Posts Tagged ‘ real talk ’

What They Don’t Tell You to Expect…

Friday, December 21st, 2012

The guilt.

Before anyone knew we were pregnant, I was holding my brand new teeny, tiny nephew, feeling all sorts of hormonal butterflies about the baby starting to grow in my belly. As I held him, my two-year-old ran into the room. She needed my attention and as I bent down to answer her request the helpless, wobbly-necked newborn careened backwards out of my arms. I caught him just before dropping him completely onto the faraway floor, but not before his newly minted parents saw it and probably wanted to grab him from my unfit arms. After the “incident,” I glanced horrified at my husband, the sharer of our baby secret, and gave him a wide-eyed look of, “what in the hizzle have we done?!” I know in my guilt-ridden, I almost just killed your kid paranoia, I said the phrase aloud, “We can never have more than one kid.” Whoops. That ship had sailed.

And so began the guilt about having a second child.

I firmly believe it is the greatest gift to give a child a sibling, but I never really knew I’d feel guilty about having another baby.

I feel guilty about the fact that I don’t have the time to sit around and daydream about our second child like I did with our first. I know I devoted hours to picturing my daughter’s hair, her lips, and her little hands. I’d pull out her little outfits and try to envision her chubby little legs filling them out. This pregnancy I spend my days tending to the needs of that daughter, the one I spent so much time dreaming of. The demands of my occasionally tiny toddler terrorist must be met with some urgency leaving little time to daydream about our second daughter.

Actually, I feel guilty that I don’t even think to daydream about our unborn daughter as much. I sometimes forget we’re having a baby. It pains me to say it because I feel like I’m shorting my unborn, but there are just not enough hours in the day. Some days I barely remember to brush the pearly whites, which won’t be for much longer with my negligence. I’m rolling up exhausted for bed, working my stretchy pants like a sex machine, and snoring before the lights are out.

I feel guilty that I’m three parts terrified, one part pooping my pants at having a second kid. Is it normal to have fear? Almost dropping my nephew made me realize this two kids, not enough hands business is real and intimidating.

I feel guilty that I worry I’ll love one child more than the other. What kind of monster thinks that? I’ve never had multiple children before and I hear the heart has room enough for all, but perhaps I’ll feel more connected to one child than the other. Is that a parenting truth no one has the guts to say? I mean most kids think their parents have favorites. (Favorite sibling of my parents, you know who you are and you know how we like to call you out for it. And by call you out I mean talk behind your back about it. We gossip because we care.)

I feel guilty that Harper has no idea how much her world will change. I watch her cock her sweet little head and pull funny faces to make me laugh, totally enamored with my undivided attention, and the guilt lodges in my chest. She’s thrilled by the idea of “sissy boo,” but her innocence at how much her world will really change breaks my heart. I feel like a jerk. She has no idea what’s about to hit her and it’s all my doing (well mine and my lover’s). I worry at how she’ll adjust to my divided attention.

I feel guilty that my attention will be divided. I want to be there for my daughters. I want to help them and guide them, but I know, at times, I won’t be able to. I hate to think that at times I’ll have to choose between their needs. Every day Harper asks me, “Where are we going today?” I don’t know how I’ll tell her “no where for six months” once the baby arrives. I know that’s an exaggeration but our world will slow and change and it’s nerve-racking.

I feel guilty that I’m growing to be a lazy-pile-of-sludge with each passing day. I enjoy running amuck with my toddler, but sometimes the loud and proud belly is a buzz kill to all her jumping, skipping, dancing dreams (read: peeing my pants). I try my darndest, but sometimes, pregnancy with a toddler just ain’t easy. It’s hard out here for a preggo.

I feel guilty that I am mourning the loss of being a “new” mom. There is something sacred in the harrowing, emotionally tough but sweet lessons taught to a first-time mother by her first-born babe. We have cried together, made mistakes together, but ultimately, grown together. We have learned together how to be a family. My first made me a mom. She gave me so many “firsts” and while I know my second child will still give me “firsts,” I feel guilty that she doesn’t have the same opportunity to be the first baby that expanded my heart.

My dog-eared copy of What to Expect hasn’t been much help on the subject either. I am finding I harbor a generous helping of guilt at any given moment. I mean I have guilt about having guilt for heaven’s sake…

Image: Me in all my exhausted pregnant glory

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The Pendulum of Pregnancy and Parenthood

Friday, December 14th, 2012

Oh the blogosphere. Some recent feedback about the blog has left me feeling like I want to explain myself further. Most of the time, I don’t take myself too seriously. I keep things on the lighter side. I try to be open and honest without crossing the line too far. But sometimes, I also feel nostalgic, or like waxing poetic, or being downright rosy. I am by no means a completely rose-colored glasses kind of gal, but there are plenty of days when I feel as the wonderful Anne Shirley explains, “it’s delightful when your imaginations come true.” Sometimes life really is good. And sometimes, it’s poopy. I try to keep a good balance of all emotions. Lest you get the wrong impression of me, let me explain my philosophy on pregnancy and well, parenthood in general.

Pregnancy and parenthood are on a pendulum. One side represents the delightful imaginations; the little hugs, the “I love yous,” the soft and surprising first kicks of a baby in your belly. The other side represents the crapper. It’s the horror stories; the 9 months of barfing, the baby vomit directly in your mouth, the poop smeared on the wall, the 100 pounds of rice spilled in every nook and cranny of your floor, the fun outing ruined by incessant whining and tantrums.

On any given day, in any given hour, parents experience a range of emotions. We swing from grateful, to miserable, to happy, to exhausted, to locking ourselves in the bathroom for a moment of sanity. It’s life. There are inevitable ups and downs. Occasionally, the pendulum feels broken, refusing to swing from one side. And honestly, this usually means it’s stuck in the crapper for longer than should be reasonable.

I have those days. One minute I’m writing love letters to my unborn daughter because I can’t tell her in person yet how much I adore her, and the next minute I’m crying because the pregnant body can be so awkward and uncomfortable and I’m just done being pregnant. Sometimes it just isn’t funny to be the pregnant stereotype that pees 37 times a day.

Just because I write love letters to my daughter doesn’t mean I am immune from reality. There are days where if I have to answer the thousandth inquiry of “why?” or listen to one more whiny “I don’t want to!” I might just implode from annoyance. I too feel that moment of sweet freedom and jubilation when I leave my daughter with my husband and have a few glorious hours to myself.

I experience plenty of parenting fails too. My daughter has hit me in the face, pooped her pants inconveniently in public, and spit her dinner out all over me in protest. She’s refused to go to sleep, she’s peed her bed, she’s done all the stuff that makes parenting grueling and often monotonous.

I live daily on both sides of the pendulum and I believe we all do for the most part. We’re all just regular people doing this crazy difficult, unforgiving, yet wonderful thing called parenthood.

The funny thing about parenthood though is how quickly the pendulum can swing. One minute you’re going ape crazy over the messes and chaos and the next, your kid says something totally hilarious that eases the tension. During a smoothie clean up that covered every inch of the wall, my daughter voluntarily said, “I’m sorry I made a mistake mom.” Melt me. Then, she proceeded to tell me, “My bum says it’s time to go pee-pee.” What else can I do but laugh? That’s sort of the idea Harper. No, it doesn’t make the smoothie clean up any faster, but it does remind me of how quickly the pendulum swings.

This is my pregnancy and these are my memories and I try to keep them as real and me as possible. That reality includes some sweetness, some dreaming. I’ve said it before, complaining makes me uncomfortable, but I’m also guilty as charged.

I try to laugh at myself, this pregnancy, and my daughter as much as possible to stay on the delightful imaginations side of the pendulum. For that, I will not apologize. I try hard to choose to enjoy it. I don’t pretend. I don’t think pregnancy or motherhood is easy, but I do think it’s worth it. And mostly, a pretty awesome gig.

I’m trying to chronicle it all and that means you’ll probably see a few more hormonally driven letters, a few more rants, and hopefully, a few more things that will make you laugh.

Update: I found out about the horrifying tragedy in Connecticut after this blog post was published. It makes any complaints on the pendulum of parenthood negligible. My heart breaks for the families who experienced losses today.  I know those parents would give anything to hug their children today. I hugged my daughter tighter today and I am praying fervently for the families suffering because they cannot.

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I Forgot…

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

31 weeks/7 months

I forgot that being THIS pregnant means…

I suffer from a very active pregnant brain. I wish I was making it up that I put liquid dish soap in the dishwasher and lathered my hair with body wash. It sounds straight out of some cheesy sitcom, but alas, it’s my pregnant brain reality. Nothing makes a girl feel like an idiot as trying to bail out 10,000 bubbles from the bottom of her dishwasher. Bubbles are all fun and games until you find them all over your kitchen floor.

I have a bad case of the grumpies. As my husband politely asked me to stop being grumpy the other evening, I felt exposed. What? I mean I knew I was a grumpasaurus, but I thought I was keeping all my grump to myself. Busted. It made me grumpy. Surprise, surprise.

I feel too much. See grumpies above but also, everything is a hot mess of feelings right now. I am a total loony as I swing from laughter, to annoyed, to happy in the space of thirty minutes. I can cry at any given moment. Don’t test me because that juice is da truth. Would the crazy lady now possessing my body please leave post haste?

I am uncomfortable. Somehow I erased the part where it gets downright Olympic sport hard to carry around a tiny human all day. Sure, sure Olympians are all sorts of heroic by setting world record paces for the 100-meter dash, but has anyone asked them to do it while chasing after a lightning fast toddler and a belly full of baby? I rest my case.

I no longer move gracefully. There’s a lot of moaning and groaning as I roll around in bed. That came out wrong. You know what I mean. Basically, I’ve turned into the tennis player who can only serve the ball if they let out a intimidating grunt. I can only move now if accompanied by a serious groan.

I no longer enjoy getting dressed. I channel my inner Santa Claus as I lock and load the belly into its expando waistband each morning. I live the movie Mean Girls every time I tell people, “These sweatpants are all that fits me right now.” My memory now recalls how I wanted to burn the two shirts that still fit by the time I was done being pregnant. I hated the sight of those clothes. If anyone asks, they met their demise gracefully.

I now notice people look at my belly first, my face second. To all the girls who get their boobs checked out first, face second, I feel ya. I’m a person too by dangit. Look me in the eyes.

I am officially subject to people’s commentary. To the man who couldn’t believe I was 7 months pregnant and told me “your womb must go down to my leg,” I could kiss you on your awkwardly spouting compliments mouth. To the 40-year-old man who openly leered at me at the airport and said aloud “I loooove a pregnant belly,” please keep your fetishes to yourself. I know you apologized and said you didn’t mean to say it out loud, but somehow it made it worse, not better. To all the people be gawking when I walk into a room now or using the terminology “huge, big, bigger,” can we please not? Just talk about my giant belly behind my back like respectable folks do. Also, it would really help my grumpies.

Somehow I forgot all of these factoids from my first pregnancy. While the tapes most definitely have not erased from labor, the third trimester is catching me by surprise. I’m remembering now though you sneaky little devil. You’re the trimester where everyday I’m doublin’ and literally, the baby triples in size. I love you third trimester, not because you’re easy, but because you’re over soon.

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Confessions of a Stereotypical Pregnant Lady

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Oh hormones.

Pardon my french but they are a total witch sometimes. And by witch I mean pull the 5th grade trick and change the “w” to a “b”. Yeah, I said it.

They do a lady so wrong. They can turn even the nicest of gals (I’m looking at you Kate Middleton, you can’t be immune too because then life really isn’t fair), into the world’s nastiest grumpasarus or the largest producer of saltwater west of the Atlantic.

Here’s a scene for you. It was a lovely Friday morning. The husband and I were at adorable Jack and Jill sinks, simultaneously brushing our teeth, our babe happily running amuck behind us, pretending to brush her teeth as well. Picturesque. Then the Rands had the audacity to say, “What are your plans for today? I don’t know what you guys are up to.”

What the h? Enter dramatic, hurtful tears. I mean how could he? Is it just me or is that an obviously insensitive question? Oh, it’s just me. And my hormones. Poor guy. He didn’t see it coming.

Fact: I have always been a crier. It is my go-to emotion and now with pregnancy, we’ve got sad tears, happy tears, endless tears.

Last week, when some crazy goat lady overly chastised my daughter at the state fair and threatened to spank her, (for doing little wrong, legitimately, I’m not being biased, she was just trying to give your goats a little hay ma’am), I just started to bawl. The mama bear in me wishes I would have said something just as rude to the lady but no, my hormones made me want to turn into a second-grader, crying giant, big, pathetic tears and uttering unintelligible sentences between sobs. Luckily, we kept our dignity intact by walking away and letting the goat lady sort through what I’m hoping was just a crazy hormonal surge as well.

Another fact: I am a dam waiting to burst. Just one television commercial away from losing it at any moment. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had to pause Grey’s Anatomy because my husband can’t hear over my blubbering. And don’t even get me started on Parenthood. In addition to parental warnings, they need pregnancy warnings on television shows. But then again, who knows what sets a pregnant lady off. I never knew there was more to The Voice than Christina Aguilera’s ample bosom but now, that show moves me…to tears, obviously.

Whether your hormones require you to be pre-emptively incarcerated like a wolfman or a blubbering ball of wasteless space, dem hormones, they real. With my now nightly surge of hormones, cravings, and feelings, I’m pretty certain I’m keeping the cereal companies afloat. Those Lucky Charms really are magically delicious when I need to eat my pregnant feelings.

The thing about hormones is they always feel so real. I mean, even if you know you’re being a crazy lady (I’m looking at you goat lady) you still feel angry, hurt, pissed, TO’ed what have you, and it’s hard to talk you down. I think my feelings about hormones could be best expressed by the 1980s power ballad, “Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore” because it speaks to my moody soul. I can’t fight these hormonal feelings anymore.

The silver lining in all of these hormonal outbursts? My daughter and I have plenty of applicable material for discussions about feelings and understanding the different reasons people cry. Yes, Harper, I’m crying because dad finished off all the Lucky Charms…

Image: Wolfman via Christos Georghiou/Shutterstock.com

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The Truth About Pregnancy Pounds

Monday, October 29th, 2012

While I can joke about my pregnancy weight gain, I thought it only fair to be completely candid about the mental battle with pregnancy pounds in an attempt to acknowledge and commend all my pregnant friends who struggle like I do at times, to love their changing bodies.

Body image is a large component of the nine-month wait and while intellectually most know that weight gain is positive, some days it is just not easy to accept one’s expanding figure.

I have a strict policy that I don’t look at my weight, ever. Aside from the doctor’s office, I don’t step on scales.

Being pregnant requires that I step on a scale at regular appointments, but I always turn around so I don’t see my weight. My doctor and I have an understanding that we don’t discuss weight gain unless it is medically necessary. I have no idea what I gained with my first pregnancy except that it fell into the “healthy range.” I plan to do the same with this pregnancy.

The habit of no numbers and scales is one I have cultivated after many years of beating myself up for what the scale did read. I have discovered that no good comes from them. If the number is too high, I berate myself. If the number is low, I think of a myriad of ways to keep it low. This is why scales and I have parted. It is a no win situation.

During pregnancy and post-pregnancy there is so much pressure surrounding weight. The media perpetually reports about and flogs stars for “letting themselves go” during pregnancy, yet eagerly applauds them when they shed the baby weight and walk the runway with a “perfect post-pregnancy figure” just two months postpartum. It’s devastating, unrealistic, and harmful.

There is so much pressure to look a certain way. During postpartum recovery the nurses continually commented on how small I was and how I’d fit into my regular jeans in no time. While I enjoyed the flattery, it also made me uncomfortable that these were the most readily available compliments. It only adds fuel to the body image fire. Instead, I truly relished the compliments about our adorable baby and sweet family.

It is also frustrating that the amount one gains during pregnancy is a source of competition. Women congratulate each other or smugly compare notes regarding who gained the least. No good comes from this either. I think it should be outlawed to talk weight with other women.

There are so many things women give up during pregnancy. While it is overly apparent that one’s body is sacrificed, it is not always discussed how much mental anxiety this places on women. I have been very fortunate to run for the last 25 weeks of this pregnancy. I was unable to run that long with my first. I know my running days are numbered however. I feel anxious about giving up running and I’m afraid of the mental war it will wage. It makes me admire the women who are put on bed-rest and the inner struggle some face to wonder and worry at how their body will change. Pregnancy requires much sacrifice and it is most definitely worth it, but sometimes, amidst pressure, hormones, and the day-to-day work of growing a baby, it is hard to remember that.

I think the difficulty of letting go of control and embracing one’s pregnant body is a common but not always acceptable topic. It may be viewed as superficial, but it is truly valid because of the conflicting messages to simply “love whatever skin you’re in.” Women are told the pregnant body is beautiful, but society outlines a very specific type of pregnant body that is beautiful and doesn’t truly celebrate the different ways bodies carry babies. It’s too much about numbers and looks.

While some women more easily accept their changing bodies, others struggle for longer. It took me five years to mentally prepare for the uncontrollable nature of pregnancy and the acceptance that having a baby was worth sacrificing my body. I feel selfish and embarrassed admitting that, but it is the truth. The journey to embrace one’s pregnant body is different for everyone, but my hope is that all come to a place of confidence and gratitude for their bodies.

Some days I am love what my body is doing. Other days I struggle to love my new curves or stretch marks. When I am in my head a little too much, when I let the superficiality consume me, I look at my daughter. Her innocent, inquisitive voice calms the negative voice in my head and really does remind me that this job of mothering isn’t about me or my looks. I would endure anything for her and the sweet babe in my belly. And even though it isn’t always easy, I know I can and will and want to endure and embrace it all.

Image: Bathroom scale via trekandshoot/Shutterstock.com

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