I spent the last day of 2012 cleaning our apartment, and dip-dyeing my hair in cherry Kool-Aid, something I have long wanted to do.
I did a little makeup, wore a lacy skirt and knee-highs, put on my carrier with Chinami and we went out to a party with wonderful people before going to Waikiki to meet Yasushi just minutes before the big fireworks show.
We sat on the beach, a couple of feet away from where the water lazily crawled up the shore and receded again. And then at 12 midnight, everyone cheered as the fireworks lit up the sky right in front of us.
Tears formed in my eyes as I watched the fireworks, with my arms around my husband and Chinami with her giant earmuffs was passed out, oblivious to the celebrations around her (best purchase ever!)
I rang in 2012 in New Hampshire with two of my closest friends, who I had just told about my pregnancy with Chinami. Yasushi and I went to Niagra Falls in the dead of winter, and until leaving in February, got a healthy dose of bitter cold and snow.
When we came back to Hawaii, there was a lot we needed to learn. Buying a car, getting insurance, getting a job, finding a midwife, renting an apartment, getting a credit card, etc. Yasushi gradually picked up English words and phrases so he could function at his workplace in a kitchen full of non-Japanese speakers, and got a driver's license and later a liquor license, both of which require passing of English exams.
I started to finally focus on myself and my own health, opting to go as natural and sustainable as possibly in my lifestyle, for both health and financial reasons. I stopped using shampoo and now get by with water, an occasional baking soda wash and ACV rinse, and sometimes some Dr. Bronner's for the bubbles. We started shopping at Costco, bought a chest freezer to hold all of the frozen meats and vegetables, and ready-made meals for after I gave birth. I started incorporating chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, spirulina, and other superfoods into my diet. I appreciated the fact that most restaurants nowadays have vegetarian options so I didn't have to give in to the "All American" diet of a slab of meat with a few carbs on the side like I had been experiencing at my parents' house.
I also made huge strides towards lessening my symptoms of atypical depression and panic attacks, although I accept that there are still bad days, and it will never completely go away, I am probably the happiest and most comfortable with myself now that I have ever been.
There were times, however, when I seriously doubted I could ever be a mother. As I became happier and more excited each day my belly grew, my worries grew as well. My "mother" was abused as a child, and she chose to project her insecurities onto me, control me and others she saw as "weak" and continue a cycle of pain. Would I fall into the same pattern?
However, I decided that I would do everything I could to be a great mother to Chinami. For both health and financial reasons, I chose to be an "attachment parent." I never needed formula, a crib, or a lot of other things being pushed by the baby industry as "essentials", and Chinami grew healthy and happy, and I stayed healthy and happy as well, losing the 35 lbs I had gained with the pregnancy in just 3 months by just breastfeeding and eating normal, healthy foods.
As the three of us sat there, and Yasushi and I watched the fireworks, I thought to myself, it is really 2013. I have come this far. We have come this far. I thanked those in my life who gave me the positive energy and emotional support along the way. I remembered the hard times, and vowed to overcome any obstacles we encounter in the New Year as well.
In 2013, my main goal will be to finally get a driver's license. Yasushi is also supporting me in this as my panic attacks have gotten a lot better.
I suppose Chinami's goal will be to start eating, crawling, and walking! I can't wait!