Friday Fun.

So my toddler can officially operate the vacuum cleaner. He’s useful all of a sudden. Helped clean the car yesterday, but I must add that he first vacuumed the wet, muddy grass and the car, thus defeating the whole point.

I’ve been driving more and more lately, also getting practice with getting the baby chair in and out of the car, now that I can carry it.  So I’m hoping to be fully mobile and independent soon.

Must just convince my hubby to give my car back, hmm.

We have our first school friend birthday party this weekend, mommy is secretly wondering how you manage it with a little baby, but I’m confident we’ll ace it.

Also, EASTER! Easter holidays are upon us and we’ve decided to keep it low key this year, so just marshmallow eggs and maybe a nice braai to celebrate.

What do you and yours do over Easter?

Have a lovely weekend!

Image: Pinterest

Life without post natal depression.

I’ve had this post on “draft” for a week or two to mull over if it was worth raising this issue again.  After seeing a friends post on Facebook yesterday about her journey through PND, I felt encouraged to post this.  

Because its relevant.   

Because it’s a reality for a lot of women.

Because it almost NEVER gets talked about because of shame and misunderstanding.

If you’ve ever suffered the unfortunate torture of post natal depression I’m hoping that this post will encourage and bring a little light to you.

After loosing my first baby, Asher, nine days after birth I found myself in the dark pit of grief and depression.  Not familiar with the symptoms I assumed it was mostly grief related.  Then a miscarriage a couple of months later at seven weeks and a blanket of numb descended on me.  I was unaware of the effects of life events and fluctuating hormones on my mental health.  Public opinion didn’t help much either.

  • It’s all in your head.
  • Just get over it.
  • Spend more time in the Word.
  • Thats for unbelievers.
  • Get out more.

Then pregnant with Cal and what I thought was “taken care of” in my heart started to surface again.  Pregnancy depression set in early and I was medicated for my own safety (this is normal).  I’d like to add at this point that God had very clearly shown me that this pregnancy would be fine and this baby would be healthy and survive birth, but the daily struggle is real and my hormones weren’t helping with the balance.

Fast forward to the birth of my second son, Cal, everything went well, no complications, no drama, just a happy, healthy baby and a normal c-section delivery with no issues.  Even though my PND (post natal depression) wasn’t severe it was enough to affect my bonding with my son.  I didn’t have many emotions from the meds, and thus felt no connection to my son until he was around five months old.  It was a dry, stale period of going through the motions, until he reached the developmental ability to respond to me I had no real connection with him.  

I was allowed off my meds when my son was eight months old and the transition was bumpy, but worth it.

Naturally, after experiencing everything that I had up until then I was dead set that I wouldn’t have any more kids. Terrified of having a depressing pregnancy and complicated birth again kept me quite off the idea.

Much prayer and discussion months later and hubby and I decided to talk about having another baby.

I consulted my gynae about pregnancy and PND and he explained it like this: Whatever your frame of mind is before pregnancy, pregnancy hormones will elevate that frame of mind, they will intensify the emotions. He was convinced that I was currently in a healthy frame of mind and could have another baby quite successfully without that being an issue.  So I decided to trust that my mental healing was sure and took the leap to have another baby.

Pregnancy this third time around was so phenomenally different I didnt know what to do with myself.  No negative emotions, no dark tunnel, no permanent pessimism.  It was unusual.  Other than a few physical complications, pregnancy went well, baby was big and healthy and on track for our scheduled c-section.  Going into labour early (read my post “things never happen the same way twice”) and the few complications of NICU etc, but no depression. Nothing. 

Is this for real?

I have been given the opportunity to have a depression-free pregnancy and post natal season, and I am thrilled!  I cannot express how different it feels.  I have been able to bond with my son, despite him being in NICU for two days and unable to breastfeed initially, we have managed to bond and feed and love in a way I never thought possible.  Third time really is the charm for me, this is also my last baby, so I am super grateful to God that the PND shadow hasn’t followed me into this one.  I am able to cuddle my sons and love them fully, able to think clearly and make informed decisions on life.

I hope that every woman who has suffered with PND would find peace, that this condition wouldn’t leave a lasting mark on your heart.  If you think you have PND please contact your care provider, GP, or gynae and be open and honest with them so you can get the help you need.
Image: Asherlove Photography by Kim van Vuuren

Love your local artist.

I don’t like the saying “local is lekker”, it gives a connotation of something flippant, cute, or an “attraction”, something to be tried just because it’s the “in thing”.

I prefer to support my local artist, or buy hand-made products when I can, or to promote the longevity of a beautifully crafted piece of kids furniture.  Not just because I hate plastic – especially the over-abundance of plastic kids stuff, but because a beautiful, hand made, wooden table and chair set for a toddler is going to be far more durable, comfortable and environmentally friendly than a moulded plastic table that goes brittle and gets thrown on the rubbish heap after a year or two.

Nevermind that, when you buy from a local craftsman you are supporting a family directly.  There is no retail chain, no broker, no supplier and no mass produced market behind the product.  The local artist or craftsman is directly affected by the price you pay.  The revenue earned is more often than not, spent in the area and so the local economy is bolstered by the local sale of a quality product.

Now I know that some hand-made items are pricey, but that’s because it’s takes time to make, but is the quality and beauty not worth it in the end?  I have an online business where I make and sell baby décor items and I can tell you it’s a tough market to be in.  Every retailer has the monopoly on price negotiating and can offer a mass produced plastic version of my products at a far reduced price, but lets be honest, plastic is ugly.  Nevermind the consumer mentality of most of the shoppers in our area (I wish I lived in Cape Town), an online store works best for my products as those that are seeking the quality hand-made items will find me and purchase without batting an eyelid, the average consumer though, needs a bit more convincing.  

So I try, as often as I can, to support local hand-made products and hope that slowly the mentality of consumerism changes, especially for those around me who also own small businesses that sell beautifully hand crafted items.  So lets make an effort to support our local small businesses whenever possible, and help to keep pur local economy healthy.
Image: Pinterest

Friday Fun.

It’s amazing how a long weekend can mess with your routine.

In my world, Tuesday was Saturday and Wednesday became the new Monday, and the next thing I knew it was weekend again!

Fun stuff this week, mama got a little pampering session.  My hubby sent me off to get my hair done, much overdue – roots and re-growth and grey hairs, eeek! So it was a cut and colour and ta-daa mama felt like herself again.

My son spent Tuesday with dad, digging up the beaches and running the dunes.  Playing putt putt (he totally knows the ball must get in the hole) and generally having lots of outdoor fun, naptime was an epic three hours, never a bad thing.

My folks came to visit on the weekend and brought all kinds of treats and cookies with them, Cal loves it when granny and pazee come to visit, he enjoys their company so much.

So the week has felt like one long weekend, hopefully next week will have more order, oh but then it’s easter holidays and it all gets lazy again.
Image: Morné van Vuuren

Encouraged.

Just got to spend a morning with a group of lovely women, all mommy’s with toddlers and babies, to encourage, uplift and support one another in our new season of parenting, motherhood and wife-dom.

It’s my first day out in a very long time, and this was the best way to kick it off, mommy group!  

We had the gorgeous Shauna, mom of four kids (two in varsity and two in high school) come and encourage us with some wisdom from Proverbs 31.  Like she says, 

“it’s either your favourite scripture or your worst” 

If I’m totally honest, its probably my worst.  I feel so inadequate when I read it, especially in this new season of second baby.  But we were encouraged to hear that seasons change, and as we embark on a new season we should sit with proverbs 31 and ask God to show us where we fit in with this new season and redefine our identity in Him through it.

It never occured to me that my insecurities in this season where attached to my identity, but the light has been turned on.  I can see it so clearly now.  Now the challenge is to be brave enough to ask God to show me where I’m at in this season so I can redefine my identity into the new season, and find peace in the new season of mothering.

Thank you Shauna for sharing your heart and wisdom with us, it has encouraged my soul immensely.

You can read more from Shauna on her website Blaaklist writers. 

Image: Asherlove Photography by Kim van Vuuren

Blank space.

It’s been a bit of a long weekend in South Africa this weekend. Tuesday is “Human Rights Day” and as you do in Africa everyone takes the Monday off and we all have a glorious long weekend.  Even the schools close for the extra day, so the kids are home, but, business keeps moving.  

So the blog has been quiet as we soak up the weekend and navigate a quiet Monday at work with a lot of clients on “forced” leave cause their kids are home and they don’t have childcare.

Then there’s the public holiday tomorrow which splices the week into two chunks of half hearted work and an overwhelming lazy feeling.

The posts will go back to normal when this weird week finishes.
Image: Asherlove Photography by Kim van Vuuren

Life has it’s moments.

Much like raising children, life has it’s beautiful moments, scattered in between the responsibilities and curve balls there are beautiful moments in life that I hope I am savouring properly.

I don’t want to be so caught up in the hustle and toil of life that I miss potentially beautiful, soul changing moments. I think the trick is to not get too swept up in the emotions of the struggles and to try and see them as learning opportunities, or opportunities to gain a new perspective.  Just yesterday I was saying to hubby that even though life feels totally out of control for us (new baby, business shifts, financial strains), I’ve never experienced things like this before and come out short in character or strength.

The tests of life come, and God uses them to stretch us, grow us, teach us new things.  Just this morning I read a devotional that said:

  • “I’m learning that we must not resist the blessing of brokenness that tills the ground of our heart. Breaking up the unplowed ground of our heart will make it ready for new life, new growth, new maturity in us that can’t be found any other way.” Lysa Terkeurst

The blessing of brokeness that tills the ground of our heart.

My heart is encouraged because I know that on the other side of this set of trials lies new ground, a new crop, a new harvest and a stronger me,  and all because I trust God to bring me through to that place, changed, with an open, willing heart to learn along the way.  Not always easy, but essential.
Image: Asherlove Photography by Kim van Vuuren