Morning Sickness

I am pregnant. 22 weeks + 1 day. Maybe I should have written about this sooner- just to give my readers a little more insight as to what is happening in my life right now, but you’ll have to forgive me. Because I’ve already forgiven myself.

As a pregnant woman, growing in the age of social media, I have found myself trapped in one of the most unforgiving stages of my life. I’m not quite sure how it became this way. I have heard stories from so many women of past generations, speaking about how they lost themselves in pregnancy: the most guilt-free period of their lives. I wonder when that period ended.

I have been “blessed” with morning sickness, a diet of saltine crackers and bile. If you’ve ever had morning sickness, you know that it does not end once the clock strikes twelve. It ebbs and flow with every smell that passes your nose, every change in temperature or increase in humidity. It comes back when the sun gets too bright and when your husband touches his fingers to your skin. It wakes you from dead sleep and pleasant dreams. Every sound too loud will send you sprinting for the bathroom. It makes it impossible to gain weight for your baby, clean, cook, go to the grocery store, work, or change the toddler’s diapers. But you have to. Because you are a mom. And you have been “blessed” with morning sickness.

I spoke out about this a lot with my first pregnancy, begging for relief, suggestions, compassion:

“Try ginger tea”
“Try ginger candy”
“Try ginger ale”
“… Crackers, water, bread”
“Just eat whatever you can to feed the baby”
“Just smile through it, you have too many obstacles ahead to start complaining now”

Doctors told me it would go away after 13 weeks. In my first pregnancy, I was “let go” from my job for having missed one day of work. I stayed home, vomiting bile when I couldn’t hold down water. I sat in a dark room, cringing at the sight of any bright light, any scent other than my own. At 13 weeks it got worse. I was prescribed medication that I could not take for (proven) fear that it would give my baby heart defects. More advice:

“Go out for a walk”
“Stay out of the sun”
“Talk to your doctor about ____ medication”
“Aren’t you worried that drugs will hurt the baby?”
“Try smoking weed”
“Weed will give your kid brain damage”
“Why can’t you just suck it up”
“I wish I was that thin when I was pregnant”
“You should really be gaining more weight…”

The last time I got sick during my first pregnancy was 35 minutes before my son was born. It was just water. My son weighed 5 lbs 12 oz, born at 39 weeks. I gained 10 lbs throughout my pregnancy. I lost 3 of them during week 37. I walked out of the hospital weighing 5 lbs less than I did before I got pregnant.

I am 22 weeks + 1 day today. I have gained 2 lbs since getting pregnant. And last night I broke blood vessels throughout my entire face while vomiting. I have been “blessed” with morning sickness. And no, I have not found relief. I do not want your suggestions. And most of all, I do not expect compassion.

A.
Morning Sickness

Mental Illness

It is not your obligation- as a friend, lover, sister, or mother- to fix them. No healthy relationship will ever require you to drain yourself completely of happiness. Don’t ever empty your cup into someone else’s, just because theirs has a crack in it.

A.

Envy

It has been months. There have been a lot of unexpected changes in my life and I feel bad for ghosting on my followers through it all. I’ve been debating about posting a personal update on my blog for a few weeks now- not a rant, I’m all out of anger this week. But today I stumbled across an annoying post on one of those mom groups on facebook and it really rubbed me the wrong way. Not enough to rant about it. Just enough to question the way people view the world and the entire fucking meaning of life. Ya know, normal Amber problems.

I obviously am not going to blast some poor mom for her passing judgements on facebook because I’m not that fucking triggered by it, but her post said something to the effect of:

“I don’t understand how so many people are able to go on vacations with their families, drive new cars all the time, and shower their children in new shit. Does anyone else get a little envious of this? I see it all the time, and I KNOW these people do NOT make more money than us.”

Wow. Way to hit the nail on its head. This kind of envy is exactly what social media was created to do to people. If I had been more observant I might have glanced off to the bottom of the screen to see what kind of products were being advertised. Probably a Princess Cruise and a Ford Explorer. I’m not the kind of person to get invested in what people say on facebook. These people aren’t polishing their words in Microsoft office before they share them. They don’t worry much about the repercussions of “offending” people because we live in an age where everyone is offended and nobody even knows why. I did concern myself with the comments though. I glanced through, just to review the response from her “mom peers.”

Most people were polite, explaining that every family has different priorities and different struggles. Some people blamed credit cards or blamed irresponsible parents. Others noted that families often invest and make a lot of money off it. But everyone who commented had one thing in common. They all empathized with having envy.

I’m not going to preach to you about how being envious is a sin. I don’t believe in heaven or hell- or much at all, to be quite honest. Envy is only a sin to someone who believes that god will punishment them for it. We punish ourselves enough with envy.

In February my husband and I decided to start looking for a house. To buy. In San Diego. My husband and I were both 24 years old and had never owned a home before. As many of you know, we moved here from Michigan in 2015 and left our family and our support systems behind in search of a different kind of lifestyle. Nothing will make you feel more isolated than having half the people you know tell you that you are making the wrong choice. But we’re so used to it by now that, when people told us not to buy a house, we used it as motivation to buy one faster.

On February 26th a seller accepted our offer and we began the escrow period for buying our house. I used to wonder how people afforded the things that they had. I used to wonder how they stretched their money out and were able to live happy, fulfilled lives. I wondered how people had the energy to budget their money down to the last penny. But the truth is that if you want to live the lifestyle that someone broadcasts on social media, it’s gonna smack you right in the fucking face.

Over the last two months my life was saturated. I had no time to stop and take a breath, let alone write about it. I started working nights from home and my husband started bringing work home with him. My time was owned by banks and my mind was constantly fleeting from one task to the next. Now that we are settling into our home, I’m taking more time to appreciate what I have. I don’t need to appreciate what someone else has.

Today it is raining. And I am breathing. Please take this as a gentle reminder to value the things that are most important in your life. Do not let those priorities include envy. Envy does not motivate you to be better. It motivates you to value someone else’s success over your own.

A.

Love isn’t Toxic

you can’t hide love
between the folds
of your sheets

you can’t pin
my heart
to your bed

no matter how
hard you shake me
only tears will fall

– the rest is mine to keep

Soft

I notice myself getting softer with age. I care more, I hurt longer, I’m empathetic towards people I never cared for when I was younger. But that’s what happens when you focus less on how the world has wronged you, and instead focus your energy on how you have wronged the world.

When you seek out my help, I will lend you my hands. If life fills you with sadness, I will catch your tears. When your mind brims with worry, I will open my heart.

If you close your eyes, you will never see the kindness that others are ready to give. Love will seem ingenuous where the greatest intentions lie. Your perspective will sour the words of people who once showed you the greatest kindness.

Growing softer does not make me weaker. It makes it easier for me absorb the pain. To catch the tears. And dance in the rain.

A.

No

you bought me a drink

that i did not ask for

like a four dollar beer

was enough

to make me fear

walking out of the bar alone

like you could fucking own

me with a tab

you were never going to pay

anyway

– i said ‘no’

The Game of Life

life will chew you up

and spit out the pieces

that it doesn’t like

but those pieces

are the best parts of you

the ones that survived

don’t leave them

lying around

for the world to pick through

SoCal Sickness

southern california is a bitter place

every year it takes more space

spreading across the country

like a depression

a tan blonde

with little clothes on

is the new face of oppression

Renewing Resolutions

Happy New Year! And welcome to the first week of (fill in year here) where everyone sets ridiculously high expectations for themselves. 2018 turns a fresh page in life, where people are able to reflect on their past year and feel remorse for some of the poor decisions made in 2017. Despite the review of poor outcomes, a trending Millennial view on New Year’s resolutions is to simply not make one. While I stand behind the premise, I think it’s pretty dense to live life entirely void of expectations for yourself. Just take it slow, lower the bar, and plan it out.

2017 was a trying year for me but it was also very rewarding. It’s easy to overlook the successes when they are overshadowed by hardships. Sometimes the best days were a result of the worst months. Deployment was by far one of the largest hurdles I have jumped in my entire life.

Six months of separation from my husband were all resting on one day when we were reunited. I look back at moments from my husbands deployment and think about how difficult life really was for me. Despite all of my trials and tribulations, I always looked to the women who had it harder. It is far too easy to set expectations for life without really knowing what it is going to look like.

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In June of 2017, my husband carried my 11 month old son down the pier and kissed us both goodbye before sailing across the Pacific Ocean. Now, I’m accustomed to be being alone, but it is difficult to swallow the idea of being separated for six months. I’ve watched women crumble at the thought of such a long separation, but at this point in our lives, I find it laughable.

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One of the best pieces of advice I followed was given to me by a woman working full time, while pregnant, taking care of two daughters, and running her own house during her husbands deployment. She told me to never wait to be happy. Deployment is a hurdle- and I had to jump it. Ready or not, happy or sad- there was no “out” for me. There is no easy way out in life, no simple solutions- and no fucking easy street.

There are always going to be hardships with each passing year. If your expectation is to never have difficulty in your life, then your resolutions will shatter by the end of this week. Strength is how we overcome obstacles in life, not how we avoid them.

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Resolve to reorganize. It is easy to allow the modern day conveniences to run your bank account and your life. If you want to get healthy, don’t sign up for a gym membership. Cancel your Netflix subscription and walk around the produce department at the grocery store. Money aside, your resolution should benefit you more than the retail companies marketing the ideas to you.

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Change comes from within us. This year, I resolve to let the house get messy. I want the dishes to pile up and the clean clothes to get wrinkled before I fold them. I want to wear the same sleep shorts for three nights in a row because I don’t give a fuck with the neighbors think of me when I take the dog out in the morning. I resolve to invite people over to my messy house for dinner. I resolve to cultivate relationships in unlikely places, wash my hair a little less, and smile before I’ve brushed my teeth in the morning. I resolve to give myself just as much of me as I give to everyone else. I resolve to kiss my husband with food in my mouth and take myself less seriously when I do it. In fact, I resolve to take everyone less seriously. I resolve to spend more time with my son than I do cleaning up after him.

Let life be messy, enjoy it.

A.