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.
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.