Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pregnancy Journal: He's Moving! I Swear He Is!

From 5 Minutes for Parenting

By Kelly

The baby boy inside of me moves. A lot. He kicks and jabs and turns and rolls. There are times my abdomen feels like a super-flex garbage bag that can handle the sharpest pokes and prods. There are other times my belly looks like the waves of an ocean storm, heaving and reaching and falling under the guidance from my little resident alien.

Funny thing, though: No one else has ever felt him move. I just can’t seem to get the timing right. Every time – every time – I say to my husband, “Holy cow! This boy is MOVING! Put your hand here,” the movement stops. Or the baby turns in such a way that the kicks are more internal than external.

It’s getting to be comical. My husband felt our other children kick, and he trusts that I really am growing a human and not just gorging on leftover birthday cake. (Although that's true as well.) He always humors me by sitting patiently with his hands on my ever-widening tummy for a few minutes when I insist that this time, this time, it will work. And then, eventually, when no movement is forthcoming, he’ll grin at me and say, “Sure babe. Whatever.” And he'll return to his TV show or his book or his coffee.

And then – inevitably – the baby will kick at the exact spot his father’s hands lingered a minute ago, as if to say, “Ha! Gotcha again!”

Kelly is 24 weeks pregnant with her fourth baby, who appears to be a baby boy intent on destroying his mother's sanity before he's even born. She also blogs at Love Well.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pregnancy Journal: One More Toddler

From 5 Minutes for Parenting

By Kelly

There are few things as sweet as a two-year-old.

There. I’ve said it.

I know two is an exhausting age. In the last seven days, Teyla has discovered how to make gum out of toilet paper and toilet water, learned to take off her pants and her diaper, decided she doesn’t need an afternoon nap and just yesterday, scattered the contents of a sugar bowl around the kitchen.

But she’s also smiled at me and called me Mah-mee with the most innocent voice and asked to “hep” with everything I’ve done. She keeps me company at all hours and puts her chubby little hand into mine and is totally and utterly delighted at simple things like seeing the moon rise in the evening. She carries her toy phone around the kitchen, talking to Da as she walks, and she cares for her babies by setting them gently in her toy crib and tucking them in with a soft blanket. (Never mind that the baby’s face is under the blanket and her feet are sticking out and she’s not wearing a stitch of clothing. It’s the thought that counts, right?)

I had forgotten how much I love this age.

And I guess, in the end, that’s one of the huge reasons we’re having one more. Because I couldn’t imagine passing up one more chance to enjoy the purity of toddlerhood.

It’s true that the school years have their own joys and struggles. I’m already experiencing them with our older two children.

But when there are no more chubby feet in my future, no more spontaneous hugs around my knees, no more tangled heads and yawning mouths appearing next to my bed in the morning, no more little ones bounding instead of walking, no more cries of “I dee it!” Well. I will be a little sad.

And I will keep a few pairs of fuzzy footsie pajamas in my keepsake box, just so I can smell them and hold them and remember of the sweet simplicity of these days.

Kelly is 23 weeks pregnant with her fourth and final baby. You can experience more sappy mother moments at her personal blog, Love Well.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pregnancy Journal: Maternity Wear -- and Not to Wear

From 5 Minutes for Parenting

By Kelly

Today is my birthday.

It is my tradition to wear my favorite outfit on my birthday, something that is fun yet practical, comfortable yet chic.

When I was in the shower this morning, I mentally sorted through my clothes to see what I might don to make today sparkle.

Then I remembered: I’m pregnant. I have about five outfits that both fit and look stylish right now. And I’ve worn them nonstop for the last four weeks. (I did wash the sweater that got cookie dough on it. I think.)

Welcome to the wonderful world of maternity clothes.

To be fair, I know we’ve come a looonnnnggg way in the last decade. When I was pregnant with my first, in 2001, designers were just discovering the maternity market. My pregnancy books (most notably, “The Girlfriends' Guide to Pregnancy”) lamented that the only options for expecting moms were tent-like dresses with sailor collars, flowing, hippie-like dresses covered with Laura Ashley flowers or leggings and your husband’s shirts.

Compared to the days of yore, we are living large in 2010. Not only do we have innumerable choices, but designers and celebrities alike have made maternity wear stylish and hip. Heidi Klum just announced she’s releasing her own line of maternity clothes, and there are whole websites devoted to what pregnant movie stars are wearing.

Still, for mere mortals like myself, maternity dressing can prove a challenge. So because I like lists, here are a few of the best and the worst about maternity wear, according to me.

Best Development – the Bella Band
For the uninitiated, the Bella Band is a super-soft band of stretchy nylon and spandex, designed to hold up your pants and/or cover your bulging belly through the entire course of your pregnancy.

I bought my first Bella Band in 2007, when I was about 34 weeks pregnant with my third baby.

And I haven’t taken it off since. (Not really. But close.) Best invention ever.

Best Style for Cheap – Liz Lange Maternity
Almost all the maternity clothes I’ve bought this time around have been from Target. They are cute, comfortable and – most importantly – inexpensive. I can’t stand paying $45 for a sweater that I know I will only wear for a few months. (More about that in a minute.) The Liz Lange line at Target doesn’t always fit my personal style. But it does preach that you don’t have to look maternal when you’re pregnant. I love that.

Worst Store - Motherhood Maternity
I’ve tried to shop at Motherhood Maternity. I have. And I do like their cloth tummies that allow you to see what you might look like later in pregnancy.

But every time I walk through their doors, I am accosted by their return policy – which is: No matter what, you will never get your money back. Even if the clothing falls apart after its first wash, you will only be offered an exchange or a refund in the form of store credit. And no returns or exchanges at all after 45 days.

I’m sorry, but I have a hard time making up my mind about clothes even when I’m not pregnant. I buy everything I like in the stores, take it home, try it on, think about it for days and then return what I don’t want.

When I’m in the throes of pregnancy hormones? There’s no way I can make the kind of commitment that Motherhood Maternity requires.

Not to mention that Motherhood has some of the most expensive clothing outside of actual designer labels. To be a store that supposedly caters to pregnant women, they do everything they can to ostracize their audience.

Worst Maternity Style – Pregnancy Overalls
Do I really need to say more?

(OK. Maybe one more thing: maternity overall shorts. I mean – really?!?)

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, really. Join in, fellow moms. What have you found to be the best and worst about maternity wear?

Kelly didn’t get paid to write any of the reviews above; she just has strong opinions on maternity clothes now that she’s halfway through her fourth pregnancy. She blogs at Love Well.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Pregnancy Journal: Halfway

From 5 Minutes for Parenting

By Kelly

I’m halfway there.

No. Sorry. Let me rephrase.


Twenty weeks (almost 21) is a milestone for most of us preggos. We are amazed we’ve made it this far, and simultaneously freaked out that we only have 20 weeks (or less) to go. “Do I have diapers? Do I need to register? Have I cleaned my fridge lately? Are my spices alphabetized? How will I get it all done?!?”

This is also the time when the minor aches and pains of late-stage pregnancy start to enter the picture.

(I mostly said that to keep up the illusion for the first-timers. If you’re pregnant with number two or beyond, late-term woes probably kicked in around week 13. It’s part of the pregnancy game. After your first trip around the board, there’s no passing go, no more collecting $200. Instead, you turn the corner from the first trimester and go straight to Heartburn Jail.)

A collection of these physical symptoms might include:

- The inability to lie on your back without feeling like an elephant is sitting on your abdomen. It happens when your enlarged uterus presses on the largest vein taking blood from your legs back to your heart, which can leave you feeling lightheaded, dizzy and nauseous.

- The inability to get out of bed in the morning without groaning and rolling around like a pig in mud. It’s sexy, no?

- Consistent if not constant heartburn. At least Tums have calcium.

- An aching back, due to the utter disappearance of your abdominal muscles.

Or if you’re lucky, you get E. All of the above.

Still, 20 weeks is also a magical time. For 90% of women, morning sickness is gone. Our hair is thick and our skin is radiant. We’re showing. ("Hey world! Check me out! I’m growing a human!") And best of all, that little baby in there is moving and flipping and doing all it can to remind us of its presence.

I read a book last week that painted such a beautiful picture of conception – of the dance between cells and the holy mystery when they merge to form a new life. That new life is woven and spun in joyous darkness; only the One who is forming it can see its spark. And the this and the that slowly becomes a baby, a person, someone with a soul and a purpose and a heart to be loved.

Then they kick. And we, their mothers, feel the thrill of new, but still hidden, life.

I almost feel sorry for men, that they never get to wear a miracle.

Kelly blogs at Love Well. She's expecting her fourth baby - a boy - in May.