Prior to becoming pregnant, I never thought about what postpartum healing entailed. In movies, we may see the mother scream from labor pains, but after that all is joyful, which is not true for everyone. While I was pregnant I had read a few articles that explained what would happen, which for some reason terrified me more than actually giving birth, but I still had no clue what I was in for. I had heard one celebrity say she didn't expect to be as sore as she was, but that still wasn't a clear picture of the pain and discomfort I would endure. Aside from the immediate postpartum healing though, I thought I'd track and share what exactly I went through during my first year postpartum, because I had heard from a few people that they didn't even feel like they got their bodies back or felt like themselves again until a year later. WARNING: Talk of pee, poo, blood below.
This week my baby turns one and boy has it been a year! I've learned so much about babies, obviously, but also myself and life. So, I thought I'd share a few of those things.
I recently started my period after 587 days without thanks to pregnancy and breastfeeding. Leading up to this, and in preparation for it, I started to think about sustainable options. The cloth diaper world introduced me to cloth pads, and I hated pads in general as a tween, so initially avoided them. But then one of my favorite cloth diaper companies, Lil Helper, also makes cloth pads and other useful items, so I thought I'd give they're trial kit a try. I figured, if I hate them, at least they'll come in handy should we have another baby, for postpartum healing. I did a little "unboxing" type of video on Tea with Justine if you'd like to check them out. Simultaneously, I researched menstrual cups, and I thought I'd share my first go at them with you in case any of you are interested in trying more sustainable period products.
I don't think I've ever met anyone who said sleep training wasn't worth it. Most people say that it sucks and you have to suffer the first week, but then it gets better and it is so worth it. Still, for some reason, I tried avoiding it. I just didn't want to let my baby cry at all and feel any kind of abandonment. However, probably due to our co-sleeping situation, we hit a point at 8 months where I was going to lose my sanity, because he seemed to have regressed so badly that he was up every hour, some times less. Just thinking about it makes me want to cry. So, I did a bunch of research, talked to friends, asked other mommies in Facebook groups, and here's what we ended up doing...
As I mentioned in my previous post, I called up a Trump supporter I know, to get his take on what happened at our Capitol on Wednesday. I wanted to hear him say it was wrong and that he can no longer support Trump. Of course, I knew that was a long shot, and that in the least he'd tell me he felt it was wrong, but most likely it wouldn't shift his opinion and support of Trump. And I was right. So, I wanted to reflect on some of the larger takeaways I got from our nearly hour long conversation, which wasn't by far enough time, but the baby wouldn't stop crying (I mean, literally my baby was crying, I'm not name calling here).
A couple weeks ago, I attended a Zoom holiday party, in which we were asked to "go around the room," introduce ourselves, say what we're working on, and let everyone know what we might need help with. I knew exactly what I needed help with, but for some reason I was afraid to ask, and I made the excuse that it wasn't entertainment related and this was an entertainment industry event. Of the 60-80 people in attendance, I think maybe only 1-2 people actually asked for help. So, when I was asked to help with a friend's annual tea party, I planned a few tea trivia questions, and fun conversational questions. As I put together the conversational questions, I knew the perfect question to close out the event--"What do you need help with?" This annual tea party is always a small group of talented entertainment industry women, and who are better at helping other people than women? Not to mention, we as women, need to support each other. The reactions and responses to this question, in this group, were incredible.
Wednesday's insurrection had me thinking about my senior thesis I wrote in university about Russian Orthodoxy under Stalin between 1941-1945. For the thesis, I interviewed an elderly Russian woman who was a child during this period. Thankfully, my Russian was good enough back then to conduct this interview, because her responses were very insightful and reveal something common I've seen throughout time and varying situations, including what we are witnessing now.
Maybe I'm tired from wrestling with my 9-month-old 4-5 times a day while changing his diaper, maybe it's the pandemic, but I read a couple of things last night that really had me fuming out of annoyance and frustration. Don't worry, I'm much calmer now as I write this, but let's discuss. The Golden Globes will not consider Minari for Best Picture, because it is mostly in Korean, even though it is an American story, about the American dream, set in America, directed by an American, produced by an American company, and starring an American. I'll get into this more below. As I looked into this, I came across Schulz Saves America on Netflix, in which Andrew Schulz apparently makes some serious Anti-Asian racist comments. What got to me more upset was seeing all the praise the series was getting, which means people either still don't recognize blatant and harmful racism, and/or despite all the anti-racism discussions that took place as a result of the BLM protests this summer, Asian Americans are still invisible in the race talks. Just think about how we oft talk about Kamala Harris as a Black woman, but rarely as an Asian American/South Asian American woman. A lot of people have said what needs to be said on this, but I want to discuss the cultural identity impact here.
As I read the accounts of abuse my body tensed up and I felt frozen in my bed with only my eyes moving, reading the article. My stomach even feels ill as I write this, and I still feel disconnected from my body. Musician, FKA Twigs, described incidents that are all too familiar to me, some of which were very similar to what I had experienced ten years ago. Despite a decade that has gone by since then, reading this article reminded me that the trauma still lives in me. It lives in my body and in my memory. Even her desire to share her story is reminiscent of my own motivations to share mine. If sharing our stories can help just one person leave or avoid an abusive relationship, then it's worth it. As I write this, my hands are numb, and the trauma is making its way through my body, leaving through my fingers. It's kind of strange to me, because although so much time has passed, it's clear how trauma stays with us, even in our bodies. So, this made me think of two things I wanted to reflect on in this post.
I feel a little weird saying this, because there are a number of other countries that are well ahead of us in electing female leaders. Still, as an American, this is a momentous win for numerous reasons. In fact, even for non-Americans, this is a momentous win. Perhaps it's arrogant and bias of me to say that The United States of America has always been a beacon of hope in the world, and that that's what has been restored, but that is how this moment in history feels. I'm filled with so many emotions, but especially with hope, because of what this means for my son's future.
I feel hopeful that our country will make the appropriate steps forward to address climate change so my son and future generations have a livable earth to inherit.
I feel hopeful that no matter who my son chooses to love in the future, that love will be honored and celebrated as all love should be honored.
I feel hopeful that we will actually and carefully examine and reform social justice issues.
I feel hopeful that while racism won't just go away, it will no longer be tolerated and incited by the leader of our country.
I feel hopeful that little girls everywhere will shatter all the glass ceilings until there are no more glass ceilings.
I feel hopeful that our place and influence on the international and global stage will become a positive and collaborative one.
I feel hopeful that we have a leader who will lead with honor and integrity, who will surround himself with a diverse team and will lean on them to provide expertise in their respective areas.
I feel hopeful that we have a leader who will do his best to unite our country, though he has a tough road ahead of him.
And with all due respect to President-Elect Joe Biden, I feel hopeful that #47 will not be an old, straight, white male.
As many of us celebrate this victory, we must remember that there is A LOT of work to do now. 70 million Americans do not feel the same way, and we need to find a way to build the necessary bridges. I feel in my heart that everyone needs and deserves to be seen and heard. Then I think of those who are truly White Supremacists, and I think, except them. However, I remind myself of Daryl Davis, who befriended 200 KKK members and convinced them to shed their robes. So yes, let's please heal our wounds together and listen to each other. Perhaps then we will see each other as the neighbors, and brothers and sisters, that we are.