Feeling frenzied all the time can take a toll on your fertility. Here’s how you can chillax and boost your odds of baby-making success.
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I have a confession to make: I resented breastfeeding my twins. I stuck it out for nine months because I could hardly deny my boys the health benefits. But forget intimacy and bonding. To me, nursing was a 25-hour-a-week time suck (so to speak). And pumping--in the car, at my desk, on the grimy floor of the Houston airport bathroom--was no delight, either.
It wasn't until I dropped one feeding at around six months--sorry, little dudes, you're having formula for lunch!--that I felt some relief. When I quit altogether, I thought to myself, "Free at last!"
Now, this isn't the type of information I would broadcast then, for fear of sounding like a rotten, whiny mom. Mostly, I kept it to myself. But these days pregnant women and new moms with unpopular opinions, gripes or guilty feelings have a better option: truemomconfessions.com, a website created by former Hollywood producer and mother of three Romi Lassally. "I wanted to give moms a community to share their fears and frailties without judgment or rejection," says Lassally. "The idea was to start a conversation about what motherhood really is, not what it should be."
Proving you're not alone, here are quotes from real moms who vented at Lassally's website, along with expert advice you won't want to miss.
"I hate being pregnant."
"Dear ninth month of pregnancy, I hate you. I hate the 24-hour heartburn and the leaky boobs and the fact that I can't sleep on my tummy anymore."
"I hate peeing all the time and carrying all this extra weight around. I'm fat, ugly, and so freaking uncomfortable. I feel bad when I complain, especially when so many suffer with infertility, but I just find pregnancy a pain."
Expert Advice: Think of pregnancy as an Ironman triathlon: If you didn't suffer, crossing the finish line wouldn't feel as sweet. The discomforts will put the rigors of momhood in perspective; when you're wiped out from round-the-clock feedings, crying jags and diaper changes, you'll think: At least I can sleep on my stomach again!
"I think pregnancy is nine months long so that we are absolutely ready to have the baby," says obstetrician Kara M. Nakisbendi, M.D., co-author of 2006's The Pregnancy Countdown Book: Nine Months of Practical Tips, Useful Advice, and Uncensored Truths. It's OK to throw yourself a pity party once in a while, she says. "Cry and feel sorry for yourself, then move on." A gripe session with other moms-to-be is always satisfying. Then take a step back and remind yourself of the awesome task your body is accomplishing.
"I'm not excited about giving birth. In fact, I dread it."
"I wasn't scared of having a baby until the video we saw in childbirth class. Now I'm freaked out. I have 10 weeks to go, so it's a little late now."
Expert Advice: True, childbirth is no tea party, but there's really nothing to be afraid of, says Zoe Weston, a prenatal expert and doula in Paia, Hawaii. In fact, Weston says, fear can actually exacerbate labor pain. "When humans experience fear, our bodies secrete stress hormones into the bloodstream, which causes our muscles to tense up," she explains. "The uterus is a muscle, and when it's tense while trying to have a contraction, this hurts."
If it's the pain you fear, a birth doula can help you relax. So can yoga, walking and those breathing techniques you learned in childbirth class. Plus, you can always opt for an epidural.
"We've stopped having sex."
"My husband and I haven't had sex since I found out I was pregnant--eight months ago. First I was too sick. Then I was huge and didn't feel sexy. The worst part is, I don't miss sex. I know my husband is getting frustrated, and I'm afraid he is going to start to resent me."
Expert Advice: Many women experience no sexual desire during pregnancy, says New York City certified sexuality educator Amy Levine, M.A., founder of sexedsolutions.com. Tell your husband what you're feeling, and find out what he's thinking."He may understand and let you know he's literally taking matters into his own hands," Levine says.Or, he may fess up that he's frustrated, in which case you can agree to alternatives.Manually stimulating him and performing oral sex are always options.Other women give their men the OK to view online porn, Levine adds."If you set the parameters together, you'll be mutually satisfied."