Welcome to my blog!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

New Post & Links!

I posted as a contributor to the Mothering the Mother, Inc. blog! Click HERE to read my blog post on postpartum blues and depression.

If you like my posts on birth, parenting, postpartum, et cetera, check out these other posts of mine.

Audrey's Birth Story & My Rite of Passage

Catching Up with Chipmunks and Vomit

Our Experiences at the BWF Chicago Conference

Postpartum Journal: Month 9

and many others...

Click HERE to follow Mothering the Mother, Inc. on Facebook

Click HERE to be directed to the official website of Mothering the Mother, Inc.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Blue Journal: The Affair with Social Media

Journaling has been a hobby, therapeutic activity, and personal experience of mine since I was in third grade. It was in the third grade (which was quite possibly my least-favorite year of my whole childhood existence) that the blue journal was gifted to me. I had been yearning to have a journal FOREVER, it seemed, and one day, finally, after several months of envying Harriet the Spy and every other independent girl, my gorgeous blue journal with golden-edged pages was within my grasp. The smell of the new paper gripped me instantly, and I carefully numbered each and every page's lower corner with a pencil. I traced the Asian designs on the inside cover of the book. There were so many possibilities. That's when my relationship with writing took a turn from academic to personal. 

There were several more journals after my relationship with Blue Journal. Blue Journal was my first. Oh, if I must guess, I have to say I have filled 37 journals in my 26 years of existence. Journaling has been my constant. She is an old friend that I turn to after a rough day at school, work, or with a friend, but during college that intimate relationship changed.

In 2008 I registered with Facebook, my first social media account. I went from journaling once per day to once per month at best. Suddenly, my need to express how I felt on paper was diluted by a desire to share my thoughts, dreams, and opinions openly and publicly among friends, family, and some internet acquaintances. I would love to say that my habit wasn't affected by the grips of social media, but I won't lie. It was.

I'm glad that I'm now comfortable enough with my Self that I'm able to thoughtfully and maturely express my opinions, but as I'm growing as a woman I have come to the realization that there's something to be said about having a private space to be yourself truly, completely, and privately.

When I write, I go a place that's magical. That place is within me. If I can't retreat to a place where I am not being judged or ridiculed, then I can never relax and simply be me. My journal is a place where I can share my truest feelings; I believe that in order to be taken seriously and preserve our professional appearances we must edit our online posts to some degree. When I'm writing in my personal journal, I do not give myself the same restrictions. I write freely and passionately--fictionally and non. I find it funny how a recap of my day can turn into a fictional story of two runaway princesses who suddenly find themselves in the wilderness of a mystical land fighting robbers, hunting elk, or something else...

Today, I'm challenging myself to start journaling again. I'll write down the silly stuff like what I had for dinner, what my daughter said to a random stranger at the store, or how I am feeling about my life and relationships. I'll document my ambitions, personal and professional, and I'll write a fictional story that has nothing to do with my day. I'm not ready to let go of this relationship with writing. Social Media Accounts, I'm not ready to take a break, but perhaps you should take the back burner for a while.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Life: Passionately

I normally keep my creative work private. I tuck pieces like this away in my sacred journal with no plans of sharing, but I think many will benefit from this simple message. It came from my heart and took only 15 minutes to appear on paper. Here is a creative piece of writing by me, Samantha Heckert, called Life: Passionately.

Life: Passionately
By Samantha Heckert
When those who are weak in character meddle with your happiness,
Live Passionately.

When negative thoughts consume your mind,
Live Passionately.

When winter is relentless, and darkness invades your space,
Live Passionately.

When your spirit is crushed and hopelessness appears,
Live Passionately.

When you have nothing more to give to yourself,
When you have nothing more to give to your family,
When you have nothing more to give to others,

Give More,

And Live Passionately.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving and the holiday season is a wonderful time for reflection, but we shouldn't make this the only time we are thankful for what we have! I challenge you, as I'm challenging myself, to set time aside every day and be thankful for something. 

Do you have a private journal? If not, perhaps you should think about starting one. Journaling can be a safe and therapeutic way to relax. It's also a wonderful tool to use when you need words of encouragement. Use your journal to read about a time when things were different in order to lift your spirits or be thankful for your life in the present.

Challenge: Write down the things you're thankful for each year, and compare them to the year prior. What's different? What changed? Here's my list. I'm starting this year, too.

In 2014, I am thankful for...
My Family. Being a mom can be difficult, but the reward is amazing. I'm also grateful to have a supportive husband and best friend. My parents, brothers, and niece are a huge part of my life, and I'm happy to be living closer to them this year.  

My job. Since beginning my work as a Christian Educator, I have the opportunity to make it part of my daily life experience to reflect. I'm also utilizing my degree, talents, and I'm growing as a professional. My love for teaching and confidence while leading is growing. It's awesome.

Being a Birth Doula and having an awesome support system of other doulas. As a birth doula, I meet and support women during one of the most important, challenging, life-altering, and spiritual experiences a woman can have. I am proud to be training with an organization that provides doulas, numerous other resources, and birth professionals for all women who want and need support.
My church. My family and I started attending our church shortly after I started a temporary position working there. We decided to become members, and I later moved into my current role. I can't say enough good things about our decision to join the United Church of Christ. One of my highlights from this past year is when my daughter and I were baptized together.

Good luck with your reflections!
May your holiday season be filled with joy and happiness.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Catching Up with Chipmunks and Vomit

Postpartum Journal: Month 12

Fall is quickly approaching, and in less than two weeks my daughter will be 12 months! Time is going by quickly, but so much has happened since her birth that I feel like there has never been a time where she wasn’t part of my life. My mind, body, and spirit balance is finally coming into place, and I’m feeling more like myself every day. Moderate exercise a few times per week, eating organic veggies daily, breastfeeding, connecting with other parents, and feeding my spiritual needs are all tools that are helping me be focused, happy, and present.

So much has happened since my last blog post! One of the biggest things that has happened in my life, aside from my baptism with Audrey--which was really awesome--is that I have started a new role in addition to being a doula. I am now the Christian Educator for a church in the United Church of Christ. I coordinate the Sunday School and other youth programs within the church, and I’m having a blast planning meaningful experiences for the little ones. Between my family, doula work, and fulfilling career I feel complete; yet sometimes I also feel overwhelmed and exhausted.

And that’s okay.

That’s okay because I know that I’m doing the best that I can. I understand that with great responsibility comes great stress and sometimes consequences. I believe that I am on a mission to make a difference in the world by making a difference within the small communities I am dedicated to. My community is a part of this world, and change has to start somewhere before it spreads.

  • I’m feeding the spiritual needs of children by introducing them to Jesus’ teachings.
  • I’m sharing my views of compassion and forgiveness with the next generation.
  • I’m advocating for better birthing practices for women.
  • I’m coordinating positive experiences for teens that they will remember for the rest of their lives.
  • I’m raising a kid. (Me! A kid! Agh!)

Life Isn’t Perfect, Nor Will It Ever Be

Just for fun, I would like to share two events from last week that happened with an hour apart from each other. I’ll share the second story first. While making my morning batch of coffee, I heard my cat, Duchess, running around the kitchen. I turned around, and I wasn’t sure of what I saw at first. She was holding something large in her her mouth, and it was dragging on the floor. 

This was a funny sight! Proudly, my little Duchess threw the thing at me, and it landed right next to my feet. She pranced around, purring, showing me her trophy. It was a chipmunk, and it was very much dead. My indoor cat caught a chipmunk! It was crazy. I went to grab some tongs to pick it up, but she threw it against the door, and blood somehow streaked on to the kitchen floor. I couldn't be mad, though. I was used to cleaning up Duchess’ messes by that time.

Earlier that morning I was reading on the couch, and I heard Duchess making a weird sound. I looked at her just in time to watch her projectile vomit all over the entertainment center and on to our white carpet. Awesome. I ran into the other room to grab some carpet cleaner and towels, leaving Audrey to continue playing with her dollhouse. From the other room I heard my daughter coughing. Afraid she was choking on something, I ran into the living room, and what I saw is a sight I will never forget. My petite blonde daughter was covered it cat vomit. She had two fists full of vomit, and--you guessed it--there was cat vomit all around her mouth.

Enough said.

As gross as that was, I had to find humor in the situation. If we’re unable to find the humor in daily setbacks, then we won’t survive. Life will never be picture-perfect, and that’s okay. This is as close to perfect as it gets. Parenthood isn't easy, but the reward is great.

(Takes another sip of coffee. Picks off a cheerio from her lap. Takes a Tylenol.)

Until next time,


Friday, June 13, 2014

Postpartum Journal: Month 9

The postpartum journey has been tough. I won’t lie. At first I thought it would be easy to maintain the balance in my life I (almost) had, and it would be easier because I was conscious of it. I was wrong! With moving, changing jobs, and redefining who I am as a person all within a couple weeks, I became exhausted, and I still am. This past month I decided that things need to change. I need to become organized again, and I have to make a plan of action for finding the balance in life.

Phase One: Talk About It
I talked to my brother and friends, my husband, and a professional about the things I have been dealing with in the past few months. I know that what I’m experiencing is normal, but I won’t settle for the get over it, everyone woman who has had a child has dealt with it idea that is toxic for the women in our society.

Phase Two: Get Out
When I was first cleared to exercise, I was eager to get started at the gym again. I went to fitness classes 1-2 times per week, and although it wasn’t my normal pace, I was pleased with it. I floundered in January. I couldn’t pick myself up. I couldn’t stand to leave the house, and I would literally cry when I had to pack up the baby and hit the -45 degree road to work or dance practice.

I decided I wasn’t going to let this winter’s frigid temperatures, or the tricks of my hormones, deter me from exercising. A few weeks ago I started attending yoga, and this week I went to my first dance class in a few years. It was a confidence booster!

Phase Three: Organization
I have always been a messy person, but I’m working on it. I want to be cleaner and more organized in my private life. However, until my full-time job is party planning, interior decorating, and housekeeping, I will never be Martha Stuart.

With that being said, being conscious of where I place items or putting laundry away right away is something that I could achieve as long as I put my mind to it. I can have a clean home and lead a busy life if I have support and a plan.

Phase Four: Assertiveness
I have also always been a reserved person, and I care deeply about the feelings of other people. I am told to “be a bitch” about once per month. Do you know what? I’m not like that. That is not me. Yes, I could be more assertive at times with stating what I want, but I am unapologetically Me. My goal is to tell people what I want right away, and I don’t even have to be a bitch to do that. (Well, usually.)

Here are some tips for Postpartum Women

  • You’re not weak.
  • You can start to feel symptoms of postpartum “blues” or depression many months into your baby’s life.
  • Be assertive and tell people that you need them to watch your kiddo(s) to do your own thing while you sew, go for a walk, take a class, watch a movie, read a book, et cetera.
  • You’re awesome if you’re a stay-at-home mom.
  • You’re awesome if you’re a part-time working mom.
  • You’re awesome if you’re a full-time working mom.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Body Worlds & The Power of Doing Things

I believe in the power of staying active and doing things. Yesterday my husband, daughter, and I went to the Body Worlds exhibit at the Milwaukee Public Museum. The exhibit was far less creepy that I expected. It was educational and surprisingly uplifting. The walls contained positive and humorous passages that promoted healthy living. There was so much information; I could have spent the entire day going through each area reading about and studying the awesomeness that is our bodies. 

Here's the postcard I bought. 
In my opinion, the exhibit was respectful as well. I know there is controversy surrounding Body Worlds, but for me this exhibit promoted health, happiness, education, and the truth of mortality. As I walked through the room I challenged myself to be conscious of all the people who volunteered to be there. I wondered what a conversation with these now-famous people would be like. Had the skateboarder guy ever tried skateboarding before? What were their names? What were their professions? What made them decide to donate their bodies to science? 

Audrey loved the butterflies, although her sleepy eyes might not let you see that!

After we went through the exhibit, we toured the museum. Audrey loved the Butterfly Exhibit, and at one point she started babbling at a mounted gorilla. She lifted up her hand toward the gorilla as she was speaking. This made me think about our connection with animals. (Do you think she thought the gorilla was a human? What does her friendliness say about our relationship to primates?) Interesting!

After an exhausting couple of hours, we left for home and other errands. Our visit was short, sweet, humbling, and provoked a lot of questions.

One of the things I remembered reading at the exhibit was how important it is for people to maintain a healthy level of activity. I'm not only talking about exercise. There was a picture of an elderly woman driving a car, and the caption talked about how she stayed physically active and was an active member of her church. It's important to keep the mind and the body busy! Our bodies are like vehicles; we're meant to move. If a vehicle sits for too long, it rusts, and the parts wear down. Our bodies are no different in that regard. We're meant to move. 

We went to the library last week! Total Cost: $0.00

Yes, activities can cost money, and not everyone has the same luxuries or available resources, but not everything has to cost money. (Furthermore, if I do spend money, I would rather spend on experiences versus material objects.) A few weeks ago we went to the Milwaukee County Zoo, the Birth Without Fear conference, and a couple special church services. Next week we're going to the library for family night, and we're taking along my niece, Leland. Take a look around at what your community offers for free and for minimal cost. Go for a walk. Journal. Find time in your schedule to try something new. Staying active keeps us alive.