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Four Reasons Natural Birth Trumped America’s Other Options

Eventually my first pregnancy got to the point that I could no longer ignore that this baby was exiting my body, whether I liked it or not.  So I decided to educate myself on childbirth.

Something you should probably know about me:  I get real squeamish around anything medical.

I don’t like hospitals.  I don’t like feeling like a patient.  I didn’t like watching ER, back in the day.  I would try to watch, because, you know, Mr. Clooney.  But, I’d be caught off guard, every episode, by some bodily fluid spraying out.  GROSS.

Many of my family members work in hospitals.  I plug my ears when they share medical stories at the dinner table.

When it comes to medication, I’ve always erred on the side of less is more.  You’ve all seen the commercials where the list of possible side effects sounds far worse than the things the medicine is supposed to treat.

And, I pretty much blacked out during health class.  Too much information about the inner workings of my body.

All that said, I’m not sure if that made me a more, or less, likely candidate for natural childbirth.

But eventually my first pregnancy got to the point that I could no longer ignore that this baby was exiting my body, whether I liked it or not.  So I decided to educate myself on childbirth, using the six resources I mention in this post, plus lots of stories of woman with positive birth experiences.  (Sign up to follow the blog and you will get an alert when the rest of the series is added).

Below are the reasons I found in favor of natural childbirth.  Some are fact based, some are preference based.  This list was enough to encourage me to make natural childbirth Plan A.

Natural Birth Part Two

A 32% US Cesarean Rate, According to the CDC:

Really?!  So one third of woman are now incapable of safely delivering their baby?  Bull Sh*t.   There are scenarios where a cesarean is most definitely life saving for mom and baby, but there were two instances I was not comfortable with:  medical interventions that lead to a cesarean (more on that later), and doctors and mothers that casually consider a cesarean a modern option for any inconvenient pregnancy issue.  I’ve heard stories of mothers scheduling cesareans so they could pick a special date, chose their time off based on work schedules or visitors being in town, because they are told their baby is to big on the ultrasound, because they don’t want to push, because they had a c-section before, because a woman has a small-frame she is told she will have trouble pushing out a baby, or just generally because labor is not progressing and the mom is getting too tired.  The list goes on.  I can’t understand why these are sufficient reasons to under go major surgery.  32% was very discouraging to me.  I needed to arm myself with the best possible scenario for avoiding becoming part of this statistic.

One Medical Intervention Often Leads to Another:  

Many women that are part of that 32% cesarean rate, don’t enter the hospital thinking that will be their fate.  They have the best intentions to labor and deliver vaginally.  But then the realities of modern medicine intervene.

1.  An epidural is administered for pain management, labor slows down because your body no longer feels the natural sensations, nurses administer pitocin (almost 30% of births use pitocin or other induction methods)  to speed up labor which causes contractions to intensify (mom often doesn’t notice because she’s had the epidural), baby starts to go in to distress because of the unnatural intensity and frequency of these super contractions, the babies heart rate spikes to unsafe levels, mom is taken in for an emergency c-section to save the baby.

2.  A mother is at, or past, her due date so an induction is scheduled.  The doctors try to artificially start and progress labor, which can lead to the same scenario described above.

Again, cesareans are a great option to have when things go wrong, but if the medical interventions used to speed labor ultimately lead to the cesarean, we are a victim of our own medical side effect commercial.  Medical intervention comes with side effects, and I didn’t like the course that those interventions could put me on.  So I chose to avoid step one, the epidural, in hopes of avoiding the other interventions.

I Wanted Support, Not Ulterior Motives, Driving My Birth Decisions:

Many hospitals have standards about how quickly you need to progress in labor before they offer ways to intervene – for your benefit, of coarse.

And, most doctors will only be there for the last few minutes before baby arrives, leaving you to labor alone or intermittently with a nurse.

I knew labor would be difficult, and possibly scary.  As a woman you really have no idea what it will feel like.  You don’t get a practice run.  I knew I wanted a support system that would be there with me for the challenging parts, and keep me calm.  I figured the best way to do that would be to hire a midwife.   Because the majority of midwives regularly attend natural births, I felt comfortable trusting my midwife during the birth process.  You would never hire a coach that hasn’t regularly achieved that outcome you want.   That would be silly.  Why would I leave my intentions of a natural birth to someone that doesn’t regularly do it, nor encourage it?

I initially looked for a doula to come alongside my OB-GYN, but found that most were more than I had to spend.  Fortunately, I ended up finding a midwife that was approved to deliver at my hospital (I live in Orange County, CA – not some small town, and astonishingly there was still just one midwife approved to deliver at my hospital, at that time).   This meant insurance would cover it.   I got the best of both worlds: an experienced and encouraging coach and doctor, in a hospital setting in case any issues came up.

Natural Labor in the Hospital
Walking Around to Labor, Temporarily Wearing the External Fetal Monitor to Check on Baby

I Didn’t Want to Feel Like a Patient: 

As I explained, I don’t like medical stuff, which includes feeling like a patient.  By forgoing the epidural I was able to wear my own clothes (no paper hospital gown), walk around the room, try any position I wanted to find comfort during contractions, soak in the bathtub in my hospital room, eat and drink, push in any position I wanted (instead of flat on my back – which actually makes your pelvis more narrow), and generally deal with the pain on my own terms with a trained and encouraging support partner.

Labor and delivery was hard work, but I felt like my body was doing something powerful and natural.  I was not damaged goods, waiting for a doctor to make me better.

Your body is not a lemon.  Our creator is not careless.  Your body was made for this.

Come back for the rest of the series – my natural birth story, and mentally preparing for my upcoming delivery of baby two.  (Sign up to follow the blog and you will get an alert when the rest of the series is added).

Note:  my intention is not to shame anyone that has had a different birth experience from mine.  My intent is to provide a positive example of what birth can be, in spite of what most of us are exposed to about child birth in the United States.  Educate yourself so you can feel comfortable with your own decisions.

 

 

 

Natural Childbirth Sounds Insane, But You’re Still Curious

Six Resources to Help Consider if Natural Birth is Right for You, or Just for Hippies.

I’m a ticking time bomb over here at 37.5 wks. pregnant with Baby Two.

The first time I gave birth I had to learn a lot about my body.  It was a topic that I had avoided for many years (thirty-three to be exact).  So when I started to even think about natural childbirth, it felt like a bit of an ignorant pipe dream.

Could I?  Should I?  Why would I want to endure that?  Do modern women really chose such a barbaric option, or is that just for gypsy women with no health insurance?

 

First hour of life, natural birth
First Hour of Life

If you find yourself asking any of these questions, but are still intrigued whether you could achieve your own natural childbirth, we are going to first start by opening your mind to the possibility.

This post is part of a multi-post series on my experience with natural childbirth (Sign up to follow the blog and you will get an alert when the rest of the series is added):  resources I found to open my mind to the possibility, the benefits I found in favor of it, actually experiencing it with Baby One, and trying to wrap my mind around the idea of doing it again with Baby Two.

Your mind is incredibly powerful.  It will greatly help or hinder you during childbirth.   For that reason, we will start there.

Here is a list of the best resources I found to help consider a natural childbirth, and if the possibility was really for me.

Natural Childbirth, is it right for you

  1.  Book – Expecting Better – This book is a great place to start, natural birth or not.  It helps you to better understand all the “advice” (like “Don’t eat cold cuts”, “Don’t sleep on your back”, “You need a c-section if you had one before”, etc.) we receive as pregnant women, so that you can make educated decisions for yourself based on actual statistics.
  2. Movie – The Business of Being Born – you can find it for free on YouTube.  The documentary shares the opinions of doctors that are for and against births by midwife.  You get to see what natural childbirth looks like, something most women have never seen:  minimal intervention, not hooked up to an I.V., fetal monitor, catheter, and epidural.  Painful, intense, beautiful, and empowering,  There is even a story of one woman that planned to have a natural birth but ended up in the hospital because of complications with her baby.  It reminded me that I feel blessed to have the option of western medicine, when necessary, to support my birth wishes.
  3. Hire a Midwife – I liked my OB-GYN, but at 32 wks. pregnant I finally decided that if I wanted to try for a natural birth, a midwife was my best bet.  OB-GYN’s are trained in all the ways to intervene during childbirth.  Most have had minimal experience with a natural childbirth.  I thought, if it it foreign to them, how are they going to keep me calm and reassure me that everything is normal?  I found a midwife that was approved to deliver at the hospital I planned to deliver at.  I decided to meet with her, and was impressed how much we discussed the mental side of childbirth and what kind of experience I wanted.  There were far fewer rules about how things had to progress.  It was about letting my baby and body do their job, and my midwife would be there to coach me through it all.
  4. Book – Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth – This book is divided in to two parts.  The first part is natural birth stories.  The second part is observations from Midwives that live on a farm in Tennessee and have attended thousands of natural births.  I didn’t have you start here, because the book is pretty hippy, but awesome, once your mind is ready for it.  Please do not skip this resource if you are considering natural birth.  You will gain an entirely new perspective on birth from what our western culture teaches.  Plus, Ina has a bit of a sense of humor, “There is no other organ quite like the uterus.  If men had such an organ, they would brag about it.  So should we.”
  5. Positive Affirmations – Birth will be an experience like no other.  Give yourself the best possible chance of dealing with it by having a phrase or two that you can repeat when you start to doubt yourself.  For the first birth, mine was something along the lines of: You are strong, capable, and safe.  Your body was meant for this.  A similar one that I found for birth two is: Your body is not a lemon.  The Creator is not careless.  Your body was made to give birth.

That’s a lot of homework right there.  But you’ve got time.  Start with one or two of resources and see if you are still interested.  Or just come back to this blog for part two:  The Cliff Notes Version of Why I Decided on a Natural Birth (Sign up to follow the blog and you will get an alert when the rest of the series is added).

Have you checked out the recent release of my second children’s book?  My Mom is the Worst is available now!

If you have a positive affirmation you plan to use for childbirth, please share it in the comments.

 

Parents Find Freedom, Then Screw It All Up

Oddly enough, we are all pregnant again, and will soon be losing this freedom we worked so hard to reach.

My little human turned 22 months yesterday.  I’m kind of in love with this stage.

Happy Baby

I don’t even recall when it happened.  But I can now leave the room and not have anxiety about what she is doing, and how many seconds I have before she notices I am gone and starts crying.

She self entertains while I make dinner.  Not every night, but it still feels magical when it works.

She can watch Elmo on the iPad for fifteen minutes at a time, without even noticing me.

When we have dinner with friends and their kids, there is an actual kid table.  This one blows my mind.  But it has happened twice now, so I think it’s an actual thing.  On NYE three toddlers sat at our mini princess table, while the adults sat in big chairs around a grown-up table and conversed about things other than kids, mostly.  Oddly enough, we are all pregnant again, and will soon be losing this freedom we worked so hard to reach.

Best friends, 22 months

This is the first time I have actually sat down to write while my daughter is awake, EVER.  Mind you, I’ve had to stop three times now to read her a book, wipe her snotty nose, and stop her from shoving a half eaten Lara bar in to my notebook.  But, it is happening.

Coincidently, this also happened yesterday.

Halo bassient for newborn

We set up the bassinet in our bedroom because this month is the birth month of baby number two.  It’s almost funny that the same month we enter a land of freedom with our first child, it’s also the birth month of our second child.  What were we thinking?

I’m about to enter the newborn stage again any day now, and I’m forced to remember how poorly I dealt with that stage the first time.

I hate not being able to be productive, make decisions for myself, and not have someone hanging on me 24/7.

The silver lining of round two is that I know it is a finite moment in time.  I’m ready to try to enjoy it better the second time around.  Not perfectly,  I’m sure, but better.

Twenty Two Meals and a Bottle of Rum

So instead of European vacations or a trip home for the holidays, I scheduled some other fun activities. 

Various doctors appointments.  Finally sitting down to write our Will.  Cooking over twenty freezer meals before Baby Two disrupts our routine.

I clearly know how to keep a marriage hot.

My husband had the week between Christmas and New Years off.  The younger versions of us would have never let this week pass us by without making some amazing travel plans.  The current versions of us let finances, toddlers, and the third trimester of pregnancy get in the way.  Lame excuses. I know.

So instead of European vacations or a trip home for the holidays, I scheduled some other fun activities.

Various doctors appointments.  Finally sitting down to write our Will.  Cooking over twenty freezer meals before Baby Two disrupts our routine.

I clearly know how to keep a marriage hot.

22 freezer mealsWe did the freezer meals before Wynn was born and it turned out to be a life saver for us.   There was already going to be plenty of chaos in our house as first time parents of a newborn, and typically we cook a hot breakfast daily, and 5-6 dinners a week.

There was no way that was going to happen those first few months, so being able to pull out a meal from the freezer was one very appreciated amenity.  Between a tired mama, and a crying newborn, nothing good happens in the kitchen.  We would have ended up eating Chipotle or Pizza Hut every night, which contrary to what some of you believe, probably isn’t the best idea.

Actually, it could have been even worse than that.

We could have reverted back to our early marriage days where lean pockets and ramen noodles were considered full meals.  You can read about the entire ridiculous year we spent learning to cook here. Expect to read lots of embarrassing stories and many, many typos.  You’ve been warned.

You don’t have to be pregnant to benefit from stocking your freezer with meals.  This is great for all of us with a busy life.

Stocked with freezer meals

Here is the game plan we used to stock our freezer with 22 meals (88 servings).  I recommend spreading the tasks over three days so that you don’t overwhelm yourself:

  1.  Day One (30 min/1 person):  Gather recipes on Pinterest for freezer meals.  I actually had these saved on my computer from last time we stocked the freezer.  We chose 11 different recipes and planned to make two batches of each recipe.
  2. Day One Cont. (30 min/1 person):  Create a master shopping list, organized by the section of the store the ingredients would be found in:  meat, produce, canned goods, etc.  Make sure to double ingredients if you plan to make multiple of the same meal.
  3. Day Two (1 hr/1 person):  Go grocery shopping. I went to two stores, Grocery Outlet and Ralphs, and spent $230 ($2.61 per serving).  The most expensive part was that we chose to buy organic meat and ingredients when possible.  It adds up, but organic meat is important to us, especially when I will be nursing and passing everything along to my young baby.
  4. Day Three (3 hrs/2 ppl. steps 4-7):  Label all the freezer bags with date/recipe name/servings/and cooking day instructions.
  5. Put all the meat in the bags so that you only have to touch meat once before moving on to other ingredients.
  6. Recipe by recipe add remaining ingredients.  It’s great to have one person reading the recipe and adding the dry ingredients while the other person is chopping the fresh ingredients.  Lay each bag flat in the freezer, and stack them on top of each other to save space.
  7. Clean up.

For a price, there are sites out there that will email you a monthly menu, shopping list, prep instructions, and bag labels.  Once a Month Cooking is one that I have used a free sample menu from in the past.  But I also enjoy finding recipes of my own that I know my family will eat.

If you looked in our freezer on a typical day, it’s freakishly barren.  To the point you might feel bad for us.  A few mini bottles of airplane booze and an ice pack.  But now it is completely stocked.  We look like a real American family, with the status symbol of abundance, the ‘overflowing freezer’.

 

 

Are You a Finisher or a Perfectionist? You Don’t Get to be Both.

Eight Steps to help you finish your goals.

Here’s a recipe for a stressful workplace:  pair a Perfectionist and a Finisher up daily, and then just sit back and watch the tension build.  This was my life for three years.

The Finisher is prone to try and simplify tasks to complete the essence of the project, while the Perfectionist is all about adding levels of complexity to make things the very best they can be.  I’m sure that the Perfectionist thinks their way is best, and the Finisher obviously thinks their way is best.  Jon Acuff’s book, Finish, will tell you that you can’t be both.  I was listening to this book on Audible as I was finishing my second children’s book, My Mom is the Worst.

author, finish, my mom is the worst book
Post Workout and 34 wks. pregnant.  Clearly I’m not going for Instagram perfection here.

Turns out I am a Finisher (which I could have already told you).  I am not perfect, but my strength is that I am going to pick out the most critical parts of a project (those that will have the biggest impact), focus on that, and let the other pieces go, if needed.

In the last year I started (brainstormed, wrote, edited, hired illustrators, provided creative briefs, designed layouts) and finished (published and continue to promote) two children’s books.  If I were a perfectionist there is no way I could have done that.  The ideas would likely still be in my notebook, on draft 342.

Or if I were a highly motivated perfectionist, I may have made it though the initial draft, but be too scared to publish the work until I had a few more sets of eyes on it.

Here’s the funny thing.  Let’s say that the book (or any project) technically makes it to perfect status in the creator’s mind.  Guess what?  Once it’s out there for the world to see, everyone is not going to agree that it is the cutest, most perfect, little baby they ever saw. **Except mine.  I make pretty cute babies (and books).**

So if perfect is what you are going for, that feeling is going to be very short lived.  Once other people start getting their hands on it, the (positive and negative) feedback will begin.

Don’t let perfectionism hold you back.  Produce, adapt, and continue to create.

Speaking of feedback, since I already lean toward a Finisher mindset, every strategy in Jon’s book was not something mind-blowing and new.  However, there were many points that I did connect with.

Finish, My mom is the worst, beautiful monster books v2

Here are my Top Eight Ways to Help You Get to Finished: 

  1.  Studies prove: the less you aim for perfection, the more productive you are.
  2. Perfection or finished, those are your two choices.  Not perfection or failure.
  3. Say no to shame. Decide what you will bomb in advance.  Then become confident in your decision.
  4. Winners quit stupid stuff all the time.  Don’t continue something stupid out of a need for being perfect.
  5. What are your secret rules that hold you back?  Define them so that you can work on them.
    • For transparency and growth purposes, here are two of mine:  1. A fear of spending money on my business goals.  I have seen friends and family members spend a lot of money on their businesses and still fail.  How do I know if I am throwing money at something, or spending money wisely, to advance my business goals?  Especially when it comes at a cost to my family.  2.  How do I know which opportunities to turn down so that I spend my time most efficiently; holding out for the opportunities that will have the biggest impact?
  6.  Borrow someone else’s diploma.  Meaning borrow knowledge from others.  You don’t have to know it all.
  7. You need to track data points to understand your progress.  Benchmarks are important to understand if you are moving in the right direction to eventually reach your goals.
  8. We don’t ever age out of needing someone to believe in us.

Number eight is a favorite, and why I published my first book.  I had written the book but didn’t intend to do anything significant with it (full story here).  With just a bit of encouragement from my husband, I decided to take the next step in learning how to publish it.  The actual action plan, and work involved, were on me.  But because someone else believed in me, I believed in myself enough to start and finish.

I believe in you and your goals one hundred percent.  Don’t let perfectionism kill you.  Focus on the details that will get you to your goal, and let the rest go.  You are going to crush it in 2018…or 2020…or 2030…whenever you are reading this.  Wise advice never expires.

 

I’m Begging, Stop Stressing Over Your Toddler’s Christmas

Christmas with young kids really does provide an opportunity for a low-key, joy-filled time of year.  But as parents we make it complicated.

My daughter will be (almost) two this Christmas.  This is a magical time.

*The Elf on the Shelf does not exist yet, HOORAY!*

I’m still debating if I can bypass that all together.

*She does not care about the cost, or size, of presents.  Though, there are bonus points if the present comes with bubble wrap to pop.*

*And she is content to read the Christmas Story of Baby Jesus night after night.*

Christmas with young kids really does provide an opportunity for a low-key, joy-filled time of year.  But as parents we make it complicated.  We have this guilt if the holidays are too simple.  Like if it’s easy, we are some how letting our kids down.  We HAVE to be all stressed out like all the other parents, or we must be doing it wrong.

WRONG.  Stop it, just stop it.  It’s not true.

Let me expose my “low-bar” holiday excitement, in hopes that it will let other parents see that it’s ok to keep it simple.

—-

This here is the FREE Santa.

FreeSanta

Last year we took her to the mall for photos with Santa.  I was shocked to find out that they wouldn’t let you snap a few pics with your own camera.  The cheapest option was a $30 digital file of the photos they took.  Honestly, if it weren’t for my husband, we would have left with zero photos.  Thirty dollars?!  That’s a whole lot of Christmas cookies for Santa!

So this year I did a little research.  There was a free Santa at the local garden store.  You could take all your own pictures.  There was also a photographer there selling pictures, but it was optional.

Yes, they were still thirty dollars.  Apparently that is the going rate for Santa pics in Orange County.  But we were happy with the pictures we took on our own camera, and our daughter was delighted when Santa gave her a Christmas bell.  She has been playing with that free “magic reindeer bell” for days!

——

You know what I’m most excited to give my child this year?  Two white, ceramic bunnies.  I found them in the Target Dollar Spot.

targetdollarspotbunnies

They are essentially glorified yard ornaments, and I can’t wait to see my daughter’s face when she opens them and starts petting them, and talking to them, like they are her new BFF’s.  You see, every time we walk the neighborhood, she stops to talk to all of our neighbor’s yard trinkets…bunnies, snails, ducks, cats, gnomes.  *Spoiler*  That is how you know you don’t live in the young, hip ‘hood, when ALL your neighbors have yard ornaments.  But my daughter loves them!

InkedPop Pop—-

The other thing she is sure to go wild for is the popcorn in her stocking.  Pop Pop is her jam!

Sure, there are other things under the tree this year.  Honestly mostly from family.  We are grateful to have generous people in her life.  But on our end, we really did limit things to just a few gifts.  Three fun things, two needs things, and a book.

If you haven’t added a few books under the tree yet, check these out.

Young kids truly love simple pleasures.  I assume this period only lasts for so long, so I’m not going to feel any guilt about embracing it while I can.  Don’t burden yourself with other parents false expectations that the holidays must be stressful.  It’s ok to set that bar low.  Your child won’t notice what they didn’t get.  What they will enjoy is that you are more happy when you are spending time with them.

Inkedbunnies
Those are the bunnies.  Take a moment to admire my fancy wrap job.   Ok, now I just feel like you are laughing at me.

If you still need a good laugh to help alleviate the stress, try writing “From: Mom and Dad” on a gift without feeling old.  That one about blew my mind when I was wrapping presents.

OMG, we are THE Mom and Dad.  Um, When did that happen?  Did anyone approve this?

Germs! And Other Fun Stuff I’ll be Giving Away This Week

Part of me wanted to tell him that I’ve had this hack for weeks now and it wasn’t going anywhere, so stop giving yourself whiplash!  Another part of me was a bit more sympathetic. 

The guy in Starbucks turned and looked at me after EVERY SINGLE COUGH.  Unfortunately this was every couple minutes.  I could feel the heat of his stares.

Part of me wanted to tell him that I’ve had this hack for weeks now and it wasn’t going anywhere, so stop giving yourself whiplash!  Another part of me was a bit more sympathetic.  No one wants to be sick for the holidays.  I get it.  Yet we all seem to spread our germs the most this time of year between goodbye hugs, extra social events we don’t want to miss even though we aren’t feeling

holiday cookie tray
Busy Spreading Holiday Germs! Opps, no. Holiday Cheer!

our best, those shared plates of holiday treats that everyone in the office has touched with their germ hands. 

Sorry for ruining that last one for you.

So I wanted to share something with you virtually so you don’t have to be around me and my germy, germ, germs.   That way you can blame someone else for getting you sick!

free coffee tshirtHead on over to my Facebook page @StoriesbyJKCoy and you can enter the Five Days of Holiday Giveaways.  It’s easy – 1.  Like the Facebook page 2. Tag a Friend in the giveaway post for that day.  Today were starting with a fun, grey coffee t-shirt.

There will also be signed copies of my children’s books, Starbucks Gift Cards, a twenty minute phone consult about how to publish your dream idea, and even some surprises!

Spread love, not germs, this holiday season.
XOXO  – One Tired, Sicky Mama

 

 

 

If I Mention Another Craft, Please Intervene

we tell ourselves it’s cool because it’s handmade.  But the truth is, it’s only cool if it comes out looking like the Pottery Barn version of “handmade.”

Holiday crafting brings out the Grinch in me.  It’s like normal crafting but on crack. You need your craftiness to be on perfect point because it’s what you are giving someone as a gift, instead of paying full price for something else.  And we tell ourselves it’s cool because it’s handmade.  But the truth is, it’s only cool if it comes out looking like the Pottery Barn version of “handmade.”  Which is so not actually handmade.

In general I like to think that I have gotten better about knowing my limits and saying no to most crafts.  In my experience they tend to cost more time, energy, and frustration, then they make up for in cost savings.

In fact, just last week I was on Pinterest and saw instructions for a Felt Christmas Tree for toddlers to decorate.  It looked totally easy.  All I needed was a bunch of colored felt, scissors, and a totally free Saturday to design all the little ornaments.  I honestly considered it for like two hours.

Then I saw it on Amazon for twenty bucks with free shipping and I was quickly over crafting it.  (Find the tree here, along with my children’s book, to keep your toddler busy for at least forty five minutes;).

felt christmas tree for toddlersMy Mom is the Worst Book Cover

So this year I told myself I was saying No to Christmas crafts, and the stress that comes along with them.

But then I went down a rabbit hole.  I read a friend’s post called Thirty DIY Christmas Gifts, and fell in love with some adorable antique framed chalkboards.  But alas, I had promised myself I wasn’t going to stress over Christmas crafts!

Fast forward two days and I’m standing in the aisle of a discount store, eyes locked on the perfect antique mirrors for only five bucks!  All I needed was a little chalkboard paint (which I already had).  It was meant to be.  This was going to be SO EASY!  Right there I abandoned all my rational thoughts and gleefully loaded up my cart with four mirrors.

This proceeded to kick off an If You Give a Mouse a Cookie scenario.

Turns out I didn’t like the finish on the chalkboard paint I had.  Too glossy.  Back to the store.

Then I didn’t like the texture that my paint brush was creating in the paint.  What I obviously needed were those foam paint brushes.  Back to the store.

I went to peel the painters tape off the first mirror and huge chunks of chalkboard paint came off with it.  WTF.  Now I need to return the extra mirrors, the cute red pompom chalk board erasers, and the decorative chalk bags I found, because I was furious and decided to abandon this horrible craft idea.  Back to the store.

antique chalkboard sign fail

In the end I turned out ONE finished antique chalkboard.  It’s sitting at my house, where it will remain, because I am too embarrassed to give it away to anyone because of all its crafting imperfections.

antique chalkboard sign

If time is money, this damn chalkboard cost me way more than any Pottery Barn version!

I will admit that I did have one craft success.  It involved buying something that was wooden christmas sign craftalready adorable and finished, and then personalizing it with a gold paint pen.  Turns out, that I can handle.

Now excuse me while I head back to the store to find the actual gifts I will be giving this year.

 

 

If You Want to Comment on A Baby Bump, Here are the Rules

Thanks for commenting on my body’s beach ball similarity, said no pregnant woman ever. I just left shaking my head.

FullSizeRender (1)
Photo Cred:  @hegehost1

 

 

Sure, I’m emotional.  I’m 33 weeks pregnant with baby two.  I’m at the point where my tears have few limits while scrolling through social media.  Puppies – blub.  Babies – Blub. Blub.  Inspirational stories – Blub, blub, blub.

So it’s no surprise I was extra annoyed by the Ralphs cashier yesterday.  But some people really are so clueless when it comes to how to talk to a pregnant woman.  That, or they like to compare everything about their birth experience to the experience you must be having, because you know, every pregnancy is the same.

As the cashier was ringing up my bounty, she asked, “So when are you due?”

I smiled and replied, “January.”

“Oh wow, you look like you are ready to go now.  That’s what I looked like when I gave birth!”

Seriously –  Are some people just unaware of the  vomit they are about to spew when they open their mouth?!  I’ve gained a total of 22 lbs., which mind you is already more than I gained in total with my first pregnancy (so I’m a bit self concise), but honestly, I didn’t think it was totally out of control…until now.

The grocery store train wreck didn’t end there.  She declared, “Early January, I hope!”

“Actually January 23rd,” I mumbled.

She didn’t even pause, as if she had noticed how awkward the conversation had become.   Biggest eye roll ever.

Thanks for commenting on my body’s beach ball similarity, said no pregnant woman ever.  I just left shaking my head.

I’m not suggesting you walk on pins and needles around every obviously pregnant woman.  Just please stop to think of something positive and uplifting to say before you open your mouth.

Pregnant mamas have a lot on their mind.  They probably haven’t had comfortable sleep in awhile, they may feel like they are running out of acceptable clothes that fit, and they’re probably starting to think about this gigantic watermelon that soon has to exit their perfect peach.

After two pregnancies, the grocery store conversation was obviously not the only clueless run in I had.  Here are a few things I’ve heard that I wouldn’t recommend using as your one liner:

“Is it really safe to be running while you are pregnant?”

“You wanted that decaf right?”

A coworker who said, “Your pregnancy has been way to easy, something bad has got to happen.”

A cousin who said, “Why would you want a natural birth?  You wouldn’t get your tooth removed without pain meds.  Why would you do it with a baby?”

“You look like you’re ready to Pop!”

Obviously none of these made me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Thankfully, I’ve had some positive interactions that have taught me what can really make a pregnant woman’s day.  Here are a few:

“Wow, that’s awesome that you are still working out!”

“From behind you don’t even look pregnant.”

A coworker that wished me a quick and easy delivery.

An aunt who said, “I honestly believe you are strong enough to achieve a natural birth.”

A guy who simply clapped for me when I ran by him on the trail.

Strangers that held the door open, or offered to carry things for me.

Pregnancy and childbirth can be a real mind f*ck for a woman.  Please don’t traumatize her with negativity.  Heed the old advice:  If you can’t say something nice, please don’t say anything at all.  We really don’t want to hear it.

I Don’t Do It All: Exclusive Interview

Single Moms Planet Exclusive Interview with Author J.K. Coy

I already know the number of daily faults and failures I make as a parent, and I don’t even have to do it all myself.  I have a very supportive and involved, other half, which I am grateful for.

But I was thrilled when Single Moms Planet Author and Book BiggestFamilyShower2017asked me to sit down with them for an exclusive interview,  because these ladies are my heros.  Their motto is Helping Single Moms, Help Themselves.  Now these are some strong and powerful women.

We discussed how to do it all as a parent (or NOT), how to write your first book, and what #girlpower lessons I want my own little chica to learn.

You can read the full interview HERE.