by Jennie Bernstein
The day has come to say hello, to see the one who’s still so small.
A heartbeat will bring many tears, but still will come all the fears.
Will she grow strong and tall? Will we lose him… and my heart will fall?
Are there two or three? Will my birth choice be mine to make free?
My arms ache to hold you. My heart aches to know you.
Above all else though, I know you are mine.
I will love you in every way, no matter what the doctor will say.
Today is the day that I will see your face, tiny and real, you will move to a place
A place in my heart I had never found…
Until today’s ultrasound.
Seeing a heartbeat.
Seeing multiple heartbeats.
Not seeing a heartbeat at all.
Revealing a gender.
Fighting the urge to discover the gender.
Learning devastating news.
Counting ten fingers and toes.
There is no denying that a pregnancy ultrasound will change your life. While most women may check it off as just another day of pregnancy, even seeing a healthy little baby swim around should spark a light of life-changing emotions. The miracle of life is one our society tends to shrug off and sometimes the effects can cause us to become unaware of how we truly feel towards seeing this tiny human being on a screen.
Technology is a wonderful (and scary) tool. We learn so much in a matter of moments, whether it is a healthy or unhealthy pregnancy, if baby is growing well, whether vaginal labor will be a safe option, if the gender we dreamt of is what exists, and if everything is okay with the mother. Primarily a diagnostic tool, the necessity of prenatal ultrasounds may be heavily debated but there is no doubt that as routine as they have become, the prenatal ultrasound is a significant moment in the lives of parents-to-be while providing information to care-givers to help the parents make informed decisions. Along with this education comes the anxiety and fears before the truth is learned. And what’s worse is that after this brief moment of time, the heart and mind will create a new laundry list of emotions based off of what was discovered during the ultrasound.
Let me state this: There is no right or wrong emotion to feel – Sadness to be pregnant, panic to be pregnant with multiples, triumph to have a healthy baby past a certain date, pride that you created this being, even confusion on whether to keep or adopt. Emotions are a very personal thing, and you have a right to not feel guilty about any of them.
It is ok to let the tears fall.
A Healthy Pregnancy: A healthy “typical” ultrasound will have you crying tears of joy; especially if you were terrified going into it. It can also leave a woman experiencing an unplanned pregnancy in agony, as she will be filled with choices, fears, and guilt.
Multiples: Multiple heartbeats found on the screen may lead to disbelief, panic, excitement, and many many questions. Fear of placenta(s) and sac(s) and nutrients may dance through your mind endlessly.
An Unhealthy or High Risk Pregnancy: Knowing you will be closely monitored may either be reassuring or cause further anxiety. When the baby or mother is at risk, the emotional rollercoaster typically picks up quite a few more passengers. Bearing the weight of your own emotions, along with your family and friends will become all encompassing. Reaching out for support and having a safe sounding board to cry to will allow you the ability to have the healthiest version of this pregnancy possible.
A Miscarriage: Expecting to see a flicker of blinking light on the screen where there is none can be devastating. It doesn’t matter if you are 9 weeks or 15 weeks when you see that the life you thought was growing has stopped. You are no less of a mother. It does not matter that others say, “The next one will stick” or “At least it ended this way instead of a sick baby.” There was life within you. Mourn in the ways you need to.
A Pending Loss: To learn that your child will not survive the pregnancy will bring forth unexpected emotions – Joy that you will still have time to grow and love this baby, but so much heartache that you will never know him earth side. There will be anger and fear, but hope that things will change. There will be days of normalcy, but so many of confusion and pain.
A Genetic Marker or Cause for Concern: Sheer panic may occur; heart-racing fears and a lifetime of scary images may cross your mind. Stress will be unavoidable, but handling it well will be needed. Further testing will be done, causing more emotions, more tears, and more prayers.
Gender Disappointment: Gender disappointment is real. (Ask me how I know.) No one should make you feel guilty for your feelings of desire toward a certain gender. You know that you will love the baby that is growing, and that he was meant to be. However, the heart will mourn the fact that you will not have ribbons and bows and tutus. Taking the time to let go of those feelings will help you welcome the baby you are growing without resentment or sadness.
Placenta Complications: A healthy baby. A healthy mother. But a placenta that is covering the cervix or attached to the uterine wall improperly. This is a recipe for a mess of emotions. Knowing everyone is absolutely healthy is reason enough to yell from the roof tops, but knowing there is absolutely nothing you can do to prevent a cesarean section from occurring will bring about lots of birth emotions and fears.
Fetal Positioning: While at a normal 20 week ultrasound, there is no need for baby to be in birth position, if your midwife or doctor suspects an awkward position later in pregnancy, an ultrasound will be done to verify. If you are planning a natural birth, this ultrasound may send you into panic mode. There is always time, even during labor, for baby to turn correctly, but the fears will be real. Letting go of stress will help the body relax, chiropractic care, specific exercises, and manual manipulation are all available to help.
No matter what you learn during your ultrasound, your pregnancy journey will be changed. Sorting the emotions will be an ongoing (and hormonal) battle that can potentially affect your labor and delivery. Taking the time to accept your feelings and live through them will benefit your mind body and soul. Try to handle your emotions by talking through them, living a healthy lifestyle, practicing a mind-centering exercise such as yoga, seeking acupuncture or chiropractic care, and finding support. Your pregnancy and baby will be all the stronger if you can do this.
May your ultrasound be filled with many happy emotions, but be real with yourself. Do not hide or feel ashamed with any emotion that comes rolling out. Find support if you feel alone in your emotions. Share your fears and sadness right alongside of the joy and excitement. Let sorrows be known and heartache be felt for you will not truly experience the highest level of happiness until you have worked through all of your other emotions.
by The Leaky Boob Community
We asked around from our favorite parents (you!) and put together a guide of the products we love for pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and newborn care. Introducing our Bump, Baby, and Beyond 2016 Product Guide! But that’s not all, our readers gave us their best tips and advice they wish they had received about pregnancy, birth, and having a new baby. There’s a lot of wisdom here! Take some time, browse through this issue, and comment letting us know what you love, what you’re interested in, and what you think we left out, there are so many great products and advice, we’re bound to miss some.
And we’re giving it ALL away! Every single item included in our guide (over 50!) is being given away. Divided into 3 separate bundles, we’re excited to be able to give 3 different leakies different bundles from our guide. Use the widget below to enter and tell us what 2 friends you have that you’d like to win the other two bundles in the comments.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck and a huge thanks to all the brands that wanted to make this possible!
Where are the perfect parents? I mean, where on earth are all those perfect parents?
Because they’re not here.
And I can tell you for certain, they’re not there either.
We’re not perfect parents. How could we be? We’re a mess. And those who say they aren’t either haven’t had kids yet, or haven’t had their second kid yet and still think they somehow mined pure parenting gold from the rich mines of their intellect and wisdom. I know because I was one of them. Turns out it was fool’s gold. I mean no disrespect for you first-timers. If it’s really easy for you, please enjoy it. But please don’t make the mistake of thinking that your experience should be everyone’s experience. Because it can’t be. And it won’t be for you if you decide to give your baby a sibling.
*This is an excerpt from our TLB email, to continue reading, click here.
Happy Mother’s Day Week. I hope it is everything that you want it to be and you know today and every day that you matter, you’re appreciated, and you are loved.
We’re keeping it short and simple this week because sometimes all we really need is to hear that we’re ok.
So, here you go.
You are ok. You’ve got this. You matter. You are appreciated.
Keep loving on,
*This is an excerpt from our TLB email, to continue reading, click here.
P.S. Preparing for summer travel, we did a chat about traveling with the breastfeeding baby, find Leaky tips here along with info on Mamava Lactation pods.
With my first baby my mother came and helped. It was nice to have her but at night she wanted to have the baby in her room to let me get more sleep. I was uncomfortable with it for some reason I still can’t explain but it was nice to get a little more sleep. She would comfort my daughter when she would wake, bounce her, give her the pacifier, change her diaper, and try to get her back down. If that didn’t work, she would bring her to me to feed. Several times a night it did work so I did get more sleep. But it never felt quite right even though I appreciated the sleep. My daughter is a pretty good sleeper and my mom says it is because she taught her to sleep as a newborn.
This time I know she’s going to want to do that again and I’m torn about it. Is this ok to do or are is it potentially causing problems? I’m just not sure.
Thank you for your help,
Conflicted mom-to-be again.
Hi Conflicted Mom,
How lovely that you have family who come and stay and help you with your newborn. Don’t worry, your Mom helping at night will not cause any problems. Having said that. Don’t do anything that is making you feel uncomfortable. Maybe have your Mom do this once or twice a week, or after the first week or two. If you’re feeling uncomfortable you probably won’t be able to relax and sleep, always trust your Mommy instinct.
Every night around 3am my 2.5 year old wakes up. I try taking her back to her bed but she’ll just cry and cry and I’m so tired I lay back down with her or let her get in bed with us. Sometimes she needs to go potty but not every time and she’s always very confused. If I let her in bed with me she’ll fall asleep and everything is fine but I wake up sore. If I take her back to her room she’ll be up repeatedly for the rest of the night. I don’t want to reject her but I need her to go back to her bed and sleep. How can we gently help her get there?
I would work on eliminating this wake up, as it is happening at the same time each night it is happening out of habit. That’s a good thing as we can work on breaking habits!
If she’s waking at 3am, you’ll want to set your alarm for 2:20am (sorry), go into your daughter and rouse her from her sleep, you don’t want to wake her, just bring her into a lighter sleep. Put your hands on her and rub her tummy/back until you see her move or make a noise. When you do, stop and creep out the room. She shouldn’t wake at 3am as she is going back down into a deeper sleep. Try this for 3 nights before seeing if she has eliminated the wake up herself. If she wakes as you expected her to you will need to wake her slightly more the following night as she wasn’t quite woken enough.
Naps, how do I get my 10 week old to nap somewhere other than on me? I love babywearing and I love holding my baby but sometimes I just need a break and would like to set him down to rest on my own or take a shower or something. He loves to sleep but only in my arms. At night he sleeps in the cosleeper next to me and I can transfer him pretty well after feeding but nap times during the day are an entirely different matter. It seems like he always wants to sleep during the day but it’s only in little bits here and there because if I try to transfer him he wakes up. I end up feeling stuck sitting there holding him until he wakes. Is there anything we can do or have we already made a bad habit we have to live with?
Trapped under a baby in the midwest.
Dear Trapped Momma,
This is very normal behavior for a young infant. I can guarantee that it will certainly not last forever. Sleep will really change at around 12 weeks of age (actually 52 weeks from conception). At this point I would try for 1 nap a day in a swing or crib, the easiest is the first of the day. Don’t worry if naps are short, that is very normal as naps don’t develop until sometime between 4 and 6 months. In the meantime I would make sure you are swaddling your little one, making sure they aren’t getting overtired, dark room and have white noise playing as you work on a nap. You never know you may be able to pop them down whilst they are sleeping.
If you have a question you would like Rebecca to answer next time, leave a comment.
Rebecca is a Children’s Sleep Consultant who has been working with families for over 20 years. She is a gentle sleep consultant who doesn’t believe in leaving your child to cry-it-out when teaching them to fall asleep more independently. She is passionate about helping children and their parents build healthy habits so they can finally get some sleep. By transforming drama into dreamland, her mission is to help your children—and you—get a good night’s sleep.
This post made possible by the support of EvenFlo
When it comes to breastfeeding, one of the myths that drives me absolutely crazy and could actually be dangerous for your baby, is the idea that if you as a breastfeeding mom are sick, that you should discontinue breastfeeding until you feel better.
This is advice that is often given to moms by their pediatricians or obstetricians and it’s actually the complete opposite of what you want to do!
When you breastfeed, your body passes along the antibodies of what you’ve been exposed to, directly to the baby. When you get sick, antibodies are created and immediately passed into your breastmilk. So what that means for you and your baby is that if you are breastfeeding and you have a virus or you are ill, your baby is actually immediately receiving specific antibodies for the exact illness you have at that moment. This will actually help keep your baby well, rather than make your baby sick.
What CAN make your baby sick, is to stop breastfeeding during these times! Regardless of whether you are breastfeeding or not, your baby is going to be exposed to you, because you will be with your baby. They will have the exposure anyway, but without the protection of your milk they are much more vulnerable.
I’ll tell you a little personal story… when I had my first daughter my husband Joe and I got the flu really bad. We were sick in bed for days! We had this little 2 month old, and I was like “what am I going to do with her?” All we could do was put her in the bed between us, and just let her nurse, nurse, nurse, the whole time! Now, we were new parents at the time, and even with all the skills and knowledge that I had, we were still scared and nervous. I was so afraid she would get sick. That never happened! Here was this little one who just nursed away in this sick bed with my husband and me and never got sick herself.
This is very typical, very normal, and what you’ll usually see – and if they do get sick, the illness will be so much less than if you weren’t breastfeeding.
So whether it’s stomach flu, regular flu, or any other kind of illness, especially if you’re sick or anyone in the home is sick, make sure you continue to breastfeed, because that is going to be the best way to keep your baby healthy.
Shari Criso MSN, RN, CNM, IBCLC
Thanks for Evenflo Feeding, Inc.‘s generous support for families in their feeding journey.