It’s been almost 6 months since I started my blog hiatus, and it’s not because nothing has gone on, but in fact because of the exact opposite.
I have experienced having my son admitted in the hospital for pneumonia on his first birthday, working from home part-time on an ongoing freelance gig, flying with a 1-year-old boy by myself – trans-Pacific, no less (that's a 14-hour flight with a 4-hour lay-over, followed by a shorter 2-hour flight) – and all the while fighting not post-partum depression, but being-isolated-and-away-from-family-and-friends depression (is there a label to that?).
It’s been a very busy first-half-of-the-year indeed. There were days and weeks when I would lay awake wishing I was blogging about thoughts in my head instead of lying to myself that I was asleep. And while most of these happenings deserve their own entry, I know I will never have time to write all of those (I never did), so to catch up with myself, allow me to combine some of them here:
Mommy instinct and attachment parenting
I didn’t know our style of parenting had a name, until I started seeing the term “attachment parenting” on everything I read that I related to:
Our baby slept on our bed from day one (co-sleeping).
I breastfed exclusively to build my milk supply (exclusive breastfeeding or EBF).
I (or my mom or my husband) carried my baby around with me all day using a sling (baby wearing).
And we placed him on the potty as soon as he learned to sit up on his own (elimination communication).
All these were instinctive to us, to me especially. And regardless of what other “experts” say or what other well-meaning relatives and friends tell me, I wouldn’t parent my kid any other way.
Satisfaction Not Guaranteed
I turned 30 in February, and it was perhaps one of the most depressing seasons of my life. Not because of my age, but because I felt so unfulfilled. And so guilty for feeling unfulfilled despite having a loving family – my darling husband and my adorable baby boy – and being blessed to have the choice of staying home to raise my kid.
But it was hard to admit that I wasn’t content with my life, because seeing your baby grow up right under your nose was supposed to be rewarding. Why was I depressed?
Maybe because I wasn’t earning a single penny the way I did all my life, while my friends were being promoted and succeeding in their endeavors left and right. I felt so left out – not to mention rusty. I couldn’t admit that maybe I wasn’t cut out for this new job because I couldn’t deal with the guilt of working and having a stranger raise my baby.
Maybe because I didn’t enjoy doing chores and keeping house. I felt like my time should’ve been spent trying to find ways to earn money or connecting with people from the outside world.
And maybe because I felt isolated, having no or little support here when I knew I couldn’t even count my family and friends overseas. Then more than ever, I felt the necessity of having emotional support.
But really, why was I still depressed? I guess my friend said it best: because there is more to being a woman than being a wife and a mom.
Dealing with Food Allergies
After a scary trip to the ER when my son was 8 months old, we soon established that he had a lot of food allergies. On his 12-month checkup, his blood panel revealed allergies to cow’s milk protein, wheat, soy, eggs and peanuts. We also had lots of hits and misses with other food, with the misses being fish, shellfish, squash, peas and lentils.
Thank God for the Internet, or I would have pulled out my hair trying to think of what to feed him. I learned to make our own baby food sans allergenic ingredients from recipes online. Plus, I learned to bake a dairy-less, egg-less chocolate cake for his first birthday celebration -- with frosting!
We are still hopeful that he will eventually outgrow his allergies. After all, he is still just a baby. And then maybe one day, I can gladly share with my crème brulee, ice cream, peanut butter, shrimp pasta...
Shopping for Baby Shoes
Shocking. That’s what I think of the prices of a pair of new shoes, whether they are for babies learning to walk, or those already walking. I can also say insane. Why would I purchase a $40 pair of shoes for my baby who will be using them for a couple months AT MOST? I don’t even buy shoes over $30 for myself, and I use mine for well over 5 years. And yes, I’m a cheapskate, but still, $40?!!!
I guess the only reasonable place to buy shoes for a baby is on craigslist, Salvation Army or Goodwill for second-hand shoes, or on Gymboree or Old Navy sales. Better yet, find a friend with an older baby. Nothing beats hand-me-downs.
Jon and Kate Plus 8
I discovered their show while I was on maternity leave. At that time, the twins were only 6 and the sextuplets were 2, and were they a sight to see. Loving their show even prompted me to record all the reruns including the first 2 specials about their family.
What drew me to watch them was the fact that Kate was (at that time) managing a household with 8 kids like a well-oiled machine, while I was going crazy with 1. And the fact that I secretly envied them, because as much as I wanted a big family of my own, I knew that it was going to be impossible if we stay here in the US. Impossible for me physically, mentally and emotionally, because raising a family without the proper support group can be deadly.
Sadly, their show has spiraled downhill because of the alleged scandals the couple now faces. It’s unbelievable what mainstream media can do. But I do wish they can come out of this with their family intact, even if that means I will have to stop seeing those adorable little faces I see every week.
Whew! I hope your eyes didn't bleed. This is barely even half of what I wanted to write. I can’t believe my head didn’t explode. But there is more to come...