To say that 2017 changed my life, I believe is an accurate statement. Not only have I become a mother, and learning what all that entails, I also found out more about myself and who I am. This past year I have realized that my mental strength is one of my biggest powers. I know that over the years this has been tested many times before, but this year in particular was more personal..
It started when I told myself I wanted a natural birth. The reasons for me wanting this was from the research I had done, knowing that for both the baby and mom this was the most optimal situation. To be honest, giving birth never really scared me. When asked I always said I really want to try to have her on my own, but I know things can happen. Honestly I was very open with the whole process. I knew going into pregnancy that planning is not on your side. Due to multiple previous miscarriages, this time around I was just trying my best to do everything I thought, and knew I could be capable of, for my baby.
I remember on Christmas Eve (two years ago now, 2016) I was talking to my husband’s cousin about childbirth. She too is a mother, and also my age. I really wanted to hear her story. She became a mom at a pretty young age, and she does not sugar coat anything when she speaks. I remember her exact words, “When you’re in there, its Brittany vs. Brittany. You are the only one who can help yourself.” She also told me to, “start doing all the squats now to strengthen your legs, because they will need it, and it will help you”. Those words really stuck with me. Whichever way you happen to deliver, as much as the doctors can and may have to intervene, or as much support that surrounds you; it’s all up to you.
Never have I been more in tune with myself, and my feelings, than at that moment. Breathing. It’s literally something we do everyday, we forget we’re even doing it. It is so powerful though. It brought my daughter into this world. It showed me how strong I am. It showed me that if you put your mind to something, you could literally see your fruits of your labor. This theme followed with me through out the year.
Breastfeeding. We are still going strong eleven months in. In the beginning there was some latching problems. A lactation consultant told me, that my daughter was tongue and lip tied, and that she would need a simple procedure to fix it. I cried more about that, then when she was born. I did ask our Pediatrician, and she said she looked fine and sometimes it takes babies a little longer for their mouths to grow and strengthen We choose not to have the procedure done. In doing so it took about just a little over two weeks for her to finally get it. At the time I was juggling back and forth between pumping to keep my supply up, bottle-feeding with two different bottles (a normal one, and one that mimics nursing), and still offering myself round the clock. Eventually she took to nursing one day all on her own, for all of her feedings. I was so excited to tell my husband all about it when he came home from work. That was our second victory together. First being her birthday. I let go of my fear or being a failure, bottle-fed was fed. I am thankful we trusted our newly instilled paternal instincts.
I kept persistent to my goals, and this time around the support was much needed
That was another thing I learned this year, it’s ok to ask for help.
I was always so adamant about doing things on my own. What I have realized though that doing everything by yourself only makes you weak. When they say it takes a village, it really does. Living in a new place where I only know my daughter and my husband is tough. Having only one income with double the expenses as before is even tougher. All this new found pressure on top of trying to be the best mom, and wife, and taking care of myself too, is downright hard! But then there is my tribe, my village, my family. This past year I felt that love, I felt the weight lifted, I felt at home. I am so fortunate to have so many people who love and want to help us in any way they can. Whether it was a surprise Starbucks card for some mommy fuel, A friend who drove with my husband down here to help us move, visits from friends and family who made their way down here to spend time with us, lots of care packages from Nana, and so many sweet gifts sent to Ximena. I often get asked if I have made any friends here. The quality of friendships that I have that has turned into family, is beyond any quantity I could ask for.
My focus is on controlling what I can. Being the best version of myself, to be able to raise my daughter and watch her grow. In my downtime, I am practicing, yoga and meditation. They are two things that I am really trying to make a constant in my life this year. My nutrition is getting smarter, as I am still learning more and more about what the body needs in order for it to be healthy and thriving. Still going strong for almost seven months into my Vegan journey, and I have never felt better.
So many new changes and factors were made present this past year. I am thankful for them all being positive, and for us knowing how to maneuver them together as a team. I am looking forward to many more visits from our tribe, continuing to see the world through my daughter’s eyes, and to giving my inner self some mindfulness love, and gratitude for one of the best years so far.
Happy New Year!
Stephanie + Brittany here! We'll be sharing different topics week to week depending on what life throws at us! Funny moments, frustrating moments, heart to hearts, epiphanies, ideas, thoughts and anything in between.