So I’ve been absent from the blog. Mostly because I don’t feel like I have much to post about or that I have too much to post about. I noticed yesterday I’ve become that person – you know the one who spends all day, every day, alone and so when the chance arises to talk, the words just keep pouring out. I’ve become way chattier than I used to be. Small talk. And things. Cause it’s just me, and the puppy, for most of my waking hours.
I also didn’t know how many posts you’d read on how awful I felt. I figured maybe like two? At my last visit, I guess nearly a month ago now, my midwife said I’d start to feel better at about the 22 week mark. *22*!!! Talk about constantly moving the fucking goal posts. If I’d known at 8 weeks that it would be another 14 weeks til I felt less than terrible all the time … well. Let’s not go there. And to be fair, at 8 weeks along, I knew it was possible I might not feel better at all til delivery, but I couldn’t really think too hard about that. In any case, thank goodness I’ve had a pretty good run this last fortnight. I’ve had a couple of less than awesome days but that’s a huge improvement from where I was at. I’m up and running enough now to have started beating myself up about being so unproductive for the last 4 months (cause that’s how I roll).
So. An update. In terms of the baby, I had the just less than 20 week anatomy scan and got to see all the organs and limbs and whatnot. The baby still does not stay still for a minute, and definitely not for 3D scans. I’ve got one brief profile, of which my mother is most pleased with the nose we’ve got. So that’s good We (husband and I) know the gender but we’re keeping it a secret. We sort of have a name picked out but I want to wait til we meet this new person to check the name fits (I should probably have a short list in case …). The baby is ticking all the good boxes, and that’s fabulous. It’s in the 80th percentile, which is generally where I like to sit, in all things marked on a bell curve
I meant to take a selfie this week to show my bump which appears to be larger than expected for someone 23 weeks along. People keep asking me if I’m having twins. I am not. I’ve put on weight, at the lower end of the range and all on my belly. It’s funny (it’s not really) how bad I’d been feeling about myself for putting on the weight – the midwife I’d been seeing had made me agree not to put on any weight this pregnancy. It was totally impossible not to eat and to not eat carbs and also manage my morning sickness. I don’t have any hunger at all, really. I think in the last 20 weeks, I could tell you the three times I’ve actually been hungry (two were in the last fortnight). Most of the time I go from not even thinking about food directly to nauseous if I forget to eat too long. I don’t really have any cravings as far as I can tell. And smells don’t really seem to bother me. Last visit to the doctor, I had a different midwife who was appalled at the idea of not putting on any weight. She told me not to be so hard on myself. And to just do what I need to do. I’ve switched days so I can see her for the rest of my pregnancy, except for the next appointment which I made previously and for which I am now dreading, on account of … weight gain.
But the whole not having the pregnancy experience that everyone was quick to tell me about – the smells, the food cravings etc etc has really helped me put into perspective a lot of this stuff. My experience is mine. People are individuals and we work to a kind of bell curve where on the whole shared experiences, averaged out, will be similar. But they aren’t the same. And what works for you might not work for me. And what happens to you, has no real bearing on what happens to me. I’m hoping this realisation will stay with me as we enter the next phase after this one and get exposed to “drive by parenting” as Tansy calls it. It’s useful to hear how other people coped and their stories. But it’s important to keep them in perspective.
At about the 22 week mark I did start to feel better – I still have to manage the sickness stuff but I started to have more energy. More will to live. I might have even worn lipstick a couple of times. Around that time, Tansy and I were chatting pre Galactic Suburbia recording, and she said to me that I needed to learn how to hack myself. I’d mentioned that on Wednesdays I found that because I *had* to leave the house at the crack of dawn and spend an hour/hour and a half out of the house, I was getting a lot of work done by going to a local coffee shop. I take my laptop, a couple of files of reading that I need to do, and sit and drink a fake coffee, eat a muffin and just work. I was finding it was my most productive hour of the week – reading 20k words and actually editing and getting feedback to writers and progressing things. Hence her suggestion to figure out how to hack myself.
I’m not sure if it was because I had more energy that week, or the experiment I tried which was setting myself 1 task/errand to run each day that required me to leave the house. Not the most efficient way to run errands, spreading them out across the week, but it meant I had to get dressed, leave the house, drive, speak to someone, deal with money and then come home again. And that process seemed to jumpstart my brain out of sluggish lazy Sunday morning and into sharp, clear focussed, capable of thinking brain. I came home every day last week, walked straight into my study and worked at my desk (for the first time) for 6 or 7 hours straight. A miracle. This week, I haven’t left the house as much but the routine of last week has meant that I tend to just go straight into the study and stay there.
The other thing I did last week was admit to myself that I was just floating. Sometimes the hardest part of fixing a problem is admitting and defining it. I was coasting in life, in TPP, in my studies. I had no plan. I had no goals. I had no milestones to work to. I had no way to measure if I made good use of a day or not. Sure, I have a baby sitting at the 80th percentile to show for this year, but it doesn’t feel like I’ve done much about that other than hold on for dear life and survive it. I realised that I needed to do a huge planning session, a big think about how to figure out how to know what “not floating” meant. And that that would take more than five minutes. So I drew myself up a short term set of 10 goals for last week, each with about 5 small achievable tasks. I wrote them out and stuck them up on the wall and I pulled out my Red Tick pen. The one that marks off SUCCESS. And I set about doing those tasks.
And in between working on those tasks, I hauled myself back to the beginning of David Allen’s Getting Things Done and I started working through that. I’ve been sitting through one webinar from his website as the start of every day. (I might have a GTD Connect account too.) And now, I’ve moved on to working through a series of CDs we have which is his 2 day workshop (I bought them for C for his birthday a couple of years ago – he’s never listened to them, turned out he wanted the templates and things that came with the CDs). I’m starting from the bottom up. I’m working through every aspect of my life to get myself into a working system that enables me to get things done. This includes having a set in tray for all my physical shit that comes in – bills, letters, receipts, tasks – and keeping it at zero. Working with zero inbox on a daily basis. Clearing all my email backlog (currently I have two years worth of backlog to clear out). Filing everything. Having a system to keep track of all my projects in progress, every idea or thing I need to chase up. And having my house exactly the way I want it – clear space, clutter free, no backlog, no rooms with junk in it, no cupboards you can’t open, no crap you don’t need. No things in my life, physical or electronic or mental, that need to be dealt with but niggling at me cause I’m not.
It’s only week 2. But I’m doing not too badly at zero inbox – I’m at about 8 emails by the end of the day. I’ve got a plan and a system with slowly working through backlog – electronic, email, paper and life. And I’m sorting actions on all that “stuff”. And I’m starting to think about what it might be like to live a life with no backlog, no “oh I have tos” lying around. I used to be scared of that kind of thing. Like, what would I do? But I think the good news is, you never don’t have new things, new opportunities coming in. With no backlog, no mental baggage, no unnecessary stress, you don’t have to be slowed down in acting. That could be cool.
And we do have this new person joining our household in less than 4 months. I’ve started clearing out their room. I’m making progress on that actually. Making space in my physical and my personal life. It’s a very definite deadline I’m working to. I’d like to have all my backlog cleared so that I can make it all work. For the first time this year, I’m starting to feel like that might actually happen.