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Holy shit

photoCard from one of my best friends, about sums it up
 
 

 

Midwife Clinic Questionnaire

 

How did you feel when you found out you were pregnant?

I collapsed on the floor and ugly cried. Full on shoulder-shaking sobs that I’m pretty sure were going to burst out of me no matter what answer that tiny strip held.

I put off taking the test for as long as I could because I wasn’t ready for either answer. In those days of waiting, my mind performed feats worthy of quantum theory, managing to exist in two perfectly equal and opposing states at the same time. Happiness and fear. Wanting and dreading. Relief and worry. Knowledge and denial.

It is still doing that. Perhaps it’s a prelude to parenthood?

 

 Was this pregnancy planned?

As much as a pregnancy can be planned. That’s one way that babies are not at all like puppies.

We’ve been talking about the kid question for a long time. I’ve personally struggled with the decision practically my whole life. Parenthood has never called to me, despite everyone telling me it eventually would. I still find puppies more appealing than babies, though I assume some sort of exception will apply to our own kid. So without that internal biological clock pushing me, it came down to a logical decision. And as much as the thought of having a child scared the crap out of us, ultimately we couldn’t quite picture our lives without one either.

 

How have you felt so far with this pregnancy?

Like I was run over by a hormone truck that then backed up over me again a few more times.

It’s been a strange ride so far and I have a feeling it’ll only get stranger, but I am gradually learning to trust my body, mostly because I have no other choice. Like the arrogant human that I am, I have, until now, completely taken for granted the amazing miracles my body performs every moment of every day I’m alive: things like cleaning my blood and delivering oxygen and finely tuning my hormones practically to the molecule. Making new cells to do those things is hardly more miraculous, but any semblance of control or predictability I once held is now gone. My body is rearranging itself to do something totally new and I have no choice but to go along for the ride. It’s a little disconcerting to say the least. Also, the back acne is gross.

 

Are you going to start writing in your blog again, or can I finally delete it from my reader?*

Maybe. No. I DON’T KNOW.

Seriously guys, I can’t decide what to do with this space. I’m increasingly uncomfortable writing in a public space but am not quite ready to officially call it quits. I’m proud of what I’ve written here and I love that there are a handful of you who read it. I’d like to keep going in some form.

Maybe the answer is a password protected blog. Maybe it’s stripping the blog of more identifiable details (like my face). Or maybe I just need to leave the writing to those who are actually dedicated enough to do it regularly.

I’ll let you know when I know. In the meantime, I understand if grey&shiny gets the boot in your spring cleaning. I do love a good uncluttering.

 

*This wasn’t actually on the midwife clinic questionnaire (I would have been a little panicked if it had been) but I thought I should attempt to answer it anyway.

Feeling 30

My head has been sloshing around with negative thoughts lately but occasionally, little bubbles of positivity seem to rise through the sludge, somehow having survived. Since overthinking the negative is something I specialize in – and rarely never gets me anywhere – I thought I’d instead entertain the positive.

Lately I’ve been feeling more my age. I turned thirty last November but you can’t really turn into an age in one day. It has taken many months to let this new decade – an undeniably, wholly adult decade – settle over me, for me to find its comfortable grooves. And just to be clear, this is a positive thing. Aging is scary, sure – but acceptance of where you are in life at any particular moment is always the surest way to feel content.

Here are some things that make me glad to be thirty and feeling it:

1. I’ve grown into wearing nicer clothes. Maybe it was being a student for so long, or living on the west coast, or looking younger than my age, but through most of my twenties I felt uncomfortable if I wore anything dressier than jeans and a decent top. Blazers, nice skirts and dresses, and tailored shirts all felt like playing dress-up. I still dress fairly casually – I work in research science after all – but now when I catch sight of myself in the mirror on my way out of the office bathroom, I sometimes spot a respectable-looking professional. And I like that.

2. My house is mostly clean, most of the time. We were never total pigs, but we definitely tested the “maybe if I put it off a bit longer it’ll magically get done” theory a little more (fair enough, it is worth checking that one out thoroughly). Nor have we since reformed into clean freaks; our kitchen cupboards are still grimy if you get up close, the floors will rarely be clean enough to eat off, and you’ll find all kinds of funky dust bunnies under the furniture. But in the last couple of years we’ve gotten to the point that if someone was to randomly come to our door, for example, to exchange a gold-painted rock for “something larger” as part of a game they were taking part in, I can have them step into my home without embarrassement. Our house looks lived in – there might be some dishes soaking in the sink, some crumbs on the counter, and a pile of unopened mail on the kitchen table – but it looks lived in by adults. Mostly. (We ended up giving them a box of tissues in exchange for the gold rock.)

3. I have gotten relatively comfortable having friends over for dinner. Because of my perfectionist tendencies, hosting will never be completely stress-free for me. I will worry about the food turning out right and at the right time, I will worry about our dog being a nuisance to non-dog people (she likes attention), and I will worry about how long these damn people are going to stay in my house because I’m ready to go to sleep now! But I feel comfortable that John and I can host a decent social gathering. We can cook some yummy things, we can trade off on kitchen duties without ever pausing the conversation, and we never take ourselves so seriously that our friends don’t feel comfortable grabbing what they need if we forget to offer. Oh and since the wedding, we have some kick-ass wine glasses too.

4. I’ve started to see the value in spending more for the things I use everyday. Maybe it’s realizing that I have arrived as much as I will ever arrive (meaning I’ve realized there is no such thing), but rather than grabbing the cheapest thing that will do the job I’ve grown more patient in waiting for the right thing and then being prepared to pay for it. For example, we bought a new couch a few months ago to replace the Craigslist find that had served us for six years. We thought long and hard about what to buy and ended up ordering a couch from a shop in our neighbourhood. The couch is made locally and in the fabric we chose. It cost more than an IKEA couch for sure, but not obscenely so and we felt really good about buying it because it was exactly what we wanted and we’ll be sitting on it practically every day for years to come (or more accurately lying on it – which we can both do AT THE SAME TIME!). Recently, I splurged on a nice powder brush and realized for the first time how amazing a quality makeup brush feels. It’s like a silky hug for every pore of my skin! I’ve since decided that each month or two I’m going to replace one of my worn, drug-store brushes until I have a good set. “Spend money” is not the aging lesson I’m trying to convey here – it’s spend money on the right things. On the things that will add value to each and every day.

What are some things that you appreciate about growing into your age?

Envy

Envy can be a helpful emotion. It can help you uncover things you secretly want that you’ve buried under a pile of self-imposed fears. Its unpleasant poke might be just enough to point you in the direction of your desires.

Of course envy can also be a petty bitch that shows up for absolutely no good reason whatsoever and ruins your ability to wholly enjoy the successes of people around you.

I’ve experienced envy of both kinds and am still learning to tell the difference. So while I’m in this amateur stage of interpreting my own feelings, there is only one truly reliable indicator I have – the lack of envy. In fact, for someone like me – a non-saint-like individual who covets all kinds of things – I believe lack of envy is probably the most telling emotion I have.

Last weekend I had dinner with a group of women I met in grad school. We were celebrating my friend’s new job as an assistant professor. Everyone in my company that evening had doctor in front of their name, worked as a professor or were about to, and did respected research in my field. I alone worked a 9-5 desk job with only a master’s behind my name, something that has nagged at me in the past.

As the main thing we have in common is our work, I knew that’s the direction our conversation would gravitate. Frankly, it was a prime opportunity for that green-eyed monster to pop up on my shoulder and start whispering things in my ear about how I too could be striving for more, reaching for the stars and <insert your favourite cliche about ambition here>.

But the monster never showed up. I found, a little to my surprise, that I could clearly see how academic careers fit these women I admire perfectly while at the same time not fitting me. I could see that while my job was less prestigious, it was also less demanding of my time and my energy, and that that was a compromise I was happy to make. What really set me apart at that table wasn’t the fact that I didn’t have a PhD – it was that I didn’t have the desire to get one.

I know I’m not in my dream job at the moment. I can’t stay still for years and years – I’ll need to face new challenges and carve out new paths. But that lack of envy – that’s something worth noting.