Feb 082016

Happy Chinese New Year! How are you celebrating (if you are)?

Sale PSA: Short black waterproof motorcycle boots from Aquatalia, now 50% off/under $250 (I’d definitely be buying these if I were taller!), a checked gray wool and black cashmere cape from Burberry, now 50% off, the most beautiful leopard Carolina Herrera jacket (I want this so very badly), now 65% off, and a gorgeous black/white print DVF ruffled chiffon dress (reminds me quite a bit of Saint Laurent), currently 40% off for a limited time.

I last checked in on how life was going, post baby, about five months ago. Since its been about six months now since baby Feather’s arrival, I thought I’d do another update on life with baby. Thank you all by the way, for your feedback and words of encouragement! It’s been wonderful to read about all of your experiences and thoughts on children. Please keep commenting and sharing!

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1. We moved. I had always planned to spend our first few years with baby Feather in our condo – yes things would be cramped, but a smaller space would make us rationalize our items and we would have made it work. As things turned out however, Mr. Feather and I ended up randomly finding a home we both liked (quite rare, as our tastes are quite different), and decided to make a move.

We probably had the worst timing ever in terms of having a baby and moving – we ended up closing escrow just a few weeks after baby Feather’s arrival, and almost missed our deadline due to the craziness. Compound that with a small remodeling project (do any remodels ever feel small?) and multiple moves, and it was a super stressful past six months. But now, things finally feel like they’re settling down, though we still have some empty rooms in need of furniture.

2. I’m back to my pre-baby weight (I hit it around 2 months postpartum) but my body is completely different. There’s been what I would call a “redistribution” if you will…and it it’s not how I would have chosen to allocate things, if you get my drift! I mention this because I had no idea that my body would change in this way – I thought that once I got back to my original weight, things would be back to “normal”. But now, there’s a new normal.

For those who asked about when and how I lost weight, I’ve thought about it and I didn’t do anything particularly special, except for breastfeed and run around catering to a baby all day long. I do always make time to eat whenever I want, and as much as I want. I’ve realized it’s important to have energy and feel well nourished…I’m not sure how I’d get through the days otherwise!

Also, one of baby Feather’s naps each day usually takes place in the stroller. He’s very used to having a walk, and gets a bit antsy if he doesn’t have it after a few days. So it’s been very good incentive, for me to walk almost every day….and the longer I walk, the longer he naps!

3. I’m taking more time off of work to be with baby. I actually stressed a lot about the career implications of my pregnancy, and always thought that I’d go back to work super quickly after having a baby. Kind of like Marissa Mayer style…well, minus several hundred million or so. But now, I’ll likely be home close to a year. I actually feel pretty guilty about my decision to take more time. Like I’m Leaning…Out. But things just happened this way, and I love my time with baby Feather. I’ve invested a lot in my career the last ten years, and I hope that will give me the flexibility now to take some time away.

4. Being at home with baby has been lonely, but also incredible. As I mentioned earlier, we recently moved, and our new neighborhood is pretty quiet. Even on the days with the most beautiful weather, I’m often the only adult outside walking…and unless it’s raining, me and baby take a walk every single day. My mom’s joined me on a few occasions and asked, “Aren’t you lonely walking by yourself all the time?”

Sometimes, my walks can be lonely, or feel a little monotonous…and honestly, so can some of my days. I used to have a life where I woke up each morning and went to an office, had a P&L, and interacted with at least 20 different people. I left the house whenever I wanted. I had some nice long holidays, and I was even lucky enough to spend the odd weekend with my husband in Paris, or Miami. Now, I’m already fortunate in that I usually see friends and my mom at least 3-4 days a week. But there’s still days that are just me and baby.

My father passed away 18 months ago. And since then, I’ve thought more about death. Not in a morose or depressing way, I hope you understand….but I do think about dying, all the time. I remember when my dad was lying in his bed, no longer able to stand up or move, and him saying to me how he’d just like to go outside one more time.

I often think about if it were my last few days on earth, what I’d like to do. Go back to Bali. Re-read a few of my favorite books. The list goes on. Whenever I’m outside walking with baby Feather, and I’ve been by myself in silence for an hour, just walking, and walking… I can feel alone. But at the same time, I also know that it’s precisely what I’d want to be doing if it were my last day here on earth. Did you know that you could feel tinges of loneliness coupled with absolute joy? I didn’t, until now.

And that about sums up my life – six months after baby.

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  48 Responses to “Life With Baby – Six Months”

  1. Beautiful post.

  2. Happy Chinese New Year! Sorry to hear of your father’s passing. Congratulations on baby Feather at 6 months and your new home.

  3. Great post! Do you live in California? Do correct me if I am wrong, but there are lots of yoga classes, mommy & todler style you could join. They are usually great fun and social occasions to meet other mums and do things together.

    • Hi Sarah, yes I do :) Yes I think I’ll join one of those sooner or later – you are a great inspiration to do yoga, as you always look wonderful with fabulous posture to boot!

  4. Happy Lunar New Year!

    I somehow missed both the loss of your father and the first month update so I’m glad I had a minute this morning. And a move! That’s amazing, especially during the post-birth period.

    Your choice to stay home for a while longer is so great – it’s not everyone who can choose to do that but (maybe because I’m older than many of my contemporaries with kids) it’s such a wonderful thing to be able to choose it. I feel that my ability to be home with LB is a direct result of building my career over the last decade and change as well, and that was the whole point! Well, that or a huge sabbatical if we didn’t have kids :) I understand that guilt though. Even as I was arranging my leave, I had this weird conflicting feeling that I was going to hobble my career long term. Again, being able to take that time was the whole point and yet when it came time, I felt like I was making a mistake or something and would be negatively judged. Ugh, I strongly dislike that about our society that claims to be all about family values, because which family are they talking about?? /rant.

    Baby Feather is adorable, of course, look at that smile!

    • Happy New Year! I understand your rant…don’t even get me started on maternity leave in the US, it makes me so frustrated that we say we support mothers and women, yet there is no federal leave…at least we are lucky enough to be in California.

  5. Wow- what a moving post…

    I’m sorry to hear about your dad- you always had great tidbits to share about him. One that comes to mind is when you caught him sleeping in his car prior to meeting you for lunch (I hope I remembered that one correctly!).

    And I appreciate you talking about your personal experience with family and career. I’m a professional in my late 20s and I am becoming more and more aware of gender impact on careers, whereas previously when I was younger, I almost found it irrelevant to me.

    Congratulations on so many things- the 6 month of your baby, your new house, getting back to your pre-baby weight, and what seems like a new peace of mind!

    • Hi Mod, great memory and yes you are right! I was like you, it didn’t make an impact for me at all but as I got along later in my career, gender definitely has played a bigger role.

  6. First time commenting (though been a long time follower)
    Thank you for sharing such a moving post about family and career. I’m in my mid 20s but your words gave great encouragement and insight.
    The bit about staying home longer..somehow reminded me of my highschool days when my Chinese parents stressed the importance of working hard first so I can reap the rewards later on. I guess my takeaway is that investment in my career early on will also give my future family more options :)

  7. Happy New Year! So sorry to hear about your dad’s passing. I hope things are getting better with each passing day.

    Thank you for updating on your life after baby, it’s always nice to hear another mother’s perspective. It’s wonderful that you were able to get back down to your pre-pregnancy weight in 2 months. I completely understand the shifting of your body. I actually lost a little more than my pre-pregnancy weight after a few months. I was so excited to try on my old clothes that didn’t fit before. To my dismay, even though I weighed less, my clothes didn’t fit as well as they used to. Oh well, at least I have two wonderful boys to show for it. :)

    I think it’s great that you are taking more time to be with your son. Before I had children, I never thought I could be a stay-at-home mom since I enjoyed working so much. After my first son was born, it was so difficult to go back to work, all I wanted to do was stay home with him. I now wish I could be a stay-at-home mom, at least until my sons start kindergarten. You definitely shouldn’t feel guilty about staying home more. They only stay young for so long.

    • Happy New Year DK! I am going through the exact same thing with my clothes..and I went through the same thing when I was working too, never imagined that I’d actually want to stay home and spend so much time with my son. I hope you get to spend as much time as you wish with yours :)

  8. Thanks so much for sharing! My second daughter is 10 months old now. I went back to work when she was 5-month. I was happy that I had my quality time with her but at the same time I was ready to return to my “normal” life. I’m glad that you’re able to make a decision that works best for you :) Treasure and enjoy your precious time with your son!

  9. Wonderful post. Baby Feather is a dreamboat. Those eyes! That smile! I’m sorry to hear of your father’s loss. He would’ve have loved your little boy! Re body changes, I want to chime in and say you may find the bod changes again after a full year of giving birth and some more after another year. Just my experience! I remember the feelings of loneliness you describe but I think you made the right choice because you cannot get the time back of being with your firstborn in their beginning stages of life. I’m not a big fan of that Lean In business anyway. I understand it, I get it, especially for people who spent time and money becoming lawyers, doctors, accountants, architects, investment specialists, etc., but having a baby is tough and the adjustment afterward can be tough, and I think if a mother has an opportunity to stay home for awhile she should. (Side note re the Lean In/Lean Out debate, I hope Sheryl is leaning out a bit these days. With her husband’s very sad death their children need her more than ever!). I agree with commenters who have suggested Baby & Me classes. Baby Feather is at the right age now! Also, this may seem weird, but have you thought about training for a marathon? Even a half-marathon? You are such a thinker and the fact that you are able to be alone for long periods of time and seem mentally tough make me think you’d make a terrific marathoner! It’s a great goal! I did my first one when my son was 2, so I trained when he was one. Just a thought! Great post, sorry to go on (and on and on). x

    • Thanks Jill! I will try out the Baby/Mommy type classes soon – you are right that he is getting to a better age now! I am very flattered that you think I’d be a good marathoner…and its an amazing achievement that you did you trained for your first while your son was 1! I am a very poor runner but I’d like to think that one day I’d get to do maybe a half marathon!

  10. I love this. I am vowing to enjoy being alone with Baby Bun, take him out for more walks even though I am scared it is too cold for him and to just allow myself to be alone with thoughts rather than always feeling like I should fill the void with music, shows, reading, etc…

  11. We stayed in our townhome with our first baby and I was too cramped, tired and cooped up in the cold spring in Chicago weather to handle staying home. I will say with our 2nd baby, we were in a new open house, in better weather and I wanted to stay home desperately. It’s interesting how our environment changes our perspective. I say honor what you are doing and feeling right now and know that it’s all going to be fine in the end. Lots of love to you, Mr. Feather and Baby Feather.

    • Thank you so much Mica, and that’s interesting about different environments bringing out different feelings on wanting to stay home. I can understand it though!

  12. Hi Katherine and Happy Lunar New Year, the first with baby feather! Gosh, he is so darn cute! Thanks so much for sharing this updated photo of him. And congrats on your new home. And I am with you on the heavy heart and sadness of losing your dad. It’s been four years for me and I miss my dad every single day of my life. But I’m sure we both remember our dads with much love. Be happy and enjoy your precious moments with the baby, because they grow up so quickly, as my two are now in college in CA, while I’m home in snowy NY.

    • Happy New Year Yuet! I’m sorry about your father and you are right that the memories are so precious. I can’t imagine baby Feather going to college – I’m sure the time will have seem to have flown by!

  13. I understand about the weight allocation. Oh, how well I know! I’ve lived with it for almost 21 years… Bebe is grown up now. After grinning and bearing it…….not so much, I have surgery scheduled March 1. Better late than never! An investment in my mental and physical well being.

    I understand the loneliness too, but it is time you’ll never be able to get back. They grow so quickly, cherish every little second you have with him. His hair is precious, l always called it dandelion hair. I loved when Slade’s hair looked like that……and that baby breath! Oh, how I loved that.

    My ex husband and I bought and did major remodeling on a historic home. I was pregnant at the time, very ill and the stress level was out the roof!

    I am very sorry to hear about your father. My grandmother died when Slade was not yet two. A new life in,and a older life out …..DEVASTATING! It took me many months to come to grips with that.

    My life has taken many twists and turns, but I am exactly where I should be at peace, with myself and the world.

    • Hi Whitney, thanks for sharing your experience and I’m sorry to hear about your grandmother. That must have been so upsetting.

      Good for you for the surgery and I’m sure you will look and feel spectacular!

  14. Love your honesty so much, thank you!

  15. “Re-distribution” Seriously,,, you are so good at making me laugh.
    That’s exactly the word I used after few month of post-pregnancy while one depressing day when nothing in my closet seemed to fit. My weight was back to where it was, but some how….things didn’t fit….Right~ you know what I mean. Loose where it’s not supposed to be and tight where it’s definitely not supposed to be. I had to say good bye to so many pairs of heels (I was so sad, those were with me in my twenties when I walked all the way from uptown NYC to Soho…ahhhh good days!). I congratulate you on being able to take time off with baby feather. I know what you mean, It’s odd to be home when you are supposed to running to/from meetings. Trust me, it’s odd at first, but you will not regret this precious time you got to have with your son. They do grow up so fast. You should congratulate yourself for being able to work so hard in the last 10years, so now you can focus on your baby. I would join you for your walk, but just my thoughts/blogs since I’m all the way in E.C.

    • Thank you! Yes my heels have largely been sitting, neglected as well…not to mention a bunch of my jeans, those have been the hardest to fit “right” for me postpartum.

  16. Happy Lunar New Year Katherine! This is a such wonderful and well-thought out post.

    Honestly, I was surprised that you took more than a few weeks time off only because it sounded like your career was such a big part of your life. But I think it’s good that you did because despite what “Lean In” preaches, I believe that we are greater than our careers and it’s healthy to take a holistic approach towards life. One theory I have about why more women lean out is that we’re better as seeing the big picture and recognize the impacts of our choices in the long-term.

    I’m so sorry about the loss of your father; I always loved your stories about him.

    • Thank you Yumi, and happy NY!
      I was very surprised too to take more time off :) I love your line about being greater than our careers…its perfect for how I was feeling when I decided to take more time.

  17. I have bipolar II. There’s definitely a profound sense of being alone in the disease (none of my friends or family have it, nor would I wish them to) and sadness about the time I wasted pre-diagnosis, but also a freedom – and yes, joy – in knowing I can make things right. So sorry to hear about your dad.

  18. Motherhood sounds hard but rewarding! What a cutie.

    I had no idea that you moved, maybe we can come visit you sometime! :)

  19. Such beautiful writing I cried reading this… the part about your father reminded me about my beloved grandma … The part about loneliness and absolute joy, resonate so much inside me… I’m so happy for you to have found piece and joy in the loneliness of raising a baby and the aftermath of losing a beloved one, feather!

  20. Hi Katherine,
    Your post felt like a letter from a friend.
    I am sorry about your dad’s loss. My father passed away 2 years before my son was born, so I can understand your feelings. Your baby boy is absolutely adorable, what a sweet smile!
    Enjoy the baby days – kids grow up so quickly. I can empathize with how you feel about taking the break from your career, but I think you are doing great – your blog, the lovely necklaces and of course you have your pre pregnancy weight back!
    I always love reading what you have to say and the fantastic reading recommendations you make.
    Thank you!

  21. Dear Katherine,
    Thank you for sharing such a beautiful post, I can relate with that. Im sorry about your dad’s loss, always love to read the story about him. My father died 3 years ago because of lung cancer, miss him dearly, since that I always think what I would like to do if my days were ended soon.
    Congratulation on your new home, and your son is so handsome and adorable. Enjoy every precious moments with him, because they grow up so fast. My boys now are 18 and 15, the oldest will leave for collage this year, it just like yesterday I brought them home from hopital.
    I love your blog, always enjoy reading it. And, thank you for following me in IG.

  22. Such a lovely post – you really are a gifted writer!

    I agree with a lot of what others have said…I’m far, far removed from having babies, but I do recall that your body shape can change throughout the first year or two after giving birth. So…your new normal might not be forever!

    Secondly, my condolences on the loss of your father. It is a very difficult thing, and unfortunately, part of life. That fact, I’m sure, plays a big part in your feelings of loneliness, but I do encourage you to reach out and find some “Mommy and Me” classes of some sort. Meeting other women with small children will do wonders. Please do more than just think about it – I’m sure you will be pleasantly surprised with the results!

  23. Dear Katherine,

    What a lovely post, thank you so much for sharing. I’m a long way from newborn babies, but I will never forget that conflicted feeling of joy and loneliness that started when I made the decision to stay home 26 years ago. I always planned to be a stay at home mom, so I was surprised at how hard it was to let go of the work world when the time came. So for a social person like me, I really had to find a new set of friends, and that takes time. I really logged a lot of time at our local park, trolling for friends, trying not to look too desperate – ha! Finding friends with children the same ages was a godsend, I needed some adult conversation everyday, even if it was just 45 minutes at the park. Nothing comes close to that special relationship with your own newborn baby, and I really felt lucky to be able to stay home, because trite as it is, they grow up too fast. And I really found some wonderful friends that I still keep in touch with today!

    Best of luck to you and your wonderful family.


  24. Beautiful and heartfelt words… Baby Feather is lucky!

  25. Hi Kat,

    I really loved reading this post. I have had 2 kids in the past 3 years and chose to leave my “career” to be a SAHM. Sometimes, I wonder if it was the right decision career wise, but there is no doubt that it was the right decision for my family. Enjoy your time off with baby feather (he is SO adorable, btw). You have the rest of your life to work.

    Sorry to hear about the loss of your father. I too, enjoyed the tidbits you shared about him, especially the picture of him waiting for you in his car (IG).

  26. Happy Chinese New Year! This is a beautiful and thoughtful post. Baby feather is a cutie!
    I took a break from my career when my kids were born. I had some misgivings about it at first since I worked a long time to get to where I was at, but after a while, I found my groove with my kiddos and haven’t really looked back. I figured that I can get another job in the future since I still have my credentials, but the time with my babies, I’ll never get that back because they really do grow up so fast.

    I was sad to hear about your father. I still remembered the photo you shared of you and your father at graduation; it reminded me a lot of my dad.

  27. I forgot to tell you Katherine that I too took time off from work. The only person who looked down on me was my mother!

  28. Katherina, I have been a long time reader, but this is my first time commenting. Your story touches my heart so much that it moved me to comment. Thank you for sharing and bringing us along for the ride. I have always admired the voice that comes across in your blog: humble, smart and sincere. Baby feather is unbelievably adorable!!!

  29. Hi Katherine,
    First, I am so sorry for the recent loss of your father.

    Your post was so lovely, and so true to my own experiences as well. I remember feeling very lonely as a new parent, and it took me a long time to make friends and find out what worked for me. Don’t be disappointed if you try a mother/baby group and it doesn’t fit, it just means you haven’t found the right one yet. As for taking time off of work, I found that the hard work I put in earlier in my career helped me earn flexibility upon my return. I know it will be the same for you. The time with our babies is so fleeting, I wish I could go back and do it again, even though it was so hard to be a new parent. I worked with my first, stayed home for five years when my second was a baby, and now am back at work again. Work will be there, when you’re ready, although it didn’t seem that way when I was a SAHM. However, I’m so glad that I took the time, I think it was invaluable for me and my children.

    All my best wishes,

  30. katherine, sorry to hear about your loss (maybe I missed it on your blog, read it now for the first time). I was shocked and sorry that your dad did not have the chance to meet his lovely grandson. I still remember your father, e.g. from your wedding photos that you shared and I had to smile because he was just such a (hope this doesn’t sound disrespectful) cute man, bless.

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