Monthly Review: October

Here is my monthly review for October. If you want to read September’s, check it out here.

 

1. What went well this month?

  • Engaging in my winter routines. I always have some level of seasonal affective disorder, so it’s been helpful to start using my lightbox, emphasizing salmon and sardines, and making sure I take a long walk every day. Doing this early, and without resistance, is always good for my mental health.
  • Daily meditation practice. This has been simple, but very grounding.

2. What didn’t go so well this month?

  • Work travel. I had a long work trip this month and just didn’t structure my time or my diet very well. I really struggled to maintain any sort of routine or balance, partially because it was very rainy and I dreaded leaving the hotel.
  • Weight gain. I have gained a ton of weight over the last month…it’s interesting because asides from my belly, I don’t really look bigger but it’s sort of troubling. At the same time, my diet is generally healthy and I’m still consistently working out so I’m not sure how troubled I should be about it.

3. What did I work on last month and how did it go?

  • Enjoyment and nourishment. I suppose I have been emphasising this more so but because the pace of my overall life has been slower, the pace of my nourishment has been a bit slower too. And that’s fine. Most weekends are a mix of socializing, pure leisure, and errands which has been a good balance.  
  • The sabbath. This has been going okay. I have been doing better with keeping my phone off, or at least keeping off the internet of my phone, for full weekend days, though work travel always seems to reset this practice.

4. What am I working toward?

  • Whatever I want. With only three months of pregnancy left, and thus three months without a baby, I pretty much just want to focus on doing whatever I want, whatever that is.
  • A iron-focused diet. I want to emphasize the iron in my diet and hopefully get my iron levels back to normal.

Pregnancy: Week 26

Hard to imagine this is the last week of the second trimester. I had my first official appointment with the midwives this week which went…okay. It was the week for my gestational diabetes test and I got really hangry in the office and found myself thinking, “maybe I should switch back to my OB” — hah.

I passed my test with flying colors which I was sort of surprised by. I attribute a lot of it to how easy it is to ‘exercise’ in a city, because you naturally have to walk around all day to get to your activities.

The midwife was not at all concerned about my super swollen feet which was reassuring. I was also told I have anemia but I already eat most of the food sources that are high in iron that I am willing to eat. I bought a vegan drink supplement that is supposed to help, so I’ll try taking that for a while. Hopefully, it will help my energy level and circulation.

I can feel the baby move every day, so it’s definitely starting to feel more real and like an independent being that I happen to be hosting.

Pregnancy: Week 25

Slightly delayed this week because I was at a conference. Work travel while pregnant is exhausting, though people are really, really nice to you. I’m definitely becoming more obviously pregnant because people will proactively offer me seats on the train as soon as they see me walking towards them. Symptoms this week continue to be swollen feet and ankles and shin splints. Other than that, I thankfully feel pretty good.

I have noticed some starter signs of seasonal anxiety, so I’m trying to be proactive about doing what I know works for me during this transitional time. This often includes:

  • Getting up earlier and going to bed earlier;
  • Making sure I use my lightbox for at least 30 minutes every morning;
  • Emphasizing healthy fish fats (salmon and sardines);
  • Working out consistently (morning workouts are best, though I have been pretty much exclusively working out after work for the last few months);
  • Writing in my journal and meditating;
  • Socializing.

A lot of these are just my standard best practices but I find the consistency and routine really help me in the winter, when decision-making is harder and I have less self-control.

I also started swimming a bit which is nice. Man, do I have to work to move my body through water! But it feels more natural than lots of other movements right now, including walking.

All I really want to do these days is enjoy R and our time together pre-baby. It feels like every week goes faster and faster and soon our relationship will be irrevocably changed. I know this will be great in lots of ways, but it’s still a transition I’m sort of mourning in advance. It’s been really nice to be pregnancy and know it’s with the right partner and will be a net positive in our relationship but it’s still a stressful change.

Pregnancy: Week 24

The swollen ankles! I have had a very easy pregnancy but the swelling in my feet and ankles is insane. Youch. I don’t really have anything to report this week. I went to an all-day biz meeting I had to train to and back which left me totally exhausted. I have two trips left, and then done with traveling which I’m so excited for.

I belong to an online community of people with similar due dates and three people in the group have gone into early labor which had made me very anxious. I have no reason to think that will happen to me, but neither did they…I can feel the baby move more often which is soothing for my anxiety. Still waiting for R to feel a kick though (or more like a full belly flop which is what it feels like more than a kick).

Workouts have been fine though I’m a little concerned about my weight gain. Almost more concerned just because it’s sort of traumatic to see my weight go up though rationally I understand that it needs to.

Goals for the weekend include:

  • Getting in baby practice with a friend’s newborn!
  • Making soup (butternut squash, red lentil, coconut milk)
  • Watching hocus pocus
  • Going on a half-day meditation retreat.
  • Keeping tech sabbath for one of the days.

 

An Update on My Weekend Alone

Remember this? It ended up being shorter than planned because my sister came into town. This is what went down:

  • Friday night, I scheduled a foot massage with a friend. It was awesome. We ran into another friend while out and all got dinner together. Nice! When I got home, an event I had been looking to all week, I felt so lonely that no one was home to say hi to me and give me a hug :(. I ended up staying up too late and sleeping very fitfully.
  • Saturday, I woke up at…9:15 in the morning. I still can’t believe I slept that late, but I attribute it to a very quiet apartment. I met my workout buddy at the gym, we pumped iron, and then ate bagels. It was nice.
  • Post-gym and bagels I went home and…was lonely! No one was home to say hi to me or give me a hug 😦
  • I went to the park to enjoy the beautiful weather. It was nice and I ended up talking to a stranger for an hour, which was fun — and not something I felt like would have happened had I had my phone on me.
  • I watched an episode of TV, ate a slice of pumpkin pie, and did all my home errands (e.g. hang command hooks everywhere to mood-light the apartment).
  • My sister came into down, and we had dinner together.
  • Sunday, my sister left very early to visit my parents. I went to yoga class and met a friend for brunch. She came over after and…R came home! He said hi to me and gave me a hug.
  • That afternoon, another friend visited who I hadn’t seen in a while and moved out of NYC. She brought a huge bag of baby clothes, which was greatly appreciated.

This is what I learned:

  • I don’t like to live alone. Even though I had a lot of social plans (Friday dinner, Saturday brunch, Saturday dinner, Sunday brunch, and Sunday afternoon), I still had this feeling of overwhelming loneliness.
  • I am lucky that I have a lot of friends who live locally or in walking distance or who are willing to come visit me.
  • I need a lot of affection, including physical affection. I feel like this has maybe increased since becoming pregnant but maybe not.
  • It’s really, really nice to have a few hours in the middle of the day to myself without the phone on. Those times felt infinitely long in a delicious way — and were great! Until I got lonely. So this in moderation.

Pregnancy: Week 23

Ahhh, Friday. There is something psychologically nice about having my pregnancy weeks line up with Fridays. I think I’m experiencing what people reference as the second trimester honeymoon. My body feels good, my emotions feel good, the baby doesn’t feel so close that I’m freaking out, but close enough that I’m kind of excited, etc.

I can feel the baby kick a lot now and pretty consistently. It goes gaga for orange juice, and kicks up a storm once I lay in bed for the night. I tried to get R to feel it yesterday but I guess it’s too early to feel it from the outside. Whenever I’ve been telling people that pregnancy has been pretty easy so far, they always follow-up with something like “wait and see”, often followed by an evil cackle. I find that so strange — why not allow people to enjoy pregnancy if and when it’s easy for them, and then support them when it’s more difficult?

I’ve been reading a ton about postpartum and specifically the idea of the fourth trimester and lying in. Basically, I’ve been trying to figure out what support I want to proactively plan for in the weeks immediately post-labor. Pregnancy and labor I don’t feel too concerned about, but the period after and transitioning to a completely new life stage does feel emotionally overwhelming.

My mom, who used to practice as a Certified Nurse Midwife, suggested R and I move into their house for the first 2-4 weeks post-baby, so we could learn baby skills but also have support of family to cook and clean and generally do everything non-baby related while we figure out baby. I was resistant to this idea at first but literally every book I read about the topic says this is what we are missing in modern society, and that it’s a very helpful and traditional thing to assist new mothers in transitioning to their new life. So definitely something we are thinking about.

Otherwise, life has felt good. I’m like obsessively into R right now which I find kind of funny, but also looking forward to spending this weekend home alone and doing whatever I want. And one of my oldest and dearest friends who recently moved away is visiting and I can’t wait to see her 🙂