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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

BlogapaLOSEa Week 3

Well I am two days late in reporting, but at least it is a good report. I lost 2 lbs last week!

I can't attribute this to exercise (with the exception of breastfeeding), because I had to take a break off of my Couch to 5K program due to InSaNiTy at home, but I plan to get back on the wagon after my post partum follow up appointment this Friday. I have, however, been making much more sensible food choices, and I know that has made a difference.

I'm also trying to give myself a break after my pity party last week. If I heard someone saying the things I say about myself in reference to a friend or family member, I would kick their ass. So why can't I treat myself with the same respect that I demand people give to those I care about?

That being said, I finally got fed up with choosing between wearing stretchy, unflattering maternity clothes OR trying to fold up all my flab and shove it into pre-maternity clothes that are a size too small. Sooooooooo, although I have been trying to put it off until I lose my goal of a billion pounds, I finally bit the bullet and just went and bought some clothes in my current size.

And you know what?

I feel a whole lot better about me.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Killing Maternal Instinct Softly

In college, I recall a disturbing lesson in Developmental Psychology: the death of human instinct. Essentially, experts believe that as humans have become more and more intellectually developed as a species, we have shed all but a few of our innate instincts. In fact, it was the conjecture of the particular scholars we were studying that only one true instinct remains. Which instinct? The physiological response to what psychologists refer to as "baby cuteness". Even individuals who dislike or are uncomfortable around babies and children, when placed under the microscopic, physically respond to features that we associate with babies. Rose bud lips. Big eyes. Proportionally larger heads. Relative smallness. Something in us senses young. Perhaps their defenselessness. Perhaps our need to protect them in order to further our species. All environmental factors aside, our biology recognizes babies.

So what of maternal instinct? These scholars purport that like so many other instincts, maternal instinct died out long ago. Any mothering abilities attributed to today's moms are chalked up to that thing called "nurture". We learn to be mothers. This would certainly explain the young mothers who dump their babies in garbage cans at the prom....or leave their babies in a smoldering hot car in the middle of summer....or leave their children with an alcoholic relative.

But can it truly be said with all the biological responses that new mother's bodies go through during pregnancy and after birth that nothing that can be called instinct exists?

Speaking as a person who just gave birth a mere six weeks ago, I can point to all the biological miracles that have occurred between my daughter and myself. I knew when I went into the hospital 6 weeks before my due date for severe kidney pain and inexplicable abdominal pain that I was not going to come out without a baby in tow. Sure enough, my little one came out five weeks early in perfect shape. She was ready...and I just...knew. And that is just an anecdotal example. How about skin to skin contact stabilizing babies blood sugar or the rather disgusting process of lactating? If I hear a baby cry on television nothing happens, but when my little one lets out a squeal the flood gates open. Not to mention that I am a self regulating dairy farm.

So where is the instinct in this? Is it really gone?

Or are we just killing it?

We live in a time where information is light speed accessible. Even Dr. Spock has become archaic...unless of course you are reading his famous book on your kindle. Any symptom your child may have can be plugged into WebMD and a list of horrifying ailments will pour out before you. will let you sign up for weekly updates, presenting you with a neatly organized page of milestones to measure your baby against. Facebook, Twitter, and text messaging allow you to update all your friends and loved ones about the color of your baby's poop and immediately receive dozens of responses letting you know if this is normal, abnormal, and what steps you must take to [fill in the blank] before it's too late and you ruin your child forever. Every inch of your baby can be examined, every behavior analyzed, and every possible illness diagnosed before your poor pediatrician even has a chance to see the little booger.

As an obsessive thinker, my baby has given me a veritable playground of things to obsess about. A strawberry hemangioma on her face. 5 weeks prematurity. Acid reflux. Constipation. I have found myself in tears, combing through webpage after webpage trying to understand, trying to measure, trying to fix, trying to diagnose, trying to prepare, and mostly just trying to control my child's wellbeing with the help of Google and well meaning friends and family.

But what if....I put the laptop away. And the iPhone. And the parenting books.

What if I just sat with my baby...took a deep breath...and listened. Listened to her screaming. Listened to her breathing. Looked into her eyes. Felt her skin against my skin. Would something buried deep inside me start to speak? Would it reassure me? Would it answer all my questions? Or tell me what questions needed to be asked in the first place?

Would instinct bubble up and take the reins?

Maybe with all of our good intentions of being prepared, informed, ready, intellectual in our child rearing...mommies are killing our instincts. Then we are simply left with an empty useless physiological response to those rose bud lips. And big eyes. And large heads. An increased heartrate. A degree or two rise in body temperature. A few more neurons firing here and there. When did we stop making the biological leap of faith and trusting those instincts that followed? And can we ever hope to regain them?


Monday, September 14, 2009

BlogapaLOSEa Week 2

half a pound. i GAINED half a pound. I'm too depressed to even blog right now. but here's a picture that looks how i feel.

Monday, September 7, 2009

blogapaLOSEa Week 1

So I’m coming up on my six week post-partum appointment, and my body is just a little different than it was this time last year. This time last year I was flouncing around on a beach in Hilton Head in a bikini, so devoid of self consciousness that I decided to throw caution to the wind and get married at sunrise in a skimpy dress I bought in a gift shop for $15.


Fast forward a year. I am jiggling around my house, covered in breast milk and spit up, barely able to will myself out the front door for fear that someone might ask me when I am “due”, causing me to have a complete nervous breakdown. After 8 months of joyfully consuming copious amounts of Indian food and store bought cake, I have given birth to a 5 lb preemie who is supposed to be distracting me from such vanities. Let’s just say she could be doing a better job.

So it is only fitting that Heather Chapman, local blogger, Herald Leader news assistant, mommy, and SCAPA Creative Writing alumna same as Moi, should start blogapaLOSEa right now (full details here). After seeing brave Heather boldly post not only her feet on a scale, but also a full body photo from the front and the BACK, I decided I too could be brave enough to subject myself to public humiliation in the name of accountability.

I humbly submit my mortification for your review. Let us begin with the Diagram of Shame:

A. The Gaggle (Please don’t eat me for Thanksgiving Dinner.)
B. Ginormous Milk Filled Nunga Nungas (Not. Hot.)
C. The Culprit (a.k.a Hannah, The Nugget, My Extra Five Pounds)
D. Uber Fupa (like a deflated beach ball full of sand)
E. Double Knee Chins (dimples optional depending on how I’m sitting)
F. Swimmie® Arms (Perfect for floating in my sea of regret)
G. Saddle Bags (yeah, if I were an elephant)
H. The Stalker Butt (because there’s nothing like the constant feeling of being followed)

And finally, although not required my contest rules, I give you the scale:

*Cue thunder and Psycho shower scene theme music*

So what am I going to do to get back down to my goal weight of 140 lbs? For starters portion control. As a breastfeeding Mommy I need 1800 calories a day, because breastfeeding actually burns anywhere from 300 to 800 calories a day. That said…it’s not really that hard to eat 1800 calories. So, I’ve been trying to not go for that 3rd or 4th slice of pizza if you catch my drift.

Despite the fact that I really want that $75 prize for losing the most pounds, the scale is not the most important thing to me right now. My deflated body really needs to be toned up. I was a runner before I got pregnant and pitifully talked myself into a completely sedentary pregnancy in the name of protecting the baby. Now that I realize I never should have stopped running it is tempting to get out and try to run 3 miles on the first day. I know from experience, however, that is just asking for shin splints, wrecked knees, and quitter inducing soreness. So I am doing the Couch to 5K program and have already completed the first week.

I’ll go into more detail on the C25K program in the weeks to come, as it is one of the best beginners running programs that I have ever done. For now, here’s wishing all of us ladies luck and many pounds lost in the weeks to come.