Ayla has been a wonderful support to Mamazou since the beginning and we were so lucky to catch up with her to learn more about her motherhood story…
How did your parenting journey start?
My first contractions began the day after New Year’s Day 2014. Like many first-time moms, I assumed labour would be relatively quick, and even envisioned having my baby on the side of the road during our 2 hour ride to the hospital. However, as we know, babies have their own agenda, and our precious baby girl finally joined us 46 hours later. We had planned an unmedicated water birth with a midwife, but ended up with morphine, an OBGYN I had never met, episiotomy, and vacuum assisted birth after 1.5 hours of pushing. It definitely wasn’t what we had planned, but we had our baby and tha twas all that mattered. Our daughter, Paisley, was tongue tied, unable to latch, and jaundiced, so we ended up with a 5 day hospital stay. Needless to say, we were all very excited (and a wee bit terrified) to go home! The first few months were rough, especially because Paisley struggled with weight gain. We began supplementing with formula at 3 weeks and she quickly began to thrive.
What were your expectations?
I knew parenting would be a whole new ball game, but I always kind of assumed that as long as I did everything by the book, it wouldn’t be THAT difficult.
How do you feel about those expectations now?
Oh boy. I was so naïve. After three kids, I can definitely say that there are new surprises and challenges every day. Who knew kids would have their own free will? 😉 But, there are also the amazing heart-melting moments that make me go, “Oh my goodness. These kids are perfect.”
What has been the easiest part (or parts)?
Loving. There really are no words to describe the overwhelming love I have for each of my babies.
Where have you struggled the most?
Postpartum anxiety. This isn’t something that many of us talk about, and I didn’t realize it was a thing before I had my second baby. It got even worse during my third pregnancy, and while my third was a newborn. I couldn’t sleep. I had to check on my kids constantly. I had no appetite, even while breastfeeding. I constantly made up scenarios in my head and felt like something terrible was about to happen every day. My youngest is nine months old now and I’m finally feeling more like myself. I still definitely have rough days, but I have more good days than bad.
Have you always felt supported?
Yes. I’m blessed to have such a fantastic support team.
What helps you get through the tough days?
Exercise. A half hour run on my own gives me energy for the rest of the day. My husband is also a huge help, and my mother in law often takes my kids for an hour or two so I can relax or clean my house. I’ve also found that essential oils and avoiding processed food make a huge difference for me.
What makes you smile?
My kids. Seeing the world through my children’s eyes. Hearing them laugh as they play. Watching my son light up when he sees his sisters or daddy.
Anything else you would like to add?
Parenting is nothing like what I expected. My hypothetical children were perfect. But you know what? I wouldn’t trade a single day, a single moment, with these beautiful little humans God gave us for. And at the end of the day, my babies are pretty perfect. They’re everything I’ve ever wanted. Everything I didn’t know I needed. They give me joy and a reason to keep going even on the days where I want to run away and join the circus.