Adult Diapers On My Mind (& My Baby Registry)

Do you want to add Depends Incontinence Underwear for Women to your baby registry? *clicks Add*

“You know people will be able to see them, right?” my husband asked.

“Yes, I think they can handle it,” I said, ever so sensitively.

Because my mind continues, pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood aren’t just about cute baby clothes and picture books. It’s also about blood and stages of recovery. The sweet stuff is more fun to talk about, but if I can get a discount on the damn Depends, I’ll deal with the twinge of embarrassment from having them on my registry. The Amazon Baby Registry discount matrix is a worthy opponent, and I won’t let my pride in the way. I’ve also added non-birth-related olive oil and dish soap to the registry all in a bid to game the system.

I did second guess myself when I came back to the registry and BAM — the Depends are the very first item (listed under “Apparel,” lol.) Who wants to shine a beacon of light on that? Not me. But then I shine it anyway because hiding the less pleasant things away in secret shopping carts leads to trouble.

Everything has a dark side. In pregnancy and birth, the dark side is bloody. In freelance/remote work, the dark side is isolation. In journalism, the dark side is warring loyalties. Without the darkness, though, the light — the reasons you give birth, work remotely, or pursue journalism — would be nothingness.

Hiding the unpleasantries leads to trouble because it puts up barriers and leads to that awful feeling of “I need to keep looking ‘perfect.’” I’m not a “spill your guts right away” type of person. I don’t go looking for opportunities to divulge secrets or shock people. TMI is a very real thing. But, when I’m making a baby registry that only people who love me will see, and there are incentives to buy a bunch of stuff off the registry (damn you, Bezos) I should and do feel comfortable putting nitty-gritty birth/postpartum essentials on the list.

Consider this a small, genuinely meant permission slip to relax your hold on those things that embarrass or discomfort you. Maybe it’s letting the world know about postpartum depression issues. Maybe it’s not hiding your opinion on fill-in-the-blank around certain family members. Maybe it’s not forcing out another, “Everything’s great!” when everything isn’t great. The exact wording all depends on you.

P.S. Forgive me the bad pun. <3


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3 thoughts 4 years after graduation

graduation

“I was such a mess.”
Four years ago I graduated from Arizona State’s journalism school.

Four years and one month ago I was in my Mass Communication Law professor’s office listening to him tell me there was no way I was going to pass his class. …His class that was required if I wanted to graduate. I couldn’t be angry at him. My visit to his office was a feeble attempt to see if for some reason he wanted to overlook my complete ineptitude and give me a B for no real reason.

I left his office and dropped his class, enrolled in a summer session of it, and changed my official graduation date from Spring to Summer, all within 20 minutes. This wasn’t the first time I had been a dumb student, so I wasn’t super phased.

It wasn’t until months after graduation that I came to a full stop in my brain and realized how close I could have been to needing to stay in school a whole extra semester. What if that class wasn’t offered in the summer? That would have been a significant wrinkle, to put it lightly.

“No one cares I was a mess.”
One week ago, my husband and I walked around ASU’s Tempe campus, and I felt alllll the nostalgia. I saw Memory Devin rushing from class to class, sitting at a table studying (or not), eating waffle fries from the MU and feeling like an utter maniac. Chicken, no head, that was me.

Instead of being irritated with Memory Devin for not getting her act together, I felt at peace. I knew the secret and wanted to whisper it to her, “Once you get the degree, you’re just an alum. No one cares about your moments of idiocy.”

Often I felt pained by myself in my undergrad years. Everything I wanted to do and had to do crashed together. I know now that I really did handle it as best as I could at the time, but in the moment I had my doubts.

“Skill is nothing without grit.”
I always wanted to be one of the students who had it all together. I came into journalism because I wanted to dive into writing, editing, and web design, not as an already savvy journalist. I was shy and hated asking questions. I had definitely not been the Editor in Chief of my high school newspaper. (I was homeschooled.)

After the first semester, people dropped like flies switching to Communications or English Literature. I felt the pull, but I had already decided that by God I was getting the degree, even if it was ugly.

And sometimes it was ugly. (Like that time I had to retake a required class in the five weeks after my senior year should have ended.)

But I learned so much from the overall experience that I wouldn’t change anything. Not only the classes and internships but the life business of getting the damn degree.

I hustled and pushed myself more in those three years than I had before, and in a fashion that I can’t any longer. It was a season of life that often felt unsettled, but it cracked open a lot of pieces that I’m still working on and thinking about today. And I like that.


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Stop asking questions if you want any peace and quiet

There’s a misconception that asking questions and being a curious person leads to effortless clarity, enlightenment, and having all the answers.

The opposite is true, in my experience.

When I was young, all my friends dutifully sang the “Clean up, clean up” song along with Barney, while I refused. Why do I have to clean up, Mom? That question made my mother’s life more difficult.

When I was in high school, most of my friends were going to expensive colleges far away from home, while I racked up credits at a local junior college then transferred to ASU. Do I need the 4-year college experience if it’s going to land me in a load of debt? That question made my life more complicated in the college years.

When my son was three days old, my pediatrician wrung her hands over his “slow growth curve” while I fought off feeling like a failure. Why should my son match the curve if he’s a unique being with a unique growth pattern? That question made my son’s life less complicated but placed a burden of responsibility upon my husband and me.

The answers I find I don’t always like, agree with, or understand. Answers leave me with many more questions than before. And I believe that’s how it should be; most questions don’t have One Answer, they have many answers.

I’ve found that asking questions to make things instantly make sense leads to discouragement and confusion. Instead, I see myself on a continuum of understanding. I understand a little more today, a little less tomorrow. I’ve become OK with uncertainty (begrudgingly!) because I despise standing still.

The answer shouldn’t measure a question’s worth. Sometimes the point of the question is to ask it. To voice something. To be vulnerable. Sometimes I just need to hear myself ask a question to know the answer or find the path to an answer.

Being curious isn’t a formula for tranquility, it’s the path to so much more. Ask questions for curiosity’s sake, parse the answers, come up with the next round of questions. Little by little knowledge adds up to understanding, and in the process, fear is banished.

Fear hates questions. Fear thinks questions are judgy, mean, and intrusive. Fear would rather we all leave well alone and come up with answers that are figments of our imagination.

Asking questions is scary business. At one of our many visits to the pediatrician’s office before my son’s weight gain steadied, I contemplated the worst of my fears. Would my son ever gain weight? Was I cavalier by insisting on breastfeeding? I knew the question I had to ask my doctor, and I was terrified. But it wasn’t until I gathered up my nerve and asked, “What is the worst that could be wrong with my baby? What are you looking for?” that I found clarity. The doctor stumbled over words and shifted her gaze and had no answer. She had nothing concrete to tell me and no recommendations. She was scaring my husband and me when she had no reason. After that, I was able to move forward confidently, focus on my baby, and stop letting the damn growth chart ruin my days.

Asking questions is scary, but to me, not asking and living in willful ignorance is even worse. Fear wins when questions are silenced. Answers, no matter how bad they are, are worth finding. Questions, no matter how intimidating they are, are worth asking. We wake up each day with the option to grow or to stagnate, and asking questions is my favorite way to grow.


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Stop using ‘I feel’ in your writing

“I think…” “I believe…” “I feel…”

Cut them (almost) all out. Draw big red lines or press the delete key really hard, and walk away.

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