I have been brewing up strong opinions again. Remember this post? As usual I'm taking a stand on topics with which I have very little real world experience. So let's begin the new year with a bang! Let me entertain you for a few minutes with my ranting. And then feel free to knock me off my high horse and set me straight in the comments because vigorous debate is my idea of a good time. Happy New Year!
1. Cloth diapers. We were surprised to meet a lot of resistance on this front. Even from crunchy granola folk who wear dreads and hemp clothing and rub crystals under their armpits because deodorant is made by "the man." They tell us that cloth diapering is a less ecologically responsible choice than disposable diapers because cloth requires us to use electricity running the washing machine and to use water flushing away solid waste. Holy carbon footprint, Batman! I would counter that choosing to procreate at all is ecologically irresponsible because a new human being will consume resources, create garbage, and generally wreak havoc on good old planet Earth. Hmmm. Sorry kids, I'm not buying it. In Barb-calculus the water treatment plant trumps non-biodegradable landfill bombs any day of the week. We plan to use cloth diapers, at least at home, and are all set to go with the Bambino Mio nappy system. (Thank you again, Chere!)
2. Weight gain. I done good on this one. I maxed out at 29 pounds but recently lost a few due to the pressure on my stomach that's causing a lot of heartburn. Regardless of what the scale reads, I have been asked on more than one occasion if I am absolutely sure I'm not carrying twins. At the other end of the spectrum I have been scolded for not looking pregnant enough. Both camps are pretty brave to comment on a preggo's weight--we are notoriously fierce on the defensive.
3. Surprise baby gender. Even with the extra sonogram last week, we still don't know. It is simultaneously cool and killing me not to know. We are glad that we decided to be surprised. And nope, we're not interested in receiving heaps of gender-specific clothing after the baby is born. Some day we might decide to have another child, and I want to reuse as much clothing from baby #1 as possible. And honestly, is a child's gender of any significance before puberty?
4. Maternity clothes. One of the benefits of a carrying breech--perhaps the only benefit--is that the baby's head is not in my pelvis. Therefore I'm not waddling yet, and I haven't had to buy any maternity pants. I am wearing a (large) pair of regular jeans as I type this. I mostly wear yoga pants and leggings. However, I have been wearing maternity tops scored off of clearance racks at Target and Kohl's. If I wasn't so lazy I would have visited consignment stores, too. Thus far not a single stranger has attempted to touch my belly. Knock wood. They must have noticed the barbed wire tattooed around my neck.
5. Stuff. Stuffed animals, that is. I hereby place a moratorium on stuffed animals entering our household in the year 2011. This ban shall include plush toys of every size, gender, and species, musical or non, new or used, intended for vigorous use or for strictly decorative purposes, stuffed items that hang from stroller handles, huggables, comfort toys, dolls, Disney characters, action figures, etc. intended for our baby. We bought a toy box for baby's room, and it is full--completely full--of stuffed animals. Wow, thank you so much for your generosity, but now we have plenty to keep the little rugrat entertained. Should you choose to ignore this warning, please kindly include a gift receipt as any and all stuffed critters we receive during the calendar year 2011* shall be returned. (*Exception: anything postmarked in 2010 we will keep as you were given insufficient notice). Stuffies arriving without receipts shall be immediately donated to a local thrift store. This ban is also directed at grandparents and immediate family.
I mean it.
Robb read this and asked my permission to excavate a childhood toy from his parents' basement. I am reviewing his request.
Yes, I am doing this because I am a selfish, hurtful person who wants my child to feel deprived. Wait, no. It's because there are better ways to show your enthusiasm for our offspring. Examples include phoning to ask us how we're doing, video chatting if you live far away, offering to babysit, making a freezable casserole, scheduling a play date for us with your child, cleaning my refrigerator...heh. (Thought I could slip that last one in without you noticing.)
6. Vaccines, an open letter:
Dear Jenny McCarthy,
There is no evidence that vaccines cause autism. I wish we knew what did. I'm sorry you are leading a personal crusade against medical science. Refusing to vaccinate your baby is like refusing to buckle them into a car seat or smoking crack while you're pregnant or leaving the kid tethered to a tree in the front yard in lieu of hiring a baby sitter. All tempting options but not so smart. I'm with Amanda Peet on this one. Yes, it's partly because I have never seen her vag in a magazine.
7. Fruit. When people asked what pregnancy food cravings I had, I told them I wanted fresh fruit all the time. And many replied, "Oh, but you're not eating fruit all the time because that would be really bad for you. So much sugar!" Wha? The sugars that occur naturally in fresh fruit are not the same as the refined sugar in everything else we eat. This is what happens when people read a headline but fail to read the last sentence in a news article. I wanted to eat fruit, so I did eat fruit at nearly every meal since May. In fact I ate two clementines while I was typing this, and I might go back to the kitchen and get two more. Not diabetic yet, haters.
8. Pro-choice. I thought that the pregnancy journey might change how I feel about the legal status of abortion, but it didn't. In fact it really clarified my thoughts and made them firmer. No government should be able to force a woman to carry a pregnancy to term. No pharmacist should be allowed to refuse to supply a customer with contraceptives, routine or emergency. No woman should be made to prove that she was a victim of rape, incest, or life-threatening medical condition in order to make a personal family planning decision. Maternal mortality rates may be improving worldwide, but the health risks involved in pregnancy are no joke. Carrying a baby to term is a serious commitment, and it's only the beginning of a lifelong commitment to that child's welfare. I find it ironic that many people opposed to abortion are also remarkably stingy with social services, as though their responsibility to protect their fellow man ends at the end of the birth canal.
9. Current events. Each year the American Academy of Pediatrics refines their recommendations for baby care. Their advice is based on continuing research and is not meant to undermine the way our parents raised us. For example, babies used to sleep on their tummies. Somehow we lived to tell the tale. But pediatricians have been recommending that babies sleep on their backs since 1992. And for good reason--the Back to Sleep Campaign reduced the incidence of SIDS by 50%. (What does a safe sleep environment look like?) Notice how many more little ones seem to have food allergies nowadays? Well, the peds have come up with guidelines about introducing cow's milk and solid foods to try to bring down these risks. Old people, we understand that baby care recommendations are a moving target, and we're not judging you for doing things a little differently back in the day. We only ask that you respect the guidelines we've been given. We are happy to explain them and fully blame our pediatrician for any inconvenience they might cause.
10. OB bashing. Why do the natural childbirth folks scorn medical professionals? We love our OB and her staff. Dr. A has been practicing for about 30 years and has delivered thousands of babies--compared to me and Robb who have delivered zero babies between the two of us in that same time period. We trust her experience and education to help us make the safest choices for me and the baby. I also have room in my heart to respect the experience of midwives, doulas, and birth coaches. A few months ago I picked up two Bradley books and found them to be surprisingly adamant that medical doctors have no business being involved with labor and delivery. Recently when I turned to their info on breech babies, though, the Bradley camp lost me altogether. The authors wrote essentially that doctors only recommend c-sections for breech babies because they don't know any better. I actually know that Dr. A's training as an OB included delivering breech babies. And if this wasn't our first child she would have offered vaginal birth as an option, but she said my "pelvis is untested," so (unless baby turns) c-section is the safest route. For some reason I trust her more than someone trying to sell me books and classes.
11. Alcohol. Everyone wants me to drink this month. Merry Christmas--have a glass of wine! I know it's safe, blah blah blah. But I haven't had a single drink since I found out I was pregnant. Why would I suddenly need one with only a week left to go? I also have not had any unpasteurized cheese, runny eggs, raw seafood, cigarettes, green tea, Tylenol, or extremely acrobatic sex. God, I miss runny eggs! My one vice has been caffeine, but I've limited myself to two caffeinated beverages a day. Baby might pop out as a jittery bundle of nerves, but mama never would have survived summer without iced tea.
Okay, let me have it.