We love being spoiled on this day, but everything exists in balance - with amazing things come the opposite too. The trick is in how we manage our relationship with it.
This was the first picture I've taken of these two. In that moment while capturing this, I had no idea what was in store for me.
The wonder, sweetness, and perfection of children. Never did I expect to feel such rich emotions and be in awe of nature, of life itself.
But there's balance...
The first few weeks of being a Mom were filled with many more emotions: stress, worry, anxiety, depression, mourning for the loss of my former life.
On day three, while a tiny Elle lay sleeping, I held up something else that was tiny: a little black skirt that, for some reason, I assumed I'd never wear again. Gone were the days of hanging out in trendy bars, sipping cocktails, and dressed in tiny skirts that could pass as headbands.
I'm not sure why I assumed those days were over.
While we were pregnant, the consistent message from friends and strangers was "don't blink, cuz before you know it, she'll be 25".
They're right. Elle's changed so much. LIFE changes so much. That's why they say it's best to 'be present' which means to stay in the moment. Look at your surroundings. Feel the energy around you. Really listen to those you're with because in a moment...
You've heard this before. This is the only constant in life - change.
In the five years since the day Elle was born, I've been to a few trendy bars and had enough tasty cocktails. And there will be more. Many more. 😊
Within the past five years, I left my corporate life to build a new future for myself. One that would accommodate the Mom life and fulfill my career goals.
Within those five years, I wanted to have another baby. I've been slightly obsessing over this especially in the last year and a half.
In the fall of 2018, we got pregnant again. What an amazing thing it is to hear a doctor say congratulations to confirm this new reality! I was shook, I was so happy, and we were finally going to give Elle a sibling. It was really happening.
Long story short, we lived with this amazing news for only two weeks until one awful Saturday when I started to cramp and bleed. That night, I would head to the hospital and confirm that I had lost our baby to a miscarriage.
It's taken me a long time to get over this. I will always feel pain from that experience but I've accepted it. And I'm not going to feel guilty or embarrassed for taking so long to work through it - there ain't nothing easy about matters of the heart!
The longing for another baby is natural. But it isn't meant to be, or I should've eaten more whole plant foods, or gotten more sleep, or not drank so much or had that highly processed Impossible burger, or, or, or. I know we're not supposed to blame ourselves for such horrible things but it's near impossible for us.
If you're reading this having experienced a miscarriage yourself, I have to say this: the reason why our babies don't survive is because the right chromosomes weren't forming. The fetus was just not developing correctly, so it's nature's way of stopping its growth (and making room for a better version for the future).
I wish this was the first thing all doctors and nurses said. I wish it was something they said! It was my husband who told me this and even though there's so much more physically and emotionally surrounding a miscarriage, this logic gave me peace.
Getting that look of sadness from medical staff only makes me feel worse. Believing that something was wrong with the fetus and it self-aborting (because Nature is awesome), for some reason, makes me feel better.
It's not that easy, I get it. But it's helped me and if you're feeling pain from a miscarriage, I hope it gives you even a moment of comfort and peace too.
Last month when I got my period, I was devastated. Were we actively trying to have another baby? Not really - we decided that time is over. Did I really think we were pregnant? Yeah, maybe. Obviously much more hopeful than anything.
I spent a day in bed, feeling all the feels. The current state of #covid reality, staying home far too much, and the realization that this second baby dream is over.
What I didn't realize was how much I still wanted another child. That's why I was so incredibly upset and why I go through this disappointment every month. That realization was major for me - and also very healing.
Fast forward a month, I have my period. And surprisingly, I'm okay.
And for that, I'm grateful. This is one of those instances when everything changing is a wonderful thing.
My Mother's Day Gift
The reason why I was okay this time is because of an important reminder I got from Elle.
Once in a while, she'll wrap up one of her toys or hair bands in one of her blankets and 'surprise' me with a gift. The other day, she wrapped up another gift for me.
Inside was this photo of her, taken hours after she was born:
"Mommy, your gift is a baby - me."
At first, it was like a stabbing pain to the heart. But she has no idea that gifting me with a 'baby' would be so hurtful. I stayed with that feeling, and seconds later it turned into pure joy.
She was right - I held her tight and gave her so much love. "My gift really is you, Elle."
A month ago, being pregnant with another baby would've made me over the moon happy. And even though I (almost) always feel gratitude and amazement that I'm a Mom and have Elle in our lives, her gift was a powerful reminder.
My Mother's Day gift every year, and every day, is the miracle of Elle.
Life In Balance
Motherhood isn't always pretty of course. But nothing's entirely pretty, what fun would that be? 😉
We're living in such an interesting and truly extraordinary time right now. The world has come to a halt and all of us have been affected. I believe trusted experts when they say this IS a new world. The old world as we knew it is over. It's time to accept and adapt to it as best as we can.
As we navigate our way through these next few weeks, months, and years of constant change, it's best to swim around in the bad moments when they arrive. The equivalent to spending that day in bed drowning in all the feels.
I'm not one to bury those feelings. When we do, they resurface in much uglier ways (I'm a former expert). When we sit with them - be present with them - we're able to accept and live with them in healthy ways.
As Andy from Headspace teaches, it's not about removing those negative feelings but changing our relationship with them. To me, changing our relationship with them is simply accepting them. Through that process we discover peace and get to happiness.
We'll each continue to have our up and down days. The most powerful thing to do is focus on what we can control.
First things first, we're building up our immunities with eating better than we normally do. That'll look different for everyone and that's all good. For our little fam, that means cooking at home, eating no meat or dairy for the foreseeable future, and eating more whole plant foods.
It's not perfect cuz there are still many processed products to fill our large appetites but you know what? It's perfect for us.
When you feel at a loss, swim around in it.
Loss of in-person connections, of a job, discretionary cash flow, traveling, sitting in a trendy bar sipping cocktails in your headband of a skirt.
Then when you're ready (ie. don't let others tell you when you should be ready, or compare yourself to how others seemingly feel), gift yourself with a change in perspective and look a different direction. See how you feel.
With more time at home, there's time and brain space to reflect on what you truly value in your life. Family, love, true friendships, creative expressions through art, writing, and cooking. What's something you wish for your future self? What can you start doing - when you're ready - to make sure your future self has exactly that?
With less cash flow for many, it's an opportunity to learn how little we need to survive. Need a manicure? Buy a $5 nail polish, pour a glass of wine, play your favorite playlist, and have a great time.
Have an incredible meal with vegetarian refried beans, fresh cilantro, salsa, and chips. All for only a few dollars per person. We recently got take out for the first time in EIGHT weeks and that one meal cost the same as our food over an entire weekend at home!
Travel will open up again and maybe we'll all feel like we're in first class with the social distanced seats. Hello extra leg room!
With all the beans we've stocked up on in our pantries, let's start eating these nutrient-packed foods that Centenarians use as a staple in their diets. (They live to be 100 years old and thrive in their old age. Doesn't that sound great?) They don't exclude meat entirely, they just save it for very special occasions.
At a basic level, eating more whole plant foods will strengthen your immunity, leaving you with the power to face the world and life (!), covid or not. This is something you have 100% control over.
Exercise your power to change your life for the better.
And call your Mom.