life lately, in verbs

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Walking... at the track above. I love the little community park that it is. I love the older folks I see there often. I love the little birdhouses someone put up. I even love the highway that runs right next to it. 

Loving... my baby's rolls on his legs. My own belly (working on loving it anyway). My own body, beginning to age and to sag and to have stretch marks. But here anyway. 

Listening... to a playlist of my favourites on Spotify.

Healing... the wounds. My heart. My hurt. 

Kissing... my baby's cheeks. As much as I can. It's like a drug!

Cooking... Hello Fresh meals. Roasting zucchini, tomatoes, chickpeas. Or making a turkey burrito bowl. Trying new things. 

Learning.... how to co-parent. (Working on a post about what I've learned so far!) 

Dancing... in the kitchen to amuse Aidan. 

Watching.... a shit ton of Grey's Anatomy. It's just comforting! I started from the beginning. I'm gonna make it past season 5 this time, I swear! (That's where I stopped back in... 2010? Not sure.) I really liked this piece about it: "It pushes all the appealing buttons of a quality soap opera, as hunky guys and beautiful women tangle with each other — both personally and professionally — within the high stakes world of a bustling hospital. But it's also a story told Rhimes' way, featuring her fondness for shocking topicality, her taste for ethnic and sexual diversity, and her skill at building complex relationships between women."

Smiling... a lot these days.

 

 

Things that help when you're going through a breakup and you're also 7 months pregnant

(At least, this is what helped me. My own experience is not yours, and if you are going through this, you'll have your own things. But I hope mine inspire you a bit.)

In November of 2017, last year, my partner left me when I was 7 months pregnant and shortly after he got together with a new woman. The details of that break-up are private and still raw and maybe one day I'll share them, but for now I wanted to share a post that I wrote over the course of November and December as I thought of things that were helping me get through what was definitely the hardest time in my life. I wasn't ready to post it til now, but I feel it's time. Here we go, here's what helped me get through each day when I really had no idea how I was supposed to get through each day: 

  1. Texting good friends. Now is not the time to detox from your phone. Now is the time to type out all your thoughts with one finger, and feel like you're maybe being too vulnerable, but say it all anyway. They will understand. You would do the same for them. (Never mind when your mom makes a comment about the dinging of your phone, and Pavlov's dog. This is what is getting you through. Fuck it.)
  2. Packing your favourite clothes, your favourite books, your favourite candles, your favourite mug and towel, and moving to your brother's old bedroom at your mom's house. Your brother lives in BC now. He doesn't care if you move his stuff off the shelves and move your own stuff in. He doesn't care if you make this little room your haven for now. You don't know if you'll be here a month or two months or longer, but for now, this is a safe place to land. 
  3. Walks. Even though your lower back hurts. Even though your belly bump strains at the buttons on your coat. Even though it's November and goddamn it but this is the most depressing time of year, the sky is grey, the leaves are off the trees, and the days are short. Whatever - walk anyway. 
  4. Work. Yep, all that shit that drives you nuts is still there. And yep, there are times where you think to yourself "I don't even CARE about this right now!" Do it anyway. It will pass the time, and it will make you feel loved and needed by someone. 
  5. "I Don't Like To" by Shad, on repeat. I'm not sure why. But it makes me feel like an alive badass surviving some real shit. Shad is a lyrical genius, and his words and delivery make me feel like yeah, "I don't really like to" do this, but I am doing it, and I'm doing it with fucking panache (some days - other days I'm barely making it through the day). https://genius.com/Shad-i-dont-like-to-lyrics https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-q0YX0uPQs 
  6. Dreams. Remembering that I really do want to be a writer, dammit. I really do want to follow my heart, in big ways and in small ways. In ways that I compromised when I was with my ex, to make myself smaller, to make myself more palatable to him, to fit a square peg into a round hole. I want an apple tree in the backyard, for example. But we lived in his house, the one he bought, the one he was going to re-sell someday. Not our forever home. And an apple tree wasn't something he wanted. 
  7. Deep breaths. Slowing down. Seeing the people around me. 
  8. Sarah Deragon's #Thisismebeing40 Instagram posts. She went through an awful divorce the year she turned 40 and wrote some thoughts as she went that I found helpful. 
  9. Music. Beats. Remembering I am sexy. I am cool. I am fun. I have a personality. I am not just sad all the time. I like things. 
  10. Affirmations. "I am going to get through this." "I am a good person." "I can do this." "I will not be forgotten once I leave work to have the baby."
  11. My counselor. Every two weeks. One hour to talk it all out. 
  12. Tears, man. Fucking tears. I am so sick of crying but it helps. It always feels like it will never end. When will the tears be DONE? (They do end eventually.)
  13. Anything that reminds me of who I am. Like my favorite songs - cranked. Or funny shows like Parks and Recreation or The Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt. 
  14. Writing things down in my journal. That may not be your jam but it is mine. Writing down those feelings, whatever they be. 
  15. Work that distracts. 
  16. It's OK if you forget about the pregnancy from time to time or even for a whole month at a time as you get through the breakup. Sometimes it's just too painful to remember you are growing a person inside you that you decided together to try for, back just 9 months ago when you had no idea this major disaster was on the horizon, bearing down on your life. A pregnancy that it feels like should have ended when the relationship did but NOPE, that little person is well on his or her way now, and you are its mother, and you are going to be a damn good mother regardless of all this shit. 

And that's all I wrote. But reading back over it I want to add: healing from such a wound takes time. It takes deep love for yourself and faith that you will be stronger at the broken places. You have those things in you, to be sure. Let the people who love you reflect it back to you. Take care of yourself and the baby first - that's what is most important. And let your intuition be your guide, it is never wrong. 

There's beauty in store, dear one. I promise. 

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More clarity + more growth

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My previous post on this blog was literally the day before my son was born, five weeks premature. It is so weird to go back and read it... it feels like a dispatch from a foreign country. I remember taking that photo, walking out to the back garden at my mother's house, in the snow. Seeing the trees with the snow so perfectly laid down on the branches. Feeling the stillness of the winter woods, of that point in my life. I realize now that it was the calm before a major storm. 

That night before I went to bed I used the bathroom and there was a bit of blood in my underwear. Only a tiny amount, like just pink really. Still, I texted Adam to let him know. We agreed to keep an eye on it. The next day in the afternoon I had an appointment scheduled to see my doctor, so I figured if I was still having bleeding the next day she could check me out. 

I went to bed.

Around 2 am, bad back pain woke me up. It was so bad I had to sit up in the bed. Then it passed. A few minutes later it was back. I waited about 10 minutes before I got up and woke my mom up. We agreed that I should go to the hospital. 35 weeks pregnant at that point, we didn't want to take chances. It's an hour's drive from my mom's house to the hospital, and it was snowing fairly heavily. So we called an ambulance. 

I got to the hospital around 4 am and by 6:53, Aidan Michael was born. 

At some point I'll flesh out the details of the birth, and all that came after (2.5 weeks in the NICU, a breastfeeding attempt and fail, the decision to move to formula, moving in to my new apartment, and the slow movement of winter into spring and sadness into happiness)... but for now I just wanted to update the blog. Aidan has arrived, and life is more wonderful now. More clear. I honestly feel happier than I have in years... and grateful for most if not all that happened in the last six months. 

For more pics of Aidan Michael Elliott-Noble, here are the ones I've posted on Instagram!