Tag Archives: motherhood

An open letter to some random women

Dear random women I have encountered recently at the grocery store, and the doctor’s office,

We have to talk.

I didn’t talk to you in the moment, because I tend to have an extremely long hang time when startled, and particularly when people behave badly. Especially when I’m upset. And I was really pretty upset. Let me explain.

I’ll address you based on the order in which these things happened.

First, ladies in the grocery store. I feel like twin babies are not.. uncommon. And when I go to the grocery store with them I have become used to the nonstop comments. I’ve even developed strategies to avoid having endless conversations about their age, gender, means of conception, or identical vs. fraternal status. Or whether twins run in my family. And the twins you’ve met before now.

I honestly don’t mind these interactions (except when I’m trying to be efficient in the store), and I thought that’s where our encounter was going when you approached me and the boys. You said something, but I didn’t get to respond before you were in the stroller taking photographs of the babies.

I was so shocked I knocked over a glass bottle of kombucha (shaddup) and made both a glorious mess and commotion. You were not deterred. Why did you want pictures of my babies? What were you doing? What will you use the photos for?

I will never know, because by the time I had collected myself enough to speak words, you were scurrying off, with photos of my babies on your phone. I was rattled for the rest of the night.

***

This brings me to you, woman-trying-to-help, and mean woman.

I didn’t want to bring my twins to the doctor’s office on Monday. Not even a little bit. But I’m not working (for $) right now, and I can’t afford a baby sitter. And I feel very guilty bullying my in-laws into doing it all the time. But I digress. I was with the babies, and they were not happy.

In their defense, they’re 23 weeks old, and the appointment was smack in the middle of a feeding time.

By the time I was done with the doctor– an hour long event that basically entailed her rocking one of the babies and trying to talk over their wailing– the babies were really fed up with… not being fed. I had only one bottle with me, because I am a sleep deprived mess, so I proceeded to feed half to each baby. This satisfied neither, and they both kept wailing.

In desperation, I ran to the bathroom and began filling up the bottle with warm tap water. You came out of one of the stalls. “Tap water?” you (stranger #1) asked, horrified. “Oh no no. You can’t use that. Let me get you some bottled water.”

I looked down at my already-ready bottle, and my screaming babies, and I sighed. You were trying to be nice. So I waited while they hollered, trying in vain to soothe them with pacifiers. After what seemed like a year, you returned with two small bottles of icy cold water.

I know the babies won’t take water that cold. But you hovered, and I sighed, and gave it a shot. And of course, the babies would not drink. As I futilely tried to persuade them, that cold would be “refreshing” you fussed and interfered. And then you, stranger #2, exited a bathroom stall.

You saw the canister of formula on the counter- the result of countless hours of ingredients research and obsessing and self flagellation. And you made a sound of disgust: “Formula, really?”

I just looked at you.

“Don’t you know ‘breast is best’?” You tsked.

Oh good, that old chestnut. Said by someone who has no idea what my baby feeding journey has been like, no regard for the challenges multiples introduce. Said when I was already a hair’s breadth away from crying in public. I was too shocked to speak. So were you, stranger #1, so you fled that shit show. Said something about “leaving me to it”, and bolted.

This is probably the part of the story where I’m supposed to digress and give my readers a sob story about why formula has entered my life. I’m supposed to try to shut down criticism anyone might have. I’m not going to do that, because it’s nobody’s damn business.

After having a good cry about it all in my car on the way home, and later that night, I’m just … disappointed in all three of you.

Like asking someone who isn’t pregnant when she’s due, I was shocked to be confronted by people out in the “wild” who really behave this way. Shocked as I am about people asking me if the twins are “natural”. I do think these people are outliers- I don’t subscribe to any “decline of civilization” narrative.

But I read every week about women being abused for breast feeding in public, and being abused if they don’t. So clearly, there are plenty of people out there who need to get the message that some things are just none of their business.

That is all. Carry on… differently.

(And if you see photos of my twins anywhere… let me know, okay?)

Dressing for Abdominal Muscle Separation

Following a twin pregnancy, I ended up with the “to-be-expected” diastasis recti (abdominal muscle separation). Basically, my ab muscles spread apart so far to accommodate two huge babies, that they’re having trouble pulling themselves back in and up. I made an appointment for physical therapy today though (and you should too, if you have the DR).

In the meantime, I’ve been trying to figure out clothing. As anyone postpartum knows, fashion is a bit of a challenge while you’re changing size. My maternity pants are too large and baggy now, but I can’t fit comfortably into a single pair of my pre-pregnancy bottoms. So I’m putting together a bit of a checklist for myself, and thought I’d share the research effort- my finds are biased towards things I can wear during a hot Houston summer.

And I learned the hard way- don’t buy maternity dresses- they’re meant to accentuate the belly, and they’ll make you look like you’re still pregnant.

None of these are affiliate links, nor did any give me any free products to review (although, um, if any of you lovely clothing purveyors are offering I am for sale. Hit me up.)

  • Elastic waistband skirts – I love how many colors these come in, and I ordered the mint because it’s spring! (Or summer. Sprunger.)
  • Relatedly, I love how this top gathers just where I need to divert people’s attention. So many nifty colors, too.
  • This asymmetrical nursing top  – I actually have found that when I try to wear baggier tops, especially maternity tops, I look bigger. The cut of this top is really flattering on my torso with its giant paunch.
  • That said, I think tees along these lines would actually work too.
  • This link may not work for long, but there was a whole tunic category here.
  • These work / business casual pants that are also forgiving of a changing waist size (ordering a pair for summer!)
  • Basic shorts in a nice elastic waistband. Because: weekends.
  • That whole “dress yoga pants” thing? Made for us postpartum ladies.
  • More affordably, I shopped at uniqlo often when I lived in Japan. And they make so many pairs of pants that I can wear right now. Apparently they’re looking into a Houston store, which would be almost as confusing to my poor brain as the Japanese grocery going in around the corner.
  • I’m kinda eyeing some comfy shorts from H&M- and trying to decide if these would show more leg than my late 30s self wants to show. This dress might hide my tummy with its waist cinching action. Belted dresses in general could really work at the moment- ooh, I like this shirt dress too.
  • Dang, I wish these belly shaping pants would come back in stock in my size.
  • Plus: Don’t be afraid to try something tailored in the waist. I know, I know. But a lot of the large “tent garments” actually exacerbate the problem. <— I have clearly read far too many women’s mags during my maternity leave.

Ok, I need to stahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhp.

An afterword: This is in some ways a controversial topic. No, I mean it! On one hand, I don’t believe in feeling badly about my body on an intellectual level. On the other hand, I roll my eyes at the “tiger stripes” rhetoric about stretch marks. Truth: I can’t wait to heal my tummy muscles! Truth: I want to smile when I look in the mirror in the meantime AND be comfortable. Truth: the time I actually wore PJ pants to work in desperation was a day I hit peak “I am frumpy” inner monologue.

I actually don’t do well with fashion. I’ve never had much taste in clothing, and find the choices overwhelming. In some ways, having limitations is really working for me. But it’s a bit defeating to get dressed at the moment so, I guess I’d better go shopping…*

*M, if you read this, I’ll hold off for now because… vacation money

 

 

My crazy morning

Hello again, after so very long. I have so much to update. Here’s the short and dirty version:

M and I got married. I became a stepmom to A+C. We bought a house. I got pregnant. We had the twins, C2+F.

So I overslept this morning because I was just feeling worn out- hit the snooze until seven, and then bolted upright in a panic, because I needed to drive the twins to their aunt’s and then get myself to work. I really, really wanted to nurse the twins, but they weren’t screaming so I focused on getting myself ready and out the door. Coffee. Pumping supplies for work. Glance at the twins’ bag, hoping it was filled with the right things. A bagel for me. No time to shower. Twins in the carseats, and go! Around then my boobs started leaking like crazy. Fine, nursing pads. Keep driving. Thinking about how the reason I am doing the morning dropoff is because I have a doctor’s appointment this afternoon, and this means I will only have four hours at work today. Whether that’s enough to meet a deadline or not, I don’t know. But I am definitely behind on work this week (and I have work to do!) because I leave at 4 to pick up the twins every day- it takes me about 3 hours, round trip, thanks to the Houston flooding, and the beast that is the Sam Houston Tollway/290 circuit.

I finally make it to work around 9:30, but I have to go to the bathroom so badly I’d considered pulling over while driving. My boobs start to leak again. I am getting Skype messages from co-workers asking for things, but I need to pump before I do anything, so I don’t even sit down at my desk. I just run for the pumping room, fumbling with the parts while milk drips onto my laptop and the table, and runs down my chest.

I sit. I breathe. I wish I’d had time to shower and spend some snuggling time with the babies. Happy Thursday.