Hi there!

Hi there! Welcome to my corner of the internets. I'm a 26 year old therapist, photographer, and shop owner currently living in Seattle, Washington. My online spaces are educational and lifestyle accounts dedicated to educating, engaging, and empowering women through digital art, home design, and travel.... with a touch of humor and personality sprinkled throughout. Stay a while!

Monday, November 23, 2020

First Trimester Q&A

I actually started writing one of these when I was in my actual first trimester and I just felt dumb haha. I am not a super sentimental person. And while I am excited to have a baby etc., I think there's a little bit of an expectation for these subjects to be all I think and talk about. And that hasn't been true for me. Growing up in Mormon-land, it's really drilled into you that motherhood is the most important thing and I definitely think I've been feeling a little bit of a pressure/expectation to be wayyyy more into all this stuff than I have been so far haha. I'm accepting that I'm excited, but it's not my whole life right now. I'm still working as a therapist and running my private practice, doing creative projects on the side, dealing with a pandemic, and I was dealing a lot with what I expect will be the most important election I'll see in my life haha. So, yeah! I don't know if any of that will make sense to anyone but my future self reading this back, but basically I wanted to write all this out so I wouldn't forget the experience, while also remembering that it's ok if I'm not spending all my free time researching and planning baby stuff haha. (I mean what would my Animal Crossing villagers do if I just stopped showing up?! 😂).


But, without further ado, let's get into all the deets! And thanks for sending me questions on Instagram because I wasn't sure what I should document from this trimester haha so it definitely helped! (Also we took these pictures the day before we left Utah and it was the first time I got full ready in while lol.) (My dress was thrifted, but is the Free People "Spell On You" dress. Boots were also thrifted, but you can buy them here.)



How did you find out?

I was actually using an ovulation tracking bracelet (the Ava bracelet which I really liked!) to prevent pregnancy. Then, we used it when we were actively trying to get pregnant. So, I was tracking my ovulation/periods etc. and when I was a day or two late I went and took a test and it was positive! I was excited, but I didn't cry or anything. I actually never cried. I think the closest I got was when I told Jake and my eyes did well up a bit haha. 


How/when did you tell people?

I told Jake that day! So I think I was like, 4 weeks pregnant or something haha. It's so weird how they count the two week between your period and ovulation as "pregnant". I asked him if he wanted anything from Taco Bell and he annoyingly said "no" for literally the first time I have ever heard haha. Threw a little bit of a wrench in my plan, but it still worked out! I'll put together the video clips one day and post the video on Instagram probably. 


We were staying with my mom over the summer (when I found out) and Jake didn't think he'd be able to keep a secret lol so we told her that day or the day after. I'd always told her I'd put a bun in her oven when I am pregnant, so it was a little inside joke and nice that we were in Utah to be able to do it! 


I wanted to wait until we were out of the risky zone to tell everyone else, so we told the rest of my family and Jake's family I think after 12 weeks or so! I had pretty bad morning sickness, so Jake told his family alone. He took them a Mini Cooper toy car with the ultrasound pictures and then gave it to them as a gift. The way the pictures were folded they thought it was a receipt lol, but once he told them to look at that too they got it! I Marco Polo-d my grandma and texted my siblings. My sister thought I was joking and FaceTimed me so fast hahaha. 


How did you feel? Any body changes? Any morning sickness?

I didn't really notice any body changes. But morning sickness... Yup haha. Please enjoy this collection of Vomit Self-Portraits. (Please note this is not indicative of how much I threw up haha.)

I probably didn't leave the house for a few weeks. This is where I was grateful to be working from home and not having to go do in person sessions! I was also really happy to have my mom and Jake around to serve me so many snacks hahaha. We ended up being in Utah for basically my whole first trimester and it was really nice to be in my childhood home, with a yard for Tucker, a cold basement for myself, and two people to bring me food hahaha. Oh, and last thing I was happy about: I usually did feel better after throwing up! And I was always home so I always had a toilet to throw up in. 


But! I did start taking Unisom at some point and that did help a lot! I think I was only vomity from like... weeks 7-14ish. I went like a week or two without vomiting and that's when I started taking my Ritual prenatal because I thought my body could handle it... and then I threw up like 10 minutes before we left to drive back to Seattle lol. 


Any cravings?

Nah, just was focused on what I could stomach haha. I ended up eating a lot of cereal, fruit, and crackers. 


What prenatal vitamin did you take?

I started taking a gummy one because the ones I took with iron pre-pregnancy made me feel sick. However, taking the gummy ones got hard bc I had to eat 3 a day and the last thing I wanted to eat was candy lol. I also tried the Ritual pre-natal that is supposed to have a no-nausea iron release, and I'm pretty sure that one made me vomit lol. So, I stopped taking them pretty much! 😬



Are you going on a babymoon?

Nope, not while we're in a pandemic lol.


Any names picked out?

Nope. We've got a list, but mostly disagree on them lol. Plus I want to wait until we see her before deciding. 


How did you learn the sex?

We did the 10 week test that looks at chromosomal abnormalities as well as sex. Although I am kind of bummed because it means we missed out on getting the optional 16 week (or whenever it is) ultrasound pic that reveals the sex. So we just have the 8 week one where the baby is a little glob haha. 



What did you do to prepare?

Nothing until we got back to Seattle. (Excluding the obvious doctor visits.) Even then, I really only started clearing out my office (the nursery to-be) and buying some cute baby clothes. I do plan to do a newborn sleep class, breastfeeding class, and whatever the birthing or new parent class is offered by my hospital. Other than that, I'm not planning on reading tons of books or anything because I feel like it has been suiting me (and my anxiety) so far to just take things as they come. Too much information stresses me out lol. 


If/how much/what connection did you feel toward baby?

Not a whole ton. It's kind of just a theoretical thing until they're actually here... ya know? Like I think it will be fun and I'm looking forward to it, but I am not really the daydreaming about motherhood type. I don't want to get too set on expecting things being a certain way, so I'm just not thinking about it too much. 


Favorite moments: 

Probably the 3 weeks before I was sick haha. And seeing/hearing people's reactions when we told them haha. 


What are you most nervous for?

I am pleasantly surprised to say I am not like, extremely nervous for anything. I was very anxious pre-pregnancy but was pretty chill once I got pregnant. I was (and still am) a little nervous about postpartum and Jake not recognizing the signs and me doing something extreme, but I already have a therapist who specializes in postpartum and I plan to just schedule appointments with her every 2 weeks for a few months just to check in. And I'm going to make Jake learn a lot about it and what to look for haha. Since we don't have family nearby, it's kinda all up to him to notice if I am not acting like myself haha. I know I am a therapist, but I don't think it matters, because when it's your mental health it's hard to know what's normal and not. I have also been happy to see that my providers screen for it as well. 


What are you most excited for?

Just the change up! We've been married for 7 years and things were getting a little dull around here. It will be fun to see what her personality is like, what she looks like, new challenges and problem solving, milestones, having another human being to experience the world with, etc. 


And, that's a wrap! If I missed anything that I should document, comment/DM/text me haha. 


-

E

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Breast Reduction Q+A + 3 Year Update

Not gonna add photos to this post bc I want to keep it somewhat body positive!  


What size were you before and what size are you after?

This was by and far the most asked question haha. Before I was an F cup! (Maybe bigger but stores only go up to DD so it's hard to tell lol.) Every single day I had Jake rub my back because it hurt so much lol. Now, I am probably a D? Maybe a DD? Also harder to tell because #pregnant. But, my back pain is gone! Which was the whole goal of the surgery,

I do know they removed 316 grams from one and 233 grams from the other. 


Was your first surgery a reduction also? Or an augmentation?

Yup! A reduction!


What were the problems the surgeon had to fix in the second surgery?

So this is where I think just my body was made this way and this probably wouldn't happen to a lot of you. So, basically the skin between my boobs is lifted and doesn't lay totally flat against my sternum. (I think it was like this before the surgery, but I'm not entirely sure. I know in my pre-op photos I definitely didn't have a lot of space between my boobs so I think it's just how my body is. It also would have been a really rare thing if the lifted skin was the result of the reduction surgery.) Also my incisions were a little bit crooked! So, the second surgery was to see if she could liposuction the space between my boobs to get it to lay flat and to fix the original incisions to end at the same place.

The incisions definitely look a bit better now, but my skin is still lifted! I debate on whether or not I'll get it "fixed" one day, but I'd for sure want to wait until after I am done breast feeding before I consider it. But, even then, it doesn't seem like there's a great surgery for it and it's just an aesthetics thing. Like how many people see my boobs anyway?? Lol so it doesn't matter to me a whole ton. I don't have any pain and am worried that if I got another surgery where they put sutures between my boobs to get the skin to lay flat, it would cause a lot of pain or complications etc. So, as of now I'm rolling with my body's quirks and most likely will in the future too! 

So, I think for most people who get a reduction, it's just the one surgery! So plz don't be scared about it due to my story haha. 


Scared of losing feeling/my nipples dying?

Oh for sure! I was way scared of "nipple necrosis" as they say lol. I told my surgeon I wanted to be able to breastfeed, and I think she performed the surgery in a way that never cut off blood supply to my nipples. Mine didn't die but I know some people's do! So just a thing to talk about with your surgeon for sure! 

I also do still have some numbness in some areas! Not in my nipples, bc like I said, she didn't really cut anything off there, but the lower part of each boob is a little numb in some places. Doesn't really matter a whole ton to me though!


And then not a question, but re: comments about shame about having big boobs: 

I still would have gotten the surgery due to back pain, but I do wish I would have embraced the "look" a bit more. Growing up in a conservative culture, you're told to cover up all the time and "not to be a temptation" to the boys. *gag*. So, I felt like I had to stick to a very specific fashion/dress. However, as I am watching The Bachelorette, I am seeing Taysia with big boobs similar to where I was at and she rocks them! She dresses so cute and I wish I would have had more "fashion icons" if you will that had my body shape than the stick thin fashions I saw. The community I grew up in is definitely a little "cleavage phobic" lmao and I feel like that contributed to me (and lots of you from my DMs) feeling the need to cover up a lot... which is sooooo hard with huge boobs haha. So, shoutout to Taysia for being the fashion icon for rockin' huge boobs! 


I hope that helps! It's definitely a personal decision and I don't think you can go wrong either way! For the sake of my back, I'm really glad I got it done. A lot of people told me to wait until after I had kids bc they would shrink then, but that was too long to wait haha and I'm glad I did it when I did! I will definitely be interested to see if I can breast feed, but also I will not be extremely upset if my baby has to take formula. 

I think the biggest thing is just to know the potential negative side effects and consider if you could live with them/if they would be worth it for the benefits. 


Hope that helps! 


XOXO,

E

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Ask A Mormonish Girl - Part 3

    (Hi! Before we get into today's post: If you enjoy these posts, please sign up for email notifications! It basically just means you don't have to wait until I post a link to these posts on Instagram. You'll get an email with a link to it! Just look for the gadget on my sidebar or at the bottom of my site 😚 Thank you, as always, for all the love and support!)


    

    Hello and happy Tuesday! (I am 2 days late with this post haha.) We are back for another round of "Ask A Mormonish Girl", where I answer the questions you all submitted via my question box on Instagram over the past week! So far, I've really enjoyed this series and hearing that so many of you feel seen and heard. 

    

    My goal for these posts is always to share my thoughts (note they are my thoughts, and not necessarily the church's doctrine/beliefs) in a respectful way and create a middle path where people feel they can participate in the religion while still having concerns and reservations. I'm constantly promoting imperfect relationships, and I think we need more room for imperfect relationships with the church. I'm tired of this weird cultural where any sort of questioning or calls for betterment are labelled "anti-Mormon", shut down and shamed. The church needs a variety of voices and it is a direct result of these diverse voices, questioning, and calls for betterment that we have seen so many changes in the past. (Kids of LGBTQ+ parents now allowed to be baptized, more feminist changes in the temple, birth control being allowed lol, etc.)

    

    So, here's to unorthodoxy and irreverence, to respectfully voicing concerns, and to expecting more from that which expects more from us. 😎 Enjoy the post!


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I'm scared about the temple endowment and initiatory and what I understand to be a 1/2 lack of informed consent. What can I know about it/where can I find information to be ready beforehand?

    

    Hmmmm. This is an interesting question. I'll just be honest and say I haven't heard much about a lack of informed consent in the temple specifically. (I do remember A Thoughtful Faith had an episode about trauma informed care, where I think they did mention a lack of transparency. To this I would agree.) I'll talk more about this in the last paragraph. For now, let's start at the beginning. 

    

    For me, there were two things that helped when I first went through the temple. The first was having someone sit me down beforehand and walk me through what you do. I'm not sure if this is allowed actually lol. But, someone I am very close to (and who is active and attends often) was like, "I don't want you to be weirded out or confused, so let me tell you a little more about what to expect." I'll try to be vague in the name of respecting it all, but they showed me some stuff you only see in the temple and told me what to expect. At this point I had also studied other religions and I mean, they all have their unique ceremonies that could appear "strange" to an outsider. So, I was kind of expecting a lot of symbolism and stuff like that anyway.

    

    The second thing that helped me was curiosity. In our church, what happens inside the temple is not talked about a lot. I do wonder how much of this is cultural and people not wanting to be shamed by others vs actual orders written somewhere lol. But, ultimately I was just curious about this thing people always talked about lol. I've always been a "try to make it work" type person, so ultimately going through the temple for the first time I was just like, observing and cataloging to process later. 

   

     I honestly can't remember anything too shocking or that bothered me immensenly. (Actually, someone's phone did go off, which I hear is actually unheard of haha. I took it as a sign of like, "Ok, no matter how much I don't know or don't do "right", at least I didn't bring my phone in here when they specifically asked me not to haha.) Once again, I believe religion is always influenced by the culture at the time and the temple I think is no different. I wasn't expecting myself to agree with everything, understand everything, or love everything. My only expectation was to be open and respectful to new information and take my time chewing over how I felt about it all. 

   

    Ok, now for the lack of informed consent. Informed consent is an interesting term to use. In my therapy practice, I have to have specific "informed consent" paperwork, so that's where my lens is coming from. To me, informed consent means giving someone enough information that they know everything in order to make a decision they are comfortable with. In essence, all the cards are laid on the table and there are no surprises. I would say you don't know a lot about the temple before you experience it for yourself. The idea behind this is to keep things sacred, and honestly, seeing as how other religions have been criticized and attacked, I can understand that. However, I can also see how it could be daunting to go through something when you have no idea what's about to happen. Thus, the person in my life who told me what to expect was very helpful, and honestly, if someone came to me about to go through the temple, I would probably do the same. If the intention is to comfort and inform, I believe in a God who would be happy with that and encouraging of us bringing people to his "holiest house", as we believe temples are. 

    

    Back to the "informed consent" question though: I don't feel like you consent to anything without being informed of it beforehand. Granted it's been a while since I've been to a temple, but from what I remember, everything is explained to you before you make any commitments/consent. So, I wouldn't necessarily say it's not informed consent. I couldn't remember what they say about leaving, so I consulted with an active, returned missionary who informed me that at the beginning of the session they announce that if you are uncomfortable at any time you are welcome to leave.) I can definitely see the sweet, older workers (it's not always elderly people who work there, but it often is) trying to comfort someone and encourage them to stay. But, if you were really dead set on leaving, you could. 

    

    So, that's my two cents on first temple experiences! Don't be scared. All religions have "strange" ceremonies. There is no animal sacrifice or nudity or... anything extreme like that. It's just a bunch of symbolism as is the case in most religions. Also, you typically have to do an interview with a bishop and stake president before going through, so you could ask them as well what your options are for leaving if you start to feel uncomfortable/sick/panicky. Anyway! I hope that helps! I'm going to have an RM and active member proofread this before I publish, because I don't want any trolls telling me I "revealed" secrets of the temple haha. 


    A few things you might find helpful. (These are all church links so don't be scared to click!) This post tells you a little about what happens in the temple. You can see pictures of the types of rooms (and their meaning/purpose) here. And I actually feel like this video does a pretty good job telling you what happens during a temple endowment ceremony. This letter talks about the changes to the temple ceremonial clothing. 



I'm going to do a few quicker questions next, because whew! Turns out I can really rattle on when I get going haha. 



Why do Mormons think that wearing bikinis or crop tops is a sin? 

    

    I actually don't think Mormons think wearing bikinis or crop tops is a "sin", per say. We are advised to be "modest in dress" and there's a culture where you're encouraged not to wear a bikini. But if you do, it's not like you have to confess it to the bishop or anything haha. 


Thoughts on new age practices? (Yoga, meditation, crystals, psychics and that spiritual energy that can be found in physical objects.) I totally believe in it, but some members say that's against Mormonism.

   

    I don't think any new age practices are against Mormonism. I mean, what are they specifically saying about them goes against the religion?? I'd be interested to hear the arguments. But, I mean, especially yoga, that's exercise for a lot of people! Meditation as well is a really well researched positive thing to do for mental health. Psychics... that one I could see more of an argument with as it gets into the whole "do we have free will/agency or is life pre-determined", but I mean eh. I don't see a strong argument against it there even. I might write about this more in the future as I get more comments/DMs about what the arguments are that new age practices are against the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. You've got me intrigued now haha.


Do you believe the church is true?

    

    I believe a lot of churches have a lot of truths. If I was a God and my main goal was to get people to have me in their life, I would definitely create a lot of avenues/religions to get people there, as I would assume there was going to be a lot of cultural/personality differences. 


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Whew! That's all for today, folks! Make sure you check out my past posts for answers to the following questions:

For all questions garment related, click here

What things do you struggle with? What keeps you in the church? Do you feel like you are welcome in the Mormon community?: Click here


Until next week!


XOXO,

Your Mormon-ish Internet Friend,

Emmy Coletti