Just Write: Breathe

I’m having a hard time posting here. I want to write and post more about our day-to-day and the projects I’m working on. But, to tell you the honest truth, it’s because I’ve been struggling with some anxiety. I’ve always had anxiety even as a child. I think growing up with a stutter didn’t help my anxiety but I’ve managed to push through all these years, relatively unscathed. These past few weeks have been a bit different though. Maybe because I’m older, maybe because I have another little person to look after and not just myself. My anxiety got so high,  I struggled through a couple of panic attacks last week and the week before. I feel weird putting all of this out there, but I didn’t want to hide it and keep on blogging like everything was fine and dandy. I want to be open and not only express and document the positive aspects of my life in this space, but talk about the very personal aspects as well. Make sure to be “keeping it real.”  I am feeling better now. After a trip to several doctors, I have a plan in place and plenty of help in family and friends to get me feeling less anxious.I’m eager to move forward and write about the projects I’m working on and what Ellie is up to, but I really felt like I’d be lying if I didn’t post about what’s been at the forefront of my life these days, this anxiety and maybe even a little bit of depression.  Anxiety is a tough thing to deal with, maybe the toughest thing I’ve dealt with thus far. But, every day, I remind myself to breathe in and breathe out… and continue on the best I can.

* quietly joining back in with Just Write.

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Toddler Teeth

Long nights. The pain of new teeth coming in disturb my already very light sleeper. She whimpers and rolls closer to me, sometimes needing Mama’s milk to settle her body again. The days can be a whirlwind of emotions. Happy to paint but only with a paintbrush. Angry when the finger paints go back into the drawer, even though not a finger would touch them two seconds before. She wants to be close to me but bats my hand away when I try to gently brush her bangs out of her face. It’s hard, this dance we do when things get rough. I want so badly to take the uncomfortableness away, to cuddle her up or enjoy our day, but she has fight in her. She wants all of me and to be left alone at the same time. I carry my weepy girl upstairs. She wants her Pink Baby and her Bunny and her Napping Blanket. I get them as she sits on the bed waiting for me in all her sweet toddler glory. She scrunches her jaw and pats her cheek where those molars are breaking through. I give her a gentle glance and she curls up with me, nursing to sleep. An early nap time for this growing girl.

sleepy baby

 

* It’s been awhile but my goodness that felt good. Joining Heather today with JUST WRITE, “an exercise in free writing your ordinary and extraordinary moments”.

The Check-up

Prompt 18/30 seeking solace

 

She was seeking solace in my shoulder-blade. Burying her head deep down into Mama’s sweater, capturing my familiar scent, to ease her anxieties that the doctor was producing with all of the pokes and prodding.

I talked her through the examination.

“She’s going to look in your ears now. Okay. All done.”

She grabbed onto my body even tighter though when the stethoscope was placed on her bare skin. Her anxieties building and Mama’s embrace no longer keeping her confident. Tears poured from her eyes when the nurse stuck her with the needle and I had to shush in her ear to calm her little body down. I put on my brave mother face for her. Quieted down my own quick heartbeat. Used an even tone. But secretly, I was seeking solace too. Away from these strong maternal emotions I was feeling to protect my little one.  Her face beat red from crying. I held her with gentle stability. She held onto me and I held tight back.  It’s so difficult to be so young and not understand the what’s and why’s. I brought her home and cuddled her close. Laughing again and smiling again, it was but an experience she hopefully will not hold onto. And another experience in my book of tough moments of motherhood.

 

– joining in the daily writing with Write Alm’s November Prompts and Heather’s Just Write!

Just Write: A Quick Visit

Today I drove past my best friend’s childhood home. I stopped at the stop sign, turned left and then swung a right, right past the blue and white two-story home. The grass in front was well-tended just like it had been when Lauren lived there and that little tree in front was already turning color with autumn approaching.. Memories flooded back in an instant. I can see my mom dropping me off here for a slumber party. I wave her away as Lauren opens the front door smiling, a container of Carnation malt in her hand, ready for making ice cream soda’s. I see Lauren and I sitting in her cool, black Jetta, parked in the driveway of her house, angsty, emotional teenagers listening to Jewel’s Adrienne. Our seats laid back and the moon roof open. I can see us tumbling out the front door, a gaggle of young bodies dressed in Halloween costumes, ready for candy collecting. I see the stretch limo sidled up to the driveway. Girls in gowns and boys in tuxes eager for Prom and the rest of our lives.

It’s funny how a quick drive past a childhood home can conjure up so many memories and feelings. I connected with Lauren today after passing by her home. Texted her. Told her I missed her and the days of our youth. She texted back. I miss you tooIt would be nice to go back… maybe for just a quick visit? 

-joining Heather for Just Write (“an exercise in free-writing your ordinary and extraordinary moments”).

Just Write: This Beautiful Child Who Does Not Nap

we snuggle up together, she curls into my body and starts nursing, one hand draped to her side, the other softly caressing my chest. The hum of the fan calms both our bodies. It’s cool lying on the clean, cotton sheets. I have ocean music playing. Tunes to unwind and help little ones sleep. The wind blows the shutters open above our heads and a bright sun-gleam shines onto her face. I stare at my baby girl lovingly. She smiles at me between sucks. Her heavy, sleepy eyes perk open clearly and she pops off, flips over, smirks at me with a twinkle in her eyes and crawls quickly off the bed. A quick, lovely, peaceful moment… but unfortunately, no nap today.

wiggling feet

i refuse to nap, but i am cute

 

-joining in with Just Write today (I had written this last week but didn’t get a chance to post it. Now that I’m posting, I have a sleeping, sick baby curled up next to me).

Just Write: My Tribe

I have this tribe of Mama’s who have gotten me through the most trying days and nights with my baby. They support and guide me while I navigate nursing my active twelve month old, they give me advice when I’m anxious, pick me up when I’m feeling low and encourage my healthy living habits. They are the most phenomenal group of women that I have never met.  They are writers, artists, engineers, stay-at-home-moms, professionals from all walks of life. We’ve never met and yet I feel like they are my dearest friends, my support group, my sisterhood.

It was a blog that started all of this. I stumbled upon it one sleepy night while nursing Ellie back to sleep. A blog about “waiting it out”. A blog about accepting that some babies just don’t sleep through the night and that was okay. A blog about following the lead and needs of the child. No crying it out, just waiting it out. I loved every word Sarah wrote and I started eagerly following her blog. Post after post resonated with me. The respect and tenderness in each of her posts were so genuine and real. This was the mother I was trying to be to Ellie, this was the way I was parenting as well. The Nurshable blog touched so many sleepy mothers, a Facebook group was created and then sister groups stemming from that. Mothers from all over the globe, coming together to talk about waiting it out with their children. Supporting each other, helping each other, learning from each other, lovingly, with respect and adoration for each other. Months of visiting these groups and I am now a solid part of the community. I talk with these Mothers daily. I have their phone numbers and they have mine. Women I have never met but a camaraderie that grows and grows.

A tribe is so important in this motherhood journey and I am thankful every day for the support I have in these women. We don’t need to meet each other to feel so connected (although it would be lovely to meet many of them). We are connected through our passion to parent gently and we are connected through the support we give to one another every day. They remind me to breathe in and out and smile. And I in turn remind them.

-joining Heather for Just Write!

Just Write: She Turns One…

In five days my baby will turn a year old. I’m stunned (like all first time parents, I’m sure) at how quickly a year went by. Between preparations for this weekend’s birthday party and keeping a very active almost one year old busy, I’m finding that in those quiet moments my mind keeps wandering to the day I went into labor, the day I gave birth to my darling girl. This birthday isn’t just about celebrating a baby growing older but about a couple changing through the team-work of labor and love and turning into the family they are today.

The birth is blurry in  my head. I think that’s why I never told Ellie’s birth story here. I remember tiny bits and pieces; needing Jeff to be a constant all 20 + hours, feeling the warm water of the hospital shower rain down on my belly and back, easing some of the pain and being conscious of whether or not that damn IV stuck in my hand was getting wet. I remember leaning on a ball, the same ball a new Daddy would bounce his infant to sleep on. I was moving a lot. Up on the bed, squatting on the toilet, resting in the shower and back to the ball again. I don’t remember the pain, although  the photos our doula took suggests there was plenty of pain to go around. I do remember the surge of power I got when the midwife exclaimed I had reached 10 centimeters. The women in the room wanted me to push two times, each time, but I had insisted on pushing three times. I wanted that baby out. I remember lots of people in the hospital room at the end. A male nurse propped up against the wall with equipment. They thought Ellie may have swallowed merconium and as a precaution, specialized help was there at the ready. When she finally came out it was instant relief for my body and a flurry of activity. When she was checked over quickly and given the okay, her brand new, little body was placed on my chest. My body swollen from hours of the hardest work I had ever conquered and a steady stream of IV fluid was already doing what it was made to do, warm up that little creature lying there. I can picture the sweaty curls on Jeff’s forehead as he looked into my eyes as not just my husband but a father. I do remember that. My husband had in seconds changed before my very eyes into a father. Ellie was born on her due date at 9:59pm. And what I clearly remember is after the excitement died down, after I was stitched up, after the doula said her goodbyes and my own Mother got to meet her first daughter’s first daughter; it was dark and warm in that hospital room. Jeff had passed out for the night on the couch next to the bed. My Mom with tears in her eyes gave me a kiss on the head and one for her granddaughter too before leaving for the evening. After all was said and done, I laid there with Eloise, breathing ever so quietly and spent that first night holding her in my arms and memorizing her face, her breath, her smell. I was exhausted and the happiest I had ever felt in my life. I fell asleep with my new little baby safely sleeping on my chest. The nurses would leave us alone until morning. What a magical night that was in the hospital, this new little life I had created and pushed out, sleeping on my chest…

labor

pushing

shes here

a daddy

im a mother

And now she’s turning one. Like the labor I endured, this first year has been hard work, sometimes harder than I anticipated. With our new roles as mother and father, Jeff and I have supported each other through sleepless nights and milestones of every kind. And like that first night in the hospital, I’ve had euphoric moments with this little one. The first smile, connecting through  breastfeeding, waking up to her sweet face every morning. This year has been magical and tiresome, exhilarating and anxiety-producing, wonderful and marvelous and frustrating and emotional. My baby turns one in five days, I will celebrate her and hold her close and I will remember that night in the hospital, when I became the most important thing I will ever be… her mother.

-joining in with a special birthday edition of  JUST WRITE this week.