Befriending my Body. 

Dear Delilah, 

You’re beautiful, never doubt that. 

While carrying a child for 9 months it is easy to accept the weight you’ve gained. Nobody expects you to have the “bikini body”, go to the gym, or fit in the cutest clothes. Once you have the baby it suddenly seems like your excuse is gone. I remember going in public after having you, I always wanted to be holding you so people would think “oh she just had a baby” instead of “oh, she’s fat”. It sounds silly I know, but it’s the truth. Every time I looked in the mirror all I saw was a flabby scarred stomach. I started dropping weight, weighing myself several times a day, anxious to see that prepregnancy weight of 130lbs. I never saw it. I’m stuck at 140lbs & I don’t see myself hitting 130 anytime soon. Before pregnancy my stomach was flat, at least flat enough to suck in during pictures. I had nice symmetrical breasts, about a D cup & just enough hips. I felt pretty.

I wasn’t tiny but society said I was pretty enough. 

Now I’m nearly 3 months postpartum. I wear a DDD & my breasts are rarely ever the same size (I breastfeed). My hips have expanded & found their new comfortable size, which is much larger than before. When trying on my prepregnancy clothes, most of my old shorts wouldn’t fit over my thighs. It was discouraging. Recently I looked in the mirror & told myself “you can’t keep looking for your physical beauty in how small you are.”

Beauty is not rated on a scale of how thin you are. 

 I gave birth to a 7lbs 12oz baby, of course my hips widened. My breasts are producing enough milk to allow a human being to survive on nothing else, of course my breasts grew larger. My stomach stretched to be a home for a 21.5in baby, of course I’m scarred. But everyday I get to look into your eyes & see your sweet smile & you look at me like I’m the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen. 

I’m healthy & you’re healthy. I endured 29 hours of labor & lived to tell the tale. My body created you, housed you, & birthed you. What is ugly about that? I’m learning to love my plus size body, so who cares what anyone else thinks.

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Coparenting isn’t part time parenting.

Dear Delilah, 

I promise that you will always be at the top of my priority list. I promise to strive to give you the time & attention that God offers us as our Heavenly father. 

There’s a problem I see more & more everyday & I’d like to address it for those who are confused. 

BEING A SINGLE PARENT DOESN’T GIVE YOU A FREE PASS TO BE LESS OF A PARENT.

Just because you are separated doesn’t mean you’re a part time parent. It doesn’t mean you are half responsible for your child.  

I have literally heard parents say things like “my babies dad/mom never gets them so I never get a break”. What even? 

Yes, ideally we could all make it work with our children’s other parent but that’s just not realistic. 

Why does it seem like the mentality of parents (sadly often the younger ones) is “I wonder is anyone wants to watch my kid this weekend so I can be free”. Free? For what? Free to go to the lake, the casino, hangout with my new girlfriend, or get drunk with my friends. 

This is so depressing to me. 

You are a parent now. I am SO sorry if that inconveniences you. You literally have a child that wants nothing more in the world than your time & attention. 

I’m not referring to an occasional spa day or date night. I’m not referring to your child wanting to stay the night at grandma’s every few weeks. There are parents who literally post about going clubbing or partying every other weekend because thank goodness the kids are going to their dad’s house so I can finally be irresponsible. 

Another thing I feel like people do not understand: coparenting does not mean with your parents. Why are grandparents who’s children are grown expected to raise your kid half the time? 

Find new hobbies that your children can take part in. Go to the park, amusement parks, fishing, skating, go on picnics, swimming, an arcade, etc. Your child is not a burden. Stop looking forward to pushing them onto other people so you can think about yourself. 

Your kids are gonna grow up & realize that under the sugar coating of “going to grandma’s” or “dad’s gonna watch you”, you’re just trying to get rid of them. 

A working mom

Dear Delilah,

I feel like my life is a wreck. The last 48 hours have nearly made me lose my mind. Your dad left yesterday morning for a work trip. Any military wife will tell you things fall apart once their husbands are away. I also started work yesterday & you went to daycare for your first time. I wish it was your last. I used to spend every waking moment with you, now you spend it with someone else. You used to wake up from your naps & smile so big when you opened your eyes & I was there. Has your smile faded with my presence? Do you miss my warmth while they’re feeding you? I miss yours.. As the day goes on my breasts become full of milk as my body screams to feed you. Someone else now has the privilege of raising you. Remember that once I did more than wake you up in the morning & put you to sleep at night. Once I was a daytime mommy too. I hope they hold you. I hope they love & cherish you. You’re only getting a fourth of the attention you used to receive. I promise you’ll always have my attention when you’re home. I was raised with a stay at home mother. I found comfort knowing she was always there. She was there when I scraped my knee or didn’t feel good. She was there for all life’s big things. Will I see you sit up for the first time? Will I see your first steps? In the blink of an eye I’ve become the busy mom. I used to spent half an hour with you every morning exchanging smiles & giggling. This morning as you cried for me I apologized for having to get ready, having to feed the dogs, pack lunch, & your diaper bag. After work I have to find time to bathe you & myself, feed us both dinner, wash dishes, wash our clothes.. I can’t breathe. Yesterday I held you as you slept. Out of nowhere you began crying & screaming in your sleep. I just held you so tightly against me and cried with you. What are your nightmares made of? I wish so badly that I could starve your fears. I hope you know that I love you more than life itself. I know you’ll soon forget spending everyday together but I’ll never forget. Thank you for loving me & thank you for giving me a new purpose for living. 

Pros & Cons of the military life. 

Dear Delilah,

You’re an army brat. 

I know this doesn’t mean much to you yet but it will. There are pros & cons to every life style. Here are a few of the pros & cons to ours. 

Pro: The military made a man out of your father. It taught him discipline & respect. In a world full of chaos, the army gave him structure. Because of this, he is able to provide structure to our home. His leadership skills allow him to be the leader in our family.

Con: The military owns him. When the army says jump, he’s required to say how high; no matter the cost. 

Pro: We get to see beautiful places. Both of us are Texas natives so the mountains & north country of New York was a beautiful place to call home for a brief period. 

Con: We may never be somewhere long enough for you to put down roots, leave your handprint in the porch cement or build a clubhouse in the yard. You won’t graduate with your pre-k friends or date the same boy all through grade school. 

Pro: We were able to cut ties with our pasts. Growing up in a small town where everybody knows everybody seems like a fairy tale. However, when everyone remembers who you were, how are you supposed to become who you’re meant to be? It seems like everyone is stuck in a rut & because of the military we were able to get out of ours. 

Con: Change is a necessity. You’ll learn quickly that I hate change. We’ll change cities, houses, schools, churches, etc. We’ll have to find new jobs & make new friends. As soon as you’re comfortable, your whole world will be turned upside down. 

Pro: Our bills are paid. We will never go without food or have our electricity cut off. We have running water & gas in our vehicles. Also, we will never have to worry that you will get sick or hurt & we won’t be able to afford it. 

Con: Distance is inevitable. The army doesn’t care about your 6th birthday party, your awards ceremony, or your talent show. Daddy won’t make it to all your soccer games or choir concerts. There will be Christmases we open presents without him & Father’s day cards we send him in the mail. 

Pro: Every minute together is precious. Arguments rarely happen because we cherish each moment. We know that each second fighting is a second wasted. We love fiercely. We laugh & have game nights & cuddle on the couch. We make coffee late at night so we can stay up & watch movies. We enjoy life together. Your dad does such a wonderful job making every minute count when he is home. There are definitely highs & lows but boy are the highs high. Everyday we are together is like a dream & just like I have, you’ll learn to hold onto that feeling until he comes home. ❤ 

Does mother know best? 

Dear Delilah, 

I wish I had all the answers. I’m here to tell you a secret; moms don’t really know everything. Don’t worry, I always thought my mom knew it all too. I wish that I always knew how to fix the problem. I wish I knew how to console you when you cry. Everyone else can say “maybe she’s hungry” or “maybe she just needs her mom” but not me. I’m supposed to know what’s wrong because I’m your mother. I’ve been asked “What’s wrong with her?” or “Why is she crying?” Baby girl, I wish I knew.. Am I holding you wrong? Did I eat something that upset you? If you’re crying then maybe I’m not feeding you enough but if you’re spitting up a lot then maybe I’m feeding you too much. Once I’ve done all I can do, I feel helpless. What’s worse is that I know it will never change. There will always be things in your life that I can’t fix. There will always be questions I can’t answer & problems I don’t have the solution to. Just know that as you’re hurting, I am too. After you finally fall asleep after crying, I sit awake & cry too. I don’t know all the answers. I won’t always be able to help you, but I promise that I will always hold you through the pain. I love you through the smiles & I love you through the tears. If nothing else, I hope you remember that I tried & I will never stop trying to be the best, for you. 

Beginning to live

Dear Delilah,

Throughout your life you will develop fears; fight through them. Fears do nothing but hold you back & limit your experiences. 

I have a ridiculous fear that I don’t admit to people often because it sounds silly to even voice it but I think I’m ready to face it head on. 

I fear being a beginner.

Yes, I know it’s ridiculous. Everyone has to go through a beginner stage. I fear that stage. Looking back it’s disappointing the amount of experiences that I’ve missed out on simply because I didn’t want to look like a fool trying something new. 

All my friends in college played soccer. They would ask me to play but there’s no way I’d jump into a pick up game with collegiate soccer players when I’d never even kicked a soccer ball. 

I always wanted to play soccer..

I went to Colorado with a couple friends of mine a few years ago & the opportunity to snowboard came up. I figured they had both been before so I was going to sit out. (Yes, I was really going to skip snowboarding because I thought 2 of my best friends were more advanced.) As soon as I found out that they had never been, I decided to go because we were beginners together. I had a blast.

I don’t know where the fear came from. Perhaps it was from Jr. High when I trained for weeks for brig auditions & was the only one on my team that didn’t make it.. Some of the girls had been dancing their whole lives. Who was I to come in there with no experience & expect to make it? 

& cheer tryouts. I cheered one year for a little league football team but that couldn’t compare to the years of competition cheer the other girls had experienced. 

I never auditioned for anything again.

Until I found theatre & choir that is. I never strayed from the stage, my comfort zone. 

If I let this fear control me then I will never experience new things in life. There are so many things that I dream of doing, things that I want to excel at but I know that I’ve got to push through the first stages. I have to get back up when I fall, & accept that I will fall. 

I’ve decided to make a list of things that I’d like to do in my lifetime.  

  • Learn to play an instrument
  • Practice yoga
  • Plant a garden
  • Go surfing
  • Workout
  • Make art, without words because that’s my comfort zone. (Paint, draw, make pottery)
  • Learn sign language
  • Take up photography
  • Play soccer
  • Cooking/baking
  • Archery
  • Aerial Silks 
  • Styling my hair

Here’s to letting go of an irrational fear & allowing myself to begin.

Delilah, I hope that you never let fear stand in the way of life. Live life to the fullest. Allow yourself to fall but never forget to pick yourself back up. I can’t wait to see the adventures you choose to take on. 

The reasons I cosleep.

Dear Delilah,

Everyone has their opinions on every aspects of parenting & they aren’t afraid to shove them down your throat. It seems to me that when it comes to sleeping habits, every mom is different. I figured I’d share a few reasons why cosleeping has been a blessing for us. 

I can feel you breathing.

More than 2,000 babies die of SIDS every year. While you’re laying in your bassinet, crib, swing, etc. I can’t see or hear you breathing. I find myself staring intensely at your chest desperately watching for that rise & fall. Eventually I break & get up to confirm that you indeed are still breathing. When you’re cuddled up next to me I hear you breathing & with my eyes closed I’m able to feel you inhale & exhale. My fear is put to rest. 

I can keep you warm.

You cannot yet regulate your own temperature, I have always done that for you. When you’re sleeping on your own I constantly worry that you’re too cold or too hot. Many times I’ll pick you up & your hands & feet are cold but the rest of your body is warm. When your body is against mine, my body temperature alters to become what you need. If you’re cold, my body will heat up to provide the warmth you need. If you’re hot, my body temperature will drop to cool you down. Our bodies are quite literally made for this.

You’re breastfeeding.

If you’re sleeping on your own & wake up to nurse then I have to sit up, get you out of your bed, grab my nursing pillow, & manage to stay awake while you eat. Then attempt to transition you back to your bed, rocker, etc. without waking you up. YEAH RIGHT. So after about 4 attempts of getting you back to sleep & successfully on your own it has now been 3 hours & I’m miserable & on the verge of tears. OR if we’re cosleeping then I just feed you right there in bed & we both just fall right back to sleep laying down comfortably. 

We actually sleep.

When you sleep on your own, you wake up & realize I’m not there. You cry until I wake up & pick you up. This happens mulitple times throughout the night. When we cosleep, you cry once during the whole night & it’s just to nurse. If you wake up on your own, you fall right back to sleep in the warm comfort of mama’s arms. You sleep better, I sleep better. 

I can enjoy the little things. 

When you sleep alone, everything is harder. I’m losing sleep, my patience is wearing thin, & I wake up aggravated that I’m having to do so much when my body just needs rest. I get frustrated with you for demanding so much of me. I get frustrated with your father for making sleeping through the night look so peaceful. As I’m sitting up, having my nipples torn into & watching your dad sleep through it all, I’m on the brink of insanity. However, when we cosleep & nursing is easier, & we’re getting more rest, I can focus on the beauty of it all. I can feel your warm little body next to mine & appreciate every detail of your sweet little face. I can cuddle up to your father & appreciate how peaceful & beautiful he looks when he is sleeping. Cosleeping is like a snickers bar, & I’m not me when I’m tired. 

I love it.

There will come a time when you’re too cool to cuddle with mom. A time when hanging out in your bedroom with the door shut is your favorite place to be. However, right now you need me. Every piece of you craves the comfort that only I can provide for you, & I’m enjoying every second of it. After all, have you ever heard a mother say “I really wish that I would’ve loved on my kid less.”?

I lived 21 years without you but somehow I need you as much as you need me.