Why I Really Wanted A Boy

Lifestyle, motherhood, Relationships

I’m the oldest of a combined eleven children (yes, you read that right!) from both parents and if God asked for my choice, I’d choose to have an older brother. Why, well I know I could not have an older sister because I doubt we’d get on much but an older brother always seemed like a good idea. He’s be my protector, he’d fight for me and he’d hurt any boy who dared break my heart, hahah (no, but seriously)! 

Anyways, my wish to have an older brother was pretty impossible because let’s be honest, had my parents had me when they were teenagers so having older siblings could not happen because I was it! So why did I do? I wished for the next best thing and that was to have a son first. If God was listening, I figured I might as well ask Him although I was sure I’d be happy either way! 

This was true until a month before I found out I was pregnant, I buried my 18 year old brother who was murdered in a knife crime. He had just turned 18 so evidently his death sent me in a dark place. Not just because of its untimeliness but also because he was 10 years younger than me. I couldn’t and still cannot fathom the idea of such a young life being lost. I sometimes feel guilty that I get to live and he will never get to be my age or older. 

So when I found out a month after his death that I was pregnant, I saw it as a sign that this was God’s doing and that I would be having a boy…to compensate for my brother’s death somehow. Now that I think about it I understand how crazy it sounds but grieving does crazy things to a person and although I didn’t know it then, that was my way of trying to come to terms or make sense of his death. 

I was so sure that I was having a boy that I completely disregarded the 50% possibility that it might actually be a girl. I started referring to my bump as he/him and if anyone asked if I knew what I was having, I’d pretty much say I think it’s a boy! 

To further cement my belief, I would only search for boy baby names and eventually settled on the name that I knew for a fact I’d name my son when he was born. From then on, I started referring to the bump by its boy name!

Being as it was my first child and seeing as I ‘knew’ its gender, I wasn’t particularly bothered with finding out the baby’s gender but the hubby wanted to know so he could start buying clothes and stuff ( there was very little unisex colours for some reasons) and so I thought hey, for confirmation sake…why not! 

My anomaly (and opportunity for a gender reveal) scan was at 21 weeks and unfortunately the baby didn’t want to open its legs so we were rebooked for another scan at 23 weeks because the sonologist ( I think that’s what they’re called) wasn’t able to check for everything at the time anyway. 

We were back again two weeks later and for some reason I started feeling a bit nervous. I mean yes I believed I was having a boy but what if I wasn’t? Lo and below I was informed with a 90% certainty that I was having a GIRL! It hurts me to say this now but my heart completely sank. It wasn’t the news I was expected. Damn it, it wasn’t the news I wanted. I had just lost my brother and found out I was pregnant a month later so it could only be a boy because it was God giving me back what He had taken from me…..surely!

I hardly spoke again that day and later that evening, I cried like I’ve never ever cried before in my whole entire life. I cried because I finally realised I had to accept that my brother was gone and that he wasn’t coming back. Yes, he had only just turned 18 years and yes it was so unfair that he wasn’t given an opportunity to live a full life but he was gone and the baby boy that I was holding on to….in memory of him wasn’t actually a boy. How could God do this to me!!

I then cried some more because I felt guilty. Guilty because my now daughter might think that I wasn’t happy to be having her when God knows I was. I’d always known I’d be a mum and to have that come true was the biggest blessing of my life. I cried because I was acting entitled and ungrateful. Maybe I blamed God for not protecting my brother enough and therefore it was only right that He redeem Himself! I have spoken to the Man upstairs about this and asked for forgiveness since then, but at the time this was my thinking.

I remember telling my dad the news and he said he had a feeling all along I didn’t understand why he want just as upset but what he said to me changed my perspective completely. My dad told me that we are but souls and souls do not have a sexy/gender. God did just what I asked Him. He gave me a soul for the one that was lost and the truth is that He wasn’t obligated to do it. He didn’t have to bless me with such an enormous blessing but He did. From then on, I was just happy that I was having a healthy and happy baby. 

I was also able to finally grieve my brother properly and accept what had happened. He wasn’t coming back but he’s a soul and souls never die and so he’s within and amongst us always. 

More than anything now, I’m grateful that I get to raise a woman. A future wife and mother. I’m so fortunate to be entrusted with such a responsibility and yes I now want twin boys next ( I already put in my request with God) but it has nothing to do with my brother anymore and if God had other plans, I’d be just as happy as I am now. I love my daughter so much and I couldn’t imagine having any other way. 

Love,

Lilia 

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Most Common Baby Rash

Lifestyle, motherhood

I’ve mentioned a few times that my daughter has very dry and sensitive skin. From birth, we have been dealing with one skin condition or another and I wanted to write this post because I know a lot of mums can relate to my frustration when it comes with baby skin issues. 

As a new mum, I was unfamiliar with a lot of the skin conditions babies are born with or develop soon after birth. I’d heard of conditions like eczema but because I’d not had an direct connections to it, I was pretty much ignorant about it. My daughter had surely changed that in the last five months.  

I have quickly learned that it’s perfectly normal for babies to develop rashes as their skin is sensitive from birth, however what I have always done and would always advise any mummy to do is to seek help if you’re worried. Sometimes what may look like a simple rash may be the beginning of something more serious like meningitis so always seek help if you’re concerned and/or unsure. You would not believe the amount of GP calls and visits I have made in the past five months but peace of mind is everything and to be honest I’d rather annoy my GP and Health Visitor than take any chances with my baby’s health and wellbeing. 
Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, here is my list of the most common rashes to grace your baby’s skin:

1. Baby Acne – I was very shocked to find that my baby’s skin wasn’t as perfect as I’d expected when she developed acne. I honestly thought it was a puberty issue exclusively reserved for teenagers and above but the joke was on me, clearly! Baby acne came in the form of pimples on my baby’s cheeks, nose and forehead. I have to admit it got worse before it got better but although initially I thought I had to buy some super cream, I was advised and also found out from experience that the acne clears out within weeks. I kept her face clean with just water and cotton. 

2. Cradle Cap – this is the bane of my mummy existence, for real, for real! I didn’t know what cradle cap was prior to having a baby. Imagine my horror when I saw scabs on my newborn’s head. That, coupled with the acne, I was certain I had failed as a mummy. I will dedicate a whole post on cradle cap and how to treat it because by now I’m a bloody expert but for now, I’d describe it as whitish/yellowy scaly patches on the head and forehead. This appeared after her first month and has been affecting on and off ever since. I treat it by putting coconut oil and brushing it off with a soft brush. 

3. Eczema- this is more of a long term condition and when my daughter’s skin problems first started, I initially thought that it was eczema but fortunately for us it wasn’t. Eczema causes the skin to become itchy, red, dry and mainly affects babies and children but can continue into adulthood. It’s not curable but there are special creams and ointments to help manage this condition. 

4. Nappy Rash – this is an irritation of the skin and will most likely affect 99.9% (I made up the stats) of babies. A nappy rash is caused by prolonged exposure to wee or poo. I try to change my daughter every 2/3 hours and normally leave her without a nappy for a few minutes after every change so her skin dries off properly. I swear by Sudocrem for her nappy area. It’s important to note that fungal infections can also cause a nappy rash. 

5. Heat Rash – because my daughter was born in November and because my African family are allergic to the cold, my mother-in-law would make me turn up my radiator to full mode. I kid not, that’s the first thing she’d do when she came to visit and vice versa ( she still does)! I know she means well and of course babies get cold but they also can get over heated and get a rash as a result. A heat rash flares up when a baby sweats, signalling blocked sweat glands. They appear as tiny reddish bumps. They tend clear up soon enough on their own but I also use baby powder on her chest abs neck because the girl can dribble!


There are many more rashes that affect newborn and babies in general but these are the ones that I’ve personally experienced so it’s only fair that I don’t write about something I have no knowledge of or experience in. I’d love to hear from other mummies who have similar issues with their babies skins and other rashes that may affect babies that I haven’t mentioned. 


Also, the best thing that has worked for my daughter’s dry skin so far is ZeroDouble emollient and Shea butter. The more common Cetraben cream didn’t work for her but a lot of mums swear by it for dry skin. I get my emollient free from the pharmacy on prescription and use it a few times a day when I spot a dry patch on her skin. 

Love,

Lilia

Best Sun Protection For Babies 

Lifestyle, motherhood

The weather this past weekend was just too delicious for words. It hardly ever really gets hot enough that my family and I go out for a picnic but seeing as it was Sunday and the heat was giving me my entire life, the hubster and I decided to make a day of it and have a full blown picnic with the baby.

While the weather was great, I have to admit that I mostly kept under the shade to avoid little madam getting too exposed to the sun. Hubby laughed when I suggested a sunscreen lotion for her because in his African mind, babies with dark skin do not need sunscreen. I of course took this opportunity to school him on the dangers of sun exposure to any and every skin type and I’m proud to report that I’ve succeeded in changing his views.….maybe!

Being the research junkie that I am, I took this as a cue to look into the best sunscreen lotions out there for babies and below are my top finds:

Solait Moisturising Baby Lotion SPF50+ –This lotion is from Superdrug’s Solait suncare range. It is dermatologically tested and is suitable for babies with sensitive skin which my daughter has so already it ticks a very important box for me. The only downside is that it doesn’t contain as many natural ingredients as some of the other sun creams which is a shame because it’s good value for money at only £3.49 for the 100ml bottle. 

Nivea Sun Kids Pure & Sensitive Sun Spray SPF50 

A lot of us already use skincare products from this brand so it’s nice to see that they also cater to babies skin. The sunscreen lotion is fragrance, preservative and colour free, making it very baby-friendly. Being that it’s a somewhat of a named brand, it’s also good value for money at £8.99 for a 200ml bottle in Superdrug. 

Mustela Baby Very High Protection Sun Lotion SPF50 

Mustela is a French brand that specialises in natural products that are gentle on skin prone to conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. My daughter has very sensitive, dry skin and I was first introduced to this brand by family members who swear by their skincare products for babies. I’m yet to try Mustela products but knowing that they also do sun lotions makes me more likely to give them a cry. I’m very much inclined to try them. Mustela specialises in natural products that are gentle on skin prone to atopic conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. It’s also water resistant and suitable from birth. 

As with most research, I have come across debates for and against using sunscreen lotions on babies under 6 months. Some say it may not be safe as they’re too little whilst others say it is ok. My daughter is only 5 months old and I don’t know if we’ll get another sunny day out before she turns six months but if we do, I think I’ll go with the Mustela as it’s safe to use from birth. Unfortunately it’s not sold in U.K. shops but can be ordered online for around £15 for the 100ml bottle. 

Love,

Lilia