feelings of bliss and inadequacy

There's nothing like sitting down with your oatmeal, laptop and shampoo bottles and Googling 'what ingredients aren't safe during pregnancy, shampoo" to start your day in a plunging downward spiral of complete inadequacy. Again. 

In the first trimester I kicked myself off Google and sort of adopted this 'I'll do my very best' attitude. When in doubt I'd ask, a real live human woman when I could, or Google. But I didn't rip through my life going 'organic goddess' crazy. And, now of course, I wish I had. Because of one blog post I tripped on yesterday about favorite products during pregnancy. 

It went along as if, duh, normal shampoo is out of the question right now. Wha, what? Sure enough, Bumble and Bumble is doing me in a bad way. And that nail polish remover, for shame. I mean don't get me wrong, I got pregnancy face wash and natural lotion. I thought Dr. Bronner's was good. Turns out, again, nope. 

I did my very best. But like I continually find, that's just not good enough. 

"I can sleep at night because I make my own toothpaste and never eat sugar." 
Of course this 'crazy' stems from somewhere a little more complicated than one woman's blog about her favorite jar deodorant made only of natural oils and smugness. I am one of those women who got a call after her 20 week ultrasound. The call they make only if there's something to report. 

Right as we pulled up to our paradise Palm Springs abode, my doctor told me I have marginal cord insertion. She was chipper. Assuring me it was common, not to worry and to carry on as normal. Everything was great! My little girl is a week ahead in her size and development. She's healthy and everything else is perfect. She just got creative with her cord placement. She thought why not color outside the lines? 

I was frozen in the mini van as everyone swirled around me. I felt blindsided. I'd gone from finally having this complete bliss, happiness, calm to being right back in first trimester mindset. Kicked in the stomach, so much in love, I couldn't imagine what would happen if something went wrong. 

This news did immediately change everything for me. Running? Who gives a tiny rat's arse? I'm still at it, but I don't struggle with "understanding its place in my life right now". It's slow and steady and not about me. And eating? No more laughing it off when I eat junk for a half a day. I'm pounding veggies and fruits and all the good calories I can get. 

My doctor isn't just feeding me bullshit either (except for the "common" part, it's not that common). I'm lucky enough to have two friends who are doctors and both reassured me it's all good. Marginal cord basically means I'll have regular ultrasounds to monitor her growth. It also means at the May ultrasound the cord could have moved closer in as the plancenta grew, or further away from the middle (not ideal, but we'll take it as it comes).

Of course, Marginal Cord also means me thinking about it way too much. And having sudden crushing guilt about weird shit like shampoo. And really trying to get to the place everyone else seems to be, where we aren't worried about this. 

(this probably goes without saying, but if you have a sad story regarding this, please tell it to someone else)


  1. I'm sure you have plenty of people wishing you well/supporting you. But I just wanted to add my support and well wishes. This post struck a chord with me because I had a complicated and uncomfortable pregnancy, during which I spent a lot of time worrying that I would unintentionally do something to harm my children (twins). After pre-term labor, I was on bed rest for nearly three months. I felt like a hen sitting on eggs, waiting, hoping I wouldn't accidentally crush one or both of them. (And then I also had people telling me not to worry or be depressed, because that kind of stuff would affect the babies, too. Thanks, people.)

    Anyhow, I write this as the mother of two perfectly healthy three year olds who, in the end, had no complications at birth, are now huge for their age, and are doing great by all measures (except the whole potty training thing).

    SO much could have gone wrong, but it didn't. And until I read your post, I didn't even know that I was supposed to be concerned about what kind of shampoo I used during pregnancy. I used whatever was cheapest at the grocery store…and so far, my children have turned out great…who knows what the ramifications of my thoughtless actions will be down the road, though.

    I hope that a few years from now, you find yourself in a similar place…that you think back on how lucky you are that everything went as well as it did, but most days, you don't even think about something which once seemed so all-consuming.

    Best wishes…I'll be one of probably many complete strangers pulling for you and hoping for the best possible outcome!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. Happy to hear about your healthy tots!! I think this journey is more wrought with insecurity than bliss. It's not a story I love telling, I'd rather be skipping along high on life. But that's just not reality at times.

      Shampoo, pssh, I'm replacing it, but not going to obsess. Because I'm sure once I replace it, I'll find something else 'I'm doing wrong'.

      Thank you, I also hope in a few years, I'm looking back and finding myself lucky with a wild three year old.

  2. You are courageous. Vulnerability and waiting is so difficult; there aren't many things that can really help.

    I am not pregnant, nor have I ever been (and it sounds awfully scary), but I imagine I would feel the exact same about shampoo and other chemicals. Even now, I make my own deodorant (it works and there is no smugness involved. Just cheap, easy products), and I'm slowly phasing out all that chemical crap that I can't pronounce. Add a baby in, and wow. I'd feel really guilty, too.

    Best wishes to you, and I hope you and your baby are healthy and happy for years to come. Here's to the stuff that makes us stronger.

  3. based on grainy yellow photographs from late 1979 that i've come across during occasional trips to see my folks, my mom was mixing chugs of carlo rossi with drags from joe camel and probably NOT reading up on shampoo poisoning. and while yeah i physiologically have the body of a 52 year old, i can form complete sentences and hold a steady job and still have most of my teeth.

    tl;dr: i vote you lather with whatever the hell you want and i bet sarah jr agrees with me:)

    1. What? I have to quit smoking?? Thanks, I'm trying to keep in mind all the good things I'm doing. :)

  4. You do what makes you feel good and secure and nurtured/nurturing. Trust that anything "uncommon" going on with her is not because of you. Of course I'll tell you you can wash with whatever you damn please and eat ice cream all year and she'll turn out fabulous, but if making deliberate changes makes you feel safer, go for it. Babies and mamas are magical and resilient. The worry part is the part that no one can touch but oneself. Hard to avoid the blogs, but try!
    The fact that you took the leap into parenthood means you are brave and open and loving and caring. If you continue to trust and communicate well with your doc, you have the benefit of being well infirmed and supported and not made to feel crazy. Extra ultrasounds is a bonus for more visits with bebe before birth!
    Get in touch with your doula options if you think that flight help too!

  5. Being pregnant is so nerve-wracking! There are so many different things/factors that can make a mom worry! Everything looked good at the ultrasound, I passed my glucose test... and then I tested positive for Strep B. I thought my baby was head down and ready to roll, and then I fell down prompting an ultrasound to find out she was breech just 2 weeks before my due date. There is always something to be scared of. I think you have the right idea to stay off the internet message boards (oh lord, I learned this lesson early) and to take the advice of your doctor and super smart doctor friends. You are already shaping up to be a great mom with how worried you are about that little one growing and developing inside you!

    I feel like pregnancy made me really worried about that baby, but (speaking from experience) taking care of the baby inside of you is much easier than taking care of the baby outside of you. Lol. Everyone told me to relax and enjoy pregnancy but I didn't start relaxing until I was about 30+ weeks... And by then it was painful/difficult/tired to be pregnant. Something that made me more at ease was to think that lots of women have lots of babies every single day and you don't hear about it on the internet or in the news because everything works out just fine.

    I will think extra positive thoughts for you and your little one! I'm sure everything will work out!

    1. Every time I read one of your comments I wish we lived closer to each other. I think we are spirit worriers. ;) Patsy couldn't be more perfect, I'm excited to hold this bebe even though I'm sure it will all come with a new and unique wave of questions and concerns.

    2. Aw that is so sweet! Lots of my friends are pregnant right now and I love following along in their journeys! I'm so glad you got the chance to meet Patsy. I know someone took a photo of you holding her, but I don't think it was me. Lol. I had a friend who was going through pregnancy at the same time as me and it was definitely helpful to have someone else worrying about the same things at the same time.

      And don't worry, once the baby arrives, there will be lots of things to worry about then too. Is she gaining enough weight? Is she hitting the milestones quickly enough or too quickly? Ahh! So many things!

      And I'm always around to do a Google hangout any time you want! :)

  6. Have you read "Expecting Better" by Emily Oster? If not - I highly recommend it. It helped me not worry too much about the little things (like OMG, I had a dip with blue cheese in it...everybody panic) and try to focus on what I can actually control (which, let's be honest, is less than we'd like to think).

    That being said - I have found pregnancy more stressful than I thought I would. What if my body does something it isn't supposed to? What if I fall down? What if I do something that I didn't even know might hurt my baby? What if I'm just unlucky? But as Kelly said - you hear more about the scary stories and the things that go wrong than the countless babies who are born just fine. And as I sit here over due and wondering when baby will decide to come, I just have to count on the fact that I did all I could.

    I will think happy thoughts for you and Mini-Mac :)

    1. You're at the finish line! Congrats! I totally bought this book on my Kindle last night, thank you. Really enjoying it.

      Sending you thoughts for a smooth delivery, and that you meet your bebe soon!

  7. I'd like to say I was one of those people who LOVED being pregnant, but in reality, not so much. I had some minor complications and I just wanted my babies to be here. As for the "don't eat this, don't use that" crowd, you have to take it somewhat with a grain of salt and do what feels right for you (I'm not talking about things like medicine, but the other things). I gave up caffeine with my first, but needed it for my second because I got such horrible headaches. I heeded the "no soft cheeses and lunchmeat" rule, but that's about it, and I have two beautiful, healthy kids (10 and 6) to show for it. :)

    Will be thinking positive thoughts for you, your husband, and your baby girl. She'll be here before you know it (and after she is, you'll wonder why you worried)

    p.s. I didn't change my shampoo ;)

  8. Hey lady! As a budding toxicologist, I WILL say that nail polish should be avoided, and I wish that every expecting mother knew this!! So if there is one thing you do change, go au naturel with the nails until mini-mac arrives!

  9. I don't know much about marginal cord insertion (ok, i don't know anything about it) but I'm sorry it's been added to the list of worries! As if being pregnant for the first time doesn't make us worry enough!
    I think it's always best to listen to your doctor and your trusted doctor friends over things you read on the internet (especially from old blogs where women are wearing rainbow striped sport bras, HA).
    I can tell you from experience, many wasted nights of experience, that googling problems once the baby is born is a dangerous path to go down as well. Anything wrong with your child, including the common cold, warrants a trip to the ER as far as google is concerned. And of course you child is most likely the most important thing IN THE ENTIRE WORLD to you, so you don't want to take any chances. Being a parent is very nerve racking and very rewarding. Most wonderful and hardest thing I've ever done.
    I changed everything and was so "natural" with Currie. I went as far as not consuming any caffeine for the entire pregnancy and even the first 9 months after having her! I cried when I realized I ate a sample of brie at Trader Joes and it's a "soft cheese"! I cried because we found out my mom had breast cancer (again) and was getting a double mastectomy and I was worried/stressed and that was "hurting my baby". I cried because I was crying over all of these things! So, I totally understand analyzing anything and everything in your life, especially after getting that scary phone call. (With Wells pregnancy, I didn't change any products, drank coffee daily, and even got a pedicure though I was worried about that for weeks and he turned out just perfect.)
    Listen to your heart and do what feels right for you. That's the best advice anyone ever told me about being pregnant and raising a child. No one knows you or your family better than YOU! I'm thinking of you and know that everything will go smoothly and you will be holding that sweet, healthy little lady in your arms in a few months!

  10. Thinking good thoughts for you! I've only met you a few times but I think you are an awesome person & I know you are and will be an awesome mom :-)

  11. Hi Sarah! I love your blog, and though I have never met you in person, your words have often inspired me as I have progressed from those first awkward steps out my front door, through several halfs and now on to my first marathon! I promise, I'm not scary...I'm the best kind of friendly cyber stalker. :)

    At any rate, I do feel prompted to reply. My "marginal cord" baby is now a thriving 15 year old in his first year of high school. I still remember the "punched in the gut" feeling that I got when I was initially told that something was "slightly irregular". (How's that for bedside speak? Irregular? What? BAAAAAAH!) In my case the cord did move closer to center and I was fortunate to have (aside from the stress and anxiety) an otherwise easy pregnancy and delivery.

    I know that there are no words that will put your mind absolutely at ease, pregnancy is a time that is filled with an incredible amount of fear at times. (At least it was for me!) But I do hope that my story might bring a momentary sigh of relief.

    Hang in there...

    1. Wow! Thank you for sharing your story.

      I had a great talk with my doctor, I've only called her with questions... once. But I should start doing it more. She's just not concerned, she said if she was I'd know about it. And as long as I'm not drinking my shampoo, not to worry about all that so much.

      I'm hoping for an outcome like yours, cord moving in as the placenta grows, and big healthy baby in August. Again, doctor is not concerned it will get further and says the cord is extremely healthy. Phew, phew, phew.

      Thanks again for your comment -

  12. It's dangerous mentioning shampoo in a blog. Even non-pregnant women can be very judgemental about shampoo!

    There's no right or wrong way to be pregnant. I was at an afternoon tea the other week where another pregnant girl had a glass of champagne, and then I was worried about looking uptight because I turned it down!

    Pregnancy is the most natural thing that our bodies will do, and we actually have very little control of the outcome. We can do things to minimize risks but at the end of the day our bodies and our babies know how it's supposed to happen :)

    1. Totally! I had no ideal that bath and beauty products could be so polarizing.

      I think in the midst of less than ideal news, I am looking for variables to control more than anything.

      How's it all going for you!?

  13. Just remember to relax and enjoy this amazing moment in your life. Run if you want to, rid the chemicals if you want to, listen to your body and your "gut". You will know what is right for you. and stop Googling for goodness sake!! :) I'm partial but I think girls are the best, and give in to the sweet tooth, it cannot be helped.

  14. You are already an amazing mom Mac! And you make it look beautiful and easy. Your little bean is strong, determined, and maybe a bit of a risk taker just like you :) Always here for you when the crazies need to come out. Literally in an arms length away.

  15. Hey Sarah

    I ran (haha - no pun intended) across your blog a couple years ago when I moved to Seattle. Just wanted to extend my congrats to you and Owen because I know this is a super exciting time for you guys! :) Hope to meet you at a race someday.

    I would love to read a post on your experiences with unsolicited pregnancy advice or the things people say to you without thinking things through first. And while we're on the topic, I thought of you this morning when I applied my store-bought deodorant. It's LOADED with chemicals. ;-)

  16. Try not to fret the little things if you can help it--trust your doctor and trust yourself and talk to friends you know well when you're scared. Being a mom is ever-shifting sand beneath your feet, Starfish, but you're going to do just fine! ❤️


Post a Comment

Popular Posts