April 28, 2018

I’m not sure if I mentioned this before, but I have a five year-old son who is on the spectrum. He’s very intelligent and creative, and mainly deals with some verbal and cognitive issues. He’s wonderfully loving and his sense of humor is amazing. I couldn’t ask for a better child.

When I first told him about the pregnancy, he insisted he wanted a sister. We allowed him to come with us to the anatomy scan so he could see the ultrasound and learn the sex of the new baby with us. He found the ultrasound really fascinating, and I think it made everything more real for him. He still insisted he was getting a sister, despite us telling him that no, the baby was a boy. It’s taken a little explaining for him to understand that I can’t just pick what sex the new baby will be.

Items for our new child have started arriving, including a pack-and-play. My son adored the pack-and-play when he was younger. He’d climb into it to nap or watch TV, or play. Seeing a box for one got him very interested, as well as the picture of a baby on the box. He asked if that was his brother, and I told him that no, the baby was still in my belly. He asked if the baby could sleep in his room, that the baby would be very cute, etc. It warmed my heart to hear him start to show interest in the pregnancy (I know that at 5 years old, waiting nine months must feel like a lifetime).

I was imagining my son growing up with a little brother and was suddenly worried about how that could go. What if this child isn’t on the spectrum? What if this child is neuro-typical and rejects him? What if my older son realizes he’s a little different? The children in his pre-k class all adore him and treat him well, but none of them live with us. What might having a neuro-typical child mean?

I brought this up with my partner last night, and he immediately assured me that he’d already looked into it. He said everything he read suggested that children (especially at a young age) know right away when someone is different, but that it usually leads to a loving and protective relationship. That even if this new baby is NT (neuro-typical), he’ll view my older son as his big brother and love him all the more for it. That we’ll raise them to be good and loving children who are understanding and accepting.

I felt a lot better after discussing it. I have to remember too, just how the other kids react to my son. When we go to the park he has no qualms running over to a group of kids and asking them to play, and they all readily agree. When I drop him off at school and we walk through the door, most of the kids call out to him to say good morning, or ask him to sit with them. He even has a classmate who seems to understand his needs and behavior, and is extra patient with him, rubs his back whenever he gets a little anxious, reminds him a few times about what activity they’re doing if my son gets distracted/off track.

I don’t know if people realize how much encouraging empathy and compassion in their children can mean to someone else. I’m chronically ill myself, and I have very vivid memories of children being less than understanding and kind, even from a very young age. I think each generation is teaching their children to be more aware and kind to one another, and I can tell you hands-down that it’s greatly appreciated and never goes unnoticed.

With those fears and anxieties calmed a bit, I’m left to focus on other things. I’ve been a bit more active since the weather has been so beautiful. I’ll hike 3 miles at a time as often as I can. I’m lifting weights a bit at home, still. All I need to do is wrangle in my eating habits. I don’t eat junk food, but the amount that I’ve been eating has been far too much. Binge eating is really, really difficult to control and get a handle on. I know it’s a mental struggle and I’m trying my best to combat it. I’m going to try meal planning and give that a go.

I’m also researching hypno-birthing and reading Childbirth Without Fear. I want this labor to be unmedicated, and I’m looking into everything I can to help that to happen. With my first son, I had an epidural. My contractions were spinal contractions and excruciating, and I was barely able to move. However, having the epidural meant I was confined to my bed for the entire labor and delivery and it was incredibly boring. I want to be able to move while I labor.

If the pain becomes overwhelming, I’ll definitely consider my options but for now, I’m set on having as natural a birth as possible.

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April 20, 2018

I’m officially six months pregnant.

Physically, I feel a bit awkward but I’m definitely more energetic. I still feel tired and find myself falling asleep fairly early in the evening though. The baby is very active and I swear his kicks get stronger every day.

Also, this baby is a boy.

I was somewhat disappointed at first. We’d really been hoping to experience raising a girl, but the more I thought about it, the happier I was with the news. I love my son. The idea of raising two boys just seems right. My son is now excited to have another pirate to play with in a few years, too.

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The weather is (slowly) getting warmer. There are still bouts of snow but at least it’s just flurries and nothing has been sticking. I see the sun more often and we had two days of near-summer temperatures. I took advantage of that week and did some hiking.  There’s something about seeing the earth thaw and start to come back to life that feels invigorating. I walk my favorite trails and I love imagining taking my whole family there. Baby strapped to me, my son walking along with us, my partner with us as well.

 

It’s been dreary and cold the past few days, but the sun is back today and it should climb up to the 50s. I’ve been making homemade ginger/honey/lemon tea like crazy lately, and I love making some to take on a hike with me as well. I’m planning on exercising a bit, going for a hike, and then my partner and I are grabbing dinner with friends and seeing a concert.

As for attempting to go vegan, I’ve done well the past few days. I’ve become obsessed with avocado toast (whole grain Killer Dave’s bread with one mini avocado mashed with diced tomatoes, fresh garlic, lemon juice and pepper) and coffee with Silk almond creamer for breakfast, salads of baby spinach, chopped veggies and a citrus dressing for lunch, and veggies with quinoa and coconut aminos for dinner. All the veggies, all the fruit, all the yum.

My skin care and makeup are also cruelty free now. I just need to invest in hair care that’s cruelty free, too.

I’d also love to purge my closet. The urge to nest is real. I want to purge, organize and clean everything. I know we still have plenty of time (my partner reminded me that we have 16 weeks to go), but I’m feeling excited and anxious and this feels like a healthy way to deal with that.

For now, I’m finishing my coffee and then it’s off to exercise (weights and yoga) and hike.

Here’s to a beautiful day.

February 28, 2018

M’s birthday came and went, and my old diet along with it. Even so, those eggs and dairy bested me for a bit, but I’ve now managed two days of a truly vegan diet with no issues.

This morning was vegan blueberry pancakes (in honor of National Pancake Day, which I missed yesterday). Lunch was veggies and garlic roasted hummus (I need to start making my own again). I still feel relatively full from that, however, so dinner will be light. Yesterday was a salad, and tonight I’m thinking some greens with bell peppers, tomatoes, some diced apple, some mango and a citrus/ginger dressing. The dressing is beyond amazing.

This week has been all about evaluating where I’m at in every aspect of my life.

  • Am I happy with where I’m at financially? No. Is there a good job opportunity I’ve been putting off? Yes. Am I officially looking into it? You betcha.
  • Are there people in my life who have been a negative and toxic influence? Yes. Have I been making or accepting excuses for their behavior? Yes. Am I now practicing setting boundaries with those people? Absolutely.
  • Physically, even if I’m having a day where I feel exhausted or sick, is there anything I can do to stay a little active? I certainly can. I re-downloaded my favorite yoga app and squeezed in a 30 minute session. Even nauseous and exhausted, the ‘beginner’ setting was just enough to make my muscles feel relaxed without over-taxing them.
  • Is there any reason not to stick to a vegan and cruelty-free lifestyle now? Nope.

It feels good to be getting back to good self-care, even if it’s just covering the most basic areas. I started journaling again. I’m taking stock of the things I’m grateful for and that make me happy.

I even tried something new for my anxiety, which has been a big issue for the past few weeks. I’m typically an anxious person to begin with, but lately it’s been borderline out of control. My mind felt totally over-stimulated today. Lots of racing thoughts and almost physical discomfort, and a massive sense of feeling overwhelmed. Normally, I distract myself with anything and everything. I’ll play music, or a game, or watch a show. Anything to keep myself from being present (and for someone who prides herself on her spirituality, that is an absolutely appalling  thing to want to achieve). At times I literally had Netflix on the TV, Youtube playing on my computer and was scrolling through facebook on my phone.

The mental gymnastics were amazing.

Today, the moment that feeling kicked in, I tried something new.

I shut off everything.

There was no TV. No music playing. I put my phone down on the charger and walked away from it. I cleaned, instead. I folded laundry. I washed the dishes. I swept the floor, all in complete silence.

And it was wonderful. 

My mind immediately calmed and muted. The anxiety receded almost entirely. I could actually hear myself think. No more thousand-thoughts-a-second. No more fearing being present. I was present, and I was okay. It was so blissful that I could have cried. I wondered if other people suffering from anxiety had tried this. I’ve heard of breathing exercises and apps that played soothing music, but has anyone just tried standing still in silence?

10/10, would highly recommend giving it a go.

And with all of that, today has been wonderful. Despite moments of stress, despite nausea and fatigue and feeling like general crap, today was a good day. My mind is at ease, and I am so grateful for this.

Here’s to finding ways to make tomorrow good as well.

February 21, 2018

Today was not a good day for the Vegan Lifestyle Overhaul I intended.

I’ve been trying to be good about it; both the dietary change as well as healthier choices in general. I’m 16 weeks pregnant with my second child. I’ve put on significantly more weight than I ever intended to within these 16 weeks and I need to slow it down, if not reverse it a little. I have a good plan of attack for it. My discipline in carrying out this Grand Plan has been dismal.

Breakfast today was vegan buckwheat chocolate chip and banana pancakes, which I split with my son. I wound up meeting with my ex-husband and my ex-mother in-law after dropping the kiddo off  at school to discuss his assessment coming up for entering kindergarten, then headed to the gym. I focused on upper body today (biceps, shoulders, chest, back and triceps). After lifting, I met up with a friend for something to eat and my Grand Vegan Plan went out the window. Eggs with veggies and cheese. Eggs and dairy.

Damn it.

I went for a quick hike afterward, then picked up the kiddo and grabbed ice cream as well as some time at the park.

Again, dairy. Again, damn it.

Now that we’re home, I intend to have Banza pasta for dinner. It’s made of chick peas and packs 25 grams of protein, which is fairly amazing. Topping that off with some veggies (sauteed without oil) and a mushroom pasta sauce. The craving for mushrooms is real today.

Tomorrow is another day and I intend to do better. I’m satisfied with my activity level today, but nutrition is always the most difficult for me to reign in. It’s so discouraging. This Friday is the boyfriend’s birthday dinner, and of course he wants to go to a steak house. He’s a definite carnivore, and I have no qualms with that, but this birthday is going to be tough. They literally only offer meet as an option, so I’m guessing the Grand Vegan Plan is going to be compromised.

For now, I’m going to focus on tomorrow. Utilizing the MyFitnessPal app has been helpful and I need to remember to log everything again tomorrow.

Until then, my vegan-struggling friends.