Crazy talk and guilt.

May 19, 2008 at 7:21 am | Posted in motherhood | 15 Comments

This weekend, J and I did a couple of things which we’ve been meaning to for a while now.

1. We joined a gym. Which has two locations close to our house and one on the way to work for J. We needed to join – J hasn’t worked out regularly since Baby O was born. And so he’s gained some weight. Most scary, though, his blood pressure is up again enough that he had to add back his second daily medication.

And of course, I’ve mentioned here that I’m not happy with how I look right now. I’m stuck right now – I’m at 5lbs heavier then when I got my BFP and 15lbs heavier then my “ideal” weight. My pre-pregnancy clothes are all too tight, and I feel like shit. I miss being in shape.

So I was excited to visit the gym. The one we saw on Saturday has a pool, an indoor track, basketball courts, a women’s only section, and FOUR different studios for group exercise, and a spa on site.

Oh, and a nursery too. In fact, all three of the locations have childcare on site. Granted, it’s a two hour maximum, and they will only give Baby O a bottle – they will not change his diaper – but it’s a nursery. And the one we saw on Saturday had an infant area with a few swings, a rocker, a bouncer, and a changing area (presumably so parents can change the baby’s diaper when they drop off or pick baby up).

The great thing about this gym though is that it has a lot of family programs. When we were there, half the gymnasium closed off for the kids – with a climbing wall, a slide, trampolines, jump ropes, hula hoops, and other fun stuff for kids. It also has family swim Saturdays and a learn to swim program, which will be great when Baby O gets a little older.

I really liked the gym, and in the moment, was excited to sign up and think about working out again.

But towards the end of our visit and tour, Baby O got fussy – he was hungry. And then, when I was waiting for J to finish up with the paperwork, he got screamy. By the time we got home and I was able to feed him, he was red-faced and breathless… and I was thoroughly and utterly stressed out.

And the idea of leaving him with the women in that gym nursery suddenly seemed like a really bad idea.

2. Sunday we went to church. See, we live A HOUSE AWAY from a congregational church. Literally – it’s walking distance from our house. And we’ve lived in our house for two and a half years now and have never gone.

Despite the fact that I’m not very religious right now, both J and I grew up going to church – we have fond memories of Sunday School and youth group activities. And we’d like that for Baby O, too – to learn the fundamentals of organized religion, such that he can make his own decision someday about how he wants to celebrate his faith.

Not to mention that J and I would really like some sense of community. We’ve lived in our town now for two and a half years and have met a grand total of two of our neighbors – that’s it.

We’ve had a thought that we’d like to have Baby O baptized this summer, so we figured it was high time that we actually go to church and see how we like it.

Before we left, J mentioned that he had looked at the church’s website; he saw that they had a nursery for babies 0-6 months. And he thought we should leave Baby O in the nursery while we went to church.

And I, well, sort of lost it.

In fact, I actually accused J of forcing me to leave Baby O with strangers.

So yeah.

Apparently the whole idea of LEAVING Baby O with people other than my SIL freaks me the fuck out.

Poor J. Who looked at joining the gym as a win-win – I get to work out again so I can feel better about my body AND gain back an hour or two a day for me. And then we could sit through a church service without worrying whether or not Baby O will erupt into screams and we’d have to walk him outside for a while.

And in theory, the whole drop-Baby-O-off-and-gain-some-me-time thing makes a lot of sense. Happy mom = happy baby. While I’m not UNhappy right now, I am certainly struggling with feeling like I’ve lost a part of me. I miss working out, I really WANT to feel better about how I look, and I WOULD like to do something – just ONE THING – a day for me. Not for J. Not for Baby O. But for ME.

Which, of course, makes me feel guilty. Because, let’s just say the worst case scenario happens. I spend 45 minutes working out and a half hour in the locker room. I come down to get Baby O, and the women working there tells me that he screamed the entire hour and a half I was gone.

How fucking GUILTY am I going to feel that I spent time doing something I wanted at the expense of my baby?

But then there are the days where I feel like NOTHING is in my control. Baby O rules me from the moment he wakes up until the moment he goes to sleep at night. On those days, where I struggle to get a pumping session in, or a shower, or lunch, or anything else I might want to do… well, that’s when I get upset and frustrated.

So clearly I’m struggling to assimilate my new identity as a mother into my own self.

Frankly, I don’t know when the last time I did something for ME was. Unless you count my daily shower. (Which really doesn’t count. Because a shower benefits all the people around me, really) So probably the last time I did something just for me would have been before Baby O was born.

So really, it’ll be good for me to take back an hour a day for myself. Right?


Right now the current plan is that I’ll go to the gym on Thursday. Today Baby O has his 2 month appointment at the pedi and his immunizations.* Tomorrow I am expecting that he’ll be fussy. Wednesday we have an appointment in Boston with the pediatric orthopedic surgeon.

It will be good for me to let him go in small increments, so when I have to take him to daycare come September I won’t be a mess.



*Yes, we’ve thought long and hard about immunizing our son. Yes, we’ve read all the literature that talks about a link between immunizations and autism. And yes, we are still going to go with our pediatrician’s recommendations about when we immunize Baby O.

I understand that there are people who want do it differently than we will, and I do not judge them for it. But we will do what works for us and Baby O.

And that’s all I’m going to say about that.



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  1. I’ve been there, so I know exactly what you mean.

    About the gym, if it’s like it is here, they’ll call you if your baby’s screaming, so you’ll never have to go through the guilt you’re talking about (not that I go to the gym – my sister does).

  2. I really feel for what you are saying. I have a 3 month old baby boy, my second one, and I am struggling with my new identity as a mother of 2. It took me a while to relax and be a mother of one and now I find myself back at the same place I was a few years ago.
    I admire your honesty. Few new mothers really tell it like it is. Most just smile and say that everything is “great” and they “love” being a mother. The reality is it is hard, gruling, draining, scary, anxiety causing, etc.
    Of course it is totally worth it and I would never not want to have my boys but it is definately a double edged sword.
    Good luck,


  3. oh wow, I don’t know where to start. Maybe with a *hug*
    I think you’re just feeling like every new mom does. Those outbursts are just you feeling out of control and wanting Baby O to be predictable for you. It never happens. I think all the time while one of mine has a meltdown, “Please please I can’t handle this, please tell me what’s wrong” …you know…they never do *smile*

    I think just one day at a time. The gym is a great idea. YOU need it, you need to do something nice for you once a week (or twice or more) and don’t worry about the staff at the nursery. They deal with children all day long, they probobly won’t even tell you if Baby O was crying. They know how stressful it is to hear and I know my DCP keeps the “meltdowns” from me because she knows there is nothing I can do about it. So go, work out , feel good and don’t worry about Baby O..he will be just fine. I promise.

    Church is nice too, I think it’s a great thing that you are going to introduce O to a community. Mr Kir and I felt the same way. When we take the kids to church everyone talks to us, when we don’t…and John goes alone, no one talks to him. We belonged to this church and town for 6 years and we know a handful of I know exactly how you feel. The kids do make a difference. They are an instant conversation. Want to see something, bring up IVF inside a Catholic Church..I do …all the time! šŸ™‚

    Good luck with all those appts and know you’re just adjusting to life as a new mommy. We are all going through it, losing some parts of ourselves and gaining others. Somedays I am just glad I have YOU and others to go through it with me. It makes it a whole lot easier.


  4. I think that’s why so many women struggle with returning to work, too…the guilt associated with pursuing something other than raising your child. But, I’ll tell you, having that bit of time back for yourself (even just an hour a day) can go a long way toward making you a more patient mom who can deal with the baby a whole lot better than if you didn’t have any of that time to yourself.

    And if you’re not comfortable with the gym daycare, then perhaps J can get a little bonding time with Baby O and let you escape to the gym for a bit. You’ll find a way to make it work, and if not right now, then maybe in a couple of months. Unfortunately, it took me a year to get my butt into gear as far as working out again, and I’m SO GLAD I finally did it. Next time around, I will find a way to make it happen much sooner.


  5. The gyms with the drop off usually have some kind of a mechanism to let you know if the baby isn’t calming down– either a pager, or they can make an announcement for you. they all have PA systems, so you can ask them specifically to get you if baby O has been crying for, say, 10 minutes.

    Also, something I started doing for me last year was get a latte. It’s like a desert, but I get it with sugar-free syrup (hazelnut), so the calories are under control, but I feel decadent. I also got a foamer for the milk so I can make that at home. Yum!

    Good luck with all the doctor’s appointments this week.

  6. I think that the gym would be a great starting point to leave Baby O for a while. See if they can page you if he’s really upset. And chances are, he’ll be fine…and you’ll feel better, too.

    And as for church…we keep the babies with us during service and sometimes I have to go downstairs with one, but you know…that happens. I’d rather have them with us during service, but that’s just me. And I’m sure if you have to take him out once and again, no one will think “oh my gosh, that screaming baby!” and if they DO, they should think harder about it, because CHILDREN are the future of the church. It’s a sad church with no babies.

    So I wouldn’t stress about church just yet. When/if you’re comfy, you can leave him in the nursery.

    It’s hard to get into a groove and figure out what’s right for your family, but it’ll come. Really. You just have to start trying things out. šŸ™‚

    Good luck!

  7. I agree with you a “happy mommy = happy baby.” But, it doesn’t sound like this is exactly what is going on. Why rush a situation if it is causing this much anxiety.

    Have you thought of the M*mmy and me exercise classes (baby yoga, etc.). You use the baby as weight. There is a place in N*wton (not sure how far that is from you), but they have great classes that a friend of mine loved to go to when her daughter was young. Also, they had m*mmy classes that she really enjoyed. Both ways for her to interact with other new moms and to get out of the house.

    I think your comfort level will come. And I am hoping for peace for you Serenity.

  8. I too felt bad about going to a gym with childcare and leaving Baby L when he was so small. I haven’t, yet, but I have always felt great after working out, either at the gym or on my own while Mr. L. watches the babe from home.

    And another thing: all babies cry. So if you can manage to go to the gym and leave your baby with the childcare, he may cry in the beginning, but might easily calm down after a few minutes (while you’re chugging away on the elliptical, or whatever). Maybe try it once and see how it goes (can you do a weeklong trial membership before you actually join?)

    Good luck!

  9. Sometimes, the lead up is worse than the acutal event. Your anxiety is normal. However, after you do it once and it works out alright. You will be so glad you did. This is in ref. to the gym/church/outings in general.

    I also like the idea that you could leave O with J when he gets home from work and work out then. That way O will be in his surroundings.

  10. Does your gym have some sort of system in case the baby does cry non stop? Where someone can come find you, or a paging system, or anything?

    The church might too. At ours we have pagers for the parents and we also have a crying baby room. So if your child is crying you can go into this room away from the sanctuary and everything is on big screen tvs so you don’t miss the service. It has chairs and a sink and bathroom and changing area – so you don’t have to leave the room or miss anything.

  11. I am sure you thought of asking this. But, at my gym they have you indicate where you will be working out and they would come find you if the baby cried longer than 10 minutes. Do they do that at your new gym? This is what allowed me to get through the guilt. Especially once they did come find my once I knew they meant it. Ella actually loved it there with new people.

    Hope this helps you. It is so important (and hard!) to get that time for yourself. You will be a better mommy for it.

  12. When ours were little my husband didn’t want us to take them to the mall for fear they would cry and disturb shoppers! So we had the opposite problem. I grew up in a church that was never silent, with parents moving to and fro with crying babies and fussy toddlers of various ages, so keep your baby with you if you want. Plus, I am going to give more assvice to avoid another hungry baby meltdown. If another circumstance occurs where Baby O is hungry and you are out with J and you can’t get him home in time then just feed him there. If you can’t find a quiet corner than the back seat of your car, with the air on is always good. ( Is that trollish? Cause I really don’t mean it to be in any way, I think you are doing a great job.)
    I totally get the never leave the baby with strangers thing because I didn’t do that either. I didn’t leave her with my own mom until she was 5 months old and my mom practically had a nervous breakdown and it was only for 2 hours and she slept the whole time. so that wasn’t confidence building! But in a building like a gym where you are just a few feet away is a different thing, but if it is too much you can look into mom and baby postpregnancy workout classes where you actually do the workout with your baby there with you. They are very popular and can be good exercise.

  13. You can always try out these childcare options and back off them if he’s really unhappy (or wait a couple weeks, since that can make a big difference). But he’s probably young enough that he’ll be fine as long as he gets a bottle if he needs one. It is stressful, though. Even when we leave A with my mom, I find myself wondering how A’s doing, even though I have plenty of faith in my mom’s childcare skills.

    I understand your desire to get back in shape. I’ve got an extra 15 pounds too. It’s hard to get rid of, though I’ve been much happier with my overall appearance since I’ve started working out (despite the lack of major changes on the scale). I guess I’m used to going on a strict diet when I want to lose weight, and having it come off fairly quickly. Obviously that’s not an option with another person to nourish.

    Take it slow with letting Baby O go, and don’t force yourself to do something that really doesn’t feel right. Most likely it will be like your day in Boston in terms of the anticipation being worse than the action.

  14. oh s! that’s a lot. take it one day at a time.
    we are going to start going to church too. i believe. in community.
    take care.

  15. Just a lurker de-lurking…..

    I work with autistic children. In fact the town where I work is a “cluster” and a nearby university is studying the area b/c of the high incidence. Idon’t think the immunizations were the true cause of the kids’ autism. I think they could be a contributing factor say “activating” a gene. But not the sole cause. There are 2 big studies recently that said it has no effect. And I am sure I will piss a lot of people off saying this BUT a large proportion of the children I work with the parents are older and have some traits that would be on the autism spectrum.

    If it was me, I would also give my child his immunizations….BUT I would spread out the 18 month shots….there’s like 9 in that one session. And a lot of them they don’t need until Kindergarten (public school system…not daycare)


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