Category Archives: pregnancy

MIRENA IUD RUINED MY LIFE — a public service announcement.

DISCLAIMER: I’m taking a small detour from my normal blog content to do the Internet a favor. When I got my Mirena IUD in September, I didn’t do enough research. The only “research” I did was read the pamphlet my OB gave me. Big mistake. The eight weeks I had the Mirena IUD were the worst in my life and I’m blogging about it, hoping that when poor, unsuspecting women (who are smarter than I was) Google Mirena IUD, my blog will come up and they can save themselves from the hell I went through.

Also, at the mercy of search engine optimization, I’m going to refer to Mirena IUD by its name on every mention so that it will (hopefully) come up high in Google searches and not be buried by other stuff.

Okay. Here’s how Mirena IUD ruined my life.

After I had my son, my OB suggested I get the Mirena IUD inserted because it was one of the only birth controls I could take and still breastfeed. The Mirena IUD is a device that is inserted into the uterus that pumps out a constant, low-dose of hormones that prevent pregnancy but allow you to breastfeed.

A couple days after I had the Mirena IUD inserted, I started losing sleep. At first, it was only that when my baby woke me up in the middle of the night, I couldn’t fall back asleep. But after a couple days, I found myself immersed in full-blown insomnia. I couldn’t fall asleep at night without ingesting huge, unholy amounts of Benadryl and, even at that point, I could only sleep for an hour or two at most. (Yes, I am still breastfeeding. I called my pediatrician concerned about this — they told me that Benadryl was safe. So was Ambien.)

Then, I started having really horrible anxiety. A panic attack here and there. Really scary stuff. The insomnia and anxiety worked hand in hand, too.

After about a week of this, I went to see my primary care doctor. I hadn’t slept in a week and was beside myself upset. The doctor I saw (wasn’t my actual primary care doctor — she was out that day) attributed this to postpartum depression and gave me a prescription for Ambien and referred me to a counselor.

The Ambien worked for a day or two, but after that, I had to start taking more than one, sometimes three in a night to sleep. This was so dangerous. A few times, I had to have my husband drive me to work in the morning because the drug was still in my system. There are days — ENTIRE DAYS, PEOPLE — I don’t even remember. One day (sorry if this is TMI) my husband and I evidently engaged in — uh — married people activities that I HAVE NO MEMORY OF. Finding this out scared the everloving hell out of me and was the last straw.

Then it hit me — these symptoms had only shown up when I got my Mirena IUD inserted. I knew in my gut that Mirena IUD was the problem and I decided that I needed to get the Mirena IUD removed ASAP.

I went back to my primary care doctor even more upset about this, convinced it was the Mirena IUD. Because she did not insert the Mirena IUD, she didn’t want to remove the Mirena IUD. (Again, sorry for the repetition but I’m hoping this gets my blog a lot of hits from search engines.) What she did do was text her OB friend to find out what antidepressants were okay to take while nursing and, after hearing back from two of them, prescribed me Zoloft.

So, at this point, I was taking Ambien, Zoloft, AND Benadryl to try my damnedest to get some freaking sleep. But it still wasn’t working. All of these medications were prescribed to me because I wanted to keep breastfeeding but I didn’t feel comfortable taking so many freaking medications WHILE I WAS BREASTFEEDING.

OMG. The deeper I get into my story the angrier I become.

I did not relent. I knew in my soul that the Mirena IUD was the cause of all the insomnia. So I kept calling my doctor and my OB’s office to get some answers. But everyone shrugged me off, saying it was just postpartum depression and that I should feel good about the fact that I was “treating it”.

Bullshit.

A couple weeks went on and then one day, the anxiety got so bad. I had the worst panic attack of my life. I was shaking so hard and couldn’t breathe. My husband had to dress me. He had to feed me. All the while, my baby boy is laying there, crying, and I couldn’t even care.

I am not making this up. Ask him about it. It was bizarre and scary and horrible.

I was sick of not being taken seriously by the doctors. I was sick of being told this was postpartum depression. I know myself and I know my body and I know that what I was going through was because there was this foreign object inside of me pumping me full of crazy hormones and I was not going to stop until I was heard and the Mirena IUD was removed.

Finally, it came to the point where I had to lie on the phone to my OB’s office and tell them that I had thoughts about hurting myself and my child.

Magically, their “blocked out, totally full” schedule had an opening with another OB in an hour.  Funny how that works out.

When the OB walked into my exam room, he greeted me the way I’d been referred to by all these doctors over the past weeks.

“Got them postpartum blues, eh?” (He’s from Georgia.)

“NO,” I literally yelled at him. My voice scared me so I backed off a little. “Okay. Well. Maybe. But I don’t think so. I really think that my Mirena IUD is causing all of this.”

I then told him my whole story. When I was done he looked at me straight in the eye and said the most beautiful words I’ve ever heard spoken.

“No, you’re right. This isn’t postpartum depression at all. PPD would have shown up 2 weeks postpartum at the latest, and you’ve had this only since 8 weeks postpartum, which is exactly when you had that Mirena IUD inserted.”

I exhaled. He went on.

“This is pretty common, actually. The hormones that the Mirena IUD releases into the body are directly linked to depression, anxiety, and the resulting insomnia.”

When he said that, I swear to God, I wanted to punch every doctor, nurse, technician, pharmacist, receptionist, and OB I’d talked to over the previous weeks in the face. Here, finally, a doctor was telling me that what I knew in my heart was right all along AND EVERYONE ELSE JUST ASSUMED I WAS FULL OF CRAP.

“We gotta take that Mirena IUD out immediately,” he said. “Your hormones should level out within two to three days.”

EDIT/UPDATE: After he took the Mirena IUD out, he asked me how my mood/behavior was around my cycle since having the Mirena IUD inserted.

I laughed at him as I recalled YET ANOTHER way the Mirena IUD was ruining my life.

“I’ve been bleeding non stop since the day I got the Mirena IUD,” I told him. “I don’t know what a “cycle” is anymore.”

He looked at me with wide eyes. “Oh,” was all he said after a beat.

Oh yes, I forgot to mention that lovely little detail. I bled, pretty heavily, for eight. weeks. straight.

SO MANY F WORDS, YOU GUYS.

The night I got the Mirena IUD removed, I didn’t sleep. But I didn’t have any anxiety. The following night I slept a few hours.

The third night, I slept like a f$&king baby. And my bleeding FINALLY stopped a week later.

When I had a follow up appointment with my actual OB she still maintained that what I was experiencing was PPD. She also claims that this is completely “abnormal” and that I am a “special case”.

O RLY?

mirenaIUDfail

TWENTY-THREE COMMENTS, the majority of which confirmed my suspicions. Oh and just FYI, if you do a simple Google search for “Mirena” and “insomnia” and “anxiety” you can have a freaking field day.

God, I’m so stupid sometimes.

Here’s the reality.

PMS is a real thing, y’all. So is postpartum depression. Behavioral and mental changes, directly resulted from hormone shifts within the body, are a real thing. It really really really happens. The medical community confirms this.

SO WHY IS IT SO F’ING FAR FETCHED TO THINK THAT CONSTANTLY PUMPING MY BODY FULL OF HORMONES WOULDN’T HAVE SOME EFFECT ON MY BEHAVIOR AND/OR MENTAL PROCESSES??!?!?!

Dan and I have agreed to keep my body hormone-free from here on out. If the worst thing that happens is that we get pregnant with another beautiful, wonderful, amazing blessing of a child, then so be it. I’d get pregnant a thousand times before I put anything like the Mirena IUD in my body ever again.

[Imagine me dropping my mic and walking away LIKE A BOSS because I am.]

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Filed under baby love, life, pregnancy, psychology, rants, transformation

friday favorite: jeans.

Okay so maybe this post is a humble-brag. And maybe by “maybe” I mean “absolutely, 100%, no doubt about it.”

Today I am stoked to say that, at four months postpartum, I officially fit back into all of my pre-pregnancy jeans.

Including, but not limited to, the smallest pair I owned before. WHAT WHAT! Nice to see you again, Pacific Sunwear size 9’s that I wore as a college freshman!

dork

What’s that? You don’t like my dorky bathroom picture? You hate fun, don’t you?

THAT SAID, I’ve got to cover my own butt on my body image blog, here. Some disclaimers:

  • NO I am NOT dieting or even exercising, really. Nor do I advocate that for new moms. I am not, nor have I ever, been trying to lose weight since Dax was born. My husband (and my late-night white-chocolate-covered-Oreo binges) can back me up on this. I have just been really, really, REALLY stinking lucky.
  • The reason this is exciting to me is less about having my “body back” (because I couldn’t give a rat’s behind about that) and more about the fact that I don’t have to spend money I don’t have on new jeans because oh my LORD, you guys, diapers are expensive. (See also: I’M WEARING JEANS I WORE MY FRESHMAN YEAR OF COLLEGE. PLEASE NOTE THAT THEY ARE NOT STYLISH. THEY AREN’T CUTE. I KEEP THEM BECAUSE I AM TOO BLOODY PRACTICAL TO BUY NEW CLOTHES. LIKE EVER.)
  • The size of my pants and the number on the scale have nothing to do with how much I appreciate my postpartum body. For proof, please refer back to this post.
  • No number will ever, ever, EVER define me or my happiness. Period. 
  • Except the number of dollars I don’t have to spend on new clothes. That number does, sadly, define a whole heck of a lot of my mood.

Happy Friday, y’all!

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Filed under baby love, gushes, life, pregnancy, psychology, transformation

postpartum body image.

Let’s call this blog post a victory lap, shall we?

At two weeks postpartum, I’m in a very awkward stage as far as my body goes. I can’t fit into my pre-pregnancy pants yet, but my maternity pants are just a bit too baggy. Similarly, the number on the scale is considerably smaller than it was two weeks ago, but it’s still one that I’ve only ever seen since becoming pregnant.

The Lindsay from several years ago would probably be crippled by depression over this. She would most likely be missing out on all the wonderful blessings surrounding her newborn boy because she’d be too concerned about dropping the baby weight as fast as possible. And she’d definitely be completely inconsolable over her ridiculous new bra size. (For the record, I still have no idea what my actual bra size is. Thanks, nursing sports bras! You’re the best!)

But no. Not anymore.

I’d argue that, if anything, pregnancy has taken my body image and radically transformed it into something magnificent. Sure, my midsection is as soft as a pile of bread dough and is decorated by a couple of new stripes. And maybe I’m not entirely sure what “size” I am anymore. And let’s not get started on what my BMI says about me at present.

BUT…

As completely cliche as it sounds, I’ve never loved my body more than I do right now. Here’s why:

1. my body built a life.

Every time I look at my son — my beautiful, perfect, angelic son — I am in complete awe. My body is the instrument God used to create my sweet baby boy. It’s a true miracle, really.

2. my body sustains that life.

All I have to do in order to make sure my baby is fed is stick him to my boob. Bam. Fed.

(Also, to drive this point home, watch Jim Gaffigan’s stand up special called “Mr. Universe”. It’s on Netflix.)

3. i’ve never felt more loved.

Okay, so maybe it’s true that my two-week-old baby doesn’t really give a crap whether or not I have horns, so long as I feed him every two hours and change his diaper as needed. BUT BUT BUT it’s really nice to feel so loved, no matter what my body looks like. My son couldn’t care less if I ever lose the baby weight — or grow horns — he just wants me to be near.

4. for the first time in my life, i’m letting myself be loved.

Not just by my son, but by my husband and my friends and my family, too. For the first time since I can remember, I’m consciously letting myself be loved, without asking “why” or “how” or anything, just because I am me. Not because I look a certain way — because that “certain way” is definitely NOT what I look like right now, and I might never again — but because I simply am. Because I am a wife. Because I am Mommy. Because I am a friend. Because I am family. I am loved and that’s the end of that.

In today’s society, I think that too much pressure is put on new moms to get back to their pre-pregnancy form as soon as possible. What with celebrities like Beyonce gracing the front covers of magazines mere weeks after giving birth, it’s easy for new moms to feel insecure about their so-called ravaged bodies. But as for me, someone who has a past that is pock-marked by disordered eating, I refuse to fall victim to that.

There is nothing — I repeat, nothing – in this world that I have done that holds a candle to carrying my healthy, perfect, wonderful baby boy to term and giving birth to him. Nothing. And if I’m a bit pudgy and stretch-marky afterward? Let it be. I couldn’t be more proud of my body and the miracles it is capable of.

Put that in your beauty-obsessed pipe and smoke it.

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Filed under eating disorders, faith, gushes, life, pregnancy, psychology

top five reasons i’m going to be a kick-ass mom.

If you know me at all, or if you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know I love to poke fun at (or, sometimes, just maliciously poke) myself. It’s kind of my schtick.

I take something about me — whether it’s a quirk, an insecurity, a flaw, what have you — and exaggerate it in order to make a point about society, my own lack of understanding, or, quite plainly, my humanity.

Mind you, while my insecurities and flaws are very real, I don’t really think I’m the worst person on the planet. Nor do I actually believe that I’m going to be the worst mom ever. Remember. I exaggerate. (My 11th grade English teacher called it “emoting” when I did it in excess. Which was pretty much every day. See? I just did it again! Exaggeration!)

Anyway.

After yesterday’s post about Pinterest and how it’s simultaneously great and soul-crushing, a good friend of mine texted me and told me I don’t give myself enough credit; she challenged me to write a blog post about all the reasons I’ll be the best mom ever.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

And so, without further ado, here’s a (very rare) post about why I’m awesome.

TOP FIVE REASONS I’M GOING TO KICK ASS AS A MOM:

1. i was raised around boys.

Growing up, I was the only girl in my family. Hell, I even thought I was a boy at one point. The fact that I’m pregnant with a boy? Total divine intervention. God was all, “You know who would be great at raising boys? Lindsay Durrenberger. She can’t knit for crap but she knows the rules of baseball and likes to wrestle. Plus, because she’s an insomniac, she hasn’t slept a wink her entire life. She’s already ready! Lemme put a baby boy in her right quick.” (At least, that’s how I imagine that conversation went.)

2. i worked in childcare for approximately a billion years.

The best thing about working in childcare is the experience you get with the kids. The second best thing about working in childcare is your exposure to every kind of parent under the sun. As parents drop off and pick up their children, you can think to yourself, “I want to be JUST LIKE THAT PARENT when I have kids,” or, “If I turn out like THAT parent, someone shoot me and steal my kids.” It’s really enlightening.

3. i don’t sweat the small stuff.

Look. Life happens. Spills happen. Broken noses happen (twice, for me). Meltdowns happen, both on the child’s end and the parent’s. And kids still grow up. Whether or not they need therapy later (oh and by the way, I’d argue that any person who was raised by another person could probably benefit from therapy) kids grow up into (usually) fully-functioning adults, so long as they had parents who tried. Generally speaking, good parenting doesn’t equal perfect parenting. You can’t let mishaps and wrong turns color your evaluation of yourself as a parent or your child as a developing human being. Move. On.

4. i have a strong faith.

Hear me out, here. I’m not saying that parents without a faith-based background don’t raise perfectly wonderful humans. They absolutely do. I’ve seen it. I’m just glad that, for me, in those meltdown moments, I have someone to pray to. I’m sure that’s going to come in quite handy, like, every day I’m a parent. (This is mostly because I have crippling anxiety and I can’t afford anti-anxiety medication. True facts, people.)

5. i have a kick-ass partner.

There’s an old adage that begs women to “not marry a man unless you want a son just like him“. Well, I can safely say that if I could be so lucky to raise a kid who turns out just like his dad, I’d be so blessed. There are a lot of things I’ve done in my life about which I can be proud — graduating from college, running a half-marathon, learning how to make scrambled eggs on the stove — but all of them pale in comparison to the choice I made when I chose to marry Dan. That is, by far, my greatest accomplishment. I know that no matter what happens in the adventures of parenthood, I’ll look to my side and see the best, most supportive, most loving partner I could have ever asked for.

And there you have it. The top five reasons I’m cut out for motherhood. Oh, and by the way, there are countless other reasons that I’m definitely going to rock at this. But the best part about doing anything new is that, until you actually do it, you can’t know the full extent to which you will succeed.

So. Check back with me in a year or so for more reasons why I’m a great mom. Until then, I hope these five will serve as some sort of reminder that, seriously you guys, I don’t think I’m awful. I really don’t.

Shout out to my friend Jessica who called me out and challenged me to write this. You rule, girl!

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why pinterest is both great and awful.

The cool (terrible?) thing about being pregnant (and I mean super pregnant) is that there is never a dull day because your mind takes you on such wonderful adventures! You get to go round and round in circles until you end up at the same destination at which you arrived the last time you let your mind wander — the notion that you’re going to be the worst mom on the planet. 

In today’s edition of Reasons I’m About to Fail at Motherhood, we explore Pinterest, an online pin board designed to inspire and motivate you to do things you never thought possible. (Or help you plan a wedding when you’re not even in a relationship. That, too.)

To watch me flail around desperately in a sea of DIY crafts I’ll never have the time or energy or creativity for, follow me on Pinterest here.

I love Pinterest. But I also hate it.

I love it because it is literally a bottomless gorge of creativity. Novice photography? There’s a pin for that. DIY crafts? There are only about a thousand boards to follow. Recipes? Oh man, don’t even get me started. (A couple weeks ago I made Nutella cookies from a recipe I found on Pinterest. Because I don’t have a hand mixer  — and why WOULD I? Anyone who knows me knows I don’t cook/bake/do anything a real wife and mom should do — the texture was a bit off. But they tasted like little chunks of Nutella and my husband was popping them like pills so I guess I succeeded.)

At its core, Pinterest is super helpful! Also, this is exactly what happens to everyone who signs up for Pinterest:

But. As a new (and undeniably uncrafty) mom, Pinterest scares the hell out of me. Just by existing, Pinterest takes everything I’m insecure about and just flaunts it in my face, like a big ol’ bully wielding recipes I’ll never have the skill to perfect and projects I’ll never have time to complete.

And so. I hate it. I hate it so much.

Here’s the deal — I follow a lot of my crafty friends, both moms and otherwise, on Pinterest. They pin the darnedest things, you know. Make your own X for baby! Create your own Y for the nursery! Do it yourself Z for the home! Etc. Etc. Etc.

It’d be great if that’s where it stopped. If everyone else was a “theoretical pinner” like me (that is, someone who pins things on their boards with no real intention of ever attempting the projects for a number of reasons) I wouldn’t be so bloody insecure. But that’s not the case. Oh no — when I visit these crafty friends of mine, I find that Pinterest is not only bookmarked on their laptops but has also clearly been inside their homes and left its mark via super adorable DIY things.

Because they’re all better crafters than me and, therefore, are better women/wives/moms/people than me.

You see, my house? Uh. Well. Last week we went to Wal-Mart and bought an already-painted canvas with already-printed-on sayings and nailed it to the wall in our dining room. Does that count? I mean I bet I could pin something that looks like that and just pretend I did it myself. Would anyone notice?

As I try to “nest” I’ve been scouring Pinterest for crafty DIY ideas on how to make the nursery look great and “nesty”. Because success at Pinterest = success as a mom.

Well, good news, readers! I’ve found something on Pinterest I’m going to DO MYSELF! I’ve resolved to buy some canvases and some pretty fabric and staple said pretty fabric to the canvases and then hang them on the wall. DIY wall art, you guys! Sounds super easy, right? (Here’s a link to the pin I, uh, pinned: DIY wall art.)

Seems easy enough, right? How hard could it be? I’ve done the research. I know where to buy the canvases and fabric and I know that I should probably get a staple gun to wield for this project. Looking at it, it seems like a piece of cake. That’s why it’s on Pinterest, right? Because every DIY project on Pinterest is easy, right? I have two hands and eyeballs and all the time and energy and creativity in the world. If I can’t make this work then…

Oh goodness. I don’t even want to think about what it means if I can’t do this.

Because if I fail at it, then I fail at being a good mom.

Well. I’m glad I consulted you, blog, before I attempted this most likely disastrous and self-esteem-crushing project. I just saved myself a lot of grief.

So. Let’s just stick to the already-printed stuff at Wal-Mart and call it a day so I don’t have to cry myself to sleep tonight thinking about all the money I’ll have to shell out for Dax’s therapy later on in life for being born unto such an uncrafty, unconventional, horrible mother.

While I’m at it, I should probably buy stock in Hot Pocket, Kraft, and Great Value brand hot dogs.

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Filed under commentaries, life, pregnancy, psychology, rants

things i love thursday! (july 12, 2012)

Happy Thursday, kids! Despite being 38 weeks pregnant and, therefore, quite the volatile person emotionally (sigh, I know, I’m sorry to everyone around me) life’s pretty great. Here’s my weekly list of love!

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • Having Matt over for dinner! I COOKED, Y’ALL! I also made Nutella Cookies! (Thanks, Pinterest!)
  • Hanging out with my friends in so many places.
  • Fried pickles.
  • Getting to meet Wil, Natalie, and Carter (finally) after Facebook stalking them for months!
  • Watching Carter dance and give everybody high fives.
  • GETTING TO HOLD CARTER.
  • Live music, especially when produced by good friends.
  • Sleeping in and not having anything to do until 8PM.
  • Power-nesting.
  • Learning about new pregnancies! YAY!
  • Being able to text friends during awkward situations.
  • Disney Princess Zombie Apocalypse.
  • Getting my world rocked at church.
  • Having Kelby take “sexy” photos of me standing in front of an industrial-sized fan. (FYI “sexy” in this context means “not at all sexy”. Ha.)
  • Glassboard.
  • Hanging out with EJoy and Isaiah at a breastfeeding support group.
  • Adorable photos of babies on Instagram.
  • Ditto for cats.
  • Getting text message pictures of homemade clothes for Dax. SO PRECIOUS.
  • Going to coffee shops with books and no agenda.
  • Lunch with Audry at Decent Pizza. DROOL.
  • Sleep (when I can get it, which is not so frequent lately).
  • Randomly running out to get Marble Slab with the hubs.
  • A wonderfully uplifting girl-date with Lori.
  • CARBS.
  • Making a “happy place” list.
  • Going to a book store for the sole purpose of purchasing a book that is neither baby- or parenting-related. A book simply for entertainment purposes.
  • Having well-read friends I can text for quick book recommendations.
  • Being taken care of emotionally and spiritually by good friends.
  • My friends starting a Dax Birth Pool! I don’t think any money is involved but I know Kyle already lost. Sorry, dude!
  • Counting down the days till motherhood!

Go ahead — make your list!

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“i’m not sure what to do with my hands.”

DISCLAIMER: I know that “articles” about child-rearing and parenting can cause quite a ruckus on the Internet. Please do not read this as if it were “an article”. Rather, read it for what it is: a blog post of a girl who is simultaneously terrified and elated to become a mother in the next few weeks. That’s all it is. A blog post. An opinion. A cry to be heard and understood. That’s all.

Oh, I’m a slave to my hormones, too. Take that into consideration as well.

Yesterday, Dan and I spent our Saturday together doing some last minute preparations for our baby’s arrival (which, if you haven’t been following our pregnancy blog, is only merely a few short weeks away). We bagged up things we needed to return, made a list of things we still needed to buy (and bought most of them!) and did some organizing/nesting. It felt good.

I can’t explain in words how excited I am to meet this little guy. Over the past nine months, I’ve grown to know him in my belly. I know his movements and I know what his little body feels like on the outside. I know that he likes to stick his butt straight out on the left side of my belly button (perfect for little love-taps!) and I know that he isn’t a big fan of me laying down. (He instantly starts squirming to get comfortable.) I just love him so much already and I know that the second I lay eyes on him, my whole world will be rocked.

I guess it’s different for dads who, while they can put their hands on our bellies and sort of feel what we feel, don’t really get “hit” with the reality of fatherhood until they’re in the hospital and that slimy little creature is in their arms screaming at them. Women are caregivers from conception, growing and nurturing that little human inside their bodies for nearly a year before introducing the baby to the father to let him care for it. So, in essence, we women are “more experienced” come delivery date and I guess that means that dads need some help.

Last week, while we were perusing Burlington Coat Factory, Dan found a book in a sale rack all by itself. From afar, it looked like some hokey novelty book no one would ever seriously buy, which is why we assumed it was in the sale pile — just to get rid of it.

After mindlessly flipping through it and laughing out loud, Dan exclaimed, “We’re getting this!” and we walked to the register to do so.

We’ve both been reading it and, I must say, it’s wonderful. A must-have for any new parent. The book is well-written, hilarious, and, above all else, extremely helpful. Even as “the mom” and not “the dad” I’ve found it to be quite enlightening in preparing me for the crazy changes ahead.

Changes. I am no stranger to those anymore.

Take right now, for example. It’s Sunday morning. I’m sitting up in my bed, still in my pajamas with my hair a mess and my glasses on. I’m blogging in a quiet house while my husband toils away at church. My over-sized t-shirt is almost uncomfortably tight across my bulbous body, the tell-tale sign that the act of expelling a child is imminent.

Nine months ago, everything looked different. At 10:30AM on a Sunday, I’d be at church with my husband, most likely since about 8:00ish, getting ready to hang out with the youth group to which I ministered for five years. I’d be chugging some sort of caffeinated beverage loaded with artificial sweeteners and non-fat milk, terrified of getting fat. My pre-baby body would be adorned in cute clothes, not just “whatever I could squeeze into that morning”. So on. So forth.

But here I am, no longer leading any ministries, no longer making music with my friends, no longer writing a book, no longer training for marathons, no longer wearing “whatever I want to”, no longer staying out super late with friends “just because”. Rather, I’m sitting here, waiting to become a mother, spending my time Googling things like, “How do you change a diaper” and “How long do babies sleep in bassinets” and “How frequently do newborns feed” and so on.

You know that scene in Talladega Nights when Ricky Bobby is getting interviewed and he just whispers, “I’m not sure what to do with my hands”? That’s kind of how I feel right now. I don’t know what to do with my hands, or my life, until this little guy shows up. Then, I’ll be on 24/7. All mom, all the time. That will be my role. That, and that alone.

Yesterday, while we were organizing, Dan asked me where he could hang his new Spider-Man poster. He (jokingly I hope?) placed it on a wall in our bedroom and asked if it looked okay. I shot him a look, to which he replied, “Oh, I know that look. That look means no. That look means this isn’t going here.” I nodded in agreement.

“You know,” he went on, “my dad book says that I should have my own space with my own things to remind me that I’m not just a caregiver. I should be reminded on a daily basis that my life isn’t over just because I’m a dad and that I can still do the things that I enjoy.”

I looked at him sadly, then glanced around our 1000-square-foot apartment. “When you find a space to call ‘your own’, feel free to decorate it however you like,” I playfully snapped, then went back to scrubbing the toilet.

Suddenly, it dawned on me. Nowhere in any of my “you’re about to be a mom” books have I read that I should have my own space, or focus on things I enjoy to reinforce the idea that I’m not “just” a caregiver. On the contrary. I’ve been told that I’m absolutely “just” a caregiver, and have been since conception. I’ve read things like, “Your body will never be the same,” and “You will feel like you have a baby attached to your chest forever,” and “You will never sleep again, but that’s just what being a mom is” and “You will quickly learn that the things you used to do, you can no longer do, and that’s just the way it is,” and, my personal favorite, “You will also have a man understandably chomping at the bit to have sex with you again, so make sure you cater to him as well as the baby you’re caring for 24/7.”

So, this morning, I am a bit melancholy. A bit mournful. I’m not saying that being a mom is a bad thing. I’m not saying that the fact that I’ll be on 24/7 won’t be completely worth it. That’s not what I’m saying at all. I’m just annoyed that in a world so dominated by fatherlessness, it’s sad that we’re perpetuating the idea that fathers need not focus solely on that role because, of course, how can we expect them to? They’re just dads after all, whose contribution to the “miracle of life” is pretty minimal compared to the mothers’.

Well. As a girl who grew up not knowing her father, I can tell you, a father’s presence is absolutely priceless and I don’t think it’s unfair to demand equality in child-rearing.

Surely, my husband cannot breastfeed. That is absolutely something that only I can offer our son. But there are things Dan can offer him that I can’t as well. And, furthermore, we’re both still individuals. We both are people outside of our caregiver roles and I feel a bit bitter that the importance of the mother maintaining her individuality isn’t more widely acknowledged. Rather, we’re told that “being a mom is a full-time job!” and that we’re all our kids have at the end of the day. That’s a lot to take on, especially when coupled with the pressures to get back into our pre-pregnancy bodies and go back to having sex with our husbands as soon as inhumanly possible. (Oh, and don’t get me started on the guilt I’ve been subjected to because I have literally NO CHOICE but to return to work.)

“You, woman? An individual?” society barks. “No, my lady, I’m afraid you are mistaken. You are a sex-having, baby-making, child-rearing machine, who is supposed to be 5’10” and 115 pounds and tanner than any given member of the cast of Jersey Shore. That’s what you are. That, and nothing else.”

All the while, all Dad has to worry about is where to hang his Spider-Man poster so he doesn’t feel like “his life is over”.

Please.

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Filed under commentaries, life, pregnancy, psychology, rants

things i love thursday! (july 5, 2012)

Happy July, everyone! I hope you had a lovely Independence Day, which means that at least one person you were with yesterday emphatically exclaimed, “WELCOME TO ERF!” 

This week was a great start to what promises to be an even better month. I’m so excited about July, even despite the wretched heat. So. Let’s get to it!

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • Entering my “due month”! I’ll most likely give birth this month! (Read: please GOD can I give birth this month? Please? PRETTY PLEASE?)
  • Having lunch with some of my favorite ex-coworkers. I miss those guys!
  • Also, Bagel Bagel is delicious. Oh, that I could eat there every day…
  • Spending Friday night with all my friends for Kelby’s birthday!
  • Getting to snuggle George the cat.
  • Spending the majority of Saturday in bed, despite having big plans for the day. (Being lazy or resting up? You be the judge.)
  •  Free car seats! Heck yeah!
  • A lovely double date with the also-pregnant Kubiaks, complete with (cooked) sushi and Marble Slab. DELISH.
  • My second massage session with Emily. So. Good.
  • Wendy’s. Yeah I said it.
  • Days off.
  • Free diapers! Thanks Amanda!
  • Canada Day! Even though I couldn’t celebrate it the way I normally do. (Read: Get slightly buzzed off of Canadian beer and lay around trying to sing “O! Canada!” with my best friend.)
  • Getting a text at 7:45AM from Ashley letting me know that baby Jack was on his way! YAYYYY! (He’s here now, by the way, and absolutely perfect. I can’t wait to meet him!)
  • Trying to go to a breastfeeding support group, only to find out it was canceled, so that meant that I got to have lunch with EJoy and Isaiah.
  • Watching Isaiah eat. (Read: gum.) Hil. Arious.
  • Being told by my doctor that Dax is NOT measuring bigger than 6-7 pounds. (I was worried, you see, because I just found out that my husband was 9 lbs 8 oz at birth. NOT COOL, MAN. NOT COOL.)
  • Early release days at work which means hanging out at coffee shops with the hubs.
  • Bubble baths.
  • Having a day off in the middle of the week.
  • The Amazing Spider-Man. Yeah. I saw it. (The kid they cast as young Peter Parker reminds me of what Dax might look like! ACK! #mushroomhair #bigears #socute)
  • Playing my mom’s lullaby for Dax on my belly. Yep, that happened.
  • Making fun of the Capitol 4th of July celebrations with my bible study.
  • “Philadelphia got The Roots!”
  • And finally… getting my “push gift” early! An iPhone! My husband rules! Thanks so much babe, love you! (I also promise to hold up my end of the deal and “push” your kid out of my body.)

What do you love this week?

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Filed under gushes, life, pregnancy

a “real” mid-life crisis.

Yesterday, CNN posted an interesting article about a lady named Diane Butrym. Diane, like many women, suffers from an eating disorder. Her story, however, is actually quite unique.

You see, she hasn’t been struggling with this since she was a child or teenager, like most of us do. She went half of her life eating-disorder free. She actually fell victim to the disease in her forties.

According to the article, the disorder was triggered by a series of health diagnoses and injuries, forcing her to back off from her once very active lifestyle. And so, presumably terrified of the ramifications of her body changing, she became consumed with ED.

I suppose the reason the article exists is because of the story’s novelty. Even though I’m someone whom I’d venture to say is pretty educated on the subject, this is the first I’ve heard of someone going through this at a stage in her life when she’s supposed to “have it all figured out”.

So. This begs the question: did she always have these tendencies? Or were they born simply out of the loss of “control” over her body?

The answer to that question doesn’t matter. The reality is that the eating disorder epidemic is way bigger than I think any of us could have imagined and, something (perhaps lots of somethings) is perpetuating it. To walk around complacent, going about our business as if nothing is wrong, is just as detrimental as the oppressive beauty standards in this country, if not more so.

Honestly, I feel like I can kind of relate with Diane. This week, I am entering my ninth month of pregnancy. Pregnancy, you could argue, is a “diagnosis” of sorts. (Granted, there’s  been nothing bad or complicated about this pregnancy, praise God, but you know what I mean. It is a “change” that will leave my body in a much different state than it was pre-“diagnosis”.)

The other day, I looked at my husband, whose weight is currently only eight pounds heavier than mine. With terror in my eyes I admitted, “I might weigh the same as you soon. Please don’t judge me.”
“Why would I ever judge you for gaining weight while pregnant with my son?”
“Because. It’s such a big number.”
“When have I ever cared about how much you weigh?”

He’s never cared. But as as I near my due date, I’ve subconsciously started panicking over ways I can shed the baby weight as fast and as effectively as possible after I give birth. Images of Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez and Jessica Simpson and Mariah Carey flash across my brain and I’m wracked with the reality that I’ll never look the way I did before I got pregnant, let alone as amazing as these celebrities do mere weeks after leaving the delivery room. I find myself thinking astronomical things, unattainable things, things I might never think if I lived on an island, completely devoid of any Photoshopped images of supermodels or celebrities in bikinis.

Maybe if I try X diet. Or eat Y way. Or be sure to exercise Z times a day. Maybe then I can shed the baby weight before I go back to work. Or in two weeks. Let’s shoot for two weeks. 

Because I know I’m prone to disordered eating and the thoughts that come along with it, I’ve been disciplined in asking for prayer and support from close friends during that transition time. But my heart goes out to Diane, and other people (not just women) who may find themselves in that situation. Older, supposedly wiser, yet still waking up to the dark sound of an eating disorder within their heads, trapping them in webs of self-loathing and lies.

What if Diane was on that island, devoid of pop culture and beauty standards? Would she still be suffering from this disorder? I’d bet no.

No one, especially Diane, will benefit from this unless we speak up and out about it. If we keep drawing attention to this problem, hopefully we can eventually stop it. It may seem futile, like trying to derail a mile-long freight train, but I believe it’s worth it.

Never stop telling those around you how precious and beautiful they are just as God made them. Scars and all. Diagnoses and all. Flaws and all. And, even more importantly, never stop telling yourself that.

As for me, I’m going to start by telling my big, round belly how wonderful and life-giving it is and how the number on the scale has no power over me, or my worth, or my happiness. My body is doing exactly what it’s supposed to do. My son is healthy and strong and I can’t wait for my body’s grand finale — miraculously giving him to the world.

Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? Suddenly thinking unhealthy thoughts or committing unhealthy actions that you’ve never experienced before, triggered by a huge change in life?

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Filed under eating disorders, God, life, pregnancy, the media

things i love thursday! (june 14, 2012)

Happy Flag Day, y’all! (Is this seriously a thing?)

I’ve had about a week of good, solid, 8-hour-long sleeps, and I feel GREAT. Today is one of those days I want to turn on some really cheesy music and dance awkwardly around. Life is pretty great.

Here’s why!

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • Did you know that Reagan and Swayze were buds? Evidently in the land of Photoshop, that happens. (See photo.)
  • Having dinner with my husband.
  • Stopping by the dance studio and seeing Ashley (who had fun gifts for Dax)!
  • Lunch with some of my favorite people, including Zack at Sonny’s and ECase at Boston Market.
  • ZOMG barbecue. I haven’t had it in forever!
  • Fun birthday celebrations.
  • Cards Against Humanity. Oh. My. Goodness. I almost peed myself a thousand times.
  • Purple shades!
  • Fun.
  • Buffalo chicken pizza.
  • Lunch breaks at coffee shops.
  • A whole day with Dayle and Janelle, who also had gifts for Dax! Spoiled boy!
  • Janelle’s “monkey butt” story.
  • Cupcakes.
  • Going to the movies!
  • A lazy Sunday (that was actually pretty productive).
  • Our second to last childbirth class. Eep!
  • Yoga pants.
  • Ice packs.
  • “Buy one get one free” kittens. (Don’t worry, we didn’t get any. But the fact that a deal like that exists!)
  • Going on a mini-date with the hubs.
  • Being offered beer by our server! She couldn’t tell I was pregnant!
  • Happy lunches.
  • Sleeping through the night.
  • Purchasing an exercise ball to double as my “birth ball”. Currently, it serves as something I can lay on to relieve back pain. Ahhhh.
  • Snuggling with Hamlet.
  • Old school Sonic the Hedgehog. (Always.)
  • The fact that my kid is gonna have such a great dad.

Your turn! Make a list of love!

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Filed under gushes, life, pregnancy, reasons my husband rocks