What piece of advice would you give moms with kids ages 0-3?
Keep baskets of books in every room of the house! Reading truly promotes exploration, nurtures language, empathy and emotion. I’ve promoted this for years in my career, and now I get to personally experience how fascinating the connection is between my own son, myself and books. And of course, keep babies and toddlers off screens for as long as possible … even if it seems educational. Wait until the brain has passed through pivotal stages of development before introducing programs that do not promote curiosity and authentic imagination. I know it’s hard, but the long term benefit outweighs the convenience.
What was the hardest part of your pregnancy? The easiest?
At 18 weeks, I started developing extremely itchy skin, mostly on my arms, legs and chest. I called my doctor and they had me come in for blood work the next day. My bile acid levels were at the beginning stage of Cholestasis of pregnancy. It is a condition only diagnosed during pregnancy that slows or stops the normal flow of bile in the gallbladder which causes severe itching. Not that many people have heard of it, so I felt alone and confused.
The treatment required medication (which I’ve never been on medication in my life) to lower the level of bile in the blood and to be induced at 37 weeks to decrease risks of a stillbirth. Obviously, I had no choice but to follow treatment. Being a classic type A, the fear of not understanding, having to trust the doctor… it was my first taste of not being completely in control, which is basically motherhood in a nutshell.
Other than that, my pregnancy was fairly easy. I was going all the time and at times had to remind myself that I was pregnant.
What was the hardest part about the 0-3 stage of motherhood?
What’s not the hardest thing!? The hardest part for me is still wanting to be able to give 100% to everything I used to do and also 100% to being a mom. My work schedule has been tricky (running two businesses) and off balance, but I honestly wouldn’t consider changing it. I feel lucky to have a village between me, my husband, grandparents and an amazing babysitter.
What’s not hard is soaking in every moment with Jackson. His sweet little face, determined personality, his cuddles and even his grumpy times of the day all make me so happy.
What did you crave the most while being pregnant?
Lemons! Jackson has been eating lemons as if they were oranges since he was 6 months old.
What piece of advice did you hear all the time that turned out not to be true?
I was told by multiple people that the hardest part would be coming home from the hospital and figuring out how to take care of a baby. My husband and I both had so much more anxiety in the hospital – making certain medical decisions for our son. Because he was early, his blood sugar was low but still right on the line before needing to go to the NICU. We felt so much more comfortable when we were in the NICU; plus we learned so much about caring for a baby from the NICU nurses. The act of coming home meant he was healthy. Everything was easier after that moment.
Any advice for those that want to know how to best support moms?
We all catch people on bad days, but that isn’t a permanent state of being. Moms are juggling a lot of plates in the air at all times. And every day is different. You have your rock star days where you can’t believe how awesome you are … then the next day is THE WORST. Babysitter cancels on the day you have a really important meeting scheduled, and you now have an hour to get “creative” and figure it all out. If everyone kept this is mind we would all be a little less judgemental and forgiving.
What local places are your faves to take care of yourself, spend family time or just enjoy time with the hubby?