Friday, May 31, 2013

Diary of a Preggo: My Vow to My Daughter

As I get closer to the birth of my daughter, I am starting to think more about life as a parent -- what kinds of decisions I will make as a mom and how I will handle certain situations. Although having a “baby” seems to be the major focus right now, and diapers and hospitals and onesies and bottles are on my mind, I know very well that my “baby girl” will not be a baby forever.

I will be raising a human being, the most important undertaking I think I have ever embarked upon. I need to be mentally prepared for this.

Through my own experiences as a child, as well as watching others parent throughout the years, I’ve come to some conclusions about some things I’m determined to offer my daughter so that she can have a good, secure, happy life. 

I’ve also come to some conclusions on some things I will not do as a mom (admittedly some of it is based on my observations of mothers while working for a cafĂ© throughout my college years, as well as working with students and parents in my current job. I’ve seen it all).

This list may not be exactly as my husband’s list would be –  he would probably add his own promises from his own perceptions and experiences in childhood, although based on our discussions it should be somewhat similar. : )

My vow to my daughter

  •   I will not spoil you. We are fortunate enough to be able to give you the world, and I will want to, but I will not. You will learn a work ethic and you will learn the value of money. You will need to save up for things you want to buy, and you will need to get a job when you are of age. You will learn how to get your hands dirty, help out with chores, and wash your own car every now and then. You will thank me later.

  • Your first period, first time shaving your legs, trying out makeup, wearing a bra, first high school dance date, and other female milestones, will never be a source of shame for you. We will talk about these things often and early, and we will CELEBRATE them as they happen. You will never feel embarrassed or worried to ask me or talk to me about anything.

  • I will never try to be a “helicopter” parent or run your life completely. I will not force my beliefs or political opinions down your throat or try to control you. I will educate you, and teach you how to question the world around you and seek out your own answers, but you are an individual who will need to make decisions. You will need to learn how to cultivate your own beliefs, as well as how to change them if needed, and fail sometimes, and learn from your mistakes. I will support your decisions, unless of course they cause you or others harm. Especially as you grow into adulthood, I will not push my nose into your business, tell you how you have to live, or get mad at you if you don’t do things the way I want you to. If you are making a huge mistake that could hurt you, I will tell you and try to help you. But, you should not be afraid to tell me what your decisions are or how you and your adult family choose to live. I will trust what I have taught you, and understand and embrace that you have your own family now.

  • You will know God from a very young age. We will cultivate a passion for goodness, a joy for life, and faith in your heart. You will understand that our family follows God’s rules, regardless of religious affiliation.

  • I will never criticize or judge you for what you want to wear, who your closest friends are, your body, your personal habits, etc. This can be very damaging to your self esteem. I will guide you in the direction you need to be, and tell you if you are very off track or doing something that will cause you harm or ridicule from others, but I will never personally attack or shame you for being YOU.

  • You will love learning. We have been inciting a love of learning in you from the womb, and when you are born we will be reading books to you as a baby and using every learning opportunity we can find, whether that be through play, travel, or just new experiences. We will help you learn to think through situations and assertively ask questions when you need an answer. You will not be afraid of school or feel you can’t achieve or learn something, and we will make sure support systems are in place to ensure that.

  • We will try our best to raise you without fear of the unknown. You will not be afraid or hesitant to try new things. We will be engaging you in new, different, and exciting things from the time that you are small to get you accustomed to enjoying every bit of this varied and exciting world, and help you adjust to change and embrace new opportunities as an adult.

  • I will never hit you out of anger. Not when I’m PMSing, not when I’m tired, not when you push all of my buttons. If you say “I hate you,” I will respond with, “I love you.” You will be disciplined, but I will not react to you in physical anger. I promise that with my life.

  • You will understand and accept diversity and differences in others, as God would. You will not hear stereotypical racial, religious or ethnic profiling or hate speak in our household. You will be exposed to differences at a young age so that you do not fear people who are different from you.

  • You will know what it’s like to enjoy and appreciate the wonder and beauty of nature. You will not sit in front of a TV all day or on your iPad for hours. You will go outside. We will make forts in the trees, build snowmen, walk the trails at the park, make snow angels, ride bikes, stare at cloud shapes, go canoeing, run around in the sprinkler, collect rocks and bugs and leaves and toads, make sandcastles, tell stories around the bonfire. You will know the smell of grass and dirt and fresh air. You will problem solve and use your imagination. You will be active, and I promise -- we will have tons of fun.

  •  I am not going to be a pansy mom. If I say you cannot have the candy bar in the supermarket checkout line, you will not get the candy bar. Not if you have a store-wide screeching tantrum. Not if you beg me for an hour. Not if you crawl around on the floor and throw things and embarrass me. You will be disciplined for your behavior, but you will not get that candy bar. If I were to give it to you, I would be teaching you that tantrums get you what you want. Mom stubbornly sticks to her decisions, and you will learn that quick.

  • I promise that even if I’m tired or not in a good mood, if you ask me to talk to you, watch you jump in the pool, look at the picture you drew, or otherwise, I will pay attention and be accessible to you. I will try my best to overcome these times to positively engage with you and be attentive, even when I’m not feeling like it.

  •  I will cultivate your self-esteem and sense of confidence from a very young age. You will know that you are beautiful and okay just the way you are. You are special and unique and God made you to offer something to this world. You will never feel less than worthy or not good enough. I will do this through my own words, messages and actions, positive programs for girls, youth groups, education, etc. This is going to help you immensely when it comes to your relationship with men in the future.

  • I will always advocate for you and stand up for you. You will feel secure, safe, and loved at daycare, school, home, etc. I will be present at your school and communicating often with your teachers. If other adults, teachers, students, etc., are treating you badly, I will intervene on your behalf. Even if you have done something wrong, no child deserves to be treated badly. You will learn the consequences of your actions, but I will not tolerate bullying, ridicule, or just mean treatment toward you, no matter who it is coming from. And whoever it is certainly better watch out once your father gets to them.

  • I will touch you in a loving way. I will hold you, and stroke your back when you cry, and give you lots and lots of hugs. When you are very young, I will tell you I love you often. You will get to the point where you are embarrassed of me and ask me to stop, but I promise I will never stop trying. You will always know how much you are loved.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Diary of a Preggo -- Almost There!

I named this blog post "ALMOST THERE!" for a reason.

I am 31 weeks tomorrow, and the third trimester has not been nearly as kind to me as the second. They said this would happen, actually. All the books said trimester 1 is horrible, 2 is great, and 3 goes downhill fast.

However, I hoped I would avoid some of the woes of trimester three. I thought, I put in my time with all the terribleness of trimester one, right?

I was wrong.

Now, I know this entire blog I've sounded like a major whiner -- not much like my normal "optimist" personality. But to be honest this is the only outlet I have to do it. My hubby is probably incredibly tired of hearing about all my issues. He often asks "what can I do," and I never have an answer. Much of it there is no solution to. And although people are constantly asking me "how are you feeling," I'm sure they don't actually expect me to list all my negative symptoms to them. I hate to sound like a complainer.

So, I am grateful to be pregnant but I am more grateful to be ALMOST THERE, because at this point I'm pretty sure birth is the only thing that will provide me with relief.

The past week and a half the sciatica nerve pain in my buttocks that I had in the first trimester has now flared up to about twice the pain level of before. Basically my uterus is pushing on my sciatic nerve, making it and the muscles around it flare up in pain. It can start in your back and run completely down your legs, but thank God I don't have the leg part. The pain can hit you anywhere on the nerve path. Mine is in a weird spot, like the part of my lower back/hip/pelvis bone at the top part of my butt. Sometimes it's worse in one side or another and sometimes it's painful on both sides. It hurts the most when bending over and twisting. Right now it is so painful that, upon standing up after bending over to shave my legs in the shower, I experienced such a traumatic shooting pain that I screamed. Loudly. It's getting harder to walk.

Tylenol takes the edge of the pain, but does not eradicate it by any means. Every time I have to bend over (and you'd be surprised how often you do that in a day - brush your teeth, grab something out of bottom of fridge, tie your shoes, get something out of a cupboard, etc.) I have to brace myself and I dread it to the point of avoiding bending over, even if I need something. Of course, being pregnant and clumsy I drop things all the time so this does not help at all. It honestly feels like someone stabbed or shot me in the butt. That's the only way I can explain it.

I feel like I now understand what it's like for people who live with chronic pain. They must be angry and depressed all of the time, because that is honestly how I've felt. I feel helpless, and the worst part of it is that it's keeping me from staying active. I've been doing so good keeping up my exercise routine, and now I'm in so much pain that I can't fathom even sitting on a stationary bike for a little cardio.

 Last week I went for a swim (which is supposed to be good for sciatica) and it didn't hurt while I was doing it, but later that evening it hurt much worse. Walking also makes it worse. Walking and swimming are supposed to be the best exercises for pregnant women. The less I work out, the more weight I gain, which depresses me even further. I can't win.

I miss working out. I miss my old body. I miss running the most. I can't wait to run again.

Today I packed a bag and had planned to try and go to the gym. Instead the pain got worse throughout the day. I came home, laid on the couch on the side that doesn't hurt as much, put a pillow in between my legs, and closed my eyes until the Tylenol kicked in, just so I could get up and help make dinner. I was close to tears. I then took a hot bath, and it was the only 15 minutes in the past two days that I didn't feel constant pain. A few minutes after getting out of the bath, the pain was back (a tiny bit better though).

I have a physical therapy appointment tomorrow morning (which took two days of phone calls and paperwork to set up due to referral paperwork and people being out of the office), but honestly I'm not that optimistic about it. The stretches the therapist gave me to do the first trimester are no longer working. It seems to be my doctor's only solution. We'll see if she has any more tricks up her sleeve. If not, the next step is acupuncture or a chiropractor, which I've never really believed in. At this point though, I'm willing to try anything. I only have about two months to go, but two months with constant pain is two months too long.

I can deal with heartburn, fatigue, and swollen ankles (all of which has hit me this trimester); but constant pain, that I can't deal with.

And, my whining is done for the day. Thank you :)

On a positive note, we went to our birth class last weekend and got a tour of the hospital's birthing suites. All my questions got answered, and I honestly feel really good about it. I'm looking forward to the birth. I can't wait to meet her, and tell her all about these 9 months of sacrifice ; )

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Diary of a Preggo: Why I'm always late to work

Why This Preggo is Always Late to Work

So, if any of you out there are thinking about becoming pregnant or have recently found out you are pregnant, I would highly suggest adding an extra hour or two to your morning schedule so you can get to work on time.

I am lucky to have a really flexible schedule and don't punch a time clock, but I still find myself getting in later than planned in the mornings now that I am further along in my pregnancy. I realized there are actually a lot of extra tasks, or slower tasks, that are taking up my time as I get bigger. Here are a few:

Five extra minutes: Just add that to your normal shower time. Twisting, turning, bending, etc., while washing is just more difficult. You will have no idea how often you do these moves showering until you are pregnant. Oh, and getting in and out of the tub is a lot more treacherous, so you have to do it carefully.

2 extra minutes: Add that to the normal shave time because attempting to shave your legs is a major, and probably eventually impossible, task.

30 seconds: Rubbing cocoa butter all over your belly.

1 minute: Recovering from running into something in the hustle of getting ready. As you get bigger, your center of gravity changes and you become more clumsy on your feet. I run into things a lot, and drop things a lot. The other day I bent over and flipped my hair over to dry it, and then went to stand up except I ran my head right into the doorknob of the open bathroom door. Ouch. Unfortunately these are common occurrences.

40 extra seconds: Tripping on your pant legs and almost falling over as you try to get dressed.

Ten extra minutes: Trying on a million outfits every day only to find you are bigger and the majority of them don't fit. When you find a pants/skirt, etc. that halfway fits, making it look presentable with either a rubber band, pants extender, or a fabric belly band to cover your open zipper, layered with the right amount of tank tops (sometimes employing all of these rigs together), is a task in itself.

3 extra minutes: The application of makeup and drying your hair while at the same time sweating all over and having to stop and wipe the sweat off (yeah, gross --- you will be hot all the time. I am about to just stop blow drying my hair at this point)

One extra minute: Putting on your shoes and tying them, which will require sitting down and some awkward yoga bent-knee positions.

Five to ten minutes: Preparing a nutritious breakfast, because a pop tart out the door or "no breakfast" will not cut it when you are preggo.

20 extra seconds: Climbing awkwardly in and out of your car.

Depending on your work location, one extra minute: Walking through the parking lot and up the stairs to my building (I used to be a major speed walker)

And let's add one more extra minute before I start my actual work: Chugging water and recovering from being completely out of breath from walking to my office.

If you try to do all of this at the gym locker room, it's even worse (navigating others, dealing with hairdryers that short out so you have to bend down and crawl under counters to re-plug them, not having adequate places to sit down, sweating, hearing gross noises or smells that make you want to puke, etc.) I am actually becoming fond of going to the gym after work, which I hated before, just so I don't have to get ready there.

Regardless, pregnancy is a good sacrifice, and you find what works for you. Pretty soon though, my hubby is going to be shaving my legs. Either that or he better get comfy with a hairy woman :)