family, life

Mommy Brain: How pregnancy has changed me

I’m nearly 37 weeks pregnant… we’ll hit that in 2 days, at which point I’ll be full-term with my and Brian’s first child, a boy.

I am so fascinated at how my mindset and attitude have changed over the course of this pregnancy. Hormones have hijacked my brain, the “Mommy Brain” that everyone talks about. In Reframing ‘Mommy Brain’ from the NYT:

Most experts believe that pregnant women’s brain changes are an example of neuroplasticity, the process in which the brain changes throughout life by reorganizing connections in response to the stimulation of new experiences, and neurogenesis, the process of growth that allows for new learning. A 2016 study in Nature Neuroscience found that even two years after pregnancy, women had gray matter brain changes in regions involved in social cognition or the ability to empathically understand what is going on in the mind of another person, to put yourself in their shoes.

I’ve been able to stay somewhat on an even keel, thanks to my wonderful OB allowing me to stay on my anxiety medication throughout my pregnancy. But a lot of the typical experiences have hit hard.

One example: the nesting instinct, which pairs well with my project manager past. The baby’s nursery is ready, save for some artwork. All that’s left to do is put together the Pack ‘n Play for our master bedroom and the baby swing for our living room.

Other ways I laugh at myself as hormones take over: I’m constantly obsessing over baby products and what’s best for our baby boy. I’ve curated our Amazon registry time and time again. And again. And again.

What’s been most humbling though, is in this last month of pregnancy, I’ve had to come to grips with my limitations as a very pregnant woman. Not only is baby boy estimated to be large, but my amniotic fluid is higher than normal, so I’m carrying an extra-big load. And it’s August. In Alabama. So I can’t get around or do things the way I’m used to. My husband has been so helpful and supportive.

I do feel like I’ve been let into a secret club, though. Being in my mid-30s, many friends already have little ones, and so many of them have shared their birth experiences, product recommendations, and encouraging words.

Now all that’s left to do is get as much rest as possible, keep my feet elevated, and prepare for the arrival of our baby boy, which we’re planning on for September 4.

Here’s to the next phase of life with a new title: Mommy.

 

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digital, life

The Oregon Trail Generation

This post originally appeared on the Swarm Agency blog on June 16, 2015 during my time as a project manager there.

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You may have heard a little buzz across your social networks lately about what’s been dubbed the Oregon Trail generation.

First written about back in April, I shared this post across my social networks, and being a part of this Oregon Trail generation, it resonated with my peers and me.

The Oregon Trail generation is a bit of an anomaly. We hear so much about Generation X, and a lot about Millennials, but for those of us born in the late 1970s and early 1980s, we’re sandwiched right in the middle, not feeling like a part of either generation.

Approximately 30-36 years old at present, born around 1979-1984, us Oregon Trailers grew up as technology was sprouting up right alongside us.

A few examples:

  • We may have carried a cell phone in high school, but the bulky Nokia I carried with the changeable faceplate was meant “only for emergencies” because of the high cost for mobile minutes in the late 1990s.
  • We grew up with PCs in the computer lab and at home, but it may have been an IBM PS-1 or the first Gateway PC, with dial-up Internet that took 10 minutes to connect.
  • As teens, we may have dabbled with AOL chat rooms, building a site on Geocities, or writing in our Livejournal, but modern social networks like Facebook and Twitter were still years away from inception.

I realized that along with me, several of Swarm’s key leaders also fall into the Oregon Trail generation: CEO Tom Ellis; Director of Client Services Jeremy Morris; and Director of Digital Strategy Jason Prance, just to name a few.

I believe that simply by being born and raised as a part of this micro-generation puts us Oregon Trailers here at Swarm at distinct advantage. Why? We understand what life was like before today’s digital age, but we were fortunate enough to have tech with us as we grew up in the 1990s. It wasn’t there from birth like it is for today’s kids, nor did we have to undergo the challenge of learning and adapting to digital as adults, like Baby Boomers and Gen Xers.

I also feel that being an Oregon Trailer makes one truly enthusiastic about today’s digital marketing possibilities, because not all of today’s ammo in the arsenal was always available, and we’ve seen it evolve over time.

We can joke about outdated SEO tricks, or wax poetic about website projects we did a decade ago, now housed on the Wayback Machine, because we’ve been around just long enough to feel a little bit like digital old-timers.

So why not consult the Oregon Trailers here at Swarm for your next digital project? We’ll make sure to spend a couple minutes remembering the days of old spent in the computer lab playing Where in the World is Carmen San Diego…. and of course, Oregon Trail.

life

Tribe-less

lookingforafriend

For about the past year, I’ve been feeling a certain way. I wasn’t sure what to call it until recently, but I can sum it up now as feeling tribe-less. It’s not a real word, but it’s how I feel.

Growing up, my family moved around every year or two until age 8. Starting in middle school, I was quite social, started dating, and had a few close friends, one of whom I still keep up with today.

In college, I joined a sorority, and the college marching band, and student media, and had many acquaintances through these groups. I met my husband there, too. Post-college, I volunteered extensively with my sorority and never had a shortage of invites to weddings, baby showers and brunches.

But something has happened, especially since around the time I turned 30. First, my dad passed away, and some of my friends didn’t know how to deal with me for a while. Then everyone else started having kids, and I didn’t, so there was less in common. And third, my husband and I moved to the very transient Central Florida. We’ve been renting and have moved locally every year or two since being here, and we don’t really know our neighbors. People aren’t overly friendly here.

And now, I don’t know that I really have any close friends at all. I have my wonderful husband and our dog, a few acquaintances here in Florida who I occasionally might see in person, some folks I volunteer with each Sunday, and a few friends scattered throughout the nation who I talk to, occasionally, over text and Facebook. That’s it. No BFF, no besties, no Snapchat streaks, no brunch or bunco crew, no Sex and the City-style talks.

So I sit here wondering if this is my fault. Am I just too introverted, too much of a homebody? Am I a bad friend, or boring? Or are others looking inwardly at raising their families, and we’re all just using social media as a crutch to “keep in touch”?

I don’t know the answer. But I do know that I see others curating a vibrant social media life full of friends, family, backyard BBQs, parties and dinners. And I’d like that, to an extent.

So, I am feeling tribe-less. I am married, in my mid 30s, childless. College is in the rear view and my peers are mostly dealing with breast pumps and day cares.  I don’t know the answer to finding a tribe, but I hope that my husband and I can buy a home in a good neighborhood and have a family soon, so that I might cultivate a tribe again.