Tag Archives | Thoughts on Motherhood

A Special Valentine Arrival

It seems as though an entire season of laughter, tears, and gratitude has elapsed between February 1 and today. It’s hard to believe that it’s already the middle of March. Last month, our dear friends welcomed a precious little boy into their lives. He was born at 33 weeks exactly. This type of news is always a mixed bag of emotions. On the one hand, you are thrilled for the new parents and their growing family. At the same time, your heart sinks because you are all too familiar with some of the challenges that come with prematurity… the uncertainty, the waiting, the back-steps, and so much more. Life is just so darn fragile!

Despite feeling overwhelmed and scared, I remember being in awe of Olivia’s tenacity to get better each day she was in the hospital. Her courage gave me strength- the human body and spirit are incredibly resilient, strong, and brave. As we celebrated each tiny milestone along Olivia’s journey, moments of heartache were slowly replaced with joy and gratitude.

Olivia made this Valentine card for her fellow 33-Week buddy, Owen:

Valentines-Card

I’m sure that Owen will continue teaching his parents life lessons as they all grow together. Right now, he is snuggled safely in his mama’s arms and thriving at home!

To all the mama’s of sweet preemies, I think YOU are amazing. You have been asked to find new depths of strength inside yourself and to search for the thread of love in even the most impossible situations. This Valentine’s Day, I am celebrating the fierce and unfailing love that we {as mama’s} have for our precious children.

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Thoughts on Motherhood and Traveling: Part 2

To read Part 1, click HERE!

Aerial View

During a recent flight, I had the chance to sit next to the window and gaze out at some incredible cloud formations.  Perhaps I was just focused on missing Olivia, but the clouds (and really the whole process of flying) made me think about motherhood.

Some similarities that I was struck by:

… on both types of journeys, you alternate between periods of clarity and complete overwhelm.  As a new mother, you might feel like you are permanently stuck in a never-ending haze of confusion, panic, and stress… Similarly, to get to your cruising altitude, a plane must ascend through a dense and often murky layer of clouds.  I think I involuntary hold my breath for these moments- you can’t see anything and it feels like you’re traveling through a giant marshmallow!  Both scenarios require patience and trust that you are slowly getting closer to your destination.

Navigating Motherhood

… and then you emerge on the other side and it’s just grand.  This higher perspective fuels both gratitude and reflection.  These moments make the journey worthwhile and truly inspiring!

Clouds from the Plane

I’m still trying to navigate and find my footing on this precious journey of motherhood.  The highs and lows just seem so darn extreme!  Moods cycle so easily between clarity and overwhelm.  These days we are focusing on the good.

… precious baby smiles and laughter… watching new learning take place before our eyes….sweet baby snuggles and embraces… her joy in discovering something new… her delight in new independence and skills….

Flying

… all the steps and stages of learning to fly.

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Thoughts on Traveling and Motherhood: Part 1

Over the past two months, I’ve spent two weekends away from my sweet baby girl.  I’m happy to report that she did great!  I, on the other hand, was largely a hot mess.  Part of me was so excited to escape my current reality for just a few precious days.  The other part was overwhelmed with anxiety- about a million questions raced through my mind… is James feeding her something other than puffs?  Is she sleeping at my parent’s house?  Does she miss me?  Does she know we are coming back?  Does she feel like I abandoned her?  Are her teeth hurting her?  Am I missing any milestones?

Totally stereotypically.  Totally normal.  And, yet, I’ve never experienced this push-pull range of emotions so completely.  Traveling solo during my first weekend away also brought up another set of questions that I wasn’t necessarily prepared to answer.  All those pesky “what if” scenarios… What if something were to happen?  What if there was an accident?  I was quickly reminded how fragile life can be.  I also immediately thought of a post I had seen on Instagram by Holly from Decor8.  In one of her captions about her beautiful little boy on April 25th, she wrote “I’ve never valued my own life more than I do now…”

Decor8 inspirational words

Ah… I can completely relate.  Don’t you just love Holly’s inspirational words?  Being Olivia’s mama has definitely challenged me in a completely new way to be the best version of myself.  Taking exquisite care of my health, both physically and emotionally, is also a gift to my daughter.  Not only do I just want to be around for the next several decades, I want to make the most of it!  So many things to teach to her and so much love to give!

Motherhood Memories

Photo Credit: Karen Hendrix Photography

And, as if the universe heard my concerns and longing to be a great mama/teacher/friend, I happened to run across a little treasure along the aisles of our local Hallmark store: a recordable version of my most favorite book: Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You.  I’ve mentioned this beautiful story before HERE– I just adore it.  And, now, my sweet baby girl has a version to listen to in my voice.  Knowing Olivia could her me reading and feel all the love from this book’s message made leaving just a little more bearable.

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Thoughts on Motherhood

Motherhood-Thoughts

Photo Credit: Karen Hendrix

While we were in Washington DC, my sister-in-law shared some words of wisdom from her mother.  I’m going to remember these words:

“The troubles are little when they’re little.”

Such a simple little statement packed with a powerful punch.  Now, neither she or I are trying to downplay some of the very critical issues that newborns might face.  James and I are all too familiar with the endless amounts of worry that can accompany any NICU stay.  (Read a Preemie Primer HERE.)

That said…

As a new parent, I’ve noticed my tendency to OVERTHINK just about everything.  Each decision related to her care feels monumental and I am constantly asking myself, “should we have done such and such instead.”  Are we using the right diapers?  Is she getting enough tummy time?  What developmental toys will help her brain grow?  Is that toy made of organic and nontoxic fibers?  And so on…

I love the statement above because it is a gentle reminder to just stop, breathe, and be present.  As long as they are healthy and feel loved, everything else really doesn’t really matter (or matter as much as we think it might sometimes).

What a perspective changer.

(Definitely going to be thinking of this the next time Olivia is up at 3 am!)

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Inspirational Words for Mamas with Preemies

For the second time in less than 2 months, a status on my Facebook wall has popped up about a friend (or a friend of a friend) delivering early… like really early.  26 or 28 weeks early.

When these updates appear, I actually have a physical reaction.  A rush comes over me- knowing what we know about the challenges of Olivia’s early start, I have a small (albeit, very small) window of understanding into their situation.

I think about how small Olivia was when she was in the Special Care incubator struggling to breathe.  We were so blindsided by all the challenges associated with prematurity and slapped in the face with a potentially devastating newborn screening complication.  Then, I think about these tiny babies, who are just starting out on a long journey.  I just want to hug their mamas tight.  Thinking back on our experience, these words really inspired and comforted me.

The flow of these words reminds me of the famous “Everybody’s Free to Wear SUNSCREEN.”  Someone should make an inspiring video of wise advice for mamas of preemies.  In addition to what’s on this graphic, I would add a couple of other nuggets:

  • Some days, you are going to feel like a complete and utter failure.  Even in the worst moments, have confidence that you are doing the absolute best you can for your baby.
  • This will be HARD on your marriage.  If you pull together, it will bring you closer than you could ever have imagined.  Pull together.
  • No one can truly understand the heartache and uncertainty of this journey unless they themselves have traveled the path.  The things that can fly out of people’s mouths in an effort to “comfort” you can be utterly devastating!  Forgive them.  They can’t and don’t understand.
  • Prayer is SO POWERFUL.
  • It’s ok to feel like “this is not what I signed up for.”
  • Grieve your losses- especially, the loss of not being pregnant and the loss of the normal newborn experience.
  • Lean on your closest family and friends.  Accept their help, love, and prayers.

If these words strike a chord, here’s a PDF version: Preemie Inspiration Words

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