Trigger Happy: How Motherhood Can Trigger Us and Tips to Work Through it

Becoming a mother has been the greatest journey of my life. It has blessed me in ways beyond what I even have words for. It has also changed me more than any other life event I have yet experienced.

I’d like to think of myself as a pretty confident person. I pride myself in my ability to make new friends, I can laugh off most of my silly mistakes, I have sang my heart out in front of audiences of complete strangers, and have rocked a crop top after age 25.

That being said, every single person has moments of self doubt and self consciousness, and I have many.

I’ll be honest. It had been years since I have had issues with my self esteem, and my body image. I worked super hard on loving my body and myself and I am beyond proud of that. I can honestly say that for the past 6 years my self confidence level was at an all time high.

I rarely doubted an outfit choice, I ate what I wanted with no regrets or hesitations, and I rarely cared about leaving the house without a lick of makeup on.

Enter motherhood. The most amazing, beautiful, complicated, and triggering transformation of my life.

Becoming a mother has changed me in so many ways. I am much more open (I mean here I am sharing my story with you), more loving, and accepting; but, as I have shared in the past it has also been one of the hardest changes in my life.

Mentally, it has taken a toll. I have suffered from postpartum anxiety and so many issues from my past have come back to haunt me.

Most know me as a easy going and happy person, and for the most part that is true. What may surprise people is my past relationship with my self image and my very disordered relationship with food.

From the ages of 15 to about 24 my relationship with my body was very toxic. For 3 years in high school I starved it, restricting calories to about 600 a day and working out every night for at least an hour so I could burn off whatever I had consumed. When I got to college I went through bouts of binge eating, followed by restricting again.

I had days where I would look in the mirror with such disgust for what I saw reflected back to me, and I cried. I had days where even at my lowest weight in high school I changed 10 times because I truly believed that I looked “fat”. No matter what I did, what I ate, what I weighed, I was unhappy with my body and myself.

I finally worked on my mental health and healing this relationship with my food and my body around 25. I researched nutrition, and taught myself how to fuel my body. I began working out not to punish my body but because I wanted to feel healthy and to treat my body with love. I surrounded myself with body positive images, friends who built me up and supported me, and really worked on self love.

I finally began healing myself. I finally started to love myself and my body.

When I got pregnant I thought my changing body may trigger my past thoughts but it didn’t. Instead, I was one of those women who truly loved watching my body change and grow the beautiful life within me.

I even remember the first week I was home with my baby feeling such pride for my body and what it had just accomplished. It literally grew a baby from a cluster of tiny cells into the perfect angel that was placed into my arms that beautiful day. It kept her strong and healthy, and when the day came for her to be born it endured the most physically challenging event of my entire life! Who wouldn’t be proud?!

Well, around the time my postpartum anxiety showed up so did my negative thoughts and feelings from my past.

This is pretty normal for mamas after having a baby. We look in the mirror and see cellulite, extra skin, extra weight, stretch marks, dark circles that just won’t go away and we think to ourselves “who even is that?!”

Now (and trust me when I tell you this is not to brag) I am well aware that for someone who had a baby 7 months ago I am in very good shape physically. However, mentally this has been a difficult internal struggle.

Body dysmorphia is a very real mental issue. Sadly many women deal with this today. How many of us know someone who you can compliment about their looks and they just can’t seem to accept it as truth? Some days the image I see in the mirror is what others see, and others my body dysmorphia takes over.

9 months before giving birth to my daughter I was in the best shape of my life. I was eating well, I had found a workout routine that worked for my body and I had ample time to fit it in daily, and I was confident in myself. Here I was a few weeks after giving birth to my baby, and suddenly life as I knew it was upside down.

Schedule was thrown out the window, eating healthy became a luxury that took a back seat to convenience, and the person I saw in the mirror was unrecognizable to me. I had been in such a comfortable place for so long, in the flow of routine, and in just a few weeks motherhood catapulted me out of it.

Losing control of my lifestyle and my routine really began to trigger me.

My old beliefs about my body began to replace my pride for the body that had given me a child. The lack of time I had to focus on eating healthy, and filling my fridge with fruits and veggies began to stress me out.

15 years later I was seeing myself fall back into my unhealthy relationship with my body.

Thankfully this time I was equipped with tools and experience to bring me back to alignment, along with the biggest motivation for self love ever: my daughter.

I know what it feels like to look in the mirror and have such sad thoughts about what I see, and that is the very last thing I want for my girl. I want her to look in the mirror and be so proud and happy to see the beautiful woman staring back at her. I want her relationship with her body and herself to be healthy and positive. The only way for her to have that is for me to model that for her.

We have to change the narrative we tell ourselves to inspire the narrative our children will tell themselves.

As mothers, it is so easy for us to be critical of ourselves whether it be our appearance, how we keep our house, how we spend our time, or something else. We all want to be the best mother humanly possible for our little ones. It’s also so easy for us to compare ourselves to other moms who seem to have it all perfect.

Today moms aren’t just bombarded with our own fears and thoughts that we are less than, we see it all over social media. Instagram and Facebook are flooded with perfectly manicured mamas matching their little ones and smiling as they bake the most beautiful pie you’ve ever seen in their spotless minimalist kitchen. Their children are groomed, smiling, and dressed to the nines. No crying, stressing or whining here! The mothers in these photos have flawless hair and makeup and their bodies could rival a top model.

With images like these flooding our psyches, it’s easy to see why so many mamas have such doubt about their beauty and competence as a mother.

These images can be super triggering to any mama who is still trying to drop her baby weight, figure out a routine, and just survive the craziness that is raising a child.

One of the first things I did once I recognized I was having these thoughts was unfollow all these insta moms that were fueling my self doubt. Anyone I felt that I was comparing myself to I deleted. It’s seriously amazing how much this helped me.

I began looking in the mirror daily and inwardly noting one thing that I truly love about myself. It could be a physical or non physical attribute. This truly has helped me to start with a positive outlook on myself which carries me through the rest of my day.

I also started telling my daughter every morning “you are smart, you are kind, your intelligent, your powerful, you are important, you are loved, and you are enough.” Saying these words to her every morning not only is helping her learn confidence, but saying those words over and over myself has seriously helped to shift my own mindset.

I journal. I used to do this in high school, but back then it was more a tell all of the sweet things I thought of my boyfriend at the time, or rumors I heard in the hallways at school. These days it’s all my doubts, all the things that I am grateful for, and any inspirations that come to mind. Getting thoughts out on a page has become very therapeutic, and writing at least one thing I am grateful for a Day makes me recognize all the other amazing things I have to be thankful for!

I do things that I know bring me joy and peace. I take walks and leave my cell phone behind. I lay in the grass with my daughter, sometimes for an hour at a time. I take her down to the beach. I listen to my favorite music and dance around the house with her. When you do things that bring you happiness, although it may not bring you immediately back to peace, it will help lift your spirits and get you out of the dark.

Turning to friends and loved ones has always been difficult for me when I’m in crisis mode. Asking for help is not something I find easy. I have always been the friend that listens and offers advice, but for me, asking for it myself doesn’t come naturally.

Thankfully I have some amazing girlfriends, family, and a super supportive husband that are always there to listen, as well as call me out when I’m not acting myself. This should be your first step when ur having feelings like this, and if you don’t have anyone or these feelings are super intense see a therapist.

There is no shame in asking for help, and truth be told Mother’s probably need help the most! We do so much for everyone else in our family that we often put ourselves and our needs on the back burner.

Motherhood changes our lives completely and can trigger so many thoughts and feelings. It’s easy to get stuck in the low vibe, lack mentality, doubt ourselves and feel like we have lost ourselves.

The truth is that to be the best mothers to our children we have to first take care of ourselves mentally. We have to take the time to make sure we recognize what’s going on, and that we give ourselves the space and the tools to get out of it. The best mamas are happy mamas.

I’m not writing this post because I’m an expert on the matter. Believe me, I know that I am far from it. I’m writing this because I too need this as a reminder. Every single day I work on making sure I’m the working towards being the best version of myself that I can be.

I want my daughter to see me as positive, happy, confident and strong. I want to feel this way for myself as well, I mean who wouldn’t? This is something I work towards every day and that I know I’ll have to continue to work on, probably for the rest of my life.

Motherhood is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I mean that when I say it. It is truly beautiful, but also so triggering.

I hope that sharing my story helps other moms know that you aren’t alone. You aren’t the only person out there feeling lost, or wondering where your old self has gone. I hope this will inspire other mamas to start difficult conversations with each other, to support one another.

Let’s embrace that we aren’t those “insta moms” who have everything perfect. Our lives are messy, they get dark sometimes but at the end of the day they are beautiful and we’re all just doing our best.

We got this mamas!

Sorry, Not Sorry! What I Refuse to Apologize For

I have noticed that as women we seem to always be apologizing. It’s almost as if “I’m sorry” is just our default answer when we don’t meet the expectations of others. Maybe this isn’t your case, but I know this is the case for so many women.

We’re sorry we can’t fit everything in our schedules. We’re sorry we can’t fix everyone’s problems. We’re sorry we didn’t do everything perfect.

Motherhood changes you. I mean OBVIOUSLY. The moment you become a mom life as you know it ends. You are rebirthed! Becoming a mother has truly shifted my entire life, inside and out. It has made me a stronger person than I have ever been before. It has also shifted my mindset. My priorities, and the things that I once worried or cared about have completely changed.

If I’m being honest those first few months of parenthood are no cakewalk, and as a mother and a wife it’s easy to feel like you’re drowning. I am not about to sit here and tell you that I didn’t try to be Stepford mom the first few weeks home with the baby…. but I think we all try that.

I remember saying to my husband that if I was home with the baby I promised to keep the house spotless and food ready for him when he walked through the door. Anyone have a time machine so I can go back in time and laugh in my face?

Everyday is completely out of my control. Some days my daughter is happy to play on her own and entertain herself, others she needs my constant attention. Some days I’m able to get the house squeaky clean and dinner on the table, other days it looks like a bomb went off and I’m begging my husband to pick up takeout. This is life now.

I decided to really look at all the positive aspects of this new life. First I have THE most amazing baby ever… at least I personally think so! I feel so complete when I look into her beautiful blue eyes. If I feel so whole when I’m with my daughter, how can any part of me be missing right? She is my number one priority and she is such a happy girl, so I know in my heart I am doing a good job, even on days when it may not feel like it. Even on days when the house is a mess, dinner is nowhere near ready, and i feel like I have a million things to apologize for not getting done.

When you come from a place of positivity it is easy to let go of a lot of worries. It also helps that you don’t have the energy for all that worrying thanks to your new mom schedule! When I’m not stressed about all those things I’m a more present mother and wife.

So you know what, I decided that I’m happier when I let go of all those things society may tell me to be sorry about. I’m not sorry, because the time I used to use to accomplish these things is now spent being the best mama I can be.

Without further adieu, here is what I no longer apologize for, and you shouldn’t either:

  1. Bless this mess! My house has literally NEVER been at the level of untidy as it is currently. After several drop ins (anyone else hate this? Seems to come with the territory of having a baby) and several apologies for my messy home I just decided I don’t care. If the cleanliness of my home reflects my life and who I am, here is what it reflects: the dishes in the sink reflect the meals I’ve made for my husband and baby to keep them nourished. The piles of laundry that I’ve folded but haven’t been put away reflect the time I’ve been away at work to help support my family. The dust bunnies in the corners of the rooms reflect the snuggles I have given, books I have read, and precious time I have given to my daughter instead of sweeping. Will my daughter remember the extra piles of laundry, the fact that I couldn’t get to the dishes until she was asleep, or that there was a little extra dust on my shelves? Nope! But she will remember all the time I spent playing and bonding with her! After all, that’s all I remember from my childhood!
  2. Saying no to plans: before my baby I felt the need to say yes to every single plan a friend or family member would throw my way. Last minute plans to go to a winery… um yes count me in! Sure, I’d be at your party, after working at the farm stand and rushing to a quick dinner with someone I haven’t seen in forever! Well, no I am so so so happy to use the word “no”. No I won’t be attending that party because if my child doesn’t get to bed by 7, I’m paying for it tomorrow morning when she wakes up at 5 am instead of 7 am! Nope, I can’t make it to that dinner because I am so exhausted from all the other things piled on my plate that I actually need 2 hours on couch to watch mindless TV in between my child’s bedtime and my own. I’m not even a little sorry about this one. Yes on one hand I’m sad that I can’t fly by the seat of my pants anymore and say yes to every last minute plan thrown my way… but on the other hand, if I can squeeze in an hour to actually sit down with a glass of wine by myself I’m taking it! It’s not that I won’t miss the company of good friends and family, it’s just that some days I’m not sure when I’ll actually get to be ALONE. If I have that chance, mama is gonna pick that over overstimulation any day and there is no way I’m feeling sorry for it!
  3. How I choose to parent. This one is SO important for all of us to hear. It’s 2019, and we all know that everyone is different and that’s what makes this world beautiful! My whole life I’ve heard “there is no one exactly like you and that’s why you’re special!” This is absolutely true for everyone! So how in the hell can we expect everyone to do things the way we do them? I’ve only been a mom for 6 months, and the amount of mom shaming I have witnessed is astounding! How can we spread a message that our differences make us beautiful, and then turn around and talk behind some moms back because she didn’t breastfeed her baby? Oh you never let your child have screen time because of that study you read on Facebook? That’s great, but don’t turn around and point your finger at the mother who needs her hands free for 30 minutes while she tries to cook dinner for her family and has no one to hold her screaming toddler! We all read the books Karen, and you know what I learned? Every freaking psychologist has a different theory of how we should raise our children and they all think they’re right! You know the truth? Every mother is different, every child is different, every family is different. What works for one probably won’t work for another! I started my child on Whole Foods and skipped the cereal and had more than one person judge me. Do you mamas! My kid was stealing sweet potatoes off my plate, so I chose to give her the damn sweet potatoes (dr approved of course), and she was ecstatic! If you choose to start with cereal I think that’s great! Neither one way or the other is better. It’s just different! I’m choosing to raise my child with the “respectful parenting” method. I already try to explain to my daughter everything we are doing. When I change her diaper I explain to her “I’m going to change your diaper now”, if I put her down I say “ok, I’m putting you down for a few minutes, I understand you’re upset, but Mommy has to clean up and then I’ll pick you back up!” Yes she’s 6 months old, and YES I have been told she doesn’t understand and this is ridiculous. At the end of the day this feels right to me and I refuse to say sorry for it! If you do it completely differently that’s amazing and I think you’re doing the best for you and your children too! Our differences are what make us beautiful remember?
  4. My appearance. Shower…. that’s that thing in the bathroom that sprays water out of the wall right? Yes I remember it fondly! Just kidding. I do shower, but is it everyday? Show me one mom that says she hasn’t missed a shower in a year and I will give her a medal. Now that my daughter’s naps are on a schedule this little luxury has finally started coming back into my life, but there are some days it still doesn’t happen. Make up? I mean I use mascara! That’s about all the time I usually have to do it. Shampoo? Yeah I use that about once a week! Dry shampoo is a mamas new best friend am I right? I have literally caught myself going to the store looking like I rolled out of bed, and I only noticed when I caught my reflection in the door on the way out. I could spend more time on my appearance, but when the trade off is time with my child, or attempting to cross a chore off my never ending list, I’m gonna pick one of those.
  5. Not replying to your texts or calls. Hey remember that time when no one had cell phones? Remember when texting wasn’t unlimited, and you had to wait for the weekend or after 7 to call your friends? Remember when the way you contacted your friends was AIM and if you put an away message up no one cared if u didn’t respond for hours?! Yeah those were the good old days! Now people feel totally ok with calling your cell phone ten times until you pick up, or texting you “hello?!?!?!” if you haven’t responded in two seconds. I am guilty myself, trust me! How sad is it that we have become a culture of now? We can’t even give the people we love some space to be away from their phones or computers? We need them to answer us the second we text them! Well, one thing I consider a blessing is how much time away I spend from my phone now that I’m a mom. I don’t want my daughter to see me on my phone. I want her to have a mom who is present when she is present. So unless I’m taking a photo of her I try to keep my cellphone in the other room. So if you text me or call me 10 times and it took me hours to answer that’s why. Sometimes I look at your texts, and then she wakes from her nap or needs me to remove her from her playpen because she’s overstimulated. Yup, I of course forget to reply. Sometimes it takes me days to remember! I’m not gonna apologize for choosing my child over my phone and neither should you! No one is going to die if you don’t answer their text immediately, and if it’s an emergency they should probably call 911 not you. Never apologize for being present, because that is a gift.
  6. Taking time for myself. You bet your bottom dollar that I’m taking a few minutes a day for myself. At least I try to! No I’m not taking hours and hours on end to go to the spa, or have my nails done. I’m taking 20-30 minutes a day to keep myself sane. This may consist of a workout, a walk, sitting outside with my dog and a cup of coffee, reading a book, or watching Bravo on tv until my mind melts. I NEED this time. As moms and wives we are constantly doing things for everyone else. My life is literally all about helping my daughter learn and grow. It’s my favorite job, but I can’t help her feel like her needs are being fully met if I don’t also meet my own. What kind of mom and wife would I be if I was resentful and cranky because I didn’t allow myself 30 freaking minutes to decompress? I know I’m a better mom and wife when I give myself even just this tiny amount of time in my day to make myself happy. If you’re not doing this you need to! It will make your day that much better. After all, we can’t pour from an empty cup!
  7. Being myself. I honestly never really apologized for this, but I did sometimes feel guilty. When I was in the first grade, my parents attended parent teacher conference day and were told that their daughter was a daydreamer. That I spent more time daydreaming and up in the clouds than I did paying attention to class and to others. She also told my parents to never try to change that because it was special. Well people, nothing has changed! That’s not to say that I don’t work really hard, and focus when I’m at work or home trying to accomplish my goals. However, I tend to say things that are in my head without thinking it through, do really spacey things, forget what I’m doing at any given moment, cannot control my facial expressions AT ALL (if I’m thinking it but not saying it… my face is). This is who I am. I’m not malicious, and I of course always feel bad when someone doesn’t understand me, but I never mean to hurt or harm anyone. I’m just up in the clouds! It took me 30 years, but you know what I’m proud of who I am and I’m no longer apologizing. I’m a dreamer, and sometimes that doesn’t compute with people who’s feet are firmly planted on the ground. This is me and I’m not changing. Never apologize for who you are. Your people, your tribe, your family will get you. The people who don’t, they aren’t for you and that’s ok! If we all realized this I think the world would get along so much better! Let’s accept and celebrate our differences. You are exactly the person you were meant to be. Never say sorry for that.

There is so much freedom when we give up apologizing for everything. I’m not telling you to never say sorry. I will always apologize for hurting someone’s feelings, for letting someone down, or for messing up. Just remember that to live life to the fullest may mean giving up some chores, missing some phone calls, taking 20 minutes to chill out, skipping a shower, saying no to plans, and leaning into who you are!

Let’s spend less time apologizing for who we are mamas and more time celebrating ourselves, each other, and all the ways that make us unique and special! You’re doing an amazing job mama! Never apologize for it.

PPA: What Literally No One Warned Me About

I’m going to start this post by saying that I truly do not want any sympathy. I am merely sharing my experience so that I can spare a future mama from being hit with something they never expected.

Motherhood is amazing. Amazingly beautiful, amazingly trying, amazingly wonderful, and amazingly difficult. I’ve only been a mother for a whopping 3 months and I can already tell you this. I am beyond grateful for my little one, for my pregnancy, and my birth experience. I honestly would do everything all over again, even the 4th trimester (trust me it ain’t no piece of cake).

When I got pregnant I began reading many books on what to expect during pregnancy and what will happen after the baby arrived. My doctors discussed some of these expectations and possibilities at length with me. Towards the end of my pregnancy, and after giving birth to my baby girl, postpartum depression or PPD was constantly brought up. I was screened (although if you ask me a few vague questions don’t really seem like enough to me) and told I wasn’t suffering from any PPD. I knew that wasn’t the case, so this didn’t shock me.

What did worry me was the way I started feeling every night before going to bed since about a week after I gave birth. I would get the baby ready for bed, brush my teeth, say goodnight to my husband and hop in bed. All of a sudden my chest would tighten, my mind would race, and I would feel as tho I couldn’t catch my breath.

I had never dealt with anything like this, but coming from a family who deals with a lot of anxiety, I knew that this is what it felt like.

Why now?! I had literally never dealt with anxiety EVER.

I kept asking myself what I was anxious about. Was I failing already as a mother? Am I already unraveling? Is it the fact that I will have to return to work and leave my baby with someone else 3 days a week? Is it because my husband and my relationship will ultimately never be the way it was before children? Was it all of these things?

I honestly couldn’t pinpoint any reason for it. All I can tell you is that I had no clue where it was coming from or why.

Not a single doctor or person I had come in contact with said anything to me about feeling anxious after the baby. Not one. So I really didn’t know it had anything to do with it.

Many of my girlfriends, and my husband, and family had asked me how I was doing. They said if you have any feelings of depression please talk to them. No one said anything about anxiety. So for a while I said nothing about it.

My husband has been extremely supportive and helpful through my entire pregnancy, and my postpartum journey. He consistently would ask how I felt, and to please talk to him if I felt off in any way.

One night after getting the baby to sleep, I was very overwhelmed with my anxiety. I couldn’t keep this to myself any longer. I went out to my husband and told him how I had been feeling. I said no one said anything about anxiety, they just stressed the signs of depression.

He urged me to google it.

Lowe and behold, PPA popped up. Postpartum anxiety is a very real, very common occurrence. How did no one tell me about it?

From what I was reading online, many women in forums had no idea about it either. Some of these women didn’t even know that’s what they were going through until years later.

I was not alone. This immediately made me feel better, not completely, but better.

I found forums of women discussing their anxieties and what they were doing to treat them. I was encouraged to talk about everything on my mind, and to share it all with a loved one. I found links to get help and seek therapy if it was so severe I couldn’t get through it on my own.

Here is my question: why is this not talked about? Why are we only focusing on PPD when PPA is just as prevalent?

This is why I am talking about it. May is Maternity Mental Heath Awareness month, and I hope that by talking about my own experience I can help someone else in theirs.

If you are pregnant, or a new mama and you ever feel any symptoms that don’t quite fit into the PPD category but you know aren’t normal to you, talk to someone. You are not alone.

PPA is very real. You don’t have to do it alone. Reach out to a loved one, a fellow mama, a therapist, anyone. For me just talking about my feelings has helped tremendously, but that may not be the case for everyone.

Please never feel unworthy of asking for help, and getting it. You deserve it mamas. You give your all everyday for your family. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup!

I hope in the future doctors will open the discussion for not just PPD but anxiety as well and any other postpartum mood disorders not discussed. Until then, it is our duty to help one another out and share our own experiences.

If I can help just one woman know that she isn’t alone, and there is help for her out there, then I am happy.

You are worthy of happiness, you are worthy of help. You are worthy mama. Don’t ever forget it.

Letting Go of Plans: My Birth Story

The past few months have been a whirlwind, but they do not compare to the past two weeks. I have left this passion project of a blog unattended, because I was very pregnant, busy, and far more focused on preparing for the little bundle of joy that was to join us!

You see I am a gal who likes a plan. A nice solid plan. This is something that occasionally drives my husband nuts (like when it’s Saturday we have no plans and I get up at 6 am contemplating things to do, and demand he start planning the day with me as soon as he wakes up). I can’t help it! I like to know what I am doing, and what I need to get done.

Nesting hit early on in my second trimester, which was terrible timing because farm life was still in full swing and the husband and I were both working 7 days a week. Come November I had my husband painting walls and building cribs before he had a chance to think otherwise!

Once that third trimester kicked in, I was sure to finish my Hypnobirthing home course, and assign my husband homework and readings from it as well. I wanted to be thoroughly ready for what lay ahead, and my husband had to be too. My birth plan was written, proofread, and had 3 copies printed and strategically placed in different bags just in case by 36 weeks.

In my head I planned that this baby just wouldn’t make it to 40 weeks! She had dropped by week 34 and was 7mm from my bladder and resting her head on my cervix since 37 weeks.

Well I learned pretty quick that planning was about to fly out the door!

The week before my due date I had a routine check. The doctor examined me, told me I was 80% effaced and 1 cm dilated. “From the looks of it you may not make it to your due date, but just in case go ahead and schedule an appointment for that day.” That comment basically gave me the green light on my plans to have this kid before my EDD.

Well then my due date came, and at that appointment the doctor said “OK. Nothing has changed from last week. I would schedule a sonogram for next Friday, and have you scheduled an induction for the 42 week mark yet? Because I think you should just in case.”

This was the beginning of my plans shattering. I walked out of that office with two new appointment cards: one for a sonogram in case my stubborn baby was too big to wait until 42 weeks, and one for an impending induction. My heart deflated and my ego took a big hit. My plans to be a mother by that evening had flown out the window.

I dramatically texted my family saying “No baby, I am just gonna he pregnant forever.” That was the new plan. I even came home and declared it to my husband. “Well since she doesn’t wanna come out, I’ll be induced on the night of February 18th and she’ll be born on the 19th. It’s ok though because I got to pick who will deliver her.”

Well that night our daughter had other plans. After a delicious eggplant parm dinner (a labor induction suggestion from a friend… who knew!), at 12:30 am on February 9th my water broke.

It wasn’t like a scene out of a movie where I immediately went into labor and we rushed to the hospital. I had been sleeping and was actually terrified that the whole loss of bladder control thing everyone had been telling me would happen, had finally occurred. But nope, my water had definitely broken. I phoned the hospital, they told me to wait til 6 am or until my labor had started and I was having good contractions 5 min apart for 1 hour.

At 7:30 that morning my husband and I were rushing out the door to go have our baby girl! I had been having strong contractions every 4 min for 1 min straight for 2 hours by the time we got to the hospital, so naturally my husband and I thought this was gonna be it! I’d be delivering by noon, just like we’d hoped for the past month! An afternoon baby, and lots of naps for the rest of the day! (Hahaha now I can really laugh at that because I’ve lived the new baby hospital life and know that naps are hard to come by there).

The doctor examined me and informed us that my water had indeed broken and she’d be back in a few to check my cervix.

I was so excited! I must be well on my way right? The contractions although pretty painful, and super close at this point were bad, but my hypnobirthing breathing techniques were really helping! I was about to have the all natural, beautiful, non medicated birth I dreamt of!

The doctor then checked me, and informed me that while I was 95% effaced, I was still only 1cm dilated. My water had been broken for almost 9 hours and if I went much longer, the baby and I would both be put on antibiotics because we would be at risk of infection. She suggested I be put on a pitocin drip (synthetic oxytocin) to speed things up.

My birth plan had entailed no pitocin unless necessary… but starting my baby’s life with antibiotics or risking infection outweighed my desire to naturally progress. I agreed, they started my drip, and things certainly sped up. My husband asked me if I wanted to show the doctor my birth plan… I said no that’s ok, confident that I would get the rest of my natural birth!

The first 4-5 hours my breathing techniques worked wonders… but then we entered the transition period. I was about 7-8 cm dilated and the contractions were coming every minute or less, and due to the pitocin were lasting 120 seconds instead of 60 and were super intense. I was in so much pain that I couldn’t breath or relax my body if I tried.

Enter the drugs. I remember looking at my husband who I told “don’t you let me take the epidural”, and pleading with him not to judge me. I knew that if I didn’t take it, I would not have the energy to push this baby out on my own. That mattered to me more than anything. My husband of course supported my decision. What felt like an eternity later, the anesthesiologist showed up and took all the pain away!

After a brief hour long nap, I started feeling a serious pressure and my contractions once again. The doctor checked me, told me I was at 9.5 cm and that she wanted to wait one more hour so the baby could descend a little further on her own. Whelp then she noticed I was feeling my contractions once again, and that the epidural had snapped out of my back! “Ok time to push!” She announced.

About an hour later my little girl was placed into my arms. Our lives were changed forever… and all plans have gone out the window!

We planned to “get some rest” that first night, but as soon as I’d feed the baby, and change her and shut my eyes a nurse would come in to check one or both of us. So we planned on napping the following day, but we were flooded with excited and happy loved ones who came to wish us well.

(Keeping it real:this picture truly captures how exhausted I was the day after giving birth)

It’s been a week and a half since our baby girl was born, and I can honestly say I have woke up everyday knowing full well there will be no planning happening. I’m ok with this now. The only plans I have every day now are to feed, clothe, and give my baby girl all the love she deserves. That is truly the only plan that matters anymore.

Whoever first told me to “plan to throw your plans out”, you were so right. I am so at peace with this idea of a plan free day, because all I really want to do anyway is spend as much time with my girl as I can.

It’s only been 11 days since the birth of my daughter, and time already seems to be speeding by.

Life is just too short to make plans. Instead I will choose to soak up each and every moment I get with my child, so I can cherish them one day when I’m free to plan away again.