My Abu Dhabi Birth Story

Birth Stories 

A Blog Series

I am so excited to begin this series. As the idea of floated around my head the past few weeks, I knew I had to first write my own birth story – at least one of them!

My Abu Dhabi Birth Story is long overdue. As Levi’s 7th birthday approaches, I hope I can sift through this mommy brain of mine and remember a few key details about my experience giving birth abroad. Here it goes!


34802_123119494421055_5332707_n.jpg

4 Weeks Pregnant

Levi was conceived in November 2010. With unrestrained excitement, David and I proceeded to tell our family and close friends in the very early weeks of my pregnancy. I knew I was pregnant about 10 days after conception, I just knew it, I felt it! Plus, at that point we’d been practicing Natural Family Planning for close to 2 years and I knew my body quite well (We’re now 9 years of Natural Family Planning and would highly recommend it).

One of the cons of knowing your pregnant so early, is 9 months feels like FOREVER!!! I took a pregnancy test the day my menstrual cycle was due and after 3 positive tests David and I hopped in our car and drove to the nearest hospital in Khalifa City A for an official pregnancy test. I gave a urine sample and we waited, and waited, and waited. OK, it was really only about 35 minutes, but it felt like 8 hours. For some reason we couldn’t believe it with store bought tests, we needed a Doctor to say, “yes, you’re pregnant”.

Summer 2010

Summer 2010

It’s not as if my pregnancy came as a surprise, we decided a few months prior while backpacking through Europe that we would start trying for a baby soon when we returned. By the time we were ready, I didn’t expect to get pregnant so fast – on the first attempt; literally the FIRST try, one day during my fertility week (same story when it comes to Malachi, I know the exact day both of my boys were conceived). But again, it makes the 9 months quite long. It’s now attractive to be one of those “I didn’t know I was pregnant ladies” who can go 8 months with absolutely no idea their pregnant! How is that possible?

My body went thorough so much the first 5 months, there is no way I could have missed the baby growing inside of me and making me terribly sick. Yes, I was SICK, sick, sick! All the time, for 5 months.

During that time we searched for a OBGYN in Abu Dhabi.

166629_1828788844535_7828177_n

OB/GYN #1 wouldn’t allow David in the room during my appointments and wouldn’t allow him in the room during delivery. So we kept looking…

OB/GYN #2 would allow David in the room for all of my appointments, but wouldn’t allow him in the delivery room. So we kept looking…

OB/GYN #3 allowed David in both the appointments and the delivery room! But, after about 3 appointments with her I realized she was just a bit too “rough” for my liking and had little to no sensitivity for my misery as I struggled with pregnancy. She basically told me to get over myself, women go through this everyday! True, but I’ve never gone through it and I have NEVER experienced pregnancy sickness. I wish she would have just said, “Mal, you’re doing great! It’ll get better and your baby is growing just fine”. She didn’t. So we kept looking…

OB/GYN #4 Dr. Marwan, he was the winner winner, chicken dinner! By the time we found Dr. Marwan, I was already 5 months pregnant. He was surprised I STILL didn’t have a doctor. He allowed David in all of my appointments and in the delivery room as well.

So now I’m 5 1/2 months pregnant, my Father-in-law and brother-in-law are visiting us from Ohio, USA. We go for a short walk in our neighborhood and I feel slight cramping and tell them I need to head home. We get home, I go straight to the bathroom and I’m bleeding! You know I freaked, calmly, but freaked nonetheless. We immediately head over to the ER at New Al Noor Hospital. As I’m cramping, bleeding and trying not to cry we try to explain to the reception desk that I’m 5 1/2 months pregnant and bleeding. It took a while for them to understand the urgency of what we were saying, so my husband pushed to speak to Dr. Marwan. Thankfully, Dr. Marwan was at the hospital that day and saw me right away. After an examination he explained I was experiencing pre-term labor and from there he and his staff proceeded to do what they could to stop my contractions (what I previously labeled cramping) and bleeding. After hours at the hospital, prescriptions and an order for one month of bed rest I was sent home.

The next month sucked, if you’ve ever been on bed rest you know this. Good thing was I was feeling much better! My morning (afternoon & night) sickness subsided and I was back to my normal self completely enjoying my pregnancy. After a few days off of bed rest my husband and I visit friends. I started experience those “cramps” again. This time, stronger and more painful. I tried to ignore them, I did for about 30 minutes until I couldn’t hide the pain and my facial expressions worried everyone in the room. So, I was off to the hospital again.

224705_1999723517795_5055064_nI’m 6 1/2 months pregnant and back in the same ER. This time my husband knew how to handle the reception staff and I was seen immediately. It was evening and Dr. Marwan was not on duty. After an examination I was told yet again, that I’m in labor. This time it was more serious and I needed to go to a hospital that could handle premature babies. David and I are trying to stay as calm as possible but it didn’t stop the tears from falling. We asked for an ambulance and they told us we’d get there faster if we drove. So in labor, at 6 1/2 months pregnant we drive over to Corniche Hospital.

We walk into the ER and explain to the reception what has happened, the receptionist proceeded to ask my address and phone number…if I had the energy I likely would have smacked her and then repeated myself! I know, so bad…instead I said louder “I’m 6 1/2 months pregnant and in labor, I need to see a Doctor NOW!!” she nodded, apologized and ran off to get help. The next 45 minutes is a blur. I had needles in both arms, one in my hand. They insisted my husband couldn’t join me in the room so I was alone, crying, in pain and trying to make sense of the chaos that surrounded me as 6 or 7 medical professional were doing various tasks to and around me while speaking in either Arabic, English or Hindi. After 45 minutes, the ER Doctor on duty came in told me they weren’t equipped to take a baby as they did not have any incubators for a pre-mature baby born so early. I needed to transfer to another hospital in preparation for delivery. They called around and the only hospital that had an incubator was in Al Ain. A 60-90 minute drive away. I request an ambulance and again we’re told we’d get there faster if we drive.

They help me out of bed and I call David in to help me get dressed as they kept the IV in my hand so it didn’t need to be inserted again at the other hospital. They proceeded to yell at David telling him he wasn’t allowed in the room with me and I just gave them the look…you know the look! They all quieted down and looked away.

We’re in our car, driving to Al Ain. Praying, silence, crying, silence, praying, but then I had to poop. It was the middle of the night and we’re surrounded by sand. There is no restroom (that I would use pregnant with an IV in my hand) for miles. Plus, we didn’t want to stop, I was still technically in labor and we needed to get to the hospital. On top of that, one stretch of the ride there is no signal. We didn’t want to risk stopping, David kept telling me I could hold it. Listen, you can’t tell a pregnant women to hold her poop. Especially one in labor. I grabbed the tissues out the glove compartment, crawled to the back seat, grabbed a box that was on the floor, emptied it and pooped in the box. I haven’t had a moment that low since…but it was the laughter we needed at the time! Yes, disgusting, but hey, we laugh about it to this day!

We get to the hospital and I can’t remember what happened. By that point, this was the third hospital, I was in pain, hours had passed, I pooped in a box…in our car and I had a major migraine from crying. What I do remember is waking up in a calm, quiet room feeling a lot better. David on the couch next to me and a female Emirati doctor entering the room to reassure me everything was fine. They were able to get my contractions to stop and the baby was fine. I stayed for four days and upon discharge was prescribed bed rest again for one month. It was one of my best hospital stays, the staff and physicians were lovely!

A few days later I sat with Dr. Marwan and he told me quite compassionately but bluntly, “My dear, if your baby is born early it is likely he won’t survive. Abu Dhabi is not as medically advance to handle a pre-mature baby’s born at 6 months gestation. Please prepare yourself”. I needed his bluntness. I was thankful that he could look me in the eyes and tell me the truth and tell me plainly. I knew I had no control over the situation and all I could do was have faith, pray and follow Doctors orders.

Over the next few months I had to go to Dr. Marwan weekly for hormone shots in my back. Painful, painful, painful! And to monitor my contractions, if any.

 

 

 

By 7 1/2 months I was consistently praying to make it to 8 months. At 8 months, my baby would be safe if born early in Abu Dhabi. By 8 months we were preparing to move from our 1 bedroom apartment in Khalifa City A, to a 2 bedroom on Reem Island.

Long story short, on move day, the movers were not moving fast enough and I put myself to work in attempt to hurry the process along! That evening David and I went out for dinner and I felt contractions again. I didn’t pay them much attention because they weren’t strong and were similar to Braxton Hicks. That night I kept getting up to pee because I was slowly peeing on myself in my sleep (pregnancy, don’t ask). After the 3rd trip to the toilet I woke David up, I realized my water was breaking slowly and it actually wasn’t pee. I was actually in labor at dinner and didn’t realize it.

We headed over to the hospital around 2am, excited because we were only 5 days from my due date!!!

I had my birthing ball, my playlist, essential oils, Bible, journal, baby clothes, everything was ready!

When we were settled in my room, I reminded David that no one under any circumstances should offer me pain killers! No matter how much pain I looked to be in, don’t offer it. I’ll ask if I want it. The nurses insist I stay on the contraction monitoring machine because of my history. I fought a few times to be taken off and allowed to walk around because it was ruining my birth plan! As the nurses approached over the next 10 hours trying to insist on an epidural, David did his job well!

By hour 11 Dr. Marwan insisted on inducing me because they couldn’t track exactly when my water broke (and because of my history), he wanted to speed up the process to get the baby out. Trusting Dr. Marwan, but against my birth plan and against my personal judgement, I agreed to be induced. The pain tripled. It was horrible, (but don’t dare offer me an epidural, haha). By hour 13 after reviewing the baby’s heart rate Dr. Marwan told me bluntly, “we need to get him out now!” By the look on his face, I decided to scratch my birth plan, no arguing, no questions, just get him out safely. I looked at David and back to Dr. Marwan and nodded my head in compliance to the c-section.

The nurses swiftly inserted a catheter, transferred me to another bed and rolled me to the operating room. David and I had very little time to talk, so we said goodbye with a quick prayer and kiss. David pulled Dr. Marwan off to the side and I learned later he told him that I must come first, and did some type of man-to-man talk, I don’t remember the details. Although I was the one being rolled into the Operating Room, the look on his face matched my own anxiety and concern.

In the OR, I held a pillow tightly and slouched over as requested. They inserted the local anesthesia in my back and then the full body epidural. It was painful, I felt it although I was told I wouldn’t. I bit down into the pillow and tried to stay perfectly still.

Dr. Marwan, the anesthesiologist and the OR nurses spoke in Arabic and shared a few things with me in English. I know they didn’t put me totally under but I remember almost nothing. I remember telling them to take some fat out while they’re down there and feeling like my joke fell flat because no one laughed. I faintly remember them telling me to “kiss your baby” as a wet, bloody and tiny crying baby was put next to my cheek. I remember saying “hi baby” kissing him and telling him I love you. They brought the baby to David (who wasn’t allowed in the OR). The next thing I remember is waking up in my room and David bringing me Malachi, he tried to have me hold him but I was shaking uncontrollably and was in so much pain.

I whispered to him with the energy I had and told him, “I think I’m dying” which of course scares the crap out of him. He asks the nurses again and again if I’m OK? They assure him I’m fine. Dr. Marwan has left by now, so we trust their word. Ten minutes later I tell him I need more medicine, I was in so much pain and I was sure I was dying. He asked if they could give me more pain killers and they told him I had my limit for the day, and that maybe I had a “low pain tolerance”. This clearly angered David because he responded, “She just went through 13 hours of labor with no medication, she doesn’t have a low pain tolerance!” (10 point for the hubby)!

 

 

 

Throughout the night, David kept trying to get me to hold and cuddle and name our baby. I couldn’t. I couldn’t focus, I couldn’t hold him near my incision. This was not how I planned my birth! I already felt like a bad mother and it had only been 4 hours…

288920_182680828464921_2979828_o

Levi, 1 day old.

Levi was born the afternoon of August 4th. By the morning of August 5th the pain had slowly subsided. By now, I could hold him, look at him – REALLY look at him; I cuddled him and apologized over and over under my breath, I prayed for him and we finally named him!

Dr. Marwan came in a few hours later to check on me. I told him how miserable my night was and he replied quite calmly, “yes, well you were induced an hour before delivery. So your body was likely still contracting and in labor”. What the?? David and I looked at each other and then at one of the nurses, why couldn’t they tell me that? Oh, by the way mam your baby is in your husbands arms but your body doesn’t quite know that yet…

Anyways, we spent four days in the hospital and they wouldn’t let me leave until I pooped. I know, enough with the pooping, but this is real life and in real life we poop!

229702_2291672536338_4398346_n

 

 

My experience afterbirth at the time was miserable, I wanted to leave and I was so stressed out. Now having Malachi in Hong Kong, I can say my time in the Abu Dhabi hospital was lovely! We had our own room and bathroom. David stayed the ENTIRE time and slept on the couch. I had privacy and was able to sleep and have help with Levi when needed.

At the time, what angered me was the bully nurse that made me feel so horrible about breastfeeding (another post, another time). Another nurse refused to hand Levi back to David. The 12-15 nurses that kept coming in our room to see the “cafe latte” baby, because they wanted to see what a biracial baby looked like (weirdos), and the fact I wasn’t allowed to eat anything for a while so I was HANGRY!

284280_2291672896347_7052698_n

Levi, 2 days old.

We went home on August 8th, one day before his original due date. I couldn’t have been happier to get home! But then, we were home and alone, with a baby! What now?

Well, thankfully, he’s almost 7 years old and we survived.

Dr. Marwan, our Iraqi OB/GYN, will forever hold a special place in our hearts and family; and Abu Dhabi will always be a home to us as the birth place of our first born! I’ll also add that Abu Dhabi, as such a young country, has grown leaps and bounds year after year. They are likely well equipped to handle premature babies without as much hassle.


Levi is our little miracle baby, our answered prayer!

IMG_20160530_211700

 

 

Mallori, known as Mal, is the creator of 852 Mamas. Originally from California, Mal has lived in Hong Kong for close to 3 years. Mal and her husband of 10 years, David have two beautiful boys: Levi, born 2011 in Abu Dhabi and Malachi born 2017 in Hong Kong.

You can follow Mal on Instagram and her personal blog Brown Mom Abroad.


Advertisements

Date Night: Tips & Misconceptions

Did you laugh at the title? If you’re a parent, likely it provoked some type of emotional reaction. Indifference, desire, laughter…something!

For me, when I hear the term date night I dangle between a chuckle and a frown. The chuckle because it sounds quite idealistic to keep up with dates once the babes arrive and the frown, because I feel like we’ve failed time and again at date night.

June 2008, CaliforniaI know all too well the importance of prioritizing dates with your spouse, especially once you become parents. Life becomes so busy and your time usurped by responsibilities, it’s important to cultivate and nourish your marriage with dedicated time with one another.

Out of the 10 years David and I have been married, we’ve spent 7 of those years as parents. Those first three years we should have savored every minute of free time, because the words free and time no longer go together!

In my opinion, a healthy marriage can get away with living off of past dates. They become sort of reserved fat that you can pull from when needed.

In Abu Dhabi, as new parents, David and I would reminisce as we lay exhausted on the couch whispering after putting Levi to bed, nervous to even yawn loudly. We’d quietly snicker about what we were doing 4 years ago or how we didn’t have the desire to go out if given the chance. We also had no desire to leave our baby with anyone, we were tiger parents (OK, we’re still helicopter parents)!

28521_1442945638696_233087_n

Date reminiscing only lasts for so long, you need to start making memories and new experiences together. As new parents, your baby becomes your entire world and you bond deeply over this little person(s) that you made together. Eventually, you reach a point when you look at each other and you can’t remember the last conversation you had that wasn’t about work, money, or your child(ren). You can’t remember the last time you laughed at something that wasn’t about your baby or a viral video of another baby. At which point, I hope you’ve come to the conclusion that ya’ll need to get out!

Here are a few misconceptions I’ve come across as a married mama and a few tips for your reading pleasure, please note I’ve only been a mother for close to 7 years and I’m sharing from that perspective:


Misconception #1: Parents Want to go Out

Nope. Not really. What I’ve found for most of my parental friends, they usually don’t want to go out. When you consider going out as a parent you have a full mental pros and cons list: How far is it? Is it worth my time? Who’s all going to be there? How much money will I spend? What time do I need to be there? Are spanks required? What time will I get home? What do I have going on tomorrow? Going out has to be worth it to parents, because an evening away from our children is rarely experienced without the feelings of worry or guilt.

Tip #1: Accept the Season

D & MFor my marriage, the desire for date night outside of our home has transferred between David and I in seasons. Sometimes, I really want to go out, other times, it’s all David. Every time we plan and commit to a weekly date night, we do good for about 6-8 weeks and then the scheduled date night hits and we just want to chill, at home. Our streak is thrown off and we end up dateless for weeks on end.

I remind myself often that we’re in a season of young babes, no sleep and exhaustion. Levi talks a mile a minute and Malachi refuses to sleep away from me for more than 3 hours at a time. This won’t be the case in the years to come. We’re in a season, and all seasons pass. David and I will again be in the season where we have time together, when we don’t want to leave the restaurant by 9 pm and when an enjoyable Friday doesn’t include Netflix.


 

Misconception #2: You Need a Weekly Date Night

OK, I know I’m going against many marriage and family therapists here, but I feel like the weekly date night can put a huge amount of stress on couples. To the point where people end up pretending and the genuine desire to have this night becomes just another responsibility to tick off the list. Now, I’m not suggesting you throw it completely out the window. I am saying give yourself some grace and as long as you spend time together in whatever capacity that works for your marriage, a weekly, consistent “leave the house date night” may not be the best scenario for you, and that’s okay!

Tip #2: Go Anyways!27857907_10215872927281146_2894731521305748676_n

There are times your spouse may want to go do something and you absolutely don’t want to go. Go anyways! This has happened more times than I can count in my marriage. I’ve been working on going when requested even when I don’t want to! David doesn’t like going to cafes (crazy right?!) and it’s one of my favorite places to be. I likely get him to put aside his distaste for cafes and go along with me once a month.


Misconception #3: Parents are Jealous of Non-Parents

I’ve seen comments and opinions about this quite often since becoming a parent. The biggest argument to this misconception is connected to time. Parents are jealous of non-parents because of the freedom they have to sleep, drink hot coffee, bath, etc.

So many parents prayed for, worked towards, and sometimes physically, mentally and emotionally went through a great deal to become parents. The idea that we sit around envying the lives of non-parents is quite ludicrous. To be fair, if I had to rephrase this to a more truthful statement for the parents I know it would be: Parents are Jealous of Non-Parents Time. Because that’s all it is; as parents your time is occupied completely by little people, they take up so much space in your heart, your mind and your schedule but in a way that we wouldn’t change for the world. I simply wish I had MORE time! That I could stop time at certain points to savor and commit to memory that first smile, first word, or purposeful kiss.

Tip #3: Be in Agreement

There is nothing worse then going on a date and then arguing! Not only does it totally defeat the purpose of spending time together being affectionate and communicating, but  you’re wasting time. What’s brought on the most arguments during a date with us is not being in agreement. For example,  David has a plan in his head that he didn’t verbalize and I’m expected to just go along with it, or we can’t agree where to go. The argument list can go on.D & M

What I found to be the best way to avoid a potential argument is to decide who is choosing the location ahead of time, to verbalize any requirements or requests, like when to leave. When we go out, we usually have a nice little signal ahead of time so we both know when one of us is ready to go home. It usually happens around the same time, and the sign isn’t even needed. We simply give a look and we know, it’s time to go!

Tip #4: Date Anytime!

A bonus tip that goes without saying but is always a good reminder, date anytime. Don’t limit your dates to date nights. Nighttime isn’t all that attractive when you become parents. You’re yawning at dinner, the music is too loud, your exhausted and irritable. Don’t force an evening date. Plan your dates in morning or early afternoons when you can. There is way less parental guilt during these times for some reason and you still get to put your babes to bed and get to bed at a decent hour yourself.


29972_1444566679221_2768581_nWe’re currently in a dry season of a weekly date night, but we’re in a season of abundance with watching our little boys grow and play together, as well as spontaneous lunch dates, random conversations and plenty of laughter. Each marriage is so different, enjoy the one you’re in!

What are some of your date tips and/or misconceptions you’ve come across in your marriage?

Mallori, known as Mal, is the creator of 852 Mamas. Originally from California, Mal has lived in Hong Kong for close to 3 years. Mal and her husband of 10 years, David have two beautiful boys: Levi, born 2011 in Abu Dhabi and Malachi born 2017 in Hong Kong.

You can follow Mal on Instagram and her personal blog Brown Mom Abroad.


Have kids, will travel!

Sponsored Post

MalachiMy sweet-little-hunk of love and laughter Malachi, is eight months now. Unlike his older brother Levi, we have yet to take a family trip or getaway with him.

On one hand, I’m thankful, it can be exhausting traveling with a little one. On the other hand, traveling as a family is so rewarding, you’re making memories and having wonderful experiences. So that pesky mama guilt sets in as I flashback to the experiences we gave Levi during his first year.

At four months Levi took his first international trip back home (well, Mama & Baba’s home) USA. By eight months, Levi had traveled to Cyprus, at ten months he’d been to Oman, and by one year he was back to the USA again; enjoying a cross-country road trip from Ohio to California with a little detour: we celebrated his first birthday in Nashville, Tennessee! Over the past 6 years this kid has received more passport stamps than most adult members of my family.

This year my husband and I decided 2018 is the year of NO TRAVEL! We’ll spend our first Summer in Hong Kong this year. We’ve traveled every year since moving abroad in 2009. So for 2018 we said we would do a little adulting and sit still, save money, and enjoy a few local stay-cations. As we’re halfway through the year we’ve been tempted numerous times to book a flight and go! The itch to travel is strong. So far, we’ve stuck to our guns…then enters Villa-Finder.com. I received an email introducing the company and service to our 852 Mamas community thus enticing me once again, to book a flight and go!

Villa-Finder launched in 2012 and has over 1,000 reviewed and inspected villas in their database. From Bali, to PhuketKoh SamuiSri Lanka and Mauritius! Taking a look through their website, the villas are beautiful and picturesque! Villa-Finder’s villas are frequently reinspected to ensure they are well maintained and consistent in their level of service.

Villa-Finder’s customers are usually families, which makes sense why they reached out to 852 Mamas! As Mamas, we know that family needs are significantly different to those traveling without kids. Thinking back to our pre-kids backpacking trip through Europe in 2010, we wouldn’t dare to try that at this stage, we’ll wait until they’re a bit older!

As a parent, our concerns and considerations regarding accommodation include things like pool fences, car seats, convenient transportation, safety, etc.

Depending on your specific concerns, Villa-Finder’s Travel Consultants fits the needs of the family with the villas that best fit their specific requirements.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Their Guest Relation team can arrange everything for your stay including: airport pick-up, special dinners, day tours, in-villa massage, and so on. This is not just a platform where customers book and pay. Villa-Finder has a team to make sure your needs are met. Villa-Finder’s Guest Relation’s team works on your behalf free of charge. 

Villa-Finder is also planting a tree in Sumatra, Indonesia for every booking made. Allowing families to contribute to the environment in a passive but sustainable way!

I’ve personally stayed in a villa twice since having kids, the Zighy Bay Resort in Oman and Kau Suar Bali Luxury Villas in Bali, we usually choose hotels. Now that our family has grown, the benefits of a private villa are quite attractive, I’ve listed 4 key benefits below:
  1. Privacy: this goes without saying, when you have kids, privacy is key to a stress free family experience. You’re not worrying about who can hear your baby crying in the middle of the night, or the lovely sounds of your two year old refusing to take a bath. In a villa, it’s pretty much the same privacy as our crazy family life at home but with a little luxury!
  2. Space: from personal experience, this is all too true. It’s so helpful to have space when you have kids, they can play and everyone isn’t cramped in a hotel suite. It also helps to have more than one bathroom!
  3. Service: from pool toys, to couples massage, to private chefs there is usually nothing off limits in terms of requesting services.
  4. Value: the price of a villa and a hotel is relatively comparable depending on your family budget, yet when all is said and done, you will likely save more money from food and beverage bills and avoiding those pesky service charges.
I’d like to make an honorary mention of a private kitchen! Because when you have kids, snacks and meals are a big deal.
No matter where you choose to stay as you prepare to venture out this Summer, I’ll be stalking Instagram vacationing in my own little way! You never know, we may give in and try out Villa-Finder for ourselves this Summer, we shall see!

Mallori, known as Mal, is the creator of 852 Mamas. Originally from California, Mal has lived in Hong Kong for close to 3 years. Mal and her husband of 10 years, David have two beautiful boys: Levi, born 2011 in Abu Dhabi and Malachi born 2017 in Hong Kong.

You can follow Mal on Instagram and her personal blog (which she will eventually resurrect) Brown Mom Abroad.


Hong Kong Mama’s Silent Lift Anger

OK Hong Kong Mamas, I’m going to take a confident position here and assume we’ve all experienced what I like to call ‘Silent Lift Anger‘. Please entertain me as I explain:

I’ve lived in Hong Kong for over two years before experiencing Silent Lift Anger (yes, my fellow Americans – it’s elevator…but when in Rome). Once you have a baby, and in my case two, everything changes!

My first experience with SLA was with my husband and newborn baby in the MTR at Hong Kong Station. I didn’t realize at the time that this would become a regular occurrence.

I was discharged from Queen Mary Hospital on Friday night. Yet, I was requested – well actually firmly instructed to visit the hospital the NEXT morning after discharge, which I thought was completely bizarre! Saturday morning we go to the hospital and they instruct us to return yet again on Monday morning. So now it’s Monday, and Mama is exhausted! We decide to skip yet another $600 Uber ride and take the train from Lantau to Queen Mary. As we exit the train and make our way to the lift we notice people (able-bodied people) rushing to the lift. We make it in time with our stroller (buggy) to stand behind 3 adults. Behind us is a little old lady in a wheel chair with her relative or caretaker. My husband passively makes a comment about lift priority which goes either completely ignored or, they didn’t hear him or, don’t speak English. We push ourselves onto the lift and proceed to make our way to the Central MTR to transfer trains. This is where it gets quite annoying, the Central lift is TINY and only so many of us can fit, let alone with a stroller. Again, able-bodies push through to make it in front of us on the lift.

Here enters my Silent Lift Anger!

Inside, I’m furious, frustrated, annoyed….can’t they see we have a baby? Don’t they understand the lifts should be for people like us and wheelchairs? Why can’t they just take the escalators? Shouldn’t they at least offer for us to go first considering the signage painted at their feet tells them so?

I’m not bold enough to call out strangers. I also sometimes struggle with impostor syndrome since, well, I’m a foreigner in this country. Still, I want them to follow my cultural etiquette when it comes to lifts! That’s a bit arrogant of me right? I mean, I’m in Hong Kong and this is obviously what seems to be the norm here. When I look around, everyone else seems to just accept it. So, I just scream and yell on the inside…Silent Lift Anger!

This has now gone on for over 8 months. When you have a stroller in Hong Kong – these experiences happen weekly! I’ve had so many moments of Silent Lift Anger – to the point where I’m walking out of the lift and having full conversations in my head of what I wanted to say, witty things I should have said and dirty looks that are universal. I’m sure people passing me on the street thought I was a sleep deprived psycho mom with my crazy facial expressions and my mouth murmuring slowly with no words exiting!

A few times I found myself bold enough to say, “the escalators are working!!“. Usually, this boldness is proceeded by a play-date or lunch-date with other Mamas and they embolden me with that wonderful Mama Power that comes after a simple coffee and teething chat. It’s amazing how a little time with other Mamas makes us feel empowered (or, like a failure depending on the group…but that’s another blog post, eek).

My Silent Lift Anger now lasts a good 30 seconds or so. I’m over it quite quickly because I know what to expect. I have to plan to leave earlier, avoid rush hour, get on the train car directly across from the lift if possible, push my way past people – don’t make eye contact (or do, depending on the situation), and simply adjust to lift etiquette that exists. I make sure to say thank you and extend a warm appreciative smile to the people who do show great kindness and consideration.

So Mamas, when you’re experiencing your Silent Lift Anger, just know you’re not alone! And eventually, you won’t need the lift at all!


Mallori, known as Mal, is the creator of 852 Mamas. Originally from California, Mal has lived in Hong Kong for close to 3 years. Mal and her husband of 10 years, David have two beautiful boys: Levi, born 2011 in Abu Dhabi and Malachi born 2017 in Hong Kong.

You can follow Mal on Instagram and her personal blog (which she will eventually resurrect) Brown Mom Abroad.


Are you a Hong Kong Mama and interested in blogging with us? Connect here!

Where’s My Snapback?

The term snapback is defined simply as: returning to your pre-baby body or pre-baby weight.  The significance of a snapback is the lightening speed at which it happens for some women. At 1, 3 or 6 month post-partum many Mamas are 100% back to their pre-baby body!

OK Mamas, is it just me or is the pressure to snapback at an all time high? We also live in the age of the internet MACHINE which is both amazing and creepy at the same time. I’m “coincidentally” bombarded with adverts and offers regarding my post-partum body on Instagram, Facebook, Google – you name it. The adverts are catered directly to me and depending on the day, can really cause some mental and emotional stress to a sleep deprived Mama of 2 boys!

When I’m cluster feeding one baby boy and simultaneously attempting to help my older son prepare for a spelling test – the last thing I want to see as I spell check a word in google (in this particular situation, seeing the word ‘tomorrow’ 19 times you have absolutely no idea if you’re making up the spelling or if tomorrow is even a word), the last thing I want to see as an advert is how to turn my mama belly into tight abs! 

 

I’ve also seen my fair share of  side-by-side images of women showing their pregnancy and post-pregnancy bodies, dates included. It’s quite impressive. Especially because I was NOT thinking about a full body photo at 4 days post-partum. Let me add here, I’m not a hater (usually) these Mamas look amazing and I’m (usually) inspired when I see these pictures. But to be honest, I am left looking down and examining my body afterwards because….well, I still don’t recognize it!

Let’s take a moment and discuss the different types of snapbacks, shall we?

The Natural Snapback: You wanna thank your Mama for a snap like that! (Read that again but rap it Salt’s verse from Salt N’ Pepa’s Shoop). Mothers who simply have “it” in their genes, they can sneeze day 2 post-partum and the SNAP happens instantaneously!

The Passive Snapback: These mamas are the ones that can do absolutely nothing major, a plank here, a salad there and in two months BAM…They’re snapped!

The Breastfeeding Snapback: I really thought I’d be her! The Mama who just breastfeeds. We know, we know, we know that breastfeeding burns calories. These Mamas simply breastfeed (like many of us) but for them, the natural side-effect of breastfeeding is the SNAP!

The Food & Fitness Snapback: I respect these women and would love an ounce of their discipline. So, these are the ladies who have a plan and stick to their plan no matter what. They know the SNAP will only come if they work for it, and work for it they do!

Okay okay, to be honest, I’m likely – well I mean…I’m not working for my snapback as hard as many other Mamas. At the same time, I’ve been quite hard on myself and overly compared my body to other Mamas. What’s crazy about that is I would never negatively compare my baby to other babies or my 6 year-old to other kids. They are beautifully unique and lovely little individuals. So, I’ve been working on taking that same gentle love for them and directing it towards the way I see and love myself!

This is entirely a completely different blog post for another day, but I have to constantly remind myself how amazing my body is! It’s carried, nurtured, protected and birthed two beautiful and healthy babies. My body is a blessing and I need to look upon it and think about it with a lot more kindness!

A snapback for me does not come naturally, passively, or from breastfeeding. I’ll have to work hard for it if I want it. The question then becomes do I really want?

What I’ve realized on this journey called Motherhood is…we need to love ourselves more as Mamas and do what’s best for us as individuals! Let’s refocus our snapback to simply loving ourselves a bit more and doing things that we enjoy. Mamas, after babies our lives are usurped by a tiny human and it never stops, it just consistently changes. So for us, it’s not often we have free time to do things that we (as Mal, not Mom) want to do.

So I repeat, do what’s best for you! If you enjoy a spin class, take that class! If it’s a quiet corner in a cafe with a book, tell us where you found a quiet cafe in Hong Kong! If it’s a daily nap, Mama take that nap! If it’s a post-natal Pilates class, have fun at that class!

I’m worrying less about my snapback and focusing more on loving myself. I hope you do the same!

 


 

 

Mallori, known as Mal, is the creator of 852 Mamas. Originally from California, Mal has lived in Hong Kong for close to 3 years. Mal and her husband of 10 years, David have two beautiful boys: Levi, born 2011 in Abu Dhabi and Malachi born 2017 in Hong Kong.

You can follow Mal on Instagram and her personal blog (which she will eventually resurrect) Brown Mom Abroad.