Thursday, March 12, 2015

Have I Lost Myself In Motherhood?

Today I'm partnering up with Angie over at Wongpressdotcom and Kassie from The Freshly Brewed to tackle an incredibly compelling question about motherhood. I admire and respect both of these ladies and am so happy to share this topic with them SO please go check out their posts as well! You will receive some different, but very valid perspectives from them (as we are all in different stages of parenting) and my hope is that between the 3 of us perhaps we can paint an accurate picture of the identity of motherhood… A picture that resonates with many individuals walking along the journey that is parenthood.

Our discussion today begins with my dear friend Angie's Instagram account. Last week Angie posed the question: Have I lost myself in motherhood? . . . . (Say what??) . . . . Have I lost myself in motherhood? (It such an intriguing question, I felt I should repeat it.) As I repeated this question over and over to myself, I was floored. My brain just started churning and all I could think was we needed to have a discussion about this. I began to wonder if there are mothers out there who feel this way. I began to wonder if I feel this way. I wondered what this question is actually asking. Is it about identity? Is it about how we define ourselves? Is it about self care so that we don't lose ourselves? Is it about expectations? How do all these things relate to my own journey into motherhood?

SO… I'm going to attempt, to the best of my ability at this very moment, in the season of motherhood that I am now residing, to answer this question were it asked of me.

No. No, I have not lost myself in motherhood.
If anything, I have found myself.

BUT I want to take a minute to tell you how thoroughly this answer surprises me. If you had asked me 2 or 3 years ago to paint you a picture of my future dream life, it would have in NO way resembled what it is now. Don't get me wrong, I knew I wanted children, but I in no way ever had a lick of a desire to be a stay at home mom. Oh no. I knew that was absolutely not for me. I was very driven and career-oriented. By golly, I wanted to be a mover and a shaker in my profession. I wanted to be the next person doing research and writing books and training the future music therapists of the world. I wanted to run my own business. I wanted to make a name for myself in the world of music therapy. I wanted to prove all the people who doubted me wrong. In so many ways, I found my identity in my profession. In so many ways, I chose to define myself as a music therapist.

Then, I lost my first baby and all of a sudden the only identity I wanted was that of a mother. I would have given anything to save my baby. I would have taken on anything to save my baby. Truth be told, I would have given my own life if it would have saved my baby. When we got pregnant with Baby Blossom, I lived in fear that I would lose her too, but I also lived with the hope that I would meet her, that I would know her and I would hold her and love her. And all of a sudden, everything that mattered so much to me before, all those career aspirations, took a back seat to the beautiful baby I held in my arms. Everything by which I formerly identified myself, I consciously CHOSE to give up. I gave them up to be a stay at home mom (something I swore I would never be).

Perhaps that means in some respects, I have "lost" myself. But I don't see it that way BECAUSE I knowingly MADE a decision, for this season, to let go of those things. What's more, I feel like since becoming a mommy (and even since losing my first baby), I love deeper and feel more compassionately and empathetically, and discover hidden depths of patience that I didn't know where there. I feel like I'm a better friend and daughter and person in general. And I truly believe those traits have come from my journey into parenthood. I love this new person that I have grown into (even if it doesn't look much like the person I thought it would).

This is my story and the way I feel and I want you to know that it is absolutely okay if your story is different and if you don't feel the same way I do. Our experiences shape us. Our perspectives of those experiences shape us. We grow and we change and we become different people and that's okay. It's also okay to look at your life and feel like maybe you have lost a little bit of yourself. And maybe if we all share our stories together, we can pick up our little pieces and find each other again together.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Dear Baby Blossom: Happy 1st Birthday

Dear Baby Blossom,

I cannot believe you are one year old. It seems just yesterday that I was in the hospital laboring for 20 hours with you... Just yesterday you were small enough to sleep on my chest... You were in newborn clothes that hung off you because they were too big... You were marathon nursing... You were sleeping most of the day and awake most of the night... You had a head full of dark brown hair and I thought for sure you were gonna be a brunette like me (ummm... As it stands right now I was wrong about that)...  You were brand new to this big wide world... And your daddy and I were more than a little overwhelmed and often felt like we had no idea what we were doing (sometimes we still feel that way)....

Now you are walking, signing more, waving hello, saying mama and dada, and being opinionated. You are laughing and playing and endlessly following the Ted cat around. You are eating blueberries. You love blueberries. You are so much closer to a toddler than a newborn. 

I gotta be honest, Baby Blossom, I love this stage with you. Don't get me wrong, I loved the newborn stage too and sometimes I do in fact miss the squishiness of the newborn stage. But I love watching you grow into this amazing little person with your own ideas and thoughts and opinions (and boy do you have some opinions, my future leader of a child). 

You are the best thing that has come out of my life. I often wonder what I did with myself before you were born. I cherish every minute with you. Even the minutes where you are making me crazy and yes, precious one, there are most certainly minutes that you make me crazy. But I would never give even one of those crazy minutes up. For a crazy minute with you is a million times better than a calm, carefree minute without you in my life. 

I love you absolutely more than you could possibly know. You are my most beautiful, treasured blessing and I can never thank God enough for charging me with you. 

Happy Birthday, my sweet girl!


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Baby Road Trips

Soooo... Interesting title, eh?? 😉

For those of you who know me in real life, you know that there is nothing I hate more than a road trip. By golly, I loathe them. Get me on a plane and get me there A... S... A... P!!!! BUT in honor of our Thanksgiving road trip, I thought I would share my previous experience with road tripping with Baby Blossom

Well awhile back I took a road trip with Baby Blossom. Not a long trip mind you. A short one. Only about 3 hours (although that was PLENTY long enough for me)! Really the max amount of time that I like to spend in a car at any given moment generally tops out at an hour. So 3 hours was a pretty bold move for me... And even more so because I was flying solo with Baby Blossom. No hubby... Just us, a bag of toys and our current Kindermusik album. Two girls "enjoying" the open road... How did we survive you ask? So glad you did!

I have very little advice for taking babies on road trips. My advice is DON'T DO IT!  But if you have to then this one tip is key... TIMING IS VITAL! Sleep time = when you should drive. But be careful. This can be tricky, we discovered the hard way. For us sleep time has to be napping, not bed time. SO we have to begin road trips when Baby Blossom would be going down for a nap which translates to late morning or afternoon. Driving at bedtime for us resulted in a LOT of tears and screaming and begging and pleading and ultimately exhaustion on everyone's part. Although, I know some people who do very well driving during bed time. 

Next trick, when I'm flying solo, I fill the front seat with toys and if Baby Blossom chooses not to sleep then we play a rousing game of take one, pass one. This means I give her one toy and wait for her to drop, throw or otherwise lose said toy and then I pass her a new one. Only one though. That's important, we only get one toy at a time. And we save the best toys for emergencies. I always save the pacis for when she is about to have a stage 5 meltdown because that girl LOVES a paci. She doesn't like to use it in the traditional way... No, no because she doesn't follow rules. Rules follow her. And so she surely believes that pacis do in fact make the best teethers and THAT my friend is how you use a paci. 

During road trips, we additionally employ the help of baby jams. Baby jams can be a wide variety of things, but we strive for quantity here not quality. You want to have a plethora of baby jams to choose from in case some don't work. I usually load up the iPhone as well as having a back up CD in the CD player of the car. To get your baby jam idea juices following, I'll tell you a little about Baby Blossoms preferences. When Baby Blossom was a newborn our baby jams included the Beatles as sung by Glee (had to be Glee too) and Daddy's version of Simple Gifts. Now that she's almost 9 months, she shows a preference for Frozen, Kindermusik, and B.O.B. If B.O.B isn't available then she will usually tolerate any number of rapped nursery rhymes as a replacement. 

So let's recap of how to road trip with baby:
1. Drive during sleep time. 
2. Initiate the take one, pass one toy game. 
3. Employ baby jams. 

In the event that none of the aforementioned things work, my only advice to you is to keep a stack of baby mum mums handy and attempt to bribe with food. 😉

Good luck and happy road tripping!


Saturday, November 1, 2014

What would you do...

If you were a breast feeding mama and you just got out of the shower only to realize that you are totally out of disposable nursing pads. I mean TOTALLY out… Like none hidden anywhere including in the depths of the diaper bag which honestly is a black hole for all kinds of things you "might" need at some point or another…

Well first you would never fear right because you are a smart mama and also use reusable nursing pads! Oh, except those are currently wet in the washer... Oops...

So I guess you have the option of sticking the ones that you had on prior to showering back on. Problem with that is that you went to the gym in those and so they are super sweaty and smelly and oh so not helpful. Dear husband has offered to run out and get you some more, but it's like 10:30pm now and you feel bad about sending him off on some fool's errand because it's so late and you know he's super pooped…

So what do you do?

Dang it! You are resourceful! You are a problem solver! You are a mom! You will figure this out right now!

You wrack your brain and nothing comes to mind… You start to think that you'll just have to risk waking up in a puddle of breast milk in the middle of the night. BUT THEN you see a dirty pair of socks on the floor! Ah ha! Lightbulb! You will stuff your bra with socks... You.. Will... Stuff.. Your bra with socks… … …. … 

And here you are, a 28 year old woman, stuffing your bra with socks… The irony of this situation is most certainly not lost on you, dear woman…



Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I Love You

Seems like so many of my posts are related to time and milestones… So this post will be as well…

One year ago I officially 'revealed' this blog. It was hard to do, but I'm so glad I did. Although I've neglected this blog more than I intended to after Baby Blossom was born, I can't tell you how much it has helped me to document our story which was, as I'm sure you know by now, full of ups and downs.

When I first 'revealed' the blog to the world of social media, the support I got was phenomenal. So many women with similar stories came to me and I loved having the opportunity to pour out love to them and their babies. I love this graphic from Pregnancy After Miscarriage & Pregnancy Loss. It is a reminder of how many women have lost and that we aren't in this alone.

My heart beats for those women who have experienced tragedy while walking along the path toward motherhood. I initially thought that perhaps today in light of it being Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day I would publish my post of things to not say to someone who has experienced pregnancy loss. But as candles all over are being lit in remembrance of these precious lives, to publish the aforementioned post seemed a little too negative. For today, I want to tell a story of encouragement and light. I want to tell of a story of someone who helped me immensely along the path to healing after I lost Sweet Pea.

SO this is the story of my dad, commonly known as Poppy.

Telling family that you miscarried after you just told them that you are pregnant is excruciating. Different members respond differently. Some don't respond at all. Some fly to your side. Some cry with you and remind you that you didn't do anything wrong and that there's nothing wrong with you just because this horrible thing happened. Some don't understand because why should you cry over someone you never met. And some family members say just the right thing at just the right time, whether they knew it was the right thing at the right time or not.

A few days after my D&C, I got a text from my Poppy. And it said "I'm going to tell you everyday that I love you until you stop crying and start smiling again." A few days after my D&C, I was still a total wreck… well quite honestly a few months after my D&C, I was still a total wreck. I cried. I cried a lot. I never resisted the urge to cry because I knew that I needed to grieve my baby fully, with everything inside me and so when I knew I was going to cry I just gave into it and I wailed.

But one day I eventually did stop crying. One day I eventually began to smile again. And every day in-between those 2 events, I got a text from my Poppy saying "I love you."

The greatest gift we can give someone is our love. And sometimes the second greatest gift is the reminder that you are so supremely loved even in the midst of all the brokenness and the heartache and tears. I know that I needed that constant reminder during my dark time.

So thank you to my Poppy for reminding me everyday that you loved me until I stopped crying and started smiling again. I love you too.

And that sweet friends, is a perfect example of the right thing to say to someone who has experienced a pregnancy loss.