On Motherhood, Writing, and Baking Therapy
Hello friends! After a three-month hiatus, I’m happy to say I’m ba-ack!! In case you missed my Instagram announcement, our daughter Evie Grace Carl was born the day after Christmas, after 2 ½ long days of labor. (A story for another time…) Three months later, it’s hard to imagine life without our smiley, wiggly, wide-eyed little love, with chubby cheeks that I can’t stop kissing. I take an annoying number of pictures of her, and we are completely in love. She’s amazing.
To say life has changed dramatically would be an understatement. Nothing could have prepared me for just how all-encompassing motherhood is in these early months. It’s such a shock to go from a life of independence – where leisurely strolls and spontaneous late night dinners are the norm – to having a tiny, helpless creature depend on you for literally everything. There was a lot I didn’t know. Like the fact that nearly every part of my body would ache for the first month, or that exhaustion would descend like a thick fog, making everything appear fuzzy and gray. No one told me about the fear that would grip me in the middle of the night as I watched her sleep, hoping she was still breathing. Nothing prepared me for all the tears – of joy or frustration or pure exhaustion – I would shed, or how my heart would nearly explode with love every time I looked at her.
A friend gave me an amazing piece of advice going into motherhood: “Trust your instincts. Let go of expectations.” Best. Advice. Ever. Becoming a mom is all about surrender, and I think the only way to enjoy the process is to let go of expectations and just enjoy the moments. Unfortunately, I totally ignored the bit about “letting go of expectations.” Instead, I somehow thought that by 8 weeks postpartum I’d be cooking healthy meals, have a clean house, that we’d be sleeping through the night and that I’d be back into a pretty regular blogging and work schedule. (HA!)
Let’s just say that none of this happened. What did happen were many meltdowns as I came face-to-face with my own limitations. The fact is, I can’t do it all, and that’s hard to admit. I’ve never had to depend more on family and friends than in the past few months, and it’s been extremely humbling to be on the receiving end of so much generosity. Encouraged by many of your comments on Facebook and Instagram, I’ve really tried to embrace these sweet, fleeting moments with my baby girl rather than trying to rush back to work. I’m trying to treasure the time I have with her in these early days, and not to burden myself with guilt over emails left unwritten or dishes piled in the sink. Thanks to those of you who have shared your stories with me or written me words of encouragement – they mean so much.
To be honest, I've been trying to write this post for a month now, but it's been a struggle to string words together into cohesive sentences. Post-baby sleep deprivation is no joke. But on a deeper level, I've struggled with fear. Fear that I've lost my ability to write. Writing, like anything else, takes practice, and I've feared that after taking such a long hiatus that my voice would be lost. I’m still figuring out who I am – both as a mother and as a writer. I feel like I’m fumbling my way into my new role as mom, while gradually trying back on pieces of my pre-baby self. Like old pairs of jeans, some fit, some not so much.
So, as I always do when I feel overwhelmed, I bake. It’s the absolute best therapy, baking. These chunky oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are my favorite sweet treat these days. They are adapted from a recipe my doula gave me, and are surprisingly healthy – vegan, gluten-free, and chock full of healthy ingredients like flax seeds, coconut oil, dark chocolate, and nuts. I crave them so much that I keep a batch in the freezer at all times. And for all you nursing mamas out there, these happen to be lactation cookies, thanks to the brewer’s yeast, so they’re a great snack for new moms to keep on hand.
Despite all the ups and downs of the past few months, I am excited to get back to blogging. We (and by we, I actually mean my talented husband!) are working on a blog redesign that we’re planning to launch in the next couple of weeks. Brandon has created a beautiful, new, more easily searchable recipe index, new tablet- and mobile-friendly recipe pages (with really cool features I can’t yet reveal yet), and lots more. I cannot wait to share all of his hard work – and to start writing and sharing recipes again. I’ve missed being able to share life with you all!
Thank you for sticking with me through this big life adjustment. Truly, becoming a mom has been the greatest blessing of my life, but it’s also stretched me in ways that I didn’t dream possible. I have such a newfound respect for all the mothers out there, who bring new life into the world, and who love and care for their little ones so selflessly. It’s the best, hardest job in the world, and I’m looking forward to the adventures ahead.