Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Being Kind Matters

I was talking to two of my favorite people at work a couple months ago, trying to explain one of my character defects. I said, "By nature, I am nice. I am not friendly." One of the girls laughed and asked, "How is that different?" And I responded, "If you called me up in the middle of the night and needed gas for your car, I'd be there in a heartbeat. I do nice things for people. What I find unnatural is smiling or waving at people, or asking how their day is going." She then replied, "I've never heard of it out that way, but that makes sense."

It may make sense, but I still consider it a defect of mine. At the beginning of 2015, I decided I wanted to be more kind. I want to change my nature of just being nice and doing nice things for people to being someone I can refer to as friendly. It is a real struggle for me and I'm not sure why. I find it especially difficult to be kind to people who are UNkind, whether it is to me or to those around me. I don't react super negatively, in fact, I sort of just ignore them altogether. (a twist on 'if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all') However, I understand that it is towards the people who are UNkind that it is most important for me to show kindness to. I envy those that are friendly in all times, during all things, and at all places-- despite what mood they may really be in. I have posted notes around my house, set reminders on my phone, and prayed for this weakness of mine to become a strength and I am happy to report that I have felt significant progress, more so within the last month. Overall, I sense the relief in being around the people I once thought of as selfish or cruel or arrogant, and instead try to think only positive thoughts. Of course, they are still stuck as thoughts at this point. Haha....but I know our thoughts becomes our words become our deeds become our habits and that is what I'm striving for. Habitual kindness.

Why does it matter to be kind?
A lot of people live by the motto: I don't need to be liked by other people.

I think this is sort of true. You don't NEED to be liked. But you do need to be kind. If someone doesn't like you, but you are genuinely nice and friendly to them, obviously they have issues. If someone doesn't like you, and you have the maturity to evaluate your behavior and realize you are not a nice person to them, then you both have issues.  We are all required to show this Christlike attribute to our fellowmen, regardless of circumstance. And I, for one, know I have a long way to go. The good news is, the older I get, the wiser I get, and the more I focus on improving myself.

Kindness matters because:

1. It brings self and satisfaction.
2. It promotes healthy self esteem.
3. It cultivates meaningful, lasting relationships.
4. It brings you closer to God.
5. You will touch more lives.
6. You will be remembered.

Lately, I have had a loss in appetite for some of the worldly goals I once dreamed of. Not that they aren't goals, but they are not my top priority. I want all those things I just listed. I need them. Interestingly, I don't have all of them yet-- and I would bet money neither do you. Lets all make a goal this week to replace one bad thought with one good one, to say one nice thing to someone we haven't complimented in awhile, and forgive someone who might not totally deserve it. Good luck!!!☺☺☺

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

6 Tricks to Loving Your Pregnancy

I happen to be one of the crazies that LOVES being pregnant.

I MEAN, LOVES...being pregnant.

I love all the benefits, all the catastrophes. I find pregnancy to be my most beautiful phase in life. I also think it is a gift. I am so grateful God blessed me with this gift and the beautiful creations that come from it, when not everyone will have the chance to experience it. Indeed, pregnancy is very difficult, even for me. I do not have super easy pregnancies, but I can tell you it is super easy for me to enjoy the 40 weeks of the pregnant journey! Want to know why? Here are my 6 Tricks to Loving Your pregnancy!

1. Embrace the miracle.
I don't want to sound preachy, but because I believe in God and the creation of mankind, I truly see pregnancy as a gift from Him. If you aren't a religious being, pregnancy can still be miraculous if you simply understand the complicated process of conception, embryonic growth, and delivery. Making a human is awesome!! [youtube the anatomical process for a good time] And only us women get to do it 😍 cheers to us for being that lucky. Always, ALWAYS, remember this as the hard weeks of maternity approach. It may help to read about someone who cannot have children...but that may also make you sob your eyes out. How about this, keep in mind that that little heart starts beating within days. You are building another being. You are a machine. You are amazing.

2. Be healthy, before you get pregnant.
I am criticized often on my lifestyle, but the truth is it makes me really happy. Sidenote* I'm a health nut. It isn't for everyone, so find your version of "healthy" and be that before trying to get pregnant. I cannot emphasize this enough. If you shouldn't do it while pregnant, nix it from your routine in advance. Start taking prenatals, get a good diet and fitness program in habitual form, construct financial goals, and line up work and childcare schedules AHEAD of time. Ducks=in a row. {You're welcome.} It wouldn't hurt to do some yoga or meditation to improve your mental/spiritual/emotional state as well. If you think pregnancy hormones are crazy, wait till you experience postpartum... There are so many benefits to being in good health. For starters, it can improve your fertility. Secondly, it is easier to stay in shape while pregnant and get into shape after. Third, you experience less of the pregnant pains when in peak physical condition. Your bones are stronger, your muscles stronger, you have more vitamins and nutrients in your system. Trust me, pregnancy is painful anyway, but being less healthy will make it ten times worse. Fourth, it is incredibly beneficial to the delivery process. I had a difficult delivery and was told, afterwards, that had I not been so strong, I never would have made it through. I almost had to have a C-section, which was NOWHERE in my birth plan. Instead, I had the stamina to push for 3 hours, against my body's will (I was not dilating, the baby was not dropping, my contractions were slowing) and delivered my precious girl the way I wanted to. (thanks Doc) Fifth, for heaven's sake you are feeding your baby!! Everything you intake, so does your child. And they don't get a choice. Please, be cautious and selfless in your habits....that microscopic treasure deserves only the best! And only you can give it to them-- or deprive them of it, and cause everlasting damage. Okay, back to optimism!! Lastly, to keep in good health means you will have more endorphins, more energy, and more fun time with your spouse. 😜

3. Be accepting of physical changes.
Remember puberty? This is nothing like that. Haha!! No, in all reality, it is a little like that in the sense that your body is taken over by other natural yet seemingly extraterrestrial forces. Your physical being you've become so acquainted with has just taken a permanent sebatica. This is OKAY!! I cannot stress enough how important it is to come to terms with and accept the wonderful, if at first devastating, changes your body will undergo during this beautiful period. Remember the miracle and speak to your relatives about their experiences to get an idea of what your genetics have in store for you. Pregnancies and the effects aren't always hereditary, but sometimes there are similarities. Be aware of changes you anticipate with negative reaction and put a positive spin on them. Enjoy those large hips and breasts while they last!! Rub your enormous tummy and talk to that sweet baby. All of the superficial views you had about your body will suddenly not matter after your tiny cherub is in your arms, I promise. And when those insecurities start to surface, start listing all the things about your baby and your life you are thankful for. God chose YOU to raise this special spirit. He had faith in you and He didn't even care if you were a size 2 or not. Here I go again with spirituality, but it's just my belief that women were created by God with these intents and purposes. We are virtuous beings..cough cough. He loved us and trusted US with this gift. Not men. (like they could handle it) If it helps you at all, try to think the way I do about our bodies. This is what I was made for. No amount of acne, stretch marks, or saggy appendages will rob me of my joy. It's called a pregnancy glow for a reason. I shine with pride for my body and my baby. I, too, have the occasional low self-esteem, but it only comes comparing myself to others or having unrealistic/worldly expectations. Also, there will be plenty of time for recovery and shape shifting in the near future. You can get your pre baby body back, girlfriend!! Just don't focus on that right now. If you need a little boost in confidence, or high five to the face with a lawn chair, to forego that Material Girl suffocating your newfound NIRVANA, I will be happy to provide you with it!!

<somehow number 4 got lost originally, so here it is>

4. Treat yourself.
Stay within that budget, of course, but you totally deserve a splurge now and then. I remember with my first pregnancy avoiding maternity pants for 6 whole months because I did not want to spend the money. Eventually, my belly hurt so bad and I had gained too much weight so I broke down and bought a few pair. Let me tell you-- BEST INVESTMENT EVER! Not only are the pants useful for every pregnancy-duh!- but they are all I wore for about 2 months postpartum also. I spent less than $100 and have several new superbly comfortable pants that still look cute. My second pregnancy, I indulged in an early prenatal massage. Oh em gee! Totes worth it! Also, if your treat is in the form of sugary goodies, go with small bite size portions. Whether it is a pedicure, or a new blouse every trimester, don't be too afraid to treat yourself because it sincerely helps you feel better and enjoy your pregnancy more.

5. Stay close with your spouse.
This is critical. Having baby number one will rock your world, and sometimes your marriage. Its not always a bad thing, but a new life entering your intimate circle puts a new spin on "family" time. Having baby number two is equally as paranormal. Now is a great time to relax and ease off the nitpicking. Trust me once again, the socks on the floor, the toothpaste lid left off, the hair in the sink, the soda cans on the ottoman, will all be LOOOONG forgotten when you're up at 3am, sitting on a toilet, trying to go potty, while nursing your infant, drenched in a puddle of baby puke. Did I paint you a colorful enough picture??? Hash tag: #truestory. If you're lucky, your adorable spouse will keep you feeling calm and beautiful during your pregnancy, therefore trick three will be a lot easier! Don't forget, it is okay to ask for encouragement and remind your partner you need compliments during this transition. Is your man walking around the house looking like Chris Hemsworth??? That's what I thought. You need to be flattered despite outward changes. But also remember your spouse is likely afraid you are going to forget all about him. Don't let your man feel like he is second best to your baby...(even if he temporarily falls on the priority list) because let's be real, an infant, especially a hard or needy one, deserves your undivided attention. Just keep your relationship in mind and set aside specific time for your spouse. Have mommy daddy time as often as you have energy to. Hint* being in good health makes this A MILLION TIMES EASIER! You won't be as fatigued or uncomfortable. Still go on dates as a couple, but also do things as a family with the baby. Let your husband feel like the champion he is by carrying the baby in a Bjorn and go for walks or to the zoo. And when the time comes that you just DONT have it in you for intimacy, COMMUNICATE constantly so that neither of you feel neglected.

6. Follow your gut. (you can't miss it !! Hahah)
This goes for everything, from your prego diet, to your birth plan, to how you want to raise your baby. Everyone has their advice, their magical cure all, but the fact is there is no one size fits all theory. There is something otherworldly about the bond between a mother and her baby. I seriously could not get National Geographic out of my head my first few months as a new mom. I thought, Oh my gosh! I'm the mama polar bear!! From the way you nurture, to the way you feed, how you know what your baby needs and what they don't...it is all inside of YOU. And, sorry Aunt Jane who had seven kids, the answer is ONLY within you, THE MAMA. trust your instincts during the time and you will not fail. Every time I tried someone else's method, against my better judgement when I knew deep down it wasn't what my baby needed, it never helped and honestly typically made things worse. When I went with my gut, the large gushy one Still six inches in front of me, things always worked out in a much more efficient way. Try not to be offended by advice givers, and try not to offend by disagreeing with others' methods or making rude comments about others' parenting tactics. They are also parenting their child based on their instincts. (and some people are clueless parents who should never procreate lol)

These are just some of my FAVORITE tricks and reasons why I genuinely LOVE being pregnant. I feel more like a woman and more beautiful with a growing life inside of me than I did in my "glory years" rocking that "hot bod". Ps. That hot bod is not a thing of the past... Stay tuned for another favorite post on my tricks to getting in shape postpartum!!