Mama-Crush Monday: Kara M.
When I became a mom last year, I had no idea what kind of impact it was going to make on my life or, my career. Not only did I soften as a coach, but I was finally able understand what my mom, sister, and so many of my friends had been telling me about motherhood and realized what a bunch of rock star, badass women I was surrounded by. However, at the same time, I noticed that not one of them allows themselves an ounce of credit for all they do, who they are, or even really thinks about their role as mama.
Therefore, this week I introduce a new series to my blog: Mama-Crush Mondays. While this serves as way for me to highlight mamas that are spectacular, I'm also hoping to help them see how amazing they are through a series of questions about pregnancy, motherhood, and advice for women who will soon join the ranks.
Although I'm primarily focused on fitness, I want to make it known that my blog is supportive and nurturing to all moms in all aspects of health. And, I strongly believe you must have your head right with the inner so that you can be accepting of the outer.
This week, I would like you to meet Kara. I met Kara through her husband, Matt whom I've known since the ripe old age of 11. Her son Hudson will be three in July and she and Matt are expecting a baby girl in June. I've been a fan of Kara since the moment we met, which is why she ended up as one of my bridesmaids. True to her education and career in psychology and counseling, Kara is as patient as they come and as genuine as anyone I've ever met. When you talk to her, you know she's listening, contemplating, and really choosing the words with which she responds. Watching Kara with Hudson is the epitome of kindness. If you're a mama, her words are bound to resonate with you. Newly pregnant or postpartum- her advice comes from a place of compassion and tenderness, I'm sure you'll enjoy.
1. When you were a younger did you dream about being a mother? What did you see for yourself?
I actually don’t ever remember fantasizing about being a mom. I knew that I always wanted a family, but I think I just envisioned emulating what I grew up with. I don’t remember dreaming about anything beyond what I knew, I just assumed my life as a mom would look the same. But I do know that as I got to the stage of my life where I was really ready to settle down and have a family (late 20’s), I felt very stuck and frustrated that I needed someone else to make that happen. I had definitely imagined being “settled” and having children before I actually did. At the time, I felt like I had no control over who came into my life and when. I learned a lot about manifesting your own reality, and the power of visualization. I asked the Universe for my people. And I got them. I realize now that I needed to go through all of those steps in my life to be the partner and parent that I am today. 2. How did your own upbringing reflect on that dream?
I was very blessed to have been raised by parents that are still married to this day. We grew up with a lot of family trips, family meetings, family traditions…so having an intentional relationship with each member of the family was important. I was never made to feel like I was a burden, or I was unwanted. Thinking back, the only times I recall conflict with my parents were for good reasons. I was a pretty challenging teenager at times. Lord, I hope karma is gentle with me! 3. What discussions did you have about starting a family? Do you remember telling your husband the first time you were pregnant? Was it a surprise or a long-planned event?
Oh, this is good advice: Mamas-to-be, make sure you actually share your baby timeline with your partner! For some reason I expected my husband to read my mind and be on the same page as me regarding marriage and babies and all the big things. Turns out, we actually needed to have a discussion around it. Who knew?! (and this is coming from a counselor…yikes!). We got pregnant the first month of trying. Then I miscarried. We got pregnant again immediately with our son, Hudson. So when trying for baby #2 came around, and it took us 4 months, it felt like eternity. I tried to remind myself pretty consistently that women all around me struggle for way longer than we did to conceive. It helped to knock myself off my high-horse and chill out. 4. What did you love about pregnancy? Hate?
I really loved being pregnant with Hudson. It was a really special transition from a couple to a family. And there is an intimacy that you have with your baby that nobody in the whole world has. They were in your belly, listening to your heartbeat from the inside. Not to say that doesn’t come with challenges. I don’t think “hate” is the right word, but the hardest part about my first pregnancy was being in a totally different life space than Matt. Of course he knew I was pregnant, and was excited to start a family, but that was about the extent of it. He wasn’t living what I was living. Feeling out of sorts, watching your body that you’ve known and had control over for 34 years contort and expand, being kicked from the inside out…these are all things that you can try to explain to someone, but it’s very hard for them to empathize. Pregnancy can be very isolating. I even feel like that in my 2nd pregnancy now. That’s why I think what you are doing with mamas and mamas-to-be is so amazingly important. I sought out a prenatal yoga community that not only prepared us physically for labor, but also gave time to honor the changes and feelings going on for us. A community of women can be so sustaining when you are pregnant. Nothing against men, because bless their hearts they can try to understand, they just don’t. 5. Did you enjoy giving birth?
HA! No. I will leave it at that. 6. What was the transition like when you went from being someone’s child to someone’s parent?
How long did it take you to really get used to the idea?
My appreciation for my own mother quadrupled in my first year of mom-life. All the clichés are true- you don’t understand until you are a parent yourself. I can’t believe I went through 34 years of life without truly understanding how my mom would give her last breath for either of her kids. Once you’re on the other side, the unconditional love for your kid can get pretty overwhelming. 7. What has given you the most joy as a mother? Describe it.
I can’t even read this question without getting tearful. Seriously, it’s happened like 3 times, I keep coming back to it!
I adore being Hudson’s mama. I think to myself ALL THE TIME how grateful I am to be his mom. From the get-go, I have cherished our bed-time routine with Hudson. Even now, at 2.5 years old, putting him to bed brings me so much joy and love. Sometimes it’s joy because I made it through the day without losing my shit, but most of the time it’s joy because it is time we get to hug and kiss and connect with each other. I get to hold him & sing to him while he touches my face with his hands, gives the baby in my belly kisses then tickles my belly button, or puts coconut oil on my elbows to “take care of me”. I know these days are limited, and I just soak them up as much as I can. ALSO - I get joy watching Hudson and his dad together. It’s affirming to be able to sit back and say to yourself, “yea, I chose a good one” as they are dancing half naked around the living room before bath-time. 8. What advice do you have for
a) A woman in her 1st trimester:
Yay, you are pregnant! This is the #1 excuse that I needed to take care of myself. How messed up is that? That I needed an excuse to take care of me? But I did, and I used it. I didn’t over-work myself, I ate really well, I slept really well. I will also add that the first 12 weeks can be full of joy, or for some full of fear. I miscarried before I had Hudson, so when we got pregnant again, we were very cautious to get excited, to buy into it. All I can say is that if you lose a baby, even though it is SO devastating and personal, it is also very common. Reach out. Talk about it. It is healing, and you will find so many women have been in your shoes. b) 2nd trimester:
Enjoy it! This is the honeymoon phase of pregnancy! Your energy kicks back in, hopefully you aren’t feeling sick…and you aren’t big enough to feel super uncomfortable yet. Although I do remember feeling very “out of body” at this time. When that little paunch starts to develop, and your body doesn’t feel like your own anymore. It was very unnerving for me, and I definitely had a few mini-breakdowns. Bless my husband for talking me off a ledge in the middle of some resort in Hawaii after I tripped UP the stairs and started bawling because I felt SO not like myself. Luckily, the 2nd pregnancy has been easier in this respect, probably because I know now what to expect. I just expect to feel like a total lunatic. Semi-kidding. Only on days that end in ‘y’. c) 3rd trimester:
Hang in there. Physically things get harder, but this is also a really important time because the reality that you are about to become a mother sets in. I remember being a bit consumed with the actual labor and birth process, and didn’t spend much time thinking about what comes after. Do all the things you love and that recharge you now- take naps, see movies, paint, spend time by yourself. That time becomes few and far between. d) Just gave birth: