Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Sh*t People Really Say to You When You're Pregnant

Today marks the beginning of my 24th week of pregnancy and also the second time someone has asked if I'm sure I'm not having twins. Assholes.

The only reason you would look at someone who is pregnant and ask if she is having twins is because you're shocked by the size of her belly, boobs, swollen feet, hands, face, or any other apendage that you can't help but have swell when pregnant.  

Asking someone if they are carrying twins is like asking an overweight person if they want to rethink the dessert they just ordered because surely they've already had enough to eat. You just don't. You just wouldn't. You just shouldn't.

What is it about pregnancy that makes people feel like they have carte blanche to say whatever comes to mind and to put their hands on a woman's belly? Why would anyone want to touch a strangers stomach or think that it's appropriate in the slightest? Why not cop a feel of my huge boobs while you're at it because any hand on any part of my body is bizarre, might as well make it interesting, too.

As a mother of two already, I know that going through pregnancy and entering parenthood does bond you with other parents. A friend with whom you've never talked about sex, you can't help but discuss things like episiotomes (note: if you don't know what that is already, do yourself a favor and do not Google it) and nipple ointments. It's just some very real sh*t and you need people with whom you can keep it real. But what you don't need, is a total stranger judging you or scaring you with horror stories of pregnancy, labor and delivery.

As any mother knows, there are things about pregnancy, labor and delivery, and post-birth that you don't even share with other soon to be mothers, no matter how close you are to the person. You know that it's better left unsaid, but that you'll be there for the friend when they turn to you and say, "How come you never told me about [insert one of so many disgusting things]."

With so many women in the world and women who have had children, how is it that so many people don't know the etiquette associated with engaging with someone who is pregnant? My public service is to share some of the rules with you.


  1. Do NOT comment on the size of a pregnant woman (this includes asking if she's having multiples)
  2. If I tell you I don't know the sex of the baby, do NOT then ask "What position were you in when you conceived?" True story. Someone asked. Apparently my answer could have confirmed for this total stranger the sex of my child. Super.
  3. Don't ask a future mother if she's ready for parenthood. No one is ever ready. 
  4. Under no circumstance, other than a mother wearing a t-shirt that reads "Please touch my belly," should you approach a woman's stomach with your hand out to cup the bump.
  5. When dining with a pregnant friend, do not be alarmed if she's insulted that the waiter removed her wine glass from the table. Even if it's a good choice not to drink, we don't want anyone telling us we can't.
  6. Do not ask me about my choice of having or not having an epidural or my chioce of breastfeeding or formula feeding my child. Both are ripe with judgement.
  7. Do not respond in any way other than delight if someone reveals to you the name they've chosen for their unborn child.
  8. Don't ever say, "Was this planned or is this an "oops" baby?"
  9. Let's do away with the old wives tale that you can tell if a woman is carrying a girl because baby girls steal their mother's good looks. When spoken out loud, this is how this sounds, "Yikes. You look rough. Pregnancy acne, swollen ankles, dull hair. You must be having a girl and she already hates you."
  10. And the most sensitive question that I think all people should avoid asking anyone who is pregnant, "Are you going to stop working so you can raise your kids?" Super personal, likely complicated and never easy to answer. A legit question that to the unknowing person may not feel loaded, but it is. Trust me.
Here are two great videos that further capture some of the things people say to those who are preggo....







Thursday, June 4, 2015

But I Can't Get Pregnant! Or So They Said....

"Congratulations," my doctor says in a cautious tone not knowing if it's joy or terror filling my heart.  Truth be told, it's first terror and then joy. And the look on my face clearly reflected my feelings.

"Is this a surprise? What kind of birth control were you using?," she then asks.

Not hard questions and yet I just sat there, staring at her, suddenly more aware of my nausea than ever. Or is that the terror? 

Feeling as if I now look like a I feel --- ghostly white and ready to vomit --- in perhaps the most matter-of-fact tone in which I've ever uttered any words, I replied. "Birth control? I was relying on the fact that I CAN'T GET PREGNANT! My infertility was my birth control." My doctor just looked at me and wisely responded, "Well, apparently you're now fertile."

Who needs birth control when you've been told that you can't naturally conceive?! Apparently I do. Britney Spears' "Oops I Did it Again" popped into my head and more than it was I ironic I just felt old. (I swear I was cool when Britney first came on the scene. But now I'm knocked up...again...and making a Brit Brit reference and yes, I just referred to her as Brit Brit).

I was given a 0% chance of getting pregnant on my own with my first child. Couldn't happen. With IUI my chances increased to 15%.  Two years later I returned to the doctor who again confirmed that I would not be able to conceive without assistance, but for various reasons my odds were now just 5% with IUI.  I'm the lucky winner and I know that to be true...I won with odds of 15% and 5% and now here I am pregnant against all odds.  Sincerely, I'm grateful and not taking it for granted, but it's honestly as shocking as coming home and finding that my two children turned into dogs while I was at work. 

The hard and definitive decision to not have any more children was no longer the decision my husband and I made.  Not only was the sense of control we thought we had over our lives rattled, but with this baby, we will be outnumbered and that's just not good. Not good at all. We are a man-on-man defense and man-on-man offense kind of family. Play to your strengths and we do. Our strength is being man-on-man. Not anymore.

Last year, or maybe the year prior, there was a quiz promoted all over Facebook where based on a few questions, you were told how many children you should have. My quiz result was two.

Because every question - the medical, mystical and practical - can be answered through a Google search, I began searching "having three children." Source alone, a blog titled "Scary Mommy," I clicked on her piece about having three kids. It was the best bit of empathy I have had since finding out I was pregnant - "... Everyone asks if it’s your first and when you say it’s your third, they laugh hysterically and walk away."  

Regardless of the roller coaster ride to come, the way I see it is that I'm already buckled in with two, so really, isn't one more just like adding a few upside down turns?

According to Scary Mommy, it's not quite like that, but it is a guaranteed ride.









Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day Is About More than Moms. Thank you to All My Ladies!

Today is one of my favorite days and not because it's a Hallmark holiday added to the list of so many other "holidays." I genuinely embrace the sentiment of today and am grateful for a day that reminds me to say the thank-yous to the amazing women who keep me inspired to do better than just put one foot in front of the other.

When I think about the women in my life today, it's not just the other mothers that I want to thank. You don't have to be a mom to be mothering, caring, loving, supportive, tough, kind and part of someones village. You do, however, have to have the patience of saint to tolerate all the kid and parenting stories that you could otherwise live without. So for me, today honors those women, in addition to my fellow moms.

Parenting is much like a team sport and perhaps it's more so that than the product of a village. On the team, you have people who help you play to your strengths and those who force you to acknowledge your weaknesses. There are those who have your back and those who leave you to fend for yourself, mostly because they know you can. Just you don't know you can. And as we have heard, felt, experienced (cue the brilliant Similac video https://youtu.be/Me9yrREXOj4) parenting is a competitive sport. Why us women think keeping other women down is sport is absurd, but Mommy Wars is the parenting version of Mean Girls.

But today, on Mother's Day, it's the one out of 365 days when we have a level playing field. Today is the day when every player gets a ribbon (gasp! insert judgement about whether or not all participants should receive prizes even if they don't win). See how easy it is to judge EVERYTHING? Well let's not. For this one day.

Ladies, we can make it through one day when we only acknowledge that every single parent out there has had sleepless nights, faced tantrums, cried over spilled breast milk, not been able to get a stroller to collapse or maybe not been able to get a car seat out of a car, peed with a child on your lap, forgotten a wallet and not realized until the grocery store cashier tells you what you owe, faced a diaper blow-out in public and kissed boo boos among many, many, so so many other things.

And for those who aren't parents but are part of the team, today is the day when I give thanks to you for keeping me honest and keeping it real. For reminding me of all the declarative statements I made about parenting before becoming a parent. For not allowing me to ramble (too much) about my kids, but for indulging me when you know I need to talk, share, brag, vent. For giving me advice woman to woman and reminding me that who I am in any relationship is the same person I should be in my role as a mom.

Happy Mother's Day!






Sunday, March 29, 2015

46 Reasons Why My Three Year Old Might Be Freaking Out

This is not original content and I thank Jason Good for creating this painfully accurate list of 46 reasons why a child might be freaking out.

http://jasongood.net/365/2012/12/46-reasons-why-my-three-year-old-might-be-freaking-out/

If you can imagine the response/reaction of an 18-month old, not a three year old, you have entered my life.

May you be grateful that none of these things ring true or may you, too, be grateful that Jason Good knows your pain!


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Milestones. Pregnancy is the New Wedding

Becoming a parent is a life milestone that you're supposed to come at with excitement, joy, love, and even promise of a better tomorrow. Sounds a lot to me like how a person is expected to enter marriage. So to me, this means pregnancy is like an engagement - a time to adjust to and begin accepting the imminent life changes that each life milestone will bring.

During a pregnancy and engagement, you spend months reading books, looking at magazines and trolling Pinterest and the Internet for information and ideas.  You see smiling faces, read stories about things you vow you'll never try or do, and get some ideas/tips for how to tackle the endless list of all the "best" things you can do to have the happiest baby/wedding - not only on the block - but that anyone you know has ever seen.

So there you are, drowning in information and realizing that you have a lot of choices to make. Choices that seem daunting -- white, off white, ecru? -- swing or bouncer? -- and you become emotionally invested in these decisions as if these are the things that are going to define your wedding or parenting experience. It feels very real as these are some of the first choices you're making as a wife or parent.

You make your choices and feel proud about what you've created -- a dream wedding/a dream nursery -- and you wait anxiously for the day to arrive when you get to enjoy your creation. You are showered by friends and family and listen patiently as free advice is poured upon you, as are stories that fill your heart and stories that break your heart. You look at your "village people" and aren't quite entirely sure why you'll need an entire village to thrive in life, but the most consistent free advice you've received is that you need a village. Trust me, you do. And if you don't have a village, I promise that any close friend will lend you theirs. It's like a smoker who will always share cigarettes...Someone who has a village and knows its value will share theirs with a person who doesn't have one.

The day has come. As you walk down the aisle (or are wheeled into labor and delivery) you are keenly aware that this moment will define you. Your identity will be altered by adding a non-paying role to your resume --- that of wife or mother. (The roles aren't non-paying because they aren't worthy of a paycheck, but rather that there's not a price tag you can put on either one).

You're now a mother. You're now a wife. In both circumstances you're now responsible for another human being. And you suddenly think, How did I get here?

As a parent, you may be one of the lucky ones who coast into motherhood with ease. Leaving the house is easy, breast feeding is a cinch, and your baby naturally falls into a great sleep routine. For the majority of mothers, though, the transition is hard. Like on your wedding day, as a new mother, when something goes awry, it feels like the day is ruined. You are finally ready to leave the house with the baby, but that day the baby won't nap, won't eat, had a total diaper blowout right after being strapped into the car seat. You aren't able to leave the house and you suddenly feel like a failure. But what you really need to do is make a new plan and accept that this is parenthood -- starving for predictability and routine, but living with constant change.

It's something brides hear all the time when something at a wedding goes awry -- "No one knows that something is missing or didn't go as planned...only you know because you planned it." It's true. A dance, toast, bouquet toss or cake cutting happened out of order and you feel like the event was a failure. It wasn't. It isn't. It doesn't mean you aren't entitled to feel disappointed, but it does mean that it was nothing more than a missed moment that only you know was missed. And that, my friend, is a life long lesson. Letting go of things you can't change and not internalizing things that don't define you. And as for those fears about whether or not people liked your dress, hair and make-up, venue, flowers, cake, band or DJ, first dance, food, etc.... Guess what? People just want you to be happy and they want to have a good time. The people in your village are the people who should be at your wedding. And no one in your village shows up to judge.

Throughout parenthood, much like on your wedding day, you may feel like people are judging -- "OMG, look at her kid throw that tantrum! I would never allow my child to act that way."  But the reality is that no one is judging you or your child. They may be glad it's not their child, but they aren't judging a crying kid. That would be like judging a dog that pees on a fire hydrant. It's part of the great cliches in life. Embrace them. It will make life a lot easier. And if someone does give you that all-knowing glance or stare, simply say, "And I've bet you've never heard a baby cry." and flash a shit eating grin.

There will come a day when you look back on your pregnancy or engagement and realize how little you knew about what was ahead. And it's in that moment when you'll realize just how far you've come.




Milestones

Becoming a parent is a life milestone that you're supposed to come at with excitement, joy, love, and even promise of a better tomorrow. Sounds a lot to me like how a person is expected to enter marriage. So to me, this means pregnancy is like an engagement - a time to adjust to and begin accepting the imminent life changes that each life milestone will bring.

During a pregnancy and engagement, you spend months reading books, looking at magazines and trolling Pinterest and the Internet for information and ideas.  You see smiling faces, read stories about things you vow you'll never try or do, and get some ideas/tips for how to tackle the endless list of all the "best" things you can do to have the happiest baby/wedding - not only on the block - but that anyone you know has ever seen.

So there you are, drowning in information and realizing that you have a lot of choices to make. Choices that seem daunting -- white, off white, ecru? -- swing or bouncer? -- and you become emotionally invested in these decisions as if these are the things that are going to define your wedding or parenting experience. It feels very real as these are some of the first choices you're making as a wife or parent.

You make your choices and feel proud about what you've created -- a dream wedding/a dream nursery -- and you wait anxiously for the day to arrive when you get to enjoy your creation. You are showered by friends and family and listen patiently as free advice is poured upon you, as are stories that fill your heart and stories that break your heart. You look at your "village people" and aren't quite entirely sure why you'll need an entire village to thrive in life, but the most consistent free advice you've received is that you need a village. Trust me, you do. And if you don't have a village, I promise that any close friend will lend you theirs. It's like a smoker who will always share cigarettes...Someone who has a village and knows its value will share theirs with a person who doesn't have one.

The day has come. As you walk down the aisle (or are wheeled into labor and delivery) you are keenly aware that this moment will define you. Your identity will be altered by adding a non-paying role to your resume --- that of wife or mother. (The roles aren't non-paying because they aren't worthy of a paycheck, but rather that there's not a price tag you can put on either one).

You're now a mother. You're now a wife. In both circumstances you're now responsible for another human being. And you suddenly think, How did I get here?

As a parent, you may be one of the lucky ones who coast into motherhood with ease. Leaving the house is easy, breast feeding is a cinch, and your baby naturally falls into a great sleep routine. For the majority of mothers, though, the transition is hard. Like on your wedding day, as a new mother, when something goes awry, it feels like the day is ruined. You are finally ready to leave the house with the baby, but that day the baby won't nap, won't eat, had a total diaper blowout right after being strapped into the car seat. You aren't able to leave the house and you suddenly feel like a failure. But what you really need to do is make a new plan and accept that this is parenthood -- starving for predictability and routine, but living with constant change.

It's something brides hear all the time when something at a wedding goes awry -- "No one knows that something is missing or didn't go as planned...only you know because you planned it." It's true. A dance, toast, bouquet toss or cake cutting happened out of order and you feel like the event was a failure. It wasn't. It isn't. It doesn't mean you aren't entitled to feel disappointed, but it does mean that it was nothing more than a missed moment that only you know was missed. And that, my friend, is a life long lesson. Letting go of things you can't change and not internalizing things that don't define you. And as for those fears about whether or not people liked your dress, hair and make-up, venue, flowers, cake, band or DJ, first dance, food, etc.... Guess what? People just want you to be happy and they want to have a good time. The people in your village are the people who should be at your wedding. And no one in your village shows up to judge.

Throughout parenthood, much like on your wedding day, you may feel like people are judging -- "OMG, look at her kid throw that tantrum! I would never allow my child to act that way."  But the reality is that no one is judging you or your child. They may be glad it's not their child, but they aren't judging a crying kid. That would be like judging a dog that pees on a fire hydrant. It's part of the great cliches in life. Embrace them. It will make life a lot easier. And if someone does give you that all-knowing glance or stare, simply say, "And I've bet you've never heard a baby cry." and flash a shit eating grin.

There will come a day when you look back on your pregnancy or engagement and realize how little you knew about what was ahead. And it's in that moment when you'll realize just how far you've come.





Friday, February 6, 2015

The Unexpected Gift of Parenting

Of all the commonly asked questions to parents, I think my favorite one to answer is that of "What's been the biggest surprise so far?"

It's not how much work it takes to be a parent. It's not the amount of patience required. But for me, it's the enormity of love that so quickly bonds a child and parent.

Before my first child could speak, my brother said to me, "Isn't it amazing how much you love him and yet the two of you have never had a  conversation?" It was precisely in that moment when I realized there's no way to describe the type of love you share with your children. It just is love. Deep, crazy, unconditional, want to put you in my pocket and take you with me everywhere kind of love.

It is a strange thing how the relationship happens. For me, I prayed and hoped and planned and used fertility treatments to conceive. Once I learned I was pregnant, I felt bonded to the little person inside me and yet when I met my son I thought, "It's you?! Had I known it would be you, I would have been even more excited." It's as if, in that second that you hold your baby, you can't possibly imagine that your child could have been different in any tiny way. This person is "the" person as intended. 

And then the baby goes to the nursery and each time the nurse would wheel him back into my room to eat, I would think, "Ah, it's you again. You complete stranger who I honestly couldn't pick out of a line-up of equally chubby and bald babies. Yep, it's you. Thank God for you."

So you love this little person who literally can't survive without your love and care. Perhaps that's what makes the bond so strong. Your child has given you purpose. A deep and meaningful purpose with a dose of humility to boot. 

And then comes the smiling, laughter, playfulness and separation anxiety that makes you feel both deeply loved and horribly sad because you do have to just let them cry sometimes. After that.... the walking. Like a little drunk person who is on a mission, they follow, fall, get back up and keep on going. And then one day they start talking. And they don't stop. They won't stop.

As time passes, you get into a groove and schedule and feel like a kick-ass parent who may not have it all figured out, but you have enough figured out to feel good for the time being. Then your child changes, as do their needs, their routine and your life. So you get on a new schedule and alas you're in the cycle of parenthood. Figure it out. It changes. Adapt. Repeat.

For all the times you don't want your child to see you stressed or nervous or sad, inevitably one day you will shed a tear. I honestly didn't know if it was healthy to cry in front of my kids or if it would cause them to stress and worry. Does that sound crazy? Such a strange thing, right, to think about how I want and encourage my kids to show the full spectrum of emotions and to share them and talk with me about their feelings. And yet for me, it felt like I was failing as a mom if my kids saw me cry, as if it should be a dark and hidden secret. Well, one day I just broke and what came next rocked my world. My son gave me a hug and said, "Don't cry, Mommy. It's all going to be alright." And with that it was.

What's the most surprising thing about parenthood is the love and bond. But the most unexpected gift is that my children give back the love I give to them. I wouldn't have ever asked for it or expected to be comforted by their words or hugs, but there's absolutely nothing in the world that can beat it.