i'm not chelsea.

collector of thoughts, images, and cats

bath time.

i told myself before Forest was born that i would capture more moments with my big camera. my iphone for sure has a ton on it, but it’s kinda special when i get out my DSLR. in honor of his 9mo photo memory, we did a bath time shoot! simple. clean. white. my heart.

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nine months.

happy nine months my sweet boy. you were inside of me for 39 weeks and five days and have been earth side for 39 weeks and 2 days now. that’s insane and a little heartbreaking. you’ve now almost been a real person and apart from me as long as it took to build you. you don’t feel like a baby anymore; you feel more like your own little person. while i beam with pride and joy, i also weep because you’re not so tiny and new anymore.

personality // everyone who stops us in public tells us that Forest has thoughtful eyes. We definitely think that his personality is reflected through his eyes as he’s sweet and quiet and a little bit hesitant. He likes to flirt with white blonde women and loves guys with beards. he also looooooves other babies, especially girl babies. we think that he’s going to grow up to be a serious man with a hidden sense of humor. he (naturally) enjoys trying to play with things he shouldn’t like phones and remotes and outlets and cat tails – his favorite toys are not toys, but kitchen utensils and trash. daddy plays drums and dances to get forest to sleep while momma nurses and snuggles. his favorite place is target and he loves crowds but doesn’t love people touching and talking to him. he’s more of an observer (like his parents)!

stuff & things // since our actual well visit isn’t until next week, i’ll make an educated guess on his stats. 22# and 28in long? maybe. let’s see how good of a judge i am! He’s actively rolling around and scooting and pushing up from a lay down position to sitting. For someone who can’t quite crawl yet, he sure knows how to get where he’s going. He’s also babbling! Nothing purposeful except he’s given us a few momma and dada bursts while lifting his hands and looking at us. that goes in small doses. car rides are hit and miss – it really depends on how tired he is at the time or if he’s too hot or not (runs hot and hates sweaters). he’s also gotten a lot more ticklish this past month especially on his tummy, underarms, and his thighs. food is his favorite thing. ever. EVER. he is happiest with a full tummy and will eat anything and everything.

parents // this last month has been a long one – gearing into the holiday season and adapting to a lot of people things. we are living our daily life and trying to work hard so forest can have a good babyhood. without getting into too much detail online, there are a lot of pain in the ass people causing us a lot of pain in the ass issues and if you’re one of those people and you’re reading this – back off. we are dealing with a lot of new changes in our lives and you’re not helping. actually if you’re reading this and you know someone with a baby, the best thing you can do is quit being controlling and busy and ask them IF they need help and DO WHAT THEY SAY. now is not the time to be selfish and bossy.

on&off.

While I’m not extremely thrilled to be sharing this photo, I’ve come to better terms in accepting that it is what it is – errr, it is what I’ve made it into AND it’s my body! the one that created and carried and birthed a real little baby. I’ll be honest, I’ve not had/made time to go to the gym *sorry, it’s not my greatest priority right now even though it’s something i’ve been meaning to do* but I do try to eat well and stay as “active” as I can with all things considered. That’s why I want to share about this and write out my experiences. Maybe there is another mom out there in the same boat who might not feel so alone. Maybe.

Once I became pregnant, I did worry about the weight gain aspect. I have had a lot of “experience” with eating disorders and body image dis-morphia, so I was concerned. I was honest and open about my feelings regarding this topic and was made to feel shameful by a lot of people with comments like “you should just be thankful you can carry” and “you’re having a baby. that should be the least of your problems.” but IT IS A PROBLEM. and it is a concern to a lot of moms and IT’S OKAY for you to feel that way. It took a while for me to accept that and to not let other people’s bitter comments put me down. There were a lot of supportive comments and those meant the world, which helped me see my body as a beautiful thing capable of growing life and less as a failure for maintaining a trim figure. Anyway, I worried and was concerned but stayed as active as possible. I exercised, hiked, mountain-stuff, walked, ran until I was put on pelvic rest and was advised that I couldn’t do anything. For me, that was hard to accept. I was excited to be an active pregnant woman and to keep my body trim throughout, but after being told that I couldn’t do more than walk and to limit that, that’s when things got hard. I’ll be honest… it REALLY sucked. Arnold and I were used to going hiking every weekend and the placenta previa and bleeding and pelvic rest instructions were a lot to take in. Aside from walking, I didn’t do much. I felt like a huge pile. The only thing keeping my spirits up was knowing I was protecting my baby. After that, I noticed that my metabolism changed and the weight literally just started adding on.

During one of my prenatal visits, the nurse told me I needed to watch my weight and that I was putting on more than they advised. I couldn’t handle that and broke down. What was I supposed to do? I wasn’t eating much due to morning sickness and food aversions and couldn’t exercise much, so I felt really terrible. They tell you that “normal” pregnancies usually gain around 35 pounds and I had already gained 35 by the middle of my second trimester. In total, I gained almost EIGHTY POUNDS. I went from 118 – 195 and every time I weighed myself I would get really depressed and feel so ashamed of myself. Thankfully I have a really supportive husband who reaffirmed how much the weight didn’t matter and I was healthy (you know, minus the queso and pancake cravings…) I also, admittedly, reached a point where I was like “Well fuck it. Eating is literally all I can do, I don’t have gestational diabetes, and hopefully my metabolism will come back… so might as well.” PLUS everyone feeds you like you’re eating for two (not a momma and a 4# growing baby but like two 300# grown men).

Once Forest was born, i lost about twenty pounds immediately after birth. I felt so good! I also remembered all the comments about breastfeeding helping you lose weight, so i was really pumped about that. Six weeks comes around and i’m already down a total of 50# – you guys. i lost fifty pounds in six weeks and was feeling amazing! Kinda, anyway. BUT THEN i got the damned Mirena and haven’t been able to lose much since (even though i ended up getting the Mirena out around 12 weeks postpartum because my body started rejecting it… but that’s another story). and considering the few pounds i’ve lost from about 12 weeks postpartum, breastfeeding has not helped me lose weight.

and now – nine months postpartum, i don’t have my body back. Most likely i will never have my pre-forest body back and that’s awesome. My hips shifted to create the perfect cradle while he grew from a ball of cells to a beautiful baby. My skin stretched and my muscles spread to adapt to his many changes. My breasts changed because they fed (and are feeding) my baby through his infant and newborn stages. My body retained some extra fat as a store to provide milk for just in case situations. Im 5’7 and was 118# before getting pregnant. I wore a size 0/2 and honestly, that was probably not healthy for my size. Currently I’m 135# and wear a size 6! I feel healthier and stronger than before and have to remind myself that those stats are only numbers. I’m still nourishing Forest with my body and have heard that some women drop the rest of their weight after weaning, but we will see! Meanwhile i’ll enjoy my pancakes and chinese food and fruit and veggies and anything else and focus more on my baby instead of my body. It’s okay to worry about how you look, but don’t let it overwhelm you.

All excuses aside, these are my feelings – BUT i am not the same person anymore that i was a year ago. I really did spend a lot of time on unnecessary thoughts worrying about what i looked like, which is extremely vain. i should have spent a lot more time falling in love with my body during my pregnancy. a lot of women spend a lot of time feeling bad about their birth experience and i feel bad about the way i looked at myself during the growing experience. everyone is different. Arnold and i are only having one baby and i do regret worrying about getting fat more than looking down thinking “holy shit. this is really awesome. i grew a person from scratch!” I won’t get that back, but thankfully i’m almost there now. i look at photos of myself while pregnant and i don’t see how gross i look. i see myself beautiful and glowing and creating life.

remember. the only postpartum body that

thankful.

this thanksgiving was special because it was our first as a family of three. last year little bear was inside of my tummy (enjoying the feast that way) and this year got to enjoy the feast for himself! our yearly kyaw tradition is a duck and we make random side dishes. it’s definitely not the most fancy or busy of meals, but it’s us and cute and quiet and for that i’m most thankful. holy run on sentence. We had three and a half days together, which is awesome because we don’t spend a lot of time together otherwise. no one else. lots of shopping. lots of food. and lots of love. i truly am blessed.

eight months.

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remember when Forest was seven months and i had a melt down because he was a big boy and no longer a baby? yeah. add more to that and expect it to keep coming because… he’s just more now. and next month he’ll be 9, which means he’s spent just about the same time out as it took to cook him. and. i can’t. even. 😭

personality // everyone always tries to pin characteristics of Forest on either me or Arnold, which i suppose is super natural to do – example “oh he definitely gets this from his dad // that is so something you would do” BUT the coolest thing about creating a human from scratch is that he’s his own. person. he does things only Forest does because he’s unique and amazing and a little ball of the most perfect ever. and that’s what i love. his uniqueness is also what reminds me to chill out and not read into baby advice too much or compare him to others. Forest babbles and laughs and shrieks and screams and makes all the noises. it sounds like he says mama and dada but no context yet, so i don’t think it counts. he loves ALL FOOD and hates the car. i think i would rather have him be a pickier eater and love the car if i had to choose… we are in the car a lot and the screaming is just no fun. but to each their own! he thinks sounds are funny and only likes being tickled on the stomach and armpits if he’s in a good mood. His favorite toy is daddy’s keys (mommas set has bear spray on it) and the outdoors are his favorite. he also loves the kitties and is “learning” everyday to be gentle. he also is the WHINIEST sob there ever was (maybe. i’m also not around babies at all before him) and sometimes i just about die from the insanity it brings me. i wonder how bad i’ve messed him up for him to be so bitchy, but then i try to be positive and think “maybe he does this because he loves me and that’s how he communicates.” but OMG why can’t he communicate in happy little coos instead of the annoying whine sounds. ugh. i also am guessing this means he will be a genius. you never know right? his need for independence but also the cling in him is so very strong. someday i know he will be fully competent, but i love that he needs me.

stuff & things // Everyday, it seems like his arm and leg rolls are disappearing. my squishy baby is turning into a lanky boy and my heart can’t handle it. He still fits into his 3mo sweaters but 9 pants fit him because he’s long (still far too big). we think he will be skinny and lanky like his parents – FYI both arnold and i are 5’7″ and pretty tiny for our genders so if i could take a stab in the dark, i would guess forest will be too. He wants to crawl so badly but only rolls around and twists or pivots to get what he wants. he can go into tummy position from sitting and gets frustrated because he can’t move anywhere. i am still breastfeeding with high hopes to making it to one year and we are still doing baby led weaning. he eats everything. he even ate a whole lemon. he LOVES meat and goes nuts over bacon. the prune packages are his favorite. he inhales them (those are used to help him poop because he gets mad when he can’t poo). we gave him coffee (sue me) and he LOOOOVED it and now goes nuts whenever he sees a mug. he’s a little helper and loves to be involved in whatever we do. i’m not sure how much he weighs or how long he is but we will find out soon!

parents // what’s new with us? just about nothing. the past 8 months have been a lot of us putting our relationship on hold while tending to a very needy baby. but again, that’s okay. we cosleep and coparent and co-everything. some days i just want to be able to give arnold a big long hug without forest seeing and getting jealous that he’s not involved. that’s the type of baby we have. HELP ME. We work and we work and we missed out on halloween and for that, i still feel guilty. We actually made a lot of progress with our financials and without getting into too much details… it was hard but so good. things are getting better. we talk about colorado all. the. time. the feelings we have about missing it are comparable to the worst break up ever… except we’ve never been with anyone worth being sad about so idk 😂 but i imagine colorado feeling like how a broken heart would feel. mark my words! we will move back! we have five year goals. and for those of you who still ask – NO WE ARE NOT HAVING ANOTHER BABY. EVVVVERRRRR. STOP ASKING. ITS RUDE AND YOU ARENT PAYING. i’m sure i’m dramatic, but just don’t.

this month has been a whirlwind!!! on to the next. 🖤