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!

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on choosing and planning a homebirth

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i’ve started this post over several times. i keep changing my mind about what i want to say about this life experience.

and i look up at these pictures above and i’m reminded why a home birth was the right choice for us, for this birth:

family.

family-centered care.

what i want to say is that after this experience i feel how much home birth needs to be a viable option for families.

and i don’t want to argue about safety or statistics.  really, i think that’s all bullshit. BIG BULLSHIT. the way i see it, someone figured out long ago that if they kept us fighting about which way of birthing is “safest” then no real work would have to be done to make ALL types of birth safer for mothers and babies.

because as it stands, ALL types of birth in this country, and this world, could be made safer.

there is no right way to do this across the board. these decisions to birth are highly personal. it’s one of the reasons i do the work i do; to help parents achieve the births they desire for their experience and their family.

and now my simple wish is that the only standard across the board was the level of love and care i’ve received during this birth was available and experienced by all. and i don’t believe it has to be achieved only through home birth. i think it can be done through all types of birth. and i see glimmers of hope out there that maybe we’ll get there someday. but, yes, i believe home birth is part of that puzzle for piecing back together our maternal care system as a country.

because y’all, the gift my family has been given from this life experience is astounding. i’m forever changed from this. and i hope it will carry forth with me for all my years, taking the shape of more generous love and kindness for growing families.

please, universe, let me remember this for all of my days.

i look up at these pictures darla helped me draw a day before daphne entered our world and i’m thankful for the opportunity to include my daughter in the birth of her sister in the capacity that we were able to because of midwifery care and home birth. darla sometimes seems like more than a daughter to me. she’s my friend and a partner in some senses and she certainly was for this birth. although there were times that having her with me at appointments was a headache and i swear to the cosmos that she adds about 10 points to my blood pressure reading, i can’t imagine having done this without the high level of involvement on her part.

darla dictated to me how the birth would go down for these drawings: the baby would be born in the birth pool so baby and i would be in there and she and mike would be looking on from either side. she gave mike his correct facial hair and asked if i would help her draw “wild curly hair” on her because she “will probably have to be woken up because the baby will come during the night.”

she was wrong about the birth pool but she was oh-so-right about the wild curly hair. she wasn’t present during the actual birthing. she slept through it somehow but was woken up once daphne finally let out her first real lusty cries about 3 hours later. she ran into the room sleepy-eyed in a whirl of wild and curly golden hair, shyly beaming around the room at the arrival of her sibling.

it was the sweetest moment of my life thus far.

and i realized later that it was that moment that i was looking for from this birth experience. the moment when my oldest baby met my youngest baby in a hazy, golden glow. that moment that was of her choosing, in her own space, in her own skin {literally. she must have unclothed at some point in the night so she and her sister were in naught but their birthday suits upon their first meeting} free from hospital distractions and unfamiliar faces. it was THAT moment i was searching for and didn’t know it until it happened. that moment has planted itself within me and taken deep root. and it wouldn’t have been possible in any other setting than in our own home. and for that i am so grateful. i can’t find any other word for it other than gratitude.

and my husbeau. oh my sweet, beardy husbeau.

i told him i thought i might go into labor later and then he put on bob segar. and then i had my doubts about whether he’d be able to adequately support me through this because…bob segar.

but once my labor really kicked in he knew exactly what to do. he revealed to me later that he didn’t feel like he knew what to do but to me it appeared that he did. he was there with me when i needed him and gave me space when i didn’t. he was my grounding. during the moments that i thought labor was going to carry me away i would look over at him and it would bring me all back to center.

he was able to take care of me in a way that i don’t think would be possible for him in an unfamiliar setting. and he’s taken such good care of us these past few days in our own space. did you know he could make banana pancakes with peanut butter chips? he can. he’s been holding out on me all this time.

but that’s getting into the postpartum period which i wrote a little bit about already and plan on posting more about later…

so, yeah, home birth. this birth was all that i could have hoped for and more. it was the most amazing and wonderful thing that i hope NEVER happens to me again.

well, maybe not never ever again… ;-)

p.s. thanks for reading! please remember that i’m not trying to promote any one method of birthing. i’m only trying to relay my gratitude for this life experience. above all else, i believe in families choosing the way to birth their babies that seems right individually.  for us, for this birth, a birth at home was the absolute right choice.

now go forth and be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.

bump day

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i know, you thought bump day updates were over didn’t you?

well, i’m just still very much in love and in like with this midsection that has grown two people now. maybe i’ll just keep bump day up forever…hmmmmm….

no, BUT, maybe this is a start to something along the lines of the 4th Trimester Bodies Project. we’ll see.

it’s my first bump day post-birth and things are looking very similar to 5 months pregnant. i don’t really mind carrying around the extra pooch for a bit. i think it would be too much of a change and a loss to go straight back to a pre-baby body. i’d like this little reminder to stick around for a while.

and yes, those are the tops of the adult diapers i’ve been rocking since daphne’s birth. i’m not ashamed to admit that i’ve been quite comfortably not hating this decision. ladies expecting babies, do yourself a favor and just give in to the adult diaper for your initial postpartum period. trust me.

pregnancy and body image

pregnant pool lady

dear baby,

i wrote this post a year ago, roughly.  and now i want to write a quite different post.

i want to write a post in gratitude, rejoicing in the confidence being pregnant has brought back to me about my body. i don’t really recognize that person, or that voice from that post a year ago. who wrote that? certainly not this lady! because this lady says: i can wear whatever the hell i want and i look good while i’m at it.

being pregnant makes me feel so feminine and powerful and in control of my body. i know that is not the case for some but fortunately it is for me.

we’ve spent much of these last weeks of pregnancy poolside and i’ve drawn upon that confidence about my body in a way that i’m sure i wouldn’t have last year.  my legs aren’t shaved. who cares?  my suits don’t fit quite right. whatevs!  i’m huge and have fatty thighs and spider veins. not a big deal!

if anyone has had a problem with it, it really has been no cause for concern of mine. i’m guessing that if anyone has been unsettled by my appearance they’ve just kept their opinion to themselves which is exactly where negative thoughts can be kept: to their owner, poisoning his/her own mind.

which brings up another positive for me; now that i am back in a mental place where i love and revere my body, i look more favorably upon others as well. i see a beauty there that was lost to me for a while. and really, i mostly don’t find it any of my business to have an opinion about another person’s body and physique.

it is so freeing and nice. the world is a much nicer place when you love yourself and feel positive about the person you are. it’s just nice.

and i’m thankful to you, baby, and this pregnancy for bringing me back to this place. it’s regrettable that i drifted away from here for some time but i’m glad to be back now.

{universe, please help me hold on to it this time.}

because i’m sure i will have you soon, {right?} and drop some weight and become able to reach my legs again for shaving and what not but from here on out those personal appearance things will be for me and will not be about avoiding negative thoughts from others.

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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bump day

that bump. how that bump made us jump.

here’s some advice. do not write a post jokingly calling your unborn child a jerk-baby because your unborn jerk-baby will get on the internet and read it and then give you the in utero what for.

we had a last-minute ultra sound last night after this little person gave us all a scare of a 40-week breech flip.

the good news: baby is not, in fact, breech but in lovely position.

more good news: we got to see him/her as a family which was nice since mike and darla weren’t present for my last ultrasound.

the ambiguous news: u/s info shows i may have a little more time growing this person than previously thought. maybe not. it’s all devil-science-magic anyway! but i’m wrapping my head around the fact that we may be hanging tight for a while. maybe not. ooh the excitement…the thrill of the wait…the anticipation…the stretching skin!!!!

the bad news: i’ve now called my jerk-baby a jerk-baby 3 {er…4} more times so i’m sure to experience some additional wild times from this kiddo here at the end in retribution.  it’s ok, i deserve it.

baby bump

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