Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Should-Dos and Pool Party

We are 33 weeks pregnant today, which feels very surreal. Only 7 more weeks until AGA's arrival (hopefully). 7 weeks just doesn't seem long enough to prepare for this precious new addition to our family. 7 weeks of just Chad and I (which we plan to enjoy, too, because we know it will be work to make each other and our marriage a priority). We had an appointment with Joy, our midwife today. AGA's heartbeat is strong and healthy at 135 and has already turned (head down)! Joy tried to show Chad how to feel AGA's head, but I think he couldn't feel it and just said that he could. ha. I am thankful to have such encouraging medical professionals during this journey.

My belly and AGA are growing every week**picture is me at 32 weeks trying on my maternity dress for Shelby's wedding**, which certainly does not go unnoticed by the dozens of people I am around every day. I receive a plethora of various comments daily about my size and how I am carrying. I believe that, especially over the past 4 weeks, I have had a different person tell me every day that I look like I will have a *HUGE* baby. I find it funny that the person saying this probably doesn't think that their comment actually translates to, "WOW. You and your belly and your baby are GIGANTIC! Good luck pushing that thing out!" On the other hand, I have a lot of women tell me I'm small. Each person has a different opinion on how a woman should look when they are pregnant. For some reason, others (mostly, I find, people that aren't close to us) think that when a woman is pregnant, they have a right to comment on that woman's weight, eating habits, daily routine, and the way that woman wants to parent (when no other time in a women's life do the comments flow so easily!). We, as a society, insert our comments and opinions into pregnant women's ears so much, it can be extremely overwhelming and sometimes disheartening.

That brings me to the "Should-Dos". My co-worker asked me how pregnancy was going. I told her that this pregnancy, actually, has been very pleasant. She asked me if I have been overwhelmed with the "should dos", yet. She explained that the "should dos" are all the things people (including the man at the crepe stand and the mud-volleyballers at the Mudapalooza volleyball tournament) think you "should do" when you are pregnant and become a parent. All the advice, although some is very much appreciated, is often times given without warning or request. Of course I told her that I was very much overwhelmed by all the advice and the comments about parenting and pregnancy. I think it can be hard to adjust to my body changing and the thought of our lives being completely different (in just 7 weeks!), let alone try to sort through all the things "I should do". Then I have the thought that if I don't do the should-do, I'm a failure of a parent. . The should-dos go right along with the Mommy Wars that are prevalent in our society. Everyone, I've discovered, will have an opinion on what is right and what is wrong and if someone deviates from those standards, they are are treated like a bad parent. This is how we view our opinions in general, but when it comes to parenting, the strength of these opinions is 10 times as great. I've seen this ugly monster creep up when a good friend of mine was struggling with breast feeding and she received blows from both sides of the issue. One side being "just give up because breastfeeding is foolish if it is hard" and the other side causing undo guilt if breastfeeding just doesn't work "because all women can breastfeed and you are a bad mother if you don't". Neither camps were helpful to her in the long run, making her feel like a failure no matter where she landed.

I have found that with every "should-do" two or three words of encouragement are needed. I think most women (and men) give this advice with the purest intentions--but it is overwhelming and sometimes hurtful all the same. I have to continually remind myself that Chad and I will make mistakes (like everyone) and that we will love AGA and will forgive ourselves when we do fail in someway. I hope that I don't get lured into being that person that gives a never ending flow of unsolicited advice and become a full fledged member of the Should Dos. I desire to be a person of encouragement and love for new moms and the general population around me.

Now, after I've gone on an on about the Should-Dos, I wanted to add some funny pictures of me trying to enjoy a day at the pool this past weekend with Shelby and Cara. I struggled getting into my sit and lounge, but I was victorious and it felt so good to just sit in the water. :)

Assessing the situation--being 7 1/2 months pregnant can make one less...graceful?
We all laughed because my belly stuck out of the water so much!
Relaxing a bit (no worries, I lathered up with the sunblock).

I plan to post more on all the fun things we are getting from showers and such. All the baby things out there are so fun and cute! That will be my next post, for sure. :)