Oh, baby!

Let me first start out by saying that this entry will probably be a long one, but I promise that if you stick with me, you’ll be glad you read this. You’ll finish reading and have a better understanding of why we chose this and how this process works.

My body does not respond well to pregnancy. After three miscarriages, I can no longer put myself or my body through the failing feeling of pregnancy loss. IVF is something I just can’t wrap my brain around trying for me. I know plenty of people that have had success using this method and I applaud and celebrate that. For me, for my body, for my mental health, I know that trying to conceive is just not a thing for me. Have I accepted that? No. Does anyone ever really accept that? Maybe, but not me. It is what it is. I didn’t choose this, this decision was made FOR me. Carrying a baby is not what God wanted for me.

Recently, the news came out on Facebook that we are in process of becoming foster parents to babies born drug addicted. The response has been overwhelming and almost everyone we know has been supportive and overjoyed for us. I get asked if I’m pregnant fairly often. It’s a stinging question. I hate saying no. It physically makes me ache to say no. It reminds me every time that my body has failed me and then I internalize that as, “I have failed.” I know that you just read that and thought it was the silliest thing ever, and you’re right, but in the weak moment of heightened sensitivity a part of me is ripped to shreds. What I wouldn’t give for that baby bump. To feel the life growing inside me, depending on me to nurture it while it’s floating around in my protective belly. Nobody is trying to be hurtful by asking this question. It’s the natural question to ask! Logically, I remind myself of that and carry on. Emotionally, I carry that around for a little while. It pinches at my heart. I can’t help it.

So that brings us to the choice to become foster parents. There will (eventually) be the opportunity to adopt a baby that we are foster parents to, but until then, we will love, nurture, swaddle, kiss, hug, feed, bathe, rock, pat, teach, laugh with, cry over, and obsess about the babies we are going to take care of. At first, we don’t plan to accept more than one baby into care at a time. We know we need to get our bearings before we allow two babies at once or an infant/toddler sibling set.

The process is a long one to become a foster parent. We’re going through Catholic Community Services, so they’re a private agency. Everything has been free, so far, but there has been miles of paperwork and red tape. For starters, we had to write a 26 page autobiography on our lives. It asks you every detail of your life from infancy to present day. Some of those questions were extremely difficult to answer, especially those pertaining to childhood, domestic violence, sexual assault, mental abuse, mental health, addiction, and things of that nature. It’s hard to rehash those painful events, especially on paper, because then you’re staring at it. You’re looking at your heartache and you’re going through those emotions all over again. This is one reason I’ve refused to go to counseling; because I don’t want to feel all of that pain again by talking it out with someone who doesn’t know me, but I wrote it all out. Word for word. Feeling for feeling. Action for action. It was really hard, but for this baby, or these babies, I let it flow. We’re already so protective over a child(ren) that we don’t even have yet. To anyone thinking that foster parents aren’t real parents, I ask you to re-read this paragraph and tell me if this isn’t what a biological parent would do for their kid.

This isn’t just about The Cushing’s or the baby for that matter. This is about the bio parent(s), too. What’s imperative to realize in this situation is that, in order for our family to grow, their family has to fall apart. We are seeking to being a blessing to these babies, yes, but also to their parents. Addiction is an illness, don’t argue with me on this point – you won’t win. While we’re snuggling with babies and watching them grow, their parents aren’t. Instead, the bio parents are attempting to grow in their own ways. Getting clean and sober, finding housing, finding transportation, a job, and finding themselves again. It’s really sad when you think about it. Statistically, these biological parents were also “in the system” as kids. Breaking the cycle is imperative. This is about building a family for us and for them. And no matter what we do to love this child, they will always love their bio parents. My dad was/is a real asshole. He’s an addict and always has been. He has chosen himself over everyone and everything. But do I sometimes wish he would have got his shit together so we could have remained a family? Do I still love him despite the disappointment, dismissal, and the heartache he has caused me? YES. It’s no different for these kids. The kids, the parents, and the family unit as a whole deserves a second chance. We’re here to support that because Mitch and I believe in doing the right thing for others, and more importantly, we believe in family.

As I said before, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. We can’t thank everyone enough for everything they’ve done for us. The common questions are wondering when we’ll get our first baby and what the gender will be. Well, we won’t know either of those things until we get “the call” that a baby needs a home. We expect to have a baby the beginning of May, when our foster parent license comes through. We’re told time and time again that there are more babies than there are homes, so we should expect to get a baby before the license even arrives in the mail. Once it’s approved by all the big wigs, it’s open season. That’s the reason we need all of the key baby items before the baby arrives. We can’t get licensed until we have everything we need. Hence, why there are TWO baby showers that have been thrown for us. There’s one this Sunday, April 3rd at 1:00 p.m. and the second one is Saturday, April 16th at 1:00 p.m. also. We registered at Target and Amazon at the request of some friends.

At first, we were afraid to really tell anyone about this. The reason? Four years ago, we made the very public announcement that we were going to become foster parents through the state. People were excited, of course, and my mom threw us a shower. After we finished the training classes through the state, we were very discouraged by things and ultimately decided that it wasn’t right for us. It was humiliating to tell people that we weren’t going through with the process at that time. Most people were nice about it and they allowed us to return gifts or send them to families that were in need. We had barely gotten through step one and just knew that going through the state wasn’t for us. We realize that four years has changed so many factors for us now. For one thing, we’re going through a private agency, but for another, we have a home of our own with lots of extra space, we have better jobs, two vehicles, and a lot more support now than we did then. Sometimes people say hurtful things, but they probably don’t mean it. They probably just don’t realize how it comes off.

I told you this entry was going to be long. I hope you have a bit of a better understanding about how this process works and what’s inside my crazy mind. I should also point out that I referenced myself for most of this entry and that shouldn’t overshadow Mitch’s position in this entire process. We are going through this together as a unified team, but it would be easier for him to write how he’s feeling than for me to explain it. So maybe Mitch will guest author an entry here so he can tell you what it feels like in his mind. I can’t wait to see who he becomes as a dad. I have negative 3,000 worries about him. He’s going to be such a great father. I can hardly stand to see him in action. Me, I’m a little more worried about. My biggest fear of being a mom stems from things that happened to me as a kid. I don’t want my kids to hurt into adulthood because of something I did or didn’t do right. No pressure!

As always, thanks for the love, support, and sharing of this blog. I sure hope I’m not the only mom to be with these thoughts, but it wouldn’t be the first time I marched the beat of my own drum and it surely won’t be the last. I hope this message brings clarity, understanding, compassion, and support. If it brings negativity, please refrain from responding.

xo,

A

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Lessons learned and hope reborn

Week two was hard. I really struggled. 

So I weighed in this morning and I was pleasantly delighted to see that I lost another pound. Not 13 pounds like last Monday’s weigh in but one whole pound. I struggled a lot last week. My cycle came in like a wrecking ball and I just felt shitty. I didn’t work out that hard, if at all, and the cravings were fierce! I’m happy to say that I didn’t give into them but maybe once when we went out for Mexican food on Friday night. The chips and salsa were after me and I just let it happen. I’m not mad about it. If that’s the worst thing I gave into then I won’t beat myself up for it.What I realized after losing one pound in the last week is how much this program truly works together to make you feel good, make good choices, and help you lose weight. Hope is not something I have felt for myself in a long time…maybe ever. To feel like I can actually do this and defeat my weight problems is motivation in and of itself. I’m still basking in the glow of my now 14-pound weight loss.

What I realized after losing one pound in the last week is how much this program truly works together to make you feel good, make positive choices, and help you lose weight. I’m still basking in the glow of my now 14-pound weight loss. In two weeks, that’s quite the plunge and I’m really happy, but it’s imperative I go hard on my workouts every day and I continue to eat the way I’m supposed to. When combined, those elements brought me a huge loss in the first week. I know that weigh ins like that will begin to dissipate as I continue to go through this journey from fat to fit, but as long as I am putting better food into my body and working out, I’ll never be doing myself wrong.

The food I’m eating is still incredible and Mitch is even getting into all these Paleo recipes. Honestly, I haven’t eaten this good in a long time – if ever! Something interesting I noticed is how my stomach reacts to the foods I’m eating. I had my gallbladder out when I was 12, and if you’ve had a gallbladder surgery you know that your tummy likes to revolt whatever it is you ate. Since eating better, my body isn’t rejecting the foods I’ve been eating like it used to. I can only see positivity in this because that means it’s saying, “Hi, yes, I love the food you’re putting in me now. I don’t want to kick it out of you violently anymore. Better yet, I’ll let it stick around so you can retain the nutrients from your most recent nosh fest!” Thanks, Mr. Tummy!

My focuses this week are to go hard on my workouts Monday through Friday, accept that I’ll likely skip weekend workouts (and that’s okay), stay focused on my eating plan, drink more water, and know that when Saturday comes around and it’s our big Bunco fundraiser, I’ll allow myself to partake in a small bit of the goodness we’re serving to our guests. Who says no to a full nacho bar and custom cupcakes??? I won’t completely lose my shit and eat 45,000 pounds of nachos (because I totally could) but I’ll be really mindful of my portion sizes. Like I said, I’m going to work really hard all week to earn more weight loss on Monday morning, but I’m also not going to feel horrible about myself when I enjoy the festivities on Saturday. I realize that it’ll be one bad meal…not a gateway to throw my hands up in the air and yell, “F it!” for the entire weekend.

It feels so good to feel better in my skinny jeans. Even the little things like feeling like I fit into my car more comfortably has been a glimmer of happiness for me! Shameless plug time. If you’re interested in doing this program, leave a comment  or send me an email so you can get your questions answered. No pressure!

Thanks for reading! Feel free to share or “follow” my blog!

xo,

A

I’m such a loser!

When I jumped on the scale last night “just to see” I definitely jumped the gun along with it. It turns out I didn’t lose 4.9 pounds. Instead, I lost 13! It has taken me close to an hour and talking with two friends that have shared weight loss journey’s to believe it, but it’s true. I lost 13 pounds my first week!

From a sedentary lifestyle to working out daily. From unlimited portion sizes to strict portion control. From all the wrong foods to all the right foods. 

As I told my friends, I guess it’s hard to believe because I’ve never really been able to celebrate when it comes to my weight. To be standing on the ground 13 pounds lighter is to be standing on foreign soil. I had it in my mind that I wouldn’t see any weight loss and I would be okay with that because I knew I was doing something good for my body regardless. Now look! I’m more motivated than ever!

Of course, I know not every week will be like this and I know that there’s a large portion of this that is probably water weight, but a 13 pound loss? I’ll take it!

#weighlosslikeaboss

 

Getting my feet wet

It’s Sunday night, so it has officially been a full week since I started the Beach Body 21 Day Fix program. Overall, I feel healthier but I’m not sure if that’s just because I’m making a conscious effort to treat my body much better or if I am legitimately already experiencing physical changes. I can tell you one thing for sure, I put on one of my favorite t-shirts on Saturday and felt like there was a bit more wiggle room in there. If nothing else, I’ve lost some water weight and an inch.

Okay, so I just decided to go weigh myself and I’ve lost 4.9 pounds!!! I should weigh myself again in the morning because I’m wearing all of my clothes and because it’s the evening. When I weighed in the first time it was the morning. If this is correct, I’m going to lose my mind!

On a scale from 1-10 in terms of difficulty, my first week would rate at a solid 5. It was pretty easy to eat “the good stuff” instead of the “the bad stuff.” The 21 Day Fix program is basically a clean eating program that Beach Body helps you follow. You also do a workout every day. I’m not about to start this blog off by lying. I skipped my weekend workouts. I know, I know. I’m only sabotaging myself but I have a really good excuse (notice that I didn’t say reason). This next sentence might be a little TMI so feel free to skip it and go to the next paragraph. Last chance! Okay. So I ended up having a little visitor surprise me on Friday. Ladies, you know this visitor. She’s an aunt of yours and she usually makes you feel like shit. Yes. I started my first period in over a year…at least. I attribute this to the exercise. And even though it has made me crampy, emotional, and send my cravings through the roof, I didn’t give in.

On Friday night, I ended up getting kidnapped by a few girlfriends and taken to the casino for bingo and slots. As always, it was a ton of fun but I got nervous on the ride over. They have THE BEST cheese fries, chicken strips, and popcorn there. Not to mention unlimited refills on your beverage of choice. My friends ordered chicken strips and fries, a burger and chili cheese fries, and an Indian taco with potato wedges and cheese sauce for dinner. One of my friends brought a box full of delicious donuts that sat next to me all night since I had more elbow room. You know what I ordered? An effing chicken salad! Was it delicious? Of course it was. Was I regretful that I didn’t splurge? No. Did I want to lick everything at our table? Absolutely!

“Oh, Aubrey, just take one bite, it won’t kill your diet. Having one won’t kill you. You’ve done so well all week, just treat yourself. You’ve earned this. You can have a little bit and then stay focused the rest of the time.” 

You know who said that to me? ME! If you ever worry that you’re the only one to self-sabotage out there, here I am flailing my arms saying that’s not true. Imagine if you had a friend sitting right next to you saying all those things. They wouldn’t be a very good friend, would they? You’d want to cut that person out of your life since they clearly didn’t have your best interest at heart, wouldn’t you? Well, that’s what I’m trying to do. That “friend” is my inner fat girl and she’s begging for me to recognize how hard this is. She’s begging for me to fail…again. Sorry, sister, but you’re becoming a distant friend.

Included are a few of my favorite meals from the week. You’ll see the Shakeology shakes I have for breakfast that taste like dessert. No, seriously! The Greek yogurt and raspberries was a little too tart for my liking. The quinoa and chicken was quite tasty. I added dried cherries to the quinoa and it about changed my life. The stir fry – hands down, the best meal of the week! Flank steak, red and yellow peppers, carrots, brown rice, and red pepper flakes. So. Damn. Tasty! Finally, new yoga pants and leggings because Lane Bryant was having a killer sale and who wants to work out in plain clothes?

[insert infomercial] If you’re interested in learning more about Beach Body I am a Beach Body coach and I can help answer your questions. Comment below and I’ll get in touch with you!

xo,

A

#weightlosslikeaboss