Actual Honest-to-God Email I Sent to My OB

When I found out I was pregnant, I wanted what every sage-burning, moon-cycle-following hippie wants: a med-free home water birth with a midwife and poetry readings. But when I found out it was twins, my insurance and the one-size-fits-all fear mongering that mothers of multiples automatically endure dictated I’d be having a hospital birth and would be taken care of by the High-Risk OB Team. At least I got UCLA, which is among the top 5 best hospitals in the nation. But as time wore on and I found out the potential details of this birth, such as the requirement that I deliver my twins in the operating room “just in case,” I went through a period of stress and fear.

***

Subject: Freaked Out!

Hi Dr. A!

I’ve been trying to deal with this on my own through meditation and such…but ever since my appointment on Wednesday I have been nervous and freaked out about my impending birth experience.

From my perspective, it feels like I keep getting new doctors who don’t know me and whose names I can’t remember, and each new person seems to treat me like a 45-year-old carrying triplets because I’m “high risk.” I know I’m classified as such simply because it’s a multiple birth, but I have di/di twins who are both head-down, average weight, and have perfect heartbeats and fluid levels. I’m only 32, and still either walk a couple miles, swim, or go to yoga class where I kick the butts of the singleton moms…and I am dying to have a normal delivery that won’t cause me to have PTSD and postnatal depression!

You and Dr. S have been the two competent, calm presences I feel I can trust, who make me feel like a healthy, normal woman with a brain, and I am so grateful for you both! …But I’m so afraid that on D-day I’ll end up with someone who looks at me and says in their mind “It’s twins so let’s just plan on a C-Section!”

Sorry I’m flipping out…I know it’s crazy. It’s just that at my last visit, after the new doc talked to me about the “plan,” I came away feeling like

a) there was no way possible these twins would start labor on their own, thus I would have no choice but to endure the pitocin, which I SO hoped to avoid,

b) I would be forced to get an epidural even if I didn’t want one,

and

c) (the clincher) I would have to deliver in the operating room, with fluorescent lights blaring, 15 people present with surgical outfits on, and a table full of sharp instruments just waiting to cut me open.

The first two fears I can bend on if needed…but the third is keeping me awake at night. When I expressed this, the last doc just shooed away my concerns like “it’s not so bad– it’s clean.” But the prospect of delivering in the operating room makes me want to not show up and just hire a midwife or something. I have stayed so natural and meditative this whole pregnancy, but my heart is palpating wildly just thinking of being on that “stage” surrounded by all these strangers, no peace anywhere, scary instruments around, unable to move because of an epidural.

Until Wednesday I’d been really looking forward to my labor. On my hospital tour I was led to believe I’d get my own labor room with dim lighting and an ambience conducive to creating the labor hormones that will guide my babies out gently and naturally. If I am forced to give birth in an operating room, I fear that my body will be filled with panic hormones that will slow my contractions and lead to unnecessary complications. Isn’t the OR just a few doors down from the labor suites anyway? Can I not just be wheeled there in the event of an emergency like the singleton moms who have sudden complications? This is going to be my only birth ever, and I really don’t want to look back on it and shudder with horror, feeling like I wasn’t in control of my fate and was forced to do things I didn’t feel comfortable with.

I know I’m going off the deep end. I just have a phobia of hospitals in the first place, and the only thing keeping me going was the prospect of a private birthing room and staff that was on board with my hopes to deliver vaginally. I am willing to sign a waiver or anything to avoid entering the OR unless medically necessary. Is that a possibility?

Sorry this is so rambly and full of bad vibes. I just want to get back to my peaceful waiting and excitement!

***

I hate hospitals, I’m scarred from having been talked down to by so many doctors and nurses, and I hate that multiple births are automatically medicalized. Luckily, my main doc actually is a cool, with-it lady who treats me like a human possessing a brain. After this, she called and talked to me at length. She said that I would only have to go to the OR when the babies were actually coming out, and that it would not be fluorescent or scalpel-laden, but just a larger room, and I could even play music and light candles if I wanted. She also said that if I absolutely didn’t want an epidural, it was up to me, and most of the other concerns that the less-than-communicative doctor had frightened me with were not, in fact, mandatory. I am at this point just ready to meet the twins, but I hope my doctor is right and that I won’t feel pressured into any procedure that is not medically necessary. 

Feeling Sour about a Baby Shower

I’m not having a baby shower in the traditional sense. I just can’t. My wonderful friend Rebecca was going to throw me one, which is such a selfless and amazing act it brought tears to my eyes, but when she asked me to send her a guest list, I took a few days to figure out who to invite, panicked a little, and realized that I’d rather eat a live scorpion than go through with it. I felt like an ungrateful hag, but I knew that, being the intuitive soul she is, Rebecca would understand if I could articulate myself.

Why do I not want to have a baby shower? 

Well first off, I don’t feel comfortable asking for gifts, which is what a baby shower is actually all about. And yes, I know the gifts are for the babies. And yes, of course we could use them. But the babies are coming because of me, and I remember that episode of Sex and the City called “A Woman’s Right to Shoes” in which Carrie calculates all the money she has spent buying people gifts to celebrate their life choices, and you know what? I just didn’t want to be part of that problem. If I send you an invite, you’re going to feel obligated to come, or at least to send me a gift, and if you don’t do either of those things, you might feel guilty, even if you don’t want to come, or don’t have money for a gift. But also, if I send you an invite, I’m going to feel guilty, because I haven’t actually hung out with you in months, and now I’m asking you for a donation of your money and/or time? Maybe I’m overthinking this…but I hate feeling like I’m getting something for nothing. I want to contribute. When we lived in a house in Malibu, I loved to have dinner parties where people came and just ate our food and drank our drinks. It was a gesture that said, “I love you and want you to have a good time.” I feel like a baby shower is the opposite: “I invite you to love me and take care of me!”

And if I were to “contribute” to my baby shower what would that look like? Well, I’d feel obligated to make sure every person who donated their time and money to me understood how much I appreciated it. Therefore, I’d need to make sure they are getting enough food and champagne and attention from me that they feel special. But if there are more than four people around, there’s no way to actually make everyone feel special. You can’t do more than make small talk around that many people. And I loathe small talk. I want to talk about things that matter, not fake-smile and nod and answer the same question over and over again about whether or not twins run in my family (I AM ADOPTED! AND TWINS ARE NOT ALWAYS GENETIC! STOP ASKING!). Moreover, champagne costs money, and I don’t want my beloved friend who is hosting to have to cough up the amount of money it would cost to provide all my guests enough champagne to enjoy a baby shower. From what I’ve heard, everyone hates baby showers. I’ve enjoyed them in my day, but that’s because there was lots of champagne. And I can barely afford my own life and the two new ones on the way, so champagne is not in my budget. Not to mention, I would be expected to make all this mind-numbing small talk with tipsy people while sober. Meaning, I am not going to have any fun at all. I am going to be a person who is worried about everyone else’s good time, feeling guilty for getting these gifts and putting my friend out, and I am not even going to have a buzz going.

Lastly, baby showers have traditionally been only for females. That grosses me out. Half my friends are men, and I’d feel awkward only inviting the female halves of couples Kai and I have always hung out with together. So there’s the co-ed baby shower idea. But Kai hated that idea, didn’t want to come, and didn’t want us to invite the man friends. So that cuts down my guest list significantly and makes the interactions more awkward and forced. Not to mention, we just got married, so most of the people we’d invite would have just attended our wedding (another of our life choices they must celebrate), and that just makes me feel even more guilty, like a person who thinks we should have a monthly party celebrating me. If I were back home in Kentucky, this would be slightly different, because I could invite a bunch of family who would be happy to come and be bored and give me gifts. But I’m in LA where people must choose between lazy brunch or an awesome movie premiere or day at the beach…or my baby shower.

In the end, I had to tell my precious friend that I’d rather just hang out with her alone, as the prospect of a shower stressed me out beyond belief. I was 100% honest. She understood.

The alternative to a real baby shower?

My cousin Loree threw us an “online baby shower” where my registry is attached to a Facebook page. That’s something I could stomach, because then people can come and go anonymously and only send things to the babies if they actually feel like it. I made a registry on this place called Babylist where whomever feels moved to get us a gift can do so from any online or brick-and-mortar venue they want and then just click “purchased” and have it sent to us. Or heck, if they already have the item from when they had a baby, they can just send us their used version, which I’d rather have anyway, so I’m not one of the consumers contributing to this absurd baby racket in which so much money is being wasted on things that are pointless or only useful for a couple of months.

Maybe I’m an old curmudgeon, but that’s me. I like fun that costs nothing and is genuine and egalitarian and coed and lazy.

 

Dark with the Light

Today I’ve been having another of my existential crises. It came after a week of mostly good feelings, a week without facing the harsher parts of reality. And of course, it is a law that carefree times must necessarily be followed by a cold slap to remind us of the contrast that makes life interesting.

The easy week went thus: First, my mom and sister (who is, remember, two weeks ahead of me in pregnancy) came to Cali to visit. Mom is a fluffy ball of pure love, and my sister is a blessing, as she is a cohort in this strange, uncomfortable rite of passage. We didn’t do much when they were here: just ate at different restaurants and walked around Venice, binged all seven hours of Big Little Lies, and went shopping for maternity clothes. But it was effortless. No dwelling on impending futures and their scary prospects: just strolling along, enjoying each other’s company.

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My sister and me + 3 inside

When they left, Kai and I had a couple days of downtime, and then hopped a boat for Catalina Island, to spend a weekend honeymooning. Again, we didn’t do much; just what we felt like. We went snorkeling and hiking, we ate key lime pie and talked, and heck, one day we slept for five hours and then grilled hot dogs and watched a documentary about the Unabomber. It was as smooth and clear as the teal water by the docks, no agenda.

But then we got home.
Today was such a Monday. My stupid to-do list waited for me. There’s baby stuff to worry about, like scheduling all these birthing and breastfeeding classes, there’s writing and moviemaking assignments I took on for the love. I’ve still got to sleep, eat, and exercise so I can adjust gracefully to the feeling that, as my sister put it today, “my belly is falling out of my body.” But sitting heavily on top of all that, I HAVE TO FIND A WAY TO MAKE MONEY.

All my income-generating gigs are just too hard to do right now. I can’t go bartend when I’d pop the buttons off my black button-down shirt and can’t stay up past 8pm without slurring my words. I can’t chase toddlers around babysitting for more than a couple of hours, and a couple of hours isn’t really worth my time since what I’m looking for is MONEY. I do personal assistant things for a few hours a week, but I have a freaking master’s degree and I should be able to find a PAYING JOB I can do from home! So I spend hours on top of my to-dos, applying for all these stay-at-home jobs that may or may not be legit: writing, editing, grading tests, answering customer service queries, I DON’T FUCKING CARE, I JUST NEED MONEY.

We’ve gotten married, we’ve got two kids on the way, we’ve been on the honeymoon, we got a joint checking account. He’s working like always. I’m struggling, dying, begging the Universe to please guide me toward a not-awful job I can do from home that employs MY BRAIN to GENERATE INCOME. It’s something I’ve waited for patiently since I graduated from all that schooling, through the eleven years of doing creative gigs for free for the love of art, meanwhile making sheckles by serving hors d’oeuvres or schlepping kids around…BUT THE DEADLINE IS APPROACHING. IT’S TIME THIS SHIT PAID OFF. Yes, I am freaking out. Yes I am rethinking my entire existence. Yes I still would rather have this kind of freak-out than work in an office 9-5. But up until now I had the luxury of time because it was just me. Now it is me + 3. And I am a puddle of self-doubt and guilt and exhaustion.

Serves me right for having a low-stress week, I guess.

 

Domestic Hate Happens

The past 24 hours have been my definition of hell.

Without going into great detail, it is exactly one week until my beloved and I are supposed to get married. We’ve been vibing and on the same page when we get to see each other, which isn’t often with all the work we’re doing. Yesterday began as a beautiful sunny day in which we rode our bikes around our wonderful seaside city, making plans for that little wedding. And on a dime, through his misunderstanding, my words and intentions got twisted and I couldn’t possibly convince him of what he didn’t want to believe.

So I got angry. Quickly. Because nothing makes me angrier than not being seen or heard for who I am. And then I said so many things I didn’t mean. Mean things. And my hormonal, weak-minded pregnant self took everything insensitive thing he said deep into my three hearts and let it hurt as badly as it could. I cried for so long, hopeless and depressed, that I was dizzy with vertigo. He didn’t care. And then awoke this morning only slightly better, still crying, feeling like anything I ate would make me vomit. Not that we had anything to eat anyway. I had to make a trip to Trader Joe’s, looking like a monster.

And when I got back, he was still him and I was still me. He was still failing to say what he actually meant, and instead saying more and more insensitive things while I tried desperately to understand what the hell he wanted from me and choke down some strawberry O’s and not throw up. He’s freaking out about money, and from where I sit it sounds like he’s blaming me for all his fears. Me who is working while pregnant just to contribute, when all I want to do is lie down and do nothing.

(Me: “I’m pregnant with twins, I’m depressed, I’m working five or six days a week just to keep paying my half of the expenses, I’m getting together all the stuff for the registry and reading all the books, and I’m so stressed out and it can’t be good for the babies, and it seems like you’re telling me I’m still not doing enough and that I need to do more.”

Him: “I see you as an adult, not a kindergartener.What do you want me to do? Treat you like a baby?”

Me: “No, I want you to treat me like your wife-to-be who is pregnant with your two babies and is clinically depressed and needs extra care and love. I want you to acknowledge and appreciate what I am contributing.”

Him: “You need to love and care for yourSELF.”)

Needless to say, I have never felt such palpable hatred for the person I love most in the world. I felt so alone, so uncared for, so misunderstood. I’ve read many articles about pregnancy making women hate their male partners, and I never thought it would happen to me. But yesterday when he went to his hockey game, I literally said, “I hope someone punches you in the face.” And I meant it.

Do I like who I am or where I am or what I feel like or what my partner is acting like? NO.

Luckily I called and texted everyone in the world. Two therapists, my mom, his mom, four friends. I got a hold of one of the best friends I’ve ever had, and she showed me the light. Anything he was accusing me of slacking on, she said, was what he felt he needed to do. He is terrified–more terrified, even, than me. Because he doesn’t even have control over the babies or what happens to them until they come out. All he has control over right now, he feels, is the finances and our “readiness” in that way…and we are just scraping by as it is. He feels like figuring it out is all on him.

So I called him and told him I was scared, and I knew he was too. But, in these hellish 24 hours, I realized–and I told him–that I was willing to surrender to what needed to happen, whatever it was. Even my “worst nightmare” of moving back to Trumpmerica for a little while until we get on our feet. I just have to trust myself, trust him, and trust the universe.

 

 

To-Do: Just Be Pregnant and Try to Stay Sane

Though the flat-dead depression of the first trimester is over and I have more energy, I haven’t been writing because I feel like I am being crushed under the weight of a never-ending to-do list. I can’t quite pinpoint what is making me so slow. Is it just a) pregnancy exhaustion and brain-mush, b) this strange post-holiday time of year that is filled with gloom and sluggishness, c) the political horror show that daily stink-bombs the entire world with fart clouds of negativity, d) the urgent feeling that I have to perfect myself and my surroundings before the babies arrive, or e) all of the above?

I’ve had some items on the to-do list for months now. I’m wondering at this point if I should just rename the list “To Don’t.”

Call Toyota and schedule recall appoinment
Write episode of series (DUE TUESDAY)
Call and schedule baby classes
Plan honeymoon thingie
Get dress altered
Do laundry
Back up computer
Apply for grant  (crossed out because the deadline passed, not because I did it)
Switch blog over to fancy self-hosted interface (been working on this for weeks)
Call friend who you said you’d call back two weeks ago
Fix up baby registry (been researching the products I’ll need in all “spare” time)
Write vows (just found out my romantic fiancé wants to go above and beyond)
Meditate (every day, but still must put it on to-do list)
Go to yoga
Do taxes
(these are half done, but I’m waiting for an outstanding w2)
Organize closets and storage to make room (been on list for two months)
Write proposal for yoga/writing class
Join parents of multiples group
*Make money

What I actually do most days:

  1. Work if I can get it
    I’ve been broke as hell, and my gigs were mostly unavailable all through February, so the “make money” one is a constant that takes precedence over everything else. Thus, today I worked the farmers market and last week I babysat and ran errands all over the place, and this week I’m doing a catering gig and more babysitting. Kai is working so often, I can’t stand the thought of his extra money just going toward my half of the rent. So every day, if I can get it, I spend most the day doing some job to make a few sheckles when I’d rather be tackling the rest of this list.
  2. Meditate
    I have to, for 20-25 minutes. Or I will turn into a crunched-up, negative energy monster. I prefer to do it when I first wake up, but a lot of times it doesn’t happen until evening.
  3. Get some exercise
    Whether it’s yoga, a long walk, prenatal pilates, or barre, I try to get some blood flowing every day so my body doesn’t buckle under the weight of my belly.
  4. Clean house until it is livable
    Which means, I do the dishes a lot, sweep the floor, make the bed, and put away clothes and things that are lying around just so I can stand the place.
  5. Select ONE thing from the rest of the list to accomplish
    So yeah, I only get one thing done per day. And sometimes that thing is just making a phone call to schedule a car service, or adding a few items to my baby registry. What I really need to do is write that episode of the series so the rest of the writer’s room doesn’t kill me. But due to the exhaustion that takes precedence, that will not happen until the day before, I guarantee, and I will continue to feel bad about myself until then.

I have friends who call, concerned, because they haven’t seen or heard from me in months. But I am just trying to hold it together and keep relatively stable and sane. Since Kai is gone so often lately, I try to spend every minute with him that I can. And our time together lately consists of crashing out on the couch with popcorn and Netflix, just recovering. Being social is barely on my radar. It’s not going to help me feel calmer or more prepared.

I know my friends would love to hear that I’ll be back to my old self again, but I know I never will. Once my body is my own again, my life will belong for a time to two others. And that feels okay to me right now. I just hope I can see past this to-do list enough to enjoy the quiet and watch with interest as my body becomes unrecognizable.

 

 

Rainy Day Twin Fears

My disposition has been much sunnier since I found out we’re having twins. It explained all manner of my crazy behavior and made me feel a little less inhuman. But it’s been almost a month since I saw the two little fuzzy black-and-white pictures on the screen, and the further away I get from that concrete evidence, my mind has become increasingly unsettled.

Every morning I wake up and feel my belly to make sure it’s still as big as it was yesterday. In my sleep and in those foggy hours before waking I worry about losing one of the twins. I have no reason to believe that would happen, other than that it has happened to other people.

But what if I’m depleting the twins of nutrients by sleeping on my back like they tell me not to? I just can’t sleep on my side. How the hell do people sleep on their sides? Where do you put your arm? It goes to sleep, and the curve of my womanly hips makes the whole side of my body uncomfortable as one side rests and the other sticks into the air, my torso in an “L” shape. I’ve tried propping pillows every which way, but most nights I eventually say fuck it. In concession, I prop the pillows like a ramp and lie with my head above my heart like I’m in a Craftmatic Adjustable bed. Hoping not to kill a twin, and waking every few hours trying to intuit if they’re both okay.

Before I ingest anything, of course, I Google it to make sure it’s not poison to babies. The real problem with eating is that it is of no interest to me. Food is still, for the most part, gross. Sometimes by the day’s end, I realize I’ve eaten nothing of substance. I was too tired all day to cook anything, and every time I opened the fridge for something quick, it looked disgusting. So I’m at the end of the day begrudgingly eating a bowl of cereal and some pea protein and yogurt to account for my lost nutrients.

I’m almost 16 weeks, and I did enjoy about one week of second trimester energy. But then it faded away with the sunshine that coincided with that week. It could be that my energy is boycotting me because of the fact that it rains EVERY DAMN DAY here in L.A. now, which makes me want to stay indoors and cover up with blankets. And the lack of movement means lack of motivation, and the lack of motivation means fear, and the fear means no food looks good, and generally life is a wet, gray, dismal, boring wash. I can’t wait until I can just take a damn walk! Or wear a tank top instead of the same five layers of clothes that make me feel like a fat eskimo.

I do have an O.B. appointment tomorrow morning. I hope they do an ultrasound and make me feel better.

I’m heading now to buy a twin stroller from a woman on Craigslist who only used it once. Originally this thing is almost $700, and she’s selling it for $500, with an additional bassinet! It’s early, I know, but I need some concrete way to remind me that these babies will probably be okay, and my fears are just products of the gloom that will bring greener, brighter days.

 

Pregnancy as Crappy Air Travel (Extended Metaphor)

To me, being pregnant feels like being stuck on a commercial airline, on an 40-week one-way flight, in coach, in the middle seat, sitting between my partner and a very large person. Damn, this ride is uncomfortable.

For one, there’s that fog of fatigue that set in as soon as the hum of the jet engine started, back in December. No matter how much caffeine I ingest (and I’m only allowed up to 200 mg per day!), every time I lift my head off the headrest, it feels like it weighs 30 pounds. I’ve brought my computer, hopeful to get some work done, but I can barely hold my eyes open. I stow my computer under the seat and berate myself about the to-do list I’ve abandoned.

All I want to do is sleep. The problem is, I can’t for longer than an hour. There’s no leg room. And this fat man to my right is crowding me. I fall asleep in one contorted position until my neck aches and I wake up and have to readjust. I try again and wake up because my butt’s asleep. I lean forward and put my head on the tray table, but after an hour of that, my back is killing me. I’m trapped and growing increasingly cranky.

Also, it doesn’t help that I need to pee every 45 minutes. I have to squeeze past my zaftig neighbor and do the whole bladder-emptying routine so many times that I’m considering just peeing my pants. And when I arrive at the toilet, it turns out to be only about two tablespoons of urine that was making me so uncomfortable.

It’s getting difficult to remember what it was like to enjoy life as I knew it, to run around free in the sunshine, in total control. I hate the feeling of being a passenger, having to play by rules that aren’t mine. On this flight, I am allowed no wine or champagne, no fine cheese or sushi or even deli meat (though I see others around me enjoying all of the above). The flight attendants tell me I can eat as much as I want barring those items, but I don’t want anything. It’s a constant state of yuck in my tummy, like a bad hangover. I’ve opened my barf bag so many times, but I never manage to vomit. I’m starving, but all the options sound disgusting. I only munch on the carbohydrate-laden snacks to settle my poor stomach.

Since I’ve lost all my joy in food and drink and work and activities, since I can’t sleep and I can’t stay awake even long enough to enjoy the in-flight TV, I am losing touch with reality. The recycled air is pumping a certain amount of negativity into my brain, and because of where I sit, I can’t even look out the window to remind myself the sky exists. Luckily, my partner is sitting by the window and is willing to describe to me what he sees from there: a clear sky, a sunset, stars, a moon, pink and purple clouds. But sometimes even his descriptions aren’t enough for me. I want to see it too.

Because of my fragile mental state, I worry about every single bump or patch of turbulence. I sit and fret and ask the people around me if it’s going to be okay, if I’m still going to get there, and some tell me it’s fine. Others try to scare me.

All I have to keep me going is the promise of the destination. My groom-to-be and I are going to live here forever. Where are we headed anyway? Well, I don’t even know its name. All I know is that people who have been there tell me it’s the most rewarding place to live. Which is weird, because the brochures I’ve seen show mostly bleak areas. I realize this is an insane decision to have made, to commit to someplace sight-unseen, and I’m scared, but also excited…because why else would so many people never want to come back?

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Broke and Pregnant

The way we live, me and my fiancé (wow, that’s the first time I’ve written that word), is not the American way.

To us, time is more important than money. Doing what we love makes us feel rich, even if it means we have to buy half our groceries at the 99 Cents Only store.

We’re both actors, and sometimes we get paid handsomely to put our faces in front of a camera. But much of the time, we act for free. I’m a writer, and I do that just for the love. I worked for three years, published a novel, and after sales, I broke about even with my production costs. I’m writing this blog for no reason other than I want to share some real-lady talk in a world full of cutesy mom sites with message boards that employ annoying-ass acronyms. We try not to get discouraged by the fact that this life we love has not yet delivered us riches.

To make money, he referees ice hockey. I babysit. We do promo gigs for different brands. I do catering. We do this only for the money, and we don’t get paid much.

So I’ve been wondering lately with these tots on the way: should I give in to the golden handcuffs? I have a master’s degree in English. I’m sure if I tried hard, I could get a “real” job that filled my pockets and killed my soul at a steady pace. I’d be trading my freedom for a sense of security.

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The cutesy mom sites all assume that everyone works in a cubicle. (‘Cause that’s the American way.) They advise you to check your “employee handbook” and plan your maternity leave wisely. When I read this, I want to gag, thinking of living a lifestyle in which I must refer to a “handbook” or talk to some higher-up in a suit before acting. Ha! As it is, I make my own rules. All my gigs are pretty painless, and none include a boss breathing down my neck. That said, some weeks I just don’t get work. I scrape together the dregs of my checking account to pay rent. It’s okay when it’s just me, but I can’t have that when I’m responsible for the twins.

I love being free. But I don’t want to be scared of not being able to survive. I know there has to be a third option. There has to be some way that I can feel secure and steady but also live of my own volition. They say do what you love and the money will come to you, but I’m willing to compromise a little if I have to.

 

Scary Pregnant Googling

Below is a compiled list of word-for-word Google searches I have done since I found out I was pregnant. Put together in this form, they’re kind of frighteningly beautiful. Maybe I’ll submit them to a literary magazine as a poem entitled, “Crazy Pregnant Lady.”

pregnant and feel useless
writing while pregnant impossible
how much caffeine while pregnant
first trimester no motivation
green tea while pregnant
guayusa safe while pregnant
raw eggs pregnancy usa
pregnancy cat litter
toxoplasmosis
first trimester miscarriage statistics
i am so stressed out about this pregnancy i am terrified
pregnant money worries
first trimester afraid of getting fat
prenatal yoga
stress hurt baby in womb
pregnancy brain changes
best cheap crib
diapers safe for environment
cute 1/4 asian babies
can i surf while pregnant
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Fear of Losing Myself

I grew up with a mom who loved me and my sister more than anyone could possibly love anyone. She would sacrifice anything for us, whether or not we asked for it. Even into our thirties we remain her reason for living, and she spends most of her mental energy worrying about us. I will never be able to repay her for her selflessness, and though I know I have done what is right for me and don’t regret it, I will always feel guilty that I left her and went to live my own life, thousands of miles away.

I hope that I can love my kids as unconditionally as my mother has done. But my greatest fear in having kids is losing myself in that version of love that dissolves my personhood.

The hormones have led to a lot of unnecessary worry about everything, and this has been one of the hot topics. My mom has told me over and over, “You’ll feel differently about your needs and wants after the baby comes.” And I know I will. But every time my mom asks if I need something, all I want to say is, “I need you to take care of yourself.” Seeing her excited about something, proud of herself, and healthy, would be the greatest gift she could give me.

Love manifests in so many different ways for different people. But for me, I don’t want it to manifest as protecting my child from every uncomfortable feeling. I want my version of love to be strong enough to watch them make painful mistakes and to be there when they need me.

My mom gave me every opportunity she could, from sports to art to music. She made sure I had more than what I needed. But I saw her deny herself so much. I want to give my kids those opportunities, too, but I also hope I can model self-love for my children, to show them what it looks like to be interested in life, what it looks like to grow and take risks. I want to continue doing what feeds my soul, and to encourage them to find their own passions, which may or may not be similar to mine.

I want to raise adults who feel empowered and ready to live their lives for themselves when it is time to leave me. I don’t want them to feel encumbered by me; I don’t want them to feel guilty for living their lives instead of mine. I want them to feel steady in themselves, to trust in what they learned because I trusted them to learn it.

I was so lucky to have the mom I had. I know I’ll make mistakes daily; I just hope I can strike a balance between being a mom and being me.