Tuesday, July 28, 2015

This Pregnancy Body

I want to start by saying that I feel good. I'm comfortable in my baby-growing skin, I like what I see in the mirror, and I am only critical of the stretch marks that I cannot control despite my twice-daily applications of belly balm. I still accept them (begrudgingly). 

But I have to admit something. And I cannot be the only one. Because despite the way I see myself and the way my wonderfully stretchy maternity clothes fit, I was shocked by The Number on the scale that I saw today at the doctor's office.

The scale is something new to me. Only in the recent two years did I even own one. But I will admit that I fell into the same trap pre-pregnancy as so many women and I was worried about the number. Mostly because of planning the pregnancy, I did not want to start this baby-growing journey with a number to lose. Well, I did. And I stopped looking at the scale so much that I'm not even certain what my official pre-baby weight is. I have a 10 lb range that I think I was at. But that means that the number I've gained fits into a 20-30 lb range. As I round the corner from second to third trimester, I know that 20 lbs is fine (5-10 lb per trimester). But I struggle with the idea of being 50% over where I "should" be.

Everyone has a number on the scale that they never want to see - pregnant or not. And as I edge closer to that number, I am faced with the reality that I will pass it. It's going to happen in the next three months (probably in the next month) and I need to accept that. I am eating healthy foods - snacking outside meals with almost exclusively on fruits and veggies. Yes, I go through bursts where I eat a lot. Yes, I put down two full-sized breakfast entrees on Saturday. No, I barely ate anything else all day. Balance. And I regret nothing - NOTHING.

But I am struggling to separate my expectations around the scale from my current health. The only problem here is in my head. As much as I have enjoyed almost every other aspect of this pregnancy (including how I look), I am surprised by how much I am struggling with The Number. My health continues to do well, and the doctor isn't concerned about The Number. So why am I?

And then I remembered that today I wore a non-maternity dress, so as much as I am struggling with The Number, it is not being reflected in my body, and my brain can STFU.

Dress from Nordstroms, cardigan and necklace from Stitch Fix.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Circle of Life

I had imagined by big blog announcement a little differently. Not that I am a professional, or even novice, blogger by any stretch. But I did imagine that I’d share my pregnancy with a cute post on bread baking or something and tie it together. Because that’s what you do. Instead, just as I passed the mark at which I felt comfortable sharing, but world was turned upside-down. In the span of just 4 weeks, we lost my mom to cancer.

I was left to balance the incredible joy of my first pregnancy with the insurmountable grief of losing such a powerful part of my life. I could not find words to share the joy. It’s taken me over 7 weeks to find the words for the sadness.

I consider myself lucky in that before this spring, I have never experienced what could be described as “profound grief”. I have lost 2 great grandparents and 3 grandparents in my lifetime. However, the grief I felt was different, and it certainly was not all-consuming. When Bub passed away less than 2 years ago, we knew her cancer was terminal, but that it would give us time to work in a few “lasts” and give us time to say goodbye. Of course I was devastated when she finally passed. But there was the year of knowing it was coming to work through the stages of grief in time. And when we were sad, we could still call her and share about our day and tell her we loved her. We had a year.

Up until 3 days before Mom passed, we thought we had a year. Her passing was a shock, in addition to the grief. It feels so unfair. She had her mom until she was 53. She shared her children growing up and had the support. I feel robbed of so many decades of time. I feel like she was robbed of the one thing left on her bucket list – meeting her first grandbaby. And I absolutely feel like my dad was robbed of at least 20 years of retirement shenanigans. I tried to process the injustice of it.

But life is not about fairness. We are not entitled to the breaths we take. And we were not “robbed” of anything. If nothing is promised, or given, how can it be taken away? Despite this initial bitterness, I am left with no anger.

--------------------------

I cried before she passed. I did not cry when she got the diagnosis. I did not cry a week later after the surgery when it was much worse than they thought. I did not cry when I spent a week with her recovering in the ICU. But I cried the next week when the scan showed the surgery was fruitless. That even with the most aggressive treatment options available, she would never be cured. But we were promised the meeting with the grandbaby. And I cried two days later when her body started shutting down as the cancer consumed her at breakneck speeds. I cried at the lost year we were just promised. At the loss for the baby. At the shock of it.

I cried briefly at the hospital between phone calls when we notified close family and friends. The words floated out of my mouth, but I cannot believe I said them. And I cried at the funeral – at the moose ears, when our Cantor chanted A Woman of Valor, and at the grave-side Mourner’s Kaddish. But I didn’t cry between. And I didn’t cry again. Maybe I was too tired; but grief is not measured in the number of tears. The grief will come.

It will come at small moments and at big moments. It will come when I am suddenly lonely in the middle of a crowded room. It will come on holidays and on any random day. I know it will continue to come.

Shiva (the week of mourning following a family death) has come and gone. The grief did not change. Only the exhaustion. Shloshim (the month of mourning for a parent or spouse) has come and gone. The grief continues.

It changes, yes. But there’s no switch where you suddenly notice it is better. The waves of grief crash on until one day you notice the tide is low and you can get up again. But the tide comes in.

And there is joy that mixes in. We feel our baby girl move. My belly gets bigger every day. We pick out nursery d├ęcor and strollers and baby names. But the grief continues.

As I said before, I still struggle daily to embrace the joy and love with growing this soul, but also to fully grieve my mom without bottled it up for later. I have grief for my mom – she will miss so much. We had such plans (doesn’t everyone?). I have grief for my daughter – she will never know the love from this woman. To her, it will always be someone that I talk about, but that she can only connect to a face in a frame. As she gets older, she will roll her eyes at my repetitive “She would have loved you so” and say that she knows. But she will never know. And I have grief for the hole in my life from losing my mother and best friend.

And yet… I am thankful. We had no anger for each other. No bitterness or grudges. We knew and felt love from each other. She had a life full of personal and professional accomplishments. And if it had to happen, if this was so sealed in the Book of Life, then I am a little relieved that it was quick. And I am certain that our pain in grief exceeds her suffering.

I have the warmth and love of friends to surround me. It does help. But it does not fix what happened. I appreciate the help and the offers of help. And I can lean on so many people for so many teams; I have a village to carry me through this. But I need to walk through the grief myself; the village cannot carry me over the waves. They cannot stop the waves that will wash over me. Yet I do not want people to stop offering help; just to understand that refusing help is not an affront to their friendship, generosity, or trust.

I do not think my grief is special. This would hurt in unfathomable ways whether I was pregnant or not. But I am sad that the timing means that I may never be able to separate this pregnancy, the experience of so many firsts, from the profound loss of Mom.

As the weeks wear on, the tide is slowly going out. So far, this month has been better than last month. But I cannot say if today was better than yesterday; just like waves on a shore wash in and out, so does the grief.

But on the pregnancy side, we are doing well. The shock and travel have not hurt me or the baby. She continues to grow right on track, and at our girls getaway this weekend, she was wiggly for everyone. Time moves slowly and quickly, all at the same time, but our excitement grows. She is due October 28th – less than 4 months away.


How will the tide look then?

Thursday, February 5, 2015

#Reverb15 – January

Upgoals | What are you so NOT doing this year? What’s on your “I just can’t care about that” list?


I’m a little late, but I really have been thinking about this goal for a while. I would really like to care less about what I can’t control. I’d like to think less of what people think about me. And I’d like to care less about whether or not I’m scoring a high enough grade in aspects of life that aren’t actually graded (so… all of it).

As a type A control freak (who… me? I know. Shocking), I tend to care a lot about a lot. I would love to be able to lay aside all my cares, and actually do. And coming from a family of engineers, I’m super good at planning and caring. Doing is hard. Doing is the struggle. Letting go of the plans and the “could-bes” and “worst case” and “what-ifs” are something that I may never be able to do. But I’m trying.

Last night was my third yoga class in a week, and my second as part of an eight week introduction series I signed up for. I’ve loved the idea of yoga – especially regarding the wellness and awareness it can bring people in all areas of life. But it is a practice. And last night, they were speaking about how you can never really be an A student in yoga until you let yourself be a C student first. 
Me: “LOLZ.” 
But it’s true. And as we transitioned into our eleventy billionth downward dog of the night, my shoulders screamed, and my hamstrings pulled in the wrong direction, and my whole body started shaking. So I took a knee and took a breath in child’s pose. And that was okay! And then I went right back into downward dog, but just that single breath on the ground allowed me to finish stronger.


And I’m trying to bring that into my life more. So when my desk life is screaming, and my chores are pulling me in the wrong direction, and my relationships are shaking, I can try to take a knee. Take a breath – just one breath – and do more, stronger. And I just can’t care that other people don’t need to take a knee or a breath. But more likely is that I’m too focused on my own screaming shoulders to notice that they took a break before I did, and we all finished together.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Insomilomidingdong

Dear Diary,

It's approximately 1:45 AM and I am awake. It's the third night (morning?) this has happened. Seeing as I've been home for nearly three weeks (illness, followed by surgery, followed by office closed and boredom), it can't possibly be jetlag. 
Sherlock and Merlon and Good Eats are all on Netflix so at least I have something to do. Oy. I have pinned everything I can. I have sent pins endlessly. Facebook has been scoured. Instagram is caught up. And I'm hungry. This is really terrible. And I am getting more and more fearful of Monday when the real world strikes again.

Supplies are low. As is morale. I fear the worst. Send help. 

The Case of The Giant Tonsils was resolved on December 15th. 2.5 weeks later, I'm healing well. But before that there was the The Strange Intense Pain That Sent Me Home Early from Germany. Oh and there was the work trip to Germany. So while I foolishly thought I could keep up with #Reverb14 under the influence of narcotic pain killers, the travel, the ER, the pain killers, and family time, I have fallen terribly behind. 

No better way to bully insomnia when everyone else in this hemisphere is sleeping than to write a "Dear Diary" entry, right?

Half hour later, sleep is no closer to me. I suppose I'll go paint my nails or clean out a bin?

Sweet dreams, Diary. 
Hugs and Kisses,
~Kvetchin 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Reverb14 - Day 4

Do Over | Hindsight is the one thing we never benefit from in the present. Is there one moment you wish you could do-over?

Until recently, I am honestly sure that I was haunted by the past. I would go home at the end of the day and re-analyze almost every interaction. From emails, to casual conversations, to professional interactions. 

But over the past year, something clicked and I am just not doing it as much any more. So when I think back to this year and try to consider what I would have done differently, I am not haunted by anything right now. Part of this may honestly be just that I am so busy and overwhelmed at work that I cannot spare the time to think on the past.

Of course I still have moments when I second guess myself, but there has been a shift. There is not one moment I would do differently. 

I may wish for small moments when I could spare an extra breath to be a little kinder to those who care for me, may wish that I could call my family a little more, or may wish that I could balance work a little bit, but those may be the next shift in me. For now, I will try to enjoy the peace and quiet flowing from the self-critical corner of my mind.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Reverb14 - Day 3

Coulda woulda shoulda | What didn't you do this year because you were too scared, afraid, unsure? Are you going to do it next year? Or maybe you don't want to anymore?

I like to think that there's not much I avoid just because I'm scared. There were lots of things I didn't get to this year, but finishing/not finishing had far less to do with fear and so much more with brain cells and resources to spare.

The only thing that came close was getting my tonsils out. I was diagnosed with sleep apnea this year after undergoing a sleep study when Hubs had finally had enough of my night-time throat singing. The cure? Tonsillectomy. Now, this is not the cure for everyone, but I assure you my tonsils are so big that they almost touch on the daily, so this might actually cure it for me. But after lots of consideration, I nabbed the last appointment of the year!

Fingers crossed for a snore-free 2015!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Reverb14 - Day 2

Gorgeous | When did you feel beautiful this year? Why?

Okay. All my cards on the table: this was a rough body image year. In all honesty, this year's weight gain has affected me more than any my other bald years prior.

But I remember two nights in particular where I felt outrageous.

(1) Our 4-year anniversary in March. We made reservations. I wore a wig and a new dress. Hubs got me a beautiful gift. I was drunk on love before the alcohol kicked in. It was a rare evening together in between many weeks of travel and it was so wonderful to be engaged and focused on each other.

(2) Few months later, I found a coupon for a distillery tour and cocktail tasting date night. We made friends, made drinks, and ate a greasy bar burger before heading home.  After 50,000 miles traveled, this was a welcome break and so nice to stay with my man.

Date night selfie!

It was not until I started writing this down that I realized how much I define "gorgeous" by the quality time I spend with my husband. Yes, I feel pretty sometimes when I travel on my own.But I think "gorgeous" represents a centered mind, as well. My year was by no means centered or peaceful, but when I get to spend quiet moments with my man, he does have that effect on me.

Can I have my own identity, self esteem, and centered moments without him? Of course. I have and I will continue my own identity without him. But we are in a partnership together, and it's okay that he can be that rock for me, too. That may not be a very feminist sentiment, but this is my truth. And in this year where I traveled over 100,000 miles over this globe, it is comforting to let him have this peace over me.