Sexy, Savvy, Natural Mama

a blog space for pregnant ladies, new moms, feminists, and interested souls

Pregnancy and the Loss of Self: 27 Weeks June 24, 2010

When you’re pregnant, you think a lot about the things that you can’t do. I try not to get too bogged down in most of the things you always hear you can’t do — I limit my caffeine but I drink some here and there, I’ve eaten a piece or two of brie and I would never toss goat cheese off of my plate, and I’m probably planning to break the sushi vow pretty soon. Mmm sushi.

What people don’t tell you is that you can lose parts of yourself that you never expect to lose. Along with the unwieldy body that changes the shape of who you are comes the things you can’t do, the trips you can’t take, and the people you can’t see. Anyone who knows me well probably has figured that I love to be social, travel, and generally enjoy myself. For me, this has recently taken the form of taking trips with my girlfriends, or planning a romantic getaway with my husband. In the more removed past, it took the form of jaunting off to the Philippines to get a diving license and swim with whale sharks. When in California, my van rolled from Santa Barbara through Orange County, LA and San Diego and up the 1 to Monterey, Big Sur, Salinas, San Francisco, and Berkeley. It saw rest stops on the highway, empty fields and vineyards, and the wild and beautiful California coast for hundreds of miles.

This summer has been, and mostly will be, at home. I’ve been invited out to see my California friends in LA and again for a girls’ weekend unlike any other in Tennessee. These are trips I would have bent over backwards to make before — and I have for the past two summers. It has been so important for me to stay connected to that adventure life where I could plan a trip and leave my normal life for a moment, to return refreshed and relaxed.

It has hurt me to lose this from my life this summer — it has hurt me to have to say no. I had tried to plan for a trip to California, but after my work retreat to New York, I knew I wouldn’t handle it well with my fatigue and the swelling in my feet. What has hurt me most is missing my Tennessee adventure. But with an eight hour car ride at thirty-one weeks pregnant, or a flight I would likely not be allowed to take, combined with my husband’s worry, I couldn’t make it. With these simple trips, I feel that I’ve lost a part of myself, and I wonder what else I might lose.

I am well aware that there may be no more trips to Cebu or Kyoto, and that I may not even be able to show my son the coast at Big Sur for many years to come. I’ve been mourning those losses since we decided to get pregnant, and I tried to cram as much into last summer as I could — San Diego, San Francisco, Lake Michigan, the Outer Banks. I’ve been trying to enjoy being at home this summer, and I’ve been working to look forward to the time I will have with my little boy and my husband. But I didn’t know that not seeing my friends, not releasing myself to a long, solitary road trip, or a flight to a new place would hit me so hard, and I never knew I would feel as disconnected from the person that I have been.

I know now that I must look forward, but it hurts me to do this. I must now change my perspective, and in that, give away part of myself that I have so long struggled to hold on to. But in giving that away, I know that I will gain something tremendously valuable in return. My husband and I will be creating a family, building a home, and raising a child to create adventures of his own. I know that I will miss the person that I was before we moved to the East Coast, and my passport may well expire, but the adventures that I have will not disappear. Instead, they will be closer to home: catching fireflies in the summer, baking cupcakes, decorating a real Christmas tree, setting up a pool in the backyard, or watching our son realize that he is seeing his first snow.

I won’t ever say that my traveling life won’t remain valuable to me, or that I will opt out of any and all trips during the long, hazy days of summer. I may well keep many of the parts of who I have been, but they will be combined with the new task of raising a conscious, respectful, and curious human being who may someday take part in all of the adventures I dreamed of and many I cannot yet fathom.

 

The Elusive Waterproof Boppy Cover! June 14, 2010

Filed under: motherhood,nursing,Products — hokoonchi @ 2:26 pm
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I definitely intend on getting a Boppy Pillow for nursing (it supports the baby while he hangs out and nurses). It gets great reviews — both anecdotal from friends and family members, and just through sheer numbers on Amazon. However, I have heard a common complaint — there is a surprising dearth of waterproof covers! One reviewer on Amazon even said she had to cover the whole thing in Saran Wrap.

Non-moms may ask: why does the cover need to be waterproof?

Future mom answers: From what I understand, breast-feeding is a somewhat … juicy process. There are lots of fluids flying about — colostrum, milk, baby spit, baby spit-up, burbles and gurgles. And what does milk do? Even human milk? It spoils and goes sour and smells narsty.

Having recently considered this problem, I started a search for the waterproof Boppy Cover that must surely exist.

Etsy to the rescue! Ladies (and gents), check out this seller:

http://www.etsy.com/shop/mommajs

I think I may have purchased the last waterproof cover she has available in her shop, but I imagine if you email her, she can update you on when she’ll have more available.

You can also find one here. Actually isismaternity.com looks pretty cool — might want to check out the other stuff on there too!

For a Boppy alternative, check out My Brest Friend. Some people like one; some like the other. Make sure you find some waterproof covers!

 

Nursery Progress June 10, 2010

Filed under: motherhood,pregnancy,Products,projects — hokoonchi @ 2:17 am
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I thought I’d show you a bit of our nursery progress.

We recently got the rug

Nursery Rug

Nursery Rug

And Eric put up the fan (courtesy of Lowe’s):

Leaf Fan

Leaf Fan

We love how it mirrors the shapes in the tree decal that we put up …

Tree-Cal

Tree-Cal Decal

Yeah, this tree decal from Etsy was a pain in the butt to put on the wall, but it was well worth it. Doesn’t it look beautiful?

And the chair in the corner … a free hand-me-down from my supervisor!

We’ve also got the Maya Wrap and Baby Bjorn sitting on the chair (courtesy of Ebay). For a better look at the Maya Wrap …

Maya Wrap

Maya Wrap

That’s my first baby. She really seemed to like the wrap and liked being all warm and snuggly in it.

That’s it for now! We’re expecting the crib soon … here’s hoping Buy Buy Baby doesn’t lose it in the mail!

 

Anxiety: 23(ish) Weeks May 26, 2010

Filed under: motherhood,pregnancy — hokoonchi @ 2:19 am
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I haven’t written a post about my emotions in a little while. It’s probably because I have so many. My iphone app tells me this is normal, so I am reassured. Apparently, pregnancy causes mood swings (total shocker), and my partner needs to be supportive. I told my partner this information from the iPregnancy app, and he was unsure of how to support my mood swings. I told him I was unsure as well. They don’t give you information on that part. You have to make it up as you go along.

I think this is something pregnant ladies don’t talk about that much. I think there’s a lot of shame surrounding the inevitable anxiety that comes with creating a human life, and as such there’s not a community of support when you’re feeling down. It’s a very lonely thing, sometimes, being pregnant. There aren’t always a lot of other pregnant ladies to commune with. When you find a community of ladies with bellies, in your prenatal yoga or Bradley Method class, they may not know you all that well, and they’re not going to say, “Hey, I’ve been feeling down, how about you?” It’s just not something you bring up in polite company.

All that you hear about pregnancy is that it’s this totally miraculous time, and you only see women being happy about it. All of my friends who have experienced it have seemed overwhelmed with joy, eager to meet their babies and transition into a peaceful motherhood. It seems abnormal when people don’t act this way, and such women are automatically stigmatized.

I myself had been expecting stable happiness, particularly after the nausea and fatigue of my first trimester. This is what the books and the websites tell you to expect. Happiness, peace, calmness, less pain and fatigue, breasts not as sore, glowing skin and lustrous hair. So they say of the second trimester.

In my experience, I’ve had a somewhat different second trimester. In the scheme of things, I know my pregnancy has been low-risk and uncomplicated, but seriously, I’ve still got some crazy shit going on. I don’t glow. If I glow, it’s because of the copious amounts of oil I’m producing. If I glow, it’s because I’m sweating. If I glow, it’s because of the pain of my flat feet mushing down into my shoes. I also have back pain, heart burn, leg cramps … and my brain doesn’t wake up until about 11AM. This crap is normal, to be expected. It isn’t what you hear about in the common folklore, but upon digging in the books, you find that it can happen, and it does. And it doesn’t help with the emotional side of things …

To top off these physical changes, I am stressed. I am joyous, certainly, and I love to feel my baby move and contemplate his arrival. But I am stressed. I am tired. Most of the time, I walk about in a state of thinly veiled anxiety that can transition into tearful states. I get worried about finances, about if I’ll be a good mom, about if I’ll be able to care for my baby in the ways he needs, and about whether he’ll love me. I’ve even gone off about whether he’ll call me when he’s in college (I didn’t start calling my mom regularly until after I graduated. Whoops.). Recently, I can’t seem to calm down. It’s gotten hard for me to sleep during the week — when you combine the stress of teaching with the stress of growing a human, it gets hard to have calming, restful sleep. It’s hard for me to focus. It’s hard for me to sometimes complete a sentence. Sometimes, I am plagued by the strange sensation that I want something desperately, but have no clue what it is. It’s a feeling akin to thirst, but it’s an emotional thirst that I can’t readily identify. This feeling? They don’t tell you about that.

How does one cope? How do I cope when I fear so badly that this may transition into postpartum depression? How do I cope when I know I’ve struggled with depression for ten years, and dammit, I don’t want to go to that place during this amazing time.

I have to say, my writing helps me. It unwinds me. It centers me, and it makes me feel whole. I’m also blessed to have a kind and hilarious husband who knows me and guides me, friends who listen to me vent, and coworkers who are my second family. It helps me to stay organized, do my research and make decisions. It helps me to talk to my mother who said, “Oh Cami, I felt all of the same ways, and you’re the best thing that I ever did. Once you got here, all of those feelings went away.” Practically, yoga helps. (My teacher is way awesome.) And prenatal massage doesn’t hurt either. (Get one.)

In writing about this worry and anxiety, and I’m giving it a name. I’m facing it head on, educating myself, and allowing myself to feel all of the things I need to feel. I’m owning up to it, and I’m admitting that I’m not going to be perfect. I’m preparing myself for motherhood in the best ways that I know how, and on the days when I feel like I’ll never be able to do it, I try to take a deep breath and tell myself that I’m not alone. I have great resources of strength upon which to draw, and great love to give and receive. I might never get rid of the anxiety and strange feelings, but I can vow to not let them control me, even on the worst of days.

Perhaps this is my body and brain’s own way of preparing me for the anxieties of motherhood. If I learn how to master it now, nip it in its ugly bud, then I may be able to better manage a screaming child and a dinner that never gets made. I may be able to handle an unexpected illness, or a sudden dip in financial resources, or a son who refuses to eat his vegetables. Maybe my anxiety now is a key to my calmness later. Or simply — what if I choose to view it this way? Could I then turn my mastery of it into a tool in my arsenal of motherhood?

I choose this path. I will overcome my worries and my physical pains. I am a strong, beautiful woman. I will own this and integrate this, and conquer it. This is my San Culpa: I can do anything. I will not be defeated.

 

Ebay is Your Friend May 23, 2010

Filed under: motherhood,pregnancy,Products — hokoonchi @ 3:03 pm

Well, I just purchased something else off of Ebay. I started using Ebay back in 2007 when I discovered that you could try on a pair of 90 dollar Merrells in the store and buy them on Ebay for 40 bucks. A lot of my shoes have come from the land of Ebay. My favorite shoe purchase? A pair of $130 Corso Como wedges for $50. I’ve also found that you can get a lot of rare and out-of-stock items on Ebay. That’s where I’ve purchased a lot of my Amy Butler fabrics. They just don’t sell those at Jo Ann Fabric. But on Ebay? You bet.

As you might have expected, I’ve been perusing Ebay since I got into this delicate situation. I haven’t bought but two items: one a couple of weeks ago, and one today. I’ll have to say I’m MOST excited about the previous purchase: a pair of Joe’s Jeans maternity jeans that cost $220 at A Pea in the Pod for $70 (pictures to follow soon). They were even professionally hemmed for a lady just my height! (Tip: Try on expensive items like these in the store to make sure of fit, write down the size and cut, and search for them on Ebay. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and sometimes you will not. Never hurts to look.) Now I look all fly and sexy and EXPENSIVE when I walk down the street showing off my lovely baby bump. Hellz yeah.

Anyway, what did I buy today? I bought a fabulous …

Arm's Reach Mini Co-Sleeper

Arm's Reach Mini Co-Sleeper

Arm’s Reach Mini Co-Sleeper! I had decided a long time ago that I don’t want to put Sam directly into his nursery when I get home from the hospital. I really want to have him in the room with me for a few months so that I can nurse him from the bed when we wake up in the middle of the night. I had considered co-sleeping devices that have him IN the bed, but I know myself, and I know that I would never sleep thinking that I would roll over on him. This seems like a decent answer.
As with ANYTHING I buy on Ebay, I have done extensive research on this item. I visited it in the store, I read the chapter on co-sleepers in Baby Bargains, and I’ve read all the sixty million reviews of it on Amazon. I decided to buy a mini (as opposed to the original, which is twice as big but converts to a play yard), because our bedroom is way small. I then faithfully compared prices between Amazon and Ebay, and finally found a Buy it Now option with a strong return policy, and I took the plunge.
I know the pros, and I know the cons. This thing isn’t made of sustainable hardwood, nor does it look terribly sturdy. However, it’s the only real, consistently reliable, freestanding co-sleeper on the market. This baffles me. I mean, I guess a lot of people use cradles or pack ‘n plays for this purpose, but those products don’t allow for your baby to be right next to you, and they don’t really promote in-bed nursing. With the co-sleeper, you don’t have to get up (which fits my lazy, bed-loving personality). With cradles or bassinets, you gotta haul your sleep-deprived, healing ass out of bed and get the baby, and then go sit down somewhere. Lame. So, even though, as Eric said, “it looks like you could build that thing out of PVC,” this seems to be the best option, and it gets consistently high ratings in terms of safety and effectiveness.
But, hell to the naw, I wasn’t going to buy this thing new for $140 or $150. So I got it on Ebay for $90, and $10 shipping, with two sets of co-sleeper sheets included. Not that much difference, but forty dollars will get me something else I need for my baby. Right? Right. And on babiesrus.com, it doesn’t come with sheets. So there. Fabulous.
And I bet I can resell it on Craigslist.
So, ladies and gents, tip of the day: shop smart. Do your research before buying anything on Ebay, check out all the reviews you can read, decide what you really want to do, and make sure the seller is highly rated and has a return policy. This is how you can buy some stuff for your baby without paying full price. And that’s how I like to roll.
 

My Dream Nursery May 18, 2010

Filed under: motherhood,Products,projects — hokoonchi @ 9:08 pm

Now that I’ve finished painting, I’m all about the decorating. You’ve already seen the swanky crib we got, but what about the other stuff? I’m amassing a list of all the things I would love to have … and you know, I’ll work on being flexible. But we all have our ideals, don’t we?

Crib Bedding

Crib Bedding from Rocky Top Designs

Let’s start with crib bedding. As I mentioned in my last post, I’m not a big fan of the pre-packaged stuff from Pottery Barn or Babies R Us. I got the idea from Offbeat Mama to look on Etsy. There are a ton of people out there with better sewing skills than I, and those folk sew up some awesome bedding. I may try my hand at it (I have the pattern in my Little Stitches for Little Ones book). But let’s be honest … that might not happen in three months. That crap looks complicated.

I found this gorgeous set on Etsy. It’s from Rocky Top Designs, and it is pretty awesome. I love the cute little guitars, and that design pairs well with the yellow polka dots. Matches my color scheme, and in the picture it’s even paired with a green-painted wall! Yes, it’s expensive compared to the pre-packaged stuff. But, it might be a must have …

Adorable Owl Mobile

Adorable Owl Mobile

This is definitely a pretty adorable owl mobile. It’s handmade from Pink Perch’s Etsy shop. I might have an affinity for Etsy. Yes, I just might. So it’s super cute, goes great with my planned nature theme (I guess the guitars don’t, but there’s a lot of other fabrics to choose from), and it’s handmade and eco-friendly. The bummer, again, is the price. At $88, it’s a little steep. Is it worth it? I know I’m going to have to make some decisions here … but check out those cute little faces! And it goes great with an item I just purchased¬† …

Tree Decal

Tree Decal

This tree decal is again, from Etsy.¬† It’s from Decor Designs and you can get it in whatever color you like! I got mine in brown (as it is in the picture) with dark green leaves. Should look beautiful!

Like any woman of a certain age (any age?), I want a few things from Anthropologie. Yes, I know. I’m racking up the expensive price tag already. But how amazing is this rug?

Dream Menagerie Rug

Dream Menagerie Rug

I already know I’m probably going to have to settle for something else. This bad boy would set me back $300, which is the upper price limit for a nursery rug that will get spit up and paw prints all over it. I am in love with it though. Look at all the little animals! I would love to have this for Sam, and for me … It’s so dreamy, so pretty, and would work for years to come. Unfortch, it’s not available for purchase in the 5-foot round version until August. And geez, I’d really like to have everything squared away before then. If you see anything that is equivalent, please let me know! I’m looking for something equally lovely and bright, preferably with an animal motif. I also like the roundness of it. Seems to me like it would look very nice in the middle of a square room. Something round … to bring it all together. Sigh.

And of course, I found curtains on Anthro that would complement it perfectly, or at least I think so … in my limited design experience. Check it out:

Lilting Leaves Curtains

Liliting Leaves Curtains

There’s something so whimsical about a lot of Anthropologie’s home decor items, making them perfect for a child’s room. Now, I’m like, REALLY not going to spend $268 a panel on these, but I might try to find a similar fabric and make them myself. After all, a curtain is just a rod pocket and a hem right? Maybe? Huh? I know my curtains won’t look as good as these guys do, but they might be fairly nice. And I know they’ll be a little less expensive. I bet there’s even free curtain patterns online …

Anyway, these are the Lilting Leaves Curtains if you are interested. Love them. Too expensive! But it’s my dream, so maybe if I win the lottery …

But, Camilla, what about furniture? Don’t you need a dresser or something?

I guess. But I’d rather have curtains!

I’m actually not too big on the dresser thing … I saw them at Buy Buy Baby, and they look like … dressers. Just any old dresser. So, I figure I’ll get a way cheaper one somewhere else – used or on Amazon or Overstock, and I’ll turn that into a changing table and dresser for the little one. He won’t even know it’s there! He’ll be too busy looking at the mobile!

I did pick these guys out for furniture …

(more…)

 

The Crib Hunt is Over! May 17, 2010

Filed under: motherhood,Products — hokoonchi @ 1:20 am

Ever been to Buy Buy Baby? You should go. I think it’s way cooler than Babies R Us. They have a huge selection of cribs, and lovely styles. And so, we found a crib! Just in time … It will take eight to ten weeks to ship it to us, and I will be thirty-two weeks pregnant at that point. So, yeah. That’s a lot of weeks pregnant. I imagine I won’t be as mobile or agile at that point (not that I am especially mobile or agile right now …)

Crib stats: It’s a Westwood, which is rated with an A in the infamous Baby Bargains book. Good safety, environmentally friendly finishes, easy to put together. I can’t find what hardwood it’s made of, but it definitely advertises that it is made of hardwood. With veneers, but what doesn’t have veneers these days?

Anyhoo, it’s a brand new design, which is the reason it’ll take so long to get here. We also can’t find a picture of the exact design online. Google “Westwood Waverly Collection” and you’ll find next to nothing. This is all that there is! Here’s what I found … It’s from the same collection, and looks quite similar, but the one we bought is a teensy bit different:

Westwood Waverly

Westwood Waverly

We had originally thought we would go with the darker finish, but we actually liked the “Tuscan” (cherry) more in person. I liked this because it had a clean design, was similar to some of the other cribs I’d liked, and fits well with in our price range. At Buy Buy Baby, it was $499 with toddler bed conversion kit included. Not bad, I say! They charge $50 for delivery, which we can certainly live with, given that the sites I saw charged $245 or up for shipping and delivery.

So, yes, I know. It is not the Munire Soho that I had fallen in love with at first sight. But it’s cheaper, just as sturdy looking, quite lovely, and will serve our son (and next son or daughter) well into the future. I am thoroughly pleased with our choice.

Now to find a bassinet for the first few months … any suggestions? That Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper is cool, but it looked real flimsy in the store.