Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011

2011 seems like it was the longest year ever for my family and I. January feels like a lifetime away, so many amazing and life changing things have happened to us.

Our Year in Review:

January: Ham lived through his very first Indiana blizzard. He started solid foods and cut his very first tooth!
My snowbaby!

February: Ham learned how to sit up and began rolling around the floor. Ham cut his second tooth. My life was pretty uneventful.
Ham posing for his first photo shoot which he did not enjoy.

March: I started my job at the doctor's office and left the thrift shop. I began really dealing with my anxiety issues, and it was a trying time. This was a low month for me. Ham became an expert sitter.
My steady little man.

April: April is when things finally started getting better for me. I started going to my therapist and went on medication. Ham started crawling! Ham got his first haircut! Most exciting of all, Ham started crawling and pulling up to stand!
 What is this lady doing to my hair?

May: The hubs and I started eating healthier and my depression was getting better. We started cooking more at home from scratch. Ham began cruising and eating crunchy foods.
Ham and I

June: June was the real start of our summer. Ham went to the beach for the first time and we started going to parks daily. We also started regularly attending play groups and I finally met some mom friends. Ham could stand all by himself and walk with his push walker. 
Ham's first time at the beach

July: After 24 years, I was finally formally diagnosed with ADHD. I was also Fearless Formula Feeder's guest poster !  Ham took his first steps. Ham weaned himself from the bottle. 
First time in a wagon (this was my wagon too!)

August: After months of crippling back pain, I was diagnosed with Anklosing Spondylitis. On a happier note, it was Ham's first birthday! We had a huge party and Ham got more than any baby could ever want! 
Cake smash!!!

September: This was a pretty calm month for us. Hubby and I started classes and Ham started walking!
Ham and the Hubs were we were married in 2009!

October: Hubs and I turned 25. Ham got a lot steadier on his feet.Sadly, I have no pictures from October as our camera broke and had to be sent in for repair.

November: Ham loved Thanksgiving and really started acting like a toddler. Ham now says "no" when he doesn't want something.
Ham in the toy box

December: Ham learned how to climb, walk up stairs with help, and started sleeping in his toddler bed. He had his first real Christmas and even opened his own presents! He also started throwing some major tantrums. 
The best Christmas present of all!

Looking back, it is crazy how much Ham has grown. He has turned into a little man right before my eyes. I feel like he has blossomed into such a personality. He can now express his wishes in gestures and grunts, decide what he wants to do and where he wants to go, play with "big boy" toys, show you what he wants, run and jump, and so much more. It is difficult to wrap my head around the fact that just a year ago he wasn't even able to sit up. 

This has definitely been a difficult year as well. I dealt with PPD, PPA, anxiety attacks, and Anklosing Spondylitis. It was an emotional roller coaster from the beginning, but I learned so many things about myself. This year I really came into my own and found my way as a mama. I've made peace with my faults and began working on my issues. 

I am actually really excited about 2012. I cannot wait to see what Ham will do and become.

Happy New Year and love to your Littles,

Beth 




Friday, December 23, 2011

Grown-up Christmas

Christmas is for children, at least the Americanized version we all celebrate. Cocoa Cola Santas bring xboxes and Barbies to good little boys and girls who make the "nice" list. Parents spend months planning and spending to make Christmas merry for all. We bake, clean, cook, wrap, decorate, and repeat until December 26th when life returns to normal. Christmas makes shopping more difficult as well as dieting, sleeping, and budgeting. I'm not overtly trying to be a humbug, but seriously Christmas is much less magical when you grow up.

I do know the reason for the season, several large Jesus billboards in my area remind me of that, but no one seems to celebrate that aspect of it anymore. We don't even know if Jesus was born in December for goodness sakes! So, next Christmas on out I am going a to take a less beaten path when it comes to December 25th. I am going to teach my child about Saint Nicholas and try to find things that glorify his life and not line the pocketbooks of the folks at Walmart.

I want Ham to learn something from this day, not just gain a whole lot of junk made in China (more on that later). I intend to make Christmas about giving and giving back to the community. I have over a year to dream up some service projects and volunteering to get us in the real spirit. Hanukkah will be celebrated as well, though it never seemed to gain the commercial appeal that Christmas did. The whole story of suffering doesn't really make for good claymation films.

Growing up mostly Jewish has helped me gain some perspective in this mess that we call Christmas. I hope that next year when Ham is old enough I can use this time of year to teach him rather than appease him. I do not want to end up like so many moms I know spending hundreds of dollars on gifts that never satiate their children. We will celebrate the joy of helping those who have less and giving back to our wonderful community for all it gives to us.

I hope all of you grown-ups find some real joy this Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Festivus. Remember to take a step back and think about who Saint Nicholas really was and why we celebrate Christmas this time of year. I wish you all a warm and joyful holiday.

Beth

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Simple Gifts

"Simple Gifts" a Quaker song

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come 'round right.


Today, during Ham's nap, I watched Ken Burns' the Shakers documentary. It really opened my eyes to a beautiful, dying religion and way of life. The Shakers were deeply religious, celibate adults who lived for perfect in the eyes of God. You may have heard of Shaker style furniture or even have some replicas in your home.

The Shakers lived simply, much like the Amish. They worshiped by living for God and by giving themselves to their work. The Shakers spent their lives in a quiet simplicity that I envy so much. I have always had an unusual obsession with the Amish. Living a simple existence has always intrigued me.

I aspire to live more simply and closer to nature. My husband and I are discussing the possibility of homesteading someday. Homesteading is a movement to live off the land and be self sufficient. We would like to get an old farmhouse in the country with a decent amount of land to create a small farm. From there, we would like to have an acre to two of crops and chickens, goats, and rabbits. I would love to devote my life to living like my ancestors did. I want to be able to cook dinner and know where everything came from, what the chicken ate, and where the carrots were grown. How amazing would that be?

I want to learn to quilt, sew my own clothes, woodwork, can, butcher, and build. I know that there is so much more to life than reality tv and facebook. I want Ham to know and love all of the wonderful, simple things in life. I want him to appreciate the food on his plate and the pillow under his head. Teaching him that there is more to life than convenience will be my greatest accomplishment. I want so much for him, and I know that this is the path I am to take.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Menu Planning Monday!

Our goals this week, and for here on out, are low sodium, low fat, no processed foods, and of course tasty!

Monday: Chile Lime Chicken Tacos with homemade corn tortillas and all the fixings (lettuce, tomato, onion, salsa)

Tuesday: Curried Chicken Breasts with basmati rice and veggies.

Wednesday: Our lazy day, made from scratch wheat pancakes with real maple syrup and turkey sausage.

Thursday: my first ever attempt at White Chili! I wills share the recipe if this turns out.

Friday: Chicken Cordon Bleu with veggies.

Saturday: Christmas Eve dinner with the in-laws

Sunday: Christmas Day Dinner with family

I am loving all the ethnic food this week! I seem to have recently developed a love for spice in my cooking, much to my husband's delight, and I am running with it. It is definitely easier to eat healthy with lots of spice.

What are you eating this week?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up

Why this week ROCKED!

1. I finished school for the semester (with a decent GPA).

2. Ham had lots of fun!
Ham jumping at FunFlatables on Friday.

3. We only ate out once! This is a major improvement from last week. We were in a slump there for awhile.

4. I got the bookcases, Ham's closet (for the most part), and the car cleaned out. I am super excited to start our room.

5. It's almost Christmas! 

This was a great week. I know next week will be even better. 

Peace and Love to your Littles,

Beth 

Friday, December 16, 2011

De-Cluttering My Life: Day One and Two

Yesterday was day one of my journey to simplify my life. I decided to start with the bookcases. We started with three over full (I'm talking books piled in front of other books) book cases and now have just two slightly-less-than-full bookcases and one that is going to live at my Mom's house. I think that is a small victory for me! It's not minimal per say, but it is a whole lot better than it was.

Today, day two, I went for Ham's closets (oh yes, he was two closets). It was challenge for me emotionally. I've been lazy about getting rid of his outgrown clothing because I don't want him to get so big. I have finally accepted that he is in 3T shirts and 2T pants. I was holding on to those 24mos/2T shirts with a vengeance. He has been in those clothes since 9 months! Luckily, I already bought his 3T wardrobe at various resale shops and yard sales over the course of the year. He now has a new wardrobe which I am excited to dress him in. It is almost all Gymboree! I totally have a thing for Gymboree, don't ask! If I could afford to buy it new, I would.

Insanely enough, Ham started out with two dressers and lots of clothes on hangers. Now he has only one dresser and slightly less clothing on hangers, yet he still has plenty to wear. I believe we could go at least a week and a half without washing a thing. That fact still embarrasses me. Ham's old clothes are going to good homes. Some of them are going to be sold at a local shop for cash. The cash will be used for Abe and I to enjoy. The rest of them, as well as the stuff the shop won't take, are going to the son of a friend and my cousin -in-law's son. I am happy to help out as we have so many more people buying us nice things than most. It helps to have the only, and I mean the only, child in either of our families.

I feel good about the small progress I've made. I know that there is so much more to do, but at least I've taken the first step. I think my closet will be next. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Minimal

I am blessed with so many things. Lately, those many wonderful things have multiplied into too many things! I realize this is a white wine, but it's true. I have too many things, and I need to start to simplify my life. A friend of mine inspired me, and I am giving myself until April to make some real progress. I chose April because we may be moving into a new place around that time. We've moved twice since we've been married, and every time we have more stuff! It is time to take a step in the right direction.

I've yet to decide my plan of attack for this momentous task. I was thinking to start with either my closet or our three overly full bookcases. I have cleaned out some of Ham's things to make room for what the holidays with inevitably bring. I am hoping that the family will lay off the toys for awhile. A girl can dream. I am going to try to chronicle my journey here. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thankful

I have so many incredible things to be thankful for. I feel so greedy when I think about it. I am blessed to have a wonderful, healthy family and more things than I can ever need. I thank God everyday for all that I have in my life.

This Thanksgiving made me realize that I need to serve others more. I used to volunteer regularly in my community, but I haven't really done anything in the last few years. I know that I can make an hour a week to help others and serve in my community. I just need to find the right place for me to do it. Suggestions would be welcome.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Big Boy

I cannot believe how big my little Ham is getting. He walks, jumps, runs, climbs, and attempts to talk. He looks so much older. He is really growing into a little boy with a big personality. He loves having photos taken of him; so much so that he even poses for strangers with cameras. He climbs the stairs on the playground and goes down the slide by himself (head first of course). He is awesome at occupying himself and playing with his toys the right way rather than just chewing on them.

It's getting difficult for me to remember what he was like just a few months ago. That scares me a bit because I don't ever want to forget how sweet he was a newborn. He continues to grow and change every day, and I am continually amazed. He reminds me how great and awesome God is every day.

Ham is still 33lbs and 34 inches tall at just under 15 months old.

Ham today:
Because toys are more fun when you are inside the toy box!

Happy Monday everyone!
Peace and Love to your Littles,

Beth

Saturday, October 29, 2011

FAT

That's right, Fat. I'm fat. I'm not particularly proud of it, but it's pretty obvious. I'm not sure why people think they can hide the fact that they are not thin. I don't really bother with it anymore. I was never really skinny per say, I used to be "in shape" when I was younger but I was always larger than some of the other girls. I have huge wrists and huge feet, which never get any smaller regardless of my weight. I'm generally larger than most ladies.

However, I do want to be healthier. I've been thinking about what I eat in front of Ham, and I am afraid that he has already started to pick up my bad habits. He seems happy to eat only chicken nuggets, and we eat out more than I'd like. I know that this can very well decide whether he will struggle with food or not. My mom fed me mac and cheese, McDonalds, Hostess snacks, cookies, chips, candy, and pretty much everything else that you're not supposed to feed little kids. My mom didn't know any better because she was fed the same things as a child. I know better. I know better and I'm still eating like crap. This needs to stop.

I hate diets. I am bad at them. I have lost weight and gained in back throughout my life due to yo-yo dieting. I've tried Weight Watches, Slim Fast, Atkins, South Beach, and even the grape fruit diet. I've taken diet pills, stuck my finger down my throat, starved myself, binged, purged, and everything in between. I have horrible eating habits. Despite my awesome menus for menu planning Monday, I generally eat pretty horribly. My breakfasts are full of sugar and my lunches are usually fast food. This is what needs to change.

I caught a glimpse of myself in one of those five way mirrors in the JcPenney dressing room today. I didn't even recognize myself. Starting now, I have to change.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Most Stressful Week Ever!

Seriously, last week was just that! I worked full time to cover for a co-worker's vacation while attending school full time and being a wife and mother. How in the hell do people do that? I am still exhausted. This week there will be more posts! For now, good night!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Meal Planning Monday!

I am back on the wagon for this one!

Monday: Baked chicken with onions, carrots, and couscous

Tuesday: Homemade turkey joes with potatoes and salad

Wednesday: Homemade macaroni and cheese and salad

Thursday: Oatmeal waffles, turkey sausage, and fruit

Friday: Turkey bean chili

Saturday: Aloha Chicken with rice

Sunday: At the in-laws

This week I was going for fast and easy but still healthy. What are you having this week?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Tired

Lately I have been really truly tired. I mean physically exhausted much of the day despite how much sleep I get. I must admit it's scaring me. I can barely make it past noon without falling asleep. Ham's nearly constant energy is not helping this issue at all. I have been employing my mom to help me out during the day so I don't just fall over.

I am fighting the urge to nap right this moment, it's really killing me not to curl up with a blanket and snooze for an hour. I haven't felt like this since I was pregnant! Maybe I just need a vacation to get some rest. Wishful thinking.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Going it Alone

My hubs is away on business for the week, so I am going it alone with a crabby toddler cutting molars. I am armed with a medicine cabinet of children's Motrin, baby Tylenol, Highlands Teething Tablets, baby Oragel, and lots of Advil for myself. I am utterly exhausted from being up all night with him. It's been too long since I've done this, especially by myself.

For some crazy reason, I marathon cleaned the house last night. I hate being alone at night, so I cleaned. The house hasn't been this clean in months! I am trying my darndest to keep it that way. Too bad I stayed up until 1am cleaning and then had to get back up at 2am with Ham. I'm completely exhausted and I have to work today.

I have to give major props to all the single parents out there. I cannot imagine how they do it! I barely have enough time to be a mom let alone be a dad as well.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Letter to My Ham

I realize I suck for not updating for months. Life got in the way, but I'm back. 

Ham is now just about fourteen months old, walking, running, hopping, cutting his second pair of molars, playing with the big kids at the park, developing a helluva personality, and continuing to be completely adorable. He is so much more than I ever thought he would/could be. It makes me so unbelievably happy and sad all at the same time. I am proud to be his mom, but sad to see him grow so quickly. We are officially 32lbs and 33 inches!

Here is my first, hopefully the first of many, letter to my Ham. I want to give these to him at a later date in hopes that he can appreciate what its like to be a parent someday.

Dear Little Ham,

I can't believe that it's been over a year since we first met. This has been the absolute best and most difficult year of my life. You have changed me in ways I never imagined you would. I know it sounds cheesy, but you changed me. You taught me how to ask for help, how to be patient, how to share, how to get messy, how to cry, how to laugh, how to let things go, how to sleep when I'm tired, how to pray, how to appreciate the small things, how to be calm, and how to love. I thought I knew how to do all of those things before I had you, before I even thought about getting pregnant but I was wrong. Having you made me become and adult and a better person.

The trauma of your birth was the most difficult thing I've ever dealt with. For a time, it changed me for the worse. It's not easy for me to tell you this, but I feel like you need to know. I suffered from postpartum depression, and I was afraid to get help. I didn't want people to think I didn't love you so I waited to ask for help. This was a mistake that I am still grappling with. I got help. I got better. Things got better. I learned how to be the best mother and person I could be. This is a mistake that I won't make again. I feel like you've already forgive me for it, the look in your eyes changed when I got better. I love you so much.

You have turned into such an amazing little person. In just one year you've gone from a crying potato to a mobile toddler! It has been such an amazing experience watching you learn. I can see the wheels in your head turning as you try to figure things out and how proud you are when you finally do! Most recently you've mastered running, climbing, and clapping. My daily accomplishments pale in comparison to yours. I can't wait to wake up every morning and see what you'll do next. Waking up to your smiling, often jumping, face makes every sleepless night, every headache, and every day of morning sickness worth it. I wish you knew just how much I love your smile. It really is the best thing ever.

My son, you are the most amazing thing in the world. You are going to grow up to be someone great, I just know it. You are bold, curious, silly, smart, stubborn, driven, daring, darling, loving, independent, and most of  all perfect in every way! I hope you realize just how special you when you read this. I love you now and forever my beautiful baby boy. 

Love Always,

Your Mom

Monday, July 25, 2011

Menu Planning Monday with a Twist

It's that time again, time to lay out my meal plans to share with you all. This week there is a bit of a twist. The hubs and I have been spending a lot of time on our finances lately, and decided to try and drastically slash our grocery budget. We are going to eat everything we have, with a few exceptions, and try not to buy much of anything until we've exhausted our stores. That means we are buying produce but trying not to buy much else. Of course we'll need staples like flour, rice, milk, butter, eggs, and the like. We're aiming for $50 a week to feed two adults and supplement one baby. So, here we go!

Monday: Penne with Tuna, garlic, and mozzarella and salad

Tuesday: Pan seared Fish with rice and salad

Wednesday: Homemade veggie pizza and salad

Thursday: Beef Bolognase and salad 

Friday: Leftovers or Eggs (we both work late Fridays)

Saturday: Chicken Tacos with all the fixings and Spanish rice

Sunday: Stuffed Chicken breasts, potatoes, and salad

Lunch options: Cheesy pasta with tuna (I make that on Monday for the week), quesodillas with beans, boiled eggs and toast, salad, misc leftovers

Breakfast options: cold cereal, hot cereal, yogurt, fruit, toast, bagels, eggs

Snack options: yogurt, fruit, cereal, cheese, boiled eggs, tuna, crackers, nuts

I will be giving you weekly updates on how our grocery budget slash is going. We are also slashing our eating out budget and working to keep our electricity budget down. More on all that later on.

Peace and Love to your Littles,

Beth

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Become a Savvy Thrifter

For my first installment of the Living on Less series (LOL for short) I chose one of my very favorite past times, thrift shopping!

Thrift shops, you may love them or hate, but they are going to be your new best friend! Thrift shops are seriously one of the cheapest, absolute best resources for buying pretty much anything (with a few exceptions). I am an avid thrifter with twenty years of thrifting under my belt, yes mama started me young, and I am going to share my wisdom with you all. I hope that I can help you discover the many treasures hidden in your local thrift shop.

Thrifting 101

Find all your local thrift shops. You may think that Goodwill is it, but you may just be mistaken. Check out: thethriftshopper for listings of all local thrift shops. You never know what awesome shops you've been missing. I know I found a few great ones that I never knew about.

Once you've found your favorite shops, learn their schedules. It is essential to learn the best days for good finds, when they get "donations" of new goods from local retailers, when they have sales or weekly specials, and if they have coupons or discounts for students or seniors.

Make sure you know your measurements and sizes before shopping. Since these clothes are used, they may run differently than new merchandise. You should take a list of your own measurements and those of anyone you may be shopping for. I keep them on a little post-it in my wallet. You will also need a mini measuring tape which you can get at your local hardware store for a dollar or so. This will enable you to buy some items with the "ick" factor of trying them on.

Now, I will share with you my personal 10 thrift commandments:

1. Never go on Saturday. Seriously, just don't. If you don't believe me, try it and you'll never go back.

2. Don't buy socks, underwear, bras of any sort, lingere, or sleepwear because, let's face it, that's just nasty!

3. Measure or try before you buy. Most shops do not allow returns, and some don't even allow exchanges so purchase with caution.

4. Dress comfortably and be prepared to spend lots of time looking through the racks.

5. Inspect every inch of every item. Be it clothes, toys, or housewares; ensure that you look the item over thoroughly prior to buying. Look for stains, tears, rips, missing pieces, excessive wearing, or irregularities. Not all items are the treasures they seem to be.

6. Be prepared to haggle. Some shops, though not all, will allow you to bargain with them on items that are in less than perfect condition.

7. Shop in the rich neighborhoods. Rich people=expensive junk. It's pretty simple. This principle is not perfect, but it tends to work the majority of the time.

8. Check back often. Items come in everyday.

9. Number eight lends itself to number nine, buy it if you love it. Most likely that awesome vintage leather bag will not be there tomorrow so buy it now or be sorry. I don't know how many awesome deals I've missed because I put it back.

10. Have fun! Thrifting can be serious business, so allow yourself to have a good time. Take a group of girlfriends along and be silly. You may find just what you're looking for.

There you have it, you can now thrift with ease. Pretty soon you'll be surprising yourself with all your finds! Leave your thrifting tips in the comments.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Manufactured Homes and Minivans

Yes, I feel like a hillbilly for writing this post just in case you were wondering.

The hubs and I have been talking a lot about houses lately. Our conversations have consisted mostly of "Holy Sh*t we cannot afford anything in this city!" Unfortunately for us our beloved hometown has a very high cost of living for a suburban area in Indiana, so we can't afford to buy a decent house. When I say decent house what I mean is a house that is not literally falling down. Even with the housing market the way it is, a modest ranch home with a small yard is priced in the $170,000's which may not seem like a lot to some people but it is a lot to us. Being a mostly one income family with student loans, car payments, rent, a child, and no trust funds we are in need of a cheaper option.

I stumbled across a blog about living simply, which I cannot find a link for anymore, and they talked a lot about ultra tiny manufactured homes. I am not up for the challenge of living in a super small home, but manufactured homes have come a long way since I was a kid. Check these babies out!
A classic ranch
Solar energy efficient model
They even have SMART homes (You can actually walk through one at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry)
I love all the options they offer, especially the eco friendly models. Also the fact that you get to customize everything from start to finish is a major plus! Most of these homes are around $100,000 or less which includes transportation to site, onsite construction, and even sewer and water lines. When you walk into your home it is completely done (it is even painted) and ready to live in! What more could you ask for? Most of the land outside the city limits is priced super cheaply as it is pretty rural. We have always wanted a nice patch of country to call our own. Now, we just have to buckle down and save some more money!

You may be wondering what minivans have to do with anything. Well, I've decided that with my limited trunk space (I drive a hatch-back) I can barely tote around one child's things. What happens if we decided to have another or our child has lots of friends? My answer is a mini van! I am totally going to be one of those moms. When I pay my car off in two years, I will looking into a minivan of my very own. Hopefully, I can park my minivan in the drive way of my very own manufactured home. Yup, I never thought I would ever say that. :)

Have any of your expectations changed drastically since you have children/got married? Have you surprised yourself?

Peace and Love to your Littles,
Beth

Friday, July 1, 2011

I am This Week's FFF Guest Poster!

I am proud to have my story featured on The Fearless Formula Feeder blog as their Friday guest poster! Check it out and show your FFF pride: http://fearlessformulafeeder.blogspot.com/2011/07/fff-friday-i-finally-feel-like-mother-i.html

Peace and Love to your Littles

Beth

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Breastfeeding Journey

A lot of people have asked me why I chose to formula feed my son. I hate answering this particular question because the answer is long and difficult for me to articulate. So, here is my breastfeeding story. 

For the record, I am completely supportive of both breastfeeding and formula feeding. I have friends that are on both sides of the debate, and I am happy to support all moms in their efforts to feed their children. I think all moms should choose what works for them without ridicule from others. 

Without further Ado, my breastfeeding journey.

I was going to breastfeed indefinitely. The matter was not up for discussion. I returned all the bottles bought by the less informed guests at my baby shower and stocked up on nursing pads and nipple cream. I took classes, I read books, I researched, and I waited. Unfortunately, life had other plans.

My difficult pregnancy turned into a nightmare delivery when my son’s umbilical cord completely prolapsed. His umbilical cord was crushed between his head and my pelvic bone which resulted in a traumatic emergency cesarean. Hours later, I woke up alone in recovery. I had no idea if my baby survived and breastfeeding was far from my first concern. My son was about four hours old when I was first permitted to hold him, due to excessive blood loss, and several more hours passed before I was allowed to attempt breastfeeding. I was given no help with concern to breastfeeding, and quickly realized I was in over my head. My hungry baby could not latch or suck and was quickly carried off to be bottle fed in the nursery. I was given no explanation nor was I coherent enough to ask for one.

I experienced the worst pain of my entire life while breastfeeding. I screamed in sheer agony and cried for my own mother. I begged and pleaded with the lactation consultant to help me fix this, but she said I was just being dramatic. The nurses told me that post delivery hormones were to blame and upped my pain medication.  I began to dread breastfeeding. I tensed up when they brought my already starving baby to me. The moment he tried to latch I would cry out and start shaking. Soon, I began sending the nurses away rather than suffer one more time. I began pumping with a little manual pump and cup feeding him. I was determined to give him breast milk despite all that was against me.

By the end of the week the lactation consultant told me I should give up and just pump because I was not cut out for breastfeeding. My nipples were black and bleed constantly. I was trying my hardest to get my son to latch all while attached to an IV pain drip. I cried. I bled. I gave up. I tried again. It was a vicious cycle. I was delirious most nights with pain and heavy narcotics. I began hallucinating and shaking in my sleep. I had never imagined things would end up like this. I had only been a mother for a little less than a week and already I was failing miserably.

I was released from the hospital nearly a week after I checked in. I left against medical advice because I could not stand one more day there. I wanted to sleep in my own bed without nursing coming in every half hour to wake me up. I came home with the mindset to give breastfeeding a fresh start. I pumped every two hours religiously and tried getting my son to latch every time. He always refused and screamed. I did my best to keep up with his demand, but I failed there too. He needed more milk than I could produce pumping, so we supplemented. I hated giving him formula, but I could not refuse a starving baby. And he was starving. My son began losing even more weight and starting to sleep through feedings. He became lethargic and difficult to wake. I pumped and pumped with no avail, but I did not want to give in to formula.

Our first pediatric appointment was four days after we left the hospital. I was hoping for some encouragement from our doctor and possibly some good advice on the breastfeeding front. I was nervous but excited to share my determination to breastfeed. My pediatrician told me that if I did not give him full bottles formula he would diagnose him with failure to thrive and admit him back into the hospital. He had lost so much weight that he could barely stay awake long enough to eat anything. He gobbled down his first full bottle of formula without even stopping for air. I knew then what I had to do. I continued pumping with little hope of success. Eventually my supply ran out. I was devastated and felt like an even bigger failure as a mother, but I also felt a new sense of freedom. I was no longer strapped to the pump every two to three hours. I could leave the house by myself and have others sit for my son. I felt like a human being again. It was wonderful for that first week of formula feeding. And then the guilt set in.

My failure to breastfeed coupled with the traumatic delivery sent me into a deep depression. My family was supportive, but my friends felt like I gave up too soon on breastfeeding. Though none of them experienced the problems I had. I felt ashamed of my bottles and often hid when feeding my son in public. The more I read up on breastfeeding, the more I felt like a failure. My LLL friends were no help with their anti-formula articles and blog posts. I looked everywhere for bottle feeding support, but I found none.

Those first six months were the worst of my life. I turned all my frustration inward and began obsessing over my failures. I kept telling myself that it would get better, but it never stayed that way for long. Finally, when my son was nearly eight months old I went to the doctor to talk about postpartum depression. I started on medicine the very same day and haven’t looked back since. I finally feel like I am the mother I was meant to be. 

Now I look at formula as a blessing. It turned out to be the best option for my son. He is now a healthy ten-month-old with thighs so big you’d never guess he was ever starving. Now, I shake up my bottles with pride in public and always flash a smile at other moms doing the same.

If you are struggling with FF and want to read more stories like mine, head on over to FFF: http://fearlessformulafeeder.blogspot.com/

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Bit of Catching Up to Do

I apologize for being MIA this last month. Life got hectic, but things have since calmed.

A few highlights...

Ham cut, rather loudly, a sixth tooth!

Ham completely changed his sleeping schedule.

Hubby possibly has kidney problems. We're still in the diagnosing stage and we've got no insurance.

I lost my keys, all my keys, and a complete stranger tracked me down and returned them to me! There are still good people in the world. :)

My Celexa has been increased again, but I feel like I am finally leveling out and finding my calm.

I'm being forced to get even better at living on less now that my spending budget has been decreased due to some bills. Posts to come on this topic.

We had a huge family garage sale and made out pretty good.

For the first time ever I got through an entire musical without a panic attack!!!! Therapy and meds do work!

That is pretty much it. It was an emotionally difficult month for me, but I feel like I've come through better than ever. For the first time in a long time I feel truly okay. I cannot even express in words how wonderful this is!

Just for fun...
Ham enjoying his new car, that I got a fabulous deal on at a garage sale!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Guilt

Despite a rocky start, my child is healthy and thriving. He is nine months old (as of Monday) and a chunky little entertainer. He weighs a whopping thirty pounds and stands, yes stands, just under three feet tall. However, many mamas are not as fortunate as I am. I have a difficult time looking at my healthy child knowing some of my friends and family members may never know that feeling.

Recently, a few of my family members as well as some friends and acquaintances have either lost their children in utereo, at birth, or have very sick children. I look at them in this sorrow and I wonder why I deserve to have what they can't have. I wonder why G-d gave me a healthy child and PPD/PPA so I could not enjoy or appreciate him while other mentally stable mothers grieve their lost babies. 

Now that my depression is lifting, I am left with all of this guilt. I feel guilty because I missed out on Ham's first few months. I feel guilty because I could not appreciate Ham when he was a tiny squish. I feel guilty because I cannot give Ham the kind of life I wanted to. I feel guilty because we don't have a lot of money or even a backyard. I feel guilty because I could not breastfeed. I feel guilty when I get frustrated with him and have to go into another room. I feel guilty when I am in a hurry to go somewhere else. 

I just have a lot of guilt. It seems like the waterfall of worries in my head has been replaced with a swamp of guilt. It is stagnant and thick. I feel like it is stealing my happiness like the depression and anxiety did before, but it is a slower battle. The PPD/PPA took me away like a leaf in the rapids whereas the guilt is like slowly sinking in quicksand. I don't know how to get past the guilt. I know it will take time. I just hope that I can keep my head up and focus on Ham this time around.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Weight Watchers Among Other Things

Today is my first day of Weight Watchers Points Plus. I am going strong so far. It is not as hard as I thought it would be. I am pretty much eating what I was with some minor changes and the exception of all things fast food. I am excited to see this through, and hope that it is the fresh start I am looking for. I helps that my husband is coming along for the ride.

School is finally done for the summer, and I could not be happier. I get to spend all the time I want with Ham and even enjoy some pleasure reading. I did not flunk accounting, I got a high 'C!" Who could ask for anything more?

My very first Mother's Day was nice. We visited our moms and spent the day relaxing with Ham. Hubs got me tickets to Chicago the musical.

Tomorrow is our two year anniversary. I am so excited to have made it this far with no major problems. I could not be more in love with my Hubs. I am a lucky girl. More on that tomorrow.

Later this week is my first counseling appointment. I am trying not to think about it. I have been through counseling before for another issue a long time ago, and I hated it. I am not a very open person, at least when we are meeting face to face, and talking to a stranger about my issues is not really my cup of tea. I know it is something I have to do. I just want to get through it and get better.

That's all for now dearies.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Living on Less (LOL for short)

I've decided to start a new blog series, hopefully it will run weekly, about living on less. We've been slowing adopting a leaner lifestyle, partly out of necessity and partly out of a desire to save more money. I have found myself transforming into a more responsible person, perhaps a better person even. I used to be obsessed with things, and spent hundreds of dollars every week on things I did not need. Now, I thrift, clip coupons, pantry shop, ebay, garage sale, repurpose, buy in bulk, and make my own. I cannot imagine spending $80 on a pair of jeans again. I am happy with my leaner lifestyle, and I would like to share my journey with you.

I will be sharing things like cheap and healthy recipes, how to coupon, what to buy in bulk, how to thrift, how to tackle garage sales, cost efficient household cleaning, how to sell your junk for cash, how to repurpose with style, and raising a child on less. Please join me on my journey to live on less.

Speaking of living on less, this week's pantry challenge has been going smashingly! Yesterday we had Alton Brown's Sweet Potato Waffles with a few substitutions (egg beaters and leftover mashed sweet potatoes) and Ina Garten's Baked Maple Bacon (using turkey bacon). We did not have to buy a single thing to make dinner because it was all in our pantry and fridge. Tonight, we are having America's Test Kitchen Classic Bolognese pared with some lettuce salad and French bread. We substituted ground beef instead of the mix as that is what we had on hand. It is definitely worth the time simmering; just one more hour until it's done!

The Bolognese simmering away on the stove...yummm

I will share more recipes tomorrow. Bon Appetite readers!

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Pantry Challenge

I can't remember where I first saw this, but regardless I am partaking! The pantry challenge is basically where you try and use up all the food you have in the house rather than buying a whole bunch of new groceries to suit your tastes. Some quick background, I've recently realized that we are wasting a whole lot of food by making up tasty menus every week rather than just eating what we have, so we are going to see how long we can go with just minimal shopping.

Our menu for this week:

Breakfast:

  • Cream of Wheat
  • Cocoa Wheats
  • Oatmeal with fruit
  • Bagels with fat-free cream cheese and fruit
  • Cold cereal and fruit
  • Yogurt with fruit and granola

These breakfast choices will all be interchangeable depending on mood and time allotted for breakfast.

Lunch:

  • Grilled chicken couscous salad with chickpeas 
  • Bean tacos and rice
  • Leftovers from dinner

Again, lunches are not planned by day, just made for the whole week.

Dinners:

  • Spaghetti Bolognese with a side of spinach
  • Pork enchilada casserole with lettuce, corn, and sour cream
  • BBQ chicken with broccoli and grilled mushroom kebabs 
  • Skillet chicken and rice with broccoli and cheese
  • Oatmeal waffles with bacon and fruit
  • Omelets or mini quiches with lots of veggies
  • Leftovers
Can you believe we have 90% of the ingredients in the house already? For some strange reason we have an excess of corn tortillas so we will be making another enchilada casserole for my husband's office Cinco de Mayo party! 

While we are eating high off the pantry/freezer, Ham will be dining on our stash of homemade and store bought baby food as well as finger foods too. He has a love of wheat toast with applesauce spread on it. Yummy and healthy! 

Throughout the week I will post recipes and money saving tips. Are you game for the pantry challenge? Follow along and post your recipes and creative meal ideas. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

When are you having another?

Apparently, since my child is nearing a year it is time for me to get myself knocked up again. I am assuming this is common practice as I get asked all the time when I will be birthing a sibling for my poor lonely eight month old. For starters, I think having children less than two years apart is insane. I realize many woman do this, but I see no logical or sane reason for this choice. Secondly, Ham will most likely remain an only for the foreseeable future. I am an only, and I see nothing wrong with onlies. Perhaps someday we will adopt, but my womb is closed for business! After a horrible pregnancy, traumatic delivery, PPD, PPA, and all the other difficulties I have elected to stop while I am ahead.

This does not mean that I think other people should have only one child, this isn't China, or that they should feel the same way I do. I think large families are awesome when it is the desire of both mom and dad to have lots of children. I follow lots of great large family blogs and fully support all parent's choices in that matter. http://www.smockityfrocks.com/ is one of my favorites! I am not anti-large family by any measure.

I think Ham would agree with me that one is enough for us. He seems completely happy with all the love we can offer, the extra toys aren't bad either.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My Hair (The Good, The Bad, and the Postpartum)

I used to be really into my hair. By that, I mean that I spent at least an hour giving myself the perfect blowout daily. I bought salon products and went monthly for highlight touch-ups. We won't even go into my make-up, Abercrombie, or tanning habits. I was that vain teenage girl, the one that I currently make fun of.

Since college, I've given up my vain ways for most efficient and cost effective beauty rituals. It was a bit of an adjustment with lots of hair disasters along the way. For starters, I cut all of my hair off, think pixie cut, freshman year and then cried for the rest of the semester. I got a bad perm, cut it all off, then proceeded to get another bad perm, and then cut it off again. Apparently, I do not learn my lesson easily. There were bad highlights, bad haircuts, home hair color, and lots of tears. Sadly, at twenty-four, I am still not at peace with my hair.

My pregnancy ruined my hair in the worst way possible. Despite my never missing a prenatal vitamin or my copious intake of milk, my hair broke off half way down. I had to cut it mid-pregnancy which was a very emotional experience as I was attempting to grow it out. I completely lost the curl in my hair leaving it a straight, frizzy mess. I cut it off again a little over a week postpartum because I no longer had any time to style my hair. Now at eight months postpartum, my hair is still crap. It is dry, frizzy, and waves in odd ways (usually not the same way on both sides). I have spent a considerable amount of money on conditioning treatments, shampoo and conditioner, styling products, brushes, and trims to get rid of split ends. Yet, I am still here with straw-like hair. I am at a loss of what to do. So, I am going to seek professional help. I have no idea how much hair I will have left after this, but I pray that I look halfway decent.

A Short Timeline of my Hair...
My super short haircut grown out a bit...I was about 18 here
Bad Perm #1 age 20?
Grew it out again 21-22
Bad Perm #2 with my husband age 22
Recovery from Perm #2 (my hair is actually still permed but straightened in this photo)
Short PP hair (age 23)
Current Hair age 24

Sadly, I do not hair any pictures of my awesome long blonde hair from high school. Who knows what I will look like next week. Hopefully, it will be one of my good haircuts. 






Saturday, April 16, 2011

Just a Little off the Top

Little Ham got his very first haircut yesterday and, surprisingly, sat still the entire time! He looks so handsome with his new 'do!

Some fun before photos...
Gotta love the little hand :)
Before Hair!
During!
He kept trying to look at the back of his head when she was cutting it. 
Almost finished!

Eight month update to follow!



Thursday, April 14, 2011

LOL

I had to share this laughing fit with you! Apparently "Minute to Win it" is pretty hilarious to an 8 month old!
video

For the Sake of Posting

I don't really have an entire coherent post put together, but I felt like typing out my thoughts anyway.

I haven't felt like myself lately, and I now realize it is because of school. The pressure of being a full-time student, wife, mother, and working outside the home has gotten to me. I can barely function some days and other days I am fine. I hope that I can work this all out come summer. I want this to be a positive time in my life.

That aside, Easter is fast approaching and, for some insane reason, I am hosting Easter. Yes, you've heard correctly, I am hosting Easter just one week short of finals! I have no idea why I decided this was a good idea, but somehow I did. I purchased a cart load of Easter decorations at Michaels a few weeks back, and have since created a simple, but hopefully pleasing, menu. I've invited our respective families, and finished amassing a kick butt Easter pail for my little Ham. Yup, I am so all over this, that is until the day before when I am running around my house having a ham induced panic attack. Maybe next year I'll volunteer to host Passover instead...

Adding to my inability to function has been Ham's rather bipolar shifts in mood. One minute he is laughing his bum off and the next he is screaming for nearly an hour. I can't figure out what is bothering him, but I know that somehow this phase will end. I pray for it to end sooner than later.

Sorry for the in-cohesiveness of this post.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I had to share this picture!

From our recent Easter shoot, as Cubs fans we had to try the Harry Caray glasses between shots.

He was actually posing on his little rocket ride-one in this particular outfit, but he was resting between shots and happened to find the leftover box of eggs from a few poses before. Isn't this just adorable? I had to share. I promise more substantial postings to come as my life is calming down in the coming weeks.

Monday, April 4, 2011

I used to be smart, now it's up for debate

I am still in college at twenty-four. This may not seem too odd to many of you as many moms are in college at my age, but I should be done by now. I am one of those super confused folks who like to change their major as often as their underpants. I cycled through nursing, social work, psychology, elementary education, secondary education, communication, history, political science, medical assisting (which I finished), back to nursing, on to early childhood education, back to nursing, human services, back to nursing, back to psychology, liberal arts, human resources, and finally to business with a concentration in health care administration. I am just a hair short of the number of credits needed for my bachelor's degree, but yet I still have 17+ classes to take to get an actual degree. Apparently they don't have a mix and match option.

Despite my flip-flopping nature, I am an excellent student. With all of my majors and coursework, I have a 3.75 gpa! Not bad if I do say so myself. However, I seem to be losing the battle now that I have a baby, a husband, two jobs, and a household to run. I am barely hanging on in financial accounting, which is the worst thing ever, and microeconomics. Never in my life have I prayed for a 70%. As a textbook overachiever and perfectionist, this kills me. I have three weeks left, and I just want it to end. I feel like I am drowning in something that I can't decipher. Accounting and economics might as well be written in Swahili because I would get just about as much out of it.

I used to be smart. I used to be a good student who knew all her professors and even ate lunch with them. I used to be the girl who answered everyone's questions and took charge, now I am average (or below) just like everyone else. I feel like I lost a part of my identity. Who am I if I'm not the smart girl?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

When one door closes....

Today, God opened another, much better, door for me!

Back story:
I've been working at a Once Upon a Child since October of 2010. I've been completely content with my crappy pay because I enjoy my co-workers and the job in general. It is also a fantastic place to introduce lots of new mamas to various "crunchy" parenting techniques like babywearing! I also work very part time at a doctor's office as a medical assistant. Everything was rainbows and sunshine until last week when I was told by OUAC that I had to have completely open availability or I had to quit. Half of the staff decided to quit actually.

Well, I quit. I have just one more week to go at OUAC. The issue became that I wasn't making enough money at the doctor's office just working one day a week, so I've been really down in the dumps. I make enough to pay for my car payment and then the extra is my spending money as well as money for little Ham's clothes and toys. Without the OUAC income, I would just barely be able to cover my car payment. 

Flash to today...I was told that one of my co-workers at the doctor's office is quitting, which is sad because I adore her, and I will be able to pick up more hours! I will have more than enough money to cover the car payment because I am making much more an hour. I am so happy. It is also great experience for my hopeful future career as a physician office manager. All things do work out in the end. :) Now, I'm off to do my economics home work. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The frustration of crawling (or lack thereof)

Little Ham is 'trying' to crawl, and apparently it is very frustrating for him. He gets on his hands and knees and rocks back and fourth, then proceeds to collapse onto his belly and scream. This grueling process has been taking place for about half a month now, and I am more than ready for it to end. I wish he'd just get the whole locomotion of it down. I'm excited for him to crawl (not so excited about baby proofing).

Any suggestions to help the little guy out?

Also...tomorrow is Easter picture day! I will post them when I get them!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Time to Lose

I am overweight. There I said it. I'm actually pretty far overweight at this point. I can't blame my son, though I can blame him for the stretch marks and saggy bits, because I was overweight before I got pregnant. I still have about 10lbs to lose of the baby weight and about 70lbs of college weight on top of that! I have gone up and down in weight since high school, losing and gaining as much as 40lbs at a time. Some of the blame goes to my folks, who still eat Mc Donalds for every meal, for feeding my garbage for my entire childhood. It's true that I had no idea what wheat bread tastes like until my late teens. At nearly twenty-five, I take ownership of my fat. It's my fat. I put a lot of it there with bad eating habits, crash dieting, overeating, binge eating, purging, starvation, and general lack of attention to what I put in my body. Now that I eat under the watchful eyes of my son, I have to do better.

My son eats better than I ever have. I feed him a vegetarian diet comprised of homemade baby food enriched with Salba! I carefuly construct each meal for maximum nutrition, yet I still snack on whatever is available. I need to start putting as much thought into my meals as I do his. He often makes this difficult. I have come a long way from my fast food roots. I eat whole wheat bread, lots of fruits and veggies, lean meats, baked over fried, and even sneak in some fish when I can. What I need to do now is really watch my portions and cut out all of the "bad" stuff (ie: cheeseburgers, homemade dessesrts, and my addiction to artisan breads). Also, I need to exercise.

Exercising is the part I absolutely hate. I am far from athletic, even at my thinnest I was the slowest runner in the bunch. I attempted to play sports when I was young but never really excelled at anything. I always falter on the exercise routine. I need to find something that I don't hate. I am leaning towards Zumba and walking with Ham when the weather gets warmer.

I am certain there will be more updates in the future. This is something I need to do not just for me but for Ham too. So, wish me luck. I'll need it.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Little Steps #1

I've been on the lazy side lately with blog updates. My life seems to get away from me time and again with school, work, and of course the little ham to worry about. The wonderful weather here has made it ever more enticing to go out and enjoy it leaving me even less time for fun stuff like blogging. With that said, I am going to make it a priority to update once a week! It's good for me to get my thoughts out there so my head doesn't get overloaded.

I am going to start an ongoing project called "Little Steps" where I share my little steps towards a greener, healthier lifestyle with you. We are little by little trying to make our lifestyle more chemical free and cheaper. You might be surprised by how much cheaper some eco-friendly changes can be! I am going to start with some changes we've already made and work my way forward because there are some things I really want to share with you! I've learned a lot from other bloggers, so I will share my wisdomw with you. Feel free to request information on certain things or changes you would like to hear about.

Little Steps #1 Facial Cleansing and Care

While my little ham was still in the oven, I became concerned about my chemical-ridden facial care products. I knew that Salicylic Acid is a no-no during pregnancy, so I tossed out all my old stuff and went on the search for some gentler options. I am one of those people blessed with cruddy skin. Regardless of what I've tried, my skin never seems to stay clear for long. I've tried everything from prescription drugs and creams to homemade face masks. This is what I setlled on.

For weekly scrubs to slough off dead skin I now use baking soda mixed with a little water. All you have to do is take some baking soda, preferably not the box you keep in the fridge, and add tap water until it makes a gritty paste. This paste makes a refreshing facial scrub that is great for oily skin. I do it every few days to get that exfoliated glow. I love that fact that a box of baking soda usually runs about $0.45 and I can use that box for a few months to wash my face. How awesome is that? See, I told you it would be cheap.

For moisturizing I now use organic coconut oil. I had not idea that there was a such thing as coconut oil until last year, but it is honestly my favorite skin care product now. It is solid at room temperature and turns into a liquid in warmer temperatures. I just take a tiny, and I mean tiny, dab of coconut oil and rub it into my in the morning and before bed. It moisturizes without leaving a greasy residue, amazing for an oil, and is said to be an natural acne cure! I can't say that is has cleared my stubborn skin, but it definately works just as well as peroxide products without overdrying or staining your pillow cases. I get mine for about $10 at my local natural food store and it lasts forever. You can order it online too. You can also cook with it, use it as a cloth diaper safe rash cream, use it as a conditioner for your hair, or use it as a personal lubricant. I think I've pretty much used it for everything thus far, and I cannot imagine going back.

For toning and freshening up, I use witch hazel. It is great for acne prone skin as it is a natural astringent and it helps kill all the nasty bacteria on your skin. This really has helped clear my skin up and it always leaves my skin feeling fresh and clean. I actually get mine at Walmart in the first-aid section, it works great for cuts and scrapes too, for around $4. I use this in the morning after my shower and before bed.

Last but not least, I use Tom's of Maine bar soap or Dr. Bronner's tea tree oil soap for normal washing. I use this for the rest of me too. Tom's soap comes in two packs for $3 or so, and Dr. Bronner's soap is sold indvidually for around $4. I get them both from my local Target.

This new cleansing routine saves me loads of cash, saves the environment, and keeps my face fresh and clean. I hope you give it a try. If you already have switched to a greener facial care routine, share your products and tips with me!

Next Time: Greener Laundry

Sunday, January 16, 2011

LOL!

http://www.themompetition.com/2010/11/why-first-time-moms-lose-their-minds.html

You must watch this!
I am implementing "Sunday Funnies," meaning a new funny video every Sunday for a good belly laugh. Enjoy this one from Mompetition!

Let Them be Children

Earlier this week I was chatting with a friend and the topic of children behaving in public came up. Since I work in a store frequented by moms with kids and am a mom myself, I feel like I have a lot to say about this. In my opinion, children should be taught at an early age how to act in public. This includes basic manners (please and thank you), how to wait your turn, staying close to mom in stores, keeping hands to yourself, indoor voices, and so on. I don't expect children to act like mini-adults in any sense, but I do expect them not to act like wild animals.

My friend believes that children should always be allowed to act like children regardless of where they are, meaning it's okay to kick, scream, fight, and go crazy in stores or at friend's houses. I believe there is a time and place for this and it's not Walmart. Concidently, I was at Walmart today

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Parenting Advice from the Childless

One or two days a week I work at a children's resale shop, and I really enjoy working there. That said, you meet some pretty "interesting" people. Today, for instance, I was chatting with a childless co-worker who decided it was appropriate to give me parenting advice. I generally loathe unsolicited advice and rarely give it out myself, so it took all I had to keep my thoughts to myself. I won't bother you with what she said because it was pretty useless.

Normally I just brush off the unwanted advice and in some cases even get a nice private giggle from it, but this time it really angered me. I wouldn't dream of dolling out advice on puppy training, ballet, or deep sea fishing because I know nothing about them. I have never participated in that particular activity, so I have nothing substantial to contribute to the discussion of it. I have no idea why people feel the need to comment on your parenting choices if they themselves are not parents.

That is just my little rant for the day. Something more positive and substantial to come tomorrow.

Friday, January 14, 2011

How my C-Section Changed My View of Parenting

Natural parents don’t have cesareans. In fact, they don’t even cover them in most natural childbirth classes. My particular class glossed over them with the sentiment that pity was to be taken on all c-section moms and this was something that was inherently bad. I was determined to have a medication free, vaginal childbirth. Unfortunately, my body had other plans.
I quickly found myself in the midst of a true emergency cesarean, akin to the ones the show on TLC specials. I had too much amniotic fluid which hid the fact my son’s umbilical cord completely prolapsed cutting off my son’s Oxygen supply. When my usually ultra calm, happy-go-lucky, super Southern OBGYN began yelling at me; I knew something was gravely wrong. In a flurry of nurses, needles, and chaos my son was born healthy.
I didn’t see my son until four hours after birth. I felt so detached when they let me catch a glimpse of him through the nursery window. I always thought I would have this cathartic, tear filled emotional experience when I first laid eyes on my baby, but all I wanted to do was go to my recovery room and rest.
My son’s birth was the worst day of my life, and I felt like I had failed as a parent. Everyone around me told me to focus on my son and forget the rest, but I couldn’t. I had failed at the most basic aspect of mothering, birth.  I quickly spiraled into depression and spent the next few months beating myself up over my failings. I did this until my last post-partum check-up when I met my OB’s new midwife. She took the time to care for my emotional self, and told me that cesarean birth does not make you any less of a woman. She recharged my spirit and empowered me to begin the healing process.
It took time for me to realize that being a mother is not about how closely you stick to your birth plan or how long you exclusively breastfeed. Being a good mother is about loving your child, sacrificing for your child, and doing the best you can for them. Many woman I’ve talked with feel as though they have failed after having a cesarean, supplementing with formula,  failing to cloth diaper, going back to work, buying jarred baby food, and a whole host of other things.
It’s okay, and perfectly normal, to grieve your birth experience. You can still be a “natural” parent, or an attachment parent, or any kind of parent you want to be regardless of your birth experience.  Parenting is all about adapting to changes and loving your children with all your heart.


Who I am



I am a stay-at-home mama of my little Ham. He has the personality of seven babies and a new obsession with his tounge and toes. He is just under five months old and consumes most of my life nowadays. Somehow I also find time to be a full-time student, a wife to my high school sweetheart, a very part-time thirft store employee, and an amateur vocalist.

I also dabble in cooking, sewing, painting, audio engineering, scrapbooking, photography, and writing.

All-in-all I am a pretty ordinary Midwestern twenty-something.