What Are My Big Dreams?

My sisters gave me this book on self-exploration for my birthday this year. I opened it and started looking at the types of questions that were being asked.

The first question was to list 5 things that immediately bring a smile to your face. I could think of at least 2 things off of the top of my head (although the eternal debate of what I want to say versus what I should say definitely takes place). So this one, I think I can handle.

I turned the page and the next question was the to list 10 big dreams that haven’t come true yet.

Ummmm…….

It’s not like I have thought about it a lot. But the question brings up a lot of anxiety in me. How am I supposed to answer this? And it’s not 1 or 2 dreams. I probably could scrounge up 1 or 2. It’s 10! Maybe if I had read this book 10 years ago….

Sometimes, it feels like I’ve done everything I’m supposed to do. But I’m not that old. So it can’t be it. Can it?

I know there are places I haven’t seen yet and things I want to do with my kid. There are things I want my kid to accomplish and I can see her life clearly.

But my life has gone fuzzy. I am thankful for everything I have. I am definitely content where I am. It worries me though that it doesn’t feel like I have anything to strive for (other than obviously being mother of the year). I am a big believer in doing things for yourself even when you are a mom.

So where did all of my ambition go? What are my big dreams now? How do I even start to figure it out?

Being Alone and Being Lonely

I moved. I knew I had to move. I didn’t expect it though. I moved across the country while being 15 weeks pregnant. I moved because my husband got a job. It was between the job we took near family or a job in the south where we knew nobody. I miss home. I don’t even know where home is anymore. My nearby family members have a life of their own so we’re not having the family gatherings I envisioned before moving here. We moved to a seasonal town that’s empty till it’s warm. There isn’t much of a community to meet or interact with even though I’m actively trying to make friends.

I had a baby in the middle of winter. I tell my husband everyday how much I don’t like it here. That combined with my post partum hormones the isolation and loneliness has really sunk in. My husband is a typical male, a solution-focused individual who wants to help but doesn’t understand completely. How can he understand? He doesn’t know what it’s like to have a baby, be tethered to a baby, and be at home all day day in and day out.

Complaining or venting also isn’t how you want to start new friendships and having a new baby makes it difficult to talk to the old ones.

And each day passes. My husband is tired of hearing me complain. This affects our married which affects me. This all becomes part of a self-fulfilling prophecy of me saying if we didn’t move here I would be upset and if I wasn’t upset I wouldn’t complain and if I didn’t complain then it wouldn’t affect our marriage. And the days go on.

Is it me? Do I just not know how to be happy? Should I be thinking of starving children in developing countries or war and destruction and be happier? Are my problems so first world? I have my health, we are financially comfortable, and I have a beautiful baby. I don’t know.

Where Did My Passion Go?

I used to have passions. A weekend wouldn’t go by where I wasn’t dancing. Even now, the thrill of performing is like nothing else to me. When I started this blog, there would be a new post every day. The feeling I got from putting my thoughts together and out into the world was amazing.

But, somewhere along the way, my passions seem to have disappeared. It’s not that I don’t love dancing or writing anymore. It’s that making time for them has become more and more difficult. Taking the time to do so requires a lot of careful planning and effort. And,sometimes, it feels easier to just do nothing than to use your down time to do any kind of work.

I know that having a kid changes certain things. Your priorities change. Your child comes before anything and everything else. But should we let everything change? Or should we still find time to pursue our passions?

How do we balance the things that make us happy? How do we keep up the motivation to do everything that really defines who we are? Do we owe it to ourselves to make the time and put in the effort to do the things that give us a sense of fulfillment?

How do we keep our passions from disappearing when our life changes?

The Good Indian Girl

As an Indian girl, I’ve been taught by society to always be “perfect”. We are required to fit a whole host of stereotypes. We are supposed to know how to cook, clean, raise children, and even hold down a job now. On top of it, no matter how modern we are, we are supposed to hold our heads down when it comes to speaking with our elders or voicing our own opinions. Sharing your thoughts or having a different point of view makes us the not so good Indian girl.

But seriously, how long can we do this for? I can’t. This past weekend, at the wedding I was attending, I ran into a man who decided to say that the groom was on his last night of freedom. And me being me decided to reply “freedom from what?” I didn’t understand that statement. The groom was just as lucky as the bride in entering this marriage. If he thought that he was losing his freedom, he should not be getting married. It wasn’t the most thoughtful statement to make and I wanted to let that man know that it was unacceptable.

Should I have just let him say whatever we wanted even if it was insulting to the whole institution of marriage? Should I have just kept quiet while he put down the bride in the sense that she was taking away the groom’s freedom?

Lately, I’ve been dealing with a barrage of opinions on how I am raising my kid. Now, her doctor has said that she is in perfect health. So, the opinions are just that….opinions. There is nothing wrong with my kid.. But regardless, I continuously hear these opinions over and over again. As a stay-at-home mom, that means that the people who share these opinions believe I am failing at my job.

So am I supposed to be the “good Indian girl” and not say anything back? Am I supposed to just keep my head down and let people insult me? Am I never supposed to stand up for myself as a parent?

It’s time that people realize that this stereotype needs to change. And those of us who adhere to this stereotype needs to start standing up for ourselves. If we keep trying to fit the mold, how can we expect anyone else to change their view of us?

I am tired of being the good Indian girl. I just want to be real.

My First Baby

Today, I want to share something personal. Really personal. I think it’s important to share this story of mine because when I have told people about it, I usually hear that they have been through something similar. But they don’t usually share this information freely because of the fear of getting judged, of being blamed for something that is out of their control. Today, I want to share this story so that others know that this is more common than you think.

Statistics say that the risk of miscarriage is 1 out of 4.

After we got married, we decided not to wait to get pregnant. We both wanted a kid. We were ready for a kid. And then, one day, I took a pregnancy test and it was positive! We were so excited. I called my doctor and set up an appointment to go in.

It was pretty cool. We went in and saw our little bean on the ultrasound. We saw his or her heart beating. In the spirit of waiting the traditional first trimester though, we decided to wait to tell our families and friends.

In that time, we went to a family wedding and a few weddings for friends. It was this exciting little secret we had. We couldn’t wait for the day, however, when we could tell the world.

The next appointment came up about a month later. I was so nervous. I had this feeling but I didn’t know if it was because I was just overly paranoid or if something had changed. I kept monitoring my pregnancy symptoms to see if I was feeling nauseous enough or if I was tired enough. I just knew I needed to see my little bean again and make sure that he or she was doing well.

As soon as the doctor looked at the ultrasound though, I knew. She took a while to tell us anything. Then, finally, she told us that the baby hadn’t grown past 6 weeks, when it should have been closer to 10 weeks. She couldn’t see the heart beating anymore.

My heart dropped. I started crying. I was lucky that my doctor was incredibly supportive and just hugged me and said it was okay, that this didn’t mean I wouldn’t have a child later on. She had mentioned she herself had had a couple of miscarriages. My husband and I were just in shock for a bit. Everything we were dreaming of just crashed.

It all seemed so surreal. We were scheduled to go back next week to confirm that it wasn’t just slow development, that the baby wasn’t alive anymore. I spent that whole evening and night crying in my husband’s arms. I spent my time googling everything I could think of where the doctor could be wrong. I just wanted to know that my baby was going to be okay.

We went back the week after. We had had a week to research and hope but went in with very low expectations. The diagnosis was reconfirmed. My doctor set up one more appointment with a specialist to get a second opinion. We saw that specialist that afternoon. That doctor checked and double-checked everything. And she confirmed one more time that I had had a missed miscarriage.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, a missed miscarriage is where women can experience a miscarriage without knowing it. A missed miscarriage is when embryonic death has occurred but there is not any expulsion of the embryo. It is not known why this occurs. Signs of this would be a loss of pregnancy symptoms and the absence of fetal heart tones found on an ultrasound. 

We decided to wait one more week before performing a D&C which is minor surgery to remove the fetus. Unfortunately, my body didn’t recognize that my baby wasn’t alive.

I went to a family friend’s wedding in this time. I couldn’t really enjoy it. I was miserable. All I could think of was that my baby, my first child, was inside of me, not living anymore. I kept thinking that I knew that 3 other friends of mine were pregnant. I was the 1 in 4 that had had a miscarriage.

A week later, I saw my doctor one more time. She checked everything again and scheduled my D&C. It was a quick procedure and I was back at work within 2 days. Physically, my body handled it well. Emotionally though, I was still having issues.

We went on a trip a few days later and even though I tried to put my best face forward, this loss kept hitting me. I knew it was not my fault. I did nothing wrong. I had been taking care of myself and my baby. So many things go through your head though. All of the what-ifs and if I had onlys keep recurring over and over again.

I had a really hard time for the next few months. My body still had to go through recovery and that limited what I could do physically. I still saw a therapist for my emotional recovery. It takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of looking at the positive and to keep thinking that everything happens for a reason. It takes a lot of hoping for a brighter future.

In our South Asian culture especially, blame is often placed on the mother for having a miscarriage as if it’s her fault. Any doctor will tell you that these abnormal chromosomal miscarriages are not preventable. They happen and there’s nothing we can do about it. I wanted to share what I had been through so others that have been through it as well know that it’s not their fault. 1 in 4 is a really high percentage.

Eventually, my doctor gave me the green light to try to get pregnant again. I am now a proud mother of a little girl. I can’t say it was easy though. I worried through almost the entire pregnancy. Every time we went in for a doctor’s appointment, I held my breath. I didn’t feel comfortable until she was safely in my arms.

Even with our beautiful baby here with us now, we will never forget our first child.

See Your Phone? Put It Away!

15 years ago, if you went to a social event and you didn’t know anyone there, you had 2 choices: you could either try to make friends or you could sit in a corner and be by yourself. Now, you have a third option: you can sit by yourself with your phone out.

Have you noticed that people seem to be beyond addicted to their phones? I went to a social event recently and even though all of us don’t see each other that often, there were a few people around the table still on their phones. There’s definitely a range of what they could have been doing. I’ve seen people sitting on their phones in a social setting and playing games, texting other people, or just surfing the internet.

I’m not saying it’s the end of the world but honestly, doesn’t it worry you just a little bit? I want my kid to learn how to talk to people. I think a lot of us developed the ability to be social because we didn’t have the phone as a crutch when we were growing up. Now it seems that it’s used as a distraction in all cases.

You see it all the time. How many of you have seen 2 people sitting at a table at a restaurant and both have their phones in their hands and neither is talking to the other? I have had people talk to me but, at the same time, have an ongoing text conversation with someone else.

What’s going to happen if you don’t look at your phone for a few hours? We used to get by without having constant access to the outside world all the time. If something wasn’t happening in the exact location we were at, we didn’t know about it. Is that so bad? Why are we so scared of missing out on what’s going on somewhere else?

Also, why is what’s going on somewhere else more important than talking to the person that is sitting across from you? Why is it more interesting? The funny thing is that we could be with that other person and we’d be sitting on the phone talking to someone entirely different. Sometimes, I don’t even feel like talking to someone who seems to be more interested in their phone/text/social media conversations than in speaking with a real, live, present person.

There was one time I had gone on a vacation with my family. I was so tired of dealing with the outside world that I decided that I wanted to live in the moment. In order to accomplish that, I decided to leave my phone in our hotel room. It was liberating to not be so attached to something. I was able to really focus on hanging out with my family.

I know we all need our phones. I have a kid. I like to be in touch when I’m not with her just in case she needs me. But I do want to be able to put my phone away when I’m with other people and don’t need to necessarily be in touch with someone that isn’t present. I want to be able to focus on the moment at hand. I want to be present and be able to socialize with the people that are right there next to me.

Can you do it? Can you put your phone away and not look at it for a few hours? Can you break the addiction?

FOMO

FOMO. Fear Of Missing Out.

All my life, I’ve felt (and still continue to feel) like if I don’t attend every social event out there that I’m going to be missing out on something. It’s gotten worse with Facebook because then you know what you’ve been invited to or what events you’re missing out on. You see pictures of these events and it looks like everyone had such a great time and you are nowhere to be found anywhere. I’ve run myself into the ground to make sure that I’m able to be at every event there is. There was a time in my life that I would volunteer for every dance performance, go to every party, be at school, be at work. Needless to say, the only way I realize that I had to stop overextending myself is when my body shut down on me. That’s when I realized that my health was more important than being everywhere and took more time in taking care of myself.

Why do we do this to ourselves? The world isn’t going to stop if we don’t attend everything. I think part of it is (at least for myself) that I feel like people will forget I exist. That comes from a fear of not being important enough that people will remember me. If I always put myself in front of others, then they can’t forget me, right?

It’s an insecurity about who I am. This fear can extend not just my friends, but my family and my husband. It shows the lack of confidence I have in myself to know that I am important to someone. I have to say yes to everything so that these people always see me. And the only way to change it is to really start finding some confidence in who I am as a person. It’s knowing that no one is truly that easily forgettable. It’s knowing that if someone loves you, that no matter what you miss out on, you will get another chance.

I think this fear of missing out also applies to the fact that if I don’t attend something, will I regret it forever? Will it change something in my life that I can never get back again? The truth is probably not. I have missed events before and yet, my life continues on the path that it does. What didn’t happen can never happen, if that makes sense.

Now, my kid comes first. I will miss out on a lot of things. Events like parties at clubs, bars, movies aren’t things that I can go to at this time. I have to just hope that I matter enough to people that they will still try to spend time with me when we can.