When life gives you sour lemons…

I was planning to post my week 17 update today, but sometimes real life happens and we need to change things up a little.

I very recently, as in the last hour, found out I didn’t get the job I interviewed for last week. If you read my post from a few weeks ago, you may understand just how difficult this news is to receive.

I am not above understanding that we don’t always get what we want. I am very fortunate to have experienced a lot of success in my life to date and I realize that others may just be a better fit or more qualified for a role than I am. However, in these situations, doesn’t it always just feel a little personal?

Everyone will try to tell you it’s not, but, at the end of the day they didn’t pick me and to be honest with you, that feels pretty personal.

I was really excited about this opportunity. On paper, it was a dream job at a dream company. During my in-person interviews, I felt even more eager to impress, land the job, and prove that I could perform even better than they expected me to right away. The people were great and the atmosphere was humming. I left feeling really confident and optimistic good news would only be a few days away.

I even filled two online shopping carts with more work-friendly maternity wear. I was ready.

So, today kind of sucks. I find myself fighting negative thoughts that I am not good enough or that I wasn’t what they wanted. Whether or not that is true, my mind can sometimes be my worst enemy.

Trying to find a new job while pregnant has been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever experienced from an emotional standpoint. At times, a huge part of me feels like maybe this is just my time to focus on myself and everything that goes with becoming a mother – a role that is so special and so unbelievably rewarding that I do really want to savor every second of it. These feelings make me question whether I should even pursue a new full-time job and at times, these feelings also make me doubt my ability to focus my attention on my career.

But then, in preparing for the many rounds of interviews I’ve been going through over the last three months and once again opting to hit the “apply” button, I know in my heart and in my gut just how important my career is to me and that doubting my abilities to be both a mother and a professional woman is really just fear of not being good enough at either.

I knew if I got this job it would be challenging. I would be taking on a major stressor at a time in my life that is already riddled with change and varying emotions. I knew my husband and I would have to have many conversations about how we want to raise our baby and think really hard about childcare options, with both of us working full-time jobs. But, I still wanted it and that’s the part that makes today’s news just really difficult.

So now, I am just feeling a tad stuck and think I just need to spend some time thinking through my next move. I have a few really great freelance opportunities that I think might be the best option for me at this point. It’s not that I wasn’t excited or passionate about them, because I definitely am, I just had my sights set on something else for a while so I need to  go back and revisit this ever-changing master plan.

What I do know though is there will be no more hiding or disguising my pregnancy, because at four months pregnant, babes is showing and I proudly want him/her to.

So I’m moving forward with my head up, my mind cleared (thanks to the therapeutic benefits of writing and sharing this) and focusing on the next thing life has to offer. After all, the lemons may be sour right now, but something sweet could be just around the corner.

-Caitlyn

 

 

He or she: What will babes be?

“Do you know what you’re having?”

Hands down, this is always the second question people ask me after I tell them I am pregnant. People, and not just those in my life, seem to be obsessed with finding out their baby’s gender. When I first got pregnant, I read so many blog posts and online articles about how early you can find out and how some mamas-to-be even decide to do first-trimester genetic tests just to find out the sex of their baby earlier than the standard 20-week anatomical ultrasound. I think I read recently that somewhere around 85% of mamas-to-be find out the baby’s gender now. While I can certainly appreciate the desire to want to know, I hate to break it to all of you, but hubby and I are opting for the full-blown surprise on this one.

Why did we decide to not find out our baby’s gender? A few reasons.

Shock Value

Before we were even pregnant, Jeremy and I talked about this. I actually was always on Team Find Out, but he wasn’t. When I asked him why, his reason not only melted my heart, but it also made me do a complete 180 in my thinking. He said that as adults, there are very few true surprises left in life and having your baby’s gender revealed at birth really is the ultimate surprise.

I mean, really, how sweet is that?

Both or Neither

While I agreed with Jeremy, I also knew we had to be on the same page with the decision because there was no way I would be able to find out and then have to keep it a secret from him. As I have declared before, I am a horrible secret-keeper. So one of us knowing was just not going to be an option.

Fashion Crisis

Another thing that has become more clear to me now is that knowing or not knowing isn’t really changing how we prepare for baby’s arrival. Honestly, if anything, it’s saving us some money in not being able to go out buy a ton of adorable outfits (yet!). But, I am not a girly girl, so if babes happens to be a girl, I don’t foresee myself dressing her in pink ribbons, bows, and tutus. In fact, I actually prefer neutrals anyway so any clothing bought-to-date has fallen in the grey, blue, white, and yellow color palettes. While it might make it a tad difficult for friends and family members to buy cutesy outfits for when babes grows, I am okay with that. I find shopping in both the girls and boys sections yields some amazing finds. Who knew I was so progressive?

Nursery Decor

If you saw the sneak peek preview of our nursery in a few of my latest Instagram posts, you will also notice it’s very gender neutral. The walls are a teal blue and all of the furniture and accents are white. Personally, I find this palette very calming and soothing and it would have been my preference, even if I knew the gender.

Naming

When it comes to naming, I think it’s just as easy to have ideas for both a boy and a girl. This was another thing Jeremy and I talked about before we were pregnant, so we’ve been pretty set on our names since the very beginning.

Doesn’t all of this just seem a lot less stressful than people make it out to be?

Whether you agree with our logic or not, the truth of the matter is that in 23 weeks (plus a few days), my husband and I will get the surprise of our lives and I cannot wait for that moment.

Did you find out your baby’s gender? What was your reasoning for doing so or not? I would love to hear your stories so please feel free to share them with me.

-Caitlyn

Pregnancy & Produce: 16 Weeks

Today marks 16 weeks + 3 days pregnant and babes is the size of an avocado (aka California’s butter. I recently heard that and for some reason find it so funny). We’ve officially moved on from round orange fruits! Hooray.

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Image courtesy of The Bump

I spent some time this past week randomly thinking (obsessing?) over things I can’t wait to eat and drink once babes arrives. I don’t know why I did this or what good it did me, but it happened so I feel like I might as well fill you in. Here’s my working list:

  • Poached Eggs
  • Diet Coke
  • Sushi
  • Wine. All of it.
  • Saint Archer IPA
  • Brie

The funny thing is, I could probably go weeks without ever eating or drinking any of those things before, but now that I can’t have them, I want them. I am convinced pregnancy has just reverted me back to a 12-year-old child who wants what they can’t have.

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But in all reality, if all goes to plan I will be consuming that entire list (plus whatever else gets added in the next 24 weeks) on February 3, 2018. Though, now that I think about it, some of these might not be so conducive to breastfeeding. Ugh. Life will never be the sam. I know I am being overdramatic and am well aware that a newborn baby is a million times better than a big glass of wine and warm brie. (It is, right?)

Moving on…to contrast thinking about things I can’t have, I have also been thinking about some exciting things that are coming up, such as feeling babe’s first little movements. I’ve read these can be felt around this time, so I am eagerly awaiting the first little flurries.

My hubby and I also (mostly) finished the nursery this weekend, which is so exciting. After changing the room and paint color, I must say I am very happy with how it has turned out. We are still looking for the perfect chair and I ordered a custom piece of art from Etsy that is still on it’s way, but for the most part we are done. I plan to share photos and details in a few weeks so stay tuned for that.

Babes has also really started to show, which has been really fun. I’ve noticed my little bump since eight weeks, since I am rather petite it was obvious when things started to change, but it’s definitely much more noticeable to the outside world now.

Exhibit A:

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16 Weeks

I even fit into my maternity pants now, which is fun, but also means the other 99.9% of my wardrobe is starting to move further back into the closet. While I think these hacks for making your normal clothes fit through pregnancy are super creative, I’ve noticed certain things just sit on me weird, making me look round instead of pregnant. The way I see it, this might be the only time I am expecting in my life so I want to show it off. Therefore jeans that sit mid-bump and are held up with elastic bands just doesn’t really appeal to me.

Other than babes growing and my insatiable hunger persisting, not much else is really knew on the symptom front. I am still feeling really tired and have been having some extremely vivid dreams (some not so nice, to be honest), but other than that I am feeling great and excited for this journey to continue.

Lastly, I just want to thank all of you for your comments on my last post. That was a difficult one for me to share publicly, but you made it all worth it and I definitely felt better getting it off my chest. To give you a quick update on the job front, that interview I referred to went extremely well and I am actually heading into their offices this week for onsite interviews! I am thrilled and while I have no idea how I am going to navigate the pregnancy thing, I am just going to take it one step at a time and be grateful for the opportunity to show them who I am and what I am capable of.

I will keep you updated!

-Caitlyn

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Hire: Pregnant & Unemployed

You know what’s fun? Experiencing the highest of highs and one of the lowest of lows all within a 24-hour period. Then, in between those two events, sandwich in a 14-hour international flight and an additional two hours sitting alone in an airport immigration office and you have an itinerary for one memorable day.

That was me on June 5th – the day my husband and I learned we were expecting our first child. It was also the day I was lost my job.

If you know me, you know that work is very important to me. I am an extremely driven person, usually tackling multiple major life things at once (hello owning a business and doing my master’s degree at the same time, or the time I took a full-time job while in my third year of undergrad). I derive a lot of positivity and self-worth from my career so not working – in the few times I have been in that situation in my life – tends to be a very difficult experience for me.

Long before taking this particular job, Jeremy and I were trying to conceive and I remember thinking to myself, “I am either going to get a job or I am going to get pregnant.” Not that it had to be one or the other, that was just the way I was feeling at that time. When I did get the job, I figured that was the right path for me – that we would wait a little longer for our baby. So as I rode the subway home from the airport on June 5th and got the news about my job, I couldn’t help but see the irony in the whole situation. The universe can do wonders with timing, can’t it?

But, let’s back this story up a bit so I can give some context.

For the first time ever, I decided to take a job as a contract employee. The reason I did this is because the company it was with was extremely reputable and one of the top brands in the world so I figured this was my way in. The role was okay – not exactly my passion, but again, I figured it would be a good way to get in, gain experience, meet people, and then determine my next move. I wanted to take my time to try on this company just as I am sure they wanted to try me on, so the contract thing seemed appropriate. It wasn’t a short contract. It was to last into 2018, so I felt comfortable going in knowing I would be on board for a good amount of time.

About a month into my time there, I went on a vacation. It was pre-planned and they knew about it when I was hired. As a contractor, you don’t get paid time off, so a vacation really meant no contact with work. While that may sound glorious, it’s a little nerve-wracking to be so new in a job and completely out of touch for 10 days. Anyway, as vacation came to an end and we prepared to head back home, I got a text from my staffing firm saying they needed to talk to me urgently. I was confused and suddenly extremely nervous. My husband tried to reassure me that nothing was wrong, but I knew in my gut something wasn’t right. Because we were traveling, I had to sit with that ominous text for the entire 14-hour flight home. They wouldn’t say anything over text, but wanted to connect on the phone when I landed.

So, after I sat through an additional two hours in immigration once I landed (always a joyful experience entering this country as a working non-citizen), I called my staffing firm and they dropped the bomb: I was being let go and was told not to return to the office at all. I was shocked. I literally had been there a month, which is barely enough time to get your footing in a new job, but I felt I had put in a lot of energy in the time I was there and had started to make real progress in my role. I had received the most positive feedback from my boss – a feedback loop which is mandatory and weekly when you start out in a contract role – so I just didn’t understand where this was coming from. On top of that, I was told not to contact my boss or anyone else at the company and to direct any questions through my staffing firm – questions they answered vaguely and without compassion.

No one from the company itself sent me a message or called, not even my boss. No “I’m really sorry about this …” or “I wish you the best of luck”. Nothing. Silence. I even had to orchestrate the most awkward returning of my desk items, because I literally was let go with a desk full of my personal things and instructions to not return.

So there I sat, on the subway, my head swirling in shock – in shock because I was let go (which has never happened to me before), the shock of how disrespected I felt, and the shock of knowing through this whole thing, I was expecting a child with now no idea what I was going to do for work. I mean, who would hire a pregnant woman?

To be honest with you, I’ve waited a long time to write this. I’ve thought about it every single day since then and have gone through a series of emotions: anger (still am), disappointment, disbelief, joy (I mean, a baby!) and I never wanted to write something that would come off as resentful (though, I admit I am) or privileged (because, people lose their jobs all the time). But, this is an extremely difficult situation for me because at this particular time in my life I am craving some degree of stability in my professional life while I navigate this entirely new experience taking place in my personal life. Someone can only take so much, right?

So, here we are. I started applying for jobs a few days later and have been on this weird journey of trying to figure out if/when I should tell potential employers I am pregnant. I received one offer and sincere interest from two separate companies that just were not the right fit for someone expecting a child in six months. The one that offered me the role, I never told them about the pregnancy and the second, they said it wouldn’t be a deterrent for them, so I am not saying they discriminated against me. I am just saying the roles and locations of the companies just didn’t make sense for me at this phase of my life. I had one interview for a freelance contract role (which sounded flexible and great as an option) and the second I told her I was expecting, I immediately felt a shift in her tone and she couldn’t wait to get off the phone.

It’s been two months now and I am still feeling heartbroken about the whole situation. I want to work, I know I am more than capable of it and do not – and would never – see pregnancy as a handicap. I want to work until the birth of my child and then return a little while after the baby is born. I hate that I have to navigate the politics of disclosing it in interviews and fear that discrimination does truly exist, especially in such a competitive market like the Bay Area.

But, nevertheless, I continue forward with another interview in 30 minutes – one I am really hopeful and excited about. The only thing I can do is put myself forward as the best possible candidate and then navigate each situation as best as I can while staying true to myself as someone who is open and honest and worthy of a great opportunity.

-Caitlyn

 

A photo of navel oranges

Pregnancy & Produce: 15 Weeks

It has been a busy few days, but I am excited to share my latest update with you, which spans weeks 14 and 15 of my pregnancy. Here’s what’s been going on:

Easing into my second trimester 

Ushering in my second trimester has been lovely, however I definitely feel like the pregnancy is starting to go by slower now and that’s likely for a few reasons:

  • When I found out I was pregnant, I was already five weeks into the journey, so the weeks after that just seemed to go by in the blink of an eye.
  • There was a lot of anticipation and excitement during the first trimester, including telling our families, seeing our little one for the first time, and – of course – telling the world.
  • Everything was new. There was so much to read, so many doc appointments, so many apps to download, and so many plans to get underway.

Now, baby is baking and I’m kind of sitting here just writing blogs about it (haha).

Anyway, in fun news, Baby Evans is now the size of a navel orange, which is awfully specific if you ask me. Hooray! We’ve graduated from a peach to an orange, even though they don’t look all that different, depending on the size of your peach (or orange). I’ll stop now.

15weeks_navelorange

Image is courtesy of The Bump

In maybe more important news, we have checked the box on one critical thing: our First Trimester Screen. By way of blood tests and a detailed ultrasound, babes was checked for signs of specific chromosomal abnormalities, including Down Syndrome and Trisomy-18 and we’ve received positive news on that front, which is so great. I will gladly accept the accolades on those results.

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A 3D ultrasound of Baby Evans at 14 weeks

Other than that, the last few weeks have been great. I’m still feeling pretty tired, despite rumors the fatigue would dissipate in the second trimester. I’m also so hungry, like starving, all the time, which I guess is a positive sign that babes is growing and needs lots of goodies in order to do so. We just won’t talk about the grape soda I had last week, or the spaghetti carbonara I had for lunch…

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Making Friends

As I mentioned in my announcement post, my husband and I do not have any family here in California. We’re lucky enough to have a few good friends who do live in the Bay Area, but other than that, we don’t really have a large support system here. Given that and the fact that many of my closest friends from back home don’t have kids (yet), I was starting to feel a tad lonely on this journey to motherhood. I was eager to meet some other moms so my best friend told me about this app called Mush, which is apparently huge in the U.K. and just starting out over here in the U.S. Mush connects moms who live nearby who have similar interests, all things you detail on your profile. Think of it like Tinder, but for mom friends. Anyway, I signed up and to my surprise, there were a handful of moms living near me and while none of them were pregnant (like me), I was still excited to see many with really young children. Let the dating begin.

Meeting new friends as an adult is hard, let’s be real. And, it’s even harder when you’re not working at the moment, but I was hopeful that being a mom-to-be would open up a whole new group of people to meet and talk to. Pretty quickly I connected with a lovely woman who just had a little baby girl a few months ago, adding to her existing family of five (husband and three kids). We’ve been chatting lots and have hung out a few times and I am feeling truly grateful that Mush brought us together. We live within walking distance of one another and so far she has been a great source of information as well as a really sweet friend to talk to about so many things, including pregnancy and, of course, Game of Thrones. Her kids are adorable and I can’t help but look at her family and see my future (just maybe not with four kids).

So, I guess I can consider that a successful match courtesy of Mush. Didn’t people say dating was really hard? I look forward to many more hangouts with her and her family and we’re planning a BBQ to introduce our husbands in the coming weeks. Cross your fingers they get along as well as we do!

Celebrating Baby Evans

Plans are underway for several events to celebrate Baby Evans back home in Canada. Since we don’t make it home all that often, we’ve decided to tweak the traditional baby shower idea and instead have larger gatherings that bring together all of our close family and friends to catch up and celebrate together. These gatherings will be co-ed, so Jeremy and all of his close friends can join in as well. After all, it’s his baby just as much as it is mine. We’re really looking forward to planning these events with our gracious hosts (cough, #auntdar and Momzie) and having the chance to celebrate with everyone we care about. Baby Evans sure is spoiled already.

So, I think that brings you up to speed for now. Stay tuned for a post later this week where I give you the low-down on my work situation. Let’s just say the news about Baby Evans wasn’t the only piece of news I received on that particular day…

And, just a really quick shout out to everyone who has been following along here and on Instagram. I truly am only writing this blog as a way to process my feelings as I go through this life-changing experience and it means a lot to me to hear from friends, family members and other mamas out there. So, thank you.

-Caitlyn

 

Working out for two: Mind and body

I have never liked working out or really any sports for that matter. My parents tried to get me interested in all sorts of activities: gymnastics, figure skating, swimming, but nothing ever stuck. I was always more interested in making friends at my lessons than learning what the instructor was teaching. Can’t fault a girl for being friendly, can you?

As I have gotten older though, I have found one activity that has held my attention and that’s yoga. I think I fell for yoga because while it was great for my body, I was compelled by the incredible things it did for my mind.

I’ve suffered through my share of anxiety (who hasn’t these days?) and yoga became the perfect remedy for that. When I was feeling all the wrong kind of energy flowing through my body, I knew I had been off my mat for too long. Yoga, to me, is a constant companion – always there waiting for you when you need it. A best friend, of sorts.

When I became pregnant, I was immediately researching how soon I could attend prenatal yoga classes. I was surprised when I found out my current studio doesn’t offer those classes, so I found the next best thing: YogaWorks. Through their online offering, MyYogaWorks, you can take unlimited yoga classes in the comfort of your own home. The cherry on top: they have an entire library of prenatal classes, cutely named Journey to Birth.

So, that’s where I have been almost every day of my pregnancy. On my mat, connecting with my mind, body, and baby in an entirely new way.

my_yoga_space

Sometimes yoga comes with an audience. I promise he doesn’t judge, much.

The motivation for writing this post came to me yesterday after a quick lower body tone class. I decided, for the first time in a long time, to try a short meditation. I am terrible at meditating. I know that sounds really harsh and not really exemplifying a yogic attitude, but I am. I am that person who is sitting there and instead of experiencing some beautiful calming moment, I am redesigning the room in my mind or planning lunch. I just have a hard time focusing.

However, yesterday, I had an amazing experience and I’m sorry if yoga, energy healing, chakras, and auras are not your cup of tea, but you probably left this post by now if it’s not, so I am forging ahead.

I am fascinated by the chakras – the seven energy centers in our bodies. In meditation, the chakras often present themselves as colors, each color representing an energy center. When you see them, it tends to mean you are connected deeply to that specific energy center or your are experiencing healing in that area.

Chakras_Woman

Yesterday during my meditation, I was overwhelmed by dark blue and purple – two colors I have never seen in meditation. These two colors represent the Third Eye (dark blue or indigo) and the Crown (purple). The Third Eye represents self-awareness, intuition, wisdom, and the ability to look at the bigger picture. The Crown, which is the highest chakra, represents a deep connection to our own spirituality and our inner beauty.

Wow. Can you see why I was a little surprised?

After my meditation, I spent a little time thinking about the experience and wondering why, of all times in my life, I would experience these colors at this particular moment and it quickly became clear to me.

I am not working right now (not exactly by choice, more on that in an upcoming perspective post), which means my stress levels are relatively low. I am not seeking yoga to calm any anxieties or stress, I am purely doing it as a way to prepare my mind and body for pregnancy and, eventually, for labor. For the first time in my life, I feel incredibly connected to my own body. The fact there is a little person inside of me has made that possible. I have created a place to express myself (here!) and I think all of this has opened me up to experience benefits of yoga and meditation that I’ve been closed off to previously.

Yoga has always been a source of protection for me, a way to ground myself and stay connected to my inner self in the midst of a life I didn’t always feel safe in. Now, I feel like I am able to receive instead of protect – a state of openness that I wasn’t able to offer before out of fear and the basic need to take care of myself.

So, I guess the journey continues. While I know I can’t hope for this type of experience every time I step on the mat, it certainly has given me the extra motivation to keep going with my practice – to keep establishing a deeper connection with myself and my baby.

If only this little one knew how much joy he/she is already bringing to my life. 25 weeks to go.

-Caitlyn

 

A black and white photo of a pregnant woman's bump

Pregnancy, giving up control, and the power of the female body

I like to be in control. For those of you that know me well, this is not a shocking statement. I am a bonafide A-Type. I am not big on surprises, I get anxious about logistics, and I like things to go my way. During his wedding speech, my Dad described me as “particular”. I think that says it all.

The thing about pregnancy though, is that you are so not in control and this can be a little difficult to process. But, I’ve let go and here’s why:

The female body is spectacular and since our little one was conceived, I have been in complete awe of my body’s power. With this comes a bit of a disconnect from my brain – not in a bad way, just in a way that grants my body the space and freedom to do what it needs to do and wants to do.

As soon as I went off the pill (after being on it for 10+ years), I immediately wanted to be pregnant. I didn’t think about the complete 180 my body would need to do to even make that possible and while some women do get pregnant right away, it became apparent pretty quickly for me that it was going to take some time. As uncomfortable as going on the pill is, going off it has all the same side effects. I’m talking PMS to the extreme and not to mention the inconsistency from month-to-month. One month I was so convinced I was pregnant, but then I got my period, cried for most of the day, ate an entire pizza, drank a bottle of wine, bought a box of Fruit Loops and called it a day. (That is a true story. Ask my husband). 

But, about six months after going off the pill, I noticed some regularity had returned and with that came a newfound hope that we could get pregnant. My body started to give me natural signs it was ready and just a few months of recognizing and appreciating those signs, we became pregnant.

Now, almost 15 weeks into my pregnancy, I feel like I am a backseat driver to the changes that are happening to my body. Not the kind of backseat driver we all know, but the kind that trusts and appreciates the journey without the need to rush to reach the destination.

After every doctor visit, I laugh a little because the nurses say things like, “Congrats on a healthy start to the pregnancy!” and while this is encouraging and nice, I laugh because I almost don’t want to accept the accolades for something I am doing subconsciously. My conscious mind is not running this ship. Hormones and a body that is designed to go through this process is in full control. Sure, I can fuel my body with healthy foods (minus the three French Macarons I ate last night while watching the season finale of The Bachelorette), drink lots of water, and exercise regularly. But in all fairness, the fact that this baby is looking healthy, growing well, and is an all around allstar already is because my body is a beautiful and powerful thing.

So, I guess what I am trying to say is that sometimes giving up control isn’t as scary as one might think. There is so much beauty and wonder to be seen once you do. And, instead of worrying about my baby’s growth, heart rate, or genetic disposition, I am choosing to focus more on the things I can control, such as the color of the nursery (we’re on round two for that one), the three baby showers we’ll be lucky enough to have, and celebrating the wonder that is pregnancy with my incredibly supportive husband, parents, in-laws, and friends.

-Caitlyn