Everyone’s Business

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , ,

With pregnancy, your body eventually gets to the point where, in spite of what you’ve been told, everyone seems to notice. By the time you get there, though, it’s actually not as bad as the previous stage, which is being cautiously regarded as “Fat or pregnant???” by people who don’t know. It’s at this stage when strangers give you looks, depending on their not so subtly hid opinions.

Older women tend to nod knowingly. Older men look on in cautious fear and wonder. Some are rude enough to speak, assuming your gestation has been just a rainbow of joy and happiness. I normally take great pleasure in shutting down such assumptions, but these days, I’m just trying to get to the bathroom before I pee myself.

I’m at the stage now where everyone has something to say, even the delivery guy bringing me my lunch. Most of the comments are nice, which is great. But then there’s the creepy guy who has the belly fetish giving you the side eye, or the old guy who races you to the bathroom like a sadist, saying he doesn’t want to wait. Me neither, old guy, but I guess I’ll try to get up the flight of stairs to the next floor since I don’t have the luxury of waiting.

Beyond just noticing I’m pregnant, I get comments about everyone’s opinion on the subject. There was one day, walking back from lunch, and a person in my building who I sort of know (but don’t know her actual name or anything) said snippily “No one told me you were pregnant” as if I owed her some sort of explanation. I didn’t send out any kind of press release, so her reaction was truly confusing.

I’d like to reiterate: my pregnancy isn’t anyone’s business but mine. All the tourists enjoying (or not) the roadside view are as incidental to me as bug splatters on my windshield. I’m tired of answering the same four questions, (for the record here’s the answers: Boy, Late October, Planned, and yep, very excited to be a big brother.)

None of these questions help me in any way. They don’t assuage my fears that something will go wrong, that my delivery will be unexpected, bad, or the baby will have problems. They don’t solve the larger issue, which is the woeful state of maternity leave in the United States, in which I will take half of it unpaid (the rest is paid for in time I banked). Nor does it solve the problem of my husband losing his job. It doesn’t put hours of sleep back into my night nor does it make it any easier for my body and mind to bounce back after this ordeal is over. It doesn’t tell me how my labor will begin, where I will be, who will be able to pick up my son or whether I’ll be going it alone.

But none of those issues are convenient for the casual observer, and if I were to bring them up, I’m told to relax and enjoy being pregnant. It’s inconvenient for me to get all my real time fears mixed up with the societal fantasy that being pregnant is all flower crowns and balloons and quirky gender announcements. My bad for getting my real life experience all over your pinterest wall. So, pardon me if my face goes a bit blank when asked some stupid question I’ve answered a million times already. And frankly, try not to get upset if I tell you it’s none of your fucking business. 18

What I’m Reading: Siblings without Rivalry

Tags

, , ,

I found this book on some parenting book list. Maybe it was Buzzfeed, maybe Reddit, I forget now. But when I found out I was pregnant, I added it to my baby registry. A good friend sent it along with a new baby backpack (which is far superior in my opinion to the baby messenger bag system some people use for hauling their baby crap).

The book was a great find, as it turns out. It’s from the same authors as some other well known parenting books, but deals specifically with the dynamic between siblings. Considering we’re about to become a household with more than one kid, I needed advice. This book was FULL of it.

Not only was it a quick read, but the method it used for storytelling, citing people’s experiences from all sorts of perspectives, gave way to the ideas on how to bring up more than one kid in a loving home. It gave real time strategies, things that stuck with you so that when you’re in the middle of the conflict, your brain will hopefully remember and fire away.

We’ve already started using some of the tips mentioned. I passed along the book to my husband after I finished reading it and he’s already halfway through it as well. Although I know conflict is inevitable with small kids, I’m feeling better about it, having at least a few of the skills set forth in the book. I definitely recommend it to anyone considering having more than one kid.

Consistency and Continuity

Tags

, , , , , ,

One of the hardest things, by far, about pregnancy is the slow and steady toll it takes on your body and mind. The physical symptoms contribute to the emotional ones, and both bleed into your life in ways you don’t anticipate.

Although the process takes almost a full year from start to finish, not counting the recovery period, people see it as a flash in the pan. I marvel at statements like, “wow! that went fast!” or “I feel like you just told me you were pregnant.”

The people who have been impacted the most, besides me, are my husband and son. Our home dynamic has had to change in a big way because I’m just not capable of doing everything I used to. To his credit, my husband has stepped up to fill in for me in so many ways.

The heartbreaking realization, though, is that I’ve lost the first hand experience of being with my son for a whole summer. I can’t pick him up or carry him. I couldn’t go on rides with him at Disney or help him swim at the pool. I felt like a spectator watching him grow up in what looked like a really fun time.

He’s noticed too. And, as we get closer to my due date, I’m hoping that we can make time for all of use to be together as a family. I’m looking forward to having some time with him again, just us two, to make up for what we lost while I was out of commission. Bless his sweet, patient heart for being so understanding during this difficult time. I know it wasn’t easy for him.

Getting the ducks in a row

Tags

, , , ,

From the moment you see the two pink lines (or single blue line, or whatever indicator the test uses), the experience of finding out you’re carrying another life inside you is, among other things, an exercise in trying to get your shit together. Beyond the seemingly endless series of doctor’s appointments and questions about what and when to tell everyone in your life, there’s also the matter of making room in your already crowded existence for another person.

We live in a two bedroom house, so the first pregnancy wasn’t such a huge deal, spacewise. But now that we’re going to be four people under the same roof, logistics have begun to become an issue. Life is already very challenging with our soon to be 4-year-old. He’s still not sleeping through the night, and we’re still dealing with several less than charming personality quirks that come along with being this age.

My fears about when I’ll go into labor leave a bunch of questions about who will be around to pick up our son, who can drive my laboring ass to the hospital, who will be there in the room with me. The first time, we had a plan, which involved an all-adult cast. Now, there’s another wrinkle and who knows where anyone will be when it happens. I have a friend who is on standby (bless this woman, I swear), to either pick up my son or be there with me. It’s nice to have that as an option as an either/or.

I’m not really worried about labor itself. From my memory, there’s a bunch of stuff I want to have happen, but I remember enough to know that far too much of it is way beyond my control. I’ll do my best to be ready for it when the time comes. I’m hoping we can get to the hospital in time for the epidural, that they don’t have to give me a c-section and that my son will be born healthy and not need to stay away from me in the NICU. For all the planning, these are the things no one can promise and no one can control.

And, naturally, after all that is done, there’s the issue of naming the kid (still TBD), and figuring out feeding and sleeping schedules all over again. The idea that I’m going to have to divide my attention between two children and find a way to love each one equally is pretty terrifying. I’m not exactly looking forward to the sibling rivalry, the exhaustion, and the resettling we’re going to have to do as a family. I’m not a big fan of change or surprises. Wish me luck, guys.

Baby Shower Musings

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

When you have your first child, one of the expectations (at least in America), is that you (or rather someone else) throws a party. It’s part celebration, part gift-centric swag grab, and part social experiment to see how uncomfortable everyone can be about the fact that you have, indeed, had sex. Many, many of these parties can be experiences in total awkwardness beyond description. My first one wasn’t so bad, although there were a bunch of displays of asshattery which have long left bad tastes in my mouth even now that my son is well into his 3’s.

Luckily, when you are pregnant with your next child (and in this case, my last), there’s less of a need for “stuff” to be given to you (unless it’s a different gender, I guess, and you need dresses or more gender normative clothing). We did the math and only ended up needing about a half dozen things (crib, car seat, replacement items that broke the first round, diapers/wipes/creams and formula and bottles). I hadn’t even planned on having another party. But because so many people asked about it and seemed disappointed that we weren’t planning anything, I relented and assembled a small celebration for our family and friends to come by for a barbeque. I put together some invites, and a short amazon list of things people could buy if they wanted, but made no expectation that gifts were needed.

Two days before the shower was scheduled, we got the news that my husband was out of a job. Nothing puts the damper on a celebration like a financial buzzkill like this. And, nothing takes the wind out of my sails for preparing for said celebration like the looming cloud of financial destruction. It was, in all fairness, not the best timing.

We tried our best to put on a minimalist spread with something for everyone. But the idea of doing burgers and hot dogs on the grill quickly escalated into a varied menu of options for what we would later learn were mostly imagined dietary restrictions. For example, a friend who claimed strict vegetarianism was caught mainlining buffalo chicken dip. Another friend who had the most difficult restrictions to date, an ulcerative colitis diet (according to her, no high fat, no acid, no red meat, no spicy food), ate all of the food prepared for others, none of the items set out specifically for her, and drank 3/4 of a bottle of red wine (uh, hello acid!).

And then there were the children. Sartre has been quoted, “hell is other people.” I would amend that slightly to be “Hell is other people’s children.” I will readily admit that my kid is no saint, but good lord, my friends have some assholes living in their household, parading around as adorable kids. I was astonished at how blindingly rude and destructive these kids were, and how unfortunately permissive their parents were about their little devil children.

All the while, we realized that my MIL and her boyfriend were missing. They are usually the first to arrive to party, so when it was nearly 3/4 over, I began to worry that something had happened. My husband kept calling, but MIL’s phone was inexplicably turned off. When she finally got it turned on, it turns out she thought the end time (4:00 p.m.) was the start time and showed up an hour and a half later than that. By then I was exhausted, the food was put away and the boys were upstairs asleep. But that didn’t end their expectation to be fed and boozed an entertained for another hour and a half.

Once they finally cleared out, I vaguely recall lying in my bed while my son ran a toy car over my legs and arms. He said something like, “good night mommy” and went downstairs. The next thing I know, it’s 8:00 p.m., and my husband is putting our son down for the night. So, the thing is done and we’re definitely not going through that mess again.

Be it resolved: 2017 Resolutions

2017 Resolutions:

  1. Go horseback riding – I know I say this every year but I’m still holding out hope that this might be my year. 
  2. Drink champagne at a fancy brunch – just cuz
  3. Take one family trip – with my husband’s old job, we used to be on the road at least once a quarter. Given our new circumstances, I’m aiming for at least one. I think it’s doable. 
  4. Read one book a month – this will be a stretch but something I can work towards 
  5. Learn a new skill – already registered for a class in project management 
  6. Sleep in one day – this will be the hardest one I think 
  7. Paint deck and fence – because it needs it. 
  8. Get back on track at the gym – balancing two kids, school and a job, fitness is easily ignored so I really need to focus on this one
  9. Get rid of studio equipment – extra stuff I don’t need or want anymore must be purged. 
  10. Family portraits – now that we’re a foursome, I need some awesome pictures with all of us in them
  11. 2016 photobook – I make one every year and I’m hoping to keep on that trend
  12. Make something with my hands – not sure what, maybe bread, maybe something else. I’m channeling my inner Ron Swanson and want to learn some wood working skills

Hope you guys have a great year!! Thanks for reading! 

Be it resolved…2016 Year in Review

Tags

, , , , , , ,

So, I made some resolutions for the year. Let’s see how I did, shall we?

  • Be here now – I have trouble staying in the moment. My mind wanders and I lose the beauty in the experiences I’m having right now. My goal is to be more mindful about my life and try to appreciate what’s happening right here, right now. (Plus, I also want to re-read the book of the same name by Ram Dass. Because it’s awesome.)

Did I do any of this? Ha! Nope! I spent most of the year worrying about baby, being pregnant, nesting, and definitely NOT re-reading my favorite spiritual books.

  • Kiddo’s speech – my son has a slight language delay due his constant ear infections as a baby. My goal this year is to find ways to support him, and help him improve his communication skills.

How’d this one go? Well, he’s improving. We’re working on his speech, but most of the progress has been his own regular old development. We’re managing at least one sentence “Mommy, Issa wike some more milk pwease.” And we’re doing better with manners (please, thank you, you’re welcome, here you go, and god bless you). But much more ground needs to be covered.

  • Stay organized – Good lordt, do I need to keep working on this. I made good progress last year finishing two projects, but so many more are waiting for completion.

Nah. Not even close. Next!

  • See friends – Being a mommy means you give up a huge chunk of your time. I miss my pals, and am going to make an effort to see my pals. (If this is you, consider yourself warned! lol)

HA!!! Being pregnant means you’re absolutely no fun, so no one invites you anywhere. Also, no one comes to your parties because they’re lame and child-themed. This is a big nope.

  • Date night – See above. Gotta make time for us.

Yeah, no. This didn’t happen either. Being pregnant means I’m no fun on date night, and although we went out a few times, the regular goal I set did NOT happen. And given our current circumstances, it’s not likely to change because of that thing called disposable income, which is going away until my husband gets a new job.

  • Normalize – I hold myself to ludicrous standards for so many things. I need to accept that I can make mistakes, fail and recover. I need to give myself permission to be human.

I wish I could say I did this, but I spent so much of my time holding myself to impossible pregnancy standards that I’ve actually never felt less normal than I have this year.

  • Self care – I’m making a lot of progress here, but have a lot of room to grow.

Another one I dropped the ball with. I did have a lot of doctor’s appointments but not much else. I’m still in search of a new therapist, I only kept two hair appointments all year, and I pretty much gave up on the gym after the third trimester. So, no. Fail!

  • Ambitious cooking – I’m a recipe hoarder, I’m going to start using or deleting recipes and building a nice repertoire.

Ah, how sad. I didn’t do much ambitious cooking. Truthfully, I was so exhausted during my pregnancy that my husband ended up doing almost all the cooking. The only exception was the weekly cake/brownie/muffin mix I would make with my son.

  • Purge – Get RID of crap!!!

We actually did a bunch of this in making room for the baby. But there’s still so much to go.

  • Focus – Get some direction on what I’m doing, and not just wait out the days.

God, I’ve never been more unfocused in my life. What was I thinking when I wrote these?

  • Give a shit – There’s a lot of issues I just don’t know enough about, but want to. Here’s my opportunity.

Yeah, no. I totally checked out. Election years are exhausting.

  • Exhale – Let go of the stuff I can’t change, forgive myself for my failings, and move on from things that hurt me.

Meh, I’ll give myself partial credit. I spent most of my pregnancy in an emotional state of exhaustion. I was so tired, I couldn’t care about stuff. Probably not the way to approach things, but that’s the way it went.

Overall, these goals were probably reasonable for someone who wasn’t pregnant, exhausted, and super depressed and anxious all the time. They were written before some major life changes happen, and seem quaint and silly looking back. However, moving forward, I’m hoping to write something a bit more reasonable for 2017 given the circumstances. We’ll have to wait and see.