Saturday, July 31, 2010

unsolicited advice

I've heard unsolicited advice and comments throughout my pregnancy, and I really wish I had kept better records of all the silly comments. So, in light of that, I'm going to be keeping track here of the stupid comments I get from people when I have River.

(I'm not going to write about every pervy look I get while I'm breast feeding in public, that would take too long, but suffice it to say, there are MANY!)

The other day I was in Jewel with a couple friends. We decided to take a walk to the grocery store to pick up a couple ingredients that I needed to make dinner. We were outside in the heat (about 90 degrees) for a good 15 minutes there and 15 minutes back, and must have spent about 5 minutes in the store total. River was just in a diaper and in my sling. At one point during the walk, she started getting fussy in the sling, so I took her out to avoid her overheating. We were in Jewel, standing in the produce department, I was breastfeeding River. An old lady with some indistinguishable accent walked up to us and started lecturing me. She told me that my baby was cold, was going to get pneumonia, etc... at one point, after realizing exactly what was going on (this was my first public lecture) I turned to her, called her a rude old lady, and kept shopping. She said that she had never seen anybody do that with a baby, and walked away. I saw her a couple other times while we were still in the store, she would shoot me these evil glares and then keep walking. Unfortunately the two friends I was with didn't know what was going on until to told them later, otherwise I think they would have stood up for me.

Another day I was sitting in my car reading while River sat on my lap. J and his friend were in a magic store getting some more tricks for him to use at work. I had gotten tired of standing and really wanted to get a little further in my book, and with the nice breeze outside, I didn't mind sitting and waiting. After a little while a car parked in the space next to me, and out came an older lady, a younger lady, and two kids. The older lady, after noticing me in the car, proceeded to beckon over one of the little girls and told her to look at my 'baby boy'. I don't mind gender mix-ups as River is usually dressed pretty gender neutral. Eventually while they asked questions and I answered with a fake smile plastered on my face like a good little mommy, I slipped in that River is a girl. The old lady then asked why she was wearing shorts and "where is her little dressie?" I was amazed, and she was serious. I snapped back (at this point I was annoyed that she was sticking her head in my car and interrupting my reading) that the women's liberation movement happened a while back and that I was a big fan. She stormed away in a huff and actually scolded me, saying "well, I Never!"

The most recent occurance happened yesterday and to my friend Tom instead of me. Tom, his girlfriend, and I were in a Teavana picking out some tea and other products. Tom was at the counter at one point when a middle-aged man walked up to him and started talking to him about 'his wife and child'. Tom politely corrected him, that I was not his wife. After some insisting that I was, and then finally realizing that I wasn't, he gave him a really confused look and said 'then you'd better get a lawyer!" Yup. Because how dare a married woman with a baby be friends with a guy!

Anyone else have experience with unsolicited advice or comments? I know I had a ton when I was pregnant (usually about how high or low I was carrying and how it must be a boy or a girl). Lately it seems like i'm getting more judgemental looks than comments, but I still get a few really golden ones -sarcasm-

an update and more excuses

River is growing more every day, she's two months old now.

Between her and the move (and roommates), I don't have much time for updating the blog. I was hoping that I would be able to continue researching and writing well thought-out articles, but that doesn't seem to be possible. I'm a two-handed typer, and typing with one hand frustrates me so much that I give up before I get a full sentence written.  I haven't been taking many pictures lately either. I know I should be taking them for myself so that I can always remember River as she is now, but I find that I'd much rather just sit with her, drinking her in, instead of looking at her through a viewfinder or on a digital camera screen.

Another issue is that it's summer... which means that I've gotten a little flighty... to say the least. I've been trying to make it to Bristol faire more often, bought a lot of tea products for some delicious iced tea (had my first glass today, it was amazing!), cleaning and unpacking whenever I can, and just being a mommy. Two of my friends also just got jobs at J's place of employment, plus he has a tentative raise and promotion in the works (they've told him that he's the best employee that they have and that they want to give him more responsibility).

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Update goodness

Again, I haven't posted much here recently.. things have been busy.

We're still in the process of moving to our friend's house. Most of the stuff left at the old apartment is junk that needs to be thrown out, and most of the stuff that's necessary has already been moved. It makes it really hard to motivate ourselves to go to the old place and clean it out. Still, it needs to get done before the end of the month.

My birthday was on the 20th. I turned 23, so I'm almost a quarter of a century, but still considered a relatively young parent. I decided to postpone my birthday a day since J was working a double on my actual birthday. On the 21st we took a trip to Brookfield Zoo with two of our close friends, and later J and I went to Big Bowl with River along for a date night. The whole day went really well and we went to bed that night exhausted and satisfied.

I've also been finding it extremely difficult to type one-handed, maybe not difficult persay, but definitely time-consuming. That said, River just got bored of a friend's attempts to sooth her and needs a boob. Adios.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Sorry for the multiple posts one after the other, I just wanted to limit having a huge post with multiple topics :-)

J and I had been living in a nice little rented one bedroom townhouse for a year. We rented it when he was at his last job, which was steady and with decent pay even though it made him miserable. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), right after the holiday season, J was laid off. It was bad news. We managed for three months without a steady form of income (he collected unemployment and did a couple side jobs for friends). Eventually he found the job he's at now, where he's super happy but wasn't making quite as much. We scraped by. Recently he did get a raise, and is now making about the same as, or maybe a little more than, his last job. It's awesome, but with paying the hospital bills and for our own insurance, we couldn't afford to renew our lease.

Two days ago we moved to an awesome three bedroom house that the parents of a friend of ours owns. Sounds awesome, right? well, it really is, but it kind of isn't. Yes, the house is big, our room is huge, and right now we're living just with our friend and kind of his girlfriend. For this month. Next month the rest of the group moves in. We'll end up with a total of 8 people living here! T and H live in the finished basement, C and V have the second bedroom, A has the third, and J, me, and River have the master suite. I know it's hard with the letters instead of names, but it works better for me on a public blog like this.

Cool thing is that we're all pretty hard-core gamers (I'm probably the least hard-core of the group), most of us are quiet shut-ins, and C, V, and A are all getting a lot more space from the move (they had been sharing a studio before). We've basically decided that it's a commune. Another good part is that whatever money we pay in rent that is above the mortgage payment, we get back to use on fixing up the house! Double plus because it not only makes it better for us living here, but helps my friend's parents sell it after we move out.

AND! my bedroom has green walls! WIN!

The Dreaded Baby Shower :-)

I haven't posted in a while, mostly out of sheer insane busyness.

The 10th was the dreaded baby shower. I have to admit that it went surprisingly well! We did the onesie decorating activity that was featured on and everyone loved it. I didn't get too much that was obnoxious and pink, just a few things.

One problem I had was with what appeared to be critiques of my parenting style. I've been practicing attachment parenting and on-demand feeding. This basically means that River is on me all the time and she's usually got a boob in her mouth. Unfortunately, the only time these parenting styles seem to be an issue instead of an amazing thing is when I'm around family. They all want to hold River all the time! I'm sorry, but when River is asking for food, telling me she's hungry, I'd rather get her the food she wants before she starts crying instead of waiting until she's too worked up to suck properly. When River is asleep and using my boob as a pacifier, I'm not about to break that and wake her up. I got a lot of comments from people who were amazed about how much I let her nurse and how attached she is to me. It might have been paranoia, but it really felt like everyone was critiquing my parenting decisions. At one point I even had to tell someone that my parenting decisions are not up for discussion.

Otherwise things went really well! J's family mostly stayed separate from mine except during the decorating activity, but I've learned to accept that as probably being for the best. I forgot my camera, so I spent the day without a lens in front of my face, again probably for the best. And River even slept through most of it!

I did get a surprisingly long period of time without River attached to me, for the first time since she was born! My grandmother (aka: Momo) has some serious baby super-powers! The second she holds River, River is passed out on her shoulder! I couldn't believe it! I tried to take major advantage of the time but kept finding myself going back to check on River and make sure she really was ok.

Well, sorry I don't have any pictures! I'll take pics of the onesies when I get them back from my mom.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

The Business of Being Born, a Review

I recently watched The Business of Being Born as per my Bradley Method teacher's recommendation. I've gotten a lot of flak for being very anti-medical model on this blog, mostly from friends IRL (in real life). This documentary did a lot to reinforce my belief that midwives should be more accessible in the United States.

The statistics that are presented in the documentary are cultivated from valid medical studies whose results reinforce the midwifery point of view but many medical professionals ignore. The scenes where obstetricians share their perspectives were extremely troubling, especially for someone who has done a lot of reading about the hazards of medical perspectives in birthing.

To reinforce the statistics and relate them to real experiences of women in labor there are some fantastic interviews with women who birthed using the medical and the midwife professions. They talk about the cascading effects of medical interventions, about the ways that obstetricians coerce women into further interventions, and about their observations about society's views of childbirth. Some of these interviews are even with women who favor the medical model and argue for scheduled inductions and cesareans.

 I love their emphasis on the snowball effect that comes from the introduction of medical interventions, specifically the use of Pitocin causing the need for an epidural which can stall labor and create a need for more Pitocin, which then puts the baby in distress and creates a need for a C-section.

The documentary does a good job of approaching the myths associated with midwifery and home birth. They follow a midwife to some home visits and even a birth, emphasizing all of the tools that she brings with her, most of which she does not often use but carries for emergencies. 

I would imagine that one of the hardest decisions for the filmmakers was to include the filmmaker's own homebirth which ended in a rush to the hospital and a c-section because of fetal distress. I feel like this inclusion added legitimacy to the documentary by giving it a balance and showing how it is still possible to get needed interventions during a homebirth.

One critique that I have is the inclusion of the 'machine that goes ping' scene from Monty Python:

Although the video is frighteningly accurate, the comedy is not prefaced with the documentarian's reason for including it. Instead of showing how absurd the medical perspective is, I fear that the inclusion of this video just makes those who are pro-midwifery seem like they are getting their information from comedy or that we are overreacting.

I have to say, this documentary has given me much more respect for Ricky Lake. I loved her in Cry Baby, didn't really understand her show, and never realized that she had real passion. Her work through this documentary is amazing.

I will be showing this video to any woman I know who is pregnant and will encourage her to do her own research about the medical and midwife perspectives to childbirth.

Things I want to do...?

Lately I've been thinking a lot about things that I want to do in my life. Yes, having a kid is going to take up a big portion of my time. I think it's because I'm used to having something to do, something that i'm working towards, something I consider WORK. I definitely don't consider River work. I mean, at this point, I've just been laying around with a baby at my boob.

I've been thinking about a few options:
  • Teaching Baby Sign (I'd have to buckle down to flesh out my signing skills, get more confident with signing, and get certified if I want to be a serious teacher. unfortunately training takes time and money.. but I might be able to host parent groups and facilitate learning as a group)
  • Becoming a Postpartum Doula (again, I'd have to get trained, and from the research I've done, it's a LOT of training.. plus training takes time and money)
  • Write! (In highschool I was part of the writing club and in college I was really good at writing my GWS papers. Unfortunately without deadlines and such, I suck at motivating myself.)
Otherwise, I know I should be working on costuming or crafting, but it's so hard with the little one. by the time she gets comfortable enough that I can get up to do anything, she's hungry again.  Plus, I have yet to find a one-handed craft!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Stretch Marks

I have posted here a few times about my frustrations with society's assumptions, mostly regarding pregnancy. Well, there's a new one.

I like my stretch marks. I wear them with pride. I've heard a lot of advice on how to get rid of them. It seems that there is a whole slew of products made just for me! Well, me if I wanted to get rid of the scars. There's oils and lotions and pills and herbal remedies, etc, etc.

Me though? When I decided to get pregnant I signed up for everything that went along with it. I signed up for the sleepless nights, the crying baby, the feeling of constantly being needed. I even signed up for the stretch marks.

I feel like I should have something I can show off, like "look what I did, I got so big that I split at the seams!" I look at my stretch marks and I see an accomplishment, I see a reminder of my wonderful uncomplicated pregnancy where I tried really hard to take good care of myself, I see a reminder of my wonderful labor and delivery where I managed to do everything without any drugs or medical interventions.

So after you comment on my large, still red stretch marks, when I say that I'm not looking to get rid of my stretch marks, that is not an invitation to keep telling me about whatever magical remedy you are convinced I need to be using. That is not an invitation to tell me about how I will want them gone. And it is definitely not an invitation for that chuckle that says "aw, that's cute, but you're not serious". I got that same laugh when I talked about unmedicated delivery and I went through with that just fine.

In the end, I just don't feel like I need to be told to hate my own body.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

First set of July Pics

Here is River's first set of pictures from July. These were taken with my awesome friend's amazing camera of doom!!!! Also, these are the first set of River pics that I bothered doing any color editing on, but in my laziness I did it with whatever software came with my lappy instead of transferring the pics to the desktop comp with photoshop on it. Anyways, there's a bunch of pretty similar pics, so here's a slideshow ^.^ Enjoy!