Sunday, August 30, 2015

The pregnancy I didn't want. See also: Joy.

This is a tough one, folks. I don't like admitting what I'm about to admit, mostly because I know that there are so many people struggling with problems so different from mine, and those problems make my problems look more like "problems," if you know what I mean.

But I hope you know that I'm just trying to keep it real here. I just need an outlet to get my feelings out, and to be as genuine as possible, and to maybe help someone else who might be feeling the same, you know? I'm not trying to offend or hurt anyone. I promise.

So with that out of the's the thing: I didn't want this pregnancy. all.

As in, I started crying uncontrollably when the word "pregnant" popped up on that dang stick on that dang Monday morning. And I went to the store immediately and bought three more pregnancy tests. And when one of them didn't really look super positive, I convinced myself that THAT was the real one. So I went and bought two more and took those (spoiler alert: positive!). And in between all the Sonic drinks and the peeing and the paranoid-that-I-would-see-someone-I-know shopping was a whole lot of crying.

I remember Dallin getting home that night and starting to talk about his day, as usual. And then he really looked at me, and he asked me how I was, and I said "I'm pregnant," and he was like "What?!" and so I said it again. And then I just broke down and he just held me.

I remember when we first got married, I thought the idea of a surprise pregnancy was oh so romantic. Like "Yeah, we weren't trying, but we just couldn't keep our hands off each other, so I guess these things happen!" #winkwinknudgenudge . And I remember being just the teeniest, tiniest bit disappointed when we started "trying." I mean, where's the fun in that?

And then, three "on purpose" babies later, you're like "Okay, maybe we got a little carried away," and you love your babies with all your heart... but you're really just ready to take a break for a while.

But of course, trying "not to" is a whole different beast. You think it's simple, right? Just take the pill. Get the IUD. Hold everything and grab a condom. Track your cycle and your temperature and become super well acquainted with things you never wanted to even think about (cervical mucus, anyone?). Something's gotta work. Just do it right. Just be careful.

And the next thing you know you're carrying a 44 oz drink around at your third CVS run for the day, praying that just maybe those other tests didn't know what they were talking about.

And you feel a lot of shame.

I felt so bad for feeling so bad about this. How could I not want this blessing that so many people were, at that very moment, praying for? How could I be crying in sadness at a result that would have most women crying in happiness and gratitude? How could I be so cruel?

I didn't like myself for a long time. And I held off telling other people about the pregnancy because, quite frankly, I couldn't say anything without crying. I just couldn't deny my sadness. And every time I threw up or hit that wall of fatigue that seemed to pop up so often, I would think "And I didn't even ask for this!" Every time I got frustrated or downright fed up with my kids, I would think "There is NO WAY I can add another one to this mix. I can't do it."

It was rough.

I wish I had some great story about the moment my attitude changed. But honestly, I think it just happened slowly over time. It started with a conscious decision, maybe around the start of my second trimester. I recognized that I had allowed myself to "grieve." I had given myself time to be sad about this, and that time needed to be over. I needed to get over the sadness and start to have a little faith -- faith that this baby was meant for out family, that I have people -- super awesome GREAT people -- in my corner to help me, and that I could become a better person and mother because of this experience.

And no, I don't remember when exactly that happened...but I do remember when I realized it had happened.

I was driving to pick up two of the kids from my sister, who watches them while I work. For some reason, I had Charly with me, and we were talking about her upcoming birthday party. She had been insisting on a "Signing Time" themed party, but that day, she had temporarily changed her mind, and wanted a Sadness theme -- as in the character of Sadness, from "Inside Out."

My mind wandered and I thought about that movie. Have you seen it? (Side note: If not, GO SEE IT. It's seriously probably in my top 10 favorite movies now. Love it.) Well, as I thought about it, I thought about the surprisingly profound messages in it -- messages about emotions, and how they aren't always black or white (or yellow or blue as the case may be), but are often complex and complicated. Emotions play off of each other, affect each other, and rely on each other. The movie demonstrates this beautifully as the main character learns this specific lesson:

that sometimes, it is Sadness that allows us to feel Joy. 

This phrase struck a chord in my head and in my heart. As I thought about the sadness that I had felt so many times over the past few months, I realized that it was gone, but that it hadn't been for nothing. I realized that maybe I hadn't wanted this pregnancy, but I wanted this baby. So much. I was excited to meet her and take her home and have her be mine forever. And remembering the sadness made the joy that much more meaningful.

And I thought about joy, and how I wanted my baby to feel it like Joy feels it in the movie, like I felt it in that moment -- unadulterated and absolute. I wanted her to know that she's wanted and loved, and that she always has been and always will be. It felt important to be deliberate about it.

Neither of my older girls has a middle name. I never had one and never felt like I was missing out. And with this baby girl, we had all but settled on a name, but it never felt 100% right. Not until that moment, driving in my car, when I knew that this baby needed a middle name. And even though it's possibly a little weird that that name was inspired by a Pixar character, it felt so right. And now that she's here, it still feels right.

Which brings us to an introduction. Allow me to present:
Amelia Joy Harris

One of the greatest joys of my life; and a product of one of the saddest times I can remember. 

I hope this all makes sense. I hope no one hates me for writing this, and for these feelings I've had. I hope you know how much I love my kids, and how willing I would be to go through anything for any of them. 

And I hope that maybe, if you're going through something that's bringing you sadness, it'll end up bringing you this much joy, too.  

Thursday, August 6, 2015

How I really feel about being pregnant

You probably think you already know how I feel about being pregnant, huh?

You've probably read this post. And this one. And maybe this one.

Or maybe you've had the misfortune of actually seeing me and my cankles lately, and you've actually heard me complain about how tired I am, and how much my hips hurt, and how my fingers are swelling for the first time in any of my pregnancies, and speaking of swelling have you seen these cankles?

And after you read/heard all the complaint junk, you thought to yourself, "Man, that poor girl is just miserable! She's over there complaining about sleep and back pain and drinking water and anxiety and hormones and peeing and waddling. She hates being pregnant. Guess I can't blame her though...those cankles..."

And well, you might not believe me when I say this, but you're actually totally wrong.

Pregnancy is full of challenges. This pregnancy has certainly had enough. And I know I've done my fair share of complaining, and possibly beyond my fair share. Am I stealing someone else's share of pregnancy complaints? Yikes. Sorry about that.

But really, the truth is... I love being pregnant. Cross my heart and hope to die, I do. I love it. I've missed it in between all my other pregnancies, and I'll miss it again after this baby is born.

The thing is, being pregnant has its perks. Sure, some of them are pretty shallow. You get to park in those amazing parking spots (that every store on Earth should have, by the way). You get to shop for new clothes because darn, none of your old stuff fits! You get to flaunt a cute bump (can we all just agree that baby bumps are pretty darn cute?). You can justify eating almost anything, at almost any time. And you get so much attention, am I right? (See? Shallow.)

And then, there's the not so shallow things. There's seeing a little human that oh, you happened to CREATE, for the first time as a little gray blob on an ultrasound screen. And crying when you hear that heartbeat thumping impossibly fast. And there's feeling that first little flutter and wondering if it just might be a kick. And then feeling a slightly bigger flutter and realizing that holy heck, it is a kick! And then having those kicks keep you company day and night for months and months.

There's also so much joyful anticipation. Waiting for your belly to finally look like a belly. Waiting to find out if it's a boy or a girl. Waiting for that cute, tiny outfit you ordered online to finally arrive at your door so you can hold it up and marvel at how tiny it is. Waiting to see when she'll really come, when her birthday will be for the rest of her life, how long it'll take her to get here, and whose nose she'll have. It's the kind of waiting that makes you think you can't possibly wait. The best kind.

But honestly, my favorite thing about pregnancy is that it makes you automatically special, somehow, and it takes one look at you to know it. You are constantly working to physically sustain a LIFE. You are eating differently, stressing over medications, changing your physical activity. Every choice that you make directly impacts another person.

And it's not just any other person: it's another person that you wholeheartedly love, but technically have never met. It's a person who you want to give the world to, but all you can really do is gently press back on her feet when she presses them against the inside of your belly, or give her Phish Food when she tells you that she wants it, or spend hours thinking about what you could name her because she has to have just the perfect name, and when you finally pick one it just feels so right that, of course, it makes you cry.

And you know you'll never have time like this, with just the two of you, ever again. Her little kicks will no longer be yours to share. She'll learn to rely on other things for food and entertainment and comfort. She'll learn to love a world outside her mama. And you want her to, of course. But maybe not today, you know?

Anyway, I really just felt the need to let you all know that this is how I really feel. I might come across as negative, and I might actually BE negative sometimes, and I'm sorry for that. But in my heart of hearts, this is how I really feel about being pregnant: Happy. Content. Special.

And blessed. Very, very blessed.

Wish me luck over the next couple days, friends. It's about to get real.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Trying New Things: July 2015

Ah -- August 2015. We meet at last.

Seriously, this is the month I've been fearing/anticipating/dreading/waiting for for a while now. I'm excited about everything this month is going to bring, but I'm also nervous about my ability to handle it all. Just keep swimming, right?

Or maybe, just keep blogging? My regular Stitch Fix post isn't happening this month, because (a) who knows when the baby is going to come? (b) who knows what my body is going to look like after the baby comes? (c) whether my box arrived pre-baby or post-baby, this month is not one for modeling, if you know what I'm sayin'. But never fear - I'm planning on starting those up again in September!

I can, however, proceed as usual with my "Trying New Things" post! This is just a chance for me to share some new things I've tried over the past month. I really enjoy these posts and I hope they help you find new things for you and your family, too!

(Also, this probably goes without saying, but you should know that nothing in this post is sponsored or officially promoted at all, and there are no affiliate links. I'm just chatting with friends about some chat-worthy things!)

Let's begin with: theSkimm .

theSkimm is a free, emailed newsletter sent out every weekday that gives a brief summary of current, major news stories. It's basically a way to "skim" the news (get it?).

Some things I love about theSkimm:
  • Brief summaries of news stories, but with links to full stories if you need more info
  • Fun to read. They use a very conversational tone (almost to a fault sometimes, in fact) and they keep things simple.
  • Makes it easy to keep up to date on current events. 
  • Lately they've been doing interviews with presidential candidates, which has been super interesting. They've interviewed candidates from both major parties, so you can kind of see what each person is like and where their political focus is.
  • Even if I'm not interested in any of a particular day's stories, reading through the entire email takes about 5 minutes, tops. 
That being said, theSkimm isn't perfect. If I'm being completely honest, I've gotta say that their tone of writing can be borderline irreverent at times, which kind of rubs me the wrong way. But that's really my only major complaint. I've really enjoyed reading their emails each morning and would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to be "in the know" on current events without hopping from website to website.

Pixi Correction Concentrate

I tend to look tired lately. Can you blame me? Something about growing a human while taking care of other's exhausting. Add to that the fact that you have a hard time sleeping because you have a zillion things running through your brain, and well, your physical appearance starts to suffer a bit.

I've tried a few under-eye concealers/brighteners before, with mixed results. This is my favorite, by far.

Why so good? Well, for starters, a little goes a long way. Just dab your ring finger or pinky in there once, or maybe twice, and that's really all you need. I seriously think a tub of this stuff will last me a year. And it was only like $10! Which is seriously a steal compared to many alternatives. The coverage is good, with peachy undertones to cancel out those bluish circles. It doesn't cake and comes off on my makeup removing wipe at the end of the day (the ultimate test!). It also blends well and is rather idiot-proof when it comes to application, which is kind of a must for me in the makeup department. 

Here's my before and after, with no other changes:

(Okay, so now that I look at it, I might have made one other change and licked my lips in between photos. They look much more lively in the second photo, am I right?)

But honestly, I feel like my entire face is brighter in that second photo!

So if you're tired and you look it (which is very close to being sexy and knowing it), you should try this stuff out. Get it at Target, yo.

And last but not least -- Folex.

Folex has been on my radar for a while now. It's a carpet and upholstery cleaner that apparently tap dances and makes the heavens open and rain down Dove chocolate promises that land in your hand and not on your head (because, ouch). 

Seriously though, this stuff has a good rep

So when a mysterious black spot showed up in a very conspicuous place in our hallway at the top of the stairs, I knew it was time to try the infamous Folex. I picked some up at Home Depot for maybe like $7? It's a good sized bottle and will last a while. 

And did it work? Well, you tell me:

Oh yeah, it worked. Fast and well. You just spray it on, agitate with your fingers (yes, it specifically says to use your fingers...which I don't love, but whatever), dab with a cloth, and voila!

While it's sold as a "carpet stain remover," it is safe to use on any color-fast material -- including clothing and upholstery. I already used it on our nursery's La-Z-Boy and our kitchen table chairs. I'm planning on tackling the van floor next. It's also odorless, which I definitely appreciate. I'd say this is a product that lives up to the hype around it!

So there are my "new things" I tried out in July. What do you think -- will you be trying any of them? Or have you tried something lately I should know about?

Except don't recommend the Oreo Thins, because I got a free package of them and am now thoroughly convinced that they serve absolutely no purpose other than to sell Double Stuf Oreos. IF YOU CANNOT TASTE THE CREAM THEN WHAT IS LIFE?

But anyway, I digress. Oreos do that to me. Happy August!