Sling Diaries: On Understanding

July 17, 2014

I apologize for being a little MIA lately - for those of you that don't know, I'm back on clinical rotations, applying to residency programs, aaaannnnd getting married next month. I honestly wanted to spend as little time as possible wedding planning but there's still a minimum time commitment required for a decent end product, ya know? Make sure to follow along on Instagram for updates when I have so little time to officially blog! But today I made sure to make time for my Sling Diaries post. This month's entry for the Sakura Bloom Sling Diaries is on understanding. Read my previous entries here!

Dearest Liv,

Mommy and daddy do a lot of thinking about how we will raise you to be an amazing little person and an overall awesome human being. Daddy wants to turn you into some type of sports phenom, and that'd be pretty cool if that's what you wanted, but I think one of my most important duties is to show you how to be a caring woman, which starts as being a caring girl. 

You see, for some reason girls have it tough when it comes to making and keeping true friends. Whether it's because of insecurities they have because of what society tells them is beautiful or things they witness other women doing to one another, girls start being catty and downright mean to each other at younger and younger ages. I don't think there's anyway I can keep girls from being mean to you, but I hope I can keep you from being mean to other girls. How do I hope to do this? By teaching you the concept of understanding.

Understanding is a wonderful power to have. Having the ability to understand what someone else is going through and share (or at least understand) the feelings that person may have, well my darling that is called empathy, and empathy is what will make you a good person. Empathy is what will allow you to put yourself in another person's shoes and see where they're coming from and how it feels to be them. Empathy is what will allow you to understand that that person who says something mean to you probably had something mean said or done to them, and instead of being mean back to them you'll let it roll right off your shoulder, knowing that person is a hurt a little inside and a snap back will do nothing but make it ok for them to keep going.

Those who have the greatest empathy for others have usually actually been in that persons shoes so to speak. Doctors are more empathetic towards their patients when they have actually experienced what it's like to be patients. The rich are more empathetic towards the poor when they have actually known what it's like living paycheck to paycheck and dodging bill collectors phone calls. Do I want you to have to go through these hardships to become a more empathetic person? Of course not, although you may.

For now, the lessons in empathy begin with developing your imagination. What will in a few years give you the ability to come up with fantastic stories and amazing make believe fairies and distant planets, will soon give you the ability to imagine the hardships another human being is going through and understand their realities, and why they may be acting the way they are. Your imagination will be a powerful tool that can help you understand those around you without actually having to know firsthand what it is they're dealing with. I hope you will develop a wonderful imagination that will lead to many fancy tea parties and fantastic plays, an imagination that will soon let you develop a wonderful sense of empathy, and allow you to blossom into a wonderful person. You're already amazing, little girl of mine, let's keep you that way. 

Love always,

I'm wearing Liv in in my Sakura Bloom pure linen sling in Maple, striped tee from Forever 21 (similar here), thrifted jean cut offs (similar here), Panama hat from Old Navy (similar here) and sandals from Target.

Returning to Clinical Life

June 23, 2014

Happy Monday all! I hope you all had great weekends! 

As many of you know, June marked the beginning of me heading back into clinical life - no more jeans in the research lab (at least for now), back to professional wear in the clinics and hospital at all times. Over on IG, the lovely Franziska asked what's it been like heading back to clinics, so I thought I'd do a quick post on that!

The first day back I naively expected some kind of orientation or refresher as to what we'd be doing during the rotation  (I'm doing my dermatology elective rotation). Instead it was more like - this is your hospital assignment, now go report for duty! I definitely felt out of it when I first got there - the hours and pace of clinical life, the jargon, the behavior - it's all different from the year of lab work. But just like riding a bike, it comes back to you quickly. 

I was a little nervous and took on more of a shadowing role at first, worried I wouldn't know what to do if I had to do it, but thankfully by the next day I remembered if you want to learn anything  you just have to dive in and do it! And as soon as I started seeing patients on my own, I felt better - "I got this," I thought to myself. I most definitely still keep a little notebook for things I learn or need to learn throughout the day and it's definitely getting filled up! 

I thought the hardest part would be getting used to the schedule, with the day starting much earlier than the normal 9am and ending whenever rounds are finished. Our new nanny started in June (our old nanny and friend moved to Chicago this month, which we knew was happening when we hired her), and she has been a lifesaver! She gets to our place around 6:45 everyday so we can get out of the house on time and can stay as late as we need her, which thankfully hasn't been past 6:30 or so. 

And then the dressing. This is a little tricky right now as I still don't have as much time in the morning as I used to to get ready, and most of my pre-baby professional clothes I can't find or I can't fit! (Weirdly enough I'm smaller now than I was pre-baby and working on gaining back some weight)! I'll do a post soon about building a professional wardrobe as that's essentially what I'm doing all over again! Here's a look from last week:

{I'm also thinking about doing a post addressing some of the med school related questions I get that I don't feel knowledgeable enough to do entire posts on (ie, financing med school, MCAT, etc.) Leave your questions in the comments below and I'll quickly address my experience with them!}

Flower Power

June 19, 2014

An easy weekend look perfect for those early days of summer with hot afternoons and cool evenings. 

Forever 21 tank (similar here), Rainbow floral shorts (similar on sale here), Old Navy cardigan (similar here), Gap flip flops (similar here)

Sling Diaries: On Strength

June 13, 2014

Throughout the next six months I will be posting entries for the Sakura Bloom Sling Diaries Volume V - All the Love. I was so humbled and honored to be selected as a sling diarist and hope you all will enjoy these entries at least a sliver as much as I enjoy making them. Each month I'll write a letter to Liv on a certain topic - this month's topic is strength.

Dearest Liv, 

I write this letter to you as young woman who feels strong. A young woman who can't lift too much at the gym and still has to ask daddy for help to open jars, but still, I am strong. You see baby girl, strength can be a physical thing, and I do alright when it comes to that. But the strength I'm talking about is the strength of spirit. Empowerment that's built within us as we withstand hardships, persevere through the difficult days, and come out at the end of the tunnel smiling. 

This perseverance that develops our strength of spirit requires not that we stick the planned course - rigid in our dreams - no matter what, but instead, that we adapt and persevere in pursuit of our dreams. Just as the buildings that withstand earthquakes are able to bend and sway with the forces of the earth instead of cracking under pressure, so must we learn to bend and sway with the forces of our journey, through all its twists and unexpected turns. Those who are unhappy in this life are so because they can't adapt. They can't accept the changes in the course, and see defeat instead of a new path. They feel weak in this defeat instead of finding strength by choosing to keep going. My hope for you sweet girl, is that you can learn to go with the flow. Not to be complacent by any means, but to go with change and reach your goals in your own way. 

You have been the greatest lesson for me in going with the flow. You see, mommy has always been a bit of a planner. It's hard to get far without some skeleton of a plan. Now that you're along for the ride, my plans have simplified quite a bit. My large-scale goals are still the same - to become a doctor and have patients I can truly connect with and help, to be a loving a giving wife, to be a sacrificing mother and role model, but the day-to-day plans I usually throw out the window. No longer do I feel like a failure if everything on my to-do list wasn't crossed off, instead I focus on the positive and make plans for the next day, always aware that it may not get done then either. This isn't defeat, this is adapting, and by adapting we grow stronger. We gain new powers and abilities through each journey we take, and I hope you will find these as you go on your own journeys. 

I will always find my strength in you and I hope you will always know that you can find your strength in me. 

Love always,

I'm wearing Liv in my Sakura Bloom pure linen sling in Twilight, black tee and pants from Asos, and sandals from Target

Birthday Weekend!

June 9, 2014

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you all had great weekends! I definitely did - yesterday was my 26th birthday and I got spoiled for sure! N and Liv made me the most adorable mug with her handprints on it saying "Happy Birthday Mommy" (and bowl with her darling little footprint), got my mom and sister to Boston to watch Liv, and then stole me away to Cape Cod! It was the perfect little getaway. Thanks to all of you who wished me the sweetest birthday wishes on Instagram

Also - the Mrs. Patel's giveaway winner is Dana! Contact me with your mailing info so we could get your goodies out to you! Thanks so much to all of you for reading!

Keeping Your Supply Up (and Giveaway)

June 2, 2014

As natural and instinctual as breastfeeding is, nothing about it is easy, and there are way too many variables that have to go right to be successful. I've been lucky to have success with breastfeeding and I absolutely love it, but every now and then I still have concerns about one big thing - my supply. Now I'll say this - although most breastfeeding moms are concerned about their supply, most are just fine. If baby is gaining weight normally and has enough wet diapers, baby is getting enough milk! You can't rely on how "full" your breasts feel or how much you pump to tell you how much your little one is getting. With all that said, though, growth spurts definitely happen and always seem to leave me wondering if I'm getting Liv enough milk. Two other times I notice my supply take a bit of a dip? When Liv is in a "snacking" mood (ie, she's interested in everything else while she's nursing and so only snacks a bit) and when I'm stressed. Here are some tips for keeping that supply up! 

Pump! When I'm home and Liv is being a finicky nurser I have a handheld manual pump I use to pump a bottle. I'll usually only do one side and let her nurse on both sides (offering the side I pumped first) when she is finally interested. I'll also try to sneak in an extra pumping session before I go to bed. If I'm at work I'll try to do the same with the electric pump.

Eat! Make sure you're eating enough nutrient-rich foods so that your body can make enough milk. This is essential, and a lot of women trying to lose weight post-baby just aren't eating enough. One of my favorite snacks are Mrs. Patel's fenugreek bars; the peanut butter ones are my absolute favorite, but there are also original and chocolate. It's so hard to try and only eat one of these per day (the same way I can't eat only 2 gummy vitamins - they're so good)! I also love plain old oatmeal cookies although I think they boost supply just by making me happy :)

Drink! Another basic necessity, but drink plenty of water! And if you're like me, most of your "water" comes from coffee. I'm not sure where the myth came from that coffee decreases your milk supply, but it doesn't, and as long as you don't notice that it has any effect on baby's sleep or activity feel free to drink in moderation. Many women like lactation tea and if you're one of them, that's fine to drink too! I wasn't a fan of the black licorice taste to most teas, although I do really like the chai tea from Mrs. Patel's.

Relax! In school we always learned about the HPA axis and how stress affects us physiologically, but never is it more concrete then when it comes to breastfeeding (or at least pumping). On the days that are stressful and I only have a few minutes to pump in between failing experiments I can never pump much of anything, even if I did eat and drink enough. On the other hand, when I'm having a great day and watching videos of Liv as I pump, it all goes wonderfully! It's easy to say don't worry, but seriously, just try not to worry.

Try not to rely on supplementing. Let me clarify - there's absolutely nothing wrong with supplementing with formula to give baby a little extra if it really makes you feel better (or of course if they're not gaining weight appropriately, etc). Just make sure that you still try to pump when you're supplementing. Supply is all about the demand, and if you're supplementing without pumping your body won't know that you need to make more, and you'll only make the problem worse.

This week one lucky reader will be winning a combo package from Mrs. Patel's! This package includes a sampling of all three flavors of their fenugreek bars, their Chair milk water tea, and their munch crunch! Just leave a comment below for your chance to win!

Floral Kimono

May 23, 2014

Happy Friday everyone! Last night N, Liv and I joined a friend for dinner out - here's what I wore!

Forever 21 Floral kimono (similar here) and tank (here), thrifted Levi's jeans (similar here), thrifted braided belt (similar here), Zara heels (similar here), American Apparel charm necklace (here)

I hope you all have wonderful Memorial Day weekends and as always thank you so much for reading!

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