Family, Motherhood

Happy Due Date Baby Boy

It blows my mind that today was the day they guessed he would arrive. It cracks me up that I anticipated he would come later than this date. I believed that so strongly that I asked Jeremiah’s parents to push back their trip, because I wanted to time to recover. It makes me smile that I was so excited for Jameson to be the first May baby of our family. It reminds me that God has his own plan and timing.

So happy due date to my little man who was just in such a hurry to start living his best life. ❤

But it also makes me a little sad. Jameson rushed to get out, all excited to begin living, but instead has spent 28 days in the hospital, 11 of those hooked up to a ventilator. How could that not break a mama’s heart?

But instead of focusing on all the sad and hard parts of Jameson’s journey so far, I like to focus on all the things we will do once he gets home. Lots of walks. Lots of sunshine. Lots of warm wind. Lots of snuggles. Lots of kisses. Since he’s been so cooped up – literally unable to even wiggle – inside a pretty blah environment, I see us spending copious amounts of time outside. I see Jameson napping in his basinet next to me, while Hazel runs around squealing with delight and Winnie pants on the concrete. I see lots of good, good stuff happening in our future and I cannot wait until it is our reality!

Motherhood

Mother’s Day // 2021

At the beginning of the year, I had expected this to be my last mother’s day as a mom to just my precious baby girl – the sweet little lady who made me a mom and has given me two years of motherhood firsts. Even as a baby and toddler, she has shown me so much patience and grace as I figure this whole thing out one new experience at a time. She doesn’t hold it against me that I dropped her once or that I never got my pre-baby body back. She looks up at me with so much love that I want to burst, because I don’t deserve it.

During the month of April, I started to wrap my head around giving birth to my son on this mother’s day. It had been a good pregnancy that took a turn this spring due to high blood pressure. It became a hectic season after told we’d have to be induced at 37 weeks. There were chiropractor appointments to encourage baby boy to get into the head down position. There were 24 hour urine collections. There were appointments with new providers due to having to birth in the hospital. There was not much time to breathe. Lots of messy hair days with a house to match and lots of negative and what-if thoughts infiltrating my brain.

Now mother’s day is here and I have two absolutely perfect babies to love, hold, and cherish. It’s been exactly two weeks of having our baby boy here with us and it already feels like he’s been part of my life forever. This mother’s day I am recovering from a c-section and my own mom is staying with us. As I fight thoughts of feeling useless and frustrated, I look around from my spot on the couch and see my daughter over the moon excited to watch her little brother sleep and my mom helping her, picking up the toys, and reminding me that recovery is part of the birth journey, and I just can’t help but feel so grateful and thankful for the incredible blessings God has given me in my children and my mom.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you mommas out there. I see you and no matter what you are dealing with and working through, you are enough! ❤

Motherhood

I Choose Formula

Bomb Drop: I am making the choice to formula feed my son before he is even born.

It is not my backup plan. It is my only plan. I am already stocking up on formula – grabbing a can a couple times a month. I’ve got bottles picked out. I’ll get a stash of distilled water going. Jameson will drink formula as his very first meal and he is not only going to survive, he is going to thrive!

People have such strong feelings on this topic. Our society shoves “breast is best” down expecting mom’s throats. It is expected that every mom breastfeed their baby. Many mothers who cannot breastfeed are thought to be failures and many mothers who choose not to breastfeed are thought to be lazy. I’m not typically one of those “my body, my choice” women, but when it comes to this topic, I am a mind your own business kind of woman. I don’t mind if you ask or even inquire about my choice, but you can keep your opinions and judgements to yourself.

When I was pregnant with Hazel, I wasn’t too excited about breastfeeding. It was daunting and wasn’t really something I was interested in, but everything I saw and read said that it was the best option and my baby would suffer if I didn’t try. So I read the books, got the stuff, talked to other moms, and was all set to breastfeed… and it was awful from the very beginning.

Every couple of hours, I would try and get Hazel to latch and when she did, we would sit there – her eating for an hour on one side and then we would switch. She would proceed to cry and be upset. I was so exhausted and didn’t know what was wrong. It got to the point where I had no desire to feed her. I would put it off and refuse to get her. My mom was staying with us to help out at the time and she made a bottle of formula and told me that I had to suck it up – either breastfeed her or give her the bottle, but I had to feed her. I cried, because I was conditioned to believe that bottle/formula would harm my child, but I couldn’t breastfeed her anymore, so I told my mom to go ahead and give her the bottle. The next morning, I decided I would try to exclusively pump that way she was still getting breast milk. Well that only lasted a few days. I would pump for an hour on each breast and only get like an ounce. It was absolutely brutal and not worth it to me at all. I decided to be done with breastfeeding/pumping and feed her exclusively with formula.

After making that decision, Hazel was a new baby and I was a new mom. Our relationship was restored. She was finally full and I was less stressed and exhausted. Hazel was fed with formula until she was 12 months old and she is an amazing baby/kid/toddler. She was not harmed or stunted in any way by drinking formula. She is happy, healthy, smart, sweet, and funny and I have no doubt that Jameson will be the same way.

I am sharing my story, because I honestly feel like many new moms are bullied into breastfeeding. If they share that they might not be interested, they are immediately talked back into it. It is not an easy task and it isn’t for everyone. We need to shed more light on the fact that formula is a perfectly good option for feeding our babies and moms are capable of making the decision on how they want to feed their babies. Breast is a good option, but formula is also a good option. We should support moms regardless of which choice they make.

Motherhood

Confessions of a First Time Mom #5

Motherhood & Instagram

Anyone who has spent any time on social media knows that it is can be a dangerous place. Social media can create, harbor, and intensify feelings of insecurity, self-loathing, depression, jealousy, etc. I thought that as a I got older and moved into new life stages that letting social media affect my state of mind would be a thing of the past, but it turns out it just continues to follow me regardless of what stage of life I am in.

The truth – according to social media – is that there will always be someone doing “it” better than me.

The truth – in reality – is that everyone is struggling in some way.

And even though I know the truth that nobody is perfect and everybody has issues and blah blah blah… seeing those perfectly curated pictures and captions is triggering. Because to me, it is dishonest.

When I was pregnant with Hazel, I found myself in a deep Instagram rabbit hole of having followed all of these Instagram moms. During pregnancy, these moms seemed so cool, so neat, so beautiful, so put together. I thought that was what motherhood was going to be like. But after having Hazel, I quickly realized that these motherhood lifestyles were fake. It took me a long time to admit to myself that looking at these women’s posts was unhealthy and not doing me any favors. It took me even longer to unfollow them [I’m still holding on to a couple and I feel like it’s just to torture myself].

These motherhood lifestyles are unattainable for the average mom. Why? Because we aren’t paid to look like we have it all and have it all together. These women advertise these ridiculously expensive baby products that they just love and you just have to have… THAT THEY GOT GIFTED FOR FREE! They create this persona to make you want to be like them, so that you will buy the products they are advertising, so that they get money. It does nothing for you, but instill feelings of inadequacy or guilt because you can’t afford the “best” for your kid, you can barely take a shower much less do your hair and makeup, you can barely keep your eyes open… the list goes on. They also write these posts about how absolutely incredible pregnancy and motherhood is and how wonderful their children are and how easy it all is. It’s nonsense.

I’ve managed to remove most of these profiles from my Instagram which has helped a lot! It might seem stupid, but following influencers is an easy trap to fall into to affect your mental health. Now that Hazel is a toddler, I have begun searching for parenting advice, communication advice, eating advice – just looking for lots of opinions and thoughts on different subjects, so that I could figure out what I wanted to implement. I started finding much healthier accounts to follow. Parenting accounts that honestly portray motherhood and create a sense of belonging and acceptance.

Some of my favorite accounts right now:

I still have a long way to go in having a healthy relationship with social media. I’ve contemplated getting rid of it altogether, but I think it has some benefits if I could just get my mental health under control. But as a mom, the comparison game is strong, especially in those first few postpartum months, so for me, it’s important to pay attention to what I am focusing on.

Motherhood

Meet Sheila the Kia

Is it a motherhood rite of passage to trade in your favorite, not very practical, pre-mom car for an suv or minivan with more seats and more space? I think, yes!

With baby number two on the way, I started getting more and more anxious about fitting two car seats into my Xterra and how in the world I was going to manage to buckle Hazel in when I have to stand on a little step to even get inside the car. I just couldn’t stop worrying and fretting and knowing myself, I would just get overwhelmed after one bad experience and never leave the house with the kids again.

So a couple weeks ago I started researching “mom cars”, or in my case, suvs with three rows. I had certain parameters I wanted to meet: not older than 2015, not more than 20k, had three rows, good gas mileage. I had mentioned my concerns to Jeremiah a few times, but we had kind of agreed to just see how things go before making any decisions. But I couldn’t let it go. I just knew it was going to be a disaster. I kept perusing for a used car that met our needs and on Sunday one popped up. I sheepishly texted Jeremiah about the car and was looking up a gif to reply to his shut-down when he replied back ok and told me to get get my car appraisal ready. Um I was dumbfounded, but glad he was possibly on-board.

It was a hard decision to choose to trade-in my Xterra for another car. We have been working tirelessly since September of 2019 to pay off all our debt and had made incredible progress. We were down to just my car and his student loans with a debt-free projection of December 2021. So financing a new car would put us back on that journey. Another thing is that I love my Xterra! It is so fun to drive and makes me feel young and free and just has so much personality. I got the Xterra between my miscarriage and getting pregnant with Hazel, so it was kind of a life-saver in a way… just a special place for me to feel safe and to be myself. I also get really attached to my cars (RIP Milo the Jeep Cherokee).

After showing up to see it and test drive it, we both really liked it. But we aren’t typically buy the same day you meet the car kind of people. It was a special circumstance though. They offered us a good deal on my car, the year/price/mileage on the new car was super ideal, and they wouldn’t hold the car for us to come back a couple days later. We knew that we would be getting a “mom car” in the near future regardless of whether we did it today, so our debt progress would be pushed back no matter what. We ran the numbers to see how far back and it only sets us back a year which we felt was worth it for our sanity, peace of mind, and convenience as new-again parents.

So I said a bittersweet goodbye to Rigsby the Xterra and said hello to Sheila the Kia. I was a bit sad to see Rigsby go as we shared some good times the past two years, but I am excited about my new phase of life as a mama… of TWO (and maybe three or four)!

my last moment with Rigsby.