Mom Confessions: What You Don’t See

Motherhood

7 months & counting since our baby was born & what a journey it has been, is & will be. I’m still very near the starting line & what a whirlwind of emotions this journey has taken me. Don’t get me wrong, BEYOND BLESSED & GRATEFUL to be a mother but I guess that doesn’t disqualify me from feeling down on some days. After all, I am human, still. My heart has been bugging me to write about this blog & it has been a tug of war to publish it or not. My biggest reservation is probably being judged however my push is for fellow moms who feel the same way but are silenced with the same reasons. It gives me confidence to share these things knowing I am not alone, we’re actually a neighborhood (motherhood,gets?) haha. And the most important reason revealed at the latter part of this blog. With that, I hope these confessions will also do the same to fellow moms & shed light to those who aren’t.

I guess this uneasy feeling started when people started complementing me. Not that I don’t appreciate them. It’s just that every time someone does, I think to myself… “if you could only see what I do, if you only know”, #honestmotherhood. 

So here it goes, this Momma confesses that…

Confession 1 | My baby irritates me

Starting with probably the hardest one to admit. Yes, that cute, angelic little human you see irritates me & only moms will get that 100%. (I feel the judgement now) Of course it’s not her fault & technically it’s not her, it’s what she does. It irritates me when I don’t know what to do whenever she cries. And the things you do to stop those tears right?! This doesn’t only happen in 1 or 2 days, it happens every single day so imagine the energy that’s being released 24/7. You have no idea (only moms do) the amount of work that goes through in a day in raising a child & although it gives indescribable joy, it also gives stress. Just being honest here. Which leads me to confession 2.

Confession 2 | I ask for a breather 

You take a break from motherhood?! No mom does really. I remember the time when I asked my husband to give me a break & get a massage. Horray! But I felt quite uneasy, my body was there but my mind to my baby. Kept the phone close to me so that should anything happen, I’d stop the session & go home. True enough, just before it ended I was on my way back. I ask for this because I can’t be effective when I don’t. And if I don’t rest once in a while, the chances of me getting sick is very high. I can’t nurse my baby while nursing my sick self. A healthy mother means a healthy baby & vice versa.

Confession 3 | I take time to beautify 

You still have time to do that, how about your baby? I thought you’re busy with her? How vain?! Aren’t you being selfish when you think of yourself when mothering? I thankfully have a husband who co-parents. I get a lot of people saying “Mura kag wala nanganak, Tar” (You don’t look like you’ve given birth,Tar), “Nagkabata mn ka Tar oi!” (Looking young, Tar). Flattering, but I must confess, A for effort! And I take the effort because it honestly keeps me sane. Again, only moms will completely understand that. I don’t have to explain myself but hey, it doesn’t mean I’m selfish when I think about my well being when I mother my child. 

Confession 4 | I don’t have it all together 

Doesn’t mean I post nice shots of me & my daughter, I have it all together. So many things happen behind the scenes. Doesn’t mean I’m faking it either. I’m just artsy that way. Haha! But contrary to my feed, I don’t have it all together. In fact nobody is perfect & no mother gets an A. There are countless times already when I forget to bring something that my baby needs whenever we go out. And many times I just have to wing it. But not having it all together doesn’t make me less of a mother. It makes me better every time & over time. 

Confession 5 | The FOMO is real 

FOMO: Fear of missing out. No place I’d rather be but… it doesn’t mean I don’t get affected when I am not able to do some things anymore because I have to prioritize my baby. Many instances when I had to turn down opportunities & I confess it affects me. One time I had a conversation with my husband on attending events & after weighing things, we decided I can’t due to some factors that might affect our baby in a negative way. I cried & told him “I completely understand but just allow me to cry”. 


REFLECTION

I mentioned earlier how this flow of emotions started. I felt uneasy because of what was mentioned but more importantly because I was thinking if the compliments meant that people didn’t see the struggle & only saw what was wonderful, that they only saw me but not Jesus who brought me here. Who is my constant giver of abounding grace that I am able to look the way I am. Truly I say, ONLY BY HIS GRACE.

“Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 10:17

Before publishing this I gave time for myself to process these confessions. To allow God to work on me, on my heart. As my child runs to me, I run to my Abba Father. 

God says, “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.” Isaiah 66:13

I could still remember specifically praying to God to prepare my heart for motherhood when I was pregnant. There really is struggle in transition. And truth is, nobody will ever be prepared for this role, nobody is exempted from the struggel, whatever they may be to every mother. It’s a JOURNEY of dying to self, it is not a title, it is a CALLING & we mothers have a specific PURPOSE for this and that’s WHAT YOU DON’T SEE. Like what my friend Carmina says, “God strengthens us to do our calling but at the same time it requires a certain level of participation to carry out His purpose. And choosing to participate can also take it’s toll on us yet we choose it everyday.”

Again, it may seem like a fairytale especially when I’m being creative on my feed but just so you know, I don’t have it all together & it is only through Him that I am able to mother my baby, be a wife to my husband & etc. We are all a work in progress.

“And God is able to make grace abound in you, so that in all things at all times, having all you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8

 I still remember the days I prayed for the things I have now.

 

I prayed for this. We prayed for this & wow. He gave us the desire of our hearts to have a baby. Truly, there is responsibility to every concept you fall in love with or that with power comes great responsibility. It’s beautiful how this has brought me to a deeper understanding of who God is. He constantly reminds me that He makes all things beautiful in His time. And TODAY IS BEAUTIFUL. I am living yesterday’s He-makes-all-things-beautiful- in- His- time. His promises are already yes & amen. But He doesn’t give the blessings one time big time. As parents we check if our babies are ready to receive what we have for them, right? Same is true with our heavenly Father, He checks if we’re ready to receive what He His in store for us, time & time again, from glory to glory.

To every mom who is going through the struggle,

Remember the time when you were praying for the things you have now… or you are now. He who promised is faithful. He is just working through your heart. He can’t give what you desire, may it be something tangible or not,  if you’re not ready for the blessing, if your heart isn’t. He’s the only one who knows when you’re heart is right to receive. Always workout to have a good heart. A heart where He alone resides & watch how He’ll bless you. You are definitely not alone. Cheer up because we’re too blessed to be stressed!

He makes all things beautiful in His time. Ecclesiastes 3:11

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For more updates & blogs or questions, visit my Instagram & Facebook page, @travelwithtaraph. See you there!

Outdoors with your Baby Bag Add-ons

Motherhood

A few months & been learning quite a lot of things about parenting & motherhood. Grateful to people, especially to mommies who have been helping me out & my mom blogs are simply to show appreciation & to give back to the motherhood community. So allow me to tell you some of those learnings here. We’ve gone to a couple of  getaways enough to share a few things that have been a mighty help to us when going outdoors with our pocket full of sunshine!

Besides what’s inside the mommy/ diaper bag- wet wipes, alcohol & extra clothes, to name a few, here are some add-ons that works magic for babies. Happy baby, happy mommy!

Insect Repellent

We love to go out with our babies! Right? Especially after so many months of staying at home to protect our baby from anything that’s or could be harmful to them. Crashing out mosquitoes from the worry list with an insect repellent. We put citronella scented patches/ stickers to our baby’s clothes.

Sun Block

They’re not only for when you’re going to the beach. Anytime there’s sun exposure, make sure to apply some to protect your baby’s skin. 

Hat

You’re outdoors so a hat would really help protect your baby from the harmful effects of the sun. Also, incase it rains, your baby’s covered too! 

Fan

Electric or manual, your choice. We have both just in case. Especially here in the Philippines where weather is tropical, it tends to be hot & humid so imagine what a fan can do! 

Toy & Surface Cleaner Spray

We were quite challenged whenever our baby’s toy falls all of a sudden or when we ask for a high chair in restaurants & they’re quite dirty. Recently bought a spray & brought it with us whenever we go out & wow.  I was having a lot of fun with it. A Momma’s simple joys! 

Again, these are just a few add-ons, nonetheless a great help. Surely as a parent you should be extra careful despite having these little helpers. Buuuuuttttt, remember it’s also good for babies to get SOME for immunity. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to drop a comment or message me. See you on my socials, Facebook & Instagram, @travelwithtaraph.

7 Ways to Avoid Baby Blues

Motherhood

Baby Blues otherwise known as Postpartum Depression, is there such a thing? Is it even true? Maybe they’re just a feeling? How come mothers get that after having been given a beautiful baby? 

So many things happen to moms, especially to new ones, that it’s almost impossible not to have baby blues. Whatever a mom goes through isn’t just a feeling nor are they made up. The struggle is real & this does happen. Reasons may vary but there are common ones & I believe all moms go through this in different levels.

POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION DEFINED

The dictionary defines it to be a depression suffered by a mother following childbirth, typically arising from the combination of hormonal changes, psychological adjustment to motherhood, and fatigue. According to research some of the symptoms are sadness, crying a lot for no reason, not being able to bond with your baby, less interest in things, memory loss & less focused.

You think you have it? 

Before proceeding with this blog, please know that I am not a professional. I am not able to treat you. I am simply sharing my thoughts & experiences on the matter. It is best to go to a doctor for treatment if you think you need to. 

Here are some of the ways to avoid Baby Blues: 

1 | PREPARE FOR IT

During pregnancy, i’ve already been hearing about baby blues/ postpartum depression. Heard a few stories about it & had an idea what was coming so I tried preparing for it. You could say nobody’s ever ready. Agree! But you’d rather do something proactive right? One thing I did was buying nice sleep wear or clothes for home knowing I’d be at home most of the time. Looking nice even when you’re at home contributes to positive energy. And no it isn’t shallow nor selfish trying to improve yourself physically & all aspects for that matter. 

2 | FIND A DIVERSION 

I completely understand that your hands are full with your baby but you still need a diversion to keep your sanity. Some of the diversions I have are watching movies while breastfeeding, singing my heart out to karaoke at home, doing online business, obviously blogging & etc. Do what works for you!

3 | CHOOSE YOUR BATTLES

Once your baby is out, there are soooooo many things that are beyond your control. So why stress yourself about these things? When it’s messy, let it be! Your baby is just being a baby so don’t sweat the small stuff or what’s obvious.

4 | GO OUT

I’m not saying you go out right away. Your baby is still the priority. You’ll most probably be at home for the first few weeks/ months to protect your baby from getting sick but when the time comes that you’re able to, go out! Get some fresh air! Also, my husband & I are have a pretty strong opinion on bringing babies too early at the mall. It’s really a no-no for us. Why? Too many people carry viruses & that’s just circulating in the air. I’m sure you know very well that your baby’s immune system is still developing. If you take our advice, (I really don’t want to force our perspective on the matter so I’m expressing this as sensitive as possible) earliest time to bring them to the mall would probably be at month 3 onwards when your baby has quite a good number of vaccinations. Also, as much as possible go only on days &/or times when it isn’t too crowded. We all know weekends are packed! 

5 | DRESS UP

… even when you’re at home. It will get messy but make the effort to dress up, still. Making the effort means you care & caring will keep you going! And it does make you feel good when you look good. Tell me I’m not the only one who feels the same way. Mommas! Your baby & family requires your sanity so do that!

6 | CALL A FRIEND

Where maaah girl friends at?! Call them! You’d be surprised to know that the feelings are mutual & that you’re not alone in this journey. You also don’t wait for your gal pals to call you. They’re your friends for a reason & most of the time, they can’t spell it out for you. When you need help, ask for it. When you need to express your feelings, talk to your husband or to your most trusted besties. Buttttttt make sure to express yourself to people you could trust or those who won’t judge you especially that when you do, you’re being vulnerable. 

7 | PRAY

Call a friend? Yes. But there are things that you can’t express to people. Call on Jesus. In fact, call on Him first. Going back to the first way, praying was one of the things I did to prepare myself with what was coming. Running to Him takes off a heavy load of emotions. Never keep them to yourself. And instead of talking to yourself, talk to God.


Those are my two cents on the matter. If you’re someone reading this who knows a mom, be sensitive & if possible, help out. And if you’re a mom reading this, YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOU THINK. YOU GOT THIS BEAUTIFUL!

 

What’s in the Bag | Baby Essentials List x Hospital Bag List

Motherhood

It’s the wedding & baby season! Among the people I know, at least. First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage! As the rhyme goes. So I bet babies will be popping here & there soon. During my 7th month, I’ve started preparing for things we needed before our baby’s debut. This was very exciting but quite overwhelming because of everything that was going on with pregnancy. Plus, not to mention the gazillion things in the market that say you “need” this & that for your baby. Well, as a mother who wants the best for our child, this may be tempting. Take note that even the basic things are already a handful! So take it easy, Momma.


Shout out to the Wonderwomoms who helped me come up with this list during the time I needed help- Cielo Villegas, Francis Teves, Charlyn Caranzo, Shine Ramirez & Leiz Cagampang.

And to EVERYONE who gave gifts & helped us with the baby essentials, THANK YOU.


PASSING ON THE LIST TO THE FUTURE MOTHERS OUT THERE.

ENJOY SHOPPING!

Please take note that these things are mostly basic, you may customize according to your baby’s/ babies’ needs or what you want. Motherhood or parenting is unique, it’s yours & very personal so WHATEVER WORKS FOR YOU. I’ve indicated “optional” items that I find to be very useful. The items that have numbers beside them indicate the LEAST you will need, feel free to add according to your preference. Also, there are some photos of a few items on the list, captions include recommendations & tips. Locations stated are particularly in Cebu, Philippines.


BABY ESSENTIALS LIST

BABY GEAR

  • Carrier
  • Stroller (Maclaren Quest  | Recommended by one of our Godparents & a lot of Mommies agreed. Could be used by your child up to 5 years old or depending on his/ her growth. Here’s a link of the product for reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnjNcAjgXX8)
  • Car Seat

DIAPERING

  • Diapers(Huggies | MamyPoko  | Got our supply at Baby Company)
  • Wipes(Sanicare/ Giggles  | You may get supplies from drugstores, supermarkets &/or Baby Company)
  • Diaper Rash Cream(Desitin | You may get your supply at Mercury Drug but they usually run out fast. If you have relatives from the US, they may bring you some or send them over. You may also try checking out other brands in the market)
  • Changing Pad
  • Diaper Bag(One with a lot of compartments are recommended, most diaper bags include a changing pad. Any bag that’s comfortable for you will do)

BATH | GROOMING

  • Baby Wash & Shampoo(Nuskin Epoch Baby Hibiscus Baby Shampoo and Body Wash  |  You may get the supply from me, just let me know if you’re interested)
  • Baby Lotion(Mustela/ Aveeno  | Use only as needed or when you notice Baby’s skin is dry)
  • Wash Cloths(6)
  • Bath Towel(3)
  • Small Towels/ Cloths for wiping/ Lampin(7)
  • Tub
  • Bath Seat/ Support Net(Optional but very helpful)
  • Bath Toys(Optional)
  • Cotton Swab/ Ear Buds
  • Cotton Balls
  • Petroleum Jelly
  • Nail cutter/ Nail Scissors
  • Soft Hair Brush(There’s a set of Health & Grooming Kit for babies found at the Baby’s section in a department store, you may get one. Got ours at Baby Company)

FEEDING

  • BreastPump (Manual/ Electric whichever is your preference)
  • Storage for breast milk
  • Bottles & Utensils Container
  • Nursing Bib(2)
  • Nursing Pillow(Optional)
  • Nursing Pillow Cover(Extra/ Optional  |  Should you choose to have or use a nursing pillow, having an extra cover is needed to change it whenever the other one needs to be replaced for hygiene purposes)
  • Bottles(5  | Philips Avent Bottles)
  • Sterilizer(Avent 2-in-1 Sterilizer which works for us)
  • Sterilizing Tong
  • Pacifier(2)
  • Bibs(6)
  • Those using Formula- Formula Milk, Milk Container
  • Not until Baby can eat- Baby Utensils, Baby Food Containers/ Snack Bags, Blender/ Food Processor (Optional)

CLOTHING

  • Onesies(6 | Lessen 0-3 Months size as babies will outgrow them really fast)
  • Socks(6)
  • Mittens(6)
  • Swaddle(3  | Especially when you already have receiving/ muslin blankets which serve the same purpose)
  • Receiving/ Muslin Blanket(3)
  • Booties(3 | Considering you already have socks)
  • Burp Cloths(Optional  | Not necessary when you already have a lot of cloths for wiping or lampin)
  • Hats (3)
  • Shoes(1  | Optional)

HEALTH | SAFETY

  • Saline Drops
  • Thermometer

BEDDING

For Co-Sleeping
  • Waterproof sheets(2)
  • Blankets(3)
  • Pillow
  • Pillowcase(Extra)
  • Bolsters (2)
  • Bolster Cases(Extra)
  • Baby Surround Co- sleeper/ Portaged (Optional  | Not necessary when you already have bolsters to protect the baby however, whichever is your preference)
For Crib
  • Crib
  • Mattress
  • Mattress Sheets (Extra)
  • Waterproof sheets (2)
  • Blankets (2)
  • Pillow
  • Pillowcase (Extra)
  • Bolsters (2)
  • Bolster Cases (Extra)

WASHING

  • Detergent for Clothes(Cycles | Available at the supermarket, Baby’s section in a department store & Baby Company)
  • Baby Hangers
  • Hanger with clips
  • Liquid Soap for Baby’s Utensils (Cradle  |  Available at the supermarket, baby’s section in a department store & Baby Company)
  • Bottle cleaning brush
  • Bottles & utensils container
  • Scrubbing foam with container
  • Basin

MOM

  • Maternity Bra (Got affordable ones at the SM Department Store, brand is Lady Grace)
  • Washable Breast Pads (2)
  • Waist Support (To be used during pregnancy, usually at the 5th month onwards)
  • Postpartum Girdle/ Binder (Got affordable ones at the SM Department Store, brand is Lady Grace)
  • Nipple Cream (Medela  | You may get your supply at the Rustans Baby section)
  • Stretch Marks Cream/ Lotion (Nu Skin Bao Bab | You may get the supply from me, just let me know if you’re interested)
  • Alcohol (Biogenic or any that’s 40% alcohol solution)

Here are some photos of a few items on the list, as mentioned above.

HOSPITAL BAG LIST

Prepare for about 3 days

BABY

  • Diapers
  • Clothing (Onesies, Hats, Mittens, Socks, Booties)
  • Receiving Blankets / Muslin Blankets/ Swaddle
  • Baby Wipes
  • Bath Essentials (Towels, Wash cloths, Baby wash, Lotion)
  • Nursing Pillow
  • Infant formula (Optional  | Just incase you aren’t able to produce milk right away)
  • Milk bottles (Optional)

MOM

  • Sanitary Pads
  • Betadine Feminine Wash
  • Clothes (Preferably tops with buttons or loose tops for breastfeeding to be convenient  I  Prepare comfortable going- home clothes  I  Prepare a duster dress for labour & delivery)
  • Hairties
  • Makeup (Optional)
  • Slippers
  • Towel
  • Pillow (Extra/ Optional)
  • Pen
  • Underwear (High-waist & take note that once the baby is out, you’ll still look like 5 -6 months pregnant so consider this for the size)
  • Toiletries
  • Valid ID
  • Insurance Card
  • Robe
  • Socks
  • Nursing Bra
  • Breast Pads
  • Nipple Cream
  • Blanket (Extra)
  • Nursing Bib
  • Toilet paper
  • Alcohol
  • Laundry Bag/ Plastic

DAD

  • Clothes
  • Slippers
  • Toiletries
  • Snacks/ Food
  • Cash/ Wallet
  • Identification Papers/ Important Documents

OTHERS

  • Phone
  • Charger
  • Camera (Optional)

Should you have questions about this, please feel free to leave a comment or message me. Will be my pleasure to be of help.

Confessions of a Pregnant Mom at Week 38

Motherhood

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:16

 


 

Preggy Momma Confession coming right up!

38 in 2 days & I found myself confused in prayer. Have you ever been confused what exact words to say to God or ask of Him?

I think any mom would agree that the last weeks of pregnancy are… what right & fitting words would describe them, right?

I want to pop, like NOW! The stretching & struggle are just so real that even the thought of labour & delivery pains are gone. You just want your baby out & finally see him/ her, her in my case. I couldn’t even think of the “stress” they say, that’s coming. I just want to wrap my arms around her & see her with my very eyes.

But as I was praying, something hit me. This child is ultimately His. He has numbered her days, have great plans for her & all the beautiful promises of God are set. That even if I reaaaaaaally want to give birth NOW, HIS PLANS won’t change. And His ways are higher than mine.


For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.  Isaiah 55:8-9 2

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11


 

And right there & then my prayer changed to “Lord, if not NOW, then whenever it may happen, would you give me the strength to endure the struggle that comes with this blessing.” I thought, if enduring is the way for the will of my Father to be realised, then yes, ok. Because really, it’s for my own good, it’s for our baby’s best.

 


For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.  Corinthians 1:20


 

AND THEN I REMEMBER WHAT JESUS DID ON THE CROSS.

At that time He was probably saying, Father God, if me enduring the cross for your will & purpose to prevail, would be the only way for the world to be saved, then yes, ok.

Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. FOR THE JOY SET BEFORE HIM HE ENDURED THE CROSS, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

For the JOY SET BEFORE ME… I WILL ENDURE.

 


 

Sometimes we get stuck on what we want or what we think we know is best for us… stuck in our small minds & not seeking the One who sees the big picture. Then we rush into praying for something that’s “just”. He says in His word to SEEK HIM FIRST & all these things shall be added to us. I’ve always believed that in the process of seeking Him, He’ll reveal Himself, His will & purpose for you resulting for you to want what He wants because again, His ways are higher, He knows what’s best for you. ALL THESE THINGS SHALL BE ADDED TO YOU already means, that.

Would you take time to ask God what He wants because really, if you pray for what you just want… He won’t change nor His plans or promises, just because you prayed.

Let your prayer seek His will.

He is God. Unchanging. But have the confidence because… He is God. All- knowing. He is God. He loves you. He will not withhold what’s best for His children. He makes all things beautiful in His time, always.

The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right. Psalm 84:11


Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart… Jeremiah 1:5

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We’ve come this far, see you soon baby love!