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Loss in Motherhood.

Loss in motherhood

This is NOT the kind of loss that you may be expecting me to write about.
This is a completely different kind of loss.
It’s the type of loss that is hard to explain and even harder to understand.

It’s about the loss of months and important moments of my motherhood,
stolen away by Postpartum Depression.

My entire life has been filled with dreams of becoming a mama.
I always pictured myself as being a girl mom, having the type of bond that everyone longed for with their daughter.
Inseparable with a love like no other, coordinating outfits, dance parties in the living room and endless laughter.

Before I became a mama, I always questioned people who suffered from PPD.  I had so many questions and simply did not understand how someone could NOT connect and fall madly in love with their baby from the moment they laid eyes on each other.  How could a mama be so cold and heartless?  I had absolutely no clue.

In September of 2016, I was gifted the most perfect, precious little girl, my Oakley.
I was finally starting to live out my motherhood dreams.
Things were picture perfect, exactly how I had imagined.

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Everything was great for a few days and then after the company left and the house became quiet, reality set in and something changed.
A deep, dark, hazy cloud swarmed in.
I don’t know what it is that changed but I came to realize in what should have been one of the happiest times of my life, I was anything but happy.
I was overwhelmed, sad, tired and felt an overwhelming amount of guilt. I often couldn’t get out of bed, I felt heavy and became completely detached from my baby.
I had a completely unnatural reaction to motherhood, my heart was disconnected and it was affecting me physically.
I remember someone looking at my baby and saying “Did you ever think you could experience a love this deep?” I just remember non-nonchalantly muttering “yeah”  and feeling nothing.

I did not know what was wrong with me. I felt as though I was incapable of loving my baby. I found myself succumbing to tears for no reason, lying when people asked me if I was okay and putting on one hell of a front if forced to go out in public.

I avoided social situations and dreaded people coming over.
I would stare at my baby daily thinking about how beautiful she was and I knew I loved her but I still felt nothing. Nothing.
Before Christmas I had a break down, it was the lowest I had ever been in my life.
Chad came home from the neighbors, to me sitting on the couch head in my hands bawling, I had drank almost an entire case of beer by myself and I couldn’t explain why I had done it or what was wrong.
I was consistently negative, felt like the world hated me and like nothing I did was ever right.
I worried about everything. I suffered from severe insomnia, I was losing weight like crazy, had zero sex drive, my hair was falling out and all I wanted was for my baby to sleep so that I could be alone.

I made it through the Christmas season knowing that I suffered from Postpartum but I didnt want to admit it. Admitting that you have a psychological disorder is never easy nor socially accepted, having to admit that you have absolutely no emotional attachment to your baby is absolutely heartbreaking.

In the new year I decided I was ready to come to terms with the way I had been feeling and finally got diagnosed and medicated.   Little did I know that, that little boost of sunshine in a capsule would not only heal my brain from the horrible PPD diagnosis but it would also level out my serotonin enough to help with my lifelong anxiety. Medication saved my motherhood by granting me control over the chemical imbalance in my brain. I don’t often believe in traditional medicine and take the holistic route whenever possible but there is absolutely NO shame in needing to be medicated.

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In just weeks after coming to terms with my PPD, I felt the overwhelming rush of love that I had longed for, for my entire motherhood. I looked at my sweet baby and thought my heart would explode. I also came to the realization that what was wrong with me was entirely out of my control which onset a major rush of guilt. I longed for the time I had lost with my baby, I worried that she wouldn’t bond with me like she was supposed too, I worried about attachment issues. I felt sad, I mourned over baby books yet to be filled and cherished moments that I let slip away. I was mad at myself for being stubborn.
I felt immense shame.
I felt empty in so many ways for not being there for my sweet baby in her first months of life, but I also felt in control of my brain for the first time since I was a child and for the first time in months I felt hope.

All I can say to my fellow woman is not to fear Postpartum Depression, it is completely out of your control and more common than you would think. We need to talk about it to remove the stigma. Depression, anxiety and other mental health issues are being experienced by women and men of all walks of life at an alarming rate and yet individuals feel isolated and alone in their struggles.  If you are suffering or suffered in the past… I GET IT.

There is hope and things DO get better.

Now excuse me while I go make up for stolen moments.

xox

Laur

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Stuffo-cated

Un-STUFFO-Cated
You may be wondering how something as simple as ridding of your stuff can drastically change your life. A thought that crossed my mind at one time as well.

When I was a teenager I always thought the meaning of life was to work harder and longer,  make all the money, and then buy ALL the things.  As It sits today I am 26 years old and all I wish is that I had known then, what I know now. I spent the early years of my twenties working a job that I hated simply because I thought it was what I was supposed to do. I earned a big paycheck and I bought all the things… things like jewelry, clothes, paintings, a tassimo, a juicer, craft supplies, not one but two cowhide rugs, books, cds, dvds, shoes ALL the shoes, candles, essential oils, even a brand spanking new $50, 000 car.  You name it, I had it and I still wanted more.  I bought all the things that I was supposed too and I still wasn’t happy.

How is it that you can have the dream husband, the ranch, the animals, the money,  the vehicle, the inner gratification of adequately keeping up with the Joneses AND still not be happy.

I’ll tell you why.

Because as I was keeping up with the Joneses, I was filling every single inch of our 600 square foot home and my soul with dreams that belonged to the Joneses, not to me. I was compensating for my unhappiness with things instead of getting to the root of the problem. Little did I know that, these things were actually adding to the chaos and unhappiness in my life. I didn’t own my stuff, it owned me.

January 2016 rolls around and I lost my job.
February 2016 rolls around and I found out we were expecting our first baby.

BLEEP BLEEP BLEEEP BLLEEEEEEEPPPPP.

All I could think was… “Now i don’t have a job, which also equals no money.”

How in the heck am I going to BUY ALL THE THINGS FOR MY BABY.

I need  a crib, a change table, a swing, a cradle, a breast pump, cloth diapers, clothes, toys,  bedding, a play mat, receiving blankets, toiletries, wipes ALL the wipes, oh yeah and one of those things that you put on the bed for co-sleeping so you don’t roll on your baby AND I also need a new house.

My list seemed reasonable at the time. Not  too much to ask, afterall I’m having a baby and a baby NEEDS a nursery & space to put all their things.

Months fast forward and my unrealistic motherhood dreams were not becoming my reality and I was singing the poor me’s.  My poor baby wouldnt have ALL the things that the other 13 babies born in our circle of friends would have. Devastation set in.

And then I read an article, it was titled “How Getting Rid of My Stuff Saved my Motherhood.”

Um…What? No thanks, that makes absolutely no sense, but being who I am, I thought I would let the article humor me and gave it a read through.

MY MIND WAS BLOWN.

This woman spoke to me, directly to me.

She talked about feeling guilty because she wasnt enjoying her motherhood. She felt like she was constantly cleaning and tidying from sun up to sun down. How the vision of being a stay at home mom was nothing like her reality. She didn’t get to spend time with her kids because if she pressed pause on her duties to play, she would pay the price later with twice as much mess.

This was me. I didn’t simply want to get through each day.
I didn’t want to hide when a vehicle pulled into the yard, dread people coming over or do the 15 minute shove and stuff anymore.
I decided right there that I was going to fall back in love with 600 square feet.

I was STUFFO-CATED and I was going to become UN-STUFFO-CATED.

I started with clothes, then shoes, then the kitchen, house decor, baby stuff, etc.
One bag after another left my house.
One car load after another dropped off at the local thrift store.
I started feeling lighter and lighter & happier and happier.

Becoming a minimalist family takes time. It has taken me over a year to get to the point that I am at and I am still consistently changing, learning and growing. I still to this day make deliveries to the thrift stores and am slowly but surely falling back in love with 600 square feet. It was never a lack of storage space, time or two small of a home that was the problem… the problem was simply too much stuff. You may be wondering how I could possibly still have stuff to get rid of after a year of purging… and the answer is… just because something brings you joy in the past, does not mean you need to keep it forever.

Minimalism has given me life in ways I never thought imaginable. I simply thought that I would get through each season of my life and as I did, things would become easier and less stressful.

Some things that I have noticed change in my life because of minimalism are as follows:

  1. I intentionally think about each purchase I make. Is it purposeful, do I love it, do I already have something similar, do I need it.
  2. It has saved us money without frivolously shopping to keep up with the Joneses.
  3. It has helped me be less stressed out and has increased my relationship with my immediate family members for the better.
  4. It has made me absolutely despise clutter.
  5. It has helped me spend more time outside and less time cleaning.
  6. It has helped me have time for personal growth and education.
  7. It has helped me spend more quality time with my daughter.
  8. It has helped our family eat even healthier with more time to prepare meals.
  9. It has gifted me with less laundry and dishes.
  10. It has helped me find my purpose in life.

With baby number two due in early April, I am so excited to see how we can make our 600 square feet even more functional, more purposeful and more ours and I’m not freaking out one bit.

From my journey to yours, this is how minimalism is helping me become UN-STUFFO-CATED.  There is more to life than getting THROUGH each season. Don’t let your stuff own you.

xox
Laur

365

In the morning when you wake darlin’ you will have blessed us with 365 days of your beautiful presence.
After so many years of heartbreak we never imagined that we would be blessed with you. Looking into your tiny little face each day is absolutely surreal, yet feels like nothing has ever been different.

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If I could go back in time and reassure my young self I would. I would tell myself to practice patience as all good things take time. I would tell myself that by enduring life’s many curve balls I would become stronger, love harder and experience astronomical growth within my relationships. I would reassure myself that empty feelings eventually get filled and lastly I would tell myself to enjoy life during each season because where you will be in five years will far exceed your wildest dreams.

You my girl are our missing piece, our greatest adventure and hands down the best thing that has ever happened to us. Life has never felt as good as the last year has felt with you. We get it now, (we being your daddy and I). We understand the years of frustration, tears, anger, jealousy,  hurt, pain and longing. There was always a plan waiting for us. She was the plan. She was meant for us and we were meant for her. She completes us and healed us. It’s always been you Oakley, you were the plan all along and we are so incredibly grateful that our plan was you.

No matter what challenges life has in store for you, sweet girl, we want you to know… we will always be standing beside you. Holding your hand and reassuring you that the greatest things in life do in fact take time.

You are our “greatest thing”.

Thank you for sharing the last 365 days with us.

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Happy 1st Birthdays Oakley Els.

We love you with our entire beings.

Love Mom & Dad

Just do you.

Our family has been struggling.

We have been struggling with trying to make people in our immediate life understand the lifestyle that we are striving for.

We do not want or need to live conventionally.
We are striving for a life filled with togetherness, raising children who are kind, generous and honest.

We want a life unconnected from technology, normal civilization and the chaos of the world.

It is hard to understand for some and that is okay. We do not expect you to understand we just want you to acknowledge what we are doing for ourselves.

Some people send their children to traditional school, we are not.
Some breast feed for a few short months or not at all, and I am almost breastfeeding a toddler.
Some people find joy in shopping for new items every week, we buy second hand.
Some people invest in daycare, we do not believe in having our children raised by someone else.
Some people believe in feeding their children what they desire, we believe in limited sugar and whole foods.

This is our personal decision and I just want YOU to know that we support you in everything your heart and aspirations are for your own family.

People will always question you regardless of what you do, so just do YOU my friends.

Make the decisions that are necessary for your own family, regardless of what you believe in,  you are doing the best you can and I see that.

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This is us, this is Backwoods.

Purpose

Have you ever been stuck on what your purpose in life is?

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If so, you are not alone.

I am striving to become more transparent in my life’s journey and with that comes sharing my heart even more.

I was stuck in an unhealthy mindset for sometime.

I watch so many individuals in my immediate life struggle and to be honest for the last year or so I was there as well.

I go to a place in mind where I feel as though once I’ve accomplished, completed or gotten through something everything will be better.

I will be on top of the world and no one can touch me… this is a mindset and not reality.

Life always slaps you in the face, it’s just how you decide to deal with it.

Awhile ago I was untouchable.
I had the job, the husband, the ranch, the lifestyle but still no baby and then I was fired. One bad thing after another happened to us and I watched people laugh at our trials and tribulations.
Life always does this funny thing of testing you to find out exactly what your purpose here is.

& then a shift happened.

I found out I was finally pregnant with our first baby and I knew that everything that happened, was meant to be.

I am a procrastinator by nature, I grew up in a family where our Dad worked shift when we were little and we obtained a schedule of staying up late and sleeping throughout the morning.
In my adult life, this is still true to me.

I do my best work at night, always.

My focus for this year was to to be more purposeful, to procrastinate less and live with more intention.

I have to be honest… as I usually am. I’ve been doing really well. Our house is becoming more minimal, we are living more on purpose but I’m still procrastinating.

The taxes are still not turned in, my lecture for a seminar that I’m speaking at in 3 weeks is still not complete, I have yet to obtain my dress for a very prestigious event I have next weekend and my house is in sub-par conditions.

Because it seems my reality on time is conflicted. I take on far too much for the mere 24 hours I have in the day.

But do you know what… That’s okay.

Life goes on and I’m human as are we all.

Lately life has looked completely different for us and I thought I would share it with you.

I always thought I would be a stay-at-home mama for Oaks entire life, but I was handed an opportunity.

An opportunity to live out one of my passions and that passion is working with teens. I recently accepted a position working at our local teen center and I couldn’t be more grateful. Working on days when Chad is home, so Oak is still raised entirely by her parents…it’s incredible. It’s giving this mama a part of herself back. It’s making me want to be better and do better for my family and giving me my sense of purpose back outside the home.

As everything happens in my life far beyond the time frame that I had laid out for myself this is no different,  just like finally being blessed with our first baby.

Life is unexplained and I find that just like the excruciating pain that all mothers go through in childbirth, such is life. You have to live out the shittiest and most trying of times to finally get the prize at the end. We need to stop focusing on the negatives of each circumstance and instead focus on the prize yet to come.

And the prize my friends, is finding your purpose.

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My purpose right now in this moment is: wife, mama, ranch, wellness warrior, teen facilitator.

Focus on what matters.

You’re not stuck, what can you do to pull yourself out of this circumstance?

The positive and not the negative, your mindset is everything.
Set yourself up for success, you’re the only one that can.

You’ve got this.

Purpose.

xox

Laur