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Posted in accomplishments, body image, learning, life, mother, personal, photographer, SAHM

“You’ve lost so much w-” Let me stop you there…

“You look so good!”

“What have you been doing?”

“How did you lose the weight so fast?”

“You really bounced back!”

“You’re so skinny!”

“You don’t even look like you had a baby!”

I know, I know, you mean well. And I say thank you and smile and laugh it off. But the truth is, I’ve done absolutely nothing to get my body to where it is 8 months post baby…and these comments actually make me uncomfortable.

LRM_EXPORT_20180524_134218_2I heard once, “If it’s something they can’t fix in the next five minutes, don’t comment.” It was in reference to making criticisms to others about their appearance. For example: “Your shirt is inside out” is something a person could quickly change, they just have to find somewhere private to do so. “You have a pimple on your chin” is something they can’t fix in the next five minutes. The point is to uplift those around us by making them aware…I think.

But I’ve always felt a little awkward when someone comments on a feature I have absolutely no control over, even if that comment is a compliment. It just isn’t personal. As humans, we like to hear praise for the things we have actually accomplished rather than things that just happen to us. LRM_EXPORT_20180524_134146_2

“You look so good!”  “You look so happy!”

“What have you been doing?”   “Wow, you are so talented!”

“How did you lose the weight so fast?”   “Did you make that? Its awesome!”

“You really bounced back!”   “How did you know those would look so good together?”

“You’re so skinny!”   “Wow you really have an eye for composition!”

“You don’t even look like you had a baby!” “You are such a good mom!”

Instead of commenting on how peoples’ bodies look, why not compliment them on their accomplishments, their goals they set their minds to and achieved, their skills. When the majority of the comments someone hears is solely about their body, it feels superficial and impersonal.

AirBrush_20180524141949I know I’ve lost all the weight I gained during my pregnancy plus more, and no I haven’t done a thing to get to this point. This is not something I worked my butt off for. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy about it, even more happy that I didn’t have to do anything. But with all of the work I put elsewhere and my accomplishments in my personal life and my business, it’s a little frustrating and uncomfortable that this still seems to be the main thing that stands out to people about me.

So next time you see someone, either on social media or in person, think a little harder, see past the surface. Comment on their life rather than their appearance. If anything makes people feel good, its knowing that someone cares about them as a person. By commenting on something that’s going on in their personal life or career, it shows that you have been paying attention. It shows that you are a person who holds value to them.

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Posted in anxiety, apartment, baby, birth, family, home, life, love, mother, newborn, SAHM, stress, trials

Reflection

There are some memories that last as feelings rather than events in my mind. Some that are so richly tied to a certain song that brings back those exact feelings. One of them being while I was on maternity leave.

Those first few weeks were pure bliss. They were also the biggest changes of my entire life. I wrote in my journal on September 15th, “It’s bittersweet to remember the days leading up to her birth. Just Derek and I and the anticipation awaiting her arival.”  I remember missing that anticipation simply because it was a feeling I would never experience ever again. Sure, we will have more babies in the future, but it will never be just the two of us waiting for our first baby girl. I was miserable when I was overdue, waiting and trying and wanting to go into labor. But now I remember those days as something so sweet and distant.

I remember crying a lot. Sitting around a lot. I was tired. Yes, physically, but mainly emotionally. I weakly smiled with such joy every time I looked at Chanel, or even thought of her. I would sigh and maybe a tear would slip from my eye and I’d wipe it away, not even knowing why it was ther in the first place.

In october we discovered the Baby Sensory videos on YouTube. They played classical music while basic shapes and colors moved accross the screen. One of those songs that sticks with me, The Temperature of the Wind on the Bow of Kaleetan, brings me back to the exact feelings I felt during me leave. The colors, the dim lighting inside my apartment from the overcast skies being filtered by closed blinds, the crisp fall air, the cold. The darkness of undiagnosed postpartum depression weighing me down, but at the same time the purest love for Chanel. The quiet and simplicity. The crying, my ever crowded mind.

A sigh. Because even though it was undiagnosed I knew my feelings and thoughts weren’t healthy. Because I loved my daughter so much. Because I wasn’t talking to anyone but Derek, my mom, and my midwife.

Because I feel this again, but this time its different. She’s so much older, her personality is allowed to shine with the bigger abilities she now has. She moves more. Her emotions and thoughts show on her beautiful face. Its just different. I love her. She’s growing way too fast and I miss how simple it was and how it is and I know this will change too. I wish that I had written everything about her at every time.

Her baby days are quickly slipping through my fingers. Her personality is so much bigger than her tiny body allows her. I laugh because I can see how badly she wants to do things she can’t yet. I cry because I know how fast everything will change…

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Posted in anxiety, life, SAHM, trials, working mom

Truth

Well, here I go I guess. I’ve hidden this truth about myself for a long time. Because I wanted to seem “put together”, like I have my life together, for the world. For my pride. Because I rolled my eyes and scoffed at those who aired their personal problems online like its their journal. But lately, this part of me is slipping through the cracks of my “perfect” life and its time I be real with myself and the world. Because it’s consuming me.

I’m a mess. I have post partum depression and anxiety, although, I’ve been dealing with depression and anxiety since middle school. So its really nothing new actually. But I was able to get through life back then. Now, its just so bad I literally can’t even function anymore.

Currently, I’m sitting on my bed sort of shaking as I type. Because I’m hungry. I haven’t eaten. Yesterday I ate one small meal around 8pm and that’s because I had to basically force myself. It’s not that I don’t want to eat, if you know me even a little bit, you know I love food. I just don’t have an appetite. Nothing sounds even remotely satisfying to eat, and the thought of actually eating, chewing and swalling anything…just seems too hard a task. So here I am. I know I should eat but I can’t even get myself to drink water.

I haven’t showered. I’ve been in bed all day. I keep thinking maybe I should get up. But really what is the point? I don’t want to do anything. I’m stuck here thinking about going to work. I broke down.  I had called out 2 days in  a row and then took a personal leave. The first day I called out, I had the worst anxiety attack of my entire life. They usually start out with me crying because it all finally caught up to me. The anxiety I’ve been botteling up inside, trying to smile through and just be a normal person. Telling myself, “It will be ok. You got this. Everyone else deals with stress too and what do they do? They just take a deep breath and move on. So that is what you will do too. Suck it up.”

But it’s too much. So I cried. That crying turned into hyperventallation. Then I started screaming. I screamed into a pillow and I just couldn’t stop screaming. I thought my eardrums were going to explode I was screaming so hard. I finally was able to stop screaming but I still cried. Hard. Chanel was taking a nap but I could hear her waking up and I knew I just didn’t have the strength to take care of her. So I called Derek home.

Two weeks later and I don’t feel any better. I started seeing a counselor again. I haven’t slept in like a week. I’ve had insomnia every night. I’m angry. My frustration is causing me to have outbursts. I’m yelling at people.

I can’t stop thinking about returning to work. I just can’t do it. I need to be home with my daughter. Being her mom is the only thing that is keeping me grounded right now. When I’m stuck at work every single day, away from my daughter for 10 hours, I feel like my purpose in life is being stolen from me. Her baby sitters, my mom and a friend, Lisa, are amazing and I trust them and I’m so gratefull for them. But that’s supposed to be my job taking care of my daughter….and I’m not able to and it kills me.

And now I’m supposed to just go back tomorrow. And leave her.

I know so many mothers also have to deal with this…but I can’t handle it. I feel like I’m dying. Every single day. I can’t eat. I can’t sleep.

So maybe I am.

“What is wrong with me?” just keeps playing over and over in my head.

So there. I’m not ok. My life is not the perfect life I make it look like on social media.  I’m a total emotional wreck. There you go. There’s the real me. And don’t you dare comment with some happy crap like, “You’re beautiful, you’re strong you can make it through this, blah, blah, blah.” Because I’m telling you right now that this trial I’m forced to face is not going to automatically be solved be you giving me words of “encouragement.” Trust me.

 

Posted in anxiety, city, fitting in, home, inspired, learning, life, photographer, seattle, stress, travel

Seattlite

Growing up in the Seattle area, I traveled to Seattle at least once a year with my family or for a school field trip. As I got older, I payed a little more attention to the 40 minute driving part. One thing I learned is that Seattle is full of messy, one way streets that gave me anxiety trying to navigate even as a back-seat driver. So, in my adulthood, I decided to avoid the city entirely. Until recently.

Since I started getting more and more into photography, I’ve found myself driving to Seattle much more frequently for photo shoots. And You know what? It’s actually not so bad! Last Saturday, I was meeting a model on Post Alley for an urban fashion shoot, which meant I had to drive in the most crowded part of downtown Seattle and it really didn’t even stress me out in the slightest bit. Of course, I used GPS to navigate myself there from I5, but once I got off that exit, I just turned it off and followed signs. I had Imagine Dragons playing from blue tooth and I looked around at the cars around me thinking, “I wonder how many of these cars are rentals and their drivers are from out of state, all anxious about trying to find the way to where they’re going?” And I smiled to myself.

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I think its sort of a right of passage to being a “Seattlite” to be comfortable driving in downtown Seattle without freaking out. Like, “I did it, I’m a local,” even though I’ve lived 30-45 minutes from the city since the day I was born. For the first time in my life, I feel like a real Seattlite!

And now that I feel like I could find my way around, I just want to go back for more shoots like, as soon as possible! I want to take my daughter and just walk around with her. I want to just spend a day wandering around, and not stressing about where I need to be or where I should go.

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Posted in baby, budget, family, home, life, love, mother, parents, SAHM, soccer mom, stress, working mom

Groceries in the Car

We all have those days right? the ones where we feel more or less like the moms society thinks we are all the time. You know, the hot mess moms. The ones with the messy buns, cold coffee but not on purpose, a dirty t-shirt ’cause her kid had messy hands when she picked him up, the bags under her eyes, late to soccer practice. And then you have those days where all the chores are done, you’ve got your make up on and hair actually styled for once, made it to the PTA meeting early, Starbucks in hand, your kids are all behaved. The Instagram mom.

Maybe I only have a 5 month old and I don’t drink coffee, so not all of those scenarios apply to me, but today was one of those days that more closely resembles the first example.

It all starts with Chanel waking me up several times last night. Derek’s Audi is in the shop, so on my day off I drive him to work with Chanel in the back seat at 6:45 am. We come home and go back to sleep and she sleeps ’till 11 am. Blessing, but now when is she going to take a nap? Oh well.

Somehow, time passed really fast and it was time for me to go get my bangs trimmed. So I swipe on some mascara, throw my hair in a bun, and get Chanel (who is now due for a nap and screaming) into her car seat. I throw on a jacket, put my wallet, phone, and keys in my pockets and turn off all the lights and the heater. At the last minute, I switch jackets and move all my stuff from the pockets of the old one, to the new one.

After getting my bangs trimmed, we go to the grocery store. By now, Chanel has had a couple short naps but they keep getting interrupted so she’s pretty ornery. Ugh. I can do this. Until I get half way through the store and realize my wallet is not in my pocket. I swear I put it in my pocket. I’m standing there grabbing at all my pockets when a man comments, “That’s the look of ‘Where’s my phone?'” and I say, “Nope, wallet.” I quickly put my produce back and rush out the door hoping to find my wallet on my seat.

“Are you kidding me??” So I drive home, get out of my car and run inside. Sure enough, its still in my original jacket.

We get back to the store, Chanel’s sucking her thumb (AWWWW!) and for the moment isn’t crying, thank goodness.

I finally got all my groceries, get to the checkout line and pay for my food, excited to see the total is just a few cents shy of $50. Woohoo! …Until I accidentally hit $40 for cash on my debit card. At least I’m not spending it though? By now, Chanel is getting fussy again and at this point I’m not sure if its ’cause she’s still tired, or if she’s hungry, or both. I load up the groceries, click Chanel’s car seat in, and push my cart to the cart return. As I’m walking back to my car, some lady with a concerned look on her face is peering over at Chanel through her window. Oh jeez, does she think I just left her here while I shopped? As I got closer she looked away and the concerned look left her face.

I open my car door, Chanel’s fussing has turned back into screaming, so I turn the key and pop the tab to my Redbull because with a day like this, I think I need some extra energy.

We get home, I plop Chanel’s car seat and diaper bag down just inside the door and run back out the haul all the groceries in in one trip (freaking score, amirite?!) As I’m putting the groceries away, Chanel screaming her head off 20 feet away, I notice my kitchen is a little warmer than the rest of the apartment… I freaking left the burner on all night and now all day! Thank goodness it didn’t start a fire! Our electric bill’s gonna’ look fantastic. 

I finally get to give Chanel some attention so I pick her up from her seat, she’s wet. Gross. As I’m walking into her nursery I look in the mirror and see a big wet, yellow spot on her pants. Blow out. No wonder the girl was screaming! I change her, feed her, and wrap her up in her blankie for a nap, finally.

Now, for the first time all day, I’m actually eating something that requires you to chew it. In 15 minutes, I have to wake Chanel up from her nap to go pick up daddy from work.

Posted in baby, budget, DIY, family, inspired, life, love, mother, newborn, parents, Rainbow baby

Change

Now that I’m 3 weeks into being a mom, I’ve discovered which products I can not live with out, and which ones were a total waste of money. I’ve also learned a few things about myself and I’m starting to get a handle on my new schedule with Chanel. FB_IMG_1506635001300.jpgThe first week was impossible. It was also in some ways the easiest. You see, when babies are newborns and living off of colostrum, they sleep all day and all night unless they are eating, which is every few hours. Being woken up by a crying baby every 2 hours was exhausting! But, she would sleep anytime she wasn’t eating or hungry, so at least I could get things done, like napping! One of the most difficult parts of having a brand new baby was trying to learn how to nurse her. In the first few days that my milk came in, Chanel was still too sleepy to eat much before falling asleep on me. It was so frustrating, and on top of that, she has a severe tongue tie.

 

In the beginning of her second week, we visited a lactation consultant to resolve her tongue tie, only for them to diagnose us both with thrush… because she has an infection in her mouth, we had to wait 2 weeks until it clears up to avoid causing an infection to the wound when her tie is clipped. I can not even begin to explain how hard it has been in the last 2 weeks because of this! Thanks to her tie, Chanel already has a difficult time sucking and eating, having thrush just makes it so much harder for her. She is constantly swallowing too much air because her tongue isn’t doing what its supposed to, making her gassy and fussy. She also gets too tired while eating and in too much discomfort that she pulls away crying. It was heartbreaking when I had to give her her first bottle. Now, its just a normal part of our evening.

Thankfully though, she is getting enough to eat! She’s been growing so fast and has already outgrown some of her newborn clothes! She’s also been sleeping longer every night. For the past week, she’s pretty consistently slept 7 hours in a row at night. She’s hit a growth spurt though and last night slept a solid TEN hours! I was shocked! We’ve gotten her into a bedtime routine to help her know when its time to sleep. Bath, swaddle, feed, white noise, bassinet. Yesterday however, she was eating ALL day thanks to her growth spurt, so I fed her before her bath. We planned on giving her a little more after just ’cause she’s used to it and would probably want to eat before sleeping. But she enjoyed her little bath so much that as soon as she was in her jammies and swaddler, she was out like a light!

By the way, swaddlers- the ones that velcro shut- are literally the BEST. Chanel is a very active baby (has been since I felt her first move inside me) so she breaks free if you swaddle her in a blanket. She loves to be swaddled, but it was pretty frustrating the first few nights we had her when she would come loose and wake up. The swaddlers keep her nice and snuggley all night!

AirBrush_20170910050723.jpgAnother item I ended up loving, are the hospital receiving blankets! Seriously, if you are expecting, make note to either buy a ton online, or take as many from the hospital as you can without them stopping you. We use them as burp rags, blankets, and to lay her on when she does tummy-time. We also use them to lay over her bassinet mattress as a sheet. Don’t even bother wasting your money on “burp rags”. They’re flimsy and aren’t absorbent enough when your baby spits up all over the place. Not to mention they are expensive!

One more thing I discovered that will save us a crap-ton of money, is the diaper pail hack. Diaper pail refills are stupid expensive! And they really  don’t hold as much diapers once your baby outgrows newborn diapers, which in Chanel’s case was a week! When the ring is empty, stuff a kitchen trash bag into it and tie it off. There ya go! Now instead of buying 3 refills for like $20, we have 200 for $15. BOOM! Mom hack!

IMG_20170929_104916.jpgI love being a mom. I’m still discovering how to live my life now that I’m caring for a tiny human, but this is great. It’s hard, I mean, I didn’t think I’d be washing baby laundry every other day, but here I am! And remembering just to drink water, whew! All my attention is on this little girl, that I forget to take care of myself. I honestly can’t remember the last time I washed my hair…or even took it out of the bun its been tied into for days.

I did find the time to go shopping though. See, I’m in this weird stage. I don’t fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes yet, my maternity clothes are too big and don’t look right since there is no longer a big round belly under them, and we’re in the middle of changing from summer to fall. I had nothing to wear. So I bought a couple sweaters, a few shirts, a couple scarves, and a pair of jeans! And even though I went from being a size 2 pre-pregnant, to now being a size 10, I feel great! I don’t know if it will hit me in a few weeks or a few months that I don’t have the body I used to, but for now, I have more confidence in my appearance than I did before I became pregnant. Maybe its because these changes brought a human life into this world…I don’t know. But whatever it is, I am okay with the stretch marks covering my thighs that I didn’t have before. In fact, sometimes when I look in the mirror and see them, I smile. I struggled a lot with my self image before, and even while I was pregnant. I hated feeling so huge and I felt like I looked terrible. But now that she’s here, its like a switch flipped and I love my postpartum body even more than the body I had before! Maybe its just the hormones and I’ll go back to the mindset I had before, but I hope this is the new me because I feel so much better. I feel stronger. I feel beautiful. I feel like a warrior.AirBrush_20170928182818.jpg

Posted in baby, birth, birth story, family, life, love, mother, newborn, parents, pregnancy, Rainbow baby

I’m a Tired Mom

Like…a REALLY tired mom!

 

So here we go! Baby Chanel is now 2 weeks and 2 days old. It’s true when they say they grow up fast- time is flying by! But it’s also going really slow…this whole mom thing is NOT easy. I’m exhausted! Between feeding issues and a very gassy baby, I’m honestly surprised I’ve found the time and motivation to write.

But before I get into my new, tired life as a mother, I need to share my birth story.

Chanel was due to be born on August 24th, my mom’s birthday. I wanted SO badly for her to be born that day! I mean how cool would it be to share her grandma’s birthday? But! She decided to be stubborn… REALLY stubborn. And I was hot. I was tired of being pregnant, and the heat was seriously not helping. I tried everything to get her out and I mean EVERYTHING. Every old wives tale, every trick in the book. She just really did not want to come out!

AirBrush_20170922133900As the 42 week mark drew closer, my midwives took more action. They had a few more tricks up their sleeve to try to jump start my labor… On Monday September 4th, one week and 4 days overdue, my labor finally started. I was having strong painful contractions about 4 minutes apart for a few hours. This was the real deal! I couldn’t believe how horribly painful it was, I was in so much pain I threw up! So we went to the birth center where I planned to give birth. Here’s where things got weird. After about an hour after we got there, everything stopped. Like, COMPLETELY stopped. And I know many women have false labor and get sent home all the time…but…I was dilated to a 6! We walked and walked, and walked stairs and I bounced on a ball to try to get it started back up. Nope. Chanel just wanted to stay in there a bit longer. My midwife sent us home to get some rest, telling us confidently that she was sure she would be seeing us by morning…

AirBrush_20170922140103.jpgI woke up on Tuesday September 5th, still very very pregnant. So I drank the strange labor-inducing concoction that my midwife gave me, which was supposed to start labor within 2-5 hours of drinking. After well past 5 hours, still nothing. I didn’t even feel slightly crampy. So Derek and I decided to walk 3 miles, up and down our driveway 3 times. I didn’t tell anyone, ’cause I didn’t want to jinx it, that I was definitely starting to feel light contractions starting again.

After our walk, we drove back to the birth center to pick up another dose of the fancy labor smoothie which I drank right then and there. Then we drove to my parents to have dinner. By this point I was sure I was going to be heading to the birth center again soon. Derek and I got home that evening around 9pm. I went straight to my ball and started bouncing, then getting up during contractions. I did this for about an hour and a half and that’s when the REAL contractions started again.

AirBrush_20170922133722At 11pm we called the midwife to let her know I was in labor and we would be heading in in a few hours. One hour later, she called us for an update and we told her we would wait one more hour before leaving. Half an hour later, I was in too much pain and told Derek, “It’s time to go!” We arrived at the birth center around 1am on September 6th. The lights were low and the bath was ready so I got in. I was in and out of the tub for the next hour, trying to find comfort through the contractions. I vomited once more and was so exhausted I could barely keep my eyes open. At 3am, my midwife checked my progress again. The baby’s head was too high and wasn’t applying pressure to my cervix. I was still between a 6 and 7. This worried her and she suggested that we transfer to the hospital where they would give me an epidural so I could get some rest. I did not want to have my baby at the hospital, but I knew my midwives know what they are doing and that I should listen. So we went to the hospital.

AirBrush_20170913085220When we got there, they gave me the epidural and I tried to get some rest. The epidural didn’t totally work at first. It numbed all the right places aside from one, right at the top of my left leg. So I had to wait for a while before that finally started to work, which wasn’t until after they broke my water at 7am. Then I finally got a little rest.

AirBrush_20170922133831At 10:30 am, I was fully dilated and ready to push. They gave me a popsicle and got everyone ready. I couldn’t feel my legs so a student nurse held one of my legs and my mom held the other while Derek put his hand behind my neck to help support it while I pushed. It was strange. The contractions and pushing didn’t hurt at all because of the epidural, but I could feel both. I never felt the urge to push like most moms do either. I felt her head get further and further down. Then the nurse went to get my doctor. The doctor came in, along with 2 other doctors from the NICU. When they had broken my water, there were traces of meconium in it, so they needed the NICU there just in case she needed to be revived.

On my last contraction, I knew she was right there and if I pushed hard enough, she would be born. I pushed as hard as I could and even yelled when I felt her come out. I pushed one more time as the doctor pulled the rest of her body out. She had the cord around her neck and was stunned so the doctor quickly passed her to the NICU. They cleaned her airways and got her crying within seconds and layed her on my chest.

IMG_20170920_121104Chanel Iris Mae Welton was finally born on September 6th at 11:40am weighing 9 pounds and 8 ounces. She was so beautiful. I cried and fell in love with her the second I saw her. She was perfect.

During delivery, I lost a lot of blood  due to Chanel’s size so they had to give me pitocin to stop me from hemorrhaging. That night, I was feeling weak and started hemorrhaging again and lost even more blood. They had to give me more pitocin since my uterus wasn’t contracting on its own. The drug started the contractions and since I no longer had the epidural, I was in pain until it wore off again. I didn’t get any sleep that night thanks to the painful contractions and the nurses checking on me every hour, jabbing their fingers into my belly button to check if my uterus was doing what it was supposed to. It hurt worse than giving birth and each time they checked me, it hurt even more than the time before.

AirBrush_20170922133818From the very beginning of my pregnancy, I knew I wanted more than anything to have my baby at the birth center. I did NOT want to have her at the hospital. I was disappointed when we had to transfer, but I trusted my midwife’s knowledge and she made a very good call by suggesting we transfer.  She was able to recognize the signs that we would need to be there and would need a little extra help. Due to the complications we had, I don’t know if my sweet baby girl or I would have made it without the extra medical attention. It was a blessing that we were at the hospital, even though it wasn’t what I had originally wanted or planned for. The most important thing is that my beautiful daughter was born healthy and strong, and that is exactly what she is!AirBrush_20170907094352.jpg