Tag Archives: Pregnancy

Do Your Boobs Hang Low?

Body dysmorphic disorder is a serious affliction wherein a person is obsessed with some perceived flaw in their body.  The most difficult part to understand is that the flaw someone is consumed with might not even be visible to anyone else. It might not even be real.

I have the opposite of that. I am not under the false impression that I am runway thin or bodybuilder strong or movie star pretty but I pretty much stopped really looking very hard in the mirror without my clothes on when I was about 24.  By that point I had a pretty good idea what I looked like, I had a long-term boyfriend that I’d eventually marry and I had already been “the naked girl” in a play in college once, it was unlikely to happen again.  So, I just stopped obsessing over my body.  So I stopped really looking,

And then I had a baby and I was all “Holy fuck, what happened to me?” and then I got over that.  And I had another baby and aside from that one day that I took a long look at the road map that is my stomach I really haven’t done much looking since.  I stare at myself in the mirror at the gym just as much as the next person but since the invention of the wide-band yoga/running pant it’s not so bad a sight.  And really when you’re dumping sweat and lifting weights it’s hard to be too hard on yourself.

Where was I? That’s right, I have the opposite of body dysmorphia.  Instead of believing that there is something horribly wrong with my physical appearance I have this notion that I pretty much look like I did when I was about 23.  Most of the time this serves me well.  I am confident.  I am sassy.  I am not bogged down  with worrying about my aging body.  But then these horrifying moments of reality happen.  I accidentally catch a peek at the back of my thigh and think “holy shit, when did that start to look like THAT?” Or I chat up a kid in line at the grocery store and he looks right through me and I remember that I am not a spring chicken as I catch a look at myself all decked out mom-style.

Ordinarily, I let these moments roll off me and I settle back into being blissfully unaware of aging.

I was at the gym the other day feeling strong. Busted out a two minute plank and dropped to the mat.  I grabbed my phone and my water and I leaned back and looked back down to the mat and GASPED.  My tits were inches, almost half a foot, lower than my elbows.  IN A SPORTS BRA.  I almost ran to the weight room where I could get a better look in a mirror because HOLY HELL I know I have been pregnant twice and breastfeeding for eleventy billion years but come the fuck on when did this happen???


But I couldn’t move. For one thing I was afraid I might trip over my knockers.  It was dangerous to run.  Things were sliding south and fast.

I took a deep breath.  And I began to laugh.  Look closely at the picture and you can see a second set of handprints.  Look at the bottom of that picture.  My knees.  AHA!  The wet marks were my knees!! I had pulled them up to the mat as I sat back to catch my breath.

And I got hysterical.  That kind of belly laugh, I might pee my pants, holy shit do you guys see what I see laughter that you have to share.  I looked around and there was not a single woman in sight.  Now I wasn’t picky.  I was ready to shout out “Oh my god, I thought those were boob sweat marks and it is only my KNEES!  Hallelujah, it’s just my knees!!!” to anyone that looked even remotely female.  Not a one.  Somehow I didn’t think that the fellas that work out with me daily were going to be impressed.  Or understand why this was such a reason to rejoice.

So, I snapped a picture and I strutted, yeah, strutted, my fine ass right out of the gym.  Because my boobs are nowhere near that low.  In a sports bra. So there.

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

Autumnal Adornment

There are a million things wrong with shopping at big-box stores.  They are local economy killers.  They are filled with processed food and cheaply made products and hate and vitriol and bad lighting.

I know this. But sometimes time is of the essence and a dollar only stretches so far in a single income household and I’m not making any more excuses.

I am about to tell you what the real problem is with big-box grocery stores.  One minute you are checking and double checking your grocery list.  How many pounds of butter do you need for Thanksgiving? Can you have too much?

And the next minute you have fallen in to a weird, dark place and you are grabbing a straw wreath form and some burlap ribbon.

Yesterday I wanted to make a baby.  Today I had a burning desire (no, NEED) to make a wreath.  I NEEDED AN AUTUMNAL WREATH and I needed it NOW.

I put away the perishable items quickly.  With bags of groceries still on the floor around my feet I made a wreath because I could not bear to be wreathless for one moment longer.

I picked those leaves up from my yard, y’all.  Whew.  Now I can finally breathe deeply again.  My front door is properly and seasonally adorned.  And eventually I got my groceries put away.

I will not make a baby.  But I am gonna make the shit out of some crafts.  Be warned.


The Secret Under My Sensible One Piece

It wouldn’t be easy to choose one word to define myself.  I like to think of myself as pretty multi-dimensional.  I am a lot of things.  Perhaps first and foremost I am your classic over-achieving liberal arts major, jack of all trades and master of none.  So, to choose one word, that is almost impossible.

But if I had to pick one  – I am a mother.

I am grateful that my journey to motherhood was easy.  It was not without tears and pain but I consider myself lucky. I grew two healthy, beautiful little girls.  I grew them.  Inside of me.  And I brought them in to the world.  And thus far I have lived to tell the tale.

I am a mother.

And I am beyond proud. And yet I keep this secret underneath my clothes.  It’s not really an issue nine months of the year, but the summer comes and I feel it.  Shame.

I have two girls.  I tell them both that they should be proud just exactly as they are.  But I don’t feel that way about myself.

I feel strong.  I am stronger than I have been in my lifetime.  I feel capable. Even with some sore muscles from overuse I am proud of the work I have done recently.  I am becoming an athlete.  My clothes feel good.  I stand up straight.  I am proud of this body that grew these two babies and continues to help me grow every day.  But I can’t seem to feel proud of my stretch marks.

Not long after Lucy was born I made peace with them, the tiger stripes I earned in my last pregnancy.  But peace making is a far cry from pride.

In the last month I have done this silly little song and dance.  Get the girls ready to go to the pool.   Put on the two piece.  Look in the mirror.  Take off the two piece and put the one piece on.  Go to the pool.  The other day Em walked in my bathroom while I had on a bikini. “Oh, I like that one, Mom.  You got that for your honeymoon. ”

That was all she said.  She left my bathroom and I stood there, stomach glowing white against the rest of my month long summer tan.  I tried to imagine what I would say when I came out in  my signature black one-piece and not the red bikini  she had just seen me wearing.  I came up empty.  There really wasn’t any good reason to change.  None at all.  Except the niggling shame surrounding my smushy stomach and aging stretchmarks.  And that just wasn’t a good enough reason.

This week I did something that made me uncomfortable. I wore that damn bikini all week.  And I chased my little Lucy back and forth.  And I sat in the baby pool.  And I ate an ice cream cone.  And I dove for plastic rings with the big kids.  In my bikini.  And you know what?  My stretch marks didn’t actually have anything to do with any of it.

I can’t quite say that I am proud of them yet.  But I am not ashamed.  And that is a step in the right direction.


How to Spot a Mom

I was naked when she asked me the question.  Maybe that was why it hurt my feelings.  “You have kids?” She was smiling, maybe in her late 70s.  There was no reason for me to find the question off putting, I suppose.  It was casual chit-chat.

In the locker room at the gym there are lots of different kinds of women.  I am envious of the older women that stroll nonchalantly from the shower to their locker.  They are free,  maybe even confident,  certainly at peace with the body they live in.  There are the younger women and the quiet gals that change in the “dressing rooms,” the awkward spaces with shower curtains that don’t quite close all the way.  I fall somewhere in the middle.  I have given birth twice.  I came of age in a theatrical dressing room. I can surely get my bathing suit off in a locker room without demonstrating something just short of a magic trick to get my bra and underwear on before my towel drops to the floor.

But I am not yet free.  I am not yet at peace with this body.  It still feels new.  I am not embarrassed, not really.  “You have kids?” she asked me.  Why?  Is it my stretch marks?  I thought they were fading, maybe there are some I don’t even know I have.  Maybe it’s my stomach.  But then I never really had much in the way of a flat stomach before I even had kids.

It took me by surprise, my reaction to such a simple question.  Immediately, I wondered if my body was telling a story that I could not even see.  Fresh from a long swim I was feeling long and lean and that three word question brought me  to a place where I begin to wonder if I need to just settle in to a new normal and accept that this body ain’t all that bad.

I smiled and said “I do.  Girls.  One and seven.  Lucky mama gets to shower today in peace.”  She smiled warmly, turning back to her locker, unaware the spiral her innocent question had started.

I pulled my jeans on and ran a brush through my too short hair.  I took a deep breath and put a smile on my face, knowing I was going to walk by a long mirror on my way out the door.  I would smile at the woman in the mirror, maybe take it easy on her.

And smile I did when I saw her.  Yes. This woman has kids.  This woman with the Cinderella towel. She keeps her goggles and her shampoo in a hot pink  Yo Gabba Gabba tote bag.  Perhaps it wasn’t my stretch marks that gave me away after all.


Day  95 of This Book Will Change Your Life has me on the look out for aliens.  It gives a helpful list of how to spot the extraterrestrials among us.  I wish it would tell me how to spot the moms at the gym.  Evidently Disney towels and Nickelodeon tote bags aren’t enough to make it obvious for me.


In my underwear, in the parking lot, 1993.  High school was weird.  I was not always uncomfortable in my underwear.

In my underwear, in the parking lot, May 8, 1993. I had turned 17 the day before. I was not always uncomfortable in my underwear.



I was worried.  About vaginas?  Well, no, actually.  I haven’t worried about vaginas in ages.  Not since Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues told me in the late 90’s that they come in every shape and size and color.  Participating in V-Day for years has helped me to believe that someday we will live in a world that is not so rife with violence against women and girls.  So, I wasn’t really worried, not about vaginas.  Not yesterday.

I had plans to see UNC’s production of The Vagina Monologues with some friends.  It was Natalie’s birthday.  She had sent out an email to a bunch of girls “Let’s go see The Vagina Monologues for my birthday!”  I cautiously suggested we see the matinee.  Groups of girls don’t go out for drinks and birthday shenanigans at 2:30.  But… I have this baby, see?  I know, I know, she is more than 13 months old.  But… bedtime. I can’t, I won’t be out at bedtime.  I just… can’t.  And they said “Sure.”

I had more than a month to think about it.  I was excited.

The Vagina Monologues changed me.  My first year in the OBX production I wore a black pants suit and a bra, no shirt, I was the Woman Who Liked to Make Vaginas Happy, the Moaner.  I drank wine after the show and laughed with my new girlfriends. I hadn’t ever been a part of a big group of women.  I have been lucky in life to have always had a best friend, a sidekick, a confidante.  But a tribe of women?  I’d never felt that way before. And it was fabulous.

In the years to come I would have different parts, I would wear pigtails and slouchy gaucho pants to mask my newly postpartum body.  I would sport electric blue hair to distract you from my sunken eyes from lack of sleep.  I would skip out on the wine because I feared the things I might say.  I would mumble to no one really in the middle of a rehearsal “I don’t think I want to be married anymore.”

The Vagina Monologues, these stories of women, they inspired me.  They moved me. They taught me that women are all the same.  I had always felt like an odd duck.  I was “one of the boys.” Standing on stage with a group of women I’d only known a short while I was one of a group.  I was part of a tribe.

And then I had a baby.  And I got stronger every day. A little over a year after Em was born I was in a rehearsal for The Vagina Monologues when I said out loud for the first time that I would be leaving my husband because it wasn’t working.  No one pitied me.  No one made the “I’m so sorry” face.  One woman said “Good for you.  There’s happiness out there for you” and I believed her.  It was ten months before I moved out but I started getting ready to go that day. 

20130302-193232.jpgShe was right.  Happiness.  It was out there.  I am Happy.  Most of the time.  Unless I am trying to get dressed.  Unless I am leaving the house all alone without my kids for three hours.  And then those old feelings of being the odd duck creep back in. And I am in tears in my closet, surrounded by clothes that don’t fit right.  I was planning to meet my girlfriends to celebrate being a woman and I was sobbing because I am thirteen months post-partum and I still feel like I live in someone else’s body.  We would be heading to UNC’s campus to surround ourselves with 20-somethings spreading a positive message and I was crying because my jeans are still too tight.  I could see the irony.  I just didn’t find it all that amusing.

I changed my jeans.  I swore.  I put on make-up and then washed it all off.  I picked a zit, I picked a fight.  I cried some more.  I said I wasn’t going.  I said I had to leave right now.  And then I got in the car and I went.  It was important.

I would paste my Pretty Kelly smile on my face and I would say “Happy Birthday, Natalie” and it would be fine.  I would introduce myself to someone I didn’t know and I would try not to talk about my kids at all.  I would just be me.

I opened Nat’s front door and steeled myself.  Game face.  I don’t know who I was expecting to see.  But I know I wasn’t expecting to only see people that I knew.  I made it exactly four steps in the front door before I burst in to tears. “I was afraid one of you would ask me why I was crying and I would have to be that crazy woman in front of someone I just met and say ‘Oh, because I get mad anxiety every time I leave my THIRTEEN MONTH old baby and I can’t get dressed and…'”

There they were.  Four women. A friend I have known since high school, a friend with two small children, a friend who has seen me at my lowest and a newer friend that understands more than her fair share about body image bullshit.  I spilled my big, bad ugly “I have my period and everyone hates me” guts and in moments it was over.  We laughed about how I was afraid to be “that crazy woman” in front of strangers, you know, strangers not on the Internet.

The longer I stay at home the harder it is for me to go out.  What will I say? Where will I park? What will I wear? What if someone asks me what I do? What if I start crying? Or I have a glass and a half of wine and am plastered because that’s all it takes?

I feel like if you prick me with a pin I will explode.  20130302-193239.jpg

Eve Ensler taught me that there are 8,000 nerve endings in the clitoris.  Sadly, it isn’t any of those that are making me weep with confusion and joy and fear and excitement lately.  I am not sure where exactly the nerve endings are that make you lose your shit in your closet while you get dressed.  Or panic because you don’t know where you are supposed to park when you get where you are going. But I think I have at least 8,000 of those, too.

I will keep going, out of my house, away from my kids. I will go even when and especially when I don’t want to and think that I will not possibly survive the torture.  Every time I leave the house there’s a good chance I will stand in front of a woman that has felt exactly like me, at least once.  Because we are all the same, all of us, at least sometimes.


The Time Machine

There is an exhibit, an installation, a magic space machine at the Museum of Life & Science in Durham.  It is upstairs  as soon as you get off the elevator.  If there were 20somethings in wrinkled tuxedo shirts offering  plastic glasses of cheap wine I would feel like I had been transported back in time to an art opening at the Muscarelle Museum on campus.   Only I would be wearing black thigh highs and combat boots and chasing boys.

Instead I am wearing a baby.  And chasing six year olds.  This afternoon I watched the “sand” made by shadows in the projected light pile up on my body.  I watched for longer than I have ever watched before.  I have stood in the path of these lights at least a dozen times and never did I see myself like I did today .


My hand on her head.  Her body jutting out from my lower abdomen.  I stood like this for months before I ever got to hold her.  She is asleep.  I can hear her breathing.  We are exactly the same temperature.  She can smell me.

Almost a year ago now I took this picture below.  I wish I’d had the sense to include the rest of me.  I remember snapping more than a few, I couldn’t seem to get an angle that didn’t make me look like the back end of a truck.  Funny the things I worried about.

My pregnancy, Lucy’s beginnings are more than documented, both here and privately.  I imagine I could make a flipbook if I lined up every bathroom belly shot I took.  But it is not enough to just look at these old pictures.  I won’t ever have her back so close again.
My big girl will be in the first grade in three days.  After dinner tonight she climbed in my lap and I pressed my face in to the nape of her neck.  Her fresh, back to school hair cut gives me free access.  I inhaled her.  She is still there.  My first baby.

My little one, I can still hold her close.  I can still breathe her in while she sleeps.  Today as I watched the “sand” pile up on her as she slept against my chest I knew that I would come back again to this exact same spot.  I would take another picture.  First I will see the shadows pile on her back  as she crawls.  Then I will see the shadows pile on her head and her feet as she walks.

And one day we will get off the elevator and I will walk towards the light and she will not follow me.  Instead she will head towards another exhibit, hot on the heels of the big kids.  And I will chase her.  And I will pick her up and smell her and she will be my baby again for a moment.



Perfectly Normal at Night!

I woke this morning and felt like a B movie actress in an old-school Skinemax flick. My bed has been more Slip and Slide than Soft Core in the last three months. Now would be a good time for my male readers (in particular those to whom I am related) to just move along.

My post partum bleeding was average. But my hyper focus on doing and being everything to everyone meant it came back for round two. “You’re doing too much,” said the midwife. But I have a six year old and an infant and a husband and I am trying to justify in my own mind why I do not have much of an income anymore!! So that means I need to spread mulch and clean my ceiling fans, right?

And then I decided that jogging at 6 weeks post partum was important to my sanity. And the post partum bleeding came back again.

If that weren’t enough fun… my period returned at 9 weeks in spite of my frequent night nursing and the voracious day time appetite of my nursling. Lucky girl, right? Exclusive breastfeeding is supposed to postpone the return of your fertility.

I have a three month old baby this week and will be celebrating my one year wedding anniversary on April 30th. Do the math. I am plenty fertile. We may actually have gotten pregnant at the altar. So back to the midwive’s office I went for a new IUD.

In spite of my issues with my last one there is no better non-hormonal way to prevent pregnancy. Unless you count infant-induced abstinence. The new IUD brought with it the week long “spotting.” Have all the sex you want, just ignore the bleeding, right?

So that about sums up the leaking in the southern regions. Upstairs? My side of the bed has smelled like sweetened condensed milk for the last three months. If you’ve not ever been or loved a lactating woman perhaps you are unaware of this fun fact – milk does not let down only from the boob to which the baby is attached. Boobs are on or off. There is no fade. No balance, like the car stereo. Nursing pads have been my constant companion. And one must hold them in place with something. So add to the equation a sports bra, a nursing tank, something. All. the. time.

Add it all up. The exercise, the hair cut, the positive outlook, the husband and the newlywed status (for three more days!) and I still didn’t really feel like a Woman. Contrary to any kind of logic, all of this very female leaking does not magnify my Womanliness in my own mind.

But this morning I woke up feeling like a capital letter W Woman. I still had a wiggly baby to my right. And a bed rail. And a towel I had stuffed down my shirt next to the opposite boob and dark circles under my eyes because a certain someone woke up four times last night to eat (thank you very much three month growth spurt.) So why did I wake feeling more Miss Universe and less Mother of the Year?

I went to bed last night in black underwear and no nursing bra and a black tank top with easy access (for the kiddo! don’t get excited.) And I woke up dry.
Unencumbered by leak-catchers of any sort.

And damn if I didn’t feel smokin’. Who knew the absence of my own bodily fluids is all it would take? Sitting right now with my laptop perched on the arm of the rocking chair,drool running down my arm, in the clothes I was wearing yesterday I threw on so I could peel myself out of bed to pack lunch for school… I still feel unstoppable.

I snapped a picture this morning to remind me who I am under all of this Mom-ness. My stomach may only be flat when I lie down. And my stretch marks are still visible, even in the early morning light. But there is a hip bone under there. And a bare shoulder. And they need some attention.


* Shout out to Keller Williams for the title. All morning I have been singing Freeker by the Speaker to myself. Subbing out “Leaker” for Freeker and tweaker. Try it. It’s catchy. “Leaker! Right by the speaker, never seem to get enough. Priceless expression when space is possession. Like yeah, that’s the stuff…”

I just might bust out a windmill or a backspin at the grocery store today.

Marital Relations in Three Easy Steps

Jeans come in a lot of varieties.  Unfortunately for me the only pairs of mine that fit in a manner that will allow for me to both stand up and sit down were first trimester maternity jeans.  Their elastic waist band and relative stretchiness are fantastic for the gal that is not interested in wearing them ten days in a row.  By mid afternoon I can’t keep them up and nothing says “these pants don’t really fit me” like constantly tugging at them.  I can forget all about the second day.  And by day three? They are like clown pants by then.

So, I was left with two options.  Squeeze in to my pre-pregnancy “fat jeans” (the jeans I wear right before I get my period, to events that require heavy eating or when I am planning on napping in my clothes) or buy a new pair in a larger size than I care to admit.

I chose option two.  I’d rather wear large, unattractive jeans than feel like a sausage.    The dreaded Mom jean, capable of making your perfectly round ass look completely flat or  the “boyfriend jean” a fancy way to say completely unflattering on everyone that is not 85 pounds or has any hips whatsofuckingever were on sale the day that I decided I’d take the plunge.  I was not, I repeat, not paying full price for jeans I only planned on wearing for a short time.

The Mom Jeans won.  I thought I’d be fine.  So what if they made my ass look like the broad side of a truck?  Stacy London has informed me that  Lee Riders will be instantly slimming, and that it will be “easy to look and feel my best.”  And they’re cheap.  Less than twenty bucks cheap.

Four days.  My Lee Riders and their slimming tummy control.  We made it for four days before I decided that when you have no abs whatsoever and you wear a nursing bra or  a shelf bra tank top that smashes your girls in to pancakes, albeit gigantic pancakes that give you armpit boob and cleavage all at once it is not wise to wear jeans that come up to said armpits and completely disguise your ass.  My ass is is the only place that twenty extra pounds comes in handy.  What was I thinking?  I needed ass-friendly cheap jeans.  STAT.

Old Navy coupon – you and me.  It was on.  It took six pairs of jeans.  One friend.  One dressing room.  Zero cocktails or tears.  And The Diva Skinny Jeans and I have made friends.  I intend to wear them every day for at least the next month.  And at thirty bucks that is still only a dollar a day.

And when you have two more weeks before you get, ahem, back in the saddle (post partum six week check up and a brand new IUD on February 28th, hollaaa!   Leap year will be memorable this year!) it is important to start early.  Prepping yourself mentally.  For the Big Event known as “resuming marital relations.”

Here’s my guide.  Three easy steps.

Step 1.  Get a pair of jeans that make you feel like a girl.  A regular, good looking, “might some day retire the ginormous full coverage cotton panties in favor of the fancy grown up lady knickers” girl.

Step 2.  Start trying to be less critical.  See yourself as others see you.  Not as your slightly Body Dysmorphic Disorder-ish self views you.  Step 2 is easy if you have a little loverboy living across the street.  This weekend Em’s buddy, Kellan, breezed through the living room and stopped dead in his tracks.  “HOW DID YOU GET SO SKINNY SO FAST??”  and he hugged me.  He said I was cute.  He’s six.  But I don’t care. I told MQD if he ever comes home to a Dear John letter explaining that I need to feel beautiful, go find Kellan.  I’ll be with him.

*source unknown

Step 3.  Make peace with the “tiger stripes.”   Last week MQD sent me this image.  He had seen it on a clever how to be a good dad blog.  I’ve since seen it in several places around the internetz.  It would be a hell of a lot easier to make friends with my “tiger stripes” if I had abs of ummm… not even steel.  What is a slightly less strong metal?  Abs of brass?  Shit, I’d settle for abs of cottage cheese if I could just have a visible waist.  I digress.

Step 3 ain’t easy.  But then neither is pimpin’.  And neither is just getting the fuck over yourself I have discovered.  But it seems the most direct path towards acceptance for me is to spill it. The truth.  My big deep, dark secrets spilled out in front of everyone.  A couple of weeks ago I posted a picture of my post-partum self.  I received a lot of kind comments and emails.  But it still sucked.
And it still sucks today.  But I am making progress.  Because if I have to be totally honest with myself I am more inclined to want to photoshop out the toothpaste on my bathroom mirror than the armpit boob or the stretch marks.  Now I can’t guarantee that is forward progress.  But it has to count for something.


Lucy, the Perfect Sweater

Have you ever had a sweater that was the Perfect Sweater? As hard as you try you couldn’t find anything wrong with it. You can wear it with everything, blue jeans, sweatpants and a dress.   It is precisely the right temperature no matter what it is like outside.  You show this sweater a lot of love.  Adding to its perfection – it never seems dirty.  No matter what has spilled on it, it smells fresh and clean and remains unwrinkled.

And then one day you decide you should wash it. It’s not even dirty you just feel like you should wash it. So you’re really careful.  No Woolite, no fancy detergent.  Just water for this Perfect Sweater.  No dryer, no washing machine.  Wash that sucker by hand in the sink.

Then after you wash it it’s just never the same.  It is like a kleenex.  Little bits just fall right off.  It’s a disaster.  If someone saw you in your favorite sweater they’d ask you “What did you do to that sweater?”

And if you were say, overtired you might reply “I just fucking WASHED it, okay?  I had been wearing it every day for two weeks, I just thought I should wash it.  I was trying to do the right thing!!!”

Yeah, that’s what I did to my baby.  Lucy is the Perfect Sweater.

Babies have dry skin. Babies have sensitive skin and I know that. And it would not be a problem if it wasn’t that I am psychotic.  I’d just lube her up with olive oil and not bathe her again for a week. 
But I am psychotic.  And I did have The Talk with my boss last Friday.  Not “The Talk” because that kind of chatter has no place in the workplace unless you are a Sex Ed teacher, but the one where I said “I think business is too slow to justify me being full time, so I kind of think you should lay me off.” And he said “okay” and by the first of march I will be a stay at home mom.  That talk.
The same talk that was slightly less terrifying because of another talk MQD and I had before we bought our house.  That one was about how we shouldn’t buy a house while we were pregnant unless we knew we would be okay if we had a baby that needed me full time, a baby that was not perfectly healthy.  Because we were dealing with 35 year old eggs after all.
And so now I am stuck in this awful moment in time where the only way to get unscared is to look for the monster under the bed. Which for me is to say it out loud.  I am scared that since I quit my job to stay at home Lucy will get sick and it will be all my fault.   Breathe.  See?  It is slightly less scary now since I can see how crazy that sounds.
Intellectually, I know there is no reason to google “infant dry skin symptom of deadly illness.”
So, last Monday I had a job and a baby that had new baby smell with milky white skin and a Perfect Sweater.
This week?  I will have no job very shortly, Lucy’s face is rotting off and she smells like old noodles… but I am not ever going to wash this sweater.
Stay tuned for the saga of the stay at home mother and her epic battle against dry skin and what will eventually be a foul milk smelling sweater.

...and the baby, ashamed of her flesh eating disorder.

It takes one to know one.

I have had a dozen half written blog posts in my head for the last few days and little time to sit down and write them.  As we fall in to a routine as a family, as I slowly return to my job and try to figure out how I will begin working from home, as I try to take whatever extra time I have and pour it in to Emily June…. writing, the most “selfish” thing I do is the first thing to fall by the wayside.

But I have to remind myself that it is the writing, the processing, the churning through my emotions  and finding words to express them that has gotten me to this place where I feel so capable.  Capable of being a wife, a mother of two, a full-time employee and still be me.  I am finding the time to shower.  To eat.  I need to remember that it is the writing that makes me feel sane.

So here I sit.  Trying to churn out a blog post that can follow my birth story.  The support, the comments, the emails that I have received have left me feeling that way that a woman often feels when she receives a compliment. I’d like to shrug it off.  Or make a sarcastic and self-deprecating joke to deflect.  But I can’t.

Because I am proud of myself.  And oddly… As excited as I am about this experience I’m having a hard time taking all the credit for it.  Because it isn’t my birth story.  It’s Lucy’s.

My mom always says that you can’t take credit for your kids successes or blame yourself  for their failures.  This is the single best piece of parenting advice that has ever been handed to me.  When you boil it down it is a simple sentiment.  Do the best you can. That’s it. The rest is on them.

I assembled the right team.  I can be proud of that.  I prepared myself mentally, emotionally and physically for the labor and delivery I had hoped to have.  I can be proud of that.

But at the end of the day…. the beautiful, happy, healthy girl and her arrival in to this world…. that is the beginning of Lucy’s story.  And only a very small part of mine.  So, I’ve spent some time trying to  figure out what exactly I did that day.

Sweet Lucy Quinn, I have told your sister that she made me a mother.  I have told her this since she was small, thanking her for giving me the title for which I am the most grateful .  While pregnant with you I would tell her that as hard as it will be to share me with a sibling she must never forget that no one will ever take away her claim to being the one that made me a mom. Emily June made me a mother.  And I was proud of that.  I am proud of that.

But you, little Lucy, you made me know in my heart of hearts that I can do the tough stuff.

I walked away from my life once.  And it was tough.  But I had to.  I did it for Emily.  She gave me the strength and the courage to do that.

But this hard thing, this unmedicated birth, it was my marathon, my Iron Man, my mountain climb, my backpacking trip around the world.  While I believe there is sufficient evidence to prove that an unmedicated birth has benefits to the baby, that was not my motivation behind choosing this path.

I just wanted to know that I can do hard things.  For me.    So while our  birth story might be just one day in my thirty-five years, it changed me.

Lucy, my sweet Lucy…. you’ve made me so proud.  Of me.  This is a tremendous gift you’ve given me.

Sweet Lucy Quinn, who burst in to the world with your fist raised.  You are a champ.  A fighter.  I can see it in your determined little scowl, the way you hold your head while you nurse. You’re gonna be one tough cookie, I think.

But so is your Mom.