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Yeah…Immaeatthat

Mar 25

9 months as a mom of 2

A quick update on Covid-19 life, Andrew and I are pretty worn out and beat down, like all parents. Last night (desperate for a break), I locked myself and Ella inside her baby gate and laid down for a moment of peace with a podcast on and soon after Jo came and found us and entered the peaceful oasis with her fishing pole. I asked Andrew to take a photo because I wanted to remember this time, because I know it’s not always gonna be this hard.

I’m not a person who uses 4-lettered words much, but lately there’s been a constantly stream of “fu**s” running through my head. Both kids seemed to go through a sleep regression this past week. Last night it was like someone had given Jo coffee and I ended up letting her watch Peppa Pig at 10pm because she wouldn’t stop screaming. I’ve seen people joking that this is their motto for Covid-19 isolation life with kids and it cracks me up and seems true for us…

I miss our schedule and routine and I’m realizing how much I depend on our schedule for comfort and sustainability. I like our life how we have it set up, so I’ve found this time pretty unfulfilling. Something I’ve been thinking about is that a part of ED recovery is finding enjoyment/fulfillment/pleasure outside of food, exercise and body size manipulation, so I could see how this time would be really hard for those struggling since we aren’t left with much to do for leisure except eat, be in our homes, and spend time outside.

One positive of this time is that Andrew and I are getting practice working as a team, which is good for us. We typically have quite a bit of grandparent help, but two people on my side of the family work in “essential” careers, so we’re keeping our distance and having to depend on each other more than usual and some days we lose our freaking minds. Its been really hard and good for us.

The first week of social distancing I really loved having Andrew home. Some days that I don’t work and just stay home with the girls I end up feeling pretty lonely, so I’ve loved having him around. But, this week there’s definitely more moments where he’s ready to be back at work and I’m ready for him to be back at work lol.

Body Image

Since stopping nursing Ella I’ve had the worst body image I’ve had since 2013. It completely blindsided me, because I remember when I stopped nursing Jo I started to feel more and more like myself (not necessarily in regards to level of fat on me, but I found joy in things more easily again), but this time has been different. I stopped nursing because my supply dropped and I was tired of double feeding (aka breastfeeding + immediately afterwards having to give a bottle).

I’ve been tracking the poor body image days and it’s around the same days each month, aligning with a certain phase of my period. My body is different now since having two kids. My belly is saggier and different and a different body takes time to get used to. I think one of the things contributing to the body image struggles (body image is an external representation of an internal struggle) is that I thought once I stopped nursing that life would get easier for me…and it didn’t. I didn’t have to cart around my pumping supplies anymore (which was awesome), but we’re still in the newborn year with a 2 1/2 year old and it’s still a lot.

One Sunday at church I was feeling blah in my body and was so overcome with sadness that I was crying during the worship music, but then during the sermon I was reminded that the point of life isn’t to feel good about myself; it is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. Now, I know how distracting body hatred can be. This isn’t a this isn’t about you so get over yourself comment. I believe God wants us to have an accurate view of ourselves. Body hate that is so deep and so painful and is the product of sin (in my opinion, unrealistic body ideals perpetuated by many and glorification of thinness and belief that thinness = health always no matter what), can require healing from a professional. So, back to what I learned in the sermon, I simply found comfort in the fact that it’s okay, and even expected, if I don’t feel joyful about my body size each day. I’m not the main character of the story. My body appearing a certain level of thin isn’t the goal.

Sometimes, even though I’ve done this before and thought it was behind me, I have to re-teach my mind the language of respecting my body. For instance, reminding myself that:

1) I will do nice things for myself that teach my mind that I am choosing to care for my body size as is (in normal times, this may be a massage, buying myself a new book I’m excited about, or going through my closet and making sure all clothes fit)
2) I’m gonna take care of my body no matter what it’s size so do your thing body
3) As a client once said, “Poor body image is like a cold. I catch it and then it slowly heals.”

Overall I’m realizing that with every life change there’s going to have to be some acknowledgment of this body feels/is different, but I’m okay.

Realization: Mission on earth is not to be able-bodied.

A few weeks ago, Carli (my co-leader of Nourish support group) said, “your mission on this earth isn’t to be able-bodied” and it stopped me in my tracks. One thing I think I’ve been getting wrong lately is a fixation on function. Having a functioning body/doing things that preserve my body’s function. The toll pregnancy and birth takes on a body always feels like a lot to me. I think moving one’s body to preserve function rather than moving for aesthetic-driven reasons can be a really helpful thing as you learn to make peace with your body size, but I swung to far into believing I had more control over my body’s functioning than I actually do. I do believe I have a responsibility to care for my body well, but I don’t have control over if I’m pain-free or not. Like, if you just do this formula then you’ll be painful, but, like thinness, that isn’t something that is guaranteed. The limitations we have are frustrating and many times outside of our control. We don’t get to decide the functionality of our bodies.

I’ve mentioned this before, but a client told me about a Persuasion podcast episode months ago about our bodies limitations and the host said this (I’m paraphrasing a bit), Our bodies our a physical reminder that we are not God. When skimping on food or engaging with exercise in a destructive way we are saying we don’t have to live within the boundaries of our limitations. The body is a 24/7 reminder that we are not God. The body has been given to you to be in relationship with Christ and others, to serve, to sacrifice and to remind you of your limitations.

Mom Enough Reading

I’ve been reading through this and have enjoyed most of it. The short book was written in response to a 2012 Time Magazine cover that showed a mother breastfeeding her four year old with text that said, “Are you mom enough?” I’m not saying I agree with all of it, but I’d been looking for a resource that values staying home with the kids and supports me in viewing motherhood as a large part of my mission field and it’s been helpful.

Fear of dying (…not related to Covid-19).

I imagine this is a thing a lot of moms experience, or maybe because my mom almost died when I was 14 I feel it often, but I’m overwhelmed sometimes with this fear of dying and not getting to see my kids grow up and not getting to be here for them to be loved by me.

It, the fear, usually comes up after sharing a really sweet moment with one of the girls or if I did something I didn’t think I had the strength to do (like multiple middle of the night wake-ups, not losing my screaming at them, etc.) and I’m like who would do this for them, who would love them this deeply if I wasn’t here?! It helps me to talk it through with Andrew and get down to the nitty gritty of what would happen. In my mind he’d hire a full-time nanny with the life insurance money and take it one day at a time. At the end of the day I think this is a fear and a lack of trust issue. It’s hard to be human.

Order out of chaos

One way I’ve been approaching the days of motherhood lately is thinking that my goal is to make order out of chaos. There are examples in the bible of God creating order out of chaos and part of being Christ-like, I think, is doing this within my home. Be this with organization of the physical stuff in our home, activities for the day (if that helps with order), how we approach discipline, how I schedule my work time, etc. It’s been helping me. This concept could also be applied to disordered eating recovery since eating can feel very chaotic and consistent eat throughout the day is essential to recovery and is a way to make order out of chaos.

A chocolate covered Jo.

I hope you’re doing well and staying healthy and sane during this time! How’ve you been doing with all this? How has your life been changed?

32 comments on “9 months as a mom of 2”

  1. Love your post! So honest & relatable. I’m on day 12 of quarantine- my husband and I are both trying to adjust to working from home with 2 young girls (5&7), one in school so we’re trying to keep up with E-Learning. I’m also 31 weeks pregnant & my hospital/midwives are adjusting their protocols. My midwife appointments are being spread out so I’m going to my next appt. in 3 weeks instead of 2. I’m also no longer allowed to have a doula during my labor so that is hard. I’m trying to remain optimistic while also making space for my feelings & recognizing my privilege in what I complain about. So overall, I’m doing well but there are definitely some hard moments sprinkled in

    • Aww man, Isaly. So sorry your doula can’t be there. That is hard:/ I’m trying to stay optimistic too. Optimism comes easily to Andrew, but this time is testing even him. I’ve been reminding myself daily how grateful I am to still be able to work during this time. For sure a blessing.

  2. I don’t have much to say other than I really appreciate your blog posts, especially your honesty & vulnerability!

  3. Thank you for always being vulnerable and honest with your posts. It’s so refreshing to read that life can be hard and messy and that’s okay. I sometimes get stuck in the wrong thinking that admitting that motherhood is hard means I’m ungrateful. This leads to shame and condemnation that God never intended me to carry. I have to remind myself that God knows my heart and He wants me to come to Him with my struggles, no matter how small. He uses all the messiness of life to conform us more into the image of Christ and if I get to be more like Jesus, bring on the messes! 

    You are a wonderful mother and a beautiful person.

    • So much spiritual sandpaper everywhere haha…refining and molding us and rubbing off the sharp edges. Thanks for reading and commenting, Jennifer!

  4. What you said about wanting to preserve our body’s function hit me hard. After I had my second child, my body just doesn’t work as well. I do want to take care of my body, but this isn’t something that’s in my control.

  5. Thank you so much for this!!! I may be 59 with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia instead of two little ones (my two are all grown up!) but this was just as pertinent to me with my body image struggles as it is for a young mom. Thank you. May God bless you, bless us, with everything we need to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever.

  6. I really appreciate you bringing up the fear of dying! I have a 2-year old son and I have been struggling with these thoughts lately as well – worrying about what would happen to him if something happened to me. Similar to you, I often have them out of the blue when we’re having a great time together or I’m rocking him, etc. I struggle with anxiety as well and just started seeing a counselor, so I’m hoping that helps, but it’s so nice to know I’m not alone in having these fears!

  7. Wow. I love these posts. I have 3 that are 4 and under and I feel so deeply when you share you heart. Especially that nagging fear of “Who would love them if I weren’t here?” Thank you for sharing! Motherhood is great when we share the ups and downs and still pioneer ahead loving our calling and our family well. 

  8. Life has certainly changed quite a bit for us, but our biggest struggle his just been getting through the “this feels like a drag!” type of days. I imagine a few kids would make things much more hectic and stressful.

    As usual, I’ve been blessed by your posts. Thanks for sharing the truth about your real life. God shows up in the details, including the less-than-glamorous ones. Prayers for you and your family!

  9. gosh i’m just do dang thankful for your blog! you are really such a blessing to me and have been huge in my recovery!

  10. I love your motherhood posts! Your tone and style feel like talking to a friend. I especially appreciated the part about being able-bodied. We used IVF to have our child because of a hormone issue. I remember thinking about what a failure I was; my body was literally made to have babies. Like that’s kind of all it does. It was hard to accept that I could have a great body that just couldn’t do that one thing. Now that I’m on the other side of IVF, it’s a little easier to think about, but you’re the first person that I’ve seen verbalize those feelings. I appreciate reading about others experiences in different ways!

  11. Kylie,

    I have been following your blog for about 2 years and I am so thankful for your honest posts- and I love how you bring your relationship with God into the blog! I recently had my first baby in January and I ended up having supply issues- reading this post and your other post where you mentioned being okay with formula (something along those lines) was encouraging and nice- made me not feel so alone. 

    I don’t like to spend a lot of time on social media but I really enjoy following you. I’m inspired by your authenticity and the constant body positive reminders, along with remembering our purpose for our bodies – to glorify God. Thanks for doing what you do! 

    • Oh man, supply issues are such a stressor! Someone recently told me the term “triple feeding”, where (you may already know this) breastfeed, then supplement with a bottle, and then pump…so much! I can’t imagine having to do all 3 of those things multiple times a day. I’ve heard it can increase chances of postpartum depression and I see why. All that to say supply issues are tough and a lot of times out of our control and it’s great formula is an option.

      I have such mixed feelings about social media, so thanks for saying you enjoy following along!

  12. I am off social media for Lent so googled your blog as I was hoping you would have a post during this touch time with COVID-19 quarantine craziness. I am so grateful for your honesty. You have, on more occasions than I can count, made me feel like less of a monster for not enjoying every moment of the baby phase with my daughter. I normally work two days a week outside of the home, and man does that help me maintain my sanity. I am unable to work currently due to the quarantine and am struggling with full time stay at home mom life. But I try to be thankful that I get extra time with my girl and know that this will pass. I am working on not feeling guilty for having these feelings and your posts are so helpful for that. Every day of motherhood isn’t a fairy tale and I think we all need to stop pretending that’s the case. And it’s okay to enjoy things outside of being a mother. Thank you again for your transparency. This is just what I needed today!

    • I’m struggling with the thrust into full time stay at home mom life too. Phew. It is work. There are definitely good moments! Having a bit of a schedule has been helping…as in 3pm everyday I’ve deemed movie time because 2pm to kid’s bedtime has been the hardest for me and I needed something to look forward to / help us have a nice afternoon and evening.

  13. Thank you for the realness of this post, Kylie.

    I haven’t nursed in about a year, but I still notice a body image dip about a week before I start my period. And it always takes me a day or so to remember that it isn’t real or indicative of a sudden moral or physical failing. Rather, it’s a biological process of one sort or another that’s suddenly hitting up against societal standards, most of which I wholeheartedly disagree with and have worked my tail off to combat! It’s a trip, for sure, and to do it once a month can be a lot, but I’m getting better at it, for sure.

    Also, similar to your idea about “order out of chaos,” Kate from Naptime Kitchen talks about parents as the thermostat of the home. It’s our job to regulate our families’ moods and energy levels to keep it as consistent as possible. She says it better than I am, but I like it. It also occurs to me that we can find ways to do this that are different from how the world might tell us to. I think a lot of folks with histories of eating disorders/disordered eating are finding it hard to make that inclination to “order” something other than restriction. But I talked to a client just yesterday about reframing the order just like you did, around recovery. Finding order in creating satisfying snacks, for example, and prioritizing consistent meals.

    Anyway, thank you again for your thoughts. Your girls are lucky to have such a reflective, authentic mama!

  14. Thank you so much for sharing this!! I’m a new mom and would be really curious to hear how you navigated breastfeeding hunger and movement in postpartum through intuitive eating.

  15. It is such a breath of fresh air to read your words! You are transparent in a wise way and I just appreciate it so much! 
    The function of my body being the focus after pregnancy and birth has definitely been my focus for 2 years. I’m overdue now w #2 and I keep thinking “I hope this labor does wreck me again/make my issues worse.” I’m encouraged to think of this with less pressure. My body will birth this baby and my body will respond however it does. It’s not my responsibility to preserve function or prevent disfunction. Thank you Kylie! 

  16. Thank you for blogging about this. Finding posts about postpartum+body image+faith from a nondiet professional is just so rare. I’m 6 months postpartum, also a nondiet dietitian and really struggling with body image. I liked the catching a cold analogy…it does come and go. Anyway thank you!

    • Hi Amy! It is a rare combination! But I figured if it’s what I want (evidenced based, but with a Christian worldview) other people could benefit from it to. I have a body image post coming up tomorrow that you may find helpful. Postpartum is rough. Hang in there<3

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