Tag Archives: pregnancy

blogging in the dark.

It’s 2:00 AM and for the better part of an hour I’ve been lying here in the dark, desperately pleading for sleep to take over, but it just won’t. And so, why keep up the fight? 

As I type this, exhausted and bleary-eyed, I’m being serenaded by the subtle sounds of my husband’s even breaths on my left and the white noise machine wooshing through the baby monitor on my right, gently reminding me that while I may be lonely, I am not alone. 

Which, at this juncture in my life, is a powerful blessing. 

Several weeks ago, this was me. Dan and I had just discovered that I was pregnant with our second child. We were so excited to welcome a sweet little sibling for Dax.

photo

 

A week ago, we were at a friend’s birthday party. Between laughs and hugs with these new friends, we’d sneak away for a little bit to gush about our little secret, hoping no one would notice that I was mysteriously avoiding the beer and wine. About halfway into the shindig, when I went to the rest room, my stomach twisted into stinging knots when I noticed that I had started to bleed. 

We left the party in a rush, citing a made-up excuse about how Dax was too fussy for our babysitter, and went straight to the emergency room. Four hours, blood work, and an ultrasound later, they couldn’t tell us why the bleeding was happening. They just ordered me to be on bed rest and to come back if it got worse. 

Monday it got worse. So we went back. Then, more blood work and another ultrasound confirmed what, at that point, we already knew.

We lost our baby. 

And so, you see, I am not only literally in the dark, but my spirit has also found itself swallowed up by a powerful darkness. One I’ve never experienced or thought I ever would experience. The agonizing pain of grief, coupled with the painful physicality of what it means for my body to go through miscarriage. Each cramp in my abdomen brings with it the most wretched feeling in my heart, as if part of it is also being broken down and expelled. 

Some of you may be upset that this is the way you’re finding out. Please don’t be offended. The thing is, it’s hard enough to have to tell this story right now, let alone having to tell it several times. Please understand.

My mom came down to be with us and care for Dax while we grieve, which looks much different for the two of us. Dan’s been pretty sad, but functional, only letting his emotions show when we’re alone. Me, on the other hand? I’ve gone from sad, to angry, to frustrated, to questioning, to really freaking pissed off, to sad, and back to angry again, all making me completely incapacitated. All I can do well at this point is day-sleep. 

But last night, Mom watched Dax while Dan and I went on a date. Just the two of us. We had dinner at a cute local place (complete with copious amounts of booze for yours truly) and then dessert at the Cheesecake Factory where, in my loopy, grief-stricken state, I forgot that I actually don’t like cheesecake. But we laughed. And we kissed. And we were grateful for each other and the chunky little boy at home who didn’t know that he’d lost a sibling and was happily waiting for us to come home and kiss him goodnight. 

Sunday night, as I was laying in bed praying to God that what was happening to my body would just stop and that my little baby would be okay, God quietly laid a name on my heart. A name I knew was the name of the child I would never hold. And so the next day, when we got the confirmation at the ER, I shared the name with Dan. And he accepted it, too. (I don’t really want to share it here, but if you want to know it, you can ask.)

It is common, the doctor told us. One in three pregnancies will end like this. “Better luck next time,” he shrugged, as he awkwardly backed out of my hospital room. 

And that was it.

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what’s in a name? dax arthur.

Naming a person is a big deal. I get varied responses when I tell people my kid’s name.

What’s that again? 

How do you spell it?

Is it short for something? 

Dax Arthur.

Just how it sounds: D-A-X.

Nope. Just Dax.

But I always get the same follow up question.

Dax! That’s unusual! Where’d you come up with that name? 

I have been meaning to blog about it, but I, uh, like, forgot? So here you go. Here’s how we came up with my kid’s unusual (I guess?) name.

DISCLAIMER: In my head, this blog post is LONG and ENLIGHTENING and really packs a WOW PUNCH but really it’s not that exciting.

Dan and I started fantasizing about baby names way before we got pregnant because I guess that’s just what you do, right? When it came down to the boy name, Dan had one request. Because his family doesn’t really have a family “name” to pass on (unless you count the four-syllable-German-splosion that is his last name), and his name is Dan and his dad’s name is Don, he wanted his son’s name to start with the letter D.

I was fine with that because I’m really indecisive and that cut down our choices significantly. #truthbomb

Dan joked about the name Demitrius Alexander because, alongside the Durrenberger surname, that kid would have the longest name ever and would never be able to fill out a Scantron. But I vehemently resisted. We went though countless baby books and could never agree on a D name for a boy. Things were looking bleak. It was looking like a Daniel Junior was in our future and I am SO not into that.

In case you didn’t know, Dan is a youth pastor. And I, for several years, volunteered in youth ministry alongside him. One day, a spunky new kid showed up to our group. When it was time for introductions, everything changed.

“I’m Dax,” he said proudly.

Dan and I shot each other a look immediately. I like to think the heavens opened up and a light shone on this little 12-year-old boy, while choirs of angels sang and God himself said, “Yea, Durrenbergers, it will come to pass that this boy will be the namesake for your future son.”

Each subsequent interaction we had with Big Dax (as we have now started to affectionately call him) was more confirmation that this kid was one with whom we’d want our baby boy to share a name. He’s an intelligent, personable, fun kid with a kind heart. However, Big Dax was actually named after a Star Trek character. Since neither Dan nor myself are trekkies, we had to dig a little bit deeper to figure out if this name was, indeed, for us.

Though there is some debate, some translations say that Dax means “leader”. This is so accurate for our little boy. Not only is he our firstborn making him, by default, the leader, but he is so particular. He likes things they way he likes him. Very brave, that one.

As for his middle name? Arthur is a family name on my side; I chose it because the cousin closest to me in age (and in relationship), Brian, also has this middle name. Brian is someone in my life for whom I hold the utmost respect. Brian is strong, smart, funny, and my best family friend. As for the meaning? It means “bear”.

I’m really proud of my kid’s name. After getting to know him in my belly and seven months outside my belly, it absolutely fits. There isn’t another name out there that would suit him better and I hope he feels the same pride I do growing up as Dax Arthur, the Leader Bear. 

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Filed under baby love, motherhood

MIRENA IUD RUINED MY LIFE — a public service announcement.

DISCLAIMER: I’m taking a small detour from my normal blog content to do the Internet a favor. When I got my Mirena IUD in September, I didn’t do enough research. The only “research” I did was read the pamphlet my OB gave me. Big mistake. The eight weeks I had the Mirena IUD were the worst in my life and I’m blogging about it, hoping that when poor, unsuspecting women (who are smarter than I was) Google Mirena IUD, my blog will come up and they can save themselves from the hell I went through.

Also, at the mercy of search engine optimization, I’m going to refer to Mirena IUD by its name on every mention so that it will (hopefully) come up high in Google searches and not be buried by other stuff.

Okay. Here’s how Mirena IUD ruined my life.

After I had my son, my OB suggested I get the Mirena IUD inserted because it was one of the only birth controls I could take and still breastfeed. The Mirena IUD is a device that is inserted into the uterus that pumps out a constant, low-dose of hormones that prevent pregnancy but allow you to breastfeed.

A couple days after I had the Mirena IUD inserted, I started losing sleep. At first, it was only that when my baby woke me up in the middle of the night, I couldn’t fall back asleep. But after a couple days, I found myself immersed in full-blown insomnia. I couldn’t fall asleep at night without ingesting huge, unholy amounts of Benadryl and, even at that point, I could only sleep for an hour or two at most. (Yes, I am still breastfeeding. I called my pediatrician concerned about this — they told me that Benadryl was safe. So was Ambien.)

Then, I started having really horrible anxiety. A panic attack here and there. Really scary stuff. The insomnia and anxiety worked hand in hand, too.

After about a week of this, I went to see my primary care doctor. I hadn’t slept in a week and was beside myself upset. The doctor I saw (wasn’t my actual primary care doctor — she was out that day) attributed this to postpartum depression and gave me a prescription for Ambien and referred me to a counselor.

The Ambien worked for a day or two, but after that, I had to start taking more than one, sometimes three in a night to sleep. This was so dangerous. A few times, I had to have my husband drive me to work in the morning because the drug was still in my system. There are days — ENTIRE DAYS, PEOPLE — I don’t even remember. One day (sorry if this is TMI) my husband and I evidently engaged in — uh — married people activities that I HAVE NO MEMORY OF. Finding this out scared the everloving hell out of me and was the last straw.

Then it hit me — these symptoms had only shown up when I got my Mirena IUD inserted. I knew in my gut that Mirena IUD was the problem and I decided that I needed to get the Mirena IUD removed ASAP.

I went back to my primary care doctor even more upset about this, convinced it was the Mirena IUD. Because she did not insert the Mirena IUD, she didn’t want to remove the Mirena IUD. (Again, sorry for the repetition but I’m hoping this gets my blog a lot of hits from search engines.) What she did do was text her OB friend to find out what antidepressants were okay to take while nursing and, after hearing back from two of them, prescribed me Zoloft.

So, at this point, I was taking Ambien, Zoloft, AND Benadryl to try my damnedest to get some freaking sleep. But it still wasn’t working. All of these medications were prescribed to me because I wanted to keep breastfeeding but I didn’t feel comfortable taking so many freaking medications WHILE I WAS BREASTFEEDING.

OMG. The deeper I get into my story the angrier I become.

I did not relent. I knew in my soul that the Mirena IUD was the cause of all the insomnia. So I kept calling my doctor and my OB’s office to get some answers. But everyone shrugged me off, saying it was just postpartum depression and that I should feel good about the fact that I was “treating it”.

Bullshit.

A couple weeks went on and then one day, the anxiety got so bad. I had the worst panic attack of my life. I was shaking so hard and couldn’t breathe. My husband had to dress me. He had to feed me. All the while, my baby boy is laying there, crying, and I couldn’t even care.

I am not making this up. Ask him about it. It was bizarre and scary and horrible.

I was sick of not being taken seriously by the doctors. I was sick of being told this was postpartum depression. I know myself and I know my body and I know that what I was going through was because there was this foreign object inside of me pumping me full of crazy hormones and I was not going to stop until I was heard and the Mirena IUD was removed.

Finally, it came to the point where I had to lie on the phone to my OB’s office and tell them that I had thoughts about hurting myself and my child.

Magically, their “blocked out, totally full” schedule had an opening with another OB in an hour.  Funny how that works out.

When the OB walked into my exam room, he greeted me the way I’d been referred to by all these doctors over the past weeks.

“Got them postpartum blues, eh?” (He’s from Georgia.)

“NO,” I literally yelled at him. My voice scared me so I backed off a little. “Okay. Well. Maybe. But I don’t think so. I really think that my Mirena IUD is causing all of this.”

I then told him my whole story. When I was done he looked at me straight in the eye and said the most beautiful words I’ve ever heard spoken.

“No, you’re right. This isn’t postpartum depression at all. PPD would have shown up 2 weeks postpartum at the latest, and you’ve had this only since 8 weeks postpartum, which is exactly when you had that Mirena IUD inserted.”

I exhaled. He went on.

“This is pretty common, actually. The hormones that the Mirena IUD releases into the body are directly linked to depression, anxiety, and the resulting insomnia.”

When he said that, I swear to God, I wanted to punch every doctor, nurse, technician, pharmacist, receptionist, and OB I’d talked to over the previous weeks in the face. Here, finally, a doctor was telling me that what I knew in my heart was right all along AND EVERYONE ELSE JUST ASSUMED I WAS FULL OF CRAP.

“We gotta take that Mirena IUD out immediately,” he said. “Your hormones should level out within two to three days.”

EDIT/UPDATE: After he took the Mirena IUD out, he asked me how my mood/behavior was around my cycle since having the Mirena IUD inserted.

I laughed at him as I recalled YET ANOTHER way the Mirena IUD was ruining my life.

“I’ve been bleeding non stop since the day I got the Mirena IUD,” I told him. “I don’t know what a “cycle” is anymore.”

He looked at me with wide eyes. “Oh,” was all he said after a beat.

Oh yes, I forgot to mention that lovely little detail. I bled, pretty heavily, for eight. weeks. straight.

SO MANY F WORDS, YOU GUYS.

The night I got the Mirena IUD removed, I didn’t sleep. But I didn’t have any anxiety. The following night I slept a few hours.

The third night, I slept like a f$&king baby. And my bleeding FINALLY stopped a week later.

When I had a follow up appointment with my actual OB she still maintained that what I was experiencing was PPD. She also claims that this is completely “abnormal” and that I am a “special case”.

O RLY?

mirenaIUDfail

TWENTY-THREE COMMENTS, the majority of which confirmed my suspicions. Oh and just FYI, if you do a simple Google search for “Mirena” and “insomnia” and “anxiety” you can have a freaking field day.

God, I’m so stupid sometimes.

Here’s the reality.

PMS is a real thing, y’all. So is postpartum depression. Behavioral and mental changes, directly resulted from hormone shifts within the body, are a real thing. It really really really happens. The medical community confirms this.

SO WHY IS IT SO F’ING FAR FETCHED TO THINK THAT CONSTANTLY PUMPING MY BODY FULL OF HORMONES WOULDN’T HAVE SOME EFFECT ON MY BEHAVIOR AND/OR MENTAL PROCESSES??!?!?!

Dan and I have agreed to keep my body hormone-free from here on out. If the worst thing that happens is that we get pregnant with another beautiful, wonderful, amazing blessing of a child, then so be it. I’d get pregnant a thousand times before I put anything like the Mirena IUD in my body ever again.

[Imagine me dropping my mic and walking away LIKE A BOSS because I am.]

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Filed under baby love, life, pregnancy, psychology, rants, transformation

why pinterest is both great and awful.

The cool (terrible?) thing about being pregnant (and I mean super pregnant) is that there is never a dull day because your mind takes you on such wonderful adventures! You get to go round and round in circles until you end up at the same destination at which you arrived the last time you let your mind wander — the notion that you’re going to be the worst mom on the planet. 

In today’s edition of Reasons I’m About to Fail at Motherhood, we explore Pinterest, an online pin board designed to inspire and motivate you to do things you never thought possible. (Or help you plan a wedding when you’re not even in a relationship. That, too.)

To watch me flail around desperately in a sea of DIY crafts I’ll never have the time or energy or creativity for, follow me on Pinterest here.

I love Pinterest. But I also hate it.

I love it because it is literally a bottomless gorge of creativity. Novice photography? There’s a pin for that. DIY crafts? There are only about a thousand boards to follow. Recipes? Oh man, don’t even get me started. (A couple weeks ago I made Nutella cookies from a recipe I found on Pinterest. Because I don’t have a hand mixer  – and why WOULD I? Anyone who knows me knows I don’t cook/bake/do anything a real wife and mom should do — the texture was a bit off. But they tasted like little chunks of Nutella and my husband was popping them like pills so I guess I succeeded.)

At its core, Pinterest is super helpful! Also, this is exactly what happens to everyone who signs up for Pinterest:

But. As a new (and undeniably uncrafty) mom, Pinterest scares the hell out of me. Just by existing, Pinterest takes everything I’m insecure about and just flaunts it in my face, like a big ol’ bully wielding recipes I’ll never have the skill to perfect and projects I’ll never have time to complete.

And so. I hate it. I hate it so much.

Here’s the deal — I follow a lot of my crafty friends, both moms and otherwise, on Pinterest. They pin the darnedest things, you know. Make your own X for baby! Create your own Y for the nursery! Do it yourself Z for the home! Etc. Etc. Etc.

It’d be great if that’s where it stopped. If everyone else was a “theoretical pinner” like me (that is, someone who pins things on their boards with no real intention of ever attempting the projects for a number of reasons) I wouldn’t be so bloody insecure. But that’s not the case. Oh no — when I visit these crafty friends of mine, I find that Pinterest is not only bookmarked on their laptops but has also clearly been inside their homes and left its mark via super adorable DIY things.

Because they’re all better crafters than me and, therefore, are better women/wives/moms/people than me.

You see, my house? Uh. Well. Last week we went to Wal-Mart and bought an already-painted canvas with already-printed-on sayings and nailed it to the wall in our dining room. Does that count? I mean I bet I could pin something that looks like that and just pretend I did it myself. Would anyone notice?

As I try to “nest” I’ve been scouring Pinterest for crafty DIY ideas on how to make the nursery look great and “nesty”. Because success at Pinterest = success as a mom.

Well, good news, readers! I’ve found something on Pinterest I’m going to DO MYSELF! I’ve resolved to buy some canvases and some pretty fabric and staple said pretty fabric to the canvases and then hang them on the wall. DIY wall art, you guys! Sounds super easy, right? (Here’s a link to the pin I, uh, pinned: DIY wall art.)

Seems easy enough, right? How hard could it be? I’ve done the research. I know where to buy the canvases and fabric and I know that I should probably get a staple gun to wield for this project. Looking at it, it seems like a piece of cake. That’s why it’s on Pinterest, right? Because every DIY project on Pinterest is easy, right? I have two hands and eyeballs and all the time and energy and creativity in the world. If I can’t make this work then…

Oh goodness. I don’t even want to think about what it means if I can’t do this.

Because if I fail at it, then I fail at being a good mom.

Well. I’m glad I consulted you, blog, before I attempted this most likely disastrous and self-esteem-crushing project. I just saved myself a lot of grief.

So. Let’s just stick to the already-printed stuff at Wal-Mart and call it a day so I don’t have to cry myself to sleep tonight thinking about all the money I’ll have to shell out for Dax’s therapy later on in life for being born unto such an uncrafty, unconventional, horrible mother.

While I’m at it, I should probably buy stock in Hot Pocket, Kraft, and Great Value brand hot dogs.

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Filed under commentaries, life, pregnancy, psychology, rants

“i’m not sure what to do with my hands.”

DISCLAIMER: I know that “articles” about child-rearing and parenting can cause quite a ruckus on the Internet. Please do not read this as if it were “an article”. Rather, read it for what it is: a blog post of a girl who is simultaneously terrified and elated to become a mother in the next few weeks. That’s all it is. A blog post. An opinion. A cry to be heard and understood. That’s all.

Oh, I’m a slave to my hormones, too. Take that into consideration as well.

Yesterday, Dan and I spent our Saturday together doing some last minute preparations for our baby’s arrival (which, if you haven’t been following our pregnancy blog, is only merely a few short weeks away). We bagged up things we needed to return, made a list of things we still needed to buy (and bought most of them!) and did some organizing/nesting. It felt good.

I can’t explain in words how excited I am to meet this little guy. Over the past nine months, I’ve grown to know him in my belly. I know his movements and I know what his little body feels like on the outside. I know that he likes to stick his butt straight out on the left side of my belly button (perfect for little love-taps!) and I know that he isn’t a big fan of me laying down. (He instantly starts squirming to get comfortable.) I just love him so much already and I know that the second I lay eyes on him, my whole world will be rocked.

I guess it’s different for dads who, while they can put their hands on our bellies and sort of feel what we feel, don’t really get “hit” with the reality of fatherhood until they’re in the hospital and that slimy little creature is in their arms screaming at them. Women are caregivers from conception, growing and nurturing that little human inside their bodies for nearly a year before introducing the baby to the father to let him care for it. So, in essence, we women are “more experienced” come delivery date and I guess that means that dads need some help.

Last week, while we were perusing Burlington Coat Factory, Dan found a book in a sale rack all by itself. From afar, it looked like some hokey novelty book no one would ever seriously buy, which is why we assumed it was in the sale pile — just to get rid of it.

After mindlessly flipping through it and laughing out loud, Dan exclaimed, “We’re getting this!” and we walked to the register to do so.

We’ve both been reading it and, I must say, it’s wonderful. A must-have for any new parent. The book is well-written, hilarious, and, above all else, extremely helpful. Even as “the mom” and not “the dad” I’ve found it to be quite enlightening in preparing me for the crazy changes ahead.

Changes. I am no stranger to those anymore.

Take right now, for example. It’s Sunday morning. I’m sitting up in my bed, still in my pajamas with my hair a mess and my glasses on. I’m blogging in a quiet house while my husband toils away at church. My over-sized t-shirt is almost uncomfortably tight across my bulbous body, the tell-tale sign that the act of expelling a child is imminent.

Nine months ago, everything looked different. At 10:30AM on a Sunday, I’d be at church with my husband, most likely since about 8:00ish, getting ready to hang out with the youth group to which I ministered for five years. I’d be chugging some sort of caffeinated beverage loaded with artificial sweeteners and non-fat milk, terrified of getting fat. My pre-baby body would be adorned in cute clothes, not just “whatever I could squeeze into that morning”. So on. So forth.

But here I am, no longer leading any ministries, no longer making music with my friends, no longer writing a book, no longer training for marathons, no longer wearing “whatever I want to”, no longer staying out super late with friends “just because”. Rather, I’m sitting here, waiting to become a mother, spending my time Googling things like, “How do you change a diaper” and “How long do babies sleep in bassinets” and “How frequently do newborns feed” and so on.

You know that scene in Talladega Nights when Ricky Bobby is getting interviewed and he just whispers, “I’m not sure what to do with my hands”? That’s kind of how I feel right now. I don’t know what to do with my hands, or my life, until this little guy shows up. Then, I’ll be on 24/7. All mom, all the time. That will be my role. That, and that alone.

Yesterday, while we were organizing, Dan asked me where he could hang his new Spider-Man poster. He (jokingly I hope?) placed it on a wall in our bedroom and asked if it looked okay. I shot him a look, to which he replied, “Oh, I know that look. That look means no. That look means this isn’t going here.” I nodded in agreement.

“You know,” he went on, “my dad book says that I should have my own space with my own things to remind me that I’m not just a caregiver. I should be reminded on a daily basis that my life isn’t over just because I’m a dad and that I can still do the things that I enjoy.”

I looked at him sadly, then glanced around our 1000-square-foot apartment. “When you find a space to call ‘your own’, feel free to decorate it however you like,” I playfully snapped, then went back to scrubbing the toilet.

Suddenly, it dawned on me. Nowhere in any of my “you’re about to be a mom” books have I read that I should have my own space, or focus on things I enjoy to reinforce the idea that I’m not “just” a caregiver. On the contrary. I’ve been told that I’m absolutely “just” a caregiver, and have been since conception. I’ve read things like, “Your body will never be the same,” and “You will feel like you have a baby attached to your chest forever,” and “You will never sleep again, but that’s just what being a mom is” and “You will quickly learn that the things you used to do, you can no longer do, and that’s just the way it is,” and, my personal favorite, “You will also have a man understandably chomping at the bit to have sex with you again, so make sure you cater to him as well as the baby you’re caring for 24/7.”

So, this morning, I am a bit melancholy. A bit mournful. I’m not saying that being a mom is a bad thing. I’m not saying that the fact that I’ll be on 24/7 won’t be completely worth it. That’s not what I’m saying at all. I’m just annoyed that in a world so dominated by fatherlessness, it’s sad that we’re perpetuating the idea that fathers need not focus solely on that role because, of course, how can we expect them to? They’re just dads after all, whose contribution to the “miracle of life” is pretty minimal compared to the mothers’.

Well. As a girl who grew up not knowing her father, I can tell you, a father’s presence is absolutely priceless and I don’t think it’s unfair to demand equality in child-rearing.

Surely, my husband cannot breastfeed. That is absolutely something that only I can offer our son. But there are things Dan can offer him that I can’t as well. And, furthermore, we’re both still individuals. We both are people outside of our caregiver roles and I feel a bit bitter that the importance of the mother maintaining her individuality isn’t more widely acknowledged. Rather, we’re told that “being a mom is a full-time job!” and that we’re all our kids have at the end of the day. That’s a lot to take on, especially when coupled with the pressures to get back into our pre-pregnancy bodies and go back to having sex with our husbands as soon as inhumanly possible. (Oh, and don’t get me started on the guilt I’ve been subjected to because I have literally NO CHOICE but to return to work.)

“You, woman? An individual?” society barks. “No, my lady, I’m afraid you are mistaken. You are a sex-having, baby-making, child-rearing machine, who is supposed to be 5’10″ and 115 pounds and tanner than any given member of the cast of Jersey Shore. That’s what you are. That, and nothing else.”

All the while, all Dad has to worry about is where to hang his Spider-Man poster so he doesn’t feel like “his life is over”.

Please.

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your body: objectified.

Have you ever thought about why things are designed the way they are? Like, why does a pair of shears have a particularly shaped handle? And why does a chair look the way it does? Why are the keys on a keyboard shaped as such?

This weekend, some friends and I watched a documentary called Objectified that addresses the theory and beauty behind the design of objects. What the documentary shows (I think, anyway… I can’t be totally sure because I feel as though the film, as well as the other people that were in the room watching it, is infinitely more intelligent than I am) is that a lot of people don’t really give a lot of thought to why things look a certain way. They just use the products, completely unaware of the intricate and meticulous intentionality behind their design.

The best example of this, I think, was a Japanese toothpick — at first glance, it looks like any regular toothpick. But on the end, you’ll find two little grooves that cause the toothpick to break. This isn’t because the toothpick is defective. This is intended for two reasons: 1) to communicate to other people the toothpick has been used, and 2) to create a nifty little toothpick “stand” for it to sit on.

[Image source]

On the other hand, some people are drawn to objects simply because of their design. The design cultivates some sort of emotional response within the user: This product is reliable (Toyota Camry). This product is promotes a youthful image (MacBook Pro). This product is what’s in right now. (Prada sunglasses). Whatever. 

When I got pregnant, I scheduled a meeting with one of my favorite female mentors to tell her the good news and pick her brain about the next stage in my life. Not parenthood, mind you — but pregnancy. I had no idea what to expect being pregnant and, even more than that, was overly concerned about what I should be doing/should not be doing while gestating a child.

The best thing she offered me went like this:

“Lindsay, God is a perfect designer. He has already designed your body for this. It is already doing what it is supposed to do. You just get to enjoy it.”

My body was designed for this. This, among every other thing I do in a day. I was designed.

My body (as well as yours) is an object that was delicately created, each part with a specific purpose. Eyes to see. Ears to hear. Hands to feel and lungs to breathe. But, in contrast of, say, the toothpick, our bodies are also objects that evoke emotion, whether they were created to or not. And in this society, women’s bodies in particular have been known to conjure up some pretty gnarly emotions.

This morning when I woke up, the first thing I thought of was how uncomfortable and obnoxious my even-bigger-than-before-if-you-can-believe-it boobs are. Now that I’m about seven months pregnant, my body is hardly recognizable to me anymore and, on top of that, hurts everywhere. While wrapping my arms around my ever-expanding frame, I squeezed so hard I winced in pain, praying silently that it would just STOP. I thought of all the celebrities who have babies and are back in bikinis on the cover of magazines the following week, loudly proclaiming that they, “Got [their] body back!” as if their selfish and menacing children stole it from them and I wanted to scream. I remembered all the times I tried to starve every lump, rump, and bump on my body away, wishing they’d disappear forever, never to be pointed out by raunchy men or ogled over by pissy women ever again.

But what if it the toothpick was subject to the same standards we are as women? Though we are both equally designed for functionality and appeal, what if the toothpick had to put up with the same stuff we women do, both from ourselves and society as a whole?

Imagine for a minute the toothpick is sentient (let’s call him Toothy McPickster) and someone came along and pointed at the grooves in Toothy’s abdomen and demanded he get rid of those disgusting “love handles”?

That’s ridiculous, right? Those grooves were put there specifically to fulfill a greater purpose after Toothy does his duty of picking someone’s teeth. So why must they be scrutinized? Particularly when he can’t do anything to change them that doesn’t require some sort of painful procedure, probably in the form of carving away these grooves? (Insert plastic surgery/crash dieting/other harmful way of body modification metaphor here.)

Just as I was about to curse my body yet one more time today, I remembered my son. And how my body is an object that was designed to give him life.

I’ve pored over the words of Psalm 139 countless times in my life — I’ve even written the words across the top of my bathroom mirror in dry-erase marker — but they take on a whole, new meaning after watching Objectified.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.

We were designed for a purpose, whether we know what that purpose is (feet to walk, eyelids to blink) or we don’t (big breasts, small butts, wide hips, bumpy tummies).

In a world that does everything it can to objectify us on its own terms, let us be objectified on our Creator’s terms. 

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on motherhood and finally “getting it”.

Beth is a sweet friend and mentor of mine whom, surprisingly, I’ve actually never met in person. At this point it’s hard to imagine that’s actually true, based on our email exchanges. I swear, sometimes it’s like I’ve known her my whole life. (Maybe that’s because I’m besties with her brother? Does that relationship transcend? Orrrrr am I a big creeper? I’m probably a big creeper.)

Yesterday, she sent me an email asking for prayer on sending one of her beautiful daughters away (like, far away) to college. She detailed her feelings in a blog post and a link to it was included in her email.

So I read it. And I cried a little bit. And I wrote her an email in response.

She told me I should put my response on this blog. I was hesitant to because, well, no one likes to feel vulnerable. And my reply to her makes me feel very vulnerable. But. I trust her, so I’m going to, after omitting a couple super personal details. (Plus I think it might make my mom, who reads every blog I write, cry happy tears and that’s always a plus, right?)

Read her beautiful and honest post here.

This post brought me to tears. Yes, because it was beautifully written, but also because for the first time in my life EVER I could kind of (kind of!!!) understand where the hell you and my mother are and were coming from all those years ago.

When I left home and went off to college, my mom wanted me to stay in my hometown and just go to college there, but I was so bitter about that place and all the people in it (“angsty” teenager doesn’t even scratch the surface) that I literally applied for all the colleges in Florida that were at least an hour away. I got into the University of Central Florida (a 40 minute drive down I-4 in Orlando) immediately, and I considered it my “back up” school, but even though it was a good school, it was “too close.” I anxiously awaited to hear from Florida State because, yes, it has a kickin’ communication/fine arts program but also, because it was in Tallahassee, a four hour drive away from everything I knew. As if that wasn’t far enough, I had to go and spend over a year abroad over the course of two summers and a semester.

The plan was once I graduated that I would move back in with my mom and apply for jobs in journalism all over the country until someone hired me. But, I met Dan, so I stayed in Tallahassee and got a job here. I graduated four years ago next month (WHAT THAT CAN’T BE RIGHT) and almost every single time I go down to visit my mom, she cries when I leave.

Up until reading your post, I didn’t really know why. Yes, I’m her baby and yes, she is alone. But. I have always been pretty independent. (For instance, when she dropped me off at the church nursery for the first time at 2 years old, I pointed at the door and said, “Mommy, GO.” I was also the only kid in kindergarten who walked herself to class. I’ll never forget that first day of school — me, quietly sitting alone at a table with my hands folded, awash in a sea of kids and their parents both sobbing their faces off. I never understood it. “It’s just school. What’s the big deal?”)

“It’s just college, Mom. What’s the big deal?”
“I’m just moving to London for a little while, Mom. What’s the big deal?”
“It’s just marriage, Mom. What’s the big deal?”
“It’s just knee surgery, Mom. What’s the big deal?”
“It’s just a baby, Mom. What’s the big deal?”

But I realize now, that it was never about “the thing”. It was never about college or marriage or moving abroad. It was about me “not needing” my mother.

At this point in time, my son NEEDS ME. There is no way around that. Without me, he literally cannot survive. (Though, in two weeks, he could theoretically be born and still survive but that thought just freaking terrifies me.) Reading your post and realizing that one day, he really won’t need me, was kind of heartbreaking.

But in the good way.

Because I know that no matter what happens, I’ll always be his mommy. And you’ll always be Sarah’s mommy. And yes, she may pull a Lindsay and stay in Savannah way longer than she previously anticipated. But she may not. But no matter what she does, she’s going to be out in the world being a conduit of your love and grace and support through all these years and, more importantly, a conduit of Christ’s love.

See, no matter where she goes, she always takes you with her — in her demeanor, in her words, in her creativity, in her affections, in her emotions, in her struggles. Because when people see Sarah, they see the girl that Beth raised. They see Beth’s Daughter.

Just like when people see me they see Chari’s Daughter. Which, yes, at some times, is super embarrassing. (The way we both talk about cats as if they’re people, for example.) At some times it can be really irritating. (The way we both nitpick people’s grammar and spelling. I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve gotten from my mom picking apart my blog.) But sometimes, it is amazing. Like the way we can both sit at a piano all day until our butts are in pain and flattened against the bench. The way we both harmonize with songs on the radio out of habit. The way we both cry at injustice. The way we both want everyone to be happy. The way she raised me without males around the house and we still worked our asses off to make a difference. The way we minister to people.

And so forth.

I am praying for you and Sarah today. Not just that everything goes well, but that God’s grace and love washes over you. And as you send yet another baby into the big scary world of adulthood, on her own, “not needing” you, remember that God did that for you and Sarah with His only baby boy. And His plan, albeit painful, is sovereign and holy and He is still in control, all those years later. He’s holding you and Sarah right now and you are both safe.

Love love love.

Mom, if you’re reading this (and I know you are) know that I’ve never not needed you. Even when it looked like I didn’t need you, I did. Because after I pointed to the door and told you to GO, you came back and took me home and fed me. Because after you dropped me off at the front of the school and let me walk to kindergarten all by myself, you picked me up and asked me what I learned. Because after my dad left, you started your own childcare business to support me on your own. Because you let me sleep on the floor in the living room in front of the TV because those circumstances were the only ones that would allow me to fall asleep. Because you bought me a bike right after my new bike was stolen. Because you gave me your favorite car when my junker blew up. Because when I couldn’t (literally couldn’t) finish my homework in high school because I was working two jobs and in five clubs, you stepped in. Because when I said I couldn’t you said I could. Because when I said I wasn’t beautiful or worth it, you said I was. Because when my bridesmaids were up to their faces in problems the day before my wedding, you held my hand and told me it would be okay as long as I was marrying Dan.

You are my only mommy (my only PARENT, to boot) and I will never not need you. Not ever.

I love you so much,

Your Daughter

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things i love thursday: MY SON! (march 1, 2012)

For those of you who aren’t following me and the hubs on our pregnancy blog, we found out this week that our little baby is a BOY! His name is Dax Arthur and we love him so much already it hurts, so this week’s TILT is appropriately all about him.

Check out our little man, currently spending his days rolling around in my belly!

Are those cheeks not the cutest little cheeks you’ve ever seen? And that NOSE! How are you not swooning already? Ladies?

(Also, yes, in case you didn’t know, my real first name is Helen. I’ve gone by my middle name all my life. Anywayyyy.)

Despite the fact that 90% of my friends and family were positive I was carrying a girl, I knew better. I’ve always said that God has been preparing my heart to mother boys ever since I was born. The pets I’ve raised on my own (Romeo and Hamlet) are boys. I was the only girl in my family. As a matter of fact, I used to think I could actually be a boy if I tried hard enough. (Oh, did you miss that? You can read about that nonsense here.)

For me, mothering a boy is a huge blessing. I don’t know the first thing about girls. I mean, I obviously have the girl thing down to some extent, what with being pregnant and all, but I think that trying to live up to what a “real” girl is supposed to be (fashion-forward, gourmet cook, a “gentle and quiet spirit,” all the things I’ll regrettably never be) would be overwhelming if/when I have a girl. While everyone says girls are “easier” to raise and that boys are “a handful,” I say bring it on. The fact that my first go at motherhood isn’t going to be associated with perfect girliness but rather messy rambunctiousness is (believe it or not) a huge relief for me. If and when we do have a girl, I’ll already know what it’s like to be a “mom,” and I can focus on figuring out what it means to be “feminine.” (SIDE NOTE: I’m currently thinking of my poor mom on my 4th birthday, desperately running around town to try and find the sole My Little Pony in existence that wasn’t pink or purple but blue. Sorry about that, Mom.)

Bottom line? I’ll take fart jokes and little league over… what is it that girls do? Good Lord, I don’t even know. Playing with non-pink My Little Ponies?

Dax, your mommy and daddy love you so much! We can’t wait to meet you and play with you!

What do you love this week? Is it my kid? I wouldn’t blame you if it was. He’s pretty great!

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big news!

As promised yesterday, I’ve got some big news to blog about!

I don’t know if you’ve noticed (you probably haven’t, and that’s okay) but my posts have tapered off in frequency as of late. No, I haven’t totally been a slacker. I’ve just been afraid to blog because I’m so bloody honest and have the worst time keeping secrets.

But I don’t have to keep it a secret any more!

We’re having a baby!

8 Weeks

I am 12 weeks pregnant! As much as I tried to use my hatred for laundry as effective birth control, I am happy to report that I have failed. Dan and I are elated to be expecting our first child this July!

A lot of people asked if I’d be blogging throughout the pregnancy and yes, yes I will. But don’t worry — this blog is not turning into a mommy blog. I know that I’d lose probably the majority of my readership if I did that. Dan and I have actually started a separate blog on which we both post, so if you’d like to check that out, you can do so here:

http://durrenbaby.wordpress.com

Thanks for supporting me on this crazy new journey! I imagine my body image blogging is going to become a lot more passionate as I become a lot more round.

xoxox,
Lindsay and Durrenbaby

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the rexia series: mommyrexia.

the ‘rexia’ series:

mommyrexia

When Dan and I were dating, everyone kept asking us, “When are you going to get engaged already?” When we were engaged it was, “When are you getting married already?” Now that we’ve been married two years it’s, “When are you having babies already?” (I’m honored that my life is so intriguing, by the way.)

When we first got married, I said we’d be married five years before we started trying for a baby. Dan said three. I said five. He said three to five years. I said okay. Dan also said we’d have five kids. I said two. He said four. I said two. He finally said two or four. I said okay.

But the reality is… I don’t really know when we’ll have a baby, let alone four of them. It could be three years, sure. It could be five years. Or, if I’m being 100% honest with you (which you know I always am) it could be never. I really want to have babies. I do. But I struggled with disordered eating for so long that the idea of losing control of my body to a fetus is terrifying for me. Would I be able to handle it? Would I be able to gain pregnancy weight for 9 months, have a baby, then have a body forever changed by carrying a child, and NOT end up in the same body-hating life I was in that forced me into years of eating disordered hell?

Is it even worth it to try?

About a year into our marriage, I decided that yes. It’s worth it. I was a full-blown self-love warrior by that point and I decided that because I’ve always felt as though God has created me to be a wife and a mother, my dysfunctional relationship with my body wasn’t going to get in the way of that calling. So, we elected to stop refilling my birth control. Mind you, we’re not actively trying to get pregnant. We’ve just eliminated unwanted chemicals and hormones from my body to keep me healthy enough, just in case. And besides, even if our society puts unreasonable beauty standards on women, they get a free pass when they’re pregnant, right?

Sigh. Wrong. Enter: mommyrexia.

Yes. This is a real word. Yes. This is a real thing.

Pregnant women are evidently so concerned with their weight that they are doing insane things to ensure they gain as little weight as possible while pregnant. Eating too little. Exercising too much. Wait, what?

Isn’t pregnancy the one time in a woman’s life she is allowed to eat whatever she wants and evade judgment? It looks like, in our society, those days are long gone. Magazines and websites in our celebrity-obsessed culture barf up cover after feature after spread of “post-baby bodies,” praising these starlets for getting down to pre-pregnancy weight in as little as one month. Naturally, women across the country are starting to think this is normal, despite the truth that every woman is different and not all pregnancies are created equal.

I reached out to some of my mom friends for advice about this. (The ones I contacted via text immediately assumed the reason I was inquiring was because I’m pregnant. I felt really bad having to tell them that I’m not.) Here is what a handful of them had to say about managing their weight during pregnancy:

  • Emily: I personally did not “manage my weight” but instead focused on eating healthy, whole foods, many smaller meals throughout the day, and saving sweets as a treat. Exercised as it felt good, but not to maintain a weight range. Childbirth is a marathon… and a person doesn’t prepare for a marathon by sitting on the couch and eating ice cream all day. She needs to condition her body with APPROPRIATE exercise and feed it with healthy foods so she is ready to “run” on race day.
  • Ashley C.: I did not worry about my weight and ate a ton of sweets — what I craved. I did jog in the beginning, then walked, then nothing. I gained the same amount of weight for each pregnancy…29 lbs.
  • Theresa: I ate when I was hungry, didn’t eat when I wasn’t. I was active, but didn’t work out or anything. If it isn’t good for you when you’re not pregnant, it’s not good for you when you are….it doesn’t have to be complicated!
  • Rebecca: I tried at the beginning, but my doctor convinced me it was about feeling good and the baby being healthy. I had preeclampsia and my blood disorder, so it was more about keeping baby and I safe than what foods to eat. You can always lose the weight, but you can’t always go back and make sure baby gets everything he/she needs.
  • Ashley P.: I didn’t give into “cravings.” I ate normally, just a little more of everything. I walked a lot, but never overdid it. And did light arm weights.
    Me: Cool. So nothing extreme?
    Ashley P.: Absolutely not! It’s so selfish!

Bam. Ashley P. nails it.

Look. I obviously understand the fear of weight gain. I absolutely get how scary that can be. But I also know that when I get pregnant, my body won’t belong to me anymore.

A little over two years ago, I was couple months out from my wedding, and I remember being so scared that my eating disorder would rear its ugly head when it came time for us to try for babies. The thought of going through that made me sick to think about, so I sought out some counsel. I sat down with one of my pastors (whose tiny wife is now, at the time of this writing, pregnant with their fourth child.) He showed me a bible verse (1 Timothy 2:15, for those of you who are following along in your bibles) that says women will be saved through child birth. I haven’t been pregnant, and I haven’t given birth, but I think this verse is true. Motherhood is arguably the most sacrificial act a woman can do. And offering up her body to the child during pregnancy is the first sacrifice of many the mother will make. But, not only does this sacrifice benefit the baby, but it also saves the mother. Oh, what a joyful and beautiful thing it is when a woman finally realizes that her body was built to do more magnificent things, sustaining and giving life, than looking “acceptable” in a bikini.

I just wish that society knew that about us. I wish they knew that about us and celebrated that about us, instead of making us feel ashamed of it.

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