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All posts for the month January, 2019

So…Probably Not Pregnant

Published January 14, 2019 by Malia

(Okay, if you’re squeamish about words like period, then this post is probably one you want to avoid.)

I spent the first two weeks of this new year thinking I was pregnant.  All the symptoms were there, and then my period started on Saturday, so yeah…probably not preggers.

This isn’t the first time I’ve thought I was pregnant.  In fact I’ve even had a few times when the test has shown up positive, but it’s never lasted.  I’ve not been public about those pregnancies, mostly because I felt like such a failure.

This is the first time that I’ve genuinely felt both disappointed and thrilled when my period showed up.  The disappointment stems from knowing that this means more waiting.  The thrilled part comes from the fact that I’ve actually managed to have a normal cycle for one of the very few times in my life.

My heart has undergone a shift.  I’ve gone from being willing to be a mom but feeling unsure about whether I really wanted kids, to knowing that I genuinely want to be a mom, and not just because I know Tom wants to be a dad.  I’ve never bought into that idea that you’re not a family or complete without kids.  I’ve known for a long time that kids may be just out of the realm of possibility (thanks a lot, PCOS).  Our family was formed when we said, “I do.”  Children would just make our family bit bigger, and I suddenly find myself really wanting that.

Now, I find myself facing the fact that I absolutely must get healthy.  If I want to have a hope of a successful pregnancy, or of having an adoption agency being willing to even talk to us, I have to be mentally and physically healthy.

Catnip for Kids

Published January 5, 2019 by Malia

About a week ago, I agreed to something crazy. I said I’d babysit my two nephews (ages 5 & 4) and niece (age almost 2) for 1–2 hours yesterday. All by myself. The only time I’d ever babysat them by myself before was one night when their mom was gone and their dad needed to run to the store. They were already all asleep at that point, so I was basically just making sure there was a responsible adult in the house.

I was really nervous. Much as I want to be a mom, I’m not great with kids. I blame the fact that I grew up a very sheltered only child. I had cousins, but they all lived hundreds of miles away. I was constantly surrounded by adults. I always feel awkward when talking with kids. I either talk way over their heads, or I talk down to them. So, the prospect of being alone with three small children, two of which can be quite strong-willed and rambunctious, was daunting. I had agreed to do it, so I pushed through the anxiety and showed up at their house yesterday morning.

And I discovered something really weird.

I had thought the kids would like the GoNoodle videos. I was introduced to them a few months ago by a teacher friend. The music is so fun, and the dances are really easy. My idea was to wear the children out. Turns out Aunt Malia was the only one who was dancing.

The boys requested to watch a video that was nothing but hands opening packages of little dinosaur transformer-type figures. That was the entire video. The hands held up a package, opened it, showed the toy to the camera, and then moved onto another package.

I had heard that unboxing videos were super popular with kids, but I had never before witnessed it. The rumors are true, kids are obsessed with them. It was while watching a video of a jungle animal toy set being unboxed and put together that I realized all three children were sitting quietly, entranced by the scene before them. Who are these children, and what have they done with my nephews and niece?

I was genuinely baffled by how fascinated the kids were by watching a stranger open and play with toys. Even more bewildering? These videos had millions of views. Which means my nephews and niece aren’t the only ones obsessed.

Today we’re going to talk about the…Oh look, Squirrel!

Published January 4, 2019 by Malia

My suspicions started a while ago. One of my friends is a special ed. teacher, and she regularly shares on Facebook different articles she’s found that relates to her work. One day she posted an article about an adult getting diagnosed with ADHD. I was intrigued, and hopped over to read it. As I finished the article, it struck me that it could easily have been written by me, but I didn’t have ADHD.

Did I?

Curious, I began to do a little research, and while I didn’t fit every single symptom of ADHD , I realized I had most of them. It took me a few months to work up the courage, but I finally got myself to the doctor and into therapy.

Last August, I was officially diagnosed with ADHD, and I started taking an antidepressant that is supposed to help with both my depression and my ADHD. I can track the ADHD symptoms and anxiety back to childhood, and the depression has been fairly constant companion since I was sixteen.

Do you have any idea how relieved and angry this diagnosis made me?

The relief comes from finally knowing that I’m not stupid, lazy, or just plain losing my marbles. It comes because I finally am getting a treatment that actually is doing something.

So, if I’m feeling all this relief, why am I feeling anger?

When I was growing up, I was taught that ADHD (and autism, and schizophrenia, and a whole raft of other mental issues) wasn’t real. I was told that ADHD-and pretty much any other mental condition-was one of two things. Either it was bad parenting, or it was demonic.

Now, I do believe in angels and demons, God and Satan, Heaven and Hell. However, I also believe in science and the fact that the brain sometimes doesn’t quite do its job right. To me, the brain not being able to produce enough neurochemicals is no different than the pancreas not producing enough insulin, or the heart having a valve that doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to.

What else was I raised to believe? Antidepressants are evil. They will turn the taker into a zombie. People don’t really need antidepressants, they just need to try harder.

I’ve spent years trying hard. And I’ve failed hard. Over and over and over again.

I’m angry because the symptoms were present for so long. I’m angry that those who saw the struggle never brought up the possibility that I might have ADHD. I’m angry because when I’d say, “I don’t get this.” for the twentieth time to my teachers I was told it really wasn’t that hard; I just needed to apply myself more and study harder. I’m angry because when I’d say I was having trouble focusing, or I couldn’t function because of my depression, I was advised to just power through it. I’m angry because when I’d say I was really having trouble with my memory I was advised to just spend less time on my phone (to be fair, I probably should spend less time on my phone, but the memory problems started years before I ever had a smart phone). I’m angry because this last August was the first time since I was a little kid that I genuinely didn’t feel exhausted the second I woke up. While I’m thrilled that I awoke feeling good, I’m angry because I should not have gone 26-ish years without a decent rest.

I could keep listing things, but I think you get the general idea.

This has been a huge adjustment period. I’m still wrapping my head around the diagnosis. Even though I had been suspecting it for months, it’s a whole different thing when it becomes your reality and not just a suspicion.

A few weeks into starting treatment, I told my husband that I had realized just how bad I truly had been doing. It scares me that I was in that terrible of shape for so long. I also told him he’s an amazing man for loving me and hanging in there with me.

Since I was a teenager, I’ve been living in a brain fog. Going through the motions of life. Making decisions, most of which I regret. The only thing I don’t regret? Marrying my husband.

I’ve spent so long wandering. Most of the time my goal has been to survive the day.

In the last few months the fog has started to lift. Really, truly, lift and clear. It’s like when I put my contacts in every morning. The fuzzy world around me is suddenly clear.

I feel like me, the real me, is crawling out into the sunlight. I’m meeting this girl that I haven’t seen since childhood. I’m trying to figure out how to balance the childhood me with the adult me.

I looked in the mirror a few months ago, and the woman staring back at me was different. There was happiness, joy, optimism radiating from me. My face didn’t just look like a fat blob with eyes, nose, and a mouth. I looked human. Genuinely human. I feel human. I feel present. I’m suddenly here, on planet Earth.  I’m not just sitting on the sidelines watching my body go through its day. I spent decades being detached, so it’s very strange to suddenly find myself connected to my body. I didn’t realize until the last few months just how long it’s been since I’ve been present and involved.

I’m learning to take ownership of my life.  I’m actually thinking for myself, not just relying on others to tell me how to think.  I’m realizing that it’s okay for me to admit that I love coffee, and make-up, and that I’m a dog person.  These may not seem like big things, but up until December, I never would’ve been able to say these things.  I’ve even started being able to make “simple” decisions (the first time I was able to decide within 15 minutes that I wanted Taco Bell for supper, I wanted to cry due to joy.)  I feel like I’m finding my personality.

This healing process is just that.  It’s a process.  Some weeks it’s really rough, some weeks I’m actually getting normal things done (like laundry and dishes), and it’s not feeling like quite as much of a herculean effort.

I’m feeling better than I’ve felt in decades.

Back to the fields, you peasant!

Published January 3, 2019 by Malia

This Christmas, I received one of those 23 & Me DNA testing kits.  I hadn’t ever planned to get one, because I know that I’m not guaranteed super accurate results.  However, since it was a gift, I figured it didn’t hurt to give it a try.

Now, as far as ancestry testing goes, I’m expecting to see results that place me as being mostly European.  I’m definitely built like someone you’d expect to see working the fields hundreds of years ago.  From doing genealogy research, I know that there’s German, Czech, English, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish in my background.  I’m curious to see what results I get regarding Jewish, Mediterranean, and African ancestry.  I have my suspicions, but so far haven’t turned up anything concrete in my own personal research.

I have absolutely no idea what to expect from the health report.

I sent in the kit last week.  I don’t think I’ve ever intentionally spit that much in my entire life.  As of yesterday, according to the app, my specimen is currently in the genotyping stage.  Sometime between January 14th and the end of the month, I should have my results.

If you’ve done this type of testing, I’d be curious to hear what your experience was.  Did you find out anything surprising?  Meet any new family members?

I’ll fill y’all in once I get my report back.

A Colorful, Crafty Year

Published January 2, 2019 by Malia

I’m diving into 2019, throwing all my energy into my crafting.  There’s a possibility that later this year, I’ll be trying to sell some of my creations at craft shows.  However, if I do that, I have to have some inventory.  Which…at present…I don’t.  Over the next several months I’ll be slaving over a hot iron, as I make piles of fuse bead key chains, magnets, and ornaments.

As if that wasn’t enough to keep me busy, I’m also wanting to make myself a blanket.  Earlier this fall, I was on Pinterest, and I discovered something called a temperature blanket.  Basically, over the course of a year, you put a blanket together.  You use colors to indicate the daily temperature.  I decided to crochet a granny square blanket, because it’s an easy and beautiful pattern.  It was a bit cold yesterday.  Supposedly, it was only 15 degrees Fahrenheit, but it felt so much colder!  Here’s the start of my blanket:

IMG_20190102_103908.jpg

I’ll be updating the Temperature Blanket section of this blog daily so that everyone can see my progress.  And if you’d like to join in, I’d be thrilled to follow your progress as well!