Divorced mother of two contemplates having a third
Following your inner voice to happiness
I always found myself researching online. Hoping that somebody’s story matched mine. I was a divorced mother of two. At least that was how I viewed myself back then. Four years ago, I fell in love with a man that I connect so well with. Someone I could finally be completely content with. I always assumed I was done having children, because my ex-husband had a vasectomy while I was still carrying my second. Part of me was okay with only having two babies. The other part of me daydreamed of what it would be like having a third. I found myself searching online for any article that was about “having a baby with a new partner,” “blending my family with a baby,” or “divorced, remarried, wants baby.”
I didn’t want to really read any of it. What I wanted was for someone to say “yes, go for it!” I wanted someone to tell a story just like mine. Divorced mother of two, meets her one and only true love and decides to have a beautiful baby. I was turning 35 and starting to get the “oh wow you really want to start all over again? Really!?” I considered how I’d spent the last 10 years feeling stuck and aimlessly lost. I was a girl starving for attention, with the urge to feel something real. Something passionate, not just going through the motions. So, the answer to the question everyone was asking, was: yes!
Absolutely, I wanted to start over. I wanted to give my heart another chance. I wanted to continue to create the family I dreamed of. One that was free spirited, one that made me feel alive. One that also shared a strong passion for the more sensitive things in life. Without a doubt, I wanted to start over. Once I let all my insecurities down I started wondering what it would be like to have one more person sitting at the table. What kind of silly laughter would they bring to the family? Would it be the missing piece I’ve been searching for to connect us all together? I mean, we were already perfect, just the four of us, but something kept me wanting more.
I remember when I was first going through my divorce and even though it was the right thing for me, it was hard to get past that feeling of “letting others down”. I had always been concerned what others thought of me.
Looking back now I understand that feeling came from not being happy and in love with myself. A few years ago, I got a card in the mail from my brother. Something that he wrote in the card still sticks with me today — he wrote, “don’t be distracted by searching for approval from others.” I cut that sentence out and I hung it on the door so every time I exited my apartment I would remember it’s not about the approval from others, it’s what feels right for me. I struggled back and forth with self-doubt. Should I get married? Do I really want another baby? All the what ifs and insecurity of wanting approval from others had to go. I deserve to be happy. Just because one thing didn’t work out doesn’t mean I should ignore all other wants.
I decided that following my heart was the best path for me. And I did just that! On March 26, 2015 I married my best friend. September 16, 2016 my husband delivered his first baby! It was such an amazing birth. He never once left my side and whenever I felt like giving up he lifted me right back up and helped me every second of the way. When he handed me our baby he announced — “he’s a baby boy”! Jett Kennedy was the name we had decided on; for either boy or girl. I wasn’t surprised that Jett was a boy.
Days later we welcomed Jett home to our family of love. Things easily fell right into place. My oldest son, Kyle, 10, and Max — no longer the baby at 7 years old — were both very happy to have a new little brother. At the time, it seemed like I waited forever to meet Jett. Today, I can’t imagine life without him in our world.
In the early months of taking care of Jett we co-slept. I found this easiest for me to nurse and still get some rest. I had only 7 short weeks of maternity leave. Nursing my babies has always come so naturally for me, without struggle and very minor supply issues. Even though it came easily, I always set myself short term goals with nursing. Telling myself just make it two months, then four, and so on. My focus was to make it 6 months. I know for some mothers that is a very short time to breastfeed. But for me, this time around I was thankful for lasting 6 months. I can’t tell you how many times I truly wanted to give up. Knowing that work and life was making it more difficult to keep up with my milk supply, I knew it was coming to an end. I knew I was going to miss all the little things, that I loved so much when I was nursing my baby.
Knowing all this I decided to message one of my favorite lifestyle photographers; Lori Dunbar owner of fresh snapped photos. I told her I was wanting to do a skin to skin shoot, with hopes I could capture a beautiful photo of me nursing Jett. Now, as I said before, I can’t help but research online. As a graphic designer, it’s in my blood to look at everything I like and everything I don’t like and try to do something better. This time around I was so nervous about what my body looked like. Like most new moms, I compared myself to anyone else who recently had a baby and wished I looked as good or better than they did. I had already designed in my mind what I hoped to get out of this photo shoot and was so nervous I would hate the way I looked.
The morning of the photo shoot I thought about cancelling. I didn’t wake up feeling skinny like I had wished. Jett wasn’t really nursing much at all anymore and I didn’t really have extra money to spend on the shoot. Instead of calling it off, I got up and got in the shower and finally took time to shave my legs. Let’s face it, as new mothers we have very little time for any extra self care. When it came time to get ready I panicked, wondering what the hell to wear. I know I said skin to skin, but did I really want to put myself out there like that? After going back and forth in my head trying to keep an open mind I decided to only take clothes that I nursed Jett in, or clothes I felt most comfortable in. Now this was the complete opposite of what most people do for a photo shoot. However, I also knew nothing would make me feel more beautiful than the way Jett looks into my eyes and smiles. No props or clothes would replace the most natural look that a mother and child have together.
Lately, I feel like social media and apps have taken all the inside beauty away. I honestly feel more comfortable sharing a Snapchat using a filter of a cute but annoying squeaky voiced bunny eared image of myself. Recently, I discovered how the app Facetune can completely take everything you dislike about your features and change them. If that is what’s on trend, how can we ever even compete with that. So now every time I take a photo of myself I feel like it needs some absurd filter.
I’m now down to the hour before the photo shoot and the photographer calls me. “I’m so very sorry but I’m dealing with a flat tire right now and I don’t know if we can shoot today.” My first thought to myself was, “I guess it’s just not meant to be” my next thought was “damn, I shaved my legs for nothing” and my last was, “I was finally feeling like no matter what I was going to feel beautiful”. Even though the shoot got delayed we were still able to make it happen. I nervously left with not much expectation, and hopes for one good photo to frame. When we were all set to shoot, I made sure to explain that I didn’t want to feel like I was posing. I didn’t want to look at the camera and I really didn’t want to try to look pretty. What I wanted most was to capture my time with Jett. Our love and our bond as mother and child. I pretended nobody was around, and I spent 3 wonderful hours kissing, snuggling, and playing with my baby.
I couldn’t believe the photos when I saw them. There wasn’t a single bad photo in the hundreds she took. Even the ones where Jett was peeing on my foot were completely adorable. I am truly honored to have these moments preserved. Letting my insecurities go and just being myself was the only way to be and because of that I feel more beautiful than ever. With everything going on in today’s world I feel like as women we need to really come together and get back to exploring our inner beauty. Stop comparing the outside and see more of the inside. Just because a flower is surrounded by trees doesn’t mean it should imitate the trees.