Someone make it stop!


The waterworks! I just can’t seem to pull it together and stop crying.  I think it’s probably pregnancy hormones, as I definitely remember being quite weepy when I was pregnant with Sara, but I don’t remember it being quite this bad until I was way far into my pregnancy, newly moved to Nagano, and lonely, incredibly fat and miserable.  Part of it is because a friend of mine here, another foreign wife, is taking a plane home to the U.K. on Wednesday to hopefully make it home in time to say goodbye to her dying father. This is one of my worst nightmares, as I’m sure it is for many ex-pats. Luckily she just came back from spending a month in the U.K. with her family, so she did get some good quality time then, but unfortunately her family wasn’t completely honest with her about her father’s condition, saying he was getting better and everything would be fine. She got a phone call a few days ago saying he only had weeks left, then another phone call later on saying it was only days, and now she’s praying that he holds on until she can get there. I keep putting myself in her shoes, and the tears just don’t stop.

I’m taking one of her English classes for her while she’s away. (Which should be interesting since I haven’t taught English in over 5 years, but I teach belly dance, and really teaching is teaching, right? And um, I speak English pretty well, so yeah, should be loads of fun.) Anyway, she called to thank me for taking the class today. I hadn’t actually spoken to her in about two weeks, and when I did see her two weeks ago, she never mentioned anything about her father’s failing health. Another mutual friend is the one who actually arranged all the teachers for her classes, and who told me about her father. So when she called today, she sounded a little panicked, and very grateful, but definitely holding it all together. I, on the other hand, once again lost it. We hung up the phone really quickly because I didn’t want her to figure out that I was crying. That would have made me feel even worse. I hope she didn’t realize. I felt like such an ass after hanging up the phone. If anyone should have been crying, it definitely shouldn’t have been me.

Anyway, her experience has made me realize that even though we really and truly do not have the money to go home this year, at least Sara and I have got to go. I told Akinori a little while ago that no one was going to Chicago this year because we can’t afford it. We just bought a new car (used, but new to us) and that basically ate up our entire savings, which wasn’t very much to begin with. (Where does the money go?!) We were going to wait until winter to buy a larger car, because the one we had was too small for a family of four, especially when two of those people have to sit in car seats, but I found a good deal for a mini-van type car on Tell and Sell, so we bought that. Great car! It belonged to a French executive-type family, finishing their stint in Japan, so quite a nice car, actually, and a really good deal, but still required all of what little savings we had, to purchase.

Anyway, the payment for all of the proofreading and other work I did over the last couple of months should be coming in at the end of the month, so that is what I’ll use to pay for a ticket home. Unfortunately I can’t call a travel agency and make a reservation until I have the money in my hand as I’m going to need a down payment soon after I’m sure. I don’t plan on traveling at a busy time though, so there should be plenty of options available. I’m just really, really not looking forward to traveling alone on a plane for 12+ hours both ways with Sara alone. I have a feeling I am going to find out the true meaning of living hell, but it has to be done in order to get there, so we’ll manage somehow.

Okay, not that I’ve got that bit off my chest, on to the rest of my life. It’s about to get long, just a warning. I’ll bullet point it though so you can just read the parts that interest you 🙂

  • Pregnancy

I’m 12 weeks and 3 days along, and everything is going well. Sometimes I find it hard to believe it’s going well when I go in for my check-ups and hear Junior’s genki heartbeat and see Junior swimming around, because sometimes I almost forget I’m pregnant. Of course I never really and truly forget, and maybe just because it’s still early days, and I haven’t felt any kicking yet (although there were a few times I thought I might be feeling something, but it’s still too early to feel the constant kicking), but I think it’s mostly because Sara takes up so much of my time and energy. Seriously, that kid is an energy sucker/recycler. She sucks up all the energy from everyone around her and recycles it as her own. More on that later, but I am feeling lots of mommy guilt toward Junior for not being able to focus more on him/her. I remember singing to Sara every night before I went to bed, and talking to her all the time. The only time I remember to talk to Junior is usually when I’m taking a shower, or when Sara and I are playing and I’m trying to get her to understand where the “baby” is. I feel lots of mommy guilt towards Sara too, for knowing that she is the one who is going to get just a wee bit ignored in a few months. The three of us were sitting in the living room today playing, and I was thinking about how Sara is only going to have our full attention all to herself for just a little longer, and it made me a little sad. I’m sure we’ll have lots of nice times when Junior comes too, and Sara will eventually, if not right off the bat, be happy to have a sibling. It’s just a little sad/scary to think about everything changing completely and for good. There’s other stuff I’m feeling mommy guilt over, but more on that later.

Anyway, I went to my first appointment at the midwife clinic and then had an appointment two weeks later (which was last Friday) at one of the big hospitals around here to get blood work done. The midwife clinic is awesome, if perhaps a little too laidback? My appointment took nearly 2 hours, mostly because there was a lot of going in and out of the room to get this or that, or whatever. The head midwife is totally unbothered by the clock. She did give me a nice long ultrasound though, and we listened to Junior’s heartbeat and inside the umbilical cord, which was a new experience for me, and very cool! Then last week I went to the big hospital and had blood work, and had an exam by an OBGYN who showed us (the midwife was there too) how the baby is healthy, and Junior was once again jumping around all over the place. This worries me. If the next child is half as genki as Sara, I am in for some serious trouble. Like seriously serious. Maybe I won’t feel this way once Sara is a little older, can speak more and listens a little better, and can actually BE an older sister, and the baby’s not going to be mobile for a few good months anyway, so I suppose there is some hope, but Sara was crawling at 5 months, and walking at 10 and it’s been nothing but a complete nightmare since then, and I’m sure it has aged me a good couple of years as she quickly sucks away all of my energy on a daily basis. I’m sure being pregnant isn’t helping the whole lack of energy thing, and I am really and truly looking forward to starting the 2nd trimester and hopefully feeling even a little, less exhausted than I do now. How do parents with more than 1 child cope? I am really starting to get scared! It’s funny. With Sara all I was worried about was the pain of giving birth. That’s what was most scary. This time I barely think about the pain. Probably because I know I can live through it. It’s what comes after that truly scares me. And I wanted to be pregnant so badly. Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad I am, and I am really looking forward to having a big(ger) family and lots of fabric softener advertisement moments, but I’m scared too. No point in worrying about what hasn’t happened yet I guess. I’ll have to keep repeating that to myself.

  • Sara

Altering between huge amounts of uncontrollable heart swellings of love for my darling baby and feelings of wanting to run away back to America, or anywhere, for that matter, all alone, followed by enormous amounts of mommy guilt. My child is 6 handfuls, that is, there needs to be at least 3 adults around to keep any normal sense of peace, as the 3 adults take turns chasing her, redressing her (since she removes all of her clothes and her diaper any chance she gets these days), feeding her, etc. I’m sure everyone’s children are difficult and exhausting, but it feels justifying and shitty all at the same time, when the mothers of other kids Sara’s age are like “Wow! That kid has a lot of energy! How do you do it?” You know what they really mean is “I’m so glad that’s not my child!” And no, I wouldn’t trade my child for anything in the world, and I’m glad she’s got lots of energy and is healthy, but god is it frustrating when she just runs away, and I have to chase her, and she thinks it’s all a game. And she throws nasty tantrums when she wants something and absolutely will not listen to any sort of negotiation. Not that I really expect her to negotiate, but when I say, “do this first, and you can have this” there is just none of that happening. Mostly because she can’t even hear what I am saying over her piercing screams. God, her screams! If there was one thing I would change about her, and only one, it would be her fucking screaming. I’ve taken to covering my ears when she does it now, because it gives me a right fucking headache after the 600th time. When we’ve had a particularly bad day, I am in the worst possible mood by the time Akinori gets home, and he’s all like “Why are you so annoyed so easily?” AAAAAARRRRGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!

I know being pregnant is not making any of this easier. I’m moody, and emotional and although my morning sickness has gotten somewhat better, in that I’m not feeling queasy anymore, I am still sleepy ALL the time, and most of the time my stomach feels like shit, though not in the morning sickness type way. I don’t know what way, but not in a good way. I really wish men could experience pregnancy, even for a day. I actually don’t mind being pregnant. I really do like it, and to tell you the truth, I want to be the one birthing the babies, in a selfish kind of way. I mean it’s an amazing, awesome experience. I love feeling that connection to my child even before they are born, but it’s draining all the same, especially when you’ve already got one child who behaves like they’re high on pounds of cocaine.

But Sara does make me laugh a thousand times a day. She is one funny kid, and she knows it. She loves to dance, and we went to hub’s hometown’s festival on Saturday and she kept everyone entertained all night with all of her dancing and jumping around. It was awesome. What wasn’t awesome was when she would take off running down the street at random intervals, and she is fast. I mean like I have to actually run after her to catch her. In a couple of years she is going to be faster than me, I’m sure. And of course, her father was drinking with his buddies and having a jolly good time, and when Sara would start running he would just shout “No” and take another swig. THAT pissed me off. Ordinarily I wouldn’t say anything to him in front of his friends, but I was pissed, and hot and pregnant and tired of running after her time and time again and then wrestling with her to get her back to where we were sitting, so I had a bit of a go at Akinori, and he straightened his act fast.

Every time I have a difficult day with Sara though I can’t help but daydream of a life without husband or child, traveling alone around Europe, Africa, wherever. Footloose and fancy free. Then I have a huge wave of mommy guilt about wishing I didn’t have a child. Is it just me or are there other moms out there that go through this? Please tell me I’m not alone.

  • Hub

Aside from the random blip here and there, like Saturday night, he has been awesome lately, and we have been getting along really well. (I am sure I am cursing myself by writing this.) I’m pretty sure it comes from the guilt of borrowing (stealing) an exhorbitant amount of money from our savings and not yet paying it back, and now we are totally suffering. The money is in his bank account, he just hasn’t been able to go get it yet. Today he had the day off though, and did the paperwork to get the money, but for some reason he can’t actually withdraw the money until tomorrow, which he has promised he will, and he better! He hasn’t been paid for awhile either, which is seriously the worst possible drawback of working for the family business. He gets paid last, regardless of the fact that he has a family to support. I feel bad for bitching at him about not getting paid, but we have rent to pay, and other bills that don’t magically disappear because the company’s clients are paying up. Someone needs to go and knock on some doors and get them to fork over whatever they owe. (Which is apparently what his dad spent the day doing today, hence the day off for Akinori.) This was the first time EVER that I couldn’t pay the credit card bill because we didn’t have the funds in the bank. Usually I can move money around from one account to another, but this month there was NO money to move around. I can’t remember the last time I was this poor, and I don’t like it. The situation should get better by the end of the week/month, but as it is, I am having slight panic attacks ever few hours during the day.

Anyway, it is this guilt that has prompted hub to be extra super nice to me lately, I’m sure. Especially since I had a breakdown the other night in the car when he told me he wasn’t getting paid for another couple of days. I just hope nothing changes once we are back on our feet again. He’s still going on about he would like to come to America with us this year, but I just don’t see that as being realistic. In the past, he’s only come for a few days, like less than a week, which is a HUGE waste of money in my opinion, and he thinks he can take a whole week this year, but considering where we are financially, it just seems so unrealistic to me. Once there are 2 kids, he’s going to have to come with, at least in one direction, and I’d rather save the money now, and wait until then. Am I just being a scrooge? I’d like to think I’m just being realistic and money smart. I know some women have trouble getting their husband’s to come home with them at all, and I should be grateful he wants to go at all, but that doesn’t seem like a good enough reason to spend the money right now. Am I wrong?

Oops, gotta get going to class. Hopefully one of my students has some good news for me, which I’ll write about another time.


About Brenda in Nagano

Originally from Chicago, I knew I was destined to spend the rest of my life in Japan the moment I set foot in the country at the tender age of 16. However, I was quite intent on spending that rest of my life in a major city with a full on career, until my Japanese Prince Charming came trotting down from the mountains of Nagano to sweep me off my feet and whisk me away, turning my whole life plan on its head. Two months after moving to Nagano I gave birth to our little Princess Charming, so now I am officially a SAHM and teach a little belly dance on the side.

8 responses »

  1. oh brenda!!! Where do I start!
    Im so sorry about your friend, I cant even imagine 😦

    Flights … I think that he should come with you, but only if its going to be sensible. At least a week or two so he can help you on at least one of the flights with Sara and you can have a rest…

    Sara is genki, but it has been proven that kids like ours who crawl and walk and talk early (at 10 months and nonsense) are highly intelligent and therefore highly high maintenance. Seriously though, just wait until this stage is over and she is the smartest kid in the whole of Nagano and you will be glad you made it through 😀

    To be honest I think having a sibling will calm her down a lot (says the woman who is NOT pregnant and has no intention of being.) I am considering sending kiddo to Kindy after we get back from the UK for similar reasons – at the moment she thinks (quite rightly) that she is the centre of mummies whole universe. And its true, she IS the centre. But I think its a valuable life lesson to know that she cant be. So off to kindy goes my kid.

    It will be shitty for the first while after the baby comes, but after that sara is almost definitely gonna mellow out – just because she realizes that things she used to do which you would jump up and go “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO” too, just don’t work anymore. Kind of sad, but definitely necessary. However Mummy guilt is inevitable I think, no matter what we do. Im currently feeling guilty for NOT having another child, because its too sad she will grow up alone and probably be a spoilt brat.

    And hormones … I have no cure Im afraid. Except chocolate … Lots and lots of chocolate. Im so glad your husband is being nice to you 😀 And IM SOO pleased everything is going well with your pregnancy! look forward to seeing some lovely scan photos sometime soon! And hopefully you too, next time you are in Osaka 😀 😀 😀

    • Fi,

      I certainly hope you’re right about lots of activity early being linked to high intelligence, because there has to be some kind of positive reward in the end for all the stress now. Although I suppose I’ll still love her anyway, even if she’s not the smartest kid in Nagano. And chocolate, yes, that has been my saving grace the last few days. I love being pregnant because I don’t even think twice when I go to the grocery store or conbini and pick up a snickers or whatever. That freedom from worrying about weight gain alone is a lovely bit of stress relief in itself 🙂

  2. That paragraph about Sara and someone saying how genki she was – could have written that. So true. A lady said to me at the kinder festival a couple of weeks back that my two were ‘kappatsu’ which really just nice way of saying she thought they both had ADD.

    What your friend is going through – that is my worst nightmare too. I thought I had my father on board to tell me the truth about mum’s condition but things seemed to have gotten very vague lately. I don’t know if I could forgive him if he knew something that could get me home in time (when the time comes) and doesn’t tell me.

    Plane trip – save the money. Just take Sara. Small children on long flights is hell but I doubt it will be much easier with hub there anyway. When hub, Shou, Marina and I went back – Shou old enough for seat but Marina on knee – they both still wanted to come with me every time I went to the toilet and fought over ‘mummy’. I got no food, only went pee once and spent the rest of the trip wiping up vomit, and singing the bob the builder soundtrack. That said though the only sleep Marina got was when hub rocked her to sleep up near the air hostess cabin bit. You’ll also be quite a lot more pregnant than I was (flight home I was 16 weeks pregnant with Ryu) so an extra pair of hands quite helpful. Decisions decisions 🙂

    Good luck with the English. Will be fine. If in doubt just teach them very bellydance sexy version of heads shoulders, knees and toes.

    • GW,

      Yeah, my friend’s situation has me thinking about you a lot too. I can’t say anything, except that my thoughts are with you and I’m praying for the very best.

      I think we are going to save the money and it will be just Sara and myself going for many reasons, the main one being I don’t really want to wait until late September to go, which is when I would have to wait until if hub were to come with us. I won’t be that much more pregnant than you were then either, probably around 18 or 19 weeks when I travel, so hopefully not too hard to handle Sara on my own.

  3. So sorry to hear about your friend, I think it`s most people`s nightmare here. To be far away from family at such a time is terrible.

    As for the plane trip, save your cash, agree, such a waste when hub can only come for such a short time. Hard flying with a little one, but I guess it`s doable and if you score some nice cabin crew, they make it all the easier.

    Am also in the same boat re: crying at the drop of a hat..must be hormones as I don`t usually tear up over a keitai ad. 😛

    Hope you feel better soon.

    • Thanks for the well wishes! I seem to be past the crying thing *for now*, but who knows when it will creep back up again. Damn hormones! I hope your pregnancy is going along healthily and uneventful too!

  4. Hi! I came from GaijinWifes blog roll to you blog and found this entry.

    I wassurprised at how similar some parts of our lives are at this moment. (Im 9 weeks + morning sickness) My girl (now 2) started crawling at 5 months and walking at 9.5 months..Lets just say very very genki, very very active, and I love the energy sucker/recycler – describes her perfectly. At the moment I just want to sleep all day too. I feel guilty as I know she wants to play and play and play! with me.. but the way I feel right now, I just can’t do it 😀

    So I guess I just wanted to say you aren’t alone in the way you feel right now, and it was great for me to read about another mother in Japan in pretty much the same position as me at the moment! So glad I found your blog 😀


    • Jess,
      Thanks for stopping by and reading, and thanks so much for your comment. It’s much harder being pregnant with a super genki child than I thought. It definitely feels better to know I am not alone, because that is exactly how I have been feeling lately. I wish you all the best with your pregnancy!

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