Mama-Crush Monday- Kim N.


Meet Kim.

Kim and I met about 10 years ago working for the American Cancer Society. One day, maybe my second week there, I made a very inappropriate joke in the break room and we became fast friends. While we have since continued to be wildly inappropriate (at times), we have also gotten married, had kids, and somewhat slowed down. She has been a huge support to me always telling me to "do what works" without an ounce of judgment.

Kim's story is special. She is a three-time cancer survivor and out of all my friends, was the most excited and eager be a mama. But, she had also been told that due to the treatments she had undergone for her cancer, gaining the title of mama might prove to be a challenge (and perhaps not an option). Yet, just like she had with cancer, she proved the doctors wrong and became pregnant rather quickly.

But, she had a very rough first year of motherhood and was the first of my friends to openly talk to me about postpartum depression and anxiety, allowing me to understand it from a vastly different perspective than how it is portrayed in the media.

Her words below are great for mamas, new and experienced, to be easy with ourselves and to not take it for granted.

I will admit that I cry reading each and every one of these surveys. BUT, having known the struggles, the honesty Kim speaks choked me up a little more than usual.

Love you much, friend! And to my readers- ENJOY!

 

1. When you were a younger did you dream about being a mother? What did you see for yourself?

Absolutely. I always wanted to be a mother, and thought I’d have 3 kids. I dreamt of being a stay at home mom, but never had a clue what that would look like in reality, and also didn’t think I’d have the option.

2. How did your own upbringing reflect on that dream?

I was raised LDS (Mormon), and while I don’t share those beliefs any more, the religion is very focused on family. The cliche of Mormons is having a GAGGLE of kids, so, while I didn’t want 9, I definitely always grew up wanting to be a mom.

3. What discussions did you have about starting a family? Do you remember telling your husband the first time you were pregnant? Was it a surprise or a long-planned event?

When I met my husband, he hadn’t really thought of having kids. When I first met his family for Christmas in North Carolina, and he saw me interact with his niblings (it’s a word- look it up), he asked me if I wanted kids. I said “I think so.” He said, “No- you either do or you don’t.” I was being a little ambivalent, and trying to act cool, in case this was a deal-breaker. I finally said “Yes. I know I want to be a mom.” And he responded that he wanted all of that with me.

My husband and I were in the bathroom together when I found out I was pregnant, though I didn’t believe it… maybe until I actually HAD my daughter. I had been told that I very likely couldn’t have children, due to the massive amounts of chemotherapy, surgery and radiation I received for THREE different bouts of cancer. I always assumed I would need to adopt, or endure fertility treatment. All of my doctors said it would take years, if I ever got pregnant. One even suggested that we “start trying” before the wedding. Well, I stopped the pill, and I got pregnant NINE days later, while on our honeymoon. We were both in complete shock that the pregnancy test showed positive. The only reason I even TOOK the test, was because I was going to a friend’s bachelorette party, filled with wine, unpasteurized cheese, and hot tubbing. Yea, I didn’t get to do much at that party.

4. What did you love about pregnancy? Hate?

Okay- don’t hate me ladies- but… I never really felt pregnant. No, not in the “I could be in a Lifetime show” way, but I really had NO symptoms. Not a minute of sickness. I didn’t have any body aches, and gained just 20 lbs. Mind you, I had some extra weight to start, so I didn’t NEED to gain any weight. At the end, I honestly was a bit sad that I didn’t look very pregnant. I was 39 weeks pregnant carrying cases of water out of the grocery store, and would’ve loved some of that “aww you’re pregnant” attention.

5. Did you enjoy giving birth?

My daughter’s birth was definitely not how I expected it to go (is it ever?). I was READY (ha!) to give birth. My body had been through so much, and I knew I was strong and could do this. At 41 weeks, I went in to be induced. My OB was leaving town, and they were a little concerned with me going to far past 40 weeks, due to fluids and my 1 kidney. I also really wanted my OB to deliver her, as we seemed to be very much on the same page. Well, I got induced, and no progress. I spent the night at the hospital- no progress. My routine morning labs came back, and my platelets were like- zilch. My OB came in to explain to me that it would be a huge risk if I kept trying to deliver vaginally. I would absolutely not have the option of an epidural if at any point I decided I wanted one, and at any moment, I could bleed out, and it was highly likely that I would go in for an emergency cesarean in the process. I cried, and ultimately trusted my OB, who was NOT one to jump to a c-section. So, I went in, and got my daughter via c section. With the pregnancy being such a shock, and so uneventful (in a good way), then not experiencing a bit of labor, I was still very much in denial that I actually HAD a child now. I definitely did not enjoy the post-birth- I was sick from whatever they had given me, they threw Charlotte on me to nurse immediately, and then had to press my stomach and squeeze me like a tube of toothpaste to get everything out of my body. So it went, painful latch, screaming baby, vomit, squish stomach, and over and over.

6. What was the transition like when you went from being someone’s child to someone’s parent? How long did it take you to really get used to the idea?

Is it odd that I still don’t feel like a parent? Okay, that isn’t true… I feel like Charlotte’s parent, but I don’t feel like a “parent”. Those are old people, right? That’s what OUR parents are. I’ve done everything that I thought was best for my daughter. I want her to be happy and safe. I love how she loves me. But I still feel sort of like I’m faking it. I look at other moms, and feel like I’m just acting or something. I feel much mor