July 17, 2015

breastmilk and a side of guilt

Well, I am now the proud owner of a 12 1/2 week old baby girl. She is great; just as my pregnancy was easy, she is easy. Big blue eyes that watch everything I do, huge cheeks that make her gummy smile seem that much happier- she’s pretty much perfect.

I have been back at work for about 3 weeks now. Childcare seems to be going well, and I’ve been able to pump with no problems (other than feeling like a cow, of course).

So what do I have to complain about? New mom guilt! By the bucket! On days when I work (every day except Saturday), there is a pretty good chance that Little One is in someone else’s care for about 10 hours (that’s an 8 hour work day plus a commute, for those of you who are confused). I leave early every chance I get, and I’m usually at least 10 minutes late, but that’s an average. 10 hours. Which means by the time we get home, I have about 3 hours of baby time. That 3 hours happens to also be dinner time for Other Half and me, and bath time for LO. AND (here’s where the guilt comes in) if I want to run or work out (and I really, really want to!), that also has to happen during my 3 hours of possible baby time. I’m not torn up about LO being in childcare- I see a lot of perks there, and I like the people who she’s with. I don’t make a big production about cooking dinner- last night OH microwaved potatoes. Not a huge time sucker. But I need to work out. I need to run, partly because that is also my social outlet. I need to do yoga, because my back hurts and I’m not as strong as I used to be. That need makes me feel like I am being selfish.

In a way, I guess it is selfish. I want to be strong and healthy for the selfish reason that I want that for myself. I also want to set that example for my daughter. And honestly, I want her to know (obviously not know, but when she’s older) that the world doesn’t revolve around her. Not even my world. As much as I love being with her, I also love being away from her sometimes. In a few months, the weather will be nicer and she’ll be old enough for a jogging stroller, so this may not be a long-term problem. But for now, I’m going crazy. If I run after work (my favorite time to run), I am shamed by OH. I don’t think he means to do it; he literally doesn’t understand. Even at work, away from LO, I am pumping every 3 hours. I am still caring for her, even when I’m not physically with her.

I need to care for myself. That does not mean that I care less for her (or for him!). I need to care for myself in order to continue caring for them, and for my clients, and for everyone else in my life. But I have to defend that need, and sometimes it’s too much.

February 24, 2015

final countdown

Baby is due in 8 weeks. I’m nervous about a lot of things- childbirth, money, generally being prepared for an infant…but the most nerve-wracking thing is how my daughter will be raised. Everyone says that when you get choose to get married, you should think about how your potential partner will be as a co-parent. Which I did, I guess. When it comes down to it, though, I’m pretty sure I messed up somewhere.

Our marriage has not been ideal, or even good. He has been consistently oblivious to the problems in our relationship (in a nutshell, we don’t have one- we’re basically roommates). When it comes to child-rearing, though, I’m legitimately scared. He isn’t able to see outside of himself- every opinion that he has or decision that he makes is based on his personal perspective or experience. He has no respect for other people, including me. Education is not important to him; new information has no value in his world.

I don’t want our daughter to be like her father. I don’t want to have to fight him every step of the way. I convinced myself that despite the problems we have (or I guess just I have, they don’t seem to impact him), he would respect my knowledge and experience and opinions when it came to kids. Wrong. Too late. I’m stuck.

January 28, 2015

2 down, 1 to go

As I get progressively more pregnant, am also getting more aggressive in my stressing about being a good parent. I probably don’t need to say this, but let’s go ahead and establish that I have a LOT of social anxiety issues. I worry that people don’t like me pretty frequently. (Side note: Invisibilia podcasts are making me even more introspective and inquisitive than I used to be- but also making me feel more “normal!”) That said, my inability to interact with others comfortably is even more pronounced as it relates to pregnancy and/or parenting. Of the people with whom I spend time socially, the majority have had trouble getting or staying pregnant. Like, a lot of trouble. Because of that, I have tried to be very careful to avoid talking about my pregnancy. It obviously comes up, and because I don’t hang out with assholes, they ask me about it, but I try not to go too far into how amazingly easy it has been for me. (In case you’re wondering, I do very much appreciate that my whole life has been, and continues to be, incredibly easy and fantastic and wonderful, even though I bitch and moan sometimes.) Now, though, I’m in my third trimester. I am visibly with child. I have absolutely no nursery furniture (don’t judge, I’ll get some!), but I have started nesting.

Nesting, for me, is more mental/emotional than physical. Obviously I have thought about boring stuff like where my daughter will sleep and what clothes she will wear. More pressing, though, is how she will be. I am, and she will be, lucky to know several smart, powerful, awe-inspiring people. I feel like I need to tell these people, “I want you to influence my daughter.” I want her to be confident, and to take risks, and to fight for equality (for herself and others), and to be kind and considerate and active and curious and….so many things. And while there are a plethora of people in my life already whom I view as future mentors (for me and her!), some of them are the same people who have been through hell to become parents. How do you talk to someone who is fighting to adopt their child about how much you hope to emulate them when your own child just *poof* appears with little to no effort from you? (not to downplay my terror of childbirth, I just try not to dwell on that step!) How do you tell someone who has just lost another pregnancy that you hope to be able to parent like they do? And how am I supposed to invite these people to baby showers knowing that they are probably forced to face their own losses every day as it is, without me making it bigger?

I know that the people I consider my friends are happy for me. I know that they will be supportive of me and my family. I know that they can tell me if they aren’t comfortable being involved. But I don’t feel like they should have to. I feel like I spend enough of my life watching people forced to speak up when they shouldn’t have to. I don’t want to put my friends in that situation. I hope they know that I do, in fact, care very much about how they are feeling. Just as much as I know they care when they ask me.

January 5, 2015

New Year, New….NOPE!

I would like to start off by saying that I am becoming (or just realizing?) pretty anti-holiday. Thanksgiving and Christmas strain my typically good eating, exercise, and routine, and forced family interaction is always strained. New Years used to be fun for me, but not so much this year. I know it’s partly because I’m at an in-between age- too old to go out partying, too young to be happy with ignoring midnight and champagne toasts. However, I do like most holiday traditions, generally speaking, and have been able to incorporate my own versions into my life effectively. My issue with New Years is the resolutions and such. Not to sound cocky, but I don’t think I need to change that much. Also, what exactly is it about cold weather and no sunshine that is supposed to inspire change?? That, my sweets, is a recipe for hibernation, not a motivator. (and yes, we are currently ignoring the fact that I am growing a human and am, therefore, not in any position to be striving for weight loss or other monumental change. I’ve got enough going on!)

To make matters worse, I spent New Years with two of my very best friends. I say that with all sincerity. However, as with all good friends, sometimes I hate them. It is hard to be the only one who likes (and needs!) to work out, the only one who consistently eats real food, the only one who wakes up early. For people who aren’t as perfect as me (sarcasm!!), I’m sure that New Years resolutions are a delightful way to work towards kick-starting lasting change. In real life, though, no one should expect to be able to make drastic lifestyle changes just because they bought a new calendar. I know not all resolutions are health/weight related, but that’s what I tend to see. I just think that those types of changes, which I would love to see my friends make, have to occur slowly. They have to seep into every part of life and become consistent facets of personality. There has to be room for error and adjustment of strategy.

ANYWAY, that’s enough preaching for me on a Monday! Don’t worry, the internet, for all its failings, has managed to sum up my perspective on life. Every day, not just every January. Start with self love, people.da-mo-13

December 29, 2014

2 down, 1 to go

I have made it through Thanksgiving and Christmas without any major breakdowns! and I need to debrief to avoid psychological trauma.

First of all, I think I am just going to slap the next person who says anything related to my food choices and/or dietary preferences. I am a vegetarian. I don’t like dairy (except cheese, which is delicious and makes my pregnant stomach angry…). I have a sweet tooth. I tend to graze instead of eating big meals. These things have not changed now that I’m “eating for two.” I am perfectly capable of knowing when I’m hungry; I’ve been responsible for my own eating schedule for a while without dying. Apparently it is now socially appropriate for people to point how many bites of each food group I’ve had per day. umm…NOPE! I don’t need to hear some old fashioned BS about what the baby needs (a steak a day, in case you were wondering). If my doctor (who is actually a midwife- gasp!) was worried about my weight, it wouldn’t be up for discussion with the extended family over dessert. I am surprised to hear that so many people were “the size of a house” at 24 weeks. I’m not that big. I think I’m on track though, based on the fact that I feel healthy, my medical professionals have NOT expressed any concerns, and my research (yes, on the internet) points toward my weight being right on track. So, dear sweet friends and family, shut up and pass the pie. Thanks.

Point 2- I knew this was coming and I know that I’m selfish, but I am actually a person. Like, I know I am also an incubator, but….I have hobbies, and friends, and a job. I do things other than be pregnant. I am interested in things other than how I’m going to decorate the baby’s room. I am glad to get gifts for the baby- every little thing helps! But, I need things for me, too. Little things- running socks, books for book club, kitchen stuff. Not a whole lot of trivial sparkly stuff (although I wouldn’t turn that down either!), but still…

To sum up- change the date there you have it!

pregnancy-struggles-6

December 1, 2014

cue holiday season!

At 19 weeks and 2 days pregnant, I got in a car accident. My first rational thought was (well, after all the cuss words) a combination of “are they okay?” and “oh shit I’m pregnant.” After which I proceeded to hyperventilate for a second. Don’t worry, I’ve been checked out and so has baby, and we both seem fine. My anxiety level, however, is not testable. Pregnancy has been a pretty scary thing for me from the beginning. There is no ruler by which to measure my progress accurately. This is the human condition of “am I normal?” multiplied by the fact that another life depends on my ability to ascertain my own normality. I’m not really worried. I am pretty healthy and there are no signs that anything is wrong. I just feel like it’s important to verbalize that growing a baby is some scary shit. Everyone talks about the gross stuff, the fun stuff, the physical/hormonal stuff, but I haven’t heard anyone talk about how scary it is just to be an incubator.

On another (happier!) note, I’m doing a Runner’s World Run Streak- running a minimum of 1 mile a day from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. Yep. Running. Every day. Which means I have to put on running clothes and go either outside or to a treadmill every single day. To coincide with the streak, I’m planning to read “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.” Apparently I’ve been super into memoirs lately, and I’m hoping that the combination of daily runs (even super short ones!) with hearing someone else’s thoughts on running will help this habit to stay a habit. They say it takes 21 days for a habit to form. Well, this streak is 36 days…

Pretty sure that’s all I have to say- I guess I need to figure out how to manage without a car for a while. Maybe I’ll just run to and from work?

November 21, 2014

super complainy

these days I am really struggling to keep in mind that I did, in fact, choose to marry my loving husband. and so, dear internet, it is time for me to force myself to be gushy and romantic. ahh, if only I had friends to have this chat with…

ok, let’s see. what do I respect about my life partner? he is handy, and he gets things done around the house quickly. he is artistic. he is generally flexible and amenable to my last minute plan changes. he expresses himself, probably better than I do; the man tells me he loves me about 80 times a day, and he misses me every time I walk out the door. he hates the cold like I do, and he likes (or at least tolerates) crappy TV in binge form. he has a good relationship with his family, and he’s working on a good relationship with my family. he has never been controlling or judgmental, and he respects my opinion on most things.

ok…much better. even though the man I will soon be raising a child with is an eternal man-child, he is helpful when he can be, he recognizes his own strengths, and he loves me for who I am. I guess I can tolerate him for a while longer.

November 17, 2014

Culinary genius and other bragging

You guys. Did you know you can make a smoothie with literally NOTHING BUT BANANA AND A CUP OF YOGURT?! AND it’s delicious. So now I have avoided wasting 2 bananas that were turning black and a cup of yogurt that I didn’t really like. Ha! I feel like I have defeated expiration dates and my taste buds, all in one go.

Also, little tip: if you need a self-esteem boost, tell people you’re pregnant. It apparently doesn’t matter if you are in mismatched clothes with cold sores, acne, and bags under your eyes with unwashed hair. When people find out I’m pregnant, they tell me how great I look. *note: this does not apply to mothers! Immediately after learning the fun “pregnancy means you automatically look great” trick, I saw my mom. First thing she says to me? “What’s going on with your face?”

Another perk of being knocked up is that every little accomplishment counts double. Which basically makes me an Olympic level runner.

Alright, I’m way too positive for a Monday- back to work (AKA reality!).

November 10, 2014

Mom-to-be’s Day Out

At 17 weeks, I’m still not pregnant enough to warrant a lot of attention from the public, and I’m pretty asymptomatic. The biggest external change I have notice thus far has been my social life. While I have never been an outgoing little butterfly, since my pregnancy has become public knowledge, my event invitations have decreased dramatically.

An out of town friend recently asked me (unprompted) about this change. While trying to figure out how to answer in a way that was witty and not self-pitying but still honest, I realized that most of my friendships to this point have been qualified somehow. I have/have had drinking friends, running friends, work friends, and school friends. As my friend pointed out, this classification system does make sense; most friendships have a common ground that brings people together initially. My question after this brief analysis is this: when does a friendship reach a point where it doesn’t need a qualifier? How much time do you spend with someone before they become just a “friend,” without any explanation attached? And how much overlap in the friendship setting does there need to be before an acquaintance is no longer boxed into one particular common interest area?

Obviously, I have not been getting out much, and I have too much time to sit around thinking about how I’m going to make “mom friends” in the future….

November 3, 2014

16 weeks sober

While I recognize that I am not good at consistently blogging, I also realize that my friends probably don’t want to hear me verbalize my thought process for any and all pregnancy related things (decisions, mostly, but also just musings and the like). With those two things in mind- back to the internet for talk therapy!

Being pregnant is tricky for me. I feel like there are a lot of things I should know already; I do, after all, have a degree in Early Childhood Education. However, I apparently slept through some crucial early development stuff. For instance- I don’t actually feel pregnant. It’s hard to be excited and work on getting ready for a baby when I don’t really feel any different.

One thing I did learn (from working in daycare for 6 years, not in school) is that I need to be looking for childcare. I know that most centers that accept infants fill up pretty quickly. What I don’t know is how to effectively begin my search. What do I say when I call these people? There is no script for that, and for the socially awkward mom-to-be that I am, it’s tough! (side note: I also hate calling doctor’s offices and the massage place, but at least I know what to say to them!) When is it too early to start calling/visiting? Are they going to think I’m a crazy helicopter mom (spoiler: I will be!)?

Here’s another thing- when do I need a prenatal massage instead of a regular massage? When do I need to go to prenatal yoga? I’m not really showing (and most of my “baby bump” is from carb loading), so it doesn’t feel right for me to be involved in all things prenatal yet. And yes, my massage and yoga choices are very stressful decisions at the moment. I don’t want to use growing a baby as an excuse to be unhealthy and lazy and uncomfortable.

And then there’s insurance- does it actually need to be the most complicated thing on the planet? I don’t even know when I will find out the gender of my baby because I’m not sure what/when/if my insurance pays.

On the bright side (yes, there’s a bright side!) I am blaming literally everything on the pregnancy. “Oops, I was late for work because of being pregnant.” “Oh, sorry I ate the last of the food- the baby was hungry!” “My clothes don’t match/hubby has to clean the bathroom/I’m canceling plans last minute because of pregnancy.” That part is fun. It’s mostly a joke, so hopefully no one will jump down my throat about it. Also, baby clothes are so damn cute!!

Alright- time to suck it up and call a daycare or four. Wish me luck!

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