Saturday, June 9, 2012

Baby, you're worth it!

I've been told that being a Mom is the hardest job I'll ever have and the most rewarding. My life has already been turned upside down in ways I never imagined possible. Physically, emotionally and mentally, this baby has taken me over! But I surrender control. Baby, you're worth it! It's amazing how your priorities, your lifestyle, every aspect of your life begins to change, but it feels right. You are becoming a different person and the things that used to seem so important aren't as significant.

I still have to sell my car. The payments are killing me and to continue paying for a car that I haven't driven in months (my parents gave me their old car to use and the MX5 has been stored in their garage since December) and that I wouldn't be able to drive with the baby (or even for 12 years as a single Mom. You can't put a carseat in a 2-seater!) is painful. I've been trying to sell it online. Unfortunately, buyers usually want to negotiate. Because I have to get what's still owing on it, there really isn't room for negotiation. It's a nearly new car. People don't usually buy/sell a car after only a year or so. I'm trying not to panic. I know that things have a way of working out. But I need to sell the car ASAP. If you know anyone who lives in the GTA (specifically Oakville, Ontario, Canada) and is in the market for an almost new Mazda MX5 convertible, PLEASE LET ME KNOW! Write to me at
Here's the ad on Kijiji:

I've made changes around the house. My sleek glass and chrome coffee table has been replaced by a much more kid-friendly leather ottoman with storage for toys. The nursery is painted and set up (just waiting for my brother in law to deliver the crib, rocker, change table.) All the baby's clothes have been washed in special baby detergent and organized in the dresser and closet by size/age. I suspect I'll be doing even more nesting as time goes on. I felt ambitious and cleaned the garage a couple of weeks ago. I washed the floors for the first time in a long while.

40 lbs far!

Of course the biggest changes have been in me, physically and mentally. I've gained 40 lbs. It's still kind of surreal to me when I look at myself in the mirror. From the neck up, I'm still me. From the neck down I wouldn't recognize myself! My chest, stomach and legs are bigger than I ever could have imagined. And I still have more than a month to go! For the most part I've enjoyed being pregnant but it is a challenge and the bigger I get the more difficult everything is. Breathing. Moving. Mentally it's harder to concentrate. They called it "baby brain" at work. Admittedly I have been a little distracted/absent-minded...

Last yr & hopefully later this year!

One day I was at the mall and got a couple of cute little outfits at the children's store. I decided to walk to the video store at the other end of the mall. I have apparently lost my copy of Jillian Michaels' "30 Day Shred" and I want to have it on hand for after the baby. As soon as I get the OK from my doctor to work out after delivery, I'm doing it. I lost 15 lbs on it last time. I'm determined to get my shape back.

Anyway, I was happy to find that the store had the DVD but when I went to pay for it, my heart sank. My credit card was missing! OMG! I panicked. I realized I must have left it at the children's store, at the complete opposite end of the mall. "I'll be back," I told the cashier. She saw the panicked look in my eyes and my eight month pregnant belly and warned "Don't run! Take your time." But I had to hurry. What if the card wasn't there? What if someone picked it up/stole it? My heart was pounding. I was at a walking run but it was difficult with the large belly. On top of that, my ribs were aching, I had trouble breathing. My feet and legs were numb, swollen. The pressure in my pelvis/abdomen was unbearable. I was afraid I'd go into labour. I was sweating, out of breath, must have looked a sight. By the time I got back to the store I was almost in tears. I could barely speak. "I" gasp "forgot" pant "my" wheeze "credit card!" There it was still sticking out of the machine. Most machines tell you to please remove your card before the receipt prints. This one, sadly, did not. I have never left my credit card. Then again I've never been pregnant (and never thought I would be!), this is the first time I've experienced "baby brain." I was so relieved to have my card back. I sat down on a bench outside the store to catch my breath. My feet were purple. Somehow I had to make it to the other end of the mall to buy my workout DVD. Ironically this was the biggest workout I'd had in 8 months!

Yes life is definitely different this June. Last year I was hitting the beach, wearing a different bikini every day, driving with the top down, dating a tall blond sunkissed Hungarian god. This year I'm alone, driving my parents' old Hyundai, sporting a big ole belly, wearing maternity clothes. I haven't been to the beach yet. I'm not quite as anxious to go now that my legs are twice the size and stark white. I still love the sun but I'm feeling the heat a lot more with the extra weight. I can't date (though this is just as well. My baby girl is keeping me out of trouble for a change! I needed a break from men!) I can't go out dancing. I can't do my yoga. (Well I could manage some of the positions I suppose, but certainly not the headstand which I was doing daily before. Most of the positions are impossible or extremely uncomfortable so I've just avoided it until I get my shape, strength, balance and flexibility back.) Easily exhausted, there is a lot less I can do. Work is more difficult. It's uncomfortable sitting for 12 hour shifts now with a sore back, heartburn, pain in my ribs, swollen legs and feet. And those embarassingly frequent trips to the bathroom (sometimes almost running to make it!) And mentally I often feel like my head is in a fog. There is so much on my mind it's harder to concentrate. Sometimes I forget the simplest things, like my password to log on to the computer. Baby brain.

When I overdo it these days I usually suffer afterward so I try to take it easy when I can. Sometimes I'll put my feet up and watch TV. "The Bachelorette" is the only show I make a point of watching. I am a reality TV junkie. Watching TLC's "A Baby Story" is usually a bad idea. I always end up crying at the birth. It's a bit melancholy as well always seeing happy couples awaiting their new arrival. The only episode I saw where the woman was alone was a widow whose hubby was killed by a roadside bomb while overseas. She was clutching his dog tags while in labour. Sometimes it feels like I'm the only one in my situation, (abandoned by the baby's deadbeat dad when I was four months pregnant) but I've talked to other single Moms and learned that it's actually quite common. Apparently a lot of men discover at some point during the pregnancy that they aren't ready or willing to be fathers and skip out.

I've been reading more lately too. Sitting out on the garden swing my Mom gave me. I heard about a book called "Rattled" by Christine Coppa. It's a memoir of her journey through pregnancy. I ordered it from Chapters and loved it. Christine was 26 and living the life of her dreams -- living in New York City, working at Glamour magazine, having fun with friends and dating a cute guy. Then suddenly she becomes pregnant unexpectedly, after just a few months of dating her new beau. Initially she's shocked and terrified. The baby's father seems enthusiastic and supportive in the beginning. Shortly thereafter however, he gets cold feet, has a change of heart and realizes he's not ready to be a father. He leaves her and even after the child is born, he opts not to be a part of their lives. Though she has to give up her lifestyle (living in NYC, pulling all nighters drinking with her friends) and move to the suburbs, she soon realizes that all the changes are worth it. Her baby boy, Jack Domenic is the best thing that ever happened to her. I found myself smiling and giggling at her humour, moved to tears by her warmth and honesty, inspired by her strength. Funny, poignant and engaging, her story proves how sometimes it's the unexpected detours in life that become the best things in your life. Though she was much younger than me I could relate to her situation. Getting pregnant was the biggest shock of my life, being abandoned by the baby's father was the next one, yet I know that it was all meant to be this way, that I am already a stronger, better person for it and that this baby will be the best thing that ever happened to me.

I do want to be prepared. I continue to get things ready for the baby. I just finished my last mermaid painting for the nursery. I had three large square canvases (a gift from the Hungarian god last year) and hadn't gotten around to painting. The baby inspired me to paint again. I had a vision of an ocean theme with mermaids and seahorses. I did a series of three canvases featuring mermaids with babies. I'm obsessed with the tropical/ocean theme. It's gradually taken over my entire house! Every room has some little touches. Turquoise walls and seahorse salt and pepper shakers in the kitchen, shells and fish and a tropical shower curtain in the bathroom. Tropical colours, plants and paintings in my bedroom. Even my backyard was transformed into a beach. I had always dreamed of living on an island. This was my way of bringing the island to me.

my bathroom

My bedroom. I painted an ocean view!

I'm always excited when I find new little ocean-themed items for the baby. Fish. Mermaids. Books and toys. I got a little book called "Mister Seahorse" by Eric Carle. It's a sweet little story. I had always been obsessed with seahorses but I never realized that with seahorses, it is actually the father that carries the babies! The female deposits the eggs into the male's pouch where he carries them for up to 45 days until the baby seahorses emerge fully developed. So the daddy gets to have a pregnant belly for a change! Once the babies are in the water however, apparently daddy's role is done and he takes off. The story makes it sound a little more cute and cuddly than that. It ends with Mr. Seahorse saying "I do love you, but now you are ready to be on your own." If only my baby's father had given us a goodbye like that.

It's a good thing that M didn't stick around because I'm sure he wouldn't have been too thrilled about his "office" being turned into the nursery. And God knows what kind of nursery theme he would have wanted. Skull and crossbones? Scorpions? He didn't share my love of bright, happy colours and cute things. I'm sure he's living in a dark dungeon of sorts somewhere with his swords and scorpions.

My Mom thinks I'm going overboard with the whole ocean theme. She can be critical sometimes. We were looking at crib bedding and she was pointing out how many other cute themes there are -- giraffes and elephants, monkeys, ladybugs, flowers. I just shook my head. It's my baby, my house, my choice! "What if the baby doesn't like fish?" she asked. I just rolled my eyes at her. Of course my baby is going to love tropical fish and seahorses and the ocean and mermaids. She'll love dolls and ballet and art and music. She's going to be a girlie girl like her Mama and we are going to live on a beach in a tropical paradise someday! So there!

So the nursery is just about done. I've finished reading all my pregnancy, birth and childcare books. I've done my homework but somehow I still don't feel prepared. As time goes by, I get increasingly nervous about labour, about caring for the baby. The reality starts to hit me. Months ago, I could think of it as something coming up on the horizon. It felt like I had so much time. Now July is sneaking up on me and I'm afraid. Am I ready? I had a dream that I was looking after a baby (in the dream it wasn't clear whether it was actually my baby or just some random baby I was looking after). There were no diapers and the baby just kept pooing. It just kept coming out. Little brown turds. Like a chocolate factory. I didn't know what to do. There wasn't even a garbage can or a toilet nearby. I had baby wipes but nothing else. I guess it represents my fear of being unprepared and feeling overwhelmed. Maybe I'm afraid of the constant diaper changes. Or maybe it's because of all my own trips to the bathroom recently. Of course I do have a stash of diapers for the baby already. I'm prepared with an arsenal of supplies -- diapers, wipes, cream, baby wash, lotion.

It's no wonder I'm nervous. I always experienced anxiety/stage fright before any impending change or upcoming event. This is by far the biggest event of my life, the biggest change. This was a responsibility I never expected to be taking on. I didn't plan to have kids. Fear was the main reason. Fear of responsibility, fear or pain, fear of change, fear of a tiny human taking over my life and me not being able to handle it. Of course I am excited too. It's a rollercoaster. It's terrifying and you scream but it's exhilarating and you feel so alive. This baby is a blessing, a miracle and I am incredibly grateful. At the same time, yeah, I'm scared! I used to worry about getting up on stage. And that's nothing. The worst that can happen is you forget your words and become a little embarassed. This is too important. I can't mess this up. This is someone's life. And it's a lot of pressure to be doing it on my own. Finances are a stress. How will we manage? I try not to panic. I know God will take care of me. He has so far. I just have to take it one day at a time. Somehow things will work out. For a recovering control freak, fear of the unknown is huge. This is such a drastic shift for me. I've been living for me, for four decades. I had relationships but never got married. I was always afraid to be alone but ironically also feared commitment. This is the biggest commitment ever. This is for life. I'm living for someone else now. And will I be a good Mom? I have to be. I am excited. I love my baby already. I can't wait to meet her. It's just scary. I'm a creature of habit. Change is always difficult. Even when it's a change for the better.

I just need to relax and trust that everything will be OK. Control what you can. Let the rest go. Go with the flow. You learn as you go. I don't have to know everything. I don't have to be perfect. It's not like preparing for a play where you learn your lines or a gig where you have your setlist. Improv always stressed me out in drama class. I didn't like thinking on my feet. I wanted to know what was coming next. Wanted to be prepared. The truth is you can't plan life to the letter. Even when you try, the unexpected can happen. That's part of the magic of life. Sometimes it surprises you with something better than you could have planned. You don't know what each day will bring. That's what makes it such an adventure. Baby will be calling the shots. It isn't up to me. I will learn as I go.

Even on my worst day, even when it's tough physically, emotionally, mentally, baby, you are worth it! I know that this was meant to be and that my whole life, all the adventures I've lived through were all just to lead me to this, to you. You are the best part of my journey. I wrote this song for you -- "Baby you're worth it..."

I am so excited about the baby. I have visions of us together. Snuggling her as a baby, running on the beach with her when she's a bit older. Singing to her, dancing with her, laughing with her. Sometimes I am so overcome with joy that it brings tears to my eyes.

It is still a shock. Sometimes I have to pinch myself. I am going to have a baby. I am going to fall in love with someone precious, innocent. I am going to open my heart so wide it feels like I may be torn in half. And it will be blissful, liberating, frightening. I am going to feel a bond like none I've ever felt, because this person is literally part of me. I am going to see the world through new eyes again, experience the magic and wonder of life anew. I am going to teach and learn so much. It is such a gift. And the bliss will be worth the stress. I am going to experience the greatest miracle this life has to offer -- creating life. I am going to be a mother!

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