Do not ask: Are you pregnant?

Today's post is an anonymous letter from a husband whose wife has been asked this question a few too many times. No, the post is not from dear hubby but I must say, having always had a little pooch, I feel this woman's pain as I too have been asked this very sensitive question and personal question.

To the Person Who Asked My Wife If She Was Pregnant,
The upshot of your inquiry, was to tell my wife she had the body of a pregnant woman - which is the same as being called fat, if you’re not pregnant. She’s not. She has, however given birth to our two sons, and you’re obviously familiar with the concept of pregnancy’s effect on the female body. My wife exercises regularly, and is an avid runner. She keeps the whole family’s diet on the healthy side, with whole grains, fish, vegetables, kefir, Greek yogurt and supplements for vitamins, probiotics,and DHAs in the mix too. She does enjoy red wine, and has a sweet tooth - we both do, in fact. She is healthy, beautiful and sexy.
So when someone seemingly innocently asks about a non-existent pregnancy, she questions her entire lifestyle and why she puts effort into maintaining her body. Her self-esteem is damaged - she doesn’t feel like the healthy, beautiful, sexy woman she is. Her day is ruined, and as her husband and someone who loves her dearly, my day gets ruined too. I wasn’t present when you decided to ask a personal, invasive question of a stranger, but if I had been this is what I would have liked to tell you, and all of your ilk.
I figure you’re one of two kinds of people. The first type, is simply ignorant of the kind of damage you’re doing by asking such a question. If the little pouch you observed would have been due to a pregnancy, it would probably be in the first trimester, when most expecting moms don’t widely release the news to due a fear of miscarriage which occur in those first 12 weeks; Personally, I never ask a woman about a pregnancy unless she looks like she’s smuggling a regulation size basketball, or if she brings it up herself. I would be mortified if I made the mistake you made - but you don’t care about that, you simply need your nosiness satisfied, and you’re too socially stupid to consider the consequences of your assumption being wrong. I suppose there are plenty of socially impaired people out there, maybe it explains why this happens almost regularly - if it were a one time occurrence, we might be able to ignore it.
Since it does seem to happen every so often, my cynical side begins to wonder if there’s a second type of person who asks a woman about a pregnancy which isn’t actually there. I think you do it on purpose; it is a malicious, passive-aggressive, catty attack on someone who has done nothing to provoke you. Why would someone do such a thing? I’m not sure, but my best theory is that you wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and see someone trapped in a cage of self-hatred, and you think the only means of escape is to knock someone down a peg. You’ve actually found a way to fat-shame someone who isn’t even fat (which I’ll admit is a term as ugly as it is subjective), and yet you won’t get called out on it, because the insult is cloaked in warm, fuzzy, family-friendliness. I’d applaud the brilliance of the tactic, if only it wasn’t so plain and outright mean.
If you’re in the former, socially stupid camp, let this be a lesson to you. Women who ARE pregnant get asked all kinds of questions about their body day in, day out. They are treated to labour horror stories, and questioned about every little detail on their lifestyle - what they eat, whether or not they’re exercising, what kind of birth they’re planning. They might enjoy some adult conversation that doesn’t revolve around that stuff - they might feel nostalgic for the “normal” life, and if not, they’ll probably discuss pregnancy details with you unprompted. Show some manners, and mind your own business.
If you’re in the latter, malicious camp, you have a learning opportunity too. While you can do some superficial damage to her (and therefore us), you can’t make us fundamentally unhappy - we have too much to be grateful for. By the same token, your cage of self-hatred is one you constructed yourself, and you’ll free yourself of it not by attacking others, but by appreciating the beauty and light within your own life. Try to build yourself up, and if you can spare the effort, maybe even build up someone else, and do it sincerely. If you still don’t get it, try this: if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful to share this post.

Daily Bible Verse: Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. ~ Colossians 4:6


Let's talk Down syndrome

October is Down syndrome awareness month and I have a month long campaign up my sleeves that will be launched primarily on my instagram and facebook page --- with some autotweet to twitter. But I don't want to keep you in the dark and what good would raising awareness be if I kept silent here?

To launch the month of awareness I want to talk about a recent virtual run I did for Toby. It was for Down Syndrome Diagnostic Network. The race fees covered the two medals (one for me and one for Toby) and then went to DSDN to help them in what they do. Are you curious about what they do? Good! I am going to tell you.

DSDN is based on an awesome concept and executed beautifully. It is a group of parents with kids who have Down syndrome because who can understand the situation better than them? No one. I am an avid believer that you really need to be in some one's shoes to understand their path. It is easy to give advice on the outside but who best can give advice and understanding to parents who have just learned their child has Down syndrome? Who best can answer those questions, feelings of fear of the unknown, and just plain wanting the best for their children? People who have been there and truly understand. This brings back a quote from a movie I saw years ago. The movie was Core and I am not going to go look up the quote verbatim but in a nutshell, a man was telling a lady she can't be a leader because she has never failed. That you need to fall down and get back up in order to lead people. Basically, you need to be able to place yourself in their shoes and guide them. DSDN does just that!

This site is amazing and the wealth of information, parent stories, links to more sources of information, tips for professionals for delivering the news, and yes, ways to donate and join the cause. What a God send! I am honored to have supported their efforts with my virtual run race fees. But this post isn't just about DSDN and my virtual race. This post is about Down syndrome awareness.

You can tell I am amped that parents are leading the way at DSDN and today I have a special treat for you. My buddy's mom shared some of her own personal thoughts and tips for others. Essentially, I asked her what she would like the world to know about Down syndrome and this is what she said:

"I would like parents/public to know that a kid with Down syndrome is more alike other kids than different. They are not ALWAYS happy. They have moods like everyone else, they just get over things faster. They want to be friends and play with your kids and can learn much from them. Please let your kids ask questions about my son. That's how they learn and how they dispel fears. Lastly, kids with Down syndrome can learn just about anything typical kids can, just at a slower pace."

Did anyone else get chills? I have read this so many times before typing it today and it still gives me chills. God knows my child is not always happy and the first time I read this was when darling daughter was having a really hard time getting over a bump in the road. Oh how I wished that bump would go by a wee bit quicker!

I am honored and blessed to have Toby in my life. I only wish we didn't have the Pacific Ocean separating us so darling could play with him and get to know him in person. Yes, she is learning a lot about Down syndrome and acceptance through our long distance relationship. I share his up's and down's with her and she shares her stories with him (via me of course). Right now, it is the best I can do but I know it is making a difference in both of our lives. I am a better person for knowing Toby. I am a better person.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful God placed Toby in my life.

Daily Bible Verse: Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace. ~ 1 Peter 4:8-10


October Goals

A couple of month's ago I posted my August goals and had the goal that monthly I would evaluate where I was in comparison to those goals. I flopped. Here it is the last day of September, I never looked back to August, and I never made any September goals.

So let's kindly disregard that big flop and see how I did for August. Better late than never, right?

The August goals:
  • To continue to run daily...at least a mile. - CHECK!
  • To do yoga every day...at least 10 minutes but I would love at least 15 minutes. - CHECK but many 10 minute days plus some days are a couple of yoga breaks combined but hey, I got it done! And still am by the way.
  • To hydrate well each and every day. I will achieve this by drinking at least 48 ounces of water a day (yep, I picked six 8 oz cups of water because I want to drink that beyond my daily protein drink, which is mixed in water, and the water I drink while on the run). - CHECK but I started slipping the end of the month and don't ask me about September. Way too much coffee.
  • To get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. - CHECK! once again, do not ask me about September. Major insomnia issues then.
  • To do my nightly devotional and journal each night...this is harder than it may sound. - I abandoned the journal but CHECK on the nightly devotion.
  • To say the rosary once a week. - Can you see me shaking my head? Nope. And even though many weeks I heard the rosary 5 days on the way to work, if my mind drifts I don't count it. I need to get stronger on this. 

With that said, I can create my October goals:
  • To continue to run daily...at least a mile.
  • To do yoga every day...at least 10 minutes with 1-2 longer classes once a week.
  • To hydrate well each and every day.
  • To drink little to no alcohol. I feel better when I don't drink it but dear hubby likes to enjoy his indulgence with me. I need to say no thanks guilt free but perhaps one drink a week with him??? I am open to your input on this one.
  • To do my running drills at least three times a week.
  • To remain tough in my training and not weaken when faced with long run treadmill days.
  • To tend to my garden and not let my little seeds wither away (this is good Mom-Daughter bonding time too)
  • To not let stress or life get the best of me and to remain kind and loving in my words.
  • To do my nightly devotional with darling daughter.
  • To say the rosary once a week.
  • And most importantly, to NOT let my birthday make me feel old.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the Ending the Day Right app on my phone.

Daily Bible Verse: Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. ~ James 5:7


Who do you lean on?

Life can be tough and we are all facing obstacles in varying degrees. Last week was TOUGH for me emotionally. I had battles to face but this go around something was different. I had been hurt, betrayed, pick whatever adjective works for you but there was no fight in me. Fighting gets you no where in life. All I needed was someone to lean on.

Who did I turn to first? God. Yep, I just cried out to God in what could be called agony and asked for His help. He guided me to a good friend to text and I did. Told her my woes and she told me she would pray and that was comforting. I felt less alone as I battled wondering if I could ever trust anyone.

I then turned to my nightly devotion and guess what? It touched on trust and very clearly stated you can trust no one on Earth. Oh man. This isn't going well. I read on and it reiterated that we can't trust anyone since we are all capable of making mistakes, sinning, stumbling, etc. That makes perfect sense. Trust me, I am in no position to judge anyone else so I read on to read I can only put my trust in God.

Did that make everything magically better? Nope. It didn't. I still felt hurt and betrayed as I continued to pray, work on truly forgiving, and extend peace and love to everyone including the person who hurt me. Easier said then done. Night time would come, I would fall asleep, and all those emotions worked themselves out into nightmares leading to fitful sleep with big slices of insomnia that lasted for nearly a week.

But in all of this I was surrounded by love and grace. Kindness I extended was coming back to me. Fights that once would have been fought weren't being fought. I was hurting but there was peace around me.

Family and friends can indeed be leaned upon in times of need. Just remember, they are human too and will screw up. We all do. Trust them anyhow. Forgive them when they hurt you because there is no other way to live when you place your full and complete trust in God. And trust me when I say, when you goof up you will want to be forgiven too. We will all goof up. That is life. But it is what we do after we goof up that really matters.

I heard a wonderful thing on the radio today and I am pretty sure it was Phil Sandoval on Immaculate Heart Radio (The radio station I am certain of, I am just not 100% it was Phil talking at the time but I am 98% sure it was him. If it wasn't and he happens to read this, I know he will extend the acknowledgement to the worthy person.) Okay, enough digressing...I don't remember the wording verbatim but in a nutshell, would you rather live your life with your anger or with x-person? I choose the people in my life. Let go of anger. It does no one any good.

On that note, let's close on a happy note....


Daily Gratitude: I am thankful God heals my broken heart.

Daily Bible Verse: Then Peter came and said to Him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. ~ Matthew 18:21-22