Monthly Archives: March 2011



is how I feel, in every sense of the word. *warning – this is going to be another one of my long and all over the place posts

The events of March 11 have left me completely and utterly heartbroken. I’m sure that’s how everyone is feeling these days. It’s impossible to put into words the loss I feel even though I haven’t been directly affected by the earthquakes or tsunami. I mean, we shook here, a few times, but there was no damage. We’re all fine. Akinori’s family in Aomori was without power for a few days, but they’re fine. His family in Sendai is fine. Miraculously we are all fine, physically. But I can’t watch the news without crying. I can’t remember the last full day I went without crying. I don’t even have to watch the news. I just have to stop for a minute and think about the people in evacuation centers up north and what they’re going through. And I’m going to have to stop there because if I start thinking about it anymore I’m not going to be able to get through this post. I donated to the Red Cross. In fact,  I donated way more than we can afford at the moment, but no matter how much I give it doesn’t feel like enough.

I’m going back to teaching belly dance from April, and I sent all of my students an e-mail telling them so, and that I am going to donate 10% of their lesson fees every month for a year. For me, belly dancing is my job, but for my students, taking lessons is a luxury. I find it hard enough to go about my normal every day life without feeling guilty, and I’m sure many of my students do too. I thought it would be easier, for them and for me, to know that while we’re doing something for ourselves, we’re also doing something for someone else. That almost sounds selfish too, like I’m doing it out of guilt, and I guess part of it is out of guilt, but I want to help. I want to feel like I am doing something to help someone rebuild their life, while I am here sitting in my warm home, with all of my belongings, enjoying warm food and sleeping in my warm bed.

My parents were supposed to come for a 2 week visit from this past Sunday, but with the earthquakes, tsunami and nuclear reactor situation being so unpredictable at the moment, we were able to persuade them not to come now. I think they wanted to hold out on making a decision until the last minute, but we (my PIL included) were quite stressed about the thought of them coming now. Personally, I was stressed from the moment I knew they planned on coming. I know they want to see their new granddaughter, but I have two small children that need my attention, and having my parents here is like having 2 more children who need constant attention. They said they were going to help with taking care of Sara and Amelie, but my parents are not hands-on grandparents, as much as they’d like to think they are. So now they plan on coming in July. That sounds more reasonable to me.

I think my MIL is really worried about me though. She’s worried about me being stressed at going through earthquakes and what not in a country that is not my own, with my own family far away. For me it’s not so much being in a foreign country, but Osaka still feels much more like home to me than Nagano does, and of course, my family isn’t here, and most of my good friends are in Osaka. And she’s worried about the fact that on top of that, I have two small children, and I’m having some feeding problems with Amelie at the moment.

The poor baby is totally constipated, and when I was at the midwife clinic she said it was because she’s not getting enough milk, and sure enough when we weighed her, she hasn’t been gaining like she should be. The first month she did great. She gained a kilo in one month, averaging 55g a day! 30g a day is considered acceptable, but the next two weeks she only averaged 26g a day, and then last week 21g a day, even though her constipation got better. The nurse at the midwife clinic said she thought the further decrease was due to her explosive poops when her constipation got better, but she hasn’t pooped for a few days now again, which means she is once again not getting enough milk, and I don’t know what to do. I’m tempted to give up the whole breastfeeding thing and just put her on a bottle, but if we hadn’t gone to the midwife clinic I never would have known that she wasn’t getting enough milk. I had just taken Amelie to the Dr. a few days earlier to have her stuffy nose looked at, because it had been stuffed for weeks, and I asked him about the constipation and he said that’s just how some babies are, but she was gaining weight so there was nothing to worry about. Then I talked to the midwife and she said all Drs. say that, but the baby really isn’t getting enough. I’ve been making a huge effort to drink more water, and it seemed to help at first, but I am at my wit’s end with this now, and I feel horrible, and it is stressing me out, which I’m sure is not helping the situation. I never had this with Sara.

I’m not sure if it’s the stress from the natural disaster or the milk thing or the having two small kids thing, but I have been suffering from vertigo now for the last few weeks, and up until last week it was just once in awhile, but since Thursday it has been all day everyday. I wake up dizzy, and I feel like I’m on a boat until I go to bed at night. When it’s really bad I feel seasick, and eating can make me nauseous. I went to the Dr. and he gave me some medicine that has absolutely no effect whatsoever, but that’s all he could give me since I’m breastfeeding. He said it’s an inner ear thing that needs to fix itself, but it takes time. This happened to me once before about 3 years ago at another really stressful time in my life, when I found out the girl at work who had been parading around as my best friend, was actually going behind my back spreading rumors, nearly getting me fired. (She ended up getting fired in the end – let that be a lesson!) Sometimes it’s worse than others. But sometimes I feel so horrible I want to cry. The worst was last night. The end of a 3-day weekend, meaning Sara wasn’t going to kindy during the day, Akinori was doing something in the kitchen and both girls were screaming at the top of their lungs, and my head felt like it was going to spin off my neck.

I don’t want to put this down to stress. There are plenty other foreign wives in this country who have more than one child and they handle it. I don’t want to think that I’m just too weak to handle my life, but I’m afraid I am. Okay, crying baby. Gotta go.