Here’s to More Sex in 2017


Wait what?

Yep. It’s a subject I’m actually personally a little bit passionate about, especially now that I have kids. It’s important and yet no one talks about it. Or if it’s talked about it’s crude or man bashing or wife shaming.

I’m not into that.

Sex is awesome and when we were first married, we were really happy with how many times we had sex. We both felt our average was right for us and if we got more, awesome. But it wasn’t a chore by any means.

Then enter kids and anxiety and post partum depression. Let’s just say sex took a hit that first kid. It was really hard to emotionally enter a place where I wanted to give love, when I struggled to feel joy at all. How could my heart be open to someone else when I couldn’t even sense it in myself?

Enter my patient and kind husband. I look at him and my heart just melts when I think of how much he has waited for me.

He waited for me to be open to dating him, he waited to have sex with me until we were married, he waited for me to be clear of pain after child birth both times and he’s waited for me through a long and arduous journey from sleep exhaustion and depression into health and fitness.

What a strong and gentle man. And roll your eyes and don’t believe me, but we are very open when we talk about sex in of our marriage and when I say he waited for me, I mean he waited for me. He didn’t take it upon himself to fulfill his needs on his own. You can talk to him about it, that’s his story, it’s not this story.

A year ago this month, I entered into a community of health, fitness and group accountability; I started drinking Shakeology and working out 3x a week and life changed immediately.

I was pregnant with our second but I couldn’t believe how much joy in sex there was again! Before, I cried. A lot. I know, sexy right? But I couldn’t get out of my own head. I couldn’t quiet it down and focus on the moment and often times we had to stop so my husband could soothe my heart. I had so much guilt and frustration over not enjoying sex but there’s something really important to remember, he never gave up on me, and I never stopped saying yes.

No I didn’t say yes all the time, but I made a point to make sure to say yes even if I didn’t feel like it.

So to go from that, to fun and free sex again and enter baby number 2.

Oh man does sex ever get hard (lol). I mean if your kids sleep, maybe it’s not so hard … but ours don’t do that thing so well. So our nights are short, I mean like 8 or 9 is when they’re both down and we’re in bed by 10 … there’s no chance for spontaneity at all and I gotta be honest sex on a time crunch isn’t that easy for me to get into.

I meal prep, exercise, running a business helping other women get healthy and I have a two year old and a 5 month old touching me all. day. long. By 9:30 PM when I am exhausted and he’s exhausted there’s little room for romance.

BUT … at 5.5 months we are finally getting back into a groove, which is a far from from the 18 months it took after the first, and I credit that 100% to healthy eating, exercise and shakeology.

It’s no doubt we all feel a little more randy when we’re feeling really good about ourselves. Eating healthy lends itself to better moods and more energy which hello, more sex. Exercise helps us ditch that extra weight that makes us feel sluggish and not like ourselves and when we’re feeling great about ourselves hello, more sex.

I’m not saying you need to be skinny or have a flat stomach to feel good about yourself!

Just get your 30 minutes of exercise in in a day and I PROMISE you you’ll feel incredible regardless of the results. It’s empowering and life giving and yes, you’ll have more sex.

And 2017 is about to get a whole lot easier to get your sex-ercise in 😉

My company is now offering YEAR LONG memberships to UNLIMITED online streaming of our workout programs for an amazing price.

This means, me included, we get unlimited access to all programs running, all programs to be announced throughout the year AND THE NUTRITION GUIDES.

No more excuses.

You can use the app on your ipad or iphone, you can access it on your smart TV, ROKU, Apple TV and you can even download workouts onto your device to take offline and outside in the summer. Yoga in the park? Yes please.

You can also print off each nutritional guide giving you a ton of different recipes and meal plans until you find what BEST suits you and your lifestyle and goals and you get me as your free coach the entire time to help you figure it all out and motivate you throughout the year as well as unlimited access to my monthly challenge groups.

And most importantly, and near and dear to my heart, you get a 30 day supply of Shakeology to support your nutrition and help you with stress, nutrient deficiencies, gut health and so much more with the option to have it on Home Direct shipping.

So here’s to more sex in 2017 as a results of getting healthy, losing weight, being less anxious and having more energy.

I’m so excited to start working out in the evenings with my man in January … because post workout sex is the bomb.

You’re welcome.

What do you think? Has life gotten in the way of your sex life and enjoying your partner fully? Or have you experienced how amazing exercise is for your sex drive and relationships in general? Let me know in the comments and use the contact me tab to get in touch for more details on the all access challenge pack available December 27th – February 28th 2017

 

 

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To blog or not to blog

Here’s the truth. I miss blogging. So much. I love sharing my feelings and really creating a picture of what’s going on with me with the perfect words in hopes of encouraging or relating to even just one other person, but what do I blog about now?!

It’s feelings Friday (a common day in my blog life prior to having my second) and I’m laying in bed having all the feelings. 

Is this a fitness blog? A mom blog? A place to send my customers?! I think I got so very caught up in life lately that I lost focus of what this even is for me. 

I mean I’m currently laying in bed having sat on the couch for the last two hours watching Gilmore girls having skipped my workout today due to #babies and #toddlers wearing the same thing I was wearing yesterday and wondering why I’m still wearing socks. 

My brain is mush these days, and figuring outa schedule with little ones and hoping to fit in hubby time and business and school … what on earth was I thinking?

I know what I was thinking, that I have this INCREDIBLE opportunity before me to follow a passion while I’m on maternity leave and I’ve never been so busy in my entire life but never have I ever felt so light about all the things I have to do ❤️ I mean seriously it’s not a tremendous burden I just want to
And my blog patiently waits for me to come back to it. 

I envision my blog to have a love bucket that only gets filled when words are gifted to it’s blank spaces (ok so my blog is essentially me) and it always knows I will fill its bucket. And I think that’s why I don’t worry about it too much. 

Because I know I’ll always come back to it. I’ve been blogging for YEARS. I’ve met some very cool people through blogging, one I have yet to fly down to go for a run with in Seattle 😜 and I know it is patient and it is for me. I’m always honoured to know my words have touched others but deep down my blog is for me. 

And I think that will get me writing again. I’m done trying to make it a place for people to find me as a coach and to add recipes and yadda yadda yadda. Time to get back to blogging basics. 

This journey has been a primarily selfish one and I’m going to keep it that way. My blog fills my heart and soul and I pray it connects with other hearts through my outpouring but if it never did, I’d still keep writing.

So look out, more of me is headed your way. Raw unedited (ok SUPER edited) me. 

Thanks for being patient 💋

On Happiness and Size 2 Jeans

Since I’ve started in the health and fitness world, there’s always one thing I’ve never wanted to do, and that’s to perpetuate the idea that everyone needs to look a certain way.

And here’s the problem with that … I look a certain way.

I’ve been called skinny, I’ve been told to eat a cheeseburger. I’ve been told “oh it’s not fair you’re so thin, I hate you.” In a ha ha kind of way (it’s not ha ha just FYI). So I know that when I post my before and afters it’s not wow inducing for many. In fact it’s typically met with “pfff. Well you were already small. I hate girls like you who are just naturally thin.” 

So with that, I’ve worried that I would make people feel like they need to be thin in order to be fit, or accepted. As if I think everyone needs to look like me and if you don’t I’ll PM you and insinuate that you look like you could lose weight here buy a shake from me. 

I don’t want to be apart of that, and I have no part in that. 

I don’t want to play a part in eating disorders unless it’s breaking free of them. I don’t want to play a part in taking pills to be skinnier. I don’t want a part in helping people chase an ideal that simply does not exist. I don’t want to perpetuate the crapy societal standards that have been placed on women, to be tiny supermodels. I don’t want to play a part in shady practices where it’s assumed that since you aren’t a size 2 you must be unhappy and you definitely need my help. 

Because  we have all been created different, and beautiful, and fitness is a feeling not a look. 

So what part do I play?

This has been really hard for me to figure out, because girls who are thin are given no room to feel imperfect; I’m not allowed to have an off day. I can’t feel uncomfortable in my own skin because I’m skinny and dammit if you’re skinny you have it all so just stop whining already! Sigh. I can’t say I feel chubby. Or gooey. Because obviously that means everyone else who doesn’t look like me is huge. It’s insulting and written off if I’m having a bad body image day. 

I’m about being real online, and sometimes I have bad days, hating on myself for how I look compared to how I’m used to looking, but I haven’t posted about it much because I’m not big enough. I don’t have as big of a mom tummy. I don’t have stretch marks. I haven’t earned it I’ve heard. 

So because of this, I am afraid to share my own insecurities about my body for fear of making other women feel worse about themselves. Because of my size, I fear the backlash of posting certain content to my page. That’s not ok. And it stops today.

(Oh and FYI I hate being called skinny. Healthy. Strong. Beautiful. These are appropriate things to say just in case you were wondering.)

We need to stop commenting on women’s size as a compliment because it consistently perpetuates that being skinny is the goal and the only thing worth complimenting.

It’s not. 

So again, what’s my part? What’s my point?

My point is I will never tell you to be skinny. To lose weight. You will tell me what your goals are, you will bring up fitness to me, and I will help you realize that you won’t find your happiness in a size 2.

How do I know this? Because I’ve been a size 2. I’ve also happily toted around my size 00 pants thank you very much (which means nothing because vanity sizing is a real thing; look it up). And in all those years I’ve never been as confident as I am now in my size 4-6 pants with my momma belly flopping over my jeans as I trudge my way into new territory of my fit mom bod.

… you won’t find your happiness in a size 2. 

Your floppy belly?! I’ve seen your abs girl! 


Yes, you’ve seen my abs. Flexing. Standing.


But they aren’t my joy and I’m just like everyone else. I celebrate these victories yes, but my greatest achievement is in finding a way to love myself regardless of the appearance of my body. To find fitness in strength. 

We have been taught to talk down to ourselves because society says the only beauty there is, is being thin. 

I’ll take it a step further, because I’ve also been told not to look too manly when I start putting on muscle because apparently as women we’re only perfect if we hit just the right amount of toned vs muscle so as not to look manly, and extra fat vs too skinny so we don’t “look anorexic”. 

When will we be enough ladies?! 

We won’t. 

The world will always have its screwed up standards and my part, YOUR part, is to be ourselves. It’s to embrace our beauty in whatever way being healthy looks like on each of us. 

I can see that I can be real about my struggles, and that there are others out there like me.

I hope that women can come together through this one common theme, thatwe all feel as though we just aren’t enough. 

And we all feel like a foreigner in our own skin sometimes, and all those feelings are valid whether you’re a size 2 or a size 10.

If we can come around one another, and instead of rolling our eyes at small or big or any women who struggle with their bodies, we choose to speak against the pursuit of perfection, then we can start to see real change.

Yes fitness and eating right are important for long term health, but we will never find fulfillment in our pant size. I believe fitness is important for our happiness (hello endorphins) but thin or thick our root cause of unhappiness comes from not being rooted in who we are and knowing that who we are is loved and treasured in any shape and form. 
We will never find joy and identity in the foods we eat and the measurements of our waists.

My role as a fitness and health coach is to encourage people to take care of themselves, to see results so they feel empowered to continue their journey towards healing, but it’s also to break apart the lies we have placed upon ourselves, which create unrealistic goals causing us heartache and perceived failure day in and day out. 

I want you to know that today you are enough.

Right now you are beautiful.

Right now you are all you need to be. 

And if you aren’t feeling that, if you don’t know it, go for a run. 

Find that girl.

Fight for that girl. 

Whatever it takes. 

 

On “The Better” baby

It’s no secret our first go around with babies was traumatic and painful. The first year dragged on. It most certainly did not go by as fast as other moms said it did, and I was aching for it to speed up. 

Time with my second is flying by. He’s almost 3 months. Which means in 3 months he’ll be eating solids. What!? I now get the phrase “where did my baby go?” 

And I get asked all the time out of genuine love, concern and curiosity, “do you find he’s a better baby?” To which my answer is always the same; he’s easier and I’m not depressed.”

It was really easy to define A by his lack of sleep. We were consumed with it. We had a hard time seeing anything else. People would ask us about him and all we could muster up was “he’s good, he doesn’t sleep…” as if it defined who he was and is. It doesn’t. 

No one is the sum of their struggles. 

But you have to understand something. There was more at play. I was depressed. I didn’t struggle with it, I had it. I had anxiety. I didn’t have bouts of anxiety, I simply was anxious. You add that on to this overly alert kid with poop issues and reflux, tack on a high need to be held at all times and you get our year and a half of hell. 

I believe depression and anxiety are like a tornado, sweeping up those that life with them into it’s storm.  Those swept in never become the storm, but are simply tangled up in it with no possibility of figuring a way out because they’ve never been a tornado before and they likely never will be. 

What that means to me is, my depression and anxiety swept my baby up into my storm. He was caught in my emotions with no way to be free of it. Our kids kids feel what we feel, which makes sense because typically we all carry a cloud of emotions with us. You can tell when someone is angry or happy or sad even if they aren’t slamming cupboards, jumping for joy or crying. Many of us wear our emotions and sweep each other into them, good or bad. 

And what that meant for my sweet boy was he felt my pain, all of it. 

I think that’s why he’s so empathetic. Why he’ll stop mid play and come put his hand on my cheek to say “I love you” while looking straight into my heart and then walking back to his game. 

But it’s also why he was so hard. Because he had all these issues and a mom who couldn’t cope. Any kind of fussing in him would cause an immense amount of anxiety the older he got, and the worse I got. I literally had no skills for dealing with any of his emotions, and I’m grateful that God gave us breastfeeding because it gave us both calm. It wasn’t always the right answer, but it was all I had. He would sleep latched on for hours, needing to be patted on the back at the same time. I didn’t have the mental capacity to learn him and I look back and think “get up and burp him!” 

N is not a better baby. Both my kids are amazing. But I am now a better mom. And not in doing sense; in the being sense. I simply exist better than I did before. 

I fought depression again when N was born. It knocked on my door every day for 8 weeks. I have PTSD and I still can’t attempt to settle N when he’s crying in the car due to painful flashbacks of our dreaded trips with Asher. I have to either pull over or drive with the music turned up. I could feel every time that I was immediately yanked back into anxiety in the car. Panic stricken over his tears that it physically hurt. I yelled at my husband in tears to pull over and unbuckled myself, running to his side to make sure he hadn’t choked to death on his tears. 

But I’m getting better. In fact I’m doing amazing. Because I’m fighting. 

I’m laying in bed as I write this and my baby is sleeping in his crib for the first time. He woke up and I didn’t nurse him back to sleep. I put him down when I went to sleep. None of these things were possible with A. Partly because of him, and partly because of me. 

Was A a ‘bad baby’? Not a chance. There are no good and bad babies. Some are harder for sure, but they deserve to be defined by so much more than their sleep. 

A was contemplative. Constantly staring into everyones soul. Absorbing everything. My little talker and feeler. 

N is my little goofball. Just as aware, but chatty and smiley. 

And I am not tormented anymore. 

The Mask I Wore

Post partum depression sneaks up on you, and robs you of your joy. Your memories.

Today I am grateful for technology and the memories things like Facebook and Timehop are bringing to me.

I look at old posts and I can hear the pain in them, but no one else could. I was trying to be positive. Trying to make sure everyone knew I loved being a mother and trying to do what everyone told me to do, which is to embrace every moment because one day I would miss it.

But the one thing no one told me it was ok to do; hate being a mother.

I was wearing a mask.

If you’ve experienced post partum depression, you know what I mean.

Now with my second baby, it seems so easy to get through the hard times because the joy outshines it all. Yes, I’ve had my bouts of PTSD but through dedication to loving myself, I find I am overcoming. That and he sleeps. That helps.

I truly love being a mother to these two boys. Daily my heart overflows and I cry often right now out of gratitude and out of sorrow.

I can say now that I love babies. Niall is amazing. He laughs, smiles, all his good outshines the hard parts of parenting. Asher even at two where he’s pushing boundaries and hitting and being defiant, his I love you’d wipe the slate clean. Knee deep in the moment I’m frustrated and ready to be done having babies, but overall I have found my groove. I love my motherhood.

In the hard moments I’m able to look at my kids and know that this is simply a moment. I can reason that these tough parts aren’t forever, and I can dig deep and find patience, gentleness and kindness.

However, it was not so just two short years ago.

I don’t remember the joy. Lately I’ve been reminiscing through old photos and timehop because in them I can find the glimpses of happiness we had together. But the depression made every moment overshadowed, leaving me to feel like being a mother was something I didn’t want to be.

I wanted my son, but I didn’t want to be a mother. I didn’t understand that what I didn’t want was depression, but since it came immediately upon having my son, the two were married and I couldn’t reconcile it in my heart.

So I buried it. I wore a mask.

And then I found my answer.

Eat clean and train dirty.
I founded Braids and Brass Fitness; where beauty and grit collide.

I started helping other women see their beauty and find their grit.

We started taking off our masks.

It’s easy to show the physical side of eating well and working out, but I can only tell you how my life has changed.

Yes, I have my abs coming back, I feel good in my clothes and I am stronger than ever.

But what you can’t see is that every time I press play, I’m tired and beat, and then I find it. The zone. And whatever stress I feel, whatever fog is looming … it goes away.

30 minutes to a stronger, happier and healthier me.

It seems like nothing and yet it’s everything, and this picture sums it up perfectly.

2 years ago and 3 months in to my new role as mother. Struggling but putting on a happy face. Wearing my mask.

And then today; joyful. Strong. Fighting.

Braids and Brass is about beauty in strength, not just body.

It’s about grit and how it can be beautiful.

This is Braids and Brass Fitness;

Where Beauty and Grit Collide.

Transformation of the Mind

Something I wish I talked more about right now is the transformation my mind and soul has gone through. 

41 weeks vs 11 weeks pp

It’s REALLY easy to see a body transformation. But what is harder to see and share is a MIND transformation. 

And to be honest, as a coach that’s mostly what I help people do. I help people transform their bodies by helping to transform their minds. 

We talk calories and what a healthy relationship with food looks like. We talk emotional eating and how scary it can be to eat more calories because women have been taught to nearly starve themselves instead of learning how to fuel themselves to do the tough job of being a mom, income earner and still taking care of ourselves.

I wish I could take a picture and show you how far my mind has come in my relationship to food, how my mental health has changed and how truly joyful I feel in all facets of life through proper eating and exercise. 

Seems a bit extreme, right? Well it is! It’s incredibly extreme. 

My life has changed. 

And it blows me away that I did it all through home workouts and their products. How cheesy does that sound?! To me, totally cheeseball. But it’s the truth. 

Food has never been easier to me now that I know how to portion, and I love helping people do that too. 

I don’t know much about macros. I can’t tell you what 45c 90p 10f looks like or if it’ll work for you. What I do know is that someone created a plan which gave me the tools to get the proper macros in my day for an average mom. 

I can tell you that I’ve never had SO much energy in my entire life like I do now, and I have an 11 week old and 2 year old and I wake up at 5/6AM every day with them. But my body just fricken WORKS. 

And I can’t tell you what your refeed day should look like or if you need one, but I can tell you if you’re feeling sluggish to have another serving of fruit (purple) or healthy fats (blue) and if you’re on lower calories and SUPER hungry add another veggie (green), and you won’t have to do math or weigh anything, you just use the system. 

I can also tell you I drink this shake every day for micronutrients and so much more that has dramatically changed my entire existence as a mother, and you can roll your eyes because I’m “only drinking it to sell it”. I can also tell you that it’s hard to convey the depth of health I feel because my body gets everything it needs in one cup. I can’t tell you everything about the phytonutrients and prebiotics, anti inflammatory capabilities and gut healing properties, but I can tell you that it helped lift my anxiety and helps me deal with stress like nothing ever has. 

The point here is that my body has changed. My mind has changed. I’m not a nutritionist. I’m not a personal trainer. I don’t have all the answers, I just have the one that worked for me and has worked for others like me. 

I’m someone who’s life has changed, who wants to help see others change and has seen it, and who sometimes doesn’t know how to share her journey in a way that won’t seem yucky to you just yet, but will keep trying. Because I want you to believe in it like I do. I want you to believe in me

Has my body changed? Yes. Am I super crazy proud and do I feel amazing in it? Yes. 

Is that the point? 

No.

The point is is that I get to enjoy my kids. They get to have a mother who plays and doesn’t yell and cry all the time. 

They get their mom, who was once hidden under depression. 

That my friends, is the point. 

On Women Supporting Women

“As another woman, I will not be another challenge for you.”

 
I read this line in an article *linked at the end* and it gave me goosebumps. 
Why are we so quick to tear each other down as women? The most negative feedback I’ve ever received in regards to nursing in public? From women. The most negative feedback received from my fitness goals and posts? From women. Ok I lied, it’s not the most. It’s only been from other women. 
We have so much to fight in this world. We have to worry about our safety when walking alone, we have to worry if we’re doing right by our kids in EVERY AREA. We have to worry if we are ‘put together’ enough as a mom. We have to worry if we are fit enough, or too fit (because obviously if you’re fit you’re neglecting your kids or are vain and care too much about how you look). 
So in light of that, I promise to not be another challenge for you. 
You don’t have to breastfeed for my approval. You don’t have to be a size 2 for my approval. You don’t have to do ANYTHING for my approval. 
I won’t be another obstacle you must overcome. 
I’ll be the rock you stand on to get you over the next obstacle. 
I’ll support you in business even if what you sell isn’t something I’d buy. I’ll cheer you on.

If you want to get fit, great. And while I believe everyone needs some form of physical activity in their week at least 3x a week, I won’t judge you if you don’t. 

I’m here to help, but I am not here to be another challenge in the mom wars, or the wars against women. 

I will not fight against you. I will only fight for you. 
http://www.uptownsheep.com/uptown-girl—a-working-farm-wifes-blog/to-the-woman-riding-in-my-husbands-combine

On Breastfeeding in Public

National Breastfeeding Week project; thank you for giving me more courage by showing the beauty of nursing

“Ew” the young girl whispered as she walked by while I nursed my 3 week old at a local National Park.
“Nice tits!” He yelled from his car as he drove by while I was walking home nursing my 5 week old. 

“High five lady! You rock!” I received as I walked around Walmart nursing my firstborn. 

Hi, my name is Michelle. And I am not an exhibitionist. I do not want the attention. I do not flaunt. And I most certainly do not need to cover up. 

I am a breastfeeding mother. 

My breastfeeding journey with my first was rough, with the first 6 weeks littered in tears and cracked bloody nipples. Post partum depression and a colicky baby lead to long days and nights of nursing. Breastfeeding is hard work. It takes grit and stamina, support and encouragement to see it through, and even then sometimes it’s not enough. It’s hard to learn and even harder to do in public, with the judging stares. 

I always knew I was going to breastfeed without a cover, because that’s who I am. I’m confrontational at the best and worst of times, and when I knew the struggles of women to just feed their babies as they saw fit, it was an issue I was willing to bind myself to and take on. I was going to stand up for my own rights and the right of others. I was going to push back against a society that makes you feel like you should not show any skin whatsoever if you’re going sans cover. 

But I was surprised at how embarrassed I was. 

I am a strong, confident and powerful woman. 

Nursing in public made me feel weak, insecure and powerless, especially among friends and family. 

Nursing at all made me feel weird at first when someone mentioned how it’d be weird because I have a boy. 

[I’d like to add here that anyone who ever insinuates or says to me again that it’s weird to nurse my son because he is a boy “sucking on my tits” I will promptly and fiercly punch you in the face for insinuating there could ever be any sexual feelings between my sons and I. Shame on you. And shame on me for not speaking up then.]

I was graced with people coming up to me in nothing but positive ways with my first born, who I nursed for 17 months. I never covered him once. I never even tried. But I had the art of tank top underneath and loose shirt on top thing down and when people would say to me, “but you can’t even see anything on you when you do it!” I would feel like I had accomplished some great feat. Like it was acceptable due to lack of skin and if any skin was showing, I was being exposed. 

Now, 6 weeks into nursing my second boy, I find myself caring less … ok not at all, about the skin you see, and I’ve had so much more negative reactions to nursing. Yet strangely, I feel more confident than ever to nurse in public, sans cover, however I see fit.

I’ve realized a lot of women don’t make it through breastfeeding because it’s just plain frustrating to learn this incredibly difficult thing at times under the ever scrutinizing eye of the public and because it’s not seen enough, it’s not done enough. 

I don’t need your attention. I don’t need the spotlight. But I will take both to highlight an issue near and dear to my heart, and that is the right to nurse and not be talked down to for it. To not be sexualized and harassed by men. For it to be recognized as a normal, and healthy thing to do. 

I’m most uncomfortable specifically at church, not that I’ve ever been approached or asked to leave, but because of me. It’s always awkward when there’s a special room for nursing which is comfortable and nice and thoughtful but am I expected to go there? 

I hate the idea of my friends and my church being uncomfortable with me or something I’m doing. It’s the last thing I’d ever want to do to someone, but I realized I’m not making anyone uncomfortable, people are uncomfortable because of their own feelings towards it. 

And that’s not my problem. And it’s not gross, indecent or showy.


As a Christian, I shouldn’t feel the need to cover up more because I should know in my heart that my brothers and sisters in Christ are striving for the same thing I am. To not sexualize women, and if someone has a problem or a struggle for them to simply not look. 

Again, I’ve never been approached at my church to ask that I nurse privately, but it is there I am most uncomfortable to test. And that is something I have to work on, but wouldn’t it be nice to be encouraged?

Wouldn’t it be nice if I never wondered what someone might be thinking? 

Sure, in a perfect world I just wouldn’t care, but I do. 

And because I feel that discomfort, I recognize others do to, and because of that might not experience the wonders of a long term nursing relationship. 

Because of breastfeeding and babywearing I was able to stay connected to my son through post partum depression. 

I hated when he latched on and sometimes I would cry out in anger that he was still nursing, but the oxytocin that is released when nursing always helped calm me and allowed me to connect with my son. To feel some joy. 

With all that being said, 

My name is Michelle. I am a nursing mother, a lactivist and committed to raising awareness about post partum depression. 

I don’t need attention. I don’t need agression. I need encouragement and love. 

Like all nursing mothers do. 

If you see a mom nursing in public, thank her. Encourage her. Look her in the eyes and let her know she is accepted.  

#sprayed
Late night nursing my son at 1 years old after coming home from work
Escaping the summer heart in the airconditioning

A Wedding Vow

Day 8 post partum

Dear body;

I solemnly swear to love you, even when I don’t like you. 

I promise to always speak kindly to you even when I’m angry; to use my words to build you up instead of tear you down. 

I promise to treat you right, and always be grateful for the life you give me. 

I promise to take care of you well into old age so we can run and laugh and play;

I promise to look past your flaws and see only the good things you have done for me and my family. 

I promise to give you my best even if I don’t think you’re giving me your best back. 

And I promise, on the days I like you least, to remember the work you have done and continue to do for me every single day, and to take a deep breath and let go of my unrealistic expectations of you, and simply be together. 

I promise to not miss out on anything life has to offer on account of my relationship with you, and I promise to work equally hard for you as you do for me. 

Until death do we part. 

A Birth Story

I’m not even sure where to start, and I’m even less sure of where this will end, but this is my story.

What you read in quotes is from our amazing friend Christa, who supported us in this whole birth journey and was there to pray, capture moments and stand with us during one of the most challenging and intimate moments of our lives. Thank you Christa. Words could never.

July 6th 0730pm
I arrive to a welcome from your mom, ushering me into the house. I look up the stairs at you and instantly notice your face is different. You have the look of a mother who is in labor. You are glowing, your face is so soft, your cheeks are flush and your eyes are sparkling.
At this point my contractions are regular, and we are so excited to finally end the wait. It’s been a full 24 hours since contractions started, and we were up all last night. At a week overdue, and what felt like the biggest fight against the medical system, God was faithful, and kept our baby safe and gave us strength to advocate for him/her until s/he was ready. And here baby is … ready.
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Lucas, myself and Christa start out with a walk to help move baby down; I want to labour outside and the weather couldn’t be more perfect to take my mind off the pain, which I have such a tough time accepting and instead find myself fighting. By the time we get back to the house my contractions are 8 minutes apart and getting stronger.
It’s midnight; we’ve gone for another walk and we’re back home and my contractions have shown up strong. I’ve had back labour for almost a full 24 hours at this point and I can barely stand I’m so tired that I fall asleep sitting upright on my living room floor only to wake up for contractions, and fall back asleep. The heat and intensity of the pain in my back is like nothing I’d ever experienced and I find myself scared, but determined.
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Instead of prepping my mind for the inevitable, I brace and prayed the next wouldn’t come, but of course it did. Things are gearing up, and it’s time. We are heading to the hospital now, and I am kneeled in the middle seat, breathing and groaning through the pain. Luc reaches back and holds my low back during a contraction while Christa coaches me to lower my voice and focus; they both keep me strong and calm. Immediately when it’s done I fall asleep.
02:39am
July 7th
We arrive at the hospital and you’ve had four contractions walking in. You are moaning, rocking, swaying and calling for Luc. You are in triage now. The hallway out here is quiet, all I can hear is the chatter of the nurses and your voice behind the wall. “Oh, there’s another one.” I think to myself.
I hear them tell you that you are only 1-2cm dilated. You are discouraged, and tired. You want to go home – and even though they want to keep you there – you trust your body and your mind is made up. This is YOUR journey. We leave the hospital to labor at home. I drop you and Luc off at your house and go back to my house, it is almost 5am.
Again I am encouraged to be induced. Again I am told I am leaving the hospital against medical advice. Again, I’m being told it’s just not happening. I am starting to lose faith. How can I be in so much pain, and have such regular contractions so close together, and be so far from my baby? We leave as we need time to sleep, to pray and to process.
I doze in and out of sleep and contractions all morning. Asher is still at Nana’s and Lucas is asking me to go for a walk to get coffee, but it’s too light out. I feel too vulnerable here; I don’t want to have contractions with anyone around. I want to be alone, so we drive for coffee and park; we sit here in silence while I continue to fall in and out of sleep and contractions.
“We should go to the abandoned golf course outside of Christa’s house and you can be alone there, but outdoors and we can talk.” He’s so perfect. He knows me so well and has been such a strong rock for me to lean on.
By 10:30 AM we are in an open green space; the same one we had maternity photos done with our first son, Asher. It’s sunny and peaceful, and completely quiet. Here I can think. Here I can labour.
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It’s day 3. I have had back labour through the night and day for nearly 50 hours. I’m so tired, I feel like I can’t think. We talk and talk. You listen. More contractions follow and you scoop me up in your incredibly strong arms and hold me; sway with me. I think to myself … I’ve never been more in love.
It’s time. We’ve decided. I want to have my water broken and to have this baby. I root myself in prayer, because I am the only one who can fully make this decision, and I need to love myself through it. I need to be able to handle looking back and seeing that things could have been different, but be ok anyways. I don’t want to fight Dr’s and contractions anymore. I’ve fought long and hard and we want to end the fight and fill our family. I’m ready to do this.
You and Luc enter the unit and I sit in the waiting room. Shortly after I discover they have instantly put you into the Labor and Delivery room, and promptly broke your water at your request. I am called in to the room and things have already changed- dramatically.
Music is playing and your surges are different this time – you can tell your body is working with more purpose. You dance between contractions, you know you must keep moving.
Hours pass as you rock, moan, sway, cry, ache, cringe . . .but eventually you get the hang of it. You listen as we tell you to relax your face, lower your voice, relax into the surge, move as your body needs to move. You are suddenly the poster child for handling the most intense, transition like surges. Everyone is so impressed with you. As time goes on though, you reach a point of exhaustion, you fall in to sleep between almost every single contraction.
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I’ve been here for 8 hours; contractions are strong and a minute or less apart. They bring me to my knees; I can feel my back tightening and burning up, it feels like it’s going to break me. I hear words like strong and focused, but I don’t feel it. And yet here I am, faced with my biggest fears, and I have to keep going. I’ve never been one to embrace pain.
I thought my labour would be peaceful; I’d be the poster child of natural birth. Maybe I am; maybe that’s what this is. I’ve never felt so weak and yet here I stand on day 3 of nearly no sleep and I haven’t sat down in over 8 hours. My feet ache, my calves burn from the deep squatting and rocking…I have come into this one woman, and I will leave it another.
I have cried, screamed, thrown up, groaned and prayed.
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I have felt the presence of God in a way I haven’t felt Him in a long time as worhsip music plays and pours out over me as I thank Him over and over for giving me this opportunity. For giving me this strength. For allowing me to come into this process my own woman, making my own choices and not backing down for anyone.
His promises are true, in weakness, we can be strong.
The nurse frowns, you are still only 2-3cm. “What?! How?!” you say. Another set of incredibly intense surges overtake you. The nurse encourages you to get on all fours and rest between them. You do. You also move from side to side, begging for relief. You fall asleep again only to be awoken by a surge almost everyone in the room can feel.

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My resolve is breaking to maintain through this contraction knowing it’s not doing what I need it to do. It’s 10:30PM. Eight hours with almost no dilation. I can’t cope. I’m too tired, too sore everywhere, I need to sit. I need to rest. My body is fighting this now, and I need to relax. I ask for an epidural. I am proud to have asked. I am proud of myself for enduring what I have, and feel no pride to power through. I have nothing to prove to anyone; this is my journey, and my body needs to rest now.
I’m cross legged on the bed. Sitting down during a contraction is the worst thing imaginable. I’m given a pillow to hold and crush as I need to be completely still during the epidural. I feel it coming, but just knowing relief is on it’s way, I find the strength one last time. It starts; the needle is in my back and I am fighting. I cry, groan and shake but I don’t move.
It’s done. I can feel myself falling asleep as the pain diminishes, and pure exhaustion sweeps over me.
It’s 1 AM. My body needs more sleep than 2 hours, but I woke up anyways. Something deep inside me stirred to let me know it’s time. I get to meet my baby now. This is what it means to be a woman; to know things without being told. To rely on that deep instinct of the Holy Spirit. 10 CM; my heart is racing. We made it; I get to deliver my own baby. I get my VBAC.
I don’t question whether or not I’ll be able to deliver this baby on my own. I hear them talk about baby’s heart decelerations as I push, and as NICU staff come in, but I am at complete and total peace. God has us, we are safe.
Pushing is a relief; I feel such overwhelming joy and peace knowing this is God’s design.
I feel every contraction, I feel every push and suddenly I feel my baby.
I reach down and grab my baby. I’m weeping as I scoop my hands under the armpits and pull to my chest; it’s a boy you tell me, and we both know this is our Niall.
As soon as he is out, you both cry, you weep.
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I want to delay cord clamping until all the blood was done pumping through. I want all the best things for our son, and they leave it attached, no fight, no struggle. 
Then the Doctor tells me in surprise that the placenta is still intact and ready to be delivered, and I have the hospitals first Lotus Birth. I can feel the culmination of everyone’s prayers in that one moment, and it was beautiful. She pulled out the placenta and it lay beside us delivering everything baby needed until it was done. I never realized how beautiful creation is, even at its messiest. 
Surrounded by Christian nurses and staff, we end up having the most beautiful experience imaginable. I can feel the strength of all the prayers that went up for us this week, and I can’t tell you how grateful I am so many people held space for us, and how grateful I am that we serve the God we do.
It’s time to let Asher meet his baby brother.
Niall Gannon Gross, we’ve been waiting.
Welcome home.