Sunday, November 29, 2015

My Body Is Not My Body

My body is not my body. It has not belonged to me for quite some time.

It used to belong to me. In the days before I became known as "Mom." My body used to be wild and free-- free to have that second, third, fourth shot of whiskey; free to dance in dark bars and kiss in dark stairwells; free to stay out all night if I wanted, to see shows and to meet new people. My body wasn't chained to anyone or anything.

My body is not my body. It is now home to a nursling toddler and a developing embryo. My breasts are no longer mine to give to a would-be lover. They belong to a one-year-old boy who is up far past his bedtime. My back is not my back. It no longer bends and flexes in asanas. It now aches under the pressure of this creature growing inside of me. My arms are not my arms. Instead, they belong to this house, which has a constant need to be cleaned or repaired. My mouth is not my mouth. It is no longer available for conversation that extends past toddler level. My brain is not even my brain. It is no longer free to think of politics, religion, the environment, or even which outfit I should wear today. It only thinks of how to respond to tantrums and whether or not I'm endangering my child by feeding him this instead of that because my exhaustion level is at its peak, and I can't possibly bear to be at that stove for an hour when we are hungry now, and WHY have I not prepared meals ahead of time so all I need to do is heat them up for moments like this?

My body is not my body. It is more difficult than I expected to go from being free to being tethered. My love for my children is like nothing I've ever felt before, and yet the desire for my body to be my own again is overwhelming. I don't have the desire to return to stairwells or empty bottles. Now I dream of long showers and hot meals. I dream of sitting cross-legged and barefoot, reading books by the lake. Taking naps in hammocks. Seeing live music. Spending hours in deep conversation in a circle of friends. I'm made to feel selfish for desiring a life outside of my current one. A life of mental and spiritual growth. Like being a mom is the only choice for my body, and I'm no longer allowed to be anyone other than that.

My body is not my body, although I hope someday for it to belong to me again.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Crunchy Baby

     I know I've neglected my blog for a while. I've been caught up being a mommy to an active 5-month-old. He is currently sleeping, so I'm taking this rare moment to write about my experiences so far. One day, I will share my entire birth experience, but for now, I'd like to just write about some of the choices I've made for our family so far.
There is the term "crunchy" floating around. I'm uncertain of where it started or what exactly it means, but I do feel we fit loosely into that category. We cloth diaper, co-sleep, breastfeed, and babywear. A lot of crunchy moms choose not to vaccinate. I DO NOT fit into that group, but that is another blog post for another time.
     I knew I always wanted to cloth diaper. I had many reasons: the environment, cost-effectiveness, those cute little fluffy bums. But I never realized how much I would love it. Now that I finally have a good wash routine, and we have figured out the fit (or rather, my little preemie is finally big enough to fit into our stash), I've become obsessed with all the different prints and styles. Restraining myself from buying everything can be tough. Luckily, there are websites like storeofbaby.com where you can get good diapers for really cheap. Getting John on board was not as hard as I expected. Although, at first, he wanted to use disposables, and I left those with him when I went to work until we ran out of the ones gifted to us, at which point, John started using cloth exclusively. I got behind on laundry one day about a month ago, and he used disposables that day and had TWO blowouts. I think that totally convinced him not to go back.
     Bed-sharing was NOT one of those things that I had always wanted to do. I knew I wanted him close, so my sister bought us a Babybay cosleeper that attaches to our bed. It is amazing, and we love it......for everything that we may need in the middle of the night because Jackson will NOT sleep soundly in it. From the first night in the hospital, he has slept next to me, and I feel more comfortable with that than I expected to. He sleeps so well at night and always has, and I attribute it to the comfort of contact.
      Of course, I planned to breastfeed. I think I may have been more scared of that than giving birth. Now that I'm doing it, I understand why because I think it may be harder than giving birth. It definitely takes persistence and patience, especially if you pump for work like I do. I know it is easy for some moms, and they do it with great joy. I, however, do it out of a sense of obligation. Know better, do better-- like with my vegetarianism. I know the benefits and risks, so I choose to, but it was definitely difficult in the beginning. We had latch issues for months, and I never knew my nipples could hurt so bad. But we pressed on, and things are a lot easier now.  I plan on breastfeeding as long as possible. My first goal is one year. I'd love to exclusively feed for that long without introducing solids, but I'm not sure if that is reasonable. So I might shoot for 9 or 10 months before I introduce solids, but continue to breastfeed.
       Babywearing is just fun for me. I love having my hands free to do things. It makes grocery shopping SO much easier. And having him right next to me is nice. It's like snuggling while you pick out tomatoes. He is starting to get too heavy for the Moby, though, so I am about to have to invest in a woven carrier or an Ergo or Tula. All are fairly expensive but worth it, I think.
       So that is our crunchy experience so far.