Tag Archives: baby

Why Judgmental Moms & Dads Are Ruining Parenting

soapboxWhat’s one of the first things you do when your kids hit an important milestone? If you’re anything like me, you post it on social media.

One of the best parts about having kids is watching them grow, and there is no span of time that sees as much rapid progress as the first year of life. From the time they start grabbing things to rolling over to taking their first steps, kids are maturing at warp speed and social media allows us to document these milestones and celebrate them with our friends and family members on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

Well, it SHOULD be a celebration, but that’s not always the case. Mainly because a lot of parents are judgmental, sanctimonious pricks.

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11 Stupid Things People Say to New Parents

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Prior to Sam’s birth last month it’d been five years since I dealt with a newborn. Which means it had been five years since I dealt with people saying ridiculous things following the birth of a newborn.

Look, I’m not trying to be a jerk. I’m really not. It’s just that so many of the things people say are, well — dumb. And obnoxious. And oftentimes offensive. I know it’s hardly ever done intentionally, but that doesn’t change the fact that it happens. When people are unsure of what to say or how to act, they fall back on tired stereotypes and cliches. I know because I’ve been guilty of it myself, so this is a kick in the ass for me just as much as it is for you.

But for all of our sakes, it needs to stop. Together we can put an end to the madness. But first, we need to face the ugly truths so we can identify them and never mention them again.

11. “Are you getting any sleep?”
If you’re visiting the parents of a newborn, it generally means they’ve only been home from the hospital for 10-14 days. It also means there’s a 99.999999% chance you’re asking sleep-deprived zombies whether or not they’ve gotten any shuteye. And that’s just mean. It’s like asking fat people on a diet whether they’re planning to order dessert. Just as diet-starved fatties like myself crave that solitary cupcake, parents would sell a kidney for three hours of uninterrupted sleep. Unless you happen to be speaking to the mythological beings known as parents whose kids sleep through the night from Day 1. If that’s the case, don’t ask these parents anything. Just do the rest of us a favor and hit them with a shovel.

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Introducing Sam

samAll parents think their newborns are wondrous marvels and tiny little miracles. But given the fact that I watched science assist us in fertilizing an embryo, transferring it into my wife where it grew for 40 weeks — as far as I’m concerned I witnessed an honest to goodness miracle last week.

Samuel Christopher Gouveia was born on July 31 at exactly 2 p.m. His Tankness (as I’m referring to him as of late) was a whopping 9 lbs, 3 oz and 21 inches long. MJ delivered him after less than 15 minutes of pushing, and because she’s a badass she didn’t even need any stitches afterward. It was an ironically painless and uncomplicated culmination of a process that was fraught with pain, uncertainty, and heartbreak.

I don’t want to dwell on the past because other people had it tougher and I (unfortunately) know too many parents whose young kids are no longer with us. But that doesn’t change the fact that MJ and I went through a hellish time the last few years. And although neither of us admitted it at the time, we had both given up hope of completing our family. It was evident in our demeanor, the things we said, and the choices we made. Like last year when MJ needed a new car. We thought about going with a minivan because we wanted another kid, but we bought a Kia Sportage instead. Why? Because neither of us believed we’d ever really need the extra room. And even the night before Sam was born, MJ turned to me and said “Are you convinced something is wrong with the baby?” It was no use lying to her, because that is ALL I could think about and I did believe something else was going to go wrong.

But it didn’t. Sam is healthy and beautiful. And for the first time in years, I feel like I can breathe again.

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Thank You People of the Internet

final_mj_bellyIn nine hours my beautiful wife and I will head to the hospital where she will give birth to our second child. But for those of you who have followed our story for the past few years, you know that barely scratches the surface of our long, painful journey.

When you’re dealing with multiple miscarriages things get pretty awful in a hurry. And when you’re hit with a 1-in-100,000 fetal abnormality incompatible with life, combined with the heartlessness of pro-life protesters verbally accosting us on one of the worst days of our lives, it’s enough to send you careening over the edge of sanity. And that’s to say nothing of the hundreds of trolls who badgered me after the video went viral. I got fresh hate mail just this afternoon, more than three years removed from the event.

When politics and religion combine, things get nasty. And I stood for a good long while just staring at dark side of the Internet, which acts as a safe haven for anonymous Internet cowards with too much time of their hands and hate in their hearts. And let me tell you, it’s pretty easy to succumb to the noise and let the venom overwhelm you. It’s like you’re lost while driving at night, and you haven’t seen another car in so long that you’re happy just to see headlights — even if it means they’re barreling down to destroy you.

But right about then, something amazing happened. You guys showed up and saved the day.

Seriously, thank you. Thank you to each one of you fucking glorious souls who reached out to us and supported us one way or another. To the strangers who took up fighting the trolls when I couldn’t stomach it any longer. To the random people who sent us e-mails sharing your own heartbreaking stories to let me know MJ and I weren’t alone. To the folks who left comments telling us to hang in there. To the people who sent us cards and gifts. All of you. Each of you. Each and every one of you who went out of your way to take the time to give a stranger comfort should know that your actions are nothing short of heroic.

At a time when we needed some hope and support, you denizens of the Internet picked us up and enveloped us in a virtual bear hug of love. You did more than leave a comment or shoot over an e-mail. You showed us decency when all we could see was hatred and misery, and rekindled my faith in the basic goodness of people. Simply put, you had our backs. And for that I’m forever thankful.

And yet you weren’t done there.

When we announced we were pregnant with this baby, you rallied the troops again and lifted us up once more. You carried us through our self-doubt and our fears of something going wrong again. You nurtured us every step of the way, and kept checking in to make sure we were OK. You invested yourself in our lives, and for the life of me I can’t think of anything more meaningful than that.

Facing steep odds is difficult no matter what, but I can’t tell you how much it helps to have you guys in our corner. Seriously. When I posted this afternoon about MJ being induced tomorrow, I teared up as I read comment after comment from you guys congratulating us and wishing us well. Having an army of support behind us has made all the difference in the world. And I owe you.

I mean that too. Some of you have reached out to talk about this and that over the years and I love it. Please don’t ever hesitate to drop me a line, because if I can help I will. If MJ can help she will. You guys held us close and helped us every step of the way, and I will spend my entire life trying to pay you back in spades.

At some point tomorrow I will post a picture of our new son or daughter. It will list a name, length, and weight. What it won’t say — but what I’m saying right now — is thank you. And we couldn’t have done it without you. I fucking love you guys. A lot.

Now let’s celebrate!

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7 Reasons Not to Find Out the Sex of the Baby

boy_or_girlThe big day is drawing near and I’m freaking out with anticipation and excitement. Excitement about completing our family for one, but also because I’ll finally get the answer to a very important question — are we having a boy or a girl?

Yup, that’s right. We didn’t find out. That’s a decision that has drawn some mixed reactions and opinions to say the least, but it’s one MJ and stand behind 100%. As I’ve mentioned before, I didn’t always feel this way. In fact, it was the cause of much marital strife with Will because I wanted to know the sex and MJ didn’t. At first I was ridiculously angry, but she kept on telling me how great of a surprise it’d be and that it was worth the wait. I didn’t believe her, but she was so right. It was absolutely fantastic.

Yet out of all the questions people asked us during this pregnancy, the #1 query by far was “HOW CAN YOU POSSIBLY WAIT TO FIND OUT?” and “WHY IN HOLY HELL WOULD YOU NOT FIND OUT?!” Well, here are seven answers.

7. The Old Wives’ Tales
In the absence of a conclusive ultrasound, people never cease to surprise me with their methods of determining whether we’re having a boy or a girl. People say if you’re “carrying high” it’s a girl, and low means boy. They ask MJ what foods she’s been craving and if she mentions something sweet, they automatically say girl while sour equals boy. It’s really quite interesting to hear the theories bandied about by these baby soothsayers, which all seem to have been handed down by grandparents and great-grandparents and are NEVER wrong. In fact, 50% of the time they guess right EVERY time.

6. Delaying Stupid Stereotypes
If we found out the sex at 18 weeks that means I’d have 22 weeks to listen to people moronically babble on about what it means to have a boy or girl. If people knew we were having another boy it’d be “Oh man, MJ is gonna be so outnumbered” and “Oh…well when are you going to try for the girl?” And if it’s a girl I’d be fed a steady diet of “HAHAHAHA!! I knew the universe would seek its revenge on you!” and “I know you hate guns, but you’re gonna need one before she starts dating.” Either way, boy or girl, I hate that shit. It’s boring, played out, and often insulting. Not finding out the sex cuts off this avenue of discussion completely.

5. Cuts Down on Disappointment
Sure you might be hoping for a boy or a girl, and the common argument is if you find out at 18 weeks then you get the disappointment out of the way and have time to wrap your head around it. But I disagree. Even if you were hoping for a girl but get a boy and you don’t find out until he/she arrives, you’re too blown away by what just happened and caught up in the joy of the moment to give a shit whether you got what you wanted. You’re just thankful for what you’re holding in your hands. Same goes for relatives. It’s a lot more difficult for your mother-in-law to express her disappointment when you hand her her brand new grandchild.

4. Added Motivation in the Delivery Room
This one is mainly for the ladies. Childbirth is pretty painful stuff as you’re trying to squeeze a large object out a much smaller opening. But my wife told me she kept pushing steadily through the pain in large part because she was so motivated to finally find out the sex of the baby. Who knows, that ounce of added motivation just might be the thing that gets you geared up for that final tough push.

3. No Pink or Blue
If you have a boy people will buy you a ton of blue shit with footballs and baseballs on them. If you have a girl, I guarantee you your baby shower will look like a bottle of Pepto Bismol exploded and hosed everything down in a sea of pink princesses. And if you’re anything like me, you hate the idea of being pigeonholed. By not finding out the sex, you effectively force people to think at least a little bit outside the box and consider things that are gender neutral. Lots of greens, yellows, and reds — all absent the gender stereotypes parents like myself and MJ are trying to move away from in general.

2. It Pisses People Off
I’ve written about this before but it bears repeating. Some people — especially the control freaks and rabid planners out there — need as much information as possible at all times. And I’ve discovered they don’t just need it for themselves, they need other people to have it too. I’m serious. I’ve talked to people who literally get hives when we tell them we’re waiting, because the mere thought of not knowing drives them into a panic. We’ve even had people tell us we are wrong and that we’re ridiculous for not finding out. Making people uncomfortable and bucking societal norms is basically a part-time job for me, so the contrarian in me revels in their obvious discomfort. Try it, I highly recommend it.

1. It’s a Surprise Like No Other
Some people will say it’s a surprise no matter when you find out. That’s true, it is. But for me personally, there’s never been a happier, more exciting, cooler surprise than jockeying for position in the delivery room to see whether I had a son or a daughter. It’s already such a magical moment watching new life enter the world, and the fact that I’m finding out for the first time whether I have a new son or daughter just magnifies the moment exponentially. There is nothing that’s equaled that feeling in my life, and I can’t wait to experience it again soon.

Of course, all of this advice is moot since I’m 100% convinced we’re having another boy. I know because MJ is carrying low.

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