Real Mama: Fernanda Bomfim Araujo

This beautiful mama, originally from Brazil, moved to the United States with her childhood love to begin a new life as parents to now 10-month old, Enzo. She shares details from her emotional vaginal birth and considers the labor nurses “her angels.” She also leaves us with an inspiring quote that’s really stuck with her as a mama, “[Motherhood] will be much harder than you thought it would be, but it will also be much better than you can ever imagine!” Enjoy!

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am 29 years old, married to my childhood love. We met in Brazil, where I was born and raised. Together we moved to the United States almost eight years ago and here we got married and started to build our family. I am a mother of a 10-month old baby boy, Enzo, who is the sunshine of my life.

Besides being a mother and wife, I also work full time for a bank. I love my job and really enjoy having adult interactions, but I also wish I could spend more time with my little man during the day.

I am passionate about food. I love to cook and entertain, it brings a huge smile to my face when someone compliments something I have cooked or baked. Because of that, my current venture is a baking/catering business I am opening. This has been my dream for a few years and it is finally becoming real.

Where is home?

Home is where my boys are. It has been so many different places, right now it is in Jersey City, New Jersey. We have been living here for a bit more than four years, but our apartment has become too small since Enzo joined our world, with all his toys and baby stuff. We plan on moving to a larger place soon, we just haven’t figured out if we will continue to live in Jersey City or will venture in a new town.

What are you secrets to balancing life as a mama, loving wife and a working mama?

Balance?! I am still looking for it! Enzo is an amazing baby, he almost never cries, he doesn’t like to be held all the time, loves to play, but he is not the easiest when it comes to sleeping. He still wakes up a few times during the night and he often fights sleep.

There are some nights it takes me three hours to put him to sleep. With that said, it was really hard to balance my life between work, house, husband and my lack of sleep. We are much better now that he is 10 months old, but there are still nights when I don’t have time to cook dinner, or when I finally get to shower close to midnight.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

I don’t think I have one big inspiration; I try to follow what I think is the best in everyone around me. No one is perfect, so I try to look for what is the best side in everyone.

What has been the best advice you’ve received as a mama? What do you feel is the best advice, if any, you’ve given as a mama?

A few of my mama friends have told me “this shall pass!” during my crisis moments, and it is so true! Just be patient, try to enjoy the best you can, it will get better every day!

I think the best advice I normally give is to be patient when it comes to beginning to breastfeed. Breastfeeding can be difficult in the beginning, but once the first few weeks are gone, and the baby learns to latch properly and we understand our body, it becomes an amazing and really rewarding experience.

Are you the kind of mama you thought you’d be?

Sometimes I am the mama that I want to be. I always thought I would enjoy motherhood to the extreme! And I do, I absolutely love to be a mother, but I thought I would be an over-protecting mother, really concerned with falls, injuries and so on.

I am concerned, but not as bad as I thought I would be. Enzo is only ten months and he is an explorer now, he crawls, pulls himself around the furniture all day long, and he falls a lot and I am not as worried with that as I thought I would be. I still have a long way to go, but I see progress!

Do you have a mama mantra? Or something you find yourself repeating over and over when times are tough?

Enjoy every second! Life is so short, and kids grow up so fast, that I try to enjoy the most I can in every phase of his life. Even with work, lack of sleep, I try to put all aside the time I am with my family and look for fun things to do with them. I don’t want to look back and feel that I have missed something because I was too tired, or busy with something else.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I would love to have a larger house, with a nice backyard and a play room, I have no idea when it comes to location, but I hope it is here in the U.S., happily married, with three kids, (I would love to have three boys!) and a big dog!

If you could have lunch with anyone famous (dead or alive) who would it be?

Do they have to be famous? I can’t think of anybody now, but I would love to have lunch with all the mamas behind Mama Say What?!. I have “known” them for a few years now but have never had the chance to meet any of them in real life, so I would love to have lunch with them! They are not famous now, but will be someday!

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

I would love to have the power to cure. I believe everything happens for a reason, but it just breaks my heart to see someone seriously ill, especially kids. I wish I could cure them all.

Was your birth experience all that you had hoped it would be? If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?

My birth was amazing, it was actually better than I could imagine. My biggest fear was to have a c-section. I don’t know if you know, but the c-section rates in Brazil are enormous, especially if you have health insurance (more than 80% of births with health insurance are c-sections), they just schedule your birth for convenience. Crazy isn’t, it?!

I always wanted to try a vaginal birth but it was really hard to convince a few people from our families that a vaginal birth was not going to harm me or the baby, that it was actually the best option for us if everything was normal. So I felt that they were almost hoping I couldn’t have a natural birth.

Even today, I still can’t believe I made it! My labor was very short, in less than six hours I was fully dilated. Contractions were way more painful than what I have thought they would be, and I prayed hard for an epidural. And when I got it, I was in heaven. Literally— I called all my nurses angels after I got it! My husband still today makes fun of me calling them “my angels.”

I waited a little bit to start pushing because Enzo was too high, and when it was finally time to push, my epidural was lowered and I was able to feel everything, it was amazing! I will never forget that day. I pushed for 30 minutes, and on the last push my doctor asked me to look down, his head was out, I gave a last push and here he was. He was put on my chest and he was looking at me… I will never forget that moment.

The only thing I would change if I could go back in time, I would make sure that my husband and I were the only two people in the room; I really wanted this moment to be just ours, for at least a few minutes, then we could show him to everybody else. The circumstances hadn’t allowed this to happen with Enzo’s birth, but I will definitely try to do this for our future babies.

How has your mothering evolved since those early newborn days? Is there anything, thus far, in your approach to mothering that you swore “I’d never do…” and you are?

Oh well… so many “I’d never do” that I do a lot now! I said so many times, that I would never let my child sleep on my bed, or with me, and here I am with a baby that not only sleeps with me most of the time, but also goes to my bed every single night! And I love it!

I learned that we should not judge other parenting styles; we don’t know what the reason behind them is. Also, every kid is different, you can’t compare yours to anybody else’s, they are two different human beings, and we can’t expect them to behave the same.

Is there anything else you wish to share with the “Mama Say What” audience?

I read this once and it fits motherhood perfectly in my opinion: “It will be much harder than what you thought it would be but it will also be MUCH BETTER than you can ever imagine!”

It is so true in my opinion, you can’t understand how amazing it is to be a parent unless you experience it, and then you will understand all the love and emotions involved. The best and most pure love!

By Erin F.

Erin doesn't claim to be an expert in any of these areas, but she definitely has a perspective that we think you can really relate to. This working mommy to 2-year old rockstar, Mr. Cam, wears her heart on her sleeve and hopes that her real-life stories (sometimes mildly pathetic) will serve as self assurance to other new super-moms out there! Her biggest piece of advice? KNOW that you are a fantastic mom and trust your instincts. After all, mother knows best!

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