anchored in light

A lifestyle blog about finding light in every avenue of life

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

General Conference Spring 2018

This coming weekend is special for several reasons.

The first being General Conference. General Conference is our opportunity twice a year to listen to our leaders and the Prophet speak to us. It's a chance for us to receive personal revelation for our own lives. It's amazing to me the way that all the talks tend to weave together into themes even though their topics are not assigned. It's also amazing to me the way that I get inspiration for what I need to be focused on in my own life.

Sometimes I go into Conference with questions that I would like answered. Usually, I'm wondering what I should do for my life, or what I should be working on. This last conference I don't remember going into it with any specific questions, but I felt like I was told over and over again that I needed to stop focusing on temporal things. I was pregnant with Everly and I kept looking at all the things that I wanted that I didn't have. General Conference helped me recenter my life on what is most important, not things, but my family and the people that I love around me. I love that I have that chance to re-choose what I really want every Spring and Fall. It's like a more intense version of church on Sundays. Each week I have the chance to recenter, but Conference always seems to take it a step further.

Another beautiful thing about this weekend is that it's also Easter. I love that I am going to get the chance to spend this whole weekend with my family, focusing on what Easter is really about. In our church, we focus on the resurrection of Christ more than the crucifixion. This year is even more meaningful for me because now I have Everly. I love the promise that we will be resurrected and that we can be together for eternity. I can't imagine being separated from her for any great length of time. I can't imagine anything more beautiful than knowing that through the Savior, I can be with her for all time. 

This weekend is a reminder of all the beautiful things and hope in life. I'm excited to see what the spirit can teach me as I listen to conference. I'm excited for the chance to sustain a new prophet. And I'm so grateful to know that Heavenly Father loves me enough to provide this opportunity for me.

Below I've created a simple printable for you to use during General Conference. Even if you don't print it, I encourage you to think about the questions on it!

Click Here to print

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Everly's Newborn Photos

We are 7 weeks in.

I am so in love with this little love. I've been so surprised to find how much I love being a mother. I loved babysitting as a child, but when I got into high school it just didn't seem as much fun. It never seemed worth the money and I was always counting down the hours until their parents came home, yet with Everly, I don't like to leave her. Brian has been an angel and once a week he watches her for the night so that I can get out for a few hours and get a mental break from being mom 24/7. As much as I need that break (and I do need that break) I still miss her when I go. 

She's a good baby. I do feel like we've been spoiled with her since she was born. We've gotten a fair amount of sleep since we work together with her at night. Brian takes her after 8 or 9 until about midnight and then after that, I take her. 

That being said, we definitely are still figuring out how to be parents. I wish that babies came with a little indicator light when something is really wrong. I was telling my mom the other day that when I was pregnant I was looking forward to when she was born mainly so I could worry less. I was always worrying that she wasn't doing ok inside me, so I thought that once she was born and I could see her then it would be better and I could more easily know that she was ok...
Not true. 
I have a whole new list of worries. Is she eating enough? Is she getting a good routine in to learn how to fall asleep on her own? Is that a rash? Do I need to call the pediatrician about that? Is that a normal diaper? 

So far I've called the pediatrician once. I've cut dairy out of my diet since she was having a lot of green diapers. I've had Brian give her a priesthood blessing once (since we got out of the hospital) because I was so worried about this rash she was getting on her face... 

Being a mother is hard in a lot of ways. It definitely takes a village and as someone on Instagram said, it doesn't just take a village to raise a child, it takes a village to raise a mother. I've definitely felt that. I'm grateful that I've had so much support and that my recovery (minus my pelvis, which is still healing) has been so easy. My doctor even said that between my easy pregnancy, my recovery from birth, and my quick weight loss I was made to have babies and said I could have 8 babies if I wanted (I do not want 8 babies), but it's encouraging that the thing that I've always wanted to do has gone so well. 

I'm looking forward to her babbling more and staying awake for longer periods in the day. I'm especially looking forward to when she regularly sleeps through the night (she slept a 7-hour stretch last week! She also usually sleeps 5 hours straight at night for the first bit then every few hours after that) although I have no idea how breastfeeding mothers ever sleep through the night, SO uncomfortable. If you have any tips on that, let me know ha ha. 

I'm not looking forward to putting away more of her tiny clothes. I've already had to put away a few of her newborn things. I love that she is so small, even though she needs me so much right now. I hope that she always remembers that we love her unconditionally. Even now when she doesn't do much more than eat, sleep, and poop, we couldn't love her more. 

I'm looking forward to more of these motherhood days. 

Thanks for reading! I'm so glad that I can share my sweet little love with you all! :) 

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Problem with "Perfect"

A couple of things happened last week. The first thing that happened was that Brian showed me this podcast about drug addiction in Utah. I'm not really a fan of podcasts in general because I dislike the fact that I can't talk while they're going and I have a hard time paying attention to podcasts. It's the same reason I can't listen to audiobooks, even if I start out with the intention to listen, somewhere along the way I stop listening without realizing it. However, this podcast was interesting because it had an outsiders perspective on my religion and also because it addressed the subject of perfectionism in our culture.

We were listening to it on our way to and from an appointment at Primary Children's Hospital for Everly. I couldn't help but think about our baby sleeping in the back seat and wonder about how we could raise her so that she would feel like she could make mistakes. I don't want her to think that she has to be perfect or feel so much pressure from our high standards that she feels like she can't meet them.

I was pondering this and then I went out later that night with my friend Hatred to Leatherby's (side note: Cheese fries are basically the best thing ever) and we got on the subject of perfection and being the "perfect" child. It's something that we were both labeled as growing up. We both talked about how while this may have seemed like a compliment, it was actually a terrible thing to say to us because it led us to place our self-worth on whether or not we were perfect. 

In fact, I hate the word "perfect." I made Brian stop calling me perfect because it took me back to that place that I was in as a child. 

Let me break it down a little bit, when people call me perfect it makes me feel like they have no idea who I am. While they may be saying, hey, I know about all of your flaws and you are still perfect to me. What I hear is, you have no flaws. I know myself. I know myself very well. I am well aware of the fact that I have flaws. So when someone calls me perfect it makes me feel like they don't know all the things that are wrong with me, and someday they'll find out what's wrong with me, and when they do then I'll no longer be worthy of their love/attention/friendship. 

This perfectionism complex led me to do all sorts of things growing up. I went to bed early because that is what the perfect child does. I did my chores without complaint or argument because if I complained then I wouldn't be the perfect child anymore and then what would be my place in the family? It made me take care of myself when I was sick and never tell anyone when I didn't feel well because the perfect child wasn't a bother. 

Luckily, I feel that for the most part, I was able to find ways to cope with it. I was able to still find ways to love myself even though I knew that I was far from perfect, but I know so many people who it didn't work out that way for. Perfectionism is something that pervades our culture. I don't want Everly to ever think that I will only love her if she doesn't make mistakes, or that her worth to me is based on whether or not she obeys the rules I set out for her or whether she conforms to my preconceived notions of how she might live her life. 

I think that's one of the beautiful things about becoming a mother. I love Everly. I love her completely. Which if you think about it makes no sense. She keeps me up at night, I change her dirty diapers, I endure pain and emotional and financial hardship for her. Yet, I couldn't love her more if she could change her own diapers or if all the things she needed were free or if she didn't take up my free time. I realize how much my love for her isn't based on anything other than she is my daughter. I hope that I can help teach her that. I hope that she can understand that no matter what she does, we will still love her just as much as if she did exactly we wanted. I hope that I can show her the kind of love that makes her understand that not only is it OK if she makes mistakes, I expect her to make mistakes. I hope I can show her that even though I plan on being the perfect mother, I make mistakes too, that none of us are perfect and that's ok. We're all striving and trying to do the best we can and that is enough.

How do combat "perfectionism"? How do you help your children/those around you accept their flaws?
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Monday, March 5, 2018

One Month Update

I can hardly believe that it has been a whole month since Everly was born. In some ways, it feels like it just happened and in other ways, it feels as though we've always been doing this. 

I'll admit that I was a little scared of the Post Partum stage of life. I was warned that I would be exhausted and that I would be overwhelmed. Not to mention that I'd be learning how to take care of a newborn and adjusting to a completely new life while recovering from birth and labor.

I was pleasantly surprised that they were all wrong. I will say that it is in no small part due to all the help and support that I've been given through these last 4 weeks.

I have been so lucky to have the support of friends and family. Most especially my husband and my mom. We've only had to cook twice in the last month because of all the people who have brought us meals.

Brian has been an angel. I'd highly suggest everyone marry a man like him :) He has willingly let me get to bed at 8 or 9 every night and then takes the next feeding so that I can get a good 4-5 hour stretch of sleep. In fact, Everly likes to sleep that long, most of the time he doesn't have to take the next feeding at all because she's sleeping. I'd let her keep sleeping if I weren't worried about her gaining enough weight (she only gained half an ounce at her 2-week checkup).

Not only does Brian let me sleep but he makes sure that I get a shower every other day and watches her exclusively one night a week so that I can take care of me. He'll even get up in the middle of the night to change her diaper for me.

My mom was there every day with us in the hospital and came to my home every day for weeks to make sure that I was ok and recovering. I have no doubt that I might still be using a walker at the least, but quite possibly be unable to walk at all without her help. 

After I came home, I needed my mom more than I thought I would. Emotionally I needed her, probably more than I needed her physically. All those hormones running around left me feeling like normal things took twice as much emotional energy as they normally would have. I cried at least once a day, and I quickly learned that there are songs you should not listen to as a new parent. So far the list includes "Let them be little" by Lonestar and "Never Grow Up" by Taylor Swift. 

Luckily, because I had all this support I never got to the point where I felt overwhelmed. I never got to the point where I felt exhausted. It has helped me to enjoy this time with Everly, to love her and notice the sweet little things about her, instead of resenting the way that things have changed. It has made me enjoy motherhood. It hasn't been easy, but I have loved it so far. Because all these people have given to me, it has filled me with enough to give back. It has made me want to give more to others and to be kinder. I already feel like I've changed so much, for the better. Motherhood has made me more the person that I have always wanted to be, closer to "Ideal" Rachael than I have ever been. 

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