Shame Shame, I Know Your Name

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESYou guys, I WAS MOMMY SHAMED TODAY!

I know I shouldn’t be excited about it – I definitely wasn’t excited in the moment. But afterwards I felt like I had joined some elite club of women. The women in society that people feel it’s perfectly acceptable to criticize, shame, or put down in public.

So actually…all women. Welcome to the motherfu*&^#@ club.

So here’s the scene: It’s about 11:45am and I have Will in the stroller heading home from the gym. I get on the bus, all normal, always being careful not to run over any toes or bump people. Typical stuff. Then a few stops down, another mom gets on with her adorable baby girl in her stroller. We can’t both fit in the front area, so at the next stop we do some musical chairs and I move farther back on the bus. At this point, I notice a women getting extremely agitated – now mind you she was sitting behind us so we hadn’t inconvenienced her in any way, she didn’t have to move, and just for the record she was sitting in an elevated area taking up two seats.

So, this lady then starts to loudly announce to the bus how “unbelievably selfish” it is that we would bring our strollers on the bus. That we were blocking the exit (you guys, busses have 3 exits. 3), and it was just sooooo unbelievable that we would be so selfish.

Selfish. Selfish. Unbelievably selfish.

Yeah. I know.

So, trying to keep it classy, I turned to her and said ma’am we’ll get out of the way whenever you need to get off. Which she ignored. Fine. So we re-adjusted a bit, and a few stops down I heard her talking again about how unbelievably selfish I was, so I turned and gave her the look. You know the one. The, sternly look at her face, eyes slowly travel down a little, then back up. I wish I wasn’t proud of it (I totally am. I’m not a saint, people) and of course that set her off again, saying she saw my “dirty look” and I was such an unbelievably selfish person, blah blah. And then, she got off the bus. That was it.

But I have to admit it left me reeling. I had that sort of, fight or flight, nerves tingling feeling for a good while afterwards. Someone I had never met before was so convinced that I was a terribly selfish person, that she felt compelled to announce it to the entire world (well, entire bus anyway).

And that made me think about mothers. More specifically, how incredibly UNselfish mothers actually are.

Mothers start sacrificing before they even meet their babies. Giving up small comforts like wine and sushi and turkey sandwiches just to make life a little safer for their growing babes.

Moms sacrifice bodies they’ve worked hard for, take on stretch marks and weight gain and leaking orifices. They let go of the dignity that is not peeing a little when you first start running again. Or sneeze. Or laugh too hard.

Mothers sacrifice careers, perky boobs, and the ability to leave the house without carrying a minimum of 3 bags and having a loop of “diapers, wipes, snacks, hand sanitizer, pacifier, water cup…did I say snacks?” play in their mind before they walk out the door.

I think maybe the most incredible thing of all is that mothers give these things up without any resentment. There’s no scorekeeping. No keeping a list of what you’re owed. We take our sacrifices, and our guilt from considering the sacrifices we should add to our list, and we bury the whole thing in love. In a love we’ve never experienced before. A love that makes you forget what having freshly washed hair every day feels like. A love that makes you forget what not being puked on smells like. A love that makes changing a million diapers and getting food in your hair and potty training and endless episodes of Sesame Street somehow…worth it.

It’s worth it.

And so, to call a mother selfish is almost comical. You don’t argue with the person saying the sky is green, because you can see that it’s blue. Most people around you can see that too. It just…is.

So I guess what I’m saying is…don’t let people crush your spirit. They don’t know you. You’re awesome. And to the lady on the bus – I hope your day gets better. Because I can’t imagine how miserable you must feel to criticize two young moms just for existing.

And also, karma’s a bitch.

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Pregnancy Body Snatchers

Guys, I have to be honest. I hate the phrase “get your body back”. Specifically I hate this phrase when used to describe what postpartum women’s apparent goal is supposed to be. And I’ve even said it before! More than words, it’s been a way of thinking. Getting “back” to a certain weight. Getting “back” to a certain feeling. And it’s usually motivational, right? Like, rah rah, lets all get our bodies back! And I’m not coming at this from the viewpoint of someone who is super thin and only has to lose that last 5lbs. Haha no…this girl gained a full 40lbs being pregnant (technically 39 but who’s counting? Oh yeah, I am). So clearly there’s work that needs to be done.

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But the term “get back” implies that you lost something. Or that something was stolen from you. Either way, it implies we’re somehow lacking something. But when I look at my little boy, I don’t think I’ve lost anything. I may have gained weight but I gained so much more than that. And I think I’m just tired of a society that makes us feel like in having a baby we’ve somehow lost something important. This is how I feel about that.

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So in solidarity, let’s give up shitty terms that make us feel bad about ourselves. Be happy, be healthy, be well. Rock that belly, or stretch marks, or whatever else you might try and hide about your bod. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to get in shape, and I think that’s an awesome goal I’m working on myself; but lets not lose sight of the fact that our bodies did something amazing and will never actually be the same. And that’s pretty cool.
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Mama Essentials

I’ve never experienced a learning curve quite as steep as bringing a newborn home. All of a sudden you’re looking at this helpless little peanut who depends on you for everything. I thought I was prepared – I’d done the whole “nesting” thing, read countless articles about what to expect, and had a Pinterest board full of life-hacks for life with a newborn. But there were still a bunch of things we ended up needing to get life going smoothly; thank goodness for Amazon Prime!

Here’s my list of Mama essentials that will help smooth those first few weeks with baby:

1. Waterproof Sheet Protectors – if you don’t want to change your sheets with every single diaper or nipple leak, you’ll want these pads. I got about 6, since in those early days we went through about two or three a night.

2. Naturacare Maternity Pads – these all natural cotton pads will definitely help all the tenderness down there. Bonus, because these are all natural cotton, you won’t get the feeling of a UTI that Always Pads or anything that wicks can give you.

3. Extra Swaddle Blankets – I had a 4-pack, and with diaper leaks and spit up happening so often, we blew through them in one night. Our little guy needed to be swaddled to sleep soundly, so that didn’t work. We got a bunch more and cut down the daily laundry.

4. Extra Peri Bottle – the hospital or your midwife will give you one, but I highly recommend having two – one filled with warm water and the other with sitz bath herb water.

5. Extra Changing Pad Covers – You will go through these so fast…

xo. Brie

William James Lyndon: My Birth Story

Birth is an amazing, transformational experience, but also one that takes a while to process. You go from a slowly growing and developing pregnancy that lasts a good 10 months, to this intense transitional window and experience  – and then you come out the other side holding a baby. A sweet, beautiful, needy, helpless baby that for the first few weeks requires all your brain power and effort just to keep healthy and content. Throughout my pregnancy, I had my heart set on a natural, home birth. After hours of studying, reading countless books, and 6-weeks of intense home birth childcare classes, I felt ready. This was the birth I wanted. However that’s not how it went down, and it was such a stark reminder that we can’t in any way control our circumstances, all we can do is decide how we will react to them. Now that I’m 6 weeks postpartum I’ve had some time to process my own birth story and would love to share it with you.

I was convinced our sweet baby Will would come early, so around week 39 I was more than ready to meet him. But the 40 week mark came, our due date passed without a sign or symptom of labor, and I found myself at 41 weeks with still no baby. Acupuncture, long walks, spicy food, herbal teas and tinctures – nothing was working. Finally on Wednesday, at 41w3d, I finally felt what had been days worth of Braxton hicks begin to settle into a normal and predictable rhythm. At 10pm I went to bed, hopeful that this would really be it. I woke up at 1am with even more intense contractions, to the point where it was uncomfortable to lie down any more so I got up and hung out on the couch while mentally trying to prepare for the journey ahead. I started timing the contractions around 3am and they were already about 5 minutes apart and lasting a minute. At 6:30 I finally woke Jim up and told him what was happening. We called our midwife Kara and she talked me through a few things, and then came to the house around 8:30. At this point the contractions were beginning to require all my attention and I wasn’t really talking through them anymore.

I continued to labor and around 11am Kara checked me and I was dilated to 4cm. After already having labored pretty intensely for 10 hours, I figured we were on our way. This is where time begins to get fuzzy. I was having some intense back labor and spent the next 12 hours going between the bed, the couch, being on my hands and knees, and sitting in the shower with the water on my back. The labor got so intense I couldn’t keep any food down except a handful of goldfish crackers and a few sips of gatorade. At 1am I got checked again – and was still at 4. I hadn’t progressed at all, and the pain was beginning to get unbearable. This was the moment I felt completely defeated. I started to feel panicked with each contraction, so Jim, Kara and I talked and decided it was time to transfer to the hospital. We threw some clothes, a baby outfit, and the carseat together and jumped in Kara’s car.

We got to the hospital around 2am, but it took an hour to get admitted because apparently it was a busy night for delivering babies. The nurse eventually took pity on me and gave me some Fentanyl while we were waiting since I was climbing the walls at this point. Thankfully baby’s heart stayed beautifully steady through all of this as they were monitoring him through each step. Eventually we got wheeled into a delivery room and I got an epidural. At this point after 26 hours of labor, I barely felt the epidural needle going into my spine, and the relief was almost immediate. Kara and Jim helped me get comfortable in the bed and I fell right asleep. After sleeping for three hours on and off, I woke up around 11am. The hospital midwife came in and checked me and I was at 7cm – and so excited to be progressing again. They gave me another 2 hours and when she came back at 1am and checked I was at 10cm and ready to push our sweet babe out. I pushed hard for an hour and a half, and at 2:47pm our sweet little boy made his loud entry into the world. They immediately put him on my chest and I cried; cried from the joy of finally holding this precious boy, and cried from the journey that brought us to this moment. He was so strong and perfect and loud – it was the best moment of my life. Time sort of stood still as they sewed up my two tears and cleaned us both up. That hour or two of skin to skin contact as I held him was amazing – Jim and I just stared at him and took in every detail of his little face and body.

My plan was for a timely, unmedicated home birth. My reality was a 36 hour labor, hospital transfer, pitocin, epidural, and a 2 day hospital stay. But honestly I wouldn’t change it. This is how our sweet babe needed to come, and I worked the hardest I ever have in my life to bring him into the world. I still hope that there is a home birth in my future, but this experience also opened my eyes to the different things women experience in birth – and to the realization that it’s all beautiful and empowering, no matter what your story. I think it’s important for us as women to be able to talk about our experiences and make these decisions about our body as they come, and feel the freedom to express our stories. Thanks for taking the time to read mine.

xo. Brie

 

Pregnancy Check-In

Baby is: weighs about 6.5lbs, is roughly 20 inches long, and is cleared to come any day!
 
How far along are you: 37 weeks, 2 days

Movement: He is a HUGE mover, this baby bun is all over the place. He especially likes to dig his little heel into my ribs, so that’s been fun.

Maternity clothes?: I’ve pretty much outgrown all my maternity clothes except the jeans with the huge full panel which still somehow slip down. These days I mostly live in sweat pants and oversized T-shirts. Sexy, I know.

Belly button in or out?: Always been an innie…so now being an outtie is a whole new experience!

Stretch marks: I’ve avoided any on my belly, but my thighs have taken a bit of a beating in the stretch marks department. Just hoping they fade a bit once baby makes his appearance.

Sleep: Oh sleep, my old friend. Most nights I sleep ok still, with a lot of tossing and turning. I will say I miss sleeping on my stomach!

Favorite moment of the week: I’ve been having the best time getting everything set up for baby. His clothes are washed, dresser is set, car seat and stroller are set up. The last thing to do is get the crib/co-sleeper station all set up.