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Identity Crisis Thoughts While the Lasagna Cooks

I’m pretty sure I’m going through an identity crisis.

I guess any big life change could be called an identity crisis, because a person doesn’t recognize themselves in their new role. Marriage. Moving. A new job. A loss of something.

Or, in this case, pregnancy.

I mean, I seriously have never struggled with bending down to pick things off the floor before. I haven’t slept so much during the day since possibly age 1 or 2. I don’t read as much anymore, and I worry that I never will again. I haven’t gasped for breath so much climbing stairs. I don’t even have a clear idea about what I should write about, as I shared last week. My lasagna is baking in the oven as I try to think of what to say. At least I’ve cooked something, but it’s not exactly a health food. And, since I used oven-ready noodles, who is to say if it will turn out.

Speaking of health foods, I’ve been depressed my entire pregnancy about my eating habits and subsequent weight gain. I was at a higher weight than I wanted last summer, but I had finally come up with a plan to work off the pounds. After getting pregnant and being nauseated, I gave up. I started eating whatever sounded good, and even though I started at a higher weight than I should have, I’ve also gained more weight than I should have.

Deliberate and healthy eating takes energy, and I don’t seem to have that right now, maybe because I’m not eating deliberately and healthfully. And the expectation that pregnant moms are supposed to eat quinoa and kale and exercise five times a week, just makes me feel worse. And I just read this week that older women have a harder time losing pregnancy weight than younger ones. So if you had a pregnancy at age 24 and lost 70 pounds in two months, please don’t re-assure me that everything will be alright by July.

I think this identity crisis is one reason that returning to work at the hospital felt soothing to me.

Even though I work in a different department than I did four years ago, the general rhythm of hospital operations is the same. The run down the four flights in the employee parking garage steps. Swiping in with my badge.

Nurses complaining about the hours they work or the number of admits they took that day, but magically transforming into compassion and care inside a patient room. That overhead announcement system with the loud BEEP, announcing a code blue or a rapid response. Ambulance transport people strolling in with their fancy uniforms and stretchers. Surgeons rushing grimly around to check on their patients late in the day, clad in blue. The relief of seeing the next shift walk in. The spider webs trapped between the glass of the elevator and the glass wall of the parking garage on the way back to my car. Yup, I take the stairs down and the elevator up.

And the patients. Drug addicts demanding more pain medicine. Prim little ninety-year-olds talking about the Great Depression and giving specific directions on the arrangement of their bedding, and how that fold needs to come out of their socks. Uncomplaining men who just want to watch their favorite show next and be left alone.

And, whether I’m pregnant or not, I’m expected to take care of my people and shoulder my end of the work. It’s exhausting, but therapeutic in some way.

Recently, however, I came home from work with a different emotion. Gratitude.

“I’m so glad I’m not addicted to meth,” I told Marnell.

Sparing the details, let’s just say that using meth is probably one of the most terrible lifestyles imaginable. From the education I’ve had, the addiction springs from the very powerful high that a person experiences the first time they use it. Ever after, though they get a good feeling from the drug, they never quite achieve that same high. Still, they chase it, desperate to achieve it. They inject it into their fingers and toes and get infections. They snort it. They make home recipes and blow up houses.

The psychological toll is obvious too. Drug users tend to be rude and demanding. I’m not sure why, other than if you knew that you could be arrested for what you’re doing, but you don’t want to stop and life feels out of control, you would probably become suspicious of everyone outside of your inner circle. Even people wearing scrubs seem too “official” to be trusted, I suppose.

I recall a statistic that claimed that there is a 1% success rate of people trying to rehab from meth. Marnell questioned this, and he’s probably right. He thinks our neighbors at Teen Challenge have helped people past meth, and I’m so glad if they have.

There are worse things than having an identity crisis over a change of roles.

Perhaps this is the most valuable lesson I’ve had at the hospital in this season of life. I’m overweight, and a little old. Thanks for the term “geriatric pregnancy” on last week’s blog comments! I even feel that my junk food problem is similar to people who struggle with drugs.

I may be having an identity crisis. But as I listen to the suffering of the wide world, I realize how blessed I am. I’m not in the hospital for a self-inflicted wound. My house didn’t just burn down. My husband didn’t just leave me. I didn’t fall and break a bone and lay on the floor for 18 hours before someone found me. Even if any of those things were true, we have extensive support systems, unlike what most people have.

On top of all our blessings, Marnell says the lasagna turned out really well!

Good news!

I received word from Bookfunnel (our audiobook delivery service) this week that you can now listen to audiobooks on your computer (in your browser) rather than just on a phone or tablet app.

I’m sure there are some people who like to use computers but don’t want a smartphone or tablet. When I told Marnell about this new development, he said, “Tom would have liked that.” (The main character in the book.)

Here’s a screenshot of the new option, which shows up when you buy the book. But I believe you can also go back and listen to a previously purchased book this way.


13 thoughts on “Identity Crisis Thoughts While the Lasagna Cooks”

  1. Take courage Katrina! I know doctors will firmly tell you the opposite, but I’d like say not to worry/stress about the weight gain! I had my 6th child at 37 yrs old after being sick 8 months. Like Natalie, I didn’t loose weight from the sickness. I quit stepping on the scales the day I gained 50 lbs. It was too hard and I was feeling too yucky to care. BUT, that sweet baby came, the glorious feeling of no nausea became a reality and dieting looked possible again! And yes, it took 3 times longer to loose that weight than it took 15 yrs ago with my first pregnancy ( I wasn’t sick nor did I gain much that time) but it is possible and this morning I stepped on the scale and finally saw the magic pre-baby number!

  2. I don’t know you, but I know what it’s like to gain far too much weight during pregnancy, to be surprised at the changes in my body, and to wonder if life will ever get back to a more manageable place. Familiar routines and familiar places are a great comfort during times of huge changes, such as pregnancy and those first few months after the baby is born. I’m glad you can be in a familiar environment that feels good to you.

    1. Katrina Hoover Lee

      Thanks! I find it helpful that other people can relate to needing the “familiar” in the midst of the “new.” Thanks for sharing!

  3. I can identify with that “geriatric pregnancy!” I was thankful to come through the pregnancy (at 47yrs!!) with no complications after finally discovering what my medical issues were. 🙂
    And now our daughter just became a teenager!

  4. Katrina,
    This post was comforting. You are not alone. I am not alone.
    For me, morning sickness is severe the first few months, but I don’t seem to lose weight from that. Then I eat what sounds good trying to put in healthy here and there which happens to be rare. The unhealthy cravings…. Let’s not go there.
    I gain A LOT during pregnancy. Breastfeeding does NOT help me lose weight. I have struggled with this for 5 years and 3 babies and the weight is adding up. Just typing this is discouraging. 😆
    About 4 months postpartum I get some energy to take walks and eat healthy, sometimes.
    If I focus too much on how ‘fat’ I am I get very discouraged. I still have my low, discouraging times but I try to focus on Christ. He has really helped me during those discouraging times. My husband loves me the way I am. It’s so amazing. I ask God to help me accept the way I am but also be wise with the food I eat. I have cried out to God to keep those cheeseburger cravings away!!!
    I hope you have a blessed rest of your pregnancy! Take one day at a time, enjoy your pregnancy!
    From the same boat as you, Natalie

    1. Katrina Hoover Lee

      Hey Natalie, good to meet someone on my boat! Thanks for your honesty and empathy. I think I’m trying to do something similar – find the balance between doing my best and not worrying if I’m not perfect! Blessings to you!

  5. I think it’s very normal to eat lots when you’re pregnant. 🙂 I was over weight when I got pregnant, and I gained about 40 lbs while I was pregnant. Breastfeeding and eating dairy free (because of my baby’s dairy intolerance) were my biggest helps in losing weight afterward. I know it doesn’t work as well for everyone, but I’m convinced that being dairy free was what helped me the most.

  6. A note of encouragement Katrina — you are normal!!!
    Doing something useful, like working in the hospital like one used to do (in your case) can help when one is going through an identity crisis, or has had a life changing event happen! My dad passed away this last sept, and having to go to work at the hospital, and being involved with people has been therapuetic for me.
    You are definately right about being blessed.. It is so sad – some of the situations I encounter with babies of mothers that have a “drug” history.
    So thumbs up to you, and look forward to hearing the name of this little gal that will be appearing one of these times.

  7. I can relate to this with my pregnancy as well. I lost my mom three months ago and trying to process that along with pregnancy hormones has been a challenge. Being involved at EBI with lots of young people with boundless energy and never running out of things to talk about makes me wonder if I’m turning into a hopeless introvert. Thanks for sharing!

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