Life of the pregnant working mother

The life of the pregnant working mother can be a challenge.

At the halfway mark

At the halfway mark of pregnancy myself, I have empathy for other working mothers in the same boat, especially those who already have small children.

Tiredness and disrupted sleep

And my sympathy to those who also suffer from severe sickness.  At least my main pregnancy symptom this time seems to be tiredness, which is probably being exacerbated by having a busy two year old to take care of and having to get up frequently at night to urinate.

My Interstitial Cystitis is not exactly helping the situation. And my craving for fruit juice and spicy food is probably not helping my Interstitial Cystitis.

Then there is also the pregnancy insomnia, which I also experienced when I was pregnant with Ewan.

My brain starts working overtime and simply won’t shut off.  Where I used to fall asleep quickly before, I can now lie awake for hours, staring at the ceiling.

Recent bouts of illness

Then there are the recent bouts of illness courtesy of the small germinator who shares his love with me.  😛

Three bouts of the stomach flu in short succession is starting to feel like a bit much.

Unfortunately these are the results of a weakened immune system during pregnancy.

Boosting your immune system

Rest would be beneficial, but there’s not that much to be had if you have to work full time.  The best option then is to try and boost your immune system.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#EffYourBeautyStandards

So my recent introduction to Social Media studies, got me interested in the campaign #EffYourBeautyStandards which enjoys quite a following on several social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Tess Holliday

The campaign was launched by plus size model, Tess Holliday (Munster). Her endeavours have highlighted body shaming behaviour and fat phobia. Even though the message of her campaign is overwhelmingly positive, she has been attacked for promoting obesity and an unhealthy lifestyle. Among other things, she has been called “unhealthy” and a “disgusting fat pig”. Ms Holliday has stated that it is not her aim to promote obesity, but simply that any body shape is deserving of love and respect.

The blog post by The militant baker, gets to the heart of the matter via the following statement:

“So THEN after all of this, when a fat chick- who hasn’t done the work, who hasn’t tried to fix her body, who doesn’t have any interest in the gospel we so zealously believe in, stands up and says: I’M HAPPY! …we freak the fuck out. Because: that bitch just broke the rules. She just cut in front of us in line. She just unwittingly ripped us off. And she essentially made our lifetime of work totally meaningless. It’s kind of like investing everything you own in some sort of stock and instead of it’s worth increasing, you’re notified that it’s value is now the same as Monopoly money. All of a sudden, your investments (aka “Body Currency”) have the devastating value of: zero?”

There seems to be a pervasive attitude that fat people should be desperately unhappy and need to suffer in their pursuit to lose weight. Tess breaks all the societal rules by being fat, happy and successful. She has nullified the efforts of those who has starved and suffered in the gym to lose weight. And probably the worst thing of all for the trolls who avidly comment on her social media pages, is that she is actually using her fat body, which is supposed to be the source of her shame, to take a stand and to make lots of money in the process.

Threat to the crash diet industry

And Tess is a threat to the crash diet industry, as they stand to lose billions if women stop buying their products in a desperate attempt to lose weight.

Concern trolls

The #EffYourBeautyStandards campaign, has also made me aware of an interesting social media phenomenom, namely concern trolls.

These are the wonderful people who are always a little worried about others and usually base their concerns on a single photo. In reality, they are afraid to criticise you outright and tell you they don’t like you. They’d rather tell you they’re worried about your health, or that you’re setting a bad example to children.

Gender bias

Gender discrimination also comes into play, as many people are still not comfortable with a woman who doesn’t conform to what is expected of women.

Tess has a child and is engaged, whereas overweight women are conventionally viewed as not worthy of love and relationships until they lose weight. Obese women are seen as less worthy and must be ashamed of their bodies, while Hollywood tells overweight men that they are still entitled to slim and attractive women.

Interesting debate

As a person who is overweight herself, I find the #EffYourBeautyStandards campaign and Tess Holliday debate, very uplifting and at the same time, disturbing.

I do also understand the supposed concerns of the concern trolls. Excess weight can lead to health issues, especially later in life. But I think many of them are failing to understand the aim of Holliday’s campaign.

Body shaming

I don’t think shaming people will encourage them to lose weight. In fact, it might only lead to more weight gain.

There are many reasons why people gain weight, and it is not up to us to judge them. Personally, I started to gain weight, when I did not have so much time for exercise anymore. Exercise and chocolate are my coping mechanisms for dealing with stress, so less exercise equals more chocolate.

Other people have severe health and emotional issues which have caused their weight gain. Life is fast-paced and very stressed these days, and not all of us are that good at keeping up without depending on bad habits to help us deal with the rush.

Some of us might be a little lazy and not like lettuce that much.  😛  But that’s our call to make.

Love yourself 

I agree with Ms Holliday’s approach of encouraging people of all shapes and sizes to love their bodies and take care of themselves.

In my mind, insulting people and calling them “disgusting” will only lead to stress eating and more weight gain. If you love yourself and appreciate your body, you might actually lose some weight with very little effort at all.

The second Taylor boy

It has recently become public knowledge that there will be a second Taylor boy. 🙂

Excitement and fear

It’s been an exciting time for us, but still you have the fear that something will go wrong, especially after our Down Syndrome experience at the beginning of the year.

At least all the tests have come back negative for Down Syndrome.

So we’ve taken our time in informing people about the imminent new arrival.

Preparing the brother

There’s also the task of informing Ewan that he will have a little brother by the end of this year. 😛

So far he hasn’t noticed that much, but soon I will have to start reinforcing the idea. And reading up about raising two boys. 😛

For now, Ewan can enjoy the sole attention of his parents for a couple of more months.

Preparations

There won’t be much preparation, compared to the first time around.

We have:

  • baby furniture
  • boy toys
  • boy clothes
  • breast pump
  • bottle steriliser
  • lots of random baby stuff.

But I’m sure more cute little baby things will be bought closer to the time. 😛

The newborn

Although we are old hands by now, it will be interesting to have a toddler and a newborn.

We are so used to a little person who is able to have increasingly intelligent and complicated conversations, that a helpless newborn will take some getting used to again. 😛

Even though I anticipate loads of work and little sleep, I’m looking forward to seeing how the two little guys are going to interact.

A letter to my son

Dear Ewan,

There’s a lot of things I want for you, but the main one is this – never get “stuck”.

Be free and happy

I know this is one of your favourite words at the moment, but please never get stuck in life.

Especially don’t get stuck in a job. It’s simply not worth it. And before you know it, half your life will be over and you haven’t used most of your talents or spent nearly as much time with your family as you wanted.

Be strong and creative

By this I’m not saying that you must never get a job or live off other people’s hard work.

I’m simply saying:

  • Make sure that you never have to sit bored out of your mind in an office somewhere, simply for the sake of having a job to pay the bills.
  • It’s true that you need work experience, especially when you first finish studying. But keep on studying and learning whatever you can from who you can, especially successful business people.
  • Develop an entrepreneurial spirit and think long term.
  • I want you to feel empowered and motivated. You should believe enough in yourself to take your destiny into your own hands.
  • I want you to think anything is possible and that you will be able to accomplish it.
  • Know that you may sometimes fail, but that your parents’ door will always be open.
  • Never be afraid. It is fear of the unknown that often kills entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Remember that each day brings new possibilities. I don’t want you to ever be in a position where you sit in a boring job, just waiting for the days to pass. This will be like a slow death for your strong and independent spirit.

Become “unstuck”

If you ever do get stuck, please make sure that you don’t stay like this for too long. Work to get yourself out of this situation, while you still have some motivation and zest for life. Don’t become a mindless drone.

I’m sure you will do very well and get everything you want in life. Already, at the age of two, you have the demeanour of a hard-headed and determined entrepreneur.

You’re a cheeky one and you will be a leader some day. I’m looking forward to see you grab life by the horns.

My lovable little man

And so, I’ve been away from my blog for a while.

Emotionally and physically, it has been a tough and somewhat draining year. I haven’t really felt inspired to write over the last few weeks.

Interesting “new” behaviour

But recently, the little man has started displaying “new” behaviour, which I feel has to be documented.  😛

Signs of empathy

Upon being abused by the little bugger, I simulated some very fake and rather horrible crying. Where before he would have found this hilarious, now he didn’t know what to do and seemed rather uncomfortable.

He gave me a worried look, and asked me “what’s wong?” Then he looked away shyly and gave me a quick hug.

The next time I did this, he asked me “why mamma sad?” and I got another shy hug.

Game

However, this quickly became a game when he discovered what mamma was doing.  😛

The game goes something like this – you get whacked by a small hand and if you fake crying, you get some hugs.

Kissing

I’ve also taught the little bug to give kisses. He comes to you tight-lipped and then gives you a smack on the mouth.

He’s not adverse to kissing, but you can forget about getting more than your daily allocation. 😛

A proper little person

So while he was still a baby a few short months ago, he is now becoming a proper little person who cares about others’ feelings and sometimes not.

I’m looking forward to see how he will develop in future months. 🙂

 

The joys of toddler development

When I look back, the little man has developed so much over the past two years. From a cuddly little doll wrapped up in a blanket, he has developed into a walking, talking (almost) fully functional human being. 😛

Development over the last few months:

  • It took him a while to achieve mobility. He wasn’t keen on tummy time and only started crawling properly at around 10 months. At around 9 months, he started dragging himself around sideways, almost like a crab. At 16 months, he finally gave his first, shaky steps. It was touch and go for a while and a few crash landings took place. I think he finally mastered the art of walking at around 19 months. Now he runs like a loonatic, especially away from you, when you want to brush his teeth or dress him. Or he sprints outside, especially when he hears a helicopter, usually shouting “Copter!” at the top of his voice.
  • He also drives his little plastic bike like a maniac. A natural born biker like his dad, he has superb control and is very agile. He tries to do wheelies, which at the moment ends with him falling off on his bum. This development is a bit worrying for future, teenaged years. 😛
  • From baby babbling he has now advanced to words and even full sentences. You have to be careful what you say around the little guy, because he repeats everything. EVERYTHING.
  • He finally drinks water and juice, ever since he started crèche. Before then he refused and mostly subsisted on milk. It was a battle to get water into him.
  • Tantrums. My sweet little baby has been taken over by the terrible two’s monster. Mother usually just ignores the outbursts.
  • These days the little man also dabbles in the creative arts, like drawing, painting and playing with dough. Drawing and painting should preferably occur under supervision. Otherwise you will find the bath and toilet decorated with scribbles. His scribbles inside my new bookcase, are apparently “ducks”.  😛 Safest is just to give him chalk and let him draw on his blackboard, but unfortunately he has a tendency to eat it.

Now if he can only get over the creche syndrome, so that we can enjoy more of the fun stuff. :p

A letter to Ewan on his 2nd birthday

Dear Ewan,

Your 2nd birthday was this weekend.

Two years of hugs and laughter, but also tantrums. Lots of fun, but also hard work.

Many hours of lost sleep, especially when you are ill and you only want to sleep in mother’s arm or curl up tightly against her back. Precious moments, even when I’m dead tired the next day.

I wish I had more time for close contact with you. I was fortunate that you were wholly mine for six months before I had to return to work. Now you are my evening, weekend and holiday child.

How you have changed:

  1. You have become a little person over the last two years. You walk and talk and have a strong will of your own. 😛 You want to do things your way and at your pace. You quickly tell us to “go away!” or “stoppit!” if we don’t do what you want.
  2. You’ve developed an impressive vocabulary. It’s actually become easy to have a conversation of sorts with you. We don’t have to interpret grunts and cries anymore.
  3. You’ve also started to realise possession and that you can tell other people, “It’s mine!” But you are very good at sharing, especially for a child who doesn’t have any siblings yet. You like to share your food with mommy and daddy.
  4. The quiet, meek little baby has become a strong and noisy little boy. It’s become more and more difficult to pick you up and control you, especially when you are throwing a tantrum. 😛
  5. Two years ago the house still belonged to the adults. When you became mobile, we started the process of baby proofing. These days we have to try and put things high out of your reach, as you have become such a tall boy.
  6. Your size and level of development often means that people think you are three years or older.
  7. You are not always that accepting of infinite hugs and kisses anymore. Mother gets pushed away when it becomes too much.

I look forward to sharing your 3rd birthday with you.

Love

Mamma