Archive for Motherhood

Save Yourself

I’ve mentioned it before, but this time of year is really hard for me. For whatever reason, this particular year has been even moreso. I don’t know exactly why that is. I’m sure part of it has to do with the fact that we missed our wellness weekend we had planned for January, and I am convinced that in previous years, this is what has kept all the negativity at bay for me. But it is what it is.

About a month ago, I heard about a song that is so relevant to me this time of year, as I’m sure it will be to many of you. Save Myself by Ed Sheeran is worth listening to at least once. It is a reminder to me that sometimes I do need to step back and think about my needs instead of putting everyone else first all the time. Being a mother, this is difficult, and of course, we cannot always take a break from our duties as mothers, but it is so important that we find a way to make some time to take care of ourselves.

It seems so easy at the time to cope in ways that are unhealthy; so many people turn to drugs or alcohol to try to help themselves deal with things. Or sometimes we don’t deal with them at all. Instead, we shove our feelings into a bottle or under a rug, thinking if we hide them they will go away. Unfortunately, they don’t go away and eventually they will resurface and we will still have to deal with them.

I know it is so hard to do…this making time for ourselves. But we are worth it.

What NOT to Say to a Friend or Family Member Experiencing a Miscarriage

As we near the anniversary of our miscarriage, I have been thinking a lot about all the things people said to me and how they made me feel. Here are a few things I would never recommend you saying to your friend or family member who is experiencing a miscarriage.

1. Well, at least you have your other kids or You should just be thankful you have your other kids. Yes, of course I am grateful for my other children. I have been blessed with two healthy children but this child that I lost was a child in his or her own right. If he or she had been born, no one would ever say “at least you have your other kids” as if I could just exchange the one I lost for one that is living.

2. Will you have more kids? I still don’t know the answer to this question and it’s been almost a year. Besides, it’s really none of your business, regardless. I honestly wouldn’t ask this question of anyone unless it was to someone I was super close to, and even then, I might not even ask.

3. Tell her about acquaintances whom she hasn’t seen or spoken to in years who are newly pregnant. Unless it’s a close friend or a family member, I really don’t need to know. There are enough pregnancy announcements on Facebook…I don’t need more than that.

4. It’s good that it happened so early. Maybe it would have been harder had we been further along, or maybe not. All I know is that in my mind, we lost a baby…a human child. And it honestly doesn’t matter that it was so early. It hurts all the same.

5. Nothing. This might be the worst thing you can do, to be honest. I realize it can be awkward for people to bring up a miscarriage but it meant the world to me when people acknowledged that I had lost a child and not some embryo or something. You don’t have to worry about “bringing it up again” because I can guarantee you that I was always thinking about it anyway. I still think about it every day, in fact.

Another thing that has been bothering me is the stigma surrounding miscarriages. Like I said before, I understand that people feel awkward with this topic but it really doesn’t have to be this way if we talk about our experiences when are moved to.

One thing I have noticed that really bothers me is that people are fine with reading posts about someone’s dog or other pet who is sick or has died and people will acknowledge this with no problems. However, talking about losing a human child while in utero just doesn’t get the same effect, and that is sad. Don’t get me wrong…I love our pets and I would do just about anything to keep them alive and well, so I’m not saying people shouldn’t post about them when things happen. They totally should. And so should a woman who has suffered a miscarriage, if she feels so inclined.

Recently, I have seen close family and friends express sympathy for people whose dogs are sick, mostly in the way of material gifts. Our dog also recently suffered a heat stroke and he got a package in the mail with a dog toy in it. All these things are super nice gestures, of course, but where the hell were these people when I was going through a miscarriage? It wasn’t that I needed anything material or anything; all I really needed was for people to acknowledge what I had lost and offer support in some way, whether through a text message or a phone call. It is during times like these that you really know who your true friends are. They are the ones who remember dates that are important to you and remember to check in with you that day. They are the ones who ask you how you’re feeling and don’t just ignore the giant elephant in the room. They are the ones who offer their support whenever you need it but still allow you the space to be silent if that is what you need.

 

The Days That Mean Nothing To You….

…but mean something to me…

Last September was a great month for me. It was the month we found out we were pregnant and I spent the entire rest of the month trying to keep such an exciting secret. Truth be told, we told more people than we planned to, but we were just so darn excited.

So for the past month or so, I’ve been thinking about how my life was exactly a year ago…all the yearly events that were going on that year and how they are panning out for this year….

The Sunday before Labor Day was the day we found out we were pregnant and the following day, we announced it to close family. Over Labor Day weekend this year we were camping, so I was able to get away and have a short run in the woods. I did ok until I saw a dad come walking down the trail with a baby in a stroller, and that’s when things started to break down.

We also attended a family game night at church recently. It went well but all I could think of was how a year ago at that same event, I had told a couple of parents there that night that we were expecting, only to find out a few days later that there would be no baby. Now that we are into October, we have come to the point where the blissful idea of a new baby ended so abruptly.

Unfortunately, so many of these significant days happened near things that happen every year or are significant on their own. For example, I miscarried the week of the Fall Festival in our town, which is one of my favorite things that happens around here. So not only will I remember that the Monday of the Fall Festival was the day that I was told there was no baby at my ultrasound and then went from there to the Fall Festival, only to have to pretend to everyone I saw there that I was fine and hope to God that no one asked how the ultrasound went, but I will also feel something on October 5, whatever day of the week that falls on. So on the Thursday of the Fall Festival, I’m going to remember feeling the gestational sac literally rip away from the inside of my body that night as we were actually at the Fall Festival, and I’m also going to relive it again on October 8, which is the Saturday of the Fall Festival. The Friday of my kids’ Fall Break, I’m going to remember being alone with the kids by myself, making a phone call to my doctors’ office to tell them I had lost the baby, and dragging both my kids to the lab to have my hormones checked, the whole time still cramping, bleeding, and crying. And I’m going to feel it all again on October 9, which is a Sunday.

I’m almost angry because October has always been one of my favorite months, but it will always be the month I lost my third child and spent the rest of the month walking around in a daze. With the fall weather moving in, I’m feeling it more and more…that the last time I was here, I was hurting badly. And the world will go on like it does, and few will notice the significance it all holds for me, so I will hold it in my silence and allow myself to feel it all again and hope that it passes quicker this time around.

Today

Today I should be 40 weeks pregnant. I don’t have any delusions, though. Yes, today I would have been 40 weeks pregnant with our third child, but I know she wouldn’t have shown up for at least several more days, given my track record. I am grateful that I have been able to keep my weight down and that my stomach is flat(ish), but I really wish I was carrying our baby. I’m excited about our 2-week venture to California next month, but I wish I was planning a maternity leave instead. While it is nice that I won’t be losing money on a maternity leave or have medical bills associated with a pregnancy this summer, I know that things would have worked out if we had been able to keep the baby.

This day (May 19) may mean something significant to other people for completely different reasons (this also happens to be the day that a friend of mine passed away in a car accident 10 years ago), but most people will live this day the way they do any other. For me, this day has been etched in my mind since we found out we were pregnant the Sunday of Labor Day weekend. It is the date that I planned the rest of my year around. Even though our baby has already been lost over 7 months ago and was buried in April, this date will forever be in my memory.

I’m not writing this to gain sympathy or in an attempt to make anyone feel sorry for me. I’m writing this because I want people to be aware that this kind of thing happens all. the. time. And a lot of times, no one even knows about it. In fact, I guarantee that you know someone this has happened to. You know someone who has cried numerous times a day for months because she lost the baby she wanted so badly. You know someone who measures the months that come after based on where she should be in her pregnancy. You know someone who thinks about the unborn baby she lost every single day. You know someone who had to suffer and grieve in silence because society tells her she shouldn’t talk about things that are hard. Even if you don’t realize it, you know someone who does this.

I am telling you this so you will remember to be kind. Everyone is fighting a battle; you just may not know about it. But it is still very real to the person fighting it.

You may not know what to say if someone tells you they have had a miscarriage, but I can tell you that what helped more than anything were two statements:

1. “I have had a miscarriage. I understand.”

2. “I can’t possibly understand all that you are going through and I don’t know what to say, but I’m sorry.”

What is not helpful is silence. I read an article recently that said “your silence is deafening” and that is so true. I can’t think of a better way to say it. When people who are close to you don’t even acknowledge that there was a child, it hurts. It is an awkward situation for many people, but I’m telling you that acknowledging the loss, even when the person didn’t know what to say, was much more comforting than ignoring it.

So I am giving you a challenge:

Be kind to someone today. In fact, go out of your way to be kind.

Try to really be present when you are with people.

Notice if something seems off for them. Even if you aren’t comfortable asking them or they aren’t comfortable telling you what’s going on, just letting someone know that you see them goes a long way.

Someone you know may be going through something that you have no knowledge of, and just one act of kindness can make such a difference.

What I Wish I Had Known About Miscarriages

Unfortunately, another by-product of the lack of public support and information about miscarriage is that women aren’t given much information about what to expect. And because so much of women’s experiences of miscarriages are kept hidden, there’s no one around to tell you how it might really feel to lose a child. These are the things I wish I had known…

1. That it can be painful. It’s like having a bad period, they said. Really?! Maybe that’s true for some people, but I have had pretty painful periods my whole life, and this was way worse than any period that I have had. I can only imagine that it would have been worse had I been even further along. It actually feels a lot more like labor than a period, only you don’t get the same end result.

2. That every pregnancy announcement I will hear or read after my miscarriage will upset me, even if I’m not even sure I want to be pregnant again. I truly hate feeling this way. I am genuinely happy for my pregnant friends. Obviously, I wouldn’t want anyone I care about to go through what I did, but it doesn’t keep me from feeling upset. It’s a completely irrational feeling but there’s nothing I can do about it.

3. That I will feel weird around pregnant women. I am often very uncomfortable around pregnant women, especially if they are due in the same month or close to when our baby was due. This is another thing I really hate but it’s not something I have a choice in. I often feel anything from anger to jealousy to just immense sadness.

4. That even if I have been feeling fine for weeks at a time, sometimes one little thing will trigger my memory of it all and I will spend most of my day thinking about it all over again. It’s crazy how even the small things will mess with me, even when it’s been almost six months.

5. That I will be “keeping track” of my pregnancy at every holiday and birthday. I am always thinking of how far along I would be in my pregnancy, and holidays just seem to make that worse. Maybe it’s because when I first found out I was pregnant, I had the whole thing mapped out in my head. Yep. Before that second pink line even showed up on the test, I already knew my due date and how far along I would be at each holiday and what I “should” be doing right now to prepare for another baby. Unfortunately, that plan I had in place that was supposed to be in play right now is not so easily forgotten.

6. That the grief resulting from a miscarriage is very lonely. Yes, I have a couple of friends who have been very understanding and helpful, but most people are just afraid to bring it up. It’s just really awkward a lot of the time.

7. That I will feel guilty that my other kids didn’t get to have the sibling they wanted. I know that there is nothing I can do about it, but I feel so badly that my kids won’t get to meet their brother or sister. They were just as excited about the new baby as we were, and I feel bad that I couldn’t fix this for them.

8. That the hormones will probably take months to sort through. Have you ever felt your hormones raging? It is a really awful feeling. It has dissipated some since the miscarriage, but my cycles are still a little “off,” though I couldn’t easily explain why. I just know that I feel the symptoms of the cyclical changes in my hormones much more than I ever did before, and some days I just feel awful because of it. It’s very frustrating to feel like you can’t physically or emotionally keep up with your life because your body just won’t allow it.

9. That some days the hormones/depression will win. This really, really sucks. It is much better than it was but it’s not where I would like to be, for sure. Being a therapist, I know what I’m supposed to do when faced with these kinds of challenges. In the beginning, I made myself keep up with my work responsibilities and my social stuff (book club, journal circle, etc.) because I knew I needed to make sure I didn’t isolate myself. I made myself get some light exercise and I started running again a couple of months ago. Sometimes, it’s the last thing I want to do, but I push myself because I know it will help. But even though I do all those things, some days are just hard, and it’s a huge leap of faith to just remind myself that tomorrow will be better.

10. That some people will just completely ignore what has happened. I know it is just because it’s awkward, but I will never again turn my head when this happens to someone I know.

This Is Your Warning

So it has been five months since my miscarriage. I was planning to be 30 (and a half) weeks pregnant right now and well into maternity clothes. The baby would be kicking frequently, and I wouldn’t be drinking wine or fully caffeinated Starbucks coffee. I would be working on scheduling a baptism for sometime in June and planning for a maternity leave. Instead, I’m figuring out how to adjust to something completely unplanned, and I’m working on being well again.

I am feeling better than I was several months ago, though I’m not sure I will ever be who I was before. A few thoughts….

1. I still think about it every day, and I am still feel very emotional about it. I went to a baby shower a couple of days ago that was for a cousin who is due with her first child a week or so before I was supposed to be due with my third child, the one I lost. It was hard. Harder than hard, if I’m being honest. I know most people probably expect that I have gotten over it or should get over it if I haven’t, but it’s just not that easy to erase a life that should have been.

2. I don’t like to say this out loud, but I just can’t be around pregnant women without feeling angry. It’s not a comfortable feeling, nor is it one that I have really chosen for myself. It isn’t that I’m not happy for my cousin or any other pregnant friends, because I am; it is just another reminder of what I should also be experiencing right now, but I’m not. I hate that it still makes me angry, but if I’ve learned anything in my line of work, it is that it is better to deal with your emotions rather than suppress them, because you will have to deal with them at some point, and they are a lot messier the longer they sit and fester. So for now, I’m angry, though not at anyone. I’m just angry. So if you are pregnant and I have been quiet around you or haven’t said much, know that it isn’t you; it’s me.

3. This whole experience has made me think differently about a lot of things. Things like how people like to constantly ask young women of child-bearing age who are married when they will start having kids, when they will have their next kid, and if they will have any more kids. Sadly enough, I’m sure I have done this before, too, but I won’t do it anymore, at least not without understanding that I might not be comfortable with the answer I get. These people who ask these sorts of questions aren’t trying to be offensive. They aren’t trying to cause problems on purpose. They might have no idea that the women they are asking the question of may have just had a miscarriage, may have been trying for months (or years) to get pregnant and haven’t been able to, have or are with a man who has fertility issues, or just simply have chosen not to try to have children at this time. I mean, it’s a free country, so feel free to ask anyone whatever you want, but you should be prepared for the answer you might get.

4. I’m sure some women would look away and pretend like it’s no big deal when asked the kind of questions I mentioned above. They might make up something or change the subject, but I’m going to be honest and say that if someone asks me that question, she’s going to get the full story. Yep. I’m going to tell you that yes, I did want another baby, but I had a miscarriage less than 6 months ago, and when you process what I’m saying and the look of shock takes over your entire face, I’m probably going to tell you what day it was and how I found out and exactly how it happened, whether you want to hear about it or not. Then, I’ll probably tell you how we tried again for a couple of months after that but I was too depressed to continue trying, so now we’re not. At this point, you’ll probably have no idea what to say, so I’ll probably just keep talking. Be ready for that, but seriously. Don’t ask questions you’re not prepared to hear the answers to. It’s that simple. Up until my miscarriage, I had been extremely lucky in this department. I conceived both of my (living) children in just two months of trying, and I conceived my third (the one that I lost) the first month. Some people try for years and years and it never happens for them, or when it does, they lose the baby, and no one really ever knows about it. The ONE miscarriage I had was a horrible experience that I wouldn’t wish on anyone, and some women have had numerous miscarriages, or have never even conceived, and they are having to endure questions like “So when are you and “insert name here” going to start having babies?” Unfortunately, most women don’t talk about their fertility issues or their losses because it’s apparently not cool to do that, so most of the time no one has any idea what they might be struggling with.

I was lucky that no one asked me any questions like that at the baby shower. Or maybe I should say they were all lucky because they didn’t have to hear my long-winded answer to that question. But the reason I would give such a long-winded and detailed answer isn’t because I want people to be uncomfortable. It’s because people would be uncomfortable when they shouldn’t be. It’s not really anyone’s fault that it is uncomfortable for them; it’s just that society has made women who have experienced these losses feel like it shouldn’t be a big deal and they are supposed to just “suck it up” and “get over it,” so very few actually talk openly about their losses. It’s a secret until someone you know has it happen to them, and then all the women you know who have experienced a miscarriage come out of the woodwork. Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for all the women who did share their stories with me, but it makes me sad for all the women who didn’t feel like they could share their stories with someone when they needed to the most. Just a little something I’ve noticed.

5. I’ve come to my final point, and then I promise I will shut up. For now. If I seem quiet, not myself, or just different, it is just me figuring out how to live with all of this. I don’t feel quite the same in social situations and I often don’t have a lot to say these days, so I have noticed that I just stay quiet a lot of the time. For those of you who know me in real life, this is pretty abnormal. Also, little things sometimes trigger my thinking and I get stuck in my head for awhile, causing me to grow quiet. This happens less often than before, but it still happens. It’s just me figuring out a new way to be.

 

 

What to Get the Mom in Your Life

Do you need to buy a gift for a mom of little kids? Don’t know what to get her? You are in the right place! Keep in mind that these suggestions may not work for every mom, but this list is meant to give you some ideas to consider.

 

1. Gift cards

Everyone I know seems to hate getting gift cards for people, but sometimes they are really the best gift. No, they may not be exciting to the person giving the gift, but I LOVE getting gift cards, because it means I can go and get something or do something I want to do. That being said, if you are going to give a gift card, just be sure to know where she shops or eats.

2. Massages, manicures, etc.

I also love getting these kind of gifts. I very rarely spend money for this kind of thing, but if someone gifts it to me, I definitely won’t let it expire!

3. Bubble bath, lotions, and other pampering items

Not every mom will agree with me on this one, but I do enjoy getting things like this because I’m really bad about buying such “self-indulgent” things for myself. Again, make sure to find out if she has any allergies or aversions to certain scents.

4. Books about being a mom

Not all moms like to read, but if she does, you might consider getting her a humorous book about being a mother. There are a lot of them out there, and one of the best things about them is that most of them are set up like a collection of essays and stories so you don’t necessarily have to remember everything from the previous chapter before starting a new one. That means if she only gets to read once a month, it’s ok to pick up where she left off.

5. Time

That’s right. I said “time.” It sounds ridiculous, but chances are, she doesn’t have a lot of time to use any of the gift cards, massages, or bubble bath she gets if she doesn’t get any time to herself. Offer to take the kids for a bit so she can shop, get a massage, or have lunch with a friend, or better yet, so she can have the house to herself! This is probably the best gift you can give a mom!

 

 What else would be good to give a mom for Christmas?

Pampering Is For Moms, Too!

In keeping with my motherhood theme for these 2014 Blogging Challenge prompts, I decided to talk about the importance of moms pampering themselves. Yes, it’s great to be a mom, but it’s also hard at the same time. It may not sound like the words “moms” and “pampering” should go together in the same sentence, but here are 5 reasons why they do go together.

1. No one else is probably going to pamper you, so you should go ahead and take the initiative. Yeah, you may get something special on Mother’s Day or your birthday but if these weren’t special days, it is likely that these days would go by without any thought of you. So many moms are givers by nature, except when it comes to themselves. We tend to do things for our kids (and our significant others) first, but we often don’t show ourselves this same courtesy. And honestly, how many times have you heard of moms doing things for themselves and you thought to yourself about how selfish she must be to choose herself over her family in that instance? I don’t know if that judgment is more about judging someone for a choice we don’t feel she should make or if it is jealousy that another mom is confident enough in herself to pamper herself from time to time and we just wish we could do something like that. This may not be 100% the case all the time, but I think in many cases, if moms don’t take care of themselves, no one else will do it for them.

2. If you do not take care of yourself, you cannot take care of other people. Let’s repeat that. If you do not take care of yourself, you cannot take care of other people. As a therapist, I have to remind myself of this every single day, and I think it is a statement that is also true of moms. This statement does not mean it is ok to neglect your children and do whatever you want whenever you want, but it certainly implies that moms must have some level of self-care in order to take care of their families. If you don’t get any down time or time to yourself, it will only make you stressed (which will make you physically sick) and short-tempered with your family and the people you love.

3. You are only one person. This is a statement I often have trouble with. As moms, we sometimes have unrealistic expectations of ourselves and all the things we should be able to do in a day. I am a list person so I am always working off of a to-do list, but sometimes I have to remind myself that there is always tomorrow. I am only one person and there is only so much I can do in a day.

4. We only have one life to live. Do you want to remember all the time you spent stressed out and sick over all the things you had to do? Or would you rather remember all the fun you had with your family? Time spent with your family is of a much better quality if you are feeling good about yourself and your life.

5. Your children will learn from you. I am assuming that, as moms, we all want our children to love themselves, be confident in themselves, and be nice to themselves. The problem is that if they don’t see us doing those things, they won’t do them, either. Sometimes when I know I am not taking care of myself, I say out loud (or write it down) what I want my children to be like and it helps to put things in perspective.

If you aren’t taking time for yourself and you feel fine, then that’s great! I’m not suggesting you should change anything if you feel like you have everything you need, but on the other side of that, I see so many moms (and people in general) who don’t have everything they need, and I firmly believe that, for a lot of us, self-care is what is missing! If you feel selfish doing it for you, then remind yourself that you’re also doing it for your family.

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My little ones waiting for me after a 5-mile run

 

What are you going to do for yourself today?

Myths About Labor

In honor of Labor Day, I want to talk about labor and delivery. Last year, I wrote about using music during labor, but this year I’d like to dispel some common myths about labor and delivery. It really is none of my concern how other women choose to give birth, whether they opt for a cesarean, induction, an epidural, a natural birth, or whatever, but what really bugs me is the lack of information women are given about these kinds of things. With such a large push for evidence-based medical treatment, it’s actually kind of ridiculous how many doctors aren’t up-to-date on this kind of information. So here are a few “myths” that really grate on my nerves.

1. “Your baby is too big to deliver vaginally” or “Your baby is too big at 37/38/39 weeks so we will need to induce.” Actually, the ACOG has concluded that a “big baby” is not a valid reason for induction, and most of the time a woman’s body will not produce a baby she cannot birth. I know people who have delivered “big” babies at (gasp!) 41 weeks and beyond and they didn’t have to do it by c section.

2. “You need an epidural.” Epidurals definitely do the job if you have difficulty dealing with the pain. I know this because I had an epidural with my first child. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having an epidural if you want one and sometimes it can help a woman relax more so that the cervix will dilate, but did your doctor also let you know that it can sometimes have the opposite effect? Sometimes epidurals can stall your labor, increasing your chances of a cesaerean, especially if your doctor is impatient and tired of waiting for your body to do things on its own. Also, if your baby would happen to get stuck on its way out, it is much more difficult to use different positioning techniques to help the baby to move to a more optimal position if you aren’t able to move your legs. Many women get epidurals and it’s not a big deal to them and things turn out fine, but it still bothers me that doctors don’t share the side effects of epidurals with their patients. Like I said, I had one birth with an epidural and one without, so the decision is totally up to the mother, but it is only fair that she receive all the information about it.

3. “You won’t be able to handle natural labor so you might as well just get the epidural.” Lots of women have their babies naturally and without drugs. In fact, that’s what everyone did before epidurals.

4. “Vbacs are not safe and scheduling a repeat caesarean is the way to go.” Yes, there is a small risk of rupture with a Vbac, but there are also numerous risks involved in cesarean, though it seems that most doctors don’t take the time to discuss them with their patients. If a woman chooses to have another cesarean, that is certainly her right, but it is a decision that shouldn’t be made without being given all the facts on both sides of the story.

5. “We need to schedule an induction by 40 weeks because the baby should be born by then.” Actually, the normal time frame for human gestation is 37 to 42 weeks and a baby is not technically “late” or post term until after 42 weeks. Though 40 weeks is simply the average length of time, it is by no means a “due date” or “expiration date.” It might be understandable if fluids and the baby’s well-being needs to be checked at this point, but most of the risk of post term babies doesn’t come into effect until after 42 weeks, so there is really no reason to induce at 40 weeks or before just based on numbers.

6. “An induction will be so easy. You just show up and we give you something to ripen the cervix overnight and start you on Pitocin in the morning.” As you have probably gathered, induction is not on my list of favorite things, but there are lots of reasons why. One is that the use of all these drugs to induce a labor that is obviously not ready to happen yet can cause problems. One of the cervix-ripening drugs (Cytotec) is not even approved by the FDA but is still used, so you should definitely find out everything that is going to be given to you if you do choose an induction. Also, I recently saw some information about the risks of Pitocin. Apparently, they know how that drug affects mothers but they don’t know how it affects the babies. What?! They are giving a drug to a pregnant mother to induce what is, many times, an unnecessary labor without knowing how it will affect the baby? Crazy. And regardless, a labor induced by Pitocin is said to be much harder and more intense than natural labor, so I wouldn’t say there is anything “easy” about it. Obviously, if there is a real medical risk, then agreeing to induce with Pitocin would be worth doing, but to me, the risk of Pitocin for no reason isn’t a good idea.

7. “Let me just break your water and things will go faster.” That might work for some women, but not all, especially if the mother is being induced and her body isn’t ready. If that’s the case, all breaking her water will do is put her on the time clock, and when she is still in labor 24 hours later, some doctors will insist on a cesarean because it has been 24 hours since the bag has been ruptured. Both times, things moved rather quickly after my water broke (and it broke on its own both times), so I feel like it would probably work for me a third time, but personally, I would never allow my water to be broken until I was much further into labor and knew that my odds of delivering vaginally were high. Many times, women get lucky and it does move things along and they do deliver vaginally, but lots of times, this doesn’t happen, and it can almost guarantee a cesarean, sadly enough.

8. “Cesareans are so easy.” Maybe they are easy in the sense that you can schedule them and you know exactly the date and (almost) the time your baby will be born, but I don’t see anything else easy about major surgery. The recovery is much more difficult and longer than recovery from a vaginal birth. Also, this often means that you will have to put up a pretty big fight to ever have a vaginal birth.

9. “Your baby is breech, so let’s schedule a cesarean.” There are lots of options to turn a breech baby, including chiropractic care, positioning, and external versions. Sometimes the baby doesn’t turn, but there are other things to try before just resigning yourself to a cesarean and your OB should be offering some of these options.

10. “Your pelvis is too small.” I have heard this so many times. This may be the case for a very small group of women, but a woman’s body is made to stretch during childbirth and the baby’s head is made to mold itself to fit through. Also, certain positions can help the body to stretch even more, and the baby’s positioning can help, too. I should point out that both of these things can be helped by changing positioning during labor, but this is difficult after being given an epidural, which is something to consider.

So you might be wondering what you should do about all this information? If you don’t care about how you have a baby, that is completely fine, and you can completely disregard everything you have just read. But if you do care how things turn out and you want to be in control of the decisions made about your pregnancy and birth, you should strongly consider:

1. Talking with your OB about his/her thoughts about these points to see what his/her professional opinion is, and if he/she still tries to sell you something that you know or suspect isn’t true, get a different one. Seriously. I did, and it was the best decision I could have made.

2. Hiring a doula. You won’t be sorry.

3. Doing your own research. There are so many possibilities in the medical world that your doctor cannot possibly know everything. What I usually do is look up some things on my own and then ask my doctor about it. A good doctor will be looking to learn new information and will be happy to keep up with new research and evidence-based treatment.

Birth is not a problem. It is a major life event and something that you should have some say in, if you choose to. You have way more options when it comes to your birth than you think you do. I firmly believe that most doctors do have their patients’ best interests in mind, but many of them are operating under old information and/or fear. There is lots of exciting research out there that is changing the face of labor and delivery and it might be up to you to find out about it. Obviously, there are medical issues that sometimes arise, and in those cases, you do what you have to in order to have the best outcome, but it’s also important to know the difference between a true medical issue or emergency and just a doctor’s preference. I am also in no way suggesting that everyone have a completely natural birth, but you have a right to know about the side effects of every decision so that you can make an educated one.

Family of Four

 

If You Aren’t a Mom…

…..then please don’t judge me! There are a whole slew of comments I am annoyed upon hearing, many of which I am sure I can be accused of saying before I had kids. They are certainly things I hope I never said to a mom and if I did, I can honestly say I now know the error of my ways. So I’m making it easy for you if you’re not a mom yet.

1. Why not just take the kids to the park to play instead of staying home and doing nothing? Well, that sounds like a really good time, right? Taking your kids to the park and letting them run around, getting sand/wood chips/those little black things stuck in their shoes and clothes. And standing under the monkey bars while one of them hangs from them insisting she doesn’t need help but is clearly struggling, while the other one is screaming at you from across the playground to help him climb up the slide. And let’s not forget about picking up random objects and taste-testing them while his/her brother/sister just fell in the mud. Now they’re both going to have baths again and there may even be a trip to the ER in your future, depending on what was just digested. Yeah, that sounds great…

2. I can’t believe you let them watch TV. Ok, so if I have been up three or four times in the middle of the night with one or both of my kids, I will do almost anything most days, ok almost every day, to be able to sleep in a little in the mornings, even if it means my kid watches Sesame Street or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse while I try to sleep in another 30 minutes. (By the way, forget Mickey Mouse – Sesame Street gives you an entire hour!) Sometimes you just do what you have to do.

3. What’s the big deal if your husband wants to spend a weekend camping with his buddies? Well, here’s the big deal. I have already spent several days with them on my own this week and now I don’t even get an hour or two on the weekend to take a break. I would count naptime as a break except that the second I do, there will be some sort of strike on nap times. You should also note here that it is not being with my children I need a break from; it’s all the things I am responsible for doing while I am with them, like wiping butts, changing diapers, cleaning up after a meal, making sure they get a bath, bedtime routines, etc. It is truly exhausting and my other half being gone means that I am on the clock the entire weekend. It is kind of like the equivalent of working at your job the entire weekend and even being on call during the night when there is a 100% chance that you will be called and expected to work for at least an hour or two when you’d rather be sleeping like every one else in the free world. It makes me tired just thinking about it. Besides, when was the last time I left to hang out with friends for the weekend? I can’t even remember, because I wouldn’t want to put all the work on my husband for an entire weekend if our kids are that little.

4. I definitely won’t stop going out with my friends after I have kids. Yeah, I totally feel like going out drinking after I have spent the last 4 nights up with my kid at least three times each night. I am 100% awake and feel great!

5. How much energy would it take to just pick up that toy and put it away? Actually it takes very little energy to pick up a single toy and put it away. What takes a significant amount of energy is to pick up that single toy about twenty times an hour for the entire time my kids are awake and moving around/destroying the house! Sometimes I feel like if I have to bend over one time to pick up that same toy from the same spot on the floor, I am going to scream and not stop until someone else comes and picks it up instead.

So obviously, motherhood is worth it or so many people wouldn’t do it, right? I mean, look at them….

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How could you be angry for long with faces like that? I am 120% convinced that God made children cute because some days it is their only saving grace.

As moms, we all do what we have to do to survive and keep our sanity intact, though that is truly debatable on some days. The last thing we want to hear, as we’re doing the very best we can, is what we should be doing from the people who really have no idea what they’re talking about. So while we’re trying to make things work, it would be nice for people to go and be judgy somewhere else, because I can guarantee we moms are all taking notes on who said what so we can give you the big “I told you so!” when you finally do decide to have kids!

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