Everything you need to know…”I don’t think so”!

Recently, there was a post on “Babble “that described a mom’s 8 Postpartum Symptoms that she did not know existed until they happened to her…

These days, it truly baffles me how there is any thing left to know about pregnancy, delivery and postpartum with all the resources at a mom-to-be’s fingertips.  “Everything you ever wanted to know”  is merely a click away.

But…my question remains, “HOW realistic is it,  to read something called “everything you ever wanted to know” about anything that you are going to experience?

Now, I am not suggesting to be unprepared for labor and delivery, nor am I saying not to have information to read when you are pregnant …but something with the title “everything” should give any of us pause for thought.

No mom-to-be or parents-to-be need to know anywhere near “everything”.

In my professional opinion…depending upon what you choose to read, you could be driving yourself right into your first legitimate “panic attack“. Then you will have to start reading about “panic disorders” as well.

A few years ago, I had the unpleasant experience of open heart surgery…oh sure, I read, and prepared. I learned about the robotics approach and how that would prevent the need for the open chest incision…which was certainly an appealing idea.

As a nurse, who had taken care of patients after open-heart surgery I new the smaller, less invasive approach was certainly a great option, but I also knew the ultimate choice was not going to be entirely mine to make. So, I put myself in the hands of The Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital here in Chicago and listened carefully to what the doctors had to tell me about the condition of my mitral valve. My surgeon told me robotics would not be the best approach. At that moment, I put my entire confidence and life in his skilled and capable hands.

No, he did describe all the details of what it would be like recovering from the scariest surgery of my life…but he was confident he could repair my valve without having to give me an artificial one…but that was not a guarantee until he was actually inside my chest looking at my heart.

I will not bore you with all I did not know about  post-operative open heart recovery…but I will tell you that I am glad there was no book with the title, “Everything you want to know when you are having open-heart and valve repair surgery”.

As it was, from my own nursing experience… I knew and had seen entirely too much…I was scared, but fortunately blessed with an inner calm and peace. I had a supportive family to welcome me back from the hands of my surgeon.

I am happy that I did not know all the gory details about recovery from cardiovascular surgery, just as I was glad that I did not know all that I would experience after delivering my first child, 30+ years before. I knew enough.  Professionals, friends and family helped me muddle through those six difficult post operative weeks after heart surgery just as they did as I muddled through those six blurry postpartum weeks as a young woman years ago.

A funny thing comes to mind about these so very different life experiences…I always tell my friends when they pack for a hospital stay to bring their own pillow…it will bring them much needed comfort.

As a new mom, when I left the hospital for the 2 hour trip home with my infant daughter I used my own pillow to sit on…after heart surgery, I was given a MENDED HEART pillow…on my way home, I used that pillow to hug .

For me…I guess all I really needed to know was have a pillow handy.

8 Postpartum Symptoms I Never Knew Existed | Babys First Year Blog.

Week In Review…

A few of my favorite reads this week…

Parenting can be so damn stressful. Kids push boundaries and buttons, and it’s a parent’s job to stay calm and steady in the face of it all. But most of us don’t perform this job with absolute perfection. We sometimes and say things to our kids we wish we could stuff back inside our mouths.

The Safety of Sleepovers: I Dont Trust Other Parents | BlogHer

This headline really caught my eye because I really did not trust other parents with my children…it was something left with me long ago from my grandmother ,who raised me along with my mother. She was so wise. For as long as I remember, I knew this fact and never denied it and rarely argued it.

 Bedtime is always a challenge…I truly have never heard so many reasons why it is necessary to get out of bed once the routine is done, the goodnights are said and the lights are out save for the nightlight. I always feel super guilty if the reason given for getting out of bed is “I’m hungry, Neena” Quick and Healthy bedtime snacks will do away my guilt…take a look. Any other suggestions for keeping kids in bed after the “final good night kiss”.

I hope you have a nice weekend…we are staying close to home and away from the NATO Summit here in Chicago!

A “million” ways to soothe your infant…NOT!

Some days, I feel like there is nothing new under the sun! Do you ever feel that way?

In my 35+ years of practice as a maternal child nurse and reading as much as I do about parenting, this saying keeps resonating in my head…. “what is old is new again”.

We have made so many medical advances and now know how the brain lights up, as seen in a PET scan during moments of happiness, anger, and anxiety. The mind-body-spirit connection has finally been validated.

How does this and how should this affect the parenting of our children, beginning when they are in utero? The soothing of a fetus and newborn is of particular interest to me.

Just when I was convinced that I was in love with Dr. Harvey Karp‘s books “The Happiest Baby on the Block” and “The Happiest Toddler on the Block”  and his way of calming a crying newborn during the “fourth trimester”, a critical piece appeared on my Facebook page.

I  started to question my love of the Dr. Karp’s  5s’s. My feelings are an echo of what many new moms are feeling…who should moms believe? What philosophy of parenting works?

The “CALMS WAY” is just one of those soothing methods that jumped out of my computer a couple of weeks ago when I was reading a critical review of Dr. Karp’s 5s’s. I am still partial to Dr. Karp but I would try adding “self understanding and self calming to the 5s’s .

Parenting with Love is online magazine which supports the CALMS WAY…it is yet another site that can support new moms or add to their dilemma as to what to choose as their “Dr. Spock” or “Dr. T. Berry Brazelton” of 2012.

Moms, what do you think about the information age and all the parenting advice that is available?

How do you choose what to read and what methods to try?

How do you or how did you soothe your infant in the 4th trimester?

Are you overwhelmed with parenting philosophies?

Suggested reading:

Mommy Blogs and “TMI”

The New York Times declared her to be “Queen Of The Mommy Bloggers,” but it’s been fully a decade since Heather Armstrong started her blog, Dooce, lost her job because of it, and embraced not without difficulty motherhood — all in public view.

via Top 100 Mom Blogs — all the Best Mom Blogs, including Dooce.

MOMMY BLOGS AND “TMI”                                                                                                (Too much information)

Are too many kids making guest appearances on their mommy’s blog, on instagrams or on Facebook pages?


I find this a serious question and somewhat of a dilemma.

As to what is the right answer,  I am stumped.

How much is too much when it comes to exposing our personal life in photos and words online?

….Children are appearing in droves on social media. These appearances will be visible forever and ever…and it is not the fairytale forever and ever where all live happily ever after.

Blogs by moms are so popular especially if they are authentic and share honest feelings about motherhood…all that is good…all that is bad and even at times down right ugly. Sometimes the bad and the ugly win out when it comes to viewership which is what counts if you want to entice brands to advertise on your site and actually profit from your work.

Is this not  a type of exploitation of our children? And is it all bad?

I love photos and children’s photos are so innocent and beautiful without being posed…so why not share them? But do you ever wonder as I do, who actually is viewing your photos?

How tight should our boundaries be???  Should we be reconsidering how much  we  discuss our children online? Are there situations and anecdotes that do not belong on line in a blog?

A seasoned writer, whom I respect, recently said to me, “This generation is not afraid of the internet as our generation is and they are not as concerned with overall privacy“.

I struggle with privacy and boundaries whenever I write about family and children. Literally, I have thousands of photos uploaded from which I could draw, but I find myself searching “Flickr’s Creative Commons” for an appropriate picture.

I love reading the “Mommy Blogs“…many of them are so beautifully and sincerely written and when photos are included it just adds to their overall beauty and authenticity.

The questions that I have about our children’s privacy are important ones in my eyes. They are influenced by my social worker lens from which I view kids and boundaries.

I hope that you can help answer some of my questions and that my blog is a good balance of what I can share and what I feel is too personal to print.


Talking About Kids Online: Whats Too Much Information? | Strollerderby.

Toast Tuesdays!

phd in parenting is one of my favorite blogs.  If only I could blog and write like Annie!

She is very concerned about many parenting issues and when she talks about one these issues she is well informed and not afraid to share her opinion.

She is a champion for the environment, healthy children and moms, breast feeding and being ethical in business.

It is my hope that you will visit her blog …it is more than a worthwhile read.

She also has a sense of humor and on Mother’s Day her post is quite funny as she shares some precious moments with one of her children.

Enjoy…let men know if you love her as much as I do.

6 Reasons I Am NOT Mom Enough!

 In fact, after the TIME article this week… I am not sure that I want to be mom enough!

These are my reasons why I do not consider myself, “mom enough”!

  • I did not breast feed either one of my children…yes there was a medical reason and it was 30 years ago, but so what?
  • I did not co-sleep more than one month when my daughters were infants…we did “co-sleep” during thunderstorms when they were older.
  • I did not wear my children around the house in a baby sling in fact I did not even know what a baby sling was at that time…. 1980′s
  • I fed my children Beechnut baby food and Gerber baby food…I did not make my own until they were toddlers.
  • I never heard of Dr. Sears…I had a book by Dr. Spock, which I did not read…I received a Growth and Development newsletter each month in the mail.
  • I did not listen to my mother or my other relatives who tried to give advice because I knew enough and had friends around me that had infants and we figured it out together…well sort of…

I could go on… but after my kids’ meager beginnings it probably doesn’t matter what else I DID DO as they grew into adulthood.

However, I am happy to report.
  • They still talk to me and me to them.
  • We celebrate holidays together although it is nothing like the “Gathering“(Christmas with Ed Asner)…
  • We argue…we bicker…we hug and kiss…for the most part we respect each other.
And another thing,
  • I do not carry around guilt…
  • I realize that I did the best I could with what I knew and had to give at the time.
Related articles:

12 Essentials to put in your hospital bag…

One of my friends is having her first baby and has asked her friends what she should pack for her hospital stay.

Her question inspired me to look through my drafts and finally finish this post tonight.

So instead of my usual “Week in Review” here is my answer to Heather’s question.

Pregnancy seems to never end as it gets closer and closer to your due date…just ask any mom.

So about 4 weeks prior to your due date get out your bag and pack it for the  hospital.

It is a good thing to be prepared thus avoiding any last minute unnecessary chaos. Keep your bag handy to grab when the time comes. Some expectant moms leave their bags in the car just in case they are away from home when their water breaks.

Hospital Essentials.

My personal essentials list as a former Labor and Delivery nurse would include:

  • A nice soft pillow with a colorful pillow case for comfort and pictures.
  • Lollipops for labor, my personal favorites are Cherry Charms
  • I would probably opt for a wonderful hospital gown designed especially for new moms by Annie and Isabel (my personal favorites are the Anita and the Evelyn.

I have to digress here and mention my friends at Annie and Isabel…they are such special nurses that created these wonderful gowns to make women and soon men look and hopefully feel better while in the hospital. If I were going to be hospitalized I would certainly call on them to dress me for the occasion. Have a look see for yourself…my mom blogger friend, Jessica at Mommas Gone City knows first hand the comfort of a gown by Annie and Isabel.

  • A comfy bathrobe
  • Make-up to help me look and feel like myself
  • Baby’s car seat
  • Baby clothes
  • Some non-perishable snacks that I like to munch on…I have been in the hospital too many times and the long hours at night go well with cookies and ginger ale in my experience.
  • My cellphone to make the necessary baby announcements
  • My white noise machine to help me sleep at night if at all possible
  • My own breast pump
  • My camera for those special “Kodak” moments

This is a short clip about packing for Labor and Delivery from Today’s Moms


Thank you: Jessica Shyba at Mommas Gone City  and Heather soon to be mom!


Toast to Thursday’s Blog

This week was a little bit out of order, but here is my toast to a blog that I think is  worthwhile one to follow.

Janet Lansbury is inspired by Magda Gerber, the woman, who encouraged parents to be “educators”.  She shares the essence of what it is to parent within the framework of Magda’s theories and RIE.

The RIE philosophy is based on respecting infants as if they were fully functioning, spending quality time with them, learning their individual ways of communicating, not treating infants like objects, involving infants in the things that concern them, being honest with infants, and allowing infants to try to solve a problem without adult interference.

via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magda_Gerber

Below is an introduction to one of Janet Lansbury’s blogs…I hope you click on her link and continue to read her post…I am pretty certain you will enjoy it.



Infant expert Magda Gerber’s contributions to the lives of children are widely acclaimed by educators and child care professionals.  Less acknowledged is the tremendous gift her Educaring philosophy is to us. Magda’s theories not only make our job more enjoyable and successful they elevate the child care experience. They stretch us and engage our intellect, opening our eyes to a new view of infants, and of ourselves.


via Magda Gerber’s Gift To Grown-Ups – Parenting That Engages The Mind | Janet Lansbury.

Are you an unhappy parent???

Did having children change your level of happiness?

What a loaded question!

Ever since reading the articles listed below and then Lisa Belkin’s post about why these studies about parental happiness are wrong, I have been mulling this question over in my head.

I always remember hearing from early on in adulthood, that if your marriage was already in trouble and you were not as happy as you thought you could be, adding a child into the equation would not necessarily help an already problematic situation.

That being said, when I had my first child it was only a few months after our first wedding anniversary. Both my husband and I had been through a very stressful year. On my side of the marriage was, illness of very close family members, which took a toll on me emotionally. We both started new jobs and moved to South Florida’s  rural Treasure Coast after living our entire lives in the New York and Boston metro areas. This was a total culture shock for both of us. To add to it, we had no family in Florida However, my mother was planning to relocate with my grandmother to the city north of us. My grandmother died just prior to the move which left me and my mother devastated.

In addition, I had some pretty serious medical issues which made my pregnancy “high risk” so we traveled to Miami (2 hours away) for all of my prenatal visits. Leaving my obstetrician in New York was one of the most difficult things I had to do. I secretly planned in my head to go back to NYC to deliver my baby up until my last trimester.

Finally I came to my senses and registered to deliver at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. It was a great hospital but left much to be desired when it came to mom’s creature comforts.

When I gave birth to my daughter…I was ecstatic! There was no post partum depression for me. All the sadness was behind me. It was winter in South Florida, the sun was shining and I was beaming. I had waited a long time to become a mother.

Fast forward two years…I delivered another little girl, again at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami…I could not have been happier. Oh…my medical problems continued with heart flutters etc. so no more pregnancies were advised. It was a momentary sadness. It did not take me long to realize that two children less than two years apart was going to keep me pretty busy for a very long time.

There were many moments between then and now that I have to say I experienced some unhappiness as a parent. Parenting was not easy and it still isn’t. Both my husband and I came from different religious and cultural backgrounds so that had its advantages and disadvantages. We worked out the “December Dilemma” and our respective families went along with the traditions and memories we were making for our family of four.

As I look back now…I was for the most part always happy…my glass is forever half full…I have never had a half empty glass that I can remember. For that I am thankful and feel blessed.

My mother died 11 years ago and my only sibling died 6 years ago, those were difficult losses to bear but my children and husband have been there for me.

It is difficult for me to even think about a life without having had my children and now I am fortunate to be a grandmother. Becoming a grandparent has made my life fuller than I could ever have imagined.

I now understand how my grandmother felt taking care of me and how my mother felt taking care of my girls. Life has come full circle in so many ways.

No matter what the studies say…I have a hard time believing that so many parents are unhappy being parents.

Maybe their expectations of parenthood are too high and thus happiness escapes them.

I  truly feel for them.

What are your experiences and feelings about this discussion?       






Lisa Belkin: Why So Many Studies About Parents And Happiness Are Wrong.

Does Having Children Make You Unhappy? – NYTimes.com.

Happy news on happiness; what can we believe? « Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.

Top 10 Reasons Parents Are Happier Than Non-Parents | Strollerderby.

Happy Families – How to be a Happy Family – Parenting.com.