Baby, Hospital Photos, Baby photos

What Is It Like To Be A Mom?

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I get this question more often than you would think. My answer is usually this: I don’t feel like a mom. I just feel like someone handed me a baby and said, “Make it stop crying.”

     Homegirl is both a bundle of joy and a ball of tears. I feel like every day is a constant guessing game of trying to figure out what she needs. Everyone always says babies are helpless. Everyone is wrong. Parents are helpless. We have no idea what we are doing.

     While I was pregnant I had a Netflix marathon and binged on the tv series House MD. One quote about parenthood stuck out to me: “When I see people with their kids, it's so natural. It's like they have an instruction book imprinted on their genes. Maybe I just didn't get a copy.” This resonated with me more than I can say.

     But the most comforting piece of advice I’ve received about being a new mom was from a great friend with two amazing children. “You have known your baby longer than anyone else. So you are the expert.” While I still don’t feel adequate enough to care for a babychild, she has a point.

     No one knows this baby better than I do. Heck, I carried her for nine months, endured hours of painful labor, and have been by her side all her (short) life. So I guess I am the expert.

     But unlike most moms I’ve come in contact with, my life didn’t stop when I had a baby. In fact, it picked up speed and is now on the verge of a crash landing. Along with being a mom, I am a full-time student, wife, intern, writer, runner, social media manager, and podcast editor. While I’m drowning in responsibilities and deadlines, I couldn’t be happier.

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     Before Babygirl came into play, I was floating in a sea of unrealized dreams and sunken potential. When I started college I was like the Titanic: lots of expectations but I hit an iceberg along the way. Lost in my own unsure sense of self, Scarlett was the lifeboat that pulled me out of the water.

     When I found out that we were having a girl, I wanted more than anything to raise a confident, competent, don’t-need-no-man sophisticated lady. As my pregnancy progressed, I thought more and more about how I could raise her this way. But I realized, I couldn’t expect her to be anything more than I was. So. I changed my life drastically.

     No more waiting around for dreams to manifest themselves. No more excuses for myself. Homegirl was counting on someone to pave the path for her. And I’ll be damned if it’s not lined with diamonds and my own sweat and tears.

     If I want to tell her she can be anything she wants then I need to show her she can. If I want her to develop and use her talents to benefit herself and those around her you better believe I'll be doing the same.

     So this isn’t easy: my life is go go go around the clock and my house is a mess and I’m still trying to lose the baby weight but I'm happy. I have a sense of who I am and where I am going. What is it like to be a mom? It means being the best person you can be for your babygirl.

If you want to keep up with all the baby cuteness of Scarlett, follow her on Instagram!

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In your experience, what does it mean to be a mom? How has becoming a parent changed your life? I'd love to hear your experiences in the comments below!

Read our story of announcing our pregnancy.

Read my story of how I met my husband.

 

Here's a video about the day Scarlett was born. It's probably the cutest thing you'll see all day.

 

Loving Your Bump: Overcoming A Negative Body Image While Pregnant

While creating life is a beautiful and amazing thing, the combination of weight gain and hormones can really make it hard to have a positive outlook on your body. I don’t know about you, but gaining a belly and having everyone point it out to me really took a tole on my confidence. Here are a few things that helped me battle my loss of self-esteem and let me love my body, even though it was constantly changing.

 

Eating Healthy
I fall back on this policy time and time again, but it’s so true. When you eat well you feel well. And it’s hard to be down on yourself when you feel well. As a pregnant person it’s easy to look at a tray of cupcakes and say, “Well! I’m eating for two.” But the truth is your baby child only requires that you eat an extra 300 calories a day (and that’s to get in the crazy amount of nutrients that you need). I won’t say that I’m perfect at this, but when I’m eating right I feel so much better and it’s harder for me to have negative thoughts about my body.

Dress and Appearance
Gosh, this was so tough for me. It’s amazing how fast your self-esteem drops in the fifteen minutes it takes to dig through your closet to find something to wear. Once I reached 24 weeks it seemed that an outfit would work for a few days and then I was too big for it. I fought this for a long time because maternity clothes are so expensive and it’s both frustrating and disheartening to have to purchase new and bigger clothes so often. But I realized that the way I dressed played a lot into my self-esteem. So I eventually broke down and gave into the demands of my body for bigger clothes. Doing so helped me to feel more confident about the way I looked and helped me to stay positive about my body image.

Exercising
Ugh, this one is so much harder than you want it to be, especially when your stomach is the size of a soccer ball. But trust me when I tell you it’s worth it. When you’re creating a baby your body is doing an amazing thing, but it can be hard to see the immediate results of that (because the baby is still not here and you just feel chubby). Exercising allows you to gain an appreciation for what your body can do in more immediate terms. Like running a mile. That’s so amazing that your pregnant body can do that! Or lifting weights or swimming or yoga. Exercising really helps boost your self-esteem and appreciation for your body. It allows you to focus on what your body can do rather than the way it looks.

Sleep
Apparently creating life is a very exhausting thing to do. Pregnancy really drains you of your energy and it can be frustrating that your body can’t do everything you want it to. I suggest power naps and getting to bed at a decent time. Now, I say power naps because it’s very tempting to sleep for four hours in the middle of the day. But take a quick snoozer to give yourself a little boost and then get back to business.

 

Overcoming insecurities and a negative body image is a daily thing for me. I constantly worry that people are judging me as harshly as I’m judging myself. Over the past few months I have struggled talking about my new body insecurities. The usual responses I get are “Well you’re pregnant, you’re allowed to be fat” or “You’re creating life, you shouldn’t feel insecure about your body.”

Unfortunately, insecurities about my weight and my body littered my preteen and teenage years. Once in college I had finally reached a point where body positivity had come to fruition and I rarely thought about them. But then I got pregnant. Mastering these things in college- eating healthy, dressing well, exercising, and sleeping – helped me overcome my negative body image in the first place. Now that I am pregnant I’ve realized that I need to put in more of an effort to execute them.

If you are battling body negativity I hope these tips provide some help. I want you to know that you’re not alone when dealing with these feelings. I should also note that I couldn’t have made it this far without my husband. He’s great at being supportive and reminding me that I am pregnant, not fat. Another thing that also helps me feel better is the fact that a little bundle of joy is coming soon. It doesn’t change the fact that I’m uncomfortable with my new body, but it does make gloomy days brighter.

 

How have you overcome the challenges that come with being pregnant? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comment section below!

 

Read our story of announcing our pregnancy.

Read my story of how I met my husband.

Bump, Bump fashion, Maternity, Maternity Fashion, Maternity photo, baby shoes, pregnant, pregnancy
Here are some photos from my maternity photo shoot <3
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Our little girl is due August 2016!
Bump, bump fashion, maternity fashion, pregnancy, pregnant, mom to be
Lovin’ this bump.
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We just love her so much already
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Here’s a close up of the bump
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This necklace is from my sister. It even says ‘Mom’ in it!

 

The Announcement

I hadn’t been feeling well for the last few weeks and Alexis had noticed. He kept urging me to take a pregnancy test. I was planning on taking one eventually, but his family had been staying with us and if I was pregnant, I wanted time to process everything before we told anyone else. So I kept putting it off and changing the subject.

It was a new semester and the add/drop deadline had passed (up until this deadline you could change your school schedule and classes around). I had just been accepted into my highly competitive major and was finally able to start taking the required courses. The morning after the add/drop deadline had passed I threw up. I never throw up. My body simply doesn’t do it. I tried to play it off but Alexis wouldn’t talk to me until I took a pregnancy test. So I reluctantly and nervously agreed to take a test that night.

As retaliation for the silent treatment, I made Alexis read the results of the pregnancy test. I was too nervous. The test came back a definite yes and Alexis and I were speechless. The rest of the night was a combination of talking, crying, and laughing. We both felt inadequate to be parents and were terrified of messing up. We splurged at the store and bought a ton of candy to snack on while we watched Life As We Know It before falling asleep.

We kept our pregnancy a secret for a long time. I was in denial and Alexis wanted to make sure the risk of miscarriage was as low as possible before we shared our news. We told our family when we were about three months along. Our friends with due dates after ours were announcing their pregnancies before we did. Our moms began to get anxious to share the news of them being grandparents, so we decided it was probably time to make it public knowledge. We were about five months pregnant when we made a video announcing the upcoming baby. It was Easter Sunday when we told everyone.

Now I’m 28 weeks along and the baby is kickin’. She’s anxious to grow up, I can tell. She uses my bladder as a waterbed and is constantly playing drums on my ribs. She is due August 22 (the day before our wedding anniversary) and time is moving fast. We still don’t feel ready to be parents but we’re going to be parents either way. Cheers to the changes ahead.

 

How did you announce you were pregnant? I’d love to hear your announcement story in the comment section below!

 

Read about how I learned to love my changing pregnancy body.

Read my engagement story. It’s sure to make you giggle.

Watch our pregnancy announcement video
Watch our pregnancy announcement video

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