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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Living That Postpartum Life

How in the world is he 6 months already? (really next Wednesday he will be 6 months, but close enough)

Neiko can almost sit up all on his own. He loves to bounce around now, as in using his legs to jump, all the time, even while laying, haha. Some teeth might be coming in any day now because everything and I mean everything goes in his mouth and he bites, like really bites. He laughs, smiles, recognizes people and voices, can roll over from back to front and front to back, and is such a happy little butt (one of his many nicknames). We will be starting solids this week!!

I have an idea of how I will be introducing solid foods. I am probably starting with green beans. I wanted to do avocado, but maybe will make that food #2, then introducing other 4-6 month foods.  I want to wait a little bit until I introduce sweet foods just cause he's probably going to love those more than peas and green beans and then I will move on too 6-8 month food including meats (chicken, turkey and protein sources like tofu and beans). Yes, I said meats. I will not make Neiko be a vegan. I want him to make the choice when and if he wants too. But I want to give vegetables and fruits first over grains because I want him to get a wider variety of vitamins and minerals and to get use to these foods before he gets grains.

Okay so that's my Neiko update. Now for my mommy update.

Where to begin... how about this, I have made my first mommy mistakes. There have been head bumps, almost falls, and falls. He fell off my bed the other morning. It was traumatic for me more than him probably. He did a belly/face landing on the ground, cried, but after eating he was acting like himself. There will definitely be more mommy fails to come, that's for sure.

Now I want to talk about the ups and downs of being a new mom. Somethings we never talk about but really need to.

Some typical things we know like hair loss- this was such a thing for me. I jokingly texted a friend saying I think I could have a wig of my own hair. Yes, it was that much coming out. Handfuls in the shower, brushing, and just running my hands through my hair clumps would come out. Being a women, hair is kind of a big thing, it's part of our identity. I've been told it stops around 6 months. Mine might have slowed down, but its still falling out. I take extra biotin to help mine grow but honestly have been thinking of taking collagen to boost it even more. I will let you know if I do decide to do so. It will be a tough decision because it's not vegan.

I love breastfeeding, it is a wonderful thing the female body does. WE PRODUCE FOOD FOR OUR BABIES! God you are truly amazing the way you created the female body. But after a while it becomes a bit frustrating. The society we live in still isn't fully use to it, the logistics of it can be messy, and the clothes- nope! Society tells us breastfeeding is best, yet not all people are open to it. I mean I'm not flashing my boobs in public, but I don't want to feed him in the bathroom, covered up completely (you do need to see what you and the little one are doing while they eat), but not everywhere makes it easy for us to feed our babies. This really, really needs to change. The logistics of feeding a baby who gets distracted, makes you leak, and then sometimes just doesn't want to eat but your body is ready, is all frustrating. Once you get the hang of the latching and the rhythm of feeding, it gets easier, but still sometimes you just want to wear a cute dress. But you can't. I never bought nursing clothes (only a few tanks for home wear) because they are super expensive. And some are really ugly. So I've just made it work, but summer and feeding, its hot and not all that appealing. But I plan to keep at it. And yes, I do pump, but I work 2 days a week to be able to be a stay at home mom and feed in the comfort of my home most of the time. I'm not going to lie, I do look forward to the day we wean, but I know once that day comes I'm going to be feeling differently.

Something I want to touch on is maybe going to make some people look at me differently, but I hope not. I want to touch on those first few days and weeks. Don't be alarmed if you don't instantly fall in love with this new human. Just because they came out of you doesn't mean anything. Honestly it took me probably 3 weeks to really fall in love with Neiko. But once I did, I fell hard. Those first weeks are truly survival mode. You are still figuring out life, this new life you are now living, hopefully as a family. You are sleep deprived. You don't know what he wants. You are trying to get the hang of breastfeeding or putting a bottle together. You are trying to learn his cues. Its rough. Really, really rough. I feel like Nick was WAY better at those first few weeks than I because I just didn't love him the way he did. I didn't play with him the way he did. I compared and I compared hard. I got the logistics down during that time. Like how to change a diaper, how to feed, when to feed, what to pack in the diaper bag, how to clean, etc. But I didn't get that mushy feeling. Not until one day when things just became a bit easier, my normal was falling into place, that's when it happened. Don't get me wrong, I felt for my child, but I didn't feel the way I thought I was suppose to. How everyone tells you you should feel with a baby. It just kind of happened one day. I'm not sure of the exact moment, but one day that little face, those little eyes, they just penetrated my heart and I fell. My message is that it is normal however you feel those first postpartum days, weeks, and months. You are doing great, you did great. You will go at your own pace, but that old saying of when it's your child you will feel differently, I think it's true. Once that baby is yours and in this world, something chemically changes inside of a woman (and a man, fathers don't have it easy either, but that's a whole other post) and your maternal instincts come out. Yes, it may not be true for all women but for most I believe it is.

I'm going to throw a few different but very related themes into this paragraph to hopefully not make this post too long. Postpartum anxiety, figuring out this new You, mommy guilt, and selfishness. Postpartum depression is talked about all the time, but we rarely discuss anxiety and postpartum. If you have anxiety without being a mom, just be prepared that it could worsen. Things are very overwhelming for all moms, but especially so being a new mom. Most of the time you second guess yourself and then feel that others are judging you (well because in our society most of the time they are and they tell you they are). You have your good days but you also have your bad days. When I am  alone, I find those days to be worse. Sometimes you just want to get 1 thing done (like eat), but it never happens. Being trapped inside can worsen feelings of anxiety. Neiko was born in the winter, it wasn't like I could just go out for a walk those first few months, but even the logistics of that can be overwhelming. So take things slow and once you get good at one task, you work on another. But babies grow and need more attention, so just give yourself some slack. I know those words mean well, but don't always apply to every situation. So make sure you talk about it. Talk to someone about how you feel and when you need a break. It is okay to do so. That's when mommy guilt sets in. Yay (cue sarcasm). You feel guilty when ever you do something for yourself. That first time I left the house without him I felt amazing, at first. I didn't miss him, until the thoughts came flooding in: how is he doing, does he miss me, is he hungry, will I get back and be able to pee before I have to feed him. Yup those are all true thoughts. I've learned that I need to take time to be myself and he will be fine with another person for a little bit. Actually, it is very healthy for him to be with other people, but that will be a different post. Now this new you, the you are you but you're not you. Your going to have to discover you. You are a mom. I am Neiko's mom. People care about Neiko before they do me. (They don't mean too, but it happens.) You still love the things you use to love, but now you have less time to spend on them. You are not you because you feel all sorts of new feelings now. Your body is you, but it's not you. Its changed. It's different. You are different. You just need to take time to discover this new you. And that is okay. You will have times of selfishness where you just want to be that old you, but you can't always be her. You want to just sleep in a little longer. You just want to go out without having to triple think if you are missing anything. You just want to go to the grocery store and make it an easy trip. You just want to shower in peace. You can't. There is someone depending on you now. These feelings all come and go, they are kind of your new normal too. You are going to have to feel them out, learn new coping skills, and rely on others to help and allow them to help. Trust me for your sanity you need to let others help.

And not my last topic I want to talk about is sometimes you just want to workout without feeling that anxiety of a baby cry and to get your body back. Postpartum body image. This is also part of the new you. The learning to love every stretch mark, every change, and reshape your image of you. Thankfully I worked out during my pregnancy (if you read the previous post you know I did a workout even the day of). That was my lifestyle choice and luckily I was able to, not everyone is medically able to do so. I listened to my body both during pregnancy and I am postpartum too. I think those first few weeks were the longest time frame I didn't workout in the past oh 8 years or so. I think my first workout was 3 or 4 weeks postpartum. I took it easy at first, but boy did it feel good to move again. It also felt great to take a few moments for myself. I was able to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight about 2 weeks postpartum, I contribute that too the lifestyle I live, but I still had that post baby belly. I'm not sharing that to brag, but to tell you all I went through. I did lose muscle mass and strength during pregnancy, so my new fitness goal is to regain that strength, rebuild my core, and build up my endurance again. Goals I am still working on 6 months postpartum. I am getting use to my new body. I am in awe of what it did, where it has come from, and it continues to amaze me in these postpartum months.

Females are strong. We go through a lot during pregnancy and afterwards. We need to talk about it. About it ALL. We need to share our stories. Women need to know that how they feel is normal. Becoming a mom takes time. It's all a learning experience. If we all talk about every aspect, women will know what to expect more realistically.

Well, if you stuck with me until now, thank you. If you have any areas you want me to elaborate on, please let me know. I would love to chat or write more about any topic here or if you have a question on an area that I didn't touch on, please ask away. I would love to get deeper here on my blog, so help me do so.

Up next is my process of making baby food for Neiko! So, until then. <3

Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Story of Neiko's Birth

For those of you interested, and for myself so that I never forget this story, I want to write down how Neiko came into this world.

First off you are probably wondering where the name Neiko even came from. Well, it was a nickname of Nick's growing up. His mom would call him Nico. One morning Nick mentioned he no longer liked the name Bruce, yes he was going to be Bruce at one time, and then mentioned the name Nico. I looked it up and really liked it. Then me being me choose an interesting way to spell it. Sort of combining the Nico and Neko. And that was that. If you are wondering if we had a girl what the name would have been, it would have been Madelin, after my grandma's middle name. I have always loved that name and always wanted to name a daughter that.

So now the story:

As normal I woke up and worked out, not really thinking about what could be ahead of me that day. It wasn't a crazy workout but did have a lot of squats and wall sits in it, so my legs got a pretty good workout that morning. I had just hit 41 weeks (January 17th) and was scheduled to go for a non-stress test for baby and an ultrasound to check my amniotic fluid levels. The results showed baby's heart rate was low at its times of rest, but increased in a normal range at the time of movement. My heart rate is low and so is Nick's, so this didn't really raise too much of a concern to us or the midwife. She did want me to schedule another non-stress test for the next day to make sure everything was fine and that baby's heart rate really is that low. Then I had an internal exam done. The midwife stated I was 1 cm dilated, 50% effaced, and baby was in a -1 position in my pelvis. This way I knew if anyone asked me where I started from I could tell them. She then did a cervical sweep- that is what it sounds like. She took her finger and did a circle to separate the water sac from my cervix. And this is sort of a natural from of induction.

The car ride home was uncomfortable. I was starting to get cramps and Nick could tell I wasn't myself after that exam. I made the phone call to schedule my appointment for the next day and noticed my cramps were getting a bit intense. So I got home and asked my doula friend if cramps after an internal was normal, she reassured me that yes and gave me some advice to help continue the process along. I laid down to rest a bit and then got hungry. So I made myself some food, this is now about 6pm and the cramps were increasing in pain. I made Nick read me this meditation that the midwives gave me from a class I took with them, while I sat and did hip circles on my ball. We watched the recorded episode of Ink Masters and it was about 9pm at this point and I wanted to go lay down some more. So I tried. The pain was getting more and more. I realized these really are contractions and not just cramps. So we started to time them. The contractions were first 8 minutes apart and lasting 1-2 minutes long. I couldn't lay down anymore so I told Nick to rest while he could and went upstairs to labor a bit. I started out on the toilet- which is actually highly recommended. My mom set up the couch for me to labor on by layering blankets and towels because my water still had not broken. We piled up pillows for me to lean my upper body on and I would get on my knees and rock my hips back and forth when a contraction would hit. I went downstairs to grab a few things and Nick wasn't asleep so he came up to be with me while I labored. It was now about 11/11:30 at this point. I remember just wanting to throw up during this entire time, so there was a garbage pail by me at all times.

I had Nick call the midwife who was on call for advice because my contractions were about 5 minutes apart lasting 2 minutes or so. She recommended that I get in the tub for a bit, so I tried that and didn't really like it. My tub isn't that comfortable. That lasted for maybe 15 minutes and then I didn't want to be wet any more. I went back to the couch and would do my kneeling labor while Nick massaged my lower back during a contraction, that helped a lot. He would then massagem y head between contractions, which was wonderful. I would have walked around, as suggested by all for helping labor be more bearable, but my legs/body would shake uncontrollably between contractions, so all I could do was lay down. It was about 2am now and I was in a lot of pain and the contractions were just about the same in time/duration so we called the midwife again and told her I wanted to come now. We live about 40 minutes from Madison/Morristown- where the office/hospital is located, so I wanted to go. Putting on clothes was a challenge. I threw on a crappy workout bra, a fold over sweater, capri pants, socks, and my coat (belly all sorts of hanging out because I was hot and sweating). I made Nick freeze in the car ride there because I was so hot but shivering because of the hormones I guess. We beat the midwife to the office. She came about 10 minutes later. It was around 2:40am at this point.

I slowly walked up to the office, not really wanting to but rather just wanting to be at the hospital at this point. She had me use the bathroom before she examined me. I had my bloody show while in the car ride there. I told her that and she then examined me. I was 6 cm at this point and we were ready to go to the hospital. We all jumped back into our cars and drove the not even 10 minutes down the road to the hospital. On the way I had some very close together contractions. We got there, it's about 3am now, I waddled my way down the hall stopping at random chairs to get through a contraction. We got to the doors to get into labor and delivery. Buzzed and the front desk woman asked why we were there- um to have a baby?? We get up to the desk, the midwife arrived right behind us, and the lady asked me to check this bracelet, not to mention I was bent over having a contraction giving her the hold on a minute pointer finger. (Like hey lady can you see what I am going through- you may see this everyday but no I can't even think right now.) The midwife asked if Nick could check it, he did. The room wasn't ready yet, so we sat a minute while they checked the tubs. I had another contraction- intense. We walked to the room.

I was put on the monitor and they were checking my blood pressure. They had some questions for me and I would whisper my response to Nick. I had a few more contractions while on the monitor and then I was ready- ready to push. I had 2 of those sensations while on the monitor. My midwife checked me again and I was 10 cm. It was time. They asked if I wanted to get into the tub and I didn't just yet, so I pushed on the bed for a bit. I tired 3 different positions while on the bed. I turned around and pushed on my knees with my arms on the back of the bed and squatted down while I pushed. My body was still shaking between pushes so this position was too painful to stay in. I turned back around. I tried to push while on my side, sitting up, bringing my leg up and holding it. I did this on both sides and then wanted to get into the tub. While in the tub I tried squatting during a pushing sensation, turned around and would bring a knee to my armpit, then the other armpit, and then my midwife had me lay the short way in the tub. I would then bring my legs up and she held my feet, pushing them towards me, while I pushed. And that was the position that made the difference. I pushed a few more times that way and could see the little head coming out more and more with each push. Really I saw hair and wasn't sure what was going on, but I trusted my midwife and she said I was progressing nicely. I remember thinking how much longer of this at one point but never actually asked it. There was a phone call to my room. My mom had come and they wanted to know if she could join us in the room. I was so confused and said no at first then comprehended what I was asked and said yes. My water finally broke. My mom came in. I pushed 3 or 4 more times and the head came out fully. Nick was on my left side, my mom behind me. I pushed again, out came the body. I/the midwife pulled up the baby. We put the baby on my chest and the cries came. I was in such shock. I looked at the little face, beautiful, then turned my child around to see what the sex was- a boy. We all cried. It was such a moment of awe. He was here, finally here. So real, so tiny, so wonderful, so blessed. It was 4:44 am and my little Neiko was born.

We did a delayed clamping of the umbilical cord to allow for all blood flow from the placenta into the baby could happen. We weren't caving the cord blood or my placenta. Nick got to cut it after it was clamped. He then did skin on skin with his child. It was beautiful. I pushed out the placenta, it came out easily- 2 pushes. The water turned red once the blood was let loose in it. I got out of the tub and was slowly moved back to the bed. I was stitched up (only 4) and then put back to have my blood pressure monitored. Neiko was cleaned up a bit and then placed on me. We did skin to skin and we watched him move his way down to feed. He was so tiny. Actually 6.6 lbs. That was all we knew at that time. I breastfeed him for a little while being monitored. Then it was time to move to my recovery room.

After watching a video Nick took later, the midwife did say that when I first started pushing that was the earliest she had seen the head, I think it was all those squats haha. I still wanted to throw up while laboring/pushing. And they would monitor my and the baby's heart rate after each push. But the entire natural thing was worth it. Natural childbirth is painful, I'm not going to lie. I do remember saying to my mom while at home drugs I want drugs but deep down I really didn't. I know my body was made for this, able to bare this, and God was helping me through it. I just needed to focus. I was able to calm down and breathe deep during contractions. Pushing, that was a whole different story. I didn't breathe well while I pushed, I was just so focused on pushing. It was so different and foreign. You don't know exactly where/how to but you do at the same time. It is hard to explain. I also made a lot of nose while pushing. It hurt, so I was vocal about it. Just yells and grunts more than actual words. My midwife did say try to focus that power into the push instead of voicing it because you will go horse the next day (I did). She also told me to get 2-3 pushes or longer pushes with each push contraction. I tried but it didn't always happen. I still got my little Neiko out and it was about an hour of pushing, give or take.

Neiko stayed in my room the entire time we were in the hospital. That first night was an experience. Nurses constantly in and out, taking blood (from my baby), checking in, it was exhausting. Neiko also had bad gas, so I was learning how to comfort him and relieve that for him. I was by myself that first night. Nick was exhausted, he never got the rest I wished him too the night before. Trying to sleep in a hospital is a joke, so I told him to go home. I was fine and had the help of the nurses if need be. He felt guilty but I needed him to be the sane one for once. I had my little man on my chest a lot that night trying to comfort him, his head full of hair rubbing under my chin was heaven. Even though it was not allowed, he and I would dose off a little together, then someone would come in and awake me. We learned a lot together that first night, my little boy and I. Also, I sang "Happy Birthday" to him. Nick and I have our own version, so now the tradition shall be passed on to little man.

Finally Saturday hit and we were able to go home. Neiko had his circumcision that morning (we wanted to be out by Friday, I was totally up for it, but we had to wait on the surgeon to come). By 1 pm we were home at last with our little love. And now the true fun, learning, and forever firsts have begun.

My little Neiko, I am so happy to have you here. I do miss you moving around in me, but holding you, seeing you, smelling you, and hearing you makes it all worth it. I love you my little fox and I thank God each day for blessing your dad and I with you and the responsibility of raising you.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Oh What a New Chapter I am In

That's for sure.

With my past, all the harm an eating disorder does on your body (even if it was "good" intentions that started it, harm is still done), I had come to terms with the possibility of not conceiving. Even Nick was open to the idea of adoption (not saying that door has closed) and my mom was getting use to grand-beardies.

But God is great and can use any situation for His good. And He sure is using my broken body for His good and showing me His redeeming power. We are expecting. It brings tears, even weeks later, to my eyes to write those words down. I am going to be a mom to a little person I am making inside my body. I get to feel every kick, every hiccup, every ache and pain along the way, and then I get to hold that little one in my arms and welcome it to this world. Then with Nick's and our families help along with God's guidance, we get to raise that little person to be whatever God has in store for them.

AMAZING!!!

Motherhood is sure going to be one of the hardest, most challenging chapters of my life, but I have a wonderful husband who I get to parent with, and he is going to be an amazing father. So, I look forward to it. But there are sure a lot of things going on now that I need to get use to first.

How about a changing body. Like every day changing body. Watching your belly, the one spot you don't really want to get big, get big is a huge struggle. Yes I understand the beauty in it all, but coming from the eating disorder, body disorder perspective, its a struggle at times. Then having people say what they mean to be nice words but actually sting just a little to you is even harder.

What I mean is, in the beginning (cause I am definitely showing now) was being told repeatedly of how I don't look pregnant, Which, yes, is meant as a compliment, but deep down it would sting. My body was not (is not) the body I am use to. Coming from wedding body, the fittest and proudest I had been about my body in a while, to an expanding waistline is hard. Looking in the mirror and not seeing what you use to is hard. Not fitting in clothes like you use to is hard. And yes, I get it. Other people struggle with this but in a different way, ie gaining weight, working hard to lose weight, and having their own struggles of the sort. I am not in any way downplaying those emotions. I am trying to explain how I felt each time someone told me I was not allowed to feel uncomfortable in my own changing body. Even though I know that is not what they meant, it was how I took it.

We all need to remember that each individual has their own bag of struggles and thoughts, and we need to respect them. Watching what and how we say something. And those of us taking in those words need to remember that the person is not attacking you, they probably have no idea what is going on inside your head and your body. So let's love one another in every step we take. There's enough hate and damage going on in the world without our words adding to it.

Take a step back today, hug someone you love, tell them how beautiful they are, how great they are doing, and remind them they are loved for just the way they are.

Thanks for taking the time to read this today. It was hard during those first few months getting use to my changing body, fitting hard to not let old thoughts take over, and coming to terms with this new body I am going to have. Each day there is something new, a back pain, knee pain, elbow pain?- yea just today this one started, then went- strange, and a little bit bigger of a belly. I'm coming up to 23 weeks this Wednesday.  Just 4 more weeks to be in that third and final trimester, and then seeing the crazy evolution of those weeks. Then before I know it little one will be here.

We are not finding out the gender, so it going to be even more of a surprising day.

Until next time. <3

And I would like to send a prayer out to all those who are remembering the events of today. My heart breaks for the loved ones lost. The world was never the same after those events. And we continue to fight forward each day but never forgetting. September 11, 2001.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

NEDA Week

As many of you, just as I, may be unaware that this past week (today is the last day) of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. The theme of this years week is "It's time to TALK ABOUT IT."

I wanted to add a little bit more of my story to this week. In the past I have opened up about my eating disorder, but now that was years ago and it isn't a thing that just goes away, rather it is something to choose not to do any more. You choose to fight it every single day.  And sometimes it wins and sometimes you win.

So lets talk more about it. What it is like in the mind of recovery...

Every morning I wake up and thank God for another day. I pray that it will be a good day. Good choices will be made and I honor myself and my body. Then I drink coffee and go about my day.

But what about breakfast- yea that is something I struggle with now and it has been for about 3 years. I very rarely eat breakfast. I was getting better for a bit there just last year and would have some nuts and an apple but it didn't last long. Why? I twisted this idea of intermiten fasting I heard on a podcast a few years ago and it stuck with me. Maybe not the "right" way to do it, but I developed it into my way of doing it. That means- drink coffee and go about your day until lunch time.

Lunch is my first meal and usually is what ever my heart desires, my budget allowed,  and what I cooked for that week. Roasted veggies and a salad, avocado toast, squash toast, tacos, you name it.  And it depends on when I eat this meal because for the past 8 months I have been in an internship to be a real dietitian and thank goodness because dietitians love to eat on a time schedule so it was usually around 12:30/1pm.

Then I go about the rest of my day. Sometimes fighting off hunger because I need to go home and workout. So I would and then I get meal #2. Shock again yes, I eat twice a day usually. (I'll go into it further in a minute.) This meal is usually more of a breakfast type meal of banana bread with almond butter and fruit, oh and chocolate chips, with a side of cashew milk. Then I call it a day. Maybe sometimes I grab some more almond butter, nuts, and chocolate or fruit and milk depending on my hunger level  (or what my mind wants) and then on most nights I go to bed feeling as though I failed another day because I didn't do what I really should have.

So is this really the mind of a person who recovered from an eating disorder? Maybe not so much anymore, but 3 years ago- yes. I just don't know her any more or how to get back to there. But maybe that is the point. I don't necessarily want to go back tot here but rather reach a new level of me with a balance of food.

Food is my tigger. Food will forever be my trigger. Food is what I want to make my life about. Help others with food, with their disorders, help them recover. So why can't I fix myself? I dream about eating like everyone else, not overthinking each bite, not beating my self up when I push too far, and then start the same cycle the next day with that last thought of tomorrow I will do better. Its horrible. It is no way to live. I'm too old for this. But you know what...it is my pattern. When I get too stressed it is what my mind and body knows is "safe" for me to control again. So I do, without even realizing it until it is too late and I find myself right back here- in a relapse. And it sucks.

So I am choosing to talk about it. To be open and real about it. Because I know someone else out there is going through the same thing and needs to know they are not alone. None of us are. And we need that to be known. I am taking steps to make myself better, to help me go back down the path of recovery and not fear.

Make sure you talk about it too- what ever that thing is that eats away at you. If you don't it will start to control you and take a part of you away with it. It is time to TALK ABOUT IT.

<3

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Retire From Self-Care

I borrowed this title from a Joyce Meyer's devotional book "Ending Your Day Right."

Why, because it hit me hard. It perfectly explains my current life situation to a tee.

The verse for the devotional: Acts 16:31
"Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ [give yourself to Him, take yourself out of your own keeping and entrust yourself into His keeping] and you will be saved."

The rest of the devotional spoke about how taking control of your life, the current situation you are in, and not fully entrusting it to God really puts a damper on all of it. Creating your own sense of independence from God means you are better than Him, know better than Him, and that He cannot handle your life the way you want. All of this is a fear driven desire of control.

It is common, if you think about it. You have probably done it time and time again and not even realized it. I know I sure have, many, a many times. But I have also let things go out of my hands and where I am right now is testament of that.

So I haven't blogged in what a year now, again, and I always blame it on my business. Which to an extent is true, but if I have any sort of desire to make this a real thing (blogging) I need to change my priorities, I know and am working on it. But something I haven't been able to share is that right after I got married, God worked His ways and answered a prayer that I had been praying all year. I was accepted (after being turned down, well actually not even looked at) into a dietetic internship. I believe I was turned down so that I could focus on my wedding, not have too much added stress at that moment, and then boom let it happen. God knows me and my stress capacity.

A long time ago, right before going back to finish my bachelor's degree, God spoke to me and told me I would become a dietitian, and believed Him. Well, sort of. It was/is a lot of work to do this whole dietitian thing. Currently I am not working because my internship is a 40+ hours a week (40 hours at a site plus all the course work and assignments I need to complete) job that I pay an institution to be able to do. First year of marriage (a year you never get back) with no income. YAY! =/ It puts a strain on certain things, but I am blessed with an amazing husband who knows all of this is God's plan for me and it is for our future. He encourages me everyday to keep at it, keep fighting, and it will all pay off.

If I never trusted in my Lord, none of this would be happening. I would have given up with trying to be a dietitian, which I had already. But God works in all ways possible to make sure His plan for me was going to happen.

Never give up. Allow God to work in your life, in every situation. And above all else TRUST in Him, He loves you more than you can ever fathom.

Thank you Lord for all the blessings you have given to me last year and all this year will bring.

<3 Stephanie Kile =] my new last name!!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Anxiety Talk

I just recently finished my second semester in grad school. Yay! Getting one step closer to finishing is awesome but still daunting. This semester I was in an Integrative Nutrition course. Loved the concept, not so much the format of the course, but in the end I did learn a lot. (Besides the text book costing like 600 bucks, come on academic world not all of us a rich, so I rented it for like $260.) Rant aside, I wrote a paper on anxiety and alternative ways to treat it. That is what I really want to talk about.

My paper, Herbal Supplementation for Anxiety: Passionflower, Valerian Root, and Kava, was actually really fun to research and write. It also brought up some other questions that I would love to get to research in the future, such as is there a link between eating disorders and anxiety and would that be an avenue for treatment? Hum, I know. But herbal supplementation for anxiety treatment, the ultimate outcome was…. you guessed it more research is necessary to get a definitive answer. Oh the scientific world and your never definitive answers. 

In my research I focused on just three herbs: passionflower, valerian root, and kava, while there are others out there that have been used for anxiety say St. John's Wort which in particular is more commonly used for mood disorders, and yes anxiety falls into this category but mood really encompasses so much more like depression, and that was not really my purpose for this research. So that was the reason for the three herbs I chose, they are more commonly used for anxiety treatment and the most commonly researched herbs. The big two are actually passionflower and kava, with a lot more research having been conducted for kava, and valerian root is kinda of side note because it really effects the calming aspects for sleep, but none the less has calming effects, something a person with anxiety needs. 

Lets start with valerian root. The results of my research showed links towards reduction of anxiety but the sample sizes were small, it is really only meant for short period usage, and has only just started to be researched. The other reason valerian root is grouped into anxiety treatment is because it was found to effect the same pathways that the other herbs did, as well as typical medications prescribed for anxiety treatment. Passionflower, something that is often recommended for anxiety if you go into a health food store and ask what you should take, has been used for centuries to help with stress and anxiety. It is one of the few herbs that the pharmaceutical industry recognizes to be used for treatment as if it were an actual "drug" (meaning prescription worthy). There are many studies that show the positive results associated with passionflower treatment for anxiety with some side effects after using it but minimal like tiredness. Kava, another herb used for centuries in treating restlessness, insomnia, and stress, has a higher sedative effect then the other herbs, but in a good way. It doesn't give users many of the typical side effects like grogginess after use. One pretty bad thing is that it could highly damage your liver and has been banned by some countries (Canada and the United Kingdom) because of this, but you would need to take toxic amounts to get to that point (if you do not have any liver damage already). Studies show great reductions in anxiety scale measures after suing kava, but only in higher dosage amounts.

Now, with all that being said, please don't go off and take all of these things if you struggle with anxiety just because I said "Hey they are great to treat anxiety," no, please don't do that, I do not like to be sued. Thanks. What I am saying is have a conversation with your doctor, see if using an alternative treatment is right for you. There are risks still, but much less than using typical prescription medications, dependency and withdrawals being the big 2 from typical treatment and not with herbal supplementation. The area of research that still needs to be conducted is in dosage amounts and how long these supplements can be used for. 

So if you are struggling with anxiety, don't worry you are not alone, and sometimes it is just a time and moment kind of struggle but sometimes it is a life long thing. Find the right options for you, listen to your body, and you will get better. Even if it is just better in handling it, you can do it! 

I've noticed that only within the past 8 or so years is when anxiety really came into my life, but it also came with a few other issues or causes (thats for another post). I wasn't an anxious child, at least I don't remembering being that way, so anxiety can come at stressful times, but could also go, which gives us hope to fight the good fight and find a way to live a fulfilling life once again!! 

If you are interested in talking more on what I found I would love to do so, if you want to read my paper, I could make that happen too (but no judging or proofreading it, it wouldn't do me any good cause I already handed it in!), but for real I would love to talk about this. And as I mentioned before, I really want to dive into the question of eating disorders and anxiety have something in common because I know depression ties into it as well. 

Thanks for reading even though it wasn't about food but it was about health!! 


<3

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Where Faith Meets Reality

I have been struggling to come up with another post.

Why?

Because I don't know how much I really want to share or how much people would really want to read. Speaking up about my strange lip situation, that was easy because as embarrassing as it was, I knew it would be ok. I keep thinking maybe I should have just stuck with recipes and not tried to expand on this whole life thing. But, over the years I was slowly expanding the concept.

So what has the struggle been? Well, it's shame. Shame for the situation I find myself in. Shame that I feel I have let my loved ones down. Shame that I have let God down. Shame that I will be starting a marriage with what feels like nothing. Shame that I failed.

Don't get me wrong, I know none of that is true. My loved ones aren't disappointed in me. That I have a lot to offer the world and my future marriage. That I haven't let God down. I haven't actually failed at anything. But my daily struggle with not finding another job, not getting into internships to be a dietitian, feeling I have fallen short on this whole journey of becoming a dietitian is a struggle. Asking God what is my next step? Where do I go from here? Why hasn't another door opened up yet? Did I make the wrong choice? How will this all work out for me, my future, my fiances, my education, my marriage, my career? Now what?

I am not trying to get anything from anyone, do not mistake that. I am telling you where I am at the moment. Lost. Lost and praying, a lot. A lot, a lot. I trust God. 100% There is no doubt in that. What I don't know, draws me closer in my faith that I love a God who is looking out for me (Ezekiel 34:12). Who has the best in mind for me. Who has great plans for me (Jeremiah 29:11). My patience is being tested right now. My worry and anxiety, both of which do not come from the Lord, are rising in me. I am trying very hard to not let them take over. It works most days but then a bill comes, I need to register for the upcoming semester, I need food, gas in my car, a thing for the wedding, and the list piles up and the fear of unknowing sets in. It just takes one moment and then the whole day of relying on God seems shattered. It's not true, I know, but its hard this whole waiting time period.

Applying to jobs and never getting word from any, going on an interview months ago and not hearing anything since, writing emails as followups that go un-responded. What has happened to the job world? Why are people so forgetting of what it is like to be in this position. I know I am not the only one here in this spot. So I give us all hope. Things will get better. God is on our side. He loves us. He has perfect timing. I know this to be true. The wait, the faith, the trust continues. Days will be hard, but I will not falter.

Thank you for letting me be honest with where I am. With what has been burdening me to not write because I feared people do see me as a failure. That I lost sight of being an adult and was selfish for quitting a job that made me miserable. I thought long and hard about that point. I could be still in the position, hating every moment of it, asking God why he placed me there, making money, but suffering in all other aspects of my life. Then I remember that is no way to live and definitely not the way God would have wanted me to. I did make the mistake of not having a full back up plan, I will admit that, but I am happy in a sense that I have my sanity. Where God needs me to be is here for this moment, I will work on that for now.

<3