Week 7

February 21, 2011

It’s hard to know where to start. I’ve been doing and thinking about all kinds of things – not to mention getting into the rhythm of being a mama. Isn’t he just the most precious little man? We spend so much of our time all up in this little guy’s grill, you’d think he’d want some space, but he just started smiling at us. This morning he smiled at each of us for at least a minute and right now he’s in his bouncy seat smiling at the globe lights and bookshelf.

I had my 6 week check-up with the midwives (I say “wives” even though Karen is technically a nurse because she ended up being such a ray of sunshine and there for more of my labor than Christina only because it ended much sooner than any of us could have predicted) on Friday. I think all three of us were surprised at the change in my demeanor. I told them I intended to not go back on the Lexapro and was already taking Vitamin B to help stave off depression instead.

Quick aside: it’s something you might consider adding if you are currently on an anti-depressant and don’t like the way it makes you feel. I never did. I was lethargic and had (sorry, TMI) NO libido to speak of. Not that, at 7 weeks post-partum, there is still any to speak of. Anyhoo… B3, or Niacin, can be taken in large doses (water soluble) without hurting you and I have found it makes a huge difference in even a short amount of time if I am feeling depressed, which I do when I get tired. Obviously, don’t just go off your anti-depressant, please, without professional consultation. My psychiatrist kind of gave me the freedom to use or not use the Lexapro at my own discretion in the middle of my pregnancy. I’m just saying…vitamins are good!

I think, overall, I am much happier not pregnant even with the lack of sleep. I keep telling people and writing in my journal (snicker) that I feel like I have a new lease on life. It was not what I expected at all. I thought everything would seem that much harder and that I’d give up on anything but the bare minimum. On the contrary, I have created some goals for myself that have started to be more than just daydreams! I’m hoping to write about my progress with these goals here as the months progress.

Goal #1 is integral to everything I want to achieve as a person and we want to achieve as a family. I may have written about it before and it would take too long to go into all of the details, but it can be summed up pretty easily by saying  that we want to eat real food as a family and stop eating things that aren’t food in ways that aren’t communal. It sounds simple and it is simple, but it requires a major shift in attitude and practice. Simple but not easy. Having a baby has made this so much more immediate. To some of you who are reading this, it might be obvious what I’m fighting against because you yourself have had to change things to make this choice. I welcome your advice.  Many of my thoughts can be traced back to my reading of better thinkers than myself: C.S. Lewis, Neil Postman, and this lady – who says much of it a lot better than I can in her own blog. However, here are some of the things I’ve found it necessary to be honest about before moving on:

1. Action is action. Day-dreaming isn’t.The nitty-gritty of child-rearing has started to teach me that in order to get anything done, you just have to do it. I am guilty of having been a chronic postponer. I have often had the mistaken impression that I would be able to somehow “get it all done” in one day. For some few things this worked once in awhile and so I think I counted on it working for big-picture things as well. Recently, I started saying to myself, “Jenn. If you want to *someday* have a family that sits down to dinner together every night and you don’t want your children to watch television or to have it as part of your household, that will necessitate you a) cooking and b) getting rid of television. Why would you think that if you aren’t doing those things NOW you will someday magically do them when the *family* is in place? Does Gilead not already count as your family?” I have had a real wake-up call about media and how I’ve chosen to spend my time, including already having to repent of making my baby wait to eat so that I could turn on a show to watch. I know. Detestable. What started as a way to take my mind off of the pain of nursing ended up already separating me from loving my child. So…to put my money where my mouth is, I have actually begun to plan meals and really shop for groceries (not something I did before to any great degree) and we have (once again) gotten rid of Netflix (which we were “borrowing” anyway, and abusing. Sorry Megs.)

Argh! Not only is this SO HARD for me, having accustomed myself again to tuning out the world in my young-adulthood, but I find that obeying God in this way has brought me blessings which, don’t get me wrong are still blessings, are nevertheless MORE WORK. Case in point:

2. Natural childbirth, which is something I wanted and which God blessed me with, has opened up a whole new realm of health-related facts which I would just as soon ignore because to embrace them requires a lot more sacrifice and work. So, if sugar is not food and processed grains are not food and pre-packaged meals are not food and feedlot meat isn’t food and I have now seen countless documentaries about this whole food vs. not food thing and talked to several health-care professionals who have treated me with so much dignity and respect whose lives are revolved around teaching people this distinction and thereby HEALING them of chronic diseases, I can’t NOT respond to that by wanting to do what they do. It’s like salvation: once you know the truth, going back to sinful ways requires a whole lot of cognitive dissonance. Now that I know how eating things which aren’t food affects me, why would I ever do it again? Let us be clear: I DO do it, but it means something way different now. There’s a whole other discussion about how choosing to eat real food in this country limits one’s social activities, but suffice it to say that I can’t ignore this anymore at home and feel good about what I’m feeding myself and my family. Especially since we are STILL seeking an answer to Henry’s 6 year battle with chronic fatigue and in the words of Dr. Zumhagen (our new family Dr. whom I LOVE), “when you heal your gut, your body heals itself.”

Goal #2 is a bit more fun, although pursuing it has required me to actually get up and do some things about it which, as much as I love to make things, has not always been my strength. It is to use my creative talents. I have finally registered my business in the state of Illinois and am a taxpayer – or will be whenever I make some money. Also, I am going to apply for a booth at the Wheaton French Market this summer!!! I am!!! I’m not sure which thing I will sell. It probably won’t be jewelry because of the large amount of jewelry-makers already at the French Market. I think it might be Mei Tai baby slings and various upcycled baby and nursing clothes because by then I will STILL be in the thick of trying to figure out how to feel somewhat pretty while wearing clothing in which I can discreetly nurse.

These are a few sketches I made of ideas which literally keep me up after the 4a.m. feeding with excitement. Don’t ask me why.

This is my inspiration board for clothes I’d like to try out for myself before I unleash my shaky sewing skills on the public. My main goal is to make a gathered skirt for myself for Easter when Gilead is getting baptized.  For some reason I’m really into gathered skirts right now.

Lastly, here are some photos of weeks past. He’s so much bigger and chubbier now. I can’t stand how fast it goes.

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12 Responses to “Week 7”

  1. sarah smurf Says:

    1) Can Gilead have our picture taken together, both of us in our camo sweatpants?

    2) I’m so excited about all of your endeavors!!! Seriously, sitting here in my cubicle and reading about you having a both at the French Market and all of your clothing ideas makes me wiggle some (literally–that’s how pathetic it can be to sit in a tiny cube) and feel energized!! I can’t wait to see more and more of it all unfolding!

    lerv you and the G!

  2. sarah smurf Says:

    *Can Gilead and I…

  3. Mari Says:

    Love, love, love Goal #2. (Goal #1 is so virtuous, but I am trying to stay in the “ignorance is bliss mode for the moment.) We are desperately in need of nursing friendly tops that still look pretty. I am going to a wedding in March and I have no clue what to wear (aside from a flowy dress that I just hike all the way up.) Another thing I would love to see? Something comfortable to wear on the bottom on hot days when you are playing with your kid on the ground. I normally wear skirts on hot days (shorts look terrible on my thighs), but skirts are no longer practical. If you have any inspiration here, I’m sure you could make mega bucks. Can’t wait to see what you create.

    • jswankdesigns Says:

      Oh boy do I ever feel you! It takes me back to this summer which was beastly hot and I was pregnant and babysitting. Ugh. Warm weather solutions are key. One way of fixing the problem has been wearing gathered skirts which still cover everything when you sit “Indian” style. I have one that falls below my knees that works this way. I haven’t made sketches yet, but I have some ideas for jersey knit separates with cute “short” pants and long tops (nursing friendly, of course). So I’ll have to try it out! And yes, my whole goal is to make some dresses I wouldn’t have to literally get naked to nurse in, LOL! Do you have a particular style you like. I know you love red. 🙂 If it’s easy, I’ll see what I can do!

      • Mari Says:

        Your ideas sound lovely! Gathered skirts, good thinking. I can’t wait to see the gorgeous things you come up with.

  4. Gregg Zigler Says:

    The real-food part of goal #1 reminds me of some friends in Overeaters Anonymous. For them, it’s no sugar, no processed grains, and maybe one more thing. They still can socialize. At potluck dinners, they just bring their own food. They are able to eat at restaurants that serve fresh salads. Sadly, they cannot eat at McDonald’s any more. 🙂

    • jswankdesigns Says:

      LOL. So sad. Yes, I think this diet is catching on all over the country. There are a lot of forms of it but I think you hit on the main tenets. Hopefully if enough people start to demand this, we’ll get more restaurants serving this kind of food!!

  5. emily Says:

    found your blog via facebook and i have to say – yes, i absolutely understand! Esp. #1 of #1 – I’ve begun to learn that with a baby, too. Media-wise, creativity-wise, life choices-wise. Will enjoy seeing your mei tais if you sell them online (better check your etsy and see…) and I love the gathered skirts.

    • jswankdesigns Says:

      Thanks Emily! I have all these ideas for the mei tais, so I’ll have to get started soon. 🙂 God bless you in all your own endeavors. The day to day is just so up and down isn’t it?

  6. Henryhead Says:

    Honey, I just love you and all of your creative flair and love for our family!

  7. Shelley Says:

    put me down for a skirt when you are ready to test out on the masses. I neeeed a fun summer skirt and want handmade (plus, anyone who could do it to my measurements gets brownie points, fairy dust, and chocolate in the mail. I’m built weird.)


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