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My degree was not a waste of time because I choose to stay at home

My degree was not a waste of time because I choose to stay at home

This article originally appeared here.

 

  

     

   

 

 

 

 

Second Confinement vs First Confinement – Do You Need Confinement Help for Your Second Child

Second Confinement vs First Confinement – Do You Need Confinement Help for Your Second Child

Following my first confinement experience which turned out to be rather popular, I thought I’d share my experience the second time round.

How does a second confinement compare to the first?

Is it necessary or important to have a confinement lady for your second child? Do you need them? After all, you’ve had your first, so you’d be a pro at handling a baby… right?

To help you make that decision, here are the three major differences between my first and second confinement:

Quicker Recovery

I’ve always heard that the more babies you have, the easier birthing becomes. I would’t say that my second labour was necessarily easier (still very intense), but it was definitely quicker, and so was my recovery.

For my second, I was in full spirits after delivery at 5pm and opted to be discharged the same day! Of course, we had thumbs up from both the pediatrician and obstetrician before doing so.

To compare, it took me 3 months to fully heal from the first delivery, despite having had natural birth both times.

During the second confinement, my overall better physical state meant that I was able to focus more on other things such as my newborn baby, breastfeeding and my toddler.

It made such a HUGE different being mobile and able to do normal things without worrying about your wound and the pain. For example, little things like taking my water bottle from the next room – easy!

Divided Attention

We made the decision to have our second child shortly after the first, so when he was born we were having 2 under 2 (two kids under the age of two).

That meant that my elder child was still young and required a lot of attention too.

Which means despite being physically more able and mobile, my attention had to be divided between my newborn and elder child.

I am thankful to have both my confinement lady and parents to help me out during the confinement period. The confinement lady will focus mainly on my newborn and me, while my parents helped with the elder child (who is, at the age of nearly 2, is a handful!)

So if you are reading this and about to have your firstborn, enjoy your baby to it’s fullest! You will be busy, but at least when the baby sleeps, you have a moment of peace…. not another child to look after!

In this sense, I miss doing confinement in peace.

Experience Counts

First time parents would likely feel overwhelmed looking after a newborn, especially in the first few days and weeks. Simple and basic acts such as holding, feeding, bathing and putting a newborn to sleep is a steep learning curve by itself!

As if to make it even tougher, all babies are individuals and likely to have different temperaments and characters.

That said, if you have cared for a newborn before, you would have likely picked up some basic skills. You would be familiar with the tasks that needs to be done.

I found that it was easier to pick up cues and signals from my newborn due to experience compared to my clueless first-time-mom self. I knew what was coming and what to expect, and this made a big difference!

That also meant that I had my own way and expectations in managing my newborn. It might or might not be the same way that my confinement lady is used to, so it involved some adjusting on her side.

With my first, I relied quite heavily on my confinement lady to teach me things like how to swaddle, bath and burp the baby as I started with zero knowledge on how to keep a baby alive.

An example would be that I preferred to have my newborn lie on his back due to safety reasons. To my horror, my confinement lady was used to putting a rolled blanket to the side of the baby, so that he is slightly slanted on his side and “can sleep better”.

Had I not known any better, it wouldn’t have been an issue but sometimes you can’t just turn a blind eye once you have learned something.

IN SUMMARY

Despite a quicker recovery and more experience in dealing with a newborn, I definitely needed help during the confinement period.

This is especially so when one has a toddler full of energy to deal with.

If I were to do it again, I would definitely get a confinement lady as well.

It is extremely important to fully heal, both mentally and physically, during the confinement period to prepare yourself for what lies ahead! Not one, but two kids! Your life has changed once again!

What are your thoughts? How did your second confinement compare with your first?

Till next time! xoxo

The silent tragedy affecting today’s children (and what to do with it)

The silent tragedy affecting today’s children (and what to do with it)

This article originally appeared here.

There is a silent tragedy developing right now, in our homes, and it concerns our most precious jewels – our children. Through my work with hundreds of children and families as an occupational therapist, I have witnessed this tragedy unfolding right in front of my eyes. Our children are in a devastating emotional state! Talk to teachers and professionals who have been working in the field for the last 15 years. You will hear concerns similar to mine. Moreover, in the past 15 years, researchers have been releasing alarming statistics on a sharp and steady increase in kids’ mental illness, which is now reaching epidemic proportions:

How much more evidence do we need before we wake up?

No, “increased diagnostics alone” is not the answer!

No, “they all are just born like this” is not the answer!

No, “it is all the school system’s fault” is not the answer!

Yes, as painful as it can be to admit, in many cases, WE, parents, are the answer to many of our kids’ struggles!

It is scientifically proven that the brain has the capacity to rewire itself through the environment. Unfortunately, with the environment and parenting styles that we are providing to our children, we are rewiring their brains in a wrong direction and contributing to their challenges in everyday life.

Yes, there are and always have been children who are born with disabilities and despite their parents’ best efforts to provide them with a well-balanced environment and parenting, their children continue to struggle. These are NOT the children I am talking about here.

I am talking about many others whose challenges are greatly shaped by the environmental factors that parents, with their greatest intentions, provide to their children. As I have seen in my practice, the moment parents change their perspective on parenting, these children change.

What is wrong?

Today’s children are being deprived of the fundamentals of a healthy childhood, such as:

  • Emotionally available parents
  • Clearly defined limits and guidance
  • Responsibilities
  • Balanced nutrition and adequate sleep
  • Movement and outdoors
  • Creative play, social interaction, opportunities for unstructured times and boredom

Instead, children are being served with:

  • Digitally distracted parents
  • Indulgent parents who let kids “Rule the world”
  • Sense of entitlement rather than responsibility
  • Inadequate sleep and unbalanced nutrition
  • Sedentary indoor lifestyle
  • Endless stimulation, technological babysitters, instant gratification, and absence of dull moments

Could anyone imagine that it is possible to raise a healthy generation in such an unhealthy environment? Of course not! There are no shortcuts to parenting, and we can’t trick human nature. As we see, the outcomes are devastating. Our children pay for the loss of well-balanced childhood with their emotional well-being.

How to fix it?

If we want our children to grow into happy and healthy individuals, we have to wake up and go back to the basics. It is still possible! I know this because hundreds of my clients see positive changes in their kids’ emotional state within weeks (and in some cases, even days) of implementing these recommendations:

Set limits and remember that you are your child’s PARENT, not a friend

Offer kids well-balanced lifestyle filled with what kids NEED, not just what they WANT. Don’t be afraid to say “No!” to your kids if what they want is not what they need.

  • Provide nutritious food and limits snacks.
  • Spend one hour a day in green space: biking, hiking, fishing, watching birds/insects
  • Have a daily technology-free family dinner.
  • Play one board game a day. (List of family games)
  • Involve your child in one chore a day (folding laundry, tidying up toys, hanging clothes, unpacking groceries, setting the table etc)
  • Implement consistent sleep routine to ensure that your child gets lots of sleep in a technology-free bedroom

Teach responsibility and independence. Don’t over-protect them from small failures. It trains them the skills needed to overcome greater life’s challenges:

  • Don’t pack your child’s backpack, don’t carry her backpack, don’t bring to school his forgotten lunch box/agenda, and don’t peel a banana for a 5-year-old child. Teach them the skills rather than do it for them.

Teach delayed gratification and provide opportunities for “boredom” as boredom is the time when creativity awakens:

  • Don’t feel responsible for being your child’s entertainment crew.
  • Do not use technology as a cure for boredom.
  • Avoid using technology during meals, in cars, restaurants, malls. Use these moments as opportunities to train their brains to function under “boredom”
  • Help them create a “boredom first aid kit” with activity ideas for “I am bored” times.

Be emotionally available to connect with kids and teach them self-regulation and social skills:

  • Turn off your phones until kids are in bed to avoid digital distraction.
  • Become your child’s emotional coach. Teach them to recognize and deal with frustration and anger.
  • Teach greeting, turn taking, sharing, empathy, table manners, conversation skills,
  • Connect emotionally – Smile, hug, kiss, tickle, read, dance, jump, or crawl with your child.

We must make changes in our kids’ lives before this entire generation of children will be medicated! It is not too late yet, but soon it will be…