Thursday, August 21, 2014

The dangers of milestones

Life is a changing in these parts, with lots and lots of drama to keep Grey and me occupied. The whole family has been sick for the past 2 weeks, resulting in two separate visits to the ER for ear infections and a diagnosis of bronchitis for me (and a prescription of codeine to help me sleep). In addition, with Fleur's pending eviction, the police have been coming to our property more and more. It's a stressful and sad situation. Not to mention something that is completely preventable. But mental illness is a complex issue and one that is draining even with people who are actively seeking help. I need to write more on this, as Fleur's deterioration has truly been terrible to witness, but that post needs some more time to craft.

In the meantime, there's another concern.

I wrote before about milestone anxiety and how stress-inducing it can be to listen to all the milestones other children the same age are achieving. With He-Beat, even though he is completely on track, I've sensed this one-upmanship that can happen in passing conversation. It's never meant to be malicious as parents are simply expressing pride in what their children are doing. But I've seen first-hand the moment where one parent in going on about all the amazing things their baby/toddler is doing, failing to notice the down-casted eyes of the other parent (usually a mom). The look of worry that falls over that parent's face that their baby hasn't achieved "X."

And with that worry can come shame; a concern that they aren't doing the right thing.

In a lot of ways, milestone anxiety and TTC anxiety are the same. During my first year of TTC, just prior to diagnosis, I spent a lot of time on TTC forums where women stressed endlessly about achieving pregnancy. It amuses me now to think about on all the "helpful advice" from those who easily achieved pregnancy about how to knock yourself up. Everything from relaxing to various combinations of royal jelly and vitamin B to even suggestions of prescribed headstands. Never mind the fact that biology is a complex and reproduction is still a poorly understood phenomenon. Nope, these women knew the answers. What they failed to understand, though, was how shaming that advice could be. I remember stressing so much about the fact that I wasn't doing things right. That somehow I was screwing everything up. As I put myself through the ringer for regiments and supplement cocktails, it wasn't long before I was becoming frustrated with how hard I was working for nothing.

It wasn't until later that I learned that infertility wasn't due to something I was doing wrong. It was a biological problem that required help. Somehow we got lucky to figure out what the problem was and pursuing a treatment that allowed me to bring my Beats home. But it took years to get to a point where I could look at those women who supposedly had the answers and not feel immense anxiety or shame. To know that though they thought they were helping, they were actually the last thing people I needed to be listening to.

The recent round of anxiety is due to She-Beat not moving. After months of tummy time, working with her on positioning herself to crawl and working on standing, she seems to have zero interest. In all other aspects, my sweet girl is excelling. She drinks solely from a sippy cup (bottles only in the morning and at night), feeds herself, has excelled at fine motors skills, babbles up a storm and is very social. But she's not crawling. And she's scheduled to be transitioned to the toddler room on Monday, joining her brother and all the other babies she has grown with.

All of us are worried that she'll be mowed over.

On one hand, this transition could be a very good thing. Both her doctors and her teachers believe it may be a motivation issue. Yes, all babies develop differently with some babies not even crawling until 12 months. And yes, where some excel, others take longer. It could simply be that She-Beat has been focusing her time on other milestones and that gross motor is something that she'll develop when she's ready.

But my time in the trenches also taught me a valuable lesson: some things shouldn't be hard. That if your gut is telling you something is off, it's worth pushing for help.

Yesterday this article in Slate brought me to tears. As the author talked about how her daughter's delay was causing her to see her child in a negative light, I sobbed over the realization that those feelings of frustration were starting to surface with She-Beat. I don't want to feel that way about my daughter. She is such a light in my life and amazingly beautiful soul. I don't want to be at a point where all of that deteriorates because she's not reaching this milestone. The stress and anxiety are just not worth it.

Over the past few days, I took some steps. I unsubscribed from BabyCenter and their stress-inducing milestone emails. I also contacted her pediatrician and after a longish conversation with the nurse got a referral for her to be seen again by the physical therapist she saw in April. We have an appointment in a couple of weeks, which Grey is insisting he be included in. I also have been talking with her teachers and we are formulating a game plan for moving forward.

And, finally, I made a decision to embrace the positive that is there with my daughter. To make sure that in the evenings when we play together and read together before bed to focus on how hard she is working and focus on the amazing things she is doing. Part of this means that I will also be taking a break from blogs that post milestone updates. It's not that those authors are doing anything wrong, but just as bump-updates were a trigger during my darkest moments in the trenches, so too are these posts likely to be difficult.

Two weeks until the PT appointment. Two weeks to begin making all these changes. The new motto: no shame.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Redefining "kind"

Recently, I've been occupying the time during my final pump session by watching a TV series on A&E called "Longmire." In one episode, there's a story about a man who's trailer is being reposed by the bank for failure to make payments. The man pleads with the young deputy, asking for him to be a friend and show him a bit of kindness as this is his home. The deputy, in a moment of empathy, cut the man a check to cover his mortgage payment. A few scenes later it is revealed that this man took that money and used it for gambling. When the deputy confronts this man, the man pulls a gun, threatening him. It is only when the deputy's partner threatens to shoot the man that he lowers his weapon.

No good deeds goes unpunished.

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Mel's post this morning struck a nerve with me. She talks about kindness and how important small acts of kindness are. Inherently and in an ideal world, I completely agree. Hatred and bitterness sow the seeds of discontent and many times it's the small things that recharge our sense of hope.

The problem is, I've been on the receiving end of a lot of pain and trouble because of what people deem as kindness.

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In 2006, Grey and I purchased our first home. A condo on the north end of the city in a neighborhood that was "transitioning." Like many, we believed that homeownership was the logical next step (marriage, home, kids, etc) and intended on using the experience both as a means of saving money (rents were rapidly rising) as well as to prepare for our future house. Shortly after, the mortgage bubble popped. And like many Americans, we found ourselves in a situation where we couldn't sell. 8 yrs later, we've managed to hang on, making payments and meeting expenses. This in and of itself has been stressful.

The added stress is that we unknowingly bought into a building with criminals and people who are mentally ill. Until recently, we shared walls with a man who raped his 16 yr old daughter. On the other side we have a paranoid narcissist who uses email for harassing anyone he disagrees with and freely expresses his bigoted views about the world. The building has a meeting room that only board members have access too because someone once ran a prostitution ring out of it. There's been drug trafficking, with the previous owner of our unit actively trying to off himself by consuming massive amounts of cocaine. The nicest unit in the whole building was once condemned by the health department after the discovered it filled with heroine needles. And this is just the beginning of the stories.

Both Grey and I have been told we should write a book. Multiple times.

***********************
The current issue that is on the forefront of my mind regards a tenant who has a dog. When you first meet Fleur, one would assume that she is a harmless little old lady who is going deaf and who loves her poodle. But if you hang around long enough, talking with the neighbors, the interesting stories start to emerge. You find out that even though she's a self-proclaimed hippie, believing in love and peace, that she has a history of bullying other tenants. That she has taken to trespassing on neighboring properties and yelling at the owners when they ask her not to do so. That she allows her dog to run lose in the building, scaring other tenant and terrorizing other dogs. That she has built an agility course in her 500 sq ft unit to run this dog from 4 am to 12 am daily in order to exercise him because she can't be bothered to walk him. That we doesn't have a bathroom sink and her toilet has been leaking, which she refuses to fix. That she has zero sound-proofing under the hardwood floors that she installed and insists on wearing wooden clogs when she walks over them (despite repeat complaints and request to stop). That she refuses to put down area rugs because her dog will pee on them. That this animal whines constantly because she doesn't take him out enough to let him urinate. That she steals mail from other tenants. That she threatens to sue anyone who confronts her about her behavior.

That this is her third dog (the first disappeared and the other she rehomed after it was clear she was neglecting it).

That she has been foreclosed on. And has no housing options because she turned down the spot for senior housing.

That it is very likely she will be homeless by the end of summer, living under a bridge.

For 8 yrs, I've been told to look the other way with Fleur's behavior. When asked about getting a support system or working with her to train her dogs (which she has claimed to be "service dogs"), I've been told to stop harassing her. When asked about the floors, I've been told she has no money, so why try. All the while her bringing in contractors to remodel her bathroom (why there is no sink is beyond me). All in the name of kindness.

Needless to say, I'm beyond pissed about the situation. Early this summer I took it upon myself to try to find a solution that would get her a spot again in senior housing, hoping to give her an out from this situation. Ever single agency made it clear that either she needed to do this or she needed to be declared mentally unfit. When asked about relatives or support system, it dawned on me that it's been 3 yrs since anyone has visited. Likely due to her burning them out. Animal control won't help without extensive documentation and the police consider this a civil matter.

All of it has made me realize that we need to redefine "kindness." There's this assumption that enforcing rules, asking people to follow social norms and requiring compliance is not kindness. That by inhibiting someone from exercising something they view as a freedom, we are being mean.

The truth is, human beings require boundaries to function. Traffic laws exist to help create order. Rules need to be followed in order to help establish a sense of fairness and peace. Without these things, chaos ensues. It's not enough to tell people not to text and drive because every single person believes they are far better at multi-tasking then they actually are. And waiting for the "too late" always leads to the regrettable incident that could have easily been prevented.
********************

Today is the deadline for Fleur to remove the dog from her unit. I don't know what is going to happen going forward because I've never been in this position of having to enforce rules like this. Fleur's response has been to threaten the HOA lawyer with a lawsuit (which he was amused by) and to stick a cross and garlic cloves outside her door in order to ward off evil spirits. In the meantime, the dog is getting more aggressive. Without someone to properly train him, he's taken to nipping at her and others as well as humping her. All bad signs. In the process of listening to others about kindness, a monster of a situation has been created. With people scheming about how to remove the dog, going so far to wish him an early death.

It sickens me. It angers me. It makes me hate my home.

If anyone wants to adopt a standard poodle that is about 9 months old, please let me know.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The beginning of the end

It started earlier this month. Following HFMD, the Beats weaned themselves from breastfeeding and my milk production took a hit after I became sick too. Originally the plan was to continue pumping, expressing breastmilk until they were 12 months age-adjusted. But then reality caught up with me and those middle of the night pump sessions became harder and harder as I was no longer riding them out on the blissful moments from the nursing sessions. Ad in the fact that the pediatrician okayed transitioning to cow's milk (which they've been rocking), the fact that they are drinking less milk in general, a change in work coming in September and that He-Beat has decided that the pump station is FILLED with previously undiscovered toys otherwise known as pump parts, and the decision was pretty much made for me.

It's time to wean from the pump.

I'll be honest, I'm having mixed feelings about this transition. On the one hand, there's some major benefits that are just around the corner: regaining time during the day, no more pain and discomfort associated with pumping, less dishes and (the BIG one) having extra time to spend with my family instead of secluded in a room with the pump. At this point, just the idea of regularly sleeping through the night seems so delicious.

But there's also a sense of loss. After a crazy delivery and month spent in the NICU, breastfeeding became the one thing I could trust my body to do right. As the Beats were hooked up to feeding tubes and monitors, knowing that I was lucky enough to be able supply them with the nourishment they required to grow helped give me a sense control in an otherwise powerless situation. Later on, after they had mastered drinking from bottles, training them to breastfeed helped me bond with them and overcome some of the pending depression that was hovering. The fact that we've made it one full year of them consuming breastmilk truly is something I'm in awe of. After all, my supply, though good, has never been excellent and constant pumping as well as supplementation with formula has been required just to meet the daily demands for feeding two babies. Still, there's pride there that we have been fortunate enough to be able to have all the tools needed to make this happen. Knowing we're at the end is bittersweet.

Yesterday I started doing research on how to reduce milk supply and have worked out a schedule for reducing pump sessions. Grey practically cartwheeled when I outlined the plan, offering to buy every material needed to help move this transition along. Currently I pump 7 times a day (I know, it's a crazy schedule). The plan is to drop the midnight pump session and then the one at lunch. Based on how I'm feeling, we'll figure out the order of the next two, but I'm hoping by the end of August we are completely done. The big problem I'm worried about it the pain I experience when I don't pump. With Raynaud's syndrome, I get shooting breast pain if I don't drain regularly, so I'm hoping this transition will work.

So many emotions come with just thinking about this. So much trepidation that I know Grey and the Beats aren't experiencing. I know it's time; the beginning of the end of this phase. And that it is the right thing for my family. But it doesn't make this any easier.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

One

Dear H and E,

Today is your 365th day of life. One year ago, amid the fog of magnesium, the wires, the tubes, the IVs and the plastic, is you both entered the world. Though that time is still a blur and you both certainly had a rougher start than most children, I do remember very well the moment I first held each of you. The surreal, dream-like moment that will forever be etched into my heart.

So much has happened and you've both changed so much since that first day. You have both grown so much in so many ways. I marvel now at how easily you both finish full bottles as I remember clearly you both learning how to even feed from one. At how strong you each are when I remember clearly how small and fragile you seemed. Watching you interact with the world around you, you both inspire me daily.

H, my little man, I still smile as I remember you taking your first steps using the push toy this week. You are a gutsy little boy, fearless about trying new things. Through you, I'm learning how to more brave during moments of uncertainty and be less afraid of failing. Your curiosity about the world around you has turned you into quite an explorer and your bombastic nature draws so many to you. Not a day goes by were I don't hear a story about your shenanigans and I know you have already touched so many during your short time on this planet.

E, my sweet and thoughtful little girl, you remind me how important patience is in this life. Just a few days ago, you stood up on your own and I still smile when I remember how proud you were in that moment. During moments where I've worried so much about whether you were okay, you always showed me that it was needless and wasteful. Through you, I am learning that the prescribed milestones we all face can don't need to be met in one way and that patience is truly a virtue. I am in awe of your attention to details and your patience with seemingly small things. And my heart lights up when I see you smile, especially in moments when you reach those milestones, are snuggling with your daddy and even when Jaxson and Daisy walk into the room. Your love for those two furry ones is unbridled and without boundaries and I hope that all of you have many more years to grow more in love with one another.

Today, as I reflect back on this first year with you in our lives I reflect also on all that has happened to bring you here. I know that though our stories are intertwined, my journey through infertility and loss is not yours. You will each have your own challenges in life; traumas that you will face. All I can do is do my best to teach you about the world around you, hoping that these lessons will provide the foundation for you to thrive in this world. But I can promise you this: no matter what those traumas and hurts may be, your father and I will be there for you. To support you and love you unconditionally, especially in the moments where you feel like this world is against you.

Happy first birthday, my sweet miracle rainbow babies. Looking forward to so many more.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Silenced

I remember the first troll that left me a comment. It was about 3 years ago, when I had just started blogging and there was someone trolling the ALI blogosphere leaving anonymous nasty comments that were meant to tear down the authors. As I had set my comments to moderation and remove Captcha, this author wrote three different versions, each more angry than the last as they were assuming that Blogger was eating them. But the goal was laughably clear: to hit with hatred in order to silence. To spread bitterness to a group of women who were pouring their hearts out online as this individual wanted to make others feel the way they felt about themselves.

Thought policing isn’t a new concept. The idea that people need to be monitored and corrected for expressing ideas or feelings that are undesirable has been around since before the written word. There’s something desirable about this concept, with establishing rules and guidelines for a community in order to serve the greater whole. Be sensitive, support those in kind, don’t complain needlessly or compare pain, etc, etc. After all, there are narcissists and incredibly selfish people who would otherwise suck a community dry with the black hole that is their self-centeredness and inability to empathize. But thought policing can also be dangerous, with a minority quickly shutting down anyone who shares thoughts or emotions that they deem unacceptable. In a way, it is a form of fascism, with a blood-lust that can develop for attacking anyone who deviates even in reasonable ways.

Recently Josey wrote this post where she talked about this vocal minority and how damaging they can be.

In the Infertility community in particular, it becomes an issue when the vocal minority shuts down long awaited joys, tough conversations and legitimate feelings with cliché statements and judgmental tirades.
Just be grateful…
I’d never complain if *I* had a kid…
Can you believe she posted a picture of her [pee stick, belly picture, ultrasound pic, etc]?
The problem comes when the quiet majority ends up sitting by on the sidelines feeling afraid to share everything from jubilant thoughts to frustrated feelings, simply out of a fear of facing loud criticisms and hurt feelings from the vocal minority.”
Reading this post brought up some mixed feelings and emotions. On the one hand, I have encountered blogs where the author seems to be so incredibly unhappy with life, even after finding themselves pregnant or parenting. In these cases, I’ve found myself so annoyed that continuing to read, let alone comment, was a form of self-punishment thus unfollowing was a far better option. But the flip is that there have been and continue to be bloggers I follow who have the posts that ALWAYS start with them apologizing, then writing carefully about difficulties they are facing either with their pregnancy or while parenting. All the while peppering their posts with the required statements that they are grateful for their children and their current situation and ending their posts with some self-deprecating statement. Even then, there are moments where the thought police descend, ripping into the author for being so insensitive and thoughtless as it’s clear she just can’t appreciate what she has or that somehow she is defective as a human being for daring to think or feel that way.
The reality is, every person in this community will find themselves at the end of their TTC journey one day. Biologically, it’s impossible not to. In addition, most here will resolve (though there will be the few that never will). Because of this fact and because of the fact that we live in a diverse world, there needs to be a general understanding that the next steps aren’t always filled with moments of sunshine. There will be moments of fear and uncertainty, pain and despair. Reality, as it usually does, will find fun new ways to smack you in the face. That’s part of life and is true in all aspects.
During my pregnancy with the Beats, I found myself growing more and more silent as time went on. There’s no doubt that I was over the moon to final find myself carrying two rainbow babies after all our losses and uncertainty how to even resolve. But the truth was that pregnancy was very high-risk and scary. While my babies were growing and doing well, my body was crashing with the Beats being delivered early due to me going into both liver and kidney failure. After that, there were 4 weeks of NICU, were I went to bed nightly praying that they would be alive in the morning. I cried daily for a month. Though I know we were lucky and that there were others who were in a far worse situation, with me having to watch parents lose their children as a reminder. But a year later, all of this still haunts me.
Yet I felt like I couldn’t talk about any of this. That by doing so, I believed others would see me as ungrateful. I even had people tell me that I was lucky to have my babies come when they did because I actually got to hold them and no longer worry about having to be pregnant. Never mind the fact that it was general knowledge that they needed more time in the womb and that without the technology we have today they probably wouldn’t have survived. Instead it felt like I needed to be unilaterally grateful because I knew others who weren’t holding their children or would never have the chance to experience half the joy I did.
There’s a problem that emerges when one is silenced. For most humans, voicing worries and frustrations is a way to process what is happening. A form of problem-solving. By being heard one feels less isolated. By putting it out there, we give the experience/trauma recognition and allow for it to be addressed, which, in turn, allows for processing and healing. In some cases, simple acknowledgement is enough, bringing peace to even the most vocal complainer. Silencing takes all of that away, leaving the person instead involved with a growing shapeless form that tortures and torments. It also instills a sense of shame and guilt, all the while destroying.
I struggle with in all of this because there is a need for sensitivity in this community. My experience with individuals like Angie taught me that boundaries need to be established as otherwise there will be a free-for-all will otherwise allow for the leeches to take over and suck everything dry. In addition, we all need our safe havens. We need those places where we won’t be blindsided when we are our most fragile. Hence the need for general understandings and rules to ensure that community stays in tack.

But on the other end is that silencing someone when we feel they’ve overstepped when they really haven’t. Making it so that once someone goes past point X, they are no longer allowed to speak freely because a random person might take offense. There will always be people who eavesdrop, but that doesn’t this mean that we need to apologize every step of the way.
The thing is, how does one address this? For me, I find that in the cases where I have said something, it's usually because I've developed a relationship with the person. But even then, I do so privately and try to express concern gently. I find calling people out in a public way to be far more telling about the person bringing the issue to light, especially since we are usually only getting one person's version. Sure, there are times for debate and conversation, but when it devolves into a screaming match I rarely find it useful. There are also times where I've defaulted with silence when I see someone venting in a way I don't agree with. I respect their right to speak and use their space, but I also know that I can exercise my right not to read.  All that said, I also know that many don't agree with me as blogging is seen as an ongoing conversation. So the question is, how would you handle it? Is there ever a right time to silence someone?

Monday, June 30, 2014

HFMD

Looking for advice on this post. Like so many, we've been hit with hand, foot & mouth disease. Also known as "my G_d! what are you doing to that child?!?!" disease. Both Beats have sores in the back of their mouths, resulting in nursing strikes, increased fussiness and whining and general disdain for their current situation. And then there's the rash, with blisters and lesions that make even the most unsympathetic person grimace and ask "does it hurt?" Apparently they don't, but still.

So, for those who have survived HFMD, here are my questions.

1) How does one get over a nursing strike after HFMD? They both scream at the sight of exposed boob, so I'm not even trying anymore till we know they're in the clear. But is there hope or are my breastfeeding days over?

2) For the rash, any suggestions on creams or ointments to help with healing?

3) How long did it take for everything to clear up? I've heard anywhere from 6-10 days, but please share your experience.

4) For those who had baby eczema, did you find that the rash was worse? Also, what about heat? Just taking them to the doctor seems to have made things worse.

5) Any other tidbits? Suggestions? Sage words of advice? We're currently rocking both babies to sleep at night, with He-Beat especially being inconsolable and wanting to snuggle. Normally falling asleep isn't an issue for him (that's She-Beat's area), so it's clear he's been hurting.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Body image

When I was 11 yrs old, my mother told me about a nightmare she had. We were on a family vacation, eating breakfast at one of the restaurants. Looking right at me, she told me about how in her dream I was older and overweight (I think the number she gave was 250 lbs). In her dream she was crying and she asked me how I could allow myself to degenerate in that manner. My supposed response? "But Mom, I'm eating healthy. See? I'm eating a banana."

For as long as I can remember, I've hated how I've looked. I remember as a young girl thinking I was ugly, with all the girls at school being so much prettier than me. Looking back, a lot of this had to do with feelings of rejection from my parents and being unlovable. Hence it wasn't a surprise that I was overweight as a teenager. Both my parents were very critical of my weight and what I ate, to the point that my parents purchased a lockbox to control consumption of sweets. Yet, just like anything is life, the more I stressed about my weight and appearance, the heavier I became. And the heavier I became, the more unlovable and ugly I felt to all the world.

A lot of that changed when I left home. Specifically when I moved to Seattle and into the Mint House. One day I came home to find all my roommates staring at my side of the cupboards. "Why are you eating that stuff?" they asked, referring all the low-cal and processed foods. Within a few weeks, I found my eating habits had changed, with me ditching the diet foods and instead embracing butter, eggs and full fat but less-processed foods. In addition, we ate as a community, cooking for one another and sharing what we made. It was also around this time that I met Grey and he included me with his roommate as they explored cooking.

Wouldn't you know, with the pressure off of calorie counting and limiting food, I found myself not obsessing. And with that, the weight dropped. Later on, as my dabbling into rock climbing became more consistent and I found myself focusing less on how I looked and more on developing my core so that I could climb the harder routes, I found also that how I viewed my body changed. The hatred melted away and, dare I say it, I got to a point that I actually liked how strong I felt and what it could do.

And then Grey and I decided to start a family.

Like many, infertility made me doubt my body. Where as before I had a trust in its basic function, I found myself soul disconnected with the flesh and bone cage that was continually failing me and Grey. With this disconnect grew hatred and criticism. A shattered body image where I found myself torturing this vessel in hopes that somehow it would behave. Even after I became pregnant, I continued with the pain, gladly administering shots of PIO and Lovenox to keep my body at bay from harming the Beats. All the while hating it for threatening my babies. Holding it at bay for as long as I could.

11 months later, this dysfunctional relationship still exists. In a way, breastfeeding has actually exacerbated this as I struggle to make sure I'm not only producing enough milk for the Beats, but also because I've actually gained weight. At my heaviest in December, I weighed 190 lbs, which on my 5ft 6 inch frame was quite a bit and made it not only difficult to move but also made me ache. Starting back at work helped with this, as I've shed a number of pounds because I'm focusing on pumping and getting work done. Still, I'm not back at a weight that I want to be at. Add in the sagging boobs, the fact my stomach is still pudgy and the wider butt, and I'm far from where I'd like to be body wise.

So, like many, I've been trying to rectify this. Grey bought me a Fitbit and has been so supportive of me getting in my daily quota of steps. He's also been amazing with being the family cook and providing healthy meals. But I've been finding that the old dialogue I abandoned so long ago has been running through my head. That when I see myself in the mirror, I've been focusing on the fat that has accumulated and how distorted my body is. That the self-hatred has been coming back.

Frankly, it's fucking exhausting.

Two weeks ago, I decided I had it. Taking a mental health day, I enlisted a friend to accompany me to a local Korean spa where we spent a couple of hours in the saunas and heated baths. For the first time in a long time, I allowed myself to stop with the negative dialogue and just be with myself. And it was so nice. Nice not to criticize or be comparing. Nice to finally just be one with myself. An additional moment of clarity came with the Fremont Solstice Parade this past weekend, where the Solstice Cyclists reminded me that people indeed do come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Not only is that okay, but it's something that should be celebrated.

So here's the deal. I've decided that its time to stop warring with my body. To stop the criticism and hatred that manifested itself over the past 4 yrs. It doesn't mean that I'm throwing out all my good habits and resigning myself to being unhealthy. Actually it's quite the opposite. But the current dialogue needs to end, not only for myself but also because I don't want to teach the Beats to view themselves this way. Thing is, I need help. And I'm asking for it.

Here's my current situation: I currently weigh 168 lbs.  For being 5'6" that's still too much (and I do feel it as I don't move as fast and smoothly as I would like). But I also need to acknowledge that 11 months ago I gave birth to twins. In addition, a lot of this weight is due to fertility treatments (I started this pregnancy at 163 lbs) and the emotional turmoil. Though there are a few cases of people losing weight after injecting themselves with hormones and managing all the stress, the overwhelming trend is usually the opposite.

The other thing is that I need to reset my definition of body image. That contrary to what society would like everyone to believe, bouncing back doesn't happen magically, if ever. It's very likely that my boobs will forever be saggy, my belly slightly pudgy. That my hips will stay wider and my arms more flappy than what I care for. But these same boobs are also currently feeding my babies. They also have this magical ability to calm a screaming Beat and even a stressed out Grey. That pudgy stomach once held two babies and now functions as a great landing pad for a bouncing infant. My hips may be wide, but they also afford me the stability to carry two infants up a flight of stairs (or two). And though there are many pockets of cellulite and scars, there's also stories behind all of it.

In short, this body has been more than a cage for my soul. In many moments, it's been a vehicle for life. And remembering that, celebrating that is the key that will help me lose those 30 lbs. Not the self-deprivation, negative talk and criticism.

Now I need help remembering it. 
 
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