Saturday, January 15, 2011

You're NOT supposed to EAT your baby!

Okay, so last year's new year resolution was doing really well until it trailed off in August. Here's what happened: I found out I was preggo. (After taking THREE pregnancy tests...I never imagined I'd be scrutinizing the definitiveness of a thin, barely there pink line on a urine soaked stick.) Anyway, once I convinced myself it was really, truly true, being pregnant was pretty much all I could think about, all the time. But I couldn't mention it in a blog until I hit the "safety" mark of getting through the first trimester. Plus, I was nauseous all the time. Mostly due to smelling dead rats everywhere. (I'm still unsure if these scents were real or fabricated by the hormones.)

So I stopped writing. (Though you'll be happy to know that I DID write the essay to enter in the Real Simple essay contest. Sadly, it seems I didn't win. Who judges these things, anyway?)

But now I'm 20 weeks in, my baby is approximately the size (and shape?) of a banana (according to my weekly email blast from and it's a new year. So it's time for a new resolution of sorts. You'll remember that last year I chose a different focus for each month, hoping that I would make some healthy new habits while enjoying some adventures along the way. I focused on de-cluttering and organizing, connecting and relationships, learning Danish, exercise and meditation, using less technology and spending that time in better ways, boundaries and balance, cooking, and creating. By far, the most successful was de-cluttering and organizing, and I've managed to maintain some of that throughout the year. (I read my magazines and then pass them along to friends now instead of keeping them stacked up for 4 years, mocking me!) Learning Danish was moderately successful, and I was able to actually understand some Danish on our trip to Denmark. Exercise worked fairly well for most of the year--I averaged about 3 times a week, including one weekly spin class and one weekly body pump class for several months. In fact, I've somehow become one of those women I hate! You know the type--you walk into the gym and see a (smug) pregnant lady running full speed on the treadmill or stair climber, hardly sweating? Well, okay. That's not quite me. I'm not smug. And though I make it through spin class, sometimes I leave in the middle for a bathroom break. (I'm pregnant--I have to pee a lot!) Actually, I feel kind of like a middle schooler, dawdling in the bathroom before returning begrudgingly to math class. And usually, when the instructor tells us to increase the resistance, I move the knob only marginally.

But I do still exercise. And will continue to, now that I've recently read Brain Rules for Baby and learned how important it is for my future baby's IQ and happiness.

Cooking was a joke--I made 6 meals (5 were pretty good) during the month and the only thing I've cooked since has been grilled cheese and pasta. (I worry for the health and nutrition of my future child.)

But the biggest joke was probably boundaries, balance, and meditation. Major fail here, on pretty much all accounts. I did manage a 5 day silent meditation retreat which was some kind of wonderful, and left me blissfully zen peaceful for a full two weeks following the retreat. But my mindfulness bell has sat largely unused in my meditation corner.

As it turns out, Brain Rules has convinced me that my chronic, moderate level of stress is very unhealthy for our baby and has long-term ramifications for our child, including IQ, impulse control, and ability to soothe himself. Along with a whole bunch of other things. So I'm determined to really work on that this year.

In any case, although I actually got a lot out of last year's month-long adventures, I plan to try a different tactic this year. See, I read this article in Oprah about all of these women who were trying to achieve happiness through a particular goal. One women thought she'd be happy if she could have a baby. Another wanted to start her own business. Etc., etc. You see where this is going, right? Each one accomplished her goal and was totally miserable.

Enter life coach, who shares a strategy for finding happiness in your present life and working towards even more of it in the future. Life coach tells us that rather than focusing on a specific goal, we should envision ourselves achieving that goal and find a few adjectives to describe the way it makes us feel...validated, energized, smart? Then we should look at those aspects of our current life and job that make us feel that way and work towards focusing on other ways to achieve those feelings.

She explained it better, but I'm telling you, it was very compelling.

So I've decided that this year, I'll choose three adjectives to focus on all year. I'll highlight how they apply to my present day life, and I'll use them to guide decisions, and try to move towards them whenever possible. This is important, so it took me a long time to settle on the words.


The adjectives I want to use to describe myself in 2011 are...positive, connected, and balanced. I tend to focus on the negative until I get caught in a vicious cycle that I can't see my way out of. So this year, every time I get trapped in that negativity, I'm going to try to list as many things as possible that are positive about my life. If I'm having a booked-solid, horrible week, I will focus on the night out with my girlfriend or the time Michael let me go to sleep early.

I know I feel most energized and motivated and happy when I am engaged with work or other people. So I'm going to try to stop screening as many calls and multitasking and laying on the couch hoping for a little nap while on duty in the dorm. Instead, I'm going to leave my door open, make dinner plans with friends, and turn the television off and play board games with my husband.

Balanced is going to be the hardest, but also maybe the most crucial guiding word for the year. I'm going to be a mother soon! Technically, I suppose I already am. I need to establish some foundation of sanity which is strikingly lacking in my life. It looks likely that after my maternity leave, I'll be back to work either 4 days a week or full time. And still dorm parenting. And since I sometimes lose my mind and let my head spin a la the exorcist, followed by a meltdown complete with sobbing, chocolate, and hibernating...

Well, I need to work on balance. I need to bring back some meditation. And stick to the exercise routine. And learn to leave work at work. And learn the definition of "good enough." Maybe even eat a little healthier? I need to sleep. And let the little things go. I need to find joy between the chunks of impatience. I need to prioritize the meaningful aspects of life over the illusion of perfectionism.

So those are my goals for this year. Perhaps lofty in the face of a newborn and the first months of mommyhood. But worth aiming for.

So let's end this post with something positive to focus on. Imagine the scene: I'm in my sister's living room, squatting among the toys and pack and plays, playing with my 10 month old nephew, Cooper, when my 3-year-old nephew Greyson starts climbing on me in such a way that could possibly qualify as reckless endangerment of my developing fetus. So I tell him how we have to be careful of the growing baby. And he asks where the baby is. And I tell him it's in my belly.

And he holds his hand out under my chin and demands, "SPIT IT OUT, EM. You are NOT supposed to SWALLOW your baby!"


I've gotta write that one in the baby journal.


Alexis said...

I have to respect Greyson's advanced understanding anatomy. He is right, babies shouldn't be in the belly ;-)

Melisa K. said...

hahaha. It's true, Alexis. He is rather advanced in that way. Yet I can't imagine trying to explain "uterus" to him!

Amanda said...

Congratulations to you Melissa! Such happy news. And just wait, my nephew (age 5 at the time) upon arriving to the hospital when I was delivering my daughter was most concerned about "what happened after I dropped the cup?" My confused look prompted Patti to answer, "He heard your water broke, I couldn't explain, just go with it!" :)