It gets better

There is a wonderful campaign for gay teens and young adults called “it gets better.”

Without diminishing the importance of that PSA, I would also support a “it gets better” mom edition. It seems that 2 weeks of cranky was enough for my boy who overnight decided to go back to his giggly, happy self. I am SO relieved.

We had fun this weekend at the family cabin with his baby cousin and my favorite uncle. He took a three hour nap at one point. It was truly a magical vacation. Then on Saturday night, puppies were born! So much cute in one weekend.

Middle of the night

So, super annoying: the night my baby decides to sleep 8 hours is the night my body decides to sleep for only 4. After hanging out in bed WIDE awake I decided to go feed him. His sucking reflex is so strong, I didn’t even have to wake him up. Just get a nipple near his face and he’s eating away. How strange would it be to eat in your sleep? As food is one of the things I enjoy most in life, I would feel really cheated.

It occurs to me that perhaps feeding your baby when he does not demand food is perhaps a bad idea. I could be creating a need where none existed. Or, perhaps he would have woken up soon anyway. Hmmmmm. I wish I were sleeping.

And on that note, if you were wondering about the expiration of the effects of hypnosis for sleep, it appears to be a couple of months. I think I may go try it again. It really was a huge difference at the time.

Cartoons on Diapers must Die.

I use cloth most of the time, but I still use a disposable or two at night. I have a bone to pick with the diaper companies, and it is this: stop plastering baby versions of cartoon characters on your stupid disposables. My baby is only three months old and I guarantee you that a fat pastel baby Elmo printed on a paper diaper is about as exciting to him as a Don Draper themed diaper would be. But then, I might actually be interested in a Don Draper diaper whereas the sight of baby Mickey and friends hurts my teeth.

Diapers are expensive enough but you have to tack on licensing those obnoxious patronizing characters too? I mean if we were talking about big boy training britches, then maybe I can see the appeal of not soaking Dora the Explorer absorbent undies. But these are diapers intended for humans so young they wouldn’t really be able to visually perceive a circus in their own living room.

I guarantee you there is not a parent alive who is like “oh these diapers have Baby Disney characters on them. I want to buy them more than plain diapers because they’re so cute.” Cartoon characters on clothing is a little 90’s middle school. But to baby-ify it? Grooooosss.

You know what I like? Cute patterns. Cool solids. Plain, pure un bleached white.

In short, these characters are not enhancing my diapering experience.

“How do I help someone who has had a miscarriage?”

Since I’m the local expert, it’s a question I get asked semi-frequently. What do you say? How do you act? What do you do? If you’ve never experienced a miscarriage, it can be hard to know what to do and even harder to know what not to do for your friends. Here are some suggestions. Every woman is different, so be sure to think of your friend’s personality, but here’s what worked and didn’t work for me.

1. What do I say? 

This is hard because there’s not much you can say without treading on dangerous ground. Acknowledge her pain and affirm that you are there for her. Simple works best. “I’m so sorry. I love you and I’m here for you.”  or “That is rough. I don’t know what to say, but you can always talk to me” are good ones.

Never try to explain it away. Knowing that someone has gone through a miscarriage can make YOU uncomfortable and to ease that discomfort it can be tempting to say things like “everything happens for a reason” or “God has a plan.” Frankly, these sayings can make a bad situation worse. What could be the reasons? I’d be a bad parent? The child would have been sick? I’m not good enough? It’s best not to let her go down that path. “Maybe you weren’t ready” was the worst one I received. I’m sure the person who said it meant no malice, but when crack whores are having babies every day, I had a hard time coping with the sentiment that perhaps I was not ready. 

And finally, don’t try to minimize. No “at least”s. There really isn’t much of a silver lining with miscarriage, and if there is, let HER find it (for me it was, “at least I can go on the rides at Disneyland.” I would have much rather have been pregnant, but it was something I could tell myself). Pointing out that “at least” she can drink or “at least” she doesn’t have morning sickness is obnoxious. ESPECIALLY if the person saying it is pregnant. Check your privilege. “At least you know you can get pregnant” is also not a good consolation as there are many fertility problems related to miscarriage that are as permanent and as devastating as straight inability to conceive. Along with not minimizing, don’t get into competitive grief. It’s just not helpful to hear that so and so had a stillborn or you’ve had even more miscarriages. Now is not the time. It is also minimizing to hear “you’ll have a baby someday” or “you can just adopt.” Not all stories have a happy ending. You really, really can’t predict whether this is true, and it’s not helpful to hear. 

2. What do I do?  

Fortunately, there are a lot of things you can do for your friend. First and foremost, keep being their friend. Keep inviting them to do things with you, but give them an out. “If you’re feeling up to it on Friday, let’s go see a [totally benign, non-pregnancy or kid related] movie.” Keep calling them, sending them facebook messages, and checking in on them. You don’t have to mention the miscarriage specifically. “Hey, I’m thinking about you. Here is a hilarious you-tube video” would have worked wonders for me. 

3. Should I give my friend space?

That depends. Has she asked for space? Does she know how to access you again when she needs you? I think some of my loved ones thought I needed space but they never told me explicitly that that is what they were doing. I never had a chance to object and say “No! Don’t leave me here by myself! I’m drowning and I want company!” Space felt a lot like abandonment. And though I’m pretty strong and good at asking for what I need NORMALLY, I was not feeling normal after my miscarriages and did not know how to get what I needed. Why didn’t I reach out to my friends? Because I seriously thought they didn’t love me. I know that’s not true, but it was my mindset at the time. Like I said, not normal.

It gets trickier if you have babies or are pregnant and don’t want to rub your glorious fertility in your friend’s face. Kudos for thinking of it. But don’t necessarily assume she won’t want to be around you, your babies, or your cute pregnant self. Here’s where you give her a tactful out but keep being her friend like you always were. “I’m taking the kids to the pool, you can join us if you’re up to it” or “I’m having a baby shower on Saturday. I know that might be rough right now, so if you’re not feeling it, let’s just hang out later.” 

And mean what you say. If you say you want to hang out later, ask her another time, later. If she says she needs space. Give her space, but follow up in an appropriate time OR….

4. Give gifts

My friends who lived far away were AWESOME at giving thoughtful gifts. Gifts were a tangible reminder that my friends really DO love me. And I needed the reminder. One friend sent a beautiful bouquet. I probably cried in bed and stared at it for hours. It was lovely, and I was so happy to have it. Another friend was so freaking faithful about sending gifts (not just for my multiple miscarriages, but for mother’s day, my eventual successful pregnancy, my baby’s birth, etc) she probably could have recouped on her Amazon Prime investment on my stuff alone. These gifts don’t have to be huge (and probably shouldn’t be), but the fact that they’re there is awesome. I loved getting some luxurious bath products. An herbal tea. A thoughtful necklace. A funny TV show. 

Anyway, is there any thing I missed? What do you think?