In the words of Adele, HELLO! IT’S ME! It’s been forever! A LOT has happened since my last blog post, both personally and professionally, and I feel that I owe it to you all to fill you in on my life. These changes have also made me contemplate a slightly different direction with this blog – I still want to focus on education, but I have so many other passions that I want to share. Hopefully you’ll get the jist by the time I’m done with this update….so without further ado – here we go.
About a week after my last blog post way back at the end of May, my husband Tom and I found out we were expecting! It was “planned” but we totally did not expect for it to happen as quickly as it did. I’ve always had reproductive issues so in no way did we expect to get pregnant right away. Needless to say, we were surprised and completely thrilled with the news. Honestly, if it were up to my husband, we would’ve had all our kids already. But I just wasn’t ready and he was incredibly supportive. When I finally decided I was “ready” – or as ready as one can be – we invested in some ovulation strips, thinking the most scientific and efficient way would be the most successful given my wacky health background. After just one month, we found out we were pregnant the morning of our friends’ wedding (shout out to Mary & Tyler!). It was an amazing way to start off the summer break!
Given my rocky reproductive health background, I was a definite Nervous Nelly that whole first trimester. My mother experienced terrible pregnancy issues – miscarriages, losing twins at 7 months, bed-rest for 6 months with my brother….you name it. I was fully expecting a similar struggle but am happy to say I had the opposite experience. Minimal morning sickness and no complications or issues whatsoever. Now, at 8 months, I feel so incredibly lucky to have had the pregnancy experience that I’ve had. Am I still a Nervous Nelly? Yes – but what first time mom isn’t?!
At the same time I found out I was pregnant, I was starting my final classes towards finishing my Masters in Teaching, with a Special Education endorsement. These classes were incredibly time consuming and I was already totally preoccupied with the pregnancy, but I managed to finish it all with a 4.0. It was an important accomplishment for me as a first generation college student. And finally, with the incredible hard work of my coworker and teacher mentor, Martha Rathbun, the AP Environmental course was approved at our school and I found out I’d have the opportunity to teach it! I was totally thrilled and totally overwhelmed at the same time. I love talking about environmental issues and problem solving how I can help, but teaching my first AP class was nerve-wracking. Luckily, we had the opportunity to attend a week long AP Environmental conference in Madison to get our feet wet and spent the rest of the summer preparing. With one semester complete, I can say it’s been challenging, but really rewarding. I’m already thinking about improvements for next year!
You’d think with all this educational content completely consuming my life I’d have plenty to write about for the blog, right? Well….the answer is a little less straightforward. While all of this was going on, I was really forced to take a hard look at my own mental health. As someone who has battled depression since 15, I’ve had lots of ups and downs over the years. Now that I was bringing new life into the world, dealing with an overwhelming amount of pressure to kick butt at work, trying to contemplate how NOT to let the political climate negatively affect me as an already overly empathetic person – everything became too much, too fast. I needed to sit down and focus on what was important and put myself and my health first. I decided that even though the blog was relatively new, it was something that needed to be put on the back burner for a while while I focused on myself. Luckily, I have an incredibly supportive husband who stands by me and supports me with every decision I make. He recently took control of his own well being by throwing caution to the wind and applying for his dream job (a history position at the same school I teach at) to escape a really difficult and mentally straining one. I was so proud of him for taking that leap of faith and to see him so happy puts it all into perspective. After prioritizing my life a bit, talking with my doctors, and making some serious life decisions, we felt a lot better about what the future had in store for us. Opening up about my mental health struggles isn’t something that necessarily intimidated me, and I have my parents to thank for that. We wore our emotions on our sleeves in my family, and that has helped me not to be ashamed. Being a high school teacher and dealing with the tumultuous lives of adolescents, I feel I need to lead by example. How can they feel comfortable dealing with mental health issues if their own teacher, a grown woman who had her own, could not?
Clearly life has been intense since we last spoke, but I feel so much better physically and mentally than ever before. In preparing to be a mother, I have discovered things about myself that I didn’t know before. Passions that I’m interested in, things I want to talk more about, and hobbies I’m discovering. Education is still SUCH a passion of mine, and I don’t foresee that changing anytime soon, so this blog will still have a heavy educational theme, but there are so many more things that I want to share and discover that I don’t want to pin myself down. If something I do or experience can help anyone, even one person, then my job is done. I hope I have your full support and I hope you’ll all come on this crazy ride with me.