First, I hope that you and your family are staying safe and healthy (physically and mentally) during this insane time. And thank you to all those on the frontlines taking care of us and making sure essential parts of our lives are still serviced and accessible. An important part of living the jawesome life is to live on the bright side. There are always positive takeaways from any situation life throws at us, and I wanted to throw some light your way during this difficult and uncertain time. So, here are just a few positives that Covid-19 has brought us thus far:
There's a lot of things about pregnancy no one ever talks about, or you're just not aware of until you're pregnant and you start receiving daily emails updating you on what you might be experiencing. So, throughout my pregnancy I recorded things that I learned and found interesting along the way. Here are 20 of them.
This year on Women's Day, I want to highlight something that women have experienced since the beginning of time, but no one ever talks about: postpartum healing. Thankfully we live in an age of information and now I can google anything I want to know about it. It's also encouraging that more and more women are sharing this information, but it's still not something commonly talked about until you're a pregnant woman learning about everything prenatal, labor, and postpartum. And let me tell you, nothing about pregnancy or childcare scared me (at least nothing out of the ordinary), but when I first read about what really happens during postpartum healing, I was suddenly terrified. And I'm telling you, sex ed would be way more effective if we taught students about post-partum healing, and showed them an actual birthing video.
It seems odd now, but prior to a little more than a year ago, I don't think I knew that cloth diapers still existed--at least not in developed countries. I also didn't realize disposables have only existed since about the 1950's and took off in the 1960's as women entered the workforce. I just hadn't ever thought about that. It wasn't until a couple of my friends were expecting their first baby, and I learned they were going to use cloth diapers, that they entered my radar. Other than trying to wrap my head around how they work, I didn't give them much mind. When I asked them why they were going to use cloth diapers, their response was that my friend's dad wanted them to use it because it was more comfortable for the baby. I'm not sure we ever discussed the environmental impact or cost savings of using cloth diapers. But when I entered my third trimester of pregnancy, I was suddenly hit with an extra urgency to find ways I could adjust my life to live more sustainably, and for some reason the first thing to come to mind was cloth diapers. So, as I researched cloth diapers, I found myself quickly falling love with them--some may even say obsessed and here are the reasons why.
Today is Ash Wednesday, the start of the Lenten season. Those who don't observe Lent usually know it as the time that Catholics and certain other Christian denominations give up something like a vice for 40 days. This year, I asked my dad if he wanted to go to mass with me to get our ashes in church, and I was surprised when he said yes. Although, part of me wonders if it's because now that I'm a few weeks away from our due date he'll take up any chance to drive me somewhere since he thinks I shouldn't drive myself anymore. Then when I thanked my dad for joining me and told him I really enjoyed it, I was further delighted when he also expressed a genuine enjoyment for attending mass today. He refused to get ashes or communion though, because he's worried about coronavirus. (I don't blame him, because one woman in South Korea spread the virus to 37 people at her church after twice refusing to be tested for the virus, and it spread from there to cause a large outbreak.) Still, I was just happy he came along with me, because keeping faith in the family these days can prove challenging; but today gave me some visible hope. Not to mention, it was a nice father-daughter outing. So how do we keep faith in the family in a time when many have or are straying from their faith?
They say when you have a child, your priorities and perspectives change. More recently, especially as the fires in Australia worsened in December, I suddenly felt an extra urgency to figure out what ways I can ensure my child has a livable earth to inherit in the next twenty to thirty years, if even that. And while I always wanted to be a mother, prior to getting pregnant, I was seriously questioning how responsible it was for us to bring a child into this world right now when we aren't doing enough to ensure there will be a world to live in--or at least an earth to live on. And I hate to put it this way, but every extra human we bring into the world is another set of carbon footprints we add to it as well. So, what could I do in my little ways to live more sustainably and protect this earth for my son and future generations?
I was mad at Kobe for a long time, and it wasn't until the shock and pain of his sudden and unexpected loss today that made me realize why. Sure, he was beloved by the world; but for Angelenos like myself, especially those of us who grew up watching him, going to Lakers games at the Staple Center, particularly in the Shaq and Kobe Dream Team days, he was our family. So many of my childhood memories involve nights, days, and Christmases at The Staple Center. Whenever we sat by the Lakers tunnel entrance, we'd lean over the rails trying to high-five the players as the came out of the tunnel or went back in it. And of course, if Kobe high-fived you, it was like getting the golden ticket. There's not a lot I can say that everyone else isn't already saying as we remember our Mamba. He was an inspiration beyond the court. I loved that he also loved football (soccer), and also spoke other languages. When I was in Milan, the only reason I wanted to visit AC Milan's stadium was because I knew he loved the team. His pride in and love for his family was undeniable. So, I just want to say thank you, Kobe, for all the memories, for being part of our family; and thank you to your family for sharing you with us. Praying for all the Bryants, as well as the other families affected by today's tragedy. I also want to extend a hug to my fellow Lakers Nation Angelenos, because I know this cuts deep for all of us.
It still feels unreal.
If my 20's taught me anything, it's that life rarely ever goes as planned or envisioned, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Over the holidays, my husband and I moved in with my parents as we prepare to bring our son into the world, and it's certainly not how I ever envisioned growing my family. However, when we found out we were pregnant, we had a lot of discussions about a lot of things, and eventually moving in with my parents made the most sense, not only financially, but also because of the strong support I will have, not just from my parents but friends in the area. I certainly had my reservations and discussed my concerns with friends and my therapist, and the number one thing everyone told me was to set boundaries. Boundaries, in general, are important in every relationship, but how does one set boundaries in a family that knows no boundaries? Asian families, or at least my Asian family, don't have boundaries!
The most important and powerful statement made at the Golden Globes last night came from Parasite director, Bong Joon Ho. In his thank you speech for Best Foreign Language Film, he started by saying, "Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films." But the truth of his statement goes beyond the number of amazing films you will be introduced to "once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier subtitles."
The kids I teach in Children's Liturgy oft range in age from about 4 to 10 years old, and they are all full of stories--sometimes on point, sometimes not so on point. This Sunday, two of the boys had the honour of walking up the Advent candles during the welcome procession at mass. So, I asked them about that and asked the other kids if anyone lights advent candles at home. This led one of the kids to tell me about the time someone set his father's church on fire. His dad told him, it's because the man was a Muslim.