Mother's Day Special: These first-time mums share on how life has changed
Their first Mother's Day
As a child, our first role models have always been our parents. Some of us aspired them enough to join the same line of work. This story, however, is about celebrating mothers — the young ones who can now finally understand what their mothers meant when they said, "You'll understand when you're a mother." Carrying a child for nine months plus is no easy feat, and because of that, no one can deny that special bond (sorry, dads!).
From discovering you're pregnant till seeing (and feeling) that baby bump till actually carrying your child in your hands, we can only imagine how beautiful those moments are. So we decided to ask the women who went through it themselves. Read on as Patricia K, Jenn Low and Diana Nasir share what it's like to be a Mum.
Patricia K and her daughter, Sophia
Congratulations on your beautiful baby girl! How's everything so far?
Thank you so much! Everything is going way better now. The first three months plus were quite tough for me as I had postnatal depression, which is quite worrying as a mum. It makes you doubt yourself and feel like you are never doing anything good enough. I'm much better now.
She just turned seven months! It's true when people say they grow up so fast. I could write a whole essay about how it is to become a new mother but let's just say... it's a challenge, but so beautiful. The love I have for her is indescribable.
It's a challenge, but so beautiful.
What's your favourite memory so far since becoming a mother?
Her first smile and knowing it wasn't just gas, but an actual real smile. I actually cried seeing it. I remember it happened when I was leaving the house for the first time alone with her. It took me so long to get out the door. It was difficult and I felt so overwhelmed. When the Uber left (Sophia decided to feel hungry right as I put her in the carseat), I ended up sitting at home, crying while breastfeeding her in the dark. I felt defeated and ready to give in to the fact that I was doomed for eternity to just live in my slacks with vomit all over my clothes. That smile meant everything — especially since you don't get much of a response in the beginning.
What are some of the challenges you've faced since welcoming a new member of the family?
I feel like Sophia brought our families together. We spent so much time with both sides of our families when we were in London and when we got back to Malaysia, it was the same thing. The challenge for us right now, however, is the fact that we both work and we are trying to spend as much time with her as possible. The parental guilt and worry is real. Joey and I also lost each other for a while because we were so caught up with her but it's getting better and better.
With great challenges come great lessons. What are three pieces of advice you can share with other first-time mothers?
To be honest, we hired a helper because we couldn't just keep sending her over to my mum when we had work and meetings all day long. For the first three months after arriving back in KL, we were tag teaming it or my mum would help us. The helper can assist us and help take care of the house so we can focus on Sophia and making a living. Aside from that, I've learnt that...
1. Sleep when the baby sleeps. Don't feel the pressure to breastfeed. Try your best but if it doesn't work out, it doesn't mean you are a terrible mother. That's how I initially felt but in the end... remember: happy mum means happy baby.
2. Don't waste too much money on baby clothes, they grow out of it so fast and in the beginning, they honestly just live in their little onesies. If you have any friends that have some hand me downs, just take it and use it.
You've recently taken Sophia on her holiday! Not an easy feat for most mothers, any advice on how to take care of a child on board a plane?
Yeah, that was quite the trip! It was a last minute decision to actually bring her and I am so happy we did. During take off and landing, the pressure can make babies feel irritated so let them suck on a bottle or a pacifier. She also wanted to touch everything so I just let her play around or chew on her stuff. You also need to bring so much stuff with you as they can go through so many outfits in a day (vomit, poo etc).
A question most first-time mothers would want to know: Any workout tricks or diet tips to lose that pregnancy weight?
Exercising did it for me. I can't give up food so I would wake up every morning and go for a workout. I made sure to do something at least 30 minutes a day. That really made a big difference for me, and I started to feel so much better about myself as my body changed. If you don't want to go out or you're too tired, download the Nike+ Training Club app — it's SO good. Alternatively, you can do squats with your baby at home. Right now, I am also trying out a 21-day delivery of healthy meals from PurelyB which is quite a handy way of keeping your diet on track.
Joey and I also lost each other for a while because we were so caught up with her but it's getting better and better.
Does Sophia prefer Mummy or Daddy?
(Haha) Me, of course! I had her in me for ten months, after all, and apparently they can smell you as well. Plus, I can always calm and soothe her. It's just the mum's touch, right?
Complete this sentence: My baby is... seriously so cute and warm. She has this innocence that I love about babies. She is also the biggest vomit and poop machine.
Most important advice you want your baby girl to remember when she grows up?
Always stay humble and kind to everyone around you. Never rely on anyone but yourself and make sure that your happiness comes from within. Work hard and be independent. There are so many things I want her to learn and I will be there to support her the whole way.
Jenn Low and her daughter, Olivia
Congratulations on being a mother! How has life changed since Olivia came into the picture?
Life has taken a 180 for sure. I feel a lot more alive and in tune with my inner voice — it might sound crazy but it feels like she was the missing piece in my life that I never knew. There is a lot more love and joy all around as she's just such a happy spirit and presence.
So Olivia — How did you and your partner decide on the name?
I had 2-3 favourite names and we both liked Olivia. I love the sound of Liv as a nickname as well.
It feels like she was the missing piece in my life that I never knew.
Giving birth stereotypically sounds/looks painful — how true was this for you and did it change your mind about motherhood?
Giving birth is such a miracle. I have so much more respect for my body and all that it can do. It's painful for sure, no sugar coating that, but just breathe through it and remember this word: epidural!
Favourite memory of Olivia.
The second she was born, our doctor placed her on my chest. She was warm and I felt her weight on my chest in the most wonderful way. I remember saying to hubs, "OMG, she's real!" That moment was pure magic.
Please share three advice for other first-time mothers out there.
First of all, your body and mind is designed to do this. Trust in the universe and try not to allow doubt and too much noise into your world. Babies respond best to a calm and happy environment — energy is everything. Second tip is to always remember that there isn't one right way to doing things. Discover what you're happiest with and let your instincts guide you. Last but not least, don't be so hard on yourself. Know that you're doing the best you can, with what you have, at any given point in time. Love your baby but also never forget to love yourself.
Know that you're doing the best you can, with what you have, at any given point in time. Love your baby but also never forget to love yourself.
What about you has changed since becoming a mother?
Liv makes me pause and see the world through her eyes. I have a deeper appreciation for simple things and so much gratitude for all that comes into our days — be it happiness or challenges. I am a lot more centered and balanced. Liv has given new meaning to why I do what I do. She makes me want to make things better just because.
A question most first-time mothers would want to know: Any workout tricks or diet tips to lose that pregnancy weight?
I want the magic trick to this too! I would say try to stay as active as possible throughout your pregnancy. I did lots of yoga, pilates and light interval training, and found that physical effects aside, it was for my own sanity! Post pregnancy, I haven't been specifically hard on wanting to shed weight immediately. Realistically it's taken nine months to put the weight on so it will likely take the same amount of time to shed it off. Enjoy your time with the baby and your new family unit, and try to stay active at least twice a week — once for cardio, the other for mat time.
What's the one advice you want to give to Olivia?
Don't be afraid to make mistakes and just live life. Trust your inner voice, go out there and give the world all that you've got. Be soft, don't let the world make you hard and remember that kindness is always possible. Rest when you are tired, don't give up. Wait, is that too many?! One last one — when in doubt, ASK YOUR MUM!
Favourite 'baby tool' or toy to use that you can recommend
An interactive and educational activity table — Liv received one from LeapFrog as a gift and it amuses her endlessly! It teaches numbers, the alphabet and general nursery rhymes and tunes.
Best thing about being a mother
A whole new category of things to shop for, with good reason too!
Diana Nasir and her twins, Anggun Darleesa and Anggun Darleena
What's it like being a mother so far?
I love being a mother, especially to my beautiful twins. It has been an absolute rollercoaster ride — up and down, fast and slow, but in the end who doesn't love roller coasters? Having twins is what I've always dreamt of, and Allah has granted my wish. I'm so grateful and I thank Allah everyday for giving me this opportunity.
I now realise things that my mother had gone through — the pain and troubles.
What about you have changed since becoming a mother?
Motherhood has taught me to be more patient, loving and much more appreciative about everything. I now realise things that my mother had gone through — the pain and troubles. She had handed down respect for the possibilities and the will to grasp them. I'm blessed to have been raised the way my mother did. That's exactly how I want to raise my babies. It has definitely changed my perspective towards everything because I am now seeing things through the eyes of a mother.
What are some of the challenges you've faced since welcoming these two new members of the family?
Handling the twins on my own is the biggest challenge. When their daddy goes to work, all the responsibilities go to me. I've got chores to do while taking care of them at the same time. Hence, I've learnt to manage my time properly, ensuring I've done every single thing and even put aside some time for myself. I don't have a maid or a nanny as I'm quite sceptical about them looking after my babies.
Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn't know you had, and dealing with fears you didn't know existed.
Three tips for other first-time mothers out there.
1. Listen to your heart. You know your baby better than anyone else so you know what's best for them.
2. When the baby sleeps, don't join them! This is the best time for you to settle the housework! Once everything is settled, only then you sleep. Otherwise all the work will just pile up!
3. Don't use your kids as an excuse for you to not look presentable. Always have some "me time" and pamper yourself. You deserve it.
Being a first-time mother is tough enough, how do you manage to take care of two babies?
True. It's not easy to handle two babies at once but thank God, I have my loving hubby, my beautiful mother and sisters to lend a hand when I badly need it. I can't thank them enough. Most of all, I'm thankful that both of my girls are well behaved. Motherhood may not be easy, but it's not a burden. At the end of the day, their smiles keep my spirit going.
What are some must-have baby equipment/tools every first-time mother should get?
1. Formula pro (baby formula maker). It saves a lot of time and makes everything easier.
2. Mamaroo. The twins love a little ride and we can just simply put them on and get going with our work while they're occupied.
3. Heartbeat plush toy. This toy can play a few sounds such as a bird chirping, lullabies, waves and heartbeats which put babies at ease and help them to fall asleep easily.
Favourite memory of the twins
When they were talking/babbling to each other.
Complete this sentence: Being a mother is...
...Learning about strengths you didn't know you had, and dealing with fears you didn't know existed.
Three essential items as a mother
Formula milk, spare clothes, diapers