Small Life, Slow Life: On Growing a Person. (SPOILER: It’s weird and amazing!)

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I’m showing a bit now…mostly it just looks like I ate a huge lunch. And here’s our baby girl a month ago at our 16 week ultrasound. She’s even bigger now and I can feel her moving!

You wanna know what forces you into living smaller + slower? Growing a human being!

I am an energetic person, who, if you give me my 7-8 hours of sleep, likes to go-go-go until the last moment. (You guys, I write this blog to remind ME to slow down just as much as I do it for you.) And pregnancy has changed all of that!

Seriously, the things that happen to one’s body while pregnant are so surprising and massive (and mostly just weird) that I’ve had to slow wayyyyy down.

I’m in my second trimester now (#20weeks, halfway there!) and at least feel more like a human being than I did a few weeks ago. My first trimester, while smooth compared to so many other people’s first trimesters, totally knocked me on my butt. Though I only threw up twice (seriously guys, I hate-hate-hate throwing up and would rather have a cold for a MONTH than even throw up once), I was pretty consistently nauseous for months. And when I wasn’t nauseous, the horrible indigestion/heartburn that would arrive after eating ANYTHING was terrible and would keep me up for hours. All I really ate for those first few months were oranges (couldn’t get enough), sourdough rolls (I’m normally 100% gluten free and have been for years) and apples. Totally opposite of how I normally eat. I also thought everything in the world smelled bad and anything that I thought smelled bad could make me gag instantly. Thankfully, my nose is back to normal and now I’m able to eat more of my pre-pregnancy diet: I’m back to being gluten-free and existing on things besides carbs. In fact, I crave two things pretty consistently these days: HUGE salads with chicken, garbanzo beans, carrots, green onions and drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar…and Gobstoppers, especially the yellow ones. No, those two things don’t go together at ALL. And yep…pregnancy is WEIRD!

Another weird thing: my immunity was also shot immediately. I am one of those annoying people who eats healthy and never gets sick, but I got sick at least once each month so far during pregnancy. Two sinus infections and a stomach bug later, I’m hoping the last time was the true last time.

I was also just so doggone tired the first few months. I don’t take naps (I’m not relaxed enough of a person to do that), but two and a half whole months went by where I fell asleep on C every time we were on the couch. (It still happens sometimes but thankfully not at the same frequency by any means.) And I was a total zombie!

I’m feeling really good now, and feeling excited with each and every checkup when I can verify that she really is in there(!), moving around like a little active person. Just heard her happy heartbeat yesterday in the morning and that was the best way to start my day ever.

OH, wait, yes, I said she!” We’re having a girl!

Just last week I began to truly feel her moving and it is SUCH a trip, you guys! They say it feels like bubbles or a goldfish swimming around…and that’s kinda right, but not really. Every day I feel her moving a little bit more and it’s always such a weird and beautiful surprise. There’s really a person in there! And in case I forget, those yoga pants aren’t fitting like they used to!

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I don’t think you’re ready for this belly ♪

I will continue to be updating more frequently as my life slows down and we prepare for baby. The nursery is slowly coming together…check out this inspo pic that I can’t stop drooling over!

Nursery

The mountain and tree shapes are actually super simple to paint and the hot air balloons are made from lanterns purchased from Ikea!

This is the other nursery I like, but C thinks it’s too plain:

nursery 2

You can see that we love the idea of a nature theme! No soft pinks here.

I’m reading a lot too! Wow, there are a lot of contradicting pregnancy books out there. So far I’ve loved Expecting Better by Emily Oster because she breaks down the actual data from high-quality studies so you can make your own choice. She’s gotten a lot of flack for the studies she posted on alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Well, I read the studies and I’ve chosen not to drink alcohol, but it was great to know the facts anyway and I so appreciate that someone took the time to write this book, because all of the advice I’ve gotten is SO all over the place. “Don’t drink coffee” vs. “Oh, coffee is totally fine.” And, “Don’t take baths” vs. “Baths are fine as long as they’re lukewarm.”

And I also LOVED Bringing Up Bebé by Pamela Druckerman. I was raised by strict parents, so I had a lot of boundaries and rules. I hated that growing up, but as an adult now, I gravitate towards structure and routine, definitely because of my upbringing. The French seem to REALLY like structure and routine in some ways, and not in others. (They really don’t teach their kids to read until they’re 7 years-old?!) Anyway, I found the book compulsively readable and super interesting. We’ll see how I do when our daughter actually gets here!

Any moms out there have healthy pregnancy/childbirth nuggets of wisdom or any books that they recommend?

Hope you guys are doing so great!
xoxo
Jen

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14 thoughts on “Small Life, Slow Life: On Growing a Person. (SPOILER: It’s weird and amazing!)

  1. Jen,
    So glad to see that you’re doing well and that you are letting us share this exciting journey with you! You deserve all of the happiness in the world! Good luck and please keep us updated!

  2. Hi Jen

    So glad to see you’re now soon mom-to-be and that you’re doing all well. I still come check your blog from time to time. I’m still very thankful that I found your blog to give me strength to go through my dark time.
    I’m sending you lots of love all the way from Switzerland and keep us updated with your journey!
    💖💖💖

      • Hi Jen! Things are good in my life and OK with the ex. With my ex – I think I let go and ever since he came back into my life, its difficult to let go again. I keep praying that we will reconcile for good. I’ve been doing my own thing but wishing we were together. He’s dating other girls, I am going on dates. He told me a couple weeks ago that he cares about me and wishes our relationship would work, but that we tried way too many times, we tried therapy, we tried everything and that we have to accept we are not compatible. I think deep down I don’t want to accept we are not compatible, in my mind everything is fixable. But I am not begging or convincing or anything. I am just living my life and I guess waiting patiently… your response will be to let go. But my heart doesn’t fully let me. It’s a weird feeling.
        Other than that, I am great. I am grateful for being healthy and happy, started meditating, starting working out. I feel good. It’s just that one piece is missing. 🙂 I am sure everything will work out.

        Sending you and your belly hugs!

        • HH,
          Your comment touched me because I can relate. I’ve lost (and gained) a lot of people over the past year, including boyfriends and friends. What has really freed my mind is the knowledge that I DON’T need anyone to be happy or fulfilled. Once I came to that realization, I learned to let go of having control and began to trust that the right people would come into my life and stay. And that’s what happened. Sure, none of the people that I lost came back, but that’s ok because I’m better off without people who don’t see my worth. What I struggled with the most was the guilt of doing something wrong. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes. If people don’t understand that making mistakes (and then apologizing for them) doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person, but means that you’re human, then they don’t deserve you. Sending love to Jen, you and all the others who are reading this blog ❤️

  3. I just wanted to say congratulations on the baby and add a comment. I often pop in just to see what you’re up to or to read the comments from others.

    I’ve had a tough 9 months and It has helped a lot knowing you (and the many people who’ve shared their stories) are out there. I have really enjoyed reading your posts about making things and travel and stuff; it helps to remember that other things exist beyond sadness. My distractions lately have included learning Japanese (badly), doing tons of cryptic crosswords, picking up the musical instrument again that I used to play at school, meditation, and just generally being.

    I’ve been doing a lot of work on myself and am in intensive therapy but I still hurt hugely. I’m trying to get better as best I can but I was blindsided by what happened to me and I still struggle now to understand what happened. I was the happiest I’d ever been. Thought this was it. And then, kaboom. How can someone even the day before be talking commitment/family/the works, raving about me to our good friend (when I wasn’t there to hear them), and generally acting as if everything was great, and then just end things out of the blue, no explanation, no discussion, the one thing he promised he’d never do to me, and leave me for dead (it triggered PTSD and some pretty bad unresolved abandonment stuff from childhood), and not get in touch even to see I’m ok. I struggle with that a lot.This is someone who made all the running, told me they’d be good for me, pushed me to be in a relationship with him and trust him, and then once I showed up and was fully present and committed, ran like the Furies were after him. Anyway, despite my self esteem being totally shot — feeling disposable (and replaceable too, because of course he started seeing someone else within a few months) is so bad 😦 — I have done all I can to heal from a position of love and integrity, and to honour everything we had, but it’s so hard. Indeed, despite trying so so hard, I still haven’t fully let go. There’s always a small part of me that keeps on hoping, and waiting. Pah. I consciously say I will and I have and I try and stick to his but then my gut/subconscious just won’t quite let go, however much I tell them to do so.

    Anyway, aside from my oh so doomygloomy shenanigans (and sorry for sharing but you know how much in situations like these, we all love/need to share), I wanted to say how incredible I think you are. I don’t know how you did it. You loved C. so much, your intuition told you how important he was, and yet you let him go. It must have been so difficult for you to do that. And in all the hurt you felt, you managed to find such a positive and inspiring way through the pain. It is even more amazing that in the aftermath you wrote posts about how to deal and stay well. And then, later on, to share your story of reconciliation and at the very point where things were great and you might just have got on with your life, you put yourself back in that dark, dark place time and again and took the time to engage with so many people who were suffering and had reached out to you. WOW. I wish I could be so brave and so good.

    So, thanks. That’s all. I don’t expect you to reply but I just wanted to thank you and acknowledge how important you’ve been in helping me get through these last few months. I really am so grateful. Take good care!

    • It didn’t feel amazing while it was happening. It felt like the worst thing, ever, was happening to me, and every day was a struggle to get through. I smoked cigarettes and barely ate the six months we were apart. I dropped 25 pounds. I didn’t sleep and when I did, I had nightmares. It was the worst. I’d rather go through another earthquake in Fukushima than go through that again.

      But in the end, just like with you, he had left me for dead. And I couldn’t validate his carelessness by letting myself die. So that healing process was slow, similar to yours. Therapy twice a week. Not watching anything remotely romantic because I couldn’t stand it. Reading books and holding onto them so tightly, like they were life preservers.

      You have to remember that your subconscious takes direction from YOU. It’s not the other way around. It’s not your subconscious holding on. You have to tell your subconscious, “So hey, this is it. He left, he’s dating someone else. I’m not going to talk about it anymore. I’m not going to say his name.” And then when you do say his name, have a rubberband on your wrist that you snap. Feel that sting…because that’s what you’re doing to yourself emotionally, every time you hold on.

      Maybe do some of the letting go rituals. There are some on this blog and there are about a thousand others out there. Write the letter (and burn it). Put it in a balloon and watch it float away (and say sorry to the environment). Make an online dating profile, even if it kills you. Make space where you live for someone new to come in. Buy a new coffee cup that could belong to the new person and put it on your counter. Don’t use it. Know that it’s for your next love. Every time you see it, acknowledge that you are making space for something new to enter.

      You’ve been that happy before. You’ll be that happy again. Happier, even…because all this sorrow will teach you to know, in a moment’s glance, what’s real and what isn’t. Who is worth it and who isn’t.

      You can do it. Hang in there.

      • Thank you for so much taking the time to reply. I hope you are well and getting plenty of rest! How are your nursery plans going? There’s a lovely store over here in the UK that might inspire you: http://belleandboo.com/ I like their stuff for my nieces and nephew. I also like how it’s not all pink and blue; that kind of gendering by colour has always antagonised me, even as a child myself!

        The nightmares are horrible, aren’t they? For several months, I would have panic attacks in my sleep and wake up in the middle of them utterly terrified and certain that something horrendous was happening, and, in a way, I suppose it was. And, yes, the only consolation for the nightmares was the knowledge that I’d actually finally managed to sleep.

        I’ve been pinging my rubber band all week now and I’ll keep going with that. I bought the coffee cup as well, although I went to the thrift store for it, so I hope that won’t confuse things and I’ll suddenly find I summoned some dead old guy into my kitchen looking for where he left his cup back in 1975, ha ha ha. Although having browsed some of the people locally who are signed up to various dating sites, I might be better off with an old dead guy. Why are there so many creepy people? :/ I don’t know about dating. I’m really put off by what I’ve seen but if it will help me get out of this pain, maybe it’s worth it. I’ll also try some more of the letting go rituals. I’ve done lots of journalling and I did some burning of things. I tried smudging the apartment (as I still live where we used to live together, and it’s very hard sometimes being here, full of ghosts haunting my every action)* but that didn’t work so well. I couldn’t get proper burning sage so just got a bunch of sage from the supermarket for cooking roasts with, and tried burning/wafting that but it wasn’t very powerful. It was quite funny really as I wandered about having to light it every 30 seconds and blow on it to try and make it smoke even a tiny bit, and I was getting all grumpy with it, which is sort of not what the exercise should be about, I guess. I’ll have to try and get some white sage and see if that has more of an impact.
        [* I’d move but I can’t right now. All the therapy is really limiting things financially]

        I don’t know. I have always had very good instincts and I was never so certain about anything in my life as I was about this relationship and this person, and yet here we are. He is who knows where, with whoever, and doesn’t want to know, and I’m left trying to find a way to live and function again.This is someone who has always stayed friends with his exes but he doesn’t want to know me at all. And that feels like a massive rejection on top of everything else. I didn’t plead or beg, despite wanting to very much. I didn’t do anything horrible or act negatively towards him (and I could have). I have felt hurt far more than anger but I have never directed any of it at him. I have looked closely at myself and tried to reflect on my own actions and how I contributed to the situation. I’ve absorbed a lot of blame and guilt but over time I’ve come to see that this is not something I caused or did or deserved. I’ve tried to be respectful and honour what we had.

        The one time we bumped into each other (unplanned), he started out by telling me that he was really well and within about ten minutes he outright said he didn’t miss me; however, by the end of our conversation, he held my hand, flirted with me a little, and then offered to come round to the apartment if I needed help with anything. I did not call him. I knew that someone so conflicted wasn’t safe to be around. My physician and therapist both say his behaviour has been bizarre and cruel, and I hear them, but somehow even hearing it from them, and knowing it must be true because look at the damage, look at the fallout, I can’t blame him or write him off. In my heart, I can’t hate this person. I can’t lose faith in his essential goodness. And I can’t stop loving him just because he’s behaved horribly. I always believed that love is unconditional and to those we love we should be compassionate and loyal. I wasn’t naive. I’d had two long term relationships (both 7+ years) before this one. And then out of blue he appeared and for three years, we had such a loving relationship. I’d never shared such adventures and closeness with someone. I’d never trusted anyone like this before. But none of that seems to matter to him now. It’s just one of those things. And I have to go on and learn to detach, step by painful step.

        Anyway, thanks again, and stay well!

        • JT,
          Reading your reply reminded me of the horrible place I was in not too long ago. I started suffering panic attacks around the time I was broken up with and while I’m completely over the idiot who dumped me, the panic attacks still pop up in stressful situations. What really helps me is guided meditation. (They’re free on Youtube). Also focusing on my breathing helps to calm me down. If therapy is costing you too much, I would try online therapy alternatives. I’m currently with a program called “Better Help” and I’m enjoying it. I contact my therapist through messages. I don’t have a message limit and she’ll respond about once a day. It only costs $45 per week, which is $15 less than what I was paying for one 45 minute in person session. I still do like to do both, though, but have limited my in person therapy to once every two months or so. Also, please don’t take offense that he doesn’t want to be your friend. Honestly, why would you even want to be friends with someone who hurt you so much? I feel like being friends only works if the breakup was mutual. If you’re ever unsure if you want to be friends with your ex, ask yourself these questions: “If there was no way we would get back together, would I still want to be his friend?” “If he was dating someone else, would I feel hurt?” and “Do I want to be his friend because I’m hoping we’ll get back together?” I bet you don’t really need anymore friends right now, so I would be glad that he is making that decision for you.

          I also know the feeling of sharing so much with someone and then having them walk away. You’re going to have to learn this for yourself like you said, but anyone who walks away from you is not worthy of your time, tears or pain. You’re worth so much more than crying over someone who doesn’t care. I know it hurts, but you’ll get through it. You can’t change the past, but you can choose to move on and learn from it.

          • Thanks for reaching out and for offering such thoughtful and constructive advice. It is truly lovely of you ❤

            I realise in hindsight that I should have been pinging my letting go rubber band the whole way through writing that last msg. Yes, poor me, I am trying so hard to let go and while I am trying so hard, let me tell you some more stuff that makes me feel crappy all about the person I am supposed to be letting go. Ha! I really should know better than that 😉

            Anyway, thanks again, Isabella. Lots of love to you, and to you too, Jen! XXX

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