Parent24 chats to Tamaryn
Body Thrills owner and mom to a blue-eyed boy-mischief shares her parenting story with us.
Who is Tamaryn?
Tamaryn Watkins (known on Twitter as @ExMi) is the maker of Body Thrills, a full-time fiancée, a sometimes writer and an accidental mother to blue-eyed boy referred to as “The Kid”. You can also take a look at her blog.
What have you enjoyed most about being a parent so far?
Definitely the fun stuff - revisiting childhood favourite books during our story times, playing with Lego, building forts and playing in the mud. On a more serious note, I've enjoyed the love I've discovered within me - the all-encompassing love that a mother has for her child.
My Kid is wickedly funny and completely loving and affectionate. He's smart and manipulative, but with a heart of gold. Getting to know the person that he is, and is becoming, has been absolutely amazing.
Are there any challenges you’ve found which have been particularly tough?
It's all been rather tough and anyone that tells you that parenting is easy, is lying. Sure, it's thoroughly rewarding, but utterly exhausting too. I battled with breastfeeding, I battled with post natal depression, my son has had a number of health issues (nothing life-threatening, but when you're a mom, even the smallest illness can feel catastrophic). All the rough patches pass, and there's nothing that cannot be overcome, with patience.
What would you do over, if you had the chance?
I wouldn't have smoked while I was pregnant. I would have persisted with breastfeeding (I only lasted 6 weeks) - but I was told by a nurse at the baby clinic that I wasn't producing enough milk and that I would have to switch to formula. I was so frazzled, that I believed her and I later learned that my baby was simply going through a growth spurt, and that if I'd persisted, my milk supply would have adjusted.
Any tips you have for new parents, based on your own experiences?
Don't compare your baby to other babies. All babies reach milestones at their own pace. If you need help, ask for it - this does NOT make you a failure or a bad mother. If someone offers you help, TAKE IT - you're not meant to do this completely alone. Post natal depression is a serious thing, but it's also extremely common. There's nothing wrong with you except hormones - so get help and get treatment for it. You're not the first new mother to feel this way, and you don't have to be alone with it.
As for new fathers - get involved. As much as you can. Even though my fiancé was working full-time, we still shared night feeds and we both got up at night to tend to our Kid's needs. Support your partner and remember that this is a team effort. You both made the baby, and you both need to be equally involved.
Do you feel you have enough support?
I'm absolutely blessed with the most amazing (future) in-laws. Our son spends every Saturday night with his grandparents (and has done so since the age of two months), giving us some Kid-free, alone-time. My parents are in KZN, so can't be involved that much, but my in-laws have been superb, especially my mother in-law. We couldn't do any of it without her.
I'm also very lucky to have such amazing online support through Twitter and on my blog - no matter what time of day or night it is, there's always someone to offer support and answer any parenting questions.
Do you know any awesome parents with a story to tell? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also chat to us on Twitter and Facebook.