For Now, The Brownie is Just a Brownie

By De Elizabeth

CW: Eating disorder and body image talk.

A few days ago, I enlisted the help of my 2-year-old while making a batch of brownies. (Actually, they were cookie-brownies: the kind from Annie’s that is essentially a brownie with a cookie on top — you’re welcome.) I helped her stir the mix, let her lick the spatula, and asked her to scoop the cookie dough with a little spoon. While it was baking, we turned the oven light on and she stood in front of the door, alternating between patient self-reminders of “they’re cooking!” and impatient exclamations of “wanna eat!” Once they were cooled, she tasted her very first cookie-brownie, somehow even more delicious I think, because she helped bake them.

There’s a lot I love about watching my daughter discover things about the world, but arguably one of the cutest is seeing her get excited about her favorite foods. A few weeks ago, I purchased a pack of muffins from the bakery, eliciting a squeal of “Ooooh a muffin!” She’ll announce everything on her plate at lunch — “PBJ! Cheese! Crackers!” — and she’s become inexplicably fascinated with one of my cookbooks, asking questions about everything she sees.

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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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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

Healthy Baby, Healthy Mama

Healthy Baby, Healthy Mama.jpg

By Kate Kole

I didn’t have a detailed birth plan. Without ever having ever gone through labor and delivery, I was unsure of how I’d feel about pain management or who I’d really want in the room when it was time to push. So, on the hospital form, I kept my preferences short and sweet. Healthy baby, healthy mama. That was it.

At 40 weeks and 6 days pregnant, I went into labor. After 28 hours, I gave birth to our sweet boy. I awaited the moment everyone promises, when all the pain and pushing evaporates and you hold your baby in your arms for the first time. Continue reading

Some Thoughts On Change

Some Thoughts On Change

By Jillian Stacia

I’ve had a lot of change lately. That’s an understatement, actually. In the last year, I’ve gotten pregnant, been promoted, had a baby, went back to work, quit my job, started freelancing full time, and dyed my hair blue.

Things have changed so much so fast, and I still feel like I am reeling.

Here’s what I know: I am happier than I have ever been, probably because I feel more like myself than I ever have. My life is finally a representation of my values, and that feels amazing and right and whole.

But I also feel like I’m floundering. Each time I start to find a rhythm, I am pummeled by change. The carpet is ripped out from under my feet, and I have to start all over again. Continue reading

The Price You Pay When You’re Always Trying to Live in the Moment

By De Elizabeth

Every summer when growing up, my family would take trips to Cape Cod. My brother and I would spend the days leading up to our trip rifling through our CD collections, deciding which albums to bring with us for the six-hour drive (Blink-182, SR-71, and, later, Motion City Soundtrack were always among the top of the list). We’d print out a list of every state in the country, awarding various values to each, ready to play the License Plate Game in the car (Alaska and Hawaii always had the highest amount of points). We’d joke that every year, our parents would get into their “annual fight” before we left, delaying our departure by at least 45 minutes, but then eventually we’d be on our way. We’d stop around lunchtime — in Mystic, Connecticut, at a Friendly’s restaurant just off of the highway. Then, several hours later, we’d cross the Sagamore Bridge onto the Cape, and every year, at this very moment, my mom would turn around, look at us, and say: “Savor the moment.” Continue reading

Are You Ready?

Are You Ready

By Kate Kole

“Are you ready?”

With my due date now only 2 and a half weeks away, that’s the question I unsurprisingly receive the most.

My answer, almost always, is some version of “as ready as you can be.”

Because, I suppose, we’ve planned and prepared in almost all the ways possible. The nursery is complete, the car seats are installed and inspected, the hospital bag is packed, the breastfeeding and caring-for-a-newborn classes have been attended. I’ve flipped through What To Expect When You’re Expecting weekly for the last 9 months and I now know as much as you can know (or at least as much as I’d like to know) without completely freaking myself out. Continue reading