The Mirrored Impact of Letting Go: The Parent as an Artist, The Child as a Muse

I am sitting at the base of my stairs; my newly 9 month old is on the 3rd step and climbing higher. Every couple of steps his foot slides backwards and every bone in my body lurches towards him in hopes of saving him from a devastating fall. I want to prevent his tears, but I know that to be his teacher, I must be a present and supporting figure on HIS journey. And so, I once again bite my tongue and let him climb, waiting and watching in silent praise. By the last few steps, he has achieved an easy and smooth pace with very little slips. He is already so different from the baby I knew at the first step. He is brave, confident, fluid. He trusts his body. He trusts the learning process.

He is incredible. I am amazed.

I think back on the times of my youth when I was ‘saved’ from a possibly negative experience, or pushed into an activity where I was told I would thrive, even though I expressed my disinterest. I wonder: did I know myself better when I was a baby than I do now? What anxieties do I have now that I learned from someone trying to protect or save me?

I am learning from my baby, Julian, how autonomy really manifests itself. I am an artist, inspired by my 9-month-old muse in his natural state. I am learning to be a listener from his communication skills. He is learning to listen from mine. We are two people learning to coexist, with a muted sense of verbal skills and our intuition and hearts as guides. This is parenting.

Previously, I felt that raising a child would be him adhering to my rules. I would be responsible now for the health and happiness of another human. He NEEDS me. And yet, every day is another lesson in how much he does not need me. Very few years of his life will be spent in my care, under my roof, following my rules. Then he will be on his own, and I will have to trust that I did everything ‘right’: That he is a functioning adult, capable of making his own decisions, saying ‘no’ when his gut tells him so, taking calculated risks, and learning how to take comfort in a community that loves him.

So, I hold back, I wait and watch. I learn who he is, what is limits are, and I graciously (and sometimes sternly) offer my input when he asks with his sweet eyes,

Mom, can I put my finger in this electrical socket?

F, no. But thanks for checking in.

And I go find the outlet cover so we can have the electrical safety conversation when he shows me that he has a better scientific grasp on the concept of electricity. He is still a baby, after all.

The muse may inspire, but the artist paints the picture. We are that for each other. Artists and Muses. Children and Parents. Connected, coexisting humans.

12 Common Postpartum Experiences That We’re NOT Talking About

The postpartum period comes with many emotions, challenges, and experiences for the new mother. For many post-birth individuals, they can feel a little overwhelmed with the life-long responsibility of their beautiful human. Don't get me wrong, it IS amazing, but it is also weird and a little terrifying. So while you are trying to keep it together with your new bundle of joy and poop (lots of poop), remember that you are not alone.


We are blessed with so much information on the prenatal experience: How to treat our growing bodies, keep ourselves in shape, and what to expect when the little human makes their entrance by way of your body. However, the postpartum education we receive can be less in-depth and focus mainly on how to care for your new baby. For some, this can leave them with a sense of confusion and ‘Am I the only one?’ syndrome. So to combat those feelings and stand with you in long-distance solidarity, I have compiled a list of 12 common things you MIGHT expect during the immediate postpartum period.

PP Hair Loss:

Your hair normally grows and sheds in cycles, but during pregnancy your hormones stops that shedding from happening, which can create long, luscious locks where you never expected. When your postpartum body begins regulating those hormones, it catches up and you begin to shed again. This can lead to some dramatic hair loss around postpartum month 3. It isn’t forever, though. Your hair will start to grow back around month 6 as your cycle balances out. Until then, take it easy on your scalp. Moisturize and help that new hair come in smooth and silky.

That Milk Smell:

Have you ever noticed that your breast milk smells sweet and delicious like honey, maple syrup, even a whole bakery? It is a little technique that your body uses to attract your baby to the breast and help you to enjoy breastfeeding a little more. But it might just be you and your baby that think you smell delicious, so don’t feel bad if no one else wants to nuzzle up to the boob. It isn’t theirs anyway.

Night Sweats:

These are especially common in the first few nights after having baby, particularly if you received IV fluids during labor. Wear some light clothing and blankets to regulate that temperature. This too shall pass.

Contractions When You Pee:

“I thought the contractions were done!” I know. But your uterus is still shrinking back to its normal size and relieving that bladder can cause some unwelcome cramping. Take some deep breaths and pee often to alleviate some of that discomfort.


Oh, Wombyn. When that first poop comes around Day 3-4, you might feel like you are having another baby. Rest assured it's just all of that backed up poop. Some people experience constipation from pain meds during and after birth, sometimes it just comes from the fear of pushing and popping stitches (if you received any). Dip into those comfort measures: Turn off the lights, turn on some warm water, and breathe deep. Some people can benefit from stool softeners (NOT laxatives), but talk to your care provider before making that trip to the drug store.


The more you move, the more you bleed. Light postpartum bleeding is very common; although most providers will tell you that if you soak a pad in less than 2 hours to let them know ASAP. Take it easy on your body.

Diastasis Recti:

Thinking you are ready to go back to the gym, but you feel that funky separation down the center of your abs? That is called Diastasis Recti and it doesn’t get better by doing crunches. Some people consider belly binding after baby helpful in pulling those abdominal muscles back together. If you do go back to working out make sure that you consult a personal trainer and your provider to help you modify your exercises so that they support your core and allow your body to get stronger the right way.

Baby Blues:

YES, it is normal to cry for no understandable reason, even late into the postpartum period. The change of having a baby is hard. Your body is different, your heart is different, and your hormones are WAY different. It gets better, but if it doesn’t…

Postpartum Depression and Anxiety:

Please don’t feel shy or embarrassed about reaching out to your care provider, your partner, friend, mom, doula, therapist if you feel like you might be experiencing emotions and feelings out of the ordinary. You are not alone. PPD affects 1 in 9 women and even though it is common, seeking out your care provider and a counselor is imperative to your health and it is NOT something you should try to handle alone.

Weight Fluctuation:

Sometimes, especially with breastfeeding, you can experience dramatic weight loss after birth OR you can hold onto that weight even after regulating your diet and exercise. This is one of those times where your hormones can dictate what your body does and as baby grows and everything regulates back to normal, you can experience a better balance of your weight management.

Being Super Horny:

You just had a baby and you want to make MORE? RIGHT THIS MINUTE?! Yeah, that happens. Biology is weird like that. That rush of oxytocin after baby can get those sexy feelings going faster than a back massage and dark chocolate. But let your body HEAL before having sex again, please. As my midwife, Susan Taylor, LM, CPM said to me, “Anytime you think about having sex again before you get the all-clear, just remember: UTERINE INFECTION.” Trust me, it’s worth the wait.

Never Wanting to Have Sex Again. EVER. AS LONG AS YOU LIVE:

So maybe you aren’t riding the love boat like above. You don’t feel like yourself, let alone your sexy self. Maybe you are exhausted, or you are finding it a delicate balance being a mom and being a "super bangin' beautiful goddess" (My personal definition, but please substitute with whatever works for you). That is alright, too. Finding time to be centered and intimate with yourself or your partner in very basic ways before you get to intercourse is just fine and perfectly normal. Get back to the basics and the rest will follow. If you ever feel like you are “letting your partner down”, it is a great lesson in communication to let them know how you are feeling. Maybe they are feeling the same way and want to better support you. If you are a partner reading this make sure you are going above and beyond to be honest about how you feel so that everyone is on the same page. It makes you a better couple and it makes you better parents.


If you are feeling like you are experiencing any of these things, normal or not, please consult with your provider for the best tips on how to care for yourself. And please, take it easy! You spent 9 months getting to this point, you need at least 9 months to get back to 'normal'.


DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical professional. This information comes from personal experience, the experiences of my clients, evidence-based research, and anecdotal evidence. If, at any point during your pregnancy or postpartum period you have a question or concern, please contact your care provider for medical support.

5 Ways Your Partner Can Support Your Breastfeeding

What does a partner have to do with breastfeeding, anyways?! As a breastfeeding person, you might be feeling exhausted, emotional, and stinky. On top of that, you are responsible for feeding a growing human. It is an amazing gift our bodies are given, but it takes hard work and dedication.

For you non-lactating partners, you may be wondering how to be your best cheerleader in this journey. Maybe you see how hard your partners are working and want to do your best to support you. Maybe (if you are anything like my partner), you are feeling a little left out in the feeding game. After all, this might be the first time you get to feel really active in the parent role.

So this one is for YOU, Partners!

Here are some great ways to support your lactating love through the journey that is breastfeeding.


1 – Water

It is so important to stay hydrated when breastfeeding. Ounces of liquid are literally being produced and drained out of a human at a wild rate. It can leave a life giver with some serious dry mouth. Like stuck in the dessert, panic is setting in, seeing mirages kind of dry mouth. When your partner sits down to nurse, make sure that you bring some ice-cold water in a no-spill container. If it’s empty, refill. Even at night. No. ESPECIALLY at night. I personally remember going through a 32oz cup of water every nursing session, every 2hrs, ALL. NIGHT. LONG. Yup, please do the math on that. Then call my husband to confirm.


2 – Food

A mama’s gotta eat! Amidst the diaper changes and naps, it’s hard to get a healthy meal in. The only downtime in the first couple of months is while nursing. So put together a plate of a delicious snack of healthy fats, proteins, and greens. Preferable one that can be eaten with one hand. If you are having a hard time putting together a healthy meal for your partner because you spent 9 months on midnight runs for cravings, just remember: What goes in to her, goes into your babe. They need healthy nutrients to support their immune systems and growing bodies. It’s also a great way to feel a part of the feeding process as you diversify your baby’s palate. Maybe Salmon is on the menu for baby’s nursing meal?


3 – Make Them Comfortable

Not enough support? Grab a pillow. See her going to sit down? Grab that My Brest Friend or Boppy. A little chilly? A light blanket goes a long way. Turn on that Netflix show your partner wants to binge watch. MAKE. THEM. COMFORTABLE. Breastfeeding is reliant on how relaxed a body is so that it can produce a letdown to feed baby. Not to mention in the beginning a breastfeeding session can last 45min-1hr, sometimes longer if they are cluster feeding. Nobody wants a stiff neck, arms, and back from nurturing their human. Make ‘Comfort Master’ your new title.


4 – Support Safe Co-sleeping

This one comes with a lot of disagreements and confusion if you are hesitant about co-sleeping or bed-sharing. I am not a medical professional and every family situation is different. Are you a heavy sleeper, smoker, drinker, or have pets that sleep in the bed? Maybe bed-sharing is not for you. But for many breastfeeding families, this is one of the best ways to get rest AND feed baby on-demand. If you have assessed your home situation and have decided co-sleeping is not for you, then make it your priority to go get baby from their room when they wake and bring them to and from your partner for nursing. Yes, with a diaper change in there, too.


5 – Keep Baby Awake

One of the hardest things in the beginning with breastfeeding is how long a baby should nurse for. Many times, baby gets ‘milk drunk’ and falls asleep faster than they can get a full nursing session in. This can lead to baby not gaining enough weight and milk supply not keeping up with baby’s demand due to a breast that hasn’t been fully emptied. Take an active role in your baby’s nursing session by keeping your sweet babe awake. It can be tickling feet or smiling at baby over your partner’s shoulder. If you have a heavy sleeper that is harder to keep awake you can hold on to baby’s arm and pump it back and forth or take a wet rag (room temp) and wipe their back to keep them awake. In dire times I have even taken my glass of water and held it to my baby’s feet just to keep those eyeballs open. You gotta do what you gotta do.


Of course, it is important to remember that communication with your partner is key. Maybe they don’t need help with one thing but they might need support in another area. These are some basic ways to help make that nursing experience even better so that your partner can do it for even longer. You are making a big change in your baby’s growth by supporting the amazing person who is feeding them.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical professional. This information comes from personal experience, the experiences of my clients, evidence-based research, and anecdotal evidence. If, at any point during your pregnancy or postpartum period you have a question or concern, please contact your care provider for medical support.