Going Solo: Single Parenthood, life lessons, Run Momma Run

Love thyself.

When I was pregnant, I took extra special care of my body. I quit smoking, quit drinking, cut way back on caffeine, walked regularly, drank tons of water, ate mostly organic, covered my skin in coconut and almond oil daily to avoid getting stretch marks, slept as much as possible, and listened to a lot of empowering and happy music. After Bella was born, I nursed for 22 months. I got back into running, ate even more organic and stayed away from processed foods. I only occasionally drank and when I did, it was minimal. I slept when I could and tried to keep a positive attitude despite some challenges that came with getting used to taking care of another human being. I lost all of my pregnancy weight plus some and felt amazing.

Today I visited a friend’s pool at a high end apartment complex. The majority of people at the pool, even moms, looked incredible, fit, and happy. I looked down at my body and saw a year and a half of weight gain from eating crap, drinking way too much, and not even attempting to run again. I looked at my hairy legs and my messy hair and realized I hadn’t even showered in two days. It was clear my skin hasn’t seen a drop of lotion in a long time, let alone be covered from head to toe in oil. I also can’t remember the last time I did yoga or just sat quietly to read a book or listen to Bach’s Cello Suite.

Why is it that so many mothers do this to ourselves? We take amazing care of ourselves while pregnant and nursing because we want to ensure a healthy baby. Then, as the child begins coloring our walls and peeing on our rugs, many of us begin to give up to some degree. I can’t even count the number of times I have heard fellow moms joke about how long it has been since they have been on a date, taken a shower, gone out with their spouses, or eaten something other than goldfish and macaroni. This morning my beautiful 3-year old daughter reminded me that the massive treadmill in our living room is there for me to use. She is clearly aware of the fact that I haven’t been on it in a while and thinks that it’s probably time. It suddenly occurred to me that this precious baby still needs me to take care of myself in order for me to take the best care of her as well. Just because sh13920434_10153856682582005_6364152617981029699_oe’s not in my body anymore doesn’t mean that body no longer needs some attention.

I often use the excuse that I just don’t have the time. I work full time and am a solo parent. Like just about every other parent, I am busy. However, in the last two years, I somehow found the time to watch the entire series of about 20 shows, drink at least 100 boxes of wine, and eat enough cheese to fill the Packers’ stadium. I clearly have the time. So, today I came home, did a massive clean of my house, showered, shaved my legs and pits, sat down with a cup of tea, turned on Bach, and began typing. One of the things I also used to do was write. I wrote all the time and it was fun and therapeutic. I have not been in a good emotional place in the last couple of years and if I was being completely honest, I would admit that they have been the hardest and darkest years to date. Writing is my art form. It is how I have always best expressed myself and how I have worked through the good and bad in life. Since I stopped writing, I felt less connected and less like myself.
So, here I am writing again. As I work towards getting back to healthy and figuring out how to find my abs between boxed wine and a block of cheese, I’m going to dust off the book I never finished and share my new adventure here with anyone who is interested. My goal for now is to drink less, run more, meditate and practice yoga, eat more things that don’t come in boxes, cans, or bags, and write, write, write. 


Crunchy Momma

Today I went to a place called OM Baby. Here they offer a variety of birthing classes, parenting classes, yoga classes for pregnant women or new moms, and breastfeeding classes. I know what you are thinking: The place was full of hippies and smelled like Burt’s Bees and Nag Champa. Well, not really. It was warm and friendly with a classroom and a library. It had a small store with eco-friendly bottles and breast pumps and cloth diapers. It had a variety of herbal teas that were pregnant mommy friendly. It was a place that felt good to me. It was soothing and made me want to give birth. I am so excited to get started there. Now comes the fun part where some of you will think I am crazy. I know because I have already seen people roll their eyes and tell me I don’t know what I am talking about.

I am going to have a natural birth. I have opted out of all drugs and plan on laboring at home until the last minute when I will head to the hospital. I know that birthing my daughter will be painful and I am ok with that. I am a woman and I am designed to have babies. Women have been doing this for millions of years. I want to be awake and aware during the birthing process and I want to feel any pain that comes with it. I have been told that if you opt out of drugs and pain killers, you come through feeling like a warrior and with a high like none other. That, to me, sounds wonderful! My daughter has to work hard to come out and I will work hard with her. We will do this together. I do not want a pill or a shot in my back that will cause me to feel nothing and forget this moment. I do not think I will have another child of my own, I did not think I would ever even have this one, and I want this to be something I never forget.

Once we make it through the birth, I will breast feed. This is another thing that some friends have heard from me and, surprisingly, gave me a look of horror. When did the natural process of things become so taboo? Our bodies were designed to give birth and to feed our babies. The nutrients from Brest milk are all natural and specific to our children. The process of breast feeding is a bonding time for mother and child. The breast milk is full of immunity builders and acts as a natural immunization for a variety of diseases. To top it off, it reduces the risk of SIDS, child obesity, and postpartum depression. Even more, it burns about 500 calories a day! It is a workout you can do from a rocking chair. To be honest, I am not sure why people raise an eyebrow to something so natural and I do not know why women chose to use formula which is anything but natural.

Cloth diapers are another thing I am planning on, but think I will save that post for when I am actually using them since I am sure it will be a lot more entertaining. For now, I have been surrounding myself with women who think like me, including a Facebook group called “crunchy Mommies,” and I have been trying to avoid people who tell me I’ll be screaming for an epidural the minute I go into labor. I have talked to dozens of moms who have been through natural and drug induced births and the only ones that made it seem like a totally wonderful, non-scary experience were the ones who went traditional and all natural. And if you are wondering, yes, I do start my mornings with green smoothies, vegan organic granola, and GMO free organic soymilk!

***I would like to add a disclaimer to this post. I think ANY woman who carries a child for 9 months and gives birth to that child is pretty amazing. And, if she loves and cares for the child while having to deal with all the other things life throws at us, it doesn’t really matter whether she fed the child breast milk or formula. I admire mothers in general and we all decide how we should do things and we all have opinions. However, I don’t want people to judge me for my choices and I do not want to be misunderstood as someone who is judging anyone else.