Monday, July 6, 2015

9 Months in and 9 Months out

I remember thinking when I was pregnant-9 months is such a long time! It was January and I had to wait all the way until September to have this baby? It sounded like an eternity and sometimes it felt that way.

Somehow through the nausea, weight gain, vomitting, heartburn, sciatic nerve pain, nervousness and orange sherbet and brussel sprout cravings- a baby was born. I held that beauty in my arms and told myself that I was going to drink in every moment with her. I wanted time to stand still and for me to just look at her. 9 months and 4 long days of waiting and here she was.

And then.. it happened. 

September became October faster than I could even blink and then Christmas was here and all of the sudden I was buying an Easter dress for my 6 month old and then came the day when I looked out at my crawling maniac wild child who was trying to drink the water in the pool without letting her knees touch the rough cement and I realized.. Oh my heck! She is 9 months old and 6 days. She has been out with me longer than she was in  me.

When did that happen?

And as I watched her nose-dive into the water because it just wasn't possible to do a downward dog and drink nasty pool water at the same time and as I picked her up to sit her on her bum and she immediately started crawling away again to grab the floating sand toys- I started thinking about the past 9 months and how the time had slipped through my fingers. 

I started to feel a bit sad for the newborn stage that was long past and the immobile times when you could just put the baby in one spot and go throw a diaper away and come back and they hadn't moved an inch. I started to miss the  midnight feedings and the funny things we parents would do to get any kind of smile to appear.

And I decided to push down the sadness I was feeling for a time gone and passed and to think about the things I had learned in the 9 months that this baby had been out with me.

1- The first thing I thought of came easily-a mother's post baby body. I was sitting at a pool of all places to be having this inward conversation. 

When I tried to put on my old jeans a week after having Lydia I couldn't button them up so I sat down on the closet floor and sobbed. And then there was the time a few months later that I was told that I was "just big boned" by a friend and I went home and cried some more. As I was sulking in my pity party I had the words of the last line of my patriarchal blessing come to my head, "Is there anything more lovely in this world than you? The answer to that is no." I decided from then on to try my best to have a better outlook.  

As I looked around at the other moms with their kids I thought about all the different shapes and sizes of each woman I saw. One woman held a 6 week-old baby in her arms while chasing a 2 year old through the splash pad. Another went down the slide with her 8 year-old daughter. One mother just sat on the shallow end splashing with her twins.

And I thought to myself, "We are all truly beautiful women." We need to give ourselves a bit more credit and flip the magazines in the check out lines to the back cover so that we aren't tempted to read about "getting flat abs fast" "drop 10 lbs in 1 week" or be tempted to compare ourselves to this so and so on the cover.

A woman's post-baby body looks and feels different than the body they had before-whether that it now has stretch marks on the right side of the belly button leaving the tummy looking lopsided or that the wider hips make jeans feel way different than before. Change happens and it can be hard to accept. Some days I tell myself “Yes! You’re doing great” and other days I just want to sit on the couch and watch Gilmore Girls with a bowl of cookie dough and feel sorry about my new body.

But hey, I am still learning. I'm learning to take care of myself and this new body. I'm learning that when I take care of myself then I feel better and can take better care of my wild baby. I am learning that this body who was the home to this baby for 9 months and 4 days can also be healthy and beautiful 9 months after that baby was born. And who cares if other people see it as long as I think it and feel it?

It takes work to accept and make your post baby body beautiful in your mind-but don't give up.

And remember to reflect often about the beauty of this body that our Father in Heaven has created and the miracle that we can grow another beautiful body inside our own. What an honor we have as women.

2- While it is great to have goals, don’t set too high of expectations for yourself-some days the laundry has to wait because the baby’s nap was shorter than usual which put the baby in a bad mood resulting in more attention needed to the ornery wild child which resulted in oatmeal drying in the carpet and a dirty diaper left on the floor for a little too long.

Sometimes we are much too hard on ourselves and we need a reminder that “some things can wait” but your tired baby who is more interested in climbing on you for attention than in her basket of toys and books- can't wait. Tomorrow is another day to get what you want done, and if you don't get anything done besides feeding the baby and making sure she doesn't run around half naked then great-success!

3- You are not a bad mother if you look forward to bedtime. I love this little moose that crawls around and tries to climb up the stairs when she thinks I'm not looking, but sometimes it is nice to put her down for bed and have the house clean for a couple of hours and go to bed with it sparkling because you know in the morning it will soon be covered in banana mushed fingerprints and formula spit-up carpet stains.

And if the day has just been too tiring and you don't want to clean the house in your silent moments and you want to sit down and read a book or just stare at the wall then that is fine too.

4- My baby isn't the only one who does better with routine. I need routine as much as my baby needs routine. It helps keep me sane as well as helps me feel a bit more productive. While it is great to have a resilient baby, it is also great for me to have a little bit of order in my life.

When I was working I had a routine of going to work and coming home, making dinner, cleaning and a bit of free time before bed. It was simple. 

When I had the baby the schedule was all over the place while I tried to figure out a little bit of a nap schedule and get the baby to sleep the night and not the day. Brian would come home from work and I felt like I had to tell him everything I had done that day to show him that even though I only nursed and changed the baby's diaper all day long-I had been very very busy. 

One day he sat me down and told me I didn't need to go through play-by-plays with him. He told me that I didn't need to make dinner for all the neighbors and plan and conduct a service project to feel useful. He told me that by feeding and changing the baby's diaper I was doing enough.

Once I realized this, I was able to put myself into a routine so that the time I did have available I could fill it with productive things if I wanted or I could just sit and relax. Either way, I felt worthwhile and like I was doing enough.

5- Breastfeeding is wonderful and a beautiful thing and I loved it while it was a good option for us. But around 6 months it wasn't what was best for my baby and I had to choose a new option. 

Everyone has a different breastfeeding journey and I spent way too much time caring about what everyone else would say to me if I switched to formula because my baby just wasn’t getting enough from me. And now that I have been done for 3 months I realize that it just doesn't matter and I made it way more of a big deal than it needed to be.

6- Support is not only wonderful-it is needed. Before I got pregnant with Lydia I had a miscarriage at 7 weeks along. We hadn't told anyone that I was pregnant yet and I regretted that because I longed for the support and love from my family and friends as I sat on the airplane with cramps up the whalloo and a sinking heart knowing that I was miscarrying my baby.

So when I got pregnant again, I didn't wait as long to tell my family and friends. Support is wonderful in all areas of life. It was in pregnancy and it is still now.

With us living away from family, it’s good to have friends, both with kids and not. The ones who don’t have them remind me to still be the same person I was before I had kids-it keeps me grounded with the weird quirks and girlish habits of painting my toenails and watching The Bachelor as I read romance novels. The ones that do have kids help me to realize that I’m not completely insane and that chasing a naked baby around the house 3 times to get a diaper on can be pretty normal. 

It's great to call up my sisters or mom or a friend we have met along the way and talk about life and vent a little about how the baby blew out in her diaper for the 3rd time and one of them was when she was sitting on your lap. It's great to seek and hear advice from women you admire and love. It's great to cry as well when you start putting away the newborn clothes or start putting on the size 3 diapers. Support is needed.

7-The marriage came before the baby. My relationship with Brian is important and needs to be number one. Just because my baby needs me to survive doesn’t mean that my relationship with my husband doesn’t. It does just as much if not more.

Adding a baby to the mix, mixes up the relationship a bit. There needs to be adjustments but also rekindling of the fire and passion we started with. Dates don't end when you get married and marriage doesn't get put on hold when you have a baby.

Our marriage needs to be a priority more than ever before. We have to communicate differently now.. we will fight and cry and laugh and smile.. and it will be wonderful because we will continually work together to build a stronger marriage.

8-It is said that comparison is the thief of joy, but so is judging. Judging another person is not worth the time or effort. Whether that judging is watching a mom break down in frustration at her 3-year-old for throwing a toy out of the cart and thinking, "What's the problem woman! He only threw his toy out of the cart" and not realizing that maybe it was the 4th time it had happened and that maybe the mom was tired because she had been up all night with a sick baby and was only in the store buying Tylenol to help soothe the baby. 

Or maybe it's judging the mom who shakes up the formula bottle instead of offering breast milk, or gossiping about the lady who doesn't have kids and thinking maybe she just can't handle them or prefers her career over raising a child, when really she has been trying for 7 years and hasn't outwardly complained once but privately has shed thousands of tears as she knelt on worn knees in prayer for a child of her own. 

I've been that mother on the airplane where the baby just won't stop crying and fussing and you just don't know what to do because there is no where to go to comfort the baby but in your seat. I've seen the rude expressions and judgmental thoughts fly across others faces around me and know just what they are thinking, "Why can't this woman get that baby to calm down? Doesn't she realize there is more than just her on this plane?!" And I've been tired and exhausted with my eyes swimming with tears as the older woman across the aisle comforts me and says, "My babies are 34 and 29. You're doing great and believe it or not you will miss even the hard moments like this because it meant they were once little enough to fit in your arms." 

And those words were perfect and just what I needed to hear.

Whatever the circumstances are that we see other people going through there is never a time to judge. I repeat this quote over and over again, but it is my favorite.

9-The top thing I realized that I had learned in the last 9 months of watching this baby grow was that sure, I made a baby in 9 months inside me, but now this baby was out and in 9 months she had truly made me and was continuing to make me. 

I loved this baby from day I thought I was pregnant to the day I found I could call her a she, to the day I held her in my arms and now the days that I am chasing after her around the house. That love has caused my heart to swell 5 times larger each time. 

I love going to get her from her crib in the morning and seeing that smiling giggling face. I love how when she bumps her head she'll crawl right to me for comfort. I love the cheesy smile she gives me as she runs her sticky macaroni through her hair and the way her legs kick and wiggle when I hold her under her arms. I love watching her chase the cat around and how she will give me the guilty expression when I say her name in the warning tone as she starts climbing the stairs when she knows she shouldn't. 

I love the good moments and appreciate the bad ones because they make me treasure the good ones that much more. I'm grateful for what I am learning and how I am growing. I've loved this second 9 months with my baby.


  1. This is so insightful! Thanks for sharing :)

  2. I love your blog, thank you for sharing! I found myself crying while reading it and then laughing at the end when I looked over at my baby who had just had a blowout in her stroller. Haha being a mommy is the best!


Leave Some Love!