Ode to My Son’s Left Thumb

It wasn’t that I didn’t notice you. When you arrived in my arms, I was thrilled to find you attached and healthy, one of ten perfect little appendages on chubby little hands, connected to the most perfect being I had ever seen.

I was so naive.

Because while I have never doubted the perfection of that tiny child, his screams certainly tested my dedication. This beautiful being cried and it broke my heart and then he cried some more and my head hurt.

I tried the pacifier, but my perfect little human responded with a kind of apathy I didn’t realize was possible of an infant. He didn’t hate it, but it wasn’t what he wanted.

I tried a blankie, soft and safe, but it held no appeal for his cries.

And then one night, one glorious night, he found you. I walked into the nursery, having noticed that our tiny human’s screams were somewhat lessened that night, and I found this beautiful sight:

Love at first suck

This was it.  This picture is the moment that the sparks flew: the stars aligned and you found each other.  And you have been inseparable ever since.

I don’t know why he choose you, leftie.  Perhaps you chose him.  Either way, this sweet child has never stuck his right thumb into his mouth.  It is only you, the left one, that he treasures so much.

At first, he found you only during sleep.

Sweet thumb, for you I have to thank many restful nights.

And lovely, cuddly, mid-day naps.

You helped on airplanes, on vacation, at home and in a carseat, assisting my little human into dreamland.

Soon though, the obsession and love between you grew, and he would find you during bathtime

And during playtime

Of course, like all good things, difficulties cluttered our path.

One time, in a classic rookie mom mistake, I cut the nail on you just a little too short.  There was blood.  I was horrified.  The child, of course, was more horrified, as he tried to soothe himself with his thumb, only to find it the source of his pain.

I was scared to trim his nails for weeks.

You have also interrupted plenty of photos to spend quality time in the germ-infested water of my sweet child’s mouth

 

One time, underestimating the loving bond between you and my son, I offered him the pacifier.  It was as if two great friends had been separated by a wall and tried desperately to return to each other.

This was that moment, see how the thumb searches for it’s connection.

I went home and threw the others away.

And you have been there since.  You and my son, best friends.

In sickness

In health

In exhaustion

Either way, I sing your praises.

Many parents stifle the finger-sucking tendencies of their littles.  I welcomed you.  Here you were, ready and willing to soothe his little self.  I couldn’t lose you.  He couldn’t throw you away.  You were always at hand (no pun intended), ready and willing.

So thank you, my son’s left thumb.

He can suck on you until he’s twelve, for all I care.  Because you have provided the peace a new mother craved.

The Milestones that Aren’t in Baby Books

“When all three of them could buckle themselves in the car.”  She sighs wistfully.  “For so long, I had to wrestle them all into their seats, then go through and buckle each harness.  When you can just hop in the driver’s seat and go?! Those days come again.”

Before becoming a parent, I bought a baby book filled with all the little milestones.  The day he rolls over.  The day he sleeps through the night.  The first word, first steps, first baby food.

What I didn’t realize is how little I cared about those milestones.  Yeah, they were fun.  They still are fun.  But the day my son shoved his own arm through his long-sleeved onesie?  That was effing exciting.

My dear friend Carole one day told me about the seat-buckling thing.  She is raising three glorious and hilarious humans, and she knows what’s up and down on the mother train.  In my newbie mama brain, she’s the great sage of wisdom bestowing her nuggets of motherhood wisdom in my ear.  This post goes out to her (particularly since she wrote half of these herself).

Ladies and gentlemen: The Milestones That Aren’t in Baby Books (in semi-chronological order):

Their first public diaper blow-out. Where were you?

When he pushes his arms and legs through the sleeves of his clothes.  Yeah, shoving a limp newborn arm into a giant winter coat is a terrible game of hide and find.

The first day they don’t unload every bookshelf or dump out every sock drawer. (One day I will have neat, beautiful bookshelves again…)

The first time they put a puzzle together on their own after you’ve helped them 3 zillion times.

When you can safely leave the house without a Tupperware of Cheerios.  I turn into a woman on the edge when I find myself without Cheerios.  Don’t have a meltdown, Don’t have a meltdown…

When you don’t have to carry his banshee-screaming, wiggly butt to the car and he can walk by himself.

The first time you cuss and they understand its a bad word…

…The first time they cuss because they heard you use that word.

The first time they “read” a book they’ve memorized word for word because you’ve read it to them 6 bajillion times.

The first time they use a kleenex instead of handing you the booger.

And when they can make it to the toilet when they’re sick and you aren’t scrubbing puke out of the carpet at 3am.

When they start actually helping empty the dishwasher instead of making more work.  Finally!  Having children pays off!

When they develop a sense of humor and understand why the knock knock joke was funny. For a LONG time they will tell the joke, then laugh, but can’t tell you why it’s funny.

The first time they teach you something. Not in an existential way, but truly something you didn’t know before.

The first time you wake up and no little one is in bed with you. According to my mom sources, this one is happy at the time, but turns to heartbreaking.

When the older ones start driving and suddenly you can reassign all your dropping-off duty to your child.

When you realize your kids are “friends” without Mom and Dad forcing it.

The biggest milestones by far?

Every time they do something that makes them need you less. Like getting dressed alone, or potty trained, or learning how to use a spoon. It’s the little things that turn parenthood into a magic show.

How Postpartum Depression Totally Blindsided Me

I have struggled with depression before. The tendrils of pain and apathy have wormed into my head on more than one occasion. I have been on medication, I have been to therapy, I have owned my struggle as a generally anxious woman who has had bouts of depression both mild and moderate.

Having admitted that to hospital staff, when I gave birth I was immediately flagged as someone at-risk for postpartum depression. A counselor spoke to me two days after I gave birth. I was still wearing a hospital gown, my son slept peacefully in the bassinet beside me. I listened attentively to all her warnings, listened to the careful distinction between “baby blues” and true-blue postpartum depression (PPD), took her card, and assumed all would be fine. I knew the warning signs of depression.

What I didn’t anticipate was that PPD would be nothing like the depression I had battled before.

Yes, my PPD was more severe than my previous depression. But more than that, PPD was entirely different. It manifested in completely new and opposite ways, and despite my knowledge on the disease and awareness of myself, I didn’t realize I was drowning until I started to seriously consider taking my life.

It took serious suicidal ideation for me to realize that something was terribly wrong.

In retrospect, of course it manifested different. When you have a baby, everything about your life is turned upside down. Of course the “normal” triggers are completely different. Of course the “normal” feelings can ‘t be identified or routed.

I was blindsided because I thought I knew what I was looking for. In my mind, PPD was something that you directed outward. I thought it meant having thoughts about hurting your baby. I thought it was like “normal” depression, like my previous sentiments of apathy or “blank-ness.”

Here’s what it looked like for me:

Constant terror.

An overwhelming, consuming sense of inadequacy.

Conviction that I could “fix it” if I just tried hard enough.

I lived like that for the first four months of my child’s life.  Convinced that I could be perfect if I just worked hard enough, I slowly wound myself into a tighter and tighter ball of fear.  It started slowly.

First, relieved of the physical burden of pregnancy, I spent the first two weeks rearranging furniture and baby supplies, like there was a “right” way to do it.  I would often forget to eat because I was on the floor sorting baby socks.

Second, I ceased sleeping.  Now, this is normal for many mothers because the demands of a newborn are no joke.  The difference for me was that it became borderline impossible for me to rest.  Even if the baby was asleep, even if my husband begged me to go lie down, I would vibrate with anxiety that kept me awake.  I thought of all the possible things that could hurt my child.  I obsessed over all the little ways he could get hurt.  And if I fell asleep, I experienced vivid nightmares of these fears.  I often dreamt that he was suffocating in the covers, even though I never brought him to bed with me.  Occasionally, I would dream that he had spontaneously stopped breathing.  It was not uncommon for me to jump out of bed and rush to see my child, leaning over him to make sure he was still breathing.  It became so common that my husband’s first words upon my waking became, “He’s okay.  I promise, he’s okay.”

Third, my obsession grew and grew.  I consumed every bit of baby literature I could get my hands on.  I counted ounces of pumped breastmilk like it was liquid gold.  I started questioning my every move.  If I left him to play in his Rock n Play, I worried that I wasn’t holding him enough.  If I held him, I worried that he would be coddled and wouldn’t sleep on his own.  Round and round this went, toying with my sleep-deprived brain.  I began to think that my son was absolutely perfect and that everything I did to him was slowly draining away his perfection, little by little, because I couldn’t get it “right.”

I started to have daily (sometimes hourly) panic attacks.  I could feel them coming on: my breathing would get labored, my calf muscles would tense, my vision blurry, and suddenly I would find myself locked inside a closet, trying desperately to find my breath while tears ran down my cheeks.

At my six week postpartum appointment, I expressed some of this to my midwife.  Specifically, I told her about the panic attacks.  I don’t know if I downplayed it.  I don’t know if she didn’t hear me correctly.  What she said, though, extended my battle longer than it should have gone.  She said, “That sounds like new motherhood to me.”

So… this was normal, I assumed.  I felt ashamed for asking, and I buried my fears and my anxieties further.

The panic only intensified.  The obsession only twisted into something more grotesque.  But this is what motherhood looked like, didn’t it?  This didn’t resemble the depression and anxiety of my past, so I assumed it was something else, something I would eventually get used to.

I realized I needed help when I put words to my obsession.  I was watching my child sleep when I said to him, “If just try hard enough, I can be the perfect mother for you.”

Two things happened in that instant: 1) I knew that was totally unrealistic, 2) I knew I believed it with my whole heart.  I called my midwives and begged them to help.  This time, they listened.

Unfortunately, the gears of the mental health system grind incredibly slow.  I didn’t realize how dangerous I was, and every therapist I called had a six week waiting period.  A single week is an eternity when you have an infant, and it only is worse with PPD.  Days stretched so long, I often lost track and assumed weeks had passed, when only days, sometimes hours had occurred.  My perception was so warped.

I did get to a counselor, but if you’ve ever done counseling, you know that the first several appointments are very surface-level while they do background questionnaires.

It was too little, too late.

In April, around my son’s four month birthday, I lost touch with reality.

I’m not emotionally prepared to fully explore that particular time, so I will not divulge details.  Can you imagine?  It has been almost a full year since the worst of my PPD, and I am still haunted by it, enough that it has taken weeks to pen this particular post.  Even now, writing it down, it seems so very obvious how terribly I was suffering.  That is the disease that is PPD.

For me, PPD did not direct its attention towards my son.  I adored him, he was my world, and that lined up well with my perceptions of motherhood.  The problem wasn’t him or my perception of him, the problem was my perception of myself.  I could not be gentle with myself.  Which seemed normal.

Yes, there were other events occurring in my life at that time, events which certainly contributed to my spiral.  I can admit that, especially considering that some people in my life “blame” my PPD on those external events.  But it’s important to emphasize that depression and anxiety live inside a person and they cannot be cured by external stimuli.  They can be soothed, yes; but the healing must take place from within.

A little anxiety in motherhood is normal.  A little anxiety in everyday life is normal.  Consuming fear: not normal.  Obsession (even with your own child): not normal.  Physical manifestations of anxiety (AKA panic attacks): not normal.

New Mamas: If you are unsure, get professional help.  Just do it.  It’s better to get the help and feel even a little bit better than to wallow in even a moderate amount of pain or fear or depression.  My Achilles heel was that I thought I knew what to look for.  But PPD wasn’t like what I thought it would be.  Had I known better, perhaps I would have gotten help sooner.

And a word of positivity: I’m better.  After lots of therapy and medication and support groups, I’ve fumbled my way to something comfortable.  Soon I’ll write a blog post about that whole process.  My days are not always easy (parenthood in general isn’t easy), but it’s doable.  I enjoy it so much more.  I am better for my son, I am better for my family, for my students, I am better for me.

 

 

Featured image from this AMAZING photographer, Christian Sampson, who has a powerful photoset on mental disorders. 

The Pros and Cons of a Vacation Sans-Baby

I recently took a lovely little cruise out of Miami.  It was a single weekend cruise with six ladies to celebrate a bachelorette who happens to be my sister.  Needless to say, it was not an event a toddler was welcome to.

img_5593
And we’re not talking baby bottles

Here are the biggest changes of my sans-baby weekend:

Sleeping.  I woke up when I wanted (or when the girls threaten to leave without me).  My alarm clock was not a crying child (or shrieking, depending on the morning).  I got to nap! With no worries about when I had to get up to take care of another human.

sleeping-next-to-a-baby-expectation-reality
Kids are the worst

Eating.  No getting up for more Cheerios, no picking up the sippy cup for the millionth time.  I got to eat all my own damn food, while it was hot, in a single sitting.  Bonus: for my evening meals, someone actually brought the food to me.  I didn’t even have to get up.

1f04113c35c01fed89f1acfd3901aa68
I almost didn’t even find this funny, it’s so accurate.

Planning.  You don’t realize how much planning a child requires until they’re not around.  I got to do what I wanted, when I wanted.  No coordinating with a sitter or daycare or a fussy toddler’s nap schedule.

Carrying shit.  I left the room with literally nothing but the clothes on me and a key card stuffed in my bra.  You know what I need just to go to Target?  At minimum, I need: diapers, wipes, food in case he gets hungry, a sippy in case he gets thirsty, a change of clothes for if he blows out, two toys, and hand sanitizer.

Cleaning.  Someone else made my bed!  Who am I kidding, I don’t ever make my bed.  SOMEONE MADE MY BED.

TRUTH.

Hurting.  At one point, I bent over to pick up a towel and I realized with a jolt, “Holy shit my back doesn’t hurt.”  Crazy how NOT wrestling a toddler all the damn time suddenly helped that.

This is why I hurt

Me time.  Oh my god.  This was so exciting.  I read a book on the beach and I wrote stories on the deck and I wandered down for a show and I danced my ass off.  My hobbies still exist!

BUT.

There were downsides too.

Other people’s children.  I saw babies everywhere I looked.  At one point my sister pointed out that I have a baby radar.  Did I notice any hot guys?  Nope.  But I remember the curly haired blonde baby from lunch and the Latina boy who ran circles around mom and dad.

I thought about my baby pretty much constantly.  We’d go on the deck and I’d think, “Oh, Baby Boy would love that water play area.”  Or the same about the lights in the casino, the music of the shows, the rock of the ocean.  And when we hit the aquarium at Atlantis I imagined his big blue eyes looking at all the fish and I seriously got teary.

Surprisingly, I didn’t worry too much about him.  But for all of his trouble, that kid is a part of me.  It constantly felt like I was missing a limb, and I kept turning around expecting to see that limb show up.  It was odd.  Parenthood does that to you.  You don’t even realize how different it is until you live a few days without your bloodsucking, heart-melting spawn.

Postpartum Depression and Pumping

I hate pumping.

I’m not even pumping anymore and I HATE (present tense) pumping.

I had every working-mom advantage: I had my own room, time to pump, a mini fridge at my disposal and I HATE (present tense, bold) pumping.

BACK OF PKG., 7/3/06, 3:55 PM, 8C, 5250x3168 (0+1869), 88%, chrome 7 stops, 1/12 s, R76.5, G61.4, B88.5
Torture devices

It’s just the worst. I felt like a cow. I felt so disconnected from my baby and my body, I felt like a machine, I felt sick and miserable.  And it consumed me. It consumed all of me.

I was hospitalized for postpartum depression. Postpartum was the darkest I have ever felt, it was all-encompassing and terrible.  I felt like my emotions were an entire other beast that could never be tamed or controlled or, frankly, lived with.

I spent three days in the hospital, pumping every three hours, even through the night. My nurses would wake me up, I’d go and pump, fall asleep, and try to get better in between. But I didn’t get better. If anything, during my first three days in the loony bin, I got worse. Because I wasn’t thinking about getting better. I was thinking about pumping. I would mentally calculate the three hour time limit, meticulously plan my every minute. I obsessed over every ounce and cleaning my parts properly and ensuring that my nurses were storing the milk exactly as it needed to be stored and calling my husband to coordinate picking up the milk and worrying about my baby and wondering if he was getting enough food.

[If that sentence doesn’t make you anxious, you might be a robot.]

After three days of this over-zealous obsession, my doctors sat me down and pointed out that I wasn’t getting better. The amazing professional held her hands out and asked me, “So what do we do?” And that’s when the realization dawned. I had to stop.  I had to stop pumping, and, to ensure my mental and physical safety; I needed to stop breast feeding altogether.

I went into motherhood not expecting to be obsessed with breastfeeding. I wanted to try it, but I told myself that I wouldn’t get attached. If it didn’t work, I would stop.

It never occurred to me that I just plain wouldn’t like it.

It never occurred to me that after researching all the pumping and breastfeeding information I could get my hands on, I wouldn’t feel confident and informed; I would feel more pressured and overwhelmed than ever before.

When my son was still a squalling infant, I would sit in the rocking chair, holding him with one arm, the other holding my phone.  I spent a great deal of time reading breastfeeding “support” forums (which were insanely un-supportive) that sent me into spirals of anxiety.  My mind consistently tumbled with questions: Was I pumping enough?  Was I drinking enough?  Did my bra fit right? Was I using the right cream?  Did I store breastmilk right?  Was my childcare provider feeding my child correctly?  Was my baby accepting the bottle okay?  Was he too accepting of the bottle?  Were pacifiers going to ruin our breastfeeding relationship?

img_3157
What strikes me most about this photo is how tired I look. I have a smile on my lips, but my eyes hurt.

Now, I was lucky in the sense that I (mostly) liked nursing my son. But I was working full time and my supply was not great. I did not yield a lot of milk with each pumping session (and yeah, I tried all the things).

But I felt like I HAD to soldier through it, FOR MY SON. Motherhood had turned my life upside-down and I was fully convinced that life was not my own anymore.  Therefore, I HAD to continue to pump and obsess, FOR MY SON.

I was three days in a hospital before I realized this very important lesson:

More than breast milk, my son needed a healthy mother.

BAM. I resolved to quit. I quit all the way, totally weaned.

When I decided to quit, I did the sensible thing and called my local lactation consultant (AKA “lactivist”).  She is supposed to know everything about boobies and milk, surely she would be the best resource, right?  After carefully explaining my situation, I asked for advice on how to wean.  Know what I got?  A list of reasons why I shouldn’t wean and some suggestions for how to adjust my breastfeeding relationship.

Lady, I wasn’t asking for your opinion on whether I should wean or not.  I already made this decision and it is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.  But, thanks for making me question my decision and giving me literally none of the information I asked for.

In tears, on a hospital phone, I called a mama friend who had also weaned.  Suddenly, support.  Suddenly, understanding.  This goddess sent me a full-on weaning care package, complete with a letter. In this letter, I found a glimmer of hope.  I don’t have the letter with me (although I’m sure it’s in this disaster I call a house), but she told me how sad she was when she first started to wean.  Then, she said motherhood got better.

Motherhood got better without breastfeeding?

Isn’t that selfish?

No.  Because self-care isn’t selfish.

Would you believe this is generic clip art? Still applies, though.

Mothers are forced to be martyrs.  Society expects it of us.  No, society demands its mothers martyr themselves on the alter of their children.  We are supposed to take abuse after abuse, and buck up and pretend to be okay.  It’s our duty, they say.  It’s for the children, they say.

Fuck that shit.

I love my son and I will do lots of gross, dramatic, absurd, sacrificing things for him.  But in order to do those things, in order to be the mother that he needs most, I need to take care of myself.

And for me, that meant stopping breastfeeding.

I won’t lie, it was tough.  There was a mourning period, when I sold that pump and put on a real bra.  But it started my journey to healing.  Pumping was one aspect of my postpartum depression, and to end it was the first step to finding my way out of darkness.  I began, slowly, to truly love and appreciate motherhood. And that is what my son needs more than breast milk.

The Absolute Right and Wrong of Parenting

Ready?  Here it is:

Absolutely do not abuse your children (or other people’s children) mentally, emotionally, physically.

Absolutely do try a little harder to be a bit better every day for your kids.

There it is.  That’s it.  Case closed.

I feel that lately we’ve been pushed to buy into this awful notion of right or wrong.  And this definitely extends to parenting.  Of the top of my list, here are some of the many things that ignite the so-called “Mommy wars”:

  • bottle vs. breast
  • co sleeping vs. room sharing vs. crib wayyyyy down the hall
  • religion vs. no religion
  • working moms vs. work-at-home moms vs. stay at home moms
  • screen time vs. outdoor time
  • daycare facility vs. out-of-home daycare
  • home birth vs. hospital birth
  • baby food from Wal Mart vs. homemade baby food
  • regular clothing vs. cage-free no-kill chemical-free clothing

Okay, I made the last one up.  But still.  You get the point.

Here’s my super controversial opinion about all this so-called “controversy”…. it’s nonsense.

There is very little absolute right and wrong about parenting.  For the most part, it’s doing your best, recognizing all the fuck ups in an average day, and going to bed to try again tomorrow.

Tomorrow will be better. Right? It has to be.
Tomorrow will be better. Right? It has to be.

I get it.  Motherhood is a sensitive thing.  It’s the thing we probably care the most about, or at least told that we should care the most about it, so it’s easy to feel automatically defensive about it.  We feel that judgement is implied when someone chooses a different path from us, so we feel the need to shore up our defenses.

I have definitely felt attacked when no attack was intended.

I have definitely touted a strong opinion when no one asked.

I have definitely judged the crap out of other mothers and turned up my nose, while secretly thinking I was such a great person because I didn’t voice my distaste.

So let’s just stop.

Amy Poehler’s book Yes Please has this amazing section on the Mommy Wars.  If you are feeling the Mommy Wars hard, I highly suggest that chapter (although the whole book is definitely worth the read).

Poehler is my spirit animal
Poehler is my spirit animal.  You go, Glenn Coco!

In her book, Poehler coins this magical phrase:

Good for her, not for me.

Every baby and every family is different.  What works for one family and/or baby may not work for another.  And that’s okay.

I happen to feel strongly that my son should sleep in the other room.  That’s partly because I’m a really heavy sleeper and don’t trust myself, and partly because I have a nasty habit of sleeping with the TV on, one I don’t want to impart to my son.  I totally get that other mamas and other babies room share and/or cosleep.  Good for her, not for me.

I stopped breastfeeding when my son was four months for reasons that could encompass another blog post.  One of my good mama friends is still breastfeeding her one year old and has plans to continue for as long as possible.  Good for her, not for me.

Poehler describes it as a mantra, one to hold to when you doubt your mothering abilities or find the creeping urge to judge another mama.  “Good for her, not for me.  Good for her, not for me.”  Repeat as necessary.

Because let’s face it: this shit is hard.  We need support, not judgment and fear.  So please, let’s agree: there’s not really a right or wrong here.  Its good for her, maybe not for me and that’s okay.

A Day in the Life of a Very Pregnant Teacher

I drafted this literally 16 days after my son was born.  Editing it now, it is such an accurate representation of that period of my life.  I was in my first year as a teacher, and I was super-duper pregnant with crippling sciatic nerve pain.  Turns out, pregnancy was really tough for me.  Also, turns out that the first year of teaching is not exactly a breeze.  Combine them and you have the following:

5:30a Alarm.  Snooze.

5:45a Alarm.  Snooze.

6:00a Alarm.  Seriously evaluate my stank and debate myself about taking a shower or sleeping a little longer.

6:01a Get up to pee for the 7th time since going to bed.

6:03a Get back in bed, promise to take an evening shower (which literally didn’t happen once).

6:30a Get up.  “Rush” to get ready, as much as one can rush with a watermelon strapped to their abdomen.

I call this hairdo the
I call this hairdo the “I-haven’t-showered-in-four-days professional.”

6:50a Beg God for the baby to come early because I am so done.

6:52a Rethink that plea and bargain with baby to stay inside because I am so not ready.

7:15a Pee.  Husband drives me to work and ignores my complaining.

7:20a Arrive at work.  Pee.

8:00a Lesson plan for the day with the following question: How can I teach this from my desk?

8:50a Pee before class starts.

9:00a Teach.  Be in a relatively good mood, exchange jokes with students about the bowling ball I’m carrying.

10:00a Pee during recess.  Try to decide if it’s endearing or annoying that the elective teacher giggles every time I waddle down the hall.

10:15a Ask the teacher next door to watch my class so I can pee.  By the end of my pregnancy, I don’t even ask, I just wave and he knows.

12:00p Lunch.  Field semi-sympathetic questions from my colleagues about how I’m feeling, try to deflect with humor.  Eat as much as possible, because I know my mood is directly proportional to the food I have consumed.

12:30p Teach. Realize my patience is starting to wane.  I didn’t eat enough.

1:00p Baby interrupts a lecture because he’s hiccuping and the students can see my belly moving.  Now I have to deal with questions like, “How do hiccups work?” “Do babies have hair?” and “Why are you being so mean?”

1:20p Pee.  Seriously consider just staying in the bathroom.  Weren’t these kids so much more loveable this morning?

I may not have always been very sympathetic....
I may not have always been very sympathetic….

2:50p Try to decide if I can make it to the end of school without peeing.  I can’t.

3:10p Lazily dismiss students for the day and hope nobody bothers me.

3:30p “Only a half hour left.”

3:35p Email the science teacher.  I should walk to her room, but getting out of my chair seems like too much work…

3:38p … Until I have to pee.

3:58p Take elevator down, rehearsing my defensive speech if anyone attacks me for leaving two minutes early.  No one ever does.

4:15p If I don’t have a midwife or chiropractic appointment, I get home, angrily strip off my clothes (with some help from Husband because my feet seem to be getting farther away) and plant myself in the bathtub.

4:30p Get out of the bathtub because I am uncomfortable.  It takes careful balance and my Husband’s hand to safely get out.

4:35p Attempt to get dressed.  Ask Husband for help.  Try not to cry.

4:40p Try to get comfortable.  Either in the rocking chair or in bed with every pillow in the house.

Main concern: can I appropriately see the TV over this mass of baby belly.
Main concern: can I appropriately see the TV over this mass of baby belly? (Yes, that is literally my belly.)

4:45p Give up trying to find comfort.  I’m just going to have to pee anyway.

5:00p Netflix.

6:00p At some point, Husband asks me what I want to eat.  I’m hungry, but nothing sounds good.  He makes an executive decision on food, puts it in front of me and demands I eat it.

We ate plenty of fast food during these dark days.
We ate plenty of fast food during these dark days.

7:00 Netflix.  Make Husband get me some water so I can choke down the horsepills also known as my prenatal vitamins.  Bore Husband with dramatic opinions on whatever show I’m currently bingeing. (Lorelai is totally unsympathetic and creates her own problems, okay?!)

7:30p Mini breakdown.  Sometimes about my nerve pain, sometimes about my fears/anxieties of motherhood, sometimes guilt for how I am failing my students, sometimes just sheer fatigue.

8:00p Husband succeeds in calming me down.

8:01 Netflix.

8:30p Fast asleep.  Yeah, you read that time right.  Yet somehow I was still exhausted the next day.

I don’t recommend this kind of regimen to anyone.  And yet, I kind of appreciated it.  I learned how to prioritize, I no longer take my body for granted, and now I have this little grump.  Pic for attention 😉

img_3162