bump day

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when i look down to see her chubby belly pressed against mine, her rolls alongside mine, it’s nice to know we’re in this together.

today it is occurring to me that these pictures of my motherfigure are so much easier for me to cherish and revere than the figure i see staring back at me in the mirror. is it the mirror then? am i so conditioned to stand in front of that piece of glass and criticize what i see held inside its frame? i found it easy to love my pregnant figure in that mirror. i find it easy to love my postpartum body in these photos.

is it in my mind then and not the mirror at all? the mirror simply makes me confront what is going on in my brain. it makes me take on the years of conditioning and societal pressures of what a female body is supposed to look like. these pictures put a little more distance between my thoughts and my body. the camera objectifies where my mirror subjectifies.

can loving my body and not loving the way it looks coexist or must they exist in a mutually exclusive way?

these fourth trimester pictures have helped me peel back those layers and let those feelings rest close together, similar to the image of my daughter and i above. i am not exactly thrilled with all the sagging and loose skin that is around these days but i love it just the same. maybe i’ll be motivated to get more in shape at a later date. who knows? but currently i love it and don’t like it in the same time.

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this is my postpartum

this is
week five of
my postpartum

the winds of change blow fierce around this household and i can’t start with pictures this week because i need to blurt first.

this past week my baby turned a month old. my daughter started kindergarten. my husband trained for a new position at work. i accepted a position with a midwifery practice for childbirth education and to be a referred doula. i switched to almond milk. {jk on that last one}

my head is spinning with all the new that our household is undertaking right now. as mike and i were talking over the weekend about the long hours and grand changes, i confided that i was surprised by how we were “actually not sucking at everything.”  i used those words. my husband sometimes gets my crudest, least eloquent self. lucky dog.

so now i’m questioning my abilities and wondering if i’ll be able to fulfill all the new roles in my life. and then i’m scolding myself for not having confidence and being happy with myself for being bold and courageous with my life. my mind is an exciting place to be at times.

so yeah. that’s what these pictures are about. they are about the new. they are about change. they are about finding balance and time for the necessary in the midst of it all.

we’ll start with our last day of summer break and sending my darling darla off to the world of public education:

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^^^ pool playdate the last day of summer which brings us to… ^^^

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^^^ kindergarten readiness assessment morning ^^^

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 ^^^ does she look ready? ^^^

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^^^ and suddenly i’m the lady packing school lunches ^^^

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^^^ and taking first day of school pictures outside our house ^^^

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^^^ and walking her to school ^^^

and just like that she walked into school and became a kindergartener.  and i walked away with a lot fewer tears than i expected from myself {must mean my placenta pills are working} and… i might have waited until i was out of sight of the school to do a dance down the alleyway.

that is not to say that sending her to school was easy for me. if you’ve been following this blog you know that i had hopes of unschooling and/or homeschooling but this is where we ended up. and i’m thankful. this was the right choice for darla. this was the right choice for my family for this point in time.

so now darla spends her days at school and i spend my days…

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^^^ staring at a beautiful baby. ^^^

and multitasking in a multitude of ways. such as…
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^^^ being a human mattress while trying to write ^^^

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^^^ propping up my baby in piles of laundry ^^^

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^^^ getting yelled at while babywearing and house maintaining. {not really. that’s a yawn.} ^^^

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^^^ and reviewing my lactation materials while lactating ^^^

speaking of lactating, how is breastfeeding going, elaine?

well, i’m so glad you asked. based on my daughter’s weight gain i’d say things are going super. i hope you all like fat babies cause i’m serving them up chunky over here.

but weight gain is not the only thing that matters when it comes to a breastfeeding relationship. i also assess that we’re both pretty satisfied with staying close and attached throughout the day. feeding my baby is still what consumes the majority of my time day and night. and i’m feeling pretty good about that. babywearing allows me to keep her close at all times and to easily nurse her while we’re out and about. i think it’s been easier to accept this second time around that my main job at this stage is sitting down and feeding my babe. that was hard for me the first time, especially in the beginning. i credit my breastfeeding support group with helping me to come around and allow myself to simply relax and rest with my baby while i fed and grew another human. and there are times when it’s still not easy to take a seat and focus on feeding my little girl.

but sometimes…when i’m seated in the right spot…

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i’ll take a look and catch a glimpse of myself nurturing my baby and i’m reminded of how extraordinary this relationship is. and i let all the other to do’s go. and i just sit and feed the baby. and i feel beautiful. i feel maternal.  i feel thankful. i feel accomplished.

and it’s then that i don’t question my abilities and i don’t wonder if i’ll be able to fill my roles. in those moments there is no scolding. and i am happy with myself. in those moments i feel bold and courageous.

it is in those moments that i feel balanced and have found the necessary in the midst of it all.

bump day

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this body grew those perfectly chunky legs and those amazing toes.

maybe i have something to learn from my belly. my belly stretched and made room for new life. it gave up some of its vanity and gave itself over to growing something special. it lost some of its youthfulness and passed it on, sacrificing it to a new generation.

see, i’ve been feeling stretched and strained in these weeks of fresh motherhood. and i have to remember the things my belly taught me. i’m going to stretch for what seems like a very long time, getting filled up with amazing life, all the while wondering if i can take much more. i’m going to love the stretch and be overwhelmed by it at the same time.

and then one day it will be gone. my girls will be gone from my side. by then my whole body may sag at the loss of the life that has passed through me and beyond me.

but my belly will remind me that once all that life was contained inside me. and that makes me feel infinite. 

this is my postpartum

this is
week four of
my postpartum
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i am too tired and busy to put words together coherently now. if this makes no sense it’s because the children have taken over. week 4 was my first week with both my girls under my care for the majority of their hours. husbeau is working 12 hour days, 6 days a week, which means i’m working that too. he and i shared an extended hug the other night and i told him i couldn’t tell if we were still hugging or if we’d just fallen asleep standing up leaning into one another…

this is the story of most of the parenting world, right? stretched to their limits but somehow digging down deep and coming up with more to give.

so yes, darla was back for week four of daphne’s life which means we were back to being on the go and i have once again been relegated to the holder of found items on walks. it’s worked out pretty well but leaves me wondering how this will all shake out when dap jo becomes more than just an accessory to darla’s life. or rather an accessory to me…which leads me to how we got through this first week of single-parenting a 5 1/2 year age gap….

babywearing!

i know, babywearing is one of those things that crunchy communities talk and talk about leaving the rest of you feeling bored out of your mind. but i couldn’t be more thankful that i somehow stumbled upon babywearing in darla’s first weeks. you see, strollers suck for city life. and i have never, ever been strong enough to carry a baby in a car seat carrier. i don’t know how all these tiny women are doing that! being able to wear daphne is the only way i could fathom being able to keep my active older, well, active.

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it allows for naps at the park snuggled with ma and discrete nursing

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which then allows for journaling and listmaking.

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 it allows me to tackle what chores i can.

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 it allows me to keep the little one close for baby gazing.

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more specifically, chunky baby buns gazing. so squishy!

so, maybe you’re wondering how i’m holding up…

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^^^ there you go! ^^^

overall i’m doing great. pretty good. really ok. not that bad. breathing, i think.

ha. i kid. things are what they are and what i have to say is that i’m enjoying this time in life. it’s not exactly great. it’s not exactly bad. it is what it is and that’s somewhere in between. what i want to remember is how overcome i am on a daily basis for how beautiful and filled with love my life is now.  i don’t know, i guess that’s what i see in that woman’s face up there.

when i get extra tired one of my eyes always sags more than the other. we’re sleeping in good chunks but have reached the point in time when too many nights of broken rest are the same as not getting rest at all. so i’m tired and stretched but i still find a raw beauty in all that.

plus my hair is still most excellent. i’m saving up all my postpartum emotions for when my hair starts falling out. waaahhh.

*wish us luck with week five which sees us prepping to send darla to kindergarten. verklempt!*

bump day

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2 weeks postpartum. is that all?

it seems like daphne has been here forever and always and the days are going by slowly. again, i hope this is a sign that we’re doing this right and taking our time. if we just take a look back a few weeks ago to the difference in this form, i’m just in awe of this transformation as my body slowly slips back to a semblance of its former self.  things are still tender and i’m just now feeling like i’m picking up speed.

now that things are sifting and settling, i’m really happy i did the bump day posts. i love going back to read over them and seeing the transformation from week to week. my prediction is that not a whole lot will change through this fourth and final trimester. there may not be much more transformation to document. who knows? maybe that’s the point. maybe the point is to put it out there that moving swiftly ahead to any other physical form is just not how this goes for most of us mothers.

maybe the transformation i’m capturing is how much more OK i am with that this time around.

because, i’m really OK with it this time around.

aaand while i’m getting all nostalgic i wanna just throw in a link for this bump day post again because i really, really loved doing that post.

hi all, please give us your vote for the week by clicking the vote for us icon below. thanks for your help!

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this is my postpartum

this is
week two of
my postpartum

we can start off by saying that daphne did lots of things in her second week of life that would be deemed rude if she were an adult.

like…

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^^^ yawn in my face ^^^

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^^^ and fall asleep on my chest. ^^^

and puke on me. but she’s not an adult. she’s a baby so all these things were frickin’ adorable! i also got to witness some pretty loving moments from my eldest towards her sis.

like…

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^^^ playing peek-a-boo ^^^

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^^^ morning time snuggles ^^^

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^^^ taking care of ‘le diaper’ situation ^^^

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^^^ and providing moral support during daphne’s first doctor’s visit ^^^

yes, daphne had her first real looksie done by a pediatrician. it was our first outing. how crazy it is to think about the difference between the beginnings of life for my two girls. i definitely recommend a slower paced start like we’ve had with daphne. it’s weirdly refreshing to realize you haven’t been out and about for a week but tucked away and snuggling your loves instead.

and as for me, my week was filled with milestones as well, and some sweet self-care.

like…

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^^^ …prepping myself a meal. i didn’t cook it but it was the first i had assembled on a plate for myself in at least 10 days! ^^^

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^^^ …and babywearing ^^^

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^^^ …and wearing real clothes and missing the way they used to fit over my big belly. ^^^

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^^^ reading ^^^

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^^^ writing out dreams and schemes ^^^

but the most important thing i did for the second week of my babe’s life was to work on our breastfeeding relationship. dap jo has been a pretty good little nurser, but we’ve not been without challenges. even with more knowledge, prior experience and ample resources, getting this relationship off to a good start has been a lot of work. however, i’m so thankful for the extra tools i have this time around. i feel passion building inside of me again to put some CLC skills to use alongside other women as they forge these sweet relationships with their little ones.

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^^^ so i kept my lactation materials close. and my family kept me nourished and supplied with snacks and beverages within arm’s reach. self care is an important part of baby care! ^^^

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^^^ we stayed close, snuggled up for most of the week ^^^

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^^^ i spent the week rotating through many different breastfeeding positions. we improved our skills together as a team. ^^^

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^^^ and thus far we’ve had a pretty pleasant experience leaving me with time enough to stare at a pretty little nursling head and send wishes to the cosmos that her hairs will stay all shades of red ^^^

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^^^ …and enjoy her blissed out, post feed slumbers. ^^^

and i have to say that i realize how lucky i am to have had the opportunity to spend these first two weeks off my feet with my brand-spanking-new baby. i’m thoroughly grateful for the care of my family and to the universe to receive that gift. i didn’t accept it the first time around and now i know what i missed out on with my first girly. having that care and taking this time gave me the energy i needed to get our breastfeeding relationship off to a great start. i believe this experience will ripple forward through our lives bringing positive things our way.

wish us well with week 3!