2016’s Mantra…

2016 mantra

 

You heard it here first, downers. You have no place in my 2016!

Stay Gold,

Grace

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What NOT to Say to a New or Expectant Mother (as Told by a New Mother)

There’s something about pregnancy and motherhood that seemingly invites unsolicited advice from strangers about your personal life and your body. As if pregnancy and childbirth weren’t hard enough, a lot of people feel the need to remind you of what horrors lie ahead, how HUGE you look, and what you’re doing wrong. Thankfully I’ve emerged from the hormone cloud of the past few months and am learning to laugh at these things, but I definitely had my moments. Here’s a list of the biggest offenses I’ve heard over the past year.

  • “Oh just wait until they’re teething/sick/in the terrible twos…etc”

This one in particular rubs me the wrong way. Here I am, a new mom who’s (let’s be honest) already scared shitless about motherhood. I’m incredibly relieved that my baby seems happy, and she consistently sleeps for long stretches. But the second I say “Things are great!” to another parent I’m met with a look of amusement and pity. Their face is saying “oh you poor thing, you have no idea what you’re in for.” Relax, other parents. I’m not going to discount every good day I have with my smiley baby girl while waiting for her to transform into some demon spawn.

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  • “Get all the sleep you can now, you’ll never sleep again once the baby arrives!”

As if expectant moms aren’t tired enough already…Sure, the first few weeks home from the hospital were tough; I was recovering from labor and my partner had to return to work immediately after our daughter was born (not to mention I was too HUGE to sleep for the last month of pregnancy.) But after a few weeks and some luxuriously long naps with my baby on my chest (best feeling in the world, by the way) things leveled out. I know every baby is different, and some have a harder time sleeping than others, but in my personal experience, you start to get really skilled at waking up, changing/feeding/comforting baby, and falling back asleep super fast. Plus coffee. COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE.

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  • “She’s not REALLY smiling; it’s just gas.”

My daughter started smiling the day she was born, and hasn’t stopped since. There’s nothing quite like raining on a new mother’s parade by saying her baby isn’t happy, just farting.

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  • “It’s just a little morning sickness, it will pass after your first trimester.”

Man oh man. “Morning” sickness for some can be ALL DAY sickness for a poor few, and there was nothing “little” about it. For Hypermesis sufferers like myself, it can be completely debilitating and last well past your first trimester. I was losing so much weight I was ordered to modified bed rest around week 18. I finally stopped vomiting daily around 30 weeks, but was nauseous my entire pregnancy. You should ask my poor fiancée if it was “a little morning sickness”; he had to watch me vomit several times a day at all hours for months. Needless to say, I was about to slap the next person who told me to drink some ginger ale and wait for it to pass.

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  • “You’re eating _____? Aren’t you worried about ____?”

One of the worst parts of pregnancy is the list of things you cannot eat. Sushi, rare meat, cold cuts, soft cheese, unpasteurized juices…the list goes on and on. BUT there are some women who take this to another level. When I was sick with HG and losing weight rapidly, the only two things I could stomach (besides Ensure shakes) were pretzel rods and McDonald’s chicken nuggets (I know, gross.) I was at the office choking down pretzels in between pukes when a coworker walked by. She stopped when she saw me and literally WAGGED HER FINGER and said “tsk tsk, those pretzels have way too much sodium for baby! Not good!” and walked away. I would have thrown up on her right then and there if I could.

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I was all…

  • “You better live it up now, your social life will never be the same”

Well of course your social life is going to be different, but that doesn’t mean it will be nonexistent or terrible. When I got pregnant and had my baby, I experienced the biggest outpouring of love and support from friends, whom I love, but hadn’t seen in ages. Having this baby has especially helped me rekindle the strong bonds with the women in my life, and instantly made clear the people who were NOT real friends (as they disappeared without a trace as soon as I announced my pregnancy.) Sure, Saturday nights are no longer spent in crowded clubs and bars (not that I was ever much of a “club” person to begin with) and I’m awake and starting my day by 6 on Sunday mornings. But look on the bright side; you save money, you’re healthier, and you realize who your real friends are… because they’re sitting next to you on the couch watching garbage TV and getting to know your new tiny human.

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  • “Your maternity leave is going to go by so fast, you’ll be back in the office before you know it!”

It absolutely did, and I was constantly anxious and hyperaware of just how fast it was flying by. I obsessed over the number of days I had left with my baby instead of relaxing and enjoying each day to the fullest. The last week of my leave was spent crying whenever the thought of the office popped into my head and I wasted precious time feeling sorry for myself (and the rest of the working moms in America.) I know I was lucky to even get any paid leave at all, but after reading about other countries’ Maternal Rights, it’s hard not to feel frustrated and sad about leaving my baby when she needed me most. So please, spare us the reminder of how quickly we need to be back to work.

Edited with Polarr Photo Editor

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  • “Woah, are you sure you’re not having twins?!”

No, you asshole. Do NOT comment on a pregnant woman’s size (even if she IS having twins) unless you want to a) see her break down in tears, b) get slapped, or c) have a death wish. I know you think you’re joking, but when I was pregnant I was an emotional WACK JOB. All it took was a weird look to send me spiraling into hysteria. We are constantly aware of our hippo size, so save yourself the chaos and just tell us we’re “glowing.” Even if we look like this:

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  • “You’re just being sensitive because you’re hormonal”

OH IS THAT RIGHT? YOU WANT TO SAY THAT A LITTLE CLOSER, FRIEND? “Hormonal” may as well be a curse word when arguing with a pregnant woman. Like yeah, we KNOW we’re hormonal, but we’re also busy CREATING A HUMAN LIFE IN OUR BODIES. Forgive us if we’re quick to cry or get frustrated, and try to understand that it’s nothing personal if we get upset. Chances are we’ll be laughing again 5 minutes after a breakdown. P.S. Pregnant women can use being hormonal as an excuse for being irrational; non-pregnant people should not hold it against them or call them out on it. Just one of those pesky double standards, ya mean?

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  • “You ARE breastfeeding, right?”

First of all, regardless of if a woman is breastfeeding or not, this is a very PERSONAL question. In my case, I breastfed my daughter for the three months I was on maternity leave, but my supply completely VANISHED after returning to work for a mere few days (Thanks, America.) Stress can dry up your supply REAL quick. I tried everything to get it back; pumping for hours, eating oatmeal for every meal, taking Fenugreek supplements, meditating…you name it, I tried it. So when people make this assumption, I feel pressured and judged when I tell them my daughter drinks formula. The assumption that every woman can breastfeed exclusively for a year or more makes those of us who can no longer produce feel guilty about “depriving” our babies of the best thing for them. Instead, I like to focus on my thriving and happy baby girl, who doesn’t like me ANY less for nourishing her in the best way I can.

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  • “So, when is baby number 2 happening?”

I can’t help but laugh when people ask me this. Not because it’s funny, but because I am so completely consumed with my first (4 month old) baby, and I’m still emotionally and physically recovering from my pregnancy that ANOTHER baby is the furthest thing from my mind. Sure, there may be other babies down the line, but I’m going to enjoy this one for now. It helps being in my mid-20s, as my clock won’t start “ticking” for a while yet. Which leads me to…

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  • “You have a baby? But you’re just a baby yourself!”

I understand the women of my generation, and the generation preceding mine, are waiting to get married and have their children later in life. As a 25-year-old (engaged, but still unwed) mother, I do face challenges that older, more financially secure and established mothers may not. But young mothers should not be underestimated – the love we have for our babies is just as fierce and consuming as any other mother’s. We may have to hustle a little harder, and we may have to get a little more creative, but we are just as capable of raising happy and healthy kids as our fellow 30-something mothers are.
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Phew! Man, it felt REAL good to get that out. Pregnancy and new-motherhood is a whole new world for many of us. It doesn’t help that people universally feel the need to give you their advice and opinion on what’s happening in your own body, especially if you didn’t ask for it.

 I feel so lucky and am so grateful to the women in my life who gave me the support and comfort I needed through out a really tough pregnancy, and I’ve experienced a really beautiful beginning of motherhood because of them. They withheld judgment and spoke from their own experiences. They took my hands, dried my tears, and told me to give myself a break; “You’re doing your very best, which is the very best thing for that baby.” THOSE are the voices you need to listen to and cherish. Pregnancy and motherhood are strengthening experiences that have helped me understand what is truly important in my life as a mother and a partner. My skin is thicker and my head is held higher, because as annoying or hurtful as some people may be, the only thing that truly matters is your love for your child and your respect for yourself.

END RANT!

Keep these things in mind when you next encounter a new or expectant Mom; we wouldn’t want you to get hurt 😉

 

Stay Gold,

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Grace

Maternity Leave! (Photo Post)

Things at our house have been very different these past two weeks since bringing our newest family member home. There have been a lot of naps and loads of laundry, but I’m lucky enough to have 12 weeks of Maternity Leave to get settled with our new tiny human. Entries may be a bit shorter these next few weeks while my brain gets used to sleep deprivation, but I have plenty of photos to make up for it (which is much more fun anyway 😉
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Naps on Naps on Naps

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Stay Gold,

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Grace

Week 39 – 40: Meet Harper Amelia!

On Friday, August 21st at 12:10 pm, we welcomed our family’s newest (and cutest) member; Harper Amelia McCabe. After 13 hours of labor and only 10 pushes, she came into the world at 6 lbs 14 oz and 19 inches long. We’re very tired but extremely happy and very much in awe of this beautiful and healthy little girl. We’ve had an amazing few days of introducing this little lady to family and friends. My brain is a little too fried for words at the moment, but I’ll let these photos do the talking 🙂

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We love Kayma

We love Kayma

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Stay Gold,

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Grace (and Harper)

Week 30: Long time no blog!

Sorry about the lack of love here! With moving, my baby shower, and The Stanley Cup Final (Go Blackhawks!) we’ve been busier than ever. Forgive this brief post, but take it with the promise of a new, photo-filled entry all about our new apartment and my family baby shower coming up in the next couple days ❤ In the meantime, here’s baby Harper Ford McCabe chillin in my belly.

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little face

Stay Gold (Go Hawks)

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Grace

Week 26: Spring Mornings

I thought it might be nice to have a non-pregnancy related post this week, so I’m dedicating this post to the stupid amount of money I just spent at Sephora and Nordstrom and what my mornings typically look like. Although it may not feel like it in Chicago yet, spring and summer are upon us. When the seasons change I like to change up my make up; winter calls for heavy moisturizer and darker eye makeup. So for spring, I opt for more lightweight options. Here’s my morning mess.

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Primer: Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water

This one is new to me, but I love it. It can be used as both a primer and a setting spray, or you can spritz it to refresh your makeup through out the day.

Concealer: Cover Girl True Blend W1

Highlighter: Benefit High Beam

This is another favorite. If you’re ever feeling ‘bleh’ about your skin, a couple drops of this guy on the apples of your cheeks will brighten you right up.

Bronzer: Benefit Hoola

Powder: Benefit Get Even

Blush: Milani in Rose Petal

Brow Gel: Benefit Gimme Brow

Eyeshadow: Smashbox Headshot Trio

Mascara: Urban Decay Big Fatty

Lips: Benefit Benetint (sometimes I use this on my cheeks as well)

So that’s the lineup. Mind you, this only makes it on my face when I have time in the morning, which has been less frequently lately as I’d much rather sleep until the last possible moment before leaving for work. If I only have a few minutes, I opt for Benetint on my cheeks and lips, mascara, and brow gel. Luckily on this particular day, Chris was able to give me a ride to the office, so I didn’t have to hustle to the train.

Now out the door with another pretty thing I gifted myself back on my birthday….

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I had a rare hour to spare this past weekend for a summery no-chip…

IMG_6162and I always have a watch on…this one is a Daniel Wellington that my wonderful boyfriend gave me for Christmas. Bracelet is actually a perfumed piece by Lisa Hoffman that I received as a work perk 😉 
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(Not late for work…yet)

Stay Gold,

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Grace

Week 25: 25 Weird Things About Pregnancy

Everyone always talks about the miracle of creating life; how beautiful it is to feel this tiny person growing inside you. And while it is absolutely nothing short of amazing, pregnancy can also be pretty weird and sometimes (a lot of the times) pretty gross.

In honor of 25 weeks, here’s my list of 25 weird things I’ve learned about pregnancy that no one warned me about. 

  1. You will accidentally pee if you cough, laugh, or even breathe too hard. Your boyfriend will laugh at you every time this happens.
  2. Sometimes morning sickness can last all day, and way after the first trimester (I’m at week 25 and it’s only now starting to subside…knock on wood)
  3. You will experience nearly every emotion within minutes of each other on any given day.
  4. You will be able to smell everyone you come into contact with (especially bad on public transportation.)
  5. You will become extremely aggressive and protective when people accidentally bump into you on the street or don’t give up their seat for you on the train.
  6. Stairs are scary.
  7. Cars are scary.
  8. Pretty much everything is scary and sometimes it’ll be hard to leave the house…
  9. …until you take a shower. Which can also be very scary.
  10. If it’s delicious, chances are you probably can’t eat it.
  11. You will start talking and singing to yourself (and baby) without noticing you’re doing it.
  12. Stupid commercials and TV shows will make you cry…actually pretty much anything can make you cry.
  13. You will stare at random children you encounter, and most likely smile like a creep as their parents hurry them away from you.
  14. You treat your OB like a therapist (you usually cry when you see her too.)
  15. You read the labels on absolutely EVERYTHING before purchasing.
  16. You always have to pee. Even if you JUST did.
  17. People will look down at your belly before making eye contact with you. (They don’t realize they’re doing it.)
  18. You will Google every weird pain, twitch, or headache you get to make sure it’s not “something serious.”
  19. People will tell you not to read the pregnancy horror stories on the Internet, but will most likely follow that by telling you a pregnancy horror story.
  20. People will tell you, “you look especially pregnant today.” Or “You don’t look very pregnant today,” depending on how tight your shirt is/how much you’ve had to eat.
  21. You will have terrifying outbursts of rage if you let yourself get too hungry. These will scare everyone around you, including yourself.
  22. Sometimes you’ll throw up while brushing your teeth.
  23. Pregnancy “glow” is really just a thin layer of sweat from being hot ALL THE TIME.
  24. You will freak out when you feel a big kick for the first time, then you will freak out if you don’t feel a kick for any length of time. These kicks will start looking like an alien is trying to burst through your stomach.
  25. It is the happiest, scariest, strangest, most intense thing that you will have ever experienced up to this point, and it will fly by.

Hope you enjoyed that burst of TMI. I’m off to enjoy the beauty and wonder of the rest of my pregnancy, and with luck, I won’t throw up in the car today ❤

Stay Gold,

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Grace

Week 23-24: Changes!

Things are moving right along these past few weeks! We’ve found our new home (Bucktown! Woohoo!) I’ve created my birth plan; finished my registry (babyli.st/grace-and-christopher), and I can officially no longer fit into regular pants. The next few weeks are sure to be pleasantly chaotic as we start packing and making more concrete plans for our baby girl’s arrival 🙂

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Unfortunately the pukes are still pretty constant, but I’ve managed to put on a healthy amount of weight despite my 6-month stomach flu. Thank goodness for protein shakes and smoothies! Luckily, she’s been kicking like a ninja all day long in my belly, reminding me that she’s doing just fine.

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Every day I get more and more excited to meet our little girl. The time has been flying by!

Stay Gold,

Grace

Week 21: Year 25!

Sorry for the late post! I’ve been a slug lately, to say the least 😛

Two Saturdays ago I officially became a quarter-century old.

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I love a good balloon

I love a good balloon

To celebrate, my parents joined Christopher and I at The Kitchen in River North on my birthday eve. I’m told the food was delicious (solid food is still a bit of a hurdle for me, unfortunately) and the ambiance and service was really great. I’d love to go back with an appetite! I was showered with tiny presents for Baby Girl and myself, then headed home where I got straight into bed.

Papa and I :)

Papa and I 🙂

When I woke up, Chris had prepared breakfast in bed with a side of presents. We went and saw It Follows at the Music Box; if you’re a fan of low-fi indie horror films, then this one is right up your alley. I loved it (even if Chris thought it was weird.) We ended the night with slices of my favorite pizza and a split cupcake before heading to bed (if you can’t tell, sleeping is my favorite thing to do currently.)

A day of my favorite things!

A day of my favorite things!

25 will surely be my most memorable year yet. Next year we’ll be able to celebrate with the best present of all; our little girl 🙂

Stay Gold,

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Grace

Week 20: IT’S A GIRL!!!

Ahhhh!!!!! I cannot tell you how excited I was to hear those three words from the ultrasound tech. We saw her perfect little hands and feet and the doctor said she looked perfectly healthy. Needless to say, the little dresses and outfits are already taking up a decent amount of closet space, and we can’t wait to meet this little girlfriend.

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A little summer outfit, as baby girl is due in August.

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They look like doll clothes. I can’t handle how cute they are! Look at that little dress!!!

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This one made me tear up a little 😉 Who doesn’t love Babar?! Also I’m pretty sure I didn’t go 30 minutes without dropping a few happy tears all day yesterday.

I also did a little work on my registry…Why is everything so much cuter when it’s miniature?!

Oh my goshhhhh

Oh my goshhhhh

So excited to start getting everything ready for baby girl’s arrival. We can’t wait to meet her! Officially halfway there 🙂

Stay Gold,

Grace