Thursday, January 30, 2014


So I went today to have an IUD put in. It was the first time back in that type of “clinical” setting since the birth. Oddly, the doctor’s office was right across the street from the hospital where I had Owen. The whole experience showed me just how much I am still recovering emotionally from my birth experience. Even walking by the hospital entrance got my heart racing. Lying there, with my legs spread, feet in stirrups, and watching the doctor come at me with these two-feet-long instruments she was about to put up inside my uterus, my heart was more than racing. I am a trauma therapist and even so I am amazed by how much triggers of a traumatic experience can affect our minds and bodies. After the actual insertion (not too painful physically – just cramping and pinching), I realized I was lightheaded and dizzy. And then, in the car, I felt myself tearing up. So, I suppose even though three months have gone by and I am physically healed from giving birth, my mind just hasn’t caught up yet.

I am not really sure how to “heal” from this. I don’t think I need to go to therapy, because I am processing with myself and with my husband and I am sure that I will have recovered by the time I decide to have a second child. Also, I am finding that our attempts to have sex again, while extremely emotional and somewhat frightening for me, are actually healing me emotionally. Almost replacing the memories and sensations for me.

So, I suppose, I will give it time. Even today, having a medical procedure and having a birth control device inserted, is symbolic of healing. Not only was I able to have a good, positive experience with an OB (thank you Lorna and E for the recommendations!!), but I am committed that I won’t have another baby for a little. That gives me time to heal in more ways than one.

Meanwhile, I am also committed to this decision to move to San Diego! And, with it, to my new role as a “stay at home mom.” I keep qualifying this new role by saying things about my “career goals” and how I feel “start looking” when we move down there. But let’s face it – for awhile anyhow – I am going to be a stay at home mom. And I am excited about it! I am realizing how much more I like myself in this role. Not only do I like the things that I do with my time – going for walks, watching sunsets, frequenting the Farmer’s Markets I never had time for before – but I like the way that I am in this role. I find myself being less lazy, more productive, more social, more competent, more mindful, calmer, happier, and all around content. When I do go back to work, I hope to figure out how to keep these parts of myself integrated into who I am now. It almost feels as if, before motherhood, I was just getting through life. Putting my head down and charging through the layers and layers of stress and work and overload that I had to deal with. But now I feel on top of life and capable and happy and as if I am enjoying the moments more. I know this honeymoon period may fade and I will find myself craving my individuality and my professional self, but for now, I may as well admit it – I like staying at home with Owen!

And Owen? He was three months old yesterday! He is literally JUMPING out of the 4th trimester into this new stage of life. When we were at the doctor’s office today, she kept getting distracted by him because he is so smiley, happy, and socially engaging. She finally asked, “Are you sure he’s only three months old? I cannot believe how social he is!” We get that all of the time. Since birth, people have thought he was older than he is. I always say it's because he has so much hair, but it’s more than that. He is really connected, alert, and engaged with people. My dad called him an “old soul.” I don’t know about that, but he definitely draws people in.

So that is where we are…healing, growing, changing, and crystalizing into something new. So I will leave you with another question - Do you think we make our own identities by choice or are we shaped by the situations and roles we are playing?

From Three Weeks to Three Months!

And one more, because I am suddenly becoming obsessed with "Baby-Wearing"...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Your Thoughts Please

I've shared before here and here about wanting to move out of LA one day. B and I had decided after our trip North that Sonoma area would be our "dream escape from LA." We took a trip up there this summer to scout out the area and decided we were 1-3 years out from being able to relocate, if all went well.

I had settled in to wait it out with Los Angeles. I continued to have a love-hate relationship with the gorgeously plain hipsters on Abbot Kinney. Chose to ignore the traffic that makes my baby scream on a daily basis. Vowed to spend more time communing with whatever nature I could find and visiting the waves that are less than a mile from my house.

But sometimes, when you have made your peace, Opportunity sneaks up and kicks you in the head.

Amongst our many visitors and fieldtrips from daily life, we spent a weekend in San Diego. We commented on how much "calmer" it was, how much more "real" people looked, and marveled at the fact that the beaches are so much more beautiful. And then we headed home and settled back into LA. Until someone jumped on Craigslist and pointed out the difference rental prices between LA and San Diego. And then someone else pointed out that B could just as well run his company from down south and then commute up when necessary. And then BOOM it hit me that this would be an escape out of going back to work.

We daydreamed a little. Spent some time on Craigslist. Daydreamed some more. Discussed with our family that was visited. And slowly, the dream about escaping Los Angeles was becoming a plan. And my excitement began to blend into anxiety as I realized, holy shit, is this happening?

And so people, here we are, only a few weeks later, looking at the very real possibility of relocating in less than 2 months. So real that we have already gone to look at houses down there. Let me explain the reasons why we are NOT crazy before I share the reasons why I am freaking out.

1) The lease is up on our current house in March.

2) I am scheduled to go back to work in March.

3) We would have to start paying our Nanny in March.

4) My sister (my best friend and B's employee) said she would be happy and excited to relocate with us.

5) My sister's boyfriend lost his job right after we started considering this idea and said his friend could find him a job in San Diego.

6) We found a perfect home with extra bedrooms, a back yard and a pool. A home that is a mansion by LA standards.

7) The house is north of SD a little ways and so the commute for B (and my sister) would only be 1.5 hours when he needed to drive up.

You might be wondering...wait, you said you wanted to move to Sonoma? So what are you doing going South? Oh well, at this point, I just want to be somewhere different. Plus, we are looking at it as a practice run to see if B's business can handle him being out of LA, but in San Diego he wouldn't be too far away to still commute easily. Sooo here we are. Within the span of two weeks we have possibly (most likely) made the decision to uproot everything and move.

So what are the downfalls? This is something we've been wanting for awhile. Our quality of life will change considerably in terms of our home and pace of life. My husband and sister will both be working from a home office at our house and so will be closer to Owen. AND I have a way out of having to go back to work, giving me more time home with Owen before I start looking for a new job. Seems like there are no downfalls, right?

Well here is where I need you all to jump in and talk me out of freaking out. Even though I have been dreading going back to work and even though I haven't been very happy with my current job, I DO love my career of being a psychologist and it is a very important part of my identity. My plan if we move is not to quick entirely, but just to "take a break" and then start looking for part-time work to ease back into it. Sounds good. And yet....

And yet I feel like a stereotype. When I left for maternity leave, everyone was teasing me that I "wouldn't come back" or that I would become a "stay at home mom" and I assured all of them that I would come back because I loved being a psychologist. They all looked at me with knowing eyes and said ok, we'll believe when we see it. And now? I will have to go back to work to wrap things up and listen to their "I told you so" chorus.

But ok, no big deal. It's not about what they think. It's about what I want, right? Well ok, then if I look long and hard at what I want, I realize that dual sides of my personality are battling once again. I want to stay home and watch my son change (yesterday he rolled over and giggled for the first time, all in one day!) and be this calm, relaxed, happy person that I've been for the past two months. But, at the same time, it terrifies me to quit working, even for a short time. Because, will I fall behind? Will I get hired again? Am I letting down my current job? Am I letting down myself? Am I letting down our future by not bringing in my income? And mostly, most important of all, will I resent my new role? Because, I love staying home. But I could see that I would begin to chafe against it and feel the need to go back to work.

Argh, I am just rambling here. Basically, my mind is spinning at the fact that we are going to walk away from the life we are currently living - a life that is very good, stable, and happy - for the possibility of a different, better life. And in doing so, I am going to shift my identity - for a little while - into something new. The part of me that loves changing is charging forward into this new life. But my logical side is holding back and wondering if I am making a irresponsible decision.

Whew. Advice? Thoughts? Have you ever made a huge decision in the hopes of a better life? Do you tend to lean more towards logic or emotion when you make your decisions? Am I making a mistake in my career to chase a dream? Any input is appreciated.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Brimming with Life

It’s been almost a month since I updated this blog. That makes me sad because I really like blogging and I feel like it’s not fitting into my life the way it used to before Owen was born. I know that I could say the reason for that is just being “too busy with a baby,” and that is true – oh, so true! – but if I’m honest I suppose the other reason is because blogging served a different purpose before. I started this blog a little over a year ago to document getting pregnant and then the pregnancy itself. Mostly, I used the blog as an outlet to share the inane details of that journey that people in my life didn't really care about (I mean, who cares about your basal temperature or way too many bump pictures?). Also, looking back, I think I was a bit lonely pre-baby. I had started a new job where I didn’t have any friends and a lot of my LA friends had moved away, leaving me alone with my thoughts and plans.

Now? Well, first of all, everyone cares more about inane baby-details (i.e., how many hours he slept last night) than they did about TTC or pregnancy details. Secondly, I seem to have more new friends lately. I had no idea that having a baby was the perfect way to meet new friends, but I feel like I have fallen into an entirely new community of women. Hello, new mothers! And finally? Well, my life just seems so full now. And I don’t mean that in a sense of being “too busy.” I’m sure I could find the time to update this blog more if I felt the burning need to do so. But really, I have never been more content or in the moment than I am now. I mentioned this before, but I realized that I am perfectly content to sit and watch my baby rest his fist on my breast while he snuggles in to feed and I don’t need to do anything else to fill my mind. As someone who has been extremely distractible and impatient most of her life, this is amazing.

So, what am I saying? Is this a goodbye to blogging? No, by no means. I still read your blogs in the middle of the night. It’s just that I have become one of those silent readers that you always wonder about. As, in who is this person who reads but doesn’t comment? Well, for now, one of those people is me. I read, I smile, I tear up, I gasp, I react…but I just don’t comment. I intend to get back into it, but for now, just know that I am following you and I am connecting silently to what you are sharing. That’s all I have.

And on my end? The writing end? I compose entire blog posts to you in my mind. Posts about gender roles in parenthood, the ongoing recovery from what I have labeled my “traumatic birth story,” and my plans for returning to work. But they don’t get written. When I do find the time and urge to write, I want to use this space to document Owen’s development. Because, I started this blog with no readers – just for myself to pour out my thoughts – and I wrote what I wanted. And right now, I want to have written evidence of how he is changing. I want to be able to look back and remember.

So, I guess what I’m saying is I hope that this will transform back into what it was, but for now, this is just…what it is.

Ok. That may have been the longest intro to an actual blog post ever written. Because yes, I am still going to write a post about my baby, because if I don’t take advantage of this quiet moment while he plays happily on his activity mat and practices grabbing his jungle toys, I may not write again for another month!

So, without further ado….how is Owen doing? He is 11 weeks now and such a different baby. I can believe the “4th trimester” theory because he truly seems to be emerging out of that stage into such a different little being. Since I updated this blog last, he has had so many experiences and we have had so many “firsts” with him and I just feel we have really begun to enjoy life with a baby. Let me share some examples. In the last month, Owen has….

- Spent a lot of time in his Beco and Moby carriers. He has graduated to legs-hanging positions and he absolutely loves it. I am tempted to try the forward-facing position in the Beco now because I think he will be enthralled, but have read mixed reviews about its impact on hips and pelvis. Thoughts?

- Traveled to many local tourist spots with his family: Abbot Kinney in Venice, Redondo Beach Pier, Venice Boardwalk, Manhattan Beach, The Grove…

- Went wine tasting (no wine for baby!!) with the grownups. This was a big deal for me. Those of you who know how much I love wine will appreciate how happy I was to get this back into my life.

- Had his first overnight trip! We spent two nights in a hotel in San Diego and he was a dream!

- Begun sleeping longer at night. Sleep warrants its own entire post because, apparently, your baby’s sleep patterns are as unique and intricate as your own political views. Everyone has an opinion and everyone feels strongly about it. But, for us, I am happy that he has begun sleeping for 5-6 hour stretches for his first stretch of the night. Feels like a dream.

- Become so much more social. He has always been an “alert” and engaging baby. He smiled early, right around one month, but now he is ALL smiles. When I lean down to pick him up in the morning he greets me with a huge grin. When daddy walks in from work he smiles at him from across the room (regardless of whether he was screaming 2 minutes before). When strangers ooh and aah over him he smiles like a little flirt. Basically, his “go to” is happy. Yes, he does get fussy and upset (I mean, he IS a baby), but he seems to have an easy-going, happy temperament. We are lucky.

- Improved on his fine and gross motor skills. He is doing better at tummy time. Instead of just screaming, he lifts up his head and chest and looks around and laughs. And then screams. He is also working on inching forward and squirming to the side. He seems to be working on rolling from back to front and has rolled from front to back once. Also, he is learning to grab things. It is amazing to watch. He slowly and deliberately touches his hanging toys and you can visibly see his brain working as he tries to extend his fingers and then close them around the toy. Once he has a hold, he grabs and shakes it with pride. So fun to watch the changes happen.

- Begun interacting with toys. He has two stuffed animals that he loves – a monkey and a little horsie blanket. He will hug them and suck on them and use them to make himself feel better. He also realized that there is a purpose for his carseat toys instead of just getting in mommy’s way. Oh, and chewing. He has started chewing. He can hold on to Sophie and – sometimes – get her into his own mouth. It’s mostly trial and error, but oh so cute.

- Found his voice. He is cooing and making more and more noises everyday. I absolutely love it. I can’t wait until he can tell me what he’s thinking.

- Grown! I think he is around 15 lbs now. He is in a size 2 diaper and fits in some 3-6 month clothes. I packed up his newborn clothes and took the inserts out of his Mamaroo and carseat. My boy is BIG.

Annnnd that is about enough of this for now. Although I did warn you I was going to use this as a baby book/mental diary, I suppose I should cut myself off before I start writing about his pooping habits (no problems there!). I do hope to get this blog back to something different, and I fully understand if comments plummet in the interim due to my own lack of commenting and the sheer boredom of reading about my son’s fine motor skills, but it is what it is.

I am going to leave you with some questions for other moms and other bloggers. And, as always, I will drop a few photos.

Parenting question – What is the deal with this sleep issue? Why are we so heated about it? What works best for YOU?

Blogging question – Have you ever reached a stage where you are less interested in blogging? Do you think you write your blog for yourself or for your readers?