A Letter to my Pre-Mom Self

letterIt’s okay.

I know you’re terrified. It’s okay to be scared. Your life is about to change more than you can imagine.

I know you’re in the midst of trying to decipher the difference between all of those diapers, and the bottles, and the pacifiers, and I won’t even mention the pumps. But, guess what?

They don’t matter.

I know that you think you don’t know a single thing about raising children. But who really does? Relax. You, like all other mommies, are going to figure it out as you go along. You’ll be fine.

Don’t worry so much about your birth plan. Things in childbirth rarely go as planned. Just plan to do whatever it takes to bring that sweet boy (yes, it’s a boy!) into the world safely.

Recovering from your cesarean is going to suck. Physically and emotionally. Take it easy while you recover physically, and accept help when it’s offered. Emotionally will take longer. Just know that you are not a failure. You made the safest choice for your little boy, and that matters so much more than the method he used to enter this world.

Your boobs are going to hurt. Like, imagine the pain comparisons you’ve read in one of the ten baby books you own, and then multiply it tenfold. Breastfeeding is hard. Again, accept the help when it’s offered and ask for help when you need it instead of trying to figure it out yourself.

Don’t expect to sleep for a while. Even if he does, you’ll be too busy staring at him, in amazement at this life you created, and you’ll constantly be checking to make sure he’s breathing. Showers will also be few and far between. Don’t fret, you’ll be too exhausted to go out into public anyway.

When you bring him home, don’t be alarmed when you become so overwhelmed with love that you just cry. This doesn’t go away. Before you know it, you’ll be preparing yourself to send him off to kindergarten. So enjoy the seasons as they come.

Know that you will be different. Your mind, YOUR BODY, your everything. You will transform from selfish to selfless, constantly putting this other life before yours, before you even realize what happens. Your body will never be the same. Your stretch marks will fade eventually, your boobs will go back down to their “normal” size, but you will notice that your feet and fingers are a little fatter than they were before. And your behind will stay a little more round than you remember. Embrace your new body. It did the job God intended for it to do.

Your relationships will be different. Some friends will stick by you. Some will fade into the background. You’ll probably feel alone from time-to-time. Get out and make some friends who are at the same stage in life as you. You can’t expect those not in your shoes to understand what your life is like now.

Your house will never be clean. Well, it might for the first five minutes after you finish tidying and then sit down. Then your boy will wake up from his nap, your Husband will come home from work, dinner will need to be made, and someone will spill something, somewhere. Don’t let it drive you crazy. Life happens.

You will quickly realize that you don’t know why in the world you ever stressed over bottles and diapers. This mom-thing will come so naturally to you that you’ll wonder why you ever worried. You’ll quickly realize that before you had your sweet baby, there was always some piece of the puzzle that was missing and you just had no idea. Now, your heart and home will feel complete.

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15 Things to Never Say to a Young Mom.

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It’s no secret that I’m a young mom.

I’m always the youngest mom in the playgroup, youngest mom at the preschool, and the youngest of pretty much all of the mom-friends I’ve made since moving here. Now that I have a ring on my finger most assume that I’m older, and many are shocked when I tell them I’m just twenty-three. I can see them doing the mental math looking between my almost four year old and myself, and when they finish that math I can see the “ohhhhh” look spread across their faces as they realize how young I am now and how young I was when I had Aiden. Usually, they just brush it off or rapidly change the subject. Every once in a while, they say what they really think and it’s often pretty dang hurtful.

I’ve made a list of my “favorite” things that people have said to me in the over four years since I got pregnant with Aiden. Yes, these were actually said by REAL PEOPLE to ME!

1) Was he PLANNED? (Yes. By God.)

2) Do you know who the Father is? (Apparently being a young mom makes me a slut by default. I usually respond with, “well I have it narrowed down to three.” -Sorry Mom-)

3) Wow, your life ended before it really began. (Yeah, it’s hard sometimes, but I get to play with toys, go to playgrounds, and have an excuse to eat ice cream everyday. Not to mention, when he’s eighteen, I’ll be thirty-seven. Boom.)

4) There are much easier ways to “play house.” (So, first it was so hard, and now I’m just “playing house?”)

5) You’re just another statistic. (Don’t even have words for this one.)

6) Why didn’t you just get an abortion? (Why don’t you just get a hysterectomy BEFORE you accidentally reproduce. Thanks.)

7) Should have kept your knees together. (And you should keep your lips together.)

8) You’re such a great big sister to take your little brother everywhere! (I still get this one now, at 23. This week actually! Thanks to that lady for inspiring this post!)

9) Of course you’re stressed, you deserve it after the choices you’ve made. (……)

10) No one will ever marry a girl with this much BAGGAGE. (Whoops, guess Andrew missed that memo.)

11) It must be nice to just live off of child support. (HAHAHAHA!)

12) Guess you can audition for Teen Mom now. (No thanks.)

13) I’m sure your Mom will do most of the work for you. (She’s always been there for me, if that’s what you mean…let’s pretend it is.)

14) Girls like you are why our economy is failing. (I can see the headlines now: TEEN MOMS SINGLEHANDEDLY BRING DOWN THE U.S. ECONOMY.)

 

and last but not least…

 

15) You’re just setting your child up for a lifetime full of failure. There is no way you can provide everything he needs by yourself. You’re just a kid.

 

Why is it that in a country where teen pregnancy is so common, people tear these girls down instead of building them up? The odds and statistics are already stacked against them, so why make them feel worse? For me, my biggest motivation was when someone would tell me that I couldn’t do it. Not everyone reacts that way though.

Yes, some of them “brought it on themselves” because they wanted to “make him stay,” or audition for 16 & Pregnant. But more often than not, pregnancies at this age are an accident. Caused by failing birth control, breaking condoms, or a lack of KNOWLEDGE about birth control options. I don’t see anyone personally attacking the schools for not providing sex ed courses, or the parents of the girl for not having open communication with their daughter, or maybe the father of the child for being too embarrassed to buy condoms. My point is…

 

THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK. 

That girl that you are about to share your opinion with? She’s going to have it hard enough without you sharing your two cents with her, so if you don’t have something nice to say, do everyone a favor and just keep your mouth shut.

 

 

My PSA moment: TALK TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT SEX AND BIRTH CONTROL. Chances are, they’re going to “do it” whether YOU are ready or not. But make sure that THEY are. Check out http://thenationalcampaign.org/ for some information about talking to your kids. The National Day to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancies is May 7th!

 

 

Are you or were you a young mom? What was the most unbelievable comment you received from a friend, family member, or a stranger?

 

A Letter to My Little Boy.

April 14, 2014

Dear Aiden,

You’re only three. You can neither read nor understand this letter at this point, but one day you will.

The night that I learned you would be coming into my life was the single most amazing, yet terrifying night of my life. I would be lying to you if I said it has been easy since then. But every moment has been 100% worth it.

The minute I first saw you growing inside my belly, and saw your heart beating, I fell head over heels in love. I loved you more than anyone or anything else in this entire world, and I hadn’t even looked into your eyes yet. You were my son, and I was your Mommy.

1The moment you were born, I held my own breath as I waited to hear your first. You let out that cry, and I cried with you. Tears of joy because you were mine.

Fast forward a few months, and you were growing into this beautiful little human being. I still couldn’t believe that you came from me. You were already so handsome, and so incredibly smart. I loved you with my whole heart.

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When you were almost six months old, my life was turned upside down when your father and I separated, he moved out, and it became just you and me. I was twenty years old and scared to death that I would never be able to provide everything you needed. I wanted to give you the world, but could barely afford your diapers. How we made it to this point, I’ll never know. I believe that everything that happens, happens for a reason, and I make sure to tell you this all the time.

Fast forward a few more years. Now you’re three years old. Almost four. I thank God every single day for giving you to me. You make my heart so happy. You are still so incredibly brilliant. You are so independent too, which secretly breaks my heart because you never want my help with anything. You’re stubborn and rock-headed and getting you to listen is often the most frustrating part of my day.

But I wouldn’t trade a second of it.

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Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the things I hope to teach you.

1) Life can be unfair. There will be bullies that will tease you because you are different from them. People will be mean and sometimes they will hurt your feelings. There’s not much you can about it other than just ignore them. Choose your friends wisely, and if you choose the right ones, they will stand beside you through anything. Cherish those friends, stand up for them, and love them. Things will rarely go the way you plan and there will be days when you will question what the heck God is doing. Instead of letting these things break you, push through it. Accept that disappointment happens sometimes, and still chase after your dreams despite what “might” happen.

2) Love life anyway. You have one life, and just because it doesn’t go the way YOU plan, doesn’t mean it’s not going the way HE planned. Don’t hide from life because you’re scared something will go wrong. LIVE. Be open to new things, fall in love once or ten times. Get your heart broken and then fall in love again. Get married if you want to. Have children of your own if you want to. Do whatever you want to do with your life. 

3) Love Jesus. This one isn’t always easy. It’s easy to love Jesus in private, but not so much in public. You don’t have to strap on an “I love Jesus” flashing button, but just show it in your actions. This is something I’m still working on teaching you now, as well as learning myself. I don’t think either of us will ever stop learning how to do this.

4) Just LOVE. If you have to live by one word, make it “love.” Love your family. Love your friends. Love your future spouse. Love your future children. Love your neighbors. Give every person you meet a smile, you never know how it could change their day. Love people even when they don’t deserve it. Love your enemies because usually it’s they who need it most. Aiden, just LOVE. That’s the best advice I can ever give you. 

Aiden, I want you to always be the best YOU that you can be. Always be proud of yourself. Even if you’re different. You were created with a purpose that requires you to be unique. Be confident, but not arrogant, and be okay with failure. Failure is where you’ll learn some of the greatest lessons in life. Admit when you’re wrong, and be humble when you’re right. Be compassionate, be forgiving, be faithful, and always believe there is something so much bigger than yourself and a purpose for everything that happens. Be courageous and strong, because life is hard work but worth the effort. Be thankful for the blessings in your life, and be content with what you have. Be honest and loyal, and stand firm in your faith. Be what God intended you to be.

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I am so proud of the amazing little boy you are, and cannot wait to see the wonderful man that you become. I will be here beside you, supporting you and holding your hand. I will always be your biggest fan. Know that I love you SO MUCH, and I always will. You are my sunshine, and I love you to the moon and back.

Love always,

Mommy

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Getting to Know Me.

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Since I’ve recently gained so many followers (YAY!), I figured it was time for a “getting to know you” type of post. Here are some things you may or may not know about me:

1) I believe in God. I have a great relationship with Him, but didn’t really establish that relationship until after Aiden was born. I don’t, however, attend a church regularly. I wouldn’t be opposed to it if I found the right fit.

2) Aiden saved my life. I was partying hard and making stupid choices when I learned I was pregnant. I stopped doing everything that I shouldn’t have been doing the moment that pee-stick said “positive” and never looked back.

3) I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. Yeah, I know what I said. I’m almost 24 years old, and I still waver between two career options. Right now, my plans are to go back to school and get my CNA/Doula certifications, and then go back to work doing that once Aiden starts kindergarten a little over a year from now. I’ve also considered both teaching and writing.

4) I’m writing a book. But I’ve changed the subject three times, and will probably change it at least once more.

5) I’m extremely indecisive. Whether it’s a blog topic, career choices, or just what to eat for dinner, chances are that I changed my mind multiple times before making a decision.

6) Moving to Cary was the most difficult decision I’ve ever made. And despite things rarely going as I plan, I would make the same choice again if given the chance.

7) I am addicted to espresso. It’s hard not to be after working in a cafe for almost five years.

8) My heart lies with working close to special needs children/adults. Spending three summers volunteering at Camp Barnabas taught me so much about life, and things about my relationship with God that I can’t even find the right words for.

9) I desperately want to travel to Africa. I was going to go in Summer 2010 to intern at an orphanage in Uganda, but those plans changed when I learned I was pregnant.

10) I want to be a foster parent/adopt older children…eventually. It doesn’t matter their background, ethnicity, or age. It’s just something I’ve always felt led to do. But that’s wayyyyy in the future, at least in my plans.

11) Some of my favorites are…Color: Teal, Food: Popcorn, Book: Harry Potter Series, Movie: TOO MANY, TV Show: Grey’s Anatomy..since 2004, Holiday: Christmas.I have two color-coded calendars, one planner and one dry erase, and compulsively make lists for everything from spring cleaning to groceries. My closet is also (usually) arranged by color. No shame. 

So, there are some things about me! Any questions? Comment below!

Don’t forget to subscribe via email or follow NJATM on Facebook ( http://www.facebook.com/notjustanotherteenmom ).

For more frequent Aidenisms, follow me on Instagram @taydellac

This Little Line of Mine: What my Cesarean Taught Me.

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I have this little line that runs across my belly. It looks a little bit like a hockey stick, and kind of like a smile.

I resented this line for a long time. To me, it was a symbol of failure. A symbol that my body wasn’t strong enough or capable of doing what it was made to do.

It was a constant and painful reminder of one of the most vulnerable, terrifying moments in my life.

But I was wrong.

This little line saved Aiden’s life.

I had gestational diabetes, and after the first twenty-four hours of labor, my blood sugar began to spike and Aiden’s heart rate began to drop.

Cutting me open saved his life.

I had read all of the blogs and articles debating c-sections. I read opinions about how they are the WORST thing that could happen, and I read how they could be the best. I read stories from women who were traumatized and scared to ever even consider another pregnancy, and I read stories from women who were practically scheduling their next one when they were just two weeks postpartum.

I had read enough to know that I didn’t want one.

I had been pushing for what seemed like days. My OB came in to check how things were progressing and told me that Aiden’s head basically wasn’t descending the way it should be.

She said I could keep pushing, or they could go ahead and perform the emergency c-section.

27 hours into labor, and I was exhausted. I felt defeated, frustrated and I wanted nothing more than to hold my sweet boy in my arms.

I consented to the surgery and thirty minutes later, I was strapped to a gurney, scared to death something would go wrong, and anxiously awaiting that sound that every Mom wants to hear.

I could feel my OB pushing around on/in my stomach. I heard her say, “not long now!” And after an eternity of pressure, pulling, and prodding I heard those first few glorious screams from Aiden.

My OB held him over the curtain and he was the most beautiful, bloody, purple, squishy looking baby I had ever seen.

The nurses wrapped him up and brought him over to my head. My arms were still strapped, but I kissed him like crazy, tears streaming down my face.

His bio-dad was able to hold him and left me alone to take him to our families and the nursery.

As she stitched me up, I became overwhelmed with emotion. I cried and cried, and just wanted to hold my baby. I felt like a complete failure because I didn’t get to hold him instantly, I didn’t get to try and nurse him right away, and I didn’t get that instant bond that I so desperately wanted throughout those nine ten months.

I remember lying in the recovery room bed, exhausted, angry, and anxious to hold Aiden. “Get some rest,” they said. Yeah. Okay. I just have a giant hole in my stomach and haven’t seen my child since he was born, but sure. I’ll just take a quick little cat-nap.

Finally, after what seemed like hours, they rolled me to the room I would stay in for the rest of the week.

The nurse brought Aiden to me and I was overwhelmed with love for this tiny little human. I held him to my chest, he relaxed against my skin, and let out this little sigh. That bond I so desperately coveted was instant. All of the anger was gone. All of the frustration was gone. And all of my feelings of being a failure disappeared. I was a Mommy.

This little line IS a symbol, not of my failure, but of my courage.

This little line is a reminder of the sacrifice that I made and the bravery that I had that night.

This little line is there to help me remember all of the emotions that I felt as I looked into my sweet boy’s eyes for the first time.

This little line is there because I created an entire human being within my body.

This little line is there to remind me of the unconditional love I have for that little human being, who is now a brilliant, independent, and beautiful little boy.

This little line is so much more than just a scar.

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11 Things Moms Should NEVER Say.

I have a million things going through my head this week and feel like I may EXPLODE if I don’t do some blog-venting.

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In the three and a half short (long) years that I have been known as “Mommy,” my role has changed about five times.

First, I was a teen mom. (Not to be confused with one of those girls on MTV.)

Second, I was a kinda-sorta-stay-at-home-mom-full-time-student. (Yeah, it was as exhausting as it sounds.)

Third, I became a single-working-full-time-student-Mom. (Also exhausting.)

Fourth, I became a non-single-almost-married-full-time-working-mom. (Still exhausting, but what part of parenting isn’t? It’s all worth it.)

Now, I’m a stay-at-home-Mom-and-wife. (And I am soooo thankful that I’m able to do so.)

I’ve been pretty much every type of mom there is at least once, so maybe that’s why I really, REALLY hate the so-called “Mommy-Wars” that exist between all of the “sides.”

There shouldn’t even be “sides.” Just Moms.

The SAHMs think the working moms choose to be away from their kids, the working moms think the SAHMs are lazy and sit around eating bonbons and watching shows on Netflix all day.

The crunchy moms think the silky moms are killing their children slowly with cow’s milk and crying it out, and the silky moms think the crunchy moms are just a bunch of hippies who walk around with their amber necklaces and milk-filled breasts preaching about knowing better and doing better.

Moms with more than one child think that moms with only one have it so easy, and moms with one think the moms with many are being overly dramatic because it can’t possibly be that hard, right? The Duggar’s have 19. They survived.

Me? I float around somewhere in the middle of each of these. I cannot stand to see a mom put another mom down because she is choosing to parent a different way.

Here are eleven Mommy-War comments that I’ve personally heard a mom say to another mom, and sometimes to me!

1) You’re not breastfeeding? You know how bad formula is, right? (Breast is best, sure. But it’s not always the BEST option for every mom.)

2) He sleeps in your bed? How do you and your Husband/Partner ever have sex?! (None of your damn business, that’s how.)

3) You circumcised him? How could you mutilate your perfect little boy like that? (Again, it’s not your business, so don’t ask.)

4) You DIDN’T circumcise him? Imagine how he’s going to feel in that locker room in fifteen years! (See number 3.)

5) You let her cry it out? Do you know how emotionally abusive that is to your baby? How will she know you love her? (CIO, when done the right way, helps some moms/babies establish a normal sleeping pattern. It’s not for everyone, and it’s not your business.)

6) You’re going back to work? Do you WANT to miss all of her biggest milestones? (Thanks for the salt in the wound.)

7) You’re a stay-at-home Mom? So what do you do all day? (Let me stop doing what I do for a week and show you.)

8) You’re a single mom? Why did you even have kids of you weren’t going to stay married/together? (Yes, someone really asked me that. Because clearly I PLANNED on becoming a single mom at 20.)

9) You’re a silky mom? So you knowingly let your kid(s) have cow’s milk/fruit juice/produce from WAL-MART? (God forbid he have those Walmart-apples.)

10) You’re home schooling? So you know your kid is going to be an introvert/weirdo right? (Or possibly brilliant from the one-on-one.)

11) PUBLIC SCHOOL? Do you want him to SURVIVE until eighteen? (I mean, algebra is hard…but not lethal.)

WHY do we as moms feel the need to belittle other moms for doing things differently? WHY is our way the only way?

WHY can’t we just end these Mommy-Wars and get back to raising all of our happy and healthy children?

Mean Mommy.

I was a mean Mommy today.

I was lacking sleep after patrolling for the boogeyman for a few hours in the middle of the night, lacking caffeine thanks to having not gone grocery shopping yet, and most of all lacking patience from all of the above.

My sweet little baby boy is growing into this sassy, opinionated, little man who is capable of thinking for himself and I’m just not ready for it. Every other word out of his mouth is now, “Why?” Somewhere around the 72nd time that word left his lips before 10:00am, this particular time as he followed me into the bathroom, “Mommy, why can’t I have some cookies for breakfast right NOW!?!” I snapped.

“ARRRGHGHHGHHHHHH, just go to your room and let Mommy have five minutes of PEACE!”

Of course, it was much louder and angrier than my writing portrays it. And, of course, it shocked him enough to make him retreat to his room, and to make me feel like the worst mother in the entire world. Instead of following him, and smothering him with hugs, love, and kisses like I wanted to, I sat in the bathroom for a few moments and cried while praying for someone up there to hand me some more patience.

Being a mom is overwhelming.

I was forced into teenage motherhood after a few stupid decisions I made at nineteen. I chose to keep the baby instantly (BEST decision I’ve ever made), and the moment the word “pregnant” popped up on that test, I became a mom. I loved the little life growing within me, even though at that moment, he was only the size of a tadpole.

That was the EASIEST decision I have had to make since then. Cloth diaper or disposable? Breastmilk or formula? Circumcision or intactivism? Spanking or time-outs? Or both? What if neither work? Stay with my five month old’s biological father, even though we detest one another? Or end it, and become a single mom at twenty? Start dating? What if he dumps me and Aiden gets hurt? Should I let him meet Aiden? When? Will this guy be a good stepdad? How can I be sure?

And every decision I have made has been scrutinized that much more BECAUSE I’m so young.

So, at first I was terrified to even write this post, because I’m sure it will be criticized. But for any moms out there who snap from time-to-time:

YOU. ARE. NOT. ALONE. 

I took a deep breath and walked to Aiden’s room, prepared to smother him in kisses, apologies, and cookies to hopefully make up for what I was sure to be the hot, emotional mess I had created with my momentary lack of control. He ran up to me and hugged me tight as I had to fight back those stupid tears again.

“MOOOOOMMMMMMMMMYYYYYYYY, I MISSED YOU!!!!!!!! Is your pee-pee empty now?” 

Clearly, he was traumatized.

I told him Mommy was so sorry that she got frustrated, that I loved him very, VERY much. His response?

“But Mommy, why are you ‘fusrated’?” Oh, the irony.

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