We have a lot going on right now in our family and have a lot of decisions to make (It seems like we always do – is that ever gonna stop?). It’s one of those times in adult life when I have the sudden urge to call my parents and ask them to tell me what to do.
Just the other day I was sitting down for a quickly prepared lunch with our little girl and despite her reaching eagerly for the bread I tried to get her to settle down and fold her hands so I could say a prayer to bless the food. I kept it short and skipped through the words to try to finish before her patience would run out and the silence would end. And it made me wonder why I was doing it and if it really was worth it. Would she understand? Even if I thought prayer was important couldn’t I just wait and teach her when she was big enough to understand why?
I pondered that for a few days. The most obvious reason I guessed was that toddlers pick up on everything and learn from example. In just the last couple of weeks, mine has picked up on new words, brushing her hair out and for some reason she always knows when to wave goodbye even before we do or ask her to. All because she pays attention to everything we do! So obviously, if I want for prayer to be a part of her life, now is probably a good time to show her how to.
But I arrived at another conclusion as well – a maybe less obvious one. And it has to do with the reason that I pray myself. I’m sure there may be plenty of reasonable reasons why one should not pray. But one of my main reasons for kneeling down is the feeling that immediately fills the room when I do. Peace. ‘Peace’ is such a short and easily overlooked word. Let’s just take a minute and really think about what it means – especially in an everyday setting with things to do in every direction. A pleasant warm feeling that pushes out worry and stress. That one feeling that we all go our entire lives searching to keep with us.
And in that atmosphere I can shut the world out for a moment and focus on myself. What I’m grateful for and what I really need help with.
I love the person I become when I pray. I become humble and submissive. It becomes easier for me to forget my faults and my pride. And more than anything the things I think I need but maybe really don’t. It makes me feel kinder and full of love. It makes me want to keep praying. To pray for help so I can keep being that person when I open my eyes, stand up and get back to my day. To have that feeling of peace stay with me.
And to share that feeling with my family. My daughter.
If I can teach her anything in life it will be where to turn for peace.
I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time – waking and sleeping. It does not change God – it changes me. – CS Lewis
Being a survivor of getting pregnant, morning sickness, evolving into a whale, contractions, labor and then the whole dewhaling process, I have experienced many things that have left me thinking, “why didn’t anyone tell me this??”.
Breastfeeding is on that list.
I’ve always known that I wanted to breastfeed, that wasn’t a big decision for me. Throughout my childhood I’ve watched my mom breastfeed my four younger siblings and heard her speak of what a wonderful thing it was. So, naturally, I wanted to do it too.
I say that there were things that I wish someone had told me. I wish I’d known or at least to some extent been more prepared for how hard breastfeeding would be. Having said that, I don’t think my mother lied to me or tried to keep the truth from me. But I really think that mothers are designed to focus on the beautiful things and to forget a little about just how hard the hard times were (thank goodness for that!).
So, I’m writing it all down – putting it all out there while it’s still fresh in my memory, to any expecting mama out there who wants to read a true story.
Here is my true breastfeeding story.
I think the first question I asked after I became a mom was to my mother just a few minutes after giving birth, “should I just try to feed her right away?”. It wasn’t asking permission so much as asking for a confirmation that my instinct was correct. Our newborn baby seemed to latch on pretty perfectly right away, and I leaned back, exhausted, and soaked up that first real moment of motherhood.
Other than bringing on a bit of pain in my healing abdomen, breastfeeding proceeded quite effortlessly the next couple of days. In the evening of the third day we were having take-out with both of our parents and I started noticing that my breasts were hurting a bit. After they left we went to bed and one of the hardest nights of my life began. My milk was coming in – fast! My breasts were swelling to the size of melons and they were so sore that I couldn’t even lie on my side. By morning they looked like balloons that had been blow up way more than they were supposed to and they just hurt so bad. I quickly found out that the nipples were stretched so tight that the baby was having a hard time getting it far enough into her mouth to eat.
That and the next couple of days I had to call my mom and midwives several times to help me feed my baby. After trying several techniques, the best one we found required me to use both of my hands to squeeze the tip of my boob into a more pointy shape, and someone else to jam the baby’s open mouth onto the nipple until she latched. Once she had latched, all there was to do was keep her on there and endure the burning pain from my now bleeding nipples. – I’m very sorry for being so bold and illustrative, but it really hurt so bad that I shut my eyes, let the tears run down my face and rocked backwards and forwards rapidly to keep from crying out.
It was really bad like that for about two weeks. Then it was only bad. After about a month it was painless.
Those first weeks were tough. I don’t think I hardly wore a bra – or a shirt. I remember getting out of bed at night when the baby woke up and doing the two-man breastfeeding maneuver on the couch in the livingroom where there was more light. I would always wake up in a puddle of milk – nursing pads are pretty useless when you leak about a cup of milk at night, I slept wrapped in a cloth diaper. I felt pretty weak in those days and there was only so much I could do to not start crying or knock someone silly when they said, “make sure to enjoy these first weeks!”.
Then it got better. Do not underestimate nipple butter, or the element of time. And for goodness sakes, trust the annoying women who keep telling you that it’ll get easier than breathing if you just hang in there!
Because they’re right. A good month after giving birth it was over. And painless.
Then came all the figuring out how to integrate breastfeeding in my daily routines. I had to make sure to have a cloth diaper on me at all times, and a blanket to cover up, I had to wear practical clothes (which meant no dresses in church) and develop a skill for locating corners and secluded areas in public places.
I really tried to enjoy breastfeeding. But I realize now that I was a bit traumatized from those first weeks. Breastfeeding wasn’t fun, it was a chore. About a month in, our doctor informed us that Baby hadn’t put on enough weight in here first month and suggested that I supplement with formula until she gained her weight back. It was a little discouraging. I’d slaved for weeks to get food into this child and now it seemed it hadn’t been enough. I wasn’t about to give up though. I asked the doctor if we could have another week to try to get her weight up on my own. She said that was okay and we scheduled a weigh in the week after. For that next week I felt like I fed her more than not. When in doubt of what to do, feed the baby. Up until then I’d been bad at keeping her on the boob for very long at a time due to pain, so I did my best to keep her on for as long as possible to make sure she got the fat milk. Also, I’m not a huge fan of feeding schedules. If I learned anything back then it was that newborns don’t have routines. If she wanted food, I fed her.
The week after she was back to a normal weight and we haven’t had any major problems since.
We started her on solids about two months ago and I’m still figuring out how to balance that with breastfeeding. My plan is to keep breastfeeding till her first birthday. Since she turned 6 months I’ve started to dread that day. When I won’t be nursing anymore. Because yes, now I love breastfeeding. I think I just had to learn to enjoy it despite all the hard times. I realize it’s probably like that with many things with your first baby. I expect that things will be much more enjoyable with the second when I know what is coming and how I and my body will react.
These days I actually mostly breastfeed lying down when possible. I find that Baby can better relax and get comfortable that way? She often puts a hand on my face or squeezes one of my fingers while she eats. I love it. I feel like those are our own little special moments just for us.
I’m not gonna lie. There have been so many times when I’ve wished I had chosen to bottle-feed instead. The freedom of leaving her with someone else for more than a couple of hours or even letting Marcus feed her for a change. It would certainly have made my first month less dramatic. But now that I’m on the other side I can truly say that I’m glad I hung in there. Glad that I don’t have to drag bottles and formula around everywhere I go. I’m also really thankful that I haven’t had trouble lactating or had any major latching problems.
I’m sorry for rambling on for so long, and if you made it to this part I’m truly thankful that you let me finish. Breastfeeding is a wonderful thing and I just wish to encourage anyone who wants to or is struggling to stick with it.
Well… This pregnancy is almost over, so I feel it is about time to do some summarizing. Maybe if I pretend it’s over, Baby will make her exit a little sooner.
So I thought I’d share my top five favorite products that have either been indispensable must-haves or simply extremely smart and neat to have for these last nine months. Five products that I’ll definitely be digging out again as soon as the test comes back positive next time.
As you may recall, a few months ago when we were still in Salt Lake, my mom ordered a box full of shoes to our apartment, of which I fell in love with one particular pair that I sniffed and sniffed for a month. Anyway, I can’t say I’ve ever been a huge fan of Crocs – or more specifically, the way they look – but honestly, I don’t know what I would’ve done without a pair of Crocs this summer. I got to borrow a pair that were actually for my little sister. The model looks more like a sandal and has been great in the warm weather. One of the things that surprised me the most about being pregnant was how heavy you get in such a short time that your legs, hips and especially feet are totally left to give up. These shoes have saved my third trimester – there’s nothing to talk about. I wear them everywhere and I swear they add another good hour or two where any sandal or flip-flop I’ve owned wouldn’t stand a chance.
I’m blessed to be married to a newly converted green smoothie believer. He managed to get us both really excited about it and we actually got into some pretty good routines last winter. But in all honesty, once morning sickness came around, I was anything but the enthusiastic supportive wife I had been. I remember one morning in particular. Marcus had early classes and he made me a green smoothie just before leaving. I, lying in bed as close to the bathroom door as possible, took one sip of the green drink. Not 30 seconds later was I crouching over the toilet. Experiences like these leave a mark and it took me a while to work up the courage to try one again. I can’t say for sure what difference it would’ve made if I hadn’t had them, but the reason that I recommend green smoothies is that they are fast and easy nutrition. Especially in the first half of your pregnancy where you may be feeling the most under the weather, it is great to be able to just down a smoothie in the morning, knowing that you’ve got the greens and essential nutrition you need for that day.
For recipes for green smoothies we highly recommend Simple Green Smoothies, who have as many different recipes as you could ever dream of!
3. Maxi dress
I, like I’m sure many others, didn’t want to go spend a ton of money on maternity clothes that I probably wouldn’t be able to wear anymore as soon as the belly had popped. So I made it my mission to go searching for normal clothes that could also be worn around the bump. This proved quite difficult as my third trimester has been during the entire summer and it’s a little harder to squeeze into a normal t-shirt than into a normal sweater. But I had a few strokes of luck. One of them is this blue t-shirt maxi dress from H&M’s basics collection ( thank you Sweden for blessing the rest of the world with H&M! ). I’ll take a wild guess that it isn’t very expensive normally, but I bought it on sale for just 75 DKK (about 13 USD) and it has become my favorite pregnancy outfit. Having been very pregnant over the summer I needed clothes that allowed a breeze and that didn’t sit too tight. I got this dress my normal size and though it’s tight around the belly, which I think has a nice slimming effect, it’s still as comfortable as I could’ve expected. The slits in the sides allow for the legs to get some air too, and an additional plus is that it shows off just enough of your legs and cuts out just enough to hide the fact that they’re swollen. I would recommend wearing it with a long cardigan though for even more of a slimming effect and to hide your butt if you – like me – are not comfortable with that tight of a stretch over your bum.
If I’m ever pregnant over the summer again I’ll probably just get five of these in different colors.
I wasn’t the most fit toned person before I got pregnant and I wasn’t naive enough to think I could transform myself during pregnancy. So when I decided to do Tracy Anderson’s: the Pregnancy Project it was mainly to keep in tact what muscle I had and to make it slightly easier for me to start working out seriously once the baby is out. So naturally, I didn’t expect to see any results. However, I did! I was probably the most diligent with my workouts during the end of my first trimester and into my second. The results I saw were mainly that my butt was higher and my thighs slimmer. Also, it made me feel a lot better and stronger, especially after two months of lying in bed feeling weaker than weak. I needed that. As I got into my third trimester however, water and swelling caught up with me, and well, not much you can do about that.
After having such a good experience I’m now trying to put together a workout plan for me to lose the preggo fat and for the first time in my life get into good shape, and I for sure want that plan to involve Tracy’s post-pregnancy program.
Oh leggings. Leggings in general are for sure a must-have on my list of pregnancy products. But I am happy to announce that I will be hosting a giveaway for Preggers by Therafirm gradient compression legwear. I’ve been wearing their compression leggings designed to reduce swelling and increase circulation over the last month. They’re awesome! It’s that simple. The only downside I can think of is that they don’t agree well with hot summer weather. But other than that, being very pregnant with legs getting bigger every day because it slowly gets too hard to move around enough to keep the swelling at bay, they’re pretty invaluable. Oh, and they work!
So here is the one thing I will forever do when I make Hawaiian pizza.
This trick was brought to my family years ago by a young man that my Mom had invited into the comfort of our home for Christmas Eve. He was from the states and was only staying in the area for a short while. As a teenager he had worked at a pizza joint and so he had a lot of interesting tricks to show us transfixed kids. – oh, come to think of it… This was a different night… surely we would not have been making pizza on Christmas Eve. But he did also came for Christmas!
Anyway. Just as we were about to stick the pizzas in the oven, he said, (more…)