drunk on love, and slightly hungover.

When I was pregnant I was more scared of the idea of bringing home the baby than I was of labor + delivery. I was worried being a mom wouldn’t be intuitive. I’m not what you would call a “baby person.” I don’t get excited about newborn smell or even the cute miniature clothing. So for 10 months, I had a daily panic attack (usually at 3am over a bowl of chocolate Chex and an episode of Fraiser.) How was I going to know how to care for this baby and would I love it more than anything in the world?

So here we are, 12 weeks later, and I’m pleased to report that newborn smell makes me weak in the knees, and miniature clothing is the only thing I shop for. I am now a fully converted “baby person.”

I’m not sure how to condense all my many thoughts about the early stages of motherhood because they were so complicated. They ranged from heart bursting happiness to overwhelmingly messy and emotional. One minute I literally felt drunk on Bowie love and the next minute I would be sobbing cause I was tired, sore from childbirth, and sick of wearing the same pants (because nothing else FREAKING fits!)

The good news is every day is got easier and easier. The wide range of emotions started to feel less intense and my feelings and fears became more manageable. I surprised myself at how intuitive motherhood has been, and how confident I am at knowing what he wants. I feel insanely proud of my new mom instincts and it’s weird to think I doubted myself so much before he was born. Of course there are moments that I don’t know what the hell to do but thats when I reach out to my support system. I try not to over analyze, overreact , or over GOOGLE.

So I am no expert but here a few helpful hints that have helped me navigate postpartum life:

Be gentle with your new body: I liked my body before pre-pregnancy, I really liked my body during pregnancy (I miss that bump), and after the baby came, I was SO PROUD of my body. Unfortunately, that feeling did not last long. I started to quickly HATE my body. Getting dressed was a nightmare, nothing fit, and I felt so uncomfortable. I was in terrible pain from a hard delivery, my boobs were a sore, leaky mess, and I just felt like a pile of garbage. So I decided that I needed some clothes that made me feel almost human. I’m a firm believer that if you are comfortable in what you are wearing your, day will be automatically a little better. That is when I established my uniform.

Our first all day outing! The uniform.

Our first all day outing! The uniform.

The uniform: For me this became joggers and a chambray (fancy for denim) button down. The chambray is nursing friendly and has been my go-to piece for the last decade. I now own seven of them in a variety of sizes. Joggers are also a staple for me, so I invested in a pair of “fancier ones for outings and some cheaper ones for around the house but still cute enough for when company comes. This outfit is by no means groundbreaking but it’s something that I feel comfy and cute in. If I’m headed out, I layer my sweater coat, a favorite hat, and my high top Vans.

Boundaries: Of course I wanted my loved ones to meet Bowie, but the constant visiting started taking a toll on me. It got in the way of my feeding / sleeping schedule. After a few days of non-stop, well meaning visitors, I decided to have a no company rule. Not forever, but for the first couple weeks. I simply told people: “Bowie can’t wait to meet you, why don’t you come over NEXT______” This way I didn’t have to worry about people just stopping by while I’m wearing depends and covered in breast milk. But if you do want company and someone asks “what can I bring?” Be honest and ask for what you need. Trader Joes Pancake bread? Milk? Diapers? Chips and queso? Don’t feel bad asking for what you need/want.

Sleep when the baby sleeps: I know, I know. This sounds like a no brainer. But not everyone does this. I think as a culture we feel bad about napping. Don’t feel bad. Just nap. There is NOTHING else that you need to do. Also napping with your newborn is PURE MAGIC.

The Glow Baby App: This was my addiction for the first 8 weeks. I’m sure there are a ton of them out there but this is the first one that came up in the app store. I found it hard to keep track of feeding times so this was perfect. It took the work out of remembering what time and what side I fed him from last. Especially helpful in the middle of the night when I was so out of it.

A couch kit: For the first few weeks I spent the majority of my time on the couch and getting up and down was sort of hard. So I made a little basket of most frequently used items, like pacifiers, wipes, and burp cloths. Once again, not ground breaking but super helpful.

A Meal Train: A couple of my girlfriends started this for me when Ray went back to work. We had home made meals dropped off on our porch three times a week for two weeks.Talk about a GAME CHANGER. To not have to not play the “what’s for dinner game” is a huge relief. It also didn’t hurt that my friends are great cooks, so the meals were thoughtful, perfectly packaged, and delicious.

Here are some other great postpartum items that need no explanation:

Bottom line, postpartum is wild. It’s the perfect storm of all of your emotions, plus physical pain and exhaustion. So be kind and gentle on yourself. Ask for help. Take people up on their offers. Sleep when you can, don’t worry about the dishes. Your only job is to love that baby.

so the stork doesn't just bring the baby on my due date?

40 weeks, lets do this!

I know how real life works. But sometimes I live in dream world that things will work out exactly how I picture them in my head. Therefore, I had my hospital bag packed at 39 weeks, my dog sitter lined up on the babies due date, and the Housewives set to be DVRed. So imagine my shock at my 40 week appointment when my midwife told me I was not dilated at all. Not even like 1/2 cm.

That’s when we decided that we would be induced at 41 weeks if nothing happened naturally that week. I remember being really sad after that appointment. The idea of being induced realIy scared me, but after chatting friends about their own inductions I started feeling better. The night before induction day, I waddled around target and bought some fun baby things, more snacks, magazines and cried a little. I was so nervous about what the next day was going to bring and I was also feeling sad about this being my last target trip with just Ray.

So I won’t go into long details about labor and delivery because everyone has such a different experiences and mine feels very personal to me. But what I will say is that it was hard. It was way harder than I expected and I’m still in shock what women go through, and even more in shock that MY body was able to do it. I’m so proud of my strong body (that I can be so hard on, so often) for carrying safely for 10 months, laboring for 36 hours, and delivering the love of my life, baby Bowie.

With that said here are a few thoughts from the big day (or long weekend:)

Having a birth plan: I did not think I wanted a birth plan. I thought I would go with the flow and not set any unrealistic expectations for myself. But the closer it got, the more nervous I felt and I decided that I would feel better if I could have some “control” over the environment;

  1. No "extras” in the room. This meant JUST my midwife, a nurse, and my husband (Ray.)

  2. Low lighting: the room was basically dark with just one movable light for my midwife. It made the room feel intimate and peaceful.

  3. Music: Ray surprised me with the perfect playlist from Beyonce to Queen and he also set up a slide show on his computer with pictures of our dog. Whenever I was struggling I would just focus on the music and watch as pictures of my beloved pup flashed on the screen. Side note: we play those songs at home now and I tear up (especially during “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran and David Bowie’s “Starman.”)

  4. An essential oil diffuser: I had lavender pumping through that room all 36 hours of labor. I’m not sure if this actually calmed me down but it was a nice touch. Sometimes the little things can bring so much joy.

  5. Ray don’t look: I was obsessed with Ray NOT looking. Obsessed. We talked about it ALL THE TIME. He agreed. He did not want to see the miracle of birth anymore than I wanted him to see my body turned inside out.

Did we stick to the plan? For the majority of my delivery we stuck to it. Low lighting and all. But after hour three of pushing, the baby was starting to get stressed and they had to call my doctor in to help with the rest of delivery. After that, it was stadium lighting and about 15 people in the room assisting, but at that point I didn’t care, I just wanted to deliver the baby as safe as possible. I was exhausted, stressed, and wanted this to be OVER.

Did Ray look? At the end he did, I had been pushing for so long that he just had to see what the actual F was going on. Guess what? We are still happily married.

Drugs? Yes, please! : I didn’t have a plan for this either, but I secretly wanted to be one of those women who didn’t need an epidural. Than I went into labor and couldn’t believe how hard it was. I used all the techniques; the birthing ball, the bath, yoga breath work, meditating, walking, and good old fashioned crying and screaming. After hour five of non stop contractions I asked for the epidural and 45 minutes later I was sitting in bed, laughing with Ray, and watching The Office. If I was to do it all over again, I would have asked for the epidural earlier.

Meeting our baby: I had played what I thought this moment would be like over and over in my head. I had such high expectations. It was supposed to be the most exciting moment of my life. Well guess what? It wasn’t. After that final push, they placed the baby on me and I was literally IN SHOCK. I was relieved it was over but I was in no state to be holding a fragile newborn. You know those blow up things at car dealerships.? The floppy arm things? That’s what a newborn is like. He was slipping all over me. I was so exhausted and slightly traumatized, so skin to skin with him only lasted about 15 minutes . Turns out I had plenty more chances for those skin to skin moments, and it was ok.

Speaking of HE: I literally had to ask Ray “what did we have?!” Not knowing the gender added so much excitement to the delivery but I never heard anyone announce “it’s a BOY!” I think I was so out of it that I missed that BIG moment. Not gonna lie. There was a small part of me that was sad. All this work to push out a boy?! It was no secret that I wanted a girl but I had a gut feeling the universe was going to give me a boy. I thought my heart would have been broken if I didn’t have a girl but I now i can’t imagine it any other way.

Bowie? My husband has always been a huge Bowie fan therefore I made an effort and love a few of his songs but would never have called myself a fan. Until last May, when we went to the “Bowie Is” exhibit in Brooklyn and I became infatuated with just how freaking cool he was. 12 days later I found out I was pregnant and I couldn’t turn on the radio or TV without hearing a Bowie song. We played around with the name for a while and the closer it got to due date the more it felt like the perfect name.

Now, 10 weeks later, I can’t believe I’m actually saying this but I’m weirdly sad that it’s already over. It was by far the hardest week of my life and the most traumatic thing I’ve even been through. I really thought my body would never feel normal again. But everyday I feel more like myself and the magic of Bowie gets better and better.

my must haves: hospital edition

Being induced gave me an actual “go to hospital and have a baby” date, and for someone who likes to manage expectations this gave me a small feeling of control (which now I know is impossible when having a baby.) Either way, I felt like I was given the gift of time and I used the week leading up to induction day to prep. I cleaned my house, set all my Bravo shows to record, bought more snacks (I kept eating the snacks as soon as we bought them) and re-packed my hospital bag. Here are the things I actually used and would recommend:

1- A labor and delivery gown: I really something that I could LABOR in and feel sort of covered up. I also knew inductions could take a while so I wanted to be comfy. I bought two and wore them both. One before baby arrived and one for after. It has all the snaps and panels that make breast feeding possible as well as easy access for exams and even delivery. I ended up wearing one during 30 of the 36 hours I was in labor and than put the fresh one on after Bowie was born. It was perfect because I was easily able to be examined and I was so sore after labor that this was the only thing that felt comfy on. Also great if you have a c-section.

2. Nursing sleep bras: I LOVE these because they are actually comfortable enough to sleep in. And yes, I sleep in a bra now. Gone are the days that I take my bra off the minute I walk in the door. These run large so size down to ensure enough support.

3. A cute robe: Perfect for walking the baby around the hospital halls, when visitors come, and of course for cute picture of you and your new fam for the ‘gram. Side note: I never got a picture and i’m still mad about it!

4. An extra long phone charger: because, duh.

5. SNACKS! Being induced they really don’t allow you to eat but after delivery you will be so happy you have snacks on hand. During labor I sucked on an insane amount of wintergreen life savers, and my midwife let me eat Lara bars but I had to wait until after baby was born to dig into my assorted selection of wegmans bulk candy and snack mixes. These came in handy during middle of the night feedings.

6. Something PRACTICAL to wear home: I was so swollen after I gave birth that the joggers I packed didn’t fit around my ankles! Thank god I had a pair of pajama pants that were big enough to not only fit my ankles but they were able to slide over the hospital mesh undies (ask for extras to bring home with you) and they fit my very swollen belly. You leave the hospital looking seven months pregnant (unless you’re princess kate) so make sure you have some maternity wear packed.

7. A birth plan: I did not think I wanted a birth plan. I thought I would go with the flow and not set any unrealistic expectations for myself. But the closer I got, the more nervous I got and I decided there were a few things I wanted. I used this template to guide me. I only answered about 1/4 of the questions but it helped ease my anxiety knowing I was advocating for myself.

this Mae had a bae.

This post has nothing to do with selling vintage clothes, but so many of my lovely maeflower customers have been reaching out to see how I’ve been doing. Closing the store turned out to be the most bittersweet decision ever. Bitter for obvious reasons but made very sweet because three weeks after closing, we found out we were PREGNANT!

After a very challenging year dealing with fertility issues, this was the most exciting, joyful (slightly scary) news. I decided than it was time to take a break. That meant no more pop-ups, no more vintage hunting adventures, and a major scale back from social media.

So here we are 11 months later…the proud momma (still weird to say) of a beautiful baby boy. Bowie James Mansassa. Pinch me because he’s perfect.

I have so many thoughts on new mom life, so stay tuned while I gather my thoughts so I can appear both smart and witty… (I’m actually just waiting for my copywriter husband to edit everything before I hit publish.) But for now here are some cute baby pics of Bowie.