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THE FIRST MONTH OF MOTHERHOOD and how to SURVIVE!

Cynthia Simpson

 
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When I got home after 5 days in the hospital I was overwhelmed by how grateful I was to God to have survived giving birth with just a C-section scar and a few bruises. I say survived because when you are in labor the waves of pain are excruciating!  You know they won’t kill you, however, there is only so much you can take. Being in labor for 36 hours you begin to wonder, “Am I going to make it to the other side of this moment?!” Thank God I did! I now have a little newborn baby to take care of and there are no take backs. I’m a mother now!

 
 

Being in my Brooklyn apartment with my husband, Val, my mother, twin sister and Baby Sophia, I sat in my kitchen thinking, “Now what am I suppose to do? How do I keep this perfect human alive? Am I even ready for this?”

The first month of being a mom is surreal, magical and even terrifying at times. I know every experience is different but here are some things that helped me get through the first month that I think can help you.

HAVE EXTRA HELP
Besides your partner (if you have one), you need someone to physically take care of you. You just had a whole person come out of your body! It hurts to walk, sneeze, cough, or even laugh. The last thing you want to do is cook and clean. I was fortunate enough to have my mother stay with me for two months after Sophia was born. Let me tell you, she was a Godsend. There it’s nothing like my mom’s home cooking. It’s like medicine for the body and soul. Thanks, Mommy! “You the best!” (DJ Khaled voice)

COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR PARTNER
I know this goes without saying but communicating with your partner at this time is really important. If there is something bothering you or you feel like you need a break to tell them right away to avoid a massive meltdown. I am breastfeeding so the majority of my time was spent with a baby hanging off my boob, which felt overwhelming at times. Without expressing yourself truthfully and right away, you can develop a sense of resentment toward the one you love because, in all honesty, you’re doing most of the work. It’s just the way it is. There are ways your partner can support you though. Massage is great, taking the baby for a short walk on their own gives you some space or whatever else you can think of to help relieve your stress and help you get some sleep. Express exactly what you need and be totally clear about ways your partner can help you. After all, this is all new to them as well. 

TAKE NAPS 
I know everyone says, “Sleep when the baby sleeps,” and I know it’s hard to sleep in the day. But taking a nap when the baby is asleep is imperative and you really need to try! You can also have your partner or whoever is helping you hold the baby for at least an hour or so every day so you can get some shuteye. You would be surprised how great you feel after just 2 hours of sleep!

PUT THE PHONE ON DND (do not disturb)
I never put my phone on silent until I had a baby. You will cherish every moment of sleep and to have it disrupted by a ding from a notification will piss you all the way off! There will be nothing more important then what’s going on with you and your baby. Not to mention you will be too tired to even think about anything else. Let those calls got to voicemail and those texts go unanswered. This is a month to unplug and figure this whole baby thing out.

KEEP VISITORS TO A MINIMUM 
In this first month, I spent the majority of the day walking around in mesh panties and a maternity bra. There is no point wearing clothes because they would just get stained from the milk leaking from my boobs. The last thing I wanted to do was entertain friends and family that were eager to see Sophia. Not to mention your baby has zero immune system and could get severely sick if someone that visits has a simple cold. I didn’t have guests until Sophia had her first round of vaccinations, which happens when your baby is 2 months old. If you are going to have people over keep the visit brief. You need time to recover, get to know your baby and keep them free from outside germs.

GO FOR A WALK
After being in the house for a week I felt like a caged animal. It was great to go out for a walk and even better when I went alone. My feet were also incredibly swollen from retaining water from the C-section. Walking was good to get the fluids to move through my body. Those few minutes outside allowed me to clear my head, get some sun and enjoy some much needed ME time. Put the guilt aside and allow yourself a few minutes to feel like YOU again.

TALK TO OTHER MOMS 
Being a new mom I had tons of questions. It was great to have a group of new moms from my Hypnobirthing class to share this experience with, as well as my concerns. Also, the mommy veterans I knew gave me incredible tips and tricks that they used when their babies. Having a group of supportive mothers will help you feel more confident in what you are doing. 

HAVE A LIST OF PROGRAMS WATCH 
Since you’ll spend most of your nights feeding your baby, you might as well catch up on the latest shows! It was nice to have something to pass the time while breastfeeding. My favorites were every show that was on the OWN network, Netflix comedy specials and YouTube videos on how to get your newborn to sleep! 

BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF
Everything takes time, especially understanding the needs of your newborn. In the beginning, things are difficult but as each week passes your baby will grow and it will get easier. Remember, billions of moms have done this for millions of years, so while this may seem like rocket science, you will get through it and it will get easier. Also, take care of yourself and not just your baby. Your baby needs a mommy who is clean, fed and as well rested as is possible. Love yourself and your new baby.

Cynthia, XO
(Advice from a new mom of a 3-month-old)

 

 

LET'S HAVE A BABY...EASIER SAID THAN DONE!

Cynthia Simpson

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 After being married for two years, Val (my husband) and I decided it was time for us to start a family. I have never been on birth control, which I read can sometimes delay you from getting pregnant, but regardless it was my understanding that it would take some time to conceive. 

Getting pregnant was the easy part. Seeing the pregnancy to full term, now that was the biggest challenge.

I became pregnant after one month of trying and we were totally surprised. I thought great that was easy! After about 6 weeks into my pregnancy I started spotting. I went to my doctor and she told me that the pregnancy was not viable and I would soon miscarry. She prescribed me some medication to help with the cramps. We were both disappointed, but I read somewhere that having a miscarriage is something that could happen the first time around so we were not discouraged. Without delay, we tried again and two months later we were pregnant again. We were excited and thought ok we got this! However, being pregnant a second time around felt different. I didn’t have any of the normal symptoms like tender breasts or feeling nauseous as I did the first time. I found a new OBGYN and after 8 weeks I went in to get a sonogram and the doctor told me that this pregnancy was also not viable and I would soon miscarry. That was when I started to worry. Was there something wrong with me?

People never talk about miscarriage, so I had no idea that it was so common nor did I understand that there could be so many factors that could cause you not to carry to full term. It could be your age, fibroids, your partner's sperm, it can even be the combination of you and your partner's genes making it impossible for the two of you to have children.  The doctor did a round of tests since this was our second time going through this. Getting pregnant was the easy part. Seeing the pregnancy to full term, now that was the biggest challenge.

The tests came back normal and there was no physical or genetic reason why we could not have a baby. Sometimes miscarriages just happen. The doctor told us that we should wait for two menstrual cycles to pass before trying again so that my uterus could heal. In March of 2017, we started trying again. I found out I was pregnant in September, a week before my husband’s birthday. I had a rush of emotions when I took the pregnancy test and it was positive. I was excited at first, but then doubt began to sink in. I didn’t want to go through a third miscarriage. I told Val if this didn’t happen maybe we weren’t meant to have kids. We agreed that if it would be just the two of us, then that would be enough. Val, however, was very optimistic which made me hopeful.

When we went in for our first sonogram I was about 6 weeks pregnant. The room was small with low lighting. I lay on the examining table and lifted my shirt so she could put the wand on my stomach. Val held my hand as we looked at the monitor and right away we heard a heartbeat! With the last two pregnancies we never heard a heartbeat so we were ecstatic!

In my first trimester of this pregnancy, I had the tender breasts but not much nausea. I really didn’t feel any significant changes going on. I was also very paranoid and scared that something might happen. I didn’t want to talk to anyone about my pregnancy and for the people that did know I kindly asked them not to ask me how I was feeling. If I wanted to talk about being pregnant I would open the dialogue. Somehow I thought by not talking about my baby, it would make me feel less anxious if something were to happen, but thankfully with every month my fear of miscarrying diminished.

In the second trimester, I began to show and finally started to get into the notion of having a baby along with this new body. By New Year’s Eve, which is also my birthday, I was 5 months pregnant and we had a house party where I wore a black form-fitting dress to show off my belly. Since we didn’t announce on social media that we were expecting, some of our friends that came were surprised to see me pregnant! As we partied the rest of the night and counted down to the New Year, I let go of any anxiety and allowed myself to become excited about having a baby.

I share my journey with you because I think it's important that we are open about what happens when you are trying to conceive. It's so common to have a miscarriage, yet people never talk about it. So if you are going through this don't be discouraged and please believe that you are not alone. 

 

MIND OVER DATING

Cynthia Simpson

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I don't care where you live on this planet, dating can be uncomfortable, frustrating and outright disappointing. It also can be exciting, spontaneous and lead to living your life with the person you love. I'd say if, in the end, you get to experience those fluttering butterflies in your stomach or the opportunity to feel true love isn't it worth pushing aside the negative thoughts and take a chance? 

I personally love meeting people; finding out what they are passionate about, where they have been and of course what they like to eat (what a person eats can tell you a lot about them). Not all people share this same enthusiasm. When it comes to sitting down with a stranger and explaining who you are it can be overwhelming. Then to be asked that annoying question "Why are YOU still single?" How the hell are you supposed to know the answer to that question?!

The ability to date and enjoy the experience totally depends on your mindset. If you go into anything new, say a new job or you just got a new apartment what you think going in can have an effect on if you stay or head to the left, to the left (In my Beyoncé voice). 

When you're on a date have a clear mind with no expectations. The best thing you can do is be yourself, be open and have a good time. You have no idea what the person sitting across from you is thinking but give them time and see what happens. When dating, time is your best friend. Time reveals the truth of people's intentions in life and ultimately with you. 

Live and be in the present. I think it's rude to be on the phone when you are meeting anyone let alone on a date. I understand if it's an emergency but if you have scheduled time to meet someone make sure you actually have the time to give them. Work emails are not considered an emergency people! 

Don't worry, be happy. I know that's a cheesy thing to say but honestly, wouldn't you want to hang with someone that's actually happy? I know I do. Being happy with who you are is so important in starting new relationships. When you are confident and comfortable in your skin you don't worry if this person will make you happy but rather if they are willing to share in your happiness. Happiness is a bright light that people naturally gravitate to. Shine bright like a diamond. (In my Rihanna's voice) 

The world is a magnificent, complicated place and it's great when you can find someone to explore it with. Your expectations will all depend if you are willing to let go of your ego, insecurities and focus on achieving a positive mindset. 

 

29 Rooms with Refinery29

Cynthia Simpson

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29Rooms

of design and creativity

Last month I was sitting at my desk at work thinking about what I would have for lunch when I got a notice on my phone that someone that I follow on Instagram was "live". I grabbed my phone and began scrolling and was immediately sucked into looking at pictures of people at the beach, friends that have moved to LA enjoying their new life and numerous images of palm trees. Just as I was beginning to get a heavy case of FOMO I scrolled down to Refinery29s feed where they announced that tickets for #29rooms were now on sale. There was no way I was going to miss this event. I didn't hesitate to buy my ticket. Hence my FOMO was cured! 

Here are a few things you things you need to know when attending 29rooms.

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3. Bring a friend 

With all the amazing attractions and things to interact with, you really want to be able to take a few pictures of yourself that are instagram worthy. If you go alone, there are some volunteer workers that are around to take your picture but ideally, you'll want to bring a friend along that likes to take pictures and has the patience to get your every angle or boomarang that you need.  

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1. Get there early
2. Wear comfortable shoes


On your ticket there is a time given to you to enter but will be a line outside the building to get in. Getting there early will guarantee that you enter the time you were given. Arriving on time isn't the end of the world, the line moves pretty fast and the people that check you in help move things along. 

Once inside there are more lines to go into each room. I hate waiting in lines period so I can't imagine what I would have done if I was also wearing heels. I wore my adidas sneakers Depending on what time you get there I believe determines how long you will be waiting. I was there towards the later part of the evening so I was waiting and waiting and waiting. 

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4. Eat before you enter

There is not a thing to eat at this event so make sure to grab a bite to eat before you go. I made the mistake of not getting anything to eat before I entered so before I knew it 3 hours had passed and I was hangry! My body wouldn't allow me to stay any longer so I didn't get to experince everything I would have liked. The lines at this point were longer then before and I needed to eat. I called my ass and uber and stopped by a pizza shop before going home.