"Huge Sacrifice" and "Dream Home" Shouldn't be in the Same Sentence
by Leigh Hope Fountain 6:39 AM 0 comments
A friend and fellow bloggess, Aly Walansky, posted this article on her Facebook page the yesterday - and she asked, "Is this article meant to be as ridiculous and hilarious as it reads? Am I just an evil human?"
No Aly, you are by no means evil. You are an unspoiled realist who understands the absurdity of this story. Sadly, I don't believe it was intended to be even remotely ridiculous or hilarious, and it makes me happy that I 'sacrificed' my Elle Décor subscription not that long ago - in an effort to save money because my husband and I can barely afford to have one child and yet we are about to embark on that little adventure.
This woman is clearly beyond deluded. Living off of canned goods for an entire year and buying consignment? Oh holy heavens, no! The horror! The sacrifice... and all in the name of having a "luxury dream home and only two children!" This woman clearly has no understanding whatsoever of the sacrifices that people make every single day just to afford the basic necessities, let alone keep a roof over their heads. This whole article is so preposterous I almost don't even know where to begin.
And so I guess I'll begin with me, because I think I kind-of have an interesting perspective here. Despite having been raised upper-middle class in the San Fernando Valley in a rather large and beautiful home with a pool, stunning views and a driveway to house the latest luxury vehicles, I watched my parents lose virtually everything on more than one occasion, and by the time I went off to New York University on a partial scholarship, I was informed that I would basically need to work full-time while in school full-time in order to afford it. Sacrifice? I don't effing think so. Reality is more like it. Despite unforeseen financial circumstances and one hell of a recession, I still got to go to NYU - a prestigious private university on the other side of the country. While we were not wealthy, I still benefited from what can only be described as considerable privilege. There was no sacrifice.
When I got married, my husband and I both started new jobs and bought a house within two weeks of the wedding. It was a lot to take on all at once, but we were incredibly excited. Never in a million years did we see the Great Recession coming, or we wouldn't have bought a house to begin with, but lo-and-behold it did - and we managed to lose our modest little home that we put plenty of hard-earned money, blood, sweat and tears into. In fact, we spent the last Christmas in that house with no heat and no presents under a tree we didn't have - just a ton of boxes packed and ready to go as we had succumbed to a short sale, and a lot of unknowns in our lives. We had planned differently - but as they say, "The best laid plans..."
Anyway, we picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off and we started over. We moved into a tiny one bedroom apartment. We had about 50 garage sales prior to the move to empty the contents of a 3 bedroom house... a house that I thought we'd eventually have a baby in.
Still, I didn't see this as a sacrifice because I saw value in the numerous lessons it taught us, like preparing for the worst, learning how to live with a lot less and prioritization. I get the distinct impression that this woman has little to no understanding of those things.
A few years later, my husband and I decided we needed a significant change. One of two things would happen. We'd either get me knocked up and stay in Los Angeles for a few more years, or I'd manage to find a job in another city and we'd make a big move in the hopes that our careers would change for the better. (They had sort-of stagnated in L.A. and we spent a lot of time wondering how we'd afford a child, let alone ever make any progress on any front there). I ended up with a job offer in NYC and we spent every last dime we had to move. Little did I know that another major life lesson was on the horizon. I'd be fired after just three weeks.
Sacrifice? Again, no. Life lesson? YES! It was terrifying, but ultimately great. My husband was finishing up a freelance gig, but now I had no job in one of the most expensive cities in the world - and I was supposed to be the "stable" one. Yet again, we figured things out! I networked my arse off and despite numerous panic attacks, got interviews and landed a good job. For a while, we barely had enough money to feed ourselves and our two pups, let alone stay on top of our mounting bills. We borrowed money where we could, I sold jewelry and clothes, and John sold memorabilia to make ends meet. Sacrifice? I guess... though I imagine it pales in comparison to the sacrifices some people make in order to feed their families - like working 2+ jobs and barely sleeping just to get by.
This woman with her luxury dream home and her two children who claims to have made a "huge sacrifice" barely knows about the meaning of that word. I barely know about the meaning of that word, though I suspect I might have a better inkling than she does.
I am 5 1/2 months pregnant, and there isn't a day that goes by where I don't worry at least a little about how we will afford things for our one child. We have cut back or eliminated everything we can in an effort to save. We are planning to move into a less expensive apartment when our lease is up next year. We know our little lady will not be going to private school - nor will she be living in a "dream home." My husband and I never took a honeymoon, nor have we ever gone on a full-fledged vacation in the 11 years we've been together - and we don't see one in our near-future. We have spent 5 years getting back on our feet - and still are. We don't buy unnecessary items, we cook virtually every meal at home and we feel guilty about how we don't have disposable income to run off to California and Michigan to visit our parents. I consider getting manicures and keeping regular hair appointments the ultimate luxuries.
Nevertheless, I consider us blessed to be where we are today. We live in one of the nicest neighborhoods in Brooklyn. We have made some great new friends. We love the life we've set up for ourselves here and are very excited that for the first time in our lives, we feel good about bringing one new little life into this world. We know it won't be easy, but we'll make it work - because that's just what you do.
This woman feels that she has made a "huge sacrifice" by opting to only have two children and to keep her luxury dream home in lieu of a third child that she now wants. This is not a sacrifice. This is a choice that she made to live in a house that for most people, will always be a dream and not a reality. I would venture to guess that this woman could manage to "afford" a third child if she really truly wanted to, by actually giving up a few things here and there, but she doesn't. She has prioritized the luxury dream home over a third child. There is no huge sacrifice. End of story.
The Mothership of Diaper Bags Just Arrived on My Doorstep!
by Leigh Hope Fountain 7:07 AM 0 comments
I've recently started the daunting task of creating a baby registry. Little did I know when I launched into this endeavor, that it would raise about a zillion questions that I simply don't have answers to. (Don't get me started on baby bottle sizes, nipples, inserts and materials, or the 50 billion different types of blankets you apparently need for receiving, swaddling, burping, shielding your naked breasts from view while feeding, etc.). It's exhausting.
Anyway, when it came to diaper bags - here's what I knew before I even began looking:
- It needs to be lightweight.
- I need to be able to cram enough stuff into it to make it more valuable than a backpack or my regular handbag. In fact, it should replace any/all other bags. Who wants to carry more than one bag? If being pregnant has taught me anything thus far, it's that pragmatism and simplicity are key.
- It needs lots of pockets and compartments for the organizationally inept, like me.
- Ideally, it will be black so it matches everything and doesn't get dirty easily. (I live in NYC, things get dirty quickly here).
- It needs to be versatile and fit on the back of the stroller.
- My husband has to like it since he'll be pushing the little kiddo around a lot.
- A crossbody would be frickin' awesome for when I'm not using the stroller because then my hands are free for I dunno... things like the baby?
A Skip Hop diaper bag - but not just any Skip Hop diaper bag - their new Duet 2-in-1 Diaper Tote and ohmygoodness this thing is like the mothership of diaper bags!
It's actually two bags in one, as the name suggests - a giant, lightweight faux leather (pleather) tote with cute perforated details and a durable nylon crossbody insert that can be removed and worn alone or strapped to the back of the stroller. In fact, both bags can be fastened to the stroller. It has a lightweight changing pad and numerous other bells and whistles, (see below) that already have me convinced that this will be my dedicated go-to for traipsing around the city. It's the perfect day-to-day carryall and the perfect carry-on for plane and train travel. YAY. One registry problem solved, about 50 to go.
Here's an overview of what this phenomenal bag contains:
- Four exterior bottle pockets
- Two interior pockets
- Dedicated cell phone pocket
- Innovative turnlock secures the Crossbody inside the Tote
- The Crossbody has zip top closure
- The Tote’s clip closure can also hold keys or toys when not in use
- Adjustable shoulder strap clips to either bag
- Both bags are equipped with stroller straps
- Includes cushioned changing pad
- Size (inches) 19l x 6.5w x 14h
Thank you Skip Hop. XO
No, I Don't Feel Her Kicking So Please, for the Love of God - Stop Asking!
by Leigh Hope Fountain 12:45 PM 0 comments
At around 18 weeks, everyone and their mothers started asking me if I'd felt any kicking yet. I hadn't felt a thing - which of course, sounded the alarms and so I did what any standard neurotic would do... I Googled.
I must've scoured about 30 websites, stem to stern, all of which said that most first timers feel the baby move anywhere from 18 - 22 weeks, some later.
I breathed a sigh of relief, although I was greatly looking forward to the day when I'd feel her start moving in there, seeing as how I am constantly worried about the prospect of something going horribly, unspeakably wrong. Feeling her move would be a pretty good indicator that everything is A okay and likewise, I wish for this pretty much all day every day.
A few weeks later, I was starting to feel anxious again. I still hadn't felt anything and friends of mine who are pregnant and due within mere days of me already had.
WTF!?! Had my worst fears been realized? After what seemed like an endless weekend, (I was battling a cold along with my neurotic fears), I decided to call the OBGYN to see if I could get my next sono bumped up. Once again, they accommodated me, and gave me an appointment for the next day. That evening, as I lay on the couch, I felt something kind-of funny. Sort of like a little tickle, or fluttery feeling... something. Wasn't really sure what it was. Hoped it might be Little G, but I wasn't convinced. When I went to bed, I tried to lay perfectly still in the hopes that I'd feel it again - and I did. In fact, I felt it repeatedly for a few minutes. Nevertheless I still wasn't completely convinced that it was Little G - and was happy to be going to the doc.
And there, on the table with that all-too-familiar goo all over my belly, I was completely elated to hear her widdle bitty heartbeat again - and to watch her move around like a lunatic. Why couldn't I feel that? I wondered. She is, after all, pretty much the size of a spaghetti squash. Shouldn't I be able to feel that?
Anyway, they reassured me that what I felt may have been her, but that many women confuse gas with movement at this stage - and that it was still pretty early for me to be feeling anything at all. They even question whether or not their patients are actually feeling the baby move or just experiencing some gastrointestinal issues - but of course they just nod in agreement. As for me, they said that I would likely start feeling more activity, (that wouldn't be confused for anything else), in a week or two. They were quite confident about it actually, so I left feeling about a zillion times better.
That feeling lasted all of a week.
Despite trying on numerous occasions, I have yet to feel that fluttery sensation again, or anything else for that matter - and again, I'm starting to feel anxious.
Maybe one of those at-home Doppler thingies isn't such a bad idea after all!
I've Googled again - to ensure that the lack of feeling is still within normal range:
21 weeks don't feel baby moving...
22 weeks don't feel baby moving...
22 weeks pregnant how to get baby to move...
And about 25 or so other permutations of the same paranoid thinking, hoping that one query might deliver the magical mother lode of data on the subject that would either enable me to rest easy or send me running to the ER.
No such luck. This time, I found a few sites that said it's normal not to feel anything until 23 or even 24 weeks, telling me not to panic.
Easy for them to say.
It doesn't help that I have a friend with a 5 month-old who didn't feel anything until about the 7 or 8-month mark of her pregnancy. If that becomes me, I will almost assuredly be institutionalized.
And so it goes.
I'm thrilled to be distracted by work at work - but horrified to come home to summer television programming - which is virtually nonexistent, because I have way too much time on my hands to sit around and worry about why I'm really not feeling anything at all.
It's why I'm writing this at 5 a.m. knowing that any attempt to get that last hour of sleep will be futile anyhow and perhaps getting this down on paper will somehow help.
This Woman Didn't Like Her Own Child
by Leigh Hope Fountain 11:07 AM 0 comments
I read this article right before going to sleep the other night and wound up in tears.
Why? Well, a handful of reasons actually.
1. Fear. Part of me has NO clue what on earth I'll do with a child I cannot relate to, so when I first started reading this I was wondering how I'd feel if I were in this woman's shoes. The more I read though, the more I felt there was no chance in hell I'd have such an adverse reaction to a child who did things differently. If anything, I think I'd encourage it. As I read further, I was horrified about her attitude towards and dislike of her first daughter and instant adoration of her second.
They're different people. They can't all be carbon copies of you! Get over yourself. But even as I thought those thoughts, part of me wondered how I'd react if I had a child that I truly couldn't relate to on any level whatsoever - and felt guilty for a split-second about being such a judgy little bitch, even before I'm technically a mother myself.
So, I tried to understand. In a way, I was relieved when this mother discovered that there was a reason for her child's seemingly 'abnormal' behavior, It turns out her child had a growth hormone deficiency which actually accounted for a variety of her child's mood, appetite and growth-related issues. But what if absolutely nothing had been clinically 'wrong' with her child? What if that were simply just the way her child was? She was relieved to have a diagnosis for a condition that was treatable - but what if it wasn't? At first she felt relief - but then she felt guilty because her daughter was suffering. What about feeling guilty about not liking your child - regardless of the reasons why?
The more I read, the more I found that I was hard-pressed to sympathize with her. It's not like her kid was exhibiting signs of becoming a potential serial killer down the line. Her kid just wasn't as social and bubbly and strong as her other child. So what? (There's that judgy bitch in me again). But here's the thing... I don't think I will be this judgy when it comes to my own child because she'll be my child. Does that mean she can do no wrong? Of course not! But if she's just different, regardless of the reasons why, I will embrace her no matter what. Even if she is different from me in every imaginable way, I can't imagine feeling repelled by her as this woman did. Besides, if she's vastly different from me that will probably be a good thing, because I'm no picnic.
2. The husband's letter at the end. How this man defends his wife is an exceptionally beautiful thing - and it made me feel guilty for judging her all over again. Ugh. I can't win!
3. I'm pregnant. I cry a lot more now.
*Side note - the pic has nothing to do with this blog. Just a cute onesie that is now on my wishlist for Little G.
by Leigh Hope Fountain 6:28 AM 0 comments
It's an annoying New York phenomenon, (among many) - men taking up too much subway seating in order to spread their legs and let the boys breathe. It's aptly referred to as "manspreading" and even the MTA has tried to tackle the issue in its latest ad campaign to promote courtesy and discourage bad habits, including keeping your backpack on when the train is crowded, eating, primping, etc. The campaign was launched earlier this year and since, I don't think I've seen less of any of the above offenses - including manspreading. Let me be clear though - manspreading does not include those who cannot or do not wish to cross their legs and leave a moderate few inches between their knees so they're not touching. Manspreading refers to those who have their legs splayed in a rather obscene and unnecessary fashion, much to the vexation of everyone else around them.
As my belly grows and I wonder how on earth I'm even going to get up and down the subway stairs once I hit the 7 month mark or so, I also find myself wondering how I will react when people fail to give up a seat for me when I am quite noticeably pregnant - and how much more I will resent the ball sprawl epidemic that doesn't seem to be waning.
I'm just about 5 months now, and while I'm definitely showing, I guess I'm not surprised that there might still be an internal debate amongst those sizing me up on the train. I suppose there's a chance that they think I'm just fat - and developing one hell of a beer belly.
That said, I totally don't blame anyone for not wanting to assume I'm pregnant and offer me their seat only to have me angrily refuse. My colleague did this once and to cover it up, she informed the horrified woman that she was simply getting off at the next stop and did so - even though that wasn't her plan. I probably would've done the same thing. I too have occasionally eyeballed someone and wondered... Is she? Better safe than sorry and stay quiet, right? Like I said, I get it.
BUT... there comes a time when it's pretty damn apparent that someone is clearly with child and when it's time to get up off your lazy ass, (if you're not elderly, injured, disabled or pregnant yourself,) and give up your seat. This is also when I have a zero tolerance policy for manspreading - especially for the hardcore offenders... the ones who aren't merely airing out their sweaty sack but those who look as if they're intentionally trying to take up as much space as they possibly can just for shits and giggles.
Look, I know I don't have balls, (the literal kind anyway) and I can only imagine what it must be like to house those things inside boxer briefs and pants on an overly-crowded subway in the summer when it's sticky and disgusting and everyone's in a foul fucking mood and your balls just want some air... but you know what? You don't need a three foot wingspan for that and if someone else needs a seat, (especially the aforementioned elderly, injured, disabled or pregnant), I'm sure your needy 'nads will survive in a slightly more contained space temporarily.
Anyway, lucky for me I'm in my second trimester and not nearly as exhausted as I was before, so I actually don't mind standing for now. In fact, I actually enjoy assessing the tension amongst fellow passengers who wonder what's up when they size me up.
I am guessing that in another couple of months however, I will be doing everything in my power to keep from getting into fistfights if I can't get a seat on my near hour-long commute to and from work. And manspreaders, you'll be my first target. Be warned.
I've Got a Bridge to Sell Ya!
by Leigh Hope Fountain 11:19 AM 0 comments
Yep - I knew it. Eating your placenta post-birth is not only disgusting, it's pointless and possibly harmful too.
Not long ago, I was part of a conversation wherein the women I was with asked if I'd be eating mine.
I said, "Um, NO."
They asked why.
I explained that it seemed utterly revolting to me, to which they said, "Well you can take it in pill form."
But why would you? The placenta is there to house your growing baby, provide it with select nutrients and filter out the harmful components. Why would you eat the filter? That CAN'T be good for you.
In any case, I suspected it was a bad idea and as it turns out, I was right, or so finds a group of researchers at Northwestern University anyway.
Just because something is trendy doesn't mean it's good.
by Leigh Hope Fountain 10:26 AM 0 comments
As if we pregnant ladies don't have enough B.S. to contend with already:
Apparently blood type and pregnancy can be two major attractants to the blood-sucking pests, which is very bad news for me.
I was already a mosquito magnet pre-pregnancy. I never knew my blood type before, but suspected I was type O because of how quickly mosquitoes flock to me when summer strikes. Last year, I think I counted about 45 bites in total during the prime months. (No - not all at once, but I'm sure I had at least 20 simultaneously at some point). And, despite my husband's pleading not to scratch, I always do, exacerbating the itchiness and creating giant red welts all over my pasty white skin. Not pretty.
Anyway, given the seemingly endless onslaught of blood tests they run when you manage to get knocked up, my suspicions were confirmed - I have O+ blood. Now that I'm pregnant, I'm guessing hanging out in the backyard might not be such a good idea this year, which is a shame, because not too long ago, we purchased a picnic table and umbrella so that we could actually take advantage of the fact that we have a backyard in Brooklyn.
Fortunately for me, we haven't had a very wet spring, so summer may not be as brutal this year. Unfortunately, we need the rain, so wishing it away is a bit selfish.
I hope the mosquitoes know that messing with a pregnant woman might not be in their best interest.
And here's a random photo that John took of Anna and me that I just feel like sharing: