Recovery

"I just had a baby" ten months in and I still use that line, normal? No clue but I truly feel like I just had a baby and not just in the "she's my baby forever" way or "it feels like just yesterday" way but in the "I still have no freaking clue what I"m doing" way! My doctor warned me after delivery "you'll never figure it out, so don't try...you'll drive yourself insane", well ain't that the truth! And while I have let go (mostly) trying to figure it out I still feel clueless (that's different right?). Now let me give myself some credit, there are quite a few things I have figured out and feel like such a boss  doing (I do some really adult shit now, it's kind of a big deal).

Well that there was the preface to this post, you know like that random intro chapter (aka preface) in books that plays no real part. You're welcome. Now on to the real reason I popped on over here to write: my recovery. My recovery from pregnancy, from birth, learning how to parent, learning how to be a good partner while being a good mom, in short:                                                                                                   MY POSTPARTUM RECOVERY!

I was very transparent about the struggles I dealt with internally postpartum, the initial reason for my transparency was therapy but then I realized how many others were going through it and thought they were alone or felt ashamed to talk about it...F THAT...we are gonna talk this out!!! As much as I try to hold on to the positive feedback I received and the amazing connections I created with other women, I can't quite forget some of the "you signed up for this", "motherhood is the most difficult but rewarding job", or "you should be thankful you were blessed with a child"...GIRL(S) BYE!! What I was feeling had nothing to do with my daughter, I Jacqueline Solivan was struggling, confused, hurting at times and at times in such a deep dark unknown and unexplainable place. I really beat myself up about getting into these dark places because I had so so much to be thankful for and I would get so frustrated because I couldn't explain it, not to myself or anyone else for that matter which made it much harder to "fix". It was very hard on my relationships as well, mainly my relationship with Jack...unfortunately, he was my punching bag yet my biggest support because only he saw the daily struggles and still stood by side when I'm sure I was making it more then easy to walk (actually sprint) away. 

Even though I was very open about my journey (more so in the beginning) I realized nobody (other than Jack) knew the struggle I was enduring but I think that's because I didn't realize I was still going through it, it became my norm (SCARY!!).  I pretty much always had a smile on my face the second I stepped foot outside; again I was so happy with my little family but also I was subconciously putting on a show..."if I put this smile on, nobody will notice"; I didn't want to deal with the back lash and the "look at your beautiful family, you're so lucky...how can you be unhappy, you're crazy!" and I didn't have an explanation, I was lost in my own feelings. However, finally ten months later I finally feel dare I say "normal"!! I don't know what the hell happened; I don't know if my hormones finally got their shit together, I don't know if my apologizing for being a royal asshole was the "magic word" but I feel better...finally! I feel like myself but even better because dude I have this phenomenal family and support system who despite it all has stood by my side day in and day out! In sharing this beautiful moment with two of my best friends they encouraged me to share my story because they have never heard of THIS SIDE in depth, they've read that hormones are wacky for about a year but they had no clue just how wacky and life changing they could be. It was their genuine interest and shock that reminded me how freaking taboo this topic is and how many women are ashamed to feel their feels because they're met with a "you should be thankful".  This journey is no joke and heck yeah it is by far the most beautiful and phenomenal chapter of my life but it was/is also the most emotionally, mentally, and physically taxing! And I get it everyone is different so not all women suffer like I did, some worse, some hardly notice, and some handle it completely different. But let's not pretend this isn't part of the phenomenon that is creating life and/or discredit the dark place that some women fall into after giving birth. Let's listen, let's support, let's erase the taboo so that women can better deal with THIS PART. 

It was a scary place and time but I made it and now I can enjoy my blessings without the distraction, thank you universe!! Let the happy tears flow!!!

 

Family Portrait

I've been a bit MIA, just being more in the moment with my family and focusing on what is really important. I have been dying to get family photos taken since Kennedy was born and 8 months later it finally happened, not too shabby! We were fortunate enough to connect with the amazing husband + wife duo of Young Love Media (Jimmy + Dani) here in our little town of Cold Spring, NY and they captured some stunning moments of our family. They were absolutely amazing to work with and these photos will stand as a constant reminder that even when my world seems chaotic and overwhelming, life is in fact really freaking amazing and in the words of Jack "look how happy our baby is, we are doing good."!

Here are some pictures!

Feeling Good

I have been very vocal about my bad days because it's very therapeutic and if I can make even one person feel better by being relatable it makes me feel damn good. But I have been in a really good place lately and I want to make sure I have these memories jotted down as well. 

There is some irony behind this because I'm feeling overwhelmed about a few things (shocker)! I'm trying to find balance between my work and taking care of Kennedy, I want to make sure that my time with her is productive and well spent. We are finally playing with the idea of buying a home (jeez that sounds so damn adult) but are struggling because being self employed you need FOUR years of history and we only have two (ugh)!! I have some relationships that have faded after me holding on real tight for so long! So with all of that how is it that I'm deeming this as a very happy moment in time that I want to bottle up and remember forever? Am I crazy? Perhaps, but that's beside the point. My mindset is different, for some reason I'm seeing the positive in all of the above and it actually wasn't a conscious decision.

My trying to find balance working from home; I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to be able to work from home doing things I love and care for my daughter! Difficulty getting a loan because we are self employed, dude we are bosses...maybe not balling but we are bosses and are creating a legacy and creating a lifestyle that works for us not one that we are forced to live. Lost relationships, shit sucks bad especially because of where I'm at in life. I want to share it with the world but the truth is, the relationships that faded were one sided and draining me emotionally; also, now that my energy is not being spent chasing folks I can invest more time in those that are equally invested. Basically, I'm creating the life I want and it's not always easy in fact it's pretty hard at times (no guaranteed bi-weekly paycheck, the pain that comes with  realizing people who you were so invested in aren't equally, etc) which is why I want to bottle up these feelings. 

I don't like to extend advice because come on what do I know, this thing called life is one giant learning experience BUT let me tell ya changing my mindset has been instrumental to my happiness! I'm not letting fear get in my way; fear of failure, fear of not being accepted, fear of not impressing, fear of making the wrong choice...F THAT, I GOT THIS, YOU GOT THIS! Life is too short to not do what makes you happy! 

There was a saying I remember hearing that now seems so relevant:

Grant me the SERENITY to accept things I cannot change, COURAGE to change the things I can, and WISDOM to know the difference. 

 

Newborn Nooks

Umm so people really gave a crap about my newborn must have list, wow! That post triggered a few questions about the "nooks" I spoke of. This post is a break down of my nooks, both the nursery nook and the nook in our living room. 

NURSERY NOOK. 

We decided to create a nursery nook for Kennedy in our room instead of building a nursery in a separate room. As I've mentioned in the past we are simple minimalist folks, we still like pretty things but we don't like clutter and unnecessary items...a clean, simple, and practical space is what we were going for. From what we heard those early weeks and months would mean lots of middle of the night feedings and changes, we also heard that the baby wouldn't do much but eat and sleep during that time so we didn't need toys (other than the jungle gym).

Here's what the nursery nook included furniture wise:

  • Bassinet. This is where Kennedy slept every night, in our room but not in our bed.
  • Dresser. A plain white 3 drawer dresser from Ikea that also doubled as her changing table. We made it our own by purchasing knobs from Anthropologie. We also purchased drawer divider boxes in various sizes to organize the drawers which were especially helpful since her stuff is so tiny. On top of the dresser we have: changing pad, noise machine, hand sanitizer, humidifier, audio monitor and a salt lamp.
  • Wall Shelf. This helped us with additional storage and decor space without taking up actual space in our room. We put a woven basket on it to hold swaddles because we went through those DAILY.
  • Accordion Rack. This was another decor piece that also doubled as storage. This is where I hung her little headbands, turbans, bonnets, and an occasional "pretty outfit". 
  • Wall Mirror. 
  • Diaper Genie. Initially I didn't want this because it didn't seem like a "necessity" and I guess technically it isn't but I am glad Jack was persistent about getting one. There are so many diaper changes and since our kitchen is downstairs for the convenience factor the diaper pail was a huge help not to mention it helped with keeping dirty diaper funk out. 
  • Laundry Bag. Simply hung a laundry bag on our door for her dirty clothes. 

LIVING ROOM NOOK.

Our bedrooms are upstairs and the living room is downstairs so we decided to create a little nook downstairs since that is where we spend the bulk of our time. The living room nook has changed slightly now that she is 6 months but I will share what it was like from the day she came home from the hospital and the first 5 months. 

  • Wicker Bassinet/ Moses Basket. This was her place to sleep, hang, and get changed up until 5 months. I placed a sheepskin mat from Ikea in the bassinet as well for additional padding. I still use the wicker basket and the mat just for something different now. 
  • Jungle Gym. When she wasn't sleeping or being cuddled we would lay Kennedy down under the jungle gym to work on her focus and grabbing.
  • Ikea Raskog Utility Cart. This is key! This cart holds it all and allows me to have everything I need for the baby downstairs in an orderly manner. I keep a diaper caddy in the top level but you honestly can do without and I keep: diapers, wipes, a portable changing pad (like the ones you find in a diaper bag) ointments, swaddles, hand sanitizer, a nail file and pacifiers in there. The middle tier had swaddles and breast pumping supplies. The bottom tier has Dreft cleaning wipes, one of those drawer dividers to toss any of her clothes in that we take off downstairs.
  • Foam Mats. I only got 4 mats and they were black, I didn't go with the colorful alphabet set...I simply don't have the space for that. The mats are great for floor time be it tummy time or on the back especially once the baby starts becoming mobile like kicking their feet, lifting their head etc. 
  • Woven Basket. I set this up initially for any clothes or any of her items that belonged in our room upstairs so again it wouldn't be all over the place. Now I use it for any toys that are not in use downstairs (you don't have to worry about toys until they're a few months).

*I put the wicker bassinet on a small area rug to give it the feel of it's own section. 

As always, we kept things simple and practical! These specific setups were for newborn days up until about 5-6 months, now we have started to make some changes to grow with our growing baby and I'll share that later on. Let me know if you have any questions via email or in the comments.