“I want people to see my life as a testament of my faith, experience, and sacrifice that anything is possible. Age does not define you.” -Destynee T.
This weeks mom feature is Destynee, a first time working mother to a beautiful 10-month old baby girl, Hazel. Destynee, is a strong young woman with a thirst for life and mounds of ambition. She recently started her own business and aims to encourage other teen moms to keep pressing forward to a higher calling. She discusses being a first time mom, working mom life, and her initial expectations of motherhood! Destynee offers a great example to women of all ages on how to silence the naysayers and overcome the anxieties of parenthood. All while keeping things moving on a positive note. Check out her interview!
Q: What were your thoughts and experiences with breastfeeding?
I did not have any initial thoughts about breastfeeding. My mind was all set to formula feed Hazel because I just didn’t imagine myself doing it. No lessons, classes, nothing about latching, operating a pump, or even how to hold her. When I was in the hospital they informed me about it but I still had no idea how to even do this. Once I tried I almost gave up because of how painful it was. The dry, cracked, bleeding nipples would have run me off if my mom had not encouraged me to keep trying. Now we are doing just fine.
Q: What were your expectations of becoming a mother for the first time? How far were those expectations from reality?
I really expected things to be easy! I had no idea what it would really take to take care of a child. I thought, she’ll cry and I can give her a bottle and watch her sleep. Of course, it wasn’t that simple because in reality there were unexpected spit ups and diaper explosions. I was expecting auto-pilot: feed, change, sleep for at least the first year. The curve ball for me was that it had nothing to do with repetition. It was about the baby, her emotions, and me anticipating unexpected accidents. For example, we may be all ready to go and she spits up on her new outfit. Of course, now we have to change and because of that we are now late. So, making extra time for things to happen and incase they do we are prepared. Ultimately, it takes more patience and understanding than I originally expected.
Q: How did you think scheduling outings and events would be once you became a mom?
Before becoming a mom I would go out with my friends. I just thought that since my friends loved babies either I could take her with me or just leave her with my mom. Soon, I found out that parenthood was nothing like that. Before Hazel came I never considered appointments or even how different it would be just to go shopping. Overall, I thought I would still be able to do what I used to. I came to the realization that I had to alter my thoughts because my parents wanted me to be responsible and take care of my own baby. When my mom told me, “Your baby is your responsibility” and was hesitant to watch my baby, something clicked. I realized that she didn’t want me to become dependent on her taking over where I should be. My parents didn’t have a baby, I did, so it was time to step up.
Q: How do you track milestones for your baby?
I track Hazel’s milestones on this app called baby center. They have milestone stickers that remind you each month to be watching for things your baby should or could be doing. It helps me to look back and see how much progress she has made.
Q: Any last advice you would like to offer other first time moms?
IT IS ALL MENTAL. Do not let people fill your head with what all can go wrong. Stay focused on the life that is growing inside of you and being happy. Ultimately, you do not have to disregard every piece of advice you receive, just filter it. At the end of the day you are going to have the final say over this little life. The second thing is that you are not perfect. As mothers, our obligation and natural instinct is to care for and nurture our babies. Nowhere in the “imaginary parent handbook” does it state that we have to strive for perfection in everything that we do regarding that child. Honestly, will the child be taking off points for how we put on a diaper, sing a song, or measure their milk? No. All that matters is mommy is close and they are secure. There is much more to this thing called motherhood but personally I think just keeping these few things in mind will make it much easier during and after pregnancy.