8.27.2013

#3

So. 

I'm pregnant. 

It seems like a very strange thing to announce because it doesn't really feel real. Like I'm fibbing to all of you. Despite my pants not fitting and my belly looking like I ate a large meal. It's in that awkward stage of "is she pregnant or did she inhale a burrito?" 

If you've been reading my blog you know that thus far, pregnancy has not worked out that well for me. So naturally (I presume), I just assumed I would have a third miscarriage this time around. I was conditioned to believe that pregnancy ends in miscarriage. Not a baby. 

For the first couple of weeks of this pregnancy, when the risk of miscarriage is at its highest, I teetered of the edge of a strange place where I tried to remain optimistic without getting overly excited. 

Let me tell you. That place is kind of impossible to sustain. Eventually you teeter one way or the other. Onto the complete basketcase side of not sleeping and late night symptom Googling, or planning the next year of your life by bookmarking cribs and strollers online. 

I'm not entirely sure when it gets real. When I begin to feel the baby move? When I start buying tiny outfits and sleepers? When I watch the BF struggle and swear to install a car seat? When I get to hold the little pooper? Weigh in if you have an idea.

I figured that by the time I reached my second trimester (which I keep wanting to call "semester"), it would be official and I'd stop worrying. Well, I'm in my second trimester and I'm still worried and it still doesn't feel official. I'm just worried about new things now.

I've heard the lil munchkin's heartbeat, have seen him/her bouncing around during an ultrasound and still it's hard to believe that an actual baby will be the result of all the lying by the toilet, huge and sore boobs, random crying at rude salespeople and my ever-expanding waistline. 

But even if I'm still worried and it doesn't feel officially official, I am starting to get excited. I mean, a baby! Babies are pretty cute. I like them. And this is going to be our baby. That's even more fun. I don't have to give it back. I'm going to be the mom this time. And that's pretty neat.

Something about being pregnant invites all kinds of unsolicited advice on how exhausted we'll be or how we should sleep as much as we can now, or how painful it's going to be or how huge I'm going to get blah blah blah because that's just raining on my parade. Just let me enjoy being excited about pregnancy finally working out for me. 

I promised a girlfriend (you know who you are) that when I had a kid, I would never talk about the baby snot sucker-upper on social media, which I'm going go vow to never ever do. Right here. That was the vow. However, I am going to leave you with my top 5 discoveries about the first trimester of pregnancy. I've uncovered a couple of myths.

1. Morning sickness is a fib. It is all-day sickness. Comparable to being hungover for three months. 

2. There is no such thing as the pregnancy glow. There is nauseous-pale-face and hormonal-skin-problems. The only time someone told me I was glowing was when I was wearing makeup. Glowy makeup. 

3. There is a fun game called hungry or heartburn? It's great. You lie in bed and wonder if you need to have a snack or chow down on a couple of Tums. It keeps you guessing for at least 20 minutes. 

4. All these years I thought I wasn't a napper and was jealous of friends who could do the head nod on public transportation. Turns out I'm a great (pregnant) napper! Hormones do amazing things. And also terrible things (see #1). 

5. Citrus. All the time. I can't get enough oranges or lemonade. Especially bubbly lemonade. It makes everything feel better.

8.13.2013

Home again, home again.

The BF and I play this fun game where we drive around, checking out houses for sale, then search for them on MLS when we get home and find out that they are roughly 400 thousand dollars out of our budget. 

It's super fun. 

Sometimes the BF will call me on the way home from playing golf and ask me to look up a property for sale. Usually these properties are right on the golf course. We fell in love with one about a half hour from where we currently live. And, you guessed it. Way out of our price range.

Not that convenient.  

We aren't in a huge rush to move. We're thinking next year. And my place in Montreal has to sell first (P.S. Buy my loft. It's awesome). We'd both like a new place with an actual yard and another bedroom or two. We live in a starter home, if you will. A townhouse. That's stuck to the neighbour's house which is stuck to the other neighbour's house and so on. You get the idea.

And we are doing all kinds of fun things to our place to get ready to sell it. We bought a deck recently, which was delivered on the weekend. In pieces. We updated the entryway, bought a glass insert for the front door, took care of the garden, I've been painting and putting aside some money for new living room furniture, and eventually we'll get to a backsplash in the kitchen.

But with our fancy taste in houses, the stuff we can afford is far, far away in a small town somewhere. Because of COURSE we need granite counter tops everywhere. And a steam shower. And an open concept kitchen/living room. And a man-cave. And four bedrooms. And updated everything.

Oh, and we can get all that within or budget. We'll just have to live in a tiny town far, far away. 

It's not a huge secret that I don't love Hamilton. I miss Montreal all the time, and I wish more people would open good restaurants here in the Hammer. I feel like I'd be okay with more restaurants. 

But when we find a place we like in one of those tiny towns far, far away my first thought is "but it'll take too long to get to yoga." My second thought is usually "what if the grocery store isn't as good as MY grocery store?" 

Then my thoughts flitter to the few friends I've made in Hamilton, and how I'll have to start all over again. And also, I'm freelancing for a great little agency 17 minutes from home. And I've made work friends there too! And I like it there. Not to mention, I teach a couple of regular yoga classes. Which I rather enjoy. And don't want to give up.

And just like that, it seems I have an actual community in Hamilton. And I don't really want to move to a small town for the sake of a fancier house.

I have a hard time with talking about where I'm from. More specifically, it's not always clear where my home is. My home will always be in Quebec. The small town I grew up in, and the combined 9 years I spent in Montreal. 

But I also have a home here with the BF. Oh, and I physically live here. So, there's that to consider. 

I moved around a lot in my twenties and I always said I was from Quebec. None of those places were a permanent home. None of them were meant to be. 

But now this is as permanent as it gets. I'm making a life here. I suppose it's okay to have dual homes. Isn't it? I'm not comfortable with saying I'm from Hamilton because I'm really not. Maybe in 10 years I'll be comfortable with saying that. Or maybe not. Maybe I'll always be from Quebec. And I'm okay with it.

3.26.2013

Heavy lifting

I was feeling particularly low recently when a friend said to me, "Linz - you are one of the strongest people I know." 

Say what, now? 

What a strange thing to hear when it feels like the universe is imploding on you. And also, what a nice thing to hear when it feels like the universe is imploding on you. 

I know I said I was feeling almost, sort of, maybe a little bit back to normal after what has been a rough couple of months, but the truth is, it sort of comes and goes. 

And when it comes, it comes in tsunami form. 

On the bright side, there are moments when I think that ACTUALLY, everything is fine. I can find that inner yogi-Lindsay place and just let go of whatever is bugging me. Because in the end, the things that make me sad and mad and anxious are pretty exhausting. And those feelings just aren't serving anyone. 

I mean, nobody is dying.

I go around telling people that happiness is a choice. So, I'd be less of a hypocrite if I followed my own advice. 

On the less bright side, despite all the letting go, I'm not sure you ever really get over losing something that was physically a part of you. I mean, maybe you can get over donating a kidney (actually I have no idea so please let know if you've donated a kidney), but losing a baby is a different story. Or, in my case, babies. 

I still can't hang out with the pregnant ladies without saying incredibly awkward things and wanting to cry. Does that make me selfish? All I can think about is, it was supposed to be me. I become painfully aware of how empty I am. In every sense of the word. Would an actual strong person, like my friend described, be able to suck it up and put on a smile of the non-fake variety? If you have the answer, I'd really like to know.

A friend of mine told me that when she was pregnant, all of a sudden everyone around her was pregnant. But I'm finding the opposite. Two miscarriages later and everyone around me just keeps getting knocked up. I guess the whole world is with child, all the time. The circle of life, as it were. Thanks for that, Simba. 

I suppose the circle of life also requires me to just keep going. Or just keep swimming, as it were.

In other news, where would this blog post be without Disney? 

There is a common way of thinking that goes something like this: "If I just had _______ then my life could finally begin and I'd be happy." 

Fill in the blank with any consumer good, life experience or paint colour. 

And despite my best efforts, it's this kind of thinking that I've been sucked into recently. But I'll fill you in on a little secret. Life is not in the future. Life is now. Right here. Today. 

Ta dah! Isn't it glamorous? 

The crappy stuff that makes you cry and the good stuff that makes you laugh and the pile of laundry that needs to be folded and the barfy feeling you get from eating poutine because it seemed like a good idea at the time... it's all right now.

There is no redo or restart and you can't pass GO and collect your $200. Or, whatever. You know what I mean. 

I've come up with a list of reminders. Little things that help me stay present, ride out the ups and downs, and also help keep the anxiety to a medium-low setting. 

1. Make the bed. Something about this activity calms my brain. Messy bed messy head? Perhaps.

2. Get nature-y. Spending time outdoors does wonders for the ol' nervous system. If you hop on a plane to Honduras to find the nature, even better.

3. Get a life. As much as you love your husband/boyfriend/partner/manfriend there's something to be said for relationships with girlfriends. One of the pluses of moving to Ontario has been moving closer to some of my oldest friends from university. Getting out to Toronto to see them has been a saving grace for me.

4. Get off Facebook. The more time I spend away from my phone and away from my computer, the more I feel like a normal person. Check out this very interesting article from the New York Times about how social media affects human connection.

5. Get quiet. Find a few minutes in your day to take a few deep breaths to shut out all the unnecessary noise. Especially if you're having a rough day.

And it goes without saying that exercising is also a big one. My choice, of course, is yoga. What helps you maneuver your less glamorous days? How do you stay in the here and now?


3.14.2013

Let's hear it for the small picture.

It's common amongst advice-givers, myself included, to tell people to look at the big picture. As in, don't sweat the small stuff. Keep your eye on the ball. Let's call a spade a spade. 

Pretty sure that last expression doesn't fit in but I needed a third one. 

My current big picture is a bit messy right now, so for today, I'm looking at the small picture(s).

I recently read this article about happiness and its relation to gratitude via a woman's struggle to keep it together during her father's illness and after his death. And sometimes looking at the small picture, and being grateful for it, is exactly what we need to do to keep our minds from obsessing about the should-have-beens and the what-ifs. 

Without further ado, a small list of small pictures. 
 

I feel pretty grateful for my well-kept cuticles and (almost) daily pretty nails. 
 
 I'm grateful for an encouraging handwritten note from a dear friend.

I'm grateful for the smell of chocolate chip cookies in the oven. I'm thinking of starting a business where you just show up at people's houses and bake things to make their house smell nice. 

 I'm grateful for this guy, who lets me force cuddle him on a daily basis.


2.12.2013

Messy soup.

So. 

I don't want to jinx it (double punch buggy no punch backs you owe me a beer criss-cross apple sauce) but I'm starting to feel like a normal person again. 

But it could just be this giant cup of coffee that's making me feel that way. 

I'm not entirely sure how to describe the past few months other than they have been a big bowl of messy soup in my head. 

The carrots weren't cut properly, all jig-jaggedy, someone forgot the celery and there were huge chunks of gross green pepper that nobody even wanted in there. Get out, green pepper.

Moving has been hard. To say the least. Confession: I don't love Hamilton. 

And then throw a few more things on top of that. Commuting four hours a day to work, getting laid off from that work, looking for more work, two failed pregnancies in three months and not really having a ton of friends. 

One miscarriage is hard. Two in a row borders on unbearable. 

I apologize to my newly pregnant friends, but I've had to hide you on Facebook. 

But that is another blog post.

All of the above is enough to leave even a semi-together person feeling not very together. In fact, I've been feeling a lot like I'm 24 all over again. Trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. Except I'm 33. And I've already been through this stage of life. Haven't I? 

And that's not the end of all the questions. I have plenty more. 



When I was living in Montreal, it was pretty clear what stage of life I was at. 

The one where you have a career and a good dude and your own pretty place to live and the future is all bright and shiny and (mostly) figured out. 

Almost a year later, things haven't really gone according to plan. I have no plan. And I always have a plan. 

The soup is messy. And it's kind of scary. 

I guess we venture into the unknown all the time. I read a friend's blog post recently about her decision to not go back to work now that her maternity leave is over. Maybe that's her version of messy soup.

It's become clear to me that I like to be in control of pretty much everything. Obviously this is not a realistic expectation but at least I know about it.

So, what's next for me? 

I have no idea, really. I'm feeling very in-between. In-between what and what? That's another question. 

Told you I had plenty.

But there are a few things in the soup that make sense. 

1. Teaching yoga is pretty awesome. It makes my day when a student comes to see me after class to thank me. It makes my day even more when a student tells me I helped them in some way. I know firsthand the benefits of yoga and if I can share that with other people, I'm thrilled.

2. Just as soon as you think you have things figured out, life throws some other challenge at you. You never have the answers. The only certainty in life is uncertainty. Someone smart said that. But not this smart someone.

3. Other people's (perceived) successes have nothing to do what my (perceived) failures. We spend so much time comparing ourselves to others, which is a waste of time for so many reasons. But it's helpful to see it on a logical plane. Which is sometimes difficult for us smarty pants females. If somebody I know gets a book deal or an awesome teaching job at fancy yoga studio or whatever else, it has zero implications on my own talent as a writer or ability as a yoga teacher. And whatever other reproductive health example you want to use. Ahem.

4. I have a very loyal man in my life. Our relationship is not always pancakes and unicorns but he is my person. And just having a person to walk through life with, over all the bumps, is worth celebrating. 

So, that's where I'm at.