Friday, June 20, 2014

It's so easy to feel guilty -- Motherhood Struggles.

Here's to a pretty raw, vulnerable post :)

I think, as a mother, it's so easy to feel guilty for not doing enough for my kids.
Don't get me wrong, I mean, there are days (like, pretty much every day, actually) that I am exhausted because I do SO MUCH for my family.
But it's in those moments where I feel guilty when my son asks me to play choo choo trains with him, and I give him the Kindle instead.  Because I really just want to sit down eat my lunch.

Or how I always dreamed of painting beautiful childlike art with my kids, and playing piano with them, and dancing to worship music with them...
But my son has never been very interested in coloring or drawing or painting.
And yesterday when he found a paint brush he came running up to me saying
"Mommy!  I want to paint!  I want to paint!"
I was a bit surprised... and excited.
And tired.
And I didn't want to deal with the mess at the moment.
So I said no.  ... I said no.

And the days my son is extra fussy, I know it's because he's been cooped up in our apartment.
And a day at the park would fix all things!  Oh how he loves the park!
But I'm tired.
And there are dishes to be done.
And I haven't taken a shower in - has it been three days now?
And I don't want to go out...

And another day comes and goes.
Another sun rises and sets.
And my boys get bigger right before my eyes.  Do I see them?
And I get a little sadder inside with each day that I don't STOP and BE present with my kids.

"Doing" is exhausting.
But "Being" is refreshing.

But things have to be done! a part of me demands.

I remember when I couldn't go a day without playing the piano.
(This was pre-kids of course.  Before I became a mother).
I would play songs to Jesus, get lost in the glory, or enter into a creative realm and write new songs.
And I was full of life, and wonder.
I had bright eyes, instead of tired eyes.
And my imagination was alive and excited for new adventures every day.
When it was beautiful outside, I couldn't wait to get out and experience nature...

But as a sleep-deprived, overweight Mommy, I'd much rather stay curled up on my couch, in an air-conditioned home on a beautiful day, with the TV or computer to "feed" my imagination...
And my piano sits a few feet away, collecting dust.
I've got a baby attached to my boob 10x a day
When I get a burst of energy, it's just enough to throw in a load of laundry, fix up a meal for my son, change a diaper... and on a really good day: go to the gym!

This may sound depressing,
and I may be laying it on thick
(not every day is like this, but it sure feels like it)

I admit that often I cannot wait for the kids to be asleep so I can have some "me time."
And I don't want any pressure to do something spiritually productive (like paint or write music again) in these rare precious "me-time" moments.

But really, I do not want to waste these precious early motherhood years away!

It's so easy to feel guilty.

We want to do things right.  To be the best mother to our children.
To raise them loved.

But if we lose ourselves in the midst of the "Mom" identity, and forget how to BE who we are...
we'll waste these precious moments.

And it's hard to figure out who we are in this season.
Because I'm not who I was when I was single and playing piano every day.
Being a mom changes you - in a million different ways, from all sides, it changes you.
Because your heart changes.
Your ability to love gets bigger, or wider, or something.
And of course your daily routine changes.
Priorities change.

But there is something in our DNA that does not change.
Passion. Purpose. Vision.
Whatever you call it.
And I don't want to wait til my kids are all grown to find it again.

Yes, I'm tired.
Yes I'm unhappy sometimes about the physical changes in my body.
(and I think, if I can just fix my body, and be happier, things will get better from there...)

But what if it was actually a beautiful beautiful thing that my body created, carried, protected, and birthed a human LIFE?!
And this first year of his life, my body is still constantly nourishing him and growing his healthy little body.
My body is serving him.
So why not be happy with my body?
Why not love it?  Is it not beautiful?!

And yes I like a clean house, yes stuff needs to get done...
But what if laughing with my children was actually more important?
What if making beautiful messes, rolling trains across the floor, and getting outside was more valuable than household chores?

Our emotions, struggles, stresses, and pain, as mothers are valid and important.

But the guilt needs to stop.

The guilt needs to stopnow.

And no body can make my choices for me.

So, here's to making memories with my children,
to being present with them,
to not wasting my days.
Here's to finding my passion, dreams, and life again
but as a mother free of guilt.
Here's to a good, life-filled day with my two warrior boys.
One day at a time.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Photos of Kairos' Birth

A BIG thanks to the lovely Ashley Ham Photography for sharing in this special night with us and giving us this wonderful gift that we can always look upon to remember the birth of Kairos Yarah.  She captured some of the most intimate and powerful moments of my life!

My water broke at 7:15pm which set the labor into motion.
I am so grateful my sweet Mom was able to be there with me to share in the experience!

My amazing husband spent lots of time and effort in filling the birth pool and boiling pots of water to add to it,
While at the same time being very present for me.

The loving touch of my husband while I work through a contraction...

...and the joy that comes right after the contraction :)

Feathers were a major theme in this labor and birth as a reminder that God covers me with His feathers, protects me under the shelter of His great wings, and no harm can touch me (Psalm 91)

Working on another contraction - feeling it getting close!

My husband is such a carrier of Peace and Faith and was such a loving supporter through it all
I finally got to get into the birth pool around midnight, and things moved along quickly!

It was all very exciting!

I remember singing and worshiping here while I was pushing

It was so beautiful...

...and with just a few pushes...

There he came (at 12:51am)!  So perfect in all his glory!

He hardly made a sound!  It was so peaceful!

And then this happened...

My little "Arrow" boy grabbed hold of my arrows on my neck!
(Read about the meaning of his name HERE)

Welcome to the world, Kairos Yarah!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Birth of Kairos Yarah

I planned and prepared for this birth and labor for so long.  I had everything set up - the birth pool, the supplies, pillows and blankets, his first outfit, my laboring outfit and my outfit for when I got out of the birth pool, mood lighting, music playlist, scripture verses around the home to meditate on during labor... seriously everything was all set up so that I would feel comfortable and "ready" for the whole thing, but was I really "ready?"

A couple days after my mom arrived, we had already made some matching stenciled onesies and toddler shirts for my two boys, we had the home all cleaned up and a few meals already prepped.  I was literally looking for stuff to do (I would call this over-compulsive "nesting").  

It was Friday evening (7:15pm) and I was finishing up some crock pot meals to freeze for later when I felt a "contraction."  It was mild like a menstrual cramp, but it was long, and when it passed, I felt some liquid leak out.  I looked at my mom and Preston and said "um...I need to go to the bathroom to check something..."  Preston's eyes lit up and said "are you in labor?!"  He was getting ready to leave for a meeting, but when I sat down on the toilet and a gush of water came out, I said to him "I think my water just broke!"  He was so excited and said "I'm not going tonight!"  So I called my midwife and she said to call her when the contractions become more consistent.

Ok here we go! I thought.  And I started running around the house trying to finish up the meals and turn on my playlist and mood lights, and my heart was pounding - I'm nervous!  Why am I nervous?! I could not shake the nervousness.  All the hype and anticipation and planning and prepping, and now was THE moment, and I kept questioning myself Am I ready for this?  I did not expect to have this kind of reaction, especially since I had everything ready and had tried to calm my spirit the previous few days to prepare my heart for this.  When I went into labor with Courage I had absolutely no fear, no doubt, no nervousness or unsure feeling whatsoever.  And it went beautifully, so why was I experiencing this uncertainty this time?  But Preston was very reassuring and released a lot of peace and security and joy for me at this time.

Finally I decided to lie down and soak to the worship music, while Courage rolled his train over my body and gave me kisses.  My contractions were mild and spaced out between 8 and 12 minutes apart.  I started to feel the peace of Heaven fill me and Preston started to fill the birth pool.  About an hour later (around 8:30pm) I called my midwife to tell her things were more consistent.  I also called my friend (who is a doula) and my other friend (who is the photographer) to come over as well.  Preston got Courage ready for bed, which was actually a bit of a relief for me.  I had thought I wanted Courage to be a part of the whole labor and to see Kairos come out, but I found myself being distracted by his presence.  So it was perfect timing that it was his bedtime when my labor picked up.  I do wish he could have been there to see Kairos come out, though :)

I labored through the "rushes" (contractions) mostly on my hands and knees, rocking back and forth.  Most of them felt very good and "productive."  During some of the stronger rushes I found myself on my hands and knees facing the couch and driving my head into the couch during the climax of the contraction.  It actually felt good as I concentrated on breathing through each one and thanking Jesus in between.

As the rushes picked up and got stronger, I found myself wanting to stand up and lean forward on our mantel/fireplace.  Someone (my mom, doula, or Preston) would gently rub my lower back through the stronger rushes, which was quite relieving.  As things picked up, all I could think about was when I could get into the birth pool.  My midwife said that since my water broke it's better to wait til I'm close to pushing to get in the water.  I was kind of disappointed since I remember my labor with Courage felt so good in the water.  She also suggested I try laying down through a few contractions for awhile since I had been leaning forward most of the labor which puts a lot of pressure on the front part of the cervix to help open it up, and so it's good to kind of switch it up.  I was a little apprehensive at first, but once I got comfortable and had a couple rushes in the reclined position, I realized it wasn't that bad.  

I remember being much more aware of everyone in the room this time, unlike my labor with Courage.  When my midwife and her assistant were across the room chatting about something, I remember it being distracting and wanting them to pay attention to me, so I got a little louder for a couple of the contractions - I think mostly because I wanted them to pay attention to me and to say I could get in the birth pool :)  (I should say that these couple contractions were actually pretty uncomfortable and painful, and I believe it is because I was distracted and annoyed and trying to control the situation.  Also, I was probably pretty close to, if not already in, "transition," which is when the laboring mother can get a little irritable.  Just a reminder to try to remain in the peace and not try to control the situation.  Ride with the rushes as if they're waves!)

Finally, shortly after midnight, I was allowed to get into the birth pool!  Hallelujah!  The water felt wonderful, but I wasn't exactly sure what position I wanted to be in to go through a contraction.  I tried relaxing in the reclined position, on my side, and on my hands and knees.  I think I only had 2 or 3 contractions in the water before all of a sudden I flipped over on my hands and knees in the water and said "I think I'm puu--UUSHING!!"  The pushes felt great and I made sure to listen to my body and try to breathe through each contraction and push.  In between the pushes I was able to smile and look at Preston and I could hear the worship music playing.  I even found myself singing "Holy Spirit You are welcome here...come flood this place and fill the atmosphere..." (a song by Bryan and Katie Torwalt, which was on my playlist).  My midwife kept saying how close Kairos was, and I was getting so relieved and excited to meet him for the first time!  But I knew I didn't want to hurry it and I wanted to let my body push him out.  It only took about 4 or 5 pushes and I reached down and saw his little body come out and I pulled him up into my arms!

It was so beautiful.  He hardly made a peep, and he was pink and breathing perfectly.  It was 12:51am on Saturday January 18th (five and a half hours after my water broke).  6lbs 1oz and 19 and a half inches long.  He latched on to my breast within 20 minutes and I was able to remain in the birth pool with him as he nursed (for almost 35 minutes!).  My placenta came out shortly after the birth, right in the pool, and it was super easy and painless!  (I had a hard time birthing the placenta with Courage, and I couldn't nurse him right away, so these were two things I was believing God for with this second birth!)  

I am so grateful for how beautiful the whole birth and labor went and how God gave me all the things I asked for!  God is so good and loving and such a protector.  Kairos is perfect and I am just so much in love.  I feel a greater love for Courage and a greater love for Preston too!  It's amazing how filled I am, and what a beautiful time this is in my life!  Thank you Jesus for your glory and this supernatural birth experience.  Jesus is so real and so pure and so present.  He helps us through our fears, and His perfect love really does drive out all the fear.  When our eyes meet His and we turn our hearts to trust Him, our spirits are caught up in the glory and it manifests all around us and in our bodies!  Pain and fear vanish and He is our strength and our power!  

I am so blessed.

Click HERE to read about my first birth of Courage Ruah!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

After-Birth Herbal Sitz bath

Here I am in my "last" week of pregnancy (week 39), and I have been enjoying my time of prepping, relaxing and spiritually preparing for a beautiful birth of Kairos Yarah.

I have been taking baths every single day lately, and I came across this recipe for an After-Birth Herbal Stiz Bath to help soothe afterpains and such.  I've seen a couple videos out there where the Mom (or even the Dad) soaks in an herbal bath with the newborn baby shortly after birth.  It looked so peaceful and wonderful that I wanted to find out what kind of herbal bath it was so I can do this with Kairos.

So with the help of Courage, we put together these herbs and have it stored in a jar ready to make for a soothing bath!

1/2 cup Epsom Salts (or sea salt)
1 cup Lavender Flowers
1 cup Red Raspberry Leaf
1/2 cup Comfrey Leaf
1/2 cup Plantain Leaf (I couldn't find this locally, so I left it out for now)
1/2 cup Yarrow Flower
1/2 cup Calendula Flowers
1/2 cup Shepherd's Purse
1/2 cup Uva Ursi Leaf

Combine all in a ziploc bag and shake it up! (Courage liked this part)


For a bath, add 1 cup of the mixed herbs to 2 quarts boiling water.  Remove from heat and steep for 20 minutes.  Strain, and add to bath!