Kristen and her husband live in North Carolina and are new parents to baby Eliana. Kristen shares it all on her blog, Oh Happy Miracle. Once you start reading, you'll fall in love with this family - who aren't afraid to share the good, the bad and the ugly - from their struggle with infertility to their new lives as parents. Kristen's honesty will keep you coming back day after day.
What surprised you the most about motherhood?
On the negative side, women can tell you over and over about the sleep deprivation, but until you're in the trenches of being a new parent, it's impossible to understand. I would always nod my head yes when a mother would talk about the lack of sleep-- almost dismissing what they were saying-- but MAN, it's NO JOKE!
I remember several days nodding my head off while breastfeeding. John would call my name to wake me up, and I would throw my head back up completely freaked out!
On the positive side, I was always a little scared of being a mother. I know that sounds crazy if you know our history of infertility and how hard we fought to become parents. But there was a piece of me that feared being a bad mother. Luckily I proved those fears wrong and have eased into parenting with complete confidence. I was meant to do this!
What do you think prepared you the most for becoming a mom?
My sister has twins that just so happen to being turning 1 year old in July. Because I didn't really grow up around children, I was lucky enough to spend some quality time with them in this past year. It has definitely been a godsend these past 8 weeks to prepare me for what lies ahead.
You've been open about your struggle with infertility. What advice would you give to other women who are going through the same thing?
Allow yourself to feel whatever it is that you need to feel to get through this journey. Don't EVER question your feelings no matter what people tell you. If you're pissed, be pissed. If you're sad, be sad.
The one thing that most women come to me about is the guilt that they feel for being "Debbie Downer" all the time. I always allowed myself to feel what came natural. I had hopeful days and days where I just wanted to lie in bed and forget about everything. BE YOU! You did not ask for this! And last but not least, do not take "no" for an answer. A doctor told us that we would never have children.
What is your "typical" day like these days?
For some reason, by the grace of God, my child is already on a sleep schedule! I know, crazy huh? While her naps are a little sporadic, Eliana wakes up every morning at 6:30am. I scoop her up and we lie in bed until about 8:30am. During this time we both lay in the bed and I feed her throughout the two-hr period. I jump in the shower, before John leaves for work, and then we have playtime for as long as she likes while she's laying on the bed playing with her toys.
I try to spend a lot of time with my parents because they keep my sisters twins three days a week. So we usually pack up the car and spend the day over there. If that doesn't happen, then we do a lot of singing and a lot of dancing around the house-- with poopie diapers and feedings mixed in of course :)
I work from home, so somewhere between 1pm-3pm she usually takes a 3 hour nap. During this time I scramble like a crazy lady to straighten the house, catch up on work, and if I'm lucky, I may even have 5 seconds to brush my teeth! Ahhhhhh!
We were spending a ton of time outside on the swing, but because the North Carolina heat is INSANE in July, we've had a leave of absence recently. So, we bounce around the house for the next few hours, with a few cries and smiles in between.
John gets home around 6:30pm-7pm and because my husband is amazing, he cooks dinner so I can tend to Eliana. Anywhere between 9:30pm-10:30pm, Eliana falls asleep for the night. She typically sleeps through the night, but a few nights a week, she will wake up around 3:30am-4:00am for a quick 10 minute feeding and then she's down again until 6:30am. And then we start all over again :)
What are you looking forward to the most as Eliana grows up?
I'm looking forward to the little things in life, like driving in the car and both of us singing at the top of our lungs with the window down, or dancing in the living room and making daddy laugh with our crazy routines. But, most importantly, Eliana coming to me for advice. I want her to know that I will ALWAYS be here for her and that I will never judge her.
Follow Kristen and her family at www.ohhappymiracle.com.