Mental Health, Postpartum and Beyond

Not Mine

Last week I had a difficult thought. My body is not my own.

I wake up every day and I get my daughter dressed and ready for the day. I feed her, clean the house, and play with her. Generally I’m cleaning while holding her or trying to keep her busy. I hold her until she sleeps and some days while she sleeps. I get bit, scratched, and have my attention demanded for all day. Then, I bathe her and help her to bed.

Then, my husband comes home or he’s already home, and now he wants to cuddle, be sexual, or in general just have some sort of physical contact. In general, all of those things are great. After a long day of having to care for someone else, it can make my skin crawl to even think about more physical contact at the end of the day.

I feel terrible writing it out. I’m a mom now. If my daughter or house (as in any cleaning to be done) needs something then I take care of them first. It should be easy to take care of my daughter and house all day and not feel used up at the end of the day. It’s not though. It can be draining and even violating to be constantly touched and needed by someone all day.

This is a feeling and thought that should be discussed more. It should also be normalized. I know I’m a good mom. I know I try my best every day. The days when I feel gross when someone touches me makes me feel like I’m a failure, a bad mom, and a bad wife.

I’m none of those things and if you’ve felt similarly to me, neither are you. It’s normal to feel used up after taking care of someone else all day. It’s also normal to want to not feel like sex is being expected at the end of a long day like that. If we’re cuddling or hugging (specifically my husband and I), is the butt and/or boob grab necessary?

Well, it’s okay. It’s okay if you’re feeling like you want to be in a no touch bubble. It’s okay if you don’t want to have sex. It’s okay and you’re doing good.

Remember to vocalize to your partner how you’re doing. Vocalize to a friend or family that some days you just feel exhausted of being touched all the time. A chat with your partner can help put you on a track to where you will feel sexual again. It will at least stop the unwanted grabs that instantly turn you off at least. A chat with a friend/family will help you get everything off your chest. They may even be able to related to you so you’ll know that you’re not alone in feeling like this.

To the parents feeling like their body doesn’t belong to them, you’re not alone and it’s okay. Things will get better and until they do, do not feel like you’re not good enough.

Did anyone you know warn you that you may experience any of these feelings? During my pregnancy I don’t think anyone gave me that warning. It was all just “you’re never going to sleep again” comments and general “your life will be so different”.

As always, let me know what you think! Would telling an expecting parent that these feelings may come be helpful or just scare them?

Thank you for stopping by and I will see you next time!

Advertisements
Postpartum and Beyond

Why Babies are Terrible

Babies have a reputation of being cute and innocent. They’re small and they don’t know anything. Don’t let this reputation fool you though. They are really adorable little terrors. They come into your life and they turn everything upside down. Today we are going to take a look at why babies are actually the worst.

They’re freeloaders

They come into your house (sometimes they’re late and other times they’re early. Hello?! Have they heard of the due date?) and then they start demanding things from you. They want food, they want to be held, and they can’t even wipe themselves after they go to the bathroom? If they’re not sleeping they want something of yours. They don’t even understand the concept of money, so it’s just a waste of time trying to get their cut of the rent from them.

Poor communication skills

The only thing they know how to do is cry. They don’t know any language at all. So how does a baby tell you what they need you ask? They cry at you. When they’re brand new it’s all the same cry too. Are they hungry? Tired? Wet themselves? Who knows? Just that baby and they’re not making it any easier on you. I don’t want to accuse people of things, but I’m pretty sure they’re doing it on purpose.

Grabbing

What’s up with this? They see something and they just reach they’re little hands out for it. Phones, glasses, remotes, hair, just your face, it doesn’t matter. Nothing is safe anymore. What happens if they get a hold of it you ask? Well, they’re probably going to put it right in their mouth or they will manage to break it. My daughter once tried to eat my chin once. So, if you thought your face was safe, you were wrong.

Claws

You thought babies had regular finger and toe nails? Oh, no. They have little tiny claws that grow back quickly. Babies can be fast, so you’re never safe from a scratch or them digging into your skin. Cutting those things are hard too. They’re so curious with what you’re doing that they don’t sit still. Your best bet is to try and do it while they’re asleep and hope you don’t wake them. Be careful, if you cut them, you’ll not only feel terrible, but they’ll cry and cry because of it.

Sleep

For something that loves sleep (they need so much of it), they absolutely hate going to bed. They’re probably going to fight it. They can rub and rub at their little eyes, get caught sleeping sitting up, and still refuse to go to bed. They have a serious fear of missing out.

Another thing, they wake up early! If you think you’re getting a later day because the baby was up later, you’re probably wrong. Somehow the late night means they require less sleep and they’ll be up even earlier to wake you up!

Adrenaline Junkie

They have absolutely no concept of what is and isn’t dangerous? Electric plug, better grab and put my fingers in this. Large heavy objects? Better pull and try and stand on/against this. What is this? Put it in my mouth. You can’t even trust them sleeping. Babies are just constantly looking for their next adventure and don’t you even try to tell them no. You try and keep them from danger and they’re going to cry at you.

Personal Space

They have no concept of this. You need to get used to someone wanting to be by you constantly. Did I say by? I meant on top of you. They love to climb and be held by you. That is unless they’re trying to get their adrenaline fix. Your options as parent are now be a jungle gym, a bed, or following them around the house as they find dangerous objects or dirt.

So, there you have it. Those are a few of my reasons why babies are the worst.

I should also make it clear that I’m joking.

Babies do have a habit of unintentionally being the worst though. What are a few quirks that you notice babies do that you would add to this list? Also, let me know what you guys thought of the post. I needed something a little more lighthearted today.

Thanks for reading and I will see you next time!

Postpartum and Beyond

Utilize your Village

Once to twice a week my parents will take Little P for the day. Usually Friday is my dad’s day and my mom will get Saturday or Sunday depending on her plans and what I have going on. I never thought anything of it until one of my friends pointed out that Little P is with one of her grandparents a lot. Now, that friend probably didn’t mean it in a rude way, but I’ve noticed there can be a lot of judgement thrown around when someone else is watching your baby.

I’ve seen a good number of, “you’ll never see me leaving my baby at my mom’s so I can go do *insert something here*”. I think, for the most part, the comments are directed at people who go out and party consistently or are always doing things minus the baby. To an extent, I see the party point. It would have to be close to a daily type of thing for me to start to judge it though.

It annoys me that comments are being made at all though.

Yes, I’m a stay at home mom currently, and up to twice a week, I take Little P to one of her grandparents’ houses and take the day to myself. I love my daughter with all my heart. I cherish every moment I get with her. I also cherish moments I can get away from her. That doesn’t make me a bad person or parent. It’s nice to clean, relax, and get work done without one eye suspiciously following a seven month old. I mean really, you just start doing one thing and then there’s silence? What has that child gotten into already?

I think once you have a kid people forget that you’re still your own person. You essentially become two people: you and the baby. I’ve noticed this more so with women. However, I’m speaking from experience. I don’t see why a stay at home dad wouldn’t be faced with the same struggles. “Oh, where’s the baby?”, “No baby today?”, or even “Would you like to go do *insert not baby friendly activity here*” which would be directed to the other parent.

Why are my options as a newer parent either be excluded or be judged for taking me time?

I am grateful for my daughter and all the challenges she brings. I’m also grateful for parents who allow me a day’s worth of peace. I’m a parent and that comes first, but I’m also me still. I’m still introverted and value my space. I’m still bipolar and need to take care of myself.

They say it takes a village to raise a kid and I’m happy I have a village I can utilize when I need them. It helps me to recharge and refocus. I get to come back as a better mom and partner every time I get her back at the end of those days.

If you’re a parent and you “don’t need a break” from you kids, then I applaud you. Maybe one day you’ll know what I’m talking about, or maybe you never will, but please don’t go out of your way to make someone else feel bad for taking a break from their kids. We all have our own system and ways to make life work.

All right, I think that about wraps it up for today. Let me know what you guys think! Did it feel like I was getting onto a soapbox? Can you relate?

Have a great day and I will see you next time.

Postpartum and Beyond

Why I Make my Baby Food

When I was pregnant I had never realized that there was an option to make baby food. I had assumed that only option was to buy it. I did a bunch of research and book reading on raising children and I stumbled upon baby food recipes. This had opened up a whole new world of options for me. So, I decided to at least give it a try once we start moving on to solid foods.

I gave store bought foods briefly and decided that homemade baby food was the definite option for me. So here are a few reasons on why I prefer to make my own baby food.

Save Money

There’s very few things that I enjoy more than saving money. This is one of the main reasons why I make baby food. A pound and a half of fruits (or veggies or meats) can make about 15 ounces of baby food.

Some math:
Let’s say that my daughter eats two ounces of solids per meal with three meals a day. Once a day, she’d be eating a total of six ounces. I’ve seen four ounces of Gerber baby food going for as low as $0.99. So, for a full day I’d be spending at least $1.98. Two pounds of carrots at the store (I used Smith’s) is $1.49. I get two and a half days worth of food for $0.50 cheaper.

Obviously, different foods will cost different amounts, but on the whole, you’re saving money.

Combinations

I notice that a lot of the stage two foods are already combinations. Which I totally get because you want some more exciting flavor combos for your little ones. My concern here is my little one not liking it and me not being able to tell which part of it wasn’t for them or even being allergic and still not knowing what caused it. It would also be a bummer to find an interesting combination and then not be able to get it because it contained an ingredient my little one was allergic to (or didn’t like.

With making my own food none of that matters. I can make any stage as a single at first and then combine from there. Plus I get to come up with the combinations, which is kind of fun.

Texture

So, I did try a couple of store bought foods for Little P. One was Gerber and the other Beech-Nut Organic. Both were stage two and a little on the thin side. I like being able to control both consistency and texture of the food. Once I got the okay from my pediatrician I started making my food thicker and Little P loved it. I also get to have her try different consistencies in the same meal. For example, she can have a thicker avocado and a thinner sweet potato one right after the other.

Fun

I really enjoy making food for her. This just happened to be an added bonus since I didn’t know it would be fun when I decided to make baby food. I enjoy spending time in the kitchen and making things.

Postpartum and Beyond

The Dreaded Teething

Teething is the worst. There’s tears, frustration, confusion, and on top of that your baby is in pain and crying as well. Today, we are looking at some tips and tricks on getting through those teething times with your little one.

Take a Step Back

First, as frustrating as it is, and it is so frustrating, remember that they are so confused. They don’t get why their mouth hurts. Honestly, even if they did it would still suck. Mouth/teeth pain has got to be one of the most uncomfortable and unpleasant things. So, you just have to take a step back and remember that what they’re going through sucks. You can add some crying of your own if you like, however it’s not necessary.

Teething Rings

Get a bunch of different cooling teething rings and toys. There’s ones that are shaped like keys, that also double as pacifiers, ones shaped like animals, actual rings, and the list goes on and on. Pick a few different ones and get them nice and cool. Keep a couple of them warm and see if your baby just prefers that instead. If one teething item doesn’t work, maybe your little one prefers a different one.

Cold Washcloth

So, at one point my little one hated all of her teething rings. I don’t know what happened, they just weren’t doing it for her. I took a couple of her washcloths, got them wet, and I put one in the freezer and one in the fridge. Once they were both really cooled down I let her chew on those. The plus side to these were they stayed colder longer, but they were really cold on the hands and they got everything wet.

Frozen breast milk/formula/ice

You know those mesh food containers? You’re going to need one of those for this one. I, personally, made a bunch of formula ice cubes. Then, when my little one seemed to have a hard time eating because it hurt her, I put the formula cube into the mesh container and let her have it. It helped to ease her pain, plus she still kind of got some food. (Just to be clear I did not use that to replace a meal) If you breast feed you can also pump and freeze your breast milk. You can also simply grab some ice and see if they like that. I recommend using the mesh food container just to help protect against any potential choking and it has a handle to protect against cold fingers.

Distraction

Try to do things that your baby enjoys. Go outside for a walk, take a warm bath, sing a song, whatever your baby usually really enjoys just try that. You might be able to at least distract them for a little bit.

Pain Reliever

I never used any sort of ibuprofen, however, it is always an option if your child seems to be in a lot of pain.

Vanilla Extract

I’ve also never tried this one, however one of my friends swears by it. If I ever actually had vanilla extract in the house, I probably would have used it. The method behind this one is to put a dab of it on your finger and then to rub it on the gums.

Thoughts

I know I missed a fairly obvious one that a lot of people use which is teething gel. However, my pediatrician recommended not to use it. I also saw that the FDA had issued a recall on a lot of teething gels (sprays, etc) because there were more risks than benefits.

Honestly, the most important thing to get you through teething is patience and understanding. I know, it’s tough when you’ve got a screaming child that you can’t seem to calm down. Just remember you can get through this!

Let me know what you think! Do you have any tips and tricks on surviving teething? Don’t forget to share with your friends! Make sure everyone has some relief to get through teething.