Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Guest Mom: Catherine Portera on Pregnancy, Louise and the Newest Addition!

Good morning! It's Wednesday, so it is time to share another mom's awesome feedback on pregnancy and parenting! Catherine Portera is a sweet friend of mine. Her sister Colleen and I have been close friends for years, and both of these girls are expecting together! How fun is that? Catherine Portera is also the author and founder of The Healthy Lemon. I would encourage you to follow her blog and Facebook page for awesome advice on living and eating with a focus on wellness and cutting out all the junk from your diet. She advises with knowledge, confidence and no judgment, and has been a tremendous help for me! Let's hear more about Catherine, Louise and the newest pregnancy! 
Baby’s Full Name & Birth Date?
As in Louise? Louise Claire Portera. Louise is a family name and “Claire” was just something Will suggested and I liked. Born Oct. 14, 2012.
After the excitement wore off, how prepared did you feel to have a baby?
Both times, I have been super excited to be pregnant, but at the same time, I’m always like, “Whoa. A baby.” This time it was, “Whoa. Another baby.” Not prepared; you can never been prepared, but that’s probably one reason God gave us 9 months!
One word to describe my pregnancy is ______.
Amazing. Not just mine, but all of them. I will always think it’s the coolest thing that women can grow human beings inside of them. It’s amazing to see what happens to your body~ not all bad things!~ and all the ways it has to change to sustain another life.
Now that I am a mom, I wish someone would have told me that ________.
You adjust. Quickly. My first pregnancy, I heard all kinds of comments about how my life was going to change, usually warnings about how it would be worse, such as, “You’ll never sleep again…never read another book…lose all the romance in your marriage…” Sure there are periods like that, but there are wonderful things to make up for it, and things are constantly changing. Don’t let people scare you.
What items (beauty, food, medicine) did you swear by during pregnancy?
       Of course, being a wellness coach, I really believe in good nutrition and avoiding toxins,                      especially during pregnancy. Even though cravings and aversions can make it more difficult to            stick to a strict diet (and who wants to when she’s pregnant anyway?), there are always ways to          optimize it. Healthy fats (grass-fed butter, pastured eggs, wild-caught fish, etc.) are really                    important for baby’s development, so I try to get plenty of that and avoid stuff like artificial food        dyes, preservatives, and other heavily processed foods.
       I really try not to take medicine when pregnant, but I understand some people may need it. I had          to take antibiotics this time for something, and hated it, but the risk of not taking them was                 definitely worse than any risks involved with taking them (they affect not only the flora in your           own gut, but also baby’s). For nausea, I found that ginger or ginger candies worked really well.
      Beauty—anything that makes you feel pretty! I get my hair done more often when I’m pregnant         and probably also wear make-up more often. Pregnancy doesn’t always make it easy to feel                 extremely attractive, so splurge a little on stuff that does. With Louise, I wore my husband’s t-             shirts to bed when I couldn’t fit into mine anymore, but this time, I bought myself some girlie             nightgowns instead. I just cannot spend 5 months in t-shirts, whale-size, again!
 Favorite baby book or magazine (if you read them).
      I did! Babywise was a great resource for me; I read it while pregnant and then pulled it out many        times after she was born to reread parts. It’s based on the philosophy that the husband-wife                  relationship trumps mother-baby, which I agree with, and explains simply how to cultivate good          sleeping and eating habits for baby so that everyone can get sleep and anticipate the day’s                    events…aka “scheduling.” It’s also very pro-breastfeeding and has great tips on how to                        establish/maintain milk supply and how to know if your baby’s getting enough (a constant concern      for new moms). It worked great for us—Lu slept 12 hours at night by the time she was 3 months,        and I nursed her successfully for a year and a half without any supplementing.
Maternity clothes tips?
      Get in them! As soon as you want. You’ll wonder why you didn’t wear them sooner. ;)
What was the best advice you received that helped you in motherhood?
     That babies don’t need anything but diapers, a boob, and something to wear. Someone wrote that        in a baby shower book for me, and it took so much pressure off. Registries can be overwhelming,        and there are always newer/better products coming out, but if it stresses you out, just remember          you can make do just fine with these basics. Even with toys as she got older, I would remind                myself that she doesn’t HAVE to have them…give a crawler a cabinet with pots, pans, and a              spoon, and she’ll have as much fun with that as she would anything else.
How did you decide the items from which you registered (research, word of mouth, random)?
     My 2 older sisters with 3 children each. I asked them a million questions. Still do!
·  Where did you register? 
     Target and Restoration Hardware Baby and Child
What is your stroller? Do you like it?
I have a BOB jogger, and yes, I LOVE it. It’s so easy to push and turn that I only used my regular stroller maybe twice for outings. We jogged a lot with the BOB, but it’s also been great for the zoo and places like that. In small stores, I didn’t use a stroller anyway; wraps/carriers are way easier in those places

image provided by Catherine Portera
What is your car seat? Do you like it?
      A Graco hand-me-down from my sister.
Isn’t a baby bottle a baby bottle or are some better than others?
      I have no idea. We only had one kind (Dr. Brown’s), but I was never the one giving her a               bottle.
Favorite diapers? What the heck is a diaper pail?
     Again, no help with this one, unless you want to use cloth diapers.
Baby monitors are expensive. What did you choose and why?
      I just wanted one that would enable me to see her, but I didn’t care about it being in color or        anything. I picked out the Vtech Video and Audio Monitor because it has all the necessities          but was less expensive that some fancier ones. My mom says she didn’t even have a monitor        when we were babies—she just listened out for us!
What did you think you would need, but it turns out you do not?
       A jogging stroller AND a regular stroller.
 Is your baby on a schedule? Was that hard?
      Yes, she was on a schedule as a baby (she’s almost 3 now). Yes, it was hard in that once you got         it down, things changed again (going from 3 naps a day to 2, things like that), but it was easier for      me to work on that than to never know when she was going to be hungry or tired. I knew the best         times of day to run errands or leave the house, and when she did get cranky, I knew why.
Be honest. When did you start getting sleep again?
       Louise slept 6 hours straight at 6 weeks—those first 6 weeks, I was a zombie—and added about          an hour a night each week. By 12 weeks, she slept consistently from 8am-8am; can’t complain!
How did motherhood change you the most?
       I know this answer right off the bat. Surprisingly, it calmed me down. I’m way more flexible              now that I used to be, and little things don’t bother me like they used to. Not that I was very                anxious before, but I always thought I’d be the type of mom to freak out if my child fell down            and bumped his head. Somehow, I’m the one trying to calm everyone else down when that                  happens.
What is your favorite part of being a mom?
      Watching this little person learn and grow. I mean, of course, but I don’t know how else to say it.        It’s so fun just to see them smile for the first time, or walk, or start talking, and now it cracks me       up to hear the way Louise’s little thought process works. Even babies at the ripe age of 2 hours           old, when they’re your own, are fascinating to watch.
What is the hardest part?
      Having to expose your children or teach them about the darker things in this world. I felt like I            was betraying Louise’s perfect little world when I let her get shots at 2 months—up until then,            she’d never experienced pain. And now she’s learned about “bad people” from her children’s              Bible, because there are pictures of men hitting Jesus, and she’s constantly asking me about them.      Prior to that, to her everyone was kind. It’s sad when you have to crush their innocence.
 People seem to have opinions about everything related to parenting. How do you deal with that?

     I read somewhere that the best way to know if your parenting style is working well for you is to          look at the fruit of it. Good parenting yields good fruit. My sisters and friends who have happy,          secure, respectful children, I’m constantly watching how they parent to try and learn from them.          Those who don’t, I just try to politely listen and nod.

I loved reading this feedback. Again, I am so encouraged to hear that yet another mom has had a baby and calmed down as a result. If I do not get this blessed reaction, I will definitely asking Catherine to help calm me down too! I also love the simplicity of  a lot of these answers. It helps remind me that babies do not need 500 of the latest and greatest toys because they will innovate and imagine to play with whatever is around them. 

What did your kids find to play with that wasn't a gifted toy?

Also, if you would like to contribute to the Wednesday Mom Blog, do not hesitate to reach out to me either via social media or

Jordan Peterson (whoooa)
Chic Memphis

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