Mama.

If you know me at all, you know that I’m shy for a lot of things, but I’m not shy about sharing my life experiences. My life has been transformed inside and out by pregnancy, labor, and motherhood. In all honesty, pregnancy and labor were traumatizing for me. We tried on and off for nearly a decade to have children, and suffered miscarriage after miscarriage … death after death … disappointment and heartache after disappointment and heartache. When we became pregnant with my son, we celebrated as we celebrated every pregnancy. But I lived in fear for 9 months. Each and every day I had with my son in the womb was incredible. Every day I woke up grateful that he was holding on, and knowing that my womb must not be the toxic wasteland that I thought it was. I was at high-risk, so I had to be poked and prodded nearly every week. And I experienced a lot of pain all throughout. It was terrifying … but it was beautiful at the same time.

To say that my labor was difficult does not really do the experience justice, but I’m not sure how to describe it in a way that someone who hasn’t been through labor would understand. I had to be induced, and it didn’t work. My water eventually had to be broken and the pain that followed was extreme and shocking. I asked for an epidural, and it didn’t work … it helped, but my pain was still extreme. If you’ve ever been through labor, you know that it feels like being placed in a meat grinder. Thirty six hours later and my son was born. The experience, going through that much pain, being so close to an emergency c-section, and having to have the assistance of a doctor and a suction procedure to get my son out of my body … it was life transforming. I am not the same person I was before. I now understand that the saying “Get some balls!” makes no sense. My husband has told me on many occasions that balls are sensitive and delicate. I’ve actually started telling my friends: “Find your inner vagina.” Vaginas can take a beating. Women can take a beating and come out the other end of the journey being stronger human beings for it.

Then came the first 18 months of my child’s life … there was SO much crying. Everyone in my house was crying, every day. Taking care of a small child is incredibly difficult and exhausting. I felt very frustrated by my loss of independence. My son clung to me every day, for hours at a time. When I say that I held him for 18 months, I LITERALLY MEAN THAT I HELD HIM FOR 18 MONTHS. I could not set him down in his bassinet or crib or hand him off to someone else so that I could take a break. He would just cry and cry until he threw up, and I couldn’t stand to do that to him. I kept trying to adjust him to other people, and it never worked. So at some point or another, I gave up. And I wish I hadn’t pushed it or tried at all. I spent eighteen months listening to my son and letting him tell me what he needed and it always worked out. I was exhausted because of it, but HE got what HE needed, and that is the most important thing to me. Eighteen months later, he suddenly decided he was not quite so attached to me and he is now a VERY independent little child.

I’m pretty sure now that I went through some form of postpartum depression. I should have gotten help, I didn’t, I was too exhausted to even think about seeing a therapist. But I should have. And if this sounds like you, don’t hesitate to go talk to someone like I hesitated, because that was a big mistake. I’ve been to therapy in the past, and it SAVED MY LIFE.

All of the crying, and the heartache, and the exhaustion, and the frustration … I’ve almost forgotten it all now. I can’t explain it. I wish I’d started writing about this sooner, while I was in the middle of the worst of it. I know I would have felt better knowing there was someone else out there who understood my struggle with motherhood. And writing about it would give someone else the opportunity to feel that. Things are still hard. There is still a lot of crying. There are still days when I am counting down the minutes and the seconds until my husband gets home so that I can go lock myself in the closet and cry for a while. But I can now honestly say that it gets better … every day, my kid gains more and more independence, which means that I can lean back and take a break every once in a while. And I can now say that I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing the word “Mama” for the first time. My son called me “Mama” and gave me a big hug, and then said, “Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama” … seriously, that one little word, that one little special moment has made it all worth while. :D!

Meme Is Actually Pronounced Meem.

Our world is so different today, compared to the way it was even when I was a child in the eighties. I missed out on a lot of the popular culture of that time, I blame that on my psychotic parents. I at least get to enjoy the popular culture of the present. A lot of us have regular access to the internet … even if it’s just at the public library. It’s there. And if you have your own device, you can access free wi-fi at so many restaurants and businesses now. It’s everywhere.

Social media has confounded me for a while now. I have really resisted getting into Facebook, jumping back and forth from a serious addiction to breaking ties altogether and staying off of it for months … having deleted my account several times and everything. I refuse to become a regular user of Twitter and Tumblr and whatever other platforms … it’s just TOO MUCH. For now, I’ll stick to Facebook, because it allows me to keep in touch with distant friends and it’s a safe place for me to let out my crazy and my silly, usually in the form of insomniac posts … or by sharing memes.

I spent a very long time trying to figure out how to say the word “Meme”. For some reason, naturally, I decided that it should be pronounced “mem”, sort of like, “ehem”. I mostly brought up the word in casual conversation, to see if anyone corrected me, or giggled at my lack of knowledge. Most of the time, people would say, “Do you mean meem?” And I would chuckle, thinking to myself, “Oh, they don’t know how to say mem.” This is pretty funny, when I look back on it.

Later, I thought to myself, where did memes even get started? I found a great article in Smithsonian magazine about it. They attribute the word to Richard Dawkins, who invented it to refer to a replicator of human culture. I won’t delve too deeply into the definition, mostly because I don’t fully understand it, but also because it’s not the point of this post. To learn more though, check out the article, it’s really pretty interesting.

A quick Google search later led me to find a video where Richard Dawkins actually SAYS the word meme … which confirmed the correct pronunciation of the word. And since the man invented the word, I will trust that he knows how to say it correctly.

I was able to find a more clear and concise definition of the word meme on Google, “[A meme is] an element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, especially imitation.” It all sounds so proper and intellectual. But in reality, it’s this:

Everyone-Calm-The-Fuck-Down

I’m not sure where that one came from, it was sent me by a friend of mine … and somewhere along the lines it appears that an amateur Photoshop user removed whatever credit was there in the bottom, right corner. My friend sent this to me at a moment when I really, truly needed to just calm the fuck down! And it made me laugh … at loud, of course … and single-handedly made me forget about why I was upset. I still can’t remember what the conversation was that led to my receipt of this hilarious meme.

Anyway, times are changing … meems, I mean, memes are now a part of our culture, like it or not. At least they are usually pretty funny!

Share Good Vibes.

I have a friend who is always sending me good vibes. If I tell her I’m having a bad day, she sends me good vibes. If I have a job interview to go to, she sends me good vibes. More often than not, it is in the form of a listening ear or a conversation about all the little details in my life. Sometimes, it’s just a simple statement, literally saying, “I’m sending good vibes your way!” Whatever the case may be, it always makes me feel better!

So, what does sending good vibes really mean? Here’s my take. When I send someone good vibes, I’m not actually sending some kind of voodoo their way. There’s no scientific way to prove some kind of invisible, positive force is being sent from one person to another, and I don’t believe that really exists. It literally just means, “Hey, I care about you.”, or “I am hoping for the best for you.”, or “I am taking a moment of my day to think about you in a positive way.”

Sending good vibes can also mean taking some kind of action to impact someone’s life in a positive way. Yesterday, I told my Facebook friends that I was having a very overwhelming day, at that moment I felt completely defeated by motherhood. Within minutes, I got text messages from my Facebook friends saying, “What are you up to?”, “How are you?”, and “Hey, how’s it going?” People heard me say that I’m having a bad day, and they responded by taking a moment out of their day to check up on me. I have a very small little circle of friends and acquaintances, and I am SO eternally grateful for each of them, because they have all made such a difference in my life. I realize how lucky I am to have ANYONE. I’ve had moments, and at times entire years in my life where that was not the case, which is why I think it’s so important to think about how we can impact other people’s lives.

I don’t see EMPATHY often enough. We’re humans … if you’re reading this, you’re human, right?! Yet, it seems like so many of us focus on the things that can so easily divide us. Why? Why not focus on the things that we have in common? We all struggle, we all experience joy, and we all have things that we are passionate about. We’re all flawed and complicated, and yet so perfectly beautiful. We are humans, which is why we should empathize with each other. I know how much it means to me when someone empathizes with me, which is why I try to pay those good vibes forward. Have a conversation with a stranger today. Yes, a real life conversation with a stranger! It only takes a few sentences to find that you have something in common with them. Take a moment of your day to talk to someone, smile with someone, laugh with someone … or empathize with someone about life. Connect with another human being. Share good vibes!