Why being a bad mom, isn’t bad

I’m a bad mom…but I’m damn good at it!

“Don’t let your baby sleep on his stomach!”…”Just do what you have to to get him to sleep!”…”Are you back at work already? Take more time to bond!”…”It’s been six weeks, when are you going back to work?”…”Oh, you’re a working mom?”…”Oh, you’re a stay at home mom?”… “So you’ve decided to breastfeed?”…” You’re not breastfeeding?”…

It’s enough to make your head spin and make you doubt yourself on a daily basis. I know I have. My seven-week-old son has been a joy to have. He is goofy and loves to smile at you. He loves nothing more than when he sees it’s time to eat and I’m taking out a boob for him or my husband is making him a bottle. If I am completely honest, becoming a mom has been the hardest transition of my life. Going from doing what I wanted, when I wanted to know that about every two hours I would have to feed my son, that I have another human being that fully depends on me and my husband for its life right now has been difficult, but we are getting the hang of it and our son is thriving.

It seems that no matter what decision I make for my son, there is someone who has something to say about it and it started before he was even born! When my due date was approaching and I was becoming extremely uncomfortable, I told a few close people that I had discussed inducing on my due date with my doctor. I was either met with positive affirmations that if I thought that was best for me and my doctor was okay with it, then it was great. There were also those who lashed back at me, telling me how I would regret it, that my body would decide when it was ready, that I would end up hating my birth experience if I went that route. Everyone seemed to have an opinion on how I was going to give birth, even my doctors! When the topic of pain management came up in an appointment, I told them I wasn’t sure, that I’d see how I felt when I went into labor; I wasn’t ready to commit to an epidural just yet (spoiler alert: I got an epidural). I was told that I was being a martyr and that I didn’t get bonus points for feeling all the pain. It wasn’t about that, though, it was about the fact that if I didn’t feel it was necessary, why would I have a needle stuck into my spine?

Who would I want at the hospital, or who would be told I was in the hospital would also be called into question. A co-worker had decided she had the right to tell the entire office every time I felt a twinge and even told everyone when I went to the hospital because I was having bad contractions that turned out to be false labor. She also decided that she had the right to be one of the first to know when I went into the hospital. Long before I was even thinking about giving birth, I decided that my father would be the only one to know when I was admitted. I didn’t want the pressure or people checking on me every ten seconds. I wanted to lay there and focus on what was happening and have that moment be private between my husband and I. This was, of course, met with criticism about how I would want others there with me, how I wouldn’t care who visited, that it wouldn’t matter. No, it did matter to me. Let’s be real, birth is messy. I was a wreck. I hadn’t showered, I was pretty much topless the whole time with how much my son wanted to eat and don’t even get me started on how many times I had to change the giant pad they gave me with how much blood there was. I didn’t want a parade of visitors while dealing with all that. I wanted that time for my husband and for myself to start our adjustment to parenthood.

Breastfeeding was another giant controversy. After my son was born, a nurse literally ripped my shirt down and started showing my son where my breast was, only after he had latched the first time did she think to ask if I wanted to breastfeed. Of course, I was all for it as it is best for the baby, it helps the mother a lot as well (and let’s be real, it’s free!) but, ask me before you grab my damn boob! Breastfeeding was easy for us. Other than the excruciating pain that comes along with it until you adjust to each other, my son had no problems latching and sucking and when the lactation consultant come in, she was perfectly happy with how we were doing and that was that. About two days after we took our son home, though, the cluster feeding began. For those of you who don’t know, cluster feeding is a baby’s way of upping his mother’s milk supply. It can last for HOURS…my son would be on my breast for six straight hours. My husband would sit up with me at night while this was happening trying to comfort me as I cried and cried from exhaustion and not understanding what was happening. That is when the discussion about a bottle began. at first, I didn’t want to give him one so soon. It was after my first big meltdown that we decided I would pump and my husband would take over one or two feedings at night.

The bottle brought on a whole new round of judgment, so much that I actually changed pediatrician TWICE. I am all for breastfeeding my son, it is a bond that I would not trade for anything in the world. But, when your body is giving out because it’s so exhausting and you’re mentally breaking down because you have to get up every hour and a half, it becomes extremely difficult. Once we told the pediatricians about this, we instantly got the lecture about how being on my breast was best for him and blah blah blah… I am surprised with how sleep deprived I was that I didn’t lash out at them for the judgment. My son was gaining weight like crazy after having dropped over 5% of is birth weight. He was still getting breastmilk, just from a different source and he was still on my breast about 85% of the time. Instead of letting them make me feel worse than I already did, I changed doctors. When the next one did the same thing, adding to the lecture how easy breastfeeding was once you got the hang of it, I again, said, nope, and changed doctors. Our third doctor has been very supportive, he has as baby about the same age as our son and seems to understand more the pressure and stress of breastfeeding and he didn’t even blink an eye when I told him we started giving our son formula a night because it meant he slept for 5+ hours instead of 2 hours.

Guilt has been a big thing for me. Mom guilt is REAL. I felt terrible when I would have breakdowns, I felt defeated when he would cry and I didn’t know what was wrong, I cried the first time he had a bottle and I put off giving him formula to help him sleep longer stretches for an extra three days because of how bad I felt. What I realized, though, there is no reason to feel guilty about it and in the end I realized, that everyone has an opinion on how I should raise my son, how I should feed him, who should watch him, when I should go back to work, if I should go back to work, how many vaccines he should get, what vaccines he should get…that list could go on for DAYS. In the end, I realized that the only people who had any say in how my son was raised were myself and my husband. If we want to give him formula to help sleep, I will, because we function better with more sleep, we are more alert, more attentive and less stressed out and I am a happier mom when I sleep. If I want my husband to take over a few feedings so I can run some errands on my own or get an extra few hours of sleep in, there is nothing wrong with that.

In the end, I came to a conclusion. I am a bad mom, but I am damn good at it.

Does anyone ever really tell the truth about pregnancy??

This has been a growing question of mine over the last few months as I am about to wrap up the first half of my first pregnancy. Now, I know the old saying, every pregnancy is different… but, can we be really honest and just examine the fact that almost everyone has the same symptoms, just varying degrees, some may have another symptom more often, or someone may skip one altogether, but when it comes down to it, there is a finite amount of symptoms that come along with pregnancy.

My first ten weeks were absolute hell. I will never try to hide that, I will never be one of those women who talk about how amazing pregnancy is. Yes, pregnancy is a gift, it is a miracle. There are thousands of women who struggle to have children naturally and I understand that and am very grateful for my baby. But, holy shit, no one told me how terrible those first ten weeks would be. I knew about morning sickness. I also knew that it was not limited to just the morning, but really, did it have to last 24/7 for ten weeks?? I really wish I was also exaggerating there also… it was dizzy spells, I would be looking at my computer at work and all of a sudden the screens would shift, or the words would start to do a wave pattern and I would find myself in the bathroom, trying to cool down and stop sweating. Best part? Never actually threw up. Just sat there, bent over a toilet wishing I would just get it over with, that I would just vomit and be done with the nausea for at least a few minutes hopefully, but that relief never came.

Non-stop nausea also led to a complete lack of eating. I just stopped eating. The smell of food cooking was terrible to me. If I did eat, it was cereal or raw vegetables that did have any smell to them. I actually lost ten pounds in the first ten weeks because I couldn’t force myself to eat anything. One night my fiance wanted to make me one of my favorite meals he does, simple sausage and peppers. As he started to cook, all I could smell was cinnamon french toast. Needless to say I did not eat that night. I haven’t had chicken breast since I got pregnantThere were nightly breakdowns, where my fiance would listen to me cry about how I couldn’t handle it and how I was a terrible person because all I wanted to do was cry and sleep all the time.

Next was the constipation. I’ve never experienced this before, pain that just radiated through my pelvis. I tried every over the counter remedy I could find that would hopefully help and absolutely nothing helped. Stomach pain, back pain, cramps… all wonderful side effects of constipation. The back pain was the worst, I would curl up in a warm bath (which in May, in Las Vegas is NOT so pleasant…thank you 100+ degree temperatures) and just do my best to not cry as my muscles as pulled and contracted and loosened in the most painful rhythm I have ever felt in my life. I was also so bloated that I couldn’t even fit into my normal clothes, even though I had lost weight, I was so bloated that the button on my pants actually broke at work and I had to go home during lunch to change. So. Much. Fun.

Just when I thought I couldn’t take it anymore, like I was going to break and never find a way to fix it, I woke up one morning and didn’t feel like throwing up. Bliss spread through me as it became easier to walk and function like a real person again. Then terror flooded through me as I started to wonder if something happened, there was just nothing as I came to twelve weeks. Impatiently I waited for my 12 week doctor’s appointment and the ultrasound that would confirm that my fear was nothing but that, fear. Thankfully it was just fear, I had just hit what so many call the “honeymoon” phase of the pregnancy.

“Honeymoon” was definitely an exaggeration though.  Yes, the nausea was gone, but the back pain doubled as I started to gain a bit of weight back. Whereas in my first few weeks I wanted nothing but more sleep, I find that most nights I need a Tylenol PM (cleared by my doctor of course) to get myself to sleep comfortably, and even then I found myself tossing and turning. I am attempting to use these body pillows, but find that I need to change sides too often and just get tangled and stuck and find myself more frustrated and irritated.

The “honeymoon” has also included terrible heartburn, headaches, runny nose, swollen feet and ankles, slightly blurry vision and shortness of breath. Oh, did I mention I cry over stupid things? I cried the other day because we went to a late dinner ( I worked late that night) and cried on the drive home because I was tired. Even though we were heading home for the night, just started crying because I wanted to go home and go to bed. Yeah, that’s normal (insert giant eye roll please).

What I just wrote was a giant list of terrible things about pregnancy. On my 12 week ultrasound I saw it’s heart fluttering away. Four weeks ago, at my 16 week appointment, I heard my baby’s heart beat for the first time. My fiance couldn’t be there for the 16 week appointment, so I ordered a doppler to use at home, surprising him with the sound of our baby’s heart. It brought him to tears. It still brings me to tears when I hear it. It really has to be my favorite sound in the entire world right now.

As I am writing this, I felt the little jerk kick me so hard it actually made my stomach move, the first time there has been strong enough movement for it to be possible to feel it from the outside. Which made me laugh so hard and I just wished my fiance was home to see/feel it.

Friday I go for my anatomy scan, which will measure all the organs, make sure the little one is developing correctly, make sure the placenta is in the correct position, and what I am sure will be my favorite moment, we will finally find out if it is a boy or girl. So many people I know went for elective ultrasounds around 14 weeks and I have been the one to stay strong (and want to save money) and wait it out for the scan at 20 weeks. With all my heart I feel that it is a girl, even my fiance wants a little girl. I think we both will die of laughter if it turns out to be a boy (there will be no disappointment either way!).

LOYALTY

I’ve been contemplating the word loyalty recently. A few months ago I was told that I was loyal by a married friend of mine (Let’s call him Joe) because even if another guy was around who was better looking I would not abandon him to hang with the more attractive person. The first thing that is odd about this is that I am engaged (getting married in about a month) so other men around me, I barely  notice unless they are a friend or client of mine. I contributed the comment to a night of far too much alcohol and not enough food or sleep. It was not until it was repeated by Joe that I realized he was REALLY hitting on me. Some background on Joe, he is an older man who is married to a good friend of mine and they have a mutually “open” relationship. I put “open” in quotes because the wife will tell you that even though they flirt and will kiss and do other things, they do not sleep with other people, while Joe says that they do whatever they want. First clue your relationship is very wrong, you blatantly look the other way while your husband makes a fool of you. Joe has also said that he only got married again because he “felt [my wife] deserved that]. Second clue your relationship is wrong, your husband admits he really did not want to get married. 

The loyalty comment was made after a very lengthy explanation about how I am loyal compared to another of my very good friends within our circle. My other friend (we shall call her Jane for this posts purposes) Jane, is the same age as I (mid 20’s), single and is looking for a relationship that could lead to a very happy and loving future for her. Joe, in his constant ambition to try and sleep with every girl hits on Jane constantly, makes her seem like the most important girl in the world and while she is around refers to her as one of his most beloved friends. The second she is not around, Joe will call her disloyal for flirting and talking to other men whom Jane is interested in while Joe is around. Joe goes as far to put down the men and in a way condemn Jane for considering even speaking to them, or say it will be “bad karma.” In essence, Joe becomes jealous and angry when Jane does not show Joe all her attention while he is around. This is not the only time Joe does these things, Joe also says a lot of rude things about another girl, though I do not like this girl, but then will flirt, hang out with and help her in anyway he can. Yet, the second she walks away he goes back to disliking her and making comments behind her back. 

This all leads me to believe that the story is no different with me, once I walk away Joe probably has a lot of very rude things to say, especially since I make it clear almost every time I am around him that he does not have a chance at sleeping with me, even though he makes advances and invitations quite often. But why take the time to call me loyal and give me a long speech on how I am such a loyal person in front of numerous people only to probably complain and make comments the second I turn around? 

What is loyalty then? To me, loyalty has always and will always be a promise to my friends and family to love and cherish them and help them in anyway I can when they are in need. Joe seems to take loyalty as meaning you will hang on his every word and suck his junk. If you had asked me two months ago if I was loyal to Joe, I probably would have said yes, I am. He is a friend, I cherish him and would help him if he needed it. That has seemed to devolve as of late as I have had on numerous occasions been present as he put down my fiance and out right tried to tell him that he was bad at his job because my fiance does not perform his job as Joe thinks he should (mind you, Joe is a part time bartender and spends 90% of his time wasted on tequila while my fiance is a full time armed security guard) and my fiance also does not always respond to situations in a positive way. Where as Joe thinks he can ignore something and it will go away, my fiance will confront the issue and try to fix it. Both approaches have their pros and cons, but let’s face it, when you just ignore things they tend to blow up further. 

Loyalty would be NOT talking down to your friends, as Joe tends to do. Loyalty would be to go to your friends if you have a problem, Joe just tells everyone else the problem. Finally, loyalty is respecting when a friend says no to something and not constantly pestering them about something, Joe tends to want me to go to “privet parties” him and his wife have knowing my fiance works nights and would not be able to attend, that we are not in any type of open relationship and that my fiance and I keep our privet life very….privet. 

So I may be loyal to him, but in what ways is he loyal to me? Or to anyone else? I am starting to believe that he values my loyalty because he lacks the ability to be loyal. 

Letting Go….

Letting go of someone you love is never easy. It is probably one of the hardest parts of being a human, coping with the death of a loved one. I am not going to pretend to be an expert on this subject, I have never lost a family member who I was close to, or I was too young to remember the death. In the near future it seems I will be facing the inevitable and saying goodbye to my maternal Grandmother.

My Grandmother is the only grandparent I ever knew. My father’s parents passed away before I was born and my mother’s father was never around. As for other deaths in my family, my step father passed away a few years ago, but we never got a long and though I sympathized for my mother, it was not emotional for me. Last year my mother’s sister passed away, and though losing an Aunt is typically a sad thing, I never really knew her. My mother had a lot of siblings and I was only ever really close to one of them. So again, I sympathized with my mother, but I was not too emotional over the situation.

Which brings me to now. No, my grandmother has not passed away yet, but early last Friday morning my Grandmother woke my aunt up having terrible chest pains and was taken to the hospital by ambulance. My grandmother is not the picture of health, so the phone tree started and soon I found myself being the one to call my mother and tell her the news. I waited patiently for any news they had, and was upset to learn that my grandmother would need a quadruple bypass surgery. Heart surgery is a MAJOR thing, even if WebMd and other articles say that it is a routine surgery with low chances of complications, to preform the surgery they stop your heart and lungs and use a machine to pump blood and oxygen to your body. My first thought of course is what happens if they go to restart the heart and it doesn’t work?

None of this mattered though, the day after hearing this news I received a distressed phone call from my mother informing me that the surgery had been taken off the schedule. When admitted to the hospital, my grandmother underwent a series of scans and her CT scan showed a large amount of nodules in her lungs. Once a specialist had reviewed the scans he informed my family that my grandmother would most likely only live for another month or two, so to do the surgery would mean she would spend her remaining time alive bed ridden and recovering from surgery instead of enjoying her days with family. It was revealed that my grandmother has a severe and advanced form of lung cancer. 

The amount of feelings you go through when you hear this kind of news is overwhelming. It probably took me a good fifteen minutes to regain the ability to speak. From there, it ranged from feeling completely numb to wanting to curl into a ball and never venture back into the world again. I finally settled on distracting myself for the rest of the day until I was ready to face the emotions I as going through. The emotion that hurts the most is the guilt I feel over how little time I have mad for my family over the past few years. I moved away from where I spent my entire life back in 2007 and my last visit there was in 2009 when I was going on a trip to Ireland with a friend and we departed from there. Since then, I have completely devoted myself to my education and career.

My grandmother is proud of everything I have done with my life. I would never for a moment doubt that she is fully okay with how I have chosen to live my life, but the feeling of guilt is so horrible to deal with. It is almost paralyzing in a way, I don’t want to do anything. I do not want to eat, I do not want to sleep, I do not want to work, I do not want to write. All I do is stare blankly at a wall pretty much asking myself why I did not take the time to go visit more often. Why, every year, did I say that I would visit the next year and then never go. For about two years, I would visit my grandmother every day after school (this was after I had turned 16 and received my drivers license). Then I moved away and never looked back. It is a terrible feeling. It is terrible talking to her now and hearing her say that she misses the days when I would just drop in to see her every day and how she hopes I come visit her soon.

I will be visiting my grandmother soon, but knowing I will see her soon does nothing to alleviate the guilt I have that it took a dire diagnosis for me to finally book a plane ticket. I have never lost someone who has truly occupied a large part of my heart. Just the thought of losing my grandmother makes me feel like I am going to break into a million pieces, but it does serve to teach me a valuable lesson. Never take for granted that there is always another day. I assumed that I had time with my grandmother and that I could always visit her, I assumed that she would be sitting at my wedding next year and would be taking photos with me and future husband. As my heart breaks, my eyes open and I see that I can no longer put off tomorrow what can be done today.