In anticipation of the arrival of our first daughter, I had four baby showers. That’s right, four. At the time, I was working at two different jobs (both of which held separate showers). I traveled back to Virginia to celebrate with my dad’s extended family (see below).
I finished off the drawn out celebration with a beautiful shower in Charlotte, hosted by mom, with my closest friends and family. We were overwhelmed with tangible gifts that truly set us up with more than everything that we would need for a better part of the first year. We were extremely blessed. At the time, we were temporarily living in a condo while our home renovation was being complete. We filled every inch of space with baby stuff (most of which we realized we wouldn’t need until after we got back into our house).
When our daughter was born, we had little to no room for visitors and for the most part kept to ourselves. We had some visitors, but we didn’t make too much of an effort to bring outsiders in to meet our daughter the first few weeks. The doctors instill that fear for some reason that you need to seclude yourself when you leave the hospital. That was that pregnancy. My second pregnancy would again bring so many changes.
In September 2014, we found out that we were expecting our second girl. Instead of planning shower after shower, we decided to hold off on any major celebrations. I was in the process of transitioning out of my full time job and with limited time over the holidays, we opted to spend quality time with friends and family (rather than squeeze it into a party). We really didn’t need tangible things. We had them.
This pregnancy we needed support. While this pregnancy may have seemed like a breeze for me (at least the last few months), it didn’t start that way. In fact, it is incredible how far I have come since those first few weeks. There is a reason the doctors tell you not to share your exciting news until the end of the first trimester. We almost lost our sweet girl at just five weeks. Most people didn’t know what I was going through at the time. They didn’t need to. I put on a smile (like in the picture above) and played out my life like I wasn’t worried every second of the day that this baby might not make it.
She is a fighter. She made it. So did I. Over the next few months, the tangible things didn’t matter so much. The support from each and every friend and family member that reached out to us will never be forgotten. People that I didn’t know cared, brought food, called and checked in. I can’t tell you all how much that meant to me. At a time of extreme anxiety, you all made me feel like everything would be okay.
With no shower, I didn’t expect much before (or after) our daughter was born. We didn’t need much. We had a healthy daughter. To my surprise, an overwhelming number of people reached out immediately to bring meals, gifts and most importantly, to stop by for fellowship. I hate that I didn’t start documenting the healthy surprises that we received earlier. Forgive me, I just had a baby! In fact, my husband was the one that suggested that I start taking pictures of all of the healthy treats that we received. Treats that would ultimately help us get through the first few weeks.
- Veggie tray with a variety of hummus (see top picture) – easy to snack on, perfect for a busy, breastfeeding mom with a toddler.
- Mommy boost juice – carrot, spinach, beet, lime, apple, ginger
- Mother’s Milk caffeine free tea – for the mom’s that you know are breastfeeding.
- Gifts cards – Anywhere! Grocery store, family friendly restaurants, Target.
- Dinner – We had countless dinners. As tempting as it is to bring over comfort food, look for ways to bring over healthier dinners. I am still trying to accumulate recipes for all of the delicious food that we received. One of my favorites – Tex Mex Lasagna. See picture and recipe below (variation from Cooking Light magazine).
- 1 medium jar salsa
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 14.5 oz can tomato sauce
- 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
- 6 precooked wheat lasagna noodles
- 1 medium can yellow sweet corn, rinsed and drained
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cups chopped scallions
- 1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
- Mexican cheese optional
- Shredded chicken optional (I would add this to make it a little more filling)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine first four ingredients. Spread 2/3 cup sauce in the bottom. Add noodle layer, add half of beans and half of corn. Top with 2/3 cup of sauce. Repeat layers once. Top with remaining noodles and remaining sauce. Sprinkle with cheese (optional). Cook 30 minutes covered until bubbly and uncover and cook until slightly brown. Let stand 15 minutes. Top with scallions and cilantro. Serve with sour cream and avocado slices.
- Diapers – you don’t even have to buy them. We had neighbors that had leftover diapers from prior children. They are done having kids now. They dropped off bags. Perfect. Every little bit helps!
- Momma Bar soaps – Anything that indicates to my husband, this is mine don’t touch it. Kidding. Kind of.
- “Top Notch” Fitness products – See picture below. Get it? My sister-in-law sent us a package of this new line of protein shakes to try. What does 30 in 30 mean? 30 grams of protein, 30 minutes after a workout. She is in the fitness industry in Miami, FL. She sees things coming before I do. With that much protein and only five ingredients, you would be surprised how great these little packages taste. They also only have 130 calories. Um, for a new mom, looking to rebuild muscle and lose baby weight. Perfect. Did I mention the flavor she sent was chocolate cake? Who doesn’t want dessert after a workout?
In almost every big celebration a person goes through in their life, perception tends to be that a gift is necessary. In this instance, we have found that the little things are what have meant the most to us. Memories last a lifetime. Each and every visit, card, phone call or text will be remembered. From our family to yours, thank you.