Thursday, May 27, 2010

Old-Wives Tales

This one is just for fun. I always love to hear the old-wives tales about pregnancy and babies. Morning sickness means it's a girl; none means the baby's a boy. A woman from the Philipines once told me that I should take care not to block doorways or else I would have a difficult labor. Here are just a few others:

If you are 'babymooning' in Hawaii, don't expect to get leid upon arrival. Hawaiin supersticion says wearing a Lei can cause the baby to choke.

Sex kick starts labor. This one is actually true!

How are you carrying? Carrying high or having a small belly that sticks straight out means the baby is a boy. Carrying low or having a big round belly means the baby is a girl.

Faster heart rate means a girl, slower means a boy. This is one that my OB jokes with us about all the time.

The Mayan Tale- The Mayans believe that by adding the age of the mother at conception to the year of conception, the sex of the baby can be determined. If the number is even, the child will be a girl, odd you're having a boy.
Cravings- There are a number of variations to this one. Cravings sweets or fruits means the baby will be a girl. Salty or veggie cravings are a sure sign of a boy.
Wooden spoons, scissors and pink bows. Oh my! There's an old wives tale that says if the mother puts these three items under her pillow, she'll have a girl. How many husbands found scissors under the wifes pillow and started sleeping with one eye open?
Who was on top? Another old wives tale that claims to predict the sex of the baby says that the sex of the baby will be the opposite of whomever was dominant during conception. Another variation is whether the couple was face-to-face during conception. Good ole' missionary makes baby girls, while doggy style will give you a boy.
Moodiness and a little pecker. The theory here is that all the extra hormones from carrying a girl makes mom moodier. Conversely, having a little pecker insider her, makes mom happier. I have no idea how true this one is, but it makes me laugh.
Drinking water. Drinking plenty of water is important for health reasons, especially for pregnant women but not because it will cause the amniotic fluid to be 'dirty'.
Cats can steal the babies breath. This goes back to the time when cats were associated with witchcraft. The more likely reason behind a cats interest in baby's breath; it smells like milk!
If a new mother takes her baby to another woman's home and leaves something of the baby's behind, a woman in that household will become pregnant.

Feel free to comment with a few of your favorite old wives tales!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Thank you for not Mouth-breathing...

I simply don't understand why they feel the need to do that in public. I mean, I get that its necessary to sustain life but what about the rest of us? Don't we have a right eat a meal without having to worry about what the person at the table right next to us is doing. You know what I'm talking about.

Mouth-breathers are especially annoying. They make no attempt what-so-ever to conceal what they are doing. Do you know what else that mouth has been used for? I don't want to even think about it! A part of the body that is used that way is certainly not for children's eyes. They have masks for that you know! The worst is when their lips are chapped or crooked or just really thin. Gross! Who wants to see that?! Certainly not me! The only lips I want to see in public are thick, full lips. I mean if you aren't going to keep them covered, they should at least look good! Angelina Jolie's lips are good. I don't mind seeing those in a magazine, just so long as I can't tell by looking what she is using them for.
It's really annoying how when you encounter a mouth-breather and ask them to wear a mask or go in the bathroom, they get all indignant about it. Like it's such a big deal to put a mask on! No, I don't put a mask on when I breath, but I breath through my nose, so I shouldn't have to. And no, I don't really want to go to a smelly, germy bathroom to breath but again, I don't use my mouth to breath, just my nose. I know some people's noses are stuffy so they have to mouth-breath, but they don't have to do it all over the place!

It's really about respect and common courtesy. I think mouth-breathing is a personal choice we should all be free to make, I just don't want to see anyone doing it.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Re-normalize breastfeeding: A reluctant lactavists' POV.

Truth be told, I've said it. 'I don't mind a woman breastfeeding in public, but she should cover up'. What changed my mind? Was is becoming a mother myself? Actually, it was a perfect storm of events that changed my view. The controversy over a woman's right to breastfeed in public captured my interest due to its civic nature. It wasn't until reading a comment by a mother who was clearly pro-breastfeeding that I changed my tune. The comment basically berated women who formula fed their babies and called into question their devotion to parenting and desire to give their children the best. I thought to myself "How dare that woman judge people she doesn't even know!? She probably never struggled with breastfeeding and isn't considering that not everyone can stay home with their babies to nurse them all day!" It turned me off completely to the 'lactavist cause', until I considered my own views on breastfeeding. I realized I had been judging mother's just as harshly for their decisions without really knowing why they'd made those decisions in the first place or why I felt the way I did. What was it about breastfeeding that made me so uncomfortable?

Shortly there after, I found out I was expecting my second child. I researched breastfeeding and found that not only is breast milk far superior to formula, there are also numerous resources for women who experience difficulties breastfeeding. Resources I knew nothing about when I was struggling to breastfeed my daughter 12 years ago. I was a single, working, young mother. The stigma for mothers like me, is that we are not as good as parents who are not young, not working and not single and its a tough one to fight. So when I struggled with breastfeeding, it became one more thing that I was not good enough to do. A couple of months in, I switched to formula. The pediatric nurses gave me dirty looks. The nurse at the WIC office gave me a dirty look. What no one gave me was advice. I took on the attitude that I hated breastfeeding. Who wants to be a walking buffet anyway? The sore, swollen, veiny breasts. The leaking and pumping. Forget it, not me. My baby was happier and I was happier, so fuck the nurses and anyone else who had anything nasty to say to me. Right?

Looking back, I didn't hate breastfeeding. What I hated was the constant crying. I hated the woman that I worked with who constantly complained about how long and how often I was in the bathroom pumping. I hated pumping with my cheap K-Mart pump. I hated feeling like I had no idea what I was doing. How could I not have this figured out? I grew up around babies. I've known since I was 10 how to change a diaper. I babysat my brother and sister and cousins. Despite that fact, I don't ever remember seeing a woman nurse her baby. This never struck me as odd, until a very frank discussion about breastfeeding with an unexpected supporter. My boss is a man in his 60's. He is also, I'm convinced, enthralled with all things having to do with reproduction, from pregnancy, to child birth, to infancy. It's sort of charming really, his wide-eyed wonderment of it all. To him, there's nothing gross or sexual or inappropriate about any of it. He openly discusses his wife's pregnancies and the deliveries of his children and his daughter's struggles to breastfeed. Most employers would not even dare to utter the word 'breast' regardless of it's intended context. My boss however; shared with me how strange it is to see women bottle-feeding as this was not the common practice when he was a boy, growing up in the south. How can this be? Where women less modest in those days? Highly doubtful, looking at the bathing suit trends of the time, in comparison to the trends of today. So what happened? How did bottle feeding become the norm?

Science had been working on ways of creating breast milk substitutes since around the 1860's. During World War 2, women were joining the work force and by the 1950's, more than half the babies in the US were on some type of formula. Fortunately, the pendulum swings both ways. Since the 1970's, more women have been choosing breast over bottle. Sadly, the biggest obstacles they face are an uneducated public. Even mother's who breastfed can be heard saying things like 'I don't want my kids to see that!' Which begs the question, 'Why not?' Children are wonderfully curious little buggers aren't they? I suppose that the sight of a nursing mother might cause them to ask 'Mom, what is that lady doing?' If Mother's response is as simple as 'Feeding her baby,' I imagine that child might go through life thinking of breastfeeding as a natural, normal thing to do. If the Mother's response is that of shock and horror at the nerve of that woman showing her naked breast to the whole world, I suppose that child might go through life thinking of breasts as purely sexual organs. Which is a healthier view?

Some other 'interesting' comments:

"I don't need to see a woman whip her tit out."
There are numerous variations to this comment. 'My kids don't need to see...', '...boob...', '...milk-tits...', etc. Where did this notion that breastfeeding mothers are 'whipping' their their breasts about come from? I'm not even nursing yet and the thought of whipping my swollen, sore boob around is painful enough. The majority of the women that are nursing in public, simply adjust a couple articles of clothing in order to provide access for their babies.

"I have a teenage son with hormones who can't help but stare." 
This is as valid as the 'I have PMS, so I'm not responsible for killing my husband' defense. The fact that a young man has hormonal drives does not mean a complete lack of control or of personal responsibility. My guess is your teenage son is masturbating to a Victoria Secret catalog, not an issue of Mothering.

"I don't want to see people peeing in public either."
No, no one appreciates seeing someone pee in public. In fact, its so unappreciated, its illegal. Breastfeeding however is not. While both are necessary bodily functions, the trouble with urinating in public is there's no receptacle. Typically, the urine is flowing onto a sign post or a tree. Breast milk has an intended destination and is not likely to even be seen by anyone else.

"It's a bodily fluid, what if it gets in my food?!"
At some point in time were nursing mother's walking around topless, singing a rendition of 'Do your boobs hang low?' and squirting onlookers in the eyes with breast milk? They're breasts, not squirt guns! Rest assured no one is going to waste a drop of such a valuable commodity to squirt you, your food or anything in your general vicinity.

"Feeding the baby isn't the part that is offensive, it's the display."
Again, where are these women with their lactating breasts swinging to and fro for all of the US to see? Certainly, we are proud of our breasts but not because of how they look but for what they can do. Typically, the breast that is on 'display' is not that of a lactating mother. The breast is more likely to belong to a woman with large implants or perhaps a shirt that is 2 sizes too small or a bikini top. Breasts are beautiful. I don't blame anyone for looking but if a peek is what you seek, flip through a magazine. Those women want you to look and there's no shortage so for those that are so inclined, there's no need to resort to desperate measures.

"What's wrong with covering up?" 
This seems like such a simple request, how could we not oblige? Some infants are just fine covered up but once a baby reaches the age were swaddling is no longer comforting but constraining, there's simply no telling where those chubby little arms will swing. Some babies don't like to be covered up. Not to mention, if you saw a woman with a blanket over her and an infant, isn't that more obvious than if she is simply holding an infant? I actually had one toddler pull the blanket off. Not to be rude, she simply wanted to see the baby. She saw no more of me than she would've had she left the blanket on. Her curiosity satisfied, she went on about her business and worried very little about what was going on.
"Wouldn't you prefer to do that some place private, like the bathroom?"
There are a number of things I prefer to do in private, pooping and peeing being two of them. The bathroom is the perfect venue for these activities. It is not however; a place to breastfeed. It makes no more sense to nurse in a bathroom than it would to pee in a kitchen. That simply is not the intended function of that room. Likewise, I would never expect anyone else to eat their meal in the bathroom, why should I expect an infant to? Breastfeeding is something that I (personally) would prefer to do in private however; the AAP recommends that infants be exclusively breastfed for 6 months. Six months is a long time to stay home because you don't want to risk going out in public and have the baby wake up early and hungry.

"I don't feel sorry for anyone who is too lazy to pump. That's what I did."
I don't feel sorry for anyone who's never made if far enough out of their own mind to see that there is a whole big world out there with more people than just you in it. Pumping quite simply is not an option for every woman nor are bottles an option for every baby.

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely respect a person's right to their opinions and feelings. The sight of a woman nursing in public may simply make them uncomfortable for reasons they cannot articulate. It probably has more to do with the act being seen so little, than any of the reasons above. The fact still remains that, in most states, a woman has the right to breastfeed her infant in any place she and the child are otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of how much or how little of her breast maybe showing at the time. The importance of normalizing the practice has less to do with legality (since our rights are already protected) and more to do with supporting mothers who are trying to do the best they can for their babies. Mother's face a mountain of challenges. Balancing on a toilet seat in dirty public restroom with a baby in her arm and fussing with an nursing cover should not be one of them.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Week 18- Bump: Kung Foo King

Micha got to feel the baby move! He wasn't sure he wanted to but for a few nights in a row now, before we go to sleep, he's lay in bed with me and put his hand on my belly. It usually isn't a good time because the baby is the most active right after I eat. Even when Bump is moving around before bed, it's pretty subtle, even to me. Last night, I'd had some popcorn so when we layed down I could feel the baby squirming around. I put Micha's hand on my belly and after a few minutes, he felt the baby move. The idea of a small person being inside me still weirds him out. He got the funniest expression on his face and pulled his hand back. After a few second he said 'Weird!'

Bump moves a great deal, especially after lunch. It's probably one of my favorite things about being pregnant, so far. Pregnancy is sort of surreal until that first little flutter of movement. The first sonogram looks like a cashew and the heart beat is so fast and coming from a machine, but movement is It's proof of life that is unobstructed by technology or the clinical setting of a doctor's office. The baby's movements also make me feel as though Bump is growing and healthy and getting stronger everyday. I look forward to our afternoon 'dates', when he squirms and wriggles and kicks and punches.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!!!

A while back a friend shared with me that her MIL thought I was 'too feisty'. My Grandpa calls it 'moxy' and Micha calls me Sparkie, none of which offends me. I come by it naturally. The number of women in my family out weights the number of men and each one of them are strong, opinionated and 'fierce'. From my Grandma, who raised her four children and managed the house on her own while her husband was serving his country in Vietnam to my mother who has more poise than anyone I know, each one has made me Sparkie.

When  my Grandpa died suddenly of a massive heart attack, I marveled at Grandma's ability to keep it together. She's gone on to lead an active life, made full by our close family, her friends and, of course, her faith. In February, she celebrated her 75th birthday and last month she went to Hawaii. I can't count the number of times she has come to my aid. When Mumbles and I had to start over, nearly from scratch, she was the one who helped me pull it all together and her home was our refuge.

Then there's my Aunt, who in her 30's, was diagnosed with breast cancer. After kicking cancer's ass, she went on to run a 5K with her youngest son to help support other women in their fight. She's stilling kicking ass, but instead of sneakers she has a motorcycle. I've always admired her unwavering support for her two boys, her sense of humor and ability to make family get togethers an occassion to laugh until we cry or pee ourselves. She's supported me in times when I really needed it and I don't know that I can ever show her the gratitude that she deserves for it.

Then there is my Mom. What can I say about her? She gave birth to four children, naturally, with two of us being breach and the other two were blue. She basically raised me on her own, she never bitched, expected anyone to feel sorry for her or give her a hand out. She worked hard and always kept her chin up. She's been through two divorces, gracefully and started her life over on her own terms. There are times I'm sure she struggles yet she manages to pull through with poise. I was a particularly rebellious teenager and while she never let me walk all over her, I never doubted that she loved me. She is the one person who has remained constant in my life regardless of the changes going on in either of our lives. I'll never be able to tell her enough how much I love and respect her.

Feisty? Yeah, probably but I feel pretty good about that.
Four generations of sassy, classy dames!
Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My name is Sparkie and I am a veggiholic or Week 17

I literally ate a pound of vegetables for lunch yesterday. Not as impressive if your talking about a cucumber or squash but I'm talking about a salad. No shit. There's a market down the street from where I work and they have a big salad bar. You buy it by the pound. I usually get a salad, some cottage cheese and some fruit and it usually weighs under a pound. Yesterday, I went straight vegetable. It was like a mountain of veggies. I couldn't get the lid on. It came out to be like 1.3 lbs and as soon as I got to the park where I like to eat I was like a kid at fat camp that had just received a pan of brownies in the mail. The guy in the car next to me had a horrified look on his face as he watched me shovel mouthfuls of broccoli and lettuce and carrots in my mouth.

I have developed a weird, deep affection for vegetables. When I'm in the produce section at the store I see vegetable that I don't even know what they are and think "That looks delicious. I wonder if I can just eat it, like an apple."

Fortunately my binge veg out clarified that the brumblings I've been feeling are actually the baby moving and not gas (it's kind of hard to tell). Either Mr. E loves veggies or he hates them. I guess we'll find out soon enough.

I had another Dr visit. I'm up to 134 lbs which means I've gained about 8 lbs altogether. Only 5 oz of that is actual 'baby weight'. Next month I'm scheduled for my sonogram. This is the big one in which we (hopefully) will find out if we are having a boy or a girl or, as my friend M pointed out, a sea horse.

This year my birthday is on Mother's Day. I got one of my presents from Micha early, Pearl Jam tickets! Mr. E got to attend his first concert and even picked up a souvenir!

Micha is the king of yard sale baby gear finds. He got a jogger stroller and infant seat with 2 bases for $30! Way to go, Baby Daddy!