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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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

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!

daphne’s home birth: a photo tour

ok, so it’s a dimly lit photo tour. we’ll call it ambiance.  or love aura. whatevs…

i’d like to highlight some of the things i loved about birthing our baby girl at home, in our own bed, with these few snaps from my phone. lucky you, nothing graphic will be shown as i was too busy with the actual birthing. i was able to capture one last maternity shot when labor was just getting started.

there was so much i was thankful for about being in our own space for laboring and birthing. i want to write a little bit more about the experience and process but i think that is for another time.

so we’ll flash forward to the immediate postpartum which, for us, seems to be bursting with benefits:

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^ the first being that we were given time and respect. our space and experience were honored. i have several photos of daphne just looking around the world for the longest time. it was all so peaceful and serene. at least for us. daphne has a bit of a what-the-heck-just-happened-to-me look going on.

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^ all daphne’s measurements and exams were done in our bed, by our side.

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^mike got to be the one to give daphne her first “bath” which was just a washcloth rubdown

and we all got to hang out in various stages of undress holding miss Daphne:

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^and darla held daphne for the first time. darla’s thoughts on the experience: “she doesn’t smell very good.”

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 ^home birth meant my parents could come and be with us and the lack of visiting hours has lead to lots of bonding time for everyone, which works well for our family.

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and mostly we just sit around and stare at daphne josephine, completely comfortable and settled in to her home surroundings from minute one.

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 our home birth = a home filled with love. a birth filled with love.

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.