Author: Kristen Willis

Bugs Of Life

 

Every trial is God’s priceless gift to me that He patiently wrapped in fears and miseries, boxed in anxiety, tied with a plain-colored ribbon, with a card on top saying, “You can do it, my precious daughter, I am with you!”

 

Source: cdn.pixabay.com

 

My Millennium Bug

Seventeen years ago, as everybody was fearing the millennium that was approaching because of the threat of the Y2K bug, I never thought that it would hit me earlier than expected.

My husband out of nowhere packed his things and left us without a word, and my youngest son who was very close to him got depressed and fell ill.

I distinctly remember how I listened to every tick of my watch, stared at the wall of the hospital, walked to and fro the hallway hoping for good news, and then the doctor came out breaking the news no one wanted to hear.  The inevitable had happened. I will no longer see my son go to school because I had to walk him to his grave, the most painful phase of my motherhood journey.

I thought that was all, but no, God was not done yet. Another surprise came a month after, another sad news.   My mom had a heart attack and was declared DOA.

At that time, I was a single mom of three kids, and since my mom passed away, I also got to take care of my sick dad.

Source: cdn.pixabay.com

 

Anxiety And Depression Kicks In

Months passed, and still, I got these sleepless nights.  Every night was just the same as all the others. I just tossed and turned on my bed trying to catch that elusive sleep, but all my efforts were of no use.  I couldn’t go on that way, so I went to my doctor who gave me some sedatives.  I avoided my caffeine and took herbal alternatives, which were supposed to induce sleep but all to no avail.   The best they provided me was 2 to 3 hours of sleep.

Is this stress?  I hope so.

I turned to read my Bible as I lay awake in the middle of the night, listened to gospel songs because they comfort me, and prayed that whatever I was going through, I hoped God will cure me.

Sleepless nights were then followed by hot and cold flashes and night sweats.   I felt afraid and, in panic, I just cried and cried.   My doctor finally told me that it was anxiety disorder combined with depression. “Anxiety is a kind of looking to the future, seeing dangerous things that might happen in the next hour, day or weeks. Depression is all that with the addition of ‘I really don’t think I’m going to be able to cope with this, maybe I’ll just give up.’ It’s shutdown marked by mental, cognitive or behavioral slowing,” said David Barlow, PhD, director of Boston University’s Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders.

It explained the sleepless nights. According to Katie Hurley, LCSW, “People struggling with depression are likely to have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.” My doctor then gave me some more medications and said that we should be able to identify the triggers to address the problem adequately.

 

Source: cowlitzfamilyhealth.org

 

Acceptance Is Never Easy

For someone who often looks down on mental health issues, this is nothing easy to take.  It was another blow, but I needed to accept and embrace my doctor’s suggestions for it’s the only path I know that would help me get on the road to recovery finally.

Julian Humphreys, PhD, PCC, wrote, “[T]he more open and accepting we are about what’s really going on with us, the more likely it is that we will find healthy defenses that contribute in sustainable ways to our own and others’ long-term growth and development.” I needed to be healed because I’m a mother, a daughter, and I had a small business to run.

Changes To Expect After Giving Birth

It is no question that carrying another human in your belly is already challenging as it is. Unfortunately, the journey does not end once you have given birth to your child. The postnatal period brings even more changes to your body as a mother between the time you have given birth up until your child is six weeks old. This period is known as a woman’s transition into motherhood.

Source: sheknows.com

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Weight And See (My Fear Of Obesity In Pregnancy)

During my pregnancy, I gained a lot of weight.  I knew that I needed to eat more for my baby’s health’s sake and for me, of course.  

At times when I could feel my baby kick, I would be so elated and excited that she’s growing up inside me healthy and strong.  I would sometimes caress my tummy with my hands in front of the mirror and talk to her. I could say that she’s happy inside, too, but as I looked at how I big I got, worry started to peep in, and I got anxious. Will I get back to how I was before?

“As any woman who has ever been pregnant knows, there is an intense focus on weight throughout pregnancy,” clinical psychologist Alexis Conason, Psy.D., wrote. “From the first visit with your OB when you step on the scale and are given a prescription for how much weight to gain, all the way through the postpartum period when your body is scrutinized for how fast you drop the baby weight, pregnancy can be a difficult time for even the most body confident woman.”

Source: Pixabay.com

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Fear Of Breastfeeding

 

“Few new parents have accurate expectations of how much their lives will change after the birth of their first child. The physical and mental exhaustion, and the constant attention newborns require, leave virtually no time for the individual pursuits or relationship activities that had characterized their lives previously,” wrote Guy Winch, PhD.

 

First time moms have many fears, and one of these is the fear of breastfeeding.

 

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“A mother’s milk currently reigns supreme in the ebb and flow of what is the scientifically-supported, publicly favored infant feeding practice in our country. “Breast is best” is the ubiquitous chant that joins the chorus of physiological benefits supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics,” wrote Lauren Montgomery, MA.

 

Hours after giving birth to my eldest child, I woke up with a feeling of heaviness in my chest.   I panicked and called the nurse immediately.  She came and told me that I had produced milk. It was time to breastfeed, and so she brought the baby to me.

 

I’ve read some stuff about breastfeeding, but reading was very much different from me actually doing it.  My anxiousness made me forget about those things, and I suddenly didn’t know exactly how to do it.  How will I hold my baby?  What if I fall asleep, I was still feeling exhausted at that time, and I was afraid that I might not notice his fall off the bed, or I might accidentally lie on him.   Crazy thoughts began to play tricks on me.

 

The nurse might have sensed my nervousness, and so she guided me and reminded me of what I was supposed to do.

 

Source: pinterest.com

 

Benefits Of Breastfeeding

To calm me down while I was breastfeeding, she told me some stuff about breastfeeding.

  1. Colostrum found in the early milk that mother feeds his child in the first few days of life is the source of antibodies which protects baby from diseases as his immune system develops in the first year of his life.
  2. Breastfeeding allows the uterus to get back to its size before pregnancy.
  3. It reduces bleeding after delivery.
  4. It can delay the monthly period (but not a guarantee that you are safe during intercourse, so if you’re on family planning, you must still use some form of birth control).
  5. It’s practical as it can save you a lot of money because of the high price of formula these days.

 

It worked!   I was able to do my first breastfeeding session without falling asleep because my nurse stayed by my side throughout the process, reminding me of stuff I should know about breastfeeding.   When the baby fell asleep, I felt some relief in my breast.   The nurse told me she would send someone after I got some rest.

 

Hours had passed, I got my nap, and another nurse (I thought) came in, a lactation consultant they called her.   She re-oriented me about breastfeeding so I will be more comfortable with it.  She told me that it’s natural for the first-time mother to feel anxious and panicky, but she said I would eventually get used to it.

 

 The Pain of Baby Latches

Latching may be one of the most excruciating pains of motherhood, but a good latch is crucial in a mother-baby relationship.   It helps lessen the mother’s risk of developing sore, bleeding, and irritated or abraded nipples.  A good latch allows the baby to suck effectively, feeding himself an adequate amount of milk.

 

Help Your Baby Latch On

It is essential to know your baby’s feeding cues.    Giving your breast at the early phase of hunger cues will make it more convenient to get the baby on the breast properly.  There are steps you can follow to get a good latch.

  1. Sit with the baby where both your tummies are touching.
  2. Hold your breast near your baby’s mouth.
  3. Touch your nipple on the lower lip of your baby.
  4. When your baby opens his mouth, pull him in so he’ll latch on your breast.

 

Hearing my baby cry still puts me into a panic even after a week of feeding him.  So once my baby latched on to my breast, I made sure that I hear him swallowing to be assured that he’s sucking the milk.  Seeing him relaxed after feeding makes me calm down, too.

 

Source: pixabay.com

 

The pain a first-time mom feels often puts her in a state of anxiety and panic, especially when it comes to baby feeding.   The lactation consultant who re-oriented me on breastfeeding helped me much, and as days passed, I got used to breastfeeding.   There may still be some pain at times, but the joy surpasses all the pain.

 

According to Robert Muller, PhD, “Every woman’s situation is unique. Lifestyle habits, medication use, and medical and psychological history can complicate the post-partum experience. With this context in mind, the healthcare team should provide a comfortable environment — free of judgement — when discussing post-partum issues, including how to provide an infant’s nourishment.”

 

Every mother should look at breastfeeding as a beautiful experience, a great bonding moment with her baby that she will treasure forever.

Caring For Yourself After Delivery

With all the exhaustion you encountered during labor and delivery, the journey of motherhood does not stop there. In fact, this is just the beginning. You will continue to experience sleepless nights and tiring days of nursing and taking care of your bundle of joy. Thus, conditioning your body is necessary, and this is possible through proper nutrition.

Source: pixabay.com

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Never Underestimate Your Power As A Mom

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I will never argue with you if you say that motherhood is entirely the toughest job in the world. No one will understand it more than you do. You know it is not just about carrying an unborn child in your womb, and it is not also about the instant birth you just did. It is something that you will have to deal with in your entire life. It is your life-long responsibility as a human being. Having said that, it is genuinely acceptable that you sometimes feel the world’s burden. However, never underestimate the power of you being an ultimate mom.

You Probably Have Done This

A lot of individuals might not get it, but your love for your family and kids is way beyond anything. The truth is, almost all mothers like you are more than willing to sacrifice their lives only to keep their loved ones safe. What is more convincing is your attitude of always prioritizing your family’s needs instead of thinking about yours.

Psychiatrist Mark Banschick, MD, wrote. “There’s so much about raising a child that is simply out of your control; and yet, there’s so much that you invest.” He added, “If you are healthy, the love pours out, regardless of their strengths and limitations,” emphasizing a mother’s unconditional love for her children. There is no room for exceptions when it comes to loving each of your children, and giving everything for them.

Source: pixabay.com

“A woman may hear how motherhood will change her life forever,” wrote Karen Kleiman MSW, LCSW. “Indeed. But what is often not said is that some of these changes will be profoundly disquieting, often launching her into a crisis, the likes of which she has never known.”

Being a mother, you are not always perfect. However, you have the attitude of trying to work things out no matter what the situation is in front of you. You often think about others feelings. You value your principles, and you want your kids to learn that. You show respect to people because you want to set as an example for your children. You are worthy of your word.

Another great thing about you is your ability to handle situations magically. You can turn a broken piece of glass into an art. You can do things all together. You can find valuable items that are missing for like years. You can create delicious food out of small portions of ingredients. Honestly, you can make something out of nothing. Sometimes, you have the power to control time, depending on your situation. You are no superwoman, but you do things according to what most superheroes on television can do.

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As a mom, your power comes from your unconditional love. You can change things according to their greatness and betterment. Yes, some of your decisions are sometimes inapplicable to situations, but you always make sure to create it with compassion. You bring happiness inside the home, and you fulfill everyone’s needs. You are essential in the family because you care for them as no one will ever will.

The best part of your power as a mom is your ability to shoulder the entire burden that is harassing your whole family. Anything for your children is a possibility. Nothing stops you from giving them their emotional and mental needs. You do not care if you lose yourself in the process as long as you protect and keep the family safe from any harm.

Like what Meredith Resnick, LCSW, said, “Motherhood changed my life on so many levels I still have the tendency to say it’s made me an entirely different person. But when I stop and think about it, a more accurate description is to say it made me move beyond the person I thought I was supposed to be to finally see and find and accept the real me.” Your power as a mom is endless. These things are only an inch of what you can do for your loved ones, so never underestimate it.

Things Mothers Are Not Allowed To Do

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There is this belief that mothers are the one person that has the right to their kids. A lot of these women tell people that it is their legal entitlement because they are the ones who bore and suffered for nine months until the delivery of their kids. But, is that enough reason to become over-insensitive towards the children’s emotional and mental development? Is that enough reason to validate mothers’ negativity and toxicity in children’s’ lives?

THESE SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN

Mothers Abandon Their Kids Without Explanations – Whatever the reason there may be, mothers should not abandon their children no matter what. Not only will the circumstance create damages to the emotional and mental health of children, but it will also affect their view of the people around them. Children will become less concern about others’ feelings since their mother neglect and abandon them.

According to James Sorce, PhD, and Robert Emde, MD, “In an ambiguous situation, a mother’s physical presence but emotional unavailability engenders displeasure and inhibits her child’s exploration, whereas her emotional availability has a significant effect on the infant’s affective, social, and exploratory behaviors.”

Source: pixabay.com

Mothers Strictly Decide For Kids’ Future – One of the things that most inconsiderate mothers do is deciding for their kids’ future. It is acceptable that parents have the right to say no when their kids’ behavior and actions are hurting their future. However, there is a restriction to that part. Mothers should not decide for their kids because success is never achievable when things associated with it get poorly executed. Meaning, when kids are not confident in doing what they do, they will never reach their goals no matter how much they try and pursue it.

Instead of weighing your child with expectations, child psychologist and mother, Francyne Zeltser, PsyD, said none of the decisions you make for your children are set in stone. She advised moms to pull back and observe, if you have been pushing them too hard, “You are your child’s best advocate and the ball is in your court. There is no “one size fits all” to education, so trial and error is your best bet.”

Mothers Control Their Kids’ Emotions – When children feel sad, they should be allowed to feel that way. Same goes when these children feel angry, agitated, and confused. It is very inconsiderate that mothers control their kids’ emotions only because they don’t want them to become open about their weakness. So instead of mommies trying to take care of their kids’ emotional well-being, most of them deprive the young ones of self-regulation. This circumstance will not only affect kids’ emotional part but also damages the psychological aspect too.

Not Allowing Their Kids To Become Who They Want To Be – Most mothers are authoritative. In most cases, they are more in control with their kids’ life decisions compared to some fathers. The particular issue creates an impression to children that their lives are not theirs. Most mothers do not care and often think that what they do is only for the benefit of their child.  They did not know that not only they take the children’s happiness away; they also become the cause of these kids’ unfortunate overall imbalance.

Source: pixabay.com

Mothers Love The Kids With Certain Amount Of ConditionsA mother’s love is unconditional. It does not take anything in return, especially from their children. However, when there are cases that mothers want their child to repay their sacrifices, then that is not an appropriate way of loving. It is the parents’ responsibility to take care of and love their children without anything in return.

Love may be reciprocal, but always consider there are more appropriate ways of showing love. Eileen Kennedy-Moore, PhD, said a parent’s example of love and gratitude trickles down to children, so when parenting gets too tough remember: “Do what you do for your kids with an open, generous heart or don’t do it. Don’t expect that you’ll be repaid with effusive gratitude or even good behavior.”  So if it is not like that, then perhaps it has nothing to do with love.

Even though people think they know so much about life, there are a lot of discoveries that need understanding. That includes knowing the things that mothers are not allowed to do.

What I Want My Kids To Learn From Me

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Being a mom is a life-long responsibility. It brings too much pressure as it brings so much joy. It is not every day that things go as planned. However, whatever the circumstances are, mothers only want nothing but peace and happiness for their kids. Admittedly, not all mothers’ actions and decisions are well-accepted by the public and by their family. But for me, I want my kids to learn things based on their understanding from what I am trying to impose in their lives.

It Is Okay Not To Be Perfect

As a mom, it takes a lot of pressure when your kids look at you as an example. These young ones assume that since you are the “mom,” you know almost everything. Yes, parts of it can be correct. But not always, though. There is no room for perfection in life, so being imperfect is genuinely okay.

Jill Leibowitz, PsyD, wrote, “Even if we aim to be perfect parents, inevitably, we will fail. Minor failures are not just unavoidable, they are a necessary and intricate part of our children’s development that propel them towards a sense of agency.”

Sometimes, a lot of people, young ones and adults, aim for the better versions of themselves. That is entirely acceptable. As long as people realize that the acceptance of one’s flaws is part of the process of becoming a genuine individual.

Hence, Lisa Brown, PsyD, said, “If children regularly respond to disappointments with negative self-talk that is out of proportion to the particular disappointments, this can lead to avoiding certain experiences as well as a lack of motivation to persevere in the face of difficulties.” Kids should love themselves and be proud of who they are, no matter whatever imperfections are there.

Source: pixabay.com

No One Deserves Mistreatment

There is a slight difference when you teach your kids to fight back or just let go of things. What most parents would want their children to do is become humble and always considers the best of things. But that is not often the case. There are instances that children need to fight back and defend themselves. Not everyone is gifted and given the ability to handle stressful situations. For some mothers like, we want our kids to learn the importance of taking care of themselves in a better way. No one wants to get mistreated, and no one deserves that as well. But if the case is bullying, I would encourage my children to speak up and stand for themselves no matter what.

“If the child learns not to speak up but to “take what you’re given,” then we are instilling a loss of voice that can give rise to responses ranging from simple objections to major ones,” wrote licensed clinical psychologist Francine Martinez, PhD. She added, “If children show fear in speaking up for themselves, they might allow resentment to build in future relationships.”

Love Doesn’t Always Have To Hurt

Understanding that children will soon grow up and enter a relationship is one of the scariest things mothers can experience. Not only because they will engage in different types of personalities, but children will also undergo self-adjustments as well. But one thing these young adults must take into consideration is the idea of love. I would never want my kids to look at love as damaging, exhausting, and an unfulfilling thing. As much as possible, these kids should realize that love doesn’t hurt at all. All it brings are respect, support, understanding, encouragement, and motivation. So if it is not something like these at all, then no one is sure what it is.

Source: pixabay.com

Not all mothers understand their responsibilities. Some are only taking for granted the role they have and just because they are parents, most of them think they are right. Perhaps, most of them are right. But motherhood is not always about being correct. Sometimes, these parents’ mistakes are just as valuable.

My Greatest Fear Of Becoming A Mom

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I know for sure that motherhood is one of the most beautiful experienced any woman can have. It brings so much joy and purpose in life. There are discoveries about yourself, such as your ability, the willingness to grow, and the sacrifices you can do for your kids. However, feelings are not always like that.

Along with different expectations, there are mommies like me that I know who think about the opposite. There are too much anxiety and stress that come along because everything about motherhood is full of uncertainty. As for me, I also have my greatest fear of becoming mom.

Not Being Able To Provide The Right Love And Care

Being a mother is immeasurable. There are lots of expectations that somehow makes one lose control over things. It is not like hating life as it is. But there is more to the responsibilities that come with motherhood’s purpose. Sometimes, one of the greatest fears of becoming a mother is not about providing children their physical needs. These include shelter, food, and clothes. What bothers most mommies is their anxiety over what is the right process of loving and caring. Yes, there is no such thing as measured love and care. But, who can tell? The idea of not being able to give your kids the right amount of love and affection are something that makes most mothers feel bad about themselves.

For mom and psychologist, FrancyneZelster, Ps.D., providing love and care is evident in the quality time you share with them. “What’s more important than the quantity of time you spend with your kids is the quality of the time you do have together. When I am with my children, whether for an hour or a full day, I am responsive to their cues and needs; I provide undivided attention whenever possible to set them up for success.”

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Not Being Able To Create An Impact

Along with the responsibility of disciplining and teaching values to kids, mothers’ role should have to make an impact. But what if there is none? It is inevitable for the fact that mothers are aware of handling their kids up to their knowledge and understanding. But what if the type of parenting is not as compelling as most moms think and believe? Will they be able to know if their kids are getting the right understanding of life from the way of their mothers’ teaching only? Of course, not. Therefore, if most mothers cannot create an impact on their kids’ life, then no one can say that her role gets well executed.

Moms have a grave impact on their child’s well-being. This point is a matter of making positive or negative impact on your kids.William Berry, LMHC shares, “If you are a parent, have you honestly looked at what you have done wrong while parenting, and discussed it with your adult child? This is known cognitively, but do parents actually take responsibility for it?” Based on this point, the only way to know is to have that tough conversation with our kids.

Not Being Able To Set As A Good Example

With all the issues and family relationship complications that a lot of people experience every day, every mother’s decision is crucial. So what if a particular decision is not meant to solve problems? What if instead of fixing things up, it ruins everything that the whole family has? You see, every mother fear has something to do with their ability to set as an excellent example for their kids. But of course, not everything falls with their plans. There are times that the slightest motherhood mistake creates total damage to everything. Sometimes, there are unfortunate cases that there is nothing to salvage anymore. Mothers want their kids to look up to them. But not all are responsible enough to set themselves as an example.

In parenting, it is all about setting a good example for your children because they are watching you, says Laurence Steinberg, Ph.D. “Don’t just react on the spur of the moment. Ask yourself, ‘What do I want to accomplish, and is this likely to produce that result?” Children often end up absorbing their parents demeanor and behaviors.

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If the teachings and values of motherhood appear mishandled, then people can expect failure in parenting. And that my friend is scary.