My little ones are one year old.
My little ones are not so little anymore.
I can’t believe that exactly a year ago, they were so tiny, they were suffering and so was I. It seems so far away. And for a reason: It’s because they made me forget those painful moments and made this one year adventure worth the ride.
Where can I even begin… They’re the joy of my life, they’re literally the best gift I’ve ever received (Even more so since they share my birthday).
I’m writing this and my heart is filled with love. I could have never imagined I could love someone as much as I love them. I could have never imagined I had a space in my heart for not one but two more human beings.
Yes, love is the word. I’ve been loved. I’ve been loving. And it’s been wonderful.
I love their tiny fingers and their big hearts.
I love the way they higher their voice when they’re upset and when they put their heads on my shoulder to sleep.
I love everything about those tiny human beings, for they have taught me to love and fulfilled my whole soul with love.
I love my husband even more because not only is he my partner and my best friend, but he also is the father of my children and my being.
I know that I have also been loved.
I’ve been loved because I couldn’t have done this alone. I’ve been loved by God, but also by my family and friends.
I’ve been loved because those little munchkins changed my life and changed who I am.
I’ve been loved because for the first time in my life, I’m able to love.
My Twins turn 11 months today, and I’ve been thinking about those first miracles that kept me in awe.
Here is a list of amazing things that happened during these amazing 11 months.
1- When they were born.
2- When they got out of special care.
3- When they smiled for the first time.
4- When they « said » their first sound.
5- When they sat on their own.
6- When they had their first tears.
7- When they first got up on their own.
8- When they first played with each other.
9- When they had their first teeth.
10- When they first enthusiastically greeted their father after work.
11- When they first said « Mama ».
Our twins are 11 months old and I can begin to see (almost) clearly what’s it like to be a parent. It is mostly fun and butterflies, but I sometimes feel like I’m watching a not-so-good movie.
1- It’s never-ending
You realize at some point that it’s here to stay.
2- It’s tiring
Very much so. Constantly. tiring.
3- It’s cheesy
Sometimes good cheese, mostly just annoying-to-people cheese.
4- It’s dirty
It’s like a Tarantino movie. Except with poop instead of blood.
5- You sometimes cry
Out of desperation, that is.
6- Everyone else seems to enjoy it
How is it so perfect to them?
7- You eat it out
Mostly Ben and Jerry’s.
8- You’re constantly falling asleep
At awkward moments.
9- You blame being here on someone
Your partner that is.
10- But being you, you’d watch it again if you had the chance.
« Alias Chalala… my 3 y.o, he likes to practice the drums on his home made drumset, he likes drawing, dancing, cooking and music 😉 »
The mommy: Rita Bou Malhab Safi
« He’s 9 months old. One funny little dude he amazes me everyday he loves music just like his mommy. »
The mommy: Romy Moujaes
« He’s 1 years old . Everday he amazes me with something new . My love to him is indescribable. »
The mommy: Rewa Ghrawi
« She is 2 years 9 months. She’s my little miracle, she amazes me everyday with how smart, curious and funny she is. »
The mommy: Anna Garcìa Raad.
« She’s one year and a half she’s funny full of life she loves to dance and she’s daddy’s little girl. »
The mommy: Eliane Abou Rjeily
« When I first saw her, I couldn’t stop saying « elle est belle elle est belle, elle est tellement belle ». 8 months later, and I still think she’s the prettiest. »
The mommy: Lara Bounassif
« I didn’t get the chance to see him immediately, due to complications. But I do think he’s the coolest and he makes my life worth living. »
The mommy: Lara Bounassif
« I’ll never forget how tiny and edible he was when I first saw him! He was born at 2,3 kg despite the fact I was bedridden for almost 3 months! He seemed so fragile that we were literally afraid to hold him in our arms. He is now 13 month old, runs instead of walking, had 6 tooth, is stronger than hulk and makes my heart melt further every day! «
The mommy: Stephanie Baddour Nehme
I’ve been thinking lately about how amazingly lucky I am to have had two beautiful twins, and, to say things like they are, with a minimum effort.
It got me thinking of all those awesome people who aren’t able to conceive. I can’t even begin imagining how hard it is for everyone who’s facing this problem. For parenthood is such an amazing gift that every normal and good person should be able to benefit from it.
I do agree on the fact that a perfect family is a loving mother, a loving father and awesome kids. But then again, who’s perfect?
The world is, sadly, full of abused children and orphanages that are full of kids. Everyone, and I mean everyone deserves to have loving parents, loving caretakers. And I also believe that genuinely nice people can be found in this awful world. It doesn’t matter if they’re Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Atheist, Black, White, Latin, European, African, Straight or, wait for it, Gay.
You may start by not agreeing with me. But please ask yourself, why would a gay person be treated differently?
If you agree till now, then ask yourself another question: Isn’t it better to have a loving person to care for you than having no one?
Then isn’t it better to have a gay person adopt a child and to love and take care of the child than the same child being in an orphanage, or even worse, in a abusive « heterosexual » family?
I think that those of you who preach for love, cannot preach against a loving heart that is desperate for parenthood. No matter the religion, race or orientation.
Following my last post, here’s a list of things I absolutely enjoy seeing now that I have kids:
1- Parisians being nice.
Yes, yes, I promise they can be nice. That is, if you have cute twins with you. You see that whole other side of parisians being all fluffy and considerate. And I absolutely love that.
2- My husband being an awesome dad.
I knew he would be but seeing it is absolutely overwhelming. I think this is my favorite part of parenting: Having an amazing parent to do it with.
3- The smiles I exchange with random parents on the street.
We’d be like: « I know you’re extremely tired but you’re so cool for being a parent! », all with one single smile.
4- Other babies.
I absolutely love seeing random babies. I now appreciate how cool babies and kids are. I feel like high-fiving them all.
5- My family all excited.
I enjoy most seeing my parents and brothers, even cousins or friends very excited about my babies. I feel like It’s one more thing that brings us all together.
I’ve been a mom for 7 months now and it’s been absolutely wonderful, I know I have been blessed with so many amazing things.
That being said, there are things that I sometimes miss from my « old life ». Here’s a list.
1- The alone time.
Because yes, you guessed it, a new mom doesn’t have a minute to herself. You can forget about these 5 minutes when you just want to be alone and enjoy the peace and quiet of this moment.
2- Doing things for myself.
You know, like read, write, paint, not that I paint but I miss having this option.
3- Going out.
With friends, husband, alone, just going out without the constant stress of them protesting because I stopped the stroller for a few seconds.
Say what? Yes, talking, having normal conversations with people. About politics, religion, life.
It’s like my brain won’t function that way anymore. It’s all about when I last changed the twins and when I should be back home to feed them next.
5- Going to the movies.
Because hey, it’s one of the rare things I can’t do with the kids: I can go to a restaurant or to church with the kids, but not to the movies. I know not all people developed the superpower I now have of not being bothered by their cries and screams, so that might be a slight problem to the other movie goers.
Nevertheless, I would never ever exchange the life I have now for my previous life. My life without my monsters feels totally meaningless.
Because in your face, again.
Diane making good use of her time off of her splints.
Baby blues. I heard a lot about that, but only a few months before getting pregnant. Before that, I truly thought that giving birth was pure joy and nothing else.
Turned out that it’s not that easy.
Just to make things clear, I’m not a doctor nor a professional so I will use some terms that may not be exactly accurate, medically.
Yes, I have experienced postpartum depression. It wasn’t, and still isn’t, very smooth after the birth of my precious ones.
On D-Day, as I’ve mentioned before, I had a medical complication. That was issue number 1. Issue number 2, is that Diane and Alexandre had to go to special care and I was too weak to keep up. I think anyone can understand when I say that the circumstances didn’t really help me.
So what is postpartum depression or baby blues?
I know that the baby blues are a milder version of the postpartum depression, but again, I’m no specialist. So I’m just going to talk about my experience.
1- I felt like an empty soul:
Dramatical, I know. But this is really what I felt. I missed what was inside me. I missed those tiny things moving inside me.
2- I felt like I had to share what was initially only mine:
Inside my womb, there’s this special connexion that was kind of lost when others held them.
3- I didn’t feel like a mom:
I couldn’t project, and I couldn’t relate to that awesome « mom » feeling everyone talks about.
4- If anything, I felt like a failed mom:
I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t feel good enough.
5- I questioned the whole thing:
Should I even have brought them to this cruel place?
Though I’m still battling with some of those feelings, I felt like making it public, just so new moms (and curious future moms) don’t feel bad if they get those feelings: You are NOT alone.
I am also not ashamed to say that I recently did seek professional help, because, as a cool mom once told me: it is not easy to go through those psychological and physical changes in less than a year and it is perfectly okay to not feel okay.
I understand, but this is also a reminder for me, that this does not make me a bad mother. This makes me normal. We love having kids and we love our kids, but we do go through hard times and I bet no man can take what we take (girl power, yo!).
So, awesome moms, if you do not experience the baby blues, consider yourself very lucky, and if you do, do not feel bad about it and do talk to someone.
It is definitely time to stop hiding our feelings, fearing what the society might think of us. We have the baby blues, and we are still awesome moms!
As I’ve noticed, storytelling and writing can be healing. That is why, I’ve been asking other mothers to share their stories.
« As we reveal ourselves in story, we become aware of the continuing core of our lives under the fragmented surface of our experience. We become aware of the multifaceted, multichaptered ‘ I ‘ who is the storyteller. We can trace out the paradoxical and even contradictory versions of ourselves that we create for different occasions, different audiences… Most important, as we become aware of ourselves as storytellers, we realize that what we understand and imagine about ourselves is a story. And when we know all this, we can use our stories to heal and make ourselves whole.«
-Susan Wittig Albert
Here’s the touching story of Hana’a a hardworking mother of twins.
Mother-to-Twins: Part I
What I wasn’t expecting when I was expecting
Hi! I’m Hana’a, but my new name is ‘mama’ (1,467 times a day)… courtesy of Karim and Maria – my 3 year old twins. My name however, isn’t the only thing forgone when I decided to become a full-time mom.
To motherhood, I have given up a lot… and it has certainly changed me. My life, my priorities, and my physical abilities are no longer what they once were; and I am humbly thankful despite the exhaustion.
Of the countless blessings I have received, none have required as much maintenance as the two that once filled my belly and have since occupied my mind and my heart.
They announced themselves with a string of ‘horse galloping’ heart beats: the ‘sound of hope’ at every one of the 20-plus ultrasounds I undertook throughout my high-risk pregnancy. All my trimesters were drama-packed and all of them were spent on bed rest for various complications. I suffered every symptom in the book, from nausea and heart burn to leg cramps and eczema…
Remembering a conversation with my late grandpa: ‘My grandchild’, he said complaining about the constraints of old age, ‘I worry every time I leave the house because the slightest activity makes me pant. I worry if I reach someplace and there is a staircase I must climb…. I can’t even eat what I want because I can’t chew properly!’
‘ Me too Grandpa!’, I found myself saying – to all of his complaints. I wasn’t allowed any activity; and by the time my muscles had gone flaccid as a result, getting dressed was enough to start me panting. I worried every time I needed to visit my doctor because the elevators to his 2nd floor clinic weren’t always working due to power cuts in Lebanon. And by that stage, I was suffering from an inflamed jaw joint, so mashed food was in order.
I was literally living the life of an old lady, and it took me considerable energy to accept my family’s help with humility. It was very difficult being that dependant, and I struggled with my pride to accept my temporary disabilities.
The biggest blow however, had little to do with my day-to-day sufferings. The worst was announced at the 20 week morphological scan: My twins had a 37% growth discordance (i.e. growth difference). My daughter was sizably smaller than both her brother and her gestational age requirement. Medically, a growth discordance of more than 20% this early in the pregnancy signaled little survival chance for the smaller twin, and a threat to the surviving one. In English, it meant that I was most likely to deliver a premature baby boy – and a lifeless baby girl.
‘What do you mean if she doesn’t continue?,’ I kept asking the doctor
‘It means if she dies ‘In utero’ she would have to stay in your womb until the birth of her brother – the closer to the 7th month mark the better – so as to allow him a chance of survival’.
Nothing could be done. No medical intervention could fix the situation. No vitamins beyond those I was already taking would be effective. I was ordered to bed rest again, continued progesterone shots, and weekly ultrasound monitoring. It was during that week that our unborn daughter earned her name Maria: meaning ‘a wished for child’ in Hebrew.
Uncertainty is a raging fire… and only prayer kept it at bay. I prayed, and so did countless family members and dear friends. I also cross-stitched and counted baby kicks. More nudges always came from the (left) side where by son had taken position. My left side was also the more swollen and stretched-out side. But despite the odds, and the tiger stripes that never crossed over from the left, my right side continued to flutter.
As time passed, Maria did alright… and her growth – although slow – continued to bring us much needed joy at the weekly milestones. And when both galloping hearts made it into the 7th month, the doctor confessed both his disbelief and relief at the outcome. By then my husband had proposed we name our son Karim: meaning ‘generous’ in Arabic. A distant relative who found out we had picked names for our babies asked me: ‘Karim? Are you naming him after your father-in-law (a common tradition where first born males are named after their grandfathers)?’.
‘No’, I answered (for my father-in-law had a different name). ‘We are naming him after God’.
My children’s birth was scheduled at 36 weeks 2 days (8 months gestation). It was miraculous that all 3 of us had made it that far. By then, Maria’s amniotic sack had totally dried up and Karim seemed large enough to avoid the incubator. I was strapped to the operating table and a large green cloth was stretched vertically across my chest. No wonder some doctors also refer to the operating room as the operating ‘theatre’: The story of my motherhood was about to unfold.
Hana’a B. Ltayf runs a start-up called ‘Craft Dust’, specialized in turning creative craft ideas into professionally designed decorative objects, gifts, and souvenirs. She holds degrees in Architecture, Philosophy, History of Art and Business. Before becoming a mother, she held a career in construction and industrial manufacturing. Married to her best friend, Elie Ltayf, she currently resides in Sharjah with her twins.
Curious to know more about what she does? Kindly visit the following links:
PS: Don’t forget to check her page, she does awesome stuff!