flood, sweat, and tears

Does anyone else cry during a spin class?

No? Just me?

The instructor in this morning’s 9:30AM spin class was quite chipper. She had just finished the previous class and somehow remained sweat-less while dancing on her bike in front of this second class. Sitting in the dark, I patted myself on the back for finally getting my butt to the gym. What motivated me? The class was free. The lights were off, the music was some intense techno beat meant to amp us up, and I peddled along lagging behind the woman in front of me, but she was probably seventeen anyway.

Then Chelsea up at the front called out over the microphone: “It doesn’t matter why you walked through that door today, what matters is how you treat yourself now, how you push yourself to be stronger, and ask yourself how this mind shift will change your outlook on this day.” Now was this super inspiring? Not so much. But something about being in that room, on this morning, in the dark, made me burst into tears. Pretty grateful for the dim light and extra loud music, I felt myself turn the resistance dial up and start peddling as fast and as hard as my legs could go. The previous night Bella peed in our bed and while cleaning up that disaster the washing machine flooded and I felt helpless and exhausted in a pile of wet towels and up way past my bedtime. As my legs swirled around, I felt the tension I was still carrying in my shoulders from the night’s mishap untwist. This morning and every morning this week, Henry sobbed his eyes out and my heart broke during camp drop-off, and as I let my head hang down over the handlebars I felt the mom guilt I was shouldering peel back just a layer. I am not kidding, I felt myself getting faster and in some ways freer and I started to realize that no matter how much I told myself I love running because it was cheaper and easier, it wasn’t true. I do not like to run. I do not get this kind of intense mind/body rush with a dash of emotional heap like I do from anything else but this spinning class. Yes, this is dramatic but then I was crying in a 45 minute spin class so drama was the name of the game.

It felt so good to see that the free class nonchalance turned into some awakening. And then I realized that I had not been on spin bike since I was pregnant with Owen. Owen (in utero) and I went to spin every week and it felt amazing to be strong and to share my body and strength with him so intimately. It felt weird being on the bike today alone, and I think that is why I cried. Something deep down inside of me felt that before my mind realized it.

Update: My Mysterious Illness

At the beginning of December, I was feeling pretty discouraged by an on-going, persistent roadblock in my health. Waves of dizziness and vertigo hit with unrelenting regularity. It was a little scary to feel so out of control and out of sorts and to not know what the trigger was or when it would hit next. Sometimes in class, I would stagger out of the room and get to the bathroom as quickly as possible to avoid being sick in front of my students or fainting. Deep breathing became my best strategy for calming down in the midst of an episode. And I went to my doctor for a variety of tests that all left me with no conclusions as to the cause. What makes it so unnerving is that it was both predictable and unpredictable, and definitely connected in some way to my emotional state or hormonal state. It would increase intensity at certain points in the month and disappear at others following somewhat of a pattern. So in order to combat this mysterious situation, I turned to some some dietary changes and creating new healthy, mindful habits. Now you know the origin of my resolutions to be healthy and happy from earlier.

Since the autumnal holiday of Thanksgiving, I have really felt and noticed that if I eat crap, I feel like crap. With reducing my dairy intake and switching my morning milk in my coffee to almond milk, plus taking a probiotic, my belly gut feels so much better! I thought the dairy switch would be hard but actually because I feel so much better skipping out on the cow’s milk, it has been easy to side step and embrace the overall better vibes and energy I have gotten in exchange. With this extra energy, I have had the courage and stamina to cook more often and authentically from scratch which has in general made me feel happier in the kitchen and excited because as the kiddos are getting older they are getting SO into helping in the kitchen. More vegetables, fruits, and goodness is making all of us slim down on those extra pounds we were carrying about. So with the extra energy and the slimmed down 5lbs, it has also been easier to get into a consistent workout plan with lots of slow flowing yoga and some strength training. I am feeling stronger and this positive momentum always has me feeling like I can keep it up and going. So things are feeling good right now. I still got a dizzy spell about a week ago but just one and that is SUCH AN IMPROVEMENT that I could cry in gladness over the dramatic change I am feeling from some positive dietary changes and activity choices.

The other piece that is probably helping me feel overall healthy and lighter is letting go. A part of me has wondered if some of my nauseous feelings and lightheadedness were related to my deep-seated desire to have more children which is in direct confrontation with David’s reproductive choices. While I was telling myself I was making progress because I was stifling it down better, I had a sneaking suspicious that perhaps some of these symptoms were psychosomatic. Was I acting pregnant because I wanted to be pregnant? During break, I tried to reflect on this a bit and figure out ways to shift my perspective from “woe is me” to a viewpoint of choice and empowerment. A friend from high school reached out to share a bit about gender sadness she was experiencing and how she connected to some of my previous sharings on the topic. It felt very humbling in the moment to realize that I am not alone and it gave me a feeling of stability within the whirlwind of emotions I have carried about me since David’s procedure. After that conversation, I thought to myself, “hmmmm if some of my longings for another child stem from gender sadness, and if I am not alone in these feelings, perhaps there are other moms out there who have written about gender sadness in missing out on having a boy?” There must be a mom out there with a gaggle of girls who has expressed a tinge of sadness of what it would have been like to have had access to the part of her heart that wants to love a son. I googled and googled and googled and asked David to google for this and we found…..nothing. At first I was like, wow no one is sad about only having daughters and then I thought, what the heck! Why aren’t women sad about missing out on the love of a son? My sons’ love is AMAZING! It is playful, messy, and intense, it is sweet and and gentle. It is boyish and not gendered, it is one of the most beautiful bonds I have ever experienced. My perspective has dramatically shifted. I don’t need a daughter in my life to live fantasies of dress shopping and superficial nonsense that I have been holding desperately too like some deranged Disney villain longing to live our her princess fantasy. And instead I was reminded that sometimes when I need a miracle I look into my sons’ eyes and realize I have already created two.

Maybe its causation or correlations but healing my tummy and healing my heart was a lot of healing this past month, and I definitely am feeling the changes.

My “Best” Shape

There have been a few defining moments when I felt like the statement, “I am in my best shape” applied. One of those was not in High School. Fourteen years ago (WHAT has it really been that long!?!? My freshmen in class are 14 years old!!!), I graduated HS feeling anything but confident in my skin. Plagued by self doubt, navigating the halls of Holy Trinity felt clunky, awkward, and stereotypically “high school-y.” These were not the conditions for being in the “best” shape because even though I felt thin, my socio-emotional state was turbulent and therefore not conducive to being in a healthy shape.  Being too busy consumed and concerned by what others thought left little room to really get to know myself and care about myself.

College was definitely a different vibe. I found my people in friendships that continue to nourish, challenge, and grow. This is where I learned a lot of that socio-emotional care so needed in order to take life in stride, take time for self, and take time to appreciate the complexity and roughness that can be long-lasting, loving friendships. Comparison melted away among these women and was replaced with reflection, laughs, and giving real time to one another. Obviously we are all works in progress until the day we die, and this will continue to be a place I hope to grow and stretch but my college friends helped me gain some good traction here.

The physically fit aspects of the phrase “best” shape, came with my relationship with David. Wanting to be playful, adventurous, and ready to go in a moment’s notice, had me embrace exercise more or less. We challenged each other not to look a certain way but to live and feel a certain way. We may have spent days languishing in pajamas and chatting but then took on days days being active and hiking and this felt like a good, balanced approach to dating and getting know each other. Still today, I need time to connect with David emotionally and actively out-of-doors in order to feel like I got to “know” him that day, week, or month. Having the kids got us out of our pattern, but as they are getting older and easier to pack up and go, we are finding it again. It feels good to play a round of tennis and then take the pups and kids for a walk, and spend the evening watching a fire and talking about future goals and plans. This Rhythm that we have fallen into helps me feel less lethargic from the demands of being a working mom and reminds me that one of my hats is just to be his friend, partner, and love. And that is a serious role! So we embark from time to time on this path of activity because it is good for us and good for our souls. Sometimes we are all in and as a result we see physical transformations like losing 10lbs and toning and sometimes we just half go in and enjoy it for what it is. Now that we have thoroughly crossed the threshold of 30, it feels ever more important to engage fully in on our commitment to being active and playful together and we always are good at it when we decide to do it together. So for the past week we have jumped in and as a result, I am feeling more energetic, playful, and connected to Mr. David because of our 30 minutes of daily adventuring as a family, together, or solo. And with some small results, it makes being committed to being active, being healthy, and being together all the more easier!  So cheers to being in the “best” shape at 32 or whatever….

One week then and now

The beginning of the wait update

So here we are day 5,929 of our great baby wait. At least that is how it feels sometimes. Throughout this pregnancy our medical team has pumped me up with hopes of an early delivery: we will have to induce you for the baby’s size, we will have to monitor you for your thyroid, we will have to induce you for fears of shoulder dystocia, we will have to monitor your sugar levels. All these little “red flags” that were tacked onto my appointments gave me the hope that perhaps this time, my baby would come early instead of weeks late. But, this little dude is quite comfortable and each concern sheds away with each passing day. From “let’s just get you to 35 weeks,” we are now hearing, “you can go all the way to 42 weeks!” And, yes I am delighted. I am thankful that we are healthy and that our complication risks are minimizing. I am thrilled that throughout the long months of gestation this little guy and my body got stronger and more adaptable.

BUT, I am SO ready to meet him. Henry and David talk about the little one all the time, and play in his room, and read books about the baby arriving. We have EVERYTHING ready to go from crib to carseat to clothes to burp cloths, to that dreaded double stroller. And now we wait. My new feeling is that instead of an April baby, this little dude is holding out for May, haha. So what am I doing to avoid the painful staring at my belly?

The potty training chronicles are on-going and have been an oddly welcomed distraction!  Henry is doing really well with it too. Almost all of his activities make it to the bathroom and he is getting better and better at telling us. It is really sweet to put him in “big boy undies” and see him playing downstairs and having so much fun. I no longer see him as a “ticking time bomb” waiting to ruin my couch! This weekend to keep our minds busy we are planning to head downtown for a little visit to the North End and some touristy sight-seeing because WHO KNOWS when we will be able to do that again once the new member joins us and on Sunday I am going to my first fitness conference with my fellow coach Nikki. It feels like this mix of teaching, mothering, and coaching is just what I need in life these days. I am busy, and motivated, and feeling strong and healthy (although definitely achy by night fall, I cannot lie that this belly is a burden by the end of the day!). David always has hobbies to keep him busy and to keep him from spinning his wheels. When I was pregnant with Henry it was the summer and I felt very lonely just waiting for Henry to arrive and eventually  I felt crazed. But this time, while the wait isn’t fun (because come on little guy don’t you want to meet earth-side already!?!?!) it is much much more manageable with everything that fills my life and day and I am so thankful to feel like I have real ownership over my day.

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