gettin' down to The Git Up

I don’t know what it is about choreographed dance. Line dance. Group dance. Songs like this. I don’t know what it is, but I come ALIVE with this stuff. I feel actually good. Great. Hopeful. Like life is so, so good.

People enjoying themselves. Laughing at themselves. Enjoying one another. Moving their bodies. Smiling and feeling sure and silly and free …

And I feel almost ridiculous saying all that. But, if I’m being honest, it’s always been a true thing for me. Most of my best memories are on Cowboys’ dance floor. I kid you not. I imagine it must be what it’s like for musicians when they sit down with others for a jam session. It feels like human connection and like something bigger and better than ourselves.. It feels like possibility. Life hums. Vibrates.

For me, it’s something approaching a concept of Heaven I could actually look forward to …

So, I’m gonna grab my baby girl and we’re gonna dance in the living room to this on the daily for a while. We’ve already been at it. She lights up. Which makes my heart leap. Maybe she’s got some of her momma in her. And, if it’s this part, I’m gonna help her enjoy it as much and as long as is possible.

Love.

party pooper

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party pooper

I planned, prepared for, and hosted my first real party yesterday. Yea, my first. At 37. I mean, I planned my wedding, but I paid other people to execute the plan on the day of, so it wasn’t all me. And this time it wasn’t all me either, but it mostly was. And, I guess I’m writing about it because I find myself, a day later, wondering if it was good enough. Was it impressive? Well done? Unique? Valued? Really seen and really noticed. My personal insecurities projected onto the event I put on.  

I’m a little uncomfortable with how uncomfortable I am with not knowing what others thought about the production/product. I don’t like being so insecure so late in life. AND, there’s a part of me that is impressed by myself. I picked out, ordered and arranged flowers for goodness’ sake! And the “brand” consistency throughout was pretty spot on. But, I felt and feel lackluster. It’s a theme in these recent days and months of mine. My daughter outshines me easily (and I want her to - she’s so so precious and worthy). My hair has thinned and fallen out. My face only ages. My body is too soft. I look at my camera roll and there’s no evidence that I exist (except for the occasional selfie with Amber). I feel like I don’t matter. I excel at nothing anyone notices and, well, that’s a first for me. And I don’t know how to shake off that uneasy, hurt feeling.

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brain dump

I’m a mess lately. Forgetting things left and right. Tired every morning, despite sleeping all night. Feeling frazzled and failing on the regular. Today, I nearly cried when I watched an Osprey dive for and MISS getting a fish from the pond behind my house.  What is that? I’m not unhappy - I feel really blessed, I really love my daughter and my dogs and my Babe and our space. So, I can’t quite put my finger get on what’s eating at me (beyond my constant, lifelong struggle with foreboding joy).

I’m inclined to think it’s “the work stuff.” The recent realization that I have to change how I do what I do professionally if I’m going to keep wanting to do it (let alone move it forward into success). I think this means moving toward a coaching model of practice, but doing so requires I create a product, of sorts. And that feels really, really intimidating. I feel like I’ve failed before I’ve even started. My perfectionism shows up in all its dysfunctional glory and sabotages me. I get caught in this idea that I have to have it all together to begin or it’s not worth pursuing, because it WILL fail or be found lacking, or worse, I’ll be caught lacking. And, yet, there’s this part of me that is sure I would rock this change, but again, only if I figure it out ahead of time. 

So, it’s the figuring it out that’s throwing me for a loop, because I’m stunted there. Stuck. Overwhelmed by the thought of it. Not sure I have what it takes. And processing it out on my blog. 😁

Love.

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I am grateful

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I am grateful. For her. And him. And them. The dogs. The parents. The friends. The clients.

I am grateful. For the house. And the cars. And the bank account. The job. The work. The insurance.

I am grateful. For sun. Saturdays. Hot water. Cold lakes. Good wine. Fun music. Soup. Chocolate mousse. Soft sheets and pillows to cover my head. Lululemon leggings and messy buns. Long naptimes and short hugs and face smushes.

I am grateful. For grace. And life. And hope. Moments of peace. The power of prayer. Promise.

Amen and love.

on hormones

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So, that night your baby has to do an unplanned 12-hour EEG … and your period decides to return … and your milk dries up? That’s a night you survive. It’s two days later you fall apart.

Eck. Weaning and #momfear and menstruation are a HORRIBLE, TERRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD combo.

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on feelings

Weird emotional experiences this morning. I know I was already primed, because I’d had some anxiety showing up in my body throughout the day yesterday (pre family photo shoot ... which, my anxiety and angst around is worth a future post, fyi). But, this morning, I had a major high and a major low. 

The high: I was singing Amber her namesake song - “Amber” by 311. It’s breezy and makes us think of our Caribbean vacations. When I went to sip my coffee, it was instant sensory memory - tasted of the best coffee I’ve had ... Jamaican and Costa Rican. So good.

The low: I’d just put Amber down for her morning nap. The Mr. is still sleeping (don’t get me started on that one ... 😡) and I’m alone, sitting down to pump and finish my re-heated coffee, when I feel slightly ill and then feel tears well up. I can’t even place what I was thinking about ... other than wanting to establish some healthy practices (yoga, running, etc.). Maybe that feels impossible and overwhelming right now, I don’t know. But, I’m still feeling on the edge. Still teary-eyed.

And I’m just typing about it out loud because I can. And it helps. 

LOVE. 

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things that piss me off every.single.time.

  1. Tree carnage (land being cleared for construction).

  2. People being mean to or simply objectifying animals.*

  3. Panhandlers with dogs tied up next to them.

I think the nature of my work with humans has a lot to do with my not getting super angry about human stuff.

I mean, I hear some pretty awful things on a regular basis. I sit with people in the middle of their awful. It’s emotionally draining. After work, I have little left for the rest of life … and what IS left goes to my husband and baby and then the rest of my family.

So, as a result, I get inappropriately angry and saddened by hurting dogs and the loss of green spaces instead of the great social injustices of our age. It may be wrong, but it’s my right.

* Yes, I eat meat. So, I’m admittedly a hypocrite. But, I’m really talking about dogs and horses and rodents and the occasional cat … none of which I eat.

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a typical morning

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This is some more real life right here. She’s napping and I’m pumping. Double pumping. Hands-free (Yay?!) with the pumping bra. Look at those tummy rolls. No makeup. Bed hair. That’s right, I woke up like this. So, so sexy. I know you’re jealous.

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4.5 months

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Well, the butt is significantly better. Whoo-hoo. Though, in truth, it’s still pretty awful - the Miralax, the Fibercon, the pain relievers, the post-poop cream, the weekly pelvic floor therapy appointments. Again, I feel super, super sexy. Not.

But, the pain is in the 1-3 range, versus the 7-9 range like it was, so I get to be a present mom these days … and that’s so, so good. And what does that look like?

  • Two-stepping to Jake Owen’s “Down to the Honkeytonk” around the living room couch in the mornings.

  • Responding excitedly to her baby babble like I understand what she’s saying.

  • Aerobic booty dancing to Major Lazer while she watches entranced from her back on the floor.

  • Reading peek-a-boo books in the glider before bed.

  • Going for walks around the neighborhood the second it cools off even a little bit.

  • Singing Chris Stapleton’s “Millionaire” to her while she leans back on my knees.

  • Handing her Lphant, reindeer rattle, paci, or spoon each and every time she drops them.

  • Helping her push Grissom’s kisses away when they get too intense.

  • Playing with her in the pool.

  • Rubbing her back and humming “Rock-A-By-Baby” to her when she wakes up restless (but still sleepy) from a nap.

  • Walking in to get her up at 7 am, my “Good Morning, Baby Girl” met with eye contact and bright smiles as she pushes up from her chest.

  • Cleaning all her little parts while she kicks and splashes and coos in her baby bathtub.

  • Hands-free pumping while I spin and shake and hum along with her toys for her as she lays on her back and watches and grabs and chatters on about something.

  • Crying happy and grateful tears while I sing her Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are” and Dierks Bentley’s “Living.”

I just love her. All of her. Her big blue eyes, her eager hands, her interest and alertness, her coos, her cries, her baby bird hair, the dimple on her cheek … even her smelly feet. She’s a blessing I didn’t even know why or how much I wanted or needed. I am grateful.

Love.

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12 weeks old

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It’s a cute picture - mommy and baby on the floor. Maybe it’s naptime. Maybe it’s tummy time. Either way, it’s a cute selfie.

And it is. But, it’s not the full story. The full story is that I HAD to put her down on the floor because I can’t sit down - not only because my butt hurts so bad, but also because the medication I’m using to try and remedy my butt problem tends to creep forward and create pain in my frontal regions if I’m not laying down.  

I’d rather be holding her, rocking her to sleep. 

But this is how it is, because of my butt. The TMI: two fissures that are not healing because I don’t always poop liquid (uh, who does?!), and, therefore recreate a problem every other day. And the fissures are excruitiatingly painful and distracting from life and sleep and productivity. Also, not sexy. But, duh.

Unfortunately, because of this pain, I have not been the mother I want to be. As soon as I got past the hard newborn stage I wrote about in previous posts, I walked right into this butt problem. I resent it. Because I love her. I really do. I don’t even want to go back to work because I just want to be with her and engage her and soak up her all her coos and smiles and curious glances. I worry what the tension in my body is transmitting to her when she feeds or we get a pain-free minute to snuggle. I worry she’ll be in therapy when she’s 25 because my butt created a fracturing in attachment development ... Crazy thinking? Maybe. Maybe not.

And because the goal is soft poop, I’m supposed to take Miralax. While safe for breastfeeding, it’s not - because it redirects  all the water you take in to your gut. So, my milk supply is severely dwindling. The one blessing there is that the doc said it’s really just the first two to three months that breast milk has its major impact. So, made that. Whew.

Forgive how poorly written this post may be - I’m more typing as an update ... and for catharsis. This just plain sucks. So much.  

Pray for healing, because I do t know how to enjoy life like this, let alone mother well ... 

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6 weeks old

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It's starting to feel more real. Or maybe I am ... starting to feel more real, that is. It's like I've finally gotten a grasp on myself in this new reality. It's still a little disorienting, but I'm feeling more capable of navigating it without leaving myself behind.

We've gotten into a bit of a routine now. I know when she's hungry. I know when she's gassy. I know when she doesn't want her paci and when it's the only thing she's looking for. I've learned she really likes baths (love the warm water like her parents ...) and doesn't completely hate having her diaper changed (turns out, changing her BEFORE she's eaten is NOT the way to go). 

She's way more alert the past week or so - follows me with her eyes and seems to hold a gaze. Whatever that does for connection, it's something solid, because I definitely find myself more entranced and in love with her than I did prior. Her cries cause less distress in me than they did prior. I equate that to a sense of capability and adaptability I've discovered (or grown?). I'm less anxious about doing what it takes to take care of her (and, honestly, myself). That's a bit freeing.

Now my anxieties have more to do with getting a nanny and what my practice will look like financially as I head back to work next month. Time will tell ...

LOVE.

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3 weeks old

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The Mr. goes back to work tomorrow. 

And I hate everything as a result.

Honestly, I don’t know how it’s going to work for me to do this newborn wrangling thing without him. It’s not so much that I NEED the help - though, yes, having an extra set of hands to grab me food and water and my phone when I’ve got a baby attached to my chest, is pretty wonderfully “handy” ... and I will miss terribly everything he’s been on top of - it’s that I need the partner in the mess. I never realized how much I want/need someone I can just be raw with and feel supported by ... And thinking about doing the hard stuff solo, navigating the mental challenge and emotional energy required, well .... it feels really, really daunting. Kind of impossible, really.

Now, she‘s very cute. Wonderfully sweet when she’s sleeping on my shoulder. Mesmerizing as she’s making faces, working her digestive system out. She’s a beautiful baby (and I say that realizing I’m biased, but confident that I’m also right). But, it’s not enough to make these days, this season of living, enjoyable. (Yet?)

I hate myself for thinking that. I genuinly wonder if it’s proof of the “I probably wasn’t meant to be a mom” concept that’s always nagged at the back of my mind. Would good moms struggle so much with this gigantic change of life? This physical lockdown (two months before hanging out in public places?! I DIDN’T KNOW!)? The physical/body toll? This emotional turmoil? I swear no one has ever relayed their dismay about having a kid like I’m feeling. So, it’s gotta be just me, right? 

And I hate that thought. I hate it for her. She deserves better. I wish I had known better. She deserves better than me. Than this. 

So, somehow, I have to figure out how to become what I’m not. How to feel good about what doesn’t. Because she deserves better. 

I just don’t know how. 

Help? 

Love.

 

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2 weeks old

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It’s all still hard, but it’s getting better. Whether that is because of the human ability to adapt to new circumstances or because it’s legitimately slightly easier two weeks in than it was at a week and a half in, I can’t honestly say .... but it’s a tad bit better.

And she’s still adorable. And warm. And squishy. And when she falls asleep on me, immediately after nursing? There’s very little in the world that feels better.  

But she’s been air-side for TWO WEEKS. It feels so much longer and like it’s flown by at the same time. If this is any indication of how fast time will move through her childhood, I’m terrified and sad ... I don’t want to miss it. I want to cherish it. I want to be transformed by the pure joy of it. She’s precious and I never want to lose sight of that ... in fact, I want it to be so real for me that I can’t help but transfer that truth to her ... that she’ll believe it about herself and act and feel accordingly. 

I’ve spent a lot of time holding her and praying over her this past week - for her protection and health and wisdom and salvation and sanctification and innocence and confidence and mental health and relationships ... and I just get the sense that God and I are going to be talking a lot more simply because she exists. 

That’s not a bad by-product of these hard and sacred times.  

Love. 

UPDATE: It’s a few hours later and I’m on the edge again. A little resentful, a lot lonely, a whole lot more insecure - about my mothering, my instincts, my future ... and it’s feeling really heavy again right now.  I’m tired with no good sleep in sight. I can’t poop or sit comfortably like I could just two weeks ago ... and it’s crazy how body discomfort can really mess with a mind (see previous post at 37 weeks, ha). 

So there’s that real life. 

Love. 

 

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40 weeks

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It’s my due date, and I already have an almost two week old baby girl.

I’m celebrating by changing a dozen diapers, offering up my boobs every couple of hours, trying half a dozen techniques to calm crying (with little, to no, success), and sitting and standing with an excessive amount of caution due to tears in the lady parts.

This ish is hard. Harder than I could have expected. Harder than I wanted. Harder than I would have signed up for. We’ve walked into a very harsh reality. One that is self-doubt inducing, emotionally overwhelming, relationally challenging, and worldview confounding.

In these first days as a family of three, I’ve marveled at her every feature, took thousands of pictures, cuddled her close and posted my pride on social media. But, in and out of those days, I’ve also had what one mom friend called “buyer’s remorse.” I’ve wondered out loud, “what have we done?,” and “what if I’m not wired for this ... what if I forced His hand and she’s going to pay the price for what I lack?” I’ve felt my blood pressure rise, my survival instinct flair up, at a hint of a whimper. I’ve worked hard at breathing deeply when she’s at my breast, hoping against hope that somehow I can spare her reading (and transferring) anxiety from her caregiver. I’ve struggled, tears streaming down my face, just wanting to hear my husband say all these feelings are normal and that I am a good mother, that, somehow, he’s seen me show up and impress him with my maternal instincts. And I’ve cried more, alone on the corner of the couch, when he’s remained silent. 

This is hard. She’s beautiful and precious. And I can’t help feeling like she deserves better than I’m giving her. And that’s all I’ve got right now.

Love. 

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37 weeks

Well, nothing about this is enjoyable.  

I feel disgusting. My thighs are - not kidding - double their normal size. I’ve got a double chin developing. I’ve gained 50 pounds. 5-0. These boobs I paid for? No longer sexy. My ankles and feet and hands are swollen. The extra weight has turned into plantar fasciitis pain in BOTH feet. The belly (and she who dwells/moves within) has turned into very regular and painfully acute back pain - especially while sitting or laying down. The influx of hormones equates to sweat-soaked tossing and turning throughout the night, EVERY night. There’s the bruised ribs, from her stretching ... and the pain in my pelvic area EVERY time I stand up. And the itchy, stretching skin? Yea, that just started. And sometimes when I walk? Feels like I just tore my hip out of joint. 

I can’t paint my toenails. Or bend down. Or help do ANYTHING. 

In my discomfort, I’m grouchy and on edge. I legitimately have a new-found compassion and understanding for chronic pain patients. I will never judge your opioid addiction or grouchiness again. Not being able to be and or do what is desired, when it’s desired and how it’s desired is its own kind of hell.

Hell. 

Now, I know I’m supposed to preface or back-end this complaint with commentary on how it will all be worth it - that the temporary struggle pales in comparison to the joy having a child will bring - but I don’t do platitudes. I also don’t speak from inexperience.

So, all I can say is that I hope I like her. I truly hope I have some astonishing measure of magical connection/attachment to this being I helped create. Right now, I’m just marveling (with slight disgust and an ounce of disdain) at my audacity in thinking I had any right or wisdom enough to embark on plotting for parenthood. Foolish human.

I hope she comes soon. I hope she doesn’t. I’m scared of when she does. I’m eager to find out how it plays out. I want a known in all this unknown. I don’t want things to change. I don’t want to be pregnant anymore. I’m worried about what life looks like when we’re permanently three instead of two. I’m a bigger dichotomy then I’ve ever been and it’s driving me a little bit crazy. The hormones are not helping. 

Relaxin sucks. Ironically. 

And that’s all I’ve got for this Mother’s Day morning. Thanks for letting me be real. 

Love. 

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