What I hope I will do different for Baby #2

Even before we got pregnant with this second baby, I wondered how I would do it all over again; the sleepless nights, the teething, the sleep training, the nursing. I struggled a lot with postpartum depression with my first and so that was on my mind a ton, too. How would I prepare my family, what would I do differently, how could I prevent the onslaught of crazy emotions, and most of all–how could I make this next experience better.

Not that having Parker was bad, but it definitely was hard. A lot harder than I expected. The emotions and depression threw me and my husband for a loop. Not only was it hard to see myself in that condition, but I think it was harder for my husband to see me like that–to try to help, but not quite know what to do.

So what will I change, what will I do differently this time around? Really–what has my first baby taught me:

What I hope I will do different

1. Fill that Prescription. Like yesterday. I noticed with Parker that I was struggling. I was anxious a lot, I was frustrated a lot, and then I started having feelings of “I just want to run away” or “my family would be better off without me” or “can’t I just get out of here?!” I also started having feelings of wanting to hurt myself and my baby, which in my right mind, would not be there. Basically, I should have jumped in my car first thing and went to my doctor. DON’T wait for that 6 week appointment. That’s just 6 week’s of downright crazy. Don’t wait until you have all the signs and symptoms that every website lists. Just know if you are feeling worse and then talk to your doctor. You don’t have to be on the prescription forever, I definitely wasn’t, but it will sure help in the beginning while you’re getting used to almost no sleep, taking care of another human, and trying to wrap your mind around all the crying. Again, this is for me. It may not work for everyone, but this is for me.

2. “This will not last forever.”– Probably the most important thing I’ve learned is that these stages really do not last forever. I remember crying to my mom that I was worried I would hate motherhood, because my 3 week old was just not leaving me feeling fulfilled or happy. {Not completely surprising}.

977824_10200800162741418_611722807_oThe stages of waking up every 3 hours at night or sitting in the mothers room for almost the entire church block, or being up with a teething baby DO END. They are so short. I almost have forgotten about them already, which is crazy, because they seemed never-ending at the time. But really, they pass. Soon you are getting a full night’s rest, you are sitting in church with your hands empty listening to a lesson while he’s playing in nursery, and then during the day your baby is playing with toys in the other room entertaining themselves. And then… to top it off they hug and kiss you and tell you gushy things like “I love luuu, mom!” It’s wonderful. So believe that things will change for the better, and that most likely you’ll love motherhood. There’s a reason why lots of people have multiple babies!

3. Get a routine, but let it slide- sometimes. I love routines. I thrive on them and so does Parker. He likes to know what he can expect and so do I. I like that he naturally settles down for nap when I tell him I’m grabbing a vitamin and milk… because he knows he gets to read stories and then rest. I like that I can depend on when to get things done and when to meet people for something due to being predictable. And I like having time to myself and with my husband. It just works for me.

923247_10151641119126763_1750822069_nBut, I’ve also experienced a whole lot of stress and anger (embarrassed about that) when my routine is thrown off. I’ll sit there frustrated that he isn’t in bed, even if we are doing something fun. I’ll worry that the routine will never be the same…. yaddy, yaddy, yada. But, really, it will work out. He’ll make up for it some other day that week, or he’ll take a longer nap at some point, or… he’ll teeth the next night and be up all night and then we’ll be zonked the next day. Whatev. It’s just life. So when you get handed a fun opportunity and it’s not going to be an everyday thing. Do it. Break the routine. Make a memory. And just.have.fun.

4.Thank my husband MORE and have less pity parties. Man, even though he didn’t birth the baby or carry the baby, he sure did do a lot. For me, it was easy to get into this mind set that everything was about me during pregnancy and after birth. I wined a bit, lets be honest. Granted my hormones were wacky and I was healing like no body’s business, BUT, he was doing so much too. I wasn’t the only one sleep deprived, I wasn’t the only one trying to make sense of everything that had changed.

268806_10151641119191763_2021570266_nI wish I would have realized that having a baby is a family matter, even more than I did, and that my physical scars would heal quickly.  I wish I would have thought more about my husband, instead of feeling bad for myself. From working to PAY for the babe, to being there when I went crazy. From calling my mom FOR ME at 1 in the morning, because he knew I needed to talk to someone, to loving me and telling me I was enough, over and over and over. He really was a champ. I wish I would have pulled myself out of my pity parties more and bonded more with him.

Overall, I’m just excited for another baby. I’m so grateful for what my 1st has taught me, and I can only imagine this one will teach me a whole lot more in so many different ways.  I’m excited to try the whole process again, hopefully with a little less stress than before. It’s amazing how experience can change us and teach us. Although, here’s to trying it out with having a 2 1/2 year old. We’ll see how that goes… and hopefully take it in stride.

What have you learned from your kids?… How’s that for a loaded question? 🙂

Mothers-Don’t give up

Mother.

I think I often take for granted how strong I am as a mother and how deep my influence is. I think about how I change diapers, wash in between his toes, scrub his hair, and spread the peanut butter on his sandwiches, and wonder if what I say is even sinking in.

“Am I even making a difference? Will he remember what I’m trying to teach?”

For the first few months as a mother, I almost felt like my efforts were in vain. I talked, giggled, laughed, read to, and sang to my son that was almost completely unresponsive. I held on conversations with him, even though he didn’t answer back; I told him my deepest dreams while we played; I told him of my deepest convictions–yet nothing. I almost felt silly at times. On the surface, it seemed there was no hint of understanding.

Mothers-Don't give up

Then, he began to talk. He began to respond. Now he even talks back and we can carry on a conversation. But, now I almost wonder if he hears me when I tell him how much I believe in God, how I know He hears my prayers, how I feel peace when I read His word. He runs from toy to toy and it feels like the words of my heart go in one ear and out the other–and that’s if I get lucky and they even get in the first ear at all.

But, despite all this, I have the firmest belief that in some small way he understands. He may not hear my words or listen to a complete sentence I say–but he sees me day in and day out. He sees that I care about people, he knows that I invite him to pray with me when I’m about to lose it and need extra strength, he knows that every night-without fail-we read God’s word.

We live our beliefs.

I have to think that someday he’ll look back and it will sink in–it will sink in deep.

I hope with all my heart it does.

I know that as a mother, my daily actions have more power than I realize, even if it seems like he’s not listening, we’re both crying, and there is peanut butter in everyone’s hair. I know that the simple things I do, that I feel go unnoticed–are not.

The things you do don’t go unnoticed either.

When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses? – Neal A. Maxwell

Mom’s lets remember the influence we have. Let’s remember that the words we speak, the songs we sing, and hugs we give don’t go unnoticed–even if our babies are speechless and our kids run around like crazies. Because what a sad thing it would be if we gave up–if we looked around amid the chaos and threw in the towel.

Momma–don’t give up. Keep talking to your babe who can’t talk back and keep teaching that child who doesn’t have a moment to listen. Because soon, they’ll know and we’ll be glad we taught with our hearts and didn’t give up.

Healthy & Fit Pregnancy- Group info inside!

Well, the second trimester is lovely. I’m 16 weeks along and I feel like I’m mostly back to the old me, aside from the occasional headaches, stretching pains, and back aches. But, I’ll take it and I’m happy!

With this new found energy, as well as lack of nauseousness, I find myself eating allll the time and wanting to cook things. I felt like my body was just yearning from the inside out.. “feeeeed meeeee!!!” So, that is just what I did. I think I am back up to my pre-pregnancy weight, which is good. Now, the trick is for me to get out of that mindset of stuffing my face with food. I’m trying to re-train my brain that I don’t need to eat a lot of whatever sounds good. It may have worked when only one or two things sounded good during a day, but now that 50 things sound good… no bueno. It’s back to balance and remembering that I need to stop when I feel full, and to choose good foods to eat.

It’s tough though. It is hard to re-train a brain and harder to actually act on it.

But that is my goal.

My goal is an active pregnancy. My goal is to eat well and be active, in hopes that life will never be like the swinging of a pendulum, going back and forth from a “I don’t care about my health, I just want to eat what I want to eat” attitude to “I’m counting my calories, exercising all the time” mentality. Nor do I want to sign off on healthy eating and exercise simply because life is just hard right now. Life never stops being hard, and in fact when I eat worse, life gets exponentially harder. I feel guilty, I feel gross, I lose confidence, and I just feel lethargic. It’s not worth it.

SO… after all that. I guess what I’m implying is that I’m going to strive to be active and healthy this pregnancy. I’m not going to overdue it, because that isn’t balanced, but I am going to try to exercise–do at least some form of exercise each day. Something.

I want to give myself a variety and do aerobic activities and strength training. And in general, I’m going to try to watch my portions and try to opt for more whole, nutrient dense, foods. Of course I’ll give into cravings, that is life, and I don’t pretend to be able to not eat sweets. I love sweets and they will always be a part of my life. Guaranteed. But, I’m going to try not to eat them alll the time as the main course or side dish to breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

So, my question is: do you know anyone who is pregnant and feels like-minded? Or do you know someone who is hoping to be pregnant soon and preparing their body for the transition? If so, please send them to THIS Facebook group. It’s totally free and just for encouragement, ideas, and sharing our life.

Pregnancy Facebook Group Cover FinalI want to be accountable for myself and I often find I do SO much better when I see others around me striving to do the same. And I don’t think I’m alone in this. I’d love to motivate others around me too. Because why have to work so hard postpartum to “get our bodies back”, when we could have a better pregnancy, labor, and postpartum if we focused on health during the journey of pregnancy? Anyway, now I’m rambling. Here’s to a healthy life!

Why I’m glad I am a woman

In light of recent events in the media, as well as personal experiences, I started to feel this overwhelming sense of gratitude for the fact that I am a woman and what that means.

What does it mean to me to be a woman? It means being a steadying influence in the lives of those around me. It means emitting love, gentleness, and kindness. It means embracing my femininity. It means being sensitive and available to those who need support and love. It means supporting those around me and letting the beauty of my spirit grace the walls of my home.

I know its hard to believe, but this is my wife

I love the fact that my spirit is innately different than my husband’s;that his traits divinely complement mine and that together we make a delicate-strong, supportive-protective, compassionate-courageous…pair. I love that my boy will run to me when he feels hurt, and that he’ll run to his dad when he’s ready to roll around on the floor and wrestle (not that we don’t wrestle, too). I love that he’ll cuddle up with both of us and shower us both with kisses, because he appreciates what we each mean in his life.

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Being a woman really is something special. Being a mother is a calling and the greatest expression of my femininity. In fact, I feel as a mother that I have enlarged my capabilities and found more of myself. I am more caring, more compassionate, more gentle, more delicate, more gracious, more creative. Let’s be honest, some days I don’t feel like I’m good at any of those, but really, I believe those qualities are something that settle naturally within me. If I’m not them, I have a strong desire to be them.

In an talk by James E. Faust he says some of the most beautiful things about women:

One of your unique, precious, and sublime gifts is your femininity, with its natural grace, goodness, and divinity. Femininity is not just lipstick, stylish hairdos, and trendy clothes. It is the divine adornment of humanity. It finds expression in your qualities of your capacity to love, your spirituality, delicacy, radiance, sensitivity, creativity, charm, graciousness, gentleness, dignity, and quiet strength. It is manifest differently in each girl or woman, but each of you possesses it. Femininity is part of your inner beauty.

I love that. I love that womanhood can be defined by such wonderful words: charm, creativity, radiance, dignity, and graciousness.

The truth of it all is–I love being a woman.

He’s really there.

Oh, it’s been a while since one of these drafts has been published. It’s been a while since I’ve written a couple sentences and felt that they flowed, were natural, and were all complete sentences. Thank you to those who sent me messages to check up on me and see how I was doing. Those words meant so much to me.

Frazzled.

chicken

Don’t ask why I thought this was hilarious!

That’s probably the most fitting adjective for me these days. I’ve heard the term “running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off” and I’ve realized that it’s alarmingly accurate.

Life is busy, and I often feel torn between wanting to give more to my son, but feeling empty myself. It’s hard to be taking 3 classes and still being a mom. It makes me think of all those working mom’s, all the single mom’s, and all the mom’s who may not be single, but feel they are going at it alone. I cannot imagine the sheer exhaustion. I have the utmost respect for you. You are incredible.

But, we keep going, right? We realize we’re stronger than we thought, and that our souls can weather storms we hadn’t conceived before. We do our best, at times feeling like a failure and we move forward loving our family the best we know how.  Luckily, there is a loving God.

I feel God is very intimately involved in this motherhood journey of ours, whether we have children or not yet. He sees our sorrows and our yearning hearts. He’s near our side in the middle of the nights. He’s stroking our hair when we cry out at night from exhaustion and loneliness. He’s right by our side when we struggle to conceive. He listens intently to our prayers we send up to Him and answers them in His time and way.

A picture I drew in High School that brought peace to my soul.

A picture I drew in High School that brought peace to my soul.

He’s really there. In my times of deepest sorrow, I often pray for the ability to feel His warm and loving embrace. In those moments I feel the deepest sense of comfort and love just surround me.

He’s really there.

Girls, we got this. We got this crazy, mixed-up, altered plans, hurt hearts, exhilarating life. We got this, because He is really there.

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If you are interested in finding more bloggers, I linked some of the blogging women who have inspired me to be stronger and rely on God. Really, they are my friends. If you want some inspiration and a dose of straight-talk, real life, then stop by their blogs to meet them.

In alphabetical order: A Babbling Brooke, Catching Crawfish, Chloe Kepner, Invited by Grace, Light the Lie, MomLife Now, Natalie Brenner, Noelle B. Blogs and Three Boys and a Mom

*ALSO, since life is much busier and it’s harder for me to sit down and blog as often, I would love if you would follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to get more daily updates. 🙂 Thank you for being apart of my life!

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