hospital

Discriminating Mommies

Let's make motherhood a beautiful thing. Can we learn to support and encourage fellow mamas? rachelaz.com

dis·crim·i·na·tion          noun: discrimination;
1. the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things.
2. recognition and understanding of the difference between one thing and another.”discrimination between right and wrong.”

Prepping for motherhood can be absolutely terrifying. To co-sleep, or not to co-sleep. Wide-mouthed bottles, or traditional… oh wait, should I plan to use a bottle at all?

As a first-time momma, I felt absolutely overwhelmed through pregnancy. I was terrified. Petrified. I was bombarded with all kinds of statistics, opinions, articles, and research on the daily. Nursing, immunizing, birthing, professional care… all the options and arguments circled my thoughts and closed in on my emotions. It was an overwhelming, constant feeling of, “I should be doing more.” And if I’m perfectly honest, I still fight it today.

So, let me just start out by saying that I’m not arguing for or on behalf of a particular parenting topic. But instead, my heart is to hopefully broaden our perspectives and face the real issues.

We live in a society that lives and breathes to replace one idol with another. If it isn’t fame, it’s fortune, or success, or goal achievement, or superficiality, or a certain relationship, or self-improvement, or a particular job position. We’ve become convinced that we are sovereign over our own lives. And while we are indeed responsible for our actions, we’ve lost the freedom that comes with entrusting our Creator with our lives and worshiping Him alone.

We’re bombarded with and constantly reminded of what we don’t have, what we do have, or why we aren’t good enough. We obsess with what we believe in, or the choices we make; to the point that they themselves become a part of our identity.

With one year of motherhood under my belt, I can confidently say that the same struggles come with motherhood.

When we have a good mommy day; we’re great. And when we miss the mark or it’s challenging; we’re miserable. Just like everything else, motherhood can quickly become an idol. And our preferences, routines and parenting styles can easily become a part of our identity.

We allow them to define us and take it personally when people don’t agree with our styles or share similar perspectives. We get bent out of shape over feeding techniques, oils, health standards, professional advice, and physician care.

We allow the real enemy to come between us. And before we know it, it’s high school all over again, full of mean-girl cliques, “she said’s”, peer pressure, and “did you see what she did’s.” It’s silliness. It’s absolutely ridiculous. And yet, I fight it, and have found myself guilty of it many times.

How did we get here? Where did it start?

The older I get, the more I recognize my desperate need for Christ. Comparison, gossip, and judgement are not new tricks. The enemy’s just really good at disguising them. And now more than ever (even more than in high school.) I need Christ.

I need Christ to lead my husband and me as we seek out wisdom. I need Christ when it comes to bridling my tongue against gossip. I need Christ when it comes to guarding my heart against judgement. I need Christ when it comes to loving my family well. I need Christ to silence the voices of insecurity, pride, and selfishness. I need Christ when it comes to encouraging my sisters and fellow mommies.

I need Christ more than motherhood. More than my husband. More than my daughter. More than anything. I need Christ. He alone is worthy of my worship. He alone must be my source.

While I was pregnant, I fought so many feelings of insecurity and judgement when it came to our original plan. We chose a hospital, high risk doctor, and epidural, for Finnley Haven’s birth. I was told all about articles, horror-stories, and statistics which had underlying undertones of fear. Well-meaning people whom I love and adore lovingly tried to me that we weren’t choosing what was best for our daughter. I fought feelings of being judged, bullied, and almost discriminated against.

We didn’t get to our much prayed about “birth plan” due to severe pre-eclampsia at 29 weeks. But I am so very thankful for our doctor whom the Lord led us to. She stayed up all night while I was in critical condition, on her night off. She performed an emergency c-section the following day (on her other day off) and saved our lives– by no exaggeration. We’re also so very grateful for the hospital and incredible nurses who literally kept our little preemie girl alive for her first two months of life. God used our little “plan.” 

I say all this to say, that I understand this is the plan the Lord led us to. It was His sovereign hand on our lives. He led us, and He kept us. So, I mustn’t judge anyone if they’re being led in a different way than myself. Because who am I to know what the Lord has planned for their lives? 

There are risks to all kinds of births and parenting styles. Fear shouldn’t ever be the deciding factor. There is no perfect, fail-proof way to have a baby. Which is why we must put our trust in Christ alone as we seek out wisdom. If you seek the Lord He will lead you. Entrust the outcome to Christ. Trust His best for your family– through the boatloads of articles, opinions, statistics, and options. He has a plan, and He’s not up there freaking out. He is with us.

I love the wealth of information that’s out there, but at a certain point I think the best thing we can do to love our mama friends well is to pray for them, hold our tongues and wait for them to ask us for advice, and be okay if they don’t.

I want to trust that God knows my friends. He will lead my friends in the best path for their children. Just like there’s a reason He made Johnny and I Finnley’s parents; there’s a reason why He chose my friends to parent their littles.

Can we as mamas encourage and empower each other instead of sizing each other up and trying to convince each other of our own personal convictions when it comes to birthing/immunizing/parenting? Can we be a safe place, and extend grace to others when they struggle? Can we lean on Christ while fighting against pride and gossip amongst us? Can we point others to Christ, instead of some article?

Our mission as moms should be to make Christ our foundation, as we seek Him for wisdom and entrust our children to Him. He is good. He is for us. He is with us. 

There’s no easy or perfect way to parent, so let’s do everything in our power to support and encourage our fellow mamacitas. Let’s build each other up in Christ and stop discriminating mommies. Let’s love each other deeply, and make sharing the bond of motherhood a beautiful thing.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. Acknowledge him in all your ways, and he will make your paths straight.” [Proverbs 3:5-6]

xoxo,

   Rachel

Finnley Haven Turns Four Months Old

It feels like just yesterday that our little miracle baby was introduced to the world. Today, we celebrate a very Happy Four Months to our beautiful baby girl, Finnley Haven.

At one month gestation, our little 29 week preemie now weighs five times her birth weight at a whopping ten pounds! As of last week, she’s officially out of her newborn clothes. She’s grown from fourteen inches to twenty-one. And we feel like we have less of a baby and more of a toddler.

Her eyes have miraculously developed 100% normally. After five excruciating eye exams, yesterday, we received the incredible news that there is no trace of blindness and she won’t be needing any surgery! Our God reigns, we are just so thankful! 

In other news… FinnFinn loves staring at the ceiling fan, being passed around by family like a hot potato, snuggling with daddy, bubble baths, and practicing Spanish with mommy.

We’re just so grateful for her life and for all of your continued love, prayers and support! Thank you!

xoxo,

    – RACHEL

NICU Mama Must Haves

As a preemie mama, I know the many ups and downs of the NICU. Our daughter was born three months premature, and we were in the NICU for a total of 60 days. If you're a NICU parent, or have a girlfriend who has a little one in the NICU, I hope my list of practical NICU favourites (in no particular order) helps you.As a preemie mama, I know the many ups and downs of the NICU. So much of it feels like two steps forward; one step back. Our daughter was born three months premature, and we were in the NICU for a total of 60 days. I’m so thankful for the experience because it introduced me to a different kind of faith, and a whole community of momma’s I never would have known otherwise. Below are the items I wish I could’ve found sooner– they’re truly game changers! If you have a preemie, or have a girlfriend who has a little one in the hospital; I hope my list of practical NICU favourites (in no particular order) helps!

xoxo,

    -RACHEL

1. Audrey’s Bear, Customized Name Blankets. NICU’s can seem so stark, cold and impersonal. For under $40, you can have your little one’s name printed on an adorable blanket. It really helped us feel a little bit more at home. When Finnley was first born, I used the blanket as an incubator and pad cover. When she was finally old enough to be swaddled, the blankey’s were the perfect combination of stretchy, snuggly and secure. She’s home now, we get complimented on them often, and they’re still our favourite blankets! *Mention that you saw this post on rachelaz.com and use promo code “NICU10”, to receive 10% off of your order! 

2. Wild Weka Designs, Luggage Tags.  If you’re pumping, most NICUs require you to scan into the parent portal with an ID the hospital gives you to check-in your breastmilk. To speed up the process, I put my parent ID in the luggage tag and attached to my bottle bag so it was always handy. These adorable luggage tags are made from recycled clothing, and are about $7. *Use promo code “RACHELAZNICU10”, to receive 10% off of your order! 

3. Young Living, Thieves Waterless Hand Purifier.  I’m obsessed with hand sanitizer, but I’ve always hated how the alcohol dries out my hands. So I have good news for all you clean-hand-loving-people: this is an all natural, oil based product that actually leaves your hands silky smooth and smelling like cinnamon. True story!  Try it!

4. Lohan Store, Organic, Washable, Cotton Nursing Breast Pads.  I hated wearing special padded bras. With these cute little inserts, you can still wear any of your pre-baby sports bras. Super comfy, nice and airy, 100% organic, super absorbent, and machine washable. win+ win+ win+

5. Pump Log App, by Stefanik. Hands down, the BEST app for pumping mamas. It’s the easiest way for mothers to keep track of milk production. Simply log the amount of milk produced with an optional note. No unneeded features or options clutter the interface. Simple and straightforward.

6. Pack It, Personal Cooler. This little cooler came in handy for transporting breastmilk. Often I’d have to run errends before seeing Finn in the NICU, so it was good peace of mind to know that the milk wouldn’t get too warm. I love these little coolers because they come with a removable, freezable gel lining.

7. Milk Snob, Nursing Kimono. I hated pumping bedside in the NICU because of how often Doctors came in to our little room. I felt uneasy and exposed wearing a “tent” styled nursing cover, or front-opened robe. Forget all that while you pump or breastfeed. This was created for nursing/pumping mamas. Stylish, and comfy, you can wear it over any shirt. Wear it open when not pumping/breastfeeding, or close it by buttoning the front across and on your shoulder.  Best. Invention. Ever.

8. Kiss My Face, Hand Creme. NICU’s call for hand washing– ALOT of hand washing. After washing my hands over thirty times a day, my hands were left painfully cracked and dry. This naturally moisturizing and nourishing hand cream features two of natures best oils: sunflower oil and jojoba oil. It’s phthalate and paraben free with no artificial fragrances, no gluten, no animal testing and no animal ingredients.

9. Day One App. A journal-styled application. I loved using this to keep track of Finnley’s progress, what I was feeling, and photos of the day. It’s a wonderful place to store all of your memories. Once you create a profile, you can log into it on your desktop, or any device.

10. Simple Wishes, Hand Free Pumping Bra. If you’re a pumping mama and don’t have this, your life is about to change forever. It easily secures your pump in place so that you’re free to relax. It has removable straps, and is adjustable in size– using high quality Velcro to sustain a perfect fit over time as a nursing mother’s size changes. Straps and 1” Zip In Center Panel included to help achieve the perfect fit! It’s machine washable. It’s an absolute MUST.

11. Thirty-One Bags, Backpack. So easy to grab and go, this bag offers great hands-free convenience. Put the pockets to work to house all your essentials: pump parts, snacks, everything you need, and boom! You’re set for the day! Plus it makes a great dad-bag after your baby is released to go home! Bonous– there’s an option to embroider so you can add your baby’s initials or last name. So cute!