On being an edible woman and other oddities of motherhood

As my daughter approaches 5 months, I look back and realize how much harder it was than I would have ever admitted at the time. Yes, I was one of those new moms that attempted to get everything back to “normal” after the baby was born. From sex to working out to dinner on the table, I really tried to maintain that pre-baby quality of life.

Rookie mistake!

Today I met a woman with an 8 week old and it got me thinking about what I’ve learned, and what advice held true that maybe I should have listened to.

On breastfeeding: Yeah it’s cool to bond with your baby and I wouldn’t change it for the world but some days I do feel like those people on True Blood after they’ve been devoured. It didn’t help that I got my period after only 3 months after my daughter was born. My body is an asshole when it  comes to periods. That being said, it’s really cool to see this little person grow bigger and bigger and bigger from having eaten nothing but what comes out of my boobs. Crazy! The point I wanted to make though is that I think all of this militant breastfeeding stuff does more damage than good. We do what we can!

On other mommies: I’ve always had more guy friends than girlfriends, but let me tell you, I would have died without my mommy friends. Three of my girlfriends had babies 6 mos and 1 year older than Raquel and these ladies were LIFESAVERS! The advice, the support, the hand-me-downs, the company and camaraderie — I will be forever grateful. It’s actually one of the reasons I started this blog, for women that might not be that lucky in the mat leave buddies department.

On babies crying: You hear this thing about your baby’s cry being genetically programmed to get under your skin. Man, is it ever true! It turns my brain into some kind of omelette made of worry, panic, love, and pepperoni. It’s a weird feeling. And it took a while for me to realize its effect on me. Holy mother of God is it ever uncomfortable.

On hormones: I might have been a little irritable. Ok, a lot irritable. I sort of wanted to punch my husband, and this is not how I normally feel. It was a LOT like quitting smoking. A LOT. What helped? Rescue Remedy and Wine. And sunshine. I wasn’t depressed – I think I had one bad day. I was a bit anxious though. You get used to being in PANIC mode and after a few weeks of little sleep and high adrenalin, ya feel a little funny… like drained, and weird… but still capable, strangely. I can’t believe how many times I managed to not crash the car, or forget the diapers, or fall asleep at inopportune times. You just kinda muddle through and the days pass, and soon… the three month release.

On the Three Month marker: A friend (a dad actually) told me about how babies chill out at around 3 months. It’s true! And it’s wonderful. All of the sudden you’re like oh, my baby’s awake and NOT crying???

On the second child decision: Why would I want to go through that again? Correction: Why do I desperately want to go through that again and again? It makes no sense from a logical perspective. It hurts, deprives you of sleep and time, fucks up your body, and is really, really uncomfortable for at least 9 months. I can’t even imagine what other sacrifices are lurking down that rosy path of parenthood. And yet… I want more. At least one. Shoot me.

On marriage after baby: I hope you’re married to someone you like, because you kind of have to like the person 110% to survive the 50% drop in romance, time, sleep, and grown-up time.

 

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What’s your parenting spirit animal?

I’ve never related to bears before. Squirrel, sure. Industrious beaver maybe. Fast wild cat, definitely at times.

But recently it’s the polar bear that keeps creeping up in my mind; that playful tumbler, with her solemn expression of dutiful living, and that commitment to motherhood through anything – just 100% pure protection, nurturing, teaching, and cozy cuddling…. love ’em!

Pregnancy weight gain
Lean, mean, mamma machine

I even love what I’ve been affectionately referring to as my polar bear layer.

Before getting pregnant I weighed about 107 pounds. Now, I weigh 150! Ok, it’s true – I’m giving birth in less than 3 weeks (hear that baby? Not a day later! ok?!) so I’m about at my maximum weight gain but the crazy thing is – I don’t feel fat. I don’t feel like I’ve gained a huge amount of weight other than “the bump” which is taking up a large portion of my smallish body right now, and the layer on my legs and arms that makes them just a bit more thick and taut then they were before. Could be water, could be fat stores – but it’s not wiggly jiggly. And speaking of which. Guess how much weight polar bears gain in pregnancy? Wait for it…… yeah….. around 400 pounds.

I’ve just hit term today (37 weeks) and for the last few days I’ve had this tremendous urge to eat, like biologically my body knows that this is a crucial time for foraging because my baby bear’s coming soon and I will need the stored resources to feed her.

It’s so cool.

I think it’s made me a bit more relaxed about the weight gain, and even the pressure to be a perfect mom. Polar bears are instinctual providers, fierce protectors, and also maintain that good-natured ability to roll around in the snow with their little one. Why overthink parenting when the most important things are really quite simple. Eat, sleep, play.

Anyway, here’s a list of some other pregnancy spirit animals (or totem animals) and their qualities. Which one are you?

Bear

  • Bravery
  • Peace
  • Resurrection
  • Powerful
  • Benevolence
  • Sovereignty
  • Motherhood
  • Duality
Mother Bird 
  • Love
  • Safety
  • Growth
  • Healing
  • Security
  • Provision
  • Nurturing
  • Protection
  • Satisfaction
  • Compassion
  • Self-sacrifice
Turtle 
  • Order
  • Creation
  • Patience
  • Strength
  • Stability
  • Longevity
  • Innocence
  • Endurance
  • Protection

Dolphin

  • Grace
  • Playfulness
  • Transcendence
  • Gentleness
  • Harmony
  • Intelligence
  • Contentment
  • Friendship
  • Community
  • Resurrection
  • Generosity
  • Power

Squirrel

  • Energy
  • Play
  • Prudence
  • Balance
  • Socializing
  • Preparation
  • Resourcefulness
More here. 

Maybe I’m a bitch

bitches get shit done
I might be a bitch, but I'm a nice one!

 

I don’t feel like a bitch… but when I’m fighting with my husband and he makes valid points (hate when he does this) sometimes I wonder if I’m too much of a hard ass. Too judgmental. Too cool for school.

It’s not the first time I’ve been accused of these things, but I’ve really only begun to consider the possibility recently. Obviously this isn’t something I want for myself, my family, or friends. And I do have friends… which is a good indication that I’m not a bitch, right?

Perhaps I’m being too general. I can be bitchy, how’s that? I can be overly snarky for sure, and hard on people and situations, and my standards are way high on a lot of different criteria.

These are things I could probably tone down a bit. You know, be more positive. Be less harsh.

I’ve also been accused of being hormonal and third-trimestery… to which I say Bullocks! I’m FINE!

In any case, maybe I should reflect on my hard edges, my snarky remarks, my defensive retorts, and my need to be too cool for school. Yeaouch. It hurts just to think about all this stuff.

In my own defence… the wise Tina Fey once pointed out that Bitches Get Shit Done!