Be Still

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As a mother, it can be so difficult to find the time to simply be still. My eyes open in the morning to the sound of crying from the baby monitor and it’s a non-stop rush until around 10pm at night. I get the baby ready, myself ready, go to work, go home, put the baby to bed, clean the house, and finally get some sleep before it all starts over again the next day.

My mind is always running a million miles a minute. I’m extremely forgetful and can hardly remember my own name half the time. I get through the day on coffee and dry shampoo, because who has time for breakfast and a shower?

There are people I’ve been meaning to call for weeks and just can’t find the time. There are gifts I’ve thought to send, friends I want to see, books I need to read, and time I’d like to spend enjoying the company of my husband and son.

It’s so very easy to get caught up in the pace of the world. Our culture is one that never stops moving, never takes a break, and never lets you catch your breath. I think that’s why it’s so important that we remember to stop every now and then and rest.

For me, resting can be a difficult process. You have to intentionally ignore the dirty dishes, forget the unfolded laundry, and put the office out of your mind. Instead, fill your time with things you love in places that allow you to rest and be restored. Whether that’s a quiet cafe, a picnic with friends, or a night in with your family.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned since having my son, it’s that life moves so much faster than I ever realized before. You blink once and everything’s changed. At the end of my days when I look back at my life, I want it to be filled with joyful memories of the people I love. I don’t think I’ll care much about how clean the house was.
xo,
alaina

Pregnancy: The Best Blind Date

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My first day of motherhood was a bit like an awkward blind date. 

I had spent months hearing about this super cute guy who couldn’t wait to meet me. All of my friends talked constantly about how gorgeous he would be and how much I would love him. My parents already thought he was a great guy, even though they’d never met him. A few people even showed me some pictures of him. They were in black and white and a bit blurry, but it was exciting to see him anyway.

When we finally met, it was at the end of a very long day. I was exhausted and a little out-of-it. My hair was a mess and my makeup was most definitely not on point. I had been waiting for him for over thirteen hours and honestly, I was ready to just go home. Eventually, one of our mutual friends had to actually go to his home and make him leave. When he finally decided to show up, we said a quick hello and I gave him a polite kiss on the cheek before we both had to leave.

A little while later, we met up again. I was somewhat less of a mess and he was looking much more presentable. As soon as he entered the room, my eyes lit up and my heart skipped a beat. He was the most beautiful boy I’d ever seen. We spent the night cuddling and getting to know each other. All I could think about was how adorable he was. He didn’t say much, but I could tell from the way he looked at me that he was glad we were together.

Who would have known that the love of my life would be a chubby little guy with no teeth? ūüėā

Loving Your Body: Intro

Having a positive view of my body has always been something that I’ve struggled with. I’ve always been considered “overweight,” and especially through middle and high school, the mental hostility I had against myself took its toll. I was extremely insecure, constantly comparing myself to the girls around me. I hated myself for every imperfection I could find. I never felt good enough, and the guilt was heavy.

After my son was born, I was left even more uncomfortable in my new body. I struggled with accepting the baby weight, which you can read about here, and felt like a stranger in my own skin. Nothing made me feel worse than trying to squeeze into those pre-pregnancy jeans or settling for maternity clothes when I was no longer pregnant. While I did strive to lose the extra weight, my main goal was to finally become comfortable with my body.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to share with you guys the steps I’ve taken to accept and love my body. This isn’t just for women who have had children, it’s for anyone who has ever felt unhappy in their own skin. What I write won’t be a magic fix for all of those negative emotions, but I hope that it will serve as a guide to help you find your way.

You are all so strong and so beautiful. More than anything, I hope to help you truly believe that.

Mama Bird & Co.


Not only is this shirt adorable, it’s also accurate. This girl runs on caffeine and doesn’t function well without it. If you have any doubts, just ask my husband. 

Mama Bird & Co. is one of my most favorite etsy shops. All of their shirts are screen printed by hand and incredibly comfortable. The fit is super relaxed and the fabric is perfectly soft. They also have unique designs to suit every kind of mom (including the highly caffinated). 

Be sure to use the code “blushingbee15” at checkout to get 15% off your order!! 

Growing Up

This guy recently started taking rice cereal with his formula, and holding bottles all on his own. As cliche as it sounds, I honestly can’t believe how much my little man has grown. Daniel and I are constantly talking about how tiny he used to seem and now he’s almost 18lbs and who even knows how tall (we haven’t measured in a while). When I rock him to sleep I already feel like I’m holding a toddler. My mama heart is really struggling with the fact that he’s already growing so fast. No matter what, he’ll always be my baby. ‚̧ԳŹ

5 Ways To Make Mornings Less Stress for Mama

Mornings are hard but these five things help make mine a little easier. Run through this list each night before you go to bed, so that everything’s ready to go when your little one wakes up, bright and early!

Pack the Diaper Bag: Maybe I’m the only one, but for some reason packing Bennett’s bag each morning seems to take forever. When I get everything ready the night before, I can just grab and go.

Pick Out Baby’s Clothes: It’s hard enough getting myself dressed without spending twenty minutes searching for the lost match to one of Bennett’s tiny socks.

Pre-Fill Bottles: We usually send water bottles to daycare with Bennett, but when we’re out I’ll just fill his bottles with filtered water so they’re ready to use.

Portion Out Formula: Four months ago, before we were expert parents (yeah, right) Daniel and I would just pack the entire container of powdered formula. It was really dumb. One of our friends introduced us to the Munchkin Formula Dispensers and they obviously made life way easier.

Keep To-Go Makeup In Your Bag: All it takes is one blowout diaper and suddenly you’re out of time. If all else fails, keep some mascara, lip balm, and concealer in your bag. Just popping on those three products before walking into work will make a world of difference.

The Weight

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Weight // The force with which a body is attracted toward the earth by gravitation

Why does that word define so much of our lives? Why have I wasted so much energy on that one word? Why have I based my self worth on something so insignificant? How much has¬†gravity held¬†me down? Unfortunately, my answer would have to be, “a lot.”

I’ve spent the majority of my life hating the way that I look. I don’t remember exactly when the insecurities first crept in, but I know with certainty they’ve never quite gone away. My entire life, I’ve always been¬†too something. My skin was too pale,¬†my feet were too¬†big,¬†my face was too round, I was always too fat. Now fat, there’s a word I’ve often used to describe myself.

From making self-deprecating jokes, to standing alone in front of the mirror, fat has always been an adjective at the front¬†of my thoughts. The word would sit in my mind, patiently¬†waiting for the right moment to spring up and eat away at my joy. Like acid, it burned through my thoughts until it was all I could focus on.¬†Let’s just say I’ve spent way too much time crying in dressing rooms, shying away from shorts¬†and avoiding pool parties at all costs.

Part of the reason my weight has always been something I felt ashamed of was because I felt I could be doing better. I knew that if I tried hard enough and did the right things, the weight would come off. There was a pretty version of myself hiding underneath it all. If I tried hard enough, she would be the person everyone saw instead of the disaster that was my actual body. But every time a new attempt to diet and lose weight fell through, the shame and guilt just piled on that much thicker.

Then one day, something amazing happened.¬†I learned that I was pregnant. My body was actually doing something good. Over the next nine months, my relationship with weight became even more complicated. As the pounds added¬†up and my body grew and grew, I felt torn in two directions. On one hand, I knew that my body was doing what it was supposed to do. I knew that the weight was necessary and needed to bring my baby into this world. On the other hand, I¬†was harder on myself than I’d ever been before. With each new clothing item that I outgrew, more guilt and shame built up in¬†my heart. If I had just tried harder, I could be healthier now. If I had just lost the weight before, I’d be one of those pretty pregnant girls. If I had just dieted a little longer, these stretch marks would have never appeared.¬†

When the day finally came for my baby to arrive and the pregnancy to end, all I could focus on was getting my body back. I just knew that once my son was born, I would immediately feel so much better. As much as I loved him, I was ready to be the only one in my body for a while. I was ready to take on a new diet and a new workout and to¬†finally get all of the extra weight off of me. What I wasn’t ready for was a c section. Suddenly, reality hit me hard.

Over the next few weeks following the birth of my son, I could only feel miserable about this body of mine. For the first time in my life, I felt completely disconnected from the shell I was living in. Everything was different in the worst way. Not only had I been cut open to my core, but I was in constant pain, and everything felt wrong. Every inch of my body had changed. I spent a lot of time staring at my reflection and trying to figure out who I was now. The¬†stretch marks reaching around my thighs and across my stomach weren’t part of the body I knew. The¬†wide hips weren’t there before, and that¬†belly certainly didn’t look the same. I was devastated.

As my recovery progressed and the pain eased away, I slowly became more okay with this new body. It still didn’t feel quite right, but at least I wasn’t hurting. The majority of the baby weight fell away on its own, leaving me just ten pounds higher than I was pre-pregnancy. However, those ten pounds were now part of a completely new figure that I was unfamiliar with.¬†I bought a few new clothes to suit this new body, focusing on the day when my doctor would clear me to begin a new diet and exercise plan.

Then, last¬†week I found myself talking with a good friend of mine. As we brought up our babies, I casually mentioned the stretch marks I’d recently found around my c section incision. I complained that I’d made it through my whole pregnancy without any stretch marks on my stomach when suddenly they appeared post-surgery. I expected her response to be understanding and agreement, with her probably complaining about a part of her body in return. That’s common practice among women, after all. But instead, she surprised me. She just smiled and said, “I don’t really mind stretch marks, to be honest. I’ve actually had a baby, so I don’t care if I look like I did.”

Immediately I felt embarrassed and ashamed of myself in a new way, because I realized that she was right. I’d spent the past twenty two years of my life hating my body. I’d spent twenty two years telling myself all the reasons why I wasn’t good enough. Twenty two years of letting my weight dictate my self worth. I’d thought things about myself that I would never dare say to another person. I’d been bullying myself from the inside out. This body had housed my soul for my entire life, and this was how I had treated it.

Later that night, I went home and looked at my reflection yet again. Instead of seeing something lazy, something worthless, I saw something I was proud of. This body had been the vessel that¬†my most precious gift was born from. Without this body, my son couldn’t exist. Without the stretch marks, I wouldn’t have had room for him to grow. Without these wide hips, I couldn’t have carried him to term. Without the extra weight, he wouldn’t have been healthy. For the first time in my life, I felt my perspective truly shift.

God created this body, and he created new life within this body. I was created in His image and I should be proud of that. This body has brought me through every step of my life. This body is healthy, and functions in all the ways I need it to. This body allows me to see and think and breathe and laugh and love. Every thought I’ve ever had, everything I’ve ever felt, has been within the confines of this body. Even though it may have grown and shifted and stretched, this body is still my body, and it can do amazing things. This body has ached for months on end to reach its fullest potential and safely guide precious new life into this world. How could I ever look at something capable of a feat so powerful and be anything less than¬†amazed?

From now on, I hope to keep my perspective straight. I want to honor my body in every way. I will continue to pursue a healthier life, including the way I speak to myself. I will treat my own body with respect and dignity. Whenever I begin to doubt myself, and feel the insecurities creeping in, I will look to my son and know what I am capable of. I will see the stretch marks and wear them with pride. I will accept the shape of my body and be grateful to call it my home.

Bennett’s Birth Story

My heart was pounding as I leaned against the bathroom counter, trying to catch my breath. It was 5 o’clock in the morning but I was wide awake. The last time I had felt this mixture of emotions I had been holding a positive¬†pregnancy test. I kept glancing at the girl in the mirror hoping that she would tell me what to do but the look on her face said she was just as shocked as me. Suddenly, I was overcome with a fit of giggles as I whispered out loud,¬†“We’re having a¬†baby today.”

I stood in the doorway, watching Daniel sleep for just a few more seconds. It’s a strange feeling knowing you’re only moments away from changing¬†everything in your life. I leaned across the bed,¬†“Daniel…Daniel…” I heard a mumbled grunt in¬†reply.¬†“Daniel, my water just broke.”¬†His eyes snapped open¬†and with a huge grin he said,¬†“Let’s do this.”

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The next hour was a blur of rushing around the house getting dressed and packing our bags before heading to the hospital. On the drive over, neither of us said much. I was still trying to process that it was actually happening. Less than two days before, my doctor told me that I was only 1cm dilated and without any contractions there were no signs that Bennett was coming out any time soon. We had scheduled an induction for a week later. So, when my water broke that morning, I was completely in shock.

When we got to the hospital, I was starting to come out of my fog. As I filled out paperwork, settled into a delivery room, and changed into that hideous hospital gown, reality started to sink in. The next few hours were relatively uneventful. They told me I had started having contractions and they wanted to see how far I could progress on my own. However, when your water breaks, they only give you about an 18 hour window to get the baby out or the risk of complications gets too high. So, after getting hooked up to a fetal monitor, and the most painful IV in my hand, they mostly left me alone. Daniel and I waited around together and eventually both of our¬†moms got to the hospital to wait with us. My contractions were starting to pick up and get more and more painful. I asked for the epidural pretty early on, and I’ve got no shame about that.

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When the anesthesiologist came in to give me the epidural, I started to panic. I hadn’t been afraid of that needle even the slightest bit until that moment. Daniel was standing in front of me as the doctor prepared me for the shot. The doctor kept making the most ridiculous jokes to keep me from freaking out and Daniel kept eye contact with me the whole time. At one point I started to look over at the needle. Daniel quickly¬†reached up¬†and turned my face back to him,¬†“Don’t,” he whispered, to which I nodded gratefully.¬†The pinch and sting of the numbing shot was all that hurt. The epidural itself simply felt strange, but not painful.

After about nine hours of labor, I was completely exhausted. I had only gotten about three hours of sleep the night before and due to the amount of tubes attached to me, along with the nurses coming in to check on me constantly, I hadn’t been able to sleep at the hospital either. They had also given me an oxygen mask to wear because it would help get more oxygen to Bennett.¬†Suddenly, our doctor came in followed by several members of his team and he didn’t look happy.

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He quickly explained to Daniel and I that the fetal monitor kept losing track of Bennett’s heartbeat and¬†they were unable to monitor how he was doing. Every time they would get it positioned correctly, he would move and they would lose him again. To correct this, he explained that they were going to do something he really didn’t like to do. He said they would have¬†to insert a small wire under the skin of Bennett’s head, which would allow them to keep constant track of his heart rate. He also told us that this would actually hurt Bennett a little and that it would feel something like getting a shot. We didn’t have any other option but to agree.

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Daniel stood by the side of my bed and held my right hand. By this point the epidural had completely numbed the lower half of my body so I couldn’t feel anything they were doing. I just stared straight at¬†Daniel as tears flowed down my face, across my oxygen mask, soaking into my hospital gown. All I could think about was that my¬†baby wasn’t even born yet and¬†he was already feeling pain. I’m crying again as I type this out. It was a horrible moment.

Once the wire was in, Bennett’s tiny heartbeat thudded around the room. Within the next hour the doctor returned to explain that with each contraction, Bennett was being pressed against his umbilical cord which was lowering his heart rate dangerously. The doctor suggested that they try pushing¬†some fluid back in¬†to help cushion Bennett. About an hour after that, the doctor came back¬†to tell us that Bennett’s heart rate was now too high. It had been roughly thirteen hours since my water broke and labor began. The window of safely delivering Bennett was closing quickly and my body couldn’t keep up. I was only 5cm dilated and he hadn’t dropped any lower.

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Before the doctor even said it, I knew I would be having a C section. I never had my heart set on any one specific birth plan, but a C section had always been my last resort. After thirteen hours of exhausting labor, I was ready to hold my baby and just know that he was safe and healthy. I signed a few more documents and waited for the surgeon to arrive who would be performing the surgery. Daniel was given scrubs to put on and I was given a little hairnet. Just a few minutes before the surgeon arrived, our pastors got to the hospital to pray over us. There aren’t enough words to say how much I needed those prayers in that moment.

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As soon as the surgeon walked into our room, everything began moving quickly. My friend, the funny anesthesiologist, returned with more jokes and more drugs, both of which I was thankful for. A flurry of nurses and doctors were in and out all around me and before I knew it, I was being wheeled down the hall into the operating room. My anxiety at an all time high.

They transferred me from my bed onto the surgery table and quickly placed a blue sheet in front of my face so that I couldn’t see anything that was going on. I felt like my heart was going to beat out of my chest.¬†“Do¬†you know when¬†they’ll bring Daniel back here,”¬†I nervously asked the anesthesiologist¬†who was busy moving around beside me, pushing more drugs in to keep me numb.¬†“They’ll bring him in soon, we’re not ready yet,” he calmly replied, just as Daniel suddenly sat down next to me.¬†(Later, Daniel told me that as soon as he walked in, he actually saw them prepping my stomach for surgery. Apparently someone told him to come in way too early.)

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At this point, my memory turns into a bit of a mess. I was overcome by so much anxiety that everything felt heightened¬†and blurred together. My heart was pounding and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I kept worrying that somehow the medicine wouldn’t work and I would be able to feel the pain. There was lots of pressure and tugging and pulling, and although it didn’t hurt, it increased my panic. I started¬†to hyperventilate and Daniel kept telling me to just look at him while the anesthesiologist instructed me in a calm but firm voice to take slower breaths.

The only decent word to describe how I felt in that moment is¬†overwhelmed. Everything was happening. Everything was changing. Here. Now. I closed my eyes and tried to breathe. The¬†anesthesiologist leaned in close and whispered¬†“Guess what? Your baby is almost here.”¬†I opened my eyes just as I felt the most intense pressure and suddenly the room was silenced by the smallest whimper. For a moment, everything else disappeared except for me and that sound.

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“Here’s your baby!”¬†My OB who had assisted with¬†the surgery gleefully held Bennett over the curtain just long enough for me to see a very unhappy looking purple alien before pulling him back. A few seconds later I heard someone say¬†“Eight pounds, nine ounces.” Then the¬†anesthesiologist took Daniel’s phone as they brought Bennett to me for the first time. He was swaddled in a hospital cloth and was very pink. He looked much less like an alien and more like a baby. I’d like to say that I held it together but at this point I was so overcome with relief and joy that the tears came back once again. Daniel held Bennett close so I could kiss his cheek for the first time. It was all finally over. He was here.

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Daniel went with Bennett while they took him back to our room to finish cleaning him up. I stayed¬†on the operating table while they stitched me back up and my very best friend the¬†anesthesiologist gave me something special to help me relax. For the first time all day, I was just happy. It was over. Bennett was in our world and he was safe and healthy and with his dad. It didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would, having to wait to see him again. I knew as long as Daniel was with him that he was okay. So, I closed my eyes and let the drugs whisk me away.

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Eventually the three of us ended up in our new room together. It was cozy with warm lighting and lots of windows. Daniel and I were both completely exhausted in every possible way. Bennett’s birthday had been long and exciting and terrifying and perfect. We finally had our¬†little boy and he was safe and happy. I couldn’t ask for anything more. Our tiny family of three was complete.

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Dear Bennett,

Today you have been growing in my belly for 34 weeks and 6 days. Currently, you’re poking a tiny foot (I think it’s a foot) out on the left side of my tummy and it’s distracting me from everything else. You’re so big now that whenever you move, I feel it. Even if it’s just a tiny hiccup or your little arm brushing against the inside of my womb, I feel you there. I know you’re with me all the time, and you are mine.

I know that we probably still have several weeks left before I get to finally meet you face to face, but it feels like this pregnancy is flying by fast. I already know that when I’m able to hold you in my arms, there will be a part of me that misses holding you in my tummy as well. As much as I can’t wait to see your sweet face, I’ll miss bringing you to work with me every day. I’ll miss sharing each and every moment with you closer than close.

Each and every sickness and pain and discomfort is made worth it by the tiny moves I feel you make. I tell your daddy all the time how much I wish he could feel you all the time like I do. There’s something magical about the fact that you’re the only person on earth who knows what my heartbeat sounds like from the inside. You’re the most special shining light in my life, and I hope that you always, always know that.

Love, Mama