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.

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.

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

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.

How to Take “Constructive Criticism”

Being a parent is hard. It’s a job that requires no qualifications- but demands 100% effort. Nobody goes to school for this. The most guidance we receive comes from the 90 minute classes on child birthing during the second trimester of pregnancy. The “oh shit” moments don’t start happening until the first night home from the hospital. That’s when we realize that these tiny humans are going to dictate the rest of our lives. Forever. No really. Forever.

The pressure starts before the contractions. Three months into the first trimester, I broke the news to our family. It was a Christmas party. I remember hugging each family member and whispering the news into their ear. The sweetest surprises are the ones that are the most anticipated. Everyone was ecstatic. The putrid droplets of wisdom, long since expired, dropped from their lips like they had been saved, all this time, just for this very moment. But everyone is going to have their own advice. Their own stories. Suggestions.

Parents are good at feeling attacked. It’s not because we are too sensitive or emotional. Becoming a parent is like being signed up to a class, dedicated to telling you that you don’t fucking matter anymore. And every lesson plan is a new piece of advice, conflicting with every other piece of advice you have ever heard. And at the end of each day, you’re told that everything you have done is wrong and that you failed. No matter who you listen to. No matter what tools you use. You are wrong.

Older generations have told me that I am easily offended. I see it every day in the comments section of every controversial facebook meme. I can’t figure out if they honestly believe that their advice is so important that it should be valued above research studies and personal experiences. Social media has allowed opinions to be valued over relationships. It’s easier to delete Aunt Karen on Facebook than to tell her that taking castor oil in labor can literally kill an unborn baby. People want to believe that the advice they followed was the right advice. So much so that they will steer other people to follow it. There is a fight to be right in parenting.

Social media holds my generation accountable for every word we say, every step we take, and every second of our parenting. The more we share, the more we are criticized. There are like, 40 states between my family and everyone I grew up with- but social media makes it feel like they live right next door. I’m faced with the challenge of wanting everyone to be as involved in my son’s life as possible, while not wanting to share the most intimate details and decisions in my life.

I do not let fear of failure or judgement control my decisions. The two faces of facebook became apparent to me when I climbed a mountain with my son when he was 9 months old. My photos exploded with likes and reactions. But my inbox was beaming with questions of criticism and worry.

“Don’t you think that is a little dangerous…”

“What’s the matter with you!? You could have gotten hurt!”

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Why the fuck would I listen to that? Is that my responsibility as a parent? To fucking drown in someone else’s worries and concerns? Because my lifestyle as a parent is to go hiking and mountain climbing with my family, do you honestly believe that it gives you the right to have an unchallenged opinion? News flash: Opinions do not have to be spoken and shared every time they run through your head. You can actually just not say anything at all. There’s this really cool thing that I’m allowed to do as a parent. I’ve been doing it for a while now actually and it’s working out great. I don’t really have a name for it but I highly recommend that you try it. Don’t fucking respond to people’s criticisms or questions. Ignore them. It’s fucking amazing, I’m telling you. I literally get to decide how much negativity people dump into my life. And I do it all by not giving a fuck.

It’s ironic because the generations that are the quickest to accuse millennials of being “too sensitive” are the quickest to get hurt when you don’t accept their opinions blindly. Don’t let social media tell you how happy you are allowed to be.

A.

History Lessons

the funny thing about history is that it doesn’t matter. it doesn’t matter whether it is true or not. history is always written in the perspective of the victors. history is rarely written correctly. but no matter what happens, one thing will always be true. history repeats itself. we built mediums so that we could write history and decide, for the first time in history, how the future plays out. and instead of building a fantasy, we write the same words that have been written on tombstones for centuries. not everyone can be a good storyteller. but everyone tells stories.

A.

Political Ramblings

“do you consider yourself a liberal”
you ask
as if there is
a correct answer to that

while I just sit
both hands
balled into fists

wondering where the fuck
you get off on
asking me to define
my education
my stance on
abortion
civil rights
constitution
bathroom talk
locker room talk
minimum wage
and gas prices

by picking a side
when they’re created by
the same institution
profiting from this divide

and i will reply
– “do you consider yourself an idiot”