Here you are, finally!

Although deeply inside of me, up to no more than 2 weeks ago, I couldn’t really believe it, my mom’s heart is newly, surprisingly, in love again!!!!

G. is born on the first day of February of 2012 at 10.55 A.M. with a pre-planned c-section, at 38 weeks and 1 day of pregnancy.

A brand new experience, a delivery more similar to a surgery than to a natural event, as it is usually supposed to be. But previous delivery’s conditions have, in a way, obliged to. And G., without really being prepared to the event, has actually come out in really good shape!

Beautiful as the sun, he materialized himself in front of me full of life, of fresh flesh and powerful cries. A little god, perfect in shape and strong in his behaviors.
His, was my children highest Apgar: 9-10 and when they brought him to my chest I felt his strong breath on my skin and finally, I could give a face and a body to my child!

G. has brought with him the gift of snow, so much snow to hurry us up and to leave the hospital in advance before getting stucked there, for who knows how many days. Surely, G. paid for being born before a real delivery: a jaundice and a weight loss that occurred after having actually just left the hospital. My pediatrician suggested us to bottle-fed him if the weight wouldn’t have increased in few days.

Thank God I have always had lot of milk and I don’t really know anything about bottle-feeding. I also know that bottle feeding can surely alter the balance between baby request/breast supply, especially in the first days after birth.
But the baby was so weak and sleepy that me and my husband were almost ready to begin bottle-feeding him. Fortunately, we have been stimulating him to take as much milk as he could from my breast, even during the nights, and now the weight is increasing.
G. is happier and more awake and we are all more relaxed.

Now that snow has gone, sleighs are back in the garage, snow-suites go round and round in the washing machine and my 2 bigger children are (sadly) back to school, I and G. are getting used to what in other circumstances we could refer to as routine, but that is a too pretentious word, at the moment. I can definitely say, we both are trying to find a sort of balance, knowing that everything is new and presaging tomorrow all of this will be questioned entirely.

First days after the birth are, in my opinion and experience, the most difficult ones.
Because of hormonal reasons for sure, but also because they are the moments when baby and mother actually begin to recognize themselves one other.
In this delicate period, I usually abandon myself to my maternal instincts and let them lead me to indulge towards baby’s needs: I feel G., compared to my previous 2 children, both full-term babies, is surely more in need of being protected, held, contained. And so I often let him sleep his skin next to my skin. And in his need I immediately discover mine. He likes being wrapped in the sling very much, and breastfeeding is also for him cuddle and consolation.

During the nights I breastfeed him, supporting his requests. And we often lay down side by side in bed, leaving him deciding directly how and how much sucking and letting me also sleeping for some time. His sleep is deeper when he lays near me and when he wakes up is usually calmer and more relaxed.

Before G. arrival, I had a sort of plan I wished we could all follow during the nights: children in their room with their father’s presence on demand, no more migrations to parents’ bed, now taken by my breastfeeding waking hours. And that was causing me feelings of anxiety, being scared to be neglectful of my children and making them feel excluded.

But then, after more than 2 weeks, schemes are far less rigid and I feel better, more relaxed, noticing that parents’ bed can be, however, shared and that siblings can choose to fall asleep there if they need, anyway. And maybe come back there in the first hours of the morning, if they want.

Our life has changed and it is still changing newly, everyday. But I must admit that, beyond getting used to brand new situations, we are all noticing that most of the things we liked to do together as a family, our little bedtime-rituals, our aloud readings, the old card games, are still possible. Maybe they won’t be as much as we would, but they are still habits we know we can come back to when we really want and when the occasion allow us.

Knowing that the earthquake has actually been there, but we are still us, with the addition of this little, new, beautiful, delicate and sweet gift of ours, has lifted our souls immensely.

The waiting was becoming source of anxiety and stress. And having G. here with us now, is showing us all that the new has come and we are, surprisingly, still a family we can recognize as ours, with its peculiarities and habits, even if some of those are now completely new ones.

As parents, our previous stressful questions as “How should we go through this?” or “How will it be after?” are now partially answered:

We are here.

The mere statement, the simple consciousness raising of our existence as a family, let us feel calmer.
Both B. and P. seem to feel the same, as well: the expected, and sometimes feared, novelty has finally become reality.

And living it is immensely better than simply imagining it.

My babycarrying Mei Tai

After the reading of this interesting Italian book on maternage and having heard so much around the web, I have been intrigued by the art of babycarrying, all those trans-cultural practices of carrying babies on our own body, with the help of several kind of supports.

Mostly with my second child, since he was 6 months old, I frequently used a baby carrier in specific situations. Indeed, recently I read about the pros about slings and baby-wraps (although they require some time to get used to) because of their flexibility, their less bulky aspect, their user-friendly and their help on adapting to the physiologic needs of both the carrier an the carried person.

In fact, I have discovered that baby-carrying is highly recommended from birth and it entails lots of benefits both for the child and the mother.
As wisely tells FrancescaBetween parent and child, grows a deep high contact -relationship. Detachment from the mom happens more smoothly because the baby feels safe and is absorbed since birth in parents’ world, in which he is plunged with all his senses.”

That’s why baby-carrying, as wisely tells Esther Weber, author of the italian book Portare i piccoli (Carrying babies):”It’s a respectful and particularly appropriate approach in parents-children relationship, mostly in western societies“.

According to lots of recent studies, recently expressed in Italy by Alessandra Bortolotti: carried babies, cry less, because their needs of closeness with their mothers are easily supported and their trust in the relationship grows faster, helping them to be sooner independent.

Baby-carrying, just for its inner close contact between mother and child, helps communication and builds mom-baby relationship faster, easing the continuum from inner to outer-gestation. So, it’s really helpful on overcoming birth shock, mostly in case of c-sections, premature birth, twins or difficult deliveries in general. Also, the sling offers containment and protection to the child as he felt while in uterus, also stimulating balance and body development.

Baby-carrying is comfortable, convenient, money-saving, eco-friendly and sustainable.

But also, as well is written here : “The aim of carrying isn’t in the purposes we long to obtain (less crying children or more comfortable moms, or stimulated children) , […] what really counts is closeness. From this closeness comes out all the benefits of baby carrying, that are the effects of love.”

And also Francesca underlines that: “Using the sling isn’t just fashion, but a choice, a sort of educational pattern: in our society we tend to teach our children to become emotionally independent from parents; with the sling indeed, parents are forced to adapt themselves to baby’s needs, being present and giving them safeness just when they are more vulnerable.

There are several supports you can choose. A friend brought me her baby-wrap I am longing to use, meanwhile, waiting for the baby to come, I sewed a Mei Tai, the Chinese baby carrier, that can be used in different assets from birth, too.

I sewed 2 versions: the quilted one, suitable for winter months (on the left of the picture above, the flower printed fabric) and the simple version (on the right of the picture).

I used this tutorial that is the Italian translation of this one, that I see is no longer available online, but you can easily download the original pattern in English from the Italian blog.

To understand what is a Mei Tai and how to use it, you can also refer here where there are lots of pictures on how wearing it.

Anyway, you can search on the web to easily find tons of info, reflections and tutorials on the use of different kind of baby-carriers, slings, baby-wraps and on the meaning of baby-carrying in general.

What do you think about the topic?
Please fell free to share your personal thoughts and experience in the comments below.

What will next year bring?

New year, time of reviews and projects!

Personally, the year is coming to end, has been one of my bests.

Beyond stars’ favour (didn’t you know 2011 was a great year for cancers?), looking back I can see that mostly was due to having spent enough time on visualizing and envision my priorities and my missions.

Actually it has been a 1-year-long attitude and it has really helped me on clarify the what and how of my several projects and visions.
Only after this brainstorming approach, I had been really able to focus on the concrete steps of my path.

I know myself as a person whose life needs, for her own physical and psychological sake, a clear plan. A plan I am actually able to follow with determination and consistency.

But during this year I have discovered as well that too much productivity can really challenge my inner calmness and undermine my mood.

In fact, as many mothers , perfectionism is my personal enemy. And what perfectionism usually does to me is making my days more a matter of erasing tasks from a to-do list than focusing on what really matters in my life as a mother, wife and individual.

Moreover, I am, of course, never able to reach the perfection I seek. And that leads me inevitably to feel depressed, discouraged and guilty.

Being pregnant has pushed me to going deeper in finding a way to cope with this insane way of thinking. I have realized that I was living too much importance to my thoughts and to my expectations without being able to be grateful for the life I live.

Inevitably, my main dare for the new year is approaching by, will consist on the arrival of our third baby boy that will surely be a revolution in our settled family life.

Then, one of my most important issues would be for me practicing the concreteness of my organization skills and contemporaneously adapting them to seeking a new family balance, with an attitude of patience and compassion towards each other.

I can say it will be mostly about finding the meeting point between productivity and real life, between plans and flexibility, between prefixed thoughts and what Byron Katie calls “Falling in love with reality”, that is quality of living where inner peace flows from a non-judging dwelling in the present moment.

Once I have read a sentence that I still keep in mind and that goes something like this: “Living both the length and the width of life“.
Then, that’s what I am longing to accomplish during next year: conquering this new dimension of width, in which the present would be a prior value.
Undoubtedly, with 3 small kids in the house, this would be a real challenge!!!

But at the same time, I am now more aware about the fact that my kids could actually begin to be, now more than ever, my Zen Masters, as Sarah Napthali puts it.

In fact, just after having made a shift in my way of thinking and embracing the fullness of reality, I can see clearly my children actually continuously tickle me, allowing me to abandon rigid schematic approaches and perfectionist rationalities and instead they force me to give my complete attention to the fullness of the moment and to the awareness of listening and accepting reality just as it is.

And you?
How about the year is over?
Which are your plans and resolutions for the new year?

Please, feel free to share them in the comments below.
Happy new year!!!