Monday, 31 August 2009

Mother's guilt X2

I spend the weeks longing for the weekends and more time with my daughters, and come weekends it just flies by. I usually plan to work in the house and garden as well, and at the end of the weekend I must again admit defeat. It is not possible to be and do everything, and I must let go of the idea that I have to do everything and get to everything. Who made up this rules? It is we, and I am changing it right now. Smile, as easy as that!
I have a Practica manual as well, and most of the time it just makes me feel guilty for not doing optimally the stimulation I am supposed to at this stage in Mieka’s development. It is a wonderful tool aimed at stimulating a baby from birth to 7 years. Decision: From now on, I will not feel guilty, but will read sometimes from it, and do some of the suggested activities from it with Mieka. Smile again, as easy as that!
Now I will enjoy my time with Mieka. She is 8 months already, and cuther than cute! I can say that, because it is not my doing. I am just amazed at what she is be-ing, and be-coming. Decision: I will enjoy her!

Friday, 28 August 2009

Working mother's guilt

Yesterday afternoon I was trying to avoid getting stuck in the traffic in Auckland Park where I work, and the more I tried to avoid the long queues, the longer the queues got in the side streets. I ended up in Brixton, even more stuck. It is all these road works going on everywhere, and some roads are closed and some narrowed to one lane only. I quickly googled it just now , and apparently it is for the bus rapid transit (BRT) system, intended for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The road works have been going on for months now, and I presume it is going to get worse until the Word Cup. My only goal in the afternoons is to get to the baby as quickly as possible. It is terrible to leave her there from half past six in the mornings until quarter past four in the afternoons. It adds up to nearly ten hours, more hours than I spend at work during a day. Aargh! And then we have about five hours of her each night before she goes to sleep. We sometimes have more with the not sleeping, and in that I can find a positive outlook on the sleeping problem. (Smile) The hours that I am not with her, contribute to my guilt as a working mother. But I know, millions of women have to cope with the same thing…

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Brain bubble

No, it is not even brain fog or brain smog. I have totally lost my marbles with the baby, or maybe we surrender it all to them? I am losing car keys and cards, and having to go back and do things again. I forget to lock the garage doors, and this morning it was the second time that I nearly drove over Dries while reversing out of the garage. He is so thoughtful to open up for me, and then I just start driving immediately. Sorry, Dries! But most of the time I just find myself trapped in space, and feeling as if time is speeding by, and I am left behind. I am in “mommy world”, with the outside world a blur of activities and events that does not feel as if it is real.
The not sleeping is also contributing to the feeling of being trapped in a bubble.
Last night we struggled to put Mieka down. At one stage after ten I and Dries were passed out on the bed, with her in between us, trying to poke our noses and eyes. I just have a vague recollection of getting up during the night, and after four she was back with us in bed. Tati did not do its job at all. This morning Mieka was all smiles, and waving the arms and legs, happy to start the day. And it keeps me going – thinking of her smiles the whole day long…

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Single vs. Family

Dries were commenting last night that he was working harder at home than at the office. We come at home at 5 in the evenings, and then its dinner and washing and feeding Mieka and bathing her and washing the bottles etc. He was reminiscing about the time he was single and he could stop at the shops to buy himself something to eat, pour himself a drink when he got home, and flopped down in a chair. He says he used to put the glass next to his chair, and just carried on drinking from it the next evening… (Smile)
Why do we complicate our lives so much? I think it is because we want the companionship in life, and without it we can’t define ourselves into the best we can possible become.
I am so thankful for my millennium man who does his share. The X (cancelled one) used to not work, not help out in the house, and still demanded that I fulfill all my roles as wife and mother and cook etc. Now I can’t think why I put up with it for so long, but it feels like it was in another lifetime, and a different version of me…

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Older mom

Yeah! I think Tati is doing its job. Mieka only woke up once during the night. I feel great today.
It feels very strange to do the mom-thing again. I’ve been there, got the t-shirt, and I moved on. I was enjoying the teenager phase, and also me and my new husband’s independence of doing/going where and whenever we wanted. We were enjoying going to the movies on a Sunday night, going for a hike in the Berg or dancing at 10 to 12 pm on a weekend.
But we do not want to change a thing! Now we are in awe of the new being within our midst. I have a feeling of immense gratitude for being given the opportunity to do it again. Thank you, Mieka, for choosing us to be your parents, and to walk with us as part of your journey.
Now we have to make sure that we are able to “walk” with her as long as possible. I find it a bit daunting for not only having to make sure that we stay healthy mentally and physically, but also to make sure that we do not become “techno dinosaurs” in this 21st century. I need to learn how to operate the remote, and not to depend on somebody else to put on my favourite show. Mieka is already very keen to play with the remotes, and I made a joke tonight while she was sitting with a remote in each hand that she is definitely a kid of this century.
There are a few things with regards to being an older mom that count in my favour. I know that they grow up so quickly, and that you have to enjoy it in the moment. I have shared my life with a now 16-year old, and she is spreading her wings already. I am much more relaxed. I do not get upset about every sniffle, and I spend more time just playing with her. The best way to describe the way I feel is one of contentment.
I would have loved to have stayed home with her, but economically it’s impossible in these times. She is already smiling at everyone, and I think she will be very flexible with regards to different situations as well as being socially more skilled. Arnia, her sister, also had to stay with a day mother and crèche, and she is very good at handling herself in new and social situations.
Me, Dries and Arnia misses Mieka during the day, and we can’t wait to be with her at night. I have missed three belly dancing classes in the past three weeks, because I couldn’t bear to leave her, but tonight I have to go again.

Monday, 24 August 2009


Not much luck as yet with the Tati, the self soothing object from Babysense, but it was so sweet to see the doll in her arms during the night. Mieka was crying and waving the arms, with the doll lodged in her arms while she was vigorously complaining, oblivious to the fact. Dries put it in her arms during the night. I did not think of that, but I did try to keep it close while she was breast feeding. I thought it was also a good idea, because the arms are all over the place, touching my clothes and face. The book “Sleep sense”, by Megan Faure and Ann Richardson: Metz Press 2007, which is on loan from a good friend, says you should persevere… I am hopeful!

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Sleep... NOT!

I got 5 hours of sleep on Friday night, while Dries got up for Mieka. It did me the world of good. I felt refreshed, after months of getting up at night. Although I also woke up when she cried, I got to stay in bed, and it made all the difference. Dries usually complains that he is not getting sleep, but there is a difference between getting up and just turning and going to sleep again…

Ok, and it’s a week later, and every night has had a sleep story of its own. I am tired. All that keeps me going is saying “this too will pass”, one of the sayings of one of my favourite authors Neale Donald Walsch.
I know I am not doing it “right”, but in the middle of the night you do ANYTHING to get to go back to sleep as quickly as possible. Also, with my previous child I was not allowed to keep her in my arms, and I still feel guilty for the times I had to let her cry. The X was so jealous of my time with her, and now I just think how stupid I have been to allow him get away with his bad behaviour. But you do anything for peace… (But I must admit that she was sleeping from six to six from the age of two months old).
From the beginning I decided I would not let Mieka cry… I give her the breast because it calms her almost immediately, and she goes to sleep while drinking also almost immediately. Dries has his own way of getting to sleep, he sits on an exercise ball with Mieka in his arms until she falls asleep. It works! (Smile, although it is a very strange sight to see a large man jumping up and down on a ball, with a small baby in the arms). But, I am extremely grateful that I have a wonderful husband that helps me. He sometimes just gets up and brings Mieka to me, or tries to calm her himself.
I am reading about the soothers you should be using, such as a teddy or a blanket or a dummy, which baby can use to help them to go to sleep on their own. Up to now I have tried to put a teddy into Mieka’s arms, but she gets even more upset with the whole situation, and just screams louder. Carina, a friend of mine gave me a Tati (Babysense) on Friday, and I am going to try my utmost to get Mieka to sleep with it. A Tati is “self-soothing object, made as part of a sustainable social campaign, from the off cuts of other products, lessening waste”, quoted from the box. I love the fact that “Tati means father in many languages and Tati symbolizes the security Dads provide, which may be lacking for many babies worldwide.”
Mieka was 8 months on Friday, and she is supposed to be sleeping through the night. She wakes us three to four times after she goes to sleep at nine (hopefully), and before we have to get up at five again the next morning. That’s why we are in desperate need of sleep, and now I am holding thumbs that the Tati is going to do the trick…

Friday, 14 August 2009

Blogging mom2

As a new mom, working, I also feel terribly isolated with regards to connecting to other moms. Most of my friends in the same position are also working full-time and we struggle to get together. That’s another reason for me starting this blog – to understand my own feelings and situation, to connect to other moms and to figure out, while writing, than what I am doing is “right”. If only then “right” for myself and the baby.
Oh, and being the older mom also isolates me… While I am bleary-eyed, lactating, struggling to get back into my pre-pregnancy clothes (a whole other story, and yes, I know, by this time it shouldn’t have been a problem) with a baby on the hip, my other friends are focusing on careers and discussing teenagers and holidays. I am also hiding underneath different caps every day because I am graying (I do not get enough time to colour it), and because I am losing hair post-pregnancy. Luckily its winter and the caps do not look out of place. Also, the winter clothes help to cover the post-pregnancy flab. I am putting on weight and keep on telling myself it’s because I am still breast feeding and can’t focus on drastic weight loss dieting. I was very much impressed with myself for not putting on too much weight during the pregnancy, only 10 kilograms, but it was because I did not have any space left for food. Food also did not have any appeal to me. Unluckily, I got my appetite and “space” back. These topics are not exactly interesting, but that’s where I find myself AGAIN. And I love it all over again: the baby has changed our lives AGAIN.
16 years ago I had a baby, Arnia, and now I wonder how I coped with the baby while being married to a narcissist and manipulative man who most of the time could not keep up a job. The X (the cancelled one) is not part of my life anymore, and Arnia has also started to limit her access to her father. His toxic presence has finally pissed her off completely, and I don’t think the relationship will be mended fully again. It is something Arnia has to work out for herself.
For me it’s a previous life, and it sometimes feel as if I have been reincarnated into this life. Totally different. I am now married to Dries, a wonderful caring, providing and supportive husband. Now I can’t belief that I could have been part of a violent partnership. I realized that by staying there I was enabling him to continue his bad behaviour.
That’s why I belief in new beginnings and new lives. It’s possible and much better the next time around. Maybe I am lucky, but I do believe that we create our own destinies and we are doing it continuously by making choices. My choice is to be happy and peaceful and I am that right now!
Arnia told the X and his wife last night that she is happy and peaceful at our home, and she does not have to stress about anything. It tells us that we (me and Dries) are doing something “right”. We are reconstructed, but we are doing it “better”. And that’s all I wish for! With a beautiful baby girl…

Expression and lactations

I am still breastfeeding at seven and a half months. Great! I think so! I think so?
From the beginning I said I would see for how long I could carry on. Arnia (the 16-year old) did not want anything to do with a bottle while she was breastfeeding, and at 4 months I had to put her on bottle only. That was extremely traumatic (for me mostly) at the time.
When I went back to work in May this year (2009), I took my breast pump with me, and closed my studio twice during the day to express milk. I am still doing it, and sending two bottles with Mieka to the daycare.
(One of my biggest fears still is that I will walk out of my studio with my boobs still hanging out.)
The rest of the time she is still breastfeeding – at night, during the night (red eye syndrome for me), and in the mornings before I drop her off at daycare.
At seven months I am still trying to get used to the breastfeeding thing. In the beginning it felt like she was hanging on my breasts 24/7. I could not do anything else. And it was extremely sore. They tell you it is not supposed to be sore, because you are doing something wrong. Like latching… When I was hospital, I tried to ask for somebody to help me with the latching, but nobody ever pitched up. Is it worth it to complain now? And when I complained to the doctor that she latches very strongly, and I can’t get her off, he just shrugged and said that I must time her… Yeah, right!
Luckily we are past the extremely trying first few weeks. Dries, my husband, said he was not used to seeing boobs all the time. And he did not say it as if it was a good thing, or a treat to him.
And my boobs are still not my boobs. I miss my B-boobies which could fit into any top. I hope I hope I get them back.
I still don’t know when I am going to stop. When Mieka is one years, or two years? It is stated on the Purity baby food jars that it is good to continue breastfeeding until they are two years of age. (A very long time…)
The other thing that is sometimes very trying is when you are expressing at work, and the milk does not “come in”, or you don’t get the letdown reflex. I give myself 15 minutes in the morning, and again in the afternoon. Maybe it is stress, but sometimes I can sit with the electric pump running, and nothing is happening. I have also noticed that when I do not stick to a precise time-frame with regards to the expression of the milk, I do not get the desired amount. Mostly I do not get more than 100ml of milk at a time. I know it is supposed to be more, but I have decided that it is still better to give that, than nothing at all.
But all in all, it is a wonderful feeling to have the little one drinking from you. They are so completely dependent, and there is nothing that makes her go to sleep as putting her on the breast. Maybe that is why I am still doing the nightly rounds?
I have asked Dries to stand in for me. We are going to arm him with bottles tonight, and I am going to SLEEP! He always says that he is also not sleeping, but I bet you that it is much better to stay just where you are, than to get up every hour, or on a two-hourly basis. I can’t wait to hit the cushion tonight!

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Mom blogging

Blog by Karen du Toit about becoming a parent after the age of 40, the second time after 15 years. It’s all about new beginnings. Being a working mom and married for a second time. Mieka came into our lives the 21st of December 2008. The meaning of her name is “new fountain” in Japanese. Arnia, my daughter of 16 years, keeps on asking me about herself when she was small. And I can't recollect all the small little details. I don't want to forget all the small little incidents that gives us so much pleasure. That's why I want to keep a blog for Mieka for one day...

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