Can you tell us about your transition to motherhood?
My transition was pretty smooth in some ways and very jarring in others. Actual physical baby care was a breeze. I had been a nanny and a birth doula and as the oldest of all my siblings and cousins I was very comfortable around babies. Nursing and my recovery from an unmedicated vaginal birth went well. Emotionally and mentally I did find it harder to find myself and climb out of the baby bubble. I had just moved away from all my family and friends and though we did have family visit and help I didn’t have the mom community I would have had in my home state and that left me feeling isolated and anxious. I had the sweetest, easiest baby in the world so that helped a lot. He was so content to nurse and be carried in a woven wrap and that helped me feel like a good mum and made the transition easier.
How did your different postpartum periods vary?
We often say that illnesses and major life changes seem to call for needs that mirror postpartum needs (meal support, community, rest etc). Would you say that has been true for you while fighting cancer?
Oh definitely. When the body is in recovery mode we need so much more help and nourishment. It does take a village of support.
What can people do to support parents with cancer?
That’s a great question. I think it was most helpful when people sent thoughtful gifts to my kids and offered to come for play dates or take one of my kids for a few hours.
How are you balancing motherhood while undergoing chemo right now?
My ex husband helps a lot; we get along and he is flexible so we can spend time as a family. I spend quality time with them one on one as well, which is great since I am too weak to care for them all at once. We talk on the phone and catch up that way too.
Where do you shine as a mama?
Engaging emotionally with my kiddos.
Can you tell us one of your hilarious (perhaps in retrospect!) mom fails?
Hmmm…I think the worst mom fail was trying to bake with xylitol and giving my family mild diarrhea for a few weeks. Yikes!
How do you stay tethered to yourself while mothering?
When I was momming full time I would try and check in early morning or at night and schedule time for real self care, not just zoning out on social media.
Do you have any advice for new parents?
Do your research, then relax. Be flexible. Deal with your own issues proactively so you can be present with your kids. Create rituals and traditions that are your own, and try to find ways to enjoy all the stages of your child’s development even if it’s difficult, because it really does go by so fast.
Thank you for talking with us Katrina!
Follow and Support Katrina’s journey: