1. Food. I’ve worked so hard maintaining gestational diabetes with diet and exercise that I’m tired of paying attention to how much protein I’ve had on my plate compared to complex carbs. I know this is the best way to eat and maintain body weight, but I’m wearing down and want to give in more and more to my cravings. I’ll send my husband and kids for the following: Starbucks Java Chip Frappuccino, Cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory, Caffeine, Chocolate Chip Cookies, FroYo, Fruit, oh how I miss fruit.
2. To throw away my glucose meter. My poor fingers. Don’t get too close because you’ll see the red dots where I’ve checked my blood sugars 4x a day every day. This time, I’m supposed to take it 2 hours after eating. Do you know how hard it is to eat and feel full for two hours in your third trimester? By the time my two hours is up, I’m ready to eat a side of cow only to be able to stomach a tiny bit due to no more room in my abdomen, and the vicious cycle starts all over again.
Also, I hate how I let numbers define me. The scale. Glucose Numbers. Numbers in my checking account. Numbers of people that attend something. The numbers on the baby scale when we start nursing. It’s all numbers, and they tell us whether we are a failure or success.
3. A nice long run. The end of July was the last time that I was on the treadmill running. Yes, I’m a treadmill runner, judge if you must, but I run. Running provides for me this emotional nervous energy that I don’t know how to handle. Born to be a high-strung control freak that must have things run smoothly every day and have an appearance that everything is correctly aligned, I place expectations and stress upon myself that are higher than anyone could imagine. To cope, I must run. Running provides this release of all stress, emotions, and thoughts. I can throw ear buds in and with the first stride my brain slowly empties. Once empty, my mind takes me to a place of rawness, where I can test myself and push myself in ways that do not happen on a nice long walk or lifting weights or aerobics classes or even videos. So having to stop running I knew I needed something.
I found a prenatal video that helped get my heart rate up, but it’s still not the same. So when that luxury of working out, even walking for exercise, was taken away from me at 32 weeks, I’ve become an emotional wreck. Well, what I call an emotional wreck because I cried when hearing the call 10-42 and still can’t say it aloud without sobbing like a baby. I cried over tv shows and commercials. I’ve cried while talking. Talk about uncomfortable for this control freak—I cannot control my emotions, and it makes me angry, makes me feel like I have no control over my body, which is true, but still, annoying and not typical.
At 32 weeks it appeared the enemy knew what was happening. The blasted piece of evil has been attacking every single piece of my being, let alone our family. I can’t run off the distraction. I can’t get a breath before the next big hit of distraction comes. Let alone the instability of my irrational emotions.
I need a run. Eventually. But that won’t happen until at least six weeks postpartum and I probably won’t even be able to make it a mile, which is going to be another obstacle I’ll need to face. I purposely signed up for a 5k this summer to walk with my daughter, but will battle feelings of inadequacy while watching friends run.
4. Routine Massage. Because I’ve not been able to exercise, I’m carrying stress in my muscles. They are tight no matter how much I stretch. I need soothing, relaxing massage to get my body back to feeling strong and loose enough so that I can go back to exercising full time.
Now that I think about it, I’ll probably need a massage, too, during the first six weeks postpartum because of the little sleep I’ll have.
Yes as my lower back is throbbing right now, a massage sounds so comforting.
5. No postpartum depression. Another control thing for me. When we get home from the hospital, we realize the world hasn’t stopped. Laundry has piled. The floor may be covered with toys; the kitchen floor may look like a mud-wrestling event took place while we were gone. Then there’s always just one chore around the house that must be done your way and only your way. That thing for me is the laundry. My daughter and I have clothing that must be washed inside out and on cold and not put in the dryer. Letting go of control and figuring out a new comfort in that is going to be hard.
Then there’s this period of 6 weeks when the mama needs to heal. We aren’t supposed to do much but heal. Some chores need to be done. Food needs to be prepared. Groceries need to be bought. Kids need to be toted to school and appointments. Life goes on. It’s hard to think about all this because my husband and I pretty much do everything on our own. We don’t rely on anyone else to take care of the family we’ve created. It’s not their responsibility and really who has time in their busy lives to help. So we don’t ask for help. We adjust our schedules and plans so that our family’s needs are taken care of.
It was hard to stomach that my first postpartum—realize we were in this thing alone and had to rely on each other and give a lot of ourselves up after having a child. It was difficult, especially after having been married five years and able to be as selfish as we wanted. I had emotions that I couldn’t handle. I was physically unhealthy. I didn’t like that my whole world changed, and I was limited to certain things. I had a lot of admitting to doing, changing to do, and humbling to do.
This time, I hope and pray that if I take a period of rest, that I’ll allow myself to transition naturally without pressure.
6. Rest without guilt. I place incredibly high expectations upon myself. I even make up these ridiculous timelines for specific achievements to happen. The achievement could simply be laundry done, folded, and put away even though I’m sore, tired, and really should just rest.
I’ve taken on a lot of responsibility since my second child was born. And having two young children ahead of this baby is going to be different. So when I think of rest, I think of it as me not being pressured to do anything. Pressured by others or myself. I want to look my children in the eyes. Play Doggy-Doo or Uno, read to them, go to the park, get FroYo, get Chick Fil A, take a walk at the mall, take them to the children’s museum to walk for a few. But our terms and not because I feel like I need to do these things.
I want to spend time with my husband as much as I can stay awake. I’d like to be able to have focused conversations with him and give him attention when he’s home because he’ll be making up for a lot of my slack for a few weeks.
I may even shut my phone off so I can focus. I may write some. I don’t know, but what I do know is that I want this rest to be a period where I don’t have an expectation.
7. Transition to a new normal. Hopefully, this happens naturally, but a transition isn’t easy for me, and I’m sure it isn’t easy for many people. Transition means change and change is scary and usually requires letting something go for the change to be successful. Thus, transition means I’ll have to let something go for a while and figure out how the new normal feels and fits into our family.
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