Name: Chelsea L
A little about yourself:
I am 27 years old and am an Administrative Assistant, Blogger and Independent Consultant for Arbonne Canada
A little about your family:
We are currently a family of 3 and a half (myself, my hubby, our son and our pup), soon to be 4 and a half.
What surprised you the most when you first became a new parent?
What surprised me most about becoming a parent was how much love and patience I had for another human being. I love my husband to the ends of the earth and back, but the love I feel for my son is on a whole different level. It amazes me that I will soon have a daughter that I will be able to love just as much. I feel like the Grinch when his heart expands. It’s amazing. Also, before becoming a parent, I could easily be described as “high-strung” but having my son taught me patience. I have never been calmer or more sure of myself as I am as a mother.
What changes or challenges did you experience as a new parent and how did you react to them?
The moment I became a mom I knew it was what I was meant to do. The greatest changes/challenges I’ve experienced so far happens in the other arenas of my life. Ensuring that I have interests outside of my children is a bit of a struggle, as is trying to make time for myself.
Was there a moment when you suddenly thought, “WOW, I am a parent”?
I still have moments like that when I just sort of sit back and think “Wow…I’m a mommy now”,only lately it’s been “OMG I’m going to be the mother of TWO children”. I’m amazed every time I think it.
What would you say is/was your favorite part about being a parent?
Everything. I love watching my son discover all the new things around him, hearing each new word, revelling in all the exciting things he’s experiencing. Becoming a parent gives you a new appreciation and excitement for life.
What would you say is/was the most difficult part about being a parent?
While I definitely miss the ability to sleep in as late as I want, I think the most difficult adjustment is when your child is crying, or sick, or hurt and not being able to fix it. It breaks my heart when I can’t make it all better.
Was your child’s delivery as expected?
Not at all! LOL. When I was pregnant, my “birth plan” included a home water birth. I envisioned calm music, surrounded by my family in the comfort of my home. I ended up having to go to the hospital for medical reasons and then ended up having a C-section because after being in labour for quite some time, my little boy was just too comfortable and decided not to budge past 9.5 cm. The labour itself was overall fine, especially once I had the epidural (I was able to have a nap), and while I was definitely scared going into surgery, all that fear dissipated once my son was born. My labour and delivery taught me one of the first lessons of parenthood…nothing will go as planned. This time around, while I hope to have a VBAC, I accept that anything could happen and if I need to have another c-section, then so be it. All that matters is holding my beautiful baby.
What advice would you give to expecting moms/dads/couples to help them prepare for the delivery of their first child?
Have an idea of what you want (natural, epidural, c-section, etc) but accept that anything can happen, and just keep the end result in mind. and Dads…master the art of massage if you don’t have a doula…and don’t be offended if something is working one minute and then she’s screaming at you to stop the next. Always remember that you’re both doing great.
What is one thing an expectant parent should take to the hospital?
That’s a tough one, trying to pick one crucial thing. Many toiletries can be purchased at the hospital gift shop, so it’s a toss up between multiple sized outfits for baby (My son did NOT fit in the newborn outfits we brought) and comfortable loose nightgown/clothing for mom. Or a housecoat.
What advice would you give to expecting moms/dads/couples to help them prepare for life at home with their baby?
The one thing that worked for me was reminding myself that I have never been the mother of a 1 day/1 week/1 month old. Every day could be different and not only is all this new for you, but it’s also new for your baby. I praised him for everything we did right (latching, breastfeeding, etc. Everytime he latched well or had a good feeding I told him how proud I was of him and how he was doing such a great job) and I also praised myself. I’m a firm believer that a “calm mommy/daddy” means a calm baby”. Even if the baby is not calm, its much easier to handle a crying baby when you’re calm.
Also, be prepared for a roller coaster of emotions. I cried at least once every day for a solid 3 weeks after delivery. Hormones wreak havoc and those weeks immediately following birth should be private family time. I still wanted visitors to come meet our new family member, but I made a rule that no one was to come during dinner time or after 7pm, because that was when I was most vulnerable to being emotional. Set boundaries and dads – it is your responsibility to help enforce those. Consider yourself the family bouncer. You are protecting your nest.
Oh…and shower everyday no matter what…it’s incredibly easy to stop caring for yourself when you’re caring for a new human. And moms, when baby eats, you eat. When baby sleeps, you sleep.
Did you know about developmental milestones, brain development or pre-literacy skills before your child was born?
I had read about them and knew of some, but I definitely did alot of googling during that first year, and I still do. I tried very hard not to compare my child to other children, understanding that each baby is an individual and that not everyone will have the same experiences. I didn’t dwell too much on whether my child was achieving certain milestones by a specific time, but I did make sure to be aware of any red flags so that if something did pop up, I would be aware of it. I also trusted my instincts alot.
Do/did you and your child have a favorite routine?
Aside from nap times and meal times, I can’t say we particularly had a specific routine. We did alot of travelling during the first 6 months since it was the summer time and my husband was off from work. But I loved breastfeeding and meal times.
Do/did your child/children have favorite children’s books or children’s characters?
Winnie the Pooh. My husband bought him a collection of stories that we like to read, and my absolute favourite book is “Charlie the Caterpillar”. I read that book to him while I was pregnant.
Tell us a funny story about your child or about your parenting!
I love to let my child make messes (to an extent). He discovered our dog’s water dish, and when he dumped it all over the floor, I let him play in it. After he was done I grabbed a towel and showed him how to clean it up. Now when he spills something he tries to clean it up with whatever fabric is around lol. I also recently started to let him colour on the walls with chalk…I am certain that this will backfire on me if he ever gets his hands on crayon or marker, but he’s been pretty good at sticking to the designated drawing area, and the look on his face is priceless. I can always repaint and clean so I don’t get mad or angry.
Now we all know that parents need grown up time, so…
What is your favorite thing to do when you have time without your child/children?
My husband and I love to go to the movies or hockey games for our date nights, and my girlfriends and I get together for dinner occasionally. I also like to have some time to exercise by myself and blog or do some photography.
Do you have a blog or website you would like to share?