Monthly Archives: April 2014

She is not a Mini-Me

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I will never forget the day we found out we were having a little girl.
We had gone to our doctor appointment with our minds made up, and our feet planted firmly on our desire to not find out the gender of our baby. The Doc. had been my doctor for a while, so he knew us pretty well, as did his nursing staff. So of course, they had asked repeatedly if we were 100% sure. We assured them we were absolutely POSITIVE we didn’t want to know if we were carrying a little guy or gal. We get shuffled to the ultrasound room and get to see our little miracle in beautiful black and white wavy lines. We oohed and awed and I wiped the go-go goo from my belly and started to walk out. The tech stops me and hands me a sealed envelope. She smiles sweetly and says, “You will thank me later, the answer is inside.”
I take the envelope and we walk to the car. We don’t even get our doors shut before we are surrounded by cell phone cacophony. EVERYONE wanted to know if it was a boy or a girl. EVERYONE. People I haven’t talked to for years were posting on my Facebook wall dying to know!
The envelope remained sealed.

More calls. More tweets and posts. Still we stood firm. We would not be swayed. We were determined to make it through the final 21 weeks of pregnancy and letting the little one tell us in the delivery room.
9:30 rolls around and we get a call from our boss. She demanded to know the sex. She let us know that if we didn’t open the envelope and tell her right then, we had no reason to come in to work the following morning. Now we knew she was joking…a little, but still, this wasn’t a woman to trifled with.

All of our grand plans flew out the window as we said yes ma’am and opened it up. I was secretly excited that she “forced our hand”. Waiting really isn’t my style. We get the envelope open and stare down at a…bunch of wavy lines. There is no it’s a boy or it’s a girl. I see lines. I have no idea what I am looking at, according to this I am giving birth to a ball of yarn.
So even with the envelope open we still have no idea what the sex is. That was unacceptable. Now that it was out in the open I HAD to know. Luckily for us we knew a few OB nurses. A few quick picture snaps and a few text messages later we had our answer. We were having a girl. A little girl. Pink. Bows. Frills. Dolls. A girl!

That’s when it started.

She would be my Mini-Me. Everyone said so. It was all very exciting. I had longed for the day I had a daughter I could share things with. She would look like me. Think like me. Have the same interests. A true Mini-Me.

We scheduled her arrival on a Friday first thing in the morning. She decided to come two weeks early and on a Tuesday…at night.I should have known then. I should have seen the signs. Her first day out in the world, and it wasn’t according to MY schedule.

Hindsight right?

She did look like me. There was absolutely no mistaking who that little girl’s mama was. Same chunky cheeks…same nose and mouth. She was me all over. It became hard to take her anywhere. I would have her in my arms walking through Walmart and we would be assaulted by little old ladies. Every one of them had to stop me and pinch her cheeks, then pinch mine and say oh my sugar, she looks just like you.

It only got worse as she grew older. We have a picture of the two of us looking at each other, and it looks as if she is looking into the face of her future. Yes, we look that similar. As she grew, her personality began to blossom. She has formed opinions on things. Boy, did she have opinions on things. And come to find out, they were different than mine. How did that happen? Didn’t all those ladies say she was a Mini-Me? Shouldn’t she think like I do as well as look like me? She loves everything pink. I hate pink and prefer blue. She hates rice, and I think rice should go with everything. She needs dresses. I have to be forced to wear one.

She was not a Mini-Me.

I made the mistake of trying to force a little girl who looks like me, into a mold of myself. I was pushing her this way, when she needed to go that way. I wasn’t guiding her growth, I was forcing it. And in forcing it, I was breaking her beautiful spirit. I thought because she looked so much like me, she had to be me. And let’s face it…one of me is plenty. I was not only doing her a disservice, but myself and anyone who might encounter her a long the way a disservice as well. She is a beautiful soul who has so much to offer this world. She was getting lost, and that was my doing.

It nearly broke me in two when I realized what I was doing. We were picking out her clothes for the day, and she wanted a green and blue tie-dyed pair of shorts, mismatched heels, a ridiculously bright yellow top, and TWO different hair bows. She had her heart set on that outfit, and all I said was, no that’s wrong. What was wrong with it though other than I didn’t like it? Nothing! It may not of matched, but when has that been a prerequisite to go to Walmart? She insisted they were perfect and beautiful and I insisted they were wrong. Then it hit me. Her choice of clothes wasn’t wrong. I was wrong. I was wrong to think that her opinions and interests had to be like mine. I was a wrong to insist that the yellow shirt was not beautiful. I may not of liked it, but she did. And she felt good in it.

We sat in her room, on the floor (which was covered in clothes because she was looking for the perfect outfit) and I cried. Cried because I didn’t really know my little girl. I only knew what I was unintentionally trying to make her. Then she cried because mama was crying, and we don’t like to let people cry alone. Then I hugged my little girl in her yellow shirt, tie-dyed shorts, mismatched heels and crazy bows in her hair, and thanked God for her. Thanked Him for her uniqueness. Her ability to stand firm with her opinions. Her beauty -inside and out. I thanked Him for that ridiculously hideous yellow shirt that opened my eyes.

She may look similar to me, but she isn’t me.

She will grow and change throughout the years. We will butt heads along the way…sometimes pretty hard. If I try to force her, I will stand the risk of breaking or damaging her. If she is to truly blossom, I need to guide and nurture her. That’s all I can do.

She is her own person. And that person is beautiful.

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This is my body? You are joking, right?!

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I have been lied to. You have been lied to. Every woman who has given birth has been lied to. It may sound a bit dramatic, but just hear me out. Our lives change as soon as we see that double pink line on the stick we just peed on. There are books and internet articles and TV shows about pregnancy. They cover everything from: Morning sickness, the first kicks and what contractions feel like to Oh wow, my boobs are so big what ever will I do?
Information, information, information everywhere.
Then there is just as much information on the delivery.
What to expect. The different birthing options, birthing plans, any question you could possibly think of about delivery, there are dozens of resources for. And do NOT even get me started on “how to raise a child” Everyone has an opinion on how to raise your child.
Everyone.

But tell me, where is all the info on my post baby body? Not the, rose colored version..I mean the real stuff. We NEVER talk about what to really expect. It’s too taboo. We don’t want to associate anything ugly or embarrassing with the miracle of life.
I’m going to.
While each of my pregnancies have been different, the recovery from each one has been very similar. Here is my list of what to expect from your body post-baby…the ugly version.
Just an FYI…this is going to get dirty….

1.) Expect blood. A lot of it. Everywhere. It starts right after delivery when you have to do the walk of shame (you thought those would be done when you settled down and started a family right? Wrong! They just change forms!) from your bed to the bathroom and you leave a nice trail of red behind you…ya know….so the nurse doesn’t lose you. Oh, but it doesn’t stop there! You get to go home with a nice set of diapers. For you, not your kid. Feeling sexy yet? Fast forward a few days. You will be feeling good and decide to venture out…you will be standing there talking to the first grown-up you have seen in days..then you feel it. A big wet ball slip out of your underwear, and roll down your leg. Oh you weren’t expecting that? You should have. It’s not the only one that’s going to come out either. This will go on for weeks. Yes, weeks. So get ready.

2.) Stretch marks. You may be thinking, well I knew I could get them, my stomach is growing. But see, I wasn’t talking about your stomach. Oh no. Yes they will pop up there, but also your legs, your boobs, your back,and your butt. They will appear in places you didn’t even know could stretch.
And then we get this false hope about all these miracle creams that will make them disappear. HaHa. It may lessen them, but honey, they have taken up residence. They are there for the long haul.

3.) Your vagina will be gross. Yes, gross. It will be stretched out if you delivered vaginally. A normal period will be a thing of the past. You will be leaking some sort of fluid from it almost all the time. You cough…you tinkle a little. Accept it. Oh, and a discharge. Of unknown causes. It’s just there. To annoy the heck out of you. Panty liners will be your best friend. Stock up.

4.) Shame and embarrassment. Might as well let those two things go. You will find yourself talking about things you never thought you would before. Bowel movements and their consistencies. You will sniff another human beings butt…in public. Nothing will phase you anymore. You just had your entire world on display for an entire room filled with adults. And all of them were focused on your vagina. And what was coming out of it. If you choose to nurse, get ready for a lot of nipple talk. Did you know there was such a thing as flat nipples? Yeah, there is. And if you need help from a lactation consultant (which I did), you get to sit there while another lady looks you straight in the eyes and fondles your boob.

5.) Hemorrhoids. A lot of us will get them during pregnancy. The doctor will tell us it’s normal and they will go away. They are normal, but I think a more accurate term would be dormant. They will become dormant. They may not be raging, bleeding, little pain balls anymore, but as soon as you have an impressive bowel movement you will irritate them and again it will feel like you have a lit candle sitting in you rear.

6.) Weight. We have all seen the picture going around Facebook of the lady who had like three kids and took a picture of her perfectly fit body and told all pregnant ladies that childbirth wasn’t an excuse for being fat. It’s ok to want to punch her in the face. First off every woman is beautiful no matter what size or shape.
However, we need to be honest with ourselves. If we are uncomfortable with out post baby bodies. Admit it. Then do something about it. It’s not easy when you can’t even take a pee by yourself how are you supposed to exercise? Just do what you can. Then accept yourself. We are aging. We are not going to have the body of a 17 year old. Unfortunately life doesn’t work that way. Then you just grew an entire human in your belly, that takes mad skill and room. Sometimes those last 10 pounds will just not go away. No matter what. That’s ok. You are still beautiful. At any size. Let yourself acknowledge that.

7.) Your feet will get big…and did you know they don’t shrink? They may not be as swollen, but if you went up a size in pregnancy, chances are you will stay that way.

8.) Sweating. You will sweat. A lot. Even when everyone else seems perfectly cool, you will be looking for the AC and dripping puddles everywhere. Stock up on antiperspirant and rock the pit stains. Sweat happens.

9.) Personal space. This may not deal directly with your body, but it involves your bodily functions. You will no longer use the bathroom alone. It will become a team sport. Along with company you will get a play by play. “Mom, what color is your poop, you are pooping right? Are you done? Did you wipe?” Showering will also become a two person sport. Your plate is now a communal plate. You will no longer have anything that is just yours.

10.) Your heart. This may seem silly, but I think it’s an important one. We go through life and we think we know what love is, but when we first see our child and hear him cry the first time, we realize we didn’t know anything. You will love beyond your wildest dreams. Each day your child will grow and you think, wow kid, I really love you. Then they do something so ridiculously sweet and you can literally feel your heart expanding. Every day your love will grow stronger and your heart will grow bigger. With loving so deeply inevitably there comes a great risk for sadness and pain. You realize that the tiny person totting around is holding a vital part of you. When they get sick, you feel pain. When they are hurt or sad, you feel it. You will forever worry. Your heart is no longer your own. A snot nosed, blue eyed, kool-aid faced toddler now holds it in his jam filled hand. You hope it’s jam.

It has been over two years since I delivered our last child and I am still going through a lot of these. When I was told about postpartum “me” I thought six weeks. They told me six weeks and I would be pretty much back to normal. It has been 105 weeks, and I am still not back to normal. I have had to adapt to a new normal. A new me. And that’s ok. It has taken a lot of time, anger, tears, and love, but this is me. I am covered in stretch marks. I weigh 50 pounds more than I want to and 85 more than I should. I haven’t pooped alone or showered alone in 7 years. A normal period? I don’t believe there is such a thing. But, I have a husband who loves me and thinks I’m beautiful. I have children who think I know everything and hung the moon. I am happy. I am satisfied. I am me.

Life after childbirth is not always a pretty process tied up in a nice neat bow, but it is beautiful. You are beautiful. You brought new life into this world. You are a rock star!! Love yourself. Flaws are beautiful, they are real, they say you have lived. You aren’t photoshopped or fake.
Embrace the mess.
Own up to the dirty.
This is life.

Is this thing on?

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I am sitting here, looking at my screen…trying to find the perfect words for my very first piece of writing to ever go public…and by public I mean anyone other than myself read it. I prefer to keep to things to myself. My thoughts, my opinions and especially my shortcomings. It is so much safer. Why would I dare let people know what I really think. I often find myself relating to that picture going around Pinterest that says – if people could read my thoughts, I would get punched in the face… A LOT.
So WHY am I doing this?!?!?

Accountability.

Yes, I want people to read this. Yes, I hope others find comfort and hope in my posts. Most importantly though, I am writing for myself. For too long I have accepted the -you have to be the perfect mother…no one can know differently…keep up the façade or the whole world will come crashing down – ethos set before me. I’m tired. I know I don’t poop rainbows. I know my kids can be holy terrors. It is time for the world to know too.

I have had ladies come up to me and say things like “you are always so calm and put together, how do you it?” “Wow! Five kids, and you still have all your hair?” And I just stand there all the while thinking, lady if you only knew. But I never tell them differently. I stand there and let them think that I have everything together. I pretend that my child didn’t lick peanut butter off the floor 30 minutes before and I just stand there and watch. Or that when my snuggling toddler wets the bed right beside me I don’t just cover it with a towel instead of changing all the sheets at 3:00am.

I’m not perfect. I screw up everyday. My kids can do horrible things.
You know what though, that’s ok. Sometimes the most beautiful things come from some pretty rotten stuff.

I hope to treat this blog almost like my diary. I want to share some very personal things in hopes that someone else sees it and thinks – Oh thank God, I thought it was just me. I want you guys to know that motherhood is messy. 5 children all screaming at the top of their lungs at the same time is hard. That’s ok.
Messy can be beautiful.
Loud can be liberating.
You just have to allow it.

All that being said, I am a mother of 5. My life is crazy and hectic and this and any blog after will be filled with typos and ramblings. I would apologize for it, but i really don’t care. I’m not turning this in to my English teacher.

I want to explore all the different avenues of motherhood and woman hood. I want to talk about our husbands, who no matter how much we nag, can’t seem to pick their dang dirty underwear up off the floor.
I want to talk about controversial things. I want to share the sweet things my children do. I want to rant about the third bath for my two year old of the day and it’s not even lunch time. I want to talk about the beauty of my child’s smile. Of heartbreak. Of love. Dirt. Grime. Maybe some poop. Probably some tears. Of life. All aspects of it.

The time has come. Let’s pull back the curtain.
My voice will be heard.
My words will be read.
It’s terrifying. It’s exciting. It’s really happening.
Let the unveiling begin.

—Frayed Mama