Tiresome and Dangerous Beauty

In less than a month, I will be a parent. This being said, I have been actively seeking advice from any parent that will pay attention to me (in real-life and online.) I’m also reading books and taking classes, but I prefer to hear what worked for REAL people. With REAL human babies. Which I assume I will give birth to very soon. Although, if I have a litter of cats, I would know exactly what to do.

Here are a few examples of the advice (solicited and unsolicited) that I am getting from some wonderful moms and dads:

On Birth:

  1. Take the epidural. Drugs are your friend. Don’t try to prove anything. Natural birth is crazy.
  2. Definitely go for a natural birth. It is best for you and baby. Swim with dolphins during birth if you have to. Do chanting and light candles. Hospitals are evil.

On Feeding:

  1. Breastfeeding is really hard. You have to be a saint to do it and some babies just won’t feed from mom. Supplementing or formula feeding is just fine. So-and-so grew up on formula and he is a brilliant scientist Olympian who rescues sea turtles.
  2. You have to breastfeed. There is no other choice. And you have to do it within an hour of the birth. Breast is best. You should be comfortable enough to breastfeed in the nude on public transportation if you have to. It’s your right. If you have to supplement or use formula you should feel like a horrible mom. Good luck, you will be great!

On Sleeping:

  1. Babies are loud sleepers. Put him down to sleep in the crib from day one or you will be sorry. And you will never sleep again.
  2. You must co-sleep with your baby. Or with a bassinet near your bed. It makes night feedings so much easier. Or you will be sorry. And you will never sleep again.

On Help:

  1. Make sure your mom is there right after the birth for at least a week. And don’t leave your bed. Friends and family will feed you, clean your house and take care of the baby in the first weeks. Don’t try to do too much or you will burn out and fall into post-partum depression.
  2. Make sure you and your husband have alone time with the baby in the first weeks to help with bonding. Limit visitors. If you don’t, he will be over-stimulated and confused as to who his parents are. The family unit will crumble and then you will probably get divorced.

SO.

Maybe I am exaggerating a wee bit on some of these. Most advice I’ve received has been well-meaning. And I do like to hear about what worked and what didn’t from parents that have been through it already.

BUT:

Obviously there are different styles of parenting. Most people think they know best, which is probably true for their family. In fact, I’m sure that it’s near impossible for them not to do what they think best for their baby. But knowing what is right for my family? We will find out on our own when we get there. At least I know my options. Right and wrong can only be decided by Mom and Dad. Not by a neighbor, friend, grandparent, coworker, or woman on the street who is interested in my birth plan.

HOWEVER, there is one piece of advice nearly everyone has given me.

On the Home Stretch:

  1. Get as much sleep as possible before the baby arrives. Nap, sleep in, sleep at work, sleep, sleep, SLEEP.

CURSES! I suck at this. I have never had a problem sleeping until pregnancy. But now, when I am supposed to be taking advantage ofΒ  sleeping in, I wake up with the stupid sun every morning in between 5 and 6. At least I am good with napping. Although napping at work is surely frowned upon.

An advantage to waking up this early is quietly watching the sun rise with one Schween Boley.

Can you see her in the lower left of the nursery windows?

Then we make our way to the balcony to start the day. She is in her signature Cooked Turkey position on the left.

Although it is gorgeous, this does become a tiresome way to start the day at 9 months pregnant when I should be “taking advantage of sleep” as they say.

Speaking of skies, we have had a billion thunderstorms in the Chicago area recently. This has made for some incredibly beautiful and dangerous looking skies. Last week, there were tornado warnings followed by a rainbow and some golden/amber colored light. My mom was driving WITH THE STORM from Chicago through northwest Indiana and into Michigan. Probably the worst time to drive ever. She’s fine by the way.

I really need to break down and get a tripod so I can take a photo that isn’t grainy. I stitched this rainbow together from some shots taken towards the east off of our balcony. Click any of these to view full size…and full grain 😦

Seriously, the sky was glowing. I didn’t change the color of that photo. See, here is what Alma captured in Oak Park.

And this next shot shows the storm from its backside. It was looming over northwest Indiana as my mom drove through, while most people were in their basements. Pretty, eh? But yikes for sure.

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23 responses to “Tiresome and Dangerous Beauty

  1. I totally sucked at getting sleep when I was that pregnant. I didn’t have any sleep before I went into labor, and that sucked but I tried to sleep. It just didn’t happen.

    I think the main thing to remember is to do what’s right for YOU and YOUR BABY and don’t worry about what anyone else says. Listen to their advice but don’t feel burdened by it. You really will know what’s right for you when the time comes.

    HUGS. I’ve been thinking about you a lot as you get close. I remember being in those (ill-fitting) shoes!

    • Such strange shoes to be in. Thanks for thinking of me. I’m hoping that my maternal instincts are good, and I can figure it out along the way with the help of the daddy-to-be.

  2. You are wise beyond your time. The thing about childbirth and childrearing is that you do what is best FOR YOU. For me, natural birth and breastfeeding was/is best, and I wouldn’t have it any other way–but I know that what’s best for me isn’t best for everyone else. And certainly there are things that I thought would be best for us when I was pregnant, but then I later found that those things weren’t best… parenting is just about being flexible and finding that happy place for you and your family. You’re going to be a great mom.
    Those rainbows are amazing. And yes, when you took those pictures, I was totally in the basement!

    • Thanks for the encouragement. I’m really looking forward to this new life. I’m trying to prepare and figure out what it will be like, though I am sure I’ll find it’s nothing I could of imagined in a million years.

  3. I love your blog. I just gave birth to my first baby in May- here’s what I’ve learned,

    On Birth: Just take it one step at a time. Each time you get past something (a contraction, getting hooked up to IVs, waddling to the bathroom in between contractions to pee…) Think of it as you’re one step closer to meeting your little babe. When you get to the step of “Do you want an epidural?” Decide there on how you’re feeling. I got an epidural and it really helped me rest and relax for pushing. As Madonna said, “I’m not interested in being Super Woman in the delivery room.” ;p

    On Feeding: I attempted breastfeeding, and did for about four days. No one (no book or class) told me how bad it would HURT (not to scare you away from it at all, if that’s what your wanting to do) I’m just saying I was unprepared for the bruised and bleeding nipples. I was absolutely exhausted and phisically and emotionally drained, my nipples hurt and my baby girl was so hungry- I tried pumping and only got an ounce (on a good day) so I started formula feeding and it’s wonderful. She’s healthy, gaining weight, daddy can help, and I’m back at work. Again though, this is just me.

    On Sleeping: The first month we did co-sleeping, and it was great. She slept a lot better and I slept better knowing she was safe in my arms all night. Now, she sleeps in a bassinet by our bed. You’ll feel better knowing your babe is near-by, trust me, you’ll sleep better (when you are sleeping πŸ˜‰ )

    On Help: OK this is where I messed up BIG TIME. I thought I’d need a ton of help. I thought my husband would need a ton of help. From what books and other women told me, I thought my old life would be damn near impossible with a newborn. So, my mother in law (big mistake..) came to “help” the first week. After a lot of needless drama, she went home after 2 days, because I couldn’t take it. I actually found that I needed it to be just us for the first couple of weeks. We needed to find our own rythmn and it wasn’t nearly as hard or scary as people make it out to be. Plus, newborns sleep like 22 hours a day, so she was asleep most of the time anyway.

    Anyway, I hope I’m not being one of those know-it-all mothers giving you pushy advice! I just wanted to impart some of what I wish I’d known ahead of time πŸ™‚

    You’ll do great! Congratualtions!!

  4. Hilarious. And frighteningly accurate, I hear the same things only doubled. Sorta. Also, my kid likes to send rainbows, that Boley baby is well watched over already. πŸ™‚

  5. Everyone told me to sleep as much as I could as well when I was pregnant and I think I told you the same. And it is horrible because you can’t. I think your body is just getting you ready for when your baby is there.

    My best piece of advice (and it wasn’t easy at the begining) is to stay calm, don’t panic and try to be as cool as possible. Sometimes it is hard because you are tired, you want your partner to help more or understand better, you are fed up, you don’t know why he is crying, all these things. But just breathe and try to take it easy.
    There is always a solution and with babies it is a lot of trial and error. You’ll just find your way of being your baby’s mummy πŸ™‚

    Enjoy those magic moments, I’m so nostalgic of the day I finally met my little boy 7 months ago πŸ™‚

  6. SO very true!!

    I was most definitely the best parent ever when I was pregnant. I had it all planned out, and I totally knew what I was going to do with every second of my child’s life. And then she wriggled her way into this world, and I had to wave bye-bye to that train of thought.

    In the end, the best thing for you and your baby is doing what’s best for YOU and YOUR BABY.

    Just based on this post alone, you’re going to totally rock as a mom. πŸ™‚

    And yes … sleep is good, but I couldn’t sleep towards the end, either. Actually, I’m 28 weeks now and already struggling with this whole sleeping thing, which is okay since my daughter wakes up at the buttcrack of dawn anyway.

  7. capribythelake

    Ha! This was really funny to me… totally true! I had it totally figured out BEFORE I became a parent, and then things changed as soon as I had a baby. Praise the Lord we were created with instincts, because it’s so hard.
    For me- I went from one side (attachment parenting) to the middle… I blogged about it here….http://capribythelake.com/2010/05/08/finding-balance-between-parenting-styles/

    Oh, and I don’t think you should be expected to sleep right now… and whoever says that is just dumb, and has never been really pregnant. The time you must sleep is in the beginning of labor, especially with your first, since they tend to have the longest pre-labor period. Sleep and eat, but not right now- wait till you start labor. Right now is God’s little way of getting you a “no sleeping schedule” so it’s not such a smack in the face all at once when the baby comes.

    My best advice for *right now* would be to focus on your hubby, and strengthen your marriage (and not sleep ;))

    Those are gorgeous pictures! It’s pretty, but not pretty enough to make me wish I was still living under that scary cloud in NWI.

  8. Good lord…

    Keep it simple, Mama. If it feels wrong, don’t do it. Keep your brain turned on and think for yourself as well. You’ll be fine ;D

    PS…Madonna should stick to singing.

  9. You are wise beyond your years Megan.
    p.s….
    The quilt is coming along well, do you want his name embroidered on it?

  10. One word…. MASSAGE (a lot) πŸ˜‰

  11. Great humorous & scarey post, all wrapped up into one, Megan! And…I’m so glad I haven’t given you ANY advice! -Dad

  12. Darlin’, if I had been half as smart as you are before Tori was born, there would have been a lot less tears AFTER she was born.

    Because you’re right. You’ll find your own way, and you won’t know what that way is until you meet Baby Boley.

  13. thesarahdactyl

    I love your sky photos. πŸ˜€ There’s also a program that will crop+stitch photos together for you that’s called Autostitch. It’s awesome and works well.

    Definitely invest in a tripod. They’re worth it. I need to buy one for myself that isn’t short. Also, not having a tripod doesn’t make a photo grainy. (; Just blurry if you’re shaking the camera.

    • Thanks!
      Tripod is top of my list. The grain comes from the fast ISO that I have to use so the pictures don’t get blurry since I am doing everything hand-held. Would love some silky smooth shots on ISO 100. Mmmm mmm.

  14. Here is my advice: Do what works for you and do what makes you happy. If you want a natural birth, have one. If you want drugs, get them. You are the one who will be giving birth to your child, so do what you want to do. Nobody else matters!

  15. You sound like me, when I was pregnant with #1. The fact that you are reading everything and already recognizing that the best thing you can do is FIGURE IT OUT YOURSELF will do you spades of good. Really, just do what works and feels like the right thing to do. If your instincts say, “this feels wrong” but soandso said it was okay, ignore soandso. You should almost always ignore soandso. That’s my best advice. Oh! And every baby/child/human is entirely different. I STILL read “advice” blog posts by moms with a kid or two who would be lost if left alone with my three year old for an hour. Kids are just that different. You will do wonderfully.

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