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Adventures in cloth

While I also cloth diaper my son, this post is not about diapers.

 

Im talking about menstrual cloth, aka mama cloth, family cloth or simply cloth pads.

 

At first I was like “ewwww who would ever do that?!” Then I got my IUD put in when Cole was three months old and I bled constantly for four months. The amount of trash in my bathroom wasunbelievable. So I went on etsy and got my first set of mama cloth. 

 

I admit, at first I thought “oh hey, six pads is enough”. Well, apparently my uterus has increased its capacity since giving birth, and while it is not unusual for me to go 2-3 months between periods, I bleed A LOT more now. Those six pads were saturated by the end of the day. 

 

So I got more, of course.

 

Now, at this point I had 11 pads and knew this was not going to be enough. LO and behold, I found some secondhand through a trade and sell thread on Ravelry. And now I can hear people think “ewww, why would you buy secondhand cloth pads? Secondhand cloth diapers is one thing, but this? What?” I was kind of like that at first, but the price was good and they were in good shape. And obviously they would not have sold them if there was any chance of blood borne disease, so yeah, why not?

 

This is my first period where I’ve gone fully cloth, and I love it. Usually in the summer, wearing disposable pads basically gives me diaper rash. Not this time! And the best part is, the heavy day pads I got are able to keep up with my flow. Yes!

What was it like?

It’s a question nobody has asked me before. Not even my mental health nurse, Anne Marie, asked me this. Sure, she asked me symptom-specific questions, but no one has ever come out and asked me:

 

what was it like to have postpartum depression?”

What was it like? 

At first I barely knew it was there. I was already in shock from delivering a totally different child than I was expecting. My fractured brain, and everyone around me, said this was normal. “You just had a baby, you’re a new mom, you’re a student nurse trying to finish your year, oh and your baby girl turned out to be a boy. This is just how new moms feel. Try to get more sleep. Enjoy your sweet little boy.”

Enjoy him? I hated him. Oh yes, everyone says they love their child at first sight, and I did too, but I also hated that I had no daughter, and to my mind, it was all his fault. I believed that he had killed her and assumed her place. I felt absolutely nothing when he cried, when I held him, and when others squealed, “What a beautiful boy!” 

What I did feel, though, was rage. Rage at the idiots who brayed with laughter when they found out the story of how “she” was really “he”. I would weakly protest, “Really, it’s not that funny”, but they laughed all the same. I was chastised for not accepting this miracle in my life, made to feel ashamed that I had dared to try and find out what should be one of life’s greatest surprises…the sex of my own baby.

But what people don’t understand is that since I was 12 years old, I have suffered in silence with some form of mental health disorder. At twelve, I took a penknife to my wrist and as I was making the first cut, my brother came into my room, said “I love you” as I scurried to hide the knife, hugged me, and left. It took me ten years to thank him for it. At 14, I wrote a suicide letter to my best friend on her graphing calculator and handed it to her, intending to off myself quietly in the bathroom at school. She chased me down as I left and wouldn’t let me leave her sight until I promised I would live. At 16, my first boyfriend broke up with me and I decided to try cutting my wrists again.this time, though, the boy who would become my husband took my hand and it was his love that saved me. At 21, overwhelmed with the stress of planning my wedding, a difficult midwifery placement and medical issues, I counted out a handful of my fiance’s pain pills from a recent surgery, as I lay in bed next to him. He woke up as I was bringing them to my mouth and sleepily asked what I was doing. I thought then, “Never again. He is your reason to live.”

 

 How wrong I was.

 

I got pregnant in the summer of 2011. I had two chemical pregnancies that I know of prior to that. I was overjoyed to become a mother. But that all changed as I entered my second trimester. As I entered my third year of nursing school, the stressors of being a student and soon to be mom caught up with me. Then the daughter of a teammate said to me, “You don’t have a baby in your belly,” when her dad told her I was expecting, because I didn’t have much of a belly yet. I began to believe it was true. I felt constant anxiety, apprehension and paranoia that everyone hated me, that I wasn’t really pregnant, and even if I was then there must be something horribly wrong with my baby. That I would be a terrible mother. 

 

Then came the magical day when the sonographer at Health Sciences North told me I was having a girl. I was incandescently happy. I’d always wanted a little girl. I was going to name her Lucie. She would be my ninja princess, and all would be right in the world as long as I had my daughter by my side.

 

But then Cole pissed all over my midwife’s shirt at the time of his birth and announced, “it’s a boy!” I believe my exact reaction was, “Are you fucking serious?”

 

Now we get back to being a new mom with PPD. That insidious fucking mind-warping disease. I felt nothing unless I was angry at the world, strangers who mistook him for a girl, people laughing at my misfortune, and most of all that bitch of a sonographer who told my husband after the scan, “if it’s a boy, it’s a very small boy”. I wrote a letter to the hospital and got back a very condescending letter that made it clear to me that they didn’t give a shit that they’d made a mistake. That they’d cost me my sanity and my relationship with my child. At my six week visit, my midwife gave me the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. I scored a 21/30. That’s really bad. I was immediately referred to a program for moms with PPD. It was an outpatient clinic and it saved my life. In 4 months, I went from wanting to swaddle my kid and throw him head first into a wall, to actually feeling genuine love for him when I held him. Instead of lying in bed until noon and eating next to nothing, I would go walking in the sunshine with my baby, and my appetite slowly returned. 

 

Today, Cole is a happy 15-month-old holy terror who is the bright spot in my life, which used to seem so dark to me. There are still moments of doubt and fear, and mostly I wonder if this early lack of attachment to him will affect him somehow. But then I see his smiling face when he sees me in the morning, and I know one thing for sure…

 

I am an amazing mother, and going through PPD (aka Hell) made me that way.

Today I wrote my CRNE, also known as the biggest exam I will ever write as it determines if I will become a full nurse. I was placed among four of my classmates, three of whom are also mothers of very young children. The oldest is two and the youngest is 11 weeks. As we waited for the exam to start, we chatted amongst ourselves about our labor and birth experiences. J, the mom of the newest baby, was telling us about how she breastfed her daughter for about two weeks before deciding to quit. F, the mom of a 13 month old girl, sympathized with her as she had stopped when her daughter was 6-7 months. J and F then got into their own little side conversation after C and I acknowledged that yes, it is hard to EBF our little ones as students, but we are both still breastfeeding our boys. Then, C and I continued to talk about extended/full term nursing, and we discovered that we both are also practising cosleeping. I shared with her my dream of tandem nursing. It was a great time, but I was sad. Sad that the two other mamas didn’t nurse anymore, and that they had drifted into their own chat which, by virtue of being about formula feeding, excluded us. And vice versa.

It still amazes me that this bullshit of boob vs bottle persists, even in subtle ways. Just because F and J bottle feed doesn’t mean I’m not friends with them, nor does it imply that C and I are close because we share similar parenting practices. Yet we split in two when the topic of infant feeding came up. I will be the first to admit that I don’t know much about formula feeding, nor do I want to, but I’m cool with mamas who do it. I wonder if we split because when these seemingly indivisible topics come up, we just want to hear that someone is doing it the same way we are. That what we are doing is good. Implicitly, that by do the same thing as someone else and doing it well (ie raising a happy, healthy baby), that we are good mothers.

Well.

I once heard something along the lines of “If you breastfeed, you are a good mother. If you formula feed, you are a good mother. If you don’t feed your child, you are a bad mother.”

Mamas…let’s stop this bullshit of guilting each other over how our babies eat, sleep and poop. Let’s support each other to raise fantastic human beings.

Media…stop portraying motherhood as this battle of warring factions. We are all mothers. We are on the same side. Get on our side already.

What up, Internet?

Yes, it’s been over a year since I blogged. And to be honest, with a busy kid and life stresses in general, who the hell has time (or energy) to blog (or knit)? But I’m back, and I’ll try to make a semi regular appearance.

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Mr. Cole has kept me awfully busy lately, so not much time to blog, let alone knit! Since he was born, I made a Small Things sweater for him, a couple of blanket squares for various Ravellers in need of comfort, a chemo hat for a member of our due date group on Rav, and finished my Jared Flood sweater from Spring Fling 2010 (omg).

Summer is on its way (in fact it feels like it’s already here, with this 25 degree Celsius weather!) and that means soon I can go swimming! I have some pretty specific goals for the summer and they include…

-go to BJJ 2-3 times a week

-attend another BJJ tournament (June 16th, in Ottawa)

-get my 4th stripe

-go jogging every second day with Cole, to the point where I can do 5-6 km without stopping (I can do 1.2 km nonstop so far!)

-go walking on opposite days with either Cole or the puppies (or both, but separate walks)

-drink more water

-eat healthy foods and resist the urge to get convenience food when tired

-lose the rest of my baby weight and 5-10 lbs beyond that – I was 160 lbs when I got pregnant, gained 50 lbs to hit 210, and have so far lost 34 lbs (am sitting at 176) – I’d like to get down to 150 lbs, which is what I weighed on my wedding day

So much has happened in the last couple of months.

For starters, I had a baby! Not just any baby though…we were told we were having a girl, but as you can see, our sweet BOY was born March 8th. His name is Cole. :)  Image

And of course, I had absolutely nothing knitted for a boy!

Since I’ve had Cole, here’s what’s happened to me:

-finished school for the summer – one year left!

-was diagnosed with postpartum depression – possibly the fact of our little “surprise” plus finishing school while caring for a newborn did me in

-lost 30 lbs – holy shit!

-learned to love cloth diapers :)

-resumed my jiu jitsu training at 2 weeks postpartum

-signed up for a BJJ tournament

-fell in love with my sweet baby <3

Baby’s due in 9 days, and this mama is FREAKING OUT. I have several projects on the go for her, and I don’t think I’ll be getting them done before she’s born…

Ah well. It’s not like she’ll be naked…I did make a few cute cardies in various sizes, and soooooo many people gave me clothes at my shower. She’ll be pretty no matter what she wears. :)

*mumble mumble *But a bebeh in woolie things is sooo much cuter…*mumble*

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