So the past 3.5 days have been rather eventful.
The hubs thought I’d have a lot of time to chill and relax while he’s in Taiwan with bubs1.
But that wasn’t really the case, especially when bubs2 has decided that since Mummy is free, let’s partay, let’s have a milk strike sometimes, let’s fight sleep sometimes. 😅😂
That aside, many other things happened too.
What I’ve been up to
1) Decluttered and Reorganised
Over 2 days, I’ve cleared up my wardrobe, organised and packed the clothes to give away, cleaned and packed Clarissa’s toys (and secretly threw away a big bag of empty surprise eggs and some random broken toys), and cleaned up Clarissa’s drawer top.
There is an upcoming charity collection in our block for old clothes, so the timing is perfect.
I removed and packed away clothes I haven’t worn before I was pregnant, and clothes I don’t foresee myself ever wanting (or able 😂) to wear again.
I didn’t buy much maternity clothing for both pregnancies, but still there was a neat stack of maternity shorts and pants, and a few dresses, which I’m giving away.
Somehow, looking at them gave me a sense of dread and I felt a little nauseous. 😂
I must be one of those weird mummies who see pregnancy as a separate process from raising babies.
I love my babies, very much, and I will do anything for them.. but I really can’t say the same for pregnancy.
It took me an entire morning and half of an afternoon to get to this – wardrobe organised by type of clothing, followed by colours.
(And yes, I
only mostly wear white, blue and black lol.)
My favorite part of the wardrobe, though, is the top right hand corner of nicely folded towels. 😂😆
I started working on Clarissa’s toys the same night, and continued organising them the next morning.
It wasn’t just about packing and stacking them up, but also organising what went into each tray and storage box. 😂🤣
I know it’d probably get all mixed up and messy again soon, but at least I now know just how many of the same toys she has, and hopefully this would help her remember where she keeps her own toys.
Finally on Thursday afternoon, I got started on the area that has been irking me the most.
This has been in a mess for the longest time. The entire surface is strewn with stuff, and really dirty. Everything just gets chucked here and I can never find anything.
At least now I know where the creams and mosquito patches are.
It is hard work, but very therapeutic.
I mostly worked while Allie napped so I was plugged into my earphones listening to my playlist of sad songs as I threw out things that cluttered the space, things that didn’t matter anymore, things I didn’t need or want anymore.
In a way, my mind felt less cluttered too, somewhat, somehow.
“It’s easy to be heavy; hard to be light.”
– Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project
I read this book many years ago, and this stuck with me.
I cannot agree more.
I’ve been trying to feel “light” mentally (and now physically 😂), and it’s not easy.
I’m still trying.
2) Stored the pump away
(While I wait for friends / friends of friends to confirm if anyone wants the pump)
The last pump: 4th March 2018, 1145pm
It was the day Allie turned exactly 4 months old.
Everyone at home was already asleep.
The yield was 20ml, maybe less, after 30 minutes of pumping.
I wish I could talk about the love-hate relationship I have with pumping, or how bittersweet it has been.
Yet, try as I might, I can’t find the love in the love-hate, nor a sweet tinge in the bittersweet.
8 months for Clarissa, 4 months for Allie, and lots of pain, mastitis attacks, tears and fear in between.
I can only say, I’m relieved.
I started out wanting to breastfeed/pump for 6 months for Allie, stopping just before I return to work.
I had a bad start, but things were ok for probably a month or so. I was pumping 6 times a day, and I even had an oversupply.
But somehow in a span of just 2 weeks, my supply simply dropped, shortly after confinement ended.
I started dropping the number of pumps but maintained it at 4 times a day for a long time.
But supply kept dipping.
From being able to supply all her feeds, it went to two-thirds, half, and then one feed a day.. and in the last few weeks, one feed every 2 days.
It got to a point where I needed 5 pumps to make up one feed.
So the hubs had been asking me to stop because the amount I was yielding was ridiculous for the effort I was putting in.
I didn’t disagree but I didn’t stop either. 😂
As I pumped away in the wee hours of the morning, before (sometimes after) feeding Allie, I asked myself:
If I didn’t pump or breastfeed, does it make me less of a mother?
I knew the answer.
As a second-time mum, a mum of 2 lovely girls, I know that being a mum means more, way, way more, than supplying breastmilk.
But had I asked myself the same question as a first-time mum, I’d be doubtful. I might even say yes, I’m not a good mum.
I could blame it on WHO (“WHO recommends mothers worldwide to exclusively breastfeed infants for the child’s first six months to achieve optimal growth, development and health. Thereafter they should be given nutritious complementary foods and continue breastfeeding up to the age of two years and beyond.”), on breastfeeding advocates, on people who make formula milk sound like it’s poison, on social media..
But it was mostly because I couldn’t see beyond my self-imposed guilt.
I was afraid I wasn’t doing my best as a mother, and I wasn’t giving her the best.
But I’ve learned, over the past 3.5 years and especially in the past 5 months, that what’s “best”, is not the extreme of everything – only breastmilk, only organic food, strictly no screen time, only the best schools..
It is how we strike a balance so that the kids grow up in a safe, healthy and happy environment.
I can pump all day everyday, power pump to increase my supply.. and Allie might have enough breast milk everyday for at least 6 months.
But she’d probably be lying and playing on her own in the playpen most of the time.
I’d not be as observant about her sleeping patterns, her quirks, or how she looks for spiders when she’s sleepy.
I’d not have spent enough time with her sister either.
I wish I can tell more first-time mums, including myself, that we are all good enough. We don’t have to be so hard on ourselves just because of some shitty recommendation by some disconnected organization that puts itself on the pedestal (I always thought 6 months was tough enough but if you went on reading, they actually recommend 2 freaking years.)
At the end of the day, we are answerable to no one but ourselves and our families.
That said, the biggest catalyst to stop pumping altogether, and almost immediately, however, was my medical condition.
I had to be put on medication that was unsafe for breastfeeding.
It was a no-brainer.
Between getting back to health so I can be here for both girls and providing milk for one, I choose the former.
I’m beginning to believe that things happen for a reason.
While I still do not know the reason behind the drastic dip in supply, I guess it happened to make it easier for me to stop pumping quickly.
If I cannot be a breastfeeding/pumping mum, at least, I know, for sure, I’d be the mum who works hard enough to buy and provide formula milk. 😂
3) Got my health screening and ultrasound results
I won’t deny that I’m still worried, and I’m a little scared.
March was a really bad month on many fronts, and poor health was one of them.
The blessing in disguise is that I know my body well enough to know that something is wrong with it and to get myself tested, and so now I know what and where the problems are, and what the next course of action is.
For now, a surgery seems to be inevitable, but before that can happen, I need to get my thyroid function back to normal.
When I found out I had hyperthyroidism back in 2007, and a relapse in 2010, I was so upset I cried on both occasions.
11 years and 2 kids later, I didn’t shed a tear. I just want to get better, as soon as I can.
Crying wouldn’t get me anywhere, but hopefully medication would help me get back to normal as soon as possible.
I feel quite bummed about how messed up my body is, but again it’s hardly within my, or anyone’s, control. It’s probably, unfortunately, how my body reacts to stress and pregnancy.
I can only try my best to be well and hope for the best.
4) New shoes
Over the past few days I was also in calls with my bosses. I’m not going to share any details here, but I’ve sorted out my thinking.
Talking about it to my sisters and dear Sim really helped.
I feel very grateful and count my lucky stars that I have great bosses who look out for me.
I’d make it good and make it count.
After the visit to Dr Tham yesterday, I decided on a whim to go to the shoe shop which my sister used to frequent.. and ordered 5 pairs of shoes after an hour of trying on shoe after shoe.
I told the hubs over WhatsApp, that “I’m going to buy a lot”, without divulging the number.
He said, “That sounds like a statement, not a question.”
I told him he was right. 😂
I love how comfy those shoes are, and they are pretty too!
No more crazy sky high heels for me. No more pretty but uncomfortable shoes.
It’d have been sweeter if I got to bring those shoes home immediately. But alas, I’m a size 34 (US 4? UK 2?) which is not a common size. So I had to order them instead.
The shop owner couldn’t believe my feet are that small. She said it didn’t match my face, whatever that meant. 😂
(She probably also couldn’t believe it that a first-time customer would buy 5 pairs of shoes in one go. My sis was shocked too. 😂😂)
Even if I didn’t like my job, at least I like my new (and nice) shoes. 😆😆
5) Finished reading a “serious” book (i.e. non chick lit)
Nothing against chick lit! I LOVE chick lit but since I have a bit more mind space this week I wanted to read something richer.
I saw this while browsing in the bookstore and I wanted to read it.
The NLB app has the ebook which is available for loan, so I borrowed it on Tuesday, started on Tuesday evening and finished reading it yesterday while waiting to see Dr Tham.
I might have finished it in a day if I wasn’t doing all the decluttering stuff.
The writing isn’t the best, but it’s understandable because English is her third language. If anything, her story and fighting spirit more than made up for it.
Her story is a horrific one. I cannot imagine my girls, or anyone for that matter, live like she did, or go through the same thing she did with her sister.
Yet the way she wrote it was very.. stoic.
I didn’t feel very emotional during the process of reading.
But when I was done, I felt sad, and very inspired by the power of a young girl’s fighting spirit.
It is a very timely read for me personally and I’m glad I picked it up.
The part that really got to me
I’m so going to cross the damn desert.
Not surprisingly I’ve spent most of the time at home, but I’m very much connected.
Clarissa is having a lot of fun with her Daddy, and I’m happy to watch their funny videos and see their photos.
My sisters too have been sharing funny photos over our group chat and I find myself giggling so hard (to myself) just looking at the ridiculous poses we did. 😂
Just a few more weeks before I return to work.
There are still little nagging thoughts and worries I need to sort out.
But we’ll cross the bridge when we get there.