Category Archives: maternity

Not Murphy’s Law; maybe Army Law.

A combination of “Hurry Up and Wait,” which I’m told is unofficially the true U.S. Army slogan, and “Everything Will Be On Hold Until It All Happens At Once.” It seems to be the thing, especially in the past couple of weeks.

Sunday week ago, I wrecked our Crown Vic. Totaled it, as a matter of fact. If it wasn’t for the pine tree at the top of the embankment, I would have rolled completely. 354 was supposed to be gone on two jobs out of state for the week; I had, as a matter of fact, just dropped him off to leave. As it was, he stayed in town. We had an appointment Wednesday, with all expectations of being in the hospital that afternoon and a baby in arm by Thursday.

Our expectations got shot down Wednesday afternoon after the results of the amniocentesis came back negative – lungs too immature to induce, come back next week – and I spent the rest of the day in a mild depressive state combined with discomfort from a pissed off kid and a disgruntled uterus. I stayed in bed and got up only when I was forced, out of awkward social necessity, to attend church that evening.

BUT that was the only bad part of the week. We sold the Crown and my POS Grand Cherokee, and put that cash to a down payment on another vehicle – a family truck, an ’02 Expedition, with enough room for the kid, the dogs and whatever else we decide to pack in it. 354 got in touch with a captain in one of the departments he had applied with over a month ago, and found out where his application had disappeared to (not file 13, thankfully). And despite getting put on standby for a week with regard to the arrival of the boy, he is more than healthy, still plenty large and growing, with a good strong heartbeat.

This week has been quieter, which has been a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it’s given us time to finish the nursery (yes, finish) and prepare the truck, get the house ready, and do… whatever else needs done. 354 has heard back from more than one department, all wanting to know (months later, thankyou) if he was still interested in a position. We’re waiting on good things from one of them soon. We got a good report from the doctor on Wednesday, and they gave us an induction date. So here I am, sitting in a hospital bed in a very comfortable room, getting ready to change my life for the better, forever. Hooked up to monitors, got an IV ready for tomorrow…

Hurry up, and wait.

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Learning by example.

The values we aspire to teach our children are important, but the values we show our children are inevitably what they learn, no matter our intention. If you teach that all people are worthy of respect, while putting down people in another class, of another race/religion/lifestyle, I can guarantee your kids will act as you do.

“Do as I say, not as I do.” That was a familiar refrain when I was growing up. As a youngster, it meant I was to listen to my father and obey his words. Now that I’m older, it has another meaning: my father knew he was a flawed human being, and wasn’t going to be bothered to change his ways to be a better example. Don’t get me wrong, he was an example of many things, some good and some bad. A lot of my “teaching” was through lots of thought on my part, not from any conscious example of his. As an adult, even if mostly in years, I know that my daddy did and said many things he shouldn’t have, and made some mighty poor decisions, as all humans do. I also know that he taught me, through example, that actions speak louder than words; that honesty, no matter how painful, is always the best policy; that sometimes you have to swallow your pride and apologize; and that if you say you’re going to do something, you better damn well follow through.

My mother taught that all opinions are valuable; that people are equal; it’s important to think for yourself; and that family will always be there for you. What she showed me was that you can get what you want by manipulating others; people are only valuable by what they have to offer you; thinking for yourself means nothing if you don’t agree with the “powers that be”; and that you can pick and choose what family you have, or at least what family you prefer to interact with when you feel like it.

From both of my parents, I learned how to be a loner with friends. Someone with few memories of the past beyond what I chose to remember, or at least create to my liking (sometimes I have trouble telling the difference). My “broken home” shaped an odd amalgamation of simultaneously repressed emotion with explicit outbursts. My life experiences through high school only served to reinforce my outlook, and if it hadn’t been for university (despite its rough beginnings), I might have mistaken my reluctance to interact with others beyond my daily scope with true independence for the rest of my life.

My parents aren’t bad people. They may not have been the best parents all the time, but they tried. What they didn’t teach, I learned elsewhere – usually the hard way. It made the lesson stick a little more, and the bigger the lesson, the better I took it to heart. In some respects, it might have been better if I had been shown by mom and dad than the life experience, but it’s too late to change it now.

This comes up in my head now that I’m about to take on full-time motherhood. I worry, like all first-time parents, if I’m going to be a good mom; if I’m going to pass on more bad things than good from my life. I think all parents should worry , at least a little – after all, how can we check ourselves if we don’t examine our words and actions? The thing that I keep telling myself is that, unlike my parents’ divided style of child-rearing, I can learn with my kids while I’m teaching them. I can teach my children that it’s okay to be human, to make mistakes and learn from them, even if that means having to apologize or make amends at the expense of pride.

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The recurring cycle of maternity denigration.

“Don’t worry, when that baby comes, nobody’s going to know your name!”

“When that baby comes, everybody’s going to forget who you are. The only name you’ll remember is ‘Mom’!”

“Enjoy it while you can, when that baby comes, you’re never going to be able to do that again!”

I will never enjoy the phrase “when that baby comes” because of the above comments, and all the rest I left out. Usually said in a tone intended either as some perverse comfort, or in perverse amusement. What makes moms, or other women in general, think any of those comments are okay? Is it just because someone said the same things to them once upon a time? Because they’ve heard it time after time, and it’s become one of those “things you just say”? I don’t understand. Can anyone tell me if this is a solely Southern phenomenon, or do other regions have this as well?

Think about what you’re saying – even if the woman you’re talking to wasn’t hormonal and anxious about being a first time mother (because who would bother saying that to someone who already has kids), you’re basically telling this mother-to-be that her entire life as she knows it is about to collapse in her face because of the child she’s carrying. Instead of giving her another reason to celebrate the birth of her child, and being excited about his/her impending arrival, you’ve just added another reason for anxiety – she’s about to stop existing, as far as the rest of the world is concerned, because the baby will eclipse all things. She will lose her personality, her individuality… everything. Can you think of a better reason for perinatal or postpartum depression? Those are the kinds of things I was afraid before I got married, things that could have kept me from getting married, or having children, or anything remotely related to what people consider a “normal and well-adjusted life.” It took a tough round of self-therapy and trust in my husband to overcome those feelings, and I’m intensely glad that I did. Other women may not have that luxury of therapy, a constantly-available support structure, and an environment of trust and love that allows for those fears to go away.

“Don’t worry, when that baby comes, you’ll just have been another baby-machine!”

“When that baby comes, you’ll totally cease to exist in the eyes of others! Your only memorable contribution to society is that baby!”

My literal “translations” (above) are a touch harsh. I know I’m over-reacting, just a bit. It’s just one of those things that drive me up the wall, a phrase that I have heard from all those overly-huggy old women at my in-laws’ church (along with “We are so proud of y’all!” which is just a comment that confuses me in general), while they try to rub on my stomach to “feel the baby,” and stamp their little feet over the baby. Jesus, y’all, settle down. Nix that – go ahead and be excited, because when the baby comes you’ll all be talking about how I won’t let that baby go into the nursery and how it must be the post-pregnancy hormones that keep me from letting anybody hold that baby instead of the desire to keep most of your snotty-ass kids away from my child and his currently non-existent immune system. And probably what a heathen I am for nursing him during the sermon, instead of taking that baby out into the lobby to privately do that. And Lord knows what else I’ll do wrong. (Except I don’t care.)

Small church lady tangent aside, if you find yourself suddenly in a place where that phrase comes tumbling through your brain (I’m sure I will not be immune to it, despite my loathing.), stop for a second and take a moment to replace it with something a little more supportive. Something a little more comforting, a little more cheery.  Even a simple “Congratulations!” or “That’s so exciting!” is better than “when that baby comes,” no matter how much you mean well by it.

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Maternity blouses. Please explain.

Maybe I just don’t look in the right places. Maybe it’s just that I only started getting maternity blouses now that the end of the 2011 retail season hit, and all the maternity sections seem to be magically diminished to a couple of racks of paisley blouses and some odd-looking denim capris with elastic that doesn’t even go high enough on your belly to count as maternity jeans. By the way, I have one pair of mid-belly maternity jeans, and I am convinced that my ass is shrinking while my belly is (very slowly) growing. My ass is falling, y’all. Ridiculous. Anyway.

Why is it that all maternity tops must be horizontally-striped and/or show off the grand majority of one’s boobs? Come on – as if pregnant women really have a desire to appear larger than in real life thanks to a poorly-designed blouse. Unlike me, who has actually lost 10 pounds since her 8-week confirmation appointment, there are women out there who actually are showing by their second trimester, and have no desire to look larger. Even more, no woman wants to look bigger than she really is – so why the horizontal stripes, pregnancy tops?

Why must the necklines – v-neck, scoop or otherwise – be somehow so low as to show off half my bra when I first put on the top, and show off the rest of my boobs when I finally adjust you to the point that the empire waist is sitting somewhere on my underwire? My breasts are growing quite nicely, but no one has to know that just by glancing at my neckline instead of my shirt in general. Is a decent non-boob-showing shirt too much to ask? Without horizontal stripes that make my boobs look two cups sizes larger than in reality?

Am I just way too new to this maternity shopping thing? Or is this a constant design flaw?

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