52 Thoughts | Honestly


Note: I originally posted this on Wednesday night, and shortly thereafter made it private. The link stayed in some feeds, so on Thursday I deleted it. Then I thought about a little more, realized some people might be in the same boat and appreciate they aren’t the only ones, so I decided I wanted to share it after all. 

Today the sun came out for what seems like the first time in a week, and just as we’ve been under clouds weather wise, I’ve been in an emotional funk. I don’t even know if I can say I’m out of it, but here’s how I’ve been feeling lately. 

I’m ashamed to admit it, but I’ve been incredibly jealous of my peers. This pregnancy has been difficult on my body, but also very much so on my mind and emotions. I’ve felt blah, which makes me not want to socialize, which in turns leads me to feeling lonely, so I go online, only to believe that everyone else is having more fun, wearing better clothes, drinking better coffee, gaining more clients, etc. And what’s really sick is that I know I’m doing it and I know that it makes me feel bad about myself! I’m aiming to fix this by a) not getting online as often and b) identifying what kind of interactions bring me joy and narrowing down my attention to those people and comments. I know life is good. I know my life is good, so no need torture myself by being jealous of other people’s achievements! No one is posting that stuff to make other people feel bad (right?! oh god, I hope not at least!) 

Perhaps it’s part of the pregnant body’s chemistry, but I’m also really irritated, moody and defensive! When combined, this make me feel like a huge jerk! I have been an impatient parent with my son and snippy with my husband. Thankfully, those guys love me and put up with it. I hope being aware of being such a turd helps me to not be a turd. 

I’ve also come to realize that when my mood is low, I have a very hard time feeling creative, which is vital to my daily happiness. Chicken and egg, right? If I don’t do something artistic, I feel unproductive which adds to feeling depressed. Again - blah! This makes it especially challenging to produce content for the blog that I’m proud of. When I don’t want to get dressed, get inspired, write or share, it makes me wonder why I keep up with this at all. (It’s because I do love it, at least when I’m in the right state of mind)

Finally - as I mentioned above - I know that a lot of these things are tied with a mild depression that’s related to my pregnancy and how my hormones changing. I say mild because there are some measures I can take that do make me feel better, and I work towards those. I also have days when it doesn’t feel mild. It feels like I’m drowning in my own tears. On those days, there’s no amount of gratitude or exercise or fresh air or toddler kisses that can fix things. Those are just blah days. Blah days that are a chemical and hormonal disruption in my brain. I’m glad I can see that and understand it to some degree, although I wouldn’t wish that feeling on anyone else.

I’ve been reading online that a lot of people have felt like the atmospheric pressure (spiritually speaking!) has been pushing down on us. Are we all going through one big collective blah? I don’t know! So anyways, that’s how I’ve honestly been feeling lately. Please don’t judge or lecture me (or if you have the urge, keep it to yo self). I’m not going to put this up on instagram or facebook and I’m not asking for comments or a pity party. I just felt like I wanted to get it all off my chest and doing it has really made me feel a lot lighter. And please don’t mistake sadness for a lack of gratitude. It’s a common misconception that when you feel like this, you can just flip a switch and count your blessings and everything will perk up. Those things can help, but it’s akin to telling an asthmatic to just take a deep breath. It’s all part of a process and it’s different for every. single. person. working through it. 

To end on a higher note - one good thing that’s made me so happy (and given me chills every time I hear or read it), is this poem, which has been on an Apple commericial during the Olympics (my favorite lines: In minor ways we differ, in major we’re the same). Here’s to tomorrow’s happiness, my friends. 

Human Family by Maya Angelou

I note the obvious differences
in the human family.
Some of us are serious,
some thrive on comedy.

Some declare their lives are lived
as true profundity,
and others claim they really live
the real reality.

The variety of our skin tones
can confuse, bemuse, delight,
brown and pink and beige and purple,
tan and blue and white.

I’ve sailed upon the seven seas
and stopped in every land,
I’ve seen the wonders of the world
not yet one common man.

I know ten thousand women
called Jane and Mary Jane,
but I’ve not seen any two
who really were the same.

Mirror twins are different
although their features jibe,
and lovers think quite different thoughts
while lying side by side.

We love and lose in China,
we weep on England’s moors,
and laugh and moan in Guinea,
and thrive on Spanish shores.

We seek success in Finland,
are born and die in Maine.
In minor ways we differ,
in major we’re the same.

I note the obvious differences
between each sort and type,
but we are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

52 Thoughts | Self Worth and Social Media

52 Thoughts | Self Worth and Social Media

Comparison is the thief of joy.

Repeat that to yourself. Over and over if you must.

Just this morning I found myself looking at the popular tags on Instagram and seeing photos that had been posted just hours earlier with thousands (or tens of thousands!) likes. And I felt jealous. I felt like maybe my photos aren’t good enough, or styled enough or just… not enough.

It’s fun to share the pretty and the happy parts of our lives. People like to brag and show off. We share our joy or our good fortune because it’s fun. We’re used to celebrities living seemingly charmed lives, but now it feels like everyone has it better. Another blogger who’s famous out of no where, the woman with the perfect kitchen or just some girl who has it all.

Let’s not lose sight of the full picture. We don’t know about the debt or the depression or the messes hidden in the corner. We don’t know about the self esteem issues or health problems lurking in the background. Simply put - we just don’t know what’s going on in another person’s life behind the scenes. Maybe posting pretty pictures helps someone cope with a huge hardship. People aren’t posting to make other people feel bad about themselves, right?

It’s hard to remember when it feels personal. You follow someone on social media long enough and you feel like friends, even if you’ve never met before (I do this all the time!) And it can also be hard when all you see are beaches and smiling besties and fresh peonies next to expensive sunglasses and a plate of macrarons.  It’s easy to think your life could be better if you had those things. Or if you had more likes and hearts and comments from strangers. But at the end of the day, you can’t take those tokens of validation with you. When your phone is dead or there’s no wifi around, do those things really make us happy?  Can a photo of that dessert ever live up to actually tasting it?  Will you sleep easier after you’ve filtered and cropped bits and bites of your life? Will your happiness tick up higher and higher as your follower count grows? We all know the answer is no, but that doesn’t stop us from measuring our self worth with online acceptance.

It’s a nasty pattern and I’m ashamed to say I’ve played into for a long time. I want to be liked! That’s human nature! I like pretty things and taking pictures of them. I like sharing! But I also know I’m more than my Instagram account or twitter followers or page views. It doesn’t stop me from having days of jealousy or comparing other people’s happiness to mine. But then I remember this - I have value far beyond what I leave online.

And so do you. You are not your blog or your facebook page. You’re a three dimensional person with a personality that can never be captured in 140 characters. You’re a daughter and a friend, maybe a wife or girlfriend or a mother. As we look through the window of the social media world, with beautiful Holiday decorations, fancy food, endless gifts, let’s try not to compare. It’s possible to say to “good for you!” and mean it. Look inward to your own good fortune and instead of counting likes and followers, count your blessings.

You are enough and you’re worthy, just the way you are and no amount of online likes will ever change it.

52 Thoughts is a year long series to explore topics that matter to the women who read this blog -  the things you might talk about with your best friend or wish you could discuss more often.


What Christmas Means to Me

Felix's First Christmas, Christmas 2014

Today I woke up and realized that if I had to pick, I’d take Christmas Eve over Christmas Day.  It’s the big day before the big day and when the celebrations always took place in my childhood home.  We’d spend the day cleaning the house and helping my mom and dad prepare for the elaborate six course meal they’d cook. We listened to the Time Life Treasury of Christmas CD so many times I’d memorized all of the songs by the time I was ten. Each hour we got closer to Christmas got built up with more anticipation and anxiety as we’d entertain my dad’s side of the family and all of my cousins that night. I always had a special Christmas dress and my mom always gave us Christmas pajamas to wear that night. After our big meal we’d exchange presents and the kids would play in the basement while the parents got jolly and played euchre upstairs.  The little kids would cry when it was time to go home after all of the fun we’d had.  To this day the smell of candle smoke instantly pulls me back to those nights.

When I got older I spent each Christmas hoping that the next year would be spent with someone I loved. After Adam and I got married, I thought about how much I wanted a baby and how joyful Christmas would be when we had kids.

And last year, on December 24th, I got my wish.  A year ago today I found out I was going to me a mom and that I was pregnant.  Today I sit in my living room with a sleeping baby boy by my side, next to the glow of the Christmas lights on the tree and think about how lucky I’ve been and how grateful I am for the life I’m living. It’s the first year that Adam and I are spending Christmas Eve in our own home, as our own little family of three. It’ll be different from the full house I grew up with, but perfect in it’s own way. 

However you spend the holidays, I hope they’re filled with love. Merry Christmas! 

What I Wore on Instagram

Beautiful Mother

Going into pregnancy, it was no shock to me that my body would be changing. In the early parts of my second trimester, I relished each bloated day, thinking I was showing more and more and getting really excited about feeling more pregnant.  

Even if I haven't loved maternity clothes, I’ve loved my changing body. Most of the time. I don’t know if this is strange or not, but I actually think I look best in my birthday suit or in my undies before I get dressed. I like seeing the roundness of my stomach and the new shape I’m taking on. Going through my daily outfit photos is another story. A bad angle doesn’t add 10 pounds, it adds 30 (on top of the 20+ I’ve already gained!) Still, Adam is a patient (and amazing!) photographer and I even though I don’t love love love my maternity style shoots as much as I did my pre-baby days, I think I’m making the most of it.

In short though, I like my curves. I love my belly. I love my belly the most when I can see it move and I feel like baby is communicating with me through kicks and jabs. And at the same time, I can feel really insecure about how I’m growing, showing and gaining weight.

I actually went through a few weeks where I felt really bad about myself. In hindsight, I didn’t feel well physically (pelvic and nerve pain) and I think that seeped into my emotions. I also think I’ve done something foolish - which is to place too much importance to what I’m seeing online. I’ll Google search “24 weeks pregnant” and see a lot of gals that are on the small side and think, damn! I’m getting huge! The much blogger loved quote keeps coming to mind “Comparison is the thief of joy” in these situations. A week later I’ll be at the midwife’s office and see that where I’m at is totally in the middle. What I’m trying to get at here is that people post the best of their lives online. The best meals they cook, their best outfits, tutorials and the best angles of their baby bumps. If you compare yourself to everyone at their best, it’s easy to feel like you’re doing something wrong. But if you step back and look at yourself in the context of the entire, wider set, you’re probably right in the middle and doing just fine. 

There are a few lingering comments that won’t escape my mind. They’re harmless and probably meant as compliments. Things like “You’re so tall you’ll only gain in the middle!” or “You’ll just look like yourself with a basketball under your shirt!” or “Don’t worry about gaining weight, you’re the kind of person who will lose it all right away”. But what if I don’t? Will you be disappointed in me? Will I be disappointed in myself? These words all pile onto themselves and I’m sad that I’ve given them so much power over myself lately, but I have. 

In the days when we couldn’t get pregnant and I wanted a baby so badly, I swore to myself I’d never say hurtful things about my body like I’m huge or I feel like a whale once I had a round belly. But truthfully, sometimes it’s hard to embrace such a rapid change in your physical appearance, even if you like it. I wish I was disconnected from my ego enough to not link myself and my physical body together, but I do. Some days I miss my waist or my smaller boobs or my colorful summer wardrobe. Last night I cried when I realized I’d gained 10 pounds in a month. And I think that’s ok. Life is full of hills and valleys and it’s my goal to just do my best to navigate them both with as much grace as possible. 

If anything, I think to those early morning moments when I’m standing in the mirror, looking at the light hit the soft, round shape of my body are what’s going to help me most to improve myself esteem. I’ve started the habit of calling myself Beautiful Mother when I look at my reflection these days. Just thinking those words makes me smile. 

Have you experienced mixed emotions about your pregnant body? If so, you’re not alone! As exciting as this experience is, some of the fear of the unknown can be really hard. It can feel lonely. Writing this out was helpful for me and I hope it was helpful for some of you reading it.  No one else can ever truly understand what you’re going through so never feel guilty or judged because your experience is different. If it’s important to you, it’s important. 

I want to be better to myself. I want to say kind things when I see myself in the mirror and mean them. I want to care less how many hearts or likes or pins my photos get (a recurring theme in my life the past few years). Because in the end, I want to be the kind of woman who doesn’t have to bite her tongue when she looks in the mirror because her daughter is listening. I just naturally want to feel positive about myself and not be ashamed to say I’m beautiful. A beautiful mother

See more of my pregnancy essays HERE