I Sacrificed My Body to Make Room for You

The world tends to put a lot of pressure on moms. There are a lot of opinions out there on the best ways to care, feed, and nurture our children. We are constantly being bombarded with unrealistic ideals of not only what we should be doing as a parent, but also how we are supposed to look.

Oftentimes, I see a lot of shame surrounding the messages associated with the changes motherhood causes our bodies. I remember letting them affect me during my first pregnancy, and it definitely added to the strain of recovery afterwards. During my second pregnancy, I gained confidence in my motherhood, and recognized that those changes, the price I paid to bring my babies into the world, were a symbol of my strength!

At 20 weeks pregnant with our third, I recognized the beauty in one of those changes: my stretch marks. I wrote about it on Her View From Home website. “Yes I stretched, but for what? To make room. I stretched to make room for a whole human I love with my whole heart.” Click here to read more from that piece.

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Marry the Man Who Will Help You to the Bathroom

Photo from our 3rd pregnancy: Catie McHardy

Can you believe before I ever started blogging, I wrote the bulk of this post in 2017?! Haha I was also nearing the end of our 2nd pregnancy at the time, and had pubic symphysis dysfunction that made it very difficult to change positions or even walk.

This morning, I had a dejavú experience as I struggled to get up (39 weeks pregnant over here with our third kid yo) and make my way to the bathroom. Skyler heard me, immediately came around the bed, and lent me his arm so we could pull me up sideways. Then he had me put my arms around his neck so that I could wincingly inch my way towards the bathroom with his help. As we started to move, he said with a grin, “it’s like we’re dancing!”

Guys, super unromantic circumstances, but boy did my heart flutter with how much I love this man! It got me thinking, it’s often in little moments like these, where his love for me has been proven time and again. So without further ado, here’s what I wrote in a note in 2017:

“Friends, Marry the Man who will help you to the Bathroom!

Last night I got “stuck” on my way to the bathroom…at 4:30 in the morning….after spending half an hour trying to convince myself that I didn’t reaaaally need to go, and could hold it til morning cuz I hate getting up in the middle of the night. It’s probably 3.5 feet from my bed to the bathroom, but sometimes rolling out of bed is agony, and something magical happens in those 3.5 feet where I have trouble going back to sleep…(hi, writing this at 5am cuz I can’t sleep) and won’t remember it if I don’t write it down now.

Anyways, I stood up…agony…and then I couldn’t move! This happened sometimes with our first born, but it’s been happening a lot recently with this baby. Usually Skyler will hear me rustling around and sleep talk something loving in his sleep (I love that about him), but this time he must have sensed something was up cuz he sat up and said clearly/not sleepy “are you ok?” I was holding the door frame and weakly said “no, I’m stuck.” To my surprise, (the man’s gotta get up for work and sleep is precious) he launched himself out of bed and to my side and helped me until I regained control of my legs.

Guys, relationships, much like pregnancy and having a baby can be messy sometimes. They’re sometimes mundane and not very glamorous, but sprinkled throughout the hard and the weird, are these incredible moments of pure love and sweet joy.

Photo from our 2nd pregnancy: Catie McHardy

This might seem like a ridiculous example of such, but I read an article about a year ago titled “marry the person who will help you to the bathroom” and I couldn’t help but remember it and laugh at the parallel. I felt a twinge of guilt as I had spent the better part of the day before telling him all the reasons I was not currently enjoying being pregnant; struggling to move like normal being my chief complaint (I mean, have you seen me chase after our toddler lately). He listened patiently, and though I was busy whining, I watched him quietly make up for my deficit all day long.

This isn’t the first time or, I’m sure, the last that Skyler will have to help me to the bathroom, but the tender moment brought all the memories of the way he chose to serve me throughout the day, and I felt humbled by the extra love I felt for and from him.”

It’s probably difficult to imagine when you’re dating, but y’all it’s pretty sound dating advice. Think about it, is this the man that’s going to launch himself out of bed at 4:30am (this time it was 3:30am by the way) when I’m rounder than a watermelon, carrying around an extra 50lbs of baby weight, and sweetly compare it to dancing instead of grumbling about it?

It was his birthday a couple of days ago, and it made me realize he’s been in my life for almost 7 years now! Back then, I knew my husband was kind, but I had no idea how tender he would be with me or my children. I’m grateful I married the man that chooses to work hard for our family, makes life so much fun, and yes…gets up in the middle of the night to help me to the bathroom ❤

Photo from our 1st pregnancy: Annaliesse Photography

Acne and Affection

Mmm acne…

Welcome back. I haven’t missed you.

I thought I left you behind with my teenage years and college finals.

Yet, here we are, mid 20’s with an encore appearance.

I don’t know what it is about this pregnancy, but my skin has been acting all sorts of crazy.

The slightest touch makes my face break out, and my cheeks have been getting touched A LOT this past week.

But while I haven’t missed it, I am not the least bit embarrassed about this acne.

In fact, I’ll actually be wearing it out proudly, because my kids are the cause of this acne.

Not just the baby growing in my belly, but the two that I get to snuggle and squish on the daily.

My minions were driving me a little nuts this past week, but sprinkled throughout the hard, are precious moments of tenderness.

My two year old has been reaching up to stroke my cheeks every day for two weeks.

She asks “mum mum blanket?” Whenever we’re sitting on the couch together.

She snuggles under and squashes as far up against me as she can manage without actually sitting in my lap because she’s all about independence these days.

We’ve had a rough time trying to work around naps and errands and potty and play dates, and there have been lots of tears.

But for every moment I’ve tried to comfort her, I feel like she’s been the one trying to comfort me.

As I wipe her tears and we try to work through her big feelings, she reaches out to stroke my face as if to say it’s ok mama, you got this.

My 8 month old has decided that kisses -read open mouthed slobber attacks- are his new favorite thing to give.

He headbutts me and proceeds to attack my cheeks when he first wakes up, when he feels he’s missed me, or just because mommy picked him up after a crawling around the kitchen to see what he can eat off the floor sesh.

He’s pulling himself up to standing, letting go, and trying to walk *please no* and with the territory comes a lot of little bumps and bonks.

Whenever I scoop him up in my arms, his tears and whimpering immediately cease and my heart skips a beat as he sniffles and signals to be put back down so he can try again.

I didn’t think I’d have to referee so young, but they play like wild cubs, chasing and wrestling and rolling around together.

When they take breaks, their favorite is to share mommy smushed up against my belly or my face.

It’s in those breaks, wrapped up in my arms, where I get to take a second and just stop and marvel at these tender-hearted little humans.

Their souls are so pure and full of unconditional love.

I make mistakes, I lose my patience, sometimes I am just so dang tired, but they love me anyways.

And acne or no acne, I would never discourage them from an opportunity to show that love.

So out in public we go, with these bumpy little reminders of gentle affection and sweet memories on my face.

To the Family at Costco Making Jokes About Me

Dear family at Costco making fun of my size and belly,

I get it. You probably ran out of things to talk about while you were eating your dinner.

Enter me. With our full to the brim shopping cart, giant stroller, dark bags the size of satchels under my eyes, and obviously smuggling a watermelon under my shirt.

I get it. The gaps between tables are narrow, I am all of the sudden all up in your space trying to arrange myself and our stuff.

I know I am 22.5 weeks pregnant, but since I’m on my 3rd pregnancy, it looks more like 32.5.

I know I am round and sluggish, and cleaning up a table with a baby wipe that my toddler is probably going to make all icky again.

I know my baby, yes baby, is sitting in his infant car seat in his stroller, and I’m talking to him as I clean.

I know I dropped something, and grunted as I tried to squat down to pick it up because I literally can’t bend over anymore.

Obviously, these are back to back pregnancies, and as my husband rejoins us with pizza and my toddler you realize, OH MY GOSH, she has another kid?!

I get it. I probably was the very picture of comedy to you and your family.

What you didn’t know is that the language you chose to loudly make jokes about me in, happens to be one I speak fluently.

What you didn’t know is that I felt a little guilty switching to that language, that I am attempting to teach our children anyway, to signal you that I understood.

What you didn’t know is that I was sorry I made the rest of your dinner quiet and awkward for you, and that I probably should have just turned around and talked to you about my pregnancy instead.

I would have told you that this is in fact our third baby. That we will have three blessings all under the age of 3, and that I’m a little freaked out, but also super excited.

I would have told you that your jokes didn’t sting because of how incredibly proud I have become of this body. That I endured very difficult, often painful pregnancies with the two humans you could see, and that there was finally nothing wrong with mommy on this third pregnancy.

I would have told you that I am a little nervous about the baby surviving because I can’t seem to just have a normal pregnancy, but that I have an appointment soon that I am anxious to attend, and hear if everything will be alright.

If I had been brave, I would have mentioned that during these international times, you can’t always tell by looking at someone who understands what, and that maybe it’s better to just be kind.

I could have told you all about the kindness lessons I am learning from my babies, and we could have laughed and smiled together and enriched each others lives, and gone home a little happier that night because those babies bring so much joy.

And that’s why I endure the emotional roller coaster, and feel proud of whatever size I stretch to, and why we choose to have them in our home and in our family. Because those little humans that look and act like us, bring us so much joy.

Be kind friends. Always be kind.

Seriously, Another Mommy Blog

Happy New Year everyone! I’m back, and feeling a little less foggy…although I did manage to melt into a booth from exhaustion, half asleep, at a pizza joint last night…we’ll talk more about that soon! I wanted to start off the year by sharing the story of why I chose to blog, and yes, why I am still here, and not giving up on it!

Here’s a long one, but I felt I needed to share. The night before the Great American Eclipse of 2017, I felt nuts. A friend posted on Facebook asking if anyone else felt crazy too, and I was so glad she did! From all the comments, it really let me know that I was not alone. So how exactly did I feel crazy?

I felt sick to my stomach (bahaha turns out I’m pregs) and had the shakes all night long. And…I had the very distinct impression to “start a blog and share the gospel.” Ok that might sound crazy to some, but to me the impression itself wasn’t the crazy part…it was the fact that I actually followed through with it instead of just ignoring the prompting! Here’s what I posted on Facebook and Instagram the day I launched the blog:

“Guys! It’s 3am and I sent part of this to one of our cousins because I’m kind of freaking out haha I jumped off the proverbial cliff and in spite of all my anxiety, I decided to start a mommy blog 🙈 only thing is I don’t know much about how to efficiently use social media! For the past couple of months all of my church meetings have included something on talents, and using them for our time and circumstances to share goodness. I’ve been thinking long and hard about what those talents are (and sometimes feeling like I don’t have any) and what it is the Lord wants me to contribute because church in Hawaii and here included the same message. I’ve decided I have a phone and a voice and the sometimes obnoxious ability (talent?) for over-talking about my experiences, and finding the positive in everything. I figure it’s what I’ve been given and maybe I could uplift others by sharing what goodness I can…”

And then again on on my college alumni page a week later: “I have debated sharing this here since last week because I’m a chicken, but I figured it’s already public so why not share with the people I love? Haha so I am hitting send before I chicken out again! I did something terrifying last week and started a mommy blog! The past couple of months at church have included several talks and lessons on sharing our talents for our time. In thinking long and hard about what mine are -and at times feeling like maybe I didn’t have any- I received the distinct impression to start a blog and share the crazy, positive side of motherhood. I credit the eclipse because instead of calling it nuts and ignoring the prompting, I sat down and started writing! In talking with family and friends about this, they suggested that maybe my “openness” is my talent, and I am hoping that this will become a way for me to share the gospel. I am super nervous and excited for this experience, and hope it will eventually help connect others around the world!”

You guys, I have always loved reading mommy blogs. Long before I was ever a mother, I think even before I got married!! I enjoyed reading other people’s journeys and perspectives on motherhood. So when I launched my own, I was nervous, I didn’t feel confident, and I felt like I had no idea what or why I was doing it – aside from just following this overwhelming prompting from the Spirit. As I started reading other “mommy blogs” the reason for my personal mission became more apparent.

I started off by following tons of famous mommy blogs. Some I had read from before, and some I had not. I found myself becoming more and more discouraged as I read, and I ended up having to hit unsubscribe from most of them. The tone towards motherhood, marriage, and children has become increasingly negative. I will not pretend that motherhood isn’t extremely difficult, that it isn’t completely nuts at times, but I could not believe the countless articles on how children were jerks, or husbands clueless, even using profanity to describe kids!

I began to want to write more! Anything to counteract all of the negativity I was reading. Even if only one parent reads what I write, and takes away: “it’s ok to be struggling, you’re doing great!” This will all have been worth it.

The technology was intimidating and I found myself starting to doubt if I was really up to the daunting task. Right as I started to become discouraged, I read this article from Pacific LDS.org. Pacific LDS Women is a blog I have followed and admired since its inception. Several of my friends and acquaintances have guest posted for it, and I was inspired by the story of the blog’s beginning, and the impression Sister Lisati had to start it. Her confidence in the need to act on her impression further fueled my desire to write.

Heavenly Father knows me so well, and knows that I need a good push here and there, especially when something is out of my comfort zone. So with my shaky newfound pseudo-confidence, I didn’t delete my blog right away and just pretend it never happened. Instead, Heavenly Father spoke to me through conference. Twice a year we gather together in meeting houses, via the television or internet to watch General Conference.

During the October 2017 Women’s General Session, Sister Sharon Eubank shared in her talk “Turn on Your Light“: “We aren’t always going to fit in with the world, but being different in positive ways can be a lifeline to others who are struggling.” And then Al Fox Carraway posed the question on Twitter after conference, “if we don’t share our light, who will?” And I thought, that’s me, I have to share the light, and love, and goodness that I get to feel in my life every day!

So I write. Sometimes it’s in the bathroom while I’m hiding from my kids, or while I’m holding a sleeping baby, or feeding a hangry toddler, or sometimes it’s at 3am when everyone is asleep, and I should be too. But I do it for you, for the parents out there that need to know they’re not alone, that it’s ok to not be perfect, that I believe in you and know “you’ve got this!”

I can’t promise that I will always be eloquent, or have the most put together blog posts, I can’t even promise that they will always be edited very well, or even make the most sense. I CAN promise to share positive, uplifting thoughts when I have them, the crazy, real, unpolished side of parenthood and marriage, any products I’ve found that make our lives easier, my stories that have helped me learn, and anything that gives me inspiration.

So here’s to hoping I manage to share some light, and love, and goodness along with some crazy and realness along the way, because let’s be honest: PARENTHOOD IS NUTS! In many ways, I also hope that this encourages anyone reading to do the same. To share! Whether it be by commenting on my posts, or finding your own creative outlets. Let others know they’re not alone, and to spread the good, and the kind, and positive, and yes, the crazy! Here’s to a New Year, and some happy blogging!

~Pe ❤

#metoo

Ever read comment threads on other posts? Sometimes they cause me anxiety about the world we live in, and other times they fill me with hope for the future. I just read a post by someone wondering where all these women were coming out of the woodwork with their #metoo stories. I read brave friends comment in defense of these women, saying it sometimes takes the courage of one for others to be able to stand up. And then tucked deep into the comments: “#metoo won’t solve anything, it did nothing, it’s just a trend that is already starting to die down.”

NO. I WON’T LET IT!

I don’t know about you, but did you see the prevalence of friends, sisters, cousins, and men who have been sexually harassed, attacked, or abused?! My heart ached, I didn’t know. For two weeks, I opened my Facebook and Twitter to #metoo. I opened my social media to the hurt and agony experienced by people I care about. Guys, it was almost everyone I knew! All of these people, suffering in silence were able to find their voices and the strength to say “HEY! It happened to #metoo!”

That doesn’t just do nothing. As a friend put it, for every person that shared #metoo there was a person harassing, attacking, or abusing them, many of whom continue life without facing any consequences. Their victims on the other hand, experience isolation, shame, guilt, broken relationships, shattered trust, or even turn to substance abuse to try to numb themselves of the experiences.

Acknowledging the trauma and talking about it alone can spark the healing process for someone! A ray of light cuts through the cloud of darkness when someone realizes that they are not alone. When they understand that their experiences are not uncommon. When you see people you look up to living their lives with actual joy. It gives you hope. You will overcome! And hope is not nothing. Awareness is not nothing. Those are valuable somethings that have arisen from sharing pain with others.

I don’t pretend to have my life together. I’m a mess, often. But with the help of counseling, a Father in Heaven who loves us and our Savior, Jesus Christ, I overcame. I am not perfect at it, but I try to find joy in my every day life. If I can do it, I know you can too, and I will offer support however it is needed.

What a gift we have been given to go through this life together. To share in our joys and pains, to be able to lift each other up, and help carry one another’s burdens when they become too great to bear. #metoo both horrified and inspired me. I am motivated to teach my children more, to be kinder, and to love better. We never know who is fighting a hard battle.

For those of you that loved Disney’s Moana as much as I did, I’ll leave you with this thought from this amazing article about my favorite part of the movie: we often feel that our attackers have stolen something from us, but “we are not defined by our darkest hour. We are greater than what has been stolen from us. It is never too late to heal. It is never too late to make a fresh start. It is never too late to have your heart restored.”

#metoo

Today My Daughter Watched Me Cry

It was brief, but it still happened. Today my daughter watched me cry. I could feel hot tears stinging my eyes. I looked down, and stared at my cute baby. Nope, nothing was going to stem this tide. I looked up and glanced at my toddler. She could sense something was wrong. She cocked her head to one side, and held up the binky she had just dipped in yogurt. It was almost as if she was trying to offer it to me.

I couldn’t hold it in anymore. I sobbed and tears flooded from my eyes. The faster I tried to wipe them away, the harder I sobbed and more tears came. I buried my face in my shirt. I am a crier. Anyone that knows me has probably seen me cry. I cry when I feel. It doesn’t matter if I am happy or sad, overcome by the Spirit, or just overwhelmed by life, I experience emotions on a deep level. Today, I felt overwhelmed, and I cried.

My daughter was still holding up her binky for me, so I stood up and grabbed it with tears still streaming down my face. She said “oh no mama, hands!” She wanted me to clean up the yogurt mess she had just made. My sobs had reduced to sniffles, but the tears kept flowing. I cleaned up, lifted her out of the seat, and sat on the couch with her in my lap.

She watched my face with a concerned look, popped the binky back out of her mouth, and gave me a kiss. I gave her a weak smile, and looked into her eyes. In them I saw so much unconditional love. She smiled, poked my nose, and shouted “BOOP!” giggling as a wild grin spread across her face. She shouted “BOOP” again as she pointed to her brother. This time we both laughed, and I dried my tears.

Five minutes. Who taught her to have such compassion? She’s not even two, so I hope it was me. It took her five minutes, and only a handful of words, to so eloquently remind me of why I’m here and who I am here for. She yawned and I realized it was nap time. I carried her upstairs, lay her in her crib, and tucked her in. As I backed away from the crib, I whispered our customary, “night night, I love you, te amo.” I shut the door and thought, I know I’m supposed to have a tough backbone for these kids, but one day, I’ll tell them all about how they fortified me with love. I stood a little straighter, and smiled all the way back to baby. ❤

~Pe