Category Archives: Mamahood

7 Unexpected Facts Every Expecting Mama Needs to Know

When you’re about to give birth, it is imperative that you feel as prepared as possible for what’s ahead.

You want to know what you’re getting into.

You may feel like there’s no real way to prepare yourself until you’ve gone through it, but there are a few things you can read about that will give you more confidence.

If you educate yourself on birth, recovery, and what comes next, it’s easier to relax and decorate the nursery without fear. 😉

Here are some tips that can help prepare you for birth and having a new baby. I hope they encourage and help you as you excitedly prepare to meet your little one!

1. Birth may not be as hard as you think

From the youngest of ages, women in American society are trained that the only thing similar to the experience of birth is death.

We see the screaming and panic that ensues when a woman goes into labor in movies. We hear horror stories from other women. We read about it in books.

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Unfortunately, the less dramatic and more peaceful birth stories hardly get shared. Because as we know, the positive stories never make news headlines.

Everyone knows that if you go into a situation expecting the worst to happen, the worst most likely will. If you go into a situation expecting things to be horrible, they most likely will.

However, as women we must remember that we have been giving birth for thousands of years.
 God created us to give birth.

View More: http://smetonaphoto.pass.us/vandykebirthIt’s crucial for expecting mamas to think positively about birth.
Do your research. Read up on the incredible things that happen during birth so that nothing is a surprise to you, and you know what your body is doing.

Now it’s also important to not go into birth like a deer in the headlights.

Birth is the most intense experience you’ll ever be a part of. It’s hard work, and you’ll be stretched in physical AND mental ways.

But that doesn’t mean it has to be a negative experience.
Read positive birth stories (Ina May’s book below has tons of them.). Don’t let people tell you about their negative experiences while you’re pregnant. Do your own study, and make informed choices for your birth plan.

My personal favorite book recommendations are Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, Hypnobirthing, Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way, in that order.

Below photo by Christine Sara 

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2. Your first reaction to your baby may not be love at first sight


Another thing we have all been told is that the moment you see your baby for the first time, is the most incredible moment will ever experience.

For millions of women I’m sure that has been true.But every situation is different. Your body is going through intense things physically and emotionally right after birth. Your hormones are going crazy.

When I saw and held my son for the first time, I felt like I was holding a little alien. It was the strangest feeling I had ever had. And many women have told me they felt the same way.

View More: http://smetonaphoto.pass.us/vandykebirthBirth Photos by Smetona Photo

It may not be love at first sight. And that’s ok. You’re still a good mama. And those amazing loving feelings will come.

3. Recovery from birth may take awhile

Oh man do I wish I had prepared more for this! You’re told to abstain from intimacy for 6 weeks, but little else is usually shared about the recovery period.

Recovery can be easy, or recovery can be hard.I’ve had women share with me that after 3 days, they felt totally fine, and could go about their normal activities.

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I’ve had other women share that it took weeks before they felt they could even do anything.

For me, recovery was incredibly difficult. I share this with you not to scare you but so that you can better prepare.

I could barely walk for at least a week – possibly because my birth was so fast. I had had back labor and so my back constantly ached, along with my whole body. My lady parts hurt terribly making it hard to even sit. And my nipples were so sore I didn’t even wear a shirt most of the time.

I also got mastitis after a week but didn’t know it for about 5 days, so I was bedridden with a fever, chills, and pretty much delirious.

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Every woman and experience is different, so the best thing you can do is just prepare.

I recommend researching beforehand the signs of mastitis so you know what to keep an eye on.
Also have lanolin, a breast pump, tylenol, and perineal cold packs on hand.

If possible having friends lined up to bring you meals, and some canned soup and good freezer meals available can give you more time to rest in the recovery period.

4. Nursing may not come as naturally as you expect


Yes, nursing is natural, but it may not come naturally.Some babies are “good” nursers right from the start, and some have a little more trouble with it.

The important thing to know is that you AND your baby are both learning how to nurse.

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I highly recommend taking a breastfeeding class before you give birth, especially paying attention to how to help your baby latch on, and what the proper latch looks like. La Leche League, your local hospital, Google, & Youtube are all helpful resources.

This was another thing I wish I had done more research on beforehand. My son had a shallow, weak latch but I didn’t know how to help him correct it.
This led to bleeding nipples and contributed to me getting mastitis. After I went to my local hospital for a free nursing consultation I learned how to get him to latch correctly which made a world of difference.

Another thing to know is that it’s normal to have extremely sore nipples for weeks after you give birth.

Women of multiple children tell me that every time you give birth you can expect this. Lanolin helps alot, but I think knowing that the soreness will go away eventually helps you press on if you really want to stick with nursing.

5. Falling in love with your baby is incredible

I already mentioned it may not be love at first sight for you and your baby. Or it may be.

But the encouraging thing to know is that as you spend time with and get to know your baby, the love you develop is incredible.

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It’s amazing how meeting your little ones needs, kisses, snuggles and spending time with your baby creates this amazing bond of love.
It’s like falling in love all over again! And it’s so, so worth it!

6. Seeing your husband become a Father is the sexiest thing ever

Talking about falling in love again, seeing your husband become a Father is the sweetest and sexiest thing!
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Watching them love on and take care of this tiny little bundle is beautiful to see. The tenderness you see in them just might make you want to go back to babymaking pretty quickly! 😉

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It’s also adorable seeing them build their own special relationship with your baby. The baby talk. Special hugs, and little jokes they share as baby gets older just melts your heart.

7. Becoming a Parent is the best character building thing you could do

I’ve shared the easy and the hard, the good and the bad, and I know there’s so much more that could be said on this subject.
But one thing that was unexpected for me was the character building that becoming a parent inevitably does for you.

During the late night feedings, when you feel like you can’t go on, somehow you find the strength to.
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When you’re figuring something hard out, like your baby won’t stop crying and you don’t know why, somehow you get through it.

When you’re ready to give up on nursing because it hurts so much, somehow you keep going.

Becoming a parent builds incredible patience, kindness, and endurance. It builds you into a better person. And a better parent for your little one.
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In the first few weeks after having my son,  I called my mom crying because I was so sleep deprived I didn’t know how I would go on.

My mom wisely said these words,

“Susannah, becoming a mom is the most character building thing you will ever do. At night, when I heard my baby cry, and I was so desperate for just a little bit of sleep, I prayed that God would let the baby go back to sleep. But as the weeks went by, I started praying, God give me the strength I need to meet my baby’s needs. And He always did.”

If you’re expecting a new little one, my earnest hope is that this blog encouraged and helped you!
Some other blogs you may want to check out are My Home Birth Story, The Photo I Never Thought I’d Share, and The Terror I Never Felt Before.

Maternity Photos by Just Maggie Photography.

 

When To Throw Your To Do List Away

I did it again. Last week I started out strong. Big to do lists, exciting projects to tackle, and the fresh start of a new week I could plow through all my goals.

But somehow in the midst of my excitement, I plowed ahead with good intentions, leaving grace behind.

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This photo sums up how I felt. The world rushing around me, telling me I need to do more, when I really needed to stop in the busyness, enjoy God’s grace, and my roles as wife and mama.

Monday’s to do list didn’t quite get finished. Neither did Tuesday’s.

Wilder wasn’t feeling well, and needed extra snuggles. He’s almost 16 months and just started pushing boundaries and needed more loving training.

So my time went to him.

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My hubby needed my help with some things, so my time went to him.

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But even though I was seeking to do well, I felt like a failure each night as I went to bed with my OWN to do list not quite done.

I felt like a failure because I was basing my identity in how much I accomplished.

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But grace says stop.

Grace reminds us of our true identity in Jesus.

Chosen, Beloved, Daughter, Heir… to name a few.  (Ephesians 1 is packed with these amazing truths of who we are, check it out!)

I had to tell myself to stop working for approval.

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Sunday night I had an encouraging conversation at church.

I realized I was not only not resting in my identity in Christ, but I was also focusing all my attention on doing tasks with home and work, instead of also cherishing the tasks I have in the roles God has placed me in right now.

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My role right now is wife: encourager, server, speaker of truth, lover, best friend.

My role right now is mother: nurturer, server, trainer, lover, speaker of truth, teacher, comforter.

Loving my family is much more important than my to do list.

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As a wife, mother, and entrepreneur, you have to juggle alot. But your identity and value is NOT based on how much you accomplish.

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If you are in Christ you have the freedom to cling to grace and not condemnation.

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Are you trying to earn your worth by how much you achieve?

Are you spending as much time in the tasks associated with your roles right now as you are on your busy to do list?

Rest in who you are in Christ, and His love for you.

Don’t let the busyness of our culture rob you of the joys of your roles right now.

And if your to do list doesn’t get done right now, it’s ok dear friend 🙂

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Thank you Jasmine for the photos!
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If you don’t know Christ and the freedom & amazing love He offers you, and want to know more, please check out my story and email me, I would love to talk with you!

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Did this blog post encourage you? I would LOVE to hear from you in the comments below!

For the Sleep Deprived Mama Who Feels Ashamed {Part 2}

Today I wanted to tell you, my dearest sleep-deprived-mama-friend, that you are not alone.

In For the Sleep Deprived Mama who Feels Ashamed Part 1,  I shared with you how sometimes those late night feedings got the better of me. I got angry, and then I felt ashamed.

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And I’m guessing that you, my sweet mama friend, have been there.

What do we do in times like that? It’s so important to not try to “fix ourselves in our own strength.

Because we just can’t do it.

mama-who-feels-ashamed-part-2_0002As I mentioned last time,  anytime we are looking to change a behavior in ourselves, we can’t jump straight to behavior modification and expect change.

We must first ask ourselves WHY.

In my first blog on this topic, we tackled the important question: Why am I supposed to Love?

We got our bedrock foundation going back to the gospel of Jesus Christ and how He loves us! How amazing is that!

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Now I want to share with you what I was learning in the practical side-

How can I love when I don’t feel like it?

As I was praying and searching the Scriptures, I found this section in Galations 5 that talks about living in the Spirit. Verses 22-23 read:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control; against such things there is no law.

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I think people often say Christians are supposed to act loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, etc. because of this verse.

In fact, it’s easy to treat this verse like a checklist. 

Am I being loving? Check. Joyful? Check.

But if you look at the first part of this verse, you see that these attributes are actually FRUIT. 
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Now imagine with me your favorite fruit, juicy and delicious, growing on a tree. It didn’t grow there overnight.

In fact it didn’t have much say in growing there in the first place.

It grew there because the TREE was healthy.

The roots were doing what they were supposed to, gathering just the right amount of nutrients. The tree was planted in the right soil. And it was getting enough sunlight each day.

All these things added together made the lush juicy apple a possibility.

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So if we say “I just need to have patience” or “I just need to have love” and try to muster it up, it’s not enough.

We need to be planted in God’s Word, filled with the Holy Spirit, and renewed in the sunlight of His love each day.

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Then the fruits of patience, and joy and love will grow – and extend to those middle of the night moments.

Because we’re relying on Him and His strength.

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Do you see what that really means?

How amazing that Jesus HIMSELF will supply us with these things as we trust and rest in Him moment by moment. And of course the first step is surrendering your life to Him in faith, believing what He did on the cross (if you haven’t given your life to Christ, I encourage you to read more about that in “My Story” here.)

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As Paul says earlier in Galations 5, verses 16-17,

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh…

The Spirit within us will grow the fruit of patience, love and joy, as we constantly surrender our selves, our thoughts, and attitudes to Christ and His Word.

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That is definitely good and hopeful news to me! How about you??  I would LOVE to hear from you in the comments!

Press on, dear mama friend. Rest in His grace and love, and seek Him moment by moment. He promises to provide the grace and strength we need.

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