Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Life Lately

I've been quiet here. Some days I think I'm done with this blog, other days I think of starting a new blog that better reflects where I am today, and then there are nights like tonight where I yearn to come back here to this old, comfortable friend.

These days I find that everything is different, yet everything is the same. Having Emma's little sister here has brought unimaginable light and joy to my life. I feel like I finally know who I am and what I was created to be. Motherhood is my absolute greatest gift. 

But even in this complete joy, I am changed. Life and its emotions are forever altered. My joy is not like your joy. My joy comes from knowing the other side. There are days when the bitterness, regret, guilt, and grief rise up. The feelings that were my companions for so long. They're still there, under the surface, and they rise up often unexplained and unwelcome.

I am in a constant battle against anxiety, fighting between what is normal and what is the result of knowing the deepest darkness. Each night before bed I check on Lilah, placing my hand on her back so I can feel the rise and fall of her breath. I thank God for my beautiful girl and pray that I get to keep her. Such is the life of a bereaved Mama. Sending you love and light. xo

Friday, March 11, 2016

Mama Bear

Yesterday I was talking with one of my administrators and she used the term Mama Bear. I said yes, I understand about that, and she laughed and said, oh no you don't. Wait until the day that you get that first teacher email that your child has done something wrong.

I know she's right. That the first time I get the bad school report, or a boy breaks L's heart, or she doesn't get the job she wants, that it will be a whole new level of Mama Bear, but part of me was shouting on the inside, "No, you don't get it! NO ONE gets it!" It's absolutely nothing against her or anyone else, but bereaved parents just see the world differently. 

Let me tell you about Mama Bear:

Mama Bear is trying to parent a child who has died. Protecting her memory, making sure people don't forget her or ignore her. Learning to create a life that the child is still a part of, and then hating yourself when it feels like you're forgetting anyway.

Mama Bear is having your Rainbow Baby. Hearing that first cry and knowing that she is your life. That giving her life, love, and happiness is all you need in this world. Protecting her to make sure that nothing hurts her and that your heart will never be shattered again like it was before.

That is Mama Bear.

So future teachers, boyfriends, and bosses, I've got you. I have already survived the unimaginable and me and my girls will be just fine.

Mama Bear level, pro.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Sharing OUR Story

It's been quiet around here lately, especially with posts related to my journey in grief. In fact, I have stopped and started so many posts that I have a huge collection of drafts. I have found that the words do not pour out of me like they did so early on. Sometimes I wish they would. In some ways I wish a piece of that raw grief would return. That may be hard for you to understand, but that raw grief is what let me feel Emma's presence so strongly. Now she feels so far away. Like another lifetime, and as if I was another person. It feels like forgetting and that is oh so hard. Sometimes I think I let this happen. That remembering and feeling is too hard, so I don't. It's moments like this that I am so strongly reminded that grieving the loss of a child is a life long journey. Some days it feels like I am in a constant battle with grief. It has changed it's shape but it still haunts me.

In a few weeks I will be participating as part of a parent panel at a Perinatal Bereavement Conference. The conference attendees will be professionals such as doctors, nurses, doulas, and social workers. The purpose of the panel is for participants to share what worked and what didn't before, during, and after the loss of their child. I am so nervous and afraid for this experience, but I know that it is something I need to do. I need to speak up, to share my story, and to help the mother that will be in my shoes have the best care possible. This is a chance for me and Emma to make a difference in someone's life. It almost feels like a chance to answer a calling. I ask for you to send me your well wishes and prayers. I will be sure to share my experience here after the conference. Sending you love and light. xo

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Why I Want Your Support

Yesterday I joined the networking marketing company Nerium. I am so excited about this opportunity, but given the misconceptions that many people have regarding networking marketing I felt the need to get some things off of my chest.

Yes I am going to post stuff about Nerium. Sorry if it annoys you. Yes I will still post about other stuff too. Sorry if that also annoys you. Sorry if you're just grouchy and easily annoyed. No, I am not running a scam and I don't want to take all of your money and make you join a cult.

Yes I'm being sarcastic, but seriously people, what is the big deal??

I have found an amazing product and company that I believe in. The product works and the opportunities are insane. Who wouldn't want to work with amazing people who lift you up instead of tear you down? With people who believe in you and give you the tools to succeed? With a company that rewards you for your hard work with incentives and bonuses? With a company that could change your family's financial future? With a company where anyone can reach the top regardless of their background?

Network marketing is a business. It is not a traditional business model, but it is a business. Brand Partners are able to earn big incentives because overhead for these companies is so much lower than a traditional business. The money has to go somewhere and it goes to regular people like you and me. People worrying about making a car payment or paying a mortgage. People who want to be able to sign their kids up for dance class, or little league, or theater. Where's the harm in that?

Yes, those in my "upline" make more than I do and have the opportunity to make bonuses off of me. Isn't that how it always works? Does your boss make more than you? If you work hard and bring in business do you get a bonus? Does your boss get a pat on the back and a bonus for training and leading you and your colleagues, thus building up the company and bringing in more income?

HERE'S THE DIFFERENCE: The same opportunities that my upline are getting are open to ME! I can rise as high as I want to. I don't need two degrees behind my name, or to claw my way up the corporate ladder hoping I get picked over the other people fighting me to the top. The levels and promotions are laid out for me and I can decide what my goal is and how I'm going to do it.

So, all I ask is for your support. Don't hate on me because I'm posting about Nerium. Be on the team that encourages me and builds me up. Push me along as I reach for my goals, and if the product and opportunity is not for you then share it with someone who it may be for. Buying my products is not the only way you can support me (although you totally should because they work and you'll be so happy with your glowing youthful skin! ;) ). I have big dreams and I want to change my family's future. In case you don't know any teachers, we have very full hearts and very empty wallets. My household survives on two teacher's salaries and I want more for us. So please just be supportive, and if you can't, then please go drink your haterade somewhere else.

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Etsy Shop Has Launched!

You can now purchase our Endless Love Bracelets on our new Etsy site (click on the shop tab at the top for a direct link)! My goal is to upload new products to the shop every two weeks-sometimes it will just be a restock of current products, and other times I will be introducing brand new products. You can keep up to date with shop news by following us on Facebook and Instagram @onabutterflyswings.

The Endless Love Bracelet is our charitable cause bracelet, and all proceeds are used to make care packages for other parents of stillborn babies. I donate these care packages to the hospital where our sweet Emma was born. I have ten packages that are heading to the hospital this week thanks to previous Endless Love Bracelet sales.

Thank you for your love and support!

Friday, August 7, 2015

A Stink & The Crunchy Mamas to the Rescue! *GIVEAWAY*

I was provided this product for review. I am not being compensated, and all opinions are 100% my own.

Well, this is going to be embarrassing, but it's the only way you will understand just how amazing the product I am about to share with you is. {There is a giveaway at the end, so I promise this is worth a read ;)}

I sweat. I use natural deodorant. And sometimes that means I get smelly. Am I the only one here? Please tell me I'm not. {Insert cute emoji with the hand raised--you know which one I mean} If you're a natural deodorant user you probably understand. I'm not a smelly person (really, I promise!), but there is a big difference between using conventional deodorants and natural deodorants.

While you think that over, let me give you a little backstory. For several years now I've been making changes in the way I eat, clean, and care for myself, my home, and my family, in an effort to live a more clean and natural life. I'm not perfect, and there is definitely room for improvement, but I'm happy with the choices I make for myself and my family. I got especially crunchy last year when I started using essential oils (I use and recommend Young Living Essentials Oils-you can email me for more info), which prompted me to make even more healthy lifestyle changes. Just to keep it real though--I ate a Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Smash Blizzard the other night and loved every artificial bite. Balance is my mantra. But, I digress...

One of these healthy lifestyle changes was to throw away my conventional deodorants and replace them with a natural deodorant. There seem to be conflicting beliefs about the health risks of conventional deodorant, but my approach is to always choose a more natural option when possible. Why take the risk of synthetic, potentially toxic, chemicals being absorbed by your body if you don't have to? I'm not here to preach, so do your own research and decide, but I'll tell you my underarms are getting the natural version!

I have been through 4 different natural deodorants, and all of them left me wishing for a shower by the end of the day. Natural deodorants just don't seem to work all that well. AmIright? Although tempted to switch back to the artificial stuff, I've continued to try one deodorant after another, in hopes that I'll find one that doesn't leave me clamping my arms to my sides, or smelling like patchouli incense and the sixties.

Then one evening, after buying said fourth deodorant, I was scrolling through Instagram and came across a post from The Crunchy Mamas looking for some people to try their natural deodorant and share a review on Instagram. Helloooo, deodorant number five! I emailed The Crunchy Mamas, and was super excited to receive an email back from Ashley letting me know they would be sending me one of their deodorants to try! I chose the Her Pit, which is their deodorant for women, scented with organic Lavender and Sweet Orange essential oils. They also have a His Pit and Mint Pit. 

I have been using Her Pit for a week now, and I am in love! This is the first natural deodorant that actually works for me. For real. There was a day this week that I went to the gym in the morning and then washed windows and cleaned off the porch outside during L's afternoon nap. I didn't want to shower until after all of that, so that morning I just washed my face and applied some fresh Her Pit. Can I tell you that after all of that, and no shower since the day before, I still smelled fresh?! This stuff is legit. It is priced at $9 a jar, but you only use a pea size amount under each arm. After a week there is barely a dent in my container, which means it's a great value! I've also been happy with how moisturizing Her Pit feels after it's applied. I've had trouble with some natural deodorants in the past and the large amounts of baking soda in them. Applying those after shaving is like lighting your underarm on fire. Her Pit, though, goes on smoothly and without irritation. 
*And they're doing a promotion right now where 10% of deodorant sales go to one of three Pit Bull rescues. Yay for helping doggies!*

Here is what you will find in a container of Her Pit:

image source

Sure, I could probably whip up some natural deodorant myself (that thought crossed my mind during the deodorant search), but why? The Crunchy Mamas are rocking mamas, working their business and making awesome all-natural products that actually work. I love their mission and fun vibe, plus I'm all for smelling great and supporting some hardworking mamas while I'm at it. 

I'd like to pay it forward and give away one container of Crunchy Mamas Natural Deodorant to one of you! 

This is an Instagram giveaway, so I apologize to those of you who are not on there. Visit my Instagram page @onabutterflyswings for a post with all of the details and rules for entering. 

I hope you'll visit the Crunchy Mamas on Facebook, Instagram, and on their website, and give them a like or a follow. They have lots of fantastic products for the whole family, and I know you'll find something you love!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

I Forgot My Place

Having a living child has given me a free pass into the "moms club". I swap baby gadget recommendations, baby food recipes, joys, and frustrations with other moms. I proudly carry my baby on my hip while walking through the store, or coo and giggle with her while we wait patiently in a line. I am one of them.

Some days it's easy to forget how it was before. When I was a mom, but not in the "moms club". And then there are days and times when it hits, and it hits hard.

I've been planning to attend a local baby wearing meeting tomorrow. At the meeting there is a whole library of different slings, wraps, and baby carriers that you can try, as well as educators that teach you safe ways to use the carriers with your baby. I'm not sure if you've seen the price of baby carriers, but I'm a big fan of getting a chance to try before I buy.

Being an introvert, I normally get some anxiety about going into new situations like this. It's hard for me to meet people and make small talk. Being a bereaved mom it's even harder.

When I first planned to go to the meeting I felt excited about getting some advice and help with ring slings, and even excited at the idea of spending some time with other moms and babies. And then I remembered my place in the mom world. I live on the bereaved mom side, and it can be full of anxiety, loneliness, and isolation. I began thinking about the inevitable questions...is this your first, how many other children do you have, how old are they? I thought about the uncomfortable conversation that starts and ends with, my firstborn daughter died. I thought about the inevitably crunchy moms that will be there sharing their natural birth stories, with talks of delivering at 41 or almost 42 weeks, home births and water births and the like. I thought about all my plans for Emma's birth, waiting and waiting so I could have that natural birth experience, and then I waited too long and she died.

Going and trying out a ring sling doesn't sound so fun anymore. Maybe all I need is to get these thoughts out and I will feel okay tomorrow. That's the thing with grief, you never really know. Tomorrow when it's time to leave for the meeting is when I'll know how I feel about it. I do stop and think about the mom that has lived through loss and it too afraid to tell someone else, or feels like she doesn't have anyone to talk to. Maybe she's there waiting for me, waiting for me to be brave enough to say those terrible words out loud. And if she's not at the Monday baby wearing meeting then she's out there somewhere in the world. I can't hide out forever, maybe it's time to be brave.

If you are not a bereaved parent and you are reading this, you may say: you are one of us, we are in this together, we are united by motherhood. And to you I say, I am so thankful you are so naive. I mean that in the nicest way possible. I mean I am so glad you don't know what it's like to be one of me. There will always be a difference. We are both mothers, but I am one kind and you are another. Thank you for not trying to make me be you, thank you for letting me be in my place, while sharing in yours.