Friday, June 18, 2010

Waiting is the hardest part

I have spent my morning waiting to hear from Brett regarding the status of Maggie's ear infection. She has had an ear infection for about two-months, and has undergone three courses of increasingly strong antibiotics. I know it's a relatively minor thing, but it was upsetting me that my baby was sick and seemingly constantly. I know, she's in daycare and it's to be expected, but I also thought that she wouldn't have so many ear infections because she is 100% breastfed. So much for that theory.

Anyway, it just sort of highlights the difficulty for me of having to go to work. This is seriously like a totally minimal issue as difficulties go, I know that, but it's an example of the working-mom guilt that I have. I totally underestimated how hard it would be to be a working mom. This is, again, not news to anyone, but I honestly thought it would be great and that I wouldn't want to be a stay-at-home. Turns out I totally want to be a stay-at-home. I miss my baby when I'm at work, and more than that, the logistics of working and breastfeeding are just a challenge for me.

Pumping is not only time consuming and stressful to perform at work, but it's also consistently led to clogged ducts and inconsistent production that just stresses me out. I understand that a lot of women supplement with formula, and we tried this, but Maggie did not tolerate the formula. She had two bottles one day, and spent the following 24 hours projectile vomiting. I just didn't want to do that again, so I vowed to make sure that all she ever got was my breastmilk. She is seven months old today and that's all she's had. I am proud of this because it's been a huge commitment and struggle on my end. It wouldn't be if I didn't have to go to work.

I'm not a breastfeeding nazi. If Maggie had responded well to formula she'd be having it, but she didn't, so here we are. I'm just having trouble with the concept of having it all. In my situation, having it all means compromising somewhere all of the time. My job is not nearly as important to me as my daughter, so it gets compromised. I am by no means not doing my job, but I'm not going above and beyond and pursuing things in my career that would advance me quickly because I refuse to leave my daughter for any period of time. First of all that would be impossible given the breastfeeding and second of all it would be a huge demand on Brett because Maggie is a two-parent baby. She prefers us both to be there at night and I'm not really sure she would go to bed without us both. Maybe she's spoiled, maybe we're overly doting and crazy, but she is one awesome baby and she's doing so well that I don't mind.

I'm rambling like crazy, but it's hard for me to get a handle on all of this. I never thought I'd be saying that maybe having it all is not really the best goal for me. Maybe I wish I could stay at home with her and feel like I'm really excelling in one area instead of just getting by in all areas. This shit is tough for me.

And now on to a different topic. Health kick. It's off to a slow but steady start. I've cut way down on the sugar and white bread consumption and that feels good. I'm also going to the doctor on Monday and I suspect I'll be starting physical therapy for my back pain/sciatica again. Having a c-section really did a number on my core strength and I need help getting that back.

Oh, and the wait is now over. Maggie is free of ear infection! Hallelujah!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

more on momhood

Sometimes Brett and I say to eachother, "I can't believe we have a baby." It's true, I cannot believe we have a baby and I can't believe how cute she is (I'm not going to try to be humble, my kid is CUTE). I'm her only mommy and I will do right by her. She is a dream. My Maggie.

Having said that, I also cannot believe how much more fragile life seems these days. I worry about her health and well being frequently and feel like disaster is possibly waiting around the corner at all times. This is not healthy, and it's something I need to get control of. After she was born, I had some tough times and was occasionally over come by dark thoughts. Thought of horrible things happening to her and a fear of living a life without her. I am so in love with my baby that I don't think I could live without her. I think of parents who have lost their children and it floors me. Our neighbors lost two of their three children to a terrible, painful disease and I don't understand how they've survived the grief. You survive because that's what you do, but the pain must have felt unbearable. I have a tremendous amount of anxiety, and I think I've dealt with it by eating. I know, that sound so lame, but it's true. It's not like I'm paralyzed by fear, but I think that this sort of under the surface fear and anxiety over something happening to my daughter has taken me by surprise. I have always had anxiety issues, but this is new and I don't quite know how to deal with it. My general way to deal with anxiety is to eat, and so I have, but I didn't know why. But I really think that it's this anxiety over her. I don't know if this one warrants therapy, but I do know that it warrants exploration and perhaps a dose of reality. Hello parenthood, you're a whole new level of possible crazy, but I promise to take care of it for her.

News Flash . . .

Parenting is HARD. I know, it's shocking. But here's the thing, I knew it would be tiring and emotionally demanding to have a baby, but I got it totally wrong. I'm really not all that tired, and most of the emotion comes from how much I LOVE this child of mine. The thing that's hard is that it never stops. There are no breaks. It's constant and completely overwhelming at times. Especially because our child does not even sleep by herself, so there is literally no break. I'm not really complaining here, I'm not, because I wouldn't trade it for the world, but I am stopping to pause and say, "hey, this is different and kind of hard." There's a shit load of responsibility (DUH!) and that in and of itself is HARD. Every parent goes through it, and we are not special.

To that end, I need to take better care of myself because I am fatigued. We sleep great, it's just in a family bed. This is what works for us right now, because I'd rather get 8 hours of sleep with the baby, than 3 with her in her own bed. Plus, she's doing amazingly well, and why fuck with it? I know, I'm defensive, but seriously, you can't imagine the weirdness we receive in response to the knowledge that our baby sleeps in our bed. To each their own, but it's not that weird. Goodnight.

Now, since having this baby, my back and sciatica are screaming at me, and now my knees have started to hurt. I've lost the baby weight, but quite frankly, I really didn't gain that much anyway. The weight I have was here before the baby. The thing is that before the baby I was not lifting 18 pounds on a regular basis, and spending huge portions of my day on the floor and in contorted positions in response to an increasingly mobile infant. It's taking its toll and I need to get into physical shape so I won't need to replace all of my joints. It's ridiculous how old I physically feel. It's unnecessary too.

So . . . here we go with a health kick. And let's hope it's not a kick but an actual healthy forever. God help me, I sort of hate this, but I have to do it for me and my baby. I want to be a physically active mom and keep up with my baby and hopefully her babies. I don't want to be like my parents who cannot (for various reasons, not all their fault) babysit their grand-daughter. I want to feel good and feel energetic.

But how do I do this? Well first and foremost I have got to lose weight. I think that if I lost 20 pound I would feel markedly better, but if I lost 40 pounds I would feel terrific (not to mention probably look a lot better). But how do I do this? Eat less, obvs. The thing that makes me nervous about this is that I'm still 100% breastfeeding, which makes me hungrier than I could ever imagine. It's like having the munchies several times a day. If I don't eat regularly, I literally get sick. I feel dizzy, nauseous, all together awful. So how do I limit my caloric intake without compromising myself and my baby? Eat good food right? No more M&Ms and white bread and butter. So sad, but so necessary.

So, that's that. I have to publically declare that from here on out I am going to make a valid, valid, earnest attempt to get healthy. For my family. Hopefully it will be a HUGE success, but if things don't get off to a good start I may break down and joint WW or something. We'll see, but wish me well on this endevour, however easy it seems to some, it's not for me.