Does anyone else run back and forth into the house no less than four times when trying to leave with the baby?? Just me? I confessed a few posts ago that some days I feel like I’m more of a mess than other mamas but maybe we are all a mess and just trying to hold it together one day at a time. That said, organization has always been one of my coping mechanisms. There’s something about everything having a place that gives me a (tenuous) sense of control. This first year of motherhood has taught me to let a lot of things go, go with the flow, relax, and pivot when the inevitable spit up/blowout/tantrum/melt down/rash/fever/new tooth happens. It’s a lot easier to stay relaxed when these situations arise if I know where the paci or a diaper is at a moment’s notice so I’m alllll about an organized diaper bag. I’ve tried SO many and @lilyjadeco bags are definitely the best option for keeping everything in order since they have a removable insert. They’re having a sale for Mother’s Day so it’s a good time to check them out! From time to time I receive products to try and I only share them if I truly love them. In the spirit of total transparency, this bag was gifted to me and I am sharing it because it’s truly awesome and makes my mama life easier! #sponsored
May has been declared National Postpartum Depression Awareness Month so I’ll be posting periodically about my own experience. When I first brought my baby home, I thought I had the “baby blues.” My labor was three days long and I was physically exhausted in a way I’d never been in my life. I think this set me up for a difficult time. I remember standing in my bathroom leaning on the sink looking at my reflection and thinking, “We made a mistake.” It wasn’t that I wasn’t in love with my baby (I hate that I even have to disclaim that, of course I loved my new baby), but I felt completely unequipped to care for another being in my physical state. I had multiple tears that made it hard to walk and our baby was cluster feeding for weeks due to an undiagnosed tongue tie. I really didn’t feel like I could go on. I would see other people out living their lives on social media and I felt the most isolated and lonely I had ever been in my life. It felt like I would never be a part of the world again. Everything felt raw, painful, hard, exhausting. I now know that this probably exceeded the typical baby blues. But my doctor never asked about my mental health and I assumed these feelings were normal due to the immense amount of changes I was going through. I didn’t feel like I could share these thoughts with anyone. I felt like I was supposed to be in a bubble of newborn baby bliss and that telling anyone how hard it was for me would be admitting that I wasn’t up to the task of being my baby’s mother. It was so lonely. And so scary. Just talking about it here brings me right back to that space where I felt so weak and vulnerable and yet life was calling upon me to be the strongest I had ever been because I now had a daughter to care for. It took me months to figure out that I was suffering from postpartum anxiety and depression. I wish I had opened up to more people about what I was experiencing. I hope that sharing this might help others understand that new mothers need to be able to share how they are feeling without judgment. And mamas, it’s ok to feel what I just described. You don’t have to feel alone. If you are in this space, ask for the help you deserve. 💛
“You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there's still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” I heard this quote today on @yoga_girl’s podcast and woah. It really resonated. I’m finally arriving at a place where I’m ok with not being liked by everyone. Because it means I staunchly stand for the things the I believe in. Because it means I know who I am and I’m not willing to compromise myself. Because it means I love myself enough not to need others validation to confirm my worth. It’s taken me an entire lifetime to get here. The energy I’ve used trying to be liked, trying to be unassuming, trying to be not me is insane! I’m loud, I’m emotional, my interests are vast and ever changing, I suck at working a 9-5, I’m creative and a perfectionist, I suffer from bouts of depression, I had a tough childhood, I’ve lost a parent, I don’t understand people who lack empathy, I need to talk about my feelings, I forget things...a lot, I feel like I’m not as together as other moms, sometimes I worry I’ll never do anything meaningful with my life besides being a wife and mother, I have big plans that scare me. And you know what? I feel like the juiciest, ripest me these days and it’s ok if I’m not for everybody! I highly highly highly recommend making a list like the one I just did above because the traits that I listed as polarizing or “different” are actually the things that make me exactly who I am. 🍑🍑🍑 P.S. this bikini is from @jcrew for everyone asking!
When I went to get L out of her crib this morning she was laying on her belly with the biggest grin on her face with a paci in her mouth and two in her hands. And I just melted. After feeling out of sorts last night, I was reminded that in this little being lives abundant joy. No ego, no baggage. Just a new day to smile and play. Every day I’m more humbled and grateful for this community than the last. It never ceases to amaze me that when we think we are on an island going through something alone that in fact, we are just the opposite. The amount of comments and messages I received about my last post has meant more than I can explain. I think the cure to pain is the seeking out the opposite of loneliness. It’s community. It’s sharing our hearts. The scars. The scary insides. The weirdness. This was one of the first posts that gave me pause before I hit send because it was about not just myself but others. And because I felt like maybe I was more flawed than other people and that I shouldn’t share my brokenness. But every single time I share my heart on here, I am met with a chorus of, “Me too, mama. I’ve been there, too.” And in those words, I find strength and resilience because I know that no matter what struggles I face, others have fought and survived their own similar battles and grown stronger and more loving for it. I used to be worried about bringing my daughter into a world filled with so much suffering. But over the course of this year, I‘ve realized that I am bringing her into a world of abundant love and kindness and I am seeking that for her and for our family more than ever. So thank you, to all of you who remind me every day how beautiful this world really is with your warmth, your kindness, your candor, and your ability to greet the new day with an open heart. 💛✨
Tonight I’m feeling out of sorts and it’s because I’ve been moving through a difficult chapter. I realize that with so many smiling, idyllic photos (like this one), it might seem like things are all shiny and light around here. Although life feels brighter than it has in a long time, there’s something I’ve hesitated to share. At first I told myself it was because it was “private” but I realized that wasn’t the true reason. The true reason is that I’ve felt ashamed. But as a proponent of vulnerability and bringing the dark into the light, here it goes. Since having a baby I’ve lost two close friends. So close I was the maid of honor in both their weddings. Both were for different reasons but at the heart was that they no longer wanted to show up and be a part of my life for various reasons. One disappeared after I gave birth and the other was more vocal. And you know what? I’ve internalized those opinions. I’ve made myself the victim of someone else’s narrative about my life. I have a really difficult time not being liked. Even by people I don’t want in my life. I think a lot of us struggle with this. I struggle with being so caught up in my ego that I change myself to fit different molds so that I can feel validated by others. I bent and contorted to try to fit the confines of these friendships and in the end, when life got real, they broke. I think life keeps trying to teach us the lessons we need to learn until we internalize them. For me, friendship seems to be a reoccurring one. I’ve spent far too much time and energy on friendships that weren’t meant for me. I think early on we are taught that “girls are mean” and that’s just a way of life. But I know better now. Sisterhood is out there. Soulful, deep, raw, real friendship is out there. I’m building my tribe intentionally now. I’m keeping my heart open despite my mind wanting to shut it against being vulnerable to more discomfort. I hope you never forget that you are worthy of true friendship. Keeping my heart open is a test right now, but it’s the only way I know how to keep letting the light in.
“Who we are and how we engage with the world are much stronger predictors of how our children will do than what we know about parenting.” - @brenebrown. I’m on this journey now and there’s no turning back. This little human set me on a path of self realization that can only be described as enlightenment. Every day I strive to be kinder, to know more, to practice more gratitude, to love more deeply, to breathe more intentionally, to connect to something greater. The more I learn the more I go inward to that place where I’m more present and more open. Everyday I’m striving to become the human and mother she deserves. It’s a lifetime of work and the best job I’ve ever had. I’m so grateful to my current teachers: @brenebrown, @cherylstrayed, @elizabeth_gilbert_writer, @yoga_girl, @glennondoyle, @babaramdass, Osho and the Enneagram. Find your teachers, your guides, those who will lead you to your best self and be a student of life — these are some of mine right now and they are 🙌🏻✨. Turban is from @vannusco. Use my code everydaybelle10 for 10% off.
Last week Lilly and I hopped in a tub of coconut milk in a backyard to commemorate our breastfeeding journey. This week? We are TEETHING! Hardcore. It’s almost unfathomable how much things change week to week in a baby’s first year. Time is moving at warp speed now and I find myself trying to memorize every detail of her. The way her lashes rest upon her cheek as she drifts to sleep in my arms. The curl of her body as she settles into her crib. The delight in her eyes as we pass the foyer mirror and she waves to both of us enthusiastically. The da-da-da sound she makes with her tongue between her gums at her dada and our dogs. Her little hands tugging my hair and patting me while she feeds. Her impossibly soft cheeks as I rest my lips upon them wishing she wouldn’t ever pull away. All these little moments that comprise our whole world together. I’ve started talking to her more as a person. Telling her I’m flawed and broken but I’m strong as hell and my love could move mountains. That I’ll walk through the fires of her life with her. That she is beautiful on the inside and that shows on her outside. I’m thanking the universe, source, god, whomever is out there to thank for this piece of stardust that fits inside my arms. Even on the hardest days. Like today. With a teething, feverish, sad baby, I settle into gratitude for the privilege of being hers. Now, on to wash dishes, do the laundry and eat cold leftovers because mama life isn’t all bathtubs and lace gowns...✨ #joyfulmotherhood
B U S Y. Its a word I hear thrown around a lot. As an explanation. As an excuse. As a way of being. I’m guilty of it, too. I have a hard time saying no to things and I have a lot of people I want to show up for. But I think there’s a danger in the culture of “busy.” I think sometimes the things that matter most get pushed to the bottom of the to do list. And I think we make ourselves busy to avoid standing still in the present moment. I resent the busy culture. I think busy is another word for priorities. Ultimately, we prioritize what we feel we need to be doing. For me, that’s showing up for my people. Always. No excuses. So when I don’t get to do yoga or meditate or shower it’s not because I’m so busy but because there’s only enough of me for so much and I’m prioritizing other things. Today I felt so depleted. My week was so full and beautiful but draining. I didn’t prioritize rest or stillness. I felt the nagging tug toward that “busy” life I hear so much about. That life where I don’t prioritize other people and myself but rather blindly jump from one obligation to the next until I melt into bed unable to read or journal or do the things that fill me up to be the best mother, wife, friend and daughter. And then I heard it. One cry escaped my daughter’s lips when she woke from her nap and I knew she was feeling unwell. She’s finally teething and this week has been tough on her. We had plans to go to our rabbi’s tonight for Shabbat and I had to cancel. I had to stand still. I held my girl all afternoon and didn’t think about my calendar, meal prepping, next week’s appointments, things I would need to rearrange if she’s sick. I just held her. We took a walk with her cuddled up in my @lovesakurabloom sling and I was reminded of her newborn days. I’m reflecting on them a lot as we near had first birthday. Those days weren’t busy but they were full. I’m trying to remember that busy isn’t a badge of honor. Fullness is. I’m prioritizing holding her close. Finding stillness with her. And saying no to create the spaces for the yeses that matter. The days of mothering are long but the years really are short. I want to make the most of them. #joyfulmotherhood
Dear Lilly, it’s getting late and I should be asleep but the low hum of the monitor and your sleep sack silhouette are accompanying me and I’m not ready to say goodnight. I’m not ready because tomorrow is another day older, another day bigger, another day away from your tiny newborn days. I’m so proud of the big girl you’re becoming. Your personality is everything I could have dreamed of and more. You have a gentle soul, a mirth, a joie de vivre that’s as infectious as it is humbling. And yet. And yet. I miss when you couldn’t press your body away from mine willing yourself to stand on your own two feet yet. I miss nursing you and staring into your eyes knowing we were everything the other needed. I miss the bubble of newborn life in all its darkness when I was yours and you were mine and nothing else existed but our need for one another. I even miss feeding you at 3am sometimes. Cradling your tiny body in the darkness as you nursed back to sleep. And yet. And yet. I struggled so much in those early days. I didn’t know I was meant for you yet. That you were my soulmate. It took time to get here. To learn that every day with you would be better than my wildest imaginings when you were still kicking inside of me. You’re closer to one than a newborn now and my heart aches with longing and joy because you ARE my heart. Wherever you go, whomever you become, whatever you do I will always remember you as tiny as you were the day you were born. You’ll always simultaneously be the you that you are now and the you that stared up at me seconds after your birth. The you that seemed to ask, “You are my person, yes?” Yes, sweet baby, I am your person and as your person I have the distinct bittersweet honor of watching you grow into this precious girl. Just don’t grow too fast, ok? Photo: @staceydenninphoto #joyfulmotherhood #nobullshitmotherhood
#tbt to this past weekend walking the runway to support @dctjax! I read this quote from my new favorite author/human @glennondoyle and it really resonated with my drive to serve others, “Because love is not something for which to search or wait or hope or dream. It's simply something to do.” I am so full of love. Sometimes painfully so. Sometimes I feel helpless in the face of all the suffering and inequality and cruelty and ignorance in the world today. And then I step out of that space and into the light. Because love is light and light is love. And if I can’t fix everything by being disappointed in it then I’ll fix it by loving. By loving the families who suffer because their precious babies are sick. By loving those sweet babies who deserve to be well but the universe had other plans. By loving my community that has decided that making these babies dreams come true is a way to be a light in the dark. By giving my time, my energy, my LOVE to those who need a beacon in difficult times. I’m taking my own memories of hospital rooms and beeping machines and endless conversations with doctors and turning them into love. Love is something to choose everyday. Every act and word I ask, “Is there love in this?” Every day I try to do love and sometimes it’s a big love, like a day like this, sometimes it’s a small love like holding space for a friend. But everyday, we can love. ❤️ photo: @jaidenphotography
“I'm not a mess but a deeply feeling person in a messy world. I explain that now, when someone asks me why I cry so often, I say, 'For the same reason I laugh so often--because I'm paying attention.' I tell them that we can choose to be perfect and admired or to be real and loved. We must decide.” Friends, put down whatever you are doing and order both of @glennondoyle’s books. She’s changing my life. If you think I put my heart out there, just wait. Her heart is made of what we all are made of and she shares it eloquently, honestly, deeply. I’m so humbled and inspired by her as a writer, a woman, a mother, a human. 🙌🏻✨
This is the face of a woman who is weeks away from attending @risegatherings and is finally remembering what it means to do things for myself and for FUN. I just got my email with all the workshops and activities available and my packing list and guys, I GET TO GO TO CAMP! But not just any camp — a camp that will help me be grow and become a more mindful mother, a more self aware woman, a more empowered human, a deeply connected wife, and a joyful being. How? Through yoga, acupuncture, energy and sound healing, painting, kettlebell kundalini, workshops on sexuality, mindful parenting, manifesting your dreams, understanding emotions and starting a business with women at the forefront of their fields. I wish I could do every workshop! Are you in a season of change? Do you feel yourself rising up to a deeper level of self realization? Do you crave connection and support for your soul? Come join me in the Poconos! Use my code NATALIE for $100 off your ticket. I’ll see you there!! ✨
Nine months since I gave birth and this body? It finally feels familiar. After hyperemisis, gestational diabetes, tearing the tendons between my ribs, my three day labor, three second degree tears, and a painfully slow recovery, it’s completely different than before. My arms are strong from carrying the weight of a growing baby (almost 20 lbs!), there are little creases around my eyes and mouth from so much smiling, my belly skin is looser and softer like I am now, my breasts aren’t some shortcut to feeling sexy or something for men to look at — rather they kept my baby alive for months, my legs are unshaven because I have more important things to do, my hair unwashed because after a long day of mom-ing I value sleep more than shampoo, and my heart is bigger, gentler, warmer, more forgiving, and full full full. I’m learning to love myself in a way I couldn’t when I thought this body was made for others to approve of. I thought I needed to be shaped the way our patriarchal society mandated. That femininity was prescribed by some invisible hand. There were parts I deemed too small and others too much. Like me. At once too small and too much. Be pretty, be quiet. Be ladylike, submit. I’m more woman than I’ve ever been. I have the scars to prove it. I’m not going to be small for the sake of some preconceived notion or shrink myself to fit the mold of what someone else thinks I should look like or should be. That’s my truth. When you move into the light, when you live out loud, there’s no room for all the darkness and shame. Only me, here, now.
Bon lundi! It’s a rainy day here in Jax and L has her nine month appointment today. I’m having my usual anxiety about seeing her in pain for her shots but reminding myself that I’m lucky to live in a place where she has access to them (please no vaccination debate — I’m doing me and you do you!). I’m already nostalgic for this weekend and how meaningful it was to do good together as mama and daughter supporting @dctjax. I’m hoping to find ways to volunteer with her even while she’s so little. Any ideas? I’m hoping to ingrain a love of serving others early on!
“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” There are so many ways to help save the planet and not a moment too soon. Some easy tips: if it’s not truly dirty don’t wash it — this goes for clothes, dishes, cars, anything (and who doesn’t want to do less washing?), go to optoutprescreen.com to stop receiving junk credit card offers in the mail, install a high efficiency shower head, use a biodegradable, plant-based dishwasher powder, skip red meat when you can, eat local (join a CSA!), and lastly look at trash as a challenge — can that paper towel roll be used for a craft project perhaps? Let’s leave our babies a clean, safe planet. Happy Earth Day! We have to be the change, mamas!
I hope you’re having a sweet Sunday. I had bold ambitions to make strawberry jam like the pioneer wife I aspire to be but was intimidated by the thought of botulism. I have many cooking strengths but venturing on to this uncharted territory felt a bit too precarious. It got me thinking about motherhood and fragility. As soon as you see those lines on that test, all of of the sudden the risks you would take for yourself transfer to this tiny person whom you have a visceral, biological need to protect. Sometimes all I see are sharp edges and threats to her survival. I remember the first time I left the house without her paralyzed simultaneously by the fear of what might happen to her without me and what might happen to her if something happened to me. I’m entering a new chapter though. One where we feel less raw and exposed. I see her thriving today on her nine month birthday and feel a sense of accomplishment. “We’re doing it,” I whispered almost breathlessly to myself this morning. We’re parents. I don’t feel like an imposter anymore or like I’m waiting to deserve the title of her mama. I’m the one her eyes light up for and the shoulder she wants to cry on when she takes a tumble. And tumbles happen. Accidents happen. But she’s less fragile now and so are we. It’s truly the sweet life being her mama.
We had the most inspiring day supporting @dctjax walking in @kydsboutique and @jaffisboutique annual fashion show. As someone said, “It felt like one giant community group hug.” I think when we are facing a tough internal moment, like today for me on my dad’s birthday, the best thing we can do is step outside of ourselves and send love and support out into the world. One hundred percent of the proceeds raised today go toward sponsoring the dreams of local children battling life-threatening illnesses. Bearing witness to the strength and beauty of these families today was an honor. Today shined a light for me and I’m so grateful Lilly and I were able to be a part of it and my mama was there to watch us. ❤️
Today I sat with my sweet daughter and listened to a guitarist on the steet sing Wild Horses by The Rolling Stones. We were sharing avocado toast and giggling over a water bottle and the music started and she got very quiet and leaned over to find where it was coming from. And in this perfect moment I told her that her Papa Jim wanted to dance with her mama to this song on her wedding day but he died seven months before they could. I told her that whenever I hear this song I usually feel far away and sad and lonely but today I felt happy and content because she was there eating her avocado with her tiny fingers and listening to my truth. My daddy’s birthday is this weekend and I know it won’t be easy. It never is. But I think that if grief were easy we’d be doing it wrong. I think grief is big and painful and messy because life is those things. I think loving someone and losing them and hurting like hell and screaming into the abyss is a part of this raw, beautiful tapestry of experiences we are blessed to receive. I think life is fair and unfair and kind and cruel and everything in between. I think losing a parent and sharing a giggle with your baby are both part of the human condition. Maybe just being in those moments is what it’s all about. Maybe it’s not about our jobs or our bank accounts or our house but it’s just about existing in the every day. Some days are beautiful — like this one. Some days are painful — like a loved one’s birthday when they are no longer here to celebrate another year with them. I’m here for all of it. #joyfulmotherhood #nobullshitmotherhood
“I’ve done the experiment. I’ve moved six times in eight years to very different places, desperately seeking peace and joy. And I still haven’t found what I’m lookin’ for. Parenting, life, friendship, marriage: they are not hard for me because I’m in the wrong place; they’re just hard. So I am finally willing to accept that there is no geographic place that offers perfect peace. Because as Bubba likes to say, wherever you go, there you are. I think one of the keys to happiness is accepting that I am never going to be perfectly happy. Life is uncomfortable. So I might as well get busy loving the people around me. I’m going to stop trying so hard to decide whether they are the “right people” for me and just take deep breaths and love my neighbors. I’m going to take care of my friends. I’m going to find peace in the ‘burbs. I’m going to quit chasing happiness long enough to notice it smiling right at me.” - @glennondoyle 🙌🏻✨🙏🏼 #joyfulmotherhood #nobullshitmotherhood
Today was super weird so here’s a photo of my feet on some pretty tile. For more details head to my IG story where you can laugh along with me at the ridiculousness of my day. I set a weekly intention to not let getting off on the wrong foot (coming full circle here) affect me and trying to reclaim the rest of the week with positivity and humor. I don’t know about you, but sometimes the littlest thing can set me off balance and I lose my perspective on how grateful I am and how joyful my life really is. However, I’m all about acknowledging the annoyances and letting them process because repressing them and pretending life is “perfect” freaks me out. Stepping into tomorrow with hopes for a beautiful day and sending love and light out into the universe. Have a wonderful night, mes amies. ✨✨✨