Is your little one hating bath time? Mine did too at first. Here are a few tips for how to help your newborn enjoy bath time.
Both my boys learned to enjoy bath time, but they didn’t initially love it. Maybe it’s because they were both preterm babies. I think we tend to underestimate how scary it can be for our little ones to find themselves submerged in water, cold, with somebody scrubbing them.
Bathing my youngest had added challenges because as a newborn my clubfoot baby was often either in foot taping or a plaster cast. He hated being bathed, but the small little tricks I’m about to show you helped him enjoy bath time.
I’ve found there are three main reasons babies may dislike bath time.
They’re too cold
The water is too hot
They are insecure
I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I’m going to share what helped us and maybe it will show you how to help your newborn enjoy bath time.
Tools of the Trade
Swaddling / Receiving blanket
A soft wash cloth
Your favorite gentle bath soap
Warm Things Up
The first thing I recommend doing is by closing all the doors in and around your bathroom. Set up a small space heater on the floor or adjacent counter top. Allow the room to warm up from 10-15 minutes while you prepare other things. Babies equate warmth with security, so the goal is to keep them as warm as possible.
Lay Out Clothes
Consider where you’ll be taking your baby directly after his or her bath. For me, I bathed them in my master bathroom, so I would immediately take them to a changing table on my dresser. I recommend laying out clothes in advance. Get their little outfit out and ready so you can lessen the time they will be naked or cold.
Additionally, lay a hooded towel directly near the baby bathtub for a quick transfer.
Prepare the Bath
Two to four inches of water is all you need. Babies have extra sensitive skin. Dyes and fragrances can sometimes irritate baby’s skin and may contribute to eczema. If this is the case, try opting for a natural fragrance-free, dye free soap. We loved Aveeno.
Pro-tip: Always test the temperature of the water with your elbow. It should feel warm, but not hot.
If water is too hot you can add cool water. Just make sure to swirl it around to eliminate any hot spots.
Undress your baby. Once naked, swaddle in a receiving blanket. Put your baby in the water with the swaddle. The swaddling blanket will not only keep baby warm, but will also make him or her feel more secure.
Always start by washing their face first while the water and cloth is still clean. I liked to think of it as a massage with a towel. I dip it in the warm water and slowly wipe their little eyes and nose like a gentle massage. Save shampooing the hair for last. (I’ve got a great way of doing it) Don’t forget to wash the neck well as milk tends to collect in the skin folds.
Continue washing your baby downward from head to toes. Remove one limb from the swaddle at a time so the rest of the body stays warm while you wash. Frequently pour warm water over baby with a cup to keep him or her from getting cold. Take care to clean well in the folds of skin.
Take your baby out of the tub and quickly transfer to a dry hooded towel. Swaddle your baby tightly to keep him or her warm. Put your baby in a football hold with one arm using your non-dominant arm. Support their head with your hand. Using a football hold will make your baby feel more secure when water is going over his or her head. Shampoo your baby’s head over the tub. Use a washcloth or soft brush to gently exfoliate baby’s head to reduce chances of cradle cap. Pour clean warm water over baby’s head while continuing to cradle. When done, cover baby’s head with the hood of the towel and gently massage hair dry.
Dry your baby well while still in the warm environment. Once dry, consider applying baby oil or rehydrating their skin to help reduce eczema or flaky skin. Make sure they are nice and toasty for a while after their bath, by putting them in warmer clothes (like long sleeves). Babies enjoy bath time a lot more if they are kept warm and secure throughout the process. This bath time only took me about 15 minutes on average.
I hope I’ve shared a few things that will make momming a little more enjoyable. Thanks for reading. Before you go, don’t forget to PIN this post for later or share it with a new mama. Also, be sure to subscribe to my blog before you go.
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Momming is hard! You may be wondering if you’re just tired or it’s something more serious. Here are 8 signs you have mom burnout.
If you read this blog often, you’ll know I write often about how hard motherhood is and dedicate a lot of my posts to motherhood support. I think it’s really important to understand what moms go through, but most of all to know there is help. Mom burnout is a real thing and you may not even realize that it’s happening. Today, I’m sharing 8 signs that you have mom burnout.
8 Signs You Have Mom Burnout
You’re Exhausted All the Time
You’re exhausted as soon as your feet hit the floor and you drag all throughout the day. Girl, I’ve been there. All-day tiredness is a big sign that you are running on fumes. If even a good night sleep can’t quench your exhaustion, there is a bigger problem afoot. Even a deep sleep can’t solve the mental and emotional exhaustion you might be feeling. Or perhaps you aren’t sleeping at all despite being totally exhausted! I’ve found there are two things to help with that. Relaxation (decompressing) and joyful activities.
Relaxation requires you to be awake. It can sometimes mean stillness, quietness, or engaging in an activities that makes you feel relaxed, centered, and calm. For some ideas, look at my post 30 Day Wellness Challenge.
When it comes to joyful activities, this means doing things that bring you joy. Maybe it’s playing sports or doing crafts. Exhaustion can happen when the rigors of life are out of balance with the joy in our lives. Don’t forget that having fun is a great way to replenish yourself.
You Can’t Focus
A lack of focus can show up in all kinds of ways. You may notice you are struggling to remember things. You may notice it’s more than just fogginess. Perhaps, you’re making serious mistakes and oversights – things that are completely out of character for you to overlook. I have a great attention to detail, so when I start making sloppy mistakes I know it’s time to slow down and regroup. When you’re exhausted and burnt out, you’ll struggle to keep it all together.
Everything Sets You Off
For me, the main sign I am burnt out is very obvious. I get irritable! I’m being generous here. I become nothing short of a fire-breathing, snarling, little she-demon when I’ve hit my limit. Everything upsets me. Patience is short. Mercy is little. I hate admitting that, but chances are if you’re around me for any length of time, I can’t keep that a secret. Maybe other people aren’t as extreme as I am, but I bet most people are fairly irritable when they are burnt out. I’ve seen it before in co-workers and family. When we’ve had enough, we get pretty fed up with everything. If you find yourself irritable and frustrated all the time or over small matters, you may need to ask yourself if it’s time for a break.
You Become Negative
Okay y’all. I’m no Tony Robbins or Rachel Hollis. I’m not naturally happy-go-lucky or super positive. I try to be, but it certainly does not come naturally. Becoming negative though is actually one of the first signs I have mom burnout. Being negative doesn’t just mean being a “Debby Downer.” It also means you start feeling jaded, maybe even a little cynical about your life, people and circumstances.
The problem is that when we feed a negative attitude, we being to feel even worse. This is why we are instructed by the Bible, motivational speakers, and life coaches to remain purposely positive during hard times. Actions follow our thoughts. Negative thoughts snowball and we can start lashing out in all kinds of destructive ways. A consistent pattern of negativity might reveal you are burnt out.
When you’re burnt out, your body is physically depleted. Stress can leave you more susceptible to illnesses. Anxiety can create tightness in your chest and even arrhythmia. Depression can actually make your body ache. Mental health affects physical health.
In 2009, I had a nervous breakdown from being overloaded at work. That year, I used six months of sick time! I had precancerous cells, a tumor, a sinus infection that would never heal. Honestly, I felt like my body was breaking down (at the age of 29). I just couldn’t get well until I finally took a few months off work to rebound.
I’m not suggesting that being perpetually sick is solely due to stress. There can be lots of underlying health problems that can cause that. But if you find you are systematically unwell while also experiencing burn out, you may need to take a serious look at what stress is doing to your body. Remember, take care of yourself, friend.
You’re Not Motivated
You know this one well. Demotivation. When we are burnt out, the last thing we want to do…is…well…anything! We are tired of giving. Tired of sacrificing. You’re so done with picking up toys and wiping up crumbs! I know I’m burnt out when I let the house go, live in sweat pants, and have the TV babysit my kids. I know you’ve been there, mama. We all have! We all have days where we don’t feel like adulting, but if you have a long stretch of feeling like this it may be more than just feeling a little lazy. It may be the sign that it’s time for a change. Try switching up your routine or get outdoors. If you’re a stay-at-home mom, I’ve also found that inviting a friend over for the day can help battle the monotony and loneliness.
You Feel Overwhelmed
After I had my second son, I knew I was burnt out because I felt overwhelmed. For example, before my second son, I was a lively mom who loved hosting playdates and going to toddler “mommy and me” activities. But with my new addition, the thought of straying even down the street from my house overwhelmed me. I suddenly became a homebody because even a trip to the grocery store gave me anxiety. A big sign you are burnt out is the inability to handle small tasks without feeling overwhelmed. It’s a big cue you may have too much on your plate.
In moments like this, you need to ask for help. A neighbor, a spouse, parent, friend – someone you trust. Swallow some pride and ask someone to lend a hand or give you a break. Maybe you need to shirk some unnecessary things in your life to lighten your load. You may even need to get professional help, like a therapist to help process feelings of anxiety.
I’m being candid here. I cry when I’m burnt out. Whether it is out of frustration or being completely overwhelmed, I find I fight back tears. First, there is no shame in crying. In fact, I recommend it. Crying is an emotional release. It is a biological mechanism designed to help us release pent up feelings that might otherwise burden us. Sometimes, having a good, hard, ugly cry is therapeutic. It is cleansing. Do yourself a favor. If you feel your eyes welling up, go to a private place. Scream into a pillow. Sob into your hands. Go ahead and open up to the heavens and have that deep, wailing, body-shuddering cry until you can’t cry anymore. Then get up and wash your face.
Hang In There, Mama
Listen, friend. Things might be rough right now, but they get better. We all get into slumps and have to struggle to find our way out. Get support. That includes seeking out professional help like a therapist if you need to. They can add tremendous value.
Thank you for reading, 8 Signs You Have Mom Burnout. Before you go, PIN this post for later and share it with a friend who needs it. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for future posts, FREEBIES and giveaways.
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Gotcha! You’ve entered a judgement free zone. This isn’t about parenting styles or choices. It’s about how to be good to yourself in this tough season of life. Here are 6 things you’re doing wrong as a mom.
I bet you saw this title and immediately thought I was about to judge you! I took a chance, knowing that the title of this post would turn people off right away. As you’ll see, that’s not what this post is about. This post is a loving reminder about being good to yourself. If there is anything we do wrong in motherhood it’s being overly harsh and critical with ourselves. We neglect ourselves far too often.
6 Things You’re Doing Wrong As a Mom
Y’all, I can be totally guilty of this. With all the things we have on our plates it’s so easy to put ourselves last. But you need balance in your life. You need a little fun, rest or relaxation. Sometimes just a couple of hours away is all you need. Mom burnout is a real thing. You can’t take care of your family well, if you’re depleted.
Taking care of yourself, needs to be as important as any doctor’s appointment or school function. It means planning ahead and scheduling time with yourself. I’ve already learned if I wait for it to happen it never will. It doesn’t matter how you spend that time. Maybe you take a long bubble bath or have a girl’s night with friends. Maybe it’s dinner and shopping trip alone or an evening at the gym. Just spend it doing something that recharges you and brings you joy. For ideas, take a look at my 30 Day Wellness Challenge.
Neglecting Your Marriage
Just as important as taking care of yourself is taking care of your marriage. We have a tendency to put kids first. That’s not a bad thing. But we have to remember to lovingly feed our marriage. If you don’t feed it, it will starve. I’ve always said that relationships are like bank accounts. When you are constantly making deposits, withdraws are easier to make. Withdraws are anything that subtracts from your marriage like occasional long hours at work or maybe some constructive “feedback.” Keep your marriage in the black. When you marriage is in the red it is strained and small withdraws can cause major upsets and fights. Hard times are easier to have when you are connected with your spouse.
This also includes making time for intimacy and sex. Yup…I’m going there. Sorry, me-maw! Girl, I know how hard it can be. You’ve been dealing with work and kids all day and the last thing you may want to do is “put out!” Haha! I know! Sometimes after a full day of being a human jungle gym the last thing I want is to be touched some more. But staying physically and emotionally close to your partner, really needs to take front and center stage. It gives your babies security and keeps your family strong. For ideas on small ways to connect, read my posts 25 Questions to Reconnect With Your Spouse and Easy Cheap Date Nights At Home
Failing to Share Responsibility
Look, I get it. I really do. Sometimes…well, most of the time, it is so much easier to just to just do things yourself. Rather than listening to grumbling, whining, and complaining from a husband and kids it’s just easier to be the martyr and get it done. If you have control issues, you may even feel the only way it will get done right is by tackling it on your own.
However, two things happen when you do that. One, you shoulder the entire responsibility of household management which can lead to you having no time for yourself resulting in Mom Burnout. Secondly, your children miss out on developing vital life skills. I’m always amazed at how many women today can’t sew a button or cook something from scratch. It’s simply because they were never taught. I don’t mean that in a judgmental way, I’m simply trying to illustrate that we lose generational skills and traditions when we fail to teach our children. Keep in mind, if you don’t teach your child, they can’t teach their kids. In my next post, I’ll share 100 Life Skills To Teach Your Child. Giving your child consistent responsibility not only builds character, but it prepares them for life. Be a little selfish – delegate!
Not Having a Mom Tribe
Okay, full disclosure. As I write this, I don’t have a mom tribe. I had one for a long while and I can honestly say it was the happiest time of my mom life so far. Then I hit a rough patch. I was struggling personally and I didn’t feel the support I used to feel. Kids were getting older and some moms had moved on once kids were in school. Others had literally moved away. For many reasons I began to question if I had outgrown my group. I still occasionally go, but it doesn’t feel like home anymore. It’s been a year since I made the very hard to decision to take a break. I don’t consider it to be a mistake, but I also feel like this year was incredibly hard doing mom life on my own.
There was no one to talk to for advice or empathy. I miss laughing and going out with friends. This dry season has taught me just how important it is to have a mom tribe. It doesn’t matter if you work or stay at home. You need some women in your life who “get you.” These days, there are lots of ways to find them – work, church, school, Facebook groups, Meetup groups, MOPS, etc. It’s scary at first to make new friends and you’ll probably have to go a few times before you feel comfortable. You may even need to go to a few groups to find one you jive with. That’s okay. Just get out and make some friends in the same stage of life as you. Don’t worry. I’m starting to get out there too!
Trying to Be Perfect
If you read this blog regularly you’ll know, I’m a recovering perfectionist. Perfectionism can be really dangerous to your mental health. It’s also just a way to cover up insecurities. Goals are good and so is pushing yourself to do better. But some of us take it to an extreme and find ourselves crushed if we can’t meet our perceived standards.
The worse part about perfectionism is that it spills over to other people. We can begin to impose standards and expectations on family members and friends. It can turn into sanctimony and the judgement of others and nobody wants to feel judged.
Remember be kind and merciful to yourself. Give yourself room for growth and learning by extending grace to yourself on a regular basis. It will be good for you and your relationships. It has taken me a long time to learn that people don’t identity with perfectionism. They identify with flaws.
Okay, mama. This is a big one and I am guilty when it comes to this too. Mom guilt. It’s a real thing. It’s the sister of “trying to be perfect.” There are all kinds of things for which to feel guilty. Maybe you’re a working mom and you feel guilty that you don’t spend enough time with your kids. Maybe you feel guilty that you are overly harsh with your kids. Perhaps you feel guilty that you can’t keep up with your house or chores. The list is endless.
Guilt is a cognitive and emotional experience felt after a moral, personal, or universal standard isn’t met (accurate or not). Guilt is designed to be our moral compass to show us we’ve done something wrong. Shame and guilt are intended to be useful tools used to help convict us to do better. But something happens when it gets out of balance and it turns into excessive guilt. Feeling overly guilty can turn into self-condemnation and can lead our thoughts into very dark places. We may begin to feel unworthy of good things or happiness. It can lead to situational depression and unwarranted self-abuse. Remember, be compassionate with yourself.
Here are some steps to help:
Tell yourself you’ll do better next time
Remind yourself it was a learning experience and hindsight is always 20/20
Consider whether or not the situation was even within your control
Speak compassionately to yourself
Consider if your standards or ideals may be too high or rigorous
Remind yourself you are human and perfectionism isn’t possible
Before You Go
Thanks for reading 6 Things You’re Doing Wrong as a Mom. Don’t forget to PIN this post for later. Share it with a friend or on your Facebook wall. Also before you go, don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for FREEBIES and giveaways. I give them away every month.
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School time is upon us!Memorialize you child’s first day of school with these cute printable back to school signs.
Wow! Can you believe we are in August? It’s hard to believe that summer vacation is coming to an end and our little ones are going to heading back to school. I’ll be honest. We didn’t do much this summer. It was just so hot here in Texas. Also, with all the uncertainty we had with our job loss and moving life just kind of got put on hold.
We are homeschooling this year and I can’t wait to start preschool with my little guy. I know most kids are heading back to school in August and what better way to start than to memorialize their first day of school.
Printable Back to School Signs
That’s why I created some printable back to school signs. I’ve made one from tot school (2-3 years), preschool, kindergarten, and from first to eighth grade. I’ve also included a “Back to School” signs that don’t include grade years. These are great if you don’t want to disclose which grade your child is in or if you want your non school age children to participate with their siblings in the photos.
You can get all 12 signs for just $5.
You can purchase it through my Etsy shop or through my shop here on the blog. All you have to do is print them out one your home computer or at a print shop and have your child hold the sign while you snap some photos. The signs are sized for 8.5 x 11.”
If you’re a mama staring at the tornado that is your house and wondering how to get housework done with an infant, this post is for you.
When I first became a mom, I wondered, “how in the world do you get things done with an infant?” Girl, let me tell you – I’ve been there!
Friend, let me tell you… I was totally that struggling mom. I struggled to get even the smallest things done. The first six months was a blur. My dishes were piled up. Counters were dirty. Floors were filthy. Errands were neglected. Laundry was spilling over every hamper. I can tell you, you’ll find what works for you – every mother does. But if you’re a new mom and need some solid advice, I’m here to share what helped me.
These days, I have two kids and I’m proud to say I’m amazingly productive for having an infant and toddler who are constantly vomiting chaos wherever they go.
How to Get Housework Done With an Infant
Include Your Baby
One of the main reasons babies fuss while you’re trying to get things done is because they want your attention. You are your baby’s whole world. The sun rises and sets with you. He or she loves you more than anyone in the whole world, and therefore, they want your love and attention. Let’s be real – when we have a to-do list longer than the Great Wall of China, we don’t care about that! We just want a few minutes to get some things done! Ass you already know, babies don’t want to be ignored. They are living, loving creatures that want engagement and attention. So bring your baby with you.
Your baby also loves to explore! As long as your baby is safe, give them nearby household objects to explore. Sometimes these are better than actual toys! When I do the dishes, I give my little one measuring cups, measuring spoons, a clean sponge, or a pot to bang on. Talk or sing to your little one. These are great teaching moments. Engage your little one by explaining what you are doing.
If you are folding clothes, give them a colorful towel or one of their own clothes. Let them explore it. Play peek a boo when you grab a new piece of clothing. Tell him or her what color it is. Is it rough or soft? Cleaning a bathroom? Give them some bath squeeze toys or some toilet paper to tear up – just make sure they don’t eat it! The point is, that babies love inclusion and they have lots of fun when you engage them.
So, I’m gonna share a deep secret. When I first had my son, my mom witnessed firsthand my total and complete frustration. She pulled me aside and gave me the best advice. Gone were the days when I could wash dishes in 20 mins and clean a bathroom in a half hour. Those days will return one day, but for now, things had changed.
My mom said, “you’re still trying to clean as if you don’t have kids. Things have changed. Once you let go of that expectation, you’ll be happier.” I don’t know why it finally clicked, but a light bulb went off. In all my stubbornness, I had refused to let go of pre-child expectations. I was clinging to old standards. My inflexibility was making me miserable. I had to learn to adjust and embrace my new life. This may not be an actual tip, but I can tell you – you’ll save yourself a lot of anger and disappointment if you learn to adjust to your new normal. Dishes take me nearly an hour and bathroom takes about 2. That’s my new normal.
This post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through one of the links I provide, I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you.
Use a Carrier
Sometimes, our sweet little ones just want to be in our arms and they don’t take no for an answer. When that happens, a baby carrier becomes your best friend! Most carriers adjust for baby wearing on your back or in front of you. Depending on the activity, one or the other may be better. Remember never to bend at the waist with your carrier. Babies can fall out even when they seem snug in a carrier.
Invest in a good carrier. I was frugal and bought an inexpensive carrier. When you have a newborn, all carriers seem comfortable. But as your baby gains weight, the quality of your carrier becomes really obvious. Learn from my mistake – buy a good quality carrier that is ergonomic and evenly distributes weight. Your back will thank you. I recommend the following:
Move Them Frequently
Babies get bored quickly. Naw, I never knew that! Haha. If you’re a mom, you’ve figured this out already. Babies and toddlers have a super short attention span. Working against it by insisting that your baby sit with the same basket of toys for an hour will be frustrating to you and baby. Instead, take a cue and change their scenery. If you’re working up high, put them in a high chair with some toys. Putting them at eye level helps to extend the time you can work with. Folding clothes? Sit on the floor with them. Fold one load in the washroom and do the second load in your bedroom. Sometimes babies just want a change of scenery.
Touch Them Often
Babies desire to be in your arms all the time. If it were up to them, you’d never put them down. Get what you can done. When they start to fuss, pick them up and reassure them, continue with your tasks one handed if you can, then after a few minutes, try putting them down again, this time in another place. Often, they just want reassurance. I’ve found you normally get more time by doing that. We forget about things like that when we are scrambling to get chores done.
I’ve also found if you frequently touch babies like stroking their face, brushing their hair, grabbing their hands and singing while you work – it helps them feel assured. I’ve found sitting babies in between your legs works wonders. They feel like they are on your lap and they can touch you when they want to. Babies just long to be physically close to you. Sometimes you just need to be creative about it while you’re working.
Break Up Tasks
One of the most helpful things I learned to do was to break up tasks. First, I use a planner. My Happy Planner really saved me when I first became a mom. Keeping a cleaning schedule really helped me. You can read about my planner journey in the post How Happy Planner Changed My Life. But I learned to prioritize my day with 3 things that needed to get done. Then, I would break it up into smaller tasks and work them around taking care of my baby.
For example, I’d start a load of laundry then feed and play with my baby. I’d make my bed. Then take my baby to change the laundry (yes, you do a lot of things with one hand). Then I’d fill up the sink with hot soap water so dishes could sit while I read a book to my little one. Work smart and work small! Learn to take advantage of small clumps of minutes. Over the day, things will get done.
Some people will tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps. I always had a hard time with that because it was the only time I could get things done. It’s perfectly okay if you use nap time that way.
Hang in there, mama. This season won’t last forever. I hope I’ve provided some insight with how to get housework done with an infant. In the comments, I’d love to hear from you. I’d love to hear what you are struggling with as a new mama. Trust me when I say, as your child grows things will get easier.
Becoming a new mom can be overwhelming. There are so many questions to answer and problems to solve as you try to find your feet. Here are 10 Books to Read as a New Mom to get your through those tough first years.
This page contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of the links I provide, I may receive a small purchase at no cost to you. This helps me offset the costs of this blog. I only recommend things I absolutely love or use myself.
Keeping little humans alive is no joke! Some days just keeping them alive is the best we can do – and that’s okay. So today, I’m sharing 10 Books to read as a new mom. These books brought me peace, answered tough questions and guided me through really difficult circumstances. They helped me understand my little one better and reassured me that I was on the right path. I truly hope they help you as much as they helped me.
1. What To Expect: The First Year
They say children don’t come with an instruction manual. I beg to differ. If ever there was such a thing, this is definitely it. This book was a lifesaver to me. It answered so many of my questions. From nursing, to introducing solids, to sleep regression and illnesses, this was my go-to book. It will save you lots of questions to your mom, doctors, and friends. It’s the best resource for a clueless mom, and girl, we’re all clueless at the beginning of motherhood!
2. The Happiest Baby on the Block, by Harvey Karp M.D.
This was such a helpful book. Let’s just be real for a second – a crying baby can take a toll on you. If you have a sick, colicky, or reflux baby that cries even more than other babies, it can drive you to a point of frustration you didn’t even know existed. Dr. Karp explains the physiology of a crying baby and introduces 5 methods to soothe your little one.
3. Baby-Led Weaning, by Gill Rapley
This is a must-have guide when introducing solids to your baby. Feeding baby purees is a relatively modern parenting technique. Before electric blenders, parents did exactly what Rapley suggests, giving your baby cooked, soft whole foods. They learn to have a healthy relationship with food right from the start. Babies also develop fine motor skills by grasping and pinching. This book will show you the no-fuss way of doing it so your baby can join you at the dinner table.
4. The Magic of Motherhood, Ashlee Gadd
Fellow mom blogger Ashlee Gadd from blog Coffee + Crumbs, shares how there is no singular right way to be a mom. In her book, she shares how to find your new identity and how to accept yourself as a mom, faults included. The book, full of both laughter and tears, are honest, vulnerable and I promise you’ll identify with it. Be sure to follow her blog too…you know after My Beautiful Mess, of course!
5. What to Expect: The Second Year
This book is very similar to the What to Expect: The First Year. This book, however, focuses on 12 to 24 month toddler development and it is extremely helpful! It covers everything from picky eaters, to sleeping issues, and how to correct behavioral issues like biting and hitting and of course the big one – potty training. The one thing I really found useful was the chapters dedicated to illness, pain, and allergies. As you know, mamas worry and this answered my “should I worry?” questions.
6. Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting, Dr. Laura Markham
Can we be honest for a second? As soon as you have to start repeating yourself over and over as a parent, you’ll be tempted to yell. It’s true. We all have moments where our patience is pushed to a point where yelling seems like the only option to make your point. This book, written by a clinical psychologist, gives insightful tips on how to reach your child without resorting to yelling and other bad parenting behavior. The key is to reach your child on an emotional level so there is lasting, not just temporary change. This book really helped our terrible twos! The threes have become a breeze because of this book.
7. The Five Love Languages for Children: The Secret to Loving Your Child Effectively, Gary Chapman
If you’ve ever read the 5 Love Languages which is dedicated to wedded couples, you’re in for a real treat. This book teaches you how to discover your child’s love language. Almost like a decoding manual, it helps you translate the subtle cues and hints that your child sends on how they desire to be loved. I found this book very insightful. It helped me become a more intuitive, gentler parent. Side note: this book is Christian themed, but still powerful in translating emotional behaviors
8. Parenting With Love & Logic, Foster Cline & Jim Fay
One thing I loved about this book is that it teaches you to embrace your mistakes as learning opportunities. The book is designed to foster a life long relationship with your child based on respect, love, empathy and appreciation. It teaches you how to develop a child that is morally, emotionally, and spiritually healthy.
9. Latch: A Handbook for Breastfeeding With Confidence At Every Stage, Robin Kaplan
Breastfeeding can be a huge stressor when you first have a baby. It seems like the most natural things in the world, yet most nursing mothers will tell you it takes a while for both you and baby to get the hang of it. This no-judgement manual, is great to help you with nursing and nursing problems at every milestone. Written by an experienced lactation consultant, it’s like having her bedside all the time. A must read book for nursing moms!
10. Potty Training in 3 Days, Brandi Brucks
If you are struggling to potty train or simply have no idea where to start, I highly recommend this book. The book shares practical advice and steps on how to ditch diapers and get your little one interested in using the potty. The results speak for themselves. Many parents swear by the results and credit their success to this book.
I sincerely hope that this post, 10 Books to Read as a New Mom, helps you navigate those early years. Hang in there. You’re doing a great job mama. Remember, this is just advice. Ultimately, you’ll find your own way through motherhood. If you’re looking for other book lists, read the post 10 Books That Will Strengthen Your Marriage.
In the comments below, I’d love to hear about books that have changed your motherhood experience!
Life changes when your child enters NICU (Natal Intensive Care Unit). Please welcome guest writer, Kira McCloskey, a brave mother of two who is sharing 5 Tips To Survive NICU.
Expecting your first baby is always so exciting. We found out we were having a boy and we would name him Kolton Rian. The middle name (pronounced like Ryan) was after my aunt’s son who lived 2 days in the NICU. It was a way of remembering and honoring him. Around 28 weeks, I started to experience intense fatigue. I went to my doctor and they noticed my blood pressure has risen quite a bit and my urine was showing traces of protein. They put me on medicine and I stayed 2 nights in the hospital for observation. I was also given a steroid to help develop his lungs in case of an early delivery.
We returned home and things were ok. I was told to stay on bed rest and as fun as that sounds it was so difficult for someone who wants to be out and about to do things. At 31 weeks and 5 days I couldn’t wake up. I mean I did wake up, but my body was so weak I had barely any strength to open my eyes. I went to the doctors office right away.
5 Tips To Survive NICU
Tip #1: Listen To Your Body
If you are feeling like this go straight to the hospital, not the doctors office. They admitted me and told me I had pre-eclampsia. I slept that night at the hospital with cords and machines all over the place to monitor me and baby.
That morning I was awaken by a female doctor who I have never seen. She explained the severity of pre-eclampsia and told me that they needed to do a C-section right away. I was puzzled. Do 31 week old babies survive? I had no idea! All I could think of was to ask my husband if our baby would live. He had talked to the staff prior and they explained to him how the NICU works and of course the worse case scenario. I remember asking God to keep him alive. I didn’t care if he would have a disability from being born so early, I just wanted him to live.
Leaving to the NICU
I went into the operating room shortly after and went through the typical process of a C section. I remember asking the strangest questions. It’s funny how we don’t think straight during stressful times. Once he was out, I heard a tiny baby cry and he was immediately taken to a baby NICU bed where they started administrating tubes and his ivy. I knew this was best for him but the thought of not being with him, if he in fact were to take his last breath, at any moment, was the daunting part. I had to prepare myself for any outcome, by accepting this situation and with my faith, I was able to stay calm before he was wheeled away.
After recovery I was taken to see him in the NICU. I don’t remember much. I was disillusioned from everything. He was tiny, yes, but he was moving around and his numbers on the screen were all good. Honestly, at the point I felt relaxed. Although he had a road ahead of him, he was stable right now.
#2: Take some time away from the NICU for yourself
After the first week he was showing major improvements. I felt at this point it might be a good idea to start integrating into a normal life. We decided to go to dinner outside of the hospital. I got my nails done one afternoon and I went home to get some sleep.
It could be just a nap or maybe coffee with a friend, but it’s so important to get outside of the NICU for a little bit. Everyone grieves differently; some in silence and some with an audience. However you feel is appropriate for you. Allow yourself some time to do it. You can also call the NICU to get check ups on baby.
Tip #3: Capture the Moment
You may be taking photos and they aren’t exactly what you had in mind but they are part of your journey. Take pictures to compare progress and know that as your baby gets stronger the pictures will be a reminder of how tiny they once were.
Other ideas could be to journal, create a small craft with their foot print or crochet a blanket. I just recommend taking something from this moment to hold on to. In most cases, you can decorate their area. I created a scrapbook and it has his beanie and (new) tubing that he had on and a preemie diaper so I could show him how tiny he was. If you prefer to post on social media, it may be best to have someone whom you trust post at the beginning or any sensitive information you are willing to share. I will warn you and say that some people say the most insensitive comments and sometimes they don’t realize it.
Tip #4: Celebrate the Milestones
It will keep your spirits up and you can start to see how much your baby is growing. One thing I personally felt got my son hitting milestones is kangaroo care. It’s skin to skin contact. He took the most flawless naps this way. You share your body temperature as well as your scent with the baby; and yes dad can do this too! Also encourage family and friends not to stroke a baby but rather cup their hands under their feet and on top of their head. Some nurses will actually tell people not to touch the babies because it over stimulates them
Tip #5: Stay Patient
Your growing baby wants to be home with you too. They need this care right now and eventually the day will come to go home. My son struggled with feedings and that was his last hu. I can’t even explain how it is to be so close to the finish line to have one thing hold discharge up. You have to remember they aren’t just small their insides are still growing.
Support That Helped Me
Threads of Love: they provide hand made items such as preemie clothing or booties. Check out your local chapter and get in touch with a volunteer. Every chapter is different and they provide this through a ministry of love.
Seek an online support group. Ask your nurse if their NICU has one.
Be friendly and make friends with your neighbors in the NICU. Do not compare baby’s progress though.
See if you can have a professional photographer come in, especially for long term stays. If you are on a budget, ask if they have NICU rates.
Always ask. Many people want to help but don’t know how. Communicate that you really need some rest and if they could hang out in the NICU while you took a nap or that you could really use a meal from your favorite restaurant (mine was Chic Fil A with a lemonade). Don’t expect people to read your mind. It’s hard for them as it is for the parents.
Kolton ended up staying 31 days in the NICU. He was 4 pounds 6 ounces at birth and he left weighing over 5 pounds. The beeping noises of the NICU will forever play a huge part of the experience. The NICU is a precious place; they give babies special care to thrive and live. If you find yourself in the NICU know that you are not alone and this isn’t a place to blame yourself. Pregnancy has its ups and downs for everyone. We are encountered with challenges in our life and we have a choice to see our glass half full or half empty. Stay strong. Stay preemie strong!
I want to thank Kira for sharing her brave story. I too had NICU Preterm Babies and I wholeheartedly agree with every piece of advice. As Kira said, know that you aren’t alone. I hope 5 Tips to Survive NICU brings you comfort. If you are currently going through this situation, I’d love to hear what helps you in the comments.
If you need support, advice, and help on how to navigate motherhood and marriage, then this post, 21 Bloggers to Help You Slay Motherhood, is a must-read.
This post, 21 Bloggers To Help You Slay Motherhood, contains some affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through one of the links I provide, I may make a small percentage at no cost to you. I only link to things I love.
I know for me there are times when I feel alone in this game. Maybe I was naive, but I never expected to feel lonely and unsupported in motherhood and marriage. But the truth is, our journey is personal and it can sometimes feel isolating if you don’t have support.
That is one reason, I started this blog. I know I seek reassurance, knowledge and tips on how to be a better wife and mother. I want to feel like there is someone out there that can relate to my failures and problems. Frankly, I want someone in the trenches with me who’s got my back. Today I’m sharing 21 bloggers to help you slay motherhood. Some I’ve recently started reading, but most I have been reading for years! You’ll love them!
Before you leave, please subscribe to my blog (yup, shameless plug) and while you’re at it, subscribe to these lovely ladies.
Farmhouse on Boone
If you’re a fan of Joanna Gains, you’re going to fall in love with Lisa Bass at Farmhouse on Boone. Seriously, I think her and Joanna Gaines are spirit animals. Her site is stunning! She focuses on natural living, minimalism, farmhouse decor and a simple lifestyle. If you’re a crunchy mama you will love her wholesome, scratch recipes, natural remedies, and lifestyle tips. I also love that she provides homemade tutorials like basic sewing techniques (like how to thread a sewing machine and sew a seam), how to make a macrame wall hanging and your own body butter. Seriously, she’s what I aspire to be.
The Time Warp Wife
I’ve been following Darlene Schacht on The Time Warp Wife for some time now. It’s been so long, I’ve forgotten just how I found her. She is a New York Times best selling author. I love that her site is heavily Christian based (no problem if that isn’t your cup of tea). She is a mama of four and one thing I really love is her online bible studies. I love reading them over my morning coffee (and if I get to drink it while it’s still hot, that’s a plus). She also has tons of cute printables on her site. I would say Darlene focuses more on marriage and biblical living than anything else, but I find her posts bring me lots of peace.
The Dating Divas
I love the Dating Divas! I’ve followed them for a few years. Their cheery, happy site is dedicated to loving your spouse in the cutest way imaginable. If you are a mom or wife struggling with date night ideas, this site is for you! At home dates, group dates, sexy date nights, out of the house dates, you name it – they have it all planned out. They have the cutest ideas. We rarely get a date night so the at-home date nights have been amazing for us!
Two women run Rookie Moms. I personally love their product reviews. But they have lots of really helpful articles. From postpartum issues to sleep regression and toddler development, they have lots of informative posts to help you survive motherhood.
I’m choking up just writing this. Affair Recovery is more than just a blog / website. They’re also a retreat center for crumbling marriages, in particular ones that are going though an affair or other sexual addictions. They have lots of free resources, but my favorite is the Vlog series on YouTube. Early in my marriage, my husband had inappropriate feelings towards a co-worker as well as a pornography addiction. For years, I just couldn’t move past the hurt, especially since he continued to work closely with the woman. I watched one video per day, in particular with Samuel because I felt a connection with his words. It was painful to process those feelings at first. But I’m proud to say our marriage has completely healed from this and we have Affair Recovery to thank.
Tabitha runs this great blog, Meet Penny. Her blog is heavily focused on frugal living. I love all her helpful tips to save money. If you’re homeschooling, she has a huge library of free curriculum and resources to help you. Her parenting advice is also invaluable!
To Love, Honor & Vacuum
With over 42,000 subscribers, Sheila Wray Gregoire at To Love, Honor and Vacuum focuses heavily on marriage, marital sex, family, and faith. I found her when I was going through some heavy jealousy with a woman with which my husband works. A few of her posts, gave me some great insight on handling those feelings. I love that she focuses heavily on keeping the spark going in marriage. An author of eight books, she is also a public speaker.
On The Sunny Side of Something
I recently discovered Elease Colcord and her blog The Sunny Side of Something online and I can’t stop reading her! Her writing makes you feel like you’re her best friend and I have to remind myself, I don’t actually know her. Haha! She’s beautiful, entertaining, funny, but most of all – authentic. On her blog she shares recipes, parenting stories (both funny and tearjerking), personal growth, but my favorite section is MILP. Moms I’d Like to Punch. Oh em gee. It’s hilarious and totally relatable! Check her out. She’ll have you in stitches. Follow her on Instagram for more online fun.
Confessions of a Homeschooler
I’ve been following Erica for about 3 years on her site Confessions of a Homeschooler. On her site, she provides curriculum for preschoolers to grade school as well as homeschooling schedules for every grade, menu planning, lesson plans and tons of printables. Even if you aren’t homeschooling, I strongly recommend reading her site. She has a huge amount of learning resources for every age, including how to reduce test taking anxiety, how to take notes, and how to study for tests. You won’t regret it.
The Chic Site
How could I not include this, in 21 Bloggers to Slay Motherhood? If you haven’t heard of Rachel Hollis, you’ve been living under a rock. Okay, that’s harsh. But seriously, this lady is truly inspiring to me. On days when I totally feel like giving up on this blog, she reminds me not to take “no” for an answer. Her amazing book, “Girl, Wash Your Face,” is a best seller and her blog, The Chic Site is equally motivating. When I first found her (before her book), I think she tended to focus more on style, but she has really dug her heels into personal growth topics. I think her writing style is so sincere and authentic. If you haven’t read her book, you can find it on Amazon (link below). Also her new book, “Girl, Stop Apologizing” is now out in book stores. I can’t wait to read it!
Live Wise Love Well
I recently discovered Erika at Live Wise Love Well. Can I just say that she is such a beautiful lady, inside and out. She just did an outstanding series on the fruits of the spirit. If you’re struggling in areas like peace, patience, and gentleness, you need her in your life! Her message is beautiful and inspiring. She’s cute too! Like, really cute. If you need a chuckle, read her post, “How the Instapot Saved My Marriage.” She also does regular podcasts so go have a listen and subscribe to her!
The Purposeful Nest
I just recently discovered Ashley at The Purposeful Nest. A former police officer, she is now a stay-at-hom mom and homeschooler. Her lovely blog focuses on homeschooling, DIY and crafts, and family-oriented travel. Give her a read, you won’t be disappointed.
Club 31 Women
I’ve been reading Lisa Jacobson at Club 31 Women for years. One thing I love about Lisa is that she’s an older mother of 8 children. Yes, you read that right, 8. She brings wisdom and experience to her posts. Also, her recipes are delicious. Just sayin’. I love her focus on marriage and child rearing from a woman who’s been through it many times over. But what’s really special is that her husband, Matthew Jacobson has a “sister site” for men. His site, Faithful Man, is equally inspiring and full of encouragement. My husband and I like to read them both.
How To Be a Fun Mum
Just as the title suggests, New Zealander Kelly, wanted to be a fun mom, but wasn’t. That is until she totally turned her version of motherhood around and became a fun mom. She learned to embrace motherhood and enjoy it! Something I firmly believe moms should do. Her site, How To Be a Fun Mum, is dedicated to fun activities with your kids and they are indeed fun. My boys love to do the activities and I know yours will too!
Chronicles of a Momtessorian
Anitra runs a cute educational Mom’s blog called Chronicles of a Momtessorian. On her blog, she provides tons of Montessori based activities for your little ones that you can do at home. What’s really nice is that most activities are very easy to do…and we all want things to make life easier. Head to her blog for great educational resources.
The Measured Mom
A mother of six, Anna is a teacher turned stay-at-home mom. Her site, The Measured Mom, is dedicated to teaching children at home. She has both free printables and a shop. Furthermore, she has tools and resources for just about every subject. Handwriting, spelling, math, book lists, and themed teaching. She has 180,000 followers because of her great learning curriculum. Again, even if you aren’t homeschooling there are lots of resources that can be used to supplement your child’s public school education.
It’s My Sustainable Life
Calling crunchy moms! Suzan at It’s My Sustainable Life provides beautiful online content. Similar to Farmhouse on Boone, she focuses on holistic living. Her subjects include, up-cycling DIY projects, scratch recipes, gardening, food preservation, and natural remedies.
Jessica Plemons Kindergarten
This girl is amazing and I have so much for which to thank her! Her site, Mrs. Plemons Kindergarten offers the best tot school curriculum, baby activities and preschool curriculum I’ve ever come across. We used the tot school curriculum when my son was in the 2-3 age range. He learned so much from these lessons! Best of all they felt like play time to him and the lesson plans have a lot of flexibility. One of the best things is that Jessica runs a Facebook Group to go alongside of the curriculum. Here you can talk with other mothers and get advice strait from Jessica herself. Even if you aren’t homeschooling, you’ll love the themed activities that keep your little toddler’s hands busy!
Real Mom Nutrition
Sally at Real Mom Nutrition is a registered dietitian and mom. Her “no judgement” site is dedicated to getting your kids to eat healthy with her kid-friendly recipes and ideas. I love that she also posts often about picky eaters and provides real ways to get your picky child to try new things.
Mommy Knows Best
Jenny runs her blog, Mommy Knows Best. This blog is heavily focused on postpartum issues primarily lactation. Best of all she provides natural herbal remedies to treat low milk supply. If you are struggling to nurse, I highly recommend reading her blog.
Okay so Shay isn’t a blogger per se. She’s a vlogger on You Tube. But I think she is really valuable when it comes to budgeting, reducing debt and being financially responsible. She also uses the Happy Planner, Erin Condren and other cute methods to make boring household management fun! Hey 26,000 subscribers agree with me. Additionally, she has an Etsy shop with budgeting stickers and tools to make budgeting organized and more enjoyable.
I really hope this post, 21 Bloggers to Help You Slay Motherhood, was helpful to you. Please subscribe to these ladies if you feel like they speak to you. If you have found a blogger you love, I’d like to hear who and why you follow them in the comments below.
Every mom has rough patches. You aren’t alone. I have some words of encouragement to the mama who’s struggling.
Dear Mama who’s struggling,
I know how bad, your day, week…heck, your year is going. Believe me when I say, I’ve been there. I know you’re struggling. I see you. Yeah, you in that pile of diapers, tantrums and tears. I see you! With that tween who is discovering boys or that teen who is pushing you away. You may be pretending you’re okay, but that smile doesn’t fool me. I know the days feel long and endless. Hell, this whole stage feels endless.
I know that sounds awful, but you know it has nothing to do with how much we love our kids. Love isn’t the problem, right? We love them, there’s no question. Love is what gets us through the sleepless nights and the days of runny noses and stomach bugs. It’s what makes us sit down to a make believe tea party when we’ve got dishes stacked on every kitchen surface. Love is why we play “dinosaurs” for the tenth time today when we’ve got mounds of laundry piled up like a trash heap. Love isn’t the problem.
I get it. Most days it feels pointless. I mean does anyone else really care if the microwave gets clean or the furniture gets dusted? It sometimes feels like we’re the only ones stressing over the state of the house. And for what? We know as soon as we get it clean – as soon as every last goldfish crumb has been swept up and every last Minion, Dory and PJ Mask figurine has been put in its place, it will all be back on the floor tomorrow. I know it feels pointless.
But I promise you girlfriend, it isn’t pointless. I promise you it matters. You matter! You aren’t invisible. Even if no one praises you, even if there are no accolades. Hell, even if you think you are failing miserably, it matters. YOU MATTER. You matter to those little babies. You’re their whole world. They love you no matter what. I don’t care if you totally phoned dinner in tonight. Even if they are on their last pair of clean underwear, they love you and they’re proud of you.
It’s not endless either. That’s the saddest part. Over the years, your kids will slip away from you to live their own lives. In fact, the older they get, the less time there is to teach and shower them with that obsessive love you feel. Motherhood is the only career where you work yourself out of a job. If you’ve done a good job, they won’t need you. These are the good old days you’ll miss. You won’t ever regret loving your kids instead of doing chores or errands.
This motherhood thing is no joke. It ain’t for the weak! It ain’t for the fearless. The truth is – Motherhood can suck. It can also be amazingly wonderful and everything in between. That’s because it’s a journey. It’s a process. And once you’re a mother, you’ll always be one. I don’t care if you never even saw your baby. If you lost your baby in the womb or at the moment he or she should have taken their first breath. You’re a mama. Motherhood is hard…even on it’s best days.
And by the way, I don’t care if you give your kids Vegan snacks or candy for dinner. It doesn’t matter if you homeschool like me or if they are in public school. You’ve got my respect. Your version of motherhood doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. Seriously, if there is anything moms do wrong, it’s judging other mamas. Let’s not do that. We’re all just winging it. We’re all just trying to survive. Trying to make it through this tough season. Mother Theresa said, “If you’re busy judging people, you have no time to love them.” Truth. Just love each other – we’re all learning this mom thing at different speeds, in different ways. There is no one “right” way to mom.
I know you feel guilty. You snapped at them yesterday. Thank God no one saw that. It’s amazing how quickly you can bottle that up if you’ve got a play date or someone you know unexpectedly drops in. I know. I’ve done it too. And if you think the women in your mom’s circle haven’t done the same at some point – they’re lying. Because here is what no one tells you: all moms lose their shit at some point. There…I said it. It’s true.
Even if you are an awesome mom, we’ve all locked ourselves in a room, or a car, or some quiet place alone and sobbed into our hands. Raise your hand if you’ve cried to a husband that doesn’t understand. We’ve all wondered if we’re completely failing at this. We wonder if anyone sees that our life is a mess.
Let me tell you something I’ve learned: motherhood is a lot of work and a lot of second guessing. You might think the moms you know have it all together. They don’t! They just use perfectionism as a masquerade. Trust me, I invented that! My life is a mess. Everyone’s is. They’re very own hot, lovely, perfect, beautiful mess.
The feelings after surviving miscarriage are complex, but you aren’t alone mama. Surviving miscarriage is hard and I want you to know there is hope.
I was late. You see, I spent most of my 20’s as a doormat for meat-heads, young doctors and yes, even professional athletes. I dated sorry excuses for men. I didn’t believe men like my husband existed. In fact, it took nearly three years for us to get together and I did the asking. Although we had a whirlwind romance, by the time we married I was in my early thirties. Like many couples, we wanted at least one year together as a newly married couple. So at age 34, we began trying to start our little family.
We didn’t have to try long! I had stopped taking my birth control pill and didn’t even have one cycle. My expected period came and went. I recall laying in bed with my husband gleefully wondering if we had indeed become pregnant. After waiting a few days, I took a pregnancy test and nervously waited for those lines to appear. And appear they did! We were pregnant! That Sunday morning, my husband was still asleep before church. I woke him up, with that gross little pee stick behind my back. I could barely contain myself. It took him a moment, but he jumped out of bed. We were so happy.
You see, I almost couldn’t have children. A tumor and a pre-cancer scare left me minus one ovary. I had no idea if it would affect my ability to conceive. So when we got pregnant almost immediately, we felt like prayers had been answered.
Sharing the Good News
We immediately told our families, who were equally thrilled. We were so excited to announce it to the world. A few weeks later, I had the pregnancy confirmed by a doctor. Initially, I felt the early pregnancy symptoms: breast tenderness, nausea, etc. We immediately began planning.
Then a few weeks later, we went to my OB/GYN. I was about at week 9. As the doctor completed the vaginal sonogram, her silence told me something was wrong. We had lost the heartbeat. I tried to listen to her as she spoke to me, but the overwhelming feeling of grief and disappointment washed over me like an ocean. She explained, I could let the miscarriage occur naturally or I could under go a D&C. Honestly, the D&C sounded too akin to an abortion. I opted to go naturally. I went home and sobbed into a pillow.
Over the following weeks, the pregnancy symptoms faded away one by one. It was incredibly painful to experience. I didn’t know how painful miscarriage is. Nor did I understand the range of emotions I would feel.
We had planned a trip to Arizona to visit family and friends. Once there, I sobbed to my husband’s aunt, who told me of her own miscarriage some 40 years before. She insisted that despite having 5 live children, her thoughts still go back to the one she lost. She also encouraged me to name our baby so we didn’t refer to him or her as “the one we lost.” So after prayer, we named our baby “Gabriel (after the angel messenger) “Emmanuel (God is with us).
When we returned from our trip, I was 12 weeks into my pregnancy and still had not begun to miscarry. That is until one weekday afternoon around 3 pm. I felt the pain first. Then the contractions started and they increased in frequency and pain much like childbirth. I began to pass blood and tissue. I laid there on the bed weeping, moaning, and screaming into a pillow. My husband eventually came home and held me as it continued. We wept bitterly.
Surviving Miscarriage includes the 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I absolutely went through all of them. The only way to get through denial is look at death square in the face. That’s why we have funerals. Funerals are for the living, not the dead. It allows us time to process grief. We need to see with our own eyes, they are no longer with us. That’s why I personally chose to go through miscarriage naturally. Even if you choose not to do that, you’ll find your way to “face it” because sadly, we can’t escape death.
Surprisingly, I felt angry at God. I was surprised to feel that way, but I did. I felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me. Later, I had anger at myself, which immediately moved me into the bargaining stage. This stage includes thoughts like “if only” and might even include asking God to bring them back in exchange for a promise on your part. The bargaining stage includes lots of self-blame. I wondered if I had worked too many hours or exercised too hard. Was it that glass of wine I had before I knew I was pregnant? Did I contribute to the death of my child? I felt like it was my fault. I felt like I had let my husband and our families down. It’s these thoughts that lead you down a dark road.
Depression hit me before I knew it. I no longer felt like a woman. What good was I if I couldn’t bear a child? Those thoughts seem extreme now, but my fatalistic thoughts seemed perfectly reasonable at the time. One time I broke down at bedtime. My husband asked why I was crying. “My child died alone in the dark. He didn’t even know his mommy was right there with him.” Now I know how silly that sounds. The fetus had no conscious thoughts yet, but that’s how badly grief terrorizes you. It’s confusing, overwhelming and it comes in waves. Like the ebb and flow of an ocean – one day you are good, the next day you aren’t.
We agreed to start trying again. We immediately got pregnant a second time. A few weeks into the pregnancy, I miscarried again. I was utterly devastated. It was hard to bounce back. Only after I started to share my story did I learn many women I knew had also miscarried. They’d dealt with it privately like a dirty little secret.
My husband and I agreed to take a break from trying and that’s when we conceived my oldest living son. I wish I could say, I enjoyed being pregnant, but honestly, I spent it terrified. I was always afraid of losing him. Miscarriage scars you by implanting deep fears. My pregnancies weren’t without complications. My placenta failed with both my sons. Both were born early – but both are amazingly awesome kids now.
Surviving Miscarriage & Restoration
Even though four years have passed, I still think of Gabriel and Daphne. I always will. I conceived them. I carried them. I was there when they died. Don’t let anyone tell you “it doesn’t count” because you lost him or her early in your pregnancy. Don’t let anyone tell you men don’t feel loss with a miscarriage. It is incredibly hurtful to them too. Let him know, he doesn’t need to “be strong” – it’s okay to mourn. Lastly, don’t let anyone tell you it wasn’t a baby. The sound of the heartbeat has always been used to determine who is alive and who is dead. If you’re a Christian, cling to Jesus. Seriously, He helped me out of the pit and restored me (Ps 40:2). Surviving miscarriage is hard, but survive it, you will.