Meet a Mom, COVID Edition: Meet Sarah

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Meet a Mom, COVID Edition: Meet Sarah

July 27, 2020

Mommy Connections Mississauga celebrates and recognizes all the moms in our community, the ones who are tirelessly raising the next gen of Canadians.

In a post-COVID-19 world, being a mom to small children comes with a whole new set of challenges. Today we are chatting with Sarah about some of those challenges and life socially distancing as a new mom.

MEET A MOM: MEET SARAH

Hi Sarah, can you tell us how many children you have, and their ages?
One son, Liam, who is 11 months.

What is your favourite part about being a mom?
Watching my son learn and experience things for the first time has been such an inspiring and fun experience. I can’t remember the last time I laughed this much. I also feel like I’m growing personally alongside him. It has been a good reminder to keep putting myself in situations where I can experience and learn new things.

What have you found to be the biggest challenge since becoming a mom?
Breastfeeding was one of my biggest challenges at the beginning – there was a lot of pain, frustration, tears, and anger and generally feeling like a failure. Thankfully, my husband, midwives, friends, and a lactation consultant were extremely helpful and supportive and got me through a dark time. I don’t think we talk enough about how difficult breastfeeding can be for most mothers – it is normal for it not to be easy and magical from the beginning but there are lots of resources and alternatives to help.

As an ongoing struggle, managing my mental health has been the ultimate challenge. It has been easier than expected in that I was lucky enough to surround myself with people who have experienced or are experiencing the same things and it was easier to open up and talk about it than I imagined it would be. However, it has been difficult in that babies change constantly, and every day is a new challenge and potentially new struggle. I thankfully learned quickly that I need “me” time and that I don’t have to feel guilty about it.

What are you finding to be the biggest challenge about mom life during COVID-19?
The social isolation from our close family and friends. I can’t help but feel sad that they’ve missed out on this time and so many potential memories with Liam. Video calls are just not the same. Despite the “silver linings” of this time for which I am grateful, this is also not the parental leave I had imagined and as I get closer to my return to work I can’t help but think about what could have been. So, I have good and bad days and it can be a particularly difficult time to manage my mental health.

Has there been a “silver lining” to this time at home?
So many unexpected silver linings! Having my husband home during this time has been an unexpected gift for our family. Being able to share Liam’s milestones and growth together as a couple is an experience that I will forever be grateful for.

Also, we have discovered so many more local shops and vendors that we have been able to support directly in ways we likely wouldn’t have done as easily before. And we’ve finally met and spoken to so many of our neighbours (at a distance) that in two years living in our home we’ve only passed on the street or in our driveways quickly after work and engaged quick hellos or a wave. We finally feel more connected to our neighbourhood and it has been a good opportunity to examine how we can support and engage with our community better moving forward.

Given we’re all at home, everyone is streaming after bedtime. What’s your fav escapism show?
Schitt’s Creek – Dan and Eugene Levy are comic genius (and Canadian, bonus!). I also almost always have either Gilmore Girls or Queer Eye (while usually crying!) playing in the background during the day and while I’m cooking.

As restrictions are slowly lifting, what have you been most excited to do?
Seeing family and friends, hands down! But less seriously, what I’ve dreamt about probably the most is sitting on a patio while eating a hamburger and fries and having a drink.

You participated in a Mommy Connections program this winter before COVID hit: What did you enjoy most about it?
My group was so genuine and positive and supportive of each other and it was the highlight of my week to go to our sessions and connect with moms going through the exact same experiences and not feel so alone. We still have a group chat where we share our days and wins – and cute baby photos of course – and we support each other and offer advice if someone has questions or is having difficulties. It’s amazing how quickly a group of strangers can become so important to each other.

Anything else you’d like to share with other moms in our community?
There are so many talented local and Canadian artisans and makers that make amazing baby/kid and Mom/Dad products. It can be a little bit more work to find them and purchase, but it is always worth it and often you’ll be directly supporting another parent. Instagram and local craft shows are my best source for discovering new vendors.

Finally, don’t forget to take advantage of the free parent resources in the community, such as the EarlyON centres and the library programs and events. They not only provide spaces for our kids to learn, play and socialize but help you connect with other parents in the community. The EarlyON centres in particular offer so much support and free resources to help navigate new parent life – both the good and the at times difficult parts.

I also want to take a moment to mention the Roots of Empathy program that Liam and I were able to participate in this year and would encourage new parents to participate in if they are able. It is an amazing organization and program that matches elementary school classes with a local parent and baby, and through monthly visits to the classroom it facilitates talks about the baby’s development and feelings and it encourages the students to reflect on their own feelings and increase empathy. I will always treasure the memories we have with our Grade 5 class.

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