Believe it or not, I'm still here!
So much has happened since the last post and the news is...I'm expecting again! I am now in my second trimester and, finally, the morning sickness has gone, although I'm still pretty tired all day long. Not only that, but I've gone through a severe prenatal baby blues phase which am still recovering from.
Needless to say, recipe-testing in the kitchen and writing posts have been the last things in my agenda for the past few months, hence the silence.
The more time passed, the harder it was to come back to the blog. The lack of motivation and my insecurities creeped up and stopped me from doing anything; I even considered to shut down this website!
Without going into much details, it's been a very hard few months with lots of tears shed and it really felt I hit rock bottom. It is normal to feel that way during the first weeks of a pregnancy and I learned so much about picking myself up and starting fresh and stronger than ever.
I believe many of us go through rough periods in life and yet, we don't like to share them too much because it's uncool or we think there are bigger problems in the world that need attention. The latter is partly true; a bit of perspective is always important, but that shouldn't prevent us from hiding our feelings or reaching out for help.
So, I've had to have a little pep talk with myself, kept smiling and I thought I'd share what it's been helping me bouncing back into my old self.
Talk to someone
Some days it felt like everything was going wrong - a teething toddler who wouldn't let me go for a second, non-stop nausea, never ending house chores, just to mention few. When you're overwhelmed for days, weeks or even months, the minimal thing can trigger all sort of anxiety. I remember one day I went swimming just to be able to cry secretly in the water and release all the tension. As soon as I was diagnosed with mild prenatal depression, I realized I had to reach out for help. Speaking frankly with a friend or family has been for me the number one way to bounce back. Sharing my worries, concerns and sad feelings has lifted a massive burden from my shoulders and my mind has felt so much lighter. It is amazing how the only act of speaking out has benefited me without even resolving any of the problems. Sometimes we don't need solutions, we only need to be listened to and to be reminded we're not alone.
Don't be afraid to find shortcuts
As you know, I love cooking and experimenting in the kitchen, but with a horrible aversion to 99% of food, I couldn't even look at the fridge without being sick. However, I had to feed a toddler and a hungry husband every day. Same with house chores: we live in a 2 bedroom apartment with a kid who can create so much chaos and untidiness in little as 5 minutes. We don't have spare rooms where I can throw excess toys or dirty laundry in, and I'm a big believer that a tidy home calms the mind too. However, I've just haven't had the energy to keep up with house chores.
Putting pride aside, I had to find shortcuts to be able to feed the family and do the bare minimum to keep the apartment clean and tidy.
It's been two months that shamelessly I've been ordering take aways twice a week and giving Grace ready-made meals that I just had to heat up in the microwave. Never in million years I'd have thought I'd feed my child frozen food bought from a supermarket!
As for the house chores, I've allowed Grace to watch a bit more cartoons on Youtube while I could carry on with the vacuum cleaner around the apartment. Also, once in a while, I call a babysitter or a kind friend who can take the baby out while I stay home and catch up with admin and cleaning work (for us the cleaner is way more expensive than calling a babysitter).
These are only my real-life, practical examples of how you could adjust temporarily while you need to gather your energy and find the lost balance in your life. It can take some time to accept that it's OK to order takeaways, pay for someone who can help at home more often, asking your partner to make the bed in the morning (or just leave as is) or order everything on Amazon with one-day delivery. We can easily get bogged down into little things and are those things that keep us away from focusing on the main picture, which for me was to get over my first trimester without losing my s*&^ even further.
Carve out some time for yourself
It goes hand in hand with my second point above and it's not less important. When you feel the earth is crumbling under your feet, booking a manicure is probably not in your agenda. I'm still learning this as I write it down, but if we don't give a little love to ourselves, how can we expect to care for others the best we can? I don't mean this in a narcissist way. Self-Care is such a trendy word right now and I don't necessary love the expression. What I'm suggesting is that finding some time to reconnect with our interests or hobbies or anything that makes us feel happy can bring our 'old self' back to life. For example, I've always been a good swimmer since I was six, I used to compete, but then I stopped for over a decade. Swimming has brought back all those beautiful memories of a cheering team, the preparation and all the excitement before a competition. It is a happy place for me, not to mention all the benefits I get from the exercise itself. So now I make sure it's a non-negotiable item in my weekly planner, and boy, do I feel like another person afterwards!
What are your ways to overcome hard times? I'd love hearing from you!