The rainbow after the storm

March is Pregnancy After Loss Awareness Month! March is the perfect month for this because it represents fresh beginnings and brighter days. This month, we acknowledge and support women who have experienced pregnancy loss but are now trying to conceive or are pregnant with their rainbow baby.

Pregnancy after miscarriage is harder than I imagined it would be. The last 7 months have been full of fear and hope simultaneously in the strangest way. I have prayed more than I ever have in my entire life. I have worried and prayed and worried some more. I told myself that with each “milestone” of this pregnancy that I would feel better and it would be easier. But, even after passing the first ultrasound, after making it to the 24 week mark where baby is considered “viable,” and even after overcoming a low lying placenta and hearing that baby is healthy and head down and ready to go… there’s still a sliver of fear that trickles in every now and then that makes you doubt that these dreams will come to fruition.

At the same time, I’m excited and anxious and happy. There are so many “what if’s” and I have to constantly remind myself that everything is okay. But the joy is one that makes your heart so full it could literally explode.

Pregnancy after loss is so different from the other three “normal” pregnancies I’ve had. This time you notice every kick. This time you are scared to death when you arrive for a check up at the ob and you’re on top of the world when you leave the office with a good report. This pregnancy is buying all the baby things with all the hope but you say a prayer beside your new bassinet that you’ll actually get to meet this baby. This entire experience has been a balance between joy and grief.

Pregnancy after loss is still grieving the baby you lost while learning to fall in love with a little rainbow. There’s a feeling of guilt that will overcome you every time you begin to complain about your back hurting at 34 weeks or when you’re throwing up for the 21st day in a row, you tell yourself you’re being ungrateful because deep down you know that things could be so much worse. When none of your clothes fit and you can’t sleep at night because you’re so uncomfortable, you remind yourself that this could all be over in an instant.

There’s also an awareness you have when you’re talking about being pregnant or planning for the new baby. While I want to be excited and share everything, I am cautious because I know there could be someone present or listening who is struggling with infertility or who just lost their own baby. 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. It has happened to women all around you. Miscarriage has taught me to be sensitive to those statistics.

If you just found out you’re expecting a rainbow, or you’re trying to conceive, or you are grieving a loss, there is hope. This month we remember the storms we’ve been through. We accept the difficulties we are experiencing and we talk about it. We spread awareness about this almost taboo topic and we continue to support each other in an effort to understand that not one of us is alone in this journey.

“In the world of pregnancy after loss there is a story of hope about a precious new life, and it’s the story of the rainbow baby. It is based on the understanding that the beauty of the rainbow does not negate the ravages of any storm. The clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides hope and promise of new life ahead.”

Pregnancy After Loss Awareness Month

Xoxo,

MK

To My Daughters: Marry the man who will always be there

I know it’s easy to fall for the other guy. The one who looks good and talks sweet. The one who takes chances and lives on the edge. Or maybe it’s the one who is nice but doesn’t pay enough attention. He misses your new haircut or doesn’t hold the door for you.

You can love them, but leave them behind. They aren’t for you.

Marry the man who is going to pay attention. Marry the one who opens the door for you and comments on how beautiful you look, even when you’re in a t-shirt, hair in a messy bun, and no makeup on.

Marry the man who is going to wash your hair in the shower and rub your feet on the couch.

Marry the man who makes you laugh… the one who will do his best to make you smile when you’re having a bad day.

Marry the man who is going to cook dinner and doesn’t mind vacuuming the floor… the one who lets you sleep in on Sundays and when you’re not feeling well, lets you go to bed early.

Marry the man who takes care of the kids… who not only disciplines them, but enjoys them. Marry the man who will play with your toddler on the floor, and let your preschooler sleep in the bed with you… sacrificing his own sleep so that kiddo can be close to you.

Marry the man who cleans up the dog messes on the floor and helps you pick up dirty socks. Marry the man who works all day and comes home to work some more, just so you don’t have to do it all on your own.

Marry the man who would rather hang out and drink beer with you than his buddies. Marry the man who enjoys watching your tv dramas on the couch with you. Marry the man who loves to travel with you, takes you places, and lives to make memories with you.

Marry the man who worries with you. Marry the one who hides his stress most days just so you don’t stress more. Marry the man who will get through the bad times with you. Marry the man who is willing to see your perspective and understand how you feel. Marry the man who will stay when things get hard.

Marry the man who is willing to chip in… who is going to help you be a mom… who is going to make you happy… who is going to be your best friend… who is going to make you a better person.

It won’t always be easy. Even the good guy is going to make mistakes. YOU are going to make mistakes. He’s going to say the wrong things at times. He’s going to forget to pick up something on your shopping list. He’s not going to be perfect. But, he’s going to be perfect for you and he’s going to be there. He will always be there. And I promise you… you deserve THAT life.

Xoxo,

Mama

Feeling Defeated

While the Green Bay Packers are getting defeated in reality tonight, (insert crying face) I’ve been thinking about how I’ve felt defeated lately as a mama.

Mothering teens is rough. Mothering period is rough. The fact is children are going to be children. Do we expect too much from them? Probably. Do we get frustrated too easily? Definitely. Do we still love them unconditionally no matter how much they mess up? Absolutely.

The truth is while I believe that I am putting too much pressure on the kids… I’m actually putting too much pressure on myself as a mom. I am constantly worrying about whether their rooms are clean, whether they’ve done their homework, did they remember to take a lunch today, have they brushed their teeth… when really… I end up worrying myself to pieces and I STILL find myself failing at something.

I try to tell myself to let it go… they’re only children for such a short time. I read reminders daily all over the internet about how the dishes can wait and we need to take advantage of the time we have with them. I’ve read the mom blogs where other devoted mamas are inspiring women to shake it off and enjoy the simple things. I’ve read stories of parents who have lost their children and would give anything to have these parenting problems again. Tomorrow is never promised. All of that is SO TRUE.

But when you’re in the moment.. it is hard to remember all of that.

When you’re tween daughter gets the award for Miss Attitude of the South or when your five year old is throwing a tantrum because his Legos won’t stay together. When one of them decides to spill an entire cup of apple juice on your freshly mopped floor. Or how about when your middle schooler believes he is God and makes an argument about every little thing. It. Is. Hard. It is hard not to just want five minutes of peace in the bathroom. It is hard to not want them to go to bed at 7:00. It is hard to NOT yell and scream when they are pushing your very last button.

So how do you handle it all? Just take it day by day and one day they’ll be all grown up and then you’ll feel guilty all over again because they’re gone? The guilt cycle is fierce!

Choices. We have choices. We have to choose when to lose it… do I want to lose it in the car because they won’t stop hitting each other or do I want to lose it later when they’re fighting in their bedroom? We have to choose what to stress about.

Learn to let things go even when it feels impossible to. There are always going to be other factors that are weighing in on how you react as a parent. Parents are loaded down with stress from finances, jobs, relationships… the list could be endless! The stress isn’t going to disappear but we can control our stress levels by how we react to situations.

That is huge in parenting. Our reactions are not only shaping our children’s personalities, and teaching them values, but our reactions are also completely controlling our own happiness.

The ups and downs of parenting are just a part of it. We aren’t going to do everything perfect. God knows I make mistakes daily. We will be wrong sometimes. Just know they are children and they are not going to think or act on your level. They are going to make mistakes whether they are five or fifteen. They don’t act responsible because they aren’t yet. They need our help to get there.

When the going gets tough and the tough gets going… think about your choices. Know they will love you no matter what. While you are in bed contemplating how you could have handled that argument with your nine year old differently, she’s probably already forgotten about it. Children forgive and forget much easier and faster than we do.

Those mom bloggers are right! With each new day, know that it’s another chance to love your kiddos. You are everything to them, too. Sometimes we just forget how significant that is.

Xoxo,

MK

Pregnancy After Miscarriage

This pregnancy has been a whirlwind of emotions so far. I will be 19 weeks this week and after losing our last baby at 9 weeks, I am still extremely nervous every day.


Every time I go to the bathroom, I can’t help but look for the one thing that has the potential to change everything… blood. Every time I feel any kind of pain, it sends off alarms in my head. Every minute of every day, I have to try not to think about what could go wrong.


Am I drinking enough water? I forgot to take my prenatals. Maybe I’m sleeping the wrong way. I’m not eating healthy enough…. All of these thoughts that I have this time around because I’ve experienced how quickly babies can be taken away.


It‘s hard to see the future when the future has been ripped away from you before. It’s hard to imagine I’ll actually give birth this time or that we’re actually having a baby. Some days it still doesn’t feel real, even when I’m looking at this growing belly or putting on my maternity pants. Who would have thought that buying onesies and tiny hats would be scary?


I’m terrified. Nothing is promised and theres no guarantee I’ll be pregnant.. even tomorrow.


Looking back on when I was pregnant with my first 3 kids, I honestly feel like I took those pregnancies for granted. That I.. got lucky.. that we made it through those 9 months that I realize now are so fragile and delicate. There are so many babies and mamas that aren’t that lucky. And I had no clue until it happened to me.


So many people have said to me, things like.. I knew it would happen for you! Or… I’m so happy you’re pregnant! All things we want to hear, but in the back of my mind, I’m thinking… when will we ever feel like we’re “in the clear” this time?


Don’t worry, there are plenty of moments where I am SO excited! We are thinking of baby names, asking about family names for inspiration, and we’ve even started buying a few baby things. We’re looking at car seats and I am planning on where to put the crib, and what new furniture to buy.


Every. single. moment. I am grateful.

Even with the worrying, I am thankful, and I won’t stop praying, praying, praying that our rainbow will be here this Spring, plump and healthy with all ten fingers and all ten toes! This holiday season we have so much to be thankful for and I will continue to pray for all of those other mamas out there who are pregnant and battling their own fears… and for those mamas who are still hopeful and trying.


Xoxo,

MK

Confessions of a Not So Perfect Mama

Ok confession. I’ve really been sucking lately at being a mom. No, no I know we all say that but for real. I Could sit here and list all of my “mom flaws” but what I really want to do is give myself this reminder: it’s ok to be imperfect and it doesn’t matter if you have a bad day. (Or week or month)

It doesn’t matter because these kids love us no. matter. what. Their love is so unbelievably unconditional.

I witnessed this last night. I have been a bear. A mama bear in the most literal way. I have had no patience, I may or may not be drinking too much wine, and I have snapped at them much too quickly over the little things. Last night, after all of that.. Heidi crawls up in my lap at 9 years old and lays her head down on me and begins to rub my arm.

That’s what I’m talking about. Our kids are amazing when we’re not. They will easily forgive us. What we beat ourselves up over most of the time doesn’t even register with them as a problem!

We put too much pressure on ourselves as mamas and sometimes it gets to me. I feel like I don’t do enough. I’m not as compassionate to their needs or as understanding when they’re upset. I hate that I’m sometimes dismissive when I want time for myself.

I want to be there for them and as our kiddos grow older I want them to trust that I will always protect and take care of them.

My daily flaws do not define me as a mother.

So I’ll try not to yell when they track mud in the house or don’t take a shower on the first command. I’ll try not to lose my temper when my girls almost kill each other. I’ll take a deep breath the next time Brady pees on the bathroom floor. I’ll smile when they complain about the dinner I cook (probably not as likely to happen).

I won’t be perfect but I can be better than I was yesterday. Hey, I’m just winging it over here. But the reality is this is the ONLY childhood I get to spend with them.

This is it.

One day they’ll be gone and grown and I’ll look back and either laugh or cry or more than likely…both.

But one thing I know for sure… No matter how many times I might feel like I’m failing… I will love them fiercely and if at the end of every day, my kids feel that love… I am good enough.

Xoxo,

MK