Whether you are spending Valentines Day with that special someone or you are spending it alone, NOTHING can spice up your night like some red lace! If you are anything like me, spending an arm… More
Fertility guilt. Is that a real thing?
*infertility and pregnancy loss trigger warning. If you are/have suffered from infertility or loss I do discuss these topics, please know that I see you and my heart is with you
What I am about to say may come off as insensitive but I swear I just truly want to know, is fertility guilt a real thing? Let me back step a little and explain just exactly what I mean. I am one of the lucky women who has not had any issues getting or staying pregnant. With both of my daughters it took one time to get pregnant. (This is not meant to be a brag, but I think that it helps to understand where I am coming from.)
I found out I was pregnant with my first daughter three days after my close friend found out she was pregnant. She had been trying for a few months and we were both so excited. Then a week later she unfortunately found out that she had miscarried. I felt so incredibly guilty. Here she was praying and hoping for a little miracle, doing everything in her power to get pregnant. There I was, barely remembering to take my prenatal vitamins, with the gift so many women long for. I did not understand it why was I the lucky one? As my pregnancy went on, I could see her healing as much as a person could, continuing to try for her little baby. She continued to sit there and support me through my pregnancy, as I asked her about her different doctors appointments, and her TTC journey. She even threw me a small baby shower. Even though she never said anything I know that it killed her inside because she was supposed to be expecting her little one too. I felt like I was in uncharted territory, I was so excited to welcome my daughter, but I did not want to flaunt it in her face. I wanted to be respectful of her feelings, but what I was unintentionally hurting her with my joy?
Fast forward about two years, I found I was pregnant again with my second. That same friend had suffered another pregnancy loss. My sister had been trying for almost a year and also suffered a miscarriage. I had several other close friends that also were struggling with infertility and pregnancy loss. Those same feelings of guilt came flooding back and this time they knocked me out like a huge wave. Instead of automatically shouting from the rooftops that I was pregnant again, I hid it for a while. My husband was the only person who knew. I agonized for over a month about how I was going to look my sister and friends in the eyes, while I knew they were hurting and tell them “oh by the way I am pregnant.” I felt so guilty, I felt like a terrible sister/friend, I just felt so unhappy. There was that one small moment of happiness, but it was quickly replaced with sadness.
Again, I sat there thinking, “God why me?” I am not inherently better than these other women. They were changing their whole lives, doing everything in their power to make their wombs the best place to welcome a little one. They were taking multiple different medicines, removing certain foods from their diets, tracking ovulation to the hour, shelling out hundreds/thousands of dollars on fertility doctors. These women deserve the world and it makes NO sense to me that I get to have the ONE THING they so desperately want. “Do I even deserve to have this baby growing inside of me?” That was a constant thought that ran through my head. I told God that I would trade this baby with my sister, just to see her happy and smiling for the first time in what feels like FOREVER.
After a month of agonizing, I decided that it was time to tell close family that I was expecting again. I decided that the most respectful thing for me to do was to tell my friends and family that were struggling in private. Instead of making some big post in a group chat or on social media. I would tell them one-to-one and let them process their emotions and then eventually make that big announcement. My sister was the first person I reached out to, remembering that she had just suffered a miscarriage a month ago, I told her in the gentlest way I could think of. Her response was something along the lines of “I knew.” While I was relieved that she had suspected something, and was able to process her emotions before hand, I still knew she would need her time to process. One-by-one I told each friend privately the news, and we discussed their feelings. I asked them what I could do for them to not make them upset. Some said they were fine with me talking to them about the pregnancy and giving updates, other said that they preferred not to hear about it. And I respected their wishes.
Now that I am six months pregnant, and everyone knows the news, I still find myself struggling to navigate certain conversations with the women in my life who are continuing to struggling with their TTC journey. Since announcing my pregnancy, my sister and another close friend has suffered a chemical pregnancy. And I do not know what to say to them other than “I am sorry.” I know saying things like “at least you know you can get pregnant” and “just try not to stress out because that will make it harder” are not helpful. Many times people, like myself, are well intentioned but the things they say hurt more than help.
So I guess my question is, has anyone else felt guilty about their own fertility journey? And if you are someone who has struggled with fertility issues, what is something you wish other people knew?
Last Minute Toddler Girl Stocking Stuffer ideas
If you are anything like me, I put off everything to the last minute. And that includes shopping for Christmas presents. This year I actually went out early, and by early I mean two weeks before Christmas, and got my daughter gifts. For me stocking stuffers are the hardest because I don’t like cheap little toys she will play with once and I also do not like a TON of candy. So I try to stick with educational and arts and craft type items. If you need any ideas here is a good place to start!
Like I said I like to add a couple educational type items. This year I went with some workbooks because Elliott Grace is working on using a writing utensil, shapes, colors, and tracing. The Pen Control book is from the book sections at Target, and the Colors and Shapes is from the Dollar Section. The crayons book is off Amazon, but I am sure you could find something similar at the store with the coloring books.
I also grabbed her some Play-Doh because I know from working with an Occupational Therapist at work , this is a great way to support a child’s gross motor skills and hand strengths. There are also a ton of activities with letters you can use play-doh for.
And then I also threw in some stickers, T. O. T. S of course, we don’t let Elliott put them on her clothes though, she uses them for her artwork.
Stickers weren’t the only arts and craft items I included in this years stocking. I also wanted to update Elliotts crayons, marker, colored pencil and chalk supply. She has gotten very into drawing and coloring so I wanted to support that interest of hers! Also adding more color to her selection will help her with her color identification and discrimination (can you tell I’m a teacher?). I had to throw in a glue bottle because at school she has been working with proper glue use, so I wanted to support that skill at home as well.
Of course I also grabbed some random, fun items for her that I know she is going to go crazy over! Elliott has taken a sudden interest in band-aids so I grabbed her her own box to play with. She also is obsessed with chapstick, well eating chapstick, so I tossed in a few of her own. Frozen slippers because well Frozen duh. Every time I get my nails done Elliott forces my husband or I to paint her nails, and when I saw these glittery polishes I could NOT pass them up. Which means Corys toes are going to eventually be glittery purple, sorry babe. And finally chocolate, because every time we have gone to Target the last few times Elliott Grace has asked for “her chocolate” and it’s just too precious.
A lot of these items you can get for a boy as well, these are not exclusively “girl” items! Really the possibilities are endless!
Happy Stocking Stuffing!
Gift Guide for New Moms
What to get a New Mom for Christmas?
Its that time of year again! When everyone rushes around trying to find that perfect gift for their loved ones. Their is always one person in our lives that we always scratch our head and question what to get them, the new mom! Whether she just had a baby or has been a mom for years now, it can be tough to figure out what to get. With my expertise, as being a new mom of course, I have created the one stop list for all things new mom gift list! I thought about the things that helped me the most during one of life’s biggest transitions, and what helped me maintain sanity!
Self Care Gifts for Mom
Now this list isn’t just for new moms, it is for all of the moms in your life! I believe that it is super important to support all mothers, and make sure that she is taking care of herself. Often times moms will push her own needs to the side to make sure that her family is taken care of. SO we, as a support system, need to remind her to step back and take care of herself. My favorite saying is “you can’t drink from an empty well.” I practically live by that saying, and I never feel guilty about taking care of myself.
So here are some perfect items to help mom take care of herself this holiday season!
Pajama Sets to Keep mom warm this winter
New moms spend A LOT of time in their pajamas, so make sure she feels warm and comfortable!
The Perfect Slippers for mom
How cute are those MAMA BEAR slippers?
the best Epsom salt for a cozy sitz bath
Sitz baths are the ONE thing that helped heal my tear from birth!
Eye masks to de-puff the sleep deprived momma
THE STRUGGLE IS REAL
Tea to help calm the overwhelmed mother
Help mom find her peace with some yummy teas!
Water bottles to remind the breastfeeding mom to stay hydrated
It is SUPER important that mom drinks LOTS of water!
Coffee mugs to give mom that boost of energy
Mama necklaces perfect for mom to show off her new favorite job
Every MAMA could use a cute, dainty necklace!
best Protein bars to keep mom fueled for a long day
Its not out of the ordinary for mom to make it to the end of the day, and remember that she forgot to eat!
Leggings for the fashionable yet comfortable mom
High-waisted leggings helped me fell all tucked in and secure!
Comfy Hoodies for mom
Comfy hoodie + No bra = Happy Mama
Socks to keep moms feet warm on a cold night
I love a good fuzzy sock to keep these toes warm!
Best Blankets to cuddle under with family
Baby cuddles are the best cuddles!
Spa gift card
Meal plan subscription for the busy mom
Baby food subscription for the health CONSCIOUS mom
-Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you–
To My Postpartum Body
There are so many things that I want to say to you. I want to say Thank You, I’m Sorry and I love you. I watched you preform the most magical act I have ever seen. You transformed into a strong cocoon, blossomed and released a beautiful butterfly, made from your own flesh. And for that I am forever grateful.
So I say Thank You. Thank you for bringing heaven to earth, in the form a sweet little angel named Elliott Grace and Lark Edith. I used to believe that miracles rarely ever happened, and that I would never experience one of my own. And then I watched a miracle unfold right before my eyes. It was not always easy, and some days I wished it all was over, but I would never trade this precious gift for anything in the world.
I’m sorry, I am sorry for wasting so much time wishing you looked different. I am sorry for all of the horrible things I said about you, while you were transforming in order to grow my baby girl. I am sorry for not appreciating you more. When I look at you, I see a beautiful road map, with evidence of the amazing journeys you have gone on. Stretching and moving, changing to fit my little angel.
I love you. Even with all of the “flaws” , I love you. You have amazed me for months now. You have done some of the most incredible acts and you took it all in strides. You have shown me just how strong you are, and how strong I am. You have given me grace in my times of change. When I felt like I couldn’t go on, you proved to me that I can. You stood firm and protected me from not one, but two falls. I never appreciated you as much as I do now. I promise to take better care of you, and allow you the grace you have shown me. You will never be the same way you were before this amazing journey, but I am so grateful for you now.
When I run my fingers over you, I can feel every mark, every stretch and it takes me back to those first days. The first time I felt that little bump. The first time I heard my little girls racing heartbeat. The first time I felt my baby move inside of me. You are my constant reminder of where you have been, and while these marks may fade, my memory of your selflessness will not.
To my postpartum body,
Thank you, I am Sorry, I love you 💕
What is Exclusively Pumping? And why I decided to exclusively pump?
Alternative Options to Breastfeeding
When I found out that I was going to be a mother, I was faced with a thousand and one decisions. Each decision harder than the next. The biggest choice a mother has to make is whether to breastfeed or formula feed. Each choice is 100% valid, and we as a society need to stop shaming mothers who formula feed! Instead, let’s lift each other up, support each mother’s feeding decisions and move on with our lives. Mothering is hard enough, without feeling guilty for each decision you make.
“Each choice is 100% valid, and we as a society need to stop shaming mothers who formula feed! “
There were so many benefits of breast milk, that deciding to breast feed was the easiest choice I made. Even though the decision was easy, actually breastfeeding was not. My mother did not breastfeed, and I did not grow up around babies that were breastfeed, so I was under a very naive belief that it was going to come naturally. I mean isn’t that what society tells a mother, breastfeeding is easy and if it isn’t, you aren’t trying hard enough? First of all, let’s just crush that misconception right here and now, breastfeeding IS HARD. No matter what some mothers do, it just doesn’t happen, and they end up deciding to formula feed. A lot of mothers feel unnecessarily guilty when they decide to quit breast feeding. I am here to tell any mother out there, you are doing great and you are making the right thing for YOUR child!
In my last few months of pregnancy I attended birthing classes, and a Breastfeeding 101 class at the hospital I was delivering at. At that 101 class, the Doula was very adamant that we all try to nurse as soon as our babies were born. So when my daughter, Elliott, was born that is exactly what I did. I was very excited to start nursing and create that bond with Elliott. However, my enthusiasm was met with disappointment. Elliott was unable to latch properly and I had to use a nipple shield in order to help draw out my nipple. For the next two days in the hospital, even with the assistance of the nipple shield, my little one still had trouble latching. The hospital lactation consultant (LC) taught me how to hand express so that I could give my daughter that coveted “liquid gold” or colostrum.
“First of all let’s just crush that misconception right here and now, breastfeeding IS HARD. No matter what some mothers do, it just doesn’t happen, and they end up deciding to formula feed. “
By the time we left the hospital, my daughter had lost more than 10% of her birth weight. We left the hospital on a Friday and had to return to the pediatrician the next day. On our way to the doctor, I realized that my breasts were engorged, which is extremely painful if you have never experienced the feeling. Again, the lactation consultant at the office showed me different ways to position my baby to assist her in latching. She also instructed me to pump when we got home, even though they do not recommend pumping that soon after giving birth. Most LC tell moms to wait until nursing is established before pumping, as to not create nipple confusion in their babies.
This was the first time that I realized how much easier pumping was for me and my daughter. My first pump I got about 4 oz of milk, but my daughter was only drinking 2 oz a feeding. I was shocked that my body was producing so much extra milk. Even though pumping was easier, I stayed determined to nurse. A week went by and latching was still an issue, I was becoming engorged but this time I had developed chapped nipples. I called the pediatrician in a panic because I feared my baby was not getting any milk. The on call nurse reassured me that because she was still going to the bathroom that she was okay, and to continue to work on latching. I went into the doctors the next day to have a weight check, and Elliott was still not gaining weight. Again, I was encouraged to keep on trying to nurse. That night, while trying to feed Elliott, I looked down and she had blood coming out of the corners of her mouth. When I pulled her off the nipple, there was blood pooled in the nipple shield. At that moment I decided to pump and feed her.
The next day I posted in a mommy Facebook group, asking for advice on what to do. Oddly enough, my old sorority advisor, told me that she had the same issues and she EP or Exclusively Pumped. I quickly jumped on the internet to research everything I could about exclusive pumping. There was very little information on the internet, most things I found were other blog posts, or mom chat groups. Most of the things I learned about Exclusive Pumping came from an Instagram account – pump_momma_pump , you have to check them out if you do or are considering EP. After all my research, I made the decision that I was going to exclusively pump, and feeding my baby has never been the same.
So how does exclusive pumping work for me? Well, I bottle feed Elliott from reserved milk I previously pumped. Then once she is done feeding, I pump until I am completely empty. It is very important that I pump each time she feeds, in order to help up build my supply. I put the pumped milk into bottles and store the extra in the fridge. Once I have a large reserve, I freeze the extra. Within a week, my supply has been established, I have six 4 oz bottles in the fridge at all times, and I am building my frozen reserve milk. The great thing about exclusive pumping is that for nightly feeding, my husband is able to feed Elliott while I pump. That way, we’re only up for about half an hour, as opposed to an hour to an hour and a half. It truly makes parenting a 50/50 effort, and we are able to get more sleep than before. I should preface this by saying that out baby girl is a pretty good sleeper during the night, so I would not say that EP made her a better sleeper, but just helped to expedite the midnight feedings. Like most moms, I often worry that my little one is not getting enough milk, but with EP, I am able to measure out each bottle with the proper amount, and I can visually see that Elliott is getting enough milk. Exclusive pumping is what has worked for my family and I am so grateful of the support I have gotten not only from my husband, but our daughter’s pediatrician as well. At first, I thought that the pediatrician would not support my decision, but instead, she told me that she exclusively pumped for her son, and that she will EP for her little one on the way!
So, if you are a mother who is trying to make breastfeeding work, and it is just not happening, consider exclusively pumping. It is a great option if you still want to give your baby the benefits of breast milk! Just make sure you invest in a good breast pump because it is going to be your new best friend for the next several months. Happy Pumping Momma! 🙂
Keep an out for a blog post where I discuss some tips and tricks for Exclusive Pumping mommas, and how exclusive pumping works once I go back to work!
How to Thrive in 2020!
New Decade, New You? 2020 Vision? Roaring 20’s? I could go on with all of the 2020 puns but I will spare you. Whether you have a laundry list of resolutions, or you have just set yourself one goal for 2020, this is the year to THRIVE! Last year I made myself a list of goals that I wanted to achieve by the end of 2019, and I am happy to announce that met ALL of my goals! WOOT WOOT! (insert happy dance). Now, riding the high of 2019, let’s talk about how to completely thrive in 2020.
1. Be Basic
Yes, be basic! Whatever that means to you, DO IT! Drink that Pumpkin Spice Latte, wear those leggings and over sized shirt, go to Target everyday. Don’t let the internet trolls comments keep you from doing something “basic”. I used to avoid doing certain things because I didn’t want to be labeled as a basic person. But I have learned over the last year, that I really do not care what anyone thinks about my life choices. If I want to sit on my couch all day and watch The Office, I am gonna do it. If I want to wear my hair in a scrunchie, I will. Bottom line what I am saying is this, cast aside those fears, or whatever is holding you back from doing that thing you want to do. Stop living your life, making choices to appease, someone else, and do what YOU want. If there is a trend you want to try, DO IT. If there is something you truly love doing that may be “basic”, DO IT!
2. Take care of yourself
2019 was the year that we began dabbling in Self-Care, and encouraging people to take care of themselves, mentally and physically. Well 2020 is NO different! This year we are taking all of the self-care, with NONE of the guilt. Self-care is so much more than face masks,and bubble baths. True self-care is therapy, letting go of toxic relationships, taking your vitamins, exercising and healthy eating choices.
With that let me say this, YOU DO NOT NEED TO LOSE WEIGHT TO THRIVE. What I mean is eat your fruits and veggies, get at least 20 minutes to exercise, just take care of your body. Nourish your body, nourish your mind.
For so long therapy was such a taboo topic. If you went to therapy, you did not tell anyone for fear of what they may think. Unfortunately, there is still a stigma about therapy. However, 2020 is the year we stop caring what other people think, and start doing what is best for ourselves. Therapy can help anyone, and I encourage everyone to go at least once. You might surprised to know how many people go. Talk with your friends, get some recommendations, find a therapist and GO! You will thank yourself!
Filter yourself, what the heck does that even mean? Sure it could mean filtering what comes out of your mouth, and honestly we could ALL probably work on that. But it means, filtering out the stuff in your life that doesn’t make you a better, happier person.
First, take on your social media. Purge any friends that do not bring you joy, and never fail to make you feel some type of way. Block, yes I mean block, anyone or anything that just serves to upset you. Some might think it is childish to block something just because you do not agree with it, but on the internet we are constantly bombarded with everyone’s thoughts, feelings and opinions. It can be exhausting, and overwhelming. So there is no shame in hitting that block button.
Next, filter your mind. Let me be honest with you for a second. I used to be VERY negative. While I did not always say the negative stuff that came into my mind, I still constantly had negative thoughts, about other people and myself. I was ALWAYS sad and stressed. I didn’t want to live my life as a negative person, so I decided to try a new technique to change my mindset. Whenever I had/have a negative thought about someone else, I stop, and recognize the thought. Then I try to identify where this thought is coming from. (If the thought is about another person, it usually stems from my own insecurities.) Then I replace the negative thought with a positive thought. For example, if I have the negative thought that “I am a terrible mother because the house is a mess”. I recognize the thought and emotion. Then I replace the thought with, ” Yes, my house might be a mess, but I am grateful to have a warm home to make a mess with my family.”
Now I know this can be easier said then done, but of you are truly intentional about changing your mindset, and practicing, you will be surprised how more often you have positive lots, and less negative thoughts.
4. Try something new
I know it sounds cliche right? Just trying ONE new thing can start a catalyst effect. Trying something new is always scary, and it takes confidence to step outside of your comfort zone. Confidence you may not have known you had! Now I am not saying that you have to try something big like sky diving or anything like that. But try that one thing you have always wanted to try. Maybe it’s a new clothing or make up trend, a new haircut or color, or maybe it is something big like skydiving. Whatever it is that you want to try, DO IT! My advice, find a friend who is willing to try it with you, and join you for emotional support. Often times it is easier to try something new with someone else, especially when you have a cheerleader in your corner. If you want to try something but money is a hindrance, search for deals on sites like Groupon and even AirBnB has experiences!
So what will you try this year?
5. Do something nice for someone else
If there is one thing you take away from this list, let it be this! You might be asking yourself, “How is doing something nice for someone else going to help ME thrive?” First of all, let’s change that thinking. We don’t do nice things for others to get ahead, we do nice things for people to be nice. No matter what your beliefs are, it all boils down to this, treat others with love and kindness. Life these days is hard enough, so be the light of kindness this world needs. I recently watched the movie “Klaus” on Neflix, and man did it open my eyes to the kind of person I want to be. There is a song in the movie, Invisible by Zara Larson, that has become one of my new favorite songs. In there song there is a line that is my new motto for 2020:
If kindness lives in everyone , Then all it takes is standing up
You don’t need to do any grand gesture, but rather something small.
- If someone is having a bad day, ask them if they want to talk.
- If you hear someone talking about someone else, stop them.
- Send your mom flowers.
- Donate meals to your local church for the hungry
- Give your seat up for the elderly
- Compliment someone
No matter how small,make it your mission to do something nice for someone!
This is our year! We are going to stop letting negativity keep us from living our best lives. Let’s take care of ourselves and try something we have always dreamed of doing. 2020 is the year we will ALL thrive!