Friday, 18 May 2012

Letting go and celebrating small victories

I'm tired.

Really, to say I'm tired feels like a ridiculous understatement. This past month has been the lowest I've felt quite possibly ever. I'm tired in that if-I-have-to-stand-up-I-might-cry sort of way. Just let me sleep and then sleep some more. Please.

But I can't. I'm pregnant and raising two small children and I'm surviving but some days that doesn't feel like much.

I'm tired.

And no wonder. After my blood test last week, my midwife phoned to tell me my iron levels had dropped significantly and my iron stores had plummeted spectacularly since my last blood test. The Floradix I'd been taking, which had thus far allowed me to do such things as feed the children and maintain some semblance of being on top of the housework, wasn't enough. So I have more iron supplements on the way, along with some chlorella, and maybe I'll soon be able to return to the land of the living.

In the meantime, you know what? I'm not dealing so well. I cry. A lot. I cannot even tell you how very much I am not a crier. I didn't cry when my husband proposed. I didn't cry on our wedding day. Not when I saw the positive pregnancy tests, nor when I saw all the disappointing negative ones in between the first two. I didn't cry when my babies were born. I didn't cry when my granddad died. I've often felt guilty about it, even as a very little child, but I just don't cry.

Yet here I am, sobbing in the shower and when I lay down in bed and when I have to somehow find the energy to get dressed. And when I'm not crying, I feel like I'm about two seconds away from doing so.

Everything feels like a huge deal. I need to make a decision? Cue the tears. Don't make me decide anything. Please. I see another disgusting "we must WIN THIS CULTURE WAR!!!1111ELEVENTY!!!!" post on Facebook? Cue the tears. And the rage. And the dwelling on it for the next week. Oh yes. Overreaction has become my new constant companion.

I have no appetite. I haven't had an appetite since before I was pregnant. I don't want food. I don't want to think about food. I don't want to cook food. I don't want to plan what food everyone else is going to eat. I don't want to have to think, period.

But the worst of it is myself and my shoulds.

It's a nice day out. I should take the kids to the park.

It's noon. I should figure out what I'm going to make for dinner.

Dinner's done. We should go for our evening walk through the forest trails behind our house.

It's Saturday. We should go to the farmer's market and then have a picnic afterwards.

I should take the kids swimming, like I've been promising forever. I should do more with them. I should work more with the boy on his reading and writing. I should I should I should should should.

And this is probably just more overreaction on my part, but I'm tired of the blame being placed on Pinterest, or on "mommy blogs", or on Facebook, or on whatever. These shoulds are all mine, baby. I'm not trying to make a "pinnable" life. I'm not trying to live up to some image projected by any of the bloggers I follow. It might be easy to blame our whatever - perceived shortcomings, longings, misplaced motivations - on Pinterest or blogs or Facebook or insert other online target here, but the truth is it's just me and my own expectations of myself.

So I'm letting go and celebrating the small victories. No more shoulds, just reality. If we don't make it further than our front yard, awesome. If all I can bring myself to make for dinner is a pot of oatmeal, awesome. If we sit in bed and read ten books together instead of going for a walk, awesome. If we go to Timmie's after the farmer's market instead of having a lovely outdoor picnic that I've prepared the night before, doubly awesome, because I love Timmie's.

Whatever. I made it through another day? I'm awesome. Go me and my utter lack of iron. I can be a different kind of awesome when I have the energy I need to raise my arms above my head and wash my own damn hair without crying. For now, this is my awesome.

And I'm celebrating this week's small victories:

  • We searched out some new adventures earlier this week. Two toddlers, the boy, and myself, we walked down to the open field before the playground and I sat on a blanket, throwing balls for them to chase. Then we became pirates looking for treasure, and they brought all sorts of lovely things to me. I handed over the water bottle so they could make a little patch of mud to play in. It was lovely and simple and hey, it was something beyond the front yard. Victory.


  • We ate. Every day. Victory.

  • Bedtime the past two nights? Happened without any yelling or impatience on my part. Victory.

  • We went to the library before yesterday's midwife appointment and brought home a stack of awesomeness. And then we read through half of them in one sitting. Victory.

  • I scrubbed under the kitchen table so that my mother-in-law's feet wouldn't stick to the floor when she visited this weekend. Would she have cared if I hadn't? Not even a tiny little bit. Was it my own stupid pride that had me down on my hands and knees scrubbing the floor last night? You bet. Am I going to celebrate it anyway? Absolutely. Victory.

  • The kids and I are all freshly bathed/showered and ready to go grocery shopping when the husband is finished school today. I've even planned a couple of meals. My mother-in-law won't be offered oatmeal for dinner while she's visiting. Victory.

  • I'm letting go of self-imposed shoulds and embracing what is. Victory.

Celebrate with me? Share your own small victories from this week. Because you're awesome too.

36 comments:

  1. And I hope you don't mind if I add that you created an honest, interesting, well-written blog post (victory!) that even included a picture of your lovely boys playing with trucks in the mud (awesome!). Thank you for sharing yourself with us even as you are feeling depleted. :)

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    1. Thank you so much for that encouragement, Patricia!

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  2. I have just very recently started reading your blogs and I think they are awesome! I love that you're so honest here. I am also pregnant with #3 and when he/she is born in October they will be 3 and 1.5. I rely very much on my dried and encapsulated placenta after baby is born to bring my energy levels back up! Have you ever tried that? It won't help right now but it's something to look forward to :)

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    1. I'm all set to have my placenta encapsulated this time around, and very much looking forward to it. :) Really hoping it will help! At the very least, it can't hurt anything. Wish I'd done it with my other two as well.

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  3. Wow I totally feel you on this. My house a mess but my toddler and new born happily breast feeding, victory!

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  4. I'm agreeing with Patricia. This blog post is a victory! I've so had "don't make me think or ill cry" days. And I'm not a crier either. I blame my recent tearful self on age.

    My victory? I danced around to a dance workout. I missed half the steps and probably looked like a klutz but I did it, and it was fun.

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    1. That's awesome, Nicole. :) Thanks for sharing!

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  5. I need to work on celebrating my victories. In the meantime, I am ready to hop in my car and come find you and give you a hug and then be your assistant because a) you're awesome, and b) you totally deserve an assistant.

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    1. Angie, that's so sweet of you to say! Thank you.

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  6. Thank you. Today was the best day in weeks. And I tried so darn hard to make it so! But now, I'm beat and tomorrow may not be so great. But yes to the little things and a huge Victory for today going well and cookies and supper and happy boys all day.

    Blessings. Peace and Grace. Take it one day at a time and love on yourself cause you gotta pour it all back out on those babes. Prayers for you Love!

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    1. Cookies and supper and happy boys - victory indeed! Prayers for you as well.

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  7. What everyone else already said. I hope you feel a bit better soon, but in the meantime, all these things you have noticed--they're huge victories! Well done!

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  8. I count many of those things victories in my days and I'm feeling pretty healthy and well! You're absolutely right to count every victory - your eldest will learn to read and write in his time, exciting outings will happen again. I hope you find some remedies that help bring your energy levels up again, though. Wanting to cry at everything is a tough place to be in. <3

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    1. Thank you, Michelle. I keep telling myself those things, but it helps to hear someone else say them too!

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  9. Lovely and honest. My friend showed me your blog thinking that I'd like it. I do. I'm pregnant with #3 as well (with a 4.5 yr old and almost 3 yr old). I feel ya. It ain't easy. No sir.
    Prayers for patience and love and joy.

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    1. Thank you, Vanessa; prayers for you as well.

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  10. Celebrating the little things is what makes life so amazing. My small victory this week was organizing my office. Finally I have a space, a room of ones own that feels like mine rather than the room we put a table in and called it my office.

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    1. Whoo! That must be a great feeling. :)

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    1. We shall see! My first two pregnancies were so completely opposite that I don't place any stock in my pregnancy symptoms being related to gender. And then somehow this one too has been completely different from the other ones! The only constant through all three has been low iron levels. Hopefully that will improve soon.

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  12. It took for me to experience 3 very hard pregnancies to develop my philosophy that simple is best. I have 4 children aged 3 and under and I really understand where you are coming from. I have a blog based on the ideas I came up with during that time – perhaps it could benefit you. It is at alexspalex.blogspot.com. I am not trying to drum up publicity for my blog as it is very specific, so if you are worried about my blog being advertised here, I am perfectly happy for you to not publish this comment  I simply thought it may benefit you to see my blog which is based on the same idea expressed in this entry of yours. Good luck with the rest of the pregnancy, I too had terribly low iron with my 4th child, he is now 4 months old and my iron levels were back to normal within 6 weeks of the birth – despite me becoming vegetarian at the same time! So I feel that you will be able to live life with a new enthusiasm following the end of this pregnancy – perhaps there is a reason for your struggles in that it will allow you to appreciate life with your family all the more when you feel well again. All the best xx

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    1. Thanks for that encouragement, Alex, and for sharing your blog as well! We're slowly but steadily moving towards a more intentional life in all areas, so this is just one more lesson and reminder along the journey. :)

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  13. I made coffee. That's about it for the day! I am however sending you vibes and love! Keep scoring your victories and pretty soon the babe will be here!

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    1. Coffee! Thanks for sharing your day's small victory. :)

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  14. My recent victory (well, near-victory) is caring for myself and my two children (one just three months old) while my husband was away for four days.

    We had one truly wretched morning, and there's clutter everywhere (though not so bad as it sometimes gets), and the sink is full of dirty dishes, but ... we survived. We ate regular meals. We even had some fun.

    I say near-victory, though, because my husband isn't home *yet*. How I long for his return!

    Blessings to you. Also, you might enjoy this post.

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    1. Victory indeed! My husband was recently away for a week and it was so good to have him back home again - and I didn't have a three month old to care for while he was gone! Way to go, amazing you.

      Thank you for sharing that beautiful post.

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  15. I love your honesty, and I especially love that you didn't place your shoulds on others. It's very easy to blame pinterest and other blogs. I respect that you call it how it is.

    Also, as others have encouraged you, I'd like to as well. My third pregnancy was very hard. I am 4'10 (seriously), and I carried twins. That's a lot of body to fit into one small torso. My older boys (ages barely two and three at the time) watched a ton of TV, ate some processed food (we buy the expensive, healthy kind, but still), and didn't get a lot of mommy time. I physically couldn't do anything. Now my twins are ten months, and the past 8-9 months have been great. I'm able to parent the way I am called to. That short phase where I couldn't be 100% with them hasn't affected them one bit. They are happy, healthy, loving little boys.

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    1. It is so encouraging to hear from those who have been there (and then some! Wow!) and come through on the other side. Thank you for that.

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  16. Love this post! I have felt so tired and nearly helpless lately too. My victory? Saying yes to the girls asking to make dinner last night, not even caring about the massive mess they would make. So worth it! :)

    I hope you are feeling better now! Praying your new supplements help with your energy levels.

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    1. What a fun victory that is! :) I love that they were so excited about doing that for your family. Such sweet girls you have.

      I'm still feeling pretty run down, but we had a great weekend and all of these encouraging comments have helped too. Can't wait for the physical side to catch up!

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  17. Thankyou so much for sharing! I love this post.
    I too, am damn exhausted. I'm 33 weeks pregnant with a 22 month old toddler and low iron. It is killing me.

    I know there is so much I am capable of when I have the energy and motivation. There is so much more I could, should and would be doing... but my body just wont let me. Most days now we don't even get dressed.

    If I manage to get myself and my daughter dressed and out the door this is an incredible victory! If I manage to tidy a little of the insane mess around the house, keep Stella occupied and happy, then that is a small victory. Never mind that we are still in PJS come 4pm, a victory all the same!

    I understand where you are coming from though...when you have such high expectations of yourself and how your days should be shaped it is really hard to let these go and be 'a lesser' version of yourself. A slightly slower and more fragile version.

    Hoping you re-gain some energy and the days pass by quickly and without guilt for you!

    Natalie xx
    (natalie-winterlove.blogspot.com)

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    1. Oh yes, it's all-day pajamas around here too, unless we're leaving the house! Thank you for your kind words and I hope you regain some energy soon as well.

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  18. Thank-you for the reminder! There are always ideals I try to attain, but oftentimes the temptation to push everyone out of the way to try to attain it is what ends up happening.I have realized nothing is ideal, we may never finish everything that must be done. Children and mommies both have their bad days, and sometimes hard times still come even when we have done everything right. It's like there is this difference between fighting with life and living life, just sitting back and enjoying it. I'm kinda having a down kind of a day, so thank-you for the post.

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    1. The difference between fighting with life and living life - that really speaks to my heart right now. Thank you for your beautiful thoughts and I hope tomorrow is a better day for you.

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