Celebrating Motherhood

In the United States, during the month of May, we take a day to celebrate mothers. All the work they do, all the care they provide: it’s a chance for children to celebrate and thank their mothers in a special way.

Because motherhood is the third-prong of MS//Mommy’s mission, next to healthy living and living with MS, I wanted to spend the month talking about mothers and some of the aspects that go into motherhood.

I am hoping to make this a theme for every May, so to kick off my first year, I am focusing on some concepts near and dear to my heart: the beginning stages of motherhood and all I have learned about it. In subsequent years I hope to examine other aspects of motherhood in greater detail that may be missed or overlooked this year.

So what is this month going to look like?

What to Expect for the Month of May

Be on the lookout for posts that range from trying to conceive to the trimesters; from giving birth to breastfeeding. I am sticking with what I am familiar with this year and some of these posts will address motherhood and MS as well.

I am super excited that several posts will be featuring stories and advice from other mothers with the information they wish they knew before getting pregnant, having a newborn, and raising a toddler. I found that as I went through each stage there was a gap in my knowledge and a lack of awareness of that gap. I wanted to compile recommendations to provide for other mothers who might be in a similar situation.

What I will be striving to do throughout the month: presenting a non-judgmental look at motherhood. Everyone approaches motherhood differently and what might work for one person may not work (or seem off) to another. Unless there is a clear and present danger for the child, there really isn’t a wrong way to approach motherhood, rather it may be considered unorthodox. With that in mind, throughout the month I will be encouraging constructive discussion surrounding motherhood.

This will be a month filled with personal stories, recommendations, and taking the time to appreciate our mothers and all they’ve done for us. So let’s take the rest of May and celebrate motherhood!


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Confession Time…

It’s the holiday season and that makes it very difficult to maintain any form of stick-to-it-tiv-ness when it comes to healthy habits. Exercising is harder with the colder weather and my running buddy is taking a slight break because of the holidays. It’s very hard to push yourself to get out of bed at 6am to go run in the cold.

Regarding my diet drops, I will admit I have lapsed. On a lot of things. Almost everything. Except sugar and fried foods. Sugar gives me such massive headaches that I can’t function for the rest of the day depending on how much I have and I think I have finally kicked the fried-food monkey. I don’t want to go through the psychological withdrawal again because of how difficult it was to get over.

I don’t consider any of this backsliding to be a failure. In fact, I consider it self-care. While I shouldn’t excuse myself for not meeting my personal goals, if I use this as a reminder that I can’t expect perfection and to be gentle with myself if I miss certain personal benchmarks, I won’t get discouraged.

Discouragement because of not meeting personal goals can spell the end of what is overall a positive and beneficial experience. I just need to maintain the mantra: tomorrow is another day and I can refocus once this “rough” period is over.

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Week 5: Dear Dairy…

Dairy and I have always had a love/hate relationship.

I had issues with it as a baby and have always had mild issues with it as an adult such as mucus, gas, and feeling bloated. Nothing that affected my quality of life, but just a mild annoyance every so often.

My reactions to dairy tells me that I am most likely sensitive to it, but like with sugar, when it’s in your system it’s hard to notice.

Dairy has always been that difficult mountain to cross whenever I went vegan. The thought of going without cheese never appealed to me and vegan alternatives never tasted as good as slightly burnt cheese on a grilled sandwich.

I knew that there was a chance Jai would have issues with dairy. When I was a baby, I had a hard time digesting breastmilk and at the time, mothers were told to consume a bunch of milk when breastfeeding for the baby’s health. It never crossed my pediatrician’s mind that perhaps my mom should drop dairy from her diet to help me feel better. She switched to formula and that was that.

But when more information came out over the last few decades that dairy causes issues, particularly through breast milk, we put two-and-two together. So when it came time to breastfeed Jai, I watched my dairy intake.

I did notice that when I had a dairy-heavy meal, Jai was more uncomfortable that evening. When we started putting him on solids, if he had something that had a lot of dairy, he wouldn’t stay asleep due to discomfort.

That informed me that while correlation does not mean causation, it was something to pay attention to when deciding what to feed him. It’s easier to supplement his calcium needs with fortified foods outside of breastmilk. I am not against him having dairy once in awhile, nor am I against him drinking milk. But with all possible sensitivities, we will be doing it with care because I don’t want him to have unnecessary discomfort.

Ash reminded me recently that he had stomach issues growing up, issues with really painful gas. He wasn’t able to point to anything in particular, but he suspected that it was food related. Because there’s a possible genetic factor at play for Jai, we’re going to keep a really close eye on his reactions to certain foods.

I am dropping dairy not just for personal comfort, but because this is the last of the foods I am dropping for my cholesterol. I think there were some secondary benefits for my MS when I dropped dairy because dairy is inflammatory. I will be doing more research regarding that this week.

The Plan for the Week

  • I tend to reach for snacks that have dairy when I want to mindlessly eat. Having some carrots and hummus will be a good alternative.
  • Ash bought me N’ice Cream as a means to treat myself after my half-marathon on Sunday. I bought myself a nicer blender with some smoothie books, so when I am craving something with dairy, I will grab some “ice cream” or make a smoothie as a means to help with that craving. I made a banana ice cream the other day and it’s creamy enough to satisfy that specific craving.
  • I have found that sprinkling nutritional yeast over snacks helps a lot with cheese flavor. It’s not perfect, but it reminds me of parmesan. I can air pop some popcorn and throw the nutritional yeast on top if I want to taste something dairy-like.

The Social “What if’s”?

  • Eating in a restaurant: I am not going to stress over perfection, but opt for dishes that don’t have dairy or ask for the dairy removed. With salads, chose an oil and vinegar dressing. Still gotta avoid that fried stuff…
  • I am given something with dairy to eat/try: Defer if I can and if not, save it for later to give to Ash to try.
  • “Why aren’t you eating that?”: Trying to see if I feel better by going without dairy for a period of time. I have also noticed Jai getting more gassy when I’ve had dairy and I want to see if this will alleviate that symptom.
  • “Won’t you miss ice cream/cheese/eggs?”: Yes. I definitely will miss all those things, but current alternatives are better than ever and after a while you forget the difference.

For Wednesday, I will be examining how dairy can affect the body and see if what I have is a sensitivity or an allergy. Obviously, getting tested is the best way to confirm this, but sometimes that’s just not feasible for insurance. I think it will be helpful to see what dairy does to the body and see if that affects my MS as well.

 


From the Top

I have always jumped feet first into a new endeavor.

It’s ingrained in my personality, something my mother will tell you I’ve always done since I was a baby. I wouldn’t say that I was willful, but it was very hard for her to stop me once I made my mind up about something.

I’ve hit some rough patches in my early adulthood that made me slightly reticent, but I still hurtle into things once I decide it’s something I want to do.

Some examples: moving to Georgia from Connecticut; meeting my future husband; going to graduate school; starting this blog: these are all things that I jumped into because it seemed like a good idea and darn-it, I’m doing this thing.

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