Being someone who is highly driven, ambitious and sorta workaholic, I love spending my time being productive and getting as much done in a day as I can.
Or at least, as I could. Until I became pregnant.
When I got pregnant in March last year, I experienced something I never did before. I never ever experienced such a horrible downtime that forced me to just sleep, sleep and sleep. My spirit was willing to get productive, but my body said NO. In the first trimester alone, I only managed to reply less than 20 work emails, churned out 2-3 blog posts in total, and forced out 1 pregnancy vlog with all fibre of my being. I was unable to focus, unable to stay awake, and unable to even THINK! All that consumed me were lethargy and nausea.
Things got better in the second trimester! The Honeymoon trimester, they say, since those 3 months are the best months for most pregnant ladies. I prayed so hard that lethargy and nausea will leave me alone, and that I'll regain strength and energy. True enough, I did and those were the happiest Honeymoon months of my pregnancy. That was when I tried to make up for the lost time (3 months of sleeping and sleeping), and started to be way more productive. I churned out lots of blog posts on our travels and advertorials, edited 2-3 vlogs, filmed a makeup tutorial and even went on a Babymoon in Sydney! I felt so good to be "back on track", to be the old me again. Alive and kicking, running about and occasionally forgetting that I was pregnant until I looked downward, or until Bean Bean reminded me by giving me little kungfu kicks.
Then, the dreaded third trimester came. Dreaded and dreadful. I started to gain weight like crazy cos baby was growing much faster then, and also due to my Gestational Diabetes, my weight gain was kinda uncontrollable. This time the symptoms were different. I wasn't lethargic nor nauseous, but I was feeling the bodily aches all over. For two weeks I experienced severe pelvic pain. All of a sudden my inner thighs were super sore that I burst out in tears the moment I stood up, and had to stand in the same position to stretch for 1-2 minutes before I could start walking. Those 2 weeks were a torture because I couldn't be as fast and mobile as how I've always been. Everything had to be taken slowly- walking, showering, moving about- all in slow motion.
Thank God things got better after 2 weeks but then we found out that I had Gestational Diabetes, and had since been required to poke my fingers to draw blood 3 times a day. Injections were my worst nightmare but that was what I had to face. Worst part is that I gotta be the one injecting myself T___T To add to the misery, the glucometer doesn't capture the data each time. There were times I had to poke different fingers and squeeze out blood to be tested for 7 times in a row. At times it amounted to 20 times of poking my fingers in a day. It was horrible. After all that I mentioned, I still was in the mood to work! I tried my best to get as much work done as I could, but my body just did not allow me to. I was easily exhausted, and every movement had to be done in slow motion (worst part!).
Then I gave birth and was stuck to the hospital bed for a week (due to C-section and Tyler's severe jaundice). When I finally left for home I felt like my butt got flatter (true story!) and I was so sad about it hahaha! For the first two weeks I was doing everything in slow-mo again cos of my recovering C-sec wound, but being eager to be productive again I started to film, edit and lived a vlog episode on my confinement! Until today I'm still pretty proud that I did it all during confinement. One main reason why I wanted to do it then was because I knew the moment my confinement lady leaves for home and when Boon goes back to work, I'll be too occupied with adjusting to a new life with Tyler by myself that I wouldn't have time for editing vlogs, and I was right.
For the 2nd and 3rd month, things were tough. We were trying to catch Tyler's rhythm and routines, while Tyler was getting used to ours. It was a lot of playing by ear and a lot of attention needed cos he was still so little. There were days that my work just piled up so badly but I just couldn't get anything done at all. I thought maybe I could work while he took his one-hour afternoon nap, but who knew that one hour would pass by so quickly! In between laundry and dishes and replying a few emails, time was up and the baby needs his mama again! Then I thought maybe I could work at night after he and his papa sleeps! But who knew that he would need to latch on every 20 minutes. I found no way out and went to bed frustrated and crying on many nights. Weekends were my best working days cos Papa Boon would be around to look after Tyler while I worked on my laptop, but with eager family and church members who want to spend time with Tyler, weekends are usually packed with church activities and family meals. So when do I work? I didn't know the answer either. Yet somehow, I managed to rough it through, got all my work done and survived anyway! With less sleep, but hey, look I'm still alive!
As he grew older from the 3rd month onwards, he started to become a big boy and no longer looking like a little baby, and had since been much more independent, routines were more fixed and we were more able to figure him and his patterns out. He no longer woke up frequently to latch anymore (thank God he grew out of it!), so these days I'm able to burn the midnight oil and do my work at night. Also thankful that he has gotten used to our lifestyle and routine, so he would go to bed with us around midnight, and sleep for 10-11 hours until 10-11am! So that means that I can sleep in with him too. At times he would pop his eyes open at 8.30am and crawl around the bed himself (with barricades all around, of course), and fall back to sleep at 10.30am cos nobody layan him hahaha!
And now that Tyler is 7 months, I'm regaining my productivity more and more, and am feeling a huge difference from when I first became a mom. This is the productivity that I was so impatiently waiting for. I was so desperate and eager to get back to what I used to do- blogging, vlogging, attending events, serve in church, etc.. It still isn't easy juggling full-time motherhood with work, but for some reason I'm feeling much more motivated and inspired to just work hard than before. I guess it's cos I now have a child, and I just want to be able to earn more and provide the best for him. Motherhood is a powerful force. It keeps me going even when I'm perpetually exhausted. I just feel blessed to be able to take care of Tyler full-time and still work on the side.
Same goes for my body. Until today, I still miss my pre-baby bod. The tones abs, and flat tummy, the size 0, XS bodycon dresses. At times I still wondered what if I had a natural delivery instead, would I have been able to lose weight much faster? Since I could start exercising earlier? Sometimes I think I'm making slow but sure improvements, shedding some weight from breastfeeding, eating healthily, and handling an active Tyler. But each time people looked at me with a concerned demeanour asking if it is really that difficult to lose weight, I question my positive self-image and found myself evaluating my body in the mirror.
The truth is, it IS difficult to lose weight quickly after pregnancy. The celebrities/social media influencers that you see going back to pre-baby weight within the first 2 weeks of delivery are only that 5% lucky percent of women in the world. Millions of women are like you and I, struggling with weight loss, self-image and harsh self-criticisms everyday.
But this is not the end of life (and our body) as we know it! I've some real supportive momma friends around me who give very good advices, and one of the best advices that I've received so far is this,
"Give your body some time"
On days that I feel down about my new body, I found myself recalling what they said and proceed to tell myself, "Let's give this body some time". Due to c-section, I wanted to wait until I was 6 month postpartum to start exercising. The moment I hit 6 months, I stepped on the treadmill and starting sweating it out. It's been one month and though I still have 3kgs to pre-pregnancy weight, I'm feeling much better physically and mentally. It's much harder to find time to exercise now that we have a baby, and it means really making arrangements to put Tyler with our families and more effort to go out there to sweat it out, but it is still doable. Give your body time to recover, and it will thank you for being gracious to it. In due time, your body will work for you when it is ready!
So mommies and mommies-to-be, don't be discouraged if you feel like you lost yourself. Things really DO get better as your baby grows older, and you'll be able to slowly regain the productivity that you used to have. Sure, things will not be the same again. To juggle motherhood with work, you'll be required to sleep way less, do things at a faster pace and have lesser me-time, but you'll be energetic and happy still! That's the magic of motherhood, and the grace that God gives to mothers.
On days that you feel like you've lost the life you once had, look at your little one and remember just how much hard work and sacrifice you've put in to raise him/her up well. And take pride in the fact that you are one kick-ass, multitasking momma doing a darn great job!
Here's one thing I learned about Motherhood and Productivity. In these 7 months, I learned that we, moms really gotta be kind to ourselves more. I've always been one to push myself to do more, to do things faster and better, but motherhood forces me to slow down. No matter how I wanted to push myself, I just couldn't because I simply did not have the TIME. On some days I resent the fact that I'm only given a short 24 hours a day. But I just gotta remind myself it's okay, let's give it some time, and give myself a pat on the shoulder for doing all I could at that moment in time.
Give your body time. Give your baby time.
And give yourself some credit.
It'll all get better and easier. Just gotta give it some T I M E.
You rock, momma! Never doubt that.
We're all in this together :)