FEELS FRIDAY: My Pregnancy Gift to Myself

It has been a while since I last wrote on this page and, no this is not a declaration that I am pregnant again.  While I wish I had updated my blog in a more timely manner so that I have full documentation of my pregnancy journey, let’s just say my emotions were then incapable of balancing so much at the time.  Now that I’m looking back, I can confidently talk about my experience and hopefully, it helps the next reader or so.

This is not a topic that’s commonly talked about — at least not in my household.  But it’s something that I truly believe was the best gift I’ve ever given myself.  In fact, I would even consider it as a gift from The Husband; he did after all urge me to go get it.

My pregnancy gift to myself is… going back to therapy.

As a person with a history of depression, the years leading up to my pregnancy was pretty rough.  After all, I originally did not intend to get pregnant.  I was perfectly content living the rest of my life with The Husband.  But, being a witness to someone else’s mortality shook me up pretty well and my thinking shifted from NO KIDS FO LIFE to OMG I WANT AN EXACT COPY OF THE BEST PERSON I KNOW AKA THE HUSBAND.

(Side bar:  I know my kid will be his own person.  I’m not really trying to recreate my spouse.  This is for those who think that I am trying to duplicate my spouse.  I made a choice to be a parent because I want to be a parent.  If my kid turns out to be like his dad, that’s just a bonus, not a goal.  Mmmmkay?)

Then of course, there’s the struggle of conceiving.  I had thought that the moment I got off the pill, I would be pregnant in a smack.  Big fat nope.  A year after being off the pill, I went to my OB who then referred me to a specialist because it was “better to see the complete picture of what we’re working with.”  Tests upon tests and six months later, we were diagnosed with unexplained infertility.

Let me dwell on that for a second.  WTF RIGHT?!  I mean, what in seven hells is that?  After all that difficulty, they’re telling us that technically there’s nothing wrong and that conceptually we should be conceiving naturally, but eh, sorry?  For a moment, I wished so hard for something to be wrong.  That way, I would know that there’s something to be fixed, to be remedied.  But nope, unexplained infertility it is.

And just when we have come to terms with our options — hormone therapy, IUI, IVF, surrogacy and adoption (and yes, in that order) — the strip gave me two lines.  Flashing before my eyes is the stick screaming PREGNANT.

To go from not wanting to have kids, to wanting to have one, to not being able to have one, to not being able to explain why we can’t make one, to accepting that we are seeking extraordinary means to conceive, to actually conceiving in a span of 18 months????  Let’s just say it was mentally and emotionally exhausting.  While my depression was at an all-time high (yes, even higher than the time when my father died) upon hearing the unexplained infertility news, the pregnancy news kicked another condition in high gear:  anxiety.

My sisters will definitely tell you that I probably read everything that you can read about getting pregnant and being pregnant, and in therapy, I have learned that too much knowledge is not power.  LOL.  In my head, I was so prepared.  But each morning I woke up pregnant, all I had in my mind were the negative probabilities:  miscarriage, genetic illnesses, still birth.  It was getting out of control.  In fact, it was so out of hand that while driving to work, I would need to pull over because I kept visualizing that I would crash into the car in front of me and my child would be squashed under the steering wheel.

I never saw myself as someone pessimistic, until I realized that my mind had only retained all the worst case scenarios of my pregnancy and very little of the best case.

Therapy was a relief, a gift that just keeps on giving.  I learned various types of coping mechanisms and I found myself rekindling my love for journaling.  Because of therapy, I was able to manage my anxieties, get my controlling nature under control (LOL OMG), and find the silver lining in every Final Destination-like scenario in my head. I went at least twice a month, and in some months, thrice.  It was enough for me to feel more prepared and more relaxed as my pregnancy progressed.

Whenever I would speak to The Husband about my pregnancy journey, he would always say that it took me a while to be truly and wholly happy.  On the outside, I looked glowing and excited, but he knew my worries, my concerns.  He knew the nights when I would just stay up and check if the baby is moving.  He knew how bad it got that he bought a doppler that we can use at home, so each time I feel any tinge of worry, I can just go ahead and listen to our baby’s heartbeat.

He encouraged me to go through with therapy, and in fact, was the one who brought it up.  And I am so grateful that he did.  Therapy not only helped strengthen my resolve; it also helped The Husband feel that we have a solid support team in this absolutely insane journey.  I wasn’t passing on my anxieties to him, I wasn’t making family uncomfortable by being so negative and worrisome, and well, honestly, I slept better at night.  And I needed that doppler less and less.

I do want to put out a disclaimer though.  Going to therapy early on in the pregnancy does not guarantee that you’ll escape the horror that is post-partum depression.  That, my dear friends, is a topic for another time.

What about you?  What was the best non-material gift you gave yourself when you found out you were pregnant?

No Meat Challenge Week 1: What Went Down

Survived the first week of No Meat Challenge!  I have to be very thankful for the fact that there weren’t that many cravings this week.  Fate is good to me.  Really really good.

For this week, this is the general tone of my meals:

Breakfast:  1 bowl Nestle Fitnesse Cereals OR 2 eggs and toast, 1 glass of nonfat milk
AM Snack:  1 banana, 1 apple OR high fiber crackers and orange juice
Lunch:  Tuna sandwich OR green salad with vinaigrette and feta cheese
PM Snack:  1 banana
Dinner:  Vegeroni pasta with pre-made sauce OR bowl of fruit and glass of nonfat milk
Indulgence:  1 Venti Starbucks Nonfat Latte, iced, with hazelnut

It’s still pretty boring at this point.  I didn’t really take the time to prepare for this challenge beforehand, so I had to settle for these things, most of them bought from the store.  I’ve read enough to know that if you didn’t make them, you don’t know what’s in them.  While there are some reputable brands that truly advocate clean and healthy eating, I can’t really say that access to those is easy here in the Philippines.  Not even in Makati, the central business district, where I work.

What I lacked in meal planning, I made up for working out.

This is my morning routine:

I especially liked this workout because it’s quiet.  My room is partly carpeted so it already absorbs a lot of the noise.  But still my mom sleeps sooo lightly, so this version really helps.  It doesn’t deprive you of the burn too.

Don’t forget this quick challenge!  Will definitely give you a good burn.

5 minute butt burner

For after office, I had about three days doing this combo:  some fun cardio, and butt and leg.

I have no other choice but to admit that Just Dance is fun!  It’s all because of my nephews and nieces.  It really can be addicting.  It wasn’t even until this year did I find out that there’s a workout option.  Unfortunately for me, I don’t have an XBox or a Wii to work with, but these videos helped just as much.

There is some downtime too.  I attended a yoga class sponsored by our company on Tuesday.  I’m quite lucky to have that option; I know these fitness programs are not a staple for all companies.  Because these are blast exercises, I was able to complete the four hours without taking too much of my time.  It doesn’t make me feel any less worked out though, however I do admit that at some point, I have to add more intensity to these workouts.  For now, you can only imagine how happy I am to have this rest weekend.

I did cheat.  I will not lie.  Being unprepared for this challenge grocery wise means you’re bound to run out of cereals at some point.  And I can’t imagine downing oatmeal, at least not yet.  But I had a couple of bites of a frankfurter and I confess to having done that and now it’s behind me so let’s move past it.  HAHAHA.

So… how was your week? :)

It is on.

Le Beau and I are lagging when it comes to the physical preparation for our wedding.  And by physical preparation, I mean getting into shape, looking good and feeling great.  Although our engagement was pretty much solidified over New Year’s, it wasn’t until recently did we really take notice how much we are not improving ourselves healthwise.

Don’t get me wrong. I love him in every form, and he loves me too. But when you can barely finish a flight of stairs without panting or groan whenever you pick up a slightly heavy load, it starts to become embarrassing.  I’ve not really been the most active person ever, but I used to be fitter than this.  This has to be the worst shape I’ve ever been in.

So the No Meat Challenge comes in.

VGKids Sticker Template

Earlier in the year, my good friend Adah already started doing this. I couldn’t join her mainly because work commitments would put me in situations where food consumption (of each kind, too) is required, like client calls, business lunches, et al.  Now that we have roughly six months left into our planning, I have no other excuse to postpone it.

There were some blogs that defend why they don’t want to lose weight for their wedding and I absolutely respect that opinion.  I agree with it too.  To me, because I am marrying the love of my life, I want to be at my best. This is not it.  Besides, for me, it’s not that much about losing weight.  It’s more about feeling good, being able to keep up with the things I want to do with my husband-to-be.  This form will not be able to do all those things.

There are only two rules to our No Meat Challenge:

1. No meat except fish.  I wish I can say we can exclude that, but there really is no way to not consume sashimi and sushi.  There really isn’t.  And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one feeling this way.

Sushi Sashimi

2. No rice.  As an Asian woman (lol), this would probably be harder than skipping meat altogether.  This rule require us to be more creative, so you can count on us stocking up on cereals, whole wheat bread, and other carb alternatives.  I managed to pick up a good bag of vegeroni pasta, too.  I’m not sure how veggie is this vegeroni but I’m trusting my gut on this one.

No Rice

Of course, just like any other fitness trainer would advise, the diet will not work without proper exercise. Early in the year I have committed to complete at least four (4) hours of exercise.  Off the top of my head, my favorites would easily be yoga and HIIT.  I might be able to squeeze in some running and biking too, when given the time.

I’m actually excited and nervous at the same time for this challenge: excited because I now have a compelling reason to duly follow through, nervous because I am a sore loser.  I have a feeling Le Beau will kick my butt on this one.

There is no goal weight.  There is only a goal feeling.  And I mean that too.  I intend to spend a long life with this man.  A VERY VERY VERY LONG LIFE.  I want a very very long life with this man.

Even though thousands of people already do this, I’ll do my best to keep you posted of my progress.  On Friday, I’ll post my meal plan for this week.  Hopefully as the challenge progresses, I’ll have a set grocery list to share with you.  Mind you, items that will be listed on the list are all sourced from the Philippines.

Wish me luck! And if you have a fitness goal, I wish you so much luck too. <3

 

Photos from Ditz Revolution, Atlantic Seafood Market, Clueless Curl

First weigh in

Okay, so apart from indulging in oh so good poetry in the past month, I have been making food changes and incorporating workout in my daily routine.  I’m quite happy about it actually.  I sleep better, I feel better and my energy is very well spaced.  I don’t feel the need to nap in afternoons and I have been craving less sugar.  I feel like making a success kid meme out of this.  Hahaha.

Yesterday was my first weigh in and sad to say, I gained a full 5 lbs!  They say it might be the muscle build up but I don’t know.  It’s almost demoralizing, knowing the lengths I went through to take care of this thing.

4

I am now actually worried.  My brother’s wedding is at the end of the year.  Le Beau wants me to try to visit him in August.  I am due for another tattoo in June.  I can’t have rolls of fat all over me.  That’s just not pretty.

I saw this unpopular opinion on 9Gag over the weekend.  It read, “real men love curves, not rolls of fat.”  And that’s just it.  I have rolls of fat.  Hahaha.  It’s funny that it’s not.

Maybe I should manage this better, or add more cardio, or eat better.  I am now looking for rice substitutes.  Has anyone ever tried cauliflower rice?  How was it for you?

5

Being Asian and not having rice… ugh.  Can you feel my heart breaking?