What Size are You?

I’ve been wanting to write a post like this for a long time. I’m SO tired of all the body image issues women have these days–myself included. And recently there have been a string of comments directed toward me that have caught me off-guard. I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that, but I’m doing so up-front just to make it clear that I, too, fall victim to the string of frustration I’m about to lay out.

I have always been thin. Very thin. Skinny even. As a child I was knobby-kneed and gangly and no one let me forget it. Be it family or friends or strangers, someone was always reminding me that I looked “anorexic” or “too skinny”. I got a complex. I would consciously order the biggest, greasiest item off the menu to prove that I wasn’t skinny on purpose. I could often out-eat grown men. And I was proud of that. But at some point I realized that people might think I was bulimic the way I stuffed my face and never seemed to gain any weight. So I did my best not to go into a public restroom by myself–especially not at a restaurant–lest anyone think I was purging. I was embarrassed to eat a salad as a meal because I didn’t want people thinking I was on a diet. In other words, I was always worrying about what other people thought of me. And so my struggle was the same as an overweight person’s, only mine was diminished by others and therefore hidden deep within me.

Whenever I’ve tried to explain myself, people would roll their eyes, make sarcastic comments or do their best to explain why I shouldn’t be complaining. But in a culture where it is politically incorrect to call someone “fat” to their face, it’s perfectly acceptable to call someone “skinny”.

Even after I filled out a bit in high school and was at least shapely, I still got comments from friends and acquaintances about how “skinny” I was and that I needed some “meat on those bones”. And at the same time, people would comment about how they would “give anything” to be my size. Too bad all the years of being called anorexic had made me deaf to the underlying complement.

I’m not sure when it happened, but sometime during late adolescence, I gained a tremendous amount of confidence. My self-esteem was still fragile, but at least I had confidence. I’ve never been a terribly attractive person either, but even that didn’t seem to bother me much anymore. And once I gained my own confidence, I became increasingly annoyed by the lack of it in the people around me. Self-deprecating humor is EVERYWHERE!

But here’s where it gets interesting. Looking back at pictures, I can see just how skinny I was. At the time, though, I thought I looked pretty much like everyone else. In fact, I still feel like I look pretty much like everyone else. I have a hard time distinguishing between a size 2 and a size 6. I can’t tell the difference between a size 10 and a size 14. I remember a co-worker being on a diet because she needed to lose 15 pounds for some reason (a wedding?). I knew she wasn’t as thin as I was, but I was shocked that someone her size would want to lose weight. To me she looked perfectly thin–the ideal size, even! Why on earth would she want to be thinner?

And so I don’t trust my own judgement about others’ size. When a friend offered me her used maternity clothes, I didn’t think we were close enough in size for the clothes to fit, but I accepted them happily nonetheless. It turns out most of the clothes fit perfectly. And that’s the crux of my post.

As most of my readers know, I am currently 6 months pregnant. Over the last 6 months, I have gained over 30 pounds and my hips/butt have gained 5 inches. And I still have 3 months left to go! But if it weren’t for the numbers or the clothes not fitting, I wouldn’t even have noticed. Pre-pregnancy I wore a size XS or a 0/2. Pregnancy sizes are supposed to coincide with pre-pregnancy sizes given that women typically gain between 25-35 lbs during the course of a healthy pregnancy and maternity clothes reflect that “normal” change. But I’ve been dancing with pregnancy size mediums lately. The weight I’ve been gaining has been in MY body. The pregnancy itself only weighs a few pounds, tops.

So imagine my surprise when I get stopped by strangers on a regular basis so they can tell me how trim and thin I look. I’m not surprised that I still look thin. I’m surprised that other people think I still look thin. As it turns out, other people are just as blind to size as I am. According to several size charts (including Land’s End and Ann Taylor), my pre-pregnancy pants size should be 0/2. Today, my pants size would be 10/12. That’s a HUGE difference according to the numbers. But in reality, a size 2 doesn’t look all that different from a size 12. Of course I notice a difference, but not that much.

All you ladies out there who are not satisfied with the way your body looks, please STOP IT!!! A size 12 is perfectly respectable. Our priorities ought to be on our health NOT on our weight. A healthy weight will follow a healthy diet. If you are eating well and keeping active, your body will find its perfect size. For some that will be a size 2. For others, it will be a size 12. But if you are being healthy, then you are PERFECT the way you are. Stop longing to lose that “last 10 pounds”. If they’re that hard to lose, maybe your body needs them!

And for the love of all things holy, every woman (especially every mother) should be familiar with this website, it changed my life: theshapeofamother.com. You will NEVER look like that photo of an airbrushed celebrity. Even that celebrity doesn’t look like that.

So please, please, please, let us stop obsessing over our bodies. Let us worry about getting healthy, NOT about getting thin. Because thin does not equal healthy (trust me on this one), and healthy does not necessarily equal thin.

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Hot and Delirious

Well my predictions were 100% spot on. Reid’s way-too-high fever finally broke and started coming down last night. It’s pretty crazy when you take your kid’s temperature and are relieved to find it at a chilly 102 degrees. Reid spent the better part of 3 days with a temperature close to 105 degrees, sometimes probably higher. I didn’t take his temperature because he was SO uncomfortable already and hates having his temperature taken. I just watched him to see if I needed to worry.

The first night, he had a hard time sleeping, which we expected. He woke often, but also fell back to sleep relatively easily. But at 5:30am, it was too hard to get him back to sleep so I just got up with him. We snuggled on the couch while he dozed on and off. Because he only wanted me, and would have nothing to do with daddy, I didn’t end up getting to nap or rest much that day (Saturday).

We gave Reid Motrin a couple times (we tend not to give medicine during fevers at all because they are the body’s way of battling the illness and reducing fevers can actually prolong the illness, but in this case, we felt intervention was necessary due to the extremity of Reid’s discomfort)–once before bed on Friday night and once on Saturday when his fever seemed out of control. The last time he had a fever like this, Tylenol did nothing for him, and it was a huge production to even get him to take it in the first place. When we tried Motrin, the fever went way down and he actually had a fraction of a personality again. But the Motrin gives him a tummy ache and gas reminiscent of the kind dogs get when they eat people food… absolutely horrible. So we tried to get away with not giving him any medicine the next night in hopes that the fever would break or at least that he could somewhat sleep through it.

He went to bed easily enough at 7pm while I sat by his bedside. But within about one minute of my sneaking out of the room, he was awake and crying. So I went back and sat down until he was good and asleep again. And again, within a minute of my leaving, he awoke crying. This went on until about 11pm. It didn’t matter if I stayed in his room for 5 minutes or 30. The result was the same. So I finally just gave up and brought him into my bed and went to sleep. But as fevers tend to do, his kept getting hotter and hotter as he slept and he got more and more uncomfortable. He was waking every 20-30 minutes screaming and crying, shaking and begging me to hold him. And every time there was some specific reason for his episode. “Don’t take my trains away, Daniel!” he screamed once. Or “Don’t push me!” or some other wrong was being done to him. He was having little tiny 2-year-old vividly real bad dreams (hallucinations?), and it was heart-breaking.

Around 4am, I finally got out of bed with him since no one was getting any sleep, and sat on the sofa with him on my lap. I watched movies and he slept fitfully, but cozily snuggled in my arms. Curiously, during two of the movies I watched: The Business of Being Born and The Science of Babies (by National Geographic), when Reid would wake and catch a glimpse of the TV, for a moment or two, he seemed like his regular self. He loved seeing the babies on the TV, talked about mommy’s baby and Reid’s baby (he’s convinced he has a baby in his tummy, too), and asked where the babies went when he couldn’t see them on the screen.

But around 7am when he was STILL waking up screaming and crying for one reason or another with no sign of a reduced fever, I finally gave him another dose of Motrin. He napped for about 45 minutes before waking again, and I decided it was time to wake Dan so I could get some sleep. Dan got up and cuddled with Reid (after much crying, cajoling and convincing that Reid didn’t, in fact, need Mama, and that Dada would hold him and comfort him) for a few hours so I could sleep. Around 10:30am, Dan brought Reid to bed and he and I slept solidly until Dan woke us both up at 2pm!!!

I can’t remember the last time I slept until 2pm in the afternoon–probably not since college when I pulled all-nighters. Even when Dan and I first got married and we would stay up late nursing a bottle of wine, I don’t think I managed to sleep that late. It felt surreal to wake up for the day with only a few hours of sunlight left, but Reid and I were the better for it. I rushed to get myself ready for a meeting I had at 3pm. Dan let the kids watch Rocky and Bullwinkle and when I got back home around 5:30pm, Reid still had a fever, but it had obviously dropped because, while he was still obviously clingy and acting sick, he wasn’t a miserable fire bomb anymore. He was interested in playing trains, he was willing to eat some dinner, and he didn’t require a lap in order to exist.

He actually slept well that night and today he and Daniel both woke up with the sweetest, politest, most helpful demeanor than they’ve had in a long time. And even though they argued a couple times, once was over who was going to clean up the space toys that were all over the table. I’ll take that kind of arguing any day! They played happily together in their room for over an hour while I cleaned the kitchen, they laughed, they said please and thank you to each other, they even went to bed without much of an argument.

So except for the fact that Reid may still be contagious and we’re stuck in the house for at least another day, I’m actually looking forward to tomorrow. And I’m thankful this illness happened when it did because beginning on Thursday, our days are going to be packed with activity. But more on that later.

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Sick Again?!

My poor little boys are sick again. This makes the 3rd time this summer! It’s so entirely frustrating given that we’re a generally healthy bunch. But here’s the pattern.

Daniel gets really grumpy for a day or two and I just about lose my mind. I find myself going completely against everything I believe in as a parent: yelling, scolding, taking toys away. And then I notice a bit of a runny nose, or that look in his eyes (you can always see the “sick” in Daniel’s eyes), or he looks like he may have a sore throat (you know, that slow gulp-type of swallowing you do when your throat hurts). And then I feel terribly guilty that I lost my cool at him when he wasn’t feeling well. But by that time, the hard part is usually over and the next few days he has a runny nose, a few sneezes and a bit of a cough at night due to the drainage, but he is completely back to normal.

Then when Daniel’s about better, Reid develops a super high fever (the last two times it was at 105!) super quickly (like over a period of a couple hours) that lasts for about 3 days. He gets super clingy, tired, and completely uninterested in anything but sitting on my lap or being attached to me in some way. Then the fever breaks and he has a mild runny nose for a few days, but that’s it.

Right now we’re in the beginning stages of Reid’s fever (I only just noticed it a few hours ago) and he has a tiny hint of a runny nose. Daniel is pretty much better except for the remnants of runny nose that drives him up the wall, so he’s constately (and I mean constantly) rubbing his nose with a cloth or tissue which results with a bright red scabby patch just under his nose from all the irritation.

And guess what. Soccer picture day is tomorrow. And my son looks like he painted a Hitler mustache under his nose. Sigh.

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Brain Fog

What the heck is it?! I get brain fog a lot–or at least more often than I care to. For the last several years I have been calling it by different names: exhaustion, pregnancy brain, chronic fatigue (due to a case of Epstein-Barr virus last year), busyness, distractability, laziness, getting older, etc. And I don’t really notice it on a day-to-day basis–until I have a day of clarity. Then I realize I’ve been walking around in a fog.

It’s not forgetfulness really, though I am forgetful at times. It really just is fogginess. Sometimes I’ll be chatting with a friend and I’ll realize I don’t really hear them, that I can’t even muster the strength to be active in the conversation–that I’m just zoning out (and trust me, I usually have plenty to say!). Sometimes I can’t even manage to get myself a glass of water when I’m thirsty. On these days, I let my kids watch too many videos (lately its been Caillou), and I get frustrated easily.

Today was a day of clarity despite the very few hours of sleep I got due to the fact that first Reid crawled into our bed, then a couple hours later Daniel crawled in. And Daniel never fell back to sleep–he just lay there sniffling and coughing from his third cold this summer. I finally pulled myself and him out of bed and dozed on the sofa while he watched Caillou and sucked on a cough drop.

I realized tonight that the last week or so (and maybe a little bit the week before), I’ve been in a fog. I’m annoyed that it keeps happening and that it seems so random. It makes sense that it would be tied mostly to sleep (I certainly do not get enough–and completely by my own doing), but then why would I have such a clear day today? I don’t know, but I’m grateful that I’m back to myself for now. And it wouldn’t hurt to get more sleep. (Margo, are you reading this? I will get more sleep–I promise).

And hopefully my next post will entail many many days of clarity (and energy!). The upcoming holidays are already packed with plans (“Christmas Cocktails and Desserts” is already in the works!), and then I’m having a baby immediately following (please, God, following) the holidays! I’ve got to get this figured out, or at the very least under control, and stat!

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Natural Mama

As most of my readers already know, I am in with the holistic crowd. I co-lead (my sweet, amazing, inspirational co-leader is moving to South Korea in a few weeks!) the Pasadena Chapter of the Holistic Moms Network, I (used to, I intend to) manage a holistic blog, and I do many, many “crunchy” things. Maybe I’ll make a list on my other blog where it seems more appropriate… it doesn’t seem fitting to “brag” about my hippiness here. Suffice it to say there are many things I haven’t touched in years that may be commonplace in the majority of American homes (deodorant, antibiotics, fast-food–except In-N-Out of course, to name a few).

I try my best not to be “in your face” about my choices, but I do what I do because I believe in it, so I’m sure it rubs people the wrong way sometimes. I’m also not known for being “quiet” or “subtle”. Reserved maybe, but I have a passionate side that is always just waiting to be unleashed. I came across this little animation recently that pokes fun at we holistic mamas. It is so true and so untrue at the same time. I don’t know anyone who is as brash and judgmental as the blonde woman in the clip, but it had me and my husband laughing out loud.

Please enjoy.

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It moves!!!

I’ve been thinking for the last few weeks that I could feel the baby moving, but I wouldn’t let myself believe it. I’m only 15 weeks pregnant right now–pretty early to be feeling baby even today. But it’s becoming undeniable. In fact, last night while lying in bed, baby gave me quite a whack. I bet if I had had my hand on my belly, I would have been able to feel it on the outside!

Typical kicks are more subtle–more like taps or gentle flicks. But it feels a lot like gas, too, which is why I kept denying the sensation. But with my uterus filling a bigger space in my abdomen, and the taps being in the same general area, and the sensations getting stronger and more consistent by the day, I can finally say with some certainty that, yes, I can feel the baby moving.

Our next big milestone will be learning the baby’s sex (or trying to anyway). I hope to schedule my anatomy scan for the first week in August. We get asked almost every day by someone if we’re hoping this baby is a girl. And I feel like I ought to say yes, but my honest answer isn’t so simple. I was telling some friends this morning at brunch that I would be disappointed if the baby was not a girl for the simple fact that I wouldn’t get to experience parenting a girl. But even still, I think I’d rather just stick with what we’re used to and have another boy. So the honest answer is that I see the pros and cons of either sex and one doesn’t necessarily outweigh the other.

When I was pregnant with Reid, however, I did want him to be a girl–more than I realized. When we found out he was actually a boy, I was surprised by the disappointment I felt. I was thankful it was short-lived, though. I think I was over it by the end of that day.

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Growing new life

My belly at 9 weeks pregnant

I've been growing steadily already. This is my belly at just 9 weeks pregnant! Yes, there is only one baby!

With all my excitement about getting back to blogging, I forgot to mention that we are yet again expecting! This pregnancy was unplanned–to the point where we were actively preventing… but you know how God is. The baby is due on January 6. Today I am just over 12 weeks pregnant.

Just months before falling pregnant, I had gone through the difficult and painful process of giving up on my dream of a big family. Dan did not share this dream, and he had already let me decide about the first two children we brought forth. Since marriage is a partnership and all, I felt I owed it to him to do the work to mourn the loss of that dream and move on with the joy that we already had. One of the things I am working on in life in general is being content with what I already have and silencing the “grass is always greener” voice that speaks too loudly in my head. Just as I felt ready to say that I could be happy with what I had, God intervened.

We use Natural Family Planning as our method of birth control, and occasionally we cut the timing a little tight, so I always knew there would be the possibility of getting pregnant. Sometimes we are very careful and follow the rules strictly, and other times, desire just gets in the way. This was not necessarily one of those times, though when I look back on my chart, even though we did follow the rules, we were right on the verge of them. I really believed in my heart that even if we did accidentally get pregnant one day, I would be ecstatic and welcome the pregnancy with joy. But my feelings are not what I thought.

Positive pregnancy testI’m not upset by this pregnancy, but I’m not exactly excited either. At first we were just stunned. I took a test on a whim (I had a collection of internet cheapies in the drawer in the bathroom). I wasn’t even late yet. But we were about to go to the beach for the weekend and I had this fleeting thought that if I happened to be pregnant, I wouldn’t have to pack any feminine products. So I took one of the tests fully expecting a negative result so I could finish packing the necessary supplies. But when that second pink line showed up on the test strip, my whole body went numb. I just couldn’t believe it.

9 week ultrasound picture

Baby at 9 weeks

I felt shocked and in disbelief for the next couple weeks. Then at 6 weeks the morning sickness hit and I began to believe it a bit more. And and at 9 weeks I had an ultrasound and saw and heard the little one’s powerful rhythmic heartbeat and I couldn’t be in denial any longer. Since then, I’ve continued to grow (nearly 6 inches in my waist already!), developed the worst acne of my life, and have slowly been adjusting to the circumstances. I suppose I feel happy now that a new little one is coming into our family, but it feels like just another ordinary (albeit huge) event is about to happen. I almost feel indifferent, but it’s not in a cold way–just a “this is life” way.

I’m not too worried about my feelings. I felt pretty disconnected from the early part of my pregnancy with Reid due to my previous miscarriage, and that turned out just fine. I imagine once I start feeling this little one moving around, I will get one step closer to joy. And when we begin the preparations for this baby’s arrival, I will get closer still. And I am confident that by the time this child makes its appearance, we will be overwhelmed with adoration and wonder–just as we were with Daniel and with Reid.

But for now we are still journeying to that place. And I think we are content to be travelers for the next several months.

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