Mama Nerida wears a smile on her face every time I see her, and she never seems stressed. Let’s be honest motherhood is stressful at times, and when motherhood throws us a challenge we just want to run away and hide. Mama Nerida shares with us, her motherhood journey but she also is opening up about struggles she had, and shedding some lights on many issues so many moms have encountered. Read her journey in her words.
I’ve always known I wanted to be a mom. I babysat a lot growing up and I’m not afraid to be goofy. I love being around children I went into being a teacher. Once my husband and I were married for 3 years I felt the “mama tug” and by God’s grace we were pregnant within a few months. I had a wonderful pregnancy and loved every minute I could hang my belly out since usually we are trained to suck it in…right ladies?
At 41 weeks pregnant I was induced. After not progressing past 3 cm. and the epidural failed we decided to have C-section. Thankfully so cause he had the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck twice but was never in distress because he didn’t’t descend into birth canal. My son Dylan was born May 2, 2011. He weighed 9 lbs and 10 oz. and was 21 inch long- thank the Lord he didn’t come out of my vagina! My husband and I were blissfully happy….that is until sleep deprivation hit us a few days later. I loved snuggling with my newborn, but as soon as I put him down the worry crept into my head. He could be sleeping sound and I would think of 50 different things to worry about, it would keep me awake and give me hives all over. Some people can run on less sleep or on caffeine, but me I need REM sleep to function.
Nursing was hard for me. Dylan had a slight tongue tie but did fine latching in the hospital- you know with the lactation consultant right next to me but of course we get home and I struggled (my milk arrived on day 5 ). Two days and two bleeding nipples later I called Tara- a local lactation consultant. In the meantime Dylan had dropped in weight and we had to supplement with formula- I felt so defeated. Tara visited me 3 times and set me up with ENT to get his tongue clipped. While I waited the 3 LONG weeks until his apt (yes I called every day for cancelations) I pumped after every feeding, even in the night and Dylan ate every 2-3 hrs. I was a mess but my husband was amazing and supportive. After his tongue was clipped (it was a 10 min apt!) Dylan and I found our groove. He was back to exclusively breastfeeding and l wasn’t in pain.
Something you should know about me is I’m a problem solver. I like routine and things in order. It makes me a good teacher. Well, being a mom means giving up control. I get that now, but I fought it Dylan’s first 6 months of life. Not knowing why he was crying drove me nuts! I would get very frustrated, say things under my breath, misdirect my anger towards my husband or our dog, and at times need to walk away from Dylan until I was calm. I’m sure I had post-partum depression.
As I look back whenever I saw friends or went to the Dr. for my checkups I put on a happy face because what new mom wants to share they are struggling. I went back to work when Dylan was 4 month old and pumping at all spare moments of the day was exhausting. For almost 7 months I had hives all over my body from anxiety and hormones. I feel like Dylan and my bond wasn’t as strong because of his tongue tie issue (all the pumping got in the way of holding him), however our bond strengthened over time. Dylan is beautiful, funny, and very sensitive. He loves animals and people in his life.
At 2 yrs. old he wasn’t talking much, so I had the Dr. refer me to tri-counties for an assessment. He had 40% delay in expressive language (what he could say), but we were not given any services because his delay wasn’t bad enough. Having Special Education degree helped, but I knew but he wasn’t progressing like his peers.
At 3 yrs. old we had him assessed by our school district and he qualified for SPED services. With 6 weeks left of the school year Dylan began PEEPS pre-school for 1st time. I wasn’t ready but he was. He attended twice a week for 3 hrs. and into the summer as well. He has progressed into sentences and we are able to understand most of his needs. At 4 yrs. old Dylan still has a speech delay. This year he will attend pre-school 4 days a week. We absolutely love his teachers and feel blessed to have this free service from our community.
My husband and I decided to try for a 2nd baby after I left teaching SPED and moved schools to teach 1st grade. My son Cole was born August 6, 2014 via planned C-section (a way better experience). My husband and I felt so much more prepared for newborn #2. I was more aware of my emotions and anxiety level (so was my husband and Dr.); I tried not to hide my feelings. It helped Cole has a more laid back personality and our bond is strong. Cole is happy, inquisitive, loves his brother, and animals.
I tried to cherish his first year since I know he’s our last child. I think the hardest part with having multiple kids is the feeling of GUILT. I constantly wonder- did they both feel loved enough today? When I’m working I constantly feel divided. When the kids are in bed I often work late, but I take pride in my job. I think it’s important to be reflective and at night I often pick apart our day. I want to be the best mom I can, but I’m human……I have bad days, that hopefully I learn from them and don’t repeat my mistakes. In the end my kids know they are loved and safe, what a blessing that is.
What is one thing that surprised you about motherhood?
At first it was the lack of sleep-lol. Seriously it’s how being a mom has changed the way I look at things. For example when my husband is never sexier than when he’s playing with the boys. In teaching I’m way more understanding with my students. And I defiantly do not enjoy seeing negativity in the world (the news), it just makes me a worry wart.
If you could do one thing different with your first baby what would you do?
I would have done more skin to skin with Dylan for sure. There is something very calming about holding your baby. I discovered this after his first month when I didn’t have to rush to pump, it’s heavenly.
Breastfeeding is SO hard. What advice would you give to new moms?
I would ask for as much help as possible. I remember reading throughout history breastfeeding was very public. One reason is to teach younger generations how to do it. Attend Breastfeeding support groups (Camarillo Yoga), call lactation consultant (most PPO will cover some cost), or have a breastfeeding mama come over and nurse with you. Most of all if it doesn’t work out after all options exhausted, let yourself off the hook. Food doesn’t equal Love.
Having a child that is having difficulty with speech, what are your struggles you deal with on a daily basis?
Dylan’s vocabulary is so much larger, but he can’t always form the sounds of the letters he wants to say so when we can’t understand his requests he can get really upset. The hardest times is when he gives up trying and says “I’m all done talking about that”. That makes me sad because my son wants to talk to me and can’t understand him.
If you could have one day alone with no kids or hubby what would you do?
Spa day for sure! I’d love to have a message, sit by a pool with drink in hand, read, and chat with girlfriends.
Now that you have told the Mother Effin Truth, who do you want to nominate to tell their story as a mother? And why?
I nominate Mama Kristy. We met in special education credential program while working full time and going to school at nights. Our kids are close in age. She is positive person, wonderful teacher, and really loves her kids!