Tag Archives: pregnancy

well that’s just, like, your opinion, man

I had a rough day on Sunday. Pretty sure it was mainly hormones, but I haven’t cried so much or so hard in ages. It was prompted, of course, by the baby shower discussion, and the feelings that dredged up. I talked to my mom about it for like five minutes on Saturday night and that was enough to send me into a downward spiral. My mom has generally been pretty helpful with the baby stuff – after all, she had four of them when all of this crap didn’t exist and she didn’t have any money to buy it anyway, so she maintains a pretty no-nonsense approach to child rearing. But then there’s the part of things where she’s out of touch with the modern way of doing things. When I brought up having the shower at my house, she immediately said, “No, I don’t want you having it at your house.” She then recommended the club house at her condo complex, which I immediately rejected due to the fact that most of the guests live in the city. “Okay well then we’ll have it at a restaurant.” To which I also said no because I hate things at restaurants – it feels incredibly rushed and impersonal, not to mention expensive. So that basically started the conversation out on the wrong foot. Then we talked about gender neutral clothes. I’ve actually seen a ton of cute gender neutral stuff online (not so much in places like Target or Babies R Us). But of course my mom’s idea of gender neutral is green and yellow all around, whereas mine is cool modern prints, neutral beiges, etc. And of course she said, “I haven’t seen much good gender neutral stuff, just a lot of BROWN….yuck!!” Okay, so we don’t agree about shower location OR baby colors, check. Then she started asking about names, which is the kiss of death – I HATE talking about names with my family because they’re all entirely too a) traditional and b) opinionated. I tend to just plead ignorance when they start asking me and commit to no particular names. But of course she jumped in with, “Whatever you do, just don’t name your kid after a THING…like a FRUIT or something dumb like that.” Okay, no fruits and no weird names, got it.

All of this came to a head on Sunday when I had some serious breakdowns about the whole thing. Then Greg came home and I flipped out about something that was totally my fault but it didn’t stop me from yelling at him, running upstairs and slamming the door.

This all describes one of the things that brings me down: the very public nature of having a baby. In most areas of my life, Greg and I live a pretty happy and insular life, where people are mainly unaware of our day-to-day decisions. But once in a while something comes up where I’m exposed to too many outside opinions, such as our wedding. The wedding was the most stressful experience of my life, partly because I was inundated with the things I was “doing wrong”. “Cupcakes??! Who has CUPCAKES?!” This is what happens when you’re planning something that is so visible to the public, people feel the right to give you their opinion about everything. And even if they’re not technically giving their opinion, I still feel self conscious about all of my decisions – because of what other people might be thinking. Even something as simple as a brand of pacifier, I feel like, “What if I’m making the wrong decision and everyone thinks, “Oh, nobody buys GERBER pacifiers, EVERYBODY knows you’re supposed to buy [insert name of another pacifier brand because I don’t even know THAT yet].” And it’s not so much that I care what people think as much as it all makes me doubt myself. What if they’re right? What if I DO buy a stroller that’s not nearly as well designed as some other stroller? And I know that’s not the end of the world, but I could wind up spending tons of energy trying to hold a baby in one arm and get some crappy stroller folded up with the other. And yes yes, I know that’s what friends’ opinions and Amazon reviews are for. The minute my mom questions a name choice, it makes me wonder, “Maybe that ISN’T a good name.”

All this being said, I should note that my friends are supportive because they’re not family and they have a way of a) being more polite and b) not having as much invested in your life as your family does. And even with my family, it’s really just my sister and my mom who are the opinionated ones. But I don’t think they appreciate how sensitive I am to flippant comments that don’t take my feelings into account whatsoever. My sister and mom are the queens of making offhand guttural scoffing noises if they don’t like something, regardless of whether or not they know that YOU like it. E.g., “I’m reading [insert name of complicated and book] now.” “UGHK! Why?!” Like, who says that to someone when they obviously know that you’re not reading it for a college class but because you want to? I’m entirely too susceptible to those sorts of comments, and I know I need to grow a thicker skin.

So add to the many many sources of stress the stress of trying to maintain your identity while pleasing your family.

But let’s end on a good note. When I told my mom last night that I had been a hormonal wreck on Sunday, she gave me a great pep talk about how it’s really not as hard as everyone makes it out to be, and that it’s only as complicated as you make it. She said after a few days of having the baby in the house I’d be an old pro at everything, that instinct would take over and I would know what to do, and whatever I don’t know I’ll figure out along the way. And she reminded me that she would stay with us for as long as we need her, so she’d be there to show me what to do. She really is a comforting presence in all of this craziness, even if we disagree about color choices.

the circle of life (and death)

I had said that I wanted to start blogging more because I actually have stuff to share, then I fell off the face of the earth again.  But I’m back to share more (old) news with my nonexistent readership: I’m pregnant!  Not exactly “news” since I’m more than 5 months at this point.  But I feel like for the first time in a long time I actually have things I’d like to articulate to the world.  (Oh YES!! Another mommy blog, right?!)  Wrong.  I feel like I have some kind of unconventional thoughts on pregnancy and parenting, and although I’m sure they’re not THAT unconventional, compared to most things I read or people I talk to, they feel a little weird.

Gosh, it’s hard to write blog posts when you know nobody reads them and you also kind of have this feeling that you probably won’t follow through with your resolution to keep up with it.  But here’s to trying and failing, I guess.

Last year was a piece of shit.  My dad died from lung cancer after a very long two years.  My mom was alone in a far-flung house in a depressing area of the Poconos, I had a miscarriage. A friend of ours committed suicide.  And I generally had a pretty raging mid life crisis going on.  But something kind of magical happened – I came out on the other side relatively unscathed and having a much more positive outlook on life.  Maybe it’s something in the water, because Greg was just telling me yesterday that he has been feeling really happy since the spring, happier than he has in a long time.  There’s something reassuring knowing that you can go through some bad shit and not have it break you.

So first let me talk miscarriage.  As far as miscarriages go, it was really no big deal at all.  It wasn’t even a “real” miscarriage, because apparently what had happened was that I sort of started to get pregnant – the test came back positive, the gestational sac developed, but no embryo.  I was only about 8 weeks or so, not enough time to get too attached to the idea.  And truth be told, I wasn’t ready.  Sure, we had been trying for a few years, but that moment in time really wasn’t the right moment for me, I was in rough shape emotionally – it was August and my dad had passed in June, and I was still in the middle of wrapping my brain around the fact that things were changing, and I needed to grow up and put away childish things and become a parent, because I was 34 and way too old to be going out getting shitfaced with my younger coworkers all the time.  But I just couldn’t face it at that moment.  So when I took that test, I actually sat in the bathroom crying, and cried several times throughout the day.  When I told Greg that night, he seemed more weird than happy.  There was also the little matter of not even feeling like I was pregnant – I had no morning sickness and had been getting my period, just a tiny bit of breast tenderness, which is what made me take the test in the first place.  In the three or so weeks I had to wait before going to the doctor (can you believe they won’t even SEE you until you’re at least 9 weeks?! It felt like an eternity!) I wasn’t even really convinced it was real.  I even said that to the doctor when she took out the ultrasound wand.  I assured her that if she didn’t see anything, I wouldn’t freak out.  And then I didn’t. And a week later I went back for a procedure that took 5 minutes and was much less painful than what they’d warned me about, then Greg and I went out to breakfast and talked a lot about everything and then I laid on the couch watching Twin Peaks for the rest of the day.  It was almost an enjoyable day off.

I’m talking about all of this because before you have a miscarriage, you don’t realize how common it is, because people don’t like to talk about it.  But once you tell people, you get a barrage of stories from other women about how it happened to them, and these are usually women who have kids.  I know my mom had one before me, and Greg’s mom told me about hers, and I know at least a few other people who have had them.  But again, on the surface it’s a depressing topic that people don’t want to talk about, but I try not to make a big deal about telling people so they know for themselves that it doesn’t mean anything, or that they’re not alone if it’s happened to them.  And obviously I don’t want to downplay it because for some women it IS really bad – I know someone who recently had a miscarriage at 5 months, which is scary as shit, and another girl who’s had a bunch of them and was never able to get pregnant, so it’s not a joke.  But for the most part it’s not indicative of any overarching problem, and for me at least it wasn’t this horrible tragedy that it had always been in my mind.  The whole time I sort of just naturally felt like, “Hey, I’m halfway there.”  When I told my mom what had happened, she didn’t even blink before she said, “That’s wonderful! That means you can get pregnant!”  I think she was more excited than upset.

And now here I am, a year later, feeling balanced and content, and as an added bonus, watching my belly grow every day.