I Can’t Stop Nesting

My new husband and I have accidentally taken very stereotypical roles in preparing for these babies. It’s sickening, biology.

For him, he can’t stop working. It’s all he does. He is trying to save as much money as possible, imagining all these scenarios in which the babies come and suddenly we have no money at all. I have come to take issue with this compulsion of his a few times, like this week. He’s refereed 16 hockey games in the past three days, even though the past two nights he’s come in with chills and a fever he refuses to diagnose by thermometer. He also refuses to get someone to cover for him because “we need the money.” So while I conjure up all these nightmare scenarios in my head of him in a hospital room, I do all I can to take care of him–making him a nutritious breakfast, making sure he drinks an Emergen-C and lots of water–and I try not to worry.

Meanwhile, my estrogen-filled self is compelled to clean everything we own, to get rid of everything unnecessary, and to organize what’s left to “make room” for these rockers and strollers and onesies and bassinets. I spent three hours organizing the pantry and the cabinet under the kitchen sink. I’ve taken three car trips to Salvation Army so far. I took down the curtains and even took the throw pillows out of their cases to wash. I borrowed a caulk gun from a neighbor and re-caulked the whole bathroom. I washed and waxed my car, even scrubbed the upholstery and brought in a Q-tip for all the cracks. And that’s only the beginning of my nesting to-do list.

At least it feels satisfyingly reassuring when I see my handiwork. Maybe that’s how Kai feels when he deposits his checks, even with trembling hands and a fever.

Halfway There (Gender Spoiler Alert!)

This week has been so full of happiness and good vibes. It just goes to show the truth in the quote my sister always reminds me of: “If you’re having a bad day…just wait. It’ll turn around. If you’re having a good day…just wait. It’ll turn around.”

After we had such a wonderful wedding on Friday, I had a relaxing weekend, followed by a flurry of creative writing with my partners, because we are almost finished with ten episodes of a series that is soon to be filmed and paid for…not by us, but by a company!

Then, Kai and I went for our 20-week ultrasound. It took so long for the doctors to thoroughly examine each twin that the goo they put on my belly started to dry. But it was worth it, because not only did we find out that both of them were good-sized and fully formed and healthy (and crazy…kicking each other in the heads and dancing the whole time), but also we found out their genders!

I am not super motivated to do some gender-reveal photo shoot…maybe because I’ve been sharing wedding photos and baby propaganda for a couple of weeks and I’m pretty sure people are tired of looking at me…so I will reveal it through these cute mice in a matchbox that a friend got for us.

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I took a poll and while a lot of people predicted the twins would be two girls, the majority, including my mom, Kai’s mom, my sister, and my best friends, predicted it would be a boy and a girl. Very few people guessed two boys.

And guess who won?

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Majority rules! I had also felt this whole time that I had a girl on my left and a boy on my right, (though I started to doubt myself a few weeks ago when I met an old Chinese healer man at a farmers market who predicted two girls). But my intuition, as usual, was right!

Kai and I watched the ultrasound screen together, wondering when the doctor would stop measuring bones and finally tell us, and when she did, we felt like we were living in a dream. How could I be here right now, married to the love of my life and four months away from being a mother to a son and a daughter, when four years ago I was at the rock-bottom dregs of despair, and a year ago I was blithely coasting, unsure of everything in my life? There are ups and downs always to remind me how to feel, but ultimately I sense the world showering me with abundance right now, and I’m excited for what else is to come.

Thank God for Wedding Day

Ten Reasons I was in Hell for Two Weeks Prior to the Wedding

I had a really hard couple of weeks leading up until St. Patrick’s Day, which was also our wedding day. I will elucidate the reasons. (1) I began working over an hour’s drive away for a lady who, to put it bluntly, made me feel like I was having a nervous breakdown every time I was around her, such was her anxiety and need for control. Why did I start such a job at 18 weeks pregnant with twins, you ask? Well, because (2) I was broke as ever, freaking out about barely having enough money for my own half of the rent, let alone twins on their way in four months. In addition to that stressful job, I had (Reason 3) about five other odd jobs I had agreed to take on weeks ago when I couldn’t find any work at all. So (4) I was spending every second of every day in my car driving around to these jobs, which meant (5) I had no time for exercise or relaxation or taking care of myself. Thus (6) my body felt like it had been in a trash compactor and all the food I ate was what I packed in lunchboxes for myself through the day or what I bought cheaply from some crappy fast food place along the way. I was changing clothes in my car up to three times a day, depending on auditions or gigs I had. I was meditating in my car, crying in my car, aching in my car. On top of that, I have a writing job (not paying yet, but we have a company interested in funding us) that I actually do want to do. Besides spending time with my man, nesting, doing yoga, eating, and sleeping, this is the only thing I actually give a crap about, and (7) because of all this other shit, I was having to wait til the last possible minute to actually get my writing done, constantly feeling like a mess of a human who was letting my writing partners down. So with all of that, in addition to the (8) standard pregnancy symptoms of exhaustion, brain fog ,and hormonal anger/sadness, it’s not surprising that (9) Kai and I were not getting along. I was a total mess, and I wasn’t ever home, but when I was, he was also exhausted from working so much and just couldn’t be there for me like I needed. It was a lot of struggle. I called every therapist, friend, and family member I could for help. Oh and to put the icing on the cake, I had gotten a callback for a very prestigious national commercial a few days before the wedding. Guess when it was shooting? On our wedding day. So in addition to all the aforementioned stress,  (10) I was terrified I might get the job and have no choice, being so poor, but to take it, and have to reschedule our wedding.

 

…Then the Day Came to Save Us

Needless to say, as stressed and hormonal as I was, my expectations weren’t too high for our wedding day. I was glad to be marrying this wonderful man, the father of my children, but I was sure the day itself would be as stressful as every other day I’d been growing accustomed to lately. By the night before, there was no word from the commercial, so I had dodged that bullet. Our wedding would happen as planned. I had also informed Stressful Lady and all my other gigs that Friday I was not available for anything. Also, Kai and I worked out our arguments, understanding that both of us were going through a lot. The night before, I looked back on all my journals since I’d met him and made him a little book of all the entries where I had said I knew he was the one, or dreamed of marrying him. They dated back to four years ago, after we’d been dating only two months.

When the morning came, instead of waking up at 7, I I left my phone on silent and didn’t check any texts (and, yes, there were some asking “Ginger, can you be here at ___ time to do ___ thing for me?” NO.) I woke up beside the love of my life and the sun was shining in the windows. I made us pancakes and he made coffee, and we played acoustic love songs and enjoyed a lazy morning. His parents arrived as we were getting ready. In our finery, we got our things together and left for the courthouse. On the way I pulled some jasmine off one of the vines on 16th Street and fixed my hair in the car. Kai looked so handsome, and I felt as pretty as I ever have, as if my growing excitement was shining from within. I couldn’t believe how smoothly and stress-free this all was going.

We could only invite twenty people, and those were all family members or our oldest and closest L.A. friends–the ones we’ve shared the good and bad with over the years–and it began to dawn on us how special this getting married thing actually was. Where before, we knew our level of commitment, now, all these people we cared about were so excited for us. Now they knew, too. Even strangers on the street would clap and congratulate us as we passed. It felt like the whole world was rooting for our love, and nothing has ever felt more right.

I was so glad we didn’t have some overblown, shallow wedding with music and bridesmaids’ dresses and a party with a DJ. I really just wanted him, and he wanted me, and it just so happened that there were a few other people who cared to share these moments with us. We ate at a Santa Monica restaurant afterward, and then walked down to Ocean Avenue to our little surf hotel, where the nice guy working there had upgraded us to their largest suite because he was also rooting for our love. Our friends and family drank a little, and I got to have a glass of champagne, and we talked for a couple hours, then they left us to slow dance alone in our room, husband and wife.

In my journal three years ago, I had said that our wedding day would be one of the happiest days of my life. I have never experienced anything like it before, but I was right. Neither of us could stop smiling, and it still feels beautifully surreal to be a “real” family.

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.

 

Live Reactions to an Unplanned Pregnancy

I’m 15-and-a-half weeks pregnant now, and we’ve sent out little twin announcements to family and friends, though we haven’t told the world at large yet. (I’m planning on doing that this week, after my next ultrasound.)

My belly popped out a little this week. It’s only noticeable if I wear something tight, but I’m showing just enough to merit the “is she or isn’t she” stares, especially from people I haven’t seen in a while. So I’ve been telling the news to all the gawkers, partly because I’m excited, partly because I hate pity-looks from those who think I’ve “let myself go.” This means I’ve told all different kinds of people by word-of-mouth. And I’ve received all different kinds of reactions.

Here are the types of reactions I welcome:
-“Congratulations! You’re going to be such a great mom!” (Aw. Thank you. I am reading all the books.)
-“Do you know if they’re fraternal or identical? Do you know the genders?” (Not yet, but they’re in two separate sacs with separate placentas. Hopefully we will know the genders soon.)
-“Those are going to be some gorgeous babies.” (My fiancé is breathtakingly handsome. Thank you.)
-“When did you find out? When are you due?” (We found out about the pregnancy in December, the twins in February. We’re due in August.)
-“Is your family excited?” (So excited. My parents are going to go from having zero grandchildren to three!)
-“I’ve always wanted twins. Or to be a twin.” (I’ve never thought about that, but it does sound pretty cool.)

Here are the types of comments that are pretty irritating: 
-“Congratulations. I think. You’re keeping them, right?” (Dude, if I wasn’t keeping them, why would I be announcing this to you?)
-*Blank stare* (Well, you suck.)
-“Did you get in-vitro?” (Nope. The whole pregnancy was unplanned. But thanks for your concern about my possible infertility.)
-“Don’t even think about lifting that! Put that down!” (I’m pregnant; I’m not an invalid for God’s sake! If this thing I’m lifting was too heavy for me, trust me: I wouldn’t be lifting it.)
-“Kai must be one potent guy.” (Yes, he is. But I drop two eggs and you don’t give me any credit for potency?)
-“I thought that’s why you might have gotten engaged.” (Gee, thanks for the vote of confidence. You’re right: Kai would definitely never marry me unless he was forced to at shotgun.)
-“Get ready to never sleep again!” (Get ready for my fist in your face!)
-“Well, get ready for your stomach to be sliced open.” (Actually, 56 percent of twin moms deliver both twins vaginally.)
-“You’re going to gain so much weight!” (Yeah, and I’m going to lose it when I’m burning 1,000 calories a day breastfeeding TWINS.)

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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The Mom-to-Be Identity Shift

At 13 Weeks I’m not really showing, and we aren’t going to make a public announcement of our future babies for another week or so, after we send out these cutesy postcards to our families and close friends. So only our immediate families and the people we see in everyday life know about the babies. But I know. I know I am a different person already. Now that I’m pregnant, I have a new identity whether I like it or not.

In L.A. I have friends for all occasions and purposes thanks to the many interesting and inspiring people here. But with my new priorities, not all my former friends are going to make the cut for being friends with “Mom” me. And for some friends, I’m not going to make their cut, now that I’m a matronly old bag.

Below is a table of my friend categories and how our relationships have (or will) change since I’ve taken on this new identity.

Friend Type Pre-Preggers Relationship Post-Preggers Relationship
 Go-Out Friends These are twenty-somethings who are full of energy and always searching for something in life. I only see them in groups when we go together to a bar or party. I usually attend the get-together for a couple of hours and slip out quietly, alone. I’m not interested in being part of any kind of rowdy group these days. I can’t drink, I have no energy for boisterous conversation, noise gives me a headache, and I’m too tired to stay up past 8 most nights. Not to mention these friends constantly take photos of their fun times for social media, and I’m looking a bit chubby since I’ve gained ten pounds and have no visible “baby bump.” Verdict: Count me out.
Hot Mess Friends Much like the the Go-Out friends, my Hot Mess friends are twenty-something, searching, and constantly in a state of personal turmoil. But I’m closer to these friends. Instead of going somewhere in a group, I hang out with these friends one-on-one. They usually come over to my place. I give them food, wine, and weed, and we get slightly cross-faded while I act as their drunk therapist and give them nuggets of hope. They listen to my stories, too, and sometimes we break into song until my neighbors yell at us. These are lovely people I care about muchly. I do enjoy their company, but often after hanging out with them, I’ve found I feel depleted, just from all the existential angst they are carrying around. These friends really care about shit that doesn’t matter, but they won’t realize how much it doesn’t matter for another 4-7 years, so all I can do is listen and say, “I’ve been there.” Verdict: I am not equipped to hang out with these friends while sober, and I don’t want to soak in any unnecessary negative energy. I am putting these friendships on indefinite pause.
 

Productive Activity friends

These are either the artist friends I mostly see when we are working on a writing or movie-making project together, or the people I go to fitness classes or movies or community events with. We do go deep and get personal, but only for a couple of hours at a time. We get along great but have our own lives that don’t necessarily intersect. We have dinner occasionally, but most the time we’re too busy working on art or doing activities. I’m still yearning to be productive, and with my pregnant mush-brain, these guys are almost my only hope of staying on track. They keep me writing, keep me active, keep me engaged. They are mature 30-somethings, so they at least pretend to understand my struggles and even share theirs for creative fodder. Verdict: I’ll take as many of these friends as I can get.
 Soulmates These friends come in all ages, from 20-something to 60-something. They are the friends who have seen me sad, happy, angry, and crazy. They’re the ones I can be around whatever the circumstance, sober as a nun. We have a spiritual connection and we talk about matters of the spirit. Our friendships are 50-50; we give as much as we get from them. These are strong, unique humans who are committed to growing better all the time. They know the real me and we don’t have to try to impress each other or find activities to make our time together less awkward. We can just “be,” and being with them replenishes me rather than depletes me. Verdict: I can’t do without these friends. They make pregnancy (and life) easier.
New Friends / Friends I Haven’t Seen in Years  These are people I liked from the beginning. Some I just met a few months ago and hoped we could become friends. Some are people I’ve considered “close friends” at some point, but for L.A. reasons, we’ve had to postpone our plans so often that I only physically see them once a year. We liked each other when I was not pregnant. It’s safe to assume that we’ll still like each other now that I am. However, without the normal buffers of drinks or dangerous sporting activities that mark the beginnings of relationships in my world, it may be difficult to get this friendship off the ground. Verdict: It’s up to them. If they can see the real me beneath the boring, farting, teetotaling geezer I’ve become, then I’m open.

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.