This book has helpful tips for new parents, health tips and issues we deal with during pregnancy and parenting. Have you wondered about the psychological, emotional and physical aspects of pregnancy and parenthood? Look no further. The psychological aspect of what’s "O.K" to feel or what “not” to feel during pregnancy and parenthood, and what to expect and what to deal with during this first crucial year of parenthood. It covers your entire family!
The Elephant in the Room also covers very important tips for new dads to soon understand what exactly 'Mom' is going through as well as helpful guidelines to have a functional household once your baby arrives. What do you really need for your new baby, the hospital and how much could your new baby actually cost? Find it here along with pertinent information on vaccines and other alternative medicines available.
More information on this informative book and other important matters for new & existing parents are found on the author's blog at www.MommysKnowledge.com.
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Read an Excerpt
The Elephant in the Room
From Pregnancy to the First Year of Parenthood
By Krizia Guerra-Coleman
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2015 Krizia Guerra-Coleman
All rights reserved.
Are You Ready?
Ever wonder if you are ready to add on to your family? Well here are a few things from experienced moms to think about to help you decide if you are ready or not ready for an addition to your family. Do you look at a baby and say, "Oh, how cute! I want one!" Do you say, "Babies are so cute! I can't wait to have one!" If this is you speaking, well, I hate to break it to you, but you're not ready!
Let's get real here. The word baby only applies for a very short amount of time. How long? Four months. After that, the child is an infant until he or she is a year old, at which point he or she becomes a toddler. This seems like a long period, but it flies by before you can blink. Unreal? Yeah ... no, it's not. You are so tired and sleep deprived through those four months; they come and go so fast that when you realize it, you don't have a baby anymore. In your mind, you are saying to yourself, "What happened?"
The reality is that you need to be ready and really want a child—a person in your life to raise, teach, and help become a respectable human being, an asset to the human race and society. You will have more time with a child than a baby. This is the thought that needs to go through your mind before you get pregnant. Are you ready and willing to do whatever it takes to raise a child? Do you see yourself with a child or only holding a baby? Take your time and think about it before making a move on this. Read this book! I hope it will open your eyes to the reality of what really happens with a baby/child and help you make an informed decision about whether you are ready to deal with it.CHAPTER 2
When I Found Out
I am going to share my pregnancy story and experiences in hopes that other women can relate and realize that it is okay to feel different. I was one of those women who felt different. When I found out I was pregnant, I was just finishing up graduate school, planning to become a professor at a university. I must admit that I cried and cried and, well, I cried some more when the little blue line showed up. I was not yet married to my fiancé, and we were in troubled times. I felt I did not have my life together just yet and was not ready to have a child come into this world. Though I did not think my life was over or blame the baby, I did feel cheated in life and just a year too short. I knew I was not going to be able to get a job anywhere because of the pregnancy and really had to make a decision on my relationship. My main focus became creating a family for my new baby and making sure I finished my master's so that when I could or wanted to go back to work, I had the education to do so with ease.
I was petrified by all these decisions I had to make so quickly. Internally, I still needed more time, but I did not have it physically. I am thankful to God that I am a fertile woman because I know some women have issues or may not be fertile at all. But I was still not at the place where I wanted to be before bringing a child into this world. My first decision was to get married. Some women choose differently, and that is okay too, no matter what people may tell you. My decision was my own. I did what I felt was right for me. Other women may think differently, and that is okay.
Through planning a wedding and finishing up my thesis, I realized that I did not enjoy pregnancy like women told me I should. Some women like being pregnant and actually enjoy it—well, not me. I'm one of the women who did not enjoy being pregnant. I thought I was a bad mother or horrible person for feeling that way, but I soon found out that I wasn't the only one who felt that way. Other women feel that way too, and if this is you, I want you to know that it is okay. No, it does not mean you are a bad person or mother. I mean, come on, you lose total control of your body, all these nauseating things start to happen to you, you are totally uncomfortable, and the list goes on. Why would you like it? Some women enjoy it or don't have such a bad experience with it. Lucky them!
I'm not going to sit here and say I had a bad pregnancy, because I didn't—well, not based on some of the horror stories I have heard from other moms. For example, some moms have morning sickness (which is not just in the morning; it's more like all day or at any part of the day) the entire duration of their pregnancy. Some have complications, and the list goes on. My pregnancy was pretty easy in itself; the only thing was that I had pubic symphysis diastasis. This is a condition in which the hormone relaxin causes the pelvis (pubic bone) to loosen. This is good for delivery, but in my case, the separation was exaggerated and moved incorrectly, which caused a great deal of pain in my sciatic nerve. This started at the fourth month of my pregnancy and got worse as the baby got bigger because of the weight and pressure on the nerve. This made me miserable. I was in a great deal of pain all the time. I was just not enjoying this miracle that was occurring in my body because of it.
Though I was in considerable pain, I still forced myself to exercise as much as I could without hurting myself. I walked and did arm exercises with bands in a mommy exercise group, which was my support group through this experience. I learned a lot from these mommies and made some new friends. Finding a support group for expecting moms and new moms was the best decision I made. I was able to talk to other moms and get feedback. They told me what worked for them and what didn't. I did ask a lot of questions because I was scared. I wondered how my life would change and if I would be a good mother.
I realized that I had started to become angry and gain resentment toward my husband. Now, I know that hormones change and can make pregnant women act a little "off," but I was more upset at myself, as well as angry at my husband for "doing this to me" when I wasn't ready. I didn't want a baby at this point in my life. I knew it was not the baby's fault, so I had to steer myself away from that and really focus on my emotional situation. I felt like a bad person for feeling this way. I felt a big burden on my shoulders and like I was trapped with a chain around my ankle.
I started therapy with my husband for this reason and other marital issues we were having. I was angry at him for "doing this to me" when I did not want it yet. I was also angry because his life didn't seem to change, but mine did, drastically, from what I ate to how I slept to what I could and could not do. I was angry for having to take care of someone again. I realized that this went back to my childhood. I grew up helping to care for my grandparents, whom I lived with until the age of nineteen, when my grandfather, the last of the elderly in my house, passed away. I did feel sad he was gone, but at the same time, I experienced a sense of freedom from responsibility for caring for someone else.
Now, starting to get my life together as an adult only eleven years later, I had ended up pregnant. I had to do it again! Ugh! Is that a horrible thing to say? I spoke to my therapist about it, and she let me know that it was okay to feel that way. I was also afraid of "losing myself," losing the person I had worked so hard to become. Maybe this is the way you feel. Maybe you feel the weight of responsibility only on your shoulders, or maybe you are alone and afraid. Whatever the case, it is okay to feel this way. Not everyone is "super happy" about being pregnant. We all have different emotions about it.
Here is how I was able to let go of that emotion.
Step 1: I recognized that it wasn't the baby's fault, so I was not going to blame the baby or hurt the baby in any way. I had to deal with this on my own without anyone knowing (my pregnancy secret) at the time. My baby was not going to be a burden to me; he or she was going to be a gift and miracle that I would get to enjoy and have fun with. Yes, he or she would be someone I had to care for but in a different way.
Once I had that under control in my mind, I was able to move on to Step 2: I had to mourn the death of me. What do I mean by that? In reality, yes, the me I knew as my own individual person—my carefree self—had died, and I had to be ready and willing to bury her. Did I cry? Oh boy, did I! For a few days really. The thought of me never being the same just devastated me. It was a terrible thought. Why did this happen to me now? I wanted a family, just not right now. I wasn't ready to bury myself yet. I wanted to still be me and worry about myself, just me! Yes, I know it was a selfish thought to have, but it's true and I'm not going to lie about it. I wasn't ready myself for this life-changing experience. If something like this happened to you, it's okay to feel this way.
Well, I guess God had other plans for me, which I was fighting to accept. When I was ready to lay my "old self" to rest and embrace the "new me," still being the person I was but having a permanent buddy to deal with and enjoy life with, I drew my experience on paper. You see; I am an artist. I was in art school getting my master's in painting, so I did what I knew best. I drew on a sheet of paper what it was to be with the ball and chain and what I thought it would be like to have a child and care for it like I did my grandparents. On another sheet, I drew the old me on one side of the paper and the new me enjoying the baby on the other. How would I maintain my identity with this child? I was not going to let my life come to an end. This wasn't a punishment; this was a new adventure, and I would get to have my child enjoy life with me.
On the third sheet of paper, I wrote down in one column the things I did as a single person. In the other column, I wrote down the things I could supplement my life with; certain things that I could no longer carelessly do I substituted with things that I could do with or without my child. These were things that still remained "me." For example, I used to pick up and go travel wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I could no longer do that, but I knew if I needed a getaway, I could plan a vacation with my family or if I wanted to be alone, I could go get my manicure and pedicure done and have some "me" time. Another option would be to go to the spa for a day, things of that nature. The list went on and was pretty extensive; I kept going until I felt good enough to stop.
Once I finished those drawings and my list, I was able and ready to "bury" myself. I got the drawing that had the ball and chain, took it outside, prayed, and let myself go. I burned the drawing in a fire pit and with it went my "old self "into the sky. It was a relief; the weight lifted off my shoulders, and I was ready to embrace my baby. Now, this does not mean I was happy to be pregnant or anything of the sort; I was just not going to be miserable about having this child anymore. The rest of the feelings were still there. I was still annoyed that it was a year too soon in my book. I still felt cheated a year. I still felt like I worked so hard for three years to get my master's and now what? Would it be in vain? Would I be able to get back to doing what I had set out to do? Would my goals change? Who knew? But there was one thing I knew: no one could take my education and talent from me. How I used it or even whether I chose to use it was my prerogative, but I had earned my master's. I achieved a goal no one in my family had achieved, and that made me proud of myself. My child would be able to look up to me for my achievement, and that made me feel better. Do you have something you're working on or you are proud of? You can pass that on to your child.
Now don't get me wrong; it's not like I didn't enjoy my pregnancy at all. I did have great moments, but that's what they were for me: moments. For example, the first time I felt the baby move, the times when I massaged my cocoa-butter cream on after the shower and the baby reacted to the feeling, when I would watch or hear anything that had nice singing or classical music and the baby would respond to it by dancing in my belly—all of these experiences no one else in the world was going to experience with my baby but me! How special is that? I got to know when my baby was happy, angry, bothered, sleeping, or just playing. No one knew that but me, and that made me feel special.
I do have to admit one thing. When I found out the sex of the baby, I was disappointed; well, I had hoped for and dreamed of a girl, and of course, my husband wanted a boy. Ever since I was a little girl, I had always wanted a girl. I even had dreams that I had a girl. One day, I was shopping for neutral baby stuff with my mom and we were at the checkout line when something told me it was a boy. I was, to be honest, a bit bummed out, but I wasn't going to let myself feel that way just yet because I did not know for certain. I did tell my mother that although I so wanted a girl, I had a feeling it was a boy. When it was the time to find out the sex of the baby, the ultrasound technician looked at me and said, "What did you want?" with a funny look on his face and a sarcastic tone in his voice.
I said, "I wanted a girl, but now I know it's a boy."
He looked at me and said, "Yes, you are right; it's a boy!"
My husband and mother were with me at that moment, and both of them were jumping for joy and screaming with excitement. All the while, I just lay there on the table looking at the ultrasound with my mouth open in shock and, well, disappointment. In my mind, I was devastated. What am I going to do with a boy? I thought to myself. I wanted a girl. Was I a bad person for thinking this? I was sad I did not get what I had always dreamed about. I then realized that, no, I was not a bad person or bad mom-to-be. I was just a person with a crushed dream. It is okay to feel that way. I knew I had to get over this and connect with my new son, so I went to the store and bought some boy baby clothes that I thought were cute and some newborn shoes. After I did that, I felt so much better and started to really connect with him. I had my own moment alone with my baby inside me, and we bonded. I no longer felt devastated or disappointed. I was open to the idea of a boy and decided I was going to raise him to be a man of God, to know and do all the things I ever wanted in a man for one lucky lady in his future. I was going to do this to the best of my ability and with God's help to mold my son. On a side note—I am so happy to have had a boy. He is the joy of my life, and I would not have it any other way. What an easy boy I have. I am so blessed he was born healthy, happy, and amazing. He is the inspiration in my life. Every day, I wake up eager to see his smiling face and hear his view on the world with a smile. No matter how I feel, when I look at him, he makes me happy and makes me love life.CHAPTER 3
Every birth story is different and extremely personal, but there are some things that remain the same. You plan or go into labor, and you end up with a baby; everything else in between goes very differently for each mother. Though the end result is the same, not all women feel the same once they meet their beautiful new baby. What do I mean? Well, you hear birth stories from other women or your mother, aunts, etcetera, and they tell you what they went through; they saw when the baby came, it was instant "love at first sight," and they say things like, "Oh what a wonderful feeling it was." The list can go on, but what happens when you don't feel that way? Why do you feel differently? Is that wrong? Is something wrong with you? Well, I'll get into that in my birth story in hopes that you will understand and know you are not alone.
I had a planned C-section. Yes, I planned it, and I am not ashamed of it! I am not one of those women who need a gold star next to me because I had it naturally. Nope! Not me! If you are a woman who did it naturally, hats off to you! I am glad you were able to accomplish that. There is nothing wrong with natural or C-section birth. Women who had C-sections for whatever reason are no less of a mother and no better or worse of a mother. One experience no less traumatizing to the body than the other. The end result you give birth and have a baby just the same. Now, as I mentioned earlier, I had a condition called pubic symphysis diastasis, which made life in general for me very painful. The thought of moving my body or getting dressed made my toes curl from the pain. Plus, my baby was a big one with a big head. If I would have delivered naturally, I could have permanently damaged myself and gone through more pain in labor than a regular woman. Of course, I did not want that and was not going to have to deal with that and a new baby, so C-section it was.
A lot of my friends asked me to give them specific details on the process of a C-section because they were thinking of it too. Since no book out there goes through it step-by-step, I'm going to tell you how it went for me so that if you are thinking about it, you will be prepared. At the end of the day, it is a surgery, but to be honest, most people make it out to be a bigger deal than it is. If not, then I can handle a lot. But, hey, why don't you be the judge of it and see if you can deal with it or not? Like I said, every woman is different.
A week before the scheduled date for my delivery, I went with my husband to finalize my plans, register myself, and give all the information to the hospital so I would not have to do it once I got there. They then took me to a room where they went over allergies and my medical history and gave me some instructions on what to do the night before delivery.
Excerpted from The Elephant in the Room by Krizia Guerra-Coleman. Copyright © 2015 Krizia Guerra-Coleman. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Are You Ready?, 1,
When I Found Out, 3,
Birth Story, 11,
Now What?, 19,
What You Really Need for the Hospital, 32,
What Do Babies Cost Monthly?, 35,
What No One Tells You, 40,
First Few Months, 58,
Sleep Training, 74,
Alternative Medicine to Vaccines, 103,
The Second Half of Baby's First Year, 108,
Month's Ahead, 112,
Research Sources, 113,
About the Author, 114,
About the Book, 115,