Category Archives: Relationships

About the Missing Years (plus bonus PSA)

I have been missing writing lately, but the couple of times I have opened up my blog to add a post after a 3.5 year absence it hasn’t felt quite right, so perhaps I should clear the air. With April Fools approaching it seems a good time.

Dont-Mind-the-Gaps

I have always strived to inject a humorous undertone in my writing, even when I’m actually quite worked up about an issue. Even the serious posts have been sprinkled with sarcasm for some comic relief. Over the last few years life has just seemed a bit too heavy to find the bright side, and try as I might I could not find my voice. Circumstances plus postpartum depression (and lets face it, the circumstances probably fuelled the PPD) did not make for a happy time. Some of this I will keep private (2014, you’re dead to me), but I feel it is important to share the struggles that J & I have faced these last two years because maybe somebody will read my posts and feel less alone. God knows how often I searched the Internet late into the night, looking for others who were sharing their similar stories.

Today, this image showed up on my Facebook newsfeed:

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I cried because it reminded me that last April 1st was not a good social media day for me. In February 2016 J & I, after a year of trying to conceive without success, received a general diagnosis of Secondary Male Factor Infertility and the prognosis only got worse from there after each embarrassing and painful test. Although we did eventually beat the odds late last year (much to the shock of our medical team), pregnancy after infertility or pregnancy loss is not experienced the same as a pregnancy achieved by a couple who have never experienced either. I know because I have now experienced both. I’m grateful for people that are spreading the message that fake pregnancy announcements are not funny. Not. Remotely. Funny.

Did you know that in Canada 1 in 6 couples experience some form of infertility? In the United States that number is 1 in 8. Worldwide, the figure jumps to 1 in 4. I can tell you right now that before February 2016 I was unaware of these stats, and at that point I had been on this earth for 32 years. Male factor infertility? Literally didn’t know it existed. Secondary infertility? Nope. Wasn’t aware that was a thing either. Pregnancy loss is more visible, but no less painful. In fact, couples experiencing pregnancy loss are often expected to return to life as usual within an incredibly short period of time even by those who were privy to the loss. Their pain is minimized by society at large, which must only bring on a whole other level of pain, guilt and shame.

Infertility carries a lot of guilt and shame too. Infertility takes over. It destroys marriages. It destroys happiness. I’m not saying that it always does, or that everyone copes (or fails to cope) in the same manner, but what I am saying is I just didn’t know it could, and if you haven’t experienced it you probably didn’t know either. People say a lot of dumb stuff to infertile couples, and they just don’t know how painful it can be to have to hear them. I do hope to share more about different aspects of our infertility journey with you in the coming weeks and in typing this I hope it serves to hold me accountable to my intentions. For now I will leave you with this PSA from us Womb Warriors:

Don’t be a social media fool this April 1st. Fake pregnancy announcements haven’t ever been and won’t ever be funny. I assure you that someone you love has suffered in silence with infertility or pregnancy loss. Guilt, shame and/or embarrassment keep many people from speaking their struggles aloud. These posts are heartbreaking to a woman who may never feel life quicken in her womb, a woman who has lost a life that once grew there, or a man who may never know the joy of holding his precious newborn.

Infertility Awareness.png

Besides, just turn on the news. You can find plenty of April Fools fodder to share there, like this one that the Washington Post published hilariously prematurely:
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Oh…

Love is Surviving his Noxious Gas (and 6 Other Things I Realized While Watching The Bachelorette)

ImageOkay, so this season of The Bachelorette is over, and everyone is so happy for Des after she managed to take one day to get over being dumped by the supposed love of her life in order to get engaged to her second choice. In case you live under a rock and/or have a serious aversion to social media (if so, I’m glad my blog is an exception, thank you) and have never heard of ABC’s smash hit The Bachelorette, it’s basically a show where one woman spends 10 weeks sifting through a group of 25 men to find her one true love. It’s totally realistic.

I’m kind of embarrassed that I got sucked in this year. I’ve never watched it before. I was trying to reconnect with my girly side. It’s been a long time since I got to hang out with some girlfriends and watch a chick flick or Sex and the City. I’m a stay at home mom and rarely have a reason to dress nice or wear makeup. I have a son and am engaged to a real guy’s guy. I’ve begun to grow hairs on my chest and have developed a penchant for peeing outdoors. Ok, just kidding on the last two counts… although I did have to pee outdoors a few weeks ago when J’s stellar navigational skills got us lost in the middle of nowhere. I did not enjoy it. I especially didn’t enjoy that he laughed his ass off the whole time and I could barely go I was so embarrassed. What a jackass… I mean… so glad he could find humour in my humiliation, that sweet, sexy, ever-loving fiancé of mine… errrrr, right.

And on that note, the amount of times that Des talked about ‘real love’ on the show, and then proceeded to swoon over presents, poetry and romantic walks on the beach made my ears bleed. Apparently true love Bachelorette-style equates with Nicholas Sparks-style romance. Um, Des? Don’t you know Mr. Sparks’ romances rarely end in happily ever after? Screen shot 2013-08-06 at 11.43.12 AM

So, I decided to make a 7 point list of what love really is in order to help out future stars of The Bachelorette. You’re welcome, o seekers of true love. You’re welcome.

Love is…

1. … being able to tell little white lies and feel no guilt because you know you’re doing it to protect the one you love. And no, I am not advocating dishonesty. I’m talking about insignificant lies that protect no deep dark secret. Nope. Just the kind of tiny lie that is meant to cover your passive aggressive ass and protect the illusion that you are nothing less than perfect. Screen shot 2013-08-06 at 11.50.31 AM

Example scenario: Your boyfriend/husband/partner always manages to throw his/her dirty laundry on the floor next to the hamper rather than in it. After asking politely several times, your passive aggressive tendencies take over and you find yourself tearing a beloved t-shirt into tiny pieces with your scissors/teeth/claws. Little white lie: “Oh Honey, no! I would never tear your favourite t-shirt to shreds. The dog/cat/baby dragon must have got it, that little rascal.”

2… never having to say you’re sorry. JUST KIDDING! Love is a big fat slice of humble pie and if you don’t learn to admit when you’re wrong and learn to use that word with sincerity, your love is probably going to drown in a big boiling vat of resentment. Ironically, the movie that line comes from ends in much the same fashion as a Nicholas Sparks novel.

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3. … being able to put up with someone’s crazy quirks. Example scenario: Your husband turns to you in bed with that loving look on his face (you know, that look that normally tells you you’re gonna get some), leans towards you, reaches out and tucks your hair behind your ear, his lingering fingertips soft on your cheek, looks deep into your eyes while reaching for something off the night table behind you and says, “Honey, will you please pluck each individual back hair out with these tweezers I bought today?” Even though your brain is probably sincerely questioning your taste in men, you do as he asks, cuz hey, you love him and he loves to be hairless. C’est la vie.

4… being able to refrain from committing murder. Let’s face it. Part of the reason divorce is rampant is because we have this fairytale idea of love. We’re told it’s always there. We’re told we should want to always be with that person. That we should always miss that person when we are apart. Pft. It’s impossible to feel lovey dovey all of the time. The person you love is the person you spend the most time with. You see the best of them, but it also means you see the worst of them. If you can survive those worst moments you can survive anything. That’s love. If you commit homicide, that is not love. Therefore, not committing homicide = true love. (Don’t bother pointing out the fallacy here. I’m well aware.)

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5… realizing that if the knife actually did slip/the pillow lingered a little too long/the vial of arsenic did accidentally get knocked over into his stew, you would miss him terribly. Yes, the love of your life will probably drive you cuckoo bananas, but you’d rather risk your sanity than live without him.

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6…  being able to survive his noxious gas. This is especially important to the stars of The Bachelorette. Men are smelly smelly creatures, but they can hide it well in the early weeks/months of a relationship. Ladies, 10 weeks is not long enough. Once you’ve survived your first Dutch Oven (intentional or inadvertent) and you still want to let that guy/disgusting creature/swamp thing touch you in your happy place, you’ll know you’re playing for keeps. Screen shot 2013-08-06 at 12.03.42 PM

7… when, despite his protests and threats to retreat to the basement man cave, that man will give in to your request to curl up in bed with you and watch The Bachelorette. Watching The Bachelorette is probably way down there on that list of things your man would like to do. He might even rather stab himself in the eye with a fork, cuz hey, he’s got two eyes. He could be using his one remaining good eye to watch Duck Dynasty or Cops or ANYTHING ELSE. So yeah, watching The Bachelorette with you? Now THAT is love.

How to (Sleep) Train Your Dragon(s)

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Image from deubellzebub’s Etsy store. Go buy something so that I don’t get sued for stealing this image.

I think Baby Dragon is about to fall asleep for his early morning nap, but I can never be too sure. With babies you can think you have a good thing going and then blammo, your hell spawn is screaming in his crib and you’re cowering in the corner covered in various kinds of bodily fluids (His? Yours? Who the hell knows).

Yes, the time has come to kick sleep training into high gear. Baby Dragon, whose roar of choice is a wail so deep that instead of striking fear in its opponent (me), it penetrates to the very core of my soul/heart/being (reader’s choice!) and whittles away at my sense of reason by activating the self-doubt gene that every parent struggles their whole existence to overcome. But THAT is the challenge of the ‘cry it out’ (CIO) school of thought. When your baby dragon is wailing alone in his cage (crib), demonstrating his mad drama skillz (he is going to make it in Hollywood, I swear!), you will question your parenting choices. Is CIO really the way to go? What if he really NEEDS me?

Answers: Yes, it is the way to go. And if he really needs me, I will know it, and no book detailing a method is going to deter me from picking him up!

How do I know it’s the way to go? Because sleep in this house is on its way to being something that actually exists! CIO, contrary to popular believe, does not mean leaving your dragon to wail himself into a fury, hone his fire breathing abilities and burn your house down so that you wake up amongst the smouldering cinders (that exact scenario is the popular belief). It is actually a progressive waiting method. The idea is that you put your dragon in his cage awake, tuck him in, kiss him goodnight and leave. If he cries you set a timer and wait until it runs out before going back in. When you go back in you may adjust blankets, replace a soother, pat and kiss for reassurance, but for the love of God DO NOT PICK UP YOUR BABY DRAGON! If you do he will demonstrate the fire breathing skills he’s been working on and you will not only be homeless, you’ll also be hairless… and everyone knows that if you’re homeless in this winter climate you need lots of hair, so please, don’t be ridiculous. You then leave the room again after having spent no more than two minutes with your baby dragon. If he starts to cry again you reset the timer for a slightly longer period and wait it out once more. Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat etc. The miracle is that we have never gone beyond two wait periods! This method works for this dragon!

Baby Dragon asleep in his cage

Baby Dragon asleep in his cage

And not only does it work, it has improved his sleep. When we were co-sleeping and Daddy Dragon was relegated to the spare room, Baby Dragon was waking up every 1.5-2 hours during the night. Since the CIO sleep training has begun the 5-6 wake ups/night has been reduced to 1. Yup, that’s right. 1. 1 measly little almost insignificant wake up! It’s a miracle. So, you’d think this mama would be getting some sleep now. Well, you’d be Wrong. That’s right. So wrong that the ‘W’ needs to be capitalized.

Let’s back up a bit.

The sleep training began not by choice. It began because Daddy Dragon reclaimed his rightful place in bed. He weaselled his way back in by engaging in our most romantic conversation to date. It went something like this:

J: The baby is sleeping in his crib tonight.
S: No! I’m not ready!
J: Don’t be a wimp.
S: I’m not a wimp! I’m just not ready! Neither is the baby!
J: You promised that at 4 months he’d go in the crib.
S: … (I got nothing… it’s true. I did promise).
J: So the baby is going in his crib tonight, end of story. (He tries to end the story quite often. He has yet to realize that is isn’t the sole author of this story. Hell, he’s not even the first author of this story! I’m pretty sure that’s the kid.)
S: Fine. If you want the bed back I guess I could sleep with the baby in the spare room.
J: What do I have to do to make you realize that I want you in my bed again? Tell you?
S: Um… yes?

D’awe. Aren’t we sweet?

Romance Fail

This is typical of J’s idea of romance, and is the reason why yes, he did need to tell me!
Image courtesy of mindskin.com

So, Baby Dragon went to his crib that night with no time for me to mentally prepare (probably a good thing cuz I would have just psyched myself out) and Daddy Dragon reclaimed the west side of the bed. At first I was happy that he had expressed a desire to sleep by my side again… but then reality set in and I was swiftly reminded of how difficult it was to learn to sleep by each other’s side comfortably in the first place. Daddy Dragon’s roar of choice is the snore roar, and let me tell you, it is loud and it is mighty. Mighty. Loud. He also likes to fight battles in his sleep which involves a lot of thrashing and grunting. These are the various forms he took last night:

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Image courtesy of my real life experience

The pink ‘x’ represents where I fit into the picture. b. is the absolute worst case scenario because I have the least space and the weird neck angle results in the most tremendous snore roar. All scenarios result in blood pouring out of my ears and unhealthy homicidal thoughts. I’m not too sure if sharing the bed again is so good for our relationship… ok, that’s not true. I value the pre-sleeping cuddle time and we did manage to figure out bed-sharing once before. I just need to recommence the shoving and punching that beat him into shape last time around.

Baby Dragon has awakened from his nap and is letting out that frustrated cry that only creatures with underdeveloped wings can master, so off I go to rescue him.

Despite my whinging, I love my Dragons

Despite my whinging, I love my Dragons. Aren’t they beautiful?

P.S. I love that I have about five million drafts started, but this post is the one that made it to completion. Why? Because two of my favourite blogesses have also posted about sleep (or, to be more accurate, lack thereof) in the last two days. Sleep is so important and so scarce with wee ones around. I have to credit their misery for the actual completion of this post. Check them out:

Sanity Has Left the Building

A (mostly) Depressing Post

Every Mommy Needs a Daddy Sometimes

So after yet another night of four feedings I groggily and reluctantly woke up before the sunrise because Baby H said so. I went down, popped a T-Disc in the machine and cried to myself a little bit. I miss my friend Sleep so much, although I somehow don’t feel it so much during the day. I miss it in the throes of lacking it, when J is fast asleep and snoring.

I came back upstairs to where my little wiggle monster was, well, wiggling around in his bassinet. I flipped on the TV to find a familiar scene unfolding.

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As a pregnant lady watching this movie last summer I definitely related most to the Elizabeth Banks character. Despite people telling me that I had ‘that glow’, I did not have that glow. It was just sweat. Buckets and buckets of sweat. To be fair, it was the hottest summer on record and I had no air conditioning, but still. I spent the last months of my pregnancy flopping around on the couch feeling like I’d never be comfortable ever again.

So, given this information, and the fact that I have clearly forgotten it, why on earth do I feel twinges of envy as friend after friend announces their summer babies on the way and posts adorable belly bump pictures? They are still small enough that they really are glowing and lovely. Maybe that’s why. Maybe if they were posting pictures of themselves looking like beached whales or Violet Beauregarde post-blueberry incident I might not feel that little bit of envy.

Two days before the birth of H... see the resemblance?

Two days before the birth of H… see the resemblance?

Why on earth would I miss being pregnant? Besides being huge and uncomfortable, I was a sleep deprived hormonal nightmare. I haven’t slept since August! I have no sleep in the foreseeable future. And while I don’t begrudge J his sleep (ok, I do begrudge him just a smidgen of sleep), I have in fact, as Amy at Pregnant Chicken (<- Pregnant women, click that link. You’ll thank me later.) warned, stared at his sleeping, peaceful face at 2am and wondered what the hell the point of him is. In those sleepless 2am moments, especially post-baby, as I stumble around blearily trying to figure out if the baby needs to be changed, nursed, or both, I think of J simply as “the sperm donor” and feel like he couldn’t possibly be the father because he clearly abandons me in every 2am moment of need. If only the men had the boobs… (ok, no. I love breastfeeding and wouldn’t give it up for any amount of uninterrupted sleep, and that’s the truth!).

Sperm Donor

Ok, to the point. On those nights I don’t really feel abandoned. That’s the deal. He needs to get up at 5am to work every day, and he operates heavy machinery. I’d be a pretty horrible person if I expected him to share in the sleepless nights. However, despite my supermom status, I must admit that sometimes I need him. And so does the baby. The other night, I was having a moment (or several). For the life of me, I could not get little H to sleep. He’s normally really easy to put to bed! Nurse him or pop a soother in and he’s fast asleep in 5. This night, though, I felt like my baby had been replaced by a banshee. He screamed until he was purple in the face, tears streaming from his eyes. I tried everything but he could not be consoled. This is how J found us upon arriving home from work at 10pm (where he’d been since 6am). I fully anticipated that he’d disappear into the basement or to bed and leave me to deal with the shit show we’d created. Instead I was pleasantly surprised. He came into the room and started talking to the screaming, writhing mass that I suspected was the baby but was no longer sure. My head was throbbing and I couldn’t think clearly. All of a sudden there was silence as H listened to his daddy’s voice. There was still some pouting and gasping going on, so J picked up the baby and off they went to play in front of the mirror and have a little chat. An hour later a perfectly calm little angel child was returned to me and we fell asleep side by side, which is where J found us 6 hours later at 5am. It was a miracle.

So you see girls, there is a point to him. If you’re tempted in those last days of pregnancy or early days of baby to stab him with a fork as he lies there sleeping like an angel (or snoring like at trucker), hold off. Think about it for a few days to make sure its what you really want to do. You might end up regretting it because even though it may not seem like it during those sleepless nights, every mommy needs a daddy sometimes.

S and J

All Families are Psychotic

“All families are psychotic, so sayeth Douglas Coupland” (Me, just now).

OMG guys, I just realized. My parents are divorced. This must mean that I’m going to be a horrible influence on my child.

NOT.

What I meant to say

What I meant to say

Ok, so divorce sucks. I’m not gonna lie; however, it’s a total misconception that the children of divorced parents are more likely to be messed up than those who grow up in that ever-revered all-hallowed nuclear family unit. In my personal experience I have known well-adjusted people whose parents are divorced and people with severe addictions and personality disorders whose parents are still married even to this day. Who’s to say what’s worse? For all the academic articles out there warning of the negative impacts of divorce on children there are just as many that focus on the effects of abuse, including that elusive,  constantly slipping under the radar mother effer, verbal abuse  —if any kind of abuse is slippery, that’s the one because it is the least reported and most invisible (see Teicher et al., 2006). Have you reached out and touched an insult lately? I didn’t think so. Abuse happens in nuclear families too.

Nuclear: Not necessarily nice

Nuclear: Not necessarily nice

Why on earth am I thinking about this? Because my brain is in the bad place. You know, that place where it goes to get angry and/or feel sorry for itself. Postpartum depression aside, my whole life I have been inadvertently punished by others because my parents couldn’t get along. Nice thing to put on a kid, people. Just sayin’.

My first divorce related owie came shortly after my parents separated. I noticed that suddenly my best friend wasn’t allowed to sleep over anymore. It took some plying, but I finally got her to confess that her mom believed that children of broken homes were bad influences. Say what!? I was pretty much an angel during my teen years. I never really rebelled. Maybe I rebelled a bit in my early to mid 20s, but that’s pretty late! Far later than the sensitive young age of 13 anyway, which is when this offense occurred. Parents should have been begging my parents to let me hang around their kids. I was a total nerd. My homework was always done early, my idea of a good time was to get an A on an assignment, and my extra-curricular of choice? Solo clarinetist for our regional youth orchestra. Oh yeah. I was the biggest badass out there, clearly.

Sadly, I did not have a cape

Sadly, I did not have a cape

The next time I was faced with a similar comment was probably five years later. I was waiting for class to start and the girl next to me turned to me and said, “Hey, do you think you’ve had so many boyfriends because your parents are divorced and you don’t live with your dad?” Uh… holy inappropriate comment Batman. Ok ok. There was probably some context, but I truly don’t remember the nature of the conversation. What I do remember is that this chick was no friend of mine and whether or not I had daddy issues was none of her beeswax.

Holy Robin

Admittedly, I have boyfriend hopped a bit. I guess I was a nerd that never had a problem in that department? I dated other nerds, wannabe badasses and real badasses. Actually, that’s it. I had three boyfriends during high school. Those identifiers should all be singular. It wasn’t that I dated a lot of guys, it was just that there wasn’t much time between each relationship. Is that because my parents are divorced? Who the hell can say? And why is it even a bad thing? I was a teenager! Teenagers do stupid stuff, and of all the stupid things I could have been doing that was the least of my parents’ worries. Geez.

Most recently, since becoming a mom, I have been faced with criticism from people thinking that I might not have what it takes to hold a family together simply because my parents are divorced. Seriously, people need to get over it. In a society where more than 50% of couples get divorced (and I am in no way implying that this is good, I’m simply stating that it is) I think it’s time for us to redefine the norm. I don’t deserve to be pigeonholed as dysfunctional simply because my parents are divorced. Say, for example (and I stress that this was not the case), my father were physically abusing my mother in the years leading up to their divorce. Should they have stayed together simply because they took a vow? What is more harmful to the children of that union? Most would argue that divorce is best for the children in this case. What if physical abuse wasn’t the problem, but rather verbal abuse? Children that grow up being exposed to verbal abuse can develop severe anxiety and/or depression (Teicher et al., 2006). They can become dependent on substances, develop a slew of behavioural disorders, or end up being bullies and abusers themselves  (Suh & Abel, 1990; Tang, 1997). For example, the number one cause of compulsive lying disorder is fear (Kartha, n.d.). Fear of what? Fear of a beating? Fear of being screamed at? Children are sensitive and they want to avoid all these things, so why wouldn’t they develop coping mechanisms such as these? In this case, is the child better off having lived in a household with insults bouncing off of every surface, or would they have been better off if the parents went their separate ways? In fact, it is widely acknowledged in academic literature on divorce that the anguish and resulting behavioural problems that develop in the children of divorced parents are not a product of the termination of the marriage, but are rather a result of the conflict witnessed between parents while the marriage was still in tact (Adamson & Thompson, 1998; Emery, 1988; Long et al, 1987).

Can I get a...

Can I get a…

The point that I am trying to make is that we shouldn’t judge. Unless you have lived it you do not know the circumstances and should not presume to know anything about a person one way or another simply based on the marital status of his or her parents. It’s quite ludicrous when you really think about it. All of these judgments come from the analytical mind anyway. They come from a place of ego where we have formed opinions based on a belief that one upbringing is ‘better’ than another. The ever popular Eckhart Tolle urges us to become free of these types of judgements —“free of the egoic mind” (2004).

The truth: The circumstances of my parents’ divorce are nobody’s business but their own. I certainly don’t have all the details, nor do I want them. By definition, yes, my home was ‘broken’. But does that mean my upbringing was lacking love and direction? My parents loved me, they just didn’t love each other anymore (and even then I don’t think things are ever that simple). They taught me to treat others as I’d like to be treated —to love and treat my family and friends with respect and to never take them for granted. They encouraged me to get an education and to travel the world. We weren’t rich by any means, but I had everything I could have ever needed and then some. They taught me the value of a dollar and that hard work pays off. Does being divorced negate everything they did right?

Owl

Where am I going with all of this? Oh, yeah. I’ve got enough on my plate right now. I’m a new mom. I’m sleep deprived. I’m learning new things every day. I’d love to say that I’ve reached some level of spiritual enlightenment where these things don’t affect me, but my life is so wrought with insecurity right now that I don’t have the where-with-all to chalk it up to ignorance and be the bigger person. I don’t need these kinds of insensitive comments. I’ll just get my back up and that’s never a good scene.

Children learn from example, and the most important thing is to raise them in households that uphold love and respect between all members. So that’s my plan. Love J, love little H, show them the respect they deserve and expect the same in return. This has nothing to do with marriage or divorce. It’s basic human decency.

Mk?

Mk?

If you want to be a part of this new life of mine by all means, come visit. However, I recommend that you check your ego at the door, lest you find it locked.

References:

Adamson, J.L., and Thompson, R.A. (1998). Coping with interparental verbal conflict by children exposed to spouse abuse and children from non-violent homes. Journal of Family Violence, 13(3), 213-232.

Emery, R.E. (1988). Marriage, divorce and children’s adjustment. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Kartha, D. (No date). Compulsive liar treatment. Retrieved Jan 4, 2013, from http://www.buzzle.com/articles/compulsive-liar-treatment.html.

Long, N., Forehand, R., Fauber, R., and Brody, G.H. (1987). Self-perceived and independently observed competence of young adolescents as a function of parental marital conflict and recent divorce. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 15, 15-27.

Me. (1983-Present). My brain. Toronto, ON: Deal With It Press.

Suh, E.K., and Abel, E.M. (1990). The impact of spousal violence on children of the abused. Journal of Independent Social Word, 4(4), 27-34.

Tang, C.S. (1997). Psychological impact of wife abuse. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 12(3), 466-478.

Teicher, M.H., Samson, J.A., Polcari, A., and McGreenery, C.E. (2006). Sticks, stones, and hurtful words: Relative effects of various forms of childhood maltreatment. American Journal of Psychiatry, 163(6), 993-1000.

Tolle, E. (2004). The power of now. Novato, California: New World Library.

Don’t be a Fool, Fool: Things Not to Say to a New Mom

Being a new parent is wonderful, glorious, amazing, awesome, fantastic, sweaty, exhausting and stressful. New parents need to work as a team, whatever that means. Configurations might be different, but the definition of ‘team’ must be agreed upon by both. My definition of team is pretty simple: Don’t piss me off. I don’t expect J to be up with me all night. Firstly, he doesn’t have the boobies.

Unless I buy him some boobies? Hmm… possible Christmas present!

Secondly, he works long days and operates heavy machinery. If I want a team member and father for Baby H at all, I think it’s best that he sleep at night. Pretty simple I think.

So, based on the experience of my brief foray into parenthood thus far and convos I’ve had with other mommies, here is a list of advice for new fathers of partners with expectations similar to mine. I also affectionately refer to it as the ‘How to Keep Your Manhood* in Tact List’.

1. When you’ve been ships passing in the night for a few days and the only contact you’ve had with the exhausted and unkempt yet astonishingly beautiful goddess that just bore the fruit of your hairy loins, is a single text that reads: I’m so tired :( Do not write back, “I slept sooooo good!” [insert the deadpan expression on my face here]. Especially do not follow that text up with another one that simply says, “LOL”. You will be lucky to live another day. Trust me.

2. Do not ask how soon you can have sex again. When she’s ready she will let you know. If you ask more than once you may receive a kick to the nether regions, thus incapacitating both of you and preventing this question from being asked for [insert appropriate amount of time here… I don’t know. I don’t have any nuts to be kicked in and so can’t say how much time this will buy the ladies]. I imagine that this applies at least threefold to women who have had a vaginal delivery.

You will also be forced to wear this… it’s not something to be proud of

3. When it comes to the safety of your newborn just assume that your partner knows more than you. Seriously, do not challenge her unless you were the one going to prenatal classes without her and who spent the last 9 months reading pregnancy and baby books. I can’t speak for all first time parent couples, but from personal experience and from asking other moms I have learned that women become moms the second they see the second pink line on the pregnancy test, whereas men decide that they only have 9 months left of freedom and instantly become way more wild and reckless up until the day the child is born. I don’t care if you have a revelation when you see that precious child’s face. In your partner’s mind she has been taking care of and worrying about this baby for nine months already and you will forever be the guy that almost left him fatherless on multiple occasions. Yes, we appreciate that you have had that revelation, but it doesn’t undo nine months of stressing about your well-being as well as that of the child. It’s too much, so just shut up and listen.

4. Do not ask for the television station to be left on some show with women running around in bikinis for ‘just a few minutes.’ Dude. That is way too transparent. Don’t be surprised if you wake up the next morning bound and gagged with the millions of bikinis your partner owns and may never feel comfortable wearing again because your giant child stretched her belly so badly that it looks like it’s a low hanging gelatinous map of purple rivers.

UNIMPRESSED

5. Your partner pretty much feels like her life is no longer her own. It has been consumed by a tiny, demanding, constantly hungry and poopy little alien. She loves this little alien, but life is suddenly so much more tiring. Do not suggest scenarios that could make life even more exhausting, such as, “Honey, wouldn’t it be funny/cool/awesome if next time it’s twins?” Uhhh…. FUNNY/COOL/AWESOME? This will earn you an emergency vasectomy right there on the spot in your very own living room, performed by your loving partner be she a surgeon by trade or a journalist. It doesn’t matter. You’re getting snipped and then she’s publishing a story about it in the paper. Everyone will know and the get well soon cards will come pouring in.

*Note: Manhood here can be defined as either the right, left, or both nuts; the whole package; and/or the general ability to produce children, whatever you believe that entails.

About the Belly at Negative 6 Days

Well my fellow bloggers, loyal readers and poor unfortunate souls that stumble upon my blog by googling things like “crunchy dinos eating kibble” and “four leaf clover to kill leprechaun” (true story… btw, I’d really like to know… WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE!?), I have been absent for a while. I’d love to say that it was because I went into labour and had this beautiful experience where I lay in a birthing tub surrounded by candles, Enya’s soothing music playing in the background, my doting husband at my side as I entered a deep trance and Lamaze breathed my way through a perfect labour and delivery. You may think I’m being facetious, but I’m really not. I’d actually love a birth story like that. I could easily be the author of that birth plan.

Image courtesy of privatemidwife.co

That is, of course, not at all the way it went. I’m not going to sit around here steeped in breast milk (hello double Ds! -also, I officially wish to announce that I have more in common with a stripper than ever before. My boobs are huge and everyone and their uncle (perverted or not) has seen them-), wishing that I could have pushed this giant baby out of my special place, had him placed directly on my breast naked and squalling, me crying from relief and J telling me that I’m his hero and that he loves me and by the way, will I marry him because I’m clearly the strongest and most beautiful woman he has ever met… no. I accept that things went the way they did. In the end, the outcome is the same. My little angel is sleeping safe and sound in his bassinet, happy as a clam and healthy as a horse.

The rare but real Happy Healthy ClamHorse
Image courtesy of shannonreallyneedstolearnhowtousephotoshop.com

 

Nevermind that just an hour ago I was pretty sure he was possessed because he wouldn’t stop crying… I am going to be writing my birth story. I’m not sure if this is the place to post it, but if you don’t find it here there will be a link to it. I’ll be sure to write a post including that at least. Or I may change my mind and let you all read the g(l)oryy(ious) details right on this very website. Advanced warning though, there will be no shenanigans in that story.

And so, without further ado, may I introduce Baby H, born Nov 1st at 7:19am EST, weighing in at 9lbs 5.5oz and measuring 21 inches long (please explain how that fit inside of me… I’d really like to know).

I shall call him Squishy and he shall be mine and he shall be my Squishy

P.S. About the belly? I still look at least 7 months pregnant. And no, I won’t post a picture because it horrifies me. I knew that’s how it would be, but nothing can really prepare you for the jello belly.