On Sunday, right before we went into labor, I started to put together Rosemary's motherhood series post. Rosemary is a dear friend of mine from high school/college was pregnant at the same time as I was. It was so fun to chat with each other and share experiences as we both prepared to become mothers for the first time! She still has a little ways to go, but it has been fun to share my experience of labor with her and I am so excited to hear about how having little Lucas goes! Rosemary and her fiance, Tim, are in for such a great treat for when they bring their own little man into their home in Washington, D.C.! Here are some of her thoughts on motherhood so far as a pregnant mother in a large city.
My name is Rosemary, I have an amazing and supportive fiancé, an energetic and cuddly six-year-old black lab, and a beautiful baby boy due in early July. I am now a stay at home mom while daddy plays the defense contracting game. We currently reside in Washington, DC but dream of leisurely days on the beach in Charleston, SC. Below is a little peek into my life as an unplanned new mother and how my fiancé and I made the transition from an unplanned pregnancy to a planned adventure.
The past 31 weeks have been a roller coaster but one I would ride over and over again. My little Lucas Oliver wasn’t planned but the joy he has already brought my fiancé and me is indescribable. Some people would define unplanned pregnancy as “an accident, mistake, or premature,” however, I like to define it as “an exciting or remarkable experience.” And, as is often the case, experiences like these can often come with self-doubt, fear, and sacrifices but also love, peace, and joy.
Motherhood in general seems to be this way to me- hard but rewarding work. That’s something I have in common already with women who planned for their children. But my motherhood adventure so far does have its differences. My fiancé and I are making financial sacrifices we wouldn’t have had to make if we owned our own house or had been saving up for years to be ready for a child. In short we are having to adjust our expectations. That doesn’t mean we aren’t able to create a plan that works for our growing family though. After all, someone thought ahead when they designed pregnancy to last nine months. That’s nine months to freak out over being pregnant, to get your finances in order, to discover that you can still nest and have a super cute baby wall versus a full nursery room, and to have a kick butt baby shower so your little one can get all the things they need. So here are a few tips that are helping us transition from unplanned pregnancy to planned adventure:
It’s okay to freak out and be scared but you also have to have faith in yourself.
I was so terrified when I found out I was pregnant. So many questions ran through my mind. Are my fiancé and I ready? What will my family and friends think? Can we afford a child in DC? What about our summer vacation to the beach with our friends! In the end when something big happens in your life you are going to question everything but you can’t let that self-doubt or fear hold you back. It doesn’t matter what circumstance you find yourself in. Even if people around you aren’t supportive, you have to take the bull by the horns and believe in your own capabilities as not just a person but a woman. I mean, we grow human beings inside our bodies so there is nothing we can’t handle. So take time to freak out but don’t let it consume you. You have too much joy and love to gain!
You might have to make some financial sacrifices but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.
The goal is to have your finances squared away and a plan before the baby is born. You don’t want to be going into debt or increasing your debt if I can be avoided with planning ahead. We had to cut back our going out budget, restructure student loans, research our eligibility for government assistance via the Women, Infant, and Children’s Program (because we pay taxes and deserve a cut too), decide if it was more cost effective for both parents to work or to have one parent stay home, and look for better paying jobs. You can still go out but it could take some budgeting. At happy hour maybe your partner gets one beer (or even better water) instead of their usual three to four beers. When out to dinner, maybe forgo the drinks and appetizers and stick with water and your entrées. Remember fun doesn’t always mean going out on the town and spending money. Having your friends over for dinner, game nights, or TV/movie nights can often be just as or even more enjoyable.
You have to keep an open mind and be flexible.
When my nesting instincts kicked in, I was very upset that I couldn’t have a full nursery due to our apartment size. However, with the help of Pinterest, Blogs, and Google I was able to adjust and imagine a beautiful space for my Lucas-- even if that space was just a wall in my bedroom. A great design tip I found was using wall decals. Ikea has affordable, minimalistic, and stylish baby furniture too. I didn’t have to have a Pottery Barn Kids crib set to create a stylish space my little Lucas and I would love. If there was something you think you might have to sacrifice, first do some research and talk with your SO/family/friends as there might be a feasible alternative.
Have a baby shower.
Now there are apparently a lot of strong opinions on baby showers from who should throw them to what you should wear. I say screw it all and do what you want. My fiancé and I wanted just one big co-ed baby shower with our friends and family there. I also wanted to help plan it. That being said, you do not want to nor can you really take on the full responsibility of throwing a baby shower. So reach out to your best friends and/or family and see what they are willing to help with. Some people like giving cash while others like getting specific things (i.e. cake, beer, shower outfit, etc.) It’s also helpful to have a close friend or relative to help with the planning and execution. Our shower was so much fun and we got almost everything we needed for our little one. Be sure to create a detailed registry with a wide range of items. We were even lucky enough to get our maternity pictures via the shower! A baby shower is not only about being showered with gifts, but a way for all of your friends and family to come together to show their love and support. There really is something about seeing your friends and family celebrate your little one that will uplift you. Especially if that little one wasn’t planned.
In the end remember to have fun and always believe in yourself! Your life has to make a lot of adjustments when you are expecting a little one, planned or not. Try not to get too stressed or caught up in it all and remember who you are doing it all for instead. Sing to your baby, talk to him or her, play games with them (Lucas and I like to play patty cake), and day dream about their personality and hair color because eventually the baby will come and you will go back to not being prepared ;)
Maternity and Baby Shower Photos by http://www.ariellegallione.com/
The third mother in my motherhood series is a sweet friend of mine from high school, Mary. Mary is a hairstylist/photographer based out of my home town with two adorable kiddos. I've loved keeping track of her as her little ones grow. She has such beautiful stories and experiences to share and really stunning photography as well!
Hi there! I’m Mary. Mom, hairstylist, photographer, craft lover. I had my first little lady almost 3 years ago (in July), and have since had a little mister, about 10 months ago. People aren’t lying when they say its the best job ever, being a mom. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Even on the days when I want to lock myself in the bathroom just so I don’t have to answer another “why?”, or days when I want to pull out all my own hair, because I can’t stand listening to someone cry for another second. Following are just a few things that I have learned on my journey through motherhood, and that I hope will resonate with a few mama’s and mama-to-be’s.
-ask for help:
- take time for yourself
- be a kid again
Photos by www.maerainphoto.com
The second mother in my motherhood series is a wonderful woman, Lacey, that was in several of my art classes at Bethel College. We bonded over clay projects, sculpting, and painting for the few years that we overlapped in school. Since Bethel Lacey has continued her beautiful art and photography, has started teaching and started her beautiful family. Lacey has a beautiful story that she is so kindly sharing on our blog today!
Juniper would love it if she could spend the whole day without having to get dressed.
Meet Juniper Mae. She is almost 7 months old. If Juniper could talk she would tell you that she loves anything with buttons to push, papers that can be crumpled, and eating pickles. Juniper would also tell you she does not like getting dressed, being put in her car seat, or being on or near grass. Juniper might tell you that she prefers not to have her hair done or wear hair bows, but that she loves the attention she received when she is all dolled up.
Little miss Juniper is a playful, loving baby. She gets snuggles from everyone, even when she would rather be rolling around on the floor. Juniper loves to play with her daddy. He does things that I, Juniper’s mommy, consider “unsafe”. Like throwing Juniper up in the air, being “tossed” onto the bed, and letting her lounge on the couch.
Becoming Juniper’s mom has been an unexpected journey. I struggled through infertility and treatment, and then unexpectedly got pregnant 2 weeks after a hysteroscopy, laparoscopy and myomectomy. Juniper’s birth did not go as I had hoped, and her condition at birth sent her to a NICU 45 minutes away from me. Once we were home I struggled with post-partum depression and PTSD. I was miserable, and broken. The effort to heal from my mental illness almost caused me to miss out on the joy that is my daughter’s life.
Once I was able to seek help the gloom and doom cleared away slowly. I was very blessed to have support all around me from my husband, mother, mother-in-law, OBGYN, and my dear friends. I do wonder if I will ever fully heal. Even now, 7 months later, I often process the day were we almost lost our precious daughter.
I refused to miss anymore moments because I am grieving. I savor each moment I spend with Juniper. I soak in her cuddles and sloppy wet kisses. I laugh with her as she splashes in the bathtub. Looking into the future I cannot wait to see her take her first steps, read her first book, and explore the wondrous world around her.
Juniper definitely got my skin tone. She is very fair so we wear a lot of sunscreen and adorable big floppy hats.
Juniper was born with lovely blue eyes, as she has gotten older we have wondered if they will turn brown. Right now they are an amazing blue/green hazel.
Indestructible books are the best. Juniper tries really hard to tear them, but she can’t!
As a photographer I love capturing little details. Juniper has the pudgiest hands, and this quilt was made by my grandmother’s aunt.
Roly-poly thigh, a gummy smile, and silly pigtails. I love my baby.
I get her sweet bows from Little Poppy Co. I would love to make them myself, but I don’t have them time!
As I near closer to being a mother (which seems terrifying yet so exciting) I am realizing that it doesn't really look the same for everyone. Our first "mother" in the motherhood series, Natalie, may not consider herself to be a mother by definition, but she is one that I admire the most. One of my favorite weekends from this past year was spending time with her and these wonderful kiddos for her wedding. They are some of the cutest kiddos I have ever met and I loved seeing how my friend transitioned into becoming a caregiver of three. I greatly admire her flexibility and the amount of love and care she holds for each of these wonderful kids!
Walter will sometimes build legos or play games on this bay window. One of my favorite things about our house is this bay window. It’s great for plants, the animals love it, and it gives me a good view of the kids in the backyard. I love bay windows.
When Leah first asked me to write a post for her blog during her last month of pregnancy, I was so excited. I love to write and I love this blog! When she told me that she was asking a bunch of mothers to write about their experiences and wanted to include me, I was still super excited! But slowly my layers of excitement started flaking away, uncovering my layers of imposter syndrome and anxiety.
You see, I’m not a mother. I’ve never birthed a child. I don’t even call myself a parent. My husband and I certainly call what we do parenting, but to be honest, we’re still figuring out the appropriate lexicon. My husband and I are guardians of his three delightful, hilarious and intelligent half siblings. We are what the state of Texas and social services typically call kinship caregivers. It’s a confusing and nebulous space between adoption, parenting, guardianship and fostering. We often find it difficult to define and navigate.
Out of respect for this nebulous space and all those involved, I will leave this post without any cathartic and indulgent personal disclosures or wise maternal lessons learned. Rather, I will share a bit of my very blessed life in pictures. Which I’m actually pretty sure is a totally noble blogging intention. Right? wink emoticon
So here it is!
Here is Atha (11) and Genny (9) when they made me cupcakes for my 25th birthday. They are so sweet!
I love this picture! This is Atha and her BFF on top of this huge rock pile. We went to an art show of Atha’s (she’s an amazing artist, by the way) and we saw this huge rock pile blocking the sun. And I was like, I need to get some pictures. And the kids were like, I need to climb that.
Remember how I said Atha was an awesome artist. She drew this picture of the Belcher family from Bob’s Burgers in Anime style. We are obsessed with Bob’s Burgers. The Belcher family is my favorite TV family hands down! Though our second favorite family show is Fresh off the Boat. I highly recommend them both.
Here is our sweet Walter. He is five. He came to us when he was three, and, man, so much happens in between three and five! It’s hard to believe. We are so proud of him, and thankful for every second together.
Genny and Walt love to play outside. We got this little playscape as a hand-me-down and it’s a little young for the girls, but they have a great time on it anyway. Genny will get all the way on top of the whole structure, and she can even start to reach the trees that way. I love how they’re creative and just make it work!
Genny! Here she was in the middle of spelling out my brother’s (Clint) name with her arms. She wanted to send him a series of pictures spelling out his name. That endeavor was actually abandoned, I’m realizing now. Ha! We got distracted by the dog.
Our lovely hound Hank the Cowdog. We love him dearly!! I mean, how handsome is he?!
I can't believe it is already April! We are 35 weeks along; we've attended our birthing classes, packed our bags, and our nursery is so close to being ready! With our little guy coming in just a few short weeks and mother's day coming just around the corner I thought it would be fun to share the perspectives from a few of the wonderful young mother's in my life. Over the next few weeks I will be posting their pictures and thoughts on their experiences so far as a mother, their favorite baby products, their daily lives with their little ones, and their advice to new mamas.