A New Season: Spring

Happy official spring!

Finally! The weather may not have caught up yet, but I can see the glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. In the cold, grey days of March, it was such a pleasure to think of the bright and bold things to come.

As you might have been able to tell by my last post, the end of winter tends to be a down point in my year. It’s the strangest thing, but it’s pretty consistent (and annoying at that). But at last, we can rejoice in sunny days, brighter colors, and fresh and crisp food! Everything comes down to food, you know.

In celebration of the warmer season, here is a collection of things that I’m ready to bust out for our first Spring dinner. We’ll invite some close friends over, light up the grill, and enjoy the warm air outside under the clear evening sky!

To Drink

Drinks of course can be non alcoholic or alcoholic, but I find the second kind to be a bit more enjoyable. This pomegranate-grapefruit paloma is just right with a bit of the winter citrus but a distinctly warm weather feel. If you prefer something without any extra work, a fresh lemonade or a crisp glass of rose will absolutely do the job!

Pomegranate Grapefuit Paloma 

To Eat

Early spring may seem a bit early to break out the big guns on the bbq. Instead, ease in to the season with a grilled pizza. It’s easy to make, gives your party goers something fun to watch while they wait, and is ridiculously delicious. We tend to go the traditional route with our toppings, since my husband isn’t fond of straying very far, but I am dreaming of a caprese with balsamic reduction. Heaven in my mouth.

Grilled Pizza

While you’re at the grill anyways, you might as well throw on some seasonal fruit. Sprinkle slices with a little brown sugar and grill it up. Once you have a nice crust, top it off with some vanilla ice cream and call it dessert. We’re not here to be fancy, we’re here to relax and eat well.

Grilled Peaches

This recipe is a little more complex, but still incredibly easy. Plus, look at it. Seriously.

The Setting

Some of my favorite warm weather moments are the nights that you talk with your friends outside in the warm air. Imagine sitting back on your chair, chatting with your friends under the soft glow of these pretty lights strung up over you.

Outdoor Lighting

Ahh, isn’t that better? Oh spring, I’m so happy you’re finally here!

Delicious Words: Charles Frazier

I have periods where everything I ever encountered– grass and trees, music, the taste of food, the way people move, the miracle of colors, even my own worn thoughts– seems luminous and razor-cut in clairty, exactly like the whole world seemed to me at seventeen. What a gift at this late date. Memories from deep into the last century come blowing through me and I can hardly stand against their force.

We all reach a point where we would like to draw a line across time and declare everything on the far side null. Shed our past life like a pair of wet and muddy trousers, just roll their heavy clinging fabric down our legs and step away. We also reach a point where we would give the rest of our withering days for the month of July in our seventeenth year. But no thread of Araidne exists to lead us back there.

Charles Frazier, Thirteen Moons

March Sucks

I’ve decided today that March officially blows and is the worst month of the year. I’ve been feeling so bummed out lately and I thought it was strange until I read a journal entry from this time last year. Turns out, we had gone on a mini trip around this same time. Why? You guessed it, because I had been feeling crummy and wanted something to take my mind off this lousy, good for nothing month.

What is it about this month that’s so bad?

It’s cold- no wait, it’s hot!

San Diego is notorious for not being able to decide what temperature it wants to be, but it’s especially bad this month. Mornings can leave a frost on your car and require a thick sweater, but by mid-afternoon, you’re sweating into your winter boots. The touch of sun also is a fleeting flirt. You miss the beach so much, but you know if you go you’ll only be a sad, shivering mess on the waterline.

There aren’t any holidays

At least, not for anyone with kids. Honestly, St. Patrick’s Day is one of the lamer holidays. Yes, drinking is encouraged, but you can only get away with this in your early twenties without looking like an alcoholic. Green beer stains your teeth, and ugh- crowds. No thank you. Plus, you don’t even get the day off of work, which is a basic requirement of any holiday.

It’s no longer winter, but spring is just out of your reach.

No more chestnuts roasting by an open fire but you are still an arm’s length away from picnics and warm weather days. Honestly, what are you supposed to do in your off time?

The food is SO BORING

In November and December, you party it up with delicious, hearty winter eating. Breads! Chowders! Cookies! Cheese! This changes to a lot healthier eating January and February, in line with your New Year’s Resolutions, but it’s still early so it’s fun and exciting and you’re feeling awesome! March is when you’re in the thick of it and you’re just staring angrily at your lentil soup, dreaming of the fresh and happy salads (and margaritas) that only really feel right after Spring has arrived.

You are still months away from any vacations

Ugly cry.

 

T minus 5 days until Spring officially begins, people. From there, the weather will meander it’s way over on its own accord.

Until then, all we can do is run to the end of our chains and bark.

Living The Good Life

Last August, I began a search to really redefine the way I lived my life. When Jack was first born, I was taking every day as it came and just doing what I needed to do to get by. Over time, though, as he grew and became more independent, my own actions didn’t follow suit. I was still doing the absolute minimum of getting by, and I was miserable with how I was approaching several aspects of my life. But the end of summer came with the resolve to fix my approach.

I made a pact with myself to be more mindful, to direct my actions to something useful, something I wanted to accomplish. To lean in and achieve what I wanted out of life. This process has been slow, but as I have learned in the past eight months- time passes anyway, I might as well use it to my advantage.

I am significantly happier now than I was back in August, my body looks and feels healthier, I feel like I have direction in my career (and I’ve FINALLY made peace with where I am now). Overall I’m just more content.

However, I have noticed that I started slacking on my mindfulness the past few weeks, and this has had a profound effect on my level of joy day to day. Instead of feeling rejuvenated, every day I felt like I was under a bit of a cloud. While it’s good to be a peace with where you are, I’ve found that I’m truly happier in a daily sense when I feel like I am working towards a goal.

With that, I’ve reevaluated my daily schedule so I can take steps towards mindfully leaning in every day. It’s not the full-scale renovation I did half a year ago, but a little booster to what I’m already doing. A reminder of what is important, and with it- the intention of creating more joy in my day to day life.

The next month will focus on the following-

Participating at home: I constantly catch myself looking down at my phone throughout my day, especially when I’m at home. I already work 40 hours a week, and so often I feel like I’m missing a significant portion of Jack’s childhood (and my relationship with Glenn!). Back in August, I was determined to put my phone down for several hours a night and instead be fully present for playing, preparing and eating meals as a family, and talking with my husband (and son) about their days. Since I have strayed from this practice, I’ve noticed that at the end of the night I’m disappointed that I didn’t make more of my free time.

This month, I will make a point of participating in the life that is going on around me. Whether it be a making dinner, a dance party, or even a tantrum- I want to be present.

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Seriously, you wouldn’t want to miss out on stuff like this.

Choosing healthier foods more often: This seems obvious, but I’ve noticed that the more I’ve lost weight the more I’m compelled to give in “just this once” since “I’m doing so well”. This, of course, is not self-sustaining and I don’t want to lose all the progress I’ve made.

I really want to take this month to retrain my brain to not give in just because it’s there. I will be more mindful of everything I eat. I don’t want my actions to be influenced by outside factors, I want to be the one making the decisions that shape my body. Treats are fine (and strongly encouraged!), but I want to make the conscious decision to enjoy them rather than realize after I’ve already begun to eat them.

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Walnuts and honey are healthy, right? And goat cheese is milk. It counts.

Getting outside: This action made a massive impact on my general happiness. Since our schedule is pretty packed during the week with work and a long commute, I don’t often get outside. When I started doing long walks on a trail outside every weekend, I noticed a distinct change in my attitude. I felt significantly more refreshed, happier, and willing to be more active.

This month I will take a few hours to go outside and get the movement my body craves. I will breathe in the crisp morning air, I will look at the beauty of the nature that surrounds me, and I will be so damn thankful that my body allows me to do this. I am so lucky to have this opportunity, and I should take full advantage of it.

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This doesn’t do the view justice

Begin classes: I really accomplished a lot in finally determining what direction I wanted my career to take. While I’m an editor right now, the work that I do is in a very limited field. This has always been a source of deep-seated concern since I wasn’t sure how to direct my focus when it came time to move forward. I didn’t know what I would want to do, and I had no clue how to do it. In the past six months, I’ve finally found a niche I believe I would work well in. I’m still incredibly lucky to have a stable job, with no signs of needing to change it anytime soon, but I want to prepare myself if something ever happens. I spoke to people in the field and found a program that could help ease me into the market. It’s been a month and a half since I decided to start this new era of school, and I kind of put it off. But the new semester is beginning soon, and this is just the push I need to begin. I’m looking forward to learning something new and having a career that my children can look up to.

This doesn’t quite fall into the mindful category, except that I want to be aware that this is still very much a resolution I want to accomplish, even though it will take a significant amount of time. So I will begin by taking the introductory course this month and sign up for the class that will begin in April.

I already feel significantly lighter after writing this all down and I’m looking forward to putting my plans into action. I’ll check back in a few weeks to make sure that I’m doing everything I want to live my best life.

Mastering the Master Bedroom: The Reveal

As I mentioned in a post last week, I’ve recently taken on styling my master bedroom- a room more or less neglected since we bought our first home in 2013.

After weeks of scouring Pinterest, I had a solid plan for the direction I wanted to take. It wasn’t particularly expensive or drastic, which was perfect considering my budget was minimal and I really didn’t have the time or energy to devote to a full scale project. I decided to include a soft pink to our already present grey and white color scheme, and looked around for fairly inexpensive items that would contribute most to the overall look.

Master Bedroom Inspiration

The vast difference came from finally finding a place for all the items we had stored along the walls and in the closet. This took a solid afternoon and huge pile of donations to Goodwill. During the same time, I finally hung a collage of pictures and mementos that I had been putting off since we first moved in. The floor was finally clean and the giant blank wall finally had some art.

In this initial period, I also made my first purchase- twelve fabric lined boxes to use on the shelves of my open closet. The boxes were inexpensive, and looking back I would probably have bought them for a higher price in store since the ones I received had noticeable color variations. Nevertheless, it has helped to create a much cleaner look to the closet. Once overwhelmed with various colors and clothing items, now the clean lines and subtle color draws less attention to the least important aspect of the room.

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One of the higher priced items on the list were new lights. We had lived with one Ikea table lamp for years, but our current room was ridiculously dark and I hated trying to do anything productive in there after the sun had gone down. I found these gorgeous faceted table lamp bases at Target a few weeks before deciding on a corresponding grey herringbone lampshade. The bottom pattern provides a modern look to the room, which I adore, and the small print of the lampshade give it texture without overdoing the whole look. Nearly half of the final $125 spent went towards the table lamps, and for good measure. The room is finally bright enough to spend time in there without feeling like I’m about to go to sleep. I’ve found myself in there much more often since these were included.

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Another major part of the money spent, oddly enough, was on the two throw blankets. The first was this soft number from Amazon. After spending something like two hours searching through all the major sites, Amazon once again came through like a pro and provided the perfect blanket for the perfect price. Then, during my search for the lamps, I found another soft pink throw in the clearance section at Target. This one had been a bit more of what I was looking for initially, and the clearance price made it easier to excuse the fact that I was buying two throws for a room that already had a duvet. I can honestly say that I’m delighted that I bought them both. In addition to adding the soft pink color that I was looking for the room, they just make me so darn happy. They’re soft, they’re pink, they’re warm- what more could I ask for?

Then there were the added features that didn’t cost a cent. An often-repeated sentiment by home décor bloggers is to use items from around your house- moving them from one room to be repurposed in another. But as much as I was on board with this notion, this was surprisingly hard to replicate. You see, there are hoarders and then on the far other end of the spectrum, there’s me. I tend to donate pretty much anything that I am not currently using or intend to use within the year. Goodwill loves me and my husband thinks I’m stubbornly unsentimental. It keeps our house tidier, but the effects of this lifestyle definitely made itself known when I tried to find something to reuse for the bedroom.

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The one item I did find for the room was a set of patterned white curtains that had been originally used in the living room of our old house. I distinctly remember having them in hand, ready to toss in the goodwill pile, when I remembered that I should probably use them in the guest bedroom. They never made it there (thankfully), and are now being used to break up the full sheet of grey that once coated our window. This had the added benefit of blocking out more of the morning sun that often peeks around our blackout shade, but also helps brighten the room when I pull up the shade during the day.

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One other free item actually came from a collaborative effort. I asked my mother and sister to check their linen cabinets for any old pink sheets (they are more the “collective” types, so I figured I may get lucky!). My sister found a top sheet way in the back that was the exact color I had been looking to incorporate. My mother in law (the saint), then sewed it into two pillowcases to achieve the exact look I had been drooling over on Pinterest.

Overall, I’m ridiculously thrilled with the outcome of the room. I hadn’t really expected such minor changes to make such a large impact, but I genuinely surprised at how much it looks like the very pictures I kept returning to.

Rainy Monday

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It’s a rainy Monday morning and I think both Jack and I are wary to start our week. Always ahead of the game, Jack has hit his terrible two’s already and Glenn and I are just trying to keep up. This weekend was full of timeouts and a lot of tears on Jack’s part (both sad and pure fury).

In the end though, I know it’s just a stage. He’s such a wonderfully sweet and loving little boy and he mostly just wants our attention. And cookies.

Until then, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim, swim.

All The Lovely Things: A Bright Weekend

Happy Friday All!

While this week was shorter with the holiday, the departure of a close coworker has landed a bit of extra work on my lap. And although I enjoy the work (mostly), I certainly enjoy spending time at home a lot bit more.

I don’t have a specific list of “to-dos” this weekend for the first time in a while. We’ve been knocking out things left and right, with more still to do, but I’m not feeling that strong push to get anything done RIGHT NOW. Instead, I’m looking forward to spending some quiet time working on our front yard, making some delicious treats, and chasing my son through the green grass of our backyard (thank you rain!).

I also need to take pictures of our newly decorated bedroom. We made the changes last weekend and it has made all the difference in the world. I love stepping through the door and seeing the pretty soft colors working together, it feels so special now!

Until then, here are a few lovely things to occupy your mind.

Easy-Spanish-Tapas

Easy Spanish Tapas

My mom is hosting a tapas party this Saturday, and with it is checking off a long held bucket list item. You know how I feel about bucket lists, so I’m really excited for her to be doing this. Plus, you know… food. I’m looking forward to olive oil and herb soaked cheeses, roasted peppers, and salty olives. And, of course, the wine.

Pretty girls
All The Pretty Girls

I recently fell in love with this song and haven’t been able to shake its spell. His voice reminds me slightly of Bon Iver, which I adore. Perfect for a quiet Saturday morning, watching the sky light up slowly.

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Eric Haseltine: Can The Past Guide Us To Future Scientific Breakthroughs?

Eric Haseltine’s presentation featured on the TED Radio Hour honestly made me reconsider switching up my career entirely for one in science. The man alone is fascinating, and his talk will draw you in instantly.

Stemulation
STEMULATION Daily Micro Derm Scrub

And finally, my favorite item of the week.

I just got a new bottle of this scrub after stretching the last one a few weeks too long. While the last one held up despite my obvious disgrace to it (aka watering it down- the shame!), the new bottle makes my heart sing. It has a gorgeous light citrusy scent and the scrub itself is mild but incredibly effective. I get mine at a deep discount through Fabfitfun ($14), but it’s also available on Amazon. This scrub has made my daily showers insanely luxurious. After seeing the difference between my worn out bottle (which again, was still amazing) and the new one, I’ve vowed to suck up the price and use it faster- it’s so worth it.

Mastering The Master Bedroom

I have a new obsession. Surprising, I know. It’s not like I do this every month.

Since Glenn and I first bought our home in 2013, we’ve never really put much effort into our bedroom. It has always been the one room in our house that we passed over when styling, the last to be cleaned, and generally just ignored. Then we uprooted last year and bought our current home, and with that came a ton of work. Complete renovations to the bathrooms, new paint, new flooring, as well as deciding on a new color theme and style to fit our new home. When we finally settled down, the most we had really done to our bedroom décor wise was to put in our furniture and hang up some curtains. It was sad, you guys, and it only got worse.

Over the next year, our master bedroom has become a catch-all for anything that didn’t have a place in the house. It became even worse after my cousin moved into our spare bedroom last September, and we had to move our junk to make room for all his things.

But no more, I’m done having random items line the walls and having to reach over piles of stuff to get into my closet. I’m done having our bedroom be a collection of odds and ends. Everywhere else in our home has been more or less decorated with a purpose but our bedroom was always an afterthought. I am finally ready to put the effort into turning our room into a place we love, not just a place we sleep.

I’ve actually been musing this for weeks now. I looked through my old pins and their common themes. Turns out- they’re pretty much the same picture over and over again. Seriously, look.

Bedroom Inspiration

Imperfect, simple, soft, and cozy. We already have a strong gray and white theme through our house, and the addition of a soft pink gives it a uniqueness to the rest of the rooms. This is my retreat.

There actually isn’t much I have to do. The biggest will be getting rid of the things that don’t belong and organizing the rest. I want to do something with our closet. We got rid of the doors since they were very old and yellowed, but the closet itself is lacking. Right now my clothes are folded and placed directly on the shelving, which wouldn’t be an issue if I could close it off- but its front and center right now. I’ll be investing in something to make the space a bit more uniform until we can afford to invest in a real closet set up.

Then, I’ll focus on adding more light (our one lamp is not cutting it), and a few little décor touches. I don’t want to add items to the tables, but I do want to add more color and brighten the space up a bit. Our furniture is expresso and our duvet, curtains, and carpet are grey- it’s pretty dark. I’ll definitely be adding some white and a light pink in the mix to help lighten the overall feel.

Finally, it’s time we got something on our walls. This is honestly the least of my concerns, but it will make the room more personal, which I like.

I think I’ll be able to do the major renovation this weekend, depending on shipping times, so I’m looking forward to seeing how it all comes together. In the end it will probably cost me something around $150, but it will be worth it to finally get this room in control.

As A Mom: My Body Post Pregnancy

Of course, pregnancy was only half the story of my new “mom” body. My delivery and post-delivery have dramatically shaped how I view my physical self, though this is a bit more emotional than my experience while pregnant.

I was a bit hesitant to go into this. In some ways I feel like I can’t properly express all the emotions that went into those first ten days of Jackson’s life. The joy at him being there and okay despite what happened, the tears of missing out on so many of those first moments of his life, the fear of the wires in and around his body. The fullness of that can’t be put in to words. In the end though, he is here and healthy, and we are so grateful for that. We are so lucky when so many aren’t. But the experience still remains in the back of my mind, and it has changed me in so many ways.

I labored for over 30 hours before the nurses called in for an emergency cesarean. I had assumed that this was coming, and actually asked that they just do the cesarean before it became an emergency, but they seemed to think a natural birth could still happened for a while. Eventually though, my labor became too hard on the baby and it was time for plan b. By the time it finally came I had long made peace with the new plan and was more than ready both physically and mentally.

The surgery itself seemed to go by stunningly fast. Jackson was born and emitted by far the angriest cry I’ve ever heard from a child. But something was wrong. He was sent to NICU with Glenn following closely behind. After some time in recovery, I was allowed to visit him for a few minutes. I stared at him, touched him gently, and apologized over and over. This was not the birth I expected, I couldn’t even hold him.

After twenty minutes, the nurse told me I had to go rest, and they wheeled me back to my room until I could “prove myself” the next day (they want to make sure you can walk and won’t faint or bleed, I’m assuming). The prospect of being able to see Jackson again gave me the will to stand up the minute they put me in my room, but unfortunately that didn’t mean they thought I was ready.

Ten hours and a hundred requests later, a nurse came in and asked if I felt up to it. I was standing by the time she finished her sentence.

This act, my body literally standing up to a challenge, is what I leaned on in the following months when I began to blame it for putting Jackson through that experience in the first place. Maybe if my body had gone into labor on its own, maybe if I had been able to deliver him naturally, he wouldn’t have had the pneumothorax. Perhaps the act of being birthed would have spread the mucus coating on the inside of his lungs over the spot left unguarded and he wouldn’t have pierced his lung with that first strong cry. I know it’s incredibly unlikely, but I still question myself and my body now.

At least I know that I saw him as soon as my body was given the opportunity. Moreover, from then on my body continued to function as high as it could. I sat in a hard chair that first day for hours, not even a full day after my body had been cut open and a baby taken out. I sat in many chairs over the next 10 days, spending as much time with my little boy as I could. My body woke in the middle of the night, just two hours after I finally got into bed, to answer the call of his nurse telling me it was time to feed him. It allowed me to walk carefully down the hall to a hungry baby again and again. When I was discharged, but Jackson wasn’t, my body let me wake up at 5am and not go back home until 11 that night. It was the trooper I needed, and it let me do what I had to do. For that, I am so grateful.

Talking with friends later on, long after Jackson came home and he was adorable and chubby, the question would often be what I thought about my post pregnancy body. This is a popular topic at the moment, and it’s amazing to see women come to grips with how their bodies have changed after having children. It is, after all, the physical point of your being, right? I would respond that I thought it was doing magnificently given how poorly I was treating it.

Honestly, once Jackson arrived my body became an afterthought for over a year. At times I think I even purposefully treated it poorly, eating too many things I knew weren’t good for it and not moving it enough. After I emerged from the fog though, I knew I had let it go too long. I began to eat healthier, exercise, and take better care of it in general. It’s rewarded me without grudge, letting go of the weight I had been told it would hold tightly on to.

My body is not the same as it was before Jackson, in some ways it is better and in others it’s a bit squishier. I still have my scar, I don’t know if I will ever lose my pouch, and I’m not always a fan of how it looks visually; but I can say with absolute honesty that I am so grateful for what it has given me. It grew my son, it pushed through when it needed to, and it has been gentle with me even when I didn’t deserve it.

This is the view of myself that I hope to keep for the rest of my life. A body that is more than what it looks like, a body that is strong and up for the challenge.

As A Mom: My Body During Pregnancy

Belly

A while back a friend and I had a long conversation about our bodies and how our view of them have changed over the years. This discussion sparked a longer thought process as I began to consider how my body, and view of it, has changed since pregnancy. Long overdue considering Jackson is over a year old, but important nonetheless.

My experience is in no way a reflection of anyone else’s experience with their body during or after pregnancy. Not only do women have vastly different pregnancies, but each are colored by personal history, perceptions, and reactions. This is the reason I won’t talk about my tiger stripes (I was already indifferent about my plethora of “doughnut stripes” long before I ever got pregnant), failing to gain weight (ha, no problem there), or the experience of delivering naturally (I ended up getting an emergency cesarean after a glorious epidural.)

Caveats aside, I do believe one of the most obvious and daily experiences during pregnancy was not actually a product of my body itself. Rather, the moment I told people I was pregnant, it almost seemed as though my body became public property. How many women have shared their experiences with a waiter denying them coffee, a coworker commenting on their food choice, or dear lord- their weight? I would assume the vast majority of pregnant women have had at least one experience pregnant that they would never have otherwise.

With Jackson, I barely showed until 7 months in, whereupon a loving and doting coworker told me that I didn’t look fat anymore, I just looked pregnant. Later, after coming back from maternity leave, another coworker was astounded by how “great” I looked, considering how “huge” I got before I left. These, honestly, were hilarious to me- probably for the main fact that these women would never have said something of this nature at any other time. And yes, pregnancy does have a tendency to make someone comically large, so I get it- I really do. Sometimes you can’t help yourself.

Honestly, what was stranger was when someone would comment on something I should or shouldn’t do anymore. I remember how mind-blowingly weird it was when early in my pregnancy I got excited and jumped up and down, only to be told that I shouldn’t be jumping. At seven weeks, my mind has just begun to wrap around the concept that there was something the size of a blueberry nestled inside my body, it couldn’t even fathom how jumping four inches off the ground could threaten its survival. But time and time again I was told I should no longer do the things I had always done without a thought. I went in to pregnancy knowing this would happen later as my belly grew and got in the way; but even in my first trimester I was protected from carrying a case of water, moving a folding table, etc. Having always had a strong body, I was suddenly being told to resist doing things that I had never considered difficult. It was very hard to reconcile this new state with my old body identity.

I know without a doubt that this and any other comment I received while pregnant was made with love and protectiveness, and not only for me but also my unborn child. Of course I made a few playful retorts, but I really did try to take this advice as the ultimate form of compassion. Nevertheless, it is very bewildering when you are suddenly being told how to function when you’ve been functioning fine all along.

In the same vein was the profound realization that I was vulnerable for the first time in my life. Not that it was the first time I was actually vulnerable, but certainly the first time I actually physically felt like I could no longer “go to bat” if a situation required it. I spent months processing this new information. Having always been a tall and fairly large woman, I rarely ever felt nervous about my surroundings. I knew it was unlikely that anyone would ever try to start anything, and if they did- at least I knew I could fight back. More concerning was knowing that if something was ever happening to Glenn that I wouldn’t be able to help. I know that not many people consider this the women’s “role” in the relationship, but I have always felt the need to protect those I love. However, as Jackson grew inside my belly, I knew that his life came first. It wasn’t that my arms were weaker, or I was slower (though that definitely happened too), but rather that I couldn’t place him in danger. He was vulnerable, and thus I was completely vulnerable too.

This vulnerability and protectiveness has continued to have a profound effect on how I navigate the world since Jackson was born. While I once was too overprotective, often willing to put myself in harm’s way for others, I’ve become more protective over my child and myself. It’s not surprising that I’m this way for my child, but I’m still surprised by the change towards myself. I guess that makes sense though, right? Now that my well-being directly affects my child, it’s no wonder I consider it a higher priority.

While I often thought of how my body was changing physically during pregnancy, it was how this affected others and my actions that really caused me to pause. This, more than anything, shaped my view of my body during that transitional period.