Future parenting discussions.

cephApril 11, 2009

Hey Ladies!

I'm certain some of you have been through this and will have valuable advice to get my thoughts on straight.

DH and I are starting to try to conceive next cycle. I know none of you know me IRL, but shhhh, it's a secret IRL.

As you're all aware, I thrive on planning - LOL - so we've had plenty of discussions about parenting philosophies and so on.

As you're also aware, DH's ex and I have extremely opposite parenting ideals for my 10yo SS.

So sometimes things come up and DH says "When SS was a baby..." and I want to shake him!

I don't care that SS's BM thought breastfeeding was creepy! I am looking forward to it, cracked nipples and all.

I realize that BM ditched SS on whoever would watch him so she could do her own thing, but our baby will not be pawned off constantly so I can sleep in or go to the bar. I don't sleep in or go to the bar NOW, so why on earth would I start once we had a baby?!

What the h3ll is going on in your brain, DH? You know that I am a totally different person than BM, and we have a totally different relationship than you had with BM, and I have a totally different strategy with SS than she does - so why aren't you connecting this to that I will be a totally different type of mommy than she was?

I try to give him the benefit of the doubt that he is simply trying to share his past experience with me, but he's a foolish insensitive man, so he does it poorly.

I talked to him, calmly, about how BM and I are so totally different that I'd prefer he didn't base how we'll raise our baby off how she raised SS, and that I don't exactly relish hearing about how she did everything. He's certainly slowed it down, but still sometimes throws out "gems" like I mentioned.

So, now what?

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Too cool Ceph. I'm happy for you. My advice? Get used to it. Because you are going to get everyone's unsolicited advice IRL... the lady in the grocery store will mention that your baby "looks hungry" and insinuate that you don't feed it enough. If your baby is on the plump side, some well-meaning idiot will lecture you on childhood obesity.

You will be told by relatives that what you are doing is not the way it's "done"...

I always thought I'd NEVER be that kind of woman, yet I give advice and don't even realize I'm doing it. I do have to stop myself. It's terrifically annoying. Sometimes I have good advice, and I'm thanked for it. The problem is that your hubby had your ss, and all he knows is that experience. He's trying to share, dear man, while not realizing how freakin' insane it makes you to hear one iota about psycho BM and her lousy parenting techniques. Or so I'd imagine.

Get some baby books. Like, What to Expect When You're Expecting. That was my favorite. There are follow ups to it too that are also really good. But whatever. Find a book you're comfortable with, and read through it with him. Discuss what may come up and the pros and cons.

Breastfeeding is very important, even if you can only do it for a very short time. The first milk has tons of nutrients and immuno boosters that are so crucial to your baby's health.

Circumcision... another big one...

Make a birth plan. Have a birth plan. Discuss your birth plan with your doctor and dh. The books will walk you through it. Decide now what you would do if your baby had a disease or birth defect. Would you abort? If not, getting the invasive tests just to find out would probably not be necessary. Make plans now, put them in writing so if you are faced with the unthinkable you don't have to make rushed, emotional decisions. If you change your mind you can always do that, but you'll know you thought it through beforehand and knew the pros and cons.

Talk with him. Ask him what he thinks is the best thing for the new baby. Isn't SS 10? Things have changed a lot since then. Tell him how happy you are that SS turned out so well (try not to brag too much on yourself as I know you were a HUGE part in that!) and talk about what things you would like to do the same with the new baby, and what you'd like to do different.

The thing is, he's probably just trying to share, in his own bumbling way. Maybe ask him, when he says "BM would _______" when SS cried or whatever, ask "how well did that work?" or "how did you feel about that" and throw the ball back in his court. Make him tell you what he thinks is good and bad, rather than spinning the "when SS was a baby" record over and over.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2009 at 11:26PM
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My dh throws out those little gems for me too. Love the "gems" thing by the way :)

Oh and while your pregnant complete strangers will love to tell you horror stories. Its just great (insert eye roll here)! You will hear how they were in labor for 75 hours and then the doctor did an emergency c-section and they have a scar taking up half their belly.....completely exaggerated!

I love the idea of throwing your dh's words back at him with "well how did that work out?" or "did you like that?" or maybe even a "well doctors advise against that now!"

At the end of the day just realize that he is thinking he is being helpful and sharing his wisdom and experience (though it may make you want to cringe!). My dh does it too when we are dealing with ss6. He tells me about how they did this or that with my sd14 when she was 6....and I am like well I did it this way with my ds11.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2009 at 11:56PM
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Thanks Silver and Mom2!

Just one point of clarification though - I don't think BM is a model parent, but she's not a total nut like some of the others on here.

The "how did that work for you?" etc is a terrific idea. That might help get BM out of the equation.

My two favourite books to this point are:
Taking Charge of Your Fertility (we've been using FAM for nearly a year, so I could recite this book forwards and backwards)
The Mother of All Pregnancy Books (Canadian! Yay!)

As for circumcision - DH doesn't want to and that's cool by me. I've always figured that my partner would be "better equipped" to make that choice.

We've talked about miscarriage and loss.
We haven't talked about the potential of birth defects and so on (that talk is yet to come).

We talked the other day about that I would like to try cloth diapering. I expected resistance from DH (something like "but we used disposables on SS and it was so easy"), but he surprised me and is totally on board, for all the same reasons as me! If it doesn't work out for us, then it doesn't. But for finances, environment, and my scent sensitivities, we'd like to try it.

We also talked about that I'd like to try making baby food when the time eventually comes. I don't like us eating processed crap, so why would I want our baby eating processed crap?? And I got the "but BM gave SS the Heinz stuff and I liked the banana dessert" reaction. I was pissed and felt like he was saying that because BM doesn't eat well, neither should our probable future baby. (Not slamming anyone who feeds prepped baby foods AT ALL, because who knows if I will feel the same when the time comes, or if I will have time, or I will be any good at it, etc)

I know DH is just trying to share his experience with SS, and trying to be helpful. So I will follow your advice and try to steer the conversation to HIM, and away from BM.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2009 at 2:13AM
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Good advice given already. I just wanted to say BRAVO for choosing not to circumcise. IMO, it's barbaric and unnecessary. It is a shame that Western medicine has brainwashed the public. Foreskin is there for a reason!!!

(note: I am Jewish. Still against it.)

    Bookmark   April 12, 2009 at 10:25AM
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Yay! on the no circumscision. I agree that the partner would be better equipped to make the decision, so to speak, but never agreed with it personally and always thought if the child wanted to get one later in life it's always an option. Once you take that though, there is no going back. And, if you've ever seen the mistakes that can be made.... it really is frightening. Little boys have been mutilated.

With the cloth, you do have to consider the extra washing and that does also have an impact on the environment. I agree with cloth too, and would do a mixture of the two. Take disposable when you go out (so convenient!) and try to do cloth at home. Also, the more you can leave your baby diaperless the less rash and more in tune it will be with its body... earlier potty training. So in places where clean up would be easy with an accident (like the kitchen?) ...

I had my baby in Hawaii though, so it was a lot warmer and easier than in Canada!!

Making your own baby food is a no-brainer. Mash up some bananas, sweet potatoes, peas, carrot, corn, rice, etc... and you have baby food. Simply prepare what you are having, but mash it up!!! You can buy some baby food so that you have the cute little jars though. They do work well.

Tell your DH that you're really glad using processed food worked for BM. And then continue on your merry way :)

Of course the banana dessert was well liked. Bananas are yummy!!! But mommas have been giving their babies mushed banana for ages. And it doesn't have to come from a jar to taste yummy. Oatmeal with banana, cream of wheat with banana... basically anything, with a little banana in it, will make it taste really yummy and sweet for your baby. Then slowly take out the banana and they will be eating the food without the sweetness. It's a way to get "treat" without adding table sugar.

My dd would suck on steak before she grew all her teeth. We'd cook it medium well, cut off a big hunk and she'd "gum" it. It was her favorite thing. Also, if you put greens like kale, spinich, chard and puree really fine you can get vegies in with the grains and your baby won't even notice. A good way to get the vitamins without a struggle, and the earlier you introduce them the easier it will be for him/her to want to eat it in the future.

DH: but SS really liked the banana dessert that came pre-packed...

Ceph: That's great! I'm sure our baby will love bananas just like he/r big brother! What do you think about trying out a banana/apple mixture? What other fruits did SS like when he was a baby? What other fruits can you think of that will go well with banana?

Just like driving a boat... steer around the obstacles and try to leave as little wake as possible!!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2009 at 11:45PM
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I ran into those liners with my husband when we were with our first child. Because of his 'experience' with 2 children from the past marriage.
Every time he would say. oh that's not what i did iwth so andsoo...or he would compair like saying..'oh my ex wife didn't do it that way' but it was to demean her....
I didn't put up with it. I basically said im not your exwife. All pregnancies are different and will be handled differently because i'm not your exwife. Ie example, i wont be stoned so i can drop my baby or leave it crying in the middle of the night causei was too lazy to get up to feed him or her.
ANd no...bm is not a model mother either in my case.
You dont have to get used to it like others say...put your foot down and tell your husband to stuff it and to only use his experience in practical things...like how to hold the baby..or how to change the diaper. NOT, breastfeed or not...does he have breasts????? so what's it to him if you decide to breastfeed. I breastfed.
ANd in my case, BM got pist off cause we circumsized our little one. I did it out of cleanliness....his son is not...and he is already had several infections! My brothers had to be circumsized at age 30 which was painful because of infections. Not everyone is prone to them..but others are. So i think its a matter of perspective on why you want to circumsize. I know there is skin there for a reason...but if it becomes a medical problem down the road i rather not let my son suffer in his adult life, like both my brothers did. The way i see it, is that the skin maybe there because it was a left over of genetic evolution. It doesn't necessarly mean its useful today. We all have tails when we are babies...and some babies, a small fraction are born with them and have to have them amputated off.

My Dh told her to stuff it and that's its not her business how i raise my child. I dont butt into how she raises hers...

So. Congrats on trying for a new baby. BUt tell your husband you are not to be compaired to your previous relationship. All pregnancies are diff and so is how you raise a child. I think open communication is good and you guys are doing the right thing in talking about everything.
If you want to breastfeed that is your right to do so and your husband shouldn't huff and puff about that.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 11:18AM
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I don't see it as he is comparing her to his previous relationship. He's doing his best, poor man, to have input and share his experience. The experience with SS is not his ex-wife, it's his experience with his son. That should not be rejected or seen as sub-standard just because it was with BM or because he is a male. No, he does not have breasts. But that doesn't mean he deserves a "you don't have breasts so butt out of my breastfeeding of my baby" rant or to be told to "stuff it". Unless of course, you want it to be a divided relationship. Maybe he doesn't know about breastfeeding. Maybe he is afraid your breasts will be off-limits, or he feels weird that they will be sources of food, or will not be sexual to him anymore. These are valid concerns. Rather than arming yourself with "my body, my way", figure out what's going on and address the issue. Some women decide the breasts are for baby only until the baby is finished feeding. This will need to be discussed as previously they shared their body in entirety with their husband. Being open and honest about your expectations for your body, and how you plan to share it with the new little person in your life is important.

Often men are left out of pregnancies and infancy. Try to include him as much as possible. Imagine how it would feel to be the person on the outside, without the inclusiveness of having the baby grow in your tummy, without the changes, and the shared body. Watching your loved one suffer morning sickness, body changes, and not be able to do much about it. Imagine how you would feel to be on the outside. And then when the baby is born, imagine the baby "liking" your spouse more than you. Of course, the baby is just more connected with the mother at first, but wouldn't it be kind of isolating to not have that closeness, to feel really big and bumbling and not know what to do? Please, try to imagine being in his shoes. Have sympathy.

With other people you can either learn to have polite responses because they will come at you with unsolicited advice, or you can tell them to "butt out". It's your call what kind of person you want to be. Just realize that the polite responses will hurt less feelings (many are just trying to help!) and can help to remind you of their intentions. Many little old ladies will tell you your baby must be cold because it's just in a diaper. You will know by feeling its fingers and toes if it is cold. Some people will not be happy unless a baby is swaddled within an inch of their life. Smile, be gracious. Don't take it personal, let them know gently that you are following your plan. If they get too nosy, tell them your doctor recommended that you do (whatever you're doing) for your babys health. And smile. Everyone loves a baby. Everyone will want to have input and be a part of it. You can either nicely share while standing your ground, or growl like the mama bear you are. Your choice. But I've found finding polite ways to tell them that you value their opinion and have it under control worked way better for me, and helped me both retain friends and make new ones!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 12:35PM
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"With other people you can either learn to have polite responses because they will come at you with unsolicited advice, or you can tell them to "butt out."

It's funny, I never had any nosey people giving me unsolicited advice. Not when I was pregnant and not when DD was a baby.

I love hearing the horror stories about what people have the audacity to say, though!

Ceph, I would just be clear with your DH that you are excited to share this experience with HIM. And that you don't mind hearing about HIS (not BM's) experiences when his son was a baby, but that you also want him to recognize/understand that this is YOUR first time around--and that it will be a special, new thing for you.

I suspect *some* of what might bother you is the fact that your DH HAS gone through a pregnancy/infancy before with his ex; forgive me if I am off base here, but I don't wonder if somewhere, deep inside your unconscience, you feel like that fact makes this "less special" for the two of you. I think it might be your mama hormones gettin' ready! :)

Anyway, I could totally be wrong here so ignore me if that's the case. Just be clear with your hubby that you are so excited to share this experience with HIM.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 1:49PM
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Wow love, you're lucky!! I had one woman come up to me and tell me I was holding my baby wrong. That's why she was crying. Uh huh. I told her that my baby had colic, and we were working through it. When she just wouldn't shut up about it (this was a social event, she was a friend's parent) I asked her if she'd like to show me. She took my baby, and soon discovered that my baby was just crying because she had colic. Her magic hold had lost its powers!!

I was holding a friends baby once and had a woman ask me if I was feeding her enough because she was so skinny... her exact words were "emaciated" then proceeded to tell me what to feed her and how to feed her. Please. I watched that kid eat. She eventually grew out of her string bean look although she never plumped up. I was really mad, even though it wasn't my baby.

I also got the 'no breastfeeding in public' lectures and looks, and once my dd was eating real food that I hadn't breastfed her long enough.

I don't know how you missed the busybodies, they must have all been over bothering me!!! You lucky girl!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 2:02PM
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I think it has everything to do with the way DH says things. With mine, we are both sensitive about how we say things and we don't have a child together. There have been days that I told DH not to say her name the rest of the day and I will be happy. When it comes down to it and you don't want to hear anymore just tell him "There is a new Mama in town and this is how it will be!!!"

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 3:56PM
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Love ventured: "I suspect *some* of what might bother you is the fact that your DH HAS gone through a pregnancy/infancy before with his ex"

That's not really it.
SS isn't biologically DH's and DH didn't meet BM until SS was a few weeks old. So pregnancy, birth, first bath, etc will be all new for us both.
Occasionally I worry that he won't care about milestones with our baby because he saw SS do those things. But I realize that's completely unfounded.

Here's stuff I don't like to admit though, that is close to what you ventured:
The selfish/jealous side of me is happy that SS isn't biologically DH's and that DH hasn't been through that side of it before.
The selfish/jealous side is also sometimes happy that BM is not really a co-parent-er and has always viewed DH as a glorified babysitter.
The green-eyed monster is sometimes happy that she was too young, lazy and immature to be a particularly good mommy.
Now, I'm also sad that those things have negatively affected SS and DH. I wish SS had an easier go if it. But I wouldn't be being honest if I said that the mean-girl-within didn't rear her ugly head sometimes.

Maria makes a good point that DH doesn't have breasts. That doesn't totally disqualify his opinion, because my breasts are a part of his life too... But it does mean that he doesn't understand why I'm so looking forward to BFing. He's trying to share his past experience with BFing, but he's not doing a very good job.
Due to a lack of shared biology, there's lots of things his opinion just isn't very useful for. If he offers HIS opinion, not BM's, then I will listen and take it into consideration... But ultimately, I'm the one with the body parts.
For example, I know how I feel when I combine caffeine and progesterone (Luteal phase Ceph + coffee = pee pee pee pee pee pee + sore boobs + irritable) and I decided to cut caffeine as of last week, until we conceive, have the baby and I'm done BFing. With occasional chocolate indulgences of course ;)
His reply "Is that really necessary? B---uh---Lots of women have caffeine right through their pregnancies."
Bottom line, it's up to me and I told him that as nicely as I could.

Thanks again for all your advice and experiences.
You ladies are a terrific resource!
He's trying to share this with me, but -LOL- he's just not very good at it yet.
You know what they say though... A woman becomes a mother when she finds out she is pregnant, but a man becomes a father when he holds the baby? Well, even though I know trying can take many months, I'm preparing for baby now that we've decided to try, and it's a reality to me. DH will probably catch up to me around the time we get a BFP and that's when it will be a reality to him.

Oh, and Silver, we talked about the possibility of birth defects last night and I'm pleased we're on the same page for what we would want to do about a prenatal diagnosis.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 11:16PM
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Congrats Ceph. You will be such a fantastic mom - you already are to A_.

I nderstand the green-eyed monster things, and I was totally right where Love suggested you could be. I didn't like being there, but I know I was.

It seems when you just point blank put things to DH he gets them. It's probably time for that talk. "DH, I can't wait to have a baby with you, and I'm glad you've gone through some of this already and your knowledge will be quite helpful. (That's the build up part - here comes the let down) "BUT - I need you to realize this will be OUR pregnancy and child in MY body, and things will be different then BM and A_ or your mom with you. I'm eager to hear about experiences you've had and things you learned with A_, but when you put them to me like 'Other people don't do that' or 'A_'s BM didn't do that' I'm quick to dismiss your opinion without consideration simply because I don't like to be compared to others. Perhaps instead of saying 'Is that really necessary, others don't do it' you could just ask 'Ceph, what makes you want to do that?'" (End of proposed speech - you get my drift)

I was also struck that your statement that's it's your body and bottom line up to you might get you in to troubled waters though - that body will soon have his child in it, so I think that does give him the right to question what you are or aren't putting into it. I think you just need to teach him how to question it a little for tactfully. :-)

Sending you fertile thoughts!!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 2:08AM
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Oh good Ceph. Sounds like you just need to get a bit off your chest. And the green-eyed monster under your bed has been frequenting my closet as well, perhaps if we all share it we'll be less afflicted?? ;)

I think JNM had some good points. And I think that while DH may question what you put in your body, or don't put in your body, that ultimately it is up to you. The baby will take from your body what it needs anyway, so it's important to keep you well-nourished and happy based on what your body tells you, not what other women have done or what has/hasn't worked for them. I too went off coffee while pregnant, and off of fish. But I had friends eat tons of fish and drink coffee. Their body, their choice. And the babies were fine.

Do what you think is right, while trying to be sensitive to his position as well. I'm sure you'll make a great mommy, after all, YOU ALREADY ARE!!!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 2:36PM
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What you, the birth mother takes into your body is for the most part your own business of course, unless you're smoking or something of course!

BF is for the most part, just trying to relate and even if he isn't ss' bio dad, he has had the experience of raising a baby which you may find useful.

True, you will get no end of unsolicited advice and you need to keep an open mind for that which is good, research others, and ignore, politely, the rest, but from a man and a father's point of view to those who are saying along the lines of "you don't have breasts, your opinion doesn't count" this is VERY MUCH a two-way street. If you are going to set those kind of rules, my-way-or-the-highway type of thing, don't be surprised if dad 'turns' into one of those awful men who 'won't help out'

There is an awful lot of reverse sexism out there if you search your heart of hearts, and I've had it said to my face I wouldn't know anything about raising kids 'because I'm a man' to which I take exception.

As I say, you have to accept if it's a joint responsibility, it's joint decisions too. It will make a big difference.

Ceph, I'm in Canada too, and I wish you all the best for your pregnancy.

I support your ambitions to be supermum but don't be too hard on yourself if some things go by the wayside, in other words, don't set the bar too high, and don't chastise yourself if you buy the odd disposable or can of heinz.

That being said, I'm totally behind you for wanting to go cloth and fresh, disposables are a terrible environmental scourge, but I wouldn't begrudge their use now and then, say, when you're travelling.

Be flexible and take things as they come. No point in over-planning, kids have a habit of making plans come undone, and there's no point in beating yourself up over it.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 5:45PM
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I love your outline of the conversation. Next time he pulls out a "gem" I think we might have that conversation.

Care to join in on airing your green-eyed monsters? It's very cathartic.

I don't think you're quite understanding the issue. DH's opinion is certainly welcome and what he thinks matters. The problem is that I'm sick and bloody tired of hearing what BM thought/did instead of what DH thinks.
My body is part of DH's life, and his opinion of how it is treated certainly counts. But he doesn't know how I feel when I mix caffeine and progesterone, any more than I know why he prefers boxer briefs. We make decisions together, but sometimes one of us is better equipped to make the choice, or will be more affected by the decision than the other. In those cases, one of us typically defers to the other who is more involved, although both parties' opinions are important.
Men can be good or bad parents, just like women can. DH is a good dad, but at the moment, he doesn't seem to be aware that we may be getting close to my body belonging to someone else too and that takes some preparation and planning. Sometimes that is frustrating.
And I know I'm not going to be a perfect parent. But I'm not about to give up on trying to make choices that align with my ideals: happy, healthy life and happy, healthy planet.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 8:33PM
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