How many children do you have?

“I have two lovely little girls, Salka and Katla.

How where your pregnancies? How did you feel?

“I became pregnant with Salka pretty young. I feel like I was only a teenager, when I think back. I didn’t know what I wanted to become or what I wanted to study, so all of the sudden being responsible for another human being was quite a leap. I had to grow up really fast, without really being prepared for it. The first three months of the pregnancy were terrible. I couldn’t keep anything down and lost a lot ofweight. The only things I managed to eat were bacon-flavored Ritz crackers, salted liquorice and alphabet soups. I slept 24/7 aside from the moments when I had my head jammed down the toilet. So can’t say I was productive at that time. When I finally managed to shake this off, I started feeling wonderful. I loved having a pregnant tummy. At the last trimester Salkadecided to get her foot stuck in my ribs and kicked me there, nonstop for two months. At that point in time, I already felt I was a mom and just sucked it up. I was excited to become a mom but terrified at the same time. I was afraid of not managing to take on this role, but as soon as she was placed in my arms, I felt like I had this.” “Becoming pregnant with Katla was a little bit more complex. Only two days after having Salka I had an epileptic seizure for the first time in my life – and was later diagnosed with epilepsy. So when we decided that we wanted to have another child, it was quite a bit of process that needed to be initiated. I wasn’t a 100% ready for baby no. 2, I was 200% ready. That pregnancy was considerably easier for me. Maybe just because I had grown quite a bit as a person and I knew that I wasn’t entitled to whine or moan about non-trivial things, since I already had a baby that I needed to take care off – and another one in the cooker! So I toughed it out.” “When I was pregnant with Katla I was quite scared. I was taking medications for my epilepsy which had a chance of harming the fetus. A statistically insignificant chance, but still a chance. It troubled me. And it troubled my husband. But we were both so scared of it that we never dared speaking out about it until after Katla was born.” “I remember thinking during my first pregnancy that I hoped she’d be beautiful (something I’d never think today!), but during my second pregnancy, all I could think about was how much I hoped she’d be healthy. I was also very concerned about not being able to love another child as much as I loved my first-born. Was there really room for more love? But as soon as I held her in my arms for the first time, I felt how my heart doubled in size! You could say that during my second pregnancy I learned that there was enough love to go around for everyone and that you shouldn’t take it for granted that your children are healthy.”

What did you do during pregnancy to take care of yourself?

“I ate basically what I wanted. During my first pregnancy I had cravings for hot dogs with a lot of mustard, but during the second I ate crunched ice cubes like I was getting paid for it. Bucket loads each day. So I can’t say that my health took first place when it came to my diet, but I got nourishment from other places as well. I went swimming a lot, did pregnancy yoga, had massages and made sure I had clothes that felt good wearing.”

Did you breastfeed and for how long?

“My boobs grew a lot during the pregnancies but I can’t say they produced as much as they looked like they’d do! I breastfed Salka for seven months and I didn’t realize until later that I probably didn’t produce enough milk for her. She didn’t sleep much and I think a lot of the time it was simply because the poor child was hungry. So when it came to Katla, I decided that she’d get formula alongside breast milk. I breastfed her for five months and gave her formula with it. She slept much better than her big sister – as you do when you’re fully fed!”

Was your husband very involved pre and after birth? If so how?

“In general I think men find it hard to connect emotionally to unborn children, especially when it’s their first child. To them, this may feel a bit distant and they can’t feel the child moving in the same way mothers do.” “After we had a 3D sonar when I can was carrying Salka, I think it became a bit more real to my husband. Then he became more excited about this whole thing. When it came to our second daughter, I experienced him completely different – he knew what was coming.” “Our first daughter was a huge mommy’s girl and my husband had to work quite a lot soon after she was born. I also spent a lot of time with her – much more so than my husband. When I think back, I didn’t think they connected in a strong way until I was back in the maternity ward with my second child. From that time on, I feel as if they spent more time together and began connecting more on an emotional level. They are extremely good friends.” “When Katla came around, however, my husband had a different job and was able to spend more time at home. It became his job to give her formula after I had breastfed her. In return, Katla became a huge daddy’s girl and couldn’t even fall asleep unless lying on her daddy’s belly. Their connection was strong almost from the word “go” and I think this connection they have is similar to a connection a mother has to a child that she has breastfed. In a funny way, Katla is also much more like her father, both in temperament and looks. Salka, on the other hand, is a bit of a mini me!”

How is to be a mother in Iceland?

I think it’s wonderful to be a mother in Iceland. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

What do you believe is the good and the bed part?

“I think there is a lot of pressure from our society to have the ability to do everything. That everything has to be spot on but in reality it is easier said than done. We live in a society where everything has to be so perfect. It’s hard to keep up and I think mothers that try to will eventually give under the pressure. I think it’s important to face the fact that as parents we will make mistakes and we can’t have things perfect. Mistakes are made for us to learn from them. We just have to do our best and try to do it well. I think children need two things – love and structure. I think with those two things they blossom.”

You are a working mother a school teacher, you must really love children. Which age do you teach?

“Children are my favorite kind of human beings. They are so honest. They just tell you everything that comes into their mind. That’s why I love children and that’s why I love teaching children. Every day with them is so fun. I’m proud to be a teacher. I’m proud to shape the lives of children in this country and give them a proper education. I teach 2nd graders and I am a project manager as well at my school. I know I didn’t pick the easiest job but boy it’s a very rewarding job. Often they forget themselves and call me mommy. When they realize the put their hand over their mouth and giggle. It really melts my heart because then I know how important I’m to them. I play a big part in their lives so I want them to experience the school as safe place where they learn a lot in a fun and versatile way.

I heard you also wrote a children’s book, how did that come about?

“I’ve always carried a children’s book in my stomach. The book started with a drawing of a little bird called Mia. Then I crafted and drew her world and friends. When that all was over I wrote the book. The moral of the book is to open children’s eyes to their own qualities and talents. I feel that children can easily spot qualities of others but often forget their own.”

Would you like more children?

“I am extremely happy with my two healthy children. I feel that there is a pressure from the society to have more. That two isn’t enough. I would probably be asked less if I had a boy and a girl instead of two girls. I am often asked ‘So, when is the boy coming?’”

Is there anything you do that is just for you in your daily routine?

“Singing in the car in the morning while driving to work! Just blasting Adele and Whitney. Thankfully, no one can hear me because I am a crappy singer! On weekly basis I put masks from the Blue Lagoon that makes my skin so smooth and nice. I go swimming or use the hot tub in my backyard a lot. Hot water really relaxes me. I then write, read, draw and craft. All those things give me happy vibes.”

What is your favorite part about being a mother?

“Love. No question about it. This endless love you have for these amazing individuals you bring into this world. I sometimes think my heart is just bursting of love to them. I know, bit cheesy, but the honest truth. I just love watching my kids grow up and see what kind a characters they are growing into. I also love the closeness between a mother and her children. How much they depend on you and trust. It is just one of those beautiful things of life.”

What is the least favorite part?

“Diapers with number two! Me and my husband used the game “stone, paper and scissors” all the time to decide who was the “lucky” one. When looking back I feel like I lost a lot in that game!”

Do you have any specific preference when it comes to food for you and your family?

“We eat healthy and versatile food on weekdays. All the family eats together and everybody need to taste their food. My husband is a great cook and he cooks a lot from Jamie Oliver. We have also used “Let’s cook right” which is a company that sends us all the ingredients and a recipe as well. Top quality food and healthy as well. During weekends we are a lot more relaxed but don´t overdo it. We believe that everything is good in moderation.”

Is there something you and your husband do to keep fire on the relationship? 🙂

“The first thing that pops into my head is friendly teasing. We do that a lot. For example just two weeks ago I was talking to my girlfriend outside our home in her car. My husband sneaked behind the car with this horrible clown mask and starts punching the window on the car. We screamed like crazy and almost peed our pants! Then he has thrown fake spiders at me for fun because I am so scared of them. I freak out every time. Then just last week I came home and the whole house had been decorated with Christmas lights! And yes it was still September when it was up! I hope we never grow up.”

Love JM

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