A timeless guide to navigating your return to school and being a mama, I have created for you, a practical tool to help with decision-making and self-care.
Everything from mindset, to gestational illness, to life in the early postpartum journey, “Turning Audacity to Action” takes the inspiration from “The Audacity to Finish” and gives you direction. Complete with checklists and questions for consideration, my desire for you is to use this guide to accomplish your goals in a resilient, but nourished way.
No matter where you fall on the Millennial gen spectrum, as a mama, there’s something here for you!
Being a full-time, stay-at-home/ work-from-home Mother is anything but glamorous.
I know we are constantly fed the images of perfectly snapped photographs on social media feeds, but the truth is, parenting, Mothering, and living amidst the day-to-day demands with two children under 5, is anything but a walk in the park. Particularly, if you are a Mother who does not have extra help or a nanny on hand.
Some days it is filled with hysterical laughter and on other days, like today, it’s filled with conquering anxieties and fears you never knew existed.
Today’s particular anxiety: taking both kids to the local laundromat for the first time.
The fear? That every possible thing that could go wrong, would.
For instance, as an apartment-living NY’er, you want to make sure the car isn’t parked too far so that getting the kids and the laundry out the door, on the first trip, goes smoothly.
But on this bright sunny day with comforters to wash and my husband working a 16-hour shift, I decided to bite the bullet and try.
And the good news is- I survived Mamas! Everything’s washed, everybody came back in one piece, and I’m not too tired to share how.
So the next time you feel anxiety or fear about conquering this type of daily grind activity, remember not to judge yourself or think you should “know everything by now.” Calm the voices of shame and bite your own bullet. You might just surprise yourself!
Ground and Center: I made sure to start the day with my trusted and comforting cup of Bustello. I applied Frankincense essential oil along the nape of my neck, the base of my spine, along my wrists, and across my forehead. This oil is great for getting you calm and less scatter-brained, without making you overly mellow. It also nourishes the nervous system, which is usually the first to get affected when trying something new or stressful.
Repeated Communication: I told both boys exactly what we would be doing for the day, as many times as possible, as calmly as possible, to help them understand the transitions we’d be making. I’ve learned how my boys respond to a break in their daily routine and as Mamas, we can get so overwhelmed, we can forget to honor their emotional needs.
Comfortable Clothes : Going to the laundromat is not the same as going to the movies or the zoo. While I know we as Mamas always want to make sure our kids look good before stepping out into public and looking “put together” keeps you a side-eye away from people’s judgment, putting them in some shorts, a baseball cap, a plain t-shirt and sneakers, worked wonders. There were no bells and whistles to deal with when it came time to change pampers or head to the potty (big boy is soaring with the briefs now) and it helped me worry less if one got dirty.
Food, Food, and Yes, Food: Now I know we all have our baby bag filled with everything we need, but stopping by your favorite shop and stocking up on specific favorites, less on the sugary side, works wonders. It helped them get excited about this “new” experience, kept them calm when it seemed the dryers weren’t moving fast enough, and kept me from getting nagged to death about “needing a snack.” For us, it was a green mango juice, bananas, pumpkin bread and extra water for the win.
Relationships with Local Business Owners: I have definitely been called a warm extrovert, engaging in conversation with others quite easily, and today, it truly paid off. While I’m not saying you need to be a social butterfly to get your errands done, when you establish positive regard with the places of business you frequent, their graces can be extended to your children. Today, the lady I regularly greet was managing and without hesitation, she accepted my request to watch the boys as I unloaded the car or when I needed to use the restroom- something so simple, yet so important when you’re running solo.
Bonus Tip: When and if they start to get fidgety or irritated from the wait, and you worry about navigating a tantrum, get them involved. Even if it seems like more work, trust me, it is better than having calmness turned into turbulence. Let your nurturing come through by leading them to the washers or dryers and letting them help you with the clothes.
A byproduct of having a c-section was losing a lot of my hair. I wasn’t prepared for that- at all.
I have always been known for having lion-mane like hair. In my memoir, I share an episode of how badly I was bullied over it, as a child.
Imagine my surprise when I gave birth to my first son, and watched it grow even more. I was ecstatic and expected the same would take place again, after the birth of my second son.
However, that did not happen at all. As a matter of fact, the opposite took place. It started to fall out. Yes, ladies, you read correctly. Post-Partum shedding took on a whole other level post my second birth. It happened so fast and so consistently, that I made the decision to cut it all off.
Again, you read that correctly. And you can see the progression in the pictures below.
This is one of the more sensitive areas of the post partum experience many of us veer from discussing because we fear it will make us appear vain. But, the truth is, as many stories you read about post-birth change, you’re never really prepared for how you’ll handle what changes come your way.
Also, because this particular pregnancy and birth experience were marked by worry and trauma, I believe my body just surrendered to the emotional strain right after birth. I was also allergic to the anesthesia. Having a Naturopath for a father, I knew stress affected hair growth, so while I was shocked at how fast it was falling out, I could accept the underlying reasons.
Cutting it all off was a big move, but one that would help me rid a lot of the energy I was holding onto post birth. It was my first wave of major healing. And that part made me feel good.
What didn’t make me feel so good, was the unexpected inconvenience of experiencing razor bumps from different styles of hair-cutting. Initially, I kept my cuts pretty high as I adjusted to the new look. But as I got more comfortable with bolder cuts, this meant the back would get shaved closer and closer.
Now, before you turn your nose up, it wasn’t an issue of my barber’s cleanliness as I, too, had jumped to immediately assume.
It was the result of my hair never having been cut so low and my first seasons of experiencing ingrown hairs.
Lord, I wasn’t ready! But I had a secret clutch! My essential oils!
I had always known Melaleuca and Frankincense are great for dealing with skin eruptions and irritations caused by bacteria, but on one particular night. I learned how one oil would be a dual game-changer.
Roman Chamomile, an oil that has a particularly distinct scent, is an oil I’d been working with emotionally as part of a next layer emotional protocol for myself and my son to combat the remnants of birth trauma on this second anniversary. I was placing a few drops in our roller blends to support our individual sense of purpose. A near-death experience can really rock your root chakra and this particular oil works to restore a sense of purpose for life. For my son, it would support his nervous system, giving him a boost for autonomy and purpose outside of the womb.
However, on this particular night, when I realized I was out of my skin guards, I reached for my R.C. and lightly applied 2 drops to the areas of my hairline I felt were the itchiest. I am happy to report, not only did the spot not burn upon application, but the itching seized!! No longer did I feel the need to scrape my neck with my brush or pick!
So I want to implore you moms, the next time you have bikini area or underarm bumps from shaving, to reach for Roman Chamomile. You can add a few drops to your favorite carrier oil, mine is 100% organic coconut oil.
Not only will it calm those spots, but it will give you an emotional sense of purpose, which we as Mother’s can never get tired of renewing.
Okay, so “messes” is not actually a word, but potty training nearly took me out in 2018. I cannot explain to you what the journey has been like trying to potty train my very “lemme do it myself, manman,” headstrong, ritualistic, Aries son. He is one of the most fiercely independent children you will ever come across, and while it’s one of my favorite character traits of my big boy, it nearly drove me to insanity during this process.
And to the Starbucks drive-thru window, daily, for self-soothing.
Learning how to support him in his own style of learning a skill he will be using for the rest of his life brought on LOTS of headaches. Did I say lots? I mean LOTS of what I like to call hidden “pee-pee” pools where I’d discover he’d accidentally went potty while watching an episode of “Super Why,” but would be too proud to tell me. Or when he would go number two and try to clean up by himself, but get proof of it on the toilet seat. I know some of you are already shaking your heads in judgment, wondering why I’d let a 3- year- old clean up by himself, but go back up to the part where I said, “fiercely independent.”
For my big boy, going to the potty without help has been super important and he’d literally be on the verge of tears should I have decided to intervene- better yet when my unknown OCD began to feel triggered or when I thought I couldn’t clean up one more pool. Even worse, when my other little firecracker, who airs on the side of heavy curiosity, would get to the “pools” before me.
Y’all, it was intense.
But what saved me from smelling like walking Clorox and the harshness of some other popular cleaning agents, was three very powerful, but natural and SAFE, tools, which cleansed, purified, and gave fresh scent to all of my toddler-traumatized surfaces.
Meet my essential oil DIY cleaning trio. Lemon (for refreshing, citrus scent), Oregano (for natural cleansing chemical compounds), and Melaleuca (for being a great, natural disinfecting agent used by Aboriginal peoples for centuries).
Not only does this trio get the job done, each and every time, but popping it in the diffuser at the end of the day leaves my home smelling like fresh earth. You can also add wild orange if you’re looking for warm notes or peppermint, if you need a brighter note. It reminds me of Leogane, Haiti and that’s the saving grace!
Here’s my two fold recipe:
For the “pee-pee pools” I use 2-3 drops of lemon, 1-2 drops of oregano, 2-3 drops of melaleuca in a 3 ounce spritz bottle filled with water. Shake it up for even distribution and spray directly into the “pools.” Wipe away with paper towel. Spray as many times as desired.
*FOLLOW MY DROP COUNT FOR OREGANO. It’s powerful and potent, not dangerous, just potent, so a little goes a long way.*
For number two issues, I apply 3-4 drops of lemon, 2-3 drops of oregano, and 4 drops of melaleuca directly to a wet wipe (huggies or whatever you have) and wipe away. After stains are gone, I usually do one last swipe of a plain wipe.
For mama’s who have smaller or brand new babies in the household, this is also perfect because they’re are no fumes or harmful pesticides being released as you clean. Super important as you want to protect babes developing brain and limbic system. If you’re breastfeeding and Oregano gets on your skin, simply wash with warm water and soap. Not because it’s harmful, but because undiluted, it may cause irritation to sensitive skin, and that includes baby.
Can you believe it has already been 2 years since the creation of #thebeautifulstruggle !!
I can’t believe it either, but this December marked my miracle baby’s 2nd birthday, which means March 2019 will mark the 2 year anniversary since this post-partum healing platform was created.
I want to say a special thank you to all of you who have joined me in my “recording closet” as I recorded session after session of stories that have changed my life and I’m sure the lives of the hundreds of listeners who have since tuned in. A whole two years later.
This healing journey included some amazing tools and resources that have blessed not only my mind, body, and spirit, but also the healing of my family constellation.
What you might not know, is how birth trauma affects everyone in the immediate family dynamic. And even if trauma is not part of your personal Motherhood journey, your restoration post-birth, is still beneficial to the family constellation.
So, I am committed to sharing those resources with you all, and as a Maternal Wellness Advocate (someone who publicly supports & pushes for the holistic wellness of mother’s during all stages of her journey), I want to invite you to sign up for the newsletter that will be available at the top of the new year. In it, I will be sharing practical usage information in an educational series. The sign-up box will be located to the right of this post.
I have many more I will be sharing, but, in the meantime, I wanted to give a preview of one of these resources. Essential Oils.
I’ve used it in my scalp, under my feet, and as part of my c-section scar care protocol, particularly because it supports the reduction of inflammation. so putting a few drops in my base oil and lovingly rubbing it over my abdomen was a great way to reconnect with my sacral chakra and also my uterus.
One of the most ancient of essential oils, it’s also very powerful in aromatic usage as well. Putting a few drops in a diffuser can help to bring a grounding, peace inducing environment because its earthy fragrance directly impacts the limbic system. Energetically, it works to support a protected environment (it’s not a coincidence this particular incense was brought as a gift for Jesus’ birth. As Divinity, His space was to be made sacred. Matt 2:11). As a mother recovering from birth trauma, this worked wonders for me, in helping me feel spiritually grounded and less anxious about Nat’s progress, as Frankincense positively affects neurotransmitters in the brain (stress response) .
And lastly, I’m not heavy in the beauty department, but I always keep a simple wash and moisturize routine, and adding 2-3 drops to my moisturizer has worked wonders, especially with my hormones fluctuating post-birth. 2 years later, it’s still heavy in rotation.
It’s so easy to hear about resources, get them, but then not know what exactly to do with them, get frustrated and then give up on them. Remember, essential oils are not a quick fix, heal you overnight, type of resource. It can provide powerful results, but that is only with consistent use as it is a holistic tool that the body naturally recognizes and will respond with positive effects.
But consistency and quality will always be key.
This is why education is so important to me- research, intuitive, and practical. And deciding which “brand” to use as part of my advocacy was based in research, intuitive, and my practical use! My heart aligns with this particular brand and if you would like personal support, encouragement and guidance on post partum emotional restoration, I’m a DM or email away [Lighthousellc2018@gmail.com]
So go ahead, interact with me on Instagram or email me with questions. December offerings are special! Just in time to celebrate MY miracle!
Here’s a sneak peak at your personalized “Welcome to Post Partum Restoration” package.