Today I did not write and schedule a blog like I have been the past few months. I am writing it mid-day and posting later than my 7:30 am deadline I give myself.
To be honest, life got busy as it does for everyone. I refused to pressure myself to pin a topic down and write it. I do that too often; pressure myself into being sure something is done for others. My mental health and anxiety is at stake when I do that and it’s not fair that I do it to myself.
Honestly, I could not pin point an exact “mom thought” for the week you would want to read about.
Truly, I had a stressful Tuesday at work that took a big toll on me and I had thought about that day leading up to it too. It’s been just me this week with our little guy since my husband took a quick trip with his buddy to fish, which he has thoroughly been enjoying and deserved.
The thought of stressing myself out was not worth it to make sure I wrote you the perfect blog though.
I have enjoyed a little extra one on one time each evening with my son. He has been getting extra time with his grandparents too since they have been helping watch him this week. That village, it is a real thing I am so very thankful for.
Putting our time first has been great, just him and me. Sure, I pressure myself at work to do the best I can and hit my deadlines and make sure every task on my checklist each day is marked off by the time I head home, but our time at home together is so important to me.
There is something about coming home and knowing you made it through the day a-okay and can spend that time being with your family.
Making it through every single day is an accomplishment. Remember that. Take the deep breath or the sigh of relief you deserve. You made it through.
I had taken that deep breath each night knowing I did my best as a mom, an employee, a daughter, and a friend.
Not every day is easy and not every day is your best. Nevertheless, make it through and know, there are more ahead.
Since this week is my husband’s birthday, this seemed rather fitting to write about him. We keep saying it’s going to be his best year yet. Mainly because it’s going to be his 33rd year and that was his football number as well as his favorite number.
A letter to the other team captain of our family, otherwise known as, my husband,
You have been nothing short of the best partner as our son’s father. Since the day we knew we were expecting this little man of ours, you have been on your absolute best A game.
You were a part of my pregnancy at each moment you could be by joining me at almost every single appointment while I panicked at most of them. You handled the days and nights of my mood swings, that were rather hilarious, now looking back but you managed to keep a straight face through the funniest moments.
Each craving I had you were right there enjoying it with me to ensure I didn’t gain that weight alone. 😉
The day we were scheduled to be induced, I never saw a man more excited to hear the phone ring knowing it was our time to head to the hospital so he could meet his son. Even during the 30+ hours of my labor and delivery, you kept me laughing and supported me every single step of the way. I never witnessed a prouder moment than the one where you held our son for the first time.
In the first few, toughest, weeks as new parents, you rocked it. Even when you went back to work, you didn’t miss a beat when I needed a hand in the middle of the night. You sat next to me when we had to drive him in the middle of the night and get a car wash just to be sure he was asleep at 2 am.
As the weeks moved forward, you kept me grounded, as you always have. You supported me while I started a new job and began working as a new mom. You didn’t miss a moment to snuggle your son when we would have to pass in the morning and evenings while we worked opposite shifts.
And now, while you’re doing “daddy daycare,” you are a ROCKSTAR. There wasn’t a moment before having our son that you didn’t help me in our home, but even now, you make it all look so easy. I know first hand it’s not.
Your favorite pain in the ass
This isn’t done, keep reading below…
The point of this letter is, it takes a team. Sure, I took the opportunity to brag about the amazing husband I was blessed with and am fortunate to have met all that time ago now.
(gag and roll your eyes all you want)
I have had conversations before about women who are expected to do it all alone and who have done it all alone. I’ve also had conversations about how they are surprised he helps as much as he does or how people are surprised that a dad is watching a child, that is their own. Others I’ve spoken to have had similar conversations about the surprise of their husband helping.
Why would anyone be surprised that the FATHER OF THE CHILD is taking care of his own children? It took two to make them, it sure as hell will take two to raise them, or the army you have supporting you.
If I didn’t have my husband’s help and support, it would be even harder than it is. It truly takes a team, an army, a village, whatever you’d like to call it. More on my village another day. I hope you have that support or have asked for support if it’s around you. There is no need to drain every ounce of your energy alone without being able to fill your own cup again.
Teamwork makes the dream work. That dream of being the best parent to your little ones that you can be.
Happy Birthday, honey! This little team you’ve help create loves you so much!
I’m currently surrounded by what feels like a baby boom among my friends! There are many little ones on the way. It is a very exciting time for them and everyone has questions of how mom feels and if she can feel the baby move.
You can read and ask friends all you want about pregnancy when it is your first time, especially. You will be lucky to have some friends be brutally honest with you and others think you should find out on your own. Lucky for you, I am as honest as they come when it comes to things like this. I do not like to sugar coat things and can offend some at times, but you get what you see. Moreover, I had so many questions along the way during my pregnancy and went among my friends to answer some of the odd ones.
I kept a running list, of what I remembered to note, during my pregnancy to share and now seems like a good time to do so. Honestly, if you are offended or grossed out easily, tap out now. I am not trying to rub anyone wrong here but sometimes people like the sparkle and shine of an experience rather than honesty.
I do not intend to scare anyone away from pregnancy by any means with this post, but I believe the realities of it are something to know. I was fortunate to have a very healthy pregnancy and while it was a long labor and delivery, it was as good as it could have gone to bring our little man into this world. I believe being prepared is better than avoiding reality.
My list is a bit different than what your typical things to know about pregnancy from the medical books are. Mine are more along the lines of my real life experience and my way of how I viewed it. So please take with a grain of salt if your experience was different too. Us moms are all different walks of life with our lifestyles and body types so I realize a lot of this may or may not happen to others.
You experience both good days and bad days.
There were days I felt like my baby bump was adorable and the best thing in the world. I could wear what I wanted and rock the bump with the “glow” everyone says you have. Then there were the days I felt like a whale that had beached itself for days in the hot sun and nothing I put on was remotely flattering. It comes with the territory of being pregnant. Your body is working to grow a human and it’s adapting along with hormones going up. Soak in the moments of the comfortable maternity clothing with the elastic waistbands even more on the bad days. This is normal.
Buying new bras and maternity bras, i.e. Grandma bras suck ass. No offense.
I almost had a breakdown in the dressing room when my boobs began to grow and I had to shop for new maternity bras and nursing bras. My husband was in another section of the store, thankfully, or he would have witnessed this ridiculous moment I spent in Kohl’s trying on numerous “Grandma bras.” Can someone please step up and help the prego market out?! We are on this worldly movement of feeling good in your own skin. Well, how about you make a bra that can keep these giant kahunas up and not sagging along with our ego while we have to wear these and remain uncomfortable for another 20+ weeks. Let me add too, the boob size does not dwindle back to “normal” after you are done breastfeeding. Stock up on the bra you like in the larger size. I am still rocking these babies and I am waiting for them, impatiently, to make their move back down!
Panty liners every day. No Joke.
So yes, you are growing a little human and your body is working to protect them and make all kinds of fluids for them to live in inside your body. Among that, the discharge is an ever-steady flow. Do yourself a favor and do not take this lightly. Buy yourself the largest pack of daily panty liners now. It keeps you comfortable daily and not wondering if your water broke. I told my good friend this and she came back to me a few months later laughing saying, “you weren’t kidding!” It is a topic they touch on in the books and various apps but they do not really let you know just how bad it is.
Farts are death. (If you do not fart around your other half, I apologize if I’m offending you.)
Laugh all you want. You will not be laughing when you let one out and see the cat fall over. I am not sure of the rhyme or reason on this one, but it is a very fair warning to you and those around you.
Contradition: They want you to workout but you should not be on your feet much.
I love working out. Yes, I have struggled to find that balance again now that my son is here, but even before him I tried hard to remain active and workout while pregnant. It was tough though. You are carrying around weight where you have never been challenged with balancing before. Any jumping or fast movements make you feel awkward. Then if you are like me, your body swells to all hell and are suggested to not be on your feet for long along with the back pain that ensued. It was a hard juggling act. I worked to do hip stretches daily to keep some movement in my days. I do believe that helped my recovery after delivery.
Bad days from out in left field (nowhere). Hormones suck. You just cry. You think about all the things. Good, bad, scary… just cry. Ugly cry. Your dog comforts you. Your husband does whatever he can but you need to cry. It is scary and you are human.
Hormones are crazy AF while you are pregnant.It blew me away how the bad days swooped in and the tears rolled. My husband just LOVED these days, not. I recall one night having him come into our bedroom when I went in bed before him and I was sobbing. He quickly asked what was wrong. I was crying because we had not told my parents we were expecting yet and I could not go snow skiing in Vail with them that year. Laugh it up. That was a mild day compared to others, but the mood swings come out of nowhere and it is all right, you are okay and you are as normal as the rest of the other expecting moms!
My back. Nothing helped me much.
Back to your body learning how to handle the extra weight you add to the front side. My back has always had a love-hate relationship with me, mostly hating me. I had remained active doing stretches as often as I could and even bought the pregnancy bellyband to help. That did work for a few weeks though I felt awkward wearing it under my clothes at work. When the pain got too bad, my friend who was pregnant before I was, let me borrow their STEM unit. This bad boy was a lifesaver! Certainly, ask your doctor about using one but it was what allowed me relief when I needed it most.
Swollen feet and hands. Avoid salt but chips tasted so good (they always have for me).
I have been prone to swollen feet and hands when flying over the years but man, I did not expect the amount of swelling I had while pregnant. I swear I had 10 pounds of water weight on me, at least, by the time I delivered. As hard as it became to put them on, I wore compression socks daily to help. They did help a lot too! I did not eat a very high sodium diet either for those maybe thinking that. My only crutch to the salt life was chips and still is but those are rare and more of a treat.
Heartburn in 3rd trimester, woof. Buy milk, TUMs, and honey.
Buy the TUMs. Your organs are reorganized and shifted to make room for that baby and there is nowhere for the acids to go. Bring on the heartburn. Believe it or not, I never had heartburn a single day before I was pregnant. I had to ask my dad what it felt like to determine that is what it was. It is awful and not enjoyable. You can defeat it by loading up on TUMs.
Comments you receive at the end all suck and hurt your feelings. “Wow, you look so pregnant.”
I believe people all mean well when they attempt to comment on your appearance while pregnant. However, best rule of thumb is to not say anything. Be polite and give up your seat to a pregnant woman without anything else being said aloud. I had several coworkers attempt a comment and they came out all wrong and I tried so hard to brush it off but they weighed on me. The comments are not always the best, even with good intentions, and adding in your crazy hormones, it is a bad equation.
The most important tip of all. Your mental health is JUST AS important as the baby’s health.
Taking care of yourself and making sure that your support system has an eye on you in those first few months is REALLY important. Not only the first few weeks, I mean MONTHS. You may not want to admit that something is wrong but having a confidant and someone knowing you to say you may need help is something everyone needs.
I struggled with postpartum anxiety and still do.
This is me putting myself out there because the only people I have truly talked to about this is my husband, mother, and doctor. It is not easy to admit since I never wanted to feel like I was “broken.”
So if you are being judgmental right now, step away from my blog and go elsewhere. I believe I have great a grasp on it now at almost 8 months of my son’s life. It is managed and being handled so well now that I do believe I am in control of myself again. It did not settle in or was realized until he was about 5 months old when I recognized it was more than I could handle alone and something was not right.
The stigma of mental health has really made headway over the past years and I believe we are heading in the right direction now. Our generation of moms is really working hard to speak more to one another and making it less of a socially awkward topic among everyone.
I had reached out to a few of my mama friends for tips they would share to other moms that no one told them. Here are some wonderful tips from them:
“No one tells you really how little control you have over the entire process. You’re literally a vessel. You can eat all the veggies and drink all the water but at the end of the day, it’s all just nature taking its course. I like having control so this was hard for me. Also no one tells you that when it comes to the second pregnancy, you’ll forget how awful your symptoms were the first time around. I’m pretty certain I was this sick with my first, I just blocked it out.” – Bria C.
“I’d say the biggest one is about the baby blues, PPD, and what exactly that looks like. I know pregnancy and postpartum is so unique to every woman and every woman has a different experience, but man was it tough. I really struggled with my hormones afterwards for a good 4-5 weeks and often times I questioned whether or not I had PPD. Looking back, I didn’t. But that was such a hard time and I felt so unprepared for dealing with that as a first time mom.” – Lindsay C.
“Well, my experience was super different than most people but the two things would be to prepare for the unexpected and it’s never too early to have the nursery set up. And the second would be that your plans never go as expected. Sometimes not anywhere close to what you imagined having your first baby would be like. And that if it doesn’t go as planned, it is okay to feel like you were robbed of that experience. And that it might take some time to be ok with that. And I think the last thing that I just thought of too is that every experience is different and to try not to compare your experience to others.” – Stephanie D.
“Postpartum ones: Colace, take it when you come home from the hospital 2-3 times a day. I waited too long to make it a routine on the first one. Another one I wish I knew is that going to the pediatrician for weight check every couple days is way more common than it feels when they keep asking you to come back.” – Katie H.
“I didn’t know you could throw up that many times in an hour and still be alive. Even though that’s true maybe I should try to think of somthing a little more helpful… It took me a while to get the morning snack thing down. I’d have a higher protein snack near my bed and a shot glass of OJ to help my blood sugar in the morning. I wouldn’t even open my eyes before reaching over to eat before I’d start to sit up.
I also wish I would have known that being pregnant would actually really empower me and the respect I had for my body. I was so afraid it would trigger body dysmorphic thoughts I struggled with my whole life but I really loved the physical changes and it healed the relationship with my body in a lot of ways.” – Kate M.
From the women’s statements above, you can see that just in those we are all SO very different. However, every person you meet has something to offer you with knowledge and experience. I hope mine and their statements can help even one mom with their journey through pregnancy and postpartum.
As I stated above, I really appreciate the way moms are now speaking about everything during and after pregnancy now among one another. If I did not have my mom, my mom friends, friends, and support from all who love me along this journey as a new mom, it would be MUCH different.
If you are a mom and need support or someone to talk to, please feel free to reach out to me. I do not know it all but I do have an ear to listen and just that can go a long way!
It has been around me and on social media so I feel like I definitely had to give my two cents about this topic this week. Plus I’m feeling it pretty strongly this week myself.
Raise your hand if you feel this now or have felt it as a parent. Oh, all of you? I thought so. It comes with the title and territory as a mother.
It is something every single mother deals with in all ways possible and whether she works a 9-5 job or is a stay at home mom. The guilt is real and we allow it to consume us some days.
It starts from the time we are pregnant when we begin thinking of all we are doing. If it is okay for the baby and are we doing the right thing to grow them the best way we can?
My recent guilt is the fact that my husband is home with our son full time right now since his job has a period they do not work, typically through the winter months. We are fortunate in the sense that we can take our son out of daycare for this period of time to save money but also, my husband’s favorite part, get extra quality time with our son. He didn’t get that time when I was on maternity leave so he is truly excited to have this time with him to build their relationship and make memories.
The guilt hit me hard this week when I got home from work one evening and my son was napping and my husband had thrown dinner together but quickly laid down after since he had didn’t feel good. There I was, feeling super alone and unwelcomed. This is not anyone’s fault obviously. I had gone downstairs to work out since everyone was sleeping anyways to try to give myself some me time while also avoiding and diverting my thoughts.
More guilt hit me. I was going to work out for 1 hour but then heard them moving around so I cut it in half to 30 minutes so I could go spend time with them now that they were awake. No I did not want to quit my workout, but I did want to also spend time with my family.
My son had reached for my face when I came upstairs making me melt and allow that guilty feeling to stop for a moment. He also allowed me to snuggle him, almost as if he knew mama needed that time more than he even did.
The night continued with guilt though. While I was able to lay and play with him the thoughts of what needs done around the house kept playing as a list in my head. However, I got a quick shower and was exhausted from the day since I have not been sleeping well, along with any other parent to an infant. I got ready for bed while my son had his last bottle and crawled in before he was done, but guilting myself for missing those last moments with him because I was so tired.
It’s a vicious cycle. One that I know will not end as long as I am a mom. That was only one short evening. As moms, our days are filled with endless thoughts on how we are as a parent and how we are doing. The constant worry if what we are doing is the best for our child and the best way to help them grow and become a great human in this scary world.
The truth is we are a critical and most important piece of the puzzle for these tiny humans. When we work (in whatever form it may be), it is just as important as your other half working as well. You are setting examples for them to show them how to be an individual and grow into something they want to be. By being who you are, loving those children with all you have, and providing for them by working, there should be no guilt other than being guilty of being the best parent you were meant to be for them.
This statement below is something I feel is easy to relate to our mom guilt. We can only control so much, so if we focus on that, we’re doing a hell of a job each day. We cannot control it all though.
Here is a post that a friend of mine shared this week and I believe also hits this directly on point!
No, I’m not quoting Nike on their slogan but an act that we had to do all year to make it as successful as it was.
Everyone recently wrote about the good and the bad in a year that has passed. Most had highlighted their bad moments it seemed. I wish we didn’t do that, though I know they mark moments in our life. The good moments, I hope, can outweigh your bad moments no matter how hard they can be. Here’s the thing, it’s only one year, of hopefully many for most people.
It’s a chapter.
I began thinking about our year in a whole. We were blessed to have a mostly amazing year since we welcomed our son in May and it was obviously the biggest highlight for us and still is as we get this time to watch him grow.
We also had 2 large moments that will forever be engrained in my heart. On my scheduled due date for my son to arrive, May 22nd, we had to say goodbye to our family dog of 18 years, Dolly. That may have been one of the toughest days of my life. Also, at only 6 weeks of my son’s life, my dad had unexpected open-heart surgery to bypass 5 valves. I’m not in the medical field to know the correct terms so forgive me if I misstated any of that. He is doing amazing and stronger than ever now too as a quick update to him! Super proud of him and all his lifestyle changes he has made to ensure that heart stays healthy!
The thing is with this year that has just passed us, I learned you need to just do. You do what you have to in order to make life go forward.
When I spoke to my mom after my dad’s surgery, which we have a hard time believing it had even happened since the time went so quick, we both agreed it felt that way because we didn’t have a choice but to get through it without thinking. She and I had to just do. We did what we had to in order to ensure he was going to be okay and take care of him in that time. I do believe having our little guy was some of the reason he pulled through as quickly as he did. He was bragging every day to his doc and nurses about his grandson. 😊
The same goes for being a new parent, you just do. I can say at 7 months in we still aren’t exactly sure what it is we are to do, but we do it every day and our little guy is thriving and a happy little nugget. Parenting is a ride for sure and we have figured it out this far, I think. If we didn’t just do what we had to every day it would be a lot different but together my husband and I have been successful at it I would say. Not perfect, but successful.
Another thing that popped into my head about the last year was my last job. My last job was at Bayer in Pittsburgh, PA for anyone who doesn’t know me. Last January they announced our site was closing within 2 years, shortly after we integrated Monsanto. It was a smack in the face to all of us on the timing of the announcement but we knew it was coming. It was one of those things when people asked us what we were going to do, I could only respond with, “I’m going to work through it.” I was pregnant at the time so I couldn’t exactly jump ship and scared to all hell. I had to just do and work through the days. And now here I am at a new job absolutely loving it.
Thing is, if you just do, life does move forward and more good will come. I’m not saying to ignore the twists and turns life throws at you because it can be hard, but the worrying I had done and the tears I cried while wondering about all of those stories above did me no good.
So for 2020, for anyone who struggled with 2019, give it a try and just do. You made it through the last year and here we are in a new one.