Did You Go Swimming Today? and Other Post-Delivery Fallacies

Hi, Mom.

“Hi, honey! Were you sleeping?”

No… (I was. I try to sound perkier.) What’s up?

“Oh! I’m at Wal-mart, and all their Christmas stuff’s 75% off!”

That’s great… but I’m not schlepping around yet.

“Oh… okay. I just thought you’d want to know.”

Okay. (I try to sound grateful and happy.) Thanks for telling me…

My mother’s a great person. I’m indebted to her for everything, beginning with the gift of life. However, I’ve noticed she’s not really aware of what I’m experiencing this time around the pregnancy and recovery loop. That exchange is just one example; though, to be fair, she called around 10 a.m. and not earlier. Odds are I was probably awake. She just happened to forget that I couldn’t go shopping yet since I’m STILL HEALING from a C-Section.

She’s not the only one, either.

A neighbor of mine asked if I was going to attend a Christmas choir concert about a week after I’d delivered. I responded:

No, Carol*. C-Section.

Just today, my husband took the other boys to a swimming pool with their grandparents. A friend texted, asking if I was going. As in, asking if I were swimming.

No, I can’t.

*Not supposed to?*

No, and don’t feel like it.

That’s the beauty of the C-Section recovery, I suppose: while I’m not allowed to do certain activities, I also don’t FEEL up to them. Heavy-lifting? Too tired and weak. Picking that diaper up off the ground? My sore stomach region says, “No bending.” Swimming at a pool? Can’t fit into a suit.

It’s not just me recovering, either.

“Hey, Mom!” (It’s my son that loves fun, just before going to the pool.) “D’ya want me to get the car seat?”

The baby’s not going to the pool.

“Why not? He has a suit.”

(I smile.) That won’t fit him quite yet. Also, he’s too little and would get too cold right now.

“Okay!”

Maybe by the time summer comes around, both the baby and I will be up for more. We’ll at least both fit into our swimsuits by then.

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*Name changed

Photo Credit: Lubomirkin

©2020 Chelsea Owens

What C-Section Recovery is Like

I’m no stranger to surgery, even when that surgery is a Cesarean Section. Why? Pregnancy #2 ended a bit dramatically, culminating in a Traditional C-Section. Turns out one’s not allowed to labor after that.

This Ol’ Pregnancy Rodeo happened a few years after the others, however, so I’d forgotten a few everything. So what have I learned so far?

  1. It hurts.
    What hurts? Everything. My stomach is tender, my uterus aches, my intestines can’t quite figure out where they’re supposed to end up, and my nether regions are trying to remember how to function.
  2. I can’t bend over.
    I can, but am certain that action’s bringing on the rupture of something I need later, like my bladder. Mostly I shake my fist at everything that drops and curse gravity.
  3. I am SO EXHAUSTED.
    Right after my first C-Section, I remember trying to dust the furniture in the living room. I did one table before collapsing on the sofa, ready for a nap. I’ve had even more to do this time and am therefore entirely dependent on chocolate and threats to my other children.
  4. Babies don’t sleep.
    Well, they do sleep A LOT. If the baby boy’s not eating, he is only content to be asleep. Still, his schedule’s enough to make Buddy the Elf want a nap. This is true whether I had a C-Section or not, but makes Side Effect #3 that much more difficult.
  5. Babies need stuff.
    From diaper changes to laundry to walking around, the baby’s needs are tricky to meet when you consider Items 1-3. Just holding the little one to nurse and burp involves dexterity in order to avoid my midsection.
  6. I’m fat.
    In the space where the baby once occupied there’s a big, squishy void. It hurts (see #1), it can’t firm up yet, and it makes me feel like Totoro since I put on an extra 50 pounds during pregnancy.

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The upside of the whole thing was scheduling exactly when I would deliver. This came in handy for arranging babysitting and planning out the month’s events afterwards. I also didn’t have to deal with labor pains or tearing during delivery.

Now, someone may be reading this when she didn’t schedule surgery. My second, unexpected, emergency C-Section fell into that category. No, there’s no scheduling. Still, this can give one a handy guide if she’s wondering what’s normal and what’s not.

Hang in there for a relaxing six weeks, buy a belly band, and accept any and all offers to help. And have hope: this is my fourth time recovering, and I’ve always bounced right back to bending and sleeping. I even lost the extra weight …eventually.

 

Photo Credit: Image by manseok Kim from Pixabay

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

I Had My Baby!

Just a little heads-up: I delivered my fifth baby boy on December 2, 2019 at 1344. He weighed 6 lbs, 4 oz and measured 19 inches long.

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He’s much smaller than he seems in the picture, but we’re a month along and doing fine.

No Kids Allowed: The Death of the Family

What would the world be like without children? Quieter, I imagine. Less messy. Less chaotic. No rules about censoring swearing on the radio, maybe. Toy departments geared toward 20-somethings. An absence of miniature items, everywhere. An absence of parks and children’s museums.

In a world such as that, how would the odd, pregnant woman be treated? Stared at, I imagine. Whispered about. Talked about. Shunned. Insulted, perhaps? Watched closely when she tries to purchase clothing to fit her expanding size. A general doctor explaining how he rarely sees this sort of thing anymore -wouldn’t she prefer to abort?

And then, how would others react to marriage and families? Strangely, I imagine. With wariness or confusion. With raised eyebrows and intrusive questions about life choices. Without tax benefits. Without special Family Days, Kids Meals, or Half-Price Admissions.

You might think such scenarios to be far-fetched. Surely we will never reach the point of a world without children! Of course pregnant women will be accepted and supported! When will couples and their families be ostracized?!

I tell you: sooner than you think.

Over a decade ago, a good friend told me she lived in Germany as part of being in the Air Force. She said she received openly hostile looks for bringing her baby son to a restaurant, yet a woman with a dog was accepted.

When I’ve walked around, heaving my heavy stomach in a waddling fashion, I’ve gotten a judgmental vibe in the downtown areas. Where youth, vigor, liberal views and pro-choice abound in a college crowd; there is no love for pregnancy in the air. There are almost tangible questions of, “Why would you choose that?” amongst the stares.

And, outside of our state, we’ve experienced impatience, judgmental looks, and ignorance regarding our children. At a children’s museum on free children’s admission day nearly 8 years ago, a woman in the gift shop told her coworker she’d “shut that baby up” -in reference to our 2-year-old making interesting sounds in the echoing entryway.

I understand. I do.

I understand that some women do not want to birth children.

I understand that quite a few couples don’t want to raise children.

I understand that many people do not want to deal with children at all.

But, I know that an anti-family social norm is killing us. I know a world without children is not sustainable. I know we need pregnancy. I know we need marriage and families.

And, I know that we can’t just assume someone else will take care of that responsibility. We need, instead, a return to the social assumption that families are the norm. We need love and support for those trying to raise their offspring to not be sociopaths. We need acceptance, appreciation, approval, and attention.

We need families.

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If you’ve the time, here’s my week in review:

Sunday, September 29: “9 Halloween Movies for Kids (Adults, Too!),” in which I listed my favorite Halloween movies for kids and families.

Monday, September 30: Wrote a poem titled, “The Morning Menagerie.”

Tuesday, October 1: Shared a quote about families from Fathers in the Home.

Wednesday, October 2: Recommended saving money by buying in bulk.

Thursday, October 3: “Naptime Isn’t Just for Kids,” a snippet about how great naps are -for parents.

Friday, October 4: Wondered about people’s evening mealtimes in “How Do You Dinner?

Saturday, October 5: Shared Scary Mommy‘s tweet about hypocritical in-laws.

Sunday, October 6: That’s today!

 

Photo Credit: Tyler Nix

©2019 Chelsea Owens

I Didn’t Want to Be a Mother

“Mom?”

“Mahm?”

“Mom mom mom mom mom mom…”

Fingers press beneath the door and bodies bash against the wall near it. A few seconds of proximity results in my four boys turning to their neighbors in frustration.

“Don’t shove!”

“Gerroff!”

“I didn’t; you did!”

They all seem surprised when their goal, Mom in the now-unlocked door, stands before their wrestling pile. Written over most of their faces is confusion. Why is her face red? Why does she look sad? Was Mom crying?

Their confusion is warranted. I live in a nice house, am able to be the stay-at-home parent, and have access to health care, good food, and kind neighbors. My family lives close enough to visit occasionally. I even finished reading a novel sometime this year.

As my husband also confusedly wonders, “Why is Mom sad?”

I’ll tell you: I didn’t want to be a mother.

I wanted to be an artist. I wanted to be an engineer. Heck, I wanted to be a fairy. My wants and desires and future goals changed as I grew, morphing as my interests and aptitude emerged; as my exposure to reality and opportunities increased.

Really, the only consistent life goal I had was to never do housework again.

-Which is depressing enough in itself that I am now the primary housekeeper around here.

But the real rub is what I wanted to do; to be. I did not want to only be a mother. Perhaps I didn’t expect to attract someone with my mediocre appearances. Perhaps I thought motherhood was only dishes and laundry. Perhaps I saw women tied to the occupation as somewhat brainless and clueless; those tied to real occupations were intelligent, impressive, talented, and noteworthy.

I mean, how many quotes from just mothers do we read in school? How many do we post as uplifting messages on walls or social media?

I wanted to make a difference. I wanted prestige. I wanted my daily tasks to be laudable ones, not unseen ones. I wanted I wante I want….

Why is Mom sad?

Because, years ago, a tiny infant began growing inside me. He came out, squawking and gasping and clawing at the world. In his first, completely helpless month I had to make a life-altering decision: live for me or live for him.

I chose to live for him. To live for my husband, who wanted more of them. To live for the more of them that came after.

I had to.

Because if I had chosen to live for myself, I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself.

So, Mom is sad. Mom is depressed. But, they have a mom. That’s what’s important, right?

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Sunday, September 15: “We Don’t Point Guns at People,” my brief discussion about the realities of boy children and our realistic rules.

Monday, September 16: Wrote a poem titled, “Happy Hour of Parenting.”

Tuesday, September 17: Shared a funny meme.

Wednesday, September 18: Plated a dinner tip involving butter.

Thursday, September 19: “This Space Reserved for Fetus,” a snippet concerning baby movement during pregnancy.

Friday, September 20: Shared Dude-Bro Dad‘s tweet about picky toddlers.

Saturday, September 21: Had no advice in “I Have No Advice.”

Sunday, September 22: That’s today!

 

Photo Credit: Zach Lucero

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens