Just Us Girls

Just Us Girls

...one SMC's adventures in single motherhood.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Clarity (closer to it, anyway)

  • I think I've pinpointed the distinction between expectations and hopes. I had hopes that my parents would acknowledge the fact that it was a milestone birthday for me, and I was/am sad that my hopes didn't pan out. But it is what it is, as they say. I'll get over it.
  • I have concluded that because this is the first grandchild, my parents don't really know what my hopes are. Will I actually articulate them? Probably not...instead I will accept whatever they want to do and just know that it's okay. I should be glad that my girl will have doting grandparents at all, and I do know for a fact that they will definitely want to see her, spend time with her, and cultivate a relationship with her.
  • I have also concluded that if I need some space right now, it's okay. I'll get back into contact when I'm ready. (I know a lot of my sensitivity right now has to do with hormones, and this too shall pass.)
  • I need to remember the saying that "friends are the family you choose", and this couldn't be more true. I am extremely thankful for my very supportive circle of friends and my amazing supportive family here in Colorado...they're so precious to me and I am so lucky to have them!
  • I am still trying to come to terms with the lack of a relationship with my youngest brother and his wife, who live out near Minneapolis. Simply put, they do not really communicate with any of us. "We're busy," they say. And when we do see them, it's only because we have made all the arrangements and the effort to see them. They don't call, they don't e-mail, they don't acknowledge birthdays, they don't even return calls until much later. Clearly they have chosen a different "family" than ours. And I guess I just have to accept it. I have to accept the fact that my daughter will not have much of a relationship with this aunt and uncle, and not because I don't want her to. It's hard, but like I said, it's something that I have to accept. They always offer to host Christmas out there, primarily because they have a dog and five cats, and they don't like leaving them to travel or having someone come in to take care of them. So I am left with the decision of whether to go out there for Christmas, where my parents and middle brother will be, or spend Christmas here, with my Colorado family. Flying out to Minnesota isn't cheap, so I have to decide whether I want to spend that kind of money. Two or three years ago, during one Christmas get-together, my youngest brother and I had a pretty big fight and didn't talk for a while...he made it very clear that he is not very fond of my parents or the way they raised him, and I had a hard time with that. I'm not sure whether things are one hundred percent resolved between us, even now.
  • In a sense I am definitely not looking forward to the holidays this year. I'm very aware that these holidays represent an end of a chapter for me, and to me that's pretty huge. I really have to think about how I want to spend them and with whom. I can't explain it, but whenever I think about the holidays this year, I just get sad. I think it's because I know I should be happy about spending them with my immediate family, and I'm just not. And at the very same time, I'm sad about not feeling like I have the relationship I used to have with them. I'm sad about NOT wanting to spend the holidays with them.
  • I'm very thankful for having a place to air these innermost feelings. I've always thought that writing can be cathartic, and this blog is no exception. :)
  • I'm *extremely* thankful for all of the thoughtful and supportive comments and encouragement on my last post...it helps so much to know I'm not the only one who has to deal with stuff like this. I felt so much better (yes, a few tears were shed) after reading all of your sincere comments...BIG thanks to Samantha, Genkicat, loveyoualready, Jo and Jennifer!! Your responses meant more to me than you know. :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Parents + expectations = ???

I'm sad tonight. And I've felt this same sadness for quite a few weeks now, if not longer.

Wish I could figure out why.

Maybe this post will help me sort out my feelings somewhat. I really wish I didn't feel this sadness. This little one will be my parents' first grandchild, and for whatever reason I seem to have these expectations that things will be a certain way. I think I have them because of what I've seen friends' parents do and say as they prepare for a new grandchild, which I also think is quite unfair because I'm fully aware that everyone's parents are different. I have no right to expect or even hope for certain behaviors, but somehow I still feel let down.

I think part of it, which isn't baby-related, is the fact that my feelings seem to be hurt by their commemoration of my birthday. (as evidenced by the tears as I type this) It's so ridiculous. I shouldn't feel let down about this...after all, I did receive a very nice card. But how many times does a girl turn forty, and couldn't they have sprung for some kind, any kind of small, trivial gift? I feel so materialistic feeling this way...normally I have no problem with getting cards from them--they do it every year, and they're always great cards. But like I said, this wasn't just a regular birthday, and the truth is that I do feel hurt. As much as I don't want to be. I should be glad that they remembered my birthday at all. But here I am, on the other side of the country, and I had such a great birthday with my friends and extended family members who live out here. I was so touched by my aunt and uncle who thought of me when they were on a business trip in Omaha...they stumbled upon this awesome jewelry shop and found a beautiful necklace that is just so perfectly me--I'm still so flattered that they thought of me when they were away. My cousin, who is incredibly talented at making jewelry, also made me a gorgeous necklace that I absolutely love. And my parents... I really want to feel differently, but I guess I can't deny that my feelings are at least a little bit bruised.

I am also frustrated that I don't feel that they've been supportive of this venture--pregnancy via A.R.T.--since the very beginning. My aunt and uncle have been behind me one hundred percent since the start, and I love them for it. Absolute support and encouragement--I'm so grateful, and I'm lucky to have them in my life. So why can't my parents support me in the same way? It's not as though it was a snap decision--I debated and did research for a full three years before I started "trying" over the past two years. But apparently that wasn't enough. I do understand having reservations, especially if you're worried about someone, but I would have hoped that they would have had more faith in me. So now I have friends saying to me, "Well, of course your parents will be buying A, B, and/or C for you before the baby comes." And I'm like, "Well...no." I'm truly on my own, and it kind of hurts that they aren't offering to help out in any way. It's as if they're saying, "Well, you got yourself into this, so now you get to prove that you can handle it." I don't know. It hurts. Again, I wish I felt differently, but that's what I'm left with. Is it possible to talk yourself out of feeling a particular way? Again, I don't know. If I could, I definitely would. I think maybe these unwanted expectations (hopes? wishes?) of mine come, to some extent, from our culture, our society. Which I think is completely unfair, and I wish they would just go away.

So I haven't really wanted to talk to them since I'm still working through the way I've been feeling lately. I talked to them on the phone on my birthday, but not since, and they're not happy about it. I've gotten a couple of terse voicemail messages and e-mails, and right now, it feels like just one more obligation to call them back. So I haven't. I gave in and sent my father an e-mail update this afternoon--just the facts about what's been happening in my world lately--and Mom wrote back tonight. But up until now we've typically been communicating via phone conversations, so this is a change for them. It's usually my brothers who don't communicate as often as my parents would like, not me, the loyal only daughter. Right now I don't want to call. Right now I don't want to use the plane ticket I've already purchased to visit over Thanksgiving. Whether that will change, I have no idea. I hope so, but I just don't know. I don't like the not-knowing.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

What have I gotten myself into?!

Yes, I admit it. This phrase seems to still be stuck on repeat in my head.
In the interest of full disclosure (for, um, posterity, right?), I am going to start a list of the fears--irrational or not--that keep creeping up on me:

  • I watch my cousin interact with her 9-month-old and wonder whether I'll even know what to do with an infant. What if bonding with my baby girl does NOT come naturally to me?
  • What if I can't find a way to console her when she's crying?
  • What if I can't figure out which kind of cry is which?
  • What if breastfeeding doesn't work out?
  • What if she'll need therapy later on because of my poor parenting skills?
  • What if I continue to make the same (ahem...mainly financial) mistakes that I've made in the past?
  • What if she hates me because she doesn't have a daddy like the other kids?
  • What if I get post-partum depression?
  • What if I just can't handle caring for an infant by myself?
  • What if something awful happens and she dies even before she is born?
  • What if something awful happens and she dies shortly after she is born?
  • What if she ends up dying from SIDS? How will I cope?
  • What if I end up not being able to afford good daycare?
  • What if she has colic or acid reflux or allergies or asthma?
  • What if I just can't figure out what to DO?!
  • What if I end up deciding this was all a big mistake?!
Weirdly enough, it feels good to just get all these fears out of my head and onto the screen, namely somewhere besides floating around in my head. I know that this post comes across as one big freakout, but I can assure you that that's not the case. But the truth is that these are things I wonder about, buried somewhere in the recesses of my subconscious. I'm sure a lot of first-time mothers wonder about these very same things. And ninety-nine percent of the time, I feel pretty sure that I'll find a way to figure out what to do about whatever may come up. At least I hope so.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Decisions, decisions

Too many choices. Waaaay too many choices. I'm in absolute love with Pottery Barn Kids, and I have seriously gone back and forth several times as to which crib set I wanted to buy. I actually got all the way to ordering a set online, then changed my mind and tonight, I drove a half hour up north to return it at the only Pottery Barn Kids store in my city. I was hoping that the set I finally decided on would be in the store so I could check it out (the feel of fabric is everything to me), but sadly, no. I did still end up ordering the set pictured above, which is the first one I thought I had decided on. The lesson to be learned, kids, is to trust your first instincts.

What I did find was everything else for kids under the sun! I really wish I could work there over my summers off, but that would've been P.B. (pre-baby). Weird that now I can classify my life events as P.B. or A.B. (after-baby). Anyway, the dilemma I've been grappling with (admittedly, not a dilemma whatsoever in the grander scheme of things!) in terms of baby room decor is the fact that I LOVE bright colors, but I also believe in establishing a calm, restful environment for an infant. But I'm not all that much of a fan of pastels. It's a fine line, people. So I went with the crib set above, mainly because of the darker shade of pink in there AND the fact that I can use a lot of light green to balance out all the PINK. I do love the more modern design of the quilt, and like I said, it favors my love of all things light green. You might not be able to tell from the picture, but the quilt is made up of ribbons of a variety of colors and designs. The fitted sheet has all shades of pink dots, and I love the simplicity of the crib skirt, which isn't in the picture above. I wasn't going to get a crib skirt at first, but changed my mind when I saw it. (That, and the set was on sale and included the crib skirt as well.) So as of November 10th (it's on backorder) I'll have a crib set...I'm thinking I want to try to pick up a crib--probably a white one--before then so I can set it all up!

The other thing that makes me laugh is the fact that I won't even be using it with Baby Girl for quite a while! The plan is that my cousin will (hopefully) be lending me her Arm's Reach co-sleeper bedside crib, and of course you can't actually USE the bumpers or quilt with an infant, anyway. Bumpers later, but still. I guess it's all in the name of decor, right?! How funny that I've been poring over nursery designs to find "the one", just as I might shop for a wedding dress (!!). Hey, I guess you take what you can get, anyway.

P.S.--I didn't quite know how to answer the ladies at the store when they suggested, "Hey, and you should bring your husband in next time!" as I furtively glanced down at my ringless hand... I suppose I should get used to that assumption. But it still feels weird to me.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sporadic randomness

...or is it random sporadicness? Random sporadicity?! Heh.

  • I now have a *FUN* new symptom: heartburn. It's pretty mild...just enough to be hugely annoying. But seeing as I've never really experienced it much before, it's not a welcome addition. I've been enjoying a relatively symptom-free pregnancy, so this is definitely a change. Gotta head out at some point and buy some Tums. (I have found, however, that drinking milk helps somewhat.)
  • Twenty weeks! Halfway there! Woo hoo! *does happy dance* SO nice to be able to say that I'm now into the second half of my pregnancy...
  • My ankles are scaring me. No, really. By the end of the day I can't even believe how swollen they are. Gotta remember to sit with my feet up when I get home from work...but there always seems to be so much that I should be doing instead.
  • I've decided that the sweetest part of pregnancy--by far--is feeling that little girl move around inside me. At this point, I don't mind being kicked whatsoever, but I'm fully aware that as her kicks and punches get stronger, I might not welcome them quite so much. But right now, it reminds me exactly how blessed I am, that feeling her move is a truly special, one-of-a-kind experience. I think of my friend Bobbe, who adopted three kids many years ago, and the fact that she has no idea what it feels like (and really wanted to), which kind of breaks my heart.
  • SO happy that we are now starting our second quarter of the school year. This quarter will last until Christmas. One-fourth of the way done with this year! Which also brings me that much closer to the arrival of my little one...
  • I'm off to upstate NY for Thanksgiving, and I am SO looking forward to it. Not so much the traveling itself, complete with a layover in Detroit, but it'll be so great to get away for nearly a week.
  • I'm hoping to get my H1N1 vaccination on November 11th, which apparently is the first opportunity in the county for the high-risk populations to get their shot. They're saying that some doctors' offices are also getting them, but I don't have high hopes of getting one that way. I'm still going to call my PCP's office tomorrow, but I doubt I'll get good news. The county already canceled the shot clinic that was scheduled for October 24 - 26 because they didn't receive nearly as many vaccinations as they expected. So the question remains: should I take a half-day off of work on the 11th to ensure my place in line, and give up a half-day of future PAID maternity leave? Most of my maternity leave is only at 60 percent instead of at full pay, and it only kicks in after I have used up all of the personal leave (at 100 percent) that I've accumulated, which sadly isn't that much. (Probably because I fully believe in taking "mental health days" on occasion! I don't regret it, either--teaching middle school ain't easy!) I keep coming back to the fact that so many of my students (and my teammate Bobbe) have already had the swine flu (and will undoubtedly come down with it in the near future). So many of them don't even stay home when they're contagious (but of course they don't even know they have it when they're most contagious). Hopefully the November 11th clinic won't be canceled as well.
  • Okay, that's all I got. Hopefully life is treating the rest of you well these days.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

In remembrance

My heart is breaking tonight for all of the women and couples who have suffered through miscarriages and lost precious babies...I am all too aware of exactly how fortunate I've been (so far). Loss remains one of my greatest fears, and I'm not sure whether I would have the strength to get through something like that. Hopefully I'll never have to find out. Tonight I'll be praying for them to find peace and the courage to move forward, wherever their paths may take them. (And I love the idea of angel babies watching over their families from heaven.)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Deleted post

Okay, enlightenment finally came...I do get it now. And it's all going to be okay.

It didn't feel good to re-read that post, so it's been 86'd, banished to the side of the cyberhighway somewhere.

Time to move on.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Birthday wish...granted!

Me = absolutely over the moon.

PS: Chris, my u/s tech, took about a kajillion different measurements, and there are NO soft markers for anything. She looks about as close to perfect as I could ever hope for.

My daughter.


I am so blessed.

(Excuse me while I go cry now.)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Almost there!

Two more days till the Big U! The Big Ultrasound, that is. It's funny, deciding whether or not to find out the gender has really driven home the fact that I am lucky enough to get to make ALL the decisions when it comes to this little one. And at the same time, it's such a huge, often overwhelming responsibility. I know I'll be feelin' REALLY overwhelmed as I get closer and closer to meeting him or her. The phrase "Be careful what you wish for, 'cause you might actually get it" has been coming to mind ever since I saw those two little pink lines! But then, at the moment I finally stop myself from near-hyperventilating, I realize that in the end, the two of us will be just fine. And I can't wait to be a mom.

So yes, I will definitely be finding out the gender on Thursday. (It'll be just my luck that the ultrasound will be inconclusive that day, and I'll have to wait even longer!) I looked at it this way: I found myself feeling that if I kept it a surprise, I wouldn't be able to design the baby's room just the way I wanted to (until after the baby was born, anyway), and I really wanted to feel like I was as ready as I could be before he/she arrives. And even though I know I'll probably receive gifts of clothes, mostly, at the two baby showers (one being planned by my friend Tina, and the usual one that'll be held at my school for my pregnant colleague, Sarah, and me), I didn't want to feel like I had to shop for gender-specific clothes all over again after the baby was born. I still think that if I were doing this whole thing with a partner, I may well have decided to wait. But I also figure that since there are going to be so many unknowns involved with being a single mother already, this is one thing I can completely prepare myself for way ahead of time. People say that there aren't really any true surprises left in life anymore, besides waiting till the birth to discover the gender, but I'm just going to enjoy this special surprise on my milestone birthday instead!! Best birthday gift I can imagine, besides actually achieving pregnancy in the first place.

So here's my plan. My appointment is at 1:15 pm on Thursday, so I'll be taking a half day off of work starting at noon (after a really important parent conference that I can't miss). I am having a lil' after-work birthday get-together with my friends at 4:30, so I'll be heading to a party store after my appointment to (hopefully) find a bunch of either pink or blue glow sticks to pass out to my friends at the get-together. I'll be asking them to close their eyes, I'll pass out the glow sticks, and at the same time, have everyone "break" them to see whether I'm having a little boy or a little girl! I think it'll be a fun way to break the news, assuming all goes as planned. I don't know whether you can get single-color glow sticks or just a variety pack, so we'll see. I'm also going to see if I can order a cake tomorrow. Quite a few of my students have been consistently asking when I'll get to find out the gender, so I told them that this Friday, I'll either be wearing pink or blue to "celebrate". They can just look at what I'm wearing, and they'll know. :)
Can't wait!!!