One Room Challenge Week 8 and 10 Weeks Post Partum
These past 8 weeks have flown by. At the beginning of the ORC I was still recovering from my c-section and traumatic birth while dealing with health complications and taking care of a newborn. My strength came from places I didn’t know existed while on the flip side, had never felt more vulnerable in my life.
For so many months during pregnancy and post partum, I had not been able to DIY, work or workout like I used to. DIY is a therapy that can’t be compared for me. While I see a therapist and psychiatrist, DIY is something that has always truly made me happy. Participating in this one room challenge gave me something to work on slowly while baby Vienna slept. Any time she took a nap, I would try to sleep, or clean or do laundry etc. Sometimes I would have time to do my hair and stretch and start yoga again, but the real MVP was working on my bathroom refresh. Our rental apartment bathroom was clean and white, and I needed to put my stamp on it to make it feel like home and a retreat I could feel peaceful in while I took a bath.
I had started the bathroom while pregnant as a ways to make me feel whole again when I had felt sick for so many weeks in the beginning of my pregnancy. I needed to feel somewhat normal again and take my mind off of how I felt. I put up a small section of wallpaper and trim molding as well as painted the bottom half of the wall. Those bursts of energy made me feel like me again. Which I think is so important to reconnect with yourself at times of feeling uncertain and out of control. Especially as a pregnant woman or new mother.
I’ve heard the saying that a mother is born when a child is born. The woman solely existed, but only became the mother until that moment of birth. I’ve become someone who I always wanted to be, but have never felt more sad. I’m learning now how joy goes hand and hand with sadness. How I could stare at her little face and wonder how lucky I am to have been given this gift. How lucky I was to have survived health complications. To have been able to leave the hospital with my heart in tact and given medication to help it stay alive and well. However I was stuck in this body that couldn’t do my creative therapy.
As each week of the ORC went by, I got physically stronger. It is now 8 weeks into the final ORC reveal and 10 weeks post partum. I’m trying my best every day and am slowly feeling like my old self again. But thoughts and anxieties hit me like the plague every day. Mix in new mommy duties every minute and the shame you put on your changed body, and it’s a cocktail that is dangerous for the mind and spirit.
While I was working on the bathroom, I felt none of those anxieties. I was able to leave the room and comfort my baby girl, leave the project half done and learn to let go of a mess around me. Learn that cleaning doesn’t give me the feeling of a warm, little body holding my finger and who relies on me to survive. And the DIY was always there to comfort me when I had the time. I was able to finish the tropical print wallpaper from opalhouse at target with my husband's help in first weeks when I couldn’t stretch bc of my incision.
I finished painting the walls that deep salamander green from Benjamin Moore that I love so dearly. I was able to finish the board and batten with trim molding from Home Depot and use my brand new Ryobi nail gun and Loctite glue. I was able to accept my mistakes while trying to drill in my new basket wall over and over again until I switched to my ryobi impact drill to help me get into the dense and hard bathroom wall. I was able to paint my medicine cabinet and give it new life while rub n buffing all the chrome hardware that existed before a simple stroke of a paint brush with an antique gold finish.
I was able to bend and crouch and kneel and reach with more ease every day while wearing my post partum belly band belt. Feeling more powerful with each thing I accomplished. The truth is, when you’re feeling so vulnerable physically and mentally, you forget how strong you are. I am a black belt. I am a person who quit my career as a special education teacher to fulfill my passion. I have survived years of invalidation as a child and became the woman I am with strong morals, empathy and strength and perseverance. I can make things happen. My intentions have manifested because I believe in God and the universe and myself. All things done with heart and intention can be accomplished. But only if you try. If you don’t try you’ll never finish.
Now it is week 8 and my work is done. Sure the paint needs to be touched up and some of my trim may not be perfectly leveled but I did it. This may not be the home I own, but it’s the home I created where my family lays their heads at night. Where I brought my daughter home, where my dog sleeps and protects us and where my husband and I first called home as a married couple. Love and acceptance exist in my DIY world. It helps me to figure out who I am, where I’ve been and who I want to be. My thoughts are positive and my heart is pure. When my hands are working, all is right in the world. The one room challenge is over, but the DIY will continue wherever I live and whatever stage of life I am in. I’m lucky enough to have something that helps me get through the most difficult parts of life. Behind all the pretty before and after shots, there was a girl, crying and anxious but proud of her progress and accomplishments. A picture says a thousand words but my words say a thousand things I need to express. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do while writing them.