“There is a magnificent, beautiful, wonderful painting in front of you! It is intricate, detailed, a painstaking labor of devotion and love! The colors are like no other, they swim and leap, they trickle and embellish! And yet you choose to fixate your eyes on the small fly which as landed on it! Why do you do such a thing?” C. JoyBell C.
I have now had 3 surgeries in the last three years, I will call it my labor of love.
Two back to back C- sections within 18 months and recently umbilical hernia repair surgery; my girls are 3 and 21 months.
Before becoming a Mama I was what you called an independent woman with something to prove. Working hard was my middle name and achievement was my goal.
I was not the kind of women who would ask for help, in fact I was the friend called on to give advice and to lend a hand. This was a role that came naturally to me as I watched my Mom do and still do it.
So what happens when a type-a, independent, “I can rule the world”, women becomes a Mama of 2 in less than 2 years…
Well for a while she holds it together but slowly she starts to break..
She manages to run multiple businesses and take care of her girls while her husband, a police officer, works the night shift which leaves her eating alone and taking care of herself, the house and her daughters for 12 hours straight 5-6 days a week…
Her role as a wife and mother are satisfying to her but she quietly cries out for someone to see her and understand that while she wants and needs help, she “can’t” ask for it.
I reluctantly headed into my recent surgery to close the hole in my stomach left by my two beautiful babies because I knew I couldn’t do this alone.
- I worried about the burden this would create for my husband who would have to take over.
- I made lists of the things that I would still be able to do wanting to do “my-part” so I wouldn’t feel useless.
- I secretly cried over the fear that my girls wouldn’t understand that Mama couldn’t pick them up and play with them, I didn’t want them to feel unloved.
But then I did something I have never done, I said “OK”!
I said, “OK” when the beautiful mothers in my MOPS group offered to make meals for my family as I recovered.
I said, “OK” when the mothers from my daughters preschool class offered to take the girls on playdates.
I said “OK” and meant it when mothers near and far told me to reach out if I needed help.
Motherhood is not a competitive sport that is meant to be won and you miss so much when you isolate yourself shouting ” I got it” from your island.
I have decided to give myself permission to feel sad, afraid, guilty, discouraged along with many other emotions knowing that I have a team of Mama’s around to comfort, support and fill in the gaps for me.
So, I’m going to own my story- all of it and love myself through it all knowing I don’t have to fight this particular battle alone!
Thank you to all who make up the village that surrounds me. My tribe is amazing!
If you have been a follower of my blog from the beginning there are a few things you know..
- I’m a dancer
- I LOVE being a Mama!
What you may also know is that I had very difficult pregnancies, both ending in C-sections after weeks of active labor resulting in no dilation.
This is not a post about how hard my pregnancy was; I know many women who have had worst pregnancies, this is about the emotional and still physically painful part of being “trapped” in your body after baby.
I use the word “trapped” because try as you may, you will NEVER slip back into your pre-baby self.
Even though you can’t be what you were emotionally or physically, you CAN be better in a different way, can’t you?
There are so many get your body back quick schemes that make me tear up when I think of all of the new Mamas who are pressured into thinking that you should immediately lose all of your weight and wear your old bikini.
I’m no stranger to hard work, being a dancer all of my life. I figured hard work and smart eating would do the trick..
Well, let me introduce you to my new bestie; diastasis recti ,aka your abs split in half from having back to back babies and can’t find their way back together.
No, this doesnt happen to all women but it happens A LOT. Doctors don’t prepare you for this and I certainly had no clue while I still looked 4 months pregnant 10 months after my baby was born.
Just as I started to look into it and begin to “rehab” it, you guessed it I got pregnant again.
BUT, I had a game plan this time. I knew what exercises to do and wore my ab splint religiously.
I started making working out my job, literally and have never felt better! The story ends right, NO.
Truth be told I have been having tummy issues, for lack of getting too detailed, since having my second. Even after losing a lot of weight and physically looking toned, I had a bulge around my belly button that just wouldn’t go away.
Again, thinking it was just my BFF diastasis recti, I ignored it and ignored it and ignored it…but it wouldn’t go away with my symptoms getting worse.
After an episode of extreme abdominal pain that my husband and I thought I would need to go to the hospital for I decided to get a second opinion, since the first doctor told me this was just a part of settling into my “new body”.
After about a 30 minute consultation, she looked at me and said you have an umbilical hernia. Without going into much detail, my condition means there is nothing holding my intestinal wall in place hence the severe abdominal pain I have been in.
I asked myself in that moment, why I never insisted at those previous doctors appointments that they rule out other medical conditions.
I asked myself how many other women are afraid to bring up their post pregnancy pain fearful of how they may look or sound.
So as I sit here writing this, I’m emotionally and physically uncomfortable. On one hand I feel relieved that that bulge will not be a permanent fixture on me. On the other hand I’m terrified to have this surgery, a surgery that will leave me unable to work out for 6 weeks.
I have worked so hard to get to a place where my back no longer hurts daily because I have regained my abdominal strength back.
I have worked so hard to get back into shape restoring confidence in myself that I thought was lost.
When you read all of the baby books they don’t tell you this part. They don’t tell you that for some women their post pregnancy bodies can’t figure out to get to a new normal on their own.
My body is one of those..I thought I would be the woman who would have her babies and dance her way back to her old self.
In March I will undergo surgery to fix the literal hole in my stomach my babies left. I won’t be able to lift my girls, carry anything over 10 pounds or do anything physically taxing for 4-6 weeks.
In a moment of honesty, I feel as if my body has turned on me, after all of the ways I have been loving and taking care of it.
As I lay here looking at the calendar with my surgery day circled I whisper to myself- we will get through this together.
Even the optimist in me is uncertain of just how she is going to get back to the place she has worked so hard to get to, BUT I WONT GIVE UP!
One. Day. At. A. Time!
P.S. please send me book recommendations, free time is something I’m not good at handling😉
Just an ordinary day on my morning trip to Starbucks..
But let me back up a few hours before that trip..
4am: first, “Mama!” cry from the hallway followed by my rush to take her back to her bed before she wakes up her sister.
4:05: HUBBY LEAVES FOR WORK
5:00am: say, “WHATEVER!” and let her have her way, which entails her crawling into bed and somehow taking up the whole bed while she tosses and turns for the next 2 hours.
7:45: CRA!!!.. forgot to hit snooze and get awoken with a foot in my face!
7:45-8:45: rush to get two kiddos ready, get showered, check my emails to make sure nothing urgent happened, take a look at my planner to figure out where I need to be, make coffee, make my shake, load the kids in the car..go back in for the book bag and lunch box I forgot.
9:10: drop child #1 at school with child #2 in hand.
9:15: drive to my little slice of heaven..STARBUCKS for coffee since I left the cup I made at home.
9:30: unload child #2, grab my purse and happily walk into Starbucks UNTIL..
A women races to the door in front of me and says, “So sorry, but I’m in a rush to get to work.”
So, I let her cut in front of me and surprisingly, I felt sad instead of pissed off!
Sad that she judged me in my yoga pants and Momlife shirt for not having a life deemed important enough to value…
Sad that she assumed I had nowhere to be …
Sad that she had given no thought to how my morning might have been…
Sad that she felt that because she was dressed up in a business suit that her “job” was more important than mine…
When will we get it as women, as mothers?
It’s ALL hard, no matter if your rocking yoga pants or tailored business pants.
It’s ALL hard, no matter if your giving a presentation to 50 board members or trying to get your kiddos fed and down for nap time so that you can clean up, prep dinner and put a load of laundry in.
It’s ALL hard, PERIOD.
So to that woman who cut me in line at Starbucks, your life is not more important than mine.. just different and that’s perfectly OK with me!
We have all been there… the dreaded “I have too many grocery bags to bring in and not enough hands” dilemma.
If I put 5 bags on one hand and 6 on the other and carry the roll of toilet paper under my arms, I think I can manage to get up the stairs and in the door without falling…oh wait, what about the kids??
Ok..well, if one walks and I carry the other than I can still put 5 bags on one and 6 on the other and then Cupcake can surely carry the toilet paper..until of course she tells me “Mama, I can’t..its too heavy!”
Now mind you, I have witnessed this tiny human lift a gallon of milk and her little sister, who although tiny still weights 18 pounds, so I KNOW she can carry the toilet paper BUT she was very clear to me in her declaration and it made stop and ask myself, “why in the world am I trying to carry all of this stuff at one time?”
I know why, I didn’t want to have to come back down to the garage when I just wanted to get upstairs, get them fed and hopefully down for a nap. Coming back down would be an inconvenience and an unnecessary step wouldn’t it?
In that moment I realized that I needed to revaluate what HAD to be taken up on this first trip and honestly it was just two bags- the rest could wait.
Wait for after their nap..wait for when my hubby came home..or honestly it could wait until tomorrow.
Being a very driven person has it faults sometimes and in this case it resulted in me thinking that something was urgent that wasn’t.
I’m learning in this motherhood journey that most of what I think is urgent just isn’t especially when I see life from the eyes of my two little sweethearts.
In that moment, my oldest wanted me to hold her hand up the stairs and my littlest baby wanted me to carry her without the added strain of too many bags weighing my arm down.
I heard God whisper, IT CAN WAIT...focus on what is right in front of you.
So I grabbed the bag with the milk, yogurt, fruit and eggs and headed up the stairs…oh wait….THE WINE! I did go back down for that IMMEDIATELY😉
Purposefully deciding what to “carry” each day has been the most significant change I have made in terms of being a more present Mama!
Most days I hear God telling me to carry much less than I feel I should carry and HIS will ALWAYS wins.
Make it a great day Mama’s!
This is a big week for my 2.5 year old and an even BIGGER week for Mama. On Wednesday my first baby girl starts pre-school. I thought about keeping her home another year to hold her close to me a bit longer but I then realized SHE is ready because I have helped her along the way.
There have been many, MANY times when I prayed that this day would come…those prayers came fast and furious during one of her many meltdowns. The most recent one resulting from me NOT letting her buy size 5 BOY cargo pants and a shirt that said “Boy’s Rule!
Now that the day is here I feel like there are so many things I want to tell her as she takes her first step away from the safety of Mama’s arms..
During bedtime tonight I tried to fit all of these “golden rules” in after the 10th book we read, but she feel asleep before I could finish…a miracle in and of itself😉
I decided I would write them down so I wouldn’t forget…
- Loving God does not mean you look down on those who don’t share your belief. You are going to a Christian school because Mommy and Daddy decided that is best for you. You will have friends who go to different schools and as long as they are nice and caring- you can be friends with them too!
- You WILL look different than most of your peers and that is a GOOD thing. Be proud of who you are- ALWAYS!
- Your hair will get A LOT of attention. Just smile:) Your 2.5- the complexity of why your hair is different can be explained later..
- Not everybody will be nice to you. It breaks my heart to even write that and I may be tempted to tell a parent to meet me outside if somebody hurts you- I’m kidding..kinda😉There will be plenty of people who WILL like you. Focus on them!
- Tell me everything! You seem to talk from the time you get up to the time you go to bed and please don’t stop. I want to here about your day, the pink toad you saw that said hello, according to the conversation we had the other day and everything in between.. I promise to ALWAYS make time to listen!
- Lastly, even though you are taking a step away from me you are not leaving me behind. I will sometimes be beside you to witness your discoveries as you make them, in front of you to lead you when you are unsure of where to go, a close step behind to catch you when you get your feelings hurt and most importantly my arms will be forever open to embrace you WHENEVER you need me too.
This is the first time for Mama too so lets take it one day at a time…
Lets pave our OWN way and write the new chapter in this journey together!
Im just coming back from an amazing weekend with some exceptional women and mothers/ As we all talked about our career goals and highlights I started reflecting on the hardest job that I have and will every have and that is being a Mother.
Think back to the steps you took when you interviewed for your most recent job. You probably did something like this…
1. Read the job description…
2. Did some research on the company…
3. Discussed the salary and the benefits…
4. Decided YES this is for me…
Ok now lets talk about motherhood- its a job right so shouldn’t the same steps apply? Ha!
1. You can’t do step one can you?
Lets be honest the real reason a job description doesnt exist for being a mom is because NO one in the right mind would take the job and in this case I do believe ignorance is bliss…It was so nice to live in that blissful land where you really thought babies were born knowing how to sleep all night and that teeth just magically appeared with no pain.
Before becoming a mommy I believed my 40+ hour work week was the hardest schedule I would ever have and that answering to my bosses demands and balancing work and my social life was just to much to handle that I would often sleep until noon on Saturday’s.
There is no way that I could have possibility imagined what becoming a mother would do to my life and more importantly my heart.
Speaking honestly I don’t always love being a mother. A mother is a custodian, cook, errand runner, maid, miracle worker, tantrum stopper, diaper changer, and on and on and on.
BUT I love being a Mama!
- A MAMA is the woman responsible for shaping the hearts of her babies.
- A MAMA knows she should greet her babies with a smile every morning because that sets their day in the right direction.
- A MAMA knows that her babies are watching her every move and that even before they can say it they want to be just like you.
- A MAMA knows that her babies don’t care what she wears or drives just as long as SHE is present reading, laughing, playing and creating memories that will become the framework of their little lives.
- A MAMA knows that she is irreplaceable and that no one else can take her place.
In order for me to be ok with taking a job I didn’t sign up for I had to stop calling myself a Mother and look at myself through the same lens that my baby girls do..the Mama lens.
A simple change in perspective can make even the most mundane tasks of motherhood more meaningful and I always thought mothers who said that were crazy. Seriously how can doing the laundry be FUN..come on! But you know what it can be. When I say Cupcake its time to do the laundry she comes running with a big smile on her face and says “Mama, I help you”!
She takes each item one at a time and with all of her little effort makes sure it gets completely in the washing machine. When all the clothes are in, I lift her up and she pushes the button and says “Mama, I did it all by myself”.
That’s all it took for her to be happy in “her” little world!
When we take away all of the tasks of doing and achieving we can really get to the heart of motherhood. Loving my babies is a job I know I can do and can do well.
This is one position that will NEVER need to be filled by anyone else but ME and I’m happy with that.
Love is NOT about perfection Love is about intention and I intend to purposefully love by babies with all I have. The tasks associated with Motherhood can wait what they need is for me to show up every day and love them with everything I have.
I promise to always be your Mama Always!