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Celebrating Baby - with a limited social circle

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi, everyone!  I've been lurking since I found out I was pregnant, but I should really get it together and introduce myself.  I had 3 losses in the eight months preceding this pregnancy (11w, 9w, and 4w) and so I was pretty cautious about joining in.  At this point, however, I'm well into the second trimester (23 weeks!) and I'm working to shed my residual fear and focus on our happiness and excitement.  (And bond with this baby, who's going to stick and be born and live with us.  Right?)

 

My name is Shannon, and I turned 39 earlier this week.  I have a 14-old-daughter from my first marriage.  DH and I have been together almost 9 years.  We always wanted at least one more child, but we dealt with one stressful financial situation/job situation/etc. after another.  All three of us -- DH, DD, and myself -- are very, very happy to be expecting this one (a girl!) around mid-June.  After going kind of hyper-medical with recurrent loss testing and treatment, we're planning a homebirth.  As I mentioned before, I'm trying to shake off my fears and just glory in this pregnancy.  I've been outfitting my birthing area, making cloth diapers, re-reading boks on breastfeeding and attachment parenting -- in general, just letting myself believe this will have a happy outcome.

 

I'd love to get your ideas on how to help this feel more "real" (ie., less doubtful) and celebrate this baby.  This process isn't just about me, but also about DH and DD, who lived through the losses right alongside me.  Our social circle is pretty limited, and sometimes I feel a little down that few other people are excited about (or even aware of) this baby on the way.  DH's parents and my mother have all passed away (and my father lives in an another state and is wrapped up in his own financial and health issues).  DH and I both work from home, so we don't have casual coworker friendships.  I left my previous job when my first miscarriage was impending, and didn't stay connected with anyone over that horrible year of losses. 

 

Some things we're doing:

 

  • I don't really hang out on Facebook, but DH does, and I think he plans to "out" us next Wednesday (when we reach 24 weeks).  Most of his friends are out of state, and many have never met me.  However, I'm hoping they'll give him lots of love and hoopla as a first-time birth-dad to be.

 

  • I've asked my daughter to hold a shower, and she's getting excited about the planning:  most of the attendees will be her teen friends (so a big focus of the celebration will be her becoming a big sister), plus their parents/families (we're pretty close to one family, and at least mildly friendly with another), plus two other couples we know as a family.  Obviously, the focus won't be on gifts, but just on happy anticipation.  I think DD plans for everyone to decorate onesies/shirts/socks.

 

  • Hmmm -- I may suggest that DD announce on Facebook as well.  We've kept everything under wraps for so long that the whole thing feels kind of illicit!  She has a lot of extended family on her birth father's side who should be happy for her, even though the baby won't be related to them in the same way.

 

  • I've started wearing maternity clothes, after getting by with oversized tops and skirts.

 

  • I'm giving in to the urge to "acquire" a few things (although, not much to buy for a breastfeeding, cosleeping baby) -- we've laid in some cute blankets, clothes, a diaper bag.

 

  • I'm making diapers and some simple clothes.

 

  • I'm thinking about starting a pregnancy/baby book on Mixbook or some such.  We have lots of US pics (from going a little hyper-medical).  I'd also include pictures of the family from this pregnancy -- our trip to Las Vegas, the concerts we've been to, etc.  I think once the baby is a toddler/little kid, she'd love to hear about all the places she went and things she did while still inside me.

 

  • I'm going to join the bead swap!  smile.gif

 

Any other ideas?  How do you revel in your pregnancy?  How do you encourage your DH and older children to "own" the experience?

 

 

post #2 of 8

Welcome.gif mama!  I don't have much experience with baby announcements, hope everything falls perfectly into place. I am sure it will. 

post #3 of 8

Welcome.gifand Congratulations on the new baby growing inside you!

 

I love all of your ideas so far about reveling in your pregnancy! I also like that you wanna do it some more! :)

 

I think the idea of your DD hosting the shower and making it be partly about her new role as a big sister is fantastic. Is there anything you feel like you can do to expand upon that idea? My DD is only 4 so I've been reading books to her about babies and talking to her about how babies have to learn how to do everything. So now she tells everyone what she's going to do with the baby (sing to him, and play peek-a-boo) and what she's going to teach the baby (how to walk and talk and play) We've also gone through her room, and old boxes of both her and my baby things to find things to give the new baby. (a set of blocks she never plays with any more, a few of her old soft books, some stuffed animals, some old receiving blankets, etc.) Also, finally we've watched a ton of homebirth videos so she knows what to expect, and we also spend daily time talking to the baby together. One idea for your DD is maybe when you guys are making stuff at the baby shower, you can also make her some "big sister" gear. A shirt may or may not go over well, but maybe she could have her own diaper bag or something for outings that she could bedazzle or decorate. And, I'd say she'd be old enough to babywear. Why not get her her own sling to decorate? Even if she just uses it around the house while you make dinner, I think it would make her feel special to have something of her own that facilitates her own bonding experience with her little brother or sister.

 

As far as DH, I think encouraging him to "out" himself and your family on Facebook as expecting is a good one. There just aren't a lot of man-centered ideas when it comes to preparing for the new baby. Personally, my DH has been on a nesting spree in the nursery. He's replacing all of the trim, painting, and replacing the light in there. He gets a silly grin on his face and says things like "I'm doing this for the baby!" You've talked a lot about what you're doing and making for the baby, but is there something you can involve DH in so he feels like he is part of the preparation process? Oh, I've also learned that in my area (but not anywhere else that I've ever heard of) that the guys get together and have a "diaper party" for expectant fathers. Supposedly it's like a regular party, with just men invited and the "price of admission" is a pack of diapers. While I don't think this is something that we'll do, I do think it's a neat idea to have the guys get together and celebrate an impending birth. Maybe at the shower when you have the families you do know together, you can casually encourage the men of the families to share something about fatherhood.

 

And for you, I think all of your ideas are wonderful. You seem like you're really focused now on enjoying the experience now, and making sure the whole family gets into it as well. I really like how you said you are outfitting your birthing area, and I wanna know more about that if you'd like to share. Any sort of pampering and things are always a good idea. Also, any sort of emotional work is a good idea. For me, I've been wearing some of my clothes that I thought looked dumpy on me before pregnancy, that now make me feel cute because they show off my baby bump. DD and I went and got our hair cut at a salon the other day. I've also been making an effort to get out and go places once a week that are just for fun and nothing else. Whether it's a walk around the park with DD, or going to go window shop, or go on a date with DH, I get dressed "cute" and go out and do it. I make sure it's something that's going to make ME feel good, even if I'm going with other people. Additionally, I've been reading a ton of books on pregnancy, birth, and parenting. Yeah, this is my second and I should know what I'm doing, but reading all of those reinforces my own beliefs, gives me new tricks and techniques, and makes me feel as if I'm mentally preparing for the new baby. Also, DH and I did all of the birth art from the book Birthing from Within and I think that helped the two of us work together to emotionally prepare, and share our thoughts about the baby, birth, family and all kinds of stuff.

 

Things that I am looking forward to are the bead swap, making birth affirmation cards, doing a belly cast, figuring out the whole baby shower thing, getting and making more "things" for the baby, and starting to have my midwife appointments at the house.

post #4 of 8

I'm so glad I'm not the only one that waited so long to out myself!  I also have a very small social circle, so it's really been hard on us.  It's not for the same reasons, but I've had a lot of my own fears though this pregnancy.  It's made it hard to feel ready for the birth.

 

I think all of your ideas are fantastic.  I wish I had a few of my own to add.

 

Congrats, mama!

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Oh, good ideas!  I lurve the idea of a baby carrier for DD14.  She's been ogling some fabrics at http://www.spoonflower.com/welcome but hasn't come up with a project to use them.  They're a little pricey but would be worth it for something special.  Maybe we can make a simple ring sling. . . .

 

Also, you reminded me:  she recently picked out a "little sister" shirt for the baby, and complained that there were no "big sister" shirts in her size.  I'll look into getting one online (which could then be jazzed up by her friends) or simply decorating a plain one for her.

 

I have Birthing from Within but haven't broached any of the projects with DH.  Hmmm. . . .

 

I think I need to share more books with him and let them be "his" to make suggestions from.  That worked really well with The Happiest Baby on the Block.  I gave it to him to read first, so he would be the "expert" on its babysoothing techniques, and could school me.  That was a complete success and made me realize that, because I have had a baby before and he hasn't (and, well, I'm the mother!), he sometimes sees me as the expert and himself as completely inexpert.  I loved how he got into it and started imagining himself in baby-soothing scenarios.

post #6 of 8

Is there a way you can get involved in any mom groups, especially other moms who will have babies the same age?  Maybe birthing classes, prenatal yoga, is there a group of moms you could connect with who are also planning homebirths through your midwives?  MOMS Club or Wholistic Moms or LLL?  You can go to these groups and get to know people before the baby gets here, for yourself and so you have some social support when you are raising the little one.  Even if you don't feel like a certain group works for you, who knows, you may meet some great people!  I lived far way from any family or friends when I was pregnant with my first, literally knew no one except coworkers, and so when I had baby and quit that job I was pretty alone.  Wasn't till I met a few women at LLL that I started to realize how much I needed other mamas, and now, 6 years later, they are my amazing support system, and our kids are best friends :)

 

I am very excited for you and wish you all the best!  I am also going through this pregnancy after a loss, and it's only recently that I have let myself revel in it as well! It's a great feeling to finally get to be excited about it!

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

A little update -- DH and DD announced on Facebook yesterday, and have gotten lots of good wishes.  I'm happy they're both getting some acknowledgement and happy responses.

 

Yellow73 -- your idea about seeking out other parents is a good one.  I plan to attend a few LLL meetings once I hit the 3rd trimester.  DH and I will also be attending a modified Bradley class sponsored by our midwives -- hoping we'll meet other like-minded people there as well.

 

MamaInTheDesert -- You asked about outfitting our birthing area.  I'll post pictures as it gets more pulled together, but here are a few notes:  I plan to birth in our bedroom, which has double doors connecting it to the living room.  With the doors open, those two combined rooms give me a good amount of space.  The bedroom itself is pretty big, and awkwardly sized for daily living (long rectangle), but it'll work great for setting up a birthing pool.  I cleared out some junk so we could fit in two short Billy bookcases (Ikea) and a Hemnes dresser (Ikea) for baby stuff.  I also added lamps on top of them, since that end of the rectangle was a little dim.  We can choose how many lights to have on at once, so we can take it from dim to well-lit.

 

I haven't come across any "birth art" that resonates with me, but I'll keep looking.  On top of one of the bookshelves, I've arranged pair of my teen daughter's baby shoes, a silver baby cup that belonged to my mother-in-law (who passed away about 18 months ago), and some rocks painted by my mother (who passed away last month).  My mother and I were estranged (which carries its own set of regrets and baggage) and I didn't really have anything from her; my sister picked out these three rocks and sent them to me.  My mother would see animals within the rocks and then paint what she saw.  These three are painted with a baby rabbit, cat, and deer.  I'm thinking about them connecting me to my mother, and also thinking of them as a gift for the baby.  Likewise the cup.  The shoes are my DDs and I won't be giving them to the baby, but they remind me of DD's wonderful baby years; and also that I gave birth before and came out the other side. 

 

My daughter has also loaned her children's books to the new baby, and they're on one of the bookshelves, so that during labor I can remember reading them with her, and look forward to reading with the baby.  I plan to draw on my previous birth a lot in those moments of doubt.  I did it before and I can do it again.

 

No one in my family or circle seems to have birth photos, but they do have baby pictures.  I'm thinking about scrounging around for photos of my mother with me and my sister as babies, my mother-in-law with my husband, my stepmother with my stepbrother.  It could be good to remember that every baby (and therefore, every single person I know), was birthed by a woman.

post #8 of 8

I second the mommy groups/prenatal fitness classes. I'm away at school until my third trimester and don't have any other mamas/pregnant friends to talk to. I found my prenatal pilates class a great way to just be around other preggo ladies and talk about everything (kind of like this forum!), and had the side benefit of forcing me to exercise!

 

Also, it might sound lame and cheesy, but once or twice a week DH and I have started reading bedtime stories to my belly.. There's some evidence to suggest that baby will recognize the story (well, the sounds anyway) after its born. Maybe your daughter would like to do this too?

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