Monthly Archives: October 2014

Not dressing for me

We went shopping last weekend. S needed new shirts for work and I figured we’d give C one more try at finding clothes that fit her tiny but long body. And of course it was BOGO at Old Navy which was good motivation too.

It was going swimmingly until we realized we were short one item for true BOGO savings. Scott suggested I get something for me.

Given the fact I ran a fashion blog in my past life, you would think that I would jump at this chance, and run through the store finding great items in seconds. But no. I stood paralyzed in the middle of the store.

How do you find something to wear that is functional (when breastfeeding a hungry little monkey), flattering (when carrying some extra dough) and feels like me (when thinking about “me” hasn’t been a priority in weeks)?
It turns out a large part of my identity is wrapped up in my career, as I managed to be drawn to the only pencil skirts in a inventory of clothes made for weekend and not work.

At least that problem isn’t new. This isn’t my first year where my job is to sit at home. I spent a year in a home office crafting a thesis. True, I spent 10 hours a week working in a public sector office, had a regular meeting schedule with my advisor, and of course found many excuses to go to campus (the library, the bar) but the bulk of my week was spent at home.

I found that year difficult to dress for as some days I would wear pajamas and other days I would wear business suits. There didn’t seem to be a middle ground.

Sure, I tried for a middle ground every time I hit a store. I’d look at t-shirts, cotton dresses and shorts. But every time I thought to myself “I could even wear this to work!” I would then switch into professional mode and end up buying yet another tweed skirt and, if I should be so lucky, a sweater that might also work with jeans on a casual work-at-home day.

Of course that never happened.

So yet again I found myself in a predominantly casual store, eyeing up the one pencil skirt in the store. While it very likely could have at least been washable, it wasn’t the best choice. And without a legitimate excuse like “I’ll wear it when I go back to work in a year,” (because I will definitely have lost the extra dough by then right?) I had no choice but to settle for something that would actually fit my life, body, and identity now.

Yes,settle. I can’t say I really love the shirt I bought, but it works. It just took a little creative re-thinking on my part. While I couldn’t say “this will also work at the office ” as is my habit, I could say “this will be great to wear to take C to the doctor.”

Let’s face it, the last year I spent at home proved I am a pajamas kind of girl when I can be, so why force myself to be different, especially since it seems to be part of my identity that is still familiar. Beyond that,there is only frustration dressing for the parts of me I don’t know yet. Instead, I’ll let myself dress for someone else: those rare occasions when I actually have someone to see.

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Carrying life

C is a very clingy baby. Maybe all of them are, at this age but she is my first and my only real frame of reference. While I do have a niece and nephew, it was my prerogative to hold them every minute I was around. Since becoming a mother was enough of an identity crisis as it was, I was desperate to resume some kind of normalcy. Don’t get me wrong, I do love cuddling with her on the couch but I also knew that (contrary to what her Nana and Grandpa may believe), the world didn’t stop it’s orbit the day she was born, nor did if begin to revolve around her. Whether selfishness or practicality was the motivation, I’m not sure, but I quickly became an active “baby-wearer.”

A friend had lent me two carriers to try out, and I soon bought one of my own. As much freedom as they awarded me, I didn’t fail to see the irony. As someone who hated pregnancy and spent the 9 months counting down to not having this child constantly attached to me, I now found it most convenient to strap this newly freed bird onto me. Having posted this realization to Instagram, I was looking for one or two people to share the laugh. Instead, it was my ticket into a strange world.

It turns out there is much much more to this baby wearing thing than I thought.

Sure, I knew there had to be psychological and emotional benefits to C spending her days strapped to my chest. I thought it was cute the way all the safety precautions stressed that the proper positioning would place the baby’s head in a kissable position. Little did I realize, the faithful baby wearers were not simply strapping on a baby for practical purposes: they were doing so for strictly baby-centred reasons. As an off-shoot of attachment parenting, pro baby wearing comments started popping up on my photo. Soon, friends started posting post enthusing the baby-related benefits of baby wearing on my Facebook news feed. I was even some how inducted into our city’s baby wearing club.

And all because I just wanted to make pizza without someone screaming at me from a bouncy chair/swing/bassinet.

Don’t get me wrong: I think it’s very important for babies to develop a strong sense of security in knowing they are loved. I take full advantage of the fact that being close to my heart calms Miss C. I enjoyed how putting an overstimulated Miss C into a carrier at a recent family gathering gave her and I a nice intimate bonding experience in amongst the chaos. I even wouldn’t mind figuring out how to nurse using a carrier. But, at the end of the day, I baby wear because grocery shopping requires two hands. Because sometimes I don’t have an hour to rock Miss C to sleep. Because sometimes I need to tidy up the living room just to maintain my sanity.

It’s great that there are all kinds of benefits for my child when it comes to baby wearing (especially since I was concerned with the negative implications of her always being strapped to me). It’s fabulous that there are people out there advocating for it. For the enthusiastic baby wearers, it’s a way of life.

For me. It’s a chance to get mine back. Baby Wearing

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One Month

Age: One month
Weight: 7 lb 9 oz (as of last Thursday)
Height: 20.5” (as of Thursday)
Nicknames: Monkey, Miss C
Sleep: Hates sleep anywhere but in the car seat, or with Mommy
Clothes: Starting to stretch out the newborn, but still too skinny for 0-3 months
Loves: Walks, if by “loves” we actually means “stops crying like a banshee”
Dislikes: Sleeping anywhere she’s supposed to
Memories: the epic fail that was the attempt to do Charlie’s hand and foot prints, afternoon couch snuggles

One Month Feet

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Dark Matter

Through 9 months of pregnancy, my body felt so foreign to me. Every day I’d wake up and be caught off guard about the body I was inhabiting.

When I went into labour, or rather, when my body went partially into labour, this disconnect evidently continued. While it’s true, I was psychologically defeated as well as physically defeated, I view my “birth story” as “the day my body failed me”.

Two weeks into being a mother, when Charlie would fight going to sleep at night, or constantly nurse all morning, I felt every part of me was a failure. My milk wasn’t enough to sustain her. My love was not enough to soothe her.

I’m a logical person. I know that these are feelings that all mothers feel at some point, and are very common especially in the early weeks. I know I have enough milk for her (there is no shortage to her diaper changes), and I know there is enough love.

While my body may have bared the brunt of my perceived failures, I cannot deny that it at least exists. I can see it. I can feel it. What scares me the most is that while I feel so disengaged from my body, it’s actually the non-physical version of myself I can’t detect any more. While I’m sure it’s there, I’m just inferring it’s presence. I can’t see me. I can’t feel me. I just have to believe I still exist, even if I’m just there as dark matter.

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