My Name Is ______ and I have Momnesia

So I have a confession to make, and no Foo Fighters it’s not that I’m your fool, because I am nobodies fool, besides my two daughters of course, but that’s not by choice. That’s called biology or chemistry— or science in general? Ah. You see what is happening? I heard that your brain actually shrinks during pregnancy and doesn’t repair immediately after baby. Some research says six months after, others say two years after—point is, Momnesia is a real thing. The theory I have about myself from having two kids within a two-year period is that my brain is now actually extra small because it never recovered the first time around. As a result, I have found myself increasingly dumber, stupider, denser- I can use all the synonyms in the world to try to soften the blow–but bottom line is I have become a complete idiot.

Take today as an example. My daughter and I do a Toddler and Me class, much like a nursery school class, but no separation—the way this mama likes it. I wear my three month old in the Bjorn to these classes. Anyway, it was a little chaotic getting out of the house per usual, loading and unloading my clan in and out of the car, and into class. Then I started to smell a familiar smell—a foul smell.

I pulled my toddler aside, stretched her hot pink leggings peaking into her diaper, and Bingo, just as I suspected, she had a poop.

“You got poopsies little one,” I said grabbing her little hand, intertwining our fingers–leading her towards my denim diaper bag.

“Poopy, poopy,poopy,” my toddler parroted while chanting in a circle.

I escorted her out of the classroom and down the hall, where we stopped to see Mocha the bunny—we both said “hop, hop” jumping up and down to greet him. We continued on, her saying “uppy” twice along the way, but really not wanting to be held after hoisting her up, my littlest still in the carrier—a lot going on. We eventually made it to the bathroom, me eyeing the changing table in solidarity—it was us against the toddler. I quickly swooped her up, checked to make sure her foot didn’t kick my three-month old in the process—and listened to her whine because nothing in this entire world is worse than a diaper change when you are 21 months old. Nothing!

In my peripheral I heard loud footsteps enter the bathroom and use the facilities. Then the faucet next to me turned on trickling water, drip dropping onto the bottom of the sink. I turned to acknowledge the woman next to me. The problem was—I was pretty sure that was not a woman—but who am I to judge? Maybe she was just against waxing. I mean, you should have seen me that day. Now, a normal human with a properly functioning brain would think, “oh damn, maybe I am in the wrong bathroom.” But no, I didn’t give it a second thought. The woman gave me a bizarre look and a nod, but I chalked it up to the made up songs I was singing to distract my daughter from diaper changing hell.

Only when we exited the bathroom and I saw the sign on the door in white lettering—Men—was when I finally realized “damn I was in the wrong bathroom.” And no, the row of urinals didn’t tip me off. It’s like my brain forgot that another gender existed and they have a separate bathroom. No wonder that man gave me a “WTF are you doing in here lady and waving at me like it’s no big deal” look.

Then even better, I was talking to a mother in my class who is due in March with twins, a boy and a girl.

“How are you feeling? Last week there was a man in our class whose wife has twins due in March as well! She wasn’t feeling well so she didn’t come to class.” I mused as I guided my daughter’s hand as she was scribbling with a green marker on blue construction paper. I looked up at her and she must have been thinking, moron, he was with the same kid I have been taking here every freaking week and he is my husband. But she politely said “that is my husband.”

“Awe your husband is so nice and my brain is officially shot. That I didn’t realize he was your husband and with sweet Jack (her son) is beyond me!” Talk about stupid! The teachers, everyone in the class, roared with laughter and then were making excuses for me: You are tired, you have a three-month old and a toddler, and it’s totally understandable. How I didn’t know it was the same kid, with the same name, is a mystery beyond me. Maybe those metal alloys from the UFO’s have the answer. Maybe not.

So here I am hoping that if we share our experiences, strength and hope with each other we can get through this incredibly dumb period in our lives together. Say it with me if this behavior applies to you as well: “My name is __________ and I have Momnesia. Pray for me.”

Applauds To Us Wannabe/Soon-to-be/ Mamas In ED Recovery

The moment I found out I was having my first baby I was beyond happy—my mind was on a cloud dancing, gangnam style, with my friends, the Care Bears. Anybody who longs for a child might feel this, but my joy was infused with such gratitude and relief that it is hard to put into words. I had thought I had completely ruined my body during my two decade long struggle with ED, but once I got my weight back to a healthy BMI and my period became regular, I was able to get pregnant.

“Oh my gosh, we are going to have a baby!” I shrieked, my initial reaction to seeing a positive result. I placed my hands over my mouth in disbelief. I am having a baby!

As excited as I was in that moment, once it sunk in, there was a part of me that was afraid that the weight gain would jeopardize my recovery. I’d finally found balance in my routines and eating and felt strong in my recuperation, and this was a curve ball. So here is some advice for a wannabe-mama/ mama-to-be in recovery who finds herself in a similar position:

1). How do I deal with my body changing?

I had some initial struggles with my rapid body changes: sudden huge boobs and out-of-control evolutions I had never experienced and could do nothing to affect. This is how I dealt with it. For starters, there were my half an hour workouts each day that helped keep me in shape and fueled me with “feel good” endorphins. Then there was another part of me, a much more rational and greater part that wanted a baby more than anything and knew, no matter what, I would be okay. I would make sure of it because my baby would need me to be. So if you find yourself struggling, remind yourself what is in your stomach-and why you are gaining weight in the first place–your incredible baby!

2). How do I cope with seeing the numbers go up on the scale?

Easy: Don’t look!

            When you are pregnant you are expected to gain a certain amount of weight. Every time you are at the OB’s office you will be weighed to make sure you are on track. I would advise that you stand backwards on the scale and let the professionals track your weight without you knowing. As long as you are on track, that’s all that matters. I know people without eating disorders who do this. I know that weighing myself is a trigger and I take no chances with triggers when I take into account the health of my child. That is why standing backwards and not knowing my number is a good solution for me.

It is very important to be upfront with your gynecologist about your eating disorder history and past. This may seem trivial, but with my first child, I received a document from my gynecologist with great news, but it had my weight on it, a trigger. I hadn’t seen a number in three years and I hate to admit it but that number haunted me. I couldn’t stop staring at it as the doctor was talking to me. To resolve this, I emailed my OB reminding her of my history/it would be better to not know the number as long as I am gaining healthily and the baby is doing great. She said no problem and that was that.

3). What helps you feel comfortable with your growing belly? 

The other issue I struggled with sometimes was my actual bump size/physical weight gain, not surprisingly. Sometimes I thought it looked cute, and other times I thought I looked chubby or like a “beluga whale”—more the latter honestly, which I am not proud of. I was carrying very side to side, so I just started looking pregnant around 28 weeks. I was waiting for “the bump” for so long, and once it came I was actually not that confident in it.

What helped a lot was that I had gotten a great maternity wardrobe that I felt comfortable and confident in. I would suggest everyone get clothes that fit and feel good, especially toward the end of pregnancy! It was helpful to invest in a maternity wardrobe, and it’s not a waste of money; I still wear the clothing postpartum. I also plan to have more kids, so they can definitely be recycled. It’s better to avoid all of your old clothes during this time. It can be a sting to your ego when your clothing starts to get tight and remind you that you are packing on the pounds.

4). Will I have some down days? What should I do?

Of course you will! Duh, you are human. On days when I did feel insecure about my bump, I felt guilty talking about it. If I would complain, “I was feeling huge and bad about myself,” I would be met with “but you are having a baby.” Then I would feel extremely guilty for my feelings, because yes, I was having a baby and I was extremely lucky, but on the other hand, I am allowed to feel not great about myself.

It is ironic that our need to be skinny is dictated by the media and society, but then if we have a fear of getting fat when we are pregnant, it is considered blasphemous and we are thought of as superficial. Addressing any downsides of being pregnant is frowned upon and seen as taboo, but it shouldn’t be. I bet you that most mothers-to-be have insecure days and these so-called “irrational fears.” We have to start supporting, rather than judging, one another so that we can talk about these normal fears and make one another feel better, instead of holding the feelings in.

My number one advice is talk to someone about how you are feeling (a support) and then do something to make you feel good. Go get a pedicure, a manicure, read a good book, exercise—whatever makes you feel like your best self.

 5). Will my Second baby be easier?

Okay, so surprise, I am pregnant again (almost 20 weeks). Meaning after all of these doubts, I did it again. And guess what? This time around has been much easier because I know what to expect. I am finding that the change in my body is also easier because not only have I already been through it, but also I have no time to focus on the changes this time around. I am constantly chasing around my toddler, taking her to classes, feeding her, watching her reach milestones etc. Also, the best thing about this time around is that you really know what you are getting out of it–another little person that you will love more than anything in this entire world. For that deal, I am in, maybe a couple more times (ask me a couple months after this one enters into the world. I may be bluffing…)

6). Will I relapse after baby?

These little people keep you honest. I know I will be healthy for my daughter so, in a way, she will always be keeping me honest about my recovery. I never want to hear the words “I am fat” out of her mouth. I never want her to emulate unhealthy eating habits from me. I want her to look at her mommy and want to be the confident, smart, kind individual I plan to be for her. I want her to see that intelligence and a kind heart is what real beauty is. Helping people is what beauty is. Being happy and healthy is what beauty is. The rest is bullshit. I want her to know that bodies come in all shapes and sizes and not one is more perfect than the other. I want her to never compare herself to anyone. I will teach her self-acceptance because no one is perfect. It’s the world’s greatest farce.

But always make sure to contact support after the baby if you are finding yourself struggling with your postpartum body. With the stress of having a new baby, it is easy to feel like “I am not doing a good enough job” and everything is completely out of control. These times are when the disordered eating thoughts come back into my head, and I must be vigilant about shutting them down. Wanting a perfect body is hardest to resist when everything around you is so out of control. I had to remember that the size-zero jeans in my closet weren’t the key to my happiness; in fact, they made me the most miserable I had ever been. I stepped back and realized that I was only obsessing about fat because I felt overwhelmed (between balancing working from home and a new baby who needs to eat every two to three hours), and I shut the voices down. This is what you will need to do.

Also, I wasn’t able to diet to lose the weight, because dieting isn’t recommended for recovering anorexics. Doesn’t mean I wasn’t tempted to at times. I am not sure of what my weight was before I became pregnant again, but between breastfeeding (which burns calories and helps shrink your uterus) eating healthy (intuitively), and exercising (chasing a baby is a workout when they get a bit older!) the weight seemed to come off fairly easy. I will never know if I hit my pre-baby magic number, because I didn’t get on a scale, but that’s not important to me. Also, like diets, I don’t believe in scales and obsessing about numbers. I went by how I felt. Most important, my baby was getting proper nutrition from my breast milk and gaining weight and I was strong enough to be the best version of myself for her.

            If you are questioning getting pregnant because of your ED history, know that you will be more than fine; in fact it will be the best decision you ever made. The positives far outweigh the negatives. Just because we had eating disorders doesn’t mean we won’t be amazing mothers. It means we will be strong, sensitive, caring, appreciative, aware mothers to our off spring. And for mamas out there–This mothers day every mama in recovery deserves to be celebrated, because not only are we mamas, which is a hard enough job, we were able to do something our ED told us we couldn’t and produce and care for an amazing human being. Bravo to us!

 

Hatching An Egg The Second Time Around

First of all, if you are pregnant with your second child, props because it’s work to get here! After a long day of having your toddler climbing you like you are human Monkey Bars, the last thing you want to do is be touched in any form, at least on some most days. So yes, getting to this point—high five to you! The first time around, there were countless times I wished I was a chicken and could just hatch an egg. I think we all have these wishbone moments—where we wish when cracking that chicken wishbone for this baby’s healthy eviction another route. But this time, so far being pregnant with child number two has been treating me well–besides the headaches and nausea of first trimester– but I digress to some encouraging facts I have gathered:

1). It goes by fast.

I am already 16 weeks pregnant and I feel like I took the pregnancy test yesterday…maybe I did? (Damn forgetful pregnancy brain and your momnesia ways!). My pregnancy is like the Roadrunner running away from the Tasmanian devil on Looney Tunes-fast AF. I hardly even look at my Ovia app, where last time I obsessed about my baby’s fruit and animal size. It was important when she was an avocado. This time I just think oh that will be a nice food to give my other out-of-womb-child tonight. We haven’t done avocados in a while…

2). You are too busy to think about how exhausted you are, most of the time.

I am taking my fourteen month old to classes, running after her, as she is finding her walking groove–transitioning from her crawl. We are always on the “go, go, go” as she says often, especially when she is using her walker. So yes, I am always exhausted anyway, and don’t have time to feel it until around 7-7:30 PM when my little girl closes her eyes for the night and I can just sit on the couch and veg. But let’s be real, that’s what I did every night before I was pregnant anyway.

 3). You already have maternity clothes from the first time around.

In fact, I never stopped wearing them! I am one of those freaks that love maternity clothes. Baby number one is almost fourteen months, and I just never stopped wearing them because they are so damn comfortable. It’s also not because I don’t fit into my other clothes, because I do, it’s just a comfort thing. Why would I want to squeeze into jeans when these are like jumping into butter? Exactly! They are also nice and stretched from pregnancy number one—so they are that perfect consistency of soft comfort. One bonus for working at home and being the primary caretaker for my daughter—I am going to rock my maternity for life and no one can stop me!

4). Your attitude about your body changes.

You already have stretch marks and fun pregnancy battle wounds from the first go, so it’s like bring it on to more. I struggled with eating disorders for years, but pregnancy actually did something wonderful for me. It made me realize how amazing our bodies are as women. Being pregnant actually took me from in recovery to recovered because I really treated my body like I always should have without much second thought, or at least third thought (we all have bad days!). That has continued to this day. So if I get another mark or two, bring it on because pregnancy has brought the best thing in the world into my life—my daughter.

5). You’re not as nervous, because you have already done this whole baby thing before.

You are a pro mama. At least you are no longer a virgin to this whole baby world. Throw up-bring it! More poop diaper—shit, bring that too! Pat yourself on the back mama–you got this. Now that whole multiple baby thing, let’s just not think about that…

6). You are actually looking forward to the birth.

I mean, free childcare and drugs at my disposal—it will be like a full on party!

So far, pregnancy number two has been treating me well. I will keep you posted but no wishbone moments…yet. All you mamas out there try to think of these positives. Oh and remember, in those tough moments, you have another beautiful baby on the way—double high-five to that.

Five Reasons Why Stroller Rage Is Actually A Thing

It’s strange. I was never one for road-rage. In fact if anything I was the slow-anxiety-ridden driver causing traffic and inducing fury in others. I heard my mom and sister dropping F-bombs and yelling obscenities in their respective driver seats, but I was just the innocent passenger calming them down. I swear. But put me behind a stroller and I feel rage like no other.

Here are five of the top reasons why my Bugaboo stroller makes me want to go all Destiny’s Child on someone’s a** because “You buggin me! And don’t you see it aint cool!” Don’t mess with someone who has a real life Bugaboo (bug a boo—per lyrics).

1). People have no stroller etiquette.

I live in Manhattan and we walk everywhere. As I mentioned above, I am not crazy about driving so walking is the best means of transportation for both of us. Plus, my thirteen-month-old and I get some fresh air and exercise. Trust me, it keeps us both sane! Well on these walks it’s not the easiest to get around. We try to maneuver around people, but they just don’t notice or care! I mean they mostly have headphones on their ears rocking out to music or are on their cell phones, chit chatting about such-and-such and how self-absorbed such-and-such is. Yep, really! Like, come on people we have a class to get to! Sometimes I start tailgating them, but still, people’s cognizance of the world around them seems bleak. We end up walking so slow behind a person for miles and wind up ten minutes late to wherever we are going. Thanks, slow-lady in front of me. I did admire your tall red heels though and was impressed with how you didn’t trip along the way!

I was actually in a cross walk today and this woman crosses the street and says to me excuse me, like I had anywhere to go with the stroller. We were surrounded in a snow mote on all sides! I wanted to say, “where do you want me to go?” but I held my tongue and tried to maneuver closer to the snowy left side. The woman squeezed around me, but like Stephanie Tanner used to say, how rude! Excuse yourself lady!

 2). When my daughter is fussing I have no etiquette.

When my daughter is crying or fussing and I am all “Oh no sweetie, what’s the matter?” and maneuvering to get a WubbaNub or a snack out of my diaper bag. My main focus becomes her and I may or may not run your feet over (warning!). Look it’s totally an accident. I will 100% feel bad and apologize at least five times, but shit happens. Oh, and when shit or throw up actually happens, then I need to get home ASAP (as soon as possible). This means, I am running past you, beating lights by mere seconds, and not caring at all about who or what is in my way. Sorry!

 

3). People don’t take weather into account.

My daughter and me are out let it be rain, sleet, hail or snow. Okay, maybe in a blizzard we stay in, but if we can get to class safely–we are going to give it a shot. I am a mother that needs to get out of the house or I will go insane—so we stroll in most elements. Well, in snow people are really for themselves—survival of the fittest to the extreme. This means, that they don’t let you by or help you when you are stuck. When stuck in snow, some people may gawk at you like you are a statue or exotic snowman. Observing, but not helping! I am not saying all people don’t, I have gotten a handful of kind citizens who helped us over snow piles, but most people just look at you like “lady you should have stayed inside.” Okay, and maybe I should have, I admit, but I was too far in my journey to turn back because of some snowy obstacles. Psh. Plus my daughter loves My Gym. We were stuck in one day from a blizzard already so we were going to get there. Dammit.

4). Because mommy’s don’t get enough sleep and work too hard.

Okay, it’s not right of me to play the mommy card, but I am going to do it. We work way too hard to not have some pent up aggression. Give a dirty look to a mommy who just wants to get her baby home to change her diaper and she will want to scratch your eyeballs out. That may be extreme, she may just threaten it and think about it–a lot. We work too hard, chasing our baby’s around all day, making sure they have everything—putting them first, and then you are messing with us mamas. Hell to the no!

5). Because we love our baby’s too much.

It’s part of nature. Mothers protect their young. Mother bears protect their cubs. Geese protect their flock. So I will kung fu your a** if you give my daughter any bit of side eye. According to David Wolfe, female alligators even create nests of rotting organic material. Once the nest has been created, the mother alligator will guard her eggs from all sorts of threats before placing them in her mouth once they hatch and caring for them over the next year. Talk about helicopter parents! We all are protective, even scary alligators! So give me a break, I just love my little girl more than anything! Okay?! It’s in my birthing blood.

So the next time you see a mother or father pushing their young along, be aware and be kind! Trust me, it will be appreciated. If not, you put yourself at risk. I have warned you, stroller rage is real AF!

 

 

 

 

 

My Daughter The WWE Wrestler

When I was a little girl, I used to cuddle up with my dad on Sunday night like clockwork. My curly brown hair resting on his chest, legs sprawled out on the couch, eyes locked on the television in front of us. I would get ready all day, playing with my wrestling figurines, making them attack each other—you know, normal little girl behavior. I was getting ready for Hulk Hogan to come out to Eye of the Tiger and to get my Hulkamania on! While admiring those outfits–the speedos with emphasis on washboard abs and fake tans—man, those pre-Trumpian tans. We all should have known and waved our American flags in defeat then–God Bless America.

Hands down no one can fake beat-up a person better than Hulk Hogan and his pro-wrestler pose. That was my takeaway. I’d feign interest to hang with my dad, but it was good times!

Well my daughter has a future in wrestling. I can sense it. Just the other day I was hanging in her crib with her—again, totally normal mommy-daughter behavior. We were like Snoop Dog and his gang rapping with all of our WubbaNubs in her crib until we dropped them like they were hot. And those WubbaNubs get fire hot. Anyway, when we were done throwing Wubbas, I lay down and kablam she pounced on my face like a cheetah and screamed ahhh. Maniac.

“Wow, Viv, or I should call you, Viv The Destroyer. What do you think of your wrestling alter ego?” I said tickling her tummy, until she exploded into that adorable baby giggle that makes my heart melt like a Popsicle in hot weather. One day, she will suppress an eye roll at the mention of her wrestling name. Actually, her new alter ego will probably be a moody AF hormonal teen girl. With that thought, I should take full advantage of this moment with my Destroyer–another tickle to that roly-poly tummy.

Back to her rising career, she’s Viv The Destroyer, because she wreaks destruction on every–WubbaNub, Mama, Bah bah– in her path. Toys, beware! Viv is going to push you over and say “ahhh” or “bahh” or something to claim her victory.

She is a wrestler all about body positivity too. She stands proudly in her pampers diapers, all rolls exposed, and takes on her victims in all her sumo-wrestler glory. Smash, there goes victim number one a small basketball hoop. Boom, victim number two a little car. These are the moments when you hope Doc McStuffins and Toy Story are totally wrong or these toys are going to come back filled with revenge instead of batteries and stuffing in their insides.

I hope my daughter and husband can uphold the Sunday night ritual or at least a tradition of their own where her head will be on his chest, legs sprawled out on the couch, eyes locked on the television in front of her. Or hey, maybe we will be watching her kicking more than stuffed animal tush in the ring one day. In that case, just a word of warning, watch out Bella Twins and the WWE Diva Champions my little girl is coming for you. She learned to SmackDown in diapers.

Wanted: Mamas For A Flu Season Exorcism

So we decided to perform a cyber exorcism. Yes, it actually exists.

We called the priest and everything. We needed to get rid of this horrible stomach demon wreaking havoc on my 11-month old baby girl. She had been throwing up for days. It was time.

We are Jewish so this was complete desperation. We needed some holy water ASAP. Okay, kidding, but give me a few more days and maybe I will. I actually looked it up in a moment of hysteria. Non-believers, search Google right now.

It all started on Sunday morning, the one day I can sleep-in when I heard my hubby screaming, “fuck,” so loud that it echoed, echoed, echoed. You get the point.

I ran out of bed, pajamas hiked up to my stomach, hair-resembling Animal The Muppet, and came in to the living room to find throw up covering both of them–head to toe. NOOOO, I screamed in slow motion wishing I could use my mommy super powers to go back to five minutes ago, to cover them both with bibs and towels. But then I realized shit; mom’s don’t really have super powers–that’s a myth–and was left screwed with a messy baby in hand, while my husband went to change. What a pleasant way to be awoken. And before I even had a sip of coffee, how inconsiderate of them. Right?

“I think I had her at a weird angle and she choked on her formula.” He claimed from the other room mid-shirt swap.

“I hope so,” I screamed back as I disinfected my little girl, changing her into clean clothes, and washing her with a washcloth.

“Since, she’s okay, I am going to go back to sleep for like twenty minutes,” I said to him, handing off the clean nugget and yawning simultaneously.

Well ten minutes later–same situation happened–this time with a waffle, in the highchair, in the kitchen. How very Clue the Board Game of me. But, it was official. My baby girl had her first stomach bug.

And half a week later, I had never cleaned up more throw up, made more baths, and said oh shit so many times. Oh shit, because every time she would puke that was my instinctual reaction.

So finally, after days of throw up, days stuck inside, a doctor visit, and horrible poop diapers, not the royal Sir Patrick Stewart kind–I lost my own shit.

I swear her poop was even talking to me, but it had more of an evil chipmunk voice than a calm British one like it’s pooh counterpart.

“I will get myself all up your baby’s back mwahahaha so you will need to bathe her” the voice said high-pitched and evil AF. And it did.

“I will make your baby’s tushie nice, raw, and red so she can be extra upset.” And wala, it did.

I am telling you. Her poop was evil. It needed to be offed. If you had a thing like that hurting the love of your life, you would look into cyber exorcisms too.

Plus, my daughter who is the Queen Of Rolls, girl has rolls in all area codes (Thanks Ludacris for that one), was starting to actually look kind of slim. It freaked me out.

Moral of the story and in the name of my daughter’s adorable scrumptious rolls, who is with me on a flu season exorcism? I think we can all get rid of this demon. Bring it to The Upside Down, with the Demogorgon, where it truly belongs. I will not rest again, until I hear that the Demorgogon is throwing its guts up, with no chicken soup in sight. That’s my pledge. We got this mamas’.