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“You can make anything by writing.” ― C.S. Lewis

Posts for Guest Post Category

Shadea and Emily’s New Moms Chat

Featured Content, Guest Post, Shadea Dawn - Emily - August 28, 2016

[previously in this series…]

HELLO, SHADEA. Congratulations on HAVING YOUR BABY.

Thanks! CONGRATS TO YOU TOO!

We are now officially mothers, and what an incredible feeling that is! I had a moment the other night, where I said something like “Mama’s right here!” and then realized, WOAH, that’s real now, I’m a mama, I have that title!

I remember having this moment in the hospital where one of the nurses said “mama,” and I looked at my mom thinking, what is what is she asking her, and then realized she was actually talking to me. That was kind of a surreal moment, to say the least.

For sure! I don’t know if you feel the same — but I know Ariadne is a month old tomorrow and that means Roya’s right behind her — and I’d say this entire first month has been pretty surreal? We keep saying, she’s here, she’s OURS, she’s not going anywhere. I think there’s still this lingering feeling that it’s not for real or she’s not ours permanently.

Oh yeah, the feeling of impermanence even though you know this is your kid and the beginning of your family is definitely strange.

So I’m going to jump in and say the thing I think I was most nervous about was really understanding of what it was that baby needed. And not being able to stop her screaming. Which it’s early yet maybe that will happen. *shrugs* But now I’m thinking, no this is just a game of observation and response.

Yeah, that fear of feeling bewildered with a screaming baby.

I think the first couple days were kinda like that, just because it’s your first few days as a mom. But then you learn how to feed, soothe, and comfort her, and you start to have tools in your arsenal.

I think the thing is you can do all this reading and preparation, but it’s like anything else, you have to physically start doing the tasks to get better at them. And then once you have done them a few days, you have a better understanding and it becomes more natural.

Oh yeah you definitely have to learn by doing in this case.

I mean maybe I’m spoiled and Roya honestly didn’t cry very much. It was just crying, let’s feed you and if it doesn’t work then inevitably, it would be changing her diaper and I don’t know — not as daunting as I thought it would be

Agreed!

This was one topic I wanted to mention to you — I know that I was scared before having Ari that I would be really frustrated or annoyed by the demands of parenting. Like I would find the lack of sleep, the interruptions, the nursing inconveniences and I would resent it.

I think it’s really hard to understand when the child isn’t “real” or here yet — I think we can’t understand what it feels like to HAVE that baby — happily, I’ve found that it’s NOT like that at all!! I don’t resent it, I feel very much like I can’t let her down, I WANT to be helping her. If she’s upset, even if it’s just waiting while I changed her diaper, it breaks my heart and I WANT to resolve it ASAP. It’s not a chore or a inconvenience. But I just don’t think we can understand that before baby gets here — everyone says you can’t imagine how you’ll feel once baby is actually here and you really can’t. Everything changes, but not until baby arrives.

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BIRTH IS IMMINENT: The Final Shadea and Emily Pregnancy Chat

[Previously in this series…]

Emily: So, let’s start off by me explaining that we totally just DID a short-winded version of this chat through texting, but I decided we had to do it again because I’m long-winded and need access to a full keyboard.

So, bless you, our entire pregnancies, for putting up with my OCD and perfectionist needs.

Shadea: I am not inconvenienced in the least!

Good – I swear, this will be a theme both through our pregnancies and especially this chat — I think in a lot of ways, you have a more go with the flow vibe going on, and I have more of a fixated focused vibe. They’re both good in their own ways, and I like exploring how we meet in the middle.

So, remind the lovely people how far along you are…

I am exactly 38 weeks and 5 days today, 10 days from my due date.  Which I’m trying – again, go with the flow – not to fixate on. 

Because it really it a bit arbitrary and because I have a few things to wrap up at work next week!

And I’ll be 37 weeks tomorrow.

So we are both at that point of — it COULD be any time now…or it could be several more weeks.

We’re both straddling the possibilities of NOW! and WAITING.

Yeah, it’s a strange place to be in. One of the things you and I were texting about is trying to find that middle ground between being TOO aware we’re ticking time bombs, and also not emotionally prepared for the very real reality that we could go into labor at any time.

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HELLOOOO, THIRD TRIMESTER: Another Shadea and Emily Chat

HI SHADEA CAN YOU BELIEVE WE ARE BOTH IN OUR THIRD TRIMESTER LIKE HOW DID THIS HAPPEN HOW IS IT THIRD TRIMESTER CHAT ALREADY

ALL CAPS ARE APPROPRIATE BECAUSE MY PERCEPTION OF TIME PASSING HAS BEEN A CONTRADICTION IN SLOW AND TIME WARP SPEED

Exactly!

On the one hand, I remember us doing our very first chat, and imagining doing a third trimester chat, and that seemed like centuries in the future.

I blinked, and have +/- 6 weeks left of this incubation period.

Any time someone asks, “Has it gone fast or slow?” I always go, “Both?”

For me, the time has gone slow, which I’m grateful for, as it gives time to adjust, but then also now I’m kinda ready to be done being pregnant and get used to the baby/mom stage…but also, I’m astonished it’s already, eight-ish weeks left for me.

I have gone through 2 bottles of prenatal vitamins and am now like, “Do I really need to buy another bottle at this point?” lol

Yes!! I kept getting surprised every time I had to buy a new bottle. Oh, right, we need more of these…

I feel like I’m just being confronted with actually being physically inhibited by being pregnant – the bending over, the can’t walk for long, the swelling, the very real fatigue. So, I think that time will definitely slow down as I’m having to endure more.

Yeah — this is a good topic to get started on, I think. I’ve gathered for you, this has been a harder trimester?

It’s just different, but if I had to pick one, I would actually say the last one was harder.

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Finding Balance in the Second Trimester: A Shadea and Emily Chat

Shadea and I sat down for another chat, this time with both of us fairly far along in our second trimesters. It’s always so refreshing to sit down and talk with this girl in a practical, humorous, and honest manner, and this session was no exception. Today’s topics include: transitioning from first to second trimester, finding both emotional and physical balance, feeling sexy and empowered while pregnant (or trying to!), and how to face your limits and accept help and support when it’s offered.

 

E: HI.

S: Hey girl!
Sorry to keep you waiting.

No, I literally forgot today.

When Lauren and I were making plans for tonight (she does her laundry here), I mentioned, I will have to chat with Shadea at seven, and she just now said, you’ve got to do that thing with Shadea, and I was like OH RIGHT, YES. I DO. I TOTALLY remembered on my own.

So no worries.

I just finished dinner and I guess I was eating slow
Because, you know, food tastes so hella good these days

YES MA’AM, everyone asks what I’m craving and I’m like FOOD IN GENERAL.

Same way here. “Oh you have banana pudding this weekend? I need banana pudding like NOW.”

I’m super pumped about this! Not sure if this is how you did things before, but I just have a general idea of things to cover.

I mean, we can talk about food first.

I’m always down to talk about food, and I love talking to you about ideas and whatnot, so I’m excited!! Ready when you are!

Well in general, I’ve had a pretty easy second trimester. It’s almost over and I feel like throughout this process I’ve been kind of waiting for the hammer to drop. And it finally did, and I guess I wanted to see if you’d had a similar experience or how stress has affected you.

Yes, OK! Remind me how many weeks you are now – 23?

Yes – 23 weeks and…..4 days.

Right, and I am 21 weeks and 6 days. (when this was written)

So, how did your first trimester transition into your second? Was there a noticeable difference or was it more of the same experience?

It was pretty seamless. I didn’t have any incredible sense of passage or demarcation between them. Honestly, it seems a little arbitrary.
You?

I’m kinda middle ground. It wasn’t a huge dramatic change, but I definitely noticed some changes. I think I didn’t really FEEL pregnant at all (since I was never sick) until week 12, and so moving into week 13 was like, Wow, suddenly pregnant! And that feeling only grew from there.

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“How to Be Zen AF During Your First Trimester or Die Trying”

In part-interview and part philosophical discussion, fellow first time mama-to-be and all-around inspiring lady friend Shadea took some time to have a talk with me about pregnancy, vulnerability, identity, support, and options. 

 


E: HI SHADEA.

S: HELLO EMILY!

So, first — will you tell anyone reading a little bit about you and your lovely husband, and basically about becoming pregnant for the first time?

Ah well. This will be hard not to run down a romantic memory lane and gush all over everyone in the most sickening way.

DO IT.

GAH
IT IS SO GROSS.

NO, it’s lovely!!! You two have such a luminous relationship. I went there, I said luminous.

*Blushes*
I’ll try to be brief because we have a lot to talk about – Davis and I met in college working at the same coffee shop.
I was madly infatuated with him and we fell in love in the winter during a snowstorm. My power went out and I stayed with him for a week.
OMG IT’S SO SAPPY.

Within a few months of dating, we made plans to travel together in the summer. We went to few countries in Europe and then lived in Morocco for a month while I studied Arabic and did some research for my senior thesis.
See, I can’t start from anywhere but the start!
Anyway – Long story short, we hit all the major testing points before getting married – we traveled together, lived together and lived away from each other.

Right — I think that’s why you want to start at the beginning — you formed such a deep, strong relationship before babies or even marriage were on the table — that’s super important, and I feel similarly about Shaun and me. It’s so important to have a strong foundation to build upon.

And you got married when?

We’ve been married for 3.5 years (4 in May).
So 2012.
JESUS. Time flies.

Good, you remembered your anniversary. Points.
So — now you’re knocked up, like me — which to me is a really cool experience to have together since we’ve known each other so long.

For background to anyone reading– you and I have known each other since fourth grade which GOOD LORD.

Here is my favourite elementary school memory of you and me —

Competing over how many books we read?
Because I was thinking about that last night.

The only reason I eeked out a win in 5th grade was because you had *literally* read every book in the library and there were no more left for you to take tests on.

For some weird reason, we were the only ones in 5th grad Social Studies GT, and on Thursday afternoons, we scampered off to GT all by ourselves — and I was SO AWKWARD that year, with the Horrible Glasses and Tragic Bangs and a tacky church camp beaded necklace I would never take off. And you had that — knee thing? The issue with your knee and you wore a knee brace that made your one leg straight all the time, so you had to hobble?

And you were super tall and I was super short, and I would help you hobble off to GT where we tried to convince Mrs. Brown to let us email the White House.

OMG. OMG OMG
I completely forgot about that!
We were such an amazing pair.

We really were — I think we were the quintessential Weird Eccentric Girls who grow up to be Cool, Empowered Women. (I hope, anyway.)

For the record – I was mostly in awe of you, because I thought *I* read a lot.

My other favourite memory is EVERY TIME someone cast us in the high school play together and we couldn’t get through ANY SCENE without laughing, and on dress rehearsal, we laughed so hard, your mom yelled, “SHADEA!” from the audience.

I cannot even with this reliving shit. I’m crying over here.

I KNOW, it makes me weep thinking about it.

Anyway — back to babies — so you started messaging me shortly after I announced that I was pregnant. Which — you are actually 2 or 3 weeks ahead of me, correct? But you announced later than I did. What week are you/what’s your due date?

I’m in week 17, so I’m like 2 weeks ahead of you.

Yes, good. (I’m 15 weeks.)

And going back to that (hopefully) Cool, Empowered Women thing —  we’ve had a lot of conversations about being pregnant/birth/parenting, and it’s been nice because we’re similarly minded on a lot of topics, which can sometimes be hard to find.

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