SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER

Do you suffer from or know of someone who suffers from SAD (seasonal affective disorder)?  With all that is going on in the world concerning talks about the economic downturn, falling housing prices and high unemployment rate, it seems that this will be a tough and desperate winter for many families especially single parents who may go through a temporary bout of SAD.

It is one of my holiday wishes this year that those who need help during this time reach out for assistance because I know I am guilty of not being able to ask for help.  I am learning to realize that it’s ok to be vulnerable and accept compassion and empathy from others and not let foolish pride stand in the way.  For me, it was hard at first to admit that I can’t do it all but once I came to the understanding that asking for help is not a sign of weakness but of strength, then and only then was I able to OWN a true sense of awareness.

Now if only I can get my physical self to align with my inner observation.  I am trying to convince myself that I am not feeling SAD right now but that it’s my pregnancy hormones wreaking havoc on me.  Plus I have been having episodic insomnia which I am contributing to not being able to find a comfortable sleeping position.  With both these factors, it’s a wonder I am not feeling SAD!  Hopefully I will feel renewed again once I get a good night’s rest or at least a long extended daytime nap.  So tired today…keeping this (rambling) post short and sweet to catch up on some much needed sleep!

THE LITTLE THINGS IN LIFE

What makes me smile these days?  Realizing there are countless things in life worth smiling about especially during the holidays…family, friends, food and fun!

FAMILY: Feeling blessed with being pregnant with my second child despite the circumstances especially since there are many others who struggle with fertility issues.  Having the best 12 year old kid who always lands on Santa’s nice list.  Hopefully this tradition continues in years to come!

FRIENDS: Having a handful of friends who I can rely on and trust.  I may not have a lot of friends but the select group I have, I know I can count on and vice versa.

FOOD: It may not qualify as food but Starbucks peppermint mocha in those cute red cups puts me instantly in the holiday spirit!  Yummy!!

FUN: Watching holiday classics with my son like Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  Our other favorites are Home Alone, Home Alone 2 and Elf…so funny!

These are some of the little things in life that makes me stop and say to myself, things aren’t so bad after all.  It’s just a matter of OWNing a positive perspective!

SENSE OF SELF-ENTITLEMENT

With hitting my third trimester milestone yesterday, I decided it was about time to create a baby registry.  Needless to say, it wasn’t initially fun and exciting at first since I went on my OWN.  However, as I zapped along the aisles adding various items to my registry, I got a little carried away and fully threw myself into the spirit of things. I even entered a sweepstakes in which the winner receives everything in her baby registry up to $5,000!  As such, I hope my friends and family don’t think I expect everything in my registry.  This got me thinking, do we live in a society where there is an increasing sense of self-entitlement?

It seems that wherever you turn, in print, TV or the internet, both men and women always want to point the finger and blame others for their predicament rather than facing facts and taking OWNership of their accountabilities.  Being a single mom, I could easily sit here and have a pity party for myself for not providing a cohesive family unit for my child(ren).  Nevertheless, when my son and I sit home on a Friday evening and spend quality time together, I know I made the right decisions for us.  I am blessed to have a son who doesn’t get caught up with the expectations that he is owed more in life because he comes from a broken family.  He is happy and content with what he has been given and never comes across with a sense of entitlement.  He understands the true meaning and value in his relationships with friends and family and for that I am eternally grateful.  I just hope my daughter takes after her big brother because I know I learn every day from my son’s current outlook on life!  He constantly reminds me what is important in life…and sometimes it really is just the little things!

NEARING THE FINISH LINE

Today is the first day of my third trimester!  Should I start panicking now that the finish line is near?  It’s been a very tough several months going through this pregnancy alone all the while being a single mom to my 12 year old son.  Thankfully I have friends and family who have helped but there are many days when I struggle with the loneliness and abandonment from my ex “CS”.  For the past few days, I have not wanted to talk to anyone and have just been keeping to myself.  This has allowed me to be introspective while still trying to makes sense out of everything.  I have been going through different waves of emotions ranging anywhere from anxiety, confidence, fear and guilt.

In addition to the emotional roller coaster, I am starting to feel the fatigue from the first trimester return.  I need to start exercising to prepare for labor and delivery but have no energy and motivation.  It also doesn’t help that the weather has been cold lately.  Wait!  I need to stop making excuses for myself and OWN up to my responsibilities and just be the best me I can be!!

INSPIRATION

Inspiration can come from anywhere.  Today it came to me of all places from a reality show!  Although the show aired yesterday, I DVR-ed the latest episode of the show “The Biggest Loser” and decided to settle in after dinner to watch it with my son.  This episode featured the contestants running a full marathon!  It was amazing and awe-inspiring to sit and witness each contestant’s individual transformation on an emotional, mental and physical level.  To watch in retrospect where the contestants came from to their current strength and resolve in running a marathon was very moving especially since this season included men and women varying in age from young to old.  Despite being pregnant and in relatively good health, I can’t even imagine completing a 26.2 mile run so to see both the young and old take on the challenge and accomplishing this goal was incredible.  I was so proud and excited for each of the contestants as if I personally knew every one of them.  “The Biggest Loser” is a great show to share and experience with my son as it teaches us to have the belief and faith in ourselves and OWN our inner spirit.

THE GOLDEN RULE

Do you live by the Golden Rule?  As a parent, I try to teach my son to treat others how he would like to be treated.  He recently applied this principle when we came across an expensive electronic item left behind inside a shopping cart next to my car.

I was beaming with pride when he agreed that we should return the item to the store rather than keep it for ourselves.  Since times are tough right now, we easily could have exchanged or returned the item for store credit which would have helped with our holiday shopping budget.  However, in talking things over, my son understood that the right thing to do was to return the item to the store so that the person who purchased it had a better chance of getting it back.  To reward him for his honesty, I treated him to a yummy caramel frappuccino which put a smile on his face and made him happy…ah…the little things in life!  My son makes life as a single mom so easy with him being such a great kid!!

With the holiday season in full force, I wanted to share this story to remind others to live by the Golden Rule and OWN your integrity!

ABORTION vs ADOPTION

Regardless of one’s ethical or religious beliefs, there are several strong opinions out there regarding abortion vs. adoption concerning unplanned and unwanted pregnancies for both parents and single parents alike.  Already a single mother myself to a preteen boy, I will admit that I have considered both alternatives when I first found out I was pregnant at the age of 38 with another child since I was expected to go through it alone for a second time.

At first I agonized over the moral decision to terminate my pregnancy but after many waking hours and sleepless nights of thinking it through, I realized I couldn’t go through with this procedure although my ex, CS, and the father of my unborn child expressed he wanted me to.  I ended up making the decision that was best for me which by some standards, defied conventional wisdom and practical logic.  Despite varying viewpoints from family and friends in support of or to the contrary, I had to make my OWN personal choice.  Ultimately I had to live with the path I decided to take.

Adoption was also another possible option I pondered.  Since I knew abortion wasn’t right for me, I thought that maybe giving my daughter up for adoption in the hopes she will have a better life growing up with a family who can provide her with more opportunities would be a loving and selfless act.  I recognize that not only did I need to make a decision that was right for me, I also needed to make one that was in the best overall interest for my daughter.  Again, I reasoned with myself to come up with the correct solution to my dilemma.  In doing so, I concluded there is no right answer when it comes to matters of the heart.  I may not be able to provide my children with the materialistic wealth that comes from a dual income household but I know I can and will provide them with a warm and caring environment together with unconditional love and devotion.  In the end, love is what makes all the difference.

PREGNANCY HORMONES

For the past few days, I have been in just “one of those moods”.  Sounds harmless right…not when pregnancy hormones are taking over my mind, body and soul.  Since my son has been pretty much hanging out with his friends all weekend, I have been staying at home acting as if I were a hermit, not taking or returning calls or text messages.  It does feel liberating to go offline for a couple of days but it also leaves me alone with my thoughts which is not always a good thing.  Although I am taking things day by day going through this pregnancy experience alone, I do have my good days and my bad days.

On days that I am feeling down and out, I need to remind myself of this quote which I recently came across.  “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. It’s not where you’re from, it’s where you’re at. Everybody gets knocked down, how quick are you going to get up?“.  Love it!  In repeating this, I will OWN back my strength.

CAN MONEY REALLY BUY HAPPINESS?

The first Saturday of December and it is cold…an early reminder that holiday season is upon us!  With my 12 year old son at his friend’s house yesterday for a sleepover, I was left to my own devices today and chose the warm comforts of home and not leave the house.  Bad call!!

Rather than doing anything productive all day, I found myself catching up on sleep (been suffering from insomnia lately coupled with not being able to find a comfortable side sleeping position), watching mind numbing TV, scouring the Internet and overindulging in some pregnancy cravings.  Oh and did I mentioned I played the lottery game in my head?  For those of you who are not familiar with this pastime, it is a fantasy one creates in imagining becoming an instant millionaire.  I am guilty of playing this game from time to time when the local lottery jackpot gets to be over double digits.  At first it’s fun to dream up different scenarios to what I would do if I won the lottery but now I think it’s taking on an unhealthy fixation.  Luckily the obsession hasn’t translated to wasting too much money on buying lottery tickets other than a dollar or two here and there.

From this, the question is brought to light, can money really buy happiness?  Do I fantasize about winning the lottery because it’s a harmless, temporary escape that provides entertainment?  Or am I being sucked into believing that money solves all problems?  Being a single parent, I know that right now money can indeed help make life easier for me and my child(ren).  However, if given the choice between my modest life now and living a decadent lifestyle without my son (soon to add my daughter to this equation), I will have to say that without a doubt I would opt for the former.  I can’t even begin to imagine how lonely, empty and sad my life would be without my child(ren).  In my opinion, there are just some things in life that money cannot buy.  Be honest and OWN your truth.  Do you believe that money can buy true happiness?

EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON

In keeping with yesterday’s theme that “everything happens for a reason”, I realized that my current circumstance is not nearly as hard and difficult as a mother losing her child especially to suicide.  This was put into perspective for me after watching Extreme Makeover : Home Edition featuring single mom, Sirdeaner Walker, whose 11 year son took his own life after being bullied at school.  Notwithstanding my increasing pregnancy hormones, I watched the entire episode through tears streaming down my face.  I can’t even begin to imagine the pain this mother and her family had to endure after finding Carl lifeless in the family home.

Instead of letting this heartbreak defeat her, Siredeaner Walker has dedicated her life to an anti-bullying movement in tribute to her son.  It is through sharing her tragedy that she has been able to spread the inspirational message to others about standing together against bullying.  It is not easy to see the reason behind Carl’s tragic death but unfortunately his story is not unique.  Bullying in our schools is fast becoming a nationwide epidemic.  This alarming awareness should gives us all pause to stop and OWN up to not only our actions but also our words.