How are you doing, mama?

You want to know how I'm doing. You want to ask. But you don't know how to say what you mean ... how are you really doing? Are you sad? Depressed? Did it get you, the postpartum?

Oh the postpartum depression. I've talked about it before, you know I'm involved in the cause, and my little circle of family and friends (and me) have been waiting and watching to see if I'm OK this time. I want so badly to be OK this time. I really do. I am FIGHTING the good fight to be OK this time. And I think so far I'm winning. We're all winning--my support system and me. But the battle is not over, and this won't be the last thing I write about the topic of perinatal mood disorders. I need to leave that door open because if it gets me again, I don't want to feel like a failure. I don't want to feel like I've let people down.

How am I really doing? I think I'm really doing OK. My mood fluctuates a bit from day to day hour to hour, but overall? Overall I am actually doing pretty well. I would put my mood waves in the "probably pretty normal" camp. I'm definitely not in the "all systems down/red alert/panic time" camp. Nor am I in the "devastating sadness" or the "pulsating with anxiety" camps. I've visited there. It's awful. Not recommended.

One week postpartum, the second time around. Taking in some sunshine and some quiet.

One week postpartum, the second time around. Taking in some sunshine and some quiet.

I think about that first postpartum period often now. I compare how things are going now to how they were back then. Gosh I was having a rough time. I had such high expectations of myself and my little baby. Neither of us lived up to them. She had the colic and couldn't sleep very well...ever. And I had to fill every spare moment with job applications and job searching, and I would inevitably become interrupted, hungry, tired, and then sad. I would start the day will all kinds of hope and possibility, and end each day in tears and disappointment and a sense that things would never get better. Things would always be hopeless and we would surely go broke.

One sign that things are better this time: I know that all that hopeless despair self-talk is a lie.

If I could say a few words to my old new-mama self I would tell her that. Depression lies to you. It is not hopeless. You are a hero, and you deserve to take a break.

Sometimes I wonder why didn't anyone else tell me this? Why didn't someone ask if I was OK?

The fact is, people did reach out. They did ask, how are you doing? I didn't hear them. They would ask, "how are you doing?" and all I would hear was "Tell us about how grateful you are for your new baby." I was grateful, I really was so very grateful that it killed me to be having a hard time emotionally. I was also so tired of failing at life (it seemed) that I wanted to succeed at this one thing. Admitting anything else felt like admitting that I was a terrible mom.

Oh, old me, all of that was a lie. No one was expecting you to be grateful at all times.

Other new moms (if you are out there listening), hear this! Please, open your ears and your heart to the well-intentioned questions that people are asking. Try to focus on the voices that are reaching out. They may be muffled by the all-encompassing sound of doubt and criticism and the fear of looking like a bad mom. But the voice that is criticizing your every move, the one that tells you this crap:
...that you didn't try hard enough
...that other moms' babies don't cry this much
...that other moms don't cry this much
...that you really need to be grateful that you even get to be a mom at all
...that you need to smile more because you're going to make your baby sad.

That voice is lying. Even if that voice is your own.

Listen, mama, even if you don't believe it quite yet...trust me, you will some day soon:
You are enough.
You are the best mama for your little one.
For your baby, the sun rises and sets with you, just the way you are. Just your sweet presence warms that baby's heart.
The love will grow.
You can cry.
You can tell people that you don't feel well.
You can get help. Any kind of help you need.
Resist the urge to judge yourself and your need for help. We all need help.

You are enough, mama. Yes, yes you are.

We had a baby. [And related topics]

It has been a wild couple of weeks in the life of hmv, and now, our son, hjvv. Everyone: meet Henry Jones.

Born on October 22, 2014

at 1:50 a.m.

after a quick 2.5 hours of labor

and 40 weeks + 2 days of anticipation


I don't have the time or mind capacity to write down the full birth story, but I wanted to share some thoughts, feelings, miscellaneous findings, and randoms observations. Here we go.

1. Can you be "in labor" for over week?

I have to say that I think the answer is now, yes. I had contractions every night (and several during the day as well) for a solid week before this baby was born. I had a false alarm at work. I packed up, called Jake, turned on my out-of-office, and excitedly zipped home where .... nothing happened. My membranes were swept twice. And I had strong contractions those two days. Like, get up and take some deep breaths and lean over the counter kind of contractions. Still nothing. For 4 days I was 5 centimeters dilated. That's HALF WAY to 10cm, which is all you need to have a baby. Well, 10cm and a whole lot of pushing.

So basically, yes, I'm going to go ahead and say that I was in labor (sorta) for a week. After that it all went pretty fast. But that's a story for another time (I promise).

 

Here I am with my husby, "not in labor" the day before my due date. It was fun talking the wait staff at the restaurant: "When are you due?" "Tomorrow" "Oh...that sounds about right."

 

Will this bread make me go into labor??  I did have some big contractions here. And some free creme brulee!

 

Here I am "not in labor" at Saturday market on game day. (Go ducks!) It's hard not to feel like everyone is waiting for you to hurry up and have the baby when the whole fam is in town, but our family was really very good about this. We had a fun 5-6 days of waiting together. We watched the game, went out to dinners, visited parks and apple orchards, and cleaned up the house. They SCRUBBED our house from top to bottom and it was glistening by the time everyone left.

2. Nursing. It doesn't get much easier.

So many things are easier the second time around, but nursing isn't really one of them. It still hurts your poor little nipples. It is still intensely emotional. And it's just plain hard at times. When my milk came in the day after I came home from the hospital, it was nearly impossible to nurse this little guy. Imagine trying to suck a tiny bit of water from an over-inflated water balloon. Not easy. And then imagine that you are the one with the giant water balloons on your chest. And they hurt. And they scare you with their gigantic proportions. And they appear to be scaring your tiny baby too, and everyone else around you, and the entire world.

It's hard to overstate the pain and terror of engorgement. Just trust me.

3. Thank the Lord above for the fine men and women of the Sacred Heart Emergency Room.

So, I don't want to make a big deal out of this, but it's not like every day you find yourself in the ER. In fact, I'd never been to ER, except this one time when I was kid but that was because my sister went and broke her arm and while we're on the topic let me add, it wasn't my fault.

 

This picture was taken about 15 minutes before the uterine cramping from hell hit me.

I also posted this to Facebook with some general complaint about the difficulties of nursing, and I got the nicest responses. My friends are truly the best.

I found myself in the ER because of severe uterine cramping. Or as my discharge papers so scientifically put it: "pelvic pain." It turns out that my sensitive little uterus would cramp up rather intensely every time I would nurse our little guy. Well, the nursing wasn't going very well (refer to #2 above), so I hadn't nursed for several hours. By the time I did (twice) I hadn't taken any pain killers for hours and the cramping was so intense it was like I was in labor again. It was like the worst contraction I ever had. And I have to believe this was pretty accurate on account of how recently I'd been in labor and had a baby (TWO DAYS prior).

Despite how many people told me that this kind of cramping is normal after second pregnancies, I had this nagging little feeling that I was DYING OF PAIN. I'm exaggerating, but at the time it was actually very, very scary. My husband jumped into action and called my mom and called our midwife clinic and talked to them. Minutes felt like hours and by the time the midwife called back to tell us to wait longer, I was practically yelling "NOOOOOO! I need to go to the ER."

So I went to the ER. My heroic mama drove me there and waited with me. Our incredible and reliable friends rushed over to watch our kids so that Jake could join us at the hospital. In the end, everything checked out fine and the pain medicine they gave (intravenously....holy crap! the serious stuff) was just divine. Oh thank goodness. And thank you, good people of the Sacred Heart ER. I could not be more appreciative of your kindness, your willingness to believe me and hear me out, and of course, your willingness to dispense large amounts of strong medicine.


Did I mention how amazing my friends are? Look at all the breastfeeding helpers they brought me! Thank you Leia and Carolyn!!

Welp, that's all I've got for now. On to the next nursing/diaper changing/napping session. Like I said, it's been wild times around here. More coming soon!

Short write: 5 Questions & Answers

My friend and fellow blogger at And Then They... challenged me to answer the following. It was fun to talk about some of my recent projects (around the house and writing-related), and I'm super motivated to take on some more! (After I take care of this one other little thing growing inside me...)

1. What are you working on right now?

Right now I have two drafts in my blog list. One is a pregnancy journal I've been writing since sometime around 15 weeks. I am 39 weeks now. Might be time to publish that...not sure that I want to though. It's one of those blog posts that's really more of a journal, so I might just print it or save it elsewhere. Does anyone else do that?

The second draft is about all the things I like about being a working mom. I started it after reading a few other posts about how to "survive" being a working mother, or worse, how to get over the guilt of being a working mother. I was inspired to write unapologetically about all the great things about working and parenting. There are so many things to love, honestly, we need to stop pretending like we all really wish we could stay home full time, but -shucks!- we can't! The jig is up, working parents like to work too.

Oh I'm also working on growing a baby in my belly. In case that hasn't been made abundantly clear.

2. How long does it take you to create a project?

FOR-ever. Sometimes. Sometimes I'm inspired and I write it all down in one big explosion. This is what happened when I wrote about sometimes there's sad times. Even the title just sort of rolled out of me, and I didn't think too much about whether or not to post it. It had to be said.

Most often, though, I start a post and then I add to it and edit it for several days, sometimes weeks. I wish I were faster, but that's just my style I think. I'm always trying to throw a few fast/shorties in the mix to keep the writing happening.

Oh and if this question is about other types of projects ... well, the same kind of applies. I start it, wait several days, pick it up again, and hopefully at some point I finish it.

3. What are my favorite things to create with at the moment?

Well, writing, obviously. I had fun taking on some home projects this summer too. "Pinteresting," I call it. I made a cool collage above our bookshelf. And reorganized the bookshelf in a fun way to show off the colors of the books.

Most of the collage was made with garage sale frames that I spray-painted white, and a garage sale Van Gogh poster that I cut up cleverly, I think. In the bookshelf you can see a few little porcelain animals, also spray-painted white. The baskets are also white. Really ties the whole thing together.

Most of the collage was made with garage sale frames that I spray-painted white, and a garage sale Van Gogh poster that I cut up cleverly, I think. In the bookshelf you can see a few little porcelain animals, also spray-painted white. The baskets are also white. Really ties the whole thing together.

I put up another bookshelf in a corner to house Little O's toys and make them visible. Also re-surfaced the back of yet another bookshelf with fabric. Basically the answer here is, I do weird stuff with shelving. 

This Craigslist find put me back $15 bones. Not bad! At that price I figured we could try this organizing strategy and THEN decide if we liked it or not. So far so good! Who needs those fancy toy organizer bin things after all?

This Craigslist find put me back $15 bones. Not bad! At that price I figured we could try this organizing strategy and THEN decide if we liked it or not. So far so good! Who needs those fancy toy organizer bin things after all?

So COOL, right?! And it was so easy. (Pardon the mess too) I found the geometric fabric in two colors that seemed fun but simple enough for the room. It takes this bookshelf that we use for storage to a much more decorative level and distracts from the boring function of the piece.

So COOL, right?! And it was so easy. (Pardon the mess too) I found the geometric fabric in two colors that seemed fun but simple enough for the room. It takes this bookshelf that we use for storage to a much more decorative level and distracts from the boring function of the piece.

We also got new floors and painted the living room blue. So projects abound in this house. 

2014-07-23 08.19.43.jpg

Until recently. Now it's all baby-growing all the time. 

4. How do I become inspired and stay inspired?

Blogs, Pinterest, articles I find on Facebook. My answer is the same as Carolyn's. It's relatively easy to find inspiration, and no shortage of things to do. It's hard to stay inspired long enough to see new projects through. I'd like to learn to sew, but the combination of not owning a machine and the scary learning curve...well, let's just say I'm taking baby steps. Step 1 was watching Carolyn sew something for me. I learned a lot that way. And it got done 1000% faster that way!

5. What is my signature style? 

I'm not sure what this means or if I should really answer it. If it's about writing style, I hope that is clear enough from my writing. And explaining it is a bit like walking someone through a joke. It's like, you'll understand it, but it's not really funny anymore?

My decorating style however ... hmmm, I would call it modern/classic-affordable. Well, ok...affordable. That's what I'd call it. I really like to find great deals on furniture, I like do-it-yourself crafts and re-purposing projects. It's fun to flip through Wayfair.com and find a perfect piece of furniture (a shelving unit most likely). But it's even more exciting to find a used piece and upgrade it, make it all perfect for what I want to use it for, and pay very little money. I'm totally that girl that gets a compliment and is like "I know, I found it on SALE!!"

 

You're welcome ... and I'm sorry: The end of our only-child family

Dear Olivia,

In about 2 months [update: 11 days] you will get the greatest gift that I could ever hope to give you: a sibling. He will be like you in many ways. His parents will be your parents. You will always have that in common. He will probably looks like you too, but different. And he will pick up many of the quirks and neuroses that we are no doubt passing along to our children.

I have always taken comfort in the fact that I have my sisters to talk to about issues related to family (mostly our weird mom and dad) (sorry, Mom and Dad). There will be times when you feel so alone, like no one else could possibly know what it feels like to be you. And that will be somewhat true. But you will have your brother. And he will have you. And my hope is that you two will keep that in mind and turn to each other when you need love and support.

Your dad and I love our siblings. But we did not always like them 100%. Like when Aunt Meggie was stubborn and wouldn't listen when it was time to clean up . Or when Aunt Amy Lou wanted to copy every little thing I did. Or when Aunt Maren would get out of doing chores because she was "too little." Bah! These were tough times on a big sibling. We knew we needed to love them, but man....it was hard sometimes.

We know that can happen. I'm not saying it won't make me a little sad. I want our house to be filled with love all day every day. But I will try to remember and understand.

Because we know that the gift of another sibling means the end of this very short era in your life. The era of the only child. Your dad and I got to experience this once upon a time, and we clearly grew wise and strong for it. But honestly we can't remember those years, and someday, neither will you probably. I'm not sure. Science can do some amazing things nowadays.

It is my hope that *I* remember these few short years, though, when you were my only little one. Mostly because I want to remember all my children's infancy and toddler years. But partly because this time has been special and unique. You made me become a mom. My own mom tells me that from time to time as well. I get it now. It is a special bond, and you happen to be my lucky first child who walked these firsts along with me. Your life changed mine forever.

I hope I remember

... rocking you in the living room for hours.

...watching you fall asleep on my chest after we had returned home from the hospital, hardly able to believe you were mine. And I was your mom.

...taking you to Baby swim time at Tamarack to do some of the first activity-based baby things we could think of. And watching every change on your face and little toes as you discovered the water.

...sitting with your dad at Bounce gymnastics, watching everything you did, and being so super attentive. Maybe too attentive. They wouldn't let us both hold your hands when we did the "mommy-and-me" activities, so we had to take turns.

...sneaking into your room at night after you'd fallen asleep, and coming back to the living room to report how cute you looked, and could we even believe we had made something so precious?

...taking turns trying to get you to eat baby food. Taking video of the whole messy adventure and sharing photos of your gooey face with everyone we knew.

...agonizing over our daycare choices. Sometimes convinced that the daycare was doing irreparable damage to you by withholding your pacifier. And other times convinced that we had nailed it by finding an affordable option that also taught you all the ABCs by the age of 2 and some sign language too!

When your brother arrives, we will be so prepared. What a fun family we have created so far. What a house full of love we've got. That is so directly tied to you, Olivia, and the joy you've brought just by being yourself.

I don't really like the idea that parents are more laid back for their second child. Nor is it fair to say that we "better" parents to our second child, or "worse." But we are different. We are more relaxed about some things that we can and should be relaxed about. We are more alert to other things. And we are all taking this leap together -- the adding of another family member.

You, Olivia, you seem like the one who is most prepared of all. You grab my belly and kiss your brother and tell him things. You think he is funny and silly. You felt him kick last night, and you told me that he was kicking just like *THIS* [ninja kick!]. Do you two already know each other? How did you get so wise about this little guy? I have no idea what he will be like and here you are, 10 steps ahead of me!

So here we go. He will be here any day now, and our family will be forever changed again. I am so glad I've got you with me for the adventure, Little O.

~ Mom

Here we are with our beautiful siblings! (Sorry Jake, this was the only picture I had of all 5 of us)

And here they are having a great time at our wedding reception. I could party with these girls for hours. HOURS. (And then I'd fall asleep)

Deciding to stay positive this late in pregnancy

Two completely un-profound things happened recently that have changed my perspective on this whole "being pregnant" thing. So I figured I would write about them. It's been a while since I've written and why not? Sometimes you need something small and mundane to push you in the right direction.

The first thing was this little moment that happened before I dropped Jake off at work. I had a tiny contraction (short in duration, but packing a pretty hefty punch). I started to cringe and whine and ughhhh... and Jake just kind of jumped into action and walked me through it.

"Breathe."

"I am breathing."

"No, with your mouth, like this... Remember?"

"Oh...yeah. Ok. [moment passes] Well, have a good day at work!"

So it wasn't like, earth-shattering, but it started this idea rolling in my head. And the idea was this:

STAY STRONG

Or more accurately, "Stay strong, you freaking wuss! This is going to get so much harder - you will WISH you had that tiny contraction back when you're 13 hours into labor on no sleep with this extra 30-some pounds we're packing around! Because this shit is real!!" (My inner critic is such a delight.)

But I needed this reminder. A couple weeks ago I had just the faintest *inkling* of a contraction along with some back pain. It lingered for a while, and the first thought that came to my mind was "Oh my gosh I'm in labor I can't do this I'll never make it I'm getting an epidural." Then it was over. So perhaps a slight overreaction. And a huge wake-up call.

This time around we are not taking birth classes, we aren't re-using HypnoBabies (although several techniques and ideas will be stolen from those materials), and we aren't planning for a natural birth, necessarily. This flies in the face of most everything we did last time, and I am very much at peace with that. But that doesn't mean that I want to be reaching for the magic epidural wand at the first sign of labor. No no noooo...I need to do a lot of this on my own...plus the wand apparently isn't even a thing so whatever. (crap)

Focus up! Only 3 weeks to go!

So I decided I need to focus up and stay strong. I do my kegels, I walk tall and engage my core, I don't complain.*

*as much

And it has helped. Today I actually walked across campus from a work meeting whilst smiling. For real. Which leads me to the second un-profound realization I have had:

STAY POSITIVE

Earlier on this particular journey, I was suddenly hit with the poetic euphoria of the great Stevie Nicks.

Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?
— Stevie Nicks, Landslide by Fleetwood Mac

There are many lines of that song that speak to me, but I do not know what they all mean. And I kind of like that. Songs like this mean different things at different times, and this line about the seasons of one's life, well...it really means something to me now.

Because the seasons are a'changing. Literally, too! But mostly figuratively. I am about to have a baby and be done with being pregnant. Probably forever. My body will never grow a little being inside of it again. Do I really want to end this season of life with a bunch of negativity? I want to celebrate this, I really do. My body is amazing! But ugh, it gets hard.

How do I handle the seasons of my life? How do I deal with the fact that this is ending and that makes me indescribably sad? The door on this chapter is closing. But at the same time it is hard (physically) to be so pregnant and so heavy and so uncomfortable in my own body. I am done with the backaches and the shooting pains and the constant commentary of strangers. I look at Jake and I long to be able to decide when and when not to disclose personal details about my life. Like when I'm going have another baby and how many I already have and how I feel in my uterus area and how dilated my cervix is. (Actually, no one has asked that yet, but God help them on the day they ever do....)

I have this theory that God made pregnancy really difficult at the end so that you would embrace the opportunity of childbirth, rather than fear it. It was a pretty clever trick. And it's working.

If you consider the metaphor of seasons, that makes sense too. Summer gets so damn hot. At some point you're like, listen, I can do without the suntan and the bikinis and all that. Give me some colorful leaves, big scarves, and pumpkin patches and let's move on already!

It's a natural progression. It certainly helps that at the end of this season, I get to start a new one with a beautiful baby boy. I get to start a mother-son relationship that will never end. And I get to go to the gym and really work out again and kind of get my body back. Forever.

Not that I'm looking too shabby as it is...

image.jpg

(you get that it's a joke, right?)

(cause I'm huge...but also sexy as hell)

Is confidence a little overrated?

When I was 15 I signed up for choir. Not because I had singing talent. Not because I had a knack for music. I was simply young and foolish and uninhibited by reason and rationality. F it, I thought, I'm going to SING. That's what I want to do, and that's what I'm going to register for. So I sang (poorly), every first period from September to January of 1998 when my dreams of sweeping American Idol were suddenly destroyed by a mandatory course for athletes called Advanced Conditioning. Damn you, Coach Bowles!

hmv circa 1997

hmv circa 1997

During my brief career as choir singer #47, I made some important realizations. Firstly, I realized I had a lot to learn. The lingo was completely foreign to me. I barely knew the difference between soprano and alto and I only picked alto because my volleyball friend did too. Secondly -and this is either really fortunate or really sad depending on your perspective- our conductor was incredibly gifted. His advice was spot-on and perfectly articulated. He seemed to be able to hear all our terribly teenage voices at once, and he could pinpoint exactly what needed to be done to improve the sound. But he never came right out and told us that we should keep our day jobs because we were a motley crew of no-talent fools because, again, this guy was a pro.

Somehow my 15-year-old brain was able to simmer on this information and form a pretty incredible plan: I sucked at singing and had no idea what I was doing; our conductor was amazingly brilliant; perhaps I should listen to every single thing he told us to do, and DO IT. And holy poop you guys, the plan WORKED.

If he told us that we sounded too breathy, I would assume he was talking about me and try to scale back the breathiness, and *ta-da* the next time he would tell us that we sounded much better.

Seems so simple looking back. But it wasn't. Did I mention that I was an ego-inflated 15-year-old? The fact I was willing to really listen was kind of incredible.

Why? Making the decision to listen to my instructor required putting aside my confidence and really getting comfortable with my lack of competence. I had to embrace the fact that I didn't know anything before I could get any better. It was the kind of move that goes exactly against the advice I've been reading lately.

Consider the Confidence Gap. The authors learned that men tend to try for better jobs, bigger salaries, and they get them, simply by acting with more confidence.

In studies, men overestimate their abilities and performance, and women underestimate both. Their performances do not differ in quality.
Women working at HP applied for a promotion only when they believed they met 100 percent of the qualifications listed for the job. Men were happy to apply when they thought they could meet 60 percent of the job requirements.

And guess who tended to reach the top first?

The authors found, essentially, that confidence mattered more than competence. Confidence was a stronger indicator of higher salaries, better jobs, more interesting assignments, etc. And men had higher confidence based on their studies, so men typically rose to the top. We all know that men rise to the top faster than women and more frequently. But here is what I'm trying to say... 

Is all of this a good thing? 

Is it good for us to be promoting the most confident workers? The ones who ask more frequently, who demand more? Is it good to emulate that logic? It is good to say to one's self, don't worry about getting that next certification or training, just TELL them that you're the smartest, wickedest person for the job and then TAKE it! After all, men do it and it works, so why shouldn't we?

Well, let me propose two reasons: 1) you're not a man so this isn't going to work quite like that, and 2) it's not right. It's just not right. I refuse to buy into the idea that confidence SHOULD outweigh competence. I know it apparently DOES outweigh competence, but it shouldn't. That's not how to run a business, or determine promotions, or create a beautiful sound from a young choir. Competence is what matters. Competence (with a healthy side of confidence) is what strengthens the team and builds the better workforces.

And here's another thing: Women may have much to gain by getting more confident, but a lack of confidence can be a secret asset, and everyone seems to be overlooking it.

When I think about the times, like high school choir, when I turned down the dial on my confidence and really tried to improve my skills, I got much much better at whatever I was doing. I know this is true of men as well. I've had conversations with male coworkers or friends that I am comfortable with, and I've asked them, "Can you admit for a moment that you don't understand everything about this issue? Can you set aside your argument for a second, and consider this other point of view?" And when they do that (when we ALL do that), we tend to have a deeper discussion and we both truly learn more. Because we aren't trying to postulate and impress each other with our ridiculous fake confidence.

And I see women do this artfully at work too. The cleverest women I've seen do this are actually just using a lack of confidence to get to a result that they were really pretty confident about all along. You've seen these moves too:

"Can you help me understand your reasoning?"
"I'm sure you've already thought of this, but what if we...."
"That sounds like a great plan, but I guess I'm not sure how [this other thing] would fit in? What if we tried..."

It isn't rocket science. But it isn't blind confidence either. Blind confidence is just lack of competence dressed up to look pretty. Good managers can see through it. And if they can't, I don't think they're really that good. Because you can hire a company full of peacocks and prance around acting like you know what you're doing ... but for only so long. Eventually that team of nerds down the road is going to catch up and catch on.

This I believe is true. Who cares if I have the data to prove it?

Hmv's Guide to Fielding Dumb Questions

It's time for something light.

Lately, I've been getting lots of questions, many of them dumb questions. Now you might say to yourself, HEY there's no such thing as a dumb qu--- stop. Yes there is.

So I'm taking a break from serious matters to bring you this little public service announcement. Feel free to start applying it to your real life right away.

Question 1: When are you due?!

Answer: Don't ask this. At least, don't just come straight out of the gate with this one. You don't know me. I may not even be pregnant!

Ok, ok, I'm definitely pregnant. But still, be cautious here. You never know. Consider asking me about things in a different way:

"You looks splendid! How are you feeling?" <-- this question gives nothing away, and it has the added benefit of actually being a compliment

"You look great!" <-- how about that? It's not even a question! Now I can talk about it or not talk about it and there's no pressure. Sidenote: Don't keep pressing on if I just say "thanks" and move along.

"How's things?" <-- brevity is next to Godliness ... or some such thing

Question 2: Do you want a boy or a girl?

Answer: Yes.

I don't have a preference. And if I did, I don't think I would tell you, barista lady I hardly know. Or coworker that I know very well and will see every day until this baby is born. A person who will be wondering the whole time, will she really love that baby when she actually wanted the other gender?

Nope. We aren't going there. NEXT!

Question 3: Oh, it's a BOY, is Jake so excited?

Answer: Umm...yes? I mean, we are both excited. Do you mean to suggest that I am NOT as excited as Jake is? Or that Jake was waiting in anticipation, holding out on excitement until we got one of his kind? Now he's like, Heck yeah! I got a boy! So much for this pesky girl child. See you later, sweetie, I'm off to buy my boy some monster trucks!

Or do people say the reverse of this to women too? Because I don't remember anyone asking "Oh it's a girl, is Hannah so excited?" when O was born. Because that would be weird.

Question 4: Are you ready??

Answer: No. Oh shit ... what am I doing? What have I DONE?!!

Question 5: Look at you! I bet you are just like, SO done with this, huh?

Answer: The actual literal answer I gave to this comment was, "What? No! I'm only half way there. I'm fine." I've heard this one before, but never so soon.

And what the hell do you mean, look at me?? Look at what? My gigantic belly? I've got news for you toots, it gets bigger. It gets a LOT bigger. And then when you don't think it can get any bigger, it gets just a little bigger and then you push a 10lb baby out of your hoo ha. So deal with that. (She doesn't have kids...I definitely should have actually said this to her.)

Plus, PLUS, no matter when you are asking this question, the answer will always literally be No. No, I am not done yet because if I were there would be a baby in my arms instead of this enormous belly ball. Did you notice that?

Just let me enjoy the pregnancy too. Just leave room for the possibility that although I look uncomfortable to YOU, I may be feeling great inside. I'm growing a person in here. And that is pretty rad.

Boy or girl?

boots

Tomorrow we find out the answer to an epic question... are we having a boy or a girl? I have this very strange fear that I will be sad or disappointed when I hear the news. I'm not consciously worried about having a girl or having a boy, so I'm not sure where these feelings are coming from. But in an effort to alleviate my concerns, I have decided to make two lists:

 

Great things about having a BOY:

  1. I get to have a "son." That would be fun to say.
  2. We can raise one of each gender. This would be helpful for science experiments, proving and disproving stereotypes, and finally answering the question "nature or nurture?" What makes boys and girls different? (It will be such a relief when we finally figure this out.)
  3. BLUE CLOTHES. So many blue items of clothing we have been missing out on. Starting with boy pajamas (the best!).
  4. Boys seem less costly over time. They don't seem too obsessed with fancy clothes or jewelery or princess dresses. Or prom dresses! But wait then they are supposed to pay for dinner and all that...hmmm.
  5. It's really hard to picture what our boy would look like. Blonde maybe? It's fun to imagine.
  6. Jake and I only have sisters. So raising a boy would be like a wild new frontier for us. (But just so we're clear...it wouldn't be THAT different. See #5 to the right)

 

Great things about having a GIRL:

  1. Olivia gets to have a sister. How special is that?
  2. Olivia's dream of becoming ever more like the characters from Frozen comes true. (But which sister will be Elsa, the one with the power to freeze your heart and make you dead??)
  3. HAND-ME-DOWNS GALORE! We have boxes and boxes of adorable things that Olivia only got to wear a few times.
  4. Girl seems like the more cost-effective option. Did I mention that hand-me-downs are FREE?
  5. Girl is marginally more familiar than boy. I hesitate to even say this though. O is a girl, but it's not as though she is exhibiting uniquely female characteristics right now. She likes painting and playgrounds and singing and fruit. She dislikes bathtime and food she hasn't tried yet. We can navigate these things pretty well, but it has done nothing to prepare us for "raising a girl" necessarily.
  6. We already know what one daughter looks like. The other one will inevitably look different. But how??!

Well, in a strange way this makes me feel a little more reassured. Whichever variety we are blessed with, it will be a blessing. And learning the gender of this baby is just one tiny step in the journey toward learning who this little human is. A tiny one. But one of the only things we get to learn at this stage, so I plan to just run with it. I'm excited. (!!!)