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personal

Self.

There are people in my life who are critical of the amount of stuff I share on social media, but honestly, I don’t really care.

Actually, that’s not true at all. I do care. I sometimes think about how I’m probably perceived as someone who had a dream she was working towards, who had a lot of layers to her being, who’s now a mom and nothing else. I sometimes imagine the eyerolls some of my posts probably get. I don’t care. But I do.

I love being a mother, but being a mother is also hard and there are plenty of parts of it that have not come naturally to me. Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m a sharer. No topic is off limits. I like to know things, and I like to share things. There have been some pivotal times in my life where something someone else shared on social media has greatly strengthened me, usually by helping me to not feel alone.

So here I go with another deeply personal post that I’m sharing on a public platform. I’m less comfortable with this share because there’s shame attached to it. But it’s the shame that makes me want to tell it, because if it was anyone else I wouldn’t want them to feel ashamed.

On Monday I’m going to the doctor to discuss postpartum depression. As someone who has struggled with depression throughout my life I knew the likelihood of me experiencing PPD was higher, and I’ve been monitoring myself for signs. For months I’ve wondered if I should talk to someone, but it felt like I was just experiencing different hormonal changes that are normal within the year following giving birth. Over the last month it’s become clear it’s not in the realm of “normal” anymore. It has been hard to admit even to my husband that I needed help, let alone to admit it out in the open to everyone, and worst of all to admit to myself. I want to be a supermom. I want to be a natural at all of this AND still be my old, independent self. While I do genuinely feel proud of how I’ve raised Wes so far, it’s every other piece of ME that is suffering. 7.5 months ago I’d never been a mother. That wasn’t a part of my identity. Now that feels like the only part of my identity.

So all of those perceptions I mentioned at the beginning of this post, it doesn’t matter if they’re perceptions others have of me because they’re the perceptions I have of myself. It doesn’t matter that I logically know that the old me is still there and she just needs some attention and nurturing. With depression, logic goes out the window, and there have been times, especially over the last month, where I truly believe that no one likes me, or cares about what I’m doing with my life, or wants to be around me. Because why would they when I don’t even want to be around me?

The moments where I feel like this are brief. Most of the time I feel fine, happy even. But thoughts like that are NOT healthy, and when I’m in that mindset it’s quite intense. So, I’m choosing to get help. I’m swallowing my pride and admitting I can’t hack it like others can.

A year ago today, at 22 weeks pregnant, I flew with my mom and two cats to meet Conner in Texas where we’d live for the next 10 months. They were the 10 most transformative months of my life. My heart aches to be back there because I was full of hope and excitement for the new adventures we were about to have. But everything that made Texas great is right here in Oregon with me now, so it’s not the place I need back, it’s me. The old me. I need her to meet the new me and become friends. I'm excited to start working past this and feel like myself again.

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Daughter to Mother, Mother to Grandmother

My mom flies home today after 43 days with us: 24 pre-baby, and 20 post-baby! It’s very bittersweet. I’m finally starting to feel better physically, and therefore feeling more up to the challenge of taking care of Wesley on my own while Conner is at work, and also being able to get out of the house occasionally, but we all are going to miss her so so much!

My mom was one of the first people to speak to and comfort my son after his somewhat traumatic birth (which I REALLY do intend to write out VERY soon). I cannot tell you how special this is to me, and I’m sure to her as well.  The photos below… they bring tears to my eyes instantly. Thank you, Conner, for taking them! 

I hardly remember this moment because I was so beyond exhausted, but I DO remember my mom being there during my labor. She was a quiet figure in the periphery most of the time. I totally withdrew into myself to deal with labor, and spent a lot of time with my eyes closed, or tuning out what was around me, but I remember her coming into my consciousness at the moments I needed her most. She’d speak quietly into my ear and tell me I could do this, I was doing great. Apparently I kept asking over and over during the course of the 40 hours, “Is my mom here? Where’s mom?” and Conner would reassure me she was there.

A few days after giving birth I remembered, towards the end of my labor, when things were getting scary and chaotic, Conner said loudly next to me, “Wendy, you’re staying.” I asked him what that had been about and he told me the doctor said more people needed to leave. My mom hesitated because a few of the other people on my birth team hadn’t left yet, so Conner, knowing how much I needed her there and how much it meant to her to BE there, made sure she knew not to go. When he told me this piece I cried, and I’m crying now just thinking about it, about her wondering if she should go. I would have been devastated, DEVASTATED if she’d left. That's a perfect example of Conner looking out for what he knew I wanted and ensuring it happened even when I couldn't. 

During the very last moments before Wes was born I looked at my mom and saw she was crying. I think a lot of people in the room were scared but seeing my mom cry, which she doesn’t do often… I felt the full weight of a mother looking at her child and wishing she could take away the pain. To feel my mother’s love so thoroughly in the moment that I myself became a mother was a priceless experience. One she or I will never ever forget. 

I would NOT have been able to give birth the way I did without her and Conner and the rest of my amazing birth team. And giving birth to Wesley is by far the greatest accomplishment of my life, and she gets to share credit for helping that happen.

Mom: Thank you for spending weeks on end helping me get through the discomfort of being hugely pregnant and ready to give birth. For cleaning and cooking and making my life 100x easier. For being my companion even when I was grouchy and didn’t want one. For letting me cry and not judging my tears. For making me smile and feel supported and loved. For encouraging us when Wes was in the NICU, and when I had to go back to the ER. For walking through the darker days where postpartum depression threatened. For taking Wes in the mornings so I could get a few extra hours of sleep. For loving my son so purely and instantly. For being my mom when I needed you the most! I will never, ever be able to repay you. I love you! And I know you'll be back soon! :) 

I did a bad job of taking pictures with once we were home so most of these are from the NICU. 

Lastly I want to add a thank-you to my dad. Besides the 4 days he was here in Texas to meet Wesley, he's been alone at home without mom. In the 44 years they've been together, the longest they'd been apart prior to this was about 10 days. This was more than quadruple that. It's been a sacrifice for him too, and I want to recognize that.

This was the morning Dad was leaving and this photo... DAMN. It breaks my heart! I was just taking a photo of him looking at the post-its full of birth affirmations and congratulatory messages that my mom orchestrated and he teared up and said, "It's just so nice." I couldn't agree more. I love you Dad, and we all miss you! 

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Wesley's Nursery!

I have had way too much fun in this nursery! It actually ended up much more cluttered than I intended - that's what happens when you have too many ideas and not enough room for all of them (I didn't even do all that I wanted!) but I love love love it all the same. 

This room is a reflection of one of the major benefits of our move. There is no way I'd have had the time, energy or funds to create a room like this if Conner's job hadn't afforded us this little luxury. And while a cute room and MANY of the items in it are completely unnecessary for having a baby, the process of being creative, crafty, and nesty has helped me feel more connected to and prepared for our son. I know it's really made Conner happy too. The day he came home from work and saw the branch with Wesley's name hanging from it (the first craft I did) he told me it was exactly what he'd hoped for. Not the actual branch, but the fact that I could spend the time on quiet, creative projects for our kiddo. I say it all the time but it's these little things that we are both most grateful for. That has been a big theme during our time here in Texas: gratitude. 

I knew regardless of the baby's gender I wanted the nursery to have a loose PNW theme, especially once we learned of our move to Texas. Let's be honest, Wesley isn't going to remember his nursery, so it might as well be a little piece of my own home to make ME most comfortable and happy. :) Funnily enough, one day I asked Conner what he'd like to see in the nursery (overall I'd say decor is not something he cares about... at all) and he surprised me by answering, "I don't know. Maybe clouds?" Perfect! So trees and clouds and little woodland creatures with a muted palette and pops of color became the game plan. I'd intended to make a cloud mobile but it wasn't turning out so great. I still may make a second attempt, but the changing pad cover has clouds on it! 

Early on my parents offered up the crib my sister and I used when WE were babies if Conner and I wanted it. Not only was it great to receive something that'd normally cost several hundred dollars for free, but I also love the crib! After a brief concern about the drop-side (they're no longer made for safety concerns) we determined we were able to secure it and it wouldn't be an issue to use, and it's in perfect condition! It also closely matched the wood color on the one and only dresser I've had for my entire life and am finally upgrading from, so those two large pieces cost us nothing! 

Overall I'm very pleased with the room and can't wait to add the finishing touch to it: a baby! :D

Can you spot the naughty kitty who's trying not to be noticed? Dizzy LOVES this room, particularly the rocking chair. I even unknowingly locked her in the nursery closet for 14 hours overnight because she snuck in behind my back. She happily slept there and didn't make a peep until morning. 

This chair and ottoman were gifts from my mom and I LOVE them! It's super comfy and supportive. I hand sewed the tree pillow - not a forte of mine! But I love how it came out. :) 

Another little DIY project I enjoyed was his name hanging on the branch. I did this almost immediately after moving and, being the naive Oregonian I am, had NO idea how hard it would be to find a branch in Texas! We live RIGHT next to a lake but the tree branches are so flimsy! Jack and I spent several hours finding thing one. Then the actual craft was a bit tricky as well (I got super obsessive about making sure the letters were straight and evenly spaced) but it was totally worth it! 

My mom bought this sloth because we saw one together at the Dallas World Museum when she flew here with me in January. Apparently it made her think of Wesley. :) She also made the scarf and a super-cute hat that matches it! Also, I'm obsessed with the sheets!! 

Wesley already has nearly 40 books!

The closets in this house are SMALL, so some creative organization was needed. That's a closet door shoe rack! Thanks Pinterest!

Like I mentioned before, the room got a little bit cluttery! But I don't mind. :)

That dresser was the dresser I used for nearly 29 years! Also, gotta LOVE my Dad's creation hanging there!

I'm pretty proud of this silly thing. I looked on Pinterest for changing station organization and there's a different IKEA caddy all over the place, but it didn't come in a color I liked! I found this one in their laundry area for half the price (and it's larger), the diapers on top are in a plate drying rack (ha!) and the little buckets on the side and baskets were add-ons. It's filled with all sorts of diaper supplies and TONS samples I've received from various companies (all of the diapers and wipes in the caddy were even free!). 

I know these drawers will probably not look like this for long after Wes arrives, but some super cheap drawer organizers made putting away tiny baby stuff a lot easier!

One of my former coworkers, Katie, texted a picture of this midcentury side table before I moved. She'd found it on an app called Chairish and noticed it was in Dallas. I purchased it before even leaving Oregon and my first trip into the Dallas metro area was with Conner to pick it up. It's a bit of an oddball piece but it's actually pretty handy with the lack of storage in this big house! Thanks for the heads up Katie!!

Now all that's missing is a baby! 8 weeks to go!!

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Baby Stuff EVERYWHERE!

Last weekend we received so many amazing gifts for Wesley! I ended up having to borrow an extra suitcase from my parents and check another FULL bag to get home but it was obviously well worth it! On Friday I emptied the gifts and laid them all out so Conner could properly see the amazing bounty we received...

First of all, one of my favorite touches was asking our guests to bring their favorite baby book in lieu of a card. These days, with the price of cards, baby books aren't really that much more expensive and they're much more practical! Now we have 28 books to start our little man's library! 28!! It was really fun seeing what people decided to bring and several harkened back to mine and Conner's childhood. Loved this! 

We also received several BEAUTIFUL homemade items like quilts, blankets, toys, hats and even a scarf (my mom is making sure Wesley will be prepared for the trips to Oregon she is looking forward to!). We got clothes (including swimwear - can't wait to swim with my little water baby who ALWAYS wakes up and moves a bunch when I'm in the tub!) toys, swaddles, a playmat, bath accessories, crib sheets, little Converse sneakers (anyone who knew me in my youth knows I basically lived in those - particularly my Sis who bought them for us!), an awesome diaper bag, a boppy (which didn't make it in this picture) and postpartum care items for me. And finally, we were graced with quite a few gift cards which allowed me to place one big order for the remaining items we needed - $650 worth of stuff - and I only had to pay $108 for it! We even still have a $150 Target gift card leftover! Here's some of the stuff I ordered with that money:

Ozzie thinks all of the baby's stuff is for him. Dizzy just wants the boxes it all comes in. :)

To say we feel incredibly blessed is a gross understatement. But beyond the gifts, what really meant the most to me was the support and love from the amazing people in our lives. We are so fortunate to have you all "by our sides" even from halfway across the country! We love you and appreciate you more than you know! 

Now I get to finally put the finishing touches on the nursery! I can't wait to share photos of it! I've had so much fun with that room. :) 

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Wesley's Baby Shower!

Today I celebrated the upcoming arrival of my son with an wonderful group of women, and it was amazing! 

My mom and sister offered to throw me a shower months ago, and although I got to design the invitations (a random hobby of mine) pretty much everything was a surprise! My mom thoroughly enjoys keeping things from me in this way. :) As usual, though, they completely outdid themselves and put together a celebration that was totally my style!

The decorations, and there were many, were SUPER cute. The theme was PNW/Woodland Creatures, like my nursery back in Texas. A little bit of home here in my home state of Oregon! My mom and sister are SO crafty. ♡ And also on display was a piece my dad built for Wesley. A few months ago I was kidding around asking what he was going to build for his grandson (since my dad made an amazing marquee T for our wedding that we now display in our house) and of course he set to work making this special piece! He designed it on the computer and then cut and painted each piece. I love my talented Daddy and the special creations he comes up with! 

The snacks were tasty, and even they contained thoughtful touches, specifically the rainbow fruit skewers to celebrate my rainbow baby (I had to swallow a lump in my throat more than once looking at those!) The hedgehog cheeseball, raindrop cookies and acorn treats (from Linda!) were super cute too! 

Honestly, it was all so perfect. To be loved and supported by such a fantastic group of women is really special, and as I sit here in my childhood room with my baby happily kicking me in the ribs, I am left feeling very humbled, grateful and teary-eyed with joy!

To everyone who made today so special, both in person and in spirit, thank you. From the bottom of my heart. ♡ ♡ ♡

Click images to enlarge:

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