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Feb 25 2014

My Daughter’s Birth Sent Me into a Bedbug Frenzy

By at 2:02 pm

cleaning

Bedbugs began to invade my imagination two months after my daughter was born. I was readying to attend a conference when a friend casually mentioned the hotel was featured on the Bedbug Registry. Bedbug Registry? What was that? I headed to the website and started rooting around. I researched bedbugs. And that was when life would be divided in half–before my daughter was born when bedbugs did not exist for me and after the birth of my daughter when bedbugs were everywhere.

Granted, I was poised for calamity. As a hypochondriac daughter of a doctor, I have been anticipating diseases since I was 8 years old when decided I had cystic fibrosis. (That would be followed by brain cancer, Lou Gehrig’s disease, multiple sclerosis, mad cow disease, and schizophrenia). All that pent-up anxiety was lying patiently dormant until I gave birth to my daughter in the dead of winter. And then, as if a portal had been opened, all the fears seeped out at once.

Typical Google searches while breastfeeding in the middle of the night: “SIDS,” “suffocation,” “lice,” “preference of daddy over mommy,” “eczema,” “attachment disorder,” “arsenic in drinking water.” And then, after a quick perusal of the Bedbug Registry, I added “bedbugs” to the list. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 9 2013

Free Stuff Alert: Six Great Books for the New Mom

By at 12:32 pm

books for new moms

Attention all you new mommies-to-be (and friends of new mommies-to-be who like to give gifts)! Browsing through the parenting section in the bookstore can be pretty overwhelming, but we’ve got six great books that are perfect for a new mom. These books cover all your novice parenting needs, ranging from breastfeeding, to yoga, to the ultimate guide for being a hot Mamaleh. And even better, we’re giving them away for free to one lucky winner.

So what does the winner get? The new mom book package includes: Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 16 2013

I’m Totally Guilty of New Mom TMI

By at 2:15 pm

placenta, fetus, tmiPrior to becoming pregnant, life was certainly different: I got more sleep. I ate whatever I wanted. I had some wine with dinner… and if “some” wine turned into a bottle of wine, it was just a sillier night. I got more sleep. I went on a vacation on a whim. I wasn’t legally responsible for the life of another human being (yes, I am legally bound to my husband… but I don’t think I could be put in jail for not feeding him. I cook for him of my own free will… and he’d better like it!) And yes, I got more sleep.

But in addition to the expected changes, there was another big transformation. From the moment I found out I was pregnant, it was as if a button were pressed in my brain where not only was it accepted, but it was expected that I discuss all of my personal business.

I have become no holds barred in divulging TMI to any and everyone. When I was just about four months pregnant, I was put on bed rest for six weeks due to a low-lying placenta. PBJ (no, not peanut butter and jelly, PreBaby-Jessica) would have been perfectly content to just tell everyone that I was put on bed rest for medical reasons. And yet, there I was, telling everyone from my parents to my middle-aged, childless male coworkers that I had a low-lying placenta. It’s like I would look for reasons to get the word placenta into conversation.  “What a nice summer breeze. It reminds me of my low-lying placenta.” Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 10 2013

You Don’t Have to be Selfless to be a Good Mom

By at 11:45 am

supermomThere are two things I know to be absolutely true since becoming a parent: 1. There are LOTS of activities one can do with only one hand that I otherwise would have never thought possible (the other occupied by a baby, of course) and 2. Self-care is not selfish; it’s necessary.

As a student in social work school I learned about childhood development. I learned how everyone’s “lens” is unique and valid. I also learned that as a social worker, you will be asked to give and give and if you do not set boundaries and take care of yourself, you will burn out. Yet, as I enter into my 11th month as a parent, what I’m finding is that the characteristics I once thought associated only with social work is, in fact, one of the defining characteristics of parenthood. That of giving, giving, giving, and then . . . burning out. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 23 2012

Kveller Gift Guide for New Mamas (With Awesome Discounts!)

By at 6:01 am

stack of presentsPregnancy is wonderful in that people are usually kind when they see you waddling around with a human bowling ball tucked under your shirt. Doors are opened, seats are offered, and people give you that kind smile–the one that says, “Bless your heart but I’m glad I’m not you right about now.”

But after the baby is born you’re all stretched out like Gumby and leaking from your secondary sex characteristics and all people care about is what you were able to produce after nine months of eating and 10 hours of pushing. Sure, he’s adorable but Mama needs some love, too.

Here are a few gift suggestions for first time, and especially not-so-first-time Mamas.

green your air kveller discount1. Plants, Not Flowers: Give the new Mama an eco-friendly gift that will last longer than flowers and may actually improve her air quality. Green Your Air is a mama-owned company featuring chemical-filtering plants that naturally cleanse the air you breathe. The pots are made of bamboo fiber, rice husks, wheat straw, and corn stalks so they are biodegradable, nontoxic, and safe for any use. These little plants would be perfect on a window sill or in the nursery.

{For a limited time Green Your Air is giving Kveller readers 15% off their entire order! Use code KVELLER15 at checkout!} Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 1 2011

No Apologies

By at 2:29 pm
sorry card with roses

NOT.

Apologies are seductive. Especially for a new mother, who finds her world suddenly spinning beyond her control, apologies are incredibly appealing. The trouble is that a new mother can also find herself always apologizing. Everything is a first, and nothing goes as she expected. Does she blame herself? And should she?

New mothers are barraged with advice. Most of it is useless, and some of it is obnoxious, but occasionally it’s wise.

I was scheduled to have a phone call with our local Jewish Family and Children’s Services representative on what turned out to be Lila’s birth date. When I finally connected with the woman in the weeks following, I apologized for being out of touch. “Don’t apologize,” she told me, “you’re a new mother. Everyone understands.” I was momentarily startled, but realized she was right.

Since May, this has been one of the best mothering pearls of wisdom I’ve heard. It’s important because I’ve lost count of how many times my plans have gone awry; I’ve been tempted to apologize, generally for things that don’t offend other people or aren’t my fault. It’s tough to fight your nature, when your general tendency is to be polite, but that makes this lesson crucial. Not apologizing is a survival skill in the jungle of early motherhood, learning to let go of all that you cannot control (which is most things).

With that, I’d like to introduce a new mother’s update to Passover’s Dayenu. Rather than “It would have been enough,” this is about saying, “It is enough, no more apologies.”

1. When it’s 7pm and I’ve accomplished nothing all day beyond feeding, changing, and naps, because newborns are labor-intensive. I will not apologize.

2. When I am 20 minutes late to a Mommy and Me class or play group because Lila was fussy, or we simply required more time than anticipated to get ready. I will not apologize. Read the rest of this entry →

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