Last month, I revealed all of our discarded girls’ names. Names that we love, love, love, but will not be using. And despite everyone’s helpful suggestions, we aren’t much closer to actually picking a name. So, if we do have a girl we might end up letting our toddler pick her name. And thus, Curious George Lenz was born. Read More »
Mother’s Day is quickly approaching and so is my due date (July 19). I’m in the third trimester and I no longer feel cute pregnant. I am now chubby, uncomfortable, itchy pregnant. I recently caught myself scratching my stomach in full view of everyone at story time and again at swimming lessons. My dignity is quickly going, along with my ability to bend over.
This will be my first mother’s day as a pregnant lady and third Mother’s Day total, and each year, I’ve asked for the same thing: No dishes, time alone, and a nap. That’s all I ever want. Well that and my weight in chicken nuggets.
But this year, with a baby on the way, I’m feeling a little more selfish. Maybe because I know all too well how easy it is to lose yourself to life with a newborn. And my future with a newborn and a toddler is starting to frighten me. So here is a list of gift ideas for that pregnant lady in your life.
1. Yoga pants
It’s a cliché that all moms wear yoga pants. But it’s a cliché for a single reason: Because all moms do wear yoga pants. Yoga pants are comfortable and very kind on a postpartum stomach. So don’t hate. Embrace the yoga pants. The Kickbooty yoga pants from Althea are my favorite.
2. A massage
Carrying the weight of a baby definitely makes a lady hurt all over. Actually, just being a mom makes a lady hurt all over. A gift certificate for a massage is a wonderful gift, pregnant or not. St. Luke’s offers pregnancy massages, so does Illuminations Healing Arts Center, Hands in Harmony and many other places in town. Check out the Cedar Rapids A-List for more suggestions.
3. Hospital Bag
Packing the hospital bag can be daunting. My first time, I screwed it up royally. I remembered my make up but not chapstick and I only brought one pair of pants. This next time, I won’t be so foolish. Help out a new mom, by gifting her a hospital bag. BFFL Co. makes hospital bags for new moms that come complete with flipflops, neck pillow, nursing pads and snacks. 15% of the net profit from your purchase will be donated to the Harvard School of Public Health Women’s and Health Initiative.
4. Time off
Don’t take it personally, but sometimes a mom just wants to be left alone. Recently, a friend of mine received as a gift 24-hours child free. Her husband took the kids to his parents and she got the house for a whole peaceful day. I know, right? Sounds heavenly. If you don’t have family nearby, consider getting mom a hotel room for herself.
5. A day out
So, maybe a whole night off isn’t in the cards. But you can still give her the gift of time to herself by taking her to brunch at Zins in downtown Cedar Rapids and then giving her tickets to “Listen to Your Mother: Eastern Iowa.” The show will feature local moms, daughters, and sons reading their heartwarming and hilarious tales about motherhood. The show celebrates the beauty and the best of motherhood, and there will even be a photo booth so you can finally get your picture taken with your mom. All proceeds from the event will go to Waypoint, which helps serve local mothers and families. This might be the time when I tell you I am running the event and St. Luke’s is a sponsor, so I am a little biased. But it’s still going to be a good show. Check out the website for more information.
If the baby isn’t due before May 12 (that’s Mother’s Day in case you forgot), why not book the mom-to-be in your life a photo session? Eastern Iowa is full of wonderful photographers that can fit all price ranges. I love the work of Ivy Towler, and Lisa Loftus Photography took my maternity photos last time around and she is very affordable. Tara Behmer over at Shae Photography is also very affordable and took lovely pictures of Ellis when she was a newborn.
7. Cash money
I don’t know why people turn up their noses at gift cards. Some days, the Starbucks gift card my Mother-in-law slipped me during my last visit is the only way I get a coffee break. Get that pregnant lady a gift card to her favorite salon or store. Or consider some of our lovely and local baby stores in town like Baby Time and Birth, Baby and Beyond.
New momhood means late night which, for me, also meant hours of reading while I nursed. Some of my favorite books that center around motherhood are Tina Fey’s Bossypants, Leah Stewart’s Husband and Wife, Jill Smokler’s Motherhood Comes Naturally (And Other Vicious Lies), Amber Dusik’s Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures and the book STFU Parents from the blog by the same name. All those books are easy reads that will give mom something to laugh about while she’s dying of exhaustion during yet another midnight feeding. If the pregnant lady in your life has an e-reader, make sure you get the book for her in e-book format. E-readers are perfect for new moms, what with the backlighting, the lightweight and the ability to also stream Netflix. I would marry my Nook.
9. Charm necklace
I love a charm necklace, especially one with meaning. For my first mother’s day, my husband bought me this charm necklace from Stella and Dot with my daughter’s birthstone and his initial on it. This year, I’ll be adding a new charm to the collection. This is by far my favorite piece of jewelry, which is saying something considering I rarely wear jewelry. My fellow Real Mom, Kate Ungs, has a lovely necklace that spells out her son’s name. And a friend of mine recently received this bird’s nest pendant from Etsy, which would also make a lovely gift for a mother-to-be.
10. A clean house
Despite the fact that an increasing number of mothers work outside the home, 85% of these women still do the majority of the housework. You know what that math means? The mom in your life is exhausted. Give mom a break. Enlist the help of family and friends to give the house a good deep clean while mom is away, or hire a professional. Absolutely Clean in Marion has wonderful rates and great reviews.
Okay pregnant ladies, what do you want for Mother’s Day?
Read more of Lyz’s writing on http://lyzlenz.com
Well we would have been done, if we were having a boy. But my husband loves to wait to find out the gender, so we didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl until the delivery.
And with the girl’s name? Well, that took time. And by “time”, I mean we were basically throwing knives at each other the whole nine months. We went to the hospital with one boy name and two girl names. And for the next four hours after we heard, “It’s a girl!” We were stymied. Finally, when I saw the nurses writing “baby girl Lenz” on the door sign, I began to sob: “THAT’S NOT HER NAME!”
I gave in and told my husband to pick. And perhaps out of fear, or kindness, or because he saw that our child was an Ellis, he went with the name I had chosen, he went with Ellis. It’s a name we both love and love more and more as our daughter grows into it. I choose it because it was the pen name of one of my favorite authors, Emily Bronte, who wrote as Ellis Bell. Also, my mother is Ellen Claire, I am Elizabeth Claire. I loved carrying down that naming convention to my daughter: Ellis Claire.
Now we are here again: At loggerheads over a girl’s name.
I wanted to start with a fresh list. My husband just wanted to go with the second choice from before. But I firmly believe each of our children should have their own names. Not someone else’s leftovers. Which is noble, but it’s making picking a girl’s name this time around excruciating.
What also makes it harder is that we have different taste. Dave is more classical and I am, well, weird. Here is how baby naming conversations happen.
Me: How about Avalon? Nickname, Ava.
Dave: You’ve been watching too much science fiction. Nerd. How about Sherlock or Mycroft?
Me: Mycroft isn’t so bad.
Dave: I WAS KIDDING!
And so it’s been going for 25 weeks.
In all fairness, this is us. We are not quick decision makers. It took us two years to pick out bedroom furniture and a whole year to pick out a couch. Compromise comes slowly, simply because we don’t compromise. We work to make both of us happy. But we are running out of time. By this point in my last pregnancy, we had already come up with Ellis and The Other Name and it was just a matter of toying with nicknames.
This time, we have nothing. Just a list of rejected names. I love all of these names, but for one reason or another, they don’t work for our family. I am sharing them with you since they are no longer in the running. If they inspire any name suggestions, please let me know.
Eden: I love this name. It has a lovely nickname, Edie. And also the name makes reference to my favorite Steinbeck novel, East of Eden.
Zelda: Zelda Fitzgerald was a beautiful, intelligent and tragic woman and her name is gorgeous.
Fable: Evokes tales of old and beautiful stories.
Nova: I love the reference to the stars.
Louisa: Louisa Mae Alcott was a pioneer and a feminist, before such a thing existed. I love her.
Ellery: Ellery Queen was a fictional character and the name of a crime magazine that has published some of the best American mystery writers of all time. Also, it’s a lovely name.
Ember: I love that the name evokes smoldering fire.
Quincy: Our child will be born in early July, so I love the idea of giving her (or him) a name that has significance for our country. John Quincy Adams was a wonderful man and one of my favorite characters from history.
Lincoln: Another great name and a great American.
Felicity: A name that means great happiness and bliss. What could be better?
What are your favorite girls’ names?
But honestly, while I realize that being pregnant is a gift, I don’t enjoy many of the conversations that come along with it. I’d much rather talk about the meth problem in the Midwest, any television crime drama, books I am reading and interesting serial killer facts, but when you have a baby sticking out of your belly, all other conversational topics become moot. No one cares if you won the Pulitzer or have a successful movie in the theaters (am I right, Natalie Portman?), they only care about your “LITTLE BABY!” And that’s all fun and great. I care about my baby too. But so much of pregnancy is intimate; do you really want to hear about my vaginal discharge problem? I didn’t think so.
Also, so much about babies is personal and it’s easy to step on toes. No matter how much I want to, I’m not about to tell the Target cashier that I think her baby name suggestions are awful, or admit to that kind acquaintance at church that I think her gender predictions lack the grounding in basic science and math. I would, but Oprah tells me it’s wrong.
However, only 20 weeks into my pregnancy and I’m already exploding. So here are five of the things I really want to say, but what I actually say instead, because it’s Iowa and we’re nice.
What I say: Oh, no I don’t mind if you touch my stomach.
What I want to say: No, you cannot touch my belly. Can I touch yours? Does that make you want to call the cops? Exactly. Step off.
What I say: Oh no, I haven’t had many cravings.
What I want to say: Why yes. Let me list them all for you in order of appearance throughout the day: Bacon, bacon, bacon, bacon, bacon, bacon, sandwich, bacon, wine, bacon. I only indulge in one of those things.
What I say: No, no baby names yet.
What I want to say: Even if I did have a baby name, why would I tell the cashier at Wendy’s? Didn’t think that one through, did you?
What I say: We’re having a surprise.
What I want to say: No. I don’t know if my child is a boy or girl. No, I am not finding out. No, I don’t care that your sister found out with all of hers.
What I say: What did you name your child?
What I want to say: Can I steal your baby name? We are dying over here.
I feel kicks and jabs, especially when I try to snuggle my daughter or sleep. Which means, this child is already out to destroy me and anyone else who gets into his/her way.
That’s right, I typed “his/her,” because despite the fact that we had our ultrasound last week, we do not know the gender of this child. We didn’t find out with Ellis either. It was fun. She was our first and so not knowing made the name debate and gender guessing more fun. It was also exciting when she was born with her lady bits, because all my in-laws had been telling me that I would have a girl. And nothing is more fun than proving your in-laws wrong, even if you dearly love them, and I do.
This time around, I’m all business. My sister is having a baby girl in April, so I need to know if I can mail her Ellis’ clothes, or if I need to keep them. And the name debate isn’t fun, it’s just excruciating. We’ve taken to becoming inspired for names from the side of our juice cartons. (Concentrate is a boy’s name, if you have to ask.)
But my husband still feels the excitement and magic and he insisted that we, again, be surprised. And because I could offer no other argument besides, “But, please?” He won that round.
I really don’t mind not knowing. Mostly because I am a terrible liar and if someone asked me if we knew the gender, I would say “Yes.” And then I would probably reveal the name and get upset at the inevitable face they would make at my baby name.
It’s all right. I like weird names. My mom, after hearing some of the names that recently got voted off the list, made a face and said, “Whatever happened to nice names like Amanda?” (For the record, nothing is wrong with names like Amanda, they are just not my style, because I am a hippy weirdo who cloth diapers and gives her girl boy names.)
And this, this is why I am glad Dave won. Not knowing means staying out of sticky conversations. It also means I get to watch both sides of my family fight over who is going to be right with the gender predictions. My in-laws again are all voting “BOY” as a block and my family thinks “girl.” Whatever I have, it will be fun proving one side wrong…even though I love them.