Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Leaves that are green

Let's be honest, I stopped posting when Chai started crawling. Since then we have been on the run, as it were. I was skimming through old posts tonight and it seems bizarre that I used to have this stationary baby who would stay in one place and coo at me while I did whatever I wanted. What was that like?! Then he started walking at 10 months--I was filled with fiendish pride at the time, so pleased with my "advanced" baby's cleverness--but then he was climbing up and over the couch, he learned how to back off our bed and run out of the room, he stands up and tries to hurl himself out of his stroller or the grocery cart. He is so constantly busy and dedicated to the steady deconstruction of his environment that Jon and I always joke that he is "at work, can't be bothered." My sister-in-law Abby penned these wise words concerning our Lolly:  ‎...Indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Chai- we pinch all things, we investigate all things, we have tasted many things and hope to be able to taste ALL things (on the floor). If there is anything climb-able, sharp, or dirty or small enough to swallow, Chai seeks after these things. Heh. I should also add that Chai is more delightfully human and fun than he has ever been, and that we absolutely adore him, but he does require a little more energy than in his early days, so our poor blog has been...estranged.

LOOK at him! This glorious little PERSON! 
Tonight sweet Jonny put him to bed and I'm in the mood to send naked words out into the universe.The last few months I have had a lot to say, but I didn't feel ready to tell the truth. I am ready now...if you know me you know I'm not a very private person and I am all right with being vulnerable, I am probably even most empowered when I am vulnerable. Here are some excerpts from my journal during the last few months to fill in the gap of not posting. Most likely you will find this horribly dull but in case you don't, thank you for "listening." :)

February 12, 2012
I remember I had a book about black holes as a child, and I hated it. It made me so uncomfortable and still makes me shudder when I think about it. Tonight I went to Denny’s with Jon and his friends. There was a long talk about matter and energy and space and cells and I wanted to climb the walls, felt like I was choking like I used to during If You Could Hie to Kolob. I’m lost, maybe? I don’t like that world any better than the dreary patriarchy one. I know I’m insignificant, but I want to believe part of my son will go on forever, and if I’m going to be extinguished like a candle flame I don’t want to know it. Jonathan told me that there is something natural in us that retches and fights against being told we don’t matter, that nothing matters, because some part of us knows it’s not true and to believe that means our own annihilation. Whenever he talks to me about God, I feel so comforted. 

I need to remember Chai’s little hand on my face when he is nursing and the way we laugh and laugh when we’re trying to get him to go to sleep at night and when we pretend he gets close to our faces and gloms onto us or smacks our foreheads until we can’t help bursting out in laughter. 

March 18, 2012 
I was so happy tonight that it almost crushed me. Chai and I came home to sleep after the Kremers and all of boyz nite passed blessedly quickly. I woke up and ate cheese and Jonny came home and hugged me and hugged me. Then Lolly stirred so we softly changed him from his church clothes into a onsie and he smiled and smiled and it was all so soft and pale while the snow fell outside. His skin smelled so good. I lay down with him again and fed him but he kept crawling around in a dazed, drunk way, laying down his heavy head, so Jonny and I put him between us with our knees and elbows touching and kissed him and beamed at each other. I watched his face and thought please don’t ever let me lose you. I do believe this is the best life can be. We are so young now. 

I love to talk about birth and therapy and spirituality, it is all intersecting for me right now in a way that I hope will remain forever. At the John Burr sand tray training he said something so wise about the body remembering its wounds, its traumas and disappointment, and then in the same breath he threw out a comment about his wife hating the smell of hospitals because of how wretched her birth experiences were. "To be expected," he said.

I believe the way we give birth and how we feel about it affects men, women and children. The first moments filled with pain and darkness or with light and glory. It must make a difference, how the heart that lives above you feels about your little growing being, what hormones flood the body during birth—oxytocin or cortisol. I believe that being treated like you are too weak to do it often makes you more that way than you would have been. Being stripped of support and encouragement, separated from your own body at its most powerful moment, being shamed and humiliated, when you need to believe in yourself most is the worst way to begin being a mother. 

I had a hard time at the beginning, I imagine everyone does. I think you must feel overwhelmed for a few days or weeks or hours or it would be almost like you didn’t get it, but I also found out a lot about my own strength that still resides in me. I feel it, I call upon it. I am the sort of person I hoped to be. I believe I like myself better now than I ever have before. A lot of this is because of the way I was able to bring my son into the world. I would wish that for every woman who births a child. The misconceptions about birth kill me—I hear them all the time, thick and crowded around my ears. It’s hard to go to family showers. It’s hard to see people pretending. It seems so exhausting. 

And the women who come to the postpartum group—the group that is sometimes the most bone-chillingly best thing I have ever done—I never want anyone to feel lessthan, when they didn’t get that moment with the angels singing and the white birds zooming past. I want them to love their births. But I don’t see in my heart how they should actually be convinced that if things happened to them that were broken, that were cruel, that were wrong, if they were not understood but ridiculed, why we should not all mourn that together. What could have been. What for many may still be. All this might sound so wasteful and cocky to someone who is longing to carry a baby to term, or longing for the means to begin a family at all, but I don’t mean any disrespect by it. I’m just convinced that the way we are born and the way we give birth affects us more deeply and profoundly than we understand, that swimming in the mainstream robs us of a dazzling ocean of glory and light. I feel blessed by that every single day. I have never felt more alive, I have never felt more human, never more at the mercy of my own elements. I can’t wait for the day I get to bring another baby earthside. This time I will not push before I am ready. 

April 11, 2012 “Nearer my God to thee? Or where?”
Chai is amazing and absorbs every part of my heart. I can’t imagine any other baby being as chewy and delightful as he is. He pats my head, calls to me, pulls himself up on the couch, thinks all the food are belong to him, and gives me open mouth sour kisses. He is love love love. Tonight I got so sad worrying about him not having friends and not wanting hugs once he is big. 

April 14, 2012 
I’m worried that my grandmother floated away like a wisp last night on the breeze and that the little girl who huddled by the window afraid of her father, the young girl who married him maybe because she felt sorry for him, my father’s nervous mother who chased him around and worried when he climbed trees, my grandmother I long ago saw sitting on the swings by herself and it broke my heart—worried she is gone. I hope she is not, I hope she found her husband again today and that she is relieved and excited to be going on. I WANT SO BADLY TO BELIEVE THAT THERE IS TRUTH AND LOVE IS REAL. I haven’t written because I am carrying so many things tightly wound that I don’t know quite how to say. I will fight against it. I’m so sorry for the boys I hurt and that’s what I think about when I’m driving alone. That I wish I had never gone out that night, but spent it with ____. That I should have stayed for ____’s birthday. I should never have taken all that rawness for granted. I am so sorry. My father’s words are beating my brain about me being in the same situation in 30 years. It’s not fair that we don’t get a long enough piece of life, none of us. I’m realizing how reluctant I am to consider or even accept that I will eventually move on to other seasons of life. I don’t want to be losing grandparents, much less parents. I don’t want to marry off my children, I don’t even want my kids to be in school. I don’t want my husband to really be 30. Part of me listens to his stories with this bizarre desperate hope that someday I will get to go back and experience them with him, know his high-school self and kiss him when we were both 16. What is wrong with me? I have a youth complex maybe. If that’s true I need to work through it, because in a way it’s loving decay. It’s wanting to perpetually exist in a state of heart that by its own nature must be temporary. You can’t just hang like a star, glowing in the dark for all the starving eyes to see (like the ones we wished on!), suspended in the before-time. I know relationships always evolve, increasing or decreasing, gathering or scattering. Why does evolution break my heart?

May 15, 2012 “Hello sunshine, come into my life…”
Chai is deliciously made of milk and sugar. It’s one of the rare days I’m up before him enjoying the quiet. It’s strange that my life used to be this way, that I was alone so often. I read a lot of articles and blog posts last weekend (dia de las Madres) about how HARD motherhood is, and the only thing that fazed me was an article talking about how the first child seems so heavy, and then later after birthing nine children, she realized they are “light as balloons, floating past you.” That you become someone who can endure hard things so you can endure being left. Oh, that made me so sad! I’m glad those days are far off. I know of necessity all my babies will have to wrest away from my wings, but it’s hard to think about that, and I shudder at the karma I’m creating. I feel so sour in Ogden lately, I do. I told Jonathan, as close as we were, as enmeshed as we were; it had to burn if I did anything to separate that tissue. As far as it being “SO HARD” I have no doubt I have some heartwrenching moments coming up, but now? These days? Compared to when he first salio and the burden fell on me, when I thought I had to sit all the way up and nurse him at night, when the anxiety thickened and bubbled under my skin, when he used to cry piercingly at night, probably because we were overstimulating him—when I think of the first two months, I remember a golden haze, this indelible sweetness and wonder, being a new creature with raw skin, and feeling things so intensely that it was like my life had begun for the first time. But it WAS so much heavier then, despite the wonder and happiness we felt. I couldn’t figure out how to go anywhere. I couldn’t shut off the worry light in my brain that stayed up nights. Sometime after Chai began to smile and laugh, probably a little after I went to work, it got so much easier. And it really is pretty easy now.
I love the beautiful month of May. It’s a feast for my eyes and my memories. Music always tastes better, endorphins spring up faster to paint everything in vivid colors. 

May 23, 2012 “Sing…autumn to May…”
Work is getting better and better, Tara’s training on Monday reinforced what I need to be doing (facilitating insight and healing, not working harder than clients, remembering I can be a wounded healer but also a self-aware and self-healing healer) and I felt so alive and ready to reflect meaning. The sweetest little boy who was abandoned at a church as a baby in a country far away painted next to me this morning and I held Chai sleeping on my lap tonight in the car as the lights shifted over us. I remember seeing those lights when I was sleeping in the car as a child and how I used to squint my eyes and move them back and forth. He shifted his little weight in my arms and he always smells so sweet, like fruit and flowers, deep sweet. He is just a little baby. It breaks my heart to think of him being hurt by another baby, too soon. But this life only lasts so long. 

I can’t explain how much I love when the cotton drifts down like snow, the sun on our skin. My brother graduated tonight and told his class how they were lanterns floating out into the sky on their own, to prove some wrong who thought they could never fly, to be a light for those below. He told them not to crash and burn, but to endure. I was so proud of him. I cried when the principal was talking about Hook and Tinkerbell asking “What’s your happy thought?” and Peter saying “I’m a dad!” and she said “You are someone’s happy thought today.” I don’t know why it made me cry. When we visit my in-laws, I watch Jonathan talking with his mother and imagine him as her little boy that she cuddled and kissed and probably sang sweet things to just like I do for Chai it makes me see how it’s true that time is short and the world is wide. Who will meet me in the morning? Maybe these are the brightest days that will ever be. I can’t imagine not waking up with my little heart next to me buzzing with his soft snores. What if next spring there is another newborn in bed with us, with world aching new cries? I like to think Chai would adjust happily and well but what if he doesn’t? I don’t want him to ever feel hurt or ignored. I don’t want to quit work, I don’t want the agency to lose faith in me.

Last year I was pretty deep in my post-graduation lethargy and I never could have imagined how much I would learn this year. It feels good when I think that I accomplished some of my biggest life goals this year. I have a good life, I really am so blessed. Even where my mind is starting to go, I love all of it. It might be important to say that this is the last thing I’ve written before I know. I'm going to take a test right now.

May 27, 2012 
So. I have all these ideas I need to get out that are flopping around in my mind like silvery little anchovy fish, this teeming swell and even as I throw the net I know I’ll miss a few…but now is an important time to write, because things are changing. Slightly, but still. Jonathan started school and I started throwing secret tantrums in my head about the 1-2 hours twice a week that Chai would spend with Jon’s parents or auntie Mahwey (like I said to Joy in supervision, “Oh, woe is us!”) At the same time, our cars broke down forcing me to rely on rides to work from the Stranges (que pena!) and at the same time I got a new load of about 5 clients dumped into my schedule, 3 of which are distinct flavors of intimidating and give me considerable anxiety. Ugh. I know it will stretch me and cause me to flex muscles I haven’t used, work on new skills, try and fail, but it doesn’t always feel welcome. I’m recognizing some weak or unconstructed places in me that fall between being empathetic and being assertive, between warm and friendly and too young and not professional enough. I realize I should be reading more books and facebooking much less, and then I go on much the same way as before, “after changes upon changes I am more or less the same.”

 Anyway, we were strained and in the middle of that strain I took a pregnancy test to confirm what I’d been suspecting since we playfully failed to heed the SpiceGirls’ advice on May 9thpregnant again. As we stared at that double line together in our cluttered living room I felt devastated and heartsick. I started sobbing. The only thing I could think of at first was my sweet baby Chai. He’ll be 20 months old when this baby is born if everything continues to progress. It’s too young to have to share his parents, too soon to have another little body in our bed. The dire words of all the specters of doom came rushing into my mind. “Too close together..” “He didn’t have a long enough time to be the youngest…” “I basically had two babies..” “With one child you still have your freedom, with two forget it…” I thought of Chai being hurt or confused and it was too overwhelming, blinded with pain. I felt like I’d done this TO him, that my carelessness was going to hurt my beautiful boy and it made me so unhappy. The next discouraging thoughts were of the bleak midwinter, really, having a baby at the end of January? In the middle of Jonathan’s last semester? If it could have been in spring or summer he could stay with me like last time, Chai could have his second birthday, I’d be closer to fulfilling my promised two years at the FSTC…now I’m not sure what will happen. It was too much. I became a soggy mess of bitter words and darkness. I don’t remember how we started fighting, I know I didn’t blame him, I think it hurt to hear him say this was the last thing he was expecting this year, to realize the stress it would cause him. There were minor and then major explosions and I remember him slamming the door and I cleaned furiously like I always do when I'm upset (I’m extremely productive when I’m angry, more so than at any other time ever) and then he dragged me to the couch and said “Let’s talk.” He told me how much he loved me and he kept repeating that he would be courageous, that  he was still a good choice. 

His earnestness had an invigorating affect on my soul and I had the thought that it was okay to have hard times because we could push through them and be stronger, learn more from each other (cliché but in the state I was in, revolutionary). I remembered how he fought for me and took all the risks on himself, bared his back for the smiters, he thought I was worth it. I remembered how I woke up to my real self and I chose him again and I wanted to be courageous too. It was hard, in that moment. I felt like I was swimming up out of the night with blind creatures snatching at my legs and wrapping tentacles of self-pity and sorrow around me, trying to keep me from rising. But I rose anyway and put my arms around him and kissed him and all of a sudden his face looked different to me than it had for the past two weeks, it was soft and kind again, and the other marks I’d measured in it when I was ascribing ill motives to him, I couldn’t see  those marks anymore. I just saw my dear love who was opening his heart to me, and it made  me love him so deeply. I softened my own heart and we were together again, two scared and sad little kids. Things weren’t okay exactly but we were okay. 

Jonathan has a deep well of forgiveness for me in his heart. I think he was digging it for years, maybe even at the same time he was working on the bomb shelter in his parents' backyard. Every day, my life is blessed for the kind of person he decided to be over and over again for so many years. I hope he gleans a little goodness from the relative wasteland of my past. J Or that I can make up for it in other ways. But I really am blessed to have such a good, good, good person in my life. I love him so much.

I hope my child won’t read this one day and think they weren’t wanted. I feel absolutely sure that if everything continues well, once we meet our baby, we could consider the events of May 9th a happy miracle and we wouldn’t change a thing. The next morning I rolled over with my arm curved around a dreaming Chai and when the facts hit me again at first I felt terror, and then I felt a true sense of excitement and adventure. Ever since then, I have felt okay, mostly, about having a new baby during the SADest time of year. Here are my happy thoughts:

We were going to have more children eventually anyway. Even though it’s hard to imagine our little  sweet-balanced life with Chai changing, we would have probably made the decision ourselves within the next year. It’s just a little sooner than expected.

“Hard” doesn’t have to mean “bad.” Like we talked about in group last week, it’s the meat of our lives, it’s what makes everything meaningful no matter what you believe comes next. I do believe that. I can do hard, I’ve done hard before and I won’t be alone. It will challenge  me but I will come through it. I will be smarter, stronger, better.

When I was pregnant with Chai, I kind of hated it when people would tell me what I would feel or think about him. It made me nervous and claustrophobic. It was a joyful surprise to realize that not only did I adore my baby beyond anything I imagined or hoped for, but it was all still on my own terms, I didn’t have to and still don’t have to relate or equate my experience to anyone else’s. I am myself and I will experience things through my lens and that is a beautiful thing. Having another baby will be like Adam and Eve again, it doesn’t matter how many times it’s happened to other people, it will be mine and it will be magical, because when I am my real self I see magic in my life. I’ll keep finding white wings.

Chai loves other kids. Tonight at the Lowes’ he was like the pied piper and the kids were crawling around with him, and he pwned Noah on the trampoline. Having a sibling to play with will enrich his life and make him happy. I will like having two, I will call them my goons and we’ll play together. They will gang up on me and laugh about it. I’ll cuddle with them all night.

Since we’ll have two close together we can take a break…maybe  go on a trip someday…alone together…in a few years…something to look forward to…

I am SO SO excited to birth another baby! Also, lastly…Spring will come. Someday.

May 28, 2012 “Let’s not forget ourselves, good friend…I am flawed if I’m not free…”

Sometimes I can’t believe I’m alive, when so many are not. I wake up in the morning, I can’t believe my face, my skin, that they belong to me, that I was once a child, that I have a child, that I came into the world  with no one knowing me and I interacted with other people, some of whom hated and some of whom adored me, that I developed a soul after years of numbing stumbling stupidity and silliness and that I love music, that I have a little boy who looks for me behind his shoulder on his adventures, that someone wanted me to marry him.

Speaking of Him and Marrying, today we went to BiCenntenial Park and visited our swamplands. There is so much emotion and beauty for me there. I see myself on our first date, spilling over with eagerness to tell Jonathan all I ever did, a few months later meeting with trepidation when he gave me the yellow bird.  Sometimes it amazes me that such a thing happened in my life. It was a bright moment and still remains so in my memory. We walked through those pathways and pointed out every beautiful thing we could see. I wanted to walk through twice, but the DJ was asleep I was so in love with the sun that I wanted to lay down on the grass and let it bathe me in clean, friendly spring light. I lay down on the cotton dense grass and watched more cotton drift from the top of our own tree where we took engagement pictures and sat on a blanket on a fall day almost three years ago. Floating cotton is the summer’s snow and seeing it made me want to cry with happiness. It filled the air, the blue air. I remember getting out of the car at the commune and seeing the same sight there and my heart swelled, there was something magic. I felt it again today, even though there’s not much left of the commune, like that well of happiness dried up. I don’t want ours to dry up. We held hands and Jon fussed about me getting cotton on my pants and Chai crawled with his butt in theair so he didn’t have to feel the grass on his knees. DON’T BE FRIGHTENED OF TURNING THE PAGE.

Ever since I found out, I have found a new attentiveness and adoration for my Chai—yes, aun mas! I want him to FEEL that his mama loves his like a rock. I love his clever, wry smiles and the way he smells, especially when he eats strawberries, his infernal cleverness in climbing and overcoming barricades, his penchant for eating headphones, the way he walks like a tight-rope walker holding his arms out for balance, and how he throws himself the last couple of inches when he’s walking into your arms, how he gives hugs and kisses, how Allen called him the “showstopper.” 

June 5, 2012 “What honest words she can’t afford to say…”

Most of the time you can’t separate being free from being a little bit lonely. Free feels exciting, like no one really knows you, like you still have a secret, that maybe you’re not exactly like everybody else. But the lonely part of that is that no one really knows you. And that fleeting feeling, the night whisper and the seeking and the longing, that’s all still a part of lonely too. You stay somewhere…you enter a heart and close the door after you. You are seen, you are known. That can make you ordinary. You start to see patterns in your life that others have predicted.  And then your mind turns to Sixteen Maybe Less—the beauty of that is the impermanence, the blaze of a memory, not a place to stay. It’s a song about loneliness. So why think about it?

I’ve been working on that essay for Jamie at night, off and on, for about two months now. I need to freewrite and work my way back into that stagnant, terrified place. I feel so different now. I’m figuring things out. I believe that many of the things that used to be good for me would still be good for me…but I’m not sure how to take them into my soul. I feel like the old well is tainted. I need another fountain of living water. I feel sick when I think that maybe I was released because I made that comment in a meeting about a particular lesson being sexist…either way, I feel kind of vomited out of the system. 

It’s strange to realize that tomorrow it will be a year since I went into labor with my darling. We just slipped so easily from May into June, it felt that it should have been commemorated with louder fanfare, but here we are. A year. On Thursday my bunny will be one year old. He’s looked more like a little boy than ever lately, with his wise and goony expressions, but his little legs still spill off my lap when I nurse him and he’s small, he’s my small. He’s walking more confidently, not as much tight-rope walk waving hands above his head. I wonder what he thinks about this past year. He loves to lie in bed with his mommy and daddy and since he was sick last week he weeps when either one of us leaves. He pinches when he is angry and likes to drag his head around groaning right before he falls asleep. He knows how to be sneaky when he creeps into the bathroom or stuffs something forbidden into his mouth (Kleenex, wrappers, bottle caps) and howls when these items are removed from his mouth. He has two bottom teeth and one front tooth peeking through his pink gums and he likes to tease me when he’s nursing by biting me really hard suddenly. 

Most of the time I feel like we are suspended in some glowing bubble because that’s the kind of pain, and the “pain” of being weary in the morning, that we experience. Nothing like those who have really seen their kids being hurt. Nothing like those who ache for sweetly treasured hopes that have been destroyed. I’m afraid to have expectations for Lolly because I see how I’ve disappointed my own parents…I think I want to trick myself into believing I can escape it. I know there is something that will probably happen with my children that will hurt me horribly, but what can I do but be open minded and try to be kind? 

My hopes for my sweet baby are that he will love himself, that somehow he can overcome the self-loathing that plagues so many in my family. I hope for him to be emotionally healthy and authentic in his relationships, and for him to learn to do something that will make him happy, whatever that is. I hope he will develop a sense of humor that will keep him laughing throughout his days and able to appreciate the silly things about life as well as the heavy things. I hope he has an appreciation for the physical beauty the world offers even as the inhabitants of the world can be so ugly and cruel. I hope he sees a sunset through his tears one day and thinks, “Oh…I am not alone.” I hope he encounters people who will take time to get to know him and who will love him. I hope he has a loving heart and compassion for those who suffer. I hope he will be able to be self-aware and honest with himself about his intentions. I hope he can avoid any addiction that will cause him pain. I hope he can forgive himself when he makes mistakes and feel confident that he can always change for the better. I hope, I hope for a good relationship with him—that if I become hard for him to love, he will be patient with me, and that I will do the same for him. I hope he’ll listen to his father who has such wise insights. I’m grateful for such a lovely year with my baby. 

It has been a hard year, in some ways, but not really in any of the ways that matter. Compared to how people spoke of it, it’s been an incredibly easy year. Something we talked about at group is how no one ever feels they are a good parent and moms can spend a lot of their times doing something they feel they suck at. So in the spirit of modeling confidence, I will say that I believe I am a very good mother to Chai. This year, we loved each other so well. We kiss each other every morning and play games on the carpet and curl up together at night. I never stop singing to my boy. Sometimes I forget myself and get really silly and then Jonathan tells me I’m cute and I feel almost embarrassed that he was listening, but really mostly happy. I read Old McDonald had a farm and Mr. Brown can Moo, Can you? And I always make sure Chai has a marvelous bath experience. I take him to see aunties and uncles and comfort him when he falls. He’s brought more light and depth to my life and he is a person I am grateful to know. My beautiful boy, how I love you!

July 8, 2012 
I’ve been really discouraged lately. When we get out to do social things and laugh my spirits perk up and I start to have hope, but a lot of the time I slog around in our too-hot house on the lonely evenings and I just feel like giving up. I know part of it is Jonathan’s wretched school schedule, (and him working til midnight every night) and that it won’t last much longer. It won’t cost much—just July! 

I don’t know if it was finding out the dreadful news or if it would have happened anyway, but it seems like Chai has gotten so much harder to take care of in the last few months. He is so fast, and so relentlessly busy. It’s hard to do anything around the house because he insists on being in the same room with me at all times and gets discomfited when I take away the myriad small objects he discretely plops in his mouth or remove him from splashing in the toilet. He needs to eat whatever I am eating, always, and has to be up on the couch next to me when we’re eating dinner. Ever since he got hand-foot-and-mouth disease in May, his sleep has been disastrous and he wakes up wailing four or five times a night and I’m too tired and not creative enough to do anything but nurse him, which has been painful, worse and worse, the last two months (Laurel says sometimes that suddenly happens if you’re pregnant). 

I feel anxious when I think about what it will take to be a two-child family. I don’t know who I can talk to about the overwhelming losses piling up. Not being able to hold hands anymore because our arms are always full. Not touching as much. So many stressful moments that cause snapping instead of the relaxed, sweet, confident way we talked in Tennessee. Jonathan says we should mourn the time we didn’t get to have together. I am definitely grieving. 

July 15, 2012 
I’ve been feeling very lonely a lot lately. I’m trying desperately to cloak myself in positive thinking for this next baby to come to January—I want to believe we’ll be okay and still be close, but it’s already hard. I feel really pathetic that I don’t have any friends [of course I have friends, it just feels like that today]. As I’m writing this I’m feeling selfish and I understand I should be more worried about what I can do for other people and reaching out rather than analyzing whether people are a good fit for me, but I’m feeling vulnerable and hurt right now, so this is how it sounds.

I want to be more balanced and more appreciative of all the good things in my life. I get motivated, I make goals and clean the house as if I’m lighting little fires to keep myself warm, (manic) but they are so fragile and quickly sputter out, and then I feel overwhelmed with darkness and despair (depression). I don’t feel needed or loved by anyone (except Lolly Chai), I feel overburdened at work and pressure to take new clients and I’m terrified to tell my supervisor the truth about this pregnancy. I’m worried they are just going to let me go.  My best friends in the Spanish ward both moved away this summer, and I no longer have a calling. And having a baby binds me to the house in a lot of ways, especially on long, hot evenings, and it’s so hard to take him anywhere these days that the thought of traipsing around to the store or on visits is just depressing. See how I can’t stop complaining?

Here’s some good news. This pregnancy has been really easy physically, maybe even more so than last time. I started feeling a little queasy around the beginning of June/end of May, and revolted by whatever I ate last, (the day we went to sushi and Vom Fass in Jackson stands out as the most nauseating of all in my memory and still makes me shudder) but it never got as intense as last time--maybe because before I was always expecting to get really super sick, and this time I had an expectation that I wouldn’t. For about three or four weeks (most of June) I felt dizzyingly tired and starving all the time. I always felt like I was going to pass out in the play room at work and a couple of times I had to run to Subway between therapy sessions because I needed to eat something RIGHT THEN. But really, all of it was very manageable and I know I’m lucky.

I’m really glad to have another friendly fetus. It’s so nice. I’ve been trying to eat more fruits and vegetables and when I have to have candy I’ve been eating peanut m&ms so the new Stranger gets some protein, too. I really really hope I have another little boy. It seems sweet to think of Chai having a little brother to play with. Sometimes the sadness and fear already seems too much to bear and when I think of having a girl my anxiety skyrockets. So many issues there. Kelli is having a boy and wanted a girl, so if it’s poetic justice like my mission call, I will get her girl while she gets my Argentina Mendoza. Complaining again…I think I will be 12 weeks along next week and I am definitely already showing. I think my uterus must be made of erectile tissue because I started getting thicker practically immediately. Last time this was really frustrating to me; this time I've been feeling astoundingly positive about my body. Despite my bouts of sadness I feel very alive and glowing. Maybe instead of wounds, my body is remembering life and strength. 

July 31, 2012
I have made it through my emotional wasteland and am truly excited for this baby! Wayside Story Gets A Little Stranger. I'm ready to live my story instead of wishing it were different. I think of my baby now as a glowing gift, I am eager to meet him/her. I'm excited for what this pregnancy and birth will teach me. 
Being caught off guard was tough on me and dealing with that combined with the inexorable Bridge course was a perfect storm for sadness, but I'm proud of myself for acknowledging my grief, letting myself feel it, and also for healing. What helped me heal was watching birth videos (they really grounded me and reminded me how beautiful and powerful birth is to me), finally telling some people I had been terrified to tell about the pregnancy, noticing how much Chai enjoys other children, writing, talking and talking to Jonathan, and going to meditation and yoga at the Hare Krishna temple. I could feel how much emotional hurt was locked into my muscles and releasing that was amazing. Our bodies and minds are so connected! During one meditation the instructor asked us to concentrate on an image and I thought of Jonny and myself hiking in the mountains each with a child in a carrier on our backs. As I kept the image in my mind, we moved closer together until we were holding hands. That meditation brought me a lot of comfort. 

A few Sundays ago it rained really hard and I took a long walk in the rain and listened to Bright Eyes, Radiohead, Simon and Garfunkel. The rain was cleansing and as I walked and got soaking wet I started to feel like myself again, and I began to have a little faith in myself and in my love, that we would still be ourselves even with extra responsibility and stressors, and for some reason that Blitzen Trapper song cheered me up, “Now my fur has turned to skin, and I’ve been quickly ushered in, to a world that I confess I do not know. But I still dream of runnin’ careless through the snow.” I don’t think the connection is really solid, but it reminded me that my life is beautiful, it is an adventure, and whatever it looks like for other people and how they choose to describe it, there is magic with me and Jonny and Chai and there will always be magic. We will be ushered in to a world we don't know, but we won't be alone, it will belong to us and we'll learn to be at home there.  I went inside and Jonny was so sweet and worried about me being wet, “Did it rain on my Only Racher?!” and he helped me out of my wet clothes and we made out, and for some reason I’ve been on a high of courage since then. 

I decided I wanted to meet with a midwife and have an appt and just make  it real to me. So I had an appt on the 18th and I got to hear the baby’s heartbeat! It was so lovely. The sweetest thing was that Chai insisted on being up on the bed with me and when she was listening to the heartbeat he was smiling and patting and kissing my belly. It was so cute. I don’t think he understands, but it felt like he was loving me and telling me everything would be okay. So that's where I am now...embarasada y bien feliz. (14 Weeks!)