The Easy Way Out?

Moms who have had C-sections, myself included, get defensive when talking about it.  I was wondering why I always feel that I must explain why the first was an emergency (read about the birth of my first here) and that the ones following were necessary due to the first. I always feel that if I don’t justify the surgery (as if surgeries need to be justified), I will be considered “less of a mom”.

I can’t speak for everyone else, but I always felt that others would look down on me for not being able to have a “natural” birth. As if creating life and carrying it for 9 months isn’t natural enough.

A few weeks ago, Kate Hudson was interviewed in a magazine and was quoted saying the laziest thing she’s ever done was have a C-section. Now, I don’t know if she said that in jest or if she was serious but that created an online war. Some moms who have delivered naturally took her words seriously and started talking about how it is so lazy to have a C-section and how it’s the “easy way out” and moms who have had C-sections automatically felt the need to either hide or come out swinging.

Let me tell you, from personal experience …. having a C-section is definitely NOT the easy way out. I’m not saying that delivering vaginally is a walk in the park. I know it hurts … a lot. But how can you say that having surgery in order to deliver your child is EASY?! Your body gets sliced so many layers deep and while you have the spinal tap to numb you (more painful than an epidural needle by the way), you can still feel so much. Tugging, pulling, stretching, yanking … it is anything but painless.

When your child is born, you spend a few seconds with the baby and they take him away in order to suture you. In some countries they use stitches, but in some places they still close up a C-section using STAPLES. Ouch. Even if you don’t suffer from an infection on your scar, which so many do, the healing process is extremely painful.

When you try to nurse your baby and your uterus contracts it hurts like hell because its been sliced open and has fresh sutures holding it together. You walk around hunched over and for at least the first few days you need to hold on to something while you walk as you can’t stand up straight due to the stitches in your stomach. Standing up from a seated position takes FOREVER and is severely painful because you can’t use your stomach muscles sp pulling yourself up is excruciating. Same for when you’re laying down and need to get up. For the first few WEEKS after having my C-section I slept sitting up, propped up by pillows. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to get up to my crying newborn to feed him in the middle of the night.

Having a baby, whichever way you deliver, is NOT easy. It’s painful before, it’s painful during, and it’s painful afterwards.

We need to stop putting each other down. Stop making other moms feel like they aren’t good enough, that they aren’t enough of a mom. We are all trying our best. We are all struggling but in different ways. We should be helping each other and making each other stronger.

 

 

 

Dads are Parents too!

My son started 1st grade this year and at the end of August my husband and I were anxiously awaiting the text message with the class placement for him. Finally, my phone pinged with the info. MY phone only. Not his. Apparently, they sent the information to the moms only.

The first day of school was amazing. They had a big ceremony to welcome all the first graders to “big kid school” and it was very beautiful and emotional. Before all the parents went home, the teachers asked all the moms to stay in the classroom for a few minutes. She wanted to give us the paperwork needed to fill out with all the medical information, permission slips for trips, etc. Why just the moms? Do the dads not know this info about their children?

That night, a class Whatsapp was created by one of the moms for all the other moms so that we can help each other out with questions and keep each other informed. While I think that it’s a great idea – why just the moms?? Why can’t we include BOTH parents in the group?

My husband (like so many other dads) relies on me to get all the information about our kids. I used to think it was laziness on his part but now I realize that it’s not that most dads don’t want or care to be involved, it’s that they don’t get included. There are so many “Mommy & Me” classes but there aren’t any “Daddy & Me” classes or “Me & My Parents”. It drives me crazy!

My husband loves our three children *to the moon and back* and of course he cares about the ins and outs of their day! He takes them to school almost every morning and packs their school lunches every night. He kisses boo-boos and changes diapers. He tucks them in to bed and reads stories with them …. Why wouldn’t he?

Dads are parents too!

 

Family Night

Our day to day lives are so busy. My husband is self-employed and works (what seems like) every waking hour. Sometimes he works from home but often he is out of the house for the majority of the day, getting home very late. I work from home and between work, 2 kids + a baby and the house, I am always busy.  My children have busy schedules of their own with homework, after-school activities, and play-dates. 

It is very rare that we get to sit together for dinner. In our home, dinner is cooked and ready in the kitchen and gets served to whoever is ready to eat between 5:30 pm and bedtime. Usually the two older boys eat together. We don’t spend time together as often as I’d like but as much as I try to change the situation, I realized it just doesn’t work. 

But then, the weekend comes and every Friday night, without fail, we sit together for dinner as a family. No iPads, no TV, just us. We eat and talk about our week. The good, the bad, and the mundane. The kids tell us about things that happened in school, at their after school clubs, with their friends and its so much fun listening to them talk about their experiences. 

My 5 and 9 year old set the table together while I make the salad and after dinner my husband washes the dishes while the boys and I clear the table. After we finish eating, we have dessert while playing a board or card game.

I know it sounds cheesy, like a movie or TV show, but it’s important and it works for us. It’s our “family time”. It’s a bit of a routine, but its definitely never boring. There are always new stories that we share with each other. No matter how much my boys argue sometimes , they love teaming up and playing against us parents.

It’s just one day a week but since there are no distractions, my children talk to us. If something is bothering them, they let it out. They learned that we are there to listen to them and help them with anything. My children look forward to it just as much as my husband and I do. 

Friday night has become our family night where we bond and build memories. 

A Mom and her Boys

Yes… I have three boys. No… I didn’t wish/pray/hope for a girl. Yes… I enjoy being a mom of boys. Yes… my bathroom needs to be cleaned almost hourly.

Thanks for asking.

These are questions I have come to expect when people find out I have only boys. Once at a party, a friend’s father actually told me “a boy is yours until he takes a wife, a girl is yours for life”. What?! Why would you say that to someone who is a mom to only boys?

I have three amazing sons. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

They are insightful, inquisitive and adventurous. They are funny, loving and passionate. My sons are the ones who find tiny little flowers to pick for me when we go to the park and if they can’t find any … they draw a flower in the sand for me. My sons are the ones who tell me I look like a beautiful princess because I put on an old maxi sundress. My sons are the ones who find adventure in every little walk in the park (or trip to the supermarket). Any “shiny” stone they find while digging in the dirt becomes a precious stone they bring home to me. 

And yes … I also get snuggles, cuddles and kisses (sometimes) along with the muddy shoes, ripped jeans and pockets full of rocks, sticks and leaves. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

 

 

 

‘Coz We Are Living In A Material World …

Last year I noticed that my oldest son (then 8 years old) was starting to become obsessed with materialistic stuff. Always talking about the size of this or that house, the cool new toys he saw advertised, expensive cars, etc.

He wasn’t lacking anything he needed (or even wanted for that matter) but I realized that I haven’t been doing a great job at teaching him the difference between what he needs and what he wants. I knew I needed to talk to him. During our trips to the city I would give him change to give the needy, but I didn’t feel that he really understood. I started thinking of what I can do to get him more involved.

I then met these two wonderful women who ran a small organization called “A Cake from the Heart”. They would recruit people to bake birthday cakes for children whose parents really couldn’t afford to buy or bake them one.

This caught my son’s attention right away. In our house birthdays are HUGE. I love to bake so I make so many cakes for him and his brothers. A small cake for their actual birthday at home, a cake to take to school to share with their friends, a cake for their party … and each time it has a theme and a design. For him to hear that there are children who might not even get a regular simple cake for their birthday broke his heart. I decided to get my two older kids involved with this.

In one month we baked 17 cakes for needy children. We asked for their ages and tried to find out what they liked (soccer, dinosaurs, etc) so that we can make the cake as fun as possible.

The boys helped me bake and design the cakes. I took the boys with me the first time we went to deliver a cake to the organization. When we stepped inside my boys saw all the second hand items that other people had donated. They saw clothes, toys, baby gear and more.

On the way home, my older son asked me what else we can do to help. He said he never thought about how hard it was for some children to just be able to afford clothes and how sad he felt for them.

We decided together that twice a year (when we de-clutter the house) we would take the toys and clothes that they have outgrown (or got bored of) and donate it to needy families. My son even got a few of his friends involved.

Around the holiday season we got his class involved and this year we are doing a school-wide project collecting gifts and clothes for the needy.

As hard as the experience was for him, I think it opened his eyes to a world he didn’t realize existed and helped him become a little less obsessed with the materialistic world and a little more driven with helping others.

 

It Takes a Village

When my oldest son was 2 years old, my husband and I decided that we wanted to have another baby. I got pregnant so quickly with my first son, I never even gave it a second thought. But this time, months went by and every month was a devastating personal defeat.

About a year later I woke up one morning and just felt it! Took a pregnancy test and finally had that pink stripe on the stick. I was so excited! I already started planning how I would tell all my friends and family, took out all my maternity clothes from storage, and imagined how I would set up the new nursery.

Around 6 weeks later I had a rough night. I kept tossing and turning but wasn’t sure what was keeping me up. That morning, I woke up to heavy bleeding. I couldn’t breathe. I knew what it was but was in denial. I kept thinking about every other reason this might be happening trying to ignore the knot in my heart. I went to my doctor and found out I had something called a “chemical pregnancy”. A pregnancy that just didn’t stick. The doctor tried to assure me it wasn’t a miscarriage but call it what you will. I was pregnant and dreaming of a second child and then … I wasn’t.

I went home and cried my eyes out. Took a deep breath, put on my make up and went to work. I thought being busy would help distract me. Boy … was I wrong!

Sitting in my office, a close friend walked in and noticed right away that something was wrong. As soon as she asked me what was going on – the waterworks turned on. I told her I had a headache and just wasn’t feeling good. I could tell she didn’t believe me but didn’t push it.  I went to wash my face and sat back down to work. A co-worker came in to talk to me about something and as soon as I looked at her, I felt the tears slide down my cheeks. I decided I needed to go home.

I went to my boss planning to tell him that I wasn’t feeling great and I needed to go home. As soon as I walked into his office he looked at me full of concern and asked me what was wrong. I immediately started crying and told him what had happened. I couldn’t believe I was telling him something so personal. I never opened up about the things I was going through. Never “aired out my family laundry”. He listened to me and let me express my grief and then he told me how sorry he was. He shared with me that his wife had also gone through a miscarriage and he knew how horrible it felt. He told me to take off as much time as I needed and that he would bring my 2 year old home from the staff daycare.

That night I decided that going to work the next day would be good for me. It would keep me busy and preoccupied. The next morning, a friend walked into my office and asked me why I had left early the previous day. While I was planning on telling everyone I wasn’t feeling well, my mouth opened and my story came out. I decided to just be honest with anyone that showed concern for me.

I wasn’t sure why I was telling everyone my story, it was so unlike me, but I knew it was helping me cope with my feelings. I found out that so many people I knew had gone through something similar! There wasn’t much advice to get but knowing I wasn’t alone helped.

A few months later I became pregnant with my second son and recently also had a third. Raising my beautiful children is unbelievably rewarding but parenting is HARD. It’s full of struggles, concerns, hardships and, sometimes, just plain aggravation.  Being able to talk to others parents, ask for advice and share experiences helps through it all.

I decided that I wasn’t going to hide behind my painted smile anymore pretending everything was perfect. I was going to be real and honest. People always said “it takes a village” and I realized that, all along, I had my village.

 

 

*If you need someone to talk to please always feel free to reach out! @almost_sane_mom (twitter) — almostsanemom@gmail.com

Meant to be a Mother

I got married at 23 and couldn’t wait to be a mother. At 24, when I got pregnant, I had already read all the pregnancy books and subscribed to all the parenting magazines. I felt like a pro. I had my birthing plan all mapped out.  My pregnancy was flawless. None of the morning sickness I read about. I felt great.

But then … the 9th month and reality hit. The pain, the swelling and my due date coming and going. My doc suggested we induce as he estimated the size of my son to be “quite large”. I wasn’t having any of it. I already pictured my water breaking and the excitement of running to the hospital. My bag was all packed and ready for me in the car “just in case”. Well … week 40 turned to 41 and then … 42. I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t sleep. Doc said it was time.

OK, so one snag in the plan wasn’t the worst. I’ll be induced but then everything else will fall into place.

Contractions hit hard and the epidural didn’t work. My doctor told me I need a c-section. I was as stubborn as they come. No way! I am not having a c-section. That was not part of the plan.

But then … 28 hours later my fever spiked and my blood pressure dropped. Before I knew what was happening, my husband was signing forms and I was being rushed into emergency surgery. I passed out before my son was born. I wasn’t even conscious to receive my baby! I woke up a few minutes later. They showed me my perfect baby boy and I immediately fell in love. (I even quoted Monica Geller from Friends “No woman will ever be good enough for you!”) As they wheeled me off into recovery, I pictured holding him in my arms and nursing him and creating that amazing bond that I read about everywhere. “Breast is best”.

But then … my fever wouldn’t go down and I couldn’t hold my baby for 24 hours. In those 24 hours the nurses held him, and cared for him and fed him with a bottle. By the time I got to hold my son, he wouldn’t go near my breast. It was too much work for him. He wanted the bottle. Again, my stubbornness took over. I read that it could be hard but you should just keep with it. So I did. I didn’t see or feel any milk coming out but it was the natural way so I was sure he was getting what he needed from me. I was his mommy!

But then … I opened his diaper to change him and saw BLOOD in his urine. I frantically called the nurse in and she told me it was brick stain from not being fed adequately and she gave me a bottle of formula to give him. The lactation consultant at the hospital suggested that I try nursing him every time he’s hungry but then also supplement with a bottle. I went home and did just that. But every time I tried to nurse him he would scream and cry and claw at me until I gave him the bottle. And then while giving him a bottle, I would cry that I wasn’t able to breastfeed my baby. It went on like this for a month.

I wasn’t able to deliver him naturally, I wasn’t able to hold him right after he was born and I wasn’t able to breastfeed him. I felt like a failure at motherhood and it had only been a few weeks. I felt that I wasn’t meant to be a mother.

But then … my mom sat me down one day and opened my eyes. She told me that the bond between a mother and her baby is not created through breastfeeding alone. I could hold him close to me while giving him his bottle and create that same bond. Love him and look into his eyes. Motherhood was hard and it was only going to get harder (thanks for the encouragement!) but the best mom is the mom who does her best. Only HER best. Not the neighbor’s best. Not the best that was written about in the magazines. She needs to do what’s best for her and her family. I realized that crying while feeding my son was definitely not the best. Not for him and not for me. At his next feeding, I prepared that bottle and sat with him in the rocking chair. Looked into his big brown eyes and felt that connection. Felt the love and bond between us that 9.5 years later is still there and still strong.

I was meant to be a mother. I was meant to be HIS mother and I was doing MY best.