Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Secrets and Lies of the Mommyhood

You know how people always say, "That's one of those things no one ever tells you about being a Mom/homeowner/whatever." Although my experience is quite limited I want to share the secrets and lies I've learned about Mommyhood.

Evil, evil things can happen to your body. DON'T GAIN TOO MUCH WEIGHT. I know what your thinking, "Ben and Jerry's is calling to me." They called me too. Don't do it. No matter how sick you are. No matter how much you feel like shit. Don't do it. Oh the things that can happen to your body as a result of this. Still I am finding this out. Like more than 9 months after delivering I found out my abs still haven't gone back together. I have many stretch marks. My pelvic floor is in sad shape. Just trust me, show restraint. You may not ever appreciate it if you do but if you don't you will regret it.

Moving on. It turns out that pushing an 8 pound person out of your vagina can cause some serious trauma. And sometimes that trauma stays around for a while and shows itself at inconvenient times. Like say being unable to walk upright after having sex. And no one seems to know what to do about that. My sister just recently got her master's in nursing specializing in women's health and she had never heard of a hoo-ha physical therapist. No one I know had. I just found it online mostly by pure luck.

When my sister and I were discussing the toll pregnancy takes on the pelvic floor and that whole area, she told me that some women's poop pushes into their vagina and they have to push it back over so it will come out. AND the barrier/wall thing between vagina and anus can even break and poop can come out of your vagina. That, my friends, is something no one tells you about being pregnant; you might end up pooping out of your vagina.

I know of 2 bold, outright and pure evil, cruel lies and I am here to tell the truth. This rumor (fueled by Jenny McCarthy and her color-seeing orgasms, Sex and the City and Friends) that pregnant ladies are crazy horny. Lies, lies, untrue lies. This was the part of pregnancy I was kind of looking forward to. Instead I was in bed by 8pm almost every night the whole 9 months and I can promise you I wasn't dreaming about steamy sex. R and I were very disappointed.

Second lie. Breastfeeding does not help to lose weight. I swear to God I think this is a scam to encourage more women to breastfeed. Because holy shit it is so untrue. I was lucky enough to lose about 23 lbs. when my daughter was born but I didn't lose another fucking ounce for months. Well not quite that bad but still. Now with all that said I am super-duper-pro-breastfeeding. But tell me the truth you know? Don't tell me it doesn't hurt. It does. It hurts very badly. Don't tell me it's easy. It's not. It takes hard work and a LOT of determination. And don't tell me oh it will just melt the weight off. Lies, lies, evil lies.

Ok the last secret that I have discovered is this: you will fall head over heels madly in love with your baby. Yes, you too. I thought I wasn't really the mommy type. I thought I was capable of doing the job but I didn't think I would be over the moon in love with her. When people told me how much they loved being mothers I always thought well they're that type though, I won't be like that. Oh but I am and I love it. I feel like the luckiest woman on Earth to be the one and only mother to my Miss Mags.

Oh and you know how everyone tells you that once you have your baby you won't care about all that other stuff? Well that's mostly true. You might still bitch but it will be completely worth it.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

WTF John Edwards???

I recently read the Elizabeth Edwards interview in Oprah magazine. I thought she seemed great; strong and loving. To hear how she talked to her children about her terminal cancer was amazing. And to be able to go through something so personal in the public--that must be an absolute nightmare. Not the cancer (although that too) but her husband's affair. It amazes me that people are so down on women (Edwards, Hilary Clinton) who make the decision to keep their marriage together after their partner has been unfaithful. My sister told me once that she had no respect for Hilary Clinton because she didn't leave Bill when he had an affair. I read Hilary's memoir and she said it was one of the main things women asked her about when she was running for the NY Senate seat. I cannot imagine going through what must be heartbreaking pain and absolute humiliation and have everyone not only publicly judge you but also feel that they have the right to ask you (or just inform you) about your choices. But that's a whole other rant.

What I'm amazed about is that John Edwards has no interest in finding out whether he has fathered a child with this other woman? I just do not understand this mentality. Elizabeth Edwards said over and over what an amazing father he is but unfortunetly he's only an amazing father to the children who were born to the correct mother. I find this infuriating. He made the mistake. He and the other woman had an affair and she possibly has his child. But who will pay for this mistake? That child. This is how he fixes things? By turning his back on his child.

And the thing is no one mentioned this point. Oprah just kept asking how would Elizabeth Edwards feel if he had a child. I hate that we live in a society where it's perfectly acceptable for men to abandon their children. No one is saying he should play a part in this child's life. No one is calling him out on this. All anyone is saying is how could you do this to your wife and your family. And these to me are valid questions but why isn't anyone asking about this child?

I suppose I'm being hypocritical for judging John Edwards after saying I thought it was so unfair to judge the wives of unloyal politicians. I just imagine this child growing up knowing that (s)he has a father who is known for being a kind, caring, compassionate family man. And that this man didn't want anything to do with him or her. Do you think that child won't internalize this and feel unworthy, unloved, etc? It is so unfair to dump this on a child so that you can avoid dealing with the consequences of your actions.

I just want to shake John Edwards and say, "You had the affair. And however it happened (there's nothing worse that the she did it on purpose argument--still not the baby's fault) you have a child. Own up to what you did and show some responsibility. Do right by this child."

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Becoming a Mommy

It amazes me that I consider myself a mommy. That I love that about myself. That I am so proud of that fact. I am more proud of being a mommy than I am of having a BS and being a teacher. If you had told me this a year or so ago I probably wouldn't have believed you.

The really funny thing is that I read article after article and books galore and they all said I would feel this way and I just didn't think it would be true for me. I didn't think I wouldn't really know how to relate to my non-mommy friends anymore. Or rather we wouldn't have much to talk about. I didn't think I would love talking to pregnant women and mothers whether strangers or people I hadn't liked so much in the past. And I certainly didn't think it would help me to become a better person. And yet I have found all of these things to be true.

My precious angel of a daughter was an accident. When my pregnancy test was positive I bawled. I called my sister and had a meltdown. And cried some more. R was so thrilled and I was so not. And that didn't change during my pregnancy. Throughout my pregnancy I was always protective of the life inside me and I prepared in various ways. But I was always very ambiguous. Part of this was because I could not picture my life as a mother. I would say to R, "In 4 months there will be a baby here," but I couldn't picture it. I could not imagine what our life would be like. No amount of reading books or magazines created a picture for me. This left me feeling quite distant from my baby. It just didn't seem like something that would happen.

After Maggie was born, I still felt. . . apart. I loved her, I felt fiercly protective of her, I nursed her and rocked and took care of her but I didn't feel overly connected to her. I wasn't in love with her. And then I was. It was kind of a slow thing but one day I just was overwhelmed by how much I loved her. I could stare at her forever and when I was apart from her I talked about her. To quote Lauryn Hill, in her tribute song to her son Zion,"How beautiful if nothing more than to wait at Zion's door, I've never been in love like this before."

Suddenly I got it. All the mothers that are so in love with their children, that will spoil them because they just can't stand to upset their kids, that will go to Hannah Montana concerts and soccer/baseball/football games. I became a part of this huge club that I didn't really even realize existed. I can talk on the phone to my grandma and tell her how much I love my daughter and she really understands. I don't sound crazy because she knows this feeling. This amazing feeling.

Being a mother is the best part of my life. Maggie makes me want to be better in every way. She brings me so much more happiness than I feel like I could ever give her. I can watch her play and just be in awe of what an amazing beautiful little girl she is. And, truly, I have never been in love like this before.

Drawing a Blank Here

Why is it that throughout the day I have a million ideas for posts but as soon as I sit down in front of my computer I draw a total blank??? Mmm. . . so how about some random thoughts.

-Reasons why R is a freak
He leaves his socks all over the place. Why? Is he 3? Is this common for grown men to do? My Dad never did this. I don't understand this at all. In response to this weirdness I have just started throwing the socks away. It seems like the best plan.

-Things I wish were true about me that are not
I wish I were outdoorsy person. I'm always amazed by people that hike and bike and garden and just can't wait to be outside. I love the idea of it. Everytime I hear about activities involving the outdoors I'm intrigued. But I never (or rarely) enjoy them. Part of this is because I live in Texas where cool weather means it's in the 90s or even the 80s (oh beautiful wonderful 80s weather). I do know that when I went on a vacation to Colorado in May several years ago it was about 70 and I was so happy to be outside. It was wonderful.

Another problem with outdoors in Texas is bugs. I hate bugs. All bugs. Mosquitos eat me alive and then I scratch until I leave scars. It's all in all not a pretty sight. So perhaps my problem isn't that I'm not an outdoorsy person but that I'm not an outdoorsy person in Texas.

-Crazy Advice
People have tried to convince me that I should wake up Maggie when I'm ready to go to bed and have her nurse so she won't wake me up in the middle of the night. Does this strike anyone else as a little mean? I'm going to disturb your sleep so you won't disturb mine. Who's the baby? Besides I seriously doubt that would even work. It seems like she wouldn't be too interested in nursing, might not be able to go back to sleep or some other issue that would be more of a hassle than just getting up with her in the night.

When we first moved in (a couple of weeks ago), for a blissful few days she slept through the night. It was glorious. I barely knew what to do with all my energy. Then that went away and I was sad. Sleep is truly a beautiful thing. I love sleep so much. It's amazing to me how much sleep is affected my getting up in the middle of the night. If you figure I'm only up for 10-15 minutes, I'm still sleeping plenty of time. But that interuption just totally throws my brain for a loop. I have a sleep book (for babies-well, for mommies about babies) and he talks a lot about sleep continuity so I guess there's my answer.