Five Ways To Cope With Morning Sickness

Five Ways To Cope WIth Morning SicknessIf you’re a follower of the blog, you noticed the sudden decrease in posts last month. ¬†And then hopefully you saw that I didn’t just go AWOL, I was being held captive by a little alien invader ūüôā . ¬†I’m happy to report that thanks to my doctor and lots of supportive family, I’m slowly returning to myself. ¬†Week nine¬†and Diclegis have brought some relief that will hopefully have the blog back up and running full steam ahead.

My morning sickness had me¬†sidelined for about a month. ¬†There were days that I barely moved from the couch and where caring for my two children truly felt like a struggle. ¬†My sewing room has been empty and there hasn’t been too much excitement going on in my house lately. ¬†But ya know what? ¬†It’s okay!!! ¬†I cut myself some slack to rest and feel yucky. ¬†I let my body and my mind cope with all the changes going on and guess what? ¬†Life went on! ¬†Nothing catastrophic happened. ¬†I learned that while life is much more fun when I’m participating fully, once in a while when there are more pressing concerns, you can take a break and things will turn out just fine.

Of course, there were times when I couldn’t just sit by and watch. ¬†I still had two children to cook for, play taxi too, and just generally care for. ¬†I still have a house on the market so there was still much cleaning and laundry to do be done. ¬† I shared a few tricks for handling diaper changes when you’re pregnant over at The Cloth Diaper Whisperer¬†last month and many of those tips apply to just generally surviving morning sickness the first couple of months. ¬†Here are the some ways I’ve coped with morning sickness that will hopefully get you through too.

Five Ways To Handle Morning Sickness

  1. Extra sleep. ¬†I know, I know. I have two kids still under 5. I get that midday naps don’t often happen. ¬†But if you can go to bed a little early or catch some weekend naps, it will help. ¬†Being tired only exacerbates the nausea.
  2. Pleasing scents. ¬†We’re all different, if you can find a scent that calms your queasiness, use it. ¬†Citrus and mint are usually the most effective, but if watermelon or your favorite Bath and Body Works lotion brings you relief, rub, burn it, infuse it…just sniff it! ¬†An essential oil diluted with a carrier like coconut oil or scent free lotion can be a god-send smeared under your nose or dabbed on your wrist. ¬†You all know I loooveee some CJs BUTTer. ¬†The minis are great to grab and sniff.
  3. Juice, soda…whatever stays down. ¬†I gave up soda a year ago…don’t miss it. ¬†But during my first months of pregnancy, plain water doesn’t work. ¬†I gag, I throw up almost every single time. ¬†After finding myself dehydrated and constantly dizzy, I tried having a soda. And it stayed down. ¬†I found small sips of cold juice stayed down too. ¬†So I did what I had to do to stay hydrated. ¬†Getting myself back to functioning was more important than keeping up the anti-soda streak. ¬†Once my morning sickness eases, I’ll be back to drinking boat loads of water, but until then drinking it and vomiting isn’t worth it.
  4. Eating less…more often. ¬†If another person ever tells me to eat a cracker for morning sickness, I might get sick on them. ¬†Even thinking about a cracker turns my stomach. Crackers don’t work for me. ¬†But, I found that having about 6-8 small meals a day does work. ¬†Cereal, sandwiches, jello, fruit cups….whatever eases your stomach, try having something to eat every couple of hours. ¬†The minute my stomach gets empty, bam, nausea sets in and it is HARD to break. ¬†Sadly the first trimester is not a glowing picture of health food for me. ¬†But it’s okay. ¬†When your main concern is keeping anything down, you can cut yourself some slack and do the best you can.
  5. When all else fails…call the doctor. ¬†I spent almost four weeks a sick, shaky mess. ¬†My doctor put me Diclegis at a very small dosage and after just one week, I felt brand new. ¬†My blood pressure came back up, I had more energy, and I was not throwing up twelve times a day anymore. ¬†If medicine isn’t your route, it’s okay. ¬†But if you aren’t functioning, getting help from your doctor is an option. ¬†They see pregnant women every single day, they will likely have some tricks to help you. ¬†You don’t want to wait until you’re dehydrated as that isn’t good for you or baby.

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Why So Quiet?

The blog’s been quiet this month…mainly because of this.

Announcement

And then we got to see this…

8w3dUltrasound

So I’ve spent a lot of time¬†with my head in a toilet the last month or so. ¬†This baby was a BIG surprise. ¬†Most of my plans for the year have been thrown for a loop as I’m in the midst of some pretty awful morning sickness that keeps me close to the couch or bathroom lately. ¬†If you’ve never experienced severe morning sickness, I hope you never do. ¬†It is truly exhausting. ¬†But, Baby Boo is growing right on track so far and that is indeed reason to celebrate.

I’ll be back…

The Day That Isn’t…

Beacon of HopeBack in September…I was so excited about Christmas this year. ¬†Granted, I’m excited about Christmas every year, but this year there was to be a special announcement.

One week (or perhaps just a few days) before Christmas, we were to find out the gender of the baby that I lost in September. ¬†Just as I had made an elaborate video to announce our new babies impending arrival, I had a big plan to reveal baby M3’s gender. ¬†I was so excited that the time was going to work out so that we’d find out right before Christmas. ¬†As soon as the ultrasound was done I was going to rush over to my favorite baby store and buy an outfit in the appropriate colors that screamed BOY or GIRL. ¬†Two outfits actually – one for my mother and one for my mother-in-law. ¬†And oh how a big part of me prayed for a girl. ¬†One tiny precious little girl among my rough and tumble, but painfully sweet boys. ¬†If that box had been filled with a pink outfit, my heart would have leapt higher and higher. ¬†Of course, if that box had been filled with more blue I would have rejoiced just as freely at having another protector. ¬†Another precious little heart for me to teach how to be kind and love. ¬†And who could teach me in things like superheroes, race tracks, and playing in the dirt as my other boys so love to do.

I can’t help but be a bit sad – occasionally weepy this holiday season. ¬†I am so blessed to have so much good in my life that it can often overshadow what I feel is bad. ¬†Yet in the quiet of the morning and the stillness of the night I’m often left alone with the thoughts of what could’ve been and it becomes a heavy burden. ¬†While there will be presents beneath my tree, there will not be the promise of another child’s birthday to¬†await¬†next spring. ¬†There is not a growing life in my womb to be celebrated…

As it so happens, my oldest son was born just two weeks shy of Christmas. ¬†It is always such a celebratory day for us. ¬†We celebrate this beautiful child who brought into our lives so much more than a new life. ¬†Through his labor¬†hope and proof that miracles happen were born. ¬†God's GiftsHe proved to us that dreams come true if you never give up on them. ¬†He was a beacon of light that pushed his way out of a darkness many mother’s sadly know about – but not all escape. ¬†His birth showed me that I embody strength and courage and still kept a soul gentle enough to be brought to tears by a brand new baby’s cries. ¬†Such a small baby, born three weeks before he was to come, just couldn’t wait to tell the world – we did it. ¬†My mom, dad, and I – we beat this infertility thing and we’re here.

I view my two boys as true miracles, it would be hard not to when you look at how many of their siblings failed to thrive in my womb. ¬†With so many living, walking miracles in my life I often feel guilty that I still pray for just one more. ¬†God placed within me a mother’s heart and that is one calling that I have never wavered upon. ¬†There were many times when the darkness in me called upon me to give up…but, I was never one to be told I couldn’t do something. ¬†My mother’s heart always won out in our battle to become parents. ¬†And, I do sincerely believe it will win out in our battle for “just one more”.

I’m not wrapping up any big news to place under the tree this year. ¬†The day that I was so impatiently waiting for will not be. ¬†I am wrapping up love and hope. ¬†I’m walking proof that perseverance is a trait worth holding on to and that if you want something to happen, eventually it can. ¬†I do not hold time’s playbook. ¬†I don’t get to peek under God’s Christmas tree and see what he has waiting for me. ¬†However, if I take the time to breathe, let go of my fears and anger, I can open my eyes and watch all the past gifts that mean so much play out before me every single day. ¬†For that I am thankful. ¬†I am clearly blessed….

Strength in Grief

Strength in GriefI’ve gone through the grief process associated with miscarriage several times now. ¬†Each time is a bit different and as my maturity and life changes, the process changes a bit too. ¬†It’s never easy and for someone like myself who feels things deeply, it can be overwhelming and feel devastating.

The loss of a child who had just started to grow within your womb is a hard one to understand for those who have not been through it. ¬†People often have no idea how to express their concerns or feelings of empathy. ¬†Some of your family and friends just ignore it almost entirely because they don’t want to upset you. ¬†Others will do little things to comfort you or just be there while you vent. ¬†This can be a double-edged sword because you¬†need to talk about the loss, but are sometimes relieved when no one forces you to.

When you reach that ever looming stage of anger, you can be surprised who¬†you direct that anger towards. ¬†There can be a maddening rage over anyone whose pregnant, recently had a baby, or those who just ignored your loss all together. ¬†You can direct your anger towards yourself and the body you feel failed your baby. ¬†You will at some point likely cast anger on¬†your spouse, wondering why they don’t feel or express their anger, frustration, and pain the same way you do. ¬†It’s all normal, and it’s okay to feel these things. ¬†They way you direct your anger, hurt, and loss is the most important aspect.

For me, I can sometimes wallow in my pain for weeks. ¬†I’ll let myself fall into a depression that I lose all strength to climb out of. ¬†Laying on the couch, not really watching whatever happens to be on the television. ¬†No desire to eat, feel, or talk. ¬†Just numb to life and what is going on in it. ¬†Or I will switch into overdrive staying constantly occupied with something, anything, to take my mind off the pain.

The trouble with overdrive mode is that you crash…hard. ¬†All the physical exertion to avoid the mental pain leads to exhaustion both physically and mentally. ¬†I stayed in overdrive this time, until I crashed. ¬†Dead tired, just so exhausted mentally and physically. ¬†It hit me late last week and I couldn’t distract myself anymore. ¬†I’d been crying in the shower, over the washer, anywhere I was alone. ¬†And suddenly, crying was all I could do. ¬†My empty womb was all I could think about. ¬†The idea that I may never carry another child successfully hit me hard. ¬†As I sorted through my children’s closets and packed away outgrown clothes I realized that there might not be another child to wear them. ¬†Still, I folded them neatly, labeled the bin with the size and contents, and added them to the ever-growing stash of outgrown baby things in my basement.

I grieved, and then I decided to push forward because those clothes were not going to go unworn.  That currently unused crib, rocker, swing, and all those bins of baby clothes would be worn again.  I had prayed on it, thought about it, talked about it, and it was going to happen somehow.

While I may be quite experienced in dealing with the grief of a lost child, it has created a strength and determination in me that did not exist before. ¬†If I want something, I figure out a way to make it happen. ¬†While the number of children I have lost is higher than the number of children I have living, I really don’t give up. ¬†To me, that means I have yet another angel looking over my family. ¬†Another little miracle worker to make the impossible happen and to bring forth more happiness and light in our lives.

The healing that takes place after miscarriage is often a long process. ¬†Your body often heals long before your heart. ¬†You’ll go through days where you’re okay and you’ll go through days where you need to let yourself grieve and process all the emotions that have been thrust upon you. ¬†It isn’t a road with a clear path and the outcome can often be surprising.

What I’ve learned is that you have to let yourself feel it all to heal. ¬†It’s messy and it’s often scary, but in the end, you’ll come out okay. ¬†You’ll likely be changed, but you can work to use it to your advantage instead of letting it consume you.

Miscarriage Stole My Innocence

Miscarriage Stole My InnocenceEarly pregnancy is terrifying for me. ¬†I always try to relax as my doctors, family, and friends suggest – but I am wracked with terror and terrified of what may happen. ¬†My doctor’s office won’t do an ultrasound before the eight-week mark unless you are experiencing complications. ¬†I am pretty in-tune with my body and normally find out about my pregnancies a few days before my missed period so I have at least a month of waiting for that ultrasound to tell me if there is – or isn’t – a heartbeat.

Multiple miscarriages before I had my two healthy boys has taught me that a positive pregnancy test doesn’t always lead to a baby. ¬†There have been early losses, a loss at thirteen weeks, and a blighted ovum. ¬†The first week or so of pregnancy, I generally sail by, not thinking about the bad. ¬†I freak out about finances, insist we think about names, then reality sets in and I start remembering the times that pregnancy wasn’t smooth for me. ¬†I dig through old fertility charts to see when bleeding started, if there were any other clues. ¬†I go through my old Facebook posts to see how I was feeling in my healthy, and not healthy, pregnancies at the same mark. ¬†I analyze it all until I am a total sobbing mess. ¬†With no cause to be concerned other than my past experiences.

I’ll be six weeks on Thursday and haven’t had any indicators that something is wrong. ¬†I have mild pregnancy symptoms, it’s all been pretty normal stuff thus far. ¬†Despite no spotting and no cramps,¬†I still check for spotting every single time I go to the restroom. ¬†I think, “I’m not nauseous enough, something might be wrong. ¬†Wasn’t I more nauseous yesterday? ¬†Are my boobs still sore, surely they were more sore before.” ¬†I drive my husband crazy with all my doubts, worries, and constant googling of statistics. ¬†I sink myself into a depressed state and wish I hadn’t already shared our pregnancy with so many in case I have to ‘unshare’ the news. ¬†I seriously just want to sleep until the day of my ultrasound because I am terrified. ¬†I am¬†praying¬†for more nausea – who does that?!? ¬†I just want reassurance of something even my doctors cannot give. ¬†I have to be patient and trust that my body is doing what it is meant to do and my baby is growing as it should.

If you had told me that I would still feel this way, even after delivering two healthy babies, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. ¬†I don’t know if I felt this panicked in the beginning with them, I’m sure I did. ¬†I’m just angry that those past losses still continue to hurt me and affect me so much so many years later. ¬†I want to be a normal pregnant woman who is just normally scared. ¬†Who isn’t freaking out about another missed miscarriage or what if, God forbid, everything is fine for now, but I lose another one at thirteen weeks. ¬†I don’t want all this panic and fear to affect me so profoundly…and yet it likely always will.

For now, I’m doing my best to distract myself. ¬†I’m allowing myself to believe that my baby is truly healthy and that it is all going to go just fine. ¬†I’m reassured by symptoms of early pregnancy and honestly welcome any morning sickness that comes my way. ¬†I’m counting down the days until that magic ultrasound and begging God for it to bring us happiness and hope.

I will never know what it is like to face early pregnancy with all the excitement a first time mom or any mom without losses does. ¬†But, I know what it’s like to have hope and prayers answered – more than once. ¬†I know what it’s like to cry tears of sheer joy when a heartbeat flickers across the screen and then a few weeks later to be rewarded with early flutters. ¬†I know what it’s like to give birth to a baby I prayed so hard for – one I was told may never come. ¬†I know what it’s like to successfully conceive, carry, and deliver his brother without a hitch less than two years later. God willing, I pray that I learn what it is like to experience all this again – for a third time.

With prayers, and hope, I yearn to see my baby’s heart beat across the screen and to relive that happiness that breaks away¬†from a dark place I thought might consume me. ¬†I am scared, yet blessed. ¬†I am hesitant, yet hopeful. ¬†And I’m counting on a healthy baby to complete our little family.

The One Who Got Away

TheOneWhoI’ve been on edge since Friday…it’s something in the air, or by now perhaps it’s in my blood. ¬†This time of year leaves me in a deeply melancholy mood and zaps all energy and life from me.

April 28, 2006…that date is permanently burned into my being. ¬†A long night of cramps, bleeding, and eventually an emergency D&C to stop my hemorrhaging. ¬†We said goodbye to a baby we never truly got to meet that early morning. ¬†I was young and scared to death, but we had gotten over the shock of our pregnancy and were excited. ¬†Just thirteen weeks in and we were forced to say goodbye to the tiny being that forever changed us both.

Miscarriage…it’s a word I know all too well. ¬†One full of pain, bitterness, and a certain loss of hope. ¬†I’ve had several and am lucky to have the two beautiful boys I spend my days raising. ¬†They are light and a renewal of hope that I never thought I would know. ¬†Yet the darkness often remains.

Most days, I’ve put all my losses behind me. ¬†I am content to dream of my lost babies as angels who watch over us. ¬†When this time of year (or any other in which I’ve lost a child) rolls around the hopelessness seeps in and I find it hard to ignore. ¬†Forgive my moodiness, my snappiness, my distant eyes. ¬†There’s a part of me that is missing right now.

It’s funny because I don’t even have to look at a calendar to tell you. ¬†Sometimes I’ll notice my sudden lack of energy, lack of interest, and when I finally look at a calendar, there it is.

When we experience any loss, we’re given a certain amount of time to grieve and then we’re expected to move along with life. ¬†And so that’s what we do. ¬†But loss and grief forever change people. ¬†You can change for the good or for the worse. ¬†Sometimes I think parts of us change in both ways. ¬†Through loss I’ve found perseverance I didn’t know I had. ¬†Determination, courage, strength. ¬†I’ve also found bitterness that I doubt I’ll ever fully brush aside. ¬†I’ve developed a numbness that gives the appearance of a cold, lonely soul at times. ¬†I’ve melded with the change – good and bad.

What would that enigmatic little being be like today if s/he had lived here on earth? ¬†Working on their eighth year of life…Perhaps with two little brothers or would their presence have changed the entire course of our history? ¬†That is something I will never know. ¬†I would never change the life I have or the children that I have been blessed to have in it. ¬†But it won’t stop my wondering mind when the sadness of that day creeps back in year after year.

What have I learned from miscarriage? ¬†What has it taught me about life and moving forward when a part of me wants to cling so badly to what can never be? ¬†I’ve learned that you will hurt more than you ever knew you could and long for someone whose heartbeat you only heard once. ¬†You will dream dreams where that lost soul is so real that it chills you to your bones. ¬†You will know that spirit baby came down to hold YOU while you slept, because you lost the chance to ever hold them.

You will learn of light, laughter, and happiness when you find a place that finally allows you to move on, but not forget.  Your innocence to the beauty and perfection of pregnancy will be forever lost, but my God you will learn the incredible power that life truly is.  You will see how valuable, how fleeting, and how precious LIFE really is.

Sweet child, you will forever be the one who got away from me…The connection I hold to you both takes and gives me my sanity. ¬†You make me a better mother…and I pray your light lives on in your brothers’ eyes. ¬†I’ve seen it there and I intend to keep that happy glimmer alive until the day that I meet you again. ¬†I pray they meet you one day far, far away and that we all finally get to be together as the family that was never meant to be on this earth.

Why I Might Be Done Having Children – Or Not

It never fails. ¬†My husband and I walk into a baby store like Carter’s to get our tots new clothes. ¬†I grab at the newborn outfits and proclaim, “How precious is this?!? Look how tiny.” ¬†My ovaries ache. ¬†And then tot 1 or tot 2 throws a holy hell tantrum fit because we drag him away from the block table when it’s time to leave. ¬†I look at my husband, eyes hooded, “We are DONE having kids,” as I drag along whichever rug rat is proclaiming that he just wants to play, “I don’t wanna leave!”

When I had my second child, I had two boys under two. ¬†I will not lie, those first months were hard. ¬†They felt like prison. ¬†The first time I ventured out alone with them my youngest was almost six weeks old. ¬†I was in desperate need of soy formula as his dairy allergy and my low milk production had brought me to a crossroads where I was done living off twenty minutes of sleep here and there. ¬†I was done watching my baby cry in pain, telling my oldest that ‘mommy can’t play right now’, and taking a billion supplements to try to produce more milk when it just wasn’t working. ¬†It was the turning point where I actually enjoyed being a mom. ¬†My baby was full, content, no more screaming. ¬†He was sleeping for hours instead of minutes, and I started to enjoy BOTH my boys. ¬†But I was unsure if I wanted more children.

Before I even had my second son, people were asking if we’d try for a third. ¬†Try for that girl…Those words always angered me. ¬†I didn’t need ‘a girl’ to complete my family. ¬†I just wanted healthy children, that’s all that ever mattered to me. ¬†And I said just that to nurses, sonographers, family, strangers, and friends. ¬†Gender was not important. ¬†That we had beat infertility and that we had healthy thriving children was.

I am currently not interested in being pregnant or having another child. ¬†I get asked at least twice a month when I’m having another. ¬†Parenthood is hard. ¬†It just is. ¬†Being at the beck and call of two other small, demanding human beings is tough sometimes. ¬†It doesn’t matter if I’ve got a fever or if I feel awful. ¬†My children are too young to understand that. ¬†I don’t have family living close by to just stop in and give me a break. ¬†I don’t even have a babysitter…Their care is almost entirely my responsibility while my husband is at work. ¬†Barring a hospital stay or major illness, I don’t get a break too often.

Sure, my kids are cute. ¬†They’re funny. ¬†They’re also messy, sometimes irritable, and highly impulsive. ¬†They’re prone to fits of giggles and tears. ¬†They share their love of discovery…and their germs. ¬†It’s a known fact that one of them will throw a fit every single time we go somewhere. ¬†It might be small, it might be big. ¬†They’ll embarrass you in a public restroom, “Mommy, you pooped!” ¬†Even if you didn’t. ¬†They’ll make you so proud when they say thank you or excuse me to complete strangers. ¬†They’ll be your hero when they offer a hug if you get a boo boo of your own or they see you’re sad. ¬†Parenthood is hard…but it is beautiful. ¬†It is rewarding. ¬†It is inspiring.

AnotherBabyI’ve asked other moms how they knew that they were done having children. ¬† Some weren’t sure that they were. ¬†Others gave me the look – the ‘are you kidding me, do you want one of mine’ look. ¬†But the most important answer, the truest I’ve heard, is that I will just know. ¬†And I get that.

When my first was about nine months old, I knew I wanted to have another. ¬†And my husband agreed, although not as enthusiastically. ¬†I conceived my second around the time he was eleven months old. ¬†Now that my youngest is growing close to two-years, I’m still not ready. ¬†Some days I truly believe that I am done, that our family is complete. ¬†Others, I long for our missing puzzle piece. ¬†That other being, that spirit baby that is meant to be brought to life. ¬†I’m in limbo. ¬†I’m done but I’m not…

The beauty of life is that not everything has to be decided all at once. ¬†I didn’t have to fill out a form saying I’d have x amount of children. ¬†I’m allowed to change my mind as long as mother nature will let me. ¬†Even after that, there’s adoption. ¬†There’s foster parenting. ¬†There are options.

If you see a mom with young children, don’t assume that she wants to be asked if she’s done. ¬†If she wants to discuss family planning, she’ll likely do it with her husband, maybe a doctor. ¬†If you wouldn’t ask about her sex life, don’t ask about having babies.

Motherhood, womanhood, can be a touchy subject.  We give our bodies up to another human being for nine months.  They borrow those bodies as they nurse, climb, sleep, seek comfort.  They leave their mark on our bellies, hips, hearts.  Childbirth and pregnancy can be deeply empowering, but for some there is pain.  These are not always smooth experiences, some are left unable to have more children.  And being asked is painful.

For now, I am embracing the countless blessings that I have. ¬†I am content and happy with what life has offered and what it has in store. ¬†I’m still wiping bottoms and sticky hands. ¬†I often find picture books and toys tucked into my bed or shoe after my children are asleep. ¬†I will miss these things one day, and perhaps decide that I’m not done with that part of my life. ¬†But more importantly, I will foster every stage I have with my children. ¬†I will pray that the stages never stop advancing and growing.

Whether I’m done or not, I’m going to love the children that I have. ¬†And I’m going to pray that they’re always so happy to see their mama and greet her with kisses, hugs, and smiles.

Motherhood…My Reality Check

I’m almost eight months into my journey as a mother of two…

I thought that having one kid changed me, but I think having the second brought me back to more of who I ‘used to be’. ¬†One thing about motherhood that nobody could’ve prepared me for was the judgement I would face from what felt like EVERYONE.

With my first child, I had every intention of breastfeeding. And then it just plain and simply did not work for us. ¬†Save your lectures about the lactation consultants and all that jazz and just take me at my word. ¬†The truth is, I was relieved when I ‘gave up’ on our trying and I said goodbye to my pump and our constant non-successful struggles to latch.

Baby number two was a champ and latched pretty well right away. ¬†But, then it became clear that something was just off with him and his little tummy. ¬†Turns out, he had a milk protein allergy. So I stopped all dairy and yet a few weeks later, he still wasn’t all that happy. I was worse. I cried a lot and I never slept. ¬†I was on supplements to increase my supply, I was on a strict high calorie diet. ¬†But nothing felt like it was paying off or helping. ¬†He screamed all night, he screamed all day.

Yep, there was a whole lotta this going on!

Yep, there was a whole lotta this going on!

My husband and I were losing our minds. ¬†I would beg him to come home from work so I could just breath and not feel like I was going to explode from exhaustion. ¬†Around six weeks, we decided that I, more so we, had reached our limit. ¬†Our son had his first bottle of soy formula two days shy of six weeks and it was instant calm. ¬†No more screaming all night and day. ¬†He had been hungrier than my supply could provide for and my constant state of panic and exhaustion weren’t helping.

I think the main reason I tried for so long wasn’t because of my fear of formula being bad for him, it was my fear of the judgement I would face from other mothers. ¬†I knew formula wasn’t bad for him. ¬†My other son had been fed formula and he’s never had more than a cold or slightly upset stomach a day in his life. ¬†Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that breast milk is best IN MOST CASES. ¬†I also believe that every mother, every person, has a right to decide what is right for their own family. ¬†As a society we should support both sides. I’m not here to sway anyone in either direction. ¬†I’m here to say that as a mother, I never want to make another mother feel like she is inadequate when she is doing what she feels is best for her child.

Before I had children, I never knew how much competition there was between moms. ¬†And no, it’s not all moms. ¬†But it is enough to make you question your beliefs from time to time.

What?? We let our little boy have a doll AND long hair ;)

What?? We let our little boy have a doll AND long hair ūüėČ

When I was a mom to just one little guy, I think I cared a great deal about what others thought of my parenting. ¬†I would beam and be delighted when someone commented on how smart he was or how well-behaved. ¬†I would blush beat red when he threw a fit in public or if someone took note of something they thought he was ‘behind’ on. ¬†The truth is, I really wish I would’ve ignored all that. ¬†It was a complete and total waste of time to care what anyone else thought of me or my child. ¬†I should have spent that time playing more with him, using every spare second to build his confidence and our relationship.

With the birth of my second child, I think I was out to prove just how great of a mom I was. ¬†Those first five weeks of what I call hell proved to me that I don’t have to prove anything to anyone except my children, my husband and myself. ¬†Only when I let go of caring what everyone else thought and did what I thought was needed and best did I begin to enjoy my second child.

One of his first real smiles!

One of his first real smiles!

I thought baby number two and I would never bond during those five weeks. ¬†We bonded within a week of that first bottle. ¬†It wasn’t the bottle itself and the end to our breastfeeding journey that brought peace to us. ¬†It was seeing my brand new little boy¬†truly happy. ¬†Watching him start to pack on the pounds. ¬†Watching him smile at me for the first time. ¬†Watching my other son come alive again as he had his ‘mommy’ back. ¬†I wasn’t the sleep deprived shell of myself anymore. ¬†I felt alive. ¬†I felt love, warmth, and like I was doing what was right for them.

Nearly eight months into this crazy journey, I have my full self back and a whole lot more love than I ever imagined. ¬†Both of my sons giggle often. ¬†They also both throw big tantrums and there are still times when I’d prefer to lock myself in a room and hide. ¬†But there is a difference…

I promise he's not choking him despite that mischievous grin.

I promise he’s not choking him despite that mischievous grin.

I no longer give a crap about what anyone else thinks of my parenting. ¬†I no longer waste time trying to impress anyone with what my kids do or don’t do. ¬†I don’t care if your kid is doing things my kid doesn’t and I don’t care if mine is doing things your’s doesn’t. ¬†The truth is, I love my children no matter what they do or when they do it. ¬†I don’t think any less of them when they make a mess or when they need a little extra help.

We're not perfect. We don't want to be.

We’re not perfect. We don’t want to be.

If you don’t like that my two-year old is throwing a tantrum in the middle of the grocery store, well then I recommend you plug your ears. ¬†We all march to our own drum and if he needs to express that he is angry about having to ride in the cart, well then so be it. ¬†This is one mom who refuses to take part in the so-called ‘mommy wars’. ¬†We’re not perfect, and I don’t want my children growing up under the impression that makes them any less of a person.

For My Son

Being only a couple of months away from the birth of our second son, I feel so bittersweet. ¬†I am thrilled to be adding another precious child to our family, but also a bit heartbroken that this intimate time with my first son is drawing to a close. ¬†I know we will still be close and have moments that are all our own, but I also know it will be difficult for us both not to be completely attached to one another. ¬†We haven’t spent more than a few hours apart since his birth and I’m nowhere near ready to leave him overnight as I go to the hospital to give birth. ¬†I know he will be well cared for and that I will be incredibly busy, but ¬†the mom in me just wants to be near him.

Below is the note I will put away for him.
My Dearest Brenan,

You’re too young to understand all the change that is about to happen in our world. ¬†For the past year and a half, we’ve spent our days mostly alone, just you and I. ¬†We giggle, sometimes we cry, we play, we read, sing, dance, and enjoy this special time when I am solely your mommy and you my precious son. ¬†Until you have a child all your own, you may not fully understand just how much these small moments have mattered to me.

I am sure I will read pieces of this note to you again and again over the next several months.¬†When you look up at me with tears because your brand new baby brother rests in my arms and for a moment I can’t hold you both. ¬†Mommy’s eyes will stream with tears too because I never want you to feel like I can’t hold you or be there for you – even for a moment. ¬†You have been my primary thought since I found out you were soon to have a sibling. ¬†I’ve spent many nights worrying about leaving you overnight for the very first time. ¬†I even tried to talk your dad into bringing the pack and play to our hospital room at my most irrational and heartbroken. ¬†Since your birth, my only job has been to care for you and love you. ¬†It’s not easy to have to take even a small break.

You will always always ALWAYS have a special place in my heart. ¬†You were the gift your dad and I received after years of wanting a child. ¬†We spent a long time very sad because we never thought we’d get to experience something so precious as you.

I¬†remember seeing your dad cry when you first came into this world, and your dad never cries. I remember how unreal and wonderful it felt to finally have you in my arms. I’m not sure I’ve really stopped staring at you in awe and wonder since then, and I probably never will.

No matter how many siblings you grow to have, I will never love you any less than I do today.  I will always strive to give you my attention and teach you all the wonders this world has to offer.  You are such a smart, brave little boy full of love and life.  I know you will be an amazing big brother just as you have been an amazing son.

You will show Nevan all the things precious to you and teach him your favorite songs. ¬†You’ll pat his hand when he’s sad and laugh with him as you play. ¬†And you will, as always, make me a very proud and happy mom. ¬†You, your brother and your dad are my whole world. ¬†I can’t imagine anything greater than watching you grow and blossom as we enter the next stage in our lives.

Love Always,

Your Mommy