Prorities, Perfectionism, and why I’ve Decided to Stop Blogging

I sat on the couch, overwhelmed at the end of the day and tried to figure out what a successful day looked like for me. What did I have to accomplish in order to be pleased with myself at the end of the day? I knew the  “right” answer. The one that goes, “As long as everyone’s alive and I love my kids it’s a successful day,” or, “If I just got the one thing done that I set out to do today, then it was a success.” Truthfully? I realized that I usually don’t feel successful unless I’ve blogged in the morning, made three healthy meals from scratch, exercised, studied the gospel, played one-on-one with both boys, had outdoor play, created something during naptime, and gone to bed with a clean house. Ideally I would practice piano and do a craft with the toddler as well.

Yikes! Hello, unrealistic expectations! This is part of battling perfectionism. This is why I have anxiety at the end of every. single. day (almost). I had to let something go, but as I thought about what I would give up the anxiety would get worse. I was holding so tight to all of these parts of my life, feeling like if I gave up even just one that I would be failing and losing part of myself.

The Simple Life

I started to think about simplicity, slow living, and minimalism. I am really good at cutting out unnecessary objects from my life. I am a ruthless declutter-er. Why shouldn’t this sentiment apply to activities and to-do lists as well?

This forced me to think about all the things I’ve been trying to do. Which ones are necessary? Which bring me the most joy? I realized that right now in this stage of life, blogging is not actually bringing me joy. I’ve come to a new stage in my life where it feels more like a chore.

 

Letting Go

Once I finally told myself that I would stop blogging, I knew it was the right decision. I felt free and peaceful. I even felt more relaxed about sewing.

The feeling is bittersweet because the perfectionism is telling me that if I stop blogging I’ll be wishy-washy, and my blog will be a failure before it even got started. I have so many ideas that I’ve yet to share with you, and goals I’ve yet to reach. Maybe I’ll come back at a different stage in my life and accomplish them. For now, I have to remember that for me this blog has already served its purpose.

I need to simplify my life and this is how I do it. If I really wanted to blog I think I could, but something else would have to go.

So my friends, this is it. It’s been a wonderful (if short) journey. If you need me, I’ll be sewing and snuggling and I might even Instagram my makes from time to time.

Lots of love,

Jessica

 

 

My Second Birth : Another Natural Birth in a Hospital Setting

This June we were so happy to welcome another little boy into the world! I love the crazy, empowering, and miraculous experience that is childbirth. As I look back, it’s interesting to me to see the differences between my two birth stories. You can read my first son’s birth story here.

Birth is Beautiful

It’s important to remember that all births, women, and babies are unique. Your birth story may not look like mine. Your birth may have been un-medicated or with an epidural, vaginal or C-section. The thing we share in common is that we are both mothers, and we love our babies. I truly believe that is what is most important.

Personally, I have loved going the un-medicated route with both of my boys.

Here is my second birth story:

At 5:30 I woke up with light contractions that seemed to be sort of regular, but nothing to exciting. I tried not to get too hopeful, because this had been happening off and on for a couple of days. As I woke up I realized that my water had broken.

I woke up Levi and we started to get ready to go to the hospital. We showered, packed our bag, ate breakfast, and I snuggled the toddler. All the while I was having light contractions about 6-7 minutes apart. My goal was to labor at home, but I guess I was too excited and I knew that because my water broke I would actually go into labor. We left the house about 7:00-7:30.

I always tend to feel awkward telling the front desk, “I’m in labor,” when I am clearly calm and not “hee-hooing” or whatever (so movie cliché). But, in we went and told them my water broke.

When we checked in, they confirmed that my water had broken. I didn’t go into active labor till 11:00 am, so for a while we were just kind of hanging out with occasional contractions. We watched Netflix and walked in the tiny labor and delivery wing.

Active Labor

Finally things started to progress. Since my water broke before I went into labor, they didn’t let me get into the tub, so I showered for hours to manage my intense contractions. I would stand in the hot shower, or hold Levi and sway. He would whisper encouragement to me and stroke my hair or back. At one point I switched to the bouncy ball while I was being monitored, but that was really uncomfortable. Back into the shower I went.

Eventually that evening I was dilated to about a 9.5, but the baby still had to move down quite a ways. After the doctor checked my cervix I was so tired I just decided to try laying on my side and relaxing into every contraction. The hot water in the shower was wonderful, but since I was standing or sitting I couldn’t fully relax. The contractions were really powerful at this point, but with Levi’s help I started to really relax and was managing them well.

I relaxed so well that I started to fall asleep in between contractions! The contractions started to space back out while I slept. I was so exhausted that I needed this little rest before I started pushing. Throughout the whole process I felt so much strength and power enabling me and helping me. This totally unexpected nap was one example of all the little blessings that showed me how much divine help I had during my birth.

Birthing Positions

After a while I kind of realized that I needed to be upright for gravity to help move the baby down and out. I had a really hard time pushing for my first birth, so I knew I needed to do something different. I didn’t want the sports game environment with everyone telling me what to do, when to breath, or talking loudly. I didn’t want to squat because it took so much work and energy with my first.

I decided to be leaning on the propped up hospital bed, kneeling on my hands and knees. I could lay forward and rest between contractions, but gravity was still helping the baby out. I had a wonderful doctor who was really on board with me birthing in whatever way felt right and natural to me. In between checking on me, the nurse stepped away and let my husband and I work together without interruption. If they wanted to let me know how far along I was they whispered it to Levi.

Pushing

I could push whenever I felt ready. After waiting a while, I started to feel like I wanted to kind of breath and push at the same time. I did that for a little while. The doctor double checked my cervix and had me push while he moved a lip out of the way of the babies head. I was so nervous because I didn’t want to be pushing for a whole hour, and I told the doctor.

He said, “I don’t want to rush you or get your hopes up, but when you pushed just now I felt the baby move a lot. I think you can push really effectively. ”

This helped me realize that I was in control. I was powerful and I can do this! I whispered to Levi, “I can do this!” He kept encouraging me and telling me how strong I was. He got a little choked up, and so did I. Birth was such a beautiful and unifying moment for us as a couple.

After that I pushed with each contraction, but I let myself rest as well. The contractions while I was pushing were the most painful, but I pushed past it. I thought of it as power and strength, bringing my baby into the world. We didn’t know the gender yet, but all through my birth I was thinking of my baby girl, how I was going to meet her. I was totally channeling my wonder woman and power-warrior yelling through the contractions.

The nurse called the doctor in and they were ready to catch the baby. I gave a giant push and felt something pop out and explode onto the bed. I jumped! I thought it was the baby! But it was just the rest of my water breaking.

Meeting our Baby

After a few more pushes, I felt the pressure of the baby between my legs and a huge amount of strength and urge to push. I didn’t realize that the head was out, but the doctor said, “Okay, give me a push!” And I pushed so hard that the baby fell out onto the bed. I’m not sure, but I don’t think he caught him because he wasn’t expecting it to come so fast.

Levi called out, “It’s a boy!” Which was a completely joyful surprise because during labor I had convinced myself that the baby was a girl. I turned around and layed down as fast as I could to hold my baby boy, He was perfect, and beautiful. We had to rub him to make him cry, but as soon as he got situated I put him up to my breast and he latched on and nursed easily right away. I cried with joy and relief. Birth is beautiful. Life is beautiful.

Love, Jess

Preparing for a Gender Surprise Baby + Three Tips for Finding Gender Neutral Clothes

So far in our family we’ve enjoyed waiting until the baby is born to learn whether it is a boy or a girl. We love the excitement of the surprise and the guessing. It’s kind of special to just love the baby without yet knowing much about him or her, and it adds some extra fun to the beautiful experience of birth.

When I tell people that we are having a “gender surprise,” I get varied reactions. The conversation goes like this:

“Is it a boy or a girl?”

“Oh, it’s a surprise.”

The reactions: “Oh, how fun!” “You’re not going to find out?! How could you do that?” “I could never be that patient,” and “How will you prepare for the baby?!”

Preparing for Baby: A minimalist approach

I’ve actually found it easy to prepare for a gender surprise baby. In fact, that’s the way parents have been preparing for generations before ultrasounds were available. The key is simplicity. We’ve never had the space to go crazy decorating a nursery, or buy a lot of baby gear. In fact, we’ve never had a nursery at all. While there is plenty of gender neutral baby gear and décor on the market, I think the easiest way to prepare for a surprise baby is to eschew all of the extras and only buy what baby really needs.

These basic things are fairly easy to find in gender neutral colors, especially large baby gear such as carseats and strollers. The biggest challenge in preparing for a gender surprise is buying gender neutral baby clothes. I bought/made exclusively gender neutral newborn clothes for my babies except for one dress and bow headband that I made in case the baby was a girl.

Here are three tips that made it easy for me to find (super cute!) gender neutral baby clothes.

Tip #1 Say Yes to Neutral Colors

There are wide range of colors that are considered “appropriate” for any gender of baby. These include orange, yellow, green, and red. With this baby I have also fallen in love with the neutral colored baby clothes: grey, brown, and beige. These colors are so classic, and with the right textures and prints I don’t think they are boring.

I also started buying all of the basics in white. White is the perfect classic, match-everything color (in my opinion) for sheets, swaddles, onesies, tee shirts, burp clothes, etc.  Yes, babies stain, but I’ve found that baby stains are easily sun-bleached out of white laundry.

Tip #2 Shop Boys and Girls Sections

There is typically no “gender neutral” baby section in most stores and online shops. I have the most success when I look through both sections. I keep my eye open for neutral colors along with classic and neutral silhouettes. If I’m shopping for gender neutral clothes in the girls section, I avoid clothes with bows and lace. If I’m shopping gender neutral in the boys section, I don’t usually buy extra baggy clothes or things with huge cargo-style pockets. You get the idea.

Tip #3 Shop Small (or Sew Your Own)

While it is possible to find clothes in bigger box stores by shopping both sections, the options are still sometimes limited. My favorite gender neutral finds have been in small shops on Etsy, or other small(er) businesses such as Billie Blooms, Little Cottonwood, or Fawn & Forest. They have GORGEOUS neutral clothes.

However, the price of handmade baby clothes is really high for me to buy much that way. I do splurge on some high-quality baby items that I can’t make myself (like these booties and a sheepskin), but I prefer to sew baby clothes that fit my aesthetic. Sometimes it requires some trial and error (the bloomers above ended up being too small for my cloth-diapered baby) but I love sewing for baby while I’m pregnant! It’s possible to save a lot of money this way since baby clothes require less fabric and it’s easy to use recycled grown-up clothes.

Benefits of Shopping for a Gender Neutral Baby

Since we would love to have a big family, I am all about longevity when I buy baby gear. Even if this baby will only wear something for a few months (or weeks), I try to buy clothes and baby gear that subsequent babies can use.

Enter… gender neutral clothes! It’s so nice to know that there is a whole newborn wardrobe waiting for the next baby whether it be a boy or girl. Other perks of shopping gender neutral are the fun of finding unique baby things and the classic look of baby clothes that are not overly pink or blue. Here are some examples of gender neutral outfits for inspiration (can you tell I’m addicted to baby bloomers?).

What are your thoughts on keeping baby’s gender a surprise? Would you ever do it?

Love, Jess

Becoming a Mother: Baby #1 Birth Story

Lately here at Stitches and Sunflowers I’ve been sitting around waiting for false labor to turn into real labor. Since I have only baby on my brain, I thought it would be fun to share with you the birth story of my first baby. Birth is so personal, but as I was preparing for L’s birth I found it really helpful to read stories of other moms and get a healthy perspective about childbirth in our culture that fears and sensationalizes birth.

I woke up one morning feeling contractions that were small but fairly regular. For me they felt like a strong menstrual cramp that came and went in a wave. At this point they were strong enough to wake me, but not strong enough that I needed to get out of bed.

Laboring at Home

My goal was to labor at home for as long as I could.  I wanted to be able to work with my body in early labor in a place that was comfortable and familiar to me.

That evening I was still having regular contractions, but they weren’t yet five minutes apart and I was still feeling pretty normal. There was a church barbecue at the beach that night. I knew that it would be my last chance for a beach trip in a long while, so we went! It was a cloudy and slightly rainy day, so not many people were getting in the water, but I wanted to swim in the ocean before the baby was born so Levi and I got in and swam.

At the end of the party I started to notice my contractions were strong enough that I was having a hard time acting normal through them. A friend drove us home (we didn’t have a car, so we walked everywhere normally) and we started to pack for the hospital. We cleaned the house with some old seventies music playing (woo-hoo the Carpenters!) and every time I had a contraction I would stop what I was doing and sway to the music.

At around 9:00 pm we let our doula know that I was in labor, but when she came over to talk to us my contractions seemed to slow down a little, and still weren’t overwhelmingly strong. We decided to try and get some sleep. Levi did sleep a little, but I didn’t sleep much between contractions. Finally, I couldn’t handle laying down and pretending to sleep any longer, so I woke up Levi and we started the 45 minute drive to the hospital.

At the Hospital

We checked into triage at 4:00 am. The nurse asked, “How long has this been going on?” I honestly couldn’t think of a good answer as to when my labor started, so I said, “About nine months.” It’s still one of my finest moments when it comes to telling jokes.

When the nurse checked my cervix I was 6 cm. dilated and 90% effaced. The nurses were very surprised and started rushing to check me into a room.

Our hospital room had a view of the beautiful mountains of Oahu. Before getting in the tub the nurses had to check how baby was doing on the fetal monitor. When I had a contraction I would breath deeply and lean into Levi and sway. Leaning forward and letting him hug me helped me relax into the contractions.

Finally, I was finished being monitored and they let me get into the tub. The warm water helped me relax and made my contractions much more manageable. I focused on envisioning my cervix opening and relaxing my whole body into each contraction. Levi was the most amazing birth support. He supported me with gentle touch and words of encouragement. I clung to him during every contraction.

Pushing

At 9:00 am I was ready to start pushing. My midwife came in and broke my water. At this point I was so exhausted. Everyone was cheering me on and telling me to push during my contractions. I tried using the birthing bar to squat on the hospital bed, but between every contraction I laid back on the bed and stared out the window at those beautiful mountains. I just wanted to be done! I started to say, “I can’t do this, it hurts,” and the contractions became very painful as I was pushing.

I pushed for an hour. Everyone kept saying, “You’re almost there, I see the head, you’re almost there.” I thought every push would bring the baby out. The baby’s heartrate started to drop. Everything started to become mixed up and crazy in my brain. I was worried about the baby, but it all felt kind of far away as I was overcome by my contractions and efforts to push.

My midwife called in the attending doctor. When he came in I think he introduced himself, and told me he needed to use the vacuum to get the baby out as soon as possible. One more push, and with the help of the vacuum L was born.

Natural Birth

When they placed L on my chest, I was amazed at how alert, alive, and tiny he was. I felt so much love for him already. His birth was such a challenging and incredible experience. It was a beautiful time of bonding for Levi and I. It was an example of how our bodies are powerful and perfectly designed.

I wouldn’t give up my natural birth experience for the world. I think everyone’s birth choices are their own, so I wouldn’t push the decision to have a natural birth on anyone. However, I also don’t feel that I am a remarkably unique woman for giving birth naturally. I don’t have a high pain tolerance and I’m not an athlete. Birth is a healthy, incredible process and our bodies already know what to do.

What was your birth experience like? Share in the comments.

Love, Jess

Linked to: #fandayfriday and Home Sweet Home Link Party 

 

 

 

A Behind-the-Smile Look at Postpartum Depression

Today, let’s get real about a struggle lots of women experience alone because of a ridiculous stigma: postpartum depression.

I love to talk about the joyful and beautiful moments of motherhood, but the truth is, it’s not always rainbows and butterflies. None of us are perfect moms, but we are doing our best.

Copy of 400px x 400px – Untitled Design (3)

It’s for this reason that I’ve decided to talk about the struggles I face as a mom. I don’t want to focus on the negative, but I do want to offer support and understanding to the moms who also struggle, because all of us do.

My Postpartum Depression Story

Before I start, you need to understand that during my darkest moments I never went to the doctor or a therapist. I know now that I should have, but I was never diagnosed with postpartum depression. It wasn’t until the cloud started to lift that I felt like I’d actually had minor postpartum depression. Every mom has a different experience, and I don’t pretend to understand the heartache felt by those who suffer more extreme depression than I did. I share my experience with you so that if you have one similar to mine you know that it’s okay for you to seek help. If I had, I might have felt better months earlier.

A Behind-the-Smile Look at Postpartum Depression: Why I didn't See a Doctor, but I wish I had. stitchesandsunflowers.com

It all began with intense difficulty breastfeeding. I love nursing now, but at first it was extremely painful both physically and emotionally. I would sometimes bite my arm or hit my head on the wall because it hurt and I was so overwhelmed with anxiety surrounding nursing. As the weeks went on, I kind of sunk into a fog.

 

Happy Moments and Deep Dark Pits.

Although I had good days and fond memories, I also had dark days. When I was out and about having a good day, I’m sure no one would have noticed anything wrong. I smiled and talked like normal. But, it felt like when my day was dark I was in a pit too big to even see the top, or that I was drowning.

We lived with my parents for a few months while my husband was on vacation from school. I spent happy days with my family, but also long hours isolated in our bedroom. On bad days I would lay on the bed and look out the window. I’d get the urge to just jump out the window or I’d make a plan (one that I’d never carry out, of course) to run away. I wasn’t really suicidal, but sometimes I couldn’t stop thinking about my own death.I thought I must not have depression if I had happy days (1)

I was certain that my husband was avoiding me, or didn’t want to be with me. I agonized over this, obsessing over it. I melted down so often, paralyzed. Often simply because I couldn’t make a small decision.

I would randomly get overwhelming feelings of rage. Once, I smashed my glasses case on the side of the crib because I felt I had to outlet for these strong emotions or I would hurt Littles or myself.

At times, I thought about getting help. My dark thoughts often scared me, but the next day (if I felt good) I would feel like there was nothing wrong. I loved L, and I went and did fun things with Levi. I thought I must not have depression if I had happy days, so I didn’t need to see a doctor.

 

Then, the cloud started to lift.

I thought I must not have depression if I had happy days (2)A few weeks after we moved back to Hawaii when L was four months old, I had a feeling that I can only describe as a cloud lifting. I started feeling moments of deeper happiness than I did before. I started having more and more happy days that went uninterrupted by feelings of darkness.

I still fell into ruts and had meltdowns. I still struggled. I still fell into patterns of negative self-talk. But something was different, and I started to realize that maybe I HAD been struggling with postpartum depression.

I spoke with a therapist a few times. He helped me learn healthier ways to think and deal with the residue of emotions I had felt before, but gave me no diagnosis. It was hard to be honest about how I had felt before when I was smiling, and mostly normal now.

It took more months, but slowly I started to feel completely normal again.

 

This too, shall pass.

The scariest part of my whole journey was the hopelessness I felt. Even if the day before had been bright, sometimes it felt like I would never be my normal self again. If you remember only two things from reading this post, know that

  1. It’s okay (good, even!) to get help, even if you are unsure you “really” have postpartum depression. I wish I would have reached out for help earlier, because it might have helped me feel better and been easier on my husband.
  2. Things WILL get better. Please, seek out the help that you need and know that postpartum depression does fade.

Although it was a journey, the postpartum depression eventually left completely. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still imperfect, I still get overwhelmed, or have occasional mommy meltdowns. I also experience great joy, reach for my dreams, and I’m learning to forgive myself and let go of that critic in my head. That’s life.

If you are struggling with postpartum depression, I am sending love and hope your way. Please know that I support you.

Love, Jess

I am not a doctor or phycologist, I am only sharing my story. Please don’t substitute my words for professional help.

 

 

 

 

Being a Type A Mom + Four Tips that Help Me

I never realized how much of a type A person I am till I became a mom. Being a type A mom can be more stressful than it has to be. Hopefully as I share my experience with you, you’ll be able to find more peace in the craziness that is motherhood.

So, What does Type A even mean?

In my first semester of university I took the required psychology 101 class, and sat through lecture after bland lecture about very basic and watered down pyshcology theory. One topic we learned about was the difference between type A personalities and type B personalities.

In this highly generalized (and not very current) theory type B people are the relaxed, chill, no agenda types. Type A’s are described mostly as individuals in high stress jobs who have anger issues, high blood pressure, and no room in their schedule for fun. Basically, I imagined Uncle Vernon from Harry Potter or another such portly business man always on the go, and constantly yelling into a cell phone. I was confused that neither type seemed to describe me. What I didn’t know at the time is that instead of being only two separate compartments, types A and B fall on a gradual spectrum where I fall further on the Type A side than I originally thought.

As a Type A Mom I have to manage stress.

I think one of the reasons I never realized how much of a type A person I am is simply because I have never had the same kind of career goals that are stereotypical of type A personalities. I’ve always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, which isn’t traditionally seen as a high stress job.

When we moved in with my mother-in-law (who falls much closer to type B side of the spectrum than I do) I saw how easy it was for her to relax and enjoy the moment even without a schedule, a long to-do list, a meal plan, or endless projects. Without those things I feel stressed and anxious. I began to realize I might be more of a type A mom than I thought.

With this realization came an awakening to the strategies that help me enjoy being a mom.

These strategies aren’t about changing my personality. That would be silly, and it would take away from what makes me unique. They are the things that help me rock my type A mom-ness without letting my tendency towards high stress steal my joy.

However, it isn’t always possible to do any or all of these. I’m developing the ability to let go of stress when plans fail and organization isn’t available. I’m learning to embrace the chaos. If you are often stressed out by motherhood (and who isn’t sometimes?) these strategies may help you as well, but remember they are to help. If you find yourself stressing about implementing strategies that are supposed to help, remember that a little disorganization is okay (easier said than done).

1. Have a Plan

It seems that half of my stress comes from not knowing what I’m going to make for dinner, or eat for breakfast even when I’m starving and I don’t have time to come up with something. I realized that I can enjoy cooking and skip the stress when I have a very detailed meal plan for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sometimes I don’t follow it, but it helps me to know I have a plan if I can’t think of something to cook in the moment. There are many stressful mommy situations that become manageable for me if I have a plan.

2. Use Naptimes Productively (Most of the Time)

I have realized that my type A personality causes me to feel more anxious and stressed when I don’t get much done during the day. While I shouldn’t measure the quality of the day by how many tasks I check off my to-do list, sometimes just simply being productive helps me be a happier mom. However, I realize that even though I enjoy being productive, on some days I still need to slow down and relax. It’s all about finding the balance that works for you.

pattern making

3. Focus on what I CAN control

Being a mom can be difficult for me because I like to input A and get B result. Motherhood is not that simple. Babies are complex and they are all different. I feel uncomfortably uncertain sometimes because I’m not sure what to do in so many different scenarios. If I can manage to focus on what I’m in control of (myself, my attitude, my breakfast, etc) then I can feel more able to let go of the things I can control. I’m still working on this one. 🙂

4. Learn to Just Sit

The last strategy may be the hardest for someone who always wants to be doing something, like me. It’s important for me to just sit with L and be with him while he plays sometimes. I get to watch and get to know him. I get to show him I want to be with him. Sometimes I struggle with this because I feel like I’m wasting time. But, when I make myself do it I find I can take in the moments that make motherhood so beautiful.

Being a Type A Mom + Four Tips that Help Me |stitchesandsunflowers.com

I hope you remember that I’m just a young mom who’s trying to figure out who I am as a mother. I don’t have all the answers, and I certainly don’t follow my own advice 100% of the time. I hope reading the things that help me will in turn help you. Writing them enables me to internalize them, and is therapeutic for me.

What are things that help you minimize stress as a mom?

Love, Jess

 

Disclaimer: I am not a phycologist or a doctor so I don’t pretend to make any recommendations as such. These tips are simply my opinion, and may or may not help someone else.

 

I Won’t Tell You What Works for Your Baby

The internet is a parenting expert. Well, it acts like one at least. The great world wide web has plenty of opinions and suggestions to offer on how to raise kids. The voices giving this advice are many and often contradict each other. They don’t know our individual kids, they may not be qualified to give advice, and yet we still give their voices credit. Is this good or bad?

Let me share my experience.

Before I even got pregnant with my first baby, I had a very clear picture of what kind of a mom I wanted to be. I slowly gathered lots of research about routines, sleeping schedules, and open-ended play. Once I was pregnant, I only intensified my research. I wanted to know what other moms had to say about baby-wearing, birth, breastfeeding, cloth diapering, and how to soothe a baby. I was so determined that I’d be a “good mom.”

Fast forward to a month or two postpartum and I was STILL in agony from breastfeeding. I had seen multiple lactation consultants, worked hard to try to fix the baby’s latch, used a nipple shield and I was still in pain. No one could give me latch tips that were helpful. Other moms were done being sore after a few weeks. Everything I had read about breastfeeding was telling me that unless I was doing this WRONG I should not be having any pain.

I am not the kind of girl who likes to continually do things wrong. This, combined with the pain, sparked some tough emotional issues for me. I stopped listening to advice about breastfeeding. Eventually, I survived.

A few months later Littles stopped sleeping through the night. After we moved a few times, every attempt to get him to fall asleep by himself failed. Again….I don’t like to fail! We moved in with my in-laws and Littles started to be exposed to more TV. He often played with an iPad. A lot of those pre-concieved notions about how I was going to parent started to fall away, and sometimes, I felt guilty.

Despite it all, I still tried to find answers on the internet. The articles and blog posts I found always promise good results. They had titles like, “How to start teaching YOUR baby sign language.,” “How to transition YOUR baby from co-sleeping to crib,” and “Five steps to help YOUR baby sleep alone.”

I’m sure the authors of these articles felt they had expert advice to give. I’m sure that they only wanted to help. But did you notice how the wording of the titles assumed they knew what was best for my baby? How would anyone, even an expert, know any given technique would work for my baby? They don’t even know my baby.

Before I realized this, the fact that all of my well-researched knowledge wasn’t helping made me guilty and anxious. Was I doing something wrong? I am not a perfect mom, but just because I don’t parent like Pinterest thinks I should does not mean that I’m doing it all wrong.

I Wont Tell You What Works for your Baby |stitchesandsunflowers.com

I believe that we be careful of the words we use when we give advice to new moms. We need to be careful not to generalize. It can be harmful instead of helpful.

If I give you mothering tips, I won’t tell you what will work for YOUR baby, I will tell you what I did with my baby. I’ll do it in hopes that it will help you. If your baby is different than mine, please don’t be discouraged.

Do the research, but read with your own filter in place. Use that mama instinct of yours because you and your husband are the only ones who will really know what’s right for your baby. Please don’t tell yourself you’re failing if that internet advice, or ANY advice, doesn’t work out. Just love that baby. You will figure it out.

“To all mothers in every circumstance, including those who struggle—and all will—I say, “Be peaceful. Believe in God and yourself. You are doing better than you think you are.” —Jeffrey R. Holland

Love, Jess