1. Tell us about your background and a little bit about who you are?
My name is Ana Carisse and I am from Ontario, Canada. I am a wife and a first time mom to my sweet little girl, Mia, who is now 6 months old. Ugh time really flies! It feels like it was just yesterday when my husband and I found out we were pregnant. I remember we were in the middle of our engagement at that time and it was our little secret that eventually turned into a big surprise to everyone! She arrived just in time for our wedding. She was only two months old then and she was our little flower girl. But, boy I tell you, wedding planning and having a newborn is some next level challenge! I am glad it’s all over now and I can just solely focus on raising her, seeing her bloom, and just creating memories!
Aside from being a new mom, I have a career in the nursing field. Even before then, it is already in my nature to care and have compassion for people especially children. I guess me being a nurse helped me a lot to nurture Mia and understand her needs and development. I may sound like I know what I am doing, but let me tell you I am still trying to navigate my way to motherhood. Like I always tell people, I am just learning as I go.
2. What do you find most fulfilling about motherhood? the most challenging?
Seeing the fruit of my labor gives me the most fulfillment, and with that I mean giving birth to a healthy baby girl regardless of all medical uncertainties we both had to go through. My pregnancy was comparable to a roller coaster ride. There was a lot of ups and downs and unforeseen situations that almost put me over the edge, but all of it was worth it. I am now a mother, a title that I am very honoured to hold. God entrusted me with something so precious and it is now my duty to nurture that life.
The most challenging part of motherhood for me is my postpartum anxiety. Being a first time mom, my lack of experience scares me! I always tend to second guess myself about everything. Even the simplest task of putting on a diaper mind-boggled me for days and I am a nurse Hah! Breastfeeding or formula-feeding? Do I have enough milk supply? Am I feeding her enough? Is she developing her skills on time? Am i dressing her too warm or too cold? The list can go on and on and on. My anxiety grows as she grows that it became my shadow, it follows me everywhere and lingers on.
3. What does motherhood look like for your right now? what do you love about where you are? What would you change?
I could say that I am getting the hang of it now and starting to love it. Everyday I see Mia grows, see her skills evolve and start to have her own personality; it gives me the validation of the hard work that I have been putting in and somehow I am doing it right.
If I could change something it would be about accepting help. As I have mentioned, I had the worst anxiety that I had to control everything. I was not keen on the idea of entrusting the care of my baby to other people, even to my own mother and sometimes even my husband. Other than that, I would not change anything else because every mistake taught me and the misstep led me to where I am now.
4. How have you incorporated motherhood into your identity without losing your own individuality?
Fitness had played a major role in keeping my sanity in the earlier stage of motherhood. Staying physically active keeps me energized, strong and ready for anything. It makes me feel good. t makes me feel like “I am myself. I could say that “This is me!” So despite of my crazy schedule and chores, I made sure I find time to get some exercise in. I looked for activities that me and my baby can both enjoy! Mom and baby fitness classes and bootcamp are one of our fave!
In addition to that, my renewed and deeper connection to God also brought me the realization of the new purpose I have now without losing my individuality. His teaching gives me peace. His words cleanses my soul. His love reminds me not only the love I have for my family but also for myself.
5. What advice would you give women who are considering/desiring motherhood?
Motherhood can be really messy and stressful but do not forget to find the beauty in ugly situations. It is up to you on how you are going to rise up in difficult times. It is going to be hard. It might make you want to give up! But when you do, just remember that you are stronger than your fears. Do not give up! Do not forget about yourself. Take a break. Breathe. Reset your mind, body and soul. After that, trust me you would ready for another chaotic day!