As much as I can preach about being body positive, it still hurts how different my body is right now.
Yes, I carried a baby for 9 months but it still hurts to try on pants after pants and wondering whether I’ll be head strong to try on the next without feeling disappointed.
This is my third week back at work, 3 weeks early than anticipated, and im in that place where im not as big as when I was pregnant but I’m bigger than my old self; nothing fits.
So if you’ve comento this blog post to get uplifted, I’m sorry to disappoint but I just can’t today.
I’m literally standing in the fitting room holding back every tear I can and waiting to walk out without looking like I just balled my eyes out.
Yes, I can workout but it’s still not the same. I have a huge scar and sore from my c-section. I also work alot. By the time I come back home from work, I just want to cuddle with my baby before he goes to sleeps.
I only have 1 hour window time to spend time with him on the weekdays. So while I’m over here at the stores trying to find something, I’m yearning to be by his side and feeling guilty.
I never thought that I would fall more and more in love with my baby as days passed by.
My journey as a future mom to now, has been the easiest. I say that because after knowing so many with miscarriages, my cousin’s recent 8 month still born, and those that are trying to get pregnant, I’ve had it easy. Nonetheless, the birthing and nursing experience, and recovery time was difficult. And dont get me started on the breastfeeding and pumping.
To start, my baby was past due by a week and secondly, my vaginal birth became a cesarean, emergency cesarean at that. I don’t even know how to describe everything I went through because it’s something you want to quickly forget about and replace it by the birth of your beautiful baby. Now I know why people say, the pain is worth it: because it is and because it has to be.
Once induced, I was in labor for over 30 hours. I was induced by the use of prostaglandins, then using a Foley catheter or cervical ripening balloon, with pitocin and finally, rupturing my water. I mean they tried everything. All of it due to not dialating fast enough.
Let me tell you that in my experience that pain from the Foley was worse than my contractions. Once it was inserted, I started hyperventilating and all I could think was, “when is it going to end, make it fucking stop”, all while having contractions and dialating from 3cm to 8 cm in a matter of minutes.
I tried to embrace it but shit, it hurt like a mother. After going through so much pain and not getting close to full dialation, my doctors and nurses started to worry. Every single time I was injected with pitocin, my baby’s heart rate would go down, as a result we had to stop with the induction. It was then when they realized the baby was suffocating and breathing in his merconium, and an emergency C-section became the next move. Yes I know, dialated to 8cm and I still got a C-section, aint that some shit?
Regardless of all of this, I didn’t feel like I failed myself or my baby. Things just happen and thats life. All I thought as I was taken over to the room while shaking uncontroally from the drugs(and fear), was to let my baby and I live to enjoy our lives with daddy. In the end that’s all that mattered.
I sought solace in just knowing that life never could go as planned. I had to be open to anything and the opposite of what I expected happened. As I exited surgery with my husband and a new scar, it was pain and love from then on.
Recuperation is all a blur. All I remember is being high drugs, scratching intensely from the drugs, being in and out of sleep while my husband held our baby. It was bittersweet bliss.
So here is my takeaway: be open to anything, to life changing and going in the opposite direction you expected. Laugh at the pain, talk about the pain and be open to the love that is about to takeover your life.
Momma, this is the best love you will ever find and I hope you get to experience it. There is nothing like it. I promise.
This past week is one that called for deep reflection of the type of mom and professional I would potentially become. I am fortunate enough to be able to work from home on my days before my due date. You have seen me go through many things, ranging from mild depression and angst due to the sudden pregnancy to navigating the field whilst pregnant. So many things have happened in the last couple of months, some would say out of pure luck and others would say due to hardwork.
The last couple of months I have been shadowing our international counselor in order to learn a new skillset of recruiting and assisting students from different regions of the world. It was an attempt to be able to not plateau in my career. I hate being bored and I always need to be challenged. Since then, the international counselor has left the university and I decided to take on some of his duties while also completing my own. After doing it for about three months, I was given the opporutnity to interview for the position. I then became one of two of the finalist for the position.
I got the news two weeks after that the offer was made to the other candidate. I went into the interview knowing that I might not be the best option for the university, however I gave it my all because I had done the work the last couple of months. I went in there knowing my worth and what I was capable doing and sold it. I knew that in the end, the interviewers had the job of determining whether either candidate was compatible for the position. I was okay with rejection.
As a result, the last three weeks I took a step back and reassessed my decision to interview because if the candidate for some reason declined, I would be the runner up. For the last week I have focused on my main job from home. Fast forward to yesterday, I got a call that the candidate declined and I was made an offer. My director then asked, “so are you interested?” and despite me being excited in the inside, I still had to negotiate. You dont always have to show your hand. All I said was, “im 50/50 and it depends on your offer letter. So I will wait”. We left it at that.
Point is: go for something even though you dont meet the entire checklist of preferences or requirements. Take the risk because theres nothing to lose, only the possiblity to gain. I decided to step out of my comfort zone just with the intent of learning something new. I didnt meet the entire checklist, however all I did was prepare! And although I cannot guarantee that you will have the same outcome, I can guarantee that if you do it with the intent of learning something new, you will walk away with a different skillset, and that makes you more marketable.
Now the challenge is the baby and travel but, hubby and I will cross that bridge when it comes. That is a whole other blog entry and I promise ill come back to it.
“It’s a myth”, that’s what I’ve heard and read in research articles of how mothers’ brains who are expecting are unaltered.
Although I still think that at times I am going crazy and that I am not able to be as productive as I use to be, I do think that your mind is affected by the changes your body goes through. Just alone in month 6, theses are symptoms you will be going through:
Those baby flutters or as I like to call them, worm feelings, will start
Oh the gas
Uterus is the size of a basketball
Increased vaginal discharge- yea i change underwear at least twice a day
Pain and stretching in the underbelly
Most recent, bloody booty-hemorrhoids
Okay, you get the point. Well its no wonder that we can’t focus or multitask as much as we would like to. Something you have to realize is that you actually are multitasking while doing everything else, like work or thinking about what you and your partner have to do before the babe gets here.
Giver yourself a break. I’m trying too. I have become excruciatingly frustrated with myself because I was the type of employee that was able to do it all. Now i’m missing meetings because of appointments, getting undermined by people from other departments and co-workers and my boss are giving me a break with work (I hate it). To top it all off, our VP spoke to my direct supervisor and insinuated that my supervisor should not expect much out of me, as a result my student enrollment goals should be adjusted. Talk about sexism and discrimination. Although I truly am blessed to have coworkers and a boss who is wholeheartedly understanding, it sucks. I want to do it all but I physically, mentally and emotionally can’t. However, there are things that you can do to make it no one else’s business of what you can and cannot do. You also don’t want people’s pity.
Stop talking about baby brain and mommy brain. Even though you are convinced that you are going crazy or feel like you are a bit more clumsy than before, stop mentioning it and stop complaining. I know, you are going through so much but at the same time, you are what you want people to see and if you want them to see you as a person who is tired all the time and needs help doing the work, then who is losing out here? Believe that you are this human who was given the opportunity to pop a sucker out. You are strong and you CAN do it. You won’t be able to do it all at once but be patient with yourself. Also seek out a group outside of work and/or talk to HR about what your rights at work are. If you can’t find anyone, I’m here to help! I can be your support!
Plan! Not only plan for what changes will happen with baby coming into the world but plan for the things you can control such work events or responsibilities and be intentional. If it takes you longer to complete a task, start early and give yourself time to successfully complete it. I use to be able to do projects within hours of receiving marching orders but that’s not the case anymore. You are now responsible for yourself and another being. Time is no longer your own. You will have to adjust to the changes and pee a lot more or pump!
All in all, as a person of color as my dad would say, “don’t give them a reason to fire you”. And although it would be illegal to not provide certain accommodations, don’t be surprised by anything or anyone that might try to undermine your ability to successfully complete your job. I have always been a firm believer of being ten steps ahead of anyone and ALWAYS have paper trail, be transparent and work with integrity.
On the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission you will find information about the type of rights you have as a pregnant person. Per law, while the PDA does not require employers to provide time off for pregnancy disability, it does require employers to treat pregnancy disability the same as other disabilities for purposes of sick leave or temporary disability benefits. Be your own hero and know your rights!
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One of the best and unfortunate things about being in an interracial relationship is preparing yourself for the talk with your new baby. Things that might come up are:
Why are we brown?
Why is there so much violence?
Why do people hate people?
That’s right i’m not talking about the sex talk, that’s the least of our worries as people of color.
As I am counting down the days of when the baby comes into the world, I keep thinking of the anxiety inducing conversations that I will have with either my daughter or son. One of the most saddest things I can think of is having a conversation with my kid on topics about their rights. I don’t think a lot people know that it is also common in our brown communities. I grew up being told what to do in the case of”……(fill in with racist or discriminatory issue)” or “mija nunca platiques sobre nuestra situacion (dont talk about our situation). Fear was in-bedded in our community. Fear of being asked where we are from, or whether we are even allowed to exist or fear of deportation, was normalized. Knowing my rights at an early age was a rite of passage. Standing up for my family and translating was a skill I obtained at such an early age. Growing up, I made it my duty to always be there for my family in case anyone tried taking advantage. It is what I was meant to do. I was meant to be a person who constantly had eyes everywhere, due to never trusting anyone or any system. To always have back up plans in case the original plan didnt work out. I guess I have a complex that’s bleeding into all facets of my life.
The talk has become threaded into our being, whether you are from the black, native or brown community. As a result, I cannot shelter my kid, its not a choice. Helping someone develop into a respectable human being is scary, and to some extent, I am responsible on how they turn out later on. I know, I might be overthinking it but the biggest concern I have is not only how to be real with my kid about racism and sexism, and all the isms out there, but how not to be racist and how to be respectful of other human beings; how to honor your culture and live with integrity.
I wish I had support from my sisters. My sisters don’t get it. Despite one being in an interracial relationship with a black man, its hard to think that some of the conversations I’ve had with her could be as deep as my concerns. I don’t think she gets it. She was born and raised in Mexico, once was undocumented and now a citizen. The other sister married someone Mexican and is probably even worse. Both are light skinned and sometimes are mistaken for being white-Caucasian. I mean the privilege is there.
They are the epitome of what I fear of my community becoming. A community that forgets where they came from and turn out to be just like our past and current persecutors. So who can I turn to during this time?
How do you prepare for this? Are there such groups out there that talk about these issues?
I’m in a good place. Our university was going through some tough times for a while and things have settled down, somewhat. Finally, the person that deserves to be a director (my supervisor) is finally my boss. He was my long time mentor and now I can safely say I have someone who I trust with my development. After 4 years of working hard, staying loyal and doing my best, I received a promotion and a raise but it was by pure luck. It was just something that happened coincidentally while also remaining vigilant of my environment.
I am lucky to have someone that trusts his employees but sees them as human beings with lives. Someone who understands the balance of life; Of not only having a professional but also a personal life. So how did I get here?
I remained loyal
Kept myself relevant
Loyalty means a lot to a company, especially in higher education and especially in admissions. Turnover is very much existent and having a seasoned department is rare. So remaining with the institution for as long as I have, while also taking advantage of the many opportunities offered to me and consistently stepping out of my comfort zone, has attributed to my promotion.
Worked hard. Yes I was that one person who stayed longer and sometimes way after my bosses left and gave updates about my whereabouts, no matter who was my boss at the time. Sometimes I would even stay at work until 10 pm and would easily have over 12 hour work days. I never kept that to myself and I always shared my progress because not everyone would do it and it clearly would show my passion for what I did. I wouldnt do it because I wanted a promotion or a raise, I stayed and did the extra work because I loved working with students. That is what people want to see. If you do decide to do this, just be careful, people are very quick to take advantage of people’s passions. When you see that happen, figure out how to scale up or down. The extra work youre doing, thats on you, so they shouldnt exploit it for their own gains. Just know your worth.
Mentor. I always, no matter where I was mentally and emotionally, found mentors inside and outside of my employer. Someone to help me move up within the university and an outsider that would help me without any negative agendas. Be aware of who your allies will be but always question everything. No matter who you connect with or talk to, everyone has their own agenda, negative or positive. Just be observant and close to those who provide real support. Be picky.
You cant find proper mentors without scanning within an institution and out, so make sure to network. I was always the type that stayed away from crowds. I valued a personal sit down than a whole audience to talk to. My advice, go to an event with the intent of at least walking away with knowing one person and contact information and ALWAYS follow up. For my introverts, I usually plan my conversations and walk in there with intent. It makes me feel better about controlling the situation. I dont really do it much now only because I have learned to improvise and talk to people on the spot, but its something that has helped me along the way.
Lastly, keep yourself relevant. Know where you stand and how much your worth. Talk to people at other schools or companies, with similar positions. Get to know what they do and the capacity they work in. Only then you will know whether you are overworking or under-working