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Acadiana Lifestyle

New Mom Expectations Vs. Realities

05/05/2017 07:00AM ● Published by Christy Quebedeaux

Gallery: new moms [4 Images] Click any image to expand.

New Moms Share Their Stories

By Hailey Hensgens Fleming  |  Submitted Photos


May is upon us, which means Mother’s Day is right around the corner – a day in which we celebrate our moms, recognizing their labor of love. It’s a tough job, being a mom, and few can truly understand until they’ve walked that road for themselves. Few product advertisements or Hallmark cards depict the sleepless nights, endless loads of laundry or emotional wear-and-tear the job truly entails. Motherhood is a blessing, but more often than not, our expectations walking into it rarely match up with reality. For new moms celebrating their first or even their second Mother’s Day that realization is all too fresh. A few of them weighed in (myself included) about their experiences. 


 ANTHONY AND ALLIE BRUNO

After six months of marriage, Lafayette natives, Anthony and Allie Bruno discovered they would soon become a family of three and welcomed Emmitt into their lives.  


Q: Did you always want to be a mom?

Allie: No, when Anthony and I first got married I really wanted to live in an RV and travel all over the place. But, when I found out I was pregnant with Emmitt something just clicked and Anthony and I put on the Mom and Dad hats. We decided to put down roots and establish ourselves, and we’ve never looked back.

Q: When you found out you were pregnant, what was one expectation you had about having and raising babies?

Allie: I expected to have the healthiest baby in the world because I would feed my baby the healthiest things and do the “sunscreen thing.” I also expected to have a very open minded and not-so-picky child. 


Q: Now that you’re two years into this, how did that expectation match up with reality?

Allie: It’s very different. Emmitt doesn’t eat certain textures and only likes noodles if they are a certain kind and shape.  And everything with Emmitt is super methodical, so he has to do things in a certain order. I thought he would be “go with the flow” because that’s how Anthony and I are, but he isn’t. 


Q: Was there any specific moment that was a total “new mom” reality check for you?

Allie: One thing is that Emmitt has Blount Disease, a growth disorder in the shinbone. We got sideswiped out of nowhere with that news and I thought that, because we prayed for him and I did the best I could for him, he couldn’t ever have anything wrong. I thought if I did everything I could to protect him then nothing could be a problem so that was one of the biggest shocks.


Q: How about one of the most rewarding moments?

Allie: At school, he was put into the 1-year-old class when was he was 20 months old. But, the director called me and asked if he could be moved up to the 2-year-old class because he was so good at communicating and spoke so well. So, it’s rewarding to realize that he’s paying attention and I’m teaching him something worthy of praise because some days it feels like we’re just kind of living.


Q: After two years, what can you say about being a mom?

Allie: I don’t think that there is anything I’ve ever done in my life that is as hard as being his mom, but there is nothing better that I’ve ever done or created than Emmitt. Motherhood is the hardest thing and most demanding thing I’ve ever done and it’s made me realize how selfish I am, but it’s the best thing, hands down, that Anthony and I ever did.


 HEATH AND ALLYSON HENSGENS 

Heath was born and raised in New Iberia, but made the move to Bentley, LA after marrying his college-sweetheart, Allyson. The past three years have been a wild ride for these two. The couple welcomed their son, Eli, one month before their first anniversary and is expecting their second child in August. 


Q: Did you always want to be a mom?

Allyson: Yes, since I was little I knew I was going to be a mom and I wanted like 10 kids! I had every idea planned out in my head of how everything was going to go.


Q: What did you look forward to specifically about motherhood?

Allyson: I think it was that I knew my kids would always want me at the end of the day, other than someone else.


Q: When you found out you were pregnant, what was one expectation you had about having and raising babies?

Allyson: Well, I always knew I was going to stay at home. I expected it to be hard and that I wasn’t going to sleep a lot, but I guess I thought it was going to be a bit easier and always pictured me playing with my kids. 


 Q: Now that you’re a year and a half into this, how did that expectation meet reality?

Allyson: I guess it was different because everything I had expected you can just throw out the window. All of my experiences were different than what I thought they were going to be. Everything you think you’re going to do is different. Part of it was just being judgmental towards other people who had children and then, after having my own, there was grace for all.


Q: What was one thing you didn’t expect to happen when you became a mother?

Allyson: I didn’t expect the never ending worry and concern for your child. Now I can sympathize with my own parents!


Q: Was there any moment you can think of that was a total “new mom” reality check?

Allyson:  Disciplining has thrown a whole new level in. I feel like they’re changing all the time, so parenting and disciplining changes all the time. They don’t just grow up to be great kids. They don’t just grow up saying, “yes ma’am.” You have to train them to get there!


Q: What was one of the scariest moments you’ve had?

Allyson: Our scariest moment was probably when Eli had an allergic reaction and broke out in hives and swelling on Christmas Day this past year. We gave him Benadryl before it got bad, but it was scary to think that he could stop breathing and then your mind trails off to other things.


Q: How about the most rewarding moment?

Allyson: Any time my kid shows me grace and I don’t deserve it is always rewarding. Or, when they do something without being prompted, like when they hug you back or kiss you on their own. Or, a kid that sleeps all night! That’s rewarding too!


Q: After all this, what would you conclude about being a mom?

Allyson: I would say motherhood, like marriage, it is the best and hardest thing that you can ever do. It’s always bringing me back to Jesus. I can’t do this on my own and I pray for discernment and realize that everything is out of my control in the grand scheme of things. 


 TAYLOR AND CARMEN HARTMEYER

Taylor and Carmen Hartmeyer, both Morgan City natives, moved to New Iberia after getting married three years ago. They welcomed their beautiful little boy, Brooks, into the world only seven months ago. 


Q: Did you always want to be a mom?

Carmen: Yes, since we’ve been married I’ve wanted to be a mom. We planned on waiting until Taylor graduated from UL, but God had other plans. So, I became a mom, which was OK with me. 


Q: What was one expectation you had about having and raising babies?

Carmen: I expected for things to change, but not as drastically as they did. I expected him to sleep more!


Q: How has that expectation compared to reality?

Carmen: Well I knew babies didn’t sleep often, but Brooks doesn’t sleep at all, and I became a homebody instead of being on the go. I’m home a lot more than I ever expected. Also, he sleeps in the bed with us, which I hate and said I would never do. So, now I tell people to never say, “Never!”


Q: Tell me about something you didn’t expect to happen by becoming a mom.

Carmen: I didn’t expect to become so impersonal. Because I’m stuck inside tending to the baby, I’ve forgotten how to talk and enjoy others’ company - especially my husband’s.


Q: What has been your scariest moment this far?

Carmen: Definitely when Brooks fell out of my bed in the middle of the night. He had been sick and the only way he would fall asleep was on my chest. I fell asleep and he rolled completely off! But, he was perfectly fine!


Q: What about your most rewarding moment?

Carmen:  think that’s whenever he finally realized who I was. He was almost six months old. I got home from work and he jumped out of Taylor’s arms to try to get to me, and I felt like that was the first day he really knew who I was. 


Q: After these last seven months, what can you say about motherhood in general?

Carmen: So far, it has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, but I guess it’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done, too. 


 ZACH AND HAILEY FLEMING

Zach and I are high school sweethearts, raised right here in New Iberia. We’ve been married for a year and a half and it’s already been quite an adventure.  After obtaining our degrees and learning we were having twins, we returned home to be near family. Our baby boys, Emerson and Jackson, are now five months young -born just one week short of our first anniversary. 

Q: Did I always want to be a mom?

Hailey: Yes and no. I always knew I wanted to be a mom, but could never really picture just what that would look like. I guess I always planned for my career instead of planning for motherhood, which seems silly now. I had two conflicting views of my life: one in which I was a full time mom and another where I was a full time career woman and I never really consolidated the two - until now. 


Q: What was one expectation I had about having and raising babies? 

Hailey: Of course I had several, but one that comes to mind is a peaceful, fun bath time. You always see those adorable commercials with chubby babies smiling and playing in the bathtub, and I always thought that would be a really enjoyable part of our day! 


Q: How does that expectation meet my reality?

Hailey: I’m calling “bull” on every one of those commercials. Some nights I think bathing a cat would be easier – well, two cats simultaneously, in our situation. From day one our boys hated bath time and would let out blood-curdling screams from start to finish. We’ve tried several different methods and just when we think we have them figured out they decide it’s time for a change. I know bath time isn’t this difficult for everyone, so I hope it gets better with time. 


Q: What was one thing that I didn’t expect to happen when you became a mom?

Hailey:I definitely didn’t expect to become a bleeding heart! Suddenly, any time I’m watching a movie with a child in distress or even a puppy separated from its mom, I totally lose it. It’s like I can picture my babies and myself in that situation and then I just fall apart.  


Q: Was there any moment you can think of that was a total “new mom” reality check?

Hailey:One of my biggest reality checks probably had to do with scheduling. Because we have twins we have to keep a pretty strict schedule in order to maintain our sanity. They’re on a three-hour schedule, so by the time we finish changing, feeding and burping it’s nearly time to start it all over again with little time to get anything done in between. Things that once required little thought, like family barbecues or quick trips to Lafayette, now take extensive planning and just can’t happen as much anymore. So, I never thought that a 30-minute stroll around the neighborhood would become my daily outing, but it has!  


Q: What was your funniest moment?

Hailey: The first thing that comes to mind was when we found out we were having twins. Zach had been talking about us having twins since the day we found out we were pregnant and it had become a running joke. So, when the sonographer actually saw two babies the only thing Zach could do was laugh and the only thing I could do was hold my forehead and say, “no” over and over again. It was definitely a surprising, funny moment, but looking back it’s also become one of our most treasured moments. 


Q: What has been your scariest moment this far?

Hailey:We’ve had several, but the one that sticks out is the first night we had them home.  Because the boys were born prematurely, they’d spent two weeks in the NICU. Zach and I had gotten really comfortable with all of the monitors and nurses being around to assure us the boys were OK. So, when we got home and didn’t have any of that to rely on I just got really scared. That awesome responsibility of keeping these two precious babies alive just hit me and I found myself not wanting to leave the room, not even to eat dinner! I just wanted to stay by their crib to make sure they were breathing steadily and staying warm. 


Q: What was one of your most rewarding moments?

Hailey:Right now, that’s when I’m waking them up in the morning. As soon as I peek over into their beds I’m met with those big blue eyes, the biggest smile, and a little happy dance – like they’re just thrilled to see my face. I just fall in love with them all over again and it really gets me ready to take on the day. Like, if these two little boys love me this much then I’m doing something right and that’s all that matters. 


In Print, Life+Leisure New Moms ALLIE BRUNO ALLYSON HENSGENS CARMEN HARTMEYER HAILEY FLEMING
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