if I do have number two, I most certainly want to breastfeed and that won’t happen if I have surgery. It might not be a big deal to most since we have the invention of formula but it’s close to my heart. A very dear friend of mine (who also has Udders) made me feel like it was okay to be me (with my girls) more so because breast-feeding was/is so important to her too.

There were no fireworks in the sky, no earth-shattering quakes but a still, quietness that said that those things on your heart are important as insignificant as they may seem to even you. Don’t ignore the infinite possibilities and all that God so wants to bless you with TO BLESS OTHERS. Open up those little places in your heart, they are a part of you and your dreams, they deserve the chance to find their way into your reality – you just might be way better off for it.

Here’s to a whole-hearted 2013 and all the whispers, meetings, angelic visitations and glorious acts of God’s goodness to come.

 

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The Heavy Burden of a Mother’s Guilt

23 Jan

“Maybe there’s more we all could have done, but we just have to let the guilt remind us to do better next time.”  ― Veronica RothDivergent

Why is it that a mother feels so pressured, compelled, obligated and stressed to be everything to our kids, partners and bosses; lose our minds, hearts and sometimes for the most part we lose sight of who we are in the bigger scheme of things??? It’s not okay but neither is it easy.

I feel guilty when I wake up in the morning and my husband has left without me making his lunch (I used to when we were a childless married couple but can’t/don’t because I’m so tired)
I feel guilty when my son wakes up next to me and after a few cuddles I reach over to my phone and check out the range of social media networking (bbm’s, whatsapp, FB & tweets) I need to catch up on or reply.
I feel bad that when I go downstairs to greet my helper that she’s the one who feeds, cleans, dresses and entertains my son (most of the time).
I feel guilty that I don’t stay at home with my son because I’m selfish, suffer from cabin-fever and need a break from the hum-drum of where my life is at right now.
I feel guilty because I’ve spent the first year of Sam’s life with him everyday and yet I don’t want to be a stay-at-home mom.
I feel guilty because I’m typing this from M&B when I should be home with my baby boy.
I feel guilty that I don’t physically discipline him when I should because I’ve said no for the 20th time in 2 hours.
I feel guilty that I’ve given him medication to make him drowsy just so that I could sleep for more than a 4 hour stretch.
I feel guilty that he’ll read this one day and somehow hate my seeming distaste for being home with him (and it doesn’t help that his separation anxiety has worsened, IMMENSELY over the last few days).

The sad truth is that I feel guilty for having a failed practice because that was the one thing I had planned everything in my entire towards so that I can be home with him in the afternoons to do homework and extra-murals when the time came; and that makes me feel like a total loser at the core of who I am!

I don’t want to feel guilty. I don’t want to feel depressed. I don’t want the heaviness that it brings. I don’t want my guilt to affect the time that I do get to spend with him.

When I’m with him, I make sure that I’m focused on him (for half and hour at least) and make sure everyday that he gets lots of hugs and kisses because I love him with all of me and not because I’m feeling guilty.

I plan his meals a week in advance to that he has home-cooked meals that are nutritious and made with love, even if they are epic fails, and yet he’ll still eat what I give him.

Samuel is such a good child and I honestly have nothing that I should be complaining about.

I love that he climbs into bed with us in the middle of the night and we snuggle close for me to secretly make up for the time I don’t spend with him in the day – and I make no apologies for it but a king-size bed would be better.

And I insist on and I’m pedantic about using natural remedies when he’s ill so that he’ll have as no harmful side-effects while recovering.

How can guilt not lead to depression? Yes motherhood is intense and I do not by any means have it all figured out by now but I want to leave the burden and heaviness that my guilt brings and focus on the smile I get when I open my eyes because he’s in my face; tickling that little body to hear him laugh; watching the pleasure on his face when I read his one-word-a-page books to him for the umpteenth time; holding him in my arms as he falls asleep at the end of his day; wanting me to comfort him and kiss his boo boo’s or watching him run into my arms when they’re open wide. It’s so important for me to stay in that happy place so that I don’t get robbed of the now-moments that happen right in front of me.

Time is one of the most precious and scarcest resources of the twenty-first century mom. We can’t be in a million places, doing a million things all at once. I may never get to all the practices or games, or tuck him in every night but I can promise to make a conscious effort to be present in the moments that we do get to share.

Samuel, know that I love you more than life itself and that no sacrifice would ever be too big for your dad and I to make for you and provide for your future. You may never always understand the decisions we make but know that they will always be for your greater good. Life is hard, things may not turn out the way we plan and we might not always get our way but your dad and I will always be there for you and we’ll always have your back, you can count on that – I promise. Know that there is nothing you can ever do to make us love you any less or think any different of you EVER!!!

“Chronic remorse, as all the moralists are agreed, is a most undesirable sentiment. If you have behaved badly, repent, make what amends you can and address yourself to the task of behaving better next time. On no account brood over your wrongdoing. Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean.”  ― Aldous HuxleyBrave New World

You’re still the One I want

2 Nov

“Looks like we made it, look how far we’ve come my baby. We mighta took the long way, we knew we’d get there someday. They said, “I bet they’ll never make it” but just look at us holding on, we’re still together still going strong. You’re still the one I run to, the one that I belong to. You’re still the one I want for life! You’re still the one that I love, the only one I dream of, you’re still the one I kiss good night. Ain’t nothin’ better, we beat the odds together.”

We will be married for six wonderful years in December and I honestly cannot believe how fast time has flown by. I wouldn’t change a thing about you for all the money in the world – you are the “yin” to my “yang”. This is just my little way of saying that I love you to the sky and back again in the midst of life and all it throws at us. I have never felt such profound peace, as when I said “I do”. Everything was perfect about that day, I had no reservations – I knew you were the man for me. Where you lead, I will follow and I will endeavour to do only good to you as long as there is breath within me. I will always choose you.

As I lay in bed next to you the other night, it occurred to me (again) how grateful I am to have you in my life and that I get to share my journey with you. You are such a good man at the core of who you are. There are few people I know that have a heart as big as yours, you would give your last to a stranger if you could, so going into business is not for you babe, you’d be flat broke or in a ton of debt. You love our son infinitely and I wish that he would let you take care of him more (I’m referring to night-duty here ONLY). You’re so good with him, loving and affectionate, and I love watching you two interact. My favorite picture of you with Samuel is on a Saturday morning when he’s fallen asleep on your chest, it melts my heart and makes me weak in the knees. As a teacher, you are invaluable to the staff and your school. Those kids are like your own in the way you guide them, not just in the classroom but with issues close to their hearts.

You are smart, funny, loving, stubborn and sometimes off the cuff but I love you! All of you! Everything about you! I knew that I wanted a man of your caliber to father my children. So cheers to you babe and the rest of our wonderful life together.

Hello Mr Sandman

1 Nov

I have spent many a sleep-LESS night thinking about and praying when the day would finally arrive that I would get more than three hours sleep at a time…. Samuel has never been a good sleeper from the day he was born. Let me just say that we never had to wake this sleeping baby for ANYTHING, EVER! Every three hours like clock-work, he would wake to feed and then there was  a time when it went down to two hours and then to every hour (and I nearly lost my marbles, actually, I think I did lose more than a few)! There were times when I wanted to be child-LESS and husband-LESS but I most certainly don’t feel that way anymore. My phone is filled with images of Sam fast asleep all because I wanted to hold onto that moment for a few more hours.

I must admit that I count myself very fortunate to be in such good company when it comes to the utterly ludicrous sleeping habits of my friends children. For those whose kids slept through from four weeks, out of a mixture of pure jealousy and rage, there might have been a time where I wanted to reconsider but I soon got over it.

Little Liam, is my friend Robyn’s son and he’s like the goal! Let me explain: it seems that while in heaven before they were born, Liam and Samuel came from the same corner of the Universe, cut from the same cloth! They have very similar temperaments and seem to react the same way, in this case, they gave their mothers endless stress by not sleeping through like all other good little boys, no matter what we did!!!! Full tummies; warm baths; lovely lullabies and good routines, you name it and we did it, still to no avail.

Then there’s Merese, mother to Cooper and Noah who were also notoriously bad sleepers until the age of three, Noah’s still getting there. When I heard that two to three years down the line, these boys finally started to come around to the fact that  night-time is actually for sleeping, I took heart that if I lost my mind (literally) from sheer and utter exhaustion, then I wouldn’t  be the only one walking around the make-up department looking for heavy-duty concealer to hide my racoon eyes!

There was even a stage where my out-of-town friend, Celeste and I would BBM each other every time we were up doing a feed or rocking our babies to sleep and it seriously felt like we lived in parallel universes because our boys would wake similar times if not as many times each night for at least weeks on end. It was insane!

I am now happy to announce that we’ve had our first few nights of 6 to 8 hours of sleep!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 I don’t care if I jinx it because hallelujah, this finally means that we’re on the home stretch and boy oh boy does it feel great to get a good nights rest. It makes me feel somewhat human, sad to say. Before you ask, yes I have given him something EVERY night for the last three weeks but its homeopathic which means you can’t overdose your kids, my kind of medication because I can give as I feel necessary, even if it means on an hourly basis – we haven’t got that far, yet. It’s Rescue Rest by Sister Lilian and its meant to calm him, that’s all. My Little Lamb still gets up now and again but there’s no bottle or boob to entertain him so he goes right back to bed and it’s all good for the family.

The down side is that I have had to get up to a smiling baby boy at FIVE AM, err that’s before dawn has even cracked, and we’re in summer, hello… and the worst part is that this little angel wants to play, read books, crawl around the bed and cover me with sloppy drool kisses! Cute yes but not so early. His father must have some secret super-human power that deters Samuel and I so wish I had it too.

The people to blame for the mayhem are not our babies but its the midwives and authors who’ve had kids that slept through the night from six weeks who (a) should be shot and (b) should not place such unnecessary demands on mothers to get their kids to do things they’re not ready for, I firmly believe that kids will do what they want to when they’re good and ready, just like every other milestone we stress about!

There are no rose-tinted shades here because there are still teeth to be cut, fevers to be had and the lot but so far, well done Samuel, keep up the good behavior and hello Mr Sandman, won’t you bring me a dream.

Bottoms Up!!!

9 Jun

From the moment I had decided to fall pregnant, I knew what kind of birth I wanted to have and how things would be run in terms of Samuel’s care thereafter. My birth plan involved a doula and midwife present at an active birth unit and breastfeeding from the moment Samuel was born! I count myself fortunate enough to have the birth I wanted but the breastfeeding thing totally fell apart!!!

From attending ante-natal classes, I had learned about the infamous “golden hour“. Here’s what a birth doula writes – healthy infants should be placed immediately on the mother’s abdomen or chest when they are born and remain in direct skin-to-skin contact until the first feeding is established. Allowing the new mom and baby to enjoy the first breastfeeding together and experience the intimacy of skin-to-skin contact before anything else is done eases baby’s transition from the womb into the world. It stabilizes baby’s heart rhythm, body temperature and breathing. Spending that first hour enveloped in each other’s presence lets you both know that everything is right with the world. It awakens the mother inside you, bonds the baby to his primary caregiver and sets the stage for the coming hours, days and years. A Dad can also get involved by placing his hands on baby, talking quietly, letting baby gaze at his face and spending time holding baby after the first feeding is done. It is during the first hour of life, a healthy baby shows a high level of alertness and an ability to interact with its parents; an infant recognizes his/her parents’ voices and smells and it is the ideal time for the baby to be introduced to the parents through snuggling and breast-feeding. Picture Perfect. After Samuel was born, he was wiped down gently and placed on my chest. All the necessary tests were done from there but the three of us were given a chance to look into each others eyes and bond. While I was pregnant, I used to sing “You are my sunshine” to him all the time so as soon as he started to cry I thought that was a fitting lullaby to calm him.

While I sang to him, my midwife cleaned me and then came the moment I had anticipated almost as much as giving birth. Ta daa!!!! You must understand that I had even attended a special breastfeeding workshop, that’s how determined I was to do this thing!!! So we tried, and we tried, and we tried and Samuel screamed but we just kept trying… and for six days solid he refused to latch on! This was horrifying for me because he was not following my well executed plan and none of my friends (they all had cesars) had problems breast-feeding. There I was thinking, I had done it the way nature intended and now it’s bitten me in the behind!!! While at Genesis, the midwives on duty helped me hand express every time he needed to feed but we had to call in the big guns or lactation consultants as they are known to help get the show on the road. One whole blessed week of pumping every three hours (yes that includes four in the morning as well), letting someone else feed and bond with my baby and then there was the never-ending chore of sterilizing bottles and my pump!!! If I was a normal human being, I would have given up at this stage. My lactation consultant, Brenda Pierce and my doula, Hailey Fudu finally got Samuel and I on our path of breast-feeding success.

So on to the reason for this post. Other than that first week of his life, Samuel only had to get used to a bottle when I started working again and it was once a day. From what Brenda had told me about breast and bottle feeding, to have success, Samuel had to associate breast with me and bottle with anyone else. With that burned into my mind, I had determined never to give him a bottle myself, in hindsight, a little over the top if you ask me. So yesterday, I had a chance to go home for lunch and Samuel hadn’t been fed yet. I pumped (yes I still do it so that he has bottles of breast milk when I’m not around) before I left work and he was not interested in letting his nanny feed him while I was around.  For the first time in a long time, I was stumped. I know it sounds weird because I should have just picked the bottle up and fed him right? Well when I did that, I certainly didn’t expect him to let me feed him and yet there we were doing it like it was any other normal feeding session.

It was in that moment that I felt a little sad because breast-feeding him had become our thing that no one else could be a part of. It was after midnight feeds that I would catch glimpses of him smiling in his sleep; it was then that my oxytcin-induced love fest began while I watched him sleep; he was my only company while his father snored the night away; he was the reason I could leave unwanted company and it somehow boosted my self-confidence as a mother but let me not leave out the absolute convenience of it all as well.

The World Health Organisation recommends breast-feeding until the age of two. I’m not sure that I would go that far but I do know that when our little love fest comes to an end, it would be bitter-sweet. Don’t get me wrong here, there will be some happiness at the prospect of getting my boobs back but not really sure in what condition they will be in!!! Yikes!The silver lining is that while Mr may have more bottles in time to come, so will I…. and I’ll say, bring on the chardonnay baby yeah!!!

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