Friday, May 2, 2014

Nice to meet you

Hey. I'm Liz. I started this blog as a series of emails back and forth between me and. myself. Yeah, I'm that nervous about putting myself out there like this. I'm pretty reserved, I guess. 

Firstly, this is a blog about motherhood. The name for it came from my mother, and I became a mother just 3 months ago. I had planned to NOT have my mother in the delivery room. Here's what made it nearly impossible for my mother to be there as my daughter entered the world:

1. My mom lives 600 miles away and works full-time. It's super hard to plan a trip around a baby's arrival, unless you plan on being away for a month. Seriously. Let's all agree that a due date is a rough guess.

2. I didn't want her there. I thought it was weird that she was there when my sister's daughter was born. I imagined her seeing...things...

And here, respectively, is why she was there: 

1. My daughter came pretty much exactly on time. Not only was she born on her due date, she was here in time for dinner. What a good sport.
My mother was planning to come here on my due date, and she had about a week and a half off, so if the baby was late, she would still be here for his or her arrival. My mother was driving while I was at my doctor's office for my 40-week checkup. I had the doctor strip my membranes for the third time, since I had been having contractions (and dilating) for a solid week. I called my mother immediately after, while my husband and I were going through the drive-through car wash (why wash your car when a baby is a-comin? Your guess is as good as mine) and I could no longer speak through contractions, and they were making me cry. This was about 10 am. Our Ladybug was born 8 hours later.

2. Another baby being born while I was laboring had a very. LARGE. family. I mean, there were at least 40 people waiting in this lobby that was built for maybe 10. Nowhere for Mom to wait. While I was pushing, one of my nurses told me my mother had arrived and that they were going to find an empty room for her...somewhere. At that point, I said, just let her in here and stick her on the couch. As long as she's not staring down my birth canal.

So Mom arrived, looked at me and scooted to the couch. Bridesmaids was on the TV. It was the very end, when they're all singing Wilson Philips or something. 15 minutes later, my daughter was born. It was relatively quiet in the room. I think I grunted at the very end while she was crowning (because that shit hurt) but otherwise, the doctor quietly coached me through. My mom called it the Zen master birth, so here we are.

It took me a while to realize how important my concept of Zen is to me as a mother. 3 months, I guess. While we've been extremely fortunate with both our daughter's health and temperament, we've had tough moments. But the most important and foolproof parenting tactic for us has been to refocus ourselves and make sure that the energy we are giving to our daughter is good and calming.

What spurred me to own this whole zen master idea was nursing my daughter on the couch last night. We were side-lying, and she was screaming in between gulps, because she was tired, I figured. So I started going, "shhhh" as much as I could, but it was riling me up to have to do that. I instead focused on my own energy and thought (no joke, yes this is a little weird, but) "Be a pillar of calm to her." My muscles relaxed, my eyes closed, and—my baby stopped screaming. They feel it. They feel you. It's easy to ignore your own energy and focus on what your baby is doing, but if you can be that pillar of calm to him or her, everything else will fade away and the world will be a safe and soothing place. Isn't that what we all want?

Anyway. I won't pretend to have answers. I just want to share the joy and the frustrations and the love that comes with being a new mom with others, and I hope you'll find this a place of community and connection.

By day, I'm an editor at a food magazine. Going back to work has been hard but wonderful. I'm trying to juggle it all and find a balance that works for my family. We'll get to know each other better, I swear. Thanks for being here.

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