On Being a Woman in America

Trust me, I know I don’t have it rough.

But, I’m battling how America views mothers and women more now than ever before.

I am beginning a new job in a few days and even if I were in a position to WANT to have another baby — I simply CAN NOT think about it until I’ve been with any company for at least four months – Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) only covers you once you’ve been working at a job for at least one year. Do the math, and that means you’ve got 3-4 months that you can absolutely not get pregnant and keep your job.

And if you think it doesn’t happen – I WATCHED it happen to a co-worker. When she came back from maternity leave, and she’d only worked for the company for 10 months, she was offered a crummy job on third shift after formerly being my counterpart. It never did feel right and she obviously chose to pursue something else — which is what the employer wanted. So yeah, it happens.

I wasn’t sold on breastfeeding and I stopped after three and a half weeks. I was struggling with it, I was tired and I wasn’t enjoying motherhood and my child in the ways I wanted to be. So, I stopped. But if I’d had more time off work, that would be a different story. My friend in the United Kingdom had months and months off work (I’m not going to say it was a full six/nine/12 months because I’m not precisely certain). She did not have to worry about returning to work within exactly 12 weeks of birthing her child – she had at LEAST six months (the length of time the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests you should exclusively breastfeed). That would have given me a bit of relief. But, with just 12 weeks of leave (which I had to drain my entire vacation bank to get paid 80 percent of my pay) I wasn’t willing to battle breastfeeding’s challenges knowing I wouldn’t be able to pump and/or breastfeed once I returned to my travel-heavy career.
I’m all about the power and potential of women in every career field imaginable. I’m all for empowering women. But I will say this: we have it horribly, terribly wrong in this country.

J. Ronald Lally at The Huffington Post wrote this in May of this year:

“In the United States, 70% of working women are mothers, and yet we are one of only three nations (out of 181 studied by McGill and Harvard Universities) that don’t have paid parental leave. It’s a fact we don’t talk about very much, and through our silence, we’re failing families. It’s about time we stand up and advocate for a nationwide policy providing paid maternity leave in this country.”

(Read the entire article here).

And here’s one from kellymom.com that captures a quick math approach to what it might cost the U.S. to take on paid maternity leave.

And every site I’ve searched to find information tries to frame the conversation differently – that it’s really family leave INSURANCE – as it would be something paid for just like social security. Which may make it less attractive to others but…well…it’s just the direction this country has GOT to head.

Well, and here’s an actual scholarly, researched study that touches on paid leave. Yes, it’s from 2007, but I don’t think that there’s a ton being done to push this particular issue in any meaningful way. But let me tell you, it’s meaningful to me and all my mothering counterparts out there.
Here’s a little taste of what the study says ON PAGE ONE:

“Out of 173 countries studied, 168 countries offer guaranteed leave with income to women in connection with childbirth; 98 of these countries offer 14 or more weeks paid leave. Although in a number of countries many women work in the informal sector, where these government guarantees do not always apply, the fact remains that the U.S. guarantees no paid leave for mothers in any segment of the work force, leaving it in the company of only 4 other nations: Lesotho, Liberia, Papua New Guinea, and Swaziland.”

Yeah, I thought it said Switzerland at first, which made me feel like at least as an American I had some respectable company. And then I realized it said Swaziland. Not Switzerland. No offense to Swaziland but I had a discernable not so good feeling after that realization.

The report goes on to say that paid leave for childbearing and childrearing, “improves economic conditions of families by increasing the long-term employment and earning prospects of working parents, especially by eliminating the wage “child penalty” mothers often pay, thereby increasing job security and ensuring consistent income.”

Hmmm…this paid leave sounds like it’s a good gig if you can get it. But not to worry, in the U.S., you can’t. And probably won’t. Maybe if I try hard enough, my daughter could enjoy those benefits when she chooses to have children of her own. Or, we’ll go the way of Swaziland.

And you can get paid family leave – everywhere but here and those four other countries I listed further up the page.

I recall a time a few years ago when an employee called in sick because he had to take his daughter to the doctor. I do not kid when I tell you that he had to take the day unpaid because it wasn’t for HIS care, so it wasn’t covered by his sick days. He was told that the next time that happened, he needs to say that HE is sick so that he is eligible to use his sick days.

Sick.

And wrong.

More from the McGill/Harvard report:

“Globally, the most economically competitive countries provide, on average, longer parental leave, as well as more leave to care for children.”

Hear that nay-sayers (who ARE the nay-sayers to this – doesn’t this just make good practical, common sense!)?

THE. MOST. ECONOMICALLY. COMPETITIVE.

That’s not the United States, in large part. Not saying that paid leave would instantly make us more economically competitive, but it would make us a more attractive place to live.

Oh, and don’t get me started on the fact that I was NOT able to refer to my leave as ‘maternity leave’ but instead as ‘short term disability’. I’ve ranted on this before, but being pregnant, birthing a child, and being expected to then breastfeed that child hardly rates as anything nearing a ‘disability’ but instead proves the very CAPABILITY of women in this role.

Heck, the Bureau of Labor Statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor DEFINES short-term disability by stating it is “also known as sickness and accident insurance, short-term disability plans provide full, partial, or a combination of full and partial pay to employees who are unable to work because of a non-work-related accident or illness.”

So, the U.S. government defines pregnancy and the resulting child as an accident – at least the ways in which an employer must handle the paperwork? Classic. Just…classic.

Here’s one from Forbes.com opinion column why “Card Carrying Capitalists” should back paid family leave. From that article… “That means 42% of mothers and 86% of fathers with employer supported leave received no income at all.”

And here’s a great resource on moving the agenda forward in paid leave from Family Values @ Work.

I don’t know – I’m exhausted just thinking about how challenging it may be to move the needle on this particular issue. But it needs to be moved, and rapidly. It’s craziness. And it’s got to stop.
Pregnancy and childbirth should not be classified as short-term disability. Employers should have some sort of contingency plan in place for the development of families, right? It’s not like anyone is ever surprised that people want to have children – so why do employers not plan better for it? We as Americans should not be listed with Swaziland for any reason. That is an embarrassment. And we should certainly, if we want to make women feel guilty for stopping breastfeeding, make it easier and less pressure to accomplish that task.

 

That’s all from the soapbox.

 

 

 

Advertisements

What Makes a Breast Pump a “Pump”?

First things first – a breast pump isn’t really a pump at all, is it? I mean, a tire/air pump puts air INTO a tire. A sump pump…well, crap, I don’t even know what that does. I know that the fountain in our pond has a pump – but that’s something that takes liquid, sprays it up in the air, and continues to recycle the liquid/water. So, yeah, a breast pump just sucks breast milk out of your boob more like a vacuum or something.

Anyway – I had the following exchange with a friend who was trying to navigate breast pump shopping for her daughter-in-law and thought “You know, I bet other people would like this same information…I would have.” Her daughter-in-law JUST delivered yesterday (yes!!! Elle’s got a new friend!) so this is my advice in the event that you’re nearing delivery and intend to breastfeed.

So, here you go. My approach to breast pump and the advice I’m giving to friends.

Email from Terri: “Lindsay – Did you buy a breast pump…if so where did you get it?  I know you do your research, so I’m guessing you’ll have the scoop on the best prices.  Best price I’ve seen for Medela Pump is JC Penny (weird) for $250.00.  I question the real need for such a fancy pants one unless you’re out & about in the work place or something.  Any info you have would be appreciated.”

My response:

Here’s the gig on the breast pump: I borrowed one from my girlfriend. They TOTALLY tell you not to use anyone but your own and you fall into the trap, and then you realize that THEY are the breast pump companies themselves. Once you use a breast pump, you wonder why the HECK you wouldn’t borrow one if you could – it’s not like actual milk is pumped through the actual pump contraption. The whole thing is bizarre, because you have to wash and sanitize the pieces of the pump before you use them even when they are BRAND NEW. The whole thing escapes me, really.

If [DIL] has someone she can borrow one from, that’s the way to go. Actually, she can just use the one I’ve got at my house. My girlfriend doesn’t need it. If she’s paranoid about borrowing one/using one someone else had, here’s the gig:

You can go out and buy your own, personal attachment pieces (not that it would matter, you have to sanitize everything anyway) and you can even go directly to Medela and ask them to send you brand new pump lines (you can’t buy them anymore, and they will send them to you for free). So, if they are interested in the FREE borrow route, I’ve got a breast pump in my pantry (don’t get me started on why the heck it’s in the pantry, because I honestly couldn’t tell you, other than it was taking up too much space in my Christmas wrapping area and the pantry seemed to be a place I wouldn’t have to look at the thing.)

I know the pump itself is a good one (can’t remember the name, but it’s a Medela pump and my friend Molly, who is still breastfeeding four+ months into this Mom gig uses the same one). Anyway — the whole breast pump thing is a total racket in my opinion, but think that if you’re going to breast feed, there is absolutely NO REASON to have your boob be the only way that the kid can feed. It contributed to my sense of desperation/overwhelming/sleeplessness at the outset of the Mom-ing. I know that Molly said that the women at Genesys were/are AWESOME in helping out getting the breastfeeding going and it took Molly a solid six-eight weeks to get it figured out. It’s TOUGH but worth it, if you are set on breastfeeding.

Here’s the other thing, if you think of a breast pump this way…It’s a $250 investment. For $250 I can buy formula that lasts me for 18 weeks. If they want to invest in their very own breast pump, then don’t do it yet. You don’t need one on hand right away, especially if she’s not heading back to work right away. The only reason she’ll need one right, right away is if her milk does not come in for some reason…which is unusual. Not sure their insurance situation, but if you can get your doctor to write a prescription for a pump, then it is a lower cost. You can go to the medical supply store and they might be covered. My insurance didn’t cover it, Molly’s did. Insurance is a crap shoot, it turns out.

SYNOPSIS:
DON’T PURCHASE A PUMP NOW.
Option 1: Borrow the one I have and replace the parts if you’re paranoid or just sanitize the parts I already have.
Option 2: Purchase one down the road. You’re not going to be pumping out of the gate, and if it turns out that breastfeeding is NOT something that [DIL]’s in for the long haul, then you’ve WASTED $250 (again, 18 weeks of formula – Sam’s Club or store brand, which is what we use).
Option 3: Check and see if it’s covered by insurance and check on prices at medical supply companies around town. Who knows, they might have one cheaper. Quite certainly, use the 20% off coupon at Babies R Us to make that kind of purchase.

Ok – long winded and hopefully insightful, I’m done with imparting my tit-knowledge to you 🙂

Alright friends – that’s all I’ve got on boob-knowledge. Tomorrow’s the day: Day in the Life. Can’t wait!!

Day 18…in the life of Elle

It’s been 18 days, can you believe it?

I know there is a lot to catch up on, for sure, but I think instead of feeling intimidated and overwhelmed in catching up, I’m just going to update you on where we are NOW.

Elle is 18 days old! Can you believe it?

I remember writing (or at the very least commenting to others) about blogs I read where the women just had babies and I was disappointed that it took them so long after having the baby to write again. Well, now I get it. If I had the time/energy/resources in the right place at the right time I’d have written a lot. In my head, I’ve been writing lots of blog posts. The problem with that is that I most certainly remember less now that I have at any time in my life, so…those blog posts are gone with the fleeting memory that created them.

Not that those of you reading at home will notice, but I was just gone on a 20 minute hiatus due to a second-in-as-many-days diaper blowout. Poop? Yes. And to think I was worried that she hadn’t pooped in her first few days at home!

I went for a nice, long 2 mile walk today with the sun shining and a cool breeze…we don’t have many days left like this in Michigan this year, so I’m taking them for all they are worth.

I don’t know where I stand in post-partum weight loss, because I haven’t necessarily stepped on a scale that I trust. My pre-preggo pants do not yet fit, but I have to say that I think I’m pretty close…I figure I’ve still been a little bit swollen, but in the whole scheme of things, I feel pretty good about how my body feels and looks right now, for 18 days out of delivering out sweet baby girl.

I have been thinking a lot of how to describe loving our baby…and for a few days it was all so surreal and unreal that I don’t think that I was doing a good job visualizing how I felt about her or how her arrival impacted my life. But, the other night it came to me…it’s like my whole heart and all the things I’ve loved and cared about are still in the same place and still occupy the same space in my life and consciousness…but she outlines all of it. Seriously, loving Elle is like having my heart outlined with thoughts of her, dreams for her, fears for her and a fierce sense of protecting her.

I also have these weird moments where I’m terrified about her safety – like what if this slippery, clean baby slips out of my cautious hands? So then I’m even MORE cautious so that I have a good hold, that I know that I have her. It’s like I have to take an extra beat in the things that I do to make sure that her safety is first. Like, coming to a four way stop. I feel like I took those a lot less seriously 19 days ago. I would always assume the other cars were stopping, too. But now, I wait. I have the time. I will wait to make sure that those other cars on the roadway stop at the stop sign. Even if she’s not in the car. Because I want to be there for her.

It’s amazing, really, to understand how quickly your world goes from revolving around yourself to revolving around someone else.

In this, Elle’s third week of life, she’s beginning to have better control of her arms and hands and fingers (Jon swears that she is intentionally clawing his face this week!). She is awake for longer stretches at a time (somehow, though, not at the moments when her grandparents stop over…she seems content to sleep through the visits of most people).

Jon got laid off from the power plant job the first week we were home, which has worked out well. He and I have had a chance to get to know Elle together, separately and to work at being parents together, too. And I feel like somehow, at least right now, we are really firing on all cylinders when it comes to being parents together. And I feel like our relationship is healthy, too. I think we’re both respecting each other’s need for sleep to the point that neither one of us feels too sleep-deprived.

All in all, we’re all happy and healthy at our house.

To end my ‘I-hope-I’m-back-in-the-swing-of-things-and-post-more-often’ first post, here’s some Halloween shots of Elle.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

One Day To Go: Status Update

October 13, 2011: Less than 24 hours to go.

Due Date: TOMORROW. Seriously, tomorrow?! Seriously – tomorrow!!

Baby Developments: She’s got to be on the verge of about eight pounds right now…she’s ready to enter the world and we are ready to meet her!

Weight Gain: Gained back those two pounds I’d lost, so total weight gain is at like 27 or 28 pounds for the entire pregnancy.

Cravings: Not cravings so much, but I’m still on the cereal, milk, Twizzler, Sprite Zero kick. I accidentally ate an entire box of Frosted Mini Wheats in one day last week and half a bag of Twizzlers. And it pained me, but felt good too. So, the fact that after a showing like that I’m still on board with Mini Wheats and Twizzlers, I feel ok about that.

Aversions: Nothing in particular.

Symptoms: I’m peeing about every 36 seconds or so. Molly and I went to dinner (she treated as a thank you for taking family pics of them earlier this week) and I went before we left her house, then as soon as we got to the bar (a mile from their house) and again when our food came. It’s ridiculous. Molly assures me that that symptom disappears immediately and is exchanged for not being able to tell when you have to pee at all…so, there’s something to look forward to!

I am loving: knowing that we’re meeting our Minnie girl TOMORROW (or pretty quickly thereafter) and that Jon will be there and that I’m going to maximize my time away from work with the baby being here. All good stuff.

Sleep: Jon insisted I sleep last night, which is a good thing since tonight I’m sure I won’t sleep well, with the anticipation, etc., and knowing that we have to be AT the hospital at 5 a.m. So, I did sleep well last night. In bed as soon as the Tigers lost (boo) and up at about 8 a.m. That was as good as I could do today.

I miss: having a beer. It sounded really good last night. Not like I’m a lush, but having the ability to have a drink if I so desire is something that I’m all about. No wonder prohibition never worked out right…as an aside, I’ve been watching Prohibition on PBS and it’s AWESOME. I love that whole era — which is part of the reason I love Boardwalk Empire, too.

I am looking forward to: holding, kissing and loving our Minnie girl. And, revealing her name!

I am spazzing about: a little bit about how to handle the visitors at the hospital. I don’t know what tomorrow will hold and I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but I don’t want a parade of visitors IMMEDIATELY after she’s born. I really want to make sure that Jon and I and Minnie get some time just the three of us to savor the moments. If I have a c-section for some reason, I don’t want anyone else seeing her/holding her before I get to (other than Jon, of course). I’m just really in need of this being about our newly-formed family of three and I feel like having people at the hospital waiting will add this pressure. I think I’m prepared to handle it, but…I just don’t get a do-over on this, so I really want it to be about the three of us.

Best moment of the week: My Mom and I’s full day of enjoying each other on Saturday and Monday, when Dr. Ahmad offered up the chance to be induced this week.

Milestones: The waddle. It’s here, fo’ sho’.

Movement: Moving still, but it’s less and less as she gets bigger and bigger. This means she is SO ready to come out and play!

It’s a….: GIRL!

Exercise: Not much here at the end. The peeing every 36 seconds makes it questionable at best to go too far from facilities.

Diet: Alright.

Boobs & Belly Button: Still have an innie, which is pretty sweet. Boobs have managed to stay the same size. I went to the Motherhood Maternity store and got nursing bras last weekend, so I have that done. Got some nursing tanks too. Hopefully all the right size for these boobs which will inevitably get big as the whole breastfeeding process begins.

Goals for the upcoming week: Deliver a healthy baby, make her happy and bring her home!

Reflections on Pregnancy

With just 40 hours remaining before I begin the process of becoming unpregnant, I thought I’d take a moment and reflect on BEING pregnant and share the thoughts I wished I’d known at the outset.

You know, for the rest of you people out there just starting this rather-cool journey.

 

MATERNITY CLOTHES

I have a new found appreciation for pants with buttons on them. While I found them constrictive in many ways pre-pregnancy, when I found out I’d ‘get’ to buy maternity clothes, I was pretty pumped about the elastic waist band phenomenon. Now, I’m looking forward to pants that do NOT have elastic waist band. The grass IS always greener, isn’t it?

Seriously, though, I wish I would not have gone ape-shit at the outset and worried about having ‘options’ in my wardrobe. If you have all kinds of money to spend on a maternity wardrobe that you may or may not wear, go for it. If you’re looking to be a BIT more frugal, buy what you need AS YOU NEED IT. I have a pair of cute pants that I bought early on, because they were on sale at Target, that I haven’t worn through this entire pregnancy. And I won’t now. They still have the tags on them. I bought a denim skirt that I thought I’d get a ton of use out of. Turned out that the way I carried this Minnie girl, I didn’t need the pregnant version – my denim skirt worked just fine.

Pants/Bottoms

If you’re pregnant over the course of the summer and you can get away with it, but a few pair of crop pants. White, gray were staples in my closet.

I will also say this about pants while pregnant. You may think that the full coverage tummy thing is cool when you’re not totally showing yet…but as your belly gets bigger I found that I felt pretty constricted by the full coverage thing. I ended up often pulling the coverage band down so it was like where a more-normal pair of pants would sit and it was more comfortable. However, it also meant that it might hang out and be seen when you sit down. It’s hard to find maternity shirts that will be long enough…

Jeans were something that I tried two different versions of. I got the full banded jeans from Motherhood Maternity and they’re ok. I also got a pair of the low-rise band from Target. And the Target pants are my favorite. I wish I could have these in real-person pants. I really enjoy wearing them and they’re the most comfortable pant I’ve found. And the wash is dark enough that I can wear them to be casual or to dress up an outfit. Perfect.

Tops

Target and Liz Lange were my go-to’s initially. The t-shirts (long and short sleeved) are great and budget friendly. Wasn’t as big a fan of the Liz Lange tank tops, however. But the t-shirts. Loved them.

That is, until I stumbled upon a Gap Maternity store in Indianapolis on a work trip. I shopped the clearance rack and got Gap t-shirts, maternity style, for cheaper than I could get the Liz Lange tees at Target. SCORE. And they hold up better though the wash and look like they cost more money. If I had it to do over again, I’d have started my shopping at Gap Maternity for its combination of buget-friendliness and cute styles and cuts of pants, shirts, skirts and dresses.

Sweaters/Sweatshirts/Cardigans

I didn’t end up needing to purchase anything that was a sweater – I was pregnant mostly when it was warm out…or at least that’s when my body was most showing that it was pregnant. I wore my zip up hoodies a lot. I wore a few zip up hoodies of Jon’s. I wore a few of those comfortable, classic wraps that are popular right now. For work, I didn’t need to be in a suit that often, but when I did, I just wore dress pants with a cute top from Target, fun jewelry and put on my regular suit jacket and just didn’t even attempt to button it. I mean, don’t you think people look terribly silly when they have a HUGE belly and try to button their jackets? Well, I did. So, I didn’t invest in any type of suit jacket for the pregnancy.

Bathing Suit

I bought one bathing suit from Sears, which was really cute and I got some use out of this summer at Jon’s parents’ pool and on the lake a few times. If you are going to be pregnant in the summer and don’t feel comfortable with your linea negra showing (that dark line on your belly) or if you just don’t want to show belly-skin anyway, invest in the preggo bathing suit. It was worth the $20 or so dollars I spent on it. If you’re only a ‘little’ pregnant (i.e., not totally showing) just go with your normal suit.

Work/Business Wear

Keep in mind that I travel for work, so I can get away with wearing the same clothes over and over again and no one is the wiser. However, I invested in two pair of nice work pants – one were from Motherhood Maternity but were clearanced “A Pea in the Pod” pants that I got for about $50 and the others were from Target. I actually preferred the Target pants at the end, though Iiked knowing I had something in my closet that was A Pea in the Pod. I got over the brand name thing pretty quick, though.

I found that wearing bigger, eye-appealing jewelry often got me compliments on it rather than on whatever top I was trying to make look cute on my growing frame.

Casual/At Home

I wore my work out/yoga pants a lot, with t-shirts from Gap and Target (the maternity kind) and sports bras. That’s sort of been my go-to outfit for the most part when I’m at home.

The Dainties

I don’t know why anyone would need to buy pregnant person underwear…but everyone carries differently, so you may find that it works for you. However, I just stocked up on comfy cotton undies from Target when they were on sale. I actually slept a lot in these undies and t-shirts…trust me, regardless of time of year, your hormones are going to go crazy and you’ll be HOT often.

I found purchasing a good-fitting bra was the most challenging part of outfitting my very-different body throughout pregnancy. It’s why I went with sports bras a lot. But, I did try to purchase a few bras here and there, but my boobs seemingly changed size on a daily basis. I was just reading a book that said it was worth it to go to Victoria’s Secret, get measured, and get their bras. And when you move on to needing nursing bras, to order them online. You may find, like I did, that people are going to tell you not to get nursing bras until your milk comes in. That could be very different times for each of us, and not being prepared for nursing seems like a poor trade off for bra purchases. Anyway, I just bought nursing bras this past week. We’ll see if the timing was proper for that. I still think that I’ll go and get measured at Victoria’s Secret and order a nursing bra from them online. I think having your boobs properly supported during this time, and feeling a little fancy under your clothes, is worth the extra dollars spent. At least, that’s my opinion.

 

The Stores

Target

Worth it to shop there as often as you can, see if they have anything new. Their clearance/sale rack changes often and you can often find a wardrobe staple discounted. I found that purchasing things here was the best bet I came across.

 

Motherhood Maternity (Outlets)

These stores are pretty damn overwhelming, I have to admit. There is a TON of stuff in there, and it all seems cute. I don’t know that it’s the BEST quality for what’s out there, but you can go there and find what you need if you’re looking for a specific outfit. They also have a wide selection of on-trend outfits, nursing bras, tanks and pj’s as well as some baby gear. They have all sorts of sales-y partnerships, so you’re going to get signed up for all sorts of coupons. It’s actually better if you go in each time and don’t give them your phone number to look you up – you end up getting more and more shutterfly free codes and other great coupons.

 

Gap Maternity

As I mentioned earlier, I wish I would have gone here first. This is the best store I came across for finding a good selection of the types of clothes I was looking for, that I could make work in a lot of different settings. I guess the main thing is that you want your maternity wardrobe choices to be versatile, so Gap is a good go-to. Start there, if you can. It’s worth the drive if you can find an actual store rather than shopping online.

 

Online vs. Store

Here’s how I feel about it: I love online shopping. Clothes are hard to shop for online, but if you go to any of the stores mentioned here or any others, you can try stuff on and then go online and see if you find anything you like better. I will say that if you can find a way to order through sites with free shipping, all the better. Or, wait for a Motherhood Maternity free shipping coupon code/search for one. Motherhood doesn’t always offer free shipping which is TOTALLY annoying. It makes it not worth it to order online.

 

 

Assess Your Fickle-ness about, well, everything…

I trust that I made a good choice in doctors at the outset and have let them guide me, not carte blanche, but for the most part through this pregnancy journey. I trust them. I like the office staff. If you feel like you’ll be more picky than that, definitely do your research. I like that I go to the same doctor as a friend of mine, and she had her baby about 4 months before I’m due, so she could sort of clue me in to what to expect and we could talk about how we felt about the different doctors in the practice and their personalities.

 

Molly’s doctors did a pelvic exam at EVERY appointment. My doctors only did a pelvic exam at eight weeks, 37 weeks and 39 weeks. I was comfortable with that. If you want updates every visit, ask that question.

 

Know that every question listed on thebump.com or other similar sites doesn’t need to be asked…only IF it’s important to you. I think that there’s a lot out there that feels to be in the business of scaring us all into some weird misogynistic submission about being pregnant. Remember, it’s natural to be pregnant and labor and deliver a baby. So, if you’re comfortable, don’t let someone else’s ideas or questions drive you crazy.

 

I stayed off the message boards of all those random sites and instead have sought out blogger Mom’s (which, if you like to blog, I highly suggest…and even if you don’t). The thing about the message boards is that you never know the person in any way behind the posts…with a blog, you can stalk them a bit more and get to know what’s important to them and then take their stance/opinion/insight with that in mind. I also find that there are, frankly, a lot of uninformed idiots trolling message boards who like to preach about what choice you SHOULD make regarding:

–         Caffeine intake

–         Eating lunch meat

–         Exercise

–         Travel

–         Labor & Delivery choices

–         Breastfeeding

 

Look, I don’t know why we all get preachy about a woman’s body and the ability to make decisions on the health of that body on our own, but then all of a sudden feel cowed into an opinion based on nameless, faceless people on websites. But, we do. I do it too. Know that it’s okay to feel like others are more strict with their choices…and just live with yours.

 

On the above topics…

Caffeine

I didn’t cut it out of my diet. I enjoy my Diet Coke each morning. I did cut out coffee for the most part – though if it sounded good, I’d have some. I didn’t notice a difference in baby’s activity if I did/did not have caffeine. When I spoke with the doctor about it early on, he said that there was more caffeine in all sorts of foods that they don’t tell you to stay away from, so…all things in moderation.

 

Deli Meat

This one I didn’t know you were supposed to stay away from, then I realized that some people recommend it because the chance of contracting listeria. Which led me to research listeria. There isn’t a greater chance of contracting listeria while pregnant…your chances are the same. It can be dire for the fetus if you get listeria and if it goes unchecked. However, the odds of you getting STRUCK BY LIGHTNING IN YOUR LIVING ROOM RIGHT NOW are greater than your chances of contracting listeria. Not kidding. I did the research. But, don’t eat foods from shady restaurants and don’t eat deli meat if it seems suspect. Just use good judgment.

 

Breastfeeding

There will be La Leche Leaguers who insist that breastfeeding is the only way. There will be girlfriends who bottle feed. There will be those who are conflicted. Some women will struggle with breastfeeding, will not produce enough milk, etc. The battle of breastfeeding has been going on for centuries (think wet nurses) so don’t let yourself get caught up in it. Do it. Don’t do it. Try it, or don’t. But, most importantly, make the decision that is BEST FOR YOU. There is no empirical data that says that breastfeeding is best. The research that is out there can NOT be empirical because it is unethical to do a proper study of breastfeeding (it would require women to be assigned to NOT breastfeed, which is the sticky point). I wasn’t going to do it. Now, I’m going to try it. And see how it goes. But, I’m doing what I want, because I want it. I hope you do, too.

 

 

Most importantly, know that your journey will be different than mine, but we all share together in the fact that we have this unique ability to grow another human, and do it in 10 months of our lives. It requires some sacrifice, though not much. It will be fun and funny and enlightening. But, make it YOURS and navigate it with the help of friends, family and this wide, wide blogging world.

 

Time Flies

I just re-read some posts of mine from the last few weeks.

I’ve felt for the last four weeks that the end was near.

I got sick of hearing about the end, so I’m going to stop talking about it.

~~~~~~~~~~

I awoke this morning to the following headlines in my Gmail Inbox:

“Your Healthy Pregnancy: Week 39”

Living Social Deals: “Two Hours of House Cleaning”

“Foods That Induce Labor”

“Bottle Feeding Your Baby”

Groupon: 80% OFF JCPenney Portrait Package

“Your Breastfeeding Questions: Answered!”

Just thought I’d share these. Don’t they seem like they all go together somehow? Like, I need baby pictures of our Minnie and I need a clean house for her to call home, and we’re at the end – so here are some foods that induce labor and some tips for breast and/or bottle feeding, since I never did take the breastfeeding class.

 

Just Write…

I’ve come across some really GREAT blogs by women writers. Or, rather, women. Who happen to write.

Like here at The Big Piece of Cake.

Or, here at the Extraordinary Ordinary. (This is where I found the “Just Write” concept and fell in love with the momentum of it immediately).

And this aggregate site of blogs and info is TOO COOL.

And with that, I just used the word aggregate in a non-academic, not work-related way.

The thing is, I’m finding all these other women writers so empowering. I like knowing they’re out there, and that I’m ‘out there’ with them.

They make me want to write the blog post about the conversations Molly and I have had since she’s had her baby 13 days ago and I’m about 13 days from having my own Minnie.

Molly asked me the other day, sitting in her house as she pumped and breastfed for the umpteenth time in the day, after ANOTHER 23 minute conversation with the lactation consultant. She asked “Why does no one ever tell you what labor is really like?”

And the conversation ensued.

Mainly, she wanted to know how anyone describes the pain of childbirth as indescribable. She says she’s pretty sure she could describe it. (I’ll let it slide for now that she hasn’t, since I don’t really need the nitty gritty details of it anyway).

Then she asked if any of the books I’d read said that when you are pushing your child out it feels like you’re pooping. And why doesn’t it, she wondered. Because, that’s what it feels like, she says.

So, I’ve re-told this story to all the women I’ve come across in the meantime.

And…

They all agree.

So what the heck? Why don’t the damn books just SAY that? That that is the sensation you’re going to have?

Molly texted me today, chalking yet another one up to things no one ever tells you about having a baby.

Evidently the umbilical cord smells like garbage as its getting ready to fall off.

Again, not something they tell you in the books. Like, if you smell garbage and you’ve changed the baby’s clothes and diaper and given the baby a bath…it’s a sure bet the umbilical cord is rotting off of your brand new, clean baby.

Yuck.

But, good to know.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

I think we’ve settled on a name for our Minnie.

And no, it’s not Minnie.

But I’m also not putting it out there yet.

I like that we’ve agreed on it and yet, we’re keeping it to us. I’ve thrown it out there a few different times to different people…but Jon and I are in agreement.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The neighbor, Michael, has mowed his lawn again today. I swear that’s twice in the last three days.

Keeping up with the neighbors in lawn-mowing efficiency is tough stuff when Michael makes a habit of mowing his lawn incessantly.

It makes me feel guilty, our long grass standing at attention next to his.

I’m sure it wouldn’t be so bad if we didn’t also live on a golf course, so that the grass is always mowed right up to your property line on all sides. And then, there you are, the nine-months-pregnant gal bribing her brother to mow the lawn so that the neighbors don’t talk. Or talk anymore than they already are.