I have a confession to make. On or around Dec. 15th, 2017, I ate our entire advent chocolate Christmas calendar. Dec. 16, 17, 18 etc. were all eaten on the 15th. And it was one of the best feelings in the world. So now here I am in 2018 #newyearnewme (ugh hashtags), but it will probably happen again. Eating all the chocolate I mean.
I wanted to chat about about New Years resolutions and moderation in the segue of the century bc I love the concept of starting fresh all the time and I think it's great to be self-aware and try to be the best version of yourself. Yes, absolutely. But I don't like that suddenly every January we've all ditched drinking, now go to gym, aka have adapted some form of extremism. I love practicing these beliefs in moderation year round. Except for when it comes to chocolate. I literally can't. So feel free to read the rest of this post with one or both eyes skeptically squinting at the irony of it all.
But stepping back from New Years, it makes me tenderly sad that I feel these resolution hashtags (that seem to fizzle out round jan. 18th...) simply reflect a larger cultural issue: the societal lambasting that is generally accepted and encouraged along the lines of "if I was (insert phrase here*), I'd be more loveable/happier/successful/desirable."
*thinner, ate differently, acted differently. Aka become a different person!!
I have been trying to ditch that mentality since I pivoted as a young bushy-eyed college student by finally emerging from a teen-hood experience that was fraught with conditional love. Hey girl, you are loveable as you are now. (<-- me talking to myself.) And as long as that is the foundation for any bettering (is that a word?) of oneself I think that is groovy. So go join that gym etc. etc. on a tuesday, or on new years day or anytime you want. At the same time, it is important to say that taking on self-betterment (again, is this a word combo?) at NYs or anytime doesn't necessarily mean or reflect low self-esteem or a reaction to the cultural pressure mentioned above.
I guess what I am trying to say is I support everyone in whatever they want to do. Except murder. Bc each life journey is unique to each person. And whether that is New Years, or a random Tuesday...you be you or the best version of you should you choose and go on the journey you need to take!
Society does tend to fetishise pregnancy and womanhood. That pregnancy will be an escape from who we are and we will become glow-y and reverent bc we carry life inside. Bottom line: there are only two roads for women who choose to embark on a journey to motherhood via pregnancy. It is either an Amazing Pregnancy or else you are Unable to Conceive.
'Let's chat about those two roads or else nothing at all'
- Society, on acceptable and palatable discussion topics re: pregnant women.
I don't think it is ok that there is a massive grey area in between those two points that women are not encouraged enough to talk about bc there is a societal judgement immediately placed on the mom-to-be who may not enjoy/be having the best pregnancy as a "sub-par mom" etc. etc. It's not always an amazing time for women. However, there are many women who LOVE being pregnant and that is just the coolest. For me personally, I have realised I don't enjoy being pregnant. I am grateful to be pregnant but I don't enjoy it. And I think there is a stigma for women who admit that! Like just judge-y society eyes that look you up and down and say 'hm, good luck being a mum (judging judging judging.)' In fact, I already feel stigmatised by being honest and sharing that!
I think it is paramount that we as a society find a way to represent and share the myriad of experiences in-between without denigrating those who are unable to become pregnant while at the same time honouring those who have amazing glow-y pregnancies. That isn't the case right now and it makes me sad because there should never be a case of "oh, by acknowledging someone else's story or experience, it makes mine less valid and kicks my voice to the side" bc that to me just feels a lot like my least favourite/tired plot line in society: pitting women against women. I see various iterations of that in social media...a lot of women shaming (external to pregnancy) or else dismissals bc there is this unspoken vibe that if other women acknowledge or even help other women achieve success or goals or knowledge or beauty etc etc that theirs will be robbed and that is just such a sad mindset to have.
So. My pregnancy has fallen within the huge spectrum of experiences between the two points of Amazing Pregnancy and Unable to Conceive. I definitely thought pregnancy would be much easier. More Glow-y. Since I was very fortunate and grateful to fall pregnant easily, I assumed I would naturally have the only other pregnancy experience discussed: the (illusive) AMAZING PREGNANCY. The kind of pregnancy that has lots of barefoot beach walks with stupid smiles. (AND YES I WOULD STILL LIKE THAT PLS.)
However, while it is incredible and I cannot wait to meet our baby and I want this baby like nobody's business, pregnancy for me has more so been how I can get from point A to point B. With little enjoyment in between. Point A being no baby and Point B being baby. I wish I could sea-horse the crap out of this pregnancy and have my hubby carry the sickness/baby/etc.
9 months is a long time to have one's life on hold/be incapacitated! When people ask me how The Beaux Store and The Beaux Journals are going, I honestly can't answer "great!" bc I'd say they're more so 'guilt-ridden' and 'stagnant'. I am so lucky to be self-employed so that I can take my days as slow as I need (which is crazy slow most of the time!) I will always feel so lame admitting that I feel most comfortable in bed in sweats at home atm. Also, I am in an identity shift so I also am having a less than graceful time navigating round trigger phrases that I will likely be labeled as times goes on (ie, "a mummy blogger", or "styling the bump" omg yuck.) I hate monikers and I think as soon as something is lumped into a label/hashtag, it loses something. Simultaneously, I really want to document this pregnancy for my own personal sake, as I know I will treasure this time so much once I feel better. But it's almost impossible to get dressed and go outside and shoot bc pregnant sick/so tired still.
It has also been distressing to see my body radically change and lose all control. (Judge-y society eyes saying "man you're already a selfish, vain mom thinking about yourself so much" etc etc??) I am observing this new identity and all the muck that is stirred up around this shift in knowing oneself. And it is tough! I keep trying to shower myself with grace and kindness but its completely bizarre to wake up to terrible skin, temperamental and constantly changing energy supplies, boobs that make it hard for me to rest my arms by my side anymore, and stretch marks for days.
It is hilarious and upsetting that I have to flop around like a shark (not a small fish) out of water to move around off the bed to get up at 2am, 4am, 6am to go to the loo. I pant walking everywhere. Getting up and down from a seated position is slow and wierd. I can't lounge well. Or sit well. Or stand well for that matter. I can't run or do yoga like I used to pre-pregnancy...which I LOVED to do. My clothes are different, the woman I see in my reflection is different, the food I eat is different. My work has suffered. I now study myself in the mirror as I try to redefine this person/ new identity I see looking back at me.
Additionally, my hormones have exacerbated my anxiety (to which I was already prone, pre-pregnancy!) But now that I am more visible (again taking up more space) in a society that loves to fetishize pregnant women, I of course can feel the encroaching, overwhelming commentary waiting in ambush with every move (or photo) I make. So when I people offer their two cents on my changing body, or their notions on how it will all pan out for me...ya i have 100000% anxiety. The attached scrutiny that accompanies pregnancy is super frustrating. On top of that, there is the anxiety stemming from the fact that I absolutely know that I want everything to be circumstantially perfect as it can be for this baby to arrive! School, house, room, insurance, holidays (omg dont even get me started! How do we fly home to america gracefully?? And when??), and then there's the more magical anxiety of omg what type of mother will I be!?? Also maternity leave/ who will I be when I return to work??
--->Also all this chat about pregnancy women is not at all to diminish or exclude women who have chosen to not have kids!! That is just as beautiful and wonderful of a decision and I hope all women can be supported however they choose to go about life and not be faced by reductive bullcrap.
All of this brings me to my next visual story: the time I braved my arch nemesis !! tights !! I did it! I wore the tights!! So proud of myself. After spending a child and teen-hood in my tights from my days ice skating and doing ballet...I usually run the other way when I see tights. But rn it's so cold in London that you have to make compromises. Aka, wear tights. More easily worn were my clear seeing glasses. For those who have been reading TBJ for a while will know that my loyalty to Ace&Tate glasses knows no end. They are hands down my fave eyeglass brand. Every pair I have from them fit my face amazingly well which is a first for me. (I have had a lotttttt of bad seeing glasses.) And I rarely wear an outfit that doesn't have a piece from Boden. Like this bag...which is from last season but one of my faves still. And their non-patterned garb is some of the best wardrobe staples around. Their cashmere (sized up...external to pregnancy) is one of my favourite staples, and their shoes and bags are top quality. And Baukjen is similar for me. This turtleneck dress is an accidentally perfect maternity dress. Bc BONUS I can wear it after pregnancy! I love a good statement hoop esp. from price friendly but cool mango, and a long long long long long black wool coat.
My main take away from these photos is that I have not seen the sun for a long time.
Thank you so much for being apart of my pregnancy journey and for reading; it is really lovely to get your emails and DMs connecting btw. Lots of love from this 7 months pregnant ladyyyy.
I really had hoped I would have been able to describe my pregnancy as 'graceful' but at least I am able to pick my dates and eat them too. Dates like the food, not like the calendar. Anyway, here is my journal at 4am one snowy London morning... xo Ashley