#badassmom thoughts

Hugging Meditation: Give a meaningful hug

Today, I will remind myself, and you of nice little meditation that is simple, effective, and only takes a few moments. Hugging meditation, made famous by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, is rooted in the belief that a good hug can have transformative effects, making us happier.

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Have you felt the deep connection a hug can spark? Try this hugging meditation.

I know, you already know how to hug, but do you fully experience the moment you are embraced with someone? Your child or your partner, your mother or father?

I was introduced to this meditation a couple years ago by my partner, he has a large collection of meditation books, and one of his favorite authors is Thich Nhat Hanh. We practice this hugging meditation on a pretty regular basis during times of chaos and of pure joy. There’s always time for a hug.

The first time we practiced this, I’ll admit it was a bit odd. Not unpleasant at all, it was just different. Here’s how it went.

When he approached me for a hug, I gladly embraced, but something was different. He didn’t let go. I felt the strong, yet gentle embrace of someone I loved. His chest was slowly taking deep breaths that my own chest started to mimic. I felt warmth and gratitude for the moment I didn’t even know was purposeful. When we parted, we were both calm, sharing how good a mindful hug can feel, if only for 3 deep breaths. It truly was a deep, intimate, relaxed feeling.

If you want to try this at home with your loved ones, here’s how.

It is suggested that before the embrace, we take a few deep breaths to ourself, to fully center us and be in the present moment. We embrace, and hold the other person in our arms for three deep breaths.

It’s recommended that the first breath should be dedicated to you honoring your presence in the moment. The second breath should honor the other person, while the final breath should be focused on feeling happy and grateful for your togetherness.

This is a small, powerful way to connect, and bring forth happiness, gratitude, and focus.

I practice this with my children on a daily basis, once I read we should never be the first to let go in a hug with our children, for they are seeking comfort and warmth when we are embraced. To be fully present in the moment we are wrapped up with our children is such a beautiful thing. I love this, and I always hold on a little longer.

Now get out there and give all the hugs! Who knows, you may find something like serendipity while you’re at it.

Here are a few of our other favorite meditation books, Notes From The Song of Life being my absolute favorite book I’ve ever picked up.

hugging meditation, giving a meaningful embrace

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Pregnancy and Labor: epidurals, an induction, and delivering my own baby in the car.

Yes, I have a baby that I pushed right out on the front seat of my dads pickup truck. My advice, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY, WOMAN!

Babies. I love babies. I am convinced that my Facebook knows this and is constantly popping up birthing videos on my feed. I have zero self control and always go down a rabbit hole of beautiful, intimate birth moments. I can literally feel my body rejecting my IUD as I watch.

The moment a baby is born is the most beautiful moment I have ever had the opportunity to experience, and I’ve been lucky enough to have 3, all different and beautiful in their own way. People are always amused when they hear I delivered my own baby in a car.

My first pregnancy was unplanned and scary. I was 19 and single. I was a wild girl with a couple boyfriends and no real responsibility. When I found out I was pregnant, I was terrified. I had never even held a baby let alone loved anyone other than myself.

My pregnancy was lonely, my best friend was my cat, Action MF Jackson (RIP I love you so much.) I spent most of my time in bed watching The Office and conspiracy documentaries while eating gigantic bowls of cereal.

My mom was my best support, loving me and going to appointments with me, excited for the birth of her first grandson (even though she was too young to be a grandma.) We cried tears of joy together at the 20 week anatomy scan when we found out I was having a boy. Thank you God I will not have to deal with a teenage daughter like myself. Yet, my whole pregnancy I had a hard time connecting with my unborn baby, it didn’t feel real, I felt like there was an alien in there rolling around, making my mind crazy. I felt like I shouldn’t feel that way, I was supposed to already love this tiny baby I didn’t even know, it made me feel bad that it was not natural for me.

I went into labor two weeks early. My first epidural experience was fine, nothing bad happened but it didn’t exactly work. It eased the pain for about an hour until it was time to push.

There was a moment about an hour into pushing where I wanted to give up, it was too hard and hurt too much. It was a little late for that. Before my last push I reached down and felt his hair, his tiny body still inside mine, holyfuckingshit he is a real baby, its a real little person with a real human head (a very furry one.) I grew a baby and I pushed him out. In one moment I fell in love. That was 7 years ago and I still remember the day and the way the room was dim, the sound my baby made when he immediately started sucking on his fingers. The feeling of hope and love and a bit of fear I had that day.

Pregnancy number two came 4 years later, you could say I was living my #bestlife having fallen in love with a man who loved me and my son, we had our own place, we went on adventures and traveled around the country on frequent vacations (ehhh selling tshirts on phish tour.) Our life felt perfect, and I loved my son, I loved my boyfriend and I really loved our life. I concieved my second baby about an hour before a Dead & Co. show, probably TMI but I don’t really care. I think its cool to know that as my fertilized egg started to split and divide and grow I was there with John Mayer singing ‘brown-eyed women’ while I danced with the love of my life.

When I read the positive result I was overcome with fear, my 4 year old son was so perfect that I truly felt I could never love anyone as much as I loved him. I told my boyfriend over the phone, I broke down in tears and didn’t know how to feel. I’ll never ever forget how he came home, walked in to the house with flowers and big eyes and a smile, and came to squeeze me tight. He knew we would be ok, it was something like serendipity.

About a month after I found out I was pregnant we went on vacation to Mexico. It had been planned for months, just the two of us- on the beach, relaxing, exploring and of course dancing in the ocean. A couple days into our trip I came across a warning urging pregnant women not to visit Mexico. Well fuck, I was pregnant and in Mexico. The concern was the Zika virus, carried by mosquitos and very dangerous to babies growing in their mothers womb. At this point in our trip I had about 22 mosquito bites on my legs and ankles and anxiety struck again. I was terrified I would contract zika and possibly infect my baby.

On that vacation he proposed, I honestly had no fucking idea he was gonna do it. I mean, yes I knew we were going to get married and grow old together and I would never ever let him leave me, but we hadn’t even looked at rings! I was shocked when he got down on one knee on the beach, I of course said yes, knowing with every ounce of my being that the universe had shifted to get us here, and we were in it together, now with the promise of forever.

This pregnancy presented its own difficulties, I had a real fear that there was no way I would love another baby as much as I loved my first. It sounds crazy, but it was real in my mind.

The day before my due date I started experiencing what felt like real contractions- they were pretty steady and frequent, and increasingly became uncomfortable. I called the nurse line for L&D and they advised me to come in when my contractions were about 5 minutes apart for an hour. Ok, fine. I called my fiance and told him we were gonna have a baby, but take his time coming home because it would be a few hours. I called my dad to come pick my son up so I could head straight to the hospital when my fiance’ got there.

My dad got to my house to pick up my kid, I asked him to stay with me for a little bit, I was getting very uncomfortable with contractions being about 7 minutes apart and very strong. In a matter of about 30 minutes they had jumped to every 3 or 4 minutes and were almost unbearable, I told my dad he would have to drive me to the hospital and I would have Kevin meet us there. This baby was coming.

My dad got my son and I loaded into his pickup truck and drove really fast as I screamed in pain next to him (I love my dad so much, he was trying so hard to help me remember to breathe and keep me calm.) Five minutes into our drive my water broke, it scared the shit out of me because there was no internal warning it was going to happen, I swear I heard it POP, and it terrified me. The next thing that happened was a moment I consider the single most badass thing I’ve ever done.

I pushed him out right there in the front of my dads pickup truck. I delivered my own baby in the car. I had heard of women not making it to the hospital and pulling over on the side of the road and plopping it out, but I never imagined it would be my story. I thought I knew my body, and the nurse on the phone said I had time.

I was holding my baby in my arms, so scared, and so relieved. My dad was scared but calm. The baby was crying and we pulled over into a parking lot where he immediately called 911. My 4 year old was in the back seat shouting I WANNA SEE!

The ambulance got there very quickly, they came and cut the umbilical cord right where I was sitting, and immediately transferred him into a foil blanket to make him warm, he for real was a baby burrito. The paramedics handed my dad a few paper towels to clean up the mess.

I remember staring at him while in the ambulance, taking in his scent and feeling so full. I felt like an animal, I was made to do this, and my confidence was soaring. I recovered from that birth in like 2 days, minimal pain and no tearing.

I was convinced that if I ever had another baby that I would want a water birth or something minimally medical. Seriously, how do I top that experience?

When I found out I was pregnant with number three, I was in a weird funk of depression that all of the sudden made sense, pregnancy hormones do that to me. I had a pretty normal pregnancy- super sick and dehydrated, energy level at zero, all the typical first trimester stuff. I experienced my first kidney stone, where I literally thought I may be dying, I am so sorry for people who experience them regularly.

At an anatomy scan we found out our baby had only one kidney, I didn’t know what that meant or what to do, or was it my fault? Did I absorb it and turn it into my kidney stone? I still don’t know why it happened, but the doctor told us he would probably be fine.

Hearing my baby had a birth birth defect was one of the most terrifying, confusing moments of my life. It was completely out of my control, I felt like I had done something wrong. I had to trust the process and know that whatever challenges would be presented, we would work it out together, as a family.

At about 32 weeks at another ultrasound it was discovered I had polyhydramnios, which is basically a buildup of amniotic fluid. It could be harmless, but could present issues if my water broke on its own, the umbilical cord could come out before the baby and cause alot of issues. Well, fuck, my water broke with vengeance the prior pregnancy and I was scared. They wanted to closely monitor, so I had to go for an ultrasound weekly to make sure he was ok in there.

The medical team I worked with decided it was best to induce a week before my due date, with my history of rapid delivery and all this fluid.

I was induced and labor took a while for me, compared to my previous births. When it was go-time, it took three good pushes. The NICU doctors were present in the delivery room and quickly assessed that he was ok. They handed me my new baby boy and all felt right, our family was complete.

It still blows my mind I have three beautiful, healthy boys. For anyone fearing pregnancy or labor- just know your body is strong and beautiful, and biologically made to experience it.

Yours will most likely be different than your mothers, sisters and friends. Every pregnancy and delivery is different and special and beautiful in its own way.

Trust your partner. Trust your medical team. Most importantly, trust yourself.


Why I started a blog.

A great attempt at making sense of this life. Trying to find balance in the day to day and navigate adulthood while constantly thinking, how did I get here?  

I am investing in myself. I am full of creativity and ideas and love. As I am officially in my late twenties trying to navigate motherhood and partnership, a shred of a social life, and make time to tend to my creative spark. I will reflect on my days and weeks with purpose and gratitude, I will allow myself to create and love without boundaries. 

When I sit here and reflect, just how did this become my life- how I have 3 miniature humans whom are each in their own way tiny sass-ass versions of Jess. They are wild and rambunctious, emotional and loud, and most of the time they love me almost as much as I love them. 

How I have a partner who has stood by me and supported me in every weird endeavor I become obsessed with (I purchased this domain for 1 year, we will see how it goes) and loves me, neck tat and all. We used to say the “universe shifted” the first day we held hands in his car, leaving a cemetary after pulling an all nighter and drinking copious amounts of red bull and laughing way harder than I had ever before. One of these days I’m going to write it all out, the love story that is ours, the beautiful early days that when I was living in them felt soft and full to the dark times where I thought what the fuck is life and why the fuck does it hurt so bad?  Yet, one day in June 2013 the universe shifted to give us this bright life, one filled with meaning and purpose and  so much love- it was something like serendipity.

As the years have passed by I have had many, many moments that i think back to that word- serendipity. How and why do these happy little special lucky things happen to me of all people? 

Im just a basic ass bitch who used to want to fight everyone and get way sloppy drunk every night and teased my hair too big to now having days where anxiety rules my every thought and I have to turn around and go back home to make sure I turned off the coffee pot. I also now have times where I can’t go 20 minutes without wiping someones butt or whipping my tit out to feed my baby. Many days I think, shit, did I brush my teeth? Sure, I can wear the same leggings again because fuck it, right? 

My oh my how times change! I feel lucky to call this messy life mine, and when I squint and blur my vision just right, I see so many instances of the universe sending me those beautiful VIBEZ.

Bangin’ at 5 years old.

Im not sure exactly why I’m here, with a desire to write it all out, I’m actually a semi-private person on the internet so this is weird. I love to create and craft and let my mind wander without fear of fucking it up. Ive never crafted with words before, but I’m pretty excited to see where we go. I have alot of stuff up in this dome piece that I am sure I will benefit from getting out. 

I often joke with my fiance’ about being stuck permanently in my head. Like, if you think I’m annoying- how the fuck do you think I feel? I mean, I’m stuck in here all the time with little relief. 

The phenomenon of serendipity interests me, and has ever since I saw it on pinterest. It makes me feel special and that as long as I’m actively remaining open to new ideas and experiences, then really great, even amazing things can happen to me too. It is my hope to share these experiences with you, so that you in turn, will share yours with me.