Getting YOU Back After Baby- 6 Must Do’s

They say the first 6 weeks are the toughest after having a baby. Somewhere around then, you begin to feel “normal” again and have gained a little more confidence with your new role as mom. For me it was more like 8-10….maybe 12 weeks of healing and learning that my baby and me weren’t so breakable when it came to taking trips out of the house.

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So here are some ideas to help you get through those first 6 weeks after having a baby. I know each of these things in their own way helped me to feel somewhat normal again, and recognize that my body wasn’t totally destroyed; that there was still something left to pour into and take care of. Hopefully they are helpful for you new mamas too!

1. Schedule a Mani/Pedi for yourself, or with your best friend.

There is something so refreshing about getting your nails shaped, your feet scrubbed and your toes painted a pretty new color. You’ve put a lot of pressure of those feet for the last 9 months, give them a day off and pamper them and yourself.

2. Book a massage.

Our bodies have gone through something truly extraordinary. Getting a post pregnancy massage can help relieve sore spots, relax tense muscles, improve blood circulation and rejuvenate you. Heck, you can catch up on a few Z’s in there too!

3. Get your hair done.

Maybe you already got your hair cut and colored before baby. If so, then go in and get a blow out done. I mean, who has time these days to really blow dry and style their hair with a newborn? Getting a fresh cut, color and style can do wonders for your mood! Most of us know and acknowledge that our bodies change a lot with pregnancy. The reality is that it can be much harder for some than others. Looking in the mirror can feel, lets be honest, depressing. The only thing in your wardrobe these days is yoga pants and a loose top. THIS WAS ME, for a very long time. I knew my worth and value didn’t come from my appearance and I certainly was proud of what my body just accomplished, but I still didn’t feel very pretty. Every girl desires to feel beautiful. Getting your hair done can be just the key to feeling like the beautiful YOU again.

4. Take a relaxing bath, or 2 or 3.

Buy some scented candles, get some lavender bubble bath, turn on your favorite music and just soak. Not only are baths super helpful and cleansing for the region down below, but this is an easy 20-30 minute in home spa treatment available to you!

5. Buy yourself something nice.

Yes, treat yourself! You’ve had your body taken over by baby for the last year and it has been all about them. Rightfully so. If you can, save some money before baby comes to splurge on something for YOU during these first few weeks. It probably won’t be on clothes, but buy something that makes you giddy and excited. Maybe it’s a pair of new shoes, a handbag or sunglasses…whatever season you are in, splurge a little. You deserve it.

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6. Find a happy place.

By that, I mean a place where you can quiet your mind, your body and feed your soul again. Maybe start a journal or devotional. Or maybe you like to meditate and practice light yoga. Whatever it is, find something that will give back to YOU, that will inspire you, that will give you wisdom and truth. It is easy to believe our negative thoughts, and get stuck in a low place. I struggled with postpartum depression and I know how hard it can be to feel joy when it should be one of the happiest moments of your life. For me, I enjoyed reading a short devotional, the one I chose is called Savor by Shauna Niequist. I also enjoyed a more in-depth bible study that fed my soul and mind. If you are looking for something like this, I’d recommend Breaking Free by Beth Moore.

Congratulations mama on your newest addition, I hope these tips help you through those first couple months to feel like the beautiful, strong, and brave YOU again.

Sisters By Heart, Not By Blood

There’s a line in To Kill a Mockingbird; “You can choose your friends, but you sho’ can’t choose your family.” For me, this line tells the story of why I am the person I am today and it is because of God’s plan that I have been blessed with both.

Without them even knowing it, I became my parents “miracle baby”. Being a difficult pregnancy for my mom was the start of my stubbornness. Three months into my mother carrying me, she began dilating, had her cervix stitched closed and was placed on bed rest until the 8th month. My parents wanted multiple children, the picture perfect family, but unbeknown to them; they would never get pregnant again.

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Growing up, I also wanted the dream my parents envisioned. I always wanted an older brother. My parents, shot down that dream and told me it wasn’t possible! Darn! Even so, I wanted siblings. Being an only child wasn’t always easy and didn’t give me the advantage of making friends easily. I didn’t have many friends who lived closed by, and I was certainly never good at playing by myself!

I never would have imagined that many of my 7th grade cheerleading teammates would become people I now call sisters. Growing up as an only child, it is easy to fit into the “stereotypical” mold that only children are selfish, spoiled, and not maternal. It was for that reason, that up until about a year and a half ago, I was confident in my decision that I didn’t want my own children.  I didn’t have the experience that most get with having younger siblings. The lack of experience, and being the perfectionist that I am, feeling that I wasn’t maternal enough to be good at it, created a desire to not pursue that path. I was perfectly happy with my school “kids” and my fur babies!

Having friends that you can pour your heart out to, share your deepest insecurities with, and have them be your unbiased sounding board is a gift I will forever be grateful for.  I’m less selfish and I’m less stubborn because they never sugar coat whether I’m being unreasonable and unrealistic and in a lot of ways they know me better than I know myself.  They hold me accountable to loving myself, to being a better person, and their unwavering love and support reminds me every day that they are more than friends, they are sisters.

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Each of them are unique, all strong minded, and together we are a family. As we have grown from teenagers to adults, our differences have allowed us to grow closer together, to learn from each other, and I am blessed for that rarity.

One of the biggest things I am grateful for is them challenging me on my decision to not have children, questioning if that would be something I would regret looking back, and sharing with me all the reasons it was worth it.  Seeing my best friends go through the experience of carrying and raising their children, and having them embrace me as their Aunt, opened my view to a different sense of purpose…the concept of loving someone more than I love myself.

It was this love that allowed me the ability to open my heart more than I ever thought I could and embrace my husband’s children. It certainly wasn’t easy at first, and I continue to grow and learn everyday as a step-mom, but I’m better for it… for this has shown me that I am maternal and I am deserving of being a mom.

It’s funny how God’s plan is better than the one you have for yourself and how it comes full circle.  My parents are now grandparents, embracing a large family, I’m a mother to an amazing son and two bonus kids, and most importantly, I have what I always wanted…sisters!

Do you have lifelong friends that are more like brothers/sisters?

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Meet That Girl, Angie

Hey Whole Heart followers!

My name is Angie and I am from the upper left corner of America, also known as Washington State. I am a first time mom, wife to my hubby Kiel (pronounced Kyle), Jesus lover, friend and new to being a stay at home mom.

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My husband Kiel and I have been married for almost 3 years now. We both grew up in the same city, attended middle school together, but didn’t reconnect until after college. We welcomed our little babe, Sydney Rae, on December 7th, 2014. I am in disbelief that she is almost 6 months already! It has truly been a joy-filled blur of a season. As hard as the first few months were, I am finally in a place where I can express my gratitude and joy in being a mom. Most days are quite a mess, and I’m lucky if I get a shower in! I’ve learned a lot in this season of being a mom, letting go of control, planning, and perfection and trusting that the true blessings are in the imperfections. We also have a two year old Golden Retriever named Kingsley, who is pretty much our other child. He doesn’t have any boundaries when it comes to cuddling and doggy kisses.

I have a slight obsession with workout clothes. I totally believe that if you feel good about your workout outfit, it will only motivate you to get up and do something! I also have a passion for interior decorating, give me a blank house to decorate and I’m in heaven. Dinner on the water in front of a beautiful sunset is my idea of a perfect date. When I’m not changing diapers or washing bottles, I love to go on walks/runs with my little one, grab a coffee from one of our great local coffee shops, and shop for cute baby outfits….I mean let’s be real it’s all about Sydney these days!

I am excited to be apart of this community of inspiring women, getting to share some of my unique experiences with ya’ll, learning from many of you and growing together.

Angie-w-Sydeny

Not Just a Happy Birthday to Me

Today is my birthday! My 31st birthday! What?! How did that happen?!

Growing up an only child my birthday was always a HUGE deal with a lot of fuss and a big celebration! Since my birthday is always around Memorial Day, the three day weekend just begged for more than one day to celebrate for this birthday girl! As I got older, that birthday weekend turned into a birthday week!

My birthday was always something I counted down the days until and let everyone know, “My birthday is in ## days!” Until this year…

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Being a new mom, my days are spent focusing on different things than I did a year ago. This year, I hate to say, my birthday kind of just snuck up on me. All of a sudden it was here.

I woke up this morning in a state of reflection. You see, today I have a new appreciation for my birthday and what it means exactly. After having gone through a natural childbirth myself, I have a new appreciation for the earthly person who made my birthday happen!

Here it is my birthday and people are celebrating me, but why? I didn’t do anything. My mom was the one who had her cervix stitched closed in order not to deliver me at 3 months. My mom was the one who was on bed rest for 5 months to make sure I was healthy and baked until my due date. My mom was the one who labored for 16 hours before giving birth to me with the epidural only working on one side of her body. Why is this day all about me? This day should really be about the brave and selfless woman who brought me into this world, on this day, 31 years ago!

Thank you doesn’t cover it, Mom! I love you and today I celebrate YOU!

How do you celebrate your birthday each year?

 

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Dear Always Hopeful

I’ve been uncomfortably honest about my journey towards motherhood and my struggles with my multiple infertility diagnosis. This, however, is not going to be about my journey. This is a letter to all the women out there who are trying to become pregnant, who have “pulled the goalie”, or who are actively hoping to conceive.

Dear Hoping to Become Pregnant,

Stop trying! For more than two-thousand and fourteen years women have been getting pregnant without trying. A sperm does not have to try to find the egg; it just does. And once they find each other, if it is the right time, the right environment, and if the stars have aligned, it gets in. You have ZERO, I repeat-ZERO, control over when and how this happens unless you have thousands of dollars a month to make it happen. So, quit trying. Sit back, or lie back, and just enjoy the process.

Enjoy NOT being pregnant. I’ve been “pregnant” off and on for the last two years because I get injected with artificial pregnancy hormones every two weeks. Then, I’m literally suppose to act like I’m pregnant for the next two weeks (even though I never am pregnant). I can’t have caffeine, alcohol, sushi, medicines, oysters, cookie dough, or work out at the intensity I like. So, whenever I get put on a break from my fertility treatments I get to enjoy NOT being pregnant. Instead of crying to your girlfriends every time you get your period, get excited. Here’s my phone call to a friend (after crying secretly to myself for an hour):

“Wahoo! I’m not pregnant! Wanna go for a run around Town Lake and then get some sushi and sake bombs?”

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Be a kick-ass mom to your friend’s kids and to your nieces and nephews. I’ve been trying to get pregnant since my favorite lil’ girl, Elle, was 3 months old. She’s two and a half now. That’s a long time! But, instead of getting lost in the fact that she keeps getting older and I still haven’t been able to create a friend for her to play with, I cherish the fact that I’ve had so much special time to bond with her. If I had my own baby or babies, I wouldn’t have half the time I’ve had to devote to my sweet friend Elle. I’ve gotten to enjoy her first words, her first steps, her struggles to choke down solid foods, and we’ve had hours of dance parties and trips to the park that I’ll always hold dear to my heart.

Because I’m not a mother yet, I was present for the birth of my niece. I wasn’t chasing a toddler around in the waiting room either. I was right there, holding my sister’s hand and witnessing Evelyn’s first breaths, first sounds, first sights. My niece and I will ALWAYS share a special bond because I was there when she came into the world. What a blessing! Her hand on my face (like below) is a feeling I’ll move mountains to keep experiencing.

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Do NOT tell your husband when you’re ovulating, when you’re “fertile” or when it’s time to get busy. I’ve had to do that the last few months because we have a very medical, methodical, unsexy approach to conception, but we’re the minority. In fact, 85% of you will conceive without needing any medical assistance or planning at all. So, if it is your “fertile” time and you want to make sure you get your…ahem…dose of protein? Just use it as an excuse to get in your sexiest gettup and channel your inner goddess! Only an idiot could turn you down if you play your cards right. Kiss, hug, cuddle, and be fully present with each other. Work on your marriage and your partnership before you’re a threesome, or foursome, etc.

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It’ll be your time when it’s your baby’s time. My sister put this into perspective for me when she said this, “Your baby has to be conceived at a particular moment in order to be born at the exact day, and time, it needs to have the exact life it’s meant to have. It needs to be born precisely at the right moment to meet its friends, its spouse, etc. You can’t rush it to be born before its time”.

So, “Hoping to Become Pregnant”, instead of focusing on the one thing you DON’T have right now, focus on the things you DO have!

Sincerely,

Always Hopeful

What do you do to get through the “waiting game”?

Hormones and Naps Do NOT Mix!

Ok, y’all… I’m feeling a little emotional. Blame it on the 4th trimester hormones?! Have you ever felt like you just needed to cry? Not shed a few tears and call it a day cry, but a body shaking, snot dripping from your nose, hyperventilating sob? Well today was one of those days for this mama.

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Most of the times Bruce naps great and I think “I’ve got this! We make a rockstar team!” Oh, but then he laughs in the face of my confidence and we have a day like we had today. I know in his 2 month old brain he must be thinking, “I see Mommy ninja crawling out the door to freedom after laying me down in my crib. I’ll give her just enough time to shut the door and begin her victory dance before I attack!”

Every single nap time today, that little turkey screamed bloody murder as soon as the door was shut like I was never coming back! And what does he do the second I swoop in and pick him up? (Yes, I know… I need to stop doing that!) You guessed it, he looks up at me with those beautiful blue eyes and smiles “Gotcha!” Sigh…

So, today wasn’t the best day I’ve ever experienced during my time as a Mommy, but thank God for Bruce’s daddy. God bless him when I get emotional. That man is earning his wings right then and there! After dinner, he took Bruce and said go lay down or take a bath. Do something for YOU! Oh hunny! You have NO idea how long I’ve waited to hear those words.

Do you know what I did? I drew a warm bubble bath, popped the top on a Fireman’s Four and SOBBED! But y’all, I’m telling you what! It felt so good! And tomorrow I’ll be ready to take on our little world one nap at a time!

What do you do when you need a little alone time? How do you deal with the overwhelming feelings of it all? I would love some advice!

Bruce in towel