Today is my first Mommyversary. Yay! A year ago, I became a mom. And my life is never the same. My pregnancy had been mostly uneventful. I actually enjoyed it. I remember impatiently waiting for the baby to come during my last trimester. I remember begging my OB to schedule my CS on week 37, during my week 35+6 check up, only to give birth the day after, at exactly 36 weeks. That’s when the real work began.

Remember that I was already 40 when I gave birth. People say that it’s good o be a mom at that age, because I would have enough life experience to give me wisdom and insights on parenting. Maybe. But from my personal experience, I think first time moms are all on the same page, no matter what the age. We are all clueless, and nothing we did can ever fully prepare us for parenthood.

Reality Bites
I remember shedding tears of joy when I heard Amaris’ first cry. My baby is alive and healthy. Then came Alisa. She’s about the same size as Amaris, also alive and healthy. I remember breastfeeding them shortly after. It felt very natural. I felt prepared for the task, after reading books, and consulting experts. I even had a lactation expert come visit me on day 2 to help check the babies’ latch and to teach me how to tandem feed. I got this, I thought to myself. I’m doing everything by the book. This shouldn’t be hard. Then reality hit us. We need to wake up every two hours to feed. Round the clock. No excuses. The nurses woke us up. I just wanted to sleep. I still have a catheter on, and hooked up to an IV drip. Please let me sleep. But no, the babies need to nurse. And that’s just the first 24 hours.

We went home at Day 4, thankful that the babies seem to be doing well. Same routine. Nurse every two hours. When the babies fall asleep, Ariel will take them to the nursery. We had a baby monitor in our room. Every little whimper will send us running to the nursery, only to find them sleeping soundly. I was tired, sleep deprived and always hungry.

When I ask when we can have a good night’s sleep, the answer I got from fellow moms sent shivers to my spine. NEVER. KISS EIGHT HOURS OF SLEEP GOODBYE.

I had a meltdown just a few days after giving birth. Both babies were crying and nothing we did worked. Exhausted, Ariel laid the baby down. He said he will eat breakfast. After all, the baby is crying whether she is being carried or on the bed. I held on to my baby. He left. The tears started coming. By the time he got back, I was full on sobbing. I don’t know why. He asked why. I said, because “kawawa naman sila, baka may masakit, hindi natin alam.” I was terrified. OMG, am I having post-partum depression? Ariel hugged me. I think he was stunned to see me like that. I’ve never broken down like that in our 15 years of marriage. Thankfully, that was the only meltdown I had. So far.

On Breastfeeding
Deciding to breastfeed exclusively is probably the easiest decision I had to make, and the one thing I know in my heart that I did right. But it is also one of the most difficult thing I have had to do in my life, so far. For one, my nipples hurt during the first week. It was so painful that I had to walk around half naked because the slightest touch, even a soft cotton shirt brushing against my nipples, was so painful. I will talk about my breastfeeding journey in a separate post, but I am happy and proud that we managed to keep the girls exclusively breastfed for a year, and I will continue to breastfeed for as long as there is a drop of milk in my breasts.

Losing and Gaining Weight
I lost a lot of weight during the first two months. Wow! I looked good! I was at my best weight in 5 years or so. Breastfeeding does help you lose weight! Then I got careless. Ariel fed me M&M’s while nursing at night. LOL! I ate fruit salad after meals which mostly consist of soupy dishes with malunggay (tinolang manok, tinolang halaan, etc.). I ate often, and I ate whatever food is around. I stopped making effort to eat healthy like I did when I was pregnant. I ate all the food that I couldn’t eat when I was pregnant – cheese, sweets, steak (medium), etc. There were moments when I tried to limit my food intake, but I get super hungry, specially after breastfeeding. The weight came back, plus some. Boo! I attempted to watch my diet to lose weight, but I had been unsuccessful. I just feel hungry all the time! Help!

When I read about moms saying they don’t even have time to shower, I thought they were exaggerating. Boy, I was in for a surprise! They weren’t kidding! Sometimes I end up looking at myself in the mirror at 8pm, thinking, how did I end up looking like this – wearing the same clothes I wore the day before, and not yet showered. Where did time go?! Sometimes, I’d just barely taken off my clothes and stepped into the shower when I’d hear hubby asking “Matagal ka pa?” Are you kidding? And sometimes, I’d yell in annoyance, “This is the only time I have for myself. Wag mo ako madaliin!!! I just need 10 minutes!” My routine when I get home from work:

Have dinner
Wash diapers and baby clothes (every other day)
Take a shower
Go to bed and nurse the babies

Repeat 5x a week

On weekends, yayas take a break from taking care of the babies and we take over. Our routine would be like this.

Wake up
Feed babies solids
Play with babies
Give babies a bath
Nurse babies and put them to sleep – most of the time, they sleep while latched, so I am also in bed.

Repeat 5x a day

Given this, I have practically given up on my hobbies. Ariel’s Christmas gift is still boxed. My annual Christmas project (December Daily) is still boxed. My Bible Journaling tools are still in a box (I packed them when we moved to Cavite). I also have not baked at all, and I spend very little time in the kitchen.

I know things will get better. I will have time for all of these soon. Right? Right? Please say yes! I look forward to crafting, cooking and baking with my girls!

Aunt Flo
So grateful that she has not made an appearance yet. In fact, I don’t miss her at all. I won’t mind not seeing her ever again.

Update: As of May 24, 2016, Aunt Flo is back! Huhu! And she took dysmenorrhea back with her. I was hoping my monthly period bliss will last longer. I guess I am more fortunate than some so I should be grateful.

Shopping for Me
I want to design nursing clothes. Specifically, a line for women in the corporate world. I am so sick and tired of the lame options available out there. Ok, there are some good ones, but most of the time, the fabric is made of stretchy, t-sthirt-like material that exposes bulges I want to hide. LOL! Seriously, where can I get nursing clothes with double breast access (for dual pumping), that are polished enough to wear in a corporate meeting? Shopping is so frustrating. I’d see a lot of beautiful clothes but I can’t buy them because they don’t have breastfeeding access. To be honest, this is the one thing I look forward to once I am done breastfeeding. Shopping for regular clothes!

Shopping for the Babies
Oh yes, this one I enjoy a lot! I didn’t think I’d be the type of mom who would buy lots of baby clothes and accessories. Well, turns out I am THAT kind of mom. I love seeing my twins in cute matching outfits! Passing by a baby store gives me palpitation.

Watching the Baby Sleep, Obsession with their Feet, and other Weird Habits
Oh yes, I have become THAT MOM who loves to watch her babies sleep. There is something about watching your baby sleep that just wipes away exhaustion and stress. More so if the babies are asleep on my arms. I love looking at the details of their faces – their long lashes, their soft cheeks, their button noses, their cute pouty lips. Oh, and their feet? So small, and so cute! The toes! They kill me. And why is it that I couldn’t stop kissing them? I realized I have been obsessively kissing them every few seconds every time I am carrying them.

Perfect in their Mom’s Eyes
I have come to prove that it’s true. Babies look perfect in their mom’s eyes. Looking at my girls’ photos when they were four months and younger, I was horrified to realize that they were really underweight. They were tiny and frail, and so…THIN! I knew we have weight issues, but I never realized they actually looked, err…malnourished! I’ve always seen them as perfect. So cute and cuddly. Specially when they smile. Now, I am just glad that they have chubby cheeks and double chin. I still think they look perfect.

On Being a Working Mom
I salute all moms who decide to go back to work after giving birth. It is not an easy decision to make. Likewise, I salute all moms who decide to be a stay at home mom. It is not an easy decision to make either. I know each family is different, and there is no one size fits all when it comes to deciding whether to work or stay at home. So no judgement. Personally, I am still conflicted about this. Rationally, I know without a doubt that going back to work is best for our family. My husband is fully on board with this decision. However, there are moments when I yearn to be at home to witness all of my babies’ milestones. To make sure that they are well fed. To make sure that they are given ample time to play and learn, to sleep, to eat. The feeling comes and goes, though overall, I am at peace with our decision. Of course, I have no qualms about dropping everything when my babies need me, like when they are sick.

Motherhood. It really is the toughest job in the world! But I’m loving it!



Written by Alby Laran

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