Angelia Cramer On Being a Mom of 2 Under 2, Self Care & Faith

Meet Angelia Cramer. I met Angelia through Instagram when I began sharing my postpartum journey online. She herself shares her journey on her instagram! We instantly connected. Sidenote: We literally just had a conversation about gardening. I love seeing her beautiful pictures of her family! She took the time to share her story with me. She shares her experience on being a mother of two beautiful girls, her birthing experience with both of her girls, postpartum and her faith. I hope you enjoy.

Can you tell me a little about yourself?

My name is Angelia Cramer, I am 31 years old from Stockton, MO. I have been married for 5 years and we have two girls, a 2 1/2 year old and a 1 year old. We are currently in the process of building our forever home, so for the past (almost) 3 years, we have been living in my in-law’s basement. I am mostly a stay at home mom, I do work a couple days a week at my husband’s clinic, he is the local Veterinarian here in Stockton, but I also work as a market partner through Monat and coach through Beachbody. I am a christian, I try to read my bible everyday – sometimes distractions do happen, but I do pray everyday. Some of my hobbies include: fitness, reading, and journaling. Although my husband might say I am a professional napper. I am an avid Van driver, I say two things will change your life: 1) getting to know Jesus and 2) getting a van. If you follow the enneagrams, I am a 8 – which means that I am a very direct person, most would say that I am domineering and assertive, but I prefer to be upfront with you rather than beat around the bush. 

I am an avid Van driver, I say two things will change your life: 1) getting to know Jesus and 2) getting a van.

You are a wonderful mother of two beautiful girls under the age of two. How is having two children under the age of two?

Having 2 under 2 is challenging. Learning how to take care of a newborn is hard… but learning how to take care of a newborn with an active toddler was wild! Now that my girls are older, I am still learning how to navigate and cater to their needs. For example, if they are both crying, how do I know which one needs me more? Did one stub their toe and the other just start crying in response? Or did something happen to both of them? Then if I go to comfort both, one of them doesn’t want the other one to sit on my lap. It’s really challenging how to navigate through their differing needs and most of the time I wonder if I am creating the common first and second child syndrome. But then there are moments when my eldest, Nora, will just love on her sister, give her hugs and want to hold her.  Adalind, my youngest, will be so excited when she sees Nora. In those moments, I know that I gave them the best gift I ever could, each other.

How are you feeling? At this particular moment, are you happy?

At this particular moment I am feeling content. I toy around with this idea that maybe I am ready to have another one, but today I cleaned and organized the house and Nora dumped rice all over the carpet… wet rice. So then I think that I may be okay with just the two at the moment. But overall, I do have moments where I seem a little more down, being at home a lot just feels isolating, so on those days I find that I am not as present or engaged with my children as I would like – more like I am on autopilot and just trying to make it to nap time, try to make it to dinner, try to make it bedtime. Then there are days when I feel like I have an excessive amount of energy and then being a mom is easier, I am playing with my girls and having dance parties and the days just flows by so much easier. 

Did you experience postpartum depression with your child(ren)? If so, when did you realize you were experiencing it and what steps did you take to heal?

With Nora, my recovery was different with her. I had 3 miscarriages before her, so when I actually got to hold her, I did go through the typical “research everything to make sure my baby is okay.” First night home from the hospital, she screamed most of the night – and so I learned quickly to adapt to it. There were times when I didn’t get any sleep, if she was sick or teething, and those following days I would have really bad panic attacks. But for the most part, I feel that my postpartum with Nora went smoothly. With Adalind, I know I didn’t experience debilitating depression, I know there were moments when I was definitely down.

Adalind had a lot of health issues. She has laryngomalacia (the flap in her throat wasn’t fully developed) so she was having trouble breathing and she would make a high pitched whistling sound (think tea kettle) when she would breathe. The first 5 months of her life, we went to the ER atleast once a month for various different things. She had a hair tourniquet on her feet and she almost lost her toe, she was dehydrated, and then a few for her breathing issues. We actually had to get airlifted to a city hospital when she was retracting (chest caving in) when she would try to breathe. It was all very scary. There were moments when it just seemed surreal to me… almost like I was watching what was happening in a dream-like sequence.  Many times I would break down and cry, be angry with God, but then I would wash my face and put on a smile because I knew that I had another daughter that was depending on me. When there were moments when I felt that I couldn’t handle my thoughts, I would journal and just get all my thoughts out. I was also very thankful that I was into fitness during these times because it allowed me to have a channel to vent out my frustrations and doubts through a workout.

But having a community is so vital when you are a mom. It’s hard to go through these struggles with a tribe, so I can’t imagine how hard it must be for mother’s who feel like they don’t have anyone. 

There are still times when I wonder if I should get reevaluated, one night a few months ago to my husband one night that in our current living conditions and a lot of changes that was going on in our personal life that I needed him to beware if I made any changes in my behavior to have me get checked out. Thankfully we made it through some personal issues but I don’t know if there is a cut off date for postpartum depression to not show up. But having a community is so vital when you are a mom. It’s hard to go through these struggles with a tribe, so I can’t imagine how hard it must be for mother’s who feel like they don’t have anyone. 

What are your five favorite ways to take care of yourself especially during this pandemic?

So when it comes to taking care of myself, definitely working out is one of them, that just something so ingrained into my routine that it’s a non-negotiable for me. Journaling, devotions, or prayer is another one. I am either doing one or all three (on a good day) because I believe that my spiritual health is tied to my anxious thoughts. Surprisingly, being a coach and market partner is another way that I take care of myself. It has taught me to connect with other moms and be able to share the highs and lows of motherhood.

As I mentioned, being home a lot, I talk to my kids most of the days and I personally was starving for a community of other moms. Social media may get a bad rap, but for me it has helped me be able to meet other mamas, like Nacia, and get a peek into their lives. I still miss the face to face interaction, but as a mom, making plans to meet up and have lunch or something just doesn’t happen as often… or if it does, it is easy to get rescheduled. Joining a MLM has taught me the importance of personal development. That there is always something to learn about yourself. Another thing that I have recently been doing is feeding the goats on my husband’s family farm. I leave the phone inside the house and take the girls to feed the goats (and donkey) once a day. Nora loves petting the goats and it’s so fun to watch her try to interact with them and then when they are distracted, we walk around the goat pen. It gets us out of the house and it’s just fun to create moments of watching your little girl explore the world around her and learning how to feed and care for others… and stay away from donkeys. 

What advice would you give a new mom?

 My advice for a new mom is that you may go through moments when you love your child to wondering what if it was really worth it. Perfectly normal. There have been countless times I have snot cried in the middle of making dinner because I was so frustrated with one of my children. There are times when I wonder if I am cut out for motherhood, if I am doing a good job on their mental and emotional health or if I am leaving emotional scars.  You will be exhausted, you will make mistakes but have a little grace towards yourself, we are not perfect and we can’t expect our kids to be perfect.  Motherhood is a constant state of having love for your children, wanting the best for them, and feeling guilty about not doing enough. Totally weird, but totally worth it. Also, find community, find support. We were made to be interdependent, God has designed us this way so reach out to others if you are struggling. Ask others to pray for you when you need it. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable – all mothers know that some days are just HARD. 

Ask others to pray for you when you need it. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable – all mothers know that some days are just HARD. 

What advice did you receive when you became a mother?

I got things like, sleep when the baby sleeps. Which I think is the most stupid piece of advice that one can give. Sure, there are times when you can sleep with your child but you have to be fully exhausted to the point that you can’t function, but when the baby sleeps you do what you have been neglecting: dishes, picking up toys, cleaning, and endless laundry. You want to sleep when the baby sleeps but being a mama is like working 2.5 full time jobs, you aren’t just the mama, but you are also the chef, maid, boo boo kisser, etc. Another piece of advice I hate getting is, “wait until they are a teenager.” Look hard is hard – tempering a two year old tantrum isn’t easy because you are learning as a mom how to navigate their big feelings in their little bodies. Being a mom to a teenager, different season, different type of experience. And what you learn with one child, won’t apply to the next. So you are having to learn how to guide your children in a way that caters to them, regardless of age, that’s what is hard.

The other common piece of advice that I got was: enjoy the moments because they go by fast… and they are not kidding! Sometimes when I hold my girls after giving them their bathes, I talk to them through the mirror and just think about how long their bodies seem. How their newborn bodies would be curled on my chest but now when they are extended they reach my thighs when I hold them. The time really goes by fast and I have enjoyed watching them grow up before my eyes, but I still get sad when I think of how little they were before. 

What does self care mean to you?

To me self care is anything that will refresh your senses and give you a clear focus. So for example, when I find myself overstimulated and hard to concentrate on what I am doing, I have to step away from it and just center myself. I guess another word for it could be self-awareness. Motherhood is busy, life is crazy – so anything that can renew or refresh your state of mind, even saying no to things that don’t bring you inner peace – thats self care in my opinion.

What is something you remember about giving birth to your child(ren)? How did you feel? How did people around you make you feel? (Whether a doctor, family member, spouse..)

Two distinct things I remember about my birthing experiences with both of my girls: Nora was a breech baby, folded up like a taco and there was no way that she would turn. I remember being devastated that I had to have a C-section. The Dr that I had was very knowledgeable and sympathetic that it was definitely not the way I wanted to give birth to my first child. There is something to be said in the strength of mamas, you will face your own fears in order to protect you children. So on the day that I had to come in for the C-section, my husband was allowed in the operating room but not until it was time for them to start. Walking into that room is the scariest, most unknown feeling of fear that you have to go into before bringing your child into the world. The anesthesiologist was very kind and had a very foreign accent and so talking to her helped ease some of my fears, but once my husband was in the room, that helped tremendously. Then I heard my daughters first scream, and all the fears I had before just disappeared and I started crying.

In the end, it was blessing that I had a c-section because Nora had a true knot in her cord, so it would have ended up in a c-section or she could have her oxygen cut off had I tried a natural birth. With Adalind, I was a perfect candidate for VBAC. This was during the pandemic so Dr visits were just different – masks had to be worn, I had to find childcare for Nora since she wasn’t allowed to my visits and I had to drive an 1 1/2 hrs to get to my appointment since nearby close was set up for VBAC if something was to happen. I remember feeling saddened that Nora wasn’t going to be our only child anymore, and not ready to split our time with another child. On the day I went into labor, I remember making a Reel on instagram about how I was trying to dance this baby out… and that made my contractions start – it was close to 4 o’clock. I told my husband that we might need to go to the hospital that night and by the time 6 rolled around, I told him we needed to go now (because it was still 1 1/2 hrs to get to the hospital). I was immediately admitted and checked to be dilated at a 4, 80% effaced. Once I got a bed and hooked up, I was at 6.5. I wanted to do an all natural birth and managed to make it a few more hours, but I wasn’t progressing.

So I decided to get an epidural because pain was radiating deep down to my knees. So once the epidural was placed and I was relaxed, progressed to an 8. The nurse checked me and said that Adalind was facing the wrong way, so she moved me around and said let me know when she turns – upon asking her what it should feel like (she said like I was taking a poop) I told her that I felt that way as she was leaving… she checked and lo and behold, Adalind had turned the right way. Shortly after that I was at 10 and ready to push. Pushing took 20 minutes and then Adalind came into the world. With two different birthing stories, I was very thankful for the people that were around me. Although one was born during the pandemic and the other one was not – the kindness from the staff was very much the same.

During the pandemic, even though I didn’t understand some of the precautions I was thankful for the regulations that they had in place. My husband had to wear a mask during the labor, and although I didn’t, once I gave birth I had to put in on when nurses came into my room. It was also kind of bitter sweet for the strict no visitors rule – I know it’s traditional for people to want to meet the new baby, but I was thankful that it was just me and my husband getting to know our little girl. The only thing is that Nora was without both of her parents (she stayed at my husband’s sister’s house) but when we went to get her, she was so excited to meet her little sister that she didn’t even want to say hi to me. So even though there are two different experiences when it came to my girls, I wouldn’t change it for a thing.

How do you show up for yourself vs how do you show up for your family?

I show up for myself by sticking to my routines, I am a creature of habit. Wake up early in the morning to get my workout in and then showing up in my MLM business(es). I never finished college, I have a few associate degrees, so I like being able to earn some extra money and staying home with my babies. It takes commitment and discipline to do something that goes against the norm, and I am one who likes to prove others wrong, so I show up for myself by not taking the traditional route to earn some money (i.e. going to college, having a career, working from 8-5). How I show up for the family is similar to how I show up for myself. I want my girls to see their mama working hard and taking care of herself and that it’s okay to say no to things that you don’t hold in value (i.e like not wanting to go somewhere you know excessive drinking will be). I show up for my family by being protective of my girls. God has granted my husband and I stewardship over them and for the short time while they are in our care, we will protect them from people we have the gut feeling that there just isn’t something right about them. Others might not understand why we won’t let a member of the opposite sex (outside of family) be alone with them, but we hold our ground by thinking of our girls safety. Especially in the world today, I feel that danger can be lurking around any corner so I try to remain vigilant for my girls. 

How do you stay encouraged and inspired ?

How I stay encouraged or inspired…. some days it’s really hard. It’s not hard for my to stay encouraged to get my workout in, in fact it’s harder for me to take a day off. But when it comes to other things, like showing up in my MLM businesses, that is a LOT harder. There is just some much going on with being a mom of two under two, that you are just mentally exhausted. And then I sit down and work, and one child cries because they want a snack and then the other one cries because they want a toy that the other one is holding. So then I just give up on trying to focus on my work and then at the end of the day, I wonder if I am cut out for having a side hustle. But then the next day comes around, and then I am able to dedicate a full hour to doing what I need to do. So just knowing that someday’s you are going to find it harder to concentrate on the task at hand and then some days are easier, but showing up everyday, even if it just a little makes you feel better than just not trying at all.

Another thing I would say is always be working on you – do some kind of personal development. What are some of your interests? There are so many different resources out there to learn a little more about yourself and how to be a better mom, wife, or person in general. Some of my favorite reading/podcase are those that teach you that small, little changes can lead to bigger results. Also, if you have your own MLM business, “She’s Here for It” is a great podcast. For all you mamas out there, “Risen Motherhood” is another great podcast. If you are more into books, Atomic Habits is a very popular choice. 

As you look back at your life, what are you most proud of?

When I look back at my life, I am most proud of how resilient I am. I call myself a forever Recovering Alcoholic because I was a wild child. I partied, didn’t care about others, and in general wasn’t a nice person. You know how you think about your youth and internally cringe? That’s me. But in the end, I survived. I know that my past doesn’t make my future, and there is always a chance of redemption. I think being honest with who you are, with your faults and owning up to your mistakes can bring the biggest healing and change. I used to hate it when someone called me an “addict” because I wasn’t ready to face the truth. But it truly is the most freeing thing because once you acknowledge the truth, rather than lying to yourself, it’s like there is no hold over you, you are not doomed to stay in your current situation – you can move forward.

What are you most grateful for?

Oh man, what am I grateful for? There are so many different things that could be said here, of course my husband, my children, being saved – but those are basic, half-hearted answers. Not everyday am I grateful for my husband, sometimes he really annoys the crap out of me. I love my kids, but sometimes I wish for just 10 minutes of absolute silence. I am thankful for being saved, but there are days when I am angry with God for some of trials that I have to face. If I was diving deep, I would say that I am grateful for the promise of a new day. That we can wake up each morning with high hopes that today might be better than the day before, and sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t, but we can still wake up each day thinking that. Each day brings it’s new struggles, but with each new day that passes by we get a little wiser and gain a new way of understanding that sometimes shit happens… and you move on. 

FOMO is an acronym for Fear of Missing Out. Have you felt that you were missing out on anything when you became a mother?

Have I ever felt I had FOMO since becoming a mother? No, and I will explain why: I already did the wild ‘n’ out during my youth, staying out late, eating whatever I wanted, and living like there was no tomorrow. I could go where I wanted on the drop of the dime and didn’t have to worry about kids cramping my style. When I became a mom, I was ready. As I shared earlier, I had 3 miscarriages and had a mother’s heart, just no child. I think motherhood is the single most greatest thing a woman can do and I feel deeply saddened by the women who aren’t able to have kids or maybe they don’t want them themselves, because that to me would give me FOMO. 

What would you say are some parenting hacks?

Some parenting hacks that I know: during cold and flu season, get yourself a Nose Frida! It will change your life. Don’t want to suck out the snot through the hose? Use your breast pump – totally game changer! One last thing, get yourself a van. If you have one, you already know. If you don’t, SO MUCH SPACE! Become a van mom, and own it

Angela’s family. She can be found on instagram @angeliacramer

From The Garden of Eden: Stories of Motherhood, Postpartum and Healing

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