I Can Still Be Surprised


Hello friends! Thank you so much for your patience and forebearance with my spotty posting these past few months. The last trimester with Baby4 was rough. I pretty much put myself on self-imposed bedrest because being physically upright was painful and hard and awful.

Thank goodness Hapa Papa has a flexible work schedule and job because otherwise, my children would have been orphaned. Or I would have been even more miserable.

But it was all worth it (already, the pain and discomfort and ooze of pregnancy are fading into my typical post-partum amnesia) because now, Baby4 aka Sasquatch is here!

I must confess, though. I thought since Sasquatch was my 4th child, I would be prepared for most things. Certainly I wouldn’t be surprised by anything, right?

Oh, how lovely it is to be wrong in only the most delightful of ways.

Here then, are a few of the ways I have been surprised by the arrival of baby number four. (Or as Hapa Papa occasionally calls him, “The New One.”)

1) All new babies are the same. 

No, I am serious. At first I just thought all my babies were the same. But then I realized that all babies are the same.

They all are squishy and lovable and new and have that smell! That glorious smell! And they all mewl and mutter and burble and snarfle and their sounds are perfect.

And they all scrunch up their faces and do moose hands and have funny expressions and get milk drunk (or formula drunk) and are fantastically new.

2) I never get sick of judgmental babies. 


Few things are as hilarious as angry nursing and angry babies. I mean, they are so dramatic. But I guess everything is new to them so yes, being hungry is the worst thing that has ever happened to them because hey! They have never been hungry before! Or wet. Or tired. Or hot. Or cold. Or out.

Everything is new.

3) It is possible to call a brand new baby the wrong name before they have even heard their actual name. 

I may or may not have called Sasquatch by Glow Worm’s name within seconds of holding him in my arms. And also, perhaps for the first 2-3 weeks of his life.

I am only finally now getting used to his name. Until very recently, when people asked me how Sasquatch was doing, I would be confused momentarily and go, “Who?” before I realized who they were talking about.

Yes. I know.

Worst mother ever.

To be fair, I do have a lot of children and he is brand new.

Thank goodness I am Chinese so when in doubt, I just call him 弟弟 (di4 di5/little brother).

4) Who knew that some of the best parts of having a new baby was watching your older kids fall in love?

Cookie Monster and Gamera were a little too young to process or understand what was going on when Glow Worm was born, but they certainly are old enough now.

They adore Sasquatch.

I wasn’t expecting just how much they would love him or want to be near him or hold him.

I mean, I wasn’t expecting them to be indifferent, I just wasn’t prepared for the outpouring of love and devotion.

Glow Worm isn’t in love with Sasquatch but he isn’t jealous, either. He has been surprisingly good about the whole thing (though I know he misses me).

5) I never realized I would be tandem breastfeeding. 

This is how I know Glow Worm misses me: he started nursing again.

That’s right. Glow Worm has decided to restart the boob.

He only nurses briefly when he wakes up and right before he goes to sleep. It doesn’t really bother me because I know it’s his way of claiming me and reassuring himself that he is still my baby. I find it rather sweet, actually.

But wow. I did not see it coming.

6) I am likely jinxing the whole thing but I am shocked at how easy things have been. 

I don’t know if it’s been easy for Hapa Papa since he’s the single father of three kids while I’m the single mother of a newborn, but I thought it would be more difficult.

Quite possibly, it is because we are both deaf to crying and screaming so it just doesn’t phase us – no matter who is doing the crying or screaming.

Don’t be too mad at us. Sasquatch is still new. I am sure he’ll knock our smugness out of the park with something soon.

7) As soon as I gave birth to a small sized turkey from my vagina (did I mention he was 9lbs 6oz?!?), my shitty mood for the last 39 weeks and 5 days disappeared. 

I guess being in constant pain and discomfort can really wear on a person.

Again, I really hope I’m not jinxing this, but I haven’t been in this good of a mood in a really long time. And trust me when I say that I am pretty tired still and feel overwhelmed on occasion but ultimately, STILL BETTER THAN BEING PREGNANT.

8) I missed Glow Worm the most during my time spent with Sasquatch. 

I am not sure why it doesn’t seem as if I am not spending less time with Cookie Monster or Gamera. Maybe it’s because they are older and better communicators. But whatever the reason, I miss Glow Worm the most.

Perhaps because he was the baby for three years and is still so small and cuddly and needy (though he sure doesn’t act like it). And perhaps because though he recently finally started talking (and talking a lot), he still babbles like a toddler and I feel as if we do not connect as much unless it’s us spending actual time together.

Whatever the reason, I am grateful for our cozying at night when Sasquatch is asleep and I can hug and kiss Glow Worm to my heart’s content (or at least until he’s had his fill of my affection, pushes me away, turns his back on me, and falls asleep).

Alright. This is probably all the coherent thought I can string together at one time. Mostly because I am starving and don’t want to get hangry.

See you Wednesday!

Scattershot

My mind is totally everywhere right now and while I’m sure each individual thought is snowflake-esque and definitely brilliant material enough to generate a post of its own because I am a font of hilarity, alas, it is not to be.

And so you, Dear Reader, are forced to read only half germinated thoughts and be satisfied with being genius adjacent versus actual witnesses.

Anyway…

Here then is another one of my lists of random thoughts. You’re welcome.

1) I have been super cranky with the kids lately. So much so that even Hapa Papa thinks I’ve gone a bit nuts. (He particularly thinks it’s bad that I’ve stopped caring about swearing in front of the kids. My thinking is, that ship has long sailed away.)

2) I’m really enjoying my “looser” schedule for this homeschooling year. Still a lot of crap and driving – but much easier than last year and I better remember to keep all that “empty” space open. Easier to homeschool when there is actually time to do so.

3) I’m about 6 weeks out from Induction Wednesday.

I thought it was going to be Induction Tuesday. I am beyond sad that Induction Day has been pushed back an entire 24 hours.

Look. Obviously, I know that babies are better growing on the inside of my uterus. No lectures about any prenatal health, etc. This is my FOURTH kid. Keep your scintillating knowledge to yourself. I likely have read it at least a hundred million times.

HOWEVER.

I’m at that point where I really no longer wish to be pregnant.

I am constantly in a state of discomfort. (In fact, I think I’ve been uncomfortable almost every single day of this pregnancy.) And truthfully, I have had a very easy and uneventful pregnancy (as were my other three).

Obviously, super grateful for healthy babies and pregnancies and all this healthy stuff.

AND STILL.

I look like I swallowed a basketball.

Everything hurts.

I am ALWAYS uncomfortable.

I want to be unpregnant.

4) Of course, then I remember that to be unpregnant, I will have a newly minted NEWBORN in my life again. Which, although lovely and wonderful and yay for new baby smell and potential new fat baby snarfing, OMG WHAT HAVE WE DONE WE ARE THE STUPIDEST OF HUMANS WE HAVE RUINED EVERYTHING.

I mean, um, YAY BABIES!

5) Seriously. WTF HAVE WE DONE?

6) Oh, and remember when I mentioned that my vagina constantly feels like it has something stuck in it? According to my OB/GYN, that is totally normal because my vaginal tissues are swollen and full of blood because of this pregnancy – and each pregnancy increases the swelling. So, the reason my vagina feels full? IT IS. FULL OF THE BLOODS.

You’re welcome for that fun factoid.

7) When my mom comes by and takes all three kids out to dinner and they come back fed and happy and tired and slightly wired from froyo?

AWESOME.

8) Even better when I’m not home when they come back and Hapa Papa bathes them and puts them into bed and I come home after consuming unholy amounts of boba and beef stroganoff (I was on a mission today to get some and get some I did) and hanging out with a friend and all I have to do is look at their angelic sleeping faces.

That is the only time they are still, angelic, or silent.

9) Baby4 better be an extrovert or they’re going to have a rough go in this family. Because for realz, there is NEVER silence. They will NEVER be alone. It seems cruel to bring an introvert into the house.

10) Speaking of boba, I was at my local boba place and clearly, I wandered back in time to when every single asshole Asian dude I remember hating in college was in the parking lot showing off their shitty sports cars.

Sorry. Just because your Kia Rio has fancy lights on the outside does not make it cool. Or hot. Or sexy. It makes you sad.

11) That said, I suppose it’s rude to judge people by their outward appearances. And prejudiced. And really, why can’t I let them live? Who cares if they like to show off sub-par cars or the cars their parents bought them? What’s it to me?

Nothing. Nothing at all.

But I still judge. Because FFS.

12) I take an inordinate amount of pleasure in denying people membership to Facebook groups when they do not follow the very simple and specific directions I post as an admin.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before.

It bears repeating.

I know. I’m petty. No one is surprised.

13) I’ve been MIA from blogging because I have been busy working on my ebook that I want to get out before Baby4 shows up (at which point, everything will grind to a halt). I’m at the 90% point but definitely at the point where all the low hanging fruit has been picked and everything left is either hard or tedious.

I WILL FINISH THIS OR DIE TRYING.

14) Ok. Maybe not die.

15) When I start online shopping, I shop like I’m trying to win an award or something for most things purchased in short order and without much consideration.

I really should stop doing that.

16) My awesome Black & Decker handheld vacuum that I got for $25 years and years ago died today. I felt my soul cry. Then I had a soul cry that I had a soul cry about it.

17) What’s that you say? Just replace it?

I am. But it is no longer $25. It is considerably more.

This just compounds the soul cry.

18) Ever since I’ve cut down on my kids’ screen time, they play together a lot more and play with our toys a lot more. I know it’s obvious but why do I always forget?

19) I am always thirsty.

20) Corollary: I am always peeing.

21) According to Hapa PapaGlow Worm has seen lots of zombie related videos because he is often pretending to be a zombie. He also pretends to EAT YOUR INTESTINES.

Glow Worm is three.

We win at parenting.

22) When I was showering with Gamera the other day, she pointed to my nipples and asked why they were like the nipples on the goats they milked the other day. She said mine were the same color just not as long.

I blathered something about mammals and milk.

I tried not to laugh and despair simultaneously.

23) Then, Glow Worm decided he wanted milk from my breasts. I thought he would nurse so I said, go ahead. He said he was scared. I told him there was nothing to be scared about.

He came to me and squeezed really hard on my breast. Then, he said, “Not working!” when no milk came out.

He nursed for over 2.5 years and clearly has no memory whatsoever of the experience.

Apparently mammary glands (mine, specifically) were the educational topic of the day. Homeschooling WIN.

24) I really want to see every Daniel Wu movie ever made because he is so hot and even more so now that he is in his 40s.

Oh, who am I kidding? I rarely watch films because I am so lazy. (You have to be a special type of lazy to be too lazy to WATCH a MOVIE.)

I will just stare at pics of him on the internetz instead.

25) I currently sound like a person who smokes two packs a day. I’ve been fighting a sore throat on and off for about a week. Nothing terrible and the essential oils have been helping. But I still sound like Selma on The Simpsons.

26) I always have the most fun with these types of posts because I indulge in pretty much every non sequitur comment that passes through my brain because I find it funny.

Yeah, I said it. I’m my own biggest fan.

Alright. I think I have burbled on enough and will let you lovely people carry on with your Mondays. Have a great day.

Runaway Brain


So, my third trimester insomnia has hit full on (likely aided by jetlag and shitty kids who are so jetlagged that they’ve gone insane) and even though I’m exhausted and sleep-deprived, I still don’t go to sleep because I’m stupid.

I know there are essential oils I could be using, but frankly, I kinda like the extra time it gives me to do things I want to get done but it’s somewhat impossible with three horrible (I mean, lovely) children competing for my attention.

So, I have a bunch of things on my mind (both to do and to think about) and I guess that means it’s time for another mental flotsam post wherein I just list a bunch of crap that’s running through my restless mind.

YMMV in terms of how useful or interesting these thoughts are, but my long time readers are used to these posts by now so I’m not really too concerned about it.

OKOKOKOK, here we go:

1) So You Think You Can Dance: Next Generation is making me miss their regular show. On the one hand, the kids are really good. On the other, I feel weird watching kids dance in sometimes adult ways.

However, I am appreciating the hotness of several of the allstars. (I’m looking at you, Marko! RAWR! Especially after that hip hop number and his swag/old man shuffle at the end. *drools*)

2) In a related note, I really want a moto jacket.

But let’s be real. I don’t really ever wear jackets (even in winter) because I’m rarely outside long enough to require it.

Also, I think I’m overestimating my coolness factor.

Ah well. A girl can dream.

3) I love writing things in my planner that I’ve already done and then crossing them out.

4) Finally cleared out and cleaned my kitchen table. It’s beautiful.

It won’t last, of course. Because LIFE.

But for now, I love it.

4) I accidentally left the lights on in my minivan all day and completely drained the battery. Thank goodness for AAA who can come to our house and replace it for approximately the same price that it would cost for me to go out and buy a battery and install it.

This was way easier.

5) My kids are still really jetlagged and it makes the normal awful bedtime even worse. Like a bjillion times worse.

Nothing like putting my children to bed with the dulcet sounds of my screaming invectives and threats and their loud weeping.

6) Speaking of weeping, Gamera is driving me insane.

All this girl does is cry and whine and cry.

She literally cries over EVERYTHING.

I find myself unsympathetic – which likely just makes things worse.

It doesn’t help that she is the slowest human alive and perhaps it’s a super power of hers because maybe she’s actually trapped in a time bubble and everyone else is going at normal speed and she’s at 1/20th speed and thus will age at 1/20th the rate and will end up being immortal.

Her powers are lost on me because it just makes me erupt in a rage. I’m a very task-oriented person and when I want shit done, that shit better get done instantaneously.

Instantaneous is not a term Gamera is at all familiar with. Unless it refers to how quickly she will cry.

7) My poor mother ended up taking out all three of my kids to dinner because Glow Worm absolutely refused to get out of her car with the other kids because he really really really wanted to be big and hang out with his older brother and sister.

I didn’t mind, but I’m sure my mother did.

Glow Worm had a deliriously happy time.

8) Guavarama came by and organized my Chinese library into a cohesive unit (vs the random pile/shoved bookshelves/floor upon which they were stacked). They are arranged by levels and size and prettiness and quite frankly, it’s a beauty to behold.

It has made me 10x happier.

I am now researching library labels. It’s a sickness, people.

9) I can’t believe I’m home. It’s both wonderful and sad.

When I first got home, I was kinda pissed and shocked at how incredibly dirty and disgusting my house was. After all, didn’t I leave it in pristine condition because I spent all week prior to our trip cleaning it?

How did Hapa Papa fuck up my house in just four weeks?

I was especially mad because before I left, I was frantically cleaning the house and vacuuming – which is really much more than vacuuming because you have to clean up the floor enough for you to have something to vacuum.

Anyhow, Hapa Papa told me to stop and leave all the vacuuming to him because it was exhausting me and he had nothing but time. He talked a good game and it was the ONLY thing I asked him to do when I was gone.

So, imagine my surprise (and complete fury) when a week before we were about to head home from Taiwan, I asked Hapa Papa if he vacuumed and he just had a blank look on his face because he had no clue what I was talking about.

I asked him to do ONE THING! FFS!!

Sigh.

But anyway, when I got home, I initially blamed Hapa Papa for the gross state of our house. Then, I remembered that despite my cleaning, it’s not as if our house was immaculate before I left.

I mean, it was relatively less grimy, but by no means was it tidy or neat or bereft of clutter and dirt.

It was just hard to go from a modern, clean, minimalist 800 sqft apartment where each person has max five changes of clothes and we barely own anything except the stuff I bought in Taiwan to our 2,300 sqft home that practically bursts at the seams with stuff and toys and books and the usual suburban vomit.

Of course my brain went into shock.

My house is a disaster. It just took being away from it for six weeks to have the impact be that jarring.

10) At least this time, I remembered that all the unpacking of clothes and suitcases and books and the thousands of tiny details I have to take care of don’t have to be ALL DONE AND ALL DONE NOW AND BY NOW I MEAN YESTERDAY.

I realize that my natural tendency to get overwhelmed by all the details and hugeness of a multitude of projects doesn’t actually help and likely makes things worse because then I’m incredibly cranky and the kids are already thrown and were so happy to be home that they dragged out every toy we have ever owned in order to re-acquaint themselves with our stuff.

But I told myself to chill out and break everything down into discrete steps and take one chunk at a time.

Even if the chunk is as little as: put clothes back; put away currency; move books from suitcases and boxes and stack them by the wall; clean up family room and vacuum; go to Costco and buy food; plan curriculum (again) for homeschooling, etc.

I am nowhere near done (and the list quite frankly, seems to be growing), but I don’t feel overwhelmed or panicky about it.

It helps that I write down the things that I did manage to do (and then cross out) so I feel as if I’m actually doing things.

11) I’m trying very hard not to fill up every empty space.

So, all the space I cleared in my pantry and fridge and cabinets and toy sections before I left? I tell myself that the world will not end if I try to keep those clear (or as clear as possible).

12) I really enjoy the clickety clack of typing. It’s both soothing and makes me feel as if I’m a Writer with a capital W.

I don’t care if it’s just writing some asinine comment on Facebook. The sound pleases me.

13) A friend has been asking me a lot of questions about building a blog and writing and all sorts of details and I forgot how much I know about marketing and writing and stuff and it’s been fun to be helpful.

I still have a brain, people, and it works on occasion!

WIN.

It also has me re-evaluating my blog goals for the year. Haven’t dedicated too much brain space to it yet because IMPENDING BABY will ruin everything anyway, but it’s nice to stop and re-evaluate, right?

14) How do I still have bug bites that itch?

15) And how is it that the only child of mine who doesn’t need a diaper at night is my almost 3 year old?

16) And how do I manage to go to Costco and spend hundreds of dollars only to find that I didn’t buy any actual food and only bought snacks and fruit?

I mean, I know this is what I do. But STILL. How can I fail at grocery shopping so utterly and for so long?

17) I can’t believe that I’m starting homeschooling my kids today. Although my charter officially started this past Wednesday, that’s the beauty of homeschooling. You always have perfect attendance and you can start whenever you want.

But I’m easing into it these past few days and let’s just say that I am always shocked at how quickly I forget things that I learned about my kids and educating them and my own crappy character less than 2-3 months ago.

So, when I’m annoyed at my kids for not grasping a concept quickly enough (or for not grasping it after multiple attempts), that I can’t even remember stuff that is vital to my teaching my children – and that I have to relearn it every time we come back from a break.

18) I still have to go through stacks of mail (it’s always the medical bills that get me) and do our yearly benefits and attend to all sorts of FSA crap and deal with health insurance EOBs and I REALLY HATE dealing with medical stuff but BLARGH.

Sigh.

What was I saying about not being overwhelmed and breaking things down into discrete steps?

Yeah. I should do that.

19) I really need to go to sleep at a normal and decent hour.

It would make me feel better and happier and I suspect, everyone in my family will benefit.

20) It was very satisfying to re-draw my homeschooling schedule to accurately reflect the changes that have occurred since I made the original tentative schedule in June.

It is very pretty.

Also? It was very satisfying to set all these repeating alarms to remind me when to leave to drop off/pick up my children at/from their classes.

Hey. Those alarms are vital because I have exactly ZERO brain cells left to remember the time.

Alright. I better shuffle off to bed. (Although listening to Britney Spears is making it difficult for me to leave because um, BRITNEY.)

Also, just to re-assert my coolness factor, I was listening to Eminem and Sia before that… so, um… yeah.

Have a great Monday, friends!

OMG, I’m PREGNANT!


I’m slow, ok? I’ve barely thought about this pregnancy since I got pregnant and other than the constant reminder when I’m on public transportation (only because kind people keep offering me a seat – which I usually assume is for the kids until I remember that I’m huge), I usually forget that I’m pregnant.

At least, since the second trimester started. I finally got my energy back and was no longer laying down exhausted on the couch every day.

Welp, it looks like that brief 2-3 month respite of energy and activity is almost over. These past two weeks, I’ve been exhausted.

I didn’t expect it.

But one morning, it took me over an hour to walk a distance that normally takes me 15 minutes max. Of course, I did do some shopping, but mostly, I was sitting down on a bench every few feet to rest and drink water.

I was confused and surprised.

After all, wasn’t I the picture of pregnancy efficiency just last week? Bustling around Taiwan with my three kids in tow and carrying 20 pounds of their crap and zipping from one place to another?

It’s all gone now.

Two days ago, I had to take two naps. One after breakfast and one after lunch. Because I ate too hard.

That is sad.

(Also, awesome in a perverse sort of way.)

Thank goodness Hapa Papa arrived on the scene for the last week of school to schlep all the kids’ stuff and to carry Glow Worm. Otherwise, it would have been a REALLY bad week.

At any rate, here are several TMI signs of how my blissful 2nd trimester has gone the way of the dodo and I am now likely back to permanent exhaustion. You know, just in time for homeschooling in the fall. (Although, given the choice between 1st or 3rd trimester in Taiwan, I’ll take the 2nd. Thanks.)

1) I can no longer bend over while sitting down. It is physically too painful to do so. I can kinda bend over while standing, but that is also uncomfortable.

2) I can no longer easily get up from a sitting position – especially if I’m sitting on the ground.

Good thing I have three semi-useful small children to fetch me things. But let’s be real. It’s mostly Hapa Papa doing the fetching. (Hey, he’s trying to get back in shape and up his daily steps. I’m just doing my part to help.)

3) This is a totally TMI entry. I mean, totally TMI.

Still here?

Ok. So, for the last week or so, it feels like my vagina is permanently stretched out and has something in it. Like a head or something.

You know, that feeling when you are about to poop, have kinda started pooping, but the poop isn’t out but has just started to stretch out your anus?

That feeling.

In my vag.

It is weird and discomfiting, to say the least. (Hmmm… I suppose that ship has sailed – for saying the least, I mean.)

4) I felt a weird body part from the baby yesterday. Like, super weird. It was all hard and lumpy and I could feel the outer edges of a limb or head or butt or whatever. And it didn’t move. It was solid. And uncomfortable. And I totally made all the kids and Hapa Papa feel it because COOL!

5) Braxton Hicks are back with a vengeance.

6) I’m feeling huge. I kinda look huge, too. I find it crazy that I will be even huger in three months.

(This point clearly channeled Trump. I apologize.)

7) I waddle.

8) Huge boobs, huge belly, and sweltering humid summer heat in Taiwan do not make for sexy times. My ENTIRE bra is sopping wet at the end of the day.

Like, the cups and EVERYTHING.

9) Another TMI point, here.

I can smell myself.

Sometimes it’s just my sweaty armpits. (I pretty much only stink when I’m pregnant.)

Sometimes, I can smell my own crotchtal area. (That makes me feel particularly awesome.)

Sometimes, I can smell both. At the same time.

It’s demoralizing.

10) At the end of the day, when I’m exhausted and know I should sleep, what do I do?

CHAT ALL NIGHT WITH MY LADIES AT HOME.

I blame pregnancy induced discomfort and insomnia. But we all know it’s FOMO.

Alright. That’s it for this edition of completely shallow and gross. You’re welcome. Now go back to your un-gross days. You bastards.

Have I Ruined My Life?

A few weeks ago,  Dr. T commented that she felt that lately, I was more and more high strung than I had been in a really long time. Since I started seeing her back in November 2014, in fact.

I briefly acknowledged her point, but just chocked it to having a lot of shit to do and being stressed out about that. But it’s been at least a month since she’s mentioned it and I finally admitted this week that it’s true. I’m totally more high strung. I mean, I’m already a hair-trigger type of ragey person, but even MORE SO.

Terrifying, really.

I’m back to yelling at the kids. Especially at bed time. Mostly only at bed time. (How’s that for a bedtime routine?)

I’m working on it, but it’s slow going. I even hired a Mindfulness Coach to help with anger. (How hippy woo woo is this? WHO AM I?)

But I’m a bit worried because I’ll be in Taiwan this summer, mostly alone with all three kids for 4-6 weeks with some help, but not necessarily a lot of help. And then mid-late October, Baby4 will be making their appearance. So likely, that will cause me even more stress. (Plus, hormones are a bitch.)

And yes, I’ve had to plan a lot of things lately, (of which I will not bore you with the details of, but may list out because I like lists and feel the inexplicable need to up my post word count), and a lot of these things have to remain unresolved because such is life. And if you know anything about me at all, it’s that I NEED RESOLUTION. Even if it’s a shitty result, I MUST HAVE IT.

Anyhow, I have to be honest.

This will sound awful because I truly do love Baby4 and am happy we’re going to have another child in mid-October. We tried for about a year and half before we finally got pregnant again, and I was semi-resigned to having three children instead of my dreamed for four. (Not that three kids is a bad thing. And I know some folks have tried for years and not gotten or stayed pregnant or can’t get pregnant for health reasons so I realize that my frustration with not getting immediately pregnant with the fourth child is a lot of whining and asshole behavior. But, you know what I mean.)

But, this pregnancy has been really hard on me. Not because it’s been a difficult pregnancy. I have pretty easy pregnancies in general. But it really has kicked my ass. I’m constantly exhausted. I was initially feeling shitty all the time and having lots of contractions and diarrhea which then turned into constant constipation. (TMI? TOO BAD.)

I could barely function. I stopped homeschooling. I stopped doing anything that wasn’t laying down. I’m surprised the children are still alive and none the worse for wear. I stopped writing.

And I felt resentment.

Lots of resentment.

After all, this was supposed to be my year, right? My year of kicking ass and taking names! Risking! Submitting my work for publications! Writing! Putting my name out there! Taking myself seriously as a writer and pursuing those avenues. Living the dream (or at least shooting for it).

And then, BAM! I got pregnant. And everything stopped. I got wiped out.

Sure, there were some things I got rolling before I got pregnant and those panned out so that made me happy and it was very exciting. But after that? NADA.

And I was initially in huge denial over the fact that my life was changing (yet again – and shit, I ASKED FOR IT!) and when I finally surrendered to it, I fell off the face of the earth. I thought by the time my second trimester hit, I would have more energy, but I’m STILL tired (granted, less so than before).

Also, I got used to lying around on the couch and watching marathon sessions of DVR’d White Collar and Leverage episodes. (Man, I love a good con!)

And then, when I tried to get back into writing, my brain broke. Like, because I hadn’t tried to put two semi-coherent thoughts together in several months, everything I wrote sounded trite and stupid and I think Gamera can come up with better arguments. So then, I gave up and decided, shoot. I will just ENJOY watching TV all day while my children run around naked and beat the shit out of each other in my house. (I really, really wish I were exaggerating for comedic effect, but alas, No.)

But now, now I am finally realizing I am terrified I have ruined my life. I go through this in a much milder form each pregnancy – mostly because I’m a control freak and worry about how to do things and life with one, then two, then three, and now FOUR babies. It took me awhile just to get comfortable with three! And we just potty trained Glow Worm so we have no kids in diapers and WHAT AM I DOING?!

WHAT HAVE WE DONE?!

I know it will work out.

I know because after every baby and a few months of craziness, we find a new rhythm and way of being. And I know that even if we didn’t have another baby, things would still change and we’d find new rhythms out of different insanity making moments.

I know all these things. Somehow, I just have to convince my subconscious that we are not all going down in flames come mid-late October.

Wish me luck! And lots of help from family and friends!

Wavering Between Choice and Life

Trigger Warning: Abortion, rape, incest

Comment Warning: My comment policy will be vigorously enforced. Any comment (on FB or otherwise) that smells even remotely of shaming, name-calling, abuse, general asshattery, (on either side of the discussion) will be swiftly and unapologetically deleted without regret. I am also completely uninterested in any type of propaganda for or against abortion. The comments that seem to be a giant cut and paste of the same, tired rhetoric on either side will be promptly removed.

I don’t care about your right to free speech if it means you taking a big, fat shit on my blog or FB (let alone insulting my friends and readers who run the gamut in terms of what they believe or do). This is your only warning. Be a grown up and act like one. Otherwise, I will be forced to treat you like a child and put you in time out. (I’m really, really good at that.)

Until I had children, I was mostly pro-choice. I say mostly because I didn’t think abortion was right, per se, but I didn’t think it was my business to tell a person she could or couldn’t have one. I considered it a lot like divorce – not ideal, but sometimes necessary. And better to err on the side of caution for a current life (in terms of safety and access to abortions) than to side predominantly with a possible life. This was a complicated knot that I tied up for myself since I also believed that life begins at conception. But it’s hard to think of a bunch of cells as a life so it was easier to think that abortion was just that – removing a mass of cells.

Then, I got pregnant and gave birth to a human.

Keep in mind, I was a science major. It’s not like I was unfamiliar with what occurred when a baby was forming. But every week, the book would tell me what size fruit my baby was, what was being knit together out of this mass of cells, that the baby was now capable of smiling, or burping, or kicking. I mean, holy fuck! I don’t care that they call it a fetus – it was a BABY. Growing INSIDE of me.

And then, when Cookie Monster was born and became the most perfect human I have ever loved or seen (until I laid eyes on my other two children), some invisible line was crossed and a switch was flipped inside of me. (Not that I realized it at the time.) I could no longer think that abortion was just removing a bunch of cells – like a tumor. Conception resulted in a perfect tiny PERSON.

Of course, when I actually thought about it, (I blame reading articles on abortion-related topics such as the Komen PR disaster, not funding Planned Parenthood, many legislative changes in the law, etc.) I became more and more aware of my changing opinion. Plus, I also knew more and more women who really WANTED to get pregnant but just couldn’t conceive, or couldn’t stay pregnant. That knowledge, coupled with my own bias towards the greatness of my own children, only deepened my conflict.

After all, just because someone CAN’T get/stay pregnant doesn’t mean someone ELSE has to stay pregnant. Just because I had highly desired pregnancies with zero health-related issues for both myself and my progeny which resulted in two awesome little boys and an awesome little girl, doesn’t mean that every one else is in that situation. I am in a very privileged position to have a baby; I am married, financially stable, living in a great area, have easy access to birth control and health services, and have the emotional and financial means to have and raise a child with a high probability of success. In fact, I can do so multiple times without great effect on my lifestyle or spending habits.

It is very easy for me to say that abortion is a horrible thing when I have never been poor, alone, on drugs, abandoned, raped, etc. It is all fine and well for me to tell a person, “Hey, you do know what makes babies, right? SEX. So if you have sex, you should be prepared to bring a life into the world. If you find yourself pregnant after having sex, you really shouldn’t be surprised. Deal with the consequences of your actions!”

But not everyone is in my position. And yes, just because a person isn’t in my privileged position, doesn’t mean that abortion is automatically acceptable and right, but it certainly makes it a decision that is fraught with more peril, with harder hitting consequences than it would if it were me.

I know several women who have had abortions. Once, when I was in my twenties and thought I perhaps might be pregnant, (although truly, I would have had a better chance of winning the lottery since I was on birth control and I didn’t actually have sex with the person – the mind can truly be boggling and lacking sense sometimes) I seriously considered abortion as well. I doubt that most of the women who do end up getting abortions do so nonchalantly. I am sure, to this day, it is a decision that has greatly affected them and the trajectory of their lives.

Here then, is the heart of my conflict. I really don’t like either side’s rhetoric or reasoning. Let’s start with the Pro-Lifers. (Sweeping generalizations are about to follow. I mean, SWEEPING. You have been duly warned.) Also, I totally know that I am oversimplifying the arguments. Please do not give me “lessons” in the comments.

If I had to generalize and stereotype a Pro-Life person, they would most likely be white, male, Christian/evangelical, Republican (because of course, all Christians are Republican – but that is another topic altogether), and believe in the “sanctity of life.” And because they are more likely to be Republican, they will likely also be against welfare, government assistance to the poor (eg: food stamps, free lunches, early intervention programs), pro-prisons, harsh sentences, pro-guns, and pro-death sentence. Also, they are likely to support abortion ONLY if the mother’s life is in danger, or in cases of rape or incest/abuse as a compromise and because geez, if they don’t support it in these cases, that’s just SQUICKY and cruel.

But here’s the thing. How dare a person tell another person that she should have a baby when they cut off any support that may be necessary in the first place for a woman to successfully raise a child? How dare a person say they believe in the sanctity of life when it only applies to an unborn child – but not the life and quality of life this child will have when they are born? (And how dare they assume that if it’s such a problem for the mother to raise the child, the best alternative is adoption?) How dare a person say they believe in the sanctity of life when they are for capital punishment? Or allow an abortion if the father of the unborn child is a rapist or abuser? How are these lives any less precious or alive?

Now, if I had to generalize and stereotype a Pro-Choice person, they would also most likely be white, female, Democrat, liberal, and support government assistance, etc. You know, the opposite of what I just sweepingly generalized about Pro-Lifers. They will likely say that it is a woman’s body and therefore her choice. That life doesn’t necessarily begin at conception and that late-term abortions may or may not be acceptable (depending on how palatable they want to make abortion).

But I have beef with that also. If life doesn’t begin at conception, when does it begin? At what week would be randomly deemed appropriate? Because if we want to be intellectually honest, if it doesn’t begin at conception, why do we bother saving babies that are born early? Like, really, really, really premature? Is the fetus only a baby and worth saving if it is WANTED by the mother? Otherwise, then it’s not alive? What if only the father wants the baby? Is it still a baby? Half a baby? But fathers don’t matter because it’s not their body – even though half their DNA is at stake.

I know. I’m being an ass and perhaps, purposely obtuse to both sides. But both sides really aggravate me. There are human lives (both grown and growing) at stake. Who do we value more? Who do we disenfranchise? What does that say about us as a people and culture? And what does it say about us when most conversations around this topic devolve into name-calling and meaningless propaganda?

I don’t have any answers. (I mean, really. If I did, don’t you think I would’ve made a bjillion dollars off of it by now?) Because this is a human, fallen situation, there really are no happy endings that tie up all the loose ends. We are only left with imperfect solutions and broken people on both sides – who all need compassion, understanding, and love.

Gah, I have now ventured into cliché and a Hallmark greeting card. I apologize.

I still have no idea what I think is right. I am just supremely grateful (and cowardly in this sense) that I don’t have to be in the position to make real life applications on this subject.

Make of that what you will.