March 26, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Growth is one of those funny things that you don’t really notice until **BAM!** it happens and you’re there. You don’t necessarily feel more mature. Or further ahead. Or like you know more than you used to. If you’re like me, you just feel like you’ve encountered a shift in your perspective.
I happen to be madly in love with growth, always have been. It’s only deepened since I became a mother. You see, as a mother, I’ve noticed that I “monitor” my personal growth even less. Not that that’s a good thing. Yet it’s true.
The last big hurrah before baby number two was born was when I had Audrey. I remember thinking that I could die during this experience (child labor), but that it was okay. My new bundle of sunshine was worth it.
The second with Edric was no different. I so strongly desired their life to flourish that my own needs–to be comfortable, to be sleeping, to not be in pain–were far from my mind. And in both instances after the labor, I looked into my own eyes in the mirror and said,
“Yep, I don’t know how, but you’ve grown.”
It’s one of those growth things that you just can’t pin-point really. It just is. You just did. You simply are. And it feels right. Magical personal growth that can’t be taught, explained, or even really grasped by the one experiencing it.
And so as motherhood goes, I continue to embrace whatever my soul and spirit leads me too. More growth in this way or that. More revelation. More truth that jives with who I am. I try to relax into it like a yoga pose, inhaling and exhaling slowly. Focusing on nothing else but the sheer fact that it’s growth.
Photo: Audrey in a dress that has a bit of room for growth.
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February 22, 2012 § 1 Comment
My little sister just turned the Big 18. Now she can legally vote and buy cigs. And it got me a thinking–we’re never really ready for the next year. What’s weird is we have no idea what it will feel like. We make assumptions about growing up and getting older, yet we have no idea what the truth is until we get there:
We feel the same.
When you’re younger you think that when you get to a certain age, say 30 or 40, that it’ll feel this way or that. That somehow life will feel different. That you’ll know more than you did on your 28th birthday than you did the day before. But it’s not so.
When a 55-year-old tells me they don’t feel any different, I’m finally starting to believe them. Because it really doesn’t feel any different. Change and growth are such subtle progressions, that you can’t measure them by any means. And age is certainly no indicator of such change and growth.
So you just roll with it. It’s a number. It’s a bodily state that effects your physicality more so than anything else. Yet in our society, there are tons of pressures, spoken and not, to be at certain life stages when you hit a date on the calendar.
When you reach 18, it feels as if the world is telling you to be graduated from high school, to know what you want to do with the rest of your life, and to have a plan.
At 30, it’s like they expect you to have it all together. The job, the car, the significant other, perhaps even the kids.
Once you get to 40 it’s like some unspoken expectation that you have to feel old. That half your life is over, so you’d better be acting like it.
But can I just say, let’s throw these cockamamie ideas straight out the window? They’re ridiculous. And untrue, to say the least. There’s nothing that says you have to be at this place or that. It’s for you to decide. It’s for you to accept.
I know getting older isn’t the funnest thing in the whole world. At least it’s not the same as when you were seven going on eight and couldn’t wait for the “big bike” on your birthday. However, if you look at it as simply time passing–because that’s what it is–and not a way to measure your achievements, success, or lack there of, perhaps you’ll be able to embrace the joy of your birth!
Happy Birthday, Itzel! I love you, lady. I hope you can embrace eighteen with the same passion, energy, and excitement that you’ve done with all the years before.
January 29, 2012 § 4 Comments
I’m feeling pretty discouraged. On Saturday I visited my “Mama”* midwife, Margo, and found out that I was 90% effaced and 3 centimeters dilated. That made me feel so excited about the impending bun in my oven. I thought,
“Wow! You’re almost ready to go! Maybe it will be soon!”
A few hours later I began having stronger contractions than normal 8 minutes apart, then five minutes apart. From two in the afternoon to nine or so that night, they persisted. My “Sister” midwife, Kelly, came to visit me. She asked if I wanted to be checked for progression and I was a little nervous about the the possible outcome: Nothingness.
She encouraged me and gave me a homeopathic called gelsemium to calm my nerves and antsy-ness. I had just eaten, so I had to wait 20 minutes to take it. I thanked her and saw her home saying,
“At least you can’t go backwards.”
I’d made it this far. The worst thing that could happen is the baby wouldn’t come that night as I had hoped. You see, induction of any kind–natural or medical–only works if the baby is actually ready to come. Whatever method(s) you use will only be successful prior to if the babe was already thinking,
“Mmmm, now’s a good time to come out and see the world!”
Apparently he or she inside of me had other plans for the evening. Like eating the pineapple, pretzels, and grapes I had just ate. However, I spent from 11:30 to around four in the morning with strong contractions three and a half minutes apart and lasting one a half minutes.
“For sure, they’re coming today,” I thought.
I was so stinking excited, sitting in our tub, by myself, for hours while Trever and Audrey slept away. I wanted Trev to sit there with me, yet I knew how uneventful it would be and how tired he was. My telepathy worked and he woke up around four to see me. Yet my contractions were slowly fading away. My mood was getting more and more disappointed. For surely this was it!
We popped in The Descendants, the latest George Clooney movie we’d received in the mail, thanks to the upcoming SAG Awards. It was good. And got my mind off my now non-existent contractions.
“It was like ‘Up In the Air’, only different,” I mumbled at the end.
“You’re getting the hang of this script thing,” he replied.
It was now after six. The sun has come up and was tinting the sky a light gray out the window. I dragged my feet to bed and tried to get comfortable. Three hours of labor-filled dream sleep later, I was wide awake. Trever made me a breakfast burrito and I crashed out on the couch again after shedding a few discouraged tears.
So here I am. Writing down my thoughts. Hoping to get a bit out. Hoping that I can encourage myself. I even said it, I can’t go backwards. They’re coming. I’ve made it this far. Let’s see how he/she surprises us, eh? And eat just a few more slices of pineapple.
*My midwives Margo and Kelly of Birthing Women’s Health fulfill two separate role’s for me. Like a mother/daughter team, they bring two perspectives to midwifery care. I trust each of them with their differing but complimenting opinions and know that I’m in great hands. Heck, I trust them with my life.
Photo: How can I be discouraged when
I have this little face to look at?
April 8, 2011 § 1 Comment
Only four days into 27 and I’m feeling pretty old. Not old in a bad way, just an understanding way. I’ve been seeing things differently lately. One of my favorite feelings. I love a change in perspective. It’s an older me, in a sense. A me that took a lot of thought rearranging to get into.
I remember how much work I had to do to process the fact that I had chosen someone to be with. As soon as Trever and I had this conversation on June 24, 2007, I chose to only be with him:
“Where do you see yourself in five years?”
“Um? Singing? Playing music? Traveling? I don’t know. I want to be with someone for sure.”
“You want to be with me.”
“Yeah, I want to be with you.”
Even if in that moment I chose a life with him, it took months to get into the mindset and really grasp what it meant to “do life with someone,” as I like to call it. I kept telling my mom that I wanted to experience life with someone, but when I got there, I still had a lot of old stuff to sift through. Old perceptions. Gender schemas. Marital issues.
As many may know, I was and still am a fairly stubborn, independent, and domineering (among a host of pleasant assets, of course). Getting my brain to think of putting someone first. Following the path of another and not just my own. Having someone be a team with me. All new thoughts. Yet I knew I had to get into it. I knew I had to accept this new thought pattern. Or we’d be in trouble.
I remember the warm, sunny day on September when it happened. I ran out to the curb to greet Trever as he came home from work. I was his. And he was mine. I had put my mind through a sort of mental exercise little by little to build it up and get it in gear for the viewpoint I wanted it to have: Marriage. Monogamy.
Years past and I used my first formula to help me get through and cope with life’s changes. Moving in together. Postponing our wedding. Moving out of the same place. Eloping. Moving back in together. Learning to teach piano and voice lessons. Quitting. The disappointment of not being pregnant. The excitement of being pregnant. The sacrifices and revamping in my head that came along with being a mom.
Phew. That was the next tough one. I had to let go of doing the MBA program I had been accepted into that very same month. Forgo my veg diet, jeans, numerous tops, focus on myself. I had to let go of me in a lot of ways. I had to let go of my own desires to do what I wanted to do and put myself in the mindset of being called Mother. I took my new calling very seriously. I still do. And that revamping helped me tremendously (especially the thought-shift of getting to wear attractive looking bras).
And like becoming a mama, I’ve noticed over the past few months that my older self has noticed that there’s a lot I can’t do. A lot that was a just a pipe dream. I’ve discovered I can’t have my cake and eat it to. That life takes sacrifices in many forms, like that of marriage and parenthood. Most of the time those sacrifices are a good thing. However, they’re always hard. I know myself. And I know if I do the prep work for the sacrifice, it falls into place more easily. If I choose to see the good things along with the more difficult, I can make the change easier on myself. Day four and counting. 27 is going to be a good year.
April 6, 2011 § Leave a Comment
It’s amazing what can happen over time. When I had my first birthday with Trever in the not-so-distant past of 2008, I told him,
“I hate birthdays. Something bad always happens on my birthday. It’s never what I want it to be.”
I would even encourage him to NOT buy me a thing. Not celebrate me. Not do anything special. And certainly not throw me a party. Therefore, I thought, the bad stuff wouldn’t happen.
I hadn’t realized until Trever loved me so much that a ton of my issues came up. Issues that I didn’t know were there or were a problem until he came into my life.
Birthdays were one of those days (as were pretty much all holidays). My family background caused me to dislike a lot of celebration. I connected celebrating directly with pain, hurt, and arguments. My parents, though I love them to death, had issues of their own that were brought up on holidays. Causing a groupthink to occur that brought negativity to flow through what should be a happy day.
Since that first birthday with Trever and many subsequent holidays, I have gotten over myself. So to speak. I never really “worked through” my birthday garbage. I just felt loved by Trever and beautiful people like you. Now my birthday just feels nice. I enjoy thinking of the celebration of the day I came into the world.
Audrey has added to that feeling by knowing the importance of the day that she was born first-hand. Her birth day caused me to see the day for what it really was: A celebration for the life of a person that has just begun. She is my sunshine. My love. Her life beginning has been the most important cornerstone of my life thus far. Without her, I don’t think I would fully understand the beauty of birthdays.
I can’t tell you how grateful I am to know this now and to not have wasted any more birthdays on my own self-pity. Let’s celebrate my day. Your day. Every day. Each day is someone’s birthday, so might as well. May this birthday and this year be the best one yet.
January 11, 2011 § 1 Comment
Sigh. Being a mom. Probably the best feeling I’ve ever had in my whole life. Wait. It IS the best feeling I’ve ever had in my whole life. It’s legendary. It fills me up inside and overflows me. I see Audrey’s joy and love of life and *sigh* melt.
My Aunt Marie once (or twice) told me that she and my Uncle Dave agree, the best days they ever had were the days that they had their two beautiful children. I didn’t get that before I was married. And after I experienced my wedding day I thought, “How could anything be more beautiful than this? It must be pretty awesome for them to say that. Because I was at their wedding. It was amazing. And they seemed really happy (from my eight-year-old perspective)!” So here I am happily married, enjoying life with the man of my dreams and bam! We think we’re pregnant. I wasn’t. We watched Benjamin Button the night we found out and cried together (note to self, Benjamin Button is a sad sad movie when you want to be pregnant). For the next month, we “tried” as they say. And a bean was created.
I had no idea what that meant. What that entailed. All I new was that Trever needed to find out by the purchase of a small pair of shoes and socks. When I told him that evening, he got teary eyed. All pink in the face. And adorable. I love that face. Together we embarked on a journey of uncertainty without any regards to where we were going; where it would lead us would make us better, fuller human beings.
Mind you the day I caught on to this treasure inside of me, I was only nine days and counting. It started as an inkling and that’s all I needed. That inkling was right. It was a very long ten months to say the least. I had so much time to prepare. So much time to read books. Watch DVDs on childbirth. Talk to other moms, dads, midwives, doctors (ND’s), friends and family. Everyone and their mother. Really really.
I created this idea in my mind of what it was going to be like. What it was going to feel like to be a mom. How I would act. How I would speak to my little one. How I would respond to difficult situations. How I would discipline. The ways in which I would love. I knew that all the prepping, creating, and planning wouldn’t be what it would really be and feel like in real life, but I knew I had to start somewhere. I had to begin to see myself as a mother, loving another being as I love myself and infinitely more.
It was a few years ago (6! Eek!) that I chose a journey that would lead me the furthest place from myself. I surrounded myself with what I was not like and found out what I did not like about myself. About others. About the world. This enabled me to slim down my likes and dislikes, albeit the latter was a much longer list.
When I began dating Trever in the summer of 2007, he sweetly and simply pointed it out: You sure do know what you do like, but you really know what you don’t like. Well put. And too true. He had me, in that moment in time, figured out down to a t. It took me a year or two to start collecting and recording the likes until it over-through the dislikes. Yet I notice I still use my process-of-elimination technique in many deductive cases. Parenting has been no different.
I knew what I didn’t like from what I had learned before Audrey arrived.
• I didn’t like hospitals. They were too cold. The doctors and nurses were too annoying. I didn’t want to wear a blue gown like I was sick. I didn’t want to be told what to do. I didn’t want to be attached to anything sticking in my arm or stuck to my stomach. It was important that I was completely, 100% present. Present for my baby. Present to push. Present when she arrived. I knew I didn’t want to get in a car during labor. I knew I wanted to be at home, in my warm, toasty room with people that I knew and has chosen, hand-picked to be there. And I knew no matter how great the pain was that I would not one intsy bit want to get into a car. I knew I would not want Audrey to be taken away from me when she came out. I knew therefore that I wanted to have her at home.
• I knew that when she arrived I would have instinctual, automatic feelings if I really listened. I had this idea that being maternal/paternal is engrained in each of one of us. That somehow we know what is best for our child and can find our way even in the wilderness. I knew that I didn’t want other people telling me what to do once she got her (namely doctors). So I did not (and still haven’t) taken her to the doctors for monthly check ups and vaccinations. I knew that I hated the whole average percentage comparing your child to someone else’s thing, so a pediatrician wasn’t for me. I knew the idea of putting any substance in my baby (especially before the six week mark of brain fusion to the skull and separation to the spinal chord at six weeks) by a needle prick was unnecessary and not required.
• I knew that I have never believed in point-blank listening to someone because they read some study about allergies, feeding, sleeping habits, etc. I knew I had a real live human on my hands that could think for themselves and even communicate to me what they wanted from the get go.
I knew what I didn’t want. Didn’t believe from before Audrey arrived.
When Audrey arrived, I understood my aunt and uncle immediately. Best day ever. Period.
I was able to see her come into the world with my own two eyes. Completely naturally. Beautifully. Happily. And at home in my own bed. In an instant I felt the intensity of love for someone like never before. Enough to kill for her.
Since that fateful day, I have journeyed with her to weed out all of the “I know I don’t likes” and turn them into loves. It’s been amazing to learn how to love and accept myself in this process. Being a mother has caused me to love and accept myself more than I ever thought possible. Enough to want to write this to you and encourage you to be the innate you that is aching to get out. Or maybe you have let it out, allow it to flourish and grow. Being a mother has given me a desire to enjoy what I have and where I’m at. To record even though it’s not perfect. To mother even though I sometimes I have no idea what I’m doing (or I do and yet I get a lot of flack for it and keep doing it anyway).
I live a life that some disagree with. I parent in a way that some may not like. Although they may be concerned, you may be concerned, I have deliberately and willfully chosen the path I am on. If that scares you or intimidates you, I apologize. I do not think it is anything to be afraid of. Call it what you like. Boat rocker and the like. I am only doing what I know how to do: Be me. I may have a strong opinion for what I do in my life. It is for me and me alone. I do not judge or think differently of you if you have chosen a different path (Did you choose it? Or are you just on it because the world told you to be on it and you abided? Perhaps it is your past that keeps you continuously recreating the reality in which you live?). Have you began the life in which you dee yourself living? Or are you distracted by me and others that _________ you?
And that is my hope for you here. That you listen to yourself. You use your technique to figure out what YOU want because only you can be you. I know it sounds simple, but too often we allow other people who think or even tell us they know more/know better dictate what we do. Doctors, lovers, friends, neighbors, even the small voice of our mothers in our heads. They are not you. They will never be you. The only voice, the only mother/father, that really matters is the one inside of you. It knows best.
Thank you, Aunt Marie and Uncle Dave for being an encouragement to me. Your love for your children and your desire to be good parents impresses on my heart to do the same. I’ll never forget January 2, 2010.