Tag Archives: love

Love Your Haters

16 Jun

Good evening, lovelies –

Here’s a little love for today and reminder to never let someone dim your light!

I took a ride with onepeloton this morning and it felt as though @allymisslove was speaking directly to me with this gem – “Thank your haters not for hating you, but hating the love in you.” Isn’t that the truth? Real community is building people up, embracing our differences, accepting one another, having a safe space where differences in opinion can coexist in harmony, it’s also: multiethnic, multicultural, and intergenerational. #pride Community is not tearing each other down. It is not trolling and being compulsively inclined to hurt others. Expressing ones self in a mean, baffling, and critical manner for what ever reason is not cool. It’s not even emotional stoicism. It’s coward-like. Get on my level – you’re invited. Practice kindness, patience, humility. Be vulnerable. It’s the most accurate measure of courage. To my biggest fan: Thank you for hating all the love I have. I hope my light doesn’t continue to blind you ✨. #bekind

Thanks for stopping by!

XO

Valgal

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This is Motherhood

15 May

Good evening, lovelies –

I sure do hope everyone is doing well! I’ve got some news to share – I’m 35 weeks pregnant with our son! Yup – I’m in the last week of our 8th month of pregnancy.
I began this blog in my 6th month of being pregnant. Hoped to wrap it up in my 7th month. But here I am in my 8th month with the 9th month quickly approaching and I am finally finished.
I have been stringing words together for months. The struggle has been with each sentence a new construct formed. I’ve changed the course of this script a jillion times. I was too apprehensive to share my thoughts because they felt like nonsensical rambles of blazing pregnancy emotions that echo the fragility of life,  how excited and anxious I am to meet baby boy, to also include my running endeavors. If the frequency and subject of my thoughts were diagrammed on a scatterplot you’d witness there was no notable relationship between the two. My pregnant mind has no conscious or unconscious shackles. And while that’s a great thing it offers me no favors in the organizational flow of what you’re about to read. Please enjoy but pardon the unrhythmic groove.
So here goes …
The first 19 weeks of this pregnancy I was sicker than my first. There was a range of icky feelings but my gosh the dueling duo: fatigue and nausea were omnipresent. Their repeat game was strong. Every. Single. Day. No snooze. No reprieve. I surely didn’t mind at first. Par for the course. Right? I mean we wanted this pregnancy so who was I to complain? I opted to hit the sack earlier than reasonable to ward off the displeasure. I willed 8pm to come around every single night. It was at that hour I could cuddle with my little almost 2 year old love bug and snooze until the a.m. without discomfort. The peace of Oriana’s soft, warm breathing lulled me to sleep.
Each morning greeted me with heavy eyes, cramps, thirst, nausea, dry heaves and exhaustion. But how? I had slept for hours. The morning routine of feeling perpetually seasick only subsided when I caught a bad upper respiratory infection. For days I thought it was pregnancy related symptoms but the two ailments conflated together made me one miserably tired mama, anxious to get better, and overwhelmed at the idea I was burning through the very sick leave I was resolute to save for maternity leave.
Fast forward and I was still sick. The doctor opined that I had the flu. I had every symptom but a fever – no fever is why they weren’t keen on administering the flu test from the get go. But when antibiotics couldn’t ward off the grossness they knew… the freaking flu! Regardless, I was knocked on my ass for two weeks. When I thought I was on the upswing the unforgiving bug kicked back into 5th gear. It felt like an 18 wheeler ran over my body shattering my spirit and ability to hang tough. I couldn’t move. I hadn’t a clue how I ever managed to run – a marathon or 400 meters – both felt like Herculean accomplishments as I laid there in bed wallowing and quietly falling apart – ego, pride, and health. The thought of running and dreaming of running rendered me vapid. As did the thought of mustering the energy to walk down the stairs for hot tea only to go back up the formidable steps. Being pregnant and sick was intolerable cruelty. It was breeding ground for tears. Thank god for my husband pulling both mommy and daddy duty and doing so like a pro while I acquiesced to quarantine in our bedroom and subsequently binged Grace and Frankie on Netflix.
Within a day or two from me rising back from the dead my daughter had caught the flu. It bid me farewell only to greet the most innocent of sweethearts. Fortunately we caught her flu immediately and thanked the Tamiflu gods for her quick recovery. But the threat of fevers and my immobilized fear of seizures as a result of said fevers had me keep a watchful eye on my little love, more than what was probably rational. Good news: No seizures to report. Thank God. We were armed with Lysol, bleach, Clorox wipes, Kleenex, purel, etc. for the next few days and we disinfected our house of all germs around the clock. We refused to host the yucky pathogens any longer.
In a blink the misery of the cold season making haven in our home was gone. I found myself 6 months pregnant and finally back to feeling myself – ready to slay dragons. To top it off, all pregnancy related discomforts of morning sickness also dissipated around this time. Finally. Wohoo!
Wohoo is an understatement.
So what is it like to be 8 months pregnant (almost 9 months in 6 short days) the second time around? There are so many feelings!
With my first I had an anterior placenta meaning that I never felt our little girl kick. I felt her stretch but no kick-o kick-o. With this pregnancy I feel our little dude often, kicking and jabbing. The activity is more miraculous than magic itself. Outside of the tangible feels it’s visible that I popped a lot sooner than my first pregnancy and that’s to be expected. In the beginning and at random some days it would look like I swallowed a soccer ball. Other days I would be flat as a board.
I have a permanent bump now.
This is the stage I love the most! I have been relishing in the transformation because I know this is going to be our last pregnancy. These moments are fleeting and I’m holding on to them as tightly as I can knowing that time is a thief. I want to will time to freeze. I want to bottle up my feelings in an effort keep these precious moments forever. It would smell like coconut oil, Johnson’s baby shampoo and beams of sunshine that is so our Ori girl. I want to give each second with her all my attention. I wish I could pause time and breathe in all the magic that she is. I would gaze at her eyes longer, watch in slo-motion how her left cheek crinkles with an indent of a mini v-shape when she says “cheeeeeeese” or is jubilantly happy – which is nearly always.
I would listen intently to her laugh. I would listen to her sweet and soft voice and play it on repeat like my favorite recorded songs on cassette back in middle school. I play every single video I have of her from birth to now, always. But unlike my mixed tapes these recordings never grow dull or worn. Her every little move, reaction, expression, and sound has me spellbound.
Oriana has bewitched me.
I want to hold on to my girl and selfishly keep her small, gentle, silly, and innocent. I also want her to have ambitions and lead change for the greater good of the world. Her father and I want to lead by example and teach her that the world is her horizon.
I can see Oriana in the future manifesting greatness. She has the tenacity of her mother and the stubbornness of her father. It is my job to show her that there are no limits outside the ones we prescribe to or manifest out of fear. I want to illustrate the reality that some people generally suck. I don’t want her to be surprised by this. Oh the scale of suckiness – my goodness how it can range. From the people who suck because they literally do not care about others, to the extreme… I want to teach Oriana to proceed with caution when faced with people who literally suck the very life out of you by being a constant negative, use the victim mentality to manipulate, and meddles in all that you do waiting to watch you fail just because they can. It’s these people I want to prepare her for. I don’t want these people or the several other categories of suckiness, not limited to the mean, and evil, to ever have the ability to break her. I want to teach her that she can bend without breaking. She can be resilient in the most trying of times. To be buoyant. I want her to show up in the face of adversity and show it who’s boss despite the discomfort. I want to lead by example so she can see that you can overcome sucky people and sucky situations because it is only temporary. Having ambition and integrity lasts a lifetime – they are the moral code and the compass that define us. I will remind her that karma handles people (maybe not as contiguous as we’d like but ironically it is always at the right time) and the situation can and will change.
I want Oriana to shine knowing naysayers aren’t competition but reminders that she’s doing something right. I want to be transparent and let her know that people are not always nice. While this world is magical, jealousy and envy are everywhere casting dark shadows. Ori needs to be armed with an umbrella and be prepared to weather the storms. People will try to chip away at her crown to elevate themselves but that’s not her problem to own. She must vibrate higher! I want to empower her to eliminate what doesn’t help her evolve. Sometimes that may mean letting go of people who aren’t in her corner. You know – those people who claim to love and support you but are really snakes in the grass waiting to attack? I don’t want her to give these folks the opportunity. I wish for Oriana to be her best self always. To practice kindness, forgiveness, and empower others to be their best versions as well.
I want to teach my girl and unborn son that there is no secret to success. The price of admission is determination, an indomitable spirit, and a stubborn will (thank your mama and daddy for this one!). No naivety allowed. Eliminate the platitudes. Refuse to overturn your convictions to appease others when it is in opposition of your morals. That is not a shortcut for success but rather an undercut of your values. Be the hardest worker in the damn room. It will upset people. And those people may drag your name in the mud – but flowers blossom from the dirt and manure so let them think they are doing you a disservice. Always smile. Like your mama – you will come out smelling like a rose and looking like one too. You’ll be radiant with a lacquer of strength and delicacy. Let them stare. This is fragility paired with strength.
The dichotomy of fragility and strength is a powerful tool every woman should own. Every woman should know how to wear it without apology. It’s an accessory too often overlooked but necessary. It’s an arsenal of self-worth packed with power and confidence. I want my unborn son to respect women for this trait. I want my girl to know she has all the power within for greatness – to look inward rather than outward for approval. I want her to expect that some people will repeatedly attack her confidence and self-esteem because they are quite aware of her potential – even if she isn’t always aware. I want to empower my baby girl to be her own heroine. And that her mama is her biggest number one fan. Forever and always. I know her presence will command the room and I’ve only been her mother for 23 months.
But back to current state – my 23 month old baby girl, my little cherub, my little rosebud, my boogie, my everything, who has a life of lessons awaiting her…may she always act with equal parts grit and grace. If her future self is anything like her current 23 month sassy-self this is a guarantee. How did I get so lucky to be her mother?
I want to hold her close, and closer. Breathe her in, like really breathe her in. Tickle her silly. Record her belly laughs, her soft voice, her peek-a-boos, her incessant “what’s that” and “where’d it go” questions. I want to kiss her, and squish her and smoosh her today and forever x infinity. I know that’s not an option. Forever is a thief. A cruel heartless, unyielding thief. I want to hold on to the moments when she gingerly points to my belly and squeals “baby!” I want to delay time when Oriana enthusiastically grabs her books, backs up into my lap, leans against me and her brother bump, and pleads with me to read. Every third word is interrupted by her orating something she sees or questions. “Eeeeeeeeeee!” “Esssssssss!” “Cccccccc!” “Mama, Ooooooo!” My heart bursts out of my chest! Who knew the alphabet could elicit so much glee! With our son’s arrival around the corner I’m cherishing these moments with Oriana a little more – holding on to the moments with a stronger grip because I know the dynamic will change. She will always be my first born – my baby girl made me a mama. She is my kind of special.
Oriana makes me feel life. She makes me love life on a level I never knew existed. My love for her is fierce. All the peripheral chaos is silenced because she is the center of my world. I’m not marred by the daily stresses of life anymore because she reminds me to ignore what doesn’t enrich my soul. She reminds me of the fragility of life. I’m forever grateful for that. I am forever grateful for her. And to think I have another love coming – my heart will implode!
Who knew I’d be on a journey to pave the path for my daughter’s future endeavors, to teach her resiliency, what really matters in life, how to contribute to the world, her community, her peers, all while at 23 months old she is teaching me the art of boundless love, forgiveness, and kindness.  How ever am I (or we) going to love another little one as deeply and emphatically as this little one? Howwwwwww!?
I know it’s possible – I know your heart makes the room just like my expanding belly is making room for our little dude. I’m already flooded with emotional intensity watching our son grow, kick, and give me hints of who he is. In less than 5 weeks we get to meet him – and the flurry of ardor will envelope me more than it already does today – forever changing my course. Anchoring me deeper in love. It’s poetry.
I am blessed. To our unborn son, Kobé Bruno Shreeve, we love you. And we are anxiously awaiting to meet you.
This is motherhood.
Thanks for stopping by,
Valgal
XO

What’s Up with Some Women

26 Sep

Good evening, lovelies –

My life between the miles has surely kept me busy. My little lovebug is all of 16 months old and let me tell you that we have a future runner girl in the making. She speeds through every adventure. Just running around, laughing, giggling, and playing. Her disposition is incredibly infectious. She is and will always be a reminder to live life with childlike enthusiasm. She silences the peripheral noise and aggravations of difficult people. These days are gold. 

I’ve been running. Repeat. I have been running. I’m logging 25ish miles a week. Pre-mom Valerie would scoff at that number. Mom-Valerie is like…that’s kind of badass. But just kind of. The trouble is me. I can’t commit to waking up at 4a every day to run. If I did I could squeeze in an extra 6-8 miles per alarm buzz. But that snooze button gets me if I didn’t sell myself on the maybe sweat sesh the night before. I don’t often run after work because of the hour and my incessant desire to spend quality time with Oriana before it’s “night night time.” I am all about being present with my family and I have only 2 hours each evening with my little babe to coordinate/make dinner, enjoy bath time, have a mini playtime session, go for a walk, read a book, and then put her down. When 8:30p rolls around I tease myself with the notion to run. But I’m quickly reminded that late night runs put me in an energizer bunny state, so I opt for a glass of Chardonnay. Not always. But more often than I’d like.

While I have some guilt I am finding peace with the balance I have created. Andy and I have no family out here to help us with the day-to-day and considering, we are rocking this parenthood thing! Can I just pick up an go run the next marathon? No. After my recent 17 miler I was reminded I have FAI. I’m 32 but feel like a geriatric post such long distance. This will be cured when I finally have needed surgery (After baby #2. No. I’m not pregnant.). At any time can I go run a half marathon? Damn skippy – yes! There you have it, that’s my balance. I’m always primed to race 13.1 miles. That is me winning at this motherhood thing!!! I may not PR but I can easily run the distance that once upon a time was a challenge.

Speaking of challenge, let’s talk about people. I often get lost in my mind while running. I work out problems and the idiosyncrasies of individuals. This is how I cope. And it’s often a way I manage stress mid-day by exchanging lunch for a run = runch. It helps to dissolve any conflict or ugly emotion. It resets me. 

But back to challenging people…

Why are some women hell-bent on dishonoring our own gender? I am tired of being exposed to this unavoidable casualty. Wake up ladies, there is a code of ethics amongst women and it appears there is a significant need for a reintroduction. I’ve grown tired of callous comments and negativity by which I don’t understand how I’m on the receiving end. Why can’t we mindfully and/or lovingly disagree? I wish there was a way to change this proclivity of female divide that keeps widening. Some women need continuing education on feminism. I want to throw the book at them (in the most kind way). I want to preach “Read it. Breathe it. Reflect. Turn a new page and stand united.” I want to observe women empowering women. 

What really ruffles me is that I am a mother to a daughter. A beautiful little girl who might be disliked by other girls for being uniquely different and alluring because of her ethnic mix plus her aptitude. What’s more aggravating is the ugly truth that beauty and brains is a lethal combination. And because of this truth I know girls will try to hurt her and cut her down out of envy and admiration. It’s ridiculous. Why does admiration have to come at the cost of jealousy? Why are women compelled to break each other down? Why is there reprisal for being different, intelligent, beautiful in both a conventional and unconventional way? I don’t want my daughter to grow up being chastised for being herself. I want to teach her that women are alliances. Emphasis on alliances. We need to enrich these relationships rather than create conflict. Conflict serves no purpose in this context. 

So here I am. I am facing an opportunity dead set at trying to resolve discord. Discord I assure you as it relates to me being me. I know more than I let on. That’s my superpower. I am quirky but for good graces that doesn’t mean I am dense. Because of my role as woman who is now a mother I am responsible to lead by example more than ever before. I have a mini shadow. If Oriana was older and could understand or witness my conversations and interaction how would I act differently? How could I gain favor? 

There is something inherently wrong when women disrespect women. I can’t run this emotion out of my mind. I have a heightened awareness and sensitivity on this topic because of my daughter. We can break the perpetual fallacy that women are superficial and catty but I can’t do it alone. I’ll raise my daughter to know better, to refrain from repressing the feminist movement and to advocate for women with fervor! 

We need to practice decorum. We should learn and teach this from the very beginning of our lives. We must show love and be nurturing. We are all surrounded by extraordinary women who teach us about quiet strength and dignity. Let’s break the narrative that women tear each other down. I promote that we have an obligation to help one another. How do we get the naysayers on our same sheet of music? 

If there’s one thing I can do right it will be to raise my daughter to be kind, respectful, grateful, warm, generous and mindful… If for any reason she is compelled to be anything otherwise antonymous I will encourage her to take it out on the asphalt. To pound the pavement. 

We women run the world (pun intended). Let’s be each others cheerleaders on the same track (of empowerment) and remind ourselves we are running our own unique race. There’s room for civility on every course. We are an exclusive community – we are a brand. 

To my daughter: One day you may read this and if you do I hope I have lead by example. You inspire me daily to be a better person. To practice compassion. To remain present. I love you.

To women (past and present) and those reading this: You teach me daily how to wear all the colors of our multifaceted roles. I respect you. 

Thanks for stopping by,

XO

Valgal

Postpartum Expectations from a Runner Girl – Reclaiming My Body Through the Onset of Emotions

26 Jul

Hello lovelies!!!

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Happy Weekend! Yay!!!

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Today I am 73 days postpartum. I was given the green light to start running, I mean training, for a fall marathon by my OB on July 11. It took a whole 8 weeks to be cleared to run after our baby girl debuted. But as you know I’m stubborn and determined so I began running the week-ish prior (hey, my doctor was on vacation and my appointment was delayed!)

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After having been patient for close to 40 weeks to meet my little rosebud, how on earth did doctors expect me to hold off from running for 2 whole months? I ran my entire pregnancy and then they put a moratorium on it?! Not okay.

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Anyway, I took it easy with doctor approved light cardio. I engaged in walking, the elliptical and mini weights beginning at the 4 week postpartum mark. I started running again around 7 weeks (I may be a liar). But I’m not lying about taking it easy. It wasn’t until July 11th that I started to run farther and faster. 

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I wanted to run farther and faster because shoot, I have had my eyes set on a fall marathon. But I also wanted to run farther (not faster) to engage my fat burning furnace to melt the lingering pounds that made themselves home to my thighs, hips, stomach and back. Maybe in my breasts, too, who am I kidding. I definitely don’t need the weight there. If I had a say in its allocations I’d rather see that weight in my boot-tay. Am I right!?! (Squats all day don’t do me any favors…I’m just saying.)

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But because I’m not on an episode of Botched I can’t have anyone rearrange my ASSets how I see fit. I’ve been working hard reclaiming my assets through sweat. Today, more than ever before, I have been focused unremittingly on my core. I have not only engaged in core circuit training, but also legs and booty circuit training, and now, marathon training!!!!!!!

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I’ve been feeling ah-mazing! I feel like I can come back and come back stronger and faster.

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But before feeling ah-mazing I was feeling really discouraged. Don’t misunderstand what I am saying – my having a baby girl has been the greatest gift ever, but being forced to “recover” and recover longer than normal because of a c-section really shook me. That on top of the imminent (and grave emotional) loss of our mother. My little family was paralyzed by pain and forced to accept the bitter dichotomy of life – birth and death. Anyway, that’s another matter… What I’m saying is I was active my entire pregnancy and then boom – no sweat sessions were prescribed for 6-8 weeks. I had to handle my emotions, both postpartum and grief, without running. That was brand new territory for me.

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Speaking of new, I was also a brand new mom who was losing a mother (my fiancé’s). The wave of emotions felt like oil and vinegar – how could one be so blissfully happy with grief and despair rising in the horizon. They didn’t mix well. The onset of emotion overtook me (us). We found ourselves faced with the highs and lows of the reality we were in. We felt guilty for being happy then guilty for being enveloped with grief.

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We traveled by plane 7 days postpartum to visit Andy’s mom before she passed. We had begged for time to spare us so that she could meet her newest granddaughter. I traveled back home, alone, only 10 days postpartum. I was a wreck. I bravely accepted the fate of our mother on my journey home while dodging insults of having such a new baby on a flight, let alone in an airport. I was shuffling between whether or not to spew my circumstance with strangers or smile and embrace the mommy shaming. I did the latter. The judgement only amplified my emotions.

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We lost mom shortly after I returned home. I had emotions storming through me. My mind was in a turbulent capricious state. All I wanted to do was run it out but my body ached in ways that I cannot describe. My cesarean cut pulsated. My heart was heavy. My heart was light. And it was full of love. In the deep of love. My reaction to life was that love surely does cut you. I was a vat of vehemence smiling through all the pain and smiling through all the joys. 

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But rewind…

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On top of all my emotions, my vanity also played and integral part in my hormonal hurdle to find harmony. To find peace. Sanity. Normalcy.

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Rewind again. When I finally got home from the hospital, I wanted so badly to hop on the scale to witness the miraculous weight loss from this “having a baby” diet.

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And.

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Dun. Dun. Dun.

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The weight I gained during pregnancy was still there. Every. Single. Pound. Yes. Every single pound was accounted for.

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I cried on the inside. 

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These are the things they don’t prepare you for postpartum, especially post-cesarean. The fervent of emotions. The inability to easily pick up your baby from their bassinet because your cut is new and wretchedly deep. The pain. The fear of being a new mother. The weight. Oh my goodness the water weight. But I stress – the emotions. Emotions because as new mom I can tell you expectations are too high. Emotions because I almost had vaginal birth but my baby couldn’t handle the contractions and her heart rate kept falling dangerously low. Emotions because I felt like every single person was overwhelmed with joy over my little miracle and all they wanted to do was meet her but they discarded me. No one (most) thought a cesarean was a big deal. Not many asked how I was. And because notifications of vagina jokes kept coming across my iPhone because… “Hey, it’s still intact!” What the fuck ever people!!!  Hello, I’m in pain!!! Everyone forgot I was the star of the show. But with the birth of my little angel I suddenly became the supporting actress. My glowing beauty transformed to that of a rag doll beat up and ran over by an 18-wheeler that reversed. I looked like 50 shades of SHIT with breasts as solid as boulders that doubled as my serving platter because I could eat dinner off them. Emotions because I was pining for the day I didn’t feel like a dairy cow. Emotions because despite it all, I wouldn’t trade my old self for my new self. Emotions because I thought I was crazy for loving this new role.

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Emotions because of my new body. 

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I remember I stripped off my clothes and looked in the mirror. I stood there for a long time. I poked my stomach. It was soft. I was amazed that the elasticity and muscle memory were not activating!!! Then I saw my thighs. My calves. My legs. I cried hard. Vulgar Tears. I felt disgusting in my skin. How could I have felt like a champion of pregnancy up until birth and return home looking like a foreigner in my skin? I truly didn’t recognize myself. There was no bump but those weren’t my thighs.

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Why hadn’t the doctors sent me home with a “What to expect after you have a baby – cesarean edition” pamphlet that outlines the litany of normal concerns for new mothers (and fathers) who courageously try to navigate through an emotional, sleep deprived battlefield of heightened senses? Mind you it should also detail realistic expectations of what you should anticipate from your body that asserts, “Relax! You don’t have a fever. And no, you did not wet the bed. You are experiencing  hot flashes and night sweats – that is your body’s natural way to flush out all the excess water from pregnancy and delivery.” I had NO pamphlet. I had to resort to Google for this wealth of information to learn that the pregnancy glow alters to a new form…a foreshadowing tale of what I have to look forward to – menopause. WTF.

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I was also patiently awaiting my new form sans baby bump. But I weighed the exact same after having had my 6 pound 5 oz baby girl from the day I was admitted. How was that even plausible even after being forced to fast, too? I drank nothing but water and coffee for days. I made liars of their cleansing characteristics because they surely didn’t act like any kind of diuretic. I was still feeling very pregnant. I was mortified. 

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The pamphlet idea would have been notably helpful at that mile marker. I didn’t know about all the water weight I would gain due to the IVs. I didn’t know my cut would burn, tingle, feel oddly numb but sense pressure for days, weeks, months. I didn’t know about breastfeeding and prolactin.

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I wore long dresses for days to hide my legs but they didn’t cover my newly augmented breasts by milk. People would speculate all my weight went there, and while it made me laugh, I was beyond uncomfortable. I was annoyed and embarrassed by my blossoming bosoms.

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I felt awkward. That’s it in a word. But I was also the happiest I had ever been. It was the strangest thing.

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But now that my little family and I are two months in, I’ve grown fond of my new body and its abilities. I had high expectations of rebounding and I didn’t meet the mark. But I know I will. That’s who I am. I do acknowledge that I’ve snapped back relatively quick but I wanted breastfeeding to be some miraculous cure-all of soft curves and a soft tummy. Newsflash: it isn’t. It’s an old wives tale.

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I am currently working hard at marathon training again and I believe I will get back to where I was before I was pregnant. Perhaps all these months off from intense training have alleviated my hip issues! (Praying!!!)

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Speaking of running, I have been doing speed work, fartleks, tempo runs, easy runs and I’m slowly gaining back my ability to cover distance. I completed my longest distance of 8 miles strong last week! While I’m so fortunate to be logging miles again to gain speed, endurance, and to soon cover distance to chase Boston, I’m finding that despite it all – my running, leg, booty, and killer core workouts – I’m still unable to activate that fat burning furnace I spoke of earlier to shed the last 3 postpartum pounds. .


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I know I sound obnoxious because it may not sound like much weight, but for me, as a runner, each pound adds time to my pace. My inner voice screamed and continues to scream, “WHAT gives!?!?” 

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I told you before, where I once had abs I am soft. Now I assure you I’m not bitching terribly much – I know I’m fortunate to have been able to shed most of the weight I gained without any effort, but these last few pounds have been troubling me, especially with my incessant desire to workout in an effort to reclaim my body! My gosh, I had rented it out for 39 weeks and even provided an eviction notice…can I have it back yet? Please?

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Through all my attempts guess what I discovered?!? Keep reading…This is only another example of the type of content the pamphlet should cover…

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Despite my efforts, mothers who breastfeed, regardless of the old wives tale that breastfeeding helps melt the fat, retain approximately 5-10 pounds of fat to ensure that in the event of famine, we can nourish our littles (so I guess I’m doing well!). The reason is due to the hormone prolactin – the evil but necessary culprit! Prolactin remains incredibly high in your body for up to 6 months postpartum making weight loss a challenge! It is a challenge because it reduces the body’s ability to metabolize fat. BAM! Repeat. BAM!!! It acts like a safeguard to protect a baby’s milk supply. Hey hospital, put that in a pamphlet to help new mothers ward off fatuous expectations! 

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So here I am, I’ve been sweating it out like the badass motherrunner that I am, and I can’t shake all the weight despite clean eating and exercise. I didn’t get it. I was so frustrated! But now knowing that when I decide to stop breastfeeding the weight should come off effortlessly makes me one happy runnergirl. Oh, that on top of the fact that I won’t be carrying melons around that fluctuate in weight every 2-3 hours. That’s right, I’ve been racing against my milk coming in! Maybe that’s making me faster (I can dream). But until I decide I can no longer continue nursing my little rosebud, I will cherish the moments of feeding her while also being proud that my milk is helping her get those adorable little rolls on her legs! That’s right, I’m the reason for my little chubbina (chubby signorina)!

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Thanks for stopping by and reading about my journey – from chasing Boston to chasing baby – motherhood and running – and my life between all those miles.

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XO

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Valgal

Running and Life

20 Jul

Hello lovelies!!!.

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.My days are numbered being at home with my little babe. The longest I’ve been away from her has been during my runs which is about 1-2.5 hours. So with Monday on the horizon, my heart is sinking. How am I supposed to go back to work? How can I juggle work, be a mother, a wife in training, and a runner? .


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During my mini sweat session today (I ran based on how I felt – hello sub 7:00!!! – ran a 7:50 warmup and speedy miles thereafter! I love the way a 6:00 min pace feels- it’s been too long! 🙌🏼) I was thinking about how running is a true euphemism for life – more so today than ever before. What I’m saying is that it takes enormous spiritual strength for me to embrace training for a marathon after 39 weeks of untraining my mind to go hard and push through the pain because of pregnancy. Now I’m trying to build back that grit. But honestly, it takes even more spiritual strength to leave my little on Monday for the first time ever for my workday.

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I’m freaking out that I’m going to miss her more than words. Her little coos, her smiles, the way she cuddles on my chest and grips my hand so tightly. How am I supposed to be away for 9-12 hours without her when she has been all I’ve ever known. “It’s impossible to miss anything before she came into the world.”

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I’m so thankful for running. It has allowed me to run out my emotions. It helps. But I’m still deep in resentment that I can’t have a few more weeks. At least I know what I’m in for. My work day will feel like a bloody marathon – trudging through the pain of her absence – but coming home will feel like crossing the finish line – the reward of embracing my rosebud will be worth it. .

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Shout out to all you badass mother runners, and mamas who must leave the house for work, (because let’s be honest, being a mother alone is WORK), “The world does not benefit from you hiding your bad-assery” so make sure you make it known!  You inspire me!!! XO #badass #motherrunner #runnergirl #sweat #sweatsession

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PS- thanks @nuunhydration for hydrating me!

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Thanks for stopping by!

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XO

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Valgal


A New Affair 

19 Jul

Hello lovelies,

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Notice anything different?!.

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Other than me not having a baby bump?!?

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The shoes!!! Meet Brooks Launch 3!!!

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That’s right friends, #badass #motherrunner was running on clouds today. Clouds of comfort! I literally had an extra spring to my step for push-off and it gave me amazing energy return! For real though!!! Plus, their ultra light and perfect for me (I’m a neutral runner). I’m in love. .

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Newton, we’ve covered a lot of distance over our 4 year courtship, but your discount code for me has since expired and your 5 lugs just don’t comfort me like the 4. You will be my first love, and I will continue to be a fan, and even wear you for feelings of wild-eyed marathon training nostalgia of the past (I have quite the collection)…But let it be known you’ve got some fierce competition these days! And I’m thinking it’s time for a new affair…#runnergirl

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Today marked my marathon training’s request of an easy 3 mile run – which was totally hard to do because I wanted to rocket through my run with these new badass kicks!!! But hey, I’m following protocol – and that’s a first!!!

Thanks for stopping by!

XO

Valgal

Celebrating Yoshie – Living Bravely and Boldly with Lung Cancer 

28 Jun

Hello lovelies…this post is about my life between the miles – it is about the celebration of my mother-in-law’s life that came to an early end because of her battle with cancer. 

We celebrated mom’s life this past weekend. We didn’t want this day to come, at least not until she led a long happy life. But we didn’t have a choice. We have been forced to go on without her. And while we all feel the suffering, the pain, and the grieving, we are fortunate mom is no longer experiencing the same. On June 25, 2016 family and friends gathered to remember the light that she was.

Mom was only 60. A fresh new 60. She would have told you she was 37 though. It’s amazing that in a flash backwards we were celebrating her 50th birthday in the same house. She was as magnanimous then as she was during her last days, and remarkably enough, the same age, 37. 

We celebrate mom’s life because that’s what she would have wanted. Nobody has a choice about time traveling on. We just have to. We have to go on without mom. I see the reservoir of pain that the loss has caused in the hearts of her husband and son. I know we are all feeling the suffering and pain of her loss. F*ck cancer. 

During the memorial I realized that the pieces of mom that we keep don’t have to be material. They are memories imprinted on our hearts. Family and friends cheerfully shared stories of her radiant smile and her infectious laughter during the celebration. We learned from others what we have always known, that mom was wonderfully generous and warm. She was always excited to see you and she made you feel like she was your biggest fan. Mom’s boss shared with us that she made sure she was the first to wish everyone “Happy Friday” at work. It was a game! We could picture her enthusiasm at the office and we all shared a heartfelt yet heavy chuckle.
 
In learning of this story I reflected on my Fridays. Every Friday in my inbox I had an email from mom. The subject line was simple, “Happy Friday!” And the content of the email was a “hello, happy Friday, happy weekend. Love you. Miss you. Ciao!” My heart smiled but wasn’t free of pain. I realized in that moment I won’t be receiving any more emails from mom. Our little exchanges stopped when God decided he needed her more than we did. And in those moments I selfishly acknowledged how I still needed her emails. Having mom peppered in my day with a Skype call, phone call or email made everything okay. She gave me peace and made me laugh despite the peripheral chaos. I need happy Friday. And now it’s gone. 

I was sprinkled in and out of mom’s life for 15 years. But in the time I spent with her and her family, I saw how mom had done the best she could raising her family and in being a friend. She, again, gave generously all that she had and more. There was no end to her generosity. Ever. Even during her final days. 

Mom fought cancer emphatically. She knew cancer was a ruthless bitch but she wasn’t afraid. Mom chose to be brave. She fought bravely for 26 months. Her oncologist’s best case was 24 months. Leave it to mom to fight longer! But she didn’t know. She refused to know the prognosis of lung cancer. In a sense, her incredulous disposition allowed her to be jubilantly blind to the unyielding outcome that awaited her. In my opinion, I think it was a blessing because it allowed her to live each day boldly!

Mom was brave her entire life (she took a chance on David – her husband). Brave and equally stubborn (I know where Andy gets it from, thanks mom). This combination of attributes helped her mental grit to stay strong and continue to fight. Not one day did mom reveal that she felt like a victim. She refused. She didn’t take the easy way out and let cancer get the best of her. She stayed happy. It was remarkable. How can one be so incredibly happy when faced with such an untenable and dire diagnosis? She was happier than what seemed appropriate. She really put things in perspective. We can learn so much from her.  

We miss her. I’m so fortunate to have found my way back in her life. Oriana knows her grandma. She used to kick to the sound of her voice and mom’s entire face would light up. Her smile would grow with such exuberance. Oriana will continue to know her grandma. Not in a physical sense. Not by her voice singing lullabies and seeing to it that her granddaughter, who is the splitting image of her son, falls asleep, but because we will continue to speak of mom and share her memory, like they share the same birthday. In a way they are one. 

It’s hard for us to wrap our minds around mom not being here. It’s hard for me to see my fiancé face this reality. The hurt is visible. But I believe Oriana has helped him through this pain. As a mother now, I understand love in another form. And with that, I’m bewildered that with mom being such a soft, benevolent soul, that someone of her own bloodline didn’t make an appearance at the memorial. In addition, she didn’t phone or send flowers. She wasn’t absent because she couldn’t handle the emotional affair, she was absent because over the course of several years, her heart has been completely dissolved of love and forgiveness. She is devoid of feelings. This woman is a mother, too. But clearly she is missing a sensitivity chip, a maternal link that unifies sisterhood and the celebration of women. In addition to her absence, she also neglected to send mom flowers or a card for (her last) Mother’s Day and her birthday. It wasn’t until mom’s husband reached out, again after countless efforts, to inform her that mom’s days were shortly numbered that she finally showed up. The family was happy she made an appearance. Mom was able to see her three grandchildren that were selfishly poached from her for years before passing. 

This person saw her brother but disregarded him as blood. One could speculate that she gives more respect to strangers than to her own family. In her typical tasteless mannerism, she also failed to congratulate Andy on the birth of his daughter and engagement to me (like some other tacky people). 

Anyway, I’ve given this woman too much attention but I bring it up because Andy, despite the history of her wretched behavior, included her in his speech as well as in an exquisite video montage that he created for the service. 

While we scoured through photographs, I couldn’t help but have sheets of tears fall down my face. Picture after picture painted an image of mom holding her first granddaughter. Laughing. Smiling. Dancing. Nurturing. Exactly how I remember mom. In those moments I was forced to accept that mom has three grandchildren that had spent minimal time with her but the time that was documented revealed a history of fun and joy. And here we are with Oriana who will never be charmed by grandma’s silly lullabies, soothed by her gentle touch, or bounced by the rhythm of her dancing. In a very short time going through pictures I had a laundry list of upsets because Oriana was robbed of mom by cancer, and her other grandchildren were robbed of mom by her very own daughter.m. Andy’s sister has no clue what she has done. I would do anything to have Oriana know and love mom in a physical state. I would do anything to have my daughter be embraced by the warmth that was mom – but she never will be. The thought is unbearable. 

What I’m writing isn’t absent of honest conversation. Every family has dysfunction. I’m not airing out dirty laundry – her behavior has been flagrantly evident and witnessed by family, friends and medical staff for years. But the tale of this dysfunction stopped at mom’s death. There were so many opportunities for this woman to make things better, amicable at best. Andy, being the class-act that he is, found that he exhausted his efforts over the years. Any effort made was returned with mute silence. Silence that begged to be undisturbed; screeching evidence that she had long abandoned the family. The disturbing thing is that mom knew she wouldn’t come to her funeral. The only time I saw mom cry was when she spoke of this. Cancer didn’t hurt mom’s spirits – her daughter did. 

The memorial was a success. Andy did not preclude his sister from the service. Family and friends asked where she was and he casually remarked that she couldn’t make it. Interesting. Family from Japan made it out to see mom in March when it was revealed that the cancer metastasized to the brain. That was a 13+ hour journey not including layovers. Family and friends also traveled from Arizona to Wisconsin to celebrate mom’s life. We even drove 13+ hours from DC to Wisconsin (with a newborn and a dog). But she couldn’t make a 3 hour drive. The trek must have been burdened with too much traffic, or perhaps guilt…

She is undeserving of this attention. I digress.

Mom, we will practice forgiveness as you have displayed by example. It was just that her actions were so glaringly dismissive and you deserve more. You deserved more. You deserved the world. 

Your absence hurts but we know you and Oriana share the same spirit. We see you in her smiles and hear you in her coos. Andy, Oriana and I are writing a new story. Oriana Yoshie is your bloodline and she has your charismatic spirit already! Your life is being carried on through our little girl, and that is our sweeping redemptive ending – or beginning. Your spirit goes on. 

The reality that you’re not here though sends an electrical current of hurt through our bodies. Moving forward without you is a monumental task. We celebrate you, every single day. I wish you could be here. We wish you were with us to watch the NBA finals. We wish we could have seen your happy dance when Cleveland won! We wish you could hold your granddaughter today and every tomorrow, but we are eternally grateful you both met each other. I know you’re looking down on us and you can see this, but I want to tell you, your son is an extraordinary father. A generous fiancé with a stubborn streak. Please help me learn to accept this! But honestly, with his stubborn attitude aside (an indication that you’re still very present) you would be so proud. We ask that you continue to guide us like you have through this unchartered experience. 

We will remember to see the beauty in the ugly. We will remember to fight through adversity. We will remember that there is always a reason to smile when things feel heavy and hopeless. We will carry on “Happy Friday!” notes. We will let go of resentment. We will practice forgiveness. We will do all of this in your honor. We will live courageously, bravely and boldly with you in our hearts and your cinematic laughter in our ears. In closing, and with Elton John’s words, we remember “How wonderful life is while you’re in the world.”

We love you. 

Wishing you all unconditional love, the courage to forgive and the strength to fight boldly any battle or heartbreak that you face.

God bless.

Thanks for stopping by.

XO

Valgal


FMLA is Dog Shit Wrapped in Cat Shit. 

1 May

I’ve been wanting to blog about government and maternity leave – or lack thereof. Oh, and how FML is synonymous to FMLA. I have to tread carefully.

Facts:

It takes 4.6 years working with the government to accumulate 12 weeks of sick leave (assuming you don’t take one min of sick leave off during your tenure). And then the government tells you you can only use 6 weeks for labor/birth of a child. Anything thereafter is considered bonding with your baby and this is NOT allowed. 

You can use annual leave too. Hoping you have enough to reach your goal of time off for “maternity leave” without wiping out your balances. But why do you need to have any leave saved? You won’t get sick, baby won’t get sick, you don’t need a vacation, you sure as heck don’t need to travel to see family to show off your precious babe – clearly – wiping out your stock of leave makes perfect sense for the incidentals that never occur…

*** BUT WAIT *** The Family and Medical Leave Act, FMLA, is an option. This is currently the only federal leave protection available to American workers who have babies. It does not require that an employer pay a new mother for a single day of leave.

Great option! Leave without pay. Sign me up!!! No. I’m being sarcastic. This is a distressing option.

And here’s some more bullshit – if I were a man I wouldn’t have to use sick leave for this major event (I’m not discounting paternity leave I’m talking strictly about women and labor). This would result with a benefit to my retirement. You see, when you retire with the government unused sick leave will be converted into retirement months. If you retire under CSRS, each month’s worth of unused sick leave will increase your annuity by 1/6 of 1 percent (.1666 percent). If you have a full year it will be increased by 2 percent. Basically, because you’re a man, you’re more likely to accumulate a lot more sick leave than women who chose to have children resulting in a greater payout.

Wow. 

Is this an unspoken disadvantage to women who bear children working within the system? Or is the argument that our advantage is giving the miracle of life? 

If you’re a man who is moaning and grunting over this exclaiming it is our choice to have children and that it’s our choice to be penalized like so, do me a favor, take your opinion and stick it up your ass where your missing stick is.

This Is gender inequality. 

Article by Rebecca Traister of New Republic

Why Women Can’t Break Free from the Parent Trap

“…The confluence of all these factors means that women are now having babies smack in the middle of their peak earning periods and that their earnings are crucial to the economic stability of their families. And there is no denying that motherhood makes an economic and practical dent in the shape and solidity of their careers. University of Massachusetts sociologist Michelle Budig has found that, on average, an American woman’s earnings decrease by 4 percent for every child that she bears, a figure that sounds even more brutal when compared to the fact that after men have kids, their earnings increase, on average, by 6 percent. Researchers have also found that fathers are more likely to be hired and to be regarded as more competent employees than mothers.

These gendered discrepancies in post-childbirth careers can be understood via a host of historical assumptions about mothers and fathers; hoary ideas about providers versus nurturers, masculine responsibility versus feminine pliability. And, of course, there is the stratospheric cost of unsubsidized American childcare, a factor that leads many more women than men to drop out of the workforce or cut back on their professional commitments. These realities are abhorrent, but they are, at least, studied. What goes less noticed is the way pregnancy and immediate postpartum life itself plays a serious role in slowing professional momentum for women for whom the simple—and celebrated—act of having a baby turns out to be a stunningly precarious economic and professional choice…”

Do you see the inequity? 

Anyway…I’m beyond miffed. Disgusted. Angry. Our country has such a myopic vision with maternity leave. Our country fails mothers. 

The Family and Medical Leave Act fails families. 

I can’t take more than 6 weeks of sick leave regardless if I have more. I seriously flirted with the notion of electing to have a c-section just to get 8-12 weeks of sick leave. But do I want to do that to my body if it’s not necessary? The mere fact that I was sincerely contemplating a c-section as an option just to have more time with my baby affirms that something is wrong. 

I’ll be taking the limited sick leave and annual leave I’m dictated to take – that I’ve saved up. 

Suddenly I’m guilt-ridden because I’ve traveled and lived life using annual leave to explore foreign countries and beaches. Fuck. Maybe I should have hoarded my time off instead and sat on my couch watching exotic lands and lived vicariously through these jet-setting assholes on television who give no fucks – who live and give the finger to the system.

I have used sick leave sparingly over the years. Perhaps I shouldn’t have because the government imposes iniquitous impasses for moms-to-be with what their definition of “sick” and “serious medical condition” are. 

Why don’t you carry a child for 40 weeks, endure labor, care for baby and yourself while you’re still bleeding nonstop, producing milk, leaking, and show up for work you intolerant antiquated schmuck. 

But don’t worry; during my absence I’m sure I’ll be checking my email from home and will be able to help you with anything…because I must be on vacation…?

I sound angry. I hate being angry. But I am. I’m also blessed to have a career I love. I love those I work with. I’m not angry with them. They aren’t the ones adding the red tape. 

Maneuverability through the archaic system is sufferable. I found myself calling my fiancé with tears streaming down my face and speechless when I received the news that I can’t take more leave. I couldn’t articulate one word. When sounds fell from my lips it echoed hysteria and gasps for air. I informed him that our 12 weeks was lessened to 8. The idea that our baby girl’s neck muscles will still be fairly weak breaks my heart. She is still so helpless at 8 weeks. All babies are. She will still need support and all of my love. I have an overwhelming sense of panic. 8 weeks is not enough. 

I have to hand her off because I work for an agency that doesn’t get it. *** Reminder *** sick leave may be used for a “serious medical condition” such as “pregnancy or prenatal care,” though crucially not recovery from childbirth. Ugh!!!

This is how the government puts FML in FMLA. FMLA is dog shit wrapped in cat shit. 

That’s all.

XO

Thanks for stopping by,

Valgal

Thoughts From 22 Weeks of Pregnancy

14 Jan

Good morning, lovelies!!!

Happy hump day – am I right!? We are half way through the week! And that means I am half way between 22 weeks entering 23 weeks! Wow. 

Time is flying by.

I was looking at pictures of my bump from 8 weeks, 10 weeks, 12 weeks, even 14 and 16 weeks pregnant. To think I had a bump then makes me feel a bit silly. You see, baby girl is finally showing. My bump is not terribly large but her appearance is 100% visible. I would have never thought that seeing my belly expand would cause such a happiness effect transcending in all areas of my life. 

At 22ish weeks, baby girl weighs approximately a pound and measures close to 12 inches. Mama bear has gained 9 pounds to date hoping that it’s all belly and blood volume – though I’m positive I may be expanding everywhere. The anxiety of being miss fitness and miss healthy who dabbles with the aphrodisiac – chocolate, almost daily (did I just admit that?), has moments of low self-esteem because of the changing body I witness in the mirror. But in those moments, which I’m embarrassed to admit, I try to recall the very reason why my belly is poking out in the shape of a small balloon resembling a kiddie basketball. This helps put my mind at ease. I’m not sorry for admitting that it is not easy to embrace new curves. I don’t think this is vanity. It’s reality. It’s our conflict with the permission for the first time in the world consumed with women’s shape and size where we are offered slight amnesty for our hips widening, ass growing, etc. after being brainwashed for 30 years about beauty. It is the most perverse state of ambivalence. Knowing that you’re creating a soul within yours yet being grossly consumed by what is and is not acceptable scripted by the demigods of pregnancy brought to you by American culture. The body shaming is real. Pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, post-pregnancy – it is at all stages where we all look different from each other as well as from our very own selves. And my current different suggests that I’m on a right of passage to motherhood. And it is that alone where I offer up my very own deference – to myself.

I’m able to give myself permission because it wasn’t until I was pregnant that I realized why I am here. To be a mother. To offer my heart unconditionally to a soul that is made of me and my sweetheart. That is euphoric! Speaking of euphoric, the feeling of acceptance is disguised as euphoria from the magic of feeling our baby girl kicking me. It silences all the oddities and anxieties of pregnancy.

That’s right… baby girl is kicking which means this sweet soul is getting stronger! Each night come 9p our little Oriana pokes and jabs me in a series of 3 or 4 quick kicks. She’s getting ready for the track meets! I don’t have the words in my head to describe the feeling of peace she gives me. The entire world stops. The moments are isolated to just me and her. Fleeting moments of just us two. She fills all the holes inside my heart. I never knew how much I needed her. And I equally never knew how much I needed him. My commitment to my partner is renewed each day and with each kick of our baby girl. That high school crush is revived and real. I look at him and I’m giddy. I’m carrying his child 14 years later! I’d never hit rewind other than to relish in those teenage days with my first love when I used to commit the fashion faux-pas of matching my eyeshadow to my blouse. Ha. I may have learned makeup and contouring now, but this love, this love grows. And our love is growing inside to the rhythm of my heart leaving me with so much more love in my eyes.

Nothing, I mean nothing else matters. All the chaos. All the problems of the world. All the problems of my own world. All the annoyances and disturbances. All these things are muted by the miracle that is kicking me – reminding me that I am indeed wonderfully made. Reminding me that my body is capable of so much more than looking sexy in a little black dress. I can’t wait to put on that little black dress by the way. Our baby is teaching me to have patience, kindness, calmness, purity of heart and humor towards my body. For that I am grateful.

I am also grateful that my body allows me to run 22 1/2 weeks pregnant. Cheers to you all for embracing new curves, pregnant or not, and maintaining and active an healthy lifestyle with an active and heathy mind.

Patience is essential while attaining our goals. And my patience has transformed to a 40 week marathon of growing a precious soul.

Thanks for stopping by!

XO

Valgal

Old Wives’ Tales Gender Prediction 

24 Dec

Good morning, lovelies –

Merry Christmas Eve!!! Today my little framily is driving to Wisconsin to visit our parents. Little Mika-chan, our adorable, lovable Boston terrier who can’t get enough play time or cuddles, Andy aka Baby Daddy, our little 5 month macaroon in mama’s belly and I are all cozy in our car for the 13 hour trek. Now granted, what should be a 13 hour drive is likely to be 15+ hours because this pregnant mama has a bladder like her puppy – I just can’t hold it!
As we are driving, conversing over our upcoming move to our fabulous new digs, discussing the preparation of baby girl (oh emmmmmm geeeee we are having a girl!!!), and listening to talk radio address a myriad of topics such as: the most painful place to get a bee sting (I got it right – although I’ve never been stung), politics, gun control, sports, sports, sports, I decided to blog. Why not? It’s not like there’s enough entertainment in this small shared space. I blame my short attention span on preggie brain.
 
And preggie brain wants me to cover the topic of Old Wives’ Tales Gender Prediction.
I bring this up because since discovering I was pregnant I continually surfed the net for telltale signs of what baby macaroon is. 

An overwhelming majority of data suggested baby macaroon was a boy. Not to mention 85% of friends, family, and co-workers speculated that baby was a boy too. I didn’t know how or why. I didn’t start to “show” until earlier this week and I’m not carrying high or low. Friends say my “showing” looks like I ate a hefty burrito from Chipotle. And baby, that burrito is just chilling like a brick in my stomach as if I literally ate Chipotle. 
Anyway, let’s delve into 10 Gender-Predicting Old Wives’ Tales! 
1.) How Low Can You Go?
If I’m carrying high? Girl.
If I’m carrying low? Boy.
Me: I’m wasn’t showing when I first looked into this. I’m still not showing enough! This is Bologna. Baby prediction: Inconclusive.
2.) Body Clues
Legends say that if I’m having a little girl, she’ll steal my beauty. So, if I’ve got acne and other not-so-pretty skin blemishes, I’ve got a little princess coming my way.
Dry hands and cold feet are signs of a boy. So, if I’ve got these ailments, I should break out the baby blue.
Me: Hmm. First and foremost, I never really had acne. I get sporadic whiteheads I attribute to my insatiable appetite for the sweat game – running! I believe in sweating at least an hour a day! This pregnancy has me sweating a little less often but needless to say, I sweat! So my so-called acne has been no less no more the same.
Also, I just began using a new a.m. and p.m. facial routine with Philosophy products. Holy moly I love, love, love this new beauty routine. My “glow” isn’t from pregnancy. It’s from these products that stimulate skin rejuvenation. I’ve never felt more beautiful sans makeup! I believe these products have helped to reject acne during my pregnancy, too. I was and continue to feel beautiful.
My feet have been colder than ever and my hands remain the same, soft with bouts of dry. This is because I wash dishes by hand, without gloves, all the time. But if I were to take Body Clues literally…
Baby prediction: Boy.
3.) The Ring
I’m supposed to grab that wedding ring of mine and see how it swings! 
If it swings in a circle, we would be promised a girl; back and forth little macaroon would be a boy.
Oh shoot, what wedding ring? You see, Andy and I are not your traditional type. If you’ve read my blog from the beginning, you know I was always a bit obstinate to follow the traditional yellow brick road path to “happiness.” I rejected the idea. Then I felt guilty and hopped on the LSD fantasy hoping to find euphoria in Emerald City with the ring, the marriage, and the white picket fence. But my mood-altered state found me unfaithful to myself. 
I made some hard decisions. I ditched Emerald City and consequently I was labeled the Tin Man, “If I only had a heart.”
The irony is, I followed my heart. My heart led me to my sweetheart. And now I have two hearts that beat for him within me. There may be no wedding ring but our love is in its purest state. He is all I needed for spiritual redemption. 
So my sweetheart and I grabbed my grandmother’s beautiful gold ring arguably equivocal to the unconditional love that a wedding ring should represent. We tied it to a piece of string, and hung it over my non-existent belly.
Me: The ring swung back and forth. Baby Prediction: Boy.
4.) One of my favorite songs is by Sting, “Be Still My Beating Heart.” 
If baby’s little heart rate is under 140 beats per minute (bpm) it means mommy and daddy are having a little boy. If it’s over, daddy’s going to have a daddy’s girl!
Me: Ultrasound 1 – Heart rate 165bpm.

Ultrasound 2 – Heart rate 160bpm.

Fetal Doppler – Heart rate 155bpm.

Ultrasound 3 – Heart rate 147bpm.
Baby Prediction: Girl.

5.) “Craving-In”
The Old Wives’ Tale preaches that if I crave sweets it means I’m going to have a little girl. If I crave salty and sour we are welcoming a baby boy.
Now this one is interesting. Again, if you’ve been reading my blog as a friendly stopper byer (did I just make up a word?), or if you know me as a close friend, co-worker, family member, or if I’m someone that you used to know, then you clearly recognize that my palate for sweet and sour remains the exact same as it did when I was 8 years old jumping up and down, doing flips on the trampoline and into the pool, fueled on nothing but Fun-Dip and sour ropes! Yup. That’s still me when I “crave-in” to my sweet tooth. Pregnant or not. 
I have had no real cravings that I can acknowledge other than: I prefer fizzy drinks like sparkling grapefruit water. I like things extra-spicy. Call me dragon-breath. I equally love a small handful of frozen gummy bears (grapefruit gummy bears are my favorite) or sour gummy bears. I enjoy pickle juice. But pickle juice isn’t new. Being pregnant is an excuse to drink it without judgment. Plus it’s great for distant runners because research proves it helps to alleviate cramps. And like always, I could seriously live off of fruit. My favorites have now become staples in my diet and must-haves every. single. day. They are: grapes – any variety without seeds; kiwi – oh my gosh kiwi!!! Mmmm; apples drizzled with honey and a dash of salt; and oranges.

Me: Baby Prediction: Inconclusive. Mama bear likes it all! But what does spicy mean?  

6.) Chinese Prediction Chart
Chinese birth charts use my age at conception and the month I conceived to determine the sex of baby macaroon. 
This one is funny because it is claimed to be 90% accurate. Considering my age of conception, I used both 29 and 30 because we just don’t know! It was my 30th birthday celebration for close to one week. Champagne. Wine. Dinner. Dessert. Wink. Wink.
Me: Regardless of age of conception being 29 or 30. Baby prediction: Boy.
7.) Morning Sickness
The tale says that if I was stricken with a queasy stomach during my first trimester to think ribbons and bows. If I sailed through my pregnancy I should be dreaming blue.
Me: Sick. Sicker. Sickest. All. Day. Plus vomiting. Queasy. Tired. Vomiting again. Baby prediction: Girl.
8.) The Linea Nigra
This is that ‘dark line’ that has appears on the baby bump. It is apparently the key to working out whether I’m carrying a boy or a girl. Rumor has it that if the line continues above my belly button, I’m having a baby boy. If it finishes below my belly button, I have a baby girl bun in my oven. 
Me: My lovely baby bump has a faint dark line that extends above my belly button. Baby prediction: Boy.
9.) The Dreaded Weight Gain
According to the Old Wives’ Tale, if I’m carrying all of my extra weight out front, baby is a boy. If my pregnancy pounds are piling on all around me, I’m expecting a daughter. Also, if my breasts are growing, I should expect a girl. If my breasts remain the same, I’m welcoming a boy.
Me: My mother recently asked me to look at my ass naked. I abided and started laughing! She said, “Val, does it look the same?” I responded, “Yup. Same ol’ small ass. You can’t mistake me for a Brazilian from behind, shucks!” Mom laughs, “Well then sweetheart, you must be having a boy!”
A little about my weight gain. I’m currently 19 weeks and 4 days. I swear it wasn’t until a few days ago when my bump became a permanent accessory. I didn’t gain an ounce during the first trimester. To date, I’m up 7 lbs. (please remember not to compare. I’m very active and baby is very healthy!) No joke, most of my weight is in my tatats. These melons are HEAVY!!! I could knock someone out. And my back is killing me! Owwwweee! I would’ve never imagined my breasts would get this large and they are still growing!!! Shit! But as far as where my weight has distributed elsewhere from my bosoms… I’m slowing losing my waist, and the bump is growing outward rather than wide, for now. 

Baby prediction: Boy.
10.) Baby Names
The tales claim that if I (we) can only think of specific names for a boy or a girl, we will have that particularly baby. 

Me: Andy and I immediately came up and solidly agreed on a girls name. It was so natural. Contrastly, we went back and forth on the topic of boys names. So many of them are so banal (insert yawn). But after revisiting our list a few dozen times we selected a boy name that resonated with us. Baby prediction: Girl.

 

Let’s talk about the Old Wives’ Tales Gender Prediction results. Baby is all over the gender map! 

Baby Prediction: Boy – 5
Baby Prediction: Girl – 3
Baby Prediction: Inconclusive – 2
While I was convinced Andy and I were having a baby boy because of all the noise people echoed in my ear and the gender prediction results, we were and continue to be overwhelmed with incandescent happiness that we are welcoming a baby girl in May 2016!!! She is already just like mommy and daddy challenging the standards (gender predictions)!
I have made several decisions that do not follow “the system of tradition.” To keep the streak going, we introduce you to smiling Oriana Teresa Shreeve. Yup, we are sharing her name! She already has our hearts. She is, quite literally, our Golden Sunrise!
  
What was your experience with Old Wives’ Tales Gender Predictions? Were they accurate? Please share! I can’t wait to hear from you!

Thanks for stopping by! 
Now it’s back to the car ride! I think it’s about time for my shift!
XO
Valgal, and baby girl Oriana aka Ori-chan! 
*Chan expresses “cute” for little girls in Japanese! 

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