In da’ club

I’ve been part of many clubs.  Pre-Oliver, I was a devout member of:
– “women struggling with fertility” club
– “I will have another drink (or 2) because I can” club
– “I am a kick-ass runner” club
– “I’m only on Facebook so that I can look at people’s profiles who I am not even friends with” club
– “I’m a kick-ass runner” club
Now, post-Oliver, I have cancelled my membership to 3 of those 5 clubs (guess which ones??) but entered a new one that I am very proud of:
– “the new mom glow is so much better than the pregnancy glow” club
This new mantra of “I’m the mom, hear me roar” is fantastic and a great feeling; however, I am quickly learning that not all clubs associated with motherhood are so empowering and cheerful.
I taught a pre-natal swim class throughout my pregnancy and met some wonderful women that were all expecting children around the same time as me. While pregnant, we chatted weekly about the aches, cravings and surprises of pregnancy while bouncing ever so gracefully in a warm pool.  In the aftermath of pregnancy, we now exchange late-night emails about the unexpected surprises of motherhood.  And from these emails, I’m learning about the other “clubs” in motherhood.
To name a few:
– the “only my sweatpants fit me” club
– the “it’s lonely at 4am and I am limited by the games I can play on my iPhone while also feeding my baby” club
– the “my husband is awfully cranky and I’m not sure why because he got 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep and that makes me resentful” club
I have been fortunate to avoid one club all together.  Oliver is a wonderful eater and we have had wonderful success breastfeeding.  For other’s; however, it is not as simple and many of my are now member’s of a new club.
– the “I have to supplement my baby’s feedings with formula because I am not producing enough milk” club (or the other, less-popular club of “I have chosen to formula-feed my baby and that is none of your business”)
From the sounds of it, these are lonely clubs, in which the members feel shame, embarrassment and failure. Hearing my friends impressions of these clubs, it reminds me of my old stomping grounds in the “infertile” club. In a society where women are afraid to admit their shortcomings, embarrassed to show failure and no where to go for support, it hurts me to know that there are women struggling, thinking they are in it alone. How one feeds their child is a very personal decision, and regardless of what route is chosen, women should not be judged by anyone, especially other women.
I’ll jump off my soapbox in a minute, but not before saying this:

It’s a boy!

After all that, we actually had a baby!

I know you must be thinking how ridiculous that sounds. It’s biology… you get pregnant, regardless of how that happens and 9 months later, a baby pops out.

But for those who have struggled with fertility, our mindset tends to be more like this: “the ultrasound displays a baby, and my body looks pregnant, but some how, some way, some thing will go wrong and disappointment is the expectation”.

Throughout the 9 months of pregnancy, I became very superstitious and cautious. We abstained from learning the gender of the baby prior to delivery. Gabriel wanted to do this for the excitement of finding out in the delivery room; for me it was to avoid too much of an attachment to the unborn child. I had many friends offer hand-me-down maternity clothing, but I postponed taking and wearing them until I could no longer stuff my bulging belly (ok! ok!…and butt, calfs, boobs, thighs and pretty much every body part) into my regular clothes. And I refused to purchase anything for the baby until 6 weeks before the due date out of fear that I was jinxing the entire process.

For some women, this level of hesitation is normal for new moms. I’ve heard that many expectant moms fear the worst, become concerned when they have not felt the baby kick and google every possible complication associated with each stage of pregnancy.

I took my fears and hesitations just one step further – craziness 😉

We have glass shower doors in our bathroom, which makes for a beautiful but easily messy-looking space if not cleaned after each use. Given my obsessive-compulsive tendencies when it comes to cleanliness, we have a squeegee in the shower that is used routinely by me and Gabriel. A few hours before one of our first ultrasounds, around 6 weeks, I was cleaning the glass after my shower and somehow convinced myself that if I made sure to PERFECTLY clean off the glass, ensuring to get each trickling bead of water, that everything with the baby would be ok, at least on that day and thatultrasound. So, this became my routine. I made sure that no matter what, no matter how crunched for time I was, or if Gabriel was going to shower immediately after me, it did not matter. I meticulously cleaned the glass every day for the duration of the pregnancy.

I’ll spare you additional stories, but feel free to use your imagination to conjure up other strange behaviors i could have acquired in 40 long weeks. Albeit my neurosis, the entire pregnancy was perfect. I was very fortunate; I felt great, remained extremely active with hikes, bike rides, yoga and swimming. I enjoyed watching my body change as it was busy growing a tiny human. It’s easier to use the excuse of “growing life” as to why my body changed, because everyone knows it could not have possibly been due to my new addiction to chocolate covered pomegranates 😉

Labor was fantastic! Despite 27 long hours, labor was the most fun, painful, scary and gratifying experience I have ever had.

Oliver Milo Silverman was welcomed into this world at 12:14am on October 3, 2012, surrounded by his mom and dad, best friend/doula Blair, good friend/OB Jenny and our hard-working nurse and hero, Jessica. Perfect in every way, Oliver immediately captured our undying love and has been the heartthrob of our household for 18 spectacular days!