It was another night of the bed time routine with my sweet baby girl. I call her baby girl, but really she is a witty almost four year old little girl. Sitting on the bathroom floor giggling, then pjs, snuggles, prayer and then I sing her to sleep. This night somehow, seemed different, final even. I looked over to see her fast asleep and tears cascaded down my face, knowing that this season, of just her and I galavanting, her working with me, us outside hiking, going to the beach, and just BEING together, was ending. A new season was blowing into our lives, and suddenly I didn’t feel ready. I closed her bedroom door and walked over to the couch to meet my hubby for some snuggles and our favorite shows and even this felt fleeting. He could sense the heaviness on me and gave me that assuring smile he always gives, as I placed my head on his shoulder.
Sure enough, I woke early the next morning with indications that my little man was on his way. My contractions were far apart, consistent but never intensifying. This lasted long enough for me to call our mama’s, my dear friend, and ask my husband to stay home from work. But just as soon as everyone came my contractions seem to fade. In frustration my visitors left. Just as my friend Jenna was about to leave, I broke down, I was certain today was the day, and she assured me that this little boy was coming today. My husband suggested we go for a long walk to grab lunch and see if that did anything.
This was just what my body needed to kick things into gear. As soon as we reached the top of the hill to get to the sandwich shop my body kicked into full on labor. I desperately tried to order my sandwich with my baby girl on my hip in-between contractions. Soon we were walking back home. I had my mother in laws voice in my head to walk through each contraction, and that honestly made them so much more manageable. Once we were home I could hardly speak. So I called my midwife and told her this was it. Before I knew it, I heard peaceful music and the sounds of whales playing in my living room.
(Whales mean a lot to us. The night before our daughter was born we swam at Waimea Bay and we could hear the whales singing under water, and the day before I started labor with our son we hiked to the top of a pillbox on the North Shore and could see whales jumping in the distance)
My husband glanced at me as he was filling the birthing tub and keeping my daughter busy and once again shot me that handsome smirk of assurance (Something that still makes me weak in the knees to even think about). I laid on our bed in-between contractions and would get up to pace back and fourth when the contractions started again. I could hear the Holy Spirit whisper to me, soften and trust. And I could feel my body do just that.
With another contraction washing away I laid on my bed to rest, and then I heard the sweet voice of my midwife’s assistant Jaymie, and felt her gentle hands on my back in pressure points that felt like heaven. As soon as she was there, encouraging me through my moans, and helping me blow away the end of my contractions, I felt safe enough that I stood with the next contraction, walked to the bathroom and puked. haha. Right then my Midwife Dr. Lori walked in our front door came into the bathroom and encouraged me to bring my energy down as I finished losing the sandwich I ordered earlier that afternoon. I looked at her and knew that it was time for me to push. I washed my face, and with that, I pushed with my body’s cue and with a burst, my water broke. To my surprise, the midwives already had chucks pads underneath me and with my next push I felt my sons head. In the next few pushes my baby boy was in my hands. Dr. Lori helped untangle him from his cord, and I put him as far up me as the umbilical cord would allow.
A rush of endorphins hit my body and I realized that it was over, and my sweet Amos was here. His big dark eyes blinking and looking up at me, I took off my shirt and covered him in it. I looked out the bathroom door to see my husband with our daughter in his arms, both with huge smiles on their faces, we were now a family of four.
I walked with help to our already prepared bedroom, laid down and started nursing a hungry little newborn. In a whirlwind, weights and measurements were taken and I got to see our placenta, which I was so excited to see! It had a ring around it, which only 2% of placentas have, and no one really knows why! Then we made the call to our mama’s that our sweet Amos was already here! They both came with warm soup in hand for us and were quickly gone.
That night is when my postpartum journey began. The battle of balancing two babies, guilt, shame, anxiety, sadness, all hit me like a heat wave. I realized our night routine had to now be modified for another little being.
After a rough couple of nights of figuring out our new groove we slowly started getting a rhythm. Then the adjustment of my husband going back to work after a week was on deck. This is when my postpartum blues really hit me. That dark cloud I had to pretend didn’t exist in order for my little girl to feeling cared for and make this transition well, but would consume me when my husband or family would take Irie to go play or get out for a bit. I felt like I was in mourning. I was mourning a season I cherished. Mourning the trials that continued to face our family one after another, mourning my parents divorce, mourning a part of myself that felt gone, I was mourning so much when I felt like I should be overwhelmed with joy. I have a beautiful family, healthy AMAZING children, an a husband I couldn’t be more in love with. What was wrong with me. I would scroll social media while nursing my son, and it would make everything worse. I felt like the world was in motion and I had been captured by a stagnant bubble of despair and anxiety.
Thats when I FINALLY turned to God, and asked Him for help. I had no idea what to do, until I heard the Holy Spirit whisper, “Choose ME”. Thats when it clicked. I was letting the name of Jesus get muddled, I wasn’t harnessing the God given power inside of me to fight back these emotions, I wasn’t getting in the WORD and was instead scrolling destructive social media that was tearing me up inside and stealing me away from being present in each moment with my children, and with my sweet husband. I knew I needed to choose the Word of God to get out of this cloud. And so I did. I deleted all my social media applications and downloaded the You Version Bible app which has hundreds of free reading plans. My husband did it with me too! That, combined with constant prayer, and meditating on a favorite scripture helped me to make it through each day with a little more grace. The bubble wasn’t gone, but I was fighting back now.
Phillipians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
The Lord really started a shift in me. My midwife also suggested that I increase my dark leafy greens, incorporate green smoothies into each day, and be consistent with my Placenta Capsules and prenatal vitamins. I had to nourish myself, mind, body, and soul to be the type of mama I wanted to be again, to feel like myself again, or even a stronger version.
When I was 2 weeks postpartum we ended up moving into 2 bedrooms of the house of our friends mother. A humbling step for us no doubt, and the pain of why we were in that position still was lingering. But somehow I felt that this was a season of change, a season of diligence in my husband and I pressing into God and seeing Him MOVE! Now my son is 3 months old and I feel that I am just now starting to get out of the cloud. I am starting to feel the anxiety fade, though I still have rough days. The majority of the time I am able to embrace the newness of being a mom of two children, working my own business, with a husband who busts his butt for our family and is gone a lot. The call on parents is a heavy one. I have been able to be consistent with the homeschooling of my daughter and most of all I have learned to say no to things that would spread me too thin. I am slowly starting to allow God to take the reigns as I lay my worries at his feet. Above all, God is working on my heart and strengthening our family in this postpartum season. It can be so exhausting and raw, but God knows that we are moldable right now and I feel blessed that His work is not done with us yet.
As vain as I feel admitting this my postpartum body is a huge struggle for me. I have grown up as an athlete. I am used to having an athletes body. Even in college, when I wasn’t in sports any more I trained crossfit, did yoga, ran and was always rock climbing and training hard in the gym. So now in this season where my days are spent serving my family I obviously do not get time to train. I try my best to exercise every day just in the yard with my daughter or yoga when my son naps, and skate boarding when my husband comes home from work while my daughter rides her scooter, but its not the same. I crave pushing my body hard, and seeing the results. Now I am softer, with lopsided and stretched out boobs, and definitely not as strong or toned as I once was. These things weigh HARD on my mind. I always have to ask the Lord to guide my mind, because right now its really not about being the fittest I can be, its about raising young babies. When the time comes and I can balance being in the gym again you better believe I will be, but I am really trying to bloom where I am planted in this season. If this is a struggle for you then here is a big virtual hug. I encourage you to try to get in exercise in any way you can each day (Somedays will be better than others depending on the little), but you will have a little sanity to get you through until you can hit it hard again! Stand firm with me my friend and lets do this season well.
“Do not remember the former things, or ponder the things of the past, Listen carefully, I am about to do a new thing, Now it will spring forth; Will you be aware of it? I will even put a road in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:18-19
As a mother, I hope to encourage other mothers who struggle with their postpartum season to nourish yourself, mind body and soul. This doesn’t mean eating junk food because it makes you feel good, or scrolling social media so you can zone out for a bit. It means choosing the route that strengthens you, even when you feel like you’re breaking. Choosing truth when all you feel is the million different types of mother guilt, and insecurity. It’s pushing out distractions so you can be present with your children and spouse. Its choosing God above all and declaring His name above all names. He is more powerful than insecurity, fear, doubt, pain, depression, loss, vanity, anger, bitterness and so much more. I honestly believe that our calling as mothers extends beyond our own biological children, we are to mother the next generation, to nurture the ones around us, and to work hard every day serving to lost, broken and hurting. So lets harness the power with in all of us. Mothers are fierce! And we need to own that God given calling!
Lets raise this next generation to be warriors, far stronger than any of us could ever be, by living through action!
Be encouraged Sweet One, and as always have Grit,