Life With A Baby is turning 10. To celebrate, we are excited to share with you insights from 10 different Moms, answering 10 questions honestly. #LWAB10
Amy is a wife and mother of 3 in Brampton. She is a full-time Work From Home Mom as a Certified Child Sleep Consultant, volunteers on 3 separate committees/working groups to improve Child and Youth Mental Health in Peel Region. She loves spending time watching her sons on the volleyball court, dancing around the family room with her daughter and cuddling up on the couch watching This Is Us with her husband.
1. How would you describe yourself before having a baby?
Before I had a baby I was focused on my career, loved staying up late watching television and sleeping in in the morning. I was a true night owl. I grew up as an only child so I was pretty egocentric. I only had to worry about myself and my husband at the time, but he worked a lot so I was on my own most of the time.
2. How would you describe yourself after having a baby?
After having my first son, everything changed. I had brought this little life into the world and every decision, every thought and every worry became about him. I also learned what mommy guilt was. I think as moms, from the moment we find out we are pregnant we feel guilty about everything, especially about not being good enough. "Is it my fault that my baby has colic?" "Is it my fault that my baby won't sleep?" "Am I a good mother?". It was a pretty hard adjustment to life being all about someone else.
3. What is one thing you miss about your pre-baby life?
I do not miss much about my pre-baby life as I was young and hadn't truly discovered who I truly was yet and at the time I was in an unhappy marriage, but if there is one thing that I could say I miss it would have to be, I miss not having to worry if I am doing a good enough job and if my kids will be okay 24/7.
4. What is one thing you wish someone prepared you for when it comes to Motherhood?
The one thing that I wish someone had prepared me better for when it comes to motherhood would have to be the vulnerability that comes along with being a mom. You immediately become more vulnerable to pain and to feel others' pain as well. My oldest was 2.5 months old when the big tsunami hit in 2004 and my heart broke for all the families affected. It also makes us more vulnerable to others' opinions and judgments of our parenting style, mostly because we are already our own worst critic.
5. How has Motherhood changed you?
Motherhood has changed me greatly. It has made me a more empathetic person and I always try to help other parents instead of judging them. As my children have gotten older, now 13, 11 and 2.5 years old I have become someone who is stronger and stands up and fights for what is right instead of shying away from conflict. Unfortunately, I have had to learn to face conflict in the school system as well as the child mental health system for the betterment of my children. Motherhood has also given me a greater understanding of my own parents. I may not agree with their parenting style but I can definitely understand why they were as strict as they were. There are times I wish I could just keep my children protected in a bubble but that would be a disservice to them.
6. Do you feel like you have “balance” in your life and why?
I think that having "balance" in my life will be a lifelong work in progress. As a mom, wife and only child I am the one that everyone is dependent on every minute of every day and I have the tendency of taking on too much and not asking for help. I have also recently made a career change and left my job of over 16 years as a manager of customer service at one of the top 5 financial institutions so that I could become a certified child sleep consultant and have the opportunity to work from home helping other families while also being here for my 3 children and mom. I am extremely blessed to have an amazing husband who has been super supportive of my career change and is such a hands-on dad/stepdad that tries to keep me "balanced".
7. What helped get you through the postpartum transition into Motherhood?
My situation is a bit different in that there is a 9 year age gap between my second and third child, so that being said when I had my youngest I felt like it was the first time all over again. When I became a mom for the very first time over 13 years ago I didn't have much help with the transition into Motherhood and I am pretty sure that I suffered from Postpartum depression that I did not get any help for. I was young and just lived it one day at a time and did my best to figure it out. I then continued this way of life when I had my second 20 months after the first. The transition was extremely different after having my youngest 2.5 years ago. My husband and I had suffered from secondary infertility for 3 years before I became pregnant with my daughter. During that time I miscarried. I was extremely anxious my entire pregnancy and had done a great deal of research about the signs of Postpartum Depression and Anxiety and had prepared my husband for what those signs might look like. I also surrounded myself with a great support system of friends to be my "village". My husband and my village got me through the hardest time in my life when I was diagnosed with Postpartum Anxiety and Depression. We as moms need to not be afraid to ask for help. It does not make us bad mothers.
8. Motherhood is hard. What gets you through each day, day after day?
Motherhood is the hardest job EVER. Knowing that my children need and look to me for answers and guidance gets me through each day. Every time I see them being kind and helpful to other people is a reminder that I am doing a great job and that I just have to keep doing what I am doing. Their smiles and hearing "I love you mommy" gets me through every day.
9. What makes you grateful about motherhood?
I am grateful that motherhood has taught me, unconditional love. That even on my not so great mommy days, I can look into the eyes of my children and see the love and that I am their world. Motherhood also taught me that I am strong and worthy of true love and happiness.
10. What is one thing you would tell a new or expecting Mother?
The one thing that I would tell a new or expecting mother would be that it truly takes a village to raise a child. Above all else, what your child needs most is a healthy mommy, surround yourself with a great support system and do not be afraid to ask for help.
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