Sungka

When I had children, it wasn’t just my body that changed, my whole life did. Most of the time I am exhausted, I am tired, sometimes I cry (parang ngayon, parang tanga, umiiyak habang nagtatype) there are times when I feel like I can’t do it anymore… I look in the mirror and I see messy hair, walang ligo, my tummy covered in stretchmarks so deep you can play ‘sungka’, skin so loose, you can probably make a bag out of it, my breasts- well you my fellow moms know what these two looks like now- and then I look at my sons and they look back, one smiles back and the older one tells me ‘your tummy is so squishy mom, i love it… and even though I feel insecure about my body, I am not going to complain.

Kung ang kapalit naman ng lahat ng sakripisyong ito eh ang mga ngiti ng mga anak ko, okay na okay na ako. I will be grateful to God everyday for the gifts He has entrusted to me.

To mommies, nanays, mamas reading this- it may be hard right now, but it’s all worth it and know that soon, our babies will grow up and we will miss their littleness, their hypernessness and the noises and messes they make and our bodies will remind us that we once carried them and nurtured them.

You are Strong, You are Amazing, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. You may feel unappreciated but God sees you, knows you and what you’re going through and He loves you. Smile na, He’s got us…Tara Sungka tayo!

One day at a time.

I consider exclusively breastfeeding my 2nd baby for almost 6 weeks now one of my greatest achievement in life! (I mixed fed before) 5 weeks ago, my breasts were super engorged, my nipples sore and cracked and I almost gave up!

When we were still in the hospital, I felt proud nursing Tobias round the clock and I thought all was well in the breastfeeding world- I thought I was a pro! But about 5 days into it, I dreaded every feeding session, my toes would curl from the pain and I would cry while Tobias nursed. My nipples started to crack and it was so painful – (even more than going through child birth in my opinion)

I almost gave up. During one of those nights, I almost asked my husband, Marco to buy formula but I thank God I didn’t instead I manually pumped the really affected breast while I unwantingly nursed Tobias in the other.

On the 11th day, I couldnt take it anymore and went to see a lactation expert, I cried as soon as she asked me what was wrong. So she checked my breasts and I learned that they were engorged and had a lot of clogged milk ducts. She taught me how to massage it and taught me the correct way to latch.. and since then, breastfeeding became a breeze. Not right away but it definitely became easier as the days went by.

It really is very important to be truly informed and educated about breastfeeding even before you give birth. I actually attended a short breastfeeding talk with Ms Abbie before I gave birth and learned a lot but it was still very different learning from the actual experience. But being informed really does help!

So for those who are about to give birth and are planning to breastfeed and for those who are in the beggining of their breastfeeding journey and want to give up or learn more, here are some of the things I have learned that may help you:

• Mamas, the first 2 weeks are the hardest, after that it just gets easier (so hang on)

• Learn about breastfeeding as much as you can! Attend lactation talks and seminars if able.

• Prepare your nipples- make them tough, I started using lanolin cream only after my nipples cracked, so for you pregnant mamas, start applying lanolin cream daily even before you give birth.

• Breastfeeding wont start to hurt (atleast in my case) while still in the hospital, even when the latch is wrong, so make sure your baby is latching on correctly to avoid cracked nipples altogether.

• Apply cold compress when breasts are engorged and warm compress before each nursing session to help with the milk flow.

• Drink lots of water, eat healthy and take lactation supplements.

• I was also prescribed Lecithin (to thin out the milk and avoid clogged ducts) and Advil for the pain

• Seek help! Dont suffer in silence, breastfeeding should not be painful. Consult a lactation doctor/ expert.

My breastfeeding buddies: Medela Lanolin Cream, Lactaflow, Lecithin, Reusable Breast Pads form Avent, Hot or Cold Compress from Avent, Haakaa, Manual pump from Hegen and electric pump from Avent.

It’s also very important to have a support group that will encourage you and help you through the first few weeks of breastfeeding, in my case I would like to thank my sister for encouraging me, my mom too, my beetfriend Ivy. My husband- who went out in the middle of the night to look for a lanolin cream for me and who bought me a nursing pillow, Ms Abbie Yabot for encouraging me and giving me advise even though she’s away, my friend Princess and her husband Doc Bistek, our kumpare who is also Noah and Tobias’ pedia for encouraging me and for introducing me to Dr Jamie Isip- Cumpas and ofcourse thank You Jesus for Your undending supply of grace and strength and joy through it all.

5 weeks ago, I wondered if I would last another day or even another session of breastfeeding- but look at me now! So mamas, don’t cry na, if you feel ready to give up, just look at your Little One and know that you are doing so well and it will soon become easy… again you are not alone. You can do this! One day at a time…

The tips I have written here are from own experience, it may or may not work for you, it is still best to consult your doctor or lactation expert to make sure.

Write your questions, tips or comments below and let’s help each other out!

Beautiful in His eyes

George 😍

“I pray that you will always know that you are beautiful because you are God’s wonderful creation, that you are loved and your family and your ninongs and ninangs will always be here for you.”

This photo was taken during ‘George’s‘ (Krystal Dannela’s) 1st birthday and dedication and I remember telling the photographer to make sure I don’t look fat in the photo 🙊 (He said he wasn’t a magician, but I think he did a pretty good job)

You see, i have been feeling really ugly recently. At 31 weeks I have already gained almost 30lbs, I’ve gotten pretty big in a lot of areas- including my nose (🍅) and a lot of areas in my body has started to darken- my neck, my tummy, belly button area, underarms, and even some parts of my face…

I always tell @marcoalcaraz that I’m so ugly and he would gently remind me that I’m pregnant and assures me how beautiful I am and that he loves me no matter what… and I’m thankful for a loving husband.. but we can’t always depend on someone to tell us we are beautiful and we are loved…

There will come a time for all of us when we will feel ugly even we’re really not. Sad for no reason at all. Worthless, unappreciated… And this is not just for us ‘pregnant women’, anyone of us can go through these kind of emotions and we must never forget, that our worth is not based on how we look, our status, what we have in our life, how much money we have in the bank… but in how God sees us- as His precious children. Worth saving. Worth dying for.

When nobody seems to care or when no one is around to tell you – always remember this:

Jesus loves you my friend and you are beautiful in His eyes.

Overcoming Hormones

If you notice, the last post I posted on this blog except for the one yesterday about the Breastpump Giveaway was last December! December!

And as I write this, all I want to do is go back to bed, lie down in front of the TV and do nothing! I feel so lazy, so exhausted even though I just woke up. And I’ve been feeling like this since I was 5 weeks pregnant. So I should just go back to bed right? I have an excuse, afterall I’m pregnant! My body is making a baby inside and that should be enough reason for me to be lazy and give in to that laziness, right?…

But you see ever since I found out I was pregnant again, I have also been more irritable, easily annoyed at Marco, at Noah and anybody I feel like being annoyed at. And most times for no reason at all! There were also moments when I simply feel sad.

Galatians 5: 22-23 says that the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, JOY, Peace, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, faithfulnes, GENTLENESS and SELF-CONTROL.

So does being pregnant mean I lose the fruit the Holy Spirit gives? Can I really keep on using ‘it’s the hormones‘ excuse for my laziness, moodiness and kaartehan?

I decided it stops now. (O Lord help me!)

When you’re pregnant, hormones go crazy, it seems impossible to overcome it, but I know my God is greater and more powerful than any hormonal changes my body is going through and as Philippians 4:13 says, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Being lazy included me neglecting to spend time with my creator. My prayer time became rushed and there were days when I don’t even read the Bible at all- and I guess this answers why I’m so easily annoyed and why I feel sad- it’s because I have been disconnected to my God. He is my joy afterall and my soul longs for Him. So when I don’t spend time with Him, I lose that joy and that causes me to do and feel all sorts of crazy.

If you have been feeling the same way I have, it’s time to get on our knees and PRAY! Pray that God keeps us and not cast us away from His presence. Pray that God will strengthen us and give us the desire to know Him more by reading His Word.

The Bible says that we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us- even us busy mamas and pregnant mamas. We don’t stop being warriors of God just because we are mothers. The battle goes on and God’s grace will always be sufficient for us to do what God has called us to do.

“We can overcome hormones and anything else that tries to get us away from God through Him who is our strength”

More than ever, we as mothers need to be rooted in God’s Word and make God our priority. Not our children- but God. Because only by doing that can we hope to be the best moms we can be for our kids.

If you have beem feeling the same way, let me know and let us encourage one another by praying for each other. Leave your thoughts and name on the comments section and I would love to pray for you.