Monthly Archives: July 2013

the day after delivery

5619784_xxlI’ll admit it, I’m no better than my princess obsessed 2-year-old daughter. I was glued to the coverage of the royal baby this week. I could not get enough of all the articles, the TV coverage and Twitter has been highly entertaining.

I celebrated the birth of the royal baby and then watched William and Kate graciously make an appearance the next day. Kate looked great but she also didn’t attempt to hide her post baby tummy and rode away in the backseat, next to the baby, like most first time moms do. It made me think back to the first few days after the birth of my own little heir, 9 years ago.

If I had a royal beauty team, my hair might have had the potential to look camera-ready the day after delivery but nothing else about my body or emotions would have. Enter the indignities of giving birth.

I won’t go into the colorful details of my labor (although if you know me at all you know love to hear labor stories) but I remember the first night in the hospital I could not sleep for fear that the perfect little baby sleeping in the salad bin next to me would succumb to SIDS during his first few hours of life. But I was equally upset with the idea of the nurses watching him for me. What kind of mom am I if I actually want my child taken away just after meeting him? What if the nurses don’t watch him well enough?

I had a rough delivery and of course all these thoughts were just the irrational emotions of a woman who had just gone through 14 hours of labor, was exhausted and who’s own body was working hard to heal. But I didn’t realize all that at the time. Possibly because of my own recovery, my milk took 5 days to come in and our little guy had colic, which means a lot of inconsolable crying (by both of us). Suffice it to say my first experience of motherhood felt like trial by fire.

As new parents, I remember driving somewhere with my husband and we just looked at each other and said why doesn’t anyone tell you about this stuff? Well, I have a few guesses.

1 | Baby memories fade quickly. All the sleepless nights make a parent’s memory a little fuzzy, selective memory sets in and viola; all the hard parts are forgotten.

2 | My second thought is that some first nights with an infant are beautiful. And some babies are actually blissful infants who are easily comforted and make their parents feel like instant pros. I know first hand because I have a few friends who had these easy babies and my second son and I had an ideal first night in the hospital. He slept in my arms and would periodically wake to quietly stare into my eyes. We fell in love that first night.

3 | Another possibility why I didn’t hear more of the real details of post birth and infant life is that we mother’s have a little guilt about our first emotions as mothers and we don’t want to admit that we were overwhelmed and didn’t have a clue what we were doing at the start.

My wish for the Duchess of Cambridge, and every new mom, is that they have the blissful baby experience first. But for those who are surprised by the harsh reality of post-pregnancy let me assure you that it is not a reflection on you as a mother. You just got your challenging child first, everyone gets one eventually. These children will bring just as much joy and life to your home as the easy ones.

The best advice I got in the early days of motherhood was from my husband. He likened motherhood to a new job. He reminded me that it always takes several months to learn the ropes and adjust to a new routine. It’s the same with motherhood.

Whether you’re royal or just a commoner like the rest of us, it takes some time to feel confident and comfortable with the enormous new role of motherhood.


stop over-thinking

thought-bubbles-web

I’m writing this blog to promote my recently released book, Bliss: A guide to unique gift-giving for the expectant mom.

During the process of writing, designing and publishing my first book I have determined that nothing worthwhile is done alone. So my first few posts here will include shout-outs to the many people who helped along the way. Thank you to the always inspiring KUOW radio and Ross Reynolds at The Conversation for interviewing Chris Guillebeau, his book was the jumping off point for my own.

When I first set out to write a book about the concept of bliss I’m pretty sure a few of my friends had their doubts that my very simple idea could possibly fill up a book.

Bliss is a basic concept; it takes about a paragraph to explain. In a sentence, bliss is a series of gifts given during pregnancy. So why write a book?

Well, I figure that a guide is the first step to sharing my idea with the world. I’d love to see bliss spread far and wide and become a tradition as popular as a baby shower. I also wanted to stop sitting on my hands and do something with this original idea I came up with over a decade ago.

The bliss story started eleven years (and 9 months) ago when the first pregnancy was announced in our large and generous family. We were all excited about celebrating this new life. In anticipation of many more babies to come, I knew I wanted to find a special way to mark the occasion each time. And just like that bliss was conceived.

Every time I shared my idea with a new person they would tell me I should do something with it. So one spring day while listening to an NPR program about people who had found success I decided I’d try the formula that the interviewed author was suggesting. These were the three steps:

 

+ USE EXPERTISE YOU ALREADY HAVE (meaning no research)

+ DO IT IN A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME (30-90 days, which translated means stop over-thinking it, which I am very guilty of, and just move forward)

+ DO IT ON THE CHEAP (not much more than $100)

 

So I started writing the guide to bliss. At first I wasn’t even sure how to write it but the words just came flowing out. Turns out I know a lot about being pregnant, having been through the magical, emotional and sometimes undignified experience three times now (but that’s a whole other post).

I also seem to have a knack for finding great gifts. I often get a message from a friend who is stumped for a gift idea, and somehow that’s part of the information my brain stores away. Some of my friends still have all their multiplication tables from elementary school cemented up there or the ability to transform random items in their panty into a delicious meals. Well, I have gift ideas, creative solutions, and thoughtful little ideas pouring out of my brain.

I love giving gifts, thoughtful, appropriate, wow-factor gifts. I’m the kind of gift giver that searches for the perfect gift. I make a mental note of your passing comment about a specific want or need and then present it to you six months later when I draw your name in the holiday gift exchange. It gives me a natural high when someone tells me they use my gift all the time, or the ultimate success, that they have given the same gift to other friends. I’m odd this way.

I gave myself the goal of having the book done by the end of the summer but let’s be reasonable I have three kids and I wasn’t putting life on hold so my 90 days stretched into a year. But I never lost momentum, I kept moving forward. And the cost? So far the design for this blog and the cost for the photos in the book is all I’m out, so I did pretty well on that account.

I believe a baby is ALWAYS a reason to celebrate. There’s a whole lot more to the bliss story but that’s what a blog is for, right? I hope you’ll stay tuned.