Digital love

My husband, Benny, works in the music industry. He is an audio engineer at music festivals and night clubs. He works strange hours and travels often, sometimes for several weeks at a time.

He has been doing this since before we got together.

When we were young and partying, I LOVED his job. It had amazing perks – guest list to pretty much any show that I wanted to go to, free admission to music festivals, feeling cool – lol at that last one, but really, at the time, that was a valid plus. I loved living vicariously through his life – I thought he was so cool.

As the years went by and I became less and less involved in that part of his life and more and more involved in motherhood, I began to struggle with jealousy. He was still so cool and what was I now?

A mom.

I went to bed at 10pm. All I talked about was nap schedules and breastfeeding, baby carriers and diapers. I complained about being tired, about being touched out.

I thought that I’d become a bore; a nag.

I couldn’t help but think that when he was at work he would be surrounded by young, attractive girls in party mode. They were probably way more interesting than me. They were out having fun, trying to get laid, looking their best – and my husband was right there, in all of his coolness.

It was hard for my mind not to go there when I’d be at home alone, in bed, likely not showered, with a baby in my arms.

Before having kids, I knew that my husband only had eyes for me. I was confident in that. I pranced around our house in my underwear. I practically threw my sexuality at him all day, everyday. He would compliment me and flirt with me. We had an amazing sex life. Amazing.

We weren’t flirting anymore.

I had no sexuality to throw at him.

Our sex life was practically non existent. I was tired, touched out and honestly, sex was painful for me for that whole first year of being a parent.

No wonder I was feeling jealous – it wasn’t only stemming from his work, but also from our lack of connection as sexual beings – not only as parents. For me, sexual connection and intimacy is vital for feeling secure.

I needed to pull it together!! I didn’t want to start any drama in our relationship. Being new parents was hard enough.

Rather than dwelling in my jealousy or panicking about how I’d lost my intrinsic ability to flaunt my sexuality, I became proactive.

One night, after Nori had gone to bed, while benny was at work, I put on some sexy lingerie and took some selfies. I sent him a few and almost immediately was bombarded by texts from him, flipping out!

Screenshot from a recent sext thread.

I felt his excitement through my phone. I felt my own excitement. I missed this part of us. I missed knowing that he was wrapped around my finger – that my own sexuality could foster security in my relationship.

Why had I stopped doing this?

It’s not like this was my first time ever sending him photos like these. I’m pretty sure texts like these laid the foundation for our relationship!

Motherhood does not cancel out your sexuality, but it can if you allow it.

Now that I had broken down this barrier that I had created for myself, I could feel my jealousy dissipating. I had gotten my power back. I stopped feeling insecure. I wasn’t worried about girls at the club, because reconnecting in this way reminded me of just how treasured I was to my husband. I was giving him the attention that he needed again and I was getting the praise that I so badly needed to hear.

It was a win win.

That confident woman inside me was starting to shine through my tired eyes. I felt like a goddess – my husband would tell me that I was a goddess – and it felt good. So good, that I haven’t stopped sending him photos and I likely never will.

It’s sort of our thing.

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My husband and I call this type of booty shot, “cozy booty”.

As a proud nude sender, here are some tips and tricks.

  1. If your partner is at work or out with friends, send a text before sending that reads NSFW. Benny has definitely opened messages in front of friends and coworkers that were for his eyes only. WHOOPS.
  2. Change it up! Don’t always send the same mirror shot. Better yet, rarely send a mirror shot. Pick your favorite assets and highlight them. I know Benny loves my booty, so he gets those a lot. I have a few favorite angles that I have perfected over the years.
  3. If you are feeling extra frisky, send a boomerang! Seriously, the littlest movements or gestures running on a loop can be so super sexy! My favorite is to put my finger in my mouth a little bit. Try it. You’ll see why.
  4. Delete them off of your camera roll if you often scroll through your photos in public and don’t want people to see them. I’ve wanted to show my mom pictures of the kids before deleting photos more times than I’d like to admit. In fact, she has become so accustomed to the risk of seeing my sexy photos, that now she goes with it –  if she sees a nude, she just compliments me. My mom is awesome.
  5. Only send nudes if you enjoy sending them. No one should ever pressure you into sending them nude photos. It should be just as much a treat for you as it is for your partner.
  6. Make sure your partner is someone that you can trust to respect you enough to keep these special treats private (if that’s what you want).

Now get to it!

Drive someone crazy.

Radical Self Acceptance

It feels like out of nowhere, I’ve become a serious adult.

We own our home, we have two cars – one of them seats 8 people, wtf – we have two children and a dog. We eat home cooked meals, host bbq’s and birthday parties. Hell, we have a storage box filled with holiday decorations for every major holiday.

It’s crazy.

We are grown. ass. people.

I turned 31 this past April. I still feel like 20 year old me – maybe not as clueless and careless – but that same goofy person is in there. What’s different now, though, is that I have grey hairs coming in. I have wrinkles. My boobs sag. My feet are rough. I feel too old for some of my go to fashion choices and struggle to find myself in what may be more appropriate.

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It’s always a little awkward to be sung Happy Birthday.

I feel in transition.

Should I hold onto my youth? Or should I gracefully walk toward the inevitable?

Everybody is going to be crazy wrinkly one day. Everybody. No surgery’s or interventions can hide it all.

In terms of my own wrinkles, there are a few places on my face that really bring me sadness. One of those places is my smile line. How backward is that? This little mark on my face was formed by years and years of smiling and when I see it, it totally bums me out!

I’ve gone back and forth on the idea of injectables for a couple of years now. I have many friends who get botox and juviderm and they look fantastic, but for some reason, I have never gone ahead and made an appointment.

As much as I hate aging. I deeply want to change my own inner dialogue about aging. I don’t want to look at other people, and yearn for their youth. I had my youth, and I wore it well! I want to do the same for my maturity. I want to be a badass older woman with grey hair and wrinkles and saggy old tits and feel good about it all.

ENTER: Radical Self Accepance!

When I was a teenager, I struggled emotionally and was put into a group therapy called DBT. It helped me a lot and there are still many skills from the program that I strive to perfect in my life. One of these skills is called “radical acceptence”. To utilize this skill, rather than getting upset or angry about life’s inconveniences or disapointments, you acknowledge that they’re happening and accept the feelings they give you, good or bad, without judgement or reaction.

“GAHHHH! I am already late to work and now there is traffic?! WHY. ME!!” could easily be, “Wow. There is traffic and I am already late. I should put on a podcast. I hope they’ll understand at work.”

So, what does this have to do with anything? We were talking about aging…not anger.

Well, hear me out.

What if, when we look at ourself in the mirror, instead of feeling angry or sad or disappointed in our aging appearance, we instead accept it for what it is – a gift. Not everyone lives long enough to watch themselves age. We live in a society that practically demonizes aging and praises youth – other cultures revere their elders, not hide them.

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Worlds oldest woman, Emma Morano, who died at 117 years and 37 days.

I want to wear my age proudly! I have come a long way and I have nothing to hide. Instead of trying to prevent aging, my solution is to encourage aging gracefully through a few simple steps.

  1. Keep a good skin care routine, day and night with quality products, including SPF.
  2. Eat foods that nourish my body, to ensure that I receive all of the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that my body needs to thrive.
  3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
  4. Get a good nights sleep. Our skin cells repair themselves while we are at rest – if you aren’t resting, your skin cells are going to look tired too.
  5. Embrace life to the fullest – a happy person, is a beautiful person – no matter the age!
  6. If all else fails, cut some bangs.

I will touch on all of these coping skills individually in future posts, as this leap into radical self acceptance can’t be accomplished simply by saying I’m doing it. I know I will still struggle. My hope is to share these struggles with you and that maybe some other people will join me in discovering and owning their aging beauty.

I love this quote from Coco Chanel; “Nothing makes a woman look so old as desperately trying hard to look young.”

True that, Coco.

Wrinkles, grays and saggy tits, I am still a fucking sexy bitch!

 

Hello!

I’ve been wanting to start a blog for a while. I think about it at night while I scroll through my phone. I come up with name ideas and post ideas, what my layout will look like, the whole nine. I fantasize about how awesome it’ll be and how maybe I’ll connect with people with whom I wouldn’t have connected with otherwise. Maybe my story and ideals can influence others or help them get through rough times. Maybe I can help someone feel less alone. What a great release it could be for me – to put myself into something that isn’t my children, something that brings me joy. It’s the perfect daydream. The thought of it gets me excited, it consumes me, but then, like clockwork, that excitement turns into anxiety. My brain tries to bring me down – it does bring me down and I think, “it’s just a fantasy. Everyone is doing it already. Why bother?”

GAH. Shut up brain!

I hear her again. “No one will want to read it and people who do might think you’re weird.”

Seriously, dude. Shut up.

And again! “You don’t even know how to do this. What would your first post even be? Do you even know? Would you just start writing? Would you introduce yourself? You’ll probably start out wrong. Just forget about it.”

My brain doesn’t shut up.

My anxiety swells.

I decide to not start a blog.

The end

Just kidding!

Who cares if everyone is doing it. Who cares if no one reads it. WHATEVER, DUDE!! If I don’t bite the bullet, it will eat away at me forever – those “what if’s” in life really have a way of doing that. So, here we are!

Let me introduce myself.

I’m Emma!

I am 31 years old, married and have two kids, Nori, 4 and Mateo, 7mo. My husband, Benny, is an audio engineer. He travels a lot for work. Sometimes he is gone for weeks on end, hustling hard at music festivals and concerts all over the country (and sometimes other countries too). It’s hard for me to be alone with two young children, but I am proud of him. Thanks to him, I get to stay at home with my kids and honestly, that is the only consistent thing I have wanted in my life.

I grew up in New Jersey and now I live in Portland, OR. It’s cool! I really like it here. I’ve been here for over 10 years now – I better like it. So much of my life has been made here – I met my husband here, I lost my father here. After I gave birth to my daughter, my mom moved out here. My closest friendships are here. Some of my lowest times were here but because of those rough spots, I’ve really grown out here. Sometimes I think about leaving, maybe to somewhere warmer – usually when it’s been raining for too long – but deep down, I know that I probably never will.

I think when I was first pregnant with Nori, that people judged me (re: low times). I’m sure a lot of people would share the news, laughing, thinking “oh my god. she is going to be a mom?”

By the time I got pregnant with Mateo, I’d already gone “full mom” as I like to call it. My husband has asked me, “What does that even mean?”

Honestly, I don’t know. But it feels like that’s what I did.

Motherhood is demanding, selfless, thankless. Your freedom is stripped, some friendships are lost, parts of yourself go missing, your relationship changes, you’re always tired and your boobs will never, ever be the same!!

Yikes. That sounds awful, huh?

It’s totally not though!! Motherhood is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

I hope to share my ups and downs, my ins and outs, my favorite things and my least favorite things, my ongoing struggle with excepting getting older, my ambivalence about my hair and my personal style, eh, the list goes on.

I hope you stay for a while and really get to know me. I’ve got so much to say.

The itch of pregnancy: A horror story

In 2013, I was pregnant for the first time. Our pregnancy was a surprise, but one we were happy about. We had just gotten married and found out that we were expecting the day we returned home from our honeymoon.

From that moment forward, it was smooth sailing. I suffered the usual nausea in my first trimester but otherwise, I got off pretty easy. Once my second trimester rolled through, I was feeling fantastic! I had so much energy, I felt like my bump looked cute and loved feeling my daughter’s movements in my belly. Life couldn’t be better! I had heard from friends that I should enjoy that time, since once you enter the third trimester you start to be uncomfortable, lose sleep and have to pee all the time. The way I saw it, those rougher times were like baby boot camp, preparing you to lose some sleep. I was optimistic!

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LOL I thought I had a bump. (forgive this terrible 2013 filter plz)

I started preparing a birth plan. Water birth, NO DRUGS, birthing playlist. My birth was going to be beautiful! Incredible! NO hospital interventions!! I was a strong woman, after all. Pregnancy was easy. I was eager to bring my daughter into the world *my way*.

As I entered my third trimester, I still felt good! I was peeing more and I started noticing that my pee looked darker than usual. I didn’t think much of it. I drank more water. No matter how much I drank, it still seemed a bit darker (maybe more orange?) than it used to be.

Around 33 weeks I began to notice that my feet would start to itch a lot when I’d head up for bed. I figured that my feet were dry, or that maybe the added weight was making the skin on my feet tingly since they weren’t used to it, by that point I’d gained close to 40lbs – who knows! I bought some nice lotion and started to take better care of my feet.

“Pregnancy is weird” I kept telling myself.

Don’t complain.

I felt like all I was doing was complaining.

Every night, I’d itch again and every night, it was worse. Soon, my palms began to itch at night too. My pee looked like orange gatorade – it frightened me, but I kept it to myself.

Within a week, bedtime would roll around and my hands and feet would begin to itch – so badly that I couldn’t sleep at night. I would rub my feet on my blankets and cry. When that wasn’t enough I’d move downstairs and scape my feet on our sofa cover. It always felt cold and had little bumps of fabric that really did the trick, at least for a while. This itch was so real that many nights I stood on the cold tile of our kitchen for relief, sobbing, contemplating scratching my feet with a cheese grater.

I called my OBGYN on call line one night around 3 or 4am in desperation. The doctor who called me back seemed unfazed when I told her what was happening.

“You’re pregnant.” she said. “You’re supposed to be itchy.”

I cried to her, “THIS ISN’T NORMAL! It’s my hands and feet, not my belly!”

She suggested that I buy this lotion called Sarna that people use for eczema. It didn’t do a damn thing.

My regular OB would be unavailable until closer to my due date. She was on maternity leave until week 36 of my pregnancy. I wished so badly that she was there.  I had chosen her as our doctor for a reason – in mine and many other’s eyes, she was the best. She would have listened to me – she always humored every issue I ever had with compassion and care.

The following night, the itching continued. My husband became super worried and called the on call line himself. He hated seeing me suffer! He was firm with the doctor and told her that something was NOT right.

The on call doctor took him much more seriously than me (hello misogyny) and I was able to come in the following day.

Still, nothing. She drew some blood and sent me home.

Week 35, the itching continued. My pee was still orange and now, my poop was white!

FUCKING WHITE!!

I was so freaked out. Every night I applied the Sarna, knowing it wouldn’t work and I had also started bringing ice packs into bed to lay my feet on so that I could sleep.

Every day I dreaded nighttime. Would I be able to sleep at all? Every night I cried. The fear of itching and the itching itself wasn’t doing me any favors. It was affecting my sanity. I felt depressed, afraid and out of control. I worried about my baby. Would all of my suffering and sadness affect her?

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One week before my induction, pretending to be happy, on my 27 birthday.

Week 36, to the day, my usual OB called me. I was so relieved. Finally, someone who would take me seriously. She had heard from her covering doctor what was going on and she knew what was happening and that it was, in fact, a very big deal. She told me that I had cholestasis of pregnancy and no matter what, DO NOT GOOGLE IT.

I googled it.

Cholestasis of pregnancy, or ICP, affects 1 in 1000 women. It is a condition in which the normal flow of bile is affected by the increased amounts of pregnancy hormones. Aside from making the mother miserable, the condition carries no risk for her and resolves after delivery, but the baby is not safe. After week 37, the risk of stillbirth increases steadily and induction is recommended.

HO. LY. SHIT.

I knew something wasn’t right!! I was furious at that other idiot doctor, especially for making me feel stupid, or like I was a whiny baby who couldn’t handle pregnancy.

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Those red blotches are areas where, I assume, bile salts are trying to leave my body. SO. ITCHY.

I went into the office that day and had blood work to check on my liver enzymes and another to check my bile salts. Even without the blood test results, my OB was positive about what was going on. I had all of the classic symptoms – the itching, the orange pee and the white stool –  so she took action. I finally felt cared for. I saw a light at the end of the tunnel.

She sent me for an NST (non stress test) and had me schedule to do them every 2 days. I was sent home with a prescription for a medicine called Ursodiol, which would help me excrete the bile acids and help to reduce the itching. I was sent home, again, with the warning to stay off of google.

I didn’t. I was torturing myself willingly every night. I was so, so afraid. I read so many horror stories about women who lost their babies. Women who had no idea of the severity of their illness until after their babies live’s were lost. Woman, who if only they had found out sooner, could have saved their babies and now were helping to spread what they know now to other women who may be suffering in silence, thinking what they’re going through is normal.

The bile salt test can only be read at one lab in the entire country, which is totally weird, but whatever. The results took a week to come back. Now, we were entering week 37. I knew that this was the time that my baby could die and that every following day, my bile salt levels would double. I was so afraid. At this point, I don’t know what was worse – the fear, or the itching. Looking back, I think it was the itching. It was making me feel insane, in a very literal way.

That day, I went in for what would be my last NST. My blood tests had returned and she was right, all of my levels were dangerously elevated. With these test results in hand, we were now able to schedule my induction for 2 days later, when my OB would be available to deliver my baby. I would be 37.5 weeks.

I remember laying in the hospital getting ready for my induction to begin, looking at the nurse and crying – asking her if this would help me stop itching. I wasn’t even thinking about my baby at that point. I was barely able to live in my own skin. When I remember this, it makes me so sad. If only someone could have helped me sooner.

Baby Nori was born 24 hours after my induction began. Both she and I developed an infection and had to stay at the hospital longer than expected. My placenta was in terrible shape and broke into a million pieces. To think, I had planned to encapsulate my placenta and eat it. When I asked my doctor if we could still save it, she looked at me like I was crazy but also with empathy and told me that would be a terrible idea.

I wouldn’t say that my birth was traumatic, but it definitely wasn’t the all natural, water birth that I had planned. I took all of the drugs and watched Naked and Afraid while I labored – NOT what I had in mind! But, none of that mattered. My baby was safe in my arms.

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Happy to have my baby girl and excited to stop itching soon. (2014 camera quality sucks)

With my second pregnancy, we anticipated that I would get the condition again and I did. We tested my bile salts every 2 weeks in my 3rd trimester and at 35 weeks, I began Ursodiol treatment and scheduled my induction. I was itchy, but not crying every night. I knew all the tricks and brought ice packs to my bed from the start.

Mateo was born healthy and neither of us developed an infection.

I don’t want to get pregnant again, solely because of cholestasis – I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone – but the two times I suffered through it were worth it, because now I have my two beautiful children!

*If you’re pregnant and have symptoms that don’t seem normal, seek help!! If no one listens to you, KEEP BOTHERING THEM! There is good information at Itchy Moms and also ICP Care that you can show your doctor if you think you’ve developed ICP.*