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Just Sayin'

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6 weeks old

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It's starting to feel more real. Or maybe I am ... starting to feel more real, that is. It's like I've finally gotten a grasp on myself in this new reality. It's still a little disorienting, but I'm feeling more capable of navigating it without leaving myself behind.

We've gotten into a bit of a routine now. I know when she's hungry. I know when she's gassy. I know when she doesn't want her paci and when it's the only thing she's looking for. I've learned she really likes baths (love the warm water like her parents ...) and doesn't completely hate having her diaper changed (turns out, changing her BEFORE she's eaten is NOT the way to go). 

She's way more alert the past week or so - follows me with her eyes and seems to hold a gaze. Whatever that does for connection, it's something solid, because I definitely find myself more entranced and in love with her than I did prior. Her cries cause less distress in me than they did prior. I equate that to a sense of capability and adaptability I've discovered (or grown?). I'm less anxious about doing what it takes to take care of her (and, honestly, myself). That's a bit freeing.

Now my anxieties have more to do with getting a nanny and what my practice will look like financially as I head back to work next month. Time will tell ...

LOVE.

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2 weeks old

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It’s all still hard, but it’s getting better. Whether that is because of the human ability to adapt to new circumstances or because it’s legitimately slightly easier two weeks in than it was at a week and a half in, I can’t honestly say .... but it’s a tad bit better.

And she’s still adorable. And warm. And squishy. And when she falls asleep on me, immediately after nursing? There’s very little in the world that feels better.  

But she’s been air-side for TWO WEEKS. It feels so much longer and like it’s flown by at the same time. If this is any indication of how fast time will move through her childhood, I’m terrified and sad ... I don’t want to miss it. I want to cherish it. I want to be transformed by the pure joy of it. She’s precious and I never want to lose sight of that ... in fact, I want it to be so real for me that I can’t help but transfer that truth to her ... that she’ll believe it about herself and act and feel accordingly. 

I’ve spent a lot of time holding her and praying over her this past week - for her protection and health and wisdom and salvation and sanctification and innocence and confidence and mental health and relationships ... and I just get the sense that God and I are going to be talking a lot more simply because she exists. 

That’s not a bad by-product of these hard and sacred times.  

Love. 

UPDATE: It’s a few hours later and I’m on the edge again. A little resentful, a lot lonely, a whole lot more insecure - about my mothering, my instincts, my future ... and it’s feeling really heavy again right now.  I’m tired with no good sleep in sight. I can’t poop or sit comfortably like I could just two weeks ago ... and it’s crazy how body discomfort can really mess with a mind (see previous post at 37 weeks, ha). 

So there’s that real life. 

Love. 

 

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40 weeks

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It’s my due date, and I already have an almost two week old baby girl.

I’m celebrating by changing a dozen diapers, offering up my boobs every couple of hours, trying half a dozen techniques to calm crying (with little, to no, success), and sitting and standing with an excessive amount of caution due to tears in the lady parts.

This ish is hard. Harder than I could have expected. Harder than I wanted. Harder than I would have signed up for. We’ve walked into a very harsh reality. One that is self-doubt inducing, emotionally overwhelming, relationally challenging, and worldview confounding.

In these first days as a family of three, I’ve marveled at her every feature, took thousands of pictures, cuddled her close and posted my pride on social media. But, in and out of those days, I’ve also had what one mom friend called “buyer’s remorse.” I’ve wondered out loud, “what have we done?,” and “what if I’m not wired for this ... what if I forced His hand and she’s going to pay the price for what I lack?” I’ve felt my blood pressure rise, my survival instinct flair up, at a hint of a whimper. I’ve worked hard at breathing deeply when she’s at my breast, hoping against hope that somehow I can spare her reading (and transferring) anxiety from her caregiver. I’ve struggled, tears streaming down my face, just wanting to hear my husband say all these feelings are normal and that I am a good mother, that, somehow, he’s seen me show up and impress him with my maternal instincts. And I’ve cried more, alone on the corner of the couch, when he’s remained silent. 

This is hard. She’s beautiful and precious. And I can’t help feeling like she deserves better than I’m giving her. And that’s all I’ve got right now.

Love. 

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37 weeks

Well, nothing about this is enjoyable.  

I feel disgusting. My thighs are - not kidding - double their normal size. I’ve got a double chin developing. I’ve gained 50 pounds. 5-0. These boobs I paid for? No longer sexy. My ankles and feet and hands are swollen. The extra weight has turned into plantar fasciitis pain in BOTH feet. The belly (and she who dwells/moves within) has turned into very regular and painfully acute back pain - especially while sitting or laying down. The influx of hormones equates to sweat-soaked tossing and turning throughout the night, EVERY night. There’s the bruised ribs, from her stretching ... and the pain in my pelvic area EVERY time I stand up. And the itchy, stretching skin? Yea, that just started. And sometimes when I walk? Feels like I just tore my hip out of joint. 

I can’t paint my toenails. Or bend down. Or help do ANYTHING. 

In my discomfort, I’m grouchy and on edge. I legitimately have a new-found compassion and understanding for chronic pain patients. I will never judge your opioid addiction or grouchiness again. Not being able to be and or do what is desired, when it’s desired and how it’s desired is its own kind of hell.

Hell. 

Now, I know I’m supposed to preface or back-end this complaint with commentary on how it will all be worth it - that the temporary struggle pales in comparison to the joy having a child will bring - but I don’t do platitudes. I also don’t speak from inexperience.

So, all I can say is that I hope I like her. I truly hope I have some astonishing measure of magical connection/attachment to this being I helped create. Right now, I’m just marveling (with slight disgust and an ounce of disdain) at my audacity in thinking I had any right or wisdom enough to embark on plotting for parenthood. Foolish human.

I hope she comes soon. I hope she doesn’t. I’m scared of when she does. I’m eager to find out how it plays out. I want a known in all this unknown. I don’t want things to change. I don’t want to be pregnant anymore. I’m worried about what life looks like when we’re permanently three instead of two. I’m a bigger dichotomy then I’ve ever been and it’s driving me a little bit crazy. The hormones are not helping. 

Relaxin sucks. Ironically. 

And that’s all I’ve got for this Mother’s Day morning. Thanks for letting me be real. 

Love. 

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turns out i'm a three

I thought I was a six, because in all but one test, I tested so. But that one test, it cost money ($12) and it was thorough and from one of the Enneagram experts .... and the explanatory results? Pretty much spot on - in a way the six explanation, though familiar, never quite connected. 

Then I re-listened to Richard Rohr's Enneagram talk ... and, sitting at the kitchen table over laptop speakers with the Mr., I had a head-nodding confirmation. Yup, I'm a performer. An achiever. A success. I am a total three.

It doesn't sound so bad when defined in those terms, right? After all, American culture heralds those qualities. It's built on them, even. And, in large parts, these personality penchants have worked incredibly well for me.

BUT, the truth of being a three is that I've spent most of my life showcasing (and mostly rocking) only about a foot of the miles of depth I actually possess. And I've kept to that foot, because my heart doesn't believe anyone's interested in the rest ... and worse, that if they tapped into it (or rather, if I stopped the show and exposed the rest), no one would stay .... or love me ... or value me. See, we threes are doers. And we're good at what we let you see us do (explanatory sidenote: we run far from that which we don't excel at). But, if we're not doing, then what do we have? What are we left with to give/be? Who are we? 

Realizing I'm a three, facing my years of deceit and reconciling myself to the internal questions I still have yet to wrestle with, has helped me put some structure around some of the general angst I've dealt with in the past couple of years. The personal work (through counseling and intentional practice) I've done over the past six years has moved me away from many of my compulsive three-ish ways and into a healthier behavioral space, but now I'm realizing just how much more room there is to grow.  Maybe more to the point - knowing I'm a three gives me some additional clarity on where the sin still lies and where the compulsive core still gets in the way of my true self. 

Just some thoughts on my latest foray into my personal spiritual journey. More to come, I'm sure ...

23 weeks

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Being pregnant is so weird.

It's exciting. It's humbling. It's terrifying. It's perfectly surreal.

As my belly has grown (and with it, aches and attention), I keep being struck with the thought: Is this real life?

And that thought is not at all unfamiliar. I distinctly remember living with that emotional distance and suspended belief when I got married. Before that, it showed up when he put a ring on my finger. Before that, in the dating.

These romantic ideals and joyful milestones in life ... I can't quite shake the thought that I never fully believed they were for me. I mean, for me, TOO. I think I may have thought I was an exception. And I don't know where that evolved from, but my current (and past) bewilderment seems to indicate there has to have been a genesis, right?

Regardless, the fact that there's a living, moving being in my abdominal region right now? The idea that I might actually be a real mom, tasked with the gift of loving and raising a human in just a few short months? It's all just SO weird. That this is happening.

But I'm grateful, even if not fully conscious to it all yet.

#justsayin

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I found a tick walking on my dog's back. I picked it and squished it between my nails. Currently feeling like the best mom ever. 

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12.28.16

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"Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. ..."

Loving the whole of Psalm 16 this morning. Feels kind of like a proclamation of mental health on David's part. He's resourcing with an Eternal nurturer. Describing real resilience. The counselor (and human) in me loves it :)

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12.26.16

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A few years back, I accidentally started a tradition of reading through Psalms between Christmas and New Year's. This morning, I was wondering why ... and I think there's just something about all that vulnerability, all those emotions - the vacillation between fear and courage, hope and despair, joy and sorrow, and the juxtaposition of the messy human and the beautifully Divine, that resonates with the end of a year and the beginning of another. I want to believe in transformation and revelation and redemption and reconciliation and celebration in 2017 ... and I just don't think I get there without wrestling first with the disappointments and losses and woundings and confusions and griefs of 2016. So, that's what I'm doing this week - leaning into the dichotomy of life on earth and breathing in Hope.

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we should be friends

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I don’t know you well but I know that look
And I can judge the cover ‘cause I wrote the book
On losing sleep and gaining weight
On pain and shame and crazy trains
Well then, oh, we should be friends
Well then, oh, we can be friends
— Miranda Lambert, "We Should Be Friends"

If you put your "comfy pants" on the moment you get home ...
If you believe leggings ARE pants ...
If makeup is a daily negotiable versus a necessity ...
If you can appreciate top shelf, but given the choice, you'll likely opt for the free beer ...
If you can throw down whiskey like it's water ...
If you love Jesus, but don't know how you feel about the current state of church ...
If you think you can be 35 and still feel 18 (an occasionally act accordingly) ...
If you treat your pets like they are human children ...
If you love God and still (unapologetically) cuss a little (or a lot) ...
If a good summer day needs a body of water, a bikini, a bunch of beer and fun friends ...
If you'll spend more money on travel experiences than house upkeep ...
If you're both headstrong and insecure in each and every moment of your day ...
If your daydreams take you simultaneously to the beach, the mountains, and back in time ...
If you dance in your living room when no one's home ...

Then, yes, we should be friends.*

(*I'm not excluding the rest of you, just giving a shout out to like/life-minded)

 

 

on sin and sadness and slippery slopes

That moment when you realize that despite your myriad of flaws, dysfunctions and unhealthy thought and behavioral patterns, you're still SO MUCH better off — healthier ... mentally, emotionally and relationally — than so many others.

It's a confusing moment. It ushers in gratitude and fear at the same time. I am blessed to have been spared some of the crazy and hurtful, grateful for the paths that have led to working on my shit, but I am also so aware of just how easily BAD can take ahold in a life and twist what was and could have/should have been good. And that last bit of awareness? Terrifying.

May the fear propel me (and you) to continue to intentionally tend heart, mind and spirit — to ask hard questions, to do hard things, and to make tough decisions in the name of Love ... of God, self and those He gives.

Love.

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just saying

I'm at a 3-day EMDR workshop, faced with this burning question:

At which age do you become too old to put your head down on the desk? 

#sotired #sittingallday  

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On letting the light in

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Our neighbors never open their blinds. This morning, noticing it for the hundredth time, I wondered why. I know someone occupies that room and uses it during the day, so why do they not open the blinds? I do not understand indoorsy people. No judgement, just baffled - I really don't understand how to be satisfied with artificial light and small spaces. I'd feel trapped and be experiencing some major FOMO. 

Do you open the blinds? I get the occasional privacy reasoning, but if you don't open them otherwise, clue me in ... Help me understand ...why???! 

LOVE. 

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8.30.16//

8.30.16// Today, before the coffee, before the teeth brushing and dog feeding, I put my running shoes on. I do this on the days I'd rather stay in bed. Because if I don't, I'll stay in bed, at least figuratively - letting life happen to me, barely participating and certainly not engaging. And it never fails - if I'm dressed to run, then I'll run, and once I'm done running, I feel capable/productive/alive ... and, well, who wants to stay in bed when there's a life to be lived, you know?

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toil turmoil

I've been struggling with Mondays. I feel my spirits drop as I enter Sunday, anxiety whispers a bit as Sunday evening falls, and come Monday a.m., I'm dragging, sometimes even despairing. So, I've been trying to figure out what that's about and, after much mental munching, I'm stuck between two possibilities (it could be a both/and, but I'm hoping it's more of a this or that) ...

1. My junk is getting in the way of potential joy. I have a history of experiencing negative emotions and thoughts when I feel inadequate in or unsure about something important. That pattern usually runs tandem to various forms of quitting. If I don't know what to do and feel like I SHOULD know what to do, I run. Not so much because I fear failure, but because I don't believe in myself enough to work hard and succeed. At my core, I sense I'm insignificant, lacking, even, and so, I prove self-defeating. Time and time again. Despite my acute awareness of this fact, I don't know that I've broken the habit yet. And, unfortunately, this work I do? I feel so inadequate at it all the time. Their problems? So big. My wisdom? So small. Eck.

2. This might not be my calling. This emotional/relational work, it might not be for me. This carrying the weight of people's expectations and hopes, this feeling so heavy as I struggle to know what to say, what to do, how to react to people's desire for saving — I can't love it. I don't. It feels wrong. Still, I don't know that I'm not just trying to hold onto something as part of the job that is actually NOT supposed to be part of it — this feeling like I'm supposed to know how to fix their stuff, or at least know how/where to direct them toward fixing their own stuff. That could be the problem - my impossible expectations for self. Or maybe it's not, and that's just an excuse - an attempt to disown something inherent in all who BELONG in the profession. I don't know.

But if it's not my calling (and, don't get me wrong - I think we can have lots of callings, places where God's unique design matches up with the world's needs), what is? What am I about? 

I don't know.

Yesterday, someone asked me where I want to be in five years. My brain disintegrated. Because, I don't know anymore. I know I want to be married to the Mr., but that's all I've got. That, and maybe living slightly off the grid with a kid of our own and our dogs. I don't have energy around much else and that worries me.

Anyway, just more evidence of the ponder :) Until next time,

LOVE.