26 December 2014

40 + 3

Apparently I am the type of pregnant woman whose gestation period is longer than average, and also one who gains more weight than average. Last time I stepped on the scale (three days ago), I had officially amassed 50 pounds of weight I don't normally carry. My "due date" has come and gone, and those things are dumb, but am I ever going to go into labor on my own? I didn't before and worry my body will need prodding again. I was hoping this pregnancy would be different, and overall it has been, but this end part . . . man!

Tim has been off work this week, though, and that makes the days feel a little more tolerable. I am still in tears on a daily basis, but it helps to have someone here to fill in my slack. We were hoping he'd be here to help with the postpartum adjustment and recovery period, but it might turn out that his break from work will include more waiting than adjusting. We will see. But it is nice to have him here now. I am sort of at a point where I feel like I need more help now than I will adjusting to the new reality of having two kids, but that's probably a silly thing to think. I will probably feel extremely limited and inadequate and incapable once the baby actually arrives. I have gotten a few comments like, "The baby is easier to take care of on the inside than the outside." But Tim counters that kind of saying with, "Once the baby is on the outside, you can put them down once in a while." Hopefully the challenges presented by the adjustment to another little life in my care will be exhausting in a different way. I'm done feeling impatient or anxious or unprepared--I have lost all sense of having any control--and I am just trying to find ways to distract myself: physically, emotionally, and mentally.

Despite feeling like I'm revisiting an identical purgatory to the one I was in during the final stages of my previous pregnancy, I am confident this labor and birth experience is going to be better, so in many ways, I'm looking forward to doing that.

11 December 2014

oh, the toddler

I think this is maybe the nature of life with a toddler, but sometimes I feel sick of it. So much defiance. Almost every moment feels like a battle unless we are ignoring each other! He follows maybe one out of one hundred verbal requests, and even that percentage seems generous right now. It is getting harder for me to just pick him up and force him to go where I want him to go, and he doesn't listen even afterI allot him freedom to do as he wishes. Every time I get him out of his car seat, he tries to go downstairs to his grandma's whether she is home or not. He thinks it is funny to run away from me and then it is a game of chase in his mind. I feel like maybe I should just avoid taking him anywhere, but that seems bleak, too.

Sometimes he does things that hurt me and then laughs when I say ouch or reprimand him. He does not seem to eat real food but asks for juice and milk and sugary things instead. He constantly requests to watch TV, and I let him every day because it is easier for me, but I always feel guilty. He says "stop it" and "don't" to me constantly, and everyone else. He is quite the bossy little man.

I know it's a combination of factors that lead me to my impatience with this stage, but I wonder if part of it is this evolutionary mechanism to turn my heart toward the more helpless and dependent being who is gestating inside of me and away from the older child. I mean, there are wild mammals who basically forsake their young as soon as they are weaned (still working on the weaning thing). Is that a thing for humans? I hear people say sometimes that they can't imagine their hearts expanding to love two children because their love for their first is so great, but for me it feels sort of like I can't imagine my heart expanding to continue love my older child, and I would rather kick him out and force him to make his way on his own.

But then there are moments where he is so unbearably cute and amazing and I feel so guilty for not appreciating him more.

09 December 2014


Do you ever feel like you are not in a great position to receive advice? Probably because I'm quite prideful and am my own worst enemy, I feel like this quite often.

As baby time draws near (I wish I knew how near!), I feel increasingly anxious about the prospect of a home birth, postpartum recovery, and having two kids to stay home with and care for. The other day a woman in my ward suggested that I practice with a doll to prepare Shepherd for having a baby sister. Mommy's feeding the baby, Mommy is changing the baby's diaper, etc. Good idea, I thought, but probably it's not going to happen. I seem barely able to survive a day without the help of the TV as far as Shep is concerned and things just seem to be getting harder in many ways. I have been thinking and worrying (probably mostly unproductively) so much over the past nine months about how this transition will go for Shepherd. I'm sure I haven't done enough to prepare him for it, either. But I guess when it happens, we'll just go survive.

I've never considered myself a particularly confident or passionate person. I don't have a political agenda about breastfeeding or home birth like some of the women who make similar choices seem to have. I don't think formula is inherently evil, and I respect the experiences most women have with hospital births. The motivation behind these choices for me personally can probably be more simply boiled down to fear of the alternative. After my less-than-ideal experience birthing Shep in the hospital, I am more scared of giving birth in a hospital than I am at home, so a home birth seemed like the better option. (I am aware of the risks and implications involved with birthing at home, though, and I'm scared of those too!) I am more scared of weaning and teaching my child how to sleep on his own than I am of continuing to nurse and allow him to use it as his main method to fall asleep, despite the fact that there are a lot of implications and problematic elements involved with that choice too that I worry about.

I just wish sometimes I felt like my efforts were enough. I understand that almost all of the concern for me others express probably comes from love and good intentions, but sometimes I don't feel very receptive to suggestions, worry, and concern. I'm not doing this because I'm brave or trying to prove something. I feel weak and scared, and I want to hear positivity and confidence expressed in me because sometimes I can't seem to muster it myself. I want to hear that I'm okay and that what I'm doing seems to be working well. Of course no one else can really provide me with these things; I know it has to come from within. I suppose that's something I need to work on.

02 December 2014

lost things

Maybe this is TMI but I've been having nipple problems lately. I've diagnosed myself with Reynaud's syndrome/nipple vasospasms and I blame this condition on nursing during pregnancy. Probably women's bodies were not evolutionarily designed for nursing and gestating babies at the same time. I defy you, evolution! Consequences, though, have not all been pleasant.

This is all to say that I bought these nursing pads made out of wool in order to try to combat this condition. Wool is pretty pricey. Then one day I lost ONE of my boob sweaters. I call them boob sweaters because they're intended to keep my nipples warm enough to not spaz out. TMI? TMI TMI!

I was so very upset by this lost breast pad, which I had purchased just days before. I turned over the entire house looking for it. I couldn't imagine where it could be. I got depressed and instigated a fight with Tim because I was irritable and moody. I felt spiritually agonized and prayed that I would find the lost thing. And then, because I was in emotional turmoil and couldn't sleep, I wandered around the house around midnight and beheld the lost breast pad in the middle of the living room floor.

Yes, it was a relief that this lost thing was found. . . but . . . Tim didn't find it. I didn't find it. It just appeared. Its reappearance was as mysterious as its disappearance. Tim and I both found the manner of its recovery a little unsettling. He's started locking the doors more because maybe someone stole it and then came into our house and returned it? I have no idea. It's weird. Should I be embarrassed that I was crying not too quietly in the other room before I found it on the floor? Mysteries.

Is your spouse #1?

Over the past little while, I've noticed a couple of things crop up around the Internet about putting your spouse before your kids and how important that is to your marriage and for your kids, as well.

I'm interested in thoughts about this. Everything I have read seems to suggest that if you don't willfully prioritize your spouse's needs above your child(ren)'s, then you are in some need of adjustment.

I take issue a bit with this stance, but I'm also a little uncomfortable with my reasons for doing so. Reading what I've read has made me feel a bit guilty because I suspect often that I put my child's needs ahead of my husband's. Not intentionally, but I do so because my child is a very little human. He needs are more numerous and constant, often more simple to fulfill, more urgent, and he requires my constant presence/supervision. While I theoretically value my marriage enough to prioritize it over my child, I think in pragmatic terms it's a bit impossible, at least for me. We don't really have the resources to seek out a date night every week, for example, and I haven't prioritized it. When you don't have a free (or affordable) and reliable babysitter, it's easier to just take walks and hope the kid keeps quiet long enough for you to finish expressing a coherent thought. Sometimes it works and other times it doesn't. We just take what we can get.

I don't think it's realistic to think that your marriage will be prioritized the same way as it was pre-child. Is that just me? I justify myself by thinking that this stage of our lives (during which our opportunities to connect as two married adults are almost continuously interrupted by a young child functioning in his own dimension) is a temporary one. Our relationship probably won't go back to how it was before we became parents, but I'm sure at some point in the not-too-distant future, it will be a little easier for me to make my marital relationship more well-rounded. Sometimes right now, it feels rather like a business contract involving a parenting partnership. But is it so wrong of me to admit that my life is sort of about my kid(s) more than my marriage at this moment?

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