Baby A&W’s Arrival

It’s hard to believe that it’s only been two weeks since Baby A&W came into my life. They say time goes by quickly, but I think the first few weeks actually slowly trudge along. That could be because of the lack of sleep, or the overwhelming feeling you constantly have because of all of the new information, new learning, new schedule, etc.

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Without going into detail, I thought I’d share my story of Aubrey’s arrival.

Monday afternoon (Feb. 2) I had my regular 39 week appointment (I was 38 weeks and 5 days) with my doctor. At 1 pm, I was only 2-3 cm dilated and 80% effaced, and my doctor said she was thinking Thursday or Friday would be the day. If not, we’d induce at my 40 week appointment the following Monday, so that way M was in town for the birth of our baby girl. I went back to work, perfectly comfortable. After work, I went home and took my two dogs, plus my mom’s Vallhund, for our usual 2 mile walk in the neighborhood. It was then that I started to feel extreme discomfort off and on–no real regular timing, and no pain, just uncomfortable. I figured it was because we were walking at a fast clip over the hills in my neighborhood…but apparently it was labor contractions (though I didn’t know this for a few more hours).

When I finished our walk, I stretched out on the couch and my mom said I didn’t look too good, so we started timing the cramping and called the doctor. We waited an hour, I drank about 50 ounces of water and tried to relax, but finally the doctor said I should go into the hospital–it could be one of two things, true or false labor. So at 9:30 we headed out the door and to the hospital. At 10, upon admittance, the nurse checked me over and said I was 5 cm and 100% effaced–this was the real thing. So I called M, and he and my dad started their 3.5 hour journey from Indiana, and with adrenaline pumping through his veins, he made it to Lexington in less than 3 hours.

By 11 pm (or so), I asked for an epidural because the contractions were coming hard and fast–we knew the only way we could hopefully slow down labor so hopefully M would make it to the hospital in time for his baby’s birth was if we did the epidural right then. I was at 8 cm, and we were speeding through. Getting the epidural hurt…like hell. My contractions were nonstop, so it was hard to get the epidural in place, but finally we did.

By 1:30, M and my dad had made it, and I was 9 cm…and finally feeling relaxed because of the epidural and because my best friend was there. Then it was a waiting game…things had basically stopped. My water had yet to break. It wasn’t until about 4 am that I was at 10 cm. Around 5 am, they finally broke my water on their own. At 5:30, the doctor came in and announced it was “time to have a baby!”

Delivery was short and sweet–the nurses and doctors were impressed at how quickly things were progressing. At some point I said something about how I had heard that if you worked out and/or ran throughout your pregnancy, delivery was supposed to be quick. That’s when the doctor looked at me and said, “Considering most first-time moms push for at least three hours, and your baby is going to be here in less than 30 minutes, I think you’re doing pretty good.” Lo and behold, at 5:59, little miss A&W entered the work. (Ironically right before my alarm went off on my phone to wake up to go to CrossFit. LOL)

He's definitely one happy, and proud, daddy.

He’s definitely one happy, and proud, daddy.

So, there you have it….labor lasted less than 12 hours, with delivery less than 30 minutes. She was (still is) perfect. Born 38 weeks and 6 days, 6 pounds 14 ounces, 20 inches long, with a full head of hair (taking after her momma, of course). Within the first 24 hours, it was apparent she’s a strong girl–she was already lifting her head off my chest, pushing off my body with her legs and arms.

The first week was a strange sensation that I actually gave birth to this little human being–I’m actually a mother. It’s still a hard concept to grasp for me right now, even after two weeks.

I’m not 100 percent sure all of my maternal instincts have kicked in, yet, but I’m getting there. Learning how to change a diaper wasn’t too hard, and I’m still getting the hang of swaddling. Trying to figure out why she erupts in cries is another story…I may never figure all of those out. Breastfeeding is hard…don’t ever think it’s easy, because it’s not. I’m planning to do a write-up on that soon. Aubrey dropped all the way to 5 pounds 14 ounces by the time we left the hospital (babies typically lose 4% of their body weight after birth, anyway), and it’s been a hard, slow road to get her back to her birth rate (she’s at 6 pounds 2 ounces now).

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Do I recommend continuing to work out during pregnancy still? Of course I do. I think it did help me have an easy labor/delivery and I think it’s been what has helped me recover faster than most. But you have to do it on your terms and listen to your body, and fuel wisely.

 

B-Day is Coming–38 Weeks & Counting

It’s so hard to believe that we’re on 38 weeks of pregnancy and that Baby A&W could come at any moment. And let me tell you…I am not ready.

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted, and for that I apologize. Life has gotten crazy busy, as any mom-to-be can probably attest to. The last few weeks I’ve been busy trying to finish up tasks at work and training coworkers to take over my duties while I’m gone, finishing up the multitude of freelance writing assignments that piled up on me from editors hoping I can get things to them before the baby’s arrival, and dealing with major changes in our family.

Working Out
I am still working out just about everyday. I wake up at 6 am every weekday morning and hit Man O’War CrossFit for my daily weight training. I’ve backed off the weight more, and definitely the intensity, but just to still walk into the box and try my best to be normal. My coach and the rest of the guys I work out with always make me laugh, even when they say it feels like I’ve been pregnant for a year (trust me, I feel the same way). There are more things that I can’t do now (i.e., jump rope, squat below parallel), but I try to not let that stop or discourage me.

There are times that I just don’t feel like going to the box, but I know that I’m going to miss it when the baby comes those first weeks, so I still go. When I have those days, I just tell Taylor “I’m preggo WODding it” which means I’ll do my own thing (like one day I just foam rolled and stretched–which is exactly what I needed that day). He’s OK with that and just keeps an eye on my while working with the rest.

Writing & Work
A few months ago I warned all of my editors about when the baby was coming and requested my assignments as early as possible so I could work ahead and get the assignments into them before Baby A&W arrives. I ended up having more than 15 assignments due by the end of this month. When you’re also working full-time, that’s a lot on a normal (read: non-pregnant) person.

I’ve also gotten additional (last minute) assignments due for the month of February, which I’m currently working on finishing this weekend…I hope.

As far as my full-time job, I’ve been doing my best to train co-workers different aspects of my job so they can take care of anything that pops up during my 6 week maternity leave.

Preparing Home for Baby
With all of this going on, it’s hard to think that I would have the time to get our home ready for the baby. Well, thankfully my mother came down to help me. She’s been instrumental in helping to organize all of the baby stuff from my showers, wash all of the baby clothes, and make sure I have enough receiving blankets and clothing to fit the baby for the next 6 months. We’ve successfully changed the office into a nursery where my dad put together our crib and I put together Baby A&W’s swing and some organization shelves.

We went from having an exclusive rodeo themed nursery to a farm/dog (mostly Corgi) themed nursery. My dog friends gave me some great items like a dog musical mobile that was just too perfect. I also had a wall hanging quilt with Corgis playing in front of a barn that a friend gave me years ago that I just didn’t know what to do with–well now it’s hanging on the wall above the crib.

I have a good selection of diapers (size newborn and 1s) as well as plenty of wipes (seriously…plenty). Lots of Dr. Brown’s bottles (I did register for other brands, but all of my friends bought me Dr. Brown’s) and pacifiers (even though I don’t really know if I want Baby A&W to use pacifiers). And lots of baby clothes of all sizes/ages. My parents even brought down an antique cradle for us to have in our bedroom those first couple of months.

We’re just hoping that having the dogs be a part of all of the preparation stuff helps them in the transition of the baby when the time comes. I’ve been doing lots of reading on how to intro duct dogs/pets to the new baby, and I have to say that’s one of my biggest stressors right now.

Changing Life
And then there’s a big wrench in everything… Around Christmas time, M applied and interviewed for a new job…and received a job offer at the end of the year. Great news, right?? Of course. Unfortunately, it also means a huge change in address for us. The job is in Indiana, which means we’ll be moving back there. Since mid-January, he’s been in Indiana training for his new job.

During the week he’s been staying with my dad and going to training, then he comes down to Lexington to spend the weekend with me. His new company will give him his two weeks paid vacation when the baby arrives (which he normally wouldn’t receive until after 6 months in) and they told him that as soon as I call him saying I’m in labor, he is just to get in the car and drive, and call them from the road. They understand the pressures he’s under with a pregnant wife and a baby coming soon. So far they seem like they’re a great company, and for that I’m thankful.

I’ll be staying down in Kentucky until it’s the right time for me and Baby A&W to move. I’m hoping I’ll have found a job by then because we’ll still need the dual income, as well as my freelancing. We will be closer to my family, which will be helpful when it comes to raising our child, but I am sad to be leaving a place that has a special place in my heart. But I know it’s for the best, and sometimes we have to just go with the change and see where it leads us.

So….yeah…that’s been my life up to now! Haha This post has gone very long and for that I apologize. I’ll do my best to keep you up-to-date as time nears for Baby A&W’s arrival. For now, wish me luck! :-)

Running While Pregnant: 34 Weeks

I don’t know why I’ve titled this “Running While Pregnant”…truth is, I haven’t run since early December. I had stopped running in my neighborhood because the hills were making my breathing and heartrate skyrocket, which isn’t good for the baby. So I was doing mile repeats on a strip by my CrossFit box because it was flat, but that was only on Saturdays. It just got discouraging for me, so I just stopped.

Which that discourages me, too. I had hoped to continue running as long as I could…and maybe I did accomplish that. But when I think about that moment that I’ll get to start running again, I get scared–is it going to be as hard restarting my running as it was when I first started running eight years ago? How will I mentally handle the fact that my speed that I was constantly increasing successfully is completely gone? And what about learning to run with a stroller? That’s going to be another uphill battle.

So those have been some thoughts in my mind lately about running…but man, do I miss it! There have been many moments lately where I’ve just wanted to lace up my shoes and just go run. There’s something about a sweaty, heavy breathing run that can just take away the stress and worries of everyday life, and I’ve missed that.

But that doesn’t mean I have completely stopped working out–I still go to Man O’War CrossFit just about every morning. I’m still doing the strength portions and the WODs, just at my own pace and lowered weights. I’m determined to keep going as long as I can.

Please someone buy this for Baby A&W! :-)

Please someone buy this for Baby A&W! :-)

I’ve had a few hiccups with Baby A&W that required me to be under observation–mostly for being a little lazy (which turned out to be fine), and once for having some slight contractions (which I couldn’t feel, so the doctor said they weren’t pre-term labor contractions). Because of the latter, I’ve been advised to take the “intensity” out of my workouts and to “take it easy” with activity. It’s very hard for me to “take it easy” because I try to give everything I do my all, and hate to feel like I half-assed something. But I know it’s for the good of the baby’s health, as well as my own.

It’s hard to believe it’s already January…I’m 34 weeks along, and the countdown is getting smaller and smaller. We have an ultrasound on Monday and then we plan for the last month with the doctor and see where things are.

Christmas Cookies for the Dogs

The weekend before Christmas is usually one full of holiday baking–families and friends get together to bake all sorts of goodies. I always enjoy baking, I just don’t do a bunch of it because I end up eating it all. But when it comes to baking for my pups and for my friends’ with dogs, I’m all about it. Which is why part of my holiday baking consisted of baking two batches of Christmas cookies…for dogs.

These two recipes are pretty easy, and healthy, for you. If you’re looking for some last minute gifts for dog lovers, or for your own dog, I highly recommend these two recipes.

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Chicken ‘N Oats Cookies

2 Cups + 1/2 Cup rolled oats
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 Cup low sodium chicken broth (can use beef broth)
1 Tablespoon parsley

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups rolled oats with salt, broth, egg, and parsley. Once combined, add the 1/2 cup leftover oats.
  3. After laying out wax paper, pour out the batter and knead by hand for 3 minutes to firm up the dough. Let the dough stand for 3 more minutes.
  4. Roll the dough to about a 1/2 inch thickness and use cookie cutters to cut into the dough.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, with the option of flipping the cookies over for 4 additional minutes for extra crispness.
  6. Store in airtight container.

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Peanut Butter Puppers Cookies

1 1/4 Cups whole wheat flour
1/2 Teaspoon baking soda
1 Cup natural peanut butter (I like to use crunchy for texture)
1 Cup water
2 Tablespoons honey
1 egg

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, baking soda, egg, and peanut butter.
  3. Add the water and honey (your dough will be very sticky).
  4. Allow dough to chill for about 5-10 minutes in the freezer to help quell the stickiness.
  5. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to about 1/4-1/2 inch thickness and use cookie cutters.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden. Sometimes I’ll flip over the the cookies after 20 minutes and bake an additional 4 just to get a little more crunch.
  7. After cooling, store in an air-tight container.

**If you’re giving these (or any) homemade cookies to a dog lover on your list, be sure to include the ingredients in case their dog has an allergy. (For instance, my mom’s dog cannot have gluten due to his epilepsy.)

Your turn: Do you do anything special for the dog lover in your life on Christmas?

A Handmade Christmas List–Unique Gift Ideas

By now you’re probably finishing up your Christmas shopping…or maybe you’re just starting. Lately we haven’t had much money to spend for presents, so we try to make the most of each gift we give by making sure they’re special for that person. Whether it means searching for the perfect shirt at Target, or finding something on Etsy, I pride myself on trying to find the “perfect gift.”

To me, the “perfect gift” comes from the heart and takes a lot of time and effort, not just something you ran out to the store, saw and thought “Hey, that works.” Because of this, I try to plan a little early. This year, I found items for my dad and brother-in-law that I know they love, will use until holes appear (and continue to use), and can be hard to find. For my mom, something that I know she’ll hang up and smile every time she sees it. For my sister, a reminder of some of her favorite things. For M…well…he’s a little more difficult…

So I thought I’d share a couple of my favorite places to shop on Etsy for unique, handmade, and some times custom, items that you still have time to buy for your loved ones this holiday season. These are small businesses, which I love to try to support as much as possible, and I hope you do, too.

All Wooled Up
From handknitted scarves and shawls to handmade jewelry, to needle-felted wall art to reclaimed sweat bags, you’re sure to find something for every female on your list. You can’t argue with one-of-a-kind, upcycled items that can keep you warm, decorate your house or neck, or just look great. And the prices can’t be beat. So many pretty items!

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Porter Productions
What started out as some fun trinkets for friends in the dog agility world has expanded to so much more! Lucky pennies, reminders of accomplishments, motivational sayings..anything that can be stamped into metal and hung from your neck or ears, she can do. She’s even started enameling coins and metal, which looks super cool! You can do keychains for dads, using birth years of their children; or celebrate your latest running domination. I have to say her special 13.1 2014 penny she gave me this summer brought me a PR in a half marathon! :-)

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KeraAshley
Another great place to find handknitted items from scarves to headbands and even cute mug warmers. (Who doesn’t want their coffee or tea to stay warmer just a little longer at your desk??) The crocheting and knitting are great–look cute and stay warm!

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Stickman Hardware
Looking for something for the man in your life? If he loves beer, does homebrewing, or aspires to be a brewer, you can’t go wrong with a custom keg handle from a fellow homebrewer! StickmanHardware designs and builds customized hardwood tap handles for homebrewers and beer lovers, using hardwoods such as walnut, maple, bocote, and bubinga and inlaid chalkboards to create tap handles which are both aesthetically pleasing as well as functional.

SMHAll Leashed Up
OK, so what about those pups in your life? They bring you so much joy every time they see you! All Leashed Up offers colorful handmade paracord collars and matching leashes, tug toys, and even bracelets that you can wear to match your pooch. My pups rock All Leashed Up designs at the agility trials.

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The possibilities are endless! Hopefully this helps you if you’ve been stumped for ideas!

Your turn: What’s your favorite Etsy shop for gift giving?

 

Running While Pregnant: Simple Mile Interval WOD

Now that I’m at 30 weeks pregnant, running isn’t what it used to be…not even when I was at 20 weeks! Hills are killer–gets my heart rate and breathing up way too high. Plus the pressure on my bladder gets to me after about a mile or so (I know, TMI). My usual route around my neighborhood is very hilly, and doesn’t leave locations for bathroom trips. So I’ve cut back way more on running than I like.

But that’s when I came up with a simple WOD to do at my box–Man O’War CrossFit. I went in on Saturday morning and decided to make the most of what I had available to me. Where we do our runs for regular WODs is pretty flat, and the strip of road is a half-mile long. I really wanted to run, but knew I couldn’t join my running team, so I figured dong mile intervals was the next best thing.

I came up with this WOD with the pregnant woman in mind (thinking how we need to have a break to use the restroom, take our time to get our heartrate down, etc.), but it’s perfect for anyone. My running splits were steady–10 minute miles. So I finished in around 40 minutes (I didn’t use a clock to time the whole WOD, just my runs).

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Give it a try and let me know what you think! I wanted something that also worked on my upper and lower back, and was different from what we had done earlier in the week. This was perfect.

JUST A FEW DAYS LEFT!!! Don’t forget about my special offer to get 40% off ProCompression items–Use discount code “PINK2through Dec. 15 to get 40% off ProCompression Marathon Socks or Calf Sleeves–great gifts for the runner(s) in your life and yourself!

A Simple Thanskgiving

I know, I know, this should have been posted days ago, considering Thanksgiving is now a distant memory. But I wanted to share my first Thanksgiving where I fixed everything, by myself, for just myself and M. I was pretty proud of myself for putting everything together!

M had to work all week, including Thanksgiving, so that meant we were staying home. It would be our first Thanksgiving with just the two of us (instead of spending it with family)….and our last with just the two of us (considering Baby A&W will be here next year). I wanted to make it special, but we had a tight budget, so I did the best I could.

On the menu:

  • 3 lb. boneless turkey breast
  • Fresh green beans
  • Mom’s sweet potatoes
  • Hawaiian rolls
  • Spiced cranberry-apple chutney
  • Homemade pumpkin pie

Putting everything together was pretty simple.

Our little Thanksgiving dinner--not as heavy as traditionally, but still delicious!

Our little Thanksgiving dinner–not as heavy as traditionally, but still delicious!

Turkey

  1. Prepare the slow cooker by spraying cooking oil all over the inside.
  2. Leaving the skin and string on, rub the turkey breast with olive oil then sprinkle seasonings (I used rosemary, thyme, parsley, poultry spice, black pepper, and a dash of salt)
  3. Place skin side down in the slow cooker
  4. Add 1/2 cup of broth or water (I used low sodium chicken broth)
  5. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
  6. Once cooked all the way through, remove the skin and string

So moist! And so easy! If you ever see a sale on boneless turkey breasts, get one to have on hand for any type of meal!

The rest of the sides came together easily. I used my mom’s recipe for sweet potatoes to make a small portion that was enough for M and I.

Mom’s Sweet Potatoes

  1. Combine 1 can of yams (drained) in a large bowl with a quarter stick of softened butter.
  2. Pour orange juice, to you liking, and mix with a hand mixer until incorporated. (There’s no measurement to the orange juice, you just want a nice consistency to the potatoes–not runny, but not stiff.)
  3. Add a handful or two of marshmallows and mix.
  4. Pour into a casserole dish and microwave in 5 minute intervals, stirring the potatoes every 5 minutes, until everything is cooked through.
  5. Spread mini marshmallows on top, covering as much as you’d like, then set the dish in the oven with broil on to brown the marshmallows. (Keep an eye on the marshmallows because once they start to brown, it won’t take long for them to burn.)

We enjoyed some sparkling white grape juice and dinner when M got home, then prepared for our friends to join us for “Friendsgiving–Desert Edition.” A few friends came over and brought desert as well (cherries jubilee and some spice-cake-slow-cooker-concoction that actually came out delicious) to go with my (very first) homemade pumpkin pie. We then watched football, chowed down on desert, and played Apples to Apples until it was time to go crash.

Friendsgiving--Desert Edition!

Friendsgiving–Desert Edition!

I missed spending the holiday with my family, but I was happy to be home for M and to get to spend some fun times with friends. I hope you did the same!

Your turn: Share one favorite part of your Thanksgiving 2014!

Support from my Bump Post

I took the big leap and posted my piece on “Why Don’t I Feel Bonded to my Baby Bump?” piece on my personal Facebook page a week ago. I don’t do that often, for certain reasons, but I felt like I needed to share my story with the people that knew me best. If they wanted to read it, they were welcome to. I was just hoping to share my personal feelings with those around me to help them understand what’s going on with me.

The response was massive. I was truly overwhelmed by the support and the reassurances from friends who had been there before, or maybe they were just happy I confided my personal feelings to them. I wanted to share some of the comments from my FB post on here, in case anyone else ever felt alone in this endeavor like I did.

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I was in the EXACT same place 19 years ago. My world changed when he was born.

Girl don’t feel guilty at all!! We all respond differently to pregnancy, and I was right there with you not feeling the whole “glow” of being pregnant…..I just felt like a blob. But the minute I met the little girl who was in there all those “mommy” feelings hit, and I hope they do for you as well, but even if they don’t right away, again, it’s different for everyone. I know people who didn’t feel a bond until their child was interacting some. It definitely is a very trying journey, and you will always second guess yourself and wonder if you are doing things “right”. But the only right thing is what works for you guys, and I promise, the journey ends up being amazing despite all the trying times. Best wishes as you finish your pregnancy journey and meet your little ‘bump’.

I never felt the swoony love everyone said I should have when I was pregnant. I gained 60lbs and I’ve never weighed more that 130 my entire life, so I was miserable and definitely didn’t want my picture taken. I always had doubts whether I could be a super mom and the night we went to the hospital, I said, “Brody, can I do this?” He said, “It’s a little late now, Jen!” It wasn’t until a few days after Saer arrived that I realized, wow, I really, really love this tiny human and I will kill anyone that tries to hurt him. Parenthood is exhausting those first few months, but you just do it! Every day that he’s here on this planet, I fall more in love with him and his little personality. Brody and I have become those obnoxious parents we used to HATE at dinner, because Saer will be blabbering loudly and we laugh and tell him how awesome he is. So, rest assured, you are not lacking any special mommy bonding feelings. It will probably hit you before you leave the hospital though

You are not alone! I can remember being all over the place with my feelings during my pregnancy. I had a miscarriage first, so my second pregnancy (first full term) I wouldn’t LET myself bond for the longest time. I felt like I was waiting for the “other shoe to drop”, so to speak. It was only at the end of the pregnancy where I bonded, and even then, I wasn’t the glowing, happy, maternal vision that I had expected to be. With my second, we were not trying at all, and I think the first three months of that pregnancy I walked around in a daze – as stupefied, terrified daze.

There were times when I would feel maternal, lovey, and excited about my “bump” or the baby. But I would say that was about ten percent of each pregnancy. Especially towards the last few months, I felt fat, clumsy, and I even voiced aloud to my husband that it felt like I was a prisoner in my own body when I had to have help to roll over at night, when the babies kicked my ribs constantly, when my insomnia brought me to tears. Literally, as a mother, your body is not your own any more. Like your heart beating, your body just…creates without you giving instruction. And to some, that is a wonderful feeling. But to me, 90% of my pregnancies were panic and confusion and a loss of control that was foreign.

Megan: you are an amazing woman. You are smart, motivated, kind, and dedicated. I have no doubt that you will be a FANTASTIC mother. Own your feelings – if you are frustrated or not feeling “maternal”, that’s ok. And it’s totally normal. The bonding will come, maybe not during the pregnancy, maybe not at the hospital, maybe not for a while! But it WILL, and it will be marvelous. Love you, girl!

I really liked being pregnant, and what I remember being really weird was this complete disconnect on the day Nora was born between the bump that was gone and the baby in my arms. Intellectually I knew they were the same, but I really missed my “inside baby.” Hormones are weird…

If you’d like to share your story, please do below! Reading everyone’s accounts made me tear up every time, and helped reassure me that I wasn’t alone. We had our first baby shower the weekend before Thanksgiving, and I had hoped to share some photos from it, but forgot to take very many! (FAIL.) I’ll take some of some of the swag Baby A&W received (though some is still in Indiana because we couldn’t fit it in the car) and share a little about the shower.

 (Off Topic, but timely: Don’t forget about my special offer to get 40% off ProCompression items–Use discount code “PINK2through Dec. 15 to get 40% off ProCompression Marathon Socks or Calf Sleeves–great gifts for the runner(s) in your life and yourself!)

Why Don’t I Feel Bonded to my Baby Bump?

Brace yourselves, you’re about to get a little personal with me. I was back and forth about actually writing all of this down and sharing it with everyone, but my hope is that this will help me get over a mental threshold and help those close to me understand.

When I saw the headline for the article “Should You Feel Bonded to your Baby Bump? during my usual am news reading, I immediately clicked on it. This has been a question that has rattled through my mind for a couple of months now, and growing more so as my own baby bump has grown.

I’ve felt so guilty for so long about my reactions to being pregnant. And I think that guilt hasn’t helped me feel happy or comfortable with myself, which just leads to a snowball effect of the two just going around and around in my head. I’ve heard so many reactions from friends, co-workers, and those I workout with like “Your belly is so big!” or “Oh, I see the baby now!” or “You’re still so small!” And with each comment, I do a half smile and just go on with what I’m doing. I don’t know how to take those types of comments.

The article goes on about how actresses like Vanessa Lachey felt guilty with her first pregnancy because all she heard was how you’d feel this sudden love and bond with your bump, yet it never came until they found out the gender of the baby. I’m the same way. I don’t feel a love or a bond…I feel frustration and fear. I feel uncertain in my abilities and future and uncomfortable in my own skin. I don’t feel strong, or sexy, or that I look decent in any of my clothes—not even my sweats. You won’t see me rubbing my belly while sitting in a meeting at work, or talking to the baby (except for the occasional, “Will you stop kicking me there?”). I just feel…nothing.

The article says: “As many women can attest, impending motherhood is rife with expectations. It’s often not enough to maintain a healthy pregnancy — many women feel pressure to have their maternal instincts flow from the moment the pregnancy stick turns positive, and they feel confused and disappointed when those feelings don’t materialize. To be fair, pregnancy is a deeply personal process and there are plenty of women for whom the experience is wholly transformative.

It doesn’t help seeing how celebrity moms sport their baby bumps proudly and how people say they’re “glowing.” Celebrity moms don’t have to stress about the fact that they only get 6 weeks of maternity leave, and that’s only paid at 50% of your measly salary. Celebrity moms don’t have to worry about how they’ll pay for daycare, let alone the rest of the expensive things baby needs, when currently we’re doing our best to just afford the two of us. Celebrity moms don’t have to worry about a lot of things that those of us on the lower rung have to. So of course they can glow and splurge on expensive maternity clothes, personal trainers for after the baby comes, etc.

I’ve been asked why I haven’t posted any baby bump photos on Facebook…well I think what I said above explains all of that. It’s not my thing.

Baby A&W has already been learning how to handle a dog on an agility course, as you can see here (yes, you can see my baby bump!).

So far this has been the closest you’ve gotten to seeing my baby bump

Perhaps a small part of my feelings is because we weren’t trying for this to happen. I know quite a few people who all they want is a child, and they struggled for years. Once they conceived, they were so jubilant and ready to share their journey…and you can’t fault them for that. I applaud them. Then there are those who try and try, and just can’t, for some reason or another, and they’re heartbroken. I’m heartbroken for them. And I feel guilty because my pregnancy just happened.

For me, I never saw myself as a mother. M and I had been talking about the possibility of having children, but I never saw it in my future. We were so wishy-washy. I’ve been told that perhaps this is the best way for it to happen—extreme accident (trust me kids, we know how babies are made and how to prevent them, and we were doing that) that will make you make the decision right then and there.

As I prepare for my baby showers, which I am ever so grateful for my family and friends who love me enough to want to celebrate this monumental event and help me prepare to be a mother, I’m hoping in the next couple of months my feelings and thoughts will change. I know the stress will always be there. I know the uncertainty will always be there. But maybe…just maybe…I can accept it, let go, and be that glowing mother-to-be everyone talks about being.

Or maybe not…

  ( Thank you to some of my fellow bloggers who showed me you can bravely share your struggles to help others, like my girl