Valentine pants, birthday sweater

PJ pants for Haley made from a thrifted sheet…I conveniently left the border on the bottom for the cuffs.

Thanks to Sara over at The Stationary Nomad for the consultation on elastic waist methods.

Work in progress: a knitted t-shirt rag rug for under the kitchen sink Perhaps a crocheted one is in my future but I couldn’t handle too many new skills to learn at once.

Some shots of the art/craft studio in progress…it really needs some curtains and a reupholstered lamp!

Sorry for the bad photo quality…guess I need to clean the lens or not allow a toddler to cling to my leg and squirm whilst taking photos. The sewing basket was 2.00$ at the thrift store and the head an arms stick out of the pepper basket are the close to end stages of Sapphire’s birthday doll. The felt in the basket will be her birthday crown.

All bundled up on a hike in the recent snow storm.

She’s been a bit under the weather…methinks her molars may be coming in. Thanks again to Trudy for this awesome New Zealand wool poncho which you see so regularly, and Jon for the equally awesome yak wool pashminas (?) they are sooo warm and luxurious and often protecting baby from the elements.

Alas, Sapphire threw her hat somewhere in the snow and by the time we went back to look it had been buried in several more inches and we could not find it. So, that sweet pea pilot cap is now more of a need! Hold my breath while I attempt to sew some more with knits! (update on the yoga pants: they are pretty awesome but I wish the tutorial from makebabystuff.com had cautioned about stretch stitches, special needles, walking feet for the sewing machine and using polyester or polyester blend thread for added strength with a stretchy fabric…I have had to reinforce the (not tight!) butt several times due to seams ripping).

Starbucks goers were quite amused when we hiked in and started unbundling ourselves and our baby. People don’t really hike in the snow in our end of town. 😛

A totally mama-made outfit…I was experimenting with the idea of tunics and both the pants and shirt are upcycled from adult clothes.

I also finished the birthday sweater. I have no idea how to block or shape it though, anyone want to teach me?

Yes, she’s playing with a pill bottle full of rice. Her other favourite toys are onions and squash we keep in a box in the kitchen, and a strand of bells on a ribbon.

Now that I have some distance, I can say the first ten months of Sapphire’s life and my time as “mama” were often a personal hell, dark night of the soul etc. There were many joyous moments as well, but the overall theme was stress, anxiety and difficulty…for all of us, on so many levels. What got me through it? Many things. Many sweet mamas (thank you all), my postpartum doula (contact me for information laura(dot)coldwell(at)yahoo.ca),a housekeeper friend during the worst time while Haley worked crazy harvest hours, homeopathy prescribed by a wonderful homeopath I highly recommend (again please feel free to email me for more info), decluttering and simplifying my life, home, schedule and expectations and this website all about PTSD after childbirth, with awesome forums to share and get support as well as a warmline to call.

All these experiences have been growing me through a gradual spiritual awakening… same as with another very dark time in my life. While I hate to say the first 10 months of my daughter’s life were a dark time, well, they were. And I don’t think anything would have changed that entirely for me, there were some inner demons I had to grapple with and am still grappling with. But all in all, my daughter is growing me into the mama and WOMAN I wanted to be. Funny how we take shortcuts and avoid our “weaknesses” in life, exploiting our strengths, but when we are forced to face those weak, unloved spots, and forced to embrace them, they change and grow, and so do we. We become stronger and more balanced all around. As I grow wiser I hope to greet these challenging times differently, with more trust and faith…in the universe, in myself, in life, and yes, in god. You might say I believe in God now. Really.

And I sincerely believe it was so hard for a reason. I have been passionate about birth, breastfeeding, and mothering from the time I attended La Leche League meetings with my mother and younger sister(s). Watching her subsequently fight tooth and nail for her right to a VBAC and a midwife with my sister was something I admire almost more than anything else I can think of. As a prepubescent 10 year old it affected me deeply and began to change my ideas that mothering and womanhood, and birth, meant disempowerment. Even though I continued to swear I would never marry or have children, changes had been set in motion. 8 years later I was studying to become a doula, 4 years after that I was pregnant. I had my own horrific birth. I had my own mental and emotional demons. Flashbacks of the operating table, of the panic attack that caused me to start blacking out when they took my baby away for a spinal tap…the breastfeeding nightmares of 5 times of mastitis, thrush that nearly made me give up in pain, and a baby who screamed a whole lot and ended up having reflux…it doesn’t really sound fun. And it wasn’t. But I did get through it. Any way I could. And I’m here and I’ve been given a gift of firsthand knowledge of what the horrors of birth and postpartum can be, and how to heal and what is needed. Was it Albert Einstein who said there are two ways to view life: as if everything is a miracle or as is nothing is. I am often guilty of pessimism, but I have realized you really can’t control much of life, only your reaction to it. And I surely did everything to have a home water birth, to avoid interventions. Yet I ended up with so many, in a way it was ironic. And while I swore off midwifery initially, helping women in birth, pregnancy and postpartum is still in my heart, and has grown stronger.

I hope to write more on birth trauma and my birth story in this time around the anniversary of Sapphire’s birthday, and my birth as a mama. I think this kind of sharing is really important and so neglected in our culture. That is part of why other women can often be the worst support to a pregnant mama by telling her horror stories in her vulnerable state of mind…there is so much birth trauma and grief from a culture that has turned against nature towards “science” and therefore away from women (which then affects babies and families…but don’t get me started on ecofeminism theory!). Soon, I hope to host some mama writing and art cicrles partly to deal with this unprocessed trauma and grief. Big, deep healing could be possible there.

I hope to hear more from all of you in the comments! Don’t be shy, I love the comments, and if you think someone you know could appreciate what I have to share please share a link with them.

I leave you with a sweet movie recommendation “Adam” came out recently and is about a man with aspergers and his journey into love, really heart opening film.

Enjoy,

Laura

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3 Responses to Valentine pants, birthday sweater

  1. kandice fisher says:

    I knew this craziness would spit you out stronger, and better than before! The blog is awesome, love you lots and hope things are smoothing out, they look like they are. Your busy! Beautiful creations…. Whatever you do in this life of yours is important and you needed I think to take this path to healing.

  2. alliemc21 says:

    This made me almost cry. It was beautiful and a bit scary. I hope your next year of motherhood is wonderful. It does get better!

  3. Jese says:

    your honesty is touching. sounds like such a tough time and i hope that some others will find strength from your story. motherhood is such a transformation of the entire being, so amazing. keep on going laura!

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