FEBRUARY 2, 2017 TEN months OLD

“All you’ve got to do is want something and then let yourself have it.”

I was cleaning the other day and out of nowhere, said those words out loud. They’re from a favorite childhood movie of mine called Halloweentown. I haven’t thought about or seen that movie in years, but randomly remembered Maggie Cromwell flicking her wrist into the air and casting that spell.

I finally understand what she meant.

You’ve got to want something. You’ve got to ask for it. You’ve got to receive it–really feel that it’s yours, even though you have no idea just how you’re going to get it–just that you are. Indefinitely.

I have this house that I imagine Chris and I and our kids in. I know what color it is, I know what the front door will look like. I can even see Clifford laying on the front porch, tired and comfortable in an older age.

There are printed pictures of this house hanging in my bedroom and kitchen, the rooms I spend the most time in. When I catch a glimpse of it, I hold it in my mind for a second and feel myself living there.

And then yesterday, while fiddling around online, I found pictures of the inside of this dream house and just about dropped my jaw. This was it. I felt an immediate connection to the floor plan and everything inside–there was wood and stone and beautiful tile and small sections of accented wallpaper. It was simple and clean and functional and just the right amount of rugged. It was on seven acres of land.

So now I’ve been imagining Everett in the entrance of this house. Or seeing myself getting plates ready behind the beautiful kitchen island, overlooking my family all sitting together at the dinner table, waiting for me to come join them.

Owning this house feels even more real now…like all that time envisioning the outside kept my momentum going enough to set my vibration even higher and stronger. And I’m going to keep that momentum up–that belief–this feeling that I’ve achieved, knowing that that house and that land and that entryway will be mine. It’s as sure as anything.

Chris is always so positive and together I want to teach our kids how thoughts become things–how happy thoughts literally bring you happy things and circumstances. I want Everett to have a vision board in his room–I want my children to believe there is magic all around them, they just have to believe in it and the Universe will deliver. Do I sound crazy?

But anyways, about Everett. Goober McGee, goobs, goober, smevs, smelly debs, tub a lub–all our nick names for our ten month old ham.

He’s developing his own little attitude and spunk. Sometimes I love it and other times I think, “Did you really just bite me while trying to get out of my arms?” He tries to “fight” me now when I put him into his carseat and like aunt Sara jokes, I have to karate chop his arms and legs into place before buckling him in.

He is crawling pretty fast now and tries to get into everything. The other day I walked into the kitchen and there he was, standing up with support from the garbage can, his fingers trying to pry the lid open. Or yesterday I was in the guest bedroom printing a recipe when I heard a woosh of water and immediately thought, Oh Goddddddddd. It was Everett in the next room over, standing against Chris’ nightstand, with a big empty mason jar in his little hand. He had spilled water everywhere.

I chase him saying “I’m gonna get you!” and he thinks it’s the funniest thing ever. Or him and I play around my bed, hiding from one another. His favorite time of the day is either after a meal or after the bath. We let him crawl around naked afterwards and he just laughs and tries to jump every chance he gets on the bed or the couch–anything bouncy and he’s all in. If I walk into his room when he’s supposed to be sleeping, he quickly flops onto his stomach and pretends like he’s asleep. Just imagining him doing it is making me laugh. It’s hysterical.

He’s fun. He’s a pain. And we love him.

Allison said something the other day about me being a mom and I looked at her and said, “Do you think of me as a mother?” And she responded like, well yea–you ARE a mom. 

But becoming a mom, for me at least, has been a journey. And I know that while I’ve come a long way, my path isn’t even close to being over. I still have so much to learn and so much to experience in terms of motherhood.

The day I found out I was pregnant, everything changed.

It was a Wednesday, the day my period was due for that month of July. I was driving out to the South Hills to teach my regular yoga class and private lesson. Before I got to the studio, I drove up the road to the nearest Walgreens and bought a pregnancy test, still feeling like I was a scared nineteen year old, making a purchase I wasn’t supposed to. I didn’t want to take the test at the studio. I don’t know why, I just didn’t. So I waited until I got home.

Before I got into the shower, I sat on the toilet and peed on that pink handled stick. The plus sign immediately appeared and I felt something click, right down into the pit of my belly. I can’t explain what it was, just that I can still remember feeling it. Still not removed from the toilet, I started crying. I lost control, and just kept saying oh my god oh my god, thank you thank you. And my mind went straight to you, like an imaginary line carved out of my mind and into yours. I felt like you were right there beside me in my tiny little bathroom.

In that instant, I think I became a mom.

And then pregnancy and those long following months happened, all the way up to a full 42 weeks. And then labor happened. And then delivery happened. And then Everett wrapped his finger around mine for the first time and the greater part of me that existed before him just completely wiped out, gone. Where did I go?

It took me months to find myself comfortable in the role as MOM. I knew I was a mother, I felt like a mother, but I would go to the pediatrician office kind of “scared” of what the nurses would think of me. For instance, of how I held Everett, or that I wasn’t nursing him or my decisions about vaccinations.

There was one that asked me at our second appointment, “You’re nursing him, right?” I had to tell her no, and tried to defend myself, explaining our “nursing story.” She didn’t care. And I shouldn’t have cared to tell it. I disliked her so much I later switched pediatricians, putting that whole phase behind me. I’m still glad I did that.

I felt incapable in the beginning because I was honestly pretending in the motherly role for awhile. I believed I didn’t care about how other people thought of me as a parent, but deep down I definitely did. If someone told me or wrote online to not let your baby cry, I felt terrible and questioned myself when I actually did let him cry. I compared myself to other moms and worse, compared myself to you and how I remembered you to be.

It wasn’t until I stopped trying not to care about other people and books and opinions, that things started to fall into place.

I’d say Everett was around six to eight months old when I truly felt like I was enough and that I was doing a “good job.” I think I was waiting for you to tell me so. Honestly. That’s all I wanted, for the longest time–to hear my own mother tell me I was a good mom. I could’ve heard it from the entire world and I wouldn’t have believed it. It had to be from you.

It’s nice now to not need outside encouragement–not even yours. I go to that doctor’s office and am no longer scared, because none of those people are Everett’s mom–I am. And if someone gives me the stink eye when I pull Everett’s formula out at a restaurant, I feel sorry for them because that was me before my humbling nursing experience. How awful to be in such a place of judgement.

I’ve talked with you a few times about breastfeeding Everett but never really explained what happened. Maybe another mother out there will read this and feel a little better about a similar experience.

During pregnancy I read natural parenting books (I guess that’s what you’d call them) because I feel like I live a somewhat “natural lifestyle.”  And what I read in all those books really spoke to me.

I read about natural births. I read about nursing. I read about co-sleeping. I read about tending to your baby’s needs at all times, i.e. never letting them cry, not putting them in swings–crazy stuff like that.

And then I gave birth. Everything I thought would happen didn’t, and everything I never even thought about did happen.

I lost faith in a lot of what I read but still remained so very headstrong about breastfeeding. I nursed him the first four days, non stop. I’d say 22 out of 24 hours. I knew no differently. I read that pacifiers were “bad” so never gave him one. When he’d cry, I’d stick him on my boob and he’d stop, so by default, that was “right”. I would be up all night nursing him, and I don’t mean every two hours or even every hour–I mean all night. I couldn’t let the sheets or a loose tank top touch me without immense pain. My pediatrician said it was normal, that I had to get used to it. But he was also a man.

I sucked it up until I knew, okay something is wrong here. I saw a lactation consultant who told me Everett had tongue tie. Without question, I wanted to get the very minor procedure done on him because I needed to nurse. At the time, I was convinced it was my only option.

There wasn’t an available appointment until the following week, so in the meantime I pumped and he took a bottle without any problem. Things felt like they were on the uphill.

Then after the procedure, I started nursing him again but was still in a lot of pain after every feeding. I went to another lactation consultant, this time a completely different place, and she literally told me word for word what was in a book I already read. She also told me I could just continue pumping for fifteen minutes every two hours, so that’s what I did. I’d set alarms on my phone to get up though the night if the baby hadn’t already woken up to eat. I was constantly afraid of not having enough milk, so I kept pumping pumping pumping to try and boost my supply.

I was hooked to that machine. My boobs always ached and I couldn’t hold Everett on my chest because of how much I hurt. I got clogged milk ducts then the big ol’ mastitis came along. After the infection cleared, I pushed on for another week or so and then decided to quit. I don’t think Chris was ever more relieved.

For awhile I doubted my decision. I felt guilty when I’d scoop Everett’s formula and would become red cheek embarrassed around other nursing mothers.

I just tried too hard. I pumped too much. I put too much pressure on myself and my poor boobs. I always thought Everett was hungry when in reality, he just needed put to sleep. (Still to this day, he won’t fall asleep anywhere else besides his crib in the pitch black–and that took me a long time to figure out).

In hindsight, there were things I probably could have changed. I wouldn’t have listened to that pediatrician who told me I was fine, I wouldn’t have listened to the consultant who told me to pump so much to the point of making myself raw. I wouldn’t have listened to the books that said no pacifiers and made me feel ashamed if my baby wasn’t going to get my milk.

I would have listened to myself, but I was so unsure of everything. Anything anybody told me I’d try, whether it pertained to nursing, getting Everett to sleep or what to eat for breakfast.

Now when I get advice I politely listen, nod my head and take from it what I want.

I will know this “technique” for the next baby. I feel like I’ll know a lot more things than the first time around, but then again, another baby will be completely different than Everett was. And if I do get to breastfeed my second, I know I will love and appreciate nursing in a more special way, had it all been a breeze with Everett. I won’t have to become a mom either. That work has already been started.

I know I’m not ready to deliberately try for another, but I have an idea in my head of when I would like to get pregnant. And usually when I get those intuitive feelings about certain things, they really happen.

It’s because I trust those feelings. I follow them. I believe in them. And wa-lah, there that “thing” comes, in its own perfect timing, after I’ve finally and truly allowed myself to simply have it.

I’ll talk with you soon. I love you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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