Mama

slow living with children

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You’re either reading this because 1. you’re really interested in how to make this work or 2. you’re here wondering what the heck I’m talking about because you’ve seen me & my husband running around chasing crazy babies and stopping them from killing themselves and throwing food on restaurants. Either way, keep on reading.

I need to admit that slow living and children might sound really strange, at least from my perspective having two babies under the age of two. There isn’t much “slow” in our every day except perhaps when making us ready to go somewhere.

Here's the thing, as adults we often have a low tolerance for our kids to be bored. You read it right, I'm not talking about our own tolerance for boredom. We really want our kids to be happy and as a result of that we often fill upp free time with classes, practices and screen time, because when our kids are bored they complain and they whine.

Perhaps it begun before we became parents already, the idealizing of the time spent with family. It is the real culprit because it makes us feel like we aren't measuring up. After what might have felt like a couple of "failed" family outings with your kids throwing food everywhere, a visit at a friend's where your children broke at least two and a half things, your child going through a new leap or a period of defiance, or after an ordinary day with the babies being overly tired, not synced when it comes to napping and are having a generally bad day, you might be totally convinced that your kids simply CAN NOT soak up the concept of slow living like you imagined.

A little child’s life is nothing like the structured & controlled lifestyle you were able to have before you became a parent. They are learning how to communicate - without and with words. They are learning how to walk. They start to explore the world, and they definitely do not have a lot of impulse control. They throw tantrums at inconvinent times and they struggle with sitting still at cafés and restaurants. This is hard work for a brand new human!

We hold on to a vision of a picture perfect variation of life that is so far from what family life should really look like and because of that we become unhappy. We're holding on to something so different than the imperfect & amazing life we are blessed to access.

So let me tell you about the essence of slow living and perhaps you’ll agree with me - that it actually is possible to embrace the lifestyle with babies in your life.

The essence is simply being there for life. It’s the building of a more sustainable every-day were relationships and being in tune with yourself is weighing more than chasing for efficiency at the cost of sanity and relationships, it’s less quick fixes and less technology overwhelm. It's taking your kids on fewer dance and soccer practices and more playing in the park and dancing in the livingroom. It's clearing out our schedules for more freedom, a life with fewer obligations and more flexibility. It’s learning how to be with your children in more loving, supportive and patient ways. It’s changing your view of little people being difficult and realizing they are perhaps just misunderstood little humans that need guidance.

It will will never be perfect, but if you allow it, this will be the happiest time of your life.

Slow living with kids is being present in their lives and in your own as much as you can. Babies and toddlers already live in the present moment. Learn from it and join them.

Slow living is low tech and more intentional. Slow living with kids is the best way to enjoy their childhood. There will be laughs, there will be hugs, there will be times where you run and there will be times when you get to drink you coffee warm. There will be times where you hold conversations solely by looking into your childrens' eyes and there will be times where you and your husband will laugh yourselves through a chaotic hotel stay-over.

By dropping our unrealistic idealizations of what life with small children should look like and by freeing up more time on our calendars, we can live a slower paced life and make time for the most important things - our babies, life partners and all other relationships, you totally included.

8 ways to support a loved one who lost a baby

Sometimes the loss of a pregnancy and child happens. It’s common, but however common is, you’re not trained to handle the experience of loosing a baby, and not how to live through the trauma of it either.

Miscarriage is a painful experience not only because of the obvious, but also because of the magnitude of things to grieve. It’s not only the physical loss of your baby, but also processing a traumatic birth depending on how far along you were, the sudden termination of a pregnancy and physical & mental confusion that comes with it, emergency surgery, grieving a future that no longer will be, and in this life never getting to know the child you’ve longed to birth and hold. It is cancelling appointments that you no longer need because you’re no longer carrying a baby with a heartbeat. It is being bathed in medical costs that feel like they are for nothing. It’s being reminded on mother’s day, on estimated due dates and when people ask how many children you have. It’s figuring out a relationship to a sorrow that will ebb and flow and be a part of your life as long as you live.

The good thing about being a friend to someone who is experiencing misscarriage, is that you don’t need to know how it feels to be a good support. Here are a few things that might be really helpful if you want to support your friend to help heal her heart.

  1. Help her out with her children, but ask before taking them from home. Having her children around might actually be really good for her heart, because it’s easy to feel alone when you’ve experienced a miscarriage.

  2. Tell her you are there to talk about everything, or absolutely nothing at all.

  3. Chocolate is a really really great thing.

  4. Bring or buy food! Or send a gift card for take out! This will probably be the biggest thing you can do for the whole family. If your friend is a stay at home mom, helping her out by taking on some chores that she usually does and give her some time to just rest (which is almost impossible being a stay at home mom to tiny folk) will help her, her husband and the whole family a tremendous amount.

  5. If her husband works which he probably does, team up with her other friends and family and make a schedule for visits once a day the first few weeks. This is really not a time to be alone with your thoughts, and for good healing, you need grief to be a part of your day and not be your whole life. When experiencing a loss of a loved person, you need to have good & happy things to happen your days, and that is really the most wonderful way to heal. To be allowed to fully feel the pain, but also to fully be alive. So help her feel fully alive!

  6. Know that your friend will probably never stop grieving her child. The first few months will be all about processing and she will probably repeat and talk a lot about some things, and it is just a normal grieving process. Never use an expression like “you need to move on” or “be strong for the family” especially the first few weeks, because a mother or father will never not miss the child they thought they would one day raise and hold in their arms. She needs the first months to come to terms with their loss, process the circumstances and know how to re-plan her future. It’s a big deal. And you never “move on” from it. You simply learn how to live a happy life despite it.

  7. Bring flowers, tea, prayers for the family. Flowers are soothing to look at, tea is a great thing for the mother since she still might not want coffee due to pregnancy hormones that don’t yet understand that pregnancy has ended and prayers are healing words that the whole family will need.

  8. And last but not least, remember that the mother isn’t the only one who lost a child! The father has also experienced a painful loss even though he hasn’t experienced it physically. Care about the dad too <3

prepping for a peaceful postpartum

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Who wouldn’t want a positive transition and to feel valued & nurtured during the postpartum time? We spend an incredible amount of time during pregnancy preparing for birth, but not for the fourth trimester - the becoming of a mom.

Postpartum is very special. Breastfeeding itself can take weeks to establish. Sleep deprivation can have you hallucinating, forgetting things and leave you emotionally drained. The gynecological aspects of postpartum can be painful and scary. And in the midst of this huge transition, you’re trying to get to know a freshly made baby human whom you love more than all the stars and also help her transition into this world.

We’re wired for intensive support during the postpartum time. We need that support to emerge as confident, connected and calm mothers. We tend to give so much attention to pregnancy, birth and the new baby that we neglect our women during the postpartum time, and no wonder that there is an increase in postpartum depression, mood disorders, bonding problems and other health issues related to postpartum.

So, planning for a peaceful postpartum time would make all the sense, right?

Here are a few questions to ask yourself while preparing for your peaceful postpartum time!

  • Do you have food prepared? Who will cook meals for you?

  • Perineal pain, how will you manage it?

  • Do you have anyone to turn to when everything feels like a struggle?

  • Have you considered the benefits of wearing your baby in a wrap or sling?

  • Have you thought about how your relationship might shift with your new role as parents?

  • Have you thought about how the hormonal changes might affect your emotions and physical recovery?

  • What can you do to get more sleep when caring for a newborn all night and day?

  • What people can you count on helping you out?

  • Where can you connect with other parents?

  • What can you do to boost your oxytocin levels? (If you’re high in oxytocin you will have a higher tolerance for repetitive tasks)

  • Your partner will play a huge role in recovery. How can you most lovingly include him in your postpartum journey?

xo

what would your dream birth look like? | how to write a birth plan

I hope you don’t mind that it’s been a little bit silent here on the blog. Being pregnant and settling in as a family of four (and enjoying precious moments) has taken all my time…

What would your dream birth look like?

One of my midwives completely changed my mindset toward giving birth when she shared this question on her Instagram.

The standard prenatal care over here is usually limited to 30 minutes focusing on pretty much nothing else than on the growth of the belly and measuring blood pressure. It really does not impress me now after I’ve had the opportunity to attend & experience prenatal therapy pre baby no. 2.

Questioning what my dream birth would look like together with my prenatal therapist/midwife when I was pregnant with our second child lead me to one of my favorite days in my whole life. Together with having two wonderful caregivers and a husband who deserves at least 500 lifetimes of love for being the best support, I had the most amazing care & birth, and a great postpartum time… I couldn’t have wished for more!

Having someone help you lead your birth should be part of every woman’s experience of prenatal care, because the birth of a mama and baby, is so much more than just letting whatever happen and taking orders from someone with medical expertise without trusting any of your instincts. You’re the life giver, and it is crucial that you need to feel good, supported and respected by your prenatal caregiver throughout pregnancy and birth.

When I was assigned a new midwife for prenatal therapy (it was an important part of healing from the traumatic labor of our first child and helped me power up for another one) I realized how much of my first birth had gone wrong. This amazing woman who also had the expertise of taking care of mommas with the same chronic illness I have (EDS) helped me put together my thoughts on what my dream birth would look like, and it took form as a birth plan.

Writing a birth plan is a great way to mentally prepare for labor and is an amazing tool to help actually looking forward to birthing your baby even if you, like me, have had an earlier traumatic experience.
 

"Surround yourself with positive thoughts and stories. Think about how you would like to give birth."


So here I'm sharing my tips on how to write a birth plan! I'll leave you with some questions you can answer & then include in the plan. Remember to write your letter based on who you are and what you think you will need as support! And, the most important thing to ask yourself throughout all of this is “What would your dream birth look like?” Really think through how you would like to give birth. Surround yourself with positive thoughts!

  • Is there anything you'd like the midwife/nurses/doctors to know about your previous labor if you've had one?

  • What are your wishes when it comes to pain management? Do you know what medical pain relief you want or do you want help managing without it (if so, how?)

  • Are there any certain medications that you under no circumstances want?

  • How do you react when you are scared/stressed? What is the best way to help you?

  • If an emergency C-section is needed, do you have any wishes surrounding it?

  • Do you have any strong fears that might affect the birth of your child? (ie. needles)

  • Do you have any other requests for this to be your dream birth?
    This one can be a bit tricky if you've never given birth before so I'll give you a couple of examples. It can be wishing for as few vaginal exams as possible. It can be water immersion during the first stage of labor for pain relief (this is gold!!!). Dimmed lights and as quiet as possible in delivery room. No students or interns present. That you want to be covered with a blanket during and after exams. Avoiding vacuum extraction. That you want to help catch the baby. That they remember to keep you hydrated + give you food/snacks as the hours pass by...

And then of course, you might want something totally different when you’re finally in labor, and that’s totally okay. Remember to print your plan out and put it in your hospital bag, and make sure that every new person who enters the room where you deliver read it! <3

Did you ever write a birth plan or are you going to? Have you received guidance + support for your pregnancy & upcoming birth?

francis & henry - maternity & nursing wear

Here are a few things I continuously wished for during my pregnancy; kebab pizza, ice, liver pâté & pickles, books for our babe and pretty maternity wear. Talking about the latter, meaning maternity wear, I really wished for a Francis & Henry's mama bundle. Little did I know, the only person who knew I actually wished for this made sure that was what I got on my surprise baby shower. Thanks everyone who was a part of it!

It's a package of four things. Now, if you're wondering how the Francis & Henry Nursing Dress has been working for me, it's been good. Way better than a hospital gown, incredibly pretty in real life, very comfortable and super functional for nursing.
The Jersey Cardigan is perfect to put on if it's a little cool, and the Muslin Wrap that also comes with the mama bundle is such a beautiful and soft thing to put in the baby's bed (we have ours in Josef's baby nest!).

Now if these beautiful pieces of clothing only could wash themselves from milk stains... ;)