Oh, how I looooove nap time.  It’s over all too quickly, but it’s lovely to have some time (and my arms) to myself.  People keep telling me that I’m spoiling E by holding her all the time and wearing her in my trusty Sleepy Wrap.  And, yes, it would be far easier to just plop her in a swing or bouncy-seat and just do my own thing.  But E likes to be held.  She likes to laugh and play and talk with me.  She likes to look into my eyes.  She likes to be worn and see the things I see.  And at her age (4 months next week), her likes and wants are virtually the same as her needs.  There will come a time when she won’t want to have anything to do with her embarrassing mother, so I’m going to enjoy this pure devotion while I can.  That being said, I understand why other parents rely so heavily on swings and bouncers and exersaucers, etc.

E has a swing that she sits in while Mommy grabs a bite to eat and possibly a bathroom break.  She gets bored with it quickly, so she doesn’t get left in there too long (maybe 10 minutes).  I prop her up in the Boppy and we sing and talk and tickle.  We have tummy time and when I have things to do around the house, I tie on the Sleepy Wrap and wear her for a while.  It’s A LOT of work.  My arms are rarely free and I talk to E nearly non-stop.  But I chose this method of parenting (attachment) for personal reasons.  It’s not that I necessarily think it’s a bad idea to use all that fancy baby gear.  I just know that I would become a lazy parent.  Instead of trying to figure out why E is fussy, I could see myself just putting her in the big fancy spinning toy thing to distract her and keep her quiet.  Sure, some of the time she will be fussy because she wants some play time, but that wouldn’t be meeting her needs all the time.

I wouldn’t be able to get through the day without my Sleepy Wrap and nap time.  The wrap is brilliant in its simplicity and I love using it when I’m out and about instead of lugging around an awkward car seat or navigating narrow store aisles with a bulky stroller.  And nap time is just plain heavenly….

Before I became pregnant, and during my pregnancy, I learned a lot about attachment parenting.  The reason why I liked it so much was the emphasis on building a strong bond with your children and the whole family.  There were some things that I was totally on board with:  breastfeeding and baby-wearing were both must-do’s.  Co-sleeping, not so much.  I don’t have anything against those who co-sleep, but it ain’t for me.  I also don’t want to breastfeed my daughter through kindergarten.  Again, no offense, but this Mommy wants her boobs back soon.

Like I’ve mentioned before, I read a lot of blogs that focused on attachment parenting.  None of them ever talked about how hard it is to barely have a spare moment and how draining it is to constantly “intellectually stimulate” an infant, and that sometimes you just want to lie on the couch and watch some really bad reality tv.

So I’m warning you now.  Any dewy-eyed, newly pregnant mother who has stumbled on this blog because she can’t wait to step into mother and baby bliss….  It’s effing hard.  And that’s all I can say right now because nap time is over.

M.

Over that past few days, I have been thinking about the relationship my husband, J, and I have managed to build.  The thing that started this meditation was the discovery of a journal that I kept right after I graduated high school and moved from Podunk, South to Big City, New England.  The journal chronicled my move, my first job, what it was like living with someone for the first time as a young, dumb, and in love teenager.  I never really consistently wrote in that journal, but I always wrote in it when times got tough or when things were going great.  As I was reading through it the other night, I realized that it contained all of the defining moments of our relationship.  And about halfway through reading all of the over-dramatic, angsty rantings of an unbelievably immature young adult, I decided that I needed to write a somewhat more cohesive “Story of Us.”  Not necessarily because it needs documenting, but I think writing it all down may help unload some of the baggage.  So here goes:

J and I met when I was 15 and he was less than a month away from turning 20, in the scariest way possible: on the INTERNET!  It was 1996 and AOL was the internet service provider of choice, and it hadn’t even gone unlimited yet.  Chat rooms were where you met people around the country (and world) to instant message.  The best thing about the internet at the time, for me and for a lot of people I’m sure, was the anonymity.   Like I’ve mentioned before, I grew up in one of those small über-conservative Southern towns where everybody knows everybody and if you are the least bit different, life can be quite unpleasant.  My difference (one of them) was my biracial status.  I went to a high school that had a total of 30 black students and one biracial student (guess who that was!).  Fitting in was something I never did that well.  The black kids didn’t want anything to do with me because they thought I was snobby, and the white kids never really completely accepted me.  Don’t misunderstand me: I had friends.  We were all misfits in one way or another, but even one of my very best friends wasn’t allowed to sleep over at my house, and I was unwelcome at hers, because of my race (we are still close and now that she’s an adult, she’s been able to make up her own mind about the things she was taught as a child).  Anyway, my point is, I was always on the periphery, never really totally welcomed even with my closest friends, and the internet allowed all of that to kind of disappear.

It began with a pen pal ad on one of AOL’s message boards.  We emailed and IM’ed and within a month we were madly in love and talking on the phone (back when there was no such thing as free nights and weekends or unlimited calling) everyday.  The only problem was–and I’m not proud of this– I had lied about my age.  J thought I was 20 and when I told him the truth, he almost ended things.  But we managed to work through it, partly because his parents and my parents insisted on having conversations with us and with each other.

My junior year of high school, J flew down south to stay with us for a week and escort me to the prom.  The day we picked him up from the airport was also the day I had my passport photo taken, because of two out of the country trips I was to take that year.  I sometimes look at that picture and think of it as the young, innocent me.  The M that had never been kissed.  The M that had never had a real boyfriend.  The M that didn’t know what it was like to be loved.

J floated off the plane that day and I floated straight into his arms.  We had a very chaste hug (since my father was there), but that embrace was all it took for both of us to realize that we were, indeed, quite in love.

I know what you’re thinking: “But you were so young!  How could you possibly know anything about being in love?!  You met him on the internet!  He could have been a serial killer and you could have been the next body under the crawl space of his house!!!”

We were young.  I didn’t know a damn thing about being in love.  Sometimes the thought of what could have happened to me if I had met the wrong person on the internet keeps me awake at night.  Trust me, speaking as an adult, I know I got damn lucky to have met the love of my life in such a way.

J took me to my senior prom as well.  My family and I also traveled to New England to meet his family that year.  Two days after I walked across the stage at graduation, I was on a plane, headed straight to the Big City.  And I didn’t look back.

Now that I’m a mother, I understand how heartbroken my parents must have been to watch silently as their daughter turned her back on them.  But I was young and selfish and the only thing I cared about was that somebody, some man, finally loved me.  Parents, especially fathers, let this be a warning to you: if you fail to tell your daughter she is loved, if you fail to tell her how beautiful you think she is, if you fail to show her how worthy she is…she will find someone else to do all those things.  And she may not be as lucky as I was.

This doesn’t mean my relationship with J has always been smooth.  We both had a ton of growing up to do, but this post is long enough, so I will save the rest of the story for another day.

M.

Every week, I get an email from Babycenter.com about the development of my daughter: things I should be expecting that week, milestones she should be hitting, etc.  This week, E, turned 3 months and the email I received contained questions to ask yourself if you think you may have postpartum stress/depression.

Now, I tend to be an emotional person.  Hell, the whole purpose of this blog is because of my emotional baggage.  I have suffered with bouts of anxiety and depression over the course of my almost 3 decades on this earth.   From the first day I found out I was pregnant, I was aware that postpartum depression may be an issue for me.  And according to the information in the article I read and the number of symptom questions I answered in the affirmative, I need to seek some professional help.

But I bet a lot of the questions can be answered yes by A LOT of mothers who aren’t necessarily suffering from depression.  Unless I am so completely neurotic that I think my unnatural worries and fears are normal and felt by others.  That may be the case, since I have been thinking about this article since it showed up in my in-box yesterday.

Here are the questions and my answers:

have trouble sleeping? Um…yeah.  I have an infant.  I’m still in that “wake-up-and-check-to-make-sure-she’s-still-breathing” phase.

feel exhausted most of the time? Again…I have a new baby.  Yes, I feel exhausted more than 50% of the time.

have less of an appetite? Definitely not.  Since I’m breastfeeding, I can eat 24 hours a day and still be hungry.  But having a baby means that I definitely have less time to eat.

worry about little things that never used to bother you? Well, yes.  Having your first child comes with a whole new set of things to worry about that you’ve never even thought of.

wonder whether you’ll ever have time to yourself again? Oh yeah!  Just the other day I realized that I hadn’t read anything more challenging that a magazine article since before E was born.

think your children would be better off without you? No, but I sometimes think my daughter would be better off with a better version of me.

worry your partner will get tired of you feeling this way? I hadn’t even thought of that until just now.  Great.

snap at your partner and children frequently? What would you consider “frequently”?

think other moms are better mothers than you are? Oh God yes.  Have you read the SouleMama blog?!

cry over small things? You mean like commercials and really bad reality TV  or when you realize you don’t have any clean socks or when your baby just pooped all over your last pair of clean shorts and the only thing you have to wear around the house are an old pair of your husband’s boxer briefs?  No…

no longer enjoy the things you used to enjoy? Like sex and staying up late and cooking?  I’m too tired to do those things anymore.

isolate yourself from your friends and neighbors? My friends don’t have children and probably don’t want to hang out with someone who doesn’t shower and has milk stains on her shirts and wears men’s underwear.  So yes, I tend to stay out of their way.

fear leaving the house or being alone? Yes and yes.

have anxiety attacks? define “anxiety attack.”

have unexplained anger? Well, it may not have an explanation to YOU, but to me it makes perfect sense.

have difficulty concentrating? You mean it’s easy to concentrate when you have a fussy baby, your breasts are leaking all over the place, your house is a disaster, the dog is barking at the mailman who keeps bringing hospital bill after hospital bill, and your mother-in-law just showed up?

think something is wrong with you? well…

feel like you’ll always feel this way and never get better? hmm…

Am I alone here?  Is postpartum life not like this for everyone?  IS something wrong with me?  Shit.

M.

Remember this post I wrote about my BFF, L, and her struggle with infertility??  L and I had a girls’ night last night (dinner and a movie).   We were supposed to go to this new Japanese restaurant, but L said the menu looked a little too pricey so we went to a steakhouse instead and pigged out on entirely too much red meat soaked in barbecue sauce and extra large sides of mashed potatoes.

“So,” L says, “I didn’t want to go to that other place tonight because it was a little too expensive…and I can’t eat sushi anyway because I’m pregnant.”

“Shut UP!!!”  I screamed, flinging bits of ribs everywhere and scaring the elderly people behind us.

L and B stopped doing the treatments in April and got pregnant in May, apparently.  She told me that they had sex like, once since they stopped the treatments and it wasn’t even on the day she was supposed to ovulate.

“Yeah, and afterward, I didn’t even bother lying on my back with my legs up.  I just went to the bathroom and peed.”

L is happy, and I suspect she will be even happier after her first doctor’s appointment later this month.

I am so excited for my friend.  And now we won’t have this stumbling block between us anymore.  Best girl’s night ever.

M.

Things I love about running:

-For an hour, I forget that I’m J’s wife and E’s mother.  I’m just me.

-I forget that I feel like a failure.

-I can feel my body improving.

-Waking up early because I want to, not because I need to.

-I haven’t even stepped on the scale.  I’m just running to run.

-Calling my slow-ass shuffle, running.

-Learning (finally) self-discipline, patience, and how to push myself.  Running seems to be helping me grow up.

-Listening to my awesome playlist.

  1. Daydreamer– Adele
  2. Let Go– Frou Frou
  3. Electric Feel– MGMT
  4. I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked– Ida Maria
  5. Sexy Back– Justin Timberlake
  6. Let it Rock– Kevin Rudolf & Lil’ Wayne
  7. Smile (Revisited)– Lily Allen
  8. Club Foot– Kasabian
  9. Dangerous-Kardinal Offishall
  10. It’s Like That– Run DMC
  11. Extraordinary Machine– Fiona Apple
  12. Feelin’ Good– Nina Simone

M.

Soooo…this weekend my husband and I had sex for the first time since E was born.  How did it go, you might ask.  Let’s just say, I’ve had “Like a Virgin” in my head all weekend, because that’s what it  felt like.

Silly me thought that since I didn’t have a vaginal birth, the pain would be minimal.  Wrong!  When my friend Cher* told me to buy a bottle of wine and a bottle of of KY, I thought she was just being funny.

For those of you uninitiated into the “Sex After Birth” club:  Inebriate and Lubricate!  Say it with me, class.  Inebriate and Lubricate!

In all honesty, I have no interest in sex these days.  And my husband is hot.  I mean seriously hot.  Like if Matthew Fox and Gerard Butler could somehow mix their DNA, the result would look like J.  I’m not kidding…I could totally be the heroine of some bubble gum pink covered Chick Lit novel about a fat, mousy social retard who manages to land the super sexy, surprisingly not superficial Mr. Darcy type hero.  So despite sexy broad shoulders and an ass you can bounce quarters off, I don’t feel like doing it.

And I like sex…at least I used to.

Now, I have better things to do.  Like sleep or grab a quick shower.  And did I mention:   it fucking hurts!  Plus, how am I supposed to get in the mood when the constant static of worrying about E is making noise in my brain, or when I’m worried my boobs are going to go off at any second.  Not to mention, I feel like a fat cow who barely gets to shower much less shave my legs, brush my teeth, or put on deodorant.

I remember when we were horny teenagers, sneaking off to fool around every chance we got.  Now, I’m sneaking off to bed and falling asleep before J gets any ideas.

Hopefully, some day my libido will come back.

M.

*names are always changed to protect the guilty.

Despite the morning (all day) sickness that lasted well into my second trimester, as well as the hassle of gestational diabetes, my pregnancy was wonderful.  My head was in the toilet morning, noon, and night but I was thrilled.  I signed up to receive weekly emails about the development of my baby.  I watched all of those baby shows on TLC and the Discovery channel.  I read every pregnancy book I could get my hands on.  I Googled everything pregnancy related.  I loved being pregnant so much, it was all I could talk about.

Mostly, people humored me.  They would smile and pretend to listen or give me their advice or even share in my enthusiasm sometimes.  But all my friends and family and co-workers let me prattle on and on about my pregnancy…all except one.   When I told her I was pregnant, I was expecting “squees” of delight.  I got a wide-eyed look and a half-hearted congratulations.  I thought maybe I had just caught her off guard and let it slide that her reaction was less than enthusiastic.

But throughout the next few weeks, every time I brought up anything to do with the baby, she immediately changed the subject.  I had imagined us going out shopping for things for the nursery and baby clothes, but I quickly caught on that just wasn’t going to happen.

I started to hate being around her.  Anyone who has ever had children knows that when you are pregnant with your first child, it’s all you think about.  Every single moment of your day is wrapped up in the fact that you’re pregnant.  When we were together, I felt like I had to pretend not to be pregnant and not to be happy.

Things started to ease up around the time of my baby shower.  She gave me some beautiful gifts including an adorable little dress that she said she had bought the day she found out I was having a girl.  So she did care.

After E was born, she came to visit me at my house one evening.  I was telling her about my birth experience (which is a post for another day).

Then I asked the question that all childless females dread hearing…“So are you and B planning on having children?”  Trust me, I know it’s an insensitive question, but I needed to get to the real issue L wasn’t on board with most of my pregnancy.

“Well, here’s the thing…”

And she proceeds to tell me a story that makes me want to crawl into a hole of shame and die with my tail between my legs whimpering like the bitch that I am.

For two years, she and her husband had been seeing a fertility specialist.  Months of taking medication, having humiliating/invasive testing done…month after month of artificial insemination.  Month after month of charting her periods and keeping up with multiple doctor’s appointments…and pregnancy test after pregnancy test.  Disappointment after disappointment.

I am the biggest asshat to walk the face of the earth.  And the shittiest part of all is, J and I struggled with infertility too.  We didn’t go to the measures that L and B went to, but my pregnancy didn’t happen over night (well, it did but that too is another post).  We could have shared our struggles.  But we didn’t.  We ended up resenting each other for a time instead.

Since this conversation happened, we have had another one.  L told me that she was going to start taking fertility injections.  She was really stoked about it…until she found out that her husband’s insurance wouldn’t cover any of it.  Then she looked into the insurance that her employer provided and discovered that it covers everything:  Artificial insemination, medication, injections, and even in-vitro which they thought was completely out of their budget.  The only problem is that they have to wait until January for open-enrollment.  But she’s really excited so she’s okay with having to wait.

I’m hoping that this will ease her stress and maybe she will conceive between now and January without medical intervention.

Anyway, I’m an ass.

M.

Today, I officially completed week one of the Run-Walk program…and I didn’t do half bad.  Monday, instead of starting out running 2 min, walking 4 min like the article suggested, I stepped it back a notch and did 1.5 min/4 min.  Wednesday, I added about 15 seconds to my running time, and today I did the full 2 min.

I have only been doing this for a week and I can already see improvement, and I wasn’t expecting that.  So by the end of June, I should be able to run continuously for 4 minutes unless I have to repeat a week.  And while 4 minutes doesn’t sound like a lot to most people, to me it sounds like an eternity!  I can’t even imagine what it’s going to feel like to run 30 minutes.

I’m going to have to break down and buy a sports bra, but I have no idea where to find one in my size.  Before I became a breastfeeding mom I had size G boobs, and now…Lord, I don’t even know.  It’s almost impossible to find a good sports bra for a heavy chested female like myself.  Hell, it’s hard to find a regular bra.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to the weekend.  Hopefully the weather will hold out and the hubby and I will be able to take E for a walk.  Or if the weather is bad and we have to stay inside, maybe we can try and resume our sex life.  Meh…or maybe not.

M.

When I became pregnant, I became obsessed with being the perfect mother.  I’m kind of a blog whore and a lot of the blogs I used to subscribe to, were written by super crafty stay at home wonder moms who could knit couture sweaters for all seven of their homeschooled children while home birthing their eighth and writing best selling books and cooking seven course organic meals from scratch…and blog about it all like it’s the easiest shit in the world.

Needless to say, I felt like a total failure when I brought E home and domestic bliss didn’t magically enfold me immediately.  I was recovering from a C-Section and I was suffering from spinal headaches which prevented me from finding a comfortable position to breastfeed.  And, honestly…in the beginning, I hated breastfeeding.  Although I felt bonded with E immediately, I didn’t feel breastfeeding gave me a more special bond than cuddling and snuggling her did.  All the breastfeeding books I had read kept telling me I was going to feel a joyous rush of maternal bliss.  Bullshit.  All I did was worry that she wasn’t getting enough, that I wasn’t doing it right  because I couldn’t feel my milk let down, and that I would be trapped in my house for at least the next six months because there was no way I was breastfeeding in public.  I was so close to quitting, but buying tons of super expensive formula just wasn’t (isn’t) in the budget.

The first couple of weeks E was home, were unbelievably hard.  Feeding her around the clock, trying to manage the pain of major abdominal surgery, worrying about every burp/sneeze/fart she had.  The worst part was the intense guilt I felt for not measuring up…for not loving every single second of motherhood and wanting to bake apple pies in celebration.  But the turning point came when I realized that the supermom blogs are mostly bullshit.  Sure, they are pretty and they paint a lovely picture of a perfect family, but A LOT of real life is left out.  And that’s fine…focusing on the good stuff and not dwelling on the hard stuff.  But I am totally fine with my life being less Martha Stewart and more Roseanne Connor.  I stopped reading “wondermama” blogs.

E is eight weeks old, and while I am no maternal superhero, things are getting a little easier.  I am much better at breastfeeding.  I also pump occasionally which means that my husband, J, can help more.  Just having him take care of a few feedings a week has been a huge relief.  I am also trying my hand at cloth diapering, and not because I have unrealistic fantasies of happily scrubbing diapers down by the river and hanging them to dry on a line in the middle of a field of lavender.  I’m using cloth mostly because it’s cheap, I’ve built up a tolerance to poop, and I have to do laundry everyday anyway so what’s another load?  For those of you who care, I use unbleached pre-folds and Thirsties Duo Wraps.

Well, unlike certain other mommy bloggers, I can’t wax poetic about my perfect family and perfect life all day.  My munchkin is stirring in her crib, so Mommy time is over.

M.

I love my mother.  I really do.  We, like so many mothers and daughters, had a rocky relationship when I was a dumb, hormonal teenager.  Now that I live so far away from Podunk, USA, our relationship is much better.  As an adult, I can appreciate the person she is.  And now that I’m a mother myself, I feel like I understand her perspective more.

That being said, the day E was born, I made a decision:  I will NOT be like my mother.

I have been slowly morphing into her for the better part of my twenties.  It began in such subtle ways, that I didn’t even notice it was happening.  A gesture here and there, an interesting turn of the phrase.  But the day I found myself having a long, one-sided conversation, out-loud in my car was the day I realized I was turning into her.

Why don’t I want to turn into my mother, you may ask?  Because she doesn’t take care of herself.  She’s overweight, has a ton of health issues, and walks with a cane.  She’s only 53.  E deserves to have a mother who can run and play with her, a mother who can be a good role model, a mother who isn’t embarrassed to show up at her school activities because of her size, and a mother who will be able to play with her grandchildren.

I have struggled with my weight my whole life, but the struggle was mostly for cosmetic reasons.  But I had a huge wake-up call during my pregnancy that has made this more about my long-term health.  I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and had to inject myself with insulin four times a day.  I was on a special diet as well and had to test my blood glucose four times a day.  Gestational diabetes goes away after pregnancy is over, however, you become 50% more likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes in your lifetime.  I DO NOT want this disease.  The few months I had it were torture and I can’t imagine having to deal with it for the rest of my life.

So what is my fat ass going to do to avoid this fate and my mother’s?  Run.

Yep, that’s right.  My 200-plus lb body is going to run.  I started a 10 week run-walk program this past Monday. The ultimate goal of the program is to be able to run continuously for 30 minutes.  In the beginning you start off running 2 minutes then walking 4, and repeating for 30 minutes.  Every week you add another minute of running and decrease your walking time.  Instead of starting out at 2 minutes, I started out at 1 minute 30 seconds.  It wasn’t pretty.  I was slow and red-faced, and my giant breast feeding boobs looked ridiculous.  Meh…I did better than I thought, and I didn’t feel like shit this morning.  I can still sit down on the toilet and get back up without any soreness (that’s my gauge for how difficult a workout is).

And how, you might ask, is this time going to be any different from the other times you’ve tried to get fit and lose weight?  Well, this time, I’m not going to get overly enthusiastic in the beginning, workout everyday, injure myself, then give up because I fucking hurt and I’m not getting results immediately.  I think it may be easier for me not to obsess over exercise and results because I have a new baby to worry about instead.  Plus, I’m not changing my diet yet.  I don’t want to try changing everything all at once.  That would be setting myself up for failure again.  Slow and steady is my motto.  Delayed gratification.   That’s very grown up…right?

Anyway, right around the end of this 10-week program, my mom and dad are going to be here for a visit.  I am hoping that any success I may have at this will influence my mom or at least give me some leverage to encourage her to try and fight for her health.

I guess I’m going to try and document this whole running thing on this blog to help keep me accountable and shit.  Responsibility…that’s grown up too.  So tomorrow, at 5 am, my fat ass is going to be shuffling around the block for the second time.

M.

Who am I?

I am a wife, a new mother, and I am closing in on age 30. This blog is my attempt to let go of some emotional baggage and finally grow the f**k up.

Archives