Three Things Never To Discuss: Religion, Politics… and oh yeah, Breastfeeding….

I want to start this off by saying (not just because I fully believe this, but because I want to protect myself from flying objects, fruit and rocks):  Breastfeeding is BEST.  There’s no mistaking or arguing the matter.  The facts prove it.  I don’t need to attach several different links that support this theory.  If you want to provide the best nutrients for your baby, you breastfeed, plain and simple.  I will never disagree this fact.

Now, since I am 33 weeks pregnant, I’ve been reading a lot of pregnancy related magazines.  And, I found this statistic located on the bottom page of one of my favorites:
“$13 BILLION: Additional health care costs because U.S. moms don’t breastfeed as recommended”
I won’t say which magazine this was in, because in case one of the 3 of you who read my blog happens to know someone who knows someone who works for this magazine, I certainly don’t want to get into trouble for citing anything or calling a statistic out.  But I have to tell you, reading this made my blood boil.
As you can guess from what I just said, no, I did not breastfeed my 5 year old son, Ben.  There are personal reasons that surround that, and from day one, Ben was bottle fed with formula.  Did I feel guilty about it?  Yes.  I wanted to do the “right thing” by him and his health and his well-being.  Ben went on to become a very healthy child, given the circumstances.  He went on to get maybe 1-2 colds a year, never had an ear infection in his entire life (knock on wood) and is very bright.  So of course, I question what this statistic means.  Anytime Ben was sick, and I brought him to the doctor, not once was I asked, “Ma’am, did  you breastfeed your son?”  Has anyone else been asked that question?
I can tell you that I have friends who breastfed exclusively, and have children who have asthma, allergies, and were sick more often than my son.  I also have friends who formula fed exclusively, and their children also suffer from the same plight.  So, based on this situation, I have always chalked up genetics to how a child may be growing up.  If you and your significant have allergies, asthma, etc. than your child may also wind up with that.  Breastfeeding has been shown to reduce these ailments, but it doesn’t seem to be a 100% security blanket against it.  Does that mean you shouldn’t breastfeed?  Of course not.  It just further confuses me in regards to this statistic.
And infuriates me.  I have other friends who tried desperately to breastfeed, one in particular comes to mind (she’s one of my blog readers).  A good friend of mine had twins who were born 10 weeks early.  Her babies were unable to feed in the beginning, and so she pumped every 3 hours, trying to get as much nourishing breast milk for her babies as she could, but eventually, her body was unable to make enough milk, and due to the babies’ size, they had to be put on special formula to help them gain weight.  I knew someone else who produced tons of milk, but the milk had little nourishment in it.  Her baby was still failing to thrive.  I am sure there are countless other stories.
The bottom line is, we all have moments where we feel less than stellar as parents.  And we feel judged at times.  It can be breastfeeding, or whether you work or stay home with your child, what sort of food you feed your child, how you parent or raise your child.  Some days it feels as though you try so hard to do your best, and then you read something like this, and it makes you question whether you’ve done the right thing or not by your child.  That will be something each person will have to decide on their own.  It feels as though throwing statistics around like this goads you into breast feeding, versus allowing you to make your own decisions based on the fact that it’s the best option, and from what I’ve heard, a fantastic bonding experience.  Why can’t we let that be the merits that guide someone to choose breast feeding?
As for me, I do plan to breastfeed my baby in the making.  I have a very supportive husband who will back me all the way, but if for some reason I am unable to, I am going to cut myself some slack!  Being a parent is hard enough!

My Mom Screwed Me Up

I think I need to elaborate more on my “Mommy Guilt”.  Most of the behaviors we have in life stem from something linking to our childhood.  That’s common knowledge, a simple two plus two equation.  Parents were our role models.  Often, you will see a good behavior and want to mimic that; other times, if it’s negative, you can go one of two ways: you either mimic, or you don’t.

I know, that’s like hearing there’s a 50/50 chance that it will rain today, right?  I mean, in essence, every day there’s a 50/50 chance that SOMETHING will happen.

This can extend out to your surroundings, other relatives, friends, etc.  But, it all begins with parenthood.  How’s that for added pressure?
Both my sister and I are struggling with being the “supreme parent”.  We want to do it all.  We want to be all to our children, because growing up, we went without.  Many times, young girls look to their mothers for guidance, and we had none.  We lived in an apartment filled with filth and garbage.  Dishes sat in the sink collecting mold.  Mom had cats, and the cats would piss and shit all over the carpet, and it would never get cleaned.  She’s have parties and invite all the neighbors.  These parties consisted of illegal drugs and booze. Our front door was never locked, because she didn’t want anyone to feel they couldn’t just come in whenever they felt like it.  We were the party apartment.
Most of the time, I’d escape and wander the apartment complex with other friends.  We were roughly eight years old.  How many of us would allow our young children to go wandering late at night, with no supervision?  I can’t even imagine letting Ben do something like that!
There’s more to this story, but I will spare you the details.  The point is, I saw how my mother behaved, and I swore even at a young age that when I had children, I would do the exact opposite.  I would spend time with my kids.  I would keep the house clean.  I didn’t know though, that once I had a child, it would kick start something inside me that almost resembles obsessive compulsive disorder. If I don’t get something done in a timely manner, I feel guilty.  If I want to spend time doing something other than spending time with my son, I feel bad.  If the house needs cleaned, I can’t do anything else until it’s done.
I work very hard at not going overboard.  I don’t want my son to grow up with his own issues of dependence, because I didn’t teach him independence.
And I know that overall, he’s going to come out a little scathed, because we all come out a little scathed.  No one is perfect.  You do the best you can with what you’ve got and pray it all turns out in the end.
It’s definitely a work in progress….

Holy crap.  I haven’t been on in almost a month.  Has it really been that long?  A quick glance at my blog tells me that yes, it certainly has.

I want to ask the other moms out there (and dads, if you want to contribute, please do): How do I get over the mommy guilt?  Dads, how do you get over the daddy guilt?  Or, do you even have the guilt?  Do you feel just as bad as I do, taking even 30 minutes, sometimes more or sometimes less, to do something all for you?

Right now, my son is watching a 30 minute movie, and I think, “What the hell is wrong with me?  We could be _________________ (going for a walk, reading a book, playing a game, learning, doing something productive).”  And here I am with my ass on the couch, blogging.  I know his brain won’t melt.  And, he’s watching a construction DVD, so he’s at least learning something that may be of use to him someday in the future, perhaps?  Look at me, trying to justify my not spending time with him.
When I started this blog, I had grand ideas.  And I still do!  So much of what I want to accomplish will come later, after the new year so right now, this is a place for me to talk and pretend I have other grown ups surrounding me.  You know, before we had kids and the focus of conversation was on ourselves and not on our children.  And not to say I don’t enjoy having the topic be about my son; you will find that most of what I talk about on this blog consists of being a parent.  How do I get around the guilt though?  This doesn’t just surround my family, it’s also house cleaning related too.  Right now, I’ve got my eye on items that need to be picked up and put away, dishwasher that needs to be emptied and re-loaded.  How can I ignore that?
Does anyone have suggestions?  Anyone?  I can tell you that I have so many things I want to write about swarming in my head…. yet the mommy guilt trumps those thoughts every time!

I Can’t Drive 55? Try 40…

Look, anyone who knows me, knows I am a LOUSY driver.  I don’t take offense.  I often offer condolences to anyone who has to enter into a vehicle with me when I am behind the wheel.  I can’t think of one person who hasn’t gripped the “oh shit” handle for dear life when a passenger in my car.

To add insult to injury, a friend of mine recently informed me that while backing out of a parking lot, I almost hit his car.  I thought he was pulling my leg, but he was serious.  Apparently I am the only one who didn’t see his blinding white car driving slowly behind mine.
I really do try my best to pay attention.  And when my son is in the car, I would say I go from being a LOUSY driver, to a MEDIOCRE one. But I digress…. considering my poor driving history, you may feel the rant I am about to unleash is uncalled for.  But, as the days progress, as I get older… I get less patient.  And I never started with much to begin with.
The speed limits on the roadways are set up for a reason.  They are clearly marked.  You can’t miss them.  If you don’t see the speed limit signs posted in black and white, then you should be wearing glasses.  And if you still can’t see them, then you shouldn’t be driving. Why is it that a sign clearly marked “55 MPH” or “60 MPH” let’s say, is ignored?  As though those signs don’t exist?  The past several months, countless vehicles have been in front of me, going 35-40 MPH in a 60 MPH zone.  And I try so hard to just relax, and accept the fact that the person in front of me doesn’t want to go the speed limit, or anywhere close to it.  I try to ignore the honks from other impatient drivers as they are all slowly driving behind me- but usually I get the slow driver when I am in a hurry.  Of course. Does this come as any surprise?  And then I get annoyed.  And irritated.  I turn into those maniacal drivers, the ones who zip and zoom around a slow driver, which in driver language is flipping the bird at the slow driver.  Let’s admit it.
I recently posted a question on Facebook: “Is it illegal to go too slow when you drive?”  I had a few friends respond, “yes”.  I’ve done some research online, and I’ve found that it’s dangerous to go too slow.  Going too slow can cause road rage (hence flipping the proverbial driving middle finger) and drivers will act recklessly, which can cause accidents.  Blame it on the slow driver; blame it on the asshole driving crazily through traffic.  However you want to slice it, it’s still a bad situation.  Due to these dangerous situations, if you are a slow driver caught in the fast lane, you can be cited for failing to stay right except to pass and receive a pricey ticket. Each state has their own way of handling the situation.  If you are a slow driver in the right lane, however, you most likely will not get a ticket.
You may get some dirty, evil glares, though.

Subchorionic Hematoma

First, let me start this off by issuing a much needed apology.  To the friends who I chastised during their own  pregnancies with phrases such as:
“You’re feeling nauseated?  Eat something!”
“Well, if you would only move around a little more, your back wouldn’t be hurting as bad as it is.”
“It’s not as bad as you are making it out to be.  If you had a better attitude, then you would feel better!”

I must tell you something… there is a reason for the expression, “KARMA IS A BITCH.”

I said these idiotic things because I had an incredible pregnancy with my first son, Benjamin.  I can only remember one day I ever felt sick.  My first trimester, if my stomach felt a little strange, I’d pop some salty pretzels, and call it a day.  I was working as a leasing agent for an apartment community, and I showed apartments (on the 3rd floor, mind you) all day and had no issues, whatsoever.  This is where I could easily regale you with my own tales that are similar to “and I walked five miles in the snow, BAREFOOT, to school, both ways mind you, while there was a raging blizzard swooping around me, and not once did I complain about it!”  Don’t worry though, I won’t.  I think you get the idea.  Good pregnancy.  CHECK.  And, as we can all imagine, the delivery of Benjamin was just as incredible.  DOUBLE CHECK.

So here I am, years later, pregnant with my second son, Nolan.  At six weeks, the nausea started.  It would begin every morning.  So, I would do what I assumed was the correct way to handle the situation: I’d eat something.  Which, would further worsen the condition.  I’d eat pretzels, foolishly assuming that what worked with Benjamin would work for Nolan.  Of course, it didn’t.  Morning sickness is the biggest misnomer known to man.  I had ALL DAY sickness.  Which would then lead to heartburn.  Which would then lead to pressure in my abdomen caused by gassiness.  And gassiness never led to poopiness, because that would mean I could poop, which of course, I couldn’t.  Constipation, gotta love it!

This lasted for a few weeks, and then started to subside.  Only to be replaced by a little friend of mine that has plagued me for years: BRONCHITIS.  I was hacking up a lung every night.  Maybe I should issue more apologies to my family, who had to endure the month long cough fest.  And because I was barely pregnant, my doctor didn’t want to put me on an antibiotic, which is understandable.  Robitussin-DM and I became fast friends, often spending some alone time together in the wee hours of the night.  And, because of all the coughing I did, the entire left side of my ribs developed inflammation in the cartilage and so every time I did cough, I felt a searing, burning pain, so painful that I assumed I’d cracked a rib from all the coughing, and had x-rays taken.  (Don’t worry, the hospital wrapped me up around the abdomen THREE TIMES to ensure the safety of Nolan).

I was MISERABLE.  But sometimes in order for you to better appreciate what you have, something worse needs to happen.  I was closing in on 12 weeks pregnant, when I had gone to the bathroom late one night (as pregnant women often do) and discovered bright pink spotting.  The first words out of my mouth were, “OH NO.”  In my head?  “Oh shit.  Oh fuck.  What the hell is going on?!?”  And in my heart, I was very sad and troubled.  I immediately assumed the worst.  My husband Kevin and I had tried for five months, which I know isn’t a long time in terms of babymaking.  But, this was it for us.  I went to bed that night putting on a brave face.  Kevin asked me, “Should I be freaking out right now?”  I assured him that there was no need to, women do this all the time.  But inside, I was FREAKING OUT.  And I said so to my doctor the next morning.  He acted as though he didn’t hear me say “I’m bleeding.”  He must have heard, “It’s a nice day outside.”  He was very nonchalant about the situation, and we scheduled an ultrasound.  He assured me that many women bleed in their first trimesters.  The hell you say!  THIS woman didn’t!

But I did.  For four weeks, off and on, I bled.  First pink spotting, then brown/dark brown/wine colored spots.  Sometimes, a few clots would make their way out.  The ultrasound confirmed that the reason for the bleeding was a condition known as Subchorionic Hematoma.  Have you ever heard of this?  I hadn’t.  Anyone who knows me, knows I immediately went on the computer and looked up every possible link I could find on the condition.  Bottom line (and the simplest way to explain it) is this type of Hematoma is a blood clot that forms in the folds of the uterus.  There’s no known cause.  The placenta decided to tear a bit away from the uterus, and where the tear had been, a clot had formed.  This is a GOOD thing.  My body was clotting a boo-boo that didn’t belong.  But as with any sore, it needs to heal.  The blood caused by the tear was passing from my body, and it took a long time for it to pass.  I was put on modified bed rest, which means I could still go about my day, but I couldn’t work out, couldn’t do much walking, no lifting, and frequent rests.  Some women aren’t as lucky, due to the size of the clot.  Mine was very small, but others are at high risk for miscarriage, placenta abruption and pre-term delivery, so they are put on strict bed rest.

I was given the green light to resume my normal activities at my 16 week check up.  Due to this experience however, I am very careful with my body, and with my growing child.  I don’t take this pregnancy for granted.

Some websites that I sought out for advice and information:
www.justmommies.com/articles/subchorionic-hematoma.shtml
/>This one in particular has a fantastic chat board for women with SCH:
community.babycenter.com/groups/a2138065/subchorionic_hemorrhage_support_group
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I was briefly part of this chat board to obtain information from other women going through this condition, but I became what they call a “graduate”, because my condition healed up.

Why Momma Rock?

My whole life, I had been thin.  (Okay, how many people have decided to stop reading my blog, after that statement)  But it’s true.  I was the girl who could have three helpings of spaghetti and meatballs, WITH garlic bread, and then nonchalantly rub my flat, taut stomach and ask, “What’s for dessert?”  It seemed no food phased me.  Now, I did have some good eating habits under my belt.  I’ve never been a fan of butter.  I wasn’t really into chocolate either, which really freaked out my fellow girlfriends.  “Sara, what is WRONG with you?!?”  I was the odd child who at the age of two, was caught eating a big bowl of leafy green salad, with all the veggie fixings.  There’s a picture to prove it… somewhere…. and fruit and I have had a love affair for years.  Combine that with good genes and a good metabolism, and you have yourself a skinny person.

Hate me yet?

When I was 21, I got married.  Looking back, I realize that was way too young to even be thinking about marriage, let alone doing it, but I did.  And guess what?  A little over a year into our marriage, it all fell apart.  My ex had discovered an extra curricular activity of the female persuasion, which persuaded me to leave him.  Which then prompted me to let loose, have a little fun… you know, party with my friends, have all night beer fests, lots of chicken wings (can you say Hooters) and just downright not give a shit about me, or my health.  It was really a downward spiral into a depression from what had happened, but I chalked it up to “living life” after having to be part of the ball and chain equation.  “Living life” was starting to add a new element in my life: weight gain.  It started slowly.  A few pounds here.  ::Guzzle, guzzle::  A few pounds there.  My clothes started to fit differently, as in, they didn’t want to fit at all.  The number on my jean size started to creep up.  Soon I was in the double digits, and I decided it was fine.  Maybe I was meant to be known as “the girl with the big ass” in my group of friends.  Men didn’t seem to mind it, not one bit.  So, what was the problem?

The problem was, my double digit jeans stopped fitting.  One day, I couldn’t even button them up.  I was living alone, paying bills and rent.  How could I even afford this lifestyle?  I mean, was the solution just to buy new clothes every time I went up in size?  By that time, I was about 24 years of age.  There was no way I could continue on this way.  So, the solution was simple: working out.

BLECH.

I had a friend who was very into fitness.  Her fiancee was a personal trainer, so he kept her in tip-top shape.  He was kind enough to create a work out plan for me to follow.  And it involved the evil of all evils, RUNNING.  I hated running.  Loathed it.  There was no way I was going to get my “big ass” onto a treadmill.  But, it was either that, or shell out more money on clothes that most likely wouldn’t fit a few months later.  So, I hopped on.  I tried to run for five minutes, and I had to stop the treadmill.  I wanted to die, I truly did.  I was sweating profusely.  My life was flashing before my eyes.  Ok, it wasn’t that severe, but it was rough.  I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel with this crazy torture.  How could people enjoy doing this, how could people even manage to do more than five minutes without wanting to keel over?

I stuck with it, and gradually, five minutes turned into seven.  Ten.  Fifteen.  You get the drift.  Soon I was like Forrest Gump.  And something happened to me.  I became hooked.  Addicted.  Intertwined with running.  I felt this passion for running, like I’d never felt for anything else in my life.  I’d heard of people with passions.  I just never understood.  I mean, I love writing, but I’ve never been impassioned by it.  But running, was like this breath of life within me.  I’d wake up in the morning, early, and go run with a marathon running friend of mine, five in the morning.  There we were, the only souls awake and running before light even touched the sky, and I was enthralled.

The funny thing is, running became my gateway drug so to speak, to other things.  Running opened my world to weight training, toning work outs, yoga and pilates.  I started to do all of it, and again, I was in my element.  I’d found my passion in life.  And even after my son Benjamin was born (who is now five) I still ran.  I still did it all, often incorporating him into my workouts (squat 30 pounds of kid, and tell me how your legs feel).  I recently trained for the Omaha half marathon, all with having my child.  He wasn’t a hinderance; he was an awesome addition.

Which brings me to this blog.  Momma Rock is a nickname my sweet, kind husband Kevin has given me.  He thinks I am so tough (little does he know, HA) and that I can do anything.  One thing he supports me on, is someday obtaining my personal training license, so I can teach classes to other moms out there, moms who are at home right now, wanting to get into fitness, but not knowing where to start.  Moms who have babies and strollers, but want others to walk with, to stay motivated.  It’s not about the size you wear, or if you have a perfect body.  It’s about staying healthy, as healthy as YOU can, and I want to help other moms realize that. This won’t happen for a while of course (did I forget to mention I am currently six months pregnant with my 2nd son)?  But, someday, it will.

I don’t want to just focus on fitness.  If I did, that would get utterly boring.  I have so much more to say, trust me.  This serves as an outlet for me and I welcome other comments, suggestions, conversations… but know that I might slip in a quip here and there about some work out I just did, or some new move I learned.  You can do what everyone else does; either smile and nod like you are paying attention, or sigh and roll your eyes.  That’s what my friends do.  You might just learn something though….

you never know.

A Mom On The Run

GCC Creative Writing

Creative Writing at Glendale AZ Community College

Africanist, artist & woman

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