Nine Months

What a difference nine months makes.  As I look back at this first season of pregnancy and parenthood, what seemed like forever, is now just a blink of an eye.  Pregnancy and the first weeks of parenting is pretty intense.  I could have never imagined or prepared for the changes my body would go through, the emotions I would feel, and how the love in my heart would grow both towards my husband and son. 

As I start to get a grip on sleep, caring for our child, and all that I have been through these last nine (now ten) months, I find myself thoughtfully anticipating this new life of ours.  Sure, this time we are in now is our life.  But I know this newborn phase will pass quickly (it already has) and one day our family of three will feel normal.  Life before a child will seem so long ago. 

While I am in this season of wonder over being a mom, I wanted to remember and document this time.  I am at a place where I still longingly remember when it was just Brent and I...when we were in Paris...and when we slept through the night.  Yet oddly enough, our son is becoming more familiar.  I feel more confident in how I care for him and what he needs.  I sense an ability to actually know him in new ways that I didn't just weeks ago. 

I feel like this new role as mom has taken over my life.  And it has!  But in a way that I welcome.  As I scroll through my Instagram feed, I am afraid I have become a mom blogger.  Picture after picture of my child.  Part of me feels afraid I have lost my voice when in fact maybe just my tone has changed.  I still feel 100% myself, but life is so different now.  I sense a pressure to jump back in to what I expected of myself before becoming a mom. When in reality, I don't want to. 

I feel conflicted.  Out of love.  That this little boy has captured my heart and it is changing me in ways I never expected.

I remember back in my last semester of college, I went through a similar change.  I fell in love with Brent and my priorities shifted.  About a year or two later we got married and I decided to celebrate the fact that I finally got to be the wife to the man of my dreams that I had longed for.

So as I look back at past Ashley, I need to learn from her.  I can fight with this pressure to be what I think our culture expects me to be or I can choose to just be the woman I have dreamed of being - a mom.

Life is going to get a lot simpler in some ways as I change my priorities to caring for a child.  Sure being a parent will be complicated and consuming, but it is also the opportunity to change with my family.  To let go of past pressures because I have more reason to say no.

These newborn days are short and I don't want to miss them.  So I will continue to kiss those sweet cheeks of his and take endless photos of every new and adorable thing that he does.  And I will choose to not feel bad about it and instead delight in this gift.

Nine months has changed me and I am excited to get to know this new version of myself.

Our Newborn Photos

Just a few days after our little guy was born, we somehow managed to shower, get dressed, and set up the tripod to take some newborn and family photos.  It was definitely a new challenge - being the photographer, subject, and milk feeder!  But we pushed through and made them happen.  Those first few days at home are all sort of a blur already so I am glad we got to capture Titus in his first days of life.  Our little family of three - it just melts my heart!

We took these first set of pictures in our dining room.  I just took down our gallery wall and moved the table out of the way.  I love the neutral backdrop and wardrobe (because finding flattering clothes after just having a baby is also a challenge!). 

We took a few photos outdoors later that evening to complete a series of photos we have been taking throughout the entire pregnancy (I will blog about what I am talking about soon).  We headed out to a little hiking trail by the river that I would often take my nephews.  It was a weird moment to be there with our son instead - a familiar place yet a whole new chapter.  I look forward to hopefully taking him on his first hike in the carrier here sometime soon. 

His little smile kills me. 

Getting in photos in between sleep and feeding was a new challenge so I left out all my props and grabbed a few more photos of him the next day when he was in a good milk coma moment.

Love that little squishy face!  He has changed so much in the past few weeks!  It is so sweet to look back at these photos already!

The Physical Changes of Being a Mom | #SpeakFreeWithCarefree

This is a sponsored post written on behalf of Carefree® Liners and Walgreens as part of the #SpeakFreeWithCarefree campaign and all opinions are my own.  Thank you for supporting the brands that help make this blog possible.


It has been a month now that we have had our baby boy in our life and it has been a whirlwind of adapting to life as a new mom.  Besides the whole sleeping when I can and feeding a newborn part, I am still working with my ever changing body.  I thought that once my pregnancy was over, things would start feeling semi normal again.  But here I am postpartum still dealing with pregnancy induced carpal tunnel, heat rashes from one hundred degree weather, as well as all the recovery from labor that my body is still enduring.

Becoming a mom has been this beautiful yet difficult transition.  Each week seems to get a little easier as we figure out our son and come up with a routine that fits are new family of three.  While there are some things I cannot control, there are a handful of little things that help me make this transition slightly easier.  And most of these things come down to planning ahead.

Having things on hand around the house that I might need during a middle of the night feeding is one less thing I have to worry about as I stumble out of bed at 1:00 am.  Having my diaper bag stocked with essentials allows us to get out of the house when the moment arises (and the baby is not crying!) by simply grabbing it and going.  I am thanking 39 week pregnant Ashley for stocking the freezer with easy food we can grab and thaw out for simple meals.  It really is the little things that make such a difference in these long early days of parenting.

While I tried to plan ahead as much as possible before going into labor, there are just some things that I wouldn't understand until the time came.  In the first few days of arriving home from the hospital, we made multiple trips into Walgreens to either pick something up for me or the baby.  What I love about Walgreens is that it is quick and convenient.  I was definitely the typical first time mom, worried about taking my son out into public with all the germs.  I love that I don't have to fight a crowd at Walgreens yet they still have everything we need to make one quick trip out of the house and then quickly back home. 

Physically getting back to my normal self and letting everything heal after labor was a whole new experience for me.  Each day seemed to bring a different ache or pain.  I have grown so used to keeping busy all the time and was forced to take it easy so that my body could do it's thing.

I decided that stocking up on Carefree® Liners in different absorbency and sizes would get me through the next month or so while my body heals.  Thankfully I am now past the need for the super size pads they sent home with me from the hospital!  These liners are perfect during this in between stage where my flow changes daily.  I just tuck a few in each of my bags along with the baby's diapers so that we are both always ready in case of a little leak!

Here is a line up of some of the different sizes Carefree® Liners come in.  In my pre-baby days I did not need so much variety as things were more consistent and predictable.  These past ten months have been a whirlwind of change through pregnancy and after labor.  Having choices to fit my body and my wardrobe needs is one less thing to worry about as I focus my attention on parenting (or catching some sleep!) instead.

// Carefree® Acti-Fresh (Unscented Regular To Go and Unscented Extra Long To Go): thin but absorbent to keep you clean and fresh throughout the day

// Carefree® Original: stay put adhesive keeps liner in place

// Carefree® Thong: stay put wings designed especially for thong underwear (I really love these!)

In the past week I participated in the "Free To Be Me" Challenge where I used Carefree® Liners to free myself from the worry of my postpartum feminine issues.  It has been so nice to choose a liner based on the day and I feel so much more less bulky then I did in that first week home.  I will be continuing to use Carefree® Liners in the weeks to come giving me the peace of mind that I am always covered.  Now I can #SpeakFreeWithCarefree!

// Check out this video to find out more about Carefree® Acti-Fresh Liners!

// Take advantage of this $1 ibotta offer available exclusively at Walgreens - limited quantities available and excludes 20 count packages.

// Join the #SpeakFreeWithCarefree Twitter Party on August 17th from 8-9 pm EST for a chance to win a Carefree® prize pack!

#SpeakFreeWithCarefree Sweepstakes

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