Sadie Lynn Frantz

They say every pregnancy is different, every birth is different, and every baby is different. After giving birth to James and then, two years later, to Sadie, I can say that is absolutely, positively true.

On Friday, April 28th, I started having painful, low belly pain around 10pm. Sadie’s due date was the 30th, and if I’m being honest, I’d been anticipating labor for weeks (since James came on his own two weeks early). His labor, in total, was 13 hours, so I expected Sadie’s to be even faster and even earlier (at 37 weeks, I was ready to GO!).

I timed that first contraction with my nifty app and waited. I had another an hour later, and then another an hour after. I decided to try and sleep, since I just knew she’d be with us by morning, and wanted to be well rested.

I contracted all night, once every hour or hour and a half. I got up on the 29th around seven and my contractions sped up to every half hour. This was it. I just knew it. I called my midwife, Jamie, and she told me to come on in (it was a 45 minute drive). So Vince and I packed up James and headed to the hospital to have our baby.

Well, the contractions slowed, and by the time we got there they were less painful and again over an hour apart. They monitored me for a while, and after we learned I hadn’t dilated any since my last prenatal check at 39 weeks, they sent me home. I was so discouraged.

So I headed home, crying (because PREGNANT), and took a nap. The whole time, Vince built me up. Already I’d been in labor (albeit early labor) longer than I’d been in labor in total with James, but he kept reminding me it was all OK. She was fine. I was fine. Everything was OK.

So, tired after being up and down all night with contractions, I napped. After a talk with my friend, Victoria, I did a miles circuit to try and get Sadie in a better position and try to speed up this labor that seemed to be stuck at an hour in between contractions. Contractions didn’t speed up, but man, did they intensify. And they were lasting over two minutes. So I called mom and she drove up, just in case, so someone would be with James in case we had to leave.

After laboring on my side for a while, resting and cuddling James between contractions, momma arrived. She sat with me, witnessed one very hard, very long contraction, and very firmly suggested we call Jamie again. I was hesitant, because they were still 45-60 minutes apart, but I decided to listen to my mommy (for once). Jamie told us to come in, and after Vince put James to bed (and I bawled that I couldn’t do it, and because PREGNANT) we hugged mom goodbye and headed back to Stanford (around 9:30 PM).

We arrived, I got hooked up to check my vitals and Sadie’s, and they checked me again. Still at 1.5 cm. I felt crestfallen. No progress, and each contraction hurt worse and worse. But the nurses at Fort Logan (Chelsea and Alisha) were so great and patient and kind. I labored, with Vince there to hold my hand and whisper encouragement, for a while longer. And when they checked me again near midnight, I had finally progressed to 2-3 cm, and they fully admitted me! If I hadn’t progressed much more by morning, they would start a pitocin drip and we’d explore some other options, but I was told to rest between contractions until then. I got up and walked around some, filled out some paperwork, and rested as well as I could. The nurse said, “We could still have a baby tonight, though!” but I don’t think she believed it. She was just encouraging me, and it made a huge difference.

And it’s midnight. It’s Sadie’s due date. Sweet, stubborn girl that she is, made it to her due date. At 12:13, my contractions grew closer together. Each one after that was a little stronger, a little closer to the last, a little harder to get through. It was like she’d been waiting for her due date. Vince, who was my rock during James’s birth, was my rock again as labor intensified and grew more difficult. (I could not have done it, either time, without him.)

At 4:15 or so, they checked me again. I was almost to 5 cm! Finally! Active labor is usually considered to have started between 4 and 6 cm, so I thought, we’re halfway there! We’re finally in active labor! I was sure, by noon at least, she would be born.

The nurses asked if I wanted to get in the tub (the biggest, nicest, most awesome tub EVER) to work on some pain management and I said I did. I slowly got up, and with Vince’s help in between contractions (which were between 3 and 5 minutes apart) made my way to use the bathroom (where my water broke and I didn’t realize it ’til we talked about it later) and then get in the luxuriously warm, whirlpool tub.

The warm water helped with the pain, and after a couple of contractions, I had a lovely break. Even though I was afraid I’d stalled my labor with that luxuriously long 9 minute break around 4:40, I was so grateful for the cessation. I fell fully asleep, floating in the water, with Vince holding tightly to my hand.

And then, another contraction. It was so much more than all the others. And then another. And another. And another. They were a minute apart (according to my contraction timer than Vince faithfully kept track of) and with the sudden intense, increase in pressure, I knew, somehow, even though they’d just checked me and told me I was barely at 5 cm, I was in transition. With James I sounded like a cow as I labored (low, rumbly sounds). With Sadie, I sounded like a wounded jungle cat, fighting for her life. Or perhaps a dragon. (Ooh, I like that! Yes, a dragon.)

I told (ok, yelled) that Vince go get the nurse. I got out of the tub with Vince’s help and contracted maybe four more times between the tub and the bed (about 15 feet). I laid down, and I was wild. They offered me nitrous, which I took, and then Jamie arrived. (They’d called her when I got in the tub around 4:20-4:30 and it as now 4:55 or so.) I was so relieved, and panicking at the same time. I told her (ok, yelled at her) that I needed to push. My nurses already had all the things ready for delivery, and Jamie, as she was suiting up, leaned her head down, glanced you know where, and said, “Well, go ahead!”

With James, pushing was this immense relief. The pain vanished and all I had to think about was pushing. This time was different. It was harder. It hurt. And after being in some kind of labor for 30 hours, I was exhausted. I told Vince I couldn’t do it. He reassured me that I could. I told Jamie I couldn’t, and she did the same. The nurses were telling me I was doing great, even though I felt unhinged. I felt like I’d lost it. I was a mess. I was vocalizing (my dragon roar) into the nitrous mask, and pushing when I contracted. Jamie told me to reach down and feel Sadie’s head, and I did, and it was amazing. But I had to keep pushing. It felt like hours. And then it suddenly felt like too much, and I gave up. I just roared my dragon roar, I didn’t push, and my encouraging, soft-spoken midwife had to get firm with me. “Lindsey, stop making noise and start pushing!”

So I did. She told me to do a sit up, so I did. I pushed. Vince was holding my hand, helping the nurse hold my leg, and talking to me in his calm, lovely way, encouraging me along.

And suddenly, the pain ceased, and I heard a beautiful, hearty cry. Sadie was here.

They laid her on me, squalling so strongly, and amidst my intense relief, I cried. For Sadie. For myself. For all the reasons and no reason at all. At 5:16 AM (pushing felt like hours, but it was really only around 10 minutes) Sadie Lynn was born, weighing 8 pounds and 5 ounces (20 ounces more than her older brother had) and measuring 20 inches long (1.25 inches shorter than James). My incredible midwife, Jamie, and my awesome nurses, Alisha and Chelsea, took care of both of us while I lay there, holding my baby, my husband by my side. He cut the cord. I made them show me the placenta. We laughed. It was over.

If you ask a text book, I was in active labor for about an hour. One single hour. If you ask me, I labored for 31 hours. Either way, on her due date, Sadie Lynn came screaming into the world, and now, one week later, I can’t imagine my life, or my family, without her.

Celebrate Your Differences

This past Monday (April 10th), I took James in for a speech evaluation. Now, those of you who know me know that I’ve been worried about his speech and language for a while. So this was a big step (and one I was so glad to be taking)!

At his appointment I learned a few things. There are two kinds of kids who need/receive speech therapy: “language kids” who have trouble understanding or communicating and “speech kids” who understand and communicate well, but have trouble making sounds/words. After our speech therapist (we went to Rockcastle Regional Hospital’s speech department and our therapist was AMAZING) played and interacted with James for about an hour, talked to me, and just observed him (she gave him cars to play with, so there was a lot to observe) she told me that while his language was great (advanced, even! Cue this mama’s big head), his speech was, in fact, delayed.

What was my reaction to this? I wasn’t upset. I wasn’t mad. I wasn’t despondent. I just thought, “FINALLY! Finally we’re doing something to help my bright, energetic, intelligent boy form sounds!”

Initially, I didn’t feel compelled to write a blog about this. But then I happened upon a video of the new Sesame Street character, Julia, who has autism. It was amazing to see. And then I read the comments on the video, and I was absolutely horrified. (A lot of the comments were positive and wonderful, but it was the bad ones that really got me going.) People were saying horrible things about the character, about people with autism, and just horrible things in general, and it got me thinking. Why are people reacting so strongly and so negatively to this? It’s a lovely video showcasing a character with autism, showing that she does things a little differently than some of her friends–“She does things just a little differently, in a Julia sort of way”–and showing that that’s just fine.

It’s not secret that people are uncomfortable with other people who are different than them. Whether it’s the other person’s way of interacting with and understanding the world, their gender identity, their skin color, their sexuality, their race, their religion, their abilities, their language, their physicality, their weight, or any other number of things, many people are uncomfortable with people who are different. When I gained weight after James was born, I noticed some people were uncomfortable talking with me and made an extended effort to give me compliments (that it was obvious they didn’t mean) because they were so uncomfortable that I was (relatively) comfortable not being as thin as I was. It didn’t have any relevance to their lives, but my difference made them uncomfortable.

So, is that why people reacted so strongly to that video? And this got me thinking, how are people going to react to my son (who is two and has a much smaller and less clear vocabulary than most other two year olds) when they hear him talk? He’s big, like a three year old. He’s smart, he follows directions (as well as a two-year-old can be expected to), he’s funny, he’s wonderful, but when people hear him talk, they say, “Oh, how old IS he?”

So that’s why I wanted to write this. My son is two, and doesn’t know that sometimes people look at him with pity or curiosity when he doesn’t talk like a a two-year-old “should.” But there are other children, adults, human beings, who also are different, who do realize when these things happen–who realize when people treat them differently, or as if they are somehow less. And it’s this that I feel like we need to be aware of and to fight against these reactions.

In reality, we’re all different. We all have something (or things) that make us stand out, make us unique, make us special, make us who we are. My son is smart. My son is funny. My son is who he is, 100%, and I’m grateful for all of it. I’m grateful for his rate of development, for his individuality, for his energy, his empathy, his fiery temperament. And my hope is that this blog will speak to just one person, and make them think about this if they haven’t before. Julia the muppet does things in a Julia sort of way, while Lindsey the mom and and wife and writer and blogger and human does things in a Lindsey sort of way.

Differences are just that–differences. They don’t make us less. They aren’t bad. And I think the sooner we start to see that, start to engage with that idea and with each other in a more open minded, open hearted way, the happier we will all be.

*If you want to see some really beautiful, wonderful videos, check out this YouTube channel: Special Books by Special Kids. This teacher knows how to celebrate children’s differences!

And, because my blog wouldn’t be my blog with some pictures, here are some pictures of my fiery, sweet, smart, wild little man.

Soon I’ll Be a Mother of Two…

As I’m sitting in my office on campus today, I suddenly and overwhelmingly became sad. Like, tears in the corners of my eyes, fast, jittery heart rate sad. Why? Because out of the blue it occurred to me that these are going to be the last few weeks I’ll have in which James is my only baby. Before I can even blink, I’ll be a mother of two.

It was like being hit with a baseball bat. In that random moment it became real. James wouldn’t be my baby anymore. He would be my big boy (who I love more than anything in this world) and I would have to learn to love this new sweet baby with equal fervor without sacrificing anything from him.

It broke my heart.

Guys, James is my baby. My baby.

And yet, at the same time, I’m getting really excited (and nervous and scared) to meet our daughter. It’s this weird paradox where I’m equally heartbroken and joyful about this transition. We are going to have a daughter! Which is incredible! And at the same time, we aren’t going to only have a son anymore, which is making me really weepy.

What is this? Why are these feelings only hitting me now? I’m not a typical pregnant woman. I don’t really nest all that much (unless writing counts as nesting, in which case, I nest a LOT). I don’t particularly enjoy most of being pregnant (except baby kicks and hearing baby heartbeats and things like that). But I am hyper emotional when I’m pregnant (just ask Vince), so why is this only now making my heart ache and wobble?

I think it was the realization that if Firefly (who has a tentative name, but we’re not publicly sharing yet, since James’s name wasn’t officially decided on until he was two days old) came on the same timeline as James, I would have less than a month left with just him. And that feels like no time at all. I also think it’s because she feels so big already, and I’m already finding reasons why having a second baby might impede what I can do with my first baby. I can’t get in the floor and play with him much right now, because of joint, ligament, and back pain. I can’t cuddle him the way I want, because of my gargantuan belly (though he does enjoy sitting in my baddha konasana leg nest). I can’t even let him sleep next to me (which he never really wanted to do until the last few weeks), because without 1,000,000 pillows all around me, my back and hips and shoulders and ribs feel like they’re being pulled apart for the entire next day.

I don’t want to let my baby down by not being only his mommy anymore. I don’t want to lose this special bond I have with him. He is my most favorite person in the whole world. Typing this now, I’m fighting tears, because I don’t even have the words for how special and wonderful and perfect he is, for how his smile makes my heart feel. I feel like I’m betraying him.

And yet, I loved having a brother. I keep reminding myself that I can’t imagine life without my brother, Joey. And that the age difference between James and Firefly won’t be that much bigger than the one between Joey and me. Sure, we fought a lot when we were little, but now he’s one of my best friends, one of my most favorite human beings. I hope that James and his sister will (hopefully) grow into friends who are always there for each other, no matter what.

Guys. So many emotions. Too many emotions. Here’s hoping I can calm myself down a little before Firefly arrives and I have to learn to mother two sweet, perfect babies instead of one.

Photos taken by Shutter and Bloom Photography / Jessica Conley.

Jamesy is Turning Two

At this time two years ago, I was laboring in the car while Vince diligently did his Sunday duty and cleaned the school where I’d just put in my last day two days before. We went home shortly after, I got in the bath (which, incidentally, sped my labor up), and Vince packed my hospital bag. Four and a half hours later, after roughly thirteen hours of labor, a panicked ride to an unplanned hospital, and so much support from Vince and mom, James, my sweet, perfect, strong boy, was born.

He’s two, guys. HE’S TWO. How did that happen? Shouldn’t I still be holding him in my arms, swaddled, pressed up against me all the time? Shouldn’t I still be willingly attached to my breast pump and holding him high on my chest every two hours? Shouldn’t he still need me every second of the day?

James. Is. Two.

I’m sure every mom feels this way, but I’m so incredibly proud of the little boy he’s becoming. Some people often refer to him as wild, or get a look in their eye that says, “Boy, that kid’s a handful,” but I love every single second of his energy, his exploratory nature, his energetic and joyful spirit. I love that he’s stubborn, that he’s independent, that he wants to explore the world around him and see what it will do. He may seem wild and rough, but let me assure you, he’s absolutely perfect.

It’s weird knowing that somehow I’ve managed to keep a child alive, a whole human, for two years. It’s weird, and empowering, and still a little terrifying. I titled James’s first birthday blog “My Joyfully Full, Utterly Broken Heart,” and that blog title rings true for this one as well. As I put my son to bed tonight, my heart felt joyfully, completely full, but it also felt utterly, completely broken. Why? Because as much as I love every new day with him, every new word, every new skill, every laugh, I mourn the loss of the baby that he’s growing away from. I understand a little more each day why my mom still calls my brother and me her babies. James, whether he’s two or twenty or a hundred, will always, always, be my baby.

At two-years-old, James loves to dance, he loves to run, he loves to laugh. He’s hard headed (where does he get that, I wonder? Definitely not me…), independent, and so incredibly smart. He has energy for days and loves to “help” however he can. He loves his dada, and he loves his mama. In general, he just loves.

I look forward to the next year, watching him mature from two to three, but already I’m mourning the loss of one–the loss of the year that held his first steps, so many first words, so many firsts in general.

To my son, my sweet angel, my lively, lovely little boy, Happy Birthday. I love you with my whole entire heart, and will love you more each and every day from now until forever.

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Baby Firefly is a Girl! (And other thoughts)

My second pregnancy sure has been different than the first. I was anxious and worried for every step of the way when I was pregnant with James. Every single step. I constantly wanted to get to the next step. When will I show? When will we know the gender? When will he kick? When will he be here? But this time around, things are moving much slower and much faster at the same time.

We found out we were expecting a baby girl when I was 21 weeks along (I’m now 24 weeks). You can find out as early as sixteen weeks (I think we found out at week 17 or 18 with James), but I wasn’t anxious to know this time. More than likely, this is my last pregnancy. Two kids seems like the perfect number for our family. (Disclaimer: If a third baby comes along, we will be overjoyed! But as of now, we’re not planning on it.) And because this is most likely our last pregnancy, I’m in no hurry to hit milestones, because the anticipation can be so lovely and magical on it’s own. We went in for the ultrasound hoping for a healthy baby Firefly, and left with the unbelievable news that not only was baby Firefly healthy and whole and looking great, but also a girl!

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Needless to say, I was over the moon excited about this news! I always said I’d like a boy and a girl (though two boys would have been just as great). But unlike when I found out James was a boy (which I was also over the moon excited about), I waited a day to announce this news. It wasn’t that I was less excited or anything, it was just that I wasn’t so anxious. I could let myself experience the knowledge and bask in it without sharing it right away, which is new for me.

As I’ve said many times, my first pregnancy was an anxious one. Is he OK? What was that feeling? Am I eating too much? Too little? Will he be healthy? Am I healthy? Should I do this? Do that? Do anything? But this pregnancy has been much calmer. Chasing James helps, knowing (sort of) what to expect helps, and knowing that this is probably our last pregnancy helps, because I want to savor everything instead of rushing to the next thing.

Even though it’s been calmer, this pregnancy has also been harder than my first in a lot of ways–more severe nausea, lots of gastrointestinal issues, sciatic pain that won’t quit–and then all of December I was sick–first a cough that became bronchitis, which caused  a torn intercostal muscle, then a sever sinus infection (which meant two rounds of antibiotics back to back, which I hate because they make me so very sick on their own), then a migraine-strength headache that lasted about a week, which was finally followed by a stomach virus (and that cough never went away and still hasn’t that still irritates the torn, slowly healing muscle). I’m heavier than I was with James (because I started out heavier than I was when I got pregnant with James), which has caused me no end of mental anguish. And I feel guilt this time around–guilt that my sweet, perfect, wild son will somehow feel less than once we bring a second baby home.

But this pregnancy has, in other ways, been much easier. I’m not worried all the time. The idea of a natural labor doesn’t terrify me like it did with James (I planned, and had, a medication-free labor with James, but I was absolutely and completely terrified of what it would be like). The fear of bringing home a whole human to care for isn’t scary at all this time around. (I’m proud to say we’ve successfully kept James alive for nearly two years! We deserve a medal or a trophy or a cake or something.) As a couple, Vince and I have both just settled into this pregnancy more calmly and it’s been really nice. Plus, I remember how awesome having a sibling was, and I know that in the long run, we’re giving him a playmate and friend for life, which is such a great feeling.

Part of me misses the excitement, the fear of the unknown, all the firsts we experienced with James, and part of me is enjoying just being along for Firefly’s ride. When I hear her heartbeat, I tear up (every time). When we see her in ultrasounds, and when we found out her gender, I thought my heart would explode with joy. But it’s nice to just experience it this time. It’s nice to look at James and see what two years of love can help grow and know that we have that to look forward to with our sweet Firefly girl.

James will be two in February, and I know that means that before I know it, Firefly will be here. And then she’ll be one and he’ll be three. And then they’ll be in elementary school. And high school. And college. And have their own lives. And in that way, things are moving too fast. James should still be swaddled, not walking and talking and playing and laughing and making his own little jokes and games up as he lives his life. Firefly should still be a tiny pea-sized idea, not a baby big enough to kick me and startle me and make her powerful presence known. Time is moving too quickly. So I’m trying to enjoy the moments, the breaths, the times when James wants to sit in my lap quietly and drink his milk while he watches morning cartoons and the times when baby girl is doing flips all around while I watch James chase Vince around the house and laugh as his daddy plays in the ways only daddy can. I’m trying to freeze these moments so that one day when I’m comforting James after his first break up, or moving Firefly into her first dorm, or helping both of them figure out how to have independent lives, I can remember these snapshots in time and re-experience them no matter how much time has passed.

As I sit and type this, Vince and James are in the other room laughing like wild men and Firefly is gently kicking toward my belly button, and all I can this is how wonderful this time is, how difficult this time can be, and how fortunate I am to experience every single second of it.

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On Being an Individual and Being a Mom

Something has been pressing on me for a while, and I’ve gone back and forth on whether I wanted to write about it. But today, I decided I had to for my own sake. It’s been weighing on me for a few days, so the words have to come out. It all stems from multiple things, the most recent being a photo I posted on a few social media sites of myself three years ago with a caption relating my desire to feel that strong again, and from a photo I posted when I was pregnant with James with a similar sentiment–the desire to take control of my body back and feel good in it again.

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Why is that once you’re pregnant or have had a child, any comment about wanting to get stronger, lose weight, or gain your confidence back, is met with something like, “You’ve had a baby! Be proud of who you are now!” or “Your new body was earned! Battle scars!” or even, “Yeah right. Once you have a baby, it’s all over.” I’m not saying those comments are wrong, (well, some of them are…) but why can’t we say, “Your body has done a lot–carrying a human inside it and then outside! You should be proud, but if you need to do work to gain back your old confidence, your old strength, and you’re willing to do that work, good for you!” 

When a mom loses her baby weight and gets strong again, we don’t say, “Shame on you. How dare you try and change the body your baby helped create!” No, we say, “Yes! Good for you. Way to go!” But when those of us who struggle (and boy, do I struggle–with weight gain and self confidence and feeling good) say  we want to achieve those same goals, it’s like we’re doing something terrible, something shameful. “How could you want that? Aren’t you happy you have your baby?” Why are those things even in the same thought?

I remember when I was pregnant with James, I posted a picture of myself (see the second picture at the top). I had been working  hard for months to drop so extra weight and gain some muscle. I felt strong and beautiful in that picture and I wanted to feel that way again, independent of my son and my pregnancy after he was born.  (I felt beautiful during that pregnancy, too, but pregnancy only lasts 10 months.) On that photo, I got some of the most hurtful, if well intentioned, comments ever. People told me my child should come first. That it was laughable that I ever thought I’d have time for myself or my own body again. That it was all over and to give up now. They told me looks weren’t everything and I needed to focus on the baby. They told me I should be proud of stretch marks and extra weight and saggy skin. They questioned why I wanted that, why I was thinking about it, and then explained what was wrong about my desires and mindset in a not-so-kind way. I felt such guilt after posting that. How could I want this? What is wrong with me to want this? 

But feeling this way is normal. It is. And you know what? Stretch marks don’t bother me. Saggy skin? Who cares. But when I feel weak, when I feel tired, when I feel like a stranger in my skin? That bothers me. Being too heavy to chase my kid without tiring? That bothers me. When I posted that picture, I was trying to say, “I want to someday feel strong like this again.” It’s been just under two years since I posted that and the comments still hurt my heart, even the well-intentioned ones. (PS. There were a few that said, “I know you how feel” or “You’ll get there” and those were more appreciated than the writers could ever know.)

So now I’m pregnant again. 14 weeks along. And this pregnancy has been HARD. Lots of nausea. Vomiting. Dizziness. Fatigue. Back pain. Leg pain. Hip pain. Bloating. GI issues. And I’m only 14 weeks in. So what do I do? I complain some. I let off some steam, and just like with my desire to someday have a strong, agile body again, I hear things like: “But it’s so worth it!” Of course it is, but that shouldn’t minimize or negate how I feel now.

It’s like once you get pregnant, once you become a mom, your feelings as an individual not only become less important, they become almost taboo. And I’ve been guilty of saying these things to new moms. “The first trimester stinks, but it’s worth it in the end.” “Your body will change drastically, but once you hold your baby, it doesn’t even matter anymore.”

Well, ladies, let me go on the record and say a few things.

  1. If you’re feeling bad about your body–maybe you’re pregnant and uncomfortable with your new shape, maybe you’ve had a baby and don’t know how to function in your new, reshaped skin–that’s OK. You’re allowed to have feelings about your body that are separate from the feelings about your baby. Like me, you love your baby more than your life. And like me, you also want to feel good in your own skin. Those two things are not dependent on each other, no matter what people (myself included) may have said to you in the past.
  2. Saying that you miss your body, or your confidence, or your strength, does not mean you don’t love your child, or that you aren’t proud of what your body did/is doing to create a child. I’m SO PROUD of my body right now, because it’s growing my little firefly babe, and that is AWESOME. I also feel like I’ve betrayed my body, because over the last three-ish years I’ve stopped taking care of it, stopped taking care of myself, and because of that I don’t feel strong or confident or good. I gained a lot more weight than I should have, I lost a lot more muscle mass than I should have, and I lost myself along the way.
  3. Becoming a mom does not mean you have to lose who you are. You are going to change. You have changed. And that NEEDS to happen. But you don’t cease to exist. You don’t become a nonentity whose sole purpose is to change diapers and wipe runny noses. You are still you, just a new you. Maybe that means your new body, postpartum, is perfect for you. Maybe you feel amazing (I hope you do!). But maybe that means you want to change your body some, work on it, work on yourself and your confidence. Do what makes you feel good and confident and strong, not what everyone else says you should do to feel a certain way.
  4. Be a mom. Love your baby (or babies). Dedicate yourself and your life to caring for them. But leave time and energy for you. For who you are. For what you love. For who you want to be.

Three years ago, I was strong and confident and agile, but I didn’t have my son. Two years ago I was pregnant with James and less strong, but still strong, and so happy to be pregnant. One year ago I held James as he recovered, days out of cranial surgery. I was thankful for his health and that I was healthy enough to care for him. And today, I’m pregnant with my firefly baby, but I am not strong. I am not confident. And that has nothing to do with the baby I’m carrying, but everything to do with me, as a human, not as a mom or as a pregnant woman. Just me. 

Sometimes, as moms, it’s hard to differentiate between our mom-selves and our actual selves. So here’s me. 

I am a mother and wife, a daughter and sister.
I am a writer and a lover of books and pens and paper.
I am a yogini whose practice is anything but steady.
I love animals, love trees, love the clouds and the stars.
I worry a lot. I am anxious.
I feel things so deeply, so intensely, it’s painful sometimes, even the good emotions.
I want to feel physically strong and confident.
I am proud of what my body has done to birth one child and carry a second.
I am not comfortable in my own skin (but that doesn’t mean I regret having my babies).
I am a unique entity, not just a caregiver for others.

If you do read this blog, and do decide to comment, instead of telling me all the reasons why I should  feel good in my own skin, instead just tell me about YOU. What do you love? What are your goals? What’s your passion? What do you feel? What do you want to work on or grow in? Because as long as your desires, your goals, your wants are things that will grow you as a person, will enrich your life, they’re not bad or wrong or taboo. They’re part of who you are.

Thanks for reading, if you did. And I hope no one took offense. I also want to say, as a disclaimer, I am not saying in this blog that to be happy one must be thinner or stronger or anything like that. I’m saying I need to feel stronger to feel good. But you, as an individual, need to do whatever it takes to make you feel good, feel healthy, feel like yourselves. ❤

Following the Signs

I’m a big believer in signs. Anytime there’s a big coincidence in my life, I think it means something. Coincidences happen to me a lot, so I take note of them, become more aware of whatever I think they were telling me, meditate on them.

As anyone who reads this blog (or my Facebook updates, or my Instagram updates, or talks to me) knows, I struggle with insecurity, with self-love, with jealousy and everything that goes along with that. I’ve always written about it (for Y E A R S I’ve written about it) and I always end my blogs with all the reasons why those feelings don’t have to control my life, don’t have to be part of who I am. And while I’m writing those blogs, I feel that way. I believe my own words.

“I should love myself because I have worth.”
“My weight doesn’t define me.”
“I control what I give credence to in my life, no one else.”

I leave that blog feeling empowered and strong, but slowly that ebbs away until I’m back where I started.

“I’m too fat to be loved or to be pretty.”
“I don’t have any worth because _______.”
“I have to change myself/fix myself RIGHT NOW.”

In the last few weeks, the following things have happened.

  1. A woman that I look up to more than she can even begin to realize pulled me aside and told me to stop posting negative things about myself online, because not only are the untrue, but by saying them on social media, I’m putting them out into the universe where they don’t belong. She encouraged and built me up without going easy on me. She pushed me to really think about the things I’ve thought about my whole life, but to think past where I’d always stopped before.
  2. A good friend of mine asked me the question, “How much do you weigh?” I told her. She said, “Does that number define who Lindsey is?” No. It doesn’t. “Then it doesn’t matter.” She proceeded to be all sweet and wonderful afterward, too, which is her general state of being–sweet and wonderful.
  3. Another good friend of mine sent me a link to a blog that talked about loving yourself like your life depended on it. This friend also is currently struggling with loving herself. I see her, I see how beautiful she is, what a great mom she is, and it’s like looking in a mirror as I see her struggle through all these untruths about her worth and abilities. I want to make her see the truths that I see about her–she’s beautiful, strong, capable, and loved.
  4. I went out on the lake with my family and friends (who are all basically family, too). I got in a swimsuit in front of people and never once wondered if they were judging me or what they thought. I was surrounded by love and joy and it didn’t even occur to me that I didn’t have a negative self-thought until after it was over. Another person on the boat was feeling insecure, and one of my best friends said, “We’re all friends here, and no one cares what anyone else looks like. Let’s just swim and have fun!” It opened my eyes and filled my heart up that such a simple idea could hold so much power and truth.
  5. I text my best friend a lot. A LOT. I tell her how I’m feeling. I tell her my struggles and my insecurities. And she always answers me with kindness, but with truth. “We aren’t going to look like we did before our babies, and that’s fine.” She speaks the truth of our strength, our beauty, and our ferocity into my life (and she hunts for Pokemon with me).
  6. While literally hanging on my husband in the kitchen, crying because I was so upset over the way I looked, he said, “Look at James. See how he looks at you? Do you think he’s ever had any thought about you except how much he loves you? That’s how I love you. That’s how anyone who matters loves you.” He’s said these kinds of things to me for years, even before James, but I haven’t been able to hear them, and I’m hoping now, I can.

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I have lived in a self deprecating pit my entire life. I dug the pit, I moved all my furniture in, I climbed down, and I burned the ladder that would be the only way out. But thanks to the people in my life who love me, who I love so dearly, I’m building a new ladder and I’m climbing out. And it’s not because I started a new diet, or  because I’ve redefined who I am as a person, or because I’ve changed something huge and radical in my life. It’s because of the people in my life who have flooded me with truth and with love (sometimes tough love, sometimes not). It’s because of all these ‘coincidences’ happening at once and pointing in giant, flashing, neon arrows toward the truth that I want my life to be centered around.

So yeah, I believe in signs. And when there are this many signs pointing to the same thing, the same destination, I make it my business to follow them.