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!

clarity

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The last post I wrote on here was called "foggy waters" and indeed things felt foggy then. Things feel clearer now. 

Crazy to think that last post was on November 18th. It feels like far longer ago than that! A month and a half only... those days in between feel hard-won.

Anyway, it felt like time for an update. 

A lot of the questions in that last post have been answered. Yes, we're breaking up. Yes, there is hope - but not about us getting back together. It's hope for the baby, for us as co-parents. For our family (extended) to crack apart and then mend in a new way. We're doing pretty good at that so far. We're gathering the stuff the baby will need, and we're communicating well. The support of my own parents and brother has been invaluable. Yes, I will thrive again.  I can feel the buds of that appearing. Yes, I will have my own place. (There is one in the works, I just haven't moved in yet.) 

A lot of the things I mentioned as helping me through the dark patches are still what gives me life. Friends, and their texts, and laughing with them - LIFE. Music, old from my past or new, introduced to me - MORE LIFE. Writing about it - in my journal, in drafts in my email for future posts. In texts to friends. Same: LIFE. These things remind me I am alive, I am bad-ass, I am getting through. I CAN get through. 

I picked a word for this year, and it is GROW. On Instagram I wrote: "What I'm interested in inviting into my life this year is... growth. Both that of my baby (in the next month and a half she or he is growing to full-term, being born and then there is all the growth after that), and of myself. I'm growing as a person too... becoming a mother. Living on my own for the first time since I was 18. (I had room-mates after my first apartment on my own, and then lived with my partner for five years.) Going through a separation is a painful process and the last three months of 2017 were about things breaking apart, and me feeling broken. I want to *heal*, to feel *joy*. I want to respect the process of course - not just pretend I'm not sad when I'm sad - but I want to welcome in the positive growth that is part of this process too."

Right now the growth feels hidden. Under snow, in the case of the garden and the woods. Under my own skin, in the case of the baby that I cannot yet see, but who is slowly getting bigger every day, getting ready to be born. (Holy shit!) And hidden beyond this moment, in the future, unknown, in the case of everything else - my new place, when it will be ready, how I'll move in, what I'll need, how the birth will go. 

But just because I can't see it, doesn't mean it's not happening. Secret small things are unfurling, are building off each other, are becoming real and new. GROWTH is surprising, GROWTH is ancient and yet brand new. Growth is happening.