words by christine fadel


so, i started a new blog and will no longer be writing here at The C-Word.

while nothing groundbreaking and, aesthetically, still a work-in-progress, my new space will be words and photos with no bloggish stuff. oh, how i have developed a real disgust for the bloggish stuff. while i think other people do it very well, i think it's easy to hide behind. i think it comes off like you're trying to sell something and selling anything is just not my thing. i don't want anyone to care about what i wear or how i dress my kids or whether or not i can cook.

i've also realized that i write simply because i don't know how not to. for that reason alone, i will continue to do so. i'd also like to take some photos with a real camera, something that is at the top of my life to-do list. i've felt bored with this space for a while and so i did something about it. i gave myself a clean slate to work on some goals.

i couldn't come to terms with deactivating the c-word because so many important parts of my life have been documented here. so, this blog will stay active for the time being in case you want to read any of the archives. when i have the time to save certain posts to word documents, i'll likely retire it all together and deactivate.

i hope you'll continue to read my words at www.christinefadel.com for more of the same and less of the fluff. i assigned myself a little project over there, too. i am going to write every day for the next 365 days. (it began march 2nd, the day after my birthday and will last until i turn 3-0.)

as always, thank you for following along with my journey and thanks for always being so supportive.

"write what you know." -anne lamott

things i've learned by twenty nine


on march one, i turn twenty nine. it's no monumental birthday but i still like the sound of it. if only because i am inching that much closer to thirty. i may be the only person in the world looking forward to turning thirty. i have never quite understood why people are so scared of thirty. i feel as though i've been a thirty year old my entire life, only walking around impersonating a kid, a teenager, a college student, an adult. thirty is so officially adult.


but back to twenty nine.

i recall entering my twenty's without any real plan. i was optimistic- borderline idealistic if you can believe it- about my future and open to the power of possibility. never-- EVER-- would i have predicted the next nine years panning out the way that they have. as i reflect on the last nine years, i know without a doubt that everything happened the way that it was supposed to.

here is what i've learned:

drawing lines in the sand- distinguishing between you and me, them and us- is an overall shitty way to live, particularly so in motherhood. everyone finds their own path and their own way of doing things, their own way of living and their own set of priorities and values. while i accepted this long ago, i also choose to believe that we can still be supportive of one another in spite of those differences. you don't have to understand or agree with it, but, at the very least, you must respect it. 

the best relationships- marriage, friendships, familial, professional, etc.- take work. not work in the sense that you have to try really hard to make them work; but, rather, you have to put in genuine effort if you want it to be balanced, healthy, and mutually beneficial. you have to show up. and you have to try to give as much as you expect to receive.

how you take care of yourself is one of the few things in life you can control. while there is a time and a place to indulge and let loose, ones' best health is a result of balance, moderation in all things, and a connection to your mind and body. health is not determined by a dress size or your weight just as beauty is not limited to blonde hair and blue eyes. good health isn't established by a crash diet or juice cleanse, by depriving yourself of entire food groups, or by spending hours doing an exercise you hate. your best possible self is unique to you and is achieved by putting how you feel first.   

we all struggle. there is no way around that. some are petty annoyances, little tests the universe throws our way just to keep us on our toes and remind us of how much control we don't have. but there are others that shake you to your core-- the earth shattering and life altering kind of inner turmoil that prevents you from ever being the same, no matter the outcome. when you are deep in the muddy trenches of the latter, in your own personal hell fighting the war of your lifetime, you have two options: one) you can put your head down, say a prayer, and simply hope to survive. two) you load your holster, lace up your ass kickin' boots, give yourself a pep talk. then you charge that mother fucker head on with guns blazing, fighting like a bat outta hell.

you don't need to find a polite way to say exactly how you feel. you don't need to be an asshole, either.  

a lot of people have a lot of opinions. people think- and some even have the balls to tell you- that you should look a certain way and dress a certain way. they say you should behave and speak in a certain manner. they have opinions about how you should feed your kids, how you should raise them (if you want to raise them right, of course) and how you should discipline them, too. they have opinions about how you should eat and what exercise you should be doing and how often you should be doing it. they have opinions about your reproductive system and family planning and why you aren't *really* done having babies yet even though you just told them that your womb will maintain vacancy indefinitely. they even have opinions about who you should vote for and what religion you should believe in and why you're crazy if you believe in something different. well, they are really in for a shock when they realize that i couldn't give a flippin' fuck what they think. thanks but no thanks. in the words of kevin hart, do you, boo boo. do you.  

it's okay to be fresh out of fucks to give.

i have made decisions in the past that were very clearly the wrong ones to make. i've been careless with my body and heart. i've hurt people unintentionally and even intentionally. i've not always been kind to the people i love. i've not always been responsible and i've not always followed through. i've not always done my best or given it even half of the effort i know myself to be capable of. i've been lost and led down some bumpy roads by people i should've known better than to follow. i've used some very questionable (and likely impaired) judgement that i would not want to tell my mother about. i have made more mistakes than i know what to do with other than write a book about them. but you know what? i own it-- all of it-- and i regret not a single ounce of it. (some mistakes can be very much fun.) i can't change the past but i can make peace with it. 

when i was sixteen, i cut my biological father out of my life. he died on a mother's day seven years later without us ever speaking. every so often, a wave of guilt creeps up on me -- the one that tells me that i could've done more, made more of an effort to help him to stop drinking, even just loved him harder-- threatening to undo all of the work i've done to move past such a dark period in my life. what do i do? i tell that voice to shut the fuck up. and then i give myself this pep talk: you can't help someone who doesn't want to help themselves. no matter how hard you try, there will come a time when you can do nothing but throw your hands in the air and give up. you can and will still love them but you will be done. you will have had enough. it's okay to walk away from a situation or a relationship whose burden has become too much to bear. throwing in the towel doesn't mean that you're giving up; it just means that there comes a time for self-preservation and that time is now.

five things | life lately


1. i know what it's like to need mental help so when i make a statement like i'm about to make, i am not making it lightly: KANYE WEST IS CRAZY. for a while, i hoped that it was all a publicity stunt and that he was just a narcissistic asshole. i still believe the latter is true. but he is legitimately crazy. i can't even begin to list the reasons that have led me to this conclusion but here and here are good places to start. (and please do not judge my sources of news. thanks.)

2. when joe and i pulled into the driveway early saturday evening, we were greeted by marlo sprinting full speed ahead. she screamed "mama! mama! mama! i missed you so much!!!" and jumped into my arms like she never has before. let me tell you something: it was better than anything i've ever felt before. you see, she is a bonafied daddy's girl. the man does no wrong in mo's eyes and i usually catch all of her side-eye, attitude, and turdy-ness. hearing her tell me that she actually missed ME was needed. and to say that i missed mo- even her side-eye, 'tude, and turdy-ness- is an understatement. she is such a piece of work, even on a good day, but she is, and has always been, my north star and, without her, i feel misguided and complete. needless to say, it's good to be home.

3. is teething the universe's way of humbling parents? i think it is and i also think that it's an asshole. i came back from vacation so well-rested, confident, and ready to dive head first into being the best mother i can be for my girls. then edie decided to cut four gd teeth. AT THE SAME TIME. all of that newfound confidence and feeling of recharge went straight out the flippin' window. very quickly, i was all i have nothing under control, i have zero chill, what do i do, omg help me please, please send wine and unicorn dust to somehow magically soothe my seemingly possessed kid.  motherhood, y'all, keeping me on my toes and my desire to drink fully engaged.

4. i bought nigella lawson's newest cook book, simply nigella: feel good food, and y'all. it is really good and the recipes are simple. i rarely praise cookbooks because i very rarely follow recipes. (i'm incapable of following instructions in general and this is parlayed into my cooking.) i made her green tahini sauce that i searved with roasted veggies and flank steak last night and i made her thai turkey meatballs with green coconut curry veggies the night before that. both were really good. joe especially liked the curry and he is not typically a curry fan.

5. a pet peeve i recently discovered: i don't particularly enjoy people telling me i need to have more babies. or, more specifically, when i tell someone that we're done having kids and they tell me "not to make my mind up just yet." ummm. how about this: my uterus, my ovaries, my family, my business. and what's so wrong with only wanting two kids? why do people feel like it's just a normal segue into conversation? also, what would lead a person to think that they know what i want (or don't want) more than my husband or i know these things? it's very annoying. and borderline rude. so don't do this. *drops the mic*

five things | feeling like an asshole and a little morbidity for your wednesday


this week.

oh, this gd week.

insert long, dramatic sigh.

here it is, in a nutshell:

1. mo has become a pro at trying to fake being sick. she usually laughs immediately because she knows that we know her game. it most often occurs when we ask her to do something. "mo, can you go put your shoes on so we can leave?" oh, mama i am so sick *cough, cough* i need you to do it, please. so, on monday morning when she claimed to not feel well again right before it was time to leave for school, i gave it little mind. she gave us no indication that she was actually sick and had not even a runny nose. feeling like an asshole, take one: not thirty minutes after dropping her off at school, i get a call from her teacher saying that mo has a 102 fever and wouldn't stop crying until finally falling asleep on the floor in the reading corner under a tent. face palm.

2. i thought edie was simply cutting her top teeth. and she is. she's like a little hillbilly with two bottom and one top tooth- it's THE CUTEST. she just happened to be the most miserable we've ever seen her. and considering that she's typically the happiest baby ever- even when she's miserable- that's saying something. feeling like an asshole, take two: she had her nine month well check-up yesterday and, as it turns out, homegirl actually had an ear infection and high fever. as the doc told me, i could actually feel my insides shrinking. double face palm.

3. joe and i are leaving for a much needed childless vacation on saturday for a week. we're going to sit on a beach and do nothing for seven full days and nights and i could not be happier nor could it be coming at a better time. goodbye awful post-nursing hormones and hello sex drive! i've missed you like whoa. anyway, this trip has been in the works for almost a year now and we have been counting down the days for, at least, the last three months. when my babies got sick this week, it suddenly hit me that i will be leaving them for longer than i've ever left them-- while they aren't feeling well. and even though this one-on-one time is so necessary for our marriage and even though we've more than earned the luxury of being able to eat, drink, and have sex without interruption over the last year, i am an emotional and anxious wreck. feeling like an asshole, take three: why is it that i am so sad to leave the two things that i am so excited to have a break from? why is motherhood such a damn double-edged sword? why does motherhood make you feel like such an asshole? it is probable that i will cry the entire trip to paradise and then cry again because i'm in paradise, crying.

4. ever since i had edie, i've felt a unyielding twitch brewing inside of me. the truth is that i really miss working outside of our home and find myself desperately craving a professional and creative outlet in my life. writing is great and all, but it's still a solo sport. i need adult interaction. and, while i've been lucky enough to be able to be home with the girls these past almost-four-years and even though every single day feels like the hardest job i've ever had, i'm not all that personally satisfied by it. i need more. so, i've recently taken on a fun new role working again part-time that is igniting all of the parts of me that have felt dormant for far too long. it's exciting, isn't it? or isn't it? feeling like an asshole, take four: after talking with a good friend about all of the feelings surrounding working and leaving the girls in the care of other people, it hit me just how fortunate and privileged i am to be able to CHOOSE to work. or to CHOOSE not to work. there are so many women and mothers who have no other option or say in the matter for a bevy of reasons. (my own mother was one of them and so are many other women in my family. i grew up with women working outside of the home as my model and my mother did, in fact, have it all like a damn boss.) i know that so many women would give anything to be at home with their kids, day-in and day-out, and yet, here i am, bored by it. maybe bored isn't the right word. but does that make me an ungrateful asshole? i don't know the answer to that question and i'm not 100% sure that i really want to know. but i do know that doing what makes me happy as a person- separate of being a mother- in turn, makes me a better mother. so, i'm just going to continue thanking whomever is up there and in control of things that i can choose to do what makes me happiest and continue being grateful to be surrounded by so many badass women who encourage me and work their asses off in and outside of the home.

5. warning: this is a little morbid so don't read it if emotional cutting isn't your thing. don't say i didn't warn you, 'kay? we've been procrastinating on getting a will together ever since marlo was born. it's not something you really want to think about, you know? but, since joe and i are going out of the country on saturday without our girls, there seemed no better time to cross our t's and dot our i's than now. god forbid, in the awful chance that something happens to the both of us, we want to make sure that the girls are taken care of and our wishes are seen through regarding everything that regarding their future. i also think that covering all of our bases is the responsible thing to do for all parties involved, you know? i'd like to believe that we'd be very much missed so i don't want people worrying about logistics in the face of missing my face. but when you are sitting in front of a computer, writing out your wishes *in case you and your husband die and leave your babies to be taken care of by someone else* and having a painful yet necessary conversation with the people you want to be your daughters' legal guardians if something happens preventing you from being around for your babies.... well.... it's all just a lot to take in. god, parenthood is so heavy. at the end of the day, no two people matter more to me than those crazy little fadel girls. and it's in the facing of things like this- critical and essential, yet painful-to-fathom possibilities- which force you to deeply feel the weight of the all consuming love you have for two people more than you've ever loved anything or anyone. you're hit in the face with how much you have to lose and the thought of losing it is unbearable. how is love so incredibly beautiful and life-giving yet equally painful and exhausting?

the universe is really making me earn this vacation this week, huh?

nine months in | nine months out


time, as they say, is a real bitch.

i'm not sure if that's actually what they say but it's true. edie has now been in our family for as much time as she was inside of my belly and the realization is jarring. with marlo, i counted down the days until her next milestone- the next stage, the next month- just hoping to find myself facing the day we woke up and it somehow felt easier. i was a desperate new parent and, in a lot of ways, was blind. i had yet to realize that it never gets any easier, just becomes different shades of hard.

even though the adjustment from one child to two children wasn't easy and i had moments of absolute sheer panic and bouts of inconsolable tears, i never once wished it away. i know better than to do that this time around. first kids are a bit of a science experiment in that way where you test your theories, you work out all the kinks, and you realize where you went wrong so that, for the second test, you change around your parameters, and learn something from your mistakes.

with edie, instead of rushing the process and sprinting through the first leg of parenthood, i made a point to tell myself to just let it be. i remember being convinced that it would all click at some point or another so there was no need to worry or put pressure on any of us. i never set false or unrealistic expectations for myself, expectations which would undoubtedly lead to frustration or feelings of maternal failure when they weren't met. i offered myself a lot of grace and was mindful to remain patient, to allow every phase and stage to ride out naturally instead of forcing things we weren't ready for.

i have soaked up every moment that possibly could be, even every sleepless night. i have never let a day go by without realizing that these days with edie and mo are THE DAYS i will one day look back on most fondly. i'm not sure if it's because she's my last baby or because i am now painfully aware of what's waiting for us on the other side (toddlers, man) but edie will never be a baby long enough for me to get an adequate enough fill of her or to feel ready to move on from this particular chapter in my mine and children' lives.

i think it also has somewhat to do with the fact that i really like the mother i've become with a toddler and a baby. my life feels properly balanced and i somehow manage to stay on top of most days without feeling like i'm losing myself in the process. i'm not perfect by any means and i will always find room for improvement but we make it work. most days, i even feel like we're a well-practiced team versus the rival opponents we most certainly were the first month or two.

but i have no idea how to be a mother to two toddlers. the thought terrifies me, quite frankly. i've worked really fucking hard to figure out this mothering-a-toddler-and-a-baby-thing and now it feels like the rug is getting pulled out from under me. oh, you think you've got this figured out, eh? well, let's just switch this up and see what you're really made of... 

by the way, you're made of tears, christy.

tears and red wine.


please be my sweet baby forever. 

and ever.

love always, 

your mama.

motherhood | a real mind fuck


i have these moments that sneak up on me, as many moms do i'm sure, where i'll look at one or both of my girls and become completely and overwhelmingly flabbergasted as to how it's possible that they're mine. i'm not talking who-gave-me-permission-to-adult-or-be-in-charge-of-two-tiny-people kind of thoughts. although i think those things often, too.

right now, i'm talking more about sheer physiological logistics.

like, i made a human being? i made THIS human being? wait a hot damn second. i made THESE human beingS... as in plural. not just one. but TWO. what kind of black magic fuckery is this?! i made PEOPLE. with only a few of my organs, forty extra pounds, and a lifetime's supply of chocolate croissants. my very much imperfect body- which, i'd like to add, has failed me often- actually got its' shit together and created another human being inside of it? TWICE!?! no way that kind of wizardry is actually possible and no way in hell did i actually plop* that thing out of a ten centimeter hole.  

oh, wait.

but i did. i did do those things. *well, maybe not so much the plopping. based on my experience, it takes a little more effort than that. but that's neither here nor there. 

but seriously. i did, in fact, grow, house, and birth two perfect and healthy little beings. my two perfect and healthy little beings. my body has been occupied in the most all-encompassing manner possible. twice. and you know what? in the grand scheme of things, ten months doesn't seem like enough time to pull off what it pulled off, does it? i mean, what do most people do in ten months? lose a few pounds? read a few books? we women? we grow humans in the same amount of time it takes some people to house train their labradoodle.

i find it all to be a real mind fuck. with edie, in particular, too. likely because she was the most recent (and final) inhabitant of my internal incubation system. and it's not so much the birthing that shakes me to my core. how a baby is birthed is important, sure. however, it doesn't define motherhood or you as a mother. it's also not so much how a baby is sustained after birth. breastfeeding is another aspect of motherhood that doesn't- or shouldn't- define the mother.

more than anything, it's the fact that i created (with the help of my husband, obviously) two humans. i grew them. i kept them safe. i loved them from the moment i knew they existed and i knew who they were before i ever met them. i was protective of them, their well being, and wanted the best for them and the world they would come to live in. hell, i even became an idealist because of them. what i went through mentally, emotionally, and physically was life-changing and i doubt that anything will ever measure up as far as things that have the ineradicable ability to unhinge all that one knows/knew/will ever know and repurpose it for who you need to be for your child(ren). THAT- and that alone- is where the unbelievable magic lies for me. the fact that these two little girls were somehow chosen for me to be their mother? well, it's beyond any semblance of comprehension.

the one thing i can actually comprehend is just how lucky i am to have been able to do this, to do this particular part of motherhood. i didn't enjoy every moment, of course. i wished for parts of it to be over and i wouldn't say that i miss it. but when i find myself retracing my perinatal steps and when i'm faced with the sheer enormity of it all, i feel nothing but awe for what we can do... for what i did. i feel it today on edie's 262nd day of life and i imagine i'll experience the same feelings on her 10,000th day of life, too. it never becomes any less miraculous.

what a really exceptionally beautiful thing it is to be a mother.
photos by me. 

"mama, i love you so much! i like you so much, too."


on friday afternoon as we were sitting on the playroom floor buying time until joe got home to rescue me, out of nowhere, mo grabbed and cupped my face in her two tiny hands, pulled my face to her own and said very seriously, "mama, i love you so much. i like you so much, too."

and then, i died a little. because there is no better feeling than knowing your baby loves you. there is also nothing better than hearing them tell you as much. (your move, edie.)

i just pulled her into my lap, a place she can't be as often as she would like due to the almost constant occupancy of a baby. i wrapped my arms around her and hugged her dramatically. i kissed her cheeks all over and made a big show of my affection for her. i told her how much i love her and how much i like her, too. (because, you know, there is a difference. especially with a toddler. i love her always but there are days when i don't like her very much.) (hash tag real talk.)

she put her head on my shoulder and nuzzled her face in my neck. i told her how proud i am of her for handling the move to north carolina and this transition with such grace. i told her how proud i am of her for being such a loving big sister even when it's really hard and frustrating for her. i told her how proud i am of her for being brave meeting new friends and starting a new school. i also thanked her for being patient with me as i figure out this mama-of-two-in-a-new-city-with-a-new-routine thing.

and then i told her how proud and lucky i am that i get to be her mama forever and ever. and i can honestly say that i've ever meant any words i've ever spoken to her more than i meant that.

yes, mo is a lot of work. she has been since the day she was born and i don't see that changing anytime soon, if ever. she is a force to be reckoned with. she's incredibly opinionated. she wakes up and tells me immediately if she's going to have a "beautiful day" or a "bad day" and she wholeheartedly means it. she's temperamental, tender, and frequently overly dramatic. she vibrates with the aftershocks of others emotions. she requires routine and consistency to the point of monotony. she is not what i would describe as go-with-the-flow. she is fairly rigid in her ideals. she's cheeky and funny as hell and a bit unpredictable. she gets it. she is not, nor will she ever be, a wall flower or doormat. she says what she means and means what she says.

these traits aren't always the easiest to navigate as she grows into a little girl with even more opinions and emotions and ideas about how the world works . she is always listening and soaking up what i'm putting out. i have to watch my every word and move and when i forget this, it comes back to bite me in the ass.

but she is also my biggest teacher and the person i feel closest to. she's very much my mini-me in personality and i understand her like nobody else ever will because i've been her. i've felt misunderstood and frustrated with not being taken seriously. so when marlo speaks, i try my hardest to stop what i'm doing and listen and i always take her seriously. even silly things- things that don't make any sense to me whatsoever- are important things to me because they are important to her.

after mo told me that she loved me and liked me and i told her all the things, i grabbed edie to join the party. there is a hand and knee for each babe, i said. then i snapped these pictures of us three because i wanted to capture how incurably happy i am.

i've actually never been this happy. i've never felt more confident as a mother and as a woman. i've never felt so settled, so content, and so fulfilled with the direction my life is taking than i do right at this moment. i know who i am and what i want out of my life and for the life of my family. and if there is ever a moment worth capturing, it's the moment that you realize that these moments are THE moments, that these girls are IT. they are the reason why i try so hard to be, do, see, live, and teach good.

mo and edie, i love you both so much. i like you both so much, too.


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