The Dawn Warrior 

Today, my baby is 6 months old. 

One hundred eighty-four days ago, the Mr woke up to find me in my 7th hour of contractions; they had started around 12:30, but I had labored in silence, needing the calm and quiet time to myself to mentally prepare for the coming hours.

In just a few hours, I will have had my four thousand, four hundred sixteenth hour with my daughter. Where have all those hours gone? 

Today marks a special set of accomplishments for me and my family. Our daughter is healthy, happy, hitting cognitive and development milestones as or well before expected. We have successfully breastfed exclusively for 6 months–which is 6 months longer than I thought I’d be capable of doing; I accomplished this on the strength of my will, the bond I share with my daughter, and the support and love of my partner. I have discovered strength in myself and my family I never dreamed possible.

I never really thought of myself as a rebel or revolutionary material prior to getting pregnant. Sure, I lived a somewhat alternative lifestyle and I had some things over which I felt very deeply convicted. 

But I didn’t feel the boil in my blood, the call to stand strong and bold no matter the consequences, until I was confronted with the idea that my child (I didn’t know she was a daughter yet) might suffer an injustice or have a need go wanting because of unfair policies put in place by politicians who would never be affected by the votes they cast.

Today, my daughter is 6 months old, and there is a man as the figurehead of our country who is actively pursuing policies that jeopardize the future I want for her. I am scared for her. I am scared for the millions of men, women, and children, both at home and abroad, who will be negatively impacted by the Trump administration’s plans. 

I am scared, but I don’t have the option of letting that fear paralyze me. I have to be a part of protecting the future I want for my daughter. It’s my responsibility as her mother, it’s my duty as a human, and it’s my need as a sentient member of this planet. 

I was originally going to write, today, about the joy and hardships motherhood has brought me. But what I keep coming back to is that motherhood has taught me how far I’m willing to go, not just for my daughter but for all those I love. Motherhood has taught me how hard I’m willing to work to improve my world. 

Motherhood has birthed the warrior in me.

New Meaning to My Morning Solitude

I live for my mornings to myself. Or rather, I used to. These days, I live for my mornings with my daughter. 

Prior to motherhood, I had a standing appointment with a cup of coffee each morning immediately after my feet hit the floor. I spent a good half-hour watching the sun rise, taking sips of velvety, sweet caffeine heaven, listening to the world wake up.

Giving myself those 20-30 minutes each morning set me up mentally for the rest of the day. Even if I wasn’t exactly looking forward to the day’s events, taking that time in the morning gave me the space to look at the rest of the day and say “I can and I will.”

When I got pregnant, one of the first things to go was the coffee. But I still took that time each morning, replacing coffee with pregnancy tea and the occasional hot cocoa. One of my more selfish fears of motherhood was giving up this precious time, so I cherished each day I got those few quiet minutes alone with my thoughts, especially in the final days before I held Beasty. 

(“Beasty” is an affectionate nickname we gave our daughter while pregnant, one I’ll continue to use to reference her, for anonymity’s sake)

When she arrived, I’ve found I’m still able to take the time I needed; I’m just not spending it in solitude anymore. Sure, I have to multitask and sip coffee while breastfeeding or babywearing, but I still watch the world open up into the day. I still get the quiet moments after the Mr heads to work and before anyone else wakes up. 

6:15 to 7:30am is our time. I’m alone as I’m going to get for the day, and I can occupy my space unabashed. Beasty is still waking up, and her cuddly morning noises and movements are mine alone to enjoy. We listen to some quiet classical music, water the house plants, pet a kitty…

Not being a morning person, these things help me adjust to the cold hard fact that sleeping time is over and my bed holds no dominion over the rest of the day. 

The awkward, first, “who am I” post. 

I am ashamed. In the five and a half months since the day of my daughter’s birth, I’ve written nothing. This has got to change. And in answer to making that change, here is a first post. 

I hate first posts, by the way. It feels uncomfortable, that first post: the one that’s supposed to sum you up as an individual, before getting into the weird and everyday quirks more organically revealed by later posts with a less acute focus on the writer. 

But here we are, without further ado, that cliché initial quandary…Who am I?

I’m an old-souled so-called “Millennial”. But, like so many of my peers, I seek meaning beyond labels and stereotypes.  Like so many both within and beyond my immediate peer group, I see humanity paying the price for mankind’s disregard of humanity. And I seek to be a part of changing that.

I’m a new mom, as of this last July. I had a strong pregnancy, a fulfilling birth, and a healthy baby girl. (The full birth story will surely be an upcoming post.) My partner is a fantastic father, and we both strive to be just that: partners, equals in all areas, working together. Our daughter is the first and last thought in either of our minds each day.

I currently work in mental health in a residential setting. I’ve been doing this for 5 years now, and, while it never gets easy, it is the most rewarding (paid) job I’ve had. That being said, I don’t see it as my end-goal.

I’m working toward a career in birth services, with a midwifery degree as my long-term goal. While mental health has taught me so much and provided me a strong foundation for care work, I feel truly called to birth work. (Details on that, again, will surely be the topic of further writing.)

I live in a large house with lots of property–and lots of animals. Inside, we have 3 cats and 3 dogs of our own, plus the roommates’ pets. Outside, we have a sow named Bellatrix, two doe goats, one buck, and one kid. Plus twenty-something chickens. 

We share our home with my partner’s sister, niece, and mother, as well as two of my best friends and their son. Like I said, it’s a big house. 

In my “spare” time (ha!), I read, write, do yoga, knit, go running, garden, cook extravagant goodies, daydream about owning a Harry Potter-themed coffee/book/bake-shop with my bestie, and hide behind a camera lens. (I swear, I’m not the old lady I sound like.) 

It’s a quiet life, but I wouldn’t trade it.