Lately I've been loving these blousy button down tops with a slim longer sleeve--pairing them with slim cropped pants or shorts for the weekend. They're easy to wear, fulfill my art teacher chic sensibilities and bonus--are nursing and work/pumping friendly. I've been hoarding these Ilana Kohn Darryl shirts like they're going out of style. Simply perfect with the longer hem in the back (and her prints are to die for).
A basic chambray from Steven Alan
And these two are on my Madewell wishlist: lovely stripes
So obviously I meant to write this post at 6 months when these pictures were taken but that's an accurate reflection on how things have been going so far. Good intentions followed by distractions, sleep deprivation leading to forgetfulness, you know the drill. I can't believe that this little girl is seven months now. All I can think is we've kept her alive for this long! *high five*
To be honest, motherhood has not come very easily to me. It's a steep learning curve and just when I feel like I can catch my breath, everything changes and there's more to learn. When they say a baby doesn't come with a manual, I think it's the exact opposite. There are too many manuals out there, too many opinions on how to raise your child and of course everyone thinks their way is the best way. It's easy to get lost in the cycle of second guessing and doubting yourself. I'm slowly learning to trust my own intuition and judgment to figure out what works well for this little one. Of course there are many days when we just eye each other and wonder what's really going on and who's in charge. :)
B and I have really enjoyed the past couple of months with Stella. It seems like each day she learns more and more and is becoming her own little person. Here are a few things that just melt my heart:
--how she stretches into a "starfish" shape when she first wakes up in the morning
--the little freckle on her left hand
--how she pats her daddy's beard when he's rocking her before bedtime
--the way she scrunches her nose and laughs when she likes something
--how she preens like a bird in the mirror during bathtime
It's been four whole months since Stella was born and I still don't have the words to adequately express how excited, tired, incredulous, scared, and humbled I feel to now be her mama. While I realistically knew it wouldn't be bliss all the time, I had seriously underestimated the of hard work, self doubt, and of course sleep deprivation that would become our norm. It's been helpful to realize that most everything (the good and the bad) are just phases and will pass, and to learn to be flexible and adapt as you go along. This is especially difficult for a creature of habit, schedules and routines like me but I'm learning slowly. Most of all, my choice in how to view things has made a large difference. On a bad day, I would feel like the baby was taking me hostage, catering to her every whim. And on a good day, I would be able to tell myself that responding to her needs helps strengthen our bond and that a secure attachment will ultimately give her the confidence to explore and be independent. She can't know she's deliberately keeping me away from my sleep or household chores or online shopping, she simply just needs her mama.
Near the end of my pregnancy, I started feeling more introverted and wanted to keep my world quite small and protected, probably in anticipation of the baby and the total chaos that would ensue. After she was born, our world opened back up and I felt so supported by family and friends who encouraged us every step of the way and marveled at Stella along with us. There was great advice and not so great advice, all given with good intentions. And slowly we are learning what feels right to us and the values we want to have as parents. Navigating new parenthood can sometimes feel isolating and yet there is also great comfort knowing others who have walked the same path. In the beginning when things were just so new and difficult I couldn't wrap my brain around how other people did this and even had multiple children! Were their babies just better sleepers? Did they have selective amnesia? Now when I am up for the 4th time at night with Stella, I think about other mothers somewhere around the world that are up at that very moment with their babies as well. And if it's 5am, I think about my friend Jill who is probably up with her baby just a few miles away from me. And this helps me feel less lonely and more brave to join the ranks of these women who have come before me in loving and raising their babies.
Stella Margaret! Named after her great-great grandma and great grandma who are dearly missed. She arrived on November 13. Who knew this tiny little bundle would be so precious? Everyone is doing well (beyond the sleep deprivation) -- hope to share more soon!
Now that I'm in the 3rd trimester, maternity dresses are my best friend. I've had good luck with certain brands like Hatch, Splendid, and even the Liz Lange line at Target. I especially like this best dress by Rosie Pope--not only is it super comfortable but the jersey material is thicker and accommodates a growing bump nicely.
I've been feeling decidedly better mentally and emotionally as we head into the "fourth quarter" in football speak. We attended a great series of childbirth classes by Get Babied and while labor and childbirth still seems awfully terrifying, it's also reassuring to know that the many physical changes in pregnancy and the process of childbirth all actually serve a purpose. It's fascinating to think about the linea nigra (line down your belly) as an evolutionary guide to helping your baby find its way to its food source. Or how contractions during labor help squeeze the fluid out of the baby's lungs to prepare it for its first breath of oxygen.
Something else that has given us a huge sense of relief is deciding on having a doula with us at home and at the hospital for the process. It will be reassuring to have someone there to well, reassure us and walk us through this unknown time. If you're local, I highly suggest checking out the classes, services and philosophy of Get Babied!