I went on some sort of wild rampage through our closet this weekend. We moved into our house when I was about 30 weeks pregnant and although the house got unpacked, it didn’t get organised all that well. Like closets and offices are just dumping grounds for stuff that still needs to find its permanent home.
My husband is a pack rat. If the end of the world came, he’d have enough of everything to survive. (clothes, light bulbs, half-used batteries)…you get the picture. I LOVE to purge stuff out when I haven’t used it. It’s something where I actually feel like I get high when I throw stuff out.
…but lets ‘call a spade a spade’….I’m an emotional pack rat.
So we were going through his clothes. He has three suits. I’ve never ever seen him wear a suit. I pick up one suit from the depths of the back corner of the closet.
“So, are we keeping this suit?” I ask
“Well, let me look at it…”
“When was the last time you actually wore it? Like legit wore it?” I questioned
“1998! are you kidding me, that was 16 years ago. We’re NOT keeping a suit that you haven’t worn in 16 years!” I declared
He took Ainslie out for an outdoor adventure that involves daily checking of the fruit trees and an overall survey of our infantile garden. I get daily updates on how much the blossoms on the apricot tree are growing. I’m not joking.
I’m sitting in the closet sifting through stuff and I come across them. My own emotional baggage manifested in clothes I haven’t been able to wear in years. I bought them when I was at my lowest both weight wise, self-esteem wise…etc. I crash dieted into those clothes and I had kept them as a token, a carrot, a goal to aim for. I have never got into them, but I’ve trekked them around through four different moves. Insanity.
I’ve been working with a new counselor and she threw something at me the other day “have you accepted where you are?”
I took those clothes and realised in that absolute instance that not matter size or shape I do or don’t become. Even IF I get to a point where I can get into those clothes again..I NEVER EVER WANT TO BE THAT GIRL AGAIN. EVER! And I won’t.
Sometimes we have to actually just accept where we are. My husband is a pack rat. I’m an emotional baggage collector. But it’s ok to be where are you. Stop torturing yourself with trying to go back and be something that you once were. Be where you are, progress from that starting place.
And for the love of God, please get rid of the suit you haven’t worn in 16 years.
p.s. I just told husband how I was going to write about how he hadn’t worn the suit from 1998. He corrected me and said it was 1996. TWENTY YEARS! AHHH!
It’s so easy to get sucked into the posts of mama’s bouncing back. Of the cute houses, the perfectly photographed meals, the flat tummies. It’s easy to get sucked into “well I should pack more into my day.” I’m not really complaining about anything, but more so saying that sometimes we just need to relax a little bit about the whole ‘having it together’ notion.
I don’t have it together, but in some ways I feel like I have it more together then I’ve had it before. Maybe it’s been sparked by the realisation that I do need my faith at the core of my life, or the fact that I acknowledge that seeing a counselor again is a fabulous thing, or a quiet embrace that I can’t be busy ALL the time.
I spend my days fluctuating between meeting up with people, going on walks in expensive wraps, sitting on the floor with my daughter as she works on her coordination by grasping my jacket zipper and staring at it. Doing loads of laundry, putting away the clean ones that have been sitting in the basket for three days and attempting to remember to pull something out of the freezer for dinner.
I remember the first four weeks after Ainslise was born, well actually I don’t really, but I was consumed with trying to bounce back. I wanted to shed the weight, I wanted to have my house spotless. I wanted to just be where I was before. OH MY, the first thing I did when I walked through the door after coming home from hospital…clean the fridge out. What the hell? I was nuts. I was consumed with resuming some sort of pre-baby notion and had NO idea where I fit as a mom into the routine I thought I was supposed to me in.
That is insane.
I wish I would have taken every.single.offer for help. That I would have graciously said YES to offers of: floor sweeping, baby holding, laundry washing, kitchen cleaning. I wish I would have just sat back and stopped the internal obsession of trying to shift weight within the first four weeks (I mean started the insanity way too early). I think it has really hit home for me about the intense pressure some women are under both internally and externally to be something other than what nature really calls for us to do after coming out of the exhaustion of the first couple of months and realising that I needed to be present. I need to be a mother.
We are meant to bond, chill out, release the burdens of perfection and just be a mother. (I know that some people do not have this luxury for a host of reasons) but I truly mean this. It means that as other mama’s, who are out of this time period, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and come in. Flock new mamas with encouragement and love and support and floor sweeping. It’s a new mama’s job to open the door to what feels like chaos and be gracious.
I’m grateful that I’ve found a tribe of mama’s who get this. But as I look back into the cloudiness of it all, I really wish I hadn’t put so much emphasis on trying to keep it together. It only hurt me in the end and really did no service for my mental space.
So go make yourself a cuppa tea while the baby sleeps, or take a nap…the dishes will be done when you have time. Relish in these moments of mamahood, even if just for a minute. Cut yourself some slack and know that you don’t have to have it all together, all the time.
My facebook and Instagram feeds are covered with pictures of people sending their kids off to the first day of school. The first day of Kindergarten. Their first something.
And now that it’s here, I can’t help thinking . . . why did I want to rush this? Why was I so keen to push all of my babies out of the house? And why didn’t I relish the time with them more? ~Kristen Howerton
I remember when Ainslie was born and all I could think about was getting her to sleep through the night. ANYTHING for the good nights sleep. And if I admit it, I kinda miss them…it was just me and her.
It pumped through the house when she was growing:
- I can’t wait until she can wear that shirt
- I can’t wait until she smiles
- I can’t wait until she rolls over
- I can’t wait until she can try some food
- I can’t wait until she holds her bottle
…I can’t wait until….
What has happened recently is a change of heart..I feel like PUMPING THE BREAKS! I mean I am excited to see who see becomes and what excites her. But there’s part of me that already longs for her squishy body, for her newborn sleepiness. A much more present approach to being where she is now. Letting her direct her own development (rolling onto her side and squirming around on the floor). I’m trying not to force things, just enjoying where she is.
The irony, that I’ve uncovered, is that often times we push ourselves and our kids to be the next thing without really enjoying the present.
So I’ll keep her little bobble heads sitting on my legs, while I grab her hands and do the movement to “itsy bitsy spider”. She coos. She loves row-row-row-your-boat. I’m just gonna soak her up. Even when we have nap fails!
So go enjoy your little ones (or big ones) and hold back from wishing the next step on them.
I remember the weekly weigh-ins. I do. I remember that he was away for four week gallivanting around as a middle-age, over-paid, wild and unsettled man. Motorcycling by himself in an attempt to run away from his receding hairline and his increasing age.
I remember that I wanted to impress him. I did. Boy did I want to get ALL of that weight off for him.
I had four weeks.
I remember the weigh-ins. I was starving before them. I hadn’t really eaten for 24 hours. I squeezed in two runs a day for the previous three days. I weighed myself every single morning, after a run and at nights. I was obsessed. I went commando and braless to the weigh-in…I wore the thinnest dress I could find.
I wonder if they realised I wore the same clothes each week?
I then would smash my apple, inhaled a granola bar and then stand in front of the cupboard for the remaining nights engorging myself. Either in a lamenting fashion (because I didn’t loose enough or didn’t loose at all) or in celebration of my hard work throttling myself for a loss.
I spiritually fucked my soul over. I starved that girl so hardcore and screwed with her wiring, that it doesn’t surprise me that on the day he told me he feared I’d gain all the weight back…I did…almost.
I gained it back, not because I don’t get HOW to loose weight…or that I’m not educated on proper food choices…or that I haven’t done enough to loose it. (I have) The reason I gained it back…almost…and the reason I struggle is because I’m spiritually starved. I starved my spirit SO much that it’s no wonder I’ve struggle so much. I think that I’ve been aware of this for a long time. (I do ponder, a lot…probably too much) But I didn’t connect the dots. I always thought that if I got my eating right, exercises enough and lost the weight..that then my spirit would come back.
I have it all wrong.
Earlier, before you knew God personally, you were enslaved to so-called gods that had nothing of the divine about them. But now that you know God – or rather since God knows you – how can you possibly subject yourselves again to those paper tigers? ~Galatians 4:8-11
Hold the ice cream. The cookies. The calories. The weekly weigh-ins. The tears. The TimTams. The diet coke.
Hold it all.
I’m following along with the at-home study by Revelation Wellness and something STRUCK me over the head. I’ve been repeating so much this week “let go of the Idols (food, scales, calories) and focus your heart.” On a cognitive level…I get it. On a spiritual level I’ve struggled. Then it hit me over the freaking head.
“If I want to work on my outer, I’ve gotta go inner…and TRUST that I have it within me to connected spiritually to God and myself again.”
I don’t think that long-term weightloss or anything for that matter (and I’d say that I do border on food addiction at times) have really anything to do with the substance. It has everything to do with the ‘spiritual juice’ that I’m lacking. I’m a WEE bit scared to just surrender the idols. To shelve them. To focus on nourshing my soul (because how the f–k do I do that?) But I have immense faith in this study. It’s moved me already. I have immense faith in God. I do.
It’s not easy admitting that you’ve let your soul be spiritually neglected for such a long time. That you’ve been searching for it somewhere between a bowl full of ice cream, failed fitness regimes, bought and then cancelled WW subscriptions and emptied personal promises of rewards for weight-loss goals. But I guess that is where it starts.
Exposing your paper tigers.
And pounding a glass of spiritual juice.
When I met Andrew I kinda, totally, knew that he was the one. I’m not sure how…maybe it was because he was wearing a NorthFace jacket? Maybe it was his beautiful brown eyes? Maybe it was because he’s a nerd and super nervous? Maybe it was because he took me to a bird park on our second date?
I’m not sure, but I knew he was the one.
I moved into his house after dating four about four months (Was I nuts? Possibly!) And I was SHOCKED! He was a pack-rat to the core. He had a couch that had been in his family for TWENTY years! Twenty years. We found change in he seat cushions that most likely was from his Dad. I mean, I know it’s good to keep stuff, but goodness gracious that is KEEPING STUFF!
What was more profound for me was the stuff I was holding onto. I mean, I had been moving yearly at university and then packed my life up into two suitcases and one carry on when I had moved to Australia 8 years ago. I had learned to pack lightly. I had learned how to shove my life into one car or two suitcases. I had learned what physically I did and didn’t need.
But emotionally I brought a lot more to the relationship when it came to baggage then he did.
Since , then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything — and I do meant everything — connected with the old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it. And take on an entirely new way of life — a God-fashioned life, a life from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you. ~Ephesians 4:22-24
was AM a pack-rat. I remember a time when I started sobbing in the bath, walked out dripping wet in a towel with mascara running down my face. He was making chili mussels and asked “what is wrong?” ….
I couldn’t wrap my head around his pure love for me. I couldn’t think of how on earth I had deserved such a wonderful, caring, thoughtful man. Although he still had the soda cup for a Mariners game 10 years ago…his baggage wasn’t damaging…it was cosmetic. Mine was damaging. I had stuff that wasn’t easily packed into a trailer and taken to the dump. Mine required way more effort. He has been patient with me, he has held me while I sobbed, answered desperate text messages and has loved me unconditionally…when I couldn’t myself.
So, it becomes the moment in our lives when we are called to get rid of the rotten stuff in our soul. Time to declutter. Time to purge. Time to let light in and know that God calls us to his unconditional love…we just have to stop packing around the hurts of our past and know that we are made for more.
The question was posed by Alisa of Revelation Wellness: how did we get to this place?
That is an interesting question to pose to me. For a long time I’ve always focused my own immediate inadequacies of the moment. The inability to stop eating or get off the couch. The feeling that perhaps I would feel and be defeated for a long time with my journey of body image acceptance, love, and nourishment. I’ve bounced around with degrees, with jobs, with dieting with exercise.
I’m soul poor
Truly I am
I’m not really ashamed to say that. I think a lot of us are poor. We’re spiritually zapped. Fried. Tired. Exhausted. We’ve spent such a long time and a lot of effort keeping up with whatever we think we should be … or shutting up the boxes we’ve never got around to ticking.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven ~Matthew 5:3
God shows such grace and beauty to all of us. He doesn’t run around finding the people who are spiritually attune, beautiful, sin-less, grace-filled..perfect. What he has given all of us is the hope of rising into his grace to become fulfilled. We forget that. We forget that a lot. It’s such a simple notion: let go and be fulfilled.
Yet we cling onto: the next promotion, the newest clothes, the new house, the scales going down, the boob job, the wedding, the baby, the perfectly adhered to schedule…and at the end of the day none of it really matters if we find ourselves still yearning to fill the place in our own being that we’re trying to stuff with outwardly ways.
I’ve counted calories, points, carbs, kilos, pounds, miles, kilometers…for a long time. I haven’t counted how that has ever made me spiritually sound. When I look back and thing “how did I get to this place?” I know it happened when I believed the lies of those around me who told me that I would basically fail. That no matter what I did, I’d just never ever be able to amount to what I was the time ever again.
The spiritual focus as been on filling and idolising something that is false. negative. soul zapping. —> we humans do this. our own innate desire to please oftentimes leaves of void of self-acceptance, self confidence and the focus on our faith.
I haven’t surrendered my whole heart over to God for such a long time. I’ve never done it with food or exercise. I’ve never focused my energy into harnessing a relationship with a spiritual focus whereby I used and nourish the blessed time I have on this earth in a way that uplifts and fills…instead of always pinning after. It’s an important shift for not only long-term success but for stopping the never ending cycle of being zapped.
So I go forth trying to self-inflict less zapping.
I can’t believe that she’s 12 weeks.
She’s cooing, smiling and dare I say that she’s on the verge of laughing. I can’t WAIT for her to laugh. In saying that, this week I’ve had the realisation that she’s no longer a newborn…she’s an infant. Gah!
The Supplemental Nursing System (SNS) is a feeding tube device to provide babies long-term supplemental feedings at the breast. When a baby is at breast over a period of days or weeks, a hormonal mechanism is triggered that causes milk to be produced.
The SNS can also be used for:
- Inducing lactation
- Keeping special-needs babies at the breast
- Premature babies
- Weak, ineffective or lazy nursers
- Failure-to-thrive babies
- Impaired babies
- Low-milk supply mothers
- Relactating mothers
- A teaching tool to “fingerfed” babies who have had difficulty latching onto the breast
I had some sort of hormonal whim two weeks ago after joining the IGT/Low Supply facebook group. *I highly suggest this group for ANYONE struggle with low supply, PCOS, IGT, etc. Amazing wealth of knowledge and support* After I found this group, I bought an SNS, started on herbs (Goats Rhu is a must!) and then joined another AMAZING Facebook group: Supply Line Breastfeeding Support Group Australia (you do NOT have to be in Australia and/or Australian to join) Amazing group of women. Amazing.
How did I re-lactate?
- Started pumping as much as I could during the day
- Started motilium at 90mg…gained 3lbs/1.2kg in a week. My supply was only about 60mls/day so I’ve weaned off because the weight gain isn’t worth the output.
- I started taking herbs, with no real benefit. Then I found this local health food store that makes a “lactation formula” –what I call “liquid nursing potion”…that is revolting in taste, but it’s totally working. It’s working so well that even though I’ve decreased my motilium I’ve maintained my supply.
- Got an SNS and breastfeed on demand. Pumped after some feeds.
- Feed on both sides.
- Am trying Paleo after reading from IGT support group about insulin resistance — which I think I do have — and linking to low supply. Paleo helps with both.
How did I re-latch?
I offered in this order almost always: boob, nipple shield, newborn bottle teat/nipple, Medela Calma nipple. She was only ever bottle fed with the Medela Calma nipple. For the first day I had to put the calma nipple of my nipple and thread the SNS tube through the end of it. Then I weaned her off of that and used the newborn nipple over my nipple with the SNS on the outside. Then I offered nipple shield (Medela) with the SNS tube on the outside. We tried with it through the inside but I couldn’t get a good suction. I would bounce back to teats if she wouldn’t take the nipple shield.
Then she took the nipple shield without any bottle teats. Day 2-3
Then she took my bare breast..for a FULL FEED!!! I cried. Day 5.
**I am NOT going to lie, this has been emotionally exhausting. There have been episodes of frustration on both of our parts. There have been times when I’ve wanted to give up. I did feel anxiety around “the struggle of the next feed**
It’s gotten SO much easier. She has her latch back (thank heavens), I have more milk then I thought I’d have. We’re giving between 50-165mls of supplement (my express milk after feeds, donor milk and/or formula) in the container. I’m grateful for the bond, I’m grateful that we’ve been able to do the almost impossible, I’m grateful I didn’t give up.
We’re still getting donor milk (Thank you donors) and I was recently interviewed by the local news station about milk donation and SNS. “We want people to know about it”. They then told me they are going to try and push for the story to go national…YIKES! I should have gotten my hair done.
What a wild, beautiful, messy, grateful ride.
If you have any questions please leave a comment and/or e-mail me michellegay (at) gmail.com –> happy to help whenever I can :) I’m not a licensed Lactation Consultant, but I’ve been working with one. I highly suggest you seek professional advice if you’re having supply, feeding issues and/or thinking of using an SNS. What we did is unorthodox, but it worked for us. Always follow you’re mama gut :) xo