Bumper Stickers Can Wait

By Kate Kole

It’s usually bumper stickers that start it.

I’ll be walking my son in his stroller, watching him pull at his socks and kick his legs happily as he woofs back at dogs in the neighborhood. I’m usually listening to a podcast about motherhood, nodding my head as the women I’ve self-declared as friends talk about how they do mornings and meal times and meet other moms.

I’ll catch a glimpse of a bumper sticker as a minivan rolls by. Something about dance or soccer. My mind will start to wander. I’ll begin imagining recitals and open fields. I’ll think of our blonde little boy chasing a ball. I picture buns and tutus. Orange slices and Gatorade. Cheering on sidelines and carpool lines. 

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The Truth About Postpartum Anxiety

By Becky Houdesheldt

While I sat rocking my daughter in her nursery last night, trying yet another position to get her to go back to sleep, I closed my eyes and rested my lips on her head. I tried to remind myself to relish the time with her while she’s small. She turns 5 months tomorrow, and I lost my first two months with her to postpartum anxiety.

My anxiety robbed me of enjoying my first weeks with her. I honestly thought I was on top of my symptoms. I wasn’t. I finally admitted I needed more help after I acknowledged I was experiencing intrusive thoughts, and it took me 5 weeks before I could get in to a postpartum specialist.

I couldn’t call my daughter by her name. I didn’t want to look at her. I couldn’t be alone with my thoughts because I’d lose myself in a whirlwind of fears and anxieties that I knew weren’t rooted in reality, but I couldn’t pull myself out of them. I felt out of control, out of touch, and at a loss. I returned to a new job after 6 weeks at home, and I was a mess.

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Her Life Isn’t Perfect Either

By Kate Kole

Communal restrooms and a shared cubicle for a bedroom were hardly my favorite part of dorm living in college. I habitually whispered “I’m sorry” to my roommate as I whipped up my morning smoothie before 8 am class. No need for an alarm clock when you have a blender on full speed just feet away from your bunk. 

That being said, what I’ve come to retrospectively appreciate, was the inability to fully hide anything. 

My friends knew when I had a hard day, because I had to cry somewhere. And unless I chose a dirty bathroom stall, privacy wasn’t really an option. Homesickness, insecurities, and academic struggles were on full display. 

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A True Ghost Story

By De Elizabeth

For years growing up, I believed I could talk to ghosts.

I attribute some of that supernatural inclination to the fact that I was obsessed with ghost stories as a kid; after reading The Baby-Sitters Club book when Dawn found a secret passageway in her house, I spent more time than I’ll ever admit knocking on walls in my childhood home, listening for a hollow sound on the other side. I was always the first to suggest the ouija board at sleepovers, even if we didn’t use it so much to summon spirits, but rather to ask if our crushes liked us back.

But mostly, I thought I could talk to ghosts because my best friend in third grade convinced me that I could. Or, more accurately, she could; I just listened.

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Lost & Found

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By Kate Kole

In the past couple years, I’ve gone through a handful of writing slumps. My lengthiest note has often been in the form of a grocery store list. Even journaling, which I’ve loved since I was a child, has been nearly nonexistent.

I’ve wanted to write. I’ve opened blank word documents and stared at the glaring screen as if I could will my inspiration to appear. I’ve listened to podcasts, read books, had deep conversations, walked without distraction, stood still in the silence of the shower. And, nothing.

Luckily, the world isn’t waiting on my next publication and my mortgage payment isn’t contingent upon the words I produce. So, in that sense, my writer’s block hasn’t really been an issue. But in terms of my day to day life, the way I feel, and the way I view myself, it’s been a boulder. Because, writing has become part of who I believe myself to be. Continue reading

A Love Letter to Coffee

By De Elizabeth

Over half of my life has revolved around coffee.

Since I was a teenager, I started my day the exact same way: with a cup of coffee, usually in a cute mug, with a splash of something. That “something” has evolved over time; first, it was skim milk and sugar, then just skim milk, then soy milk, then nothing at all, then almond milk, and now, a blend of almond and coconut milk. But coffee has arguably been more than just a beverage, more than just a staple in my morning routine. For every significant chapter, every significant event in my life, coffee has somehow been involved. It’s more than a drink; it’s a moment, a marker in time, an olive branch, a vice, a grain of a memory.

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Family Favorite Penne Pasta Bake

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By Kate Kole

I used to be a ‘different night, different dinner’ kind of gal. I’d hop into the grocery store on my way home from teaching a yoga class to see what I was in the mood to make and have that evening.

Then…I had a kid. And I became a ‘how many nights of leftovers will this make?’ kind of person.

Enter our family favorite penne pasta bake. My mom even called it “restaurant quality”. But then again, my mom told me that my elementary school artwork was impressive. So, I suppose, take her review with a grain of salt. Continue reading

I Miss When Life Was Lived Outside of Screens

By De Elizabeth

As an older millennial, I’m part of the last “unplugged” generation.

Growing up in the ’90s, I didn’t have internet until late in elementary school, and even then, it was extremely limited: email, chat rooms, search engines for school projects and reports. In middle and high school, we used AIM regularly to finish conversations started in the hallways, and I recorded my emotions and daily events in my LiveJournal throughout college. But when I closed my laptop, walked out the front door, and got into a car with my friends, the digital world stayed at home. The real world remained untouched, uninterrupted. Separate.

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Giving Up Blessing Sandwiches

Giving Up Blessing Sandwiches

By Kate Kole

Soon after our son was born, I developed a somewhat standard response to check-in questions. “Hard and best.” That’s how I described my transition into motherhood. Because it felt impossible to mention one without the other. The sleep deprivation without the joy, the loneliness without the fulfillment, the loss of one identity without the discovery of another.

Eventually, I graduated to the blessing sandwich.

You know, the “I’m grateful I get to stay home with him. Sure, sometimes it’s isolating. But I feel really fortunate to have this time together.” Or the, “He’s a really happy baby. Still not sleeping through the night. But all the smiles during the day make up for it.”

One good thing. One hard thing. One good thing again. Continue reading

10 Postpartum Things We Need To Discuss

By De and Kate

Having a baby can certainly be a beautiful, miraculous, life-changing experience. It can also be summed up as a lot. A lot of hormones, a lot of emotions, and a lot of wtf is happening in my body right now moments. We often see and share the blissful postpartum snapshots, but we don’t always get into the less than glamorous, nitty-gritty details. That said, we’re here to help a pregnant girlfriend out and dive into what those first couple postpartum months are really like. You’re welcome, and also, we’re so sorry. Continue reading