Never apologize for burning too brightly or collapsing into yourself every night;
that is how galaxies are made.”
I’m one of you. I too felt that I lost my identity – myself – when I became a mama. Everything in my life was about this new person. This little baby consumed my life and guilt visited me often. I was lost for years.
The addition of two little beings did not make it easy, but just recently I realized how neglectful I was toward myself. I realized that one of the greatest blessings I can give my babies is a happy, confident mama. One that is whole. Because I want them to be whole and not be defined by their roles either.
I want them to be and love themselves first.
Then I did what I do often and searched the internet for others mamas who had lost themselves too. That’s when I came across this beautifully written article by Jenny Fenig that I’d like to share with you:
Becoming a mother changes everything … or does it?
Sure, your priorities shift, your sleep changes (yikes!), your body transforms and your heart expands … but what happens to your identity when you cross over the threshold to motherhood?
When I was pregnant with my first child, someone I very much looked up to told me I would completely lose my identity once I had my baby. “Life as you know it is over. There will be no time for you anymore. Accept it,” she said. I was shocked.
Even though this person was older and had three kids and I was merely pregnant with baby #1, something inside of me said, “No, it doesn’t have to be like that. I love myself and my growing family too much to lose myself.”
As a woman who has always been ambitious and career-driven, I didn’t see why all that I had worked for needed to disappear as soon as I was someone’s mother.
(Loving and taking care of yourself is part of taking care of your kid)
So much of my younger years were spent suffering and searching in unhealthy places because I didn’t have a clear sense of who I was or why I was here. Once I found myself, I realized I really liked myself! Sacred self-care and “me time” became my non-negotiable foundation from which everything else flowed. I was happier than I had ever been, in my work, in my marriage, in my soul. This was a hard-won discovery!
This was my anchor, my roots into the earth.
I wasn’t willing to buy into the notion that my identity that I had invested time, money, energy and faith in claiming would simply cease to exist once my baby was born. Sure, it would evolve, but it would not disappear.
And I made my choice NOT to accept that piece of advice that didn’t sit right with me … Or loads of other well-intended advice from friends, relatives, strangers, doctors, experts, magazines, books and the like. And of course, there have been PLENTY of suggestions and pieces of wisdom that have rung true for me in the 6+ years since I’ve been a mother. I’m grateful for it all!
I’m now the proud mama of 3 beautiful children and I’m learning and growing every second of the day. It’s humbling, hilarious, messy and life affirming.
Motherhood is the most intense personal growth path I’ve ever walked (in addition to marriage and entrepreneurship!). My advice for new moms: listen to your Inner Voice about what feels right for your child, you and your family. You will be receiving contradictory tips and suggestions from here on out. Don’t fret. Go within. Breathe!
Wise beyond measure, you know your child so well. Take time to know yourself deeply, too! This relationship with your sacred self is a profound catalyst for confident and fulfilling parenting even during your toughest days (we all have them!).
Love yourself so much that you’re not willing to lose yourself. Because when you lose yourself, everyone loses. Your family needs you. Most of all, you need you.
So, be kind to yourself. Spend time in nature. Write in a journal. Enjoy a quiet cup of tea in a cup that makes you smile. Move your body. Dance in the shower. Enjoy date night with your partner (even if it’s simply a quiet movie at home after your baby is asleep!). Join a mom’s support group. Bless your mess. Ask for help. Know that you will sleep for long stretches again. I promise!
The days sometimes feel like they stretch on forever, but the years fly by. Enjoy your family!
Ahhh newborns…I love them and everything they represent. Last week I posted Part 1 of the Tips for a beautiful newborn session series, you can click here to read, and I promised that I would post more. So let’s get started:
As you can imagine there are many more tips to share…make sure you visit us next Friday. Have a great weekend!
“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.”
This mama and baby are very dear to me and hold a special place in my heart. It seems like it was yesterday when she was this little. Baby Bella was eagerly awaited and welcomed with an insurmountable amount of love. I want to share with you a few words this lovely mama wrote in a letter to her unborn child:
” . . . When I wonder if I’m a good enough mother, please help me to know my strength again. When I fear failure, please pierce me with your eyes and smile. When I take things too seriously, I give you permission to make me laugh. Laugh often.
Please remind me that life is beautiful, when I might forget. I want you to be the best thing about me. I hope you always love me, I hope that you will be proud to be my legacy. I want to say, that you were the most amazing little lovely thing that I have ever seen before you even ever came to be. I will wait patiently for you, enjoying you on the inside. Come as you are. Come when you are ready. . . “
This little cutie was just a few days old at the time of his newborn photography session which is why you still see his legs tightly curled. Love it!
This is another common question I get because most moms wait to have their baby before booking a newborn session. But, just like you would book a wedding photographer way ahead of time, it is a good idea to book your newborn photographer while you are still pregnant.
Now, there are many different styles of newborn photography and other photographers might not mind the age of the baby, so you would need to know your style preference and what best fits your family.
Our style at The Crunchy Nest is simple and we try to stay away from the overuse of props because we prefer a more organic look; however, we still pose our newborns. We change the baby’s hand placement, turn their little face, change their position, etc. in order to get a variety of picture for you. Therefore, we prefer our newborn sessions to take place during the baby’s first two weeks of life. 5-7 days is ideal!
When babies are brand new, they position themselves in the way they were in the womb and they sleep all the time! As time passes, babies stretch out and are more alert, which makes it more difficult to keep them asleep and pose them. The older the baby, the more aware they are of their surroundings.
But what date do you pick?
Well, because we know that due dates are not set in stone – I wish they were (being a mom of three), when you book your newborn session while expecting, We will pencil in a date approximately one week after your due date. Once your baby arrives, you give us a call and let us know. We will then move our schedule around to accommodate the best time to hold your session.
Booking your session before-hand guarantees your spot once your baby has arrived and your session will take priority over new inquiries around the same time.
So what are you waiting for? If you are currently expecting, book your session today.
[Big Disclaimer: I am in no way, shape, or form telling you that this is what you should do for your baby. This was a decision I made for my baby after many hours of research. Please make sure you do your own research before determining what is right for you and your baby]
I wrote in this post about my breastfeeding struggles and because of it I had to find an alternative way to feed my baby. Not only did I have to find the safest bottles, but also the safest formula.
When it came to bottles, I knew that we would be warming up formula, so plastic bottles weren’t an option. We decided on the Avent Natural glass bottle, and as he grew older and wanted to hold his own bottle, we bought the Pura Kiki Stainless Steel Bottle. These are the bottles that we still use today and he loves them!
The next struggle came when it was time to choose a formula. I started to supplement Gavin’s feeding since early on. He was only a few days old and already drinking Enfamil. I knew before I gave birth to him that I did not want to give my child commercial grade formula. My plan was to breastfeed and when I didn’t succeed, I was left at the last minute to do tons of research to find something that I felt good about feeding my child.
Now, to be honest, I fed both my daughter and my oldest son formula without thinking anything of it. As I got older and I learned more, I wanted a better option.
Gavin was not like my other children. He dreaded sleep, yet he wasn’t (that I know of) a colicky baby but he was crying as if he was in pain often. I did then what most mothers would do and hit google to find out why. I thought that he fit the description of possibly being lactose intolerant. Although he did not have diarrhea, he did seem to have gas, was very irritable, and was developing little red spots all over his face. So we switched to Baby’s Only Lactose Relief organic formula and he was doing well on it for about two weeks and then got constipated, really constipated, and the rashes that he had got dry and scab-like. At the pediatrician’s recommendation we switched formula brands again to see if this would solve the problem with no luck. I was at my wit’s end because I knew I had to switch formula again and this time the only other formula that the doctors were recommending was soy based and I refuse to give my baby boy soy.
So I went on a quest to find a solution when I came across this post and it changed my baby. The more research I did about homemade goat milk formula the more I started to think that this was the best option for us. I purchased Mt. Capra Goat Milk powder along with all the other ingredients. See recipe here. And I started making daily batches.
Was I scared? Yes! I was. I was scared that I wasn’t following my pediatrician’s advice; I was scared because this was not the norm. But guess what? Gavin thrived on it. His constipation went away, his faced cleared up, and he was a much happier baby. I still don’t know what in the cow milk was causing him problems back them as his formula recipe included lactose, and now at 16 months he drinks full fat organic cow milk, but I now know that I made the right choice for him then. It was a hassle making formula daily, which meant warming up the formula under hot water before every feeding, but I would do it all over in a heartbeat.
What do I recommend? Do your research, educate yourself, seek professional advice, and then make the right decision for you.
I would love to hear about your unconventional ways to childcare. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Often clients want to know what to wear to their maternity photography session so I wrote this post in an effort to help the process. Here are some things to consider when picking your outfit:
2. Stay away from logos. Huge designer brand logos don’t look great in pictures. Keep in mind that you will be looking at these pictures yearsdown the road and I’m sure you wouldn’t like the first thing to stand out be the designer that you were wearing.
This morning Gavin, my youngest, woke up earlier than usual. At 5:45a.m. to be exact. We had been hearing him complaining from his crib for a while, but the real crying didn’t begin until 5:45 came around. The horrifying part is that my alarm clock is set to go off at 5:55a.m. He robbed me of ten whole minutes which are oh-so-precious to me.
This got me thinking of how different all of my kids have been when it comes to sleep training. Trying to get Gavin to sleep through the night in his crib is not a faraway memory. In fact, he didn’t sleep on his own through the night until he was about 8 months old, he is now 15 months. Now I’m convinced that sleep training has very little to do with the techniques used or parenting skills and more to do with the baby’s personality.
See, Joshua is my oldest, and when he was born he simply refused to sleep in his crib. Refused! I would rock him and feed him until he was fast asleep. Then moving slowly and in my tippy toes I’d walk over to his crib and gently lay him down while holding my breath so as to not cause any movement. The moment his little back touched the sheets he would open his eyes. If left there awake, he would scream in a matter of minutes. So what did we do? We carried him to our bed and he slept with us until he was three years old.
Khloe, my middle child and the princess of the house was independent from the day she was born. She slept in a bassinet next to our bed from the day we brought her home from the hospital. Every three to four hours I would hear her whimper so I’d get up, change her, feed her, swaddle her in her blanky and place her awake back in her bassinet. She would sooth herself back to sleep (without a sound). This little trooper was sleeping through the night at four months and alone in her room by five.
When I was preparing for Gavin’s arrival I would say every time the topic came up that I wouldn’t have a hard time with this, I would just follow everything I did with Khloe. I was so confident, that it is embarrassing to admit. It’s funny how life has a way to humble you. Gavin was a screamer! He cried ALL THE TIME. Day and night. Just like the picture you see above. In part, I’m sure this had something to do with his milk allergies, but the crying was non-stop.
See for yourself:
As he got older he would sleep longer stretches from 10:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. – sometimes 3 – and would wake up screaming. After changing him and feeding him, it would take almost an hour to soothe him back to sleep. It was exhausting and we did this every night for 8 months. To tell you that I don’t know how my marriage survived this is an understatement. The night that he slept through I was so scared thinking something had happened that I snuck into his room to make sure he was breathing.
This confirms my believe that sleep training is more about the baby than techniques. I did everything to try to get Joshua and Gavin to sleep. I read books, blogs, followed tips from other parent, I even put cereal in Joshua milk bottle (gasp!). I bathed them late at night with chamomile soap, with lavender soap, I warmed up their milk, I swaddled them, I un-swaddled then, I let them cry-it-out, I rocked them to sleep, I did everything within my power and nothing worked until they were ready.
I am by far not knocking any technique out there. And if you are going through a rough time with sleep training yourself, please know that I’m 100% behind you in trying to find a solution because I have been that mom in the corner soothing her baby while crying herself. And if it works for you great (honestly), but if it doesn’t I want you to know that you are not alone. I have been in your shoes, and it does get better and you will be able to sleep again. Only with time.
If you have a sleeping technique that has worked for you, write to me at email@example.com and tell me about it.