Quiet Moments

Mother is Eternal | Quiet Moments

Mother is Eternal | Quiet Moments

In the early morning, I peel open my eyes but it’s still dark. There’s a hint of blue morning light beginning to creep from behind the trees. Next to me, I can feel you searching. Barely even awake. I lift my breast a little closer and almost instantly you find me. Latching on and nestling into me like a little bird under my wing, you calm back to slumber. I smile groggily, curl into you, and follow suit.

At night, I lay you down and lay next to you. The sun begins to shine elsewhere in the world. Your skin smells of lavender and fresh baby. I kiss your forehead before your plump, peach lips begin to nurse. The sweet warmth of the milk works its magic against your tongue and you begin to get drowsy. Soft music plays in the background and I do my best to sing gently to you. Eventually, you fall into slumber.

My heart sings in rhythm, beating with yours, and I’m reminded that this is home. Slowly, I breathe your love in and I breathe out the stress. It’s just us, little babe. You and I. Together. Under these vast skies and for eternity.

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On Self-Confidence

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I’ve never been one to hold confidence in myself. I’ve always been in a world of self-doubt and uncertainty. Never believing in myself, my choices, or my lifestyle as much as I should. I was often proud of my views but I didn’t always carry them boldly. Ever since Maddox was born, something slowly, gently, and unexpectedly shifted.

Confidence is a magnificent quality of self-assurance. One that many people lack, one that I lacked for the longest time. There are many ways to build it up and move forward with heads held high. Plenty of experiences to teach us this quality. Our life is a series of navigating, building, and breaking the doors to our confidence through all the influences we encounter daily. Confidence seems to always need a key ingredient of an outside energy source to fuel itself.

Yet there’s a confidence that cannot be influenced or taught. One that lives within our bones and the depths of our soul. It dwells organically and is known, strengthened, and nurtured by the heart and the intuition of self. It is unlocked by one key alone: pure love.

This is what my new mama skin has taught me.

Giving birth to Maddox has been humbling. It has created a newfound confidence within me. Never have I felt so decisive and knowing than now and I trust in myself more than ever before. I have researched everything under the sun yet what I execute in motherhood is what I know to be true and safe within my heart. It correlates with an ancient sisterhood of mothers. Everything has felt natural and innate. Everything has felt a part of me.

This is a confidence I wish to instill in Maddox. Tides may constantly shift, but this inner knowing is eternal. This inner source holds a power to learn, love, fail, ebb, and flow. This confidence needs to be respected and revered. We must water it and nurture it day by day. This confidence was born within the womb and is buried within ourselves on Earth. It’s only a matter of unlocking it.

Motherhood is a strange, certain thing that has torn me open. One thing I can say with surety is being a mother is eternal.

Not Returning to Work Post-Baby

It’s June. The sun is beaming down overhead. The metal chair feels cool on your back. You’ve got your camera ready, anticipation flooding in your hands. You’re chattering to the women next to you about how unbelievable it is that you’re here. You’re both reminiscing when the microphone from the podium starts to sizzle. The guy standing there announces the graduating class. In a line of students preparing to take their seats, you locate your son. You’re beaming from ear to ear, clasping your hands together, proud of how far he’s come from the little boy you once knew.

Because before you know it, they’re adults. They’re ready for the world. They’re ready to start their own life, to get their own job. It’ll flash by and before you know it, he’ll be marrying into his own family. He’ll be watching his own kids graduate. Perhaps, instead, he’ll be out traveling the world. Whatever he’s doing, he’ll be out of the house.

So I’ve held my breath, after countless hours of contemplating in my head, and I’ve decided: I’m not going back to work. At least not 40 hours a week at the law firm. It wasn’t an easy decision. I weighed my options repeatedly in my head: paid vacations, paid time off, a steady paycheck each week, etc. Not only the benefits, but I love my job and I was damn good at it. Turns out, I’d rather lose all of those things than 40 hours a week with my son. All that time adds up and it adds up faster than you think.

My original plan was to return to work and I had every intention of doing so. I was aspired by the thought of tackling a job, a child, a household, and a partner. I felt I’d be falling short if I wasn’t able to handle all three of those. Surely I’d be able to do it all and do it well.

Then I brought Maddox earthside and, apart from my heart being blown wide open, so was my mommy instinct. I started to worry that I’d lose out on his precious moments, the ones I treasured so much already. I didn’t want someone else to witness his first laugh or his first roll over or his first step, let alone a stranger while I was at work. I’m his protector, his sole support, his constant comfort. This was something I’d lose and something he’d lose as well. The inevitable change was becoming clearer the more time I spent with Maddox.

Having a baby changes you and teaches you. I’m not the same person as I was before I brought Maddox into this world. As much as I love working at the law firm, it’s not what I want to do for the rest of my life and now I’m able to focus on what I love: Maddox and my studies. I plan to work towards my holistic health & wellness coach certificate along with my doula certificate. Two things that will help and support people.

Right now, I know Maddox better than anyone. I know him better than himself. Everyday, I am helping him grow and become comfortable in this world. I want to be his teacher, his provider, his biggest support system for as long as I can, while I can. I don’t want to lose out on precious moments. They are too important. He’s too important.

(Photo by Jill Krementz of writer E.B. White)

Postpartum Pondering

Motherhood breaks you open. Tears you into various directions. Giving birth to my son was the happiest, most ecstatic moment of my life. He’s my absolute world. Perhaps that’s why I’m feeling so down. Because nothing else seems to compare? I don’t feel myself. I feel broken. Both my body and my mind. I feel fragile like a porcelain doll that’s fallen off the shelf and the pieces are lying on the floor. I feel strange. I’m blissful yet sad.

The postpartum period for the past 5 weeks has increasingly become more difficult. Dave is working 90% of the time and the house has gotten lonely. All 3 of us have been exhausted and it has taken a toll on the entirety of the house.

One thing that needs to be remembered is so much joy comes with having a child. It’s an indescribable joy that cannot compare with anything else. With hormones flying off the wall and expectations of the postpartum period, it’s easy for sadness to stick like flypaper. And there’s no shame in this. There’s a natural high that slowly loses its potency after birth. It’s not because we aren’t anticipating other milestones with our child.. but because women are expected to resume regular scheduling almost immediately after giving birth. There is a pressure to jump back into the old routine and the old body as soon as possible. A pressure to feel complete and happy.

For many, it’s just not that simple.

At least not for me. It’s been overwhelming to have your body be so captive to a little human. I am the sole provider for my son. He relies on me more than anything or anyone else. My body nourishes him, my scent entices him, my hands clean, comfort, and change him, my eyes hold bags from our 5am feedings, my warmth from my body soothes him. Others can soothe him as well, but not like mama can. There is a loneliness it entails.

It’s not easy. Nor is it easy to admit that this period has been tough. Mentally, emotionally, and physically. I feel a sense of shame, guilt, and failure although I know I shouldn’t. But talking about it and letting it out has helped free me from it.

Your body adjusts to the constant lack of sleep, lack of showers, the diaper changes, milk, more milk, snuggle me, fussiness, hold me, don’t let me go, more milk, too much milk, spit up, more diaper changing, more milk, baths, more fussiness, too hot, too cold, skin-to-skin, I’m scared please hold me, I’m tired please hold me, just hold me, more milk. It’s an on-going, endless cycle to fulfill his needs. Your body adjusts to it all yet your mental and emotional state take time to catch up.

But I’m going to revel in the neediness of my baby. Because slowly, he’ll stop needing me as much. Slowly, he will unlatch from my breast. Slowly, he will unlatch from my arms. Slowly, my back will no longer be able to support his weight. Until then, I want to give all of me to him. I want him to know happiness more than he knows sadness. I want to ensure his life is full of positivity and love. I want him to know that even though this point right now is rough, scary, and new, I am here with him. In this moment. And every moment hereafter.

Motherhood is hard. It changes and transforms you. It’s okay to feel sadness or be depressed after giving birth. It’s nothing to feel guilty or ashamed about. It’s normal and you will get through it. You have made it to this point and you are strong. Please know, you are not alone.

Honest Motherhood • Courtney

Honest Motherhood is a series of submissions by Mothers. These are the raw, personal, and brave truths of Motherhood and what it is to many, different women. Today’s post is from Courtney on the transformation she underwent during her transition into motherhood. Motherhood is the death of oneself and the birth of another and something you won’t come back from.

I promised I wouldn’t change. I promised I would be the same person, that I wouldn’t become the woman who talked about her child constantly, the woman who wouldn’t long to be home holding my baby after being out for only an hour, the woman who became nothing but a mother. Most of all, I promised I wouldn’t become that woman who told her childless friends that they just couldn’t understand because they aren’t a mom. I hated those women, I couldn’t stand how they seemed to look at my life like it wasn’t as serious as theirs, that as much as I could be sympathetic and understanding, I just didn’t get it.

I didn’t get it.

I didn’t understand that when I became a mother, I would also be putting to rest a part of myself. I knew I would change, I knew that my life was changing in the most dramatic and intense way, I suppose I failed to understand the magnitude of that change.  A part of me died when such a larger part of me came alive to bloom. I don’t know if it’s the same for other women, I just know what happened to me. I hate the pretentiousness I feel when I look at my friends who don’t have children and think, “they just don’t get it.” But they don’t, I didn’t and I think that’s the hardest part. That I despised the women like me, those mothers who looked at each other with knowing, with a secret language that only mothers know. Giving birth is like receiving the Rosetta Stone to this secret language. All of these parts in your brain that you never knew existed come alive and ignite and you realize how much you didn’t know before that moment.

Shortly after Kitty was born I took her with me to the co-op to pick up some groceries. I was wandering among the produce when a woman approached me. She looked at Kitty sleeping in her wrap and said the usual things that women say about new babies and then she looked at me and said something I will never forget, “I can still see it on you, you’ve been there, you’ve been to the other side haven’t you?” It struck me, I had never thought of it before, but in those hours before Kitty was born, it was other worldly. I went to another place, a place where I went deep into something ancient and timeless and when I exited, I was forever changed.

I have heard of Native Americans going on vision quests or crying for dreams. They are pushed to physical limits, often fasting, they come to a deep understanding of themselves to show their purpose in life, it is a right of passage leaving your life as a child and beginning a new life as an adult. It is a birth in itself. It is also a death.

And so I changed, more than I expected, more than I maybe wanted to. Part of me died when I was on the other side, I wasn’t prepared for that, I don’t think it’s something I considered. I knew I would have a son or a daughter, I knew I would be a mother, but I didn’t think about the person I would be leaving behind. There is no official title for a childless woman.

I left her there on the other side. I came back from my quest, with my daughter, my dream.

Honest Motherhood • Krystal

Honest Motherhood is a series of submissions by Mothers. These are the raw, personal, and brave truths of Motherhood and what it is to many, different women. Today’s post is from Krystal who lets us know fear is not something to be afraid of. But instead something to transform. She adopts a positive outlook from negative experiences and in turn, hopes to shower her children with love and compassion.  

I spent some the most important growth and development years of my life as a ward of the state. While I was in foster-care, I was abused in every sense of the word. Raped, molested, beaten, neglected, and emotionally traumatized. Due to the abuse I suffered I had “behavioral issues” and was wildly over-medicated. They put me on simple antidepressants to strong psychotropic drugs, and everything in between. They kept my mind in a constant state of “zombie”, just so my foster parents could “deal with me”. This only added to my feelings of being nothing more than an insignificant, monthly paycheck. My state of mind is still trying to sort itself out.

The before mentioned meds created some serious chemical imbalances in my developing brain that I am still struggling to overcome today. Having said that, I am still the most outspoken, opinionated, independent woman, you should have the pleasure to know. The biggest lesson I learned is that the only person I can depend on to do what is right for me, is myself. I know it sounds cynical, but it has been a very positive thing for me. On more than one occasion I have protected myself from being victimized or used.

Another lesson I came away with, always trust my instincts. If there is “something off” about someone or a situation, you bet I pick up on it. I’ve gotten pretty good at judging a person’s character or intentions. Nine times out of ten, my ” little voice” is dead on. My advice to moms that live in fear is this: fear is healthy in moderation. We fear for a reason. We can’t let it cripple us, but allow it to tell us when something isn’t right. I still struggle with this at times, but when I find myself not able to move past it I ask for help. There is no shame in admitting you have no clue what you’re doing! Those who have gone before us didn’t know at first either. Knowing there are people out there willing to help, quiets my fears and keeps me moving on.

Maintaining a positive outlook is fairly easy for me. I just tell myself if I lived through 8 years of hell, I will live through potty-training, or whatever I’m having a hard time with. I make it a point to remind myself daily how blessed I am that I have a family. Because of internal damage caused by sexual abuse, I was told I would never be a mother. My three babies are miracles sent to me so I can right the wrongs that were done to me by ending the cycle of abuse. My children will begin to change the world for the better because I have promised them I will raise them with all the love, joy, and compassion I was denied. Being a newer mom, I haven’t quite got the hang of “taking care of me”. Right now I’m so over-joyed with my oh so precious little ones, it’s absolutely worth the sacrifice of looking pretty, or waking up 100% rested every morning. That is a journey I’m ok with starting another day.

For now I am perfectly content with just some chocolate and my hairy legs.

Notes From The Third Trimester

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On Wednesday, I’ll be hitting 33 weeks. 33. Leaving me with 7 more weeks until I meet my little one. Time seems to be whipping by. Too fast, yet not fast enough. It’s also nutty that he can come anytime within this 7 week period, or he could come later. I’m excited and nervous to see when the little fox picks his birthday.

Right now I feel I’m coasting. Slowly, Dave and I are getting things ready. Little things here and there. I haven’t been rushing around, stressed, which surprises me. Although I’m often nervous and scared, I’m confident, excited, and I’m enjoying my gradual ease into motherhood. I’m shedding old skin and preparing for my new mama skin. I am on the most wild adventure of my life with a babe beneath my breast. I’m being torn in two. As I progress in this pregnancy, part of me is dying while another part is being born. I’m unfolding, manifesting into a new skin. Still me yet taller, stronger, different.

I have so much to learn from you, my little fox.

I often have visions of seeing Maddox. I imagine him with blonde hair and eyes that go from blue to brown. I imagine the smell and softness of his skin, his warmth, his cries, his coos, his smiles. I can’t wait to be a mommy and more specifically, I can’t wait to be his mommy.

I’m excited to team with Dave and for him to be a father to Maddox. I love picturing Maddox laying against Dave’s chest, sweet, tender, and innocent. I love these visions but I’m just about ready for the real thing. Things are not always going to be easy for us. We’re going to struggle and we’re going to struggle hard but we’re going to come through even stronger than before. Loving Dave and being able to share our love has been extraordinary but I’m happy we’ll get to share our love with Maddox as well. I can’t wait for the years ahead of us and what’s to come.

Notes on the third trimester: Things are becoming increasingly more uncomfortable: turning over in bed has become a chore (at least I’m getting cardio somewhere), strong kicks to the ribs (he might already be a black belt), and a ton of hiccuping (if you’ve been pregnant and they occur more than once a day, the consistent, rhythmic thumping can drive you a bit batty). Dave has been exceptional as always. He has understood that sometimes I’m lazy and tired so he helps out as much as he can around the house, he rubs my feet, he rubs my back, he’ll pick things up off the floor, he’ll take my shoes off, and more. He’s great and I’m so overjoyed with everything.

Cheers to 7 more weeks of this sacred journey!