Koji is six-months old today. Many people ask me what my life as a new mama is like. It’s hard to summarize in words, but I’ll try.
The last six months has been extraordinary. In many ways, it has passed in a flash and, at the same time, being pregnant seems like a lifetime ago. It feels like Koji has always been with us.
Life as a new mama is interesting like that: time is no longer linear.
Time has changed
Time is more round and full and it shape-shifts in weird ways. Some days are long and some nights, especially the ones at the beginning, are even longer. Then again, Koji is developing so quickly. Every day, he is like a new person.
I am consciously trying to be present and to appreciate each moment. I refuse to get nostalgic when I see photos of tiny-weeny, newborn Koji and enjoy him as he is now. Besides, those early days were the most challenging.
Postpartum – the first three weeks
I cried every day for almost three weeks after Koji was born. I was so overcome with emotion.
I cried because of how miraculous he was (is) and because of the powerful love I felt (feel) for him. I cried for children who are not given love and affection. (This still makes me cry if I think about it long enough.) I cried because breastfeeding was difficult at the beginning and I wanted so bad to nourish my son properly. I also cried for what my body went through during his birth and for my perceived lack of strength.
Birth by caesarean – healing process
Koji’s birth was very different then I envisioned. Although I didn’t have a birth plan per se, I visualized a ‘natural birth’ in water at the birthing centre with my midwife.
In short, his birth was the complete opposite of this and far more challenging then my Guinness World Record Yoga Marathon – see my post: preparing for childbirth.
After four days in mostly active labour, we ended up at the hospital with an epidural, antibiotics, a pitocin drip and eventually a caesarean. Not an emergency caesarean, but apparently, an unavoidable one nonetheless.
This may sound selfish (and believe me, it was argued a lot), but the way the labour played out, broke my heart.
I tried my best, but Koji was stuck, poor baby.
I have been through feelings of failure and now accept that Koji’s birth was not only about my wishes. It has been a deep lesson in letting go and a realization that my life is not just about me anymore.
Life as a mama is humbling.
What helped the most – the first six months
Lactation Consultant – Breastfeeding is difficult at first and every new mama needs support. Without the right guidance and encouragement, the first few days of breastfeeding are overwhelming. I highly recommend all new moms invest in a lactation consultant. I think they are angels in disguise. (If you need a recommendation, ask me.)
Breastfeeding – After the initial cracked nipples and latch issues were resolved (thanks to Winona, our wonderful lactation consultant), breastfeeding has been wonderful. I know it’s not for every mama (God knows, it’s demanding), but for the most part, I have really enjoyed breastfeeding. It helped me heal on so many levels and brought me closer to my baby. Plus, Koji is now the cutest, podgiest baby giant ever and he has a fierce immunity system.
A partner at home – For much of our relationship, my husband Arturo and I have commuted between Panama to Montreal and have spent long stretches apart. However since July, Arturo has been able to work from home and we’ve have been together, which has been such a blessing. It’s nice to have a supportive partner during the rough times, but it is amazing to have someone to jointly appreciate all love, laughs and joy a baby brings. (Morning cuddles with a smily wiggly baby and hilarious husband are currently my favourite part of life.)
Grandparents – I am so grateful to Koji’s grandparents both in Canada and Panama. They have been so wonderful with him and have been so helpful to us as new mama and papa. It’s amazing how our baby has brought everyone closer together.
Traveling – We brought Koji to a wedding in New York State when he was two and half weeks old. This may sound nuts, but it was the best decision ever. Travelling helped me out of my postpartum funk and allowed us to bond as a family. So far in his short life, Koji has been on six planes, visited three countries and seven cities, swam in two oceans and one sea, hiked in the jungle and seen Niagara Falls. And we ain’t slowing down!
Working – I love what I do. It makes me feel whole, so I can’t really imagine being exclusively on maternity leave. Now, I am not working at my usual capacity nor am I teaching regular classes. Thankfully, my health & wellness business with Arbonne as well as my yoga + ayurveda now allow me to work from anywhere. And I feel more creative then ever before. I am working on ton of new projects: 30 day healthy living programs, retreats, online courses, corporate events, a new yoga teacher training and more.
Hand-me-downs – Thank goodness for hand-me-downs! We have been so fortunate. My good friends, Jessica W., Jessica F. and Michelle J. have supplied us with carseats, strollers, play-mats, cloth diapers, carriers, books, toys and mountains of clothes with us. For everything else, VarageSale has been awesome.
Health & Happiness – Lastly, I thank G.O.D. (the Great Oness Divine) a thousand times a day for a healthy, happy baby.
We are truly blessed and we know it.