Holding Our Angel

Loving After Loss


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Eternal Sunshine

I’ve been thinking a lot about the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It’s a great movie that came out about 13 years ago (jeeze, that feels like forever!). The movie is about a couple that breaks up, and each decides to have a procedure done to erase all memories they have of each other and their relationship. The man, however, starts to realize that he made a mistake in trying to erase the memories as he realizes he still loves her. The movie makes you think: can you really learn from your mistakes and past if you keep erasing those memories? Or are you doomed to repeat your mistakes?

Sometimes it feels like we’re forgetting about Theo. Logically, I know this isn’t possible. You just don’t forget your child, and I never will forget about Theo. But Artie is requiring so much of us right now (and for obviously good reasons!), that we have little time or energy for Theo. Life has gotten in the way a couple of times too–I developed an infection (nothing major, just annoying and inconvenient) and our AC went out at the same time. But there’s so much guilt with not thinking about Theo as much. It feels like we’re replacing him with Artie. If Theo were here, Artie would still be getting a lot of attention, but more than what currently is would be going to Theo.

I think some people see Artie as the equivalent of that procedure to erase memories. Like, now that we have a living child, all the bad that came with losing Theo is undone and has been made right. That our grief is over. But that’s not how it works. We can’t just pretend to be perfectly whole now, we never will be. And if we were to forget the grief from losing Theo, that would mean one of two things: either we forgot about/never had Theo or we don’t love Theo as much as we do. And neither of those are possible, so we accept the grief. You can’t erase the bad without also erasing the good, the two are intertwined.

Mother’s Day was an incredibly emotional day for me, and I spent a large part of it crying. Having Artie here is a hard example of what should have been with Theo. The joy with Artie is all that we should have gotten with Theo, instead of this grief we got. We ended up not doing much for Mother’s Day, which was fine with me. Even if we would have been able to go out, I don’t think I would have been up for seeing all the happy families everywhere.

On Mother’s Day, I got more people wishing me a happy Mother’s Day than last year. It could be because I now have a living child, but I am giving those people the benefit of the doubt. This time last year I wasn’t as open about what I needed from people, and maybe they were unsure of what, if anything, to say. I’m more open and vocal now, so maybe they felt more comfortable reaching out to me because of that. It was sweet they thought of me.

What hurt though, were all the well wishes I got that mentioned Artie but not Theo. Either mention both of my kids or none at all (nothing wrong with a “Happy Mother’s Day!”), but to leave one out hurt like hell. I even got a “Happy first Mother’s Day!”  (emphasis mine). Uh…. my first Mother’s Day was last year….

There was….an incident… involving a recent visitor and Theo. Visitor came to see Artie, and was looking at a photo of Theo we have displayed on a bookcase. There is an empty frame next to Theo’s picture, where a picture of Artie will go. This person  covered up the photo of Theo with the empty frame. Did this without asking, without saying anything at all, just picked up the empty frame and laid it against Theo’s picture so you could no longer see him.

Unacceptable.

I surprised myself with how calmly I told the person to uncover it and not touch the photo again. Guess I’m maturing a little bit (only took 28 years!). Kenny then took over talking to this person, and let him/her know why this was not ok.

But that hurt so much, to have someone come into my home and cover up my son. I’m not ashamed of him. Yes, pictures of babies on life support are hard to look at because who wants to picture a baby dying? But while it makes you uncomfortable to briefly see a photo of a dying child, it is a reality I deal with every second of every day. So fuck that. I will not apologize for my son, for being proud of him, or for keeping him a part of our family. Especially in my own home.

We had the newborn photos done. We used the same photographer who did the maternity photos, and she was incredible again. We incorporated Theo bear and a picture of Theo into some of the photos, just like we would if Theo was actually here. She even got Artie to hold onto the picture of Theo for a few minutes, which was so cute! Turns out the photographer has a good friend who lost a child at birth. She kept making me cry though while we were taking the photos, so I had to retouch my makeup a few times.

Kenny goes back to work in a few days (for a few weeks, then he’s taking more time off). I’m both looking forward to this and dreading this. I’m excited for it to just be Artie and I, and for me to have the chance to work on some projects while he naps. But… it’s also going to just be Artie and I during the day. No Kenny to take over when I need a break. We’ve been talking about me becoming a stay at home mom, so this will be a trial run to see if I like it/can do it. Me staying home will require some sacrifices too, so that’s something we have to consider.

I am going to say something I feel a little guilty about: I hate breastfeeding. It’s technically going well, I have no issues with my supply or his latch or anything like that. But I hate it. It’s exhausting and I feel trapped at home because I have to always be available to Artie when he’s hungry. So I decided to stop and try exclusively pumping. We’ll be switching Artie to formula for a couple of days while I get used to pumping and build up a supply. And if this doesn’t work, we’ll be doing all formula.

Every June, the hospital where Theo died holds a remembrance ceremony for babies and children who died there. This year, it falls during Kenny’s second round of paternity leave. I haven’t decided if we’ll be going. It would be so nice to go, this may be our only chance since they hold it on a week night and the hospital is 2 hours from us. And taking Artie would be so bittersweet. But…. I don’t know. I have a few days before I have to RSVP, hopefully I can make up my mind.

Here’s a funny video on PPD.


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Body Image and Loss

I’ve been thinking about this for months, but I’ve been so hesitant to write about it. And even when I started to write, I had to do it very slowly and over time. This hits a very vulnerable and raw spot, and for a lot of reasons I’ve taken some steps back in being completely open about things. But… this is something I haven’t really addressed before and decided it was time.

After Theo died, my confidence and trust in my body was destroyed, and I felt so worthless as a woman and a mom. I hated my body and myself for what it did to Theo.

I think it is a special type of hell when your baby dies inside you or because he didn’t develop correctly. Knowing my body had one job, and it couldn’t even do that shook me to my core. It really made me question what I was capable of, and how else my body would fail me, and when it would happen. I wondered what else would be ripped away from me because my body failed. Would I still be physically capable of doing what I love, still enjoying life if I couldn’t trust my body and health to be there for me? Suddenly I was anxious about things I was never worried about before. I felt fine my entire pregnancy, and yet Theo was so sick, so how could I trust what my body was telling me now?

Though I know rationally I did everything right and I didn’t chose this or have any control on how Theo’s genes formed, I felt like my body killed my son. And I hated my body, myself, for that. How could my body betray me like this? How could I have not known something was wrong? How much of a mess could my body be that it killed my son despite me doing everything right, when there are so many women who do stupid shit while pregnant and their children live?

On really bad days, when my anxiety or PTSD is at its strongest, it’s so easy to take one little thing that goes wrong (like forgetting to pick up the dry cleaning) and have that end with “Why did you think you could do this, you couldn’t even make a healthy baby?”. My “rationale” in these moments is pretty simple: a women’s body is made to produce health babies->my body couldn’t do that-> therefore I can’t do anything right.

Then to have my milk come in was a slap in the face. It was just another way my body couldn’t get it together–it created a baby that couldn’t live but was too stupid to recognize that and so my milk came in despite there not being a baby that needed it. I pumped for a short while after Theo died, and that was helpful at first but quickly turned not helpful so I stopped cold turkey. Which you’re not supposed to do, and I’m glad I didn’t get an infection or anything, but I did find it cruelly ironic that I didn’t get an infection. Like again, here’s my body not doing what it’s supposed to do, even though this time it strangely worked in my favor. It’s weird, and I have weird feelings over this, and I realize it sounds very strange to be complaining about not getting an infection.

There is so much emphasis on having kids in our culture, and tying a woman’s worth to her children. And because my body failed in that regard, failed to produce a healthy baby, I felt like I wasn’t worth much as a woman and a mom. It’s hard to fight against the constant images of pregnancy and babies that are everywhere. It’s in TV shows, movies, commercials, books, and the small talk people make. The #momlife and “Mom life is the best life” sayings that are plastered on coffee mugs and bumper stickers. The picture-perfect Pinterest lifestyle. The jokes about wanting to get rid of your kids. None of these versions of motherhood include the bereaved mother and the children who are no longer on Earth. It’s no wonder I felt worthless–almost everywhere I turned I was being told, directly or indirectly, that I didn’t count as a mom and my son didn’t count. And this exacerbated my hatred for my body because I viewed my body as the cause of my son’s death.

When people kept silent about Theo, it only reinforced my lack of worth and hatred of my body. Because I KNOW they would have talked to me about him if he had lived. They would have asked for pictures and for me to tell his birth story and they would ask me about so many other things. But some people kept silent instead. They treated me as if I was the carrier of some disease that could be caught–like their child(ren) would die because they knew me. They ignored my motherhood, pretending as if Theo was non-existent because it made them uncomfortable. All I heard in their silence was that only the pretty, happy parts of life were worth acknowledging, and the biggest part of me (the most important part of me) didn’t meet those requirements anymore. Theo is perfect in so many ways, but he wasn’t good enough for them. And that crushed me and made me feel even more worthless, because I had failed my son and it was because of me that he wasn’t good enough.

This body trust issue has had an interesting effect on pregnancy after loss. Part of me wants my body to prove itself–that it can get something right, to redeem myself. The other part of me says that in no fucking way am I trusting my body with this, and I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve almost begged my doctors to take Steam Bun early (and in some of those cases, REALLY early). Because at the end of the day, I want him taken out while I know he’s alive because I trust machines and science more than I trust my body. As Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again, expecting different results”. And yet, here I am, pregnant again, expecting to get a living child out of this when my history has been the opposite.

Loving myself and self-care after my baby has died is really freaking hard. It is a long, hard road up a steep mountain with lots of obstacles. It often feels like there’s no point in trying to be healthy. After all, if I could do everything right and still have the most important thing ripped away from me, then doing everything right clearly didn’t matter. So what’s to motivate me to keep doing what’s best for myself? Being there for Kenny usually does, but not always. I often felt like I didn’t deserve to be healthy, to take care of myself, because of what happened to Theo. During these periods I would not care about what I ate or if I exercised. It’s a dark, dark hole to be in. These are the moments when I tend to hear “I wish you would be happy”, etc. the most and this only made me feel worse. It felt like I wasn’t worth anyone’s time if I wasn’t happy and smiling and looking on the bright side. It felt like Theo and his life and death, and the effects it had on me, weren’t good enough.

There is another extreme I’ve swung to, and that was to be obsessive about food and exercise. To take control from fate and become invincible. I ate “clean” and exercised a lot for long stretches of time and became obsessive about what was in all the products I used, eating only organic, etc. I exhausted myself trying to be perfect in this way and would beat myself up if I ate junk food. I convinced myself that every “slip up” would result in another child of mine dying. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be the epitome of health.

Obviously both extremes are neither healthy nor sustainable, and I have evened out in this regard. I still occasionally have that second bowl of ice cream, but it’s usually vegan, organic, hippie ice cream so that totally balances it out. 😉 The majority of what we eat at home is still organic and I’m still super careful about what products we use (don’t even get me started on BPA and all of the signs in CA that state “there are chemicals here known to the state of CA that cause birth defects”. Ugh, I’m rambling.), but I have a much healthier attitude toward it overall.

There are so many wounds that have to heal after you’ve lost a child, so many issues you have to face. You can’t work on everything at once, so some things get shoved down the list. It doesn’t make these issues any less real or hard to deal with though. I’m slowly rebuilding my body image and trust, but it won’t happen over night.


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It’s complicated

I took a short break from blogging because I needed to reevaluate if being so open about grief and child loss was still helping me. I think being honest and real about these topics is so important, but it also has some challenges and I wanted to make sure there were still enough benefits for me. Especially as we near Steam Bun’s birth, I expect there to be so many emotions if he lives. I can’t predict what I’ll feel, but I am prepared to face whatever I am feeling head on. That will make some people uncomfortable, because the truth and life can be uncomfortable, and I needed to make sure I was up for dealing with that.

Kenny and I have gotten very specific in our prayers over Steam Bun. We prayed every day for Theo, always asking God to watch over him and keep him safe. Which, technically God is doing, but so not what we meant (obviously). So now when we pray fro Steam Bun we say things like “Please let Steam Bun continue to develop properly, be born alive and screaming, and be born healthy. Please make sure his worst illness isn’t something over-the-counter medicine can’t fix, and make sure he lives on Earth for at least 60 years, dying only after we die. And make sure we don’t die until we are at least 60 years old, and only if we die together”. I used to also throw in something about not going into premature labor, but I’m not as worried about that now. It’s still hard to trust that God will answer our prayers regarding Steam Bun, and I think I’ll be struggling with that for awhile, even if Steam Bun is born healthy.

So I’m on maternity leave now, at the end of my second week actually. It feels like it has been forever already! I’m already ahead of my schedule in terms of completing projects, apparently I work more quickly than I realize (when I want to, lol). Kenny teaches at a university part-time, so I volunteered to do all of his grading and everything for the rest of the semester. Gives me another project to focus on. Lol.

My first project was to remove the koala decal from the nursery and put up the new decal I bought for Steam Bun. It unbelievably sucked to take down Theo’s decal. I cried for most of that, I felt like I was giving up on Theo in a weird way. And there’s no graceful way of removing a decal that size, so many of the koalas and parts of the tree ripped as I was removing them, which made me feel worse. It’s just awful to have to change your child’s room because they died, even if it is to potentially welcome another one home.

Putting up Steam Bun’s decal (owls in birch trees), was easier on me and fun, but part of me thought, “This is going to be a huge pain in the ass to remove if he doesn’t live”. This actually made me laugh, as I remembered Kenny commenting that the koala decal would be a pain to remove when Theo decided he no longer liked koalas. And it just seemed so morbidly funny to be making almost the same comment, a year and a half apart, and yet the comments be so very different.

Putting together Steam Bun’s nursery has such a different feel than when I did it for Theo. With Theo, there was no doubt he would come home. We were past the “safe point” in the pregnancy and naively thought a healthy baby was a given at that point. We naively believed healthy pregnancies end with a healthy baby, that SIDS and childhood cancer were the only threats we faced. And those were things that happened to “other people”.

Now it’s a weird tug and pull, torn between wanting to prepare and be excited for this baby, but knowing that every additional thing I do is just one more thing I’ll have to undo if he doesn’t live. I think we’ll have to move if Steam Bun doesn’t come home. And preparing for Steam Bun has brought up new aspects of grief I didn’t know before. I mourn the rose-colored glasses I used to have regarding pregnancy, but mostly I mourn what Steam Bun is missing out on. As I change the nursery, I’m keenly aware that it’s not changing how it’s supposed to be changing.

At this point in my alternate life (the one in which Theo lives), we would be debating if we should even bother with buying Steam Bun a crib. After all, both the boys would have to share a room and we would eventually need to buy a bunk bed. Would we try to move Theo to a bunk bed now, and let Steam Bun use his crib? Would we keep Steam Bun in our room for as long as possible, to let Theo keep his crib for as long as possible? Would we use this opportunity to change the theme of the boys’ room to a more typical boy theme, like superheroes or dinosaurs?

I’ll never know the answers to these questions.

Instead of talking about how to prepare Theo for having a younger brother and sharing the spotlight, we talk about the best way to tell a younger sibling their older sibling is dead, and when. We talk about if we think Steam Bun will grieve because he sees us grieving, and if that is healthy or not. Instead of learning to prepare an older sibling for a baby, we talk to loss parents about how they deal with handling their grief while parenting a living child.

Steam Bun will never have the older brother he should have. He won’t have an older brother to torment him, play with him, protect him. I’ll never be able to say “go play with your brother” unless I want Steam Bun to play with Theo bear, or an imaginary Theo. And though it’s normal for kids to have imaginary friends, what if Steam Bun says his imaginary friend is Theo?? I realize I’m getting ahead of myself here, but is it normal for a kid to have their deceased older sibling as their imaginary friend? These are the things I think about.

Last weekend we were hanging out at a friend’s backyard and I got so many mosquito bites. It was a last minute thing and I forgot to put on bug spray, not that it helps me much as I am candy to mosquitos. Every time I get a mosquito bite, the bite welts and I will get hives if I scratch it. I wasn’t sure what I’m allowed to use for the bites while pregnant, so I called my doctor to double check. She also gave me a list of symptoms to watch out for (for West Nile Virus, etc.). I was not at all concerned about the bites until then, and now I’m paranoid. Lol. I’ve managed to resist googling WNV + pregnancy so far, hopefully I can keep holding out.

I had appointments with the fire department this week to have the car seat checked in both of our cars. It’s strange driving around with the car seat base in my car again. The car seat itself is in the closet, and there it will remain until we leave for the hospital. But it’s still strange, opening up the door to the back seat and seeing a car seat base. As I walk past cars, I peer in and see if they have car seats or other signs of kids in the car. I wonder what their family is like–have they lost a child? Was the road to the family they have an easy one? I wonder if people will walk past my car and see the car seat base and think the same thing. (This sounds creepier than it is: I’m not going up to each car and sticking my face against the window. Lol. I just glance in as I am walking by.)

I’ve been meticulously saving the receipts and boxes for everything I’ve bought for Steam Bun. Last time, I threw out all the boxes right away and saved receipts for only the big items or the things I wasn’t sure would work. Now I’m saving receipts for even the nightlight I bought, with all of the boxes piled up in the hall closet.

Grief, pregnancy hormones, and loss brain are a dangerous combination. It’s exhausting dealing with all of this honestly. Though I am not wishing for a preemie, I’ll be so grateful when this pregnancy is over. I think Kenny’s looking forward to it being over too. 😉

Since I know I’m having a c-section this time, I’ve been doing research on c-section recovery. My postpartum care last time was definitely lacking, and that can only be partially blamed on me discharging myself against medical advice from the hospital. At my 4-6 week postpartum appointment, I was cleared for exercising and when I asked what kind of exercises were safe to do all I was told was “go slow”. Fortunately, I soon found a loss mom who is also a personal trainer, and she was able to give me really good information on how to safely return to exercise after a c-section. I’ll also be trying a belly binder this time, which I did not know about after my last c-section.

I’ve been off facebook for a few weeks and it’s been so refreshing! I did sneak on to Kenny’s facebook and immediately regretted it. My anxiety and PTSD were immediately triggered, and this only confirmed facebook is no good for me. There is one thing I miss though, a small facebook group of loss moms that focused on mental and physical health after loss. Having that community for support in dealing with PTSD, body image after loss, etc. was so great and I miss it. The loss community is truly like no other. Maybe I’ll try to start something like that locally after Steam Bun’s birth.

This upcoming week I’ll be working on Steam Bun’s baby book. I’m so conflicted about this one. Ugh.


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That’s 1

I realized I forgot to give an update last week on the fundraiser!

We are now at over 15% raised! I’m so excited, and I can’t believe we’ve already raised so much. If you would like to check out our fundraiser it is here. In addition to the money donated through the link, we’ve also received some cash and check donations! I’m very thankful for everyone who has donated, and is honoring our Theo in this way. Someone asked me what happens if we don’t meet our goal and the answer is nothing bad. The goal is arbitrary, and even if we don’t meet it, all of the money raised will still go to UCSF.

If you are a loss parent, I would love to honor your child at the party! Donations are NOT required for this, I do not care if you donate or not but I would still love to remember your child at the party. Don’t forget to email me at tpldigidesigns@gmail.com with a picture of your baby, your child’s name, birthdate, and date of passing, along with your child’s story. They will be added to the slideshow I am creating. I’ve already gotten several emails, and I’m so excited and honored to remember all of the children at the party!

**Trigger warning**

Saturday night I went to Labor & Delivery because I thought my amniotic fluid was  leaking.

It, thank God, was not. Steam Bun’s heartbeat was fine, and I got to listen to it for about an hour, which was so nice. His heartbeat is very soothing. I forgot how sensitive those heart monitor straps are, and a few times I moved or Steam Bun hit the monitor and all of a sudden it said his heartbeat was 30 or 40 because it was no longer positioned correctly. I was also not having contractions, which I knew I wasn’t anyway, but it was nice to get that confirmation.

An ultrasound was also done and the doctor showed me the fluid level (no issues there), Steam Bun’s diaphragm (perfect), and fetal breathing movement (looked great, yay!). I breathed a huge sigh of relief. The doctor took plenty of time to answer all of my questions and didn’t act like I was being paranoid, which I so appreciate. He told me our perinatologist will likely look closely at the fetal breathing movement at our second anatomy scan.

I asked him what I could do to tell the difference between leaking amniotic fluid and leaking… other stuff. He confirmed what my OB has told me, do the “gush test”, but would prefer I come in every time I have any concern. Not that I was doubting my OB, but it was nice to have him confirm what she said too.

I normally go grocery shopping Saturday or Sunday mornings, since there’s much fewer people in the stores at that time. But I didn’t go Saturday morning because I was lazy, and didn’t go Sunday because I overslept. So I went grocery shopping today, on my way home from work.

I only had a few items, so I got in line in the express checkout. And right in front of me was a dad with a stroller. The baby couldn’t have been more than 4 months old. The dad was picking up a few things, so he put all of the food in the bottom of the stroller. I immediately thought of Kenny and how much he is missing out on. Kenny was so excited to take Theo on silly errands, and I can totally picture Kenny loading up the stroller with the groceries instead of getting a bag. Kenny would have been proudly pushing the stroller everywhere we go too. It’s been awhile since a trigger has knocked me off my feet, but that one did. It’s just not fair that Kenny, who is a great dad to an angel but would be a great dad to a living child, can’t parent the way he is supposed to. And I can’t watch Kenny be the dad he was supposed to be to Theo.

I started tearing up in the store, but didn’t really start crying until I got to my car. And then Kenny had one of those moments that has me convinced he really is psychic and just hides it from me. A few minutes later he text me he loves me, which made me feel a little bit better.


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Economic impact of grief

Earlier this week someone in one of my online groups posted this really interesting article on the economic impact of grief.

The article rang true for many of us. I know my work productivity has been impacted, I am much less productive at work than I was before. It’s hard to get through work. I wish I had taken more time off after Theo was born, I took my 2 months of paid STD and that was it. I thought going back as soon as I could would be good for me, but while it helped in the short-term, I don’t think it helped in the long-term. Several women also regretted going back to work too soon, but were forced to because of medical and funeral bills. I also regret going back to full-time work right away, but I didn’t have the option of starting part-time and easing my way in because I needed to keep my health insurance, as all of the extensive genetic testing was billed to my insurance.

Kenny had a different reaction: he threw himself into work after Theo died, because he felt so helpless and work was the only thing he could “fix” or make any progress on. Kenny agreed in the beginning he wasn’t as productive at work as he used to be, but says he’s slowly returned to his pre-Theo levels of productivity.

There was one point in the article which I really liked, and felt like a small victory:

The effects do not depend on the age or birth order of the child or on family size.

As I’m sure many, many parents who have experienced stillbirth or infant loss will tell you, I’ve experienced people telling me to “get over it” quickly because Theo was “just a baby”, implying that my grief and pain aren’t valid because Theo wasn’t alive long enough. I’ve also heard from my friends who have living children, that people will say they shouldn’t be grieving as much because “at least you have your other son(s)/daughter(s)”. I have to admit, I love that this study supports what all loss parents know to be true: it does not matter if you have living children, have no living children, if your child never took a breathe, lived for 30 years, etc. the death of your child is always the worst thing you can experience.

Anyway, I’m a numbers person so stuff like this I always find fascinating. I’m curious what additional research will show on the impact of child loss.


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Self-Care

Self-care has been difficult while dealing with everything.

When I was pregnant with Theo, I was very healthy. I exercised regularly until 38 weeks, modifying the exercises the farther along I got of course. But I stayed moving for the majority of the pregnancy and was proud of myself (and I’ll admit–a little smug!). Once I hit 38 weeks, I went on leave and decided to enjoy my last weeks as a couch potato. Lol. And overall, I ate pretty healthy with Theo. I would say I ate healthy about 75-80% of the time, though I certainly used the pregnancy to justify the larger bowl of ice cream. I wanted to give Theo the best start at life.

And then he died.

After he died, I focused a lot on being healthier. I started exercising as soon as I could after the c-section, and I ate as healthy as I could. I got rid of a bunch of crap in our lives to make us and our home healthier. This was probably mostly a way to feel in control more than anything else.

But as soon as I got pregnant again, my whole attitude shifted. All of a sudden I couldn’t motivate myself to workout or eat healthy. I just didn’t (and still don’t) see the point. Thousands of women are on drugs, smoking, or drinking during their pregnancies and their babies live. I’m not denying the health problems associated with those habits, but the babies live. It just feels so pointless to do everything right when the baby still dies in the end. It didn’t help that until I was 10 weeks along, my doctor recommended I not workout due to a complication (that has since resolved) they found. That lost momentum had a big affect.

But self-care goes beyond physical health.

I’ve been focusing more on mental health lately. Even more than a year out, and there’s still only so much energy I have and sometimes I have to ration it. Mental health is a higher priority than physical right now, though I have noticed a correlation between better physical health and better mental health for me. Still, I’m giving myself a pass on the missed workouts and crappy eating because that’s just not what it important to me right now.

So I’ve been focusing on what makes me feel good mentally/emotionally. Like new makeup or clothes, giving myself permission to feel whatever I need to feel, or venting here. There will be some big changes to our lives in 2017. I hope for the better, but honestly I’m preparing myself for the worst. Some of these changes Kenny and I are in control of, some we are at life’s mercy.