A little over one year ago, I published a few posts in my “Getting a C-Section” series (click here to read the first, second, and third posts) with the intent to finish the entire series by the end of April — Cesarean Awareness Month.
But, as sometimes happens in life, I became too busy with other obligations, and I never finished writing about my experience.
Now, as April 2020 comes to an end, I’m revisiting this time in my life and finishing the series.
Typically, we spend Easter Sunday in a pleasant frenzy. Getting dressed up. Coordinating gifts for the boys with the Easter Bunny. Serving at Mass. Cooking up something small to add to the feast we would inevitably share with my extended family, all 30+ of us crammed into some relative’s home to celebrate the holiday.
This year is, obviously, more subdued. I think it’s easy for me to mourn the Easter that could have been — and to feel annoyed with this pandemic and its effects on my life, particularly in light of this holiday’s importance to my faith and to my entire family.
And that emotional weight seems a bit heavier when I take into account:
I haven’t seen my extended family in over a month.
My grandparents wish that they could see my kids and me, since being around their grandchildren and great-grandchildren is one of their highlights of any holiday.
I’m continuing to grapple with my sense of parental failure, particularly since I dropped the ball a bit and completely overlooked compiling an Easter basket for Tadashi and Hiro.
Going into this Easter Sunday — particularly last night, as I prepared to fall asleep — I wrestled with an overall sense of sadness, frustration, and emptiness. How could this day be special when it seems like everything has gone so wrong?
At the beginning of the year, I shared that I had set a few goals for myself (you can read the full post here). Now, given that the first quarter of the year is over, I wanted to complete a quick check-in and share with you all my progress so far… So, here we go!
Check-In: My 2020 Goals
Achieve my goal weight of 140 lbs.
Progress: In an unfortunate turn of events, I had actually gained quite a bit of weight between January and February. Probably due to the free food at work? Nevertheless, since I started working from home full-time earlier this month due to coronavirus concerns, I’ve been more intentional about eating home-cooked meals, implementing intermittent fasting, and staying active. So I’ve actually lost a few pounds and a couple of inches since the beginning of this month! Still quite a ways away from my goal weight, but I’ll keep moving forward.
Publish 52 blog posts by the end of the year.
Progress: Given that this is Week 14 of the year, I should have published 14 blog posts by now. Sadly, this post brings my total published post count to five. Don’t worry: my COVID-19 creative sprint actually put me in a good place to publish a bit more content this month, so you’ll be reading more from me in the near future.
Practice self-care regularly: daily prayer/meditation, journaling, gratitude, exercise; monthly date nights with Reggie.
Progress: I know that I’ve skipped a day or two here and there within my different daily practices. However, holistically, I’ve made these different tasks a priority in my daily routine — even intentionally carving out time in my work-from-home schedule, given that I no longer have my one-hour commute to meditate, journal, and read. Overall, I feel positive that these daily self-care regimens have been helping with my mental and emotional health. Monthly date nights with Reggie, however, have not been a priority. Partly because quarantines don’t allow us to go out on dates. But also because, candidly, we’ve been struggling to balance taking care of our marriage with all of our other obligations (i.e., my work, Reggie’s work, our children, our home life, our extended families, this global pandemic, a complete shift in how we manage our family life since being forced to shelter in place, etc.), that carving out time to spend one-on-one didn’t seem like a possibility. Don’t worry: we’re not in crisis mode; however, we’ve realized that being stuck together in quarantine — without work or other people as distractions — is an opportune time for us to tackle some underlying marital woes. More on that later this week.
Check-In: 20 Things to Do in 2020, a.k.a. My Annual Bucket List
(listed in no particular order)
Sign up for a library card.
Unfortunately, didn’t get a chance to do this before the current shelter-in-place order impacted the local libraries’ operating hours. TBD on whether or not I can do this by year’s end.
Plant and maintain a terrarium with the boys.
Planted a little terrarium kit with Tadashi* and Hiro* some time in January. Terrarium is currently sitting on the window sill by my desk. Is the plant alive? Questionable.
Take a calligraphy class.
I was hoping to do this in-person, but I think I should research some virtual options at this point.
Complete a Couch to 5K program.
Just started my Couch to 5K program this week! 7.5 more weeks to go…
Run a 5K.
I intended to sign up for a formal race. However, I may be a bit more flexible and count an “unofficial” 5K, a.k.a. running that distance on my own time, given the potential that formal races might not occur for the rest of the year.
I initially had an appointment scheduled with Sai this Thursday, April 2nd. However, we had to reschedule due to the shelter-in-place orders. I’ll reschedule as soon as Sai confirms when she can reopen her tattoo studio.
Read at least 20 books.
Currently reading my ninth book of the year! I definitely need to thank my Book of the Month subscription for making this bucket list item so easy to maintain.
Listen to one album a week.
Feel free to leave any album recommendations in the comments!
I’m happy to share that I’ve been playing a lot more piano recently, since I have more time to spare during the day. However, have not yet cracked open Rachmaninoff’s Prelude.
Travel to a city I’ve never been to.
I was supposed to go to San Antonio last week for work, which would have completed this to-do. We’ll see if I can still make this happen this year.
Take an overnight trip with Reggie (no kids!).
Same concerns as above.
Dine at a Michelin star restaurant.
Same concerns as above.
Visit Disneyland during Christmas.
God, I hope that Disneyland reopens by Christmastime…!
Complete a 30-day plank challenge.
I’ll tackle this after I complete my Couch to 5K program.
Host a private movie screening.
Hopefully movie theaters reopen by the end of this year…!
Complete my 2020 bullet journal — artistic spreads and all!
… And I am oh-so-proud of how my bullet journal looks so far! I’ll share some spreads on here in the coming months.
And that is my progress so far this year. I admit that I haven’t completed as many things as I had hoped to do by this point. But I’m going to give myself some grace and recognize that, within this past month alone, my whole life (and the world, in general) has been completely upended. We all deserve a bit of a reprieve and some allowance to adapt to this new normal.
Looking at the month ahead, I’m committing to a sense of positivity. I’m prioritizing my personal (physical, mental, and emotional) health, focusing on my marriage, and aiming to keep my children healthy and happy. If I maintain this focus, I know that — organically — I’ll make more progress on my goals.
To all of you, readers: hope you’re all staying safe and sane and healthy. If you’ve had any goals set for this year, please let me know how you’re doing, as well, and let me know how I can support you! I know that 2020 has seemed like a dumpster fire of a year so far. But we still have nine months ahead of us and opportunities to create something positive.
To all those people who’ve said that a C-section is “easy,” I have one thing to say in response: sure, I may not have pushed a baby out of my birth canal, but getting a C-section has undoubtedly been one of the most surreal and hardest experiences of my life.
People would ask me about my C-section, if I felt any pain, if I were conscious, how the surgery progressed and felt. And all I could say in response was: it felt sterile and all too medical.
But, before I talk about my operation, I think it’s important to share how I felt in the few days leading up to Tadashi’s birth…
I apologize for being MIA for the past couple of months. Once Tadashi got sick with the flu, Reggie and I, unfortunately, couldn’t get back into a life rhythm. So, understandably, my writing fell by the wayside.
And that’s what I want to focus on in today’s blog post: that struggle for new parents to find a rhythm. More specifically, a rhythm for self-care and self-love.
I wrote on my 28th birthday that taking time for myself and for my (physical, emotional, and mental) well-being was one of my top priorities this year. And that still stands. It’s just been so difficult for a multitude of reasons:
2017 was an intense year, both for the world and for me. All craziness aside, though, the year also brought me one of the greatest blessings of my life: Tadashi*.
Bringing my child into the world meant enduring countless emotional, mental, and physical changes. Emotionally, the first few months of Tadashi’s life were a rollercoaster. Mentally, assuming a new identity as “mother” led to some pretty profound shifts in my priorities: with a child, my intent this year and in all future years is to live my life in a way that makes not only me happy, safe, and fulfilled, but also my little family (especially my son).
Physically, 2017 proved to be an interesting journey.
Of course, pregnancy brought its physical highs and lows. While I didn’t experience any particularly stubborn symptoms (thankfully, no morning sickness or odd food aversions here!), I definitely felt uncomfortable, especially throughout the third trimester. Aching back. Shooting paints of sciatica up and down my thigh and left butt cheek. Swollen feet that wouldn’t fit in anything but Birkenstocks.