A year of Motherhood
November 18, 2021
"Ain´t no hood like motherhood," they say. I couldn´t agree more.
Before having a baby I was ready for this to be the hardest chapter of my life. I had heard from multiple sources that the first year of being a mom is absolutely amazing, but also a blur and a time that can pretty much be written off regarding other goals and areas of life.
I didn´t like that mentality from the get-go and didn´t want that to be my reality, but I thought "Maybe I am just ignorant. Or too optimistic. Or I just don´t know what I don´t know and it will actually be like that."
Truth be told this year has been "the most" of everything. The most tiring and fearful, yet the most blissful and beautiful 12 months. Don´t get me wrong- there have been plenty of lowest valleys and challenges, but right now I feel more capable, more efficient, and more empathic I´ve ever felt before. All thanks to becoming a momma. Hands down the best year of my life!
So let´s get to it- everything about sleeping, nursing, introducing solid foods, maintaining a relationship with a significant other, with friends, and most importantly with ourselves.
Just like in any other post, I stress, that I am just sharing our experience. This might not be your reality or vice versa. And that's okay.
"Are you getting any sleep?"
This is often the question most asked from an infant´s mom. It´s a very justified and understandable question since the baby´s livelihood is dependent on you and that doesn´t stop at night.
The first two nights that we were at the hospital I was pretty much up all the time since I was so afraid that I am going to miss the three-hour feeding period. I wasn´t tired though, just running on adrenaline. In my mind I was thinking- "Oh well... these sleepless nights, here we go....they were all right after all."
Fortunately, after those two I haven´t had any sleepless nights. There were some nights that were too short for sure, but non where I had less than 4 hours of sleep. So I always wonder when women tell about the sleepless nights, how is it quantified:D Does it mean no sleep whatsoever or is it under 5 hours? Under 3? Any other number? Anyway.... in my metric-system I haven´t had any sleepless nights.
My goal from early on was to help Camilla form a routine. Not because it´s a "by the book" way of parenting, but because I personally am huge on schedule. I love having a plan and sticking to it as much as possible. I operate the best and feel the most peace when I am on schedule. So doing that with Camilla was the most natural way for me to cope with the new addition to life.
For the moms who before having a child operated on a more "flowing" type of schedule, then that´s probably the way to go for them with a baby too. I don´t think when it comes to motherhood there are too many right or wrong ways (excluding some of the obvious ones that might put the baby´s welfare at risk). So I feel having a specific routine versus not having is not a place for us, mommas, to judge each other or to strongly convert the other over.
I just knew that the more specific routines we have, the better it´ll be for all of us in our family.
I wanted to get Camilla into the habit of going to sleep early, so I could have some me-time, get some work/projects done in the evening, or time for me and Nick just to be a husband and a wife. Camilla has been going to sleep every day pretty much from her first months between 19-19.30. Our evenings are the same to this day (a year later)- around 6 pm dinner; 6.30 pm bathtime and evening routines; 7 pm feeding and 7.30 sleep. I´ve been committed to that routine and it has really both helped me and I think Camilla too since her body has got used to it. When she switched from 3 naps to 2 naps, then for a while she went to sleep at 7, which was extra nice. Between 10-11 months some days, it´s been closer to 8. But still... fairly early, I´d say. She hasn´t been a super early riser (with some periods that were exeptions). At the beginning it was closer to 8, now (around 1 year mark), she wakes up mostly around 7.
Of course, there have been some days where for some reason (whether our own activity or her behavior) she has gone to bed later, but those are rather rare exceptions. There was a period around a year where she was sick and then she stayed up much longer. That week or two was definitely much more exhausting.
Something that helped me help her form a routine was tracking her sleep cycles, feedings, etc. In the beginning, I used the Huckleberry app to enter everything, later I just knew the times already how long she is capable of staying up and when she should head to sleep.
For 11 months she slept in our bed. Since I was breastfeeding it just made sense to me. Most of the time she woke up three, at the beginning maybe four times during the night. The first time around 11 pm, when I went to bed and after that a few more times. Before we transitioned her into her own bed she had never slept through the night fully. I breastfed her pretty much through the sleep and it was so convenient having her next to me. The first 6 months she was super calm when she slept, didn´t twirl too much, and affected our sleep. Nick really never had to wake up during the night and that way it just worked for us. Co-sleeping was one of those things I said I would never do when I became a mom but came out I really enjoyed it. Until...
Starting around 9,5 months though she got so active and when she woke up in the night she was just climbing allll over me. Then she fell asleep with her head or legs across me or literally being fully on me. Until then I hadn´t really complained about sleep deprivation but there were a couple of weeks during that time where I felt like a zombie. Most mornings since her birth I was the one who got up with Camilla in the morning, but all of a sudden I started to ask more from Nick to do that since I was SO tired. I knew it was time to make some changes.
I decided to ween her from breastmilk and with that also to get her to her own bed. The few first nights she still ended up back between us after waking up for the first time, but slowly she started getting used to it. Around 11 months were the first few nights where she slept through the night and that was awesome!
Her bed is still in our room, but it´s tucked away next to the wall and away from our bed. I haven´t been brave enough to put her in her own room. Or I don´t know if brave is even the right word to use. I really haven´t wanted to. I like having her close.
Thankfully she´s been a very healthy baby, but when she was 13 months old she was sick for the first time and that shook up the sleeping situation a little bit again. She had got into a good routine sleeping in her own bed, but then I saw how she needed even more love and affection and I took her to our bed again. So we were back to the old situation and to be honest it was hard for me to switch again from that because I genuinely love sleeping with her:D And I sleep well like that. It even sounds weird to say, because it´s the opposite of what I thought before having her.
During that period Nick moved to sleep on the couch, because Camilla slept sometimes horizontally taking up half of his side. Now (at 14 months) we´ve been trying to make the move back. Some days it works, some days it doesn´t . Even if she starts off in her own bed, she often finishes in ours. I guess it´s mostly my own comfortzone that has been keeping it that way. It´s not ideal, but it is what it is for now.
Anyway, long story short- whatever works for you sleep-wise works for you and I don´t think anyone should feel bad nor judged for one way or the other.
Between the first and seventh month when she was doing mostly 3 naps a day. During the first one she was mostly with Nick and I was on coaching calls. Often times they took a nap together. They are little nap-buddies:) The second nap she slept in my arms and the third one we were walking. The first 3 months her lunch nap was often from 1-4 pm, so I ended up walking or sitting in a park, doing emails, etc. Sometimes she slept on the terrace too, but I felt like I constantly had to check on her, so it was mentally easier for me to go out on a walk. Even through the cold winter:D She very very rarely slept in her bed during the day. When she wasn´t sleeping in the stroller she was sleeping in my arms and that was absolutely exhausting at the beginning since there was no mental break. She just woke up right away when I started putting her down. Nor did she fall asleep laying in bed. She also didn't fall asleep independently, we always had to rock her to sleep. Sleeping in my arms on a bouncing ball didn´t really change, I just learned to make the most of it. So while she napped I answered messages, did emails, listened to my coaching client´s recordings, etc. To this day she doesn´t fall asleep independently, but needs rocking or patting.
What broke the bouncing ball routine at six months was our trip to Dubai, where for a month she did all the naps in the stroller or on a bed. Coming back from there she got used to sleeping in her bed. Maybe she was ready for that earlier, but we just got into a habit and were afraid to change it.
When she switched from thee to two naps she slept one with Nick and the second one I sometimes walked, sometimes put her to bed. As much as I wanted to walk with her and get some steps in, those 1,5-2 hours at home with her sleeping are sometimes just too precious:D
Around the year mark she still does two naps most days (first from 9.30-11; second 14.00-15.30), but some days only one nap. Now I go out with her to the playground before sleep and put her down in the bed. Usually, I have a clear agenda for that period whether it´s filled with work or home chores, and try to make that time count.
Last thing about napping...
I am officially the worst napper in the world. I´ve never really been able to sleep during the day, but I was pretty sure it´ll change at least a bit when I was pregnant. Noup. Didn´t happen. Zero naps. Then I figured it must change when I´ll have a baby. Eeeem... unfortunately not. Two naps. PER YEAR!
I took one nap during the first week when we brought Camilla home and the second one on the 27th of January. Yes, I remember that day so well, because I was excited and proud I managed to get some extra rest. This is nothing I am proud of or that I promote over-doing things. I truly wish I would be able to take more naps. Nick is a master napper and he has tried to give me tips and tricks:D I´m often very jealous of that skill:D Trust me- by now I´ve tried anything and everything, but I am just incapable of sleeping any other time than during the night. Case closed. I guess I just have to live with that and do my best to protect my night's sleep.
Overall I´d say that looking back now at 14 months the sleep journey doesn´t seem that bad. It has definitely required changing habits and adjusting, but hey.... that should be the expectation of becoming a parent. I guess just like most things, coping with a baby´s sleep seems more doable in hindsight than in the moment.
I knew I wanted to do my best to breastfeed. I would never ever judge someone´s decision about it for their child, I just knew that it would be my number one choice. Once again- I had read and heard some horror stories about breastfeeding and unfortunately, that is sometimes the reality. Fortunately, my reality was that on the third day the milk came and since then Camilla started gaining weight at a good rate. Fortunately, I didn´t have to supplement that.
The main thing I was worried about when it comes to nursing and the first months, were the gas pains. I´ve had some friends who didn´t have them at all and some whose experience with them was terrible. Fortunately, we belonged to the first group. Camilla didn´t really have many gas pains when she was an infant. I kept on asking my best friends- "Well, what if she has them and I don´t understand." Their answer was always- "If she had them, you would know!" I can´t say that had much to do with anything we intentionally did right, for example, I didn´t necessarily change the way I ate, so seems we just got lucky with it.
I really loved the entire experience of breastfeeding and wouldn´t change anything in that process. Since I planned my schedule around her, I was never away from her for longer than the feeding breaks. So during the first 9 months, she got a bottle (with pumped breastmilk) only a few times.
I wanted to breastfeed for up to a year, but around 10,5 months felt that some other emotions other than joy started adding to the breastfeeding experience. She bit me a few times and as mentioned before in the nights got a little too active, so I wanted to find a new alternative.
Since she had never got formula nor bottle really, I was very afraid of the weening process. Around 10,5 months I started decreasing the number of times during the day I breastfeed and supplemented those feedings with actual food. I realized that she had no issues eating solids, it had just been easier for me not to deal with cooking and, cleaning, but to just pop out the boob:D She still got breastmilk before bed and in the night.
For a week I started decreasing breastfeeding bit-by-bit, I decided to go all-in and cut the nightly feedings too. I replaced those with a bottle and formula. I know some women ween without the bottle too, but that seemed too extreme to me. To my surprise, Camilla didn´t mind the bottle nor the formula milk at all. I got even a bit emotional, seeing that her livelihood, which was so dependent on me, was fairly easily replaceable. Oh, that momma´s heart...
I understood that just like everything else, it was much bigger and scarier in my head than in reality.
After maybe a week or so of nightly bottles she started sleeping through the night and I didn´t give milk for her anymore. Now she only drinks milk in the evening before bed. Rarely before the lunch nap. Some evenings from a cup, some evenings from a bottle. Just whatever is clean and closer:D I know only using a cup probably would be better, so that´s the direction we go now.
There are different strategies for how to ween from breast, but the graduate way worked well for us. It wasn´t somehow traumatic and seemed natural both for me and Camilla.
I wasn´t expecting that finishing breastfeeding will affect my body and the way I felt so much. First of all, I gained right away a few kilos. I am tall and lean and another person probably would not have noticed anything, but I just felt different. Breastfeeding sure is quite a workout and I had formed habits where I just ate too much. Now I had to take a closer look at how and what I ate and how I protected working out. I was also pretty nauseous for a few weeks after. My cycle started again after 1,5 months of finishing breastfeeding.
All in all my nursing experience was amazing. I truly think it´s an incredible bonding activity between the mom and the baby and it was definitely bittersweet to end it. It´s crazy though how fast it´s forgotten. When I see someone breastfeeding a baby I kind of remember the feeling, but very vaguely. Yet another thing a women´s body just naturally manages to deal with.
I started introducing pureed foods to Camilla around 5 months. Some might say it´s a little early, but it wasn´t that she had full-on meals. She just tasted some vegetables half a spoonful at a time. The first foods we started with were pumpkin, sweet potato, carrot, potato, cucumber. I did some of the purees myself and since we were Salvest Põnn´s ambassadors we used their purees too. Honestly- that was one of the other things that before becoming a mom I said- "I´ll be cooking EVERY single meal for my daughter." The reality was that especially in the summer when we were on the go, the smoothies and tube-purees came in so handy. AND they actually taste much better than for some reason I expected.
Between 6-9 months Camilla mostly ate purees. I had read about finger food and baby-led weaning and I really loved the concept. I was just so scared of it at first. The choking sound that babies sometimes do when they are getting introduced to eating with their fingers, is just terrifying. I looked at a bunch of videos on what to do when choking happens in order to just feel that whenever it would get to that point I´d feel competent to react. Fortunately, I haven´t needed to use the knowledge from those in practice.
Around 9 months Camilla started getting over the puree phase. Especially the salty ones. She wanted to take everything with her fingers and quite frankly cleaning the mess that comes from a baby eating a puree with her fingers wasn´t something I wanted to do multiple times a day.
Little Ms. "always hungry" just like momma
So we started moving towards baby-led eating. The main foods at the beginning were steamed vegetables ( carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower). Then step-by-step I added banana pancakes, macaronies, chicken minced meat, soups, salmon, egg muffins, etc. Around 11-12 months she started eating similar dinners than we do. I just make her portion without salt.
Camilla has always been a good eater and again- I don´t know that there has been something very specific that I´ve done in order to contribute to that. I just have tried to make sure she has the opportunity to try new things and can decide for herself what her favorites are. I have tried to keep experimenting and not get stuck in only a few specific meals. I´ve heard from multiple friends, that at some point the pickiness might change, but until that... I am enjoying this period.
Relationship with myself
When I was pregnant I saw this one quote, that said- "You were somebody before you were a mom. And that person needs to be taken care of too."
That, for some reason, hit me really hard and was something I often reminded myself of. Clearly- when you have a human being to take care of whose life literally depends on you, that little human´s needs come first. With that being said- I went into motherhood with a clear decision, that although it will be absolutely life-changing and a huge part of who I am now, it can´t be the only thing that defines me.
I was actually pretty scared of "losing myself in motherhood."
I was 28 years also when Camilla was born. I´d built my career for 10 years, had great momentum, and just really loved where I was professionally. I´ve always been a hard worker and that´s something I take pride in and is a strong part of my identity. For me the idea of putting all of that fully aside was scary.
Being an entrepreneur and your own employer has a lot of pros, but a ton of cons too. I can´t just drop a pin and say- "Okay, see ya in a year and a half. " Well, I mean... I could, but that wasn´t something I wanted to do.
I am a sales and leadership coach and I absolutely love what I do. Helping people achieve their goals in life is one of my missions in this world. So Camilla was born on the 6th of September and I had my first coaching call on the 17th of September. Some might say, it´s crazy. That´s okay.
In addition to coaching calls, I´ve done more social media projects than before and that has been a fun and engaging learning process for me.
I think when it comes to balancing work and motherhood there is no right or wrong answer. Nor is it someone else´s place to judge the opposite of what they have chosen. Some women choose to be stay-at-home moms and that´s amazing. Some women choose to go to work right away and that´s amazing. Some women return after 1,5 years, some figure out their own business and that´s all amazing. All take intentional work, effort, and mental adjustment. I think this is a place, where we- women, just need to be more supportive and understanding of different choices.
My workload hasn´t been big at all, but it has been enough to keep me sharp and to fulfill me in a different way than being a mom. One thiI think it´s healthy to have something else other than the baby to focus on too. Even if it´s a hobby.
Being a mom will forever be my favorite role, but I know I am a better mom when that´s not all I am. And Camilla deserves the best mom I can be. Still... it´s a tough place- trying to maintain some of the previous habits while getting used to this whole new being. There have been better and there have been worse days of operating around this, but I just try day-by-day.
Here are a couple of other things that I really tried to take time for in order to be in a good place with myself.
- Working out
Before Camilla was born I went to the gym 4-5 times a week and had hard-core workouts. It was quite a transition to not do that anymore. When she was an infant I walked every day 10-15 kilometers and I did short 10-20 minute home workouts a week starting when she was 2,5-3 months old. When Camilla was around 11 months we got a running stroller and that was something that gave a refresher again.
Now that she is a little older the walks have got much shorter, so taking time to intentionally work out is something I want to be better at. Just for the sake, that when I feel good in my body, I am happier. It hasn´t been easy to take time for working out. Especially the older she has got the easier it is to rationalize using the sleep times for working or something else other than working out. I just try not to be super tough on myself.
I am far from the shape I was before having her, but I also don't feel bad for that. Nick for example prayed that I wouldn´t lose the pregnancy kilos:D
2. Beauty routines
Another thing that I decided going into motherhood is that being a mom is not a reason to not put in the effort with how I look anymore. That doesn´t mean that I wear glam make-up every day or think through what clothes I put on every day, but it means, that I want to take care of myself.
So once a month I have lashes and nails; once every other month pedicure; once a quarter a facial and hair-cut; and now I got my eyebrows permanently tinted too.
I don´t care at all whether someone thinks it´s a little or a lot, but that makes me feel good and that´s all that matters:)
Friends play an extremely important role in my life and it´s a top priority for me to reach out, show up, to be intentional with spending time with them. I definitely can´t say that during this first year as a mom I saw my good friends less than I did before.
When Camilla was younger I had a lot of strolling dates with my girlfriends:) I told them the time I will be walking and they joined me. Mila was asleep, so I could be focused on the conversation. We got our steps in and were able to catch up. Win-win-win.
When Camilla got a little older we started having some more playdates going to a park with a friend or doing some sort of activity. Also, since she has gone to bed pretty early since birth we were able to have some friends over in the evenings.
If it´s actually important to me, I know I´ll find a way!
To sum up the relationship with myself I know for a fact that if I protect the things that keep me in a good relationship with myself I am a better mom, a better wife, a better friend, a better colleague. I am never perfect in any of those or great every single day. My cup isn´t always full, sometimes just running on last drops. But I try.... i truly try hard.
Being a mom and managing a household is tiring and often overwhelming.
When I was selling children´s books in America and sat down with thousands and thousands of families I said every time in the selling cycle- " Being a mom is more than a full-time job, right?:)" Although I saw moms agreeing every single time, in my young brain I was actually often thinking- " I mean how hard can it be to be at home all day?"
Well.... now I know. Very hard sometimes:D And being a mom is definitely a full-time job. There is always something to do. Cook, clean, do the laundry, put the baby to bed, change them, play with them, go on walks, etc. When I didn´t have a kid, those things seemed so easy. Now being in it, those things can get pretty exhausting. That´s what mommas do though. THEY MAKE THINGS HAPPEN!
Throughout this first year, I´ve tried to avoid saying- "I don´t have time for this or that. I´m a mom now."
I overall don´t believe that there is such thing as "no time." I think it´s just a matter of priorities. I´ve said more NO this year than ever before and I absolutely love it. I don´t say NO from the perspective of "I don´t have time for this, " but from the perspective of "This doesn´t fit my priorities right now." I´ve chosen to have a kid and she is not the reason I can´t do something. Vice versa- she is an important reason why I do things now.
The main thing that has helped me is that I write EVERYTHING down. Starting from when and where I have to upload some social media collaborations, do coaching calls, emails to when I go to a friend's place, get my nails done, drive to mom´s or Camilla´s exercise class, order something, send someone something, workout, etc. I use Outlook because that's what I have always used and honestly- I literally couldn't imagine my life without that. Although I have a great memory, I try to rely as little on it as possible, so that the calendar would to the thinking for me.
The only three people who have watched Camilla are me, Nick and my mom. When I am on coaching calls, Nick is with Camilla and when I have my monthly beauty stuff then my mom watches Camilla. We have had some discussions with a couple of babysitters, but haven´t pulled the trigger yet. We don´t have a specific plan with a daycare or a sitter yet, so we´ĺl see what the future brings.
I think it´s naive to think that adding another person to a family doesn´t change the dynamics between the partners. Camilla's arrival definitely has challenged our relationship with Nick.
The first half of the year was a bliss. We were a better team than ever- we supported each other in our new roles while keeping our old parts of identity; we made the most out of small moments we had between just the two of us; we made sure to extra affirm and encourage each other.
I think it was largely because I was just so, so, so happy that Camilla joined us. We had prayed and waited for her for a while and it was a dream come true. Her infant age was pretty easy and everything went naturally and smoothly. We both truly love being parents.
In the second part of the year, especially in the summertime things somehow got tougher. Camilla was more active; Nick started a new program; I had more projects on my plate. The summer evenings were bright and long and the sleep schedule I had been protecting before so well went out of the roof. I was often tired and you know how being sleep-fatigued affects everything. It´s easy to be snappy and short-wired. Especially with the people closest to us.
This was a period where our intimacy was affected also because I had to give so much attention and affection to Camilla, that at the end of the day I didn´t have much left to give.
I think to some point it´s understandable and even expected, but from some point, it´s also a habit. We both got into a routine where instead of giving each other attention in the evenings we worked on our own projects and that made the emotional distance even bigger.
Things are better now, but not perfect by any means. Nick, fortunately, always gets me to talk and to get everything out that´s boiling inside of me.
I feel that "being a parent" often puts "being a significant other "on the backburner. We´ve definitely learned through the hard way that this role needs persistent effort, time, and willingness to evolve, to grow, to be good to the other. That´s the beautiful, yet hard thing about marriage. You get to try again and again every day.
Why I share this is that I definitely don´t want to convey a visual, that we have a perfect marriage or we are perfect parents. We are two imperfect people- strong, independent, passionate, opinionated, hard-headed Capricorns, who are figuring life together out as we go. Just trying to do our best, but not at our very best every day.
If there´s one specific thing though that has helped us to maintain our connection is date nights. When we got married we promised that we´ll always keep on dating each other. Those are evenings I always look forward to, when we get to dress up and do something fun together. We try not to talk too much about baby stuff and focus on ourselves and our connection.
Development and comparison
There is a fine line between competing and comparison. A fine line between comparison and inspiration. My whole life positive competing (in sports, in sales) has pushed me to give my maximum. Yet, I am at my worst when pleasantly challenging competing turns into comparison. I´ve struggled with that a lot and worked very intentionally and hard to root that out of my life. I want to compete with my best self. I want to be inspired by people who in some areas are where I aspire to be. I don´t want the comparison to steal my joy. Yet... I sometimes find myself there.
Especially when I became a mom...
Before Camilla was born I told myself, that I won´t be that mom who constantly "puts their child on the line with others." Still, I feel that to some extent that starts right away when they are born. It´s a normal part of the development to look when they start turning, crawling, walking, when they get teeth or first words. But when we let that affect our inner peace, then that´s a hard place to be.
Camilla has been a calm child and all of her development has been on time or later. As much as I remind myself all the time that everything happens when it happens, when you see others at the same age doing something, it still makes you think.
One of the first signs of development is a smile. Some babies smile already when they come out of the womb, some start doing that much later. Camilla belonged to the second category. She gave us a first intentional smile at the end of two months. By that time I had been so worried about it, that I had already gone to a pediatrician, to an eye-doctor and even to a brain check. Can you imagine that.....?
I made it all the way to a brain scan... with a 2-month-old.
Just because she wasn´t smiling.
That´s the level of worry I had at the beginning.
Over the months I got better at managing it, but I´d still say it has been the biggest learning point for me as a mom. Doing my best, but letting go of things that are not under my control.
I made peace with comparison in the summer when Camilla was around 10-11 months. I was just so fed up with being worried if everything is fine and finally decided, that enough is enough. It was so relieving. After that, I still think about it, but it doesn´t concern me anymore.
For example, Camilla started walking two weeks after her first birthday. The old me would have been so stressed about her not walking yet, but the current me had no rush with it. Now she is cruising everywhere and the constant worry would have just been for nothing.
Every kid (and mom) has their own strengths and weaknesses and comparing those from a negative aspect is one of the worst things we can do to ourselves and the kiddos. An important reminder to myself again too.
Emotions and lessons
I´ve felt more emotions through this year than ever before.
As I write all of this, it might seem that "we´ve just had it easy so far." That´s really not the case. Being a mom, especially a first-time mom in the first year is stressful and challenging at times, but I truly think it comes down to our attitude around it all. I´ve shared this before, that I don´t tolerate at all "victim mentality" and whining, complaining for the sake of just doing it. Not overall in life nor specifically when it comes to motherhood. My challenges are not Camilla´s burden to bear.
I am definitely not perfect at being positive, cool, calm, collected at all times and I sure do have my meltdowns as well, but I make sure to bounce back fast and do whatever I need to, to get into a positive attitude. Truly- that´s one of the very few things that is entirely under my control.
I´ know that I am much more compassionate and understanding now. I have learnt that patience is still not my strengths and something I need to work on:D I´ve learnt that I am capable of loving harder and deeper than I ever thought I could.
One category I must emphasize when it comes to motherhood is having a strong, supportive network around you. I´ve shared already about Nic´´k´s involvement and how supportive he has been with everything. Also, my mom´s help has been absolutely crucial.
Within this year I have developed some new friendships with moms with similar age kids and honestly- having them has been a game-changer on so many levels. First of all, it´s someone to bounce ideas with, share information or worries/joys with, to do stuff together and to just be there for each other. Second, it´s someone who is going through a similar life phase and can resonate with you the way your significant other, your mom, or some other friend, who is not yet a mom, couldn't. So, new or expecting momma, is you are reading this... if you take one thing away from all of it, then it would be this. Have some good, close mom-friends around you.
I highly recommend taking a good look at the people you are connected with on a daily basis and just making sure they are helping you to be the version of yourself that you want to be. Not vice versa. Of course, being a momma is at times tiring and hard and just venting to someone is necessary. Yet, at the same time knowing that the person on the other side will listen to you, but then motivate and challenge you to keep on going, is the right type of friend to have next to you.
Kertu, Diana- you´ve been the jewels of my year.
Camilla´s little besties
All in all I can say that becoming a mom is truly the most amazing thing I´ve ever experienced. I get teary-eyed even writing this, because I am so grateful for this opportunity and will never forget the days when all I wished was what I now have. My own daughter.
There have been countless challenging situations, but one I know for sure. I wouldn´t change it for the world.
Although pregnancies, deliveries, and babies can vary very, very much, I can honestly say (and hopefully give some encouragement with it), that I have loved all three phases. My main prayer is that I get to experience this more in my life.
Also- all the parenting cliches are true after all:D Time truly goes so fast. You never really understand some of the things until you are a parent yourself. And you can never love anything more than your own child.
Lastly, as always- fellow mommas, I have all the respect in the world for you. Let´s keep on rocking;)
Camilla esimene sünnipäev
September 22, 2021
Esimese lapse esimene sünnipäev on minu jaoks alati tundunud kuidagi väga oluline verstapost elus. Esiteks- sa oled suutnud seda maimukest 9 kuud kanda, siis ta siiapoole toimetanud ja veel tervelt aasta otsa edukalt elus hoida:D Milline saavutus!
Tähtpäevad on meile väga südamelähedased ja olulised. Mini-sünnasid sai tordiga oma pere keskel igakuiselt tähistada ja teadsin, et junsu esimese päikese ümber tehtud ringi puhul tahaksin pere ja sõbrad kindlasti kokku kutsuda. Suvel, kui esimesed Nicki pereliikmed Camillat nägid, tegime ka veidi suurema 10nda kuu pidustuse, aga no 1. aasta ikka 1. aasta:)
Igaks minisünnaks proovisin nuputada mõne teema või vähemalt värvikombo, mis seda kuud meenutama jääks. Minu meelest annab väike teema või mõne karakteri valik nii vahvalt üldisele atmosfäärile juurde. Esimese suure sünna teemavalik oli aga ootamatult keeruline. Tahtsin midagi teistsugust, aga siiski lapselikku. Kaalusin safarit, ükssarvikuid, maiustusi, roosamannnat, merineitsid, aga ükski ei tundunud see päris õige. Kolasin pikalt Pinterestis ja Aliexpressis ringi ja ragistasin koos sõbranna Kertuga ajusid.
Lõpuks hüppas kuskilt välja Hawai teema ning tekitas paari minutiga nii palju ideid. Teadsin, et see jääb!
Kuna Camilla sünnipäev on septembri alguses, siis pikalt mõtlesin ema aias pidu teha. "Kui külm suve lõpus ikka olla saab?":D
Jumal tänatud, et otsustasime siseürituse kasuks, sest too päev oli suvistest soojakraadidest kaugel.
Uurisin mitmete mängutubade kohta, aga ei leidnud sellist, mis mu Aloha visiooni sobitus. Siis turgatas pähe Teras Beach Club. Ma polnud seal varem käinud, aga teadsin, et tegemist siserannaga, kus saab üritusi korraldada. Panin seal müügijuhiga kohtumise paika ja käisin, vaatasin oma silmaga üle. Koht on väga lahe, aga mulle tundus, et pigem sobilik suuremateks firmaüritusteks ja täiskasvanute pidudeks.
Olin tagasi mängutubade googeldamise juures.
Otsingumootoris olles jõudsin järsku teise siseranna, Ülemiste Beach House-i juurde. Piltidelt vaadates ei saanud liiga palju aimu, seega läksin taaskord kohale. Sinna jõudes teadsin kohe, et see on õige koht. Camillale oli viimasel ajal mänguväljakutel käies liivakastis olek üha enam hakanud meeldima, seega selline "hiiglasliku liivakasti" idee meeldis mulle ka. Tundus täpselt õige tasakaal lastele ja täiskasvanutele mõeldud asjadest. Mitmele liivaga kaetud rannavolle platsile lisaks oli sissepääsu juures baar ning lounge- ala, kus oli ekraan, toolid, lauad, palm, lastele mõeldud nurk köögi ja mänguasjadega. Lisaks lõid meeleolu seinal olevad suvised pildid ning võrkkiiged. Eraldi oli külalistele ka riietusruumid kappidega, kuhu kõik oma asjad kenasti panna said.
Mõeldud, tehtud! Hawai teema Ülemiste Beach House-is. Purgis.
See oli üks väga meeldejääv ja meeleolukas sünnipäev ning järgnevalt jagangi teiega mõned nopped.
Õnnitlused ja kallistused. Küll on elus vedanud, et nii toredate inimestega koos aastast-aastasse astuda saab.
Hea toit on meie jaoks väga oluline. Teadsin, et asjatamist saab omajagu olema ja kuna mu graafik oli niigi täis, siis ise toidukraami meisterdamine väga variant ei tundunud. Toidu valmistas Momster Catering, kellelt oleme ka varem tellinud ja alati rahule jäänud. Kui leiad hea asja, siis hoiad ju ikka kümne küünega kinni;) Naljakas oli see, et olime suhelnud ekraani-taguselt, aga mingi hetk tuli välja, et olime teismelistena ise koos noortelaagris käinud. On ikka väike Eesti.
Kolm aastat tagasi pulmi korraldades tõdesin juba seda fakti, et olgugi kui hea keegi teenusepakkujana on, kui mingil põhjusel suhtlus või personaalne klapp puudub, siis on veidi raskem asjatada. Kui kontakt ettevõtte taga on aga ka inimesena tore, on ka arvete maksmine hiljem palju meeldivam tegevus:D
Toidu juurde tagasi...
Tellisin erinevaid salateid, vaagnaid puuviljade, juustude, erinevate lihade ja snäkkidega, juurvilju, hummust, dippe, chipse, ananassis serveeritud salsat, miniburgereid ja minicroissante. Külalised sõid ja kiitsid täiega. Ainult värsket salatit jäi veidi järgi, muu pandi kõik pintslisse.
Joogiks oli maitsevett, apelsinimahla ja limonaade.
Magusa poolel oli kaks Pehme Jätsi masinat (vanilje ja soolakaramelli) koos erinevate kastmete ja lisanditega. Need olid küll täielik hitt nii suurtel kui väikestel. Usinamad jätsi-fännid sõid isegi neli-viis maiust ära. Lisaks tegi meie imeline naabritüdruk Helena soolakaramelli, pistaatsia ja vaarika makroone. Need põhimõtteliselt hingati sisse:D
Pisimatele Põnnidele oli laual ka smuutisid ja krõbinaid.
Tordi eest vastutas Kädi (Kädi Tordid), kelle käest tellisin ka kõik minisünnade tordid. Olin nendega nii rahul, et sõitsin iga minisünna eelsel õhtul lausa Sauele järgi:D Mulle meeldib, et ta tortide sisu ja välimus on mõlemad tipptasemel. Mul on paar kogemust teiste kohtadega, kus välimus on super olnud, aga sisu mitte ligilähedanegi. Kel nüüd Kädi nimi silma jääb, siis kahju on vaid see, et ta on hetkel aastasel tordi-pausil. Mul on pöidlad pihus, et järgmiseks septembriks tagasi:D
Topperite näol viis minu visiooni ellu nii seekord kui ka igakuiselt minisünnadega Kraapsu.
Meie Hawai tort:) Sünnipäevalaps vulkaanide suurim fänn polnud:D
Lasin teha ka pisikese, ilma suhkruta, tordikese, mida Camilla ja ta tema väiksed sõbrad mõnuga süüa said.
Väiksed jumbud head ja paremat nautimas. Nagu näha pakkus see tort Camillale veidi rohkem rõõmu kui suur tort:D Et ise ei peaks rapsima, delegeerisin tordi lõikamise õele ja koogi külalistele toimetamise kulleri rolli sai isa:)
Kokkuvõttes jäime toidu osas tehtud valikutega täiega rahule. Ma üritusi korraldades alati muretsen, et äkki on süüa liiga vähe. Asi lõppeb enamasti sellega, et peo lõpus on veel hunnikutes asju järgi. Ei tea kas seekord sai väga hästi tellitud või läksid kõik asjad nii väga peale inimestele, aga toidumägesid koju tassima ei pidanudki.
2. Dekoratsioonid ja tarvikud
Suvist pere ja sõprade kogunemist organiseerides otsustasin katsetada ise õhupalli vaniku tegemist. Tellisin Alist pallid ja vajalikud tarvikud ja juubeldasin ise kui palju ma sellega raha säästan.
Kuigi vanik nägi lõpuks enamvähem okei välja, siis reaalsus oli see, et sellega oli ikka väga palju jebimist. Eelmine päev läksin pumpasin vennaga pallid täis, järgmisel päev sõbrannaga sättisime need paelale ja panime üles. Kogu selle tegevuse käigus läks aga meeletult palle katki. Ei teagi kas asi oli õuest tuppa viimisel temperatuuride erinevusel. Või pumpasime liiga täis või polnud väga heast kvaliteedist pallid või midagi hoopis muud. Igaljuhul sai kohevast, pikast vanikust üks väike jupp järgi. Üksi seda kõike oleks päris keeruline olnud teha, seega kui keegi plaanib veel ette võtta, siis soovitan mõni sõbrants kampa haarata.
Korraliku ettevõtmise ja närvikulu kiuste kaalusin ka seekord ise tegemist. Kuna aga nüüd ei toimunud pidu kodustes tingimustes, kuhu eelmine päev toatäis palle valmis saab pumbata või pool päeva varem kohale minna, siis tundus nende transport ise liiga keerukas.
Tellisin selleks sünnipäevaks korraliku hunniku dekoratsioone, aga kuna ma tegin seda nii kiirustades ja ei mõelnud väga kogu kontseptsiooni läbi, siis tegelikult enamust lõpuks ei kasutanud. Täitsa tumbajumba.
Sarnaselt riietumine on minu meelest tüdrukule emaks olemise juures nii vahva boonus. Proovisingi leida sobivaid riideid e-poodidest, aga lõpuks pöördusin ikka meie lemmiku õmblushaldja Getteri poole (Loralei Handmade). Lõpptulemus oli minu meelest veel, veel ilusam kui see visuaal, mis mu peas oli:)
Õhupalli vaniku ning lauakaunistuse võttis enda peale hoopis Peobox ja see oli suurepärane valik. Nad nuputasid välja kuidas pallidele mõeldud heksagon liivale püsti seada ning tõid vanikud ise kohale. Ma isegi ei kujuta ette KUI palju see mu aega, energiat ja ajurakke säästis. Ülemiste Beach House-is kohapeal tarvikuid polnud, seega rentisime Peoboxist ka kõik taldrikud (nii soolaseks kui magusaks), noad, kahvlid, lusikad, kannud, kraaniga jooginõu, klaasid, lastele joogiks topsid, vaagnad, korruskandiku makroonide jaoks. Mulle meeldis, et nõud polnud ühekordse kasutusega ja ei pidanud neid lihtsalt lõpuks ära viskama. Samas endale ju pea sada taldrikut (tort + soolane) pole mõtet ka kokku osta:D
Mulle meeldib, kui ürituste vältel on erinevad väiksed tegevused, mida külalised teha saavad.
Meil oli varasemast endal Instax mini polaroid kaamera olemas. Lasin teha külalistealbumi, ostsin vildikaid, kahepoolset teipi ja aksessuaare ning kõik külalised said enda head soovid neid kasutades Camillale albumisse oma soovid jäädvustada. Minu meelest nii vahva mälestus, mis nii endal kui temal kunagi vaadata. Näiteks Pulmaalbumit, kuhu külalised fotopeegli piltide ja kirjutistega sama tegid, sirvime kindlasti paar korda aastas:)
Polaroid, külalisalbum, lillekeed, aksessuaarid ja kõige kaunimad sõpsid
Veidike suuremad lapsed ja osad isad mängisid rannavollet, lasteaia lastele tellisin rannapalli ja pisikesed junsud mängisid liivavormidega või mängunurgas. Flamingi mullipüss lõi samuti igas vanuses laineid:)
Palusin ühel enda heal sõbrannal väikese hula-tantsu workshopi teha, seega saime kõik peamised puusanõksud ja käelained selgeks:)
Hula-tantsu baasliigutuste õppimine
Mõned teist juba uurisid koha ajalise kasutuse ja tingimuste kohta. Platse saab tunni kaupa rentida, seega vastavalt oma soovile on võimalus reserveerida platside arv ja kestvus. Sünnipäevaks panin kinni kaks platsi (+ lounge-ala)- üks volle mängimiseks, teine pildistamiseks ja niisama ringi tšillimiseks. Meil aga läks selles osas ajaga eriti hästi, et sel perioodil ka teistel platsidel mänge polnud, seega olime terves ruumis ainult enda seltskonnaga. Meil oli ürituseks planeeritud 3 tundi (15-18), aga kella pealt enamus ära ei lahkunud ja lõpus kraamisime, panime asju kokku, jutustasime veel ja lahkusime umbes 19 ajal. Koha juures oli suur boonus see, et kuna hommikul ei olnud muud üritust, siis saime ka 1,5 h varem kohale minna ja kõik valmis sättida. Igaljuhul jäime Ülemiste siserannaga väga rahule ja oli kohe selline tunne, et seal korraldaks rõõmuga kunagi midagi veel:)
Ma kaalusin pikalt, kas teha külalistele list kingisoovidest või on see liiga imelik ja tundub mikromanageerimisena:D Lõpuks ikkagi tegin selle ära. Peamine põhjus oli selles, et ise laste sünnipäevale minnes mõtlen sageli, et "Appppiiii, mis ma talle kingin?" Ei taha ju osta midagi duplikeerivat või midagi mille vastu tegelikult vajadus või huvi puudub.
Kolasin siis mitu õhtut erinevates blogides ringi, lugesin, uurisin, et mis nendele 1-aastastele üldse võiks paluda:D Camilla seni ei ole väga mänguasjade vastu huvi tundnud. Võibolla tuleneb see ka sellest, et meil oli seni väga minimaalselt asju, millega üldse mängida. Samuti tundsin, et kui on mõned asjad, millest mina olen elevil, siis see elevus kandub ka temale ja saame koos rohkem asju teha. Väga isekas:D
Igaljuhul kuna mitmed selle listi kohta juba küsisid, siis ma panen siia mõned mõtted. Siin listis olevad asjad on lihtsalt minu eelistused. Ma ei saa veel nende kasutuse või mitte kasutuse kohta väga tagasisidet jagada, sest me pole jõudnud liiga kaua ja osasid veel üldse katsetada. Võibolla mõne aja pärast valiksin juba kasutamise kogemusest lähtuvalt teistsugused tooted. Eks ma annan siis teada:) Igatahes rõhutan veelkord, et need lihtsalt tundusid mulle endale põnevad. Samuti pole siin listis olevad asjad kõik koheselt sobilikud üheaastastele. Minu mõte oli pigem selles, et näen, et need valdkonnad lähiaasta(te)l kasutuses võiksid olla, seega mõistlik kui nad olemas ja ei pea ise kõike ostma hakkama.
- Ksülofon- https://www.littledutch.ee/et/a/ksulofon-%C2%B4pink%C2%B4
- Marakad- https://www.looduspere.ee/toode/goki-triibulised-marakad-1-paar/
- Kastanjetid- https://www.looduspere.ee/toode/kastanjetid-loomade-naoga/
- Muusika šeiker- https://www.looduspere.ee/toode/goki-puidust-munakujuline-seiker/
- Sojavahast rasvakriidid- https://babyluvkids.ee/product/crayon-rocks-sojavahast-kriidid/ (hetkel tahab Camilla neid rohkem suhu panna kui paberile)
- Vannikriidid- https://www.jukukeskus.ee/et/colorino-kids-vannikriidid-5-varvi-67300ptr-4030103-0347
- Kineetiline liiv - https://mobile.kaup24.ee/et/kontoritarbed-koolikaubad-loometoo-tooted/kunstitarbed/kineetiline-liiv-koos-vormidega-genio-kids-500g?id=1671514&feat=search&keyword=kineetiline+liiv
- Playdoh plastiliin- https://www.jukukeskus.ee/et/play-doh
- Ise ostsin joonistusbloki, pliiatsid, vildikad
- Lastekiik- https://kiigik.com/pood/heleroosa-tahepuudja/
- Pissipott https://kiddsty.com/toode/babybjorn-pissipott/ (powder pink värv)
- Pealeistutav auto- Meil konkreetselt see, aga neid on igasuguseid, seega vastavalt eelistusele https://www.galaxus.de/de/s5/product/goki-rutscherfahrzeug-rosa-rutschauto-13524801
- Motoorika keskus- https://www.littledutch.ee/et/a/motoorikakeskus-%C2%B4adventure-pink%C2%B4
- Puidust rallirada-https://www.littledutch.ee/et/a/puidust-rallirada-%C2%B4wild-flowers%C2%B4
- Vannimänguasi- https://www.sirena.ee/veemanguasi-uleskeeratav-vaal/
- Hüppeloom- https://www.hansapost.ee/et/lapsed/manguasjad/vaikelapsed/huppeloomad/
- Nuppudega pusle. https://www.sirena.ee/nupupusle-veeloomad/
- Beebipusle- https://www.xsmanguasjad.ee/product/trefl-beebipusle-safari-loomad-36073t
- Katsu, tunne, kuula raamat- https://www.apollo.ee/ru/katsu-tunne-ja-kuula-minu-maailm.html
- Nupu tahvel- https://nupu.eu/pood/magnettahvlile-kinnitatavad-komplektid (meil on praegu kasutusel olnud loomade elupaik ja see on reaalselt üks väheseid mänguasju, mille juures Camilla kauem kui minuti püsib:D)
- Raamatud- ise plaanin neid nüüd juurde soetada ja Lauren Villmann tegi hiljuti nii hea tutvustuse, mis tal highlightsides ka on.
- Vaffa tool- https://vaffa.ee/vaffatooted/tool-lauakomplekt (see on meil paar kuud kasutuses olnud ja oleme kõik kolm suured fännid)
- Pikleri kolmnurk- meil olemas, aga kui aus olen, siis Camilla veel ei ole sellega suureks sõbraks saanud. Usun, et mõne aja pärast:)
- Mänguköök- meil veel ei ole, aga kindlasti plaanis varsti soetada. Camillale mängutubades või sõprade juures käies on see päris põnev tundunud.
Külalistele tõin ka välja selle, et kui ülal olevas listis midagi kindlat ei kõneta, siis võivad ise vaadata. Tõin lihtsalt välja paar kategooriat, mida eelistaksime mitte saada:D (pehmed mänguasjad- ei ole üldse Camillat seni köitnud; toidunõudega seotu- juba piisav kraam olemas.) Tegime Milale ka kasvukonto, seega näiteks mu isa otsustas hoopis kingituse ümbrikus tuua ja lapselapse investeeringutesse panustada.
Kui erinevate eakohaste tegevuste ja vahendite kohta uurisin, siis lugesin üht blogipostitust, mis oli minu meelest äärmiselt asjalik ja põhjalik. Õppisin ise lasteasjade kohta sealt nii mõndagi. Lisan selle ka siia:
Loodan, et see list aitab kellelgi googeldamis-aega kokku hoida:)
Kokkuvõttes võin öelda, et selle ürituse korraldamisega seotud sebimine oli minu jaoks seda 100% väärt. Need emotsioonid on nii ehedad ja mõnusad ja saadavad veel väga pikalt. Muidugi on suur rõõm, et on olemas nii vahvad sõbrad ja pere keda kokku kutsuda ja kellega koos ilusaid hetki luua. Viimaseks- kõige õnnelikum olen muidugi selle üle, et aasta tagasi Camilla meiega liituda otsustas ja tänu sellele kahtlemata parima aasta tähistamine üldse võimalik oli.
Teistele jumbudele ja nendele mampsidele-papsidele tervitused ja vahvaid tähistamisi ka teile.
Our most used baby products in the first 6 months
April 15, 2021
"How do these little humans need that much stuff??"
I remember thinking that during my pregnancy as I was doing research and putting together a master Excel of everything that seemed necessary. I felt that there were endless brands, stores, and options for every single category and often contradictory opinions of what is a "must-have" and what is a "waste of money." I was really overwhelmed at some point.
I also felt like when the baby is born and I don´t have something, then that train has gone. Meaning it seemed that then all the stores are going to be closed and if I don´t have it right away it will screw up everything.
Can any other expecting momma relate or was I the only weird one?:D
Now being a little over half a year into motherhood I can share what we actually have used and what has collected dust. As I mentioned before people have very different perspectives and preferences when it comes to baby products and that is perfectly fine. Some parents might look at these things that are on our list and think "How on earth was THAT thing helpful?" and also vica-versa. Someone´s "must-have" might be other´s dust-collected and the other way around. I am not a baby product expert and have done this only once, but I do like to review and research things quite a bit. So the following is our experience and I hope it will ease someone´s expectancy:)
Also what has helped me is just asking other moms about their experience. I have a handful of women, some of who I follow on social media, some who are close friends who have been of soooo much help. Liisi, Kertu, Lauren, Isabella, Karoliina, Kathleen, Dagmar- thank you for bearing my endless questions. Future (or current) momma, reading this- don´t be afraid to ASK and have some good women in your network that you can trust;)
With that being said, here are the things that have got the most usage during the first 6 months:
That is probably an item most parents agree on should be in the baby tool-kit:D I love moving and was walking a lot during my pregnancy and knew I will be doing that when the baby is here too. I had the first stroll exactly when Camilla was a week old and since then there haven´t been too many days that we haven´t strolled even just a little bit. She has loved napping in the stroller and I have loved getting out, breathing some fresh air, running errands and just refreshing the state of mind.
Our stroller is Emmaljunga NXT90 white leatherette and we have truly enjoyed it. I don´t think there is one perfect stroller and based on the needs / preferences it may vary, but here are a few things I´ve loved out it:
- The sturdiness. I knew that we will be strolling first in the winter months and the pram needs to be strong. This "little tank" has gone through snow, dirt, ice, sand, tree trunks, gobble stones, and all the other imaginable surfaces and has done a great job. The chassis is stable and strong and the carrycot nice and wide. Since I often go to the grocery store or pick up some packages with it I really like that the storage area under is big to accommodate bags. For some, the strong pram might seem like a con since it makes it heavier than many, but in my eyes, it was more of a plus.
- The amortization. No matter the surface the bounciness is soft for the baby.
- The look. This is a very personal preference, but I like the white and modern look.
Strolling with every weather
Extras with the stroller:
- Hand muff- Since this winter in Estonia had some pretty crispy days the hand muff came in extra handy. Ours is from Bozz.
- Rain cover- Since it also rained quite a bit the rain cover has definitely helpful too. I didn´t get the original Emmaljunga one, but a transparent, universal one from Prisma for 6 euros and we have surely got our money worth with it.
- Cup holder- I ordered a universal one and actually what ended up happening was that it wasn´t strong enough to hold a coffee mug, so eventually, I didn´t use it too much. A good takeaway here is to stick to one brand products within a category to make sure all the parts fit the best together. Or if you decided to go with various ones then to do enough research ahead of time that it ends up working as a unit.
2. Car seat + Isofix + wheels
Definitely, a must-have since it is for the baby´s security in the car. I don´t think they even let you go out of the hospital without this.
We got Quinny Zapp Flex Plus lightweight stroller mainly for the wheels for the car seat. We used the wheels for shorter little strolls for example from the car to a restaurant, in the store/mall, or a quick stroll in the park. The seat part came in very useful for us on our trip to Dubai.
Our car seat is Maxi Cosi Pebble Pro i-size and FamilyFix3 Isofix that goes with it.
3. Bouncing chair
Although there are multiple companies that do bouncing chairs, I feel that Babybjörn has pretty much become a synonym for it. We have really loved it and Camilla has liked bouncing in it from the early on.
It´s a great helper for the mom when you need to have your hands free to cook or shower or do something else. One thing my attention was drawn to is that the older the baby gets the more important it is to close the strap (or get the Babybjörn toy to put in front.) We got into the habit of letting her lay there when she was small without being closed. As she grew though she figured out that she can create the bounce itself and it got pretty intense. Some moms wrote to me that their baby managed to bounce himself out of it, so a good rule is to just in case always close it. (not like in the below pictures:D)
4. Drawer + changing station
I´ve heard some mom say that a changing station is something they didn´t use, but in our case it´s the opposite. I haven´t changed one diaper at home anywhere else other than the changing mat, that is on the drawer. I like that everything is in its place in hands´ reach and stuff doesn´t get all over the place.
Our drawer is Troll Lukas and the changing mat Ceba Baby Pastel Pink.
I looove the material of the mat, because it´s so easy to clean it. Wouldn´t even imagine how it´s done with a cotton surface mat.
One of the greatest little hacks has been Ikea Skubb organizers, which have helped to keep the little clothes tidy and nice. Otherwise, they just get lost in the drawer since they are so small. Another little helper has been a toy hanging on top of the changing mat so that whenever we change clothes Camilla plays with a toy there.
5. Baby monitors
You can probably get by without these if you don´t have the baby sleeping outside or in a different room, but for us they´ve been very helpful and definitely use them every day. Since Camilla loved to nap in the stroller (especially at the beginning), but I didn´t want to walk with her 4 hours a day, then putting her to the balcony with the monitors gave me peace that whenever she is fussying I can check her before she fully wakes up.
She goes to night sleep between 7.15 and 7.30 every day, so during that time they are next to her as well.
Ours are Capidi Monitors. I like their look, their battery life, the low radiation rate and the fact that they work with minus degrees.
Our Capidi monitors
6. Baby bath
Camilla has liked water since birth and bath-time is a daily habit for us. We call it Camilla´s SPA and it opens its doors every day at 6.30 pm:) Nick puts some SPA music on and I bring her in:) It´s our little family time every evening before Camilla heads to bed and we love it.
Since I am very tall, then having to bend down every time to do a bath wasn´t something I could wrap my mind around. Ours is open all the time, but if needed you can take the bath part off and the legs go together and are very compact. It literally takes a few minutes to fill it up and drains by itself. If we didn´t have a separate changing station, then this would be perfect for that also.
Ours is Cam Cambio.
6. Playing mat
This is another product that some of my girlfriends said their kids grew really quickly out of and that didn´t get so much use. In our case, it has got much use, especially since Camilla is pretty calm (and not too motivated to crawl around yet:D), so she lays there quite nicely. Just a thicker blanket would do the job I guess as well, but the arches across the mat have made it worth while. We have changed the toys hanging there and that has kept her engaged.
Our playing mat with the arches is from Karloova.
7. Bouncing ball
I got the bouncing ball during the pregnancy and used it to do some hip exercises to help the baby move from breech position to head down. I wasn´t really even expecting that it will be so useful with the baby too.
Many people warned me about using the bouncing ball, that once you start using it, you´ll never get rid of it and always have to bounce. Specifically in the first months it was a tremendous helper with getting her to sleep. From 4 months we don´t use it every time so it didn´t get to an "addiction" level:) Now (at 7 months) we just use it piece of furniture and just sit on it:D
Ours is from Medpoint.
The first few months bouncing was the go-to calmer
7. Warm bag
This is one of the things, that when my mom saw it she said- "Wow, these days they have thought about everything." Since me and my sister were both born in the winter she was telling me stories about how she was constantly checking the thermometer and stacking us with blankets.
This winter was pretty cold (up to -20C) so I couldn´t even imagine how it would have been possible to go on stroller rides without one.
We have Voksi Move and it has been perfect. In the late autumn, I used it with lighter clothes underneath and in the wintertime with thicker overalls on.
8. Merino onesie
Having a good onsie to go on top of home clothes (or bare skin) and then into the appropriate temperature warm bag in my mind is a good investment. We used ours for pretty much the whole 6 months and it came really handy. It was size 50-56, but Camilla fit into it even at 65 cm tall, not sure how... but she did:D
Ours is from Breden.
One of the most important topics related to newborns is their sleep and I bet most moms are willing to do whatever to help their little ones take good, quality naps and sleep well in the night. When I was pregnant I did a lot of sleep research and learned about swaddling. The point of swaddling is wrapping your baby's arms so that when they move they don´t wake up because of their own hands.
I tried it at the beginning with a blanket, but Camilla wiggled out of it and still startled herself. I had also one swaddle bag, that wrapped around her body but she didn´t like it because the hands were tied to the sides.
She has always slept with her hands up and then we found the Love to Dream swaddle (kudos, Lauren!) It´s probably my absolute favorite baby product because it has given me so many more hours of sleep. It´s so easy to use- you just zip her in and she can sleep with her hands up, but when she moves she feels secure and safe and keeps on sleeping. It has a zipper underneath as well, so if you need to change you don´t have to take off the whole thing (like you have to do with a blanket or another sleeping bag).
Also it serves as a blanket and keeps the baby warm.
One of my absolute favourite baby products- Love to Dream swaddles
Well, this is pretty obvious one, but I remember preparing for the baby´s arrival and being soooo confused of what I need to get and what size and how much. I read that many moms said not to buy size 50 clothes, because they will grow out of them so quickly.
In our case although Camilla was 53 cm tall when she was born she still wore size 50 at least the first 1,5 months. So I actually got some additional ones as she was born. Most of the 56 size at the beginning was huge for her (and I prefer them to be fitted more than loose). At 6 months old she wore size 62, so we have got pretty good use out of the first sizes.
For the beginning, I definitely suggest the wrap bodies, not the ones that go over the head. A lot of newborns (Camilla included) don´t like the process of changing clothes, so the wrap ones ease it a bit. I have pretty basic things for her- wrap bodies, pants, socks, pajamas.
The main places where I´ve got clothes are Next, Lindex, Newbie, HM.
I think that baby blankets are useful in so many different places. Of course for sleep, but also to lay them under wherever you need to put the baby on.
We have different material blankets (merino, Minky, cotton, muslin) for various occasions. Since it´s been mainly cold weather during Camilla´s first 6 months, merino blanket has been the most useful since it is just the warmest. Some of those we also got as presents from friends/family, so even if you have one warmer and a few lighter ones it will be plenty.
12. Whitenoise machines
This is another sleep hack that in our case has worked really well. In the beginning, I thought the "shhhh"-ing is just something that people do to babies, but comes out it really calms them down. I know a lot of people use youtube, but I like the idea of having a separate white noise machine so that you can have access to your phone while the baby sleeps.
We have used Zazu one in the stroller and Ewan the Sleepsheep in bed. I prefer the Zazu most simple one without a toy. Camilla also likes to look at the Zazu night-light one which projects stars to the ceiling.
13. Diaper bin
I have used disposable diapers and really admire the moms who have chosen the route of cloth ones. For various reason I haven´t gone that route and often feel guilty about it, but it is what it is. That´s why the diaper bin has come in very handy. The bin has a smell lock and also makes sorting and taking out garbage much easier. When the baby is just on breastmilk the closed lid and the smell lock don´t make that big of a difference even, but when they start getting some additional food.... oh, boy:D Then it´s extra useful:)
We have We too Diaper Keeper.
14. Diaper bag
This doesn´t necessarily have to be especially a "diaper" bag, but just allocate one bag to carrying around baby stuff. Since wherever I went with the baby I had to take diapers, wet wipes, some clothes, change of clothes etc, then a bag is pretty much always needed. The benefit of a special diaper bag is that they usually have various little pockets to store all the baby nicnacks.
We have Ally Scandic backpack, which was a great hand-luggage and helper during our trip. One of my friends got us the striped one, that has "The Connors" on it. That has been my go-to baby-bag. Emmaljunga white leatherette one I attached to the stroller and used for longer trips. One will do the job for sure too.
15. Baby carrier
Camilla has loved being on my chest since the beginning. If she could, she´d take all her naps there and hung out in between those as well. At the very beginning, I used the wrap and that was fine too, but when we got the carrier it was a bit easier to use and that took the wrap´s place. The carrier was especially beneficial during our month-long trip to Dubai where we walked a lot. But I´ve used it also at home for various home tasks and cooking. I´m sure as the weather turns warmer now, it´ll be used more outside too.
Our is Love & Carry ONE+.
16. Nursing pillow
This product was something we didn´t have until we went to a fysiotherapist, who used it and suggested us to get it too. I didn´t use it for nursing, but since Camilla totally hated tummy-time the first few months (and still is not a big fan), then with that pillow it was a little more doable. Many suggest a rolled up towel or blanket and that works perfectly fine too for most, Camilla just didn´t like that version either. She was just totally against tummy time.
Anyway, the nursing pillow helped a bit with that. In addition to the playing mat and bouncing chair it became a place for her to hang out. Sometimes when we are chilling on the couch, then she leaned into it and chilled along:)
So this is pretty specific to our case, but figured I´d bring it out either way.
Tummy time and chilling time
The main things we have used in the "baby pharmacy" are:
- Calendula tincture (saialille tinktuur) for cleaning the belly button at the beginning.
- D-vitamin for all of its benefits.
- NaCl water for cleaning eyes, belly button.
- Sudocream for occasional redness of the booty.
- Bepanthen cream for some smaller rashes.
- Rhinomer to empty the nose. Recently we got the Nosiboo Pro for the same purpose, but haven´t used it enough to share full feedback.
- Hairbrush to comb the little hairs.
As I shared the things that have got a lot of use, I´ll also write what have been some products for us that haven´t so far.
Before having a baby I swore that I won´t be the mom whose baby sleeps in their bed. But I am. And truth be told....I love it!
We have the crib for her, where she does some of her daily naps. Since I have strolled with her most days though (or put to the balcony), then the longer day-nap she has done in the stroller. That has been an intentional choice because most days I have wanted to get out myself.
We also have the next to me crib and that has got a partial benefit. Camilla falls asleep in there, but pretty much always in the night, I am too tired to take the time to put her back there. Although it´s literally connected to our bed:D
During pregnancy, I read how co-sleeping is dangerous and affects the parent´s sleep and I was sure that I won´t do that to us. What has surprised me though is that I sleep better when she is in our bed and it has also saved me a lot of sleep hours. Camilla has been a good sleeper since the beginning and I can´t (and also choose not to) complain about sleep deprivation. There have been rarely nights where I have had to actually stand up from the bed. Most of the time she eats and falls right back to sleep. So that also has kept me letting her sleep in our bed.
This will obviously change and soon we´ll have to make that transition, but for now I have made peace with it myself and allowed myself to snuggle with her. So although the bed is in the second category in this blog it will surely get more and more use soon.
What I´ve understood is that when it comes to sleep there is no "one size fits all" solution. I have friends whose babies sleep separately and I have friends whose babies sleep with them for multiple years and both are absolutely fine in my mind. Whatever works for that family is the best.
Our next to me crib is KinderKraft Uno and bed Troll Romantica.
2. Breast bump + bottles
This item is definitely on the "must-have" list for many moms, but in our case, I have used it only probably 4-5 times or so. I have been able to operate around her eating times and haven´t had to be away from her longer than those blocks. She has eaten pumped breast milk from the bottle 2 times- once we were on a date--night with Nick and once when I went bowling with friends. I don´t know if that´s good or bad, but that´s the case.
My breastfeeding experience (other than the first week of pain) has been very positive. I knew all along that if possible I´ll do all I can to breastfeed. I have absolutely loved it and I am very grateful I have been able to do that. I think it´s an amazing connecting time for the mom and baby and to me, it´s still astonishing how the women´s body is able to create a mixture of everything necessary for the baby.
Yet at the same time, I emphasize that fed a baby is the goal! If for some reason breastfeeding has not or will not be your experience, then that´s up to you. Situations, choices are different.
The few times I did pump were more towards the beginning of the milk production and some evenings my breasts were just so heavy, that I needed some relief.
The bump itself was great though. I used Medela Swing. Fortunately, this was something that I didn´t invest in myself because a friend of mine whose daughter is already older gave me to use. I had it before labor and if I had bought it, then in our case it would not have been worth the investment. So with breast bump, I´d suggest waiting to see if you actually need it before you buy it.
The bottles are also from Medela with Calma end.
3. Baby nest
As I wrote before that the bed hasn´t got that much use until now. I know that the bed WILL get a lot more use moving forwards, but unfortunately the baby nest won´t, since it will be too small. It was helpful here and there but could have got along without it too.
Ours is from Wellweti.
4. Baby cream / baby powder
I don´t know if it´s a picture from the movies that was instilled in my mind or from somewhere else, but for some reason I thought that the baby booty needs to be powdered all the time. The reality is that we haven´t done it once. Same with body lotions. As I wrote before I have just used a bit of Sudocream and Bepanthen (and moisturiser on our trip), but not anything else.
So here are our most used and not so much used products in the first 6 months of our daughter´s life. I truly hope that this will ease someone´s process of putting together a list of things for their little one(s).
My first precious pregnancy
December 30, 2020
I´ve never been a motherly-type of a woman.
You know those girls, who always enjoyed playing with their dolls. They adored dressing, feeding, and taking care of them and knew from an early age, that being a mom is one of the things they love to be the most in this life.
Well... I was never one of them.
I was a chubby, boy-like kid and my mom had to put a ribbon on my head for people not to ask: "What´s your son´s name?" I loved playing outside and getting dirty, climbing the trees, and trying to keep up with my two older cousins. My hair didn´t start growing until the 1st grade. I hated dresses and skirts and couldn´t care less about dolls or taking care of them.
Growing up when people asked me who I wanted to be, "a mom" was nothing that ever popped in my head.
Getting into my college years and early professional life, I was also never the type of woman who was endeared by holding someone else´s baby or babysitting, playing with them. As terrible of a human being as it sounds for myself even- I was never just a fan of small kids.
I had always envisioned having a family though, but it seemed still somehow so far off. I just had other things on my mind.
Thus far, as you can tell, I seemed to myself not too much of mom-material and sometimes felt pretty bad for it. Everything changed when Nick and I got serious and I could really start seeing the vision.
"He will definitely be the father of my children," I remember thinking. When you know, then you know...
Fast forward a few years- having a daughter now has been BY FAR the most fulfilling and amazing experience of my life. Carrying her for 40 weeks was truly a great honor and now I have dived into motherhood and love it more than anything. Seems that the mom-gene was still somewhere inside me:D (up until that point I questioned if it was)
Anyone can relate?
Okay. Now to the pregnancy time itself...
New Years Eve. We had got a positive test result in the same morning. Since Nick was doing 75Hard challenge and wasn´t drinking alcohol I could hide behind that and tell our friends I was doing it with him;)
I wrote about this period and getting pregnant in a previous blog post ("Bumpy road to pregnancy"), so I won´t focus now too much on this part. I'll just say, that Camilla was my second pregnancy and a very, very expected and hoped for child.
As I look at my pregnancy diary and think back, I have very few pictures and even notes from the first trimester. Mentally the first trimester was definitely the hardest for me. Since the last time I was pregnant, my heart was totally broken, I guess I tried to protect it this time without having any evidence or memories if it would happen again. Silly thought maybe now, but then it made sense to me.
I was just scared....
I hoped SO much that everything will go well. I was also very paranoid. I associated every "weird" feeling with "something has definitely happened to the baby." To get confirmation and peace of mind, I had an ultrasound at 6+6; 8+2; 10+1, and 12+4 weeks. So at the end of the first trimester, I had already had 4 of them whereas some women have three in their entire pregnancy. Every time I left the hospital with a deep, grateful sigh. "The baby is still in there."
Physically I was blessed with a very easy 1st trimester. I never threw up or had intense nausea. I was definitely more tired (especially in the middle of the day) and had some headaches, but not to the extent that I had to stay in bed or take naps. I just went to bed a little earlier than usual and really protected my sleep-schedule.
I remember even googling if it is okay to feel that okay in your first trimester:D
I know that women who have had harder 1st trimesters reading this might think- "I wish I had it that easy." I, on the other hand, was secretly hoping for more nausea to "feel like being pregnant, " because that´s what I had encountered around me and thought it should be. Funny how our brains work sometimes.
So physically a very doable first trimester, mentally very, very rough one.
At that time I had just confirmed to be one of the faces of the Nike Training Club campaign. The first person other than Nick who I shared our pregnancy with was not my mom or best friend, but NTC-s organizer:D Greetings to you, Kelly:)
I was used to doing high-intensity strength and endurance workouts, but now those seemed too much. I read a lot about the correlations between working out and miscarriages and although there isn´t a strong proven link, it still mentally didn´t make sense to me to do burpee-marathons and jumping jacks. Especially when I already was a little scary-cat in my head.
When I got pregnant I had just done two Nike Training Club 50 workout challenges, was in a good form, and absolutely sure that my belly will show right away:)
I started doing the calmer yoga- classes in order to show up and at least do something. I told the other trainers, who were used to seeing me in their trainings that I had a knee- injury and I had to give it some recovery-time:D Just a little white lie. Oooops:)
My greatest cravings were tomato and pickle juice, salty pastries, and porridge. I ate carrot-buns every day and Nick looked at me like a weirdo when I was gulping down pickle juice from the jar leaving the pickles themselves to him:D I also crushed a whole bunch of cookies. I didn´t really have any foods which smell made me cringe or nauseous.
12-week ultrasound (last ultrasound together with Nick)- Everything with the baby is good. The Baby´s gender is not confirmed yet. Dang, it!
13 week belly
Around week 16 one of my friends who knew about the pregnancy asked me to send a picture of the belly-bump. I understood then, that I had been so afraid, that I literally hadn´t taken a picture of my belly in the last 3 months (other than the one above).
2nd April (week 18, the belly has popped!:))- finally allowing myself to believe what´s happening and starting to capture and enjoy the journey
It actually got real to me when we shared the news on social media between 18-19 weeks. When so many people sent their congratulations then I finally celebrated myself too- "Wow, we are actually having a baby.":D
Week 19-20- It was the week of Easter and I was visiting my mom. I shared with her that I hadn´t felt the baby kick yet and that was a bit concerning to me. I had the placenta in the front wall and I knew that could delay the kicks, but the worry (read: another huge mental crash) crept in again. One of my acquaintances is a midwife and she happened to have a doppler at home to hear the baby´s heartbeat. That evening I got the doppler and between the weeks 19-23 (when the kicks were still rare and soft) listened to the heartbeat every time I needed peace in my heart. The most beautiful and precious sound in the world.
This picture has nothing to do with my pregnancy, but scrolling back to see what photos I had, around week 20 I ran into this and got a good laugh:D Mine and Nick´s faces swapped:D Wanted to see how the "combination of our genes" could look like:D
Week 20-21 - As you read before already in the first trimester I had multiple ultrasounds. The half-way point wasn´t any different. I headed to this fetus anatomy ultrasound excited to learn about the sex of the baby and get confirmation that everything is going the way it should. Came out the baby was in a position, that her body was not fully visible in the ultrasound. The doctor could check some of the important body-parts, but not all of them thoroughly. I got a new time a week later.
That appointed morning, excited, I headed to the same hospital room. AGAIN the baby had taken a position where the end of her spine wasn´t fully visible. We agreed for me to come the next day.
I knew all along that patience is one of the most important lessons this little one will come to teach me, but .... already??
The next day in the morning the situation was still the same and now it already seemed funny to me. In the evening the baby had finally turned so that all the vital points were possible to be analyzed and everything was good. Yet another deep sigh.
I don´t know how throughout this pregnancy I was such a worrier. I am generally pretty calm and positive, but now Nick had to remind me very frequently to not get in my head and stop taking everything so damn seriously. "Liisa.... relaaaaaaax, she´s okay" he´d say all the time.
Although I tried to remind myself constantly, that the number 1 priority is that the baby is healthy, deep in my heart I was really, really hoping our first baby will be a girl. When we had talked about kids and family with Nick, we somehow always referred to our first-born as a "she". Now we got confirmation that our previous visualization was a reality. We were having a daughter! We could not have been happier.
The winning "Team Pink." IT`S A GIRL!
In the second trimester, I formed some pregnancy habits, that I kept until pretty much the last day before birth. One of my strongest beliefs is controlling the things that are in our control and putting our focus and self-worth into those. I really believe that after the worrisome first part of the pregnancy, these core habits helped me to maintain a good routine, and now looking back also snap back later. Here are a few of those:
- Moving and getting some physical exercise. I walked 1,5-2 hours (10-13 km) pretty much every morning covering 465 km in 7th month; 462 km in 8th and 444 km in the 9th month. Since it was the lockdown time anyway and not too many options of going out, this was MY time. I loved being in the fresh air and especially doing it first thing in the morning. On some walks, my belly went hard and I had to rest a bit, but it wasn´t anything too bad.
Winter and summer walks
- Drinking a lot of water. A LOT! That was a habit I had already before, but now it was even more elevated. Did it get annoying when on longer trips Nick had to stop a thousand times for me to use the bathroom? Probably. Was it worth it though? 100%!:)
- Listening to baby seminars, audiobooks, and preparing myself. For me, knowledge is a source of confidence. I don´t like "winging it" in pretty much any part of my life, so I figured taking care of a human being, 100% dependent on me, is definitely not a place to do that too. The goal for me was not to do everything "by the book," the goal was to listen to my body and balance it with what I had learned. To know enough to form my own opinion. I read books, did a 20 seminar course, looked at some other webinars, watched youtube- videos, asked my friends. Not all of it was definitely necessary, but whatever gave me peace of mind at that time was healthy and helpful.
- Tried to eat as healthy as I could. This worked better at the beginning of the pregnancy when I had the previous good habits but got worse and worse as the months rolled by. The carrots became chocolates and cottage cheese gummy bears.
Most days (at the beginning) I maintained the previous healthy habits, but some days had to leave myself reminders not to go on crazy food adventures and eat EVERYTHING we had
- No whining. At the very beginning of the pregnancy, I promised myself that I will not complain about anything. This was exactly what I had wished and hoped for and it would be hypocritical to now not choose to be happy about it. As you read before I was scared in the first part of the pregnancy, but I wasn´t whining.
- Trusted my body and mind. I feel that in the parenthood world it is so easy to compare. It starts already during the pregnancy- some have bigger bellies than others. Some gain 10 kgs, some 20, some 30. Some get more complications than others. Some like to get the baby stuff earlier, some later. Some want very specific brands, some prefer aftermarket. It´s ALL FINE! Being apart of baby groups you see women talking, sharing about their experience and it is so easy to get caught up in what others are doing. As much as I researched and talked with people I still trusted that whatever I had decided I´ll stick to it and not worry or compare.
One of my very favourite things during the 2nd trimester was to see Nick´s involvement and reactions. He was literally the sweetest!
Every week we read from an app about the size and development of the baby. He talked with the baby every day. Every night before bed he gave me a good-night kiss and then held his hands on my stomach and chatted with the baby. I don´t know how much of it is a coincidence and how much actual effect, but the baby was moving more when she was hearing Nick´s voice. I still remember Nick saying- "Hey sweetie, it´s papa here." Or "Give papa a little kick." I had tears in my eyes looking at it.
The baby liked to be on my left side of the stomach all the time and Nick had a theory that it´s because he sleeps on that side of me.
Nick was also having a little tapping-communication with her and he was sure the baby was answering to him. Again- this might sound a little funny, but hey- it was so sweet how the were already becoming buddies.
First little body for the nugget
In the 2nd (and 3rd) trimester I was also veeeeery emotional. Everything and anything brought tears to my eyes. Whether it was a touching movie or a sunny day, some pictures, or sometimes even an ordinary moment was enough to get the waterworks going. Every feeling was somehow elevated.
All the pregnancy moods
Week 25: We started getting some things for the baby (the stroller, the bed, carseat etc). I made a gigantic Excel and for weeks was soooo overwhelmed with all the million options for every product. Step-by-step I made a plan though and started executing on it.
First baby things
Week 31-32- At the beginning of July, week 31 at the midwife´s appointment my belly measured smaller than at that moment was normal, so I was sent to another ultrasound. Everyone kept saying "Oh, your belly is so small" and at that point, I actually started thinking too: "Well... what if the baby is not growing the way she should?"
In the ultrasound, the baby measured smaller than average, but nothing to the extent that there was something wrong. The baby was still in the breech position (tuharseis) and I knew that if she doesn´t turn head-down soon we need to do the manual turning or decide for a c-section.
Since we have a technology-free bedroom, this here is literally one of three pictures taken there during 2020. I just wanted to remember how I built a pillow-tower every evening to give relief to my slowly more and more swollen feet.
Although at that week there is still plenty of time for the baby to turn around, I started doing different exercises to motivate her to do that. I watched all kinds of videos and since I didn´t want to do the manual, outside turning nor c-section, I was ready to try anything. I was doing hip-exercises with the bouncing ball, I held cold on top of my stomach and warm at the bottom for her to turn towards the lower part. I was watching TV with my knees on the couch and my head lower. I even did the flashlight technique where I showed the light to the belly for her to see "the light at the end of the tunnel":D
Motivating the baby to turn head down:D Watching TV head down, booty up was very interesting:D
Week 31-32- We were planning to go to a baby-moon and enjoy one last trip the two of us. I consulted with multiple midwives and friends about recommendation and risks travelling at that stage. I was feeling great, but with the Covid restrictions added to the mix, we decided to make the most of Estonian summer.
Answering emails with feet in cold water:D
Week 32 (pregnancy book)- "Dear Camilla, you are really growing and making momma´s rib-cage expand. I don´t have really any other pains other than the feeling like someone has punched me in my ribs. If this is what it takes for you to grow happily and healthy, then I´ll take it:) Keep growing, little one."
Third trimester strong kicks and a very popped belly button
Week 33- (pregnancy book)"Mila... Momma and Papa put together your bed today. We hope that you will get the sweetest dreams and best sleep in it. We love you so much and we are excited to meet you."
"Babe, I have another little project for you for the evening"
Week 34-35- I did a belly photoshoot and we make some pictures with our wedding photographer. Between weeks 32-36 I felt as beautiful as I had ever felt. The belly was big already, but it wasn´t heavy for me. I wore tight clothes and stuck it out every moment I could. I was so proud! "Look- I am growing a human!". I strongly suggest every women to capture that time in some photos. It doesn´t have to be a fancy photoshoot, but to have something to look back at is so precious.
Loving the wait
Week 36: I have no idea if my flashlight and hip moving exercises had helped, but by this week she had turned around and was head down, ready to make her entrance into the world:)
Week 37: Overnight I have gained 1,5 kilos and my fingers and toes are way bigger than usual. I go to the hospital just in case to eliminate the option of preeclampsia. They look at the baby´s heartbeat and everything is the way it should. No signs of her wanting to start getting out.
Week 37-39: Organized my closet. Cleaned EVERYTHING. I truly felt like the baby will come and do a dust-control:D Also food-prepped a bunch of chicken- cottage cheese patties, tomato soup, and beef-bean mixture. That was areal a blessing in the first weeks to eat home-made food without the need to pour time into it. Future mommas- if there is anything that will help you in the first weeks- this is it!
Week 38-39: It started to get heavy! My legs were swollen and only a few pairs of sneakers barely fit me. I got varicose veins and it was uncomfortable to sleep. The baby was kicking stronger and stronger and it felt like my ribs were bruised. Now I didn´t feel like the maternal goddess I had seemed to myself a few weeks ago. Nothing overly hard though. Just the normal differences in the body while carrying a little one with you. I was soooo excited though! Any time now... any time.
Week 40: The schedule was cleared and we were ready!
Total I had gained 14 kg-s. 9 in the first 8 months and 5 in the final month. In the last one, I literally ate anything and everything I could get my hands on. I´d order a bunch of groceries and snacks with the idea of those lasting a little longer, but every time ended up destroying all the sweets and junk in an evening or two. If I hadn´t moved as much as I did I probably would have ended up gaining muuuuuch more.
If the first 8 months I tried to stay somewhat healthy, then last month I destroyed an absolutely unbelievable amount of candies, cookies, and ice-cream
Week 40 +3- Camilla is born (days leading up to it in Camilla´s birth story blog). Best day of my life!
To sum up, all pregnancies are different and not to be compared in an unhealthy way. I do believe though that some of the pregnancy is " in our head" and many things under our control. I believe that no matter the extent of pregnancy effects, women are the most beautiful during that time and should be so proud of baking those little miracles.
I personally could not have asked for a better pregnancy and am very grateful to have this experience. It was truly such a special time and I felt the prettiest I´ve ever felt. It is still insane to me how women are able to do everything they do and I sure have a heck more respect for my body than I previously did. Carrying a little human inside made me more humble, grateful, scared, emotional, empowered, amazed. It made me more of everything!
Meeting our baby girl- Camilla´s birth story
November 19, 2020
"Are you scared of the labour?"
I couldn´t even count the times I was asked that question. Being a pregnant woman, especially in the third trimester, I was probably not the only one who heard it as the most commonly asked question.
Isn´t it interesting how there is a strong, programmed belief and association in a lot of people´s mind, that childbirth is definitely something to be afraid of? The worst thing is that no matter how much you try to keep your cool when everyone keeps on asking it, you start thinking- "Hmmm...SHOULD I be scared?"
My best friend taught me to tell people around me instead to ask- "Are you excited about the labour?"
With one simple word- swap, the entire mood changes, and the expecting mom gets to think of the thrilling event of meeting her new baby. So next time you see a mom with a bump- make her day by asking cheerfully- "What are you the most excited about?:)"
Okay...enough of the overall theoretical part. Let´s get to the point...
When it came to labour I had three main hopes throughout my pregnancy:
- The baby will be healthy.
- Nick can be at the birth.
- The labour will be as natural as possible.
If those three things happened, it would have been in my eyes a perfect experience. As much as I visualized this dream scenario I also prepped my mind that if for some reason one or none of these things happened, I am not going to beat myself up. Nor is that a reason to not be proud or happy or whatever good emotions I tied in my mind to these three points.
I will write a separate pregnancy blog-post about the nine expecting months and what were the things I did to prepare for the grand finale. So in this one I will purely focus on the few days leading to and following our daughter´s birth.
Camilla´s due date was the 3rd of September. On that day we also had our Southwestern Consulting yearly client networking event. I let everyone know, that if I am not in the hospital, then I´ll find a way to be there. If they won´t see me there though, then I have a good reason for not showing up:) During that day there were no signs of feeling any different so I headed to the event, feeling like a whale, bearly fitting my sneakers on.
I knew somehow that the baby will not join us earlier than 40 weeks. I literally didn´t even pack the hospital bag until week 39. Yes, I had thought through and bought the stuff, but if the little one would have decided to come at week 37, 38, it would have been a whole lot of packing before heading to the hospital:D
Yet at the same time for some reason, I was really scared of carrying the baby much longer. My own due date was on the 24th of December and well... my birthday is on the 15th of January. Since a lot of my pregnancy was similar to my mom´s first pregnancy (I am the oldest), then that was surely a fear of mine.
So on the morning of the 4th of September on my morning walk, I watched a whole bunch of videos about ways to naturally induce labour.
I really wasn´t feeling any different or anything along the lines of "this is happening soon," so I was ready to try whatever in order for her to start coming.
I really enjoyed my pregnancy and I wasn´t in pain, but the last days just mentally were dragging so much. Things were uncomfortable and I was just so, so, so ready and excited to meet our daughter.
There are a lot of suggestions on what to do to encourage the start of your labour. I don´t know at all how much actual data or research supports those. People with medical background might say that there´s no correlation to actual stimulation, but I figured it doesn´t hurt to try. So on the 4th, I drank raspberry leaf tea literally all day (previously drank it since week 38 1-2 cups a day), made hip-rounds with the bouncing ball, drank a bit champagne, walked a lot of stairs, did a bunch of squats etc.
On the evening of the 4th of September, Friday, I started feeling a bit "different." I told Nick, that I wouldn´t call it "pain " yet, but definitely feels how I haven´t felt before. I started having some irregular contractions and that night didn´t get much sleep. Somehow close to the morning I got some rest and we had a slow long morning.
The contractions slowed down, but came and went during the day. I didn´t know what to think of them. "Is this how the REAL contractions feel like?" "Should this be the beginning of the labour?" It wasn´t anything significantly painful, just uncomfortable and nothing I could compare with that I had experienced before.
Around 3 o clock, we went on a small walk with Nick. Although the day before I was able to keep a good pace, now I was moving with literally a snail´s speed, having to stop here and there to breathe. To me, that was a sign that something´s really going on.
We went running a few errands and grabbed some food. It was now around 4-5 pm and although I was able to walk, sitting down at the table to eat I had to occasionally close my eyes and take deep breaths. We decided to go home and started watching a movie.
Around 8 o clock, my contractions started getting much stronger. I couldn´t just sit on the couch anymore so I went upstairs to the bed. I texted my midwife and asked her for some guidance.
I am jumping ahead here a little, but having our private midwife was something we were debating for a long time, thinking if it is a necessary expense. Looking back now it ended up being the best decision and probably the best investment I´ve ever made.
What it eventually came down to was that I knew women who hadn´t had one and regretted it, but I didn´t know anyone who had had one and said they wish they hadn´t. There are definitely a lot of positive stories from not having a private midwife, just here I don´t have any comparison. All I know is that I am so amazingly grateful for the help of our midwife and I know it was the right decision for us.
Back to the business....
Nick was watching a movie downstairs and I was upstairs breathing through the contractions. They were getting stronger and stronger and I was trying to find a position to feel somewhat comfortable in. I was trying to move as much as I could. I was sitting, standing, walking, and being on my fours. Eventually, I went to a bath. That really helped to relieve the pain.
I did quite a bit of research during my pregnancy and to me it seemed like a big test now. I tried to breathe deep and long, relax my mouth, and just calm myself as much as possible. I remembered how in every webinar/book they suggested not to get stuck in one position, so I kept moving my body for it to work with me.
Somehow I didn´t realize to update Nick on how things are going and involve him too much in the process:D We didn´t really do any birth-related preparation together. The main thing I told him is that I need his encouragement, belief, positivity, and reminders to breathe, move, and just keep on going.
He came and checked on me here and there, but I had never visualized nor expected him to massage me, breathe with me, or be holding my hand. I was in my own bubble, just focusing on succeeding in my "exam" and that was exactly what I needed.
Around 12 am Nick came upstairs and I asked him to put some music on. I had done a labour playlist for myself and played the scenarios through in my head on many of my walks. Looking back, the vibe of that playlist was TOTALLY different than what I needed at that moment. I had added fun, good mood, pump-up songs, which I thought would give me power, but at the time would have actually made me cringe. Nick put on some worship music, which calmed me so much.
I was focused. Laser-focused!
I was in the bath, lights out, empoweringly calming music on, trying to be as relaxed as humanly possible through the pain I´d never even imagined being this unique and overtaking.
Nick´s expectation of labour was somewhat like in the movies. With a big splash my waters would break and then he´d rush to get the bags to the car and we´d quickly go to the hospital and then pushing would start right away.
Now don´t get me wrong... although I was giving my best during this time not to freak out, the pain was getting really, really, really strong. I was now in constant communication with my midwife and going into every call I thought to myself: "Now´s the point where I say- I can´t anymore, it´s getting unbearable."
She was encouraging me, giving me perspective, and positively challenging me. She told me to start heading to the hospital when the contractions were 2-3 minutes apart. Mine had been around 4-5 minutes for a few hours. She also added- "Liisa, when it´s too much, just tell and we´ll meet right away."
One thing that works really well for me is challenging and setting short little goals. Even when Nick wants to push and help me to believe I can do something he says- "I dare you..."
That´s what Minni (our midwife) did too. After every call I took a breath and thought- "Okay...15 minutes more, I can do that."
Around 1.15 am I told her, that the contractions are so strong, that I need to get some help. By that moment I had been laboring pretty much alone for 5 hours and my own wisdom had exhausted. Some of the contractions brought tears into my eyes and it was the time where just breathing through them didn´t work anymore. I was in real, real pain.
I remember thinking- "How on earth do women do this?"
We agreed to meet at the hospital at 2.15 am.
Previous hospital bag packing. Should I write a blogpost about the hospital bag too?
Nick got the bags in the car and I brushed my teeth and got my clothes on. Every step took so much time and needed intentional effort. Getting into the car felt like an accomplishment. My number one thought was- "I want epidural the moment we get there!"
By that time I was in strong pain. Some of my girlfriends have asked how does it feel like and truth be told it´s really indescribable. It´s the type of pain that is just different from anything else.
Some women compare it to very strong menstrual pains. If some women actually have so intense discomfort every month, they are troopers, because mine were NOTHING like menstrual pain.
We were walking to the hospital and I had to crouch down a few times walking from the parking lot to the door. We made it there at 2.15 am.
We signed in, I had to do the Corona test and change into the hospital gown. I remember telling my pregnancy midwife previously- "I am afraid of the Corona test." During those contractions, getting that test done was the last thing I should have worried about:D
The lady at the admin desk asked- "Do you want a wheelchair to go upstairs or do you feel you can walk?" That was again one of those moments, where my mental toughness was challenged and I said- "I think I can make it."
So we walked to the elevator and headed to the labour floor.
Our midwife was waiting there and I was so happy to see her positive face. We had met with her before and I had seen the labour room and both of those things gave me so, so much power at that point. It was somehow "familiar" and I was actually excited to be there.
If we hadn´t had Minni, I would have started going to the hospital much earlier. I am grateful we didn´t. I was able to be at home and the shift of finally heading there came at a very good time. It gave me new strength.
We got to the room around 2.45 and she saw me breathe through a few contractions. Somehow I wanted to impress her and was able to handle them much better than at home.
My biggest fear was that she´ll check me, the dilaton is 1 cm and we have to go back home. She checked me and said- "Liisa, the dilation is 5 cm."
She was surprised because the way I had managed to get through the last contraction had given her the impression that it wasn´t that painful. Hmm, I guess I was good at faking it at that point.
She also asked what do we think the baby´s birth time will be. Nick said 6 am and since I was born at 6.53 am myself I said that time. I was thinking to myself- "Is that realistic? Could I really be holding our baby in my arms then?"
Hearing that the dilation was 5 cm gave me so much hope and power. Minni was so encouraging and maybe it was a placebo effect, but somehow the pain got smaller for a short period. Purely from words of affirmation. I asked Minni about the epidural idea and she again positively challenged me to wait another 30 minutes and see then. At that point, we were wearing masks and she said that the Corona test´s answer should come shortly, and then it´s easier to get the anesthesiologist there.
One thing I knew about epidural and that Minni confirmed too is that often it slows the birth process a bit. It´ll take away the pain so that the woman can catch a breath for a little, but is still a short-term helper. I wasn´t sure if that was the solution. I wasn´t begging for it and the fact that Minni and Nick believed I could do without, made me believe that too.
Minnie came back and at that point, the contractions had got SO painful that I was making sounds that I didn´t know could come out of me. Still, between the contractions, I was able to pull myself together.
From there on things get a bit blurry to me.
At one point Minni was checking me again and said, that the dilation is 8 cm. By then the contractions had reached their maximum peak and the calm breathing I was able to do at home was taken over by loud roars.
I knew at that point that any painkiller wouldn´t work anymore. It was time to just go through it.
Although I knew in my mind that there is nothing more to do than just keep on going that was the period where I said to Nick and Minni multiple times- "I just can´t anymore. I can´t."
Minni had told me about the "breaking point" that most women go through at the end of the opening period. I had heard about my friends describing that part as wanting to just leave or quit the process. Might sound funny to those that haven´t been in that situation, but I know my fellow mommas can relate. I literally thought, that I don´t know what you guys are going to do now and I am sorry, but I just can´t do this anymore. During the most painful contraction, I thought- "Can you just really quickly put me to sleep and then get the baby out somehow?"
But still kept going.
Isn´t it funny how our mind gives up way earlier than our body!?
Fortunately, Nick and Minni both were the greatest cheerleaders a girl could have. If at home I felt I didn´t need Nick´s support that much, then now it was absolutely crucial and he helped me big time. To every "It´s coming again, I can´t anymore" Nick said- "Yes you can, Liisa."
During that time I felt like being in a different dimension. My eyes were twirling and I was just hoping for it to end soon. I remember Minni saying- "Liisa, make eye-contact with me for a second."
At home, I was moving as much as I could, but in the hospital, I was pretty much in one position. On my side or on my back on the bed. There were two times Minni told me to go to the bathroom, but other than that moving seemed impossible.
At some point, through the contractions, I heard Minni saying- "Liisa, you are fully dilated, now when the feeling of pressure comes, just push like there´s no tomorrow."
Since the tempo was so fast (that was all between 2.50 am and 4.10 am, meaning the last 5 cm dilation happened in a little more than an hour) there were some contractions that were combined with the pushes. Nick told me later, "Liisa, then I understood how much pain you were in because when you were screaming your voice was breaking." My legs started shivering too.
Now when the pushing period started it got a little calmer. I know a lot of women have described this period as easier or somewhat even enjoyable. I definitely wouldn´t call it enjoyable, but at least the pace was slower.
I just pushed as hard as I could and my main motivator was that if I don´t push hard enough it comes again and I have to do it all over.
Minni was motivating me, saying- "Liisa, she wants to come so much. So much." That was a HUGE help for me. Somehow it wasn´t about me anymore, it was about helping our sweet daughter reach us." Minni said- "Next time take your lungs full of air and 3 times in a row push as hard as you can." I don´t remember exactly how many pushes there had been until then, probably 5-6. My water had broke during one of those pushes, so not quite at that time that Nick had expected:D
Then I just took my last strength and pushed one more time.
None of this do I remember very clearly, because I think I wasn´t breathing very well, just pushing as hard as possible. Nick had put a phone to film, so I was able to look later and see what was actually happening.
Nick was next to me and asked Minni- "Is that her hair?"
"Hair? Oh my gosh, she has hair!" went through my mind and I just wanted to get that little girl out so bad.
I pushed again as hard as I could and all of a sudden felt something gushing out of me. Then there was THE cry....
These pictures are as real as it gets. They are blurry because they are screenshots of a video. I have watched that video so many times, tears in my eyes, gratitude in my heart. My memory of this period is as blurry as the imagines, so I am so glad Nick captured those emotions for us to look back at
Minni put the baby on me and although I felt an ENORMOUS relief and joy, I just couldn´t yet look down. I think I hadn´t breathed during the last pushes and was just pulling oxygen in.
After a few deep breaths, I was able to move my head and really realize that there she was.
Our precious daughter!
I start crying even writing this right now. There will never be a moment that could replace those minutes. I was crying, Nick was crying. We were just overjoyed with love and gratitude. Our baby girl was on my chest. Finally! A long time of waiting, praying, then carrying her for 9 months and now actually holding her. What an honour.
There was so much blood, that Minni put the IV for me. In the end, there was no calmly breathing the baby out, it was just raw and barbaric strength. I feared that it had done quite a bit of damage down there.
Minni helped with the placenta and getting the uterus empty and with each of those lumps coming out, it got lighter and lighter. Minni checked my tears and there were three minimal ones. One of them she even stitched without the numbing injection.
When our midwife was ready with me, she showed Nick how to cut the umbilical cord. Minni washed and cleaned Camilla, weighed her, and put clothes on. I remembered how I had packed the clothes at home and dreamt how there´ll be a little girl in them. And now there was.
She was 53 cm tall and weighed 3588 grams and was born at 4.39 on the 6th of September.
Minni put Camilla on my chest to eat and I was so surprised. "What if there´s no milk?" Minnie pressed my other nipple and some milk came out of there and I laughed- "When did that get in there?":D
All the three hopes I had, were fulfilled. The baby was healthy. Nick was with me at the labour and the birth was unmedicated.
I couldn´t have been more grateful.
Since there were no family rooms available we were able to stay for some hours in the delivery room.
Minni made sure that we are all good and we stayed in there the three of us. I know I mentioned it before, but for us having a private midwife was really an amazing experience. She is a big reason why the labour went somewhat fast for the first time delivery and was 100% unmedicated. She is a big reason why when I think of giving birth positive emotions come to my mind. Also, I think it’s funny that we did our baby reveal with Minnie-Mickey and our midwife´s name was Minni. If that isn’t meant to be.... well, I don’t know what is.
Nick fell asleep in the bath. I was super hungry, so I crushed half of the snacks in the snack bag I had packed. Although I hadn´t slept for a second night, I wasn´t tired at all. I was going on adrenaline and overwhelming joy and although Nick and Minni both suggested me to rest, I couldn´t fall asleep. I was just staring at Camilla´s face, proud of her for being such a good team-member and grateful she was with us.
Around lunch-time, we were able to go to a family room. I was so thankful, that Nick was able to stay and we got the opportunity to be together during the first days of our daughter´s life.
Our first hospital day was filled with texts and calls to family, friends, ordering all kinds of goodies with Wolt and smooching, and staring with awe at our little girly. We were both still astonished about what we had just experienced.
The first two nights I didn´t get much sleep, because I was afraid that I´ll miss the three-hour feeding rule. I am overall pretty coachable and when the nurses said that right now the main goal is that she´ll get enough food, I made that my mission. That mission kept me up most night though.
I feel that labour is discussed quite a bit, but what is not are the days after that. You are sore and it´s hard to move, but you have this little human to take care of. I couldn´t imagine how mom´s with c-section or without someone else do it. Just wow!
I always knew I wanted to breastfeed her, but what I didn´t know was HOW painful that could be at the beginning. The second day my nipples were hurting SOOOOO bad. Nick asked how does it feel like and I said that it is like someone pushes needles through them. That was not fun. The nurses gave me hope, that it will get better. It did eventually.
After the second night, the doctor checked Camilla and myself and both of our recoveries were at a good pace. We were able to go home. UNBELIEVABLE.
"Let´s go home"
I am not exaggerating if I say that I had never been that happy in my life.
We took our little bundle of joy and headed home. Time for a new chapter...
Most importantly- I respect and admire every woman who has given life SO much. It is absolutely life-changing in every way and I think every mom should be incredibly, incredibly proud of themselves.
Labours are different, moms and babies are different, but the unifying link here is that what women choose to go through in order to bring their babies into this world, is insane and amazing.
I bow down to you, mommas!!!
August 02, 2020
Two weeks ago, on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, my family and girlfriends organized us the sweetest baby shower. I had dreamed about celebrating our baby girl, but never would I have imagined that the day would be filled with so many absolutely beautiful moments, people, and emotions.
I sobbed the entire evening after that with a heart more grateful than ever. Our baby has been hoped and prayed for a while and actually knowing that these people came together to cherish her soon arrival, was still pretty surreal for me. I and our daughter are so blessed to have these gorgeous, smart, powerful, kind women in our lives and I am excited for her to have them as amazing examples to learn from.
Since I was blown away by the thoughtfulness of the day I figured I would share some of the highlights. Hopefully, someone organizing their good friend´s baby party will get some extra ideas. Or just smile along with me through these feels:)
Since babyshower is more of an American tradition, I wasn´t quite sure how we should go about it. In Estonia friends are often invited to a gathering after the baby is already born (katsikud). In America, similar to a bachelor/ bachelorette party before a wedding, baby shower is mostly done ahead of the arrival of the new family-member. Some organize it themselves and some get to enjoy it being organized for them. All options are wonderful and serve the same purpose. So as there are many ways to do it, I think the best way is just what works the best for that specific couple / family.
I sniffed out that at the beginning the girls were planning to do a surprise party. Eventually, I asked them to tell us the time and place of it so that I can show up in something other than the usual pregnancy "black leggings- messy bun"- look. You know the deal- look good, feel good:)
We showed up at the appointed time, amazed and teary-eyed.
Arrival, hugs and champaign cheers
The most beautiful setting and happy soon-to-be-parents
I greatly appreciated that a lot of the food was done by the girls themselves.
My bestie Dagmar carved the cutest little fruit-carriages
A lot of healthy, fresh veggies, fruits, berries, quiches, tacos, cupcakes, cake pops, pastries, and other snacks
The girls had prepared questions about pregnancy and newborns. They had sent them before to Nick and I answered them on spot to see how similar our answers were. Neither of us was too knowledgable with the general topics, but the game was full of laughter and also educational. Win-win!
For example- did you know how many diapers on average a baby goes through in a year? Or how many bones they are born with?
It was cool to hear what Nick had answered to questions like- what will my first post-labor meal be; which part of me grew faster- belly or booty and what will be the most useful item in the hospital bag?
Laughing at each other´s silly answers
2. Braiding workshop
The girls gave me a gift box with a card and a comb. The note said that having a girl (with potentially very curly hair from Nick) will require developing some new skills and the comb was the hint for it. I was already excited...
Soon a girl arrived who did a little braining-workshop. We learned different ways of braiding and practiced on each other.
3. Babyfood blind-tasting
I guess this is one of the most common baby shower games for a reason. It gives a little sneak peek (or sneak taste) into the future and is very fun. There were six different baby foods that I tasted and had to guess the ingredients. Some of them were pretty good (mostly sweet ones) and some surprisingly disgusting (for example pasta bolognese).
Me cracking my brains trying to identify another veggie seemed to be good entertainment:D
The many emotions of liquid meal tastings
Babyshower´s four-legged special guests Bruno and Ellie and their beautiful mommas. Left one is my momma too:)
4. Baby picture identification
The girls had gathered their baby photos and I had to guess who was who. Truth be told- it was WAY harder than I thought. I guessed only a few correct (one was my sister because I had seen the picture before:D). When the names were revealed later it was much easier to see the resemblances.
"Hmm, who is this one?" "Wait, let me take another look." "Dang, this is hard!"
5. Guessing game
All the girls filled papers with their guesses about the birth date, the height and weight, name suggestion and whether they think the baby will be more like Mini-Me or Mini-Nick. They added a suggestion and what they wish Baby Connor will get from either of us.
It was so sweet reading their answers. A lot of the advise and reminders were around making our relationship always a priority and taking time for ourselves and each other. When our glasses are full and we are happy, the baby will be too. Some of the things that they wished our baby will get from me were blue eyes, long legs, dimples, determination, discipline, spark, positivity; from Nick his dark curls and skin, charisma and swag, athletisism, humor, confidence, creativity.
Definitely keeping these papers for the tougher days to re-read and smile:)
They also put together vouchers, where everyone had written a service that they will provide and we are able to use. How intentional and cute! Wow.
Last, but not least some picture-time. Since life-events like this don´t happen every day, freezing those memories in photos is the best way to relive them.
Video summary for the babyshower:
Tüdrukud- aitäh teile! Armastan teid maailma lõpuni.
Eriline aitäh- Daki, emme, Maarja. Olete imelised.
Saagu tänatud ka teised, võrratud kaas-osalised:
- Dekoratsioonid- Celebrate_it
- Fotod- Maarika Roosi
- Meik/ soeng- Reelika Reimann
- Video- Tarmo Pihelgas
Creating your vision and "Family Creed"
October 08, 2019
Some of you know my background and our unified story with Nick a bit better, some less, some not at all. So I figured I'd start off with sharing with you a bit about our vision, how we came up with it and hopefully inspire you to think through and craft out your bigger picture too.
I have practiced and believed in the power of visualization, goal-setting and everything involving it since my first year of college when my personal development journey started. Everything revolving this topic seemed a bit fluffy to me at first, to be honest, but over the years I have understood the value that having a longer perspective brings. Now helping people develop and reach their vision is a topic near and dear to my heart.
The first self-development book I read was "The Secret." I was probably 18-19 years old at the time and the idea of "Law of Attraction" seemed very fascinating. Since then I have created vision boards, bucket lists, goal books... you name it.
I was taught that setting specific goals, actually writing them down and having a clear vision will make reaching those things so much more likely. Teachable, as I was, I figured it can't hurt if I actually try to do this.
My vision boards made at the beginning of 2016
My previous vision boards were made in 2016 when I was switching jobs and going through a transitional phase in my life. I had dated Nick literally for a week or so and we had exactly three pictures together. I decided to put one of those (on the right board, up and middle) on my new dream board. I recall even telling him- “Hey, I decided- you are a part of my vision.“
I guess we have to be careful with what we wish for!:)
When I was putting together my last vision board I also answered a lot of questions. The goal was not for the board to be a collage of pretty pictures, but a collection of images that really meant something for me. I wrote out answers to questions like: “What would my ideal job and ideal day look like? What places in the world do I want to travel to? What do I believe in? What do I want to give back to the world? What are the characteristics of my perfect spouse? What excites me the most?" and so on.
When you will be putting together yours, I definitely recommend you do the same. Then your vision board will be so much more than shiny, pretty things.
Just having these vision boards though will not be the game-changer. Then you have to go out and put in the work. That's when the magic happens!
When we met with Nick at the beginning of 2016 we both had our own goals in life. Throughout the 3,5 years we've been together we have had to learn how to unify our vision so it'll serve us both.
Having a clear vision has been something that has helped us through a lot of bumps and curveballs that life has thrown at us during this short amount of time. Starting from the very beginning- living on different continents; having come from various countries, cultures, upbringings; having 10 years of age difference… all of that has made forming a common ground, a mutual vision sometimes pretty tough.
Going through immigration problems, health issues, sicknesses, losses, handling working in different time-zones have definitely added to the list of reasons why co-existing or furthermore building a life together could be hard.
The main thing, though, that has helped us to keep on going and staying as persistent as humanly possible in the midst of all of it, has been our vision.
We still have our separate dreams and those are not going anywhere, but for the first time in our lives we came up with our mutual vision board.
So here, my friends, is how it all went down:
1. First, we did an exercise where we both went through a long list of values and separately chose 10 we felt are the most important. Then we discussed those and narrowed them down. Those became the core values of what we stand for.
2. Second, we talked about our vision and mission in the world and tried to put those into words.
From this value- discussion our own "Connor Family Creed" was born.
This is the base for our relationship. This is going to help us make decisions when we can’t agree on them ourselves.
3. After we had formed The Creed we started looking for pictures to make our words visual. I had a goal of adding 5 pictures every day for about 20 days and then we felt everything we saw in our vision was in that document.
4. I printed them out, cut and glued for multiple days.
5. We also decided to add our wedding vows to always remember what we promised each other.
Our wedding vows
6. Lastly, I added a reminder for little things we wouldn't forget to be grateful for.
7. We put it all together and framed it. Voila!
We divided it into different sections:
- Dream traveling destinations
- Professional aspirations
- Cool experiences
- Inspirational quotes
- Family inspirations
Some of the things on this vision board scare the heck out of me and I know will challenge us and definitely require a lot of determination, effort, and commitment. Our vision board is in my office, in front of my eyes every single day, reminding me why we do what we do.
We have also tried to form a habit of reading the Creed out loud together once every month or so and that is so refreshing every time. I dream that one day when our kids will be older and someone asks about their upbringing, reading The Creed will be something they will always remember and value.
I know I have given you a lot of potential ideas and further possible exercises involving this vision-casting process. What's important is that this doesn't have to be an overnight task nor does it have to look anything like ours. It should be 100% YOURS.
Often times vision seems a soft topic, but truth be told- I don't know one person, who has actually taken the steps, thought through their goals, written them out, put them in pictures and then regretted doing it. That just doesn't happen!
Our everyday motivation is oftentimes very directly tied to the clarity of our vision, and hey- if something helps me to be more focused daily, I am all for it.
I will leave you with this...
I know this is all a bit of a dreamy topic, but what is the likelihood of us getting to a place where we want to be if we have no sight of that? I'd say the chances of that are smaller than when we actually knew where we are even headed to. Would you agree?
So, go ahead, dream a bit. I know you are busy and have a long list of to-do items. We all do. Just choose to spend time on this. I am giving you emotional permission for that.
Take the steps and let me know in the end how your vision board looks like. When it's ready, send it to me, post it on your Instagram and add #mrsconnorblog #visionboardexercise #dreamitachieveit or share it in your story and tag me too. I'd be glad to see your dreams.
Alrighty, pals- time to dream!