A quiet moment of one’s own

Though I may be exhausted, one thing I try to do each morning is get out of bed and start my day while baby boy and husband are still sleeping. Sleep is important, yes, but for me I think it’s even more important to have a quiet time in the morning to just . . . Be.

I don’t even do anything noteworthy. This morning I started laundry, made a quick breakfast, drank coffee, and looked at houses for sale in our new future hometown on Zillow. Right now I mostly just want time for my brain to not have to be engaged in thinking about breastfeeding and wondering why my baby gets such bad gas in the late afternoon/early evening. I imagine that once I get into a mama groove, I may actually use this time to do more productive things or things that feed my soul like reading (one day, I’ll read a book again!).

We’re in a crazy phase of life right now: new baby, selling our condo, looking for a new home out-of-state, trying to figure out when we’ll be able to move, one of us is finishing a dissertation (hint: it’s not me!), and one of us is trying to plan a short return to work after maternity leave that doesn’t involve paying for childcare (hint: it’s not my husband!). Quiet moments are few and fart between, so I’m finding that I have to take them where and when I can.

So for now, I luxuriate in the calm, quiet of the house and the silence of the early morning hours.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to change my laundry over.

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A quiet moment of one’s own

So. We have a baby now(!).

It’s been so long since I posted in this space I had to look at what I last wrote. And then I remembered . . . I was just entering 3rd trimester and things were feeling real and raw.

Coincidentally, that is how I’m feeling now with a two-week-old infant boy. But first, an introduction:

Jonah Matthew! We’re so glad he’s here!

Maker:S,Date:2017-8-28,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-ve

The above is him on his first day in the world. Here he is just over two weeks later:

MVIMG_20180225_113412.jpg

Yes, his dad and I find him so unbelievably cute that we spend actual time discussing how hard it is not to smother him in kisses.

But beneath all the love and sweetness of these newborn days lies the raw anxiety, fear, and uncertainty I have as a new mom. What am I anxious about?

Oh, everything. I could make a list:

  1. breastfeeding (it’s hard!)
  2. is he getting enough to eat?
  3. why is he crying now?
  4. is this room to bright for him?
  5. should we turn the white noise louder?
  6. is it too cold for him?
  7. is it too warm for him?
  8. he hasn’t pooped in a while. is that normal?
  9. he’s crying again. why is he crying again?
  10. my body feels like it’s been torn to shreds. will I ever feel normal again?

And, anyway, I could go on . . . but that sums it up. I told Josh I feel like I’m living on top of the high peaks or in the low (low) valleys. I haven’t found neutral ground yet as a new mama. To be honest, I don’t really expect to for a while yet.

I’ve become kind of obsessed with the passing of each day. Right now we can’t do much because Jonah needs so much time and attention. Each day is the same and the end of one day passing into a new day feels like a landmark. I create certain days of the week to look forward to for arbitrary reasons. This week, I’ve got my sights set on Wednesday, February 28 because it’s the end of the month. The next day will be the start of a new month, and just 6 days after that Jonah’s Bubbie comes to visit. Another 3 days after that our boy will be ONE MONTH! A few days after that, my parents (Jonah’s Poppa and Lala) visit. It feels like we’re (maybe) creeping out of these long newborn days of just trying to survive.

Things I’m looking forward to:

  1. Warmer weather (I know we live in MI and spring often has a very slow, delayed start, having a winter baby in the middle of an intense flu season and being shut up indoors has been TOUGH)
  2. A more active, awake baby boy. I’m so excited to be able to interact with him more. Right now we usually get one little mini-session each day where he’s really alert and looking at me with his big blue/gray eyes. Ready for more of that (and baby smiles and giggles and coos and chirps!).
  3. Better nursing. We got off to a rocky start nursing. The good: my milk supply is PLENTIFUL. The difficult: his latch isn’t always the greatest and I’m always concerned if he’s getting enough to eat. We’re actively working on it and I’m also getting support from lactation consultants, so I know we’ll get there.
  4. Did I mention warmer weather? We’ve got some sunny, warmish weather heading our way tomorrow and Tuesday — I’ll take it!

So, here’s to the early, hazy days of parenthood. Someday, we’ll probably forget how long and hard these days were and only remember the sweet moments. That’s the voodoo magic of babies!

So. We have a baby now(!).

It takes a village

Just popping in to say that pregnancy is sometimes hard, but it’s also really sweet.

Like when you have an especially rough day and your back is aching so bad and your husband asks you if there’s anything he can do for you.

Or when you email your doula asking, pitifully, for words of support or encouragement to help on days like today, when you’re not feeling your best, and her response is so warm and caring.

Or when you ask your friend at work what her back aches were like later in pregnancy and what she did to relieve the pain and she looks at you dead in the eyes and says, “Schedule a massage!”

Or when you hear your mom’s voice on the phone or hear reassuring words from your mother-in-law.

Or when you drag your tired, achy butt to yoga after work and, damn, if that doesn’t help you relieve some tension and pressure in your body.

Or when your friend texts you the sweetest little poem she wrote about you and your yet-to-be-born boy. (Oy. Instant tears while reading that!).

Or when your husband posts an out-of-the blue sweet post on Facebook about you.

My people really make the difference and I’m so thankful for them.

Pregnancy is sometimes hard, but it’s also really sweet. 

It takes a village

Homestretch?

31 weeks today. Next 9 weeks, broken down:

Traveling late this week through the entire week next week. Baby shower. Family and friend time.

Return home. Hospital tour. 33 week appointment late in the week. Will schedule appointment for 2 weeks following.

Prepare house/home for mom and dad’s arrival. Another baby shower. Family time. Hanukkah and Christmas. Our final pre-birth meeting with our doula. 35 week doctor appointment. Will schedule appointment for the following week, BECAUSE I WILL THEN NEED TO CHECK IN WITH A DOCTOR WEEKLY. WHAT.

New Year’s. 36 week doctor appointment. Schedule appointment for following week. Attend a friend’s baby shower.

37 week doctor appointment. Full term?! Yep, full term.

And then…just waiting…and weekly doctor appointments. And more waiting. And then we’ll have a baby.

Will he come early? Will we cruise past 40 weeks with no baby? Will we get the nursery area ready in time? Will birthing go as “planned?” Will we remember how to swaddle this tiny little body? What about diapering him? Will he cry during his first baths? Will he cry a lot at night? Will he cry a lot . . . all the time? How will we all sleep? Will we feel afraid to leave the house? What will nursing be like? What will my body look and feel like?

Logically, I know it’s fruitless to worry and think over all of this. Having a baby is kind of one of those: whatever will be, will be kinds of things. I’m focusing on what we’ve done to prepare thus far and all we’ve learned. I’m confident that my body will know what to do during labor. I trust that I’m mentally prepared. All I have to worry about is taking care of myself, my body, and then . . . our baby.

Homestretch?

How do you be an introverted mama?

No, seriously, someone please tell me.

Yesterday was A Day. 8 a.m. doctor appointment: pee in a cup, get weighed, get blood pressure taken, drink the super sugary drink, get my Tdap (whooping cough) vaccine, wait around for an hour, get blood drawn. Then came work: I had a meeting, followed by a meeting, followed by a meeting, followed by another meeting, and then I had another meeting. Then I spent 30 or 40 minutes helping out on the exhibit floor because some other staff members needed to attend a meeting. After that: home (FINALLY!), pajamas (amen.), dinner (scrambled eggs with broccoli), a little resting. And, last but not least, bed.

But but the time I got in bed, the intense business of the day hit me, and I was just . . . emotional. I wasn’t upset over any one thing, but I was having a hard time holding in tears and my chest felt a little tight and I just kept wishing I could go somewhere and be completely alone.

But right now, at this current moment in life, I’m never alone. Here’s an accurate portrait: kjq0rab

As I type this even, this wee little babe is cutting a rug in his room. His room is insiiiiiiide me and I feel every move, poke, and kick.

It’s definitely amazing and miraculous and I’m thankful every day. I’m truly excited to add this little person to our lives.

And yet, there are also times when I’m acutely aware that my body is not my own. While I’m in awe of what my body is doing and can honestly say I like my pregnant body, I also don’t feel like I know this body like I knew my pre-pregnant body. My outward appearance is different and even the position of my internal organs has changed! That kind of disconnect can feel hard sometimes.

So last night, I started wondering if other introverted women struggle with being pregnant and a quick google search confirmed they do (no big surprise there). While my quick scan through the interwebs didn’t give me any answers, at least I know I’m not alone. Sometimes I feel guilty for feeling frustrated or completely overwhelmed by pregnancy. In those moments, I just try and take a deep breath and remind myself that what I’m feeling isn’t wrong and that if I’m feeling like it’s all too much, I just need to take a step back and find a sliver of quiet or inner peace and know that everything is happening just as it should.

How do you be an introverted mama?

It used to be easy

An athlete, I am not. I never was. Training wasn’t something I participated in. Moving my body was never about reaching a specific goal. In fact, exercising was always really hard for me to do unless I actually enjoyed it. Going to the gym is not rewarding for me, as it is for some folks. But, by my late 20s, I knew I enjoyed riding my bike, hiking/walking, and yoga.

These three activities were easy for me to commit to in some fashion, because I truly enjoyed them. And perhaps I’m not the most athletic cyclist, hiker, or yogi; however, I was never afraid of pushing myself in a yoga class or on a bike ride. Hiking a long distance or up a steep trail made me feel strong and proud. That was what exercising was about for me. Less about chipping away at body fat and more about feeling like a Boss (with a capital B).

So, now that I’m pregnant, how is all that going? Well, if I’m being honest, I’ve never felt less capable, physically, in my life. My center of gravity is shot. I lose my balance easily and get winded even more easily. Raise your hand if putting on your shoes is hard.

*Raises hand*

So, how have I been coping with this aspect of pregnancy? Not all that well. I don’t like feeling vulnerable or fragile, but it’s hard not to when you don’t feel sturdy enough on your bike or can’t walk more than a few feet on a hiking trail without tripping. To add insult to injury, even something like a short one mile hike really tires me out. Halfway through it and I’m usually already preoccupied with the idea of sitting down.

Now, the real stinker of the whole thing is that sitting or laying down isn’t much better. I’m at a point where I’m fully pregnant and finding a comfortable position whether standing, sitting, or snuggled in bed is harder. My low back is just . . . so tight and sore. Always. At this point, yoga doesn’t provide a ton of relief. I think yoga does help me stretch things out a bit, but I’m always kind of uncomfortable.

Okay. So. Exercising isn’t as rewarding as it once was. Lounging on the sofa or in bed doesn’t feel much better.  What’s a pregnant lady to do?

Well, I just do what I can. Sometimes that means suffering through the hike and breathing EXTRA hard during yoga. Other times it means sitting my butt down and not moving for awhile. It always means looking wistfully at people on bikes and reminding myself I’ll be back on one again one day. Pregnancy isn’t forever. And, another way to look at this whole thing is to consider that growing a child and giving birth to that child is also the most physical thing I will ever do.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to shower and eat a piece of plain toast so I can go drink a really sugary drink and hopefully find out I am gestational diabetes free.

It used to be easy

Things I’ve been reading

Baby news aside for the moment, books are still in the picture. Granted, my reading definitely dropped off with baby news. I think my brain could only handle space for so much at one time. The times I wasn’t reading much likely means I was feeling a little overloaded.

Interestingly, I didn’t really read (for pleasure) in July, August or September. My reading in those months mostly consisted around reading my twitter feed, reading baby/birthing books sporadically, and/or just not reading at all. There was a definite shift in October, though, where I either just crazed a return to my reading life or maybe was feeling more adjusted to this whole Bringing a Person Into the World thing.

I read four books in October: The Burgess Boys by one of my absolute favorite authors, Elizabeth Strout. That book truly hit all the right notes for me. I love the way Strout crafts characters. They are so real and so . . . human. Even the more unlikable characters end up worming their way into my heart somehow. The Burgess Boys differed slightly from some of her other works to me, as this book seemed more plot driven than others I’ve read. I feel like many of Strout’s works are more focused on character/character development than moving a plot along. It’s not that her other books contain no plot at all, but they tend to build slowly, as if simmering. The Burgess Boys full on boiled in the plot department. I loved it.

From there, I moved onto a book that I enjoyed at the time because it was . . . a bit of a fluff read. I honestly couldn’t tell you what the book was about now because I forget! And so, we’ll just skip over that one and move to the next two books (checked out from the library):

  1. Milk & Honey by Rupi Kapaur. I don’t know, guys. I . . . wasn’t crazy about her collection of poems. I gave it a go, but it just wasn’t for me. Thus, I don’t think I’ll check out her newest work, recently released.
  2. John Green’s new book, Turtles All the Way Down. I enjoyed this book very, very much. I identified to a certain degree with the anxiety the main character felt and how it impacted her life. Richly drawn characters + plot-driven story = a very readable book.

Currently, I’m sort of rotation through a few different books. I’m reading another Elizabeth Strout book, Amy and Isabelle. I also recently picked up Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Last, I’m chugging through a book called Being Both, about raising interfaith children who have parents from two different religious traditions. I’m enjoying all three of these books in different ways. To be honest, I don’t think I’ll ever not like a book Strout has written. Women Who Run With the Wolves is incredibly fascinating, and I’m surprised I didn’t read it when I was in college studying Women’s Studies. I’m excited to dig deeper into it. The last book, Being Both, is . . . not a fun read necessarily. I also wouldn’t say I’m learning anything new, but it is good to read more about this topic, as Josh and I evaluate how we’ll raise our kids and what our family life will look like in regards to religion and spirituality. I have *lots* of thoughts on the subject, but I’ll save that topic for a rainy day.

And now off I go to the coffee shop to tackle some work. No one can report to our office today, as a sewer line is being repaired. No complaints from me. I love holing away at my favorite coffee shop and working!

Things I’ve been reading