Monday, October 27, 2014

Freaking out

I might have possibly hinted blatantly stated that I'm a total control freak.  I'm also a planner.  I plan ahead for everything.  I spend most of my time around procrastinators, most of my family and friends are always putting things off to the last minute and I can't understand how they live that way.  I get stuff done way ahead of time, and if I'm not getting it done, I'm mentally planning and thinking about getting it done.  It makes me difficult to work with sometimes if you don't keep up with my work style.  Even when I have a project at work, if I say I'm "procrastinating" on it, it typically means that I'm only going to have it ready to go to a client a week ahead of schedule instead of further in advance.  It's just how I operate.

So....the whole not knowing when a baby is going to feel like showing up makes me insane.  Sure, they give you a "due date" but that's really just an educated guess, isn't it? She could show up early, she could show up late.  She could do whatever she wants.  As of next week I'm in what a friend referred to as the "red zone"(not sure if he was making a pun?) where, if she decided to show up, they might just decide to go ahead and let that happen.   NEXT GODDAMN WEEK.  I looked at the calendar and realized we were already in November as of Saturday and I was like "WHAT THE WHAT?!" and something triggered the panic button in my brain that literally turned me into a crazy person.  Like, I'd been semi-crazy before this, but now it's in full force.  It's freaking me out.  I am literally unable to sleep some nights because I can't turn my brain off from fixating on the things that I, for some stupid reason, feel NEED to be done right this second.  The normal rational part of my brain keeps trying to talk that other part off the ledge but today I found myself sitting in my cube at work crying because I had a serious moment of total panic that I am running short on time and I do not feel ready.  That's been brewing for probably a week now, but it hit full force today.  Now I can't focus on other things because all I can think is "There is no time left!" which is difficult when you pair it with my husband, the ultimate procrastinator, repeatedly saying "We've got time, don't worry about it".  Sure, HE has time.  I'm a ticking time bomb with a timer that feels like it just keeps speeding up.  I sort of wish, for once, that someone would have the same sense of urgency that I have at this very moment and would say "Ok, if it would make you feel better, let's get those things done" but that's just not how I see it happening.

My current hangups, for whatever crazy-lady irrational reason my brain has chosen, are the fact that we don't have a finished nursery.  In fact, we don't really have a started nursery, unless you count the swatch of paint I put on the wall to make sure I liked the color.  I don't know why this one stupid little thing makes me feel like if it's finished I'll feel like I'm ready for all of this life change, but it seems to be something that my brain things gives me some control in a situation that I have zero control over, and it's fixated.  I can't turn it off.  Nothing is done.  She has nowhere to live.  She has no home.  I want to give her a home.  When our foster moved in, one of the first things we did was make sure she had a room that was hers so that she felt like she had a home.  My kid isn't going to have a home because we can't get our shit together and finish the stupid goddamn room.  There are several circumstances contributing to this, but I'm just's making me lose my mind.

I'm having a similar reaction to not having a name for her.  I want her to have a name.  I want to know what to call her when I see her.  I want to not look at her and feel like she's a tiny stranger.  This is also irrational, and lots of people don't pick a name until right before they take their kid home, but I just.....I feel like I need it.  I've wanted to name her since the minute we found out she was a girl, but my husband has resisted so we don't get "stuck with something".  Again, I totally understand this, I get it that you might want to change your mind.'s just one more thing that keeps making me freak out and feel like I'm not ready for this at all.

Or maybe the problem is that I really am just not ready for this at all.

Either way, I'm freaking out.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Monday, October 20, 2014

Why I'm not breastfeeding (hint: because I don't fucking want to)

There's this big push back toward all things natural when it comes to pregnancy, childbirth and child rearing.  Like, it's not just a series of options that get presented to you as a "You could do this, if you wanted" suggestion, but instead it's a giant way of life.  Like if you don't do this, you will probably be a giant failure as a parent and your child will die in infancy or something.  I find the debate over breastfeeding to be a lot like this.  I've heard women, we shall affectionately call them "The Breastapo", make blanket statements to women who formula feed like "Well, next time you'll know better and make a better choice".  It's sort of gone into this weird realm of evangelism that I can't even begin to wrap my head around.  And I hear all the time about women who are persecuted for breastfeeding their children, which is funny because I don't think the issue is the nursing part, the issue is you whipping your boob out wherever you feel like it.  And yes, I hear over and over that it's natural but is pooping, and I don't do that wherever I please.  So, no one cares that you're feeding your child, or how you're feeding your child, they mostly just care that you're pulling your boobs out in public places.  When I worked retail I had a woman come in feeding twins and, I kid you not, she had the front of her shirt pulled up to her collar bone with her bra cups pulled down and one kid hanging on each boob like nipple rings.  Just like "Hello, I have these tits, and here they are".  Unnecessary.

What I find more common than the persecution of nursing mothers is the persecution of bottle feeding mothers.  I've never seen anyone who is nursing get told "That baby deserves better" but people will have zero issue with saying that to a bottle feeding mom.  Plus, I see article after article posted about women who want the world to know why they don't nurse their children, and it's always justified with some extenuating circumstance like "I had a double mastectomy" or "I was on anti-depressants and couldn't" or "I was going through chemo".  NO!  Your circumstances shouldn't be relevant in this conversation.  Yes, it's great that you have a way to explain why you're doing, but why does it matter?  Why don't you just say "I'm not nursing because I'm not nursing" and leave it at that?  Why does anyone need to know more than that to make it acceptable for you to be doing what you're doing?  Your kid is being fed, that's really all that matters.  I have a huge issue with having to justify something with a huge set of circumstances just for other women to shut their damn mouths.  I'm not going to breast feed because I don't fucking want to do it.  I know myself.  I know my limitations.  I know that if I'm solely responsible for always being the one to do midnight feedings or have to pump every 3 hours at work or whatever else, I will lose my goddamn mind.  I will become one of those crazy women who sort of subconsciously fantasizes about running away from their screaming child and never coming back.  I don't want to do it.  I don't want to be tethered to my baby 24/7 when there is another alternative out there.  There is a way for my husband to take half of those midnight feedings, and for me to leave my house without having to worry about being back in a couple of hours, or having to pump milk from my boobs like a cow.  Science has given us an alternative and I'm going to fucking use it.

What's funny is that even as I say this, I've become a victim of what I'm rallying against.  While registering for gifts at Target I told my mother I was looking for a container like what my sister had, where you can measure formula out into portions and toss it into a diaper bag to avoid having to carry around a can of formula all day.  You can measure 4 individual bottles worth to be added to some water later and be on your way.  As I was saying this, I realized that I lowered my voice when I started talking about measuring out formula, like I didn't want anyone to overhear and judge me.  I have no idea why I did that.  I am totally happy with my choice, and I'm comfortable with it, so why was I standing in Target lowering my voice to avoid judgement?  I got SO MAD at myself for it.  Suddenly even I was starting to wonder or worry about what the Breastapo might say to me if they were passing by.

I think that's how it is though.  Women keep trying to find a place where we dominate in the world and it seems the gender has latched onto this motherhood thing with all of their fangs and claws.  Now we're totally cool with mom shaming, persecuting others for their choices, and attacking one another for our differences.  Didn't do a water birth?  Well, your kid will be a stripper.  Got an epidural?  Hope your son likes that crack addiction your choice left him with.  It's all so goddamn stupid.  Especially when people take it to extremes.  More and more studies are showing no difference between bottle and breastfed kids in terms of intelligence or immunity.  Formula was invented to reduce infant mortality rates globally because women weren't producing enough milk most of the time for their children, so their kids were starving, but we don't want to acknowledge that.  Men can actually bond with their babies while giving them a bottle, but that doesn't matter because in the big scheme of being a sacred female entity, the husband doesn't matter much in the life of an infant.  I've even known women who weren't producing enough milk to the point where their children weren't gaining weight and it was actually causing harm to the child, yet still refused to buy a can of formula to keep the kid from getting worse.  Is it really so evil and large a health risk to your child to have formula?  Is it worse than what you're doing by not providing enough nutrients on your own with nursing?  I doubt it.

But the Breastapo are relentless.  It's not a suggestion, it's not an option.  It's a way of life and you should be conforming to it.  Until every woman is walking around bare breasted with a baby on each nipple, we are failing as a gender, and we should be ashamed.  Those of us who choose to give our kids formula are basically using the powdered testicles of Satan to nourish our children and will surely pay for it some day.

Or maybe we just know it's not for us, and you should shut the fuck up.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Adventures in gift registry

Part of this growing a human thing is that when it's your first human, you don't have any stuff.  This means that people want to give you stuff because they're celebrating the parasite you've decided to spawn and women all just luuuuuurve babies.  So that means you have to go through the process of dealing with a baby shower.  I don't like baby showers.  I've never liked them.  I hate attending them.  I hate all of the women walking around clucking like hens, going on and on about babies and asking whoever is pregnant a ton of personal questions that would not be acceptable anywhere else in polite society.  I hate the idiotic games they have you play.  I hate watching people open gifts while everyone goes "Awwwwww!" or whatever.  It's just.....showers suck.  But, on the other hand, I like stuff.  Stuff is expensive.  You need to get the stuff that is expensive and it's often nice if you don't have to get it yourself.  So, for the sake of stuff, I'm suffering through a baby shower.

The thing about stuff, and getting the stuff you need/want is that you have to do a gift registry.  Gift registries basically shout "I WANT THIS ONE" which I think is probably good, that way you don't end up with a ton of crap that you don't want, in theory.  The thing is, I was being all nice and trying to let my mother be involved in this so I let her go with me to do the registry thing.  That got dramatic.  I am very minimalist on what I think you "need" for babies.  My mother is not.  Her house and yard look like a Toys R Us vomited all over them.  I don't think you "need" a million pieces of gear.  I think you probably "need" some gear but probably don't end up using most of it.  That's what I'm told anyway.  So, I wanted to keep the list minimal.  She wanted to make it batshit insane.  There were a lot of arguments and exchanges that went a lot like this:

On Sleeping Gear
Mom: You need one of these sling hammock bassinets.
Me: Why?  I got a pack n' play.  It functions for sleeping AND as a baby cage.  That's a multi-tasker.
Mom: Those are big.  You don't want something that big in your bedroom.  You'll want something smaller like this.
Me: I have a really big bedroom
Mom: No, it's going to be in the way, you will want to have both.
Me: No, if I have both then one of them will ALWAYS be in the way, because I'll have to store one somewhere and it'll be annoying.
Mom: I'm just saying, if you get the hammock sling one, her head will be propped up and she won't choke to death.
Me: Mom, we survived the dark ages, I'm pretty sure she can survive sleeping in a goddamn pack n' play.

On Cribs
Mom: You need to register for a crib
Me: Haven't found one I like yet, I'll get to it.
Mom: At this rate she won't have anywhere to sleep when you bring her home.
Me: Apparently you missed our previous conversation about the pack n' play.
Mom: Well if you don't get a crib she's going to end up sleeping in a dresser drawer.
Me: That's probably fine if you just line it with some blankets like you would do for a litter of puppies.
Mom: That's not funny.
Me:  It'll prep her for all of the years we plan to keep her chained in the basement like Sloth from Goonies....
Mom: If you keep talking like that, I'm leaving.
Me:  Promise?

On Other Gear
Mom: You need one of these bouncer seats.
Me:  No, you gave me one to keep at the house when I was babysitting the niece, along with a ton of other shit you thought I needed just to be able to babysit and then she never used.
Mom: You can't use that old piece of junk, you need a new one.
Me:  You bought it and put your granddaughter in it!  Now it's a piece of junk?
Mom:  You need a new one.  This one has elephants.  Get that one.

Mom:  Scan this.
Me:  I don't want a bunch of pink stuff, do they have a more neutral color?
Mom:  Scan this one.
Me:  Mom, I said I don't want a ton of pink.
Mom:  You're already painting her room blue.  She's going to get a complex.  It's a girl, she needs pink.
Me:  No, she needs you to not conform her to your gender roles.

Mom:  Did you get a baby monitor?
Me:  No, not yet.  *picks up random monitor from shelf*  This one will do.
Mom:  YOU CAN'T DO THAT!  You can't just pick one up and say "this will do".
Me:  Why not?  Everyone says these break all the time anyway so I'll just be replacing it in 6 months.
Mom:  Because you have to be able to hear the baby!  You have to be able to make sure she's ok.
Me:  I can.  This one is made solely for that purpose, otherwise it wouldn't exist.
Mom:  You need a video monitor.
Me:  No I don't.  You didn't have a video monitor with any of us and we all survived.
Mom:  Well you can't just pick up a random monitor and decide it's good enough.
Me:  It also has the the longest distance range of anything else on the shelf, it has 2 handsets, and is mid-level price.
Mom:  How do you know all that?
Me:  I can read the tags on the shelf, mom.

On clothing
Me: *looking at Thanksgiving themed sleeper* Ooh, let's dress her as a turkey!
Mom:  That's so mean, stop being like that!
Me:  No, it's funny.
Mom: There's nothing funny about it.
Me: *holding up sleeper* How is this not funny?  Its entire purpose is to be funny.  You've just insulted its whole existence.

It goes on, but you get the general idea.  Eventually, after arguing for a while I realized I could edit the registry at home online and delete everything I didn't want that she was insisting I order, so I started just scanning everything she held up.  We call those survival instincts.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Things that are stressing me out

I don't know why, but as we get closer to the whole due date thing, more and more stuff is stressing me out.  I can occasionally be a bit high strung, and I realize this about myself, but lately it's more than just high strung.  Lately it's semi-panic attack mode.  I keep fighting it, beating the feeling back when it starts to creep up, but it's manifesting in a lot of weird ways because I keep trying to lock it down and I'm not always successful.  I keep getting snappish and impatient and sometimes over emotional.  I know on some level it's stupid, but I'm literally over here trying not to have a full blown panic attack over the stupidest stuff sometimes.  I don't know if it's the fact that everyone around me seems to think we have "lots of time" and I'm realizing how little we have, or if it's just that I am putting too much emphasis on stuff that doesn't really matter or what.  So, I thought that maybe it'd be good to list the things that are stressing me out, and if I have a coping strategy, that as well.  I have no idea why.  It just sort of makes me feel like I'm in more control.  I am fully aware that I'm not really in control right now.....

  • Not having/discussing a baby name.
    • No coping strategy for this one.  I know it's not a necessity.  I know we could name her 10 minutes before we walk out of the hospital, but everyone keeps bothering me about it and pressuring me to pick something and it's stressful.  I sort of want to name her too, just to know that I don't have to look at her and think " name......"
  • Zero nursery progress
    • Again, she's not even going to sleep in there at the beginning.  But, there's a baby shower and the baby shower involves me having shit to bring home and no real place to store it.  I just sort of want things to go where they belong when I bring them home.  No one seems in a hurry to make any changes on this front though, so I just wait.
  • Baby showers
    • I decided to pay for my own shower so that we were sure to have everything taken care of, since no one in my family has or anything.  But showers are expensive.  Showers are REALLY expensive.  I am stressed out about how expensive.  I'm also stressed out by how much I've had to do myself.  Like, I said I'd pay for it but other people said they'd find/book a venue, help with invitations, help with planning, and pretty much it's been me doing everything, which makes me feel both unloved and stressed out.  My mom is doing games and decorations now, I guess.  We'll see how that goes.
    • Handed off some stuff to my mom, invitations are being mailed, venue is held pending deposit being paid (doing that this week).  Still have to finalize a bunch of the stuff my mom is working on, still have to finalize a menu.
  • Money
    • Babies are expensive.  All the crap babies need is expensive.  I'm freaking out about how expensive it all is.  Like, not a little freaking out.  A lot freaking out.  Like, regretting paying for the shower and anything else style expensive.  I'm not entirely sure we thought the whole thing through when it came to being financially ready for a kid.
    • With this one I'm mostly just hoping that the shower (that is expensive and I shouldn't have said I'd pay for) results in us getting most of our big ticket items, otherwise I'm going to have to start finding stuff on Craigslist.
    • Cutting back on ideas/plans for the nursery.  Making any artwork I can, not doing the wainscoting I originally wanted to do, not doing much more than just painting and then painting out the dresser we bought.  No rug, make curtains if I can but if it's not budget friendly then the blinds will have to do.
  • Daycare
    • Where the hell does this kid go when I go back to work?  I have no solutions for this at the moment, but it's tied to my freak out about money.
  • Going back to work
    • My office gives me 6 weeks of maternity leave paid in full, which is awesome.  The problem is that when I think about having my girl bits ripped apart, and sleepless nights home with a newborn, and then having to go back to work, 6 weeks doesn't seem like a very long time.  I'm not even one of those sentimental people who is like "Ohhh, I can't leave my baaaaaaaby" or anything.  I'm just not sure 6 weeks is long enough to mentally and physically get back into the swing of regular every day life.  I'm allowed to take up to 12 weeks, but 6 of those would be unpaid entirely and I don't think I can possibly afford that (see money stress) so I'm going to have to go back to work after 6 weeks, but thinking about how little time that really is has me freaking out.  Why can't we live in Europe where you get like 6 months off?
  • Clothing
    • The bad thing about having to carry around a fetus is that it makes you fat.  Yes, I know, it's not fat it's a baby and whatever.  But you still feel fat.  And your clothes don't fit.  So far, my jeans are still all good.  I wear them around no problem.  The issue is that it's getting cold out, and my sweaters are not as easy to wear as my summer t-shirts were.  You stretch out a sweater, you're pretty much fucked for life.  But I don't want to buy clothes in October that I can only wear through December because that feels like a giant waste.  So, I'm currently recycling the few outfits I own that sort of work and hoping to make them sort of work for a while longer.  But again, this sort of ties back to that whole money thing.  It seems like such a waste.
That's most of it, for now.  It doesn't seem like a lot, but it feels like a lot.  It feels like a lot when I start to panic about it.  And I do that more often than you'd think.