Pregnancy

Pregnancy Update #15: 37 Weeks = Freak Out, Calm Down & Repeat.

4 Comments 12 June 2011

So, I’ll be 37 weeks this Tuesday and I’m freaking out. Just a little bit.

No, I’m actually okay. And I just had a feeling this post is going to turn into something of a roller-coaster ride. Which is exactly how I’ve been feeling lately!

It recently dawned on me that I’ll be having a baby within a month.

Sometimes that makes me feel very excited – both to meet this little person and not be pregnant anymore. In the next breathe, I am filled with panic and even a bit of sorrow. My life is going to change big time again. I’ll be adjusting to another “new normal.” One where Ella isn’t my sole daily partner in crime. One where we all sleep much less.

And the list goes on.

To alleviate tension and enjoy these last few weeks, I’ve done two things: made a big ass before baby to-do list and made an over the top effort to do as much fun stuff with Ella as possible.

Beating anxiety with productivity and play.

Having fun is a great stress reliever!

About a week ago, I was made aware and became a fan of Play at Home Mom. Checking out the awesome activities the three ladies who run the page do with their kiddos inspired me to take action. I followed their advice and began interacting/playing with Ella more rather than asking her to entertain herself.

Some of the things we’ve done together in the past week:

  • made colored sand with food coloring in a big Tupperware bin.
  • ordered waterbeads. So awesome!
  • mixed ice and salt to hear the crackling effect and “cooked” it in several different bowls with food coloring.
  • added together baking soda, vinegar and watercolors. The reaction was big colorful bubbles.
  • took more trips to the museum than normal. They change up the play area every month or so and we hadn’t been there in a while. It was great watching Ella discover new things.
  • today I built her a cardboard house. We had a lot of leftover boxes from moving and I had always wanted on when I was a little girl. It turned out so. freaking. awesome.  (will post pics soon)

Crossing things off the to-do list is calming.

Today, we crossed off a good few big items from the to-do list. Man did that feel good! It puts my mind at ease knowing we have one less thing to worry about. Make that three or four. It was a productive day.

We purchased a new, bigger mattress in order to continue bedsharing. I’m planning on setting up our co-sleeper next to it as well, but overall just super excited that we can continue this lifestyle that we so value.

Ready to soak up positive birthing vibes.

Tomorrow evening, my doula, midwife and closest friends are throwing me a Mother Blessing. I couldn’t be more excited. There is nothing like surrounding myself with birthy talk and energy. I am simultaneously lit on fire (inspired) and soothed by their positive attitudes. Can’t wait!

Again, I must thank you for reading my blog and joining me on this journey.

I’ve gotten so much positive feedback, encouragement and even gifts in the mail from the wonderful supporters and fans of Bring Birth Home. I can’t thank you enough. Your love has helped me feel so supported through this pregnancy.

And now, photo time!

Ella with ice, salt & colored sand.

Swinging- a daily activity.

Pretend food at the museum.

Ella meets a turtle! Then we carried it to the lake.

Making granola bars together!

Beautiful Nest Necklace from Melody/Ramblings of a Lovesick Mommy

A beautiful Mother Blessing bead from online friend Jamie!

Photos of my Mother Blessing will be posted early this coming week. And also stay tuned for updates on my July maternity leave and the biggest, bestest BBH giveaway yet! Peace!

 

Motherhood, Pregnancy

Moms, Do You Take Your Own Good Advice?

2 Comments 06 June 2011

Whether at a local moms group, on online forums or Twitter, mothers are great at giving other moms advice.

Sometimes that advice is crappy, and sometimes it’s fantastic.

I’m going to focus on a few key pieces of good advice moms give one another, but with a twist. The point is to think about if you’re receiving your own solid advice.

Here are some examples of commonly heard gems for pregnant and new moms:

Don’t push yourself too hard.

“Sit down and put your feet up!”

Easier said than done. The world doesn’t stop for pregnant women. And if you have an older child/children, they won’t stop either. It can be a very tricky balance, taking care of everything else and yourself. But you must find a way. Ask for help. Go to sleep early. Get in time for you – pedicures, massage, yoga, swimming, etc.

Sleep when baby sleeps.

A great piece of advice! Chances are if you have a newborn, (or a toddler!) you’re not getting adequate amounts of sleep per night to stay healthy or sane. So take a nap! Sleep during the day when your baby is sleeping.

But do you really or do you just advise other mothers to do so? Are you giving yourself permission to lay down, or are you forcing yourself to stay awake to get something done? Feeling too guilty to sleep during the day? What would you tell a new mom if she felt this way?

The dirty _______ (dishes, floor, laundry) can wait.

Time is precious, and spending it with your children is far more important than the daily chores! Let the dishes pile up for the day. Just let it go and enjoy them.

Yeah…that sounds great doesn’t it? But reality is, dirty dishes in the sink bugs. the. crap. out. of. me. (thank goodness for our dishwasher!) It’s irritating watching your once clean house unfold into what looks like a tornado went through. Clothes pile up, dust accumulates and many, many drinks and foods get dumped on the floor. Perhaps more realistic isn’t really to let it all go, but to allow yourself to take breaks from cleaning and get started again before the task becomes overwhelming.

Embrace your new curves.

Your body will bounce back eventually. Post pregnancy, like pregnancy, is a special time period for your body. You’re not going to look like you did before you had a child – at least not for a while. That’s okay. You just grew a human inside of your own human body. How miraculous! What a gift!

But why didn’t anyone tell me I would still look pregnant two months after giving birth? I mean, seriously?! It can take a lot of patience and self-love talk to really be okay with the overall changes in your figure after becoming a mom. For some, loving their new body will not happen overnight. Be gentle with yourself. Be kind. Honor the process.

In the end,I think what it comes down to is allowing ourselves to be imperfect (accepting imperfection as the new perfect).

It’s easy to tell one another that it’s okay not to be super-woman or super-mom and that she doesn’t really exist, but we often hold ourselves to much higher standards.

One of my biggest internal struggles:

As a stay at home mom, I often struggle with feeling like I have it “easy” because I don’t have to work. Being able to stay at home with my daughter is such a gift. At the same time, I find myself struggling. This isn’t easy at all!  It’s really hard to be “on” all. the. time. My brain and nerves are fried by the end of the day.

And then, in the vicious circle of this mind game, I am guilt ridden, as I am reminded that being able to stay home is quite the luxury and  I really do have it good. Argh!

What I want for me and you: to give ourselves a break.

Cut ourselves a little slack. Treat ourselves the way we would want a new mom to treat herself, struggling to acclimate to her new life.

Remember that there is no such thing as doing nothing. As mothers, we do PLENTY every single day – for our children, our partners and, if we’re lucky, ourselves, even if that something is simply watching to make sure no one gets hurt.

I hope by you can come back to this blog post for a little reminder every now and again. I will be.

Motherhood, Pregnancy

What New Mothers Need by Birth Kalamazoo

4 Comments 01 June 2011

The birth & postpartum doulas of Birth Kalamazoo supplied this great list for all who attended today’s Birth Matters meeting. I just had to share! Thank you Birth Kalamazoo for all you for the beautiful community of women in Kalamazoo, MI.

What New Mothers Need

(in no particular order)

  • Meals: preparing them for her and organizing others to do so.
  • Housework: dishes, sweeping and mopping, toilets & shower – ask her!
  • Your ear: a safe, nonjudgmental space to share her emotions and, if needed, process her birth.
  • Community: moms groups, mommy-baby activities & friendships.
  • Entertainment for older siblings: play with them, bath them, read to them, take them to & from school.
  • Self-care: permission t o take care of herself with baths or naps, the time to do so, and the space to ask f or help when she needs  it.
  • Visitors: figure out what she needs and respect her boundaries  about how long to stay.
  • Breastfeeding support: from her partner, family & friends, doula, lactation consultant and encouragement that, by and large, the human breast still works!
  • Space to mourn her old life: if she needs to do so, say goodbye to her old life and embrace  her new and beautiful, but often intense, world.
  • Courage to follow her heart: she doesn’t necessarily have to do what her best friend/mom/grandma/doctor suggests…embrace the new world of making informed decisions  that feel right in her own heart!
  • Support for her partner too! Postpartum depression for dads  is very real. He may need time,  space and someone to care for him so he can stay strong and helpful to her.
  • ASK HER: every woman, every baby, every postpartum experience is unique and women’s needs vary…offer suggestions, ask how you can help and be ready to respond!

Pregnancy

Pregnant? Consider Yourself Warned!

10 Comments 25 May 2011

If there was one thing I couldn’t stand while pregnant with my first, it was the warnings I received from “well-wishers” about how much my life was about to change.

Only one thing would have bothered me more: strangers touching/rubbing my belly without asking. I must have had a “touch me and die” look on my face when people got near, because no one dared (haha!).

The nicest thing someone can say when hearing news of pregnancy is “congratulations!”

And if there needs to be more said, let something else positive follow.

“Your life is about to change.” 

What bothers me is the negative tone that can be associated with this statement, like a warning. As if saying, “expect to give up life as you knew it and not have any freedom or fun for a long time.”

The funny thing is, people follow up by saying, “but having children is the greatest!”

Smooth recovery. Not.

Why not skip all that and simply say, “your life is going to change in the most beautiful way you’ve ever imagined!” All in one sentence. No dramatic, eyebrow-raised pause.

How I felt becoming a mother.

Giving birth at home and becoming a mother has been the most rewarding, satisfying and surprisingly enjoyable event of my life thus far.

Yes, having a child (and children) changes things. But what was my life before this? I didn’t have a thriving career. I was waiting tables and smoking cigarettes (both of which I quit abruptly).

Becoming pregnant and having a child taught me how to love myself, how to live in the moment, what it means to have patience and how to give without want.

Now with number 2 on the way, I’m hearing similar comments that make me shudder…and  always  right at those moments when my daughter is having a tantrum.

“ready for another one?” <insert scary, dramatic music here>

What about saying nothing during those times, (which of course make me want to scream ‘NO! What have I done! I can’t believe I’m going to have a newborn and raise a toddler at the same time!’) and saying something sweet and supportive while my daughter is happily playing on the floor with her doll house?

I want to daydream about
holding a peaceful sleeping newborn in my arms while my daughter colors at the table.

Or the three of us falling asleep in the afternoon after a long morning of playing outside. Let me hang on to those lovely thoughts. Remind me of them when I start to panic.

The uncomfortable scenarios that I mentioned do tick me off in the moment, but they are also useful.

They serve as a guide for how I don’t want to focus my energy. So I suppose in the end…I’m grateful for the lesson they teach (between gritting my teeth of course). <wink>

Pregnancy

Pregnancy Update #14: My _________ 34 Week Pregnancy Photo

29 Comments 23 May 2011

My beautiful 34 week pregnancy photo.

My adorable 34 week pregnancy photo.

My obscene 34 week pregnancy photo?

Apparently, someone on Facebook thought so.

I posted this picture of me on the Bring Birth Home Facebook page, and it was reported and deleted twice in one day!

Craziness!

Here’s what I think about this photo:

1) babies/toddlers like to be naked and my darling daughter’s bum is the cutest thing ever!

2) I’ve learned my lesson and will post personal photos on my blog from now on. Facebook’s rules are not my own.

What about you? How would you fill in the the blank? What do you think when you look at this photo?

Motherhood, Pregnancy

Pregnancy Update #13: Old Soul, Young Mother

2 Comments 10 May 2011

Since I was five years old, my family noticed there was something “special” about me.

I’m not sure if it was what they saw in my eyes, or the ballerina-like grace with which I walked, posed and fluttered about whenever music was playing. My mother’s best friend watched in awe and said, “oh she’s an oooold soul.”

I used to take this as the highest compliment. It defined me. I relished in the thought that I was in some way more spiritually advanced and mature than my peers.

When my mom needed advice, she’d ask me. When my grandma wanted to have a theoretical conversation about creation or wildlife, I was her gal.

But really, I didn’t know shit.

I was nothing more than a sweet kid with a good head on my shoulders. Looking back, I can see how all those “old soul,” “wiser than your years,” statements do nothing but set someone up for failure. Reality, (that your shit does in fact stink) is a massive let down.

Because really, I am no more advanced than the next person! (as if that needed to be said)

I mean come on, what the hell? That is a mighty big pedestal to be placed on. It’s literally asking for me to grow a triple-sized head. Thanks a lot folks.

This ultimate (“oh duh”) discovery, dawned on me very recently. I’m talking this past New Years kind of recent.  Not that I walked around thinking I was hot to trot – no, no, I’m way to self-conscious to ever think that. But I held on to a fair amount of pride. And it wasn’t serving me or anyone else.

Around New Years of 2011 I had a few insert-shoe-in-mouth humbling moments that lead up to quite a powerful conversation between my fiance and I.

Ever since, I feel like I’m growing up. Really growing up. There is SO much I don’t know!

These feelings have been intensified by my pregnancy and moving into a new home. It would make sense that this combination would make me more mature mom, no?

Just imagine this scene:

My daughter and I are driving back to the lake house from being “in town” in Kalamazoo. It’s a warm Spring day. The radio is playing and windows are open just enough to let in a soft breeze that plays with Ella’s hair. Ten minutes later, she’s fast asleep.

Looking in the rear-view mirror, I am suddenly struck with nostalgia. That was me. Not so long ago, I was Ella, falling asleep in the back seat on the way back home…

I have, without conscious awareness, adopted a role of motherhood that makes me feel more like a mother than ever.

And that way of mothering that I am reminiscing of will take more work; assuming more responsibility by leaning on others less.

I realized I am going to be the one making and hosting family dinners now. The torch has silently been passed. My little family is growing and my fiance and I are the new leaders.

I am embracing my life with a new found strength and appreciation. I’m no longer the “wise” child, I am the budding woman and mother raising the next generation of our family.

I no longer wish to be older, or to be anywhere other than than the exact place I am today.

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