Jealous of Dad

Photo: Louis Blythe/Unsplash

When I became pregnant I began to prepare for the possibility that my firstborn would become jealous of the new baby.  It’s only natural, it happens.
I remember being jealous of my little sister when she came home from the hospital.  I was so excited to have a sister to play with, but I soon realized that she was too small to play, she cried a lot, and everyone paid a lot of attention to her and I felt left out.  I cut all the hair off of my Fraggle doll, Wembley.

I have had conversations with her about how when Mommy and Daddy bring the baby home the baby will require lots of our attention, but we will still love Abby just the same, always have time for her, and will still give her all the attention she needs.  I don’t think she really understands yet, but that’s OK.  

What I didn’t prepare for was the possibility that Abby would become jealous of my husband.  

In the past couple weeks she has gotten upset when Mommy and Daddy hug or kiss.  If we hold hands in front of her she will try to pull them apart.  When we sit next to each other or try to snuggle together on the couch she will act angry and try to hit my husband or push him away.

We have both tried to explain to Abby that hugging, kissing, and holding hands is how Mommy and Daddy show our love and affection for each other, just as we hug, kiss, and hold her.  I’m not sure how to get through to her that Mommy isn’t just hers.  Nothing we say seems to make a difference. 

I know and try to reassure my husband that this is just a phase she is going through and that will not last too long, but it is frustrating, especially for my husband. 

Has this ever happened to you?  How did you handle the situation?

Our First Prenatal Appointment 

Photo: freestocks.org/Unsplash

This week marks my 11th week of pregnancy.  I attended my first prenatal visit on Wednesday.  My babysitter’s grandfather passed away, so I had the day off and took Abby to my appointment.  My husband met us there.  

Abby has a severe dislike of doctor visits.  I’m sure most of this comes from getting her immunizations, but they don’t even have to touch her- usually just getting on the scale makes her upset.  She was fine the whole time we were in the lobby, but as soon as the nurse took us back Abby began to cry and did so until I was finished with getting my weight and giving a urine sample.  She wanted to sit on my lap the whole time I was on the exam table.  When the nurse was finished and the doctor came in the room she sat on my husband’s lap, but eventually whined enough for me to hold her that I did.  The doctor left the room so I could change out of my clothes for a pap smear, pelvic exam, and breast exam.  I changed into the charming little sheet like cover and then had my exams and paper smear, during which Abby removed her socks and shoes and threw them on the floor.  Luckily she didn’t scream or act too rowdy, but having a pap smear and pelvic exam is already embarrassing enough, let alone doing it in front of your husband and kid.

Otherwise, my appointment went well.  We were able to hear the baby’s heartbeat, which was 163.  When the nurse was looking for the baby’s heartbeat, my husband asked Abby if she was excited to be a big sister she said, “No!” which made the nurse laugh.  My blood work came back normal, but my platelets were low.  I had gestational thrombocytopenia the last time I was pregnant, so hopefully when they recheck my labs in a few weeks my platelet count will be higher.

Other than the morning sickness and heartburn, I can’t really tell that I am pregnant. There’s no tangible baby bump yet, but my pants are fitting a bit more snugly.  Now that we’ve had our first visit and heard the heartbeat I suppose it makes the whole pregnancy seem a bit more real. 

I Got This- Wait, What?

Photo by Viktor Hanacek. From http://www.picjumbo.com

Sometimes I feel like things are finally starting to make sense, I am finally finding my rhythm, I got this; I can handle this! But then I also have days where I think life can’t get any crazier and then- surprise!
If you have been following some of my latest posts you may remember that I had recently not been feeling quite like myself and wondering if I were pregnant.

A couple of days after my missed period  I bought a two pack of pregnancy tests from Walgreens and tried out the first one when I went home on my lunch break.  It was defective and I couldn’t pee again so I had to wait all day long,  curious and anxious, to come home and try the second one.  It was positive! 

I am currently at six weeks and two days.  I have been really surprised that my symptoms seem to have started so much earlier than I remember from last time.  I have been feeling so tired.  I’ve had a couple of migraines  (mine are usually hormonal- I had one at the beginning of my last pregnancy and then none until I was several months postpartum so I am hoping that happens again) and daily headaches. I have started feeling morning sickness that lasts just about all day, every day.  I had to go buy cinnamon flavored toothpaste again, because every other flavor makes me gag.  I have also been feeling hungry all the time and have started craving lots of different things, most notably a Reuben sandwich while I was sleepless in bed at 3:00 a.m.

I have my first prenatal appointment on March 15th and then we will announce our news to family and friends.

We have told Abby about the baby, but she doesn’t understand yet.  I know that will change as my appearance begins to change.  I am hoping that she will get excited to be a big sister.

I am so excited, but also so nervous about the whole thing!  Keep following, I’m sure there will be many updates to come.

Waiting and Potential Disappointment

Photo by Tim Foster. From http://www.unsplash.com 

According to MyDays, my period tracking app, I should be starting my period today.  Usually my app is pretty spot on, but I am hoping that it is wrong.  I am hoping that it doesn’t come at all and I am pregnant.  

Last month I was disappointed, even though we hadn’t really tried to conceive- we just hadn’t tried not to.  This month we had tried several times the week I was ovulating, but we didn’t go crazy. 

All day long I have been trying to interpret the way my body feels.  It seems the signs are pointing to not pregnant, although I keep telling myself, hey, maybe I am pregnant after all.  Yesterday I was extremely emotional.  I felt like I was going to cry all day, without explanation.  I had a migraine, which often accompanies the beginning of my period, although I did still have migraines during pregnancy.  Today I had felt fine all day, but as I was sitting in a meeting earlier I began to feel a cramping sensation.  

It’s probably just PMS.

I just hate the wait; I hate the not knowing.  At the same time I want to hold on to the moment, knowing it is still a possibility, rather than knowing the result is negative.  As the day goes on I am trying to be hopeful, but also, as a realist, allow myself to accept that it may not happen this month.  

Either way, it will be fine.  Life goes on.  I have my baby, and I enjoy every second of time with her.  If it doesn’t happen this month there are more months ahead.  Who knows what time will bring.

The Loves of My Life

These two make me so happy each day.  From the first “Momma” that I hear coming from the baby monitor in the morning to the warm body cuddled next to me in bed each night, I always have a reason to smile.  I can’t imagine my life without them.

Date Night

Photo by freestocks.org. from http://www.unsplash.com

Yesterday while I was at work I received a text message from my husband,”Want to go on a date?”  To which I replied, “Who are you and why do you have my husband’s phone?”  He asked if I would like to go see Star Wars: Rogue One if his brother would babysit for us.

It has been almost year exactly since our last date night. Last December we went to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  We left Abby with our sister-in-law, the first time she had stayed with anyone but my husband and I.  The whole time we were at the theater I nervously checked my cell phone, paranoid that I had not felt it vibrate in my pocket and missed a call.  Abby stayed awake almost the entire time we were gone and would only sleep on my sister-in-law’s chest.  I’m not sure who was happier to see us return home, the baby or the babysitter.

What a difference a year makes.  This time my brother-in-law stayed with Abby.  She cried a little after we left but soon stopped.  They played and watched Sesame Street.  At the theater we sat through the previews and just before the lights went down and feature film started the electricity in the theater went out.  The emergency lights went on and after a bit and employee came in to say that they didn’t know what happened but the electricity in the entire mall had gone out.  We sat and waited in the dark.  We held hands and made jokes, watching people make shadow puppets on the screen.  Most of the people around us left but we stayed, figuring we had a babysitter, what was the rush in going home?  After half an hour we gave up and walked to our car.  Just then the lights went back on and we decided to go back into the theater and watch the movie. 

While it wasn’t the most romantic night ever, it was nice to spend some much appreciated time alone with my husband.  We had fun and enjoyed the movie.  I hope we don’t have to wait another year for our next date night, but if so, that’s OK.

Weighing my Self and Myself

Photo by Calum Macaulay. From http://www.unsplash.com

Today is the nine year anniversary of the first date that my husband and I went on.  

In the time that we have been together my weight has fluctuated both up and down.  I have weighed fourty pounds more than my current weight at my heaviest during pregnancy and weighed twenty-five pounds less.  

My self-esteem and sense of self-worth seem to be tied to the little red number appearing on the scale each morning.  After I stepped on the scale and saw 176 this morning I instantly felt disgusted and sad and angry with myself.   Why is this?  I don’t know.  Perhaps it is that I have been bombarded by images of what our society considers to be “normal” (read: thin) women on TV or in movies my whole life.  Perhaps it is because almost any women’s magazine you pick up has photoshopped pictures of actresses, models, and athletes, endless articles about “how to fight holiday fat,” “lose your love handles,” or “lose five pounds fast.”  Maybe it’s because I hit puberty before most of my classmates as a kid and was always the chubby girl.  In middle school and high school I felt like I always stood out from the rest and had a woman’s body while most of my friends were still tiny.  

I have never felt comfortable in my own skin.  From an early age I had stretch marks from body changes in puberty, which have just compounded over time with the loss and gaining of weight and pregnancy.  Even at my thinnest weight of 140 pounds and size 6 jeans I never had a flat stomach or a body resembling anyone on the cover of a magazine.  I haven’t worn a bikini since I was a young child.  I have never really felt attractive.  

Sometimes it is mind blowing to me that in the nine years of dating and marriage that my husband is attracted to me.  When I step on the scale and see that number that somehow translates to feeling good or feeling good bad in my brain, I amazed that somehow he doesn’t feel all those bumps or cellulite ripples.   He doesn’t see those stretch marks or boobs that are still enlarged from breastfeeding.   He still snuggles up to me in bed and touches me with desire.  Even when I weighed fourty pounds more and felt like a pregnant whale, he wrapped his arms around me and told me I was beautiful. 

Why do I let it affect me so?  Why does it have to power to?  How many times have I avoided being in photographs or tried to hide in the back row of a group picture?  How many times have I felt like not going to a party or event because I felt uncomfortable with the way I look or because I didn’t feel like I didn’t have any clothes that I looked good in (compared to someone else that I knew would be there)?  How many times have I not had fun at the swimming pool or the beach because I was too preoccupied with how fat I felt in my swimming suit?  How many times have I been in bed with my husband and totally been taken out of the moment because I was worrying about how dimply my butt must look or how much my tummy jiggled?  How many times have I refused sex because I felt fat and so unattractive that I just didn’t want to be touched?

It’s not like I hate my body, I guess.  I mean it made another human- that’s pretty awesome if you think about it.  My body has made milk and provided sustenance for my baby for seventeen months.  I am pretty proud of that.

 After my pregnancy I lost fifty pounds and felt pretty good.  I had been trying to lose about twenty more to get to my “goal” weight,  you know, that magical number we all have in the back of our minds.  I don’t know if it has been my anxiety and the eating I so often use as a coping mechanism, the medication I started two weeks ago to manage it, poor food choices, not enough exercise,  laziness, or a combination of all of the above, but my weight loss efforts have backfired and I have actually put on about fifteen pounds.  As a result I have felt so negative and bad about myself lately. 

This morning as I was getting ready for work in the bathroom I was looking in the mirror- sucking in my stomach, turning side to side assessing my body when I happened to look to my right and saw my daughter in my bedroom. She was standing in her Pack and Play watching me.  How often have I mindlessly done this in front of her?  I was horrified thinking of the negatively example I am showing her.  Instead of judging myself and my self-worth based on what I see in the mirror and by the number on the scale, I should be teaching her that those things are irrelevant.  I should be providing a body-positive, self-loving, living breathing example for her.  I don’t want her to ever feel shame and negativity about herself and her body.

So where do I go from here?  How do I change this mindset, this pattern of thinking that has followed me my entire life?  I’m not sure, but I will definitely keep working on it.  Someone is watching me and I can’t let her down.

Hey Jude

Before I met my husband, almost nine years ago now, I read his MySpace profile.   One of the things that drew me to him (other than his cute picture, of course) was a comment about wanting to find someone to sing harmony with on Hey Jude.  It has been so long ago I don’t remember quite how it was worded, but as a fellow Beatles fan it caught my attention.  I forgot all about it until tonight. 

As I cooked supper in the kitchen I could hear my husband playing with Abby in the living room.  One of the activities they enjoy to do together is to play music videos on YouTube and dance.   Usually this is reserved for Katy Perry, OK Go, and Meghan Trainor, Abby’s favorites (I’m not sure where she inherited her musical tastes from).  

I heard the familiar sound of Hey Jude and peeked around the corner to see them dancing together and singing.   I can’t tell you how much happiness I felt at seeing that scene.  I did not interrupt their moment; I went back to the oven, but I smiled to myself and remembered my husband’s MySpace profile comment.  Life unfolds in mysterious ways and can be so sweet sometimes.  I am so happy to have these two in mine.

That Post-Baby Funk

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Photo by Kate.  From http://www.unsplash.com

 

So I read a little about it in the “What to Expect” type books.  I read about it in magazines and motherhood and parenting blogs.  But I wasn’t quite prepared for the reality of what I call the “post-baby funk” stage of marriage.

Bringing a baby home for the first time was hard.  The first few months were so hard.  We had no idea how to be parents, no idea what we were doing, or if we were even doing anything right or not.  We were together in our love for this tiny new person and our mutual exhaustion.

I figured that after we settled in and got comfortable that some things would go back to normal, or close to it.  Now it has been a year and it is still hard, just a different hard.  We are still trying to navigate the parenting waters and our roles as man and wife in an ever-evolving situation.

Sometimes it is easy to ruffle each others’ feathers, when we used to rarely do that.  I still get up multiple times a night with the baby.  He tries to get up and calm her when she cries, but she always wants Mom and gets more upset.  I can’t help but be frustrated that after a year I still have to get up so many times and can’t sleep much more than an hour at a time, although I know it is not his fault and it is not her fault.  I recently got jealous that he sometimes gets to go out at night and have an occasional beer with his friends or coworkers.  It sometimes seems like they spend more quality time with him than I do.  When I fessed up to being jealous about this, he said it wasn’t true and I think I made him upset, but it does seem like that sometimes.

Our time together when not with Abby is always during her short nap times or at night after she has gone to bed.  This means that by the time she’s gone to bed I can barely keep my eyes open and am ready to go to bed myself, so watching an hour long TV show or a movie together is often out of the question.  Sometimes he’s napping on the couch so he can have enough energy to go down to his office and work or spend time on his hobbies before he comes to bed a few hours later, so I will just go ahead and go to bed.  Even if we do spend time together it is often interrupted by the baby.  At night if I want to do something for me, like if want to read, exercise, catch up on housekeeping, paint, or blog, then we definitely don’t get any time together.  But trying to stay awake to do so is difficult.

Sex is something that causes friction, as well.  I am rarely in the mood anymore.  Maybe it’s hormones from breastfeeding, the lack of sleep, the stress of work, parenting, taking care of household chores, and other things.  Some of it is that I’ve been a little depressed lately and look to comfort foods to make myself feel better, which has caused me to gain weight and  feel unattractive and not at all like taking my clothes off.  I discussed my lack of libido with my OB/GYN but was told there is nothing she can do to help.

I think like most new parents there is always the lingering issue of finances.  Paying for a mortgage, utilities, gas, groceries, and daycare leaves little extra and with my student loans and medical bills I can’t contribute as much as I would like or feel like I should.  I think this puts pressure on him and he feels like he always has to do more to provide for us, and this makes me feel bad as if I am failing.

Now that I am a mom my whole life has changed.  When you are pregnant everyone always says, “Everything is different after you have a baby!” and I always thought, no duh, but I didn’t realize that it would be so hard to reconcile the new me and the old me.  My old go-to stress reliever was always exercise: I enjoyed taking long, rambling six mile walks.  Now I barely have time to get in a thirty minute exercise video without interruption, and it is not the same.  I devoured book after book, now, sadly I have been reading the same book for six months.  I used to spend so much time with writing, sewing, painting, and other things, but now it is confined to the time on weekends when my husband will graciously take Abby out to Home Depot or the mall so I can have some time alone.  I never knew that it would be so artistically unfulfilling and stressful to not have that creative outlet available.

Things change, quicker than we realize.  Life will keep on moving and these things will get easier or we will adapt to them and other things will be hard; that’s the way life is.  I love my husband so incredibly much.  He means the world to me and I try to show him daily, with little things, like leaving him a note or sending a text, rubbing his back, or making scrambled eggs the way he prefers.  I know that he loves me and supports me and always will.  I know that this is just a short time in our lives that won’t last forever.  I am glad we are going through it together.