Like the sun, Lulu beams goodness. Her road to becoming mama, while long, was filled with healing, strength, and love. From a late-stage miscarriage to the birth of her son Wilder, this ray of light has beautifully settled into the rhythm of new motherhood. Here, she shares her thoughts on processing loss and making the most of our collective timeout with Mother Earth. Plus, breastfeeding to bottle, the First 40 Days, laughing on the reg, why community is more important than ever, and the simple rituals that brighten her day. @ladyluofthewolves
“For the first time in years I was finally able to take a deep breath the day Wilder was born.”
In 2018 I was pregnant with a little girl. And, at 7 months into the pregnacy, we lost her; it leveled me. When we got pregnant again I felt as though I was running a marathon while holding my breath from the start. As I waited anxiously for his arrival, I had a mantra “this time is different” playing on a loop in my mind, until the very end to help me get me through the fear.
Pregnancy after loss is a really difficult thing, and often under-discussed. I was so nervous all throughout and held off celebrating everything. I didn’t set up his nursery, because, with our girl, I had done that and had to disassemble it. And, I didn’t buy clothes, because I was so unsure. But, after we made it past the 7-month marker, I started to force myself to celebrate him in the same way that I had her because he deserved to be celebrated!
When he finally arrived, exactly on his due date, I’ll never forget the overwhelming sense of relief and gratitude I felt. Since then, all the wake-ups, exhaustion and sleepless nights pale in comparison to the worry of pregnancy and truly don’t bother me. Especially now, with everything that’s going on in the world, we’re doing our best to simply surrender and savor the moment of being together. What a strange little gift to have this time to be present, and enjoy the simple pleasure of being 100 percent present with him as a family.
With the loss of my daughter, I learned that nothing is guaranteed and we must treat life accordingly. Lately, I have felt the same. I’m once again reminded that we don’t know what next week will bring or even tomorrow, so it’s best to take it one day at a time, not unlike the reality of new motherhood.
“From the start, it was very much a different pregnancy.”
Finding out we were having a little boy, threw us for a loop, We both grew up with sisters and never considered what it would be like to have a little boy, but there was also something healing about that.
I was so nauseous with the first pregnancy and with Wilder, I was not. Instead, I was extremely exhausted with intense brain fog. Even sitting down to write one email felt like an insurmountable task. However, after having been through so much heartache, I allowed myself to be OK with the exhaustion. I slept when I needed to and wrote back to emails late. It was what it was.
“My birth, while not what I planned, brought Wilder into this world safely and that’s all that matters.”
My birth, while not what I planned, brought Wilder into this world safely and that’s all that matters. The truth is, like with everything, we have our plan and the baby has theirs. I had hoped to labor at home for as long as possible and go to the hospital for a natural birth. However, as life goes…the best-laid plans.
Towards the end of the pregnancy with Wilder, I was going in for checkups every few days. On Wednesday, a few days before I was due on Saturday the doctor was very concerned and thought I may be ready to give birth, but I wasn’t dilated enough yet. So, she told me to come back two days later. That Saturday, she felt I was ready to go and wanted to induce labor, so we agreed. About 20 minutes after they induced me the entire nursing staff came running in to ask if I was feeling the intense contractions. Apparently, I was having off the charts seven minutes long contractions and couldn’t feel them. They didn’t understand how I was even talking. What was more concerning, was with every contraction, Wilder’s heart rate would plummet. They quickly removed the induction and tried to regulate the contractions without luck. When they couldn’t stabilize him, the doctor insisted on an immediate C-section. At that point, I didn’t care what we had to do, I just wanted him safe and out of me. Shortly after, on Saturday morning at 11:31 he was born and in my arms.
Funny enough, when I was talking to our doula and planning for these various birth scenarios, I refused to talk about C-sections. I think on some level I knew that it was going to happen. Recovery was a strange and wonky time. The C-section made it more difficult to be mobile and sit up to nurse him, but I figured that out over time. Overall I think I healed fairly quickly. I was up and moving around about a month after his birth and I’ve heard of it taking up to three months for some women.
“I thought I would breastfeed for at least a year.”
He took to the boob immediately and I was grateful for that as I know it’s not always the case. Plus, my milk came in fine, however he was an eating machine! I thought I would breastfeed for at least a year, although when I started going back to work after five months, I couldn’t sustain what he needed. I found it difficult to pump when I was home in addition to breastfeeding him in the morning and night. I was overwhelmed. At his five-month doctor visit, the pediatrician said he was underweight and wanted me to start formula. He took to the bottle, loved having milk on demand and didn’t want to work for it. Although disappointed, I decided to give myself a break and felt some sense of relief as his weight increased. In the end, I breastfed for six months. While I thought it would be longer that’s what was best for him and that’s all that matters.
Plus, how lucky are we to have such great alternatives these days. I get an organic formula from Target that’s affordable and he seems to love it. Many brands are very expensive and cost-prohibitive for most people, it’s so nice that Target has a quality option.
Motherhood, I’ve learned, is about letting go of how we thought it would be and just let it be. As new moms, we have to stop holding ourselves to such unreasonably high standards because it’s hard enough as it is, without this constant internal criticism. Instead we have to simply listen to our kids plus our bodies and act accordingly.
“I had been pregnant for so long between the two pregnancies…”
Overall I’m eating super healthy and trying to get in some form of movement every day, be it yoga from home, or a walk around the neighborhood. I was pregnant for so long between the two pregnancies, so when I was finally cleared to workout again, I made it a priority.
Even before self-isolation, I was streaming online workouts from dance to yoga. I think it’s important for new moms to know this; sometimes you only have 30 minutes to spare with a newborn and don’t have time to go out for a class or want to spend a lot of money.
“Finding tools online that made fitness accessible was a total game-changer…”
We don’t have full-time help, but I wasn’t expecting the constant coordination and ongoing game of don’t drop the baby. Therefore, finding time between both of our schedules to workout was proving limited. Simply, getting to and from a workout plus the hour class was more time than I had to spare. Finding tools online that made fitness accessible was a total game-changer for me and now even more so, for obvious reasons.
Plus, from day one my husband was such an amazing support down to the little details of making sure I showered or got out of my sweats and dressed everyday to feel better. Ironically now that’s all any one is wearing!
“Play music, move your body, turn your face toward the sun, light candles, FaceTime with friends, and do your best to keep anxiety to a minimum.”
I can’t say this enough, especially for new moms out there going through the throes of postpartum during these uncertain times… please, ask for help! Self care doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, it’s as simple as asking for an extra set of hands, taking 5 minutes for yourself to put on a face mask, or jumping on a 10-minute call with your therapist. And, limit news intake, get informed but don’t obsess. Plus, play music, move your body, turn your face toward the sun, light candles, FaceTime with friends, and do your best to keep anxiety to a minimum.
To our good fortune, my parents happened to be visiting us in LA when the situation escalated, so they stayed on and we all came out to our house in Joshua Tree together. They live across the country and are not leaving any time soon. In that regard, it worked out so well to have this time with them and our young son. When you can stop worrying for a moment here and there about the economics of it all, because that is difficult to do, there is so much beauty in this. Plus, I have felt such deep comfort in knowing I am not alone and rather we’re all together in this.
“For so long I felt that social media isolated people and now that we are in isolation it’s actually bringing people together.”
It’s fascinating, for so long I felt that social media isolated people and now that we’re in isolation it’s bringing people together in a whole new way. We are having virtual parties and connecting on a different level.
I learned through the loss of my daughter, that when Instagram is used for good it can be a powerful tool for connection. I went through a terrible loss and shared that on social media. So many women reached out and supported me through that time. I was overwhelmed as it made me feel incredibly connected and less alone.In turn, I do my best to support women who are perhaps at the beginning of their loss.
“The earth is taking a deep breath right now.”
I am talking to you right now from a socially distant walk that I take with my son every morning in Joshua Tree. Having the time with him, in nature, in the quiet of the morning, is priceless. Plus, I’m seeing nature blooming in a whole new way now that we’re not driving and flying everything; the earth is taking a deep breath right now.
Always going a million miles an hour, we would have never paused our own, but we needed to and nature knew that. I’ve taken some comfort in knowing this. And so we cook as a family, talk, plan meals, play games, read books, and catch up on podcasts. It’s simple and really nice.