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Five Foot Mummy

Parenting with strength from above

Can you really get pregnant will PCOS? 

Polycystic ovaries syndrome was the villain in my life during my teen years. I was told at the age of 12 that conception would be hard for me and even if I could get pregnant there would be complications. The symptoms were horrible, although I wasn’t overweight I had terrible skin, hairy face and very thin hair on my head. Being a teenager was hard enough but these things made it so much worse. I remember my mum was trying to be so supportive and bought me makeup which I had no clue how to use but it helped cover the angry red spots. So I went onto have bad skin till I went to university.

 

In university I joined the gym and started eating differently. I read a lot about healing the body from the inside when you have hormonal or insulin issue. I also began to use more natural topical products like aloe Vera gel, coconut oil and sweet almond oil. I saw my skin clear up, hair on my head started to grow better and the facial hair slowly disappeared. To this day my cycle barely exists but a good diet and a good workout routine has helped heal me from the inside to the point that I got pregnant twice spontaneously after three years of marriage. I’m sharing my story to encourage all those couples out there with infertility issues. I hope these 5 points that helped me can help you too.

 

  1. When PCOS is very severe don’t feel ashamed to make yourself comfortable so that you can get past this stage. Wax/thread your face or bleach it. It’s nobody else’s business how you want to tame your facial hair! Clip in extensions became my best friend for a season in my life along with using a little bit of eyeshadow on my hairline.

 

  1. Insulin resistance is the reason why people with PCOS struggle to lose weight. I eat fairly healthy especially during my second pregnancy. Doctors don’t really explain it but if you eat a protein rich diet it helps with the sugar levels. Plant protein is better too just in case you don’t have access to organic meat. Normal meat has hormones and parasites and eaten excessively will not be beneficial for your body. Also use a good multivitamin with no fillers or silicone.

 

  1. Don’t stress. Especially when it comes down to having a baby. I know it’s easier said than done but stressing releases hormones that again will not work in your favour. Enjoy your spouse and be grateful for the good days because there are many of them.

 

  1. Try to use natural products on your hair and skin. Shea butter and coconut oil I use on myself and my children. I hardly have any breakouts anymore and my hair is growing beautifully. Maybe it’s the pregnancy hormones that have reset my body or it’s the changes that I’ve made in the past 10 years.

 

  1. Keep moving. Introducing exercise into my life at 18 was the best thing I could have done for myself. I used to mainly use the cross trainer in the gym and then I discovered running when I met my neighbour in 2012, and then I incorporated strength training after having my second baby because of a bad back. Do something you enjoy. I’m a mother of 2 now and I can only fit in YouTube videos in the garden at the moment with both children stalking me.

 

I hope this helps someone. I’m not a trained professional and by all means please always consult your doctor before embarking on any training or diet.

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Ezra: Baby no 2

After nearly 10 months of not blogging I can’t stay away any longer. So much has happened since my last post. I moved to another country with our little family and I gave birth to our beautiful baby boy Ezra.
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We didn’t know we were pregnant till I was 17 weeks. I had no morning sickness and no fatigue. I only discovered I was pregnant because I couldn’t keep up with my new workouts anymore and I had a heightened sense of smell. I know it may seem strange and many may question as to how could I possibly not know I was pregnant for that long. Well, I have PCOS which affects my menstrual cycle. I will blog about this another time on how to cope with it but this is the reason I didn’t know. We had an emergency scan in London before departing and found out baby Ezra was growing beautifully. My family and I travelled to South Africa while I was 24 weeks pregnant. Being pregnant with a toddler was a challenge. My little Alina absolutely loved my belly but wasn’t particularly impressed when I couldn’t carry her so easily. Being pregnant in South Africa was lovely, the weather was perfect, fresh and not overly polluted. It was winter too so I didn’t have any severe swelling.
I did discover with this pregnancy that I had developed gestational diabetes. Although the insulin resistance was not severe the numbers indicated I had to be careful. I spent the last trimester on a low gi diet, avoiding refined sugar, carbs and even fruit that spiked my sugar levels. Spiking my sugar levels was detrimental to the wellbeing of myself and my baby. I must admit fighting pregnancy cravings was very hard. I would spend days dreaming about sugary treats I couldn’t eat but somehow I would always talk myself into remaining strong. So each day the sugar craving battle got easier.
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We used a hospital in Sunninghill in Johannesburg with the funniest Gynaecologist who put our mind at ease about having our baby in South Africa. I had an elective C-section which was the best decision I made because I had a lot of scar tissue that needed to be removed and my baby was measuring pretty big for my body.
So there you have it a five foot mummy update. Here is a video my husband made for our friends and family to enjoy the day of our son’s birth. Hope you enjoy it!

Happy Birthday Gorgeous Man

Its my husband Marcs’ birthday today so this post is dedicated to him. A heads up on spelling, missing words and grammar mistakes because he usually edits my blogs but I can’t let him do it for this one. We all believe our husbands are special, because they really are, but I want to share with you why mine is extra special to me.

I met my husband at university but we only got to know one another when I left for my masters. From the moment we connected he called or texted me every single day to ask me about my day, if I’ve had any dreams and all the rest of it. Even to this day when my husband goes to work or even just out he will message me somehow, even if it’s a funny video on Facebook. I love this so much because it makes me truly believe I’m always on his mind and I’m the first person he wants to contact.

He proposed to me when everything around me was falling apart. I didn’t have a home anymore and just graduated. Then he came along and gave me hope when I felt like my world was crumbling. He is the bravest human being I know because he married me even against all odds. He believed I was worth all the hardship and abuse and for that I am truly grateful.

My husband is a romantic gentleman. When we get into disagreements his sincere vocal apology is always accompanied by pink flowers (tulips or roses) or a peanut butter kit kat. He is always the first to apologise and always knows when I’m not happy with something. Even through my giant teeth smile he can see through what I’m feeling.

IMG_2804.jpgThese are only a few of the countless reasons why my husband it amazing. I really appreciate everything he does for Alina and I. So I wish the love of my life, the apple of my eye, the salt to my pepper a very happy birthday. I’m so honoured and privileged to be your wife and mother to your child. We thank God that your in our lives.

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The truth behind comparison

Why do we compare? We all do it, some maliciously, some unintended but we all compare and it comes from so many places in our minds. We all also register the comparison in different ways, some of us are hurt by it and it dampens our self esteem. Some of us are challenged by it and channel it in a positive way. Comparison for me personally is a horrible thing and I do fall into the category of people that are hurt by it. When I was a little girl my parents would harmlessly compare me to my cousins or other more “smarter’ kids in my class in an attempt to get me to perform better at school in subjects they considered to be of great value. They would tell me in front of family gatherings they wish I would be better at science like my uncle’s daughters. I don’t believe they wanted to upset me but it really embarrassed me and made me feel inadequate.

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I knew from a young age that I was never going to be into those typical Bengali “success subjects” like Maths, Science and English. I only did well in English because I like fiction and enjoyed babbling about my opinions in essays. This comparison that I experienced as a child has left a scar that I am choosing to use in a positive way in which I will raise my own daughter. As I got older and met more people in different stages of my life, I realised that everyone is comparing themselves to others. We have the media that so many of us worship comparing celebrities, politicians, religious leaders and so much more. I even found myself doing it as second nature especially when social media began to boom and the availability to get too much information on peoples personal lives. I found myself one day comparing myself to a stranger on Instagram and I felt that same inadequacy I felt as a child when my parents did it in front of all those people.

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It was so strange that a mere projection of an idealistic life was making me feel in a such a way. That is when I realised this comparison thing is pretty self destructive. I made a decision that I would actively avoid comparing and people who want to compare me, my daughter, my husband or my loved ones. I never want my daughter to feel like she is inadequate. The same goes for my husband. Comparison robs us of the reassurance that we are indeed amazing. There is only one of each of us created uniquely and comparison steals away creativity when our focus is diverted to another person. So fellow parents, don’t compare your children, your spouse or your loved ones. Don’t even compare yourself to anyone else.

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Please believe that you all are truly the best versions of yourselves. If you really want to help your household, cheer them on and the gifts and talents that are present. For instance my daughter is 16 months, loves to have conversations, sings and is left handed. I praise her for all her efforts and make a conscious decision not to compare her to other children. If I find myself doing it, I do tell myself off because when she is old enough to register those words I never want to feel what I felt as a child. As for your own morale, start with all the good things about yourself, write it down if you have to and it will slowly spread across to the things you never thought about that are incredible about you too.

Remote working with a baby

I have been hunting for remote design work for a month now because I didn’t want to be away from my baby. Working remotely is the best option for me until Alina can join her local nursery. I recently landed myself back in the world of employment and assumed it was going to be easy. I really need to stop making assumptions. I was so wrong about it being easy. It’s definitely a juggling act that requires a lot of planning. I work from home and I know this may sound like a dream because it has lots of perks but it can get tough if I’m not organised. With a wriggly toddler who tries to chuck stuff at my MacBook and screams if I’m not talking to her it can get pretty ugly. I get some help from my parents with her but because I’m at home they assume I should be able to do both. After all to them it looks like I just press buttons on a screen all day.
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So I have figured out how to make my new job work for me. I’m a graphics designer and I create all my content from scratch. I practice my craft a lot so I can keep up with the other designers. I keep a scrapbook file of graphics I like in my laptop for inspiration. Because I’m a mother there is more of a need for me to work faster because I don’t have enough time in a day. I don’t work conventional hours, I work however many hours it takes to create beautiful artwork. My primary focus is my child and I plan my work around her schedule. Alina doesn’t actually cry anymore unless she’s tired. She sleeps very well after her lunch for about two hours. During that time I usually take Skype calls and finish off urgent tasks. When she’s awake we usually just try to hang out together. She likes to think she’s doing the same thing as me so I give her the iPad and open up the drawing app. She loves it and usually can be entertained for hours. She also loves watching nursery rhymes on my phone. I think she likes the size of the phone because it fits perfectly into her little hands. The nursery rhymes are made up of about 20 songs that run for an hour. It’s very educational too and she’s learnt a lot of her English vocabulary from it.
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So fellow parents I hope you are encouraged to fight for the work arrangement that suits you. I believe that unless you have a job that requires actual physical interaction with another person, a job can be done remotely. A decent computer, good broadband and a mobile phone is all most people need to get going. There are some great recruiters and websites that specialise in finding the best suited role for you. Nothing is impossible. Somedays are harder than others for me as a remote worker but it’s all worth it. I believe God gives us all enough grace to handle our given portion of life.

Where did all my friends go?

 

Each new season I enter in life I find myself wondering where did my friends go. I question myself am I not a good friend that I keep loosing people? What exactly am I doing wrong? I am the type of person that will try fixing the problem just so I can have my friends in my life. But a lot of the relationships were just not meant to be. It doesn’t mean either of us are bad human beings. I did find it a hard reality to grasp though.
When I became a Christian in 2010 a lot of my friends disappeared. They didn’t want to be associated with someone who left Islam. That really hurt my feelings, but I was fortunate enough to meet new people who supported my new way of life. I do however have two precious friends who are still in my life today and I’m convinced if I shaved my head and called myself Zaza they would still love me. For the next 6 years I had a whirlwind of new friendships. Some are still thriving relationships today, some have become a passing hello and some have disappeared.
Getting married and having a baby caused more of my friends to disappear. I guess new responsibilities made me super busy and I couldn’t be a present friend like I use to be. I think I only realised my friends were disappearing when I tried to reach out and they were busy with their lives. I didn’t know their schedules anymore or their new relationships. At first it hurt but then I understood that I can’t have it all. I needed to be a present friend. Some people just need that and it doesn’t make them bad people.
Spending a lot of time at home I had to actively try to get to know new people. I love meeting new people but I am pretty shy. I don’t always know where to start the conversation but I love encountering a new person. I love how different people sound and how much purpose a person carries. I decided to reach out to people who are in my age group, who aren’t just parents but just great people. I’m so glad that I was brave enough to reach out because for the last 18 months I’ve met some lovely women. And I hope to carry them into each new season of my life. All relationships need both parties to participate and be willing to be part of all the seasons that come along in life. It’s ok to let some people go if they don’t want to follow through into every stage. I’m grateful that I understand it now.
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I need help

Asking for help is a very hard thing for me to do. Its so silly because from a young age we are taught to ask for help if we want to better ourselves. I don’t know when it became a bad thing in my mind. Before entering motherhood I was able to do everything by myself, the housework, wife stuff and working a full time job. I would feel run down but, then I’d get over it. I’m also very blessed to have an attentive husband who helps without me having to ask. But its not a bad thing if I ask my husband for help. So why the mental struggle? I have been actively trying to fight the urge to do everything by my self and actually ask for help. I’m so much happier for actively getting help with my motherhood journey. After becoming a mother I was under the impression that I could do everything by myself and if not then people would help me without asking. The truth is people are not mind readers. I knew they all had good intentions but unless I asked they wouldn’t know what kind of help I needed.

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My problem of asking for help comes from the false notion that if I can’t do it by myself I’ve failed. To me it didn’t make sense how I could be at home all day with a baby but get nothing done. I thought while being at home I’d be able to do lots of creative projects, designs, start a business and all that good stuff. But I couldn’t do any of it. I started to think that I was inefficient with my time, disorganised or maybe even lazy. But the truth is that being a mother is hard work. Emphasis on work because it requires physical labour. I was lucky if I could brush my hair some days. Feeds, cuddles, nappy changes and laundry was on repeat for a good 6 months after my baby was born. I was absolutely knackered. I was so stubborn in my mind I didn’t want to ask for help but I yearned for someone to offer it. Just for a quiet baby free shower or to enjoy my coffee warm.

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The mental exhaustion had finally caught up. I was getting upset over little things and it was affecting my mood. I began to ask my family and friends to help. They were so happy to do so. They started off just watching her for a couple of hours so I could sort myself out or do some housework. I started to feel rested so I could function better as a wife and mother. I ask all new mothers to not be stubborn or afraid to ask for help. Nobody on the planet is prepared for motherhood no matter how many fancy qualifications or books they may have read. Be kind to yourself and for the sake of your wellbeing ask for help.

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Alina’s curly crown

 

I sometimes think I should really be offended when people act surprised that I can look after my baby’s hair. I think the extreme exhaustion and the fact that I don’t really care about options really helps. It really is a reminder that human beings are so ignorant sometimes. When I was pregnant I knew my baby would have different hair to me. I was so excited because I have admired African hair since I was little. I still remember the first time I met a black girl called Clara in year one that had these lovely long braids with colourful beads in it. I lived in a predominately Bengali community so meeting her was very refreshing.I went home and begged my mum for the beads so I can go into school and do the hairstyle. She bought the wrong beads! She bought beads that can be sewn in like embellishments.
Oh mother! So I asked my friend if she wanted my beads in exchange for hers. She was so kind, without a second thought she started pulling out the colourful treasure out of her pocket and tried to plait my hair. We both were in for a shock when we discovered the beads wouldn’t stay in my hair like it did in hers. She untied one of her plaits and showed me how she does her hair and it was magical. The plaits were easily woven into each other like freshly made cotton candy. It was so soft and thick. Our six year old minds just didn’t understand why my hair couldn’t hold the style. I did understand that I totally loved her hair.
So fast forward to the present day. I began my research and asked other parents with mixed hair how they take care of their children’s curly crown. My baby was born with straight hair and it’s custom for Bengali’s to shave it off. We didn’t shave her hair which caused a mini fight with my parents but we stuck to our instincts. They believe the hair to be unclean as the child has been in the womb for 9 months and that it will not grow properly. Just to clarify this is not true. The womb is probably a more sterile environment than the outside world. Secondly hair grows from inside out, so I dismissed their traditions.
After a few weeks of bringing Alina home her hair gradually started to change from light waves to full coiled curls. It was breathtakingly beautiful. I stroke it everyday till now. I took a few tips from my fellow curly hair mammas but I also discovered that her hair felt like mine but it was curly. So I had to incorporate Bengali hair care routine. Bengali people use oils and massage their head a lot. So I massage my baby’s head in the pattern of her curls to simulate circulation and induce natural hair oils. I use a gentle earth friendly baby shampoo and wash her hair once a week. My own hair I wash twice a week but because she has curls that I don’t want to dry out I limit the washing. In damp hair I apply a pea size amount of Shea butter into her hair. I did originally try virgin olive like I do for myself but the moisture didn’t seem to seal properly. Her hair is transforming again so I’m excited to see the new texture and learn more ways to take care of it.
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The Union of two worlds

I love being married, especially to my lovely French-Ivorian man. Our union was not the easiest. In fact it may have been harder than child birth! The mental stamina from both parties was needed. I can boldly say with confidence that my husband is the bravest man I know. Even after marriage the cultural differences try to create collisions but we have learnt to overcome it. Bengali people don’t usually mix. It’s common for my people to marry within the village or even a cousin so the bloodline can continue to be ‘pure’. I however don’t believe in the false concept of keeping blood pure. I very much encourage interracial marriage. Love is not limited by countries, colour or culture.

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We had our first child last year and will be married for 5 years in April. I’m so proud of how far we’ve come. We didn’t allow our cultural differences to create strife but instead we learned everyday and respect each other. We understood early in our relationship that marriage came with sacrifices. Sacrifice has a negative connotation but within marriage it’s a beautiful selfless act. We sacrificed the point scoring and judgemental behaviour of customs that one another were not used to. Some might find it hard to identity with these kind of behaviours because they are so accustomed to doing it all the time. I had a tendency of bottling my feelings and then exploding with all the things that my husband did to annoy me. My record keeping of his wrongs was one of the behaviours I needed to get rid of. It was so hard because it made me feel superior to have scores. But once I learnt that we are on the same team and his happiness actually makes me happy, I was able to stop.

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My husband encourages me to cook my traditional food and wear saris for any occasion. I also try to imbed his culture, food and language in our family. For example I play French cartoons for my baby that my husband used to watch as a child. I cook plantain and buy Supermalt, that I was only introduced to once I met him. It’s absolutely delicious, everyone really needs to try it once in their lives.

Perhaps some may feel that it’s too much effort for a relationship. Maybe even what’s the point of going through all the differences and hardships of an interracial marriage? Life is so colourful and spending it in a dry dead relationship is torture. Anything worth having is hard work. But marriage is a special union that needs all your strength to work. It’s one of the sweetest relationships that if nurtured properly everyone wins. I challenge all the people who are married or in a relationship to step out and sacrifice one thing and watch your relationship thrive. It’s time to take a paint brush and splash new colours into your relationship.

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