I feel like a bad pregnant lady. I knew the first trimester was going to be tough, I expected that and I sort of got used to it. I understand that I have to eat every hour or so if I don’t want to feel nauseous, I have to have water with me at all times. I got used to being tired – though I often complained. My symptoms didn’t start until after 8 weeks and every week I inched closer to that magical second trimester – the week they told me everything would change.
And the 12 week came and went, the 13 week came and week – They told me it would get a little better every week and all I was feeling was still nauseous, still tired and still unsure.
And then, magically, I had energy. I didn’t wake up every morning feeling nauseous and I didn’t feel that way most of the day every day.
And then this week hit and it all came flooding back.
It’s hard to eat – there are only a few things that taste good to me right now. Green olives are fantastic, and orange juice tastes better than anything else in the world. I also tried lobster for the first time and found out just how freaking fantastic it is – whether I still feel that way post-partum is still to be seen. The lack of tastiness makes it very difficult for me to eat and eat healthily. I don’t crave anything – until I crave something very definite.
The exhaustion is back in full swing too. I slept all day Saturday and woke up Sunday feeling alright, until I actually went out and started doing things. I guess I overdid it because I haven’t felt any kind of energy since.
On top of this my belly is growing and stretching and making it difficult to find a comfortable position to sleep, which leads to me getting about 5 or 6 interupted hours a night.I thought that wasn’t supposed to start until my third trimester, which is still weeks away.
All of this makes me feel like a bad pregnant lady. I’m supposed to be enjoying this – especially these few weeks – and I can’t. I’m uncomfortable, tired, grumpy and not all that nice to be around a lot of the time. I’m trying to get excited and get things done when I have the energy, but overall I feel as though I’m not getting the experience that I was supposed to get. I feel cheated.
I was supposed to get the second trimester – I was supposed to have this time to plan and clean and build a nursery so that when I got too tired, too uncomfortable, too big in the third trimester it would all be out of the way. But here I am, getting home from work, having a nap, eating dinner and trying to go to bed, spending my weekends catching up on the sleep I’m losing during the week. I’m not enjoying this and it’s supposed to be this grand experience. I wanted to be keeping a journal, writing down all the first, all the trips to the midwife. I wanted to be taking pictures and building memories, now I’m worried I’m going to be too tired to remember any of it.
It’s not fair and I’m sick of it.
Be all you can be
Actually, this one will apply to my son too.
I want you to try everything you want to try. I want you to grow up not regretting not having tried things (within reason). I want you to grow up without thinking once that you can’t.
One of the regrets I have from my childhood is not having taken dance classes because I felt too fat, not taking singing lessons because I was too shy, not taking part in any sports because I felt incapable of doing anything but making a fool of myself.
I don’t want you to hit your teens and fall in love with broadway and realize that you never have even the slightest chance of doing anything like that because you’re just too late to the game. I don’t want you to sit at your university stadium watching a soccer game and wish that you had even just a part of the athleticism that those players out on the pitch have.
If you want to draw or write or act or play sports, or sing or play an instrument, I want you to tell us. If there’s anything you want to try, tell us. If there’s anything you don’t want to try, tell us.
I want you to take an active interest in life, but I don’t want you to resent the activities we encourage you to take part in, and I don’t want you to be one of those over-scheduled, worn out kids who quits everything when they’re 18 just because they can’t take it any more.
I don’t want you to feel any pressure to succeed at any one thing in particular, I just want you to figure out what you love. I want you to have passion for things. I want you to have something you can escape to – one of those activities that just focuses you. I want you to have that thing that puts a smile on your face.
When I used to watch Joe play in the band, I would stare at him on stage and fall completely in love all over again because he was just so obviously happy doing what he was doing, he was living right there in that moment. I’d like to think that when I’m writing or I get really focussed on my knitting you can see the same thing in me.
I dream of the moment that I see the same dedication and passion in you.
If truth be told, I’m hoping this baby is a boy.
Sometimes I think about how wonderful it would be to have a little girl, but then I think about other things.
I grew up a girl and it sucked. Girls are mean to other girls and eventually every girl is on the wrong side of the bully. Girls have to be so careful about everything – how they dress, their weight, what they like, what they read, what they watch, how they speak – I just don’t believe it can possibly be as complicated to be a boy.
Boys don’t have to grow breasts first in their class, or last in their class. Boys don’t have to get their first period. Boys don’t have to figure out make-up. Boys don’t have to figure out when and how to start shaving their legs, their armpits, their various other areas.
I’m sure that young boys spend just as much time as young girls panicking about whether they’re developing too early or too late or whether what they have somehow lacking compared to the other kids in their class (and I know that girls get shower stalls in high school, which is one advantage over boys), but there’s a difference for me.
I was an adolescent girl and I struggled the whole way through – I don’t know if I would be capable of helping someone else get through it, especially in a world I don’t really understand anymore.
If we had a girl and she was like me, I wouldn’t know how to help her, but if we have a boy then he’ll be like Joe and I won’t have to worry. Joe was everything I wasn’t growing up.
Embrace your inner geek
I’ve heard about studies that have been done that prove that when girls hit 12 or 13 they tend to stop speaking up in class and stop raising their hands to answer questions. I don’t remember what this study concluded the reasoning behind it to be, but I imagine it had something to do with boys.
I admit to being one of those girls that became suddenly clueless in high school, though I don’t think it was a conscious decision I do know that I stopped feeling good about being smart (and in some classes I just plain stopped being smart). I was hard for me, being in this new world with new people and new responsibilities.
The fact is, I could have gotten a whole lot more out of high school. I should have.
When I went to college I was the smart girl. I stopped being afraid of what people thought of me because I was there for myself and I was only going to get out of it what I put it and I was planning on getting a whole lot out of it. I raised my hand in every class, I asked the stupid questions, I worked hard to get my homework done and I went to (almost) every class. I let go of my self-consciousness and let myself be who I needed to be, and it was one of the greatest times of my life.
Judging by your daddy and me, you, little girl, are bound to be smart and curious (and silly) and I want you to embrace every little bit of it. Truth be told, people are going to think of you however they want, no matter how you act in school or outside of school, but I want you to put absolutely everything you have into being you, and growing into the best you you can be.
If you have questions, ask them; if you know the answers, shout them out; if you like something, say so; if you disagree with someone, tell them.
I still remember times when I agreed with things I knew were wrong because I wanted to go along with the crowd, and I still feel stupid for doing it. I’m not friends with any of those people any more, in fact, I wasn’t friends with them anymore ten years ago.
Surround yourself with the people who love and respect you for who you are, the people who get your stupid jokes and love your sense of style. They are out there and they will last your lifetime.
Disclaimer: We don’t know if we’re having a girl yet (in fact, I am of the opinion that we’re having a boy) but reading through my RSS feeds I’ve been thinking about girls and women and feminism and thinks I would want my daughter to know before wading into the world. I’m planning on writing a series of entries on things I’ve learned about being a woman and things I wish I’d known.
Lesson for my daughter 1: High school is something you survive
There aren’t very many people who remember high school fondly. Most of us have some fond memories of high school, and some really shitty ones.
Things were difficult for me in high school not because I didn’t have friends (I wasn’t popular, but I had some good, close friends) and not because I didn’t do well in school (I wasn’t the best student, but I held my own and teachers liked me) and not because I wasn’t involved (I was on the debate team for a couple of years and worked on the student newspaper). No, things were difficult for me because I didn’t fit into the Seventeen Magazine box. I didn’t know anything about clothes or make-up, I was fat, I was shy – I didn’t fit any kind of image I had about anything a teenage boy would find attractive.
My failure with boys in high school made me feel as though I would never find anyone who loved me for me, and by the time I graduated I felt like all was lost, I was never going to be anything to anyone.
When I think back to high school and take the time to remember the bad, I remember being painfully shy and embarassed about being a keener, I remember feeling fat and ugly, and I remember wanting to either drop out or die – two things I almost did at 16.
But I was lucky, I had a few friends, a great family and some passion to see me through.
When I focus on the good of high school that is what I think about. High school gave me a great bond with my best friend for life – she was the maid of honour at my wedding and the first person outside of my family I told when I got pregnant. I love her with all my heart and would do anything for her. High school gave me an appreciation for what a great teacher can bring to a child’s life – I had two that I remember fondly, both of whom managed to build my confidence up just before graduation, both of whom I would strive to impress with my future endeavours.
But the most important thing high school gave me was me. Leaving high school, feeling glad to have survived, I thought I knew where I was going, but then I had the rug pulled out from under me, and I gradually realized that no one but me was going to be able to put things back together. I grew confidence and I took things into my own hands.
Knowing myself is the greatest gift I ever got, and knowing that I was alright with just me was one of the reasons that I was finally able to find love with Joe. When I was 16 I was certain that no one would ever be able to love me for what I was, that there was nothing about me that a man would ever find attractive. High school beat me, but I’m winning now.
So I was away for French training last week and in my classes we often had discussions. These discussions often centred around our work and our lives. Since Je suis enceinte and one of my colleagues/classmates’ is having a baby in September the conversation circled around babies.
One of my teachers in particular seemed very excited about the population boom in my office, and she asked me how I felt about the whole thing – was I excited? I’m scared.
Why am I scared? Because in about five months I am going to be responsible for an entire human being. I am going to be responsible for making sure they get fed and learn how to walk and read and help them with their math homework. I have no inkling how you begin to teach someone how to walk and talk, let alone potty train them.
She said when she had her daughter she was scared of the birth and I replied that I’m not worried about that part at all. She says “Of course, you’ll have an epidural.” And I replied: “Nope, not planning on it.”
And that’s when she gave me this look, this look that said ‘yeah, right, you say no now, but you will.”
And it made me angry. It didn’t help that I was trying to explain how I felt about the whole thing in my second language. I was stumbling over words trying to tell her this:
I believe that if I can get through the birth without an epidural that it will make me feel that much stronger about raising a child. I believe that being able to have this baby without an epidural will focus me and centre me. It will be one more hard thing that I survived that led to something greater.
Through my life, at my lowest points (and I have had some very low points) I have made a point of writing a list of things I have survived, and I hold firm to my belief that all those hard things and all those low points brought me to where I am today. I know this baby will be adding something great to my life, but first I have to get through the hard parts.
Of course, there are many other, great reasons to try my hardest not to ask for the drugs, and they are outlined beautifully here: http://www.threeseven.ca/2009/06/im-only-hero-because-im-chicken.html
I really couldn’t say it any better.
I was sent away from work this week with several colleagues for French training. I am very fortunate to have access to such things, and I’m damn well going to take advantage.
I was looking forward to getting away from my office and getting to know my co-workers better, but mainly I was going to try and throw myself into the language because I want to be bilingual, I want to understand the rules and I want to not be embarassed to speak French.
They work here in immersion. We have classes every day from 9 to 4:30 and on our first day we were sent to lunch and dinner with teachers (meaning we spoke French all day). Tonight and tomorrow they are showing a movie and tomorrow afternoon we’re going on a field trip. They are trying to teach us every aspect of the language and I appreciate it – but I hate feeling stupid, and I hate no knowing the words that I want to use. Still, that’s why I’m here, right?
So far my favourite part of this little journey was going out to dinner tonight with my colleagues. The five of us set out to buy some groceries and pick up some dinner. We were cracking jokes the whole way there and back but at dinner we sat down and had a great conversation about work. About what we want for our workplace and what we think we can do better. What we can build.
I have been thinking a lot about that lately. About what I do and how I function at work and what I would like to be able to do there. I want to contribute.
Helping make the world a better place is something that is very important to me. Helping women improve their lives is very important to me. Now I just have to figure out how to pursue my goals and find a bit of fulfillment in my career.
I remember not long ago hearing a politician (though I can’t for the life of me remember who it was just at the moment) say that it is important that they be able to tell their children: “I tried.” That is all I want. I want to be able to tell this baby that I tried to make the world a better place. Now I just need to devise a way to do that.
I’ve spent the past few years of my life dealing with the problems hormones can cause. The PCOS drama was all caused by an excess of testosterone in my system. Now here I am, pregnant and surging with hormones all the time, and the way it’s affecting me is a little overwhelming.
First off, I get more angry more quickly than I ever have before. So angry that I’ve fightened myself a couple of times with how bad it got.
Second, I get scared quickly. I hate being around people, I hate driving because I’m worried that someone else will do something that will end up hurting me and this baby. The other day I was at the mall and two kids were running around behind me and I kept envisioning one of them running into me and knocking me to the ground. On the way home I was being tailgated, which makes me angry and nervous in normal situations, and then two guys who seemed to be playing chicken cut me off. I could feel my heart speed up.
Third, and most expected, I get teary. A lot. On Friday we went to Carlingwood and I saw a schnauzer puppy at the pet store and he looked sad and scared and he just broke my heart. I couldn’t stop thinking about him. Today we were back at the mall and I started crying again, over something completely different. This is hormones, combined with the feeling of being absolutely overwhelmed and completely unprepared.
I’m already worried that I can’t take care of this baby and it’s still inside me, what am I going to do when it’s staring up at me trying to convey what it needs?