Sending Out An S.O.S.

One of the hardest things to do when you are a new parent is to find a balance. Suddenly, you can’t just run out for a coffee, you can’t go to a movie, you can’t slip out to grab a bite. The spontaneous life you had been living before is a thing of the past because when you have a baby, your life suddenly becomes all about planning.

Doing anything without a plan, is impossible. You have to factor in if you can survive with a baby where you are going.

”Will the place I’ll be going be too loud? Will there be somewhere I can park my stroller, or should I skip the stroller all together as wear a carrier? Are the bathrooms there ones that will have a changing table? How long will I be out? How much will my baby need while we are out?”

Exclusively breastfeeding also means I have to think about whether there is a private place to feed. I am not overly shy, but I also don’t want to be gawked at while feeding my daughter, so knowing there may be a place a little more secluded where I can take my time is always best.

Making plans isn’t easy, and it becomes even more of a task when your friends don’t consider you and your baby as a package deal.

They invite you places or to events thinking your baby is something you can just hand off for the night so you can enjoy yourself. I really wish people who weren’t parents would stop for a moment and think about how much of an ordeal it is to actually come out to something where our babies aren’t considered.

I am a considerate person. I am not going to bring my baby to your wedding, or a dinner party, or anything where I know I may disrupt or pull attention away from the main event. If we are being perfectly honest, it isn’t worth the hassle of finding a fancy nursing dress so I can attend comfortably with my baby anyhow. However, don’t expect me to come to lunch or something without my baby. I am a mom, a new mom at that, and parenting is difficult. Even if I could find someone to watch my baby for the few hours, chances are, I may not want to leave my baby home.

Leaving your baby with someone when they are so young and parenting is so new is probably something you are not completely comfortable with yet. Even putting my daughter to bed and watching her on the monitor gives me anxiety at times; and I can see and hear her.

It’s understandable. When we are young and we don’t have families of our own, we are selfish. I know I was, and I am not faulting anyone for it. It’s hard to wrap our minds around anyone not having the same freedoms we do.

That being said, I’ve realized as a new mom that some of the friendships I had before are no longer ones that work for me now that I am a mom. It’s sad, but it’s true. I can’t drop everything and meet friends wherever they want. I can’t go everywhere some of my friends want to go when I have a baby in tow, and when they don’t consider that or at least try to meet me half way, it makes me realize that our friendship may not be what I want it to be. And that’s okay.

As people we grow, and sometimes the people in out lives don’t grow with us, or grow in completely different directions. I love my friends, but I realize that in my group, I was the first to have a serious relationship, I was the first to get married, and now I am the first to have a baby. A lot of my friends aren’t even close to considering building the kind of life I am already knee deep in, and that is absolutely okay. I am not trying to be the architect of their lives, I know they all have plans and dreams that they will work towards at their own pace.

I also know, that I can’t go on weekend getaways right now, that going axe throwing or go-carting is not really something I can do either, and I realize that I am just one person in a group. It may not be fair for me to always ask them to accommodate me so that I can bring my daughter, but whether I ask them to change their plans or whether I decline going altogether, there really is no way of winning.

Either way, the dynamics of our group are changing, shifting, and it becomes more clear to me each and every day that I may not fit the way I once used to.

To anyone that has a friend who recently had a baby and you are worried about losing your friendship; my advice to you is simple. Make an effort to go to them.

You don’t have to go out for lunch or make a date. Just ask them when is a good time to go over, sit with them, spend time with them and show them that you are willing to step into their world for a few hours every now and again to maintain your friendship. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate something like this, much more than being invited out.

As sad as it is to say, becoming a new parent will open your eyes to what is important in your life, and the people that you are important to. Some of the friendships you thought would last forever, may be ones that disappear completely.

Boy Or Girl?

I found out I was pregnant on January 16th, 2018. At the time, I was so excited and completely wrapped up in the new idea that I was finally pregnant, that I didn’t think too much beyond that.

I had this new, exciting secret.

I was pregnant.

However, as more time passed and my OCD started to kick into full gear I began to think about everything. Every outcome, good and bad. I researched and planned it all, every path my mind could have thought up.

When the dust settles, and you battle your way through all the fits of worry and endless planning, you stop and think about one simple thing; boy or girl?

You have this life growing inside you and you want to bond with it. You want a link and you want to start calling your little kiwi by the name you have chosen but will most likely keep to yourself for a few more months. This is a little difficult when you are constantly calling the baby it.

Typically, they say the gender is best revealed during your second trimester ultrasound, somewhere between 20-25 weeks. It was long before my 20th week when I started painting these mental images of my life and the small differences the sex of my unborn baby would make.

If you are a whimsical person, there are a few different things you can do to “determine” the sex of the baby before that ultrasound. You can pee in a cup of baking soda and water, whether or not it bubbles determines boy or girl. You can use the Chinese Gender Calendar method, which seems to be successful just as often as it is wrong.

I didn’t do any of these things. I hate having blurred answers. I hate the idea of maybes. I opted to wait for my second trimester ultrasound to determine the sex of our baby, however that didn’t stop my mind from wondering.

Turning to the forums that both kept me sane and shook my sanity, depending on the day, I decided to take a poll. Not to find out what everyone was having, but to find out what they hoped they were having.

When I was younger, I always liked the idea of having a baby girl. My reasoning was because I thought my life would be like the Gilmore Girls. I would be best friends with my daughter, we would be completely wrapped up in one another’s worlds and although we would disagree at times, we travelled through life together and our paths always worked their way back to one another.

My own mother described the differences between having daughters and sons to me. She always told me that raising girls was hard, it was an uphill battle from the time they could talk back to the time they were teenagers and eventually moved out. Similar, we were often at odds with my mother (my sister a lot more than I was). Raising boys, she said was a lot simpler. They were easier to entertain, they were like whirlwinds that seemed to leave everything slightly askew but they were easier. However, when they got older, they grew apart. They fell in love, and they created their own families, often forgetting about their mother, or leaving her a smaller role in their lives as their partner was usually close to their own parents. (Again, this is not always the case, just her opinion.)

Daughters, if you raised them right, grew up to eventually become companions. They were people that could sit with you, have a glass of wine and discuss life. They were phone calls you would spend hours on, just discussing your life and the ups and downs of it all.

Either way, raising children is an adventure.

According to the polls that I set out, it seems a lot of women these days would disagree with my mother. A lot of women want sons. This made a lot of sense to me.

I have worked with children all my life. I have been baby-sitting since I was twelve years old, long before parents asked for references and experience. I was a camp councillor, a daycare teacher, and even a nanny. My life, at one point or another, always seemed to be evolving around children.

In my own personal experience, I too felt like boys were easier. I helped my mother raise two of my brothers. Whenever a female cousin would be left in my care I would always groan at the idea of having to watch them. They always seemed like more work, like I needed to keep them entertained, always interacting with them. Boys kept themselves busy, almost a little too well and often they needed to be told to take a break from it all.

The poll had me wondering; “Why have a preference at all?” Are mother’s falling into the whole Mama’s Boy/ Daddy’s Girl lines? Children are blank slates when we get them, rough pieces of clay yet to be molded into anything, aren’t they?

Their very personalities are formed by influence. By the things we allow into their lives to shape them. Sure, sometimes children fight the molding we are doing, they become what they are to spite us rather than because of us, but even that is something we’ve done in a way.

So what does the gender of our babies matter?

When I was younger, when I had everyone else children and before I was pregnant with a child of my own, I thought I knew. It all seemed so simple to me. Boys seemed to be more fun.

Yet, meeting the right little girls has shown me first hand that there are girls that aren’t divas in training. There are adventurous, rambunctious, imaginative, wild and free little girls that make me smile and think; “Hell yeah, I want that!”

As far as I am concerned at this point of my pregnancy, the sex of my baby doesn’t matter. Healthy and happy, that is really all I want.

I’ll let you know what I think later (I will be honest, I am happier with the baby girl name we have chosen than the baby boy name, and my husband’s suggestions make me realize he will get absolutely no say in anything :P) when I actually do find out the sex of my baby.

Until then, I will pretend I know what I am talking about, and tell you that the gender of your baby is irrelevant.

That Elusive Pregnancy Glow

Let’s take a moment and go back. We’ll go back to before we grew up, back when we believed that acne went away once you grew out of puberty, back when we thought there were only two or three positions for sex, before we knew about cover-ups, and tampons, and all the other harsh realities that seemed to attack us women all at once.

Are you going back? Okay, let me know when you reach that part of your brain where you thought all pregnant women had this glow. Their hair was thick and vibrant and seemed like they were starring in shampoo commercials, their skin was flawless and dewy, all their weight went to their bellies and they were smiling and dancing and glamorous.

Stop there.

The wonderful, mystical pregnancy glow that transforms all of us women into unicorns. I’ve seen the movies, read the articles in the magazines, I have seen the commercials. What I haven’t seen, is this glow in my own pregnancy.

Considering the first symptoms of my pregnancy were constant and obnoxious gas and an abundance of acne. The bloating made me feel like I was showing until the constipation passed and then I realized my baby was a backed up food baby and not my actual baby showing. All of these things made me feel like this glow that they kept mentioning was like trying to spot Big Foot. I had heard the rumours, but had never seen the proof and at this point, it was beginning to feel more like a myth than anything else.

So, I get it ladies. You are reading through this, pregnant, feeling a little swollen and blue and wondering Girl what the hell and I reading this for? Well, I have a secret.

As elusive as that glow is, it is attainable!

Scrap what you thought it was. Throw away all those articles that tell you the hormones will do it all for you and all you have to do is sit back and marvel at your new beauty. Give up on hopes of just rolling out of bed and suddenly looking and feeling like a super model.

That pregnancy glow is all a state of mind. It’s what happens when you stop frowning at that ginormous pimple that has sprouted right between your eyes. It’s what happens when you take off the track pants and put on a bodycon dress that shapes your body and shows off that beautiful little (or big, depending on where you are) bump. It’s what happens when you fart on your husband/partner and then laugh about it. It’s what happens when your partner pushes out his belly and you take matching pictures. The glow happens… when you feel it!

One day you will push through that uncomfortable feeling, all those imperfections you were so focused on suddenly blur, and you will see yourself as this superwoman. You will push and strive for strength because suddenly you will realize that you want to be the kind of woman your baby will look up to. You want to be the kind of woman your child believes can shake and move the world.

That glow is what happens when you realize what you are made of, and each one of us is made up of more than we can ever imagine! There is no strength on this earth as powerful as a confident and determined woman!

The problem is, so many of us are blind to our strength, our eyes only glued on our weaknesses. We wait for validation, we wait for permission, we wait for the glow to come to us.

I feel like a lot of us are so overwhelmed in pregnancy. There is all this information we have to take in, all these tests we have to take, all this little worries and fears that creep into our minds about our unborn babies, we forget about ourselves. We forget that our happiness is as important to the growth and development of our babies as so much else. We forget our strength and fall to our weaknesses.

I’ve pretended to have strength, just as often as I’ve pretended to know what I am doing. I pretend I am okay on days when I feel like I am going to break down. I pretend I have all the answers when I am not even sure I fully understand the questions.

Don’t we all?

Fall into your strengths, maybe it will make all the pretending we do a little bit easier, make that glow a little more attainable.

Men and Women

They say men are from Mars and women are from Venus. That’s a very round about way of saying we couldn’t be more different. I like to chalk it all up to the differences in how we are raised. Girls are told to talk about their feelings, we are constantly asked what we are feeling and what could be wrong with us. Boys are taught to do things, their feelings are often not allowed to flourish quite the same way so they tend not to understand a lot of those feelings, or know how to properly express them.

These may seem like ways of the past, but I can see the differences daily. Boys are superheroes meant to fix things, save people. Girls are princesses. We put our sexes in these boxes and then we complain about what they grow to be.

In 2018, those boxes have grown, become more all-encompassing circles, however it’s not the case for everyone.

I think the differences between men and women seem most obvious to you when you are pregnant. Your hormones are on steroids and you are feeling so much all the time.

The first trimester of pregnancy can be extremely rough. I spent at least an hour in the morning hugging the toilet bowl, for the rest of the day I had that icky feeling you get when you are sure you are going to throw up any moment. Exhaustion shackled me, even something as routine as getting out of bed and getting dressed so I could start my day felt like torture. I was struggling to go through the motions and hoping the next day would somehow be easier.

In the back of my mind I had this fantasy that my husband would be this compassionate man who would rub my feet at every opportunity, pick up the slack around the house when exhaustion got the best of me, and understand what a struggle it all was. In reality, we were both exhausted. My husband has a very physically trying job and I was finally feeling as worn out as he usually did.

Emotions were high and I was feeling a little detached from him. In the back of my mind I kept wondering why he didn’t understand, why he couldn’t see I was growing a little person inside of me. It was a job outside of the job I was already doing every day.

In times like this I think it is important to note that although your husband/partner loves you, the pregnancy isn’t as real to them. They don’t feel those early symptoms, and until they can see the swollen belly, it’s hard for them to really understand that things are changing inside the body that still looks so familiar to them.

The first trimester can feel very isolating. To everyone else, you still look like the same person. For most moms in their first trimester, the pregnancy is something that you are keeping between you are your partner. You are struggling to cope with all the changes without hinting at anything.

My husband isn’t the villain in my story. I don’t want to paint him out to be. He is my partner and most days, he is my best friend. Try to get pregnant wore us both out a little bit, and on top of everything, we were both working busy hours. This meant that by the time we both got home from work, we were slumped unconscious on the couch. After being together for nine years, we are in this zone of comfort where we are so used to one another’s presence and moods, that a lot goes unsaid. It also means that a lot of the niceties and romances seem to be forgotten.

If I had been a lesbian, I would love to think my partner would be more aware of what I am feeling. I would love to think I would be getting my feet rubbed, desserts brought to me and lotions being rubbed on my growing baby bump day and night. The truth of the matter is all relationships require work. No matter who your partner is, it will require work. Pregnancy, unfortunately, is a time where you are so overwhelmed and tired, you forget you still need to put in the work.

Men, forget to put in the work just like we do. They have the same emotions, jump over similar hurdles. Yet, we still act as though we are on opposing sides.

Patience is key.

As is communication.

Men may be from Mars, and women may be from Venus, but we managed to get together somehow, didn’t we?

Who’s to know what I am saying. I am just an over-emotional pregnant woman wading through uncharted waters hoping I am going the right way. Pretending I know which way is the way to shore.