Pure imagination

SO MUCH LAUNDRY. ALL OF THE LAUNDRY. All of the time. That’s what it feels like anyway. A constant stream of dirty socks, jeans I swore I washed like, two days ago, and baby clothes. Endless baby clothes. Laundry is a constant in my life. Perhaps one of the few.

I’ve spent the last few days in a contemplative mood. This leaves me quiet around other people but often loud when I am alone. I am a verbal processor, I just normally prefer to process by myself instead of with others. And yet somehow I scored an ENFJ. Maybe I am just one big jumble to everyone.

I keep thinking about how life is unfair but also strangely ironic. Even the old complaint, “That’s not fair,” isn’t even worth mumbling anymore because what’s the point? No one will be able to explain the unfairness away. Our world is breaking and so are we. My life has always been full of strange parallels that never cross; many are my own experience but a good portion of them is the experience of others. Why does one couple get to have children when another doesn’t? Why does one person with a fairly fulfilled life of ripened years, children and grandchildren, get to beat a sickness while another woman who is younger than 30 does not win the battle? Why does one child receive more love and lavishing than another despite being in the same family? Why does one person have the sensitive, supportive spouse and another does not? Why did one person have the guts to follow their dreams early on and another person didn’t? If one person did one thing different would life be the same for her or him? Do we really want to answer these? Not really. We don’t really want to face the simple truth of the underlying brokenness of our world. It’s there but we try to avoid that. We would rather sit in imagination and the idea that we are wronged.

It’s almost as if life is one big Willy Wonka tour, and the series of tests we face aren’t test at all. They are just all the moments, choices, and events that make up life. A lot of different choices with a lot of different outcomes. It would lovely if we all had the cut and dry happy ending but isn’t that just a world of pure imagination? Because whenever something ends there is a note of sorrow attached to it, because it’s ending. Then a new page begins and life starts again. Whether we are ready for it to start again or not. Whether or not we are ready for what the ending looks like.

It does no good to consider what is fair or unfair. It only does good to see what is now and be thankful. To see what is because we truly will never know what could have been because we aren’t living it. We are just here, now. And the show will go own, after the curtain closes.

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Recognition

There’s no recognition with this job. At least, that’s what some other people told you.

Being a mom is a thankless job.

And it’s true. There are a lot of things he can’t thank you for. He can’t thank you for the breastmilk; or the solid meals that you prepare and patiently deliver into his tiny mouth. He can’t thank you for changing his diaper and dumping the trash. He can’t thank you for the clean bottom and the pleasant smelling home. He can’t thank you for warm, clean pjs and sheets. He can’t thank you for the books you read or the songs you sing. He can’t thank you for the way you make him laugh after he falls. He can’t thank you, really, for anything at this point. At least, he can’t with his words.

You never know what will happen. You don’t know if he will ever thank you for this time. You don’t know if he will end up being someone who gets to stand up in front of a crowd of people, and as he is being recognized for the art he created he turns to thank you for all you did. Maybe he will be someone who thanks you quietly later on down the line, when  you least expect it. You don’t know if he will ever be able to voice those words at all. Maybe he will show his gratitude by the way he treats his spouse and raises his own family. Hopefully he will show his gratitude by simply being the person he is supposed to become.

And that’s the point, isn’t it? That’s the reason you did this. Because in the end it isn’t about recognition or glory or a thousand and one thank yous. It’s about the person he can be, and the person you can be while you live together. It’s being the person he needs you to be, it’s about being the person you’re supposed to be, so he can be the person he is supposed to be. Because if you falter in your mission he falters in his own. It’s love and sacrifice and truth and mercy and grace and patience. The endless patience. It’s all these everyday quietly strong things that we all need that somehow fell out of fashion far too quickly. We all suffer without these things. It’s about living and breathing blessing into this one life you have and the life of this little person. Maybe it won’t ever be recognized. And maybe it will, who knows. You get back up and you do it again.

And sometimes, in the wee hours of the morning when he is tired and you’re tired you decide to lay him next to you. That’s when he reaches out to grab your face. Just your face. He holds on tightly as he drifts off to sleep. Sometimes that’s all the recognition you need.

 

 

Beauty in Failure

img_0982When I was a senior in high school my english teacher instructed me to not get married until I had at least one post graduate degree under my belt.
“You’re really smart. Do not waste your time get married before you have at least one master’s degree.” He wagged a finger and smiled at me.
If he were to do a quick glance over my life today he would probably think that I am a failure. I had contemplated multiple routes to a master’s degree but never committed. I got married at 25. We moved from our vibrant, beautiful, diverse, culture filled, life is happening home town to the bland, mostly all white, mostly really cold and dark place where my husband grew up that we hate. (I’m sorry to everyone in Slow town that is reading this. I love love love my friends here and a good lot of the people but I hate small town Alaska. There I said it. I hate small town Alaska.) I was 26 and I moved so he could go to school and get a start into a career. At 27 we had our son. And now as I approach 28 I am in many ways a failure. I am broke, I have a stalled career (a career I never really wanted anyway, I just sort of fell into it), I am far from home, I am the master of the laundry, the mistress of the dishwasher, frequenter of the grocery store, the dump, and contributor to no published magazine, online zine, or anything. And nap time and bed time are still battles. I am, in many ways, a failure.

“I was set free, because my greatest fear had already been realized, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” Jk Rowling

Breathe in, breathe out. Smell the new air around. If you take time to savor it, failure has the surprising scent of new life. I’ve always said that I don’t mind growing older because it takes me further away from the mistakes I made in the past. The bad relationships, the insecurity I stubbornly planted myself in, the crippling anxiety I allowed to prevent me from visiting a dear friend in a country I’ve always wished to see, the friends I’ve abandoned for worthless men, etc. The truth is, I’ve always wanted to move forward into time, as if time itself could erase who I was before. Nothing can erase who I was before but it wasn’t until this year that I learned that I had to break the foundation of who I was before in order to live in freedom of who I could be now.
So much of who I was had been built on shaking sand. I was an angry, afraid girl for a long time. Afraid of people because at such a young age I was introduced to adults and children who seemed to enjoy breaking me to fit their mold. Afraid of being singled out or the cause of some discomfort or change because I was seemingly in the way. Angry that I let myself make awful mistakes and didn’t learn from them. Angry because I hurt people who cared about me and therefore hurt myself. Angry and afraid that I would end up a failure, failing my parents, myself, my teachers, my professor, my everyone and everything. And so for almost 28 years I’ve gripped life hard with white knuckles desperately trying to avoid the unavoidable. Until I came crashing into failure. And I sat on the dust of what I had made and looked up. There was nowhere else to go. It was time to begin again. And so God took my hand and my life and began again.
This morning, as my son held out his chubby hand to my face after I nursed him, I sat in the comfort of new life. In him and in me. I don’t believe that success in life is measured in what successes we have attained anymore. Those will all melt away one day when we meet our end. Life is meant to be lived well, and we are meant to let God use the people, places, and things in our life to continually know ourselves so we can grow. So we can be bigger and fuller than we were before. Life is meant to be lived in the freedom faith in God can amply give.
I looked at my son and I whispered. “I will protect you. I will be brave for you. I will be strong for you. God has given me the grace to protect you. God has given me the grace to have the ability to be brave for you. God has given me the ability to be strong for you. Because of you I can be more. And I love you. And I want to thank you for that.”
Who we are is a reflection of what we have built ourselves on. I had to finally allow myself to be broken so I could have a better foundation. This one was founded on truth and love instead of anger and fear. There is so much beauty in failure, if only we would allow ourselves to see it.

Gilead

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Taken back in the summer. 

“I’m writing this in part to tell you that if you ever wonder what you’ve done in your life, and everyone does wonder sooner or later, you have been God’s grace to me, a miracle, something more than a miracle. You may not remember me very well at all, and it may seem to you to be no great thing to have been the good child of an old man in a shabby little town you will no doubt leave behind. If only I had the words to tell you.” -Gilead. Marilynne Robinson 

It’s quite amazing how God uses the smallest of people to be the balm of healing to those who need it. This child has been a source of great joy in a time and place when I desperately need it. I am thankful for the gift of this life everyday. I pray I remember this in five years, ten years, fifteen, twenty years. I pray I remember that his life is not bound to my aspirations of him. His life is bound to be a gift and a purpose in his own way, not the ideas I have swimming around in my head for him. I pray for him constantly. I love him. I thank God for him.

He is my son. And one day he will leave. As all sons do. I hope he leaves taking with him the knowledge that it is a gift to be his parent. And that I love him dearly. I pray he lives with freedom, not bogged down by broken dreams thrust upon him. I pray he lives in freedom of salvation and with love to give. I pray. I pray.

Also, please read Gilead. Please, please read Gilead. It’s beauty is immeasurable. I weep with nearly every page. 

 

The Blessing of Babies

Last week we put the winter tires on our car. I was sitting in the Fred Meyer deli area nursing my baby while our car was worked on elsewhere. He fell asleep and I nestled him into his stroller so we could walk around. At the same time there was a elderly man there reading a cowboy book. I passed him on our walk around the store.

My husband came to Fred Meyer later so I circled back to the deli. The elderly man was still there. He came up to us and asked to see the baby. My kiddo woke up and blinked his almond shaped blue eyes up at the gentleman. The gentleman laughed and commented on how cute he was. The man explained that he was 84 years old and he told us that he and his wife had no grandchildren. His son had been divorced since he was in his early 20s and his daughter was married to a man who couldn’t have kids. He said, sadly, “We should have had grandchildren but that’s how it is. But this little one, he is something pretty special.”

I could have cried.

When I was pregnant I thought that I would be very protective of my baby. I would be picky about who held him, and I would make sure he was covered whenever he was in his car seat. But then I gave birth and real life happened and it costs like 15 dollars to ship a carseat cover to Alaska and that plan fell apart. I am glad my plan fell apart though. I’ve been very humbled by how much of a blessing a baby can be to strangers. This man hasn’t been an exception. My shopping trips are filled with smiles as people spot my boy in the cart. I’ve seen downcast faces perk up when they spot his soft cheeks and shiny eyes. I’ve had women jump into life when they see him in the shopping cart while I am picking out milk.

“He’s so focused already. Thanks for letting me see him.”

“Look at that smile. What a cutie. Thank you for sharing him with me.”

It’s so humbling knowing that someone so little can make such a difference on a person’s day. It reminds me that every person has something about them that is very special. Don’t get me wrong. I believe in boundaries and he is always in my line of sight. But it feels like I can give a special gift to people who may need a little gift that day. Maybe he reminds them of their grandchildren. Maybe he reminds them of their kids. Maybe he reminds them of themselves, and how life can move so quickly. Whatever it is that he does it’s something that isn’t measurable. Who am I to hoard that gift to myself?

I don’t want to put false expectations on him. He will grow up to be his own person. But I do want him to be a blessing to the world. He can do that even now, with just a smile and a sneeze. I can protect him, but I can also let him shine. It’s what I am called to do. This boy was given to me to be a blessing to more than just me. If I can safely share him and brighten a few days, then I think we are doing a good job. I don’t know everything about motherhood and I need to be willing to have flexible plans and ideas. It’s a humbling vocation but it’s my favorite vocation of all.

 

I’ll Have What She’s Having – The Caffeine Edition

I have this thing about making decisions. I suck at it. It stresses me out. Anytime I make a big purchase I do a ton of research, go check out the product at least three times, and then finally I make a purchase. Then I spend the next three weeks asking myself if I made the right decision. I might have a complex but really, who doesn’t have a complex about something?

My biggest weakness is coffee. My favorite way to treat myself is with a nice full bodied cuppa joe. But I always have a twinge of anxiety when I’m in line at the cafe. What do I want to order? I feel like I am at the age when I should have my go to order. My husband is a plain drip coffee kind of guy. I like drip but if I am going out, I want to order something special. But I feel very generic ordering a regular mocha or americano or a latte. Do I want to add an extra shot? Do I want a flavoring? Two percent instead of whole? Soy instead of two percent? So many options!

Really, the problem with me is that I feel behind when it comes to coffee. Most people started drinking coffee in late high school or in college. I didn’t really start drinking coffee until I was a few years out of college. And then when I would order, I would predominately order heavily sugared drinks that didn’t taste like coffee. When I was pregnant I began to crave the taste of actual coffee but you are supposed to monitor your caffeine intake, so I stuck to decaf. (A tragedy, I know.) Now that I am limit free I am on the hunt for my signature drink, but I have yet to master it.

There are still a lot of espresso drinks I have yet to try, but so far, I do enjoy a really good Americano. One of our local baristas made me an Americano one day that was so good, I didn’t put any cream or sugar in it. It was smooth, chocolatey, and quietly sweet as is, I left it beautifully, perfectly black. But he was the only who was able to do that! I mean, I love I good cup of coffee but I’m not about to memorize someone’s work schedule so I can get the best brew in town. (Also, I prefer not to be known as a stalker. But that’s just me.)

My relationship with coffee is still very new and exciting, and I love exploring new flavors of roasts. It may take me awhile to nail down my signature drink but that’s alright. If you want to do something big, you have to do it right. And sometimes, doing things right means taking time. And taking taste risks.

I am already planning my morning coffee. Tomorrow is Saturday and nothing beats a lazy Saturday morning with coffee and a donut. Coffee and donuts. Nothing better.

 

Autumn

Autumn is beautiful in south central Alaska. The trees are all changing colors right now. When the sun is out the temperature has a delightful crisp that requires a fall jacket instead of a parka. The grass is wet most mornings from the dew and the earthy smell of changing seasons is heavy in the air. I will always be a big city girl at heart (I miss you Chicago) but I never loved autumn until I got to the Pacific Northwest.

To be honest, part of the reason I disliked autumn was the fact that I strongly dislikes school. For many years autumn was a season of anxiety. It was so hard. I’m a sensitive person and what I wanted most was freedom to be me and be loved for being me. But that victory was a hard one that took a long time to win. School was that victory’s battle ground. Everyday I fought that battle. I failed for many years. Autumn was not just the back to school season, it was the season of putting on the things that weren’t me while trying to find me. It was a season of wishing I was home where I felt safe and whole. It was a season of itchy unrest.

It feels strange that autumn has become a season of peace for me. But it was a process. It started in college. I found some good people and our connection made me realize the things about me that I liked could be genuinely liked by others. It grew post college when I found some good therapy and worked out long held issues. It continues in my marriage, when I learn to love the man I married without asking him to fill me, so love can grow without measurements. It’s no more love me enough to complete me and then keep going. It’s love me and live with me in this thing called life. Peace grows as motherhood keeps rolling on.

Having a child has a way of poking all the bruised spots in your life. I look down at my baby boy and remember the tears shed, the anger, the feeling of being lost at sea. It makes all those years of sadness very real and you realize that your child will most likely go through their own hard years. Your child will have it’s autumn. That realization taps into your mama bear mode and suddenly you never want your child to go through that. You have to protect them. You have to fight the enemy. You have to, you have to….

You have to breathe. You have to pray. You have to trust. This little bundle will go through their hard years. But they may not be like your hard years. You have to let them grow. You have to let them be little and protect them; but you have to let them grow. You have to realize they aren’t you and you have to listen to them. Listen. To. Them. So that when they say the big things, the hard things, the things you didn’t wish they had to go through things; you can be there. You can understand them. You can hear them and process what they are going through. You can help them.

Everyone has something that was hard and something that hurt. We can’t change that, but we can prepare. We can tell true stories to our small ones. We can tell true stories to our friends. We can apologize to them when we mess up. We can walk with them and share with them the victory of peace. I want my son to see me with peace this autumn. I want him to see me with peace every autumn. I want him to know the victory is worth it, all those painful years. I want him to know the victory is real. The real me I sought after all those years continues to be found. Faith continues to grow. We move on. We meet up with old friends. We make new ones. We have our favorite hot beverages and books. We drink our favorite beers. We laugh, yes, we laugh. Because there is always something worth laughing about. In each new day and in each new season there is always something worth laughing about.

How I Learned to Quit Worrying and Love My C-Section

My husband thinks our little boy is stubborn. He also thinks our babe is wonderful, amazingly cute, and also silly. I think my husband might be right, our son could be stubborn. For one thing, he completely changed my idea of what a good birth is, even if I didn’t know that I had an idea of good birth.

He was born via c-section. After 12 hours after my water broke, my labor wasn’t progressing. Somehow he had wedged himself away from my cervix and twisted his body so that he was face up, or as the doctors called it, sunny side up. Every time I had a contraction his heart rate would decline. As in, if I continued on with labor I could have ended up at midnight overtired, overtaxed, and having an emergency c-section with less staff at our small hospital. Instead, I had a fully staffed c-section at 6:00pm with an amazing team of doctors and nurses. I was tired but not drained. I was scared but not terrified and our baby was healthy and alive. The cord that was wrapped too tightly around his neck was cut by my husband and my baby was placed on my chest. Our family was now a family of 3.

Was having a c-section my first choice? Well, when my water broke at 2:30 am no, no it wasn’t. It wasn’t even a dream. But at 2:30 pm when my water levels were shrinking, my baby was distressed, and my doctors sat down with us to discuss the possibility of a c section I knew it was the only way. I was at peace with the decision.

About 3 weeks later I was in the church crying room with another young mother. She asked how I was doing and I started off my response as I normally do, “I had a c section.” She responded positively, saying she had two c sections herself. My guard dropped a bit and we went on to swap stories. I had a companion in her, someone who understood everything that choice meant. At the end of the conversation we both heartily agreed we were incredibly happy with our choices. We had our babies, our bodies, and our lives could continue on.

There is an idea of what “good birth” is nowadays and I don’t quite know why. I know that Ricki Lake documentary turned a lot of people off OB/GYNs and planted that idea that all doctors will lie to you to be able to go home on time. I completely disagree with that. I know a lot of people read stuff online how there are a lot of natural ways to flip babies or whatever. This could be true, I haven’t done much research into that. I know a lot of people have a story of their friend or sister’s friend or sister’s friend’s friend who had a beautiful home birth that was super spiritual, connecting, and tranquil. Everything a hospital birth supposably isn’t. That is lovely. I wish those families well and I applaud them. But none of these things truly capture a good reason to not have a c-section when it’s in the best interest of the mother and child. And none of those things should be measured against C-section as a legitimate birth option, and a damn good one at that.

Ultimately in the end, what makes a good birth is that the baby and the mother are safe. What makes a good birth is that the mother felt cared for and was supported. It means the necessary tools were there in case something went wrong. It means that the lives of everyone involved were considered. Sadly, this isn’t the case in A LOT of the world. It isn’t even the case in some parts of our nation. This is what we should be fighting for when we say we want every woman to have a good birth. Because it’s true; every woman she be able to say she felt her birth was beautiful. This shouldn’t be measured by other people’s opinions or expectations but by her own experience.

My c-section was beautiful because it was the choice my husband and I made for the sake our child.

My c-section was beautiful because I had an incredible surgeon. Sure, he doesn’t have a warm and doting bedside manner. He is a surgeon, with skilled hands, and a quick brain. He stitched me up beautifully and I love my scar.

My c-section was beautiful because the nurses held my hands as my anesthesiologist administered the two step spinal block process. They made me laugh and assured me it was possible to have more children post c-section, as one even had 4 c-sections.

My c-section was beautiful because my anesthesiologist was right by me the whole time to adjust the dose and ward off nausea. He even took our first family photo.

My c-section was beautiful because it was spiritual. I have never relied so heavily on the Word as I did in those moments. I finally understood what it meant when it says to “trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.”

My c-section was beautiful because it called my husband and I to be strong in ways we hadn’t before and united us in humility.

My c-section was beautiful because it brought my son into the world and for that I am ever grateful.

Third Trimester Nesting Questions and a Book Recommendation!

On Saturday we moved into our new housing situation which is wonderful, very homey, and there is enough space for the two of us and our baby on the way. It is a massive provision and we are so thankful for it! But I must admit, when I say we moved I mean we dumped the baby shower gifts into the baby’s room, dragged our clothes into our room, and didn’t put them in the drawers/closets until today. Today being the Monday after we moved. I have not yet hit the nesting stage (maybe because I’m too tired? Maybe because I am immune to nesting?) so I don’t necessarily feel a strong urge to organize EVERYTHING. I do know that there are some things I should get ready, like my hospital bag. My designated hospital bag currently stands empty aside from two pens. We also should probably set up the car seat soon. But we need to actually retrieve it from my in laws’ house. So, needless to say, I feel a little behind.

Speaking of behind I have officially entered the, “I feel as big as a house stage” which I am hoping is a universal feeling. As I was unpacking my clothes today I was hit by the same feelings I get every time I move, which is, I have too much stuff. Part of this is because I hate unpacking and packing and part of this is because for awhile, I did have too much stuff. I had too many clothes I never wore and too many books I only read once. Some I didn’t even read at all! But when you move six times in the span of one year (note: I don’t recommend doing this) you trim down on a lot of stuff.

My trimmed down closet is still kind of big but I feel most of the stuff I own I wear on a weekly or monthly basis. Well, I did, before I was pregnant and third trimester hit. I don’t know if it makes sense to donate a bunch of old clothes now or wait until after the baby is born and I start on my recovery/workout plan to see what fits or what doesn’t. And then, to Salvation Army it shall go. I know some women who have given away all their pre-pregnancy clothes during pregnancy only to lose all the baby weight and then some afterwards. They had to buy all new clothes. I really want to avoid that.

Also, re nesting I am at a loss as of what to do in prep. I know I need to set up the car seat, pack and play, and prep a bunch of cloth diapers but what else? I know some people wash all the baby clothes they get before they baby comes  but what if he ends up being a HUGE baby and skips the newborn size all together? Should I just wash some key outfits in each age bracket and then wash them all later, once he is here? Should I wash all the receiving blankets? Should I strip cloth diapers that were already stripped? Again? Should I steam sanitize bottles? There is a lot to do. I am wondering if it would be better to do it now so when the baby is here I have less on my plate.

Mamas, any advice? What freezer meals did you make and consume pre-baby? What did you pack in your hospital bag that someone else might not think about packing? What did you wash/how did you wash it? What special treats did you do for yourself before baby?

Some notes, we are doing cloth diapers but we are also happily accepting disposable and will most likely use those the first month or so. Also when we are traveling since it’s easier. I hope to breast and bottle feed so if you think of any bottles that allowed you to do that let me know. However, I am not anti-formula and I am well aware it might be necessary as supplementation in the end. So in general, if you have some tips you would like to share, share away. And thank you, thank you mucho. 🙂

I read this awesome book about working and pumping. It’s called Work.Pump.Repeat and it’s by Jessica Shortall.  I highly recommend it for anyone planning on going back to work who wants to continue breast feeding. Jessica is a working, traveling mother of two and she is awesome. The book reads like the friend who has your back from however many miles away. She explains the basics of pumping, work pumping, the legal side of pumping at a workplace, and offers tips on how to start a schedule. If you are someone like me who sometimes just needs someone else to walk you through whatever then this book is for you. Get it! It helped put my mind at ease. I really like to mentally prepare WAY ahead of time so, again, read this book.

I probably have a million other questions in my mind but I cannot think of them now. But thanks again for reading!

-M

Baby Products are Scarier Than Birth

You might think I mean that as a joke or that I type it ironically. But I do not. I’m not really afraid to give birth, partially because I have no choice. If I want this child to live this child needs to come out of me somehow and well, as far as we know everything is a go for having it the old fashioned way.

Sure, there are a lot of options when it comes to birth. But I am someone who will need to heal quickly. My birth plan is basically what follows: let’s get the baby out, let’s make this go well, also if an episiotomy will heal faster than tearing let’s do it because I have to be back to work in six weeks. I am not afraid to ask for an epidural. I have a good doctor and I will be in a hospital and those things comfort me. Call me crazy. I am too grown to care about hash tagging all my instagram pics #naturalmama. #naturalbirth. #breastisbest. My hashtags will probably include words like #stillaliveithink and #notsureifiwashedmyhairthisweek. But again, all that is meh compared to baby stuff.

There are SO. MANY. BABY. PRODUCTS. Nearly every product is labeled as “best for baby” and “approved by the academy of so and so.” I hate making choices. I really do. Cheesecake Factory is the most overwhelming place to eat ever because you are essentially handed a novel and are expected to pick out your entree in 10 minutes. I rub my hands nervously anytime I pull up to a coffee cart or go into a cafe because there are so many options and I don’t have a go to coffee order and OH MY GOSH WHAT IF I PICK THE WRONG THING AND MISS OUT ON THE GOODNESS?!?!? I hate having too many choices. Just give me one choice for each and I’m good to go.

Take baby bottles for an instance. There are hundreds of different brands of bottles. (Okay, maybe not hundreds, but there are a lot.) On every review you read about a woman who says, “My baby wouldn’t take any other bottle but this one.” Or “this is the  best for switching from breast to bottle and back to breast.” Before I was pregnant I didn’t even know babies could decide to not take a bottle. Or a boob. Or have any sort of preference whatsoever. They are babies. I thought they just did whatever babies do, which is eat, sleep, excrete, and then make noises sometimes. Now you are telling me they have OPINIONS on where they eat from? Some women on youtube say they went through 10 different bottles before finding the right one. Ten different bottles! How can a baby be that picky?

And the worst thing about it all is that they all claim have different benefitting factors. Some are squishy like boob. Some have a long nipple. Some have a short nipple. Some are painted to look like a nipple. (Albeit a white lady’s nipple but whatever.) Words like natural latch, latch on easy, and latchy mclatch latch decorate their packages. Nearly every bottle is supposed to help reduce colic. Some have special straws. Some just have holes that are plugged with a ring but still somehow reduce air? Some are supposed to reduce colic AND ear infections. Some are skinny. Some are wide and curvy. Some are glass. Some are plastic. ALL are BPA free. All are too many options for the likes of me.

And to top this all off, I heard of a baby who refused EVERY BOTTLE and he had to be fed with a syringe. (One of those soft dental ones but still.) Evidently he hated sucking but liked slurping? THERE ARE BABIES WHO HATE DOING ONE OF THE FEW THINGS BABIES ARE BORN KNOWING HOW TO DO. How does this happen? Why does this happen? Why do I have so many choices? It’s all very overwhelming. I stand in the baby aisle of Walmart and start stress sweating because I feel so confused. I almost bought a bottle on rollback the other day and then panicked and bought potato chips instead because what if I didn’t need that bottle and wasted money on it? But potato chips are never a waste so I bought those instead. (Also, Stephen called and asked me to buy chips. But you get my logic.)

Thank God for friends who know what they are doing. And Babylist. Seriously, if you need help with your registry go to Babylist. I put together a whole registry on there without one instance of sweating. It was a victory and a half in my book. And that my friends, is a very big victory indeed. Also, don’t worry about buying the right thing. I’m pretty sure our babies will be okay with what we give them in the end. And hey, if they aren’t, at least you know that syringe trick!

I think. May God have mercy on us (new mothers) all.

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Bottles are one story. Breast pumps are another. The only reason this was a less stressful purchase was because my insurance had guidelines on what to buy.