Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Tummy Tuesday :: 36 Weeks

Well, I am still here!  I am working extra hard these days to blog ahead so that when I take a break from life, I will have some posts to hold me over and some time to take some pictures of my new projects and new life after my Little Someone arrives.  As much as I love planning ahead, I actually hate following through with my plans. 

I am really enjoying the sunshine and higher temperatures lately.  A few weeks ago, we got hit with a huge snow storm that left us with 7 inches of snow.  Then, things warmed up and we had a 60 degree day and then, literally as the last bits of snow melted, BOOM!  Again with the snow.  Ten inches this time. I don't know what to think about this weather, but I am praying for sunshine and peace on D-Day.  Due to the weird weather, I got a weird idea.  Why not take belly photos outside?  Well, because it's cold as hell, that's why!  LOL. 

So lately, I have been hyper tuned into anything parenting and baby related.  It's been so long since I had a newbie in my life that I really need a refresher course. Or I thought that I did until it all just really started driving me crazy. Why, yes, I am grateful for the MOUNTAINS of advice I have been given, what I am not so happy about is all the judgment. 

When I had my Little Darling eight years ago, there wasn't much for me to go by.  I was the only pregnant person I knew.  I was considerably younger.  I was busier, more energetic, healthier... Life was better and more simplistic. Now, I am 31 years old, just weeks shy of 32, and I cannot remember a single thing about my previous pregnancy, delivery, or life with a newborn.  I mean, I recall small moments, but nothing that would help me prepare for this new adventure.  Now, most of my friends are having their first babies and they are driving me completely bat shit crazy with this whole "Textbook Parenting" attitude.  Everything is "They now recommend..." and this is the "New Age Parenting"...  I feel like everyone suddenly thinks they know everything because they read some blog post on Facebook that is in direct alignment with what they were thinking and planning to do anyway as a parent.  No experience.  No further research.  No critical thought.

Well, I have a blog!  These are my thoughts....
Breastfeeding Vs. Formula
There is no doubt regarding scientific evidence that breast milk is more nourishing for your child and that there is an important bond formed during the breastfeeding sessions.  What isn't scientifically proven is that you are a bad/negligent mom if you choose not to do it.  Or that your baby will somehow be inferior to those who are breastfed.  I planned on breastfeeding my Little Darling.  It didn't happen.  I didn't feel badly about it. She grew up happy, healthy, and considerably more intelligent and kinder than most kids in her age group.  No complaints from me...... Until recently.  Now, I am overwhelmed with messages about the importance of breastfeeding, how easy it is, how I need to give it a shot, and my personal favorite "My attitude regarding breastfeeding with determine my success".  Well, I am a grown ass woman with a full understanding that any number of factors could lead to my NOT breastfeeding and that should A) Be nobody's business and B) Be nothing for me or any other Mom to be ashamed of.

Keeping a Routine vs. Working Around Baby
I am a hot mess naturally.  I am forgetful and absentminded.  My mega amazing stepmom who raised 5 kids and then got pregnant with twins was a total mastermind at scheduling. I sometimes thought that she could look at my youngest brother and sister and they would automatically do whatever they were scheduled to do at that moment.  Like one eye motion meant "Be hungry" and another meant "Poop your diaper".  And that worked!  My stepmom also helped me to get my Little Darling onto a schedule regarding feedings and sleeping.  That changed my whole life.  I was completely miserable, rushing about, starting and stopping whatever I was doing in order to accommodate my baby. It was so much easier and my days flowed so much better when I had a schedule and you know what, my baby hopped right on board.  No problems.  If you can stay home and cater to your child's every whim and still find peace of mind with that lifestyle, DO IT!  I just wasn't able to function that way.  I am not sure what will happen this time around because I am not a student and working, but I still think I prefer my routine and a little predictability.

Wearing Your Baby vs. Not
While at a baby fair some time ago, I got the biggest shocking looks when I announced unabashedly that I don't plan to "wear my baby".  I just don't.  Why it was such a concern to others, I don't know.  Why people felt the need to convince me or judge me, I also don't know.  I was in so much pain for about 2 months after having my Little Darling.  I wasn't toting around any extra weight when I didn't have to and I wasn't having anything strapped to my body.  No harm came from it.  She learned to sleep, play, and whatever she needed in her little rocker just fine in my constant in-sight supervision as I handled whatever chores and work I needed to accomplish. I never felt badly about allowing her to sleep somewhere other than my chest.  I never felt badly about letting her learn to occupy herself or fall asleep by herself.  If you enjoy wearing your baby, rock out! But don't feel like a bad mom if you don't.  It's a preference thing.  I am waiting for studies to come out in the next few years about all the cases of babies who died from SIDS while being worn in slings for hours on end.  Until then, do whatever you feel comfortable with!

Cry It Out vs. Not
Whewie!!!!  This is a doozie!  Some time ago, a friend asked about sleeping and what to do about her infant not wanting to sleep anywhere other than her arms.  I suggested to let the baby cry for a few minutes.  Why not?  Cut on some music to drown out the sound, make a cup of coffee, and check your infant every few minutes.  Being a mom is HARD WORK!  Mental Health Breaks are totally advised.  I was, of course, met with an onslaught of mothers, projecting their personal experiences onto the situation and basically maiming me for being a "heartless, negligent mom".  Seriously?!  First, why do babies cry?  There could be Hundreds of possibilities and all of them unbeknownst to us.  So for someone to look at a mother and decide that mom's baby is crying for their reason and not something else is... well, fucked up!  This idea that you are "hurting your baby's feelings" is absurd.  We are taught those things as we age.  We are taught emotions and how to or how not to display them.  Those are learned behaviors.  A baby is a clean slate, so to think your baby is "mad at you" is asinine and has more to do with your hormones and your emotional state than your child's. Additionally, people who have acquired language cry when something is wrong/bad, again, a LEARNED behavior.  Babies have not acquired language.  Crying is a primary source of communication.  Now, with that said, if you are in a position to rock your baby to sleep for each nap and bedtime, and it is something you enjoy, do it.  But don't feel badly if you are alone often with your infant and you just need to be away from your baby for 3-5 minutes so you can wash your face or drink a cup of coffee.  Your bond will still be there.  Your baby will not hold a grudge. 

I let my daughter cry it out. I had horrible postpartum depression and I was alone with her more than I expected, as The Hubs went back to work 2 weeks earlier than we'd planned.  It was so bad that hearing her cry made me cry.  Eventually, I swaddled her and put her in her crib.  I cut on some music and cleared my head.  I checked on her every few minutes, and for my entire 15 minute break, she hollered, but I was so exhausted, I continued my break.  When I felt de-escalated and some renewed strength, I went in and held her and rocked her to sleep.  She's fine today at 8 years old and inexplicably attached to me.  I am not saying "My way is better".  I am saying you need to have a certain level of mental health to be an effective caregiver.  Self monitoring is important.  I had a friend once who was so overwhelmed with her crying baby that she explained to me a detailed mapped out plan for suicide to escape the screams.  I took her baby from her every day so she could rest for 3-4 hours.  It made all the difference.
I am not saying that I have all the answers, but I think there is a certain level of sensibility that needs to come along with parenting.  Parenting is as much about self-discovery as it is about discovering your little one.  You have to learn what works for you and your family dynamic.  You have to learn about your baby.  Some will snap to a routine and some won't.  Some will cry it out a few times and be good to go, while others will never stop screaming until you give in.

There is NO "One Size Fits All" model to parenting and nothing upsets me more than watching mothers judge one another.  How can you pass judgment when you know how hard it is?  How frustrating it can be?  How overwhelming it gets?  How lonely and clueless you can feel?  What does one gain from saying hateful things to a mother who's trying her best to keep herself together and provide as best she can for her little ones?

I am not sure how things will go this time around with this new baby on the way, but I know that I am open to doing Whatever works for the family and Whatever works best for the baby to grow into a healthy, intelligent, tolerant, successful, respectful citizen.  I don't owe anyone anything and I can't think of a single person who is worth my feeling guilty over doing my absolute best! And anyone who has the fucking audacity to make me feel like less than anything but a loving mother to my child should beware.  I might just maul their face off in a raging fit of postpartum hormones!

So, Mammas, old and new, young and old, hippies, hipsters, by-the-bookers, tough lovers, and free spirits Do What Works For You!  Every baby is different.  Every household is different.  Everyone's circumstances are different.  Don't be judged, maimed, belittled, or feel like your lack in comparison!
Be your best.  Be brave.  Be unapologetic.

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful belly!!
    I loved to be pregnant....
    You look beautiful...
    Well, you win the pattern of the doll but I didn't received your email to send you to.
    So go to my blog and fill the contact form and I will send you the PDF pattern.
    I am waiting for your email...