East Of Eden

"A curious mix of the relevant and reverential"


Throwback Thursday: "You're HUGE" & Other Dumb Things Not to Say or Do to a Pregnant Woman

Note: This post was first published on my old blog, Far Above Rubies, on March 30, 2011. Enjoy! ~Li

 (Photo: Flickr)

God bless 'em, the jerks who have thought it all in good fun to poke at my ever expanding belly, the same ones who question every bit of food and drink I consume. Even the one who commented on my larger bust line (and this came from a guy... a guy who is NOT my husband). God bless these folks, because I don't want to. But, I will. I will bless them with some sage advice on how not to address or behave towards an expectant mom, speaking as a sage expectant mom.

  • "You're HUGE!", "You are getting so big!" "Wow, your stomach has really popped out" or any other variant of the bulging belly bump kind. I believe most people are genuinely just amazed at the gestation process when they let exclamations like this slip. The thing is, not too many women, even if they are awaiting a bundle of joy, enjoy being repeatedly told how much weight they've gained. Think about it. We ladies try all kinds of fad diets, hit the treadmill, and wear clothing to try to disguise so much as a two pound gain. Suddenly, we've gained, let's say, twenty, and no amount of scarves or drapey tunics can hide that. We now have to face up to the fact... we're fat. And that's hard. So give us a break. If you MUST make a comment, try referring to the growing baby instead of the growing belly.
  • "That better not be coffee!", "You know there is caffeine in tea" or "That juice is too full of sugar for you and baby!" These comments come from genuine concern, but being a drink monitor to a grown woman is demeaning. I've been cautioned against the evils of coffee, only to inform the person the hot creamy brown liquid I was sipping was cocoa. Most women have heard such warnings already, so if they choose to drink, they most likely are doing so knowing the risk. Now, if you see a momma to be gulping down Captain Morgan's, THAT would be a time to speak up. Similarly, that brings me to my next point. Do not say
  • "You're not eating that are you?", "That snack is full of sodium!", or "More pickles?" Do not cause us preggos to develop eating disorders by constantly commenting on the foods we choose to indulge in. Yes, we should be eating lots and lots and lots of fruits and veggies and getting our calcium through glasses of skim milk. But sometimes we just to eat lots and lots of oreos and get some calcium through a big bowl of Hagen Daaz. Now, I know you're probably thinking, "That's no good for you!" Too much of it, no, definitely not. But an occasional splurge is not the end of the world. But let's say your pregnant friend or sister has diabetes or is overweight... okay, you can speak up, but again, not in a condescending tone or manner. Gently encourage her to choose some lowfat , sugar-free yogurt, and then go a step further and eat it with her. If you really want to support her, you best not condemn while your chowing down on the Carvel.
  • "Your back must be hurting!" or "I know you're feeling exhausted." Don't assume to know how another person is feeling. You might have been miserable (or fantastic!) throughout your pregnancy, but that doesn't mean your co-worker is. Everyone is different, and every pregnancy is different. If you'd like to know how she's feeling, just ask. And for anyone wondering, I'm doing pretty darn well. For reasons unbeknown to my doctors (or me), I'm actually feeling better most days now than before I was pregnant, even on the medication. My doctors have hypothesized it might be the extra vitamins or the flow of hormones (my money is on this). For whatever reason, I'm thankful that my sinuses aren't inflamed, my back isn't aching and while I do feel the extra weight slowing me a bit, I'm not feeling extra pain because of it. Thank God!
  • "You are having a boy since you are carrying out!" or "That has to be a little girl as round as you are!" For us few ladies who opt not to learn our child's sex until birth, there is a constant barrage of declarations as to our babies' sex. I've mainly received, "It's a boy" comments, with a sprinkling of girl pronouncements. While I might be good natured fun to want to guess, these comments usually are tied to opinions on a woman's bulging bump... so more weight and appearance talk. I also find some of it offensive. "Girls take away all their mothers beauty." Think about that... so not only are you passing on a sexist belief, but you're also saying a woman is now... ugly. Augh. 
  • "Your naming him what???" Okay, so your cousin has just told you she is christening Junior with a name so instantly detestable that you know this poor kid has years of bullying ahead at school. And that's just from the teachers. What do you do? Try asking why she's chosen the name. Maybe it has a very special meaning or is her father-in-law's name. Try to find out details before you just come right out and say her son will hate her for life and wind up in counseling for having to go through childhood be referred to by that moniker. Even if you still object, remember that if she hasn't asked your opinion, no need to give one. And that many people happily go by their middle names.
  • Proceeding to rub her belly without so much as asking. Or even asking if this isn't a close friend or family member. Don't do this. As I tweeted yesterday, I am not a Buddha. I do not want you to rub my belly. If you do, you are guaranteed to have bad luck. And as my buddy Shaun pointed out, normally, a stranger touching a woman is usually grounds for a call to the police. This is not acceptable behavior. If she offers, rub away. If not, don't be a creeper. 
 My most recent picture, taken by my boss at work. I've got a big belly and big hair!

Got any more tips? Comment away!

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Throwback Thursday: Romancing the ordinary.

Note: This post was first published on October 2, 2012, on my old blog, Far Above Rubies. Enjoy! ~Li

On Thursday, my friend Kawania stopped by to pick up a flash drive. She was just leaving her job as an elementary school teacher, and as I opened the door to let her in, I said, "Wow! Is this what the teachers are wearing these days?" Decked out in a brown, above the knee shirtdress, with leopard print, four inch, peep toe heels, she laughed and said assuredly, "Gone are the days teachers wear long flower skirts and penny loafers." I laughed, too, thinking how cool it would be to find a pair of penny loafers nowadays. But hey, these glasses aren't for show. I'm a true blue nerd. Kawania began playing with Z, and I slid back over to the dining room table where I had been cutting up peppers, tomatoes and onions for dinner. She looked at me, dressed in a tank and shorts, scarf on head, chopping away, and said, "You know, even though you don't think you're doing anything great or exciting by staying home full time with Z, you are. It's so awesome that you're with her. It's not glamorous but it'll pay off." No, there was nothing glamorous about me or that scene at that moment. I was definitely not Facebook pic-ready, and even using three Instagram filters couldn't change that. But why did she start off by saying I don't think I'm doing anything great? Because I not only think  it, I know I am.

Oh, did that last line seem boisterous? Yes? Well, good. I'm not bragging. Far from it. I am no supermom. Z is not reading or potty trained at 14 months. I sneak her chocolate milk when her Dad isn't around. I play like 10 Alphablocks episodes in a row to stop her squealing when I'm doing her hair. No, my pride comes from my job... no, strike that, my vocation as a mother, not in my skills (or lack thereof) in this role. In the six months that have passed since I resigned my professional job, a number of people have given me pep talks similar to Kawania's. Others, like my 82 year old Grandmother, have asked me, in an almost pleading tone, how I manage to stay home and stay sane. Some have just bluntly said, "Not me! I'd dump my kid off in daycare so fast...". Putting my health issues aside (which is the actual reason I resigned), I can't seem to convince people of how amazing it actually is to be with Z full time. I've watched her grow from a squiggly newborn who could only manage two ounces of milk to a curious toddler who devours just about anything she can find (scarily, not necessarily food, either). Outside of a couple of colds and tummy aches, there have been no illnesses. When she took her first steps, it was to me. I'm her teacher, chef, nurse and playmate. And maid. And janitor. And custodian. I don't have one job. I have at least a dozen. There is no fanfare, no glory. It's so ordinary. Millions love "The Kardashians" because their "ordinary" includes dating rap stars, marrying (and divorcing) millionaire athletes, flying across the globe, vacations, glitz and glamor.  Yesterday I posted about St. Therese and her "little way" to Jesus. Little steps. An appreciation of and love for the little things. I'm reminded of India Arie's "Little Things":

"Got everything that I prayed for
Even a little more
When I asked to learn humility
This is what I was told
 
 It's the little things 
 And the joy they bring 
 It's the little things 
And the joy they bring"
 

No accolades. No paycheck. Total reward.

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Throwback Thursday: Zoe 101: Lessons From My Daughter

Note from Li: This post was first published on my old blog, Far Above Rubies, on March 6, 2012. I'm republishing it today, with an update: Matt is now an awesome dad to two adorable boys. I knew he'd be a great dad. ;-) ~Li

 Last week at The Church of No People, Matt topped off his month long series on Parenting by explaining why he didn't want to have kids. At least anytime soon. I laughed out loud reading it, and not in that fake "LOL! But I only wrote that because I don't know what else to write except maybe a smiley face, but I don't want to" type way, either. Especially that part about Go-Gurt. I don't know why, but before having Zoe, seriously thinking about having kids always conjured up images of gross poopy diapers, crazy kid temper tantrums, and yes, Go-Gurt. Sticky, sour-smelling, old Go-Gurt on teeny fingers and chubby cheeks. And I shuddered. And wrote this. And recorded this. In other words, I understand. In fact, I still shudder when I think of what others have told me about parenting. The sleepless nights, the illnesses, the ruined... well, just about everything, from carpeting to electronics to waistlines. But as God as my witness, in my admittedly short time as a mom, I have yet to feel that chill. Really. Yes, there were sleepless nights, and being popped and peed on. Yet, I wouldn't have it any other way. Why? One, because just as with everything else that has challenged me- Pre-Calculus, working at a super awful job, being married, dealing with a chronic illness- I have emerged much stronger having had to deal with it. Well, except for maybe Pre-Cal, which taught me the lesson that I should've stopped at Algebra. Two, because I've learned much from Zoe. So much. Here are a few: 1.) Don't take things too seriously. Nearly everyday lately, I've turned around for LITERALLY two minutes and return to Zoe having my cell in her mouth. Or the TV remote. Or a corner of my iPad. Sometimes, she's managed to crawl into near disaster. My first reaction is, "What the ksfhkrfskhs!" And my second, is to quietly laugh to myself. Like my daughter, I am learning to call them how I see them. And sometimes, it's really not that serious. Or really, not serious at all.

 2.) It's okay to cry. Other times, it is serious. At least enough to cry. I'm not saying I go into hysterics, but I know, balancing church, family, etc., can be trying. Sometimes, letting out some tears is totally cleansing. It's like a little emotional reset. So when two loved ones passed a few weeks ago, I sat and cried. And was the better for it.

 
 

 3.) Smile often. Zoe is one of the smiliest babies I've ever known. Really. Most mornings, she wakes up smiling. She smiles at us. Her Big Poppa. Our pastor. And especially Keiron's co-worker Tim (yeah, she's totally a flirt). It's good to smile. Meet a new day with happiness.

4.) Be determined. When Z focuses on something, she'll keep going (even it means a tumble off the bed) until she gets it. There have been many days I've  felt weak and did not even attempt to go out. I'll stop myself before I even tried. Watching Zoe crawl, squiggle, wiggle and kick her way to her goal inspires me to do so. Onward march! Or crawl. 5.) K is awesome. Yeah, duh, I know he is. But I need to show him that. Daily. Zoe will scream and laugh when K gets come home from work. Or goes into the living room and then comes back. She shows her Daddy how much he is missed. A reminder to me to throw some of that excitement his way, too. P.S. to Matt, you're going to be a great dad. You already are.

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