Five Months Of Baby Phoenix And Coping With Anxiety During A Pandemic

It’s been 5 months with this cutie and 5 months of sheltering at home. I wish I could fully express through these words how utterly exhausted AND incredibly grateful I feel

Phoenix is becoming so much more aware of the world around him. He loves his play gym, crinkly toys, and has recently started watching Sesame Street, which he loves. He’s sitting up with support from mommy and daddy. He giggles and laughs, loves silly play and dance parties. 

Although I love making special memories with him in our home, I really wish I could take him to all the places I dreamt of taking him when I had him in my belly. 

Put plainly: this sucks. Becoming a mom at the same time as a global pandemic is not what I ever expected. Especially after waiting so long for our miracle baby. In all honesty, I just feel like it’s so unfair. And I feel selfish admitting that because I know there are people in far worse situations during this time. 

I’ve dealt with the worst anxiety I’ve ever felt in my life. My thoughts have been like an endless roller coaster. And there is so much sadness in my heart. The consensus, from speaking to friends and connecting with others on social media, is that I’m not the only person dealing with this.

While I feel so blessed to have Phoenix, I also feel like he’s missing out on the best version of me (mom guilt, anyone?) I try my very best every single day. But sometimes it’s inevitable to feel worry, anxiety, sadness, and fatigue. 

Being in isolation and dealing with anxiety has taken a toll on me. As I’m sure it has for you with whatever you’re dealing with. We were not created to do life on our own.

So today it’s my true heart’s desire to offer you a space where you don’t feel so alone. Can I share somethings I’ve learned in this pandemic to cope and overcome?

CONNECT
I’ve found it so helpful during this crazy time to connect with other new moms. Listening to what they’re going through has opened my heart and perspective. I’ve been surprised by how their emotions and experiences are much like mine. The result? Not feeling as isolated and alone. While also being reassured that I am not crazy or a bad mom (and neither are you, friend).

TAKE BABY STEPS
If you’re suffering with anxiety, what has helped me is to just take baby steps. Don’t allow people’s expectations or criticism to influence your decisions. It doesn’t matter if no one understands. Trust me, I know this is extremely hard. As a 4 in the enneagram, I really hate feeling misunderstood. Just take care of yourself and do what you need to do, little by little, to move forward. 

BE CONSUMED
Finally, being consumed by God’s presence has given me a place to rest and be made new. For me, being consumed by His presence means to absorb it and give it my full attention. And I’ve practiced that by trading all the crazy things I read or hear for His truth. In order to do that, it’s meant reading his word more, staying away from social media, and having conversation that edify my faith in Him.

I wish life was different right now. I wish I could take my son to my favorite places and share his beautiful smile with the people who love him. My heart is broken that this is life right now. 

But despite all that, in my heart of hearts I know that God is a God who uses all things for our good. I know He is a God who redeems lost time. I know He is a God who mends and heals our broken hearts. And I know He is a God of restoration and nothing is wasted when we put our hope and trust in Him.

Truly, I hope you feel seen and heard through this blog today. I don’t know exactly what you’re facing. We may all be going through the same pandemic, but all our experiences are different. Styld by Grace will be here to offer you support, understanding, and the hope of Jesus.

PRAYER
Dear Heavenly Father,
I surrender all the stress, heartbreak, confusion, and anxious thoughts. I ask for you to fill me anew. Lord, I humble myself and bow before you. I come under your Lordship and sovereignty. There is no better place to be. You see the bigger picture. And I trust you. I trust that you’re good and faithful even when I can’t see it. Jesus, I speak your name and declare it over my home and family. There is power in your name. There is nothing that can match it. For you defeated death. And through you we are saved. Lord, give us an extra measure of faith and grace in this season. We lift our eyes up to you. We love you and we’re thankful that in just one moment we can come before your throne and be transformed and renewed. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Four Months of Baby Phoenix And Finding A Fresh Perspective

What can I say? Being a mom is the most beautiful and most challenging thing in the world. One minute your heart feels like it can explode with love and the next you’re filled with worry because you’re not sure if you’re doing anything right. But regardless of all the emotional ups and downs, it’s been such a special season.

The past couple weeks I’ve been holding down the fort all on my own during the day since my hubby went back to work from leave. I was so worried I wouldn’t be able to handle it all. But I managed to cook a few meals, have all bottles ready on time, make my bed everyday, and take a shower in between naps. WOOHOO! I have to admit I love all the 1:1 time I spend with Phoenix. I get to witness all the daily little changes.

He is smart, strong, and fun! He is so observant. Has a strong grip. And wakes up with smiles and giggles.

I can’t believe God made me HIS mommy. His bright eyed stare and happy expressions make my day. He’s my little joy bomb!

In a couple weeks, I go back to work from parental leave. And I am hoping and praying that I can balance being a mom, having a full-time job, and running Styld by Grace. I know I’m not the first or last mom to do this. It’s doable. And I lean on knowing that God will give me the grace for this new season.

My main goal for 2020 was to focus on loving my growing family. And I felt strongly in my heart to give that my full attention during my parental leave. Which meant putting other things on hold. It meant taking a step back from writing and creating for Styld by Grace. And I was so worried this would backfire and cause my progress to take a hit. I was very tempted to ignore that little voice. But I chose to obey the direction God was taking me on.

To my surprise, I have had record views on the blog these past few months. All the time, effort, and content I’ve created throughout the years have not been in vain. I’m so glad that the stuff I’ve been creating throughout the years is standing the test of time. I’m thankful that in following my gut (the Holy Spirit’s guidance), God’s favor and blessing followed.

I’ve also learned a very important lesson about creating and building. It’s not about the quantity. It’s about the quality. Striving to keep up appearances will never pay off. But investing time and effort for the things that really resonate with people and are authentic to who you are, will always pay off.

This little miracle God gave us has put so many things into perspective. I feel incredibly fortunate to have a little family of my own. It has sparked a desire to dig deeper both personally and creatively. And I’m excited to create from a refreshed frame of mind. THANK YOU for being part of all the seasons Styld by Grace has been through. This next chapter will be the best one yet!

Three Months of Baby Phoenix And Coming Out Of The New Mom Fog

Month three for baby Phoenix came with the discovery of his hands, growth overnight as I put away all of his newborn clothes from one day to the next, lots of cooing and adorable smiles, and active sleep–rolling onto his side and moving all over his bassinet.

He’s fiery and passionate which translates to lots of crying. And although some days are really challenging, we hope and pray his passion will change the world and make it a better place.

The three month mark is a big milestone for this mommy too, as it wraps up the “fourth trimester”. I’m definitely feeling better physically and ready to get back to the things I did before starting IVF/getting preggo.

But here’s the catch, that was more than a year ago. And with the new mom fog starting to wear off, I realize that so much has changed. I have changed. What do I like to do now? What do I want to do next?

I’ve learned so much in the past year and while there is so much to share and create, at the same time it feels like there is not much more to say or do.

So what now?

What do I want for our future?
What will life look like with a full-time job, building this creative business, having a new baby, and being a wife?
Do I need to give something up?
Should I quit my job and find something new?
Should I be a stay at home mom?
Who will really be in my corner?
Do I like where my current relationships stand?
How can I make time to grow new friendships?
How am I going to get back in shape?
Should I just buy new stuff that’ll fit my new mom bod?
What do I have to share that’s valuable?
How will Styld by Grace evolve and grow in this new season?

After talking to a couple of my mom friends, they reassured me that these questions, thoughts, feelings, or whatever you want to call them, are completely normal and that they too have felt the same way after becoming a mom.

The greatest thing about seeing a baby grow is just that. Seeing growth every single day. As they discover the world around them, you rediscover it and learn a new perspective. This month, as Phoenix starts to really become aware of the world around him, I become aware of all the potential and growth that’s ahead. It’s exciting, nerve-wrecking, scary, fun, hope-filled, and a challenge worth pursuing.

To the new mom, the recent graduate, the new wife, or anyone going into a new season: there’s so much more ahead than there is behind. Keep asking yourself the hard questions and keep taking the next best step.

Two Months of Baby Phoenix During A Global Pandemic

No one could’ve expected these crazy times, right? I’m sure you’re reading this while being home for quite some time. We’ve been staying home since baby Phoenix was born. He was born right before the nation closed due to COVID-19.

Being quarantined while having a newborn has been sweet. We’ve been able to savor every single moment and milestone. But I also have to be honest and admit that it has also been very difficult, as we’ve had to be away from our tribe.

The birth of Phoenix was supposed to be the culmination of a really long and difficult season. We were looking forward to being with family, friends, and enjoying life with our new baby. There’s a bit (actually a lot) of sadness in my heart. What we are living is far from what I had hoped for and envisioned for this season.

I know I’m not the only person who’s experiencing loss during this crisis. And I want to say that our loss is legit. And it’s totally ok to process it. There’s many dreams, plans, and expectations that have been put on hold. And all we hear about is death, stressful statistics, and the pressure to “flatten the curve”.

Despite the loss and pain that we are feeling during this time, we must lean into the voice of truth: God’s word and His promises. On Palm Sunday, as we had church from home, while holding onto our miracle baby, God reminded me of something.

A year ago during this time we were starting IVF. We had NO IDEA if it would work. It was a complete leap of faith. But we beat the odds and have a healthy baby boy in our arms. Even though this season doesn’t look and feel anything like what I hoped it would, I am literally HOLDING living proof of God’s faithfulness.

When I see Phoenix, I see God’s faithfulness. Every day I struggle with fear of what could happen to him. We waited so long, went through such physical and mental hardship, and endured lots of heartache to have him. Anxiety sometimes is inevitable for me. But I remember that he was an impossibility at one point. And somehow, God made a way. His faithfulness saw us through.

As we continue to move forward during these trying times, let’s remember to focus on God’s unfailing love and faithfulness.

What are you HOLDING in your life as living proof of God’s faithfulness today? During really hard moments, return to those and be encouraged that God’s faithfulness is always with you.

And on that note, I’d love to share some baby milestones we are celebrating as Phoenix turns two months.

Month Two of Baby Phoenix:
• He loves music and singing with mommy
• He is smiling more and has the cutest dimple by his chin
• He is outgrowing some of his newborn clothes (bittersweet feeling)
• He is starting to hold his bottle
• He can get his arms out of his swaddle
• He has a fiery personality and the name Phoenix fits him very well 😉

One Month Of Baby Phoenix

Let me introduce you to my beautiful baby boy Phoenix Palma! He is one month old today and I’m excited to finally share pictures of my sweet boy with you on the blog.

Being a new mom takes a lot of grace and love. For baby AND for yourself. My plan was to set up my blog posts before he arrived but he surprised us by coming a couple weeks before his due date. I never got a chance to document his nursery and still working on sharing his birth story. So stay tuned for those blog posts.

For now, let me share some really cute first month pics and share what it’s really like being a new mom…

1. Sleep deprivation is freakin’ HARD. I have never fallen asleep sitting up until the first week as a mom. Parents are not exaggerating when they say to get ready to be tired all the time. There’s really nothing that compares to this. I was very naive to think that because I’m a night owl I’d be perfectly able to CRUSH night feedings. Nope.

Night time comes and I suddenly feel anxious about how the night will go. And I pray for longer periods of sleep. After a month of this, I’m still really sleepy but somehow getting a slight hang of things.

2. All the feels, alll the time. I never understood why moms spoke of the postpartum period as a time they cried all the time. Weren’t they supposed to be happy to have their baby finally? Especially if you dealt with infertility like we did… how could you feel sad? Well, the first couple of weeks were emotionally really hard for me. I cried over being thankful. I cried over being sad. I cried when baby cried. I just felt every single emotions.

I realized my hormones were getting back to their pre-pregnancy and pre-fertility treatment levels. The best thing I did was to share how I was feeling with trusted loved ones. And not allow shame or guilt to get the best of me. I’m happy to say that I’m starting to feel like myself little by little.

3. I’m not only changing my sons diapers, I’m changing my own too. No one really prepares you for what your body will go through AFTER birth. Postpartum isn’t only about caring for a sweet new baby. It’s also about trying to take care of yourself. Depends and witch hazel wipes have been life savers. But taking time to care for your nether regions can be extra draining and time consuming. And I can’t imagine how tedious it can be for moms who have c-sections.

4. A love like you’ve never felt before. It’s crazy how your mama bear instincts turn on right away. Somehow you know how to carry, feed, and change diapers of your new baby. And you’re constantly worried and making sure they are doing well. I asked my friends that are parents if being a parent meant being worried all the time and they said, “Yup. Welcome to parenthood”. Life as we know it has changed. And we will always think of and worry for and want to help our baby. It’s the best / hardest thing in the world. And it feels like your heart could burst!

5. God is closer than I thought. I’ve prayed more than ever in these past four weeks. And God’s Spirit has enveloped us with his peace, grace, love, and strength. I’ve felt God so close to me. He’s used people to meet our physical needs by cooking for us or sending us food. He’s used people to bring words of encouragement and much needed hugs and love. He’s given me a strength that I didn’t think I had. He keeps teaching me to never underestimate myself because He’s already equipped me for this! I’m so thankful to have Jesus and his people surrounding me for this crazy/awesome journey of motherhood.

And now… some cute and funny facts about baby Phoenix:

He looks just like daddy. But has mommy’s personality. He is a great napper. And loves to lay on mommy and daddy’s chest to sleep. His poop looks like guac and sometimes like honey dijon mustard. He loves to listen to music and calms down when mommy sings. He is growing so fast! His cheeks are getting chubbier by the minute. His parents are in love with him, can’t stop staring and taking pics, and will endure sleepless nights to make sure he is well fed, loved, and nurtured.

Phoenix Palma, we love you bubs! This month has been nothing short of incredible. We are SO looking forward to seeing you grow up. Here’s to many more milestones together!