Ashley

Since writing these posts and reading through all the answers given I've seen a few themes. One being that we rarely take time for ourselves. Be it that we can't because it just doesn't work into our schedule or because we don't prioritize the time we need. I mean we are surrounded by tiny humans, some of us all day! I know we can't all make time to sit at a coffee shop (uninterrupted) for a few hours a week by ourselves, or get a pedicure every other week (wouldn't that be a dream??), but we can work it into the daily tasks. And with that comes the practice of savoring. Savoring every moment we can either with our littles or by ourselves. 

One of my favorite books ever is "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp, a memoir in which Ann shares her journey into thankfulness by keeping a journal of one thousand daily gifts as simple as the way the sunlight sprinkles the counter in the mornings. Its small non-time consuming practices like these that can make all the difference. 

I didn't ask Ashley if this a secret practice of hers but if I could guess, I think it is. She seems to be a pretty happy and  positive person despite the frustrations that have accompanied motherhood and I would dare to say even life! She shared with me that she was diagnosed with endometriosis a few years ago. For those of you (like me) who are a bit foggy as to what endometriosis actually is; it is an often painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus — the endometrium — grows outside your uterus. Pronounced en-doe-me-tree-O-sis, it basically causes cysts and can cause fertility problems. All that to say not only is Ruby's conception amazing, it also healed her! Yep! The doctors say one of the main "cures" for the disease is childbirth. What a redemptive and beautiful way to start your little life, healing the very person who is giving you life! Read on to hear more from Ashley.

Tell me a little about your lifestyle.

I'm married to my best friend, Greg. [Who] works as an IT consultant for Fed Ex. I currently do not work and do not plan on doing anything that will take time away from the babe for several years. I do have an interest in starting a headband line for babies in the near future. Greg and I met while I was in design school at Watkins. I became very sick a month or two into the relationship and had emergency surgery and was diagnosed with endometriosis. We married in novemeber 2012 and conceived our sweet Ruby Lou 3 months later to our surprise! We currently go to church with my parents but are searching for a better match for our family.

I often struggle to reconcile dreams that I had pre-motherhood with post-motherhood. What are you wrestling to find time for?

Time for myself. I am a really creative person and have completely lost interest or the time to be interested in crafting and art.

Share a funny or honest or sobering moment when something happened that put you way outside your comfort zone.

The first time breastfeeding in public. I was extremely nervous in the car on the way to the restaurant just thinking about it. My dad was extremely supportive and told me not to worry about it. Hearing that from my very conservative father helped me relax some. I still get a bit embarrassed because my boobs are HUGE!

Expectation vs. Reality: Share a time when these were awfully unbalanced.

Breastfeeding. I thought it would be so magical and easy. The babe was suppose to just latch on my breast and it would be as simple as that. Not so much in my situation at all. She was a month early and could not latch properly. A sweet nurse came in several hours after she was born and helped me and we decided to hand express into a spoon and spoon feed her so she was getting every bit that she needed. Eventually we used a nipple shield and that worked wonders! She learned to latch at about 3 months without a shield. Around that time we saw a lactation nurse who was trying to teach us a more proper latch. She was very rude, forced Ruby on my breast into a weird position, and shamed me for using a breast shield cause that was the "easy way out". Ruby never latched during that appoiment until after wards we got in the car and I had to lay down in the backseat with her just to get her to eat. The next two months were hell after that appoiment. She refused to nurse all the time and eventually I figured out she would if I laid down beside her or dangled my breast over top of her. The lactation nurse told me not to bottle feed her if she didn't eat because she would eventually become hungry. This was not true at all and after 3 skipped feedings and a very upset baby I gave her a bottle of pumped milk. [We are] six months into our breastfeeding journey now and It has been a rocky road. I'm finally feeling at peace with it all. [I'm] so thankful we have made it this far and continue to fight through the hard times.

What do you hope your children know about you? and/or What do you hope to impart to your children?

I hope she knows how important family is to me and how closely I hold them to my heart. I also want her to know about my struggles through middle and high school. Not to scare her, but because sexual abuse is very common, I don't want to hide any of it from her. I hope she has my spunk and silly sense of humor. I also want to have a tender heart for animals like I do.

Raise your words,
Not your voice.
It is rain that grows flowers,
Not thunder.
— Rumi

Ma Dreams is a project I started this year (2015) after having a creative craving that I felt like I couldn't quench. As a recent first-time mom I've found it extremely hard to find time for the things I love in addition to my sweet babe. I guessed that most moms feel the same. To brings us together and remind Ma's of their dreams too I started this series. Read more here: Ma Dreams.