Day Three

*Day Three
Today’s prompt is about living in a changed world, and finding ways to live inside that changed world (or not).

With so much emphasis on finding the silver lining and coming back from hardships even better than before, a lot of our grief language tries to make this new world seem just as good – or even the same as – the world that dissolved with your loss. That’s not only dismissive, it’s wrong. That world that was is no longer, whether it changed entirely for a moment, or in part, forever.

If we’re going to meet ourselves in this new world, we have to start with telling the truth about where we live.

“I was living in a rainforest. I knew the trees and the frogs, the lush green life. Its rhythm was my rhythm. With no warning, I was shoved into the desert. I know this is the desert; you can’t tell me it’s not. Take back your plastic palm trees and your cups of water masquerading as my oasis; quit telling me it’s the same place. I know better. I know where I live.”

— Megan Devine, from my collected journals.

Today’s prompt:
How do you live in a landscape so vastly changed?*


I was living above ground where things sprouted and grew. The world above ground was beautiful and full of experience.

I was part of this world above ground. I felt at home. I felt needed. I felt loved.
Above ground is where I lived my life with my parents, together in all that we did.

It was a peaceful night above ground.
We were all where we were meant to be, sleeping safely in our homes.
Then came the thundering collapse.
The collapse that took the lives of my parents.

The collapse that left me feeling speechless, thoughtless and lifeless.

Now I live underground.
It’s so dark down here.
I don’t know where to find the things that I need.

The things that I need don’t live underground. They used to be above ground with me, always.
Now nothing can be found.
There are only hard surfaces and blank moments.
My movements here feel slower and more forced.

There’s holes all around me underground. When I peer through the holes, I see people I know passing by. They look alive and well.

There’s a lot of noise and business. It all scares me. I want something more quiet and gentle.
The gentleness that I’m craving left this earth.

Every moment down here feels like dripping water.

With every moment, comes a drip from above. Every drip that falls on my sprawled out body brings a new wave of loss.
Every drip is another moment we’re not together.
Every drip is another regret.
Every drip is another moment that was supposed happen.

I live underground waiting for something that I know no longer exists.
I wait anyways.

Day Two


*Day Two
Today’s prompt is about the public face we present versus what we know inside – the gulf between what we show and what is real.
Grieving people speak a secret language. If you’ve lost someone, you know how it feels. If you haven’t, then you can’t imagine it. Not truly. People on the outside make guesses, but those guesses are usually more about how they want you to feel, not how you actually feel. Those guesses are based on projections, and also on the masks we wear to protect ourselves.
We often put on our “public” face when we go out, hiding private pain behind a tight mask of “I’m fine, thanks,” and hurried attempts to get out of interactions. There is so much we do not say. So much hidden behind that public numbness, or that polite and clipped response. But inside, there is so much more: howling and punching, pounded by grief. So much is hidden below the public surface.

Today’s prompt:
If you could tell people something, tell them what is true, what is true about grief and love and loss, something they do not know, or can’t know, what would it be? If you could address them, what would be said?*

I would tell them about the constant begging and pleading that goes on inside of me. 
I am standing in front of the ocean watching the sun come up, sipping my coffee and on the inside my heart is begging. “Please show up for me today. Please find a way to show me that you’re with me, that you can see me, that you can hear me. This is too hard without you. Is there a way for you to come back?”
There’s a pleading and longing for a different outcome. I want things to be the way they used to be.
My therapist told me a few weeks ago, “it’s okay to be in the missing of your parents.”
I never knew missing someone can be a place but it’s the only place I live right now.

The love and relationship I had with my parents didn’t go anywhere. Now I have this love that lives inside of me in the form of rage. I stay calm and collected on the outside but on the inside I’m screaming and demanding and choking.
I only allow myself to scream on the inside. Inside of myself is where the darkest parts of my sadness lives.
But I look fine.
I’m swimming.
I’m eating.
I’m applying sunscreen to my face.
I’m going for bike rides.
Underneath all the acts of living is my truest truth, that I’m a child, lost without her parents, convinced that if I just stay exactly where I am, they will know where to find me.
My inner child has become the only inner world I know right now.

Ma and ta, can you hear me when I beg for you every day ? Do you feel my pain ?I’m sorry if you do. My pain is my love for you.
 

Day One

About two months ago, my therapist handed me a journal called, How to Carry What Can’t Be Fixed, by Megan Devine. This journal has been one that I keep going back to for reassurance that drowning from pain is a natural reaction to losing two people I can’t live without.
I recently found Megan’s writing class, Writing Your Grief.
It’s an online course is with a group of other grievers, sharing their love and heartbreaking loss through prompts that are set up for 30 days.

I decided to spend the next 30 days going wherever these prompts take me.
Every day I’m going to share the prompt, written and sent by Megan, along with my answer to the prompt.
Here goes;

*Day one.
I don’t know who I am anymore. I don’t know what to do.
Loss rearranges your sense of self. You are no longer the person you were. That person is gone.
It’s like someone came in while you were asleep and rearranged everything inside. All familiar things are lost, though the outsides remain the same. You are not what you once were.
And while life is always a series of personal reinventions, this time – this time feels different.

Today’s prompt:
Who was the person you used to be?*

I used to be hopeful.
I used to be busy. feel busy. 
I moved at a faster pace. 
I did a lot of things.
I created.
I felt productive. 
I listened to music.
I listened to podcasts.
I laughed. I laughed so much with ma and ta. The laughter, the sound of it, the way it made my stomach hurt, my eyes watering from the laughter, watching ma laugh with me, watching ta laugh with restraint. The laughter. I used to be someone who laughed until they cried. 
I used to be someone who looked forward.
I anticipated things in the future. 
I felt hopeful. 

I planned ahead.
I put things into my google calendar.
.I made funny stories on Instagram. 
I tracked my sleep on whoop.
I cared about all things, big or small.
I used to feel cared for.
I used to feel safe.
I used to be someone who felt alive. 

Goodbye For Now

From the moment we got the call that our parent’s building collapsed, my brothers and I have been living in a bubble together. We spent 12 days praying and begging for our parents to be found. When I lit shabbos candles, I closed my eyes and said, “The same way You brought the building down, You can bring my parents up.” We held each other’s hands. We wrapped our arms around each other. We cried to each other. We held on to hope with each other. We repeated to everyone we embraced, “It’s going to be good. There’s still time. We’re going to have them back in our lives.” As much as we tried and hoped and begged, the news found us. We all broke as the detective informed us of our new reality. I kept asking, “Are you sure? How do you know? Maybe there’s still a chance.” There will never be enough words and time to express my love and loss over my parents, but I’m starting the process through this letter.

Dear Ma and Ta, I decided to write a letter to you because throughout my life I’ve always turned to you in times of need. Right now, I’m in need. I’m in need of you together in my life. I wasn’t ready to lose you both, so suddenly and so tragically. I keep thinking you’re both in the next room, waiting. And I keep walking into the next room, only to be confronted with the reality that you’re not. Will I always be looking for you? Yesterday a man walked into the room and for a split second I thought it was you ta. When I saw that it wasn’t, my heart collapsed inside my body.

Ta, you have been the most reliable and loyal father to us. You have always been there. You’ve been there for your family, for your friends, for those in need. You’ve been there to help. You’ve been there to support. You’ve been there to hold people accountable. You’ve been there for milestones and hard moments. You’ve been there with your crisp white shirt and incredible wit. You’ve always been there. I’m going to miss you being there ta.

Ma, you have been the most loving mother to us. You’ve spent your life spilling love into every person you’ve ever encountered. You’ve spent your life connecting to people. You’ve spent your life giving to people. You’ve spent your life building safe moments for people to fall apart. You’ve spent your life creating pockets of love for the world to sink their arms into. Your love has carried me through so many moments in my life. I can’t imagine my life without your love.

The hardest part of going through this is having to go through it without you by my side. Saying goodbye to the two people in my life who have showed love, support and kindess is the hardest thing Hashem has ever asked of me. Two pieces of my heart left this world with you. The loss for us feels too tremendous to handle. I still find myself asking Hashem, “please, give them back to us.”


To the people who brought us into this world,
The people who gave us life,
The people who brought us up,
The people who made us everything that we are; There will never be a day that I won’t miss you and think about you. I thank you and G-d for every moment and every day that we’ve shared together. I pray to live my life feeling you with me, forever and always. I love you. I love you. I love you. I promise we will do whatever we can to make you proud.

All our love, your children

Interpreting Style

There was a time when back in the year 2012 when I wrote a series called Interpreting Style.
I would find images of stylish women/ bloggers on Pinterest and pair them up with an interior space that suited them. Then I did a write up about why I thought the outfit and interior paired well together and patiently wait for you, the audience, to totally agree with me. So I’m bringing it back for this summer edition because no one asked for it and I’m here for the people.

What does it mean to interpret style? A person’s style is a big indicator of what they like and can help twll the story of who they are. If I came across someone wearing sandals, a kaftan, an over the shoulder belt bag and an array of hold accessories – I would interpret their style as being laid back, trendy and overall easy going. A person’s style is a great opportunity for expression ans creativity.

It’s not as easy to express ourselves through our interiors because it’s a much larger scale and takes a lotore investment. But there is a way to inject more of our style and ourselves into the spaces we inhabit without losing our marbles over the depth of a living room sofa.

When interpretting style, it’s important to remember that it’s not a literal thing. When seeing someone’s style, I like to take a guess at what their space would look like based on the ‘vibe’ they’re putting out there. If someone is wearing a metallic t-shirt, it doesnt mean they lick street lights and listen loud music. It usually means they like to make a statement and can carry some edge. So like everything in life, it’s nuanced.

I decided to use 3 pictures of iconic women in the 90’s to add a nice hefty dose of nostalgia into our lives. This period of time and style really pulls at my heart strings, so this is my tribute to my vintage blog posts and to the women whose style has always inspired me.

Let’s start with Julia Roberts. This style is minimal and masculine without being severe. The color scheme is neutral, sharp and classic. This look does a great job at balancing the timeless and the masculine without losing any softness. I created this vignette inspired by her. It’s simple in form and color but there’s still a strong statement. The side table is a great mix of form and simplicity. The black floor vase is minimal and the round edges take away severity. The mirror helps to keep things expansive, which is another element Julia Roberts brings to her style.

Princess Diana emulates all things style so I really could have used every picture ever taken of her but I chose this one because of it’s fragility. There’s a flowing gown, there’s a shade of pink, there’s pearls – it’s all so feminine. I created a vignette inspried by her outfit using soft movement and pink shades shown in the framed picture. I brought in two side tables, differing in shape, color and height, to add interest to this vignette. These objects don’t take away from the over all look. The side table adds a refal element with the fluted base and the side stool brings jn a sophistication with it’s height and slimness. The nude vase and flowers add dimension and softness. The olive tree brings in this beautiful form that feels feminine and powerful, which is one and the same. Am I right ladies ? #girlpower

Sarah Jessica Parker here is so grounded with a cool bohemian vibe. I grouned her space with actual roots and trees. Her outfit has natural textures with the fringes and the suede leather so the space created for her has alot of textured elements. We have the gray and cream planters that contrast each other beautifully. The brown area rug feels both ‘lived in’ and cozy. The vignette created for her is inviting and boho while still holding some structure.

We can do the same for ourselves as well. We can ‘put’ ourselves into an interior based on how we dress and what we pull together. But I think even more than that, we all have the ability to emulate any style that inspires us. We’re all more than one thing, more than one style, more than one space. We’re all human with many sides and stories. Here’s to humanity.

We All Need A Protective Shell

I recently gave birth to my baby, Shaina Sarah, and then immediately after was slapped in the face with Co-vid.
First I had a baby then my husband, kids, mother in law and myself all got Co-vid.
We were all home together for almost 28 days. The experience left me feeling extremely winded.
You know when you find yourself crying so hard, that even after it’s over, you’re still shaken up by how hard you were crying? That’s a lot of what I felt while going through post partum and Co-vid. My days were spent taking one step at a time and then pausing to cry it out. This period of time was so challenging and what I found that really helped me during this time was creating a protective shell for myself. My home was very much part of my protective shell.
I believe whole heartedly in the power of our surroundings and what we let in. I’ve spent years collecting and putting together my home so when the time came for me to be home, I was able to enjoy it while I sat around and cried. I want this for you as well. I want you to have moments for yourself around your home while you sit and cry. Whether you’re home because you’ve been exposed, because you have Co-vid, because you have a chronic illness, because you just had a baby or because you just like being home, having your home be your own personal protective shell is so important.

“Enjoy the little things in life for one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.” – Kurt Vonnegut

Let’s start with the small but very big moment of drinking coffee.
If you enjoy your coffee, make sure every element of drinking coffee is celebrated.
However you make your coffee, be close enough to take in the aroma.
Pour your coffee into a beautiful mug, one that you’re connected to.
If you can froth your milk, almond milk, oat milk or whatever liquid you use, do it.
Sprinkle some cinnamon or a little something special on top.
Find a place in your home that’s quiet – if you have kids, wake up 3 hours before your kids to achieve this – and sit down to sip your coffee.
While you’re sipping your coffee, watch the light slowly stream into your home as the day begins.
Something as simple as creating more joy and space with things that you already do can really uplift you.

Everything in your home can be shifted to create more joy in your life.
Make your bed every morning so that when it’s time to get into bed, you feel excited.
Spray your pillows with lavender oil.
Keep hand lotion by your bed so you feel taken care of.
I have 75 different essential oils next to my bed that I inhale every night.
Put a small frame on your nightstand that has a picture that makes you smile. It can be a trip, a place, a sonogram of your first pregnancy. It just needs to be unique to you and make you smile.
When you take a shower, spray your bathroom with eucalyptus and mint so you feel like you’re at a spa.
Hang your bathrobe on a hanger instead of a hook so you can pretend you’re in a hotel. It works.
Play your favorite playlist while you’re home cooking dinner for children who wont eat it.


You don’t need to wait until you’re stuck at home, take the time now to slowly build your protective shell so that when you need it, it will be there for you.

My Favorite Neutral Colors

Pale Oak by Benjamin Moore
This color feels like someone giving you a tight hug but still leaving you room to breathe. It is a soft white that leans more on the beige side – which means in a home that is really BRIGHT this color will look more yellow. In most homes however it’s a beautiful white that has substance and depth like when you add frothed milk to your latte.

Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore
This color is one of my favorite neutrals. This is a grey with hints of mint green. This color does really well in sun filled rooms, both in the morning and in the afternoon. I painted this color in my apartment and because I was renting I only had one lonely over head light in the dining room, so the color read more green at night. When choosing this color I would suggest pairing it with warm lighting for that perfect balance. This color is the rock star of neutral greys.

Simply White by Benjamin Moore
This white is the best white I have found in my years of designing homes. It’s exactly what it says it is, it’s simply white. There are no under tones of blue, purple or yellow. It is just white. It works well in large rooms, bright rooms, trims, ceilings. It’s a gorgeous soft white that is not offering you any other color other than itself.

Ammonite by Farrow and Ball
I absolutely love this neutral color. It’s an understated grey that feels effortlessly sophisticated. I painted my home this color 2 years ago and I am still in love with it. It’s bright but soft. It’s neutral but sharp. It’s not too warm and not too cold. It creates a calm and inviting environment in an old or new home.

Old School White by Farrow and Ball
I love this color so much. It’s a soft off white with warm tones in it. It looks amazing on a textured wall or a brick wall. It has an old school feel, like it’s been around for a long time which adds character to what can otherwise be a “plain white wall.” This color is also so great because it looks good at night as well. It helps create a really warm and cozy atmosphere. Who doesn’t need that?

Lessons From Motherhood

1. Always remember the role of motherhood is the greatest blessing.

2. Your children’s behaviors are not who they are. Don’t personalize it. They are good and whole people no matter what.

3. If you’re going to choose to do one thing, floss their teeth every night.

4. Keep telling them you love them.

5. Keep telling them they can do it.

6. Keep telling them to put their clothes in the hamper.

7. Teach them that their grandparents still matter.

8. Teach them that they matter.

9. Limit their screen time.

10. Don’t tell people you limit their screen time.

11. Give them a journal to write in.

12. Read their journal at night while they’re sleeping.

13. Look into their eyes when they’re talking to you.

14. And then tell them no as often as possible.

14. Hold their hand whenever you get the chance.

15. Make sure to listen to their small feet running around the house.

16. Let them sleep in your bed when they’re scared.

17. Embrace them for exactly who they are.

18. Who they are is going to be different than who you want them to be.

19. Don’t let your expectations blur your ability to see them. Trust them.

20. Always remmeber that you’re doing a tremendous job. I believe in you.

We All Need A Protective Shell

I recently gave birth to my baby, Shaina Sarah, and then immediately after was slapped in the face with Co-vid.
First I had a baby then my husband, kids, mother in law and myself got Co-vid.
We were all home together for almost 28 days. The experience left me feeling extremely winded.
You know when you find yourself crying so hard, that even after it’s over, you’re still shaken up by how hard you were crying? That’s a lot of what I felt while going through post partum and Co-vid. My days were spent taking one step at a time and then pausing to cry it out. I remember when I got Co-vid, I was sitting in my head having coffee. My baby, 2 weeks old at the time, was in my left arm and my 2 year old daughter was sitting on my right side watching Baby Shark on the Google Hub. I remember thinking to myself, “okay, maybe I can do this.”
Then my daughter knocked over my coffee and it spilled all over my bed. Then I thought to myself, “if I’m going to do this, I’m definitely going to need another coffee.” Now I look back and think to myself, how the hell did I do that?
I think what truly helped me was creating a protective shell for myself.
So imagine a turtle with a hefty midriff all exposed with vulnerability and fear.
Now imagine that turtle, still with a hefty midriff, but this time with a shell around it so there’s somewhere to reprieve into when things get overwhelming.
My home was very much my protective shell.

I’ve spent years collecting and putting together my home so when the time came for me to be home, I was able to enjoy it while I sat around and cried – I want this for you as well. I want you to have moments for yourself around your home while you sit around and cry.
Whether you’re home because you’ve been exposed, or you have Co-vid, or you’re scared of Co-vid, or you have a chronic illness, or you just had a baby, or because you feel bloated and you only want to wear sweatpants, or you’re fighting with your husband, or you’re avoiding life, having your home be your own personal protective shell is so important. Your home is here to nurture you.

“Enjoy the little things in life for one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.” – Kurt Vonnegut

Let’s start with the small but very big moment of drinking coffee.
If you enjoy your coffee, make sure every element of drinking coffee is celebrated.
Whichever way you make your coffee, be close enough to take in the aroma.
Pour your coffee into a beautiful mug, one that you feel connected to.
If you can froth your milk, almond milk, oat milk or whatever liquid you use, do it.
Sprinkle some cinnamon on top.
Find a place in your home that’s quiet – if you have kids, wake up 3 hours before your kids to achieve this – and sit down to sip your coffee.
While you’re sipping your coffee, watch the light slowly stream into your home as the day begins.
Something as simple as drinking coffee can uplift you just by creating more space and joy around it.

Everything in your home can be shifted to create a more nurturing and supportive space.

Make your bed every morning so when it’s time to get into bed, you feel excited.
Spray your pillows with lavender oil.
I have 75 different essential oils next to my bed that I inhale every night.
Keep hand lotion by your bed so you feel taken care of.
Place a small frame by your nightstand with a picture that makes you smile. It can be a trip, a place, a sonogram of your first pregnancy or a mundane moment of your day. It just needs to mean something to you.
When you take a shower, spray your bathroom with eucalyptus so you feel like you’re at a spa.
Hang your bathrobe on a hanger instead of a hook so it feels like you’re in a hotel. Trust me, it works.
Play your favorite playlist while you’re home cooking dinner for children who wont eat it. Surround yourself with a scent that you love, even if it’s during the day and you’re the only one home, you’re enough. Buy cleaning products that smell like geranium and lilac so when you’re cleaning your kitchen table after breakfast, you inhale goodness.
Sip water from a glass cup.
Surround yourself with colors that feel safe to you.

I want to point out the importance of neutral colors when creating a nurturing environment. Neutral colors are so intertwined into our lives and they have so much value and beauty. It’s the neutral colors that everything else is layered into. You need that strong base to build on in order to create something really special.
Never underestimate the right off white. Once they’re in place, you can start bringing in colors and textures that you love. And if you’re Athena Calderone, this is when you can start bringing in the linens and vintage vessels.
We all want a space that feels nurturing and supportive and it’s available for all of us to create #protectiveshell.

You don’t need to wait until you’re stuck at home, take the time now to slowly build your home so that when you need it, it will be there for you.

My Favorite Neutral Colors

Pale Oak by Benjamin Moore
This color feels like someone giving you a tight hug but still leaving you room to breathe. It is a soft white that leans more on the beige side – which means in a home that is really BRIGHT this color will look more yellow. In most homes however it’s a beautiful white that has substance and depth like when you add frothed milk to your latte.

Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore
This color is one of my favorite neutrals. This is a grey with hints of mint green. This color does really well in sun filled rooms, both in the morning and in the afternoon. I painted this color in my apartment and because I was renting I only had one lonely over head light in the dining room, so the color read more green at night. When choosing this color I would suggest pairing it with warm lighting for that perfect balance. This color is the rock star of neutral greys.

Simply White by Benjamin Moore
This white is the best white I have found in my years of designing homes. It’s exactly what it says it is, it’s simply white. There are no under tones of blue, purple or yellow. It is just white. It works well in large rooms, bright rooms, trims, ceilings. It’s a gorgeous soft white that is not offering you any other color other than itself.

Ammonite by Farrow and Ball
I absolutely love this neutral color. It’s an understated grey that feels effortlessly sophisticated. I painted my home this color 2 years ago and I am still in love with it. It’s bright but soft. It’s neutral but sharp. It’s not too warm and not too cold. It creates a calm and inviting environment in an old or new home.

Old School White by Farrow and Ball
I love this color so much. It’s a soft off white with warm tones in it. It looks amazing on a textured wall or a brick wall. It has an old school feel, like it’s been around for a long time which adds character to what can otherwise be a “plain white wall.” This color is also so great because it looks good at night as well. It helps create a really warm and cozy atmosphere. Who doesn’t need that?

When I Say Baby, You Say Co-vid

I am so grateful to officially announce that Ezzy and I had a baby girl and her name is Shaina Sarah.

Ezzy and I had our baby on Monday night. We came home from the hospital on Wednesday night and Ezzy tested positive for Co-vid on Friday. I always plummet hard after a baby, but this plummet was like no other. This was the plummet of all plummets.

I was 4 days postpartum. I was walking around the house on shaky legs like a baby deer after it’s born. The insides of my body were in middle of playing a game of tetris trying to get itself back together. Every time I opened my mouth to talk, tears came out instead. I just had a baby, covid can’t hijack my post-partum. I’ve earned the right to stay in bed with my hand in a U shape waiting for coffee to be inserted into it. Im supposed to be sprawled out right now rehashing my birth story to ezzy who lost interest in the hospital room. Whos going to take care of the children? They’re too needy to be neglected. Thank you daniella for feeding them.

Within the next 10 days, everyone in the house tested positive

By the time I got covid, I was a mess. I was barely sleeping during the night or day. My doctor told me to wear a mask around the baby. But after two days ezzy told me to lose the mask in hopes of regaining my sanity. The kids were home coloring amazon boxes. The cleaning lady fled back to Peru out of fear of Co-vid. I was having bi-weekly emergency sessions with my therapist. I could no longer tate the 18 bars of chocolate I was inhaling. My coffee tasted like hot water. I couldn’t smell my baby’s breath. I couldn’t nuzzle her neck and inhale her scent.
I cried so hard that my stomach almost bounced up and slapped me in the face.

Postpartum mixed with covid was an experience I never anticipated, but somehow we crawled our way through it. Ezzy spent his quarantine time with us through a window. He propped himself up on a ladder to say Shema with the kids and see the baby. The kids had some very concentrated time with the new baby that otherwise wouldn’t of happened. Purim was spent in our home giving and receiving shalach manos by our door step – hands down the most relaxing purim I’ve ever had. The maror for Pesach was made with real tears, thank you mommy. After coming out of quaratnine, freedom never felt so good. The challenge of it all has gifted me with humility and perspective. Even with all the crying and all the chaos, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

It feels good to be here with you. How have you been ?



The Pre Post Partum

As I enter into the final countdown, I keep thinking about what it is I’m about to embark on and how unbelievably scary and exhilarating it feels.

When @ezwass and I had our first baby, we had a lot of opinions on how things needed to be done and how we wanted to raise our daughter. ‘Our daughter,’ how noble of us. One of the values we felt strongly about was no pacifier because we read an article about the importance of a baby being able to self soothe. The first weekend I was home from the hospital, I went to go lie down while my parents watched the baby. She started to cry so my parents tried to give her the pacifier. @ezwass and I started plummeting towards the situation, wanting to rescure her from the rubber monster. “You can’t give her the pacifier, she needs to learn to self soothe.” At the time we felt really proud of oursleves. We were taking charge and ownership of this new human. Now I look back and see the reality – we were young, first time parents who were inflated with information and guarded with inexperience.

It turned out, our baby cried a lot until she was 4 months old. It was colic and then it was acid reflux. The doctor prescribed a bunch of medications with directions, which we blindingly followed, and until today I still regret it. Sometimes I wonder if that’s why she’s more of an anxious child. And then I remind myself, it doesn’t matter.

This past summer, when I first started telling people I was pregnant, I got a lot of similar responses;

“Was it on purpose?”
“Yes.”
“Wow, during Co-vid?!”
“Yes, during a pandemic.”
“When all your kids were home?”
“Yes, they had nowhere to go. No one else wanted them.”
“I can’t believe it, weren’t you struggling with them at home?!”
“Yes. I was struggling. It was really hard to help my kids with zoom school while I was hiding in the closet.”
It always feels great to be greeted with disapproving questions when you tell people you’re expecting.

People kept telling me, “you’ve done this before, it’s nothing, you know what to do.” First of all, this pregnancy still matters. Second of all, I’ve done this before so I understand how unbelievable this task is and that I know nothing. I thought over time and with experience I would have more confidence.  The only confidence I’ve gained is knowing that pregnancy and post partum is a privilege and I am grateful for the opportunity. I’ve gained confidence in knowing that pregnant women and mothers need less opinions and a lot more support. Sometimes it feels like being pregnant is a never ending series of interrogations that feels tortuous. Maybe it’s preparation for all the labor pains.

“My doctor said you can drink a full glass of wine every night.” (You need to find a new doctor)
“My doctor said no wine at all during the whole pregnancy.” (There’s an idea for a contraceptive)
“How are you feeling?” (I’m feeling good Thank G-d)
“You’re lucky, I felt like shit when I was pregnant.” (Congratulations for winning at being more pregnant)
“Do you normally get back labor?” (I have no fu**ing clue)
“I had the worst back labor.” (You win again)
“Are you going to have it natural?” (I just want to have the baby)
“Do you get the epidural?” (YES)
“I didn’t get the epidural.” (You’re a champion)
“Are you going to be nursing?” (Yes)
“It’s really important to nurse.” (I was bottle fed as a baby)
“If you’re going to bottle feed, get the organic brand made from uncaged cow’s milk that has no hormones.” (I’ll stick to the formula made from cow’s who are caged because I don’t care about my baby)

Here’s what I think is important to say,

To women who are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, deciding to stop getting pregnant,  raising children, struggling with children- What you’re doing is enough. You are strong and capable. You’re not the problem, it’s the children, they’re assholes. I am here to listen. I am here to support you. You are not alone.

I have always enjoyed my pregnancies and it’s not because they’re easy for me. I enjoy them because as my mother says, “it only gets harder once you have them.” #word. I’ve learned that during my pregnancy what I need most is support and relentless compassion. I want to forgive myself for being imperfect and love myself for being human. I believe we all need that in our lives and I’m taking it upon myself to carry this with me and apply it to the people in my life. We’re all doing great. Everyone is where they need to be. We’re all champions.

Continue reading “The Pre Post Partum”