Great Expectations

I’ve been working on something big these last few months … hence the absence of posts. Got a bun in the oven, folks! Come end of June, I’ll be a first time momma. ūüôā

Baby's first selfie.

Baby’s first selfie.

When we first found out we were preggers, I figured I’d have TONS of inspiration for the blog, but it hasn’t quite turned out that way.

First trimester symptoms kinda suck the creativity and motivation out of you. Total exhaustion. Nausea. Food aversions. Super smell that picks up everything gross within a 5-mile radius.

Plus, there’s the symptom they don’t tell you to expect: an overwhelming anxiety bred from WAY TOO MUCH INFORMATION.¬†Thank you, What to Expect When You Are Expecting! In my opinion, if you are pregnant or planning on getting pregnant, you should¬†stay away from this book.

Along with all the great illustrations and cute produce analogies for your growing baby, they include the most awful, worst case scenario things that can go wrong with your pregnancy.¬†I’m not saying this isn’t valid, useful information. Just put that crap in the back of the book — not mixed in with all the normal milestones. Pregnant women don’t need any help with over-thinking and worrying!

So, second trimester. I’m feeling better. Feeling great, actually! So great that sometimes I forget I’m pregnant … which makes me very jealous of all the other mommas with butterfly flutters in the tummy,¬†weird/funny cravings, and budding baby bumps.

I’m 19 weeks, and other than a teeny-tiny bladder and a tendency to spill things, I got bupkis. I have tried documenting my pregnancy with those oh-so-popular weekly belly pictures. ¬†Seeing as I have lost 7 pounds since I got pregnant and am still wearing my regular clothes, my week-to-week progression is pitiful.¬†Haven’t felt the baby move yet. Haven’t wanted to dip pickles in my ice cream. No bump.¬†Oh, the unrealistic expectations!

More than anything, my pregnancy has reminded me to step back and re-evaluate the way I measure my life.¬†At every age, we take on new and different roles — friend, student, employee, husband or wife, mother or father. Often, we judge our performance in these roles based on cookie-cutter preconceptions of how things should be. Cue the disappointment and feelings of inadequacy!

Everyone’s journey is different. We are all doing the best we can with the circumstances we’re handed. And we are each uniquely gifted with our own talents and beliefs. We just have to let go of the shoulds and focus on living authentically.

My pregnancy has not been what I expected. I gave up on my “pregnancy journal” after 2 weeks. We haven’t started the baby registry. I don’t know if we will use disposable or cloth diapers. And I have no idea if I will opt for a natural birth or demand my IV of happy juice after the first contraction.

Many of my choices will likely be different from the mothers I know in real life, and from the mothers I’ve envied over the internet. Doesn’t make one of us right, or the other wrong. At the end of it all, I will still be a happy momma who will do the very best she can to raise her baby into a shiny, happy Peebles.

Taking Heart

It seems that my last post was a little prophetic. Work has indeed been crazy, and I haven’t posted anything in days.¬†Boy, what a week! I have accomplished so much, received affirmation on my work, and interacted with great new people, but I have also been challenged by the late nights, the big projects on my plate, and some personal disappointments.

I will admit, proudly, to wearing rose-colored glasses. In my chest beats the soft, squishy heart of an idealist! I see so much good in the work that I do and in the place that I work. It is disheartening to be reminded that my good intentions (and expectations) are not shared by everyone, everywhere. We live in an imperfect world.

Disheartening. To cause to lose spirit or morale. To make a person lose confidence, hope and energy.

As we get older, it is so easy to be disheartened. Our spirits, not just our bodies, become stiff and inflexible. When we fall or fail (or are failed by others), we are slow to trust again, to get back up and jump back in. How do we avoid becoming cynical?

Some people would say, let the world harden you.¬†I’m not one of those people. I believe that we are made stronger by compassion, by our empathy for other human beings, and that true resilience means weathering the storm without losing your capacity to be inspired and surprised by life.

So, what’s the take-away here? Be elastic in your judgements, and in your self-righteousness, because no one is perfect and change is gradual. Don’t be disheartened. Take heart in knowing that every day of your life is a ripple that changes the world just a little.

I’ve found it is the small everyday deeds
of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay.
Small acts of kindness and love.

Gandalf, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

I love this quote, even if it’s not original Tolkien. ūüėõ¬†And I promise to post fun, craftsy, light-hearted things this weekend!