The Power of Vulnerability…being YOU and living in your ZONE…

Don’t be afraid to be yourself because the beauty of each of us lies in our difference and who we are. My closest friends were made when I was vulnerable as a new Mom. As I’ve matured, living ME is no longer a question but a way of life because I am motivated by the “fear of regret” and no longer “the fear of failure”. I live each moment with my heart on my sleeve because that is ME and living in MY ZONE. Find your ME and ZONE and you won’t want to live your life any other way. Have a great day!!

“courage to be imperfect, compassion with yourself and connection as a result of authenticity (let go of what you think you should be to be who you are) and fully embrace vulnerability as being necessary and beautiful and willingness to share feelings first, and to do something without guarantees”
~ Brene Brown

The transition from 1 to 2 children and a few stories in between…

When our daughter turned 2 1/2 years old, we finally settled into a healthy routine of sleep, meals, activities and downtime. Both of us had established a supportive network of friends: my friends mostly being the Mommies of her friends whom we met at playgroups, activities and through mutual friends.

Ironically, I was the one who wanted children sooner than Daddy but he was the one who inquired about #2.  You can imagine how this was met having just settled into the closest routine resembling normalcy since #1’s birth.  I definitely couldn’t imagine another one at that moment or for a while but since it took us longer than anticipated with #1, we decided to try for #2.  And, as well all know when #1 is met with challenges to conceive, #2 is not so we were well on our way to expanding our family of 3 to 4 members just one month after this conversation.

I experienced severe nausea with #2 and, though it wasn’t as debilitating as with #1, it left me bed-ridden most mornings and lasted for almost 5 or so months versus the 3-4 months with #1.  I enrolled our daughter in a part-time day care program with her friend where she was successfully potty trained with home support and encouragement.

Flash forward to the birth of #2, fortunately Daddy was able to take paternity leave and assume the responsibilities of Mr Mom dropping-off and picking-up our daughter, transporting her to/from activities and keeping her entertained while I settled into a routine of sleep, nursing and changing diapers with #2.

Unlike with #1, #2 spent most of his time in a car seat or swing while we dropped-off/picked-up #1 from school and while I went about errands and such.  As a result, during his 4th or 5th month check-up, the Dr inquired about his tummy time to which I answered, “he loves the swing”: translate, he doesn’t get enough tummy time which is why the back of his head was flat and square.  He was a borderline candidate for the helmut which is used to round-out a flat head.  To my horror, he would be required to wear this helmut at all times during the heat of summer with the exception of removing it for a shower.  Daddy and I decided since he was borderline, a boy and convinced ourselves his hair would mask the shape, we decided he didn’t need a helmut.  He is fine today except because of the shape, he is often a few sizes larger than his friends in a helmut or cap.

On top of this, he ended-up with a cast on his arm for a few weeks.  Almost every where we went, we were met with “it happens all the time” to which I wondered “why is it then that he is the only 2 1/2 year old I see wearing a cast?!”.  A freak accident of bracing a fall from a dining chair (imagine someone leaning and slowly tipping over) is all that was required to fracture a toddler’s fragile bone.

During one week, I recall calling 911 twice for separate reasons: cold-induced asthma and another freak accident that resulted in #2 hitting his chin very hard on a table that left his eyes rolling up and back.  I panicked, called and said, he needs attention immediately.  All I could think of was keeping him awake and as alert as possible.  You know you call too much when the dispatcher recognizes your voice, name and address.

My advice again is to connect connect connect with other Moms’ for support, resources and the social component for both you and your child because every step of the way, you will most inevitably be experiencing something for the first time and there is no experience that can prepare you for parenthood.

Having the 2nd is a lot easier than the 1st but the challenges are accommodating two schedules and trying to provide as much attention with #2 as you did with #1 which is quite impossible so you do your best and #1 helps.Image

Loving your child w/ intention…

IMG_089516 ways to Show Your Child Love (with intention) seems like common sense and what would come naturally but, in today’s world of GO, I realize after viewing the 16 ways, how many I miss on a daily basis…and, astonishingly, none of these cost a dime to do!!

1. Keep promises
2. Be fair
3. Comfort them
4. Spend time with them
5. Teach them
6. Listen to them
7. Talk to them
8. Discipline them
9. Recognize them
10. Look them in the eye
11. Hug and kiss them
12. Be thoughtful
13. Advocate for them
14. Get silly with them
15. Help them
16. Be there for them

Courtesy of mommyfriend @ babble.com

Birthmarks and PPD (postpartum depression)…

parentscover parentsletter parentsarticleWhen our daughter was one year, I’ll never forget an incident that left me angst-ridden and moved me to write and submit a letter to the editor of Parents Magazine. Here I share the letter I submitted and the subsequent article which we were included in a follow-up article on birthmarks.  I would later find-out that my heightened anxiety was a symptom of PPD.

I encourage all new Mom’s to reach-out to other Moms’, family and friends as resources for help, support and information. It’s something I didn’t do initially and think was the primary cause of being diagnosed with postpartum depression (PPD).

If you google postpartum depression, the wikipedia definition is listed first at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postpartum_depression followed by an article by the Mayo Clinic at http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/postpartum-depression/DS00546.  I encourage all new Moms’ to talk openly with their pediatrician and OB GYN about any symptoms they think may be related to depression and feeling down.

I was in denial, unaware of the symptoms and convinced myself that my severe insomnia would resolve itself and that I could not be depressed since I was fully functional.  My Grandmother’s passing which resulted in appetite loss in addition to insomnia and then my emotional absence for my father’s grieving landed me back at the Dr’s office where I had previously visited and denied I needed any help. Weak and unable to perform simple daily tasks, I sat and listened as he told me how he could help by prescribing anti-anxiety medication which, up until this point, I had refused to take because of the stigma I attached to being diagnosed and then treated with medication.

Within a week, I was finally sleeping through the night and, in a month or so, noticed a change in my mood.  I was more calm, relaxed and a lot less anxious.  As I accepted my situation, I also began to share it with others in my baby group and discovered that almost two-thirds of the Mothers’ in the group were also experiencing varying degrees of depression with a few on medication as well.  A huge burden had lifted and this was probably the beginning of living my truth as a Mom who no longer felt the need to pretend that everything was fine when, in fact, a lot was not with a colicky baby, sleep deprivation and exhaustion from depriving myself of a break in the day or at all since her birth.

As a new Mom, I encourage you to allow yourself a break.  When I did, our daughter was 13 months old and I spent two hours away attending a bikram class. It was nearby and something I had wanted to try: it became not only a stress relief but a break that strengthened me physically and calmed my mind.  It was the perfect antidote to the rest of my day.  With our second, being proactive and experienced, I avoided PPD with an easier going baby whom we put on a schedule.

Are you living today that will leave you smiling back upon one day?

A very powerful exercise that was done at a seminar I attended almost a decade ago, had the audience imagine their life 5 years out if they were to make NO CHANGES. The audience was left sobbing, weeping and crying audibly. It was a very powerful moment for those who realized they couldn’t and didn’t want to live the same life…

If you are not happy with life as it is today then changes need to be made.  The first step is awareness then the what if and when.  Change is unsettling and can be scary but it is also an opportunity and a choice.  Create the opportunities and make the choices that will leave you looking back upon today with a smile and not regret.  I am living a change that was a result of what will probably be the most difficult decision of my life that was made a year ago. I will share it in an upcoming post.  It required every bit of strength and is frightening but it’s a choice I made to live my truth.

Here is a beautiful quote that represents my purpose. My strength will surely come from helping others by sharing my journey…Thank you NM for sharing this quote.Image

Creating changes…

Slide1Try this exercise and see what happens:

Take 2 minutes to envision happy (what, who, where) and write down what comes to mind. What you write will most probably be gut driven. Instinct is very powerful and often represents our heart and passion: two motivating forces that can propel you to create changes in your life.

Remember, there are no rules and dreams are meant to be crazy!! All athletes will tell you that when they are in the zone, everything is aligned. In life, it’s the same thing. When you are living in your zone, your life is aligned and you are living at your BEST.

The hardest part is identifying the goals to make you happy and working backwards to distill them into daily consistent actions.

BELIEVE!!

Settling into a new routine w/your baby…

DSC000131. Establish your routine of feeding, sleep and life whatever it may be for you as a full-time Mom, part-time and/or a Mom w/a full-time career.

2. If you are a full-time or part-time Mom, I would encourage joining a baby group when your baby is 3 months old. Whether it’s a formal group with a leader with weekly topics or an informal gathering. The support, advice and resource sharing are extremely valuable.

3. Make time for yourself. All Moms’ need a break.

4. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and open. No one is perfect and being the perfect Mom isn’t possible because she doesn’t exist!!

5. Connect, network, share and research. There are many blogs, resources and lots of information out there for new Moms. One can not imagine what it’s like until living it.

6. Be forgiving and kind to yourself…

Delivery day and newborn tips…

1. If you have challenges with trying to conceive, this book helped me and a few friends, “Taking Charge of Your Fertility”, by Toni Weschler.

2. At the hospital, if you choose to nurse, make sure you meet with a lactation consultant who shows you the proper latch-on and watches you do it yourself.

3. Read the book, “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child”, by Marc Weissbluth.

4. If you decide to co-sleep, my advice is to move your baby to their crib as soon as possible (usually at 3 months or sooner).

5. Take a deep breath and get-out at least once a day. It has been documented that one of the leading preventative measures for postpartum depression (PPD) is getting out whether for a walk or to the grocery store with or without baby.

Blogging advice from a friend…

Thank you all for your support.

I met with a friend yesterday who has a year-old blog and is doing well. Please visit her site at www.newtritionsavvysarah.com to see what she is doing.

Her advice to me was simply, “write what you want”. So I will start by sharing a few things I wished I had been told, asked or knew as a new Mom and go from there keeping my posts short but informative.