Babies and Marriages

Baby A is here!!! I was due Sept. 25 and like clockwork, went into labor on the 25th and had him the next morning. More on that later.

Just know that, whoever said having a baby is like throwing a hand grenade into your marriage wasn’t lying! Sometimes I cannot stand my husband. Other times, I am so in love with him for leaping into new territory with me. But seriously, if he asks me anything after 6:30pm, my patience is nil. lol

I promise I will write more, because everyone says that they are “the best of times. These are the worst of times.” However, I want to include this quote from Kristen Bell, that pretty accurately summarizes my experience with baby A.

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My first baby falling asleep on my lap.

On her worries about becoming a mother: “I kept saying to Dax in all sincerity during my pregnancy, ‘I just don’t know how I’m going to like her as much as I like the dogs.’ I was being serious. Because I f–king love my dogs; they are my children. I love people the more i know them, and I didn’t know her. It could’ve been a water bottle in my belly, that’s about how connected I felt to her during my pregnancy. But within about 24 hours after she came out, my hormones reset, and they reprogrammed my feelings about her.”

The main things I’ve learned and the consensus I have gotten from my mom friends are this: Whatever you do, keep communicating with your spouse… even if that communication includes some cuss words. For better or for worse is what you and your partner trained for right? Well, these are “the best of times AND the worst of times.” Remember that the first 3 months are HARD so its ok if you stop dating. In fact, don’t even talk about the status of your relationship during this time. You’re in a tornado babe, just survive! Motherhood is something you progressively grow into, much like maternity jeans 🙂 so it’s ok if you feel out of sorts. The days may feel long, but you will look back several times and be amazed at how much time has passed!

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Advice that is Actually Helpful

What type of marriage advice are you getting?

How often do you check in?

When you get married, you get a lot of advice. Some good, some not so good.Here’s a random fact about us. My husband and I started pre-marital counseling well before we got engaged simply because we did not have a LOT of “great” married role models. I grew up in a single parent household and my husband grew up with an “until they all graduate from college” household. We are also one of the first couples in our circle of friends to get married, so obviously our friends may not be on the same page in terms of relationship advice.

1) Find  a GOOD Relationship Role Model. When we started discussing

Mr. Gottman, the relationship genious!

Mr. Gottman, the relationship genius!

marriage with each other, we had a lot of questions. We also didn’t have a lot of people to ask. I think on hand, I only really had one person that I knew that would give me honest feedback about their marriage. My Uncle & his wife were the only married couple I ever saw kiss each other “just because” regardless of who was around. My Uncle was also the only one that openly shared his lessons learned on marriage… and I don’t mean the usual stuff like “you have to communicate” or “never go to bed angry”. He told me that he used to be selfish and had a difficult time really listening and empathizing when they first got married. It took him some time (and marriage counseling) to grow up and not feel as though he had to win every disagreement.

2) All relationships can be difficult, but given the limited time we have, it’s important to learn how to let things go. He emphasized pettiness, selfishness, ego as “the things” and encouraged me to nurture my relationships. My uncle, a cancer survivor, passed away two months after our wedding. He told me that when you realize just how temporary life is, you can also realize just how trivial some things really are.

3) Checking in on people is important. My uncle called me every Wednesday just to check in because, as he used to say, checking in on people is important. This was by far one of the greatest lesson I could ever learn about relationships, specifically marriage. Till this day, I still consider Wednesday’s my check-in day out of habit.

4) Successful couples have a detailed understanding of the intricacies of their partner’s life. They have a detailed love map of interests, friends, stresses, goals, etc. for each other. I learned this piece of advice from, John Gottman, a marital genius… (seriously, look him up!), authored one of my favorite marriage books: The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert. In it, he lists Seven habits of highly successful marriages. He, and his colleagues can predict the divorce of a couple within 10 years simply by watching them interact for just a few minutes. One piece of advice he gave echoed that of my Uncle’s, the importance of checking in.

English: John Gottman with His Wife, Julie Gottman

English: John Gottman with His Wife, Julie Gottman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

5) Successful couples also spend at least 5 hours a week, The Magic Five, checking in and strengthening their marriage.

6) In successful relationships, for every negative comment received, 5 positive comments are also given. (5 is a big number for him). Gottman’s 5 to 1 Ratio. Among the least successful, there was a ratio of .8 to 1, (almost tit-for-tat). See more on the Gottman relationship blog.

The first year of marriage hasn’t been easy. We’ve had our battles with ego & selfishness. We’re still learning when to keep our distance and when to rush to the other’s side. We’ve gotten a lot of good advice and some not so good. I thought I would do my part and share what was good for me.

Hormones and Sex

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This has nothing to do with sex, but I do love ice cream in bed!

ok… this might be too personal, but bear with me. (Sidenote, I had to look up the difference between bear and bare and realized that I almost told you to undress with me. Seriously, bare with me means to “get in your skivvies or less” 🙂 But I digress… what I wanted to share with you was something I recently discovered, or shall I say “re-discovered”, the roll of hormones and sex!!! *Gasp
So, without putting too many details out there, I met my husband seven years ago in college. He was my first “real” boyfriend and eventually we decided to have the “birth control talk”. (Another sidenote, watch this awesome TED talk by Melinda Gates about birth control. I love TED). I have to say, like a lot of couples (on tv), things started off well… REALLY well! I soon got on birth control pill A and things were even better since I no longer had to worry about an accidental pregnancy. Well, time passed – we grew up, we broke up, I got off the pill, we got back together, moved around, I got on birth control pill B, got engaged… then married… and so on and so forth. And this is the awkward part… over the course of that time, my sex drive began to change.

caughtwhoopie

Don’t get caught with the wrong birth control. Do your research!

I’ve always had a pretty healthy sex drive, but upon switching to pill B, EVERYTHING went to a screeching halt. While it didn’t completely stop, it slowed tremendously. I thought it was the pressure of planning a wedding, surviving the first year, etc. But after realizing my pill hadn’t been refilled, I decided to quit. I’m only now realizing this having been sans pill for about 3 months, that I’ve been missing out on all these… feelings.. neurons connecting… synapses firing. lol So long story short, research your birth control if you’ve become a complete psycho overnight. Research your birth control if your doctor says “yeah, don’t worry about the negative reviews for this one. Most people are usually fine.” Sure clear skin, shorter periods, almost non-existent cramps are nice. (Let me stop before I convince myself to go back on). Finally, If you lose all wits about you over commercials like the one below, you may need to research your birth control:

Google is my worst enemy

I read an article –this article- and it scared the shit out of me. I’ve never thought of myself as a baby person, but damn it, baby fever is real.  Learning that 90% of your eggs are gone by the time you hit 30, will F*** up you s***. And I wonder, am I freaking out because I really want a baby? OR am I freaking out because my body is telling me I’m old but my mind is screaming “wait… you still haven’t answered what you want to be when you grow up.”

Both my ovaries and I give a collective sigh at this information.

Also, this is me played by Zooey Deschanel:

Couple things – Weirdos and Winners

Now I know it’s important to have good marriage role models BUT it needs to be said.

Double dates are a little weird.

Couples-only parties are weirder.

Planning/constantly inquiring about “my conception”, aka “when are you guys having kids, eh?” the weirdest.

On the other hand, Happy hours, a great sale, extra gas points, dancing? All Winners.

The end.

1 Year

So in case you didn’t know, I’m a teacher. If you know any teachers, then you know that for the past 2 months I have been consumed with data, testing, differentiating, saving the world- one mind at a time, etc. Because of all that excitement, I forgot to tell you that our 1 year anniversary passed!
We celebrated our anniversary a couple of weeks ago by going out to dinner. However, because we knew what a beast the school year is, we decided to celebrate before school started. This summer we went to Block Island and had a fantastic time. Normally we spend our time vacationing with family, but we decided to have our first “married” vacation with just us.

We saw a  million whales at Captain John’s Whale Watching Tour. We did  a sunset beach ride on horseback.  Swam a little and drank quite a bit of Sangria. We also decided to bike the island. (Sidenote: a girlfriend of mine and her husband biked cross country this summer, and I can safely say that I am deeply disinterested after this). There are no pictures from that because I was a hot sweaty mess by the end of it. Here are the highlights

I have to admit though, I was really excited about what we dubbed “Lobster Night”. 1) I had no idea eating lobster was so difficult. Seriously, I had to google it at the dinner table 2) It was soooo good! 3) I am officially in love with mussels. I want them in everything now!

Recycle or Keep

So I’ve been thinking. A year has passed and my wedding dress is sitting in the closet a little sad and lonely. Although, I did get to put “her” back on for our “after wedding shoot”, I doubt I’ll be wearing “her” again. So the question:

“Will I miss my wedding dress if I sell it or give it away”

A friend of mine once compared picking out a wedding dress, to picking out a husband. Before you go “heeey, not the same thing!” She argued that a lot of time was spent seeing how well the two of you match up, how you compliment each other and essentially, make each other look better. How meeting each other had the potential of changing our lives. LOL So, at the end of the day, is it just a dress or is it more?

 

The Question You Should Never Ask A Woman

Saw this on HuffingtonPost and totally agree with this article written by Mary Kate Sheridan. I love HuffingtonPost because it is a good mix of “real writers”, thinkers, experts, unofficial experts, and everyday people. This article very succinctly says what I was trying to convey in the previous baby post. So I’m just going to copy and paste this here, giving credit to where credit is due.

“My biological clock is ticking like crazy. At least, that’s what nearly every person I meet tells me.

Now that I’m 30 and married, I seem to be popping up on everyone’s baby radar, attracting unsolicited questions and advice about my sex life and fertility. Some of my favorites are:

“Gotta beat that clock!”

“When are you two gonna get started?”

“Want one yet?” (always accompanied by a stupid grin)

and

“You may want to think about getting that third bedroom because you never know ….”

Heck, I’ve even had a five year old pat my stomach and ask me if I have a baby growing in there yet (which certainly made me rethink the delicious cupcake on my plate).

The baby inquisition isn’t spearheaded by close family and friends. (In fact, they rarely participate.) Nope, the baby-dar more often emboldens acquaintances and even complete strangers to ask (pry) about my plans for a future family. Dental assistants, concierges, coworkers, athletic trainers, spouses of distant relatives, friends of friends, even people at the vet’s office: I’ve gotten 20 Questions: Fertility Edition from just about everyone.

I smile, laugh and try to change the subject as quickly as possible — not because I haven’t thought about babies or have no interest in ever starting a family, but because whether or not my husband and I decide to bring a life into this world is a very personal conversation and is completely inappropriate as casual chit chat. Not to mention, the longevity of my eggs isn’t exactly my favorite ice breaker.

I don’t even tiptoe near the question, even with my closest friends (unless they bring it up) because I understand that trying to conceive is an emotional, unpredictable journey, starting from the moment you even consider heading to the preggo-zone.

While some gals hit the pregnancy jackpot right away, many aren’t as lucky and struggle for months or even years to get pregnant, sometimes to no avail. As a type-A perfectionist, the thought of trying month in and out for something I can’t really control is stressful enough — I don’t need you reminding me of it while I’m out doing my daily errands or relaxing at a cocktail party. What if a woman physically can’t have children, is undergoing fertility treatments, had a miscarriage, has been trying with no luck, or is on a wait list to adopt? You don’t know people’s situations, and asking them such a personal question can cause far more stress than you may realize.

There is also the reality that having a child will change everything: career, finances, housing, social life, sleep, body, partner dynamics and who knows what else. Not to mention, some people have no interest in having kids and may not feel like discussing — and possibly defending — that life choice to you. Tell me, complete stranger inquiring into my baby-making plans, do you want to hear my deepest fears and concerns about bringing a little one into my life? Even if you did, do you really think I’d want to tell you?

Here’s some advice: Back away from the biological clock conversations. We women are well aware of our reproductive expiration dates. If we want to talk baby, we’ll give you a rattle”.

Follow Mary Kate Sheridan on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@MaryKateVS

Marriage and Loss – A Re-Examination of My Vows

If you are lucky, you won’t lose someone or something important to you surrounding the start of your marriage.

If you are lucky, hopefully you won’t fall apart at the seams.

If you are smart, fight the urge to push away your support system.

If you are planning a wedding, the combination of dates, family, vows, commitments, expectations may feel like a firm, constricting glue that keeps you from feeling all of the things you need to.

Shortly after my wedding I lost my uncle to advanced lung cancer. No sentence can capture how much I loved this great person. There are no cups or tools to accurately measure how much was lost. It’s only now that I’ve taken the time to let myself truly grieve… truly accept… to be married I must lose the parts of me that are selfish… that feel compelled to take on every situation independently. I accept that the first year of marriage is exciting, and terrifying, and eye opening whether you lived together or not. You may lose the doe-eyed innocence that led you to put your best friend on a pedestal and then marry him or her.

But no matter how different it feels, you made a vow to accept each other’s blemishes, tempers, pesky annoyances…

“I, (my name), take you, (his name) to be my husband”. [Even when you aren’t perfect]

“I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad” [Even when I want to crawl into bed and stay under the covers, I will force myself to be your partner.

“in sickness and in health”. [Because everyone deserves to be treated with dignity when they are at their lowest]

“I will love you and honor you all the days of my life”.

At times you may feel that you are losing or have lost important parts of yourself. You are growing.

No one wants to hear you grieve. But you must.

No one wants to see you panic. It’s normal.

If you don’t, you may lose more than you bargained for… like your sanity.

2 Months In, My Braincells Have Returned

Ok, so when people say that getting married is the most stressful period in your life, they aren’t lying. Contrary to what my blog would suggest, I actually wasn’t a bridezilla… at least not publicly. Thank goodness for blogs. I think by shouting my anxiety to the rest of the universe, I was able to spare my friends.

What I learned:

  1. Seating arrangements aren’t that big of a deal so don’t stress over them.
  2. Prepare for last minute invites and wedding crashers if there is an open bar and free food.
  3. Even the sanest of people can let their insecurities cloud your day so know when to change the subject.
  4. If you can’t afford a videographer, pictures are absolutely worth the investment. The day really does go by fast.
  5. Blotting towels are a shiny girls best friend.
  6. The most random of guests are inspired to hook up…whether you want to see it or not.
  7. Never underestimate a good DJ and an old school party anthem and/or line dance.
  8. Being married is a lot like dating before you were engaged… Appreciate the stability and brain cells that return once the hoopla has passed.
  9. I love being married… I didn’t enjoy “getting/planning to be married” and that’s ok.
  10. No “problem” was ever as serious as I made it out to be.