Sunday, April 24, 2011

I can do this

Stuart, the baby, and I completed a 5K race yesterday in Portland, the Earth Day Run. For those who don't know, a 5K is about 3.1 miles, and I'm proud to say that we actually ran for about 2.5 miles of that (and walked the rest). I think this is pretty good for being six months pregnant. :-)

What was interesting to me was several people's reactions when I told them I was doing the race. Several people assumed I was walking the whole thing, and one asked me if I was able to run while pregnant. Admittedly, it's harder to run at this point. I'm not breaking any speed records, that's for sure. But I'd been running prior to pregnancy, and as long as I listen to my body and don't push it when I feel bad, it's fine to keep running now.

I really appreciate that people around me are concerned about how my pregnancy is going and want to make sure they don't push me into doing things I might not be able to do. My body isn't the same as it used to be, and they understand that. So I don't feel any ill will when I get these type of reactions.

On a sociological level, I just find it fascinating to observe the differences in the way people treat me, based on assumptions that I'm compromised by my "condition." Instead of asking, "How's it going?" when I see them, they now ask, "How are you feeling?" They give me a wider berth when they're sick because they don't want to get me sick as well (this I do appreciate!). They're surprised that I'm still riding my bike to work. Strangers seem to act nicer toward me.

Again, I'm not irritated by these questions. It's just interesting to note them and the way they reflect larger societal beliefs about what pregnant women can or can't do.

I've tried to follow my personal belief that even though I am feeling certain negative effects (back pain, difficulty sleeping), I don't need to let this pregnancy prevent me from doing things I want to do. I don't have to act like I'm suddenly fragile -- especially when I reach the point of labor. Childbirth is hard, but deep down I'm a tough woman, someone who can ultimately handle this.

That doesn't mean I won't want Stuart to pamper and comfort me in the last few months and throughout labor. :-) But it does mean I want to remember my inner strength, which will help me get through it all.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

So many products, so much to learn

One of the weird baby products I discovered I might need: a nasal aspirator.
I had a fun, yet overwhelming experience last night: creating a baby gift registry. We'd already been getting questions from some people who want to get us gifts, so we decided to set up our first registry at Target. We'll likely also register somewhere else as well, probably online, but this was a good start (FYI, it's not complete -- there will be more to come).

Since I know next to nothing about what most of this baby stuff is, and even less about what I might actually need, I recruited two of my mom friends to come along and help me sort if all out. Thanks to Beth and Kobbi, who both have two kids, I was able to go aisle by aisle and learn which items might be vital and which ones were complete junk.

As I said, it was really fun to look at all the products and start thinking more about what I might use with my baby. But at the same time, it was very overwhelming, because it sometimes felt like I might need everything, there were several important things I didn't even bother registering for yet because I need to do more research, and more to the point, I learned that I might need all these things I hadn't heard of or even imagined. Beth and Kobbi taught me about all kinds of new things, like the fact that I would probably need lanolin and gel pads to keep my breasts from getting sore after breastfeeding, that I should consider a portable crib for when we travel, and that babies basically want to puke and pee everywhere and buying covers for everything is wise so that I'm not constantly washing bedding, etc.

I kept thinking back to my original feelings about baby products (which I explored a bit in my last post): sometimes you can go a bit overboard with all this stuff. Is it all really necessary? No. But it sure is nice to know there are things out there that will make my life easier if I want them.

My parenting learning curve is still quite high, as I discovered again last night. But what was overwhelming was also comforting, because Beth and Kobbi also told me over and over that every baby and parent is different, and products that are vital to one kid can be useless to another. This is comforting because it reminded me that in the end I can just go with the flow, get to know my parenting style and my baby, and figure out what we need as we go along.

And there's nothing wrong with that.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Why can't there only be one?

23 weeks
The above picture is just to show how big I'm getting. I noticed tonight that my belly button is almost gone... How did that happen?

Anyway, the actual topic of this post is cloth diapers. Stuart and I are generally waste-conscious, so it should come as no surprise that we want to use cloth. The thought of all those disposables going into landfills pains me.

So that's it. We made the decision. Cloth diapers it is.

Turns out it's not that easy. As I'm discovering with just about every baby-related thing, there's never a simple choice or decision. There's not just one general type of cloth diaper -- there are several types of diaper systems that you must choose between before you can even decide which brand to buy. Pre-folds, all-in-one, all-in-two, pocket ... that's just a few. After reading multiple articles and watching several very helpful videos online (how did anyone figure this stuff out before the internet?) I've decided that each system seems to have a its own positives and negatives. Which doesn't bring me much closer to a decision.

We're all about ease of use. Especially Stuart, who seems to think that if he keeps saying that he's not going to change any diapers, then this will actually become the reality. Several of the systems look very appealing to me because they are easy. But then the question turns to which ones are actually effective when used on a wiggling newborn that will need to be changed 10 to 15 times per day (I read that online and still can't believe it's that frequent).

I'll definitely be turning to my mom friends for advice on this one. However, at the same time, I know every baby and every parent is different. A product that works perfect for one family may be completely wrong for another. But if any of you moms who use cloth are willing to let me come over sometime and at least see what type of system you use, I would appreciate it.

Overall, I feel like this baby product thing is more complicated than it should be. On the one hand, I'm really glad that innovative people in our society have come up with all these great ways to make child-rearing easier. I'm thankful for all these diaper options that make the process much easier than the square piece of cloth and diaper pins my mom used on me.

But at the same time, it can seem to get a bit out of control. Sometimes the options to protect baby from this or that other murderous thing just feel unnecessary. Babies survived for thousands of years without many of these products, so I shouldn't freak out if I don't have all these products for my own child.

So I'll just keep plodding along in my research, try to pick what looks good, and not be too concerned if I have to adjust my choices later. My baby won't be permanently harmed if I pick the wrong diaper. Once my baby is here, I'll learn a lot more about what's right for him, and I'm open to that. This is obviously the most level-headed way to approach these things.

Of course, all that level-headedness goes out the window when I think about strollers. But that's for another time.