Monday, January 27, 2014

Pregnancy: The Best-Worst Thing to Happen to Me

When I looked at the stick, I thought, "Are you kidding me?"

We had just had the biggest fight, and I had ducked into the bathroom for a second for a time-out, only to find one of my unused pregnancy tests staring at me.

"What the heck," I thought, as I snatched it up.

The air was tense when I came out of the bathroom, but I wasn't thinking about the fight anymore.

I walked up to Chris and smiled awkwardly as I said, "Baby? We're pregnant."

He just stared at me as his eyes got mistier and mistier, until we both collapsed with joy into each other's arms.

We had been trying for a couple months. And it really is true - once you stop thinking about it, it happens.

Me at like 14-15 weeks?
For the first few weeks, maybe even the first 12, I didn't let myself get excited. It's common for women who have miscarried (earlier in the year, we lost at 12 weeks) to feel disassociated with their baby, and refuse to put stock in it till he/she is safe in their arms. I still feel that way sometimes; like I shouldn't get too excited. But Chris has helped me have faith.

He has been Prince Charming this whole time. He told me today, "Make sure you keep eating, even if you're not hungry." Things like that, he does all the time. He's just so thoughtful about my comfort and about the little baby. You should have seen his jaw drop and his eyes tear up when he saw Will for the first time on the ultrasound. It was a moment I'll never forget.

Feeling my sweet husband's love through acts and words of utter selflessness and kindness has been such a beautiful thing. So has learning to listen to my body (if you only knew how much I've slowed down! I usually jam-pack my day, but that trip to the store? Not happening.) It's been amazing imagining and planning for the "big picture" of my life, to the point where I enrolled in a Yoga Teacher Training program. Not only is that skill to allow for flexible income once the baby's here, but it's an example of how this new life is making me rethink my purpose and focus on following true happiness. The scaling down to one car came because of that, as well.

But pregnancy has also made me feel fear. Fear that my baby is not getting the right nutrients. That my belly doesn't look "normal" for how far along I am (is it fat, or is that baby?). That maternity leave and my commitment to spend time with my family will make my bosses question my competency.

Pregnancy has also tested my will to live. I wish I was kidding. I am 18 weeks, and have been sick the whole time. Nausea, vomiting, headache, you name it. It's almost cost me my job, and definitely my positive attitude. There was one day last week where I had so many obligations that took me from 4 am to 8 pm, and I felt so sick, that all day I kept breaking down into full-on SOBS. All day. I felt like my sickness and sadness was alienating everyone from me (my co-worker told me as much), and I felt like I was pushing Chris away. I questioned what I was doing with my life. Considered just running away. I finally felt some hope by writing my bosses a letter requesting to go part-time.

Baby Boy at 16 weeks
(If you're wondering why I just don't take a prescription, a) I did and they barely worked, and b) the one I was prescribed was a serotonin-blocker, and Lord knows with this kind of sickness, one's prone to depression enough as it is!)

That low, low day was a turning point. The next day, I woke up to my 4:25 a.m. alarm, and as I do every morning, braced myself for the first wave of nausea. But when it came, I felt a sense of peace come along with it. At work, I kept a positive attitude both on the air, and off, as I let the sickness resonate in my body, but not my mind. I guarded my mind from being soured by the feeling swimming around in my stomach. I breathed. I inhaled peppermint oil. I knew I wasn't going to die.

One of my yoga colleagues said something, that kinda perfectly describes this: "Pain and suffering are two different things. You can allow yourself to feel pain, or you can resist it. The latter, resisting your pain, is the suffering."

Since that day, I have definitely felt miserable, but have not BEEN miserable. I have come to know that this sickness probably exist to remind me that my baby is healthy and alive inside of me. I know that it probably exists to test my committment to my job, and encourage me to find out what I really want to do in life. It's been there to help me grow as a person. To remind me to simplify my life. Maybe even to make me fall even deeper in love with my doting partner (don't ask me how that is even possible!).

Pregnancy's like that spoonful of apple cider vinegar. It's pungent and vile as it goes down to fight your heartburn, but when you feel its spicy cloud engulf the burning in your stomach, you're left with nothing but inner comfort and peace. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

A Return to the Simple Life

Things got bloated there for a second.

Bloated with money. With things. With emotions. With drink.

Eventually, we traded THIS...
A new job with newfound money, influenced me to put my life philosophy of "simple" on hold as I experimented with "things." Material things. I have always scraped pennies to live a meager lifestyle, and now that I wasn't scraping, I saw a whole new world of knicks and knacks. My husband and I went out and bought BMWs, trying to ignore the fact that they were in the shop all the time and hogging more than a comfortable amount of (premium) gasoline. We chased "pleasurable" experiences, unaware that when one is at ease, pleasure comes not from experiences, but from being. I mentioned in an earlier blog post how we quit drinking months ago...but before that, it was getting to be a routine, and not one for the betterment of ourselves or the world around us. And our emotions were running high, taking control; sparks easily inflamed with the smallest stream of fuel. Fears and anxieties getting the better of us. We loved each other madly, but as for ourselves and our lives, they were getting mucked up.

It's been a process of several months. We started by kicking the drinking cold-turkey, then some guidance counseling to understand our emotions, then we found out we were pregnant (!!!) and our goals re-organized as we remembered to BE the example (of sustainability, of self-love, of service to others).

For THIS! A greener car, and simpler life.
Now, we are trimming the fat from our lives and our budgets. We traded in both of our Beamers for a low-emissions vehicle, making us a happily one-car family. We have fewer $300 dinners and more quiet cups of tea together. Instead of moving to the up-and-up neighborhood, we have decided to stay in our small and affordable home that's close to public transit. I am in Yoga Teacher Training (four months pregnant!) in order to build my future around helping others. And Chris and I are gentler with each other, knowing our fears and anxieties are no match for a heart full of love and kindness.

I've noticed this wave of energy before....when things are fighting you - work, life, relationships - it's time to rethink how you are approaching these things. Is what you're doing out of love, or out of fear? Are you living your true purpose (great book for finding yours is 'Find Your Life Purpose' by Mervyn Smallwood)? Is your "mind chatter" controlling your life, or is your pure heart?

Now that I have shifted my perspective and approach, I've noticed life isn't fighting me anymore. I wake up every day with hope in my soul and love in my heart, and a passion for living a simple, purposeful life.