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Tag: Motherhood

What Does Motherhood Mean to You?

Motherhood, I invite you to think about what this word means to you?  As an Obstetrician, I am blessed to witness the miracle of pregnancy and childbirth where every delivery is like I am in awe for the first time.  But I would be remiss in not talking about my Patients who become a Mother in other ways.  Mothers who foster or adopt their children, human and furry alike.  Mothers who provide their own eggs or body for surrogacy so that someone else can become a mother.  Mothers who are working hard to overcome their infertility challenges to meet the child they know is out there.  Lastly there are the silent mothers who experienced the joy of a positive pregnancy test that sadly ends in miscarriage.  She did not get to see or hold this baby that entered her heart the moment she saw those two lines, but now has an angel above.  Every day thereafter is bittersweet for anyone who loses a pregnancy, a baby or a child.  Even with loss however I am sure you would agree that no matter how one comes to know motherhood, it is a leap of faith worth making.   

The road to motherhood is unique to everyone.  There was a time in my young life where the thought of becoming a mother or being around children effectively sent my heart racing with sense of angst and uncertainty.  I had a defined plan for my life.  Starting in the 7th grade, I knew I wanted to be in Medicine.  I was blessed by several influences and thankful to those who mothered me.  It was my teachers who nurtured me, and opened my eyes to the power of education and all its possibilities.  It was listening to the intriguing stories that my late Grandmother Joyce told of her life as a Registered Nurse in the ER.  She would share medical stories that sparked my interest, but her accounts went much deeper than story telling.  I saw the passion she had in helping others and the curious navigation through humanity that she made.  A journey of this kind could not be made without knowing the love, devotion and tireless work I saw in my Mother.  She also empowered me to pursue my dreams.  I had a defined plan for my life.  I vowed to let nothing stand in my way.  How and when would I insert having children into this equation did not seem possible should I pursue this dream? 

It was at the age of 21 however that my world was forever changed.  I fell in love with my husband and in our new life together also came a precious 4-year old little girl.  At the time I thought to myself, “Oh no!  Will I be Cruella de Vil to her?! How will I relate to her and better yet will she like me?”  Our story together evolved into the birth of something quite the opposite of that which I feared, I found the beauty in motherhood.  Life was no longer just about me; it was what was best for her and our family.  I was blessed to later officially adopt her.  The day she called me “Mom” for the first time, the day I saw my name on her birth certificate and the day she became a big sister to her two brothers are by far the best and proudest moments in my life.  I am so glad that the defined plan for my life was altered and my journey to Motherhood lead me to my beautiful miracles.   Thankfully the equation for my life allowed me to not only be blessed with family, but they joined me on my journey in Medicine. 

Don’t get me wrong and I am sure you would agree that this wonderful world called Motherhood comes with as much joy as there are and tears.  I struggle daily to balance my life as a Mother, Wife and a Physician.  Every minute you fret and question what will happen if I am not here?  Am I doing the best I can?  Did I make the right decision?  For my children, how can I best teach them to live and love in this good life?  How can I protect them from the world?  I have resolved to believe that I am human.  I try to do the best I can with what I have, and accept that this must be right for me, my family and my patients.  I find the humor in my crazy life and call it controlled chaos.   My Grandmother Joyce used to sing us a song by Doris Day “I love you a bushel and a peck.”  I always loved to hear her sing it, but there is one verse I never understood until now.  After she passed I wanted to find those words and know them exactly by heart,  I wanted my children to come to know and love this song just as I had.  I found the words and I especially love the verse and it goes…

I love you a bushel and a peck

A bushel and a peck though you make my heart a wreck

Make my heart a wreck and you make my life a mess

Make my life a mess, yes a mess of happiness

So, take the time to reflect on what motherhood means to you.  It is important to remember and cherish those who affected your past, your present and future with who you may call, or may call you, Mother. 

5 Tips for Staying Fit While Pregnant

As an expectant mother, carrying around a baby in the womb can be exhausting. All you want to do is kick up your swollen feet and relax, but the fact is that exercise and proper eating can help fight uncomfortable symptoms and make a better overall experience for you and your baby. A fitness routine can help fight fatigue, ensure a better night’s sleep and ease constipation. We’ve compiled several tips to keep in mind as you strive to stay fit while pregnant.

1. Avoid Sugar & Bad Carbs
Sugar and bad carbs will increase extra pregnancy weight and fluid gains. Too much blood sugar converts to body fat which builds up around your stomach, hips, breasts and arms. Try limiting the amount of processed carbs such as white bread, breakfast cereal, pasta and baked goods.

2. Increase Good Fat & Protein
The word “fat” in food automatically gets a bad reputation. However, eating healthy monounsaturated and saturated fats like olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil and quality butter provides you with vitamins A, D, E and K, which are crucial for not only your well-being but also your baby’s development. Quality meats, whole dairy and eggs are also good sources of protein for a complete diet. Protein will reduce your cravings, help you stop snacking on junk food and will help you stabilize your blood glucose level.

3. Drink Enough Water
Drinking plenty of water during your pregnancy will make sure you stay hydrated, which helps reduce fatigue and nausea. Being well-hydrated can also prevent you from overeating. Usually, when you’re hungry your body is really just saying it’s thirsty. We recommend drinking at least 68 ounces of water a day during your pregnancy and more if you’re physically active.

4. Get Plenty of Sleep
Even though it’s important to be physically active, it’s equally as important to get enough rest. Your body improves the most while you are sleeping, which is valuable during pregnancy. If you aren’t sleeping soundly, take steps to get your sleeping on track. Try to get at least eight hours of sleep each night. Your body is growing a baby and you need much more rest than normal.

5. Exercise
To stay motivated with your fitness routine, it helps if you find activities that you enjoy doing. Modify your exercise programs by reducing duration and intensity so you don’t danger your baby by overexerting your body. Choose specific pregnancy exercises that you will enjoy keeping up with during this journey to birth.

Listening to your body is the key to staying in shape during pregnancy. Consult with your doctor if you have any health concerns while carrying your new baby. Your doctor is happy to work with you to create a strategic plan that will ensure you have a safe and healthy delivery.

Don’t Fall Prey to PREVENTABLE Illnesses

April brings about much awaited warm spring air, and we enjoy not only more sunshine, but a renewed, refreshed spirit after a long hard winter. From my perspective, and for my patients, this winter has been a very long one, laden with too many being sick! We have seen many different bacterial and viral respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses to date, and they seemed to linger and spread like wild fire among family and social circles. To make matters worse, nationwide we are also seeing diseases that we medical professionals once believed to be rarely seen on U.S. soil. We now are seeing an outbreak of once rare, preventable illnesses growing exponentially. Have you heard about measles moving across the country and even whooping cough? Do you know how to recognize each? I bring this to your attention because we are faced with an immediate public health threat….a threat that could be standing right next to you, or looming in the air waiting for you to walk by and take a deep breath. April 24-30, 2015 is World Immunization Week and the time is now to stop and think about the steps you have taken to make sure you and your loved ones are protected and do not fall prey to PREVENTABLE illnesses and even cancer.

Every fall and winter, many can relate to the practice of getting your flu shot, right? Many employers and hospitals feel so adamant about this vaccine that they require it or off to the chopping block you go to find another job. Why, influenza is very contagious virus that can be prevented or at least made less severe by giving each of us a simple shot. You may have heard on the news that our flu vaccine did not work so well this year. You may have heard many say…what a waste!  I counter to say, “Not true.” Each year we must make a new flu vaccine for the type of flu we expect to surface that year, as this intelligent virus changes its colors each year. Even though we did not match this year’s flu perfectly, we do feel it at least shortened the duration of one’s flu illness. Being sick for 3 days versus 7, which would you take?  Continue reading “Don’t Fall Prey to PREVENTABLE Illnesses”