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Day 443: I’m Alive (But Only Barely)

Well, hello there. It’s nice to be back.

As you can imagine, things have been crazy around my little world because of the arrival of our new baby. Hannah is the most amazing, wonderful, beautiful human being I have ever met. With such a status, why shouldn’t she demand my whole being?

I’m finding out that my whole being is pretty much what it takes to raise a child. Motherhood is the most rewarding — and difficult — thing I have ever encountered.

I’ve had to temper my expectations a lot in order to keep myself from going nuts. When I was pregnant, I had this notion that I would magically transform into Martha Stewart/Mary Poppins/Ina Garten with a body that will spring back into shape (with the added bonus of having an Olivia Palermo face. Aim high, right?).

When the baby arrived, I just turned into mush.

I loved my baby from hour zero, but that love did not change reality: sleep is necessary, post-delivery recovery is difficult, and hormones rage. I had more than my fair share of the random bursts of tears, convinced that I was just barely keeping my baby alive. Needless to say, the first couple of weeks were pretty rough.

I’m still getting the hang of motherhood. I had to temper my expectations a lot to keep my sanity. If I can just make sure that I don’t ruin the innate greatness of Hannah and have a hand in her growing up safe and healthy, I would already consider myself a success in motherhood. Her being a prodigy (although I am still convinced that she is) would just be a bonus.

Edit: Apparently, my sanity is such a concern that I unconsciously mentioned its condition twice.

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Day 382: Look Who Arrived Two Weeks Early

Last Saturday, my heart expanded by six pounds, fourteen ounces. She redefines my life.

 

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Day 371: Paper Styling by Stuart McLachlan

Hat Parade  copy.jpg

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via Stuart McLachlan

How amazing are these paper hats by artist Stuart McLachlan? He started his career as an illustrator before shifting his focus on cut paper as art. Although all of his works are breathtaking, I find that the ones he made for children are especially endearing.

I know that the concept is probably a little too elaborate (or is it?), but can you imagine having a children’s party with these as party hats?

P.S. Here I go again. I think I’m falling into the parenting trap of wanting to do too much. My imagination is already going wild, planning the baby’s christening with art installations as the theme. Methinks I should slow down and focus on having the baby first.

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Day 370: My Hero

via The Daily Mail

Licia Ronzulli of the European Parliament has been bringing her daughter, Victoria, to work ever since she was a baby. The first two pictures are of the little lady voting on the Eurozone debt crisis. Just like her mama. Serious issues deserve serious cuteness, I say.

I think I found my career peg, minus the whole politics thing.

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Day 365: “Breastfeeding Doesn’t Suck”

Knockers. Jugs. Melons. These breastfeeding videos made me laugh

How you choose to feed your child is a very personal decision, I think. In my case, I am absolutely committed to exclusively breastfeeding our little one once she is here.

I have had a strained relationship with my boobs for most of my life. When you are a C in a norm of A’s, the teasing can be brutal, especially when I was younger. But now, I have never been prouder or more appreciative of how I am built. (Size doesn’t really matter when it comes to the ability to breastfeed. It’s really more of a psychological reassurance thing for me.)

I doubt very much that I would be referring to them as fun bags though. Awoogas maybe.

 

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Day 349: Feeling Beautiful While Pregnant (Sometimes)

via The Glow

via Kelly Hicks Design

There are some days when being pregnant makes me feel so beautiful. A new life is on its way and among the millions and millions of women in the world, my body is the chosen vessel. It makes me feel strong. It makes me feel special. I glow.

Then there are days when I just feel like a penguin, waddling to the bathroom for the umpteenth time.

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Day 348: Forgetting to Feed the Baby and Other Baby-Related Fears

We only have a few weeks left before we get to meet the Little One! I am now entering that phase when even the sight of little mittens and socks make me swoon. Were they always this cute?

While I spend a large chunk of my day daydreaming about how awesome it will be to finally hold my baby, I can’t help but have moments when I think I am way out of my league. This is a baby we’re talking about. A tiny, tiny human being. Do I have it in me to take care of this child? What if I am an evolutionary outlier and I don’t have maternal instincts? What if I accidentally drop the baby? I mean, what are my qualifications for taking care of anything in the first place? I had a dog and a tomato plant. I don’t even play Farmville because I dislike the commitment.

The other night, I was up until around 3am because I literally had one thought in mind: what if I forget to feed the baby?

It seems silly, really. My friends have assured me that the baby will not let you forget that he or she is hungry. Your eardrums will be reminded when it’s time for sustenance. But still.

I would be absolutely devastated if I scarred my child for life because of things I did or did not do. I’ve been reassuring myself with the thought that I am not the first woman to give birth. I mean, motherhood has been done before. If others can do it then surely, so can I, right?

But then I think about that time when I scarfed down a bag of Cheetos that I’m not supposed to have. Or that time when I delayed seeing my doctor by five days. Or that time when I forgot to drink my prenatal vitamins. The baby isn’t even here yet and I’m already letting her down.

Everyone has been telling me that all mothers, especially first-timers, experience some level of anxiety. “You’re going to be fine”, they say. My husband, so soothing and supportive, tells me that motherhood is not about doing things perfectly. The baby just needs to be loved.

That’s probably the most reassuring thing ever, because I’m pretty sure perfection is out of the equation. But I can do love. Yes, I think I’ll be able to do that quite well.

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Day 343: Don’t Be a Music Snob

Baby kicks woke me up last night so I tried to keep myself occupied while I waited to feel sleepy again. As I was puttering around the room, I found myself thinking about the things I want to teach my child. Every concept, from the alphabet to dating, is suddenly so fresh and exciting because I get to see them from a different perspective. Everything I know, I will try to pass on to her (or him) and it will be interpreted and lived out, as my child grows up and starts making decisions.

Funnily enough, one of the first thoughts I had is that I want to teach my child to not be a music snob.

So Little One, when you are old enough to develop your own tastes in music, do not be turned off by what’s old or unpopular. In the same way, don’t think that just because something is current, it is no good. Listen and decide for yourself. Pay attention to the lyrics. You might miss out on something beautiful if you confine yourself when it comes to music. Even songs that are considered corny and old-timey can move you to tears if you give it a chance.

Having said that, think twice before liking any song with the word “badonkadonk” in the lyrics.

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Day 324: Some Things You Should Know

Dear Little One,

We only have a few more weeks left before we get to meet you. I can’t even begin to say how excited we are. I feel like I’ve spent the past couple of months holding my breath and now, I’m ready to burst. Judging from your kicks and the premature contractions, I think you share our excitement. Our kisses are waiting for you.

In the meantime, I feel like there are some things that you should know about your daddy and I. That way, you would not be too surprised when you finally meet us.

First, your daddy likes to pace, especially when he is telling a story. The more exciting the story is, the faster he will go.

I shake my head whenever I think of something that I don’t want to remember. I imagine that the thoughts are flung right out of my brain.

 

Your daddy will have an explanation for everything. He loves information and will eat data for breakfast.

 

I never get a bad stomach, no matter what I eat. (I really hope you inherit my strong stomach. It is very convenient.)

A recurring joke between your daddy and I is that he is a monologuer and I am a dialoguer. He narrates his actions and I have the tendency to recreate previous conversations.

 

Little one, I can’t wait to find out what your quirks will be. We’ll have so much fun getting to know each other. I promise.

Love,

Mommy

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Day 320: Breast Crawl (Go, Baby!)

The other day, I met a really nice lady named Sarah. Sarah is in town for a couple of days visiting her daughter who is an intern here in Manila. Now, it just so happens that Sarah is a breastfeeding consultant. For a pregnant lady such as myself, this meeting was a date with destiny.

Sarah gave me a lot of literature on breastfeeding, but the most striking one for me was on something called the Breast Crawl. Paraphrasing in all my newbie mom glory, it’s when a newborn is placed on the mother’s chest right after he or she is born and allowed to find the breast without being rushed or assisted. This procedure is recommended by the WHO, UNICEF, and WABA.

My husband and I watched a video on the Breast Crawl last night, and I was left weeping like nothing else. You can’t help but cheer for the baby as she finds her way to the breast, her little legs and arms purposely propelling her forward. It was amazing. Like Chariots of Fire times 10. When the baby finally latches on, you will feel her triumph. The baby from the video was so wide-eyed and precious, I am just beside myself with anticipation for my own baby’s arrival.

After seeing how miraculous the process was, I am utterly convinced that this is something I would like to do when I give birth.

 

More information via breastcrawl.org