indianapolis mommy and me session

Did you always know you wanted to be a mom, or was it something that "just happened?" I've always wanted to be a mom. Even from a young age, I would pick out boys and girls name that I loved for my future children. I always tried to be someone everybody could look up to, that's why I knew I'd be a great mother when the time came!

What was it like to find out you were pregnant? Did you suspect before you took the test? Was it an awesome moment? A scary moment? Who was with you? I had so many emotions; my pregnancy wasn't planned, but I wanted a child more than anything in this world, especially after having a heartbreaking miscarriage a few months earlier on New Years Day, one week after my mom passed away. Overall, I was ecstatic. I knew I was pregnant before I tested because I ate an entire jar of jalapeño peppers the night before I took a test. Even though I knew I was pregnant, I still took about 6 tests total because I was in such shock. I was alone when I found out and the first person I told was my best friend; next, of course, I told my boyfriend.

What was your pregnancy like? Easy? Hard? Complicated? Did it go too quickly, or too slow? The beginning of my pregnancy was terrible. I was still grieving the loss of my mom, as well as a very close friend, so my emotions and hormones were through the roof. I had a horrible taste in my mouth for about the first 4 months and I was so weak every single day. After that passed, things were great from there on out, besides some back problems. Baby decided to hang out on my sciatic nerve and cause mommy all kinds of pain! While I was pregnant, it seemed like it was never going to end, but once it ended, it seemed like my pregnancy flew by!

What was the thing that surprised you most about pregnancy? The thing I was surprised the most about when it came to my pregnancy was that I never had morning sickness. I was so happy about that! I was also shocked that I didn't crave all kinds of crazy stuff like most women do.

And then you felt the first contraction . . . Where were you, what were you doing? Sleeping at home! Those darn things were no joke! They woke me up around 2:30am and I just propped myself up in bed until my boyfriend woke up for work. I was too stubborn to wake him up, because I wanted to fight through them, plus they weren't 5 minutes apart yet, so I knew it wasn't time to go to the hospital. I sent him off to work after he asked me multiple times if I needed to go to the hospital -- I kept saying no, of course. But guess what? About an hour or two after he left, I decided to take a shower, which ended up being the hardest task in the world because I couldn't even get myself dressed afterwards. I was rolling around on the floor, attempting to get my clothes on. So at that point, I decided to call him and tell him to take me to the hospital asap! When we got there, I had to wait in the waiting area for 30 MINUTES, while I was contracting 5 minutes apart, and when they finally called me back and checked me, I was dilated to a 4 and got sent back to L&D right then and there! Labor lasted about 18 hours for me. The thing I'll never forget is being terrified to get the epidural! Thankfully the nurse I had was awesome and held me close to her while I got it. Other than that, it was a breeze.

Labor and deliver are often romanticized or dramatized. If you were going to prepare a mom for L&D, and give her the REAL story, what would you say? Don't pack a billion things In the diaper bag like I did, I ended up needing almost none of it. Don't stress once you get to the hospital, focus on your contractions, don't get bothered by all of the one million questions everyone asks you over and over again. It's pretty calm and laid back. I filled out my paperwork, then they took me to my room, had me change, put me in the bed and started the process. I got my epidural about an hour after I got there and things were a breeze from there.

And then there's the birth! Were you able to hold your child right after they were born? Describe that feeling. Did you have to wait, due to medical reasons? Describe how that felt. Yes, I was able to hold my perfect little angel as soon as she came out. I honestly had so many emotions, that I immediately started crying when I saw her. Just thinking about that moment makes me tear up. The feelings I had in that moment were so overwhelming. I was scared, happy, nervous and everything else. I was also extremely sad, because my mom was not there to witness her birth. The first words I said after she was born was, "I wish my mom was here." I cried for a good half an hour as they took her and cleaned her. I had my boyfriend, his two sisters, my cousin/best friend, boyfriends mom, dads girlfriend and dad all in the room. It was too much at that time and everyone ended up crying because I was so upset about my mother not being able to be there. But the second my daughter got placed back into my arms, my whole world just changed. I probably held her for a solid 4 hours straight. I didn't want to let her go. I was the happiest person in the world because she filled that empty spot I had in my heart from losing my mom. I truly believe my mom blessed me with my daughter and I couldn't be any more thankful. My daughter is the reason I'm still going every single day.

Describe the first few days after birth, whether at home or in the hospital. What was it like to bond with your new baby? Who was with you? What important events happened? The first few days afterwards were so rough, I was struggling to breastfeed and I was so deprived of sleep, that I was literally shaking. We were in the hospital for two days after and we had all sorts of visitors. The time I had to bond with my daughter was just picture perfect, I would just lay her in her little crib and stare at her for hours, after holding her for hours. I was on cloud 9. My boyfriend was there the entire time with us and his family would simultaneously visit throughout the day. All of the important stuff, like giving her her permanent name, learning all about breastfeeding and basically just learning about to parent, happened.

What was it like to come home with a new baby? How long did it take for you to feel "settled in"? It was a train wreck. I was still so sleep deprived, I was in so much pain from breastfeeding, I felt like I was failing because I had to end up giving her formula once we got home because I didn't have a lactation consultant there to guide me and keep me going. We got released at 9pm and when we got home, nothing was in place because I'm a procrastinator and had nothing ready. She didn't sleep at all the first night, but I couldn't even function. Thankfully her daddy was there to help me, as well as boyfriends mother. It took us a good month to actually feel settled and for us to feel like we kinda knew what we were doing!

What is the most amazing thing about being a mom? The fact that you have your heart walking around outside of your body. The feeling I get when I know it's almost time to get off of work and go pick up my daughter, is just explainable. The smiles, the giggles, the kisses, her presence in general, it's just perfect, even when she's driving me crazy and being difficult. Everything about being a mother is amazing. Watching her learn new things, watching her explore what's around her and being able to guide her through life, just makes me feel so warm inside. I love that I have a mini me to look up to me, I learn new things everyday when it comes to being a mom.

How has it changed you? Being a mom has changed me in so many ways. I've learned how to speak my mind if something is bothering me, because when it comes to my daughter and something wrong is being said to me about her, I don't just let it go. I was one of the most reserved people you could ever meet before I had her, I was too shy to talk to anyone, I never opened up. Now I feel like I can talk with no problem, because 9 times out of 10, I'm talking about my daughter and once I'm started, I don't stop. I could go on about her for days. Before her, I never thought about my future, I never planned stuff out, I never worried whether the house was clean or the dishes were done. I had a whole different mindset, but now I just feel so much more mature and complete. Becoming a mother changed me for the best.

What are your favorite moments throughout the day with your little girl? Getting home from a long day at work and seeing the huge smile my daughter has on her face when I walk in. Another is tickling her. She LOVES to be tickled under the neck and on her inner thighs. Her little laugh is the best noise in the world. I also love nap time and bed time, because that's one of the only times I can cuddle with her and just hold her without her jumping up. And I can't forget the wet, Cheeto crusted kisses she lays on me. I love it.

What about your baby being little has gone by or is going by too quickly? What do you wish you could hold onto forever? Her just being tiny, innocent and completely helpless. I miss having to do every little thing for her. It seems like I just blinked my eyes and she was already rolling over, crawling and then walking. They really aren't lying when they say it goes by fast!

If you could sum motherhood up in one totally honest statement, what would that be? Just be prepared and NEVER let anyone think you aren't doing your job as a mother correctly, it's one of the hardest things in the world, but it's also the most rewarding. You'll have days where you feel like giving up and you'll be second guessing everything, you'll feel like you're failing. But those feelings are completely normal. Be sure to never be afraid to ask for a break if you need one, it'll just help you collect your thoughts and make you thrive to be an even better mother.

What has been the biggest struggle for you in motherhood? Anxiety and PPD. I let myself suffer for too long from PPD before I decided I needed help. I damaged a lot of my relationships with people, I couldn't control my actions or my words. I had second guesses of even wanting to be a mother. There were times where I felt like my daughter would've been better off if I was gone. I had to deal with that, on top of not having my mom there for support as well as losing my best friend when my daughter was four months old. All of that just made it so hard to get out of bed each day. For a long time there, I didn't even feel a connection with my daughter and I just felt horrible. I couldn't balance having a job, taking care of my daughter and taking care of myself. When I was away from my daughter, I had the constant fear that something horrible was going to happen to my daughter. The best thing I ever did was talk to my doctor and start the process of getting help. I shouldn't have let myself suffer for so long, that's one of the biggest mistakes I've ever made! I just want other mothers to know, the journey of motherhood isn't easy. You'll have people trying to tell you how to raise your children and pressuring you into doing stuff. Don't let those people get to you and if you ever start to feel the way I described above, talk to your doctor, seek help immediately. It's so worth it and you'll feel so much better. I feel fantastic when it comes to being a mother now because I took the steps to help myself.

What does motherhood look like for you right now? What are your favorite things about the ages and stages of your child currently? It's still rough. As my daughter is getting older, things are becoming more difficult. She's at that stage where she's a sponge and she takes in everything we say and do. We have to be extra careful around her now and sometimes it's hard to filter what you say and do. She's also starting to develop quite the personality and of course along with that, comes the temper tantrums to try to get her way. But overall all, this stage she's at right now, is just so mesmerizing. It's unbelievable how quickly she learns things, she does and says something new every day. I love watching her perfect little personality develop, she steals people's hearts once they meet her. She's just so sweet and loving. She's really starting to learn what affection is and when I'm upset or if I'm to the point where I start crying, she'll come up to me and give me a big hug, lay her head on me and pat me. She also caresses my face to let me know it's okay. Then she starts mimicking me, which of course makes me laugh and smile. Everything about her is just perfect and I grow to love her more and more each day.

What's the dream for the rest of your motherhood journey? How do you see the next 10 or 20 years going by? Do you think you'll have more kids? Are you already looking forward to grandkids? What do you hope to instill in your children over the upcoming years as they grow? To make sure my daughter never has to go without. Also to make sure she doesn't have to recover from any trauma from her childhood like I had to. I want to start a college fund so she doesn't have to go in debt with school bills. I see her starting school, me getting a better job, buying a house, having at least two more kids and hopefully just living happily ever after. Grandkids aren't even on my mind yet! I hope that I can teach my children how to treat others the way they'd want to be treated and make them realize that you have to actually put in effort to succeed in life. I want them to know their parents will always be there for them, but we aren't going to enable them and do everything for them. I just want my kids to grow up and be happy and healthy!

Ashlee LaurenComment