self-care

A walk in January

It is unusually warm today in the 50s in southern New England.  The piles of snow from last week’s blizzard are starting to melt.  Drops occasionally drip on my head from the historical buildings as I walk on by.  The snow is dirty.  Rain is in the near forecast.  It’s gray and cloudy.  Remnants of holiday cheer are strewn here and there:  bits of broken pine and evergreen and a solo red ornament missing its hook lay on my path.

The snow is melting.  I see the turf of green grass at the edge of a wall.  There’s litter, a cigarette butt, and tiny pine needles reminding me of what once was there.  It’s the kind of day that you wish you could curl up and take a nap or read a book.  Rain is on its way.

Whenever I take a walk, I’m reminded that the simple act of walking clears up my mind and breaks up my workday.  I will go back to my office and eat a cara cara orange, my favorite fruit this time of year.  I’ll enjoy its bountiful juice and eat a piece of sunshine to brighten this dreary day.

 

self-care

When liquid gold isn’t so golden

My 16-month old toddler has a soy allergy. As a vegan, soy was always a big part of my diet.  I’d have soymilk in my daily coffee, in cold cereal, in my smoothies, and in any recipe that called for milk.  I’ve been fortunate to successfully breastfeed my baby for well over a year.  But that soy I was eating was in my breastmilk.

The baby always seemed to have a rash on her face. She’d rub her chin fiercely on her crib sheets and against my shoulder.  She always seemed to be teething.  She also had eczema behind her knees, behind her elbows, ankles, wrist, and sometimes even her armpits.  Even her older sister gets eczema.  I attributed the rash to her fair skin, teething, and genetics.

At her 12-month checkup, they had to draw blood to check for lead paint. My husband and I asked if they could do an allergy test too, since they were already pricking her with a needle.  The test results showed a mild to moderate allergy to soy.  It also showed very low levels to oat, wheat, and peanut.

But it all came down to the soy. Since I was still nursing, I eliminated soy completely from my diet.  I found a creamy almond milk I loved (Califa) and started to read labels even more closely.  We met with an allergist who said she could eat products with soybean oil or soy lecithin (which appears to be in everything).  My toddler’s face cleared up.  She was no longer rubbing and scratching her chin.  When I stopped pumping, I replaced the breastmilk with fortified coconut milk for her at daycare.

Last week, she needed more coconut milk at school. I still had frozen breastmilk in our freezer, so I sent that to school instead.  Well, by the end of the school day, she had her rash back.  She rubbed her chin so hard that it was bleeding.  And she had small hives on her back.  The breastmilk I sent to school was from before we knew about her allergy when I was regularly consuming soy.

Breastmilk has been described as “liquid gold.” And I’ve spent quite a substantial amount of time pumping and saving breastmilk for my baby. I had a vested interest in using it.  But after her latest allergic reaction, it is inevitable.  All my frozen breastmilk has to be tossed.

Now I can be upset or sad at all that wasted time and effort I took in pumping and saving the breastmilk. But I’ve decided to make peace with my decision to get rid of it.  It’s not worth keeping and using if it’s going to hurt my toddler.  And I forgive myself for feeding her food that she was allergic to.  I didn’t know she had the allergy at the time.  So I’m not going to carry around resentment or guilt.  I was doing what I felt was best for her at that moment.

Is there something you’ve made peace with that you want to share? I’d love to hear your comments below.

self-care

High heels are not for me

I’ve never been one to wear heels, except for the rare occasion when I was a bridesmaid. I have memories of my poor feet wobbling as I tried to walk down the aisle, all eyes on me, and trying to act the most natural as I could while my feet were in excruciating pain.

I prefer flats: mary janes or Ahnu yoga shoes.  Before I started my full-time job, I went shoe shopping and found Life Stride.  Think Stride Rite for women.  These heels felt comfortable.  Heck, I could work in these.  I take my purchase home feeling satisfied.  Flash forward to my first day at work.  I put on my beloved new heels and start to walk around my building.  Providence is a colonial city, which means uneven brick sidewalks and old stone layered into some of the roads.  A challenge for heel wearers to say the least.  So I start to walk and within a matter of minutes, my toes feel squeezed and pushed forward.  These heels are not as comfortable as they were in the store.

I have observed coworkers stowing their heels under their desks or inside drawers, only donning them on when they’re called into court. Now that it’s summer, I tend to wear flipflops when I’m seated at my desk.  And when I’m called into court during a jury trial, I would strap on my heels and walk that walk, acting like my feet are fine; I’m fine.  And this act seemed to work for a while, or so I thought.  Until yesterday.  A coworker with concern asked me, “Do you have a limp?”  Nope.  It’s the heels.

I’m going to retire them in favor of my Skechers mary janes with memory foam and just accept the fact that heels are not for me.

We do not live in a one-size-fits-all world.  What works for others is not always going to feel like the right fit.   Some women wear high stilettos with ease.  I’m just not one of them and I never will be.  I’ll proudly be wearing my Skechers to court from now on.

We all have our own paths to walk and strides to make.  Let’s listen to what our bodies tell us and fearlessly proclaim what no longer works for us.  Let’s accept this truth with pride in our hearts.

 

self-care

First blog post – What motivates you?

IMG_5602

As a mom of young children, who recently transitioned from the freelance world to full-time employment, finding the time and motivation to write has been a recurrent theme.  I want to set myself up for success by starting healthy healing habits now before I get too entrenched in the day-to-day, 9-5, monotony.  There’s family-life-work balance.

Connection, clarity and compassion.  My three C’s are my inspiration for writing a couple of paragraphs daily in my journal.  Starting is the key.  Keeping my pen on the page and avoiding distractions.  Some planning helps.  Staying focused on my intention, and consistently showing up at the page will make my goal a reality.  And importantly, being gentle with myself when priorities shift and my writing doesn’t go according to plan.

My life experiences have brought me to this moment:  The good, the bad, the muck, the ugly, and there’s the beauty, the breath to stay centered in the chaos.  As I’ve entered my 40s, I finally realize that I don’t have to prove myself anymore.  I can be true to myself and inspire others.

I’m going to honor the journey of this transition.

What motivates you?