It’s none of your business!

In light of three of my friends being pregnant with their first babies, I’ve been thinking about all the things that people say to new mommies. And mostly, it’s just plain rude and nobody’s business. Mostly because, guess what, it’s not your child. You are not the one who isn’t getting any sleep. You aren’t constantly worrying that your child may not be getting enough food or having enough shitty nappies. Your friend doesn’t need your opinion on how she should deal with this crazy new schedule and demanding boss. All a new mother needs is love and support from her partner / family / friends and a couple of those single serving booze sachets stashed in her feeding bra. For her of course, not the baby. So I’ve compiled a short list of questions you should NEVER ask a new mom, and if you have any emotional intelligence at all, you’ll stay away from them:

1. When are you due?

Ok, there is an obvious reason for this. Mostly because you don’t just magically pop back to normal after having a baby like “Pregnant Barbie” who’s stomach rotated. Or Brooke from Bold and the Beautiful. You still look like a pregnant woman for AT LEAST 4 weeks after the birth. I speak from personal experience here *cringe*, but please, PLEASE unless you see her actually CROWNING, do NOT EVER ask a woman when she is due. Especially while rubbing her belly. It will all just end in tears. Believe me.

Pregnant woman with tattoo

Take that Pinterest!

2. Did you give birth naturally?

Um, excuse me? Why does it matter to you? I know it’s like that sick compulsion us humans have to gawk at car crashes as we drive past them. But please, it really is none of your business how Mommy chose to bring Best and Brightest into this world. No matter if it was natural, caesarean or egg laying, it does not take away from the fact that this once mere mortal woman has performed the miracle of growing another human inside her and birthing it. Successfully. Just congratulate her and give her a hug. That’s all that needs to be said and done.

3. Are you breastfeeding?

Unless I whip my boob out and start feeding the squawking baby in front of you, this is also a question that you have no business asking. It is a personal choice first of all. Secondly, some women no matter how hard they try, just cannot get breastfeeding right. It is a difficult thing to get the hang of. Never mind if you are not producing enough milk. Women who can’t, for any reason, get it right already feel like a failure. There’s no need for you to keep rubbing salt in the wound.

4. Are you getting enough sleep?

This, by far, is the most ludicrous question anyone could ask a new parent. Because the answer is no. Unless baby is sleeping in 8 hours shifts already, and if that is the case, believe me, Mommy would be BRAGGING about it before you even had the chance to ask! Sleep deprivation starts during pregnancy with regular trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night. The body is an amazing machine. This is it’s way of getting you ready for interrupted sleep cycles. Then baby arrives and you’re literally shoving your boob or a bottle into it’s face about a hundred times a night. Eventually Best and Brightest starts sleeping through the night, but he is still wide awake and ready to play at 5am every morning. Especially when you indulged in seven more glasses of merlot than you should have the night before. At least when your child reaches their teens you will be able to sleep as late as you like on weekends again, but only because you’re trying to make up for the hours you lay awake worried out of your mind about what they were doing and who they were doing it with.

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Basically, once you have a child, you will  never have a good night’s sleep again. My mom can attest to this as her kids are all fully grown, but now she lies awake at night worrying about her kids, their partners and their kids. It’s a never ending vicious cycle. The things you do for love.

5. I can’t believe you just had a baby, you look awesome! 

Ok this isn’t a question, but it’s still incredibly infuriating and shouldn’t ever be said. Just say, “You look awesome”. Then it remains what it was meant be, a compliment. Otherwise it is just a reminder that you are dog tired, have refrigerated cabbage leaves shoved inside your bra, Dr Whites the thickness of the yellow pages in your panties and vomit down the back of your shirt.

So really, my advice when your friend has a baby, don’t storm her at the hospital with probing questions about the birth and the ins and outs of breastfeeding, unless of course she brings it up first. Don’t throw a surprise party for her when she brings Best and Brightest home for the first time. Give her and baby (and if she has a partner / hubby) their space. This time is super special for new families. They need to figure out where they all stand and what their new roles are. The last thing they need is someone invading their space every day giving unsolicited advice on how to latch. When Mommy is ready for visitors she will let you know. Then go over, tell her she looks amazing, and dear God please, let the only question that comes out of your mouth be, “Can I get you anything to drink?”, and don’t you DARE judge her if she asks for champagne rather than herbal tea. She’s been drinking enough of that shit for long enough. Mamma needs a stiff one.

 

 

 

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Giving up on the dream

What do you do when you can’t run that marathon you’ve been training for because you lose your legs in a terrible car accident? Do you compete in a wheelchair or do you just change direction completely and learn a new skill like playing the guitar? Who knows, you could turn out to be the next Jimi Hendrix. We can’t always get what we want. And sometimes, no matter how hard we work, the universe will prevent us from reaching that goal we’ve been working towards to test our strength to the limit. That’s life right? So what do we do when that happens? How do we cope? Do we a) give up b) find another way to get there or c) work with what we have left to achieve a different goal?

I’m not sure actually. To be honest, it’s hard to stay positive 100% of the time. Harder still when your circumstances are unique to you. You can confide in, cry to or shout at your partner, friends or family (or all of them) as much as you like. You will still feel alone.

Ovarian failure

Thank you Douchebag Uterus!

We recently discovered that I have premature ovulation failure. It sounds like some sort of mechanical problem my Peugeot experienced a couple months back. But basically, I’ve stopped ovulating and have been experiencing menopausal symptoms like hot flushes (dear god I’ll never tease you again Mom!), major mood swings, massive weight gain, migraines, nausea, high blood pressure and just all round misery. Hahahaha! God I sound like such a whiney cow. Anyway I’m on hormone replacement therapy now to try and kick start the ovaries and postpone any further premature decline into the dreaded “change”. My problem is the treatment is making me feel worse! It’s scary to think that my body has been so deprived of estrogen for so long that even the slightest increase renders me useless for about two days at a time.

In the meantime, I’ve had to deal with the emotional fallout of pretty much no longer being able to fulfill the only biological function I was bred for. Yes, yes I know. I am so lucky already. I have the most amazing little miracle boy and a wonderful hubby who loves me. And I am SO grateful for the boys and everything that they have brought into my life. But it still hurts. It’s a pretty psychologically draining thing to go through. I am a logical, rational person. I know that no longer being able to breed does not make me less of a woman/wife/mother. So why do I feel that way? I love and adore my son, yet I still feel this great sense of loss at never having a screaming match with my teenage daughter because she is dressed like a slag. Most days I am perfectly fine with not having to worry about getting knocked up again. It is a bit of a relief actually. I was NOT a happy pregnant person. It didn’t help that I am only 1,5m tall and put on the equivalent weight of a Fiat Uno. But I still feel cheated that I will not feel another life growing in my belly again.

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I am a control freak and I have no problem admitting that. I plan things WAY in advance. I have an app for everything. I can plan a six month project on my phone, while getting a bikini wax. But I don’t have an application or program that can help me deal with this. Is the reason that I have been finding this so hard because the choice has been taken away from me? Is that all that it is? If I had had an app that could schedule my menopause, that would have been ideal.

I guess what this experience has taught me, is cherish what you have NOW. Life really does happen while you’re making other plans. Stop thinking about how you’re going to travel the world when you’re thirty. That may never happen, leave now! Learn that language. Climb that mountain. Live your life. Don’t let it pass you by. You only get this one chance so don’t screw it up waiting for better days!

Despite all the dreariness of this post, there is a beacon of hope. My boobs have never been bigger or better!

What happened to Baby Showers?!?!?!?

I can’t believe that this is actually going to come out of my mouth, but “back in my day” Baby Showers were a very different beast to what they have become today. Traditionally a baby shower was an interactive experience, where seasoned mommies and aunties of the mommy to be got together, had some koek-en-tee and shared their knowledge and tricks for colicky babies and how to cope with teething etc. Necessities were given to the new mommy like nappies, wet wipes, bum cream and bottles. Because let’s be honest, those are really the most important things you need and the LAST things you want to find you don’t have in the middle of the night.

Baby Shower

Where did the shared joy go?

I’ve been to three baby showers in the last year that really have only been fun for the Mommy. While she’s unwrapping presents everyone else is at the snack table or sipping on champers outside with the smokers. Because Mommy has chosen all the gifts and put them on a registry there is no more “I got you this because I found it really helped when baby had this”. There is no more advice and story swopping because Mommy already thinks she knows what she needs and can actually tell you what your gift is used for! In today’s world of the interwebs, we have so much information at our fingertips at any time of the day that gone are the days when we actually relied on our moms, aunts and friends to answer our ridiculous questions. That is of course, if we remembered to call them!

Babies

True dat Duck! True dat!

Being a parent to a newborn has become so scientific. We have forgotten that babies, like the rest of us, are human. They are just brand new and inexperienced at living. Not every baby is going to like the R300 orthodontic teat that My Baby Magazine recommends for bottle feeding. They have their own little personalities and preferences. Tyler Boy hated the expensive dummies and teats and only took the R3 ones from PEP. So I wasted my time and very precious nappy money on a LOT of unnecessary crap we never even opened. Now please, before I get all these huffy comments about how times have changed since I had my baby, I am not saying that any of the things you’ve chosen on your “baby registry” are in any way futile. All I am saying, is just remember you are having a baby. A baby human. Who has feelings and emotions. Who above all else has four basic needs: hunger, safety, a clean bum and to be loved. If you can give assurance of these four simple things to your baby, you will be fine. I promise.

Mother reading bedtime stories to child

Reading will never go out of fashion

I have always had one basic philosophy for gift giving at a baby shower, go have a look at the registry. If you see something on there that as a mom you know she will use, no matter how boring it is (nipple pads) get that and then buy your own thing. My staple was always Bepanthen, Telament drops, Lansinoh Nipple Cream and a cute gender appropriate outfit for 2-3 year olds. It used to happen that I was asked why I chose these things, but no longer. Now I go for gifts that can be used all the way to adolescence. My favourite of course, is books. There’s nothing better than bedtime story cuddles with your little monster. It is the time of the day when you have their full attention, and them yours. It is when I get the most cuddles from my Tyler Bear, and when he honestly recounts the events of his day. It is during this time that he will confess a naughty deed, a funny story or of course, how his hero alter ego saved the planet from mutant aliens. It’s one of the few quiet times I have with him that we really learn about each other.

Babies are babies for a very short time, but your children are yours forever. Again, I’m not saying that these new age baby showers are bad in any way, just that it would be nice for it to go back in time a little to when it was an actual knowledge sharing session. If you can’t do that, go for the next best thing. Try to give a thoughtful gift that has longevity. That will be used over and over again, treasured for many years to come.

If we could give a first time mommy what she really needed once “best and brightest” came along, patience would be sold in bottles.

In the beginning

funny-kardashian-pictures

I’ve always wanted to have my own blog. Some place to talk about my experiences, and my reactions to them. But I’ve never had the right content to make it meaningful to anyone but myself. And if there’s one thing I hate it’s self-indulgent blogs. Of course the internet is all about self-indulgence. Just look at the Kardashians. They’ve built an entire empire utilising various social media platforms to publicise their every promotional gig, dinner date and after birth.

So I wanted to wait until the right time, until I felt like I had something meaningful. I feel like we could do with more substance in our lives. Please, don’t panic! This is NOT going to be a preachy Gwyneth Paltrow type blog. I mean come on, what does one of the most spoilt people in the world know about having to work hard for something!??!?!?! I want this to be a little page that you come to every now and again to read over a cup of coffee, for a quick escape from your daily madness. Whether it makes you laugh, cry or even if you can find something relatable in my word vomits, then I have achieved my goal.

So basically, I’m married to the man of my dreams, Jeff. I will likely often refer to him as the Jeffsta or the Jeffersonian. Coz I’m gangster like that. And we made this awesome little human called Tyler. Who I will often call “the monkey”, “Ty-Ty”, “Tyler Bear”, “It” or “STOP IT GET OFF THERE WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING!!!!!!!?????”. The above order is of course relative to the amount of affection I’m feeling towards him at any given time.

Ohana means Family

Lilo had it spot on!

Our little family has not been a conventional one. We did things backwards. After years of being told that I would probably never have children, you can imagine our great surprise when “Candice you don’t have gastro, you’re pregnant” was the diagnosis from our GP for my exhaustion, nausea and food aversion. I know right? I want this to be a space to get un-conventional advice. I feel like there is so much pressure today on women (and men), to be the best mother (father), wife (husband), employee, friend, pet-owner, driver etc all at once. It’s impossible to stay sane and immaculately put together all the time. And it is unfair on yourself to think that you can. Which brings me back to why I have started this little blog. I want others to see that just because you didn’t do it by the book, doesn’t mean it isn’t right. And just because your family doesn’t look the same as others, doesn’t mean it isn’t perfect.

I am not saying that the way we do things is right, NOT AT ALL! All I’m saying is that it has worked for us, and if you can find some small piece of advice that applies to a situation that you are in, then great! Instead of aspiring to be the model-family society says you should be, rather aspire to be the perfect family for you. If it works for you and yours, then that is all that matters. It doesn’t matter what anyone else says. Except for Child Protection Services and the law. You should totally take those guidelines seriously.

I’m sure you’re all poised and ready for my first inspiring pearls of wisdom then right??? Well, it may seem obvious, but we often forget the basics:

Love one another. Protect each other. Laugh together. 

Stuff Kids Write

This teacher seems relatively easy to please!

We tend to get so caught up in our everyday lives that we forget what brought us together in the first place. Love, safety and happiness. When you feel a little lost, focus on what you love about your partner or child (or in most cases, both) rather than what they have been doing to piss you off lately. Make them feel safe and secure. And don’t forget to laugh. There’s nothing like finding joy in the desperation on your hubby’s face when he realises you and the child have hidden all the toilet paper in the house just as he’s sat on the porcelain throne. Or snickering together at little sunshine’s crude handwriting that has turned the word “milk” into “milf”.

Anyway, I hope that this is the beginning of a long and meaningful discussion between us. I would love to hear your opinions and your stories as well. I am also learning as I go and need all the help I can get!

Chat soon!