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        Ambitious Women and How to Balance Creative Work With Parenting

        January 26, 2019

        Entrepreneurs, Masters degree / PhD seekers, ambitious women, business owners: How do you do all this AND parent? I need life balance tips and I need them now because I am juggling all the balls and doing so is unsustainable. I’m really struggling with wanting space from my kids so I can pursue my dreams, but I’m simultaneously afraid that I am missing out on being fully present in their lives. My baby is ten months old and we have a five year old. I knew running a business would never be the same once having children, but I have yet to find balance.

        I’ve been extremely vulnerable with those I love. If you’ve ever met me, you knew this immediately. I value emotional depth and empathy in my intimate relationships. These aspects of the Enneagram Type 4 I really relate to. I acknowledge that those I don’t talk to every day or relate to through an online relationship may not experience the levels of vulnerability I maintain with a tiny collective of others. So this year, I am working on shining light on the depths of my soul so that others may find solidarity and grace, too, because I’ve discovered these precise gifts in the offerings of your own souls since I discovered I was going to have a baby.

        Trying to find the balance between parent and ambitious woman has become so overwhelming. I’ve had major dives in the last 9 months into post-partum depression that have become so intense that I thought that not existing would be easier on everyone else because I just cannot keep up. Now, this was me at the bottom of the well. It’s dark, damp, and putrid down there. That is, until I was able to crawl my way back up through self-care, squashing negative self-talk, and support from beloved friends and family. Okay, basically picture me as the girl from The Ring. 😂

        Truthfully though, I never experienced PPD immediately after giving birth — it came as a shock a handful of months later. Thankfully, I’ve also had the support of my primary care physician and an amazing psychologist who works with her. I believe that these waves of PPD and severe anxiety were intensified by further loss of autonomy related to my ability to create whenever I wanted — or whenever the Muse was abiding (creatives, you feel me) — and also see my creative projects to completion. After all, I’ve spent 36 years of my life being able to fine-tune my environment. It’s not as simple as this-causes-that, but I can attribute some of my PPD to this feeling of lack.

        My husband has been incredibly supportive these last months, moreso than any other partner I’ve heard of, so this only makes me feel more shame for succumbing to what feels like ungratefulness. Our five year old is the most helpful and loving brother to Arlyss and when he is in our care, he’s such a blessing to me. But I’ve become resentful at my baby for having needs of his own because, ironically, he seems to have them exactly when I’m trying to take care of my own needs. Yet he is such an ‘easy baby.’ It goes without saying that I love both of these boys with all my heart and these struggles have aren’t meant to paint a picture of how I treat them, but more so, they paint a picture of my inner world trying to reconcile my role as a parent AND an extremely ambitious woman, dogged introvert, and intense creative.

        I’m exposing this about myself to you because maybe you’ve been here or are struggling with similar experiences. I want you to know that you are not alone. I believe that my creative ambitions still deserve my energy. And I believe that I can foster a fulfilling and nurturing child-parent relationship at the same time. And I believe that this is possible for you, too.

        *See also: I need babysitting recommendations again and someone who can come to my home and hang out with my cute ass baby so I can work my butt off k thanks.

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        Our Boys’ Childhood in a Blended Family

        November 21, 2018

        I love watching Arlyss’s personality develop over time. He’ll be eight months old in a https://www.kristyfountain.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=385&action=edit&classic-editor#edit_timestampcouple of days, and I remember the first long three months when each day felt like a week (come of think of it, waking up every 3 hours didn’t help). He was tiny and beautiful, yet relatively inert. And I didn’t get the snuggly early period to enjoy because he was unable to breastfeed regularly and an extremely independent baby. And what’s cool now is not only to watch how he’s becoming more quirky, funny, smart, and alert, but also how Liam seems to be activating special aspects of his personality. They are hilarious together and Liam is the best big brother around. Truly. He’s the sweetest, most compassionate and helpful brother. When we’re not in the room, he’ll let me know that the baby was fussing, so he fed him a bottle. And it got me thinking about when, exactly, our personalities (the kind that stick with us) form. We start out as little babies and our instincts are related mostly to our physiological needs. And then as we grow, we begin to form beliefs about the world around us through experiences. We form expectations and relationships. We become competent in acting on our world, we are motivated to have our needs met, and we try to keep ourselves safe. The Ego develops and grows. And these seem to be the foundation for our personalities to form upon. We are not born with a personality, we develop one. And I’m grateful that his personality is forming in a time where the house is full of lots of play, reading, outdoor adventures, love, music, and laughter. What are some personality traits or quirks that you appreciate in your kiddos and why?

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        Daddy’s Arms – My Breastfeeding Journey, Tongue Tie, Frenotomy

        October 5, 2018

        Daddy’s arms. Since day one my Arly has spent more time in James’ arms than mine. And I’ve made perfect peace with that. Here’s why.

        I was adamant about breastfeeding this baby boy as long as I possibly could. I didn’t wait 36 long years of heartbreakingly never believing I’d be able to conceive my own baby to not breastfeed him. I gobbled up all the information and advice about breastfeeding that I could gather. Little did I know this would become our biggest obstacle upon giving birth. Three days old and a single first night alone with us after arriving home from the hospital, I desperately tried to breastfeed my hysterically crying baby all night. The next day, our pediatrician confirmed that Arly was losing weight rapidly. He was starving, actually. And breastfeeding was excruciating. I’m not saying that to scare anyone — I’m telling you because I was told that it was not normal to feel pain and that I was just being “sensitive” because I was a new mom. I went to two other lactation consultants (who basically told me that I was new-mom exaggerating our symptoms) before finding our third-times-a-charm IBCLC who took one look at his mouth and immediately diagnosed the issue. His physician confirmed tongue tie. His was so severe, Dr. Ghaheri’s office said they could get us in for a frenotomy the next day. We opted for a local procedure with a pediatrician we trusted (if you’re in Bend, we adore Dr. Kristi Nix). His tongue tie was clipped and we began painful mouth stretches for weeks while I spent every three hours pumping (i.e. 2 hour breaks only) for an hour to produce STILL not enough milk for his feedings. So Arlyss was in James’ arms for bottle feedings of my breastmilk while I pumped non-stop. His bond with his daddy is so strong and special because of this.

        Soon I discovered Legendairy Milk supplements and began trying combinations of everything they had. They’ve allowed me to continue BFing my baby and helped me fight for my milk supply when I didn’t have a chance. So I want to give one of my followers a bottle of Liquid Gold! Enter to win: Follow @legendairymilk and @kristy.fountain. Tag a mama friend here. Winner will be chosen at random.

        lifestyle lifestyle

        Ecopsychology: Let My Babies Run Free

        September 7, 2018

        Our home owners rescinded our lease extension, leaving us frantically searching for a new place. Thankfully, we were accepted into a home nearby. But it got me thinking. We live in the same kind of family neighborhood. Everyone has ridiculously small yards. It’s just a reminder that Louv is right, we’re at an “end of an era of free land” in his book, Last Child in the Woods. There is no new frontier. Where once natural environments were accessible from our front door step, now the same land has been replaced by fences and concrete and neighbors on all sides. I grew up riding my bike — rain or shine — with my sis and neighborhood friends all over the place. We’d play by the irrigation ditch. I’d spend all afternoon running through the woods nearby with my best friend, making bows and arrows out of twigs and old string. We got dirty. We made stuff up.

        I long for our children to have the same perception of open spaces. I want them to be inventive. I want the days to pass quickly while they get their hands dirty and their imaginations full. I encourage natural play. I want them to grow up not being severed from food origins and have a deeper understanding of our relationship with other species. I don’t want them to fear nature, I want them to respect Her. Exposing ourselves to nature is what we often do when we are done doing all other things that consume our daily lives. We’ve lost balance in our lifestyles — we and our children spend so much time participating in rigidly organized activities that children are losing time which could be spent participating in highly and purposefully un­organized play that natural environments facilitate. This kind of play nurtures creativity and wonder! Louv argues that children “losing themselves” in nature is essential for healthy development because they “stimulate all the senses and integrate informal play with formal learning.” These experiences harness the power of the imagination as the environment provides the ideal setting to be creative.

        What were your childhood days spent doing?
        What do you want for your kiddos?