THE LOVE SERIES #11: Booby Love

This 10th installment of The Love Series is dedicated to breastfeeding aka Booby Love. 😉 I drew this picture only a couple weeks after my daughter finished weaning so it’s a bit bittersweet. My goal was to make it to at least 2 years old and we made it to 2 years and 3 months. Did you know that there is a such as thing as post-weaning depression? I had no clue (despite many La Leche League meetings and breastfeeding blogs) and was a little blind-sided when I decided to reduce my daughter’s free-for-all nursing schedule to only one nursing session in the morning. I wasn’t even ‘weaning’ in my mind, just putting down some boundaries. But not long after we made the change, I felt awful. I was moody, crying all the time, anxious and depressed. I had no idea what was going on and was obsessing about why I was feeling this way and how I might ‘fix’ it when I stumbled upon post-weaning depression online.

After knowing why this was happening to me, I was able to relax and just accept that this was a temporary hormonal shift and to give myself a little break. A few months later, when I decided to wean fully, I was prepared. Thankfully, going from a 5-minute nursing session per day to no nursing wasn’t as large of a hormonal shift (I’m assuming) as I didn’t have such severe symptoms – only mild depression and anxiety that lasted a couple of weeks.

While I was pregnant, I’d heard many women recount their experiences of postpartum depression and anxiety, but I’d never heard a woman discuss post-weaning depression. So this is my little PSA. Post-weaning depression is a thing. Maybe if you know it’s a possibility and that it could be coming, you’ll have a better system in place to cope until it passes.

These 2 years of breastfeeding have been quite a journey. Those first couple of months of figuring breastfeeding out were complete hell (the postpartum depression and anxiety didn’t help either!) but I’m glad we persisted.* There have been some truly wonderful moments – one of which is captured in the drawing below. It was in those first two months of hell that my daughter was nursing and laid her hand upon my chest with her pointer finger, pinky and thumb extended forming ‘I Love You’ in sign language. The significance of this is that my husband and I had made that sign to each other since first saying “I Love You” to one another. We still make that sign to one another and now my 2 year old daughter does too.

Marker and colored pencil.
© 2017. Angelle Conant. All Rights Reserved.

*This statement is not meant to judge, criticize or shame any mother who could not or didn’t want to breastfeed. Every person fights their own battles and must do what is best for them and their baby and I 100% recognize that was is ‘best’ for me may not be ‘best’ for you. You do you. I’ve got your back.

Tips for Dealing with Flood Damage

Although we were spared from Hurricane Harvey, we know many who were not. I wrote this email to a friend who’s mom is overwhelmed with all that must be done when the rain and flooding finally stop. It is in NO WAY a comprehensive list, but it is a starting point. When my mom was flooded last year in the Tax Day Floods, it would have been nice to have a list like this to help us make a game plan so I’m passing it along in the hopes that it might help someone else too.


TIPS FOR DEALING WITH FLOOD DAMAGE

Top Priority
-Call your flood insurance (if you have it) and FEMA (the faster you get an agent, the faster you get your money to buy new stuff)
-Do not turn on electricity until it has been deemed safe by authorities or an electrician
-Once water recedes, open up the walls, rip out the insulation and put fans out to dry the house (this prevents mold growth)
-if carpeted, rip it out ASAP to prevent mold growth
-Do not attempt to start or plug in any appliances – they must be checked out by a professional
-TAKE PICTURES OF EVERYTHING BEFORE YOU THROW IT AWAY (insurance needs this)

Regular Tips
-Things that can’t be washed (like mattresses, rugs, couches, books, etc) or things that absorb water (like drywall and some wood depending on type and how long it was in the water) which have come into contact with flood water must be thrown out. Put them on the curb for heavy trash pick up. Take pictures!
-load up trash bags of clothes/fabric/pillows (anything that can be washed) and send them to friends and family to wash and dry. Using original Pine Sol and hot water in the washer disinfects the clothes.
-Tile floor can usually be cleaned with disinfectant and kept. My mom didn’t have hardwood, but I assume it would have to be removed as it absorbs water
-Make a pile of things that can be cleaned with disinfectant instead of thrown out (ex: pots & pans, plastics, etc – anything that doesn’t absorb water). Set up a disinfecting and drying station or send them with family & friends to be cleaned at their homes and then brought back
-If you decide to use a contractor to rebuild, choose carefully. There are a lot of scammers and half-assers out there. Ask for recommendations from friends and family.

Misc Tips
-This is a marathon, not a sprint. Take time to rest & recharge.
-There are Houston Flood Groups on Facebook that have advice, suggestions, recommendations, etc.
-Don’t be afraid to ask for help. My mom worked for two or three days with me and a handful of friends before she asked for help on Facebook. A huge church group of moms, dads, & teens showed up and finished demo-ing everything in one day – it would have taken us another week without their help.
-You cannot eat anything that grows in soil that has been flooded. You have to wait at least 6 months.

Mostly, stay strong and know that one day it will end and things will be back to normal. The pile on the curb of things that have to be thrown out will be huge, but it’s going to be ok. You will get through this.

Sending you lots of love,
Angelle

THE LOVE SERIES #9: Houston Love

If you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know by now, Houston and all of Southeast Texas and parts of Louisiana have been ravaged by Hurricane and then Tropical Storm Harvey. It has been a harrowing experience for many and the areas that were affected will be recovering for months if not years to come.

Amidst all the flooding, rain, and chaos, Houston and it’s surrounding areas as well as many across the nation have united to help those who have suffered the most during this record-breaking storm. As I watch the news and social media and see the stories of citizens and first responders saving and caring for one another, my heart breaks open again and again. I’ve essentially been crying for the past 4 days.

So this 9th installment of The Love Series goes out to Houston, it’s surrounding areas and all the citizens, civilians, officers, fire fighters and first responders who are spreading the love any way they can.

HOUSTON LOVE. #HoustonStrong © 2017. Angelle Conant. All Rights Reserved.

If you’d like to give a little love to Houston, there are many ways to do so. Here are just a few:
1. JJ Watt of the Houston Texans is raising money to get direct aid to the victims of Hurricane Harvey. You can donate HERE.
2. Over 160 police officers have had their homes flooded but have still been working. To help officers whose homes have been damaged, consider donating to Assist the Officer HERE.
3. Brene Brown, author, UH professor and all around badass, has suggested donating to Undies for Everyone on her Facebook page. It’s an often overlooked area. You can donate HERE.
4. Lastly, if you are here locally, consider volunteering your time, your washing machine (so much needs to be washed), or resources to shelters, neighbors, family and friends in need. So, essentially, keep doing what you’re doing Houston. #HoustonStrong

THE LOVE SERIES #10: Mama Love

This is the 9th installment of The Love Series and it’s a celebration of the love a mother feels for her child. I did this painting when I was pregnant with my daughter and in complete awe of how much love I felt for someone I hadn’t even seen with my own two eyes.

My love for her now is the same as it was then: powerful, fierce, and deep. Any person is capable of feeling this kind of love whether they are a biological parent, adoptive parent, step-parent, animal parent, grandparent, auntie, uncle, or friend. May we all know the joy of giving and receiving such a love.

Acrylic Paint on a tiny canvas. © 2017. Angelle Conant. All Rights Reserved.

P.S. This post happens to coincide with the e-book release of my new book of poetry – Hummingbird Heartbeat: Poems of Pregnancy and Beyond. You can find it on amazon.com for $3.99. It’s also available on Kindle Unlimited and the Kindle Lending Library. I hope you enjoy it. <3

 

A Poem for Our Country

Inside the Texas State Capitol Building

CHECKMATE
They dominate.
They incarcerate.
They invalidate
then equivocate.

They legislate
then misappropriate.
They incriminate
then repatriate.

But then

They miscalculate
and underestimate.
We retaliate.
We do not vacillate.
We proliferate and irradiate.

Time to decontaminate
the slate.
Circumnavigate the fate
of the irate.
Time to eradicate hate.

We will resuscitate
and rejuvenate
this failed state.

We communicate
and collaborate.
We cultivate
and educate.

We contemplate.
We compensate
and commemorate
and celebrate.

We meditate
and motivate.
We demonstrate
and illuminate.

We will recreate
this state.

© 2017. Angelle Conant. All Rights Reserved.

How Different the World Might Be…

I visited a historic battleground monument and museum today. As usual, I was quite bored. As my 2 year old took a break in a hand-carved wooden chair, laid against a well-maintained marble wall, I breathed a sigh of relief that I didn’t have to pretend to look at all the war memorabilia, at least for a little while. As she started to squirm indicating the break was over, I said to her, “Well, are you ready to look at more old, white dudes?”

An over-simplification, to say the least, but a fairly accurate generalization (there were a few photos of white women hidden among the displays as well). As we gazed at the guns and swords and rifles and pistols and military uniforms, my 2 year old asked what they were and it was difficult for me to give her a clear, but appropriate answer. “These are weapons to kill other humans” was accurate but a little much for a 2 year old (and even for me). So I simply told her this was a ‘sword’ or ‘rifle.’

Even that felt a little wrong to me. I want to shield her from the violence that we humans commit against one another or the fact that we’ve created machines to perfect it. I don’t let her watch something so violent on television so why would I show her this shrine of violent instruments?

As we continued on, it became apparent that the museum was severely lacking in color. As in people of color. There were no indigenous people or African-Americans in this war of the Americas according to the museum’s display (although they surely had been there). No, the largest and most prominent displays were of old, white men and their weapons.

The old, white men and their weapons. That seems to be all I hear about these days. And I wonder if perhaps these shrines to violence that we’ve built all over this country don’t contribute a small part to all that is going on today. There are towering monuments to war and the heroes that fought them. There are entire museums that document the wars and their weaponry in great detail. Even my history classes in junior high and high school talked mostly about ‘the great wars.’

I understand that wars are huge, world-altering events that take many, many lives and those lives must not be forgotten. And I understand that, sometimes, we must fight for justice and what we believe in. But I wonder if we were to build more statues and monuments of peace and less of war, if things might be a little different. If we had more museums of peace and fashion and science and food and love instead of war, if things might be a little different.

I wonder how different the world might be if my 2 year old and every 2 year old were able to go to a museum of kindness today and be shown the great acts of kindness that humans are capable of. I wonder if things might be just a little bit different and a whole lot better.

Strawberry Fields in Central Park, New York City – A Tribute to John Lennon

THE LOVE SERIES #8: How Love Works

This 8th installment of my Love Series came to me during my morning meditation. As I was imagining myself as a big ball of love, spreading love to each person I met, this image popped into my head. I like it because it helps to remind me that each small act of love I do ripples out and reaches much farther than I can see.

How Love Works: The Ripple Effect. (Also, how infectious diseases work just FYI.)

© 2017. Angelle Conant. All Rights Reserved.

Hummingbird Heartbeat Poetry Book Complete!

It’s finally done!

When we started trying to conceive and then got pregnant in 2014, I started to write poems about my journey to help make sense of and document all of the momentous changes that were taking place. I even published one of the poems on this website! Since then I have collected, edited, and arranged the poems into my first poetry book titled Hummingbird Heartbeat: Poems of Pregnancy and Beyond.

The poems begin 8 months before conception and end a few months after the birth of my daughter. Here is the description:

“In this new book of poems from author Angelle Conant, she bares her soul and chronicles her first pregnancy full of ups and downs with wit, honesty and joy. It contains insights and stories from the early days of waiting for a little blue plus sign all the way to the birth of her daughter and beyond. But it is more than just personal anecdotes – this book of poems is an essential companion on the journey that is pregnancy. It will comfort and enlighten while simultaneously normalizing all the changes that are taking place within a pregnant woman’s body, heart, and mind. With each poem, an illustration shows the stage of pregnancy at which it was written. As the woman’s body on the page grows with new life, so does our understanding of a pregnant woman’s journey. In her unique and wise voice, the author speaks to the universal themes and experiences of bringing new life into the world. If you or someone you know is pregnant, this is the book for them. BONUS! This book also contains an appendix full of positive affirmations for pregnancy and motherhood that were created and used by the author.”

If you do procure a copy, I would love to hear your thoughts via email or a review on Amazon or Goodreads. If you’d like to be notified of any project updates, please subscribe.

A Poem for My Mother

I wrote this poem for my phenomenal mother.

ON MOTHER’S DAY
If my mother was a heart
she’d be curvy and full
and soft ‘round the edges

She would be oozing love
(sometimes a little too much)
and she’d smell of earth & roses

She’d be the deep red of knowing:
passion, love, loss, pain,
the interconnectedness of all things

She’d have cuts and scars and nicks
(perhaps that’s why she oozes so)
And she’d have healed, time & time again

She’d beat in time to the Universe
ba-dum, ba-dum, ba-dum, ba-dum,
Steady and loud and unafraid.

© 2017. Angelle Conant. All Rights Reserved.

THE LOVE SERIES #7: L’Amour Art Car

Well, she’s finally done. The L’Amour Art Car is complete!

C’est fini! (Translation: It’s finished!)

There is a reason it’s been a while since my last Love Series post – this baby took me a month and a half to complete and was a serious undertaking. Now she gets her very own Love Series post.

The L’Amour art car is fully electric and covered in over 250 (!) quotes, lyrics, and poems all about love. Here’s just a little taste:

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. -Martin Luther King Jr

We accept the love we think we deserve.- Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being A Wallflower

“I love you.”
“I know.” – Leia & Han, Star Wars

There are moments that cry out to be fulfilled.
Like, telling someone you love them. – Mary Oliver, Moments

At last my love has come along
My lonely days are over and life is like a song. – Etta James, At Last

For a full list of all quotes included on the car and more pictures and information, visit the L’Amour Art Car page which can be found HERE.

This car is my daily driver, so if you’re ever driving around Houston, be on the lookout – you might just spot me driving my kiddo around and jamming to some love songs! 🙂

[UPDATE: I just got word that I’ve been accepted to be in the 30th Annual Houston Art Car Parade! 🙂 It’s April 8th at 2pm – Hope to see you there!]

 

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