Life has a funny way of giving you exactly what you want, even when you have no idea that it’s what you want. I’ve learned this over the past 9 years, since meeting my husband and becoming a full time Mom.
Today I am leading a totally different life than I had always pictured for myself and I could not be happier. It’s not that I never wanted to fall in love and get married, I just never pictured myself living your typical suburban family life, let alone becoming a stay at home Mom and attachment parent.
Growing up, I was always told that getting pregnant would be difficult for me. Having hearing this since puberty it was something I just naturally came to accept without any research or debate. I have always been a social person who loves travel and adventure, so I imagined a life full of friends, travel and a successful career.
When my husband and I met in 2007, I wasn’t looking for love but it happened. A year and a half later we bought our first home in Toronto; a tiny two-bedroom house that needed some serious love, but we were excited to take on the renovations. As we tackled our home projects, I also rediscovered my passion for interior decorating and design and began taking night classes to complete a certificate in Interior Decorating. Things seemed to be on track, just the way we “planned them” when we suddenly took an unplanned detour.
In November of 2010, after only 3 years of dating we found out I was pregnant. Initially we were both full of mixed emotions. Though I felt a twinge of excitement knowing I was growing a tiny life, it wasn’t what we had planned. We weren’t even sure we wanted to be parents, but all of a sudden it was happening.
In July of 2011, we happily welcomed our beautiful daughter into our lives.
The first few days of motherhood were wonderful. My husband was home and my in-laws stayed with us. It felt laid back and I just soaked up her newness, falling so in love with her. When the inevitable happened and my in-laws headed back home, to Massachusetts, I could feel the dark cloud roll over me as they drove away.
Now what? Will we be able to do this on our own? I found myself crying often, worrying about parenthood and mourning the loss of our old life.
It only got worse after my husband went back to work. Looking back, I’m pretty sure it was more than just “the baby blues” that I attributed it to. Thankfully, I made it through those couple of months with a fantastic support network. My husband always supported me and loved me, my mother was always there to lend an ear and be a shoulder to lean on, I had friends who loved visiting and bringing love and smiles, as well as other Mom’s and even old acquaintances who reached out just to see how I was doing.
When that dark cloud eventually lifted, my emotions started to improve, but I was still struggling. My daughter wanted me to hold her ALL the time.
She would not nap in her crib for more than 20 minutes, no matter what I tried. People were telling me to let her cry, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I thought I was doing it all wrong, that I needed to just “figure it out”. Then, one evening while perusing some of my favourite design blogs, I stumbled upon a post written by another blogger about her experience with “Attachment Parenting”. Everything that she was writing clicked with me, it made so much sense… it was exactly what I had been doing all along anyway. It turned out that the woman who “never wanted to be a parent”, was actually an attachment parent all along!
I was lucky that my husband trusted and supported my decisions, and we continued along the path of attachment parenting, using certain parts of it that worked best for us. As my maternity leave sped past I began to frantically search for a way to become a stay at home Mom. I couldn’t imagine going back to work and leaving her with anyone else. I put more time and money into my blogging, and also started a side social selling business; all along hoping I could bring in enough to make up the difference for me to stay home.
Shortly after our daughter turned 6 months old, my husband received an exciting offer to take a position in Vancouver. It meant a promotion and raise for him, but his company would also pay our moving expenses and rent for a year. It was the perfect opportunity for an adventure, but also for me to continue staying home with our daughter. We continued to make our lifestyle work once our first year of paid rent was up, and in the summer of 2013, we decided that it was time to add to our family.
It took much longer to get pregnant the second time, but in September of 2014 I finally got a positive test.
We excitedly told our family and friends and on Christmas morning we found out we’d be adding a baby boy to our family. Shortly afterwards, I began researching natural childbirth, followed by the pros and cons of a home birth; the exact opposite of my induced hospital birth with my daughter. My midwives told me I was an excellent candidate, and answered all of my questions that came up during my research. My husband was not as excited by the prospect, but even his concerns were eased after asking all of his questions.
On Thursday May 21st, 2015 around 9 o’clock in the evening we’d just arrived home from one of my husband’s softball games. I was four days past my “due date”, and had been feeling tired and crampy all day. After updating my doula on how I was feeling, I had my husband inflate my birthing tub, and moments later my water broke. My husband rushed around getting my daughter ready to go to a friend’s house, while my mother stayed with me and timed my contractions. Things moved swiftly with his labour.
From the moment my water broke my contractions were three minutes apart lasting a minute. By the time the first midwife arrived at our home, I was ready to push. We almost had to transfer to the hospital, as his heart rate kept dropping, but at 10:48pm, I safely delivered my baby boy at home. (Yes, about an hour and a half after my water broke)
It’s funny looking back now at the person I thought I would be and the life I had “planned”. As I sit here today, holding my napping son in my lap, I can’t imagine any other job I would prefer to be doing.
Though some days are exhausting and frustrating, I wouldn’t trade being a parent for anything… not even a plane ticket.
Motherhood in the beginning is hard, how would you describe your first few weeks?
My first few weeks as a Mom were exhausting and emotional. Going from being a young couple who did whatever we wanted to being a mother is no joke, and it takes a lot of adjustment. I had a hard time sleeping, even when the baby would sleep. It was hard to turn my brain off and I was always wondering if I was “doing the right thing”. Sadly, no one had told me much about how quickly my hormones would change after she arrived and the unexplained crying and sadness was hard – I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t happy and enjoying my sweet girl. Thankfully my support network helped me through it and once we started to find a routine closer to three months life was easier and more enjoyable.
What advice would you give a new mom?
The advice I always give to my friends expecting a baby for the first time is to ignore all of the other advice everyone wants to feed you. Trust your instincts – you were MADE to do this job and you know your baby better than anyone else.
Describe attachment parenting?
Attachment parenting is a style of parenting based on the principles of attachment theory in developmental psychology. The basic idea is that you are sensitive and emotionally available to your children. For our family, we prefer wearing our babies instead of using strollers, co-sleeping with our little one and being open to carrying and holding our babies when they need us. Both of ours have napped in our arms or in carriers for as long as they needed, and slept in their cribs when they were ready. We try to remember that though our children are small and still developing, they are still people who have their own emotions and needs. Just because they are having a hard time with something that seems small to us, it is a very real emotional experience for them. We don’t spank or punish, but we provide structure and discipline, and try hard to communicate openly with them. It is just a way of parenting that has worked for us and our babies – it is not for everyone.
Your favorite time of the day with your kids and why?
My favorite part of the day is bed time. Not because they are going to bed and I get time to myself (which doesn’t happen often), but because I enjoy the routine we have created. A warm bath where they can play (most nights), followed by tooth brushing, PJs and then a story and cuddles. My 4 year old still prefers cuddles after story and I enjoy the quiet time, laying in her bed with her wrapped up in my arms. My son sleeps next to me, and I love having his little body curl up next to me and relax as he drifts off to sleep. I feel happy knowing I can provide them both with the safe environment they need to drift off too sleep. Though some nights can take longer to get through the routine or get them to drift off, it is never a battle and that makes the whole thing enjoyable.
For us, the adjustment was much easier than I had anticipated. There is almost 4 years between our children and I’m pretty sure my daughter was born to be a big sister. She took to her brother right away and never experienced any serious jealously. She has always loved cuddling and kissing him and now that he is old enough to laugh and play with her, she loves to make him giggle. I do struggle with Mommy guilt, feeling bad on the days when my son needs me and I have a hard time responding to my 4 year olds needs in the way that she would like. I also long for more one on one time with her. I still try hard every day to make sure I am meeting her needs, because even though she is a smart and independent 4 year old – she still needs to know that we love her and appreciate her as much as we always have.
Now that you have told the Mother Effin Truth, who do you want to nominate to tell their story as a mother? And why?
My mom nomination is for Kari from “The F Words” (her : is diary_of_a_new_mum) I found Kari on Instagram and have enjoyed following her journey as a first time Mom. She is a wonderful and dedicated Mom, who is always open to sharing her daily ups and downs with her beautiful baby boy.