I started a new blog. It’s called http://naturallyconfusedmom.com. Because now I’m a mom, and while I’m trying to discern the healthiest, most natural ways for our family to live, I’m confused. There’s a lot of information out there, and it’s hard to know what’s best for us.
So come join me! I’ll post about pregnancy, motherhood, food, exercise, and ways to cut the toxins and excess from our lives.
I’ll still be posting here too, about everything else!
Thanks for your support, friends!
Joy in childbearing is a complicated idea. Sure, a miracle is budding, and you’re preparing for your family to grow, and life is as full as your figure. But pregnancy kinda sucks, too. It’s easy to let the everyday discomforts and even life-altering struggles overshadow the simple joy of having a baby.
But joy comes from something outside of ourselves. It’s a gift that reminds you there’s a bigger story unfolding, a loving God who knows you and speaks life into existence, and a peace that comes when you realize shit happens, but beautiful, amazing things do too (and you can’t really control any of it). Joy can’t be conjured up or staged or planted. Or explained, I think.
So here are some pictures in lieu of my attempt to explain joy. This is the first three months of our baby’s life, captured with my iPhone.
So, I was planning on writing our birth story and continuing the stages of childbearing and generally processing parenthood on this here blog. But that all seems so daunting. How do you put into words such a huge life change, when you can’t even shower or do more than one load of laundry a week? You don’t.
But you do throw a totally awesome surprise party for your husband’s 30th birthday. I was only able to do it by the help of some good friends and family. It. was. awesome.
Here are the invitations I created. The surprise was kept under wraps, and he was completely shocked when we walked into the wine bar and everyone yelled out, “Surprise!”
Each ticket got the guest a glass of Colorado wine or a bottle of Colorado beer. Not too shabby!
And now for the best part, the photo booth. I giggle every time I look at these pictures. Love them.
The birth story, the nursery pictures and the rest of the childbearing stages to come … later.
I’ve been too busy gazing at a little button nose and tiny tootsies to do much blogging!
I hate to be one to perpetuate a stereotype, but for me, this one is true: Pregnant ladies are emotionally unpredictable.
I go from laughing to crying in a matter of seconds, and back again. A comment can encourage me one day, and the very same comment might fill me with self-doubt and anxiety the next. My husband gets the brunt of it. … Not that all of his remarks would even be appreciated by a non-pregnant me. Below are four things he has really said to me — most of them more than once — and the thought process that led me to my emotion.
When he saw this, he said it’s also a good indicator of my overall emotional state – bright, expressive lines going every which way in jumbled chaos. I’m not sure how I feel about that …
I can’t say that the third stage of childbearing means that we’ve adjusted to the idea that we’ll be parents. We haven’t adjusted to a new life that isn’t ours yet, and we haven’t adjusted to the new mindframe that comes from having a little baby totally dependent on us for every need. I still sleep at least eight hours a night, spend my time mostly doing whatever I want and — the biggest giveaway — when I walk into Target, I head straight for the accessories and maternity clearance rack, and only stop by the baby section on my way out.
But I can say that I’m adjusting to the here and now, being pregnant.
I expect to wake up three times a night, parched and bladder-filled. I know that before I fall asleep and before I wake up, baby will be kicking/punching on both sides of my belly in her most aggressive routine. Pregnancy is the new norm: I have less wine and more whine, and thankfully my husband has also adjusted (by way of trips to Little Man Ice Cream and letting me cry on his shoulder for no other reason than I feel like it.)
This adjustment stage means seeing my body differently than I ever have in the past. Watching your body change drastically in nine months can be traumatic. Escaping the cultural expectations and goals for beauty is no easier when pregnant, even though their superficiality seems even more shallow in light of the deep mystery and timeless gift of childbearing. But I’ll admit: a rounder face, softer body, incessant breakouts and steady weight gain can call into question what it means to be a woman, much less a beautiful woman.
Instead of mourning the loss of my maternity pants that are already too small (seriously?!) or scheming and planning a workout plan now to achieve my pre-pregnancy body after baby comes, I want to celebrate my body now. That’s why I got henna on my belly. An ancient practice, women often decorate their belly with henna during the third trimester for its calming, soothing effects (much like a Western pedicure) or to ward off evil spirits and protect the mother and child. My henna was a fun way to rejoice in the miracle growing inside me.
My body may never be the same, and that’s as it should be, because I will never be the same. I’m adjusting to the idea that motherhood, like all of life, is a continual process and the only way to prepare for what’s to come is to embrace what’s happening now. For me, that means cucumber-infused water is the new Cabernet Sauvignon, sensible wedges are the new sexy stilletos and a secretly decorated belly is the new delicate lingerie (because who am I kidding — granny panties are my friend now).
I recently created recital invitations and awards for a friend who has a flute and piano studio! This was a really fun project, and the best part was attending one of the recitals and watching all of the students — and their talented teacher — perform. If you’re looking for a teacher or musician, check out Malia Van Rooy!
When the hubs and I checked our pregnancy tests and found two lines instead of one, I kept repeating, “What? What! What? Really? What?!” It was similar to when he proposed to me two and a half years earlier. In the weeks that followed, I affirmed the tests’ results and agreed that I was, in fact, pregnant.
But before I got pregnant, before we even considered starting a family, I was gripped by fear. Fear of getting pregnant and having something growing in my body and all the things that can go wrong and — gasp! — how to get the thing out of my body and then how to be a parent for the rest of my life. For someone who likes order, control and predictable situations, pregnancy is terrifying and parenting is out of the question.
Thankfully, I’ve been learning that control is just a facade, and my perceived control is damaging to my spirit. Letting go and trusting God is how we’re meant to live.
I think I entered the second stage of childbearing, peace, when I realized how little control I have over anything. Baby started fluttering, and reminded me that she’s in there, growing and developing and training for a soccer tournament upon her arrival, judging by the kicking that’s going on now. I didn’t do anything to teach her to move or position her in my body so she could kick my bladder so accurately. I didn’t attach her to me so she could be nourished. I didn’t make sure that my pulled pork sandwich (yum …) would be the perfect amount of protein to feed us both. That was all by design and guided (and controlled) by God. How else can it be explained?
Walking through the aisles of a book store, it’s clear that this stage has an ugly other side that likes to rear its head: anxiety. There are a bagillion books that tempt soon-to-be-parents’ desire for control. Everything from what not to eat during pregnancy, how to exercise, what music to expose your growing belly to, how to potty train your baby before she’s a year old, what to do now to have the most perfect baby and situation for the rest of your life … It’s exhausting.
Of course there are things that we need to do now to prepare for parenting, and taking care of my body is in my control and should be taken seriously. But I am embracing the peace of child bearing, knowing that things can and will go wrong, I’ll make mistakes and baby will not be perfect because I drank just the right amount of raspberry leaf tea. I have peace because this is ultimately God’s handiwork and not mine. Takes a lot of the pressure off.
… Just not the pressure on my bladder; that’s still there.
Read about The first stage of childbearing: Agreement here.
I’ve gotten a few new clients lately! Here’s a brochure I recently created for one of them. Printed on linen stock, this is a great informational piece that we plan to hand out to key partners and organizations in the community. Check out more of my marketing work here.
Pregnancy takes 40 weeks for a reason. Sure, the biological developments during those three trimesters are necessary. I’ve read that the baby goes from a blueberry to a cumquat and eventually to the human that emerges head-first. But the real reason it takes nine months? To prepare the parents.
If the five phases of grieving are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, then I predict that the five phases of childbearing are the opposite. Agreement, peace, adjusting, joy and what-did-we-get-ourselves-into?!
I’m still in phase 1: agreement. Since we found out we were pregnant, there have been constant affirmations of the fact. “It’s official: I’m pregnant.” For example:
It’s official: There are two blue lines on the pregnancy tests. Both of them.
It’s official: The midwife held the doppler to my belly and we heard a heart beat.
It’s official: I’m crying because I want to eat Mexican food, and the tears turn to joy once the taco hits my mouth.
It’s official: The ultrasound shows a healthy baby girl.
It’s official: My body has taken on an “S” shape with a baby bump protruding and a rounded bum to balance out the new addition.
It’s official: I’m on a 20-minute drive to my house and decide to break into my leftover box to eat a greasy, soggy eggroll and then get food all over the steering wheel and the stickshift, because waiting to eat until I get home doesn’t occur to me.
Yep, I’m pregnant!
I recently designed and created wedding invitations.
The theme was elegant and sophisticated, much like the couple! The invitations were mailed in a customized envelope that featured the floral design from the invitation, and the pocket envelope held inserts and the RSVP envelope.
The wedding will have black and white with accent colors of red, orange and yellow.
Thanks for letting me be part of your big day!
Check out other invitations I’ve created here.
My husband is a problem-solver. I guess it’s coded into his DNA as a web developer. This means that I leave the house for a few hours on a Sunday afternoon and come home to a perfectly carved out hole in our house, filled in with a doggie door that represents one extra hour of each day that I will have all to myself, not letting Kona in and out and in and out.
Me, I’m an adapter. That means that when the dryer stops working correctly and it takes four cycles to dry a medium-sized load, I let the dryer drone on, the laundry pile up all around our bedroom, and I create a new path around the clothes piles without even noticing them.
Nick’s problem-solving gift is most helpful for taking your big broken things and everyday inconveniences and turning them into efficient, practical and user-friendly solutions. My gift of adaptation is most beneficial when the frigid, icy winter thaws and the summer months become blazing and you’re a very furry animal who sheds the extra coat.
Yeah, not too helpful. Until now.
I’ve been reading up on natural birth and the basic birthing process. Before now, most of what I’ve seen is sheer terror and pain on the talented faces of actresses in hospitals across TV and movie sets. Imagine my delight to read that labor pain doesn’t mean something’s wrong, pregnancy isn’t a condition or sickness and some women actually enjoy giving birth naturally! (The absolute best book that I’ve read so far is Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth).
Which brings us to why my primitive, adaptation tendencies are good. Apparently, surrendering to the birthing process — and not fighting it or trying to intellectualize it — is what makes labor progress. Riding out strong contractions happens best when the mama stays calm, focused and relaxed. This could mean positioning myself on all fours, groaning in a low, guttural “Mooooo” to keep the mouth and jaw relaxed or even blowing air through slack lips like a horse (or giving someone a raspberry). Animal instincts don’t get more obvious than that.
To women who are more comfortable with the idea of giving birth on a hospital bed, this sounds crazy. To women who are not comfortable with that idea and have been looking for reasons that their primal adaptive instincts are a good thing, this is a WIN-WIN.
Nugget for my editor friends out there: Adaption and adaptation are both words and they share the same meaning, however, adaptation is always the preferred word.
A massive head cold has infiltrated our house. Last week I was sick all week, and this week it’s the husband’s turn. He was a very supportive husband who had a unique set of requirements last week, because not only am I a pregnant woman, I was also miserable with limited medicinal intervention at my disposal. My cravings went something like this: a hot soup — organic if possible, with something more substantial than just broth — orange juice without pulp, and fried chicken. He made a food run and was back with exactly what I wanted in no more than 30 minutes.
Now that it’s his turn to be sick, I’ve come to know him in a way new to our two years of marriage. He sounds exactly like Marcel the Shell when he’s sick. Intonation, not voice (his voice was craggly and hoarse). It’s really quite pitiful.
If you’re in the market for a truly unique read, check out The Lithium Robot — my first stab at editing and publishing another author’s work. I edited the manuscript, designed the cover jacket and laid out the book. This is the first in a trilogy of offensive, yet chuckle-worthy books. You can order it as an e-book or hardcover.
Full disclosure: The author is my brother. Fuller disclosure: The opinions, imagination and themes included in the book do not represent KL Writing Services. One more: Prepare to spend the hour it takes to read this in awe-filled disgust and shameful curiosity. And then you’ll pass it on to your friends.
Here’s a preview about the book and author:
They say it takes a village to raise a child, and for Samuel, that couldn’t be more true. But the village includes an unlikely cast of royalty, beauties, family and a county that boasts a special spring to its step and song in its heart.
In The Lithium Robot, Samuel has one dream, and it’s about to come true. But the culmination of his life’s hopes and desires is threatened in one surprising revelation.
This coming-of-age story shows what happens when passion faces life’s hardest obstacles. And Samuel shows us that sometimes overcoming them means dancing around them.
About the author:
Adam Pasha lives in Denver with his dog, Peanut. When he’s not dreaming of European history or eating hot sauce, he’s crunching the numbers as a CPA. Adam is also the author of The Sun King and The Hawaiian Predicament, the next two books in the trilogy.
It’s officially out! We’re pregnant!
We found out the week before Christmas and kept it relatively hush-hush until last week when we made an announcement the equivalent of wailing on an LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device for those of you who don’t watch Whale Watchers. I’m not sure why I do.) … We posted an ultrasound pic on Facebook.
We are so excited and thankful about this little mystery growing inside of me. Our first visit to the midwife at the birthing center we plan to use was comforting and thrilling. I started to realize that this pregnancy is really for real; it’s sinking in slowly.
We decided to use a midwife and plan for a natural birth, because we agree with the birthing center’s philosophy that childbirth is a normal process — and not a condition like a sickness that automatically requires medical intervention. I’ve had my fair share of disappointing gyno appointments, and my midwifery visits have been a breath of fresh air!
I would have never guessed five years ago that this is the route we’d take to have a baby, and I understand people’s reservations. Yes, midwifery sounds pretty hippy , but if you’re going to judge us as hippies, at least consider the real evidence stacked against us: we don’t cook with Velveeta, we try to only buy organic dairy and meat products, and we’re wary of prescription drugs. And we’re weaving hemp onesies for our baby in our natural bamboo meditation room. Just playin’.
While I believe my body was made to birth a baby, I’m also thankful that there will be a hospital just half a block away in case nature presents risks that doctors are better equipped to handle.
Yes, I believe my body was made for birthing, but I have a hard time believing I’m capable. I think this goes back to a lie I learned sometime along the way at church. The lie tells me that I can’t do anything, I’m a weak sinner and I’m insignificant. Any accomplishments I make or strengths I have are “to God’s glory” — which means I lucked out this time, but he gives and takes away, and he could snatch up good fortune any minute to knock me back down a few humble notches.
The truth is, I am weak. I am a sinner. I am insignificant. But God’s love and grace transform me. My accomplishments and strengths are to his glory, but not because I lucked out this once or he decided to be nice today or I proved that I deserved it. He receives the glory because he orchestrates everything that happens — from the cells that started splitting in my womb a few months ago to the unique personality he’s weaving into our little Lamb — so that we would know him.
It will be difficult and painful; that whole “curse of Eve” thing doesn’t escape me. But my body is his handiwork, and my faith and joy are gifts from him as well — especially if the labor takes an unexpected turn and when reality smacks our ideas of parenthood in the face. But we’re excited for whatever lies ahead!
Last week, as I shipped off 200-some pages in a grant proposal — binder clipped into four copies, with two electronic versions on CDs — I heaved a huge sigh of … anxiety. And then I took in a few more quick breaths and realized the relief wasn’t coming.
This was my first grant to write since going freelance. While I appreciated the structure, specific requirements, rigid deadline and the familiar territory of answering each question thoroughly yet concisely, those things were also the source of my stress.
My personality is one that people either relate to or abhor. I’ve always followed the rules, lived to please authority and done what is “right” — according to the people I’m around. Unfortunately, I’ve found my identity in knowing what people expect from me and delivering that plus a little dollop extra for pride’s sake. People who can relate to that know the unhealthy focus it puts on pleasing others and on performing. Those who can’t, think I’m a goody-two-shoes who never takes a risk or thinks for herself.
Guilty on all counts.
This grant project brought it all to the surface. Instead of saying “Sayonara!” and happily shipping that motherload to D.C., I fretted and worried. What if I missed something? What if I forgot something? What if I (gasp) made a mistake? If my identity is in following the rules, there is no excuse for anything short of perfection. That’s the thing I’m good at. … Yuck.
This revelation has reminded me that I’m not defined by what I do and what I do well. Or by my mistakes. I stifle my own growth and opportunities by holding the rules as my guide, and not God. What freedom comes from realizing the old ways of doing things don’t have to be my ways anymore! Ah, sweet relief.
I realize the overall grossness of me making this grant proposal and process all about me — and not about God who gave me the ability and opportunity to write — and that I record this on a blog that’s named after me, with a picture of me at the top. Way too much me going on here. Not sure what to do about that.
I am not resolving to blog more often. Or to clean off my absurdly messy desk. Or to stop playing Angry Birds so much. Or to walk Kona more. I’m not really into New Year’s Resolutions this year, although all of those would be good choices.
The real pressing matters are the piles of hair cushioning our step on the hardwood floor. I didn’t know a chocolate lab could shed so much — and I never see her huddling in corners or squeezing under chairs, yanking her hair out heatedly, but the hair is always there. Always there. And we’ve got a month’s worth of clean laundry folded on one couch, and a box of Christmas ornaments sitting on the other, next to the naked Christmas tree. It doesn’t get much more depressing than a naked, fake tree surrounded by clutter in mid-January.
But I’m not complaining, because it’s all for good reason! I just finished celebrating Christmas and New Years, and creating a Website for a client, and spending time with family and friends. And now I’m working on a big honking grant. Life is good, just a little messy.
Pardon my mess, and thanks for reading
Remember Milli Vanilli? I was a little too young to scoff at their lip syncing scandal, but not too young to appreciate their spandex shorts and the song that is currently looping through my thoughts this afternoon. I’ll share the love soon enough; bear with me.
I hear that Fab Morvan, former Milli Vanilli member, is making a comeback. I say bravo. If you endure public humiliation and failure, and return to the public scene 20 years later, singing the same song, you’ve got a sense of security in yourself that I lack. Also, just the dance moves in this video, though it’s from two years ago, would be enough to make me nix the project from the first rehearsal. You’re putting moves like that to a previously fraudulent song? Where can I get some of this adventurous spirit that laughs failure in the face and throws caution to the dogs?
I want to be less insecure and more fab. But maybe keep my shirt on.