Mama Magic

If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that every challenge prepares us for the next. I’ve been so sick this week & anytime I start feeling bad, I remind myself that this is all in preparation. I got the opportunity to practice my labor relaxation and meditations while processing nausea, vomiting, dehydration, and severe stomach cramps and it was a joy (and a relief!) to find they worked.

I’m still not fully recovered yet, but I’m getting there. I’m trying to listen to my body and take its cues, which has meant more rest and a slower pace than I’m accustomed to, but hey, it’s a lesson in humility. And how can I tell my body no? 

It’s been a constant adjustment for me, as someone who struggles still with body image, to embrace the changes that come with pregnancy. Each step has brought new stress, new anxiety, new fear over expanding into a space I’ve spent so many years trying to minimize. And as many of those “fears” have come true, I’m growing more and more in love with it.

This super full body was designed to know what I need when I don’t. In thinking about motherhood, I see that the last 15 years, this body has been practicing for precisely this. This body has heated up once a month in case some tiny soul should inhabit it, until now, when one has finally taken root. 🌱 

I’m realizing that there’s a reason God made women the only gateway into this world. Our bodies grow & stretch to make space for the future. We build up fat stores to keep us and our children warm & nourished. We build up strength over the years, each small influx of hormones & each emotional wave a taste of what’s to come, each cramp toning our bodies to prepare for birth of that future, of each person. I realize we don’t all have the opportunity to become mothers, but if we do, if we choose to, our arms & our hips carry the next generation across this world. We mend their broken hearts with our own resilience, built up thicker after each broken heart we’ve faced. Each imperfection of ours teaches them adaptability, self love, self care. They learn our flexibility as we change alongside them, each of us growing in our own way, in our own directions over the years. We meet them, our children (biological or otherwise), & we raise them up the best way we can, & then we offer them out into the world. They aren’t ours to keep, but ours to shape, to present. We are simply gateways. 

I’m trying to keep all these things in mind when I lose patience with my body–for being sick, for being tired, for being so full. This is all just preparation for the next big thing & I am so, so grateful to be on this journey in this body. 💚

#meditations #sick #yogamom #yogababy

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Seeing the Plank (or, “How I Realized I’m a Judgmental B****”)

Sometime over the course of this pregnancy, I grew a plank in my eye.

I know it happens to everyone–I mean, that ish is contagious–but I spent a little time this morning meditating and doing yoga and I realized that there it was, front and center, its splintery rough edges propping me up like a leg stand in my crow pose. And I think it’s time to go ahead and take that beam out.

plank
Me, balancing on my plank (dramatization).

So how did this massive chunk of wood grow in the center of my face without me noticing? We can start with the obvious: Daniel and I are [eccentric, hippie, granola, crunchy, whatever]. I want to breastfeed, we plan* to co-sleep and cloth diaper and, much to the confusion of  many of those around us, Daniel plans to parent our child. Not just “babysit,” not just serve as triage for when I’m on the edge of a mental breakdown, but legitimately take on the role of main caregiver for our baby.

We are unconventional, yes, but I’ll be damned if we are not a team. We’re 12 years into this romantic friendship of ours and, over that time, we’ve become a well-oiled machine of quirks and idiosyncrasies and shared interests. And I’m proud of us. I’m proud of the individual strength and confidence that I’ve built throughout this relationship and I’m proud to watch him continue to grow to the size of the challenges he’s met with. It’s been slow and steady, but we’ve been able to add more to our ship without sinking and I’m pumped about adding this next big thing (which is, ironically, a tiny little baby). Our plan is to fold this baby into our lives, destabilize a little, and then figure out what our new normal looks like. That’s it. No other real plans.

Needless to say, I knew we were doing things differently. I knew that my personal desire to make things harder on us short-term for (what I believe will be) long-term results would be a slap in the face to modern convenience. What I didn’t realize is that this would be offensive. 

So back to the plank.

I’m happy to say that I’m a feminist. I believe that the best thing we can do for our sisters is to support them and let them choose their own path. No decision made is wrong and there is nothing anti-feminist about wanting to be hyper feminine or a stay-at-home mom or anything of the sort, just as it’s perfectly fine to be a working mom, or a lesbian mom, or a stay-at-home dad. I’m proud of my fellow women (and men!) who do what works for them/their families and what makes them feel validated as the person they are… which is why I caught myself off-guard. You see, just as the offense that my “granola stubbornness” has caused surprised me, so too did my defense. In wanting to just have our wishes as a family respected, I began to criticize others’ for the same thing. I started comparing and contrasting “our way” with other ways, developing a small twinge of elitism in my own ideology. I started (mentally) pointing out specks in other people’s eyes.

Oh, hello, Plank.

There’s nothing more humbling than realizing that you’re part of the problem… and it’s time for a tonal shift. So this is me, opening my heart and my eye (the one currently healing from plank extraction). This is me, apologizing for any judgement I cast in defense of my own choices. We’re all just winging it, right? Doing the best we can to figure out how parenthood fits into our lives? Let’s give each other room to breathe, to experience the trial-and-error of raising kids, to step back and say “this isn’t working” without losing face. Let’s rejoice in each other’s successes and support one another in failure.

So you Mamas and Daddies out there to kids young and old and biological and adopted and step (and all the other mish-mash of ways we come into each other’s lives), I salute you.

I support you.

I’m not judging you (you’re doing the best job you can, and that’s a damned good job).

I’m proud of you.

And we’re all going to be just fine ❤

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* Plans can change.

Our Nest

The last few months have been a wonderful testament to the love and support of our friends, our family, and our community as we prepare to welcome our little one this June. Each week the stats change (currently 26 weeks, baby is the size of a bowling pin, Mama is up +15 lbs, and the belly (and boobs!) cannot be contained) and each week we move a little bit closer to the very real prospect of adding one more to our nest of 4.

All of the precious, tiny outfits have been sorted by size and the medical, bathing, feeding, changing, diapering, swaddling, entertaining and comforting items have been gathered into baskets (although not yet placed into their final homes). Each item represents a person who has gone out of their way to shower us with love. Each item will witness the joy, frustration, excitement, and terror that will fill our home so soon. To say that we are both humbled and grateful right now is an understatement, and I think we don’t even grasp how thankful we actually are just yet.

My mom bought Baby a stuffed duck a few weeks ago whose foot reminds us that “Jesus Loves Me.” He’s yellow, coincidentally matching the accents in our bedroom, which makes him a perfect addition to the space we’re working to create. He piles into the bed with Daniel, Moose, Shiya and me each night, hopefully absorbing all of our scents for Baby to appreciate later.

In the corner now sits a handmade bassinet alongside a matching wooden rocking chair three generations old. These both held and rocked Daniel as an infant, seeing him and his parents through sleepless nights, ear infections, and precious quiet moments together as a new family of three. Across the chair drapes a hand-knit blanket made specifically for our little one by some of our dearest friends, something that is all Baby’s own, and the top of the chair is crowned with the matching hat which will keep their tiny ears warm.

We hope to add more pictures of our adventures to the wall above our bed to show our baby a little bit about who we are as people and the things we’ve seen and done. To remind them that the world outside is vast and beautiful. Hopefully to encourage them to seek adventures of their own.

All of these things are filled with love. They represent generations of it–of us, of our parents, of their parents, all extending our love out to this little baby, our Wild West, our Tigger. I will miss having my bouncing little companion with me all the time (and boy! do they BOUNCE!), but it’s really wonderful to be surrounded by reminders of all the people who have helped to get us here, of all the people who already love them, and of all the support we have. That love will be needed once Baby is earth-side and showing us along the adventure of parenthood, no doubt.

There’s still so much work to be done, but thank you all for being a part of our tribe and leaving your mark on our nest. It seems so small but it feels so, so special to our family.