Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Anxiety about my anxiety...

I never planned on having children.

It was not something I desired. I'm not a kid person. I don't dislike children. I'm just not a kid person. A year ago, the thought of holding a baby made me balk. Whenever there are children in the room, I'm polite to them and I think they're super cute, but I don't really interact with them unless necessary.

That's just me.

Last year, my dad spooked me by telling me he thought birth control pills cause breast cancer. He's in the cancer field and he had studies and his own speculation to back it up. I freaked out.

That same week, I underwent a scan at the doctor's office which revealed my body probably didn't want kids either. My doctor told me that my chances of conceiving a child naturally were slim to none. She told me when I decided to start a family one day, I needed to make an appointment with her to discuss my options. I wasn't upset. I just shrugged and said "okay" and went on with my life.

Less than a year later, Neill arrived.

I love Neill. He's a part of me. I can't imagine life without him. I went from being completely clueless about babies to kind of knowing what I'm doing. That's a big step for me. I'm also looking forward to when he's a kid. Because even though I'm not a kid person, I'm a Neill person. I can't wait to learn more about him. Discover his interests. See his personality. Play with him.

He's my favorite person in the world and I feel like the luckiest woman in the world to be his mom.

Sometimes I feel guilty though. One of the main reasons I never desired children in the past is because I didn't think it was fair to bring more people into this world. There are already too many people. There is so much unhappiness. There is violence everywhere. People starving.

And don't even get me started on the war against the LGBT community taking place right now. I don't know if Neill is gay. If he is, obviously that's fine with me and Rian. But it would break my heart for him to experience hatred and discrimination and ignorance just for being who he is. Will acceptance be better by the time Neill is an adult? I don't know.

I have so many anxieties for Neill. I worry about bullies. I worry about injuries. I worry about everything that is going to happen and everything that probably won't.

People tell me I should live in the moment, enjoy Neill while he's a sweet little bundle of joy. They tell me I shouldn't worry so much about the future, because that just eats up precious brain matter.

It's not that easy. I can't just turn off my fears. I can't switch off the guilt.

I honestly don't think the anxiety is ever going to go away. Like, I really think I'm still going to feel overprotective about Neill when he's a middle-aged man.

I guess this is motherhood?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

I'm the best mom in the world! (but you're not)

I've learned a lot of things in the past year. Most of those things involve bodily fluids.

But one thing I was shocked to learn is one thing that shouldn't have really shocked me at all:

Mean girls grow up to be mean moms.

(Moms who are mean to other moms).

It's as competitive and catty as high school, except uglier and colder. Because it involves your children.

I came across this creepy phenomenon the moment I got pregnant. You see, I had turned to the internet for help. I knew nothing about babies. I didn't really have a support network of moms-to-be around me. I wanted to be a part of a community of women who understood what I was going through. And maybe make some friends in the process.

On Facebook, there are hundreds of pregnancy/motherhood pages. And in the past year, I have seen five major ones get shut down. All because of mommy-shamers.

What are mommy-shamers? They are:

Moms who call each other nasty names. Moms who criticize other moms for not doing things "the right way." Moms who think they know more than any other mom in the history of mankind. Moms who are, to put it bluntly, just bitches.

On the internet, mommy-shamers (much like trolls) are brazen behind the safety net of a computer screen.

On a Facebook page, a mom will write a question, seeking advice from other moms. In most cases it's something benign, like "Is it okay to give my four-month-old water?"

Some responses will be normal. "I don't think babies under six months should be given water. My pediatrician warned me against it because water can affect how the baby digests milk or formula."

Helpful, right?


Or, the question might be: "After a six-week-long maternity leave, I'm heading back to work next week. Any advice for full-time moms?"

Normal responses will involve breast-pumping tips and how to find the right child-care provider.



But the mommy-shaming isn't just online. It's in person. Well-meaning friends and acquaintances, and even strangers, think it is of the upmost importance to tell you how to raise your baby.

Breast is best! If you give your child formula, you might as well pack your bags, because you're going to hell.

Vaccinations are the devil's autism juice.

Circumcision is CHILD ABUSE.


Fortunately, I haven't been subjected to that extreme kind of mommy-shaming (knock on wood). But just witnessing it everyday on forums is enough for me. It's the main reason I have been too terrified to post anything in any forum anywhere.

Being a bitch in high school is bad enough. But at least your excuse is, um, you're in high school. When you're an adult and have children, there is NO excuse.

It's even harder when mommy-shamers do it unintentionally. They genuinely think they're being helpful by offering (unsolicited) motherly advice.

When Neill was two months old, I was sitting in an auto shop waiting room, feeding Neill a bottle (I'm not comfortable breast-feeding in public yet). The receptionist in the waiting room walked up to me and told me I was using the wrong brand of bottle. "All three of my children used Playtex bottles," she told me. "Honey, you need to switch. You're not doing your baby any service using Dr. Brown bottles."

Um, what?

When Neill was three months old, I was in line at the craft store and he started wailing. The mother in front of me turned around and glared at me. "You're not feeding your baby enough if he's screaming like that," she sneered.

Excuse me?

And finally, last week, I was at the grocery store when I walked by the elderly woman who passes out samples. After cooing over Neill, she glanced into my cart and told me, "You need to put that carton of ice cream back in the freezer section, darling. Sweets aren't good to be eating when you're feeding that little baby! Shame on you!"

She literally mommy-shamed me. Er, grandma-shamed me?

Anyway, it made me go from a beaming new mom to a beet red buffoon. I was embarrassed and I couldn't come up with a good comeback right away because I've given most of my brain cells to my child.

Why can't mothers just be supportive of other mothers?

New moms are already so fragile, clumsily learning the ropes of child-rearing through sleep-thirsty eyes. We don't need you to chastise us on what worked for you. Because what worked for you might not work for me. Every mother and child and situation is different.

Don't make us feel bad, when we already have the harshest critic breathing down our necks: ourselves.

Friday, October 31, 2014

I'm back!

I think it has been a year since I left. Strange.

I knew I was going to resume blogging after the pregnancy, but I wasn't sure when or where. I spent months wondering if I should jump-start this blog or simply start a new one.

After all, I've changed completely since last fall. I'm not the same person. I've gone through an emotional and physical transformation. I guess having another human being ripped from your body will do that to you. I also just think I've been forced to grow up the past year.

But in the end, I decided starting a new blog would be too exhausting. All my friends are here. I don't want to confuse my readers. My posts aren't going to be much different. This isn't all of the sudden going to turn into a I'm-just-another-cool-mom blog where I post organic gluten-free recipes and conduct detailed reviews of strollers. Well, maybe I would do a stroller review. If the stroller was free. (I'm still poor.)

Anyway, it just makes sense to stay.

I actually went back and read every single one of my previous posts. That's five years worth of blogging. Talk about cringe-worthy. It was like going back and reading my middle school diary. Lets just say stuff that happened in 2009 needs to stay in 2009, amiright?

I also categorized most of my posts (which you can view on my sidebar), so it's easier navigate in case you're looking for something specific. Another reason I decided to stay was because during my absence, I still had a lot of people commenting on old posts or stumbling across my blog by accident. It's eye-opening to realize something I wrote three years ago still touches people today.

Before I sign out for the night, I want to tell you about my son. He was born in July and his name is Neill. He's super cute and he likes to giggle when I say any word that starts with "p" like "pumpkin" or "poop." For some reason, he thinks it's hilarious, so I roll with it.

I debated about posting a photo of him here (I recently came across a story about creepy instagram trolls who steal photos of babies off blogs and pretend its theirs). But, you know what, screw them. I have hundreds of photos of Neill, so I'll let the internet have one.

That's my baby. He's going to be four months old in a week! Where does time go?!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Since I've been gone...

I fell off the grid.

I thought it would be fitting to come back here this afternoon, seven days after my blog's five year anniversary.

You see, back in November, my life kind of turned upside down. I was already incredibly unhappy at the time. My depression has snowballed over the past few years. I stopped being interested in things that interest me. I had no desire to write anymore. To read books from my favorite authors. To even hang out with friends very much. Nothing inspired me.

Then, I found out by accident that I'm pregnant.

I was covering a city council meeting and right when the big issue came up, which was supposed to be my big story, I ran to the bathroom and threw up for more than an hour. I thought I was dying.

My dad took me to the hospital. We found out that I wasn't dying, but in fact doing the opposite by creating life.

Since Rian still has another semester of graduate school left and he's living on campus two hours away, I gave up my apartment and moved back in with my parents so I could use my measly freelance journalist paycheck to pay off my debt and save up for my inevitable medical expenses.

It has been a huge shock and it took me several months to come to terms with my situation. I found out a little while ago that I'm having a boy. I'm due in late June or early July.

Well, now that the shock has worn off and the distraction is no longer a novelty, I'm back to facing my pre-pregnancy demons.

I need inspiration. I long for creativity. I wish I could regain that passion I used to have for, well, anything.

But instead, I go through the motions of everyday life. I do my job. I watch television. I spend most of my time staring into space, not really thinking about anything until I realize half the day is gone.

Exciting, eh?

What do you do when you need to get out of a slump? When you seek creative inspiration? When you want to jumpstart your ambitions?