Baby Talk: Dear New Mom

Happy Thursday. This has been on my heart so I wanted to get it out.

Dear New Mom,

First of all, congratulations! Secondly, how are you? Welcome to what I would describe as the hardest month/six weeks of your life. I am 7 months and 3 weeks into this parenting thing and, admittedly, we both have a long way to go… but there’s a massive difference between where you’re at and where I’m at, so I wanted to give you some encouragement.

Let’s get this out of the way: there is nothing wrong with you.

If you want to do laundry and organize the pantry while baby sleeps, do it. If you want to hold your baby while she sleeps, do it. If you want to take a nap while he’s snoozing, do it. There isn’t a wrong way and you shouldn’t feel guilty. Listen to your body and your brain.

But also… tell your brain to can it. You’re going to feel guilt. Guilt over a dirty house. Guilt over “spoiling” your baby (<< impossible.) Guilt over wanting to hand baby off to a visitor while you do dishes/nap/shower(/cry).

Stop that. Guilt only sucks whatever energy and stamina you have left. There is no wrong way to survive the first month as long as you’re taking care of your brain and body.

But let’s talk about your body. Girlfriend… it’s straight up broken– whether you pushed baby out or underwent a cesarean. (And if you adopted you’re STILL not running at 100% because babies suck the life out of you no matter what.) I know it takes all your energy to stand or roll out of bed for the 100th time to feed a crying baby. I know you pee when you sneeze… or cough… or move. I know there are stretch marks and swelling and ouchies everywhere. I know your boobs hurt.
Not to mention your brain and your hormones and your insides…

The six week gap between birth and your first appointment is B U L L S H I T . If you need to see the doctor sooner, do it. (I went twice- once for PPD and once for an infection.) Give your body what it needs- antidepressants, sleep, Tylenol, etc. Even if you’re breastfeeding, the doctors can work with you and figure out how to help. Talk to them.

And now for the most important part: accept the help (& do so without feeling guilty!).

If you have a spouse, let them raise that baby, too. They’re not helping you or watching the kid, they’re raising their child. If you have family nearby that you trust and love, accept their help. Let them spend the night or drive you to your doctor appointment or pick up the groceries for you. If you have a trusted neighbor let them come over and rock the baby to sleep while you shower. Say YES when you need the help or want the break. I was bad about this & I regret it.

I know you’ve heard this before & I hope it’s not coming across as unsolicited advice.

Please know that sometimes these are not the golden days… Sometimes these are the make-it-or-break-it days. You’re tired and sore; it’s tough to truly enjoy anything in those moments. But the days will get better and better. Motherhood will start to feel more natural over time. Your baby will recognize you and smile at you. You will figure out how to squeeze in sleep and brushing your teeth and maybe even a shower.

It doesn’t get easier necessarily, but you get much much better at it. And you’ll realize that all things end- good or bad. The crying, the sleepless nights, the snuggles, the helplessness… it will all end eventually and you’ll come out on the other side.

For the new moms in my life, if you want to reach out I am available. You can vent, ask me to mask-up and hold your baby, or run to the grocery store with a long list.

You will get through this. Your baby will thrive. You are doing a fantastic job. ❤️

Six Months of Madelyn

Yesterday our Lylee Girl would’ve been 9. I’m so sad she’s not here, but I do feel her presence in both Mads and Bristol. It took a baby and a puppy to mend that big ol’ bearsize-hole in our hearts. 

And today I’m here to share M’s 6 month update.

Let me repeat that… 6 MONTHS. akjsdkfsjdhfjnsdkjfhsd. W H A T ! ! ?

Who took my baby and left me this adorable, cuddly, animated child?

*sigh*

Nicknames: Maddie, Mads, Moo, Moo Shu, Lou

Stats: She had her wellness appointment last Thursday. Our little chunk is 18.5 lbs and just shy of 28 inches long (& that puts her in the 97th percentile). Yeah, she’s wearing 12 month clothing. UGH.

Likes: Her puppy siblings; she is obsessed. Baths and splashing in the water. The breeze and Daddy gently blowing on her face. Watching Dad mow the yard back and forth. Walks. Bright colors and music on TV shows. Putting things in her mouth.

Dislikes: Being too hot or having the sun in her eyes too long. Being overly tired, but also being forced to take a nap. Mom taking away the things she’s trying to put in her mouth.

Sleeping: M goes down around 7pm and sleeps until 5am, takes a small bottle, and snoozes until 8am. Sometimes she sleeps right on through until 7 or 8am.
She’s supposed to take three naps but sometimes she fights (& wins) when it comes to that third one… She does great in her crib for naps now!

Eating: Formula still, but we’ve added in adult food! M has tried broccoli, mashed potatoes, avocados, bananas, peaches, strawberries, and sweet potatoes. I think broc & ‘cados are her favs.

Development: She has learned SO much since her 3 month update! She rolls like a champ, grabs at everything, and smiles at us all day long. She laughs, but we’re still waiting on that deep, hard belly laugh. She babbles (“dadadadada”) and squeals and watches everything around her. She can sit up but still needs a spotter. (Balance is hard.) She can stand with help, but no steps. She wants to crawl SO badly but she hasn’t figured out how to get her legs under her and use them yet.

Personality: Man… she is so happy most of the time. A do-it-myself attitude is starting to come through, but she’s the sweetest little diva. She snuggles in at night and she definitely has a special love for her dad…but when she’s tired or fussy or just moody she’s a momma’s girl.
I love how chill she is. We can go somewhere and she’ll just sit on my lap and people-watch. All she needs is some shade, a comfy lap, and sometimes to suck on. She’s a happy girl. I love it.

Travel: L O L Ugh. By this time she should’ve been to Dallas, Texas and Dayton, OH. Possibly South Carolina, too. But we’ve been at home in Ohio.


Mom’s Summary: These past three months have been the absolute best. My hormones have sorted themselves out, we’re all getting a decent amount of sleep (albeit restless because I still wake up & check on her), and we’ve banked extra time at home watching M grow.
COVID-19 wreaked havoc on our lives and business, but it’s given us extra time with M and it was time I didn’t know I needed & wanted. Don’t get me wrong- there were stressful and awful moments- but it was a special opportunity for us to spend a month and a half with just her. I love being her mom more and more every day.

And that’s it for six month! Will we have a walker by 9 months? Only time will tell, lol.

**All photos by the insanely talented Jackie Beachy ♥**

Baby Talk: It Didn’t Work Out

In my opinion, admitting one’s failures is humbling. I think it also shatters the perfect image that’s so easily fronted online. I will never ever claim to be perfect (although I’m plenty arrogant… cue the humbling).

Before M was born, I had a plan. Then we brought our fresh baby home and realized plans are meant to be ditched. Back up plans are also good for ditching 🤷

If you’re a parent and you find yourself having to alter your course, I’m just here to tell ya you’re not alone or a failure or wrong. That’s just how life goes sometimes.

And here are some things that just didn’t work out…

B R E A S T F E E D I N G
We tried. We went all in and registered for the pillows and bags and pads and creams. We got a pump from our insurance company and we spent $$$ on a lactation consultant both before and after M’s arrival.

And you know what? It just didn’t work out.

It took me a week to make that decisions and I struggled HARD for those 7 days (and I wrote about it), but once the decision was made I never looked back.

C O – S L E E P I N G
According to the internet, co-sleeping and bed-sharing are different. Regardless, I mean sleeping in the same room.

We started M in the bassinet in our bedroom for her first 3 weeks. During week four we put her in her crib to start, then brought her into our room after her first middle-of-the-night bottle. Then we did it after the second feeding. Eventually she just stayed in her crib all night.

We HATED sharing a room. Every time M made a noise I woke up. I laid there terrified that K or the dogs would make a noise and wake M. We had to keep our room warmer than we typically would’ve. And truly, I just needed “my space” back in some part of my life. So we kicked her out.

Listen… we have a video monitor, I check her often, and we’ve done all the other steps to reduce SIDS. I am a paranoid momma and I wouldn’t put my child at risk. Also… from the start she slept (and sleeps) SO DAMN WELL on her own in her room. We’ve noticed she’s got a slight independent flare to her (holla ‘atcha girl!) and she does very well by herself.

D A Y C A R E
Once I headed back to work we thought M would spend half her time with family and half her time at daycare. Two things derailed this plan. First of all, we have almost NO daycares around us… and the ones that do exist have 3 out of 5 stars. I wouldn’t send the dogs to a daycare with that rating.
Also, turns out I am TERRIFIED of M getting RSV or Hand Foot & Mouth Disease soooo….. sticking her in a room with a bunch of other children is a hard no from me right now. I’m fine with parks and family and all that, but I know people send their sick kids to daycare and I’m not all about that. She’ll learn to share and socialize some other way for now.

*(I am very grateful that I have the privilege to make this call- our family is AWESOME for keeping M during my work days.)

N O   S C R E E N T I M E
Hahahahahahahahahaha. I’ll just go ahead and see myself out.

M loves Mickey & The Roadsters, Puppy Dog Pals, & Sesame Street. She typically only gets an hour or less of TV when we’re home, but I imagine that will change over time, too.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say this will not affect her likelihood of graduating high school. I think we’re safe.


Parenting is effing hard. When things don’t work out, don’t beat yourself up- spend that valuable time with your kid(s) and find an alternative.

Fortunately, we’ve had some things work out beautifully. M is on a pretty decent (sleep) schedule. We’ve had much success with cloth diapers. We’re about to start baby led weaning & I can tell M is excited about food.

I struggled with quitting breastfeeding and I cried the first few nights M wasn’t in our room… but things pan out how they’re supposed to and you’ve got to go with the flow sometimes. I’m proud of us for the things we’ve stuck to- those decisions have shaped our parenting journey.

I Was Scared to Become a MOM

When I found out I was pregnant I had a major identity crisis. I feared becoming a single label: “mom.” It seemed like that mom life would be the only life I’d get to live.

I was so upset by that. I didn’t want to lose myself or sacrifice the person I was. I didn’t want to be so consumed with my daughter that I was no longer the wife / friend / employee / person I was before…

And that fear caused a problem. It took a while to enjoy my pregnancy. I wanted to be pregnant, but I didn’t know how to connect with what was happening. I adjust to new people and new experiences slowly. It felt weird and distant. M was born and the weirdness didn’t instantly go away- although it changed.

After sorting out my ppd and taking care of my health, I had the realization that M was mine. Everything she did and all her care was my job- I didn’t have to seek approval or validation for my actions from anyone (in tandem with K, of course). And that didn’t scare me at all- I started feeling more comfortable referring to her as my daughter.

Truthfully, I’ve only just starting thinking of myself as a mom. Maybe Mother’s Day helped a little? I resisted the all-consuming title for a long time… even though I was, by definition, A MOM. I admire other moms, I wanted to have a kid from the start, I look up to so many amazing mothers out there. It’s not the fear of being old or having that soccer-mom-mini van-driving,-lob haircut-vibe…….. it’s just the uncomfortableness of a new and limiting name.

When I announced I was pregnant the MOM CLUB showed up in full force and I felt like such a phony. People offered me clothes, toys, meals, advice, their kitchen sinks, etc. It felt weird… It felt fake to be accepted just because I was now “one of them.” I truthfully hated the idea of it… but secretly loved the support and help.

(I realize now that being a parent is tough and the so-called MOM CLUB is actually just women who have been there/done that/are still in trenches who want to help someone else that’s wandered into this war zone of untold horrors and blessings. Lol.)

A lovely blog friend shared with me that she felt very distant from her pregnancy, too, and only connected with her daughter once she was born. Another blog friend told me that the “instabond” moms have with their babies is sometimes a myth and for good reason. It makes SENSE that getting to know your baby and bonding would take time. They are a person after all- someone with their own wants and needs and likes and dislikes and personality and feelings. It’s a relationship that takes a little time.

M is five months old now and I love love love being her mom. Having a child didn’t make me love kids. I’ve never been a big kid person. But now that I’ve gotten to know my baby I am sure that I was meant to be her mother. No regrets, no hesitation, no second thoughts. I live for the day she calls me “mom.”

And life was unclear at first with a new human in the mix. Our days and priorities have changed accordingly… but I’ve found that deep down, I haven’t. I might be a little more distracted and usually covered in spit up, but I have a good relationship with my husband, I try to support and love my friends as much as I always have, and I still enjoy and excel at my job- although I work less days and sometimes long to be home with M when I’m in my office. I read a little less but I’m still a reader. I blog a little less but I’m still a blogger. I’m still a type-a perfectionist but things are a little more lax around here. I’m still me. I’m just a mom, too. And I think I had to go through that stage of insecurity to fully and gratefully accept this role.

This feels like a raw confession of sorts. I’ve never not loved M… I just didn’t know how to serve her and stay true to me. And I feel happy that we’ve figured this out a.k.a. I’ve realized the joy and fulfillment I have in being HER mom.

It’s tough to struggle with your identity. Whether it’s a job or a hobby or a label… it’s weird and uncomfortable to be sorted into a category by default. I feel lucky that I’ve ended up enjoying this new role. I’m embarrassed by how much I doubted myself, but thankful for those who built me up and helped me transition into motherhood. I don’t take the people in my corner for granted and I will teach M how important “our people” are- not least of all her incredible dad.

If you’re struggling with something big, reach out for help. Someone to talk to, an outlet to share your frustrations, prescribed medication to stabilize your mental health. It’s important. Your quality of life matters- don’t dismiss it when something feels wrong. ♥