My friend Nicole interviewed me recently for a piece she's writing for LiveMom Austin
on parenthood-prompted career changes. I thought you might enjoy our raw Q&A, candid and unedited. Give it a read and then share with the class in the comments below: Did you change your work/life arrangements when you became a mom or pop? How so? Was it worth it?Nicole: How old was Kaspar when you decided to do something different, work-wise? Was the decision a long time in coming, or was it precipitated by some event?
Taylor: Kaspar was six months old when I left my position in corporate media – I worked on the web side of magazines – in New York and moved to Texas. Titles were folding right and left and the industry was changing; although my position was secure, I’d never felt completely comfortable placing all of my eggs in one basket. I watched productive, hard-working people get laid off through annual several rounds of 4th quarter “restructuring” while others who were clearly incompetent were promoted. I liked the people I worked for, and among, at the point I left, but I knew that ultimately my job could end at any time for any reason, and since I didn’t have time to cultivate anything else – or much in the way of savings, as NYC is crazy expensive and I shacked up with an artist instead of a finance man – I wouldn’t have anything to fall back on if I were to lose my job. I’d felt unfulfilled by the corporate game for a while, although I played it well. But when I suddenly had a child in the mix, time took on an entirely new meaning for me; I didn’t want a nanny raising my kid. I wanted control of my days, and my destiny.
I’d always been a good writer, but worked with freelancers (from the inside – we often hired them to write our content) and didn’t envy their pitch-for-peanuts way of life (without any corporate perks… which, by the way, are not 'worth it'). I didn’t even attempt writing in the city. On the day before my wedding, at three months knocked up, I’d gotten a massage, in New Hampshire. The woman who gave it to me wasn't much older than I was. She had a community trade school certificate on the wall. She'd just bought a house in the neighboring town. She made her own schedule, she took long walks and ran errands during her lunches. And she didn't have to report back to anyone upon her return. She was smart and at ease, pretense-free. I thought of my fancy college education, the daily subway commute, the senseless layoffs, tallied sick days, professional titles. I thought of the many salesmen (or whomever) who’d confessed to me in taxi cabs on the way to off-site meetings that they dreamed of quitting, becoming teachers “or something… I could move my family into a smaller house, right?” Even my first boss in New York – a six foot, perfectly polished power-playing blonde who never cracked – once told me in a tipsy frenzy that she feared no one loved her, even her kids, and that she in fact despised herself. When I got that massage, and reflected on all of these things, I thought, "What the fuck am I doing? This chick has it all figured out."
I’d followed a certain path (by day, anyway) that sounded impressive when anyone asked, “So what do you do?” but it wasn’t the path for me. In that respect, the decision was a long time coming, but I didn’t know how I was going to go about pursuing something else until Kaspar was born. I spent my maternity leave scoping out other cities (my husband’s work is portable and had been actually unsustainably slow anyway for about six months by then), and I began writing for some of the parenting-related titles I worked for, for free, to accrue some clips. I interviewed at a massage school in the city, but it would have cost 26 grand (plus 1,000 hours) to attend, which didn't make any sense for me, as a new mom working full time. I went back to work – after negotiating my Fridays off – when my mat leave was up, but I already had one foot out the door. We were just barely getting our sea legs as parents, and Kaspar was having severe skin and digestive issues (it took us about another year to really figure out what was going
on with him – he has food allergies – and that year was not an easy one), and he needed me. I think all of these things culminated at a certain point and I knew it was just time to jump. Did you feel that work was part of your identity? If so, did you struggle with your decision to make a career change or the transition which happened afterwards? What helped you manage the transition?
I did feel that work was a part of my identity. I secured a job in Austin before moving, an administrative position at UT. It was more than a few steps down, in terms of title and responsibilities, than the rung to which I’d quickly risen (mostly by faking it) on the corporate ladder. I’d enjoyed playing the corporate part in that I was competitive and good at it; I didn’t have much regard for rank and could speak confidently to just about anyone (even if I was totally full of shit... looking back I'm sure many people could see this and simply humored me because I was so gung ho) and I liked that I took people by surprise – from my colleagues in New York to my parents, back home. I hadn’t landed in the corporate world in the way most people do. I hadn’t aimed there all my life or anything. I’m heavily tattooed, studied Buddhism in college, worked as a stripper for a few years towards the end college – I am fiercely independent and wanted real money so I could travel and, essentially, have options (I finished school early, too, as I thought I might otherwise not finish at all) – and I had friends in all sorts of interesting places... but I was clearly not following a prescribed course, and I think many people wondered where I’d ‘end up’. Then there I was rocking it in the big city, running with the big dogs. There’s a lot of ambition in New York, which I love, but there’s also a lot of ego wrapped up in that. There certainly was for me at that time, for sure.
At the same time, falling in love and starting a family brought my more authentic desires and dreams forward; I couldn’t ignore them. They’d never remained far below the surface, anyway. And by the time I took that admin job in Austin (which I still have, and which allows me to mostly work from home, allowed me to go to massage school while still collecting a monthly salary, and allowed me the flexibility to help my sick baby when he needed me most, and now, still, to spend every afternoon with him) I had different priorities. I didn’t care about titles anymore, or what people thought; I cared about my lifestyle and my freedom. People I knew couldn’t necessarily understand why I’d ‘throw away’ what I’d accomplished in my early career, but I knew what I was doing. I didn’t throw it all away, either; having worked on the inside gave me the freelance connections to actually work as a writer from the moment I arrived in Austin. (Which has helped enormously in terms of paying the bills and being my own boss over the last two years.)
As far as managing the transition goes, laying the groundwork by getting a part time job in advance of the move, and setting up some regular freelance jobs (contracts jobs that paid me monthly) helped, but it was hard. We’d just barely gotten married and had a baby, we weren’t getting any sleep, we left our friends and our support system and moved thousands of miles away, and we cleaned out our bank accounts doing so, without much of a sense for how we’d really get by once here. It felt like a huge risk in some respects, and I questioned whether I’d done something truly destructive to my family by following through with this crazy idea in the first place. When you were "growing up", did you factor kids into the equation when you decided what lines of work you would pursue?
Not at all. I was a babysitter for years and years and was often asked if I wanted to eventually become a teacher, but I never considered it. I did dream of having a partner, and kids, of my own though. Education and career labels were really prized in my family and the culture I was raised in, however, and relationships were something of an afterthought, at least in terms of ‘planning’ what one wanted to ‘be.’ I’m actually so glad I got pregnant at the relatively young age of 25, because I wasn’t so immersed in an inflexibly successful career (or the expensive lifestyle that accompanies it) that I couldn’t imagine another way to go about living. But there weren’t a lot of models in my world for truly balancing motherhood with a fulfilling way of working. I knew women who worked all the time, and other women who stopped working entirely, when they had kids. It seemed like an either/or decision. But stopping working wasn’t an option for me, so I invented a new way instead. What was harder than you thought and easier than you thought about the transition to leaving the 9-5 world and entering the world o' freelancing? Any advice to others who are contemplating a change?
I had a comparatively easy time of it getting clients and having enough (often more than enough) work. I told myself I’d write for as long as the work was forthcoming, but I wasn’t going to write for free – or pitch – once I got to Austin, and I haven't had to. I can attribute this to an innate ability to identify opportunities before they’re obvious to everyone else, to hustle so that those opportunities become mine, and to perform under inhospitable circumstances. (I spent many nights working for hour-long chunks of time in between attending to my eczema-covered, barely-sleeping baby, in the beginning. Not a lot of fun.) I also would not have been able to do any of these things as well as I do had I not worked on the ‘inside’ – I know how websites and companies work, what editors need and want, and even how to use back-end systems so as to publish my own work (or produce other content, which I’ve done for extra freelance dollars) online. And I know a lot of people who’ve also gone freelance since working for titles that later folded, laid these friends off, or what have you. Like any industry, the kind of freelance writing I do puts me in good company with a small community of people who move around, switch roles, and hook each other up with work as they go. I pay it forward as much as possible, too. Writers and editors are a lovable bunch.
Juggling everything has been harder than I imagined. I have a part time job that I only do sometimes, I do freelance writing, I went to massage school (on the part-time clock) and now have a massage job, and I’m a mom to a three year old, with a baby on the way. I keep a lot of balls in the air. This is logistically challenging, at times, but the biggest challenge has been learning to stay focused and, more importantly, present. I did all
of this so I could love my life, right? If I’m checking my email on my phone, or thinking about a project, or worrying about a paycheck, while also playing with my kid, I’m not doing what I set out to, and the whole thing was pointless to begin with. So I bring myself back to the present moment again and again, enjoying it for all it’s worth.What sacrifices do you feel you have made, if any?
We don’t ever know for sure how much money is coming in. That can be challenging, especially with kid-related costs in the mix. Last year was juicy – I had several easy, high-paying freelance jobs come through, and so did my hubs. But he lost his one really reliable gig last month, and my juicy client cut their budgets this year, by two-thirds. Of course we also just paid taxes, which cleaned out the savings our boom year helped us build. Freelancing requires a stomach for the unpredictable, and an ability to evolve. My husband’s had a harder time of it, actually, and is looking into learning computer programming as a reliable way to pay the bills that will still allow him time to do freelance illustration. Likewise, I pursued massage as a way to make money by showing up and working hard (and then, an important point, physically leaving), and I love my massage job; it provides me with a sense of balance, and, yes, some security.
Honestly, though, the 9 to 5 world’s ‘security’ is unpredictable, too; the main title I’ve been writing for (which was housed among the titles I worked with, full time, while in New York) was bought this week by a competitor, everyone was laid off, and publication is being ceased almost immediately. The entire team of people who’ve been working there -- people I've worked with for several years, and who I respect immensely -- are now out of work. It’s awful, and it happens all the time. This isn’t just a magazine industry thing, either. I think the world of gainful employment has changed since the recent economic crash. Everyone is a free agent now; full time, company-signed employment works well for some people and is perfect for certain times in life, but it’s not fail safe, and even the people playing the game know that’s true. Or they should. What lies ahead for you, career-wise?
I’m going to have this baby and spend this
mat leave focusing on being a mom, instead of launching a new career and plotting a move across the country! My part time job is on a yearly cycle, and its annual lull will come at the perfect time to allow me to take this time off for mothering, without a pay cut. Then I’ll go back to massaging a few days a week, doing the part time work mostly from home, and writing (which I might continue to do throughout new-baby days; we'll see). I think, given the general freelance climate and my own recent urge for expansion, I'm even game for a round of networking and pitching; I'd like to write for some new titles and expand my repertoire.
The other day, someone at my massage job saw me checking online on some comments on an article I wrote. She didn’t know I write, and that I used to run web departments or whatever. She did know that my husband’s been looking for work – i.e. our finances are not always awesome -- and she asked me, upon getting the quick gist that I left one thing to start another, “Was it worth it?” (Climbing down off the ladder…) And, “Will you eventually go back, when your kids are bigger?” I told her it was worth it, and I’ll never go back. Then she paused and said, “I could see you maybe doing this,” gesturing toward the walls around us. “Maybe starting a spa, or a business.” And yeah, I could see myself doing something like that, too, but for now I’m really content to grow what I do by way of natural next steps, rather than another massive overhaul. That had to happen, but hopefully just the one time. How does your experience in changing careers influence how you talk to kids about what they want to be when they "grow up"?
I try not to talk to kids about that, and instead to talk about who they are now, what brings them joy and makes them laugh and live most fully. I meet a lot of different people and one thing I know for sure is that we never ‘arrive’ in the way we think we might. We are all in progress, always, until the end. I don’t want to trick kids into thinking life is to be lived later. Dreams and goals are hugely important; they allow us to see ourselves in places we haven’t yet explored. They allow us to take steps in those directions. But taking steps at all and staying open to new possibilities is what counts. The world opens up in unfathomably perfect ways when we can do that all the time.
Here I am at work last Sunday. This bump is big for its age, I think, and I'm feeling some movement, but not tons yet. I hung out with a midwife friend the afternoon after I took this photo and she had her doppler in her car, so I reclined in the front seat and we listened to baby turn somersaults as his heart beat away, steady and strong. I can't wait until the all-night dance parties begin. I asked when that would be and my friend answered, "Soon, soon."
I'm feeling all glowy and happy and barefoot and pregnant.
Guess what. Baby #2 just gave away his flavor. ;-)
I went in for a sequential scan today, the only testing I've opted in to
for new baby Newman. As it turned out, the baby's too long for the full test to take place (apparently there's a cutoff length for them to do the blood work on the mom? Don't quite understand why, but whatever...), as I completely spaced my initially-scheduled appointment and was thus about a week late on my timing. No matter. While we were there I asked if we might sneak a peek between the baby's legs. The sonographer said it's sometimes possible to tell what gender the baby is at this point, especially with boys, but that it might still be a mystery. As it happened, what we saw when we looked was not subtle: it's a boy! That pic there at top is a nice side view of his funny little alienesque self. Cute-cute.
I'll admit, I was a *little* disappointed not to get to go all Rainbow Brite on a little girl's wardrobe, but I'm also a *lot* relieved not to be looking ahead to eventual face-offs with an adolescent girl. (Any daughter of mine would be NO picnic at 16, trust me.) And of course all I really care about is having a healthy, happy baby. Now that we know our newbie's flavor, this has become all that more real, and I've fallen yet more deeply in love with our second son
. (Whoa.) Bake away, little buddy.
Now to choose a name...
The newbie's getting serious.
I wrote on Parenting.com today about my approach to diet during pregnancy
; in a nutshell, so to speak, I'd thought, before becoming pregnant, I'd avoid all of the foods Kaspar's allergic to while baking baby #2. Not only did my first trimester cravings blow that plan out of the water (hello, junk food), but -- now that I'm in my second trimester, or will be tomorrow -- I'm not only feeling far more energetic, and 'normal' in general, including in terms of the foods I'm craving (hello, wholesome healthy stuff), but I've got a game plan for *hopefully* setting new-baby up for an allergy/eczema/reflux-free start. That game plan is the full GAPS diet
. Sans the nuts and wheat, the former of which is allowed on the full diet and the latter of which is allowed (in sourdough form) if no digestive problems are present... but since neither digests super easily for anyone and since both are major allergens in general, I'm just avoiding them. Easy enough. I've read the GAPS book
, which is densely packed with nutritional information; it corroborates with what I've learned over the past three years, and what's been working, overall, for Kaspar. And since we already eat nutrient-rich, real-food fare up in here, I'm only having to tweak a few things to transition into GAPS-ville. The diet basically heals and seals the gut, thus healing immune system-related health woes (of which Americans suffer many, food allergies among them). I'm planning to take Kaspar, and our family, through all of its stages once baby's here and the timing is right, but for now we're starting at the least restrictive, most nutritionally broad place -- the "full" GAPS diet -- as per the recommendation for pregnant women. Anyway, go ahead and read up via my post on Parenting, and on other blogs, like this one
. Then get to your farmer's market and into your kitchen, cuz the best part of this approach to gut-love is that you get to fill your belly with good, nourishing food.
I should mention that there's quite a bit of meat involved in the GAPS diet. I was grooving on a mostly vegan
spurt a while back, which felt light and clean in my body at the time. I think I needed to detox in a major way and sort of reset once our two years of sleep deprivation resolved to some degree, and eating tons of plant matter helped get that work done. (As did an Ayruvedic cleanse I did a short while later. I felt like a whole new person after that. Still do.) But I then found myself drawn toward meat again -- high quality, locally-sourced meat that hasn't suffered
, that is -- and whenever I get acupuncture I'm told I should be eating it regularly. (Something about building my blood.) Pregnancy only increased my desire for it. So, while it may feel like I'm somewhat all over the place on the subject, good meats remain a part of my, and our family's, diet. As far as GAPS is concerned, that's a healthful thing, especially for expecting mamas.
With that in mind, I made a recipe from the GAPS book (linked above) last night, tweaking it a little to my liking. Aaron and I have each made stuffed peppers before, but only vegetarian versions (they make for an attractive, and generally popular, veg dish). Thus, last night's version -- which were definitely not vegetarian -- were quite different than our previous renditions. They meat is flavorful, but dense. I definitely suggest eating these in a bowl with a good amount of the stock they cooked in surrounding them. I chopped mine up a bit in the stock so as to create a kind of soup, and that was delicious. I also suggest adding whatever vegetables you'd like to the meat mixture before stuffing the peppers, and some cumin. If you're eating dairy, throwing some shredded, raw cheddar cheese in with the meat mixture before cooking would also be kind of amazing... In short, these stuffed peppers are filling and tasty, but I could tell -- even at first glance -- the original recipe was written by a doctor, rather than a chef. I'm eagerly awaiting the Nourishing Traditions
cookbook, which is due to arrive at my door any day now; it's recommended by the GAPS people and boasts an index full of mouth-watering recipes. (I peeked at its back pages on Amazon.) Anyway, I've gone ahead and written out my improved (and yummy) stuffed peppers recipe below -- feel free to tweak it further. If you do, let me know what works well!
Click "Read More" below for the recipe!
I've been taking it easy on the blogging over the past several weeks due to general first-trimester sea-sickness
, plus some winter-sickness action, but both appear to have mostly passed. (FINALLY.) I've been feeling a bit better for a little while, actually, but things have been so busy around here -- we've had grandparents in town, birthdays, workdays and, um, a string of late-night Downton Abbey
marathons (Aaron and I are catching up to the current season, thanks to Hulu Plus) -- that I just let this here little website sit pretty for a minute while tending to life at large. Anyway, thanks for your patience. I knew you'd understand. ;-)
Despite the nausea and the head cold and all of the busy, I'm still feeling pretty nesty as of late. My home-improvement passions at present seems to revolve those things at eye-level and above, perhaps because our house is desperately lacking in that department, except in Kaspar's room
. My list of projects for 2013 includes hanging house plants, window treatments and our art. (Also, this
in the hallway outside our bedrooms.) And because -- and I truly believe this -- intending something strongly enough to actually write it down often spurs the universe into collaborative action, we received a mysterious, large package in the mail just days after I made a note of these items that'll soon grace our vertical space. Inside were six paintings Aaron had sent to San Francisco for an art show two years ago, but which disappeared before arriving at their Mission district destination, never to be seen again. We've even moved
in the meantime, and yet there they were, at our (relocated) door, out of nowhere, several weeks ago. They're gorgeous and I love them, and I'm so glad they made their way back to us, because now we have a stash of art to hang on the walls, as intended. Aaron played the whole thing really cool, but I could see in his eyes that the reunion with his work was a joyful one for him, too. Now he gets to bust out his art handler skills and get these babies up (I'm not being lazy -- he won't let me hang the art), along with the painting he made for me
, for Christmas, and two or three of our favorite posters (framed -- this isn't college) we've been staring at, at ground
level, for over a year. Yay, art.
As for house plants and window treatments, I'm going to need to educate myself on each item before diving in. I'm excited for both, though, the former for their aesthetic lushness and air-purifying powers, and the latter for color and character which will no doubt surpass our current stock of venetian blinds.
In the meantime, I've made a couple of first-trimester-friendly (read: nausea and exhaustion-proof) projects and hung them above our kitchen table. They were suuuuper easy, and they give our space a fun, festive vibe. First, I created some scrap fabric bunting, shown in the photo at top, using -- you guessed it -- scrap fabric and a hot glue gun. This took all of half an hour, and felt as satisfying as a sewing project
without the grueling... how-do-you-say... sewing. I chose the fabrics and their arrangement pretty randomly, but I love the way the colors work with the one painting of Aaron's we already have hung on the far kitchen wall. Aaron says it looks like a birthday party in the kitchen now, to which I say "exactly."
The other project I hung I created from the star-shaped cinnamon ornaments we made
for our tree this past holiday season. (We followed this recipe
, at the time-- a great family activity, but make sure the littles don't taste the dough, as the spices are intensely concentrated, and will burn baby lips. Youch.) They still smelled so good when we finally undressed our tree, late in January, that I didn't want to throw them away. So I strung and hung them up, as a garland, across from -- and providing balance for -- the bunting, with the hanging lamp above our table serving as an anchor for each, in between. I love the stars' natural, earthy appearance, and although their cinnamon-clove scent is subtle, it's still there. In fact, because both the bunting and the stars are high enough to clear our heads when they walk underneath, both are subtle, in a way, and a little surprising. I think they give the room and its inhabitants an unconscious lift.
Stick around for posts on hanging house plants and window dressings. (And even baby beds that extend from above
.) Let me know if you have tips, ideas or inspirations for eye-level-and-up nestiness, too!
I've been a little MIA on the blogging scene, both over at Parenting.com
and here on Alt-Mama, since the New Year; you may have guessed from my not-so-subtle hints
that hormonal things are happening which can explain my relative quiet. As in, I'm a little bit pregnant... about seven weeks. Yay! I'm excited, crazy-hungry, a bit nauseated, and tired; between massage brain and baby brain, there hasn't been a lot of writing going on. That being said, good writing (and reading, for y'all) awaits, as I'm going to be back on Parenting's Project Pregnancy blog -- where I documented all things pregnancy #1
back in 2009/2010 -- shortly. And I have fun things planned for Alt-Mama, too. So strap in. It's about to be bump-watch (plus nesting plus all-around prenatal par-tay) time.
Houston, we have a (cute!) heartbeat.
I know I'm letting the secret out 'early,' but I'm okay with this. I actually didn't even know about the twelve week safety zone when I was pregnant with Kaspar; consequently, all of our friends and family knew we were knocked up by, like, four weeks. (As with this pregnancy, I got a positive test very early on.) Only then did someone at work gasp in alarm (pregnancy news spreads quickly) and tell me I could very well miscarry -- she said it just like that -- which sent me into a fit of nail-biting until the end of my first trimester, which, coincidentally, coincided exactly with my wedding day. Now, I know miscarriage is indeed common (20% of pregnancies... that's a lot), and in fact that woman at work who brought me up to speed had experienced a few more than a few miscarriages herself (she has since, through the wonders of modern medicine, delivered a healthy baby boy). But if my Kaspar-fetus survived wedding-planning stress -- which he obviously did -- I know for sure that the experts aren't lying when they say there's nothing one can or can't do to prevent a miscarriage from happening. Either the baby's gonna stick, or it's not. And while I of course feel deeply for mamas who've miscarried or had pregnancy-related difficulties (my own mom struggled with some of this), and I'm well aware it happens to perfectly healthy women all the time, I also try to bear in mind that the stories of multiple-miscarriages others have told me are not my
story. I want to be excited, enjoy this first trimester, and -- above all else -- keep fear and 'what if's' at bay.
I believe every woman should handle early pregnancy, miscarriage, pregnancy-at-large and birth in whatever ways feel right to her. Each mama's stories are different, and our stories are deeply personal. So personally, while I feel a sense of community and empathy with all mamas everywhere, living our different lives and our different stories, I'm choosing to focus on positive stories for the purposes of pregnancy #2. I well remember the excitement of pregnancy, but also a certain tendency toward fearful
pregnancy that pervades our culture, and is also often, if inadvertently, shared and spread among women ourselves. Whether we're scheduling our next 'screening' for some (barely) potential problem, or hearing other mamas tell of days-long, painful labors and emergency C-sections, it's easy to get caught up in an expectation that, at any moment, something might go wrong. Well you know what? It's not my first rodeo. And I know that, of course, something could go wrong. At any moment. It probably won't, but if it does, I can handle it, and I know I'll have the support and love of our family, our friends, and you good readers out there. In the meantime, tell me positive stories
. I promise to tell positive stories, too.
I have a few things I could
be afraid of during this pregnancy. I have a blood clot history
, and therefore am classified as high-risk; I'd like to have a pretty hands-free pregnancy and a home birth -- a safe and wonderful option
for low-risk pregnant women -- but instead I'm working with a wonderful doctor and a doula (TBA), and injecting myself with blood thinners every day. I did that last time, too. Unlike last time, I know what questions to ask and I know what I do and don't want in delivering my baby. As it turns out, I probably won't have to be induced, and I can probably have a natural birth in a hospital setting. So that's cool. The other thing that's nagging at the back of my mind is, obviously, a food allergy and eczema remix. What we went through with Kaspar was really hard for all of us. It took me a while to even consider the possibility of pregnancy again
, knowing that a food-allergic baby #2 is indeed slightly more probable for us than for a family without allergies in the mix. But statistics, (positive) stories from other allergy mamas, and my doctor, have assured me that it's far from guaranteed our second baby will have any allergies at all. Doctors have no idea why, but many families have one kid with countless allergies, and other kids with none. And some studies show that eating nuts during pregnancy prevents food allergies, while other studies show the opposite. There's not a lot of rhyme or reason around this topic yet, and not a lot of knowledge. Even so, I'm going to avoid eating the major allergens during my second and third trimester, and I have an appointment scheduled with Kaspar's TCM doctor to see if there are some herbs I can take to help prevent any allergic issues in my baby. And if this baby does show symptoms similar to baby-Kaspar's, we'll know what we're dealing with, and we will be fine.
Blood thinner injections. Yeehaw.
I am declaring this a Fear-Free Pregnancy
, no matter what happens, and knowing full well that this is life, and sometimes -- in life -- shit goes down. I'm focusing on feeling awesome, and visualizing a happy, healthy me, and a happy, healthy baby. I'm drinking a lot of juice
. And eating a lot of carnitas tacos. I'm dreaming up names. I'm bracing myself for two small kiddos, as my one small kiddo creeps up on turning three. Age two was far from terrible -- we had one week of difficulty
, which was about the extent of it -- and was a piece of cake, I suspect, compared to what's in store. Kaspar is as joyful and animated as ever, but this age is, um, something. Everything that already took twice as long as it did now takes twice as long as that ("Kaspar, please climb into the car... Kaspar, please get into your car seat... Kaspar, please get in the car... Kaspar, please stop pressing the buttons on the door and climb into the car.... Kaspar-get-into-the-car..."), and Kaspar's constant questions reflect new layers of comprehension that often catch me unaware (yesterday: "If you like what
than you should have put a ring on what
?"). He hears everything, feels deeply, and talks and moves continuously. This is a fun stage -- this boy of mine is so loving and funny and sweet, it's amazing -- but I'm pretty much exhausted all the time, and it takes a lot to make me tired. I am excited, though, for the months to come, for baby time, and to watch my baby #1 grow into his role as big brother.
What do you think about the twelve week safety zone, early pregnancy, and first trimester changes? How have your second (or third, etc.) pregnancies differed from your first? Suggestions on great pregnancy books for positive stories? What's essential in a good doula? (We'll be interviewing next week.) Thanks for joining our family on this journey!