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The Overwhelm Of Mothering

Sunday.

Iโ€™m ๐Ÿ’ฏ% overwhelmed most of the time.

Waking up to a toddler loudly whinging because itโ€™s not dark anymore and her hot cocoa is too hot and she wants to get dressed but not that one while simultaneously needing to pee and pour my first cuppa and take the dog out. Overwhelm.

Trying to read your Bible with people climbing in or near you and teasing the dog and each other and even knowing that God is close to those with young it feels like failing. Overwhelm

Going through a huge gift of clothes with the boys to decide what we will keep and what we will bless to others while the little girls are simultaneously touching everything and fighting about the fact F wants the same kind of cereal as E. Overwhelm.

Keeping this person on track of loading the dishwasher while simultaneously administering directions to five other people who keep popping into the frame like whack-a-mole. Overwhelm.

Giving Father’s Day presents while simultaneously trying to keep someone from opening the other one and noticing the spilled coffee and the random bits scattered around. Overwhelm.

Cleaning up breakfast while simultaneously assigning this person to make sure that person is clean and that person has shoes and answering questions. Overwhelm.

Thrift shopping for summer dresses for the teen while keeping the toddler from unloading shelves and making a towering stack of chairs to climb up and touch the huge inflatable hanging from the ceiling and repeatedly saying no to the millions and millions of requests from the kindergartener. Overwhelm.

Trying to make potato packets for the grill while trying to remember to find or buy more aluminum foil and delegating sunscreen and help tying shoes and thousands more “needs”. Overwhelm.

Attempting to explain your sense of scarcity and inadequacy to your partner and he responds with more and louder negativity basically berating the kids for “never doing anything!” which isn’t at all what you’re saying and now you feel like you need to rise to their defense and you want to point out all the responsibilities and things you keep track of that he doesn’t help with at all but you don’t and it’s just pointless. Overwhelm.

Sunset Mississippi River overwhelm motherhood moms mothering unseen invisible workload difficult mental health toddler with kittens

Wanting to have a Super Soaker fight with your kids and as you change into your swimsuit one kid is crying about something that is huge to him and two other kids follow you into your closet dripping wet and impatiently hurrying you along and the water fight isn’t fun at all because one kid keeps squirting people in the face and they cry and there are clothes and towels and toys all over the yard and it just is one more thing you’ll have to clean up or make them clean up. Overwhelm.

Feeling guilty because you had an overnight trip to Galena with your bestie and were gone all day three days ago and you had an overnight birthday party with your daughter and her three besties and your three besties and were gone all day yesterday, and even with these much needed respites, you still can’t manage this life you really want to love. Overwhelm.

Sunset Mississippi River overwhelm motherhood moms mothering unseen invisible workload difficult mental health >

I don’t know how to make it easier-but there are a few things I try.

Bible.

Knowing God is for me and equipping me.

Exercise.

Positive affirmations.

Laughter every day.

Reading.

Outdoor time.

Lots of kisses and rough housing, especially when I don’t feel like it.

Vodka. (Sometimes.)

Hand-lettering.

Looking at breathtaking photos on Pinterest or Instagram.

Connecting with friends.

Hiding in my room.

Motivational YouTubers.

What helps you when you’re overwhelmed?

Knowing you’re not alone!

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FinnellaBirth_001

The Perfect Home Birth of Finnella Blessing

May 31: I had been getting more and more tired of being pregnant and trying different tricks that might get labor going for several days. Of course it was nothing drastic as my due date wasn’t until 9 June. When Kevin and I went to bed that night, he noticed I had a “piddle pad” a reusable thick cloth pad one could use for incontinence; we used them for changing pads for the wee ones. He was teasing me about it; but I pointed out that my water broke as my first labor symptom with Elivette and I wanted to be safe, in case that happened this pregnancy too, I knew only about 15% of labors start with breaking waters, but maybe it would bring me luck. Unfortunately, I’d been sleeping on it for several days too, and it had done nothing to start labor. ๐Ÿ˜‰

We had been in bed for a while, and were still in that drowsy awake stage of pre-sleep when suddenly, I felt a tiny “flick”, and boom: the precautionary mama cloth I was wearing, my pajamas, the piddle pad and the mattress pad were all soaked! Guess who was glad I had preemptively protected the mattress now!

I knew it could be a while before contractions started, but I went ahead and texted my midwives and the people who had promised to be in prayer for us, around midnight. I was excited and jittery and found it hard to get to sleep. I got a surprising number of replies too, which helped keep my mind calmer. I’m thankful for my night owl friends.

I woke up around 7 as usual, and no more signs of labor, just the occasional gush of amniotic fluid reminding me how I wasn’t laboring. By 10, I was starting to get resigned to the fact labor was not going to happen, and frustrated about it. My mother-in-law picked up the three youngest and the girls and I kept busy around the house. We went for a walk down to the lake about 1/2 mile from our house. It was pretty and peaceful and I would have stayed there most of the day if not for a heavily pregnant woman’s need to relieve herself frequently and the fishermen I wouldn’t want to see me do so. We trundled back to the house and relaxed a little.

At lunchtime, Kevin wondered if he and Aviana could drive a few hours to go pick up the milking LaMancha goat he found on Craigslist. I said they may as well, since I wasn’t going to have the baby. My midwife thought it was possible it wasn’t my actual amniotic sac that ruptured, but the forebag. She also thought that perhaps it wasn’t amniotic fluid at all, but pee. I was positive THAT wasn’t the case.  A friend,meaning to be helpful, bless her heart, told me she had gone to the hospital one day thinking her daughter would be born, and she wasn’t born for 17 more days. And my discouragement grew.

I posted on Facebook , “We aren’t having a baby, but we are getting a milk goat, so yay.” The support and solace my friends offered were bountiful. My photographer and friend, Kelcy, commented that there was still plenty of day left, and that made me feel a little better.

At 3ish, I felt a twinge of something. A dozen minutes later, definitely, something. I put the first birthing wave in my contraction app at 3:30. I texted my midwives again. Kathy lives an hour away and I’m not known for long drug out labors.  Sarah, my midwife’s assistant and friend and I chatted for a while. While we were going back and forth, my uterus amped up. Now the waves were about five minutes apart. I told her I would feel more comfortable if she were with me. She texted back, “ME TOO!” A little later she told me she would leave as soon as her husband got home from getting a chicken.

Meanwhile, Kevin was still 45 minutes away from home after picking up the goat.

Kevin got home eventually, and he started filling up the birth tub. Sarah arrived soon after, much to my relief.   Aviana felt strongly that JuneBug, the goat, needed milked then and there. Since I had the tub ready now, and Sarah was with me, I was ok with that. The contractions were coming right on top of one another. Getting in the tub spaced out the contractions so I was able to have some breath of a break; I was amazed at how the water helped!

During the time they were down at the barn, I had a contraction that was ‘different’, one that made me feel if Kevin and Aviana didn’t hurry up with that goat, they were going to miss Fizzy Baby’s arrival!
My good friend Karen arrived. She was here as support for the girls. We wanted someone to specifically be with them, in case of anything going awry especially. She was absolutely perfect in her role, and supported anyone who needed her. She and Brielle went downstairs to get some fruit ready to snack on. The watermelon tasted wonderful. It was the first time I had ever eaten in labor.

Close to 6, I told Sarah she had better tell Kelcy she had better come. She texted back, “I can see your house.”  I asked her if she would braid my hair, as it was starting to get wet and was all in my face annoying me.

It was such a peace filled, calm hour. Aviana tried to read some Baby Blues comics to me when Wanda was giving birth. It was amusing for a while, but quickly got to the point where I needed it to stop. I had some praise music playing. The birth affirmations were hung on the mantel so I could read them, and I would think of one when a birth wave came on, over and over again as a meditation.

 It wasn’t long before things started to intensify incredibly. A few days before, I had watched a mare give birth out in the open air. It was beauty to behold. She would get up, turn around a few times, and then lie back down again. I found myself sort of spinning around in the tub, and thinking of that mare.

 The mare was so composed and tranquil. I was starting to get noisier, but I felt like that mare. I never once felt scared or worried or out of control. With all of my other births, there was at the very least one moment, if not a whole scene, where I felt tumultuous.

A couple of times, as a birth wave crescendoed, I started to say “no” and then I caught myself and released myself into the passionate force of the moment. Being able to do that, being given the safe space, being surrounded by love and prayers, being completely mentally comfortable, was awe striking.

Soon, my birthing waves changed and my body needed to start pushing Fizzy Baby. There was no one moment of “Now, I shall push.” It was a gradual buildup and I didn’t really notice exactly when it was different. I never got checked to see if I was complete. No one told me what to do. Everyone just supported me and held me emotionally.

I had my hand on her head, and could feel as she began to come out into the world. This was a wonder-filled stage for me. I had never felt as in control before, so aware and internally calm.

I have seen several videos depicting the mechanics of birth (start watching about 1:40) and knew cognitively what was happening. Now I could feel it happening to my own baby, under my own guidance, under my own hand! I could feel her head molding. I felt her head turn and then her shoulders slide out, and then she was here!

 She didn’t even cry at first, just opened her eyes and looked at me, and gazed around at her new world. It was astonishing to see her be so peaceful and placid.
My legs started aching and shaking immediately after she was born, and I started whining about soon after that.  Somehow they managed to get me out of the tub, and into bed. There I delivered the placenta. Kathy assisted Aviana in its delivery. 
Finnella– heart–  placenta
 Brielle then cut the cord, and Finnella was forever her own person.
 We all fell immediately and irrevocably in love.

 Our phenomenal midwives.
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Finnella Blessing 29 days old

My sweet little Finnella will be one month old tomorrow! I am having a hard time believing that little statistic as far as she is concerned. 
As for me, I am definitely feeling more like a human and less like a blubbering ball of  baby fat and boobage. I even briefly considered going for an energetic walk this morning. Then I thought better of it and had a second cup of coffee. 
Intellectually and creatively,  I am bouncing back as well. I still can’t be counted on to remember things like feeding other people’s cats or who is taking Aviana to piano, but I finished up all my reading and study guide for my upcoming Birth Boot Camp Instructor training and yesterday Brielle and I painted these:
Nursing is going MUCH better. In fact, on Sunday, she nursed in the wrap while I walked around grocery shopping. That felt pretty monumental. I can read while she nursed now and have read a couple of pretty good books this month. You should find me on GoodReads! I am thankful nursing has stopped requiring all of my concentration. 
I handle being with the kids by myself pretty well. If the big girls have done their jobs, and are just sitting there reading, I pass off Finnella to them. It seems like a win-win :). Today a friend needed some help and so she brought her two boys over, and I had eight kiddos here! It worked out in my favor though because I can be a broken record with my own boys, “go outside. Go outside. Go. OUT. Side!” But when they have friends here, they will play out there unbidden for days.
Finnella doesn’t really do much to report, just the baby basics: eat, exit what she ate, cry, sleep, repeat. She did make it all the way into town today without crying, not all the way to our destination, but still, progress. She recognizes me; if she is crying in somone else’s arms, when I take her she almost always quiets immediately–at least momentarily. 
I think the other children have adjusted now, at least for the most part. We are finding our new normal, and it is good.

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23 weeks pregnant–or pregnick

We started calling the baby Baby Fizzy–those early movements can feel fizzy, but mostly it’s because my friend offered up her children’s names if we wanted to use them…only starting with an F of course: Femma, Folly, Foolia, Fandrew or Fizzy. We are definitely going with Fizzy.

Although, four year old Denton did suggest we name the baby Fat.

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I have figured out why I’ve kind of quit blogging.

I am lazy.

It’s infinitely easier to post on Facebook or Instagram little sound byte snippets of my life, rather than to sit down and “think” of a blog post.

Additionally, blogging has changed so much in the past eight years. When I started this blog, expecting Brielle, blogging was fairly new. No one really knew what it was. Now, everyone has one.

And, I feel like everyone expects a blogger to have some sort of revealing insight or amazing intellect to offer, and frankly, I’m just too tired for that jazz. When I started this blog, my parents didn’t live locally. Facebook hadn’t taken off yet. It wasn’t so easy to share photos and life bits with people as it is now, and that was my primary reason for starting this blog.

I love to write. I just feel like I don’t have much of anything to say.

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pregnancyprogression

Six weeks pregnant

Yep. It’s true.

I made it facebook official, but hadn’t spread the news to the wider world of my blog.

I’m really thankful I’ve had no real sickness this first part. Some days I’m super exhausted and want to be in my bed at 4 p.m. This hasn’t been really handy, since Kevin is deep in the throes of harvesting and is working longer hours than usual.

There is a lot more mental and emotional processing happening because of the way Elivette’s birth went down. We want to have a solid plan in place to keep me safe and keep giving the Farm Fresh Family their mama.

I also had gotten serious this year about getting my doula certification from DONA and possibly even taking midwife assistant’s class, and I’m disappointed to put that all on hold. I know there are a lot of working moms out there, but for me, and our style of parenting, I’ll need to wait until the baby is about a year old before I take new clients. I’m still taking clients while I’m pregnant though!

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