I have no idea how these mama bloggers do it. They mother, they craft, they dress up, and they still blog regularly. I'm struggling to keep up right now and I'll be honest: as much as I'd like to have everything together, I don't. And it's okay. It really is. 

Something that motherhood has taught me already (beyond the fact that breastfeeding is a ridiculously amazing and, yet, still-kind-of-gross phenomenon...I mean leakage? C'mon, ladies. That's awkward.) is that no matter what we believe is ideal, we need to go easier on ourselves. I believe strongly in natural childbirth, but things went a little differently for us in that regard. I still labored through almost all of my unnatural pain (i.e. pitocin hell) without painkillers, but we chose intervention because Lucy was so incredibly late. And I knew that meant my labor might not match the experience I'd created in my imagination. Also, I'm breastfeeding little Lucy. She gained almost all her birth weight back just two days after she'd lost it, but then she started dropping again so I'm also giving her formula to supplement what she gets from me. In the meantime, I'm seeing a lactation consultant to fix any issues we might be having with nursing. But, for now, my baby will get whatever she needs while we figure this out. I realized I didn't give two shits about other people's expectations the moment I saw the number on the pediatrician's scale. All I cared about in that moment was making sure our baby girl was healthy.

I talked to a dear mama friend of mine yesterday and we shared our thoughts about all the expectations that mothers have placed on them...and the ones they put on themselves. It's really, really hard to be a mother. Harder than I ever through possible. But it's also humbling. And sweet. And overwhelmingly beautiful. It's sacrifice, grace, love, and pain all rolled into one...and the grace required to be a mom in these early days has to be extended towards oneself. Because mistakes will be made and patience will be lost and everything you thought you knew and believed about what made an ideal parent will be tested. After I had Lucy, I realized that any woman who had ever given birth was a true rock star, no matter how she did it. Elective C-section, natural, vaginal with epidural, or out in the woods crouched down behind a giant oak tree...they're all rock stars. And so are mothers who are truly seeking the very best for their children. The homeschooling, stay-at-home mama, the working mama, the do-it-all mama...rock stars, you guys. 

I'm not saying all this to preach (okay, maybe I am...just a little). I'm also saying it to encourage because it's challenging enough to keep a little one alive and healthy each day while simultaneously trying to maintain some semblance of normalcy with friends and family, eating enough throughout the day, making sure your floors aren't completely covered in pet hair (not completely) and oh yeah! actually hanging out with your husband. It's hard. We shouldn't make it harder by measuring ourselves against others. We need only measure ourselves against ourselves.

Okay. I got that out. I'll be back later with another sermon on why breast pumps are actually the devil.

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