You will get there, Mama

you will get there

I wanted my first post to be about my birth, but that is taking a little bit longer to put my thoughts together, Not to mention my editor (Mrs. Tague) is a busy woman teaching 11th grade English and I know she is grading about 200 papers a week. I will share my birth story and I can gladly wait, because I want it to be a perfect description of just how beautiful and not so beautiful my birth really was.

I suppose I’m just going to start putting myself out there, in the sense of where I’m struggling and also doing really well. I love talking about this mom thing that about half the population is currently trying to figure out. Honestly though, I don’t think mothering or parenting is something that you ever completely figure out. I will proudly share that I have my baby on a great schedule and he’s finally giving me 4-5 hours of sleep at night. That is a true accomplishment,no really it is.

With a sleep schedule in order, I still however find something everyday in my life that is not in order. Here I sit still mindfully frustrated that I weigh less than I did before I entered pregnant life, and yet I still don’t like my body. I should mention that I used to prance around in a swimsuit all the time between the lovely ages of 16-19, but I have no intention of doing that now! I don’t even want to wear a swimsuit, I just wanna wear a high waisted skirt and not worry if it will fit my squishy belly. My mind is all over the place and here is why: The beginning of every week I tell myself I’m going to eat better and although I’m dying for that flat tummy, I also wanted ice cream last night when my husband told me it was on sale. I excitedly told him to send me a picture of what was on sale, he sends the picture and I, sure enough get angry and tell him, “Ahhhh! I don’t need to eat this”. Why was I mad at him? Partially because there was so many choices and partially because he told me ice cream was on sale. Not to mention my husband left the ironing board out and in my way in our room and I passive aggressively took it and Set it right in front of his desk (Yes I’m that girl). I was mad, not just because I wanted the ice cream and I know I shouldn’t eat it, or because the ironing board was in my way, but because so many things are in disarray in my life and I’m trying to calmly as possible keep it together. I was so annoyed that I had to find something that I could control. I laid EJ down to sleep and then, like a mad-woman, I made my bed as if I was expecting an A+ in bed-making skills. I looked at my bed took a deep breath in and then out and two seconds later I got in it to sleep. I need to have control of something. This is what my mind is constantly thinking, “What can I control?”

Complaining about life and the things it throws at me has put me in an almost constant state of frustration, and pity and I hate it. I know a lot of postpartum mamas’ struggle with this, I know I’m not alone. I wonder if I will get to a point where I’m not finding myself always so frustrated or indecisive. Maybe the only thing I have control of right now in my life is making sure my bed is made and my baby stays on schedule, and maybe I don’t quite fit into the high waisted skirt that I’ve been dying to wear since I bought it and then found I was pregnant, but I’ll get there. And I don’t need the ice cream, but I’m going to eat it, because I’m a mom and my husband bought it anyway and tells me my body is beautiful. And maybe my body is beautiful, shoot I’m 20 weeks out from having a baby and I feel great. So for now, all is well. I don’t need a perfect life, or perfect body just a good life and a healthy body. I need a life where I rely on God for my joy and not a single thing of this world. I need a life knowing I’m doing a good job raising my son and teaching him how to be a good and loving person. I need a life where I don’t push people away. And most importantly, I need a life where I love myself and every stage it brings me through. Maybe I am there, maybe the moments, good and not so good, are where I am suppose to be.

20 weeks pregnant, 40 weeks pregnant, 20 weeks postpartum (with cute baby)
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I gave birth too

I can not always put into words my thoughts on cesarian birth, but I will try for the sake of women who continually beat themselves up over it. Or for the woman who are told that they “did not give birth” or perhaps for the woman who were not given an option, but more so a timeline.

Whether you fought for a natural birth or not, a belly birth will still physically and mentally break you down. The healing process is hard. The reminder is prominent, but you and I, we gave birth too.

The birth I wanted but could not have, it feels fresh almost as if it was yesterday. We were stuck, both of us, Mama and baby, eager to meet, and only given the opportunity to do so by belly birth.

In the moment, as I was leaving my natural birth and being rushed to my surgery birth, I played the day over and over in my mind “what did I do wrong, why has my body failed me” it was not until I heard him cry that I knew my baby was born. It was not until that moment, that I let go of my “plan A” and welcomed “plan unknown”. It was not until the silence broke and cries echoed in the operating room, that I realized I gave birth too.

11 months later and I still see it. Bright against my pale skin. Quite a perfect line. Not as smooth as I’d hope. Sometimes painful. But it is a place on my body where my baby came through to meet me. It is my reminder, almost like a tattoo, a much needed tattoo; That without modern medicine, I would not be here and my baby would not be here.

11 months later my body still squishy and healing, it gave me hope. It gave me joy. It gave me true love. It may have not allowed me to birth naturally, but it allowed me to create life, carry life, and nourish life.

C-section Mama, just so you know you gave birth too.

Stages

I’ve been warned. I’ve been told over and over “Just wait till he does this” and another one I often hear “Wow he’s already so big and almost a year”. Oh my word, Yes I know! Trust me, while I try to enjoy and be in the moment with each new stage, now that he’s almost 11 months old, I feel like:

I’m watching a show series but it’s on fast-toward and there is absolutely nothing I can do to stop it, but just try to grasp each and every single thing, without missing anything but while also getting up for popcorn for 8 hours during the series and missing a whole season. Does that make sense? This is hard. This is so much harder than anyone makes it out to be.

So in this stage of my baby’s life I’m just trying to let this boy be who he wants to be. I’m letting him explore more and experience more. I’m letting him stay up past his bedtime (only on weekends) and I’m watching him so closely, because I don’t want to miss anything, but also because he’s always getting into something. I’m letting him be an ‘almost’ one year old. As much as I want him to grow up healthy, strong, and as much as I desire for him to be super smart and loving and on fire for God, I want to keep him little too. I’m holding on to him longer at night after he has longed finished nursing and fallen asleep and I rock him and admire all his perfect baby features. I hope to always be able to soothe and comfort him even when over time my methods are different.

For now I am clinging to these baby moments so closely and praying that time would stand still. When the baby moments do fade, with each new year, I hope he knows just how much I love him and would do anything for him. I hope he sees that I’m here with each new stage, learning and adjusting just as he is and doing my best to let him grow.

Thank God for formula

Probably weren’t expecting that statement from this pro breastfeeding mama, but you should know I am a pro formula feeding mama too and more than anything I’m a “not really worried about what you think mama” (but only a little because I at least want you to think I’m doing my best). While I will advocate, educate, and fight for normality when it comes to breastfeeding, you need to know I will do the same for formula feeding and here is why: Formula nourished my baby’s body when I was knocked out, fevered and barely able to move a few days after he was born. Formula, kept my baby fed when I was too tired to wake up 30 minutes before he was suppose to wake up and pump for him. Formula kept my baby fed when I wasn’t able to because I had a stomach virus and was not able to even keep down an ounce of water and my milk almost dried up. Formula kept my baby fed when I wasn’t able to pump enough milk for all of my baby’s feedings at daycare because of stress. Formula kept my baby happy and full when I forgot to grab my breastmilk from a family member’s house. Formula keeps babies fed. Formula helps babies grow just as breastmilk does. Breastmilk makes babies happy, just as formula does.

I think that sometimes people may get the wrong idea of why I decided to breastfeed in the first place, while yes I no doubt think it’s beneficial for my baby as far as his immunity and overall healthy. I don’t do it because I think I’m better than anyone else, I do it because I love that my body not only nourished and protected my baby for 10 months, but it has nourished his body for 10 months and still continues to. I’ve always been taught (from the world) that my breasts were sexual and nothing more than a part of me that was only good for one thing. When I had a baby and I realized that they could nourish my child, I became so fascinated of what my body was capable of. I made a commitment to breastfeed/pump for my baby for as long as he wanted (within reason) and so far I’m keeping my commitments and every once in a while accepting help from formula. I’m not ashamed to admit I have used and still use formula when needed and I don’t want other moms who breastfeed to feel this way either. Some people can throw so much advice at you it’s almost sickening. “Did you drink enough water? Are you taking your vitamins? You should power pump! Just keep trying and whatever you do, DON’T GIVE UP” But why? Why can’t I give up, if it means I don’t lose my mind and hate myself over it? Can people just calm down with the Pro-breastfeeding groups. While yes they can be helpful, I know they have got to be annoying and frustrating for the woman who decide to stop breastfeeding or never breastfeed to begin with. These moms will rage at you to practically die before you formula feed and I just don’t see a need for it. We should feel comfortable feeding our baby what is best and what will keep them from going hungry, am I right? If you need a break, or if you’re just not feeling the breastfeeding route, go with a good formula. I promise I won’t judge you. Ever.

I just wanted to come out and say this, because my breastfeeding journey has in no way been perfect. I know at times I can make it seem that way, but it really can be difficult. EJ rarely breastfed when he was first born and I pumped almost all his bottles up until he was 8 weeks when he finally learned to latch. I was on the verge Of quitting and feeling so guilty, when one day he just latched perfectly. When I look back on those first 8 weeks of his life, I wish I would of enjoyed him more and not worried so much about what I was going to feed him. He took both breastmilk and formula so well that it would of never mattered what I fed him more of.

Just remember, while yes breastfeeding is so great and beneficial, so if formula feeding. I am aware that many formulas contain sugar as one of the first ingredients and that is why it’s important to pick a healthy and well balanced formula, do your research! Keep in mind if you plan to breastfeed, you as your child’s main source of nutrition, will also have to eat a well balanced diet, drink tons of water, and sometimes even eat a limited diet as far as dairy and sweets. Formula is so important and I’m so thankful that it was there not only when I needed a break but also when I was in a predicament. In my book if you feed your baby, you’re a good mom. We gotta stop shaming Moms for ridiculous reason like switching to formula or never even trying it breastfeed. Moms get enough slack from their own minds and own judgement on themselves that they just need support and understanding from those closest to them, oh and Caffeine, we need caffeine too.

S.A.G.M. In the making

Do you ever just over think the process for something you desire? Like what it takes to get one thing done, what it takes to receive revelation of something, what it takes for you to become who you are supposed to be. What it takes for you to create something for good and that has purpose not just for yourself, but for others to benefit from. This is me right now. Thinking and dwelling in a season of patience.

I’m in the process of creating goodness and promoting acceptance. I’m in the process of learning well tempered patience. The thing is, I have so many ideas; great ideas, inspiring ideas, yet I’m sitting on them and very comfortably I might add. You see, I much rather be comfortable and prepared, then uncomfortable and quick to fall short. Much of what I’m desiring and wanting to deliver is going to take a lot of time and effort. It’s going to take creativity and ideas outside of my own minds opinions and ideas. It’s going to take a lot from me mentally and physically and I am already giving up so much of myself in these aspects, lovingly and happily due to being a wife and a mother. So patience is my goal. The perfect time is drawing up closer and I’m preparing for the first step: Persistent prayer and deep Research.

More than anything I am struggling with presentation, relevance and fearing my good intentions will not be relatable or welcomed. I’m afraid of being just another “thinks she knows it all” or just another “who does she think she is wanna be”. Hence the research and hence the praying. I know this is so very surface and probably super annoying to read over. I just can’t be open until I’m sure. I can’t let my innermost desire out just for me to take it back, hide it away and then never pick it back up again because I become the girl who tried and failed or tried and wasn’t good enough or tried and wasn’t ready. Does this make sense? Probably not to you, but it doesn’t need to, however if I’m inspiring you to go after what you’ve always wanted, then seriously go for it! I know if I listen to God and let His spirit lead me, the perfect timing will come and I will be ready. Readiness comes with preparedness. Once God sees fit that I am ready he will prepare me for what’s ahead and I’ll take it head on.

Writing this makes me almost too nervous to even bring up the idea that something is brewing or that something is being shifted. I know it to be true that God is opening doors even as I wait and feel like nothing is happening. Even as I wait and feel like I’m not going to be able to get back to myself. Reality is, I’m brand new; as in much of who I was, became who I am now. When I had a baby, much of what I believed, thought I knew and never knew changed a lot. I believe so much more, I know so much more and I can truly say I’ve learned a lot. A year ago I thought I saw a need, but now I see a deeper need. A need to be a reminder to some of the most important, yet unnoticed people in the world. A need to prove that there is many forms of “good” and not many who see the good that they truly are.

Thanks for reading this super uninformative post about nothing. Preparing to do great things, but if not even that, at least I’ll still be a good mom with a dead phone.

Motherhood

Is it okay for me to say I love motherhood so much and I could never turn back from it, but still at times, feel stressed out because of it? I’m gonna just answer that for myself and say, yes. If you disagree, you can stop right…. Here!

In the last 10 months, my understanding of new motherhood has become; I don’t always need advice, just sometimes a listening ear. I just need to feel what I am feeling and not be told that it’s wrong. And maybe I do need a break every once in a while, but it does not mean I love my baby any less. I need love, I need to care for my self without feeling selfish. Mothers need support even when you don’t understand them. They need to be content in their decision making and without opinions like knives to the heart. We don’t always know what we’re doing, but we do always what we think is best.

Let us be mothers. New mothers and old mothers. Mothers who are still trying to get it together and mothers who seem like they have it together, but probably don’t. Let us feel good without judgement when we put on our favorite piece of clothing (even if it doesn’t fit so well). Let us buy something for ourselves and not feel guilty. Tell us we’re doing a good job. Tell us it’s okay to need a break. Give us time to reply to your text. Give us time to scroll on social media and post if we feel like it. Give us credit for not being perfect, but for being honest.

Motherhood is so many ups and downs. When motherhood is new, It is pure, it is all we think we know and all we thought we knew. Give us time to grasp the role we now have. Give us time to learn on our own. Give us time to break and mend, because that is what makes good, sturdy, don’t take no crap mothers.

Dear Baby Boy

Dear Baby boy,

Can you do Mama a favor and promise me you will be a good human being. I know that this is not all up to you, but your reactions and actions through out life will guide you. I know you have to grow up, I know you have to form your own opinions and you will find things that you like and maybe even some things you love. You’re also going to find things in life that you hate, like bedtime and homework, and maybe even when I tell you no. Maybe someone will make you mad, maybe that someone will be me, but remember to be understanding. Be more.

Be gentle.

Be approachable.

Be watchful.

Watch me. Correct me. Be the person that says “Mama, but maybe someone was not kind to that person and maybe that’s why they are mean” Be my little shadow and reminder.

You see, I have to teach you to be this good human being, I have to teach you right from wrong. So right now, I’m working on this myself. I’m working on being kind and being a good mama to you. I promise to never tell you that you’re a bad person, but a good person who maybe made a bad decision. I’m going to be as kind, and as positive to you as possible, but you have to decide if you want to be a good person. You have to decide that even if you don’t like what I say or what dad says or what a kid at school says to you, that you’re still going to react in a way that shows that you’re kind and responsible.

You’re not always going to agree with what everyone says or what the majority says, but that’s okay, show them you’re a good person and show them respective debate. Be careful how you choose your words, but never let anyone make you feel less for what you believe or what you feel to be right.

Baby boy, remember to do your research and always back up your truths. Remember to not let the bullies get you down. Remember to say I love you. Remember to trust God, even when you feel like you can’t.

In my heart, I know that as your Mama, I can only teach you so much, I know that you’re going to have to deal with your own life experiences. I know you’re going to have to feel hurt or pain. I know that when you do something wrong, you’re not always going to want tell me the truth or tell me how you really feel, and I will hate that, but we will learn from it. I promise to do my best to understand you and my best to give you space, but not too much space. I promise I will always be there to talk our problems out and find ways to work together. I promise.

Just know I love you. Just remember to forgive me when I hurt your feelings because I told you no or because I made you mad. Remember that as much as I want to be your friend, first, I am your mom. I will never think any less of you when you make a mistake or do something wrong, but please learn from it.

I know this is a lot to ask of you. I know this will not be easy. Just know that I make mistakes, know that Dad is going to make mistakes, but know that we are just two people who love you, trying to be good people and trying to raise you to be good too.

Safe

I’m sharing this with permission from my sister, Mandi, who is so very strong. We are willing to give you a glance into what a personal tragedy, such as what happened today, does to a family for a lifetime.

*Trigger Warning* This post May be too sensitive for those who have personally gone through a shooting or hostile shooting situation.

Every school shooting I’ve ever heard about brings back horrible memories. The memory of coming home and finding out my sister’s school had a shooting and we had yet to hear word if my sister was safe. Coming home to my mom being gone for hours when she is always home. Coming home to all of my family panicking. Coming home to stress and worry.

Anticipating the worst. Impatiently waiting. Praying and crying. My family has firsthand been the family ridden with unwavering fear, stuck in what felt like a never ending time warp of the unknown, waiting and praying to hear if our loved one was safe. My mother. My poor mother, waiting hours, begging and yelling at police and school officials “WHERE IS MY KID, I WANT TO SEE MY KID”

How do you even process this while it’s all happening. I’ve come to the conclusion that you don’t, but you instead deal with it throughout your lifetime. We get flashbacks here and there. Bad dreams, what if thoughts. We process it as time goes on and we do our best to move forward. The sad part is, nothing is getting better. School shootings are happening more and more and the worst part is: the kids are the murders.

I remember cell phones were just starting to be a big deal in 2000…but it was a rare thing to see a middle school aged child with a cell phone 18 years ago. So as you can imagine, a shooting happening almost 20 years ago is so difficult to even process. We waited forever to hear that my sister was safe. When we did hear She was safe, we sobbed tears of joy and relief. She was As safe and as okay as anyone could be physically, but mentally she really wasn’t okay. I remember my heart was in my stomach all evening. It was the last day of school! I was so happy until I heard the news when I got home, how do you even explain this news to your children that their sister’s school had a shooting? The best you can. My dad did the absolute best he could to keep us calm and well informed without worrying us too much.

Once we finally heard my sister was safe and on her way home so much relief washed over me. I didn’t realize it then, but my sister has always been my best friend and I think it was that day I realized I could not live without her. When I saw her it was almost like she was a zombie. A person so full of life and usually always happy, had turned into a person showing turmoil and grief bluntly on her face. She sat on the couch, my dad flipped the TV off and she told us everything and as my dad cursed in the background out of anger and pure fear of what could of happened to my sister, my mom and I sat nearby my sister, crying in disbelief. Unfortunately Her innocent, joyful self was ripped from her that summer as she and her best friend Holly witnessed their favorite teacher get shot and fall to the ground. He sadly did not live, but his legacy lives on at Lake Worth Middle School. Barry Grunnow was a very loved teacher and to this day is still missed and remembered.

It was a hard summer for our family. Interview after interview. trail after trial. Statement after statement. No child should ever have to go through this. No child should have to ever watch as their classmate explains how he killed everyones favorite teacher, or have to replay the worst day of their life over and over.

To this day my sister still struggles with this tragedy. I know she does, yet surpassing all fears, she herself has an amazing life, full of beautiful stories and great times, and she has even become a teacher herself. She is wonderful at what she does, but her hurt is still there, our hurt as a family is still there when times like today happen, the memories come flooding back. So while my family is extremely blessed that my sister stayed out of harms way, we know all to well what the families and students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school are feeling. We understand the hurt, the stress, the waiting period, the court trials, the replays, the nightmares, the hell that you’re dragged through. What we don’t understand is the loss. The pain that the families who lost a loved one will feel, but we can only pray for comfort and justice. This whole story is not mine to tell, but now that I’m older I want to make it known that this is way too common and way to close to home.

I text my sister tonight because I unfortunately broke the news to her of the shooting, but wanted to make sure she was not watching the news coverage, as for her I’m sure it just brings back bad memories.

Me: “Hey hope you’re not watching the news and instead enjoying your evening with Ed. Love you!”

Her reply: “I’m not I can’t do that to myself”

I don’t blame her. I praise her openness and will to move forward, but her mental well being is so detrimental when it comes to this type of tragedy.

I’m so tired of living in a broken world. I’m so tired of worrying what could happen at any minute. I can not imagine the pain these parents are feeling and I’ve never contemplated a homeschool education for my child more than ever until now, all because I fear for his life at a place that should be safe. I know I can’t live in fear and I know I can’t protect my child forever and so I have to pray that our school system will stop shoving and pushing and only worrying about standardized testing and start pushing mental health awareness, counseling and security. For goodness sake, I swear I will be the mom at every PTA meeting, bullying awareness meeting, “keep our schools safe meeting” if I have to and I will teach my child to be the first to report bullying or violence.

Just please, Hold your babies extra tight each and every night and say a prayer of peace, comfort and privacy for those who are receiving news of their lost loved ones.

The real question we need to ask ourselves as parents is what will it take for us to help end violence in the schools we know is there, but act like we don’t see it? We can’t wait for more lives to be taken. We just can’t.