I’m planning this trip to Kentucky to visit my best friend and my mom’s side of the family. We’re all actually from Florida, they just all managed to up and leave towards the same general area. Total weirdos if you ask me. I forgot it’s still winter everywhere else. I don’t know what I’m going to do in the snow. And I’m taking my kids and braving it alone and I’m terrified I might explode.
Both from anticipation and anxiety.
But I am gathering supplies for the Once Upon a Time sampler so I’ll be picking up cross stitch here soon. I actually have half the colors already and the necessary needles, it was just a matter of getting the fabric and an actual hoop to work with. My sister gifted me the pattern for my birthday and I’m really excited to be taking that with me as my way of relaxing while on vacation.
Because let’s face it, vacation isn’t really vacation if your kids are around.
But I’m trying. I was trying a little before, but after all the self love talk from the Birth Without Fear meet-up in Orlando I’m inspired to do a little more. A few of my blogging friends have also talked about finding themselves again in simple joys of life, and it’s a message that’s really starting to stick. I need to take a step back and enjoy things. I’m making “me time” mandatory.
The conference was about so much more than birth and fears circulating birth. It was like a mini retreat for women. A place to open up and have feelings and just be comfortable in your own skin. It was truly amazing
Samantha Bice started the conference off with some amazing insight into what it means to be put in this box of standards and judge others based on our own insecurities. She calls this the “Pursuit of Perfection.” For example, those babywearing photos we never post on social media because our carriers happen to make our pouch pooch out a little more than usual. As if only fit moms are allowed to post photos of their adorable hitchhikers. How silly is it to not post photos of our children based on comparisons we make of ourselves to other moms?
We’re so worried about how our floor looks we don’t post pictures of our smiling kids when the floor is dirty. Yet if you did it, then someone else would surely think “Oh thank God. I didn’t have time to vacuum today either.” That is, if they even noticed. Which they probably didn’t because it’s normal in their house, too. Like Mama Bice says, “Screw the carpet.”
Because perfect doesn’t exist. We’re all beautifully flawed.
When January took the stage I was simply in awe. Here was this beautiful, experienced, genuine woman just putting her heart out there for everyone to see. We talked about birth, about the ideas centered around birth. We talked about what makes a positive birth experience (hint: it’s not the difference between birthing at home and birthing at a hospital) and we talked about how every birth has a purpose.
And of course the babies didn’t care so they were all roaming about being their crazy selves. One reason why people love Birth Without Fear conferences is because they are so baby friendly. It was so relaxing to be able to participate and not worry about what Anders was doing. Obviously I kept an eye on him, but I didn’t have women judging me when he roamed off, stole a toy, and decided he wanted the best seat in the house.
There were a few familiar faces there. I got to reconnect and congratulate one of my old birth network members on her VBAC. I spent a lot of the time, including the lunch break, with a few women from my local babywearing group. It was nice to have an anchor there so I didn’t feel awkward, but I also didn’t feel alone at all surrounded by strangers.
It was a very welcoming experience. I cried my eyes out during the sharing circle. I admitted some things I never vocalized out loud before. And I came home with a renewed feeling of validation.
Meeting January was amazing. There’s only so much you can assume about someone as an online presence. She was only half of what I expected, and had this amazing layer of quirkiness about her. And let me tell you, the woman has jokes.
— Shary Lopez (@attamamashary) March 3, 2014
She also has heartaches and insecurities and empathy for all walks of life. She was a breath of fresh air.
After the conference I spent a few hours with our friends in Orlando. Gaia played with her friend all day, Anders had his baby friend, too. I opened up a little more to my friend, and then I came home to my fiance and collapsed int he comfort of his hugs. It was an emotionally exhausting day, but I’ve had an improved feeling about things since last Friday.
Like I said, the Birth Without Fear meet-up kind of reiterated things I needed to learn about self love and validation. And so my journey to improve my quality of life moves forward. It all starts with spending time on me.
I am a mother, but I am also beautiful. I am important.