Wow, another year has gone by already. Today is the third anniversary of my 30th birthday. The past few years, I have focused on what I have accomplished rather than focusing on what I didn’t accomplish since the birthday before. I’m doing the same this year.
- Motherhood, Wifedom, and Family: this is probably where the most changes have occurred and will continue to occur. I had a miscarriage last July and then got pregnant again in September. I nearly lost the baby at 21 weeks due to an incompetent cervix and then was on bed rest until 36 weeks. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It put a strain on my family, my marriage, our finances, friendships… nearly everything. But we got through it and have a perfect little baby boy to show for all of our hardships and sacrifices. We’re slowly (very slowly) adjusting to being a family of 4. It has been difficult to stick with the gentle parenting philosophy in which we believe. I’m hoping this experience of adjusting to two children will make me a better mother and wife. More changes are in the near future for our family as we prepare to move from DFW to Austin at the end of the summer.
- Body Acceptance: the weeks on bed rest took a toll on my body. While I lost a lot of weight (I’m weigh about 20-25 pounds less now post partum than I did before I got pregnant), I lost a lot of muscle mass as well. I’m not as happy with my body now as I was pre-pregnancy… believe it or not, but I miss the way it was. I know the muscle will come back once I’m cleared to exercise and can start doing something, but I still miss it. Jeans are baggy in strange places and not very flattering.
- Self Acceptance: the best part of being in my thirties so far is that I am very confident in my beliefs and in myself. That has continued in the past year. Sure I have moments where I’m self conscious or less than sure of myself, but overall I like who I am and who I am becoming.
- Work and IBCLC: I got the amazing opportunity to work as outreach coordinator for the local non-profit milk bank and it was a dream job. Sadly, the bed rest cut me down to part time and moving to Austin has made me resign altogether. It was the first time I was able to say that I truly enjoyed going to work and felt that I was making a difference in people’s lives. Unfortunately, I never got the chance to fully do the job – there’s only so much I was able to remotely from home. My favorite part of the job was to work fairs and conventions where I could speak to moms about the power of pasteurized breast milk and just how much they could make a difference. Once we have moved, I will be able to stay home with the kids. I understand that it is a blessing, but other than my 12 week maternity leave with Ethan, I’ve never been at home in that capacity. I’m a little apprehensive about how I will fare as a stay at home mom.
I’m still working towards becoming an IBCLC. The pregnancy and baby have pushed the exam back about a year, but that’s okay. I still have a few classes left to take to complete the educational requirement and will then need to take another class that lasts for 3/4 of a year. The move to Austin means I will have to give up my mentorship with the IBCLC I’ve been working with and learning from. I’ll also have to give up my position as chair elect of our local breastfeeding coalition. Definitely sad about leaving those “jobs” behind, they have been incredible experiences. I plan to join the breastfeeding coalition in Austin and hopefully hook up with an IBCLC as well.
Going from 32 to 33 certainly put the emphasis on family and was a life changing year for me. The next 12 months also seem like they will be huge for my family and I. While I’m very sad to leave Fort Worth, my friends, acquaintances, and opportunities behind, I am looking forward to the new challenges, people, and opportunities 200 miles south of my comfort zone. Get ready for me, Austin!
As I come into the home stretch of pregnancy, I think I can finally say I’m starting to enjoy it. At almost 30 weeks, I’ve grown accustomed to the kicks, rolls, hiccups, and jabs that this little one has been throwing out for several months. The heartburn isn’t that bad (yet) and having to pee every 10 minutes gives me the chance to stretch my legs and walk a little. It makes me a little sad that it took me so long to finally come to terms with the sudden transition from low risk pregnancy to a high risk pregnancy.
One of my favorite parts of pregnancy is the change my body goes through. The hips widening, the curve at the small of my back becoming more defined, the basketball I seem to be smuggling under my shirt, even the new stretch marks appearing because Baby enjoys hanging out on my left side. Yes, I am that weirdo lady that doesn’t mind stretch marks. Pregnancy is a time when I feel womanly and truly beautiful, especially when I’m in full bloom during the third trimester.
|My most recent IG belly shot
My stomach has always been where I carried my extra weight. The spare tire, the muffin top, the pooch… I have them all when not pregnant. I don’t like drawing attention to it when my uterus is unoccupied. When pregnant, the opposite is true: I no longer feel the need to suck it in, I own many striped pregnancy shirts, and prefer a belly hugging top to an empire cut. I want to get my bump painted, henna’d, and photographed. I take the pregnant woman pose: hands on the back of my hips, stomach out in all its glory.
My iPhone camera and Instagram feed is filled with bathroom selfies. When I was pregnant with E, I went into labor the night before my maternity pics were to be taken. I don’t have any professionally shot maternity pics, but my husband took weekly bump pics for me (every Monday, after prenatal yoga). He hasn’t been taking weekly bump pics this time around and I’m not sure if the restrictions will be lifted long enough for me to have professional photos taken, so the phone bathroom selfies may just be it. Unless I can talk Dave into helping me with a belly cast in a few weeks…
Have I made another trip around the sun already? That went by pretty quickly! Today I turn 32, or as I like to say, it’s the second anniversary of my 30th birthday. Last year, I focused on what I accomplished rather than focusing on what I didn’t accomplish since the birthday before. I’m doing the same this year.
I’m 32 and live in Texas. This picture is accurate.
- Motherhood, Wifedom, and Family I’m really enjoying motherhood, even with a two year old. Despite all the tantrums, I’m very excited to see my baby grow into a smart, funny, and charismatic little boy. E is also having lots of fun times with his dad, which makes me very happy. Now that he’s two and a half, we’ve been feeling some pressure to add to our family. As much as I want it to happen, I’m really happy about the little groove we’ve settled into.
- I have really started working towards IBCLC Between helping to facilitate a weekly breastfeeding group to working with moms (under the supervision of an IBCLC) in a clinical setting, I’m learning so much about breastfeeding. Bonus: I’m beginning to make a name for myself. I just hope it’s a good one!
- I’m branching out I’m putting my CLEC to good use: I’ve recently taken on a nights-and-weekends position teaching prenatal breastfeeding classes for local hospitals that are a part of an even bigger group in DFW. In addition to the hospital prenatal classes, I teach a back-to-work class privately every 6-8 weeks. In January of this year, I launched a small business offering home visits (will refer to IBCLC if they have a complex situation beyond my scope), private classes, and support. I’ve had a couple of great home visits that were more “sanity checks” for Mom than anything.
I have done a lot in terms of what I affectionately call my “breastfeeding extracurriculars:” Secretary for our local breastfeeding coalition, helped work on getting support for breastfeeding legislation passed in Texas, and somehow got interviewed numerous times for the Fort Worth Magazine nurse-in. Even though I’m no longer breastfeeding, I still do my part to normalize breastfeeding public by routinely handing out thanks for NIP cards and printing up some to give other moms to hand out.
- Body Acceptance: I have really come to terms with my post baby body. While I don’t necessarily weigh more, mass has shifted around and I’m definitely a different size. I’m not showing off my body, but I’ve learned how to play up my strengths while accepting the parts I’m not crazy about. I’m not sure how this happened, but a huge part has been seeing the healthy toddler boy run around and knowing I helped sustain him. I recently had some “special pictures” taken (thank you Bonnie at B.M.J. Events!!!) that I have been a huge boost to the ego. I can’t believe it’s me in some of them and they haven’t been touched up very much.
- Self Acceptance: I can proudly say, that at 32, I’m really happy with where I am and where I am headed. Sure I have my bad days (doesn’t everyone?), but I am more than satisfied. I’m also more secure in my beliefs (parenting, political, everything in between) than I have ever been. I think this comes with getting older.
There you have it. Clearly 31 to 32 was a year for me to focus on what I want to be doing with my life, and I’m very pleased with what I’ve been able to accomplish. Happy birthday to me. I can’t wait to see what this next trip around the sun brings!
I’ve been struggling with how to deal with having a child in this violent world. How do I teach him that there’s more good than bad in this world and not to hide out in a doomsday shelter? How do I teach him to be nice to people and the importance of being a decent human being? The best way to show him is to do it myself.
I want to do something nice for my fellow humans. I can’t afford to donate hundreds of dollars to a charity, but I can afford to buy the order of the person behind me in the Starbucks drive thru. I can let the frazzled parents with the fussy baby go ahead of me in line at the grocery store. A small gesture can make a huge difference.
Image by Miss Turner (Flickr)
I want my son to grow up thinking it’s normal to do something nice for others, that it’s normal and not a special occurrence.
“Be the change that you want to see in the world.” Who’s with me?
Today is my thirty first birthday. Yup, the big 3-1. It’s been getting me down for the past few weeks and I couldn’t pin down the reason. I turned to Facebook for the answer. Thank you to those that commiserated with me on the sense of disappointment on birthdays after a milestone birthday.
Last year, I wrote a post about what I wanted to do in my 30th year of life. Well, I didn’t do all those things. Heck, I didn’t do most of those things. Rather than reflect on what I didn’t accomplish, I thought I did do.
Figured out what I want to do when I grow up. I want to support breastfeeding women as an IBCLC. I may have known that already, but the past year has confirmed and reconfirmed that decision. I’ve honestly lost count of the number of times I’ve thought, Yes, this is what I want to do.
Started down the path towards IBCLC. I am officially a Certified Lactation Educator & Counselor. This means I can talk about the normal course of breastfeeding and teach! It’s also provided some incredible opportunities for me. See previous point.
Gotten more involved with supporting breastfeeding in my community. Between helping co-lead For Babies’ Sake meetings and being a part of the Tarrant County Breastfeeding Coalition, I feel like I’m doing my part.
Successfully managing to work and be a mom. Even when it doesn’t feel like it, I’m pretty proud of myself for doing it. It’s not everyone’s situation or everyone’s solution, but it works for us.
Being confident in my beliefs. Whether related to parenting, politics, or everything else, I know what I believe and why I believe in it. It’s going to take a lot to shake those beliefs. I don’t apologize for them. I won’t apologize for them.
Accepting my body as is. Sure, I have days where I bitch about fitting into my jeans, but I’m really happy with the way I look. D is pretty happy with the way I look too.
Realized that some friendships have an expiration date (and that it’s okay to let go). Sometimes friends grow apart. Calls, texts, and messages aren’t returned, eventually you’re no longer friends on social networks. Sometimes I wish I could find out what I did (I have my suspicions for some), but chances are that I don’t miss them.
That’s what I accomplished in a year. It may not seem like much, but I’m pretty satisfied. Besides, I don’t want to get everything done in a year. The rest of my life would be pretty boring. Happy birthday to me.
This weekend, I was lucky enough to attend La Leche League of Texas’ 2012 Area Conference (aka Boob Nerd* Heaven). I didn’t go for the entire conference, but spent most of Saturday absorbing all kinds of information pertaining to breastfeeding. Be warned, there will be a lot of gushing in this post.
Wish I could’ve gone for the whole weekend!
nerd boob nerd I am, I mostly attended continuing education sessions even though I don’t need the CE credits. Oh. My. God. I was thrilled at the list of topics and just soaked up the info like a sponge. I was in boob nerd heaven. And by the looks of those around me, most others were also in boob nerd heaven.
One name only. Like Prince, Madonna, or Snooki
I geeked out a little because the author of my lactation consultant text book had spoken at two sessions the day before. I ate lunch while listening to Kathleen Kendall-Tackett discuss her latest study about mother-infant sleep location and nighttime feeding behaviors. Not only was it informative, but she was hilarious. All of the presenters were experts in their topics and passionate about what they do.
I think this Intel commercial from a few years ago is a good analogy of how I felt this weekend, just substitute lactation researchers and experts for the engineer 🙂
Okay, so by now I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m still blabbing. My point is this: if I ever needed any sign or confirmation that I’m making the right career choice, Saturday was it. I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited about learning anything. I had a fantastic time being around like-minded women who seemed just as excited as I was to be there. I am relieved to find something I’m passionate about. I am thrilled to learn more.
*boob nerd: noun \bübˈnərd\ one devoted to intellectual or academic pursuits pertaining to lactation
<– I think I made that up
Ok, so I know I’m on hiatus while I wrap up this class (2 more weeks!), but I have to share this bit of good news in my life. Starting next week, I’m going to help co-lead a local breastfeeding support group!
Confession: I wanted to fill this entire post with smiley faces
Two other mamas and I will help lead the group, giving the two current leaders a break. The group is well established – they’ve been helping moms out for 9 years!
I’ve written over and over and over again about how important support was for me during those first few weeks and again when I went back to work. I am thrilled to be given such a wonderful opportunity to support moms. If you or someone you know is in the DFW area and in need of some mom-to-mom breastfeeding support, send them over!
Eek, why am I so nervous? Definitely the good kind of nervous. IBCLC, here I come!