bumpwatch terror alert: 17 weeks, part two

i really just have more stuff to write about, hence the part two. here’s a bonus 17-week maternity swimsuit photo (unaltered) to ease us in.

do i LOOK like it’s okay for you to touch my belly?

so, i’m totally stoked & simultaneously a little chagrined that it took me 17 weeks of pregnancy (plus the eight solid months of trying to conceive, plus the two years of pre-conception baby rabies) to think up the perfect place for the baby to sleep! i knew from the get-go that i didn’t want this baby in a crib. that’s just not my jam at all, & i don’t want to have to deal with getting up & having to bruise my armpits on a crib railing to pick baby up for a middle-of-the-night feeding. plus, in our tiny little house, there’s really nowhere to put a crib.

i pitched the idea of co-sleeping to jared & he was on board. (as he has been for like everything i have suggested for this baby. cloth diapering? let’s do it. baby-led weaning? sounds great. baby sign language? why not. babywearing? makes total sense. d.i.y. baby purees? as if we’d do anything else.) at first, i figured we’d get an arm’s reach co-sleeper. the baby can be on my side of the bed, so i can just reach over & scoop it up for nighttime snacks, but it wouldn’t actually be IN the bed, which is a morass of ever-shifting blankets & pillows & adults. i am seriously the thrashiest sleeper, & my side of the bed looks like a hobo encampment that’s been hit by a tornado EVERY morning. it’s even worse now that i have the snoogle. it’s just really not a safe space for a baby. with the baby in its own zone, maybe it will have a fighting chance at staying alive.

but then i talked to some co-sleeping mamas who sleep with their babies in the bed. they say your sleep habits change when you have a baby & you’re always aware of where it is, even if you’re asleep. one mama i know said she used to be a really thrashy sleeper too, but now she sleeps through the night in one safe position so her baby can sleep next to her. i was like, “okay, sounds legit. maybe that will work for me too.” & then i heard about the humanity co-sleeper, which is a kind of mat thing with a pillow built on to the side to keep the baby from slipping between the mattress & the wall. i decided we should do that.

but after a few weeks, it suddenly occurred to me that babies nap a lot during the day. where would the baby nap if all we have is this weird mat/body pillow thing for an adult bed? once the baby can roll, it’s not really safe to leave it in the bed without pillow forts on all sides, & before the baby can roll, it risks being smothered by our mattress pad. plus i don’t want to be stuck in the bedroom keeping an eye on the baby while it naps. sure, sometimes i’ll be napping too, but sometimes i’m going to want to seize the opportunity to brush my teeth or pay some bills or something. so we went back to the co-sleeper idea.

& suddenly today i remembered that some people (including a mama i know, so i have no idea how i forgot that this was an option) buy regular cribs & turn them into side cars for their beds! duh! this is fucking genius! it addresses all the problems! baby has its own nighttime sleep zone but is still right there for feedings. it can go down for naps there & will only require a pillow fort on one side. it can stay in the sidecar until it’s kind of old–but the arm’s reach co-sleeper isn’t safe to use as a co-sleeper anymore once the baby can sit up (like six months-ish). it can be used as a play yard then, but obviously that’s not really where you want your baby to be sleeping at night. jared’s pretty handy & can probably transform a cheapo crib off craig’s list into a side car. i’m so stoked! i was looking at dropping like $200 for a co-sleeper we’d only be able to use for like maybe a year, tops–& that’s if we get a really lazy baby. we can find a used crib for a fraction of the price & use it twice as long!

i mean, part of the reason i want to do all this co-sleeping babywearing breastfeeding baby food-making natural birth stuff is because it’s the CHEAP way to have a baby. if you don’t have painkillers at birth, you don’t have to pay an anesthesiologist. if you breastfeed, you don’t have to shell out money for formula. cloth diapers require an upfront investment, but over time, they are WAY cheaper than using a fresh disposable diaper every time your baby “visits the office,” as jared puts it, & cloth diapered babies are sometimes toilet trained sooner too. a sling is way cheaper than a stroller. mashing up some bananas or avocados for the baby is a lot less expensive than buying bananas & avocados pre-mashed in glass jars.

there’s this natural parenting community thing i read on the interwebz, & one of the women involved posted an article last night about how a new study shows that vaginally birthed babies have higher IQs than cesarean-birthed babies. i thought it was so totally stupid. like, “sorry you didn’t get into college, junior, i just could not dilate for the life of me!” i recently took an IQ test & scored 138–that’s “smarter” than 99.5% of all other people. so smart, in fact, that i can tell you that IQ tests have been shown to be culturally biased & not predictive of successful life outcomes. just look at me, i dropped out of high school. maybe it’s because i was born via cesarean–i’m smart, but not smart enough to do anything with it. maybe there’s some benefit to pureeing your own baby food & toting baby around in a sling, but i don’t subscribe to this whole “parenting choices determine a child’s success or failure in life”. ultimately the kid will start making its own decisions. i’m just trying to do what i can to mitigate the beating my checking account is taking in the meantime.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

4 thoughts on “bumpwatch terror alert: 17 weeks, part two

  1. I think it’s important to see perspectives on why someone might employ natural birthing & child-rearing techniques other than the sometimes arrogant, superficial, politicized reasons for doing so. I’m loving these posts on your experiences as a pregnant lady! I’ll be excited to read more (when the time comes) about baby signing & how those cloth diapers end up working in practical terms. My aunt used cloth diapers & there was definitely a silent stigma (spoken only in covert, disbelieving looks) of it being gross & old-world, like why doesn’t she get with the times. As an adult I see that it was a practical matter of cost, & maybe some stern ideas about the waste of disposable diapers, although with subsequent pregnancies & higher income she definitely took up disposables.

    1. re: this part: “the sometimes arrogant, superficial, politicized reasons”. i agree that sometimes “natural parenting” types can be really overbearing. BUT it’s worth remembering that more traditional (or however you want to phrase it) parents can be the same way, just in reverse. i think that natural parenting/AP types get more shit for being loud about their opinions, but it’s not unusual to hear rude comments about how breastfeeding beyond a year or even six months is “disgusting” & speculation that the mama “is getting some sexual thrill from it”. or that women who have natural childbirth are “stupid” for subjecting themselves to the pain when there are medications that can take care of it. or that cloth diapers are “disgusting” & “even more wasteful for the environment because of the water used to wash them” (even though 20 gallons of water are required for the processing a manufacture of each individual disposable diaper).

      i mean, ultimately, it’s just a question of priorities. sometimes i look at women making different choices than me & i wonder how they could possibly be so financially wasteful. but i’m sure some of them are looking at me & wondering why i want to be enslaved to my baby. some people are happy to justify the extra expense of something like disposables by pointing out the time saved in just getting to throw the poop away. me? i’d rather save the money.

      i’ve definitely already started getting crap from people. a bunch of people judged the fuck out of me when i said i was going to use convertible car seats from birth & transfer baby to a sling while we’re out & about. they were like, “OMG your baby will fall asleep in its car seat & wake up for the transfer & scream & you’ll want to die because you’ll have a screaming baby at the grocery store.” so…i should keep the baby in a big plastic bucket & either lug it around on my arm even though it weighs twenty pounds with a newborn in it, or put it in the cart & not have room for groceries? it just doesn’t make sense to me. one person even went so far as to insist that convertible car seats aren’t safe for tiny babies (even though the seat i bought says it will fit a baby at five pounds, & most full-term newborns weigh more than that at birth) & that i must not love my baby to be taking risks with its safety like that. i quote: “if you get into an accident & your baby dies because you didn’t want to spend an extra $100 on an infant car seat, you only have yourself to blame.” sheesh.

    2. oh, & i also admit that i sometimes have a knee-jerk judgmental reaction about people who won’t even TRY breastfeeding. TONS of women give it a whirl & then convince themselves that their supply is too low to keep baby healthy (highly unlikely–one statistic i saw said that only 3% of all women really have legit supply issues, but 90% of women who quit breastfeeding say that that’s why they quit) or it’s just too hard & uncomfortable to sort out baby’s latch & stop breastfeeding from being painful. this all bums me out because these are problems that can be addressed via perseverance, but…they tried for a minute, anyway. but the women who refuse to try at all…i don’t get it.

      i’m in this internet due date club thing & one woman was asking for formula recommendations because she wasn’t planning to breastfeed even once. one person gently suggested that she research colostrum & at least try to give her babies (she’s expecting twins) a couple of feedings before her milk comes in. but she was like, “no, sorry, i’ve made my decision.” more power to her for flying in the face of what most people recommend–it’s her body, they’re her babies, etc. it’s just a choice that is so counter to my intuition that i have a hard time wrapping my head around it.

  2. My mom got a lot of shit from people outside of our family (& culture) for having all of our ears pierced as babies/toddlers. A woman even walked by at the mall while my (about 1 year old) sister was getting her ears pierced, & commented angrily that my mom was a terrible mother, torture, blah blah blah. I always think back on that because 1) I guess I can kind of see why that might be a shocking sight if you’re not used to it or weren’t expecting it, 2) It’s legitimate to have feelings about inflicting what is arguably unnecessary pain on a child for cosmetic reasons, & 3) how could that woman have been serious? Was she next going to post up at a hospital while infants were being circumcised, vocalizing her judgment on those parents, too? I bring this up because how one lives their life or raises children is so subjective, specific, cultural, etc. that it’s exhausting to have everyone constantly scrutinizing the way other people make choices, & even going so far as to speak out & call someone else a bad parent to their face. My mom also stopped breast feeding my brother at 2 1/2, not because it wasn’t working for them just fine, but because everyone else couldn’t shut up about how strange it was for her to do so, & she didn’t feel like she could be present in polite company anymore & engage in breastfeeding him as well.

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