Thank you, easier.

It’s easier this time, this maternity leave. It’s easier because, well, she’s easier. And yet, it’s so much more than that.⁣

It’s easier because “I know” now the knowledge that first time motherhood denies of you. It’s easier because second children are blessedly unfair in the understandings they afford; understandings that your first (be it you or them) would have never dared relent.⁣

It’s easier because I’m here, but FULLY here. I’ve stopped listening to the bullshit of everything outside of this, of us, and am embracing a motherly instinct and intuition. Pieces of me that I feel I only just met, but have known all along.⁣

(And for reasons I won’t elaborate on, out of not wanting this to be about it, and my hurts, it is remarkably easier because my mother is purposefully no longer in our lives.)⁣

In strange, unexplainable, and starkly tangible ways, it’s easier because of what our world has come to in the grips of this pandemic. The pressure to take the “new baby” out to socialize and to be there for happenings (despite my every inner voice of anxiety screaming in consternation and uncertainty) — it is blissfully absent. Weeks on end we stay at home, only ever leaving for long walks or to pick up O in the afternoons, and it is a peaceful balm to the introversion rooted deeply in my soul. These things didn’t require a pandemic to occur, but they are things I only (and finally) allowed of myself *because* of the pandemic.⁣

It’s easier because of time. Mothering through anxiety for five years has left me with a hardened knowing. This knowing is not here anymore to impress, or to give a damn about what’s being thought of who she is as a mother. This knowing savours honesty, embraces the mess of it all, and respects and believes in the journey EXACTLY as it is.⁣

And, let’s be real, it’s easier because of the meds.⁣

Thank you, easier.⁣

💚⁣ ⁣

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I promise.

Dear me,⁣

I’m sitting here on our phone looking back at pictures you took. It’s January, 2016. You have just recently become a mom for the first time, and are six weeks postpartum.⁣

The majority of the pictures are of the babe your body created. You aren’t in many, and in those that you are, there is a purposeful effort on your behalf for the photo’s focus to be on anything else but you.⁣

But, I look to you anyways. Your face. Your hair. Your eyes. The layers that tell a story. Faint smiles, tangled curls in sloppy buns, dark circles and sleepy squints, a breast milk stained cardigan on it’s sixth day of wear. The story of a woman trying. Trying and tired, trying and unsure, trying and afraid.⁣

Ah, all that what would come in those months ahead. The countless hours of colic, the incredibly little, little sleep, the exasperation at the useless futility of everything you tried, the heart pounding anxiety at anything “gone wrong” that would envelope you in a bundle of trauma. The culmination of it all breaking you. Chasms laid wide, intrusive thoughts hungrily consuming the darkness now bare. An unspoken guilt that consumed you, perpetuating and furthering the cycle. Rinse, repeat, remorse and regret.⁣

It will be okay, I whisper to you. Gently placing my finger on your shoulder on the screen, as if it could be a hug that transcends time and instils in you the hope you didn’t have. You WILL overcome. The colic goes away, eventually. He sleeps, eventually. You get help from doctors, finally. It starts to work. The pieces come together. You find what he needs. You find what you need. Together, you thrive.⁣

You’re even crazy enough in five years to do it all over again, mental health reckonings and all. But, we figure it out that time sooner. ⁣She actually sleeps. She’s happier. She’s easier.⁣

Right now, though.⁣

It feels like you can’t breath.⁣

I know. I hear you.⁣

But, you will.⁣

We will.⁣

I promise.

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We need better books. (You probably do, too.)

Due to the ongoing/never-ending state of the world and my recent foray into #kidsbookstagram, I’ve been taking a MUCH closer look at the collection of books I have amassed for my children. In that looking, and to my shame, I have noticed something.⁣

The majority of our collection gets a FAILING grade on diversity and inclusion.⁣

I could blame this on the fact that 95% of the books we own are second hand. Furthermore, 90% have come from thrift stores like Value Village and Talize. In those instances, you pretty much get what you get. But, for the other 5% I purchased second-hand online, the same cannot be said.⁣

What it truly boils down to is this, however:⁣

I come to this realization in a position of privilege.⁣

As a white person, I’ve never had to sit down and ponder if there were enough books in our collection that represent us.⁣

I’ve never had to purposefully purchase or borrow books that represent us.⁣

White people hold this position of power.⁣

We are already in every book of nearly every type — to the point of over-saturation.⁣

People of differing colour, beliefs, abilities, sex, gender, sexual orientations – are not.⁣

All of this were things I already knew. But, did knowing it change or effect my children’s book collection? Nope.⁣

‘Cause as a white person, these are all taken for granted luxuries of our hegemonic identity.⁣

My beliefs in a socially justice world may be strong, and I have been strongly educated as such (thanks, @douglascollege and @capilanou) but I still have so so SO much more work to do — both on myself, and in the raising of my children. ⁣Part of this is reexamining the books we own, the books were read, and the conversations that come from these books.⁣

I humbly accept this moment of learning, and am committed to making a change.

Thanks, @nwplibrary, in helping me take a first step forward today.⁣

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Today was not our day.

[I’m posting this because among all the perfect Christmas posts/photos you’ve seen these past few days, it can feel very easy to feel inferior or like you haven’t done enough. If this is you, I see you – I hear you – I am you.]

Today was not our day.

My body deciding that 4:30AM was a perfectly acceptable time to be awake. By 2PM I was running on fumes, which made it very hard for me to cope with…

A profoundly fussy, hostile and (slightly) soul sucking baby still feeling after effects from her most recent vaccinations. Literally un-put-downable, could only be with me and had to always be moving or nursing (when she let me) to abate her hysterics.

+

A tired, overstimulated five year not use to all the gifts, the screen time, and the very many “inputs” of the holidays, but trying so hard to hold his own.

D was able to thankfully hold his own, however, despite having been up the majority of the night before with what we strongly suspect is restless leg syndrome related.

But, to top it off, the Chinese dinner we ordered in (we’re either honouring the half Jewish part of D or facing the realities of 2020, you pick) has left me wth a terribly upset tummy.

We were blessed to be able to open gifts with good friends of our’s over Zoom. But, the other stuff? UGH.

For now, I’m off to eat Reece’s in bed (sorry, tummy) and get lost in the most mindless possible drivel I can find on my phone before passing out in a sea of wrappers.

At least we got new sheets for Christmas?

Tomorrow is another day.

Thank freakin’ god.

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How far we’ve come.

I breast fed O until he was 17 months. Assumption dictated I would do the same with my daughter. When M was born, she latched perfectly. Hurray! Then she had to undergo blue light therapy in the hospital for jaundice and somehow, among it, she forgot how to latch. ⁣

It has been a HARD journey since. I’ve been trying many many many MANY times a day to help M relearn what she had lost, and then following it by hours of pumping so that I could feed her (while D gave her expressed bottles). She was often frustrated, I was often at tears. It felt like all hours of the day were spent on this effort. I was pretty much stuck at home, with my breast-pump as my ankle monitor. I read what felt like every single article in existence about breastfeeding, and my anxiety was a MESS. ⁣

(Exclusive pumpers and formula users, I have full respect for you. Please know that.)⁣

But, good news! After about three thousand attempts (no lie — I’m serious) and four weeks, M is finally latching and doing so consistently. It’s not perfect, and we both have some growing to get there, but, we made it. ⁣

Achieving this with M has been monumental to my mental health. Now, I figure out how to transition her fully to breastfeeding, while ensuring she gets enough and keeps gaining weight. This will be another journey of learning, but it is one I am prepared to embrace. Slowly and carefully for my anxiety’s sake, but in proud abundance of how far we’ve already come. 💚⁣ ⁣

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