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Tired.

Have you ever felt so tired inside and out that you just wanted to cry but…couldn’t? 

It’s not depression. I’m not depressed. I get out of bed. I go through with my day. I find enjoyment in small things. I just feel…exhausted.

This isn’t news either, I realize. I’m working a 40-hour a week job in which I see an average of 35 patients a day, I commute 40 minutes by public transit each way, I’m taking a class every Sunday for three hours and I am actively interviewing, meeting with clients and attending births at all hours. Even as I write this, I feel guilty saying that this is ‘busy’ since I’m not shuttling kids around all day. Still, I feel so busy and just tired.

I’m doing such awesome things though you guys. I am seeing BABIES BORN. I’m watching moms become moms and dads become dads. I get to see dads go from disinterested or unsure to, “HOLY CRAP!? That’s my SON!” then racing to cut the cord.  I talk to loving nurses and doctors who very clearly want the best for my clients, regardless of what they’d do.  I get to help women see how amazingly capable they are and see them fall in love within seconds. It’s so ridiculously wonderful and by far some of the best moments of my work.

The flip side to that is…I see a lot of not so fun stuff.  I am having trouble walking away from each birth after seeing care providers disrespect my clients, knowing it didn’t have to be like that. Hearing someone say, “Well you’re ONLY three centimeters…” and then walk out of the room. Seeing them perform vaginal exams without even asking before penetration. I see family members trying so hard to convince their daughters to just, ‘take the drugs’ and ‘why do you want to suffer?’  I see a lack of lactation support in hospitals, a lack of true, unbiased childbirth education, I see a lot of scared women who are not being helped by their friends’ horror stories of how awful their labor was, how tired they were after their baby was born, how badly it will hurt and how their life is over.

So. Naturally. Sometimes, the bad outweighs the good. I can’t seem to step away from each birth and feel like I really helped. Instead, I walk away feeling like it could have been different and I couldn’t help MORE.  This is primarily why I suspect I’ll be applying to Midwifery School in the next couple years. Once I get some other things settled – I really think it’s the only way for me to really change the system. As a mentor of mine said, at least if I were their care provider, I’d know that they were treated with respect and would be heard.  I at least would know that someone believed in their bodies. 

What I am finding is that…I am struggling to open up. I’m struggling with all of this inside. The good, the bad and the ugly – all wrapped up inside.  I sat in a circle of amazing doulas last night, listening to birth stories. Some were so beautiful and wonderful, while others were absolutely tragic.  I was so proud to listen to these beautiful women tell the stories they’d been a part of and was blessed to support them. Even through all of this – I felt alone. I felt like I didn’t belong and didn’t fit in. I found myself wanting to share but not being able to figure out WHY I wanted to share. I just wanted to talk. As a particularly hard memory from my last birth popped up, someone I didn’t know well looked me in the eye and said, “You know, if you need one of us to cover you for even an hour during a birth, so you can take care of yourself, you need to do it.”

In that moment, I wanted to go off and talk to her. There was something about this person’s energy and spirit that I just…felt safe with. I had felt so alone that night, in the midst of all this love, but in that moment I just felt like I needed to cling to her.  Instead, I gave her a hug before I left and made a note to email her a thank you today.  I cried when I left the workshop because I felt like I didn’t know how to make deep, meaningful friendships. The kind where I don’t feel guilty calling them and needing them. I NEVER feel bad when someone needs me, but…it’s different. It’s me. I’m too much for anyone.

So. I’m struggling with just being emotionally tired. Exhausted. Worn out. I can’t stop being a doula, taking classes or reading about birth because it really feels like who I am inside. I can’t stop working the paying job even though it’s crazy because I make decent money for us and they love me there. I love my patients. I’m not quite sure where to go.

I just am finding it hard to reach out and say I need a hug – without some REASON for needing to talk and hug. Just because isn’t enough for me. I had no idea I struggled so hard with being vulnerable but apparently I do.  I worry too intensely about what someone will think of me, will my thoughts be crazy or too spinny. I don’t even contact my own mentor that gets PAID to help me because…I just don’t know what to do. What to say. Why we are meeting.  Then it makes me anxious.

I came home early from work today at 3pm and crashed. For 2 hours. I’ve been weepy ever since but I think it will pass. 

I’m just really tired y’all.  Thanks for keeping this space open for me.  

What’s the Plan?

It’s been a while since I posted anything about what I’ve been eating (or planning to eat) so I figured I’d give you all and update!

It really has been quite the transition from basically being a homemaker to working not only nearly full time, but also an unpredictable and odd schedule. I’ll be honest, it’s sucked. Some nights I get home at 9pm or later. Some days I leave the house at 6am. It’s kind of all over the place and I’ve really struggled to figure out not only what to eat, but how and when to eat. Mix in trying to get back into some sort of fitness routine and well…like I said before, you parents are amazing. Multitaskers to the MAX and I am so impressed.

That said, I’ve been really trying hard to eat at least 4 times a day. Breakfast, a shake, lunch and dinner.

Breakfast has generally been a couple of scrambled eggs with a piece of toast. I’ve experimented with having loaded oatmeal but it just doesn’t hold me like eggs do. Oh, and coffee. I love my coffee. I don’t feel like a zombie without it, but I really just love the smell, taste and the ritual of coffee.

Lunch has been a bit harder since on most days, I start work at 2pm. Often I’ll sip on my smoothie for a couple hours, then go to my lunch around 4pm. Different types of ‘loaded’ salads have been great. Romaine, edamame, almonds and cabbage with carrot-ginger-miso dressing. Spinach with feta, cranberries, almonds and chickpeas with a balsamic or orange vinaigrette. Kale with black beans, tomatoes, baked yams, corn and bbq tofu with a homemade tofu ranch. They are filling and have really worked!

But. I’m getting bored. What do you do for lunch?

Dinners are the hardest thing. I’m so used to cooking at night. I love it. I love the time spent making nutritious food but getting home after 8pm just…doesn’t work. So I’ve had to really be better about meal planning and preparing recipes that my husband can help with so that I don’t turn into a hypoglycemia-monster when I get home at 8:30pm.

SO! Without further rambling – here is the plan for this week:

What’s on your menu? Do you have any favorite fast-and-furious meals that you can toss together in an instant? 

First Meals of 2014

Well, here we are in 2014 and we have no super futuristic meal replacement pills or Jetson like setups. Hrmpf. We do have Roombas which are  basically efficient cleaning robots, so that’s a start. I guess.

I’ve been eating like crap since I started working the late shift. I just don’t feel like cooking at 9pm. I realize many of you probably work longer hours and later shifts, but this is all new to me and I just haven’t gotten into the groove yet.  So. I vowed to myself that after the holidays, I’d buckle down and meal plan. I’d plan snacks and portable foods for me to take to work.  I’d plan some simple meals that can be whipped together in no time.  I’d plan meals that were healthy and would work with my fitness goals for the year. Less sugar. Less fat. More veg.

Well, today I did just that. I stayed in bed with a hot cup of coffee, several cookbooks and an iPad and went to town.

I’m pretty excited, I won’t lie.  I planned about ten meals to last over the next two weeks, (I leave a couple days for take out or alternate plans) and with what I had in the pantry and what my Dad gave me from his garden stash – I only spent about $130.  Maybe you’re a better budgeter, but for me, this is stellar!

Without further ado, here are a few of the recipes!

Rustic Tomato Rice & Kale Stew Healthy. Happy. Life.  I just made this one tonight and honestly, it’s one of the best soups I’ve ever made. Hearty. Rich. Flavorful.  EASY. You should add this to  your menu plan for next week.

Potato Leek Soup (Vegan)Fettle Vegan.  I’m excited about this one too. My Dad gave me a whole bunch of leeks and potatoes from his harvest this year that need to get eaten up. What better way to showcase them, than a 5 ingredient soup?

BBQ Cauliflower Salad Fork & Beans.  I’m hoping this will be hearty enough for a dinner salad since it has avocado and beans in it.  Maybe a hunk of crusty bread on the side?

Kung Pao TofuFettle Vegan.  I’ve tried a few kung pao recipes before, I’m hoping this one is a winner. I think I’ll add some toasted nuts to it for crunch and serve some broccoli on the side. Yum.

Chinese Tempeh SaladFork & Beans.  I’m SUPER stoked about this. I love tempeh and I love the asian style salads with crunchy chow mein noodles. I’ll probably bake my tortilla strips instead of frying them, but I will give the tempeh a toss in my cast iron for some texture.

Smokin’ Hoppin’ John Serious Eats. I was supposed to make this for New Year’s Day but…fail whale. I was lazy, didn’t feel well and ordered New Year’s Day Pizza instead. It was yummy and I’m sure this recipe will be as well. I might toss in a little kale since I have MASSIVE bags from Whole Foods that I’ll need to use up.

The other meals I’m planning on don’t really have recipes, but just in case you find some inspiration in them I’ve included them.

-Veggie dogs, baked beans and toast
-Sundried tomato basil white bean burgers & salad
-Black bean quinoa bowls with homemade salsa and avocado
-Tempeh reubens & salad
-Chili stuffed baked sweet/regular potatoes & salad

What are you making this month? Are you changing your diet at all this year? 

Happy New Year, friends!

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.