The Biggest Let Down was No Let Down

The Biggest Let Down was No Let Down

My baby girl is 14 months old, and our relationship is evolving quickly.  She’s so incredibly independent, and not relying on me for certain things every day.  One of the things that I have been mentally preparing for is her weaning from breastfeeding.  With her coming to me less and less, I’m making much less milk than I once was.  She knows she has to work harder to get milk, but she gladly does so we can have sweet moments together that only her and I share.  Tonight, she suckled furiously to get the let down of the milk, and despite her best efforts, it just didn’t come.   My sweet girl was looking up at me, signing “milk” as fast as she could, and I could not give her what she wanted.  I begged my body to fill her belly with momma’s milk, but nothing.  She eventually stopped, laid on my chest, and whimpered.  I soaked her freshly washed hair in my tears because I failed her.  We sat there silently together for a while before she pointed to her room to go to bed.

For the first time since she was born, I was not able to rise to the occasion for her.  I’ve had a lot of low blows in life, and I have felt fairly inadequate at times, but this particular gut wrenching pain was, and is, almost too much to bear.  I pride myself on being her superhero, and I couldn’t be for her what she needed.  I let her down.  She knew it, and I knew it.  My princess went to bed without our usual nursing session where I hum in her ear as she pats my arm.   She just grabbed her blanket, rolled over, and went to sleep.

I hope my sweet angel sleeps well.  I know it’s going to be a long night for me.  unnamed.jpg

my body..my mind..my heart

my body..my mind..my heart

For almost 2 years I have lent my body to another.   I endured weeks and weeks of morning/afternoon/night sickness as I developed a tiny little human.  My body stretched and contorted to accommodate the growing little angel that was going to appear.  Then 10 months later, my body readied itself for the ultimate moment of greatness, and I birthed into the world the most beautiful baby girl.  The following months were dedicated to days and nights of non-stop feedings, skin to skin contact, and around the clock care giving.  I no longer knew the body I once knew, for it had been changed forever, in more ways than I even understood.  This body that was housing a beautiful creature, now was transformed into a new body that evolved to feed the creature that emerged.  My body was hers.

After 11 months of breastfeeding, it’s almost surreal to know that I am the sole reason she is healthy, growing, and so so smart.  My body knows exactly what she needs to develop at every age and milestone, and I find that fascinating.  I have healed her, and she has healed me.  I have nourished her, and she has nourished me.  We have a reciprocity that can’t be denied, taken, or lost.  Our bond will last a lifetime, despite the fact that one day she will not need me in the same capacity that she does now.

I am blessed to have been given the opportunity to breastfeed my daughter.  Was it always easy?  No.  But no good thing comes easy.  There were times it was painful, and there were times it was beyond excruciatingly painful, but I kept on.  Once we finally fell into a rhythm, and learned each other, it was wonderful.  I knew that I was what was best for her, and I owed her the best.  So, I fought to keep going, and it was a battle worth fighting.  The weight gain that led to the chubbiest baby rolls I’ve ever seen, the little smile she gave me after each feeding, the cognitive development skills, the milk drunk induced naps, and her healthy immune system was all based on me unselfishly giving her my body.

I was an advocate of breastfeeding from the moment I knew I was pregnant.  I didn’t listen to all the banter on how hard it was, and the statistics on how so many women gave up after 3 months.  I didn’t let people deter me from feeding her wherever, and whenever, I wanted.  My only mission was to keep my daughter growing strong, and I didn’t care if it ruffled some feathers, or was greeted with an outpouring of cheers.  I was not put on this earth to conform to social norms.  I was put on this earth to nurture a child, and so far, I succeeded in that.  If I never do one more great thing in this life, I will feel accomplished knowing I beat the odds, and kept my child fed from my very body.

I know that our time is going to come to a close within this upcoming year.  I can feel it.  At one year into breastfeeding, she is not feeding as often.  She is busy taking in the world around her. She is walking, and touching, and smelling, and listening to all the pretty things that cross her path.  She is gaining independence and self-awareness.  She is transforming into a toddler right before my eyes.  Sure, she still nurses for comfort, for nap times, and for a quick drink, but the long, snuggly, nursing sessions are few and far between.  Yet, the fact remains, I will gladly let her come to me as long as she wants, because I am her point A.  I am her place of safety.  I am her north star.  I am her mom.  But, I know, that there is going to be a time in the near future she will self soothe, she will not need me to heal her, and she will not need me for that quick drink.

We are about to hit our one year mark with breastfeeding on February 3.  I feel so much pride and success in this.  It was my first major goal to hit, and we are going to hit it. If you know me, you know goals are incredibly important to be reached in my world, so I am elated we will hit this mark.  I can rest easy knowing I did what was best for her in the first year of her life.  Many women never make it this far, so I feel validated in this achievement; while still secretly hoping we get to 18 months.  I don’t think I am emotionally ready to take my body back.  I’ve been sharing it for so long now, I don’t even know what I will do when it is just mine again.  I’m not quite ready to get off this path that is so pure and beautiful.  And even though I know that one of our first adventures will come to a close at some point, I do know that it will not be our last adventure.  So, I guess I can settle in my mind that I did a good job, and that she is strong & healthy because of me. And I know, sooner than later, it’s time to start thinking about letting go of this chapter & letting my body be free.

But, my hearts just not ready.

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My Energizer Bunny

My Energizer Bunny

The most fascinating part of my 11 month old daughter is her bounds of energy. Obviously, her ability to pick up new skills is pretty incredible, but her energy level in simply unbelievable.   I suppose, at one point in my life, I had this endless amount of energy as well, but I can’t recall that time.  At 36, I like to think I’m energetic and active, but she proves me wrong.  Every. Single. Day.

It was like when she turned 11 months old my milk turned into shots of espresso.  Which, could be possible considering the insane amount of coffee I now indulge in just to stay alive. If Pablo Escobar, himself, showered me in bags of Columbias finest I would still not have as much energy as her.  I look around her body for the battery pack, but it’s not there, so I can’t even turn her off.   I rejoice at nap time.  Utterly rejoice.  It’s a moment to breathe, get somewhat centered, and regroup for when she awakes.  I know that is a time I should be cleaning my home, but that is a totally null point since she will just awake and rip thru it all again.   I gave up the concept of a clean home a few months back when I deemed her Tiny Tornado.  So, I sit in a mound of toys, going a little stir crazy, silently sipping coffee so she doesn’t wake up.

I assume that this energy level is going to continue on and grow as she ages.  As she gains more and more freedom, and learns more and more limits, she is just going to boost in power.  This is exactly why you are at your highest fertility in your early 20’s.  I’ve never been an advocate of young people having kids, but I get it.  I understand why it’s ideal. Your body & mind are much more apt to deal with the huge life change that is a baby.  I don’t even understand these moms who have kids at 40+.  They must be a glutton for punishment.  I don’t understand moms who have more than 1 kid.  It gives me serious anxiety to even think of having another child.  For a hot moment, when she was first born, I thought it would be sweet to give her a sibling.  That was around the time I wasn’t getting any sleep, and insanity had clearly set in.

I’m hoping that her energy level keeps me young, that chasing her around keeps me in shape, and that a little bit of her magical power seeps back into me each time she nurses. So here we are at 11 months old.  In a few weeks, I will have successfully kept her alive for a year.  It’s incredibly mind blowing to me I have had this person almost a year.  What do I do now?  I pour another cup of coffee, sit by the fire, and wait for my Tiny Tornado to awake.  For when she does, she may just move mountains.

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The Missed Connection

The Missed Connection

5am on February 11, 2016 was a miserable time.  My sweet Emma was a little over a week old, and I was a dirty, overly tired, moody, hormonal zombie.  I had zero idea how to make her stop crying that night, and I had been awake for a long, long, long time.  The interesting thing about sleep deprivation is that you will, in fact, start to lose your mind.  Pair that with an endlessly crying baby, trying to learn how to breastfeed without it hurting so bad you wanted to rip your nipples off, and a million hormones surging all across the board, and you have one really touchy and out of sorts mom.  I was that mom.  I’m not ashamed to admit it, and I know I am not alone in that particular moment. 

I’m not a crier.  I didn’t cry on my wedding day, and I didn’t cry when Emma was born.  But, this particular morning, I broke, and sat crying in the dark corner of the nursery, desperately trying to comfort my screaming baby.   It was then my husband came out of the bedroom, and saw me crying.  I thought he had come out to help comfort Emma, or even me.  Instead, he looked at me and said, “What’s the problem?  I don’t know why you are crying when I haven’t slept and have to go to work.”  I have never hated my husband, but at that moment, I did.  And it was that moment, of what felt like complete despair, and terrible judgment on my husbands end, that I pulled away and decided I had no support system in him and needed to be strong on my own.  That was the moment I deamed myself the married single mom.  That was the beginning of a terrible spiral into what almost cost us everything.  That was our first, of many, missed connections.

One of the most difficult things about having a baby is learning to balance your new life.  There is this bundle of perfection that needs every waking moment you have, and every bit of energy you have to muster up.  Yet you still have to shower, eat, care for a dog, clean a house, do laundry, and somehow make time for your spouse.  It’s insanely taxing and emotionally draining at times.  I guess I took for granted the connection that I had with my husband prior to having Emma.  I knew it was there, but never recognized it, until it wasn’t there.  And moms, if you value your marriage, you need to take steps to preserve it.  And dads, if you are reading this, and love your wife, you need to try very hard to make an effort as well.  Your wife is under a tremendous amount of pressure, and needs support.  This is new ground to maneuver and you must tread lightly to stay strong together. 

Up until the day Emma was born, Erich was my very best friend.  He was my rock, my provider, my love, my whole world.  We were so excited about Emma, and we had so many plans of how perfect things were going to be.  Then Emma came crashing into our lives, and nothing at all was perfect.  In fact, it got really nasty.  It all started at 5am that morning, and just snowballed out of control.  I felt so alone, and so on edge all the time.  I had zero normalcy to the life I once knew, and I didn’t even know who I was at some moments.  I looked in the mirror and saw this shell of a woman I vaguely knew, but didn’t understand any of how I felt.  I just sort of felt dead and beat down.  I did not feel attractive, I did not feel smart, I did not feel useful, and I did not feel like being touched by anyone because a tiny little person was attached to me nonstop.  To top that off,  I had a spouse who seemed to either not notice, not know how to address the situation, or simply did not care.  All of those factors infuriated me a little more each day.  Up until the point that I didn’t even really have anything to say to him outside of basic conversation that revolved around the baby needs or bills.  And then one day, I didn’t even want to talk about that so I sat on the couch silent, or would move into another room.  He didn’t even seem to care as he sat on his phone looking thru Facebook or whatever other social media platforms he fancied.  

***SIDENOTE:  Indulegnce in an iphone/laptop will aid in the death of your relationship!!

When passion and lust die out in a relationship, you better pray that there is an underlying basis to keep it together.  There better be real love, tolerance, and patience there, or your relationship will fail.  Each party needs to make an effort.  And when one member of the party falls, the other needs to stand and be strong to hold the other up.  Our baby was born in February, it took until August to make that happen.  We went thru a lot of dark days.  I’m not even sure that Erich understood the magnitude of how far removed I was until one day in August day when we had bickered so often that I told him I was leaving for a while.  He stormed out, drove away, and called a little while later asking what was going on with us.  I could hear in his voice that he actually was concerned, scared, and just as lost as I was.  And that was all it took for me to be back on board.  I just needed to know he noticed and cared.   He came home, and we talked once the baby went to bed.  Actually talked like we used to before our lives were cluttered with diapers and feedings and toys scattered about. 

The next day, he called from work, and asked if I wanted to go camping without the baby.  We had never been anywhere without her, so this was very scary to me, but I knew if we didn’t go we were going to be in bad shape.  Leaving Emma behind, and skipping town, was the best decision we had made in a long time.  We packed up our RV, went hiking, stayed up late talking and laughing together, slept in at our leisure, and rekindled the very last ember that was burning in our relationship.  I remembered why I loved him so much.  And I think that he started to see me as his wife again, and not just the run down mom I had become. And we both saw the need for us to take time together.

If you don’t take time to maintenance your marriage, you will have no marriage.  And we had not even tried to maintenance anything.  I’m not sure if we were so niave that we just believed our marriage would work on its own, or if we simply took each other for granted, but regardless, you actually do have to put forth effort.  And we had not had date nights, no time alone, no nothing for months and months.  Turns out, these things are incredibly important, whether you think they are or not.  To keep intimacy alive, you actually have to put forth effort to stay intimate.  Mindblowing, I know.  You have to hold hands, look each other in the eye, laugh together, cook together, cuddle up on the couch, get away, and remember why you valued this person in the first place.  

Since then we have gone on our much awaited (and far past due) honeymoon, went camping again, took a trip to where it all began for us, and valiantly make an effort to keep each other a priority.  Grant it, life has smoothed out as Emma has aged, and we are still adjusting at times, but we learned a valuable lesson in marriage maintenance. 

So, why am I telling you this?  I write this because I know I am not alone in this situation.  I see women on social media forums ask every single day how you keep romance alive in a marriage with a newborn.  I understand they are grasping at the same thread I was, and I feel for them.  It’s a terrifying place to be. 

Moms, you are not alone.  It’s hard to be a new mom.  It’s hard to be a seasoned mom.  And I imagine it’s hard to be a dad that is pulling the financial burdens of the family.  It’s imperative that you find common ground, keep communication open, make each other a priority, and remember to stay connected.  Take time for love. Because love is what brought you this new bundle of joy that fills your home, and heart ,with so much n008ew life.

And it’s only love, and a lot of effort, that can help you stay connected.

#nostalgicmom

#nostalgicmom

These days, I’m nostalgic.

My sweet baby girl is now 10 months old, and every day is a new adventure for her.  In the last week she has learned how to turn on and off the tv with the remote, climb in and out of her rocking chair, work the recliner, pet the dog in a manner that doesn’t include pulling her hair, take 2 steps without anyone holding her hand, and say hi very distinctly. I sit in complete wonderment most days.  I wish I learned tasks this quickly.  I could rule the world.

I don’t even know how we got to 10 months.  It really does seem like yesterday I brought her red-faced, tiny self home all curled up in a blue fuzzy blanket.  It seems like I just learned how to nurse her to make her cries of hunger, loneliness, boredom, and aches go away.  It feels like she shouldn’t be making such vast advancements because I don’t feel like I am advancing at all.  In fact, I feel like time is standing still in my land, while her time is set on warp speed.  So, I sit in the land of nostalgia because I don’t want to forget a moment spent in her awesome presence.

I remember thinking how fragile she was, how ridiculously beautiful she was, and how she had the sweetest little hands that she would lovingly wrapped around my fingers.  Now, she’s this rough and tumble (dare I say) pre-toddler, who is drop dead gorgeous, and uses those gentle hands to pull out my hair, and destroy everything she touches in the house.  I gave up chasing her around the house, and just bought gates to contain her.  I let her do whatever she wants with her toys because I like watching the mess she creates.  I spend my evenings picking it all up after she goes to bed, and smile, because one day I won’t have her magical land to pick up.  There will be no more Babs, Foxy baby, and Wolfy.  They will be replaced by clothes, makeup, and jewelry belonging to an angst filled teenager that I will inevitably butt heads with.

She is my tiny tornado.  She is both my lack of sleep, and my shot of espresso.  She is the reason I am grumpy at 4am when I have to feed her, and the reason I smile the moment I turn the corner and see her reaching for me.  She can spin me from pure frustration to pure joy with the flash of her smile.  And to think, that just a few short months ago, she was a completely different tiny person.  She needed me for everything.  She didn’t like anyone else but me.  She was all mine to cuddle and love on.  Now, she’s this social, independent, little person who is stubborn, doesn’t really want to be held, and sort of ignores me.  And I just smile.  Because I can see me in her.  She may look like her daddy, but she sure does have my strong will and determination.

Little miss Emma, 10 months have flown by.  My heart is sad to see you move on to another stage of life, but so excited to watch you grow.  Just grow a little slower for me, so I can soak it all in just a little longer.  2dsc_8054

I’m a Woman, a Mom, and I’m glad she didn’t Win.

I’m a Woman, a Mom, and I’m glad she didn’t Win.

Let me give you some insight into my life.  I’m a stay at home, white, 36 year old, middle class female living in Ohio.  My husband is 37, works incredibly long hard hours, owns 2 businesses,  we have a gorgeous 9 mo old daughter, and a cute little dog.  I’m sure we sound boring & basic to you.  I’m sure I’m going to offend people with this blog, lose “cyber friends” on the all mighty Facebook, and perhaps even enlighten some of you.

But, I am glad she didn’t win.

I look forward to the day that there is a woman president.  And yes, I do believe that day will come. I’ve read so many sorry posts about a “woman always losing to a man”, and I find that completely self-absorbed and defeatist.  In fact, the very woman who are spewing this misnomer are the very ones who claim to be so down for the cause.  I sit confused about this pessimistic viewpoint.  Why are you giving up hope and being so melodramatic?  Because your weak candidate didn’t win?  Women of the past that fought for women’s rights didn’t give up just because they lost one fight.  They kept fighting.  But, I guess it is easier to complain and cry, instead of stand and keep moving towards positive change.  Shame on you.

I chose to believe a woman will win one day.  The right woman.  A strong, ethically powerful, well spoken, educated, determined, deserving woman.  Clinton was not that woman.  And if you think she was, you’re either blind, ignorant, know nothing of politics, or simply wanted her to win because she has a vagina.  She was riddled with scandal, and her financial power was what allowed her to even get as far as she got. We all sat and watched her push Sanders right out of the way, and no one even seemed to care. Not even the huge amount of Sanders supporters.  No other citizen on the planet could have gotten away with what she got away with.  Her money spoke for her, not her voice.  And when she did try to use her voice to speak, she stumbled, she backtracked, she said what she thought the American people wanted to hear.  But, she was disconnected to the actual issues of the people who actually matter, the working class.  A millionaire/billionaire can never relate to a middle class citizen, let alone the weak and the poor.  And we are the ones working so hard, paying terribly high taxes, education, and medical fees.  We are the ones grinding every day to try to keep our heads above water in this economic pool that is drowning most of us.

I want a woman who is not in bed with banks, companies like Monsanto (who I deplore), & legal teams that can sway legalities in the direction of wrong.  I want a woman who is strong enough to walk away from a man who cheated on her and drug her name thru the mud.  I want a woman who uses funds for the good of the people, not herself.  I want a woman who provides a charity that actually does what it is supposed to do;  which is not to fund her daughter’s wedding.  I want a woman who is not surrounded by the scandal of murders, even if it is just conspiracy theory.  And I want a woman who can look the people in the eye, and you don’t doubt for one moment that she is telling the truth, and has the peoples best interest at heart.  I want a woman I can be proud of, and that my daughter can admire.

The man who took the presidency may not be the most fantastic option, and Lord knows his VP is someone I never ever would endorse.  But, they won.  Is Trump perfect, no way. But, I think it speaks volumes about what the American people were looking for.  They wanted to move into a different direction because the direction we have been going in is clearly not working.  We, as a country, are sinking.  Your hashtag #notmypresident is stupid because he is, in fact, your president.  Your asinine rioting, and burning of the American flags, show your utter disdain for the country you claim to love, and the hypocrisy or the peacefulness you claim to have.  What you better do is get involved in the options that he is laying out on the table, because it is my/your country to get involved in.  Sitting on the sidelines, staying silent, and letting the government make all your decisions for you, is why we are in such crisis.  Your voice will be better heard, and respected, if you are educated on the topics at hand, instead of running your mouth on pure emotion.  Instead of the endless division and hatred, unite and pray that this President surrounds himself with wise counsel because if he does make bad choices, we all go down with the ship.

So, as I sit sifting thru hate filled Twitter and Facebook posts, listening to the always biased news, and think about our next 4 years, I am happy I don’t have to tell my daughter her first woman president was a lying, heartless, scandal riddled crook.  But, I will never ever let her think that a woman can’t become president.  I will never utter those words to her. Because it can, and it will happen.  #sheiscoming

 

Fleeting Moments

Fleeting Moments

Today, as I was chasing my astoundingly fast crawling 8 month old, I chuckled to myself. The things I could not wait for her to do are so amazing, but what I wouldn’t give to have my sleepy, calm, baby back at times.   And then it hit me….I am going to always be excited for her next achievement, but still long for the time she was innocent of that next great feat.  Suddenly, a flood of moments that have come and gone in her short 8 months of life rushed into my memory.  And a twinge of pain pinged my heart.

I couldn’t remember the exact moment she stopped falling asleep snuggled up on my chest, but I fondly remember how that was the only way she would fall asleep.  No one else would soothe her, and no other spot would do.  It was all about me, a fluffy green chenille robe, and her cuddled up perfectly.  And now, she doesn’t do that.  She also no longer gazes at me like I am her whole world right before she falls asleep.  Now, she has a million other things to look at that are far more interesting than dear old mom.

She doesn’t stare mesmerized at her mobile anymore.  In fact, it has been removed from her bed because she was trying to swing on it like Tarzan.  Her infant baby blankets are gone from her bed because they no longer cover her growing body, and a few of her first toys are gone because she doesn’t even acknowledge them.  She’s growing….and changing….and I’m not sure how I feel about this.

I couldn’t wait for her to fit into some of her big girl outfits that I had waiting for her.  But, she grew so quickly she didn’t even get to wear some of them.  I remember as I folded away the cutest, tiniest, newborn clothes she had, a tear fell from my eye because I thought I would be folding those clothes for much longer than I had to.  Now, it’s an endless shopping fiasco because she moves in and out of sizes at the craziest rate of speed.

I yearned for the moment she could sit up on her own so I didn’t have to hold her endlessly. I remember thinking how awesome it would be to have her sit up like a big girl, so we worked for days and days on it.  Then one day, I don’t even remember when, she could sit up on her own, and the days of me holding her instantly shortened.  Now, she wiggles for freedom when I go to hold her.  Our cuddle time is solely reserved for naptime, bedtime, or ouchies.  And I know that one day I won’t be needed for those moments either.

I wanted her to crawl so badly to allow her independence to start soaring.  No one told me she would crawl at the speed of light.  Some days, I wish she couldn’t crawl so I could have some control over where she went, and when she went there.  She loves her new mobility, and I love watching her explore, but I miss the days of her staying put so I could actually get more than one thing accomplished during the day.

I longed for her to say mama.  She did for about 10 minutes, and then moved on to dada.  I do look forward to having her vocabulary to flourish, and our conversational banter to mature, but I know at some point, probably when I have had a long day,  I am going to wish she would just be quiet.

This vicious cycle will continue as she learns to walk, stops breastfeeding, goes to school, and continues to grow into her own person that doesn’t really need me anymore.  I will look forward to her moments of growth, but miss the moments of my little baby needing me.

This is the most perplexing and confusing reality I am in.  I have zero control over what is occurring.  All I can do is help her grow and guide her into a life of needing me less and less. She is evolving right before my eyes so quickly it’s unsettling. She is growing, the moments are fleeting, and the times I thought felt like they would never end have done so without me even noticing.  img_8479