Monday, December 19, 2011

The First First Time Mom

Usually around this time of year, especially now, I think about Mary and what it had to be like to be so young and pregnant, knowing your baby was going to be the Son of God.  Talk about pressure.  Today, though, I thought of another biblical mother-Eve.  I mean, now that's some pressure...being the first first time mom ever.  After thinking about this, I've never been so happy not to have been Adam's wife.

Eve had her flaws, you could say, and she may have encouraged Adam to eat of the fruit and is the reason child birth is so painful (thanks a lot, Eve.)  But perhaps the greatest punishment of all, was being a new mom all alone.  When I say all alone, I know she had God, and who better to have as a guide to mother hood, but don't you think she was in need of some other mom friends?  Who did she go to to vent about Adam not helping with the diapers, or how she didn't think she could make it through another sleepless night, or about the flab on her stomach that just doesn't seem to go away?  Those just aren't things she would probably talk to God about.  Poor Eve didn't even have access to a copy of "What to Expect When You're Expecting."

So even though I'm sometimes annoyed by the advice or opinions of other moms, I'm thankful that I have access to them, because the alternative is downright frightening! 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

R.I.P "Natural" Childbirth

Lifetime has been showing re runs of "One Born Every Minute" during the day and I have been crying through watching them. After each episode, I'm left with the following thoughts: 1.) Why in the world is Jamie Lee Curtis narrating? 2.) How do I get on this show? and 3.) Sadness over the fact that I will never experience a "natural" (vaginal) birth.  Now, one and two I usually forget about it in a minute or two, but number three I tend to think about and sometimes mourn the loss of that experience.

I didn't have a c-section by choice, as I am guess the majority of first time mom's don't either.  I had it out of pure necessity to get Karter out safely.  I had spent a lot of time before having him frightened by the thought of something that big coming out of me.  I'm not going to lie, after our birthing class I was ready to convince Mark to birth our children. that I can't give birth naturally, I don't look at it as a frightening experience I look at it as a magical experience that I won't have.

I suppose I should clarify that I could give birth naturally, but I have read about the risks of a VBAC and I don't think it is worth it just for the sake of my body or so that I can have the experience.  I will already be at a risk for complications with my next pregnancy d/t the placenta starting to abrupt with Karter, and I don't think adding more risks is responsible on my part (plus, Upper Valley doesn't do VBAC's and we really love the chicken fingers there:))

After I have those times of sadness over the natural birth I'll never have, I realize that while I didn't plan on a c-section, it really wasn't so bad (and I bet next time it will be even better since I will have more than 5 minutes to prepare for it.)  I had no pain from the c-section, even in my recovery I never really felt pain...which may have been because I had them keep the pain pills coming.  I mean, the area was sensitive, but nothing like I have heard the pain from natural birth.  I wasn't afraid to go to the bathroom after, which was a big fear of mine when thinking about a natural birth.  

So my suggestion to those out there who are soon to be mom's is this...have a birth plan, but be flexible.  My birth plan was to not have a plan because I knew it wouldn't go the way I wanted it.  That doesn't mean I wasn't a little shocked the way it turned out, but at least I wasn't set in stone about anything-besides getting an epidural.  You just never know when you are going to be strapped down to operating table while they slice a hole in your belly...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Honesty-Is it the best policy?

So I like to be pretty honest about things, because I think when you are fake and sugar coat things, it does no good for you or anyone else.  I felt it was important to be honest when I struggled to get pregnant because so many people keep things like that private and then when you go through it, you feel like you are the only one.  Now, I feel that it is important to be honest about being a first time mom, but unfortunately that brings unwanted and unwarranted criticism.

I'm pretty sure that there are no perfect moms out there, although some may dispute that.  I'm by no means a perfect mom, but that's ok, because I love Karter more than anything and would do anything to bring him joy, safety and all good things in life.  I have the best of intentions for him and would never do something to purposefully harm him.  Even by my third child, chances are I'm not going to be a perfect mom or have all the answers.

I appreciate those that give me tips and resources because I admit I don't know everything.  What I don't appreciate is people who provide me with unwanted criticism.  Obviously, if I am asking for help or ideas I care about my child.  I know people have good intentions and would like to help, but making me feel guilty about things doesn't provide any help at all.  I have done plenty of research and tried numerous things in order to make Karter happy.  Positive feed back and affirmation is so much more helpful than critiquing my mothering skills. 

Being honest about things doesn't make me a bad mom, and I hope other people see that as well.  I hope that my honesty about being a first time mom to a tricky little baby will help another mother that may go through the same thing.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It Takes Two, Baby

Call me old fashioned, but I believe the order of things goes marriage then baby.  Of course, there are several people, the Jessica Simpson's of the world, who disagree.  I'm not saying that you're not a good parent if you aren't married, as there are wonderful single mom's and dad's, but I believe that until you are in that committed relationship, a baby is not the thing for you.

Now let's pretend, for the purpose of this post, that the vast majority of people still take marriage seriously and that it means two people promising themselves to one another for the rest of their lives (and no, the rest of your life does not count as 72 days.)

Mark and I don't have a perfect marriage, nor do I think we are immune to the problems that many marriages face, but I do think we have one thing going for us-a commitment to each other to stick it out to the end (and our faith.)  Pre-baby, we had a wonderful relationship, our fights were easily resolved and we just enjoyed being together. Post-baby, we still have a wonderful relationship, there are just a lot more bumps and curves that we weren't faced with before.

When I think about why it took us so long to get pregnant, I know one of the major reasons is that God wanted us to have more time just "us" so that we could lay that foundation for a healthy relationship.  Karter didn't deserve to have parents who were immature in their relationship and took this out on the frustrating aspects of raising a baby together.  Sure, a baby seems like such fun and a way to really culminate your love for one another, but babies aren't just cute little things-they are hard work and test the best of relationships.

I am lucky that Mark is a wonderful father and devoted to Karter and helping me with him.  Without Mark, I couldn't have made it through the night that Karter screamed for 5.5 hours...or the first 3 months when Karter was so disinterested in sleep.  I mean, without the binds of marriage, how easy is to get so frustrated with each other while there is a baby screaming over the monitor and you're both so sleep deprived that you just realize the relationship and work isn't worth it?  Seriously, it's too tempting to have a "way out" once you bring a baby into this world.  Trust me on this one-from someone who is crazy in love with her husband, there are some days that I would just like to get in the car and drive until I run out of gas, but I can't and I won't, because I love my Karter and I love Mark.

So like I said, I know there are people who can do a wonderful job raising their kids who are not married, but I believe the best environment to bring a child into is that in which both parents are in the committed relationship that is marriage.  These past few days, when things have been rough, I realize how blessed I am to have Mark and so glad God knew when it was the best time for us to bring a baby into this world!