Real Mom Sh!t – Part 5

She’s been a working mom and a stay-at-home mom. She’s had births with and without an epidural. She’s had trouble getting pregnant and a couple “surprises” along the way. She’s a mom to three little ones and seems to keep it all pretty real and down to earth while dealing with the usual trials and tribulations of motherhood.   

If you’re not already following her, check out her instagram here and if you’re on Pinterest, TikTok or Like To Know It, you can follow her with the same handle: @momlifepnw

How many kids do you have and what ages?

I have 3 littles: A 5-year-old boy, 3-year-old girl, and 10-month-old boy.

Did you have any difficulty getting pregnant with any of your children? 

While my 2nd and 3rd we’re a big surprise, my first took 14 months to conceive. I tried 2 rounds of hormonal medication before foregoing that route and taking a more naturalistic approach. I saw an acupuncturist routinely, took Chinese herbs, and started going to a naturopath. It was a long process but I needed to get my body in a healthy place before it allowed me to ovulate.

It sounds like you’ve had one birth without any drugs and the other two with an epidural. Can you talk about the difference between these and what you would do if you were to do it again?

My goal with all of my births was to attempt to go as long as possible without medicating. I didn’t have a birth plan, I just wanted to take my body as far as I could take it before choosing the epidural. Turns out, my contractions feel the same at a dilation of 2cm and 10cm so managing the pain was a huge challenge for me. With all 3 kids, I was ready for the epidural as soon as I was admitted to the hospital. With my 2nd and 3rd babies, the epidural took and while I could still feel my entire right side, it took the edge off enough for me to take in everything around me. The sounds, the sights, I was able to soak it all up and it was amazing. With my first, I had the epidural inserted by a resident. It didn’t take and we had to take it out and try again. It worked the second time and it worked with so much intensity that I couldn’t feel ice on my chest. At this time, the nurses decided to turn it off because I needed to be able to at least feel the pressure to push. The plan was to turn it back on and keep it at a much lower level once it was go time, but we weren’t ever able to turn it back on, ended up pushing for 4 hours and at many points thought I wasn’t going to make it through. I remember screaming “I can’t do this!!” and my amazing nurse grabbed my face and said “you have too!” So, I did. Once he came out and laid on my chest, the pain immediately disappeared. All 3 experiences were amazing in their own way but I would definitely get the epidural if I had the chance to have another baby!

You’ve been both a working mom and a stay-at-home mom. What were the pros and cons of each and which did you prefer?

I feel super lucky to stay home because I know that’s not always an option. I also feel super lucky to have had a career that i absolutely loved. After my first, I went back par-time and was able to work my schedule around my sons’ naps. I thought doing this was perfect because he’d never know I was gone! The problem was, I felt like I never had any down time and I also didn’t have the type of job that you can leave at the office so I felt like I was constantly in work mode. I loved getting out, being productive, having intelligent conversations with my colleagues, and positively impacting the lives of my clients, but I also felt really burned out.

After my second, I struggled with postpartum anxiety and was no longer able to emotionally serve my clients and my family to the best of my ability, so I chose my family. I love staying home and being with my kids as much as possible but I do miss the adult conversations and feeling like I am being a productive member of society. It works for now but I may choose to go back once my babes are in school.

Did you breastfeed all 3 children? If so, for how long?

I have breastfed all 3 of my kids. My first was 15 months when we stopped, my second was 23 months, and my third is currently still breastfeeding. Motherhood has so many challenges but I’ve been really lucky to have a positive breastfeeding journey. There was a learning curve with my oldest that lasted maybe the first month with little hiccups as he entered different stages of development but I’m definitely one of those moms that really loves nursing.

Do you have any advice or comments for those with two young kids that are debating on having a third?

I really think it depends on your family dynamic and your kids’ temperament. We had a very difficult time transitioning from 1 babe to 2 babes. My second was a very fussy baby and just overall, not super happy for her first year of life. It was A LOT and honestly, I never thought we’d have a third. Once we did have our littlest babe, it hasn’t really been too much of an adjustment because we had experienced so much difficulty with going from 1 to 2. As far as temperament, my kids are insanely full of energy but also really easy going at the same time. My oldest has been amazing each time we’ve showed up with a new baby and my middle transitioned amazingly into her new role as well. We’ve never had issues with jealousy or regressing behavior so that has also really helped ease the addition of a third.

During the current madness in the world with Covid-19, what are some of your “go-to” activities or things that get you through the long days with your 3 children? —

Getting outside is what really gets us through. We are fortunate to have a big backyard and to live in a small town with very wide roads that are great for walking and giving tons of social space if we happen to cross paths with anyone. Rainy days are hard when you’re stuck inside, but on those days, I let the kids take the reins. Want to make a fort? Great! Build some towers to knock down with a ball? I’m on it! Play doh, coloring, painting, and of course we throw in some screen time.

When you have those bad days at home with the kids, what do you do to energize and turn those hard days around?

I always try (key word “try” – I’m definitely still working on this) to remind myself that their big emotions aren’t random. There’s a reason behind them and it’s my job as their mom to teach them how to work through whatever is causing the situation. I’ve had 32 years to learn the ways of the world, I can’t expect a 3-year-old to act just like me. The days have been extra emotional lately with all the sudden changes and I want to make sure I’m their safe space.