baby J

Not a size 10 anymore

(Courtesy of Pinterest)
(Courtesy of Pinterest)

Type ‘post baby body’ into just about any search engine and you’ll get a ridiculous number of images, articles, blogs and opinions. Typing it into Google alone brings up 220,000,000 results in 0.4 seconds..! Type the same 3 words into Pinterest and you get all kinds of goodies – everything from ‘Diary of a Fit Mommy’ with an image of a giant belly next to an image of a 6 pack to ‘Best Foods for Weightloss While Breastfeeding’ to ‘Stay-At-Home SKinny’. There are so many voices telling mums – mums like me – that the ‘post baby body’ needs to be extensively worked on to get back to the before baby body that we once had.

First of all, my ‘before baby body’ wasn’t a 6 pack – so I can skip over that blog with ease (buh-bye!) and my ‘before baby body’ wasn’t due to a vegan non-GMO diet either, so what does that mean for me? How do I ‘deal with’ this post baby body? Like this:

(Courtesy of Pinterest)
(Courtesy of Pinterest)

Don’t get me wrong here – I don’t have a perfect, healthy, well-rounded view of my body – I never have. I used to hardly ever eat when I was in school. I’d throw lunches away, suck in my non-existent stomach and claim I was full from my tiny muesli bar at recess time. In Uni, I would make salad and tuna lunches almost every day and wouldn’t snack if people were around. I never thought I was ‘fat’ per se, but I definitely wanted to control what I looked like.

When I was pregnant, everything swelled – and I mean everything! Not only did my stomach grow due to the tiny human being created inside, my ankles doubled, my fingers doubled, my face puffed up and my thighs touched like they’d been separated at birth and missed each other terribly…and for most of those loooong months, I was ok with that. There was a small, new life being formed and that was why my body was looking the way it was. By the end I was over not being ale to wear anything but one pair of maternity leggings and one flowy dress with flip-flops, but over all – I’d been ok with how the person in the mirror had changed.

Now, it’s been 11 weeks since my Little E joined our team and I’ve been asked twice when my baby is due. Can I get a face palm here please? Little E, swimming in excess amniotic fluid, came into this world via a c-section, so not only does my body have months and months of settling down to do, it had recovery from major surgery to deal with too. So yes – I’m still wearing those maternity leggings and those maternity jeans and those flowy tops. So yes – my stomach sticks out and I do look 5 months pregnant still. So yes – my thighs are still loving on each other and my engagement ring still doesn’t fit back on my left hand…BUT one look at my Little E and all that disappears because she’s gurgling and smiling and grabbing her toys and that little body was housed in mine! My body was used to bring that little one into this world and of course I won’t have my ‘before baby body’!

In fact I’ve recently been thinking about it this way – I’ll never be 18 years old again. I’ll never be a high school student again. I’ll never be 21 again, I’ll never have my first driving lesson again, I’ll never travel on a plane for the first time again…so why should I get so hung up on the fact that I’ll never be like I used to be again? My life is forever different – my Little E has changed that without a doubt – so the desire for a before baby body for me (and granted, this isn’t for everyone, I get that) isn’t high on my prioroties list. I want to be healthy, I want to enjoy where we are in life and set good examples and rhythms for this little life that doesn’t care what I look like or that I don’t fit a size 10 anymore. To her, I’m just her Mama – her ‘Ima’ – and that’s enough for her, so I’m learning that it will be enough for me too. For me there has to be no ‘before’ or ‘post’ when it comes to my body, it has to just be the next stage, the next journey…just me.

baby J

We laugh but it’s true

  
So I thought instead of keeping all the ‘lol’ slash ‘face palm’ moments to myself, I’d share some! Here are some of my experiences and musings from our baby journey so far…legit. 😉

• you’re actually getting out of the house! *high five* you change out of your size-too-large leggings and sicked-on tshirt and you think your outfit is on point…only to realise that yes, you STILL have baby sick on you in places you didn’t realise you’d held your baby in clothes you’ve only just put on…

• your baby is an absolute angel for your friends and relatives, but the second you’re alone together and one-on-one, she transforms into the single loudest human being ever

• pushing a pram uphill makes you feel like you’re on The Biggest Loser and Michelle Bridges is screaming at you…from within the pram 

• I wasn’t guna be one of ‘those’ weird parents, but yep – I tasted breast milk

• a baby farting with absolutely no shame or understanding of what’s just happened can actually be the funniest thing ever

• the ability to spend long enough in the shower to wash your hair is like receiving an Oscar – you just wanna stand there, holding that shampoo bottle and thanking everyone who made it happen

• there’s no such thing as breakfast, lunch and dinner anymore – they’re all now lovingly referred to as ‘babyisasleepruntothekitchen

• you’d better make sure you have a huge house and some kind of industrial sized shed when you have a baby, coz for small things they come with a big pile of crap…prams, change tables, bouncers, clothes clothes and more clothes; nappies, oodles of wipes, toys, wraps, blankets; carriers, car seats, ‘accessories’ (what the heck? Is my baby a Nokia 3315 that needs a glittery dingle-dangle and multiple cover choices with do-it-yourself sticker art?), sun shades, wind protectors and rain coats (oh yes we’re all about shoving that baby out into nature…), oh and did I mention nappies?

• forcing mini-baby-friendships on your baby is really fun NOW but I have no doubt I’ll probably cop it in 18 years when she’s whining to me about her embarrassing naked bath photos with this forced-friend…like mother like daughter

• finding an empty pram park at the supermarket is like finding the lost world of Atlantis…

• ‘one size fits all’ only works with baby clothes if you’re dressing a cabbage patch doll…

(Image courtesy of pinterest)

baby J

I have just met you…

image1 (1)

(Courtesy of Pinterest)

It’s been 6 weeks since our team grew by one – SIX WEEKS! I can distinctly remember 6 weeks before she was born – I was well and truly over being pregnant. 1000% done with that period, that ‘waiting game’…and now we’re 12 weeks on from THERE! I can’t tell you how the days go by…it’s not as if we actually do a great deal, realistically…the first few weeks were purely feeding, nappy changes, sleeping, burping and learning that anything more than about 5 hours in a row of sleep is a rare gem! 😉 But as the days have rolled on, we have gotten to know our little teamster – some of her likes, her patterns and her little quirks and in the last couple of weeks, we’ve even seen that gorgeous little grin get bigger and brighter!

For those who know me, they’ll atest to the fact that I’ve not ever really been a clucky person…a friend handed me her new baby once and I remember thinking “well…what now? what do you do with it now?” So it’s been such a random experience with my own new baby because – and wait for it now – I just literally met her and I already can’t really picture our family without her! In the words of Doug from ‘Up’

“I have just met you and I love you!”

There’s a deepness to that love that extends beyond the fact that she might be screaming in my ear at 3am…or pooping all over her onesie that I just changed her into…or clawing at my face with her needle-like fingernails…there’s a love that comes from somewhere else, somewhere bigger and greater than I am, that overrides any of the anxious or depressed or overwhelmed feelings I have.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s far from smooth sailing! I still struggle to truly distinguish between her different cries and teaching her to self-settle isn’t as straight-forward as books led me to believe. Breastfeeding is a b*%$# sometimes and the photos I saw in blogs or articles of ethereal women whipping the boob out with a placid little bub sucking away, now just make me laugh! I still haven’t got the whole nappy-change-new-onesie routine down and yes, it’s hard to remember to have tummy time AND read to her AND play with her AND go outside AND feed AND sleep AND burp AND everything else all the books and advice are telling you that you MUST MUST do in a day…!

BUT -> 6 weeks ago our lives changed dramatically and we are both still in awe of how this little person – complete with her own DNA, thoughts, emotions and personality – has weaved her way into our hearts! The fact that those gangly arms and legs, thick head of dark hair and sweet little smile was inside me not that long ago continues to blow my mind! 😉

Every day is filled with new or different experiences – new milestones or new challenges, but at the end of each day when we’re all climbing into our respective beds and bassinets, there’s not really any other way we’d have it!

baby J

Screaming

image

She screams, I scream, we all scream…but there’s no ice cream involved. It might be 2:45am, it might be 11:15am or it might be 7pm – the time doesn’t matter, she’s hungry or hot or cold or has a wet nappy and she NEEDS our attention and she needs it NOW!

Adjusting to life with a little one is like nothing else. You can read all the books, all the blogs; watch all the clips, pin all the pins & have thousands of conversations…and still, nothing truly makes you feel ‘ready’ for caring for 110% of another human being’s needs.

So much has to change now that duckie is in our world – everything from when we eat and sleep to when we can go out of the house or even simply check the mailbox. Neither of us was oblivious to these huge shifts, but of course when reality is actually upon you it still feels surreal.

This week, there were two major stand-outs in my adjustment to our new journey:

1) I have a long way to travel in developing my patience. If I can’t fix her needs, I get frustrated too quickly. If I can’t stop the cries or settle her down, my initial reaction is to pull the plug and pass her over to my other half who (somehow!) has endless patience and a repertoire of songs to sing as he works out what she’s trying to tell us. Thank you God for that man – he keeps me sane, helps me breath & is somewhat of a baby-whisperer!

2) I have to learn how to be a different kind of friend. I can’t hold the friendships I have in the same way as I did before. My priority has to be my family unit & the daughter who relies on us for everything. This means that yes, catch-ups will be different, attending events will be different & generally being ‘around’ will be different. However, instead of wallowing in this shift & feeling guilty, remembering that change is the only constant in our lives is important. If friendships were strong before duckie arrived, they’ll be different – but they’ll be strong with her addition to them too.

There are moments when I feel like throwing in the towel, but if I can pause…take a breath…and look at her little hands and lion’s eyes, I can know that God wouldn’t bring us TO this if He wasn’t going to walk with us THROUGH it too.

baby J

‘Giving up’ isn’t giving up…

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Giving up isn’t the same as giving up.
Raised eyebrows? Hold up a second 🙂

I’m talking about transition, change or different directions when I say ‘giving up’ – the idea of releasing your grip on something in your life and ‘giving it up’ – surrendering your control over it – to an all-powerful God…and this is NOT the same as simply giving up.

‘Giving up’ – a verbal act of admitting defeat – yielding, relinquishing, renouncing…THIS kind ‘giving up’ isn’t what I’m talking about. When things change in life – whether it’s a positive change or not – sometimes giving something else up in order to embrace that change is necessary. Sometimes there are moments in our journey that are so essential to the pressing in of our God on our lives that giving something up in order to be more available to His calling is primary.

This doesn’t mean you ARE giving up – it doesn’t mean that dream is dead, that relationship is lost or that job is never going to be the same…it just means it might look different. It might be that your ‘giving it up’ actually re establishes it! It might look different but in His time, it might be stronger, yield more fruit or be more enjoyable and had you NOT given it up when you were asked, you might never have discovered that!

My encouragement for you is that you seriously consider ‘giving up’ whatever it may be to a loving God & waiting patiently to see the outcomes…they may not come straight away and they may look different, but He works all things together FOR GOOD.

I am learning this all firsthand and whole-heartedly with the latest member of our family unit – hubby and I welcomed team member #3 on the weekend and with little hands and lion’s eyes, she is such a sweet edition already! But with a new baby, change is 100% inevitable and 100% not always comfortable. Relationships have to change, commitments have to change, work has to change, priorities have to change and sleep habits have to change 😝

But with each new moment we spend with her, we see God’s handiwork and His fingerprint intricately woven into every fibre of her little being and the ‘giving up’ doesn’t feel like such a big deal when the gain is so much deeper.

Yes there are hard moments of missing the old days, but if I’m not flexible in life with the responsibilities God gives me, why would He ever give me more later?

So be encouraged! Know that He knows what He is doing and don’t be afraid to give up once in a while!

baby J

More lessons from the bump

johnny cash

I use ‘bump’ loosely…when in reality it’s like an oversized basketball concreted to my front! 😉

Anyway, this music legend just about sums up where I am right now in terms of welcoming Baby J into this outside world super soon…it’s the overarching feeling I have that on a general day, outweighs the nerves and the unknowns.

So I thought in light of these flutters of excitement intermingled with jolts of nervousness and anticipation, I’d share a few more lessons I’ve been learning with the bump 🙂

#1 – Flip flops are my friend. I am quite literally down to a pair of flip flops as the only shoes that fit and given that we’re still in winter here, that’s not ncessarily ideal…! My feet are so swollen by the end of each day it’s a wonder I can actually walk! 😉 I’d heard about swollen feet and ankles in pregnancy, but until you experience it for yourself it’s a bit of an enigma!

#2 – I’m ok with strech marks…seriously! It took nearly this whole time for me to see any evidence of these and to be honest, I’d been hanging out for them! I wanted to see that Baby J was growing and therefore my skin was streching. This said to me that Baby J was a size that he/she should be and was doing what he/she should be doing in there. These are my stripes. These are the stripes that I’ve earned during this period and it’s pretty amazing that the human body is able to strech out this much to house a small other human!

#3 – Pregnancy books are b-o-r-i-n-g! I thought I’d enjoy reading them – I thought I’d like to soak up the knowledge and highlight and sticky-note and fold down pages…but in all honesty, I find them to be a real bore! And it’s no particular author or book – it’s just kind of the topic and structure of them in general…don’t get me wrong, the information is important and useful but man it’s a slog for me to get through a chapter or two!

#4 – Swimming is the beeeest! Well, I already knew I loved swimming – I’d swim every day if I had the chance – but swimming while pregnant is awesome! I’m weightless. I’m mobile. I’m flexible. I’m comfortable. I can float on my back and swim on my front and my skin isn’t itchy! It’s ridiculously refreshing and calming and oh man I can’t rave about it enough! Haha swim swim swim…! 😀

#5 – Pickles…I love them. Now, I’ve read the stories about pregnant women wanting ice-cream with pickles at like, 3am – but it wasn’t until I felt like a toasted cheese sandwich with sliced pickles that I realised the gravity of this precious vegetable. They’re sweet. They’re sour. They’re delicious…not with ice-cream, but BOY are they good with melted cheese on toast! If I were to order a cheeseburger right now, I’d ask for extra pickles. If I need a midnight snack tonight, I know what I’ll be having. I’f I need an afternoon snack, I know what it’ll be. It’s not a ‘craving’ per se, but it sure is what my toasty machine sees a lot of these days…! hehe

But I think the most important thing I’ve been learning is #6 – God’s timing is sovereign. 100% – in every situation – in every life stage, His timing over-rules my own, despite how brilliant I think I am 😉 This isn’t always easy to comprehend or even accept…a lot of the time, I don’t even really consider that God truly knows what He is doing, I just sort of take it for granted. I whinge, I complain, I get annoyed at what God is doing…but in reality, He has me exactly where I should be and sometimes it takes a great whack to the system for me to realise it fully. But when I do, I’m thankful for His timing. I’m thankful for His patience and I’m thankful for His ongoing love.

I’m sure I could list so much more than I’ve been learning during this part of my life, but I’ll leave some sleeping dogs where they lie…!

What are you learning?

baby J

One of those days…

Deut 31:8

Deut 31:8

Recently – really recently – I was having ‘one of those days’. You know the ones I’m talking about? Things don’t go all that smoothly, emotions are high, thoughts are spiralling, there are no booked appointments or places to be in the calendar and you’re by yourself with the rain pit-pattering on the roof outside.

One of those days.

It started with some photos on social media and sort of went from there. For those playing at home, I’m in the final weeks of pregnancy – our first. It’s been a rough and rocky journey and it isn’t over yet! On the weekend, we went to a precious friend’s birthday and of course, there were cameras flashing and poses being struck. It wasn’t until a few mornings after that I saw these photos on social media…and the part of my brain and heart that focuses on self-image and preservation fell through the floor.

On a general day, I’m actually a fairly comfortable person. I’m not a size zero. I’m not triathlon fit. I like a burger with my apple pie sometimes and I am particularly partial to Black Forest chocolate. I go to the gym, but I’m definitely no junkie. I’ll be honest – it took me some years to get to this place of contentment though. My husband has a large part to play in how far I’ve come in how I see myself though – it took some time and I slip occasionally, but more often than not I see me as he does and I see me as an individual creation of my Creator too. I am the way I am because He designed me this way.

But being pregnant puts a totally different spin on things that I wasn’t prepared for, especially with hormones that seem to have a mind of their own! I saw these photos from the party and was utterly disappointed in what I saw. My face was round and pudgy, my eyes were dark and tired looking and my smile looked off centre because of how much extra weight I’m carrying. Yes, not everyone could probably tell, but I sure as heck could! I remember someone saying that I was glowing but all I could think was ‘glowing? – try sweating profusely!’

So my day began with a sunken feeling in my heart and mind at how much I didn’t look like me – at how round I look, at how tired I looked and at how uncomfortable I felt. These feelings only aided in my funk…it’s been such a long nine months and the end isn’t quite here yet…will I ever feel like me again…will I ever be content with me again…why haven’t I been able to enjoy parts of this process…what does all this mean for when Baby J is actually here…?

So many thoughts and feelings rolled around that day. It wasn’t a positive day. I busied myself with tasks and housework and letter-writing, but my mind kept coming back to the negative. I found a verse that stuck with me later in the day – but I’ll be honest…I still haven’t fully recovered from my ‘one of those days’ days and for now, I guess that’s ok. Each day is different, each moment a fresh chance and the journey has already been walked – I just take it one step at a time…one step…