By: Ryan Beck
I wrote this poem a few months after I had my second son. I think it resonates with me still today. As women we put so much pressure on ourselves to return to our previous physical within an unrealistic timeframe. For me it helped me realize that it is a process. It is a season. I hope this helps new moms.
I am a healing body.
It is my round hips that shake and groove to the music with my children.
My plentiful breasts that have nourished two preemies and kept them healthy.
My strong arms that lift, carry, swing and rock my boys.
My thick thighs that bounce my babes all while I watch their faces stretch with a smile.
The pinches of skin they grasp with their little fingers, the indentations my supple body produces when pressed by their strengthening legs, the smile that these little moments produce, and the giggles that result are the things that make me a happy mama.
I have a man who loves me. His gentle caresses translate between the two of us. He understands the journey.
I am a healing body.
My strong legs that can run for miles will return. My plentiful breasts will shrink. It will be only moments until my firm thighs, stomach, arms, and cesarean scar will only whisper the memory of these early times with my little ones. My body will return. I have to remember.
But right now, I am a healing body.
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By: Ryan Beck
May’s blog is personal but hopefully it will create dialogue for some thought, discussion, and support.
I am a mom of two beautiful boys ages 3 and 16 months. They are the reason I get up in the morning (literally – because they are shouting at 5am that they are ready to start their day). I always knew that I would do everything and anything to make sure they stay happy and healthy. Currently, we are closing some chapters in our lives which include some significant medical issues with my youngest. The first 13.5 months of his life were the scariest moments of mine. My baby #2 was born prematurely via emergency C-section under general anesthesia due to fetal decelerations. He had to be revived and treated with oxygen immediately following delivery (something I learned after reading the delivery notes-since I wasn’t conscious for the event – and yes, having a delivery like that was traumatic). When we got home, he felt different. Since he was our second, my husband and I knew what “newborn fragile” felt like and we aren’t the type to get overwhelmed by the delicateness of a new baby, but baby #2 felt fragile, period. And he was. To make a very, very long story short, our little guy has had multiple procedures and seen teams of specialists at hospitals all over the country from Fargo ND, the Medical University of South Carolina, Boston Children’s Hospital, and finally Mayo Clinic of Rochester MN where we have decided to continue care. No penny went unspent when we needed to travel all over the country to investigate his issues. (Thankfully we sold our house one month prior and dedicated those funds to his medical treatment.)
We live 2000 miles away from any other family members. I am thankful how my husband and I have been able to deal with the chaos together as a team. We get together, share, comfort one another, and create a plan of action to move forward.
I wanted to share my “take away” advice of what I have found helpful dealing with your medically fragile child.
1. ALWAYS TRUST YOUR GUT: I can’t emphasize this point enough. Always trust your mommy/daddy instinct. I knew something wasn’t right with my little guy and I fought my way to get the answers and treatment I felt comfortable with moving forward. I was a Dragon. A certifiable B.I.T.C.H. to get what I wanted and get the appointments needed – right away. Do what you have to do. Get second, third, and sometimes fourth opinions until you feel like no stone went unturned and you got prompt cohesive care for your little one.
2. COMMUNICATE with your Spouse/Partner/Best Friend. It is totally normal to have different reactions to different information being handed to you –especially information regarding your child’s health in the future. But what is vital is taking the time and candidly sharing with your significant other your perspective and what scares you the most about the diagnoses. When emotions are honestly brought to the table, as a couple you are then able to create a supportive plan together for treatment moving forward.
3. SHARE 3 GRATITUDES DAILY. My husband and I do this and it WORKS. We take turns sharing 3 things we are thankful for each day before we go to sleep. When we have been faced with incredibly stressful days, these always had me ending my day with a smile and appreciation of the good things in life. But, I totally get it – days can get shitty. But trust me, even the simplest gratitude sharing can help reshape your mindset. (I remember once, after a very long day, I was thankful for a south facing driveway – even the small things can reshape mindset.)
4. APPRECIATE ONE ANOTHER FOR THEIR INDIVIDUAL ROLE. My husband works very long hours and he provides for the family. I own my own business so I am able to work from home. I am lucky to be able to have this time with the boys and be the one offering them support & comfort. I am usually the one on the phone, making the doctor appointments, going to the local appointments, following up, asking the questions, and creating a sense of normality for both of them. I recognize Keegan and I are two instruments in an orchestra. Although different, our roles are an integral component and vital for our family as a whole.
5. JOKE and SMILE. Make each other smile over the little things. When dealing with medical treatment for your child, everything is serious. My entire demeanor has changed since dealing with this experience. But laughing and smiling are so important. I remember there was one night where we heard something and looked at each other trying to figure out what specific alarm was going off - we had so many alarms in our house hooked up to our little man, when something went off – we weren’t sure if it was a movement alarm, high heart rate alarm, apnea alarm, low O2 sat alarm, fire alarm, or the clothes dryer. It was insane. But at moments like those where becoming overwhelmed would have been easy – it was nice to know we could have a laugh. Because it was ridiculous – we had a ton of alarms!
6. TAKE TIME FOR 1:1 TIME WITH OTHER SIBLINGS. This is really important to me and something that I try and work at every day. When my baby #2 was born, I mourned my one on one time I used to have with my first. But I also craved quiet, lazy newborn snuggles in the bed with baby #2. Neither of those things happened. Having one child with medical needs is exhausting, heart –breaking, and totally consuming. So I try really hard to make the one on one time with baby #1 because that is incredibly important to me. I also try my best to make sure he has a sense of normality with his weekly activities and social events.
7. TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF. Honestly this is something that I struggle with because our life is so incredibly busy. But the days that I do get even 30 minutes to myself to workout – I am a better mom, wife and person. If I could give myself advice – I would say – always take at least 30 minutes for yourself. Hopefully, you may get an hour. Try for an hour.
8. GET RESPITE. If there is a way that your medical insurance/state health care covers respite, get it – use them as a resource. Use them so you can get a break and some help. Talk to your doctor or state worker to see if its assistance and resources are available for your family and how you can contract hours. We are eligible and this is something I regret not taking full advantage.
9. SPEND FUN TIME TOGETHER WITH YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER. As I said before, when dealing with incredibly serious decisions, life can get pretty heavy. Remember to have fun together and enjoy each other’s company. Leaving the house for date night for us was not a reality since I didn’t trust anyone else hooking our little guy up to monitors and his oxygen before he went to sleep. But my husband and I do make time for each other. We cook homemade pizza every Friday night and watch Shark Tank or Dateline. It isn’t glamorous – but I look forward to our Friday nights together all week. Setting aside that time together is a mental reprieve from all the other stressful situations going on.
10. TAKE IT ONE DAY AT A TIME. Stay ahead of the game, but don’t worry too much about the “what ifs”. Focus on positive things you can for yourself and your family one moment at a time and everything will work out. Things do get better. Hang in there.
I have partnered with the doctors that created ProActiv on their new clinical skin care line Rodan and Fields. They are now doing for aging what they did for acne. Rodan and Fields used to be the #1 clinical skin care product in Nordstrom. Products are now only available through private consultants like me. More information about Rodan and Fields:
Cape Cod Mommies is Excited to Welcome the Newest Mom to our Blogging Team: Ryan Beck! Check out her first post of many to come below! We look forward to her stories!
By: Ryan Beck
In 2009, my husband was transferred out of the Army during the new-age recession. We made the bold choice to move from Germany to the Stable-Economy-Mecca: Fargo, North Dakota. We were young and adventurous and our only possessions were the dog and bed. The ‘excitement’ of the Midwest’s unknown allured us (and we were promised only two years max in that location), so we were naively confident in our decision. Flash forward a few very cold winters, stormy, hot summers, and a couple more pieces of furniture: I am now the mom of two beautiful young boys’ ages 15 months and 3 years. Since we live half the country away from our family, like so many others, we have the wonderful privilege of airline flights with our little tykes. Through our extensive experiences, I now know there is a direct correlation between the geographical distance between generations and stress of travel days.
I wish the amount of times we have traveled with our children would make us travel experts. Instead, it still looks as though we just unpacked our Uhaul in front of the ticketing counter. As it probably appears that we are taking everything but the kitchen sink. But to the parents that stand in travel-family solidarity – they know -We quite possibly may have the kitchen sink and will try to have it gate checked with no fee. But the only consistent thing about baggage fees are the inconsistencies with them. We have found that when traveling with children, baggage fees often differ between airlines, travel day, agent, seasonal solstice, and even wind direction.
I am fully convinced that travel days are just tiny, beautiful, moments during our lives where we are given opportunities to build our own character.
This recaps our latest encounter between me and the ticketing agent.
Ticketing agent: “Your bag is 5lbs overweight. You will need to pay the extra weight fee.”
Me: “Excuse me my dear, dear, sweet ticket agent. Your airline canceled my flight yesterday after I had packed up what seems like my entire house, travel crib, double stroller, dissembled and unloaded two car seats (in the snow), waited in the terminal for 8 hours with an excited 3 year old and a 15 month old who wanted to nurse the entire time, an a husband out a vacation day. I therefore had to turn and crush my three year olds excitement and directly turn around, reload the car, head home, and try again at the crack ass of dawn. So now, as I stand here before you with my overtired, hungry, confused, kids, scratching at my legs and calling my name -Are the 5lbs REALLY a big deal?
That fee was waived.
But, let’s rewind time a little. Let me tell you about the travel days before I had children, and even after I had my first until the age of about 2. I would read about the healthy snack choices you can pack to set your child up for success which wouldn’t result in a sugar-crash tantrum. My husband and I brought all the time-consuming activities, coloring books, NEW toys, even an iPad – with all the new apps. Those were great for the immediate moment. But now I can separate my parenting airline travel into 2 distinct chapters: BEFORE the epic all-flight tantrum and AFTER the epic all-flight tantrum.
What embarrassing, challenging, or beautiful breakthrough moment have you encountered during airline travel days? What works for you?
Cape Cod Moms