Here goes nothing…

Can I be completely honest?

I had a really hard few days recently. I tried to hold myself together and failed. Sometimes we just cannot be who others want us to be. Even when we try.

I’ve always been really social, but I’ve learned that I also need some alone time to recharge. I need some quiet. I need to be able to put on some music and light a candle or pop in a new scentsy bar (#huginamug is perfection). Sometimes I like to clean up (I cannot believe I just said that). Other times I just sit on the floor and snuggle my dogs or my family. My kids know when I need this time and they can be pretty great.

When I can’t recharge, I struggle. A few weeks ago, I ignored that and ended up in tears about something trivial. This is all fairly new to me. My previous low level of anxiety really skyrocketed after the birth of my daughter.

Just recently, my anxiety has been roaring. It’s been pulling me down and it has taken so much strength to hold on. And then finally pull myself out.

Why? Well, there are a variety of reasons. One is hormones. Why do women have they to deal with all this crap?! We have to carry the babies and have crazy hormones. #notcool

Second, I was in a situation that I struggle with. I was stressed. And I couldn’t recharge in my typical way. Because of this and other unknown reasons, my anxiety was nearly over-powering. I didn’t have a panic attack, but it was close. My heart was racing. My chest was tightening. Fight or flight was in effect while I laid in bed and tried to meditate (there was too much noise to concentrate). I tried praying. It was terrible. I felt drained for >24 hours afterwards.

Why am I sharing this? I wonder this as well. I am scared of your judgement. I am scared that you’ll see me differently. But I want to let other people know that you’re not alone. It’ll get better. Use what you know helps you. Curl up in a ball and watch Pride and Prejudice. Read Jen Hatmaker. Watch a comedy. Recharge. Reach out if you can. Talk to your doctor, your loved ones, and maybe your dog. Counselors are cool, too. Why do people in the Midwest hate counselors so much? I’ve gone a few times and was amazed by the insight and coping skills they provided. There’s no shame in taking care of yourself or improving yourself.

When I’m still recovering, walks outside can help. Being in nature and getting some exercise help bring me back to normal. I still feel extra vulnerable, but a little stronger.

If you love someone who’s struggling, listen to them. Be there. They may or may not want to talk. They may or may not want to cuddle. Try not to expose them to triggers. Develop a plan on how you can be most helpful (before the anxiety strikes).

I feel like I’ve laid my heart out here and I am terrified, but this is what writing is to me. And I’m sick of the rainbows and cupcakes everywhere on social media. Life is hard sometimes. For all of us. It’s good to focus on the positive, but don’t let that fool you into thinking someone else’s life is perfect.

With love,

Brandi

P.S. I had a pretty great day today! #poolday

Check in on those around you to make sure they’re doing well, too.

Dear New Mamas

Recently, I reached out to check in on a new mom. A few months ago, she had her first baby. She is in the thick of nighttime feedings and so. many. diaper. changes. Do you remember the rough first year after that first baby? Do you remember how hard of an adjustment that was? I do. Quite clearly. And I am someone who always wanted to be a mother.

I was the little girl who LOVED babies. I was blessed with a big extended family (my dad is the oldest of 11), so there were always babies for me to snuggle. I loved it. I could not wait to be a mom.

And yet, being a mother to a newborn was pretty shocking. It was beautiful and amazing, but incredibly hard.

Let’s focus on the good stuff first.

I remember the excitement of that first pregnancy and the joy on my husbands face when he saw the gender (he would have been happy with either, but a boy?!). I remember prepping the nursery in our 2 bedroom apartment, hours away from our families. Excited and overly-confident in our abilities to parent this little peanut. I mean, how hard could it be?! #ignoranceisbliss

He finally decided to arrive 2 days after his due date. Labor seemed to take forever. And then he was here. And the world stopped. A piece of my heart was sitting in the bassinet beside me. This was my only experience with tears of joy. So heartwarming and amazing and… I don’t know. There’s just no way to describe it.

The night we went home Roman did not sleep at all. I was terrified of co-sleeping so I was rocking him while sitting on the ground. I remember telling Brandon to go to bed at around 445am so we could switch shifts after a while.

Then there were the issues with latching. Breastfeeding is biological, but it’s far from easy. I was sooo close to quitting before my mom came to visit. So much pain. I get goosebumps thinking about it. Thank God for nippleshields and breastfeeding support groups.

I’m proud to say I nursed each of our babies for over a year, but I can understand why some cannot or will not (for a multitude of reasons). As with everything, I think we need to be quicker to ask for help. People want to help. Let them.

The biggest, most surprising part of new parenthood for me was my loss of self. And the confusion that came with it. This didn’t happen right away, it was probably around the 3 month mark.

The little girl whom had wanted a baby forever now had one, but what did that mean for her pharmacy career? What did that mean for her previous identity? How could I be the crazy girl my college friends knew and a mother to this little boy?

Was it okay that I still wanted to rock at everything I tried? I ended up feeling like I was failing at motherhood and work. I missed when he started crawling and I messed up on a residency project. My husband and I were stressed with work and a baby that would not stop crying.

So, you new mamas, know that you’re not alone. That it is both AMAZING and incredibly DIFFICULT. That it’s going to take a while to feel back to yourself. Because your life just changed, your body is now foreign to you, your hormones are going crazy, you are sleep deprived, and then your hair starts falling out. Seriously. That last part is completely unnecessary.

Give yourself some grace. Give your significant other some grace. Get someone to watch the baby so you can take a DAMN nap. I know you need one.

It’ll get better. You’ll figure it out. If you can’t find an answer, call someone with a kid or two under their belt. You learn some tricks.

If all else fails, set that crying baby in the crib for a couple minutes and walk away. New parents are not immune to exhaustion and frustration. It does not make you a bad parent to step away. It makes you a human who knows your limits. Take care of yourself and then you can take care of your baby.

And about your new body, it’s a fricking superhero. You just grew and birthed a flippin human being. That’s a miracle.

You’re doing great mama. Remember that.

With love and light,

Brandi

P.S. I think dads rock, too.

Writing

Writing is incredibly liberating, but also completely terrifying.

As someone with anxiety, I can assure you that I overanalyze what I share. I sweat and stew about how people may interpret my musings, when I truly have good intentions with sharing.

Additionally, I am quite self conscious. I know that there are MANY areas that I could improve myself. There are many things I struggle with.

But I also have strengths. I love hard. I try hard. I love learning and being challenged and helping other people.

All of these characteristics are part of why I want to continue writing this blog. Because while I know many people will do things differently than I do, or see things differently than I do… there are some people that may find comfort and reassurance in these posts.

They will realize that someone else is not afraid to admit that momming is hard. That adulting is hard. That seeking God and understanding religion is far from easy.

But God is good. And life is beautiful. And there are so many reasons to be thankful…

Thanks for reading,

Brandi

An apology…

On Saturday morning after a few too many drinks the night before, I started thinking about how mean I am to myself.

I realized that if I said those things to anyone else, I would apologize. Because I am mean to me quite frequently. So here is that letter.

Hey B!

It’s me. Who is also you, only meaner. 😞

I’m sorry for putting you down all the time. I see you hiding back there, because you don’t know if you can trust me.

I get it. I wouldn’t know if I could trust me either.

You’re pretty great, ya know that?

You try so hard to be a good mother and wife. You realize when you make mistakes and try to rectify them, and then I won’t let you forget it. I’m sorry for that. You’re doing great. They know how much you love them… an infinite amount. And they love you, too — “to everywhere and back.”

You really want to feel good about yourself, and I’m always cutting you down with comments on your weight and pant size… and post-baby belly. I’m sorry for that as well. I know your body has grown three babies. That is AMAZING! For real. You’ve ran 2 half-marathons and you are doing PT so you can get back out there. You eat healthy and try to be a good example for your littles. You’re doing great! Keep going. You are strong and capable of whatever you want to do!

You want to do something big with your life, but you’re not sure what. I’ve made you so scared to make a mistake, that you are hesitant to even try new things. Quit listening to me! I put you down because I’m fearful. But you were not made for monotony. Seek adventure. Chase your dreams. You can do it! Whatever ‘it’ is. Go for it, Brandi. I have faith in you!

That little girl with the big heart and the quick smile is still in there. Bring her back. Be happy and strong and have FUN! Life is too short for this hiding.

I love you, B. You are flawed, but everyone is. God made you and who am I to keep holding you back?

Smile, girl, and fly.

Love you,

Me

When I was thinking about this, I could also imagine little Brandi peeking her head out from behind a tree. By the end, she was smiling and joyful.

This might sound a little out there, but consider writing yourself a letter of apology. If we want kindness to spread, we should probably start with ourselves.

Thanks for reading,

Brandi

#positiveselftalk

A daughter

I am new to this whole girl-mom thing, and I am extremely surprised by how different it seems to be (at least in our home).

Certainly there are similarities, but Rory is so much more interested in mimicking my actions. I do not recall the boys ever following me around while I tried to get ready for bed and doing exactly what I do.

Its heartwarming, but also a little daunting. I want to make sure I am being a good, strong role model for her. I hid the scale. I’m trying to stop with the negative self-talk, which is no easy feat for this procrastinating perfectionist… #notagreatcombo

I see her watching me and learning. And I force myself to show her confidence and strength. Weakness and fear certainly sneak in at times, but I hope she sees how I lean into God and her father for support.

I hope that she knows she can be both strong and supported. So many things to teach these young ones. So many great opportunities to empower them and show them all of us.

I hope I can be brave enough not to hide all my weaknesses. And that I can overcome some of them as well. #faithituntilyoumakeit

So… I guess this is my reminder that your littles are watching and learning. You don’t need to be perfect, but don’t be afraid to own your mistakes when they happen.

How else will they learn to fail with grace (and win with humility) if not from you?

Thanks for reading,

Brandi

P.S. the sass on this little ray of sunshine is a little concerning at times… #daughter #sheMAYgetthatfromhermomma

Unfamiliar territory

It’s been a while since I’ve written, as I have felt somewhat hesitant to share my thoughts as I made my way through the New Testament. That and the business that comes with my wife + mom gig, along with PharmD’ing and R+F’ing.

Anywho. I really enjoyed the gospels. Reading about Jesus and his actions are so humbling. His storytelling techniques can be pretty hard to decipher, but I really have started thinking through my actions in a different way. I try to use patience and lead with love, although this Trudeau temper runs deep. I’m basically bringing back the #wwjd phenom. Although I still fail in many ways daily, as we all do. He saved me on the cross, so trying to lead with kindness seems like a pretty small job in comparison.

Working through the bible did cause me to stumble upon some inflammatory verses. Women being silent in churches and wives submitting to husbands. This girl did not agree or appreciate those sentiments. But I’ve done research and am finding some context. Can’t say I’ve completely worked it out, but I’m trying.

The biggest thing, for me, is that I’ve started craving that time. I enjoy reading the Bible. I enjoy praying. Although, I did have an angry entry the other day in my prayer journal. #seeabove #strongwoman #angryelf

But I think that’s okay. I felt better after I voiced my frustration about that particular verse, and then I did some research.

My take home message is this:

Pray. However you want to start. Whether its awkward or not. Just Pray. Whether you’re happy or sad or mad or scared. Just pray. Make it a habit. 🙏

I have a prayer journal that I write in, which I love. I can go back to see what I was praying for a few months ago and where I am now. I also like to write out verses that I’m pulled to on that particular day.

And through it all, remember that Jesus dined with the sinners. He is here for you all the time, regardless of what sins may be in your past/present.

This girl is off to bed. Good night all!

Brandi

Faith

For the past few years, I have been praying for a clear path. For guidance on what I should be doing with my life.

I have never been very engaged in organized religion, but I have always believed in God. I prayed often, but I had alot of questions. Were questions okay? If I asked a hard question that made people uncomfortable, would people get offended? Get angry? I didn’t know.

My background

I grew up Catholic in a small town. Hell and purgatory seemed like very real options. God was a person to fear, who also had alot of rules. But He would also forgive your sins through Confession. And sometimes I heard of how loving He is. This combination led to a lot of confusion. Perceived judgement from other Christians and issues with certain beliefs ultimately led us to quit going to church altogether.

I actually went to a Catholic college for undergrad. Basketball is what led me there ( #golancers ), but I truly enjoyed the religious classes. Some of the nuns were amazing. Very down to earth, with a strong faith, and a desire to do good. I loved learning the beginnings of Christianity and the reasoning behind some of the traditions. I chose to get confirmed.

After college, I was unable to find a church that felt as real to me as MMC did. I wandered away again.

Within the past year, I started coming back to God after reading some books by Jen Hatmaker. I read some devotionals. I read more Jen Hatmaker. And suddenly, I was excited about Jesus. I was interested and engaged. I was happy that Jen (we’re on a 1st name basis now, obviously) made it okay to question things about God. About Christianity. About everything. Because I like science. I am curious. And I cannot sign onto something if I do not agree with all of it.

And during this time of prayer and my continued requests for guidance, I felt a nudge to read the bible and write about it. I’ve been reading the New Testament and doing research on some inflammatory passages. And I think it’s time to Listen. I’m not ready to follow His other nudge, but I’m going to lean with this one.

I’m not sure what this will look like or how well it will be received, but I’m going to give it a shot.

Hope you all have a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend!

-Brandi

#faith #christian