Breast is best, but don’t you use them!

I have been nursing my kid for almost ten months now. At some point after her year is up, I will slowly wean her–hopefully following her lead to some extent. I’d like her to do it on her own, but circumstances will probably have me directing the weaning a bit. I wanted to originally go until she was 18 months or two, but a certain situation will probably change that.
Anyway, I am very glad that I have access to a wonderful lactation consultant. Without her and all of the good content/websites I’ve been exposed to, I may have stopped sooner.
I have no problem with people formula feeding. Do whatever is best for you and your life, but it angers me that despite the recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics that women nurse for at least the first year of life and then until whenever mom and baby like, my last doctor seemed intent on mentioning weaning at every single appointment since my daughter turned around four months/five months. It would be different if I had expressed that I wanted to wean; instead, I always stated how I did not want to wean. That I had no interest in weaning her for awhile, and that as long as she wanted to, I would absolutely nurse her for her first year of life, possibly after, depending on family planning, my life, our lives, and of course, the baby and what she wants. Yet time and again, it is always mentioned. Not for any other reason it seems than it is easier–easier for doctors to quantify how much a kid is eating. Easier for doctors to NOT have to think about nursing and drug interactions, procedures, etc. It is easy for me to see how so many women stop nursing after a few weeks. The people that supposedly inform us how “breast is best,” don’t want to support moms. The information out there is incredibly untrue and dated.

For example, a woman can have a glass of wine or two–as long as you are not drunk, don’t pump and dump. Obviously if you are, pump and dump.
Another myth? That breastmilk is not enough. Most of the times, women have a fine supply. An infant will cluster feed the first few weeks of life not because he/she is starving, but because he/she is “upping” your supply.
Anyway, I am not here to preach about nursing, but to say I find it incredibly aggravating that the medical community that is supposed to support breast feeding, constantly fails to support moms. Instead of encouraging me to wean when I don’t want to, how about telling me, “I think it’s great you want to continue to nurse considering all the amazing health benefits!” When I saw my general practitioner, he was very happy to see I was nursing my kid. He said he thought it was wonderful that I continued to nurse. He is the type of doctor we women who choose to nurse need more of!
It just frustrated me the lack of support and information these doctors have about something so essential and important. I rarely asked our doctor what medications would interact with nursing. I always asked my OB and lactation consultant. I wish the medical community cared enough to ditch the money and sway of formula companies ( not DITCH making formula–just DITCH pushing it to women who want to nurse because of the money), and instead, invest in breast-feeding education. So many people tell me they were told they couldn’t nurse, when the reality is, they could have, but were poorly informed. It is fine if a woman does not want to nurse or actually can’t due to real (very few) medical conditions…but if a woman wants to, she should have access to good medical information and support.
I decided I had had enough, and am on the way for a new doctor as this doctor was not quite for us, in addition to other reasons as well. Enough lip service medical community: step up to the plate and help women damnit!


When the hope is gone

I gave up all hope on a particular person—I will NOT Name names, and would appreciate for others to not name any possible names in the comments either please 🙂 —- a long, long, long time ago. I recognized this person would never like me, nor would this person do the right thing in order to make things easier on everyone. It is hard because after the holidays, I realized just how final this “death of hope” was for me and my loved ones. I don’t understand why this person has continued to pick and peck, finding a billion things bad about me. While I’m not perfect, I’m not the devil’s spawn as this person must believe. I hit my breaking point around the holidays when this person went as far as to turn down an invite to my daughter’s Hanukkah celebration. Anti-jewish?? or just anti-me? When confronted, no explanation was offered, neither was an apology. To me, that is unacceptable. Either way, it sucks.
Now that every single drop of hope is gone, I have to move on to letting go. I want to say that it has been easy, especially considering how long this issue has gone on–for years now– but it is not. When I think about how normal things could be, it pisses me off even more. I cannot understand the stubbornness and neuroses of this individual. We don’t need to love each other–just to tolerate each other, and apparently I am not tolerable. I found positive things about this person. I pointed it out. I tried. It was not easy considering every single solitary time I interact with this said individual I have anxiety and small panic attacks.
With that said, my life is 100% less stressful since I am not dealing with this person at all.The last time I dealt with this individual, I had mastitis, a breast infection, a cold, and gastritis. It sucked. Not being in contact with this individual as minimized my anxiety tons, and I feel a lot better. I know I made the best choice to not speak, see, or deal with this person (minus one possible time when I will extend myself–one time that I am trying to do the right thing by my family for) again. This person does not want to see me either. It makes life easier.
But how do you move on from something knowing there is a permanent issue that will never be resolved, that my own child will have to deal with and understand? It is enough that I have to feel sadness, but to know that she will have to negotiate this incredibly fractured relationship, breaks my heart tremendously. It is not what I wanted. I tried to reach out many times since she was born, to this person, and it has not worked. In fact, it became worse, and I finally said, enough already. I am not dealing with you until you change.
I know that was the right thing to do. I will not tolerate someone bullying me, whether in his or her sick mind he/she thinks it’s not bullying, because it is. This is the stuff movies and sitcoms are made of. Family drama is what makes for entertainment, yet when it is real life, it’s not funny at all.
But there is no change. And life goes on, (more peacefully), but I still wish we didn’t have to deal with this.

But ma’am….argh, shut the hell up already!

I miss being a kid.
I don’t want ANYONE to call me ma’am. I’d rather be called honey, sweetheart, or sweetie, and I really don’t want to be called that either. Ma’am–to me at least–means you’re old and not sexy. Ma’am means you sometimes pee yourself (guess childbirth can do that too!), possibly wear puffy-paint sweatshirts, and have pooping problems (oops, mea culpa)!
To me, ma’am means the end of my youth. I know I am 35, but I refuse to be old. I refuse to lie down and let me rebellious spirit die. I will wear my Hello Kitty vans. I will sometimes be loud in public. I will most likely embarrass my daughter. I don’t know the cool ‘text language’ the kids or using, or a lot of the hip bands out today, but I don’t want to be dull. I won’t go dressing like a twenty-year-old either, even though I can.
I miss the days when all I had to worry about was pranking calling people and picking bands to check out.
My favorite prank call was the “Stripper and Chimps call.”Hello, it’s strippers and chimps? We’re calling about the stripper you ordered, you know for your friend’s birthday? With the chimp? Well don’t worry. We’ve contacted PETA and we’re taking care of the chimp according to the law. He won’t be maimed in the act.”
Many people stayed on the line to listen to me. More than you would think.
My other favorite prank was, when a man would answer, I’d say, “Howard? I don’t think I can do this anymore. I’m not cut out for it.I don’t like it dirty.”
wait for a woman to answer, and I’d say…
“Tell him it’s over. I’m not going to be his hooker secretary anymore!”
Somehow I got myself to cry.
Hey, I never said I was totally normal. Personally, it was probably obvious from the womb that I needed to be on the stage. I was writing stories about drug-addicted teens and terminally ill parents when I was nine or ten. Someone watched A LOT of tv.
I digress, anywhoo, I miss being allowed to be irresponsible. In fact, that may be my ONLY talent in life: being silly.
I feel like the only place in life where it is acceptable to be silly is on stage. Or in the classroom. Or with kids. I hope one day I can use my immaturity to pay the bills. It sucks to be an adult! 🙂

Being annoying! Childhood.

I remember full well being a pre-teen and driving my sister Lisa nuts. It was incredibly fun. One of my most favorite activities (other than having crushes on boys who probably didn’t even know what a girl’s period was yet, and dancing to Madonna back when she was Catholic, and not a “british jew”) was hitting her boyfriend’s car to make his alarm go off. He was very into his camaro or whatever muscle car it was. A mustang? Anyway, it was fun to go out onto the driveway and hit the thing until the multi-sirens rang out, and he came running out saying, “My car, my car!” This was when I learned that the car was truly an extension of the male penis. A man will run fast in two situations: anything involving his car, or his penis. That’s about it.

Another favorite pasttime was listening at the door of my sisters’ bedrooms. I usually just heard conversations about boring stuff or fighting. Ooh fighting. That was fun, because then I became a referree inside my head saying, “Oh that’s a good point!” or “I can’t believe he said that!” Really, I was hoping to hear some making out, or some hot and heavy panting, but I never got to.
Being the youngest certainly had its bonus points. I usually got my way–then again, when you argue your point repetitively for hours and days on end, people get sick of hearing you–and got to be like an only child once everyone was out of the house. It definitely had its drawbacks though: no one your age to play with. Constantly tagging along and people telling you, “Go away,” or “You’re too young.” Having most of our life milestones be ages apart from each other.

But truly, getting a rile out of my sister could make my day. I loved to call her ‘Peter Pan’ because she had a short boy cut. I got all of my friends to do this as well, which really made her want to kick me in the throat. Thankfully we usually just pulled each other’s hair or smacked each other, or just yelled at one another. She used to tell me, “respect your elders!”
I’d taunt back saying, “Respect your elders! Respect your elders! What, are you eighty-years old?”
It was all out of love of course. Without her, whose door would I be listening at? Now that we’re older, I don’t get to do this anymore, and of course we have fun playing with our kids together.

Vomit: it makes your vision blur

I haven’t thought too much about how sick I was during pregnancy, until it became clear to me that if we want another kid,I may have to go through it again.
The chance of me getting hyperemesis is 15%. That’s too high for my liking, but it is what it is. My wonderful friend Alix recommended I speak to an expert her mom knows who studies nausea and vomiting in pregnancy.
She told me what I knew: that I can’t really prevent hyperemesis. Some people say that supplements/boosting your vitamin B levels and taking milk thistle can help prepare your body for a better pregnancy without hyperemesis, but there isn’t any real proof that this happens.
The fact is, I will either face it again, or I won’t.

I don’t think people realized how isolating it was to have hyperemesis. While friends of mine were basically dealing with the joyous news of being pregnant and making it to work and seeing friends (maybe getting nauseous here and there of course or feeling tired!), I was in a hospital bed. Or my bed. Stuck to an IV pole. I had about 5 EKG’s because the dehydration had elevated my heart rate. They had to do other heart tests to be certain all was okay (it was). I had an MRI of my brain because my vision blurred while dehydrated. I didn’t drive a car for months.
The only thing that makes the possibility of dealing with hyperemesis a little easier the second time around is that I know what to expect, we know how to prepare our lives for it, and I know what treatments work and do not work for me. We won’t be going in blindly.

Some people probably think I am crazy to even think about wanting to possibly go through that again, but it was so worth it. My daughter was worth every hospital bracelet I earned. She was worth every minute of suffering. The gift I received at the end of pregnancy was 1 million times worth it. The silver lining for me is I had a wonderful, wonderful third trimester. The second trimester was not bad at all. Once 19 or 20 weeks came, it was much better…and even though I lived off of a limited diet of foods, I felt good. Maybe to some people that is bad, but after being so ill, living on fruit and cheese was a walk in the park! I slept great…I never woke up fifty times to pee. Even if I had reflux, it was nothing compared to the hell I went through, the hell we both went through hoping it would pass. Once it passed, I was able to walk daily, and was on a treadmill the day I went into labor. Hopefully if I do have to go through it again, maybe I will have an easy rest of the pregnancy like I did the first time go-round.

I just hope that when the time comes for us to try again that we will be blessed with a sibling for our daughter. I truly wished my sisters had been closer to my age so I didn’t have to always “tag” along with them, yet I am so grateful that despite the age difference between us all, they still talk to me, some more than others, but we all love each other. I am lucky. I know quite a few people who have siblings who are far apart in age, and they rarely speak.

I just wish I didn’t have to think about hyperemesis. It makes me angry that people think women are just complaining and not tough enough to handle pregnancy. Try not eating for weeks! It is called malnutrition. The body is practically starving to death. Who would wish that on anyone? Speaking to one expert today really made me feel less alone. I am so grateful every day that I did not end up with Post-partum depression as many women who suffer HG suffer both partum depression, and PPD. Having hyperemesis really made me rethink a lot of things. It was an experience unlike any I have ever had before.

The only real physical preparation I can do is to keep myself as healthy as possible and at a good weight. I laughed when I read that people with high fat diets are more prone to getting hyperemesis. I have been eating a low-fat diet for ages. And honestly, I was in good health, but weeks of not eating and few fluids will tear down anyone’s body. I can make myself as strong as possible before hand, but if it happens again, I’d have to build my body back up again like I did before.
The most important thing for me will be to have emotional support if I have to go through this again. I hope my friends can be there for me. I know I appreciated every visit, every message and email I got. I remember every single person who contacted me, and can name them to you if you ask.
One day when my daughter is older, I sure hope she does not have to go through this. I will have much support to offer her, but I hope she escapes the genetic link.

Back off Betty Crocker! What to do when you’re an undomesticated wild animal!

Identity crisis.
I’m not exactly a wildebeast, but I have been feeling down lately because I don’t quite fit the “mold” of mommy. The two stereotypes that exist in motherhood, don’t really apply to me.

Mommies are often depicted in two polarities (whether we women like this or not). The at-home side of mothering depicts mothers as bakers, good cooks, crafty, and just a potpourri of home skills. The working mom side depicts moms as the hard-working, career-driven lady who rushes home to make fabulous meals and get the kids’ homework finished with flair and not a bead of sweat. Whether we agree with these stereotypes, they exist. I am not saying I agree with these stereotypes or that other visions of motherhood are not out there, but this is rather prevalent in advertising and conversations. Think of the million and one commercials you see about motherhood. Watch the images and language. These polarities exist still, even though they’re ridiculous and feminism has fought, somewhat, to end it.

For me, I don’t quite fit in.
I am getting better at cooking, but I am not passionate about it. I care about the purity and chemical additives of food. The healthiness of food, but you’re not going to find me swapping recipes. I’m going to steal someone else’s and hope to god no one gets hurts after I make it. I at least make meat fairly juicy, potatoes crispy yet soft, and veggies not too squishy. This is a success.
I cannot bake either. I probably won’t be the mom who brings in these amazing little cookies and stuff that people ooh and aah over…asking for religiously each year.
I cannot sew–wish I knew how. All I can do is organize and clean.
I am the mostly stay-at-home mom who fits nothing of the stereotype the advertisers portray. People talk to me about cooking as if I know what the hell they are talking about.
I don’t. I don’t even bother to nod and smile. I say, I have no idea how to do that.
I feel out of place with these conversations sometimes, and I miss when people spoke to me about literature, teaching, politics, and music.
As far as the working mother “polarity”…
I have a job, but it’s not quite a career. I want to have a career, but I want to be with my kid more. I have this fantastic degree I feel bad I am not using, but every job pays crap, and isn’t worth the price of daycare. My job pays better than some crap job, and I manage to do it so I can be home most of the time, and at least, it is teaching. I am doing something that at the end of the day, means something to me. I care about my students and want them to succeed even if it is not a 40-hour a week job where I can move on up.
I just don’t fit in anywhere and feel pulled in so many directions. I feel like even though my kid is doing great, like I am falling short everywhere.
Since I don’t fit in and fall short of expectations (mostly society’s), I wonder to myself often, what talents, if any, I have to offer my daughter.
I go off the checklist of typical stuff moms are supposed to do well.
I am not the crafty baker or lady who is bringing home the big bucks to save up for the kid’s college future, although hell, who will be able to pay fully for their kids’ college educations other than celebs and rich people?
The only real skills and talent I have to offer are my big mouth and my sense of humor. I’m funny. No kid of mine is going to have some stiff mom who doesn’t know how to laugh. I’m also never going to let my kid get pushed around because I will say something before that happens. That’s it.
I can’t bake. I can’t sew. I am not the PTA mom. I’m not the career woman. I am just a funny gal who happens to like being with her kid…and likes to work for the money, and for the intellectual satisfaction. The independence.
I am probably not good enough, but I am better than bad.
I’m nurturing and kind, and that is better than good too.
I’m open-minded and loving, and that is better than the best.
I guess I am not so bad after all, it just sucks to feel like you never measure up.

Boob-age: from taunting times to the milk factory

When I was a kid, I pretty much was surrounded by boobs. I have three sisters, all a good deal older than me, so by the time I hit my teen years, I was ready for my turn, and oh boy, did nature throw me a pair of big ones, especially for my size frame. I was harassed quite a bit about them, and even ostracized by most of my classmates in elementary school. I remembered keeping my jacket on so no one would look at them for most of my eighth grade year. For years, they were rather noticed by the male generation, and I only imagined them as how they’d look in a bra.
Now, I have breastfed my first daughter since her birth. She is nine and a half months old, and as we approach her first birthday…and she eats more and nurses less, I have decided that shortly after her birthday, I would like us to wean. Just writing this is making me cry. I never thought I would feel such a bond that could generate from “Chester and Lester< the child molesters," a little nickname someone used to taunt me with. I have been incredibly fortunate to have this relationship with my daughter, and to be honest, it has been a mostly easy journey. Sometimes though, it was not easy. I had mastitis, and some clogged ducts…all painful, and it definitely is exhausting at times. It looks like a woman is just sitting there when in reality, the body is burning calories. It definitely serves as a great weight-loss tool! Anyway, when the baby is sick…fussy…tired, nursing has always been my secret weapon. I have no problem with nursing until she wants to stop, but I have my own reasons health wise, why I feel it will be good for me to stop shortly after she turns one, unless she really fights me. Then I won't pursue it…at least for a month or two, but at some point post-birthday, I would like my body back, as much as it makes me sad as well. At night, when she is with me, it is the best thing in the world. That she wants mommy and knows I am always here for her, means so much to me. I know nursing has been wonderful for both of us, and thinking of it ending is making me so sad. I am so glad that after all the teasing, taunting, and harassment, my boobs could actually produce a positive memory: the feeding of my daughter. I cannot believe she will be almost one. How is it that I am 35 years old with a baby? I still remember myself standing in a comedy club at eleven at night, waiting to go on stage. Where will life take me next?

Someone look at me!

It doesn’t matter that I am thin post-baby. I feel about as attractive as one of those bizarre weirdos you see on the People of Walmart site. I feel I may be as sexy as Nick Nolte or Gary Busey after a big drinking binge.
Reality is I am like a cow. I leak milk if my kid doesn’t nurse on time…and sometimes when I am in the shower, I will squirt myself just for fun.
Hey, I never said I was mature.

Something about being a mom just makes me feel like no one will ever look at me (not even my husband) and think, “Man, I’d like to get with that chick.” Not that I am looking to get with anyone else! I love my husband and one man is enough, and I am sure I am more than enough whining and nagging, I mean wife, for him. Sure, my husband has told me I look great, but it’s what he is supposed to say contractually. In tiny letters it states on paper that if my husband wants to continue to live, he must tell me I look good.

I really hate when magazines (I protest and refuse to pay for most of these trashy mags except for if it’s got a good juicy article about angelina and brad, my pop culture weakness, or about a washed-up rock star) tell us how sexy it is to be a mom post-baby.
Even if I am a skinny bitch who most of you are thinking, “Quit your bitching,” I still have a flat tummy…with loose-ish skin. I still feel some numbness where my stupid c-section was. The scar is so minimal because my doctor rocks…
Even still, I am back in shape…I “look” good, but I feel like my face just says ‘Old White Woman straight ahead.’ Being a mom means everyone calls me “Ma’am.”
No one whistles at you while you’re pushing a stroller, unless they are suffering from an Oedipus complex and you happen to look like the man’s mother. Now as a good old-fashioned feminist, I should be against such actions like whistling, but you know what? It would be nice to feel like maybe I am somewhat attractive to someone who doesn’t have to tell me I’m cute or he won’t get supper.
Sometimes, I even feel like an actual cow. The baby comes up to me and grabs my shirt. I am almost considering handing her out tickets with wait times, like she is picking up deli meat at Shop-Rite.
Don’t get me wrong: being a mom is awesome. It is more rock and roll, than Courtney Love– than Sid and Nancy, but I wake up in the night sweats with nightmares of me in sweatshirts with puffy paint lettering and sequins. I dread the day when someone calls me a crotchedy old lady…or tells me ‘You wouldn’t understand.’
Then I am officially old and unsexy!

From Douchebags to Diapers

So here it is. I am 35 and a mom. I worry about big things, like messing up my kid, dealing with psychotic people, and my boobs sagging.  Hey, my boobs sagging would suck. Sure, it’s gonna happen eventually, but let me enjoy them while they’re still here in the upper part of the hemisphere. Anywhoo, I’m gonna share with you all my adventures from childhood to teenage years (that’s where the douchebag part comes in–I dated many of them) to now (diapers: I change them. My baby eats regular food now and her diapers make me gag. Poop is good when you’re making it, not cleaning it up). I’m gonna test drive some of my memoir pieces, share my current thoughts, indulge my thoughts of self-importance to make up for my crappy self-esteem, and generally try to laugh because hell, life is too short to bitch all the time.

Join me!

2012, viva la resistance! ( I say this as I write in my pajamas, hoping to holy hell I might stay awake long enough to seduce my hubby).