great things about being a mum
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11 great things about being a mum (because sometimes we forget)

Becoming a mother is a life changing experience – and no woman is left unmarked by it. There are breathtaking highs, and death defying lows right from the very start. Who knew there were such depths to our emotions!

Sometimes, when times get tough, or we’re so tired we walk into a room carrying an imaginary baby – it’s good to stop and remind ourselves of all the great things about being a mum.

11 great things about being a mum

1. Creation!

For the majority of us, becoming a mother means that you actually created a baby. You grew it, fed it, cared for it, and birthed it. And now a part of you will carry on in the world – separate, but tied to you forever.

For those women that became a mother in a different way there is the forever knowledge that, in a world filled with billions of people, you found each other. Pretty amazing either way!

2. Cuddles

When they throw their little arms around us and melt into our neck – there’s no place on earth either of you would want to be.

3.   Love like you’ve never known it

Sure we’ve felt love before. We’ve been in love. We’ve received love. We’ve loved our own parents and they’ve loved us back. We’ve said ‘I love you’ and meant it will everything in us.

great things about being a mum

But having a baby unlocks a secret vault of love, so big that when you look down into the abyss, you sometimes have to take a step back because the sheer vastness can be terrifying. Hold on to your hats (or breastpads) mamas!

4. Memory banks

One of the great gifts of parenthood is that you get to relive your childhood all over again. You remember the cartoons you used to watch, the ice creams you used to eat, the family holidays you used to go on, the scent of summer evenings and the thrill of learning to ride a bike for the first time.

5. Watching them sleep

great things about being a mum

Is there anything better than watching those perfect little faces, fast asleep and finally, finally(!) still and silent. Our hearts burst each and every time.

6. Chubby hands.

A little hand, gripping hold of our own. They anchor, their security, our everything.

7. Homemade cards

Birthdays, Mother’s Day, Easter, Christmas… every occasion has a homemade card to go with it. All of their love poured into a sticky mess of glitter and glue sticks, just for us.

8. Wonder

Oh look! It’s a dog! And it’s wagging it’s tail! And it’s brown! Isn’t that absolutely amazing! And oh! That flower is purple and all the others are pink! Quick! Lets go over and have a closer look!

great things about being a mum

Children make us reopen our eyes to the wonders of the world. So many years spent sleepwalking through the beauty and craziness of life – time to wake up people!

9. Independence

Watching your child grow in independence is sometimes tinged with sadness – but it proves to you that you are doing your job well. Creating well rounded humans who care for others and can look after themselves is our primary role; and each shared toy, tied shoelace and solo walk to the shops is a step in the right direction.

10. Becoming a better person

Most parents have at some stage had to step up to the plate of parenthood. Whether it’s finding a new job to pay the bills, leaving a job to care for a struggling child, losing weight to live longer and play actively with them, overcoming body hang ups so they aren’t passed on, pretending to be brave so they won’t be crippled by shyness like their mother was, or a whole host of other personal issues. Parenthood makes us do what’s best for our child, and we become better people for it.

11. The joy of family

Families come in all shapes and sizes – single mums, blended families, step dads, co-parents, families of seven, only children, adopted sons, fostered daughters. But it doesn’t matter what the make up is – being part of a family is one of the greatest gifts we could ever be given.

Now if only they would just sleep a bit more…

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Ask Tracey

Midwife Tracey Donegan answers your questions about pregnancy and birth

Q When should I have my first pregnancy scan? And how many scans should I get throughout my pregnancy?

A
Your first scan is known as your dating scan and is routine in all hospitals. Most mums will have this scan at their booking visit, which can be anywhere between 12-18 weeks. The earlier the scan the more accurate it will be. If you have experienced recurrent miscarriages some hospitals will scan you earlier. Contact your antenatal clinic for more information. In Ireland, most women will have two scans in a healthy pregnancy – a dating scan and an anomaly scan at around 20 weeks. However, some units provide a dating scan only. Private scans are also available in most cities and many parents use these services for additional reassurance and to find out the sex of their baby.

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Ask Sarah

Q I’ve heard a lot about the Paleo diet and as I am very interested in reducing the amount of processed foods and grain based meals my family eats, we are considering following this diet. From what I read it seems to be a back-to-basics type of eating. Is a Paleo diet safe for children? My kids are aged seven and nine.

A The Paleo diet is one of the most fashionable diets around at the moment. It is also known as the ‘caveman diet’ and is based on cutting out processed foods, starchy foods like bread and potatoes and eating more meat, vegetables and fruit.
As fad diets go, it is not the worst but there are some good and bad sides to it. Reducing the amount of processed foods we eat is always a good idea and by doing that you will usually reduce the amount of fat, salt and sugar you eat, which is a good thing! The problem with the Paleo diet is that it also cuts out dairy (on the basis that cavemen didn’t drink milk) and this means that the diet is very low in calcium. For this reason it is really not suitable for children who do need a lot of calcium for growing bones. How did cavemen manage without dairy? They ate a lot more food than we do (up to 10,000 calories per day compared to the 2,000 most of us eat). By eating that amount of food they were able to pick up just enough calcium from green vegetables and seeds. To put it in perspective, you would need to eat 16 servings of broccoli a day to get all the calcium you need. This is easier to do if you eat 10,000 calories per day rather than 2,000.
The other problem with the paleo diet is that it is not entirely based in science. Many of the Paleo diets out there say you should not eat wheat, even though we know that cavemen did in fact eat wheat and other grains. These diets also don’t recommend that you eat blubber and the big lumps of fat that were also a large part of the caveman diet!
A final problem is that many Paleo diets encourage people to cut out beans and lentils and to get their protein from meat and fish instead. Many studies over the last few years are clear that eating too much animal protein is linked with more cancer and heart disease. Eating some vegetarian meals based on beans and lentils is a great way to get your protein without always going for meat.
Is this a diet we should follow? I think there is a lot we can learn from the Paleo diets. We could all do with eating less salt, sugar and processed foods and adding in more nuts and seeds as well as more vegetables. However, I think following a strict Paleo diet could lead to low levels of calcium and vitamin D and so it is not suitable for children or teens and adults would need to think about a calcium supplement.