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At least, no one told me (warned me is more like it). Sure, people will always give you advice & often times you neither want nor need it /thank you *kind* old interfering woman in the grocery store who told me that my ginger child must be adopted since both my husband and I currently have brown hair. Mine is dyed; just an FYI, nosy/ . But sometimes, just sometimes, you wish someone had clued you in on a few of the *little* things beforehand. What are some of the things I wish I had been told? Buckle up and take a little trip down Embarrassment Lane with me.

 

1. Eventually you will wear poop. You will wear poop all day. You will wear poop all day and you just won’t be able to care because your child is still crying for the fourth hour in a row, you have to shop for dinner and your sweet little scream-machine is already strapped into her carseat. And so you go out in public with crap on your shirt and no amount of stranger staring can penetrate your mommy-fog.

 

2. Even the easy babies can drive you nuts. My daughter has slept for an average of 6-7 hours a night since we brought her home from the hospital. Despite this, or maybe because of this, her nights when she does wake up to feed once or twice a night are always tough and the following mornings suck. Hard. Since we figured out what was up with her latch, she really only cries when she is hungry, cold or overly sleepy. I really am lucky. And that’s what I tell myself when my little lovebug won’t stop kicking me in the stomach and go to sleep, even after we’ve been trying for three hours.

 

3. Your newborn daughter isn’t the only one who needs to wear diapers. Those first few weeks after you give birth, your potty breaks come with all sorts of strings attached. You have to douse yourself in tepid water, blot yourself (“Don’t wipe!” you get told in no uncertain terms by the nurse currently wrist deep in your business and washing you off), take off and dispose of your current diaper only to put on another huge diaper, and then you finally get to pull up your beautiful new one-size-fits-no-one mesh panties. And if you had a c-section, like I did, you get the added fantastic experience of lifting up your new belly fold and tucking another diaper in there. But when you let go of the skin, for god’s sake do it gently. Letting all of that ex-baby-house flop around is not only incredibly mortifying, it’s also pretty f*cking painful. What once took you 3 minutes, including a very thorough hand washing, now takes you 7 minutes if you’re not also trying to fend off an overly interested 85-lb. dog who wants to lick your ouchie and make you feel better. I can’t tell you how many times I said, “Gross, Rosie! Go. Back. Out. No. Stop!”

 

4. You will whip your tit out in front of anyone to feed your child. My father has seen them. My husband’s father has seen them. My clients have seen them.  My nurses, lactation consultants, specialists, doctors, midwives, coworkers, husband’s coworkers. Yep. They’ve all seen them, too. Who the hell cares at this point? These things are nothing more than giant, painful, poorly sealed ziploc bags… that do happen to do some pretty amazing shit.

 

5. Speaking of titties… You will grow to hate your own boobs. They will be ridiculously huge, then they won’t anymore. And you’re not quite sure which one you would have preferred. I had an oversupply in the beginning and then, wham-o, it just went away. I had to start supplementing at 8-weeks and it damn near killed me. Feeling like my body betrayed me and feeling like I was starving my child & couldn’t provide for her the way a mother was supposed to be able to was more than I ever thought I could handle. But somehow I did; and if it happens to you, so will you.

 

6. Some day you will wet yourself. If you had a vaginal delivery, you might experience it more than once. For me, I went 16 glorious weeks before it happened. Today at the babysitter’s my daughter ran out of formula. Since I was going to be picking her up in 2 hours, the babysitter didn’t call to alert me since she knows I take my daughter straight home. But today, my husband had rehearsal across town and I forgot my house keys. I drive 15 minutes to my husband’s work, swap my cash for his credit card (long story and not worth explaining) and then get back in my car to go home. My daughter begins to have a meltdown 10 minutes from home. By the time I pull in, I have to pee so bad my eyes are floating but she is seriously upset. We get upstairs and I manage to get the door open on the first try (go mommy!), with one arm full of baby and the other full of baby stuff. I debate for all of about 2 seconds if I can go pee before I make her a bottle and feed her. If you read the first sentence up there, then you know I obviously chose the bottle first. She makes it halfway through and I just can’t wait anymore. I set her down and waddle awkwardly to the bathroom, only to be about 5 seconds too late. So now mommy is wishing she was still wearing those stupid diapers.

 

Now, don’t get me wrong. There are some hilariously rough parts of parenthood, but they are outweighed so heavily by amazing things that will make your heart feel more full and complete than ever before. Those are the things people always share with you: the smiles, the hugs, the love, the baby sounds, the joy of simple things like tracking objects and faces, the beauty of a sleeping baby, the overwhelming adorable that is a baby who is sleeping so hard she has pushed the paci from her mouth and is crushing it with her squishy little cheek, the way that she holds your pinky and somehow manages to fit your whole heart in her fist as well.

 

Oh, those things are so lovely! I suppose there’s a good reason no one warns you about the mommy-diapers, or the boob hate, or the poop shirts; they’re scared you’ll choose not to be a mommy, and they know that it is the most amazing job you will ever have, because they’ve been there. So I just want to say, yes, there are things no one will tell you & you’ll have to fumble around and figure it out on your own, but you will figure it out. And you’ll do it your way, and you’ll be the most amazing mother your child could ever have. And you just have to remember that it will all be ok. Even on the days that you piss yourself.

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The hubby and I have just one week left until we meet our new little one & I can’t wait! This weekend was both the unofficial celebration of St. Patrick’s Day and the *real* St. Patrick’s Day, so I decided to rock a little green at work on Monday to show my spirit. Be easy on me… I’m not very experienced at selfies, these are only my 2nd attempt ever, and i still haven’t managed to master the whole not-looking-at-the-camera thing. Lol. I hope you all have a great week & enjoyed your Irish pride safely and responsibly!!

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My Assignment for the week:

Write down 5 things that you are going to do that make you happy. Not “even though you are fat” but because you are fat and awesome. 5 things that have nothing to do with trying for the sake of others. 5 things for yourself and your well being. Like “go out dancing and actually dance”, “throw away my scale”, “make something yummy and bring it to work to share”, “join a yoga class” and “wear that tight leopard skirt”. Blog it, Instagram it, Tweet it (#fatbitchecourse, #nearsightedowl), etc. and share it in the comments below. EXTRA CREDIT: Do some of them!

1. Get an edgy new haircut.
2. Put on makeup just for me. Try a new, bold color or technique without worrying whether people will think that I’m just putting a pig in a party dress.
3. Rock my baby bump in some tight clothes! I’ll only have this beautiful, glorious bump for another 2 weeks, so I am going to enjoy my goddess body while I have it.
4. Begin postpartum body-positive meditation exercises. My before-plus-sized body will be a whole new kind of plus-sized body and I will need to learn to love it all over again, new bumps, lumps, dimples and all.
5. Start putting aside a few dollars from every paycheck for my awesome new green zebra glasses. I really, really *want* those sassy glasses!!

Our discussion topic: 

How do you deal with people that make assumptions about you based on being fat? Is the best revenge to live well and be happy? How do you feel about the concept of there being a “good fatty” and a “bad fatty” perceived in society?

As a large woman in society, you face hurdles every day that people who are “normal” just don’t have to worry about. And to that I say, why in fuck’s name do we do this to each other? As human beings, isn’t it our responsibility to take care of one another instead of turning on one another like rabid wolves because that person’s sensibilities or appearance or likes/dislikes or beliefs don’t totally jive with our notions of the world? I am a firm believer that a person should love themselves at any weight, because in all honestly sometimes it is just as hard to love yourself when you are thin. But just because I am fat doesn’t mean I am lazy or dirty or gross. Quite the opposite, in fact. I am a diligent worker who has to be told to stop and slow down most of the time. I have great hygiene and take care of myself, my husband, my household, our dog and our unborn child. Doesn’t sound too lazy to me, but maybe I’m biased. Lol. When I get judged, whether verbal or implied, it gets my dander up. It pulls up all of those insecurities from my past and that really pisses me off. I hate that someone else’s judgement about what my body says about me can affect me so deeply and so swiftly. So I try and let it go, let it slide. Try. If you happen to catch me on one of those days where I’ve just had enough, you’re going to get an ear full. Or an eye full, lol. But those outbursts never make me feel better, and I’m fairly certain that they don’t positively impact the person I’m trying to defend myself against. So I would say, yes, the best revenge is to live well and be happy. To be healthy, contrary to their assumptions.

“Good fatty v. Bad fatty” is just a ridiculous concept. I can see how it may make thin people more comfortable to think that all fat people are trying to change their bodies, how thinking that a fat person could ever be confident in their bodies might shake their carefully cultivated notion of what it takes to be happy. But I also think that saying that every fat person must diet or hate themselves to be accepted by society, society is doing us a huge disservice. By denying us our right to love ourselves, you are essentially denying us our right to live.

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I’ve decided to take a major step in my life. Again. You see, I have failed to keep tabs on a serious problem I have. That problem is called low self-esteem. If I work at it, pay attention to it, and make a concerted effort to stay positive and recognize all the good in myself, I do pretty well. But I’ve had so much going on lately that I’ve let it slip and now I’m in a little bit of a dark spot, and I need to address it and quickly.

Pretty soon, I will have a new little bundle of love (as in, less than 2 weeks soon!) and I know how important it is that parents love themselves as well as each other and their children. I want to make sure that my little one gets to have a mother who loves herself, is proud of who she is, and sports a positive attitude about her appearance. It’s so easy for children to develop complexes from the judgement they face outside the home every day, I don’t need to add to that pressure or stress by showing my child that I can’t love myself. That could easily turn into “Well, if mommy can’t love herself and I’m so much like mommy, then how can I love myself?” I just can’t have that happen to my child. Ever.

So, I’m embarking on an amazing eCourse called “How to be a Fat Bitch.” And yes, it’s just as rad as it sounds. But the first week, the discussion topic got me a little off track and I realized at the end that I hadn’t even begun to answer the question at hand, but instead had poured out all these years of repressed feelings and shame. And what do you know… By getting off my chest and into words, I somehow felt better. Like, a lot better.

I didn’t want that energy or catharsis to go to waste. I don’t know, it might even help someone somewhere along their journey. We’re not so different after all. Everyone has a story, and this one is mine.

I’ve been large for the majority of my life. I was the little girl put on the carrot and water diet when she was 6. The little girl who was kicked out of tap, jazz and ballet because the teacher thought I was just a little too big to fit into her show. The little girl whose parents were told that she would be so pretty if she could just lose that baby fat. And I didn’t see it. As a child, I wondered why so many people cared about how I looked. I thought I looked great in my spangly jumpsuit as I practiced tap dancing to “The Locomotion” for hours in front of the mirror. I would pull my hair back in a tight ponytail, throw on my brightest, biggest headband and my awesomely humongous red plastic-framed glasses, don my puffy-painted bunny sweatshirt (my mother’s creation, mind) and traipse off to school never even considering that someone else would have something to say about my getup. But boy, did they ever. Parents, students, teachers (shame, shame)… Everyone seemed to feel like they had the right to tell my parents not to “let me wear this” or to “watch what I ate” because obviously they were failing at this whole parenting thing by having a chubby little porker like me running around the world like I actually belonged there. *Gasp!*

There was a period of time in college when I was “fit and trim,” and honestly it will go down in the annals of history as one of the most miserable stretches of my life’s road. I was obsessed with the food I was putting in my mouth, often restricting my calorie intake to less than 800 calories a day and to top it off, I would exercise more than 5 hours a day. Did I mention I was also in college with a full-time class load, working a full-time job and going through cancer treatments? I was convinced that if I kept myself healthy and exercised, my health couldn’t possibly diminish. I was compulsive in my habits, often waking in a cold sweat at 3am with the idea in my head that I had to go running *that very moment* or I would succumb to my illness. Every choice I made with regard to exercise was dangerous, from running in dark, unpatrolled, unsafe parks at 3 in the morning to doing so many weight-bearing exercises that it sent me into ketosis.

That girl? Weak, sad, miserable, terrified, and just barely holding life together under the seemingly beautiful exterior. I prided myself on my diet and the fact that I hadn’t lost my vigor (or my hair) during the course of my treatment. I was a poster child for vain pride, but neither self-acceptance or self-love. After I was given the all clear and pasted with the sticker of “in r——ion,” I slowly started to conquer my compulsive habits and realize that I had a serious problem. I ballooned. More than 100 pounds in the course of a year. Hell, more than 100 pounds in the course of about 4 months, if I’m being honest here. Still didn’t have a great view of myself, but I felt healthier once I stopped the restriction and obsessive exercise. I could sleep through the night again, and suddenly I just started to feel better all around.

I found a partner who, while not super supportive or loving, stayed with me despite my weight. I should have seen the warnings, should have held out for someone who loved me because of my body and all it encapsulated and not despite it. But I didn’t, and I hated myself more every day because I just couldn’t shed the weight, even with my lover’s “help.” He would do everything from fat shaming to pinching my body fat to sabotaging meals he saw as unhealthy. I saw this as his attempt to help me, because I still didn’t care for myself. I heard how worthless and disgusting I was from society and, more detrimental than that, I heard it from my would-have-been spouse and family. At this point in my life, I started to hide. I hated how I looked and didn’t want to put anyone else through the horror of having to look at me.

That girl? Still weak, sad, miserable… still barely holding it together, but this time she didn’t have the “beautiful exterior” to rely on and fell way down the rabbit hole of self-loathing. That dark and scary rabbit hole led to an eventual suicide attempt. Luckily, it didn’t work. Obviously, lol. And I am so happy that it didn’t.

I woke up the morning after my failed attempt and decided that that was quite enough of that, thank you very much, and that I was going to fix myself and my attitude. And you know what? It worked. I put myself on a strict diet of positive self-talk and redefinition. I embarked on more than three years of self-imposed celibacy to try and correct my pattern of abusive choices in partners. Turns out… yep, that was exactly what I needed. I needed to discover myself again, my positive outlook, my independence, my love for life. At the end of three years, I was amazed at who I saw when I looked in the mirror. I was big *and* beautiful. I was complicated *and* lovely. I was kind *and* feisty. And that was ok; I could be each of those things. I could be a big ol’ mass of contradictions and still love every convoluted inch of me, just as I am.

Now, that girl? She doesn’t care if people in the grocery store mutter when they spy cookie dough lounging in her cart. She just happily tosses in that bag of oranges and goes on about her day. That girl doesn’t mind when parents come into her place of work and ask her if she gets stuck in the tunnels (oh yeah, that girl? She works in a children’s museum. Lol). Well, truthfully she minds like hell, but it no longer pokes holes in the delicate balloon of her sense of self-worth. That girl has the most amazing husband who loves her just as she is, not despite her size, but because her beautifully big, imperfect body holds in all of her sass, her talent, her intellect, and is currently creating and nurturing their first child. And that man? He’s just about the best thing to ever happen to any human being; and this woman, yes this woman right here, is the luckiest person in all of the world because that man chose to love her just as she is.

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34 Weeks and still counting!

So I have been a horrible preggo-blogger, but I figured since this week is the first one I’ve actually had to make some changes in, I’d go ahead and update the world (because the whole world is as interested and obsessed with my pregnancy as Ken & I are, right? Yep, right. Just go with it; my hormones are starting to get the better of me ).

Our appointment this week went well. Nothing special, nothing out of the ordinary, just a midwife visit. My blood pressure is still great (110/72) and my weight has been holding pretty steady. Some weeks I’m a  little up on the scale, some I’m back down. This one was a down week. My starting weight was 235.4 and my current weight was 234.8 for a grand total of -.6 lbs.

Baby Brand is still very much breech and doesn’t seem to want to move around in there, though with the size of the little moose already he or she may just be running out of room. I will be honest, though. I’ve always fantasized about being able to have a natural labor and delivery, should I be lucky enough to carry a child to term. I know that no matter what, as long as the little one is healthy, I will be fine with whatever delivery method we need to take, but I am so disappointed that they are talking about a C-section already.

I would love to at least try a vaginal delivery, but if the baby stays super breech I have a feeling that won’t even be an option. When the midwife started talking about setting up a meeting with the surgical team for us as  a couple to discuss either C-section or ECV (External Cephalic Version), it took everything I had not to start crying then and there. The procedure seems a little excessive just to give me the possible option of delivering naturally, with the added awesome possibility of an early emergency C-section at the time of the ECV because the cord might collapse. I feel so guilty that I’m even considering the procedure. It makes me feel like I’m an awful mother already, but I think it’s just a natural desire to go through all the hard work and then have a squirmy, red-faced, pointy-headed, absolutely beautiful new person laid on my stomach for me to start loving on immediately. I want to breastfeed as soon as possible after delivery. I want to have my husband be proud of me for bringing our child into the world. I want to be the one who makes our family complete. I want to see this pregnancy through to the finish.

And what do these statements all have in common? They all start with “I want.” And I know full well that in the end, should a C-section be better for the baby, I will not hesitate in the slightest, but in a perfect world, I will be able to have the baby naturally. Either way, we have two weeks until we need to make an ultimate decision and I’m just praying that the baby does some serious gymnastic work in there. So keep your fingers crossed for us and I’m going to sign off for this week. Next week, hopefully I will be able to update you a little bit about the baby’s positioning.

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The Road to Wedding-town

Ken & I have been engaged for 1 month & a couple days, and we’ve been making some nice strides toward the wedding of our dreams. I have to say that Ken is a most interested, involved groom and I could not be more thankful for his input and suggestions. And I also have an army of friends and family who are so willing to help. I am truly a lucky, lucky woman.

Thus far in our journey, we have gotten the centerpiece vases for our tables, lined up a florist who has agreed to help me make my vision a reality, a caterer who is such a joy to work with that I will firmly be recommending them to everyone that I know, my wedding dress & my reception dress have been purchased and paid for, and the Remembrance Table is well under way.

I ran across an old 1920’s Peerless Reproducer at a pawn shop in downtown Lynchburg. It is a little distressed, but that keeps in line with the vision that I have for our big day. The “public” side of the speaker is lovely and, while the volume of the output is incredibly low, the original wiring and speaker parts still work! I can’t wait to incorporate this into our decor and design something awesome around it.

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At this point, I don’t even know what to do with these emotions or thoughts, so I figured it was best to just get them out of my head and onto… umm… paper? I’m going to do this as anonymously as possible, but I’m not honestly sure how successful I’ll be. For those of you who know me irl, you know that I recently broke a self-induced 3 1/2 hiatus from the dating world. I realized with the dissolution of my previous relationship that I had built up a healthy store of unhealthy relationship habits and issues. So this break from dating and sex was my way of learning to reclaim my own life.

For as long as I can remember, pretty much my whole dating life, I have been all too willing to give up little pieces of myself to make sure my partner was healthy, happy, satisfied and- ultimately- just around for the long haul. By giving up my own personality, inch by inch, along with my own desires/goals, I wound up losing myself completely and becoming nothing more than a vessel to be used by my partner to further their own interests. It was really no wonder that I started to consider myself expendable. I’ve often heard myself say, “I’m just not the forever-girl; I’m the til-something-better-comes-along-girl.” And why was that? Why on earth were people using me to springboard themselves, fix their issues and then find someone different to walk out their life’s path with? Well, plain and simple, because I allowed it. I expected it and didn’t think that I was worthy of more.

I began casually dating a friend of mine back in January and we wound up making it official in February. It would have been a good relationship, one where I wasn’t going to be expected to give any part of myself up in favor of his interests. But it moved very quickly and I realized that I wasn’t ready for that sprint-to-the-altar kind of relationship. It would have been awesome if I could have just given myself over to it and let it happen. I mean, really, what would have been the problem? I would have been married, I would have had awesome step-children, my best friend (his ex-wife, coincidentally) would have been family… But it didn’t feel “right.” Whether that was timing or because we both still have issues we need to work on, I’m not completely sure; in the end, the result was the same whatever the cause.

Shortly after this friend and I amicably split, I met a man out at a local music gig that a friend of mine was playing. We had an amazing first ‘date,’ as we later started to refer to it. He held open doors for me, we had engaging, meaningful conversation, we have common interests, I found his moral integrity to be refreshing and attractive, and he was just a beautiful man from the inside out. We began to spend a lot of time together and things were going swimmingly. We were both falling quickly into something beautiful and scary. Then comes the inevitable drop of the other shoe, the whole reason for this stream-of-consciousness posty thing.

He has an old friend that he introduced me to one night, making clear his intentions of keeping me around for awhile. It was quite clear that I was a romantic relationship for him. Well this old friend happens to be female, and my manfriend happens to be her go-to standby when her dating life falls to shit. I think she’s always assumed that he would just always be there as her backup. Needless to say, seeing the two of us happily together made her reconsider that particular world view. She came to him the following night confessing that she has feelings for him. Now to the outside observer this may seem like a sweet little confession from someone who had pined after a friend for a long time. We’ve all been in that position; it’s easy to empathize with her. Let me shed a little more light, shall I? This woman uses manipulation to keep a bevvy of men on hooks so that she can fill the void of her own loneliness and mask her feelings of insecurity and self-loathing with their apparent adoration. She cannot be alone with herself, must always have a man ready to be at her beck and call and another on standby in case the first doesn’t give her the appropriate amount of attention. Now I admit, we all have these leanings. Even the most well-adjusted woman likes the attention of approving members of the sex/es to which they are attracted.  But we do not go as far as thing young lady. We don’t invent issues so that a man feels an intense desire to save us. And my manfriend is a saver. I understand that bit; I am as well.

The thing I don’t understand is why I feel a sense of loss. He did eventually choose to be with her, and I did lose him. But that was a door that needed to close. His way of life included a lot of alcohol and other substances that I do not partake in and do not consider healthy or wise. I could not have joined him in his choice of recreation, nor would he have been willing to change for little ol’ me. I truthfully wouldn’t want someone who needed to change to be someone I would want to spend my life with, and I recognize this fact. But it still sucks to be passed over. It’s not so much the loss of him that pains me, I suppose. I would imagine that if I were completely honest with myself, the reason I am upset that I have lost that relationship is the fact that once again I threw myself into pursuits I have no interest in to appease my partner. Time to go back to the drawing board and promise myself, once again, that I will do better next time.

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