Anxiously Ever After – Part II

One of the toughest parts about my last pregnancy was the anxiety I had throughout it. Before having Kaiya I didn’t have this much anxiety but now it seems like I am just riddled with it.

I wanted to link this post with a previous post of my called Anxiously Ever After where I discuss the anxiety I felt in my pregnancy. I thought for sure that it was just pregnancy related hormones causing my emotions to stir up and drive me crazy, and to a certain extent it was. Some of the things that gave me anxiety in pregnancy have now stopped but some of them are still present.

For so long my husband and I were always working towards something. First getting married, then trying for Kaiya. Then it was buying a house, followed by trying for Ramona. We’ve struggled with everything but we finally are in the place where we exactly want to be. We have an amazing house that we both love. We have our two beautiful little girls who we are obsessed with and our marriage is as strong as ever. That’s not to say that things are perfect by any means – there’s always the ups and downs of life – but we’re really happy with where we are. We worked really hard to be here so we’re trying to be sure we appreciate every moment. So what could possibly be wrong?

I am so incredibly happy that I’m terrified! Life is TOO perfect; something has to go wrong. My anxiety recently is in two parts: either something health related is going to happen to me, or something will happen to my girls. I’m terrified of something happening that will take me away from my family, and I’m terrified of something happening to my family.

For whatever reason throughout my pregnancy and even as of late I have been convinced that I will either die of a heart attack or something related to my heart will happen. Up until a week ago I had no idea why I was fixated on this; then I remembered something that happened that ignited my fears.

A little over a year ago I was coming home from a work function when I saw firetrucks and ambulances outside my condo building. Of course I was curious as to what happened so I took a different way up to my unit so that I could scope it out. When I came down the hallway I saw all the paramedics in the doorway of a unit two doors down from ours. We were always friendly to all of our neighbors in our hallway, so I knew exactly who this couple was. As I walked past, the door was open and I could see that the guy was lying on the ground in the entry way of their unit. The paramedics were giving him CPR and pounding away on his chest. I found out the next day he had died of a heart attack right then and there.

I now have realized that it was that unfortunate event that stirred up the fear inside me. It doesn’t necessarily make my anxiety go away but I can at least rationalize the fear. I was doing a little better with things up until 2 days ago when a woman in my pregnancy group passed away of a heart condition leaving her newborn, son and husband behind. I can again rationalize the heart stuff – she had a pre-existing condition, I’ve seen my doctor and I know I’m physically fine. But that doesn’t take away the fear of not being there for my girls and for my husband. I’m not exactly sure how to work through that. It is definitely a work in progress.

Even when my health related anxiety is controlled the other anxiety takes over. I am constantly on edge, playing every scenario out in my head of how it can go wrong. Constantly telling Kaiya to be careful; do this, don’t do that. Watch out for this – make sure you’re being safe! I’m sure in her head she’s like “mom just let me live!” But I can’t help it… I worked so hard on making these beautiful little girls that I would be absolutely devastated if something happened to them.

I was venting my fears and frustrations to two of my mom friends in our group chat last night and what blew my mind was that they too had the exact same fears. That either a.) something would happen to them, or b.) that something would happen to their kids. We are 3 well educated, logical, grown women and all we do is live in constant fear of things. This is by no means a way to live life! So I wonder what it is that is making us feel this way?

We discussed if it was social media and this kind of struck a chord with me. It seems like Facebook is primarily comprised of two polar opposite post: a.) Too positive and b.) Too negative. Either there’s the posts where everyone seems ridiculously happy; pictures of all the fun times they have, all the fun things they do. Various outings, shows, people they see, dinners they have, etc. Or the reverse – there’s always that one post where its either a runaway or lost kid, someone who has passed away, or the warning posts where “This happened to my kid don’t let it happen to yours!”. The other type of negative post is about parenting: kids today aren’t well mannered…Kids today have too much privilege… Kids today expect too much… Don’t be a helicopter parent…. Don’t be an absent parent…Say this to your kids, don’t say that to your kids. It is seriously hard to navigate life in the critiquing world of social media. Nothing ever seems to be good enough. You try to let your kid fall and experience life – you’re a bad mom for neglecting them. You tell your kid to be safe or you watch them constantly to make sure they’re safe and you’re a helicopter parent. You have to try and make sure they don’t have too much screen time, but also make sure they are skilled enough in a technology driven world to be a productive member of society. It is getting ridiculous!

One of my girlfriends has been prescribed anti-depressants for the way she’s been feeling. While pills are not the obvious way she wants to handle things the only other alternative is therapy, but as a full time mom of two that’s not always the easiest solution. I personally would love to limit my social media and screen time but cutting off ties to the outside world right now isn’t a great alternative when you’re home alone all day with two kiddos.

So I’m throwing up this blog in hope of a little advice. I’m sure the three of us aren’t the only ones who feel this way. What can we do about it? The fact that the three of us have all the same fears is a little concerning. It’s obviously not us but the mentality of today’s society. What has to change? What can we change? Do you feel the same way do? How do you cope?

A Tale of Two Births

I’ve always loved having this blog as a way to vent and get my feelings out, but what I rarely do is say how incredibly happy and blessed I am. While I’m still under the newborn haze of sleep deprivation and exhaustion, I’m honestly just so happy. With the stress of trying, followed by an anxiety ridden and horribly long pregnancy, there was a solid stretch of time where I was insanely miserable. Essentially two years of immense lows, heartache, anxiousness, and just not feeling like my true self.

As discussed in my last blog I had a crazy amount of anxiety in this pregnancy. Some nights I’d be up just pacing in my house – afraid of what would happen if I closed my eyes. I could never really explain how I felt or what exactly I was afraid of, and to this day I still can’t explain it. It was just a feeling. I felt it bubble up; that one single thought that would enter my brain, and knew that I was headed down the all too familiar dark road.

This pregnancy also lasted WAY too long. When my baby girl Ramona finally decided to make her appearance I was 41 weeks and 6 days. Almost 2 full weeks over due. I apologize to anyone who saw me or tried to talk to me in those last few weeks! I did everything any one has ever heard of to try to induce pregnancy. I went for long, brisk walks. I bounced on my pregnancy ball. I ate spicy food, ethnic food of different varieties. I did all kinds of stretches and exercises. I was even told, “The only way she’ll come out is the same way she got in!”…. believe me we tried that to and to no avail. This girl was coming when she felt good and ready.

Hmm… when she was good and ready. Feels exactly how it went with my first born! With Kaiya, my pregnancy was great. I felt good; I felt empowered. I felt sexy and beautiful. Womanly. Proud to be pregnant and to be giving the gift of life. With Ramona, I felt scared all the time. Scared that something would happen to her. Scared that something would happen to me. With Kaiya my labor and delivery lasted almost 3 full days, whereas with Ramona it was 8 hours from beginning to end. Its like the easier the pregnancy the longer the delivery!

In my previously blog post “One” I recounted the delivery of Kaiya and since this was so incredibly different I’d like to share the birth story of Ramona just to show that even if you have a rough labour with your first, your subsequent labours may not be the same. So too, it seems in pregnancies!

Because I was so overdue I had to go for fetal assessments to check up on the baby. The first one I had went well; nothing seemed out of place or abnormal, so a few days later I went for a second. They were a little concerned about the amount of amniotic fluid and thought my water had broken. The fetal assessments were done in hospital so I was sent upstairs to the labour and delivery floor to get checked out. The test came back negative, and I hadn’t been leaking amniotic fluid thankfully.

While I was waiting for my results around 4pm I was sitting on the bed killing time and I felt a sharp pain – unlike one I had ever had before. I was like okay well whatever – by the way I had 4 sweeps done by this point so I wasn’t really concerned with the pain. I had called my parents to keep them updated about what had transpired that day and while I was on the phone I got another pain. Subsequently stronger than the last one. This one really made me take note so I started to time them. I told the nurse when she returned and she suggested I go for a long walk throughout the hospital. We walked for about an hour, grabbed some dinner and headed back to the ward. I was 5 centimeters dialated by this point and thought for sure this was it, and I’ll be remaining in the hospital.

Between discussions with the head nurse on duty, the doctor and my midwife for whatever reason they decided to send me home. I was livid! The contractions were getting stronger and faster, and I was halfway to being fully dialated and you’re sending me home!?

In the car ride home the pain just continued. I remember having one contraction that made me want to rip out car interior with my bare hands. We got home around 7:30pm and I was writhing in pain. I went upstairs to try to change into more comfortable clothes and I had 3 contractions back to back. A friend of mine had almost the same exact circumstances happen (sent home from the same hospital, also half way dialated) and ended up having her baby girl in her home, having had called the ambulance and paramedics to deliver her baby. This was all I could think of – I’m going to end up having this baby at home! I called my midwife and made arrangements to meet up with her at the birth centre. My husband put Kaiya to bed, and we headed out the door. My mother in law was staying at our house at the time since I was so overdue, so she stayed at home in case Kaiya woke up or needed anything.

Once we got to the birth centre around 8:30pm I was checked in and assessed. My midwife recommended I try walking some more to keep things progressing. I felt like I was dying! I could hardly walk a foot without stopping to grab onto the railing. Contractions suck! Finally the labour tub was ready and I climbed in. The water helped a bit but not as much as I had hoped. Why the EFF did I decide to do this without meds!? Every contraction was going down my right leg – I was so uncomfortable. The only way I could be mildly comforted was to sit on my knees in the tub and grab onto the railing as the contractions radiated through my body. I remember at one point saying “I can’t do this anymore!” and I knew that was the most ridiculous thought in the world. At this point you’re so pot committed, there’s nothing anyone can do. You decided to do this medication free and you are in this till the baby is born! I sighed, why did I do this to myself…

I was moved from the tub to the bed to try and do some stretches to get the baby to move out of my right side. My whole body constricted every contraction and I couldn’t control it, or even breathe. There was no way I could do any type of stretches at the same time. Eventually my midwife gave me nitrous oxide so that I could at least breathe. I’ve heard some people say this didn’t work for them, but for me – holy hell it was phenomenal! It didn’t take the pain away from my body but it took my mind away from feeling the pain. I remember it being such a saving grace; it was exactly what I needed in that moment.

Around midnight it seemed like things were changing. The only way I can describe it was I literally felt like my butt was going to fall out! The problem though was that I wasn’t sure if this was real or if I was just wicked high. I was beyond exhausted at this point and the contractions were pretty much on top of each other giving me zero breaks. All I could get out to my husband was to say “something’s happening!” and wave my hand around my ass. Both my husband and my midwife were like “what’s happening?” but I couldn’t talk and I still didn’t know if it was real life or just my high. So I repeated, “SOMETHINGS HAPPENING!”

At this moment it was all hands on deck and I was flipped from my side to my back. My husband says that when this happened he saw my stomach move from the right side to the centre of my belly and in that moment her head popped out. Two pushes later and my baby girl was here at 12:16am. 8 hours from the beginning of the first contraction to the time she entered the world. It was amazing.

Unlike my first where I was beyond medicated, I felt everything. It is gnarly. This experience is something I will remember for the rest of my life. A woman’s body is so powerful, it still blows my mind to this day all that it went through to get this girl here. We are the vessels of creation. The givers of life.

The healing process of this birth was also completely different from before. With my first it took me weeks to feel somewhat healed, where as this time it was a matter of days.

Now 6 weeks later it all seems like a distant memory. Some days it feels like Ramona’s been with us forever, and in a sense she has. I knew I wanted her for so long. I felt her absence; something was always missing from our lives. I’m so relieved she’s here. I’m relieved to be done being pregnant. Our family is now complete and I couldn’t be happier. I feel whole. Even in the newborn haze; dealing with a toddler and a 6 week old. All the pain and suffering we went through the last 4 years have gotten us to this point. We’re finally where we want to be. I know it’s not going to be an easy road but I know we can handle it. I’m glad to be done with that chapter of our lives, and I can’t wait to carry on our days as a family of four.

Anxiously Ever After

My whole objective for my blog has always been for me to be completely honest and open with my feelings, and the shit that I’m going through in hopes of helping other people.  I think there’s so many expectations of how we’re “supposed” to feel, that when we don’t we feel like that we feel like we’re not normal, or we’re fucked up somehow. Most days I’m okay…but there’s some days where it’s just too powerful and I’m just too weak to battle through it in the ways that I’ve been taught.   There’s a whole slew of changes that happen when you become pregnant, and sometimes you don’t get that “glow” that many people tell you about.  Sometimes its not all sunshine and rainbows.  Hormone’s do some crazy shit to you.  I’m almost halfway through my pregnancy so I’ve been struggling with this for a while now.  I finally reached a point where I needed to just write and get it off my chest and out of my head.
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I hate this pregnancy.  Not this baby, and not the fact that I’m pregnant cus we wanted this for so long.  My previous blog post was about how hard it was to conceive this baby so believe me when I say how incredibly grateful and blessed I am.  In fact, I’m so incredibly happy to be pregnant, that I’m terrified.

My anxiety this pregnancy has been off the charts.  Maybe not off the charts to what others I know are going through, but off the charts for me.  The mental mind games have been a battle.  Everything that is changing in my body brings on this irrational fear I have, which I’ll get to later.  I’ve had bad dreams, panic attacks, aches and pains, changes in my skin, changes in my mood…. most of which are generally common with pregnancy as your hormones increase and your body adapts to this little life growing inside of you.
Anxiety for me really began after my sister was in a terrible car accident where she nearly died. After that I had gone to EAP (Counselling) as that’s when I first noticed my fears of losing loved ones.  Whenever Shawn was late, or I couldn’t get a hold of him I automatically assumed the worst that he’s gotten into an accident.  He had to of and that’s why I can’t get a hold of him.  That was it, zero to sixty without any rationalization, like “maybe his phone died”, “maybe he’s just enjoying the time with friends”, or “maybe he’s just having fun and lost track of time”.  No, I went right from “I can’t get a hold of him” to calling all the hospitals in the area checking to see if they have him as a patient. I only went a few times to EAP as it was enough for me to learn how to deal with my anxiety and gave me the tools to be able to talk myself through my anxious moments.  After I had Kaiya I was generally fine until I got let go from my job, had to find a new one, and took the old job to court.  I started to spiral a bit, but I saw my doctor, got some meds and eventually retrained myself to talk my way through it.

Generally pregnancy gets me down.  I know this, I’ve done it before.  A time where I should be bouncing off the walls with happiness, I find myself holing up at home, sleeping the pregnancy away.  Honest truth – it’s hard.  I don’t feel like myself, I hate the way my squishy body looks, my stomach is changing, my boobs are changing, I can’t do the things I enjoy.  Yes a part of it that has to with alcohol – but it’s not like I’m an alcoholic.  It just seems that every social event it’s there. Socials, gatherings, girls nights, Christmas, New Years.  All seem to revolve around letting loose, being free – having a glass of wine, some champagne at midnight, or spiced rum and egg nog.  While all that’s hard, it’s only a part of it.  I also can’t eat certain foods, can’t go in hot tubs (not like I have any at my disposal lol), can’t take a bath that’s too hot, can’t do this, can’t do that….  Generally after work and taking care of Kaiya I’m exhausted.  So going out after 8 o’clock is just a no go.  My feet and back get sore easily.  Lifting Kaiya in and out of the car, or even picking her up gets tiresome and is getting more difficult. Dealing with a (sometimes) defiant toddler is mentally and emotionally exhausting.  I seem to be more emotional this go round as well which in social situations isn’t always the best.  Plus this hideous rash that randomly appeared on my face – which by the way is another fantastic side effect of being pregnant (thanks hormones!) makes me also not really want to be out in public.  Everyone and their dog seems to have picked up on it and want to ask about it, and putting cover up on it only worsens the condition despite how much moisturizer I slather on.  Another surprise joy is that no one tells you the second time around is 10 times more painful!  So a simple cough, turning the wrong way, or even just getting out of a car results in this shooting cramp going through my hip/thigh/vagina, even though I frequently see a chiropractor and visit my massage therapist (Shout out to Dr. Carly & Megan cus you guys are the bomb!!).  I’m almost 20 weeks and I still vomit every morning, its just become routine at this point. And if all that wasn’t enough, I rarely have any sex drive – sorry Shawn!  Its awkward with this lump in the way and of course you don’t want to hurt the baby even though you know sex is totally fine.  Its mainly just me, not being comfortable with my ever changing body. Not really feeling “sexy” no matter how many times he tells me otherwise.
While all that sucks, and is a literal pain, who cares?  Yeah I’ve become somewhat of a home body and don’t always feel like being out and being social, none of it is that big of a deal.  I’ve gone through this before, I know this is all a “joy” of pregnancy, and it doesn’t bother me all that much. Sometimes I’m just a little down; but pregnancy is such small portion of time in my life, such a small sacrifice to receive one of the greatest gifts on the face of the earth – a beautiful, hopefully healthy, little baby to love and snuggle.  I know I won’t feel this way forever, so I don’t mind going through all of that.
The biggest battle is not only being down because of all the above, but having to deal with the anxiety on top of it. I never seemed to be like this at all when I was pregnant with Kaiya. I felt so calm and at ease.  Now these random thoughts enter my head and I get caught up in them, repeating them over and over taunting myself that they’re going to come true.
So – that irrational fear………..I’m having a hard time even finding a way to bring it up as I write.  Staring at the cursor blinking on and off waiting for me to say it while I have this internal battle in my mind.  Tears roll down my face as I struggle.
I’m………terrified.  Tormented at thought of my death.  I have a fear of dying.  Literally out of nowhere, just one random fall day I got the notion of me dying and not being around.  That’s it.  That’s what occupies my time.
I hate this pregnancy.  Not this baby, not being pregnant.  I hate my emotions for making me feel this way.  I’m suddenly just so mad.  I can’t stand the fact that I can’t even control my own emotions.  I hate the way I feel.  Anxiety combined with my raging hormones are pulling me down into this pit of fear, and I’m tired of being afraid.  The one thought that will get me, all the time is…….
“What if I’m not able to be here for my daughters”………..ugh.  Gut wrenching.  Tear inducing. Panic inducing.
And I feel trapped.  Trapped in the pregnancy, forced to deal with the pain and the thoughts.  I can’t just have a drink and take the edge off or make myself numb to it all, I’m forced to feel it.  Until the baby comes out and my hormones get back to normal, I will continue to feel this way and its totally out of my control.
I feel selfish about it too.  I know we all die.  I know everyone will move on and be fine.  I hate the fact that I’m preoccupied with the lack of my own existence.
But it’s also a little unfair for me to try and bury this.  Internalize it, not talk about it, not say it out loud and just hide it in the back of my mind.  Cus it’s always there, ready.  Ready to pounce, ready to be brought up.  Waiting for a day where I’m not at my strongest, a day where I let it bother and eat at me.  This little monster is always at the ready with a sentence of darkness that creeps over me and takes control.  No matter how hard I try to ignore it, or push it away.
The whole premise of my anxiety is waiting for something bad to happen, because it’s happened once before.  I have evidence of that, it’s factual.  Life was great, I had no worries, I trusted things.  Then one day, everything I knew was at risk.  Now people can get injured, and now people can die.  Now shit just randomly happens, for no reason at all.  Its like on that day all my naivety vanished.   Now there’s pain. Now what might seem irrational to others is totally rational to me.  I have reason to believe it can and will happen.  Everything great can easily be taken away, just like that.
I can probably pin point almost to the day where my anxiety came back.  It seems simultaneously we went from nothing good happening, to everything good happening all at once.  Suddenly we got the house, and then suddenly we were pregnant again.  All these amazing things were happening; too good to be true.  And now we wait.  Wait for something bad to happen, something to take all the happiness away.  I’m so happy, I’m terrified.
So sometimes I just need reassurance.  Sometimes I just need to hear it’ll be okay, or “I’m here if you need me”.  Honestly, those are the best words.  Tell me I’m crazy, I don’t care.  I need to be reminded that bad things don’t always happen just because your happy.
And I’m sorry. I’m sorry I’m not okay, and I’m sorry I’m not me right now.  I don’t enjoy this, I’m sorry for being down, and maybe seeming dark at times – I promise I don’t mean to be.  I’m sorry if I sound like a broken record, or you’re tired of hearing it over and over and over again.  I would love it if this just magically went away and I felt “normal” again.
What can I say, I’m not perfect…. I’m a work in progress.

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Preface

We are trying to conceive baby number 2.  I hate how much of a secret it has to be, because everyone wants to have that “Surprise!” moment and make a big deal and a big announcement (don’t get me wrong, I have a wicked announcement planned!) But going through something like this and trying to keep it all inside is in part what is getting me so down.  Even after you do you conceive, you have to keep it a secret until at least 12 weeks in case you miscarry.  But what if you do miscarry?  You have to go around not telling anyone what just happened?  Then you have the flip side, where people are asking you EVERY DAY when you’re going to try for a baby.  Its so polarizing: everyone inquiring and wanting to know your business, but then when things aren’t going that way or something happens, you have to keep inside and lock it away in your heart; alone.

I don’t want this post to seem as dramatic as it might.  There are so many bad things and hard things that people have to go through in this world and I don’t want my readers to think that those issues are not important, or that this is a “woe is me” post.  However there are lots of women (myself included) that do have to face these issues and my hope is that this can be a place where we say how we feel rather than keeping it in and dealing with it alone.  I want this to be a place where we can be honest with each other about how much of a struggle this is; how much this affects you and your life and your relationships.  And finally, I want this to be a place where we can give each other that support and lift each other up, because I know how hard it is.  I’m there right now; in the trenches, and to a certain extent I feel like I have no where to turn.  My friends and family are there to listen to me definitely, but only for so long before it wears at them too.

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Waking up this morning with that all too familiar pain in my belly, hurts just a little bit more each time.  I drag myself to the bathroom to put in my DivaCup.  “Another month of this” I say to myself.  My eyes are heavy so after washing up I splash some water on my face hoping to reduce the swelling on my eyelids from last night’s cry fest.  I stare at myself in the mirror, on the verge of tears again as I see my pained face looking back.  “Okay, time to get ready for work”.  My pep talk does little but never the less I drag on.

The hardest part about this journey, is the “face”.  The fake face you put on when at work, or with friends, or at a function.  Pretending to be happy, pretending to be normal, pretending to be whole when yet you feel like just crawling back in your bed and throwing the covers over your face.  No one knows the struggle it took to get out of bed that day, to get dressed and show up.  No one knows the number of ovulation strips you’ve done, the cycle days you’ve counted, or the amount of vitamins you’ve been taking.  No one knows your battle.

To be honest, it’s not that “aunt flo” showing up just ruined my day.  Its all the minutes, hours and days that have led up to this point.  From doing ovulation strips twice a day until you finally see that it’s “time”, then you try – you do the deed(s) and listen to all the tricks you’ve heard from articles and advice from others because it’s worked for them.   Then the wait; the infamous 2 week wait.  You know in your head to not get excited, to not get your hopes up but those 14 days in the mind of a woman who wants a baby are like a thousand.  Envisioning paint colours for the nursery, the way you’ll announce it to friends and family.  The way you’ll tell your first born that a baby brother or sister is coming.  Picking out names and middle names, and anticipating that feeling when your baby is finally here and in your arms.  Maybe this month was it.  It feels right.  You google every tiny twinge and symptom in hopes that its an early sign of pregnancy.  You know not to get your hopes up but you can’t help it.  You build it all up so much that the moment your period comes or you get a negative on a pregnancy test, everything just comes crashing down.  Today is that day for me.  And it doesn’t get easier as the months tick by.  It only weighs that much heavier on your heart.  As the cramps set in, so too does the ache in your soul.

Describing something like this I use the term loss, but how can you lose something that you never even had? The truth is its not a loss but an emptiness.  An emptiness in your heart.  An emptiness in your soul.  The missing piece in your puzzle.  So these days where I find out I’m not pregnant I feel like half a person.  Like I’m this shell of a woman who is missing a piece of herself from within.  I’m blessed in the fact that I already have my baby girl but we went through this with her too. However now the frustrating part is that I know I can get pregnant and have a healthy baby.  So its almost harder this round knowing that I can and it continue to elude me, month after month.  I’ve tried to convince myself that maybe we’re good with just her.  Maybe she’s our miracle and that’s it.  But no matter how many arguments I make about it being easier, and better financially, I am never content.  I always go back to that missing piece.  The absence is palpable.

Famous inspirational quotes tell us “You are the master of your own destiny”, “If you want something, go out and get it!” but this is literally the one thing that no matter how hard we plan and schedule and count and work at, it makes absolutely no difference.  This is the one thing I have zero control over.  Despite how much I think about it, despite all the things I do and despite how much I want it to happen, its still natures miracle.  And nature decides when its good and ready.

So how do you continue? How do you walk and talk and work and mother and socialize as half a person while pretending to be whole?  You do what you’ve always done; minute by minute, day by day.  You try your best.  And you rely on family and friends to console you and to listen to you.  And you hang on to the hope that one day it will happen.  One day you will hold that little baby in your arms and you’ll feel complete.  You keep going and keep chasing that light at the end of the tunnel.

 

 

 

 

RE-New Years Eve

As the holidays approach I find myself feeling very down.  I’ve been wracked with thoughts of all the things I’ve failed at; the gifts I can’t afford, the holiday cards I didn’t send out. All the while I find myself not looking forward to the holidays, but rather just looking forward to the break.  The time away from work, the time away from shuttling everyone around, the time away from being an adult.  This year has seemed to span a lifetime.  Half the year I was a mother enjoying my maternity leave and the other half I’ve been a working mom.  My days are now filled with daycare, drop offs and pickups, invoices and incoming calls.  I feel like I’ve lived 2 very different lives this year and somehow they’ve merged into 2 disappointing half people.  For so long I’ve felt like i’m failing on the mom/wife side half the time, and failing on the work side half the time.  It’s like I’m drowning on the surface of a lake; half in, half out.  Just barely keeping a float, and keeping it all together.
On the other hand I’m so incredibly impressed with how much I’ve accomplished throughout it all.  My daughter is perfect, and happy, and thriving.  My husband still loves me – god only knows why!  I still have my job as far as I know, and my travel business is starting to pick up which I love and am so thankful for.  I’ve spent 7 months of this year fighting for what I believe in with my labour claim.  As much as they’ve bashed me and said how disposable I was, I did not tolerate their meanness; I stood up for myself and stood my ground.  Though it is still on going, I did not cave to their pressure, and for that I am proud.
I’ve also realized what I am willing to put up with and what is not worth my time.  The fake friendships, the people who are only there for you when it suits them best, the ones who always make you feel like you’re in the wrong, and the ones who just keep track of you so they can compare lives.   Hasta la vista, negative nelly’s.
New Years is always an important holiday to me because it is a time of renewal; a cleanse if you will.  It is a time to let go of the past, and look forward to the future.  It is a time to mourn those that are no longer with us, and remind us to appreciate the ones that are still here.  And while we are saddened with the things we might not have, or the things we weren’t able to accomplish we get another chance to try to do better and to try and be better.
My hope for this upcoming year is to be in a better place emotionally than I was this year, and to hopefully have a less stressful year.  I am ready to throw up my two middle fingers and say good riddance to 2017.  I am ready to try my best in 2018 and to try and do better.  But I’m also reminded that it’s okay; it’s okay to fail, it’s okay not to be the best.  It’s okay to be imperfect.

 

Mom After Mat Leave

Hi all!  As some of you may know I started a new job about 6 weeks ago.  Going back to work after mat leave is never easy, but it makes it even that much harder when you have to go back to a job you’ve never done before! So I’d like to share how the past 6 weeks have been going, things I’ve learned along the way, and some advice I can pass along in hopes of helping or relieving some stress of those mama’s that have yet to go back to work.

The Sunday Before
I will forever remember the Sunday before my first day of work – we had one of my mom-friends baby’s 1st birthday that day and I had buried all my feelings about going back to work as much as I could.  That whole day I tried as hard as I could to just be in the moment and not think about what tomorrow would bring.  Whether this was right or wrong I’m not sure.. but what I do know is that the anxiety attack I had that night will forever haunt me.  All of a sudden all these feelings that I had pushed down for so long came bubbling up and nothing I did could stop it from taking over and drowning me.  It’s like I went from playing and splashing around in the ocean to a big wave coming crashing over me and taking me under the water.  I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t think, I couldn’t process the information in any rational way.  You know that feeling you get every Sunday night before a new work week… That feeling of dread, and reluctancy,  and anxiety about what you will face in the following week.  I had that times about a million.  I tried to get my outfit planned and I remember Shawn asking me some question about the next morning and I just broke down.  I was hyperventilating and crying and shaking and I just remember thinking that I could not do this.   Screw it I’m not going to do this, I’m not going to go in, I’ll just resign now and figure it all out later.

Eventually I was able to calm down and the rational me knew that quitting, or not even going in, was not a realistic answer to this problem.  So I got my outfit ready, felt decent about what I was wearing, got my lunch ready, got Kaiya’s bag ready and went to bed.  I still was not okay by any means, but I was okay enough to at least try.

Monday Morning
That Monday morning I got up, got dressed, did my hair & makeup, got Kaiya up and headed out to my parents place so they could watch her for the day.  I left early enough so that I could spend about half an hour with her and my parents before I had to leave for work.  I did this so that she could get used to being there while I was there, so that I could talk with my parents (I always feel better after talking to them!), and have some breakfast and coffee before starting my new job.  I loved that little half hour.  It felt so good to get some food in me, talk about how scared I was, and spend that little moment of time with my baby before leaving her for the day.   Eventually, it was time to go and there were more tears – for both Kaiya and I.

The First Day
Today at 6 weeks later, I barely remember that first day.  I just remember feeling so drained from all the emotions that came over me within the last 24 hours.  I know I was a complete zombie.  I tried so hard to write everything down and try to memorize processes, and names and faces as much as I could but there was just too much going on.  I was trying so hard not to think about Kaiya that all I ended up doing was thinking about Kaiya!

Finally Home
After the longest day of my life I was finally coming home to see my baby.  I was so happy to see her and she was so happy to see me.  I just wanted to hold her forever and never let her go.  Her day with my mom ended up going so well, she had so much fun and napped and ate really well.  It really helped calm me down knowing that her day was totally fine – even though I was a wreck!

I’m not going to bore you with every little detail of every little day.  I really wanted to cover the first 24 hours because those were by far the hardest.  Only now – 6 weeks later – can I actually say that I feel like we are in a really good routine, and that we’ve finally figured stuff out.  Only now am I actually able to talk about this whole process.

So the point of this whole post….
If you are a mom who is going back to work after mat leave, first and foremost I salute you.  I remember feeling so angry at the fact that financially I did not have a choice to stay at home, I had to work.  So whether you made that choice for yourself or you had no option I commend you.  If and when you take that step I have some advice that I would like to share with you in hopes of making this transition just a tiny bit easier for you:
1. I am always here to talk or listen to you during this journey.
2. THIS SHIT IS HARD!  Do not put any pressure or expectations on yourself during this time.  Things will eventually fall into place but it wont be over night.
3. Find new moments in your new routine.  Every morning I go in and wake up Kaiya and give her bottle to her.  We sit in the rocking chair under the glow of her little pink lamp and we cuddle while she drinks her milk.  In the mad rush that is the early morning before work this is one of my favourite moments of quiet and calm.  I also give her bottle to her at the end of the day right before she goes to bed.  It’s sort of a book end to our day where we start and end the day together cuddling.  It’s really helped me feel like I’m still there for her, caring for her, providing for her.
4. Wear/buy clothes that fit you.  After having a baby your body changes and nothing can bring down your self esteem like a poorly fitting outfit.  I was able to find pieces in my wardrobe that still fit and still looked professional enough until I could afford to buy some new items.  When you feel good you’ll emit that energy into everything you do and it will help you feel better about your work and yourself too!
5. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.  One of the greatest times of my day is picking Kaiya up from either her daycare, or my mom’s, or coming home to her when my mother in law is watching her.  The smile on her face erases anything bad or stress that happened earlier in the day.  She runs right to me and is so excited and happy to see me.  Now she loves to give me cuddles and I feel like the distance has really made our bond that much stronger.
6. Don’t forget the bad times.  In that first week I constantly thought of all the fun memories, and fun times we had together.  I forgot about her spitting up on me, or the crying, and poopy diapers.  I forgot about all the parts that I didn’t enjoy about mat leave because I just missed her.  Its really easy to over glorify things with a baby – her little giggles, the way she wiggles when she’s trying to dance, or the way she sucks her thumb when she’s tired.  All those cute moments are wonderful to have but don’t torment yourself with them just because you’re away from them.
7. Find good help.  I am so lucky to have the help that I do! Truly!  I love the half hour in the mornings where I sit at the kitchen table of my parents house while Kaiya eats her cheerio’s and I drink my coffee.  My parents and I get to chat, I get to play and enjoy Kaiya for a bit, and usually if I’m lucky my mom feeds me breakfast!  Then the other days when my mother in law comes to our place to watch her I get to sleep in because I don’t have to drive anywhere to drop Kaiya off, and I get to come straight home after work and see her.  Some days if we’re really lucky she’s either taken out something for dinner, or made a complete dinner which is so ridiculously helpful!  And if taking care of my daughter during the day isn’t enough sometimes she’s even made our bed and folded our laundry! I mean it doesn’t get much better than that!  The littlest things can make the biggest impact and it truly helps us out so much.  We’ve also started this week sending Kaiya to part time daycare.  She goes every Monday and Tuesday mainly so she can socialize with other babies/kids.  We didn’t interview many caregivers cus we were just so happy with the one we found.  Honestly I feel so good about her because I really hit it off with her.  She’s a new mom just like me so her daughter is pretty close in age to Kaiya.  It also helps because she’s at the same stage I`m at with parenting and motherhood.  Her child is in the same stage at Kai so it really helps that she understands how I’m feeling, and how Kai is developing.  She’s located super close to us so there’s no issues with commuting, and Kaiya seems to be adjusting really well!  Honestly we’re just so lucky!!
8.  Trust your kid.  This adjustment is hard for you, and its hard for them too.  Just like you won’t adjust overnight, neither will they.  Take it all in stride, they will eventually get used to the change.  It might be traumatic for you in the beginning, but you’ll remember this time – they won’t.  And remember you’re still providing for them and doing what’s best for your child.  Yes you’re not there physically but you’re supporting them financially.
9. Cope the way you cope.  Whether it’s a few weeks before you go back to work, the night before, or a few weeks in, do whatever you gotta do to help yourself.  If you need to cry every night to partner, cry every night to your partner.  If you need to vent to your friends, vent to your friends.  There is no gold star for getting through this change without asking or needing help!  For me, the day things started to feel better for me was the day I listened to music at work.  I had always had music playing at my old job and when I turned on my music for the first time I finally felt like me.  It felt so good to get back into the same work groove that I was in before I had my daughter.
10.  ENJOY IT!  I have this guilty part of me that enjoys going to work because I get to talk to people, and I can be myself.  We laugh, we joke, we talk dirty, we’re vulgar, some times we’re profane… It feels so good to be an adult again!  I was in mommy mode for so long I forgot how to enjoy adulthood.  Another positive, is the change in my pay cheque.  We’re still fixing our finances after me being on mat leave but I’m definitely enjoying the pay increase!  I also love the fact that I feel like I’m accomplishing something during the day and being productive again.

Right now things are going pretty well.  I’m finally feeling like I’m understanding my job as well as my coworkers.  I feel like Kaiya and I have a good routine, as well as a new routine between my husband and I.  On the days that she’s at my mom’s or daycare, I race from work to go get her, and then I go pick Shawn up (which I don’t have to do) but I enjoy doing.  Every day we get home together, as a family, and he plays with her while I cook dinner.  Things are just flowing, and I’m really happy.  It feels so good to say that finally after the rough journey we’ve had in these last 6 weeks.

You guys, I know it’s hard.  I know you’re scared and anxious and its okay to feel that way.  This shit is hard.  But I promise you, it does get better.  You will establish a routine, and you both will adjust eventually.  It won’t happen over night so don’t expect it to.  But learn to enjoy the little moments that develop out of your new routine.  Enjoy the adult time you get!  Enjoy the increase in your pay check.  Enjoy being you again!  And one day soon, you will reach your happiness again.

…What The Eff Happened?

My brain this week has been such a mess I feel like I don’t know where to start with this blog… I have so much on my mind and REALLY need to write but I can’t even sort out my thoughts properly.  I’m going to try anyway, and I think the best place to start is from the beginning.

Here it is, the thing that’s been bugging me and eating at me for months.  Unfortunately I don’t think it’s best to go into too much detail while the process is going on but….  I got terminated from my full time while I was on maternity leave.  I was not provided any real, justifiable reasoning and to my knowledge it is not legal to terminate anyone on maternity leave in Canada.  Regardless, I have a claim going on so I don’t think it’s wise to discuss it too much or dwell on the past.  However this one act has changed so much in my life and I feel completely and utterly beaten up.

Because of this termination I was not able to enjoy the last few months of my mat leave as I should have enjoyed it.  Instead I was filing out claim forms, calculating my EI payments, preparing my resume, applying for jobs, and going for interviews instead of engaging with my daughter, and soaking up all the time I could with her.  I was panicked, I needed to go back to work financially.  What would we do if I didn’t find a job in time?  I would have been content to be at home with Kaiya during the summer but after looking into it I couldn’t stay on EI after my mat leave ended because guess what – I hadn’t worked in the last 52 weeks!  So essentially once D-day hit, we’d be screwed.

Regardless, I had to push on.  I updated my resume, applied for jobs, went to interviews, and waited.  Finally and miraculously I got a job, and right in time to start when my EI ended.  Okay, step one done.  Check.  But wait – I start in 1 week.  Enter in panic round 2; and this one was a big one.

I haven’t worked in a year and my self doubt was higher than ever.  I felt dumbed down by mother hood – not in an offensive way – but I had not been around people, or in an office setting in roughly 54 weeks.  I felt super rusty and it’s not like I was going back to a job I had done before, it would be a completely new job to learn.  New duties, new people, new company, new work environment, and worst of all a new routine with Kaiya.  We are completely blessed that both of her grandmother’s are able to watch her, and while we are in the midst of arranging part time daycare, I literally had 1 week to try to get Kaiya’s sleep and nap schedule re-aligned.  1 week to try and wrap my head around the fact that my mat leave is done, my time with my daughter is over and I am now going back into the work force.  No longer would I be waking up to my daughter, but rather an alarm.  I wouldn’t be waking up and spending my morning with her but rather getting myself dressed, then her dressed, then us out the door, then dropping her off to my mom and leaving for a place I had never been; a job I had never done before with people I’ve never met.  It was too intense for me to handle all at once; I tried to not think about it all for as long as I could and just bury all my feelings that come Sunday night I had a complete panic attack.  Even after 4 days at my job it’s still hard to fathom some mornings.

In one of my earlier blog posts entitled “Me vs The Mommy Me” I knew exactly who I was and found myself having trouble adjusting to my new role of mother.  Now it’s the reverse – I am so comfortable being a mom that I forgot who I was.  I feel I am so quiet at work and not being my true self because I haven’t been around people for so long.  I’m scared to speak because I feel the only thing I know how to talk about is baby stuff.  All of my friends have been so encouraging which has been amazing, but makes me question things even more.  “Just be yourself and you’ll do great!” “I have total faith in you, you’ll kill it!” “Once they get to know you, you’ll fit right in.”  All of this has been fantastic words of wisdom but also makes me question myself that much more.  Everyone else seems to know who I am but me.  Who am I?  What are my likes and dislikes?  What do I talk about besides mom and baby stuff?  How do I open up to people I don’t know?  How do I seem professional and dedicated to my job, but still interact with people and let them see who I am when I don’t even know who I am?

I’ve also been getting texts from friends asking me how my first few days are.  Trust me, I love you, and I know you mean well but this is all way too much for me to process right now.  And when I have too much to process I shut down (or sit down and write for 2 hours!) .  I know I’m not being myself cus I’m too paranoid about what to say, saying the right thing, or whether I should say anything at all.

I know I’m not being myself and I’m sorry.  I’m trying to get it together, and trying to figure myself out while also navigating this huge change.  The fact is I just don’t know who I am right now.  For so long I had to put “me” aside to be a mom and now I can’t get out of that and get back to being me.  I know I’ll get it together, and I know it takes time.  I’m trying so please just bear with me.  If I seem quiet or distant or distracted it’s because I’m just trying to figure shit out.  There’s a lot going on right now and a lot of change.  One day, I don’t know when, I will be back to being me.

One

While my baby girl sleeps soundly in her crib, I find myself reflecting on this past year.  In 4 days time she will become 1 year old, and while I try hard not to make too big a deal out of it, I find myself very emotional.  This past year has been filled with some of the highest highs, and some of the lowest lows.  I have been put through an intense emotional gauntlet and came out the other side (somewhat) unscathed.  The bond I share with this little girl blows my mind every day.

I had prepared for her arrival just like every other mom.  Eating healthy throughout my pregnancy, organizing and decorating the nursery, and clearing up my desk at work for my maternity leave.  But no matter how much planning and preparation you do, nothing can truly prepare you for the journey of parenthood.  Just 365 days ago, I had no idea who she was, what she would look like, anything about her personality, her likes and dislikes.  I knew nothing about how having her in our lives would intensify the bond between my husband and I.  I had no idea how hard motherhood would be, or the sense of satisfaction I have in raising her.

Our journey started off rough.  My water broke on June 28th, 2016 at 12:45am.  I walked all day long that day trying to get my labour going and nothing worked.  So at 5:30pm I timed out and had to go to the hospital to be induced.  After a long 1.5 days, hours of labour, and the most intense pain I ever felt, Kaiya was being very stubborn and not coming out.  We were rushed to the operating room where they prepared me for a C-section if the vacuum didn’t work.  Thankfully it did and within 3 pushes she was finally here.  Our first few moments together were pure heaven and all the pain, and agony and waiting, was so incredibly worth it.  My husband hugged me and said how proud he was of me.  We held each other and just cried together as we held our beautiful baby girl.  I would do it all over again in a heart beat just to relieve those first few minutes we had together.

My days after were rough.  I hated being in the cramped hospital room I shared with another new mom.  The meds were wearing off, the cluster feeds were getting the best of me, and the lack of sleep was taking its toll.  She wasn’t latching so I had to start pumping and I just felt like this cow getting milked all the time.  My boobs were constantly out and anyone walking by got a free show (nevermind how much my hoo-haa had been exposed during the 40+ hours of labour).  My body is no longer this private, sensual being.  It is a vessel.  A medium for which a baby is housed, and nourished, and exits.

Once we were finally home I felt more at ease.  Not better, just more at ease.  I was still in so much pain and so stiff and sore, but I did my best.  Thank god Shawn had used his 2 weeks vacation because I needed him like crazy.  I also had help from family and friends which made it that much better and I am so thankful for.  After about 8 days I had given up breastfeeding all together.  It wasn’t working for us; she wasn’t latching, I hated pumping, and I found myself going deeper and deeper into this dark hole of depression.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: formula saved me.  Finally after about 2-3 weeks we got into a really good cycle.  Shawn would work till about 5pm, then when he came home I went to bed. I slept till about 1-2am when I would go to the living room and he would go to bed.  We had her in the bassinet part of the play pen which we kept in the living room.  I got a few hours of rest on the couch in between her feedings.  Somehow after 7 weeks, Kaiya slept through the night.  I asked Shawn when he got up with her and he said he didn’t and I said I didn’t either…. and that was it.  Ever since then she’s slept for a solid 10-13 hours a night.  We moved her into her crib and the next phase of our journey began.

Before we knew it she was 3 months, and then 4 months.  We started her on rice cereal and other mushy foods.  Then 6 months hit and she started on more solid foods and more experimenting.  It seemed like months 0-6 took an eternity, but these last 6 months (7-12) have just flown by.  In those first 6 months she went from this little bitty baby who couldn’t hold her head up, to smiling for the first time (which made me cry hysterically!) and her first laugh, to rolling over, to sitting up, and to eating more “human” foods.  Also in the mix was her first Halloween and her first Christmas.  There were so many great memories in those 6 months.

Now from 7-12 we’ve celebrated New Years and Valentines day.  She’s cut 3 teeth, learned to crawl, stand, furniture cruise, and finally started walking at 11 months old.  She’s been given almost every food I can think of and has loved every one of them.  She definitely is not a picky eater!  I love watching her mind work.  She likes to spin things in her hands and get a feel for whatever object she’s holding.  She likes to observe, and watch, and learn.  She understands me and I understand her.

She’s gone from this little ball of skin and bones to a full fledged person.  She’s got her own personality, her own habits, her own likes and dislikes.  Sometimes she wants just mommy and sometimes she wants her daddy.  Its amazing to see the growth that has taken place in just 12 months.  I am so incredibly proud of her and myself.  We’ve been faced with tons of challenges and ups and downs and we’ve come out the other side together.

I am also so incredibly proud of my husband.  He was there for me at my lowest of lows and helped me get through it.  He has been the most supportive and loving husband a girl can ask for.  He’s cleaned up after us when I just don’t have the energy after a long, tough day.  He’ll take the dog for a walk or watch Kaiya while I go and get some sleep.  He’s done loads of laundry, countless amounts of dishes, and prepared hundreds of bottles of formula, and made sure that everything was ready for me the next day.  He’s truly stepped up into the father role and Kaiya is such a daddy’s girl.  Their bond is incredible and I love watching them play together.  I know that their relationship is only going to get stronger.  He’s just so loving, and caring, and supportive.  I couldn’t ask for a better partner to share this parenthood journey with.

A few things I have learned about Kaiya through our year together:
– She does things on her own time – when she is good and ready!
– She gets Hangry (angry because she’s hungry) and she will let you know it!
– She likes to cross her legs at her ankles – she’s a lady!
– She likes to laugh spontaneously and is a very happy & smiley girl (for the most part!)
– When Kaiya’s tired, Kaiya’s tired.  The thumb goes in the mouth and you better get her to her crib asap!  This girl loves her sleep!
– She likes to rub her face on soft things: teddy bears, pillows, blankets
– She loves clapping and any sign of appreciation
– She’s very observant
– She’s very independent
– She loves music & dancing
– She loves her puppy Hendrix!
– She can be very affectionate, and is very friendly!
– Some of her favourite foods are:
* Yogurt
* Avocados
* Peanut Butter
* Bread & Pastas
* Cheese
* Yam

I am looking so forward to our next year and can’t wait to see her grow and develop.  I can’t wait to watch her learn more things and all the changes that are about to come.  I have truly enjoyed my maternity leave and am sad to see it end.  But life goes on and I am so excited for the future of my family!

If You Don’t Get It….

I’m the first to admit that before we had Kaiya, I didn’t get it.  Every time I would see a Facebook post about someone’s kid doing something elementary I would do the usual eye roll and keep on scrolling.  Big deal, they went to the park.  Big deal, they said something.  Big deal, they did something you thought was hysterical.  I just didn’t get it.

We knew we had wanted kids but we wanted to enjoy some time to ourselves as just married adults first.   We partied, we traveled, we had our fun.  As time progressed we just felt something was missing and that we were ready to try and have a baby.  It ended up taking us just over a year to finally conceive; a year that ended up being one of the most emotional times of my life.

For the first few months we were having fun with it.  I mean, we all know what you have to do to conceive a baby so, I don’t think that part needs much explaining.  But as the months kept coming and going with no sign of a baby I was getting more and more concerned.  I started keeping track of my ovulation schedule, researching specific positions and techniques, I went to an OBGYN to get everything checked out, and cut out things that would hinder our chances of getting pregnant.  The more I focused on it, the more frustrated I got.  Every month you go through this roller coaster ride of emotions.  First, it’s like okay here we go, we can do this – these are our days.  You do the deed(s) and feel like okay maybe that was it – I think we just made a baby!  Then you wait, and wait, and wait.  As time ticks by you get more and more excited.  You start thinking, and planning.  Colours of the nursery, will it be a boy or a girl, how we will announce that we’re finally pregnant, boys names and girls name.  Just when you think that this might be it, bam – there’s your period.  A big fat NOPE.  And let’s be honest here ladies, your period sucks in general, never mind when it’s a constant reminder of how you’re not pregnant like you’d like to be.

That year was so incredibly tough on me.  I hated going out and pretending to be happy around people.  I hated that no matter how hard I tried, I was not in control of this situation.   I hated the fact that making love to my husband had now become a chore and a job and not something fun and passionate like it used to be.  I hated thinking that my body was some how defective, or like maybe I’m not a real woman because I can’t do the one thing my body is supposed to do.  I hated thinking that maybe we had waited too long; we were selfish and wanted to party in our 20’s, not be parents.  I hated how stressed out I had become, and how short I was with my husband – like it was somehow his fault.  I hated thinking that when I miscarried at 24 I blew my shot at ever being a parent.  Maybe my miscarriage years ago somehow damaged things inside and I’d never be able to conceive again.  Maybe that was our only opportunity and I had unknowingly done something to mess it up.

It was literally our last month of trying before we were going to take a break, and that’s when it happened.  Finally, it had happened.  That beautiful pink plus sign on a pregnancy test.  There are no words that can describe the relief, and excitement I finally felt.  I was so excited but all the while there’s that tiny part inside of you that makes you shit scared.  A million negative thoughts run through your head: don’t get too excited in case you miscarry again, don’t forget there’s 9 months to go and so many things that can go wrong.

Before we announced to everyone that we were pregnant we went and had a scan at BabyMoon.  I couldn’t announce it to everyone without the proof of actually seeing something inside me.  So we went for our ultrasound; it was me and my hubby, my parents, my sister, and his mom.  I was so nervous and had no idea what to expect.  As soon as our baby appeared on the screen all my emotions just came out of me and I just cried.  Seeing your baby moving around inside you is one of the most indescribable feelings in the world.  It was so surreal seeing the baby bounce and move and kick inside your belly, and the whole time I felt nothing cus they were just so small.  After a year of trying, there was finally a baby inside me.  As the ultrasound came to end we saw a tiny hand wave across the screen.  Of course I bawled my eyes out, but it was such a beautiful moment, one that I will truly never forget.  (I’m legit trying so hard not to cry again right now as I write this lol).

My whole pregnancy I felt nervous.  Am I eating healthy enough, am I eating the right things?  Am I gaining enough weight, am I gaining too much weight?  I tried to cut out caffeine completely but I was getting these debilitating headaches that just weren’t worth it.  I had researched the exact amount of caffeine that I could have in a day and stuck to it religiously.  I had my one cup of coffee every morning and that was it.  I drank water as much as I possibly could, even though it made me pee all the time.  Once I felt the kicks I would keep track of how often it was, to ensure the baby was still alive.  Every time I went for a check up my midwife would ask if I wanted to hear the heartbeat and it was always a yes.  I always asked which way the baby was facing and she would use a baby doll to demonstrate it for me.  I tried so hard not to buy up a bunch of clothing and baby items just in case something would go wrong.

Finally, she was here.  12 months of trying, 9 months of pregnancy, and 3 days of labour.  So much thought, and dedication, and effort went into the making of this perfect little human.  From our two bodies we created someone.  My body housed her, fed her, sustained her; provided her with the environment she needed to grow and develop.  Even after going through all of this my mind is still completely blown away by the process.

Even though I was nervous throughout the whole pregnancy, it’s an entirely different feeling of being responsible for this new life and being just so shit scared.  You read the books, and you think you know generally what to do, but actually doing it is a totally different experience.  You ask yourself about a million times a day if you’re doing this right, or if you’re doing the right thing.

Looking back on our journey from wanting to have a kid, to the grueling process of conceiving, to the months of pregnancy, and the tiring guessing game of parent hood, just reminds me that it still is such a miracle.  We literally went from nothing to a plus sign on a pregnancy, to a bump in my belly and a wave on an ultrasound screen, to this tiny human, to her smiling and laughing and learning and discovering the world.

So if you see me posting pictures of her smiling, or her on a swing at the park, or the first time she takes her first steps, just know that for us it is a big moment.  It might not mean anything to you but to us, she’s something pretty amazing.  It took us a long time to conceive her, and months of worrying to get to where we are now.  She is our everything.  You may not get it, and that’s fine.  But we love her and she is our life now.

The Loneliness of Motherhood

My family is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.  Meeting my husband, getting married, and now having Kaiya is by far the highlight of my life.  I love spending my days with her, showing her new things, teaching her how to do something and watching her face light up in excitement.  Her smile makes everything better.  But it is a lonely life.  Changing diapers, getting spit up all over me, coordinating my day around her nap times, and essentially talking to no one throughout the day gets lonesome.

My relationships with my friends mean everything to me.  I didn’t have many as a kid so the relationships that I’ve maintained over the years are very very important.  I know most moms say that they feel they have let their relationships slip because of how life changing having a kid is, and to some extent I agree with this.  But I feel like I have still tried.  I have still tried to make plans, invite people over when I can’t go out, try to get a sitter for parties and socials, and support my friends in anyway I can. I will always let them vent to me whenever they need.  But what about me?  All day I give everything I have to a baby so that she can grow, and thrive and flourish.  I admit I have little energy at the end of the day, and going out spontaneously doesn’t necessarily work for me.  So when I make plans, I work very hard to keep them.  I look forward to seeing my friends, and having adult time.  I need to talk to people my age and I’m genuinely interested in what’s going on in their lives.  So when plans change or people are in town and don’t make the effort to visit us, it really hurts me.  I want so badly to see them and talk to them.  I want that connection again and reprieve from mommy-ing for however long the visit is.

I have to say that I am very blessed to have the mom friends that I do.  If you’re pregnant or looking to be pregnant in the next while I highly recommend joining a local mom group.  I have these wonderful ladies in my life who I have now turned to for all sorts of advice.  Just knowing that I can message them pretty much anytime of the day and ask questions or vent helps immensely.  They’re so encouraging, supportive, and resourceful.  I honestly don’t know where I’d be without them!  It also helps knowing other women are at home in the middle of the day, raising a baby just like me.  (By the way – day time tv SUCKS.  Most days I don’t even turn it on.)  Some days we’re fortunate enough to have plans with my mom friends which I look forward to as well, it’s just different.  I’m still in mom mode, still talking about mom things, still doing feedings and changing diapers.  It’s not the same type of relationship that I have with my pre-mom friends.  Not in a positive or negative way, it’s just different.

Now, of course I don’t expect people to stop their lives for us.  Shit happens, I get it.  I’m not mad that you had to reschedule, or didn’t feel well enough to visit.  My disappointment happens mainly because I was genuinely excited so see someone.  Honestly, once you have a baby it feels like you’ve entered this twilight zone.  I know the clock is ticking but the days are a blur to me.  I somewhat know what day of the week it is, and I have my daily routines that I go through with Kaiya which help me get through the day, but that routine can get pretty monotonous.  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are all exactly the same to me, aside from the fact that my husband is home during the weeknights and most weekends.  I know time is passing by, I know people are going to work every day, I know people are out there living their lives.  But the majority of the time I’m here, staring at the same 4 walls I see day in and day out.  Making bottles, changing dirty diapers, sticking to my daily routines and coordinating naps.  I feel like I am a shell of the person I used to be.

Spending time with my friends is something I truly value.  I was a person before I was a mom.  Believe it or not that person is still inside me, I’m just covered up under the mom-me.  And while I may not be able to party like I used to, or be as free as I used to be I still want to see you.  I still want to hang out, and visit, and reminisce.  I promise I will always try to be there for you.  I can’t promise that I’ll always be available, but I will always TRY.  I know I’ve had a baby and I’m in this weird twilight zone but you remind me of the real me, who I used to be.  So please don’t give up on me; please hang in there.  This moment in my life won’t be forever.   I’m still here, somewhere deep inside I’m still me, and I still want our friendship.