Category Archives: Big Dreams

Overflowing

I overflow a lot.

In the form of tears. Words. Gasping sobs. Sometimes quiet woe. Often energy that has me flying around like a whirling dervish. Sometimes with feelings that I can’t find the words to express without rambling.

As I described before, it’s like this feeling in my chest gets too big for me. Too wild. Too strong. I can’t contain it anymore. Cue spillage.  I mean, we make fun of this one birth video because the woman says she, “Could feel the love bursting forth from her womb” when she looked at her husband while in labor. (In 26 births, I have yet to see love bursting from anyone’s womb.)

But lately? It’s kind of like that.

Andrew and I have been together for almost ten years now. TEN. I met him when he was *cough* a teenager *cough*. We’ve been together since before he could legally drink.  I’ve watched him grow up and I have become a completely different person who is no longer running, but deeply intent on staying put.  With his departure rapidly approaching, I can’t help but look over the years past. Where we’ve been, what we’ve done, how far we’ve dome.  I think that’s inevitable.

Amidst the sadness, the fear, the worry and all of those “I’m going to miss you!” feelings, there is also this intense sense of pride and this huge…swelling in my chest that I can’t contain. It’s built up of love, pride and just emotion. I started really feeling it when I sat at his MA Thesis defense a couple months ago.  He rolled his eyes when I told him I teared up, but I DID! He was so casual, so non-chalantly speaking on topics that the average person would have no idea about. He spoke about linguistic analysis, he spoke about the habits of serial killers’ language, he spoke easily about cognitive load and speculation for further study. He had an intense panel that included the world’s top profiler, one of the world’s leading experts in deception detection and one of about 50, licensed forensic evaluators in the country.  It was so impressive and yet they all conversed with ease. They threw him tough questions that he didn’t bat an eleash at returning. He spoke so eloquently with such knowledge and poise – I just couldn’t help but tear up.  I mean, I always knew he was smart but this? This was different.

When I think about him leaving, it feels like there’s this gaping hole in my chest. Like part of me is being torn out without consent.  And yes, while I’ll miss the sweetness of him making coffee for me in the morning or packing my lunch, and the help that he gives me while I work three jobs – mostly? I’ll just miss being around him.  I’ll miss hearing him jabber on about this criminal or this case – things normally I just roll my eyes at (while secretly swooning).  I’ll miss hearing about his work int he FBI lab, or him joking about how the tri-state area is safe from eco-terrorists for the day. (He’s been involved in a research project and he’s been interrogating fake terrorists.)  I’ll miss his brain. His heart. His drive.  Yes, I’ll still see him or hear his voice via skype and phone, but it won’t be the same.

In the last year or so, I’ve just been so overcome by how far WE have come together.  I’ve gone from not having an idea of where I wanted to be, from being a housewife (that sucked at housewifey things), from being depressed and aimless, from fearing another birthday, to a woman who has direction. A woman who has supported over 26 families through pregnancy and childbirth. A woman who has begun teaching countless more through childbirth education. A woman who burns passionately for women and babies. For their rights. Their choice. Their births.  I’ve become firey once again, and while with that comes the emotion, I’m realizing slowly that in order to be the best doula (and hopeful midwife) I can be, I need to be able to be vulnerable and tap into those feelings.

He has gone from front line security and law enforcement applicant, to having alphabet soup after his name. To having three documents working on publication. To having results that may potentially affect his field in a major way.  He has become so confident. So strong. His brain is so well fed and growing. He has a job that is begging for him to start sooner and two advisors all but begging him to come back to complete his PhD. He’s gone from having one job prospect to seeing the world open up before him with opportunities, including private enterprise.  I just am in awe.

Together, we’ve weathered such storms that many marriages and relationships never have to weather. We’ve grown individually and it has made us so strong together.  Sure, we fight. Oh, boy, do we FIGHT.  But in the end, we are together. We’re better, together, and I feel like we both really know that now. We might not have before, when we were idealistic young people, but now? We know it.

I am just overflowing with all the feels, but there are some pretty big, wonderful ones in the mix.

2014 in the Rearview Mirror

Man guys. 2014. Amirite?

It was such a doozy of a year, but as I go through all these questions I really feel like it was one of the best I’ve had. I feel like I’ve done a lot of fretting and worrying but I’ve also done so much growing and loving. I can’t really complain with that.

Apparently, sometimes it really is a good thing to look back and see how far you’ve come.

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?

I attended a birth! I saw a real, live baby being born! I also had my first homebirth (!!!) and I attended my first cesarean section. Most of my firsts are firsts for my doula work. (First episotomy, first forceps etc, etc.) OH! I also took my FIRST, real adult vacation that wasn’t camping! How crazy is that!?

2. Did you keep your New Year’s Resolutions, and will you make more for 2015?

I don’t even remember what mine were last year. Probably not. I will make some general intentions and a few longer term goals though this month. I think it is the right time for me to do so.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Weeeelllll, I saw a lot of births this year (17! SEVENTEEN!) , all people that were close to me by the end, but not family/friends.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Yes, sadly. My Aunt Becky passed away in October after a long multi-year battle with aggressive ovarian cancer.

5. What countries did you visit?

Just the good ol’ US of A.

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you didn’t have in 2014?

I would like to have more stability next year though with a large move on the horizon, I don’t see that happening. Oh, how I dream of feeling stable and having roots. I’d at the very least, like to have a more solid plan for the next 5 years of our lives together. Dare I say I would like a pregnancy as well or is that crazy talk?

7. What dates from 2014 will be etched upon your memory and why?

I’m so bad at remembering actual DATES, I’m more of a memories kind of gal. I’ll never forget my first birth, the homebirth, a few other doula related moments. I will never forget standing atop Rockefeller Center with my family in June, our vacation for my birthday and my Aunt Becky’s passing. Hearing that my father was officially cancer free!!!

8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?

Becoming a doula. By far. BY. FAR. I still cannot believe it happened.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Gaining weight back and treating my body like garbage. It’s made me feel so terrible. Inside and out.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I got a pretty good cold before Christmas and I have been battling a few injuries that have kept me down, but nothing major. Thankfully!

11. What was the best thing you bought?

A vacation. My grocery delivery. (Yes, really.)

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

My husband’s. I’m not one to be all lovey-dovey on the interwebs but man, he really was pretty stellar this year. I worked 40 hour weeks, attended seventeen births (yes, I’m saying it again because OMG!!!1!), endless prenatal visits, interviews, postpartums and several TWO DAY births. I was ridden with anxiety and depression at times, I stressed, I struggled…and all along? He did the laundry, cleaned the house, cooked meals and held me while I cried. The guy even came to get me at work when I broke down late on Friday night and felt like I couldn’t go further. I mean…I just don’t know what I’d have done without him this year. It’s certainly given me some perspective.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Politicians. People on social media. Medical professionals. Anytime there’s an injustice – I feel so wounded for all involved. ALL.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Haa, oh NYC. My money all went to rent and cab fare. And dining out when I was too wasted and exhausted. Sadly it did NOT go to Broadway shows liked I would have preferred!

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

I got insanely excited about seeing Alan Cumming in Cabaret. Like…WOUND RIGHT UP excited. Andrew made us ‘take a walk’ when we got there because I just couldn’t settle down and sit still. Drinks may have been necessary to get me to just stop. But guys. ALAN CUMMING.

16. What song will always remind you of 2014?

Ugh. Stupid old Taylor Swift, “Shake it Off”.  I really can’t stand her.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?

a) Happier
b) Fatter. Ugh.
c) Oddly enough, richer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

I wish I’d seen more movies and had more quiet time with Andrew. I wish I’d seen more friends and gone out more.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Worrying. Working.

20: How did you spend Christmas?

With my family in Maine. So happy we did.

21. Did you fall in love in 2014?

Yes. With birth. I really, truly did. I just fell unapologetically, head-over-heels in love with it all.  I see amazing things happen! Life!

22. What was your favorite TV Program?

The Blacklist. The Good Wife. White Collar (it’s gonnneee!?).

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Hate is an ugly word.

24. What was the best book you read?

Baby Catcher, by far. It was so inspiring for me to read it! I was so grateful to get it as a CDP!

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Eh. I’ll admit I haven’t discovered much. Jason Mraz’s album with Raining Jane called “YES”.

26. What did you want and get?

Experience. Confidence. Direction.

27. What did you want and not get?

Time to myself. Stability. More time in a day.

28. What was your favorite film of 2014?

Hah. I saw one movie in 2014 – American Hustle. No joke. ONE MOVIE.

29. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?

I turned 34 on July 6th and we went to Boston! It was SO. FUN. We’d never taken a vacation that wasn’t to see family or camping. We stayed in an ACTUAL hotel, rented a real rental car and did touristy things! We got room service! It was just a much needed break.

30. WHat one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

More time to breathe.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2014?

Will blood wash out of it? Does it go with leggings? Will this work at the hospital?

32. What kept you sane?

Andrew. My birth friends.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?

Honestly? The police brutality issues. It’s hard being the wife of law enforcement and can feel incredibly isolating.

34. Who did you miss?

My family. So hard. SO hard.

35. Who was the best new person you met?

My doula mentor and my childbirth ed instructor. Both are AMAZING women. One is a midwife now and one is just my best friend. Honestly. They were rocks for me and amazing resources. I wish I could hug them daily.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014?

Even when you aren’t sure of your purpose, you may be just exactly what someone needed.

2013 Copycat

I was completely geared up to do a lovely run down of 2013 a la All & Sundry  after enjoying posts by Jess and Jennie. But you know something? 2013 feels a bit more fluid than that for me so I’m just going to ramble and see what comes out.

2013

2013 was pretty sucky in so many ways but also I started to really find myself this year, so it ended pretty well.

This year, my heart hurt, my body hurt, my mind hurt. I feel like I suffered an awful lot, telling myself ‘at least you have a roof over your head, Sarah’. Not that that sort of self talk is helpful, but, I am nothing if not constantly working at being nicer to myself while reminding everyone else to do as I say, not as I do.

I was heavily depressed in 2013.  I struggled and some days just getting out of bed was something to celebrate – that is – if I had the energy to celebrate.  I drowned in a sea of fear and anger and instead of taking charge of my life, I let it wash me away.  I lost one of the best people I’ve ever known because I did not take my own life into my hands and let fear overrun me.  I was too afraid to take steps I needed to.

In my most self-compassionate moments I can look at 2013 and see exactly why I felt so heavy and burdened.  I felt heart ache and heart break. I lost close friends. I lived far from my family. I struggled financially. I almost left my marriage.  I worked out too much. I didn’t work out enough. I forced myself to restrict my diet. Then I let it all go and ate like crap. I left an apartment I’d lived in for almost 7 years. I left behind everything that wouldn’t fit in a Toyota echo and moved across the country. I got riled up by injustices and hateful words so easily spoken.   I moved to NYC…without first having a place to live. My Nana’s sister was diagnosed with dementia, moved out of her lifelong home and my Nana went to see her for the last time. I was jobless and rejected. Repeatedly.  I lost weight. I gained weight.   I laid awake nights worrying about a dwindling bank account. I had a sick pet. I felt lonely.  My Aunt was diagnosed with late stage ovarian cancer and was not expected to live through the year.  My Dad was diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma and did not heave health insurance.

I mean…I may have a reason or three to feel like I did. Maybe. 

I guess it really is the truth when they say you have to know the lows to appreciate the highs.  When I was at my worst, I reached out. Those of you that have suffered heavy depression and anxiety know just how hard it is to reach out in those moments. The fears of those judging you or thinking how annoying and ’emo’ you are can be so soul crushing.  You know? I really think that opening myself up and reaching out to friends both near and far – new and…well new, was one of the best things that I did in 2013.  I harbored a lot of hurt and resentment in 2013.  I laid a lot of heavy blame on myself and took a lot of damage points but…I reached out. I asked for help. I asked for understanding and love.

Boy, did you guys respond. Holy hannah.  So many of you just came out of the woodwork to support me, pouring praise and love in tidal waves and I cannot thank you enough for that. For all the energy you send me, for the time you spent thinking of me and being hopeful for me. For all the love you had to give and gave to me.  I feel so indebted so often to many of you and I don’t say thank you often enough. I have a running tally of people in my head that need to be thanked, told how much I appreciate them and that they are wonderful people.  Thank you. All of you.

The last bit of 2013…got better.

My Dad’s cancer responded to treatment. I got to spend Christmas with my family. I took a leap of faith and completed Birth Doula Training which changed me inside. I blogged more. I told friends I loved them.  I got a job that I love.  Friends visited.  I decorated a new apartment.  I found peace in running through the park.  I got a real Christmas tree.  I joined the Sisterhood of Avalon.  I read…a lot…of crap that felt great.  I began to love New York City.  My Aunt’s cancer has responded to treatment.  I participated in several CDP exchanges that made me happy.  I discovered there was a reason that I was so emotional – I’m a Highly Sensitive Person.  I read and found others like myself.  I opened up and was vulnerable.  I loved as much as I possibly could.  I discovered New York pizza.  I got an Edible Arrangement! I started finding some self confidence.

So, 2013. It’s gone.  Literally and figuratively.  I’d like to be different this year.

I plan on setting a few intentions quietly here at home, maybe making one of those cliched intention boards.  For now, here are a few things that I want for 2014.

-I want to be more compassionate and kind. I always try to be more of these things but I’d like to make a bigger effort. I want to stop judging and being crabby about people. I just want to love them for who they are even without knowing their story. We are all coming from somewhere.

-I want to take better care of my body -emotionally, physically and mentally.  I would like to exercise more and eat better. I know how – it just takes discipline and willpower. I’m coming out of the fog, I can do this.

-I want to attend a Sisterhood of Avalon Intensive, bonding with my sisters and the Goddess.

-I want to kick sugar.  It’s awful and has a hold on me like whoa. No good people. I would like to be able to eat a cookie, not the box.

-I would like to attend at least 4 births this year – completing my DONA certification.

-I’d like to take some coursework/certification in aromatherapy.

-I want to run some type of race this year. I’d LOVE to do a sprint triathlon in June. We shall see.

-I want to take a yoga class, an aerobics class and a dance class regularly.

-I want to be better at planning meals and snacks, to make sure I am fueled all day and can avoid sugar and caffeine to boost me.

-I want to learn more handicrafts. Knitting. Crocheting. Quilting. For peace of mind and spirit.

-I would like to volunteer in NYC – perhaps as a birth doula or elsewhere.

-I would like to budget better and save money to afford to help others and surprise friends with little things more often.

-I’d like to journal more often and keep on top of my thoughts and my heart, working on doing things to keep my self-confidence growing.

***

I think this year is set up to be far better than last and boy, am I ready.

Bring it 2014. 

Oh crap.

It is 10:55pm and I am JUST now realizing I haven’t posted y’all! You see, I was so awesome that yesterday’s poat was scheduled ahead so I got lazy and out of the daily habit. Tsk tsk. It is only the twelfth, I’d better get my shit together eh?

I have a pretty good post coming up at some point, but the feelings, thoughts and emotions are still settling inside me. I will say that spending days in a small room with 12 other women, all talking about how strong, capable and amazing birthing women are – is life changing.

Truly.

I’m not sure, like I said, where I am headed just yet. I know that the experience has changed something inside me for the better. It has shown me a path. A better way. It has revealed strength inside me and purpose that I couldn’t find before.

That said, I can’t say I am perfect and that the path is perfectly clear. There is work ahead. There is brush to be cleared and trails to be tamped down.

If you have ever thought you wanted to get involved in birth support, or just supporting amazing women,  I highly recommend at least checking out Birth Doula Training.

It really is life changing.