this is my postpartum

here we are, week 6 of postpartum life. weeeee!

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so, i decided not to give a run down of each individual picture anymore because i’m lazy and super busy. plus, you all create your own narratives anyway, right? it’s kinda like looking through old photo albums {ps. isn’t it sad that old photo albums is actually an oxymoron now?} and you flip over the pictures but are always disappointed by the vanilla descriptions on the back. they story in your head is always better…

this week wrapped up my official initial postpartum period and i think our lives and the pictures of it reflect that. we’re in full swing and that’s a good thing. from grandma visits, to darla’s first week of school, to hanging with teeny, tiny, best buddies, to website updates, to music festivals downtown…wruckers are simply in full swing. so i think this blog series is officially over with this post.

what can i say about these past 6 weeks? they’ve flown by but seem to have taken their time all in the same moment. life seems incredibly different and oh so rich and full. i feel really excited about the future with this family. i also feel a little scared of this winter…dang farmer’s almanac.

but let’s stay in the pleasant tense.

what i want to say is that i have felt extremely and wonderfully supported for these past 6 weeks. transitioning to a family of four  couldn’t have gone any better and i attribute that to the community that propped us up. i felt i had a well of energy to dip into because love and support came to us in so many directions.

this is what i want for families. it’s what i hope to create with my postpartum work and it’s what i hope to contribute to with friends and family and my communities in the future. it makes such a difference to have the support.

and i mentioned before that my lesson this time around was to let the help in. i welcomed it with open arms this time around, understanding that letting someone help me didn’t mean i couldn’t do this parenting thing on my own; it just meant that i didn’t have to.

so i just want to put a big thank you out there to everyone and to the universe and to most of all my parental units! they are the mvp all-stars of my postpartum and third trimester and life. my family is just so incredibly lucky.

that’s it.

i don’t know what i will have to write about now.

probably just butter. and babies. and big hair. and boots. and birth. always birth.

this is my postpartum

this is
week three of
my postpartum

the house. was. quiet.  the house. was. still. we were all alone. and so peaceful until…

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this past week saw daphne and i wrapped up as a duo by our lonesome during the daytime hours as miss darla was off at grandparent’s camp for the week. so, you might say this week gave me a taste of what most other women experience for their maternity leave. before i get into some of my coping techniques {that’s my fancy way of saying desserts} i wanna put down here a few thoughts about that.

the loneliness is what makes it hard. i am feeling so much for first time parents right now since being whisked back to the place where it is just you taking on the responsibility for a tiny, tiny human all alone for most of the hours of the day. that’s what early motherhood looks like for many women in this country. and it makes me sad because i do not believe we were meant to do this shut up in our houses, isolated in our bedrooms and on our couches. fortunately, i was lucky to have some visitors during day hours and we had visitors in the night-time as well to help me feel like i was still part of the world. but damn, it’s the loneliness that exhausted me more than anything.

overall, i did alright though with the abundant alone time. i was aware that this week alone with my second born was a gift as from here on out it’ll be me juggling two kiddos. but getting through the day without any helpers was a different ball game. it required more planning and more patience, more desserts and yes, incited more crying. see above ^^^

because when mama has to use the bathroom without a helper it means sometimes the baby is going to have to cry. fortunately, this is not as stressful the second time around. it is just an IS.

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i kept a stash of snacks easily accessible for when making meals was not an option

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i watched my favorite movie as a pick-me-up for long hours of cluster feeding

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and paired it with dessert

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i took my human mattress routine out onto the porch sometimes

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and we were all three glad when dad came home in the evenings

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on friday i took daphne to the city market and treated myself to a nice breakfast for making it through the week on our own. it was nice to be around so much bustling life after weeks of stillness in our own home.

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but the majority of my time was still spent snuggled up nursing this one

and that’s as it should be. and i don’t want to complain about an existence that consists of sitting around and cuddling a squishy, beauty baby all day but the reality is that after a while it gets really lonely and boring and hard to meet your own needs. and learning to deal with that is the growth of this phase of parenting. i had to consistently remind myself that this is a brief period of time. i had to remind myself that i don’t need to get other things done right now.  i needed to put those things on the back burner for one more week and focus on what i could get done at the moment. and i feel that worked so much better for me.  i was really focused on getting back into getting shit done when darla was born and i think i missed out on some really important bonding with her.

and i feel really lucky to have this second chance to focus on just my baby. i realize these are problems of privilege. not all moms get the opportunity to just sit around and focus on “momming” for three weeks.

so i’m grateful for the loneliness, and the boredom and the difficulty meeting my needs for that short time. and i hope i’ll keep these feelings with me so i’ll have tool sets for helping mothers who are couch bound and mothers that have to get back on their feet and back to responsibilities asap.

wish us well with week 4!

sisterhood and siblingness

a few of you have asked how darla is transitioning to sisterhood. a few of you have estimated based on this blog that things are going well for us in that department.

i estimated they were going well right along with you.

but then i overheard her making up a song to herself the other day that went exactly like this:
“i feel my power changing.
i feel my worries coming to get me.
i need to take a one way trip and never come back until the day is over.”

and i promptly sent mike a text stating maybe she isn’t taking it as well as we thought…

ruh-roh.

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and then, as her bedtime book she picked out this ^^^  at least i can find solace in the fact that she’s being proactive about this situation but i don’t really know if it’s *normal* to be anticipating fights with your week old baby sister.

what really makes me feel bad for her is this short list of items darla has come up with to play with, and we’ve had to confiscate, in the past few days: safety glass, bricks, dead moths. and if that was not enough she took to gluing glass on bricks and glued one piece of glass onto something i can only describe as half a set of brass knuckles that she dug up from the ground out back… i’m not even joking.

“how is this happening?” you ask. well, one adult has been working 12 hour days, one adult is sequestered to the upstairs bedroom and she’s faster than the third adult in the house. so there’s that.

the truth is everyone is doing their best around here. my mom has been with us for an extra week so i don’t feel like darla is really falling short on the attention-getting department. i know that it’s just the first time she’s had to share the attention in her own home. but we’ve had a few “everyone pays attention to the baby and not me” statements flying around at times. i have to remind myself that just as we are doing our best, so is she. it’s going to take a little while to re-gel with new family dynamics.

does anyone know approximately how long that takes???

a blessing the second time around is the knowledge that all this is temporary, extremely temporary. it won’t be this way forever. soon i will be back and active. soon darla will be in SCHOOL. soon my 2 week old will be a 6 week old and life will look nothing like it currently does. soon we will get a groove going as a family of four.

until then we’ll just do our best.

ps. this pic accurately sums up their sisterhood at this point…and possibly forever.

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this is my postpartum

since taking my postpartum doula training i’ve been contemplating how my own postpartum period would shake down. i’m going to be honest and state that i’ve had high hopes for this time period. this is probably my last baby and i feel i didn’t treat my postpartum with darla with the sacredness of which it was worthy. i did the typical first-time-mom thing of trying to prove that i would be good at motherhood by getting up on my feet and back in the game.

well, that didn’t work out so well.

so this time around we’re doing things differently. i’d like to document it for these next 6 weeks, maybe longer, in hopes that it’ll give others some insight i didn’t have for my first go-around. and if no one is in need of insight these posts will just be here for the internet to entomb for-ev-er.

get ready for some cute overload and postpartum tips:

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^^^ life! let’s do this ^^^

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^^^ herbal bath for momma and baby ^^^

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^^^ with big sis’ help ^^^

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^^^ i spend almost the entirety of the day reclining w/ some part of baby daphne all up in my face ^^^

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^^^ sometimes it’s toes ^^^

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^^^ sometimes it’s nose ^^^

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^^^ but more often those toes are peeking out from under a blanket during a nursing ^^^

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^^^ and everyone is tryingt to focus on rest and relaxation…except maybe darla ^^^

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^^^ she keeps herself busy helping to hold and snuggle daphne ^^^

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^^^ and helping the midwife with measurements ^^^

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^^^ and beautifying our space. “one is for you and one is for daphne, mom.” ^^^

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^^^ we’ve been lucky enough to have tons of help in the food department ^^^

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^^^ and both daphne and i are taking most of our meals in bed ^^^

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^^^ along with my placenta capsules! ^^^

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^^^ but most of my time is spent just staring at this lovely little human and snuggling up close…and changing her bountiful diapers. seriously, this girl can poop. ^^^

so, what else do i want to say about this first week of my second daughter’s life? i want to say that this experience feels right. i wanted to be kinder to myself this time around because i wanted to then in turn be able to be kinder to my family. i wanted to sit around and do nothing but mother my new little one. to be able to do that means i had to welcome in the help. i had to welcome in the care. this was something i was not good at the first time around. with darla we had a great network of friends but i think i was still trying to prove that i could do this on my own.

but doing it with help is sooooo much better!!! and we’ve been really blessed to have help coming from many, many directions. really an overabundance of help that leaves me feeling quite unworthy. but i’ll take it. and i hope i’ll let it grow within me and beside me and my family so that i can pass it on in the future.

so the theme of this first week of life was rest and recuperation. and that would be my advice for families desiring a nice start to their postpartum.  just stay in bed. just rest with your babies. gather your tribe around you and welcome in the help, welcome in the care {with appropriate boundaries, of course} and just be. everything else can wait.

and i have to send out thanks to everyone who has dropped off food, my parents, my doula, our midwives, neighbors, family near and far who have helped us out in this first week. and a thank you to my husband and first born. it’s really astounding how much love and generosity we’ve received from you all and i want to tell you you’ve made all the difference in the world to my family and my second experience with motherhood.

sincere thanks and love vibes. wish us well with week two!

weekending

this weekend i got out walked quite a bit as i had hoped. it felt good. as i walked i said a mantra to myself: “my body is strong. my baby is strong.” i must have said it over 100 times to myself this weekend.

on my final walk of the weekend on sunday a deer came into my path, as deer sometimes do, and that deer told me i would be having my baby last night.

well…

that deer was a gawd-damned liar.

i kid. i did see a dear deer and stopped to watch it forage for a while but it didn’t tell me anything. i internalized it as a sign that i would be meeting this person soon though. that all was as it should be.

and i made another decision this weekend. i know i said that bump day was officially put to rest but i’ve changed my mind. in celebration of these extra days i’ve had with this little one i’m declaring everyday bump day! yay! the internet needs to see more of my fleshy mid-region!!!!  see down there.

but i’ve decided i’m going to enjoy these days. and i’m going to document them. because i will most likely never experience pregnancy again and i need to bask in the generosity of these extra days.

i’m glad the universe held out for me until i came around to see that.

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our week

a
small
collection
of moments
from our week

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^^^ crafting on the porch ^^^

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^^^ pollacking on the porch ^^^

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^^^ unschooling the franklin park conservatory ^^^

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^^^ “mom, i want our house to look just like this jungle!” ^^^

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^^^ nature walk treasure ^^^

 

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^^^ and i continued to grow a human ^^^

if this were a face-to-face convo this would be the point where i would deflect and say “let’s talk about how you’re doing” because i’m just kinda all over the place. the week was beautiful and i’m glad i snapped these photos of our outings and life because i can’t pull my head out of my pregnant ass sometimes. it’s so hard to focus on anything else other than getting this baby here.

i know my whole family is feeling stretched right now.  i look around and i just see all these humans that are stretched so thin. but maybe i’m projecting and seeing that everywhere because it’s how i’m feeling. i tried to really take it easy this week. and it was nice to stay at home a lot. darla did her own things, mostly on the front porch. i spent a lot of time there too soaking in the air and sunshine. soaking in the feelings of just being. but i cannot escape this encumbered feeling. it makes everything feel so heavy.

maybe i’m on the brink here because i feel like all i want to do for this weekend is walk and walk and walk until i can’t anymore. it’s that very animalistic feeling taking over because i feel like this body has to do something. i feel like the tigress pacing back and forth before i slink off to find a place of solitude. please send me good vibes for finding some time to work these things out of my body and mind over these next few days.

*wishing you all the best for the things you wish to work out over the weekend, whatever they may be*

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our week

i don’t know where these days are going.

it’s friday and i got up early to write out a little about our week and i really can’t remember much that has happened save for a few big events. we spend much of our time here at home these days and i fear i’ve not really been able to stay present while here. my mind seems hyper-focused on chores and organization and cooking and errands.

and it all seems so ordinary.

and i feel like that has taken up a lot of my brain space this week: reconciling with the fact that i’m going to lead an ordinary life.

i, like most of my generation, was ingrained with the idea that i was a special little flower and that i was going to go out and do great things in the world. i have genuinely, 100% honestly always believed that I was going to lead some out-of-the-ordinary life. mainstream life was not good enough for me.

but here’s what i see when i step back from myself:  31 years old, lives in ohio, full-time mom, drives a pt cruiser, listens to neil sedaka live in concert on the 60s station….

it’s so ordinary. it’s so vanilla and blah. it doesn’t feel like this was the life i was supposed to lead. it’s not how my life played out in my head. and it certainly doesn’t seem to measure up to the adventurous lives of my peer group before i got myself saddled with motherhood. 

and feeling that way feels terrible.

then i sit down here to this space and i start to take a look back at the weeks and i’m once again glad that i’m recording life here because when i scroll back through the days and weeks and months i see a whole mess of ordinary, every day beauty.  it’s not over-the-top exciting and most of it is mundane but there is so much beauty shining through this ordinary life.

and i feel a bit foolish that it took me SO LONG in my life to see that. i feel like even from my earliest days i’ve wanted to live a life different and more exotic than the one i have. i’ve wanted to be a completely different person. i’ve even survived much of these last few years by telling myself that this is just a little pit stop in my life and that i’ll be zooming off to great adventures before long.

but that is not guaranteed to me. nothing is. and what a waste of an ordinary life it would be if i never ended up in this spot able to see how beautiful even the dullest of moments here on earth are.

so, this week i sat around on my porch a lot, watching my child cut grass with a pair of scissors {seriously}. i cooked some meals for my family. i took my girl to the pool. i ran errands. and i spent a whole lot of time gazing at a growing belly.

it was thoroughly ordinary. and it was beautiful.

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* sending you all the best for a super, super moon weekend *

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our week

a

small

collection

of moments

from our week…

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^^^ juiciest. i think i swallowed a watermelon seed. ^^^

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^^^ back to the berry patch ^^^

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^^^ where there’s fruit… ^^^

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^^^ there are fruit flies ^^^

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^^^ feather brain ^^^

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^^^ my spot at the pool ^^^

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^^^ we had A LOT of fairy action this week ^^^

weeks like this one make me grateful for the end of the week round up. it’s easy to forget just how lovely life is during your everyday hustle & bustle.  not much more to say here. just taking some quiet reflection time over this past week, listening to wind and chimes outside the open window, thankful for a great morning with my family.

*sending you patriotic vibes for the freedom of your heart and the liberty of your soul. i hope you get some cake in there somewhere along the way, too.*

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mothering the mother, parenting the parent.

resting

this may not look like much to you, but it was a game changer for me. that’s me putting my feet up and getting a little extra rest this past weekend.

my parents came into town and offered their love, care and support to my family. my husband and child showed me extra kindness. i benefitted from some extra back rubs, some help with chores, a couple extra pairs of hands to care for my girl. and a nap. A NAP! it has me thinking and feeling.

oh no! here I go again:

in my birth doula and postpartum doula training we studied the idea of mothering the mother and how important this is for an expecting or new mom. i feel if we get down to it, it could be applied to any mom at any stage of her motherhood and yeah, partners too. we all need a little mothering. and i’m not talking about “smothering.” i’m talking about the real work of mothering we do. the mothering that sits next to you and rubs your back while you talk about your fears. the mothering that fixes you a snack or helps you make your bed. the kind of mothering that reminds you that you can do hard things, that you are capable of great things. real mothering empowers you and reminds you that everything is going to be okay. real mothering reminds you that you are loved.

it’s a goddamned impossible world out there and this kind of mothering has always helped me face it with a little more courage.

when i receive even a small dose of this it helps me to give it away more freely. part of being a mother, in my experience, requires drawing from a bottomless emotional well to make sure the lives around you are adequately watered and flourish. it can sometimes be hard to find others that are willing to deposit back into your well, because maybe they are running low too.

i cannot stress how much kindness and caring can mean to a pregnant mother or new mom. the small things add up. a little bit of kindness goes a long way. we all know this applies to many relationships in life but my point of view right now is that of a full-time mom, giving her all away to one courageous and cute child outside the womb and giving her all physically to one growing within. even though i’ve not yet met this little person earthside, my body is still mothering this being 24/7. and that is exhausting. my 5 year-old at least gives me an 8hr break during most nights. after those two little peoples, most of my other relationships in life require some level of mothering. and i meet those demands with various levels of success depending on how much i feel i have to give away on any given day.

so, the extra “mothering” and “parenting” i received from my own parents and family this weekend has helped me hit the reset button a little bit. i’ve said it before and i know i’ll say it again: i am so lucky to have been born to parents and into a family that gets this idea of support and love as fundamental to the functioning as a family unit. i know how hard it can be for people who don’t receive that love and support from their families. i think my parents did a great job of backing off and letting me spread my wings as a young adult but then stepping back in to be by my side once i became a parent.  they did not do so in a smothering way, but in a way that tells me they will be there while i go through the hardships of middle-life. they did so in a way that tells me my life is still my own to figure out but they’ll be there to listen, to remind me i’m doing my best and that every once in a while i deserve a nap.

i hope i will remember their example when life calls me to step into the role of grandparent and tread the waters of parenting a parent. because i can feel right now how important and necessary that is during this phase of my own life. and i can feel the effects of their presence in our lives these past few months in the functioning of my own nuclear family. i can feel how we’re all seeming to pull together a little more and offer up a little more kindness. this during a time when it would be so easy to buckle under the stress of it all and lash out a little more often. but no. there’s a closeness and kindness that keeps building and makes me feel excited to bring a new life into the loving folds i feel growing here.

so, in closing, i just want to express gratitude for all the mothering of mothers that takes place out there, and all the parenting of parents. these are small things with great compounding effects on the world. at least, on my world.