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Nov 29 2011

Advice for my pregnant coworker

In my particular department at work, I am an anomaly. It’s made up of older men or younger-than-me-by-most-of-a-decade singles and young marrieds. There are no other Middle-Aged Married With Elementary School Aged Kids people in my department.

It’s a little lonely sometimes.

The sweet gal who cubicles in front of me (yes, I just verbed cubicle) is pregnant, two and a half weeks from popping. It’s a good thing I like her; she’s so tiny at nine months preggy that she could fit inside my nine-month pregnant self back in the day. Except then she would have been in high school and that would have been just weird. I don’t know her well enough to offer well-meaning advice, but hey, that’s what a blog is for. I get it out of my system (and a post out of it!), and she doesn’t have to listen to me. Probably for the best anyway; I’m a little jaded after a decade of this.

*Take the drugs or don’t take the drugs. It’s your choice and screw anyone who gives you a hard time about it, including your husband/mother/hospital admittance volunteer. I’ve done it both ways, and if OH HOLY HELL GOD FORBID I ever get pregnant again BUT I WON’T BECAUSE OH MY HOLY EFFING HELL I’ll pass on the epidural. As hard as it was, giving birth without drugs was hells better than giving birth with drugs.

*Contrary to popular belief, there really is a Breastfeeding Police. They are well-meaning moms, but please. Tell them to go <you know what word belongs here> themselves if nursing doesn’t work for you and formula does. Looking into my Wayback Machine, I should have given up on nursing when A had so much trouble with it from the get-go. I did everything, practically lived at the lactation consultant’s office, and it was just a fustercluck. I supplemented him with formula until six months when I just said enough. Then he ate and grew and thankyousweetbabyjesusinabassenet slept. For the record, my friend Robin is not the Breastfeeding Police, she is a certified kick-ass lactation consultant. There is a difference.

*Yes, I do see the comparative irony between my efforts at breastfeeding and the current fustercluck regarding school vs. homeschooling. Don’t think for a minute I don’t see it.

*Keep written records of every.single.ridiculous.milestone.forever. Keep a binder or Evernote folder or dedicated Post-It Note expressly for Random Child Flotsam and Jetsam, starting with giving birth. I’m so not kidding here. A is TEN FREAKING YEARS OLD and I’m still asked for his APGAR score on questionnaires. I’m not saying your child will be as insanely complex as mine, but dude. Just do it.

*If you’re able to wear your pre-pregnancy clothes within three months of giving birth, keep it to yourself. Some women are vindictive about that sort of thing. Me? Noooo….why do you ask??

*You may want to divorce your husband within the first twelve months. Relax, this is normal. Just don’t do it.

*Contrary to popular belief…again…you do not have to love every single tiny little thing about motherhood. Good Lord, no. I’m pretty sure a cross-eyed baboon could read five posts here and know that I love my sons past comprehension, but I’m not motherhood’s #1 fan. It’s hard. It sucks. There is no relief. There is little appreciation. There is no handbook. The benefits are breathtaking but pale in comparison to the sheer volume of suckitude on a day to day basis (please see above comment on how jaded I am). You expect Italy, you could get Holland, you could visit me on Tatooine.

So, my dear pregnant coworker, congratulations. I can’t wait to snuggle your daughter…and then give her back.

Oh, and my last piece of advice? Don’t listen to anyone’s advice. It’s your kid, you do what’s right for her and tell the rest of the world to kick off.

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  1. The Casual Perfectionist

    Yes. All of this. 🙂

  2. Annie

    Sometimes it feels as if I’ve found my twin when I read your posts.

    I agree with almost everything. I took the drugs. Vast quantities according to one doctor. (As my husband put it, I hadn’t had drugs for nine months. Labor was my chance to make up for it.) I ended up with surgery and three c-sections due to no fault of my own, unless I was willing to change husbands. I have no real clue how labor feels, and I’m no less of an amazing mother for it. But if going without worked for you, more power to you.

    As for breastfeeding, I adore you! The Lactation Police (aka, Dairy Maids, according the husband I wont trade) should be banned from the presence of all new mothers until they accept the fact that some of us simply cannot breastfeed. If my kids shaved off a couple of IQ points for it, thank God, because I can barely keep up with them as it is.

    BTW, I have no clue how breastfeeding relates to the school/homeschool issue. Totally different worlds, my friend. I’m a homeschooler, and one does not lead directly to the other. 🙂 Give yourself a break.

  3. Robin from Israel

    Thanks Jen for distinguishing between me and the police ;). One of my soapboxes is and has always been that while yes, a small (yes, a small) proportion of women ARE physically unable to breastfeed their babies due to a real physical/chemical issue on one of their parts (mom or baby) the overwhelming majority of mothers who experience difficulty and frustration and pain do so because they were not given the support they deserve and are entitled to! So many problems that could be avoided if the hospital and our society as a whole had provided even the minimum degree of support needed. Breastfeeding can’t be natural and easy and intuitive if no one has ever told the mother, BEFORE THE BIRTH and in the days immediately after, what to expect, what is normal, and more importantly what is NOT, when to recognize a red flag and get help BEFORE things escalate, and how to find that help when she needs it. My heart breaks for all those mothers who could have, should have succeeded in their breastfeeding goals (whatever those goals she has set for HERSELF are) if only society hadn’t failed to give them the tools they needed to do so.

    And as for the rest of it, if one more person asks me about my daughter’s stressful birth and subsequent hospital stay or tries to insinuate that it was the cause of her later challenges I am going to shove something hard and very unpleasant in some orifice where the sun don’t shine…

    ———————————–
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  4. Mariam

    fustercluck… kick off. perfect.

  5. Erica

    I had an epi for all three of mine – I’m a wuss when it comes to pain, plus throw up with every contraction. First one was great – no pain. 4.5 lb baby, so no effort. Second one sucked – the anesthesiologist (forgive the spelling) was pissy and I think didn’t take care. It felt like my right side was asleep and I had this urge to change positions to get blood flowing. Plus I couldn’t feel the contractions so that 7 lb baby took a while. Didn’t help that my OB was wanting it to go faster. Epi number three was awesome! Took away the pain, still felt the contractions. I suspect that the “formula” they use has changed over the years and maybe they are getting it closer to being right.

    I assume by the bf vs homeschooling, you are referring to how much you stress over the decision, and try to get it to work because it’s supposed to, instead of relaxing and doing what feels right?

  6. melissaz

    Best.Advice.Ever. 🙂

  7. cursingmama

    Was actually asked if I knew the APGAR score for my for the most part not complicated teen daughter yesterday. It was on a form along with other early childhood development things – didn’t have a clue about any of it so I wrote “nothing out of the ordinary was noted as early or delayed”.

  8. /ei

    Well I don’t know if I can agree with any of this…there was nothing about wooden spoons in this 😉

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